The Cox Curation 07.13.21

Salvador Dali, Keto Frosting, the Secret Product Everyone on Camera Uses, News You Need, and How to Get Paid for Your Writing

Hello Dear Readers! And Happy Tuesday!

I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is off to a very *full* start! Yesterday, FEE kicked off our e-week (entrepreneur week), and I hosted one of our online panels.

Today, I have blinds being installed and my new quarterly exterminator coming. You know you’re an adult when you have a relationship with an exterminator.

I’d seen a few bugs in the new place, mostly small spiders, ladybugs, and other unoffensive breeds. I decided it would be wise to set a regular service up because I’m a strong, independent woman but with a weak stomach, you feel me? It wasn’t even three hours after I scheduled the service that I saw what might have been a small roach in my kitchen. I’ve surrendered the premise ever since, though I have yelled many warnings in there and told the bug he has a short window to leave of his own volition. As you can imagine, I’m looking forward to their arrival today.

On top of the housework, I have a pretty big interview with Rand Paul we’re filming this afternoon. As you know, I don’t have guests on BASED. But I of course made an exception for my favorite Senator. Top secret for the time being, so shhh! But his interview will air as part of this month’s episode.

This will also be my last full week in town for some time, so it’s crunch time (honestly, when is it not?). I’ve developed a pretty lengthy skincare routine during COVID, so we’ll see how that translates to road warrior life. But I should soon have travel tidbits to include here yet again, and I’m excited to return to jet-setting.

Ok, let’s jump in!

xoxo,

-H

NEWS YOU NEED

From me…

Some days I really do just wake up and choose controversy. Thanks to WEX for always letting me run my most based takes. You can read it here.

I spend my days in utter confusion over the fact our society spends its time arguing over things like CRT when there are policies like Qualified Immunity on the books. I truly don’t understand how people get so caught up caring about the wrong things. Sure, CRT is problematic. BUT DID YOU KNOW GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CAN LITERALLY KILL YOU WITH IMPUNITY AND YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Read my rant here.

The real epidemic in this country is the nanny-state Karens and their crony buddies. Read here.

I’ve been spending more time on TikTok than I’d like to admit. It started as research for my own videos at FEE. But now its algorithm has learned my tastes and it’s a black hole I struggle to climb out of. During a recent visit, I discovered an emerging trend called “The Great Resignation of 2021.” You’re going to want to read about this.

From others…

ENTERTAINMENT

I sort of hate to admit this, but I don’t really “get” a lot of art. I love the theater, I obviously love music as I devoted 10 years of my life to it, and I love books. I even like a lot of photography. But art just usually misses me. I rarely see pieces I like, and even when I do it’s sort of for surface reasons. It just doesn’t make me feel anything, which in turn makes me feel low-brow.

But a few years ago I had an art breakthrough. My family sometimes vacations in St. Petersburg. It’s a beautiful little seaside city with tons of art. They actually have a street art competition where artists create murals on buildings throughout the downtown. So my parents and I began renting bikes and riding around to find different pieces, and I really enjoyed that activity.

I like graffiti and some of the works of Banksy, so the murals were a good gateway art drug for me.

I ended up visiting the Salvador Dali museum downtown. Per usual, I was breezing through it (as I do most museums). I’m not a plaque reader and most things displayed just aren’t that interesting to me. But then I came across this virtual realty experience called “Dreams of Dali.” And I went in.

I don’t want to be a weirdo, but it sort of changed my life. I had a very spiritual experience in my headset.

Through the VR headset I was able to actually go inside the painting, “Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus’.” I want you to understand. I walked in this painting. I felt the sandstone beneath my feet. I climbed to the top of these statues. I felt the desert breeze whip my hair and sensed vertigo as I peered over the edge, hundreds of feet beneath me. I thought of jumping but was really unsure if it would hurt. That’s how real it all was around me.

And I just all of a sudden “got” it.

As a child, I used to stare at a painting in my room and wish I could crawl inside of it and explore the gardens pictured. Actually getting to do that with a painting was…deeply moving and it made me extremely attached to this piece. I’m currently looking for a good version of it for my new home.

Here is a YouTube video of the exhibit, through it you’ll at least get a taste of what I experienced.

Dali was…pretty dark. And let’s be honest, so am I. He was deeply influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, who believed that studying dreams was the key to unlocking the unconscious mind. As a Surrealist, much of Dali’s work takes on a dreamlike quality, with time, bodies, and images often being distorted. Many of his pieces deal with subjects that were taboo at the time, and…well, I guess that still are to an extent – death, sex, lust, and psychological complexes.

As for this specific piece, the Dali website has this to say about it, “Dalí paints the female slightly taller than the male, with her features resembling a praying mantis. In his analysis of the painting’s latent meaning, Dalí felt that the female was not only the dominant partner, but also posed a sexual threat to the male, associating her with a female praying mantis. This alludes to Dalí’s assertion that Millet’s painting represents sexual repression, male fear and impotence, and in his work Dalí has updated the popular 19th century Symbolist tradition of the femme fatale into a Surrealist context, extending the message of the implicit dangers of female sensuality.”

I cannot profess to have picked that up during my time in the painting, but I do like it. For me, the piece was more about the passing of time, the ruins left behind, voids, abandonment, loss, and death. It sort of felt like visiting a gravesite, but I wasn’t sure for who.

Which is interesting, because other analysis I’ve found on the piece say this, “Salvador also had believed that the two figures were mourning over a buried child. He was so insistent on this idea that an X-ray of the canvas was conducted. It almost confirmed his suspicions as the x-ray showed a painted-over geometric silhouette that was similar to a coffin.”

BEAUTY

I’m about to change your life.

Do you ever lament not having the perfect skin? It’s part of my daily routine, so please say yes.

What if I told you that on top of heavy face makeup, most of the models, actors, and broadcasters you’re comparing yourself to use body makeup on the regular?

That’s right. Don’t be fooled by its branding, this product is not just for legs. Most people who appear frequently on camera use it to even out their skin and hide blemishes. I usually apply it to my neck, chest, and arms at minimum, and my legs for any full body shots.

It’s cheap, only $11, and can be purchased at Target or most drug stores. It’s also easy to apply. You just spray it in your hands and rub in until the area looks even (be sure to wash your hands once you’re done applying it). I keep this product in my studio make-up bag and personally think it’s one of the best-kept industry secrets.

PS: I’ve been writing this newsletter long enough that I’m losing track of what all I’ve covered. For the life of me I cannot remember if this is a repeat or not. But if it is, I figured it’s good enough to mention twice.

RECIPES

Keto Frosting

Cake is fine, but have you had frosting?

As a kid I used to get in trouble at birthday parties for licking the icing off my cupcakes and then throwing them away. Which in hindsight was rude.

If you’re like me and love frosting, I’ve found a really simple way to make a Keto version that you can easily keep on hand in your fridge for sweet cravings.

For vanilla frosting:

For chocolate frosting:

LIFE HACKS

LIFE HACKS

I get a lot of messages from aspiring writers and I love to offer advice because I was in their shoes not all that long ago.

I decided to draft a simple list of commandments on how to become a writer, and by that I do mean a paid writer.

  1. A lot of people like the idea of writing more than they actually like writing. The reality is writing is like a muscle, you need to exercise for it to grow strong. I know this might sound harsh, but many people need to hear it: if you were really a writer you’d be writing already.
  2. I have countless notebooks and hard drives filled with my writing that no one will ever see. I ghost wrote for others for years before I began writing under my own name. I posted on private social channels for nearly a decade before making public pages. When someone begins to find success as a writer what you’re usually witnessing is years of practice finally paying off. So if you find yourself thinking about writing more than actually writing, I’d gently suggest you find another hobby. Writing is HARD, tedious, and often emotionally depleting. Getting your work rejected, edited, or criticized is not for the faint of heart. But if you ARE a writer, please proceed to number two.
  3. Kill your ego.I know, I know. It’s hard putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. It’s scary to expose yourself to criticism. And if you’re writing about anything that matters at all, it will come. Heck, it will come even if you just have a typo on Twitter. So get over it, and stiffen up that upper lip.Far better writers than you or I have died in obscurity because they were too proud to enter the ring. It took me a long time to learn that talent and intelligence only matter so much. There are homeless people with crazy high IQ’s. Some of the most talented people you’ll ever meet wash dishes. Yes, you need to be good. But you also need to be bold, strategic, and willing to fail and keep trying. I think that’s true in any path, but certainly a creative one.So ask for help. Network. Tell others your ambitions. Learn to value criticism and incorporate it. Look for people who are better than you at what you want to do and ask for their mentorship.But don’t think you’re going to be so great that you’ll somehow be plucked out of obscurity while working behind the scenes. It just doesn’t work like that. And somewhere, someone with less skill than you is seizing the day.
  4. Just start. When I was in the music industry, people would often express their desire to be a musician. Ok, where are you playing? They’d have no answer. Or they’d say they wished to be an artist manager. Ok, who are you managing? Nada.When it comes to working in the arts you just have to start, and by that mean I mean you can’t just do it in your bedroom. You have to actually put yourself out there. That could be singing at your local open-mic night for years before you’re booking shows on the road. In writing, that could be blogging on Medium way before you’re being paid for your opinions.The good news is, access to platforms has never been more open. SubstackWordPress, and many others make it super easy to build your own page and put pen to paper. This is important experience. It’s through this kind of writing that you’ll find your voice, figure out what clicks with an audience, and hone the marketing of your product. A lot of people want to skip this phase in the process because it isn’t always glamorous, and because it can take time to build an audience. But it’s essential for a writer’s development.
  5. Once you’ve developed your chops and built a bit of an audience, you’re ready to start pitching. Editors need to know that you’re a person of authority on certain subjects, or that you have a wide enough audience to command views. If you don’t yet have the latter, play up the former. When I began writing for local papers in Tennessee, it was usually as an expert on mental health issues in the criminal justice system, specifically the death penalty. I had a side job running a coalition on this subject, which gave me a title and therefore the authority editors were looking for on the matter.If you didn’t follow the traditional pathway to become a journalist, this kind of work is often needed to make you an interesting go-to for gatekeepers. On the ground experience makes you more credible, and it also makes you a better writer because you’ll thoroughly know the subject you’re speaking on.Ask yourself this question: why me? Because in truth, there’s no shortage of people who can write an op-ed or give an interview on a subject. Why would they pick you? It’s going to be because you’ve built a name or done the work, plain and simple.
  6. Once you get an “in” with an editor or a producer, keep up the relationship. If they’re local ask them to coffee. Follow them on social media, engage with their content, and keep up the pleasantries online or over email. No one wants to hear from someone only when they need something. Treat them like the person they are, and you’ll likely gain wonderful friends in the process.
  7. After you’ve run a piece or two with an outlet and proved yourself (by which I mean your piece hopefully gained some traction and garnered good engagement numbers) you’re then in a position to ask about getting paid. Typically I would approach this subject by submitting another article and broaching the topic in the email.
    Hi _____,I’d like to submit this new piece for your consideration. It’s on _____ from the ____angle.Also, I was wondering if ____has a budget for contributors? I’ve really enjoyed publishing with you all and my pieces have been getting incredible engagement. I’d love to keep the relationship going, but I am bringing in about ____ per piece at my other regular outlets. Could you all match that?
    Thanks for your consideration on this article!
    Best,
    Hannah
    If you’re aren’t currently being paid elsewhere you could just leave it at “I was wondering if you all have a budget for contributors?” And see what they come back with.
  8. Now that you’ve made the ask, here’s what you can expect. Most outlets will pay at least $50 per piece. Expect this from nonprofit blogs, local papers, and if you’re just starting out. From there, $75 – $100 a piece is more standard for national outlets. Once you have a name, you could begin to ask for more, say $200-$250/piece. And on it goes as you grow and write for bigger places. Just don’t be afraid to ask or negotiate. They’re all more than happy to take advantage of people who want to be published badly enough to do it for free.
  9. Another way to get paid is to write for third parties. There are tons of businesses, organizations, coalitions, and advocacy groups who want their issue elevated in the media. Many lack a PR person or do not have the relationships to be regularly published on certain issues. If you do, you can form relationships with these groups to write opinion pieces for them. This is a great way to get paid to write on things you care about, and often you can make a lot more money via these channels than you can the newspapers. Or it can mean you get paid on both ends. Just be sure to disclose to editors when your writing is part of such an arrangement for ethical purposes.

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Hannah Cox
Hannah Coxhttp://based-politics.com
Hannah Cox is a libertarian-conservative writer and co-founder of BASEDPolitics. She's also the host of the BASEDPolitics podcast and an experienced political activist.

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