Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Woman Crush: Seven reasons why I admire Courtney Lapresi

MasterChef contestant Courtney Lapresi demonstrates many admirable (and rare) qualities for a reality-TV star.

Chic role models can be found everywhere. I've noticed a new trend among ladies: to cite their contemporary female role models as their "woman crush." How cute! I actually love this idea because it is really empowering for women. Rather than finding flaws or criticizing one another, let's take the time to point out what's right about someone-- those qualities that we like, admire, and perhaps ourselves wish to emulate.

A "Negative Nancy" has no mystery. She is someone who finds fault with others, usually based on the very things of which she herself may feel insecure (such as appearance, ability, weight, relationships, etc.). Discussing flaws and drawing attention to our own negative aspects is very un-chic. Rather, amplifying one's best assets and representing one's self (and others) with pride and respect is a much more classy approach to life. Wouldn't you agree? My very own woman-crush, for whom this post is written, is a living example of this attitude.
Courtney Lapresi, a contestant on the 2014 series of the reality cooking contest MasterChef, is a woman who demonstrates so many chic and admirable qualities that I could no longer resist the urge to blog about her. After watching several rounds of the 2014 MasterChef series with my husband, I became fascinated with Courtney and her je ne sais quoi. After careful scrutiny, I've identified some of what makes her so appealing, not just for viewers like me, but also to the MasterChef judges, apparently.
  1. She is naturally pretty.
  2. She stays calm.
  3. She is professional.
  4. She has a great sense of style.
  5. She is feminine.
  6. She is a good cook.
  7. She is confident.
These are traits about Courtney that stand out to me as I watch the MasterChef show. Normally, what interests me and my husband most about this show is the cooking competition (we both love to cook), and although we do indulge in several guilty-pleasure reality shows (not to be mentioned here), we don't usually watch it for the contestants and all the drama that goes along with them. However, Courtney shines! Although, I realize that since the season hasn't ended yet, it's always possible that some new twist on the show will cause some (or all) of the items mentioned on my list to go out the window. But until then, let's examine what makes Courtney so chic (and hope that she maintains these traits!).
  1. She is naturally pretty. Courtney is very natural-looking-- no bleached hair or plastic surgery. Clear, smooth skin; shiny, silky hair, and a nice, white smile are her strongest assets, and these are attainable for any woman with a bit of care and attention to one's health. You don't need to be born with certain features or bone structure to look beautiful. As author Tish Jett writes in her book, Forever Chic, "...beauty is wide open to interpretation." Courtney knows what her assets are, and she plays those up very well with relatively minimal makeup, except for a pop of color with a bright lipstick. Adding to Courtney's overall impression of beauty includes everything else on this list. It's part of her total package.
  2. She stays calm. Unlike many of the other contestants, Courtney is almost always calm and collected when in the kitchen. On last night's episode, another contestant challenged her by giving her half the amount of time that the other contestants had to prepare a dish. Courtney didn't yell, complain, or cry-- she waited patiently until her time was up, and then she completed the challenge outstandingly well (because of point #6). Besides, what purpose would a meltdown have served? None. She stayed focused, and that allowed her to excel in this challenge, in spite of the added stress...which is why we have point #3.
  3. She is professional. Courtney continues to excel in the competitions, which is why the judges seem to like her so much. Naturally, some of the other "Negative Nancy" type of contestants have painted a big target on Courtney's back because of this (see point #2). However, rather than criticizing the other contestants or picking fights with them, Courtney stays focused on herself and playing up her strengths, rather than trying to point out everyone else's flaws. This is what I consider to be true class.
  4. She has a great sense of style. Courtney is known for her trademark sky-high stilettos, which she wears effortlessly in the kitchen, even as she's rushing to complete a challenge. Usually she's wearing a cute dress or skirt, and she is always impeccably groomed. Even in the middle of a busy, hot kitchen, Courtney dresses well and looks her best, which adds to point #1 and the following, point #5.
  5. She is feminine. Because she is a professional, Courtney is never caught yelling or screaming at another contestant. Instead, she talks softly, which is a very feminine trait. Also, her personal sense of style (#4) adds to this feminine aura because of her preference for dresses, heels, and her long, silky hair. Yes, Courtney is very girly! Most certainly, one can be chic and sophisticated without being a girly-girl, but, this is a quality that I've admired about Courtney. She knows who she is, and she wears it very well. It works for her, which likely enhances point #7, in addition to supporting points #1 and #4.
  6. She is a good cook. Duh! MasterChef is a cooking contest, after all. Courtney actually has some serious skills and ability as a cook. This is definitely a great personal trait for anyone to have-- even if one is not aspiring to win reality cooking contests or become a professional chef. Everyone should learn to cook.
  7. She is confident. Knowing she has serious talent and ability as a cook (point #6) probably makes Courtney feel much more confident on the show, and that allows her to stay calm and let her abilities shine (points #2 and #3). Putting extra care into her appearance (points #1, #4, and #5) probably enhances that unstoppable, capable attitude, because as I previously blogged, "When things start getting hectic, wouldn't it be nice to reassure yourself with the notion that, if nothing else, at least your knickers match?"
Many of these positive traits about Courtney seem to link to one another and support the total package. It is the combination of these elements that make Courtney a unique, beautiful, and classy role model worthy of being considered a "woman crush." What makes her successful and gorgeous is different than what may work for someone else. To again quote Forever Chic, "Frenchwomen do not aspire to be anyone other than themselves." Finding out what our best assets are and supporting our own individual strengths is the first step toward cultivating that individual sense of chic.

I'm eager to see if Courtney's positive traits carry her through the remainder of the show victorious, or if, like many role models, she may experience a tomber en disgrace, as the French say. I hope not! Until then, I will be cheering for her-- which is something we should all occasionally do for one another. Until then, I leave you with a Two for Tuesday questionnaire:
  1. Who is your "woman crush"?
  2. What have you learned or been surprised by from a reality TV show?


  1. I think the not so subtle hint of homosexuality could have been left out to make your points, but having said that Courtney IMO is the epitome that is wrong with American women. She's arrogant to a fault, disrespectful of towards others, a sense of entitlement(that unfortunately a lot of American women have today..case in point Hobby Lobby..you are not entitled to have others pay your abortifications) but as the old saying goes everyone has an opinion..after rall they still have people who think Stalin and Hitler were great men..

    1. Wow! Not sure what you were expecting to read from a post titled, "The Woman Crush: Seven reasons why I admire Courtney Lapresi," but I appreciate the page view!

  2. I like her. From what I learned from reading Ben Starr's website, much of the negativity is due to the way the show is edited, in order to create a dramatic arc. Courtney is certainly one of the more gifted cooks in the current MasterChef. Some of the dishes she has made look amazing.

    1. I agree! I think it's best to take anything said or shown on reality TV with a grain of salt! All of the contestants' drama aside, what interests me about MasterChef is the cooking. I totally agree with you that Courtney's dishes are usually amazing!