If You’re Sassy And You Own It, Raise Your Hand: Top Chef Season 13 Sneak Peak


top-chef-13-0-0Top Chef Season 13 premieres on Wednesday and Bravo offered fans an eleven minute amuse-bouche into the first competition. Internet snarksters are already wishing  cheftestant Renee Kelly culinary doom.


Kelly had had the nerve to….renee-kelly

….call herself “the super-sassy chef from Kansas City” and to express outward enthusiasm for her career.

I’m not joking.  She loves her job.  That’s her crime, folks.

She is HAPPY. Check it out at 1:10:


If it were a bearded, tattooed male hipster who’d called himself “sassy,” I would bet dollars to daikon that he would have received some giggles, tolerant eye-rolls, and even some bro-like pats on the back. But Kelly is literally mocked by one of her competitors in the next interview.

This is the conundrum of being a woman.  Look approachable but not too perky.  Be enthusiastic but stay serious. This interview with best-selling novelist Jennifer Weiner provides insight into the struggle for women to be taken seriously:

“If you’re smiling in your (color) author photo, it’s chick lit. If you’re smirking, or giving a stern, thin-lipped stare in your black-and-white picture, and if you go out of your way in every interview to talk about how “unserious books do not deserve serious attention,” then it’s literature”

This exact article made me rethink my own professional head shot. I was torn between two.  One happy, one serious.  What was the message to my readers?

Here’s what it boiled down to:   I’m a generally happy person.  I was thrilled my book was published.  If someone won’t read my book because I look happy, well, that wasn’t  my problem.

So this is me. Happy.  Because I get to do what makes my heart sing: write and teach. Deal with it.

Or don’t.

You’ve got this, Chef Renee.  Keep smiling that sassy smile. We need you.

Harlen Photo

I’m a happy writer. Deal with it.

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