Adriane continued working in the GBN newsroom with minimal airtime.  She no longer attempted to interact with her coworkers beyond her job duties.  She almost always ate lunch alone.

One Tuesday afternoon, Adriane sat at her desk staring at her computer.  Her eyes were glazed over and she wasn’t focused on the task at hand.  She simply stared off in space.  Her motivation reached an all-time low.  She had been working hard and getting nowhere.  Her coworkers didn’t like her; her boss marginalized her.

Maybe I’m not cut out for this business, she thought.

Tears welled up.  She gazed through watery eyes at the TV monitor in the corner.  She heard the reporter describing a story Adriane was working on.  She watched the footage and listened to the report. 

Though Adriane had filmed several pieces on the topic, her face was not shown during the segment.  She did all of the legwork but got none of the airtime.

Adriane shook her head and stood up.  She walked briskly to the restroom, fighting back tears.  Once she entered the ladies room, she let go.  Tears streamed from her eyes and she bawled out loud.  Her spirit was crushed.  She leaned on the counter and looked at herself in the mirror.  Eyeliner ran down her cheeks forming jagged dark lines on her face.  Her eyes were red and puffy.  Disgusted with herself, she removed her glasses and dropped them on the counter.

No wonder they won’t put me on the air.

A moment later, the restroom door opened.  Adriane turned away to hide her face from the other woman.

The woman stood in front of the sink next to Adriane.  Adriane could sense a presence close to her.

“Here,” the woman said.

Adriane turned and saw Meghan McIntyre holding a tissue in her outstretched hand.

Adriane took the tissue and began wiping her eyes.  “Thank you.”

She turned away from Meghan, embarrassed to be seen crying by the woman she admired.

“You’re not going to get very far acting like that,” Meghan said coldly.

Adriane looked back at Meghan.  “What do you mean?”

Meghan turned to look at herself in the mirror.  “You have to be tougher than the men to make it in this business.”  As she spoke, she fixed her hair and tilted her head to check her makeup from several different angles. 

“Don’t cry in the bathroom every time someone does you wrong, or go running to HR every time someone grabs your boobs.”

Obviously, Meghan knew about the incident between Adriane and Seth.   It seemed everyone did.

“I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Meghan turned and stepped closer to Adriane.  “Listen, you’ve got to play their game.  You have to give them what they want to get what you want.  Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Yes ma’am,” she replied, even though she wasn’t sure she really understood.  

“Men are simple.  Show a little skin; let them have a little touch here and there.  You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish when you’re not so uptight.”

Meghan’s advice contradicted everything Adriane was taught growing up.  She didn’t want to come across as uptight but she didn’t want to be exploited either.

Adriane changed the subject.  “What should I do to get more air time?”

“For starters, you need to lose these baggy blouses.”  Meghan reached out and unbuttoned the top two buttons of Adriane’s blouse and opened the collar.

Adriane glanced down at her visible cleavage.  “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely!”

Meghan cupped Adriane’s breasts and pushed them upward to accentuate them further.  Adriane stiffened, trying to hide how awkward she felt letting someone manipulate her breasts.

“Okay,” she giggled nervously.

“You need to accentuate your curves; show your legs.  You’ve got a body, use it.  Do you think I wear these outfits because they’re comfortable?”

Adriane gazed at Meghan’s body.  Her tight white dress hugged her figure and stopped at mid-thigh.  The thin fabric revealed every curve.  Her long lean legs were bare down to her high heels.

Adriane raised her eyebrows as she stared at another woman’s sexy body.  “I see what you mean.”

“Let’s face it, business news is boring.  We have to sex it up a little bit.”  Meghan looked at Adriane’s conservative outfit.  “You’re going to need a new wardrobe.  And join a gym; you need to look your best.  This is a visual business.  The viewers need to like what they see.”

Adriane soaked up every word.  “That makes sense,” she said with a nod.

“Let your hair down.  Ponytails and buns aren’t going to turn anyone on.”

Adriane picked up her glasses.  “Should I get contacts?”

Meghan took the glasses and placed them on Adriane’s face.  “No, the sexy nerd look works for you.”

Adriane laughed.  She no longer felt like crying.

“Thank you, Mrs. McIntyre.  I appreciate the advice.”

Meghan stepped into a stall and closed the door.  Adriane fixed her makeup and pulled her hair from the elastic band.  She attempted to make herself sexier as she gazed at her reflection.

“Do you think I could be an anchor one day?” Adriane called.

Meghan hesitated.  “It’s a cutthroat business.  But if you’re willing to go the extra mile, you’ll be rewarded.”

“What should I be doing to help myself toward that goal?”

The toilet flushed and the stall door opened.  “You need to use your lips for more than reading a teleprompter,” Meghan stated dryly.

Adrian’s mouth gaped.  She wasn’t sure whether to ask for clarification or laugh at what she hoped was a joke.

All that came out was, “Uh…”

Meghan washed her hands.  “Like I said, you have to give them what they want to get what you want.”

Adriane placed one hand on her chest and spoke softly.  “I can’t do that.  I have a boyfriend.”

Meghan scoffed.  “I’m married with two kids.”

Adriane remained stunned.  She wanted to ask if Meghan slept with her coworkers, but she already knew the answer.

“Talent can only take you so far,” Meghan stated as she dried her hands.  “You have to use your other attributes as well.”

Adriane followed her to the door.  As they stepped into the hall, she said, “I had no idea.”

Meghan smirked.  “Good luck, kid!” she called as she walked away.

With her hair down and her shirt collar open, Adriane felt different; she thought people were looking at her differently too.  She self-consciously re-buttoned her blouse.  She sat at her desk and mentally replayed her conversation with Meghan.

She saw Meghan in a new light, and it changed her perspective on the media business as a whole.  Adriane patterned her career thus far after Meghan McIntyre.  Given her new insight, she wasn’t sure she could continue to follow in her footsteps.


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