You may not have enjoyed it, but 2013 gave us a brash reintroduction to the monster that is pop culture. From Bieber, to Kanye, to Miley and back to Bieber, polarizing figures flooded our timelines and at the very least, caught our attention. While the saying that “no publicity is bad publicity” might not be completely true, we have seen some of the extremes that pop icons have gone as a result of their habits. It’s easy to shake a finger and list the reasons why they should change their behavior, but wouldn’t you want to be a pop icon?
To be considered an “icon” in almost any sense of the word, you must establish yourself as a master in your field. This starts early, so hopefully you’ve practiced or studied something over the years that you can focus on. Some people don’t like to remember, but Kanye West was really, really good at making music before he started body slamming paparazzi. Becoming an expert is one thing, but getting people to care is what matters.
So, be everywhere. Do you scoff at self promotion? Tough. At the beginning, that’s probably all you’ll have. By nature, people are worried about standing too far out but that’s pretty much the idea of being an icon. Be memorable. Have a face, voice or routine that people will remember and want to share with their friends. Never stop creating content and remain consistent with your efforts. Having a thick skin helps, but never completely tune out your critics. Never forget that pop icons are polarizing because they have to be! Once you generate some attention in your industry… it’s time to get adventurous. Attend every occasion in a big way and make it known that you’re on another level. Never back down from your opinions and become comfortable with confrontation. If you ever need inspiration, just ask yourself, “What would Yeezus do?”
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Tyler James Koenig