Debrahlee Lorenzana Got Exactly What She Wanted
By now I am certain you have heard the story of Debrahlee Lorenzana, the woman who was too sexy for Wall Street.
Debrahlee’s picture has been plastered all over the Internet, newspapers and TV news. It is the kind of story that the media loves, mostly because it gives them an excuse to feature the picture of a pretty woman in tight clothes and use the word “sexy” a lot.
If you don’t know the story, here is a little background. Lorenzana is filing a lawsuit against Citibank in New York claiming they fired her from her clerk job because of her appearance. Or as they like to say in TV news teases, “Was this woman fired because she is too hot?”
As you might imagine, the case is a little more involved than that. Debrahlee’s bosses thought that her clothes were inappropriately tight and revealing, creating a distraction in the workplace. According to Debrahlee, who has been interviewed by just about everyone, her bosses told her that “as a result of the shape of her figure, such clothes were purportedly too distracting for her male colleagues and supervisors to bear.”
The New York tabloid newspapers have been covering this story like it is the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
The New York Daily News had a story this week entitled “Fantastic Plastic” on page 3. The cover had a photo of Lorenzana with the headline “Bank Babes’ Sexy Secrets.”
It turns out that Lorenzana has, to put it in banking terms, inflated her assets. She appeared in a cable TV series called “Plastic Surgery New York Style” as she prepared for her fourth plastic surgery. Debrahlee went right down the surgery checklist — a tummy tuck, a breast augmentation, liposuction — and the Discovery Health Channel was following her as she prepared for her second breast augmentation. The cable series featured Debrahlee using fruit to show how big she wanted to be; she opted for cantaloupes.
Lorenzana has every right to look as good as she wants. In a day when some people are going to the cosmetic surgeon more than they go to the dentist, if she wants to be “a cross between Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson,” as she said on the show, go for it.
But companies do have the right to enforce a dress code. In my time in Philadelphia newsrooms, men and women who work on-air and off-air have been told to go home and change because what they were wearing was inappropriate for work. They all did so without complaint.
Everyone hides their assets on Wall Street and maybe Lorenzana needed to try a little harder.
But I have a feeling that there is something else going on here.
A person who has four major cosmetic surgeries, one on a reality show, and then goes public with her lawsuit is craving attention. I don’t for a second believe Debrahlee was content with her clerk job — she wanted something much more.
Fame is the currency that Debrahlee trades in; it is an addiction these days, and in that regard she has invested wisely. We in the media are giving Debrahlee exactly what she wants; I am doing it right now with this post.
No matter what happens with the lawsuit, my guess is that Debrahlee already feels like she won. I have no doubt that she is getting offers from magazines and television production companies. Debrahlee’s 15 minutes of fame is definitely not up. And when you hear about her new reality show called “Too Sexy for Work,” or something just as lame, we all have to share the blame.
In the new culture of celebrity, talent is no longer a prerequisite. Controversy, sex and a media and a public who can’t get enough of either can make you a star.