What Makes a Great Brand? Be Yourself.

I was reading the recent Vanity Fair interview with the Modern Family actress, Sofia Vergara, and this jumped off the page: “how she turned her biggest liability into gold.”

What liabilities? She’s gorgeous, smart, and funny. And gorgeous.

Forbes recently called her, “the highest paid TV actress,” but most of Vergara’s wealth comes from product endorsement for companies like Diet Pepsi, Head & Shoulders, AT&T, and others.

She started as a single mother in Colombia and became host of Univision’s Spanish-language game show A que no te atreves (“I Dare You”) at Univision. at the Latino mega-communications company, Univision.

Sick of having her career held hostage by Univision’s hold on its talent, she partnered with another person and together – from nothing – they created their own talent management company to represent Latinos.

As Vergara tried to move on from Univision, she believed the first thing she had to do was get rid of her Colombian accent.  She told VF, “I hired the speech coach, and you have to work so much. It’s exhausting.”

Ironically, working to control her accent was getting in her way as an actor. In the article she said, “…the only thing I could focus on was the position of the tongue. I was not acting. And then I thought, If I can’t get a job with my accent, this is not a job for me.”

Boom. Everything you need to know about how it really works, right there.

The Vanity Fair piece continues: “…through a mixture of determination, nerve, shrewdness, and desperation, Sofía turned a liability into an asset.”

She has big breasts.  She doesn’t hide them. She has an accent. She lets it fly with verve and style.

Vergara took ownership of her natural persona and physical attributes and not only didn’t hide them, she made them BIGGER. She stood up and owned all of it.

Reading her story confirmed what I believe and have seen to be true: When you know yourself and own it from your heart, that’s what’s compelling to people.  Your holding back serves no one, starting with yourself.

Be yourself.

What turns people off is when you work really, really hard to be something you’re not. Just look at poor Justin Bieber.  Bieber got taken out to the woodshed and spanked hard for his inauthenticity on the recent Comedy Central Roast he asked for.

He wants to be a “gangsta'” so bad, but he’s so very not. Bieber is practically begging to be turned around and pointed true.  Every time I read about his latest hijinks with the law, his neighbors, and the ladies, I think, “Where are that boy’s parents?”

Trying to be something he isn’t has wreaked havoc in Bieber’s personal life and sent his brand, his image, and his life, into a tailspin.

What are you waiting for? What are your natural assets that come with who you are that you can turn into gold?