It was an ordinary day at the office. Costanza was actually having a relatively great day so far. She first realized something was wrong when her producer began frantically trying to get her attention.
His gesturing and hand movements were confusing. Trying to remain as professional as she could, Costanza was horrified when she realized what he was pointing to. Panic instantly gripped her.
It’s no secret that in the world of Italian media, beauty is a highly prized asset. Whether it’s for game shows, talk shows, lifestyle shows, or sporting shows, physically attractive hosts are commonplace.
Italy is one of the fashion capitals of the world so it’s only natural that its television shows reflect the conventional beauty standards that society never seems to get enough of in the age of social media. There is however one field where these practices are sometimes criticized.
Many people believe that journalism is a field where objectivity should be upheld above superficial considerations. It’s easy to see why. The nature of news reporting often entails dealing with the most serious social and political issues of the day.
In a world beset by fake news, ideally, it becomes more important to focus on facts and ethical standards than anything else. Unfortunately, the modern world doesn’t always seem to work this way and the reason is simple.
The sad truth is that modern-day journalism, especially in the era of corporate media, relies on ratings more than anything else. The world of television has always been a superficial arena. Italian media is no exception.
Scroll through Italian network shows and chances are, you’ll find a beautiful woman or two on every one. When ratings matter, beautiful people naturally attract more attention and boost ratings, even on news shows. With this context in mind, this is where the unfortunate story of one such beautiful journalist can begin.
Although born in Belgium, Costanza Calabrese is Italian and was educated at the University of Rome. As her father, Pietro Calabrese, was a highly accomplished journalist, news reporting has always been a key part of Costanza’s life.
She also happened to be a beautiful woman but this never detracted from her competence and aptitude for the field. After forging a successful career in journalism herself, Costanza never expected to one day face humiliation while doing the job she loved so much.
In the late 90s, Costanza spent time in New York where she worked with celebrated American Journalist Tina Brown. After qualifying as a journalist herself in 2005, Costanza thereafter sought a journalism career back home in Italy.
Costanza faced many hurdles. Being a beautiful woman, it was often this side that people saw first, her credentials as a journalist often taking an unwanted backseat. Despite this, she was determined to prove that she was not just a pretty face.
She quickly made a name for herself. After spending time with notable media houses, she began rising in the field. Costanza knew what her goals were but reaching them was not going to be easy.
The competition was strong but she knew that if she was going to achieve her ultimate dreams, she needed to remain tenacious.
Working her way through the ranks, Costanza started as a journalist and then became a correspondent. Things were going well and she was quickly making a name for herself.
She spent time with other noted journalists and continued to thrive. When she was eventually promoted to editor-in-chief, Costanza knew that she was just one step away from her dream position now.
After paying her dues for many years, all the hard work eventually paid off. Her experience and competence helped her break into national news networks. If this wasn’t enough, Costanza was eventually given an opportunity to be an on-air news presenter herself.
She was thrilled at the prospect and displayed a natural talent for being on camera. Unfortunately, as exciting as this role was, she soon came to learn how unforgiving being a live news presenter could also be.
Costanza’s beauty and brains made her perfect for the job. As stated, Italy being a fashion capital meant that looking good and dressing well went hand in hand on television broadcasts. Costanza was no slouch in that department either.
Soon, Costanza was known for her great fashion sense just as much as her journalism credentials. What she didn’t know was just how much she would come to regret her wardrobe choice during one fateful broadcast.
In preparation for that broadcast, Costanza elected to use a slightly revealing but elegant black ensemble. Although she wore a short skirt and black high heels, as she read her reports from behind a desk, it was usually her top half that was in focus.
In that regard, the black, long-sleeved top she wore was more conservative. What Costanza hadn’t paid attention to that day, was the fact that the desk she sat behind, was made of translucent glass.
The broadcast was going seamlessly at first. When the camera panned out, Costanza adjusted her seating position to be more comfortable. She noticed her producer frantically gesturing at the table. As she glanced down, she realized with horror what the problem was.
As Costanza had adjusted her position, she had uncrossed her legs as the camera had panned out. From the panned view, since the desk was translucent, she had inadvertently given every viewer a flash of her underwear beneath it.
The shame and embarrassment of the moment were almost unbearable. Keeping her bearings remarkably well, Costanza continued as normal and pretended that she was unaware of what had just happened.
She managed to get through the rest of the broadcast in one piece but was dreading what would come next. In the age of social media, she knew that this wouldn’t be the end of the shameful incident.
Sure enough, it didn’t take long for Costanza’s cringe moment to go viral. While Italian media did have a reputation for favoring on-screen beauty, the world was undoubtedly moving away from superficial norms.
As many social justice movements sought positive changes for females in male-dominated arenas, the incident ended up unintentionally adding Costanza’s voice to them. However, before that, she faced many challenges.
As the internet does, once Costanza’s embarrassing moment started trending, the story took on a life of its own. Immortalizing her shame, the incident led to a flood of unwanted publicity.
As is common with such viral incidents, it suddenly seemed like everyone had an opinion on the matter. While many viral stories have positive effects on the lives of their subjects, as Costanza learned, there’s often a much darker side to the attention they can bring.
Costanza had been a public figure for a while by this point. Due to her father’s career, she had been accustomed to the spotlight throughout her life.
However, There’s a big difference between being in the public eye for a successful career and being an object of ridicule. For the first time in her career, Costanza was forced to face the emotional rollercoaster ride of being the latter.
The immediate fallout from the incident was predictable. In the first wave, it seemed that most of the public scrutiny centered around humor. At first, Costanza was mercilessly made fun of. Meme after meme followed and her phone never stopped buzzing.
As humiliating as this part was, it was still relatively bearable. She even made an effort to laugh along with all the jokes. However, things changed fast and soon took a more serious turn.
Costanza first began feeling uneasy when she noticed the online commentary surrounding the incident was starting to become more negative. At first, most people just teased her and there were lots of predictably skeezy comments from men about her looks.
However, after a while, the comments had moved on from the incident and began to focus more on Costanza herself. After a while, they became more and more troubling.
After all the fun and memes died away, online commentary began to scrutinize Costanza as a person now. It seemed like every stranger out there suddenly had an opinion about her.
Every aspect of her life was suddenly placed under a microscope. It was becoming very unsettling. From simple judgments about her personality, the comments soon became extremely personal.
Costanza was used to being in the public eye. After all, she had been a well-known TV personality long before the incident. Back then, being under scrutiny simply meant strangers had opinions over what outfit she wore or how she chose to style her hair.
There was always an interest in her but this was different. Now people were suddenly commenting on her character too.
For a while, the public seemed to look for any angle from which to judge Costanza. Having people place every aspect of her character, personality, and personal life under intense scrutiny was deeply disturbing.
Worse yet, many people began believing she had deliberately worn the short skirt that day and knew how visible things would be under the glass table.
From there, people began commenting and speculating on what type of person Costanza was. As the rumor mill churned, people began throwing out all kinds of insinuations and lies about her.
She was soon being depicted as an immoral woman, a glutton for fame, and worse things yet. Costanza soon began to feel violated by peoples’ opinions, like her life was no longer her own.
Things went from bad to worse. Since viral stories take on a life of their own, it seemed that each day brought a new narrative. Now that so many people were speculating over Costanza’s morals, many people began mistaking those speculations for facts.
That was when the next wave began. If Costanza felt violated before, it was nothing compared to what came next.
As the new narrative of Costanza being an immoral woman gained traction, she became fodder for every skeezy, deplorable person out there. Costanza was accustomed to attracting unwanted attention from men.
In the past, there seemed to at least be some limits and respect. Now it was like the floodgates had been opened and every unhinged person out there wanted to get at her.
It started with men harassing her on social media. From innocent compliments, these soon became rude, degrading, and disparaging remarks and comments. Soon after, her inboxes became filled with unsolicited and highly offensive messages and pictures from men.
Most were just disgusting but soon, some began to scare her. Many of the men were now outwardly threatening to track her down and some were even trying to stalk her.
All this unwanted and sleazy attention initially caused Costanza to become afraid and withdrawn. After speaking to many other women in the industry, she realized that there was a larger problem to address.
Costanza soon learned that many other beautiful journalists and TV show hosts experienced this kind of harassment on a daily basis. Costanza was no longer afraid. She now realized that she needed to take a stand and make a difference.
Costanza finally began breaking her silence over the incident. By addressing it publicly, she began to regain a measure of positivity from it all.
She also began speaking out against the kind of harassment she and many other women faced on social media. By taking these steps, Costanza had added her voice to a larger cause and was glad she did.
Costanza was able to wrestle control over the narrative away from the internet trolls. Public opinion swayed in her favor. The bullies behaved typically in response and slunk back into the shadows, where they belonged.
The entire saga was finally being put to rest. Costanza learned that her fame often came with people ever ready to exploit it for their own benefit. In the end, she handled it all in the best way possible.
Ever the professional, Costanza moved past the incident with grace and dignity. After all, she had worked too hard to allow nasty and degrading comments to derail her.
Regardless of all the different opinions that swirl around the incident and the fun that people poke at her, Costanza still came out better for it. Her wardrobe malfunction ended up actually boosting her fame.
Since the incident, ratings for her show went up considerably. Costanza continues to grow in her career and is still widely respected as a journalist.
In the process of getting through the unfortunate saga, Costanza wound up learning an age-old truth; when you’re a public figure, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. In the end, it was Costanza who had the last laugh.