The story of America’s vastly misunderstood pop culture icon

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Anna Nicole Smith, the once dazzling star of America, the Guess poster girl, the Playboy playmate of the month, the 90’s Marilyn Monroe, began life as Vickie Lynn Hogan. She came from a world of poverty, closed doors and small-town life and she wanted more. What Vickie wanted was the American Dream, the fairy tale life that was worth living- she longed for a way out of the environment that was suppressing her.

At the age of 14 in 1982, she dropped out of school after getting into a fight with another girl. Three years later, working in a fried chicken restaurant, she met cook Billy Waye Smith whom she married and had a son with a year later. Still feeling her life wasn't enough, she left their small town in Texas and her husband who she said had been abusive, and ran towards the bright lights of Houston, Texas. She tried working various jobs, however, the money was never enough for a single mother, striving for financial security for her and her son. …


Some words about the world’s beloved humanitarian Princess

Lady Diana
Lady Diana
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Diana,

You were the object of light and humanity in an environment of strict tradition, conformity and suppression. You endeavoured to venture along a path that no one in your position had done before, a path of activism, one that made real change. You were a loving mother to your sons, a loyal wife despite adversity and a humanitarian. Only 20 years old when you married Charles, you fell into a poisonous world which drew you in and then became an enemy. You were a Princess for the people of Britain, yet that very same nation harassed you without cease.

Opening yourself up to us, you gave us your smiles and your conversation yet we would not leave you alone. We were insatiable, we demanded more and more of you, intruding into your life taking every little piece of you, despite you giving so much of yourself to us already. Despite an incompatible marriage to a man without any respect for you, despite the constant persecution of the media, you still shone with your charismatic charm. …


It is not enough to respect your mother or your sister

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

We live in an age where the endeavours of feminism have paid off to some extent. Women can vote, we have witnessed the U.S electing their first female Vice President. However, these victories do not in any way mean that the patriarchy has been toppled, there is a long road ahead that needs to be travelled in order to achieve true equality.

One of the issues that remain, is inherent misogyny that is covered under the myth of respect for women. Many men claim they believe in equal rights for men and women, they encourage their sisters or daughters to aim for high positioning careers, yet will still call actresses ugly and laugh at feminist activists. For some men, their claim of respecting women is extremely shallow and the respect becomes selective. …


Lori Vallow befriends ex-grave digger and religious fanatic Chad Daybell and a string of mysterious deaths occur including her two children

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JJ and Tylee Vallow, source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The disappearance of JJ and Tylee Vallow sparked interest across America and they became two of the most famous missing children at the time. However, what makes this case bizarre, is the fact that surrounding the children’s disappearance, was a series of deaths of people connected in some way to their mother Lori.

Lori Daybell, previously known as Lori Vallow was married to her husband Charles Vallow, with whom she shared two children, Tylee and JJ. …


Love means what we want it to in a certain context, so does this make it unstable?

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Photo by michael schaffler on Unsplash

Have you ever reminisced a previous love and realised that feeling was actually something else?

Looking back on previous relationships with partners, family and friends, have you ever analysed the feelings you believe you once felt and discovered that what you thought was love was merely desperation or a need to feel worthy?

Was that feeling of love and adoration a part of teenage obsession, or the desire to be protected and looked after?

Love comes in many forms and I believe we make it mean exactly what we want to or even need it to at a certain time in our lives. …


You’ve achieved your dream, so why do you still not feel good enough?

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Photo by Justice Amoh on Unsplash

A week ago, I moved to the University of Cambridge to study a master’s degree in children’s literature. It is an opportunity that I would’ve never expected, even in my wildest dreams, yet here I am.

I have achieved the seemingly unachievable, and I am reminded of this every time I walk into my college and see the university logo. I am studying in a world-class institution that many would tear off their own limbs to be accepted into. So why, after being admitted, do I still not feel good enough?

The very first day that I moved in, I met many brilliant people. The conversation usually began with the question: what are you studying? As I heard others tell me that they were neuroscience students or starting a degree in medicine, I began to question whether I really deserved to be here. Me, a mere person with a passion for analysing children’s books, grouped with people who nonchalantly discussed wormholes in a casual conversation- this didn't seem right. …


The shocking story of Jan Broberg, whose abductor ensnared her family in a web of deceit, religion and manipulation

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

The story of the Broberg family and the abduction of their daughter Jan is probably one of the most chaotic and bewildering true crime stories that I have ever come across.

The tale of Jan’s abduction became prominent in 2017 when the documentary Abducted in Plain Sight was released and even more so when it was added to Netflix. The story quickly became popular for its shock factor, as it is unlike any other missing child case which sees the parents using everything in their power to retrieve their child. …


How a beer mug and a genealogy website solved the murder of Helene Pruszynski

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Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

On the 16th of January 1980, intern Helene Pruszynski was heading home after her shift. She boarded the bus, as usual, to get back to her home but unfortunately, she never arrived.

Her housemates began to become concerned when she never returned home and one spoke of her anxiety in her diary, which was read out in court. She wrote:

“This has been the longest and worst day of my life. I am writing because I don’t know what else to do… we waited for Helene to come home, and waited.”

The Disappearance

At 3 am, there was still no sign of Helene and her housemates decided on contacting her family. …


Many of the world’s greatest creators were not the good people you thought them to be

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Image by skeeze from Pixabay

The world is full of talented people who have created spectacular things: books, art, music and those who have helped the poor and saved a country from the destruction of war. However, doing something great does not necessarily redeem a person from their wrongdoings.

There are many who the world idolise for their creations, yet their fans are oblivious to the malice that is brewing right under the surface of their genius. We even overlook the past falterings of great people, in order to allow ourselves to enjoy their creations without guilt.

There are some public figures who are famously awful, such as Adolf Hitler, who, despite his malevolent and cruel nature, created brilliant artwork. We can recognise his artistic talent, yet we do not praise him or allow his creativity to absolve his wickedness. However, despite the universal acceptance that this man is unequivocally bad, is it wrong to appreciate and enjoy his art? If someone were to admire the composition and use of colour in one of his paintings, would hanging it on their wall be inappropriate due to the way in which he lived? …


How do we decide what books children should be reading and what is motivating that decision?

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Children’s literature is an often overlooked topic of discussion, it may be viewed as inferior to the works of Jane Austen or Shakespeare, yet children’s books are some of the most important books you will ever read.

What we read when we are young shapes our minds, feeds us an education on language, ideas, concepts and fuels our imagination in ways that school cannot. Children’s literature is so important because it exhibits ideas that can be complicated in a simple and accessible way, ensuring that many books that we read as children are multi-layered and complex.

So how do we determine what is ‘good’ children’s literature and what should be avoided? …

About

Natasha Piggott

Cambridge master’s student, literature grad and a semi-amateur writer.

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