Meghan Markle: Royal expert lays out Duchess' next decade
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Pattie Ehsaei has a TikTok channel called ‘thesifactor’, and is known by her 400,000 followers as the ‘Duchess of Decorum’. Inspired by the likes of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, Pattie teaches social and workplace etiquette as well as financial literacy, and believes that success comes from information and empowerment. Pattie spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about her journey to becoming the ‘Duchess of Decorum’, and how other women can learn to become a Duchess.
Pattie said: “I’m a very individualised person, my background is not royalty, my background is not of affluence.
“I’m an immigrant from Iran who didn’t know any of these social rules, didn’t know any of these etiquette rules that I’m teaching now.
“So that term the ‘Duchess of Decorum’ really came about after I was doing my TikTok videos, because I teach decorum in a variety of social settings.
“So they started to call me that, and I was like, ‘You know what? I’ve been called worse, and this is pretty amazing!’
“Learning etiquette doesn’t have to cost anything – I think that’s something that’s very important for people to understand, and I am the perfect example.
“I come with my underserved background; I didn’t grow up rich as my parents were immigrants. If I can do it and I didn’t have money, anybody could do it.
“Nowadays, there are so many resources out there. For me back then it was just the library, so I had to learn from books.
“You could watch a YouTube video on anything, so if you want to learn etiquette, watching a YouTube video will tell you everything you need to know. If you want to know how to speak properly, watching a YouTube video or reading books can teach you how to compose yourself.
“If you want to learn the proper way to act in social settings and decorum – my TikTok channel provides all the resources, and I don’t want people to feel intimidated because they come from a lower social-economic background. You can do it, you just have to do the research and put it in practice and eventually, it will become second nature.
“I learned all of this through trial and error. I started working when I was about 10 years old – I had no business, I was picking up garbage door to door, hoping people give me a quarter, but just being in the workplace and making mistakes is how I learned.
“For etiquette, I read books, there was no internet when I started to learn etiquette so I self-taught and I read books.
“I became passionate about making myself better so my advice to the general public or to women would be to figure out where you need work, like if something happens where you’ve embarrassed yourself or something happened that didn’t quite go the way that you wanted to, go explore that, take that opportunity, and learn from it so you don’t make the same mistake again.
“After a while, you will have the experience to know what to do and what not to do and honestly everything that I talk about I’ve made that mistake, so everything I say don’t do, I have done and that’s where my experience comes from.
“Take whatever happens, your failures or mistakes or missteps and learn from them, and that way you will also gain the experience.”
Pattie offered her opinions on the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, and whether they embody true etiquette and decorum.
“Meghan Markle is the perfect example of being who you are in your authentic self.
“It takes a lot of guts to do what she did, it’s not easy so to withstand and be yourself regardless of what other people are saying about you, thinking about you, feeling about you – that is really true empowerment.
“Maybe just because I know so much about the Royal Family and because I read a lot of etiquette books and that there are certain expectations that come from being a royal – you’re not just going to be able to go out to eat with your friends, you’re not just going to be able to go to the mall.
“So I think it would have benefited her to just know a little bit more about those expectations prior to stepping into the role.”
“Kate Middleton is the perfect example of true etiquette because she really understands her role, which I think is very important.
“She has stepped into that role but yet she is still her individual self – she is not this robot or a Stepford wife.
“She speaks her mind but in a very eloquent way and she really does the things that she feels passionate about.
“She doesn’t allow other people to hold her back while still being within the confines of being a royal, and that’s a really tricky balance, but I think she navigates that beautifully, she’s just fantastic! I really love her on so many levels, she is educated, very well-spoken and she just embodies female empowerment, especially in a role like that is difficult to do so.”
Pattie also spoke about how etiquette and decorum are not sexist terms to keep women in check, but rather represent a social order everyone should aspire to.
Pattie continued: “Once you truly start learning about etiquette you understand there are reasons for every single rule.
“It’s not just to sit up, cross your legs because you want to look feminine, it really has very little to do with that and there are etiquette norms for men as well: like take off your hat when you come into a room.
“Well, the reason that came about is that men used to wear hats outside and a lot of dirt used to get on their hats so if you come into the room, the dirt is going to get into the room right?
“So I think it’s really teaching social norms to create order and I don’t think it’s really gender-based because there are etiquette rules for everyone and there’s a reason for all of these rules.
“A part of it is to make the people around you a little bit more comfortable and social settings were there to make everyone feel more comfortable without losing our individuality.
“But I don’t see it as something directed toward keeping women in check and if you see my videos, you know that I’m all about female empowerment! But social norms and social etiquette are just necessary for order whether you’re a man or a woman.”
Pattie spoke about why she started her TikTok channel and why she feels it is so important for women especially to learn about etiquette and decorum.
She added: “I started my TikTok channel so underserved people that aren’t affluent have access to this information because it’s so important in life.
“It is so important to know how to navigate, not just at the table, but through work and through interviews and other social settings.
“I only do this TikTok channel to help people, there’s no other reason, and I get so many comments saying, ‘I’ve learned something from you’ or ‘You’ve taught me so much’, or ‘I implemented your strategy in interviews, and they gave me the job’.
“Things like that just fuel me and make me want to keep going because I’m actually improving people’s lives. That is where my passion comes from.”
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