Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain’s Suicides in the Media Age | By Therese Lombos

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were both wildly accomplished people who worked their way to the top from humble beginnings. Their recent suicides have prompted many individuals to reevaluate their perception of happiness and success, and share their views on Kate and Anthony’s decision to take their lives.

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Like many people, most of us find it difficult to believe that Spade and Bourdain would commit suicide given their track record of success. They represent the idea of “making it” in their respective fields, with Kate being the visionary behind the iconic handbag, and Anthony being not just a talented chef, but a writer and TV personality as well. Despite all of their achievements, they still chose to end their lives. It serves as a reminder that monetary success doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness. It’s all too easy to idealize their lives and only see the perfection in them. Their rags to riches tales— Kate being on her last seven dollars and Anthony a heroin addicted dish washer. Who knew what the future had in store for them.

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As someone who prides herself of being driven, I often look towards the future for gratification. “I’ll be happy with a 4.0 GPA,” or “I’ll be happy when I make more money than I know what to do with.” Kate and Anthony embodied that “future” filled with unending joy, and I’m only at the exposition of my own tale of vast success. It’s a punch in the gut to see people at my envisioned climax had seen it fit to end their lives. It has almost become force of habit to look at people in the media and use their lives as a template for our own stories, when we don’t see the whole picture.
Opinions are inevitable in this age of social media, and Kate and Anthony’s suicides are not exempted from them. Some have been harsh in judging both of them for choosing to leave their respective children behind. I’ve seen countless headlines speculating that Anthony’s crazy love for his partner, Asia Argento, one of the voices behind the #MeToo movement, heavily influenced his suicide. As an outsider looking in, we can only make assumptions about their personal lives, and share our opinions on the matter. I find it disheartening to see how preoccupied we are with piecing things together and having a say on the latest news, that we forget real people are involved.

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Instead of imposing ourselves in the personal lives of people in the media, I’d rather we spoke about the issue it brings to light. With suicide becoming a more common cause of death, it’s time to focus on both the probable reasons behind it, and what we can do to prevent it.
Spade and Bourdain’s deaths serve as a reminder that success doesn’t come with guaranteed happiness. Rather than picking apart and obsessing over the “perfect lives” of people in the media, while patterning our own accordingly, we should forge our own paths, and find happiness in the journey.

For more information on suicide prevention, please visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org

About the Author

Therese is a high school senior with a strong advocacy for mental health. As one of Talang Dalisay’s correspondents, she aims to spread the word on pressing matters revolving the subject matter and hopes to create an impactful change through her words and people’s insightful stories. 

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