Blake Lively, Preserve, and “Never Try”

There’s a Simpsons quote that always makes me laugh.

“Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably,” Homer says. “The lesson is, never try.”

And so we’ve reached today news-ish item: after a little over a year on the Internet, Blake Lively’s lifestyle site, Preserve, is calling it quits. And it’s fine, I swear. In fact, Lively’s already gone on record being like, “Yeah, it wasn’t ever what I wanted it to be, so goodbye.”


“We have an incredible team of people who do beautiful work, but we launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way.”

“And that’s the whole reason I started this company!” she continued. “Not to just fluff myself like, ‘I’m a celebrity! People will care what I have to say!’ It was never meant to be that, and that kind of became the crutch because it was already up and already running, and it’s hard to build up a brand when you’re running full steam ahead — how do you catch up?”

So, she decided so shut that shit down.

“I never thought I would have the bravery to actually do that,” Lively revealed. “To take the site dark and say, ‘You know what? I haven’t created something that is as true and impactful as I know it can and will be. And I’m not going to chase my tail and continue to put a product out there that we, as a team, are not proud of.'”

She went on to say that she knows people will look at this like a failure, but that she has a plan, and it’s something she’s actually excited about. And to that I say: Good! Great. Yes. All of it.

It’s crazy to think it true, but celebrities are human. And humans are messy and they make mistakes and they launch websites before they’re ready, and if they’re famous humans, they don’t have the luxury of doing it anonymously under the blanket of, like, Tumblr, because every person is watching and waiting for them to fail. But you’ve got to respect Blake Lively’s choice to embrace the fact her venture didn’t turn out the way she wanted. Why? Because so many of our own ventures don’t turn out the way we wanted, and we’re encouraged to pretend everything is still okay when it isn’t.

So that’s why I’m into this. I’m into Blake Lively being a person because that’s what she is — and in doing so, she’s sending the message that it’s okay to do a thing that doesn’t end up looking the way it was supposed to. Which, arguably, really does make a difference in somebody’s life.

Meaning that if Preserve has any legacy, let it be that one. Because that’s probably the most valuable difference you can make: it’s totally okay for things to go belly up. Onto the next.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, Blake Lively

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