Claire Underwood is the main character in the sixth series of House of Cards having shared the title in the first five. She’s the 47th President of the United States, and the first female president, albeit fictionally. But most of all, Claire Underwood is a fascinating character. She’s absolutely ruthless, she’s practiced and planned, she’s on a mission and letting nothing stand in her way. Murder aside, we could all do with being just a little bit more Claire Underwood. Here’s why:
1. Nothing shocks her
Urgent news just in? Breaking bulletin announced? Scandalous intelligence just received? It doesn’t matter how shocking the information, Claire will absolutely not be fazed by it. She’ll take the information in and she’ll give nothing away; her expression will remain the same. We’re so used to seeing gasps and hearing exclamations in response to news, it’s a stark contrast for someone to appear nonplussed. You get the impression she already knew and you get the impression she knows exactly what to do next, giving her an all-powerful aura. Despite nothing shocking her, she’ll often shock others with her big, bold moves that throw them off course and buy her time.
2. She thinks ten steps ahead
Claire’s mind is a constant hive of “if this then that” scenarios. She’s not merely talking to someone, she’s pre-empting their response and she’s planning how she’ll respond to that. She’s not operating with a best-case plan A, she’s considered plans B-Z and has a counter-attack for each. She’s thought of every eventuality and what each one means for her and everyone else. She knows her end game and she can see the path to it no matter the short-term nuances that are subject to change. She’s not going to be sidetracked by someone else’s agenda because she’s just too focused.
3. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks
People will talk. Critics will criticize. Haters gonna hate. Claire knows full well that she will be talked about and she just doesn’t care. She’d much rather be talked about than not talked about – it means she’s getting somewhere. Claire doesn’t waste any time thinking about people who don’t like her; she’s working out how she can use them to her advantage. If she deems them significant, she’ll win them over. If not, she’ll let it slide. She knows she needs to move quickly with everything she does and worrying about the opinions of others will only slow her down.
4. No option is off the table
If her best friend from college lets her down, she can reveal a secret she was trusted to keep. If her husband has overstepped the mark, she can make a life without him. Claire’s sees someone as her greatest ally or her worst enemy depending on their last action and she doesn’t shy away from options that might be difficult or seem impossible. Considering every possibility means she is best placed to choose the most advantageous route and she sees all situations and people as disposable. She knows how to appeal to someone’s own greed in order to manipulate them into doing what she wants them to. She rarely takes no for an answer.
5. She answers the question she wants to answer
Like a true politician, Claire hears a question and pretty much ignores it. She has her talking points, she knows the message she wants to deliver and she can take or leave the actual question asked. The result? She’s operating on her own agenda at all times, she can’t be caught off guard and she controls the message. You can’t twist her arm, she’s not going to say too much, so there’s no point trying to dig. On the flipside, she carefully leaks the information she wants to get into the public domain in exactly the way she wants people to know it. She’s the ultimate media manipulator.
6. She embraces confrontation and discomfort
When questioned by anyone, she’ll take a considered pause before choosing how to respond. This means she’s never hurried, never out of control or rushed into reacting. How she operates is on her terms, at all times. She’ll ask others difficult questions and stay silent while they squirm to find an answer. Whilst they do this she silently scans them for signs of weakness that inform her follow up questions and her next actions. She’ll find out exactly what she needs to know whilst giving away the least information possible herself. She’ll let others fill the silences so they say too much. She’ll let others make interpretations that lead them to the wrong conclusions.
The six points above combine to give Claire even more of the power she is looking for. No one can shock her, no one can hurt her, no one can hold anything over her and she’ll never face a situation whereby she doesn’t know what to do next. Claire is a truly intriguing character. If you look past the moral and legal wrongdoings, of which there are many, we could all do with being just that bit more Claire Underwood.