Vanessa Williams: A Long Overdue Apology…Ramble

Social media has shined a light on misbehaving, injustices and the downright ridiculous ways we treat each other as human beings. Not all of us are reality stars, learning or ignoring lessons on our mistakes caught on camera, yet, social media brings back the opportunity for all that “lost footage” and all the “private” conversations we’re having using our smart phones to be broadcast to the world.

Fat-shaming. Body-shaming. Beard-shaming. Can’t we treat each others like human beings? It was with grace that Vanessa Williams relinquished her Miss America crown in 1984, forced to by people who took offense and tried to shame her for Penthouse publishing nude photos of her- she didn’t pose for them to be published.

These days “Scandal” is not only the name of a hit show, it’s how Kim Kardashian transformed her entire family into reality stars and cash generators. Isn’t it time we treated people like human beings and be decent to one another, instead of saying, “Gotcha! I have a way of taking you down? I’m going to use this to bash you in a moment that wasn’t your finest, even if I don’t know the backstory?”

The sad thing is when you compare how men who have been violent towards women like Kobe Byrant and Chris Brown, they have legions of fans, didn’t have to “go quiet” to wait out the scandal and go into self-doubt. Hitting Rihanna gave Chris Brown street credibility, with many big name artists lining up to work with him on a track. Even Kayne West, who said he doesn’t understand award shows at this year’s VMA’s stood up and applauded Chris for winning an award, while his long-time collaborator Jay-Z, remained, understandably seated.

For this I admire Vanessa Williams and her ability to go on to be an award-winning actress, beloved even when she was delightfully bad on “Ugly Betty,” hats off to you, Vanessa Williams for having the class to both accept and forgive the Miss America Pageant, and then support them by being a judge in the contest. What a class act!

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Crush of The Week: Melissa McCarthy…Week

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The funny lady looked happy, healthy and was dressed to perfection on last night’s SNL 40th Anniversary red carpet. Her smile makes me smile. I’ve had my up’s and down’s with weight. I’ve been in the winter battle to get off that holiday weight (yeah, very close to normal) so it inspires me to see other women who are winning the battle.

Melissa looks curvy and confident here, the best I think I’ve ever seen her look. She went on to portray her favorite SNL character by the late Chris Farley:

Having had my gallbladder out, if I don’t watch what I eat, I balloon up really fast, even if though I work exercise 5-6 days a week. It’s all a matter of being healthy and able to enjoy life to the max. Thank you Melissa for showing off your curves and having fun with them.

Yesterday a friend remarked how great I look, which I appreciate. The choice has to come from me every day to stay healthy. Since I started eating much healthier four years ago, I can tell you when I overeat now or have something really greasy, my body is sluggish. Winter is a huge challenge for everyone, so seek out some inspiration and take care of yourself. xx

Crush of the Week: Kylie Minogue…Ramble

Yesterday I attended a special Kylie Minogue event at SAKS (*yes the fabulous flagship on 5th Avenue, who doesn’t love saying flagship? Ah, 5th Avenue your many flagships always bring a smile to my face because of the glamour it immediately instills in my bones). Sometimes good things do come through and my wonderful friend Dorothy remembered that I’m a huge Kylie fan. 

I’ve been a fan since Kylie was on ‘Neighbor’s which is practially a requirement in order to claim your Australian heritage (as I do). I even watched her sister Dani on ‘Far & Away.’ (If you are not familiar think Dani is to Kylie as Ashlee is to Jessica Simpson- are you with me?!) 

A few years ago I was covering a Kylie in-store event at Virgin Megastore in Times Square for Rollingstone.com. I was in the press area for a few hours and then Kylie was going to do a signing. These two guys I had been chatting to rushed over to get a STACK of vinyl signed. They handed me their camera to take a photo with Kylie (we’re talking a huge professional grade camera). After I took their photo a notorious person from her then-label came over (the two guys were her very, very good friends) and told me and the rest of the press who were waiting in line that we could go to the back of the queue with all the other fans. 

My mouth was aghast, if that had been told to us upfront I probably would have left my photographer and gone to the back of the line hours beforehand- and I don’t mind doing that for Kylie, it was just that we’d all been there for almost as long as the fans already. Anyway, crushed I left and it was upsetting. Since then I have gone to see Kylie from her first performance in the US for Bravo at the defunct Limelight to twice at Hammerstein Ballroom. Her show is incredible and a definite must-see so I was beyond thrilled when I landed the VIP invite for the SAKS launch.

After Kylie arrived, the SAKS staff had ushered us against a wall and then towards the elevators to the VIP room. Kylie was up there after posing with the FASHION book downstairs for the photographers (hello a lot cuter than back in the day!). There was a makeshift line where different brands like Gilt Group folks were vying for Kylie’s attention. Then, I was asked to take a photo of her with a guy who I had been shoved up against downstairs. Shades of deja vu were coming through hard and fast as he finished telling her he’d thrown up three times that day in excitement of seeing her. (Fortunately he did not do that infront of us and also had copious amounts of mouthwash before attending the book signing.) 

Kylie seemed to be moving in the opposite direction of the makeshift line and my compatriots from well-known outlets were more interested in getting more Prosecco from the very handsome male model acting as a waiter than getting a photo with Kylie (because they have them from other events!) The three times my size bodyguard seemed to be growing larger with every moment as Kylie was then introduced to VIPS from Louboutin. Finally,I saw my now-or-never moment and stepped in as this other woman, I knew from downstairs was not a lifelong fan, tried to cut in as I was getting my photo moment. Sure enough Kylie’s lovely assistant made sure I got it. I can’t thank her enough!

There I was, with my Kylie under one arm, Prosecco in the other (because really it is Kylie and that requieres bubbles of some sort!) and Kylie threw up the “supercute” fingers (see below):

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Here are a few more reasons I love Kylie:

1) She stands for GLAMOUR. Look at her working that Pucci dress. It had a lot of cut outs and wo-wo-wo-wow can she pull it off!

2) Kylie is a true pro at working a room. She was sweet, funny and had a great sense of humor while we were all trying to get her attention (aka mini-stalk!)

3) Do I even need to say how much I love her music? I did refrain from asking her what she was doing there when clearly “your disco needs you.” Oh, ha ha damn should’ve said that instead I made her an “honorary Asian” because she threw up the supercute sign. It’s because “I’m so tiny” – yes and we love our little pop stars! 

4) Did I mention when Kylie is around male models are also? 

5) For a lady in her mid-40’s she looks better than those half her age because she knows how to smile, wow and exude joie de vivre! 

This event reminded me of why I wanted to work in entertainment- Glamour, L’amour, Fashion and beyond all FUN! Thank you Kylie I was so very lucky, lucky, lucky to meet you. 

Crush of the Week: Helen Fielding Creator of Bridget Jones…Ramble

I attended the BookExpoAmerica (BEA) last week at the Jacob Javits Center. It was a whirlwind of activity with arms and elbows flying as readers grabbed for free books. Well, before that frenzy which left me seeking the santity of the Harlequin booth, I had the enormous pleasure of attending the Author Breakfest hosted by Chris Matthews where I got to hear Helen Fielding speak about her third Bridget Jones’ book “Mad About A Boy.” 

I’m going to give you the gist from my notes of what she said. Imagine a fabulous dry British accent that sounds like champagne and you’ll enjoy it even more. Disclaimer: I said gist and yes some is verbatim, but don’t (literally) quote me or Helen on that!

I want to thank everyone for coming here today. It’s nice to see all of you. The first time I had a public speaking engagement like this only two people showed up. One of them I had dated. Afterwards we went to lunch where he told me he was gay. — grrlgenius: transported to Bridget heaven!) I never thought I’d write another one (Bridget Jones novel) after the first two because I lost my voice. But last year, some things started to strike me as funny again and I started writing without telling anyone so that took the pressure off and reclaimed my privacy which allowed me creative freedom.

When the first Bridget Jones book came out there wasn’t any of the online things around that are around today like Twitter. I signed up for Twitter to do some research as Bridget Jones. Twitter is like a popularity contest. I kept checking the account for followers: naught. Again: naught. Then I got suspended from Twitter for checking 150 times in an hour how many followers I had. (grrlgenius: crowd was roaring laughing). Women come up to me all the time to tell me how much they relate to Bridget. I feel like I’m the Pope, confess child confess. One woman told me she went on an Internet Date and they had kissed a bit. A few days later she’d received a mass email from the fellow announcing his wife had just given birth to a girl. 

No matter where I go though women tell me they relate to Bridget even in Japan where they are so fabulous and tiny and eat small amounts of fish! I think she is so appealing because she represents the gap between how you feel you should be and how you are inside. When I was a kid I thought middle-aged woman were sagging and not very attractive with gray hair and you know today’s middle-aged women are very glam. This book sort of rebrands the older woman of today. Now there’s young children and you have so many priorities the to-do list might have find cheese, finish novel on it. Look at David Cameron, the PM of Britain. He was in the car on the phone and his kids were acting up. He finally had to say to them “shut up I’m on the phone with the Prime Minister of Israel.” So, see all of us are juggling a lot of things today and we try to act like we’re glamourous when we are a mess on the other end. I’ve been wearing sweatpants and didn’t brush my hair looking quite feral while I wrote this book. So now I’m going to go on a huge diet (grrlgenius: she is so tiny!) and have massive amounts of plastic surgery before the book comes out. 

Crush of The Week: Katy Perry…Ramble

It might be shocking to read that headline, after all I’ve been very honest while I think Katy’s hits are fun, she’s not the greatest vocalist. It irks me how many notes she doesn’t quite hit and perhaps she could realize being an alto is sexy too. 

I have always recognized she can write a hook and really catchy songs. What makes Katy my crush is her ability to make life so damn enjoyable even signing her divorce papers with a smiley face. I also admire the fact she has come clean regarding “Part of Me” not being about Russell Brand. In fact, the song was written and leaked in 2010 but didn’t make her album “Teenage Dreams.”

While it is just extremely excellent timing and it could even be more a marketing genius move to come clean, Ms. Perry I had to buy this song on iTunes and support you! Image