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Brazilian model, Gisele Bündchen, has just been re-named the world’s top-earning model with a reported estimated worth of $150 million. An article on The Daily Beast says she’s, “without question, the most money- and marketing-savvy supermodel of our time.”

And then goes on to say why: Gisele is also—unlike the dark-eyed, dark-haired, curvier Juliana Paes—blond and blue-eyed, a genetic asset in a country where half of the Brazilian population is black or mixed race, yet most of its top models have Northern European features. “More traditional, less daring, easier to accept,” says Pascowitz of Gisele’s more corporate-friendly look.

Got it. She’s the top earning model because she fits the European ideal. Curvier and darker is daring, white and skinny is traditional and easy to accept. But does her nationality even matter? Like who cares that she’s “Brazilian,” is that supposed to represent diversity? 

The Daily Beast’s article gives all credit to Gisele’s shrewd business sense, when really her genetic asset of blonde hair and blue eyes probably has a lot more to do with it. She’s unstoppable all right because curvier and darker will never be in season, and certainly not worth $150 million.

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I went to see Sex and the City 2 yesterday and while it was super corny and lacked substance (as I knew it would), I decided to make a list of what we can take away from the movie. After all, a silver lining can be found in everything. I still intend to spend my weekend writing and watching seasons 1-6 on my DVD player. Obviously, this list will give away the entire movie, so if you would rather enjoy your little surprises in the theater, don’t read this!

1. Carrie’s simple gold wedding band- In contrast to Charlotte’s huge wedding rock, Carrie’s understated gold ring shows that great love doesn’t have to be validated by a massive piece of jewelry. Sure, it’s nice but making one’s own rules is just so much more interesting.

2. Charlotte and Miranda’s toast to single mothers- Charlotte finally admits that her perfect family gets on her damn nerves and they both marvel at the idea that so many women do it all alone. This moment definitely brought the film down to earth and they became regular women, not ones who wear Dior in the middle of the desert.

3. Samantha’s fuck you to sexism- While Samantha’s sexuality ranks off the charts in any culture, I did like her f— you to the crowd of men yelling at her in the spice market. Yes, she should have been more respectful of their culture (which my good friend informed me isn’t even representative of their culture in Abu Dhabi) but if you got arrested for kissing, you’d be a little testy too.

4. Muslim women who secretly wear Chanel under their burqas- I’ve heard about this before and also the growing trend in plastic surgery. I’ve read that younger Muslim women who are required to cover everything but their eyes often indulge in expensive lingerie, make-up and nose jobs. It’s a sweet covert defiance.

5. Carrie’s realization that she is an old woman and should be content just being with the man she loves– I wanted to smack Carrie when she kissed Aidan and then again when she called Big from the Middle East to tell him about it. I so enjoyed watching her cry on the park bench realizing that once again she was about to sabotage her happiness.

6. Aidan named one of his kids Homer. Homer? This shuts the book on Aidan.

7. We’re reminded that poor people make sacrifices to provide for their families- Carrie’s personal butler in Abu Dhabi explains to her, over warm milk and cinnamon, how he only sees his wife every 3 months, when they can afford it. I love the American guilt, keeps us humble.

8. It is never OK to walk around in public without a bra- I’m all for naturalness and freedom but if my nanny (Charlotte made it very clear to me that I’ll need one) was a bra-less wonder, she’d be fired. I mean come on, we can go a little far with feminism.

9. The friendship crisis moment- I loved how after Carrie kissed Aidan she needed all three of her best girls to decide what to do next. Even though all of them advised her not to talk so much, Carrie did it anyway. What did we learn? If all the people you trust are saying the same thing, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

10. The need for alone time, no matter how “perfect” everything is- A major theme in the movie (as much as there could have been one) was the need for distance in order to appreciate everything you’ve got. I loved how Carrie kept her apartment to make sure she had somewhere to write and also to give Charlotte a spot to break free from those babies. Taking time for yourself helps you to be better for the people you love.

Normally when people stress the importance of being “equally yoked” with a romantic partner, they’re referring to the need to have an equal stature in life. You know, like Beyonce and Jay-Z. In human terms, this most notably refers to each person’s money-making potential. But this term is also in the Bible (our reference most definitely came from it but of course we’ve twisted the meaning) and refers to a likeness in faith and purity of heart. And it applies to all the company we keep-not just the romantic ones.

I think its most important to spend your time with people who feel good about themselves and are constantly on a journey for self-improvement whether that be emotionally, financially or spiritually. Being in a relationship with or married to a person who lacks faith means you’re unequally yoked. Having a negative friend who can’t ever see the bigger picture means you’re unequally yoked. And I’m not just talking faith in a higher power but faith in their own capabilities. Low self-esteem leads to an array of problems in a relationship- abuse, cheating, boredom, dissatisfaction- making it the number one relationship deal breaker. Just ask Jesse James, Sandra Bullock’s ex, who is now pleading his case on the media circuit.

Just after Bullock took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in The Blind Side, news broke that her husband had been cheating on her with a tattoo artist. James admits that he threw the marriage away, that he had a lot of demons stemming from childhood abuse and basically felt that he was unlovable.

“I grew up with a huge amount of shame and fear and abandonment on my shoulders from a very young age and I think, you know, the way my mind rationalized [cheating], ‘Well, you know, I might as well do whatever I can to like run her off cause she is going to find out what I am anyway and leave me anyway,'” the biker, 41, said in a Nightline interview that aired Tuesday. “The struggle within myself for the things that I did …to damage marriage and my life and everything else, it’s all me. I’m doing it because, you know, I’ve basically never felt good enough for anyone.”

Whomp. Whomp. If he loved her so much he should have gone to therapy to deal with his issues before his shortcomings embarrassed her on a national level. Bottom line? If someone doesn’t love and respect themselves how do you expect them to be any good to you?

Venus and Serena Williams want you to think they are sexy. It doesn’t matter that they’re both uber millionaires, can kick anyone’s ass in tennis and did it all while rockin fashion from South Central. But now, they’re grown up. Serena has an on-off again relationship with rapper/actor Common, has posed semi-nude (although the only you could see were her arms and legs) on the cover of ESPN magazine and Venus well, she’s been pretty quiet until images of her bustier lace tennis outfit at the French Open this past weekend made the news.

The outfit/dress is from her line, EleVen, but the look didn’t go over too well in the fashion world or in the world of tennis modesty. In other words, people thought the outfit was ugly to begin with and way too short. Venus says the outfit and the accompanying nude tone tennis panties were “about illusion” which is “a lot of my motif this year.”

Meh.

The outfit is a little hideous like a Frederick’s of Hollywood gag gift but too short? Not necessarily. If she had a different body type, it would have been a non-issue. To her credit, I think the material of the outfit itself made it impossible to bend with her moves on the court. Yes, her nude panties flashed a lot, giving off the “illusion” (there’s that word again) that she wasn’t wearing any, but it seems like people would have just gotten over it after they realized she was. Maybe Venus was inspired by being in France and decided to be adventurous… my advice?

She should stick to what she’s good at instead of trying to forge a name in tennis fashion.

Update: Yikes! It’s definitely too short… http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/1663/1/?redirectURL=http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-05-24/grand-slam-fashion/?cid=hp:beastoriginalsC2

Two things caught my eye culturally this week both related to the Civil Rights Movement, exciting considering its not Black History Month. As we know, the Civil Rights Movement had a built-in national stage with the advent of the 30 minute news TV show in the 1960s bringing graphic images to every suburban living room in the nation.

In New York, where all things fabulous live, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is hosting the International Center of Photography‘s show entitled “Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968.” The original show from ICP “For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights” contains photographs, video as well as clippings from newspapers, magazines and posters among other things. (Slideshow of images from the NY Times)

Also in a new book, Breach of Peace, photojournalist Eric Etheridge found as many freedom riders as possible and compared their mugshots to their current photos. Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor at The Atlantic, writes about a 19- year-old white girl in the book, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, who had a canister of sugar dumped all over her while she sat protesting at a Woolworth counter.

Coates reminds us to avoid talking about what “we would have done” when racism and segregation was the law of our land. There are so many people who didn’t do anything back then when the revolution was not only knocking on their front door but came in and had a seat at their kitchen table.

These two cultural gems are worth checking even if you just pursue the images online. Enjoy.

Photo: Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos, via High Museum of Art

Respecting Tiger Woods as a public figure, outside of his golfing talent has always been a problem for me. From his confusion over race to his most recent cheating scandal, Tiger has always come off as a spoiled, uninformed brat. After his harem was revealed no one really thought his wife, Elin, would stay and we were right- she’s done everything she can not to be seen with Tiger anywhere. And who can blame her really?

Tiger has more problems coming his way though because not only is Elin divorcing him, she wants to take him for more than he’s worth. $750 million to be exact. Reports put Tiger’s net worth at about $600 million. Sorry but I don’t think cheating constitutes a $750 million payday. Yes, Tiger embarrassed Elin in front of the entire world but $750 million? Sounds like she was a gold digger hiding in the open waiting for Tiger to mess up.

In the first reports shortly after the scandal broke, Elin stood to get around $200 million, so how did this new figure even come up?

Elin isn’t a total victim in this situation although her pretty face makes it easy to paint her as one. Jim Carrey said it best on Twitter: “No wife is blind enough to miss that much infidelity.” Sure, Elin’s support and love of Tiger as well as the picture perfect family she helped him to create contributed, in part, to his success, but she, in no way shape or form should run with all of his money. She can’t live on $200 million?

I’d hate to see a former nanny who just happened to marry the most famous golfer on the planet make out like a bandit just because she turned a blind eye.

Marriage. It’s one of those words that makes men squeamish and a word that can be downright depressing for women if they attach their pinnacle of success, acceptance and body clock to it.

It’s interesting to me how boys are raised to play the field and delay marriage as long as possible as if its some prison sentence that you commit to once you’ve lived the rest of your life. Girls however, even though we’re waiting longer and longer to commit, are given a million reasons not to play the field and often start to feel… shall we say inadequate when the people around them begin to take the plunge. The messages for each gender just aren’t stacking up.

Which is why, perhaps, America’s marriage rates are (and have been) on a serious decline. In a very general sense we don’t seem to be ready for the same things at the same ages.

I’ve often heard references to Chris Rock’s stand-up on marriage as well as his film I Think I Love My Wife. Both are hilarious by the way but I’m not sure these representations are helpful.

(If your ears are sensitive, don’t listen.)

Instead of talking about the benefits of marriage: tax breaks, stable home for children, double income and all around support, we as a society dive into this litany about what we’re giving up. It just seems that the more life choices we have, the more complicated we make things.

Yet we’re more willing than ever to consciously have babies out of wedlock. No judgment ethically but I’m interested to know why we’re ready to have a baby but not ready to get married.

Diddy, the bachelor with five biological kids, three baby mamas (one of which is his girl), and a well-known side piece, recently gave an interview with Extra saying he hasn’t married because he hasn’t found “the one” yet.

How can you have so much reverence for marriage but yet be so willing for your kids to grow up without ever having a clear picture of what a healthy relationship is? In Diddy’s case it’s downright selfishness.

“As far as me and marriage and finding true love, I haven’t found that,” Diddy said. “The whole thing of marriage has been, to me, abused. It’s something that looks good for the tabloids. You make $2 million selling your wedding pictures, and it makes you look cool to your girlfriends or guy friends. But are you happy inside?”

It seems like we all (Diddy included) directly tie our happiness to the person we decide to commit to, which makes me wonder if humans really do have an innate need to feel emotionally (maybe even spiritually) connected to another human being. Only that would explain to me why we can have a baby with someone and even love them but not be sure we want to be with them for the rest of our lives.

We’re just afraid of making the wrong choice. Even though it’s the marriage you can always get out of and not the baby. Yes, I know it’s not the way to go into a marriage but you have to admit the reality of its confinement.

Sure, some people are perfectly happy in a committed relationship but feel no need to marry. Fine. I’m not the marriage police and that’s not what this post is about. I’m just asking the questions.