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Victoria Beckham may be the real icon for Girl Power – here’s perhaps why

(L-R) Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Posh and Baby Spice at Sydney Opera House during their 1997 promotional visit.

WHEN Scary, Baby, Ginger and Sporty Spice reunited on the red carpet five years ago, there was one noticeable absentee.

The Spice Girls were premiering their musical – Viva Forever! – and while Melanie B, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie C arrived arm in arm, Posh Spice Victoria Beckham was nowhere to be seen.

Victoria was one of the last guests to arrive, dressed down in a pair of black cropped trousers and a trench coat. Clearly, she couldn’t care less. Without any words, she was sending a message, loud and clear.

Public disagreements with the girls in the past were no secret; she famously hated Geri (“it must be very lonely for her, I think you have to feel sorry for her,” she said after a bitter row over Halliwell’s shock departure from the group) and Melanie B has admitted that “Victoria was one end and I was at the other … it’s like any relationship with her and me. We fight, we argue, we make up … it’s always been like that.”

But this time, it was not quite the same. This time, it signalled a shift in power. And it hasn’t been the same since.

L-R: Spice Girls Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm pose at the premiere of the Spice Girls musical “Viva Forever” — sans Posh. Picture: Leon Neal

Once upon a time Posh Spice was simply the pouty popstar in a PVC catsuit, the Spice Girl who slayed with a simple stare.

Along with Scary, Baby, Ginger and Sporty, Posh forced the world to spice up their lives and armed with a minidress and a microphone, introduced a generation to Girl Power.

“I was called Posh because I liked the nice restaurants, and the nice clothes, and that was my character. I didn’t smile, even in those days,” she said in the documentary, The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever!.

“There was this very strong image. And I am very much that person, even now.”

The Spice Girls’ unapologetically brash brand of feminism took the world by storm and blazed the trail for dozens of icons to follow. The Fab Five’s first single Wannabe is still the best-selling debut single by a girl group of all time and combined, they’ve sold 85 million records worldwide.

Solo Spice: Victoria Beckham attends ‘Viva Forever’, without her Spice band mates.

Victoria Beckham was always considered the least talented member of the Spice Girls. Hers was the voice that lay deep in the background, the one given less solo time. For Victoria, success inside and outside of the Spice Girls never came easy.

“They used to turn it off [microphone] and just let the others sing,” Beckham told Vogue of her time in the Spice Girls.

Critics have also never been far from the 43-year-old fashion designer, model, and singer. The naysayers came from every corner. One minute she was “Porky Posh”. The next, “Skeletal Spice”.

“If Victoria hadn’t had the lucky breaks she had and the people having faith in her to make her what she is, she probably would have been singing and dancing on a cruise liner,” Victoria’s former Principal, Joy Spriggs, told the documentary, Being Victoria Beckham.

“There are lots of girls with more talent, I’m being quite honest here, that are doing less than Victoria is doing.”

The “skeletal” days. Victoria makes her debut for designer Maria Grachvogel at London Fashion Week in 2000.

Her solo career was equally disappointing – she is the only Spice Girl without a #1 solo single to her name. NME called her self-titled solo album, “a new low in shameless pop slaggery”.

The reviews came at a time when Girl Power was divided, at a time when the world was questioning whether Victoria Beckham should consider a career change and disappear completely. The knife was dug in that much deeper from bandmate, Sporty Spice Melanie C. Why chase a pop career so relentlessly when so encumbered by a lack of talent?

“If I was Victoria, I would enjoy my husband, enjoy my family, enjoy the money that they’ve got and give the music a rest,” she said in a British radio interview in 2004.

“She’s got such a great life – I don’t know why she doesn’t just sit back and enjoy it.”

Victoria’s self-titled solo album was a fizzer.

Not that Victoria cared.

Two decades since Spice Up Your Life, revenge has been served cold – and from the critics to the catwalk, Victoria Beckham is back on top.

“I got the last laugh – and now my mic is well and truly on, finally,” she told Vogue last year.

It’s no secret the success of any Spice Girls reunion now lies in the hands of the one Spice Girl who never seemed to matter: Posh.

Now worth a cool $450 million, Posh Spice’s success is the real lesson in girl power; never underestimate the underdog.

Beckham is riding high from the success of her fashion line; this week she celebrated her ten-year anniversary at New York Fashion Week, after inviting sceptical editors and buyers to a suite in the Waldorf Towers to see her debut collection in 2008.

“Victoria Beckham made her first appearance at New York fashion week a decade ago as a novelty act, but she leaves as a headline one,” writes The Guardian.

And once there was a sniff of success, how quickly the tide turned.

“The magic trick on which the Victoria Beckham brand is based is a sleight of hand. On the one is her relatable persona as a working mother of four, and on the other her aspirational level of polish and glamour. It is a compelling balancing act, and one which has made her a significant player in the luxury industry.”

According to the Telegraph, insiders say Victoria’s business enjoyed significant growth during the first half of 2017, thanks to a collaboration with Target and an Estée Lauder make-up deal.

In December, 2017, Victoria’s fashion business alone was valued at £100m (AU$176m), a far cry from Emma Bunton’s $30 million net worth. Meanwhile lawyers for Melanie B’s estranged ex Stephen Belafonte claim that Scary Spice had “wiped out all her Spice Girls money” – said to be £38m (AU$67 million).

“Victoria Beckham may be dismissed by many as less talented than her superstar footballer husband David Beckham, but behind the big sunglasses lies a cute business brain,” writes The Richest.

“Wag no more, Victoria Beckham is firmly out from under husband David’s shadow. Her fashion collections have won critical acclaim, along with a devoted celebrity following. Stars from Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow to Oprah Winfrey have worn her sharply tailored dresses, which carry four-figure price tags”.

Once the woman the Spice Girls could have done without, Victoria is now the woman the Spice Girls need.

Despite appearing alongside the girls in an Instagram post last week, setting the world alight with rumours of a reunion, she quelled rumours overnight, telling British Vogue: “I’m not going on tour. The girls aren’t going on tour.

“There’s something so strong in the message of what the Spice Girls stood for. What is that in the future? What does that look like? We were just bouncing ideas around. Brainstorming.”

After making a brief comeback in 2012 for the London Olympics and embarking on a World Tour that was cut short earlier than expected, Victoria has continually dismissed suggestions of a reunion. And she continues to play us all.

“It is not happening,” she said in 2017 amid rumours of a 20-year anniversary reunion.

“At some point you’ve got to know when it’s time. I don’t think I’ll be slipping into a PVC catsuit anytime soon.”

Despite hinting most recently at the idea that a reunion is ahead, the beauty for Victoria lies in the tease.

Despite the expectations that she should settle as a WAG and quietly step away from the spotlight and into her role as a dutiful housewife and celebrity mum, she kept working.

Even when her solo album failed and she was dropped from her record company, the same one that shot the Spice Girls to stardom, she kept going.

Even when her attempt to set up a life in Los Angeles and introduce the Beckham brand to the US with her one-hour TV special, Coming to America, failed miserably, she pursued her dream.

Victoria Beckham may be guilty of many things – excessive cosmetic surgery and a bad haircut or three – but despite being one of the world’s most underestimated performers, she has shown us all.

When she relocates her runway show from New York to London no doubt Girl Power will be sitting front row and centre. But while the rest cling on for publicity and a reunion, the one woman we all scoffed is ultimately, the last woman standing.

Now that’s Girl Power.

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www.clublibido.com.au

Henry Sapiecha

Maye Musk: ‘This is only the beginning for me’ as a model, aged 69

Maye Musk walks the runway at Concept Korea during New York Fashion Week

Youth is not everything – at least not 69-year-old model Maye Musk. But, as Alina Isachenka reports, is her success more than just a trend?

The recent “Spring 2018” shows in New York, Paris, Milan and London saw a record number of models in their 50s and 60s on the catwalk – 27, according to the industry’s forum, Fashion Spot.

Does this mean that the fashion industry is finally breaking with beauty stereotypes and becoming more age-diverse?

“I’ve never worked as much over the past 50 years as I did in 2017,” says 69-year-old model Maye Musk, mother of billionaire entrepreneur and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Canadian-born Musk started modelling in South Africa at the age of 15, but it’s only in recent years that her career has picked up.

Musk signed a contract with IMG Models, who also represent supermodels including Gisele Bündchen and Gigi Hadid.

She also appeared on the covers of New York Magazine, Elle Canada and VOGUE Korea. And she starred as the oldest brand ambassador for American cosmetic company CoverGirl.

A fashionable grandmother of 10, Musk believes that allowing her hair to naturally whiten has helped her career. But being a successful model comes with certain challenges.

“I have to plan all my meals and snacks every day, or the wheels come off and I gain weight,” says Musk, a nutritionist with two masters degrees.

“It then takes two weeks of being really strict to lose it. I’m a UK size 8, so not skinny.”

Maye Musk with her son, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Debra Bourne, a director of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk – an initiative that aims to promote racial, age, size and body diversity in fashion – attributes much of the success of older women in modelling to social media.

“With the growth of social media through platforms like Instagram we have seen very successful examples of where elder models have created huge audiences themselves,” says Bourne, a psychotherapist and a former fashion editor.

This is certainly the case for Musk, who frequently posts photographs on Instagram where she has almost 90,000 followers.

“There is less competition when you’re older, but also less jobs,” says Musk. “If you keep on working and posting your work, you can build up a following.

“Also, you can be booked directly from your photos and don’t have to go to castings.”

With sweat and tears

“I think many designers believe the current focus on silver-haired models is merely a trend that will be over next year so they can return to tall, thin, young colts,” says Rebecca Valentine, founder of Grey Model Agency, which focuses on models aged 35+.

Launched in 2015 to ‘represent the new diverse older population’, London-based Grey Models works with clients such as London Fashion Week and Hunger fashion magazine, and represents models including Vivienne Westwood’s former muse Sara Stockbridge and 82-year-old Frances Dunscombe – one of the oldest models at the agency.

To Valentine, who is also an experienced photography agent, the emphasis on older models “is a response to market pressure where, for the first time, this ageing group are refusing to sit down and shut up.”

“They are the generation of rebels, punks, rockers, rappers, gay-coming-outers after all, they are used to being listened to and when they are not they shout louder and demand more,” she explains.

An older model is seen wearing Prada for Hunger Magazine

She believes the industry is catching up with the trend, but admits the process remains challenging.

“They [older models] can see that this is a hard mountain to climb with much adversity, prejudice and tradition to fight.

“It is wonderful to be surrounded by such strength and optomism at work,” she adds.

Beauty = youth?

But not all industry experts agree on the rise of older women in fashion.

Vincent Peter, co-founder of SILENT modelling agency in Paris, says: “You can see older women on an anti-ageing cream advertisement, but they are unlikely to be booked for high-fashion jobs.

“Occasionally they are on a catwalk but rather as an exception. I don’t see any trend here.”

Maye Musk became the oldest model to be the face of CoverGirl last September

While the fashion industry may hold on to its rigorous age frames, Musk continues to secure jobs worldwide and hopes to work well into her 70s and beyond.

“It’s been amazing to see how brands, magazines and designers are focusing on real stories from older women.

“Young models love to see me on a modelling job as it gives them hope for the future. My hashtag is #justgettingstarted.”

Henry Sapiecha

Psychology student Aleksandra Chichikova crowned first Miss Wheelchair World

A psychology student from Belarus, Aleksandra Chichikova, has been crowned Miss Wheelchair World in the first-ever edition of the beauty pageant held in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday.

“Fight your anxiety and your fears,” the 23-year-old Chichikova said at a gala evening, after the contestants had presented themselves in national costumes and evening dresses in elaborate choreographies.

Lebohang Monyatsi from South Africa was the runner-up ahead of Poland’s Adrianna Zawadzinska in the first contest of its kind on a global scale, which brought together 24 young women from 19 countries.

The goal of the contest was to “change the image of women in wheelchairs so they would not be judged solely by this attribute,” contest co-founder and jury president Katarzyna Wojtaszek-Ginalska told AFP.

Miss Belarus Aleksandra Chichikova greets the audience after she was crowned Miss Wheelchair World.

The pageant organised by the Poland-based Only One Foundation also seeks to show that a wheelchair is a luxury in many parts of the world, she added.

The contestants were chosen either in national rounds or, in countries with no such pageants, by non-governmental organisations addressed by the Polish foundation.

“It is not the looks that matter the most,” said Wojtaszek-Ginalska, who is also confined to a wheelchair.

“Of course, a good look counts but we have focused especially on the personality of the girls, their everyday activities, their involvement, social life, plans,” she added.

Miss Belarus Aleksandra Chichikova greets the audience.

The contestants spent eight days in the Polish capital, busy with rehearsals, photo sessions, conferences and visits.

The inaugural Miss Wheelchair World attracted contestants from Angola, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Guatemala, India, Italy, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and the United States.

www.sapiecha.com

www.worldfairs.org

Henry Sapiecha

TIBET WOMEN COME OF AGE WITH A PAGEANT TO SHOW OFF THEIR WARES IN THIS VIDEO

Miss Tibet: A beauty pageant and a political act, Tibetan women’s moment in the limelight.

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Watch tibet woman pageant below:-

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Henry Sapiecha

 

Video & article show how Nicole Kidman brings glamour to Etihad brand campaign

Movie star Nicole Kidman is the face of Etihad Airways in a new global brand campaign by M&C Saatchi Sydney.

The ‘Flying Reimagined’ campaign stars Kidman aboard Etihad’s new flagship Airbus A380, enjoying service offerings including The Lobby, and relaxing in its three-room private living space, The Residence.

The television commercial for the campaign was shot on the aircraft and in a number of global locations including various landmarks in Abu Dhabi. It also includes a digital created scene of Kidman inside the soon-to-be opened Lourve Abu Dhanbi and inside the Strahov Library in Prague.

The concept for the new campaign was created by M&C Saatchi Australia, part of Etihad Airways’ global creative agency, M&C Saatchi.
Tom McFarlane, founding creative director at M&C Saatchi Australia said: “On the completion of a campaign I’m often asked what inspired me.

“The answers are many and varied, but in this case the inspiration came directly from the product itself. Who could not be inspired by the sheer elegance, style, and dare I say it, reimagining of this remarkable aircraft? Hopefully, all of which we have captured perfectly in this campaign.”

The campaign includes 60 second and 30 second edits of the film, with still versions of the campagin appearing in print, digital and outdoor channels.

London-based production company Thomas and Thomas produced the television commercial while the brand story was directed by husband and wife directorial team Anthony Atanasio and Valerie Martinez. An accompanying soundtrack was commissioned by the airline and composed by creative director and composer of Sydney-based audio design company, Song Zu, Ramesh Sathiah.

Etihad Airways chief commercial officer Peter Baumgatner said: “Nicole Kidman, as a globally respected artist, was the perfect voice and face for our story, and embodies worldly sophistication, intelligence, originality, and elegance – values which form the foundations of the Etihad brand.”

“Etihad Airways is constantly pushing boundaries, taking inspiration from the world to provide a superlative in-flight experience for our guests. This new campaign has succeeded brilliantly in bringing our unique brand and service ethos to life on film, in print and on digital channels.

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Henry Sapiecha

Madonna’s topless photos are a triumph for all women – whatever their age

madonna posing on bed image www.goodgirlsgo.com

Madonna, as she appears in a shoot for the latest issue of Interview magazine.

There’s no denying it. The last few weeks have seen the cup of celebrity naked flesh runneth over. And I’m not even talking about that jungle reality show.

Today, it emerged that the ‘Queen of Pop’ has posed, topless, for a spread in the December issue of Interview magazine. Wearing a bustier and leather glove, she reclines on a satin cushion, her hand to her forehead, her boobs bared.

It’s styled as a romantic image – very different to the black and white Knightley shot (which appeared in the same publication back in September), where she stared confidently down the camera, hands on hips.

madonna posing in leather gear image www.goodgirlsgo (1)

At the time, I wrote a piece defending Knightley’s right to be photographed topless. It was, I said, a feminist statement from a woman who’d been roundly criticised for having her modest cleavage digitally enhanced on film posters. Here she was, in all her natural glory. Hur-rah.

Her detractors didn’t agree. Who, they cried, wanted to see the actresses ‘fried eggs’? Some, unkind, commentators referred to her appearance in the Pirates of the Caribbean film ‘Dead Man’s Chest’.

Now, just weeks later, Madonna is under fire for committing the same offence.

Madonna, as she appears in a shoot for the latest issue of <i>Interview</i> magazine. Madonna, as she appears in a shoot for the latest issue of Interview magazine.

How dare she? At 56, no less. I’d wager you won’t see a report today that doesn’t mention her age alongside her cup size.

‘Still got it!’ a few have already trilled.

Groan. They’ve utterly missed the point.

Madonna’s decision to pose topless has nothing to do with showing-off her wrinkle-free cleavage – nor male titillation. That she’s an older woman is powerful, yes. But, to me, it seems pretty clear that this is far from a pop star trying to prove that she’s ‘still hot’ in her fifties.

keira-knightley image www.goodgirlsgo.com

Madonna’s age is just a convenient stick to beat her with. It’s an easy reason for critics to cry ‘put ’em away’ without, on the surface, seeming sexist.

Because there’s always something, isn’t there? Always a reason that a woman’s body isn’t deemed ‘suitable’. Breasts too small a la Knightley? No thanks. A middle-aged pop star? What the hell was she thinking?

Of course, Madonna is no stranger to nudity. Frankly, she’s been taking her clothes off for decades. Her decision to pose for Interview is, then, perhaps less surprising than Knightley’s. But it’s no less powerful a statement. Here is a woman still at the top of her industry, after almost 40 years. She’s weathered numerous musical trends and managed to stay relevant. Why shouldn’t she pose with her breasts exposed?

After all, she pretty much started it.

Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago, Madonna posted a censored topless picture of herself from the Nineties, in response to theimages of Kim Kardashian’s oiled, nude backside in Papermagazine.

‘It’s confusing,’ she wrote. ‘Nipples are considered forbidden and provocative but exposing your ass is not. #flummoxed’ (sic).

Here is a clear indication that Madonna knew her latest photo shoot would shock. Let’s face it, she’s saying, topless pictures of famous women always have.

We might be used to seeing pictures of seeing flat chested models in fashion magazines (think Kate Moss on the beach, or backstage at a catwalk show).

But a model’s body is a commodity – it’s the vehicle she’s using to sell products. For stars such as Madonna and Knightly, it’s different. They are selling their own image, not someone elses. Choosing to bear their breasts is a feminist statement, not a requirement. They are saying: ‘Here I am. Take me, or leave me’.

Of course, Madonna and Knightley both have exceptional body types compared to us mere mortals. But, the fact remains. When it all gets too ‘real’, we simply can’t handle it.

There’s undeniably an element of desire wrapped-up in all this. Knightley was criticised for being ‘unfeminine’. Small boobs aren’t traditionally seen as covetable. Neither are those of an older woman.

So, isn’t it a blessing that we have these strong, famous women brave enough to turn unrealistic thinking on its head and show us that the female body comes in many forms?

Madonna is flying in the face of what the naked woman ‘should’ look like. She’s controlling her own image, just as she’s always done. Her attitude? Just because she’s in her fifties, why should she hide away?

The sugary pink cardigan that exposes her breasts in the Interviewpicture, says it all. ‘I’m not ready to button-up like a little old lady. Thanks all the same’.

We all should applaud her (preferably while wearing cut-off PVC gloves) for it.

Telegraph, London

Henry Sapiecha

AFRO-BRAZILIAN WOMEN MODELS PROTEST WITH TOPLESS SHOW

Some 40 models, most of them women, have staged a topless protest in Rio de Janeiro against the low presence of Afro-Brazilians on fashion catwalks.

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‘‘What strikes you, your racism or me?’’ one of the female demonstrators wrote on her chest during the protest late Wednesday timed to coincide with Rio Fashion Week.

The demonstration also coincided with the signing of a deal between the Fashion Week organisers and the Rio ombudsman’s office setting a 10 per cent quota for black models in fashion shows, the G1 news website reported.

‘‘This agreement crowns a joint initiative that can open a space that does not yet exist,’’ said Moises Alcuna, a spokesman for Educafro, a civil rights group championing the labour and educational rights of blacks and indigenous people.

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More than half of Brazil’s 200 million people are of African descent, the world’s second largest black population after that of Nigeria.But Afro-Brazilians complain of widespread racial inequality.

‘‘If we are buying clothes, why can’t we parade in the (fashion) shows,’’ asked a 15-year-old model taking part in the protest. ‘‘Does that mean that only white women can sell and the rest of us can only buy?’’

‘‘Claiming to showcase Brazilian fashion without the real Brazilians amounts to showing Brazilian fashion (only) with white models,’’ said Jose Flores, a 25-year-old former model who now works in advertising.

After 13 years of debate, President Dilma Rousseff last year signed a controversial law that reserves half of seats in federal universities to public school students, with priority given to Afro-Brazilians and indigenous people.

In June 2009, the Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) – Latin America’s premier fashion event – for the first time imposed quotas requiring at least 10 per cent of the models to be black or indigenous.

Previously, only a handful of black models featured among the 350 or so that sashayed down the catwalk – usually less than three per cent.

But in 2010, the 10 per cent quota was removed, after a conservative prosecutor deemed it unconstitutional.

AFP

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