PAPERhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/PAPERen-usWed, 17 Oct 2018 22:56:49 +0000https://assets.rbl.ms/17461748/210x.pnghttp://www.790g4sp.tw/PAPERPerson vs. Persona: Maison the Faux Examines Authenticityhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/maison-the-faux-authenticity-2613120398.html

Declaring someone "fake" is one of those ultimate character attacks; in that context, we're basically saying the fake person is deceptive, malicious, cold-hearted, and selfish. When we're misled by a fake person, we think less about their reasoning than our own hurt feelings. But aren't a lot of us guilty of the same tactics sometimes? Don't we all wear masks — some more opaque than others — at different points in our lives?

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Smile Now, Cry Later, the latest production from the creative studio of fashion house Maison the Faux, explored what happens when such a mask fuses permanently, and it also asks why. Working with the skeletons of a show, the seven-scene meta-play, realized most recently on Oct. 5 in downtown L.A., featured actors struggling to find their best take on a particular character, with some even jockeying for the same role. While rooted in an analysis of the line between character and performer, the production alluded to the audience's — or anyone's — everyday acting, too.

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"Everybody in this world struggles with staying true to themselves," Maison the Faux designers Joris Suk and Tessa de Boer note. "Being original and not compromising who you are is one of the hardest things to do, but at the same time it's one of the most important things in life to explore. The performance was very much based around this struggle. Each role and scene revolved around the questions: Who is the real me? Why did I lose myself? Is the original me enough?"

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"Who is the real me? Why did I lose myself? Is the original me enough?"

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Practically anyone can admit that clothes are one way we construct masks for ourselves. That's not really up for debate — but our intentions are. Is it all artifice? A coping mechanism? Do our personas — and the style that helps present them — elevate our identities, or are we covering them up, denying ourselves some inner truth?

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In conversation with PAPER, Suk and de Boer guide us through the character examination that is Smile Now, Cry Later. Read on to learn more about the inspirations behind the show, how the actors wore reflected the mission, and what the crew found in creating it all.

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How did the idea for Smile Now, Cry Later originate? What was the initial mission behind it?

During our last presentation in LA, we spent a lot of time in Hollywood, which led to this presentation. We became intrigued by human behavior: How people can fake their emotions or put on a fake smile and eventually start to believe the fake smile themselves. It's about the tricks we play on ourselves when we "act," how our coping mechanism can take over. So it was an investigation in why people find comfort in playing a character to escape and how dangerous it can be when the character eventually takes over the "real" character and emotions. One of the starting points of the concept was [a reading by Maya Angelou [of Paul Laurence Dunbar's We Wear the Mask, which] we watched over and over again.

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Related | Maison the Faux Takes Hollywood

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Can you tell us more about the seven scenes within the play? What was the narrative for each, who were the characters?

The characters of the play consisted out of Echo, Narcissus, The Teacher, The Choir, Ophelia, Icarus and a few unnamed side parts. Each scene was inspired by either real-life experiences or famous Hollywood scenes in which the line between character and actor are blurred. There were some secret Mulholland Drive references, Truman Show, Birdman and much more, which we mixed with classical Greek and Roman plays. The idea behind it is to mix contemporary Hollywood with the ancient principles of acting: drama and comedy (the smile and the cry). For instance, the final scene was heavily inspired by the final scene of the Truman Show.

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How did you go about choosing performers and collaborators?

We worked together for the second time with Maavven and director Nina McNeely. Most of the people we worked with on this play are either people Nina works with a lot or we have worked with in the past — people we love and that fascinate us for one reason or another. We're always looking for people that connect to the brand and are creators themselves, so the play/presentation is carried by a group of people that all collaborate and add to the creative process. We want Maison the Faux to feel like a place in which everybody involved feels like a part of the same world.

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What role did the costuming play in shaping the personas? Why were houndstooth, leather, and denim used in creating romantic silhouettes?

Almost like an universal language, like the tear and the smile, translated in two ways: the modern and the ancient. Like in the development of the play and the set, we were constantly looking for a classical basis. The materials and silhouettes we used all have that same type of feeling: recognizable but reinterpreted.

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From the photos of the performance, it seems as if the actors are shown struggling to perfecting the characterizations of their roles. Can you elaborate on the experiences they portray — and what those portrayals are meant to represent?

Everybody in this world struggles with staying true to themselves. Being original and not compromising who you are is one of the hardest things to do, but at the same time it's one of the most important things in life to explore. The performance was very much based around this struggle. Each role and scene revolved around the questions: Who is the real me? Why did I lose myself? Is the original me enough? To illustrate, we had three performers playing the role of Echo, all of them trying to replace one another and competing over who can be the best version of a character.

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"It was an investigation in why people find comfort in playing a character to escape and how dangerous it can be."

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How did the audience react to the assistant director's instructions to smile or cry? What purpose does this staged element serve?

We want our performances to be immersive, to really touch an audience and make them feel and contemplate what they are witnessing. The assistant director served many symbolic and structural purposes; the AD tried to control the audience's perception of the play, telling them what to do and how to feel. So not only were the characters struggling to find authenticity in their portrayals, the audience was also manipulated and forced into certain ways of behaving and feeling.

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What did you find in exploring questions about the authenticity of emotions and the line between person and persona? What about the question of, "How do you recognize the mask?

During this whole investigation we found out that the "masks" people wear can be just like fashion. It can make someone hideous and fake, or it can serve a purpose of helping to bring out identity and reinforce someone's realness.

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Photography: Jordan Millington

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 22:56:49 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/maison-the-faux-authenticity-2613120398.htmlMaison the fauxHollywoodJhoni Jackson
Fendi Mania Has Taken Over the Worldhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/fendi-mania-collection-launch-2613117621.html

Last night, Fendi launched a new capsule collection dubbed "Fendi Mania." The sporty range of dresses, separates, accessories, and footwear, covered in the brand's signature double "F" motif and a re-appropriated version of its "Fendi/Fila" logo created by @hey_reilly, has officially hits Fendi.com and a handful of the brand's boutiques.

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Related | That Fendi Monogram Print is Taking Over 2018

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To coincide with the capsule's launch, a series of one-night-only events were held in nine cities around the world. In New York City, Ansel Elgort, Chloe Sevigny, Mia Moretti came out to Fendi's Madison Avenue flagship to celebrate the collection, while the label's Beverly Hills outpost hosted Awkwafina, Joe Jonas, Sarah Hyland, and more. Similar soirees in Paris, London, Moscow, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Kuwait attracted celebrities, influencers, and figures from the fashion, food, art, and design spheres.

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See more from Fendi Mania events around the world, below.

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Photos courtesy of Fendi

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 22:40:30 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/fendi-mania-collection-launch-2613117621.htmlFendiFendi maniaAnsel elgortAwkwafinaJoe jonasSarah hylandChloe sevignyWinnie harlowShyam Patel
'Eighth Grade' Star Elsie Fisher Will Play a Cult Girl-Group Rockerhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/elsie-fisher-the-shaggs-film-2613137706.html

Since Bo Burnham's Eighth Grade debuted this summer to near-unanimous critical acclaim, the Internet and Hollywood have been obsessed with its star, 15-year-old Elsie Fisher. She's already been cast in the new animated Addams Family film, and now it's been revealed that Fisher will find her next (non-cartoon) character in one of the Wiggins sisters in a new musical biopic about cult girl-band The Shaggs.

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The Shaggs were a famously terrible New Hampshire rock band comprised of the three Wiggins sisters, whose disciplinarian father forced them to start the group after a palm reader predicted that his daughters would become stars. It's an offbeat, weirder-than-life story perfect for the actress, who, in her break-out, slew the role of a struggling, awkward teen.

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The Shaggs will be directed by Ken Kwapis (director of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, He's Just Not That Into You) while the screenplay is an adaptation of Susan Orlean's 1999 New Yorker article about the the Wiggin sisters, "Meet the Shaggs." Stay tuned, it promises to be weird and charming as hell.

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Photos via Getty

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 21:49:56 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/elsie-fisher-the-shaggs-film-2613137706.htmlElsie fisherEighth gradeFilmTvThe shaggsBo burnhamJael Goldfine
Fender Study Confirms: Women Are Taking Over Musichttp://www.790g4sp.tw/fender-guitar-study-women-2613120289.html

As you may know, the guitar typically forms the basis of "rock music," which you also may know, is often eulogized (as pop, hip-hop and R&B surpass it in consumption and popularity) despite the droves of women and non-binary artists making visionary and zeitgeist-tapping guitar-based music.

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A new study by Fender reflects that this revolution is in motion — and reveals its self-perpetuating effect on the music industry. Their survey of guitar players inthe U.S. and the U.K. confirms that women now account for 50% of beginner and aspirational guitarists, and make up 50% of guitar sales, Rolling Stone reports.

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We're just over here crying tears of joy, imagining all these new, guitar-owning women who — indubitably inspired by St. Vincent, Mitski, Carrie Brownstein (Sleater Kinney), Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes), Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz), Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females), Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast), Laetitia Tamko (Vagabon), Katie Alice Greer (Priests), Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Lindsey Jordan (Snail Mail), Jade Payne (Aye Nako), Tina Halladay (Sheer Mag), Victoria Ruiz (Downtown Boys) and so many more — who are going to found badass, shredding bands, or even use the guitar to make sounds like no genre we've ever heard before.

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The statistic confirms how ignorant rock and the guitar's many eulogizers are, and how much they're overlooking women. Rolling Stone reported that, despite Gibson's notorious bankruptcy, guitar sales were actually doing fine and better than ever with women.

"The fact that 50 percent of new guitar buyers in the U.K. were women was a surprise to the U.K. team, but it's identical to what's happening in the U.S.," Fender CEO Andy Mooney told Rolling Stone. "There was also belief about what people referred to as the 'Taylor Swift factor' maybe making the 50 percent number short-term and aberrational. In fact, it's not. Taylor has moved on, I think playing less guitar on stage than she has in the past. But young women are still driving 50 percent of new guitar sales. So the phenomenon seems like it's got legs, and it's happening worldwide."

Duh. Women have of course, always played the guitar, even if they've been erased in history and ignored by the music industry while white men became the pop cultural guardians of the instrument.

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The transformation of our image of a guitarist is crucial, given that it's pretty unappealing to pick up a guitar when you've rarely seen anyone who looks like you playing it, or making music using it that interests and speaks to you.

Not that we're encourage pseudo-woke branding, but guitar companies like Fender are notably finally responding to and beginning to serve the female market, highlighting rockers like Bully, Grace Vanderwaal, Cherry Glazer and HANA, and including women in their advertising actually playing guitar, and not just posing seductively with them.

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The numbers go to show that the more women who are given due credit and air-time for their skills, the more women are going to pick up guitars, and see what they have to say. Everyone wins.

Photo via Getty

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 21:24:31 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/fender-guitar-study-women-2613120289.htmlFenderGibsonGuitarRockMusicSt. vincentMitskiCarrie brownstein (sleater kinney)Brittany howard (alabama shakes)Sadie dupuis (speedy ortiz)Marissa paternoster (screaming females)Michelle zauner (japanese breakfast)Laetitia tamko (vagabon)Katie alice greer (priests)Laura jane grace (against me!)Lindsey jordan (snail mail)Jade payne (aye nako)Tina halladay (sheer mag)Victoria ruiz (downtown boys)Jael Goldfine
Cassie and Diddy Have Reportedly Splithttp://www.790g4sp.tw/cassie-diddy-split-2613117663.html

More than a decade after the two were first publicly linked, Diddy and Cassie have reportedly split. While it may seem like no one else's business when a couple decides to call it quits, we as a society have decided that the lives of celebrities are public property for public consumption. (When you get a CNN breaking news alert that Ariana and Pete are taking and break, you know exactly what time it is in this cultural "moment.")

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Related | Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Have Reportedly Split

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The news comes from a variety as sources, including one who told People that "the decision was amicable and they remain friends" and "Cassie is going to focus on her music and acting career." While the two never officially confirmed their 11-year relationship, it's common knowledge that they were an item. And though magazine articles and web posts may stick to canned publicist, sorry, source statements, the Wild West of Twitter was quick to speculate on the real reasons behind the break up. Scroll at your own risk, or make better choices and go for a walk outside or something.

Image via Getty

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:03:22 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/cassie-diddy-split-2613117663.htmlDiddyCassieClaire Valentine
Billie Eilish Is Selling Her Closet For a Good Causehttp://www.790g4sp.tw/billie-eilish-charity-2613108361.html

Billie Eilish has great style. A burgeoning college fashion icon (though she's still too young to have attended college) whose look might be pinned down as millennial skate-goth slob-chic, Eilish is out here making sweats look cool for every occasion, inventing streetwear pajamas, facing down monochromes of every tone, and taking daring ugly-fashion risks that always seem to pay off.

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Related | 2018 PAPER People: Billie Eilish

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Now, she's using her lewks for good. The 16-year-old, animal-lover and thrifting-expert has launched a charity initiative called BILLIE'S CLOSET, through which, you can buy her discards and hand-me-downs. All proceeds of the sales will go towards Marley's Mutts' Pawsitive Change Program, a platform of the an animal advocacy non-profit that matches death row dogs with inmates in the California State prison system, to help facilitate mutual rehabilitation. The program's misson is to: "reduce inmate recidivism by providing them a viable skill, while at the same time saving dogs lives. Four experienced trainers guide the program... during which time, the inmates work towards vocational accreditation, and the dogs towards their Canine Good Citizen Certification."

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Eilish's looks might be hard to pull-off, but to give yourself the best shot, you can arm yourself with pieces right from the source. The closet is currently stocked with six items, including a pink turtleneck, some light-wash mom jeans and a red silk bomber jacket, all of which are first come, first serve. Eilish will re-stock the collection every Wednesday.

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The initiative is launched in conjunction with Eilish's latest single, "when the party's over." Produced by her brother and long-time collaborator Finneas O'Connell, the stripped-down piano ballad puts Eilish's throaty vocals front and center, shrouded in a choral echo, that gives the whole song the feel of a hymn as she warns lovers away from her, and reflects honestly about how she hurts people she loves.

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Photo courtesy of Billie Eilish

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:00:34 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/billie-eilish-charity-2613108361.htmlPopFashionAnimal rightsMusicBillie eilishJael Goldfine
A$AP Rocky Reveals Enduring Love of Orgieshttp://www.790g4sp.tw/asap-rocky-loves-orgies-2613112033.html

A fun fact about A$AP Rocky: he loves orgies!

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In a new, extremely revealing interview with Esquire, the rapper openly detailed his exploits in group sex, sharing details celebrities normally play close to the vest. Rocky also talked about the challenges of his upbringing, spent partly in homeless shelters, and the enormity of his influence in both hip-hop and fashion. But the orgy thing kind of takes the cake.

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Rocky said that he often hosts group sex in his custom-made, $100,000 bed in his Beverly Hills mansion, which he decorated "in the style of Tim Burton and Wes Anderson." He loves The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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Related | A$AP Rocky's Fashion Philosophy is Magical

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"The women that I'm around are into that free-spirited s–t like me," he said. "And why not? Let's smoke some good weed in the teepee and have a fun time!"

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Rocky went to his first orgy at just 13, he explained to Esquire:

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"My first orgy was when I was in seventh grade," he said. "Thirteen years old. Yeah, I was at Booker T. Washington [High School] in New York City. My dad had went to jail for drugs, so my mom moved us to a homeless shelter on 104th and Broadway. Our school was like three blocks away, and they used to let us out for lunch, for 45 minutes. The first time was in this apartment building. We took the elevator to the roof, and everybody put their coats on the ground. There were like five girls and 10 guys, and we all just took turns."

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While Rocky may be successful, rich, and enormously influential (he is the Fashion Killa and all) now, he faced some bullying as a kid. At orgies.

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"And hopefully you didn't have a little dick because they're going to tease you," he said. "At that time, I wasn't the biggest guy, but come on, cut me some slack, I was in the seventh grade! Fucking bullies!"

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Photo via BFA

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 19:40:18 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/asap-rocky-loves-orgies-2613112033.htmlA$ap rockyEsquireOrgiesJocelyn Silver
David LaChapelle Shoots Kim K for New KKW Beauty Campaignhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/kim-kardashian-david-lachapelle-2613090475.html

Legendary photographer David LaChapelle shot Kim Kardashian for her new KKW Beauty campaign. And from what's been released so far, the pictures look major. Major!

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Kim is launching a new collection of "bright and jewel-toned" pressed and loose powder pigments, available this Friday at noon. She tends to promote new KKW launches with gorgeous, outlandish shoots, including one where she was nude, covered in cherry blossoms, and another where she posed covered in glitter to announce her line of "Ultralight Beam" highlighters.

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The reality star recently made waves for a wild trip with husband Kanye West to Uganda. They met with President Yoweri Museveni, who has been accused of several human rights violations.

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Related | David LaChapelle Gets Candid

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LaChapelle, who has shot practically every celebrity you could think of, previously shot the 2013 edition of the famed Kardashian Kristmas kards.

Photo via BFA

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:46:17 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/kim-kardashian-david-lachapelle-2613090475.htmlKim kardashianKkw beautyDavid lachapelleJocelyn Silver
Everything's Trash, But It's Okay: We Have Phoebe Robinsonhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/phoebe-robinson-interview-2613049413.html

She's a comedian, actress, author, podcaster, and producer, collecting accolades like I collect unlistened-to voicemails. Phoebe Robinson has probably made you laugh in one of approximately 12,000 ways: Be it through one, or both, of her podcasts, 2 Dope Queens (the other dope queen being the hilarious Jessica Williams) and Sooo Many White Guys, the former recently being turned into an hour-long HBO variety special, her New York Times bestselling essay collection, You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain, and/or her role in the Netflix film, Ibiza, which co-stars Gillian Jacobs and Vanessa Byer, in addition to the myriad gigs that punctuate her time between projects.

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But she's not losing steam anytime soon. Her sophomore book, Everything's Trash, But It's Okay, out now, details life after the election, tackles subjects like white feminism and society's unrealistic beauty standards, and chronicles her struggle with debt and her burgeoning relationship with her boyfriend, whom she has affectionately dubbed as #BritishBaekoff, all while vacillating between the hilarious and thought-provoking to deliver a signature body of work that can only be born from the mind of Phoebe Robinson.

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Related | 2018 PAPER People: Phoebe Robinson

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PAPER sat down with the unequivocal queen of multi-hyphenates to talk about her second book, which went from interview to impromptu therapy session because talking to Phoebe, even if you're talking to her for the first time, feels like talking to an old friend. We chatted about life since the election, relationships, career, debt, and experiencing each of these facets of life as a Trash Person??, below.

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So many things have happened since your first book, many of which you've chronicled in your upcoming one. How did you end up deciding what stories to tell?

Whenever I write I want my essays to be a snapshot of what's going on in my life at the time. That helps me center the storytelling. For example, the story about me coming out of debt was happening right as I sold the book, so I was like, "Oh, I should write about that." I started dating #BritishBaekoff so I wrote about that; it was just taking all these things, whether they were highs or lows, and capturing them at this specific time in my life.

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Your last book, You Can't Touch My Hair, was published in October 2016, so about a month before Everything Went Wrong. How has your writing process changed since?

[Laughs] I think I just want to be as honest as possible, especially since the election. I want to just say everything that I'm thinking and not really worry too much about pissing someone off. I'm thinking about the essay on white feminism and the Women's March in particular right now. At first I felt super triumphant about it, but when I sat down to write about it, I realized that that wasn't the only emotion I had, and I thought that maybe I was a little dishonest in expressing the totality of what I felt about the Women's March. I just felt like it's good to be honest about this moment, because it can't just be all "rah-rah" without also being truthful.

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"Acknowledging that you messed up or made a mistake helps you come out on the other side smarter and wiser."

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In the beginning, you mention that embracing our trash — and I don't mean our literal garbage that's accumulating under our desks and in our kitchens — can be a form of liberation. Tell me more about that.

We live in a moment, especially because of social media, where we try to present the best version of ourselves: how we're always killing it or how we always look cute and know how to contour our noses perfectly, and, while that's nice, it's also making people feel like crap, because then we feel like we're not measuring up to this or not measuring up to that. So when I came up with the title, I was just thinking that I could talk about how feminism isn't completely on point, that there are still many issues we need to address, or I that I could talk about how I was fully garbage in thinking that money would never fully run out for me, which, as you read, did, or that I was never going to struggle. I think owning up to my own mistakes and saying that I'm a little bit trash too helps everyone realize that they don't have to pretend that their mistakes, or the things they've said in the past, don't exist and don't have to succumb to the pressure of living this perfectly curated life. I think acknowledging that you messed up or made a mistake helps you come out on the other side smarter and wiser, and prevents you from repeating that mistake in the future.

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How do you approach writing about people that are close to you, especially when they're imperative to your narrative? How do you tell that story without the trepidation and anxiety that comes with knowing that that person may or will read it?

That's a great question. I will say about the essay I wrote about meeting my current boyfriend, whom I refer to as #BritishBaekoff, that I wanted him to read it and make sure he's okay with it because he works in music and wants to maintain his sense of privacy, especially since he's dating a public person like me. I wanted him to be on board with it.

I think when it comes to writing about interactions, especially interactions with high-profile people, it's about sticking to the facts as much as possible, and if there is any color commentary, it's really about me. Like when I wrote about Julia Roberts and her family teaching me how to swim, I wasn't like, "Let me just talk about her kids," because that wasn't pertinent to the story. I wrote about how I was scared to be in the water, and as long as I'm relating it to me, I'm still respecting her family's privacy.

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I think almost every creative struggles to remain present and enjoy what they have, which is something you touch on in this book. How do you take a step back and admire the view from time to time?

It's hard for me because I'm always on to the next thing. I don't want to get too caught up in doing the victory lap but there comes a point where I'm not appreciating the fun moments. You can't only enjoy working all the time or struggling to get to where you want to be. I think, for me, it's a process that I'm constantly working on. I don't have to have a freaking parade every time I achieve something, but I can celebrate in different ways, like treating myself to a concert or a piece of cake if I wrote something great. I can go on a vacation for my birthday; it doesn't mean I'm not a good worker, it just means that I can enjoy the fact that I can afford to go away. It's just about finding balance and not letting the work consume you; it shouldn't be your sole purpose, it should be a thing that brings you joy.

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"There was a time that I was $60,000 in debt [...] Society makes you feel like if you don't have x amount of money in your bank account, you're failing."

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I haven't read many essays on money (the other recent one that comes to mind is in Alexander Chee's How to Write an Autobiographical Novel) but your essay hit me the hardest. How do you stop letting your money (or lack thereof) rule you without any detrimental financial repercussions?

For me, I had to first approach it from a mental point of view. There was a time that I was $60,000 in debt, and I had to untie my self-worth from my bank account. I think society makes you feel like if you don't have x amount of money in your bank account, you're failing; if you're not doing this at this specific moment of your life, you're fucking up. You become to invested in money but not in the right way, where you'll be like, for example, doing all these stand-up shows but not making a ton of money, and you might conclude that stand-up is a waste of time instead of realizing the value of practicing of stand-up and what all that practice can mean for you down the line because you're focused on your current monetary situation.

Not feeling like a failure because my bank account didn't look a certain way was the first step. The next step was just living more honestly; if I had to opt out of something because I couldn't afford it I would be honest about not being able to afford it. Then comes having to be practical and locking stuff down, things like not charging stuff to your credit card if you can't already pay off and it took me a solid two, three years where I had to dig myself out of this debt, and it wasn't fun — I hated it and I was so stressed out — but what helped was realizing that this problem wasn't insurmountable. After I took these steps and took the time to reevaluate my financial choices and what I could and couldn't afford, I realized that I was more capable of digging myself out of this than I thought.

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I think you just added financial guru to your string of multi-hyphenates. In addition to ones you already have, what's the next one you want to tack on?

[Laughs] I really love working in publishing, but I do think it's overwhelmingly white, male, and straight, so I think the next thing I want to do, maybe in the next couple of years, is to start my own imprint. As much as I love writing books, I want to help other people get their foot in the door. My publisher, Plume, was the only publisher that wanted my first book; no one else was interested or got it. You really just need one person to believe in you, that's truly all you need. If you already have the skill-set and the talent, that will do so much of the work for you. You just need that one person to give you a shot, and you'll kill it.

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Phoebe Robinson's Everything's Trash, But It's Okay, is out now, featuring a foreword by Ilana Glazer. The author will also be going on tour through October.

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Photography: Charise Ash

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:39:55 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/phoebe-robinson-interview-2613049413.htmlPhoebe robinsonGreg Mania
10 Intimate Portraits of Women Returning Home From Prisonhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/life-in-prison-photos-10-2599889758.html

While public awareness of the tragedy of mass incarceration may be growing, less attention has been paid to the experiences of female inmates. The prison population has ballooned over the past twenty years, skyrocketing to 2.1 million, making the United States the largest jailer of its citizens in the world. This explosion of the inmate population has not excluded women, and in fact while overall fewer women are incarcerated than men, as a demographic they are the fastest-growing segment of the prison population.

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A 2017 ACLU report found that women are disproportionately stuck languishing in jails, often because even more so than incarcerated men, they can't afford bail. Of the 219,000 women currently held by the correctional system, 113,000 were funneled to state and federal prisons, where inmates with longer sentences are sent. Though violent crime has been steadily dropping nationwide since its peak in 1991, the number of life sentences has nearly quintupled since 1984, and a recent report by the Sentencing Project shows that 3.5 percent of the overall life-sentenced population are female, which is half their representation in the general prison population.

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So why do so many women end up incarcerated? Research tells us that between 23 and 37 percent of female state prisoners were physically abused before age 18 and one in four was sexually abused—higher than the national average. A study by the Department of Justice found that victims of most women convicted of murder were their intimate partner or a family member, and that nearly half of women in state prisons had experienced abuse at some time before their arrest. Drug sentencing laws, a lack of community resources, poverty, and disinterest in the public and policy levels in issues that affect women also contribute to a complex array of factors. But beyond statistics, inmates are people like anyone else, carrying with them into the justice system their histories, relationships, desires, fears, trauma and hopes for the future.

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One of the most challenging times in an inmate's life can be their return to society. Photographer Sara Bennett, formerly a public defender specializing in battered women and the wrongly convicted, has spent years capturing intimate moments in the lives of women who were handed a life sentence but eventually received parole. Her series Life After Life in Prison and The Bedroom Project examine the experiences of women as they return to society following decades in prison. Following their transitions, Bennett introduces us to women whose lives have been impacted by the justice system more than anyone else, and who now have to contend with the joys and anxieties of newfound freedom.

PAPER spoke with Bennett to learn more about the work and the challenges women face upon returning to life outside prison walls:

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How do you find your subjects and what's the process of bringing them into the project?

For many years, I was the pro bono attorney for Judith Clark, who was serving a 75-year-to-life sentence for her role as a getaway driver in a famous New York Case—the Brinks robbery of 1981. I was trying to get the governor to grant her clemency, something rarely granted, and I had to show that she was extraordinary and worthy of the governor's mercy. I photographed women who had been incarcerated with her and had them speak about her influence on their lives.

It was the reaction to that work—viewers were surprised that the formerly incarcerated women were just regular women—which sparked my second project, Life After Life in Prison, where I followed four women as they went about re-entering society after decades in prison. Judy introduced me to my first subject, Keila. The first time I met Keila, she was on her way to a meeting of formerly incarcerated women, and I tagged along with my camera. There, I told all the women about my project, and they all wanted to be included. A lot of the women at that meeting already knew of me, either through my work on Judy's behalf or because I had represented some of their friends as a Legal Aid lawyer. Each woman I met, introduced me to another, and that's how I ended up with my Bedroom Project series, where, so far, I have photographed 18 women.

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Why the designation, specifically, of life in prison?

It was really, really important to me. My only criteria for someone to be a part of this project, or any of my projects, is that they had to have a life sentence, because it means that they never know if they were going to get out of prison. If you have a sentence of 15 years to life, it means that in 15 years you are eligible for parole, but the parole board may deny you. I'm not a practicing lawyer anymore and I haven't been for almost 14 years, although I did have pro bono cases for a very long time. But I was really concerned about the long-termers in prison.

One of the other things I wanted to highlight was the parole system in general. Every state is different but in a place like New York the granting of parole is very slim and has been for a long time. You can have a sentence of 15 to life, and you go to the parole board and they don't care that you have done 15 years, they just care about what you did 15 years ago. The only time you ever hear about a parolee is when they commit some kind of high profile crime, and then the feeling is, 'We have to clamp down on parole again.' I wanted to show a different light—the majority of people who come out of prison and lead productive lives and who are just thriving.

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Given that it's life sentences that you are dealing with, are the women you photograph mostly convicted of violent crimes? Or is it a lot of drug charges?

No, it's all violent crimes. In my Bedroom Project series, all but two women were convicted of homicide. In my first reentry series, all four women were convicted of homicide.

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Did you get to know the women well while photographing them?

Some of the women I know really, really well—the four women who were my original re-entry subjects, for example. I spent hundreds of hours with them individually and spent time with them with their families, going to church, going to their jobs, social events, just hanging out. There are only a few women that I don't know very well and have only met once or twice.

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What are some common threads with women that you see after they were incarcerated for a long time?

Really, resilience. It's just kind of incredible. There's this joy for life and how to get pleasure out of the simplest things. It helps you remember a lot of things that people take for granted—like a comfortable bed, a pillow, a choice in what you have to eat, the ability to just walk out on the street or go to the park. No matter what seems to come their way, including homelessness, doesn't seem to phase them that much. That's been really eye-opening.

One of the women I know really well lives in the homeless shelter and she loves it there. She has a little room, and there's no door, but it's hers. There is no one coming in and telling her she can't have something in there. Even though the shelter has rules, she can put things out if she wants to and she can sit in there with the lights on or the lights off; she can look out the window. She doesn't have to worry that someone is going to come in there at any moment and go through all of her things. There is just a certain peace and autonomy that hasn't existed in these women's lives for so long.

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I can imagine the ability to come and go as they please is a great thing for them.

It really is. Not that many people know what it's like to live in prison. They get their ideas from movies. But in prison, people are constantly being counted, so you are woken up really early every day and you have to stand and be counted and you go through that five or six times each day. You eat your meals at a time that is designated to you, you take a shower at a time that is designated to you—with a little bar a soap that is given to you and that little bar of soap may have to last you a month. Just the very basic necessities of life have been stripped away, so to be able to get some of those things back, they are just very grateful and I've seen that across the board. They are so content with very little.

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Do you see much anger?

Not very much, which is surprising to me. I just heard from someone who has just been given parole after 47 years in prison. He went to prison when he was 17, and is now 64 years old. He was denied parole something like 16 times. I got a card from him that he's so grateful, and I was wondering why he'd be grateful? I believe that the person is just so grateful for being able to come home. I don't see a lot of anger and I don't know why.

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Have any of the women you worked with went back to prison?

Nope. I don't think any of them will.

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What are the biggest challenges you see them face upon re-entry?

The number one challenge is finding a place to live. The second is finding a job and a way to support themselves. There are reentry programs, but very few in general and even fewer for women. If you manage to get a place in a reentry program, then you will have a place to live; otherwise you may end up in a shelter. If you have been in prison for a long, long time, it's very rare that you are going to have a family member to go home to, just because everyone has aged or you have been forgotten. Even if you haven't been forgotten, but you come home and you're 45 and still have a living parent, they may not be able to take you in any more.

Finding a job is really, really hard. All of the women I know have a lot of skills, because when you are in prison you do work. So they may have plumbing skills, electrical skills, painting skills or culinary skills or maybe got a college degree or were running some kind of program in there. Everyone finds work and does some kind of meaningful work in prison, but that doesn't mean when you come home that an employer wants that experience. You have a huge gap on your resume. I know people who say that they were a chef for 25 years for a large institution and hope that the boss doesn't ask you what the name of the large institution was.

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Even though it's a positive event, emotionally it must be very trying.

A lot of people have a lot of anxiety. It's a little scary to come home after all that time away. Little things like walking across the street are hard. Some people get car sick because they haven't been in a vehicle for 25 years. Then there are the technology changes—but they seem to adapt pretty quickly. Reuniting with children which can be difficult. I haven't actually seen any of the people that I have been photographing reunite with children. There may be a couple who have them, but usually, the children are lost to the system or have family members who have turned the children against them. I feel like that's a really deep sadness.

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What's the age range of the people you photograph?

The age range is from 38-70. The minimum amount of time that any of my photographed subjects had was 14 years, and that was only because that person received clemency from the governor. The next shortest sentence was 17 years and after that, anywhere up to 35 years, which two of my portrait subjects served.

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What do you think about the way women who are incarcerated are portrayed in the media?

I used to watch Orange is the New Black and I have to say that I loved the second season where they showed the back stories of the women. It was the only time where I felt that they showed the women in an un-stereotypical fashion.

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Have any stereotypes come up for you that have been confronted? How has the project changed you on this?

I think I've really gotten to know the women in a way that I've never gotten to know my clients, which has been really great for me. I was an appellate lawyer, which means my clients had already been convicted by the time I met them, so I never got to know their home settings. When you are in and out of someone's home, you really get to know them. You get to see how they deal with their problems and who they are. I feel really honored that people allow me to come into their homes and be a part of their lives now. I did form close relationships with some of my clients and kept in touch with them after they came home from prison, so, this wasn't completely new to me. But the women I photograph have shared a lot of their lives with me and whenever someone allows you to do that, you really grow as a person.

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What would you hope the biggest take away for someone viewing this project is? And how do you hope that translates to change in society or the system?

One, I just want people to think about why we lock people up, why we lock them up for as long as we do and why we treat them so inhumanely. When you start to think about all that, the rest follows. Like: why don't we let people out when they have been completely rehabilitated? Why do we put up so many hurdles and requirements and barriers to getting a job when they come home? That was really eye-opening for me, that when they first come home they have to go to a lot of programs, which makes it really hard to have a job. I would love to see policy changes in the whole sentencing structure across the country, so we don't have sentences like life without parole or 25 years to life, like other countries. On a very basic level, we should be asking things like what kind of food do we feed people, and why do we send people to solitary, and why do we treat our pets better than we treat human beings?

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 17:11:25 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/life-in-prison-photos-10-2599889758.htmlMass incarcerationIndustrial prison complexPrisonStory Claire Valentine / Photography Sara Bennett
Unleash Your Demons With Aja's New Halloween Singlehttp://www.790g4sp.tw/aja-demons-witches-bitchess-2613070101.html

Brooklyn-based queer drag superstar and rapper Aja is back with a bang, after releasing their debut EP this May, In My Feelings. The first taste of what will ultimately be a full-length album, due in 2019, is a real treat: "Demons, Witches & Bitches" features The Vixen and Shilow, collaborations Aja says both come naturally.

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The song, full of clever, Halloween-themed wordplay, includes razor-sharp lyrics such as: "Remember you said my skin was rough, I could never be an ambassador/ Leather face, now my skin is tough, I'm the Texas chainsaw massacre." It's a direct call-out to haters who've criticized Aja's looks and a menacing scary-movie reference all at once. And the production is an equally dark and thrilling trap affair meant to rattle your bones.

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Related | 50 Sickening Portraits of Your Favorite Queens at DragCon

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"When I started writing my first I thought about all the things I always wanted to say but never wanted to confront, such as when people made fun of my skin," Aja says. "I was very inspired by the lines in Nicki Minaj's verse on 'Monster' where she basically says 'say what you want about me, but I'm doing $50K for a verse, no album out.' I'm in love with the end result and for people to have a peek at music I'm doing for my album. This is the style we're going for."

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Enjoy "Demons, Witches & Bitches," below.

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Photography: Tanner Abel for PAPER


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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 17:04:57 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/aja-demons-witches-bitchess-2613070101.htmlDrag raceDrag queensShilowThe vixenHalloweenLgbtLgbtqDemons witches and bitchesAjaMichael Love Michael
Taylor Swift Stays Woke, Urges Fans to Try Early Votinghttp://www.790g4sp.tw/taylor-swift-early-voting-2613066027.html

Since Taylor Swift is all awake and whatnot now, she's continuing to urge her fans to rock the vote. Swift, who has disabled the comments section on her Instagram, used a photo of a patriotic pedicure (perhaps from one of her many famous Fourth of July celebrations?) to tell fans that early voting is a viable option.

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"Something I wish I knew about when I was 18 and voting for the first time: EARLY VOTING," she wrote. "It makes it so quick and easy to go and cast your vote before November 6. Early voting starts TODAY in Tennessee and goes to Nov 1."

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Related | Taylor Swift: Welcome to the Resistance

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Swift added a link to vote.org in her bio, which provides deadlines for early voting in every state. It's an excellent option for those who don't think they can make it to the polls on election day (which should be a national holiday, hello). And while yes, Taylor Swift stayed silent throughout the 2016 hell election and only recently threw her support behind any candidates at all, her impact can't be denied.

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Her last post, in which she endorsed Democratic candidates for the house and senate in Tennessee, led to mass voter registration, with a reported 65,000 new voters registering within 24 hours of the post. Apparently the old, silent Taylor truly cannot come to the phone right now – she's probably busy phone banking for Phil Bredesden.

Photo via BFA

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 16:36:01 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/taylor-swift-early-voting-2613066027.htmlTaylor swiftVotingInstagramJocelyn Silver
Pete Davidson Cancels Comedy Gig 'For Personal Reasons'http://www.790g4sp.tw/pete-davidson-comedy-show-cancelled-2613054889.html

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Two days ago, very public former couple Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande very publicly called things off, with the singer announcing online that she was taking a break from social media to avoid backlash, process, and of course, take some much needed time off. (She's had quite the past year and some change, hasn't she? Sheesh.)

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Related | Ariana Grande Quits Social Media Post-Pete Davidson

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Obviously, because relationships commonly involve at least two people, Davidson is also, likely, hurting. The comedian was slated to appear for a "Comedy Night Live" performance at Temple University, according to Entertainment Tonight, but canceled "for personal reasons."

It has been reported that Grande returned her engagement ring to Davidson — they'd been engaged since May — and it's also apparent to us that the relationship ended abruptly, even after they got a pet pig together, named Piggy Smallz.

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Sources tell Entertainment Tonight: "Their family and friends stand behind their decision entirely and Ariana's team feels this will give her time to heal. They have not stopped talking since they made the decision to split and in fact they plan on trying to stay close friends or maybe one day even more than that."

Anything could happen. Regardless, we hope that both artists get well soon.

Photo via Getty

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:54:16 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/pete-davidson-comedy-show-cancelled-2613054889.htmlAriana grandeBreakupsCelebrity newsCelebrity couplesPete davidsonMichael Love Michael
The Australian Designer Behind J.Lo's Striking Lookhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/toni-maticevski-jennifer-lopez-2613063455.html

Lady Gaga's oversized Marc Jacobs suit wasn't the only outfit to make a statement at Elle's "Women In Hollywood" reception on Monday night. J.Lo, who presented Gaga with her award, wore an elegant, champagne and blush pink wrap blouse and black ruffled pencil skirt that stood out among the crowd. The look was created by Melbourne-based designer Toni Maticevski. Lesser known in the U.S., Maticevski is a fixture on the Australian fashion scene and has garnered loyal clients from China to Jordan over the past decade.

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Related | The Significance of Lady Gaga's Oversized Suit

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Since launching his namesake label in 2002, the son of Macedonian immigrants has become known for his sculptural, ultra-feminine demi-couture (ready-to-wear wrought with couture techniques). His high-glamour mix of structured silhouettes and fragile flourishes has caught the eye of celebrities including Australian actor Abbie Cornish and Kim Kardashian West. Although his saucy confections are glamour-puss ready, they're also rooted in personal narratives. His resort 2019 collection — trimmed with Flamenco ruffles and cinched waists — for example, was informed by his late-grandmother's years as a dancer.

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In 2016, the same year he released Maticevski: The Elegant Rebel (Thames and Hudson) he was awarded The Australian Fashion Laureate Award, the country's highest industry honor. Since then, he's shown his namesake collection in Paris and continued to expand the custom bridal, leather goods, and made-to-measure arms of his 16-year-old business.

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Related | J.Lo Gives Us All She Has

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Having made a splash with J.Lo in L.A. earlier this week (thanks to her stylist Rob Zangardi), we anticipate seeing more stars in Maticevski's sumptuous confections soon.

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Photo via Getty


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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:52:18 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/toni-maticevski-jennifer-lopez-2613063455.htmlJennifer lopezJ loFashionElle women in hollywoodAustralian fashionMaticevskiInstagram.comToni maticevskiShyam Patel
One of Ugg’s Most Followed Ambassadors Isn’t a Person At Allhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/ugg-40-years-lil-miquela-campaign-2613054923.html

Lil Miquela is an Internet star. The style influencer, musician, and outspoken trans rights and Black Lives Matter supporter, isn't real in the typical sense. Miquela Sousa (she assumes a Brazilian-American identity) is an avatar created by Los Angeles-based start-up Burd. While she's a CGI character backed by a team as opposed to a real life 19-year-old girl, the subjects Sousa advocates for, from body positivity to rights for undocumented immigrants, are representative of many in her adopted generation.

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Related | Lil Miquela: (Cyber) Girl of the 21st Century

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That's why California-based footwear label Ugg has enlisted Lil Miquela for its month-long 40th anniversary campaign. Joining British model and founder of Gurls Talk Adwoa Aboah, DJ and artist-turned-designer Heron Preston, and multihyphenate creative Luka Sabbat, Sousa models classic Ugg styles in a campaign shot by Erik Madigan Heck. The simulated Instagram model fittingly appears in the American photographer's signature surrealist environments: seated on jagged rocks over crashing waves and straddling a giant hoop above clouds.

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With 1.4 million Instagram followers and counting, Lil Miquela's audience outnumbers the Abloh's and Preston's (Sabbat and Sousa are neck and neck). Though intended to celebrate Ugg's evolution over the years — from surf-shop staple to a ubiquitous style and experimental canvas for designers including Y/Project's Glenn Martens — Sousa's involvement rehashes questions of the future of fashion influencers.

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Photos Courtesy of UGG; Photography by Erik Madigan Heck


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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:32:28 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/ugg-40-years-lil-miquela-campaign-2613054923.htmlUggUgg 40 yearsFashionFootwearAdwoa aboahHeron prestonLuka sabbatBurdLil miquelaShyam Patel
Hear Emma Louise’s Gender-Bending, Adele-Worthy Balladshttp://www.790g4sp.tw/emma-louise-premiere-2613040522.html

After a volatile break-up, Australian singer-songwriter Emma Louise found herself alienated from femininity, and instead, creatively attracted to masculinity: "I didn't have a male counterpart to balance myself," she told Noisey. "I filled in the male and became the masculine." It was while navigating this romantic turmoil that Louise fell in love with a new part of herself, which she calls "Joseph:" the sound of her natural soprano, when pitched down to a gender-bending, full baritone. Although she didn't take direct inspiration from other artists, Joseph is a form of audio-drag, a technique that has roots in 1980's avant-garde pop pioneered by Laurie Anderson.

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Joseph takes the lead on her third album Lilac Everything, which is nearly unrecognizable next to the sweet electro-pop that Louise made a name for herself with in the Australian scene with. Louise actually wrote most of Lilac Everything well before discovering Joseph, furiously penning song after song during a respite in Mexico. She cold-pitched the music to indie singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr., who was so moved by it that he made his debut as a producer to work with her. One day in the studio, she acted on gravitational impulse and asked him to alter her vocals: "It was the most magical, magical thing," she says.

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Related | 100 Women Revolutionizing Pop Music

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The effect is magical. On the collection of simple-chord piano ballads, Joseph seems to create the kind of cavernous sonic space that Louise needed to fully explore and express her emotions. With a force that's been compared to Adele, he spasms grief, shakes with desire, whispers with fear, and sometimes, balloons with hope. Although they're sonically distant (almost inverse), Louise's feels somehow in a lineage with AHNONI's previous incarnation, Antony and the Johnsons' heartbreaking hopelessness, as well as the trans singer's stunning traversal of gender and sound.

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Today, PAPER debuts two new live sessions of Lilac Everything stand-outs "Shadowman," and "Never Making Plans."

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There's an inherent shock in watching Louise, a small, blonde and conventionally feminine woman, surrounded by explosions of flowers, open her mouth for the first time, to unleash her husky, masculine murmur. However, from the bruising slap of her heartbreak, it's instantly obvious that Joseph isn't a political gimmick or the casual flirtation of a cis woman with queer culture, but rather, an outlet for urgent and genuine self-exploration. Louise's is a quiet kind of accidental rebellion against the gender binary — and even the rigid rules that sometimes emerge from communities trying to end it. The result of her exploration, while politically provocative, is also simply gorgeous.

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Louise explained to PAPER:

"'Never Making Plans' and 'Shadowman' are my two of my favorite tracks from the album. I wrote 'Never Making Plans' one night about my friend Sarah who had been through a string of bad relationships. When I caught up with her she had all she owned in the back of her car and she told me she didn't believe in making plans anymore. That really hit me and I wrote the song for her. 'Shadowman' was the last song I wrote in Mexico. This one is always very fun to play on the piano. I wrote half of the song in Mexico and half of it in LA when I flew to meet Tobias Jesso Jr. who produced the album. We sat at the piano and played around with different chords and it was magic. Both these videos are shot in LA. We had an amazing florist, Sosia Floral, to come and set up the arrangement. It was a really nice day."

Watch the sessions and listen to Lilac Everything, below:

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Photo via Shore Fire Media

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:27:01 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/emma-louise-premiere-2613040522.htmlEmma louiseTobias jesso jr.AdeleMusicGender-bendingJael Goldfine
We May Never Hear Cardi B's Nicki Minaj Diss Trackhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/cardi-b-nicki-minaj-diss-2613049279.html

Rap's most heated feud, between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, may just get hotter, according to TMZ.

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We all remember the shoe-throwing incident at Harper's Bazaar's NYFW party, called ICONS, where the icons notoriously got into it (And where Nicki was found posing afterwards). This is also the event Naomi Campbell hilariously dismissed, telling Andy Cohen why she didn't attend: "It was called the ICONS party, but there were no icons there."

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Cardi defended herself in a now infamous Instagram post not naming Nicki, but we all knew who she was referring to.

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There was also madness of the Nicki's following Queen Radio episode, during which she said that in addition to feeling humiliated "in a Gaultier gown" at the swanky event — Cardi wore a ruffled Dolce & Gabbana number, lest we forget — she accused Cardi of building her career off of "sympathy and payola."

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Related | Nicki Minaj's New Episode of Queen Radio Was Madness

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The latest is that Cardi may be recording a diss track about Nicki, which will certainly make waves if it sees the light of day. However, sources report that Cardi's team wanted some of the lyrics edited out because of their apparent savagery. They also allegedly argued that the lines would somehow benefit Nicki, and that Cardi might shelve the release because "she's already eclipsed Nicki."

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Frankly, this is all terrible. We love Cardi and Nicki, separately, for different reasons. What we can only hope for is that should this feud escalate (please no), that it is actually, as Nicki once said, "all lies," and as Cardi once said, "for entertainment."

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But you know how the saying goes about publicity.

Photo via Getty

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:11:27 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/cardi-b-nicki-minaj-diss-2613049279.htmlNicki minajDissBeefCardi vs nickiIcons partyIconsHarper's bazaar icons partyCelebrity beefCardi bMichael Love Michael
Ariana Grande Quits Social Media Post-Pete Davidsonhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/ariana-grande-social-media-break-2613050221.html

Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson rocked the tabloid-sphere three days ago with news of their breakup, and the hits keep coming. After posting a heartfelt Instagram story about anxiety yesterday, Grande has decided to take a break from social media to avoid news about her own breakup. There have been a lot of tweets. We understand.

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Related | In Conversation: Troye Sivan and Ariana Grande

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In a since-deleted Instagram-story, Ari wrote that it's "time to say bye bye to the internet for jus a lil bit. it's hard not to bump news n stuff that i'm not tryna see rn. it's very sad and we're all tryin very hard to keep goin. love u. and thank u for bein here always."

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Meanwhile, Ariana looked like she was having fun while taping an NBC special for the 15th anniversary of Wicked, her favorite musical. Before leaving social media, she posed with the star of the original show, Idina Menzel.

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Photo via BFA

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:45:24 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/ariana-grande-social-media-break-2613050221.htmlAriana grandePete davidsonSocial mediaWickedIdina menzelJocelyn Silver
Sebastian Sommer and Richie Shazam on Growing Up Queerhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/sebastian-sommer-richie-shazam-2612825329.html

For New York-based filmmaker Sebastian Sommer's latest project, a semi-autobiographical short film and accompanying zine called External Forces, he borrowed from some of his life's most traumatic experiences. The born-and-bred New Yorker has previously has written and directed films with Hari Nef (Family Tree) and Cakes Da Killa (Live Forever), but for his new work, he recruited stars including Richie Shazam, Eleanor Lambert, Spencer Breslin, and Reza Nade to help illuminate a rich narrative of a dysfunctional filmmaker navigating complex relationships, depression and mental illness, and the highs and lows of technology.

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Related | Richie Shazam Is a Next Gen Model Activist

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The zine, which features photos from the movie, script pages, and related artwork, is out now at Chinatown Soup Gallery on the Lower East Side, a space designed to bring the art world to those who don't have immediate access. It's a partnership that makes a lot of sense given the film's source material: unpacking the trauma and isolation that can often be part and parcel of the queer experience. In the below conversation, Sommer and co-star Shazam, who in the film, is a femme person in a queer relationship, speak candidly with one another about the new project, the influence New York has had on both natives, and the fight to unlock one's true self.

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Richie Shazam: What was the mood you were feeling when you were creating External Forces?

Sebastian Sommer: Melancholy. I had been working on projects for many years, almost like a machine, and I gave myself no time to process some of the trauma I faced while growing up. I used to get bullied a lot in middle school. I was constantly being called homophobic slurs. It got really bad one day and I was pushed down a flight of stairs. I fractured my skull. I had to stay overnight in the emergency room to make sure blood didn't leak into my brain. I had vertigo for months. I had to transfer schools. It was a really difficult and intense moment in my life. For the longest time I pretended like it had never happened. I had put off dealing with those memories. It was too painful to acknowledge. Then out of nowhere it suddenly hit me, it all caught up with me... like a giant wave. I went through somewhat of an existential crisis last year. I didn't know if I was ever going to make another film again.

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"I needed to use filmmaking as therapy [...] I had to share my truth and my experiences." —Sebastian Sommer

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Shazam: That must have been challenging.

Sommer: It was. The one thing that had remained constant my whole life was beginning to slip away. I felt like I had exhausted myself creatively. I needed time to meditate and hibernate. I needed to make something very personal. I needed to use filmmaking as therapy. I needed to collaborate with talent that I truly believed in. I had to share my truth and my experiences. Thus External Forces was born. I knew that I wanted to make one final short film before I retired from this medium of expression. I wanted to make a film that spoke about depression and mental illness. First I wrote the script, then I created the zine, and now here we are, the project has been filmed and we are in the editing process, almost finished.

Shazam: How does it feel casting yourself in your work for the first time?

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Sommer: It feels exciting. I have always looked up to creatives who put themselves at the forefront of their work. With External Forces I knew that I wanted to push myself and do something different. I showed my friend Stella Schnabel an early draft of the script and she was very supportive, very encouraging, and it gave me the strength to go full speed and never look back. This project is very autobiographical. It is very New York. I knew that I could make something that was unique to my experience growing up here.

Shazam: How do you think the neighborhood you grew up in impacted you?

Sommer: I grew up in a neighborhood on the Upper East Side called Yorkville. The majority of External Forces was filmed here and I really wanted this neighborhood to act like a silent character. I don't know many films that take place in Yorkville other than 25th Hour by Spike Lee. Which I feel is an incredibly underrated film. How about you? You grew up in Queens?

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"I have a lot of trauma from growing up in [Jamaica, Queens]. But it was through this trauma that I was able to really confront myself." — Richie Shazam

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Shazam: Yes, Jamaica, Queens. I have a lot of trauma from growing up in that neighborhood. But it was through this trauma that I was able to really confront myself. I had a very strong feeling to escape.

Sommer: I feel similarly. Constantly having to fight to be my true self. Dealing with physical and emotional abuse growing up. I also had a very strong feeling to escape. And I had been aware of you for a while. While I was writing the script, you were always in my mind. I had wanted to collaborate with you for quite some time. I wanted to make a film that explored a queer relationship in a way that I hadn't been seen before. Something that was very honest and raw, something that was painfully personal.

Shazam: Our lives share many parallels and we have a mutual, almost unspoken understanding, because of growing up here.

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Sommer: Which is exactly how the concept of the zine came about. I wanted to go all the way. I wanted this project to be multidimensional. To feel like you were stepping into the mind of the lead character, seeing what goes on in their brain. I am very grateful that I was able to find a home for this zine at Chinatown Soup, an art gallery in the Lower East Side. They sold the first edition. They believed in me when I had a hard time believing in myself. It takes a lot of time to make a movie, to get all the pieces together, I had to stay in the zone, I had to keep creating.

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Shazam: I'm not comfortable in monotony. I need to be adrenaline filled, and to find like minded kin, a chosen family.

Sommer: Exactly. And this project wouldn't be the same without you, without any of the other cast members. It always starts as the vision of one person and then becomes a collaborative effort. It becomes everyone's spirit. You never know going into a project, whether you actually vibe or not. Especially when it comes to being in a project of mine, where the process can be very emotionally intense.

Shazam: I really appreciate that.

Sommer: This film was like nothing I had created before. Making a movie that is about a filmmaker who is struggling to make a movie. Examining the complicated relationships in his life and the way they impact his state of mind. I wanted to make sure that I spent as much time as necessary, to reach that emotional truth.

Shazam: Would you say that it takes a certain level of trust when you create?

Sommer: Exactly. Being able to trust who you collaborate with is essential. I am excited for people to see this project. It is the most vulnerable short film I have ever created.

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Photos courtesy of Sebastian Sommer

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:20:23 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/sebastian-sommer-richie-shazam-2612825329.htmlRichie shazamNycQueerLgbtLgbtqExternal forcesChinatown soupGallerySebastian sommerMichael Love Michael
Melania Trump's Spokesperson Calls for Boycott of T.I.http://www.790g4sp.tw/ti-melania-trump-boycott-2612928551.html

It was easy to get swept up in the bizarre and highly discussed meeting between Donald Trump and Kanye West late last week. The meeting came as the culmination of a controversial year for West sparked by his left-field support of the polarizing president. Amid the release of collaborative project Kids See Ghosts, production duties for Teyana Taylor and Pusha T, a yet-to-be-delivered Yandhi, and a slew of singles, many may have already forgotten the short-lived collaboration with Atlanta rapper, T.I., "Ye Vs. The People."

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Released ahead of West's solo album ye, the single dramatized the rapper's then new support of Trump in a back and forth debate during which T.I. tries to bring West to his senses. A level-headed T.I. stands in for "The People" in more ways than one, taking the time to listen to West and calmly rebut each point. However, T.I.'s patience wore thin in light of West's recent doubling down on his Trump support, posting on Instagram "I've reached my limits. This is my stop, I'm officially DONE!"

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Related | Kanye West: In His Own Words

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Having cut ties, the gloves were now off for T.I. In a NSFW promotional video for his latest album, Dime Trap, the rapper appears in a video featuring a Melania Trump lookalike striding into the Oval Office minutes after her husband leaves wearing her green 'I Really Don't Care, Do U?' jacket before stripping completely nude. Dancing on top of the Resolute Desk for T.I., the video is simply captioned: "Dear 45, I ain't Kanye."

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Predictably, the video did not go over well with the Trump team. A spokesperson for Melania Trump responded to the video by calling for a boycott of the rapper, going so far as to tell People that the video was "disrespectful and disgusting to portray [Melania] this way simply because of politics."

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It is just the latest in a string of blows weathered by the embattled First Lady, who has been criticized for her questionable fashion choices, originality, and possible use of a stand-in. One has to feel for Melania, it truly is a tough job being the self-proclaimed "most bullied person on the world."

Photo via Twitter

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 04:00:45 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/ti-melania-trump-boycott-2612928551.htmlTiMelania trumpTrumpKanye westYe vs the peopleDime trapMusicStrippersBe bestBulliedT.i.Matt Moen
Vivienne Westwood Dances to ABBA, Protests Frackinghttp://www.790g4sp.tw/vivienne-westwood-abba-fracking-1-2612909131.html

Mother Gaia, Dame Vivienne Westwood, icon of punk couture and outspoken environmental activist, has never been one to favor conventional methods when it comes to getting her point across. Going all the way back to her iconic Tatler cover dressed as Margaret Thatcher in 1989, Westwood has written anti-consumerist manifestos and attempted to send asbestos to former Prime Minister David Cameron going to unconventional lengths to advocate for her causes. Her latest tactic? ABBA.

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The designer joined an anti-fracking demonstration in Preston, England to protest fracking policies at Cuadrilla Resources' office building alongside son Joe Corré, throwing down her best dance moves to the Swedish pop group, ABBA's classic hit "Dancing Queen."

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Related | Vivienne Westwood Wants You to 'Buy Less'

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And while it is possible that Westwood is still caught up in residual Mamma Mia!: Here I Go Again fever, the song choice was actually a more pointed jab at current Prime Minister Theresa May who awkwardly danced to the song at a recent conference of the nation's Conservative Party. Waving her plaid cape as she danced, Westwood not only shaded May but also clearly won the unofficial dance battle.

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Photo via Getty

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Wed, 17 Oct 2018 01:16:22 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/vivienne-westwood-abba-fracking-1-2612909131.htmlAbbaDancing queenProtestDanceTheresa mayMargaret thatcherEnvironmentalismFrackingAnti-frackingVivienne westwoodMatt Moen
Zendaya is Tommy Hilfiger's Newest Ambassadorhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/tommy-hilfiger-zendaya-2612895052.html

Following in the footsteps of Winnie Harlow, Hailey Baldwin, and Gigi Hadid before her, actress, singer, and designer, Zendaya, has been announced as the newest brand ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger.

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In addition to fronting their Spring 2019 campaign, Zendaya will also design a limited Tommy x Zendaya capsule collection to be released next February. No stranger to design with her own label, Daya by Zendaya, which offered youthful gender neutral line of garments inspired by her own sleek, personal style. Currently on hold after parting ways with the line's manufacturer after issues with fulfillment, Tommy x Zendaya could be just the right platform to come at the right time.

Related | "It's Not Bullshit To Express Yourself in The Way Your Want": Cher and Zendaya in Conversation

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"I love to collaborate with people who are passionate about making their dreams a reality and who inspire the next generation to do the same," said Hilfiger in the announcement posted to Instagram. "Zendaya has become a global icon, using fashion to make bold statements while always staying true to herself. Our capsule collection will fuse her eclectic style with the Americana spirit of our brand."

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Details as to what that may entail are scant, but going on the announcement imagery alone the capsule appears to play with '60s psychedelia and the signs of the Zodiac as it's primary points of departure. "In our collaborations, we've found that we take as much information, inspiration and direction from the collaborators as possible," said Hilfiger in an interview with WWD. "We really want to infuse the collection with their ideas.

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Photo via Instagram

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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 23:34:51 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/tommy-hilfiger-zendaya-2612895052.htmlTommy hilfigerTommy x zendayaFashionCollaborationBrand ambassadorWinnie harlowGigi hadidHailey baldwinMeecheeZendayaMatt Moen
Hailey Baldwin's Outfit Is Perfect For Bible Storagehttp://www.790g4sp.tw/hailey-baldwin-cargo-pants-trend-2612871242.html

Last week at Tommy Hilfiger's "Tokyo Icons" event, Hailey Baldwin was spotted in a houndstooth blazer and khaki cargo pants. Her stylist Meave Reilly paired the Tommy Hilfiger Collection look with sleek black Casadei pumps and gold Celine hoop earrings. While the accessories made for sharp accents, Baldwin's trousers stole the show.

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Just weeks after the spring 2019 collections wrapped in Paris, the 21-year-old model (who took a break from the runway this season to spend more time with husband Justin Bieber) appeared one of the season's strongest trends: cargo pants. Shown by labels including LRS, Sies Marjan, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Prabal Gurung the highly sensible (and equally polarizing — you either love them or you hate them) pants were made in fabrics from denim and crinkled silk to sporty, technical materials.

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Related | PAPER: Fashion Month

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As Baldwin has so effortlessly illustrated, cargo pants are bound to take off in coming months for their ample built-in storage — why tote a bag around with pockets that deep? What's less clear, is what Baldwin has stashed away in her pockets... a Bible, perhaps?

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Photos via Getty/Imaxtree

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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 23:21:51 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/hailey-baldwin-cargo-pants-trend-2612871242.htmlLrs3.1 phillip limPrabal gurungSeis marjanYajunJohn elliottCargo pantsHailey baldwinShyam Patel
Kathleen Hanna Is Helping Girls Go to School In Togohttp://www.790g4sp.tw/kathleen-hanna-tees4togo-2612791485.html

When rock icon Kathleen Hanna — who's played in iconic bands like Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin — met Tina Kampor, it was a moment of total synchronicity. Hanna, a longtime outspoken advocate for global equality movements and women's rights, first connected years ago with Kampor (pictured above), the founder of growing nonprofit Peace Sisters, and the rest was history.

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Kampor's work through Peace Sisters was born from spending well over a decade in Togo, West Africa, seeing the gendered educational divide firsthand while employed as a teacher. She worked tirelessly on the ground to uplift young women before getting back to the U.S. with a mission to never forget what she witnessed. Hanna attended board meetings for what ultimately became Peace Sisters, which funds educational opportunities for girls in Togo, and became an official ambassador. The musician eventually created a GoFundMe page for them, raising more than $9,000.

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Hanna decided to partner with Kampor more officially, and the TEES4TOGO project was born. "It was natural to align with another woman's work who already has a structure in place, who already has everything set up," Hanna told PAPER. "Typically, a lot of people have very little funds so it makes sense that boys go to school and girls don't, and girls take care of housework and stuff like that," she added, noting the gender imbalance of Togo's educational climate.

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For the T-shirts, Hanna enlisted the help of famous friends, including former Le Tigre bandmate JD Samson, Joan Jett, Justin Vivian Bond, her husband Adam Ad-Rock Horowitz of the Beastie Boys, Kim Gordon, Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein, Patton Oswalt, and more, to collaborate on animated designs of their faces. The sustainable tees serve as rock royalty collector's items, and for $40 a pop, they also fund an entire year of a girl's education in Togo, including books and necessary supplies, such as lamps. One hundred percent of all proceeds go to Peace Sisters, so the more sold, the better the conditions become for Togo families. Girls who received lamps reported a 70 percent improvement in grades, simply because they could see at night to study.

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"This isn't just affecting the young women who are involved in Peace Sisters," Hannah said. "It's also affecting the entire family; allowing them to cook later in the evening, to read later in the evening, to do things that they want to do in the house and have more family time because it's not pitch black. It's stuff like that that I wouldn't even think about. Tina has educated me, and we've had long conversations about me having to check my privilege with what I expect."

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PAPER caught up with Hanna to talk more about the TEES4TOGO project, launching today on tees4togo.com, what she's learned in the process of creating it, and new music in the works.

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How did you first get involved with this project?

In certain places in Togo, the idea is that women are caretakers, and are meant to have babies. Tina and I met through my landlady here in New York, and two years ago, she gave me a flyer outlining Peace Sisters' mission. She was an educator in Togo for 16 years before launching Peace Sisters, and for me, it was natural to align with another woman's work who already has a structure in place. I totally believe in what she's doing and am 1,000 percent behind it. On the education issue: When there's a choice, typically, a lot of people have very little funds so it makes sense that boys go to school and girls don't, and girls take care of housework. Clearly that's an imbalance in a lot of places, but in Togo it's particularly a bad problem, and that's one of the reasons why Tina started Peace Sisters — because she was a teacher in Togo, and basically grew up there and saw firsthand what it was like.

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"Without education, we're not going to see the read the stories [...] see the plays or hear the songs of these girls and women."

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What else did you learn from Tina about her experience in Togo?

She was seeing the educational divide, and she was like, "I can't live with this, I can't deal with the fact that all of these girls' dreams are being totally squashed." The whole thing is having to get married very young, and not really seeing any future for yourself because you can't read and write, you can't tell your story. That's been a really huge motivation for me, if we're talking about having women and other marginalized people finally having our voices heard, what does that mean if poor women and women from Africa are not included in that conversation? If they're not heard, then it's not a real fucking conversation.

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Yes, the conversation about education needs always to be intersectional and inclusive.

Yes exactly! It's like when you garden: if you plant the same crop over and over it basically kills itself and kills the soil. Without having a lot of different people involved, it just becomes a monster that eats itself, and it doesn't thrive or change society. And without any education, we're not going to read the stories. We're not going to see the plays or hear the songs of these girls and women, and anyone else without access to education, for that matter.

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So, you decided to call some of your famous friends to help with the cause.

I felt really lucky to have this opportunity. It feels good to give and to be in a position to sit and think, "Okay, what can I do? Oh, I know Patton Oswald on Twitter!" He has a million followers! If I can sell even a thousand shirts to his followers, that's a thousand girls going to school for a year. This project comes at a really great time for Peace Sisters, because I'm hoping to raise the money to not only keep the program going so that all the girls who want to go to school from Togo, West Africa can, but also so that they can go onto college if they want to.

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A $40 T-shirt to support a girl's educational advancement might be little to those of us with privilege in America, but it's life-changing for them.

Totally! When I was doing research, I found really great looking shirts with very similar faces of people that were like $60 and I was like, "No, I actually have to hit home." But also, a lot of people are making shirts that just aren't ethical using anybody's likeness without their permission. It's important to me to also make a statement about that. All of the people that are involved in this project are collaborating together to support Peace Sisters as an organization, it's not just an I'll get my friend to draw a picture of Joan Jett and put it on a shirt — Joan Jett is behind it. I just got my Joan Jett shirt today and it's so gorgeous.

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The shirts are also not made in sweatshops, which feels important to mention.

Yes, the added benefit is that they're sweatshop-free, and every single person who's involved with TEES4TOGO, from the artist who collaborated to the performers who are pictured, everyone's given permission. I actually started [researching] a few years ago not knowing who I was going to donate to. I also really care about environmental racism and what's going on there, but I was having trouble figuring out exactly what the appropriate place to donate to is. Then I met Tina and really enjoyed her company, and soon I started going to board meetings to learn more about education, and I was like, "Wait a minute, why don't I do my t-shirt project with them?" This is a no-brainer. This is the way this activism should happen.

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Are you planning to visit Togo anytime soon to see what's happening for yourself?

I'm planning a trip in 2020 to Togo with Tina because she's like, "You just have to be there and then you'll understand." She always makes this half-smile at me and is like, "We'll go to Togo and then you'll totally get it." What I get so far is that she's an amazing person and when she talks about it still, she cries. She gets teary, and she'll say, "I left Togo and I said I'm not going to forget these girls." It's 15, 16 years later and she hasn't. Now she's the CEO of an organization that started out with $4,000 and is a very small thing that we're trying to make bigger.

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I have to ask: Are you working on any new music?

I should mention that Bikini Kill is now on Spotify and other major streaming platforms. In the beginning, a lot of those platforms just felt like a big rip-off to independent artists, artists even who get fewer hits than Bikini Kill. We were just a small label with one person basically running it: our drummer's sister. But music has evolved to digital mediums for younger generations, so it makes sense to have Bikini Kill's music be accessible to them. I love the fact that I have 15, 16-year-old girls and kids from all over writing me saying they just discovered Bikini Kill for the first time. That stuff is like 30 years old, but to these kids who write me, it's brand new. Also, I am working on a collaboration with one of the women from Savages that I'm excited about, but I don't know how that's going to turn out; I don't know if they're going to want to use it or not. So you're the first and only person to know that.

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Lead Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg / Model Photography: Vice Cooler



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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 22:44:41 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/kathleen-hanna-tees4togo-2612791485.htmlPeace sistersTees4togoBikini killLe tigreMusicTogoWest africaTina kamporKathleen hannaMichael Love Michael
Kanye West Called 'Immoral' for Meeting With President of Ugandahttp://www.790g4sp.tw/kanye-west-uganda-fela-kuti-2612869221.html

On Saturday, October 13th, Kanye West reactivated his Twitter account after deleting it for a week. He posted a long, winding Periscope video in which he said he is the "best living recording artist" and that the spirits of Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur are "flowing through him."

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As The Fader reports, Fela Kuti's relatives are not too jazzed about this. In a statement, the legendary musician's son Seun Kuti said, "on behalf of the Kuti family, I want to state that the spirit of Olufela Anikulapo Kuti isn't anywhere near Kanye West."

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West's meeting with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni hasn't gone over well, either. Museveni has held power for over 32 years while being accused of various human rights abuses – Ugandan musician, member of Parliament, and opposition leader Bobbi Wine was arrested and tortured by Museveni's administration in August, and has slammed West for meeting with him.

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Related | Inside Kim and Kanye's Surreal Meeting With Ugandan President

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Wine told The Guardian that it was "immoral" for West to "rub shoulders with the president."

"[West] is hobnobbing with a president who has been in power now for 32 years and restricts any freedom, a country where opposition activists are tortured and imprisoned," said Wine.

He continued, "It would have been great if [West] had used his voice for the good of people in Africa. I'm a musician but I am not allowed to stage a show in my own country because I disagree with the president. It is very disappointing."

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As The Fader notes, West, the world's most famous Trump supporter, may have chosen Uganda to record because of Museveni's stance on the US president. After Trump made comments calling African nations "shithole countries," Museveni claimed to agree with him, saying, "America has got one of the best presidents ever... I love Trump because he tells the Africans frankly... the Africans need to solve their problems, they need to be strong. It is the fault of the Africans that they are weak."

Photo via BFA

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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 22:08:43 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/kanye-west-uganda-fela-kuti-2612869221.htmlKanye westFela kutiSeun kutiYoweri museveniBobbi wineJocelyn Silver
The Web Series Made for Queer Women by Queer Womenhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/same-same-web-series-2612855126.html

In an overpopulated entertainment landscape, how do creators make shows that truly cater to the audiences they aim to reach? Same Same, an original web series premiering for free online, did so by bringing together a queer inclusive cast and crew to more authentically tell the stories of its modern queer characters. Created by Lauren Augarten, the season takes an intimate look at the lives of young queer women as they navigate sex, relationships and friendships in an ever-evolving world of dating.

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"As an LGBT woman in TV, it's still surprising to me how little of the female queer experience appears on screen," Augarten says. "When it does, it's often relegated to minor roles, or used as a plot device rather than simply being a part of the human experience. I set about to make Same Same, in all honesty to have something relatable for myself to watch, and am endlessly proud of the incredible group of people that came together to make this gorgeous and hilarious little slice of the modern queer experience that we have."

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The series tells the story of three women, Emily, Aviva and Sam who meet through a dating app called Same Same. They're all at different stages of life: Aviva has just come out in her mid-twenties, Sam has an issue with putting her foot in her mouth and Emily has rendered her dating pool in Brooklyn miniscule given that she's already slept with so many people.

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Same Same is receiving plenty of buzz, having been chosen as an official selection at the LA New Media Film Festival, Brooklyn Web Fest and the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Creators Market. The pilot episode garnered over a quarter of a million views and a fan-fueled campaign to create a full season resulted in the twelve episodes now available on Vimeo. "We saw the huge response to that first episode and went to them with a crowdfunding campaign," producer Stephanie Begg said. "We produced this series on the passion and enthusiasm of the LGBTQ community around the world, who connected with the show. With nearly a feature film's worth of content to watch, the passion of the cast, crew and our supporters made Same Same the web series possible."

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Read PAPER's conversation with creator Lauren Augarten and see a teaser for the series below:

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What was the inspiration for Same Same?

When I first started dating women, this whole new world, a whole new culture opened up to me. I was hungry to read or watch anything that might give me an entrance into that space, to observe it from afar I guess. Both to get comfortable and also to see myself represented, but at the time, there wasn't really much out there. I wanted to make something of my own so Same Same is that. A mixture of stories gathered from people in the queer community, but primarily based on my experiences as I journeyed into that world.

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Why did the web series format appeal to you?

I work in TV, and I find it to be incredibly collaborative. A web series is the closest thing I could make to a TV show financially at the time. For the most part, you're not telling one person's story. You're telling the story of a bunch of people in a room, and you're pulling from the perspective of each department on the show—production design, costume, props, the DP, the director, the actors. Everyone has something really valuable to contribute. This was the same thing. I ran it as if I was a showrunner, and had different people write and direct different episodes.

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For Same Same, I was newly part of the queer community, and I didn't feel like I had the authority to speak for everyone in it so I wanted it to be as collaborative as possible. It was also the first big thing I made and I wanted to surrounded myself with people who had more experience and could elevate the storytelling, which they certainly did. I got pretty darn lucky with my team, and also was able to experience them as a writer, director and actor so I know from all of those vantage points just how brilliant they are.

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What's the next step in terms of distribution?

Well we've been tied up in conversation with some distributors for about a year, and at the end of the day came to the conclusion that releasing it ourselves was the best way forward. Having a queer series that we made for a specific, very underserved community hidden behind a paywall felt counterintuitive. So we're releasing it on our website and vimeo for free.

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Most of the crew (and cast) is LGBTQ. Did that happen organically or was that something you intentionally aimed for?

The show is about queer womxn, so yes—it was absolutely intentional. When we were first casting, I went all around NYC looking for people who were both part of the community I wanted to represent and also incredible actors. I asked every casting director I interacted with, I researched as much as possible, I attended acting classes specifically for queer people. Brad Calcaterra who runs the Studio in New York let me observe his class and introduced me to several of the cast in Same Same.

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Also, part of the series is semi-improvised so I wanted to pull from the community for that. I wanted people with interesting stories, a different perspective. The show is based around an app, 'Same Same' so our main characters all go on dates with people they met through the app. They were all performers but not necessarily straight up actors, and they are all actually the things they play—a musician, a rapper, an astrologer/healer, a sex educator.

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Finding people who aren't necessarily straight was intentional, but I think gender is more of the organic part of the process. We have people on the show who are female, male, trans and non binary. I guess I didn't think about this until now, but when you open up space to look for different casting choices you get to experience more people, so it's natural that you'll meet people outside of the binary.

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In terms of the creative team, it's made up of all the peoples we represented on screen, sexuality-wise. Lesbians, bi-people, queer people, straight people. That was less intentional and more organic, but if it hadn't organically happened I would've made it happen. Representation is important in every aspect of art.

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Who do you hope watches Same Same?

My mum and dad. Just kidding, they've already seen it. I hope it reaches lots of different people. People who aren't used to seeing their stories, and people who are. I mean, essentially it's a group of people learning about themselves through relationships, whether it be friends, family, lovers. It's also about bad dates. And most of us do both those things, so hopefully people relate!

Photo courtesy

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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 20:08:49 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/same-same-web-series-2612855126.htmlWeb seriesLesbiansSame sameClaire Valentine
Ariana Grande Says Anxiety Can Suck Her 'Big Green Dick'http://www.790g4sp.tw/ariana-grande-instagram-anxiety-2612863429.html

Ariana Grande is currently enduring a very public breakup. It can't be fun! And she's taken to social media to vent a little, and show some strength.

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Related | In Conversation: Troye Sivan and Ariana Grande

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Today, she posted a selfie on her Instagram story with this caption: "can't believe i almost let my anxiety ruin this for me today !!! not today satan ! not tomorrow or the next day either not no more u can suck my big green dick ?? finna sing my heart out and be a big walking vessel of love bye."

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Ari, you are indeed a vessel of love.

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The pop star sports glittery green lipstick in the picture, perhaps in a nod to her upcoming Wicked special on NBC. She'll be singing "The Wizard And I," one of the musical's key songs (originally popularized by Idina Menzel, or Adele Dazeem in John Travolta-speak).

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Anxiety is a nightmare to deal with, but we hope Piggy Smalls is there for comfort.

Photo via BFA

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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 19:41:55 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/ariana-grande-instagram-anxiety-2612863429.htmlAriana grandeAnxietyWickedIdina menzelPiggy smallsJocelyn Silver
The Most Stylish Horror Films of all Timehttp://www.790g4sp.tw/most-stylish-horror-films-2612648420.html

It's Shocktober! And now that it's finally relatively cold on the East Coast, spooky season can officially commence. Boo, boos.

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While there are enough excellent Halloween vines on YouTube to fuel an entire movie night, we occasionally prefer to go in a slightly more analog direction. It's the time for horror films, the time for guts and gore and things that go bump in the night. And for those of us who get freaked out when alone in the house, there's another key element of horror movies, especially the pre-Y2K ones, that we feel goes under-appreciated: style.

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Given the upcoming release of Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria remake, which looks like one of the chicest films ever made, we started thinking about clothing in horror movies. There are a significant number of creepy flicks with better style than so-called fashion films — films that manage to be keenly influential style-wise while still scaring the shit out you. So here is a list!

?'Suspiria' (1977)


Guadagnino's take on Suspiria looks incredible. But there's a reason the famously artistic director wanted to give it a shot: Italian master Dario Argento's (father of Asia) original film is eye-poppingly beautiful, even as it descends into a horrific sort of madness. Set in a German ballet school, the clothes are as light and airy as you might expect for a dancer. There are delicate ruffles, sheer capelets, wide, flowing palazzo pants, fluffy '70s curls. It's all very Maryam Nassir Zadeh.

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'Rosemary’s Baby' (1968)


Yes, director Roman Polanski is a horrible, jail-evading man, and also Rosemary's Baby is an incredible film whose aesthetic influence is still everywhere today. Rosemary (Mia Farrow) wears the sorts of babydoll dresses, swing coats, and Peter Pan collars that essentially formed a foundational aesthetic for Miu Miu (and which popped up on this season's Prada runway). As per AnOther Magazine, Polanski told costume designer Anthea Sylbert to use pretty, easy clothing as opposed to anything witchy, saying "Let's make 'em think we're doing a Doris Day movie."

Scary Polanski movies generally all feature characters with excellent wardrobes. Consider Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, or Faye Dunaway in Chinatown (not a horror movie, but it has some jumps).

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'Rampo Noir' (2005)


This insane Japanese four-part anthology film, directed by Akio Jissoji, Atsushi Kaneko, Hisayasu Satō, and Suguru Takeuchi, features trippy visuals that boggle the mind. It was all made to live on a moodboard, though I'm especially partial to a scene featuring an extra-large sequined spiderweb.

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'The Hunger' (1983)


Rotten Tomatoes may describe The Hunger as "amazingly bad," but clearly whoever wrote that does not have eyes. The film, a vampire movie, stars fashion icons Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon. And the clothing is very New Wave — tiny sunglasses, black leather, big shoulders. In one scene, Deneuve wears a small black mesh veil embroidered with pearls that haunts me to this day — it must be mine.

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'Carrie' (1976)


The prom dress! The pig's blood! A film that spawned a million Halloween costumes.

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'Jigoku' (1960)


Director Nobuo Nakagawa is responsible for some of the most stylish horror films ever made. Jigoku, called The Sinners of Hell in English, was initially advertised as "adult entertainment," and features a storyline about suicide, rotten fish, and loads of murder. It's a fun time! And the imagery and cinematography are uniquely stunning, taking the viewer into a realm of hell with a kind of beauty Dante could have never predicted.

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'Mulholland Drive' (2001)


David Lynch films are difficult to classify. Does Mulholland Drive fit the traditional definition of horror? I'm not sure. Is it very, very scary? Yes!

It is scary and the outfits are chic. As Rita, Naomi Watts models the pared-back look of the late '90s and early 2000s, now cool again (everyone has a flared pant, a square-toed boot). There's even something to the clothing in the film's haggard-looking denouement.

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'The Company of Wolves' (1984)


This otherworldly, gorgeous film (starring Angela Lansbury!) is a gothic fantasy come to life, grotesque and seductively beautiful all at once. And its most iconic scene features Louis XVI-style courtiers — with wolf heads.

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'Nosferatu the Vampyre' (1979)


Werner Herzog's vampyre is partial to black. But his victims love a puff sleeve!

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Literally anything by Alfred Hitchcock


Icy blondes in skirt suits, a winning combination.

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Photo via Getty

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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:33:53 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/most-stylish-horror-films-2612648420.htmlSuspiriaLuca guadagninoDario argentoMia farrowCatherine deneuveAngela lansburyRoman polanskiRosemary's babyRampo noirThe hungerDavid bowieSusan sarandonCarrieJigokuNobuo nakagawaDavid lynchMulholland driveNaomi wattsThe company of wolvesNosferatu the vampyreWerner herzogAlfred hitchcockJocelyn Silver
Miss Fame: Beauty For Allhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/miss-fame-beauty-2611895680.html

New York-based drag star Miss Fame has launched her eponymous line, Miss Fame Beauty, commemorating her first-ever foray into the beauty industry as an official brand. The launch is not a far cry for Fame, who has long established herself as a performer with an artistic, luxuriously curated eye for presentation.

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The collection, called "The Fetish of Fashion," features five luminous shades of cruelty-free, hydrating lipstick, and what Fame is calling "experimental glitter" to apply on top for extra transformative oomph, with cheeky names: The Other Woman (classic red), Flash of Flesh (a universal nude), and Fame Whore (high-impact pink), How's Your Head (a peachy nude), and Dirty Couture (an electric blue). The shades, created to add a touch of high-impact glamour for people of all skin tones, which Fame said she had in mind, cost only $19 a pop.

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Related | Miss Fame Is Transforming the Modeling Industry

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And while the collection might appear as glossy and effortless as it does, the road to creating it was not easy. As a queer and self-sustained artist, Miss Fame relied heavily on the support of her community to see the launch through. "Everyone deserves to feel beautiful," she tells PAPER. "But this is also for my sisters, whether trans or gender nonconforming, or my drag sisters, I want everyone who comes across this to see themselves in Miss Fame Beauty. This is all possible because I have a community that is actually believing in me. They are rooting for me."

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PAPER caught up with the rising beauty entrepreneur to chat about her roots in the multibillion-dollar beauty industry, the meaning of affordable luxury, the artistry of makeup, and the importance of inclusion.

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What led you to want to create Miss Fame Beauty?

Obviously I was known for my experience being on the reality show RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7; I was aiming for image, beauty. But I've always been an artist and a painter since I was very little, and growing up in a very contained environment in central California in a farming community, I didn't realize I'd have the full scope to "be whoever you want to be." That's the dream you watch in the movie: when a parent's really open, they tell their child, "We want you to be whoever you want to be!" And I didn't have that upbringing, so there weren't people telling me to be so free, but I'd always known that I was an artist. I had the ability to draw, paint, portraits, faces, flowers, and animals, like horses, and dogs, and chickens, of course. I love to draw things in nature, and I love to draw people's faces. I always had a good eye for color and texture.

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Related | Aquaria: The Unreal Housewife of New York

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You also worked in the beauty industry for a while, right?

Yes, I did work in beauty for a long time. I worked with a hairdresser doing color, and that was my introduction being in a small community and doing something that was aligned with what was accessible and acceptable for a queer person to be doing in beauty. It's like, "Oh, my gay hairdresser." Of course, I insert myself into the role. And I was great at it, I made people feel good, which I love. In the midst of all that, I pursued modeling, and right off the bat I was not always conforming to the ideas. I tried to play the game, like being the hot, twinky boy, and I also put makeup on my face and was told by photographers, "That's enough, don't go too much further, because drag is not the thing. Do not do drag." And as a person who's very willful, I do not like being told [no]. Don't tell me not to do it, because I'm probably going to show you. So my own will to dominate and prove a point was driving me, and it brought me to New York at 26, which was seven years ago, and it brought me to makeup. I came to New York, I quit doing hair, I started working for MAC as a sales associate at Bloomingdale's Lexington and 59th Street. I got fired because I was late every day, because I was doing my own thing. I was always very willful like, "I'm going to agencies, I'm going to get an agent, I'm going to model."

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What happened when you ended up modeling?

I wasn't making any money, not at first. I was working as a male model, but not making anything. But at night, Miss Fame came alive, and I was at parties and I looked good, and people were like, "You're really good at makeup, you're very beautiful," and it gave me confidence. I started finding that the one place I had something was when me and Miss Fame united. We'd always been around each other, but she was always budget. I didn't have the ability to be full-scale Miss Fame until I started really working and building relationships with small designers in the beginning. I think that's probably my best advice: be united with your community, work with artists within your wheelhouse that you totally are in-sync with, and things evolve, you end up doing a show, or you end up meeting another person that thinks your look is right for them. But as time evolved, Drag Race happened. Conversations around the future of drag were things I talked about on television.

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Related | Lindsey Wixson Returns For Miu Miu

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Your vision of drag was always more aspirational. How did that play into what you ended creating for your first beauty launch?

My vision of drag is not to be in a club for the rest of my life, because I'd like to be in the pages of Vogue. So I wanted to see that through, and I always believed if you put yourself into it, in alignment, you can manifest it, you just have to believe it, state it, claim it. Leaving the show, I was already known for the art of makeup, and very specifically, the lane I felt like fit me like a glove, was the art of high glamour — very sophisticated, refined, precision lip, precision liner, high drag, high drag as in pop-couture, high-end, and I wanted it to feel expensive. I wanted to be able to create a brand that felt very luxurious. I'm all in favor of the traditional look, and add some artistry. There always needs to be something that takes light, because performers need to radiate to the back of the room. Drag Race gave me a boost, but two years after the show and producing music, it started to change. I got to L'Oréal by accident, by a party in Paris at Miu Miu, and they brought me to Cannes Film Festival and I've been signed with IMG Paris as a female model. So that was very special, because I was not being represented under the artist board but under the women's board, and the same goes for my agent Wilhelmina, here in New York, which felt special. I felt like I am on both sides of the coin: I get to be both and all at the same time, and sometimes favor one gender over the next.

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You're not working with a major distributor yet, which leads me to believe Miss Fame Beauty is largely self-funded and self-supporting.

Yes, I work all day long. I'm doing all of my own internal work: marketing, PR, writing, re-posting, sharing, liking, commenting. And it feels right for now. We're still a small business embarking upon a big venture. I wanted to create the idea of a luxury vision, but it was all self-sustained and self-financed. It needed to be this extremely glamorous and chic, provocative design that was also relatable to audiences, because I have a vast array of viewers. I have people that are my mom's age and aunt's age, and then I have young teenagers that are fresh to Drag Race. So I need to be able to create something that has enough pigment, but has enough of a soothing quality that it can be worn by anybody, and so they can feel like they've just stepped up their eleganza for the evening.

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Well, it's certainly eleganza at an accessible price point, compared to other luxury brands.

100 percent. I already realized that I'm looking at different price points and quality points of Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain lipsticks. Because I am a man doing drag, and I'm tall, my hands and my fingers are long and elegant, I wanted the applicator when I was shooting the ad to be a proper proportion to my hand. I wanted it to look elegant and elongated and sexy. So if you stand my applicator up even against MAC or [Fenty Beauty], it's got another 1/3 of an inch height, and its also weighted, it's metal, it has this nice high-shine chrome finish, and it has a debossed Miss Fame logo. Every little detail matters. A lot of people online have been talking — it has a magnetic closure, so the cap won't roll away leaving it in your purse, it magnetizes and clinks shut so it's very satisfying to open and close. When you get to see it at a beautiful angle, when you twist up, you have a ton of product in there, and it smells like vanilla — a very soothing aroma. I like sweet treats, so I think that makes me feel delicious.

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Vanilla? Yum! What other ingredients did you use to make these?

The ingredients are really soothing on the lip because I needed wearability, and I also needed soothing, conditioning agents, because we're coming out of the lipstick era, which will never go away because it's such a fabulous trend. But I also feel like my mom would never wear liquid lipsticks because she's got dryer skin than she did when she was 20. I like creamy products because personally, I like shine where I want it to be. I want my lip to have a little bit of gloss, but not dripping in gloss. I was able to put that in the formula with avocado oil. The whole point was I needed a cruelty-free line, because I don't think any cosmetic should be cruel, we don't need to be harming animals. It's really great to be able to start with quality, affordability within a price point that makes sense for all audiences, and something that's really got that Miss Fame trademark embedded into it where you literally can feel my name across your thumb when you hold the product.

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"I want to work with people I know who deserve time and space to be seen, to have their beauty seen for what it is."

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Related | Break the Internet: Rihanna

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What can the beauty industry do to be more inclusive?

I'm putting myself into the entrepreneur category. I know the inside of what it's like to develop a product, and this formula is my own. I developed what we are using here. I know how much time goes into it. It was a year of work developing Miss Fame Beauty. [Someone like Rihanna] can come in strong with all the smartest marketing because she has everything in her favor, and usually money talks. [That's important to keep in mind] for somebody like me or any queer artist that is really fighting for a place to create things that are inclusive; drag artists to this day don't have massive teams. This introductory launch needed to be beautiful for many people to wear. I needed to be encompassing of every age, every gender, every sexuality. It needs to be artistic, but it needs to be marketable and wearable, so that my aunt would want to buy it. How do I make it so that drag queens are excited by it?

Everybody needs to be able to enjoy the artistry of makeup. It doesn't need to be exclusive to a specific gender, color, sex, or age. Everybody deserves to feel beautiful. But being a startup company with a queer perspective means that I'm going to work that much harder to claim space in an industry that is backed by big branding corporate money in a billion dollar industry. This isn't going to be an easy feat. What I've discovered right of the bat is that I have a lot of support within the queer community, and those are the types of artist that I will always nurture and support. I want to work with people I know who deserve time and space to be seen — to have their beauty seen for what it is. The goal is to expand and create more products that are able to be worn by many different skin tones, and look beautiful on many different types of life genres. I need for my Mexican grandma to find herself in this product, because she deserves to feel beautiful, as well.

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Photography: Armin Morbach

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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:27:36 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/miss-fame-beauty-2611895680.htmlMiss fame beautyBeautyLgbtLgbtqKylie jennerFenty beautyRihannaMac cosmeticsDrag raceRupaul"s drag raceDrag queensMiss fameMichael Love Michael
Tarana Burke On the One-Year Anniversary of #MeToo Going Viralhttp://www.790g4sp.tw/tarana-burke-me-too-2611417381.html

Activist Tarana Burke was probably the most shocked to see that a movement she started in 2006 had gone viral last year when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted out #MeToo as a hashtag, in light of the explosive sexual abuse allegations levied against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. The shock wasn't about the movement being co-opted, but in wondering what would possibly happen next. How does a movement live beyond its hashtag?

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When sexual assault survivors are thrust into the public spotlight, it can re-open old wounds, and prove to be an experience that places them back in their original trauma. But Burke connected with Milano and saw an opportunity for the Me Too movement, which has always been grassroots and intersectional at its core, to include still more voices. The hashtag #MeToo became the seeds for a much more widespread revolution that sprung forward, inspiring many people to come forward, and in some cases has led to justice (the cases of former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, and comedian Bill Cosby). Time's Up, a sister organization that formed in light of Me Too's reckoning, has brought together top Hollywood actresses, directors and producers, launched earlier this year and includes a multi-million-dollar legal fund for survivors.

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For people like Burke, while these changes signal progress in the right direction, it also means there is still more work to be done. (See: the circus surrounding the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.) Part of that work involves Burke making herself more visible, despite the risk in doing so—she tells PAPER she has experienced regular death threats. As one of several collaborations Burke has dedicated her time to this year, she is teaming with civil-rights nonprofit Color Of Change and visual influencer platform Paper Monday, for a portrait and multimedia series called Storytellers. The aim of the Storytellers project is to "elevate the experiences and work of those leading the revolution of authentic storytelling about Black people through art and activism," and in addition to Burke, includes the moving stories of other visionaries across age and identity categories. Others featured in the project range from renowned film producer Stephanie Allain to art-world scions Kimberly Drew and Tyler Mitchell, and many more.

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In Burke's story, shared exclusively with PAPER, she discusses her early roots as an activist, her love of history, and the importance of Black people refusing to relinquish their power. "I'm excited to share the history because I come from a tradition of elders and from a community of people that really made me who I am," she says.

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Read on for PAPER's interview with Burke, see photos throughout and hear her Storytellers excerpt, produced by Color Of Change and Paper Monday, below.

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How are you feeling one year after the Hollywood breakthrough of Me Too since it became a hashtag and went viral?

I feel like the last year has been probably one of the strongest we've seen in the movement around people doing work in sexual violence, but has also been the most challenging because it's a gift and a curse. Most people who are working toward a larger goal for humanity if you will, look for ways and opportunities to have mainstream conversations about it and engage people about it, and we've had that chance in the last year. But it has been backed with this extreme backlash and this narrative that's not useful with this work we're doing around it being a witch hunt—basically, just watching the idea of Me Too become weaponized has been a challenge.

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How do you think we can move through that as a society?

I think journalists can talk about it differently, despite how popular figures like the president or certain celebrities characterize the movement. The media could come to everyday people who are actually saying "me too," and talking to the people committed to doing the work to end sexual violence and supporting survivors. There are a lot of other voices who aren't centered in the conversation about Me Too and so, it's just always about what some celebrity or politician is saying and we're always needing to defend against them rather than holding them accountable. It would be great for the media to do that, because they have unlimited resources not necessarily when it comes to money, but when it comes to words and influence and the ability to reach so many people.

There is so much to unpack when it comes to sexual violence, and there's a whole spectrum of what that looks like, and yet, so much of the media's focus is often around sexual harassment in the workplace. There are people who said "me too" who were talking about surviving child sexual abuse, or being assaulted by a partner, or on a college campus, or in a church. People talking about dealing with indignities and injustices that become so conditioned that it's second nature for the survivor. There's just a lot to talk about, investigate and unpack. I'm amazed that millions of people could volunteer information about being impacted by sexual violence, we're talking about people ready to speak out, and news outlets will not approach them unless they have a platform. Really?

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"Christine Blasey Ford was working against so many odds and still managed to get there. So I still feel like the victory is actually in her favor for going there and standing up."

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I think that it points to the idea of a credible victim, too. Who is that person and what does it look like? We saw this come alive in the Senate hearings of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. And she's a wealthy white woman with privilege, but still had to prove herself to go up against this man. What about those who aren't her, who don't even get that far?

Right, well the flip side of that is this: her coming forward was not in vain. It is hard to watch someone like her come forward and be so credible, so moving, and still not get the end result. But we have to remember that at the point she was allowed to come into the conversation and all the things around it, she was working against so many odds and still managed to get there. So I still feel like the victory is actually in her favor for going there and standing up. Even though the Senate still confirmed him, I'm willing to bet that a part of her feels completely moved by the outpouring of love, and of survivors around the world saying "We believe you. Your story resonates deeply with me. This happened to me. Me too." There's something else at play besides just trying to keep this person from being confirmed. There's also the need for survivors to see other people like them represented. It's the same thing we say about being black women in the media, or seeing people of color in the media, or queer people in the media—it's something about seeing yourself in a public figure being courageous that is so valuable. I'm not trying to not acknowledge that there's a lot of hurt and a lot of pain in his being confirmed anyway, but as the dust settles, we realize that we found a hero in Christine Blasey Ford.

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What are some of the most illuminating things that you've learned over the past year? What are some things that you've learned that have helped strengthen what you're doing as an activist?

I think one of the things I don't get to talk about much is how much collaboration I've been involved in this year. A lot of times, folks will single out the most popular name or person involved, but they don't realize how many other people are involved with that work as well. There's nothing I've done this year that hasn't been in collaboration of some sort with other people, and it's been people who I've long admired, people who I deeply respect, and people who, even though we know each other, we haven't traditionally worked across issue lines, and we found a lot of common ground and a lot of space to do that, and it's been super rewarding. I just believe in the power of collaboration and community in general, but a lot of times people say that and we don't really get a chance to say, "Oh, we should do this more," or, "It would've been great if we could have..." and I have seen a high level of collaboration and cooperation among [nonprofits].

Nonprofits are still companies for the most part, and there's still competition and that kind of thing, and I see such a different reality around that. So that's been a big thing this year. Also, being thrust into the national spotlight makes you take stock in who you are, like what are you actually made of, because some people, both literally and figuratively, will try to kill you. I've had death threats and threats of bodily harm, and just all kinds of crazy stuff that I've just been like, really? You know, there's so many nuts out here. But also, just being challenged in so many kinds of ways, you certainly test your metal. I've also learned that there's a deep, deep, deep divide between survivors of sexual violence and those who are not. And there's a dearth of understanding about the life-cycle of a survivor, that people have so accepted these misunderstandings to the point where cases like Blasey Ford or even Anita Hill could happen, because we so expected the stereotypes and the misconceptions we have about what it is to survive sexual violence. So watching this, people think it's actually true. Like, "Oh well, you know, she should've just got up and went to the police and reported it. Hello! What's wrong with her?" There's so many things like that. Oh God, it's awful.

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The blame for these instances still falls on the victim, who then has to "prove themselves" for the world to see.

First of all, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, you are sitting here blaming a person for not coming forward and making them feel bad and inadequate, but yet you want them to come forward? What do you think? There's always a reason. If you come forward right away, you're a liar. There are all the people who question you: Are you sure? What did you wear? What did you do? There's a whole army of voices who try and make you complicit in whatever horrible thing happened to you, and if you wait because you don't want to deal with that and then somehow find the courage later on, it's like, Well, you should've said something earlier! You can't win. I think I was naive about this, like we've all been watching Law and Order: SVU for twenty years, and ya'll haven't learned anything? Still? After all of this?

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"I'm amazed that millions of people could volunteer information about being impacted by sexual violence, we're talking about people ready to speak out, and news outlets will not approach them unless they have a platform. Really?"

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Are you able to say what organizations or people you've been collaborating with over the past year?

Absolutely. Girls for Gender Equity is the organization I came out of. I worked at GGE when Me Too went viral, and we continue to work together and partner, that's where Me Too was essentially housed. And Joanne Smith, who is a director, is just invaluable in terms of a strategy and thought partner. But also on a national level, at the National Women's Law Center, [I've been working with NWLC president and CEO] Fatima Goss Graves, who is just a real example of humility and leadership. Ai-jen Poo, from the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Mónica Ramírez [co-founder and president] of Alianza [Nacional de Campesinas], the migrant farm workers' alliance organization. So she's the one who wrote the letter to Hollywood that resulted in Time's Up. That's our little crew!

You've planted the seeds for what has become something so amazing. I think now we're in an environment, even though there's still a lot of shame, there's still a lot of stigma...

But we have made progress. You could not have had this kind of public discourse with this many people saying that they believe us—we literally have an example in Anita Hill. We don't even have to guess what it would've been like or could've been like or what people would've said 20 years ago, we saw it.

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People are talking a lot about the fury of American women, though we've seen more and more men come forward in support, with examples like the 1600 men petition. But what you've brought to light is the idea that this movement actually needs everyone. That survivors are not just one thing, or one type of person. They could be any of us.

Absolutely, yes. But the idea that this is primarily for women, is another part of this dangerous narrative I think. I get it, I get why it's inflated, because we are talking about the year of the Women's March, women are being affronted by our president, and there's so many things happening that are specific to women, but Me Too is not specific to women. It's a survivor's movement and I say that all the time, because I have to underscore that. Do you know that some of the most heart-wrenching letters I get, are from men who feel left out? Men who are survivors. This man actually checked me on Facebook the other day, and I appreciated it, because we have so many trolls that I came at him real snarky, and he made a very good point which is, you're one voice in a sea of voices, and what I see on the news is women, what I hear in the papers and the media is women, women, women, and I'm trying to understand why men and boys aren't inside of that narrative. So what happens is people say, "Oh yeah, boys too," and kind of just brush it off, "Oh yeah, I know it happens to men," so that's what I'm saying.

We need to really examine the whole spectrum of sexual violence because we say one in four girls and one in six boys, it kind of rolls off people's tongue, that's the statistic that everybody knows, but think about that. Think about an auditorium full of boys and count off every sixth boy. That's a lot of children. And those boys grow up to be men. And then there's also people who don't identify as men or women. So there's a whole spectrum of people who get left out when we only focus on women. I don't want to belabor the point, but I think it's an important one. And we are always out in the front, so that's the other reason it's hard not to focus on women sometimes, because we're the ones in the streets and we're marching, and we're rallying, and we're organizing and whatnot. I had the opportunity to clarify and I just want to do that.

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Full transcript of Tarana Burke's Storytellers excerpt:?



I'm three generations in the Bronx. My grandfather came from St. Kitts to the Bronx and my grandmother came from South Carolina to the Bronx - both as little children. The Bronx is part of my family's identity. I grew up in what they call the south Bronx which is really the west Bronx, around Jerome avenue. I also grew up right at the dawn of Hip-Hop becoming more mainstream. Seeing people like Slick Rick and Dougie Fresh and growing up as a teenager, Hip-Hop in the 90s was a big part of my life. Public Enemy coming out was the marriage of what I loved, which was Hip Hop, being from New York, but also social justice.

I was always moved by thinking early on about Hip-Hop as an organizing tool particularly Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers or even Tribe in the ways they told stories and presented an alternative for Blackness. I come from a family that was very Black. I couldn't wear combinations of red, white and blue. My grandfather would pick me up on the weekends and we would drive to 125th street to Harlem Music Hut, where you could get all your mixtapes from, but they also had cassette tapes of elder scholars like John Henry Clark or Dr. Ben Joseph. And we would drive around listening to that. We were Black like that.

And when I was in the seventh grade I was in catholic school and my grandfather started telling me about how Catholics had slaves, and started giving me books to read like Roots, then Before the Mayflower and They Came Before Columbus in the seventh grade. I was like 'why are you trying to destroy my life and what I understand to be the way the world works.' I appreciated what he did, but I also wish it had been done differently because then I went through a period of anger. That carried me halfway through high school and then I found a way to take that feeling and make that become work.

I joined 21st Century Leadership Movement at 14. It became a way to take all this knowledge and cultural awareness and historical awareness my family gave me, and put that into action. They helped me identify and understand what injustice and justice looked like.

I remember in the 6th and 7th grade loving history and American history. I used to know the preamble to the Constitution. I was drawn to the story of America and how we came to be. Even though I knew about slavery and I knew about how we were enslaved, there was still something that was attractive about the American story until my grandfather introduced me to all these different narratives that started peeling away at that. I remember when I recited the preamble to the Constitution to him, he was appalled. That's when he gave me They Came Before Columbus and said 'You need to read this.' And as I was introduced to these different narratives, on my own, I started to understand the complexity of what it is to be American, and what America was. And then the truth, and also the idea that the truth is not just the truth. The truth based on who you are and who's telling it, and how it's been told, and when it's being told, and who it's being told to. I didn't realized that Black people had our own truth of what it was to be American, and what it was to be in America.

That understanding made me confused. It made me angry trying to grapple with that. Then I was introduced to this idea that you don't just have to read about oppression, you don't just have to study and look at it and see it and be angry about it, but you can be active. You can be out here. The premise of 21st Century, the organization, was to continue the legacy of the civil rights movement, Black power movement, labor movements, in a new generation. When I was introduced to those narratives, I realized these people were my age. They were in the marches getting hosed. Once I saw that, I realized that we shape history.

Our truth has always been weaponized against us. The way to push back against these other false narratives is to weaponize it for us. It's also what I'm dealing with now around the #MeToo movement. People keep saying 'oh the white people have taken it from you, the white people are co-oping, the #MeToo movement is not for us, it's for white people.' Here's a thing that you know is true. You have a person here who founded or started doing this work. How can it also then be true that it's not for us? And so I'll continue to hold it up and say this is for us. This is true this is for us. Non Black people are going to do whatever they want to do, it doesn't matter. We stay so focused on what they're doing as opposed to what the power we have that we just give our power over. If we teach our children and teach each other to stop relinquishing our power -- it is what we say it is. This is powerful because I said it's powerful and it doesn't matter what somebody else is saying.



Photography: Rog Walker, Paper Monday

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Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:05:53 +0000http://www.790g4sp.tw/tarana-burke-me-too-2611417381.html#metooMe tooTarana burkeMichael Love Michael
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