Amy Schumer Feminist Funtimes

Perhaps it was her “Milk Milk Lemonade” video or some of her stand up, or last Friday’s Feminist Funtimes when we discussed the charming notion of what makes a woman f*ckable… or perhaps you still haven’t paid witness to Amy Schumer. Whatever your first exposure to this crass lady of comedy, odds are good that you had a strong reaction to her and her raunchy brand of humor.

Full disclosure: it’s pretty easy to make me laugh. If you’re at all clever, odds are good that I will laugh at your jokes. That being said, I do tend to roll my eyes when I feel like there’s too much Try. If something that’s meant to be funny is also GROSS or CRASS or SHOCKING, then I feel like you’re Trying Really Hard to make me laugh, and instead all you get is this:

eyroll

That was more or less how I felt about Amy Schumer, at first. So much Try. Her comedy reminded me of the diarrhea scene in Bridesmaids – it was funny for a minute, but quickly (for me) became overkill.

But as I’ve seen more and more of what Ms. Schumer is bringing to the table, the more I’m into it. Her comedy is still raunchy (and I would never want her to change that; it’s who she is), and as it turns out, she is also smart as hell and using the fame and attention she’s generating to make funny about some really serious sh*t. Cases in point:

As far as I’m concerned, rape has never been this funny.

Everything about this.

And the latest: this week’s episode of Inside Amy Schumer is a 20-minute remake of the 1950s film 12 Angry Men. Except it isn’t jurors in a room debating the fate of an accused murderer. In this version, the 12 angry (and sweaty) men are debating whether or not Amy Schumer is hot enough to have her own TV show. They also briefly mention the movie she has coming out, which b.t.dubs, looks hilarious.

The full episode, 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer (heh) is available on Comedy Central’s website (you have to log in with FB or Twitter), and I highly recommend watching the whole thing. It is absolutely worth 20 minutes of your life. Not only because it’s funny, but because of why it’s funny. (For more on the why of it, read Duana’s post over at Lainey Gossip; she sums it up quite nicely.)

On that note, while we can’t all produce brilliant comedic sketches around them, we should join the Amy crusade and eschew the beauty standard by hashtagging our so-called faults, or something to that effect. Mine would definitely be #clusterteeth and #stonereyes (and since I’ve been breastfeeding for six months, odds are good I can join the #muppettits club).

Thank you, Amy Schumer, for being funny, for being yourself, and for calling attention to all this bullshit that women are inundated with every single day. I am officially a fan. #loveyourcabbagepatchface

amy-schumer-gq-magazine-may-2014-comedy-women-comedian-funny-01

image copyright GQ magazine

JGL FTW!

Just when I thought this Friday Feminist Funtimes was a wash… JGL to the rescue!

JGL, for the uninitiated, is the one and only Joseph Gordon Levitt. I watched Don Jon recently, and my only critique is that I wish he’d spent a bit more time developing the relationship with Julianne Moore’s character. Felt a bit cheated out of that one.

Having always been a JGL fan, he’s only endeared himself to me more with his very astute observations on feminism. Sourced from an interview with The Daily Beast (how annoying is that headline?), here’s what our Friday Feminist Funtimes hero had to say:

“What that means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are–you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever. However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what ‘feminism’ means. So yes, I’d absolutely call myself a feminist. And if you look at history, women are an oppressed category of people. There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice, and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole. I’m a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it’s better for everyone. It benefits society as a whole.”

And of course there’s always this:

 

Cheers to you, sir.

500-days-solo-o

Pop Goes the Revolution

Thirty-five isn’t what I would call old, but it’s old enough. It’s old enough to remember a time when daily doses of feminism were only found when sought out. To get a regular fix of Girl Power, you needed Bust or Bitch or Ms. Magazine on your nightstand, Ani or TLC in your discman (what’s up, 90s!), and Thelma & Louise on a constant loop in your DVD player.

What a revelation to look around nowadays and find that feminism is Everywhere. On TV, in the movies, in comic books (!!), music videos, and spilling from the pens of former CW stars. The Lady Movement has gone Pop.

But don’t let that fool you. It doesn’t mean we’ve won. On the contrary, the message of each and every one of these women is (in essence) that feminism is still needed. Sexism still thrives, male privilege still exists, and there is still a lot of work to be done.

All the same, I have to say… Seeing so many of us fighting the good fight? Feels pretty f*cking good. Here’s a sampling of delights to fuel your feminist fancies:

MUSIC VIDEOS
Colbie Caillat – 
Try
I’d heard her name but never her music. Time to give her a listen.

Jenny Lewis – Just One of the Guys
So much to love in this gender bending song and dance. Special props to Annie’s faux-break dancing, for making me bust a gut.

TELEVISION
Viola Davis speaks
to seizing a role in television, where female characters are almost always more dynamic than their silver screen counterparts.

“I have gotten so many wonderful film roles,” she acknowledged. “I’ve gotten so many where I haven’t been the show — I’ve been invited to fabulous parties to hold up the wall. I wanted to be the show –  to have a character that took me out of my comfort zone, and that happened to be on a Shonda Rhimes show. So I did the only sensible thing and took it.”

Orange is the New Black got **12 Emmy Nominations** because it’s one of the greatest shows ever!! Laverne Cox is the first trans actress to be nominated for an Emmy!! So Stoked to see these ladies on the red carpet, struttin’ their stuff.

OITNB

(Let’s hope the TV Academy gets their sh*t together next year for Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black.)

COMICS
Um, the new THOR is a WOMAN.
As if that isn’t enough, the series writer Jason Aaron drives home the fact that this new character is no spin-off, sidekick, watered-down version of Man Thor: 

“This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

Get it, Marvel!

STARLET SMARTS
Leighton Meester
isn’t the first person who springs to mind when thinking of feminist actresses. A lot of you may not even know who she is. Before today, I mostly knew her as Blair Waldorf (aka, she of the enviable wardrobe) on Gossip Girl. After today, I will know her as the actress who wrote that kick-ass piece for the Huffington Post about playing the character of Curly’s Wife in Of Mice and Men.

starlet feminists

 

Emma Watson has stated her feminist views before. Now she’s following in the Jolie’s footsteps by working for the UN. Emma “Hermione Granger” Watson will be joining the gender-equality branch, focusing on work with the HeForShe Campaign. Of this new adventure, Ms. Watson states:

“Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting.”

Our little witch is all grown!

COMMERCIALS
Some of you will nay-say this to rooms of your own and back, but I Like What Pantene Is Doing. #NotSorry.

 

There you have it, renaissance women! Not only is our revolution being televised, it is Everywhere. And because no pop culture feminist blog post is complete without her:

sparkle bey

#SashaFierce

Friday Feminist Funtimes: To Shailene or Not Shailene?

The thing about writing a blog centered around bolstering positive body image and dissecting representations of women in the media, is that one never finds oneself lacking in topical content.

There’s the power of the Book Girls and the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign to consider, or the practice of using T&A as click-bait for feminist articles to discuss. Endless consideration could be given to the horrifying, violent, misogynistic rampage of the UC Santa Barbara shooter – further evidence that sexism isn’t just, like, totes annoying, but is in fact fuel for brutal, savage acts against women.

These are all subjects that deserve our time and attention, and may one day be broached on Beauty Coup, but today we’re going to talk about Shailene Woodley. This is Friday Feminist Funtimes, after all, and Shailene Woodley is causing a real fuss about the word ‘feminist’ and what it means to Shailene Woodley.

For those of you wondering “what’s a Shailene Woodley?”, here’s a quick primer:
She’s a young actress who first got attention as George Clooney’s tiresome teenage daughter in The Descendants. She’s also on the verge of some mega-stardom with two huge films out this year: she’s the lead in both Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, two extremely popular YA novels.

In addition to her film successes, Shailene is also known for being an outspoken hippie vegan who shuns labels, loves mushroom powder, enjoys sunbathing her vagina, and doling out hugs “…so you know I’m real, and then you’re real too.”

This is Shailene:

source: http://www.fansshare.com/gallery/photos/12135811/shailene-woodley-image/
source: http://www.fansshare.com/gallery/photos/12135811/shailene-woodley-image/

This is what Shailene has said about feminism…

From an interview with Time magazine:

Is she a feminist? “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.

…My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism. I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us because we don’t even seem to respect each other. There’s so much jealousy, so much comparison and envy. And “This girl did this to me and that girl did that to me.” And it’s just so silly and heartbreaking in a way.”

Then she went on to clarify these thoughts with The Daily Beast:

“…the word “feminist” is a word that discriminates, and I’m not into that. I don’t think there has to be a separation in life in anything. For me, bringing up the whole “sisterhood” thing was about embracing each other’s differences. Embrace my point of view even if it’s different from your point of view, but see that our end goal is the same. The way that we’re getting there might be different, but as long as we approach life with kindness and compassion, that’s all that matters.

I was talking about this with one of my close girlfriends… and she said, “Listen, Shae: labels are labels. I don’t need to label myself because I know who I am.” That clicked for me really hard, and it was this defining moment in my life that I’ve taken with me and encourage others to do the same. Labels are for other people to understand us, so for me, I know how I feel and I don’t need to call myself a “feminist” or “not a feminist” because I know what my truth is. If you need in your own mind to say that I’m a feminist so you better understand where I’m coming from and what my ideals mean, then that’s for you. Labels are for people to understand one another, not for us to understand ourselves. I know where my cayenne sits in my spice cabinet.”

The unequivocal Elaine Lui of Lainey Gossip recently posted a link to a summary of Shailene’s views on Celebitchy, alongside the statement, “I think Shailene Woodley is a dumbass. Do we agree on this?”

Do we agree?

I agree that substituting the word feminism for sisterhood or even humanism is a bit of an eye-roll-inducing cop-out. But, I’m a decade older than Shailene. I am of the Righteous Babe era, when so many of us wore Feminism as a proud badge of honor and courage and sometimes outright warfare. Not with the battle cry of We Are Superior, but rather We Are Not Objects, We Have Just As Much Value And Worth As You. I want her to own the label because to my mind, feminism is misunderstood, in part, because so many feminists are afraid of embracing the term.

I agree with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who defines feminist as “a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes.” It’s that simple. If you believe in those things, then you are a feminist. It irks me when Shailene claims that feminism is divisive, discriminatory, and intent on raising women above men. To imply that loving men = can’t be a feminist, or being in touch with one’s masculine side = can’t be a feminist is pure idiocy. So in that sense, I agree that she sometimes sounds like a dumbass. Or at least like someone who has completely misconstrued the message and intent of feminism.

What I do love about Shailene is that she’s an atypical starlet and a contrary voice in Hollywood, aka a sea of predominantly indiscernible young female voices. As much as I brandish the label of Feminist, I agree that labels can sometimes be more trouble than they’re worth, and that we often take them on more for others than for ourselves. For example, I don’t need to label my sexuality for myself, but when people become very inquisitive I choose to give them the word queer. I use that word precisely because it requires explanation and sparks conversation, and because neither straight nor gay nor bisexual encompasses who I am. So if Shailene continues to shun the label of feminist and it continues to trigger tête-à-têtes with a young Hollywood actress about feminism (instead of just her diet or her love life or her fashion sense), well then bully for Shailene.

Another reason I do not agree that Shailene is a dumbass, is because in spite of her distaste for Feminist she is broaching really important feminist topics, even in polite company. When she appeared on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon asked her about being compared to Jennifer Lawrence. Because of a piece in NY Magazine, we know that this portion of the segment ultimately didn’t air because of Shailene’s response. First of all, she said, “Well… Comparisons always lead to despair.” And then the audience booed her. I don’t understand why that answer called for booing. But there it is, our collective consciousness. “What’s wrong with comparisons?? JLaw is Awesomesauce!”

Shailene went on to say:

“As women, we are constantly told that we need to compare ourselves to a girl in school, to our co-­workers, to the images in a magazine… How is the world going to advance if we’re always comparing ourselves to others? I admire Jennifer Lawrence, but she’s everyone’s favorite person to compare me to. Is it because we both have short hair and a vagina? I see us as separate individuals. And that’s important. As women, our insecurities are based on all these comparisons. And that creates distress.”

That right there is the opposite of dumbass. Those are valuable insights into how women are perceived and scrutinized and pitted against each other. I suspect this didn’t make the final cut of the interview not because Jimmy Fallon has issues with gender politics, but because gender politics do not jive in the Crackle Happy Pop world of The Tonight Show. Which is a shame, because we’d all be a little better off with some challenging of the status quo served up next to our double turtleneck ping-pong.

Shailene is young. She knows what her truth is at 22. As a fellow outspoken, opinionated woman, I sure as f*ck knew my truth at 22, too. And like most of us who’ve been through our 20s, my truth has changed a bit since then. Shailene’s truth is very likely to evolve over the next five to ten years, and even if she occasionally sounds like a dumbass, I for one hope she keeps talking about it.

SATC: The Legacy

“You’re such a Charlotte.”

“This is just like that episode where Carrie has to choose between smoking and Aidan.”

“He’s like my Mr. Big. Not in the sense that he’s my destiny, but in the sense that we’re basically having an affair.”

“Why can’t I get pregnant? I mean, Miranda got pregnant after one night of sympathy sex with one-ball Steve!”

miranda

“I’m mostly a Carrie, but with a splash of Samantha.”

“Remember that episode where Carrie freaks out about all the money she’s spent on shoes over the years? That’s how I feel about my finances.”

“I learned what kegels were from Samantha.”

“He broke up with me via email. That’s almost as bad as a post-it.”

post it

“Ever since the Charlotte/Trey proposal episode, I can’t stop using the word ‘alrighty’.”

“I’m a new woman. I feel like Miranda after Samantha gives her her hair appointment.”

“I don’t want to find my Mr. Big, I want to find my Harry.”

“It’s like, Season Two when her only income is writing her column for the New York Star, and she has the same Dior saddle bag in three different prints – do you know how much those bags cost?? Well trust me, she can’t afford them.”

“Can I pull off a tulle skirt?”

sex-the-city-intro-3-o

“Socks… men as socks… this article socks.”

^^ That’s what S wrote to me last night, when discussing ideas for a new Beauty Coup post. For those of you who don’t know, there is a nine-year age difference between S and myself. She is the Charlotte to my Samantha, in more ways than one. And while there are occasional differences in our pop culture experiences of the world (we definitely didn’t watch the same children’s shows), there’s one tenet that holds strong in its sway over both of our lives: Sex and the City.

We’ve both seen every episode, and so have you. We can quote many episodes, and so can you. We not infrequently relate the stories of those four women to our own lives, and so do you. All of this is true because SATC was unlike any show that came before it, and nothing has quite filled the space it left behind.

carrie1

It’s been ten years since the last season of SATC aired. In those ten years, the sanitized SATC movie and the atrocious sequel-that-shall-not-be-named have somewhat overshadowed the series, devaluing the cultural contributions of what was truly a groundbreaking show.

You’ve heard it all before – how SATC depicted women talking about sex, openly and sometimes crassly; how the focus of the show was on the female friendships, and how the men in their lives often took a backseat to a friend in need; how each of the four women had their own distinct goals and ambitions, further separating them from the once presumed Female Be All End All of love and marriage.

What you might not know is that even though the show’s creator, Darren Star, is a man, there were a lot of women at the helm of SATC, directing quite a few episodes in the first three seasons (prior to Star’s departure from the show), and featuring prominently in the writer’s room throughout the series. In the late 90s / early aughts, this was a significant shift in an industry that remains highly male-dominated. Let’s also remember that SATC only exists because of the source material from author Candace Bushnell, paving the way for a world where more and more women are the show runners for their own series.

four gals

Of course the show had its flaws. There was a lot of privilege on SATC, of both the racial and financial variety. All the same, SATC arguably blazed the trails that led us to Broad City, The Mindy Project, and Orange is the New Black – female-centric TV shows that are far more colorful in both representations of ethnicity and economic realities.

At the close of the Sex and the City series, the show cements its feminist underpinnings with a nod of the hat to being a phenomenal woman and having a room of one’s own. In the final episode, after all the ups and downs of friendship, the many and varied romances, the families formed and the choosing of choices, Carrie left us with these simple, powerful words:

“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”

cheers

How Beautiful Beauty Can Be

Tomorrow, our lives are going to change. Tomorrow brings new Oscar winners, immortalized in the annals of history. It also brings my annual fancy-dress Oscar party, which is always a monumental event. It brings more much-needed rain to the New Mexico earth.

But TODAY brings with it the launch of one of your new favorite websites, Afrobeatnik.

Here are some words we will use when discussing Afrobeatnik: fashion, filmmaking, sustainability, vintage, modern, diverse, inclusive, fabulous. And it is all very, very real.

Snuggle in for this special Saturday edition of Beauty Coup: an interview with site founder Angela Moorer – a wondrous, inspiring woman – and prepare to fall in love with Afrobeatnik. #beautyrevolution

BC: How did Afrobeatnik come about?
AM: Pretty much by me just, combining everything I cared about… I’ve been working for the past year with a non-profit with a great mission that I really support, but I’ve been doing more administrative work, and in the past there have always been more creative things that I’ve been tied to, I’ve put more creative things into what I’m doing… so I think I’ve felt a little restricted. And one thing I’ve learned, when you restrict someone enough, pretty soon they’re just gonna burst… Afrobeatnik was this bursting of me kind of being ready to do something creative, something that I care about, and to collaborate with others as well.

BC: That “combining everything you cared about” aspect, I noticed that right away. It isn’t just about representations of beauty in fashion… or on-screen, it combines both of those things and approaches fashion in an ethical manner…
AM: I mean, I’ve been interested in sustainable fashion for a couple of years now. I always wanted to work in fashion, but I never thought it was going to happen because when I got to know the industry itself I wasn’t inspired (by the fashion industry). I find myself more drawn to non-profit work, so if I was going to work in fashion it would be in some independent capacity.

We’re just kind of doing our own thing. We’re not really a part of any industry quite yet. I’m working with four different artisans …to upcycle vintage and to upcycle used materials and to share fashions that we think are beautiful. We’re not confined by anything, we’re not defined by anything, and it’s a really fun place to be. I’m excited to launch to see what the response is to it.

BC: I’m excited, too! S and I want to buy a lot of your clothes.
AM: Haha, awesome!

Like this:
skirt
And this:
dress

BC: In your own words, tell me about the mission and goals of Afrobeatnik.
We’ve got a pretty varied mission, but it’s all positive, and it’s all related in some way. The mission really started with the idea of Diversity. When I moved to Seattle from the tri-cities (Eastern Washington) there were a lot more different people. Growing up, Black History Month was an extremely scary time for me, because of the feeling of isolation – being the only black kid in your class, pretty much feeling alone in every aspect according to the way that you look. When you’re growing up, trying to figure out identity and who you are, your outside appearance impacts that… When I moved to Seattle and I found a community… I really thrived as a human being. I found that working in more diverse places, with people from different backgrounds, different countries, even… the more people I interacted with who were different from me, the more of a whole person I felt like I became. I understood the world a little better.

Another part of our goals in the Individuality aspect, which is tied to identity. Who you are within a community, while still remaining connected to that community. We tend to feel isolated by our differences, and what I would like to do is find ways to feel united by our differences – to love and appreciate all aspects of ourselves as individuals, and to love all aspects of others as well. I think they’re closely related – Diversity and Individuality – which is why I tied them both in. I wanted to make them both prominent values, but also separate.

Lastly we have (the value of) Sustainability, which is kind of just built into the way the company works. My personal preference is always thrift shopping. I barely buy anything new. For money’s sake, for uniqueness, I feel a lot of pleasure buying used. With vintage clothing especially, there’s this charm about it, this distinguished factor. You know it’s got some interesting history. So that’s why we decided to go vintage. As for the artisans – the handmade, upcycling work that we do – sometimes vintage clothing has gone through a lot, and it needs some work, you know it needs a little facelift; to be modernized in some way. Originally I brought on one person for basic repairs, but found all these items that could be turned into something really cool… So from there I brought on more artisans who were interested in upcycling things and wanting to make something new out of something old. And I think that’s what sustainability is about. It’s about reusing things …getting full use out of something, reinventing, giving new life. It’s crazy to me that some of this stuff might’ve ended up in a trash can somewhere. Our handmade collection launch is tied to earth day in April, but we’ll have a few things on March 1st as a preview.

BC: We’ve talked a lot about the fashion aspect of Afrobeatnik. One of the things that struck me the most was your ambition to use portions of your profits to make short films and documentaries that feature underrepresented cultures, women and minorities. What inspired you to tackle films as well as fashion?
I got into film a couple years ago… I did a certificate program at UW, and I learned a lot, it was fun… But, unfortunately, film communities are very tight-knit, and I’m not the kind of person who can’t wait around for someone to give me an opportunity. So I decided to try and raise the money to make the films I want to make. We’re at the basic stages of it. Once we start making some profits to get equipment we need and hire a mentor to help guide us, once we get those things in place we’ll begin the final idea. We’ve been throwing ideas around of what we want to do, and we’ve settled on a narrative web series featuring traditionally underrepresented women We’d like it to be funny, diverse, and full of culture, but also relatable. We talk a lot about the TV show Girls, we have discussions about all the things we think they’re doing wrong, and all the things we think they’re doing right, and I think one of the things that’s great about it is that it’s relevant, it’s current. A lot of people relate to that show. But the show obviously lacks diversity, it lacks culture. We wanted to tackle… something like that, in a narrative fashion, but we wanted to… bring in something a little bit deeper.

BC: I think that’s a really cool ambition. What are your thoughts on the importance of representative images across multiple mediums (print and screen)?
That has a lot to do with why I actually started this (Afrobeatnik), kind of my whole journey of self-acceptance and coming to terms with my own beauty and individuality. Growing up, I didn’t see people on TV that looked like me, and when I did it was always with straight hair, or really really light skin. I didn’t see myself represented in media, and I think that sends a message to young girls that they’re not important or they’re not beautiful. The message is that you need to assimilate to a certain culture or a certain ideal of beauty… when that’s the only ideal of beauty that you ever know. That’s why it’s important to get these images out there. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about Lupita (Nyong’o), she’s all over the place , and she’d not someone you’d traditionally see in Hollywood. It’s inspirational, not only for me or for an adult who’s more sure of herself, but especially for young teenagers and little girls growing up. By sending these messages through these images, we’re confirming that beauty exists in places beyond the norm, and I think that’s incredibly important.

(Insert some serious Lupita fangirling for the next several minutes)

BC: I love your (Afrobeatnik’s) tagline, “We want to show the world how beautiful beauty can be.”
AM: Yeah, exactly.

BC: Let’s go back to the fashion. Where do you find/curate the clothes for Afrobeatnik?
There are a lot of different processes going on since we’re so new… We’re attending estate sales, those are awesome resources where you can find the best vintage. And also working with consigners in the area, which is a whole other part of outreach. We do have consigners who seem pretty interested in providing consistent inventory. Besides that, we also – mainly for our upcycling projects – what we’ll do is order wholesale vintage… We get a shipment and sometimes a piece looks great and we can sell it as is …sometimes the clothes need some upcycling done – repairs, like a hem, hole or buttons – other times the print/fabric is good but the design is not modern enough for everyday wear, so we turn it over to the upcyclers. We’ve only really started the upcycling program as of February, so… there’s a lot that needs to be tackled, so we’re trying to grow the artisan team.

BC: Who are your models?
Honestly, we’re not picky at all about our models. The whole purpose was to show real women in the clothing and to make sure the representations of women that we’re throwing out there are unique people, people who are often not seen. Most of the models are either friends of ours or people we’ve found through Craigslist. It’s interesting because people seem to be ready to hop on to a project …when they find out what we’re about. It’s great. Our models are very diverse. We’ve got all kinds of races and sizes, they’re inexperienced, and they’re real.

BC: I love it. I can’t speak for others who are ready to hop on this kind of project, but seeing that kind of wide representation (in fashion images) makes you want to get involved. I want to continue this effort to show a multitude of different types of women. I think that it speaks to people. It’s something we’re all experiencing on some level right now, as a movement.
AM: Totally.

BC: Do you have a Photoshop policy?
There’s no specific policy… but we don’t do retouching as far as body shape… skin… the other day I was retouching a photo where the model was sweating a bit, so I retouched that. But like, pimples, you can see on our launch flyer on our website (and below), the model had a little bit of a breakout, and that’s real and that’s natural and that’s the way our photos are gonna remain.

See?? Didn’t I tell you that you’d fall in love? If you’re in Seattle, you lucky duck, you should totally go to the Afrobeatnik launch party tonight. I would if I were you. And all of us should definitely support the Afrobeatnik website and shop their fabulous frocks and keep our eyes peeled for their savvy, spectacular web series! Cheers to these lovely ladies and their amazing work.

Afrobeatnik-launch-party-flyer-2-FINAL

No Surprises Here

Would we really call this a Reveal? I suppose the fact that it’s a casting director doing the talking sort of makes it news. Sort of. But are any of you surprised that this is the state of things for actresses in Hollywood? If you pay any attention to Hollywood, you probably aren’t surprised. If you’re an actress, I’d say you’re not the least bit surprised.

For our purposes, let’s define Hollywood Unconventional as not thin and/or not crazy gorgeous. For men we’ll call it not built and/or not crazy handsome.

Watch me name some “unconventional” famous actresses off the top of my head: Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, Frances McDormand… is Rachel Dratch still famous? Um… Octavia Spencer.

For los hombres we have Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Hank Azaria, Michael Cera, Woody Harrelson, Barkhad Abdi (newly famous, but he counts), Danny DeVito, Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, Steve Carrell, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Allen, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Owen Wilson, John Goodman, Adam Sandler, Hugh Grant…

So this isn’t a scientific test, and you have no way of knowing how long I sat here considering each list. The point is I fizzled out pretty quickly when trying to come up with lady celebs, and each male celeb I thought of reminded me of another.

If you do a Google image search for Actor, sure there are a lot of handsome faces, but there are lots of different types of faces as well (focusing on the men – women pop up under “actor” now and then).

For some curious reason, a Google image search for Actress turns up a lot (A LOT) of Bollywood actresses. I would love to know the analytics for why this happens. So I went with a Google image search for Hollywood Actress. Seriously, I might as well be googling Lingerie-Bikini Model, or quite simply Boobs. Aha! There, waaaaaay toward the bottom of the first page: Meryl Streep. You know what’s unfortunate about that joke Tina told at the Golden Globes? That sh*t is funny because it’s True. The producers of the film ‘Nebraska’ probably cast June Squibb because they couldn’t afford Meryl Streep.

Tina Fey, on Meryl Streep: “(She’s) so brilliant in ‘August: Osage County,’ proving that there are still great roles in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60.”

So, what’s a struggling actress to do? Take a cue from our friends of color – plan to work twice as hard for half as much. If you’re an actress and also a woman of color, I’m afraid you may have to work three times as hard for that half. (Gabourey Sidibe! There’s one more. Lily Tomlin! She isn’t of color but I just thought of her. Two more!)

Essentially every working actor I know will tell you this is part of their career mantra: audition, audition, audition. Like the casting director Ms. Jones contends, if you’re an actress you’ll have to make that mantra: audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition. And as an “unconventional” actress who traversed the Tinsel Town Jungle, I can attest that you will find those people who want to hire you because you are talented and you work your ass off, regardless of how you look in lingerie.

OR pull a Mindy Kaling (three more!) and write a hit play that gets enough attention to lead to a job for you on a new TV show that also turns out to be a hit, write a role for yourself on that show, and be so utterly charming and successful that you eventually pitch and sell and star in your own show that only gets funnier with each new episode.

We here at RLB, we believe in you. Break a leg!

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