Browsing Category

Entertainment

Beauty, Entertainment

Gina Rodriguez Partners with Clinique to Inspire & Empower

via People.com

via People.com

Gina Rodriguez’s strands are set to stun thanks to John Frieda, but the star’s newest beauty campaign is looking inward to empower others.

The Jane the Virgin actress joins five other inspirational women as part of Clinique’s new Difference Maker campaign, which is aimed at inspiring confidence and empowering women to create change that affects their lives and their communities. The group also supports charities that focus on women’s healthcare and education through the brand’s Clinique Difference Initiative, continuing the conversation with the hashtag #DifferenceMaker. Rodriguez looked to her Chicago roots to help the youth turn education into empowerment by partnering with the brand for a special video.

In it, Rodriguez describes the scope of her upbringing in a “gang-infested” neighborhood with limited means of breaking the cycle of “can’t and won’t.” She notes that she had the “unfair” advantage of her family, who appear alongside her in the clip, pushed her to pursue her dreams, even with the many racial, economic, and social challenges she faced to break into the industry—all by giving her the ticket to success: education. “It pains me because I feel really lucky and thank God I had giants around me to stop that view of life, otherwise my life wouldn’t look as beautiful as it is today. I don’t want to be the only one living that though, ” she explains in the powerful video. And her parents are right! My mom taught me the same lesson from an early age, and it’s helped push me to where I am today and keep striving for tomorrow.

And it’s prompted her to talk to young people who still face those challenges and turn education into empowerment. “There’s a difference between my passion, which is acting, and my life’s purpose.My life’s purpose is to free someone from those invisible shackles because they are invisible; they are an illusion,” she points out. “What do you do? You go back, and you change it. I go and I talk to high school students, grammar school students, I go to universities and talk. We need people to say, ‘listen, I know what you’re going through, I know what you went through. I went through it too, and it sucks.’ Education is the only way to get out. It’s about confidence and self-worth. You can, and you will.”

And it doesn’t take a high-profile to shake up the systems of oppression and make positive changes for the future. “All of us are capable of being difference-makers,” she told the glossy. “All of us have that power. It’s the small stuff that makes the great amount of change. Our voices are so powerful, and I think that’s something we can start giving to our youth.”

Head over to People.com to check out the video clip but keep those tissues handy.

Books, Entertainment

Tony Stark Hands Iron Man Mantle to Riri Williams

Image via Vogue.com

Image via Vogue.com

Sorry Robert Downey Jr., you’re not the man in the iron mask anymore.

Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis announced Wednesday that at the close of Civil War II, the limited series that serves as the sequel to the comic series and latest installment in the Marvel movie universe, that the billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist will hand over the reigns to Riri Williams, a black woman. Similar to Peter Parker’s entrance into the Avengers in this summer’s superhero blockbuster, Stark takes an interest in Williams, a science prodigy who enrolls in MIT at 15—the same age that he started at the same school! But she doesn’t sit around waiting for him to hand over the suit, instead choosing to reverse engineer one of her own in her dorm. Now that’s taking extra credit to the next level!

Bendis, who is also the writer behind Jessica Jones, was inspired to create the savvy scientist by a real Chicago teen. “It just seemed that sort of violence inspiring a young hero to rise up and act, and using her science acumen, her natural born abilities that are still raw but so ahead of where even Tony Stark was at that age, was very exciting to me,” he told Timenoting that Stark and Williams haven’t officially met, but he’s already impressed with her insight. “[Tony’s] aware that this young woman is flying by him in terms of how quickly she’s doing it. Her brain is maybe a little better than his. She looks at things from a different perspective that makes the armor unique. He can’t help but go maybe I should buy her out.”

The comic creator didn’t shy away from the backlash that has come about with the recent wave of diverse casting either, stating, “I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, ‘Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?’ that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals. All I can do is state my case for the character, and maybe they’ll realize over time that that’s not the most progressive thinking.”

A similar sentiment was shared earlier this summer as comics author Mark Miller (you probably know him from Sin City, Wanted, and Kingsmen: The Secret Service, just to name a few) has shaken up one of his own universes by casting a black woman to mask up as Kick-Ass. “Comics is not short of white males aged around 30; that demographic seems pretty well catered for in popular culture,” Millar told The Hollywood Reporter in June. “I don’t think many blonde white guys around 30 feel under-represented when they pick up comic or watch a movie. Being older or younger or female or African-American just seems more interesting to me as a writer because this character is quite unique and opens up story possibilities that haven’t been tried in almost eighty years of superhero fiction. This woman has a completely different take on Kick-Ass.”

Though the details on the upcoming character are currently under wraps, it’s set to be a full top-to-bottom remix with a different city and supporting characters alongside the new lead. Moreover, Millar said the superhero moniker will be a legacy similar to how we’ve seen James Bond change over the years with more focus on the story rather than the man or woman behind the mask. “Every four volumes or so I want a different person in the mask. Sometimes it might even only last a single volume or even a single issue,” he said.

But there is one caveat to both of these developments: both Bendis and Millar are white. As Refinery29 writer Arianna Davis pointed out, no matter how creative the pair are, they won’t be able to bring the authenticity needed to portray these new heroes accurately. She also noted that there is no shortage of great black writers, including “Erika Alexander (you might recognize her as an actress from Living Single and The Cosby Show), who created the series Concrete Park; Juliana “Jewels” Smith, the writer behind (H)Afrocentric; and Miz Caramel Vixen, who launched Black Comic Month in January of last year. And actress Amandla Stenberg (a superhero in her own right, in my opinion) even released a coming-of-age series called Niobe: She Is Life last year,” as well as Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is currently writing the new Black Panther series.

Within the past few years, fans have seen a major shift where women and minorities have moved to the forefront of the superhero genre, on newsstands more so than on-screen with Muslim teen Kamala Khan taking over the role of Ms. Marvel; Sam Wilson stepping behind Captain America’s iconic shield; Asian-American Amadeus Cho inheriting the Hulk’s abilities; as well as Miles Morales becoming one of the most popular web slingers as the new Spider-Man. Plus I’ve honestly been hoping for news like this, as I and many others regularly imagine what a genderswapped Tony Stark would entail, how differently she’d be portrayed compared to the likes of RDJ and his iconic comic counterpart, as well as who would play her should she ever come to life onscreen. While Lena Heady and Lana Parilla are currently the fandom’s frontrunners, the choices are sure to change with this new and exciting development.

With these changes becoming a major movement, whose the next superhero that should receive the genderswap treatment? Who would you cast as Riri Williams for the big screen? Let me know in the comments below.

Entertainment, Music

#MusicMonday: Time Traveling Through Sound

via GIPHY

Ghost World was one of those memorable movies that had more of an influence on me than I expected. The flick was mixed in amongst Tarantino’s best on constant rotation on IFC back in the day, and I studied the movie based on the comic by Daniel Clowes more than my classes, memorizing all of the quotable lines from the film and trying to adopt Enid’s (Thora Birch) aesthetic. I even tried to dance along with the indie darling to the iconic opening song, “Jaan Pehchaan Ho” (which you’ve probably heard in a Heineken commercial or two). But who knew all those memories would come flooding back via a music player?

Continue Reading

Beauty, Body, Entertainment

Kat Graham Is All About Girl Power & Fab Fragrances

A photo posted by Kat Graham (@katgraham) on

From the TV set to Snapchat to the red carpet and beyond, Kat Graham is kind of killing it. Mere months after becoming the face of Wet ‘n’ Wild (alongside Jasmine V and Brianna Howey), The Vampire Diaries darling was named Caress‘s new fabulista, not only showing off her style but empowering others to live fiercely and fearlessly.

The star and social media maven introduced a group of editors to the newest additions to Caress’s ground-breaking Forever Collection , which features scent technology that allows you to refresh the fragrance through touch for up to 12 hours. Enchant Forever is a fabulous floral gourmand fragrance with notes of honeysuckle and satinwood while Mystique Forever offers more sensual fare with notes of Imperial Iris and rich amber. Graham admitted that she’s sniffed all of the scents, but does have a favorite. “Enchant Forever is my jam. I thought Mystique Forever would be it because I’m a big amber scent girl, but it turns out Enchant Forever is my fave,” she gushed. “I put a little on my wrist and just smell it sometimes, and I think, ‘Ok, I’m good. I can meet people. I don’t smell like how hard I work.'”

And Graham puts in work! Aside from her beauty duties and her work on The Vampire Diaries, she’s also working on her music and staying connected with her fans. “I always told my mom, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to be a famous actress, and I’m going to be a people’s artist,’” she explained. “[What it] meant to me, as a young girl, was I wanted to be not only someone who was connected to the fans, connected to people, connected to causes that were all about female empowerment; that I had a message; that if I was the face of anything, it was going to be a company that was accessible to me, that you could afford no matter what place you were in your life. I wanted to be an accessible artist.”

And like her artistic philosophy, she wants to encourage women to indulge their inner royal and treat themselves like queens. “This campaign is about channeling your inner queen and being fierce and being fearless and unapologetically powerful, and that looks different to us because as women, we have so many different ‘notes,'” she said, pun intended.

Smell is the most important sense for the actress, who uses fragrance, like fashion, as her armor for everyday life. “I’m somebody that likes darker, more mysterious scents, and I like things that reflect my personality,” she told the group. “I’m kind of a tough girl; I’m some poor kid from Hollywood that got a break, and I like to smell powerful. That translates to me with how I interact with people, in my work—smell to me is extremely important, and it does reflect who I am as a person.”

Graham noted that the scents in the collection, which were inspired by fine fragrances like Prada Candy and Viktor & Rolfe’s Flowerbomb, were meant to be mixed and matched with your favorite scents. “There are certain lighter fragrances that bring out different things in the Caress smell, so it’s really fun playing around with notes if you are a smell person. But if not, you can just go with Caress and move on since it smells good. Figure out what works for you and how the scent complements your natural scent. I’ve tried them all…it’s a problem,” she said.

Don’t worry, Kat. We have the same problem, but it’s not a crime to smell so fine!

Entertainment, Music

Good Charlotte Grows Up & Goes Inside “Youth Authority”

Photo Apr 21, 2 27 54 PM copy

Good Charlotte stirs ups memories of Chuck Taylors, guyliner, and mosh pits for most fans. But like the rest of us, the band has grown up and priorities have changed with the group taking a break back in 2011 to focus on family. We saw twins Benji and Joel Madden branch out with a project all their own in 2014 and mentor up-and-coming artists on The Voice in Australia; Billy Martin shifted artistic direction with the comic Darious McDreary: A Boy and His Bat and began contributing art to other titles; Paul Thomas went back to school and worked with the likes of Seeking Empire and The Strayed; and Dean Butterworth spent some time with Sugar Ray and provided the beat for Hollywood Game Night. But we’ve hardly heard a note from them for almost five years until the group finally released the single “Makeshift Love” late in 2015. They’ve triumphantly returned with a fresh single, an upcoming album named Youth Authority, and a four-city tour of the East Coast. I got to sneak into soundcheck when the guys made a stop in the Big Apple to discover the shift in their sound, share their advice for anyone looking to make it big in music, and revive the nostalgia from the early aughts’ pop-punk era while still moving forward.

Continue Reading

Entertainment, Movies

Elizabeth Banks Gives a First Peek at the Power Rangers Reboot

elizabeth-banks-power-rangers

via People Magazine

Rita Repulsa, is that you?!

A few months back, it was announced that Elizabeth Banks would take on the role of the venomous Power Rangers villain. People was the first to share a snap from behind the scenes.

I have to admit I was surprised to see the stylized updates to the costume. Gone are the sculpted hair horns, Madonna-style cone bra, and the giant Elizabethan collar, and in its place are a more reptilian aesthetic (that gives me Dragon Ball Z flashbacks) with gold accents and Lady Gaga-inspired prosthetics. “It’s definitely a modern and edgy re-imagining of the original Rita Repulsa,” Banks told the glossy.

The film is based on the ’90s TV show that pits five super-powered teens against Rita Repulsa’s (and eventually Lord Zedd’s) plot to conquer Earth. The Power Rangers were a phenomenon that kids like me devoured, nabbing everything from toys to costumes to tickets to its own movie back in ’95. But surprisingly enough, Banks was initially introduced to the Power Rangers by her brother. “It might be his favorite show of all time,” she joked.

Though Banks admitted that she’s never played a villain, her hilarious roles in The Lego Movie and Pitch Perfect give me a feeling that she’ll do the character justice. But for now, we’ll just have to wait and see who else may emerge from a space dumpster to take on the Rangers in their quest to defeat Zordon of Eltar.