Becoming a Model – Taking Care of Your Appearance

cu face
Well, now that you have been introduced to the different genres of modelling (please see previous links to posts) – and if you are still prepared to give it your all – the next key aspect to focus on is appearance.

There is a very well versed quote, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’. It is arguable as to whom this quote can be attributed to, whether Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain, but the fact remains that whoever qualifies, they certainly raised an excellent point.

In the same way that we might attend a regular job interview, we would naturally be expected to prepare for that interview as best we can. There is positively no exception where modelling is concerned. Admittedly, there are times when we might be expected to attend our first casting call of the day, having been told specifically to dress casually or to look sporty. This might be immediately followed by a mad dash across to the other side of town, where a client might require you to look smart, sophisticated or business-like – with heels… or a suit!

This is where our versatility skills would come into play and so also would a certain degree of canniness. But we shall leave the subject of versatility for a later episode in the ‘Becoming a Model’ series.

Let’s get back to first impressions. We are aiming to make an impact and hopefully, a lasting impression on the client, so we have to do everything we can to stand out from the crowd at the cattle call, in order to get the job – modelling is, as with all lines of work, a competitive world. If we really want to make a success of our modelling career, it is important to take in and listen carefully to what the client’s brief is asking of us.


If a client is seeking his or her ideal male or female model to promote a hair product, it would be futile turning up with unwashed, scraped back hair, tucked under a hat or bandana, so that the client cannot make an accurate judgment as to whether the model would be ideal candidate to promote said hair product. Believe it or not, I have seen the odd model do just that, expecting the client to get an idea of the model’s abilities just by looking at their portfolio.

Well, I can tell you right now, that is not only a waste of the client and the model’s own time, energy and money: the agency might as well have just sent over images of that model via email, or forwarded a link to its website! The point of a model turning up in person is for the client to see just that – how the model appears in the flesh, as pictures – particularly edited ones – can hide a multitude of flaws. In a similar way, for a beauty product casting, the client would not want to see a model either caked in makeup or staggering in, unprofessionally, looking as though he or she has been up all night, partying until 6am that very morning.

(The same would go for turning up for a modelling job, but again, that comes under yet another episode in this series, that relates to maintaining good standards and a good name – for yourself and for your agency.)

There are a myriad ways to maintain your hair, skin and nails (yes, clients do ask to see your hands and nails, too, so keep them scrubbed, well manicured, clean and neat!) and it is really all just a case of finding which regime or technique suits you (and your wallet) best.


 Hair Care

A good approach upon joining an agency would be to investigate how to become a house model at a reputable hair salon. If you are unsure, ask your booker for advice. Many model agencies send their models to a few respectable hair salons they are in contact with to maintain their hair for their work, particularly if the model’s hair looks like it could be quite a good selling point and quite a few models do become house models for some of those salons. This would mean that in return for getting your locks primped, trimmed and pampered, you might have to take part in some of their hair shows or do some photo shoots to promote their salon. This is a win-win situation, because you get exposure and practice on the runway and photo shoot as well as acquire a new look and pictures for your portfolio, whilst the salon gets their chosen model to work with for a fraction of the price.

If you can’t find a salon with which to become a house model, aside from getting a basic trim at your local hairdresser or barber, there are plenty of effective over-the-counter products on the market, as well as natural home remedies to treat the condition of your hair and scalp.

Finding a good shampoo and conditioner for your hair type should be standard procedure, whether your hair is thick, fine and flyaway or has a tendency to frizz. You are the one who knows and understands your hair’s behaviour the best and your hairstylist – should you be fortunate enough to find one who can bring out the best in your hair, with deep conditioning treatments, colour and toning expertise – would also be able to advise you on effective ways to manage your style with minimal fuss.

On the other hand, some salons can charge an awful lot of money for a cut and colour and when you’re just starting out as a model, maintaining regular visits and upkeep can therefore become problematic. The solution to this would be to keep things as simple as possible. It’s certainly not the end of the world if things are a bit of a financial struggle; most of us have already been there. Keep your hair clean and well conditioned, with a regular weekly deep conditioning hair pack (guys too), which you can purchase from your local chemist or supermarket.


Walking through the supermarket’s personal care and hygiene section is akin to walking into Aladdin’s Cave of toiletries. Today, we are so spoiled for choice when it comes to products to help maintain and treat our hair. Find the product that is right for your hair type. It can be a case of trial and error, but in the end, when you find that product that is not too greasy for your flyaway hair, or that manages to tame your frizzy locks, it is worth the investment, especially if money is tight to begin with and you cannot make it to a salon. You never know when that all-important hair casting might pop up out of the blue, so always be prepared. As a popular teacher I know often says, ‘being prepared is half the battle’!

But by the same token, try not to get too carried away with the over use of one particular type of styling product for too long, or you might have really have a battle on your hands. Many hairdressers will tell you that over use of styling products can cause what they call ‘product residue build up’ and result in your hair looking dull or losing its shine.

If you have access to a local gym or sports centre, then after your work out, swim or exercise class, just dollop some of your favourite conditioner through your hair, cover it with a shower cap or towel and sit in the steam room for 15-20 minutes. Not only will your hair will thank you by producing optimum shine and a bouncy, healthy looking condition, but your skin will too, as you would have also just removed the city’s grime and given yourself a glowing facial, unblocking the pores that become clogged up by oily sebum and pollution, the excess of which can lead to blocked follicles and unwanted spots and blackheads.

steammale steam

For those of you that can’t make it to the steam room, there are quick and cheap home remedies to bring back the lustre and moisture to your hair – simple food products from your fridge will do the job just as efficiently. Raw eggs are wonderful for your hair and have been used as a treatment for many, many years. But whilst egg whites are great for treating oily hair, containing enzymes that consume any bacteria and excess oils, egg yolks are good for nourishing and moisturising dry, brittle and thirsty hair. Just apply a mixture to clean, damp hair and leave on for about 20 minutes. Use cool (not hot) water to rinse off and then give it a shampoo and light conditioning. Use the yolks once a month and the whites once a fortnight.

Simple plain yoghurt will bring back the hair’s natural shine that has been dulled from city pollution and excess hair styling products. Massage a healthy dollop (about half a cupful) of yoghurt into damp hair, leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off with cool water, then shampoo as normal. Repeating this once a fortnight can save you a lot of money on expensive hair treatments.

remediesFor an itchy, dry or flaky scalp, mix together 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water. Massage this solution into damp hair, leave on for 20 minutes, rinse out and shampoo. Do this every two weeks.

For dehydrated or sun-damaged hair, massage half a cup of honey into your hair, leave for 20 minutes and then rinse out with warm water. If the honey is too sticky for you, you can add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the mixture, to help it spread more easily.

Instead of paying a fortune on a keratin treatment to tame frizzy hair, purchase a more affordable version from your chemist or supermarket, or simply smear fresh avocado all over your hair, then rinse and shampoo as usual. The protein bonds that have been damaged by the sun and heat can also be restored with this inexpensive home remedy.

To get rid of product residue build up, every two weeks, mix a couple of tablespoons of simple baking soda (the very same product that sits in your kitchen cupboard and with which you can also clean your teeth!) with enough water to form a thick paste. Massage this into your damp hair, leave for 15 minutes, then rinse and shampoo.

Finally, it is always important to remember that the hairstyle and image that you choose to go with and take your new portfolio photographs with, must be one that you will be happy and comfortable with, as well as being a style that you will be sticking with for a while. There is nothing more confusing and frustrating for a client who wants to book you for a job specifically because of your long hair, only to find out that you have decided to go for an elfin crop instead! Think carefully about the style you choose. Make sure it is one that still has versatility and enough scope and movement to create a few different styles, because having versatility will be an important element that marks the difference between getting the job or not.


Skin Care

water splash faceman splashmix skin

In this industry, it would not be uncommon to come across the term, ‘your face is your fortune’. As long as we recognise this and do all we can to maintain our looks for as long as possible, there is no reason why a model cannot remain a working model for many decades to come.

It is equally important to maintain a healthy internal system as well as an outward one. When we are constantly told that we are what we eat, we really are. What we take inwards will consequently reflect outwards, and that does not just mean what we ingest by way of food and drink, it is also what we take and hold by way of feelings, emotions and tension. Sooner or later, signs of stress or poor diet will eventually manifest itself in our skin, eyes and nails as well as on the surface of our tongues.

How many times have you taken the subway or walked around the streets of the city during the day, come home, blown your nose and been shocked at what you find in the tissue? The city grime you see has become ingrained into our skin as well as pollution having been ingested via our lungs. Furthermore, free radicals and over exposure to the elements – particularly the sun and wind – also cause skin cell damage. How we counter those effects seems to require more and more time and effort and in extreme cases, going under the knife.

Today, general skin care is no longer just about the so-called holy trinity of regimes we would once religiously perform last thing before bed and first thing in the morning – cleanse, tone, moisturize, or as Clarins would have it, cleanse, tone, clarify, moisturize. It is about applying lotions, potions and scrubs, eliminating dead cells and free radicals, regenerating new growth, countering UVA, UVB rays and pollutants, raising SPFs, AHAs, retinol A… you would be forgiven for mistakenly thinking you are undertaking some sort of covert secret service operation!

The key here is not to get caught up by the excessive marketing techniques used by some advertisers. Now this may seem ironic, seeing as we are operating in the very business of looks, fashion, beauty and their respective products. Marketing rule number one is this: a beauty marketing company will find an inadequacy in us, or make us feel like we have one. Uneven skin tone, lines, wrinkles, spots, greasy skin, dry skin, pale skin, patchy skin, open pores, the list goes on. It will then produce a ‘solution’, claiming that this miracle product will solve all your problems – but if you listen very closely to their carefully selected words, you will hear phrases like, ‘this product will give you the appearance of glowing skin, even tones, visible blur, closed pores’, etc. Many will be careful never to claim that their creams can make your skin younger or give you a facelift, only the appearance as such. This is where it is important to know and understand the industry you are getting into.

waterdrink watermix drink

This is also where you need to get smart and make sure that you take care of yourself as much as you can by eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and doing the right things to maintain good, clear, healthy skin. Getting enough sleep – roughly 8-10 hours per night, dependant on whether you are a teenager, in which case, it’s closer to 10, but generally, even doctors will tell you that 8 hours is a good amount of hours in which to be fully rested and refreshed by morning. Drinking plenty of fresh water – 1.5 to 2 litres per day. Not all in one go, naturally… just as and when.

Starting your day (as soon as you have swished your mouth and cleaned your teeth and tongue) by drinking a cool, fresh glass of water on an empty stomach will help rehydrate you after 8 hours of fasting in your sleep and thus dehydrating yourself. Another great way to start your day is to drink a cup of tepid water mixed with the juice of half a lemon. This is ideal, as this solution alkalises your system, eliminating acidity, which ultimately is said to prevent cancer. Not only does this miracle solution do all of this, but it also cleanses your kidneys and liver, kick-starts your immune system into action mode for the day and eventually leaves you with beautifully flawless and glowing skin. (It is generally recommended after drinking water on an empty stomach to wait for half an hour to an hour before eating)

Along side keeping our skin clean, exfoliated and moisturised – and this does not mean just starting at the forehead and stopping at the chin – we need to pay special attention to moisturising what beauty experts refer to as the décolletage. This refers the neck and upper chest area – which also ages sooner, especially when perfumes (alcohol based) are perpetually sprayed on this point or if it is not taken proper care of by moisturising on a daily basis. Add to these areas your elbows and knees (which are usually the first body parts said to lose elasticity over time) and particularly hands and feet – parts that are frequently exposed to the camera, client’s inspection and also to the lovely audience sitting at eye level to the catwalk, as you walk it.

There are plenty of reasonably priced clay, moisturising, deep cleansing and even anti-ageing face packs and further natural products that are available from your local chemist, supermarket or health food store. Alternatively, you can make your own face packs from vegetable or fruit pulp (scraping just beneath the skin is best and is where the fruit contains the most nutrients).

Whilst you are making your morning smoothie or green smoothie for breakfast, what is stopping you from taking a couple of strawberries and literally squishing and smearing them all over your face? You think I’m kidding? My friend swore by this and I laughed when she told me all about it over the telephone, but I wasn’t laughing anymore when I next saw her in person. Her skin looked like she had just come back from an expensive spa break!

coconut oil

There are plenty of age-old skin treatment methods and remedies for smoother skin, exfoliation, cleansing and lifting and tightening the skin, by using simple food products such as oatmeal, honey, lemon juice and fruit and vegetable pulp. Don’t forget one of the most versatile products of all – coconut oil.  Pure coconut oil is not only delicious to add to cooking, it is wonderful for the condition of your hair, skin and for what is known as oil pulling.  Oil pulling is a technique used to pull and remove plaque and particles from our teeth, as well as whitening them.  It is done by swishing oil in the mouth for around 20 minutes and then spitting it out.  (If you are environmentally conscious, you might want to spit it into a tissue and flush it, rather than clogging up your drain).  There will be more on oil pulling in a later episode on health.

Fruit and vegetables contain vital enzymes that nourish the skin, as well as taking off dead surface layers to promote new growth or produce polished spa-looking skin, all for a miniscule fraction of the price of a weekend away.

In conclusion, how we look after ourselves determines what we eventually become. We can eat properly to nourish, not just fill ourselves; we can keep well hydrated. We should get plenty of sleep – at least 8 hours per night. Take regular exercise and keep moving frequently, undertaking powerwalks or activities such as yoga or swimming.   All of these activities and more utilise deep breathing techniques, promote energy by oxygenating our blood stream that ultimately feed our skin and cells. As you breathe in, you generate energy, or what is known in Yoga as prana. As you breathe out, you push out all the toxins. Yoga and meditation are also great ways to remain stress-free and therefore healthier, both inside and out. These are also topics that we will explore in more detail later in the series, so that you can find and develop a practice that fits into your day and suits you best.

With all of these simple and affordable techniques and regimes, we really cannot go far wrong. In return, our body will repay us by staying younger longer, because we are giving it a fighting chance to regenerate itself. That is what we are built to do. Regenerate. We just need to recognise this and be kinder to ourselves.


Written by Brucella Newman





This Girl: An Exclusive Interview with Singer-Songwriter Loretta Heywood by Brucella Newman

This Girl: An Exclusive Interview with Singer-Songwriter Loretta Heywood

After a two decade-long musical hiatus, Loretta Heywood is back on the music circuit with her brand new EP, 5 Shades of Blue, which was taken from her first series of recordings, entitled The Boy Across The Road.  Loretta also … Continue reading

Nigella Lawson’s “Higellagate” – How Long Did Charles Saatchi Really Know?

Nigella Lawson’s “Higellagate” – How Long Did Charles Saatchi Really Know?

This is certainly an era of revelations – the lifting of lids on private lives and secrets that those involved had hoped would remain under wraps.  And it seems that no one is immune, including domestic goddess and International television chef, Nigella Lawson.  As the unintentional rolling story on Ms Lawson’s private life is gathering momentum, it may also appear that her husband at the time, Charles Saatchi could also have been aware of Ms Lawson’s alleged drug-taking for some time prior to current reports.  One might wonder then, how long did Charles Saatchi really know?  Whether the allegations are true or not, after recognizing the real and potentially damaging problems that could have ultimately led to the break up of their marriage, could Saatchi perhaps have also recognized Lawson’s need for help, knowing of her unhappy and tragic past and shown more support?

Lawson’s ex-husband, three-times-married and divorced billionaire businessman, Charles Saatchi, had formerly reached a private financial settlement with his now third ex-wife.  But could it be either unfortunate or clever timing on someone’s part that has brought on the exposure of his very private email to Lawson, accusing her of being off her head on drugs and “trashing” her daughter Cosima’s life by plying her with cocaine as well?  Rather than denigrating Lawson by alluding to her “habitual criminality,” and in light of Saatchi’s current beau, Trinny Woodall’s public admission that she too, is a recovering addict, one might wonder why a smidgen of understanding on Saatchi’s part wouldn’t have gone amiss at a time it was most needed.

It can be all too easy to view things from one perspective only and it is also clear that so many tabloids have been quick to jump on the accusatory bandwagon, brandishing Lawson as, “the domestic goddess that fell to earth,” or bandying comments like, “no one envies the domestic goddess now.”  But not one of them has really been too interested in covering how, if entirely true, Ms Lawson’s private issues appear to have suddenly reached such epic proportions in such a public way.  However, as the story continues to unfold, the public will form its own conclusions anyway.

If allegations by her two personal assistants, sisters, Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo bear any truth to them, then it becomes questionable how they could have stood by and accepted Lawson’s alleged permission to use Saatchi’s company credit cards to go on multiple shopping sprees, without caring that they were not actually helping Lawson at all but rather, themselves.  Or if, perhaps, according to Saatchi, the Grillo sisters were using embellishment of the truth to hide behind their embezzlement and fraud case, it can only be a matter of time before the truth will prevail, given the current nature of revelations on the karmic wheel’s agenda.

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo

But let us get back to the issue at hand, the issue that has as yet, gone unmentioned here: the issue of addiction.  In tandem with Lawson and Saatchi’s “Higellagate,” Trinny Woodall, former co-presenter of What Not to Wear, recently took part in a debate hosted by The Spectator, entitled, “Addiction is Not a Disease.”  Woodall led a strong argument against the motion and raised some poignant points relating to her own experiences whilst under the influence of vodka, cocaine and pills, also revealing that her ten-year addiction had led to her desperation to get away from the “fake, lying, thieving, cheating person” she had become.

During her speech, Woodall disclosed how both her grandfather and uncle had been alcoholics, the latter of whom had died as a result of his illness.  After being put through a succession of boarding schools from the age of 6 and a half, she also admitted that she lacked confidence as a teenager and “wanted so desperately to fit in,” so when she was presented with the opportunity to try cocaine one night, aged 16, she did so because she “wanted to be cool.”

It took a few years before Woodall began to recognize that her substance abuse was actually a problem and that her family had noticed a change in her personality.  She decided to come clean and tell them and needless to say, they were horrified.  Woodall said that she had made a half-hearted attempt to stop for a few weeks, but started using again, until she eventually overdosed and woke up in hospital.  Her mother was the one who drove her to a rehab centre.

Woodall’s speech can be heard here:

So could addiction or alcoholism be genetic?  Or could it develop as a result of some kind of traumatic or unhappy experience from the past?  In an article in the Daily Mail, Nigella Lawson was reported as having said that her mother, Vanessa Salmon, did not like her, that she never thought that she could please her mother and that she would suffer physical abuse from her.  Lawson had described her mother as “hot-blooded… funny but depressed and sensitive to noise.”  According to Ms Lawson, her mother had a tendency to lash out when any of her four children made too much noise and her mother would often say “incredibly hurtful things to her.”  Lawson also stated that she was sometimes encouraged by her father, former Conservative politician and journalist, Nigel Lawson, to have a glass of whiskey as she revised for her A’ Levels.

Sadly, Ms Lawson lost not only her mother to liver cancer, but her younger sister, Thomasina, 32, to breast cancer, as well as her first husband, journalist John Diamond to throat cancer in 2001.  Lawson was left to bring up their two children, Cosima and Bruno, now both teenagers.

Whether or not allegations about Ms Lawson or her children’s supposed drug habits became public knowledge, the fact remains that such family issues are issues that should have remained behind closed doors.

As things currently stand, Saatchi claimed at Isleworth Crown Court today that he did not know about Lawson’s cocaine habit, that he adored his former wife and that he is “utterly bereft” at the private email intended for Lawson’s eyes only, reaching the public domain.  He also claims that he could only assume that Ms Lawson had another agenda when she reportedly passed the email on to her lawyer, who was required to pass it on to the court, where it was read aloud, in front of Saatchi, as he gave evidence in the Grillo Sisters’ fraud case.

The irony here is that the celebrity ex-couple’s personal lives were not intended to become as exposed as they are now.  Saatchi had reportedly suggested that he was certain that Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo would reveal whatever they had to, in order to help their case.  Rather than take a pay cut and live for free at one of Lawson’s pads in Battersea in order to pay back some of the money they had reportedly embezzled from Saatchi’s company account, they said that they would rather go to jail.

The case continues.

By Brucella Newman

The Spectator

Daily Mail 

Sky News 1 

Sky News 2

Hugh Jackman Reveals He Had Skin Cancer

Hugh Jackman Reveals He Had Skin Cancer

Wolverine and Les Miserables star, Hugh Jackman, 45, announced yesterday that he has just had a cancerous growth surgically removed from his nose.  After being urged by his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, 57, to have the mark on his nose checked … Continue reading

Charles Saatchi Re-works the Old Beaten Track with Trinny Woodall


Just six weeks after his divorce was finalized with ex-wife, celebrity author and television chef, Nigella Lawson, 53, art tycoon Charles Saatchi, 70, and self-confessed style guru and fashionista, Trinny Woodall, 49, began dating each other and have recently been spotted again, whilst out at Colbert, in Chelsea’s Sloane Square, London.  The change of location from their regular haunt – Saatchi’s favourite Mayfair seafood restaurant – Scott’s, probably came as a bit of a surprise to paparazzi, as Saatchi continues to re-work the beaten track he once trod with ex-wife Lawson, only this time replacing her with Woodall.


The couple did not appear to be concerned with keeping their new relationship under wraps, not even since Saatchi’s public divorce from television chef Nigella Lawson in August, following the much-publicized images in the press that captured Saatchi with his hand in a vice-like grip around his wife’s throat while they dined outside at Scott’s earlier in the year.

watching the world go by

After Saatchi and Woodall’s seventh dinner date in less than a month at Scott’s, a posh eatery that Saatchi favours because he can sit outside and smoke while he eats, the new couple this time chose Chelsea’s Colbert for a drink so they could sit and watch the world go by on their lunchtime date.

A close friend had reportedly revealed to the Daily Mail that the style guru has practically moved in with Saatchi and that she has been staying over a lot at the marital home Saatchi once shared with his ex-wife.  The friend added that while some people might find their relationship “too creepy” and “too soon,” following the Saatchi-Lawson divorce, they continued that Saatchi and Woodall did not care, as they seemed to be so caught up in their new romance.

Friends of Saatchi had also reportedly been trying to get him back out on the dating scene, although it seemed that despite the odd mystery woman snapped with him at his favourite restaurant, he had apparently appeared unenthusiastic at first, until he met Trinny and the pair seemed to hit it off.


By the looks of the press photos, Woodall appeared to be completely absorbed in everything Saatchi had to say, as she seemed to captivate him under her spellbinding gaze.  This seemed to do the trick in encouraging him to open up and continue to reveal even more about himself.

Woodall, who rose to fame with her screen partner, Susannah Constantine from their BBC television show, What Not to Wear and ITV’s Trinny and Susannah Undress, has been reportedly single since her split from a decade-long marriage to billionaire businessman, Johnny Elichaoff, back in 2008.  The Elichaoff and Woodall union sadly began to fall apart at the seams, despite the former couple attending marriage guidance counselling culminating from irreconcilable differences as well as conflicts arising from Woodall’s increasing workload at the time.

With one divorce already in the bag for Woodall and another for Saatchi, there could either be much to talk about or not, over the dinner table, with notes to compare on their previous relationships, although there was certainly nothing else to keep Lawson in the country on the receipt of her decree nisi.  The luscious and unashamedly voluptuous domestic goddess jetted off to Los Angeles for a well-deserved summer break with her offspring, whilst also taking some time to shoot her new television show.  Lawson is back in London now, as confirmed by one of her tweets, which bore some utterance about diving into some delicious sounding roast chicken.

Some relationships were meant to last, while others’ were there perhaps for a period of learning.  Has Trinny Woodall not taken into account the glaring evidence relating to the lengths to which Charles Saatchi will go?  If she has learned anything by Saatchi’s track record, she does not seem fazed in the slightest.  In fact, some might even say that Woodall could be attracted to potential trouble.

Whatever the lessons learnt, here’s hoping that this time around everybody finds some degree of happiness and can finally move on.  But strangely enough in this case, as a mere observer, without being able to put my finger on it and hoping that I am wrong, I’m not really getting that sense of a match made in heaven.

Written by: Brucella Newman


Daily Mail 

The Mirror 

The Express 

Charlie Hunman’s ‘Fifty Shades of Why’ he Quit Lead Role

Charlie Hunman’s ‘Fifty Shades of Why’ he Quit Lead Role

It was a case of “Charlie Hunman exits stage left, giving 50 shades of why,” in a blazing publicity disaster for the film Fifty Shades of Grey, even before filming had begun.  The Sons of Anarchy star had only just a few months ago been cast for the lead role of Christian Grey in the film adaptation of the E.L. James novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

The film, reportedly being re-scripted by Notes on a Scandal writer Patrick Marber, focuses on the bizarre relationship between billionaire businessman, Christian Grey, who is heavily into BDSM (a sexual practice relating to bondage, discipline and sadomasochism) and his new assistant, blushing virgin yet sharp-minded literary scholar, Anastasia Steele.

With fifty shades of reasons cited for his departure, Hunman quit the role in which he was set to perform opposite Dakota Johnson, who was cast as Anastasia Steele.  As things stand, Johnson’s role seems to remain in tact, while speculation abounds as to who will now be replacing Hunman.

Initial reports stated that Hunman was too busy to prepare for the role of Grey, as he was still involved in the shooting of a current series of Sons of Anarchy.  Other reports suggested that Hunman’s pay for the controversial role would only equate to about $125,000 (£78,000), a fee that Twilight star, Robert Pattinson, who had been the original choice for Christian Grey, would by no means have accepted, according to sources.  Pattinson was reported to have been paid $12.5 million (£7.7 million) for his last two Twilight movies alone.

Brey Easton Ellis, a close source to Fifty Shades of Grey author-turned-film producer E.L James, had tweeted that it was while they were both at Pattinson’s house that James had admitted to the actor that he led the running for the role of Christian Grey and that the role was his if he wanted it.

Nevertheless, it would now appear that Pattinson would not be able to take them up on the offer anyway, as he is said to be bulking up at the gym while making preparations for his new movie, Mission: Blacklist, in which he plays a US army special operative.

Ever since the announcement broke of the new Fifty Shades film and the further press release of its new stars to head the cast, 50 shades of hell had broken loose, mostly from fans of the “mommy porn” book trilogy by James, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.  The majority of fans certainly did not favour either Hunman or Johnson for the roles of Grey and Steele and the media frenzy that subsequently followed as a result was probably more than Hunman could bear.  Universal even had to hire bodyguards for Hunman as he recently attended a Sons of Anarchy event.

So what was it that caused Charlie Hunman to walk away from the lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey amid the media frenzy that is fast becoming a publicity disaster?  Was it cold feet?  Is he really too busy to prepare for the film?  Would he have taken the money, knowing now that perhaps Pattinson would not have?  Or was it perhaps because of the producers’ choice of actors that drew so much attention from the 70 million odd fans of the novels that became too overwhelming?

There is another story.  Perhaps the real reason for Hunman’s grand exit could be his dissatisfaction with the script itself.  A writer as well as an actor, Hunman has already penned a screenplay for the film Vlad, a Dracula-style gothic-horror that was picked up by actor and producer Brad Pitt, for his Plan B and Summit Entertainment productions.

Hunman had wanted script approval on Fifty Shades of Grey and expressed his own ideas as to how various elements of the script, adapted by Kelly Marcel, ought to be laid out, having done so in a lengthy submission of detailed notes to the producers, including director, Sam Taylor-Johnson.  Sources have reported that although the notes were “well received,” Hunman had gone on and sought further script approval, which was then denied, leading to head-butting and a subsequent rift between Hunman and producers.

To throw more salt on the wound for Hunman, he was advised by his management and talent agency, CAA and Brillstein Entertainment to remain on the project in order to keep things sweet with themselves and Universal.  The major film studio had even gone so far as to hire Notes on a Scandal writer Marber to do a clean-up job on the film script and possibly to appease Hunman.  But it was too late.  It appears that Hunman never really had his heart set on the role of Grey and probably found 50 shades of why not to do it.

True Blood actor Alexander Skarsgard, model-turned-actor Jamie Dornan known for his role in The Fall and Where The Heart Is and Romeo and Juliet actor, Christian Cooke are all reportedly the new frontrunners to replace Charlie Hunman as Christian Grey.

Written by: Brucella Newman


The Independent


The Guardian 

Miley Cyrus? Move Over Sinead, Here Comes Annie Lennox

Miley Cyrus? Move Over Sinead, Here Comes Annie Lennox

Following the Miley Cyrus vs Sinead O’Connor publicity fiasco, it now appears that Annie Lennox, legendary vocalist and one half of the 1980s avant-garde electro-pop duo, Eurythmics, has now stepped in to have her say in the debate over “overtly sexualized performances” of young music artists in the industry today.

Annie Lennox took to her Facebook fan page to express how “disturbed” she was at the overtly sexualized performances she had been witnessing in the media.  She alluded to various record labels lacking boundaries, as well as being the perpetrator of music promotion videos that were tantamount to pornography accompanied by music.

Ms Lennox continued that as long as there was “booty” to financially mooch off, it was still all very much up for sale.  She expressed the hypocrisy in self-perpetuated misogyny to only be justified as long as YouTube hits were accumulating and dollars were rolling in.  She also likened this type of behavior to pimping, prostitution and glorified self-harm.

Lennox came back on to her Facebook fan page the next day, to say that following some self-reflection on her previous comments, she had tried to remain measured, with the realization that the subject of pimping artists in the music industry is a controversial and divisive one.

She added that although she was clearly aware that sexuality was a characteristic way of life and that she saw nothing wrong with behaving in a sexual or sensual manner, she suggested that if performers, perhaps ones such as Miley Cyrus or Rihanna, among others, were to behave in this way in front of their young and susceptible fans, then their performances really need to come with an adult rating.  This would not only be to protect the youngsters who naturally tend to mimic the subjects of their fandom but also for most of the unsuspecting parents who would not necessarily want their children to be exposed to, or influenced by, this type of imagery at such an early age.

The Eurythmics singer also suggested the need for boundaries to be set so that children are not bombarded with a continuous stream of sexualized imagery from the very media that attempts to normalize explicit sexualized images in children’s entertainment.  She also questioned how appropriate it would be to see girls under the age of ten to be cavorting around in this manner while thrusting their lower body parts around like pole dancers.

Ms Lennox is clearly making reference to the twerking performances that have reached our screens courtesy of Miley Cyrus et al.  What is even sadder and more horrendous to witness, was the YouTube video of two toddlers, dressed in frilly bikinis and made to get down low and twerk for the camera in the most sexualized and provocative manner – a video that was posted by their mother.  Another equally, if not more disturbing scenario was the YouTube posting of a father, taking a video cable and whipping the life out of his two visiting daughters, while the video title stated that he did it because he caught them twerking on Facebook.  It turned out that the girls had been whipped so brutally by their father for sneaking out of the house.  Nobody has explained who was actually behind the camera.  The man was since arrested for child abuse.

Not every aspect of the music industry or media should be seen as evil.  There are some areas of the industry that are still in existence for the genuine promotion of the creative arts, as well as for the eyes and ears of an appreciative audience.  It takes a person with a spirit of discernment to identify the difference.

However, that said, there are those who will quite happily and without conscience, sit by, watching young artists being pimped or pimping themselves for video hits and ‘likes’ while they pocket the profits. The young, impressionable audience and pimped artists are the fallout victims, the latter of who might not be ready to admit it now, but are sadly in need of constant attention and feel inadequate when they go without it for too long.

This behavior is also echoed in teenagers who are going through massive hormonal and frequent emotional changes, while perhaps struggling with either personal, familial or social issues of their own.  They will always feel the Miley Cyrus? Move Over Sinead, Here Comes Annie Lennoxneed to belong, the need to be liked.  But for the young Internet Generation, lines have become blurred where being ‘liked’ by a virtual community is confused with actually being popular.  The ‘pimps’ that sit by and do nothing but prey on the young by perpetuating images that are nothing short of pornographic are the ones who need to be stopped.

This is why it can only be a good thing that experienced and positive role models such as Sinead O’Connor and Annie Lennox speak out on behalf of the unsuspecting young who cannot possibly understand the full extent of their actions until it is too late.  They have seen it all before, time and time again, long before this new young breed of ‘selfie’-taking YouTubers arrived on the scene.  They know the score.  O’Connor went so far as to blame people like Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh for “murdering” music and promoting the get-rich-quick mentality that many young artists have become so hooked on at the expense of all else.  This equates to an instant gratification society.

Miley Cyrus is still young, no matter how she likes to dress herself.  She claims that everyone else was over-thinking her actions at the VMAs and that she did not even think about it.  Let us just examine that for a moment. ‘She did not think’ at all, otherwise she would have engaged some foresight and then rethought her actions.  Miley Cyrus’ unacceptable behavior towards O’Connor as she cruelly made fun of O’Connor’s mental health issues has demonstrated her immaturity and tit-for-tat mentality.  At her age, not only are we deluded that we are invincible, we also think we have all the answers.

Written by: Brucella Newman


Glamour Magazine

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YouTube Launches First Music Awards Live in New York City

In a live event set to celebrate itself as the harbingers in the rise of global celebrity phenomenology via its pop culture videos, online video titan YouTube will be launching its debut YouTube Music Awards from Pier 36 in New York City On November 3.

The platform, owned by Google, will stage the live 90-minute event, which is to be hosted by actor Jason Schwartzman, while filmmaker Spike Jonze, renowned for his multiple music video promos for artists such as Beastie Boys, Björk, D.A.F.T Punk, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers, is tagged for creative director.  Executively produced by Vice Media and Sunset Lane, performances are also to take place from the likes of Arcade Fire, Eminem and Lady Gaga.

The Korean-owned Kia automotive group is signed as the show’s sponsors, following both Kia and YouTube’s teaming as major sponsors for the 4th annual VidCon Conference in Anaheim, California last month.

YouTube has come a long way since its launch eight years ago.  Founded originally by three earlier employees of PayPal, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, the company quickly became one of the fastest growing sites on the World Wide Web and was bought up in 2006 by Google for US $1.65 billion in stock.  Its first ever video was posted by co-founder Karim and was a short piece from a visit he made to San Diego Zoo, entitled Me at the Zoo, which is still available for viewing to this day. 

Now, millions of videos and probably billions of video views later, YouTube users have made the site become as much a household name as Google itself.  It is the first point of call for finding trending video footage as Google is as a search engine.  Whether it is a homemade video that is being searched for, or a music band’s creation of a new YouTube channel, it is the multiple hits from music fans, driven also by an “Epic Fail” schadenfreude culture and coupled with elements of voyeurism thrown into the mix that have all helped make YouTube into the platform giant it now is today.

Conversely, YouTube has also made massive names out of the artists whose videos millions fans have endlessly hit the search button for on a daily basis.  It has helped jetison the careers of artists like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and PSY, whose Gangnam Style video has reached close to 2 billion views to date, and who we might not have heard of across the globe, had it not been for the power of YouTube.  Channels that have been set up for hard core gamers, featuring elements from Rockstar Games’ GTA V, which has only been released over a week ago, have already received millions of hits, such is the power of the mother ship of platforms.

So it may seem that there is nothing left but for YouTube to celebrate its powerful role in the music ecosystem, or so says Danielle Tiedt, YouTube’s vice president of marketing, who boasts YouTube’s breaking of music stars like Cyrus and dancing violin sensation, Lindsey Stirling.

However, it would not be strictly true to say that there is nothing left, because there is plenty.  What amateur and professional filmmakers alike could be waiting for is for opportunity for the platform to launch a Movie Awards for the thousands of talented filmmakers out there in the web sphere who have not yet received the recognition they deserve.

What YouTube has done for musicians, it can also do the same for filmmakers and graphic artists for games design.  With channels such as Ultrabrilliant, whose creator one day decided against following the actual game itself, choosing instead to soar above the beaten track, only to discover the incredible detail and hard work that games designers had put into the scenery.  From that point, Ultrabrilliant’s YouTube series, Other Places was born, celebrating the beautiful video game world, blending stunning musical beds with equally striking video footage from games like GTA V, Final Fantasy, Portal 2 and Mafia II, among many others.

YouTube Music Awards’ creative director, Jonze says that the Awards night will be all about collaborations and creativity, in the spirit of all the users of YouTube and that aside from the giving out of awards, the night will also lend itself to the creation of live music videos, becoming like one huge YouTube video in itself.

Shows will be featuring performances from Brazil, London, Moscow and Seoul, Korea.  Other performing artists have yet to be announced, with the nominations up for awards to be announced on October 17th.  Award selections will be based upon fans’ votes over the many videos watched by YouTube users this past year.

The YouTube Music Awards are also timed perfectly for the release of Eminem’s new album, MMLP2, due out November 5, as well as Lady Gaga’s Artpop, which is set for release November 11, while Arcade Fire’s third album, Reflektor, comes out October 29.  But let us not also forget Jonze’s science fiction-romance, Her, whose world premiere will be held at the New York Film Festival, then opening nationwide on December 18.

The inaugural YouTube Award ceremony can be viewed on YouTube on November 3 and is expected to break new ground as the harbinger of the global celebrity phenomenon as it makes its debut from Pier 36 in New York City.  One can only wonder what the actual awards will look like.

Written by: Brucella Newman

USA Today 



Brucella Newman’s articles and opinion editorials can be found at Guardian Express LV:

Frida Kahlo’s Private Photo Collection to go Public

frida vogue via 1938 via lynne hoppeFrida Kahlo, who was a most renowned Latin American artist of the 20th century and was famous for her self-portraits, was also an ardent photographer and collector of photographic imagery, as was her husband, celebrated Mexican mural artist, Diego Rivera.  Today, it was announced that a six-month scheme, financed by the Bank of America, is to be set up, in order to conserve 369 of her private collection of photographs to be made available for public viewing at the museum, La Casa Azul (The Blue House), that was once her home in Mexico City, until her death in 1954.

La Casa Azul, which carries a sign that reads: “Museo Frida Kahlo,” at its entrance, was transformed into a museum in 1958.  It currently houses an archive of around 6,500 images, many of which were taken by Kahlo and her husband, and that depict the essence of Bohemian life in the earlier part of the 20th century.  The restoration scheme by Bank of America Merrill Lynch is one of 25 projects that are to be assumed by the bank over the course of this year.

Museo Frida Kahlo

In and among the images can also be found a series of photographs of the French writer and poet, André Breton and Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Leon Trotsky.  In addition to the many photos that are in need of restoration are photographs taken by the renowned American modernist artist, Man Ray and French photographer and so-called father of photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson.  Photographs of American influential photographer, Edward Weston and Mexican photographers Manuel Alvarez Bravo (artistic photography) and his second wife, Lola Alvarez Bravo (photojournalism).  All were leading figures, pioneers or founders in their fields: always on the cutting edge, as was Kahlo.

Director of the Museo Frida Kahlo, Hilda Trujillo suggests that the photographs, which span over more than 70 years and date back as early as the 1880s, offer important historical evidence of both Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera’s lives, enabling us an understanding of Kahlo’s personality, socio-political views and personal relationships with her husband, friends and family as well as her frustrations due to her ill-fated streetcar accident, that prevented her from carrying an embryo to full term.  Trujillo said that each photograph represents a puzzle piece that fit a picture of Kahlo’s varied and complex life.

According to the Allen Blevins, director of global art and heritage programs at the Bank of America, Kahlo and Rivera were two of the most influential figures in 20th century and Mexican art, as well as being larger-than-life individuals, who, along with their friends, were also at the center of the most significant arts and political movements of their time.

Born to a Mexican Catholic mother and an atheist Hungarian Jewish father from Germany, Kahlo was a truly incredible and innovative woman who happened to endure a lot of physical and emotional pain sustained from a tragic 11449_frida_kahlo_in_a_hospital_bed_drawing_her_corset_with_help_of_a_mirror_1951_collection_galeria_lopez_quirog_juan_guzman_bus accident, from which a bar of metal had impaled her, entering through her spine and exiting via her reproductive organs.  As a result, she was unable to carry an embryo to full term and suffered three miscarriages – some elected for her safety – while she was married to Diego Rivera.   Since her tragic and horrific accident, which left her bed-bound and in then a wheel chair for months, Kahlo had been known to paint daring and sometimes rather grotesque images of herself, depicting her pain and frustration at the loss of her ability to have the little son she so badly wanted.  Kahlo said of these works:

“I paint self portraits because I am the person I know best.  I paint my own reality.  The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”

Last November, hundreds of Kahlo’s dresses from her eclectic wardrobe went on display in Mexico City.  Following her death in 1954, Kahlo’s wardrobe had been kept by her husband until they were discovered after his death in 1957.  From that point, the collection of dresses were locked away until they were once again rediscovered in 2004 and put on display in Mexico City.

The current restoration of Kahlo’s private collection of photographs is a selected project, that is part of a Bank of America sponsored scheme and is one out of 58 projects from 26 different countries that was launched in 2010.  On completion, the photographs will be available for viewing at the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City.

Written by: Brucella Newman


The Art Newspaper 

BBC News 

Brucella Newman’s news articles and opinion editorials can be found at Guardian Express LV: