Frustrated Supermodel Kate After Sports Illustrated: “I’m Not a Toy, I’m a Human.”

Supermodel Kate Upton said she was made to feel terrible about herself after her Sports Illustrated cover and vents her frustration at being treated like a toy.

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In an interview with Elle US, Kate revealed how her shoot with the men’s magazine, Sports Illustrated, the publication known to have boosted several modelling careers into the stratosphere, made her feel terrible about herself for a whole month.  The after-shoot fallout had her venting her frustrations on how she was viewed by the opposite sex, complaining, “Every single guy I met was either married or about to be married and I felt like I was their bachelor present or something.”  She went on vehemently, “I’m not a toy, I’m a human.  I’m not here to be used.  I am a grown woman and you need to figure your s__t out.”

Elle US warned its readers that just when you think you have her figured out, that Kate will throw you a curve ball.  On being treated like a ‘dumb blonde’, Kate made her views perfectly clear.  “People deal with models like they are children.  They think they can pull one over on you.”  Kate continued, “It’s actually quite funny.  I’m always like, I’m about to pull something on you and you’re so focused on thinking I’m dumb, you’re not even going to know.”

The irony for the Victoria’s Secret model, who seems to want to distance herself from the very magazine that is currently keeping her in the public eye as well as probably tripling her male audience by the minute, is that she was almost never booked as a Victoria’s Secret model when the company’s casting agent once said that Kate had “the kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy”, according to Eonline.  Not only did Kate go on to feature in their catalogue, but her modelling career took off, landing her covers in both American Vogue and Brazillian Vogue, as well as becoming a cover girl for Elle.

So why should Kate have such an issue with her Sports Illustrated image?  Anyone from the fashion industry would not be so naïve as to not recognise that the real reason she took the job in the first place was as a simple career move, as it was (and still is) for many other supermodels, who all happen to have come back for repeat performances.  There are far worse things in life than boosting one’s modelling career by adding Sports Illustrated to one’s portfolio and it certainly never hurt the careers of Rod Stewart’s wife, Rachel Hunter (5 issues), Christie Brinkley (6), Elle-The-Body-Macphereson (5), Tyra Banks (SI’s first black cover model), Paulina Porizkova (4), Heidi Klum (8) and Cindy Crawford, all of whom graced both the cover as well as taking an inside spread.

Kate is one of the few who has had the good fortune to be able to cross over into other genres of the fashion and beauty industry that many other models cannot afford.  In this business, very few make it to the top, but beware if you do; there is always someone else right behind waiting for you to slip up so they can take your place.

By Brucella Newman

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More of Brucella Newman’s articles can be found on the Guardian Express website at:

http://guardianlv.com/?x=-769&y=-115&s=Brucella+Newman

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Look Out… Ruthless People About!

Technically, that should have read “Ruthless Sales Person”, but who’s checking?

Oh… alright then.

Okay, hands up if you’ve ever have you come across one of those ruthless sales persons, who simply won’t leave you alone and is a right royal pain in the neck?  Keep your hands up if he or she is suddenly struck with verbal diarrhoea (what a messy word to spell, whether you’re from the UK or US, but I digress) and is apparently deaf and void of any compassion or feeling too?

Beware the cold caller, for he or she will be heartlessly grilled as to exactly how he or she managed to acquire my personal contact details.

But I would have to say that the one that really gets my goat more than anything – and this one must have a truck-load of bad karma coming his or her way – is the ruthless telesales person who tries to play on my insecurities… tries to make me feel inadequate by telling me that he or she can help my child succeed in school only by buying into their ‘hard sell’ Personal Tuition.

Before any Personal Tutors take arms and hurl rocks at me, hold your weapons: I am a former Lecturer too.  And if you recall, I did say ‘hard sell’, not genuinely qualified teachers.  I am referring to the ones who give our honest livelihood a bad name.  A livelihood that we have studied and trained hard for and spent many hours perfecting our practice in the classroom.  The ones I refer to are the ones who actually have no qualifications – unless you can call taking a five-day crash course with one teacher observation thrown in, from an unqualified ‘Teacher Training School’, proper training – then that opens a whole new can of worms.

No.

I am talking about the personal tuition academies who embellish on their ‘strengths’ by claiming to do such incredibly miraculous things as ‘ace your child through their GCSEs’ by identifying any ‘weaknesses’ in your child’s education (or your gullibility), seeking ‘opportunity’ by getting to the root of the issue quickly and eliminating ‘threats’ – mainly competing companies – but for them, hopefully also, your intelligence, when you realise this is all just a big fat con and promptly hang up.

Well, if this is starting to look like a SWOT Analysis, it’s no accident.  One company in particular, who shall remain nameless – not because I don’t want to be sued for libel, nor because in truth, I am a really kind and considerate person (which I’d like to think I am, but that’s beside the point), but for the simple fact that I really don’t want to advertise them – is taking unsuspecting parents for one heck of a ride in this way.

Not only does this company claim to perform miracles with little photocopied colour picture books, which ‘teachers’ use to make up their lesson plans, but the said teachers and telesales staff alike will follow a script over the telephone targeting the poor parents, offloading a lot of spiel about how ‘your child will really benefit fully only when they take all four subjects for a very reasonable price of just £470 per ten-week session’; that ‘should you fail to cancel your account after the six-week deadline, our ‘system’ will automatically enrol your child on to the next ten weeks (another £470)’ and – wait for it – that ‘most of the parents here have been so happy with our programme, that they have stayed on for twelve to twenty-four months’!  

Quick.  Get me a bucket.

No, it’s okay. I think I’ll be okay.

To rub more salt in the wound, this company tells its telesales people to tell parents that ‘90% of their teachers are Oxbridge (for those out of the UK, that means either/or Oxford or Cambridge) or ‘Russell Group’ (which is supposed to be the top 24 British public research universities) qualified, when in reality, the majority of telesales people there are all still doing their Bachelors in unrelated subjects.

I actually overheard one telesales person on the phone say to a parent, “… and which year did you say your child is in…? Nursery?”

The poor child is not even in school yet!

At the helm of this operation, sits a man, whose LinkedIn account I decided to check out.  Of all the groups he was a member of, 98% were related to finance and wealth management companies, whilst a mere 2% were mildly related to education.  That in itself speaks volumes.  But the biggest alarm bell of all was the fact that the man clearly came from an ethnic-specific part of the world, a part of the globe where nobody born there has either a western first or surname, yet both the first and surnames he operates under are western.  I wonder how many people around him have actually noticed this anomaly and are choosing to ignore it, or if they ever noticed at all.  The telesales people were told to tell the parents over the telephone that the company was founded a decade ago by a Cambridge-qualified English Professor, with the exact same surname.  There also happened to be a ‘teacher’ in their cohort with – you guessed it – the very same name.

As soon as the telesales person felt he or she might be losing the customer, he or she went for the ‘hard sell’, or passed the phone on to the line manager, to help the telesales person get closer to hit his or her £1000 pound daily target figure.

This is all being observed through a massive glass pane, by ‘Mister Said-Western-Name’, whose ‘Head Office’ tuns out to be no more than a drab two-room unit in a grubby old industrial estate.  The office environment is so old and dated, the dirty blue carpet squares are threadbare or covered with unsightly gaffer tape and the equipment is heaving under the strain from the volume of work it has to perform 24/7.  The photocopier is on its last legs, the computers take half an hour to fire up (if at all) and the clocking in/out wall terminal keeps repeating in a bitter, sarcastic tone, “Identification not recognised, please try again”.

So if all the sales people have to hit a target of £1000 a day, then where is all the money going?

Your guess is as good as mine.

But I’d like to leave you with a few final thoughts to consider, should you ever find yourself ear to ear, on the end of the telephone with such a telesales person:

  1. Think first whether you’d be better off asking your child’s school exactly which books they would recommend – books in line with National Standards, that follow the entire curriculum – not books that feed you tiny morsels of information, or instalments that look like they’re were created twenty years ago.  Also if you have to pay for every single little instalment, someone is seriously on the make.  You’ll find your school-recommended books will be far cheaper;
  2. Check if the academy is Ofsted inspected, or government-regulated by a main educational body in your country.  If they say they are Ofsted Registered, all is not as it seems.  (When I asked what that even meant, I was met with a really long pause).  This is not the fault of Ofsted, but if the company has to hide behind the name, then pay closer attention.
  3. Be wary when the company starts verbally putting down their competitors and says things like, “Our company is far more superior in quality than ‘XXXXX’, because they only offer little black and white photocopies of their booklets and they charge three times more for the books than we do”.
  4. Ask for stats, evidence – in writing about the company, or ask to talk to other parents whose children have taken the course. If they were genuine (and good, for that matter), they wouldn’t feel bad about having a forum on their website.
  5. Check they’re not reading from a script – ask a totally random question and see if they quickly divert you back to their line of reason (which is really their script).  Keep singling out points they make and ask them “What does that mean exactly?  I don’t understand, can you go into some more detail?  Can you repeat that, please?”  You can actually tell when someone is reading from a script.
  6. If they strongly recommend that you take all of their subjects, ask why you can’t just do one.  If they say it’s not possible, press them as to why.  Is your money not good enough?
  7. If they ask you why you think they should allow your child on to their (apparently) last place on the course, ask why they think you should pay them so much money, especially for only part of a complete programme your kid is already getting for free at school.
  8. Ask to come into the office, or meet in person.  If they say that they don’t conduct their sales meetings in the office, ask them why not, what are they hiding?
  9. Finally, check them out on the web and look for any news stories, forums or pages for any negative comments or feedback about this business.  If you sense that all is not right and you can feel it in your waters, then trust your instincts before parting unnecessarily with your hard earned cash.

Or you’ll find that you are funding an extremely ruthless and unscrupulous conman’s very lavish lifestyle.

Neptune In Pisces Through The Houses

Another one for sharing, I think… check out Gregory’s blog… should shed some light on much of the uncertainty that shrouds us today… happy reading!

Neptune In Pisces Through The Houses.

Why am I Here? Who are These People? Why am I Wearing These Shoes?

Who really cares?

Well, the real reason why I’m here is because I wanted to find a new platform from which to unpack some of the old and new ideas, questions and thoughts in my head that have not, until now, been able to be addressed, analyzed, teased out or even made sense of over the years.  Sometimes, new situations arise without our being given the time to assimilate what has just transpired before and they continue to run back to back until you find yourself asking, “What just happened?”  Anyway, they say that to make any sense of your thoughts, feelings or experiences, you need to be able to be reflective and write them down.

I suppose it all started out during the early eighties, when I er,  fell into modeling quite unintentionally.   I realise how casual that sounds, but I didn’t want to say I was “discovered”, because I always thought that sounded really poncy. OK, I was discovered.  There I was, off in my own world, dancing away with my sister at a club, when I noticed this woman in the background, following me  everywhere with her gaze.  Every time I moved to a different part of the dance floor, there she was, right in front of me, examining me through the dark haze.  At some point down the line, I’d had enough and headed for the stairs that led to the bar.  But suddenly, there she was again, this time right in front of me, hand extended.  “Hi, my name’s Becky Bain and I’m the Fashion and Beauty Editor for Look Now Magazine.”  Before I could respond, she continued, “We’re currently running a Road Show Competition for the Face of ’84. May I take some pictures and enter you?”  “I beg you’re pardon?” I asked, as my eyebrows raised so high, they nearly parted my hair. “I mean may I enter you for the Competition?” She quickly finished.  Turned out she had been trying to see if the night club atmosphere hadn’t been playing with her eyes and that I wasn’t truly hideous close up under proper lighting.

The rest, as they say, is history.  I got into the finals, got signed up with a model agency and 13 years and  several model agencies later, I began my new career…as a Mum. Now that was a real eye opener. Moving from watching what you eat ( I don’t care what any of those models say, we don’t all eat whatever we like and not gain weight) and working out religiously to watching yourself balloon and grow and feel heavier was like being in a slow car wreck, especially as you no longer had any control over what was happening to your body.  Nature was taking its course and I eventually thought, sod it, I’m going to eat that entire jar of black olives, followed by that double avocado toasted sandwich with a handful of chocolate thrown in for good measure and frankly I don’t care how ungracefully I devour that bag of cool, inviting, refreshing oranges from the fridge (it was then the middle of July and I had a 7lbs radiator with no thermostat permanently strapped to my belly…he wasn’t due for another two months), even if I do look like a ship-wrecked savage who just discovered food for the first time in 17 days. (OK, technically, I’d have been dead, but let’s not lose sight of the point, shall we?) Well, that was that. After I had my son, I decided I really didn’t want to go back to pounding the pavement on cattle calls (castings/auditions) and prancing around the gym, so I took to gentler exercise whilst raising my kid.

Then monotony set in.  One day turned into a week, a month and two months seemed like one very, very long blur.  I could no longer recall what I did the day before, for I’d lost some of my brain cells giving birth.  I decided when he got to a few months that I would ‘take up something’.  I had no idea what that was yet, but I was looking…I was looking.  That’s when I stumbled across an Aromatherapy massage therapy course.   In fact, the next few months and years became a series of courses, from massage to creative writing, courses in Media Business, Media Law, Sit Com Writing, Documentary Making and 16mm Filmmaking.  Then I was ready for the big stuff.  I enrolled on a degree course in Media Arts and Radio Broadcasting, at this point, my son was in nursery.  In the middle of my 2nd year exams, I had to move house and find my son a primary school.  I was then invited to do a MA in Film, which I leapt at. Only this was a night course.

When I look back, I have no idea how on earth I managed it…running up and down stairs and train platforms with a back pack full of books, carrying a buggy, rushing to creches, my mother’s place (God bless her), nurseries, primary schools, after school clubs, all whilst studying, writing essays, keeping house and bringing up baby.  To add insult to injury, I later took up a further teaching degree and lectured in Media for three years whilst doing much of the same behind the scenes. Don’t ask me how I managed to fit in all the hours of study, lesson planning, research, marking, report writing with family life, because I really couldn’t begin to tell you.  It seems like it was somebody else who did all that stuff, not me.  I guess the bottom line is that you just get on with what is presented to you, simply because you have no other choice.  Well you do, actually.  You could just sit on your arse every day and do nothing.

Why am I wearing these shoes? Because I can no longer sprint from casting to casting, leaping on to open backed Route Master buses nor up and down London Underground escalators in my stilettos with such wild abandon, so I’m wearing ballet shoes and fleece-lined fashion boots these days, because they feel wonderful. And flat.