Friday, August 21, 2015

Paulina Porizkova, the First Supermodel



Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com
Paulina Porizkova.

It is difficult to pinpoint who really was the first supermodel. Naturally, various models have their partisans. However, in my opinion, Paulina Porizkova (born 9 April 1965) was the first model who took the entire high fashion modelling profession to the next level, and I will explain why below.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Paulina is from Prostějov, Czechoslovakia, but she was still an infant when her parents fled Czechoslovakia to Lund, Sweden during a Soviet invasion. While that makes it sound as if Paulina also went to Sweden, not so fast: they left her behind Czechoslovakia in the care of her grandmother.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com
For some reason or another, certain women seem to photograph better in black and white than color - and I would place Paulina in that category.

The Czech authorities, being of the Soviet persuasion, did not look too kindly on the idea of people fleeing to the West. Paulina became a celebrity as a child due to the various devious maneuvers they launched to claim her. The family ultimately was reunited in Sweden when Paulina was 10 after the Communists finally gave up their opposition. The whole thing turned to ashes shortly thereafter, though, when Paulina's father left the family soon thereafter and married a Swedish woman.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Paulina developed very definite ideas about the world during this time. She noticed that women were treated differently in Czechoslovakia, France (where she was soon visiting) and Sweden, and had vastly different roles in each of those lands. In Sweden, she found that women were "masters of the universe," and she liked that, and she found that women always had a great degree of power in each country, though they wielded it in different ways. Paulina concluded:
For better or worse, in those countries, a woman knows her place.
That place, in Paulina's view, is pretty much at the top of the heap.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Paulina, though, found that things were different and especially tough for women in the United States:
I joined the women around me who were struggling to do it all and failing miserably.
Paulina concluded that the problem for women in America, what kept them from having real power, was that they kept their sexuality private. Basically, sex is power for women, she explains, as long as sex is out in the open and understood. Thus, the reasoning goes, more openness about sex in the United States would make women more powerful there. Paullina decided to do something about that.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


It soon became obvious that Paulina was growing into a beautiful young woman. One of her girlfriends took some test shots in order to show off her own photography skills, but when she sent them into Elite modeling agency, John Casablancas himself noticed the subject of the shots rather than the skill of the photographer, which supposedly was their purpose, and hired Paulina. At the age of 15, Paulina was off to Paris for good.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


The list of Paulina's modelling accomplishments is virtually endless. She was the face of Estée Lauder for a decade, became the cover model for the 20th Anniversary issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine in November 1985, was the face of Escada, and graced the November 1999 Millennium cover of American Vogue. Her other international covers include, among many others:

Australia: 'Cosmopolitan' - June 1983; 'Cleo' - June 1987; 'Marie Claire' - April 1997
Canada: 'Flare' - November 1988
France: 'Madame Figaro' - January 18, 1986; 'Photo' - July 1987; 'Vogue' - October 1988;
Germany: 'Vogue' - August 1987; 'Vogue' - September 1988; 'Funk Uhr' - August 14, 1992
Greece: 'Cosmopolitan' - February & April 1983; 'Cosmopolitan' - December 1985; 'Cosmopolitan' - July 1986; 'Cosmopolitan' - March & July 1987; 'Cosmopolitan' - February 1989; 'Cosmopolitan' - January 1992
Italy: 'Grazia' - March 16 & May 11, 1986; MODA' - October 1987
Malaysia: 'Her World' - March 2012
Spain: 'Harper's Bazaar' - April 1984; 'Harper's Bazaar' - 1988
Sweden: 'Starlet' - #33, 1985


Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


After that, Paulina's rise to fame followed the usual pattern, though with a special twist because she was the first one to blaze the later-common trail. Starting out in Paris, the people at Sports Illustrated noticed her and brought her over to appear in the 1983, 1984 and 1985 editions (the latter two on the cover). She pressed her fame further with an artful appearance on the cover of Playboy Magazine in August 1987, and put out extremely popular calendars in the following two years.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Paulina became a celebrity who transcended the modelling profession. She was listed in People Magazine's Fifty Most Beautiful People for 1990 and 1993, and other magazines such as Harper's Bazaar also listed her as a top beauty. Paulina was the face of Estee Lauder for a full decade, finally being replaced in 1995 by Elizabeth Hurley. She broke records for the value of her modelling contracts and so forth. Basically, Paulina was in demand and named her own price.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


With all of her fame, Paulina was a natural to try her hand at acting. While that is a well-worn path by now, back in the 1980s it was much rarer. People did not take models seriously as actresses, and when they did appear in films, it would be as a model or something close to home. Reviews of her performances weren't universally good by any means, but she appeared in a string of high-profile films such as "Her Alibi," "Anna," "Arizona Dream" and "Knots," and on television shows such as "Desperate Housewives," "Dancing with the Stars" and "America's Next Top Model." Paulina also co-authored a children's book, "The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach," and published a novel, "A Model Summer." She became a true multimedia star.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Paulina, it turns out, has a lot of opinions. She has very definite views about the current state of the modelling business:
I feel really sorry for the girls that are modeling now. Their work, their business, their opportunities are maybe not a fourth of what we had in the ‘80s. The market has been taken over by celebrities. I also keep saying this: Adobe Photoshop killed the model. Before Adobe, you had to look perfect on the photo in order to be able to be in a magazine. You couldn’t have wrinkles. You couldn’t have pimples. You couldn’t have cellulite.
Paulina currently serves as the face of anti-aging skin-care line Rx Genesys.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com
Paulina and Ric with Marco Glaviano at the Jazz & Models Exhibition Opening held at Palazzo Morando on October 4, 2010 in Milan, Italy.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com
Paulina and Ric on their wedding day in 1989. They are ageless.

Paulina married Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, and they have two sons. Any marriage of that sort which lasts 25 years or more, as is the case with them, is quite rare and suggests that Paulina is very down-to-earth. A friend of mine used to see Paulina in the dog run in Greenwich Village in New York when they were visiting the city from their home in upstate New York (Woodstock, Dutchess County). She found that there are no airs about this supermodel.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


I mentioned above that I would make the case that Paulina was the first true supermodel. Christie Brinkley undeniably was a huge celebrity, preceding Paulina on the cover of Sports Illustrated and becoming an iconic figure. Cindy Crawford also was a huge, almost ubiquitous, presence during the '80s. However - and this is the essence of the case - Paulina established herself overseas and only later came over to the US to become the premier US model of the day, and she did it during the years when the term "supermodel" first came into use. That is the key distinction - Paulina was global, and she helped turn modelling into a global phenomenon.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


While Christie Brinkley and some others were huge, huge phenomena in the States, Paulina became a household brand around the world and showed that modelling fame was fungible across national boundaries. She transcended place or national origin. Paulina was a global supermodel, while Christie Brinkley and the others at the time were more of a US, or perhaps US/UK, phenomenon.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com

Paulina's true competitor for the title of first supermodel is probably Elle Macpherson, but Elle came along a few years later. Erin Gray was another top model who starred in some of the most enduring campaigns of the '70s ("All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all), but Gray came along before the term "supermodel" was coined and didn't last into the true supermodel era (she turned to acting with great success). Heck, you could even go back to Twiggy during her Carnaby Street days in the '60s and say she was a supermodel, but that was not the age we recognize as that of the supermodel. So, it's more a right-time-at-the-right-place thing that gives Paulina at least an equal share of the title as the other ladies, and perhaps pre-eminence. She was there, and she did it.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


In any event, there is no question that Paulina becoming a first-name celebrity, an honor formerly reserved for pop stars like Cher, was huge for models. She was probably the first model to earn that kind of celebrity (Twiggy could make that claim, but Twiggy was not her actual name - and you probably don't even know Twiggy's real name, first or last, unless you are a fashion expert. Incidentally, the two have a connection, as Paulina replaced Twiggy as a judge in the tenth cycle of America's Next Top Model).

The bottom line is that Paulina broke so much ground that she should be recognized as the first true supermodel.

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Paulina can still make news. On 10 June 2017, she published an essay in the New York Times, "America Made Me A Feminist." In it, Paulina sets forth her views on gender relations based upon her personal observations. In a nutshell, she thinks such relations in the United States are poor relative to the other places she has been - and she's been quite a few places.


Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com

Paulina Porizkova victoriassecret.filminspector.com




2017

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Elle Macpherson, Australian Legend



Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com
Elle Macpherson (Getty).

Elle Macpherson (born Eleanor Nancy Gow, 29 March 1964) is one of the celebrity supermodels whose fame transcends any normal bounds or limits.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


When you are referring to a model, all you need to do is say "Elle" and everyone knows who you mean. One-name celebrities are rare, especially when they don't come from the media center of the United States.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


While her home country of Australia must be reckoned a hotbed of supermodels, along with places like Brazil and the Czech Republic, she bestrides the fashion scene there and elsewhere like a Colossus (she's very tall, too, 6'3" in heels she has said, and is a 34C).

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


While of a slightly earlier generation of models than Heidi Klum and some of the other top names, she remains a force in the modelling world and the other fields she has entered successfully.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Elle, as she is universally known, hails from Killara, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney. She spent her youth in East Lindfield, and graduated from Killara High School in 1981.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Elle matriculated at Sydney University to study law, but started to pick up modelling gigs. She ultimately gave up the law and decided to live in New York for a year to model, a situation she later romanticized in "Easy Living":
"I went to America on holiday when I was 17 and, before I knew it, I'd been signed up by an agency and had these obligations I didn't understand, but which I couldn't say no to. This industry chose me."
Choose her they did, and Elle hasn't looked back since.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com
Elle Macpherson in 1987 (NY Daily News via Getty Images).

Elle has been on too many magazine covers to list over the past 35 years. Whoever keeps track of such things must have her listed around the top of that summit, along with Christie Brinkley, Naomi Campbell and a few other of the elites. She is unique in the fashion world because her fame is completely independent of Victoria's Secret, though she has appeared in their ads.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


There never was any need for her to become an Angel, her fame eclipsed that of any brand other than her own, and how many supermodels can say that? She continues to model, and some of her more recent covers include:
2015 June Harper's Bazaar Australia
2013 August Gioia, F, Mujer Hoy, Harper's Bazaar Australia, Harper's Bazaar Australia, Red 
2012 December S Moda October F September Petra August Vanity Fair Italy
2011 December Cosmopolitan Germany 
Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


During the 1980s, Elle picked up the nickname "The Body" from a 1986 Time Magazine article. Elle loved the nick and built her brand around it. The same nickname later was applied to or appropriated by or whatever you want to call it by Heidi Klum. One might say that Elle is the original The Body and Heidi is the second coming of The Body.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com
Elle Macpherson on the cover of Harper's Bazaar Australia June/July 2017 (Nick Leary).

While there are rumors that Elle was going to sue Klum over stealing the nick, she never did. In interviews, Elle makes it clear that they are at most polite toward each other - which says quite a lot in that situation (no, they don't sit around together laughing about both having the same corny nickname, this is big business in the branding world).

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


What this little anecdote reveals is that there are supermodels, and then there are supermodels. Elle is a supermodel of supermodels, big enough to be able to look down with some justification on Heidi Klum as a kind of newcomer, interloper or parvenu. That's not arrogance, it's just plain reality. Elle is Elle. Heidi is not.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Elle Macpherson reached the peak of her fame in the mid-1980s, beginning a string of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition appearances that ultimately included the years 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004 & 2006.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Elle Macpherson branched out into other activities over the years, capitalizing on her worldwide fame. She produces her own calendar, which she publicizes at signing ceremonies (one of which I have attended), became part-owner of the Fashion Café restaurant chain with pals Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington (don't we all wish we had them as close friends), and appeared nude in a May 1994 Playboy Magazine (very artful shots by Herb Ritts). She also was one of the first supermodels to have her own fashion line, "Elle Macpherson Intimates."

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


However, Elle's main career besides being a model and businesswoman is acting. She has appeared in films such as "Batman and Robin," Jane Eyre" and "Sirens" (her breakthrough role) and had a recurring role on "Friends." She also appears in and produces television shows such as Britain's and Ireland's Next Top Model, Fashion Star and the mini-series "A Girl Thing." Elle is considered a national treasure down under and had an elaborate float at the closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Elle is tall - did I mention that? - with lots of freckles, and has legs that go up to there. She has a sunny, smiling demeanor that endears her to her fans. She has a son, Arpade Flynn, with her one-time man (and billionaire) Arpade Busson, from whom she separated in 2005, and also another son with him, Aurelius Cy Andrea Busson. More recently, Elle married a billionaire (come on, you didn't expect anything else), Jeffrey Soffer, and apparently divides her time between the UK and Florida.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


When contemplating someone like Elle Macpherson, one wonders what could possibly be in a life as perfect as hers. She has everything a girl growing up in suburban Sydney could possibly want. Are eggs cooked a little too long for her liking the lowpoint of her week? Does she fret if she breaks a nail or one of her covers doesn't sell as well as the last? It's hard to imagine what could possibly disturb the tranquility of her perfect life. She's Elle.

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com

 
Among the many little bits of trivia about Elle is that Billy Joel actually wrote "Uptown Girl" about Elle, not Christie Brinkley. They were all on vacation at St. Barts with Whitney Houston (then a model) and Joel was entranced by both Elle and Christie, and while he later wound up with Christie, he first had Elle. Elle needed a place to live, he gave her the top floor of some building he owned on Central Park South, and they, you know, hung out. Tough life!

Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com


Incidentally, Elle still looks great at 50. She continues to get covers based on merit and not sentimentality. Elle Macpherson continues to inhabit the very uppermost reaches of the modelling world, and should for some time to come.

 
Elle Macpherson victoriassecret.filminspector.com




2017

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Megyn Kelly, News Personality



Fabulous, Controversial Megyn Kelly!


Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com
Megyn Kelly. This is the picture that Megyn uses for her Twitter account.

Megyn Kelly (born 1970) is an on-air personality on the Fox News cable channel. She once hosted a top-rated interview show, "The Kelly File," which typically led its time slot among cable shows in prime time. She since has moved on to other projects but remains a top television interviewer. However, it is the other things she has done that have raised Megyn Kelly's profile, some in controversial ways.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Kelly is from Syracuse, New York and went to Syracuse University. She began her career at an ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. She joined Fox News Channel in 2004.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com


At first she was a contributor, and sometimes filled in for other hosts. She took over her own show, "America Live," in 2010. It did well, and soon she was moved to a prime spot in the evening.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com


While anyone on tv that gets high ratings needs to be respected for that, Megyn Kelly has a tendency to stick her foot in her mouth. For instance, she got into all sorts of controversy for claiming that Santa Claus, a fictional/mythical character, is "white":
"For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it."
She later admitted that the skin color of Jesus, though, is "far from settled."

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Then, she got into a major snit with leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump when she served as a moderator at the first debate of the 2015/2016 campaign season. Mr. Trump, Kelly said in a question to him, had called women various names such as "pig" and "dog," and she wondered what he had to say about that now.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Mr. Trump immediately riposted that he was just referring to Rosie O'Donnell, a line which brought raucous applause and laughter. When Kelly unwisely pressed the issue, it gave Mr. Trump the chance to launch into a general attack on political correctness which some thought was the highlight of the evening.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Kelly explained afterwards that she is a registered Independent who asks tough questions of everyone. She adamantly refused to apologize for what many perceived as a tabloid-style question at a serious proceeding. A petition was launched the next day to exclude her from future Republican debates. It quickly gathered over 50,000 signatures. Kelly's boss, Roger Ailes, had to call Mr. Trump a few days later to smooth everything over.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com

The controversy did not seem to hurt Mr. Trump, who retained and even grew his lead in the polls. It also did not hurt Kelly, whose show remained the leader in its timeslot. So, the controversy worked for everyone - particularly now-President Trump.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Megyn grew unhappy at Fox after the incident. She abruptly took a two-week vacation right after the incident, then refused to renew her contract at the station. Megyn Kelly since has moved on from Fox News to NBC, but the going there has not been easy. Megyn's highly touted Sunday Night program received a poor reception, and a high-profile interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin was widely mocked. Megyn now is on the morning "Today" program, which always is in a big fight for ratings in the competitive morning timeslots. Megyn's presence should work well in the looser format of a morning program.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com


But, there is more to the story. While working as a serious journalist on "fair and balanced" Fox News and venerable NBC, Megyn also poses for cheesecake-style photos, as in a notorious Vanity Fair editorial.

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com
A shot from Megyn Kelly's notorious Vanity Fair photoshoot.

The story of Megyn Kelly remains a work in progress. Love her or hate her, Megyn Kelly has become a household name, and, as Jack would say, "That ain't beanbag!"

Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com
Megyn Kelly legends.filminspector.com




2017