Category Archives: Media

Chuck Grant Shoots for Kodak and her sister, Lana Del Rey for New York Times

Chuck Grant, 29, is a photographer who often shoots pop stars, including her sister, Lana Del Rey.CreditJoyce Kim for The New York Times

Name Chuck Grant

Age 29

Hometown Lake Placid, N.Y.

Now Lives She splits her time between a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and a one-bedroom apartment in East Los Angeles.

Claim to Fame Ms. Grant is a rising young photographer who has found a niche shooting fashionable pop music stars, including her sister, who goes by the stage name Lana Del Rey. (Ms. Grant is officially Caroline but has been called Chuck her entire life.) Her first magazine cover came in 2015 when she photographed Charli XCX for Galore magazine. Later that year, she photographed the rapper YG for Fader Magazine. For Ms. Del Rey’s 2015 album “Honeymoon,” Ms. Grant photographed her on a Hollywood sightseeing bus. “I had a dream about shooting her in a Starline tour bus, and a week later she called me saying she had rented a Starline bus,” Ms. Grant said. “It was serendipitous.”

Big Break As a senior at Parsons School of Design majoring in photography, Ms. Grant submitted a series of portraits called “Alpha Females” for her thesis project, which followed the lives of the blogger Leandra Medine, Tina Flaherty, a businesswoman and philanthropist, and Ms. Del Rey. “I’ve always been attracted to strong female personalities and wanted to capture them in their natural environments,” Ms. Grant said. One of the judges was be Jody Quon, the photography director of New York magazine. Ms. Quon apparently liked the work, for after Ms. Grant graduated she sent her to Salt Lake City to photograph a community of Mormon women for the magazine. Ms. Grant has been shooting ever since.

Latest Project Kodak recently tapped Ms. Grant for a series of projects using its new Super 8 camera. “I shoot primarily 120millimeter film, and have used Kodak film for almost 10 years,” she said. “I’ll be representing the brand, and I’m just trying to keep the love for film alive.”

Next Thing She hopes to publish her first photography book about she calls the modern-day myth of Persephone. “I’ve become more ingrained in the L.A. lifestyle, and have been documenting and exploring its gravitational moon energy, glamour and the darkness that consumes this city,” she said. “I plan to express that in this book.”

Sister Act Ms. Grant remains close to her sister, both personally and creatively. “We inspire each other to keep reaching for new artistic places to go, but we also remind each other of what our roots are in our individual crafts,” said Ms. Grant, who shot the cover art for Ms. Del Rey’s next album, “Lust For Life.”

Read the article at The New York Times.

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Andreja Pejic Sunday Routine- The New York Times

The model Andreja Pejic on her way to the Whitney Museum of American Art. “I love immersing myself in art for a couple of hours,” she said. CreditGeorge Etheredge for The New York Times 

The model Andreja Pejic had become a name in the fashion industry while she was still male and named Andrej. In 2014, after a career of gender-fluid appearances on the catwalk for Marc Jacobs and Jean-Paul Gaultier, she underwent gender-reassignment surgery, which made her star burn only brighter: Ms. Pejic became the first transgender model to be profiled in Vogue and to land a campaign with a major cosmetics company, Make Up for Ever. As she prepares for New York Fashion Week, Feb. 9 to 16, Ms. Pejic, 25, who lives in the East Village, spends her Sundays drinking tea, going to yoga class and eating a brunch with the works. NEESHA ARTER

TEA PARTY I usually wake up around 9, and the first thing I do is make myself a cup of tea. I drink a lot of tea — green tea, white tea and all kinds of herbal teas. An antioxidant boost is a great way to kick-start the day. My social media followers very well know about my old ladylike tea obsession. I buy the stuff in bulk from Amazon. I also slap on a little concealer on the under eye circles, especially if I had an eventful Saturday night. It calms me down.

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Ms. Pejic at Modo Yoga in the West Village. “I love to sweat it out, but it’s also very much about my mental health too,” she said. CreditGeorge Etheredge for The New York Times 

MORNING UPDATE I enjoy my tea in bed, while I update myself on what’s going on in the world. On top of scrolling through my social media news feeds and consuming often pointless but addictive content (as we all do, don’t deny it), I like to read The New York Times via the app, and not just the Styles section, every section. Weirdly enough, I’m a macroeconomics enthusiast. Hit me up if you want to chat about the materialist conception of history.

STAYING INFORMED Stepping outside of my personal bubble, or that of fashion or beauty, is pretty important to me. We need more young people stepping outside of their own immediate realities and identities and looking at the world and society in an objective way and arming themselves with political knowledge, because let’s face it: The world is not getting any better at this point.

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Ms. Pejic, who was raised in Australia, likes the Aussie cafe Coco & Cru in NoLIta.CreditGeorge Etheredge for The New York Times 

GOODNESS IN A GLASS I kick off my metabolism with a glass of O.J. and a pretty big smoothie. I put in chia seeds, flax seeds, raw organic honey, fresh spinach, hemp seeds, avocado, matcha, spirulina, raw almond butter, almond milk, berries, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Now this might sound like I’m a vegan/organic/raw health junkie, but I promise you I’m not. Basically I’m just too lazy to cook at this point in my life and packing everything into a blender is easy enough. Also this keeps my immune system alive and well, it’s good for my skin and detoxes my body from excessive intake of free Champagne at the parties.

NAMASTE Around 11 a.m., I head to Modo Yoga in the West Village for a hot yoga session. I love to sweat it out, but it’s also very much about my mental health too. I always walk out — well, barely walking — with a fresh perspective on life, a red face and a slimmer waist. Sanity is hardly guaranteed in the fashion industry, so anything that slows my slow descent toward a nervous breakdown gets a thumbs up from me.

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Ms. Pejic at the Whitney. “Stepping outside of my personal bubble,” she said, “is pretty important to me.”CreditGeorge Etheredge for The New York Times 

GIRL TIME After yoga I usually grab lunch with my girlfriends, who luckily love Modo Yoga too. I always look forward to some needed girl time. I was raised in Australia, so I like going to Coco & Cru. It’s an amazing Aussie cafe in NoLIta. Conversations include boys, toys and hormones. Sundays are a day to pig out on a plentiful brunch, my favorite meal ever. I’m talking eggs, bacon and the works. Yes, Fashion Week is coming up, but who cares anymore about being a stick, right?

ART APPRECIATION I usually drop off my laundry and head to Chelsea to check out art galleries or to the Whitney Museum of American Art. I love immersing myself in art for a couple of hours; it’s a source of inspiration for me. I also love the beautiful view of Lower Manhattan from the museum’s rooftop.

DOWNTIME Depending on my mood, I either go to the cinema or just stay at home and unwind with some Netflix. My latest obsession is the BBC show “Versailles.”

IN VINO VERITAS To wind down, I’ll typically pour myself a glass of Steltzner Claret and turn on the new xx album. My night can’t end without posting weird Snapchats to my followers to say good night.

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Andreja Pejić Cover Story for C☆ndy Magazine

ANDREJA PEJIC
Andreja Pejic photographed by Terry Richardson, styled by George Cortina, interviewed by Neesha Arter

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Unfiltered Andreja Pejić talks Single Life in NYC, Fascism & Instagram for  C☆ndy Magazine

By Neesha Arter

“The big message has always been “be yourself” — which is a nice message, but the world is more complicated than that,” Andreja Pejić tells me on a Wednesday evening in New York City. Sipping a glass of white wine, the supermodel refuses to sugarcoat her world to her hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, because life is not that simple, especially for any member of the LGBTQ community.

Pejić is just a quarter century old, but the supermodel can tick off more boxes than most people can put on their bucket list. Pejić became the first transgender model to be profiled in American Vogue, the first transgender model to land a major beauty campaign [with Make Up Forever], starred in a music video for David Bowie, and has walked every runway from Marc Jacobs to Jean Paul Gaultier. After being discovered on New Year’s Eve while working at a McDonald’s in Melbourne at 16, she eventually underwent sex reassignment surgery at 23. When it came to being public about the transition, she said, “I just felt like I had to. I felt like there was so much ignorance about it and I feel like there’s a bit of social responsibility on my part. There were all these kids watching what I was doing and got inspired by my story. And before I felt like I revealed only 50%, so I needed to reveal the other half. I needed to let them know about the full T.”

With infinite courage and absolutely no apologies, Pejić sat down with me to expand on that other half.

Neesha Arter: How about we start here with gender. When it comes to gender, you’ve said in the past “the new generation is more fluid,” can you talk about how you perceive gender in 2016?

Andjrea Pejic: I guess that to a certain extent I’ve always perceived gender as being bullshit. In the sense like, why is it even as important as people think it should be? Because ideas don’t have a gender, and I feel like ideas make the human being — the ideas you stand for make whom you are. But, having said that, obviously we’ve gone through a period where gender norms have changed and have broken down or are breaking down. I guess that’s due to the fact that men and women do similar things, we have similar jobs, or are in similar situations/roles. So there doesn’t need to be this huge divide between how a man should act and how a woman should act.

I think it’s like an organic process that you can’t really prevent, and it’s progressive, because at the end of the day: why shouldn’t we all be gender fluid? Or perhaps gender should be simplified and reduced to nothing more then comfort in your own skin.

NA: I completely agree with that, but I feel that so many people aren’t very progressive, but at the same time plenty of things are going backwards.

AP: Culture often moves in an organic way, but there are plenty of forces out there that do want to regress the progress. Some of them can’t, some of them can. We have fascism on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic. The world is disintegrating, there’s a lot of crap being resurrected and a lot of it is coming from politicians. We’re living in a period of economic crisis and there isn’t really a solution to this, or to the huge levels of inequality we face. And when there’s no solution to such things, you have an unstable society. When this happens, you have to find scapegoats, and I feel like immigrants are those. I feel like there’s a lot of poison being thrown at people, there’s a lot of people who are desperate, and some of them are taking in that poison and let it affect their view. It’s impressive that the protests are going on against the president elect, this never happened before. I think young people are starting to wake up and realize that being interested in politics, world politics especially, isn’t an option anymore – you kind of have to be, because the world is moving into a scary place.

NA: You’re right. I find it very interesting how you see gender and the LGBT community on a global scale as well. How was your upbringing, your view on gender and how has that transpired as you’ve grown up and came into the fashion industry?

AP: I guess I had a pretty global upbringing and exposure to the world. I was born in Tulza, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country that was being torn apart by nationalist forces and imperialist forces, so you could say I was born into a chaos. I experienced being a refugee, then we moved to Australia and there I was an immigrant in the West and on top of that I had my gender issues, so it pushed me become really curious and to Google and learn things about the world. Not just gender, also imperialism and capitalism. It’s easy to just confine yourself to certain politics that affect what you suppose your identity is, for example “I’m a woman, so I only care about gender politics,” you know what I mean? – A lot of people sort of take this stand when they’re starting to get into politics, which is a pity, because you can learn about so many different struggles around the world and you can draw parallels between your struggles and someone else’s. There are a lot of parallels I can draw as a working class refugee and a working class transwoman. The rejection in our society is similar. So yeah, I’ve always tried to look deeper, to look below the surface of things and I feel like I’m starting to be a bit more vocal about my wider political view. In general, people don’t really want models to talk about politics. It’s changing a little bit now, but they rather want you to talk about exercise, or in my case, gender. They often ask me to talk about my personal trans experience, and I’m happy to talk about that, but I just don’t always want to talk about my personal struggles, because there’s just more to the world than that.

NA: Exactly, I think it’s incredible to utilize this voice, because you’re more than a voice of your trans experience or the LGBT community.

AP: Yeah, I have this huge platform where so many people are listening to me, so why confine myself to just one issue? The world is more complicated than that. At the end of the day there’s no unique salvation for trans people, the majority of trans men and women are working class, and their faith cannot be separated from other people in their class. What did we expect? That Hillary Clinton was going to create social programs just for trans people? Inequality is rising around the world; social services are being threatening for everybody. I feel like there needs to be a little bit more unity between these different political struggles and we need to realize that at the end of the day the biggest change and progress has been made with mass movement of people. The mass civil right movement, a mass movement against the Vietnam War – we don’t have mass movements anymore, we have individual based politics, and when you isolate a struggle like that, you’re weakening it too.

NA: When did you know you were transgender and did this affect your decision to become a model?

AP: I knew that I was trans from a young age, I discovered that online, so I started to obtain medication around the age of 13. I was scared if I were to finish a full male puberty, it would be much more difficult for me to transition. Back then, there wasn’t much help for young people, so I kind of took things a little bit into my own hands. I knew that I wanted to transition completely, there was no doubt in my mind, but I just felt like I needed to finish high school before I could to that. My original plan was – finish high school, transition, go to university. But then modeling came up and it was a special sort of opportunity that doesn’t come to an average kid like me, living in an industrial suburb. My mom supported me too, she said “you should take advantage of this, just try it out, take a year off before university”. I ended up doing that, which meant that I had to sort of extend my gender fluid phase for a little bit longer. I didn’t tell my agency that I was planning on fully transitioning, because I didn’t think they would fully understand it. I didn’t even tell my friends, only my mom knew I was taking medication. At the time no one really knew what trans even meant. Being gay was less of a taboo, so I guess a lot of people just perceived me as being gay, like a very feminine gay boy, and I just went along with that. Sometimes I would go to suburban parties with my girlfriends and I would just pretend that I was a girl, to avoid unwanted attention from these macho boys. It was fun; I had a very interesting experience.

NA: Kind of a skip forward, it’s almost 2017, you’ve done so many things in your life already and it’s the age of social media. I can’t imagine how many young boys and girls reach out to you. What is your advice to kids when it comes to gender identity? I know there’s a high suicide rage and kids can be disowned from their families and all these horrible things, I wonder what that experience has been like.

AP: It’s tough. There are a lot of celebrities and people that are getting more into LGBT issues, but the big message has always been “be yourself” — which is a nice message, but the world is more complicated than that. Some kids just can’t. It does depend on class too, if you come from privileged upbringing, your biggest challenge is that you have to come out. You have your parents and your environment that need to accept you, which is a challenge on itself of course, but once you do that, you’re more or less settled.

I know for me, and for a lot of working class kids that come from LGBT minorities, especially if you’re trans, it’s more difficult, because where do you find the money to transition? That’s a very expensive surgery. How are you going to get a job? There are a million things to think about. My advice would be to build a thick skin as much as possible. I educated myself about the world and everything that was going on, what people were going through all around the world and the different struggles they were facing. This helps to put things into perspective, but it’s not easy. Sometimes I feel like I’m expected to sell this fairytale of “you can do it! Anything you put you’re mind to, you can achieve!” but you know, that’s not what society is like, it isn’t that fair, we don’t live in that kind of world. I do think that we can one day, but that’s not the way capitalism works. It’s just that the odds are against you, so you’ll have to work a little harder at the end of the day. You have to know that and fight through it as best you can.

NA: I think that all of those are incredible points. It’s very simple to have someone rise to the top and then give advice and say “oh it was easy” — that’s not true at all.

AP: Exactly, we’re living in a time where there isn’t that much movement up and down. Back in the 60s and 70s most rock stars would come from working class backgrounds. Now, there are Hollywood kids, royalty going into fashion royalty. For me, this is more a lineal movement it’s not horizontal. Things are becoming more sealed, which makes it even harder. Sometimes you feel like you’re expected to “just inspire people”, and I’m like, but what about the reality? Am I not allowed to confront reality? I’ve worked really hard, but at the same time I was kind of at the right time in the right place. I was lucky enough to be born with some physical attributes that the industry found interesting at that time, where there was a cultural shift happening. I feel like if I would have started my career five years ago, it wouldn’t have been the same thing. And there were probably people five years ago that tried, but couldn’t. So I feel like we need to look at the whole context and the bigger picture.

NA: I believe that too, with anything, there’s a little bit of luck.

AP: In modeling it’s even more than with other things. I’ve seen talent involved with modeling as well, most people wouldn’t think that there is, but there is. There is a very creative element and there is a skill that you learn, that you get better at with time. There are models that suck and there are amazing models. However, still, a lot of it is based on your look. And nowadays there’s a shift where it’s more based on your followers and if your mommy and daddy are famous or rich.

NA: How has social media changed from when you were scouted, almost 10 years ago, to now?

AP: Dramatically. A lot of the traditional models feel huge frustration with the social media girls. I’ll tell you where that comes from. When I started out, it was very frowned upon to be a high end model and to be exposed at the same time. I would get a lot of media attention and I would get do a lot of interviews, which actually made me loose jobs. The industry thought it was too cheesy, you shouldn’t talk, you have to be mysterious. They first said that models can’t overexpose themselves, and then suddenly, these girls that are completely overexposed, girls that grew up in fame, are being brought in and become the new supermodels. So in a way fashion is quite oppressive to it’s own good talent. Saying “you can’t do that”, ended up being a complete double standard. For me, the exposure I was getting was very much frowned upon and then it all changed, about 3 years ago, and now it’s the shit. Nowadays clients call agencies and they want to know who the people are with the biggest amount of Instagram followers, they don’t even care what you look like.

NA: Totally switching gears, let’s talk about love. I know you’re recently single, I don’t know if you’ve gone on the record saying that.

AP: I don’t know if anyone has actually printed it, but it’s fine, I can go on the record, I mean there’s no shame in being single, everyone in New York is single.

I’m in NYC and I need to rock it and I need to discover myself. There are plenty of things that I want to do. I want to make new experiences. Dedicating so much to transition also takes up a lot of your life and energy, it consumes your relationships and it consumes everything. Finally I don’t have to worry about that anymore, now I just need to worry about getting married! Lol. I definitely want to use this time wisely or maybe not so wisely and go on road trips, hook up with cowboys and just experience different things and different types of guys. I want to build my confidence and self-esteem. Without being connected to my career, because I grew up in fashion and even though I’m not as famous as many other people, there’s definitely been a public aspect to my career. Sometimes I like to end up having flings with people who don’t even know about my career, who have no idea who I am.

I’ve been single for 3 months now. I guess love is hard for everyone, and in NY it’s a disaster. I feel like NY is where love goes to die, everyone here is obsessed with his or her careers and ‘making it’, and love and friendship take a second place. It’s sad, but it’s true. Being a successful model definitely makes things easier for love. Being a successful trans model is a different story. I feel like most men in NYC want to date a model, but trans models are still an uncharted territory. Maybe it’s my own insecurity sometimes, I think it’s also because I’ve gone on the record and publicly talked about it and there’s something a bit intimidating about that I think, to men. Because they have to not just accept you and your past privately, they also have to become full with everybody knowing publicly. Men are just weak sometimes.

NA: Regarding the fashion industry and pop culture, I feel like it’s become so extreme, the phrase “sex sells” has taken a life of its own these days. I was wondering, how do you view sexuality and the media?

AP: How I see sex? I don’t know, we need better porn for women. We need to have discussions. Men do not purely dominate it; it’s more a certain section of men that think they speak for all men. I think it needs to become a little more democratic. What was controversial in the 80s just isn’t anymore — when Lady Gaga tries to do the same thing as Madonna did back then, it’s just not as controversial, which is a positive thing. I think people are finally starting to talk about sex and sex is healthy. For a long time, people had to pick a category when it came to sexual orientation. Am I a lesbian, am I gay or am I straight? Usually there were just 3 options. There were people that said they were bisexual, but straight people would think these people were just gay and gay people would think they were gay too, so there wasn’t even recognition of that. Nowadays what you like in sex can change at anytime, the type of guy I find attractive has changed over the years as well.

NA: Last year you became part of Taylor Swift her squad, how was that?

AP: It was crazy, we had a mutual friend, we were just going to see her show in Chicago and she found out that I was coming. She had her team contact my best friend in LA that I was with, my publicist, my agency and my mother, just to ask me if I could walk for “Style.” So I was like, shit this is crazy, I was like “fuck this, I’m going to rock this, I’m going to bring on the hair and make up, I’m going to wear a long white dress that I can dance around in”. I just thought, how many times are you going to get a chance to walk for a huge pop star in front of 65.000 screaming people? You might as well go for it and have fun, and it was fun! 

NA: Tell me a little bit more about the documentary; I know you’re working on one.

AP: I’ve been filming for about 3 years now. I’m still trying to raise more money to finish it. I know some of the people that donated initially asked me on my Instagram when the documentary is coming out – I haven’t forgotten about it, I’m still working on it. It’s hard, documentaries are a difficult thing to make, because people don’t put money in it, it’s not profitable. We’re still at it, we’re still pushing and I have no doubt that it will happen. We’re still filming and I don’t think I’ve ever been exposed as much in my life as I have in the footage of this documentary.

NA: One of your big career moments has been becoming one of the first trans women to have a beauty campaign. You just got signed for your second year for Make Up For Ever.

AP: Yes, that contract has been renewed, yay! I’m happy about it. You’ve got to remember, this happened before Caitlyn Jenner. Lea T had a contract with Redken and then immediately after I got signed for a beauty contract as well. They’ve been extremely supportive, I’ve learned a lot about make up. It’s just nice to have recognition. I got recognition in the media, because I was doing something very interesting, but it was hard to make money. And I felt like, even now, there are more people outside of the industry that appreciate what I do. So I never felt extremely acknowledged by the industry. There were of course a lot of people that did support me, but the wide industry I mean. Therefore it’s nice to have a brand that big, to recognize what I do.

NA: You recently spoke at Oxford University about your political views and we touched on it a little bit earlier, but I was wondering what you have to say about the current political climate, the results of this election – to young people that just voted and to the LGBT community as a whole.

AP: You know, we’re entering a darker period. As I said, fascism is growing on both sides of the Atlantic and the official left wing isn’t really doing anything about it. It falls onto people to look at what’s happening in the world, to kind of separate yourself a little bit from believing that high up there politicians will save you, or add something progressive to the situation. We have to take stand. We have to educate ourselves on the history of revolutionary movements and it’s so important that we unite across the divides of gender and racism, and of borders too. We’re living in a very international world, yet we have this huge rise of nationalism that is sort of trying to erect walls and barriers between countries. I think we have to resist that. I feel like we need a god damn revolution.

NA: Where do you see the LGBT community in 10 – 20 years? And in some hypothetical world, if you were to leave the fashion industry, what would you want to do?

AP: Well, I don’t know, it’s hard for me to answer that question because in 10 – 20 years time, will we have a WWIII? We could, we could have a civil war and we could even have many civil wars in many different countries. We could have a WWIII and a civil war at the same time… You know, I want to be out there and I want to be fighting for a better world, because there is a way. I do believe in humanity. I believe that human beings can overcome their prejudices. We don’t live in a world free of discrimination, but if you look, the general public has advanced a lot when it comes to racial acceptance, if you compare Americans in the 1950s to today. I do think the general public can overcome their prejudices, but we need more than just that. We need a truly equal society, because that will lay a strong foundation for a world without prejudice. Otherwise, we will just be dragged back. We’ll make progress, but it’ll be 2 steps forward, 3 steps back.

NA: But you do believe in humanity and you believe it’s possible.

AP: Yeah I do, and I’m not a pessimist in the sense that there are people that dismiss humanity, that humanity is just naturally fluid, that there’s no hope and that it’ll destroy the planet or destroy itself. I do think we have the opportunity to be a multi planetary species and we’ve come so far when it comes to scientific achievements. There are so many reasons to believe in humanity. There are much more examples of love and charity and acceptance around the world than there are of horror. But you know, I think it’s going to take people waking up to start mass revolutionary movements around the world. Also for people in the creative industry, it’s time to look outside of yourself a little bit, outside of your personal struggles and look at the world and what’s happening and put that into your work, because truly progressive art and creativity can have a huge positive influence on the thinking of people, it can bring people together and can expose them to truths on a universal level.

Neesha Arter is a journalist, and author based in New York City. Her memoir, CONTROLLED, was published in August 2015 and she is currently a News Assistant at the New York Times.

Purchase the magazine HERE

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The Daily Beast- ‘The Hunting Ground’ Sheds New Light On Campus Rape Epidemic

SURVIVORS

02.26.15

‘The Hunting Ground’ Sheds New Light On Campus Rape Epidemic

A new documentary follows two activists around the country as they talk to fellow survivors about the trauma of rape and the triumph of survival.
Rape has always been a taboo topic in our society, but lately that seems to be changing thanks to activists like Annie Clark and Andrea Pino.Clark and Pino are leading the crusade for Title IX—a federal legislation most famous for sports equality, but which prohibits all discrimination (including sexual harassment and violence) on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding—and the Clery Act, which grants protections for sexual assault victims on college campuses. They recently made their film debut as activists in the new documentary “The Hunting Ground,” by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering.Pino graduated valedictorian of her high school and was the first of her family to leave her home state of Florida to go to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Clark, a North Carolina native and high school athlete, wanted to stay in state for college and chose Chapel Hill as well. Having both survived rape while college students, they eventually created End Rape On Campus, a survivor advocacy organization dedicated to ending sexual violence.

The film notes that 16 to 20 percent of undergraduate women are sexually assaulted in college, and 88 percent of women raped on campus do not report.

The documentary follows the two women as they drive cross-country to meet with other sexual assault survivors on college campuses who wish to file complaints against their schools. Clark, who became a campus administrator at the University of Oregon after graduation, reflects in the film, “I basically had to make a choice if I wanted to continue to support survivors or have my actual administrative job at a university. I figured I could do more good this way, so I resigned.”

The film notes that 16 to 20 percent of undergraduate women are sexually assaulted in college, and 88 percent of women raped on campus do not report. Pino details her violent assault as a second year student. She says, “It all happened really quickly. I was actually a virgin, so that adds a bit to it. He just started pulling me towards the bathroom. He grabbed my head by the side of my ear and slammed it against the bathroom tile and it didn’t stop.”

Pino’s traumatic memory has yet to subside. “When you’re scared and you don’t know what’s happening to you, you just stay there and hope that you don’t die. And that’s when I was hoping, that I had more than just 20 years to live.”

Clark mentions receiving many death and rape threats for going public with her assault. A resolute Clark says, “Here is the experience of several hundred survivors. Unless something happens, it’s not going to change.”

Filmmaker Kirby Dick discussed the obstacles of making this film with The Daily Beast. “This is a problem at all of the thousands of colleges and universities in the United States. We wanted to make a film that didn’t just focus on three or four campuses and people would walk away saying that those were the rape campuses. We wanted people to walk away knowing that this is a prolific problem within higher education.”

“I was actually a virgin…He grabbed my head by the side of my ear and slammed it against the bathroom tile and it didn’t stop.”

In order for the filmmakers to accomplish that, they were in contact with hundreds of survivors and did extensive research for many months. Producer Amy Ziering added, “The complexities and the nuances of this issue were also a challenge, and the fact that power in these institutions is not hierarchically ordered is another problem.”

Revisiting UNC, Chapel Hill reignited the feelings of terror and shame Andrea Pino experienced after her assault. She later found out that multiple other women were raped that same weekend. “The worst part for me has been to relive the experiences of everyone else,” Pino recounts.

Through tears, survivors from Florida State, Notre Dame, USC, Yale, and Harvard describe their horrific sexual assaults. Yet in the face of these stories, Pino and Clark are unafraid. “It’s the only way I get up in the morning. I would have given anything to have someone who believed me, someone who supported me,” Pino says.

In the film, an ABC news reporter in Berkeley, California says, “These students went from sexual assault victims to survivors and now activists.” Words could not ring more true for these two heroic women.

The film hits theaters this Friday, February 27th.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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At Home With Ariel Ashe- New York Observer

Interior Designer Ariel Ashe Invites Us in to Her Home

The sought-after decorator repurposes antiques and mixes ethnic with modern touches in her West Village home.

Ariel Ashe in her West Village home

“Piñon is the first thing I smell when I get off the plane in New Mexico,” said interior designer Ariel Ashe, of the aroma coming from the scented candle burning in her West Village apartment. Country music played in the light-filled, spacious one-bedroom furnished with ethnic rugs and ornaments.

When Ms. Ashe is not traveling and gathering inspiration for her esteemed design firm with architect Reinaldo Leandro,  Ashe+Leandro,  she meets him each day for coffee before heading to their charming two-room Soho studio. It’s rare to find an interior designer and architect as equal partners, but Ms. Ashe, an uncommon mix of worldliness from a small town in New Mexico, and Mr. Leandro, a young modernist from Venezuela, complement each other. Ms. Ashe invited us into her home to tell us how she designed for her most personal client, herself.

Ariel Ashe's living room. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

You’ve been in this apartment for a year, have you always lived downtown in NYC? Always. I love my neighborhood—I’m on the third floor of a building with no elevator and I love it. No hanging around! There’s a lot of natural light in this apartment and three skylights.

How did you pick the art and decoration? I’ve been collecting stuff since I started working as an interior designer in 2002. Some pieces are client rejects—some are gifts from furniture makers and a few pieces are by my favorite woodworker, Rob Pluhowski. The art is from all over—again, gifts, purchases and stolen (from my parents).

Art wall featuring prints by Norman Bergsma. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

You have great artwork here. Do you have a favorite piece of artwork? My Kate Moss obituary by Adam McEwen, which hangs above my fireplace in the living room and a tiny painting of Mick Jagger by Nikki Katsikas. Both are whimsical but brilliant. Adam McEwen was an obituary writer for the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming an artist. I also have a Richard Aldrich painting from the Bortolami Gallery, a space we designed a few years ago.

How did you approach designing your own apartment as opposed to a client’s? In exactly the same way. I thought about the best layout for me, chose a color palette, established a budget and got to work. We’ve done over 40 apartments in New York so I’ve had a lot of practice.

A teak root table with an antique lamp. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

You travel often. Is that essential as an interior designer? Yes. You can only get so much inspiration from magazines and Pinterest. From a hammock in Nicaragua to a tile floor on the Amalfi coast,  I take thousands of photos with my iPhone.

What are a few cities you draw inspiration from? Rome, Santa Fe, New York. I love places with strong history and culture. With culture comes great design and good food.

An antique bust and new skull. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

What makes New York home? Mostly the people. My sister and brother live here. My work is here. Although, I still consider New Mexico home. I’m starting a project in Placitas, N.M., with my dad who is a builder. Martha’s Vineyard is my home in the summer.

What are the most cherished items in your home? Things I’ve taken from my parents’ house. A bow and arrow set, Navajo rugs, an oil painting in my bedroom and a pink Three Musketeers book.

A hallway featuring a Navajo rug. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

Do you have a favorite spot in your home? My closet is pretty amazing. My sister organized it for me the day I moved in and comes over to reorganize it. A fashionable friend lived here before me and the closet intimidated me at first. I couldn’t fill half of it but I’ve been working on that…

Do you have any advice for aspiring interior designers? Work hard: There’s nothing stopping you! Intern, assist and always do more than what’s asked of you. See art. Travel. Read books. Use all of this to develop a style. Don’t ask to leave early.

Read more at The Observer.

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Into The Gloss- Neesha Arter, Writer

Neesha Arter, Writer

neesha-arter-writer-1

 

“I grew up in Albuquerque and went to college in California, where I studied creative writing and ended up writing a book. While I was in LA for school, I started writing for Angeleno Magazine, which is how I began working in journalism, too. Eventually I moved out to New York to get a book deal, which just happened two weeks ago! It’s called Controlled and it’s a memoir about sexual assault. I really couldn’t be happier that it’s getting published. It’s a really exciting time for me. [Ed note: Controlled (Heliotrope Books) will be available fall 2015.]

When I’m not working on the book, I write for New York Magazineand the New York Observer. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview some of my favorite people in entertainment for stories I’ve worked on—people like David Lynch, Drew Barrymore, Orlando Bloom, Barbara Walters…My conversation with Barbara was definitely one of the most memorable. It was also kind of controversial on a personal level because it was Woody Allen’s opening night of Bullets Over Broadway—not too long after his open letter went out in the New York Times about his relationship with Dylan—and Barbara Walters publicly supports him. I feel very strongly about this kind of thing and I do a lot of activism when it comes to sexual assault awareness. My editor was like, ‘You’re covering this!’ and I just said ‘OK!’ I didn’t think she was going to do interviews, but I just kind of jumped in front of her and said, ‘I’m Neesha Arter from New York Magazine! Can I talk to you for a second?’ and we got to talk, so that was great. I’ve watched The View since I was little and even if we disagree, I still admire her so much.

I also guest write for Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation about various issues dealing with sexual assault. And I did the social media for this documentary called Brave Miss Worldwhich was written and directed by Cecilia Peck, Gregory Peck’s daughter. It’s about Linor Abargil, an Israeli who won Miss World in 1998 and was raped six weeks before she won the crown, and then later in life speaks out about it and travels around the world to help other victims of sexual assault. It’s really gratifying to be involved with such creative people making a difference. Everyone knows someone that has been affected by these issues. Sexual assault happens every day. I wrote an article for Teen Vogue about this and I had people writing to me from Australia and everywhere else saying, ‘I was raped and I haven’t told anybody except for you…’ and it’s just like, wow, that is a heavy thing. Nobody talks about it, which only makes it more important that the media shines a light on the cause. And if I can help somebody and say, ‘You’re not alone,’ then that’s all I want to do.

For my job and my activism, I go to a lot of black tie events to interview subjects and support causes close to me. But because I’m usually there to work, I don’t worry about if my hair or eye makeup is really ‘working.’ It’s not about being a celebrity, it’s about blending in and finding the story. I’ll do a darker eye—just pencil and mascara though, never shadow—and blow dry my hair. And then I’ll use what I use every day. I found MAC Powder Blush in Breezy because the lady at the store was like, ‘Oh, this one is probably good,’ and I’ve used it ever since [laughs]. I like powder formulas over creams because I find them easier to apply. My favorite mascara is Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express. My suitemate used it in college, and she always had pretty eyelashes, so I used hers before eventually buying my own. And I love lip gloss. I have so many! Paul & Joe Lip Color in Pink Ballerina is a good one, Stila Lip Glaze in Grapefruit is always a winner, and MAC Tinted Lipglass in Pink Lemonade is just fun to put on. Anything pink! It gives me that extra boost of confidence when I’m doing red carpet interviews or a one-on-one with someone I admire in the industry, so it’s definitely a product I can’t live without.

When it comes to skincare, I stick to the classics. I’ve been using Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash in Pink Grapefruit for as long as I can remember. I follow that up with their Oil-Free Moisturizer for combination skin. I use it during the day and at night. My mom gave me Clinique All About Eyes Serum because I have a huge issue with insomnia. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair is also good for calming my eyes when I can’t sleep.

I actually use my favorite lotion, Soap and Glory Butter Yourself Body Cream, in the shower. It’s really good for when the air is dry in the winter. Then I shampoo my hair with Alterna Caviar Clinical Daily Detoxifying Shampoo and their Daily Root & Scalp Stimulator. They’re super fancy products that my friend gave me and I love the way they make my hair smell. I haven’t used Alterna Caviar Working Hair Spray since, like, prom, but I always keep it around just in case I need a little bit of extra volume.

And after a painful trip of eyebrow threading and a few failed pedicures, I swear by eyebrow waxing and painting my own nails. I just couldn’t stop laughing during those foot massages. Am I the only one who’s ticklish? So overall, I’m pretty low maintenance. I don’t have a ton of products, but the ones I do use, I’m very loyal to. I’ve gotten the most guidance from my mom, partially because there aren’t a ton of Indian women in the media—though I think Freida Pinto and I would be great friends.”

—as told to ITG

Photographed by Tom Newton.

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Gotham Magazine- Why Sara Ziff Founded Model Alliance

Why Sara Ziff Founded Model Alliance

BY NEESHA ARTER

Sara Ziff, founder of the Model Alliance, and casting director James Scully discuss how to improve working conditions in a business that isn’t always as glamorous as it seems.

Sara Ziff
James Scully joined forces with Sarah Ziff of Model Alliance to create a better work environment for models.

After Sara Ziff, who began modeling at 14, codirected the film Picture Me, a 2010 documentary about the highs and lows of the modeling business, she was determined to bring awareness to the often less-than-ideal working conditions in the industry—a disregard for child-labor laws, a lack of financial transparency, the encouragement of eating disorders, and instances of sexual abuse.

Ziff founded the Model Alliance in 2012 and immediately drew in big-name supporters like Coco Rocha, Milla Jovovich, and Fordham Law’s Susan Scafidi. The group scored its first big victory last November when child-model legislation went into effect (the law states that child models who live or work in New York State are protected by the Department of Labor, with the same rights and securities afforded to other “child performers”). But Ziff notes there is still tremendous work to be done. Here, she and James Scully, a leading fashion-industry casting director, discuss their ongoing mission to improve working conditions for models of all ages.

What was the impetus for founding Model Alliance?
SARA ZIFF: 
Along with other models, I wanted to have a voice about our work and address issues, especially concerning the protection of kids in the industry. We got together and thought we would be more powerful as a group.

How did it come into being?
SZ: 
When I was in college, I studied labor and community organizing, and I had it in my head that I wanted to unionize the industry. I realized it would be impossible because models are considered independent contractors, not employees. Under federal law, they can’t unionize. So after some frustration, I met Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School, who wanted to help. We met at a screening of my documentary about the industry. It was because of that film that I was really able to talk about the issues.

Sara Ziff
Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann and Sara Ziff at the White House to mark passage of the Affordable Care Act.

How did you get involved with the Model Alliance, James?
JAMES SCULLY: 
When I began in the industry over 20 years ago, most girls didn’t start modeling until they were 18 and had finished high school. It was so rare for them to be any younger. Back then, a model’s career never really hit [its stride] until she was in her late 20s or early 30s. Christy, Kate, and Naomi were the ones who pushed that boundary. Then the starting age started shifting downward, and it coincided with the Model Alliance trying to make it right. I was definitely on board

Why did the starting age for models get younger?
JS: 
One of the first factors was the opening of Eastern Europe, where the ages of girls weren’t supervised. Also, there was client preference, which went from wanting a female aesthetic to desiring a very prepubescent body type. Editors would keep demanding these younger girls. By the time models started to go through puberty, the editors mistook that for weight gain. No one was winning at the end of the day.
SZ: When we looked at the law, we saw that child models were the only child performers not covered under the labor laws in New York State. When we spoke to lawmakers, they didn’t seem to be aware [of this loophole]. Even within the industry, they weren’t thinking of these kids as children.
JS: There were just so many children in the industry being taken advantage of.

One of Model Alliance’s initiatives was backstage privacy. Tell us how that came about.
SZ: 
Models were concerned about unauthorized photos being taken of them changing clothes backstage during New York Fashion Week. We needed to raise awareness and introduced a backstage privacy policy that encourages show producers to limit backstage access once “first looks” are called during a show.

Sara Ziff
Model Alliance members celebrate Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing the child model bill into law.

Have things improved concerning the issue of overly thin models?
SZ:
 While I was able to maintain a certain body type and eat whatever I wanted, I would hear criticism when doing shows that models were too skinny and anorexic. It wasn’t until years later that models came to me and said that they had gone to extremes to fit into sample sizes. A friend who was on the cover of Italian Vogue when she was about 14, was told by her agency to only eat one rice cake a day as her body started to fill out. This is a model I’ve worked with for years, and it wasn’t until years later that she told me she had been desperately ill.
JS: In Sara’s day, it was more unusual [for models to be anorexic], but then it started to become the norm. No one was doing anything about it. The people who could [do something] were saying they were, but they weren’t.

Part of the Model Alliance mission statement is to educate models about their rights. What do you emphasize?
SZ: 
When we formed our group, we established Model Alliance Support, our discreet grievance reporting and advice service for members. We encourage any model who has been the subject of unwanted sexual attention on the job, or who has experienced any other work related problem to contact us. We also talk to them about finances. Many girls getting into the industry are just excited to shoot with a well-known photographer or get on the runway. They need to treat modeling like a business because it doesn’t last forever, even if you’re one of the lucky ones.

Read more in Gotham.

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