Monday, March 30, 2009

Rachel Zoe's Project

Decades Two was decked out in Zoe-themed glamor for the launch of her costume jewelry charity auction last Thursday night.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lou Doillon + Lee Cooper

It must be so lovely to be walking down the street,
and suddenly see the thing that you did,
and see someone who's completely made it his.
--Lou Doillon

When the multi-talented Lou Doillon partnered up with Lee Cooper, I knew long before I got a chance the results that it would be one of my all time favorite fashion collaborations. Her Artfl Dodger inspired collection of perfect high-waisted trousers, fitted jackets, and knitted cardigans has something for everyone. This is the kind of collection you can invest into knowing full well that you will get your money's worth, and better yet--these aren't trend pieces that will fall out of favor in a month, these are closet staples. Check out the Lee Cooper site for more information on the collaboration.

Thanks to Lou and everyone at Lee Cooper for sending over some pieces from the collection!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Foam Magazine Guest Blog

"When I first found out that we were doing a guest-blog for Foam Magazine online, it was a similar excitement to being chosen as one of the Quiksilver Women It Girls—another dream come true. Like Quiksilver Women, and the “It Girl” shoot, Foam has a parallel objective of empowering women, and focusing on people who are out there working for skies-the-limit goals. Such empowerment is of supreme importance in this day where mainstream media and its commonality is nearly force-fed to children at birth to establish what is expected of them—all this from an industry that was based in creativity and individuality.

I have been a first-hand witness of this industry for nearly twenty years, and a former victim of it. I started modeling at age seven—my mother reluctantly introduced me to the industry via her job as a photographer, and I have been in it ever since; only just recently becoming aware of the actual psychosis and mire of the standards they set for the masses. At first I was a champion of the depravity, because that’s the way it’s set up: to appeal to our lowest common denominator—it’s a good time, but the sacrifices are huge if you aren’t aware. Thankfully I had an amazing mother who knew the industry well, but of course nothing could stop me from experiencing it first hand.

Thankfully she forced me into college for a bit. I hated most of it, but found a new freedom in writing, and majored in creative writing and poetry. The teachings of my freethinking, open-minded professors were severely countered when I began writing for larger publications that had their own agendas in place, independent of anything I could ever say. I first encountered this creative hold after I left my job as a columnist at a newspaper, and the Editor of The Homestead Review for a larger publication. Where the newspaper allowed me carte blanche, and control of my own subject matter, the larger allowed much less, and I surely had to follow the mass-market media opinion.

When I got the opportunity to be cast in the reality TV show “I’m from Rolling Stone,” to air on MTV, I was exposed to the world of celebrity intimately where the focus lay almost entirely in external looks in all subjects, another rigid, and invisible constraint. Also it hurled me head first into the spotlight, and I was up for worldwide public discussion—and keep in mind, this is still a show about writers, although looks and clothing choices can still be judged. Before the show even aired, there were endless blogs, message boards, and commentaries on the cast popping up all over the Internet. I have a whole closet full of clothes I bought from that time that I can’t even stand to look at because I bought them trying to appease the masses after those judgments got in, and made me feel unworthy—and the worst thing is I allowed that diminishment to happen. I put away all my favorite things in fear of judgment, and I even grew out my Keith Richards mullet that I loved to a more suitable mainstream length, and did I mention somewhere along the way my regular blonde was traded in for platinum? I sure did fit the bill, but I had turned into a pawn in the game, but like I said before, I allowed it: I allowed my image to run my life.

Pop culture and media has become a subject of such supreme importance, and also supreme stress for women who are imprisoned by it through the fear of acceptance. These words “beauty” and “ugly” are human creations for judgment and control, and nothing more—but if allowed, they paralyze an individual with fear into either complying with the masses, or being labeled a freak of some kind, and cast off into some sort of worst dressed list out there. The effects of this are everywhere; women being pitted against each other in the silent contest about who’s physical body, and its garments are best, which directly corresponds with aging; men are only considered more desirable and attractive as they age. All those “silver foxes,” and “distinguished gentlemen” that are glorified endlessly, and women turn into “cougars,” that’s all we get-- a desperate, hungry cat on the prowl. Women are trained to fear age almost above anything else, because it ties into our survival. We fear birthdays, wrinkles, being dried-up, and undesirable to the population, while men become “seasoned,” and only more desirable.
I honestly started fearing and resenting my birthdays after I turned 21! I nearly had a heart attack at 25—or “over the hill” in model years. I though, “Oh boy, this is it, time to go to the convent, or just whither up and die—it’s all over now,” what a farce. When the industry insists on employing and casting 13, 14, and 15 year olds to sell clothing on their starving lithe frames to the populous, the standard of beauty is completely unreachable. And it is those impossible standards that silently dictate what is acceptable, and worse, normal to people everywhere—skin that hangs off the bone, size 2, flawless. So now we have youth and beauty inextricable combined. This subjugation of women is so acceptable, in fact, it is desirable; it’s taken on an attractive mask in the form of attractiveness; all those products to keep you young and pretty, all the surgeries to stretch your skin tighter, make your breasts bigger, lips fuller, injecting poison to hide wrinkles of time, all the fad diets to keep you in an acceptable eating disorder, the clothing that constricts, the shoes that cause foot problems—and more importantly, the damage that is done to the spirit of the people who think that this is the only option they have.

We are at a point where there is really no freedom of creativity, and if there is, you better believe that someone is going to label it to fit into some preexisting category so it flows along with the rest of the social-norm that has been corralled. That need to judge, label, and weigh undermines the creative confidence of people everywhere, and thus undermines the self-confidence of the entire population that buys into the judgmental attitude. So by the time we are adults, we are so afraid of being judged, hurt, or lessened, that we are so hardened to nearly everything, and wear around masks to hide our true self from other people to avoid being the subject of someone else’s judgment. So we give our power away, we stop doing the things that give us joy, and we let someone else create our reality for us. We let other people dictate what it is we should love, hate, buy, do, how we look, how bad everyone else looks who isn’t an “original” like we all are—and our own creativity is long gone, to the point where we fear having an opinion separate from the finely tuned publications, TV, film, and music that has taken over our free-thinking culture. No wonder we are so scared to put ourselves out there. They convince us through the selling of acceptance, that if you comply with the airbrushed beauty they are putting out, you too can be acceptable, and desirable. They’ll tell you how to dress, “must-buy’s of the season,” and “what you better throw out this season” if you don’t want to be laughed at, “how to please a man in bed,” and “hair and makeup trends to follow,” I mean, I’m quoting actual magazines here, this isn’t made up—they even say they want you to follow! And if you don’t “follow” as they warn, you’ll end up as a don’t with a black box over your face, on a worst-dressed list as a “fashion don’t,” and you’ll be reminded that you most certainly cannot ever belong to the exclusive club of stylish “individuals” that heeded the words and followed in hot pursuit—no matter what it cost them, mentally or monetarily, it doesn’t matter, as long as they weren’t judged.

When I started my own website, I had come to the end of my logic and figuring, and I was on a mission—although I didn’t know where I was going, or how I was going to get there. All I knew is I was at the edge of my box; I had wrote for major magazines, traveled the world, been the ideals of “ugly” and “beauty” to other people as a model, and I was never so unhappy as I was when I decided that enough was enough, that there had to be something more than this. At that point I hatred myself, and hated everything else too—my hate stemming from this lack of love for myself, it was in me all along. All I knew at that point was I wanted my power back; I wanted my life back. Although I didn’t realize it at that time, I was so miserable because I had given all my power away, and my happiness was dependant on other people’s approval—the flow of my life was contingent on other people; their opinions, judgments, and decisions—I was the ultimate victim, and I didn’t even know it. I just thought that was just the way it is, and I had no power to change it. It was only when I was forced to the edge of my logic that I just decided to let go of that old way, and go over the edge. I didn’t know what I would be after I gave it all up, but all I knew is I didn’t want to be what people thought I was suppose to be.
At first, this caused me retract completely, and I quit writing and modeling altogether, I quit what I loved altogether and started from scratch. I had to look at myself for the first time in my life, and figure out what is was that caused me to go on this wild goose chase looking for fulfillment through the outside sources, which only brought me right back to square one time and time again. That is what led me to start the appropriately titled persons search in defining their true self. I would have absolute say over this little blog, and that was a start.

I slowly began to discover myself; separate from what the media said I should be, separate from what my friends and family thought I should be, so there was just me there to decide for myself. As I became centered in my own world, I felt my power returning to me, as well as a lightness of spirit, and a freedom that I had really never experienced before. I realized I had always searched for things outside of myself to make me happy, and to fulfill me—as if I had completely given my life away, and in consequence, gave all my power away with it. I also forgave everyone who I had previously held grudges against, forgave all my debtors, and then I was able to forgive myself. I rediscovered the passions that brought me so much joy before I was imprisoned by my fear; playing music in my own band and recording a record, skateboarding, designing my own clothing and jewelry, painting—it all came running back to me when I allowed myself to just be.

And guess what? I’m over 21 now, and I’m still writing and modeling, but the sources of these things now come from equally light and loving places, that love what I am, not just what I look like—not just this pretty little face. And no one will ever be able to convince me that I can’t so something, I can do everything. The opportunities have only grown bigger and better, and the people I encounter on this new path exude only love and acceptance. What people really love about us is not coming from our bodies, and if it is, get those people out of your life as fast as you can. If they only love an image of what they think is you, you don’t need them anyway. We are all much more than our image, more than our bodies, and our little dramas—no matter who you are, how much money you have, how beautiful you think you are, those things are meaningless; they will never make you happy. I don’t care if you are the richest person in the world, the sexiest man alive, the most powerful personality, or all of them at once—if you don’t appreciate what it is you really are, the thing that you cannot see, you have nothing.

I have finally found self-acceptance outside of other people, and love without conditions on it in myself. Of course it arrived after I had exhausted all other routes looking for other people to give it to me, but that was how I got here, and I wouldn’t trade what I know for all the money or fame in the world. I can now see beauty in everything, not just the things with excessive price tags, and airbrushing. And now I love what I am, and I don’t fear other people’s judgments because I know now that I have had the power all along, and in that knowingness--I have no fear."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009