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ELLE's EIC Robbie Myers Talks Finding Confidence and Battling Sexism

Le 13 septembre 2014, 10:38 dans Humeurs 0

ELLE.com is excited to announce #GoBOLD, a new competition series in partnership with Revlon, that celebrates bold, provocative women setting out to accomplish their goals.

Over the course of 10 webisodes, three contestants participate in challenges—from putting together their own magazine spreads to creating outfits that reflect their individual personalities—and learn valuable lessons on how to elevate their careers, taking pointers from some seriously successful women, like series host, (and 'Orange Is The New Black' star), Laverne Cox, PR maven Kelly Cutrone, designer Patricia Field, our very own Editor-in-Chief, Robbie Myers, and more. The result: much greater takeaways, like the importance of being confident, powerful, and of course, BOLD.In the final episode, ELLE's own Robbie Myers chooses the winner of the #GoBold competition series. Before the last challenge—which entailed giving a presentation to a packed auditorium—Myers told the contestants, "I'm looking for the whole story. I want to see the journey; I want to see how far you've come, where you started, and get a sense of what makes each one of you so bold and provocative." So before we take a look at the final episode, we thought we'd ask our own EIC for her "whole story." How did she become an editor-in-chief? What was her first job like? And what struggles has she overcome along the way?

On encountering sexism:

There was a company I worked for where I was often the only woman in the room. And the ease with which the senior men would talk about women’s bodies was...kind of gross. They’d comment on women’s bodies, comment on their looks constantly, and you know, there were other men in the room who were not comfortable doing that, because they were aware and sensitive to my being there. But it was a very senior person who did this with other people. So I would occasionally say things like, 'I don’t see why that’s so funny,' 'I don’t really like that,' or, 'Why are you all laughing at that?'

On overcoming nerves:

I remember the first time I went and interviewed somebody big. It was Phil Niekro, who was a pitcher for the Yankees. I was really young, like 21 or 22, and it was for The Sporting News. I was terrified. They walked me through the locker room, and [all the players] dropped their towels. It was like, 'Why is Heidi in pigtails here?' But I was very well prepared, and I knew a lot about throwing a knuckleball–that was what Niekro was known for. I prepared myself. There’s something to be said for putting yourself in situations–actually seeking them out–that challenge you or scare you, because then you master them. Or maybe you don’t even master them, you survive them, and then you’re like, 'Oh, I can do that.'

On finding confidence:

I remember the one withering moment where I walked into a senior editors' meeting [at Rolling Stone, where Myers was an assistant]. I was called in there to deliver something, and I gave my opinion on the topic that they were talking about. I was met with stunned silence–how could I dare to voice my opinion? I clammed up after that. But to this day, I feel that I was right. In terms of getting confidence to speak up, the truth is it’s one of those things you can only get better at by doing. I always say to my daughter, 'The thing about trying something new is it’s okay that you’re scared.' You have to acknowledge that you’re afraid and do it anyway. If you wait for the fear to go away, you'll never do it.

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Elle Fanning Takes on the Cutthroat World of Modeling

Le 9 septembre 2014, 09:49 dans Humeurs 0

Opening Ceremony's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon would never do anything as mundane as putting on a traditional runway show. There's always a twist: cars on the runway, a David Lynch designed set, a hologram (in Paris for their other label, Kenzo), live performers, etc. Last night, however, Lim and Leon pushed the boundaries of what a fashion show can look like. The duo enlisted Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill to showcase their collection as a one-act play (Jonze directed, Hill and Jonze co-wrote). Oh, and they staged it at the Metropolitan Opera House. Behind the curtain. When it lifted, the audience gasped: We were looking out at hundreds of empty red velvet chairs and box seats. We were on stage.

 

"100% Lost Cotton" is equal parts satire of the fashion industry (hyperbolic freak outs over sleeve length, a terrifying f-bomb dropping boss, intentionally incomprehensible fashion word soup) and a surprisingly emotional examination of friendship and modeling in the fashion world. Elle Fanning plays the wide-eyed, Midwestern newbie model and Dree Hemingway plays the only slightly less naive, self-proclaimed It girl. The play centers around the casting for Opening Ceremony's spring show with John Cameron Mitchell as Leon, Bobby Cannavale as the drunk, quippy stylist, Catherine Keener as Lim, Rashida Jones as Vogue editor Lisa Love, Alia Shawkat as the deadpan hipster assistant Dylan, and Karlie Kloss as herself. The cool kids of Hollywood were on stage and in the audience: Allison Williams, Alexa Chung, Chloë Sevigny, Dakota Fanning, Jason Schwartzman, Yoko Ono, and more were there to watch.

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Cool kids and fashion funnies aside, there were some surprisingly poignant moments between Fanning (Julie) and Hemingway (Bella). Models are gorgeous, their lives must be incredibly easy, right? Of course not. Here's an exchange between Julie and Bella, as transcribed by The Cut, that offers a surprisingly honest perspective on life as a recently transplanted teenage model:

Bella: You want to know what modeling is? Most days you don’t even model. You spend hours in the morning worrying about what you’re going to wear, or say, or do. And then you get on the subway anxious about what people are going to think about you. And then you have people in a fitting or a casting or a meeting look you up and down for 30 seconds without even looking at you in the eye. And then you get back on the subway, and you try desperately not to see your reflection in the window because they made you feel like the ugliest girl in the room. And then you spend the whole rest of the afternoon trying to wash off your make-up and everything else they threw at you that day. All for 30 seconds of shit.

Julie: I’m really sorry. It sounds like you really don’t like what you do. So why do you do this?

Bella: That’s a good fucking question. I don’t know. I mean I lived in Seattle with my mom and whatever other sketchy boyfriend she had living with us that week. But my thing that nobody else was a part of was fashion. I just loved that it was this cool, glamorous, creative thing. Fashion was always about invention or reinvention. I mean people say, don’t judge a book by its cover. But when you meet somebody for the first time you first see what they’re wearing. You totally judge a book by its cover.

Oh, and there were also clothes, the true stars of the show: Print and texture mashups on simple boxy silhouettes. In the program, Lim and Leon note that the collection is meant to invoke "simpler times, the innocence of suburban adolescence, and years of teen rebellion." Still, it's a look any adult can pull off without looking sullen or angst-ridden.

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Never The Bride

Le 4 septembre 2014, 09:59 dans Humeurs 0

Christa D'Souza has been happily unmarried to her partner for 20 years. So how did she feel when he finally got down on one knee?

The most romantic location on earth? I think it may be Nibilaga, a tiny desert island in the Maldives, where my other half and I have just been dropped off by speedboat for the day. The sea is aquamarine, the sand talcum-powder white, the sky azure blue, and aside from a small army of staff waving goodbye as they head back on the boat towards Soneva Fushi, the resort where we've been staying this past week, we are the only human beings for miles.

It is an indecently spoiling way to end an indecently spoiling holiday, and as we walk down the beach hand in hand, I cannot help reflecting on our good fortune. After a 20-year relationship we still have something to say to each other over dinner, and there have been no temporary separations, nor doors kicked in (well, just the one, but that was totally my fault), nor ugly scenes in front of the kids. OK, there is this funny clicky thing he sometimes does with his jaw that drives me a bit crazy, and I know it drives him mad the way I repeat myself when I've had a few, but the fact is, after nearly two decades of living together, we don't just love each other, we like each other. Does it get much better than that?

And then, just as I am musing on what a lucky, fulfilled woman I am, and thanking God we never tried to fix what didn't break by getting married, what does he do but ask me to marry him.

Wait a second. Isn't the fact that we aren't married our USP? Aren't most married couples we know just about ready to kill each other? Didn't he hear Django, our youngest son, sagely point out that if you get married, that means you can also get… divorced?

But I don't say any of this, of course. How can I, when he's got down on one knee (and fallen over, because he's half in the water)? So I say yes. What else can you say to such a beautiful, adorable question? I don't even ask where the ring is (it's coming, he just knew if he chose it by himself it would be wrong, the prince). And just like that, we're engaged. At least the children's nanny will be pleased.
Christa, her partner, Nick, and their son Django in 2006

The Case for Marriage. There is one. There must be one. But I'm not the person to make it. Maybe it is something to do with the way I was brought up.

My lot are not good at marriage. You know how some mothers live for the day their daughters get married? Well, when my sister and I were growing up, our parents clearly regarded the whole thing as a charade. (They separated when I was four, divorced 13 years later, and when they remarried after nearly half a century it was to avoid death duties.) From an early age my father made us promise never to ask him to walk us down the aisle. The idea of "belonging" to another man appalled my mother. When our next-door neighbour (the politician Andrew Mitchell, as it happens) rang our doorbell and asked to speak to "the man of the house", her outrage helped forever smear any Cinderella fantasies my sister and I may have harboured. Because all little girls have an inherent fairytale fantasy of being whisked off by a handsome prince and getting married in a big white dress, don't they?

Perhaps what finally put paid to any lingering biological fantasy was my own first marriage. Did I not say? Oh, yes, when I was living in America in the Eighties I got married to my boyfriend, as did quite a few English girls at the time, to avoid hassle at immigration every time we went home for Christmas. The "ceremony" at City Hall involved getting in line with a lot of other couples, many of them Hispanic, some bearing plastic flowers. We both went to work straight afterwards and stayed married for decades because… Well, for what reason would you not? It was marvellous being a married woman when I started dating other men in my thirties - something that could be pulled out of the bag whenever needed. That the future love of my life was also married (and still is) gave us both a degree of protection. And liberation. The dreary question of engagement was never going to hang in the air.

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It's obviously a question of different strokes. There are millions who have never regretted promising themselves to each other until death do them part, nor felt claustrophobic at the thought of walking down the aisle. Take my friend Kate, who got married this time last year and says, for sure, she would have dumped her husband by now if she had not. "Every time he's ridiculous or appalling - and there are many of those times - I would previously have bolted," she explains over email. "Now that I'm a married woman I don't really have that option. Maybe getting married has made me grow up and learn to be more pragmatic, rather than live in a constant state of furious teenage righteous indignation. The former is infinitely more relaxing and pleasant; the latter is exhausting."

Keira Knightley, 29, who married Klaxons keyboard player James Righton in May last year, has another excellent reason. Although not a particular fan of the institution (her own parents, she said, got married only because of the mortgage), what clinched it for her was that when he was involved in a life-threatening accident she was not allowed in his hospital room because she wasn't a family member. "Imagine," she said, "some ghastly relative who hadn't been around in years being allowed in and you not?" Though we are not living in the days of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (a sad, unputdownable tale of a couple ostracised for living together unmarried), that apparently can still happen. And there's the boring old money issue, as friends keep reminding me: there's nothing like the thought of death duties to put one in a dewy-eyed frame of mind.

Maybe it's my age. There's something perversely cool about twentysomethings marrying, probably because "living in sin" is now considered so unsinful. But somehow, at this stage of my life (fiftysomething with two strapping kids who are amused by the idea of bastarddom), marriage feels like… an affectation?

As my friend Alice, 39, who is not married to her other half of eight years, puts it, "It's fine to spend a year of your life organising a wedding if you're 18. But I've got better shit to do with my time than worry about how the napkins should be folded." I can't even begin to address whom we would invite. Ideally I'd like it to be just the four of us (and maybe the children's nanny), but my other half, being in musical theatre and a show queen, will, I know, demand a big fat party. Lord. Maybe I can pull a sickie and watch my wedding from the top of the stairs.

Then there's the ceremony. Those sexist declarations you have to make. Having to pledge myself to anyone or anything, officially or unofficially, makes me want to bolt. However you dress it up, it feels, as it did for my mother, all too "woman as chattel". While it's fun pretending to be the lady of the house in front of the boiler man (like Betty Draper in Mad Men), and I like being asked if "you and your husband" are free for supper, because it's cute and sort of ironic, I hate the thought of becoming plain old "Mrs". I hate the 2.2 kids/Milton Keynes ring to it.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be sensible at this stage, when we know we are going to spend the rest of our lives together, to put a ring on it? Aren't we the bestest of friends, and wasn't it Nietzsche (not at all the nihilist everyone makes him out to be) who said, "A good marriage is based on a talent for friendship"?

Having been asked the question, I realise my resistance is rooted not in the fact that I don't care about the institution of marriage but in the fact that I probably care too much. Marriage is not just a scrap of paper. It's an ancient, formal ceremony that officially acknowledges the union between a man and a woman (or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or whatever), that establishes rights and obligations between them, their children, and, yes, their in-laws. That's what it is. My mum, who hit 70 this year and has been happily single for ages, once said that the older you get, the happier you get, but that life inevitably loses its promise. More and more I know what she means; life is lovely, but it is quite predictable, and resisting marriage is my way of holding on to a soupçon of unpredictability. Translation: if we don't get married, then isn't there always the promise that we might?

But this implies I am holding out for something, when in truth I am not. So I've started telling people. Kate, who already has ideas about wedding-dress shopping in Paris and labrador puppies as hen-party favours, won't allow backtracking (let's not forget, my "fiancé" is not divorced yet). Her last email read, "Don't deny the happiness it would bring us all. At this point it would be tremendously selfish of you not to."

A party is always nice. There are these divine neon candy bowls by Alexandra von Furstenberg, which I can't quite justify buying for myself. And we do need a new toaster.

Furthermore, I desperately need a reason to get back to Soneva Fushi.

Download #SeptemberVogue on the iPad for £2.99 here. To read the standard digital edition on your Kindle or any other Android device, download it for £2.99 from Amazon here.

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