Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) – LIVVI FRANC

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Born to an English mother and a Barbadian (aka Bajan) father in North Yorkshire, England, Olivia Waithe always had a love for music. She is no stranger to my blog, as I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Waithe, famously known by her stage name Livvi Franc, on two occasions.

She cites her maternal grandfather, Frank Wilson, as the inspiration behind the name. “He noticed me playing the piano and predicted I was going to be a musician. Sadly he’s no longer here. So, in honour of him, I called myself Livvi Franc; Livvi because it’s my nickname, and Franc because it’s a funkier version of Frank,” she told Flavour Magazine during an interview.

At the age of five, she and her family moved to her father’s native land of Barbados where she would spend her formative and adolescent years. Her love for music became a passion, and soon she penned her first song at the age of eleven and learned the guitar at fifteen. It’s safe to say that grandpa was right. And we’re glad he was.

Livvi attended Queens College (Barbados) where she would perform at various talent shows and pageants at the school. Relentless in her pursuit of becoming a musician. She was quickly taken under the wing of first manager Kerrie Thomas-Armstrong and took up vocal training lessons with locally revered vocal coach and singer Marisa Lindsay. This resulted in demo recordings of Livvi, where she met her next manager. Soon enough, she was meeting labels heads for auditions. After months of negotiating, she signed with the now defunct Jive Records. Known for their pop acts such as Britney Spears & the Backstreet Boys.

Her debut single, ‘Now I’m That Bitch’ featuring Pitbull, was successful. Topping the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart scoring the no. 1 spot and becoming one of the top dance songs of 2009. Also becoming a top 40 hit in New Zealand and the UK. Livvi was featured in countless magazines, including the venerated Interview Magazine, which was founded by the late, great Andy Warhol. Her second single, ‘Automatik’, had moderate success and took the no. 6 spot on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart. But after Jive shelved her debut album, Livvi had enough and left the label in 2010.

She was quickly scooped up by Beluga Heights/Warner Bros., where she was set to finish her debut album. But Franc decided, at least for the moment, to solely focus on songwriting for other artists. As she’s been doing for years. Her extensive writing credits include great names such as Cheryl Cole, Jordin Sparks, Britney Spears, DJ Khaled, Jason Derulo, Cher Lloyd, Delta Goodrem, Leona Lewis, Ciara, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Zendaya, Kelly Clarkson, Shakira and the late Michael Jackson.

Livvi releases music occasionally, on her YouTube channel and SoundCloud. Her song ‘Woyoyo’ gained lots of airplay in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.

YouTube Channel:http://www.youtube.com/user/livvifranc

SoundCloud:http://m.soundcloud.com/livvifranc-1/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/livvifranc

Barbadian Model Kari McCarthy Dominates Facets Fashion Week

 

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Barbadian model Kari McCarthy strutted her stuff for this year’s Facets Fashion Week in Los Angeles, California. Facets Fashion Week is a Hollywood showcase for emerging designers, boutiques, models and fashion students to showcase their talent before an audience of style experts, retail consumers and the media.

Kari was chosen to walk for Paparazzi Flash, FoxxiLadi, Iamsade, Crown Royalty, F.E.T.I.S.H, Red Star, Adrell, Akari, CCW by Chloe + Love, VG and BOLD by Michelle, making her the only model to be chosen to walk for so many designers at this year’s showcase.

It’s safe to say that Barbados is being well represented in the modelling industry.As I expect more great things from Ms. McCarthy, I will be keeping you updated on the journey of this rising star.

Woman Crush Wednesday – Special Interview Feature – LENE HALL

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Barbados’ first real supermodel, Lene Hall, was scouted in 1995 while working at Louis Bailey (now Little Switzerland) in Sunset Crest, Barbados. A friend of George Gallier, a pioneer of the modeling management industry & head of the then agency American Models, spotted the 5’11” beauty and suggested that she leave for New York immediately.

A meeting with Mr. Gallier was scheduled, she was signed to American Models on the spot & sent directly for her very first casting for Prescriptive by Estée Lauder! Undoubtedly, she got the job & became the face of Prescriptive for the next year. She went on to shoot a spread for Marie Claire magazine, walked the runway for Ralph Lauren and covered Sam Fine’s Fine Beauty.

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She traveled to Europe after being booked by several couture designers. An experience that she described to me as lonely. “It just felt lonely at that time! Being young and inexperienced, I guess. I didn’t know how to deal with it. So I couldn’t wait to just do my jobs & leave. Back then we didn’t have communications like we do today for me to talk to family and friends,” she candidly revealed. “I could imagine,” I said. ” And it must have been like a circus!” Lene jokingly confirmed, “A fabulous circus though!! With gorgeous women & men, instead of clowns!”

American Photo magazine listed her as one of the top 10 up-and-coming models in the industry. Brands such as Noxzema, Lubriderm, Kohler, Vaniqua, Lafayette 148, and Oil of Olay all scooped her up! Lene also famously appeared in a Revlon Colorstay Makeup commercial with Cindy Crawford and Shania Twain. Harper’s Bazaar, Spanish Vogue, Elle, Oprah, Marie Claire and Essence have all featured Lene as an editorial model.
Hall gives freely of her time to charities to help in their cause to raise funds, in Barbados and internationally, including Jamaica and Africa. She was also a part of the NY fashion industry’s charity event for the victims of September 11, and now spends her time being a loving mother and wife.

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The Launch of ‘Ling Ling’ – Spring/Summer 2015

dsc1078Cameras flashing, and the sounds of chatter & the ocean waves colliding with each other filled the air, making the perfect scene for what was about to come. The anticipation was high. The reason we were all there; Jacqueline Benn Schuppe was about to launch her very first collection at The Barbados Beach Club, entitled ‘Ling Ling’. A name that those close to her would affectionately call her.

Jacqueline is a born & raised Barbadian, but migrated to New York to pursue higher possibilities. She enrolled in Berkeley College of Business & got her Associate Degree in Fashion Marketing & Management. She then went on to the revered Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where she finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Merchandising Management. Schuppe joined Avery J Fashion & Beauty Consultants in New York, where is still Fashion Director. She decided last year to temporarily return to Barbados, in order to help mentor & give back to local talent & aspiring fashion professionals in Barbados. After ejecting herself from the hustle & bustle of New York, she found that she finally had the time to do what she had always been thinking of; designing. She began working on her collection, being inspired by the poise & debonair styles of the 1950s. Incorporating denim, cotton, tulle & lace, she gave the vintage inspiration a contemporary but sophisticated edge.

Fellow Barbadian fashion designers Katrina Brathwaite & Alexis Campbell gave Jacqueline a beautiful welcome by opening the show with their very own collections. Katrina showcased a sneak peek of the latest from her line dubbed ‘The Tri Collection’, which left the audience asking for more with her edgy, urban, street glam styles. Ms. Campbell showed her swimsuit collection. A great modern take on your traditional Caribbean beach wear, using mesh & leatherette.

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(Alexis Campbell designs)

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(Katrina Brathwaite’s Tri Collection)

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Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) – Candy Darling

Born James Slattery in Long Island, in 1944, Candy Darling was an American actress & muse, best known for being a “Warhol Superstar”. As a transwoman, she starred in Andy Warhol’s films ‘Flesh’ & ‘Women in Revolt’, making her one of the first openly transgender actresses in the world. She also became a muse of the protopunk band The Velvet Underground.

In her late teens, Darling would often take a taxi to the train station where she would take the train to Manhattan. Being in Long Island did not permit the life she so desired to lead. She first assumed the name Hope Slattery. She adopted this name sometime in 1963/1964 after she started going to gay bars in Manhattan & making doctor visits for hormone injections on Fifth Avenue. The name was inspired by a well-known Off-Off Broadway actress named Hope Stansbury. But she would go on make many name changes; transforming from Hope Dahl to Candy Dahl and then to Candy Cane. A longtime friend & roommate of Darling’s said he believed the name Candy came about because of her love for sweets, and so many of her friends would affectionately call her “darling” that she made it stick.

Before meeting the man that would change her life then abandon her, filmmaker & artist Andy Warhol, she laid eyes on Warhol at an after-hours club called The Tenth of Always. At this time, Candy was starring in a play called ‘Glamour, Glory & Gold’, alongside a young Robert De Niro. Warhol went to see the play & at the after-party was where he & Candy officially met. He was obviously taken by her, and casted her in his film ‘Flesh’ in 1968. But it wasn’t until her role as a Long Island socialite who joined a women’s liberation group in ‘Women In Revolt’ (1971) that made her a Warhol Superstar. Being a Warhol Superstar was life changing & iconic. It comprised of a clique of New York personalities whom Andy Warhol promoted endlessly. These personalities appeared in Warhol’s artworks & accompanied him in his social life, revolutionizing fame. The most famous of them all would arguably be his muse Edie Sedgwick, who became an instant style icon.

However, due to Warhol being unable to get a distributor for the film, he rented out the Cine Malibu on East 59th Street & launched the film with a celebrity preview which created much buzz on February 16, 1972. After the screening there was a dinner in Candy’s honor at Le Parc Périgord restaurant, on Park Avenue, followed by a party at the iconic fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo’s townhouse, where they watched TV reviews of the movie. Among the guests at Darling’s party were former Harper’s Bazaar editor D.D. Ryan, actresses Sylvia Miles & Julie Newmar, journalist & founder of The Paris Review George Plimpton, fashion designers Halston, Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo, Prince Egon & wife Diane von Furstenberg.

After working with Warhol, Darling still went on to work independent films. She also appeared in ‘Klute’ with Jane Fonda & ‘Lady Liberty’ with Sophia Loren; even landing a leading role in ‘Myra Breckenridge’. But was never taken too serious for the mainstream movie circuit due to being a transwoman.

Darling died of lymphoma in 1974, at the age of 29, at the Columbia University Medical Center division of the Cabrini Health Center. She left a letter written on her deathbed, intended for Andy Warhol and his followers. The letter read, “Unfortunately before my death I had no desire left for life… I am just so bored by everything. You might say bored to death. Did you know I couldn’t last. I always knew it. I wish I could meet you all again.”

She was given a huge send off. Her funeral was flocked by many, including Hollywood stars such as Gloria Swanson & Julie Newmar (the original Catwoman) who read the eulogy. Her legacy lives on as Darling was the subject of The Velvet Underground‘s opening track on their third, and self-titled, album in 1968 with the song “Candy Says”, sung by Doug Yule. The album is ranked at no. 314 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. Candy is also mentioned in music by David Bowie & The Rolling Stones.

the unpublished Cosmo cover of Candy, shot by their then photographer, the iconic Francesco Scavullo

the unpublished Cosmo cover of Candy, shot by their then photographer, the iconic Francesco Scavullo

portrait by Andy Warhol

portrait by Andy Warhol

Jalicia: Model Comeback pt.4: Yemzi Lookbook

The blessed journey of Barbadian model Jalicia is proving that she is surely one to watch. With her stunning & unique beauty she has no problem capturing the attention of all those around her.

When walking for the Africa Utopia show during the time of London Fashion Week, Jalicia was spotted by designer Elizabeth Akingbade. Akingbade snatched up Jalicia to pose for her newest lookbook under her brand Yemzi for the AYAO collection.

The lookbook was shot by photographer Cara May, makeup by Chantelle Phillips, hair by Bethan Thomas & jewelry styling by Nina Elegba of Magpie On The Run. Jalicia shared the spotlight with fellow models Amy Woodman & Sarah Sheppard.

with model Sarah Sheppard

with model Sarah Sheppard

with model Amy Woodman

with model Amy Woodman

My Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) – Pola Negri

This legendary woman was a true regal figure in the early years of the entertainment industry. A true pioneer of film. This Polish native was the sex symbol & highest paid actress of her era. Born Barbara Apolonia Chałupec in 1897, she was poised to achieve worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles in the 1920s.

She became the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood, and became one of the most popular actresses in American silent film. Her varied career included work as an actress in theater and vaudeville, as a singer and recording artist, as an author and even as a ballerina.

She was married to a Count but that quickly dissolved & she went on to have affairs with film greats such as Charlie Chaplin, Rod La Rocque, and Rudolph Valentino. Her popularity as an actress in Poland provided her with an opportunity to move to Berlin, Germany, in 1917, where she made six films with Ernst Lubitsch. One of their last films, Madame DuBarry, became such an huge international success that it managed to bring down the American embargo on German films. This launched a demand for German films that briefly threatened to dethrone Hollywood’s dominance in the international film market. Hollywood then sought the opportunity to buy out the top German film talents, including Pola Negri. She then signed a lucrative contract with Paramount Pictures, becoming the first ever continental star to be imported to the United States of America.