There’s been a flurry of beauty and movie news that celebrates black beauty and talent! Check it out!
Aja Naomi King as L’Oreal Paris Ambassador
Aja Naomi King is the new face of L’Oreal Paris. According to 21Ninety, King, who is best known for her work on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, will start her ambassadorship with the True Match Lumi Glow collection.
“Gratitude can’t begin to describe this feeling inside,” she wrote on Twitter. “No words can capture it…but I hope to be one more face looking back at you showing you what IS possible!!!”
Tiffany Haddish becomes an awards frontrunner
Girls Trip has put comedian Tiffany Haddish on the map, and the Oscar buzz surrounding her performance isn’t just hot air. Haddish has been named this year’s Best Supporting Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle. According to Vanity Fair, Haddish beat out other awards contenders such as Lady Bird‘s Laurie Metcalf and I, Tonya‘s Allison Janney.
“Though the New York Film Critics Circle is an insular voting body that doesn’t overlap with those who pick contenders for ceremonies like the Golden Globes and the Oscars,” wrote Yohana Desta, “it seems likely that her buzz, newly bolstered by this best-supporting actress award, could reinvigorate voters in other groups to throw their weight behind Haddish.
Issa Rae partners with CoverGirl
Also from 21Ninety, Insecure star Issa Rae is bringing her Awkward Black Girl magic to CoverGirl with her new lip collection.
Her collection, Melting Pout Metallics, features eight metallic lip shades, and these aren’t your average shades. With colors ranging from blue (“Sunday Blue”) a cool gray (“Platinum Card”), vibrant purple (“Amped”) to a liquid gold (“Banger”), there are shades for even the most adventurous lipstick wearer.
Plus size fashion can seem like it’s stuck in a rut. Either it’s all wrap dresses, something pin-up, or something bodycon. It’s not that these kinds of styles aren’t cool; wrap dresses are great for every figure, there’s nothing like the classic pin-up look, and if you are confident in your body, there’s no reason you shouldn’t wear body-conscious clothing. But not everyone fits in these three modes of dress–some of us are more streamlined in our approach to fashion. Some of us are minimalists. Fashion is only beginning to address the minimalist plus size fashionista, but thankfully, there are some plus size fashion bloggers that are paving the way for minimalist plus size fashion.
Here are 5 fashion bloggers you’d love to follow if you’re looking for some minimalist fashion advice.
1. Franceta Johnson | francetajohnson.com
Toronto-based fashion blogger Franceta Johnson is a “multi-hypenate creative” who is “passionate about all things art design style self-love & aforcentrism.” Johnson has been featured in tons of outlets and brands, including Elle, ASOS, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, The Cut, Flare, Essence, Refinery 29, Seventeen, The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue and Who What Wear.
2. Callie Thorpe | Calliethorpe.com
South West London-based Callie Thorpe wrote that her blog started as a diet diary in 2012, a time “when I felt pretty low about myself, desperate to lose weight and obsessed with dieting[.] I was in a bad playce and truly convinced I would never be successful at the weight I was.” She recreated her blog after having an epiphany about how negativity wasn’t helping her life. Two blogs later, calliethorpe.com acts as a place to be “just apologetically me to share both my blog but also a portfolio of my achievements throughout the years.”
Thorpe has been featured on Channel 4, Teen Vogue, People, The Times of London, UK plus size fashion brand Evans, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Look, Vogue, Grazia and Elle.
3. Nicolette Mason | nicolettemason.com
Nicolette Mason, who lives between New York and Los Angeles, works as a brand strategist and consultant for beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands as well as a contributing writer for Refinery29, Teen Vogue and Glamour. She was the contributing editor for Marie Claire between 2011 to 2016.
Mason has been featured on The Today Show, New York Live, Good Morning America, The New York Times, Time Out New York, Vogue Italia, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, Lucky Magazine, Elle Decor and more. She also partnered with Target for the launch of plus-size brand Ava & Viv, and with ModCloth and Addition Elle to co-design collections.
4. Danielle Vanier | Daniellevanier.co.uk
Whilst I’m away, make sure you catch up on my blog posts… there’s one about that time I got my eyes sliced open and there’s that one of me in my knickers! [Link to blog in my bio] Thanks for all your amazing comments regarding my instastories. I’m 100% vlogging when I get home and I’ll definitely have to vlog with my Dad… he’s been such a hit it seems! Hands up if you’d like videos featuring my parents? ❤️#everyfatgirlhasthisjumpsuit #Scotteehatesthisjumpsuit #cantwaittillhereadsthesehashtags #missyouhubby
London-based Danielle Vanier writes that her blog is meant to “empower you and to inspire you to feel confident through your choices in clothing and accessories.”
“I want to help inspire you to feel confident about your body (what ever size/shape you are) and to show you that there are beautiful clothes out there, no matter what size you happen to be,” she writes. “… [I]f I can help at least one person feel great about themselves; then I know I have done a good job!”
Vanier has been featured in Evans and on Buzzfeed, Vogue Italia, Elle Girl Taiwan, New Look, IGIGI and more.
5. Musemo Handahu | Lion-hunter.com
Nova Scotia-based Musemo Handahu is one half of Lion Hunter, run by both Musemo and her brother Tendai. Musemo rebranded her site, Curvy Geekery, after being inspired by her last name, which means “lion hunter,” and after wanting to “take a bigger step twoards a platform that encapsulated more of who she is.”
Lion Hunter is “primarily a singular narrative of Musemo’s view of style,” which includes living “by the essence of her last name, hunting for the majestic in herself and in everyting she comes across.”
Musemo has worked with brands like Tim Hortons, Prince Edward Island, Le Château of Montréal, Ford, Ontario, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Vince Camuto, DSW, Make Up Forever, Nine West, H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, Michael Kors, U.S.-based plus-sized fashion brand Eloquii, Samsung, VitaminWater, and many more. She can also be seen in Essence Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Fashion Magazine.
Who else would you add to this list? Give your opinions in the comments section below!
Crazy Rich Asians is promising audiences the most expensive looking film of 2018! (Well, one of them, if Black Panther has anything to say about that.) Most definitely, we will see tons of fashions, tons of labels, and tons of money. But can you, the plebeian, have the Crazy Rich Asians clothes? Yeah…but you still might have to take out a bank loan for some of these. But yes, you can live the Crazy Rich Asians life. Check out these fashion selections as shown in the exclusive Entertainment Weekly first look photos and see what you think.
The Meet-Cute Trench Coat
None of us have seen Crazy Rich Asians yet, but we already know what this scene is about, right? Everything about it says “New York City Romantic Comedy Meet-Cute.” All of our dreams–living a fabu life in New York, dating a wealthy man (this wealthy man, Nick Young, played by Henry Golding), eating ritzy food in an expensive restaurant–have come true in this one scene. Also a dream: a great trench coat.
This belted trench coat from ASOS carries the urban elegance that I feel best reflects this particular scene in Crazy Rich Asians. This coat has a bit more drape than the coat in the image, but it has that monied, yet lived-in look that I feel is best suited to getting your “I’m a normal girl in a rich fantasy” lifestyle on.
Eccentric rich girl pajamas
In Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina plays Goh Peik Lin, Rachel’s (Constance Wu) kind, loving, rich friend from college. In this scene, it looks like Rachel has surprised her friend, since Peik Lin is meeting Rachel in her awesome dog print (silk?) pajamas.
You too can have some awesome silk pajamas, and for a fraction of a fraction of the price of Peik Lin’s expensive pajama set. These from Dillard’s, made by PJ Salvage, have dogs in kerchiefs and cowboy hats, making this set adorable, eccentric, and fun.
Daytime party glam
Sonoya Mizuno plays Araminta Lee, the fiancee of Nick’s very rich friend (in case you hadn’t caught on yet, everyone’s loaded in this film, including Rachel, although she doesn’t know it yet until the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend). Unlike Nick, who doesn’t flaunt his wealth, and Peik Lin, who is just a shopaholic but otherwise nice person, Araminta looks like she drips money and loves to flaunt it. Why else would she wear a party-ready gold sequin jumpsuit in the daytime?
This jumpsuit from PrettyLittleThing evokes Araminta’s luxe lifestyle. The black stripes also heighten the expensive look of this jumpsuit.
Nick’s mother Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) also looks like she loves being monied, doesn’t she? Her nude and teal-beaded jacket and dress (I think) combo gives off old money and class. What it doesn’t show is how she’s uppity–throughout the book, Eleanor has a chip on her shoulder about how Rachel is just middle class.
The appliqué in this dress made by Sherri Hill echoes the blue beading in Eleanor’s surely bespoke outfit. The beaded appliqué in this dress gives an updated appearance to traditional appliqué, which can look mature, depending on how it’s treated. Here, the appliqué gives this dress an upscale, chic look.
The wedding dress to end all wedding dresses
Araminta’s wedding dress is all bespoke–from last I checked, it’s supposed to be bespoke Valentino. It’d have to be to have feathers, a high-low ruffle skirt, gold, pastel pink, beading, and nude illusion all in one dress.
However, I was able to find a dress that would mimic the expensive, fantasy wedding feeling you get from Crazy Rich Asians that you can buy…if you save up beacoup money for it. From what I hear, folks who are in the market for a Kleinfeld dress spend at least $3000, so this dress from Lazaro is within the ballpark (as you know, the sky’s the limit for wedding dress prices).
This particular dress has the gold beading, pastel pink, nude illusion bust and ruffles, much of what’s in play with the bespoke dress. You can have Araminta’s look, after all!
What do you think about the fashion in Crazy Rich Asians? Give your opinions below!
Francesca Andre has a message for everyone with her short film, Charcoal. The main theme of her film is about colorism and its damaging effects on the black diaspora. Her two main characters go through a journey of self-acceptance and self-awareness, and that journey is something Andre hopes is replicated in her viewers.
I’ve had the chance to speak with Andre recently about her film (which you can learn more about in a previous article and the trailer below) as well as her opinions on how colorism affects us. I also asked about the Dove ad that sparked controversy, and how we can heal as a people from our societal wounds. Andre offers clear insight into her own journey towards healing and how we can continue the process of healing in our own lives. Here are highlights from that conversation.
Charcoal can be seen at the Yonkers Film Festival Nov. 3-8.
The inspiration for Charcoal:
Colorism is something that has impacted my life at a very young age. It’s very common in Haiti—it’s not white people versus black people, it’s really lighter skin versus darker skin. At a very young age, I was made aware of that. When I was probably five years old, I received a dark-skinned doll. When I took it home, people started making fun of the doll, saying the doll is ugly. My mother being brown-skinned, my grandmother being lighter-skinned, and my grandfather and my father being darker skinned men, people just made comparisons to the skintones.
Colorism and the lasting effects of racism in the black diaspora:
We’re still dealing with the consequences [of racism] as a people when it comes to economic empowerment, how we are being perceived and anything else—colorism sits right in there. It’s still affecting us, we’re still dealing with it, it’s not a thing of the past. We’re still healing from it. Those of us who are aware and are making a conscious decision to talk about it. You can’t really talk about racism or the advancement of us as a people and not talk about colorism.
Here in America, [the Dove colorism ad] was a mainstream brand that everyone can see, but you have some smaller brands, when you go to Caribbean markets that are selling [similar] products. You have women making skin-bleaching lotion and selling it to other women. I guess for some people here, it’s not as blatant as it is in other cultures—if you go to CVS, you probably won’t be able to find it, right? But it’s happening. It never went away, at least from my experience; as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve always known about these products.
Even thinking about “good” hair,the hair is not closer to our hair texture. It’s something closer to European hair texture. But when you look at our hair and the versatility of our hair, to me it’s like, really good hair! It took me a long time to reprogram myself, my thoughts, and redefine what “good” hair was for me to access [my hair] and accept it, love it, and embrace it…I don’t have any problems with it now.
On how to heal from colorism:
I do feel like we need to start having conversations, and an important part of that is the healing part of that. I think you will see that you’ll find more women going natural more than ever. Here’s what’s fascinating: how so many black women did not know their hair period because they just haven’t been dealing with their hair…they did not know how to take care of their hair; it’s been processed. When they find out what products work on our hair and what they can do to make their hair do this and that. Again, it’s knowledge and healing and more women are stepping out. It’s not a strange thing now to see a black woman with natural hair in the workplace. There was a time when this wasn’t a thing. Now, more people are going natural, embracing it and being unapologetic about it. I feel like we’re going forward. Even with skintones, too—[online campaigns and phrases like] “My melanin’s poppin’,” #BlackGirlMagic—we are healing collectively. I hope the men are using those terms as well; I hope the men are healing because they are also victims of colorism. I hope that we as a people stop the vicious cycle.
…First of all, I think [the first step to healing is] knowing what colorism is. Many people don’t even know what colorism means. It really starts the conversation. It’s hard to change beliefs, but one way we can do that as a people is to talk—ask [about it] and dialogue. Increase representation [in the media] to make women more confident in who they are and how they look. As an artist and storyteller, the way I [change] people is including it and showing it, talking about it and not pushing it away…Whenever I see a girl with natural hair, I tell them “I love your hair” or “I love your twists”; I make it my job to remind them because all the messages they are receiving are the opposite.
How Charcoal can start viewers’ journeys toward self-acceptance:
I think there’s a universal aspect to it. I hope people feel inspired and hopeful. I hope people find some sort of healing or be the beginning of that journey. We all can relate to pain, and the characters go through that, but we can see how they overcome that.♦
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Halloween is here, but you might as well go home, since YouTube creator Anuli of Thou Art Anuli has already won it.
This creative DIY-er has sprinkled #BlackGirlMagic all over your favorite cartoon characters and has presented her audience with amazing cosplay costumes. If you want to get your Halloween started right, check out some of her outstanding costumes below.
1. Doug, Skeeter, Patti Mayonnaise, and Roger from Doug
What’s great about these costumes is how instantly recognizable they are. There’s no mistaking any of these costumes as being anything other than Doug, Skeeter, and co. But they’re also glammed-up versions of these characters as well, making them even more larger than life. They’re also pretty easy to make, which is great if you don’t have a big budget. All you need is a little imagination and some DIY ingenuity.
2. Sailor Moon
Anuli’s version of Sailor Moon picks up on the purple hair trend that’s been seen so often in black Sailor Moon recreations, such as AisleyBarbie’s fanart. But what Anuli does to make her version different is pick up on the “dumplings” in Usagi’s original hairstyle and repeat them throughout each ponytail. Also, Anuli used ombre hair, which makes this Usagi’s hair even more magical and fantastical.
3. The crying nun from American Horror Story
What’s great about this costume is that it’s surprisingly easy to pull off and highly effective. The nun’s habit is actually a T-shirt! Probably the most expensive thing are the scelera lenses. This look proves you can be absolutely horrifying on a budget.
4. The Powerpuff Girls
In this rendition of the Powerpuff Girls, Anuli rebranded them as “The Afropuff Girls,” giving blackness and black beauty a front-row seat. Again, the costumes and hair are all instantly recognizable as “Powerpuff,” but the new take gives it modernity and edgy style.
5. The Gross Sisters from The Proud Family
This might be the most glam version of the Gross Sisters I’ve ever seen. Anuli’s versions of these characters are also classic ’90s, complete with baby hair, bandanas, and gold hoops. Of course, the characters dress like this in the show, but the way Anuli has given them a grown-up edge, it looks like they’re ready for their close-up in Dead Presidents or Set It Off.
6. Goku (or Gohan) from Dragonball Z
Yes, you can make a Saiyan femme, and Anuli has given girls and femme-presenting anime lovers a cool way to rep your Saiyan pride while also keeping it cute and stylish. Instead of wearing pants, she’s wearing a tank top dress, which brings this look to a much more modern and fresh place.
If there’s one picture I’ve been obsessed with lately, it’s this press photo from 1997’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, starring Brandy, Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters and Paolo Montalban as Prince Christopher (aka “Prince Charming,” the only way we’ve ever identified the character in Disney’s 1950s animated version).
I love how candid it looks (especially since some versions of it online clearly show a Fujifilm border). It could very well be a great candid shot—something about its energy seems highly off-the-cuff, and usually it’s the off-the-cuff pictures that turn out looking the best. The picture captures what could have been a random moment after Cinderella and Christopher’s wedding (even though she didn’t actually get married in the iconic blue dress in the film). The energy of it makes it one of my favorite pictures ever, not to mention one of my favorite pictures from the amount of PR photos I’ve seen.
It knocked this one down to number two, and this one is actually showcasing the actual wedding scene:
But like the picture above it, this one captures the feeling we’re told to expect from a wedding–pure happiness. I’m sure little girls of color all around the country imagined a wedding day that looked as magical as the one Cinderella and Christopher had, and certainly I’m sure many (like me) were hoping they’d be able to find a Prince Christopher of their own. I’m not even big into the showiness of weddings, but even I have found myself wondering what a huge Cinderella-esque wedding would be like. Not to mention, the film just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Thus, this post was born.
This post doesn’t have to be all about weddings—this post could be very useful for other big events in your life in which you need an elaborate ballgown (like prom, a Quinceañera, a huge cosplay event, etc.). But, if you’re a person who wants to go all out for your wedding or a fancy reception party, then maybe my suggestions could help you out. I’ve scoured the interwebs to find the perfect Cinderella dress and Prince Charming/Christopher suit, accessories and decorations, and even invitations.
Keep in mind: I’m no wedding planner, but I am an artist, and that counts for something. Please feel free to alter my suggestions for a Cinderella-themed wedding how you see fit. This is your big day, after all—I’m just offering my two cents.
(Note: This post isn’t intended just for heterosexual couples; whoever’s getting married can use this and have fun.)
Dressing as Cinderella
First of all, if you are a seamstress or know someone with wild tailoring/sewing skills, you could have someone custom-make this dress for you. With some of the options I’m about to show you, it might cost just as much (or maybe a little less) to have someone to make this dress for you. As you can probably already surmise, there’s no completely identical dress like this on the market.
HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some pretty close dresses online. There are three ways you can go about doing this–get a Quinceañera dress or ballgown of some type, try Etsy, or find a white wedding dress of a similar style and pay extra to have the store dye it ice blue.
Option 1: Quinceañera dress
If you are as lithe in figure as Brandy, you might be able to get away with getting a Quinceañera dress to serve as your fanciful wedding dress. Yes, Quinceañera dresses are usually made for 15-year-old girls. But, because it’s for the day they finally reach womanhood, these dresses are made exactly the same as lavish ballgowns, but are much easier to find and purchase. But, like lavish ballgowns, they cost an extremely pretty penny.
The brand of Quinceañera dress that I’ve found several types of dresses can could work for a Cinderella themed wedding is Vizcaya by Morilee, an imprint of designer Madeline Gardner’s Morilee brand of wedding, evening, and party dresses. These dresses are the most opulent Quinceañera dresses I’ve seen during my search, and they are also the most mature looking. If you didn’t tell anyone this line was actually made for 15-year-olds, people would believe these were regular ballgowns, meaning that no one will be looking at you like you’re wearing a teenager’s dress on your wedding day.
This one is by far the closest I’ve seen to Brandy’s actual blue dress:
There are some extra straps, but it’s got everything you could ask for if you’re looking for a dress similar to Brandy’s blue dress. If you’re handy with tailoring, you might even be able to snip those straps away or hide them within the off-the-shoulder straps.
Some other good choices from Morilee:
I didn’t check the sizes for any of the Quinceañera dresses, so I’m only assuming you have to be skinny teenage-size to be able to wear these. There could be plus sizes for these, but you’ll have to check.
Option 2: Actual wedding dresses
In the event there aren’t, I found some real wedding dresses that are good for both smaller and plus size women. You can certainly dye these dresses ice blue (or pay someone to if you’re not into DIY with such an expensive dress), or you could just wear it as-is, which would be just like Cinderella on her wedding day in the film.
These designs are by Oleg Cassini, and they capture everything you want in both Cinderella’s ball gown and wedding dress.
With the ready-made items out of the way, let’s talk about Etsy. One shop, ieie bridal, makes gorgeous, made-to-order dresses. All you have to do is offer your measurements. These three in particular are great for Cinderellas-at-heart, especially the first one, which is a copy of the dress found in the recent Cinderella live action movie starring Lily James.
Option 3: Etsy
If you’re down with Etsy, I think it’d be worth inquiring if the middle dress could be made in an ice-blue fabric. I don’t know what the designer/seller’s rules are for specifications like that, but since it’s a custom dress anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
The glass slippers are paramount to a great Cinderella wedding, and while no one can actually wear glass and expect not to end up with cut-up feet, here are some (expensive) shoe choices.
(It should be apparent by now that everything in this post is expensive. If you want a Cinderella wedding, you’ve got to pay the price.)
The shoe search was by far the easiest part of this post. I only took about 15-20 minutes to find these shoes. You don’t even want to know how long it took to find the right wedding dress options. You especially don’t want to know how long it took to find something suitable and similar enough to work as Prince Christopher/Charming’s clothes.
I do like makeup, but I’m not someone you should turn to for makeup advice, since I tend to stick to the same five products/brands that either work or simply get the job done. (Shoutout to Fenty Beauty for getting into my makeup rotation–I finally have my perfect foundation shade!)
So instead, turn to makeup guru PatrickStarrr, who released a video celebrating Cinderella’s 20th anniversary.
Dressing as the Prince
This picture, while gorgeous, is misleading. In this shot, the prince’s jacket looks like a pearlized white. However in the shot below, it’s the same ice blue color as Cinderella’s dress.
I’m going with the latter, since it makes the most sense–I’d think the groom might want to be coordinated with the bride in this instance. However, the choice is yours.
If you decide to go with blue, then…you’re up a creek without a paddle if you’re looking for a traditional tuxedo or even an 18th century cosplay jacket, because I’ve scoured the internet looking for an ice blue ornate tuxedo only to come up with nothing. As with Cinderella’s dress, if you want something exact, then find a costume maker who can make this to form. However, if you don’t feel like hiring someone or if you just want some options that could be quicker in the long run, here’s what I’ve got.
Option 1: Sherwani
I had to do some out-of-the-box thinking to come up with some of these options. For instance, the below options are Indian wedding clothes. These sherwani weren’t easy to find–even with sherwani, which come in all the colors of the rainbow, it was still hard to find ice blue–but I think if you wear them unbuttoned with a vest and some black slacks, you’ll come out looking great.
Note that some of these are the Indowestern style of sherwani, meaning they’ve got elements of both traditional Indian and Westernized clothes. Some sherwani are made like ornate tunics, and since these are button down, that makes it easier to imagine them operating like Western-style jackets. These three are from G3 Fashion.
I should note that some of these, if not all of these, come with pants. If that’s the case, I’d suggest swapping out the original pants with tuxedo pants or slacks, as I mention above. Not because the pants aren’t cool (they are), but because the prince actually wears black pants with his blue vest-jacket combo. However, it’s your wedding–do what you want to do.
Option 2: Baroque couture
As you’ve seen in the picture near the top of this article, the prince wears gold on his wedding day. If you want to go that route, then there are actually Western-style tuxedos you can wear.
These three are made by Italian designer Ottavio Nuccio for his Baroque collection. And man, are they baroque.
The only prices that are listed on his site are in Euros; I don’t know if there is international shipping. But I think there is a button you can click to inquire about pricing, so maybe more information will be there.
There you have it–some creative ways to get your Cinderella wedding right and tight. I’d be excited to know if anyone uses these suggestions for their wedding, Quinceniera, prom, or any other event that requires a huge, frilly ballgown. At any rate, if you’re having a wedding, make sure to outfit your bridesmaids in appropriately ornate dresses. The dresses don’t have to outshine you, but just don’t make them look like your ugly stepsisters.
If you do that, expect the fairy godmother to turn you into a pumpkin.