Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Anonymous Online

Taking inspiration from Belle de Jour, RIH explores the world of anonymously penned blogs and their mysterious authors…
http://runninginheels.co.uk/articles/anonymous-blogs/





Belle de Jour’s blog, detailing her life as a high-class call girl, became a widespread sensation due to its controversial content and the mystery surrounding its author. Diary of a London Call Girl went from online blog to published bestseller and popular TV series, yet the blogger behind it all was unknown – even to her literary agent for six whole years.




Whilst Belle de Jour is one of the more famous examples of anonymous bloggers, there are many more unidentified bloggers in the blogosphere writing about everything from sex to sandwiches with varying degrees of popularity and anonymity. The reasons that these bloggers choose to stay anonymous are as varied as their blogs.

For some, it gives them a place to openly express their opinions. For others, it can build mystique or simply keep them entertained. Having maintained her anonymity for six years, Belle chose to reveal her identity via an interview with The Times newspaper citing a desire to stop hiding and a vindictive ex-boyfriend as her reasons for coming clean, but other bloggers haven’t always been so forthcoming…

Sex Sells

Belle might have been one of the first prolific sex bloggers, but there are plenty of contenders for her crown now that she no longer blogs.



Girl With a One-Track Mind intended to remain anonymous, and although aware of Belle de Jour’s notoriety, she presumed that that no one would be interested in the sex life of a non prostitute. Unfortunately for her, public appetite for unmasking sex bloggers was at a high when her first book was published under a pseudonym. Whilst some of the more gripping blog entries relate to how her life changed after she was unwillingly revealed, she has continued with her blog (although this may be due to necessity as she claims that she can’t get hired within her previous field following the revelations).



Sex at Oxbridge chronicles the life of a student at either Oxford or Cambridge University and, yes you’ve guessed it, her sex life. These brief details and just a few entries were all it took for her to become notorious, and so far, she’s managed to keep her anonymity underwraps.

TGIF?

We’ve all moaned about work but some people have picked a more public forum to air their views.



For anyone who’s ever been a waiter or been served by one, Waiter Rant – with its posts about rude customers, bad tippers and random conversations – is well worth a visit. Initially authored anonymously by ‘The Waiter’, Steve Dublanica eventually revealed his identity when he landed a publishing deal.


Billed as a blog containing ‘Observations and opinions on fashion, lifestyle trends and popular culture from an anonymous fashion insider’, Disney Roller Girl provides a glimpse into the world of fashion that may disappoint those expecting scandalous revelations. Instead you’ll find intelligent musings on the business of fashion, the latest trends and industry events.

‘XO XO Gossip Girl’

Gossip Girl might make it look glamorous but the reality behind gossiping in the blogosphere doesn’t always follow the same script…



In August 2008, a blog was created on Google titled Skanks in New York containing insults directed at Canadian model Liskula Cohen. These insults were supplemented by photos of the model with degrading captions. All entries were created by an anonymous user and in her effort to find out who created the blog and prevent further posting, Cohen sued Google citing defamation. Following a court order, Rosemary Port – an acquaintance of Cohen’s – was exposed as the blogger, motivated by a personal grudge against Cohen. The saga continued with Port claiming that she would sue Google for revealing her identity…

A lesson for anonymous bloggers everywhere, you may not be anonymous forever and what price will you pay for your posts? Or should that be, what price can you charge for your posts?

Monday, September 13, 2010

CultureLabel

A one-stop-culture-shop, offering an edit of products currently available from leading museum shops, galleries, artists and designers.

http://runninginheels.co.uk/articles/culturelabel/




Okay, I admit it. I am a complete philistine. But surely I’m not the only one who leaves museums craving some quirky something or other I saw in the gift shop rather than a tasteful piece of art to hang on my walls… Am I?

I used to think I was alone. But now I’ve seen the light. No, I haven’t joined some ‘Museum Gift Shop Addicts Anonymous’ group. I’ve been introduced to the wonderful world of Culture Label so I can indulge my love for museum shop goodies whilst presenting an intelligent and cultured facade inside museum walls.

Culture Label is an online store showcasing an edit of the products currently available from over 70 museum shops, galleries, artists and cultural institutions around the world. Among those whose products feature are the Tate, the V&A Museum, the Saatchi Gallery and Tatty Devine, to name but a few. The unique and fabulous products featured in their online store encompass everything from women’s fashion to children’s toys.

Their mission is to plant ‘cultural shopping’ in the mind of every consumer looking to find that perfect purchase. I don’t know if I’ve found my ideal purchase yet, but I certainly plan to have fun trying! Here’s a selection of my favourites to give you a taster of what awaits;

Philip Treacy's limited edition deckchair; A solar-powered waving Queen Liz; David Shrigly's unorthodox salt and pepper shakers; A reproduction old-school telephone from The Imperial War Museum; Special 'Wake Me Up' signs for the London Underground
However, momentarily putting shopping aside, Culture Label is an enterprise with a mission. The discrepancy between audience expectations and allocated budgets in these straitened times is an unfortunate reality which cannot always be filled by funding and sponsorship. To fulfil audience needs, museums and arts organisations need to generate income. By creating a platform through which museums can increase their income, Culture Label is also providing an excellent public service. For example, in just six months, they managed to double the Museum of London’s sales by 50%. Having begun life as a retail platform, Culture Label also supports arts organisations trying to generate income and plans to extend into areas such as mobile apps for those who can’t reach exhibitions and e-tickets whilst continuing to develop revenue streams for the UK arts sector.

So, shop away with your conscience clear! You’ll never visit a museum shop again. Although… I see the Caixa Forum in Madrid isn’t featured. Now there’s a museum shop – I mean museum – that’s worth a visit!

Find out more on the CultureLabel site. You can also find out the latest news on the CL blog and follow Culture Label on Twitter @CultureLabel.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ray Ban 'Never Hide' campaign (launched Spring / Summer 2007)

Big Fan. Huge. Love it.
Yup I’m that easy - an attention grabbing photo with a quirky caption and you have me at hello.



 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

14/4/10: Quirky Madrid

Visiting Madrid but sick of following those well-worn paths to the same old tourist traps? Here’s our alternative guide to the off-kilter gems of this one-of-a-kind city.

http://runninginheels.co.uk/articles/quirky-madrid/



Visiting Madrid but sick of following those well-worn paths to the same old tourist traps? Every guidebook you read will mention the art museums, the palace, the bull ring and the tapas restaurant that only absolutely everyone visiting the city will know about, but what about the sights that make it truly unique? Here’s our alternative guide to the off-kilter gems of this one-of-a-kind city.

The turtles in Atocha train station


 Atocha Station's Tropical Garden

(Almost) as good as going to the Madrid Zoo, the oldest part of the city’s Atocha train station has been provided with an indoor tropical garden and nature habitat following its redesign by architect Rafael Moneo. At the front of this garden area there’s a pool which is filled to the brim with turtles swimming in the water, crawling on the rocks, or more often than not sitting extremely – almost disturbingly – still. Whilst their health is frequently debated (you may find yourself wondering if some of them might in fact be, well, dead) this hasn’t stopped people gathering to observe them whilst waiting for their trains.

Apparently all the turtles in the pond have been brought there by the people of the city so whilst this could be a case of ‘a turtle’s for life, but someone else can take care of it after Christmas’ it has, at least, provided otherwise neglected turtles with an alternative habitat in this landlocked city.

Chamberí Metro Musuem

Olde Worlde charm at the Chamberí metro station

Or as you might be tempted to call it: the ghost station. Located on metro line 1 between the Bilbao and Iglesia stations, the Chamberí metro station closed in 1966 when the Ministry of Public Works realised they couldn’t modify the platform to accommodate modernised trains. It fell into disrepair and then decay though the track that ran through it was maintained because of its position on the metro line.

In 2008, 42 years after its closure, the station reopened as a public museum designed in the style of the train stations of old to commemorate the metro’s past.  Entry is free and the station is open from 11am every day except Mondays. Whilst by no means a large place (the majority of the museum lies along the platform), it’s full of character, with old-style advertisements and original features giving visitors the curious sensation of being separated from reality and out of sync with the modern world. As the trains that whizz past get only a fleeting look at the station hopefully someone is looking out wondering if they just imagined you….

Cine Doré

Another restored gem of the city is the Cine Doré, one of Madrid’s first cinemas and still where the Spanish National Film Library’s archives are screened. Its three screens offer an eclectic line-up of films in their original language as well as seasons dedicated to a specific director or film movement.

The beautifully maintained main auditorium, with its connected cafe and bookstore, is the best place to experience the theatre but its rooftop bar comes a close second – outdoor screenings are held here throughout the summer.

The cinema’s website is updated monthly with their programme; film tickets cost less than three euros.

The ‘Heavies’ of Gran Vía
Punk rockers and 'political activists' (!) Emilio and José

Madrid’s principal street Gran Vía is celebrating 100 years of existence this year but nothing on this famous street has made a deeper impression, locally at least, than the infamous ‘Heavies of Gran Vía’.

The 41-year-old twin brothers Emilio and José Alcázar have dedicated the past five years to standing outside the Bershka clothing store on Gran Vía every evening. Why you ask? Well, Bershka occupies the site where their favourite hangout, music store Madrid Rock, used to be. To keep the memory of the store alive they spend every day on the pavement outside the entrance. Think David engaging in a benign protest against the global Goliaths of homogenisation – in this case Spanish clothing chain Inditex – and you’ve got the idea.

Now as much a part of the landscape as the famous Schweppes sign that looms nearby, the brothers have a facebook fan page and Madrid tourism are asking for tourists’ pictures with the brothers via their social networking sites. Weird yet wonderful, and only in España!

14/04/2010: Cinematic CV – Audrey Tautou

Often touted as the next Audrey Hepburn and always associated with her quirky interpretation of the adorably eccentric Amélie, Running in Heels examines the cinematic CV of enigmatic French actress Audrey Tautou.

http://runninginheels.co.uk/articles/cinematiccv-audrey-tautou/





First major films: Venus Beauty Institute and Amélie
Most recently released film: Coco before Chanel
Significant acting awards to date: César award for Most Promising Actress (1999)

“It was a passion, of course, but I thought I would give myself one year, and if at the end I hadn’t done what I wanted, I would do something else.”
Audrey Tautou, 2005

Audrey Tautou may be one of France’s finest actresses but she could have just as easily have been something completely different if things hadn’t gone her way. Fortunately, she didn’t have to confront the possibility of failure for long though – she won the ‘Most Promising Actress’ award at the Césars (the French equivalent of the Oscars) for her very first major film role.

Early Work in French Cinema

Tautou’s role in Venus Beauty Institute (1999) garnered her industry acclaim but she was catapulted to worldwide fame courtesy of her role as the title character in Amélie (2001), the adorably quirky tale of a young waitress in Montmartre who dedicates her life to bringing happiness to others.

It’s interesting – almost frightening, even – to think that Tautou was not director Jean –Pierre Jeunet’s first choice for the role: he had originally written the part for Emily Watson, who eventually withdrew from the role. Having spotted Tautou’s face on a poster for Venus Beauty Institute, he took a chance in casting this still relatively unknown actress as Amélie. Ultimately, her portrayal of the wide-eyed and eccentric Amélie was instrumental in the film’s success, as she captured the heart of filmgoers worldwide.

In the years following the success of Amélie, Tautou seems to have chosen to remain beneath the radar, shirking big budget movies and the high-profile offers which surely must have come her way.

 Definity more pretty than dirty in dirty pretty things

She did take her first English speaking role in gritty drama Dirty Pretty Things (2002), during this period although she seems to have preferred to stay within the French film market. Another film she acted in during this period is cult Erasmus favourite Pot Luck  (L’auberge Espanole – 2002) - a brilliantly funny take on the year abroad experience.

Her next major success in a film role came courtesy of a second collaboration with Amélie director Jean–Pierre Jeunet, in A Very Long Engagement (2004). Whilst many wrongly presumed the film would by ‘Amélie 2’, it too achieved much success garnering Tautou nominations for Best Actress at both the César and European Film Awards.

Oozing Gallic Glamour as Chanel

Hollywood Calls!

Given Tautou’s apparent penchant for smaller movies, her presence in The Da Vinci Code (2006) came as a surprise to many, not least the actress herself; ‘I really didn’t think I was right for it either… it’s certainly not my dream to drop everything for Hollywood’ . This, her first Hollywood production, did not win her any industry acclaim but it did mark her first steps into the big leagues playing opposite Tom Hanks in the film version of the bestselling novel by Dan Brown, making her more recognisable among film audiences worldwide.

Whilst more French movies followed her foray into Hollywood, Tautou choose to remain in the spotlight taking on the role of leading lady Coco Chanel in the biopic of the fashion designer Coco Before Chanel (2009). Whilst it by no means clear where Tautou will go from here, it’s safe to say her acting career will be one to watch over the coming years.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

15/03/10: Contributor to Running In Heel's Web Love feature

The RIH team share the strange, funny, amazing, inspirational sites we’re loving on the web this month.



Very Mary Kate

'Hey, will you hold my water bottle while I drink from it like a…’ Like a hamster, I know.’

Created by comedian Elaine Carroll this video blog claims to be the unofficial biography of Mary Kate Olsen. Its one minute webisodes depict the trials and tribulations of Mary Kate as she struggles to survive in the big bad world, with the help of her long suffering bodyguard of course. Satire for the celebrity obsessed generation with a Twitter-sized attention span and, unless you’re Mary Kate, essential viewing. There are new videos posted every Monday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

8/03/2010: Top 5 Twitterers to Follow for Gossip

Is celebrity gossip your guilty pleasure? Or maybe you don’t mind admitting to not just following, but actually reading Stephanie from The Hills’ updates on Twitter! Our definitive list of the five Twitters you need…



Everyone from Obama to Jessica Simpson has a Twitter account nowadays making it easy to keep up to date with everything from the daily musings of political leaders to the minutiae of celebrity’s lives. But if, like me, your interests veer more towards Rev. Run’s daily words of wisdom than the Dali Lama’s, here’s a list if the five essential twitters to keep yourself up to date on the world of celebrity.

TMZ

An online celebrity gossip and investigative reporting site with a reputation for breaking celebrity news, this site broke the stories of Michael Jackson’s and Brittany Murphy’s deaths and is where other sites go for material. Whilst their coverage, especially their use of video, is sometimes criticised, there’s no doubt that the site is fulfilling its mission statement to ‘feed the current American obsession with celebrities.’
Follow either @TMZonline or managing editor @HarveyLevinTMZ on Twitter for a constant feed of celebrity gossip.

E! Online

Describing itself as the source for entertainment news, celebrity gossip and pictures, this site is one of the more comprehensive gossip sites out there offering gossip, videos, photos, fashion and movie reviews. E! Online also hosts Ted Casablancas, one of Entertainment Weekly’s top ranked gossip columnists.
Follow E! Online @eonline.

Holy Moly News

For gossip with a UK perspective look no further than Holy Moly News, an entertainment website with a weekly email element. The material is sourced from industry insiders and their scoops are often copied by the tabloids. The site also contains an opinion area with sections like The Corner where users can rant about what annoys them.
Follow at @HolyMolyNews.

Perez Hilton

Perez might not be the most reliable nor impartial of celebrity commentators but with 1.8 million followers his amusing and equally infuriating posts certainly have an audience. While his pursuit of personal fame and recognition seems to have clouded his celebrity observations, it was never especially objective to begin with so follow his twitter for the sensation for being partial to one man’s extremely subjective, gossipy insight into the celebrity world.
Follow Perez @PerezHilton 

Gossip Cop

The antithesis to Perez and his ilk, Gossip Cop policies other gossip websites stories and rates them on a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 being rumour and 10 being real. Websites listed as being under surveillance include Perez Hilton, E!, The Sun and The National Enquirer. The website also includes a feed called Twit Happens which follows hundreds of celebrity tweets. This is the site to consult before you repeat gossip to anyone else.
Follow Gossip Cop @GossipCop

Or follow the entire list on Twitter here.

8/03/2010: Online Comedy

Running in Heels looks at some of best comedy on offer online. Free comedy? Now that’s laughable….






Comedy isn’t just gross-out movies, festivals and stand ups. If you’re still battling an overdraft and grey weather depression there’s plenty of free comedy online in case you’ve got an extended case of the winter blues…

Funny or Die

Funny or Die is a comedy video site that combines both user-generated content with original exclusive content. You can find anything and everything here but the beauty of the site is that bad comedy doesn’t get to stay. Users get to vote on whether a video is funny or whether it deserves to die, once ‘dead’ the video goes to the site’s crypt to rest for eternity or until it is resurrected, if users consider it worthy of a second chance.

Co-founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay – the comedy geniuses (genii?!) behind Anchorman – and Chris Hency (writer and producer for the brilliant Entourage and – pause for useless celebrity fact – husband of Brooke Shields), the site’s very first video The Landlord featuring McKay’s baby daughter as a beer swilling, foul mouthed landlord harassing Will Ferrell for his rent, has amassed over 69 millions views to date.

 
Being a celebrity junkie, The Red Carpet Club is my favourite area of the site, with celebrities like Zac Efron, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan guest-starring in the sites videos. Some of my favourites are:
  • Paris gets presidential with Martin Sheen: This video series was a response to an ill advised McCain campaign commercial, and focused on Paris’s campaign to become America’s next fake president demonstrating a more self aware and witty side to the heiress than anyone expected. Paris queries America’s ‘greatest fake president’ about the issues she plans to tackle including the economic crisis – ‘the biggest depression since The Notebook’. 
  • Lindsay Lohan’s eHarmony profile: Lindsay Lohan looking for someone to spend the rest of her life, or at least the rest of her parole, with. 
  • Zac Efron’s pool Party: Just because he’s hot and because the video also features Brody Jenner discussing economics (no really).
Youtube it!

Whilist funnyordie finds the best of comedy videos, great comedy can also be found by trawling through youtube. Here are two of my youtube favourites.

Chortle

Chortle is the online guide to comedy in Britain. Their youtube page has some great stand up videos. I’m currently obsessed with David O’Doherty’s Text Song but that’s just one of the many videos waiting to amuse you.

Summer Heights High

Created by and starring by comedian Chris Lilley, Summer Heights High is a mockumentary about life in an Australian public school which deals with typical high school issues. The main characters – Jonah Takalua, Mr. G, and J’aime King – the school boy, the teacher and the exchange student respectively, are all played by Lilley.
Whilst the entire show cannot be watched on youtube legally there are enough teasers to keep you giggling. Within Europe the show has screened on BBC3 but with a mere eight episodes in existence prepare to watch those youtube clips over and over again…

  
Tweet Comedy Club

One of the more innovative ideas to come out of twitter so far (and certainly more creative than the fake RIP Johnny Depp tag that keeps upsetting me lately), Tweet Comedy Club (@tweetcomedyclub) was conceived by comedian Tiernan Douieb. Described as an online comedy club/experiment, the club had their first gig last June gathering nine comedians together via twitter.

Whilst the gig itself was rife with problems; comedians forgetting to use the hash tag, slow typing and a particularly poor effort by Carl Donnelly who simply provided a link to a youtube video of him performing, it is an idea which has great potential if developed. A repeat performance in front of a both a live and virtual audience at Edinburgh Fringe in August was the last that has been seen of twitter comedy club but follow their twitter for developments as there may be another in the pipeline. It’s not going to put comedy clubs out of business anytime soon but it’s definitely one to watch.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

10/02/10: Contributor to Running In Heel's Web Love feature

For the first time, we’d like to share the strange, funny, amazing, inspirational sites we’re loving on the web this month.




Toy-A-Day
http://toy-a-day.blogspot.com/

I love this website. Toy-A-Day has been around since 2008 and its creator, Joe Chiang, initially planned to make and post a paper toy every day for a year. However, two and a half years on he’s still working away on the site so whilst it may have not gone according to plan, that’s definitely a good thing! Toys featured range from The Beatles, to Jay and Silent Bob to Barack Obama and everything in between. The toy is designed on a PDF which you print out and construct. Even if you haven’t got the patience to make one (and I admit I’ve only tried once) it’s still adorable to look at!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

8/2/10: Cinematic CV: Penelope Cruz

Fresh from the announcement of her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Nine, Running in Heels examines Penelope Cruz’s cinematic CV to date




First major films: Jamón Jamón and Belle Epoque.
Most recent released film: Nine.
Films awaiting release: Cameo in Sex in the City 2.
Significant acting awards to date:
  • Oscars: Winner of Best Supporting Actress for Vicky Cristina Barcelona and three nominations to date (Best Actress for Volver, Best Supporting Actress for both Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Nine).
  • Goyas (Spanish Academy Awards): Winner of three Goya’s (Best Actress for The Girl of Your Dreams and Volver; Best Supporting Actress for Vicky Cristina Barcelona).
Cruz in latest film 'Nine'

With her third Oscar nomination announced at the beginning of February, Penelope Cruz is now acknowledged as a great actress on the world stage. But it hasn’t always been this way. Until recent years, Penelope lived an extremely schizophrenic cinematic life being feted in Spain for her talent yet appearing in lacklustre Hollywood movies as the token eye candy. From the dreadful Woman on Top to the Oscars via many excellent Spanish films and three Goyas (Spanish Academy awards), we take a look at Cruz’s cinematic CV.

Early Work in Spanish Cinema

Cruz in her début role in 'Jamón Jamón'

Cruz’s first significant breakthrough was in the starring role of Jamón Jamón (A Tale of Ham and Passion) in 1992. A number of films followed including her acclaimed performance in Belle Époque which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1994.

However two things happened in 1997 which were to catapult her to stardom within her native country. Firstly, she had her big break in Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar’s film Abre los Ojos (Open your eyes). Then, following her small role as a prostitute giving birth on a bus in Pedro Almodóvar’s Live Flesh (Carne Trémula) in 1997, she became his muse and in the years that followed appeared in many of his films.

Her most notable role in the Almodovar oeuvre prior to her foray into Hollywood is arguably All About my Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) for which the director won an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film in 1999. Cruz was feted for her performance in the movie and this, her second appearance in an Oscar winning movie, allowed her to launch her career in Hollywood.

Hollywood Calling!

Despite the burgeoning industry acclaim, Cruz was still relatively unknown to the public outside of Spain. Her Hollywood career began with a role in Hi-Lo Country, followed a role in the questionable Woman on Top (I know, this is the second time I’ve mentioned it, but it really is that bad). However, 2000 was to signal the start of Cruz’s upward trajectory in Hollywood. With parts in All the Pretty Horses, Blow, and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, her star was on the rise. This was inevitably accelerated following her performance in Vanilla Sky – the English language remake of Abre los Ojos – when it came to light that she was dating co-star Tom Cruise.

Regrettably, this relationship with the recently divorced Cruise seemed to stunt her progress in Hollywood as an actress, thrusting her into a relentless tabloid furore – Cruise divorces Kidman, begins dating Cruz during proceedings, Cruz begins appearing in People magazine’s annual Most Beautiful People list, Cruise and Cruz break up…

CV schizophrenia sets in

Yet despite this, her European cinema career was still flourishing as she returned to Europe to learn Italian and star in Italian film Non ti muovere (Don’t Move) in 2004. This was another resounding European success for which she won both the David di Donatello (equivalent of Academy Award in Italy) and European Film Award for Best Actress. Yet, following this success, Cruz returned to Hollywood and starred alongside Matthew McConaughey in Sahara. She also began dating McConaughey and seemed to cement her place in the public eye as eye candy in English language films and hot girlfriend to her leading men.

Worldwide Acclaim

Thankfully, following a break up from McConaughey, Cruz returned to her roots and appeared in 2006’s Volver, reigniting the partnership with Almodóvar. The movie was a resounding success worldwide and Cruz was the first Spanish actress to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Unfortunately she lost out to Judi Dench but did win a Goya for the role in Spain.

This Oscar nomination finally signalled Cruz’s entry into the Hollywood big-time.


Cruz with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'

She filmed Vicky Cristina Barcelona with Woody Allen (acting her American counterparts in the film off the screen) and took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2009, not to mention Javier Bardem. Her Hollywood status was cemented with a third Oscar nomination for the 2010 Oscars in the Best Supporting Actress category once more, for her role as Daniel Day Lewis’ Italian mistress in Nine.

Her chances of winning are uncertain, given that she lost out on a Golden Globe for the role, but Cruz is now a star both in Hollywood and Spain, something the Spanish will never forget about their beloved ‘Pe’.

8/2/10: Where are the Plus Size Men?

There’s been a furore over plus size female models, but what about plus size men? Have they been overlooked or are men just generally more accepted at a larger size?

The furore over the use of unrealistically sized female models is gradually abating as women are being represented in the fashion world in a more relatable way, which takes into account that there are more sizes than zero. For females, a plus size is usually anything over a UK size 18. Whilst the fashions worlds’ view of a plus size female is still slightly skewed they have at least taken steps towards altering the size and shape of females that they present to us. Please note the use of the word skewed though, as in the modelling world a plus size model is more likely to be represented by a size 14 model than an actual plus size model.

Nevertheless, these steps together with the continuing championing of a larger female size in the media, means that plus size females are no longer airbrushed out by the fashion or media industries. For evidence of the changes that have been wrought, look no further than V Magazines’ January 2010 ‘Size Issue’ with shots such as this one illustrating the mindset that big is beautiful too.


V Magazine's 'Size issue'

There’s no doubt that the media and fashion are now championing the plus size female cause. But what about the plus size men? A plus size man is generally defined as anyone over a size UK XL. The issue of the plus size man and how he is depicted in the media and fashion has not been raised in any significant way to date. A quick Google search yields none of the debate associated with plus size women so what does this mean? Have men been forgotten about? Or are men simply more accepted at a larger size?

Are men accepted at a larger size?

Men‘s size is not seen in such simplistic terms as women’s size. Until now women have been led to believe often believe that the size they need to be is the smallest size possible because the images that have been presented to them. However the majority of men do not have this fat / thin mentality. It would seem that being a plus size man does not carry as much stigma as being a plus size woman.

The reason there is less stigma attached to being a plus size man is that men are presented a different body ideal to live up to. This can be seen in the precedence of body shape over body size in the images presented of men. Although the body shape presented on the catwalks in usually quite thin, the ideal male body presented to us is not necessarily thin.

However whilst men may be seen as acceptable at a larger size, this too is limited to a certain sort of shape. Which is why you don’t see Kellogg’s promoting a ‘Little Red Suit’ challenge, but you do see stacks of health supplements calling to men from health shop windows touting promises like muscle gain.

However, the lack of plus sized men is not limited to the fashion industry, its spreads right across many different areas – two of which, advertising and entertainment, demonstrate that whilst men’s bodies may not be the subject of the intense scrutiny women are subject to, this is not necessarily a good thingfrom the perspective of making the fashion industry even more inclusive.

The Advertising Industry

A svelte Calvin Klein model

Plus size men are rarely seen in advertising. The way men are portrayed in advertising, as with women, has nothing to do with reality but rather the message advertisers are trying to put across and who they are trying to put it across to. So for example, L’Oreal Paris used Pierce Brosnan as the spokesperson for their male grooming range as he appeals to women and their husbands who want to be him. Ditto David Beckham and the Armani underwear ads. Plus sized men can be seen selling plus sized clothes in clothing catalogues but apart from that advertising, as always, perpetuates an image that is little reflection of reality.

Men on Screen

The entertainment industry is a good example of how larger men are depicted in the media. Men and women, for better or worse, are not portrayed the same way. In the media and films and many other areas of life, women’s appearance and size has always been focused on more.

The storyline of Shallow Hal was incredible to many because the plus size woman was considered to be beautiful by one man, albeit under the influence of hypnosis. However, the beautiful Katherine Heigl falling for a pudgy Seth Rogen in Knocked Up barely raised an eyebrow.

Heigl and Rogen in Knocked Up

So, plus size male models are inevitable?

The fact that men’s appearance is not as discussed a topic means that plus size men are becoming more and more marginalised by the fashion industry. The fat / thin stigma is the root of the plus size female model controversy and led to the subsequent acceptance of larger female sizes by the fashion industry. However, just because plus size men are not as stigmatised as plus size women, this does not mean they are any less marginalised.

Men have been overlooked because they haven’t demanded to be taken into account, and these industries aren’t going to automatically include them. The achievement of a plus size female model industry followed a battle hard fought and it will be the same for plus size men should they decide to take up the fight

8/02/10: Contributor to Running in Heels 'That Moment' Playlist

Whether it’s love past, present or future – this is a collection of special, private tracks that make us believe in love, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment.


Get You Good – Jon Justice Band (www.myspace.com/jonjusticeband)

Whilst I may be biased as I know these guys, this is the most perfect song. Everything about the sound is just so sexy, from the saxophone playing to Jon’s amazing voice. An ode to a night in together, this is the ideal background music for when you’re in the moment.