Fun in Black and White

Even though I am a huge fan of bright colours, I really appreciate the detail that goes into creating Black and white images. Sometimes taking colour away can really highlight the beauty and emotion in a photo…

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MAKEUP ARTIST: Natalia Blumenthal

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Jenna Echakowitz

MODEL: Cassi Gewer

xxx

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Jane the wonderful (2017)

Hi all,

Some of you might be familiar with the series “Jane the virgin” The series which has just ended its third season is about a woman, Jane, and her interesting yet ironic life. From the title you can guess that there is a story line intertwined with being a virgin, however, the show is so much more than just this stock plot.  Without giving details away (for those of you who have yet to watch this show) there are twists and turns at every corner. I caught onto this series about 4 months ago and am whizzing through it with great enjoyment.  Yes, a lot of the story revolves around Jane and her triumphant promise to her grandmother to not lose her virginity before she gets married but there is truly so many others levels to this wonderful character and creative story.

I have many feelings towards this show. I love the characters. Each character is so funny in their own way and the chemistry between the cast is unmistakably wonderful. But it is what the show sets out to symbolise that really makes an impact on me. People of today are so desensitised to so much because of how we are exposed to it on TV and in the Movies.  No one flinches anymore when someone bleeds to death, medical TV has opened up a whole new world about what goes on in hospitals (Still love you Shonda), relationships have taken a whole new perspective and sexual affiliations are no longer kept secret. There are some amazing transgender actors who are making huge splashes on our screens.

Let me make something clear before I move on. I do not believe that in the 21st century we can act naive to all the different types of people in this world. And I do not believe that individuals should be shamed because of who they are or who they love. As the fantastic Mr Lin Manual Miranda said “Love is love is love is love” However, personally, I still value tradition, manners and good old family entertainment. No matter how much our world changes or how loud self-expression becomes, I still believe that there will always be a place for happiness and goodness minus the blood, death, violence and explicit sex. That side of entertainment is not for everyone and a show like ‘Jane the Virgin’ is proof of just that. Obviously, this creative team believed there was a market for a show that preaches respect and tradition and I AM SO HAPPY THEY WERE RIGHT.

Jane is the most wonderful character because she keeps her values close to her heart. During every twist or tempting situation the character is in, she finds a way to prevail and keep her promise to her grandmother. Now, if that is not a role model than I have no idea what is. Who wouldn’t want their daughter to look up to a woman who respects her elders, chases her dream career, values her body and will do anything in her power to keep her family safe? Gina Rodrigues does the most beautiful job of keeping this character alive and I can fully understand why she has received the kind of publicity and recognition that she has.

These kinds of shows make me so excited because it goes to show that the power of good really can elicit success. If you have not had the chance to watch this show I would strongly suggest you do. Because besides for it being a beacon of positivity in the TV world, the show is hilarious and completely entertaining. I cannot wait to see what happens to Jane because I know that she will always make the right decision and that makes her a character I can rely on.

*Lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

Hidden Figures

It finally happened! After almost a year of waiting, I got to go and see the film ‘Hidden Figures.’ I remember watching the first taste of a

After almost a year of waiting, I got to go and see the film ‘Hidden Figures.’ I remember watching the first taste of a trailer almost a year ago and running to tell everyone that Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Jim Parsons, Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst were starring in a film all about Space and Female Equality. I was so Excited. The trailer was released not long after the series Astronauts wives club had finished airing and space was all the range, well actually not space but rather how the people on the ground prepared to make history. FASCINATING!

I always say that true stories fuel the greatest films and this was no exception. The film and cast also did very well this awards season and took home the golden globe for best film ensemble. After watching the film, I can see why. There was some sort of magic between the cast members and it made the film. In short, this film is about 3 young black women and how they overcame discrimination, stood up for themselves and got the first American astronaut into space. These 3 women were mathematicians, engineers and mechanics working for NASA. Except for the fact that in the 1960s America was still dealing with segregation and a black woman in high positions wasn’t exactly heard of. However, this film is so much more than just that.

The first thought that came to my mind after watching the film was is this the main issue in this film a racial one or a gender one. I thought about this a lot and finally came to the conclusion that even though the film is completely multi-dimensional the issue that came across the clearest to me was Gender-based. These were WOMAN facing major discrimination however they just happened to be African American during a time where America was still segregated.

I have watched many films that deal with similar issues since these are issues that transcend anything and everything, but sometimes I feel like it can seem overdone. In this film, however, it was done tastefully and even though I am not an African American woman, I still felt proud. Proud of the accomplishments of the three woman in the film, Proud to be a woman myself and proud to see such a powerful story being shown on screen.

It is amazing to think that NASA was able to send a man into space, however, they could not have done this without these exceptional women on their team. Even though we think that we are stepping over this mountain of discrimination, we haven’t really stepped that far over and we always need reminding of how far we have come as a human race and how far we still need to come.

In terms of the cinematic experience, it was a great film. The art department was on point considering the fact that this film is set in the 1960’s. The hair, makeup and wardrobe departments did a great job. The casting was done incredibly well and I cannot explain how wonderful it was to see such great actors play such different roles. Who knew Jim Parsons could play an antagonist? And who knew that Taraji P Henson could play a role so completely opposite to The Oh so fabulous Cookie Lyon? I loved watching her in this role. Taraji is so graceful on screen, she has such poise yet when she needs to make a statement boy, oh boy does she make a statement! Like I said before, this cast was exceptional!

I really want to go into all the wonderful moments that are in this film. They bare still going round and round in my head because of how powerful they were. Small gestures, short dialogue that just expresses so much more. However, I feel like no matter who you are, what race you are, which gender you fit into, everyone needs to experience them for themselves. It is so important. Films like this need to be taught to the masses because it is more than a 2-hour entertainment piece. It is a treasure. Something that will last for years and years and never age. I watched a film about 3 women trying to get a man up into space and I came out inspired. Inspired to do the right thing. Inspired to stand up for myself and for what I believe in. And inspired to treat everyone equally because you never know what talents lie underneath the exterior.

Dorothy Vaughan: If you act right – you are right. That’s for certain”

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

Shonda Rhimes- Year of Yes

Hi everyone,

As some of you may know I am a HUGE Shonda Rhimes fan. I am obsessed with Grey’s anatomy and basically want to be like Shonda when I grow up. (haha) When I heard that her book “Year of Yes” was released I rushed to get my own copy. Anything that has been written by the Genius who brought us the most unbelievable medical series (totally my opinion, but still) must be great. Which is why I am EXTREMELY excited to be writing this review on such a wonderful book.

*warning* if you are a huge reader and only read novels that are 1000 pages or more than this book may not be for you but if you are someone like me, who needed a blast of inspiration. Who needed something to relate to. Who is sick of cliches like “think positively” then this book is DEFINANTLY for you!

In short, “Year of Yes” is about how Shonda managed to change her life around by saying yes to all the things that scared her. While this in itself is a fantastic triumph, her book did so much more for me. It gave me a complete inside to this woman and gave me a better and deeper understanding of the shows that have done so much for me in my life. I started watching Grey’s anatomy when I was writing my final exams in Matric. My incentive for studying would be to watch an episode (or 2) of the show afterwards. I rewarded myself with Shonda. Ever since, I have always had a special relationship with the characters in Grey’s because they have been there, helping me to keep going, no matter what.

There are many components that make this book a good read. But what I think makes this book special, is Shonda’s honesty. She completely allows the reader into her life. She doesn’t hide from the reader rather she speaks to you as a friend. And on top of that, any Shonda fan will recognise her style of writing from any one of her brilliant shows. She writes her book like she writes TV, and this makes it relatable because you feel like you already know her.

The book starts off with a Cristina Yang quote “If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more” When something starts off with Cristina’s wise words, you know it’s going to be good! Cristina was and will always be my favourite Grey’s anatomy character and after reading this book and understanding why she was Shonda’s favourite too, my understanding of her has grown tremendously.

After reading this book, I want to say yes to things. I want to make my life better, I want to succeed. Perhaps I enjoyed this book so much because it landed in my hands during a time I really needed a life or because I am just such a fan of the author. But either way I am very happy that I now own this book and can refer to it whenever I please. There are so many encouraging words throughout the book, so many moments that I caught myself going “wow, that is just so true” so many times I wanted to dance it out because it made sense. IT MADE SENSE! It wasn’t some far fetched self-help book where you need to breathe and visualise a beach. It was raw and honest. It acknowledged the crappy side of life and then just kicked its ass!

Do yourself a favour and indulge in this book. Let yourself be moved. Allow yourself to want to make a better life for yourself.

“I am different. I am an original. And like everyone else, I am here to take up space in the universe. I do so with pride”- Shonda Rhimes.

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Hi everyone,

Don’t you just love the feeling when you have seen a great movie and it leaves you feeling happy, inspired and touched? I certainly do, and it is exactly how I felt after watching this goody of a film. In the beginning, the film kind of reminded me of ‘Perks of being a wallflower’ but then it became so much more…

The Edge of Seventeen is a teenage comedy about the ups and downs of growing up. It sounds like a cheesy storyline, right? But it is so far from it! Nadine is the protagonist of the story and she takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. During the course of the film, Nadine loses friends, makes allies, fixes relationships in her life and grows up.

Hailee Steinfeld plays the role of Nadine and she is brilliant. At only 20 years old, Hailee has starred in one of the most popular movies- Pitch perfect and has been on tour opening up for Megan Trainor! Now she steals the show in Edge of Seventeen. I really really hope she gets the recognition she deserves for this film. Her performance was exceptionally honest, raw and hilarious. From the first moment she was on screen I felt a connection to her character, a strong connection.

Her role could have come across as pathetic and desperate but instead it comes across as completely truthful. I think she was lucky to have landed such a well-written character and she just brings it to life even more. Hailee interacts with the other actors in such a genuine way that she really invites the audience into her relationships. She makes the audience feel the emotions that her character is feeling. Her performance made me laugh, smile and cry. What more could you want from an actress?

Woody Harrelson plays Nadine’s teacher, Mr Bruner, and the two of them share such a fascinating relationship.  They just get each other and their chemistry is great to watch. Their scenes are so sarcastic that it is just so funny. The way they look at life in the film is so critical but yet makes so much sense. Their scenes in the film turned out to be some of the parts that stood out for me.

There is so much I could say about this film that it is actually difficult to narrow it down. One of the things I have learned at film school is that it is so important to create something that the audience can relate to. When telling a story you need to ensure that the audience will be able to see parts of themselves within the film. This film gets that concept down to  a T! There were so many moments when I felt like I was watching a mirror image of my life. I just felt things watching this movie and it was truly an awesome experience.

The movie is based on a 17-year-old girl, but it truly transcends to any age. I am 21 years old and I related to everything. I didn’t feel like I was watching a ‘teenage’ movie, I just felt as if I was watching a portrayal of life. It is so difficult growing up. People you thought you knew turn out to be different. You think you know what you want and then it all changes. You get tested too many times to even count and you have to stay afloat when everything seems to be pushing you under water.

If I am going to watch a movie about the dysfunctionality of life, I want to be able to laugh about it. This movie not only makes you laugh but makes you cry too. It left me feeling grateful and happy, like whatever happens to me isn’t the end of the world and everything will work out in the end. I loved it.

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

The daily show… With Trevor Noah

Over the past week or so EVERYONE has been talking about the daily show and Trevor Noah. Mr Noah officially took over from Jon Stewart and has attracted a lot of press because of it. I with many other interested South African’s tuned in last week to watch the first episode of the daily show with it’s new host.

Now, I do not follow American politics so I didn’t really understand many of the jokes. I followed a bit and understood a few of the jabs made at various stories and politicians but honestly I didn’t tune in for the ‘american news’ I tuned in because Trevor Noah is one of our very own. He is a South African comedian and that fact was the reason I decided to watch his show.

Trevor is funny. There is no doubt he is a funny guy and I enjoy watching him. However, he is not everyone’s cup of tea. I have heard reviews saying that he just talks a lot or that he is just trying to be like Mr Stewart. But that is show business. Some people are gonna love it and others are going to hate. I think that Trevor just needs to find his rhythm. He will get into the groove of things and figure out what works for him and what doesn’t.

Having said that, I feel that he now has a whole new realm of responsibilities to keep in mind. He now carries the label of ‘made it.’ He made it. He started in South Africa and he made it all the way to new york and for many people watching The Daily show from back home, he resembles dreams that some people only dream of achieving. And he needs to keep this in mind. He needs to understand that he is a role model for many people and that they are all looking up to him. He needs to deal with that wisely and not let his fans down.

I for one am very excited to see what Trevor comes up with and I am even more excited to see how he deals with everything that is going to be thrown at him. And I have all faith that he will continue to inspire people with his success.

#proudlysouthafrican

*lights out*

xxx