Do you believe ‘The world is at your fingertips’ ?? This belief may be showing its truth more and more every day. Your ability to reach the world through travel and the internet has afforded many opportunities that many would never image. The individual from a small rural part of the world now has the ability to touch those in large cities like New York and Tokyo. Which brings us to an unlikely pairing on paper but in today’s ever changing market, more common than not. How does a leather goods company from Spain connect with a Maasai Chief from Kenya? This is where opportunity and preparation meet.
Pikolinos is a Spanish shoe brand that forms part of the Pikolinos Group, a company whose activities range from tanning leather to having their own shops. Their story…
Maasai Tribal Chief Kikanae Ole Pere, or William as he is known in the West, is a Maasai warrior who was declared leader of his community in Kenya after his unwavering efforts to provide for his tribe. William crossed paths with the President of the NGA ADCAM Rosa Escandell and together started a long journey to raise awareness in the Maasai community to inspire them to build for a better future via their own economic resources outside of tourism. Together they created The Maasai Project.
Maasai Project is a design collaboration program with Pikolinos and the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Tanzania where the profits are given back to the Maasai women involved to provide hope and opportunity for a sustainable future through building their own economic resources while empowering women with greater rights and employment.
I had the honor to meet and speak with William at Benjamin Lovell Shoes in Center City.
Olumide: How did the collaboration start between yourself and Pikolinos?
William: This all started from a dream I had that one day I’d be able build my own business, travel, and positively affect the people in my community. I was lucky to meet the owners of Pikolinos and present them my ideas and we were able to create the Maasai Project.
How has this project helped the women of the Maasai Tribe?
The project has allowed women to be self-sustaining in an environment that does not always foster a woman’s independence. Through the Maasai Project it was taught women entrepreneurship and allowed them to make wages for themselves feed their families and send their children to school.
Are there any plans or hopes to expand into other fashion areas?
Yes, working with Pikolinos has given us a great opportunity to see how well the woman’s designs are for shoes and since Pikolinos works with leather goods we would love for the women to design more. With this current project the women have been able to create bracelets and necklaces that are great accessories with the shoes.
Do you think this will inspire the youth to pursue more projects that allow them to affect their community and the world?
Yes, this was a part of my dream. I wanted my people to be able to have more opportunities to grow and learn. We’ve been able to create programs that help educate children. Through this we hope to expose children to more opportunities and have an interest in what they can do for their community and the world.
How do you think your leadership has changed the tribe for the better?
My leadership has opened the eyes of the community and how we view women. Before women were not as valued as they should be. Entrepreneurship has really allowed women to go above and beyond the Maasai Project and shown the strength and ingenuity of our women.
Do you have a favorite design?
Yes I have a favorite. They are all my favorite (laughs)!
Friday October 3rd, the long awaited UNIQLO store, a Japanese clothing retailer known for it’s high quality casual clothing and collaborations, opened its doors for the first time in Center City.
The flagship sized store located on 1600 block of Chestnut Street Grand Opened friday morning with a ribbon cutting from Mayor Nutter and many other city officials. Traditional Japanese Taiko Drummers played as guests watched with delight. People lined up early in the morning Friday — and all weekend, waiting for the store to open. As doors officially opened, employees welcomed each guest with joyful cheering. The grand opening promotions and giveaways attracted people from all over the Philadelphia area.
On Saturday, UNIQLO had its grand opening festival titled “UNIQLO Philly Love Fest” [PHOTOS] at The Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse. There were carnival games, prizes, face painting, food trucks, and a DJ set by Phillys own ?uestlove which got the crowd moving and shaking. During the whole event, there were UNIQLO shuttle busses taking guests to the store. UNIQLO had their Ultra light down jackets and Parkas on sale along with a free HeatTech giveaway. HeatTech uses japanese technology to trap the heat you produce when you move and uses that heat to keep you insulated. After the winter we had last year, these are sure to be a popular item.
The collaboration collections were also popular this weekend. The i am OTHER collection by Pharrell Williams and the SPRZ NY collection by MOMA which featured art by Keith Haring and Andy Warhol seemed to attract a lot of interest from shoppers. The Ines collection by french supermodel and designer Inès de La Fressange was a favorite for fashionable business women and older women alike who grew up with Ines.
UNIQLO looks like it has found a home in Philadelphia and is here to stay.
The thing about doing something extraordinary is it’s going to sound utterly unreasonable at first. Back in 1977, when Robyn Davidson, a young, callow Aussie woman with a penchant for animals and getting away from clutter, decided to solo hike from deep in the Australia desert all the way to the coast — a distance of some 1700 miles — with only the company of a group of camels to carry her gear and her trusty black Labrador to accompany her, it was seen as the kind of brainless lark a young person decides upon without regarding any of the consequences. But Robyn Davidson was no ordinary explorer.
As played by Mia Wasikowska, she’s sturdy, stubborn, and above all other things, undeterred by anyone else’s expectation of her limitations. Holing up in a deserted shack on the edge of the desert town she intends to embark from, she learns about working with camels and training them for many long months with local camel trainers, and when a group of friends come by for a night of revelry during her preparations, she’s lucky enough to meet Rick Smolan (Adam Driver, whom has now released a mind-boggling five films in 2014 alone — the man must not sleep), a photographer for National Geographic, as it happens, whom he puts her in contact with to sponsor the story.
And so it is, some weeks later, with camels in tow, and a National Geographic grant to fund her, Davidson bids adieu to the remaining members of her family — her mother, we are eventually told, hung herself when Robyn was still quite young — and starts off on what will come to be a nine-month journey.
With Rick popping in every few weeks to shoot her expedition for the magazine, Robyn makes her way across sacred aboriginal land with the aid of a kindly village elder (Roly Mintuma), endures a tragic loss, becomes completely sun-drenched and loses her bearings, and eventually encounters numerous tourists on buses and squadrons of journalists after her quest grows into both national and international news.
She also seems to encounter a steady stream of truly decent and caring people, in fact, as the film would have it, with Robyn’s strong desire to keep planning to a bare minimum and rely instead upon the kindness of strangers, she essentially does exactly that and seems to suffer absolutely no negative repercussions for her lack of forethought. She’s constantly getting bailed out, if not by the affable Smolan — whom, after one romantic evening encounter, becomes besotted by her — then by the few kindly people, both Aboriginal and non-native, she meets along the way. Naturally, she suffers a fair amount as well, but considering the circumstances, not nearly as much as she could have.
In fact, but for the slow pace and gritty naturalism of the film — there is much in the way of realistically harsh animal treatment and countless shots of the Outback itself, ineffable and pitiless — it could make a fine Disney treatment whose theme would revolve around one young woman overcoming terrific odds and the indomitable human spirit.
Which naturally leads to the film’s central issue: It doesn’t really have terribly much to say, either about Robyn, the Outback, or the human spirit. Curran dutifully follows her trail, documenting many of the incidents listed in her book of the same name, but as the film neither adds dramatic swirls, nor insightful meditation — its quite happy to leave the taciturn Robyn as a young, sun-blanched cypher; whatever she’s getting out of the experience remains either on the surface or largely unexplored — it doesn’t actually have all that much to do. Lip service is placed on giving us a psychological context for Robyn’s trajectory (the death of her mother and subsequent loss of her childhood dog, as her father had to move her away to live with an aunt), but it still doesn’t give us terribly much with which to work.
Given the lack of dramatic arc, Curran and DP Mandy Walker resort to countless artful shots of the landscape under Robyn’s feet and all around her. It’s a fair argument; it so happens that this part of the Aussie Outback is wondrous and varied, from scrub desert to large red cliffs, to the pure sandy white of the dunes leading up to the Indian Ocean, but with much less else to offer beyond its limited premise, the film never rises much beyond a simple travelogue, true to its roots as a National Geographic article, but with the sinking sense that you’d probably be better off just reading the original.
You may see men rocking beards on the runways, but dapper dudes in Philadelphia have been sporting their beards, with love, for years. We sat down with Kings Rule Together founder, Curran J, and a few other well-groomed gents, to chat about beards and their impact on men’s style.
For more information on Philadelphia lifestyle, fashion, music, food and more , check out visitphilly.com and philly360.com.
Uniqlo and Jil Sander will revive their “Uniqlo +J” collaboration this fall with a special release for Fall/Winter 2014.
In 2009, UNIQLO and designer Jil Sander began a three-year collaboration under the +J moniker. The collection was considered by many as one of the most successful co-brands of high-fashion and consumer retail, the UNIQLO +J collection due to its minimalist approach to fits, cuts and color, and exceptional shapes.
The 2014 collection will be known as the “The Best of +J,” and will be limited edition release featuring some of the collaboration’s best pieces, including perfectly tailored suiting, cardigans, puffer jackets, button-downs, and more. The Best of +J Collection is set to hit Uniqlo October 10.
UNIQLO’s new Chestnut Street store in Philadelphia will get the collection early, on October 3.
We all live in a world comprised of cultures with sets of rules, both written and unwritten, that dictate or at least attempt to dictate the manner in which we interact with one another. These interactions vary from informal to formal, familial to business-place, through virtual and technological media, face to face, within our own gender, and of course cross-gender. How we navigate this sea of interaction makes a tremendous impact on our day to day lives, and can definitely influence our professional success. Many variables play — and often interplay — their own significant roles in communication.
Many people dedicate careers to understanding, and helping their clients understand how to best parlay strategies into success. These fields include areas from public relations, marketing strategists, brand endorsement strategists, professional coaches and fashion stylists, to trained PhDs who study the slightest tendencies of our interactions. This has gained momentum because in a business world often driven by the bottom line, the numbers don’t lie. In an increasingly competitive workplace, professionals and employers seek every bit of leverage they can. It may indeed be more involved than going to see How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.
Though there is no doubt that values such as education and experience levels serve a professional well, we are also very highly linked to our physical appearance — shallow and vain as that may seem. In other words, if you have two equally deserving job candidates, the nod may be given to one based heavily on the perception an employer gathers from physical appearance — rather than experience or other qualitative characteristics.
Important to note is that one’s physical appearance includes, but certainly not only pertains to your looks/attractiveness. Thus, attention to detail when presenting oneself through such avenues as wardrobe choices, hair styles, tattoos, jewelry, posture, eye contact, facial expressions, and speech — to name a few — is extremely important.
With women becoming more and more present and involved every day in leading professional roles, research suggests that they face an added obstacle when presenting themselves. It seems, women must often choose between femininity and respect. Whether it be toning down, or jazzing up their workplace appearance, this decision can be either a gainful advantage or debilitating roadblock in their career.
New York image consultant and founder of DAMstyle, David A. McKnight, says in his book The Zen of Executive Presence (2013) “people instinctively judge each other by physical appearance, and a business woman’s motives and qualifications can be misconstrued because of a poor wardrobe choice, whether it be overly provocative, intimidating, or unflattering.”
In order to take a further look at this topic, I spoke to young professional Keenan Corrigan. She graduated from Duke University and has worked at two very different companies. First, Keenan worked for 2 years at the Department of Defense as a civilian analyst. She currently works in Baltimore, MD for Outward Bound as a field instructor — leading trips for students backpacking, canoeing, kayaking — and at the Outward Bound administrative office as the Executive Assistant — where she performs office related work including development and strategic planning.
At the Department of Defense, with obvious ties to the military, Keenan worked in a chain of command system where there were virtually only men working above her. She always noticed that there weren’t many women in positions of power, but said it “wasn’t surprising because there were proportionally fewer women in the organization in general. I didn’t think of it as a prohibitive factor.”
Being a young female in a male dominated workplace, she dealt with regular flirtation and at times harassment that made her feel uncomfortable. Keenan recalls, “I would err on the conservative side when it came to how I would dress. So even things that would be presentable in other environments, I wouldn’t wear to work. I didn’t want to put off a certain image in that office, because it was hard enough being young and working with a lot of older people. But being a woman as well, I wanted to be professional, I wanted people to take me seriously, and I didn’t want my appearance to dictate that. I felt like I had to work a lot harder to make sure that people knew I was intelligent, and competent, and didn’t just look at me and write me off.”
One instance involved a person of authority writing Keenan a provocative email after she wore what she called a “tasteful red dress that went below my knees, with sleeves and a high collar.” The individual described how he didn’t recognize her at first and thought he “had to go talk to that hot girl.” Keenan didn’t report the incident as she explained, “It wasn’t a battle I wanted to fight at that point in time. I didn’t want to aggravate the situation, I wanted to focus on doing my job.”
She continued, “I didn’t want to dress frumpy, because I care about my appearance, but there was a fine line between feeling good about the way I looked and not projecting certain viewpoints onto other people. A lot of times I left the house feeling great about what I was wearing. Then I would get to work and think… I shouldn’t have worn this. I was constantly thinking about what I should wear, or not.”
Now at the Outward Bound Baltimore office, many of Keenan’s co-workers in leadership roles are female. She says, “I think one of the reasons I love my job as much as I do is because of the strong women in leadership positions. They are wonderful role models and trail blazers.” She explained that even though the outdoor education industry is still a male dominated workplace, due to the type of people working there she feels much more comfortable. Keenan stated, “I think in this workculture I’m able to remain more focused without worrying frequently what others think of my appearance.” She paused when I asked her about her dress code at her current job and then answered, “You know, I don’t even know if there is one… but I know we are expected to make good judgement when choosing work clothes.”
Gabriele Goodman, who has earned both an MA and PhD in Organizational Psychology, has worked for over 10 years gaining expertise gender issues in the workplace. She has developed practice guidelines and strategic initiatives that help both women and men understand and identify how gender politics play out in organizational settings. As Goodman describes on her LinkedIn profile, “By providing insight and tools that help women became stronger forces in the workplace, [I] teach them how to reach their career goals.”
Goodman points out that, “It’s still such an unequal playing field. The thing about femininity [versus respect] is that women who can use their femininity strategically often do so in service of meeting their professional aspirations in an unequal gendered organization system. Depending on organizational culture, context, and social players involved, the strategic use of femininity may garner respect, but it is mainly used consciously as one possible tool in a big tool kit utilized only as a means to an end.”
She added that contrary to popular belief, these issues do not only exist across genders. Goodman says, “Yes, men do tend to sexualize situations to a much greater extent than women. But the biggest barriers to women’s advancement in the workplace are often other women. Many women feel threatened and think ‘I’m not as pretty as her,’ ‘I’m not as fast as her,’ and/or ‘I’m not as young as her.’ Comparisons of personal worth on often unconscious levels transpire, competition may surface, and the internalized message of ‘I’m fundamentally not good enough’ becomes externalized as a ‘me vs. she’ power play instead of a collaborative ‘we’ mobilizing effort.”
The harsh reality is that beyond just feeling comfortable at work, research indicates physical appearance directly corresponds to the average salary a person will make in his or her career. In his article for Salary.com, Aaron Gouveia discusses 7 Ways Your Looks Affect Your Pay. Citing multiple sources from top University studies, outlined are the facts and numbers that support height, weight, hair color, physique, make-up, general attractiveness, and being “too pretty” all directly affect average salary.
For example, in regards to make-up, Gouveia writes, “Not only do people judge beauty based on how much make-up a woman is wearing, make-up adorned women also rank higher in competence and trustworthiness, according to a study funded by Procter & Gamble, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. A study in the American Economic Review said women who wear make-up can earn more than 30 percent more in pay than non make-up wearing workers.”
In some cases, appearance can jeopardize your job altogether. You can certainly be too attractive, or perceived as too provocative for the workplace.
In 2010, Debrahlee Lorenzana — an ex-employee at Citibank, was fired for being a distraction in the workplace. While the employer admitted that the employee was following the same dress code as everyone else, given her natural appearance in such attire, several co-workers described her presence as a distraction and negative influence. Lorenzana sued and her case was to be settled in private arbitration.
The fired employee was following the rules, so to speak, but unable to maintain her job because she was considered by others as too attractive. This seems unfair, and yet another example of an obstacle someone must consider when expressing their femininity versus gaining and/or maintaining workplace respect.
Recently [July], a news story cited by BleacherReport.com indicated how this issue exists world-wide in many work arenas – no pun intended. Kazakhstan National Team volleyball player Sabina Altynbekova‘s appearance has “upset and distracted” her teammates and coaches.
[“The player’s teammates and coach complained that Altynbekova was simply too attractive and was distracting fans… The coach complained “It is impossible to work like this.” Sabina also admitted that things are getting a little out of hand.” I was flattered at first but it’s all getting a little bit much,” she said. “I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not anything else.”]
Goodman’s findings support how influential attractiveness can be, whether positively or negatively. She explains, “If you’re deemed ‘too pretty’ it can be a liability, but definitely having good looks generally helps. Beware of the catch-22 though: If you’re seen as ‘too attractive,’ you may not be taken seriously by both men and women alike. Men want to sexualize you and other women can feel threatened by you. So the bimbo affect comes into play. Although this is a huge generalization, it appears that once women can prove their business acumen to their male counterparts through their work ethic, their emotional intelligence, their ability to think creativity, etc., the fact that they are good looking may fade into the background. However, female co-workers might have a harder time changing original assumptions made and continue to pigeonhole these threatening ‘femme fatals’ into a classification system whereby they are seen as allies, enemies, outliers, or outsiders.”
Goodman continues, “Conversely though, if you aren’t seem as ‘pretty enough,’ a judgment call made by both genders in seconds and usually registering first and foremost on an unconscious, strictly biological level (I’m speaking in vast generalizations here and am assuming heterosexuality as the primary orientation), you may be seen as non-threatening by other women, and an ‘after-thought‘ by other men. Of course in both cases, this is a temporary state and likely opinions will shift based on that individual women’s mental and emotional capabilities. However, being ‘good looking‘ still opens more doors than it closes.”
Goodman adds there is far more to it than physical appearance, stating, “That being said, if you don’t have confidence – which is measured by both verbal and nonverbal communication styles – you could be extremely attractive, but in the end it becomes a moot point.”
Goodman explains that men benefit from being taught to use stronger communication styles. “In terms of verbal styles: men are better at asking for what they want than women. Men preface things as statements — women preface things as questions, asking for permission. Men tend to overrate their abilities — women tend to underrate their abilities. With nonverbal styles: women tend to sit with their legs crossed, hands in their lap — men tend to sit with their legs open, chest open. All of these seemingly subtle cues have a huge impact on both self – and other – perceptions.”
Of course, context has to be considered in examining any of these general findings. Where you work and with whom you work determines how you interact. Goodman states, “It does depend on the industry. For example, in medical fields, in male-dominated fields, and in other high risk professions that often deal with life and death issues, a culture ethos often exists whereby both genders have a greater tendency to engage in sexual banter and bathroom humor without getting stymied by worries of being PC or being blamed for sexual harassment. There’s less censoring and more humor used in part because it gets both men and women through the extreme stress — and often tragedy — of their jobs. The traditional 9-5 Corporate America workplace is much more constricted by formal organizational rules and codes of conduct. There are many more ‘official’ socialrules of engagement to consider. ”
So then, relating back to the main question: Is it in fact a constant choice for women between femininity and respect? Goodman doesn’t believe so. “No, women don’t need to choose between femininity and respect. It depends on the definition of both. We have to question: Number one, what is the operative definition of femininity and respect? Number two, who is crafting, instituting, and regulating these definitions? Number three, what are the implicit and explicit cultural norms around how these definitions are actually manifested in the workplace? And number four, what are the ways that both genders uphold/maintain or resist these definitions? In order to understand the debate proposed here (to be feminine or to be respected), these aforementioned questions need to be addressed. I don’t think it’s a black/white, either/or scenario, but perhaps a both/and prospect.”
She continues, “It’s sad that it’s viewed as an either or choice. I think women should be taught how (and allowed to) ask for what they want, how to be confident, how to be assertive, and how to be competitive in a healthy way, the way men are. If this were the case, the workplace may not only become more egalitarian, but offer both genders a platform for creativity, increased productivity, heightened social intelligence, and overall improved well-being and happiness.”
This topic will undoubtedly continue to be part of our human experience. So much of the analysis is subjective, and certainly how factors such as appropriate communication styles and appropriate attire impact given situations is tied strongly to the context. Whether it be the industry, the individuals involved, the perceptions of those involved, and of course culture and gender, many pieces are in play to consider.
Research supports the cliché that first impressions are important. Yes, how you present yourself, how you dress, and what your physical appearance is carries a lot of weight. But moving forward you still have to be able to bring your job’s skills to the table. If you’re at an accounting firm, you have to be a good accountant. The advantage for someone with good physical appearance is they will probably receive more opportunities to show their talents.
And in an incredibly competitive job market, there is no telling how many chances anyone will be given. It could make all the difference…
This comedian is making a name for herself in the comedy world. The West Philadelphia native discusses how she gained her love for comedy, transition from fashion to comedy, and her upcoming projects. Tanisha met with 215mag.com displaying her fashion background. Wearing black vans, black, skinny ripped jeans, black tank with matching hat, chic glasses with a lime green sling bag, she gives the public a look into her life.
Interview by Alysia Lester | Two.One.Five Magazine
215mag.com: Did you always know you wanted to be a comedian?
Tanisha Long: No, I actually went to school for Fashion Merchandising. I went to many schools in Phila, PA: Drexel University, Philadelphia University, and Penn State University. Drexel’s still trying to get money from me. I think they sued me twice, now it’s not on my credit report, so I’m like whatever [laughs]. I just randomly moved here with a friend eight years ago and took some improv classes. I’ve always loved comedy, always watched it, but never thought I would be good enough to be a comedian. Every time I look back, I am so lucky to be in this position but have worked extremely hard. Before I even started onstage, making money off of performances, I was training in improv. I am happy to be doing it.
215mag: Why comedy?
TL: I love comedy. I’ve always loved comedy. I love fashion too, but realized I didn’t love fashion as a job. I love shopping, but I really didn’t want to be a buyer when it came down to it. I want to be a stylist too, but I would rather dress myself. I have friends who are stylists, and it is an extreme grind. I don’t love that the way I love comedy. I will go broke doing [comedy]. And I sometimes do. The sacrifices I am willing to make for comedy versus fashion are so different.
215mag: Sacrifices? Some people think comedians are well off.
TL: It’s a constant struggle. Yes, I am on television, but a lot of that stuff cannot sustain a lifestyle in NY, especially. I am moving to LA in October because I cannot afford to live in the city. And I don’t even live in the city, I live outside of it. I just want to live more comfortably and be in LA for acting. It’s really hard to come to NY and make it. And I love Philly (Philadelphia), I’m from Philly. I can’t do what I do here in Philly. I wish I could, because I love that city and living there is fantastic. Having a one bedroom apartment in Rittenhouse Square (in Philadelphia), and bartend somewhere and do standup, that would be great. But you just can’t do it on the level you do it here.
215mag: How was the transition moving from West Philly to NYC?
TL: I hated it when I first moved here. I learned to tolerate it. I’ve never really loved it. It’s like being in a relationship with someone you don’t like because they’re attractive and have a lot of money. It’s really what it is. Apparently, I can have a relationship like that because I’ve lived here for eight years. I don’t like it here but everything amazing in my life is here-friends, career opportunities, where I live. NY in itself is so hard. This past winter was just: move out of NY, move! Don’t be here next winter. I told myself I will not be here next winter. It is terrible.
215mag: What do you tell yourself when times get rough?
TL: I cry a lot [laughs]. I’ll give myself a couple days and cry and I’ll be ok. I will try and write through it and write jokes about why I’m sad because dating here is hard too, and I’ve gone through a bunch of terrible breakups while living here.
215mag: Don’t you think it would be the opposite? A variety of men in a big city?
TL: Oh, it’s the worst! There’s too many options for guys and none want to be in a serious relationship. They think they do, then they’re like, “Tanisha’s cool, she’s funny, she’s pretty, I’m going to date her”, then it’s like “oh! You want to be in a serious, serious relationship. I want to be in a serious relationship where I pretend like you’re my girlfriend, but then date other people, is that not what you want?” So, I’ll go through breakups and cry, while writing jokes.
215mag: Does it help?
TL: It’s the best thing. I’m trying not to tell jokes about my ex-boyfriends anymore, because I know for a fact that one of them enjoys me telling jokes about him because he’s a narcissist. So, now every joke about him is gone from my set. I will not talk about him on stage. I have another ex that I’m friends with, and he is a sweet guy so the jokes about him are funny. They’re just about how big his penis is, because he has a big penis.
215mag: Who is your favorite comedian?
TL: I’ve always looked up to Dave Chappelle. I loved Chappelle Show. Watching his work is amazing. I grew up watching sketch improve more than standup, so I have my favorite sketches. I loved In Living Color, SNL, and Kids in the Hall. Those shows affected my sense of humor growing up.
215mag: How did you get involved in Girl Code and Guy Code?
TL: It’s a dream job. Damien Lemon, who is also one of my favorite comedians, I worked with him on a pilot for MTV years ago, before Guy Code was even thought of. We stayed in touch, and he is one of the sweetest guys ever. The thing with comedy guys is a lot of them make friends with females in comedy because they’re creeps and trying to live with you, but all of the guys on Guy Code are nice guys. They have never been creepy. So, the creator of Guy Code was talking about creating a Girl Code and Damien brought my name up. I auditioned and here I am [laughs], three seasons later.
215mag: How was the audition process?
TL: You walk in and are given topics to talk about. It was like an episode of Girl Code. It was pretty fun and I remember after the first audition, I was like if someone is going to pay me to do this, I need this job! I was freaking out about whether or not I was going to get a callback. When I found out I got it, I cried. It’s been great.
215mag: How was the atmosphere on set?
TL: It’s so easy. The crew is great. They are really nice. The writers and producers are fantastic.
(Interview is interrupted by a Pomeranian dog showing off her new haircut)
Owner: She just got a haircut.
TL: So she’s emotional?
Owner: She’s just excited about it.
TL: I saw a video of a Pomeranian and it was walking on its hind legs!
Owner: Yes, they do that!
TL: That’s hilarious.
TL: So, I don’t get to be in the same room as the other girls on the show. I’ll see them in passing, in the makeup room. It’s really interesting because when you watch the show, you think we’re all sitting in a room together. We all work well together.
215mag: Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
TL: I’ve met Dave Chappelle once when I was a server at a hotel and he told me “you don’t need anybody else to have your career.” I was talking to him about how I wanted to be on a team at an improv theater and use that to help build my career. He told me you don’t need that, you don’t need SNL. I auditioned for Saturday Night Live, and I didn’t get on. It was interesting to hear that from someone on that level. While I was doing improv and sketch, I didn’t really find a home that other people did. It turned out fine even though I wasn’t lifted upon improv theater’s shoulders. I found my way anyway. That was the best advice.
215mag: How was auditioning for shows like SNL?
TL: You do it, and then afterwards, you have to forget what you did. Because you have no control over anything. Have a clear mind, go in, and make everybody laugh. Do a good show and walk away and never think about it again. To even be thought of is so incredibly flattering.
215mag: What advice would you give to up-and-coming comedians?
TL: Keep doing it and stay focused. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Especially now that I’m doing standup, I encounter other performers who are insecure about their position in their career. Some have told me, “You don’t want to be really attractive performing”. That is insulting to me and the audience. You think the audience is that stupid? And the material is that bad that all they’re going to see is that I’m remotely attractive? Or they’ll say “You shouldn’t talk about this, or that.” Talk about what you want to talk about. Chris Distefano, of Guy Code, told me “do what you want to do. Not what your manager, agent or other comics want.” Find your voice. I’m still finding mine. Keep going and failing. Donnell Rawlings, also of Guy Code, told me “be ready to fail and embrace it.”
215mag: Do you read the comments about you social media?
TL: When I first started on social media, my feelings used to get hurt, and most of the comments were from girls under the age of 14. It made me sad, because girls are mean to each other when they’re young. They must think I am their age, because the comments would be things said to another girl in grade school. I’ve been picked on, so I know what is going on. Now, I laugh because you took time out of your day to say something mean to me.
215mag: I viewed your YouTube video of your opinion of men verbally harassing women in the street. How do you feel about the disrespect women receive from men?
TL: Guys on the street feel entitled to talk to us. If we don’t, then they call us a name, or they yell. One day I had on pajamas, a hat, no makeup and some guy said something sexual and disgusting. It is not a compliment. I feel we start raising our sons to show respect. This is something that guys have learned. That is scary to have guys yelling at me. I’ve had guys follow me home since I was 13, and I wish it would stop.
215mag: Earlier, you mentioned moving to Los Angeles, CA. Explain why
TL: All of the television and film studios are out there. I worry about going there and not being able to do standup as much. I’m scared it will hurt that but I’m going to try to be bi-costal. The next step in my career is doing television and film, and I will continue to do Girl Code. But it would be nice to actually earn some money, have a salary, and pay bills on time [laughs].
215mag: What is the craziest thing a fan has done?
TL: I haven’t had any crazy fans. I hope this doesn’t encourage anyone to do some crazy fan shit, because I’m not for it.
215mag: People recognize you in the street?
TL: If I look the way I do on television, then everyone comes up to me. Then people that don’t even care or know who I am, they see someone taking a picture with me, then it’s like “oh, I’m going to take a picture too, she must be somebody.” I am not important. I am on an MTV show. I will say I get free coffee at every Starbucks. I think Starbucks only hires Girl Code fans, because they know who I am!
215mag: Where do you see yourself in five years?
TL: Own a house in the hills in Hollywood, have a condo in the Upper West Side, be in every movie ever! [laughs] I hope to be doing standup in theaters. I would like my standup to get that good. I’d love to be on a sitcom and have done a comedy movie or two. Maybe have a boyfriend and dog by then. I doubt it. I probably will have a dog before I have a boyfriend. I feel like guys get intimidated by my schedule. I cannot date comedians, it’s not good. They would talk about you in their set. I have never had that happen, even though I’ve dated a comedian. Comedians tend to be unstable and it is hard to have two unstable crazy people together, and one of them needs to be sane. My career is always going to be number one is my life and I am not in a rush for any of that.
215mag: What do you want to be remembered for?
TL: Geez! That’s tough [laughs]
215mag: On Girl Code and Guy Code?
TL: Oh, I hope I won’t just be remembered for being on Girl Code and Guy code! That I’m funny, and I work hard! It’s a loaded question. I respect people. I feel like I’m going to get on the train and say “I should have said this!”
215mag: Do you have any upcoming projects?
TL: Girl Code is coming back. I just wrapped up the third season. I am going to be doing a college tour doing standup, and will be doing shows throughout.
Last Thursday the Friends of Rittenhouse gathered once again to host their 30th annual “Ball on the Square” in Rittenhouse Square.
Bringing to a close Philadelphia’s spring social scene, the Ball is without question the most elegant outdoor event in town. With proceeds going to maintaining the health and beauty of the square, more than 300 people dropped $550 per ticket to show their support.
While the main event was happening under the tented square, younger ‘friends of the square’ enjoyed cocktails, dancing and hors d’oeuvres across the way at the Rittenhouse Hotel. For a more moderately priced $150 a ticket, the “Young Friends Ball on The Square” attracted roughly 200 of Philadelphia’s up and coming socialites.
All photos courtesy of Amy King (Follow her on Instagram @theminielephant)
When we first meet the estranged couple Marie (Bérénice Bejo) and Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) they are in a Paris airport, on opposite sides of thick glass partition separating new arrivals from the people there to meet them. Ahmad is returning to the city after mysteriously cutting out on Marie and her two children four years ago to return to Tehran, so the overt symbolism of the two of them trying to communicate silently through a thick wall of impenetrable, sound-proof glass is more than telling. In fact, there are many such loaded moments in Asghar Farhadi’s scintillating follow-up to the brilliant A Separation. In that film, a couple was forced to decide between trying to appease one another or splitting up and following their own necessary paths. This film considers the aftermath of such a split, which in this case has left an enormous amount of complication in its wake.
Ahmad has finally returned on behest of Marie, who wants him to sign their divorce papers in person, and, at the same time speak with his former stepdaughter, Lucie (Pauline Burlet), a fiery teenager seemingly headed out of her mother’s fragile control. Part of Lucie’s anger, it turns out, is directed at Marie’s boyfriend, Samir (Tahar Rahim), who has moved into their house with his young son (Elyes Aguis), even as his wife lies in a coma in a Paris hospital. Lucie, it turns out, is convinced Samir’s wife attempted to commit suicide because of her mother’s affair with her husband.
Into this den of drama, Ahmad is left just trying to do right by everyone. Put into an incredibly awkward situation by Marie, who never bothered to tell him she was now living with someone else, he struggles to stay out of everyone’s way. Speaking soothingly, cooking authentic Iranian food, he wants to close out his time with Marie and her children in as civilized and caring a manner as possible under the circumstances, but the twisted family dynamics keep threatening to embroil him even as he does his best to clear the air for everyone else.
Much as he did in his previous film, Farhadi remains the most skilled sort of narrative artist, one who refuses to take sides with his characters: Everyone is eventually given the same even-handed treatment, even with someone such as Samir, who we are bound to loathe at first, if for no other reason that we pull so much for the soft-spoken Ahmad. However, Farhadi is far too skilled to leave us with such an obvious villain: What first appears to be cold bluster and unsympathetic harshness with his son melts into something else altogether in a single moment outside a subway train in Paris, and with it, our sympathies begin to collide in complicated ways. Everyone can partake in some of the guilt, but they also can make a strong case for their point of view on the matter.
As noted earlier, Farhadi also enjoys working in lengthy, satisfying metaphor. The house the family shares is a shabby mess when Ahmad first arrives, in constant disrepair, desperately needing the new coat of paint the couple are haphazardly slapping up on the walls, even as the fumes cause Samir’s sensitive eyes to swell up and tear. The sinks get clogged, the yard is unfinished and loaded with junk, and the space is too small by half, but over the course of things, it begins to look more and more homey. During the course of things, Samir and Marie begin to remake it into something they can comfortably share together.
Farhadi’s plots, which he describes as tiny mysteries, are also clever, intricate things, built in small moments and telling gestures, but able to withstand a thousand pressures, like an erector set dipped in titanium, as sound and well-built as a Roman aqueduct. One detail leads to a character’s understanding of something, which, in turn, leads to further questions until, at last, the whole apparatus is revealed by the end.
His frame is filled with the stuff of life, sustaining a threadbare lived-in quality — from the car windshield that remains fogged over even after a character wipes it with his hand, to the claustrophobic, chemical confines of Samir’s dry-cleaning shop — that permeates through his characters and works in subtle ways to render everything imminently believable and as natural as a documentary-style home movie — just, in Mahmoud Kalari, with a much better cinematographer.
Not a shot is wasted, not a dramatic moment unearned, the film is a triumph of art, even as what it points to is nothing less than the insurmountable human condition, our collective method of calibrating our pain and longing and guilt to survive another day.
The title is also more than a simple lamentation for things gone by: The film deals with the very complex way in which we, by concise act or circumstance, are forced to live with our tragically selective memories, shutting out those things that would topple us over if their full weight were placed on our shoulders. In Farhadi’s work, answers are always there in front of us, waiting for those moments we are finally able to see them clearly enough as to be recognizable.