Thursday, 28 June 2012

Nadya Vall Modeeling Documentary

Heartbreaking documentaries don't come much more authentic than this. I caught up with the critically acclaimed documentary 'Girl Model', which challenged the somewhat blurred lines between the modelling industry, child labour and prostitution. Directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, it's told from the point of view of two contrasting protagonists. First, it shows the journey of 13 year old Nadya Vall, who is plucked from obscurity from the Siberian countryside and thrown unsupervised into the Japanese modelling market. She was discovered by model scout and former model herself, Ashley Arbaugh -who has a somewhat cold and haunting viewpoint of the modelling industry.

In progression of the broadcast, Nadya was sent to Japan on promise that she was guaranteed two jobs worth $8000. Whilst in Japan, she was living in a small apartment that looked grim, dirty and lacklustre- especially in a country such as Japan which prides itself on cleanliness. She was living with Madlen, a Russian girl who felt slightly more confident to speak up and ask questions she damn well deserved to know the answers too. The girls used Madlen's credit card to get through the first couple of weeks, after they discovered the once positive tide had turned against them. The documentary also showed one rare awkward meeting between the girls and Ashley after she discovered them, in their apartment in Japan. Madlen tried to voice her concerns over the confirmed jobs and pay they were meant to receive. Ashley responds in an almost whimsical carefree manner, which still left the girls without a sense of future security. It made for dry viewing.

It also showed the girls trying to eat as much sweets as they could, so they could gain weight and be sent home, banishing their misery of limited finances and loneliness. Madlen ended up gaining 2cm around her waist and was inevitably sent packing, without making any profit from her time in Japan. After being stranded by herself for a period of time after Madlen left, Nadya finally returned home. She also made no profit. It almost seems cruel the amount of misinformation that the families from these poorer European countries are presented with. Hungry to gain wealth and achievement, they accept the terms and conditions on promises alone.

Ashley, on the other hand portrays an amusing anaylsis on the world of fashion and the death of the 'working model'. Travelling through Eastern Europe by train, she sits back jaded and weary, reminiscing about the days when she was a young 'Nadya' herself. Spending a decade in the industry, she's been trained to know that fashion prefers young girls. The younger, the better. She knows it's wrong and you can tell there's an inner voice within her that's screaming at the girls to find a different path. But then, how are they going to climb out of poverty? How else will they make it? For every thousands of girls who enter the modelling industry, a handful make it as supermodels. Everyone wants a fighting chance to be part of the exclusive 'handful'. In the bitter end, another 'child' is discovered as a potential model via an open casting call. Smiling at the camera, she has no set idea what her future holds, even though she thinks she's guaranteed fame and money.

In the time since the documentary was aired, Nadya (now 17) and her family have come forward to talk about how they felt the documentary had humiliated Nadya and her supposed 'naivety'. Cameras may not have caught all parts of her stay in Japan- but there was a particular element to this modelling industry story the directors were trying to convey. They portrayed the underbelly of the modelling world brilliantly. Therefore, I believe Nadya should accept the support that many people are giving her rather than shunning them. If she keeps doing so, she well and truly will become the 'victim' of the whole process- the ONE thing that she argued she wasn't. On the other hand, it has brought to light models' rights and their working conditions, which are extensively being addressed.

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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bubblegum Pink Hair - Love It

I had a mini heart attack and a whirlwind love affair with Demi Lovato's hair when I saw it scraped up into a ponytail with bubblegum pink ends at the X-Factor USA auditions a couple days ago. It further cemented my love for bubblegum dyed hair after witnessing Kate Bosworth sporting a sea of green ends on the cover of Company Magazine a couple of months ago. That was my first 'bubblegum moment'. Well it wasn't. My first bubblegum moment was sitting in the back of a car when I was about 6, driving through Germany and being taught in broken Urdu by my dads' friends' teenage German-Asian daughters how to blow a bubble. I wasn't getting it and it was frustrating- But I kept persisting in my own time until I did. Who knew that years down the line I would associate that memory with my hair.  I kinda want bubblegum green hair too. That would be cool. Maybe the experimentation with the picture below is a bit too much. It's a dirty witchy colour. I do kinda like it, but I wouldn't want to scare people away. Perhaps more like Nickelodeon slimey green tips. Then I can stick it into a ponytail and I can do a Demi and be good to go.
PS. What was your first bubblegum moment?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Lily Kershaw - Rising Star

Season finales are always a big deal. Loose ends are tied up, some characters contemplate their future, eager beavers get married and there's a sudden tug at your heart strings that wants you to be part of the fictional gang in their fight against evil. That was the case when Season 7 of Criminal Minds came to an end this Friday (UK air date)- and Lily Kershaw was the perfect singer/songwriter to sum it all up. Check her out- another future biggie !!!

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