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Taylor Made For Modelling

Supermodels and the fashion industry were a bit of an obsession for me when I was in my early teens. I was on the brink of becoming a young woman and suddenly clothes, make-up and looking super hot in order to bag the boys was all that mattered in life! It’s no wonder I looked to the supermodels for inspiration (weird considering I’m as far removed from ‘supermodel as you can get – but still no harm in trying!) I still find it hard to decide who my fave supermodel was but American model, Niki Taylor was most definitely in the top ten.  So naturally, I was thrilled to see an article featuring Supermodel of the nineties, Niki Taylor in the British press yesterday as the cover girl and mum of four made an appearance at Badgley Mischka runway show during Mercedes-Benz  Fashion Week.

Despite having the Cindy-style mole, Niki Taylor didn’t have the same level of Cindy-style fame in the UK and was probably one of the least known of the supers on this side of the Atlantic despite having started modelling at the age of thirteen and going on to grace the covers of Seventeen and Vogue. However, along with her late sister, Krissy Taylor, Niki was definitely one of my favourite models. One of the things I liked about Niki was that even though she was stunningly beautiful, she still had this earthy naturalness about her. She was beautiful but she could have been any girl on the beach or on the street (though obviously the girl who’d be attracting the most attention!) Although she was as equally beautiful as the other 90s supermodels – incidentally a term Cindy Crawford is quoted as saying she hated – she didn’t overdo the glam factor as many of her modelling contemporaries did. But then again, she didn’t have to do so; she had this unique girl-next-door beauty that was all her own. Niki looked at home sashaying down the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week as she did rollerblading down the sun-drenched streets of her Florida home.

In Britain, Niki is best remembered as being the first spokesmodel for Cover Girl Cosmetics – a brand that was very short-lived over here although it is still going strong in the States. As a young girl entering her early teenage years and beginning to develop an interest in make-up, my favourite supermodel’s association with Cover Girl is partly the reason why I favoured their products. Furthermore, after it was revealed that Niki swore by Beverly Hills Toothpaste to keep her pearly whites glowing, guess who started using the same brand of toothpaste? I used it religiously for years, and still use it occasionally today.

I also remember Niki’s role as a fashion/style advisor in Looks magazine – a magazine I purchased every month religiously. Readers would write in with their fashion and beauty dilemmas and Niki would solve them. After a few years, this role was then passed on to another model (Caprice, I think) but it just wasn’t the same and I missed Niki.

Although her career has constantly been on the rise, the model’s personal life has been a series of highs and lows (but then, who’s hasn’t!) She surprised everyone back in 1993, when a few months after graduating from high school, a nineteen year old Niki married  former Miami Hooters line-backer, Matt Martinez, after a whirlwind romance. The pair eloped to Las Vegas although they did eventually have a more traditional ceremony in 1994. Niki was already pregnant by then and when on to have twin sons, Jake and Hunter.

 

Unfortunately the marriage didn’t last, and along with the collapse of her relation with Martinez, some low points in Niki’s  life included a near-fatal car crash, and more tragically, the sad passing of her younger sister Krissy.

But life today for Niki gives her good reason to flash that megawatt smile. Now married to NASCAR driver, Burney Lamar, Niki is also mum to four year old daughter Ciel and toddler Rex, as well as Jake and Hunter who are now big strapping lads of nineteen. It’s hard to believe as Niki has lost none of her teen model looks!

I’m so glad that there’s still interest in Niki even though she likes to keep a fairly low-profile. The nineties supers always bring back very happy memories of flicking thorough fashion mags; experimenting with hair and make-up and shopping trips with my friends. And I have Niki and co. to thank for that.

 

 

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Supermodels Rocked The 90s!

 

Victoria’s Secret Angels are stunning and you’d be able to see that even without 20/20 vision! However when it comes to the catwalk queens of yesterday, I’m sorry but todays models couldn’t hold a candle to them – and the lashings of hair lacquer has nothing to do with it! Cindy, Christy, Claudia and co. are the original cover girls whose names were on everyone’s lips. Back in the 1990s, the Supermodel phenomenon was really taking off. Cindy Crawford said in an interview that she hated the term ‘Supermodel’ but love it or hate it, that’s what they were. Teenage girls used to stick posters of models up on their walls and fall asleep every night, dreaming of being discovered as a model and following in the footsteps of their idols. Teenage boys used to stick posters of models up on their walls and fall asleep every night dreaming of discovering a girl who looked like their pin up and following in her footsteps all the way to her front door!

I was madly in love with New Kids On The Block and couldn’t find a pop band to measure up when they disbanded, so I didn’t move on to the ‘next big thing’ as most teenage girls did. Therefore supermodels became my pop stars. My interest (or obsession depending on how you looked at it) began when I was about thirteen and I started reading my school friend’s fashion magazines. It wasn’t long before I was buying my own. I loved learning about fashion, the industry, the designers but most of all the princesses of the runway. It was a great way to discover what Naomi, Elle and their friends were up to.

Their wasn’t a single supermodel whose height, eye colour and vital stats I didn’t know. I knew how they were discovered; where they came from; which agency they were with; their interests etc. I even looked forward to watching the World Music Awards held in Monaco every year because of the numerous appearances made by supermodels – and of course I looked forward to the musical appearances! I watched every documentary about the fashion industry and modelling reality TV shows such as Babewatch and Model Behaviour. and I was always happiest when I saw that the latest edition of Top Model was available.

It might sound that as a teenage girl, I had an unhealthy obsession with the whole industry. I can understand that; if I had a teenage daughter, I might be worried. But looking at photos of models didn’t make me want to starve myself. If anything I ate even more – and living without sugar was not an option! I daydreamed about gracing the cover of Vogue, but I knew I was far from model material. I think I was in awe of the lifestyle. I knew that modelling was hard work and that models lived on a plane and were sleep deprived but there were tons of positives: meeting super-hot rock stars; freebies from designers; appearing in music videos; the chance to travel the world; owning a fabulous apartment, and the opportunity to branch out into acting, presenting, design, launching products etc. There’s no denying it; the supermodel lifestyle was fabulous and laden with opportunities.

But it wasn’t just their looks and lifestyles I admired (OK envied!) but their brains as well. That’s right, brains. Most people might think that models have lip-gloss for brains but in order to be a supermodel, there was no way you could rise to the top unless you had something in your head. They had to have good business acumen; successfully liaise with designers and clients;  launch products; realise great opportunities, and start to make the move into other areas, whether it’s acting, photography or another part of the fashion industry – unfortunately the only thing short about models is their shelf life! it also helps a great deal if their bilingual as there is a great deal of travel and international dealings involved. I read an interview with Czech supermodel, Eva Herzigova, where she revealed that when she first got into modelling, someone would ask her in English for her name and she would just nod though she is now fluent in French and English. Go Eva! In a nutshell, you had to be more than just a clothes horse – you had to be a brand.

I can’t decide who my favourite supermodel was. Could it have been Nadja Auermann, known for having the longest legs in the business? Or Karen ‘smoulder’ Mulder? Or maybe the talented Veronica Webb who showed that models could do more than just pose in front of the camera? Ms. Crawford, the original supermodel businesswoman? Or the wholesome, sweet-as-apple-pie Nikki Taylor? Perhaps I just loved all of them!

There’s no denying that today’s models are beautiful and work just as hard. But I know that they’re successful top models, I don’t feel they are Supermodels – not like the supermodels that I grew up with and admired. The Supers of my generation had that certain something that generated a tanker-load of interest. Most teenagers I know hardly mention models. I really do believe that the Supermodel phenomenon is a thing of the past and a key element of the decade that was the 1990s.

 

 

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Bum Deal With Bum Bags

Fanny Pack. I mean, er, bum bag!

Fanny Pack. I mean, er, bum bag!

Honestly, Hubby and I do have riveting conversations but the other night for some reason the topic of conversation was er, bumbags! Hubby was shocked to discover that in England they are called bumbags. I was shocked to discover that in America, they are called fanny packs. Hubby was shocked when I told him what fanny meant in England. I, in return was shocked, when he told me that in America, fanny meant bum. It was a night of shocking revelations indeed. Christmas Eastenders had nothing on us!

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It dawned on both of us that as popular as they were in the 1980s and early 1990s, they now seem to have vanished off the face of the earth. With the exception of someone I trained with back in January who wore one everyday (we have no idea why!) nobody owns a bum bag/fanny pack anymore. Or at least nobody we know. To be honest, I’m not surprised. They may have been the height of fashion at one time but to be honest they were a bit naff! I’m not sure why, but I never actually owned one though I did want a bum bag as everyone had one and they seemed to be really cool. The closest I got to having a bum bag was the purse belt I had to wear as part of my school uniform when I started secondary school. I was thrilled when I first got my purse belt… but the novelty soon wore off.

Mr. Motivator was a fan

Mr. Motivator was a fan

As handy as I’m sure they are, especially for runners, joggers and other sporty types, I don’t generally see the point of a bum bag. Surely that’s what pockets and regular bags are for. I am surprised to discover that bum bags are still readily available; production has not ceased. You just have to go online to see the huge variety available.I just haven’t seen them in stores for years. And with the exception of that one person, I haven’t seen anyone wearing them. However, the fact that they are still being made means that someone is buying them. But the question is, who?

If I ever change my mind about bum bags, this is the one I'm most likely to wear

If I ever change my mind about bum bags, this is the one I’m most likely to wear

Answers on a postcard please!

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French Plait: Style of a Generation

When I was younger, there was only one hairstyle I wanted to rock. It wasn’t the ‘Rachel’ cut (although I did get that years later) or the pixie crop and gorgeous as it was, it wasn’t even Bardot’s tousled beehive. Instead it was… the French plait! That’s right, the super simple, humble French plait was the hairstyle du jour pour moi back in the day. Almost every girl in my class came to school at one point or another with their hair braided from their hairline right down to the ends of their hair. The intricate woven design that ran down the middle of their head always looked very impressive to me and it was very much the trend back in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

The traditional French Plait

The traditional French Plait

Sadly I wasn’t a member of the French Plait brigade. Why? Because I couldn’t do one to save my life! To be honest I’ve always been quite rubbish when it came to doing hair – even now. I always just tied back the top section of my hair; wore my hair in a simple low slung ponytail; or if I was feeling more adventurous, a French pony which was a lot more easier to accomplish than the fiddly plait. I only ever attempted the French plait once in my life. It was incredibly messy but I was pleased that I had had the patience to persevere in order to achieve the weird, haphazard creation on my head.

The French Pony

The French Pony

One of the reasons why I loved the French plait – apart from the fact that it was very much en vogue at the time – was because it was so neat and sophisticated. Girls who wore their hair in such a style looked very well groomed and elegant. Teenage girls back in the early 1990s weren’t necessarily into elegant and sophisticated (certainly not any of the teenage girls from my neck of the woods anyway) but I thought it would make me feel very worldly and grown up. Thankfully, I had an aunt who would always French plait my hair whenever I stayed with her and I just as expected – I LOVED it!

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However, I have noticed that the more traditional style French plait isn’t quite so common now among girls of any age. It was seeing a young woman in a café recently with her hair in a French plait that reminded me of my school days and made me realise that it’s not as fashionable as it used to be for everyday wear. The only other time I see it worn is during Oktoberfest!

Side French Plait

Side French Plait


That’s not to say that the French plait is dead and buried. It would appear that it has undergone something of a transformation and the new 21st century plait can be worn on the side; across the front of the head. You can even French plait your fringe. Unfortunately, I’m still boring when it comes to hair but let’s see how I fare with the new style braids!

Plaited fringe courtesy of Ms. Aniston!

Plaited fringe courtesy of Ms. Aniston!

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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in The Way We Wore

 

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A Legacy That Cannot Be Krossed Out

I cannot describe the shock I felt after hearing about the tragic passing of Chris Kelly, one half of nineties rap duo Kriss Kross, at the age of 34. One of the most inspiring aspects of my childhood is gone forever and the world of urban music is in mourning.

Chris 'Mack Daddy' Kelly

Chris ‘Mack Daddy’ Kelly

Atlanta born Kelly was discovered by a teenage Jermaine Dupri at a shopping mall in 1990 along with his friend Chris Smith. Together the double act became Kriss Kross and went by the names ‘Mack Daddy’ (Kelly) and ‘Daddy Mack’ (Smith.) Dupri produced their debut album, Totally Krossed Out, which was released in 1992. It was this album which spawned their chart topping single Jump.

Kriss Kross: as fans remember them

Kriss Kross: as fans remember them

For a while, Krissmania spread all across the world. Everyone rapped along to Jump and copied the choreography. Boys wanted to be Mack Daddy and Daddy Mack; girls had Mack Daddy and Daddy Mack plastered all over their bedroom walls. But it is for their outlandish sense of style for which Kriss Kross are best remembered. Clothes had to be big, baggy and backwards! They are without a doubt the only guys who could make putting clothes on back-to-front look super cool!

The two Chris': all grown up

The two Chris’: all grown up

Kriss Kross also featured in the videos of artists such as TLC and Run DMC; made cameos in various films and TV shows; starred in a video game and recorded the rap tune for Rugrats and best of all bagged themselves a spot on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour (in my opinion the best Michael Jackson CD ever!)

However, as with most of their contemporaries, their success was short-lived. Subsequent offerings did not fare as well as Totally Krossed Out, and despite making a comeback, they never experienced the same level of stardom as they did the first time around. Furthermore Jump is the only hit for which the duo are best known.

Like most of the world, my friends and I were Kriss Kross Krazy and they definitely appealed to the tomboys in us. Back in the early nineties (especially among young inner city girls) pink, cute and girly was out. Big, baggy and boyish was in and we dug the two Chris’ look. But more importantly, being of a similar age, Kriss Kross showed us that it was possible to be young and ‘live the dream’. The dream being having a fabulous career; truckloads of money in the bank; partying like a superstar and having the hottest names in music on speed dial! Oh and that hard work, dedication, determination and the will to succeed will ensure that you can achieve anything beyond your wildest dreams. In an essay for English, I wrote that I wanted to be remembered as the cute kid in a Michael Jackson video – well Chris Kelly and Chris Smith managed to do just that.

The style that made them famous

The style that made them famous

At present, despite a great deal of speculation as to why Kelly collapsed and died suddenly, nothing has been confirmed. All we do know is that a brilliant young life full of talent and promise has ended. Tributes have been flooding in from artists such as LL Cool J, Jermaine Dupris – who described Kelly as the son he never had – P Diddy and of course, Chris Smith who released a statement describing his devastation at the loss of his friend and band-mate who was ‘like a brother.’ In the midst of the sadness, we can take comfort in the memories and years of entertainment which is Kelly’s lasting legacy.

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RIP Chris Kelly.

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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Gone Too Soon

 

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