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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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Video

Forever Ulay

ulay

My colleagues love playing a good game of ‘Guess Angel’s Age.” I don’t know why – I’ve already told them I’m old. What more do they need to know?

“I reckon she was born in the 1940s,” laughed one of my colleagues.
“Of course I was,” I replied, “though you’d never know due to all the Oil of Ulay I’ve been using.”
“Oh my gosh,” cried another colleague, “my mum used to use that all the time!”
“Yeah but back then it definitely would have been called Oil of Ulay. None of this Olay Business.”
“I know – I don’t know why they bothered changing the name. They should have just left it.”
“Don’t lie – Oil of Olay used to be called Oil of Ulay?” (Bless her, it was before her time.)

olay

 

Trust me, the conversation was a lot more riveting than it sounded – and of course took me back to my childhood when a bottle of Oil of Ulay adorned the dressing table of many women – and my mum was no different. Ulay, back then, was heavily advertised on television, urging consumers to purchase a bottle, with promises of beautiful, youthful skin. As a child, I figured that was what I needed if I wanted to keep looking, er, eight!

 

Olay began life after the Second World War when it was invented by South African chemist, Graham Wulff, a man who undoubtedly has the gratitude of females all over the world! He named it ‘Oil of Olay’ as a spin on the name of the product’s key ingredient, lanolin. Packaged in a heavy glass bottle during the early days, Olay stood out from the beauty product crowd as it was a soft pink fluid rather than a thick white cream.

Olay's inventor: Chemist Graham Wulff

Olay’s inventor: Chemist Graham Wulff

In fact, what Olay actually was was a bit of a mystery as it was never labelled a moisturizer and neither was it referred to as a beauty fluid. the packaging didn’t say what the product actually did but it was uniquely marketed as a ‘beauty secret’ and promised a ‘younger looking you.’

It was soon launched in other parts of the world as Oil of Ulay (UK and Ireland), Oil of Ulan (Australia) and Oil of Olaz (continental Europe). It was only in 1999 that the product was given the globally unifying name of Oil of Olay – which is exactly as Wulff intended.

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Sales really took off in the 1970s, with a huge television ad campaign and an extended product range which included a cleanser and a night cream. The sub heading ‘beauty fluid’ was added to packaging.

Today, the product range has exploded with a multitude of products catering for virtually every age, skin type and skincare requirement. All these years later, Olay is still very much a giant in the beauty industry.

new olay

This iconic, pretty, pink beauty fluid is so symbolic of ‘my era’. Oh and it’ll always be Ulay to me!

 

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Literally The Coolest Lip Balms Ever!

Being a typically girly girl, I am so excited about the new range of lip balms based on Wall’s ice-cream classics. Whoever came up with this idea is a legend in the making!

The new range of lip balms

The new range of lip balms

The new range comes in four fantastic flavours: Feast, Strawberry Split, Twister and Mini Milk. These old school classics definitely take me back to my childhood: a time of ice-cream vans; walks in the park; summers spent hanging out with our little friends, and not being able to walk past a newsagent’s without dragging Granddad in to buy us all ice-lollies.

Feast

Feast

Mini Milk

Mini Milk

Twister

Twister

I honestly can’t decide which was my favourite out of the four as I’m sure I scoffed them all in equal measure. However, Feast may have had the edge simply for being super chocolatey! It’s just too bad that the ever fabulous Fab isn’t part of the line up as I loved those as well but sadly it was unlikely to be included as Fab is not a Wall’s ice cream. Oh well!

Strawberry Split

Strawberry Split

Anyway, I cannot wait to get my hands – or lips – on all four great flavours. Proof that a moment on the lips doesn’t necessarily have to mean a lifetime on the hips!

gingham-apron-pie-lady

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Old School Stuff

 

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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!

gingham-apron-pie-lady

 
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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.

ck

RIP Chris Kelly.

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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Gone Too Soon

 

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