Sunday, October 31, 2010
A "TREAT" FOR THE SHIT-TALKERS, A "TRICK" FOR THE TALKED-ABOUT: AIRING OUT TORONTO'S "DIRTY" LAUNDRY
Dear Torontonians of the Upper East side,
Spotted: A local reality TV star holding hands with a promo model/go-go dancer/stripper/undercover call girl. Looks like her drunk club promoter/ friend-with-benefits and Facebook frenemy aren't too happy about this. Guess that's why they call them "one hit" wonders. Off to the next.
You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl.
If this was "Gossip Girl" - or any TV show, for that matter - this excerpt could've derived from a hypothetical gossip website that was made to parody celebrity tabloids and spread supposedly harmless or humourous rumours about the elite - with room for speculation, of course. But, instead, this is an excerpt I concocted on my own, summarizing the "real" trash I read about certain Torontonians (some famous, some not) on http://www.thedirty.com/. Just in case you haven't read my previous articles mentioning (the "de-humanizing" nature of) "The Dirty," http://www.thedirty.com/ is a website that peer-pressures you into anonymously submitting "dirt" about anyone and anything - selecting from a list of cities and universities the person you would prefer to slander is from - and hiding behind an alias to attack anyone you and your friends can't admittedly "hate" to their faces. Empowering? Maybe for a little while. Guilt-free? Not so much.
Now, "The Dirty" has been offended their selves - by a Vancouver girl who warned the media about how many citizens destroy lives and reputations in their city on the infamous website. And with the vast accumulation of posts I've watched climb in the past week - about specific smaller towns set in the GTA area - I think it's about time I do the same: investigating possible suspects as the culprit for this virtual-tarnishing of Toronto's image.
Here are some direct excerpts from the "Toronto" section of the website - well, at least, the several I found especially disturbing, incriminating, and even somewhat illegal.
"(Mentions name? Illegal?) is a stripper from Toronto...When she needs to sell her body for money, she does drugs everyday of the week and can be seen at all the clubs where purple crayons are. "Nik" (the site founder/moderator), with a body like that and a horse face and her giant forehead, do you see model potential?"
"(About another girl) She finally grew up and now thinks she's the hottest shit, after she lost her virginity (personal info?). Became a bottle whore and now thinks she can control the world - and all guys with her saggy boobs. She has sex with guys so they can lend her their car, because being a manager at Bluenotes (location may reveal where she works and put her in danger) isn’t paying enough. Poor girl, doesn’t even have her license at 20. Would you?"
"(About another girl) This gold diggin’ sloot had been with her man for 4 years — practically engaged — before she decided to go to Cuba and bang three guys, including a couple purple gregrs. She comes back from Cuba and gives her BFs all the STDs (if this is true, she could be putting other men's health at risk, but this information is being sent to the wrong venue) she picked up there, only to dump him a month later..."
As you can see, visitors of http://www.thedirty.com/ take advantage of the moderator's leniencies towards what comments can be posted under each piece of "dirt." Clearly, comments that imply racial, homophobic, and prejudiced slurs should add up to enough to stall the heartless medium's undeserved success, but when these stories reveals another person's name, address, or disease - especially without their consent - legal action should most definitely be considered.
One Toronto victim did take action. Let's call her "B," a young woman who was pinpointed two weeks ago by a group of girls who simply assumed she posted about one of their friends on the website. "Even when the site owner said I had never put anyone up, they continued to harrass me and say that I was an escort and addicted to drugs - and all kinds of other horrible things. My boyfriend had it removed by spending $10,000 with a lawyer, but unfortunately, this girl and her friends won't leave me alone." "B" goes on to tell me that these girls were still publicly - and falsely - blaming her under the post that someone else wrote about their friend. She plans to file more charges, which will push the website to reveal the IP address(es) of the perpetrator(s)/girls who were making threats and posting about her. "We will move forward with criminal action for defamation of character and slander, not to mention civil suits for the lawyer fees - and more."
And why shouldn't she? "B" has the right to privacy and protection of her own identity, even if her enemies - or frenemies - do have "freedom of speech." Nasty posts online - especially on popular websites like Facebook and The Dirty, where practically "everyone" registers - can not only take away someone's good name but put their career, relationship, safety - and even life - in jeopardy. Even if you don't have a specific person as a "friend" on Facebook, google their name and link up to potentially any truth or lie - good or bad - about them. With "The Dirty," you can locate all the murmurs of the words "slut," "bitch," "ugly," "fat," "crazy" - or any other cringe-worthy noun or adjective in the English dictionary - about one person conveniently organized under one post.
However, Facebook isn't like "The Dirty" or "Perez Hilton" - in that sense anyway. Members can only see your activity if they have you as a "friend," and sometimes - as I discovered through my own witnessing and experiences - a Facebook "friend" isn't much of an (off-Facebook) friend at all.
Like when elementary school acquaintances add you simultaneously and then decide to make fun of "someone else with your name" (AKA you) on their wall post conversations. Or when people you knew all your life - and maybe didn't necessarily like - have their old "friends" creating vicious hate groups about them that are taken down a month after reporting it. And how about those ex-girlfriends, boys? The ones who shoot through psycho rampages and text-threaten female friends from YOUR cell phone, then reveal your 17-year-old mistresses on their Facebook statuses? Hey, what better way to get revenge than to post how much of a cheating a****** you are, for the whole world to see?
Except with Facebook, you may be able to identify people under their real names. With Facebook, relationship fights usually involve a tight-knit group of people who have resided in the same, small local community since they were pooping in their diapers. And once someone announces you're the village bicycle, the whole village knows...
But even when your "friend" knows that it's you bullying them online, you still continue to advertise her personal life online, doing what you wouldn't dare to do - to her face. Whether you're venting off steam and lashing out at her for your own personal issues or you're arguing about the way she has hurted you, the reasons why you're bullying her online can range from your home situation to your stress to - you, and your own insecurities. They say others put you down because they want to bring themselves up, to feel better about themselves. But, should their past be an excuse for their present or future behaviour towards you, a person possibly unrelated to their life at all?
Academia and media attempt to raise awareness about bullying online and offline - specifically in school - urging victims to come forward with their stories to teachers and principals. But, really, how much do they help? Horror stories about the school system doing nada - until the bullying results in a homicide or suicide - resurface, discouraging victims to "snitch" on the bully and thereby possibly making the situation worse. Some tell you to ignore the bullies, not giving them the ammunition or reaction they want from you. Yet, some bullies misinterpret this as a sign that you are tolerating what they're doing and then will continue to do it. Make too much noise, and they'll give people more reasons to make fun of you. Either way, you're screwed. When you're the target of a bully, you can cry or die, being kind or just as cruel back. Now, thanks to the internet - Facebook and other social networking sites - there's a hell of alot more opportunity for children, teens, and even adults to feed into their gossiping addiction. Even if the computer keeps a record of all the mean stuff the bully can be incriminated with, it can be used against the victim as well.
Spotted: A used-to-be frenemy making amends with her now-again BFF. The BFF takes some well-intended advice from her friend and dumps both her reality TV star boyfriend and drunk club promoter friend-with-benefits. Now, two beautiful, young ladies can paint the town red and shop and party 'till they drop. Ah, peace is finally restored back in girl world. Finally, a breath of fresh air.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino: "I splash water over my eyes, and then I realize - we got grenades! So, I'm gunna get them out real quick." Dictionary definition of "grenade": "A small bomb or explosive missile that is detonated by a fuse and thrown by hand or shot from a rifle or launcher." Jersey Shore definition of "grenade": "really ugly chick." How can you compare a human being's looks - which appears to represent their societal worth - to an objective bomb or missile with no feelings? I guess this isn't surprising; the world has been discriminating and ostracizing so-called "unattractive" human "grenades" for centuries, even so far as to the point that they can't live normal lives or be treated like people. Not only does someone's DNA land them in a pool of negative comments i.e. "fat", "lard," etc., but it spills into other areas of their life: career, relationships, body image. All this just because they were born the way others didn't want them to be.
Here's some proof. Unless you were born into a wealthy family and inherit some major everlasting dough, you need a job or some source of income to survive, to put food on the table and a roof over your head. And while job websites have gotten bad raps for unprofessionalism and incredibility, the numerous ads on Craigslist that might offer the slightest chance of a job for the "less qualified" asks for pictures along with resumes. Even if certain jobs require their employees to maintain well-groomed appearances while selling their products to protect their company's business reputation, looks shouldn't always precede over communication or technical skills, even if the applicant requires opportunity for more experience to move up. Obviously, some jobs that call for you to stay in the office and out of other people's eyes may not encourage that same level of personal appearance (unless it's one of those sketchy ads from a "CEO" seeking an "attractive, intelligent female to fulfill his business and personal needs" - ew). However, I've noticed while glancing across these ads, the types of companies that recommend pictures along with resumes are restaurants and sales, especially if the job descriptions fall under job titles like "shootergirl," "bartender," "waitress," and "promotional model."
Of course, any type of model needs to fit under a certain "look," but certain companies have attempted to make the "model" and "server" synonymous (i.e. the " hot model/waitress" prototype), in order to sell their products more effectively. Hooters and Moxie's render perfect examples of brands implementing girls to sell sex along with the product. Hooters is famous for their thin, busty employees in tight, white, low-cut wife beaters and unforgiving orange booty shorts. A recent story about a Hooters girl made headlines. A Hooters girl - who was a healthy and "curvy" 132 lbs - was bombarded by her manager to lose weight, which inevitably provoked her to quit. What, do 132 lbs girls not get hit on? Is there something wrong with being 132 lbs? Not at all! But, by telling her to lose weight, this is what Hooters is implying. Perhaps this respective ex-Hooters girl could not squeeze into the XS (maybe S) uniforms they provided her to wear, but hey! Kim Kardashian's butt cheeks would probably runneth under those bum-enhancing shorts shorts, and while those shorts shorts would not flatter Kim's already bootylicious derriere, I think most men would still consent to Kim's smokin' allure. And I have never once in my life seen a girl with sturdy or short legs work in an LBD at Moxie's, even if those legs boasted strong, muscular stems. Back in the day, flight attendants were expected to be female model-types not exceeding over a particular height or weight. According to these companies, anyone who is over 130 lbs or less than a C cup is considered too much of a grenade to work there.
In general, society makes anyone over a size 2, less than a D cup, or a small nose a "grenade" joke against the "hot" friend or cockblocker. These days, people - like The Situation - are calling girls who wear a size 6/8 (perhaps, Angelina) "fat" and are half-descent looking "grenades." Stereotypes assume the "grenade" must be fat, lazy, mean - much like the historical depictions of ugly, evil characters in Disney fairy tales and kids' cartoons. Most of us are - or should be - reasonable people that understand (or don't make missions) to call other girls "grenades." But what's confusing is separating superficial people who are phobic (or do not associate themselves with) "grenades" (as if they have a contagious disease) from the people who appreciate the strengths and imperfect quirks of all creation's beauty. Models like Crystal Renn and Christina Hendricks are deemed more successful now that they're fuller-figured. Crystal Renn had to learn that the hard way through an excruciating journey of battling anorexia as a model, going from a skeletal size 00 to a voluptuous size 12. And Christina Hendricks was announced to being crowned the "sexiest woman" for guys and gals alike in - where else - Esquire magazine. Yet despite all this change in model and celebrity body diversity, the media still has to catch up with their multiple airbrushed advertisements and weight loss articles, not to mention designers pretentiously turning their noses away from any models over a size 2.
Is this all intentional, or are we inclined, conditioned by society to discriminate against those of different race, sizes, or appearances? Here's something you probably don't know. Considerably "attractive" and slim women are statistically proven to acquire more job promotions and employment than their respective other (less attractive and slender) XX chromosome opponents. They say it's because of hair, makeup, and wardrobe, but does that really make all the difference? Looks may be the first thing people see to judge you on - because they can't see your amazing personality first - but how does that justify hurtful generalizations about your identity and the purpose in life you worked so diligently for? This is especially offensive, when as a woman, your beauty is perceived to exude a means of sex, prominsciuty - if you will. Something else you probably don't know: Engaging in a "relationship" with the boss has been statistically linked to promotions and hires. i.e. many bosses must have affairs with their co-workers. "Sleeping your way to the top" isn't just for escorts or porn stars anymore, especially if you feel you can only be sexy in terms of your "performance" skills (not looks) and you are desperate enough to use sex. Grey- area "companies" (dominated by men) include - but are not limited to - paid dating, go go dancing, and net modelling, which can inadvertently lure women into the moola-showering worlds of porn, escorting, and stripping. Despite the fact that women have become more independent - working outside of the home or even for themselves at home - men still hold on to the traditional double standards nominating themselves to be the "stronger" sex. And while women may think they're twisting men around their perfectly manicured fingers - along with their come-hither cleavage and leg-crossing - men are setting those sexual expectations to twist women around their - well, something else. So, really, who has the power here - the men or the women (or both)?
Or is this just the way life is? Are we doomed to the pros and cons of "grenade-ness" or "beauty" for the remainder of our existences? Nowadays, we need to look good to survive - to uphold the most promising job, family, home - it's all a competition. But, perhaps, it's a competition no one really wins in the end. To the men who crave silicone instead of human flesh - "surgically enhanced" Heidis over "curvy and fit" Penelopes, plastic 80s-present Playboy models over 50s natural Marilyn Monroe-like Playboy centerfolds, photo shopped laminate paper fantasies over untouched, mammal realities - and the women who want to aspire to be that, ending the life they're trying to save, in a material world they're striving to survive in, perhaps beauty is more pain that waxing, sweating, and tweezing. So painful that we don't even know what's real anymore.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
For brown-eyed, brunette-turned-blonde Kelli, being an advice columnist/model/fill-in-the-blank is merely perceived as a way of life. Opening up visually i.e. revealing her taut 34C-22-36 hourglass silhouette in adult male publications like Hustler and Playboy - and emotionally i.e. distributing tips about touchy topics like love and sex in her own advice columns for hammerfitness.com and allthingshockey.com - has led to her recognition in her hometown Toronto's elite media i.e. the Toronto Sun and favourite hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here, in our exclusive and revealing Q&A, Kelli defends laddy mags' definition of porn, potentially vacuous stereotypes about the industry, and her expertise in penning about relationships.
V. You've been modeling for majority of your life. When did you start modeling? Did you use this name as an alias to protect your childhood identity from your adult one?
K. I actually started modeling as a child. I was always encouraged and have always been a part of the modeling world. I use my real name.
V. What inspired you to start modeling? Was it always a dream, a passion of your's?
K. It was always a dream and a passion. I love making beautiful art, being creative, pushing the limits, collaborating, etc.
V. You've been nominated as finalists for both 2005 and 2006's Miss Swimsuit Canada. With that and modeling in versatile areas i.e. calendars, magazines, etc., how would you say all of these aspects of modelling are similar and/or different?
K. That is really hard to say, because there's a lot of strong similarities yet a lot of differences, as well. For example, if you are shooting a fashion theme, the poses are strong, the facial expressions are strong. It's best to be posed, not too curvy. Where as in swimsuit competitions you need to be bubbly, outgoing, playful, loud personality, curvy, etc. So, you are always somewhat of an actress playing different roles.
V. It says on your website that you don't do hardcore or softcore adult industry modelling, but that you would consider nudity - and you have appeared in Hustler, Skunk, etc. a few times. Of course, nudity doesn't always constitute as pornography, but isn't Hustler a form of porn? Please explain :)
K. Skunk has no nudity; it is a magazine about marijuana. Hustler is definitely an adult magazine with hardcore porn in it, but not every image in Hustler is pornographic. I have no problem with nudity at all, but I will not have sexual contact with another model. That is my personal choice. If a magazine like Hustler wants to publish my pics - even feature me or have me on the cover - then I am damn proud of that. There are pornographic pictures in the issues that I'm in, but none of me. Some even have no nudity. The nude images do not show sexual contact, therefore they are not pornographic.
V. You have also appeared in Playboy.com in 2008 and in UMM Magazine in 2005, 2006, and 2008. How did these magazines depict you, and how/why did UMM feature you 3 times/(almost) 3 years in a row? (Not that you shouldn't have been, but were you a "Girls Next Door" 3 times)?
K. I have been very fortunate! As for how they depicted me, I was impressed with them all!
V. There was a 3 page spread of you in Hustler for the MySpace feature. Were you on MySpace for something?
K. Hustler Magazine discovered me on MySpace.
V. Being a model, what is your take on certain modelling issues i.e. body image, drug use, prostitution? Is there anything you would like to share about your life or the industry that you want to warn people about/let people know?
K. I have no idea why prostitution is thought to have any relation to modeling. Models are models, not prostitutes. It's honestly like comparing a doctor to a cop; it makes no sense. I also don't understand this stereotype about drug use. I don't do drugs or have any friends who do - models and non-models. Drug use is as common and uncommon in the modeling industry as it is in any other general part of the world. Body image can be tough. It depends on what type of modeling it is. Fashion models need to be thin. Glamour models need to be curvy. So, there is some pressure, but I haven't experienced or witnessed any amount of harsh struggle with it - no more so than the regular world. There is pressure for other things i.e. tanning, nails, always having to look good, having a large wardrobe, etc. It is costly. Many people do not realize the cost it takes to be a successful model.
V. You wrote advice columns for allthingshockey.com and hammerfitness.com about love and sex. What life experiences about relationships have made you qualified enough to write these advice columns? What issues do you see the most - or are most memorable to you - from advice/questions people ask you? What lessons have you learned about love - from yourself, those people, etc. - by writing these advice columns?
K. I was approached to write these advice columns, because I'm a model and a writer. I'm also a columnist and a published author. As for being qualified on the topic, I've been in relationships - like everyone else - and have learned from my experiences. Men sometimes like a female perspective on relationship issues, so I was glad to help. I found a lot of the questions came down to communication, or better yet, miscommunication. It seems the opposite sex don't really understand each other, mainly because they won't talk openly with each other. The best relationships I came across were the ones where both people spoke openly about the good and bad, with respect.
V. What are your goals - non-modelling or modelling - for the nearby or far future?
K. I plan on retiring in less then a year, so that I can go back to my writing, as modeling has completely consumed my life. I just have a to-do list for my portfolio I'm currently working on and plan to finish by the summer of 2011.
V. What advice can you give to other aspiring models - or anyone -about life, the business, etc?
K. Decide what your goals and limitations are, before you walk in and then stick to them. Never compromise yourself and let anyone tell you that you can't make it. If you have a passion and a strength, pursue it. It's okay to listen to helpful criticism, so you need to take in the good and the bad. If you want to be a model, you need to be able to handle criticism and have thick skin. Deal with it. But, listen to all of the good and take that in too, so you enjoy every moment of it.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
If you're a GLEEK - or a geek like me who loves perusing through magazine stands - you couldn't have missed this super-sexy and scandalous GQ cover of GLEE stars Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Dianna Agron. Both the infamous stars and magazine have lit some fire and sparked some "hot" controversy (in more ways than one!), adding in butt gropes at the hands of Monteith and lingerie peekaboo's unraveled from the clothes of Michele to the already-conventionally sexualized men's magazine and entertainment industry.
The Parents Television Council, however, believes that GQ, a magazine that clearly targets men, shouldn't be presenting women who portray underage characters in such an adult and provocative manner. They even quote "it borders on pedophilia," which raises the burning question - does it?
Well, to answer that question, we'd have to answer if the photographic theme here also steps over boundaries defining "children" and "pornography" - or "child pornography." Disturbingly enough, if you gallivant the internet or adult video stores, you'll discover youth - or 18-and-19-year-olds made up and primped to appear youthful - dressed up scantily clad in porn designed to sexualize "teen" or "high school" girls. There are even adult magazines that fetishize and search only for girls who just turned 18 to pose! Even if the actresses there really are over the age of majority, the fact that "glamour" but "non-porn" men's magazines are making already-young girls look younger - in their recognizable "high school" level brand, nonetheless - indirectly promotes or implies the thought to contemplate pedophilia.
But, just because the men that will pick up this issue will think about these things while gazing at the girls doesn't mean they'll actually do anything about it. Pedophilia can also be ignited by one's DNA or childhood; some levels of sociopath are born this way, while others, unfortunately, have been raised in abusive households - taught to be violent and aggressive. So, if we conclude that GQ - or any magazine, for that matter - "borders on pedophilia," then wouldn't everyone become a pedophile while reading it? Not to mention what constitutes as porn can be made synonymous to any of the many "sexy" photographs taken by various female celebrities and their young fans on Facebook and MySpace walls. So, you can't say that every source of flesh - ounce of cleavage or leg flaunted in a club or on a beach - fulfills the purpose of pornography i.e. to sexually entice the consumer.
But, when the girl in the photo really is under 18 - and the photo is a little bit sexier than showing some midriff, potentially even having the girl caress herself or perform a sexual act to some extent (especially when it's glamorized by a mainstream publication) - the definition of "child pornography" blurs quite rapidly. In fact, so rapidly that evidence of this type of "photography" or "pornography" featuring female celebrities was born years ago - only these stars were actually underage.
Remember that classic April 1999 Rolling Stone cover of then-newcomer Britney Spears in a push-up bra and short-shorts rubbing against a Teletubbie (I think it was Tinky Winky)? She just turned 17 at the time of shooting (Brit was born in December 1981, so do the math). Let's not forget her also-sexualized high schoolgirl kilt, bra, and vest combo in her debut "Baby One More Time" video (which was ironically also emulated by Lea Michele in Glee - on the show and in GQ. Recall my previous post about the episode a few weeks ago). Britney was still 16, when she shot that video. Despite the fact that the sexy schoolgirl and cheerleader was always a common fantasy for men, it wasn't always for the reason of pedophilia but for the reason of regression to an earlier stage in their lives - when they were adolescents themselves, lusting or crushing after the sweet girl next door or the popular cheerleader princess. But, Britney definitely brought the sexy schoolgirl back, hence Glee's choice of that video and the many girls that aspired to the hiked kilts, unbuttoned shirts, and timeless Halloween costumes after that.
Then, there was Jessica Biel in a 1999 cover of Gear Magazine. She was barely 17, when she shot that cover - and she was topless in a not-so-implied way, covering her bare breasts with her hands. In this case, she was touching her nude breasts to stimulate a sexual response from male readers. Well, at least, that's what the magazine wanted her to do...
Which leads us to our next subject and question. Did the magazine take advantage of Jessica Biel as a minor, or was Jessica Biel fully aware of what she was about to do? Just like was Billy Ray Cyrus, the adult father of a 15-year-old Miley Cyrus who both consented to the backless - or implied topless - photo of Miley perceived to be sitting from a sideview angle? Here, Vanity Fair argued that the photos were permitted by both parties and considered to be "artistic and classy," while the Cyrus family said they gave into Vanity Fair's instructions and "puppy dog eyes."
So, who's really to blame here? The girls or the magazines - or the both? Or maybe the industry that pressures these magazines and girls to work together in the first place? Well, if we took this issue of GQ to a healthy man and a pedophile, could we illicit different responses?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Looking at Damon Allen, there's no doubt he won 4 Grey Cups and 3 Grey Cup MVP awards, or passed 11,914 rushing yards (as his third highest total in CFL history). His whole demeanor screams a colourful yet homogeneous combination of quiet sophistication, humble confidence, and fierce perseverance. Strolling into one of the notorious King St. Starbucks, a tall, dark, and handsome Damon showcased his striking features in a figure-flattering, all-black-vest-and-bottoms outfit, over a soft baby blue blouse - something that might resemble the shade of his famous CFL uniform. Constantly greeted by fans, Damon kindly took the time to converse with everyone who approached him. Of course, one of these fans was me - the interviewer, the one who pursued about a 2-hour long conversation sitting at a toasty, quaint Starbucks in downtown Toronto - like I would with an old friend. Damon - who frequently waved his head and, at one point, even touched my paper while I was jotting down notes - proved himself to be a very passionate human being.
"Sure, I have - had - self-doubt," the San Diego native cried, again confirming his humanity. "In high school, I wasn't really a big kid, so I decided not to play in my first year (Grade 9)." That self-doubt, however, didn't overshadow his love for sports. As a kid, Damon admits he was very "passionate about all different types of sports, especially football and baseball." He was eager to learn everything there was to know about the game, in order to perfect the execution of each rule and athlete's authentic skill: "We would read up on our heroes and emulate what we saw on TV."
This dream rapidly converted into reality, based on a fateful moment between Damon and a family in his neighbourhood. "There was this family who lived in our neighbourhood. They were walking by our home, when I noticed their uniforms. I asked what they were playing for, and they said 'for little league.' I asked my Dad to sign us up." And with that led to learning a lesson about compromising and working towards your goals. "Once I started playing baseball or football, I had that kind of dedication sacrificing summer vacations and birthday parties. I would spend my weekends on the baseball diamond or football field."
For Damon, "Little League" eventually turned into "Big League." Progressing through different levels of football and baseball in PopWarner wasn't difficult even for this middle child of 6 siblings - who was the starring quarterback his last 2 years in high school, on a team that lost a mere couple of games. "That gave us opportunities to be scouted by university coaches for scholarships," he explained. Damon attended California State Fullerton, where he played on the baseball and football team, but was drafted in football by the CFL and baseball by the Detroit Tigers simultaneously. "You can play one sport to the next," Damon claimed in response to my previous question. "I had to decide whether I wanted to play football or baseball. We won the National Championship of the College Baseball World Series. We also won two PCAA (division) championships. I had to make a decision about football and baseball. Obviously, I chose football."
And the rest is history - history-making, literally. Since 1985, Damon went on to play in the CFL for 23 years and break statistical records - like snagging 4 Grey Cups and 3 Grey Cup MVP awards, as well as pulling 72,381 passing yards and 11,914 rushing yards as his third-highest goal in CFL past. Not to mention he was the oldest player to play the league's outstanding played award in 2005. "I was 42 years old, when I won the league," Damon said, then resuming into a tangent. "I was the record-holder of pretty much all the quarterback categories - most touchdowns, most completions, most attempts - except the (most) interceptions."
Underneath all that glory though lies the trepidation and pressure to stay that way. Damon recalled that teams evaluate your performance on a weekly basis and are frequently attempting to better themselves, so there's always that existing threat of failure or disappointment. I asked Damon if there was any athletic self-destruction (achieved by such as implementing steroids) hidden behind the glamourous exterior of the sports industry, which is where he offered a reply filled with implications: "The greater the level, the more risks athletes could take to enhance their performance."
Luckily, Damon continues to aim counteracting any mental or physical downward spirals, with his own 2008-born quarterback academy "The Damon Allen Quarterback Academy." "I teach you how to play the game - mentally and physically speaking. I teach you the responsibilities of being a quarterback, etc." He also hosts an event company that caters to the Grey Cup and donates to amateur football leagues in an event titled "A Knight of Champions." "I'm all about the Damon Allen Brand and what it represents," Damon indicated, a fact so self-explanatory and evident in his abundant achievements and business ventures.
With the kind of ambition, diligence, and talent to nominate him as "one of the greatest CFL players of all time," Damon Allen must possess a motto driving himself on the inside to do what he does on the outside, which is this: "I live by the three dimensions of time: past, present, and future. These are apart of the three questions I ask myself whenever I do something. The past helps me determine which people i.e. heroes have encouraged me (to be the best I can be). The present is about the 'now,' and the future is about my goals." And what does the future reveal for this CFL alum/athlete? "Hopefully, still living in Canada and expanding my football academy." That should compensate for at least another 23 in champion years.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Reports have been released that Justin Bieber punched a (not-so) innocent 12-year-old boy. But, it turns out the 12-year-old boy decided to pull a fast one on 16-year-old Bieber and hurl homophobic slurs to his face, which actually resulted in a slap...
Bieber and the 12-year-old boy (who shall remain anonymous because of his age) both attended to a bowling alley in Richmond, British Columbia (I'm assuming not together, unless the 12-year-old boy is a family, friend - or according to homophobic slurs - "maybe more"). Of course, the 12-year-old had the audacity to begin tormenting Bieber (who should have been surrounded by bodyguards?)
Now, why would a 12-year-old even think to try assaulting an older, famous "girl toy"? Publicity stunt, maybe? But his identity will be protected, so there'd be no point to that. I was also questioning whether it'd make more sense that the initial allegations were correct, and Justin Bieber punched the 12-year-old boy (or vice versa). Come on, Justin! Pick on someone your own size! Wait....how short is the 12-year-old %&^$ disturbor?
Or you could parody the accusation about Justin Bieber punching a 19-year-old, but hey, who are we kidding?
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Yee, I'm sooo excited my style icon/inspiration is coming to town!
Kim Kardashian, the face of FUSIONBEAUTY's Illumifill and LipFusion, will drop by Sherway Gardens Tuesday, Oct. 19 from 4:30pm - 6pm in Sherway Square.
The first 200 clients to pay a mininum of $38 worth from FUSIONBEAUTY products at Shoppers Drug Mart (Sherway location only; sorry York Region-ers!) will fulfill the requirements to greet Kim Kardashian and get an autographed picture.
For more information, check out Shoppers Drug Mart Sherway store located at Door 7 or http://www.sherwaygardens.ca/.
Maybe I'll get a picture and interview with her? Fingers crossed :)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Oh if the dirrty outfits and music video haven't convinced you that Miley Cyrus AKA Hannah Montana "can't be tamed," then this definitely will!
You can't be more untamed than when you're full out in the buff (unless you're "doing" something, if you know what I mean). Anyway, Miley will be down to her skivvies in no time - a day after her 18th bday (November 23rd) - for the raunchy, soft-core men's magazine!
Apparently, Miley had a little chat with their parents, and they even agreed that she should appear in the timeless publication/phenomenon that has revolutionized the image of beauty and women internationally. Yes, Miley is 18 and legally entitled to make her own decisions - and, yes, Miley could be conveying her nude body in an artistically classy way, but honestly, that whole "I-can't-wait-till-she's-18" bit is a little bit...disturbing!
Back in 2008 when 15-year-old Miley did those "scandalous" Vanity Fair photos (with her open back and lipstick red lips), Hugh Hefner offered Miley a shoot for Playboy when she turned 18 and commented that she is a "very pretty lady." Yes, she is a very pretty lady, but damn Hugh, you couldn't wait 'till she was 18 and legal to do that! It's almost molested thinking that! Obviously, when someone's a teenager and they're close - or look close enough - to being an adult, it's understandable that you find that individual attractive in a non-childish way, but still - she was a teenager! To say that for the public to know, it almost seems as if you had a motive to break a certain law. If I was Billy Ray Cyrus, I'd be like "yee dawgy, stay away from my little girl." Mhmmm.
And "every woman wants to pose for Playboy"? Hmm, maybe deep down inside - every woman wants to leash out her sexiness - but I think many of them would prefer keeping their clothes on while doing so. Thoughts?
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
THE "SHOW" MUST GO ON: MAGAZINE OWNER SEAN CUMMINGS CHOOSES HIS WORDS ON LOVE, CURVES, AND "THE ART OF SEXY"
After a show ends, the curtains must go down, but for former SMOOTH Magazine editor and present SHOW Magazine owner Sean Cummings, the "show" is just beginning. Residing in New York, Sean was destined to be in an environment that warranted his passion for working in the entertainment industry. First he committed to his position of editorial director to popular African American men's publication SMOOTH for three-and-a-half years, then he launched and managed his own type of "Black Men's Magazine" called SHOW. Not only did these forms of media cater to and revolutionize the culture of a specific race and gender; they challenged ideals of beauty and body image by using sultry, curvaceous women - of all different shapes and sizes. Finally, there are magazines that I can flip through and consistently relate to the women who appear in the centerfolds. Finally, there are magazines where my friend, my sister, or I can pose, because of the new norm of "real." Finally, there are magazines where majority of the models don't wear a size 6. Here, I stimulate editor Sean Cummings with questions about race, body image, and "sexiness." Check it out:
V.B. So, how did you grow up? Did you always want to pursue becoming a magazine writer or editor?
S.C. Not really. When I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. But early on, I did know I wanted to be a business man. At some point, I decided I wanted to be in entertainment; I just wasn't sure in which sector of entertainment. I did it all from TV, film, etc. One day, it just hit me that being in magazine publishing would allow me to be involved in all areas of entertainment.
V.B. Did you receive any specific type of education or experience to become this successful in the industry?
S.C. I studied business and marketing at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. However, I think success is about finding something you love to do and doing that thing to the best of your ability. Having been the Editorial Director for SMOOTH for 3 1/2 years, prior to creating and founding SHOW, I learned a lot, and that valuable experience is a big part of what I am able to do now. Experience is an important key in achieving any kind of success.
V.B. How did you come up with the idea of SHOW Magazine? Do you believe it significantly differs in comparison to other African American male publications, and why?
S.C. SHOW is a very specific execution of sexy glamour and is uniquely distinct from any other publication out there - be it urban or mainstream. I developed the concept for the type of photography we do, while I was still with SMOOTH. Once I left there, It was the perfect opportunity to put this idea in place. The most obvious reason we are different is because we shoot everything on colorful seamless backgrounds with very little props, etc. The main thing that separates us from the competition, however, is the quality of everything we do - from the quality of the women, the photography, and retouching the weight of our paper, to the large format of the actual magazine. We spend more time and money producing our products then anyone else does producing their's.
V.B. One of the most prominent features in your magazine are the respectable women. There was an article about how African American men's magazines (including yours) are putting in women with a wider variety of body shapes and ethnicities than, let's say, Maxim or FHM. This is so empowering, because so many mainstream publications - in general - don't do this as much as you guys do. Do you thank your culture's admiration for sexy, voluptuous, bootylicious females?
S.C. I remember that article. Culturally speaking, we value curvaceous women. However, SHOW is about love. We provide an experience for our readers that is about introducing them to beautiful women that they can fall in love with. Of course they love voluptuous women, but they also want that girl next door that is going to smile at them and look at them back. SHOW is - and has always been - about that pretty girl from high school that you were too shy to talk to, but had you approached her, you would've learned she was just as shy as you and would've loved to be your friend. The SHOW Girl is the one you fall in love with. Other magazines offer sex. We believe love is a much more powerful emotion than those involved with sex.
V.B. Saying that, what physical and emotional characteristics does your ideal SHOW girl possess? What advice can you give to aspiring SHOW models? How does the process work?
S.C. Any aspiring SHOW Girl can email me directly at email@example.com. The ideal SHOW girl is beautiful, inside and out. She comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and shades, and from anywhere in the world. It is important that I meet all perspective models in person before choosing them for SHOW, so they have to come to LA or meet me if I do an event in their hometown.
V.B. Have you ever experienced any backlash for your magazine? How did you end up responding?
S.C. We receive all kind of hate from "haters" in general. My philosophy has always been to ignore anything that is not constructive. You validate someone's existence, if you acknowledge their hate and give credence to what they do, if you respond. I operate in exile with cunning and stealth. Information is my currency, and I try not to share what I know regarding the mental capabilities of our detractors.
V.B. Name one strength and weakness of your magazine. Explain.
S.C. Our biggest strength is our overall business model that allows us to monetize our content over multiple platforms including print, mobile, internet, digital, etc. Our biggest weakness is the growing pains that comes from being a young company. Once we really figure this thing out, we will be on our way.
V.B. What consistent features do you place in your magazine? Any content changes you will make in the nearby future?
S.C. SHOW has pretty much been consistent from day one. Any changes and enhancements we make are just to the overall quality of the magazine. Changes dictated by the economy often include page count and distribution, but other than that, we continue to expand the brand beyond SHOW, so now we have SHOWCase, SHOWPeice, Black Lingerie, SHOW Girlz Latina and our first nude title, The Art of Sexy.
V.B. Other than the women, what culture-specific items do you try to convey about the African American male in your respective publication?
S.C. SHOW is about art, The Art of Sexy specifically. Our culture is very diverse, so we try to keep the magazine filled with a variety of women. We feature all ethnicities and races.
V.B. What is your present - or future - mission for this magazine?
S.C. We want to dominate the marketplace in every respect. Or mission is to provide a valuable entertainment experience for our readers. We are in the "making people happy" business. We want our readers, models, employees and business partners to be happy!
Monday, October 4, 2010
Not sure if this is true, but let's say it were true....
According to Onion News Network, Justin Bieber was arrested, because evidence has been discovered to suggest that he is really 51-year-old pedophile Michael Cote.
Earlier on this year, a picture of Bieber - at a concert with what appears to be a peeled facial mask - was posted on TMZ. There was also allegedly a search of his room and belongings, which revealed chloroform and duffel bags permeated with young girls' underwears.
Apparently, Michael (or Justin) created a fake identity and posed as a student at a Canadian high school, hired a coke-addicted prostitute to pretend to be his mother, and manipulated his teen pop star success to seduce pubescent girls in his lyrics and concerts. An early version of "One Time" that was found was actually entitled "Hold Still," which I think would be a quite self-explanatory phrase in this case.
Last but not least, there is a video of Michael Cote performing a song in a voice quite similar to Justin Bieber. Creepy.
This false story literally stimulated chills up my spine. If this is true, "Justin Bieber" is despicable. If this is untrue, then whoever fabricated this story is despicable. But, let's try to figure out the "logic" behind a theory about a teen "hunk" that has already circulated throughout the internet, in just a matter of hours.
First of all, it turns out Justin Bieber was in Toronto yesterday evening, performing at his friend/guitarist Dan Kanter's wedding at the Four Seasons Hotel. So, this news spread to the internet before that point. Wasn't he already arrested? Some may argue there are two Justin Biebers running around - one may be real, and one may be counterfeit.
Whoever's pulling the prank would have to prove that Michael Cote/Justin Bieber actually got away with attending a high school and various concerts and events, without anyone recognizing him. How could you not know? If you were a make-up artist doing his make-up - or a hairdresser styling his hair - you would've had to know he was wearing a wig or a mask...unless you were behind the whole scam, too.
I say the only way to know if Justin Bieber is really Justin Bieber is to go up to him, hold him down, and pull off his mask and wig. Apparently, this is illegal, because the police would be implementing excessive physical force to invade a person's privacy, but in the case where thousands of girls' lives may be at risk, I'm sure this could be made an exception.
But again, Justin was performing at a friend's wedding in Toronto last night, which would make this whole charades untrue. Now, what kind of person would create a collage of all this "evidence" and distribute a video of it on their website? Onion News Network, that's who.
Just look it up.