Rave: Female Role Models

From what we understand, Valentine’s Day is the leading cause of vision boards and Alanis Morissette during the month of February. It can be a nice opportunity to plan a date night, or ladies night but let’s be real: most of the time it is overhyped, cliché, and regardless of marital status, can make you feel depressed and disappointed. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. You don’t need to nurse your post Valentine’s Day feelings-hangover with mountains of pink and red wrapped sale candy*, or define yourself by this Hallmark Holiday. As an office full of fierce, 20- and 30-something women we are champions of the fearless, independent woman. Today, we salute them. Here are some of the ladies that inspire us:



Tina Fey


From head writer on SNL, to actress, to author, to mother, Fey’s list of accolades is seemingly endless. Since her stint as the first female to lead the SNL writing team, she has continued to break gender barriers and bring a feminist voice to the main stream. The message from her success (and of her fictional counterpart Liz Lemon), is that we as women don’t have to choose between career and family life. She blew us away co-hosting the Golden Globes with Amy Poehler  and we look forward to seeing her in her first project after 30 RockThe Nest.

Jennifer Lawrence


We can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see a young starlet with ambition, modesty and a sense of humour. Jennifer Lawrence continues to impress us with her down to earth attitude, and grace under pressure. At only 22, she is a two time Academy Award nominee for best actress in Winter’s Bone and this year’s Silver Linings Playbook and has nailed the iconic role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Did we mention she beat Meryl?

Lena Dunham

While Lena Dunham is probably the newest on the scene as far as these role models go, that is not to say she has had the least impact. In only it’s second season, her much-talked-about Judd Apatow produced HBO show Girls has been nominated for four Emmys, won two Golden Globes and has been lauded as the definitive voice of the young female generation. She has unapologetically helped lead the charge in redefining what it means to be beautiful and feminine in our society in the face of cruel criticisms.  

Kathryn Bigelow



One of the most influential female filmmakers to date, Kathryn Bigelow does not do rom-com fluff. She was the director behind two of the most well-known and hard hitting American war films of our era, The Hurt Locker (for which she was the first female to win the Academy Award for Best Director, beating out ex-husband James Cameron for Avatar. Zing) and this year’s Zero Dark Thirty. She bravely faced criticism and controversy regarding the subject matter of her films and continues to thrive as a woman in notorious “boy’s club”. 


Emma Watson


It’s not all witchcraft and wizardry for the former Harry Potter actress. Like her character Hermione Granger, throughout the decade long franchise we saw Watson grow from an unknown awkward pre-teen, to a charming and poised young woman.  Unlike other starlets who grow up in the spotlight, Watson has kept a firm head on her shoulders and has managed a successful acting and philanthropic career without sacrificing her education. 



Also, this:


 photo tumblr_mhowp6jyB51rfduvxo1_500_zps6d2fae1f.gif
Throw your hands up at me.
image source
*You should probably have some sale candy. C’mon, Valentine’s Day comes but once a year. 

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Fashion-able: Golden Globes 2013

Have we ever mentioned how much we love awards season? Well, we do. And the Golden Globes, with its seemingly bottomless bottles of Moet and more irreverent attitude than the Oscars, is one of the season’s most entertaining. Last night’s 70th annual show was hosted by the amazing, amazing, amazing Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and featured all the drama, hilarity and fashion we’ve come to expect. 


Hostesses with the mostestes – Tina Fey & Amy Poehler

We’ll get to the fashion in a moment, but first we need to give props to Fey and Poehler for demonstrating how to be cheeky and funny, while still respecting (most) of the people in the room (too bad for you, James Cameron and James Franco). Ricky Gervais, take note: this is how you do it without pissing off Harvey Weinstein. 


Tangerine Tango


FASHION Magazine’s Paige Dzenis tweeted “suck it Emerald Green, Tangerine Tango is still happening.” It certainly did look like Pantone’s 2012 colour of the year was alive and well last night, with Marion Cotillard (in Dior), Jennifer Lawrence (also in Dior) and Claire Danes (rocking an insane post-baby bod in Atelier Versace) all sporting the shade. We’d have to elect Danes the winner of this colour battle, with Cotillard coming in a close second. Lawrence’s breast detailing was a bit too distracting for our liking. That being said, Lawrence did offer one of the most quotable speeches of the night (“I beat Meryl!”).


Claire Danes in Atelier Versace

Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior

Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior

Class Acts/Open Backs


In a sea of strapless, there’s something so elegant about Julianne Moore (in custom Tom Ford) and Naomi Watts (in Zac Posen) in their long-sleeved, open back dresses. Each dress featured elegant detailing that landed them both on our best dressed list. We loved the graphic black and white colour-blocking of Moore’s dress – such a far cry from the dowdy outfits she wore in her winning portrayal of Sarah Palin. 


Julianne Moore in Tom Ford
Naomi Watts in Zac Posen

Arm Candy


While neither Rachel Weisz nor Emily Blunt won their award categories last night, they both scored big in the “dreamy husband” category. Truth be told, we’d probably be OK with losing too if we had Daniel Craig or John Krasinski to console us. These two duos top our “hottest couple” list, with Weisz/Craig just edging out Blunt/Krasinski. Because let’s be real, James Bond > Jim Halpert. 

Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz (in Louis Vuitton)

John Krasinski and Emily Blunt (in Michael Kors)

Aubergine Nightmares


We screamed with joy when Lena Dunham won Best Actress In A Comedy Series and then again when Girls took home the prize for Best Comedy Series. As an office full of 20-something women, we have serious amounts of pride for Dunham and her accomplishments. That may be why we were a bit disappointed to see her in that aubergine-hued taffeta (by Zac Posen). To be fair, we also hated the colour on Taylor Swift (in Donna Karen).  


Lena Dunham in Zac Posen



Taylor Swift in Donna Karen

No Nomination, No Problem


Hollywood red carpet outfits, particularly at big award shows, aren’t necessarily known to be the most fashion-forward. That’s why we were especially delighted by Kerry Washington and Lucy Liu last night. Maybe not being nominated takes the pressure off and allows one to experiment a bit more? In any case, Washington’s sheer, beaded Miu Miu was a show-stopper (we can’t say we were quite as enamoured by her hair though). Liu took a risk with a floral patterned Carolina Herrera and, while some people are slagging the look, we quite liked it. Besides, we’ll take a bold floral over princess-y sequins any day. 


Kerry Washington in Miu Miu

Lucy Liu in Carolina Herrera

Oh Hells No


Over in the “what the heck was your stylist thinking?” category, we have Halle Berry (in Versace) and Giuliana Rancic (in Celia Kritharicti). While Berry’s bod pretty much allows her to wear anything at all, we still couldn’t get on board with her oddly patterned and slashed dress. Meanwhile, Rancic’s ill-fated attempt at goth left us shaking our heads. Perhaps she should’ve taken a cue from Julianna Margulies on how to do lacy and black best. 


Halle Berry in Versace

Guiliana Rancic in Celia Kritharicti

*All photos c/o Just Jared, unless otherwise noted.

Media, Darling: Susan Catto

Susan Catto is deputy editor of Hello! Canada and
has been with the magazine since 2009. After studying at Columbia and Oxford,
she returned to her native Toronto and became a freelance journalist with
regular gigs at the
New York Times,
the
Economist.com, TIME Canada and Lucky. Susan lives in the east end with her husband and two young
kids.




Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
As soon
as I discovered magazines, I wanted to be a freelance writer. I did a detour,
earning a doctorate (in eighteenth-century literature, yay!) and even teaching
university courses for two years. I was freelancing at the same time, though,
and journalism always felt like a privilege, not a job. It was a pretty easy
call to make.

Where
would you like to be five years from now?

Still finding my work as interesting and challenging as I do now. 

Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?
Read a
newspaper every day — and if you read it online, at least scan each headline,
don’t just click on the stories you are already interested in. Young people who
are curious and well-informed with good general knowledge really stand out. The
people you are working for or pitching to may be decades older and it helps to
understand their cultural reference points. Plus, life is just more interesting
when you know stuff!

What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own?
For work, Celebitchy
and the Daily Mail; for fun, The New Yorker and HBO Canada

Best
interview you’ve ever had?

I recently interviewed Joan Rivers, which was a kick because I had interned on
her talk show when I was in university. She didn’t remember me, of course, but
it made for a nice rapport and she was as funny, frank and interesting as you
would expect.

Worst?
As a
stringer for the
New York Times I once had to knock on doors in rural Muskoka
— at night — trying to find a guy who’d just been accused of child molesting.
didn’t find him but just thinking of what that interview would have been like is bad enough. 



 Best advice you’ve ever been given? 


“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” 



What
rule(s) do you live your life by? 

Find the bright side and practice gratitude.



What’s
the most important tip you can give PR pros?


Get to know what we do and don’t cover so you can tailor your pitch to our
magazine.



Best
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I
screwed up the time of my Joan Rivers interview and Lia Caponecchia at the
Shopping Channel had to take the flack for it…but still helped me get a new
slot. Lifesaver!


I hate?
People
who are routinely rude or dismissive. Are they really so important/stressed out
that general standards of politeness don’t apply to them?


I love?
Godiva
dark chocolate-covered pretzels.

Reading?
Yes,
compulsively and indiscriminately…


Best place on earth?

Outer Banks, N.C.


Dinner guest?


Hero?
Tina Fey.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Netflix,
to catch up on the first few seasons of Breaking
Bad
.


Pool or ocean?
Ocean,
no contest!


Voicemail or email?

Email.

Rave: Funny Ladies

It comes up every once in a while, causes a little controversy, and then goes away: Women Aren’t Funny. Up here on the fourth floor, where quips and jokes can fly fast and furious, we beg to differ. Hence, today’s Rave: the funny ladies who make us laugh and reinforce our opinion that women can be hilarious. 

What would you give to be a part of this club?
 
Image source.

The SNL ladies and their spin-offs

A lot of the credit for promoting female comedy lately goes to the women ruling Saturday Night Live over the past decade. Tina, Amy, Kristen, Maya… they’ve given us so many great laughs. A few of our favourite sketches? The Dakota Fanning Show, Mom Jeans, Annuale and any sketch that has Kristen Wiig doing, well, anything. Plus, they’ve formed this cool group of beautiful, hilarious girls who make guest appearances in each other’s sitcoms and movies. More, please!

Here’s hoping Kristen Wiig has started writing her next comedy and includes this cast.
 
Image source.

Beyond PMS and boyfriend jokes

Ever experienced a date at a low-budget comedy club with unknown female comedian in the lineup who talks about PMS for half her set? Been there, and it’s had both us and our dates cringing. That’s one of the (many) reasons why we love Ellen DeGeneres: you never catch her talking about her lady parts or bad dates. Plus, she pranked Taylor Swift and it was pretty great:

The original queens of comedy


Funny women are nothing new, they might just be getting a little more credit these days. Some of the indisputable comediennes who led the way still make us laugh: Lucille Ball and her slapstick antics; The Golden Girls who spent seven seasons reigning the ratings as a quartet of funny, older women living together; and Jennifer Saunders, because Absolutely Fabulous taught us it’s perfectly acceptable to have a fridge dedicated solely to champagne. 

Thank YOU for being a friend.
 
Image source.




Funny in print


Pick up one of these books, and become the crazy person laughing out loud on the subway. Bonus points if it’s on an e-reader and no one can see what you’re reading. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling, and Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler are a few of our faves. Laughs guaranteed.




What other funny women make you laugh? Tweet us @rockitpromo




Media, Darling: Kevin Naulls

Kevin Naulls attended the school of hard knocks at the University of Toronto (St. George Campus), where he studied English, History and Philosophy. His humble beginnings started with an internship with designer Pat McDonagh (which he did simultaneously with a night job at Sun Media), and sneaking into shows at “the tents.” Around that time, he began writing a blog that would eventually deal almost exclusively with contemporary menswear and dudes with beards named Dressed for Dinner, which led to more pictures of bearded men on the Internet.

After writing for Sharp, The Sharp Book for Men, Eye Weekly, the Toronto Sun, The Block, and more, and still working nights at Sun Media, he was offered a job as Associate Online Editor at Toronto Life, where he lives and breathes today (and sometimes allows him to sleep at a reasonable hour). He very much enjoys it. 


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Like any idealistic young lad, I wanted to be a cartoonist, an actor, a lawyer, a criminologist and a philosopher. I gave up on those dreams long ago, but I still aspire to be a television comedy writer, and I’m writing spec scripts on the side. No, you can’t read them (not yet anyway).

Where would you like to be five years from now?
In five years? Well, I like the experience of working at Toronto Life – I am allowed to have a voice that is my own, and I’m learning new skills every day that I wouldn’t have (at least not as quickly) as a freelancer.  But I’d love to be the next Mindy Kaling, because I like fashion shows, fashion shows at lunch.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
I didn’t sleep before I got my job at Toronto Life. I ran my blog, worked nights and freelanced for multiple publications. I don’t want to recommend an unhealthy lifestyle, but everyone wants these jobs, and having a take-on-all-comers attitude is a clear sign to employers that you’re willing to push yourself to your limits. And stories don’t just fall into your lap every day, so it is important to get into the habit of fighting for a scoop.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
What I read: Fantastic Man, V magazine, Interview, the New York Times, New York magazine, The Gentlewoman, Corduroy, The Awl, Gawker, Workwear magazine (when I can find it (send it to me! Or find me .PDFs!))

What I listen to: to ensure a person’s sexual issues are much more complicated than mine, I listen to the Savage Love podcast. To laugh out loud, I listen to Julie Klausner’s podcast How Was Your Week (I like to pretend she’s my girlfriend when I’m listening). I hate Slate’s Culture Gabfest—if I wanted to listen to lukewarm talk radio that is basically a roundtable of people with convoluted ideas about pop culture, I’d go to Trampoline Hall.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Talk is cheap, motherfucker.” – DMX

DMX may not have said it to me personally, but it resonated. I have no patience for people who do not speak for themselves in a critical way. I work in an industry where the emphasis is on brand building, and I refuse to pretend to care about something for free drinks and VIP experiences. 

Everything should be broken down, illustrating positives and negatives, because no one will learn anything otherwise – you’d tell your children that some things are right, and some things are wrong, and while “right” and “wrong” are subjective, I’d rather someone speak openly and be slightly wrong than lie down and take it, spilling adjectives onto a page that do not rightly reflect the subject. 


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
A couple of good friends once said “there are no rules on girls weekend,” and I tend to live my life that way. I’m not a cat though, so it isn’t all fancy free – I am professional, and stick to deadlines, even when I’m writing jokey captions or living in sewers.  I promise to always love the people I love, even when they sing karaoke better than I do. And like Maestro, I always stick to my vision.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
I had the opportunity to interview Robert Geller, and what could have been a 15 minute interview turned into an hour and 15 minutes. Most of the time subjects are so media trained that they become resistant—there’s this wall that they hit, as if someone is tapping them on the shoulder (sometimes there is someone) telling them it is time to wrap it up. We chatted like old school chums, and his level of candidness helped me with my story immensely. I like when people aren’t in a rush. If it is going to be a media circus, it almost isn’t worth it. I don’t have 2 minute interviews and I feel as if no one really should.

Oh, and obviously chatting with Felicity Jones during TIFF. That was unforgettable, and I thank Alex Thompson from Joe Fresh for making that happen. It might mean nothing to everyone else, but I was a huge Worst Witch fan and we gabbed about it briefly, which made my night. I’m willing to fight for a story, but it is nice when meetings happen so easily, and the other party (celebrity or otherwise) is actually really nice about having a chat.

Worst interview you’ve ever had?
Interviewing Alicia Silverstone during TIFF. It lasted all of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds of it was her trying to sell me her book. It was incredibly disappointing to say the least.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
I love PR girls when they relax. So many are high strung, sporting impeccably bleached teeth and a perma-smile. Girls (and guys), I know it is your job to rep your clients (I know). Get off your game once in a while and have a bit of fun with the media you’re working with. Some of my best PR-media relationships are with those who know when to be professional, and know when it is cool to let loose a little bit. 

Also, this is such a small matter because I know a lower case ‘i’ can look like an ‘l’, but my last name is NAULLS, not NAULIS. And I am a Mr., not a Ms. (which, again, usually just makes me laugh). My biggest pet peeve though is when someone follows up on an email the day of sending it. Yes, your email is the most urgent email I’ve received all day.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins
My favourite PR person in the world is Steve Sane from Sane PR in the UK, but that has a lot to do with who he represents and how awesome everything is—not to mention his entire staff must work around the clock, because every single time I’ve asked for photos or information, it gets to me in mere moments. I’ve waited days in Toronto. The girls and guys in Toronto know who they are, because they continue to make my life easier by getting things to me on time, and not harassing me by phone. Not everything a PR person represents fits in at Toronto Life, and I’m sorry your job requires you to pitch me toilets, but please learn that I do what I can with what is given—sometimes a turd is just a turd (to be crass).

I hate?
Everything. But really, I don’t care for people who insert French words into sentences because they’ve been to Paris once (or twenty times). I find that I read this a lot in fashion journalism, but a good editor will strike that out and recast it using the English word (or equivalent). I hate walking to the streetcar on a cold damp day, and I hate when I forget to pack my lunch in the morning. I also don’t like when people talk about their jobs all the time, but in this industry, there is so much one-upmanship, that someone is always doing something fabulous (well, guess what, sometimes I eat dinner in my underwear while I watch television on my laptop).

I love?
Brassy women and hilarious men (my friends), beards (hilarious beardos go to the top of the class), meta-jokes, plaid shirts, Happy Socks, Mark McNairy shoes, fried spaghetti sandwiches, Cruel Intentions, Home Movies (cartoon series), Archer, American Dad, Life and Times of Tim, ice water, dark denim, scotch on the rocks, a good IPA, 13 Going on 30 and Aaron Spelling, 

Reading?
I bet you think I’m reading Jonathan Franzen, but I’m not. I’m re-reading Tyler’s Cape by Darren Greer in hopes that my book club Literection (this is real) will re-emerge.

Best place on earth?
Any hotel with a gigantic king-size bed, and a mattress you can just sink in enough (while still being firm). The important part of this scenario is that I have zero obligations while I am there, so I can come and go as I please. This one time I was in New York, my phone died on the first night and I forgot my charger, and it was the best trip ever.

Dinner guest?
Dead: River Phoenix; alive: Brenda Strong.
These require no explanation.

Hero?
Other than Cara Pifko, Tina Fey? Is this as obvious as Rory writing an entrance-to-Harvard essay on Hilary Clinton? Because I don’t care. She has the best comic timing, and everything she does is relatable, no matter who you are or what circle of friends you claim to be part of. I’d also have dinner with her, but with Tina Fey we’d also drink bourbon and shoot pellet guns at stop signs.  

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I was playing Words With Friends pretty regularly with my colleague Fraser Abe (but we are both pretty good and just started to annoy each other—we kept the games going for a long time by only placing two letter words). Now I play Family Feud and Friends and Instagram pictures of my shoes and socks.

Pool or ocean?
Give me a lap pool to myself and I’m a kid in a candy store. I love just swimming and swimming without people bothering me (or fish, or sharks, or octopi). But really, I’ll swim anywhere, especially at night.

Voicemail or email? 
Always email me, unless the matter is urgent (or be like me and annoy your friends by leaving not-so-urgent messages on a Saturday afternoon). But seriously, I prefer emails unless we’re close enough to have each others phone number for not-work shenanigans.