“Be a Lady” ?



Over eight million views, and counting, the video “Be a Lady, They Said” created by Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine has gone viral, and rightfully so. Cynthia Nixon’s two and a half minute monologue, words written by Camille Rainville, is paired with powerful imagery, just watch for yourselves. But what is the real message?

In essence, the monologue describes the catch-22 conundrums facing women today. “Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. / Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. / Be sexual. Be innocent.” While simultaneously describing the limitations the female faces just for existing. “Don’t be assertive. / Don’t be so emotional. / You don’t want children? You will some day.” And it concludes with, my personal favorite, advice many women received from their mothers, myself included. “Don’t walk alone. / Tell someone where you’re going. / Buy a rape whistle. Hold your keys like a weapon.” It resonates because these phrases have been engrained into the female psyche. We are told to be everything at once while also made to feel completely vulnerable. Brava, Rainville, brava.

Nixon’s compelling performance seems in line with her credentials. She’s an award-winning actor, best recognized for her role in Sex and the City, who could recite anything into the camera and deliver it seamlessly. As a known women’s rights activist this particular role suits her very well, and likely the reason why the video has gotten so much exposure. Now, mute the video. Do the visuals empower women or do they break us down, as the narration suggests?

According the GGGM instagram the magazine aims to “bring back the woman”, but part of their message is lost through the images they’ve chosen to convey using Rainville’s words. When I watch the video I see fashionable women continuing to be sexualized– walking with a see through shirt, sucking on a popsicle, choking themselves, showing the vagina, licking porcelain and payphone’s, and being overdone with makeup. It’s only when I realized that much of what’s seen in the video are actual shoots done to promote the magazine itself that I began to question the underlying message. While I applaud anyone, male or female, who chooses to own their sexuality, I’m confused. Does the video aim to challenge women being portrayed as sex objects or does it play into it?

Undoubtedly, “Be a Lady, They Said” has stirred up some real sh*t worth talking about and I’m curious to see where GGGM goes with this conversation and how they’ll use their editorial platform to get there. But women are in an era of empowerment unlike ever before, a time where it’s imperative to pave the road for future females. As the dialogue changes based on the individual we must continue to ask ourselves, and society, what is the real message?



Very Ralph, How A Brand Became My Lifestyle

This post isn’t a film overview, for that I’ll lead you to my Hampton’s publication/colleague who interviewed Susan Lacy, the documentarian. It’s about the ability in which the Ralph Lauren design went beyond the showroom and into my every day life.


Ten days passed its premiere, I finally received password access to watch the HBO Documentary “Very Ralph” about the iconic fashion designer Ralph Lauren. The film hit home to me in more ways than one. It still leaves me wondering how many other viewers feel the same indescribable association.


“Very Ralph” tells the story of a brand created off of authenticity. Ralph Lauren manages to incorporate his various interests into his countless styles; the countryside and rugged horseback, timeless elegance and luxury parties, salty air and sandy beaches, even global influence with safari style. To list the myriad of ways Ralph Lauren has seamlessly incorporated the every person into his fashion label would be an article in itself. And one I’m ill equipped to write, coming from a strictly journalistic background.

But what rings true is that Ralph Lauren is a multifaceted man without a single label of his own.

He is the man on the ranch, holding the champaign class at a Manhattan penthouse, dipping his toes into the ocean with his children, and traveling the world. He is is the very brand that he delivers. In many ways, so am I.


Around my early teens years, my mother gave me a fashion scrapbook she created. Pages and pages of magazine cutouts. Styles she admired, many of which ended up in her closet, and a lifestyle she wanted to achieve, a flippable vision board. Escada, Versace, Herve Leger, the list of high end fashion labels goes on. I’m sure Ralph Lauren was in there somewhere, but not in the prominent way it was by the time I contributed to the book.


I grew up idolizing the Ralph Lauren brand. I’m not even sure how I discovered it. As a child growing up on Long Island, I’d ask my mother to take me to Americana Manhasset after school just so I could see the mannequins and explore the store. While other girls were comparing Bonne Bell lip smackers I was designing my future closet. I was far too young to purchase anything. My family wasn’t the type to swipe credit cards at my disposal, aside from the RALPH perfume which eventually became my signature scent. So, I’d browse. I’d touch the fabrics and take note of the way the clothes were put together, how they were paired and styled. It’s a hobby that still continues to this day, only now I marvel at the RRL store in East Hampton– I’ve grown to admire vintage.



Around the same time, my mother began to take me to polo matches in Bethpage State Park and Meadowbrook Polo Club, the oldest polo club in the United States. What bored me the first few years grew into a deep admiration for the lifestyle. I wasn’t there to observe the sport of kings, I was watching the bond between horse and human. Polo opened a window into a world that was otherwise unattainable. I never owned horses nor did I take horseback riding lessons because it was out of our financial reach. But by the time I was an early teenager I was going to weekly matches June through October. I befriended the players, the announcer, and formed new friendships. I loved the horses, the athleticism and their regal nature. Down the line, in my early 20s, I began working my way up from paraphernalia sales to eventually managing the same grounds I used to spectate. It became my lifestyle. 


When The Polo Bar opened on 55th Street I immediately tried to get on the list. I called a month in advance and celebrated my 28th birthday there, dressed in a Ralph Lauren outfit. The Polo brand was suddenly part of my brand.


outside The Polo Bar

Since Long Island polo season was predominantly during the summer months, and only on Sundays, I worked two other jobs, one in Manhattan and the other in the Hamptons. In Manhattan, I worked in public relations on Park Avenue then as a luxury travel advisor at a top firm on Madison Avenue. I attended exclusive parties for champaign brands, top hotels, and beyond. When work would end, I’d find myself at invite-only tours of new locations opening up across the consumer and hospitality worlds. I’d get home at 11 PM to wake up at 6 AM and do it all over again, three to five days a week. It was invigorating.


Then, on weekends I’d travel to the Hamptons as a writer and event photographer. My media credentials gave me access to yet  another dimension that was mostly depicted in movies or read about in magazines. A-List celebrities, CEOs, world renowned designers, an outpouring of big names all in a single location, and all within my reach. Through it all, I developed a refined taste beyond my means because it all came with my job description. A write-off-passage, so to speak.


with Lauren Bush Lauren at a FEED benefit in the Hamptons

The Hamptons introduced me to Lauren Bush Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s daughter-in-law, and Donna Karan, who are featured in the documentary. Suddenly, I became two degrees of separation to a vision I admired my entire life. It brought me closer to Ralph Lauren because I became the country girl, the city girl, the beachside girl, and later the world traveler.


Beyond clothes, the documentary touches on Ralph Lauren’s passion for his family, a quality my own father lacks. Growing up, I looked to movies, other peoples fathers, or my grandfather for what a male-role model should be.


The consumer world Ralph Lauren created, from the advertisements to store decor, became safe. His priorities were not only seen but felt in his branding. It was a story I was starved for.


The film highlights his active decision to decline summer invitationals and choose quality time with loved ones instead. In a Hamptonite society of lavish gala’s and places to be seen, it is true that in my now eight years and countless events I have yet to see Ralph Lauren walking a single step and repeat. It’s admirable and it’s the way I always envisioned my future family dynamic. Perhaps I just haven’t been at the right place at the right time. Or, maybe it’s because it’s true.


The advertisements, the dream, and the persona all tie back into one thing, it’s very Ralph Lauren.


Donna Adi: Modern Day Fashion-Cartoonist

“When I’m having a bad day, I think of a pink frosted donut, or a bowl of pasta, or a crazy hamburger. Even if I’m not going to eat it, the thought of food is social and fun,”

said Donna Adi, an artist and creative director from Los Angeles.

Adi has become an Instagram and branding sensation through her use of fan art in the fashion world. In an industry that is closer associated with diets than junk food, Adi incorporates anthropomorphic food into her images. Scroll through pictures of models holding pop-art pizza melting on the plate, two ice cream sandwiches kissing, or a happy hamburger. It’s relatable and it’s a feeling that goes into each piece with the hope others feel the same sense of guilt-free joy. “It’s females in their happy space having moments for themselves,” she said.

She has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years. “This art was my break away from fashion but still incorporating it into my work. It’s very female-oriented. The fashion I choose is very much about the girl taking care of herself, enjoying her life. It’s putting together an outfit, going out for a croissant and a cup of coffee,” Adi said.

A modern-day fashion cartoonist of sorts, Adi excelled in art classes as a child but never thought to make anything of it. She studied animation and illustration during her high school years and then, at 17 years old, began a graphic T-shirt line. Eventually, her experience managing social media, photography, and an online store brought her to a serendipitous moment while vacationing in Tel Aviv. She met Galia Lahav, a couture fashion designer, and Adi used her expertise to land the designer in global stores and fashion week, in addition to rapidly growing an online presence. Eventually, a born entrepreneur, Adi wanted to do her own thing.

“The main thing that I took away from the fashion industry, which I incorporate into my work, is understanding the composition of fashion photography, what makes the photo work and how to tell a story through an image,” she said. That’s when she started illustration.

She has multiple tablets with several processes. “I take a lot of photos myself and I illustrate on them while I’m traveling. Sometimes I find a striking fashion image online that just takes my breath away and I have to draw on it. Sometimes I make a sketch and I think there’s a photo I need to make it come to life. I’ll sketch out an image. I’ll find the image of the photo that’s right for that image. And, you know, put it together. It’s like a collage,” she explained.

In the beginning, her work was created purely for fun — an intuitive outlet to be herself, an inner child at heart. Then in 2017, Colombian reggaetón singer J Balvin’s manager requested Adi do an album cover. Soon after, Nordstrom reached out for its winter campaign, Adi’s first big job. That’s when she knew she had a talent others wanted to use. “I’ve never done outreach. I think that if I had to reach out and prove myself, I’m not sure it would be as exciting as people understanding the potential of working with me, and using my work for their campaigns or commercial,” Adi said.

Celebrities are now reposting her work — Gigi Hadid, Winnie Harlow, famed fashion photographers. “At first, I was nervous, thinking maybe they don’t like my work or me trying to make something out of their photos. But it was just such a positive feeling to see that these people like what I’m doing on their images,” she said. Adi’s client list impresses with names Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Puma, Dior, Google, Skechers, Apple, Nestlé, Diesel, the list goes on.

Adi continues to grow freely in a meticulous branding industry. Her broad range of expertise is landing her creative director roles with some leading commercial names.

She brings fashion, and all others worlds, to life through a unique vision of vibrant colors and designs. Every one grows up watching animation, in one way or another, and her images seamlessly bridge together childhood and adulthood. “It’s very big in my heart. I grew up on cartoons. It’s in my style and it’s inevitable, I’ll never be able to get away from it, because I love it,” she said.

Adi is currently living in Paris, soaking in creativity at every turn. Make sure to keep up with all this visionary is doing at @donna_adi.

James Goldcrown: The Heart of Art

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

The heart is where the art is for self-taught muralist James Goldcrown. The West London native left school to pursue a career as a fashion photographer at the age of 17. Seven years later, at age 24, Goldcrown traveled to Africa to highlight the AIDS/HIV epidemic in his award-winning documentary To Die No More, which raised over £10,000 for those featured in the film.

Aiming to make the world a more beautiful place, Goldcrown moved to New York in 2007 and re-entered the fashion world by incorporating mixed media into photography. With prior experience as a street artist in the early 1990s, he gained global recognition for his Bleeding Hearts/Lovewall, vibrantly decorating the sides of buildings in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, South Korea, Brazil and beyond. Today, he has emerged into an international sensation, working with big names companies such as MTV, Toms, Henri Bendel, and Vogue, spreading love one heart at a time.

What made you decide to leave school at 17 to pursue photography?

I didn’t like school. I wasn’t good at taking orders. I got restless in class and didn’t find things interesting. I was learning more from working. My mom was supportive. She said if I didn’t go to school, I’d have to get a job. She is the one who pushed me to work.

How did photography and street art come together?

It really started for me when I was in New York in 2007. I started selling artwork on the street with my friend. I mixed my photography with art (mixed media). We would set up outside the Apple store or Bathing Ape and people would buy our work. We chose this area because of the foot traffic. A lot of tourists would walk by and they loved the work. It was just so New York to them. I learned how to sell art and make a business for myself. That’s when this whole thing started without me even realizing it.

How do you choose who to collaborate with?

Companies approach me. It’s all about picking who you want to be reflected by. I am lucky enough to now have a business manager to help me decide who to work with and how the business plays out. She’s been in the industry for a long time and brings a more practical approach to who I should be working with, while I usually just go with my intuition. I’ve learned to consult with people closest to me to make sure I am not making a bad business move.

For example, at one point, I was approached by a very well-known brand to create a screensaver using my Bleeding Hearts, but they wouldn’t give me any credit for it. We collectively decided, from a brand recognition standpoint it likely would’ve made my brand theirs. I’m really glad I didn’t go through with that business.

Why title it Bleeding Hearts? How did the concept come into play for you?

It was very logical. The first mural I ever did, I had to label. It was quite literally a bleeding heart, so I decided to title it that. When I do murals now I title it Lovewall and when my art is in galleries I use the title Bleeding Hearts. The whole idea of the Bleeding Hearts came about as a complete accident. I was testing out spray cans and layering hearts all over a blank canvas in various colors and people really responded to it as an art piece.

What does the heart symbolize to you?

The hearts are meant to be a message for everyone. It symbolizes happiness, grieving . . . it’s a mixture of all these different emotions. Hearts can be the universal language. Birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, births. It can have a different meaning for everyone, anywhere.

Where is your most inconspicuous mural?

Ironically, the one that took me the longest was for Cycle House in Studio City, CA. It’s around the back of a building, so it’s kind of hidden, but it’s a massive wall.

What’s next on your creative journey?

I’d like to be more involved, politically. I want to travel to places like Africa and Syria and raise awareness and create murals over there. I just want to create beautiful art in an area that is impoverished. Focusing on countries that have been devastated, I’d like to go and try and make the town beautiful again. Bring some color to it and bring some hope. It’d be a little outside of my comfort zone, but I like that element of it.

What photographers/street artists do you admire?

I admire JR, Tristan Eaton. However, I’m really not inspired by artists. I like to walk around with my headphones on and pick up on the energy around me. I get inspired depending on the type of environment I’m in.

Speaking of, how does each city environment inspire you? Does one in particular hold YOUR heart? 

I’m very inspired by Portland, Oregon. I find it to be a very inspiring city. On the other hand, I find Miami to be completely uninspiring. Austin, Chicago, and Portland have great energy. There is something about a city and its energy that inspires me. New York is the most inspiring; I try and fight it, but it truly is. I don’t want to sound like a cliché. It’s a city that everyone tries to compare everything to.


Check out more of his work at www.jgoldcrown.com or tag him across social media @jgoldcrown #lovewall.

Jewelry Without Borders

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

The world is a big place, but now you can carry it with you. Designed for the adventurer in all of us, Jet Set Candy offers a distinctive jewelry line of necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Nicole Parker King, graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and former creative director at L’Oreal, traveled to six continents and over 50 countries before she created her unique jewelry company.

While living in India for three and a half years with her husband, an Australian diplomat who is now with the United Nations, an idea was born.

“I was able to learn a tremendous amount about jewelry design and production as well finding some of the factories we work with to this day,” King explained about her time in India.

Jet Set Candy debuted its first collection when the couple returned to New York in October 2014. For the sixth generation New Yorker, it was a symbolic place to begin the journey. One of her first charms was the Chrysler Building, which held title as the tallest building in the world back in 1930. The Chrysler charm is still one of King’s favorite pieces in the line.

Each piece of Jet Set Candy jewelry is available in sterling silver, 14-karat vermeil, or solid gold, and there is something for a variety of tastes. The line includes, for example, airport code Luggage Tag charms, a customer favorite, passport stamps, city street signs, and iconic city landmarks. The Francophile might especially enjoy the Champs Elysees sign with Joe Dassin’s lyrics on the back.

A unique piece is the Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls charm. “A little gold vermeil doll unscrews to reveal a mini silver doll, which unscrews to reveal a tiny rose gold doll. One of my favorites is the charm of the sign What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. It comes with a miniature pair of handcuffs that open and close. Our shakers are fun, too — limitless cocktail shakers that open and come with the recipe,” said Peggy Healy, the company’s vice president of corporate relations and special events.

“I like taking really stereotypical souvenirs and finding a way to miniaturize them and elevate them,” King said of her effort to create collectable travel souvenirs with a line of wearable keepsakes.

Jet Set Candy has been involved with the Hampton Classic Horse Show since 2015, with plans to return next summer. For the person who loves a little bit of everything, there’s a “spinner” piece with multiple wording. The Hamptons Planner Spinners read “Staying In Quogue, South, East, Bridge, Water Mill, Sag Harbor, Amagansett or Montauk,” where the “Getting There” spinner reads “Jitney, Luxury Liner, LIRR, Zipcar, Range Rover, Yacht, Helicopter, Sea Plane.”

There’s also the Wanderlust Collection that features inspirational quotes such as “Not all those who wander are lost.” The Fashion Capitals modular charm bracelet has an attachment with each ring.

Set to launch in early 2019 is a capsule collection with Ela Rae jewelry. It will be the first collaborative collection since the company’s launch. Jet Set Candy is also ready to open the doors to its first store in Grand Central Station in the spring.

As for how King prefers to travel? She enjoys collecting local art from different cities, exploring museums amid the world’s capitals, and finding local flare in dive bars while returning to the comforts of a chic boutique hotel or large five-star resort to unleash her next creative moment.