Mags Loves Jimi

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” ― Frida Kahlo

Category: Verbatim

The Power of Body Positivity


By Margretta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags

“This is the society that we live in. This is the climate of judgment and shame that you encounter when you share images of human nudity as art. It’s punishable for you to share images from classic works of art or a figure drawing class or even a mother breastfeeding her child. Censorship on Facebook is just a reflection of the bigger battle you face when you draw, paint or photograph a naked human being. We do not create this body of nude art to shock, offend, or arouse a mindless lust. We create so that all of us may come to see our shared humanity as a miraculous work of art. What do you think? Is your naked body obscene? Is it a crime to share artistic images of naked humanity? Reclaim your experience of human beauty!”
– Christa Maier, The Model Society

A positive body image is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle well into your old age. Body image is a melting pot of your personal values, beliefs, perception, thoughts, words and actions involving your body and its outward appearance. How we perceive ourselves paints a vivid picture of how we relate to others, navigate through situations and the influence our minds have on our actions. It is not just a physical task. This is emotional, mental, spiritual. When we have a negative body image there are many health risks that can affect how we interact with others and how we nurture our inner self. There are two main factors contributing to the rapid incline of illnesses related to body image: The media and The mind.

The media

Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, Body Dimorphism, Depression, Anxiety and other obscure forms of self-harm stem from a distorted perception of the own body and how others view it. This is a vicious cycle of highs and lows, the fractured thinking of always trying to reach an unattainable goal of perfection. According to, ‘nearly a quarter of girls age 15-17 would consider undergoing plastic surgery. 13 percent of girls age 15-17 acknowledge having an eating disorder.’ This is a human soul searching for approval. We can all fall prey to this broken record of ‘not being good enough’, ‘not being sexy enough’ or the crème de la crème, ‘not being thin enough’. We want and hope to look amazing and desirable naked. We are at our most vulnerable but we are also at our strongest, too.

LYNX, a UK company specializing in body spray, became marketing gold with the slogan, ‘The Lynx Effect’. Flashy, flirty and deeply rooted in phallic symbols. The body wash and catchphrase became a pop culture hit, integrating quickly into an essential part of the male grooming routine. LYNX’s mission statement has always been; ‘Building confidence and preparing men for success, our range has expanded into all aspects of male grooming – including shower gel, eau de toilette, anti-antiperspirant, shampoo and hair styling. Infused with a sophisticated fragrance, every one of our products is designed for the modern man.’ Preparing a man for success. Does this mean smell is as valid as sight? What about touch? If you are being touched by women it means you are successful and therefore automatically endowed with a positive body image. This is just not the case. Men suffer as much from mental and emotional illnesses relating to body image as women do. There is a higher rate of male suicide. According to LifelineAUS there are 200 ATTEMPTS at suicide a DAY! How many do you think are image related? It is hard to detach ourselves from the self.

The mind

Your body is not a battleground. It is not a minefield or boobie-trap. Not just a piece of meat – well-done, with a side of judgment. Our bodies are not meant to be seen as a category in a size chart for easier purchase. Despite what we have been taught about sexuality, society is quick to condemn equally.

In the battle for equality between genders and cultures, there is one great equalizer  – men and women are judged and judge the body with a fine comb. Women are objectified in an obvious, overt way. Advertisements geared to promote the perfect shaved leg, bikini playground – the designer vagina. The perfect hair texture, colour and length – because you are worth it. The perfect ‘summer body’ whether by diet pills, meal plans or various ways to keep physically fit – because you should always just do it.

Men are constantly reminded that they must make something financially of themselves and with that comes the pursuit of the perfection – Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘The Vitruvian Man’ comes to mind. Adonis. Superman. Ryan Gosling… Is it healthy to expect your future husband to have an amazing smile, six-pack, little hair, big hands and butt? No, not in and of itself, but we are bombarded with mental and physical expectations of the male body and what it should do and can do… not to mention the age old debate – does size really matter? Men are under as much pressure as women to fit into the lens of society’s body image receptor.

The message

I look at the naked human body as a ‘house’ and the clothes are the ‘furniture’. Our houses can always be renewed, revamped, remolded because we have a foundation – all the cool stuff happening inside our skin. But what happens when we don’t tend to our house? Or we are too busy grooming our house that we forget to step outside it; take in the fresh air and see that a house is not a home unless there is love is being nurtured in a healthy way within those walls. Corny? A little..

We may even go outside the walls. We peek at the neighbors house and garden, wishing we could have what they have (‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ was taken from ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ – to compare yourself with others as a benchmark for success). We wonder if the grass is greener, or on a diet. If you are experiencing body image pressure or growing pains please understand this: the grass will always be greener when you water and nurture it – dig deep, bloom wide.

victoria secretgal


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:


Bad Representation | Making Sure You’re Looked After

Twitter – @bohomags

When you embark on a career in entertainment or the arts, representation is paramount. Having a team around you can elevate a lot of stress by allowing you to focus on what you do best. Publicists, agents, stylists and a PA are like the immediate family. If that is the case then a manager would be the Mother and an agent would be the Father. Representation and management are there not only for financial security but also peace of mind. So, before you begin the exciting journey of fame and fortune, its good to have a sense of what you need and why.

Deal or no deal?

Signing or agreeing to any legal document can be daunting – something that is not meant to be taken lightly.   The terms and conditions, which 95% of us don’t read in their entirety (I know I don’t), are to outline what is expected of you and the other party. Just as though you were choosing the right partner, a contract most definitely needs careful consideration. Though there are endless stories of shonky deals within the entertainment industry, we can’t brush this with a broad stroke – most deals that go awry are situational, not par for the course.

Kesha, the woman who ‘wakes up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy’, has been in-broiled in a legal battle regarding her contract with a subsidiary of SONY owned by music producer Dr Luke; a mentor who allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted her for many years. I think the world (or those who care) took a deep breathe when the verdict was given. Kesha told reporters: “All I ever wanted was to be able to make music without being afraid, scared or abused.” Though Dr Luke strongly denies all the allegations, this is a cautionary tale for the very real and addictive lure of fame. Just because we are presented with options doesn’t mean they are opportunities.

Kelly Cutrone, PR extraordinaire (The People’s Revolution) and who was also on The Hills and The City on MTV, told, “You better have a f*cking great contract or you’re gonna get f*cked. I’ve learned a lot about the law from being in this for so long. I’ve learned a lot about accounting and getting stiffed the hard way. There’s a very serious back end to this business which is accounts receivable […] I want young people to know the business.”

The reality of any business is there may not be 100% understanding; contractual or otherwise. When dealing with your money, your time and your talent in this world of greed and corruption it is well advised to get a second opinion. The glittering approval of a contract being offered to you is amazing! Exciting! A remuneration for the hard work put in thus far, but it will mean nothing if the contract does not benefit yourself.

Investing in your future

According to ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being a Model’ by Roshumba Williams, “If you want to become a model—any kind of model—it’s important to know how an agency works so you get the most out of the agency’s personnel in terms of managing your career. Modeling agencies have their own hierarchy, and staff members tend to be very protective of their duties and titles. You need to know the chain of command and follow it, or you can cause problems.”

Representation is not just about diversity. Though it would be great, personally, to see more African models in ad campaigns and runway shows, I know most of this comes down to the right management and representation. Choosing the right management speaks not only as you as an individual but as your own commodity – your brand.

Model and body-positive believer, Carrie shared with her fans in her blog post, ‘I have more to offer than my body’, in her journey of self-love and discovery, “Just a 3 weeks ago when I made my debut back to life, I spoke with a girlfriend of mine. She, also a model, inspired me to write about this. I am no longer with any of my agencies. Its been a bit of a mission as I want to share it with everyone, but it is still a constant struggle.” Carrie, who is looking into managing herself, hits a very real nerve. The role of representation and management is to uplift, uphold and open doors for you. If you feel those things are not being nurtured then take a few moments to ask yourself, are you really being represented or just re-presented each time you step into a new option? The two are far from the same.

The trick is to keep finding a home for your skills and talents. The right management matters because it guides you in the right direction. Waiting for the right opportunity is better than following the wrong option – the road back is long and can be disheartening.

Look for those who bring out the best in you, professional and personal. You can’t go wrong for long when you are in the right place.


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

The Age of Modeling

the age of modeling


By Margretta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags

First and foremost, there is nothing sexual about ten-year-old model, Kristina Pimenova. Not her poses or her backdrops or her deer-in-headlights gaze. The problem is not over-sexualising this girl. The problem is romanticizing her.

Kristina Pimenova, born December 27, 2005, is a Russian native. Her parents are no stranger to fame or wealth, with dad being a soccer player (he played in the 2002 FIFA games) and mum a former model. Not only has Miss Pimenova been exposed to ‘the good life’, she is also a competing gymnast. This girl is on fire! Though the controversy is obvious it does pose the question; is there a right age to follow your dreams?

Social Responsibility

When researching this topic I found myself conflicted by opposing forces.  When it comes to the exploitation of the youth (which is the general consensus) in relation to modeling/beauty pageants and the like, are we protecting the youth while exploiting our needs? What I mean by this is, the rally behind Miss Pimenova’s modeling contract is really addressing the exploitation of needs and wants – the desire to acquire. According to Investopedia, Social Responsibility means that individuals and companies have a duty to act in the best interests of their environments and of society as a whole. As I stated in my other article on Naomi Campbell vs Tess Holiday, does Fashion and the Modeling industry – not to mention production companies – have a social responsibility to the public more so than the client?

In Kristina’s case the answer lies not in the sexualisation of her but the romanticizing of her. This means that though this girl is protected – for the most part – by laws and other social norms from too much scrutiny over her sexuality, this does not stop consumers, pop culture and the general public from romanticizing her as “a beautiful little girl.” This is sort of like the ingenue problem where there are certain roles society is more comfortable with investing in both financially and emotionally; hence the damsel in distress ‘ingenue’ –  young novice, fresh-faced seemingly innocuous female comes into play in one form or another.

According to in 2013 New York’s laws tightened its rules for children in the Modeling industry. The legislation, “signed by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, gives models under the age of 18 the same labor protections as child performers.” Actress Milla Jovovich, who started modeling at the tender age of 11, told reporters in the article, “It seems incredible that young kids in the modeling industry haven’t had equal rights to other child performers until now.” If you are not fully aware of the laws governing your vocation, as a child not a parent, can you fully assess a dream job or calling?

Young Model

What makes a model?

Oxford dictionaries describe a model as ‘a person employed to display fashionable clothes by wearing them.” Not the most thought wrenching definition but true to form. A model is someone employed (meaning there is an exchange of goods and services) to display items for sale, usually clothing or accessories. Let me make this point again; how old do you have to be to know this is your dream? Is there a right time/age to follow your dreams?

If you go on LinkedIn, TED or Medium there is no shortage of articles prompting us to follow our dreams, at any age. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, heck even Einstein memes are pushing the point of chasing your goals –  fulfilling your dreams, stepping into the unknown. If you could go back and speak to your ten-year-old self, what would they say to you about your current vocation? I know mine would be like… “Why aren’t you a ballerina/bird watcher yet?” I have yet to do one proper lesson as an adult or seriously consider studying our feathered friends.

How does Kristina know this is something worth pursuing? Besides the obvious superficiality of the calling? Is the roar of cachet and bountiful opportunities the reason for her family’s openness to a different kind of exposure? Kristina is no stranger to scrutiny as a training professional gymnast. The same goes for her mother and father in relation to their personal successes. Should a child as young as ten – remember when you were ten? – hold some responsibility for what she works hard for?Kristina-Pimenova

Foundations of youth

“Youth is wasted on the young.” A popular quote by George Bernard Shaw. What is so appealing about the young? Being youthful; vibrant, trusting, limper and naive. How I miss those years. It is no surprise child stars, performers and models are opting for the safer option of management within the family – Momagers, to be exact (a word trademarked by Kris Jenner). When it comes to exploitation, like a murder or any criminal situation, the family is the first under question.

Kristina’s mum, Glikeriya Pimenova, has said; “I do not accept those accusations about sexualisation of my child.” The 39-year-old mother of Kristina then goes on to address the media; “I am certain in my mind all her photographs are absolutely innocent. I have never asked her to take this or that pose, and in fact I must say she does not especially like it when I am photographing her, so I do it quickly and when she doesn’t notice […] You must think like a pedophile in order to see something sexual in these pictures, so it is time for you to see a doctor.”

Kristina Pimenova
kristina Pimenova
Kristina pimenova

Though pictures of Kristina on her social media accounts (operated and run by her mother) are innocent, people have already begun to pick apart milestone adverts with heavyweight companies such as Armani, Roberto Cavalli and the United Colours of Benetton.

Her mother continues to say; “Kristina likes to be photographed by professional photographers. She communicates with them well, and is a very sociable and open-hearted child […] I see that my daughter likes it and that she is good at it, and this is the reason why I am going on with it. After all, it is our duty as parents to spot the talents of our children and to develop them. If she had only been a shy child who is scared to meet new people, she would have never succeeded. A pretty face is not everything in this business.”

Having good looks and charisma must elicit envy from the outside world. But we are worried for Kristina’s bubble; the naive bubble we want all children to inhabit for as long as they can. The world is a funny place. You can be criticized for being unattractive and criticized for being too attractive. You can drop dead with a perfect bill of health and be a loose-goose and live relatively longer than the people around you. Life can be very humbling. Having said that, at the impressionable age of ten, can you grasp the concept of a career? Of making and breaking the bank – or mold? Or is it just another game, when you are a child?

Is there, truly, a right age to follow your dreams?


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time.

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#FreeTheNipple | Hypocrisy, one titillation at a time

Nip Slip free the nipple


By Magretta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags


According to Oxford Dictionaries, in ‘transit’ means to pass across or through an area. We are in transit, socially speaking, when it comes to identity. Maybe we always have been. Social media is a wonderful thing. Freedom of expression and freedom of speech!

All social platforms have guidelines. The Do’s and Don’ts of most sites is simple; no pornographic content involving minors or threatening to post intimate images of others #WasteHisTime2016.

free the nipThis picture, posted on AMFAM Instagram, was banned because it didn’t meet their guideline requirements. But the requirements mention nothing about bare chests. The picture is of a woman – a transgender woman. It is here that we have a problem. The #freethenipple campaign started as art imitating life, with Lina Esco’s comedic drama centred around activists fighting their right to bare nipples –Why is seeing my nipple more offensive than a mass murder? A great point. What does baring a nipples have to do with identity? More than you realise.

You show me yours

I must admit, I’m not a huge Instagram user. What I do love about this platform is the curated and filtered visual porn – lets be very clear; I mean anything intended to cause excitement. I am not here to call out hypocrisy (I enjoy my job far too much) but we continue to dance on the line of acceptability. The world is filled with almost 7 billon people. There will definitely be times we don’t see eye to eye or hand to gun, as the news regurgitates hourly. This is why identity is so important – to know who you are and your relation to the external world. But we are talking about law enforced guidelines on Instagram, not existential problems of the self and universe.

2014 was the year Facebook lifted its ban on women who shared pictures of breastfeeding their newborns. What they didnt do was lift the same ban on women who weren’t breastfeeding but had their girls out. Any other contexts apart from nursing was forbidden, according to Facebook was not prepared for the roar of loosened bra straps at the hypocrisy.

Lina Esco, the mastermind behind the #freethenipple movement and satirical movie, stated in 2013; “When I started my online campaign, Facebook and Instagram banned the photos of topless women that were taken on location, faster than we could put them up. Why can you show public beheadings from Saudi Arabia on Facebook, but not a nipple? Why can you sell guns on Instagram, but yet they will suspend your account for posting the most natural part of a woman’s body?”Free The Nipple

This campaign was evelated to a femisitic-super-nova level when Feminist writer and activist Soraya Chemaly rallied the troups, sending more than ‘60,000 tweets and 5,000 emails opposing the inequitable way images of women’s breasts are regarded.’ Soraya Chemaly told Mic mag, Women’s breasts are not the problem. Sexual objectification is the problem. There’s a difference between sexualization and sexuality. Breasts don’t hurt children, breasts feed children, and it’s the sexualization of women’s bodies that’s actually hurting children the most.”

Sex sells because it reminds us of the familiar. When we see a sexy image we are tempting the deepest parts of ourselves – the kind of llifestyle we hate to see but love to be (if only for an episode of your favorite reality show). Bringing it back home, we at AMFAM were not impressed with Instagram. We believe the picture was banned because she has very feminine features. Gorgeous hair. Ajar lips. Fresh and hydrated skin. Cheeky demure. This screams female all over – am I right ladies?

The model doesn’t appear threatening or erotic. The issue? Her nipples were visible on a flat chest. Is it fair that male nipples are socially acceptable damn near anywhere? But this isn’t a picture of a quote on quote ‘man’. Is the line still relevant when the stiletto is on the other foot?free the nip

Who makes the rules?

We share a pack mentality; kind of like the ‘cool kids’ club. There’s nothing overtly dangerous with this – we need order and hierarchy for pretty things to flourish. The problem is when the majority is wrong and yet still rules. Over-sexualisation has taken over our world – even as a writer. It’s not hard to turn a mispronounced word, unintended movement or a well-placed object into a double entendre. See what I mean? Very naughty of you.

The titillation of #freethenipple is largely due to sex-coloured glasses. Female breasts are seen as sexual objects – funbags, to be captialised solely for pleasure and aesthetics, instead of their actual use – for nurture. There always will be disgruntled right/left wing conservatives who hide behind tradition – what’s tried and true will come through, right? What about the power one holds to change and evolve, regardless of social norms? Why are models allowed to showcase next to fabulous nothing to sell a product/lifestyle but women on the street who are less provocative, perhaps even breastfeeding their child; or horror of all horrors, braless while wearing a white shirt, in the middle of a rainstorm. Why some things accepted but others aren’t?Boob

Can beauty be censored?

The rules of beauty should be individually defined as we go forward into the future. Beauty is a universal social construction on the senses. It is felt more so than seen, which is why many industries are thriving on capturing beauty in its natural (curated) habitat. These companies edit beauty. Then sell it back to us in a real life context.

Instagram’s rule to ban our image had more to do with perception in real time than capturing beauty in its natural (curated) habitat. We felt because this model had identified as a woman her nips violated their platform guidelines and laws.

The line of approval and self acceptance is a long drawn out process. It will probably be a selfie at a time. We can start by understanding their rules and then breaking them in morally acceptable ways (and legal, of course!). Morality and socialism will always butt heads. To put it differently, what is good for social platforms is not always good for brands.

With that said, let’s blow the cover on real hypocrisy – starting with one titillation at a time.

Free The Nipple


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

Blogger Blogger On The Wall, Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

top fashion blogs


By Margretta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags

Can you, in your head, raise your hand if you have ever owned or written in a diary? Hopefully there are many of you. We are operating within an interesting paradigm – this ‘on the line’ (shout-out to the Internship movie), quasi-virtual reality of connection through different types of retail experiences. You can call this a Checkout Society. ‘Checkout’ can refer to different things such as; unwinding with social media, or maybe having a wandering eye, being fortunate to ‘checkout’ of a boring day through different vices… most of these are #firstworldproblems.

The benefit of blogging is self-explanatory. The two advantages that come to mind (for the readers) are convenience and customisation. With the aid of Google we are able to find almost anything on anyone at anytime. Sounds convenient. The custom part lies in the hands of the blogger. These benefits run further and deeper than just convenience and customised choices. A Blogger is someone who shares information on their site regularly for personal purposes. If a company is operating in this capacity it wouldn’t be calling blogging; it would be called selling. Is this how we view bloggers now? A business all on its own; selling a fixed and curated dream? Is there anything wrong with that? Should we fight against being sold ‘gift set’ size ideologies of the newest trend?

Even the most secure of persons, financially speaking, is opting to quit their salary packages for the alluring and turbulent avenue of professional blogging. We’ve seen PLENTY of sites that offer advice, tips, commentary, prizes, tutorials and even image porn. Oh no she didn’t! Sites likeTumblr, WordPress and Bloglovin are platforms for community interaction.

I have nothing against blogging – I do it myself. The only difference is I’m not selling anything but myself, wink wink (I joke). Thousands of dollars can be made monetizing your page. Whether you are using affiliate marketing (those annoying banners businesses have on the side, top and bottom of most pages – when readers click said advertisement and/or purchase from that page the blogger receives a fee. The purchase or impression was made by association). More often than not, direct methods of marketing such as endorsing a product are the industry norm. Bloggers get freebies. Yes FREEBIES – most of the time. The convenience for brands is having an unofficial spokesperson for the average person. I suppose that is the beauty of blogging. So what does this mean in relation to living in a ‘checkout’ society? Blogging has already become a ‘social commerce’ platform.

The future of blogging is moving towards bankable personalities – people who use their ‘brand’ to influence and engage their audience to purchase or be a part of a certain movement or product. We have to assume those active followers are interested in blog [x] because they find whatever the blogger is blogging useful. The trust is that the blogger(s) have consumers in mind, catering and curating probable and attractive trends for the rest of us to enjoy. Ain’t no shame in that game.

Here is a list of the top (6) Fashion Blogs (in my humble opinion).

1. The Man Repeller

top fashion blogs

I think the name says it all. This blog is not just for the average fashionista. Do you put a little more thought and a little less outside approval into your outfit? Dress without fear!

FOLLOW IF: you have a bubble bag just waiting to come out of your closet… I’m kidding. If you aren’t afraid of trying new things style-wise then welcome to the club.

2. Garry Pepper Girl

top fashion blogs

If vintage and all things girly is your cup of tea then GPG is for you! Whimsical, exotic and a whole lot of class. Are you a Garry Pepper Girl?

FOLLOW IF: you enjoy seeing all facets of being in the Fashion public eye – from red carpets, VIP luncheons and events, collaborating and even having fabulous meals. #nofilter of course.

3. Peony Lim

top fashion bloggers

The Asian market is known for its polished decadence and commercial quirkiness. This blog is for jet-setters. All aboard!

FOLLOW IF: you love seeing high-res and high gloss images of a Fashion princess’s jet-setting lifestyle.

4. Style Bubble

top fashion blogs

In the Fashion Blogging sphere, Style Bubble is an icon! Though her site is not as flashy (some would say) as other blogs, her content far outweighs any minimalist and quirky visuals.

FOLLOW IF: you enjoy reading longhand fashion commentary while wearing your favourite kitsch outfit.

5. Blonde Salad

Top Fashion Blogs

A blogging favourite for most. This blogger has had collaborations with luxury houses, and even has her own fashion line.

FOLLOW IF: you have a thing for art, fashion, design, travel then look no further.

6. Bryanboy

top fashion blogs

What to say about Bryanboy? He is a gay icon in fashion. Having his own Marc Jacobs bag named after him is just a small stitch in this story.

FOLLOW IF: you are into gorgeous fashion, behind the scenes shots and possible shady commentary.


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

Is the Writer’s Only Responsibility to His Art?


Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. Faulkner said, “The writer’s only responsibility is to his art.” This week, Zoë Heller and Francine Prose discuss the obligations of artists.

By Zoë Heller

The belief that artists are entitled to be morally careless has proved to be one of the more tenacious parts of our Romantic inheritance.


Zoë Heller Credit Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson

Faulkner seemed to rather relish being horrid in the name of art. “If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate,” he told The Paris Review in 1956. “The ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is worth any number of old ladies.” There’s something a little posturing about the epigrammatic cruelty of this remark, but the evidence suggests that Faulkner practiced the mercilessness he preached. When his 12-year-old daughter once asked him to postpone one of his alcoholic binges until after her birthday celebrations, he famously refused, telling her, “No one remembers Shakespeare’s children.”


Class of 2016 | Top 10 Black Beauties


By Magretta Sowah

No doubt 2015 was the year of the entrepreneur – the dream catcher/seeker, internet breaker. Political and emotional avenues were given within the fashion industry because of recurring underlining issues. These include; beauty standards, weight management and exploitation, gender neutrality, androgyny (and its benefits), social changes in the business of fashion and of course, The Edit – all aided by social media.

EBONY magazine, for their September issue 2015, brought attention to the diverse and colourful world of black female models. You can have a look here. Believe it or not, black is not one-size-fits-all – ask anyone from Africa and they will tell you that being African is a code of conduct; a way of life rooted deeper than melanin and linguistics.

Yes its true black models have been scouted for years, but almost always cast as a background model – a novelty, but never in the forefront or cover. Though the reasons for this continued to be debated, in 2016 the Black Model continues to grace covers, runways and editorials. In case you were not familiar with these dark beauties i have compiled a list of rising starlets and timeless icons in prominence and portfolio.

So here, in glorious fashion, are the freshmen, sophmore and senior class of the black fe(male) model tribe.

*Please note there are many fierce and inspiring black models in the industry. This list is a shout-out to them also, in spirit.


Freshmen Class 2016 – 

They say the expert at something was once as beginner. No one is born knowing things a person of old age is just beginning to discover. The following may be freshmen but they have the valedictorian spirit…

Milan Dixonblack models

The Nevada native is a newbie who studied at Texas Southern University. She’s currently signed to PhotoGenics and has been featured in editorials for Elle South Africa, Cosmopolitan South Africa and Marie Claire South Africa.

|| STATS ||

Name: Milan Dixon

Stepped on the scene: Early 2000s

Most known for: Gracing the cover of ELLE magazine South Africa #RunwayForAfrica

Bragging rights: Killer tooth gap SU|PER SEX|Y

Website/Contact: Portfolio – MajorModel   Instagram – @modelmilano

Samantha Archibaldblack models

The Jamaican-German model was discovered and signed to Michele Pommier when she was 14. Now she’s signed to Major Model Management in New York and Storm Model Management in London (the same agency that signed Cara Delevingne). Archibald hasn’t landed any major advertising campaigns yet, but she’s posed for editorials in Interview, Nylon, Elle and Love and walked in fashion shows for Jeremy Scott, Moschino, Prada, DSquared2, and Moncler.

|| STATS ||

Name: Samantha Archibald

Stepped on the scene: 2013

Most known for: being one of the printastic models at Moschino S/S 15 RTW. #BarbieForever

Bragging rights: Saying loud and proud that she’s a feminist (she even had it on a shirt).

Website/Contact: Instagram – @thinkthinkbrainblast


Sophmore Class 2016 – 

These models have been in the game long enough that they are household names. We love them for their personality as well as a.a.a.amazing good looks. I guess you can have it all…

Alek Wekblack models

Sudan-born Alek Wek was discovered at a London outdoor market. She was able to catch the attention of the industry when she appeared in the music video of “Golden Eye” by Tina Turner. Since then, she has graced major ads for a lot of companies, including Clinique, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Victoria’s Secret among many others.

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Name: Alek Wek

Stepped on the scene: Early 2008

Most known for: Being a bad*ss bold chick – stand aside Amber Rose – with sensual lips. Oh yes! #ReadMyLips

Bragging rights:  Being an advisor to the US Committee for Refugees since 2002.

Website/contact: Twitter – @therealalekwek

Jourdan DunnBlack Models

London born Jourdan Dunn was discovered in a local Primark at 16 by the legendary agency Storm Models (who also discovered Kate Moss) and has been unstoppable ever since. Voted the British Fashion Council’s “Model of the Year” in 2008 as well as being one of the 4 cover models for Vogue Italia’s iconic Black Models issue, July 2008. Has walked the runways for nearly every top designer and making history as the first black model since Naomi to strut for Prada, Jourdan is a bona-fide star. Gave birth to son Riley in December 2009.

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Name: Jourdan Dunn

Stepped on the scene: 2007

Most known for: Being a VS model #JourdansGotASecret

Bragging rights: Um… hello; being a part of the BALMAIN-Kendall-Gigi-Naomi-Iman DYNASTY! We love you Jourdan.

Website/contact: Instagram – @officialjdunn  Twitter – @missjourdandunn

Liya KebedeBlack Models

Liya Kebede, who was born in Ethiopia, got her break in the fashion industry when Tom Ford chose her in the 2000 Gucci Fall/Winter show. After this, she proceeded in establishing a name for herself as a permanent runway figure on the Milan, Paris, London, and New York circuit. She garnered extreme popularity that she was chosen as the cover of the May 2002 edition of Paris Vogue. She is also the first black model for Estee Lauder.

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Name: Liya Kebede

Stepped on the scene: 2004 in an Escada campaign – Oh yes, bubblegum pink fringe dresses were in.

Most known for: Being a triple threat: model, actress and advocate. #blacklivesmatter

Bragging rights: Being a Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health for the World Health Organization. Madonna eat your heart out!

Website/Contact:   Instagram – @liyakbede
Twitter – @liyakebede 

Chanel ImanBlack Models

Chanel Iman Robinson, known commonly today as simply Chanel Iman, is the youngest and most successful African-American High Fashion Model of her time. The Victoria’s Secret “Angel” is well-known for having positive energy and endless legs that have walked countless runways around the world.

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Name: Chanel Iman

Stepped on the scene: 2006

Most known for: Having the name of a famous brand and model #blessed

Bragging rights: Being funny and sexy and a VS Angel.

Website/contact:   Twitter – @chaneliman  
Instagram – @chaneliman


Senior Class – 2016

OG’s (Original Gangsta’s) in the modelling industry are not made, they are born. Graduating top of in their class and most likely to succeed for their bankable ($) looks…

ImanBlack Models

Iman was born on July 25, 1955, in Mogadishu, Somalia. A student at the University of Nairobi, she was discovered by photographer Peter Beard. Through the 1970s and 1980s, Iman was a favourite model in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent devoted the “African Queen” collection to her. Since retiring from modelling, Iman has done charity work in Somalia, started a cosmetics line and married rocker David Bowie.

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Name: Iman

Stepped on the scene: A lady never reveals her age

Most known for: Her striking features #rise

Bragging rights: Being married to the one and only David FREAKING Bowie.

Rest In Fashionable and Musical Peace David Bowie x

Website/contact:  Instagram – @the_real_iman

Naomi CampbellBlack models

Supermodel Naomi Campbell was born in London on May 22, 1970. She began modelling at age 15, becoming the first black woman on the cover of French Vogue at 18, and the first black model on the cover of Time. On a few occasions, Campbell’s hot temper got her in trouble with the law. In addition to modelling, Campbell launched a singing career and a perfume.

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Name: Naomi Campbell

Stepped on the scene: 1988

Most known for: Throwing a mobile at her assistant #onhold

Bragging rights: Being herself and NEVER compromising for the business

Website/contact:   Instagram – @iamnaomicampbell
Twitter – @naomicampbell

Tyra BanksBlack Models

While Tyra Banks is known for her personality, there is no denying the fact that she has achieved a lot as a black supermodel. If you watched the series America’s Next Top Model, then you know the history of her career. Before she entered the world of commercial modelling, she was a high fashion model first. Since then, she was featured on numerous magazine covers. Tyra Banks is also the first black model to be featured as a cover on the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and on GQ.

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Name: Tyra Banks

Stepped on the scene: 1989

Most known for: Coining the phrase: “You are not America’s Next Top Model.” #winning

Bragging rights: First black model on Sports Illustrated and GQ cover + her T-Zone community

Website/contact:  Instagram – @tyrabeauty  Youtube – tyrabanks
twitter – @tyrabeauty

Tyson BeckfordBlack Models

Born in New York, Tyson lived in Jamaica until the age of seven and now makes his home in New York. When he is not modelling or acting, Tyson is busy developing his MotorSports interests, which has led him to become a licensed driving member of Supertuners and host of his own auto show.

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Name: Tyson Beckford

Stepped on the scene: 1992

Most known for: Being in Toni Braxton’s ‘Unbreak My Heart’ video clip #relationshipgoals

Bragging rights: Being in a serious motorcycle accident in the 90s (that scarred his face) and bouncing back even more sexier than before. Savage.

Website/contact:     Instagram – @tysonbeckford
twitter – TysonCBeckford


“It’s not who does it first, it’s who does it best.”





This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

Is Fashion Feminist?

fashion feminist


By Margretta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags

Once upon a time it was easy to spot an honest person – they exuded purpose. In the 21st century of political correctness, being honest is a double edge sword. Look at it this way; if integrity and fairness were as celebrated and engaged with as war, the world would be a different place.

The honest truth: Feminism is far from its full actualisation. Can fashion aid in the advancement of this honest cause; being the Mecca of expressionism expressed, in conceptualised styli-fication? – talk about a mouthful! Let’s explore.

Act like a woman

fashion feminist
fashion feminist
fashion feminist

When a woman compliments another woman it can be taken as shade. When a man compliments a woman, he is taken seriously. How does that work? Fashion is intrinsically feminine – the advertisement is geared to prickling women’s sensors, educing an almost septic reaction; the hand reaching for the credit card, a gush instils as the bag handle does a body exchange.

Yes, fashion is feminine. But is it feminist? Not to go into an issue much more complex than the average trending topic, feminism is the right and acknowledgement of equality over both genders. This is referring to not only social issues (raising a family on their own, personal safety, allowing for political correctness etc) but psychological thought patterns as well. The last headlining feministic stunt in fashion was CHANEL’s Paris Fashion Week show in 2014. Top models such as Gisele Bündchen and Cara Delevingne walked down the runway, asking for change over designer microphones.

Society as a whole is for feminism, I believe, as mothers are the matriarchal image of the female spirit… perhaps that is where we get our wires crossed. Women in the 21st century do not want to be just mothers. We want – no deserve – to have it all; at least how men are seen to have. The problem is putting these two worlds together – having a family and being part of a system or being the ‘woman most envied’; all aided by brand [x] perfume No.69. You can’t be vain and loving at the same time, right?

These opposing images make for an interesting and almost comical reaction to fashion in feminism. Since the burning of the bra – or at least Madonna’s Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra from the Blond Ambition tour of 1990 (I was only one at the time!); fashion has always been a tool at our disposal. Whether this power pushes for societal changes or personal expression is yet to be seen in any other form but misunderstanding by already set standards.

Think like a man

adrog fashion
be a man
fashion feminist

Women’s rights are a huge driving force for societal changes as are male rights too… so what about the transgender issues? Surely feminism, in its purest form, is to protect and respect the rights and wishes of men who are now women also? Does it work that way?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the industry is perhaps one of the few platforms we have to express opinions. We need advocates from all subcultures and markets to fight this problem. What can’t be done about this is nothing. The gay and lesbian community is a big part of the fashion economy, with glitterati’s like Brian Boy & André Leon Talley being public fashion and cultural figures in their own right.

Their voices on feminism issues are invaluable. Men are seen as go-getters, always on the hunt, – check out my post on the Male Model Stereotype – succeeding by any means possible (survival of the fittest or finest? A discussion for another time).

It’s no secret men dominate the industry with most designers of womenswear being male (over 65%). We are used to this. We don’t question it. Houses like Prada and Versace come from male conceptions, being adaptive as the years have past. Women such as Miuccia Prada, Diane Von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney, Donna Karen and even Mary Katrantzou are pushing for the acknowledgement (and equal pay) of female designers in any market.

One writer wrote in their article Are Fashion and Feminism compatible; “Fashion is, by its nature, entirely bipolar. You can love it, live for it; invest all your time/money/energy in it, but clearly what it says today will in no way reflect what it says in six months’ time. Indeed, surely the entire point of fashion is that it mustn’t really believe in anything…” (via The Guardian).

Whether or not the author’s opinion is valid, it sure makes for an interesting point. It is not fashion that gives us something to believe in but us that gives fashion its meaning. Never forget that. If we believe fashion is not feminist then it won’t be.

Fashion in the future

future fashion
futuristic fashion
fashion feminist

If you follow Pantone on social media you would have seen their Colour of the Year release. For 2016 the colour(s) of the year are Rose Quartz and Serenity. To the untrained eye these colours are just baby pink and baby blue, but those in the industry see a link between society’s outcry for gender-equality, even if it starts from something as simple (and effective) as colour.

The colour of the year, explained by Pantone, is: “A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design.

This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.”

The most important point to take out is consumers hold the key to changes. That’s right. You and I hold the power to change how things are sold to us. Will it be enough to break the line of equality and fairness? We can only tell one stitch (and swipe) at a time.

If fashion is meant to be an expressive force, let’s make sure what we are expressing is the truth – even if it’s honestly ugly.


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

Think Pink

the 2015 barbie


By Margretta Sowah

For most, Barbie has always been a sign of the times – important events, socially speaking. I remember when Barbie was an Olympic gymnast. I would twist and twine her body to match [insert athlete circa 1995]. Barbie was a symbol of hope. A big call? Sure. But let’s not forget, for a Blondie, Barbie is a formidable opponent.

Some tricks aren’t for kids…

I think what most people love about Barbie is her spirit and energy. Barbie is the eternal child; with a twinkle in her eye and glitter through her hair. With children’s toys and accessories being a huge money maker – 18.11 Billion US dollars as of 2014, having a public figure like a Barbie (being an idealistic prototype and sign of the times) allowed for easier relatability and optimism. At the tender age of adolescence we are looking to our peers for similarity. What makes Barbie’s marketing and branding so exciting is the play factor – the ability to be amusing and entertaining by channelling characters through real people and real situations.

This, of course, is not without negative implications. According to; Barbie’s appearance was modelled after a German comic strip character, originally marketed as a racy gag gift for adult men in tobacco shops. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and made their own version, naming her ‘Barbara’ after the Mattel’s daughter. Barbie filled a niche in the market, allowing little girls to imagine themselves in the future – one where women could be anything they wanted. I think it’s easy to forget living in the luxuries of the 21st century how encouraging it is to know there are no ethical or legal restrictions for women in the workforce. Models are a prime example – I wrote a piece about the Plus Size model Tess Holiday and her #EffYourBeautyStandards campaign. You should check it out. More than a few decades ago there would be an uproar if women wore scantily clad fabric and strutted down a long platform; let alone a children’s doll that stood at eleven feet with flowing blonde hair and the body of an exotic dancer. #SorryNotSorry

Women have always been a huge driving force in the economy. According to the Harvard Business Review; “Globally, [women] control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years.” Can you imagine a trillion dollars? At this point I can’t even imagine twenty dollars, let alone a trillion. It goes without saying the various stereotypes associated with the proactive female shopper – we think she is frivolous. A bit shallow. Perhaps even calculating? Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. That was 1959. Now the prerequisite for a doll (excluding baby/toddler/fairies or mythical creatures) is to have ‘full figures’. It’s easy to believe commercialism starts at a young age with advertisements geared towards not only children of a particular age, but hopeful mothers wanting the best for their child. We are all a part of the consumerism treadmill.

Barbie, if looked at in a different context, can be seen as a symbol of ‘Wall Street’ and capitalism; even though her message is clearly a positive one. It’s a bit like Victoria’s Secret. The premise of VS is to cater for women who want to feel fabulous and sexy at any age and size… but there are obvious subliminal messaging geared towards this ‘picture perfect’ lifestyle and body. Neither Barbie nor Victoria’s Secret have damaging influences on the industry but issues do stem from how they promote their products.

Gender neutral = gender equality?

In Moschino’s Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection, Barbie came to life in a ‘Life in Plastic, it’s Printastic’ way. Jeremy Scott’s homage to the iconic children’s doll sparked controversy throughout the industry. Was it a piss on fashion? Is Barbie not seen as fashion? – there have been over 70 designers who have made clothes for Barbie – Why is the ‘fun and free’ lifestyle of Barbie shunned by the decadence of fashion is not? Did it have anything to do with Ken’s new haircut? What about the children!

As a part of the promotional campaigns for Moschino Barbie (a registered Barbie made especially for Moschino) a video surfaced on their facebook page with a young boy in Grease-esque hair (Grease Lighting, I mean) that would make even Frenchy jealous, letting us know that this was the most Moschino Barbie ever! Soon after a slew of articles published throughout the internet, all agreeing what a constructive move Mattel showed by having a young boy in a Barbie ad; even though Moschino is NOT a toy manufacturer, but rather a very established fashion powerhouse that sells to both men, women and children.

We are moving towards a gender-neutral mentality; with the rise of the Transgender/Gay and Lesbian community in the public eye, there has been a push in the market for non-gender-specific products starting from kids toys. Is this a good move or is this another box to add? It is, however, a definite testament to Mattel (with the world’s most iconic doll) to keep with its vision for the brand and for Barbie. In a world where trillions of dollars can be lost with one wrong slogan, Barbie has been able to maintain her integrity (yes there was/is controversy over Barbie’s unrealistic measurements, opening the door for scrutiny of impression) in a world where pink is seen as an unintelligent colour (when worn), according to a study done by buytshirtsonline.

Idealism at its best

So what can be said about Barbie? She is seen as a go-getter, an independent and intelligent women. Her life is filled with her gorgeous boyfriend of many years, Ken; her many friends of other cultures – from African to Hispanic, Asian to Icelandic. She is able to cross borders, languages, ages and even sexuality. This is where MATTEL succeeded with Barbie; its blonde breadwinner in a pink Beetle Volkswagen. Now if that isn’t tooting your own horn…


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

Masculinity, and the Male Model stereotype 

male models


By Margetta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags

Men are often seen as the bread winners, taste-makers, and hunter extraordinaire. They are at the top of the food chain but also stand at the bottom of the pecking order… a contradiction in terms? You could say that. What it comes down to is constructive sympathy for our male counterparts to icons like Gisele, Kate, Naomi and Cara.

Overlooked and objectified 

The male model has often been a misplaced mark on the bullseye of beautification. When researching this topic the public opinion was obvious – we don’t value male models. Yes the Fashion industry advocates male modeling as an occupation but that does not guarantee equal representation.

Public perception of male models (MANdels, if you will) is not one of admiration. When I typed into Google ‘are male models…’ the first four suggestions were; attractivestupidinsecurephotoshopped? Are male models seen as stupid or is that just par for the course? Should we feel sorry for those who fall under scrutiny? Articles such as: ‘Why no one should ever date a male model’, ‘Does every male model have to be a dumb blonde,’ and ‘I’d rather date a tree than a male model’ show a comical attitude towards Fashion’s pretty boys. Sigh. Apart from Elite Daily ruining my Dendrophile fantasies (clearly joking), most of us assume male models are stupid, narcissistic, have substance abuse problems and, though I never really understood the correlation, are blessed with huge… Christmas stockings #jiggleballs.

Shouldn’t we have the same attitude of acceptance as we do females who model, or at least try to? The problem of objectification goes both ways with the only difference in this case being the power of capitalism. Truth is no one wants to buy a magazine with a half naked man on the cover unless he is a celebrity, sportsman or has an alternative lifestyle (tattoo artists/piercers, biker or seen as a novelty etc). Objectification, like most judgments, begins with perception.

Man and the body

Do the names Adonis, Narcissuses or Dorian Grey ring any bells? Adonis was the personification of masculine beauty and Aphrodite’s lover in Greek mythology. Narcissuses was so enamoured by his own appearance he stood staring at a pool of water until he died. The Picture of Dorian Gray was written by Oscar Wilde about a man who sold his soul for eternal youth. Those analogies paint a picture of a certain demographic, don’t they? We’ve all become accustom to certain male bodies – the David Beckham’s, Tyson Beckford’s, Zac Effron’s; hell even Jonah Hill (pre weight-loss) has a place in Hollywood.

Have you seen a plus-size male model before? He’s full figured, goes to the gym, eats right, has a healthy relationship with food and alcohol but is no Marc Jacobs or Tom Ford.

The US retailer Target broke new ground by becoming the first to promote their male plus-size model – Zach Miko. Miko stands at 6’6” and wears XXL. In the spirit of inclusivity Target also advertises wedding registries for gay couples and has successfully launched shape diversity swimwear campaigns. As Gok would say, you go Tarjay!

Zach told People magazine, “My main message to people is; ‘Why not now? Why can’t you feel attractive the way you are right now? […] It’s great to be more fit, more healthy, more active, but that doesn’t mean who you are right now is invalid, or that who you are right now isn’t an attractive person. We need to keep seeing bigger, smaller. We need to see every body type. We need to see that every type of person is beautiful.” Mmmhm. Agreed!

Equal Pay Everyday

On the 27th of October 2015 we celebrated (or should I say spent) Equal Pay Day in Australia. Did you know in Australia women are paid 18.6% LESS than men! According to this means women are only paid 81.4% of the year. Okay, brace yourselves because I’m going to say something very true but also very controversial. The only industries, generally speaking (I’m not talking about obscure, niche jobs) where women are paid more than men are prostitution/stripping and modelling. Though there is absolutely no link between the two that is definitely kitchen table talk for later.

I’m proud to say All My Friends Are Models are equal opportunists. We actively support issues of inequality and work hard to break damaging stereotypes of what beauty is and how it should appear. Team work makes the dream work! (Yes that was a shameless work plug.)

I digress… Let’s talk about modelling income. American model Sean O’Pry (he was in Taylor Swift’s Blank Space music video) is a top earner at 1.5 million annually, according to Fortune Magazine. Miranda Kerr earned more than double at $7 million. Shout-out to Aussie babe Miranda Kerr. What makes models like Miranda Kerr worth more than Sean O’Pry – besides having to earn your keep. I have a feeling it has more to do with sellablity than anything else. Women earn 148% more than men in modelling, according to While men will probably never be on the same salary as women in this industry, there are definitely changes in the air. The launch of Men’s New York Fashion Week has been seen by editors, buyers and designers as a cataylst for much needed change.

The future of the fashionable man

This is no longer a man’s world. Women are wearing the Tom Ford pants and Dior shirt with the Chanel loafers. Outside of office hours, men who model should not to be defined by physical appearance alone. I know it sounds like the pot calling the kettle black but everyone – no matter what you do and how you do it – should have a right to equal pay, representation and acceptance across the board regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and personal preference. We need to believe this is a concept worth fighting for.

So a toast to men who model. May you continue to do what you do, stride how you stride, wear what you wear and never be afraid to be fashionable at any age, in any size. Who doesn’t love staring at cheekbones you could grate brie on. Wine anyone?


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time.Read more: