"Be the change you want to see in the world." ~Mahatma Gandhi

31 July 2012

Tyra Banks: Bio and Career Highlights

Now that the 2012 Summer Olympics are underway, I am feeling all patriotic. As I root for my fellow American athletes in volleyball, boxing, swimming and gymnastics, I also reflect upon the work of American models in the world of Victoria's Secret. I have just recently featured a short bio with career highlights for American model Chanel Iman. But let's take it back to old school Victoria's Secret ... let's take it all the way back to the era of Tyra Banks.

I did not really start paying attention to Victoria's Secret until Tyra Banks graced their runway and landed on several of their covers. Tyra Banks is the first African-American model to land not only a Victoria's Secret catalog cover, but also to land a GQ cover as well as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover. Her career skyrocketed into mega-supermodel stardom when she landed that famous 1996 SI Swimsuit cover with Valeria Mazza both dressed in leopard-print swimwear. Victoria's Secret followed SI's footsteps and placed Tyra Banks on the cover of their 1997 VS Swim catalog also dressed in a leopard-print bikini. Imitation truly is the best form of flattery. Here are the pics from both of these features that I love so much:

I guess I didn't get the memo . . .

Tyra Banks got her start simply by walking down the street. She was spotted by a modeling scout who asked her to participate in an upcoming fall haute couture fashion show in Paris and the rest is history. Once she hit the Paris runway, other designers eagerly wanted her in their runway shows as well booking her for 25 shows her first time in Paris!

Tyra Banks was born on December 4, 1973 in Inglewood, California near Los Angeles. Tyra is beautiful both inside and out and has such a lively personality. She was and still is very successful in many television shows. Currently she is still producer and host of the very successful and popular America's Next Top Model. She also had a talk show named The Tyra Banks show which she won two daytime Emmy Awards for Best Talk Show-Informative in 2008 and 2009.

She has made many television cameo acting appearances. I just loved her on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Will Smith's girlfriend. Her television acting led her to the big screen and one of her best movie performances was in the 1995 movie "Higher Learning." This was her first movie role. She went on to star in the movie "Coyote Ugly" and "Life Size." She had a small acting role in "Love and Basketball" and has acted in several other movies. She wrote a successful beauty book encouraging young woman to embrace their own beauty. She even recorded a song and dabbled a bit in singing. She has been featured in many music videos and is perhaps one of the most successful business women out of the original 1990's Victoria's Secret angels. She is the second African-American woman to receive a long-term Cover Girl contract. Her list of accolades go on and on and on!

Tyra Banks broke many racial barriers and continues to collaborate with others to promote beauty diversity. She is still the most popular African American Victoria's Secret model even though she retired from modeling in 2005 to pursue her career as a talk show and t.v. personality. Noone commands that Victoria's Secret runway the way Tyra Banks did. Here is a breakdown of her VS fashion show appearances:

FEB 1996
FEB 1997
FEB 1998
FEB 1999
MAY 2000 (Walks in 2 of 4 Segments)
NOV 2001 (First televised Victoria's Secret Show. Walks in 3 of 4 Segments)
NOV 2002 (Walks in 3 of 4 Segments, Opens the 3rd Segment)
NOV 2003 (Walks in 3 of 5 Segments)
2004 (Participated in Angels Across America - no fashion show this year)
NOV 2005 (Last appearance before announcing her retirement from lingerie modeling. Walks in 3 of 6 Segments, Opens 2nd Segment, Closes 6th Segment, Closes the Show!)

VSFS 2005: Segment 6, Sexy Toys

.:give me some room, I'm coming through:.

21 July 2012

Chanel Iman: Bio and Career Highlights

Chanel Iman Robinson is a very popular American model known as simply Chanel Iman. She first got her start in the modeling world as a young teen at the age of 13 in 2004. Her big break came when she was 15 years old in 2006 and placed 3rd in the Ford Supermodel of the World Contest and soon thereafter signed an extended agency contract with Ford Models, the world-renowned modeling agency who already was representing her. The relationship with this prestigious agency lasted until 2010 when she switched to Supreme Management.

What intrigues me the most about Chanel Iman is her 1/4 Korean ancestry (her mother is 1/2 Korean and 1/2 African American and her father is African American). In many of her features, her asian ancestry is apparant and gives her a very attractive look. She landed the cover of Vogue Korea in 2008 which she and her mother proudly celebrated as her first solo Vogue cover.

She was born on December 1, 1990. Many online sources incorrectly report her birthday as being either November 30, 1989 or November 30, 1990 but according to her official website (chaneliman.com), her date of birth is actually December 1, 1990. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Los Angeles, California. More specifically she grew up in Culver City, California which is a small suburbia town in western Los Angeles County in very close proximity to the city of Los Angeles. Culver City holds a special place in Chanel Iman's heart and is the location of the fabulous clothing boutique called The Red Bag Boutique which she opened in 2010 in co-ownership with her mother.

Many of Chanel Iman's fans remember her from her appearances in Teen Vogue. February 2007 and July 2007 she appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue along with Karlie Kloss and Ali Michael. She appeared again on the cover of Teen Vogue for the November 2009 issue along with Jourdan Dunn. What a fabulous cover and memorable editorial.

I can go on and on about the fashion runway shows that Chanel Iman has walked in, opened and closed as well as the plethora of magazine covers that Chanel Iman has been featured on ... but this is only a short bio. Her modeling portfolio is quite extensive and impressive. She has landed advertising campaigns for Rosa Cha, Bottega Veneta, The Gap, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Express, DSquared2, Diane von Furstenberg and Victoria's Secret. It was first rumored that Chanel Iman became a contracted angel in 2009 when she first began to work with Victoria's Secret. She did sign a 3 year commitment with Victoria's Secret at this time but did not become a contracted angel until 2010.

Speaking of Victoria's Secret, Chanel Iman has walked in the last 3 shows (2009, 2010, and 2011). Here is more of a break down of her VS fashion show appearances:

VSFS 2009:
All Aboard, 2nd Segment
PINK Planet, 3rd Segment

VSFS 2010:
Game On, 2nd Segment
Heavenly Bodies, 4th Segment (Opens Segment!)
PINK, 6th Segment (Closes Segment and Show!!)

VSFS 2011:
Ballet, 1st Segment
PINK, 6th Segment

Chanel Iman not only works the runway with a fierceness that reminds me of Naomi
Campbell and Tyra Banks but she also works the camera just like a true supermodel! Here are my favorite Victoria's Secret lingerie photos of Chanel Iman taken in 2011:

~ and here's to you ~

.:let 'em talk, let 'em hate ... they talk from a distance I wish they would come and f*ck with this:.

.:there can be miracles when u believe:.

12 July 2012

VSFS 2011 "Super Angels" Segment: Karlie Kloss

When Karlie Kloss was introduced to the world as a Victoria's Secret Runway Model in 2011, she hit the stage with a strong presence by walking in 3 segments, getting to wear wings so soon and then closing the show. Not exactly fond of the outfit choices made for her (perhaps because she has such a lean, uncurvy body type that throws me off a little). She is a well respected and very popular American fashion model and seems to have a fun personality. Being young (only 19 years old) she mis-stated in the backstage interview that she felt as if she was going to knock Kanye over with her wings ... uh ... how so? When she was on the runway with Kanye during the Super Angels Segment, she had on a simple Joan Jetson-inspired costume with no wings or anything extending. Did I miss something or did she just want to say she wanted to knock Kanye over? Ha ha ... would not be surprised if she is not a fan of his. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls backstage, VSFS 2011 (love these two together!)

05 July 2012

VSFS 2011 "Super Angels" Segment: Joan Smalls

I have never been big on comic book characters but I do find the "Super Angels" Segment of the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show to be quite a unique runway show. Kanye West performs his 2007 hit "Stronger" and introduces the song and the segment informing the audience that he was supposed to perform this hit song at the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show but had to decline because of his mother passing away during this same year. He dedicated this live performance to his superhero, his mother, who he now states is his superangel gesturing upward to the skies above.

Joan Smalls looks especially fit, toned and sexy in her space-age astronautish "Captain America" inspired costume. (I guess!) Not 100% sure if this is the superhero the costume designer had in mind for her outfit but she looks superfly in this superhero/superangel costume. Nice look ... and nice inflatable attached wings that she inflates mid-walkway using a lever/gadget of some sort attached to the costume. Brilliant and so much fun! Joan Smalls showing you her modeling versatility by pulling off a sexy vixen look for the 2011 Victoria's Secret "Super Angels" Segment.