Archive for Rule 5

Something of a reach

Women with legs that go on for days aren’t exactly common, but when they go on into the middle of next week, there’s no way I’m not going to take notice.

Chase Kennedy on the couch

The latest contender for America’s pinniest pins:

It was only a month ago that we wrote about Holly Burt — a 20-year-old design student from Florida — and her 1.25 metre legs strolling into the record books.

But now Chase Kennedy — a 22-year-old model from California — is claiming she has the longest legs in America, saying they measure in at a whopping 1.29 metres.

We’re talking 51 inches here, an inseam that’s more of an outseam, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Chase Kennedy gets vertical

There is, of course, video:

I think the startling aspect of all this is how Chase, at six foot five, towers over her 5’11” mom.

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Such a game

I had no trouble believing that there was a film called Bruce Lee—The Fighter coming out this fall; I did not, however, expect that it would be a Telugu film about a game designer who falls for a stuntman. The game designer is played by actress Rakul Preet Singh:

Publicity photo of Rakul Preet Singh

At five feet, eight and a half inches tall, Preet might well tower over some of her leading men, which bothers her hardly at all:

“Well, a lot of my leading men aren’t as tall as I am, but then technology is quite advanced today and thanks to that, a tall actress does not have to worry about losing out on projects.”

Rakul Preet Singh watches from the sidelines

A dance student in her younger days, she gets plenty of opportunity to put those skills to use:

The CineMAA Awards, since you asked, are the top awards in Telugu-language film.

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This started when I happened upon a photo of Taraji P. Henson, and wondered, not for the first time: “What’s the P for?”

Says Wikipedia, it’s “Penda,” a Swahili word meaning “love.” (“Taraji” apparently means “hope.”) Her education was remarkable: she studied electrical engineering at North Carolina A&T, and graduated from Howard seven years later with a BFA in drama. (And I thought my career path was, um, unusual.)

Taraji P. Henson takes a break

Henson has done a couple of saucy ads for PETA, of which this is perhaps the more modest:

Taraji P. Henson for PETA

And sometimes she’s not quite so buttoned up:

Taraji P. Henson at VH1's Big In 2015

That’s the picture that caught my eye. But what I really wanted you to see was this bit that never quite made it to Saturday Night Live:

Nothing at all like Cookie Lyon in Empire, right?


The hard-luck girl

The E! True Hollywood Story series dates back to 1996; even then they weren’t overly interested in C-list performers who came to an unfortunate end unless they could get lots of file footage, which they couldn’t for someone who died in 1948. Mary Imogene Robertson, who began her career as a Ziegfeld Girl under the name Imogene “Bubbles” Wilson, moved to Germany in the wake of a scandal and changed her name, then came back to the States and changed it once more. As “Mary Nolan,” she made a number of pre-Code pictures, but by 1933 her career was over.

Mary Nolan as a blonde

Mary Nolan in a jaunty cap

Nolan was only 31 when she faded; she’d had a history of unfortunate romantic involvements and occasional bouts with opioids, perhaps a result of a long hospitalization in 1929 in which she was introduced to the wonders of morphine.

Then again, ex-starlets in trouble were good copy long before E! The American Weekly, a Sunday-newspaper supplement published by Hearst, ran a serialized version of Nolan’s life in 1941. You may be certain that none of the saucy pictures for which she posed in the pre-Code era appeared in the Sunday paper.

And in 1948, Nolan was found dead in her home; she had been suffering from a gall-bladder ailment, but the subsequent autopsy indicated an overdose of Seconals and no sign of foul play. Hard luck, indeed.


Exterior matters

“The real belle of the automotive ball,” says a TTAC commenter, “is Vicki Vlachakis.”

Well, you don’t have to prod me twice:

Vicki Vlachakis on top of a tool chest

Vlachakis grew up in Pasadena, California, and studied at the Art Center College of Design. Hired by Mercedes-Benz, she relocated to Germany, but returned to take an offer by General Motors, eventually becoming the manager of GM’s west-coast Advanced Design Studio. Working from Franz von Holzhausen’s original concept, she developed the interior for the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky twin roadsters.

Vicki Vlachakis in a Pontiac Solstice

After taking her leave of the General, she set up a handbag operation called Nooni, and then disappeared entirely. I’d love to see where she turns up next.

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Ginchier than thou

As the 1950s faded into the 1960s, Warner Bros. was messing around with the concept of synergy: they’d hired actress Connie Stevens for their TV series Hawaiian Eye, but they figured they could get even more mileage out of her at their nascent record company. Accordingly, they paired her up with then-cult hero Edd “Kookie” Byrnes from WB’s 77 Sunset Strip, with the following results:

Never was quite sure what Kookie meant by “You’re the ginchiest,” but surely Connie had no shortage of ginch:

Connie Stevens in what may be fake fur

The next year, Stevens got a solo hit — #3 in Billboard, one notch higher than the Kookie track — with the teen-dream ballad “Sixteen Reasons.”

Connie Stevens ages well

She would continue to score low-charting items through 1965, but her best record might have been “Keep Growing Strong,” which failed to catch fire in 1970:

Producer/cowriter Thom Bell, however, knew this song could be a hit, and a couple of years later it would be, with an established soul group and a new title.

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A heroine for our times

Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde, is nineteen today, but for the two years I’ve been aware of her existence I seem to have picked up a strange cross-generational vibe from her, as though she’d inherited DNA from both Lana Del Rey and Wednesday Addams: you can hear the torch in her voice, even in her most electro-dreamy tunes, yet she remains altogether ooky.

And despite her best efforts, she’s highly photogenic:

Lorde about the time of Royals

Lorde let loose in the garden

That said, my favorite song of hers, “Tennis Court,” from the Pure Heroine album, yielded up a spectacularly cringe-inducing video:

Just the same, Uncle Fester would approve.

(Suggested by Brian J., with an assist from George Brett.)


Pass the carrot cake

Proteus, in Greek legend, was a water god, his shape, like his domain, always changing. (See also Heraclitus: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”) Close as we can get to Proteus these days is Heidi Klum, who in this shot is pulling microphone duty at some MTV Europe event in 2012:

Heidi Klum for the channel formerly known as Music Television

But that’s work. For play, she goes all out:

Heidi Klum as Jessica Rabbit

As I live and breathe, Jessica Rabbit!

[S]he’s been planning her vampy Jessica Rabbit costume for weeks. At the beginning of October, she gave a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the first steps of creating a prosthetic body and cartoon face. When Heidi Klum decides to dress as Jessica Rabbit, she doesn’t go to Party City and buy a red wig, some purple eyeshadow, and a sparkly dress. Nope, she has a professional team fashion her a new butt out of movie-quality materials.

Another look:

Heidi Klum as Jessica Rabbit

Disney, you may remember, wasn’t about to greenlight Who Framed Roger Rabbit with a budget of $50 million, and forced a cut to $30 million. I suspect they had no idea that one of the characters would still be a household word twenty-seven years later.

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Ward of the state

Someone on a message board once described Maitland Ward to me as basically America’s answer to Bai Ling: legitimate acting chops and a fairly long list of credits, but apparently mostly interested these days in appearing in public in abbreviated outfits.

“Abbreviated,” of course, piqued my interest, and it took no time at all to turn up these examples:

Maitland Ward prepared for battle, sort of

I think I just might put this second one after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Commanding the eye

Judging by this still from Season 4 of The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling has grown fond of the V-neck:

Mindy Kaling with serious cleavage

It also works away from the set:

Mindy Kaling with more serious cleavage

This was all too much for me, and I went back to something a bit less revealing:

Mindy Kaling sitting

That fourth season of The Mindy Project will air on Hulu, which ordered 26 new episodes, bringing the total to 93.

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With her head in the clouds

We have yet another contender for Longest Legs. This is Holly Burt, of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district, six foot five, 49.5 inches from hip to hoof, a tall drink of water by any standards not involving basketball:

She’s the tallest in her family, though not by much: her dad is 6’1″, her mom is 6’0″, and she has a 6’0″ sister. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she won’t date anyone under 6’3″.

Holly Burt seated

Holly Burt standing

And maybe let’s cancel that “basketball” remark. Point guard Shannon Bobbitt, who played four years in the WNBA and was last seen playing in Europe, is all of five foot two.

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Not just standing

When Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” hit it big earlier this year, I assumed I was dealing with yet another twentysomething thrush who’d somehow managed to get heard above the crowd noise. (The first time, actually, I thought it was Natasha Bedingfield, reusing a bit from “Strip Me.”) As usual, I was wrong: Platten’s thirty-four, and put out her first album way back in 2003, her second in 2011.

Rachel Platten in 2010

But by the time I’d figured all this out, she’d been nominated for a couple of Teen Choice Awards, and apparently injured her ankle.

Rachel Platten at the Teen Choice Awards 2015

Still, I was ready to shrug, until I heard this: “If your wings are broken, borrow mine, so yours can open too.” “Stand By You” is the current single, and the title song of her next album. It goes something like this:

And the noise from the crowd falls away a little bit more.


Zooeypalooza 23!

Yes, it’s been too long since we did a proper Zooeypalooza. (I am actually getting queries about it.) And so, without (much) further ado:

Zooeypalooza 23!

Embiggenment comes with clickage.

Paloozas previously: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19, ZP 20, ZP 21, ZP 22.

Neither Zooey nor husband Jacob Pechenik has yet divulged the name of their daughter, born in late summer.

Update, 20 October: She has a name, and it’s Elsie Otter.


Beyond that early hype

At least some of Yuja Wang’s early fame derived from sartorial as well as musical choices. By now, the flap over what she might be wearing has given way to more serious concerns: what she might be playing. Which is not to say that she shuns the limelight or anything:

Yuja Wang on the cover of Tatler 10-15

This cover photo fascinates me, perhaps because of her enigmatic facial expression: I can’t tell if she’s truly relaxed, or if she’s feigning it just to get the photoshoot over with. (Then again, my ability to read women’s faces and/or body language is decidedly below average.) I’ve always suspected that, for her anyway, periods of relaxation and periods of ferocity tend to be interspersed at irregular intervals:

Yuja Wang kicks back in a Calgary park

Yuja Wang versus the piano

Yuja Wang’s most recent recording, being chased out the door even as we speak, is a pairing of the two piano concertos by Maurice Ravel, the jazzy G Major and the slightly more sombre D Major, written for the left hand only. Deutsche Grammophon is promoting it thusly:

I shall have this recording shortly.

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Swiftly across the land

So far as I can see, Taylor Swift doesn’t fuss too much about unauthorized pictures from her 1989 tour, so long as they’re not hi-res or anything: the fansite TSwiftDaily has lots of them, all just about wide enough to fit into their Tumblr theme and reasonably compatible with what I’m doing over here on WordPress. With that in mind, here’s what your ticket price has allowed you to see in Toronto and St. Louis over the past few days:

Taylor Swift in Toronto 2015

Taylor Swift in Toronto 2015

Taylor Swift in St Louis 2015

There is talk that 1989, the best-selling album of 2014, might also be the best-selling album of 2015 as well. It is not, however, close to catching up with Pink Floyd’s chart perennial The Dark Side of the Moon. Yet.

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So doggone cute

Not to get into that whole kawaii business, which requires a more practiced eye than my own, but some people are the very personification of “cute,” and Yuri Ebihara has long been one of them:

Yuri Ebihara in flight-attendant hosiery

A 2006 wire story from Tokyo reflects Yuri’s, um, standards:

Model-cum-actress Yuri Ebihara, 26, widely viewed here as the personification of cute, commands such influence the clothes she sports in a fashion magazine, such as lacy pastel skirts, are instant sellouts.

“I make it a point never to forget to smile,” said Ebihara, often seen in TV ads and on billboards. “If someone doesn’t find me cute, I want to know why because then I’ll work on it to get better at being cute.”

And hey, I can’t argue with that.

Yuri Ebihara is almost looking at you

But she was twenty-six then. Today, she’s thirty-five. Can she still pull it off?

Yuri Ebihara on the cover of AneCan, March 2014

On the evidence of this 2014 magazine cover, I’d say yes.


Oh, and Hernando says hello

Debelah Morgan, thirty-eight this week, long ago faded from public view. She started out in gospel — she was teaching gospel choir at the college level while still a teenager — and the last we heard from her was the Let the Worship In/Champions Live 2 set five years ago. In between, though, a lot of things happened to her, including bouncing from Atlantic to Motown and back to Atlantic again.

Debelah Morgan photo by Roy Zipstein circa 2000

Debelah Morgan album art

That second stay at Atlantic produced this nifty dance number, based rather blatantly on “Hernando’s Hideaway” from The Pajama Game. (TPG composer Jerry Ross and lyricist Richard Adler are duly credited on the label.) It doesn’t use anywhere near all of Debelah’s reputed five-octave range, but damn if it isn’t catchy.

There are dozens of songs called “Dance With Me”; Debelah got hers to #8 in Billboard towards the end of 2000.

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She didn’t just come here to dance

Former Canadian Idol competitor Carly Rae Jepsen has, for me anyway, taken over the position of Girliest Pop Star At This Moment: she’ll be 30 in a couple of months, but she still sounds nineteen no matter what she’s singing. It probably doesn’t hurt that she doesn’t look much over nineteen:

Carly Rae Jepsen on the Today Show

Carly Rae Jepsen doesn't drop the mic

She definitely rates as an International Star of some stature, judging by this video shot at a Philippines concert:

Most of the entire concert seems to be floating around YouTube.

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Still no slouch

Last week, while gawking shamelessly at Kerry Washington, I allowed that maybe Bellamy Young was no slouch. In retrospect, this seems awfully dismissive. We’ll begin with another shot from the same photoshoot that yielded up that EW cover:

Bellamy Young and Kerry Washington draped over Tony Goldwyn

And by herself:

Bellamy Young fashion spread

Bellamy Young on the carpet

Minor point of interest: the name “Bellamy” came about because there was already an Amy Young on the rolls of the Screen Actors Guild.


Kerry aloft

So this arrived in the mailbox a few days ago, and all of a sudden I’m thinking Tony Goldwyn as Consummate Actor:

Entertainment Weekly cover issue 1380

I mean, if I have Kerry Washington on my shoulder, her knee at my eye level, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have difficulty looking straight at the camera. (Bellamy Young is no slouch either, but we’re talking Kerry freaking Washington here.)

This led me to wonder if I reacted similarly to dissimilar poses with similarly charming displays, and:

Kerry Washington reads the news

Kerry Washington in InStyle May 2013

Damn, that Goldwyn guy is good.

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I’ve seen just enough Gossip Girl to be able to recognize Yin Chang as bookworm Nelly Yuki; she did the first two seasons, departed, and returned in the sixth, having become a fashion reporter, as does every Merit Scholar, right? (Hmmm. I won … um, never mind.) There is, of course, no reason a bookworm can’t look like this:

Yin Chang in a director's chair

Yin Chang for Mochi

I had a few more pictures in the archive, but in each and every one, “the girl behind the glasses” was not wearing glasses, which perplexed me enough to go looking for screenshots where she was. And so we have:

Yin Chang in Nelly Yuki's spectacles

This humongous metal contraption around her neck is, I am told, from Oscar de la Renta, and a budding fashionista would of course have to wear such a thing, am I right?

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One true musical pairing

Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome are Garfunkel and Oates, though not in that order; as a comedy-folk duo with slightly foul mouths, they are nonpareil. Besides, they’re freaking gorgeous:

Garfunkel and Oates on the sofa

Really, they are:

Garfunkel and Oates standing tall

For some reason, their current album (released yesterday on the No One Buys Records label) is called Secretions:

Secretions by Garfunkel and Oates

A marginally more polished version of this song is included, which may explain the title:

You might not want to play this in front of the Overly Sensitive.

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The most unromantic person you’ll meet

Besides me, I mean. This is something Bollywood actress Amyra Dastur actually said about herself late in a 23-minute Web interview, though she’s played a love interest in all three of her films.

Amyra Dastur on a rail

She also seems to suffer from anxiety:

After Issaq, I feel anxious about every film I do now. I remember I saw Issaq on the opening night and I was shattered. It was not that it was a good film and that it did not do well, it was not a good film. Within the first five minutes of seeing it, I knew it was not going to be nice. I had my whole family there luckily, but it is hard when at the end people start that slow clap, you know that it is a pity applause. It was heartbreaking.

Perhaps the world wasn’t ready for a version of Romeo and Juliet set in Benares. Her second film, Anegan, in which she plays multiple roles, was well-received, and most recently she appeared in Mr. X.

Amyra Dastur in pre-production for Mr. X

The reviews so far have not been good. One example:

A desi attempt to Bollywoodize the 2000 Kevin Bacon film Hollow Man, Mr X is a shoddy gimmick at trying to put together a sorry excuse of a plot to make a 3D film. Emraan Hashmi and Amyra Dastur play two anti-terrorist department agents whose love story takes an unexpected turn when their chief played by Arunoday Singh decides to go rogue on them.

Next stop: Ticket to Bollywood, not the 2014 reality-TV series, but a sendup of such things, concocted by Faraz Haider. If it’s a flat-out comedy, as Haider’s War Chhod Na Yaar was, I think she’ll be happier.


Returning to the fray

Rebecca Black shows up at the VMAs:

Rebecca Black at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards

MTV’s publicity machine actually tweeted her arrival, which suggested to me that they Know Something. And this, I suspect, is what they Knew:

I’m guessing that this will be the first track we get to hear from that New Album that’s presumably going to drop some Friday when I least expect it.

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Yet another brick falls

It was something like 28 years ago when I saw this in the store:

Debbie Gibson Out of the Blue cover art

Upside: Got that whole blonde-with-nice-legs thing going on. Downside: Why did she draw a face on her knee? Well, she was just seventeen — you know what I mean? — and girls not quite on the brink of adulthood do things like this. I bought the album, and played it through something like three times in a row: it was that good.

Still, I did not anticipate that I’d be paying attention to Debbie Gibson by the time she turned forty-five, which is, um, today. By the time her record sales started to droop in the States, the Japanese had embraced her:

She turned to Broadway, to television, to anywhere she could find an audience. And she always found one, even in places you’d never have expected her:

Debbie Gibson Playboy photo 2005

In 2013, she was stricken with Lyme disease; it looked for a while like she was wasting away.

Photo from Debbie Gibson's Instagram

Healthier now, she’s as busy as ever, and if she’s not topping the charts — here, anyway; her 2010 Ms. Vocalist album, released by Sony Japan, produced the #1 single “I Love You” — she’s all over the papers and the tube.

Debbie Gibson on the Meredith Vieira Show

And I couldn’t be happier for her.


Long-stemmed flower

In 2012, there was a brief tizzy when Angelina Jolie’s right leg, following some world-class exposure at the Academy Awards, got its own Twitter account. Familiar as I am with the concept of letting the legs do the talking, I of course followed, but the account was dropped shortly after the first of the year. Few knew that there was precedence for this even before Twitter: the right leg of Mexican singer/actress Lucero did a walk-on, so to speak, on a sketch-comedy series, probably XHDRbZ, and was duly interviewed by the host.

La pierna de Lucero

La pierna de Lucero

And I suppose that this was inevitable, since Lucero Hogaza León, born this date in 1969, was almost always known for these gams. (Well, maybe not; as a tween, she starred on a kids’ show called Chiquilladas, in one episode playing Olive Oyl.)

Lucero strikes a pose

Lucero has had long careers in music and in television, particularly in telenovelas. In 2010, she put out her 19th album, Indispensable, from which the lead single was “Dueña de tu amor” (“Owner of your heart”):

A Special Edition of Indispensable was released in the US, and you have to figure the label knew what it was doing:

Lucero Indispensable US cover art

It is incumbent upon some sectors of the press, of course, to find fault with people who look like this.

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It’s only just begun

Scottish singer/songwriter Amy Macdonald first got my attention with the brilliant single “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over,” from her 2010 album A Curious Thing, which wasn’t released in the States, but that doesn’t matter anymore, does it?

She’s anything but a one-trick pony, it appears: the Daily Record out of Glasgow named her “Scottish Person of the Year” in 2008, and she was nominated twice for Scottish Fashion Icon, winning in 2014.

Amy Macdonald at the 2014 MTV European Music Awards

Amy Macdonald looking pensive

And this amuses me greatly:

In February 2013, she appeared in the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment of BBC’s Top Gear, driving a Kia Cee’d to a time of 1:44.4, the fastest lap time recorded for a female star at that time.

Jeremy Clarkson had a habit of pronouncing the name of that car “Cee-apostrophe-dee.” It’s not sold in the States. (Imagine that.)

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A girl who once had a dream

Yukiko Okada — call her “Yukko” — always wanted to sing. She’d appear at any audition for anything, hoping to get a break; at sixteen, she finally broke through on one of those TV talent shows and was signed to Japan’s Sun Music Productions.

It didn’t hurt that she had That Look:

Yukiko Okada stretches out

Yukiko Okada in a swimsuit

Her first single, “First Date,” came out early in 1984; her third, “Dreaming Girl,” was enough to win her Best New Artist in the annual Japan Record Awards. It’s — well, listen for yourself:

Why, yes, it is vaguely reminiscent of Tracey Ullman’s cover of Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know.”

Sponsorship and television deals followed, and Yukko was on her way. But something, somewhere, went terribly wrong:

Okada was found with a slashed wrist in her gas-filled Tokyo apartment, crouching in a closet and crying.

And then two hours later:

[S]he committed suicide on April 8th by jumping off from the roof of the Sun Music building. She was only 18 at the time. Her suicide made headlines and sent shockwaves across Japan. To top it off, several fans of hers followed suite. It caused such a commotion that the term “Yukko Syndrome” came into being to connote follow-on [copycat] suicides. That year (1986), the suicide rate in Japan jumped to an all-time high.

In 2002, the song “Believe In You” was rescued from the vaults and given an orchestral overlay, becoming Yukko’s last single. If only she’d believed a little more in herself.

She would have been forty-eight today.

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Classic Bouquet

Carole Bouquet, born on this date in 1957, has appeared in more than 40 movies, first drawing attention in Luis Buñuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire as half of a flamenco dancer. (For some reason, Buñuel alternated between two actresses playing the same role, the other being Angela Molina; the late Maria Schneider, originally cast, then cast aside, perhaps should have taken pride in the fact that it took two women to replace her.)

We may know Bouquet best in the States, though, for the role of Melina Havelock in For Your Eyes Only, far and away the most serious of the James Bond films starring Roger Moore. And we probably saw her most recently in an NBC four-hour miniseries based on Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, which aired in the spring of 2014.

Carole Bouquet closer to then

Carole Bouquet closer to now

Weirdly, while Binging about for pictures — I didn’t actually have any on hand — I was tossed the string “Carole Bouquet Is a Man.” Um, no. Not even close. Where this came from, evidently, was confusion with Caroline Cossey, a trans woman who played a small role in For Your Eyes Only, who got a lot of “Bond Girl Is a Boy” tabloid chatter in those days.

And besides, Bouquet dated Gérard Depardieu for about a decade. Had she had, um, nonstandard hardware, we’d almost certainly have heard about it from him.


Forever 21st

Actually, Australian model Madeline Stuart is only 18, but 21 is the number that rules her life: she has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. This is Down syndrome, and as a general rule, women with Down syndrome don’t walk the fashion runways.

Until now:

The fashion industry is often criticized for lacking diversity on runways and in fashion campaigns. But, after years of fighting for equal representation of every type of woman, new headway is being made. This year, Madeline Stuart, the Australian modeling sensation with Down Syndrome, will walk the runway during New York Fashion Week.

Serving as an inspiration to many around the globe, the 18-year-old is on a mission to change the way people think about those with disabilities. According to her website, Stuart sees Down Syndrome as “a blessing” and “something to be celebrated.”

“People will stare,” Harry Winston once said. “Make it worth their while.” Stuart has set this as one of two quotations on the front page of that site.

Madeline Stuart in florals

Madeline Stuart in florals

And you know, just seeing a runway model not scowling is something of a delight.

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