Her name is Earl

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Alaska born Earl began singing at 14 in the church choir. However, she moved to California following both love and music which subsequently is where she got the advice that changed her life.

‘Sing for everyone, you’re only six degrees of separation away’.

Because of this little tidbit she did just that, which eventually lead her to make a new home in London where she became a BBC introducing artist which in turn kickstarted her career.

Looking at her most recent single ‘Tongue Tied’ (which is in fact also shares its name with her album title) it’s clear to see that she gets her inspiration from the greats, such as Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse. Sharing some comparisons to Caro Emerald, her sultry voice slides effortlessly between the bouncing rhythm of Tongue tied.

Have a listen below…

Currently Tongue tied is doing the rounds on BBC radio 2, but it’s also available on iTunes right now.

 

Kiss with Pride

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Absolut has always held strong links the the LGBTQ community. (In fact, the first thing that springs to mind for me is their sponsorship of RuPaul’s Drag race but that probably says more about me than anything else). However, the Kiss with Pride campaign has been created not only to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, but also to spread an awareness of the 72 countries where homosexuality is still illegal.

Photographer Sam Bradly expressed his interest believing it simply to be ‘pure idea’. Additionally, although it was an advertisement campaign it also felt ‘natural and true’. This was reflected in the aims set out by Absolut to allow people to express their freedom.

The advert itself will be place in news and lifestyle magazines all over the world. However, they have also created the #kisswithpride Snapchat filter which will donate £1 to Stonewall every time it’s used.

This campaign was sparked by their short film ‘Equal Love’. Check it out below…

Breaking down the walls of gender

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Fashion is truly ever changing. 27 year old, professional firefighter turned model, Rain Dove is at the forefront, challenging the concept of gender through clothing. It began simply from losing a bet with a friend in which she had to go to the Calvin Klein casting call. Rain was even more surprised when she got a call back as she’d been mistaken for a man.

She explains ‘not only did the cast me for a men’s show but it was for a men’s underwear show’. Not only did she decide to do it – she decided to do it topless!

This saw the launch of her career! However,she still faced a lot of rejection for her appearance which did not clearly fit into one gender role. Rain explains how the fashion industry tried to encourage her to be ‘more like’ the gender they were aiming their campaign towards.

However, due to Rain’s size, height and dimensions she does not typically conform to traditional men’s and women’s clothing sizes. Although she also refuses to change her body proportions or shave, which has resulted in her having to turn down some high-profile jobs. Im spite of this, it clearly hasn’t affected her career too greatly as she has still worked for huge industry names such as Elle and Vogue, without compromising her own identity.

However, this definite divide in gender within fashion could be coming to an end as designers such as Burberry and Julian MacDonald are now combining men’s and women’s wear in their shows. But through this Dove expresses that gender fluidity should not be a trend or a gimmick but designers should be actively trying to break down walls.

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Personally, we have to take out hat off to Rain who is truly carving a path within the fashion world so that others can follow and not face the same hostility.

Let us know what you think…
Do you think clothing will ever be entirely gender neutral?

Barbie is back, Bitch!

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Barbie has in itself become an iconic image ever since she first launched in the 1959. 1990 in fact, saw the release of the best selling barbie doll. She was created with her signature cascading long platinum blonde hair, white skin, long slender legs and of course that teeny tiny vanishing waist that has since become synonymous with the doll brand.

However, jump forward 16 years and Barbie’s best selling doll is very different.  2016 saw the release of the popular fashionista doll which was not only was Latina, but with a much curvier figure and was brunette, as supposed to the white blonde legacy that had preceded her. However, as successful as her sales were she was a one off doll with a limited release.

In spite of this, over the past 2 years sales at Mattel (the manufacturers of Barbie) have been declining, with consumers pushing for diversity within the range, moving away from the stereotypical image that has since become the brands identity.

Vice President Lisa Mcknght established that ‘the brand was losing relevance’ and had to ‘change the conversation’ to keep with with the customers changing viewpoints. Subsequently, they revamped the fashionista line to include a range of skin tones, hair colours and introduced ‘flat feet’ instead of the constantly contorted feet which allowed barbie to always wear high heeled shoes. This change of brand worked, as 2016 became the first in several years that the sales of Barbie did not suffer a decline.

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Mattel had since made a very conscious effort to change its image and is contributing to do so. 2017 will see the release of a bigger range including a tall African American doll with an Afro, as well as a red headed petite girl and a blue haired doll. Additionally their will be 10 skin tones, 4 body types and 15 various hairstyles to ensure their dolls diversity reflects that of women in real life.

So its clear to see that Barbie is changing. No longer will the public be confronted by an impossible standard of the female form but instead with  more realistic images, that truly represent the diversity of women and their bodies. The next few years will be interesting!

A rare glimpse of the powerful, peaceful man

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Yoga has for a long time been seen as being for women. This is only further backed when we take a look at mainstream media, in magazine and tv advertisements depicting woman practicing in beautiful elegant and often ‘feminine’ poses. However, LA based photographer Amy Goalen also saw this and thought it was time for a change.

She began by simply photographing her own yoga instructor, who was male. From this she realised the images exuded strength and a peaceful element. Subsequently, with the aid of writer Julian DeVoe they created the book ‘Inside the Warrior – The Masculine side of Yoga’.

Throughout this project, she explains how she enjoys photographing men of all ages and body types. And one of the most rewarding aspects is the ability to produce stunning images, that even the subjects are surprised at, by only using their body and practice.

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Her images are beautiful, showing a powerful yet serene side of the masculine form that is not often seen in mainstream media.

Take a further look at her work @amygpics

Let us know what you think…

Everybody has a Story – Day 9

Welcome to day nine of our ten day feature – Everyone has a Story.

Our ninth entry come from Berlin based Florian. Here’s his story…

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  1. Firstly, how old are you and what do you do for a living?

I’m 35 years old and I’m a nurse, leading a psychiatric ward.

  1. Please can you give us a brief background about your life?

I was born in a little village in the south of Germany, on the border to France and Luxembourg.

I actually didn’t have a view really when growing up, just because no one in my circle of family or friends were gay, so it was just never bought up.

  1. When did you realize you were gay?

When I was 12 or 13 I realized I liked men but for a while I thought, maybe I’m bisexual.

  1. When and how did you come out?

I came out when I was 25, I had a few girlfriends before then, but I wasn’t practically happy. I always thought, if I fell in love with a guy, I would come out. And I did.

  1. Have you ever experienced any discrimination due to your sexuality?

Never at work or with friends and family. But I have with just random people on the street, I’ve been holding a guy’s hand and been called a faggot before.

  1. If you could give your younger self, or anyone else currently struggling with their sexuality what (if any) advice could you give them?

Be whatever and whoever you are, the people that are around you love you, and they love you no matter what. Because ultimately, only being yourself will make you happy.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Florian for his help with this project and for his frank honesty.

If you’d like to keep up to date with Florian, follow him on Instagram @fkfbrln