10.14.2013

THE SOMETIMES UNBREAKABLE TYPECAST SPELL

WHY GOOD GIRLS GO BAD, BUT RARELY THE REVERSE

First impressions can go a long, long way-- typecast actresses could tell you all about it. Last week, scantily clad Emma Watson appeared on the cover of British GQ in attempt to break her good girl Hermione image. She is just one of the many cautious actresses on Hollywood's not explicit yet implied list of categorized actresses.

Typecasting goes one way or another; goody-good or badass. Whichever the role, if performed successfully and impressionably, the actress will become a big hit in her designated playing field. Whether it be a romantic lead, a melodramatic character or an action hero, the actress will rake in more offers to play the same type of role.

The typecast spell is more daunting on actresses involved with long-lasting movie sequels, or even worse, TV series. The situation is bittersweet; the more episodes, the more publicity and possibility of fame, but also a longer-lasting impression as the specific character played out.

Luckily, for Emma Watson, it was a reputation that was breakable. Even after seven Harry Potter sequels as the wholesome Hogwarts student, she had no problem landing diverse roles. Her effort to broaden her range was apparent in Perks of Being a Wallflower, where she played a free-spirited high school senior who had a history of dating bad guys.

The 22-year-old actress told the May issue of British GQ that she is attracted to playing wilder roles at the moment because she never wants to be forced to play the same character. This explains her most recent decision to play the tattooed, pole-dancing rebel in The Bling Ring. Watson said that she hated the character, but it gave her “a whole new insight into what my job, or my role as an actress, could be.”

Watson isn't the only one trying to prove herself as versatile. Anne Hathaway had built a specific persona after The Princess Diaries series, but promptly worked on shedding her pre-conceived reputation. She picked up striking roles, purposely to mark a multi-faceted career: she played a raunchy rodeo queen in Brokeback Mountain, a recovering drug addict in Rachel Getting Married and Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. She saw success as a "serious" actress, recently winning an Oscar for her performance as a homeless single mother in Les Miserables.

It doesn't seem too difficult for these actresses to break free from the typecast spell, thanks to the many welcoming opportunities they've received. But it isn’t all that simple for others. Though good girl images can easily be altered, the reverse seems to be far more challenging – and rare.

Some women are stuck in a typecast because of their appearance; some looks simply don’t fit certain parts. It makes sense that Megan Fox (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Transformers, Jennifer’s Body), despite her popularity, has not once starred as lead of a rom-com. It makes sense because her look isn’t exactly the quirky girl-next-door. But what about some perfectly versatile-looking actresses who still end up typecast? They’re paying their dues for the character that brought them most fame.

Take Helena Bonham Carter for instance. She played the same obscurely dark roles in movies like Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd and Fight Club. A blog post on ScreenJunkies.com described her as an actress who “just can’t get enough bat-shit craziness crammed into her resume.” Carter continues to settle – and excel – within her realm of dark Victorian or witch-like roles that often involve over-the-top disguise, wacky hairdos and evil cackles. Despite her natural beauty underneath all the costume-y make-up, she is predominantly remembered as a crazy character. And working with her husband, gothic film-enthusiast Tim Burton, hasn’t helped her typecast situation much either.

Phoebe from Friends is another example. Appearance-wise, Lisa Kudrow is not far off from tall blonde Katherine Heigl; but somewhere along the 10 seasons of the hit sitcom, Phoebe was permanently labeled as, well, Phoebe. After the finale of Friends in 2004, Kudrow set her niche in comedy and indie films. The times she did appear in blockbuster hits, her character was never farfetched from Phoebe’s. She’s been the comic relief in movies such as P.S. I Love You and Easy A, proving her lasting image hard to escape.

Meanwhile, Rachel from Friends saw no limits ahead of her, after being typecast as the traditional wholesome girl-- the type that leads rom-coms. Post-Friends, Jennifer Aniston starred in countless Hollywood films where she demonstrated nothing new. Aniston’s character was basically identical in all of Along Came Polly, Just Go With It, Love Happens, He’s Just Not That Into You and box office hits The Break-up and Marley and Me. Finally, in 2011, she decided to switch it up a bit in Horrible Bosses where she played a crazy persona for the first time.


It’s interesting how Rachel’s typecast from Friends did not limit her career as much as it did Phoebe’s. Jennifer Aniston went off to do an array of films, while Kudrow had less to work with. Typecasting can be an asset for actresses who are perceived as classic. These actresses, so long as they have the courage to do so, can explore more eccentric roles. But for those who start off as unconventional, typecast is a haunting spell. Not all typecast actresses will be given an opportunity to redeem their full potential. Not to mention, impressively breaking the mold isn’t easy when the pre-determined image is so strong.

Some movie stars would be better labeled as “character commodities” than real “actresses.” Zooey DesChanel (Yes Man, 500 Days of Summer) is a prime example because what she is selling is her catchy, quirky character, not exactly her ability to act. She’s one of the highest paid actresses on the small screen with her TV series New Girl, where she plays a role practically identical to Summer in 500 Days of Summer. For Zooey, her typecast set her apart in the industry and worked to her advantage, but on the down side, it’s a wonder how long her career will last as the same character.


Comparing contemporary media to the film industry of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn's time, we’d think a lot has changed. But someone as iconic as DesChanel reminds us that typecast – or personal branding if you’d call it, -- is still prevalent. In the movie business, most actresses are inevitably categorized. Most actresses will be forced to embrace their designated typecast; even the capable and talented actresses, probably due to a lack of bravery or for the sake of easy approval.


Emma Watson's skimpy attire on the cover of GQ may seem absurd; but it is her statement as an actress to defy being categorically caged. This doesn’t make her a better actress than other typecast actresses, but it does make Watson a more courageous one. She also shows how a good girl image can be shed, while the reverse is almost unheard of. Watson may have gone from Harry Potter to GQ easily, but realistically, there will probably not come a day where Snooki goes from Jersey Shore to Vogue.


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7.30.2013

JAPANESE COSMETICS


Why Japanese cosmetics? Because the Japanese are advanced and ahead in so many industry sectors, including the make-up world.
Japanese cosmetics are innovative, detail-oriented and extremely specific. Here are two products that I tried for the first time!

First is one of my staple make-up items: liquid eyeliner. It caught my attention because it's a Cosme Award winner. Knowing nothing about Japanese cosmetics, it was really hard to choose between so many eyeliners, so I figured the yellow certification sticker meant this one was outstanding in some way or another. This pen-style liner has a flexible felt tip, applying minimal pressure on your eyelids when drawing (I avoid harder pens because they can give you wrinkles). It glides on effortlessly almost like ink and is fairly pigmented without being heavy in texture. No smudging, but I found that it faded a bit in colour as the day went on. So if you like a more natural look, it would work well. My favorite part about it is that it's easy to carry around. I sometimes do my make-up on the go and this liner is hassle-free.




The second is a Japanese cooling gel lip patch. It's essentially a moisturizing treatment mask made of a jiggly jelly-like material that sticks well, filling in every wrinkle on your lip. It's the ultimate thing if you want to relax because the flavours are subtly therapeutic and it has a cooling effect -- perfect after a day out in the sun. I was actually really impressed, partly because I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but it actually made my lips feel super soft afterward without them feeling oily or sticky! The mask is so easy to use. You just leave the lip-shaped piece on your pout for a couple minutes, take it off and that's it. And if you can see the small image in the photo above, I think these patches can be used to moisturize other parts of your body as well...

Both these items I got from a new Japanese cosmetics store that opened up just down the street from my office! It's called Jealousy Beauty Cosmetics. Everything is reasonably priced; those lip patches were only $3 each! The interior is brand new and glitzy with shelves and shelves of goodies -- Japanese hair dyes, a wide selection of whitening skincare products and even Laduree make-up in the prettiest packaging. I'd definately recommend a visit because even if you're not thinking of buying anything, it's just really cool to check out the different products they make and use in Japan!



This is a sponsored post by Jealousy Beauty Cosmetics. Click here to find a location closest to you.

xo Jen

4.07.2013

REVIEW: JUSTIN BIEBER 3RD ALBUM "BELIEVE"

Believe album review
Jen Chae

Analgesics come in different forms. For geeks, it's video games. Jocks rely on sports games. And for the female tween and teen demographic, Justin Bieber's third album does the job. "Believe" is like therapy for juvenile girls after a long, stressful day at school-- while the instrumentals and tunes calm the ears, the lyrics relieve the mind. It is everything a girl admires about the dreamiest high school crush, packaged in CD form. It is no surprise that the album, released last June, scored the biggest debut-week sales of the year at nearly 400 thousand copies. "Believe" serves as therapeutic to girls in many ways... Boy audiences? Not so much.

"Believe me, girl"

The album effectively targets the vulnerable female demographic who easily catch (and sadistically enjoy) severe cases of "weak in the knees". Most of its tracks exude a whimsical aura almost like that of a K-pop song-- a musical and lyrical attempt to escape from the pain that is reality. Unlike other playboys on the market such as 2chainz, Justin outlines a pure, untainted type of love and gives to fans promises of his adoration. The track "Catching Feelings" best exemplifies this: with phrases like "I just want to see you smile" to "When I'm with you I feel better", Justin instills in his audience a heightened sense of hope of the perfect relationship.

"Thought of You", a more upbeat track, makes you envision a high school football field. Think cheerleaders doing cartwheels with Justin center-field in a football jacket. He's walking towards you, serenading at the top of his lungs: "Girl, I'm in love with the thought of you". The album tickles romantic nerves that lie hidden in every girl.

Most popular guy in school

"Believe" is the epitome of ingenious marketing. Island Records successfully entices both old and new audiences by emphasizing Justin's already-acknowledged popularity. The album would not have the same effect without the featurings of only the coolest and most renowned artists on the market: Nicki Minaj, Ludacris, Drake and Big Sean. Although Nicki's eccentric voice adds some artistic value to the track "Beauty and the Beat", she deserves more credit for the degree of hype and fandom she brings. The real purpose of Nicki and Ludacris's appearances is clearly to prove that Justin is well-liked; he rolls with the elite in the industry. The album tactically and obnoxiously incorporates his top-dog acquaintances. As a result, Justin is redeemed as the ideal guy for high school girls to love: cute, charismatic and popular.

Boyfriend-material

In his previous album, Justin always sang at the top of his lungs. This time around, Justin's style has noticeably changed: he's more suave and laid back. Track 2, "Boyfriend", is the best example of this. The song delivers shock value at first because it is a complete change from his teeny-bopper singles like "One Time" and "Baby". "Boyfriend" introduces a darker, sexier and manlier side of Justin: the melody plays in minor chords, the tempo is slower, pitch lower and the bass more pungent. In this way, the track attempts to unveil the fact that Justin is fully (and finally) ready to be your boyfriend.

You could have guessed the album's soaring turn-out solely judging by Justin's acclaimed reputation. As Canada's favourite boy and usher's protegee and personal bank, Justin couldn't have possibly bombed this album, even if it consisted of three lousy songs. But the album does contain note-worthy content serving to its own. "Believe" effectively targets the right demographic: anyone with the littlest sense of vulnerability to sappy whispers of sweet nothings. It can be seen as the young girl's analgesic in her attempt to escape from harsh realities, while ironically, aggravating her case of Bieber fever.

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