I don't think I can do justice to Cicely Tyson, one of the greatest black actresses of the past century and one of the greatest actresses period of the past century, on this blog. It would be next to impossible to sum up her acting career - she's done too much! :-D
But that's a good thing. Anyway, her best known roles in fact define her long and distinguished career, most notably as Rebecca Morgan in 1972's Sounder. Rebecca is the matriarch of a sharecropping family in 1933 Louisiana who struggles to help keep her family together in hard times. Other cinema parts include her portrayal of the café cook Sipsey in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and as Constantine in the notoriously honest movie about Southern racism against black domestic workers in The Help (2011).
She's also well-known for two TV movie roles - the title character of 1974's The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, about a former slave who lives a long, long life, and A Woman Called Moses, the 1978 TV movie about Harriet Tubman - Ms. Tyson played the the tile role, of course.
Ms. Tyson also won a Tony Award for playing Carrie Watts in the 2013 Broadway production of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful, and she's played several one-shot roles in many a TV series. As recently as 2015, she stared with James Earl Jones in a production of The Gin Game, a play about two elderly people who meet in a nursing home and begin playing gin rummy together.
At the age of 94 as of this writing, Cicely Tyson is an American institution, having been awarded a Kennedy Center honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Fun fact 1: She was married to jazz musician Miles Davis for eight years beginning in 1981.
Fun fact 2: Her parents were immigrants from Nevis, whose most famous native son is Alexander Hamilton.
With her long blonde hair and her perfect face, Linda Tonge was probably the only model of the seventies who rivaled Cheryl Tiegs and Kathy Davis for being representative of what was then considered the "All-American" look.
Her modeling career got off to a roaring start, being selected in 1973 as the model of the year by a panel of fashion editors in a TV special. Working through the Ford agency, Ms. Tonge appeared in numerous print ads and fashion editorials - and also in TV commercials. The picture below is a still from a commercial she did for a beauty cleanser.
Her career took her through the eighties, and at the end of that decade she retired from modeling to become a real estate agent . . . in her home state of Wisconsin. Below are two business photos of Ms. Tonge from her current profession.
Linda Tonge returned to Wisconsin in part to care for her aging mother, but she also said she wanted her four sons "to have a good sense of Midwestern values that I grew up knowing." Switching from modeling agency to a real estate agency brought her full circle; once the top model of her time, Ms. Tonge has since become the top real estate agent in her company.
I have a feeling that she could still go back to modeling if she wanted to, though . . . :-)
Petra Silander is an actress from Sweden who has mostly concentrated on dystopian sci-fi movies.
She's best known for two films from 2016: 2047: Virtual Revolution, about a future world where people are addicted to video games, controlled by the government and targeted by terrorists, and Dark Web, in which women are hunted as game and the hunts are broadcast on underground Internet channels.
Petra Silander could end up becoming to dystopian movies what Jamie Lee Curtis long was to horror movies - the doyenne of the genre - but hopefully this young actress, 31 years of age at this writing, will branch out like Jamie Lee Curtis did.
I don't pay attention to Fox News. But Fox's sports reporters? Those folks are just fantastic, that is really what I think.
Oh, by the way, which one's Pink? :-D
Fans of the National Football League are no doubt tickled by Kristina Pink's presence as a field reporter for Fox's coverage of NFL games, mainly for Thursday nights. She also works as a court-side reporter for the Los Angeles Clippers on Prime Ticket, a regional sports network owned by Fox.
Kristina Pink was a sportscaster on local television before joining Fox. She as a sports reporter for WTVJ-TV, where she covered the National Basketball Association finals, in her hometown of Miami, and she also worked at WGNO-TV in New Orleans. She got her start on both the television and radio stations of the University of Florida, where she earned a communications degree in 2007, and she began her professional career a year later as a sportscaster for WDBD-TV in Jackson, Mississippi. Her entire media career has been nothing but sports.
See, women can cover athletics as well as play them. :-)
If you think that U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the future of American politics because of her Hispanic ethnicity and her sex, you're missing the point.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents America's political future not because of what she is but who she is - a die-hard liberal whose public policy positions are the antithesis of not only everything Republicans stand for but also everything many Democrats stand for. After thirty years of the Democratic Party moving to the center, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wants to bring it back to its New Deal/Great Society roots.
Among her positions are free college tuition for academically qualified students, single-payer health care, and an aggressive environmental policy to reverse the growth of carbon emissions that cause climate change. She's also espoused a "Green New Deal" - an environmentally friendly economic program that would create new middle-class jobs by developing renewable energy, a position first espoused by former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley - who has praised Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for her push on the proposal - in his 2016 presidential campaign.
At 29, she's the youngest freshman congresswoman ever. And, with her single status, she's also Washington's most eligible bachelorette among young, left-leaning policy geeks, thanks to her exotic looks. And trust me, her looks aren't the only reason that she's been included on this blog. :-)
Kate McKinnon is a woman who proves that beautiful women can be funny . . . even when they're playing men. :-D
Yes, the well-liked "Saturday Night Live" repertory cast member is known for playing Hillary Clinton, Kellyanne Conway, and Elizabeth Warren, among other female politicians, but she's even played Rudolph Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, and Jeff Sessions.
Arguably the funniest woman or even the funniest cast member of either sex currently on "Saturday Night Live," she's conceived characters such as Helga Handler, a Swedish TV presenter who speaks fake Swedish interspersed with English-language obscenities, and Olya Povlatsky, a Russian woman who opines on current events comparing them to outrageous goings-on in her village.
Kate McKinnon has also been in the movies, playing Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in the all-female 2016 remake of Ghostbusters and appearing in the 2017 bachelorette-party comedy Rough Night. At 35 years of age, Kate McKinnon still has a long career ahead of her. :-)
Iskra Lawrence is what people normally would call a "plus-size" model, but don't call her that to her face. She hates the term.
Originally from England, Ms. Lawrence does not try to hide her large size and has refused to allow anyone to retouch her photos to make her look thin. She doesn't like the impossible beauty standards set by fashion and cosmetics.
Ms. Lawrence is best known as a model for the American Eagle Outfitters lingerie line Aerie.
Mina Kimes is a prominent woman in the men's domain that is ESPN.
She's a regular commentator on ESPN shows, but her biggest contributions for the sports network are for the channel's sister print outlet. She's worked at ESPN magazine as its senior editor since 2014
Before that, she was at Bloomberg for a year, working as an investigative journalist, and had been at Fortune for six years before that.
Mina Kimes currently co-hosts the ESPN Radio weekend program "The Morning Roast" with Domonique Foxworth (Foxworth is a man) and Clinton Yates. The three of them began the show at the beginning of 2017. They talk about sports and whatever else comes to mind. :-)
Nikki Michelle James has been on numerous TV shows, but her real love is the theater.
She grew up in New Jersey, and she performed in church and in school performances, where she found she could sing as well as act. So musical theater was a natural fit for her. Much of her work has been in New York City.
One of her first major roles was as the heroine prostitute Ottilie in a revival production of the Truman Capote musical House of Flowers, and she also appeared in the Broadway cast of All Shook Up, an Elvis Presley jukebox musical set to the story of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Yes - the King and the Bard, together! (The experience of appearing in a Twelfth Night-based musical would enable Ms. James to play Viola in two different Central Park productions of the real thing.)
Ms. James also played Nabulungi in the musical farce The Book of Mormon and received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in 2011 as a result of that role. She also played Éponine in a Broadway revival of Les Misérables from 2014 to January 2015. Nikki M. James is nothing if not versatile.
On television, she has had one-shot parts in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "The Good Wife," and "Bull," among other shows.
Kasie Hunt is one of the top political reporters at MSNBC and NBC News.
At 33 years of age at this writing, she's already accomplished a lot, and she's just getting started.
Though Ms. Hunt began her journalism career as an intern for NBC News' political unit, she didn't get on the air through the usual channels - no pun intended - of employment in local TV stations. She actually went to print reporting after her NBC internship, working as a health policy reporter for the National Journal's CongressDaily segment and also covering politics for Politico and the Associated Press.
Ms. Hunt returned to NBC News as an off-air reporter in January 2013 and became an on-air political correspondent in November 2014.
Since October 2017, she's hosted her own two-hour Sunday night MSNBC political news program, the punningly titled "Kasie DC." The gig is a double-edged sword, given that its first hour competes directly with CBS's "60 Minutes."
Carol Francis is a model whose career spanned the seventies and eighties, the golden age of modeling.
She worked in Paris in the 1970s, being represented by John Casablancas' prestigious Elite agency there, and she also worked in America, represented by Elite's New York and Los Angeles offices - with a brief intermezzo with the Ellen Harth agency in New York.
Among the photographers Carol Francis worked with back then were Marco Glaviano and Alberto Rizzo. Tony Kent took the picture above.
Judyann Elder has a career and a résumé going back several decades, and if you've never heard of her, well, that's your fault.
She was a founding member of the Negro Ensemble Company, and her acting abilities made it un tres bien ensemble. :-) The company was (and is) the leading troupe in the United States for original black theater, and Ms. Elder was a pioneer in that effort, originating roles in plays such as The Song of the Lusitanian Bogey and Daddy Goodness.
Eventually, Ms. Elder went Hollywood, and she had guest roles in some of the most popular television series of the 1970s, including "The Streets of San Francisco," "Sanford and Son," "Lou Grant," and "The White Shadow." It didn't stop her from working in her first love, the theater, for in 1976 she debuted Broadway debut as Coretta Scott King in the Martin Luther King, Jr. biodrama I Have a Dream. Her big-screen credits include 1973's Bloom In Love, 1995's Forget Paris, and 2008's Seven Pounds. And she also played the role of Bernette Wilson in the 1978 miniseries A Woman Called Moses, about Harriet Tubman.
Ms. Elder continued to work steadily in the eighties and the nineties and also into the twenty-first century. including the distinction of being the second actress to play Harriette Winslow in the last episodes of the Chicago-set domestic sitcom "Family Matters," along with several plays. One of her most remembered roles is as Dr. Barton, the obstetrician on "Murphy Brown" who delivered Murphy's baby. Now that "Murphy Brown" (starring in the title role an earlier honoree on this blog, Candice Bergen) has been rebooted, I think I speak for many when I propose that Dr. Barton should return to see what a fine young man Murphy's son Avery turned out to be. :-)
Judyann Elder isn't a celebrity, but she is a star. :-)
Alex Denis has one of the most interesting news jobs created as a result of the digital information age. She host the "Now Trending" segment on New York's WCBS-TV, meaning she monitors social media and follows the latest trending topics, people, and videos and and asks viewers to opine on them.
She joined WCBS-TV in 2012 after having been a traffic reporter and substitute anchor at Nashville's WZTV-TV. Originally from Tampa, she stated her reporting career there as a desk assistant at WFTS-TV and,worked as a general assignment reporter for WJHG-TV in Panama City
Ms. Denis is an alumna of the University of South Florida's School of Mass Communications, having graduated there magna cum laude.
Nancy Cordes is a leading figure in the new generation of female television correspondents.
She covers the United States Congress for CBS News, which she joined in 2007, and as a journalist trying to keep politicians on the straight and narrow, she may be even more powerful than that other woman on Capitol Hill named Nancy. ;-)
Ms. Cordes actually started out at ABC, where she reported on the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina, among other stories. She got there through working at the Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA-TV from 1999 to 2003. While at WJLA-TV, she covered the September 11 attack on the Pentagon.
Fun fact: Nancy Cordes grew up in Hawaii. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she worked KHNL-TV in Honolulu from 1995 to 1997.
Pattie Boyd was one of the top models in Britain during the "Swinging London" era of the mid-1960s. Fashion and beauty trends coming out of London then were as relevant as the rock and roll music that British bands - especially the Beatles - were recording at the time.
So it seems more than appropriate the the first rock star-fashion model marriage ever would involve Pattie Boyd and George Harrison.
Pattie and George would eventually split, and she would eventually marry his best friend Eric Clapton - though they too have since split, of course. She would remain friends with both of them afterwards. But she had been the muse for many well-known Beatles songs written by George Harrison - "Something" and "For You Blue," for example - as well as many songs composed by Clapton, such as "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight." (The latter song was inspired by the frustration Clapton experienced while waiting patiently for Pattie to get ready to go out with him and having to re-assure her that she looked fine prior to their departure.)
Since Pattie's marriages to Harrison and Clapton, rock star-fashion model pairings have become commonplace. In the eighties, the trend got a little ridiculous when everyone in Duran Duran seemed to marry a model. As for these pairings, some have gone . . . and, as Patti Hansen's marriage to Keith Richards shows, some remain. But Pattie Boyd's two marriages are still the gold standard of such pairings, if only because of the songs they inspired. :-)
And she never lost her appeal. This is a picture of Pattie Boyd in 2008 that I - yes, I - snapped at a Beatles convention, when she was 64. Beatles fans likely were, and likely still are, still sending her valentines, which she probably keeps on her mantle as she knits sweaters by the fireside. (I know Paul McCartney wrote that song, but what the heck!)
Fun fact: Pattie's sister Jenny is also a famous model. She inspired Donovan's song "Jennifer Juniper," and she was once married to Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood.
I've seen many a beautiful Yves Saint Laurent model, and of course I've seen numerous pictures of the eternally beautiful Catherine Deneuve, Monsieur Saint Laurent's longtime muse (a favorite subject on this blog, in case you haven't noticed), but except for Mlle. Deneuve herself, I don't think I've ever seen a woman associated with the late French designer or his fashion house as extraordinarily lovely as this woman!
That ravenous dark hair . . . that smile . . . those long, sensuous arms . . . that swan-like neckline . . . I think I'm in love!
It figures that Khadija Adams, the object of my infatuation, was a beauty queen before she became a runway queen.
Khadija Adams originally hails from Kenya, which she represented in the 1984 Miss World pageant. Amazingly, she didn't win the title, but she did win the Continental Queen of Africa prize.
Ms. Adams was able to parlay her pageant success into a modeling career, and after working in New York and Milan, she caught the attention of Yves Saint Laurent, who fell in love with her just like I did. :-D
He was so inspired by her captivating beauty, he designed a single haute couture collection around her. To say that she became his muse would be an understatement. Like the picture at the top of this post, the picture immediately above and the picture immediately below both show Ms. Adams modeling Yves Saint Laurent clothes.
And when she wasn't modeling Saint Laurent's outfits, she was modeling his cosmetics line, having secured a lucrative makeup contract with his fashion house.
Khadija Adams is retired from modeling now and lives a private life. But those of us who are as taken by her beauty as Yves Saint Laurent was still love her. :-)
Chae Eun Yang is another ballet dancer from Korea who has found success in North America.
The Seoul-born Ms. Yang joined the Houston Ballet in 2013, but she also danced with the National Ballet of Canada for the 2017-18 ballet season before returning to Texas and joining the Houston company once again, as a member of the corps de ballet. She has played roles in numerous ballets, including The Sleeping Beauty, The Winter's Tale, and, of course, The Nutcracker.
Well, it's New Year's Eve, so that concludes my seventh series of beautiful dancers. My eighth series will appear in December 2020. Happy new year - back in January with new subjects!
Erica Villalpando is a modern dancer with the Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, and she's also a teacher.
She's taught at colleges and universities all over southern California, including Chapman University and California State University at Long Beach. Not only has she worked with numerous choreographers, her own choreography has been staged throughout the United States.
Also, in her time with Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, Ms. Villalpando has presented dances such as Faith, Hope & Love. . . , Polymorphic and Journey of Change.
Fun fact.: In 2003, she helped develop a creative dance program that has served as a state model program in California.
Shoko Tamai doesn't belong to a dance company. She is a dance company.
Originally from Japan, Ms. Tamai began training as a ballerina at an early age and worked her way up to perform with some of the most prestigious companies and schools, including the Central School of Ballet in London, the American Academy of Ballet in New York,m and the Paris Opera. She's toured throughout the world as well.
Now based in New York., Shoko Tamai is a free agent, performing in her own Shoko Tamai Dance Theatre. She's expanded her repertoire to include modern and contemporary dance, and she done gigs in experimental theaters dance venues and with numerous collaborators, including the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She's even worked as - big surprise - a model.
By defying expectations, Shoko Tamai is one dancer who refuses to be pegged.
Courtney Robinson is a dancer in Philadanco, Philadelphia's premier black contemporary dance troupe.
Her training took her through different schools and programs. including the Ailey School's Fellowship Program, Bates Dance Festival, and she even trained with the Richmond Ballet, as well as with the Codarts Rotterdam Dance Academy in the Netherlands.
Ms. Robinson's repertoire includes works from Bella Lewitzky, Pam Tanowitz, and Stephen Petronio,
Madeline Parrish is one of the newest additions to Parsons Dance, a renowned contemporary dance company in the Big Apple.
The Tennessee-born Ms. Parrish received her earliest training at the Franklin School of Performing Arts. In 2015, she moved to New York and attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she performed dances by Crystal Pite and Sonya Tayeh, among others. Graduating from NYU in 2018 - after a stint studying dance in Prague - she joined Parsons Dance almost instantly.
It looks like Madeline Parrish is about to enjoy a meteoric rise in the world of contemporary dance.
When the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle needed an apprentice in 2016, the company didn't have to look too far. Amanda Morgan was just a short distance away in Tacoma.
Ms. Morgan was already a familiar face to to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, having studied at its school and also having studied at Dance Theatre Northwest. She became an official member of the company in 2017 as a member of the corps de ballet.
Her roles with the Pacific Northwest Ballet have included roles in Red Angels and Emergence.
Chelsy Meiss went a long way to find her place in ballet. Though she dances for the National Ballet of Canada, she's originally from Melbourne, and I ain't talking about a small town in Florida.
Yes, she's from Melbourne, Australia. She trained there as a student at the Victorian College of The Arts and at the Australian Ballet School before making her way to the Great White North. Having joined the National Ballet of Canada in 2008, she became a first soloist in 2015.
Ms. Meiss has danced some quite prestigious roles as a member of Canada's national ballet company, such as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, the Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire. Her other credits include Giselle, The Winter’s Tale, Don Quixote, and In The Upper Room.
Citing another one of Ms. Meiss's performances, a role in The Seagull, the Ottawa Citizen declared her to be someone to watch in the National Ballet of Canada. So this wonder from Down Under has clearly left an impression on America's neighbors to the north.
Gayeon Jung is a ballet dancer from Seoul who joined the Joffrey Ballet in 2015.
Ms. Jung had already assumed a very impressive number of credits by the time she graduated from the the Korea National University of Arts in 2014. Among the ballets she performed in then were Sleeping Beauty, La Fille mal gardée, Diana and Actéon, and Le Corsaire. She also received numerous medals and prizes during her studies, including the 2011 gold medal in the Sicilia Barocca International Dance Competition. In 2012 she won the Arabesque Ballet Competition Gold Medal for Best Female Dancer, and in 2014 she won the gold medal at the Cape Town International Ballet Competition in South Africa. She brought all of those accolades to the Joffrey, the great ballet company of the American heartland.
I have a feeling that she'll be a Joffrey staple for quite some time to come.
How does a girl from Hoboken end up in two of the most prestigious ballet companies in the American Midwest?
Having a mom who's a dance instructor sure does help. :-)
Of dual Cuban and Argentine heritage - Cuba and Argentina about as far apart from each other as you can get in Latin America - Carla Ferrera began her training under her mother, Sonia Grimaldi, and continued at the School of American Ballet, which allowed her to perform in many productions of the New York City Ballet before going into the really big time in ballet instruction - the American Ballet Theatre's dance school.
She got two scholarships while at the ABT's school - the National Training Scholarship and the Mae L. Wien Scholarship for "outstanding talent, ability, and promise." Pretty impressive!
Ms. Ferrera parlayed that outstanding talent, ability, and promise into a stint at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, and performed in numerous works. She joined the Indianapolis Ballet in 20118.
Fun fact: Camila Ferrera is also a dance instructor at the university level, having taught at universities in Ohio and in Argentina.
Jacqueline Callahan is from Abington, Pennsylvania, a sprawling suburb just north of Philadelphia. Although she went far and wide to train in ballet, she didn't have to go too far from home to find her place in the world of dance.
She trained in Boston and New York before going back to the Keystone State and joining the Pennsylvania Ballet's corps de ballet. Her performances include roles in Angel Corella's Don Quixote, Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake, and of course, The Nutcracker.
Fun fact: She's currently pursuing a communications degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kathryn Boren is a striking young dancer who joined the American Ballet Theatre's corps de ballet in 2015.
She brings to the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) a wealth of experience from her training at the company's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Her first major professional gig was at Staatsbellett Berlin, where she danced for two years beginning in 2011. From 2013 to 2015, she danced with the Boston Ballet, where,she performed in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, danced the principal in Jerome Robbins’ Interplay, and also danced in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes. She amassed even more credits in Boston - too many to list here.
A beautiful young woman, yes, but looking at her résumé, it's easy to see that Kathryn Boren is not just another pretty face. Look for her to become a principal at ABT.
And speaking of pretty faces . . . one of the articles of faith that encourages me to keep this blog going is that a woman's natural beauty is always preferable to her cosmetic beauty. So as glamorous as Kathryn Boren looks when made up for a stage role . . .
. . . she looks absolutely gorgeous without any makeup at all.
I told you that finding beautiful women in dance was easy-peasy! :-)
Erica Alvarado is a dancer with a long track record prior to joining the Atlanta Ballet.
The Tucson native trained on both coasts, at the schools of both the San Francisco Ballet and New York's American Ballet Theatre. She stated out professionally at her hometown company, Ballet Tucson, where she danced leading roles primarily in ballets choreographed by Antony Tudor. She later joined the Milwaukee Ballet II program, and, in 2011, became a principal dancer at the City Ballet of San Diego.
Among the ballets she was a principal dancer of in San Diego are Firebird, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, and Serenade. With such an impressive resume, it was inevitable that Ms. Alvarado would join one of the most important ballet companies in the Southeast.
I'm featuring a month's worth of beautiful dancers - twelve of them this time - for the seventh time on this blog, and, when it comes to finding new subjects, I feel lucky.
And why not? Dance, be it ballet or modern, requires a lot of grace and strength, even as it's easily the most effeminate art form ever conceived. So finding beautiful women in dance is like shooting fish in a barrel.
So why do I only feature dancers every other year? It would obviously be too tempting to include dancers all the time, as there are so many of them, and then it wouldn't be special when I did feature them. Dance it its best represents performing artistry in its most beautiful and precious form, and so featuring on this blog women in ballet or modern dance should honor that by being available only rarely, at an appropriately timed interval - which, I've concluded, is two years.
So why in December? I don't remember why I chose the last month of the year, but it may have had something to do with the fact that ballet companies thought the United States always stage The Nutcracker for Christmas. And people always go to dance recitals over the holidays, whether the dance is Christmas-related or not. So December seems to make sense.
Right, enough of my yakking. Let's get this new series started. Back soon with the first subject!