Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Teklevision newswoman Judy Hsu

If you live in the Chicago area and you turn on WLS-TV, the city's ABC affiliate, when you wake up in the morning, Judy Hsu is likely the first person you see on the small screen.

Judy Hsu is the co-anchor of WLS-TV's "ABC7 News This Morning," the top-rated morning news  show in the Chicago area. A native of Taiwan who grew up in Chicago, she joined WLS-TV in April 2001 after having anchored the four o'clock report at CBS affiliate KFMB-TV in San Diego.

Ms. Hsu's child-rearing segment on WLS-TV's morning report, "For Your Family," is considered one of the most distinctive news segments in Chicago broadcast journalism.  She and her husband live in the Chicago suburbs with their four children. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Model Karen Howard

Karen Howard is another top model from the late seventies and early eighties.

She worked in both New York and Paris through the Elite agency at the time, and she was also represented by L'Agence in Paris earlier in her career.

Today, Karen Howard is involved with the Winston-Salem Alliance, a local business organization in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that promotes economic and entrepreneurial development.  Which makes sense; as made obvious by the photo immediately above, Ms. Howard knows how to dress for success. :-)   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Model Deborah Frazier

Deborah Frazier is a model who was active in the late seventies and the eighties.

Represented by Model Management in New York and then later by Elite Model Management in Los Angeles, she moved to Germany in the latter part of the decade and found representation with Parker-Sed in Hamburg.   

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Actress Carmen Ejogo

Carmen Ejogo is a British actress who has steadily appeared in movies since 1997.

If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because her most recent film, as of this posting, has been - and has made - news.  She plays Coretta Scott King in Selma, the historical drama of the 1965 voting rights march in Alabama. The movie, of course, caused a stir for depicting President Lyndon Johnson as somewhat reluctant on voting rights issues and called his credibility on civil rights at least partially into question.  As for Ms. Ejogo, her performance as Mrs. King earned her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.


There's no question, though, that Carmen Ejogo - who gets her exotic looks from her Nigerian father and Scottish mother - is an actress to continue watching. She got her first break at the age of thirteen with a role in the 1986 rock musical movie Absolute Beginners, which also included Sade (an earlier honoree on this blog) and David Bowie.  She played Maria in the 2000 present-day film adaptation of Shakespeare's  Love's Labour's Lost and she was also in the 2008 crime drama Pride and Glory (starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell), among other movies.

She was married to American actor Jeffrey Wright, and she now lives in Brooklyn with her two children.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

French singer/actress Cécilia Cara

Cécilia Cara is a chanteuse who has also made a name for herself in her native France as an actrice. :-)

She played Alice in the movie Le Carton and Jasmine in Droit au cœur, but her biggest role to date has been as Juliet in Roméo et Juliette, de la Haine à l'Amour, a French musical version of Shakespeare's famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet.  (The second clause of the title means "from hate to love.")   And she also has recorded several albums and singles in between all that.  

Having turned only thirty in June 2014, Ms. Cara still has a long career ahead of her, and we in the States might be hearing of her soon.  After all, she speaks English as well as French . . . not to mention Spanish and Italian also. :-)  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Actress Leslie Bibb

Leslie Bibb has been in the public eye since the turn of the millennium.

For two years beginning in 1999, she played Brooke McQueen on the TV teen drama "Popular," about two teenagers who are at different ends of the popularity spectrum at school. Brooke was a popular cheerleader, and another girl, Samantha, was a smart, geeky type who isn't popular.  The two girls became stepsisters when their single parents married each other.

Since then, the North Dakota-born Ms. Bibb has done several movies, with roles in films such as Miss Nobody (in which she played Sarah Jane McKinney, an ambitious secretary at a pharmaceutical company, earning herself a Best Actress award for it at the Boston Film Festival) and Confessions of a Shopaholic.  She has also had recurring roles in TV shows such as "About a Boy" and the 2015 version of "The Odd Couple." 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Another Model Trio

I couldn't resist the temptation or pass up the opportunity to throw in another look back at women I've featured before on this blog before starting a new A-Z round.  And once again, I'm looking back at models, two of whom I did week-long features for in the month just gone by; the third model appeared in a retrospective post from this past February. :-)

Pictured above, from a catalog photo, are Sheila Johnson at top, and Nancy Donahue at lower right.  They are joined here by another Nancy - Nancy DeWeir, who has worked with both women at other times.

Catalog photos, as I mentioned before, are bread-and-butter assignments for top models, and - as I'm sure I've also said before - imagine how they look in high-class fashion editorials if they look this gorgeous in a catalog! :-D 

Back soon with new subjects. :-)   

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Latest Statistics

Here are the latest data (it's a plural word, look it up) on the ten most popular posts on this blog.  Feel free, as always, to click on the chart to enlarge it.  As you can see, there's one big change.

A lot of people are clearly into AccuWeather's Stef Davis; my post of her from March 2014 surged from eighth place into sixth, with 4,085 views, and its popularity shows no sign of cooling.  My July 2011 post of television reporter Kristen Welker remains the most popular post on this blog by a wide margin, though, with 38,630 views compared to 13,407 for the runner-up, my September 2009 post of model Sheila Johnson, whose portfolio I delved into to provide a whole week of posts in the month just ending.  But my first look at Ms. Johnson remains the most popular of all posts devoted to her.

In January 2015, posts of actress Kaley Cuoco, actress Erin Gray, model and photographer Barbara Minty, and television reporter Atia Abawi were in sixth, seventh, ninth, and tenth, respectively; though their positions have obviously shifted, their order of positioning remains the same.

I'll leave you to ponder all that while I prepare for a new A-Z round of previously unfeatured women for April and May.  And, to avoid the implication of an April Fool's joke, let me get this out of the way: My post for April 1 will be another retrospective, as I wanted to publish it before I started on new subjects.  So here we go, into a new month and new posts.  :-)          

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Margrit Ramme Week, Part Five

I'm . . . I'm speechless.

This is the last photo of Margrit Ramme for my week-long look back at her modeling career, and for once, I can't find the words to describe this photo.  But I think it encapsulates everything that makes Margrit Ramme the exotically beautiful woman she's always been.  One picture really is worth a thousand words.  

That's it for my retrospective looks at famous models I've featured here before, one woman per week. After one more post this month to look at the latest statistics, I'm going out of March like a lamb.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Margrit Ramme Week, Part Four

An invitation to dinner? :-)

These two pictures of one of Germany's most beautiful women going Italian were meant not to sell the food but the clothes.   These two photos of Margrit Ramme posing in Italian-designed dresses were taken for a fashion editorial for the April 1, 1968 edition of U.K. Vogue, by noted bad-boy fashion photographer Helmut Newton . . . at a time when he was apparently more well-behaved. ;-)    

Another picture from this editorial was featured in an earlier post on this blog devoted to Margrit Ramme, from April 2011.

The editorial photos may have been meant to sell clothes, but Margrit Ramme does a pretty good job promoting herself as the ultimate dinner date. :-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Margrit Ramme Week, Part Three

These two photos of Margrit Ramme were taken about a decade apart, and while her work may have become more conservative, she obviously lost nothing in the intervening ten years in terms of her appeal.

The above photo is from 1979, taken by fashion photographer Winnie Decker, when Margrit Ramme was represented by the Elite modeling agency in New York.  The one below, from 1989, shows her in a more straightforward pose.  By then, she was represented by Elite's Elite Elegance subsidiary. 

She may have become more elegant in time, but she remained just as beautiful.

She was even more beautiful after ten years, in fact. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Margrit Ramme Week, Part Two

Here's Margrit Ramme striking some very serious poses. :-)

The above color photo emphasizes her high glamour, looking like she's ready for night on the town.  The black-and-white photo is less formal, but no less indicative of how seriously our heroine took her poses. :-)   And it this picture, she uses her hair very effectively. 

In love yet, boys? :-) 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Margrit Ramme Week, Part One

What better way to begin my week-long look back at German model Margrit Ramme than these two photos, both showing a side of her as soft as the camera's focus? :-)

The above color photo shows Margrit Ramme in an apparently  favorite pose of hers - staring directly at the camera with the right side of her face partially obscured!  This time, it's her wavy golden locks flowing over her perfectly lovely face.

Did you happen to notice her bare shoulders and glistening jewelry? :-D 

The photo below, in light sepia, shows her in a pensive, dreamy mood, her lips gently parted, reminding us why she is one of those models who has been so uniquely skilled at making men sigh like schoolboys. :-)   

Both pictures were taken by British photographer Tom Murray.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Sheila Johnson Week, Part Five

It makes sense that Sheila Johnson would model for Royal Silk, a New Jersey-based company selling silk-fabric clothes of every persuasion, because her beauty is as smooth and as inviting as silk itself. 

So, for my last two pictures for this week-long look back at Ms. Johnson, I present photos from two of her Royal Silk ads.  Both of them show her wearing blouses.

The photo above, from a Royal Silk ad in the March 1983 issue of U.S. Vogue, shows the Sheila Johnson I fell in love with back in the eighties . . . sweet, alluring, and sensual, with her soft smile and her warm, inviting eyes.  The reclining pose complements her come-hither look quite nicely.

In the photo below, she strikes a different pose.    

This photo, from a Royal Silk ad in the February 1984 issue of U.S. Vogue, shows the confident, determined Sheila Johnson that reminds us why we love the woman.  Her strong, tall-standing pose and her assured, assertive expression reveal her as a model who knows how to survive in the the tough business that the modeling trade is.  And those of us who love Sheila Johnson are glad she's had what it takes to thrive and prosper.

Next up, for the last full week of March - Margrit Ramme! :-)    

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Sheila Johnson Week, Part Four

As always, I view this fashion-model picture with less of an eye toward the fashion and more toward the model. :-) 

Yes, the purple top is stylish, especially with the rope belt around it, but what caught my eye was the confident look in Sheila Johnson's face . . . a look that says she can take on the world and do it with class.

And we know she can.    

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Sheila Johnson Week, Part Three

Here I have three pictures of Sheila Johnson posing in different sorts of dresses, from a soft, sensible outfit . . .

 . . . to a more business-like and professional dress (note that our heroine is posing alongside a filing cabinet, with books behind her) . . .

. . . to a gorgeous, black romantic evening-wear number. :-)

It's not remarkable that Sheila Johnson can wear three different dresses with such flair.  But it's worth noting that all three of these pictures are from the same issue of Vogue Patterns (July-August 1982).  The fact that these photos all appeared in the same issue only underlines how highly versatile she is as a model. :-)       

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Sheila Johnson Week, Part Two

Both of these pictures of Sheila Johnson for from a U.S. Vogue editorial, from its January 1981. 

The editorial was titled "When You Wear Less."

Though there were other models included in this editorial, I can't think of too many other women who could do better than Sheila Johnson in conveying the message that less is truly more. :-) 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Sheila Johnson Week, Part One

I thought I'd start this week looking again at model Sheila Johnson in a big way - and what better way to do that than with a picture of her in a strapless dress?

Sighing yet? :-)

Throughout her modeling career in the late seventies and the eighties, Sheila Johnson often presented an alluring and soft persona in her poses, but she could turn on the sex appeal just as effortlessly.  She still keeps a bit of that soft allure in this picture, though, suggesting a "goddess-next-door" persona.

Who's the dress designer, you ask?  Right, you think I care? :-D

Originally from Massachusetts, Sheila Johnson got her start as a model in the Boston area before gaining representation through the revered  Elite modeling agency. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Nancy Donahue Week, Part Five

I close out my week-long look back at Nancy Donahue with a more recent picture.

She's in her fifties as of this writing, and she's still beautiful.  But then, why would that surprise you? :-)

A week of Sheila Johnson is coming next.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Nancy Donahue Week, Part Four

Here are two very stunning pictures from Nancy Donahue's portfolio, both from advertisements.

The top photo is from an ad for Albert Nipon, the Philadelphia-based (yes, Philadelphia-based) fashion design firm started by the designer of the same name.  Nipon's namesake brand was one of the most popular fashion brands of the early eighties, coinciding with Ms. Donahue's reputation as one of Elite's top new models.

The photo below is from a DeBeers jewelry ad, from 1983.

Nancy Donahue defines her own style as "innocence and cool sophistication."  This picture (like the one above) sums up that definition perfectly. :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Nancy Donahue Week, Part Three

If you thought Nancy Donahue look hot in catalog photos, then you can imagine how hot she looks in photos for more glamorous assignments.  Actually, you don't have to imagine it - just look at the photos I have right here! :-D   

The top photo is from the September 1979 issue of U.S. Vogue , photographed by John Stember for an editorial titled, "American Style: It Gives You the Most!"  (It sure does.  :-) )  The bottom photo is from a Helena Rubinstein ad.

Specifically, it's an ad for Silken lipstick.  And the Helena Rubenstein brand was and remains one of the most exclusive cosmetics brands in the beauty business.  For Nancy Donahue or any other model, a Helena Rubinstein ad in one's portfolio is the proverbial feather in the cap.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Nancy Donahue Week, Part Two

Catalogs are often considered to be "bread and butter work" in the modeling trade, mainly because they are less glamorous than fashion magazines and they are aimed toward a larger mass-market clientele.  Nancy Donahue has appeared in catalogs as often as she's appeared in magazine ads and editorials, but she's no less stunning in her catalog work.

This picture, showing Ms. Donahue in a blue top with a matching bracelet, with yellow and red stripes, and a white pair of slacks, would be a highly worthy addition to any model's portfolio. :-) 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Nancy Donahue Week, Part One

And now, to Nancy Donahue. :-)

Nancy Donahue began working steadily as a model when she joined the prestigious Elite agency in New York in 1979, just as more models were becoming known by their names and thus becoming celebrities in their own right.  This photo is from one of her earliest assignments, for an Avon catalog.

This picture places Ms. Donahue in front of an uncharacteristically unglamorous tableau - an industrial backdrop.  The photo is for Avon's skin care line, promoting it as "tomorrow's skin care for today's environment" - acknowledging the environment in late-seventies America as being one with more pollution and smog.  

Ms. Donahue herself looks very fresh-faced here - and very laid-back in a blouse and blazer, the collars of both being casually askew. :-)  She would retain that style going forward.   

Thanks to Kissy Mentovay for the picture.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Alda Balestra Week, Part Five

Here are two pictures to close my week-long retrospective look at Alda Balestra, both of them recent.

In late middle age, Ms. Balestra still looks fashionable and sophisticated, whether in a conservative hat and scarf . . .

. . . or an ensemble with a little more flair. :-)

Ms. Balestra moved to New York and remained there at the close of her modeling career, working as a fashion producer and editor.  There, she gave birth to her two children, and in the year 2000 she began the next phase of her life when she relocated to Berlin with her husband Claus von Stauffenberg and her son and daughter.   She has been there since then, working in communications and public relations, with a specialty for art and design,  She organizes events and promotes new artists.

Alda Balestra hasn't forgotten where she came from. though.  She regularly promotes a cross-cultural dialogue between Berlin and her hometown of Trieste, and she finds many Berliners to be fascinated by Trieste and its history.  The Trieste connection is one she's proud of.  "I have always maintained a strong connection with my homeland, my family, and my friends," she told an Italian news site.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Alda Balestra Week, Part Four

This photo of Alda Balestra is from around 1983, when her transatlantic reputation was starting to grow.  I don't know what this photo was for, but, noting the large earring, I'm guessing it was for a jewelry ad.

It's typical of our heroine to convey subtlety in her poses, which explains why she's showing only one earring instead of two.  And however ostentatious you might find jangly earrings to be, there's nothing ostentatious about the woman who's modeling this one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Alda Balestra Week, Part Three

Here's a pair of exquisite color photographs of Alda Balestra, both taken in 1980. 

The top picture, taken by photographer Denis Piel, shows her at her most classically beautiful  But the photo below, taken by Lothar Schmit, shows her displaying a little sexiness. :-)

Her look here is as dreamy as the sighs from men that she must have inspired.

She's not only ethereal in this two photos, she's etheral.  She's a knockout! ;-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Alda Balestra Week, Part Two

As her modeling career took off in the eighties, Alda Balestra was brimming with confidence, as the photo below - showing our heroine in a fur coat - clearly displays.

Her confidence helped her to win as a school graduation prize a trip to the United States to learn English.  Her life, though, eventually took a different turn from her plans to study the humanities. She met some young designers in Florence and was immediately hired by one of them to model in a fashion show.  This led to a job to pose for six pages of advertising in Vogue, and her modeling career had started.

That young designer was Gianni Versace, by the way  . . ..  

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Beauty of Retrospect: Alda Balestra Week, Part One

It was in 1970 when the world first learned of Alda Balestra. She came out of nowhere - Trieste, which Italians consider as provincial as Americans consider Boise, Idaho provincial - to win the Miss Italy pageant at a mere sixteen years of age.  Soon after that, she was modeling in Milan and, later, Paris.  Within a decade, she was one of the top models in the fashion trade. 

The photo above captures Ms. Balestra in a soft, innocent pose, recalling the teenage girl who wowed those beauty contest judges.  The picture below shows her all grown up . . .

. . . as an avatar of very high fashion. :-)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March 2015: Retrospectives

I'm gotten ahead of myself in posting pictures of new subjects on this blog, so I've decided to devote the month of March 2015 to pictures of women I have featured here before.

This time, however, I am doing it with a twist. Rather than post pictures of numerous women over the month, I have decided to devote each of the four whole weeks of this month to one woman, with five posts for each of them.  (I'll cap the month with a post of the latest statistics for pageviews of my blog and the top ten posts on March 31.)  I got the idea from having devoted a whole week on this blog, and then another, to a single woman before.  Both of those retrospectives, by the way, were for Estée Lauder spokesmodel Karen Graham. :-)

All of the women I've chosen for this month are also models, and they're perennial favorites of mine. I chose two of them based on the fact that I have a surplus of pictures on hand, while I chose the other two simply to give them more exposure on this blog then I have recently. 

So why don't  I go ahead and tell you who they are, to spare you the suspense? :-D  I start, in alphabetical order, with Alda Balestra, the Italian fashion and cosmetics model who has some of the most iconic images in fashion and beauty advertising in her portfolio.  I follow with Nancy Donahue, who personified all-American sophistication in the 1980s through her various ads and fashion editorials.  Third comes Sheila Johnson, the groundbreaking black model known for her alluring appearance.  I then conclude the month with another look at the incomparable German beauty Margrit Ramme, the first model to draw my attention, thanks to her platinum-blonde looks and her ability to charm many a photographer.

Full disclosure requires me to state that I know all of them through Facebook, and I have also personally met Nancy Donahue and consider her a good friend, as I consider the other three.  I have long since abandoned my old rule against posting pictures of women I know personally, now that I have been able to connect with so many high-profile models as an ironic result of their very discovery of this blog, because there's no way  I can . . . not feature these women, among the loveliest women in the modeling trade.

I start this series of retrospectives tomorrow . . . check back then! :-)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Changes To This Blog

As of today, I've made a few changes to this blog regarding links and criteria.  The links changes are easy to explain.  It has come to my attention that Eva Voorhees, a fashion model who kept a site of her own and "Supermodel Icons," a site devoted to some of fashion's most famous models, no longer has these sites up on the Web.  So the links to them have been taken down.  I don't know why Ms. Voorhees retired them. but should they re-appear on the Web, I'll restore them. 

Also, I changed the minimum age for subjects on this blog.  It has come to my attention that some people may be uncomfortable with eighteen years as the minimum age of women who are chosen for this blog, and even though eighteen years of age is the age at which legal adulthood is conferred, I've  concluded that that's too young. So I've raised it to twenty.  Twenty years of age seems to be a more appropriate threshold. 

Back tomorrow, with a whole month of retrospectives ahead.