Saturday, March 17, 2018

Israeli actress Gal Gadot

Not too long ago, Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel, was associated primarily with action movies that no one - not even action-movie fans - took seriously.  

Ironically, one of those movies - which got a lot of nominations for Razzie Awards, and won most of them - made her a star.

She played Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie that obviously pitted the two title superheroes against each other, and while the movie was not a hit with the press or the public, Gal Gadot herself was still a hit with anyone who saw her.  Someone had the bright idea (and the right idea) to finally - finally - make a Wonder Woman movie, and with Gal Gadot as the star.

Wonder Woman hit the theaters in 2017 and became a huge success.  As of October 2017, the Rotten Tomatoes Web site listed the movie at the top of the list of the fifty best superhero movies ever.  Ever!

She followed that up with another performance as Wonder Woman in the movie Justice League, in which Batman and Superman are on the same side this time, along with Wonder Woman and several other DC Comics superheroes, fighting the bad guys.  A Wonder Woman sequel is slated for release in late 2019.

Gal Gadot is not going to make Baby Boomer and Generation X women forget Lynda Carter, who will always be Wonder Woman to those fans, but she is going to put her own stamp on the role.

As for Lynda Cater . . . no, I haven't included her on this blog yet.  I hope to rectify that soon. :-)      

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Actress Nancy Everhard

You may not have heard of Nancy Everhard, but you may remember or have heard of some of the movies and TV shows she's been in.

Her best-known roles include a crew member of an underwater station that survives an attack from a deep-sea monster in the 1989 sci-fi horror film Deep Star Six.  That same year, she appeared in The Punisher, an action movie based on a Marvel Comics series that starred Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett, Jr.

Her TV roles have included a part as the love interest of Gregory Harrison's lead character on the CBS sitcom "The Family Man" and a minor role on the first season of the NBC police/legal drama "Reasonable Doubts." Ms. Everhard's best-known role was as Sharon Hart on the small-town medical drama series "Everwood," working alongside her husband Tom Amandes, who played Dr. Hal Abbott; they married in 1996.

Nancy Everhard has not been active as an actress since 2006, but hopefully she'll make a comeback. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Actress Cécile de France

Acutally, Cécile de France is de Belge. :D  She was born and raised in Belgium.

Becoming interested in acting as a girl, she decided to pursue an acting career and study theater in Paris.  For three years beginning in 1995, she studied at the thespian academy École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre.

Her early movies in France included 2001's L'Art (délicat) de la séduction  (The Delicate Art of Seduction), in which she played a woman that a car designer eyes with  interest, and 2002's Irène. She became an international star with High Tension, a 2003 horror thriller, in which she deals with a serial killer.

Her later film include 2006's When I Was a Singer, in which she played the Signing Nun (really!), and 2007's A Secret, as the mother of a sickly boy who discovers a half-brother he didn't know he had.  American audiences probably best know her as Monique LaRoche in the 2004 Hollywood version of Around the World in 80 Days - if, in fact, they even saw it (it was not a hit).  She did, though appear in Hereafter, about a journalist who has a near-death experience and consults a man, played by Matt Damon, who can communicate with the dead  Released in 2010, it was directed by Clint Eastwood.

Among her honors are  Best Supporting Actress César in the 2005 ensemble movie Russian Dolls, as a lesbian pretending to be someone's fiancée.

Cécile de France is 42 as of this writing, so her best work is no doubt yet to come.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Actress Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain is an actress who specializes in playing strong women with flaws.  But there's nothing flawed about her acting. 

In her early career, she appeared in various TV shows and performed in classic plays like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (as Juliet) and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.  She got a late start in the movies - her debut film, Jolene, based on E.L. Doctorow's short story about a troubled drifter, came out in 2008, when she was 31.  But she rose to prominence in Hollywood and became one of the hottest actresses of twenty-teens. 

Her best known movies include: 2011's The Help, about black maids in Mississippi and the white women who employ them; 2012's Zero Dark Thirty, as a CIA agent  helping in the search for Osama bin Laden after 9/11; a 2014 film version of August Strindberg's Miss Julie, in which she played the title role, and: The Martian, from 2015, as the commander of a Mars expedition.  Quite impressive for a few short years. 

Ms. Chastain's most recent movie as of this writing is Molly's Game, based on underground-poker tycoon Molly Bloom's adventures in the world of illegal gambling.  As Molly Bloom, Ms. Chastain has gotten very favorable reviews.

Jessica Chastain is also involved in movie production. Her Freckle Films production company aims to provide more roles for women and people of color.   

Sunday, March 4, 2018

TV weatherwoman Brittany Boyer

Imagine spending seven years in college - first, four years for a bachelor's degree in journalism and then another three for a bachelor's degree in meteorology.   Then imagine getting a job forecasting the weather on national television after getting both degrees.  Brittany Boyer doesn't have to imagine all of that . . . she's lived it!

Brittany Boyer  received her journalism degree from Pennsylvania State University in 2011 and got her meteorology degree from Mississippi State University in 2016.  At Penn State in the town of State College (yes, that's what its named), she worked for AccuWeather, and she honed her broadcasting skills in between her two undergraduate tenures; she was a reporter and fill-in weather forecaster for NBC affiliate WJAC-TV in the State College vicinity and was later a weather forecaster for ABC affiliate WNEP-TV in the Scranton area.

Ms. Boyer has since returned to State College to work once again for AccuWeather, this time for its sister television channel, where she broadcasts national weather forecasts and produces videos to help explain what's going on in periods of severe weather. 

She celebrated her first year at AccuWeather's TV channel in October 2016 and hopes to celebrate many more years there. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Model Alison Alberts

Alison Alberts was among the many models who prospered in the 1980s.  She was mostly active in the middle of that decade.

She was represented by the Chicago offices of the Elite agency, both in the regular and the "runway" divisions.

She was also represented in Germany by the Model Team agency.  

The Latest Numbers

I have posted pictures of 1,140 women on this blog, the most recent new subject (singer Brigitte Zarie) coming just before I ran my latest retrospective series.

Though I haven't posted a chart of the top ten posts, with the number of pageviews,  on this blog since January 2017, the list had remained unchanged, and so I don't feel a need to post a new one.  Go here for the most recent top-ten chart. 

Right, March is coming in like a lion, as I begin a new A-Z series of new subjects, starting today!  :-) 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Nastasia Urbano

Nastasia Urbano, whom I last featured in June 2015, has struck some glamorous and sexy poses, like the the one below . . . a pose for a Yves Saint Laurent Opium perfume ad, this one being slightly different from the Opium ad picture I showed back in 2011.

But she really doesn't need to turn on the sex appeal to set many a man's heart aflutter.

All she has to do is smile.

I know Nastasia Urbano through social media, and I can honestly say that she is a very sweet woman, with a lovely personality infusing that smile of hers.

That's it for my month-long look back at models I've previously featured. I'm only sorry that February is such a short month. ;-) 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Renée Simonsen

Renée Simonsen seemed to be everywhere in the 1980s after she won a Ford agency modeling contest.  And why not?  The Danish beauty was stunning in just about every photo she ever posed for.

It's why I showed so many pictures of her back in August 2014, when I first featured her, and I'm happy to show her here again. :-) 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Sheila Johnson

I could devote a whole blog to Sheila Johnson, because she has such a massive portfolio that I never seem to run out of pictures of her to show here.

She's done just about every possible assignment a model can do, from fashion magazines and Sunday news magazine supplements to department store catalogs and black-and-white newspaper ads.  

I put Sheila Johnson's work into two categories - good and great. There's no way to take a bad photo of her, whether she looks all businesslike in the photo above or seriously dignified in the Eric Boman picture below.  

Of course, she always looks more beautiful when she smiles.  In fact, I'm in heaven when . . . you know the drill.  

I last featured Ms. Johnson on this blog only recently, in September 2017, which indicates how seriously I take her modeling career as well as how enraptured I am by her beauty.  Because Sheila Johnson proved time and time again back in the eighties, at a time when modeling was becoming ever more diverse, that a black woman could project the all-American look commonly associated with whites of northern European descent.  And Ms. Johnson is very, and unmistakably, American in her look and her poise.

In fact, she originally comes from Plymouth County, Massachusetts - you know, where the Pilgrims settled?  You can't get any more American than that.

This is what American glamour looks like, people!

By the way, expect to see more of Sheila Johnson going forward, because my supply of pictures from her portfolio is nowhere near exhausted.  In fact, I'll soon be featuring the first picture I ever saw of her, the picture that began a life-long fascination with her. 

Oh yeah, here's another reason I keep featuring Sheila Johnson: My original post of her, from September 2009, is this blog's most viewed post featuring a model and the second most viewed post overall (after my original post of NBC newswoman Kristen Welker).  

 Sheila Johnson is loved by many. :-) 

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Iman by Robert Farber, 1977

How do I follow up all of the models I've revisited so far this month?

How about with this?

Are your knees wobbling yet?  Having trouble breathing, perhaps?   Yeah, me too . . . :-O

This intensely exquisite photo of Iman, whom I last featured here in January 2017, was taken by fashion photographer Robert Farber in 1977, and it is the most astonishing picture in her portfolio by a wide margin.  The intricate white lace veil that partially obscures her face - not enough to mask it, but enough to provide a sense of mystery - provides a stark contrast to her dark brown skin and her bare torso.  The black backdrop only adds to the mysterious mood, complementing Iman's own aura.  And I haven't even mentioned her dusky blue eye shadow or ruby lipstick . . ..

I almost melted when I first saw this picture.

Many a man who gazed upon this photo must have imagined gently lifting her veil in order to kiss her tenderly.  I'm sure David Bowie must have, too. :-) 

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect: Nancy Donahue Birthday Extravaganza!

Today's the day! Nancy Donahue marks three score years today. And to close out my celebration of her sixtieth birthday, I thought I'd show seven - yeah, that's right, seven - photos of our beloved birthday girl.  It's like seeing the fireworks on Independence Day, when they always set off the last ones all at once for a grand finish.    

As I noted here before, Nancy is a friend of mine (note the first-name basis), and I've always admired her for her versatility as a model.  She can go from a fresh-faced all-American look, as she bears in the winter-fashion photo above from 1985 . . .

. . . to the glamorous role of a long cool woman in black dress.

And while her glamour can be intimidating when she's photographed in haute couture as haute as coutre can be, as in this incredible jumpsuit in a picture taken by Rico Puhlmann . . .

. . . she can be just as soft and alluring, as she is in the pensive fashion photo below.

Because whatever image she projects, she's still Nancy to me . . . a wonderful, vivacious woman with a spirited personality and a joie de vivre all her own.  In the time I've known her, I've found her to be a warm, wonderful person who's a pleasure to be with.  And she's also a heck of a dancer. :-)

Her personality always comes through, in her smile . . .

. . . and in her poise.

I normally don't go into first person this much on this blog, and I normally don't make a huge deal of the fact that I know so many of the models I feature here, but this is a special occasion, being Nancy's birthday and all, and Nancy herself is special.  See, she was the first top model I ever met after I started connecting with top models on social media as a result of them discovering this blog.  I'd long followed her career, having first seen her in the early eighties, when she seemed appear on the cover of Self magazine every other month. :-) :-D

I first met her at Bergdorf Goodman in New York in December 2010 when she was promoting her BelleCore body buffer during the holiday season, not very long after connecting with her on Facebook.  She greeted me like I was already an old friend, and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life . . . and by having me at some of her social functions, Nancy made it possible for me to have many more similarly enjoyable experiences.

Below is a picture of me with Nancy from that first meeting in Bergdorf Goodman, taken by her (and now our) friend Geoffrey Saunders.  This is the first time I've ever featured a photo of a woman that also includes myself, but don't expect me to make a habit of it.  This blog is definitely not about me. :-) 

Happy birthday, Nancy - love you! ♥

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Happy Birthday, Nancy Donahue! (Part Five)

Nancy Donahue, of course, is more than just a model. She's a versatile woman who has excelled in everything she's tried.  She went back to school - culinary school - and became a pastry chef, working for a catering service in her home state of Massachusetts for many years.  She's also a certified personal trainer and yoga teacher, and she worked as a fitness director at a country club.

Her fitness expertise led her and a group of like-minded individuals to develop a body buffer designed to smooth skin, diminish the presence of cellulite, and ease tense muscles, which she and her partners market and sell as the BelleCore body buffer.  You can learn more about it here.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that she's a triathlete?  And a pretty formidable one, too.

As a result, she remains in such good shape that she's gone back to modeling.  All of these pictures are from her return to her original profession.  

The picture of Nancy Donahue above was taken for New Jersey cosmetics mogul Bobbi Brown, and our birthday girl brings a whole new idea to "casual formal." :-)

The more staid headshot is from a 1997 skin-care ad.  It appeared in Mirabella, the since-folded namesake magazine of former Vogue editor-in-chief Grace Mirabella, aimed at women in their thirties and forties.  Nancy Donahue was 39 at the time this appeared, and it puts to rest the canard that feminine beauty doesn't improve with age. 

And the beautiful woman you see above is the same woman you'd see on the street.


The "No U-Turn" sign in the photo above is appropriately symbolic and symbolically appropriate.  Nancy Donahue lives life forward without turning back. 

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Happy Birthday, Nancy Donahue! (Part Four)

Throughout the 1980s, you could expect to find Nancy Donahue not only on fashion magazine covers and in fashion and beauty editorials, but in numerous clothing and accessories ads, including ads for . . . Hathaway shirts?

Yes, there are such things as Hathaway women's shirts, Both of these photos of Nancy Donahue are from Hathaway ads in fashion supplements of the New York Times Sunday magazine.  The first one is from August 1982, the second one from February 1983. 

So you don't think dress shirts are sexy? :-D 

The Hathaway women's wear ads defined the brand's clothes as style that was "hard to define . . . but easy to recognize."  And especially easy to recognize when Nancy Donahue wore them. :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Happy Birthday, Nancy Donahue! (Part Three)

I couldn't resist adding three more pictures of Nancy Donahue from the early eighties. The first two, if I remember correctly, are from the June 1980 issue of the British edition of Vogue, just like the pictures on the previous post, but I don't remember where the third is originally from.

I know this much: All three of these pictures were taken by Denis Piel.

Nancy Donahue has worked with numerous photographers throughout her career, and they read like a who's who list of the most famous fashion photographers: Francesco Scavullo, Irving Penn, Steve Landis, Arthur Elgort, Patrice Casanova, Eric Boman, Stan Malinowski and Patrick Demarchelier.  But she's regularly associated with Denis Piel, and it's easy to see why.  Denis Piel knows how to get the best pose out of his models, and Nancy Donahue has always responded marvelously to Piel on a photo shoot, much like how a great rock band responds to a producer in the recording studio.  The photo above shows our heroine looking glamorous and worldly.  With a lesser model and a lesser photographer, such a pose would look like . . . a woman pushing against a table. 

Nancy Donahue describes her style as "innocence and cool sophistication."  In the photo above, Denis Piel captured both simultaneously.

He concentrated more on the innocence in the photo below, showing Ms. Donahue in a softer, more pensive mood.  

How romantic . . . perfect for today, St. Valentine's Day.

I could devote an entire month on this blog to Nancy Donahue's work with Denis Piel.  Because with a great model like she and a great photographer like he, how could you go wrong? 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Happy Birthday, Nancy Donahue! (Part Two)

Nancy Donahue was one of the most sought-after faces in fashion and beauty editorials and advertising in the 1980s. She appeared in ads for jewelry, department stores, and fashion designers such as Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan. She was also in many a fashion or beauty editorial and on many a cover of all of the prestigious fashion and beauty magazines.  Including the U.K. edition of Vogue.

I've shown numerous examples of Nancy Donahue's work throughout the eighties already on this blog, but these pictures are all from the beginning of the decade - specifically, the June 1980 issue of British Vogue.

June is when it gets hot.  These striking pictures showing our heroine really turning on the heat!  I believe the cut of the dress in the photo above is what is called a bias.

My tribute to Nancy Donahue on the occasion of her sixtieth birthday has a bias all right - a favorable one. ;-) 

And how could I not have a favorable prejudice towards a woman who looks so gorgeous in yellow? :-D

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Happy Birthday, Nancy Donahue! (Part One)

Yes, the birthday girl I'm honoring in this retrospective this month is none other than Nancy Donahue, one of the biggest names in the modeling profession in the 1980s.  She was indeed the first top model I ever met in person, and she happens to be one of my dearest friends. :-)  She turns sixty years old this Friday (February 16), and a major milestone like that certainly deserves a big celebration.

And, yes, her date of birth is public knowledge, so I'm not giving anything away that she wouldn't want anyone to know.

I don't think I can ever do her career justice in the time I've given myself to pay tribute to her having reached three score years, but I'll certainly try. :-) 

When Nancy Donahue, whom I last featured here in April 2017, first began modeling in the late seventies, she probably had no idea she'd be at the top of her profession with such rapidity.  But by 1980, she already had covers of Mademoiselle, Self, Redbook and Vogue to her credit.  Not to mention work for Vogue Patterns, the prestigious fashion magazine's sister sewing publication. 

The look on her beautiful face in the photo above, from early 1980, shows just how determined she was to make it in modeling.   She appears ready to take on the world.  And even though she projects a softer look in the photo below, from a about the same time frame . . .

. . . it's obvious that Nancy Donahue is as fearless in pink as she is pretty. :-)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Karen Graham, 1981

I couldn't resist showing one more picture of Karen Graham before moving on. :-)

This Victor Skrebneski photo for an Estée Lauder ad shows our heroine walking down a romantic allée, bearing flowering tree branches as it she were ready to offer them as gifts.

That's right, guys, she's a woman who brings us flowers!

The dress, by the way, is by Becky Bisoulis, as if I cared. :-D 

Still one of my favorite models after all these years . . . :-)

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Karen Graham

The first four photos in this post depict Estée Lauder modeling legend Karen Graham, whom I last featured here in April 2017, as you normally would have seen her before she faced the camera.

They're photos are from an ad for Estée Lauder Lauder's Swiss Age Controlling Skincare Program, showing how and why to use the product.  The pictures suggest Ms. Graham getting herself ready to look glamorous.

She must have realized that you don't need to look serious when you're applying skin cream, hence the two photos below.

The picture above shows her smiling slyly as if she knows that photographing a woman while she's moisturizing her face is a joke, and of course she's in on the joke.  But the photo below is a real hoot, because it shows her playfully acknowledging the joke! :-D

I love you too, Karen. :-)

There's no joke about Karen Graham's timeless beauty, though, and her unique look - the result of her bright eyes, her sweet smile, and her uniquely shaped nose - is what made her a legend, as evidenced below.

As a model, she could be vivacious, or soft, as seen below, like the roses in her hands.

She never really needed to be photographed while giving herself a beauty treatment to project intimacy and familiarity. :-) 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Juli Foster For Revlon Rio

The Revlon cosmetics brand is known for its Rio collection of makeup, the colors of which are supposed to emulate the hot colors of Brazilian carnivals.  And Juli Foster, whom I last featured here in February 2016, was one of the many models who have appeared in Revlon ads to promote the "Rio look," as seen below.

She looks like she're ready to have a good time, and with a drink in hand.  But, as always, she isn't smiling.  

Don't assume that her taciturn expression means she's a sour-puss.  Juli Foster is a woman who takes her fun very seriously. :-)

Juli, I drink to you! :-D :-) 

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Nancy Dutiel for Anthony Richards

Nancy Dutiel is best known as the Lancôme spokesmodel who preceded Isabella Rossellini in the  cosmetic firm's U.S. ad campaigns.  But Ms. Dutiel modeled more than just beauty products.   She also modeled clothing on the side, as she does here in this 1982 photo from an Anthony Richards ad.

Anthony Richards is an apparel company that sells its products through catalogs. Catalog modeling isn't glamorous - models call it "bread and butter" work - but Nancy Dutiel could bring glamour to anything.  She could have made the Sears catalog sexy.

This is my first post of Nancy Dutiel on this blog since August 2015. :-) 

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Beauty of Retrospect, February Model Edition: Claire Atkinson

Name any top fashion designer of recent memory - Ungaro, Lacroix, Valentino - and Claire Atkinson modeled for all of them. Usually on the runways, but also in print.

And there are so many stunning photos of her that you can see why I am revisiting her so soon after having first featured her in August 2017.

Here she is in the photo above wowing the crowd at a fashion show in this exquisite Lecoanet Hemant number.   

And while she could sport a very contemporary look, she could also look very conservative, much like the classic Englishwoman that she is, as evidenced below. 

Color, black and white . . . Claire Atkinson shines in either photographic medium. How about a combination of both?  The photo below, taken by Chris Dawes in the early 1980s around the start of her career, is a black-and-white picture that I colorized - or as she would put it, "colourised" - myself. 

Full disclosure requires me to state that Claire Atkinson is a friend of mine, and of course I find her to be as lovely as ever.  Which is why I'm happy to feature a more recent picture of her below, at a June 2016 ceremony honoring Paris-based Japanese designer Kenzo Takada for his receipt of France's Medal of Chevalier de La Legion d'Honneur.

Leave it to Claire Atkinson to outshine the guest of honor. :-)