Never heard of Kerry Ellis? That's probably because you're an American who has never been to London and seen a West End play.
Ms. Ellis is as big a star there as Patti LuPone and Betty Buckley have been on Broadway.
Her credits include the Queen musical We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, the role of Fantine in Les Misérables, and the role of Nancy in a 2010 production of Oliver! Oh yes, and she also played the role of Elphaba in Wicked at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre from 2006 to 2009, and also reprised the role at the Gershwin Theatre in New York in 2014 - her only American credit of note, at least so far.
When she's not appearing on the West End, Ms. Ellis is doing TV appearances in Britain and Ireland, appearing in British touring companies, and also making records of various show tunes. She's regarded as the leading lady of British musical theater, and and hopefully she'll perform stateside again.
Never heard of Rosie Draughn, a model from the seventies? That's because she was a regular on the Ebony Fashion Fair circuit, which was a proving ground for black fashion and beauty that, like Ebony magazine itself, was completely alien to white audiences.
But I look for beautiful women everywhere. That's why I get to feature Rosie Draughn here. :-)
Originally from Mississippi, Rosie Draughn grew up wanting to be a fashion model, and in 1978 she joined the Ebony Fashion Fair tour, realizing her dream, after having seen one of its shows. The fashion-show tour promoted Fashion Fair, a black cosmetics brand featuring models that only the most rabid bigot would not find beautiful.
Ms. Draughn eventually settled in Houston, where she became a fundraising consultant.
Jackie Congedo is a former reporter for WLWT-TV in Cincinatti.
She spent four out of ten years as a TV reporter for that station, which is the NBC affiliate in that city.
In 2015 she chose to leave TV reporting for a career in public relations, saying that the career move allowed her to spend more time with her family. And I'm sure the television audience of greater Cincinnati misses her.
Off we go into another year for this blog, and I start it with a journalist, as reporters are becoming ever so more important in the Age of Trump.
Julia Ainsley is NBC News's national security and justice reporter. She covered the Paul Manafort trial in Virginia earlier this year.
Her rise has been rapid. A graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, she was an intern at the Chicago Tribune in the summer of 2010, where she wrote for the lifestyle section. She worked for Thomson Reuters as a criminal justice correspondent and also covered Congress for the National Journal before arriving at NBC News.
This is her at the 2017 Rose Parade in Pasadena, as one of that year's three Grand Marshals. (Allyson Felix - another past honoree on this blog - and Greg Louganis were the other two.) The man to her left, I presume, is her husband, Bill Willson.
Here she his with her kids, her daughter Sydney (in her arms) and her son Jake.
Her son is cute. He obviously gets his cuteness from his mom. :-)
I thought I'd close out September, before I go forward with a new round of A-Z subjects for October and November, with another look at legendary distance swimmer Janet Evans, who now serves as the Vice Chair and Director of Athlete Relations for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics - which is how she describes herself on her Twitter page. She also describes herself as a "Mom, Wife, Olympic Champion . . ." :-)
And, of course, she is also my only sports celebrity crush. :-)
The above photo is from an appearance at DePauw University in Indiana in September 1996, two months after concluding her competitive swimming career at the Atlanta Olympics. She was on a victory lap in the form of a speaking tour.
The photo below is of our heroine at a swim meet in 2014.
She was only there as a spectator, yet she drew applause just the same.
Once again, as another year on this blog, which started twelve years ago today, comes to a close, I feature a complete list of the one hundred women I have featured in the year past. They are, as always, a mix of actresses, and models, with athletes and media personalities included as well. No dancers - I only feature them in Decembers of even-numbered years. But come this December, December 2018, there will be more dancers. I assure you.
As before, I have featured many women from different countries, though most of them, more by accident than design, are Americans. And, as always, where a woman's nationality was in doubt - this mainly applies to the more obscure models I have featured - I did not list one. Only two subjects - the actress in that hilarious Dewey Stevens commercial, and the Kohl's model I just closed out the past year with - remain unidentified. Thanks again to those who identified the other unknown subjects.
So, without further ado, here's my latest list. :-)
Candice Accola King, American actress and singer Malin Åkerman, Canadian (Swedish-born) actress Alison Alberts, fashion model Jasmine Ash, American pop singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins, American folk-rock singer/songwriter Patti Austin, American jazz/pop singer Rebecca Ayoko, Togolese (Paris-based) fashion model Joan Baez, American folk and folk-rock singer Basia, Polish contemporary jazz singer Sophie Billard, Belgian fashion model Candice Bergen, American actress Gunilla Bergström, fashion model Brittany Boyer, American on-air weather forecaster Diahann Carroll, American actress and singer Jessica Chastain, American actress Kaitlan Collins, American TV news reporter Rita Coolidge, American pop-rock singer Laveda Cooper, American beauty model Emily Dann, American actress and dancer Cécile de France, Belgian actress Prisca Demarez, French musical actress Jennifer Di Noia, American stage actress Zohre Esmaeli, German (Afghan-born) model and designer Nancy Everhard, American actress Paige Faure, American stage actress Roberta Flack, American jazz/soul singer Amy Freeze, American TV meteorologist Gal Gadot, Israeli actress Yasmeen Ghauri, Canadian fashion model Ros Gold-Owunde, American TV sports reporter Meagan Good, American actress Rebecca Hall, British/American actress Veronica Hamel, American actress Juliana Hatfield, American alternative-rock singer/songwriter Winnie Hollman, Danish model and actress Shelya Huff, American fashion model and interior designer Stephanie Johnson, fashion model Jolie Jones, American model, record producer, singer, and activist Meiko Kaji, Japanese actress Bhavaja Kat, American fashion model Emily Keane, Australian stage actress, singer and dancer Chaka Khan, American soul/funk singer Gladys Knight, American soul singer Machiko Kyō, Japanese actress Miranda Lambert, American country and western singer Carol Lee, American print and broadcast journalist Taylor Louderman, American stage actress Rebecca Lowe, British sportscaster Carol Lynley, American actress Leslie Mann, American comedic actress Shirley Manson, British (U.S.-based) rock singer Elizabeth Marvel, American actress Kathy Massey, fashion model Alexi McCammond, American journalist and commentator Joanne McCoy, Boston-based fashion model Natalie Merchant, American folk-rock singer Melba Moore, American soul singer Natalie Morales, American broadcast journalist Nadette, fashion model Ruth Negga, Irish actress Kathleen Newman, fashion model Kelli O'Hara, American stage actress and singer Jane Olivor, American singer Ana Ortiz, American actress Annette O'Toole, American actress, singer and songwriter Vanessa Paradis, French actress and singer Elizabeth Pariente, Mexican fashion model Carol Perkins, American fashion model and entrepreneur Abby Phillip, American TV news reporter Dania Ramirez, American (Dominican-born) actress Julianne Regan, British rock singer (All About Eve) Martha Reeves, American soul singer Deborah Roberts, American broadcast journalist Saoirse Ronan, American/Irish actress Sara Rue, American television actress Stephanie Ruhle, American broadcast journalist Sara Sampaio, Portuguese model Sunlen Serfaty, American broadcast journalist Grace Slick, American rock singer and songwriter Mira Sorvino, American actress Heather Stewart-Whyte, British fashion model Jennifer Taylor, fashion model Catherine Timmer, fashion model Eleanor Tomlinson, British actress Liv Tyler, American actress
unidentified actress in Dewey Stevens TV commercial
unidentified Kohl's model
unidentified Target model, later identified as Maria Borges, Angolan model Meryem Uzerli, German actress Wanda Ventham, British actress Ursula Vincent, fashion model Susan Walker, fashion model Mia Wasikowska, Australian actress Deniece Williams, American soul and gospel singer Rita Wilson, American actress Cat Wise, American television reporter Constance Wu, American actress Manuela Wust, fashion model Yadi, fashion model Brigitte Zarie, Canadian jazz singer
I found this picture of a model from a Kohl's ad. I don't know who she is or what her name is, but I find her attractive, and so that was enough reason to include her here.
As always, if anyone can identify her, please let me know in the comment section under this blog entry. Heck, my three most recent posts of models I could not identify by name yielded identifications after I asked my followers, so maybe I'll get lucky and get a fourth one here.
This is my 1,200th subject. I'll be featuring my list of the women I've featured (not counting retrospectives, of course) in the past year in a couple of days. :-)
This actress named Constance is a constant presence on the ABC network in the U.S.
Constance Wu plays Jessica Huang, the mother of Eddie Huang, in "Fresh Off the Boat," the ABC sitcom based on the real-life chef Eddie Huang's memoir of the same name about growing up as the son of Taiwanese immigrants. Set in the nineties, the show depicts Jessica as a stern mother who pushes her children for success. (Eddie Huang's father Louis, played by Randall Park in the series, managed a steakhouse restaurant in Florida.)
Like many television actors, Constance Wu made a jump to the movies - with Crazy Rich Asians, yet another work based on a book (a Kevin Kwan novel, of the same name). She plays an American economics professor who goes to Singapore with her boyfriend to attend a wedding, and he finds out his family is crazy and rich . . . and that her boyfriend attracts women like honey attracts bears.
Crazy Rich Asians premiered in August 2018. It became a huge hit within a week after its release.
Zohre Esmaeli isn't the only German celebrity of Asian descent to make her mark on Germany's popular culture. There's also Meryem Uzerli.
Meryem Uzerli is a German-born television actress of Turkish origin on her father's side (her mother is German) who started out as a model before landing TV roles in both Turkey and Germany. Her early TV appearances include a role in the German hospital drama "Notruf Hafenkante" and the crime-detective series "Ein Fall für zwei" ("A Case For Two"), both in 2010.
She became a star in Turkey on the television miniseries "Muhteşem Yüzyıl", or "The Magnificent Century," about the old Ottoman Empire. In the series, which ran from 2011 to 2013, she played a slave girl who married a sultan . . . and then became one herself.
Oh yeah, the Turkish edition of GQ chose her as 2012's Woman of the Year.
Turkish immigrants in Germany have had trouble assimilating there, but Meryem Uzerli is probably the best argument for immigration being an added value. :-)
British actress Eleanor Tomlinson is a big star in America thanks to the success of the British series "Poldark" on PBS.
She plays Demelza, a servant girl who marries the eponymous hero of "Poldark" - Ross Poldark, a British veteran of the American Revolution who comes home to find that his original fiancée married someone else when she thought he was dead. Ross originally hires Demelza as a maid and falls in love with her while trying to run the copper mine in his village. The program is based on a series of novels by Winston Graham.
Ms. Tomlinson has done other British TV shows, such as the three-part drama "Death Comes to Pemberley," a murder mystery based on a P.D. James novel using characters based on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," and "Ordeal by Innocence," another three-part drama based on yet another book - the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. Ms. Tomlinson also took part in an experimental biography movie about Vincent Van Gogh, Loving Vincent, in which cast members were animated based on Van Gogh's paintings. Ms. Tomlinson played one of Van Gogh's models.
Eleanor Tomlinson is only 26 years old at this wiring, so she has a brilliant future ahead of her.
Mira Sorvino was one of the hottest young actresses in the nineties.
Her breakthrough role was in Woody Allen's 1995 comedy Mighty Aphrodite, as Linda, a happy-go-lucky prostitute that Woody's character falls in love with. Really.
The daughter of actor Paul Sorvino, Mira Sorvino seemed to be everywhere in the years following her star-making performance in Mighty Aphrodite. She appeared in the comedy Romy and Michele's High School Reunion and Guillermo del Toro's horror movie Mimic, about . . .cockroaches. :-O Both movies came out in 1997.
Subsequent roles included that of an aspiring actress in the romantic drama/mystery Lulu On the Bridge from in 1998 and Bronx girl Dionna in Summer of Sam, a 1999 drama about the summer of 1977 and the hunt for killer David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz. It was something of a novelty in that it was directed by Spike Lee and had a mostly white cast. Ms. Sorvino even played Marilyn Monroe in Norma Jean & Marilyn, an HBO television movie that gained her Golden Globe and Emmy nominations.
Though she continued to work steadily in the two thousand zeroes - including a Mexican movie, 2002's Santa Semana (Holy Week), as a police detective - Mira Sorvino's movie roles were of a lesser profile than her late-1990s performances. She came out as a recipient of Harvey Weinstein's sexual advances in 2017, and she thought that her refusal to give in to him hurt her career. Few disagreed.
More recently, Mira Sorvino has done a few Hallmark TV movies and played a few recurring parts in basic-cable TV shows, but she's hardly done with film. She's set to star in Stuber, an action/comedy set for releases in the spring of 2019. From breakout . . . to comeback (let's hope).
Saoirse Ronan is only 24 years old as of this writing, but she's already made a big impression in the movies.
Her first big role was as the young Briony Tallis in Atonement, the 2007 film adaptation of Ian McEwan's World War II novel of the same title, and her character was played at 77 years of age in the same movie by Vanessa Redgrave. Through several more movie roles in her teenage years, Ms. Ronan worked her way up to Redgrave-like status. She was part of the huge ensemble cast of 2014's The Grand Budapest Hotel, a comedy about a concierge who is framed for murder and tries to prove his innocence.
She broke through in a big way the following year in Brooklyn, about an Irish immigrant in that New York City borough in the 1950s who falls in love with an Italian-American boy. But it was role as a socially and intellectually ambitious teenager in 2017's Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig (an earlier honoree on this blog), that made her a bona fide star. The movie set a record on the Rotten Tomatoes movie Web site for the most consecutive "Fresh" reviews without any "Rotten" reviews against it; at the end of 2017, it had gotten 164 consecutive positive reviews.
A this writing, she's working on playing Mary, Queen of Scots in the movie of the same name, which is now in post-production.
Fun fact: In a twist on her role in Brooklyn, Saoirse Ronan was born to Irish immigrants in the Bronx, but she grew up in Ireland.
Sophisticates dismiss musicals as middlebrow knockoffs of opera. Kelli O'Hara has done both.
The Oklahoma born Ms. O'Hara has done numerous Broadway shows and opera performances. Not in Oklahoma!, alas but she did play Anna in a 2015 production of The King And I and she portrayed Susan, the leading female role, in the original 2002 Broadway production of Sweet Smell of Success, based on the 1957 movie of the same name. Other roles include Nellie Forbush in a 2008 production of South Pacific and Babe Williams in a 2006 production of The Pajama Game.
Her opera repertoire includes the role of Valencienne in Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow (in 2014) and Despine in Mozart's Così fan tutte from this year (2018). Both performances were at the Metropolitan Opera.
Ruth Negga was known to only a few Americans for her film roles before her big breakout role - that of Mildred Jeter Loving in Loving, about the Virginia interracial couple who successfully challenged anti-miscegenation laws in the South in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967.
Born to an Ethiopian father an an Irish mother, Ruth Negga was raised in Ireland but moved to London. Her movie roles include a part in the 2005 comedy-drama Breakfast on Pluto, a comedy-drama about gender identity, and 2007's Color Me Kubrick, about a chap (played by John Malkovich) pretending to be the director of that name. She also had a role in the 2013 Jimi Hendrix bio-drama Jimi: All Is by My Side.
Ms. Negga has also done theater, having played Ophelia in a London production of Hamlet and the title role in a 2018 Dublin production of the same Shakespeare drama! But it's Loving that has gotten her the most attention; it earned her seven acting awards.
Fun fact: Ruth Negga played a role in 12 Years a Slave, but her part was edited out.
Actress Taylor Louderman is not associated with the movies. But she's appeared in Broadway musicals based on movies.
She originated the role of Regina George in the Broadway musical Mean Girls, based on the movie of the same name exploring the adverse effects of cliques on high school girls, and she played Campbell in the musical Bring It On, based on the movie of the same name by about the competitive world of cheerleading.
The former role led to a Best Actress in a Musical Tony nomination in 2018.
Ms. Louderman also starred in Kinky Boots, a musical based on a more obscure movie made in Britain (and also sharing the same name) about a boot factory struggling to stay in business. And if you saw the 204 NBC live production of Peter Pan, you may remember her in that. Wendy Darling? That was her.
Not yet thirty as of this writing, Ms. Louderman, it's safe to say, has a brilliant stage career ahead of her. Maybe she'll even star in a musical that's not based on a movie. ;-)
In the 1950s, Machiko Kyō was as ubiquitous in Japaense cinema as Sophia Loren was in Italian movies.
She gained international fame as the wife of a man killed in a fight in 1951's Rashomon, the Akira Kurosawa classic in which three people remember the killing in three different ways.
Ms. Kyō went on to star in other legendary Japanese movies,.such as the 1958 drama Sorrow Is Only For Women and Kon Ichikawa's Odd Obsession, a 1959 drama about a man who suspects that his wife is having an affair with their daughter's fiancé, and Yasujirō Ozu's Floating Weeds (1959). She did only one Hollywood movie - 1956's The Teahouse of the August Moon, as a geisha girl named Lotus Blossom. The Teahouse of the August Moon is a comedy about the American occupation of Okinawa after World War II. Her American co-stars included Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford, Eddie Albert, and Harry Morgan.
At 94 years of age at this writing, Machiko Kyō was active as an actress into her eighties. She now lives in her hometown of Osaka.
Winnie Hollman is a top model from the 1970s. I first showed her in a department store ad that also Gunilla Bergström and Margrit Ramme when Margrit, a friend of mine, was the only model I could identify in that picture. Now, Winnie Hollman gets her own post. :-)
Having originally come from Denmark, Winnie Hollman appeared in numerous ads and magazines, and she later appeared in a few films, such as the fashion thriller Eyes of Laura Mars (seems logical).
One other thing she's known for is having been one of Jack Nicholson's many girlfriends. She's the mother of his daughter Honey.
Part Pakistani, part German, and all Canadian, the Montreal-born-and-raised Yasmeen Ghauri was one of the top models of the early 1990s.
And that was a big deal at the time, as the modeling profession began to produce more divas than stars. Yasmeen Ghauri was a star, by all means, as the above photo from Cosmopolitan's October 1992 issue demonstrates.
She was a spokesmodel for Chanel, Christian Dior, Valentino, and Anne Klein at about the same time, and she appeared on the cover of Elle and in editorials for the British and Italian editions of Vogue.
And by 1996, after about six years in the spotlight, it was all over. She retired to raise a family . . . at the ripe old age of 25. Like Marciano - Rocky, not Georges - she knew when to quit and she went out on top.
Fun fact: Yasmeen Ghauri's first major appearance anywhere was in the promotional video for Elton John's single "Sacrifice," where she was paired with singer Chris Isaak. She was not yet twenty.
Zohre Esmaeli is a model from Afghanistan who is based in Germany. Her story is so awesome and inspiring that I can't do it justice by merely going over the highlights here.
Her family fled Afghanistan during the Taliban regime in the late nineties by crossing the border and traveling overland over 6,200 miles to Germany. Ms. Esmaeli was barely a teenager then, and she almost didn't survive the trip.
Once settled in Germany, she resumed her school studies, but she began modeling at sixteen years of age when she was discovered in Frankfurt. Her career took off after she moved to Stuttgart. She has appreaed in numerous fashion magazine, sich as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Madame, and Marie Claire.
Zohre Esmaeli also designs clothes, under the brand name "Zoraya." She debuted her first line in November 2015 for a charity fashion show in Berlin.
It's quite obvious that, despite her Afghan background, the German fashion world has accepted her as its own. :-)
If you've only seen Jennifer DiNoia as she looks below, you haven't seen her in her best-known role as a stage actress.
That's because she has played the green-skinned Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in various productions of the musical Wicked.
She has played Elphaba in various touring companies and in at least four different countries, but she has also performed the role where it matters most - London's West End and New York's Broadway. Ms. DiNoia played Elphaba in the West End in late 2014 and 2015 and also played her on Broadway from March 2015 to May 2015 and again from August 2016 to July 2017. In many instances she was a standby for an actress playing Elphaba in different productions.
Jennifer DiNoia maybe more associated with this role than any other actress except Idina Menzel.
Fun fact: She was in the original American production of the Queen jukebox musical We Will Rock You in Las Vegas.
Katilan Collins is a recent addition to CNN's on-camera news staff. Before she joined the Cable News Network in 2017, she'd been an entertainment reporter and a White House correspondent at The Daily Caller for three years.
Why would I feature here a woman who once reported for a conservative news site? Because of what she did at her current job. When Donald Trump gave a statement to the press about trade negotiations while seated with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Ms. Collins asked the current White House occupant about everything but that - Michael Cohen, secret tapes involving a possible cover-up, Vladimir Putin - and the White House responded by banning her from the premises . . . for doing what a reporter is supposed to do.
I'm a freelance reporter when I'm not working on this blog or writing commentary on this blog's sister blog, Miscellaneous Musings. So I'm doing here what every other reporter and news organization is doing - standing up for Kaitlin Collins. And, lest you think this is purely political . . . well, aside from the fact that I am aware of Ms. Collins's conservative bona fides despite my own disagreement with political conservatism, I need only share with you what Bret Baier of Fox News - yes, Fox News - read in a statement on behalf of his employer in Ms. Collins's defense and against Trump:
"Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of the day doesn't mean the question isn't relevant and shouldn't be asked. This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better. As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access."
And so do I.
Free speech rocks. That's why, despite whatever negative thoughts some people might have to a blog celebrating feminine beauty, I continue this blog without apology. And that goes double for what I write my other blog.
I have already featured Maria Borges as an unidentified model from a Target ad, and I have also reported her ID in a subsequent post. Here is my first proper post dedicated to this beauty from the African country of Angola. :-)
Maria Borges has not only modeled for middlebrow establishments like Target, she's also been a model for high-end cosmetics brands like L'Oreal and Bobbi Brown. Among the designers she's wlaked the fashion show runways for are Anna Sui, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Fürstenberg, Dior, Gianfranco Ferre, Giorgio Armani, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, and too many more to list here. :-)
She has done numerous fashion magazine covers and became the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle in twenty years (and only the second African model African model to appear on the cover of Elle ever), after Alek Wek in 1997.
Maria Borges is a muse of Italian designer Riccardo Tisci. She calls him her "godfather." :-D
Malin Åkerman has had an acting career in which she's had roles in all sorts of genres.
She's best known for playing Silk Spectre in the 2009 superhero movie Watchman, about a dystopian world in which an alternate history of the Cold War brings the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1985.
She's had roles in romantic comedies like 27 Dresses and The Proposal, as well as a part in the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. Ms. Åkerman also had a supporting role as a commune resident in the 2012 comedy Wanderlust, about an overworked couple at the commune who try to take it easy. That same year, she also had a role in the hair-band musical movie Rock of Ages.
Ms. Åkerman has done numerous guest-star parts on TV, and she also starred as the title character in "Trophy Wife," an ABC series about a young woman married to a middle-aged lawyer. It was a one-season wonder, not making it past the 2013-14 season.
Fun fact: Malin Åkerman was born in Sweden, but she grew up in Canada, where her family emigrated.