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ELEVEN YEARS OF MARVEL: EXPLORING THE COSPLAY UNIVERSE life is a drag the silence of men’s mental health

MAY 2019 . issue Two

Alongside this, we also look at the current state of men’s mental health, how we, or should we say the government, can abolish period poverty in the UK, and even Madonna makes an appearance following her self-funded Billboard awards performance. As far as the politics of pop culture goes, she’s certainly got our vote. With all that said, we hope you enjoy our second issue, it’s certainly been a busy one.


With this in mind, this issue we delve in to the captivating and contrasting worlds of Drag and Cosplay; both very much revelling in the limelight of today’s culture and both fascinating forms of selfexpression. Whilst Drag, the act of (more commonly) men guised in glamorous fashion, was brought to light in the media by hit TV series RuPaul’s Drag Race the artform has existed within LGBTQ+ subcultures for many years. We explore this hidden world with the help of crowned queen of BBC’s Glow Up Ellis Atlantis. Similarly, the past 11 years of Marvel films have seen a surge in comic book cosplayers and thanks to the release of blockbuster hit Avengers: Endgame it seems this act of dynamic dress-up isn’t dying out anytime soon. We head to Birmingham Comic Con to catch up with a host of cosplayers at the heart of this increasingly popular pastime.



elcome Back to ANTE. Issue two is finally here. When we talk about self-expression, there’s no doubt that many things spring to mind. After all, the way we present ourselves has a direct influence on the way the people around us perceive who we are. The way we look, the way we dress and the way we talk are all ways of expressing ourselves. Let’s all cast our minds back to the 2010 VMA’s when Lady Gaga debuted her raw meat dress. Perhaps more of an identity crisis, but it defined who she was at the time. And if nothing else, it certainly got us talking.



We would like to give a huge thank you to Terri Bone for all her illustrations, Owen H Scott for being our consistent model, Rhiannon Llewellyn for her words on period poverty and Ellis Atlantis for giving us an incredible interview. But most of all we need to give a massive thank you to Lisa Marks, who has encouraged and supported us throughout the entire ANTE endeavour. Without her, ANTE would never have been the success that it has become.


Marvel’s World Of Cosplay


Mens Mental Health

26 Life Is A Drag


38 End Period Poverty

44 Botched Cosmetic Surgery


UK News Breakdown

12-13 News Features

20 World News Breakdown



ANTE Reviews

36-37 In The Vault Reviews

4 ANTE Hero



Social Blunder

32 History Quote



Page 8: Exploring Marvel’s Cosplay Universe


ANTE Housewives



ANTE ‘If you don’t want women to do whatever they need to do then you must provide them with food, you must provide them with shelter and their basic human rights.’


Everyone has grown up watching Dame Emma Thompson. Whether you saw her as Nanny McPhee, Professor Trelawney or she ripped your heart out, along with the nation’s, as Karen in Love Actually, you definitely know who she is.

gender women. Part of this letter states “we urge that trans-exclusionary writers do not suggest that their narrow and archaic arguments are in any way representative of the women of Scotland. They do not speak for us”.


This year, Thompson has been making headlines for things beThe reason the brilliant Thompson is featured as this issue’s yond her acting abilities. In support of the #MeToo movement she penned an open letter quitting a role, that we imagine paid ANTE Hero - beyond the already amazing things she has done - is that she spent her Good Friday with thousands of others in well, because the head of animation, John Lasseter has a hisWORDS NUTTALL the Extinction Rebellion protest for climate change. Inspired tory of sexual “misconduct”. This letter was published byBY TheROBYN by younger generations, Thompson took to Oxford Circus Los Angeles Times in January 2019, where she writes about veryone has grown up watching Dame Emma Part of this letter states “we urge that trans-exclusionary and stood upon a big pink boat to deliver a speech stating “I how there was a clause in Lasseter’s contract saying he must Thompson. Whether you saw her as Nanny McPhee, writers do not suggest that their narrow and archaic have seen the evidence for myself and I really care about my behave professionally and how he was being paid millions Professor Trelawney or she ripped your heart out, along arguments are in any way representative of the women of children and grandchildren enough to want to be here today to while the women accusing him of sexual assault have received with the nation’s, as Karen in Love Actually, you definitely Scotland. They do not speak for us”. stand with the next generation”. nothing. know who she is. The reason the brilliant Thompson is featured as this Any woman with her power that uses their voice for good gets However, she didn’t just stop there. In March this year she was This year, Thompson has been making headlines for things issue’s ANTE Hero - beyond the already amazing things the ANTE approval. one of many influential women who signed an open letter beyond her acting abilities. In support of the #MeToo she has done - is that she spent her Good Friday with in support of the Scottish government’s decision to have the movement she penned an open letter quitting a role, that thousands of others in the Extinction Rebellion protest for country’s Gender Recognition Act be more inclusive of transwe imagine paid well, because the head of animation, John climate change. Inspired by younger generations, Lasseter has a history of sexual “misconduct”. This letter was Thompson took to Oxford Circus and stood upon a big published by The Los Angeles Times in January 2019, where pink boat to deliver a speech stating “I have seen the she writes about how there was a clause in Lasseter’s evidence for myself and I really care about my children contract saying he must behave professionally and how he and grandchildren enough to want to be here today to was being paid millions while the women accusing him of stand with the next generation”. sexual assault have received nothing. Any woman with her power that uses their voice for good However, she didn’t just stop there. In March this year she gets the ANTE approval. was one of many influential women who signed an open letter in support of the Scottish government’s decision to have the country’s Gender Recognition Act be more inclusive of transgender women.






t’s that time of the month again, another internet star has been racist and caused a stir with her fanbase. YouTube star Trisha Paytas who took the British Celebrity Big Brother house by storm recently uploaded an image to her Twitter wearing a wig that was racially insensitive. The queen of mukbang’s captioned her imagine with ‘Who knew a wig could be so controversial ? everyone needs to relax. There wasn’t a sign on this wig, that said caucasians weren’t allowed to buy it’. Trisha’s fanbase we’re not happy as she was receiving a large amount of remarks, comments flooded in ensuring the beauty star that what she had done was wrong. One user wrote, ’I love you girl but… seriously?!?’. The YouTube star is no stranger to online drama, days after she self illuminated herself from the Celebrity Big Brother house she persisted on ‘exposing’ Channel 4 for apparently holding her hostage against her own will.

Racism is quickly called out when it comes to social media, cultural appropriation is inappropriately adopting other countries cultures. As Trisha Paytas was seen in a styled wig with box braids it was seen as insensitive to women from African backgrounds. Cultural appropriation is a topic that is widely debated, some believe that the freedom of culture should be celebrated. Conversations have arisen online in the past due to those in the spotlight wearing braided wigs and make-up shaded with the wrong complexion for live performances. An example of this was when the world biggest girl-group Little Mix performed at the Brit Awards in 2016 for using tribal stage props. Cultural appropriation is still up for debate around the globe and shown thrown the online world, however as for Trisha Paytas’s wig choice we have to disapprove.





Chemotherapy Doses Reviewed After 14 The deaths of 14 women has triggered an independent review into NHS Tayside, who gave lower doses of chemotherapy to their patients than other Scottish health boards. The review, which will be carried out by the senior medical officer for cancer Dr David Dunlop, was requested by NHS Tayside. After being criticized in a report by Health Improvement Scotland, they claimed lower doses were given to patients to reduce sideeffects. Adding the risks to the 304 breast cancer patients treated were small but will now deliver treatment in the same dosages as the rest of the country.

Magical Fraud

Latest Brexit News

JK Rowling’s former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson has been ordered to pay back £18,734 after fraudulently using the author’s credit card. Rowling, who will donate the money to her charity Lumos perused damages against Donaldson at Airdrie Sheriff Court. Where it was revealed Donaldson had used the credit card to withdraw money for her own personal use. During the court case, Donaldson accepted her lack of entitlement to using the card for her own benefit but claimed every transaction was authorised, denying any account of dishonesty or fraud.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 12th April; however, no withdrawal agreement has currently been approved by MPs. Despite her previous attempts to extend Article 50 being denied, PM Theresa May has written to the European Union requesting to delay the departure until 30th June. May has previously requested an extension to the end of June, but this was rejected, instead the offer of a short delay until 12th April was presented. Unless May’s current proposition goes forward, this will remain the due date for Brexit.


of Amazon reviews are from unverified purchases.

Harry and Meghan on Instagram

Royal couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently joined social media site, Instagram under the username @sussexroyal, a reference to their titles as The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Their account reached one million followers in under six hours, breaking the world record for most followers reached in the shortest amount of time. The event sparked controversy, however, when it was revealed the handle was taken from football supporter Kevin Keiley and given to the royals without permission. The 55-year-old from West Sussex had been using both his Twitter and Instagram accounts, under the @sussexroyal handle, intermittently for three years but Instagram claimed they could make changes to inactive accounts in accordance with their privacy policy, changing his username to @_sussexroyal_. Since the name change, Keiley has received targeted abuse from internet trolls who believe him to be the royal couple.




Upskirting Is Finally A Crime Upskirting, the act of non-consensually taking a photograph up someone’s skirt, has been made a criminal offence in England and Wales. The sexually-intrusive act is already illegal in Scotland and offenders will now face up to two years in prison if charged. The change was bought about by Gina Martin, who started a campaign after a man took a photo up her skirt without permission at a music festival in 2017. After the event an online petition, that gained 50,000 signatures, called for police to reopen the case. Further incidents came to light during the investigation, with data obtained by the Press Association revealing the number of reported upskirting incidents had risen to 94 in 2018. Previously, only 78 incidents had occurred between April 2015 and April 2017. Upskirting is still not a specific crime in Northern Ireland though a consultation on potential changes to the legislation has been launched by the Department of Justice.

Lyra McKee Suspected Murderers Arrested 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot whilst observing rioting in Londonderry, Northern Ireland on Thursday night. The violence broke out after police raids into republican activity in the Mulroy Park and Galliagh areas. Ms McKee was standing with other journalists by a police vehicle when she was shot, as seen in CCTV image which emerged after her murder. Two teenage men, aged 18 and 19, have been arrested under the Terrorism Act in connection with the killing, described as “senseless” by Ms Mckee’s partner Sara Canning.

Since 2009 homelessness has increased by 165% Brexit Causing Epilepsy Drug Price Rise The Epilepsy Society has revealed there has been a ‘’steep rise’’ in the number of people struggling to get medication. After anxiety and stress put on epilepsy patients could increase the risk of seizures, a plea for the government to review the medicines supply chain has been issued. Whilst there has been an issue in the drug, which helps sufferers control their seizures, uncertainties around Brexit have highlighted problems with medicine shortages. However, drugs company Sanofi has disputed Brexit as the cause for problems, stating that the shortage of drugs Epilim and sodium valproate was a result of a factory’s supply disruption in 2018. Despite claims by Sanofi that the situation is improving, the number of people contacting the Epilepsy Society’s helpline, expressing fears of getting hold of medication, has increased.

EXTINCTION REBELLION Around 100 people took over part of the Natural History Museum on Monday as the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest entered its second week. Following the arrests of 1,000 people in London a week ago, protestors laid down underneath the giant whale skeleton in the museum’s main hall. The majority left the lie-down protest, named “die-in” by Extinction Rebellion, after 30 minutes but some people seen wearing veils, robes and face paint remained under the skeleton to give a performance to classic music.




Captain America: a common cosplay costume

Words By Terri Bone


How the past 22 films and 11 years of marvel clothed a generation of cosplayers


exploring marvel’s cosplay universe


ed and blue webbed lycra, steampunk gasmasks and purple ripped trousers – whilst half the superheroes may have faded from the world at the end of 2018’s infamous hit Avengers: Infinity War, the memory of the garishly striking garb they’ve worn for the past 22 films hasn’t. Whether you’re familiar with the multitude of movies that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or you’ve stumbled across a repeat of Thor: The Dark World on TV, you can probably recall a superhero outfit faster than you can snap your fingers.


Over 11 years of superhero spectacle, Marvel Studios have oversaturated screens with an array of colourfully-costumed comic book characters and these star-spangled suits, red capes and iron gauntlets have since become crucial components of the Marvel multiverse. So it’s unsurprising that their latest blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, alongside acting as a cosmic conclusion to over a decade’s worth of world-building, sees its protagonists don their now iconic capes and masks to save the day. Through these vivid visuals, Marvel have created a captivating world – and wardrobe - of characters with personalities as unforgettable as their dress sense. These characters are so popular in fact, that you may even have seen them off screen.

went to a local convention dressed normally and we liked all the costumes we saw people wearing. It makes you feel really happy and it’s something to do as a hobby”. A child walks past and beams up at the convincing costumes, Edwards torts the shield and mimics the stoic soldier pose coined by Cap himself Chris Evans, his actions are rewarded with small giggles. “[We cosplay] to bring laughter and joy to people like that” he adds, “When small children come up and ask for your autograph and photos because they think you’re the actual superhero, that makes your heart melt and you’re hooked”. On closer inspection of Edward’s meticulously-detailed outfit, it’s easy to see how he’s mistaken for the morally-sound super soldier. “The challenge is actually going around making the costume, but you get quite a lot of joy from it. We try to make as much as we can but sometimes we buy different bits and bring them together or we’ll alter bits to make a complete costume”. He turns his attention to Fisher’s Agent Carter get-up; a blue skirt and blazer, complete with a bright red hat. “That’s pretty much all from a charity shop” he explains, “apart from the hat”.

Cosplay, the act of dressing up like any character from pop culture, is a form of role and costume play with no age restriction. It allows participants to raid the dressing up box and embody the appearance and persona of their favourite fictional hero. Despite originating in Japan in the 1990s, this previously unheard-of subculture has become an increasingly popular part of the western world. Typically thriving at pop culture conventions, with over 100,000 cosplayers having attended MCM London Comic Con in 2017, its popularity continues to increase. But as more Iron Men blast their way into conventions, the more Marvel presents itself as a prominent part of the cosplay scene. With the amount of characters and content they’ve created alone being enough to dress a whole crowd of con-goers for a year, will cosplayers continue to channel their inner Incredible Hulk or now Marvel’s biggest storyline is over will we see a decline in DIY Captain Marvels?


Phillip Edwards and his girlfriend Claire Fisher, who recently attended MCM Birmingham Comic Con as Captain America and his onscreen love interest Agent Carter, have been cosplaying as pop culture couples for the past three years. Dressed head to toe in screen accurate outfits, it’s clear they feel at home in a crowd of character-depicting doppelgangers. “We like to do couples, as [we’re] boyfriend and girlfriend, but we don’t always” Fisher explains. “We do everything from steampunk to Star Wars to various types of superheroes” adds Edwards, clutching his patriotic red, white and blue shield with pride. When asked what inspired them to start cosplaying, Fisher credits conventions as the cause for their Marvel make-overs. “We


Cosplayers Phillip Edwards and Claire Fisher as Captain America and Agent Carter


Although Captain America and Spider-Man are go-to outfits for cosplayers, given the popularity of their characters, the past 22 Marvel films have introduced fans to a plethora of powerful and peculiarly-dressed protagonists to depict. But who was the first fashion Avenger? Before keeping up with the Marvel timeline – and hemlines - became a chore of epic proportions, we were introduced to the MCU’s first film hero. Iron Man (2008) follows the story of Tony Stark, a quick-witted extroverted inventor with as many comebacks as he has cars and casual relationships. After getting wounded selling weaponry, Tony turns from a billionaire businessman to a mechanical man of steel. Constructing a self-powered super suit to keep him and those in danger alive, he swaps his irresponsibility for iron and introduces the first costume to Marvel’s Infinity War(drobe). Reaching number one at box office, Iron Man thrust us into a compelling comic book world; where bad guys can be defeated by robots, science can explain superheroes and colourful costumes are required to save the world. This bold and bright introduction to the MCU also kickstarted the ‘Infinity Saga’, the collective name given to all Marvel movies in the last decade, building up to the epic events and apparel of Avengers: Endgame. Alongside this, accompanied by alien invasions, engrossing action and endless exposition, the multiple other films in the saga have fed a hoard of costume-hungry cosplayers with several film variations of their favourite comic characters to dress up as.

Strange Things are Happening: @sorcerersupremeofscotland as Doctor Strange

“When small children come up and think yoU ’re the actual superhero, that makes your heart melt and yoU ’re hooked ”

One fan in particular Craig, also known as @sorcerersupremeofscotland online, took it upon himself to recreate the costume worn by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange down to the smallest scuff. Wearing the wizard’s worn-down robes, complete with the Cloak of Levitation, Eye of Agamotto amulet and a leather belt, Craig explains how he pieced his cosplay to perfection. “I’ve been doing [Doctor] Strange for about three years now”. He gestures to his outfit, a replication he’s handcrafted to look like the one seen in Avengers: Infinity War. “Most of [the costume] is bought from different places online and heavily altered by me. Like, I added fabric paints for the weathering, modified the belt and added the arm braces myself”. Having gone to the effort of styling even his facial hair to mimic the magician’s, Craig is one of the many people who have dedicated themselves to the cosplay craze. Though the ‘Infinity Saga’ might be over, the future of the MCU will undoubtedly spout infinite superheroes for creative cosplayers to transform into. Given its continuous growth, and the amount of convention attendees and social media users in cosplay clothing, it’s clear this fashion fad isn’t going anywhere anytime soon - you probably won’t be either if you search #cosplay on Instagram. 11 years ago, Marvel introduced us to a captivating world and closet of comic book heroes and though the epic over-a-decade-long arc has ended, the characters, or at least handmade versions of them, will live on in the form of cosplay. So next time you find yourself at an anime convention, why not have a go at assembling your own Avenger’s outfit?




Five Killed In Protests One of the largest turn-outs for a protest in three months has led to five deaths, four people were killed in Sudan’s capital city Khartoum. Crowds dispersed when security services tried to approach the military’s headquarters. Another victim was killed in the twin city, Omdurman. Government officials, however, claim only one person was killed in Saturday’s protests. The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests demanding the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir. Originally starting in December in reaction to the failing economy, the protests are now focused on Bashir’s departure after three years in power. According to Human Rights Watch, Sedan’s protests so far have resulted in a total of 51 deaths, including children and medical staff.

New Species of Human A new species of ancient human, named Homo Luzonensis, has been recovered from Callao cave on Luzon Island in the north of the Philippines. The species, which is believed to have been under 4ft tall, has been dated between 67,000 and 50,000 years ago. The remains, which consist of hand and foot bones, part of a femur and teeth, have been excavated from the cave since 2007 and believed to belong to at least three adults and adolescents. From the remains, scientists have been able to deduce that the species, given the curved structure of the toe and finger bones, were reliant on climbing. The species has also been compared to that of the Australopithecines, ape-like creatures who lived in Africa between two to four million years ago.

Notre-Dame Fire Read More On Page 13


First Image of Black Hole Earlier this week, scientists produced the first real image of a black hole in the galaxy named Messier 87. The image, which has been misconceived as a photograph, is actually an image created by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Project. Created using a series of 8 ground-based telescopes around the world, it represents the black hole’s event horizon, the moment an object reaching the blackhole reaches the point of no return. The EHT are also observing a black hole in the centre of the Milky Way but were unable to produce a clear image. Although Messier 87 is further away, the image was easier to produce as the blackhole’s larger size was easier to observe.

Seven Killed In Attack An attack on the Afghan ministry of information in Kabul has left eight civilians wounded and killed a further four civilians and three police officers. The attack, which took place near one of the most popular hotels in the city centre, happened a day after the talks between the Taliban and Afghan officials were suspended. However, the Taliban have confirmed they were not behind the assault. Four attackers were supposedly behind the incident, which lasted for six hours, involving an explosion and sporadic gunfire until they were eventually shot dead by police officers.



Pig Brains Revived After Death Treatment For Parkinsons Developed

US Scientists at Yale University, have partially revived pig brains four hours after they were killed. The findings, which will provide useful insight into illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, have raised questions about the barrier between life and death. The study revealed that some functions of the brain could be restored, although there was no indication of consciousness. 32 pigs were tested after being beheaded; their brains were then connected to a system, which pumped a concoction consisting of synthetic blood around the organ. The brains were subjected to the liquid for six hours in an attempt to slow or reverse the death of brain cells. The published report in the journal Nature revealed a restoration of blood vessels and limited brain activity in the deceased brains, questioning the belief that the brain goes into an irreversible decline after the blood supply is cut off.

A treatment which has restored movement capabilities to chronic Parkinson’s disease patients has been successfully developed by Canadian researchers. Patients, who were previously housebound by the disease, have been enabled to walk freely due to electrical stimulation to their spines. Parkinson’s UK hailed the developments and the potential impact this will have on the disease, for which no treatment currently exists. The implant, which alleviates symptoms even after being turned off, has majorly benefited several Parkinson’s sufferers.

12 Dead In Libya Libya has been continuously affected by violence since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was killed in 2011. But a call to halt the fighting has been made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after a fight near the capital, left 21 people killed and 27 wounded. The UN previously appealed for a two-hour truce to enable the evacuation of casualties and civilians but fighting continued. However, antiIslamist Gen Haftar has said his troops have no intention of stopping until they have “defeated tourism”.

Marsquake Detected




NASA’s InSight probe, which was sent to Mars in November last year, has detected the first seismic event on the red planet. The probe’s sensors detected a faint rumble on 6th April, 128 Martian days into the mission. It marks the first seismic signal on any planet other than Earth and its Moon. Scientists believe the cause for the ‘Marksquake’ is a result of either meteorite impact or disruption caused by a crack beneath the planet’s surface. The probe, which among other features is fitted with solar panels, temperature sensors and robotic arms, was sent to the planet to develop a clearer understanding of Mars and its interior structure. It remains the only planet, besides Earth, which has been studied in this way. Scientists hope to compare the information gathered by the robot with their current understanding of the Earth’s internal rock layering. InSight’s scientists have also compared the character of the ‘rumble’ to the type of data gathered by the Apollo sensors on the moon’s surface between 1969 and 1977.




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THE SILENCE OF MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH Men’s mental health is in a state of dispair and we need to do something about it. WORDS BY MOLLY MALSOM.


e are constantly talking about mental health. Threads on Twitter and posts on Instagram on the topic are something we all see daily - and this is a good thing. It’s good that we are doing our best to remove the stigma and people’s perception of what it means to suffer from bad mental health. But talking only gets us so far. In the UK alone, the Office for National Statistics recorded 5,821 suicides in 2017. Of this figure, three quarters was made up by men, a scary fact that has remained since the 1990s. Why are the figures for males so much higher than females? Perhaps we should look at society as a cause that tells boys and men to withhold emotions because crying means they are a pussy or weak. Being constantly told to man up and being told they should be strong physically but null and void emotionally inevitably has a knock on effect when it comes to mental health. “Man up is one of the most devastating things you can say to someone” says Simon Price, who works for the Independence Trust as a Peer Team Leader. Simon has struggled himself with mental health, admitting he suffered from bad panic attacks from the age of 15 to 19. “I didn’t talk to many people about it. Then at 19, when I was at university, I went through a psychosis”. Having gone through his experiences with mental health, Simon realised that he could make a difference. “I realised during that time I had gathered a lot of knowledge about mental health and a lot of passion. So, I started working for a charity to eventually work in the mental health field” he says, speaking about how he believes “volunteering is a really nice stepping stone in to employment”. In his job, Simon supports people who have life experience of mental health difficulties, offering training, supervision and running workshops. The recent death of reality TV star, Mike Thalassitis has reignited conversation specifically about how mental health amongst male sufferers is portrayed and handled. As the second contestant of the programme Love Island to have committed suicide, producers have been in the hot seat regarding the care and support of contestants post-island life.




;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; Following the backlash, ITV released an in depth statement, part of which explained their procedure, “when the time comes for each Islander to leave the show, our aftercare process kicks in. Every Islander has a series of debrief meetings on location with the executive team and the medical team, including the psychological consultant. After this, they are told how to access after care support as well as information on seeking professional representation. They also meet with the press team the day after leaving the villa and are briefed and advised on their press coverage whilst in the villa.” They also stated that there is help available to former contestants should they need it. However, only having one day to absorb as much information and advice on dealing with the press and the general public having come from a very normal civilian life doesn’t seem like very much.

Three quarters of all suicides are male

“They don’t realise how little support they are going to get” Simon comments in conversation about reality stars. There are undoubtedly a huge amount of pressures on young men today, particularly those who are in the public eye and starring on shows like Love Island. They are opened up to the risks “of online bullying and opportunities to be trolled by the press”. As we chat about Mike Thalassitis and his experiences, Simon adds that he thinks “there’s this real sense at the moment that if people put their heads above the parapet and make themselves known in the public eye that they’re fair game and people can just attack and rip them to shreds”. Which when you think about, isn’t far from the truth. For Thalassitis, he was labelled as muggy and he was really portrayed by the media as a player and a heartbreaker. But labels seem to be a reoccurring issue when it comes to mental health. From labels surrounding someone’s reputation, to the labels of their illness, there is always a tag put on people. “I think the diagnostic approach to mental health creates a label around people’s necks which stops them going for help because they will have that label for the rest of their life” Simon claims. “As a society, we really need to move away from saying what’s wrong with you to saying what’s happened to you. Try to work with people to get help without having their identity crunched through this diagnostic framework”. Identity is something that everyone craves to have. We feel the need to belong, to fit in, to have something about us that makes us who we are. For men, there is often this expectation to be the alpha male. This is particularly prevalent within male friendship groups. Everyone has their roles, from the leader to the runt of the group who is generally the one who takes the hits in banter. But these roles


essentially come with yet more labels. From his time working with a whole range of men suffering with their mental health, Simon has seen so many people affected by this idea of banter. “One man’s banter is another man’s bullying” he says, continuing to say “often men’s ability to talk to each other is, one, hindered by this perception of the things they’re talking about as a weakness, as a lack, as a deficiency but I think it’s, two, to do with the fact that men are often caught up in a vine with each other for whose the strongest. Having to maintain that can be a barrier to men talking about [their feelings]. But when men do talk about it they get pulled in to this banter which is devastating. If your considered the runt of the banter everyone else is having a laugh but you aren’t.” That doesn’t mean to say that all banter is bullying, but there are cases where, whether intentional or not, it can become bullying, which



can have a serious impact on someone’s mental health. “Adult bullying isn’t considered because its hidden behind this phrase banter. The amount of men I’ve spoken to who have anger, who are lacking confidence, when given a chance will report that they have gone through pretty savage stuff from other people. That leads to a lot of suicides”. One of the many talking points in recent weeks has been about the therapy and the help offered. One of the reoccurring comments was around the idea that in therapy, you sit and talk about your feelings, but the sufferers, particularly with men, just want a solution. They want to feel better. “Talking about your feelings isn’t an immediate solution but you’ve got to question whether you can find a solution without talking about it” Simon comments. Having experienced the help system himself and from working with others in vulnerable positions, he has noticed the ways that people find the help they need. “A lot of men get help through doing. [They] find it really useful not to sit in a circle talking about your problems but to actually have an activity that mediates that talking. Sometimes it can be too oppressive to be face to face with someone talking


;;;;;;;;;; through all your issues”. Even though in these group activities they still talk to one another and confide in others, the talking becomes “a biproduct”. So how can we be a help men in our lives we know are suffering? Let’s be honest. None of us have the solution, we don’t have any answers as to why they feel the way they do. But that’s okay. We don’t have to provide those answers. “Listen nonjudgmentally” Simon advises. “Just give that space and that time. Check in with people. Make sure they know you are reaching out to them. Try to help them find information. To explore the options available to them. Give people the space where they can experiment with things that work for them but do so safely”. With years of experience, he has seen the many difference ways people find to cope. Whether it be through helplines, online guides, or simply finding a shoulder to lean on, everyone has their own way of coping and healing. The healing process is a long but vital one; “Don’t see it as a whole mountain and don’t feel as if you’re going to sort it over night because it’s going to take small steps. But acknowledge what you’ve done at each turn”.

“One man’s banter is another man’s bullying”

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Knife Crime On The Rise Words By Robyn Nuttall

There were 39,818 knife crime offences between September 2017 and September 2018.


ecent years has seen knife crime increase exponentially, due in part to police budget cuts. It is estimated that the police will have £700 million less a year to fight crime within the next few years, with these cuts is it any wonder that crime is expected and has been on the increase? However, despite this increase our prime minister Theresa May refuses to acknowledge the link between the increase of crime and the recent budget cuts, stating “there is no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”. This cut to the police budget means that a lot of the money goes into tackling the larger problems in areas, so there are no police available to be the standard neighbourhood police.

The increase in knife crime has also been blamed on the cuts to youth services. Studies have shown that in some parts of England, the money per child has dropped by almost 52%. This dramatic cut has resulted in many children turning to crime, as a result of neglect. The combination of neglect and lack of general police has resulted in a significant increase in knife crime amongst youths. Our prime minister needs to step up and admit her wrong doing and give the police and youth services back their budget.


Home Office


Home Office

Ministry of Justice




NOTRE-DAME TRAGEDY Words by Amber Hurst


n the evening of the 15th April 2019, Tragedy struck the Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of France’s most recognised landmarks that attracts over 13 million visitors per year. Large parts of the 850-year-old church were destroyed in a huge blaze, including the collapse of its iconic spire. However, the cause of the fire is still unknown. Important restoration and construction work was underway on the cathedral before it started and workers are currently being investigated to find the root cause. On that same evening, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation and made a direct promise to Parisians that they will “rebuild this cathedral together” within the next five years. Last week, over 1000 architectural and historical experts wrote an open letter to Macron in French newspaper Le Monde. They requested and urged that lots of care must be taken during the conservation process and shouldn’t be rushed. Within a few hours of the incident, several French families donated extremely large amounts of money to the restoration fund. Many say that this gesture was purely a public display of wealth and an insensitive move since the previous month’s nationwide outcry about wealth inequality in France. Efforts and support have been pouring in from all over the world to restore the much-loved 12th century cathedral, including Disney, which used it as the setting for its 1996 animated film The Hunchback of Notre-Damé with a $5 million donation. There’s one source that seems unlikely at first: a video game. Assassins Creed Unity was released in 2014 and is the latest game as part of the action-adventure franchise by Ubisoft, who have also

donated $500 million. The main hub of the game was a remarkable 3-D recreation of the cathedral in its former glory. The games designers have mentioned how intensely the Notre-Damé was studied in order to recreate it, including large amounts of the interior and exterior. This means that the in-game model that was used by designers could be pretty much priceless to the people tasked with the rebuild. On 2nd May 2018, the production company Fremantle announced that they have secured international rights to an hour-long documentary named Notre-Damé: In Flames. Freemantle, who also produced and distributed the popular series American Gods, will document minute-by-minute accounts of what happened at every point of the devastating fire. It will feature video shot by Paris based emergency services, including the firefighters at the heart of the rescue efforts, and from some of the public who watched and filmed the blaze from the outside. The priest and organist of the Notre-Damé are also featured in interviews about being inside the cathedral when the fire began. It’s unknown at this point what the structure will look like in five or more years, whether that’s with a modern greenhouse roof (as proposed by Paris-based studio NAB) or something else. What is clear though, is that two and a half weeks since the fire ripped through Notre-Damé, it’s definitely an event that has created a hole in the heart of Parisian culture, but there is hope. Over 180,000 of the Bee’s that live on the cathedrals roof survived the whole fire, a symbol of hope. A little miracle that we can all wish foreshadows the future of one of the world’s greatest pieces of historical and religious architecture.




A swinging Spider-Man hangs above the crowd at March’s MCM Birmingham Comic Con

REVIEW mcm birmingham comic con march 2019 | reviewed by terri bone The Movie Comic Media (MCM) Expo group are an organisation who have been specialising in conventions since 2001. Owned by pop culture pioneers, ReedPOP, they’ve hosted many memorable events to quench the needs of comic fans across the globe. So, it comes as no surprise that this year’s MCM Birmingham Comic Con is as successful as its predecessors, if not more so. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the convention scene, it usually involves a large venue, crammed full of concession stands, cosplayers and celebrities. MCM ensured this year, however, to amplify these in a less conventional way. Birmingham’s notorious National Exhibition Centre - a building grown on the side of the airport with a TARDIS-like interior - has been the regular home of Birmingham Comic Con. But, in case you’d forgotten where you were on your walk through the labyrinth of long corridors, a fleet of Star Wars Stormtroopers appear to usher you into the main hall. Complete with weapons and worryingly convincing voice changer helmets, you find yourself doublechecking Google Maps to make sure you did get off the train at Birmingham and not Tatooine; “these are the doors you’re looking for”. The stalls of the convention, if you can spot them when they’re not swarmed by merchandise magpies, are as diverse as they are discounted. With tables dedicated to specific TV shows resembling small towers, every inch is covered with items you never knew existed yet are willing to climb past the collector crowd to get to. Looking for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer figure from the 1990s? You’re bound to find it in one of the many



boxes full of movie memorabilia that fill any available floor space - if you can risk being trampled by determined deal-finders, that is. There are even stalls dedicated to demographically appropriate charities, such as Get Well Gamers UK, an organisation that donates video games and consoles to UKbased hospitals. With the variety on offer from this year’s vendors, it’s a surprise there are no Bounty Hunters lurking around as well. Not that you’d be able to see them, of course, as the convention floor is covered by a sea of sci-fi and fantasy fanatics, most in cosplay. Thankfully, the MCM app allows for easy navigation around the venue and, from the amount of Spider-Men successfully swinging their way in the right direction, it’s clearly proven useful. With weekend and priority tickets selling out before the event even started, it isn’t just the ticket-holder turn-up that’s impressive. The 2019 guest line-up introduces a host of Netflix newcomers to the list of notable names from previous MCM cons - past participants including KJ Apa, who rose to fame as Archie Andrews in Riverdale, and sci-fi and fantasy veteran David Bradley. Headlining this year’s event though is Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield, Supernatural star Felicia Day and Umbrella Academy actors Emmy Raver-Lampman and Tom Hopper. Before their Netflix notoriety, however, both Butterfield and Hopper appeared in the hit BBC TV show Merlin. MCM have capitalised on this Camelot reunion, nabbing other memorable Merlin stars Rupert Young and Alexander Vlahos, who both played knights in the series, for their regal roster.


WS Special’s Ryan (Ryan O’connell) navigating life as a young gay man with cerebal palsy Source: Netflix

Alongside this, a ‘Behind the Scenes of Merlin’ talk, scheduled for two days of the event, promises to offer an inside look at the show. Led by all the Merlin guests except Butterfield, whose ‘Sex Education with Asa Butterfield’ panel clashes, the talk takes place on the ‘Live Stage’ – a small raised platform somewhere off to the side of the show floor. It’s open-planned with a few rows of seating, meaning many people can watch from the outskirts but barely anyone can hear anything over the hustle and bustle of the other attendees. As talks at this stage are free, a luxury other cons often charge for, they’re arguably not the most memorable. Despite its name, this one in particular offers little insight into the making of Merlin and focuses more on Hopper’s newfound Netflix fame instead. Despite comprehensively covering Umbrella Academy and playing a selection of party games which only front-row occupiers had the privilege of seeing, the talk paid no attention to the programme or its recent 10-year anniversary, catering more to casual con-goers then the fans who flocked to the talk for exclusive insight. But, misleading Merlin talks aside, 2019’s March MCM Birmingham Comic Con continues to be a crucial factor in fuelling fan culture. From franchise-specific stalls to volunteers getting a bit too into character, it successfully celebrates all the best parts of pop culture. As you leave the venue, and somehow find your way back through the maze of merchandise-mad cosplayers, it’s clear that this year’s event is as successful as its predecessors, definitely more so.

Special netflix | reviewed by robyn nutall Netflix’s Special is a semi-autobiographical eight episode series based on the book by Ryan O’Connell. The episodes, which are 15 minutes long, focus on Ryan, a 28-year-old gay man with cerebral palsy, as he navigates a new job at an online magazine, moving out and dating. While the programme may be focused on Ryan, you cannot help but fall in love with his new coworker, Kim. Played by the beautiful Punam Patel, Kim is introduced to us as the girl who wrote the article on loving your curves and is a bit of a bitch. However, as the first episode continues, you quickly realise that she is the owner of the witty one liners, loving yourself and being sex worker positive. I loved her character so much that while watching, my notes said Kim and then a love heart. When you watch Special you can’t help but notice how terribly millennial everything seems to be. Ryan’s new job at Eggwoke, a play on Buzzfeed, has a very open plan office and his boss Olivia tells everyone to hug Ryan when she finds out about his car accident. The barista in episode three wears a fedora, tortoise shell rimmed glasses and a plaid shirt. And speaking of his boss Olivia, she is everything the baby boomer generation believes millennials are; self-absorbed, career driven, always on her phone and says things like “straight white men are cancelled”. For a programme written and starred in by a millennial it does seem to over play the stereotypes. Despite the interesting choice to overplay the millennial card, Special is a feel good programme, that highlights the LGBT and disabled community. It leaves you routing for Ryan and his mother as they both get into the dating scene and crushed when they’re rejected. I can’t wait to see how the programme develops next season after that bittersweet ending.


REVIEW Decide Bear Grill’s fate in new Netflix interactive series You Vs Wild Source: Netflix

you vs wild netflix| reviewed by amber hurst If you were face to face with a crocodile, deep in an undisclosed location somewhere in a Central American Jungle, what would you do? Would you try and sneak past it and hope it doesn’t come for you or would you try and scare it away? Well I chose to fling a rock at it with a casual slingshot. It seemed to work alright and that was the first hurdle dodged. No, I wasn’t trying my hand at a new action adventure lifestyle, I was watching the first episode of Bear Grylls’ new Interactive Netflix series, You Vs Wild. At first you’re greeted by a basic animated loading icon, which is a picture of a mountain climbing figure, as if you were waiting for a game on a games console to load up. This just goes to show, it’s not a drama, it’s not a film, it’s not a documentary or whatever the genre. It’s essentially a game. You’re then welcomed with a very short 30 second how to video, where it teaches you how to make your decisions. All you need is a remote with arrows. You’ve got two options to choose from, one that results in bad and one that results in good. Sometimes the bad decision isn’t apparent until later down the line. After an anti-climatic opening, a typical action soundtrack starts and I’m ready to be blown away by the very first interactive series.


You Vs. Wild takes you on a journey of bushwhacking, commando-crawling, canoeing and full on action man-ing. You’re faced with blood-drawing plants, fire-making, cave-dwelling and more in some of the world’s toughest terrains including deserts, jungles and avalanche prone mountain ranges. Each level has a mission that you need to complete by making the right decisions. In level one, you’re tasked with finding and rescuing a lost medical aid worker who went missing while delivering life-saving malaria medicine to a rural village. You only get about 10 seconds to make your decision, and if you exceed the allocated time a decision is made on your behalf. The moment in time between decisions lags quite a bit too which overall makes for a jolty journey that doesn’t flow well. I regret to inform you that it is impossible to murder Bear. However, if it comes as any comfort to you, you can poison him. You can also make him sick from dodgy mushrooms and give him pneumonia by making the awful decision to walk across a frozen lake. I’m sure there’s many other ways to put Bear in a spot of bother if you really wanted to, but to find this out you need to replay each level around three or four times


or perhaps even more in order to play out every pattern of decisions. You’ll probably also need about 12 straight hours and three meals to complete it. Even after five minutes of level one, I found myself pressing pause and making myself a cuppa. You’d think anything that was a result of Bear Grylls’ epic and crazy adventures would be just that, but this series was quite the opposite. You Vs. Wild is a victim of falling into the technologically trendy mill. Unlike 2018’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a show that was gripping and immersive, this fell short of the mark. Having finished the series (well, en route at least) I’m thinking the title would have been better suited as ‘You Vs. Boredom’. As it’s really more of a challenge to fight the boredom rather than anything else, along with maximum effort to kill the main man. It most certainly is something best enjoyed with a group of you, like you do with outdated TV talent shows. Apart from instead of laughing and cheering at contestants you’re just laughing at how terribly stupid and cringeworthy every aspect of the series is. If my two options at the start of all of this were to either carry on or quit while I were ahead, it would be the latter - sorry Bear.


LES Misérables Birmingham Hippodrome| reviewed by Molly MALSOM I take my seat in the stalls of the Birmingham Hippodrome. It’s dark, flashes of red strobe across the seats and the curtains. You can feel the buzz of anticipation filtering through the room, waiting for the show to commence. And as the room goes dark and the first scene’s set is wheeled on to the stage, the sound of men singing Look Down begins as they heave on ropes. The echo of their voices is almost haunting. For anyone who is familiar with Les Misérables as a film (I think most of us have seen it), you will know that there is nota single word of dialogue throughout its duration. The same goes for the theatre production. Three hours packed full of songs. And for those who haven’t seen it, Les Mis is set during the French revolution and follows the life journey of the main characters. Jean Valjean is the key character who appears through the entire story; from his 19-year stint in prison for stealing bread, avoiding his parole officer, to his fatherly relationship with young Cosette. One of the hardest scenes to witness was the scene of a broken Fantine struggling to make ends meet after losing her job. Her battles

with prostitution and her desperation to provide for her daughter, Cosette, makes for a difficult viewing. The acting was some of the best I’ve scene from a theatre production, every emotion felt raw and real. Although a heart-warming watch, the show is full of tense moments and heart-breaking deaths. Of course, it follows the same storyline as both the book and the film, so it isn’t a surprise to lovers of the story but seeing it on stage before your very eyes is a completely different experience. The sets were simply incredible, although on a small stage it felt as though you were watching them on the small streets of Bastille. The transition between scenes was flawless, no clunky changes and the cast appear from nowhere as the lights dim and rise. The stars of the show were without a doubt the children who portrayed Cosette and Gavroche. The room was filled with a resounding “aww” as Cosette graced the stage singing Castle on a Cloud. Her youthful-yet-strong vocals had the entire audience captured. It was almost sad to see her grow up and be played by an adult for the remainder of the show. But Gavroche,

he was funnier than anything else; he was cheeky and charming, although had a rather cockney-esque accent considering they are all supposed to be French. If there is one thing I learnt whilst enjoying the show, was that theatre goers are terrible over-applauders. In any other show I’ve been to, the audience will applaud after a song, or just before the interval - the audience of Les Mis did just this. But when you are watching a performance that is three hours of song, the constant clapping gets incredibly irritating. Yet, I couldn’t be the only person who didn’t clap, that would be rude. By about an hour in my hands were tingling, like a constant pins and needles in my palms. The show was undoubtedly the best theatre production I have ever been to see - from the set, the singing, to the acting. Everything was flawless. In fact, I preferred the show to the film, which is a rather profound statement to make. If you are looking for a show that takes you through every emotion; from anger, to laughter, to crying your eyes out, I recommend this one whole heartedly.

The legendary Les Misérables now showing. Source: Birmingham Hippodrome














SPOTLIGHT Drag queens are known to most as men dressed in big wigs, sequined gowns and feather boas. However, in the past decade drag has shifted into more of a mainstream conventional direction. In bars, clubs and theatres around the world a cultural conservation has begun. Drag originally came from pantomime dame characters and were used in a strategic way of men to make jokes and witty comments regarding women’s clothing and appearance. Think a big beefy man dressed in a dress and proclaiming “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo”. Now, however, we see it making its way to television, film, the music industry and into our everyday consciousness. Back in the 1900s when Drag was originated, some believed that the term was created to symbolise a long gown dragging across the stage. After many years it became more of an  entertainment-based platform rather than theatre characters. Drag was introduced to American culture by the genre ‘vaudeville’. ‘Vaudeville’ merges comedy, music, dance and burlesque to create more of a creative outlet for live performances. After many years of the art form paving the way on stage in theatres around the world, the phenomenon eventually made its way to the pageant scene where still to this day a lot of Drag queens personas are influenced by the glamour that comes from within the scene. Pageants have been a way for many performers to learn professionalism, make-up skills and more about their own character. You may remember RuPaul, Lily Savage and James St James being the only influential Drag acts to ever dominate the media. RuPaul released his debut single ‘Supermodel (You Better Work)’ being one of the few creative gender bending artists within the community alongside Bowie and Prince. Since then RuPaul has made his return to the huge television network ‘VH1’ with his Emmy award-winning show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. RuPaul’s Drag Race has gifted the opportunity to over 130 performers from across America to showcase their talent and persona on a televised network/ As RuPaul’s franchise has


taken the world by storm it has made its way to Thailand and soon to be premiering in the UK. Around the world you hear ‘yaaas’, ‘give me life’, ‘shade’ and more, these phrases were created by the Drag scene to show originality within their outlet. You now hear these expressions being used on talk shows, films and music across the board. Drag is now respected by mainstream media and corporations. Netflix is an example of a platform that has recognised the talent and artistry within the drag community giving Alyssa Edwards who is a huge Drag star from RuPaul’s Drag Race her own show which showcases her persona and talents as an influential drag queen. Drag being televised may be a huge accomplishment for certain performers however many artists from around the globe still face criticism every single day whether this be online or in person. Drag is a way for most members of the LGBTQ+ community to make light

‘A CULTURAL CONVERSATION HAS BEGUN’ of toxic and hurtful standards when it comes to society. It is not accepted by a large number of people as it is seen as too flamboyant within the LGBTQ+ community. Comments made are homophobic and narrowminded, individuals make insensitive comments to Drag performers daily. As it has became such a huge conversation in the past few years due to RuPaul’s Drag Race being picked up by VH1, Drag queens have been accumulating millions of followers from around the globe therefore biased and unfair opinions can be made due to editing of the smash hit reality television series. RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a network for those to speak up for racial issues as well as showcase their talent on a televised network. Season 10 saw The Vixen, a Drag queen of colour speak up for racial issues whilst on the show. The Vixen spoke up regarding biased opinions to white drag queens rather than queens of colour, this was due to a feud with fellow competitor Eureka


O’hara who was put under fire due to inflicting The Vixen to be portrayed in a villainous way. The queen of colour from Chicago, Illinois stood up and raised awareness of stereotypes as it was being edited that she was lashing out on other contestants within her season. Due to backlash and racism from the drag community she decided to take it upon herself to remove herself from the live taping of a televised reunion. RuPaul and the production team of RuPaul’s Drag Race received a vast amount of backlash for this and ever since have insisted on ensuring that race and religion is a talking point on the show so that viewers of the show can be educated. As RuPaul’s Drag Race has begun to educate their audience on serious issues within the Drag and LGBTQ+ community contestants have been able to speak openly regarding their past trauma‘s which has been respected worldwide by the shows fanbase. Nina West, from the ongoing eleventh season of the show recently spoke up regarding past comments from anonymous phone calls which advised her that she would be brutally murdered due to her sexuality. RuPaul’s Drag Race as a franchise has been persisting to educate their viewers by including challenges on the show that are catered to history within the gay rights movement, The fourth season of the reality television series included a challenge that to design a pride float with each contestant showcasing a different colour of the pride flag and each individual colours meaning. Viewers of the smash hit television series believe that most of the community is accepting however there is still a huge amount of hatred towards talent from around the globe. Drag is all about acceptance and creativity therefore the community is striving to ensure that racial abuse and other offensive comments are not being targeted to certain performers.










As well as Drag being used in a way to give an audience a “gag worthy” performance, it is also used for individuals to escape their everyday fear of not being the extravagant individual they aspire to be. Ellis Atlantis, winner of BBC Three’s brand new show Glow Up is a drag queen that is known for her extravagant looks that have reached screens around the world. Glow Up is a reality television competition catered to those who are interesting in the artistry of make-up. Imagine America’s Next Top Model but purely based on the face. Hosted by none other than Stacey Dooley, 10 aspiring make-up artists are put to the test to deliver professionalism, technique and creativity. The show hit the screens of the makeup enthusiasts in early March. Due to its popularity, the show has been renewed for a second season. Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make Up Star was respected by the community so immensely as it was a way for Ellis Atlantis, a well-known Drag queen from Leeds to showcase her make-up skills rather than performance. Drag is usually only accepted onto television by being extremely comedic or shady. By Glow Up showcasing Ellis’ creativity rather than performance skills, it opened up a lot of conversation around the UK regarding the Drag scene. Ellis eventually took the crown as the winner of Glow Up. She was judged each week by professionals Val Garland and Dominic Skinner who are known for their iconic work within the industry. Prior to taking the title of Britain’s Next Make-Up Star, Ellis had performed around the country for several events. However, her main fanbase came from her online presence on Instagram. The queen of Glow Up spent years working on her social platform showing her following she could produce make-up looks that could quite easily fit any aesthetic. Drag fans are very present on social media, therefore creating a brand and persona for an online audience is considered a smart move. With over 100 Thousand followers on Instagram we managed to sit down with Ellis to discuss her persona and ask

her some questions regarding the ever growing Drag scene and her life as a successful drag artist.

Drag has become such a huge worldwide phenomenon. Do you believe that drag is going to blow up even more and if so why? I think Drag isn’t as mainstream as we think it is and I think it‘s got a long way to go before it becomes fully respected and understood. Although we’ve come so far and it’s blown up so much within the media, it’s only been within the LGBTQ+ community, with a few occasions that it’s gone beyond that, I think Drag will continue to grow as it becomes more loved and respected worldwide.

Do you feel like drag has changed pop culture forever? I think Drag has influenced so much within pop culture. I feel like I always see queens setting fashion and make-up trends that pop stars follow. It’s quite funny and a little sad as most of the times drag queens are used as a reference and then not credited.

RuPaul’s Drag Race has paved the way for over 100 queens, club kids and transgender artists from around the globe however it is extremely important to support your local performers. How important do you feel this is? I think it’s a must to support your local talent. Period. If you only support Ru girls, you aren‘t a Drag fan, you’re a reality TV fan and people always get that twisted. Supporting your local talent means support anyone, with any level of talent and aesthetic, regardless of whether the queens meet this Drag Race standard that has been set by a fandom that knows nothing about drag or what it takes to become a Drag performer.

You have been fortunate enough to be crowned the winner of BBC Three‘s brand new show Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star. Do you feel like there is any downside to becoming a well-known drag queen?

the world and I’ve only ever had positive outcomes from that. For me Glow Up has shown people that I have a talent and that I’m more than a Drag Queen and that I’m a good make-up artist, which has had such an amazing response from my followers and all the new people that have been exposed to me and my art.

Drag is a way for those to express themselves as a character or a different version of themselves, Do you feel you have stayed true to your personality? When I started Drag, I always said to myself that I didn’t want to be another bitchy, horrible Drag queen, I always wanted to be known as being nice. So that’s why Ellis is my biological birth name and my Drag name, it’s to show people that all I have changed is my appearance and not my personality and that I’m the same fun loving character in and out of drag.

The LGBTQ+ community is looked down on every single day, Do you feel like Drag is a way for artists to showcase the colour and creativity from within the community? I think Drag is such a beautiful thing and it gives everyone who takes part or loves Drag hope! Drag inspires so much passion into you and it makes all the hate bare-able, at least for me and I think it‘s important to remember that Drag is a personal journey for everyone and everyone does Drag for personal reasons.

Have you ever faced hate (online or in person) within your career so far and if so did this affect your persona. If so, what were the things said to you? I have experienced a lot of hate online but it honestly doesn’t bother me, if anything my friends and family get more affected by the hate. I recently had a make-up tutorial out with the BBC and it got so much hate, the comments became so direct and personal, but even then I just ignored them.

I mean before I was cast on Glow Up, my Drag had spread pretty far around







It’s been 25 years since Quentin Tarantino’s 3rd and arguably most popular film was premiered at Cannes Film Festival on 12TH May 1994. This gritty, violent, film-noir style masterpiece is a true cult classic that takes rightful place on IMDB’s top 10 films of all time. It’s always had a firmly fixed place on every pop culture hall of fame.

Wallace. They are on the hunt for a stolen briefcase, and of course run into a few detours along the way, along with protecting a not-so conventional damsel in distress. Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) is the wife of a Marsellus and substance abuser herself. It’s her signature pose with her black bob, sultry stare and cigarette in hand that dominated most of the film’s promotional material.

It’s a film that’s given us some of cinema’s most loveable criminals in the form of major Hollywood superstar actors. The two main protagonists Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), both hitmen who work for major Los Angles drug dealer and gang boss Marsellus

Out of the thousands of Pulp Fiction quotes we could have picked, this one, that happens to be one of Mia’s most famous, seemed to reside with our brave side the most. If it weren’t for rules, this would be our ANTE motto.

Words by Amber Hurst











he B word seems to follow us around everywhere nowadays. Every time we turn on the TV, every time we go to the pub and even when we sit down at the family dinner table. Brexit really is the most inescapable political decision of our time and very few things are protected from the epidemic sweeping our nation- apart from the arts. That, at least, remains safe. Or at least we thought. The one purest form of escapism has, unfortunately, been plagued. Those films you like to watch - you know the ones made in Britain? Well it turns out they are probably funded mostly by the EU. Pride, Philomena, The Kings Speech to name a few. From Colin Firth to Judi Dench, our screens are graced with endless talent and production as courtesy of the EU Media Program. The program itself has pumped £130 million into the British film industry. There is currently a €1.4 billion EU funding pot designed to help films across the continent. Sounds great, I know. But the UK has faced a massive issue regarding this due to a few words plastered on the side of a bus. We have now decided to withdraw from the EU meaning that pot may not be available to us anymore. Speaking to the Guardian, Eric Fellner, the co-founder of Working film titles whose production have included modern titles such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Elizabeth and Darkest Hour, said “I still believe, for the interests of our industry, that remaining part of a strong union is the best thing for us both commercially and culturally, and my reasons haven’t really changed”. As an industry, Britain has relied on foreign talent for many years. “It seems ridiculous that we are inflicting a wound on this economic powerhouse, especially at a time when the UK creative industries are delivering a substantial part of our annual earnings, and anything that hampers that is a negative on an economic basis.” European culture lends itself totally to British culture - you only have to look at the clothes we wear to see the influence. Adidas - the uniform of the youth - is a German brand. Look outside and your neighbour is driving a Citroën? It’s French. From the food we eat, to the car we drive, we are constantly being influenced by our European neighbours. While a film may look British, it’s actually funded and produced by others. And that’s not so bad. The funding is not the only issue either. Leaving the EU also restricts free movement of workers between us and other EU countries. Actors, producers, directors and other creatives will find it increasingly difficult to travel. Franchises such as Star Wars are anchored in Britain but have headquarters in Europe. To put it into perspective, creative industries contributed more than £87 billion in 2017, that’s 5.3% of Britain’s economy. Brexit really is shaping up to be a mess.


What about our British identity? We want to be British right? None of this European nonsense. Right, let’s put Michael Caine at the forefront of all of our films, claiming the infamous line from Alfie: “My understanding of women only goes as far as the pleasure. When it comes to the pain I’m like any other bloke - I don’t want to know.” But even Michael Caine himself is impartial to the old Italian Job. Indeed it is pretty much impossible to find any member of the cinema club who think Brexit is a good idea or would be beneficial to the industry. Cinema must face the harsh reality of Brexit, as many industries must. However, business has never been better for British film and television. Many claim Gordon Brown’s introduction of film tax-relief incentives in 2006 (allowing creatives to claim a larger deduction or in some circumstances claim a payable tax credit) was his one redeeming act as Prime Minister. It caused a wave with Britain at the epicentre. The boom in British film caused us to be one of the world’s film centres - the UK is the new LA. Production spend in the UK has doubled since 2009, to a record £1.72 billion on film alone in 2016, and £7.9 billion across all screen industries, including television and gaming. Even the relative weakness of the British pound has made the UK even more attractive. Although it does go both ways as all of the revenue being generated externally is worth less. The costs may be lower, but so is the revenue. Still, this may be first time the declining value of the British pound has been referred to positively. Every cloud… Britain has become a destination of choice for Hollywood, with major studios making long-term commitments to the UK, such as Marvel’s Avengers movies franchise or Star Wars. Arguably, Britain is unmatched in its special effects skills with studios such as Pinewood studio being fully booked, with new facilities being built to cope with the increasing pressure. Now with streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime dominating the market, British talent has never been in such high demand. That B word really is a pain. Inescapable, confusing and most of all, just a pain in the backside. But it is worth considering the reliance of our nation on the EU. Not only for trade, but for our very culture. The clothes we wear, the food we eat and the jokes we tell. Taking a trip to your local cinema is a tour around the EU within itself, with directors, production companies and the backbone of any film often basing themselves in Europe. The fact of the matter is that the British film industry seems to have very little to gain from Brexit. Our arts are not in mortal danger yet, but gridlocked ports won’t just affect trade. It will affect our very own entertainment too.



British film is some of the best in the world - but what happens when we leave the EU? Let’s talk about film...






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Pulp Fiction is a film about nothing. A crime thriller where the audience are forced to sit through an awkward first date and conversations about the French translation of “Quarter Pounder”. And yet as the film approaches the 25th anniversary this year, it still stands as one of the greatest cult classics of our time.

Perhaps the most peculiar thing about Pulp Fiction is the fact that no matter how much you watch it, it doesn’t really make you feel anything. There are no heroes in this film, no tragic storyline and no momentous ending to satisfy us. But this film is just so irresistibly cool, you can’t help but love it. There’s something about John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson in matching black suits breaking into a house and chatting about their favourite burger joint before committing bloody murder. It’s filmmaking at its best. The screenplay has to be one of the most mind-boggling things to watch. Constructed in a nonlinear fashion, you see dead characters after they are killed and events happening completely sporadically. You could watch it countless times and still be surprised at the next scene. Cowritten by Tarantino and Roger Avary, the dialogue is humorous, witty and the last thing you’d expect to hear in a film about two small-time gangsters.

Cinema is full of rules and standards that are usually maintained - genres have specific tropes. Tarantino, however, is like a child let loose in a toy store. Cinematography, dialogue and plot are exciting, unique and very Tarantino. Before this film hit the mainstream, independent cinema was content to stay safe. When Pulp Fiction premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it hit the scene like a shot of adrenaline to the heart. Rules were broken and our perception of gangsters were changed forever. Entirely quotable and hilariously profane, Tarantino’s ear for witty and sharp Academy-award winning dialect is only matched by his talent for direction and cinematography. The soundtrack is a perfect combination of slow crooning of Dusty Springfield mixed with surfrock beats of Dick Dale’s Misirlou. Starting off as an independent film, 25 years on it remains one of the most important films in cinematic history. Excusing Tarantino’s poor acting, the film really is a masterpiece. Breaking the rules of cinema has, in fact, made a film about nothing a film that reflects everything. In the words of lead female, Mia Wallace, “ Besides, isn’t it more exciting when you don’t have permission?”






Freeperiods.org has reported that 40% of girls living in the UK have had to use toilet paper in place of sanitary products that they cannot afford. With so many young girls struggling with period poverty, it’s time the government steps in to help. WORDS BY MOLLY MALSOM.





he discussion on period poverty in the UK has exploded over the last few months. Starting with The Red Box Project, a charity created in 2017 to provide sanitary products for school girls who can’t afford to buy pads and tampons, hundreds of schools around the country have joined the movement. It may have begun as a local fundraising attempt, word quickly got around thanks to social media, and the now national campaign has got the government in the hot seat. Campaigner, Amika George, has also been helping to raise awareness with her #freeperiods campaign. Scotland have been slaying period poverty, providing free menstrual products to all school students before the UK even thought about is. According to Young Scot, as of September 2018, all Scottish schools, colleges and universities will provide tampons, pads, panty liners and even reusable products. Simply providing these essentials makes a massive difference to attendance of pupils during their cycle. A report by thelondoneconomic.com showed that nearly 140,000 pupils in the UK have missed school due to lack of funds to afford the products they need. When you see figures as astonishing as these, it is clear that simply providing some sanitary towels is a small cost in comparison to the effect missing classes has on students’ futures. In light of Scotland’s success, Wales have now announced they will be following suit. Following their declaration to provide women in hospitals with free products, first minister Mark Drakeford has announced the period dignity for schools campaign, where he claims the Welsh government are eager to “help bring period poverty to an end”. Similarly to the UK’s donation scheme, the Welsh government were given the push following a dignity bag idea created Hilary Beach, councillor for Chepstow town. Met with floods of support, the government had no choice but to listen.

But just how much of a difference do free menstrual products make in educational establishments? “speaking to our medical team, we are constantly running out of our provisions” says Rhiannon Llewellyn, who works at a school in Gloucestershire. Since being part of The Red Box Project, she claims to have seen a big difference in many of girls’ attendance. And clearly these products are needed in the school if they are running out so frequently. “It’s had a really positive impact. We even have male teachers who have pads stocked at the back of classes. We understand it’s a really important issue and it needs to be addressed in schools across the UK” she continues, highlighting that the introduction of the free products has helped remove the stigma surrounding periods. “Boys need to grow up knowing periods are normal. Students are being more open with staff and I think that’s a brilliant thing” With Wales and Scotland both making these positive moves, it seems the UK is lagging slightly behind. At the beginning of the year, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond made a promise to fund a scheme to provide free products in schools to help eradicate period poverty. The plan is meant to commence in September, but that is all it is right now. A plan. With both Wales and Scotland making such positive moves, it is essential that the Government introduce these schemes in English schools. The Red Box Project and Amika George have made such a huge impact and have raised massive awareness of the struggles young girls are facing. It is now down to the government to come on board and make the crucial changes we need to see to help the countries young girls.







PEOPLE DON’T PREACH She has long been hailed as the Queen of Pop but does there come a point when every queen should abdicate? On the 1st of May Madonna performed at the Billboard Music Awards, along with Columbian artist Maluma, a performance she funded entirely by herself. Madonna, wearing an eye-patch and a sexy pirate-esque outfit to boot, danced around the stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas surrounded by back up dancers and four versions of herself. As holograms. The hologram and CGI performance cost Madonna $5 million (£3.8 million), as the Billboard Music Award execs wouldn’t front any money to bring the queen's vision to life. It’s hard to argue that Madonna, who turns 61 in August, has been a force to be reckoned with. Starting her career in the 80s, she has long been criticised for continuing to produce and perform music. The critics problems aren’t necessarily with her continuing to perform, after all Mötley Crüe’s last performance was only four years ago, the problem lies with the way she performs and the songs she’s making. Her 2015 song “Bitch I’m Madonna” was hailed by many as the worst song on her album Rebel Heart, Pitchfork (the music magazine) referred to it as “masterfully campy” and the star studded video didn’t receive any better. The 60-year-old prances around the video in a mini dress and pink leather jacket covered in spikes, singing “Who do you think you are? ‘Cause I’m a bad bitch”. With lyrics like that running throughout the song, it is easy to see what people mean when they say she’s behaving as if she is still in her 20s being a material girl. However, as anyone who pays vague attention to music knows, artists from the 70s and 80s still touring and performing is nothing new. Elton John, 72, has been on his farewell tour ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ now since January 2018, The Rolling Stones (their collective age is

298) just started their U.S stadium tour in April this year, Sir Tom Jones, 78, has a UK tour starting June 15th and Bryan Adams, 59, starts his U.S tour on May 4th 2019. You never hear backlash over these artists performing, every time The Rolling Stones release tickets they sell out stadiums. The same comments made from Madonna’s fans about her concerts are along the same line as fans of these golden oldies; that they put on a brilliant show. So why can Mick Jagger prance around a stage at 75-years-old and be heralded but Madonna, who is fifteen years younger, is told to stop and go? We could make the sexism comment and talk about how it’s only her being criticised in a sea of men, but maybe we should focus on why it is only Madonna in a sea of men. Madonna holds the record for high selling female artist, having supposedly sold 300 million records. As an artist she has only been beaten by Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. If anyone deserves to continue performing it is her. However, there are people out there who have no issue with Madonna performing but take issue with the outfits she wears and dance moves she performs. She is no longer that 26-year-old singing Like A Virgin, she is now the 60-year-old in a mini dress gyrating on top of twenty-something back up dancers. There are some who herald as the icon of the fourthwave of feminism, which focuses on female empowerment. So if she feels good in a mini dress, why shouldn’t she wear a mini dress? At the end of the day it’s a simple answer to this problem. If you take an issue with Madonna acting below her age, then it’s easy. Don’t follow her social media, don’t watch her performances and you don’t have to buy tickets to her sell out shows.




Jason Mamoa “A hunk of a man and handsome with and without a beard” MOLLY MALSOM.

Leonardo DiCaprio “Gorgeous eyes and a man that’s aged like fine wine” AMBER HURST.



Jeff Goldblum “Voice of a angel and I definitely wan to raid his wardrobe” ROBYN NUTTALL.

Tom Hardy “Loves dogs and is beautiful” HENRY BENSON.

Ellen Degeneres “Always speaks up for what is right” RYAN WILKS

an nt

Idris Elba “He’s everything anyone has ever wanted to be- cool” CLAUDIA TROTMAN.








I’ve had semi-permanent makeup eight times, lower face fillers, so everything from the cheeks downwards ten times. Cheek fillers I’ve had twice, tear trough fillers once, nose to mouth lines I’ve had five times, non-surgical rhinoplasty once and Botox over fifty times”. Wow, that sounds like a lot of needles in the face. And all on one person? Yes. Natasha Keyani is a 31-yearold sales specialist and self-proclaimed plastic addict from Oxfordshire. She’s admitted to having over 80 non-invasive cosmetic procedures in under ten years. “[I] probably didn’t need it then but ever since I’ve become hooked… as soon as I see any line I have to go and get it filled in’. She started getting work done to her face at the young age of 22. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any 22-year-old that has wrinkles or any sign of aging at all for that matter. When Natasha was that age, Instagram hadn’t even been born. But now in the age of social media with all of it’s impossible beauty standards, it’s made us truly start to think that the way we look just isn’t right, and young people can be so easily influenced by things they see online. It’s not hard to realise that artificial beauty almost always goes further than skin deep. Natasha openly suffers with anxiety and says the way she looks sometimes plays an affect on the way she feels mentally and how she goes by her day to day life. “It will get to the point that even if I’m due filler, I wouldn’t take a picture, I wouldn’t want to be in a picture with someone or I wouldn’t want to take a selfie until I have fixed that area” We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people who have quite clearly achieved the ‘perfect’ facial features with a little help from Mr. Silicone.

Especially when high profile celebrities ,like Kylie Jenner, start out by point blank denying that the sudden inflation of their lips is down to surgery. Sis, we knew how to put a before and after picture side-by-side, there was no way you could fool us into believing it was just a bit of innocent, optical-illusion makeup artistry. Google searches for lip fillers peaked globally, and one London clinic reported a 70% rise in enquiries over the next 24 hours, after Kylie first debuted her new pout on Keeping Up with the Kardashians in 2015.

“ BOTOX AND DERMAL FILLER TREATMENTS ARE WORTH £2.75 MILLION IN THE UK” A report by Harley Street Aesthetics stated that the cosmetic surgery industry in the UK was worth around £3.6 billion (May 2018). Unsurprisingly, Botox and dermal fillers make up for 9 out of 10 of those procedures, with a worth of £2.75 billion. Half of those procedures are entirely unregulated. To inject Botox, you have to be medically qualified as the product used is a prescription only medicine. Fillers however, can be done by anyone that knows how to shop online and that owns a steady hand. People are setting up their own DIY aesthetic clinics in their own living rooms and injecting people’s faces at incredibly discounted rates. You don’t have to look very hard on


Instagram to find someone that’s offering £95 lip fillers. What’s worse, is that millimetres of free filler are being used as competition prizes as an incentive to be shared to gain more followers. The ease and accessibility of these procedures is a definite cause of the rise in popularity, but things can go wrong when trusting someone without the correct training and sterile environment. Natasha strictly visits proper aesthetic clinics only and has some advice for anyone seeking a cosmetic tweak or two in future. “My advice is to really, really do your research. Don’t just go to one of these girls that comes to your house… It’s not worth just putting anything in your face. I get severe anxiety thinking about what I’m going to have done before I’ve had it, I would only go to the best” It makes you think what the defining beauty look of the decade will be. The 80s had backcombed hair and blue eyeshadow, the 90s had brown lipstick and all the hair accessories, the noughties had chunky highlights and pencil thin eyebrows (one that we remember all too clearly) and what about the 2010s? Botox and fillers?! It’s an expensive trend, both money and mental health wise. As we now into the last year of the decade, it makes us hope and wonder if the reign of plastic faces will come to an end. If so, a more attainable ideal of beauty can come back into light and placed back onto the pedestal. We can all be happy in the skin we were given. Best of all, teens can experience beauty tragedies in the form of modern dream matte mouse and accidental over-pluck disaster all over again.







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ANTE Issue 2.  

ANTE Issue 2.