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CONTENTS issue.49 On The Cover 31 Sales Survival Guide The sassy way to shop this season 40 Vanity Fair Our cover girls on how to live fabulously 60 Image Obsession Is the modern woman obsessed with her looks? 62 The F-Word Is fashion making us feel fatter than we really are? 82 Why Men Marry Bitches We test out a controversial theory 89 AsiaGlam Magazine From makeup maestros, AsiaGlam 148 5-Minute Workouts Get your ideal shape
Perfect Tens 25 Catwalk Snapshot Autumn’s must-wear trends at a glance 27 Heel Love This season’s most stylish shoes to suit all tastes 29 Coat of Arms Statement coats to keep you warm this winter 33 App Star Jasmine Dotiwala shares her favourite apps 35 Party Essentials Beauty products to make you dazzle 37 Fighting Fit 2012’s biggest fitness trends
Spotlight 38 Celeb Style Rocking the red carpet isn’t easy 51 Fashionista Style File The glamazons transforming the world of fashion 56 The Twilight Players Tips on how to shop vintage
Discussions 64 Women with Vision The plight of millions in India 66 News Junkie The rise of the new racist
69 Career Profile Ethical fashion has just got cool 70 The Price of Having It All Can you really have everything?
153 Ones to Watch The stars of tomorrow 154 Music The latest industry buzz 158 Films Bollywood and beyond 162 Arts & Books Dates for Your Diary
Love 75 21st Century Daughter in Law Is it ever ok to settle? 76 Love Hurts Your relationship problems – sorted 78 AW Loves We talk to actor Aqib Khan 80 Metrosexual Healing Lamenting the rise of the metrosexual male… 84 Men Vs Fashion What he really thinks of your style choices
Travel 164 Cambodia A land of breathtaking beauty 167 India Wonders of the motherland
Beauty 86 Makeup Masterclass Perfect the sultry look with MyFace cosmetics 122 Get the Look A step-by-step guide
168 The Asian Awards 170 Kaniz Charity Launch 171 Sands Charity Dinner 172 Brit Asia Awards 173 GQ Awards 174 UK AMAS Launch
20 Mailbox 121 Subscriptions 189 Stockists 190 Horoscopes 192 Undomestic Goddess
Fashion 125 The Great Cover-up Modest fashion 126 Trend Injection Winter’s must-have items 129 Token White Girl Making snap judgements 131 Runway Report S/S 2012 catwalk trends 140 Ultra Violet Sensual colours and indulgent fabrics
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Life 150 Health News Your wellbeing sorted 151 The Clinic Essential health advice 175 Fashion Store Stylish storage 178 In My Closet Ruby Hammer 180 Recipes Dishes from Anjali Pathak
ISSUE No 49
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF J Wimal
W OW N
PRODUCTION Designer: Sandra Tozeva ADVERTISING Commercial Manager: Trevor Jayakody Sales Team Leader: Ricky Chera Sales Executive: Sheetal Agheda Distribution Executive: Kiran Gohil CONTRIBUTORS Nasima Ahmed, Farah Ahmed, Natasha Asghar, AsiaGlam, Saran Attariwala, Nicolas Aujula, Sasha Gill, Shay Grewal, Anthony Jayakody, Mubashir Malik, Payal Nair, Anjali Pathak, Edgar Pereira, Mohammad Qazalbash, Nina Ubhi PHOTOGRAPHY Getty Images, Marcus Flemmings, Shahid Malik, Shutterstock, Peter Watson, Paul West PUBLISHERS Managing Director: J Wimal Operations: Alex Kelberman
the publishers of
and hosts of
EDITORIAL Features Editor: Kia Abdullah Features Writer: Sheeffah Shiraz Beauty Editor: Sami Rahman Fashion Co-ordinator: Rachael Elliott Intern: Jabeen Waheed
JAYSON EMERALD MEDIA Head Office 34a Victoria Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4JL firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)208 399 8996
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on-stop, Mrs Wimal, non-stop.” That’s what my mother was told when she and my father attended one of my earliest parents’ evenings at primary school. It was a reference to my propensity for having lots to say. Fast forward a couple of decades and my Features Editor Kia Abdullah is bemoaning the same thing. Apparently my editor’s letters SI: DE IS Y THE ONLY WA with are too long. I can’t help it; I still Sam and TOWIE’s Lucy, Jess e team have a lot to say. the Asian Woman magazin Following every 90 days and nights of tireless hard work, creativity and love, my extraordinary team produces a brand new issue brimming with new levels of fabulousness – how can I summarise all that in just a few sentences? It seems, however, that I just have to. Thankfully the theme of this edition, The Fashion Issue, speaks for itself. It’s dedicated to that all-encompassing, omnipresent, timeless and powerful phenomenon that we here at Asian Woman magazine live and breathe. As my company Jayson Emerald Media celebrates its first birthday, Asian Woman magazine marks yet another fabulous year as the world’s leading and longest living Asian women’s magazine around. From 2012’s biggest fashion looks and must-wear trends in our comprehensive catwalk report (p131) and a celebration of today’s most fabulous Asian style icons (p51) to your very own beauty bible in the very glamorous AsiaGlam magazine (p89), this entire issue is filled with all things fashionable. And because my fashionistas here at Asian Woman HQ love to write as much as they love admiring new shoes (like the lovely sparkly ones lined up along the wall of my office right now) there’s plenty to read and think about in this issue including the intriguing Why Men Marry Bitches (p82). Asian Fashion is wonderful, exciting and inspiring. Our loveable covergirls from The Only Way is Essex thought so (p40). I also think so. And so will you, if you don’t already, after flicking through this latest issue of Asian Woman magazine – possibly the best one yet. That is, until our 50th issue hits the shelves 90 days and nights from now. Happy New Year. J Wimal
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On the Cover
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Photography: Paul West Creative Direction: J Wimal Hair & Makeup: Shazia Khan Outfits: Ishy’s Boutique Jewellery: Shazia Khan Shoes: Simmi Shoes, Linzi Location: Plough Studios
All rights reserved. Reproduction of pictures, articles or artwork in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. Copyright © 2010 Jayson Emerald Media Corporation All opinions and comments expressed are that of the writers and not the publisher.
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Your mag, your views
Mode l on left dress wears with pearl white netted Mode neckl l on Anark ali with black right wears ine Mirage embroidery white silk Mirag Anarkali dress e
THE POWER OF PREEYA
I’m so happy that you decided to put Preeya Kalidas on your autumn cover. She is one of the few successful British-Asian actresses of our time and it’s great that she is being recognised for it. I loved the different makeovers you gave her and the interview showed a really sweet, almost vulnerable side to her. Can’t wait ‘til the next cover :)
I’m not Asian but my flatmate is and always has a copy of Asian Woman magazine lying around. I decided to read it for the first time yesterday and was really surprised to find that I enjoyed it. The articles didn’t alienate me whatsoever and I really loved the shoots. After reading it I kind of wished I was Asian!
Twilight T emptation
Singer , So temptre ngwriter Arj un sses, dresse falls prey to d in the latest two beautif Mirage ul
I loved the vampire themed fashion shoot starring one of my favourite artists, Arjun (although I was hoping R-Patz would make an appearance!). I loved how you combined sexiness with tradition. Please can you include more Pakistani fashion in future issues?!
BURQAS & BIKINIS
Hi, I just wanted to send you a quick note to say that I really enjoyed your piece about ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Fashion Show’. A couple of my friends read the article and it really changed their perceptions of Pakistan. It is easy to view it as backward and super-traditional but this piece showed that things are changing there. I, for one, am excited about the things to come from this wonderful country.
On set with covergirls Sam, Jess and Lucy
TOP TWEETS Here’s what you’ve been chirping about:
On our cover star, Preeya... @shane1996s @PREEYAKALIDAS looks stunning in @AsianWoman Mag and the interview is amazing too :D @isitcoziisbrown Just got in, armed with Asian Woman mag. Preeya Kalidas looking hotter than hot on the cover! @Katastic6 wow @PREEYAKALIDAS looks amazing on the cover of autumn @AsianWomanMag @ Shaz1e Lol. She is hot!! Hubba hubba! ;op On our autumn issue... @salima_manji Having read the last 2 issues of @AsianWomanMag I have to say I love the beauty features by @GlamSamBeauty and the fashion. Keep it up!! @AsianWedIdeas Got my mag at #PakistanFashionWeek! Good reading for journey home x On failsafe outfits... @natasghar Something sparkly is always a winner! ;) @NadiyyaAhmed Go with subtle, classy and elegant; this way you can accessorise and focus on makeup!
Thigh high suede boots £50 Dune @ eBay Fashion Outlet
Jacket £160 Next
Gold and silver sequin top £30 River Island
Dress £30 Miss Selfridge
Red maxi dress £45 River Island
Catwalk Trends Winter’s must-wear trends at a glance
Neon lace dress £295 Whistles
Navajo print knitted mini skirt £14.99 Missguided
Feather statement necklace £18 Accessorize
Jewel collar £14 Accessorize
Wine bodice £30 Topshop
en love confident women, but balance is important. Don’t lose your feminine side
This page: Orange sari Brocade Couture Earrings, bracelet and necklace (used as belt) Jazzy Bindi Opposite page: Blue anarkali dress with sharara pants Ishy’s Boutique Snake ring Ella-Tino Boutique Earrings MQ Jewels Tikka Jazzy Bindi
o matter where you go make sure you feel good about how you look
Twilight Saga Keeping vintage fashion immortal, dapper dance trio The Twilight Players share their tips for sartorial success By Sheeffah Shiraz
BRINGING DARK ISSUES TO LIGHT
Dawn of the new racist
As Cameron’s cuts begin to bite, so too will the frothing right-wing
ou’re not English – go back to where you came from!’ I’ll be honest: as a British born-and-bred individual, I don’t think I would ever know how to react to that, so how the fellow passengers of Emma West felt when she began her racial rant on a tram in Surrey, is beyond me. The YouTube video, My Tram Experience, which went viral in late November caused chaos, shock and anger. My social network accounts were flooded with condemnations of her bigoted ideology while others rose to defend her right to freedom of speech – both of which I felt were justifiable reactions in our society today. But what alarmed me the most was that, sadly and quite worryingly, this may in fact just be the beginning. And it looks like it’s catching on. A study by the British think tank Demos found far-right populism to be on the rise all across Europe. These are parties defined by their resistance to immigration and their zealous protection of national identity. Where once the moderate racist could tolerate multiculturalism as a way of experiencing parts of an alien culture without having to travel, after years of reading about how foreigners are responsible for bombs, rape, drugs and, most poignantly, loss of jobs, they now view every non-English looking person as a threat. Let’s face it: times are hard. Unemployment is at its highest rate, money is scarce and the economy is possibly in the midst of a triple dip recession. So what do we do? Take it out on each other? The danger now is that this seemingly neverending economic crisis will slowly lead people towards far-right parties whose hostile immigration and Islamophobic ideologies are slowly but surely
gaining support. Take the massacre in Norway not so long ago; the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, stated that he was on a ‘crusade’ against Islam and confessed his hatred for western style democracy, declaring that it had generated the multicultural society he loathed. Similarly, the female from the My Tram Experience video expressed her hatred towards multiculturalism, repeatedly shouting, “My Britain is nothing now, my Britain is f*ck-all. Sort out your own countries; don’t come and steal mine.” It seems that a significant number of Europeans are starting to worry that integration and globalisation is eradicating ‘national culture’, a belief possibly perpetuated by David
are strengthening rapidly across Europe; their expansion within the past decade has been remarkable with a strong uphold in the UK, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark and possibly more to come. The ban of the Burqa in France was a particularly significant example. It’s funny how a society that prides itself on democracy is working so studiously to destroy it. And with social media holding such an imperative part in today’s society, it has become extremely easy to create, organise and spread negative messages: propaganda at our fingertips. The danger is that those identified as ‘nonEnglish’ will become insular. Instead of integrating, they will stick to their own. I thought sending our children to the same schools as their white-British counterparts would solve the problem; that living in a country with so many different cultures would make us all want to learn more about each other; that travelling, working and eating next to each other would eventually lead to us travelling, working and eating with each other. Now I realise that I’ve been deeply naive about racism. Suddenly I find that my nationality is subject to question. How can one person prove they are more British than another? After footballer Rio Ferdinand’s younger brother was the subject of racist remarks from their fellow England player, John Terry, Rio went on to tweet “I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism... It seems it was just on mute for a while.” As the economic crisis continues to grow, so will racism – and with the Tram Lady allegedly voicing what’s on many people’s minds, it seems that the mute button has indeed, once again, been turned off.
“Suddenly I find that my nationality is subject to question. How can one person prove they are more British than another?” Cameron’s demoralising blow to multiculturalism. The prime minister of our great country berated multiculturalism for encouraging different cultures to live separate lives, for facilitating forced marriage and for initiating the process of radicalisation, leading to terrorism. Cameron was quick to highlight the dark side of integration, but it seems he failed to read up on the constructive aspects. Not only has it enhanced economic, social and cultural integration, it has acted as a vital tool in combating racism, protecting minority communities and aiding equal opportunities – how fast society forgets the positives. How easy it is to undermine years of progress. Am I surprised that far-right propaganda is on the rise? No, not at all. Populist parties
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Why Men Marry
Bitches When a relationship guru claimed that you have to be a bitch in order to keep a man, we simply had to test out the theory
By Sasha Gill
ther than the obvious crass sexual expletives, it’s one of the most offensive words you can use to describe a woman. But it would seem the bitch is back in fashion. It’s not simply a case of ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’, as much as it is to play men at their own game – out-bastard them, basically. And we’re not talking about sticking it to the sleazebags or getting one up on the users either; the objective here is to play the cold-hearted bitch to the sweetest guy in the world – the one you want to marry. So claims Sherry Argov, author of the controversial dating guide, Why Men Marry Bitches. According to her, the surefire way to get him to commit is to stop being so damn nice. Now, I’m a traditional girl at heart and have always dreamt of meeting the perfect man and having a beautiful wedding followed by lots of children in a nice house that I can bake cakes and grow old in. I managed to find the man but, two years down the line, I’m still waiting for him to ‘put a ring on it’. I’ve done everything I can to prove I’m ‘marriage material’, dropped more hints than a scattered board of Cluedo, yet the only time he’s gone down on one knee is when he’s dancing to Bhangra. Tired of waiting for the big question, I decided to ‘get my bitch on’ and see if Sherry’s theories delivered what they promised. Let the bitchiness begin...
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Turn up the heat with this trio of blazing hot lip colours.
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The Round-Up It’s all about the boys this season. With huge albums dropping left, right and centre, this couldn’t be a more exciting time for the music industry. In the States we’ve got Drake releasing his sophomore album Take Care and closer to home The Wanted are pushing their second effort, Battleground. Journeying further east, Pakistani pop-rock band Strings will be putting something new on the shelves too. Ladies, prepare yourselves for this super-talented triple-threat.
The latest industry buzz brought to you by the man who knows, Mohammad Qazalbash Follow @MoQazalbash for the latest industry gossip
Spotlight Nicki Minaj’s love affair with colour is already highly documented. Now, the Superbass singer who took over the radio waves only a year ago has paired with OPI to debut her own range of nail polish. Of course, each shade is named after one of her hit singles. The diva is now readying to release her second album. See what she has to say herself @NickiMinaj.
Introducing the Bollywood Star With all the stars that fill our sky, there are very few that shine as bright as Romy Shay. I mean, who else can boast vocals trained by Rafaqat Ali Khan, a European tour with Shah Rukh Khan and a debut music video shot with Shilpa Shetty – with an album yet to release? Shilpa spoke about Romy’s debut single: “I love the track and that is why I decided to be a part of it. I’ve said this before; Romy’s the rock star, I’m the Bollywood star and Rishi Rich is the star maker! It’s a star endeavour.” So before Romy got too busy, I managed squeeze myself some time with him.
Bollywood Star was huge! Did you expect the response you received from that record? Rishi, Vee and I had the concept for the song a long time ago. We didn’t actually record it ‘til early 2011 and to be honest, like any other debut artist, I was extremely nervous about how people were going to receive it. I’m just glad that my fans loved the track.
The video has been a sensation all over the world. What was it like to film with Shilpa Shetty? What’s amazing about Shilpa is she doesn’t take herself too seriously. We had fun on set and then we got focused and pulled it all together. It was really motivating working with someone with that mindset. She was so professional; she came on, did her thing and it was a wrap. I couldn’t thank her more.
Move Over – It’s Rita Ora
What’s next for Romy Shay? Have we got another single, album or tour in the works? I love performing so there will definitely be shows and tours in the pipeline. There is another single on the way which we are currently working on – all I can say is that it will be very different to Bollywood Star. We are also at that stage where we are deciding what songs are going on the album. I’m looking forward to giving the world my music and finally making some noise.
Some of us may recognise Rita Ora from Drake’s Over video. The Kosovo-born British singer caught the attention of Jay-Z who quietly signed her to his label, Roc Nation. She introduced herself to the world after much anticipation in a video diary series, which promised to show the good, bad, and “ugly”. She told Asian Woman magazine: “I’ve been hiding for too long; this is now time to show you all why I’m on Roc Nation.” With a record that enlists industry heavyweights like Drake, The Dream, Tricky Stewart and Stargate, Rita’s set to rattle a whole lot of cages.
Who’s the Boss? Raxstar in the Making Your album is called Faith & Patience – what made you choose that title? The title actually came to me about 10 years ago. I was thinking about what I actually needed within myself to achieve the goals I had set and those two things came to mind, faith and patience, and it has so far proved to be true.
Seven Songs Strut your stuff on the catwalk with these fashionable records. Go on, strike a pose.
Talk That Talk by Rihanna feat. Jay-Z, Def Jam/Mercury Records
The album has been your most anticipated body of work yet. How does it differ from your mixtape, About a Girl? About a Girl was essentially a breakup mixtape. It was my catharsis and all the songs and subject matter were strictly focused on a specific person and a relationship – the end of it to be precise. Faith & Patience will be more versatile content wise. I feel like it will be my love letter to music. Jaaneman has been one of your most successful records to date. Did you expect such a great response? I knew it was a special record when it was first made (around 2007). Sunit and I decided to hold on to the song until it was the right time to release it which I think we did perfectly. I was and am still overwhelmed by the response; it has really opened a lot of doors for us and I am grateful for all the support I have received. You’ve been in the industry for almost half a decade – how has the industry changed? I have a firmer understanding of the business side of the industry as well as the politics of the game now. I was naive at the beginning and I suppose I am more cynical now. Every day there are new artists, a lot of new music and a lot less support, from radio in particular. The positives, however, are that you can release your music directly to people and have direct contact with them via social networking. I think Twitter in particular is a great tool for artists to use for promotion, networking and also to speak to the people. What does the New Year bring for Raxstar? New singles, new videos, lots more collaborations plus Faith & Patience will be released in 2012.
After winning Channel 4’s Hollyoaks Unsigned Music Show with his track It’s Alright, Shide Boss sparked a bidding war between the major labels in the UK, signed with Sony Music and went on to record debut EP, Rainbow. Shide says: “I’ve enjoyed singing since a young age but only took it seriously after Hollyoaks. I used to mess around making music and then met a producer called Marcus James. He was actually the one who found out about the Hollyoaks Music Show and we entered a track we worked on together. We entered the show on the last day of entry with no real aim but to get our song It’s Alright out there.” Shide was then catapulted into the Asian music circle after his release of Ni Sohniye, a track that mirrored Massari’s 2005 Rush The Floor. What excites me about Shide Boss is that he’s part of a new wave of UK artists who are lifting the standards of British music. Personally, Shide reminds me of a Devlin stroke Plan B. Now it’s just the wait for the album which will define him and his career.
Make Me Proud by Drake Take Care, Cash Money Records/Universal Motown
It Will Rain by Bruno Mars It Will Rain, Elektra Records
Pumped Up Kicks Foster the People Torches, Columbia Records
Turn Me On by David Guetta Nothing But The Beat, EMI Music
Work Out by J. Cole Cole World: The Sideline Story, Roc Nation/RCA Records
by JoJo Jumping Trains, Interscope/ Geffen/A&M
This season’s best books, plays and exhibitions
tiger “I crawled forward on my elbows, still holding my AK in position, my forefinger stroking the trigger...” In 1987, 17-year-old Niromi de Soyza shocked her middle-class Sri Lankan family by joining the Tamil Tigers. Equipped with a rifle and a cyanide capsule, she was one of the rebels’ first female soldiers. Niromi’s group managed to survive on their wits in the jungle, facing not only the perils of war but starvation, illness and internal tensions among the Tigers.
I wish my story was a happier one, full of teenage mischief and family dramas instead of the tragedy it is. I wanted to tell the story because after the 30-year civil war ended in Sri Lanka in 2009, a boat load of Sri Lankan Tamils began arriving [here] in Australia, seeking asylum. There was a lack of understanding of the complex culture, politics and traditions of Sri Lanka. It made me realise that most information on Sri Lanka that was available outside the country was either historical or political reportage. This compelled me to share my story, although that meant I had to finally deal with the emotions I had buried away for over two decades. But the book has some light moments too – after all, I was only an ordinary teenager underneath it all, who adored my friends, the Indian actress Sri Devi, and sadly the 1980s fashion. I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the support and encouragement I have received from much of the Sri Lankan community, both Sinhala and Tamil, as well as Australians. Many have taken the time to give me detailed feedback on how it has made them feel and think. A Sinhala man from Sri Lanka told me that my story had touched him deeply and he’s thinking of sharing his story of what it was like to be on the other side. It was one of the greatest compliments I have received. I am also honoured that the book has been chosen by the Australian government’s ‘Get Reading! 2011’ campaign as one of the ‘50 Books You Can’t Put Down’. Murdered journalist Richard de Soyza had a great influence on me as a youngster which is why part of my name is based on his. In the early 1980s, television was still a novelty in Jaffna
distant countries and the casualty figures we see in news reports don’t speak to us of loss, heartache and human suffering. I also hope that Sri Lankans on both sides are encouraged by my story to come forward and share their own stories, which in turn will help others. Writing and publishing my story has been an amazing journey. From the trepidation of sharing something so personal with the entire world and having to deal with emotions I had buried away for so long, I now find myself faced with strangers telling me that I am courageous and inspiring. I’m humbled because these people have given me their time to read my story amongst the thousands of stories out there and to share their thoughts with me. Their words have helped me greatly in dealing with the emotions that are still so raw, after two long decades.
“While most teenage girls were thinking of boys, I was fighting with rifles and cyanide capsules”
While most teenage girls were thinking of boys and partying, my friends and I had been fighting a civil war with rifles and cyanide capsules around our necks and wearing the same clothes for months, enduring starvation, illness and primitive conditions. Tamil Tigress is the story of my childhood growing up in Sri Lanka during the civil war. It is told in the voice of that young person and is rich in detail as I had written the first account in 1988, the same year I left the Tigers while everything was fresh in my mind. While the setting is political, the story is personal – it’s about friendship, love and loss.
and I watched in awe when the charismatic Richard came on our small screens to read the evening English news. I later learnt that he was murdered sometime in February 1990 for his work in Human Rights and the perpetrators were never brought to justice. I am now able to honour him in my own way by having the opportunity to speak about him. There are no winners in a war and as the British philosopher Bertrand Russell put it, ‘war does not determine who is right – only who is left’. I hope to provide a humanised account of what happens to ordinary people in a civil war. We have all become desensitised to wars in
One of the best things to come out of the book is reconnecting with my past in a positive way. I am donating much of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the education of war-affected children in Sri Lanka through a charity set up by my alma mater. Education and unconditional love are the greatest gifts my parents have given me and I want these children, many of whom are orphans, to know that someone cares.
dates for your diary Bollywood C i n d e re l l a , T h e Pa n t o m i m e 7 t h - 2 4 t h D e c e m b e r, Ta r a T h e a t re This Christmas, Hardeep Singh Kohli cooks up his inimitable brand of fun for all the family in Tara Arts’ production of Bollywood Cinderella starring Maya Sondhi, Ali Zaidi, Sian Van Cuylenburg, Nitin Ranpuria, Krupa Pattani and Simon Norbury. The much-loved fairytale classic is spiced up with Indian colours, smells and sounds. Surinderella is forced to slave night and day making chappals for her Auntiji and her stepsisters Happy and Lucky, with only her Singing Veggies for company. Little does she know her luck is about to change... A neighbouring Prince, desperate to find a true heart to wed, proclaims a grand Bollywood-style Ball to find the finest chappalwearer. Will the Prince find his true love? And will Surinderella escape her fate? w w w. t a r a - a r t s . c o m
Indulge in the latest literary delights
aped Pear Sh Newman by Stella
Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Girl loses mind. Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is. An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food.
In 1998, Barghouti returned to the Occupied Territories to introduce his Cairo-born son, Tamim, to his Palestinian family. A few years later Tamim finds himself being arrested for taking part in a demonstration against the impending Iraq War. Moving back and forth in time between the 1990s and the present day, Barghouti weaves into his account of exile poignant evocations of Palestinian history and daily life – the pleasure of coffee arriving at just the right moment, the meaning of home and the importance of being able to say, standing in a small village in Palestine, ‘I was born here’ rather than saying from exile, ‘I was born there’.
Rabindranath Ta g o re : Po e t a n d Pa i n t e r
1 1 t h D e c e m b e r - 4 t h M a rc h , Vi c t o r i a a n d A l b e r t M u s e u m To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the V&A will host an exhibition of approximately 50 of his paintings from the period of 1928 to 1939, never before displayed outside India. w w w. v a m . a c . u k
T h a t G i r l i n Ye l l o w B o o t : S p e c i a l Fi l m S c re e n i n g 2 0 t h J a n u a r y, A s i a H o u s e The film traces Ruth’s (Kalki Koechlin) search for her father, a man she hardly knew but cannot forget. Torn between several schisms, Mumbai becomes the alien but yet strangely familiar backdrop for Ruth’s quest. She struggles to find her independence even as she is sucked deeper into the labyrinthine politics of the city’s underbelly. A city that feeds on her misery, a love that eludes her and above all, a devastating truth that she must encounter. w w w. a s i a h o u s e . o r g
,I I Was Born Here There Was Born Barghouti
ard’s Tale The Cobyw Vanessa Gebbie Laddy Merridew, sent to live with his grandmother, stumbles off the bus into a small Welsh mining community where he begins an unlikely friendship with Ianto Passchendaele Jenkins, the town beggarstoryteller. Through Ianto’s stories, Laddy is drawn into both the town’s history and the conundrums of the present. The Coward’s Tale is a powerfully imagined, poetic and haunting novel, spiked with humour. It is a story of kinship and kindness, guilt and atonement, and the ways in which we carve the present out of an unforgiving past.
UNDOMESTIC GODDESS SERVING UP LIFE, WITHOUT THE SUGAR COATING
The rise of trashion
Is ‘sexy but stupid’ this decade’s hottest trend so far?
t’s hard to make the tabloids for doing something smart.” This astute observation from singer Pink is perhaps truer today than in 2006 when her single Stupid Girls raced towards the top of the charts. An incisive look at celebrity culture, the song’s video lampooned singers like Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson who seem to enjoy slathering their bodies over soap-sudded cars wearing itsy bitsy bikinis – an extreme caricature of what is deemed ‘sexy’. I understood it; it was giving the masses what they wanted in order to turn a dollar or two million. It was young women playing the game; writhing against men in airplane toilets to secure their financial future. It was acting stupid to double the sexy. I accepted it. In these very pages I have acknowledged how a wellplaced giggle or subtle touch on an arm can gently manoeuvre someone in a certain direction. The Christinas of the world were just taking that to the extreme in order to reap the juicy benefits; money, fame, the best seats at expensive restaurants, that Emilio Pucci dress I saw in Stylist magazine a few weeks ago and just couldn’t afford. The airhead act then spread from the upper echelons of celebrity to the glamour girls and WAGs of Britain. Jordan and Jodie Marsh began to compete for who could say the most gormless thing while being papped wearing the least amount of clothes (I’d say Jodie won with her three-belt ensemble). It was hard to know how to react to these women. Smart females are supposed to despise women who pretend to be stupid because they ‘let the side down’ but it’s hard to feel smug when these so-called stupid women are signing sevenfigure endorsement deals, peddling their own perfume and writing bestselling books, not to mention their wardrobes full of Chanel (and, yes, my Pucci dress in every colour).
My choices then were threefold: I could go with the Daily Mail response (these promiscuous witches are meant to be role models – this country’s gone to the dogs!), the post-feminist response (you go, girl! If you’ve got it, flaunt it!) and the sensible aunt response (those poor girls, what is going to happen to them when they lose their looks?). I tentatively chose the third option until I saw something more pernicious taking place. ‘Vapid vogue’, or ‘trashion’ as the girls in the office call it, slowly became du jour not only on our screens and magazines but on our streets as well. The
“It’s hard to feel smug when these so-called stupid women are signing 7-figure endorsement deals”
checkout girl at my local Tesco would scan my vegetables with her glittery nails, lashes caked in mascara, hair extensions down to her navel. And then I would notice the girl on the bus speaking in text-speak. “That’s TMI, babe,” she would giggle vacuously. “OMG, I’m at my stop. I’ll TTYL.” Trashion spread from mere appearance to language and culture itself. It became clear that whether you are stupid or just choose to appear that way, stupidity had become very ‘now’. Or rather, it had become passé to disapprove of stupidity, which amounts to the same thing. Where women once fiercely endeavoured to prove their intelligence, it seems one now has to dumb down to remain relevant. The schoolyard mentality of the ‘cool kids’ skipping class and failing exams has somehow permeated our ‘grownup’ psyche. If we’re speaking the Queen’s English, then we must be out of touch. Take the Asian Woman magazine offices where we tease each other
if we’re not au fait with the latest acronyms (fyi, fomo is our fave atm). Colloquialisms have become the preserve of not just the uneducated but also the cool. In fact, where ditzy women were once ridiculed, it seems they have now become endearing, be it X-Factor’s Stacey Solomon or TOWIE’s Amy Childs. Stupid is no longer just sexy, but somehow also sweet. But how can we explain this sudden shift? Surely Christina and Jessica can’t be blamed for our languishing culture and language too? I suspect there are two culprits at play. The first and most obvious is the advent of social networking and electronic communication. When one is forced to communicate in 140 characters, it is prudent to use ‘TTYL’ instead of ‘talk to you later’ or chastise someone for sharing ‘TMI’ instead of ‘too much information’. These colloquialisms then naturally enter the vernacular, even taking root in an office full of journalists where words are supposed to be sacred. The second likely reason is the current financial climate. In the 80s, the age of beemers and yuppies, it was cool to be ostentatiously wealthy. Don Johnson with his flashy suits epitomised the zeitgeist. Now we associate these things with the public’s enemy number one; the ‘bastard bankers’ who hung a whole country out to dry. These days, it’s not okay to drive a Porsche, and if you are, then you damn well better have a localised accent. We don’t mind the Essex-born wheeler dealer who accrued his wealth though backroom deals but the trader with the tailored suit? Well, he can burn in hell. The temple of trashion permits wealth but only if you favour diamante over diamonds and velour over Vera. Personally, I would always choose ‘smart’ over ‘sexy and stupid’, but it seems the tide has turned against this way of thinking. The rise of trashion has manifested into a living, breathing phenomenon that has spread its tentacles over every part of popular culture, dragging us firmly into the Age of Stupid.