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ISSUE145∫ NovEmbEr2016 PINK ISSUE145∫ NovEmbEr2016

PUTTING EATING DISORDERS IN ORDER Weightlifting out of a life on a few crackers a week one man’s ups and downs of yo-yo dieting, bulimia and being fit battling a bad relationship with food in kids

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE The Pink Fashion Show sets the scene for the season’s top trends at the national theatre Female directors, producers and playwrights on performances for children


November 2016 FEATURES

14 InFocus lifting myself out of an eating disorder Regaining precious kilos post-anorexia 20 LifeStyle back on track One man’s struggle – and success – with weight 25 PrivateEye demystifying my mysterious illness Alternative therapy for an unexplained sickness 28 ArtyFacts leading ladies Theatre for children through the eyes of women




REGULARS FASHION 47 ShowStopper curtain call Don’t let anyone upstage you this season 59 FashionStory you know me and you don’t Lily-Rose Depp in depth

HEALTH 67 BeautyParlour facing up to air pollution Skin contamination under control 73 HealthBites 75 PinkShrink the key to productivity Happiness helps you perform 77 ParentingTips weight watching Preventing a disordered relationship with food

9 EditorsNote 10 MailShot 39 WomanKind the Greek tragedy Christina Onassis 64 ThinkPink fashion & things 81 ThinkPink health & beauty 82 GirlTalk hair and nail it Manicures, pedicures, blow-dries and other mundane grooming 86 TableTalk a bit of fun on the side Toasted couscous with beetroots or carrots and a coriander or dill dressing 89 StarGazer the future is pink Horoscopes 90 SnapShot swinging gypsy style Angela Vella Zarb



COVER Photography Steven Levi Vella [] ∫ Styling Marisa Grima [] ∫ Hair Alberto Spiteri, Screen Hair Care Malta ∫ Make-up Chris Attard, Franks, using Guerlain ∫ Location Manoel Theatre ∫ Model Amy @ Supernova Model Management, wearing jacket, €99.95; top, €29.95; skirt, €59.95; boots, €69.95, all United Colors of Benetton.

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Photography Sean Mallia


Valletta is really happening. It has been for a while now, but since I can’t really call it my second home any more, seeing as I stopped doing everything but sleeping in the city, the changes are even more noticeable after each short absence. Eateries are in abundance, and decent too, with a good mix of food and flair. Gone are the days of having to choose between the same old soggy sandwich, with white bread and butter, and the tasteless, unimaginative salad, with boring big tomato wedges, uncouth cucumber and the remnants of a lousy carrot, slouching on a bed of wilted leaves. And there is life too. Places are even packed on weekdays and the ghosts that once roamed the streets past 6pm have had to find another hang-out. Then there’s atmosphere… and it’s not of the spooky sort. It’s actually the type that is transmitted through the architecture, the lighting, the physical surroundings… in an uncontrived way.

Because let’s face it, Valletta is probably one of the only areas in Malta that hasn’t yet lost its charm due to rampant development/ destruction, though I won’t hold my breath there either. [Mistakes are still being made here and that typical tackiness somehow always manages to infiltrate the scene. On entering Marsamxett Harbour, some scary sights of sheer white walls rising in stark contrast with the city’s honeycoloured stone cannot be ignored. And at the rate we’re going, who knows if a high-rise building will wade across the water some day?] But back to the capital as we know it today… It’s a pleasure to witness its revival over time and watch it take on modern city status, always within its historical context and in total respect of that. And it is with pleasure that the seventh edition of The Pink Fashion Show, a Times of Malta event, is going to town, in more ways than one. Valletta per se offers a good night out, and The Pink Fashion Show promises to make it one to remember, not least because of the chosen venue, Malta’s national theatre. The Manoel is a jewel – a jewellery box setting that befits a glamorous event, where fashion and culture fuse again, and the catwalk turns into an experience, more than just a mere one-dimensional show. There’s something about theatres, or the Manoel really… It’s the smell; that sense of show biz lingering in the air; the creaking sound of wooden floorboards; the spotlight in the dark; the velvet, brocade and gold fringing…

The Manoel… it’s got that resplendent, elegant and classy aura, and yet it feels accessible. It’s so ornate, and yet so homely. It’s so majestic, and yet so cosy. There’s something about the sound of the ruffling of coats as the audience packs the auditorium and settles in their seats; the soothing cacophony of the tuning of instruments; the energised chatter and sudden silence as the curtain is raised; those heavy curtains, weighing down on the stage and separating the audience from what’s going on behind the scenes, firing up a spark of curiosity… Even if your last experience on stage was traumatic and dates back to Sixth Form days, there’s something luring about the backstage buzz: the blinding bulbs on the mirrors; the elaborate costumes; the caked make-up… the transformation… the nerves. During this issue’s pre-show shoot at the Manoel, it all came rushing back… from nowhere. Treading those dark squeaky floors, making our way through a maze of props waiting to be brought to life, with sawdust captured in the beam of one solitary stage light, its smell hanging in the still air… yes, it is doubtless that backstage has its own appeal. Behind the scenes is always alluring and the Pink show brings it to the fashion forefront. Enjoy it captured in the ShowStopper photo shoot from page 47. And learn more about other upcoming theatrical events in store in this issue, where “all the world’s a stage”.

November 13, 2016 ∫ Pink is a monthly magazine ∫ Issue 145 ∫ Executive editor Fiona Galea Debono ∫ Publisher Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Printing Progress Press Ltd ∫ Production Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Contributors Chris Attard, Maria Cachia, Claudia Calleja, Andrea Faye Christians, Edward Curmi, Claire Diacono, Mary Galea Debono, Marisa Grima, Jeffrey Muscat, Helen Raine, Stephanie Satariano, Alberto Spiteri, Virginia, Shelley Von Strunckel ∫ Design Manuel Schembri ∫ Photography Chris Sant Fournier, Nellas Fotography, Steven Levi Vella, Mark Zammit Cordina ∫ Advertising sales Veronica Grech Sant [2559 4706;].


© 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole, or in part, without written permission of the publishers, is prohibited.

Pink November 2016 ∫ 9


THE LETTER THAT TICKLED PINK TOUCHING A NERVE Dear editor, I really felt compelled to write this time as this issue really hit home. All the articles were so empowering to women, with great inspiring stories. But the most touching for me was Little & Mighty [PrivateEye, October 2016]. As a health professional, I was taught about these situations and how to deal with them, but once you encounter a client going through it, you realise people don't really open up, so all you can offer is sympathetic words. This article really brought to light how parents feel when they have to juggle family and personal medical problems. It really hit a nerve! Many thanks. ELIZA GRECH, VIA E-MAIL

TREAT ME NORMALLY Pink always inspires me with all its great features. In this month’s edition, the story Little & Mighty [PrivateEye, October 2016] inspired me a lot. I really admire the courage of people with cancer. I feel they should always be surrounded by great friends and family. They should be treated just like they always were before their diagnosis. I believe in no discomfort in their presence, no groping for the right words, but just being old friends and family and having a chat. It really means a lot to cancer patients to be treated normally; and even to kids with health issues. RAMONA PORTELLI, FROM MOSTA

The writer of the letter of the month wins a Carven Pour Homme eau de toilette, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd.

MOVED TO TEARS Dear editor, I was very glad to find my Pink issue today, nestled among my The Sunday Times of Malta pages. I love Pink. In fact, as soon as I find it, I quickly go and put it on my bedside table to read leisurely while I’m having my rest. As usual, I loved everything about this issue: the information about fashion, health, and all the other regulars. But as always, your features grabbed my attention. I’m a mum and a grandmother, and reading Little & Mighty [PrivateEye, October 2016] moved me to tears. Looking at that beautiful angel, enjoying special bonding time with his mum on the swings, you would never guess the health problems both of them are going through. I really admire Lorinda Mamo’s guts in coming here on Pink and sharing with us her emotions in a time like this that must be shockingly worrying both for her and her husband. How precious a parent’s love to be willing to donate a kidney to your son! Lorinda’s husband earned all my esteem. And these two caring parents wanted to educate other young parents about Prune Belly Syndrome, an illness most of us never heard about. I wish them better times for the future and promise them my prayers. May the staunch hope Lorinda bears never falter. I wish them all the best from the bottom of my heart! JOSETTE CHETCUTI, FROM ST PAUL'S BAY


We want to hear from you. Send us your feedback on Pink and any stories that may have touched you in some way, and you stand a chance of winning a voucher for a Sunday family buffet lunch for two adults, excluding drinks, at the Cavalieri Art Hotel []; a Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd. Write to Pink, with your contact details, at Allied Newspapers Ltd, 341, Strickland House, St Paul Street, Valletta VLT 1211, or send an e-mail to

Correspondence may be edited for length and clarity. If prizes are not claimed within two months, they will no longer be available.

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TREAT ME NORMALLY Dear Pink, well done for your publication. I look forward to every issue and love reading every article in my free time. This is one of my ‘simple pleasures’. That is why the article that touched me is, in fact, Simple Pleasures [ParentingTips, October 2016]. As a mother and also as a primary school teacher, I found this article extremely educational and interesting. What a good idea it is to allow children to spend time alone in order to learn how to strike a balance between work, fun and enjoyment. Going on a picnic and exploring nature, reciting stories before tucking up for bed, or doing crafts together are activities children love. It’s good for us parents to take time for ourselves too to relax, reflect and rejuvenate since we cannot pour from an empty cup. PAULINE CILIA, FROM SANTA VENERA



Photography Nellas Fotography

14 ∫ Pink November 2016



eating disorder Joanne Ellul Lanfranco went from eating a single packet of crackers in a whole week to obsessing about all things organic and being consumed instead by tiring self-imposed rules. After battling eating disorders for a decade, she discovered a passion that allowed her to build the strength – literally – to keep moving forward. She tells CLAUDIA CALLEJA how weightlifting helped her pick herself back up and regain the precious kilos she had lost.


oing to sleep with pain shooting through her stomach was bliss for Joanne Ellul Lanfranco, who would smile as she held her tummy and crouched in bed. The pain was not hunger. She had stopped feeling hunger. It was her insides contracting from the lack of food. To her this meant one thing – success. She had managed to spend a whole day without one bite of food. “Many people assume that anorexia is the result of thinking you’re fat. For me, this had nothing to do with it. I never looked in the mirror and thought I was fat. It was all about control,” the 28-year-old says, with the comfort of hindsight as she sits at her kitchen table. The kitchen cupboards are white and bright green. “I like bright colours and light,” she says as she goes on to talk about the 10 dark years she spent battling eating disorders.

All about control It all started when she was 18, after her boyfriend broke up with her. “I hated that there was nothing I could do. I needed to stop thinking about him. I needed something I could focus on. This something became food. It was a means of control. My goal was to go to bed without having eaten anything,” she says. But to stick to her plans, she started getting tangled in a web of lies. She would tell her mother she ate at university. She also took on more weekend shifts at her part-time job, just to avoid being home for lunch. On one occasion, she even lied about having plans with friends to get out of her parents’ anniversary dinner. “Back then, I was happy I got out of it, but now, looking back, I feel so guilty. My only priority was not eating

anything. The problem is that food is everywhere. I stopped going out with friends to avoid having to eat,” she says, adding that she soon lost touch with everyone. Instead, she went for long walks on her own – not to lose weight initially – but to avoid being around people who wanted to “shove food” down her throat. As time passed, the obsession with controlling her food intake evolved into an obsession to control her weight. She dropped from 55 to 35 kilos in a few months. There were weeks when all she ate was a packet of crackers – usually on a Wednesday – for the entire week. And the day she ate the crackers, she’d make sure she went for a longer walk.


Fighting body and mind “I would see that I was losing weight. But, to me, it wasn’t a problem. I was happy,” she says as she goes on to list a range of physical symptoms she suffered… but ignored. Her muscles shrank and her bones weakened. Her body became hairier and she started suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, among other symptoms. “My brother Domenic, with whom I shared a room, used to tell my mother he’d smell a particular smell coming out of me at night. By body was eating itself,” she says. Then there were the psychological repercussions. “I felt I didn’t deserve happiness, so I stopped doing what I enjoyed – like watching TV and shopping. I was always Pink November 2016 ∫ 15

INFOCUS tried on a pair of trousers I once struggled to close and they fell off me. On another occasion, I pulled my hair back to expose by boney cheeks and she burst into tears again. She was always trying to take me to a doctor,” Joanne adds.

Time for medical help Eventually, Joanne agreed to go with her mother to their family doctor, who suggested going to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist did not go down well with Joanne – especially when he told her mother she’d be going to her funeral if the situation persisted. “I wasn’t angry because he implied I might die. I got angry because he was trying to take away my control; because of him, my mother would insist on me eating. I remember, when we left his clinic, I promised my mother I’d eat a sandwich. Later, I went for a walk and took the sandwich with me. Of course, I didn’t eat it. My mother really trusted me,” she reflects.

“ I REMEMBER, ONE TIME, MY MOTHER BURST INTO TEARS WHEN I TRIED ON A PAIR OF TROUSERS I ONCE STRUGGLED TO CLOSE AND THEY FELL OFF ME. ON ANOTHER OCCASION, I PULLED MY HAIR BACK TO EXPOSE BY BONEY CHEEKS AND SHE BURST INTO TEARS AGAIN” After that, Joanne continued avoiding food and lying about it. But then, slowly, something started to shift. “I’d go through phases. I’d see students at university having fun and eating a baguette. I’d buy a baguette and eat it. But then I’d make up for it with a long walk,” she says. Slowly, Joanne started getting tired of lying and feeling miserable all the time. “I was exhausted. I decided to go to a psychologist. This was about two years after it had all started. My turning point was when I started seeing people and thinking: why are they happy and I’m not?”

From one disorder to another

alone. The sound of my voice bothered me. I was getting sadder and sadder. I felt I was not part of the world. I’d go for a walk on the Sliema front and see people around me, all so happy. I did not deserve that happiness,” she says. This all took a toll on her relationship with her parents, Anna and Joseph, who were constantly worried about her. “I used to be a bubbly person, but I stopped smiling and did not talk to my family to avoid the topic of food. I remember, one time, my mother burst into tears when I 16 ∫ Pink November 2016

Her psychologist helped her realise she needed food for energy. That was when her eating disorder morphed from anorexia to orthorexia – an obsession with eating food considered healthy. “I decided I had to start eating, but I had to ensure what I ate was pure, healthy and organic. My obsession was now directed at the quality of the food. I was restricted. I’d have to pick and cook food myself and would not eat out. I also had lots of rules – if I had nuts for breakfast, I couldn’t have nuts again that day. It was tiring,” she says, adding that even though she was eating, she remained underweight. Then, on her psychologist’s recommendation, she started going to Yoga at a local gym. This eventually led to her

INFOCUS attending the gym and trying out weights. She immediately liked the experience. Although it frustrated her that she was too weak to lift them, she saw an exciting challenge. With time, Joanne agreed to start taking medication, which she had resisted for fear it would contaminate her body. “As I was told, the mind is an organ like any other. Sometimes, it needs medication to heal,” she says, adding that the antidepressants she started taking helped her clear her thoughts. “I understood that, for me, it was healthy to eat a burger, or a pizza, as I needed to increase body weight.” With the help of a nutritionist, Joanne started eating a wider variety of food. This was not easy since, initially, she found it hard to ingest what she thought might harm her. But her mother supported her throughout.

From obsession to passion With her strength coming back, Joanne turned her focus to weights, attracted by the challenge of increasing her power. Then, in August last year, weighing 35 kilos, she started going to Kevin Pisani, a sports therapist and nutritional coach, specialising in weightlifting.

18 ∫ Pink November 2016

INFOCUS She finally started gaining weight. With a mix of healthy food and training, she gained 11 kilos. As her strength increased, she also started lifting heavier weights, loving the challenge that came with increasing the kilos she could lift. Soon after, she started preparing for her first powerlifting competition last month. Her greatest achievement, however, remains picking herself back up and overcoming her eating disorders – with the support of her family and a range of professionals. Now her goal is to help others. “I really want others, who might be going through something similar, to understand that we need food for energy and the mind does not function properly without it. If you are in this situation, you need professional help and there’s nothing wrong with it,” she says. “I’m a different person today. I’m laughing again. I wanted a new life. I was tired of living with those negative thoughts. With an eating disorder, you feel trapped. I was not free. Now I still eat healthy, but it does not have to be organic. It’s no longer difficult to have a cheat day and eat a pizza. I feel happy. I feel free.”

Understanding eating disorders Eating disorders can affect anyone, from children as young as five to elderly people in their 70s, and irrespective of gender, according to clinical psychologist Dorothy Scicluna. But what causes these specific disorders? Dr Scicluna, who specialises in the matter, explains that eating disorders are considered to be mental health disorders because the sufferers lose the ability to recognise they are putting themselves in danger. They are also considered psychiatric disorders due to the high rate of mortality associated with them and also because of their co-morbidity to depression and anxiety. “When an eating problem develops, it is often masking other underlying psychological issues. There could be several triggers to these disorders, the primary one being dietary restraint. A person will start to restrain eating as a means of controlling, or rather managing, the non-manageable in life. Other triggers are the person’s personality, personal life history, culture and media, teasing and bullying,” Dr Scicluna says. The sufferer is initially pleased to be able to manage this one area of life, which then starts to take priority. The decrease in food intake goes on to alter brain chemistry, which leads to the obsessive way of thinking about weight, shape and food that is characteristic of eating disorders. Dr Scicluna goes on to add that most eating disorders can be dealt with. “If a diet seems to be failing, seek the immediate help of a registered dietician or nutritionist. If thoughts around weight and shape seem to be taking over, seek the help of a psychologist, psychotherapist, or another medical professional, who will be able to guide you in the right direction. Most importantly, do not feel ashamed. There is help out there,” she says.

Support is available When Joanne was battling with her eating disorders, there was little support for people going through the experience. But since then, things have changed with the opening of Dar Kenn Ghal Sahhtek. “The purpose of Dar il-Kenn was that, for the first time in Malta, patients with disorders related to eating would have all their treatment by a multidisciplinary team in a single appropriate place,” says Dr Anton Grech, who chairs Fondazzjoni Kenn Ghal Sahhtek. The foundation offers both residential and out-patient holistic treatment for people suffering from eating disorders and obesity. It also serves as a halfway home for residents receiving treatment with a view to being re-integrated into society. Patients are followed by a multidisciplinary team, composed of various professions, including psychiatrists, dietitians, nutritionists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and nursing aides. For more information, visit the Facebook page Kenn Ghal Sahhtek, or call on 2145 3690.

Pink November 2016 ∫ 19


Back on track When we think of eating disorders, we tend to think of women. But fashion photographer and software architect Kurt Paris has also gone down the bulimia route and struggled with weight loss over his 34 years of life. Once upon a time, what he hated most about himself was feeling uncomfortable just walking up a flight of stairs. But today, he is in a good place. And he opens up on how he literally ran to reach it…

20 ∫ Pink November 2016



t’s not the first time Kurt Paris has dieted… and failed. In the course of his long battle with weight, he recalls the scales yelling something close to 114 kilos, and in his Sixth Form days, he suffered from bulimia. But this time round, things seem to have changed. He’s lost around 30 life-changing kilos – in a healthy and positive way – and is showing no signs of throwing in the towel, or throwing up. So where did it start from and will it ever end? Kurt has always been “a bit chubby”, but he thinks the real issue is that he would always look for the quick fix. He’s tried most diets, and the truth is, they all work. The problem starts once you stop. “Food is my ultimate stress relief, and it’s surprisingly easy to go into I-couldn’t-care-less mode, which starts off as a day, turns into a week and then a month of being off track. Before you know it, you’ve put on half the weight you lost and you start to wonder if it’s worth continuing…” In Sixth Form, Kurt was bulimic. He would eat… and purge. And the scariest part was that, at the time, it seemed like a good idea: eat anyway, and throw up the calories. “I remember my hair had thinned and I had vomited what looked like blood, but even that wasn’t really enough to stop. Funnily enough – not that there is anything funny about it – I don’t ever remember being worried about my health while in it. It’s more of a realisation of just how much you hurt your body [and the minds of everyone around you] after you manage to get out of it,” Kurt admits. In fact, he honestly doesn’t know how he emerged from that tunnel: “I just remember being in a good place and relatively happy with my life at the time, and I just stopped purging. I did end up putting on a lot of weight relatively quickly after that, so it was a bit of a shock. But I think going down that road isn’t really a risk any more – once you see it for what it is, the appeal is gone.”

our meals and be a bit extra healthy the next day if we’ve been naughty.” But the most important trick for Kurt is to really clear away any possible excuses for the brain. For example, if you hate the traffic to and from the gym, find one that’s within walking distance of your work, or home; if you like snacking, fill the house with fruit and protein-based snacks, which are low in calories and quite satisfying. Other tips include what he terms “excuse elimination”: Anything that could go wrong, or trigger the I-don’t-feellike-doing-it-today reflex should be carefully eradicated. In Kurt’s case, his gym is close to work, and his gym bag is prepared once a week and contains at least five outfits, so if he misses packing it one day, he’s set anyway. Moreover, he is lucky to have a chef at work and access to healthy meals on a daily basis. And even if you don’t have the time to source and cook your own food, healthy readymade alternatives like Plan H exist, he points out. Kurt started this latest diet loosely some time before Christmas, but realistically, you could say he took it seriously after the New Year – “we went on a family trip over the holidays and let’s just say the Paris clan know how to eat!” So what triggered it off again? “Back from the trip, as I walked up the stairs to my office – because the lift was being serviced – I almost exploded. Also, at work, we were a team of four, and I was the only one who wasn’t exercising at the time, so peer pressure pushed me too. “And another factor was the smartwatch my wife had bought me for Christmas. It’s with you all day and it tracks your steps, heart rate and what not, so I turned it into a game, trying to see how many steps I could do in a day… and I do well with games.” Kurt started tracking his weight at around 106 kilos and currently weighs 76.something. The bulk of it was lost over the first few months, and recently, he’s been focusing on building more muscle, rather than just dieting, although he lives on vegetables, meat and fish.

“I REMEMBER MY HAIR HAD THINNED AND I HAD VOMITED WHAT LOOKED LIKE BLOOD, BUT EVEN THAT WASN’T REALLY ENOUGH TO STOP” Over the years, Kurt has dieted, lost weight, and put it back on. And he is not alone. So where do we go wrong? Everyone is different, but he believes “the biggest problem is that we focus mostly on the diet and how it will make us lose weight. And it will! However, the truth is that we should be focusing on our minds; on training in checks and balances that will allow us to eat pretty much whatever we want in moderation”. Although it took him a while to accept it, exercise does help. “For men in particular, building more muscle mass means you are using more calories even when you’re doing nothing,” Kurt explains from experience. “Then it’s about being able to balance

In his other life, he is an award-winning fashion photographer, in almost daily contact with stick-thin models and ‘responsible’, to a certain extent, for pushing and promoting that unattainable super lean look. So what does he think of the media’s influence on body image? Guilty as sin? “Yes and no. The ‘myth’ that the camera adds weight is actually not a myth, unfortunately. So models will always need to be a little bit thinner. And it’s the same for height – clothes look much better over a tall frame, especially a lean one, since all the lines remain straight as the designer intended. “As such, I think the media [fashion and other forms of advertising] try to create a perfect world that makes people aspire to, and ultimately, buy whatever product it is they are selling. The good news is that if you follow social Pink November 2016 ∫ 21

LIFESTYLE media like Instagram, which tends to be a bit closer to what people want, there is a big rise in fitness and you see more fit models than super skinny ones.” But surely the media – and his own fashion work – has had its effect on him. Hanging around models, even male, and fashion scenes could easily reinforce the want and need to be fit and slim. “It makes me feel… short. But no, I don’t really think being around models affected me at all. While I respect them and count many as friends, the truth is, when you are working, you see them as visual elements in the final image, so there is a bit of a disconnect as a photographer.

Kurt in his “chubbier” days.

“WHEN A FAT BOY [ME!] LOOKED AT A TREADMILL, HE SAW A MACHINE OF DOOM, TIREDNESS, PAIN AND SWEAT. AND THE TRUTH IS THAT EXERCISING WHEN YOU’RE UNFIT IS NOT FUN – AT ALL” “The need [and want] to be well dressed, on the other hand, was an issue. While I like the male body, I personally do not find larger men attractive, so when I used to look at myself in the mirror, I was rarely happy with my outfit due to my size.” Despite his efforts with weight loss, Kurt cannot be described as vain, or obsessed with his physical appearance. On the contrary, he has always been “proudest of my mind over my looks”. It’s only recently that he’s been taking a bit more pride in his body “because when you see it transform with exercise, it is something really impressive”. In fact, for the first time in his life, he claims to be enjoying exercise. And yes, ultimately, enjoyment is the key to success. “In my case, I had the luxury of having a group of friends at work to go to the gym with. Around lunchtime, we’d head out together and this made everything much more fun, especially in the beginning, which is the hardest part. “Truth be told, it only takes a few months to adjust. Back in August, we went on a long trip to the US and I was happy the hotel had a gym…” And the fact that Kurt actually used it is all the more significant when you consider where he is coming from. “When a fat boy [me!] looked at a treadmill, he saw a machine of doom, tired22 ∫ Pink November 2016

ness, pain and sweat. And the truth is that exercising when you’re unfit is not fun – at all. You run a higher risk of injury [my ankles were not happy with me trying to play squash] and you get tired very quickly. So the body is conditioned to feel negative towards it. “With weight training, there is much less of this, and the good thing is that you are still exercising. Initially, I would start off with very little and light cardio [around five minutes] and then around 30 to 40 minutes of various weights with varying intensity. “As the body grows fitter, the pain starts to go away and you can really enjoy what you are doing. Case in point: running. I hated it! I thought it was a bad idea, and even as a child, I was one of those who walked around the track when we had to do our two laps at the start of PE.” Being able to run around is actually really new to him, he admits. And even though it’s still tiring and hard, a morning run really fills him up with energy. A typical week in Kurt’s life sees him go to the gym around three times for under an hour [including shower time], starting off with a 10-minute run, and then doing three to four weight exercises. “I’m currently trying to hit many of the muscle groups in one session since I read in an article that this is ideal for weight loss. However, you never really know if the ‘science’ behind these articles is fact. For me, the most important thing is to vary my programme every couple of months, otherwise it gets boring. “Twice a week in the mornings, I meet up with some other friends for a run around Santa Lucija [although the morning traffic has been disrupting this a little] since there is a circular 2km route around the town, which makes it easy for people to come and go as they wish. “Having a shower in the office helps and it’s really something every workplace should have as it allows cycling to work and other forms of exercise in the area.” Kurt believes it is uncommon for men to admit to certain things like yo-yo dieting and eating disorders they may be going through since “we have to keep up the image of Hulk most of the time”. However, he adds, sometimes, when talking about weight issues, you get a couple of guys admitting to having been there too, so he’s not such a rare breed after all. His message to men who want to lose weight and find it challenging, or who have maybe gone so far that they are slipping through the net and getting consumed by eating disorders, is to make it fun. “Make it easy on yourself and you will only need to push hard for a few months. Then it becomes day to day. This really hit home when I was renewing my gym membership after six months. I had already lost most of the weight and completely changed my outlook towards exercise and only six months had passed. I couldn’t believe it.” And finally, is he afraid this passion for exercise could be just another passing obsession, or does he feel he’s really found himself here? “I do tend to be an obsessive person. In fact, barring computer gaming and photography, I’ve had countless hobbies that I got into for a while and then stopped just as abruptly. However, this seems to have become quite an integral part of my day-today life, so we’ll see. Hopefully, this time, the weight will stay off. Time will tell… Whatever the case, at the end of the day, after his exercise regimes and healthy food intake, what he likes most about his new self now, is “still my brain”.


Johanna Galea Photography Mark Zammit Cordina


f you meet Johanna Galea today, you see a woman with an infectious smile, whose eyes sparkle with vitality. But a year ago, you would not have recognised her. Indeed, she hardly recognised herself. Johanna’s personal journey back to health has been remarkable – all the more because it was a road that took her from the depths of despair and scepticism to embrace what many would describe as an alternative therapy that succeeded where conventional medicine as we know it failed. “When I look back, I realise I had it all – a wonderful family, a loving husband and my health. I was also a keen triathlete and sport was something I enjoyed. “When the symptoms started, they came quite out of the blue. In February 2015, I just woke up one day and felt ill. “At first, I thought I just had a virus as I had gastric-flu-like symptoms, but when, three month later, I was still unwell and vomiting up to 20 times a day, I seriously began to wonder what was going on.”

Demystifying my mysterious illness Johanna Galea has journeyed from the depths of despair, being almost housebound due to an unexplained sickness that saw her body react even to someone’s shampoo. She tells ANDREA FAYE CHRISTIANS that alternative techniques have brought her back from the brink and hope in her future has been restored.

Pink November 2016 ∫ 


By this point, Johanna had undergone blood tests, a gastroscopy and ultrasound, but the results had all come back normal, leaving doctors baffled. By September of last year, she had lost eight kilos. In an attempt to keep going, she had managed to establish a pattern whereby eliminating certain foods would give short-term relief before the symptoms would return. However, this resulted in Johanna being able to only eat eight foods, with a diet that would be unsustainable in the long term. Finally, in desperation, she went to the UK to visit a dietician and food allergist, who discovered she not only had extreme food intolerances, but also Multiple Chemical Sensitivity [MCS]. The latter made it impossible for her to live a normal life as even being in a room with someone wearing perfume or using a certain shampoo could trigger a reaction. “I remember wanting to go to Mass and almost passing out as I entered the church because of my reaction to the various chemicals such as deodorant and hairspray that people were wearing. After this, it became too traumatic to go out in public and I became almost housebound. “Fortunately, my boss was supportive and was I able to continue working from home, but I had simultaneously developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and some days, I could hardly get out of bed to get a drink of water and wasn’t able to work more than six hours a week.”  ∫ Pink November 2016

Johanna recalls the relief she felt when MCS was finally diagnosed in November 2015. It remains in her memory as a defining moment. Up until that point, she had not known where to direct what little energy she had to try and understand what was happening to her. “At least, I finally had something to focus on and I started to do a lot of research on MCS. But the results weren’t very encouraging. Part of me was already starting to accept that my life was never going to be the same, and although I was researching a cure, I was also frightened of being disappointed yet again. “You could say I’d reached absolute rock bottom. Then I read about something called Dynamic Neural Retraining System, created by Annie Hopper [a limbic system retraining and rehabilitation specialist]. DNRS is based on something called neural plasticity and basically suggests that the brain can change and relearn certain reactions. It supports the theory that many of the difficult-to-diagnose illnesses, such as Fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression, chronic pain, as well as Electro Hypersensitivity Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, together with the ones I had, may be traced back to an earlier trauma.” In Johanna’s case, she thinks it’s likely it was due to a bout of glandular fever that she had suffered some years before.

“Of course, this goes against the grain of conventional medicine and I was very sceptical in the beginning. Who wouldn’t be? But although my doctors were very supportive, no one could come up with any answers. So I had got to the point where I thought there was nothing to lose and I started the course.” The seminars are mostly based in Canada, and as many people can’t travel, there is also the option of learning the techniques by DVD, which is what Johanna did. Although she still had her doubts, when she started doing the course, she noticed an immediate improvement. As it is relatively new, conventional medical opinion may maintain that DNRS is still medically unsubstantiated, but Johanna maintains there is currently research underway in Canada between two leading universities to study its effectiveness, along with many testimonials online of people like herself who insist it has changed their lives. The four-part DVD series includes segments of a three-day seminar held in 2010, as well as various exercises, principles, homework instructions and two guided meditations. “I am not a medical expert and can only say that this worked for me and I want to share with others that this therapy can work for a whole list of conditions. I’ve created my website and a blog with more information, as when I was ill, I was constantly meeting people like me who just felt overwhelmed and unable to get answers. “My aim is to raise awareness and to give hope to anyone reading this; anyone who is suffering, or knows someone in such a situation. You may think like I did initially – that there is no hope. But I encourage people to have an open mind. “I came back from the brink and now feel completely restored and live a normal and healthy life and can go where I want and eat what I please. I have even started running again. I can honestly say practising DNRS transformed my life.” To find out more about Johanna’s story, check out




Theatre for children is vital because it sparks their imagination and expands their view of the world, according to the female producers, directors and playwrights behind the sixth edition of the ZiguZajg International Arts Festival for Children and Young People. When it comes to their adeptness in working with kids, they maintain, their own gender does not come into play.

Maria Spiteri Zahra festival coordinator The 2016 festival’s programme will have a strong multidisciplinary element to it, with contemporary circus acts, clowning, shadow puppetry, dance, film, theatre and visual arts. How important is the mix, in view of the fact that, given the choice, children may be more inclined towards circus, clowning and puppetry than theatre, music and dance? The festival, now in its sixth year, is popular and awaited by both national and international audiences. It is the only children’s festival in Malta where such art forms can be further explored and experienced. The festival’s remit is always to bring to the public productions from some of the best companies from around the world, as well as commissioning new works from the locals, keeping in mind that children learn through play and fun. This year is no exception, so much so that 28 ∫ Pink November 2016

ZiguZajg has been extended to 10 days to further enhance this multidisciplinarity. How important is it to include re-adaptations of Maltese literature in tandem with world-renowned shows in a festival of the sort? I think Maltese literature should be given as much weight as international. This year’s festival makes reference to various anniversaries, both local and foreign. Since the festival has a history of being the creative reference point for artists, children and teachers, Maltese literature is being adapted to today’s context and being presented in a way that young children can understand and relate to. Audiences for this year are estimated at 24,000. Is that a satisfying figure, or do you find that parents do not promote theatre enough and that children are

happier on their computers, iPads and PlayStations? One of our biggest challenges is to attract children from the age of 10 upwards. I do not always blame the parents, but instead, I blame it on the world we live in, where children are more exposed to technology, rather than to the arts [although today’s advances in technology are also a key factor in the festival]. Since it is


Setting the stage: Simone Spiteri, Martina Buhagiar, Ruth Borg and Maria Spiteri Zahra. Photography Mark Zammit Cordina

spread over 10 days, having an audience of 24,000 is, indeed, a satisfying figure, however, it would be much more satisfying if, next year, the 10+ performances would be the ones to be sold out first. Do you see a difference between the choice of works by female directors, producers and scriptwriters and the way they go about their productions

“ONE OF OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES IS TO ATTRACT CHILDREN FROM THE AGE OF 10 UPWARDS. I DO NOT ALWAYS BLAME THE PARENTS, BUT INSTEAD, I BLAME IT ON THE WORLD WE LIVE IN, WHERE CHILDREN ARE MORE EXPOSED TO TECHNOLOGY, RATHER THAN TO THE ARTS” as opposed to their male counterparts, and especially when it comes to working with children? In a festival of the sort, it is more a question of capability than of male versus

female. Rather than comparing the choices of works carried forward by both sexes, it is more a question of the potential of an artist in relation to a particular age group. Pink November 2016 ∫ 29


Martina Buhagiar director, producer and performer

Starlet - A Peculiar Encounter @ City Theatre, Valletta Starlet - A Peculiar Encounter is a visual theatre experience for young children, transporting them all the way up to the moon to see two space explorers try their best to save their newly befriended Starlet and take her back home.

The festival’s productions are aimed at children. In the case of yours, how much of it is pure entertainment and how much of it is educational? I believe Starlet’s peculiar encounter may encourage children to cultivate their imagination and expose them to learning from moments they are not used to experiencing in their daily life, such as meeting two very peculiar space travellers, who must work together to try to save a stray star. How do you feel a woman’s take differs, if at all, from that of a male producer, director, playwright when it comes to the subject of children and young audiences? Do they have a different understanding of kids and how does it translate into this art form? I think it truly depends on the individuals and their own personal experiences that may possibly give them the opportunity to widen their own personal understanding of children. Using and taking from these experiences can enrich the individual’s work. What is it like working with children, and do you prefer this to adults? This kind of work allows me to revisit a certain naivety that most children possess. I wouldn’t say I necessarily prefer this to working with adults as it always fascinates me to see where people’s growing imagination will lead them to, and the theatre offers a safe place for this. 30 ∫ Pink November 2016

What is the underlying message of Starlet – A Peculiar Encounter and its particular appeal? Starlet – A Peculiar Encounter is a very colourful and playful piece that centres around a stray star and how two peculiar space explorers, with the help of an encountered creature, try hard to take it back to its home, the night sky. The piece demonstrates to children the importance of working together with others, of not


giving up on something too quickly and of receiving help that may come their way. How does this experience compare to a session on an iPad, computer, PlayStation, or TV, and how can you compete to attract the attention of young audiences? I do not like to compare a live theatre experience with two-dimensional games and shows. Yet, it is very true that young ones, nowadays, are very much exposed to these electronic devices, which have become a large part of their daily lives. The theatre can be a place for children that is out of their usual surroundings; where they can feed their imagination and meet and experience it with others.


Ruth Borg director and scriptwriter

Pietru u l-Lupu @ Catholic Institute, Floriana Pietru u l-Lupu is a contemporary Maltese adaptation of the renowned classic Peter and the Wolf. With Prokofiev’s original score, this version promises to take young audiences on an exciting journey into Peter’s imagination.

What sort of balance should there be between entertainment and education when it comes to a theatre production for children? Ha! The ultimate question! Those creating children’s theatre are constantly asked by parents, schools and public cultural organisations if the show is both entertaining and educational in the firm belief that these are the two most important ingredients for a good theatre performance. If the show is not educational, then it’s not worth watching, and if it’s not fun… then why go to the theatre in the first

place? While these are important features, I believe that theatre, in this day and age, should place more focus on the experience as a whole. We should aim at improving the whole practice of going to and being in the theatre for our children and to analyse the best way to make them feel at home when forming part of a theatre-going audience. While children’s theatre in Malta has gained momentum in the past years, I fear that it is still perceived as being solely the school’s job to expose children to the theatre. This happens either during one-off outings to the theatre, or when the school gets a performing company to present a play related to something they’re studying in the curriculum. By all means, this is very positive and a major step forward, considering that a few years back, very little, or close to nothing was happening. Yet, by associating theatre almost entirely with school, or the academic curriculum, we can cultivate off-putting perceptions of the art form. We focus too much on what young audiences will get out of theatre as opposed to how we can make the experience pleasurable for them. Therefore, creating an exciting theatre-going experience for our young audiences and fostering a positive view of the art in such a way that they are intrigued and long to come back to the theatre should be our first aim. Education, or entertainment, come later.

How does the theatre experience compare to a session on an iPad, computer, PlayStation, or TV? Going to the theatre for children is generally a one-off event during the year. Thankfully, ZiguZajg Festival and the Toi Toi Educational Programme at the Manoel Theatre offer a wider possibility for children to attend theatre performances. Having said this, compared to the theatre calendar for adults, which is always chock-a-block, children have less choice. This means that unlike iPads, computers, PlayStation, or TV – items that are constantly present in their daily lives – they are detached from the theatre. They feel a sense of ownership and a right over technological objects, yet in comparison, they do not feel the same towards the theatre because they have less access to it [ for a variety of reasons, including that parents are not into it, or they think it’s a waste of time, and children prefer staying at home etc...]. This might affect their theatre experience badly as they would not know how to approach it. I believe that if young audiences are educated from an early age in performance, they can acquire much more out of it because they feel like they can access it further. In my opinion, theatre for children is vital because it sparks the imagination and expands their view of the world. It presents young people with the tools and the vision necessary for them to understand the world and possibly to dare to change it as well.

“CREATING AN EXCITING THEATRE-GOING EXPERIENCE FOR OUR YOUNG AUDIENCES AND FOSTERING A POSITIVE VIEW OF THE ART IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY ARE INTRIGUED AND LONG TO COME BACK TO THE THEATRE SHOULD BE OUR FIRST AIM. EDUCATION, OR ENTERTAINMENT, COME LATER” How do you feel a woman’s take differs, if at all, from that of a male producer, director, scriptwriter when it comes to the subject of children and young audiences? Do they have a different understanding of children and how does it translate into this art form? I differ from any other male director or scriptwriter not because I’m a woman mainly, but because of who I am as a person, that is, my personality traits, my experience and my perception of the world. All this is affected Pink November 2016 ∫ 31

ARTYFACTS in one way or another by the fact that I am a woman, yes, but it is not that which intrinsically gives me a different understanding of children. I’ve never seen a piece of theatre or read a script for children and felt that it was written by a woman. The gender of the producer, director, or scriptwriter is not a defining feature. What is it like working with children, and do you prefer this to adults? I love working with children as they are a ball of energy and enthusiasm. “Miss! When can we have some posters so that we can encourage our friends at school to come and watch?” They suggest the most random ideas, they are very inquisitive about the whole process and are also receptive to new ideas. For Pietru u l-Lupu, the children will have sizeable masks. None of them had ever worked with masks before and it’s beautiful to see how keen they are to master their mask technique and to make sure that what they’re doing is working. Working with adults, in contrast, includes a stronger sense of collaboration when coming up with ideas, or how to execute them, for instance. The weight of the production is divided between us too. When working with children, you are the one making all the decisions. I can’t choose, so I’ll sit on the fence for this one. Back in 1936, Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned to write a new musical symphony for children to cultivate their “musical tastes from the first years of school”. How important is this? And how much do children appreciate a musical symphony, especially when this has to compete with today’s overriding technology? Renowned poet and dramatist Oscar Wilde once wrote: “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” I beg to differ. I think that it’s music that does so first and foremost because it fires our soul in a second without us knowing how or why. And because music is a universal language and the key to the soul of mankind, I do not think it was ever in competition with technology. If anything, one of the reasons young people love technology is because it gives them access to music. With regard to the cultivating of musical taste from the first years of school, I think that should be an essential part of the curriculum. Music exposes children to the beauty of play, language, cognitive and social skills and much more. How did you go about giving the renowned classic that contemporary and Maltese twist? Prokofiev’s story is a classic so it wasn’t easy to meddle with. This is why I decided to remain loyal to the storyline, only adding a bit before and after just for a better insight into Peter’s individual story. In this way, the spectator can empathise even further with his struggle against the wolf. Prokofiev did not give us much of a backstory to Peter and I thought that giving an insight into that would be a great way of providing the story with a Maltese twist, while making it relevant to today’s society. I won’t say any more so that whoever is reading this will come and watch. 32 ∫ Pink November 2016

Simone Spiteri playwright

Inez kienet Perf[etta] @ St James Cavalier, Valletta Inez kienet Perf[etta] is a play for young people, loosely based on and inspired by Anton Manwel Caruana’s novel, Inez Farrug. Set against a contemporary background of Maltese young people, the story tries to comprehend who indeed is Inez 2016 and whether she is still voiceless like her Caruana counterpart in 1421.

How is success defined when it comes to children’s theatre? What do you set out to achieve as opposed to writing, directing and producing performances for adults, or are the ingredients the same? I’m asked this question very often since most people first came across my work in the world of theatre for adults and my answer [so far, at least] never changes. It makes no difference who the target audience I am creating a piece for is because I think the common denominator should always be honesty: honesty in the way you write, portray, direct, conceive and execute the material and with yourself as its creator. A visceral theatre experience, one that strikes a chord with an audience, must be frank, diligent and truthful. And in my experience so far, there is no difference between adult and young audiences: both will get transported by what speaks to them if it successfully acts as a mirror to their lives. If anything, young audiences are more direct, have less inhibitions and are far less accepting of anything that lacks quality and truth. I find that very refreshing. How much of Inez kienet Perf[etta] is about pure entertainment and how much of it is a deep social comment? How is the balance between the two achieved to keep your young audiences engaged and intrigued, while taking a life lesson home? I don’t think the process should be one where you try to consciously insert an exact and contrived mixture of the two. I think any good piece of theatre will try to meet all the criteria of traditional story-telling

ARTYFACTS techniques in the best way possible: to pique the audience’s interest, keep it hooked, create bridges with stage and characters, make it feel simultaneously comforted by recognising itself on stage and uncomfortable because of it, and to find the natural balance between light and intense moments. With a young audience, it’s important to be able to speak their language – both in terms of actual language and the social trends that colour their daily lives. You also have to be willing to let your work be and allow their perceptions to colour it, even if it might go off on a tangent you never intended. That’s the beauty of creation, I guess; it’s yours only until you share it. How important is it to readapt a work  – in this case, Anton Manwel Caruana’s 19th-century novel, Inez Farrug – and take it into the 21st century? Very important! Re-adapting and modernising classic literature is by no means a new trend in the theatre world and our own scene has had its fair share of productions that did just that. However, when it comes to our own literature, especially because it is still relatively in its infancy, it is even more important and less commonly seen in our seasonal calendars. Inez Farrug was written at a time when the Maltese were trying to find their feet, nationalistically speaking; trying to figure out who they were; whether they were willing to stand up for that identity and help definite it further. My main focus in the process of adaptation was to try and explore how much of that has changed [or not] in the interim; who the voiceless 19th-century Inez has become in our 21st-century fast life; and how we are [still] dealing with figuring ourselves out as a community, which is no longer as sheltered and isolated as it might have been a century ago [when the story was written] and five centuries ago [where the story is set]. How do you feel a woman’s take differs, if at all, from that of a male producer, director, scriptwriter when it comes  to the subject of children and young audiences? Do they have a different understanding of kids and how does it translate into this art form? I do believe the main skill of any artist worth his salt is the power of acute observation and objectivity. So when it comes to children, I think my main source of inspiration is primarily being able to spend a lot of time with them [since I teach] and really trying to 34 ∫ Pink November 2016

ZiguZajg in numbers 181 performances 150 participating creatives 24 projects [13 Maltese and 14 10 8

11 International] venues commissions represented countries

listen to them and observe them interact with each other and the world. Being a woman is not necessarily the pivot to any of that process. Perhaps I’d answer this question differently if I ever became a mother, for example. But until then, I feel that my work for young children so far has been more a product of my direct involvement in their daily life and being surrounded by so many different children from all walks of life every day of the week, rather than my gender. What is it like working with children, and do you prefer it? It is scary, brutal, fresh, invigorating and awe-inspiring every single time. I fell into this world of working for the young by sheer unplanned coincidence and I wasn’t quite sure it was something I wanted to do. But I feel that young audiences keep you on your toes far more than adults do and their black-and-white reaction to work is very refreshing [albeit quite terrifying]. There are no agendas; no mincing of words. It is a pure experience and one that has taught me so much about myself as a person and a writer. I will always write and create for adults, but writing and producing for the young will be something I can never leave now. I love it and it keeps pushing me to try harder and get better at what I do. What is the underlying message of Inez kienet Perf[etta] and what will make it come across effectively? I would like the audience to draw their different conclusions. But to me, the play is about how quick we are to judge, how our society

has become a Peeping Tom-style jury, how the media has the power to shape our identities and how free we think we are because of the information we think we have constantly and literally in our hands, but how it controls us and makes slaves of us. It is also about how there is no easy way to be a young woman today. It is about all the contradictory messages society sends us girls in trying to shape us into becoming ‘good’ women; and how whatever we decide to go for, it is never quite enough. The play refers to Facebook and other social media. It is ironic, in a sense… in that, do you think it will be hard to attract young audiences to watch it, given that they are so addicted to technology and probably more interested in that? Not really. This generation [more than any before it] is all about hype. If there is hype about something, no matter how inane it is, then it is ‘in’ and must be ‘followed’. And social media is great for that… So we’re hoping the hype surrounding our play does the trick. The production contains strong language that is not suitable for children under 13. Did you have a dilemma about this when writing the script, or was it vital and instrumental? Are you concerned about the responsibility of a negative influence, or parents being put off? If honesty, not sensationalism, is the focus of what you’re trying to do, then I think the language used by youngsters [and let’s not kid ourselves and imagine our young to be as chaste with language as we’d like them to be] is vital, and no, it won’t be a negative influence. If used in the right context, I don’t think young people will go away thinking we are encouraging the use of bad language. We must give credit to what I think are very intelligent and streetwise young people nowadays, and trust that they will repay our trust in them with an intelligent reaction to the play and what the underlying themes are. If the language is the only thing people get stuck on, then my job as a writer would have failed because that’s only a vehicle to deeper and more serious things to speak about. And I do think our youngsters are smart enough to know that. It’s time the adults followed suit and stuck their heads out from under the sand. ZiguZajg International Arts Festival for Children and Young People, produced by Fondazzjoni Kreattività, is on until November 20.

WOMANKIND Happier times for shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis and his daughter, Christina, in London on November 20, 1961.

THE GREEK TRAGEDY If proof were needed that there is some truth in the cliché that wealth cannot buy happiness, we have it in the story of Christina Onassis. MARY GALEA DEBONO looks at the circumstances of her life to understand where her emotional instability had its roots.

rejected him as a parvenu, disparagingly referring to him as “the Smyrna Upstart”. Onassis was determined to establish his own dynasty. And what better way to achieve this other than to marry into one of these families? Stavros Livanos, the man who had kept Ari out of the union, had two daughters, Eugenie and Athina. Onassis set his eyes on the elder, Eugenie, but another wealthy shipowner, Stavros Niarchos, who had just divorced his wife, beat him to it. Onassis married the younger sister Tina. Tina was the socialite par excellence; a woman happy only where the action was and if surrounded by the people who belonged to her rarified


hristina Onassis was born in New York, educated in an English public school, and when not skiing in St Moritz, spent most of her time in London or the South of France. But it was on the tiny island of Skorpios, which her father owned, and where she spent most of her summers, that she really felt she could be herself. Although she moved among the international jet set and had at her disposal fabulous residences in the poshest areas of several capitals, she remained a Greek at heart. Had Christina lived in ancient times, she might have been the inspiration for a Greek tragedy. For the ancient Greeks, her hubris would have come from her delusion of being equal to the gods because of her excessive wealth. But there is no need to attribute the tragic flaw that led to her nemesis to the machinations of the pagan gods; it is enough to look at the circumstances of her life to understand where her emotional instability had its roots. If proof were needed that there is some truth in the cliché that wealth cannot buy happiness, we have it in the life of Christina. Christina’s father was Aristotle Onassis, widely known among his friends as Ari, a multi-millionaire

“IT WAS ON THE TINY ISLAND OF SKORPIOS, WHICH HER FATHER OWNED, AND WHERE SHE SPENT MOST OF HER SUMMERS, THAT SHE REALLY FELT SHE COULD BE HERSELF” shipping magnate, who made his fortune during WWII. Although he was a success story and had built an empire from nothing, the original Greek shipping families – the Livanos, the Niarchos and the Goulandris – who dominated the Union of Greek Shipowners,

circle, like the Agha Khan and the Shah of Persia, or the Agnellis and the Churchills. Neither Ari nor Tina had lofty aspirations to parenthood, but when their first son Alexander was born in 1948, both were pleased. Two abortions later and against some odds, Christina was born. Pink November 2016 ∫ 39

WOMANKIND Nigel Dempster, author of the book Heiress: The Story of Christina Onassis, states that probably the person who loved her most was her aunt Artemis, Ari’s sister; she loved her because she knew that she was an unwanted baby. Christina looked exactly like her father, a fact that greatly distressed Tina; she was almost ashamed of her dark-complexioned daughter, who did not meet her standards of beauty. When she was 18, on her mother’s advice, she had plastic surgery on her nose and removed the dark lines from under her eyes in an attempt to improve her looks. Alexander and Christina had all the material comforts, but little else. They were cared for by a host of nurses and maids, but otherwise left on their own, sometimes for months. Christina soon realised that, unlike other children, she had “a mother and father who were usually somewhere else and usually apart”. Christina was a taciturn, sensitive child; she was also intelligent and she could not fail to notice what was going on around her. For this, she suffered as all children do in these situations. As she grew older, she realised that the relationship between her parents was not exactly what it should be and that beneath the lavish lifestyle, the partying, the seemingly exuberant and carefree interests, and in spite of the surface jollity, there were darker undercurrents of despairing discontent. Attention seeking and insecurity remained the dominant traits of her character and explain most of her later actions and decisions. Bouts of energy and total abandonment to pleasure alternated with periods of depression, which eventually led to an ever-increasing intake of antidepressants. In 1959, Tina filed for divorce – Ari had been showing too much interest in Maria Callas – and a year later, she married ‘Sunny’ Blandford, the 11th Duke of Marlborough. Ari’s interest in the Greek soprano soon waned; with only a few days’ notice to his children, in 1968, he married Jacqueline Kennedy. The Onassis children never completely accepted their new stepmother. Alexander sarcastically summed up his father’s marriage: “It’s a perfect match. Our father loves names and Jackie loves money.” But for Christina, who was the 40 ∫ Pink November 2016

more sensitive and fragile, these emotional upheavals did nothing to improve her deep psychological wounds. She felt more and more abandoned and neglected. Dempster quotes her confessing to a friend: “The hypocrisies and deceits of our parents are sometimes harder to bear than watching them have a knockdown drag-out brawl.” In 1970, Eugenie committed suicide by overdosing on antidepressant. Eighteen months later, Christina, still sad about her aunt’s death, learnt that her mother intended marrying her dead sister’s widower. Conscious that her mother’s decision had been taken partly out of revenge, she was as infuriated as her father by the news. For a while father and daughter became allies.

Two years after Alexander’s fatal accident, the father too died. Christina, the only survivor of the Onassis family, was entrusted with the management of the business empire. She proved to be a daughter worthy of her father, quickly learning the ropes and impressing her father’s collaborators with her ability to grasp the situation and the vigour with which she dealt with the problems that arose. In 1982, she became the first woman elected to the board of the Union of Greek Shipowners. But in her private life, she remained a lonely person. Without family ties and support; sometimes without close friends; unable to focus her attention and energy on serious commitments; with no moral compass to her life, she

Christina arrives in Athens with her stepmother Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the funeral of her father in March, 1975.

“MEN, WHO ENTERED HER LIFE CASUALLY, FOUND THEMSELVES AGGRESSIVELY DRAGGED INTO INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS FOR WHICH THEY WERE NOT PREPARED AND WHICH THEY FOUND STRESSFUL IN SPITE OF THE GLAMOUR THAT WAS ATTACHED TO THEM” More bad news was to follow when, in January 1973, her brother Alexander died in a private plane crash. And as if that were not enough, less than two years later, her mother, who had become heavily dependent on drink and drugs, was found dead from an overdose. Christina’s severe personality disorders deepened; she became more restless, neurotic and paranoid.

was often adrift. One of the effects of the lack of a strong family structure to provide her with companionship and compassion was her inability to build and nurture lasting and meaningful relationships. Men, who entered her life casually, found themselves aggressively dragged into intimate relationships for which they were not prepared and which they found stressful in spite

WOMANKIND of the glamour that was attached to them. Christina was married four times. Her first husband was Joe Bolker, a divorced real estate developer, 27 years older, whom she threatened that she would commit suicide if he did not marry her. The marriage lasted nine months. Her second husband was Alexander Andreadis, heir of a Greek shipowning family whose business empire was in great difficulty following political changes in Greece. Fourteen months and several spectacular public rows later, the marriage broke down. Sergei Kauzov, who worked in the Soviet Ministry of the Maritime Fleet, was her third husband. She flew from Paris to London three times a week to be able to talk to him by phone. Both the CIA and British intelligence showed interest in the relationship. The marriage lasted 11 weeks although the divorce came some time later. Her last marriage was to Thierry Roussel, heir of a wealthy pharmaceutical family, whom she married in 1984. They

The marriage of Christina to Sergei Kauzov in 1978.

had one daughter Athina, but Christina divorced him when she learnt that his previous mistress had also given birth to a daughter during the marriage. In between these four marriages, there were other tortured relationships, but not only; there were abortions and several dramatic suicide attempts. Addicted to antidepressant pills and Diet Coke, she grew fat despite repeated attempts at dieting.

Christina’s behaviour became more erratic and disoriented. In Paris, she roamed the sleazier districts. Not even in Skorpios, where she used to escape when things became too difficult and where she was often surrounded by the friends she had herself invited, could she escape the demons that assailed her. In November 1988, Christina was spending some time with her friend in Buenos Aires. Her intention was to settle there with her daughter. One morning, her friend, seeing that she had not made an appearance, went to her room; she found her dead in a half-full bath. Christina was 37. The day before, she had had a long chat with her daughter Athina from a public phone box and she had seemed quite happy. Her death was attributed to a heart attack, but there was speculation of suicide. Mystery and suspicion continued to surround her death. Christina’s remains were taken to Skorpios, where she was buried with her father and brother.

SHOWSTOPPER Jacket, €32.95; skirt, €26.95, both Lulù Boutique.


Backstage is the fashion forefront… Go behind the scenes with the best brands at The Pink Fashion Show.

Photography Steven Levi Vella [] Styling Marisa Grima [] Make-up Chris Attard, Franks, using Guerlain Hair Alberto Spiteri, Screen Hair Care Malta Model Amy @ Supernova Model Management Location Manoel Theatre

Watch the behind-the-scenes footage on

Pink November 2016 ∫ 47


Necklace, €79; plain ring, €39; classic ring, €69, all Pandora.

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SHOWSTOPPER Dress, €569, Mangano.

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Top, €39.99; skirt, €29.99; belt, €39.99; bag, €39.99, all Mexx.

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Spectacles, Tiffany & Co, Optika Opticians.

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Watches [ from bottom] €179; €139; €109, all Daniel Wellington.

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Jumpsuit [with necklaces], €86.50, M&Co.

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Coat, €990, Elisabetta Franchi @ Rebelli.

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Top, €47; skirt, €47; shoes, €47, all River Island.

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YOU KNOW ME AND YOU DON’T Lily-Rose Depp is secretive and discreet. The 17-year-old daughter of actor Johnny Depp and singer Vanessa Paradis, she has lived in the public eye from childhood, so she wants to keep her life to herself. But Pink discovers more about this homebody, who is also the heroine and the face of Chanel’s new N°5 L’Eau film. You’ve made a name for yourself through both an ad campaign and films…

When you say “made a name for yourself ”, what comes to mind is that I am not here to be known, or not. I’m just trying to live my wish to be an actress to the full. And things just fell into place. You seem almost fearless…

Maybe I’m a little less afraid than others… But if you look more closely, I obviously have my personal doubts, like everyone else… And even if I am afraid – because you can imagine there is tremendous pressure – I don’t see any solution other than to just do it. Two films of yours, La danseuse [The Dancer], by Stéphanie di Giusto, and Planetarium, by Rebecca Zlotowski, are being released. They are both subtle, discreet, alternative choices. It’s as if you’re treading slowly and carefully…

In each case, I loved the script when I read it and the connection I felt with my role. Perhaps you’re right; unconsciously, I’m taking things slowly, step by step. I put so much pressure on myself… Nothing falls from heaven, no matter what people might think. So I find it reassuring to start out this way, a little on the fringes. Pink November 2016 ∫ 59


What did you dream about when you were a ‘more little girl’?

You mean to say ‘when I was little’? Oh, I wanted to be a bit of everything: a princess, a ballerina, a spy, a singer, an actress. But there again, it’s all so ordinary. I was lucky in that I was given an opportunity to play a scene in the film Tusk by Kevin Smith. It was a fun scene with a friend of mine. I was playing a children’s game and an adult’s game at the same time, with a real film crew. I loved the ambiance and I didn’t want to do anything else after that. In the N°5 film, you play several roles. Which one is most like you?

The one where I’m having fun with the mics, where my hair is curly and I’m playing a singer. I no longer have any desire to be a singer in real life; that is why it was so much fun to be a ‘pretend’ one. It’s also the scene in which you most resemble your mother…

Maybe. Yes, my mother is a singer, but it’s not because you see me for five seconds with a microphone that you should get any ideas…

“I WAS ON SOCIAL MEDIA AT A YOUNG AGE, SO PEOPLE HAVE THE IMPRESSION THEY KNOW WHO I AM” The film plays with paradoxes. Which one ‘speaks’ to you the most?

The one that comes last in the film: “You know me and you don’t.” That is truly something I could say; and that says it all about me. Very early on, I had to learn to live in the public eye. I was on social media at a young age, so people have the impression they know who I am. But, no, I am someone very secretive, very discreet. So what we see of you on social media doesn’t show us who you are?

Let’s say that I’m another person in real life. That’s the case for everybody, isn’t it? I was on social media a lot in the beginning, but now my posts are more about work. More and more, I want to keep my life to myself. And I’m a homebody; I don’t go out much… That’s the truth. 60 ∫ Pink November 2016


How has being financially independent changed things for you?

Ah, independence, it’s awesome! It’s a real joy to make your own decisions in life… knowing that I’m spending my own money, that I can travel on my own, that I can buy things for my family, which has done so much for me. You’re at an age when you still need older people to look up to as role models. What is it like to meet adults who find you inspiring?

I’m incredibly flattered, of course. But that said, I don’t really want to think about what others think of me, or ask myself whether I’m a good example, or not. I see it the other way round: I’m the one meeting exceptional adults these days. When you saw the finished product of the Chanel film, what did you think?

Never in my life did I think I would have a connection with N°5. I’ve grown up with the 62 ∫ Pink November 2016

“NEVER IN MY LIFE DID I THINK I WOULD HAVE A CONNECTION WITH N°5. I’VE GROWN UP WITH THE IDEA THAT CHANEL IS THE VERY TOP OF THE CROP” idea that Chanel is the very top of the crop. To be honest, it’s all very surreal to me. How does your world change when you wear perfume?

It’s a way to feel feminine, but also to have your very own scent; a scent you’ve chosen. N°5 suits me because it’s warm and welcoming… it’s comforting. And is Karl Lagerfeld welcoming and comforting?

Oh yes he is… I admire him a lot. He is very generous and welcoming. But the first thing to be said is that he’s a genius.


A UNIQUE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE AN EMOTIONAL ROLE IN EVERYONE’S LIFE Benetton recently raised the curtain on its new store in Mosta, unveiling the brand’s new On Canvas retail concept, the international ambassador of the United Colors of Benetton identity. The new Benetton store is conveniently located in Pama Shopping Mall, a contemporary shopping village recently inaugurated in Mosta. The new shop – 350 square metres of women’s, men’s and kids’ collections – marks a new commercial strategy for the brand, led locally by new management that aims to further develop the brand on the island. On Canvas presents an evolution of the Benetton store. The new format is conceived as an encounter between the brand’s history and modernity, between quality and customer care, between technology and emotional experience. The central element of the store is the loom, which serves as an almost invisible structure around which collections, colours and materials are created. Symbolising tradition and craftsmanship – and now also emblematic of innovation – the loom enables all kinds of transformations within the store. United Colors of Benetton proposes a comfortable, easy style. Cleancut lines and smooth volumes, soft cashmere, warm merino and cosy alpaca knits feature refined micro jacquard and all-over patterns. There’s also a Nordic flavour, which favours warm tones and ventures the occasional colour block. One line of the collection embraces the trend for knits, while another is more athletic, with a sporty look. United Colors of Benetton believes that clothes play an emotional role in everyone’s life. Every day, different needs, moods and aspirations influence how an outfit is put together. The collection has, therefore, been divided into three different lines: Dress Up; Dress Down; and Dress to Move.

STYLE AT THE HEART Mangano is once again opening its doors in Malta, this time in Sliema and under new management. The brand is a successful Made in Italy story, founded 30 years ago in 1986, when the Mangano brothers embarked on a journey searching for a cosmopolitan Italian style. They started it from their home underground basement, and over the past years, created a company with more than 100 employees, numerous fashion boutiques in every part of Italy and a commercial agency department in Shanghai. Style is at the heart of Mangano’s design. New trends are anticipated and personalised using imagination. Inspiration is drawn from all over the world and combined with an exotic touch. Mangano is renowned for its use of high-quality materials, impeccable tailoring and flair for originality. Whether you are after something elegant, or are looking for a rock and contemporary twist, there will always be something that catches your eye in this collection. The dresses are one of the highlights, with some truly stand-out options designed to transform you into the belle of the ball. The new Mangano store is in Bisazza Street, Sliema; 64 ∫ Pink November 2016

The newly refurbished Teamsport has now opened its doors and can be found on top of Gallarija Darmanin in Dun Karm Street, Iklin. Teamsport is Malta’s best technical sports shop, offering a wide selection of sports shoes, apparel and equipment and a unique shopping experience for sports enthusiasts. Teamsport is the only sports shop to offer all the best brands under the same roof, including Nike, Adidas, Diadora, Asics, Macron, Babolat, McDavid, TYR, Brooks, Molten, Speedo, High Power, uhlsport and more.

MAKE A STATEMENT Trilogy Ltd, franchisees of Tommy Hilfiger, Hilfiger Denim, Armani Jeans and Calvin Klein Jeans, hosted an event in celebration of the new Armani Jeans Autumn/Winter 2016/2017 collection. The event took place at Armani Jeans, The Point, the first outlet of the brand to open its doors in Malta. The collection features classic black pieces and faux fur elements, with pops of colour throughout to make a statement. The brand’s denim line continues to be its foundation, with improved quality and the introduction of updated fits, styles and colours.

LIMITED OFFER Get six free pouches with every Royal Canin® Kitten, Kitten Sterilised, Kitten Persian, Sterilised and Hair & Skin 2kg bags in the latest limited time offer from Borg Cardona & co. Ltd. The offer is available, until stocks last, from all leading pet shops and garden centres. Keep an eye out for the copacking boxes. For further information, call on 2141 4753; or send an e-mail to Check out Facebook Royal Canin Malta.


Sleep time

sensations Sleepwear is the main protagonist in a collection that focuses on details.


haracter, style and subtlety come together to define the limits of Oysho’s new collection. It’s about a modern, natural, independent and self-assured femininity… characteristic of Oysho women. Oysho creates an ambience of sensations, a visual universe, where you can appreciate the strong focus on detail. Dressing gowns, jumpsuits, pyjamas and nightdresses with astonishing updated silhouettes join the collection of new patterns on bodysuits and lingerie sets.  Layering superior fabrics such as tulle, lace, velvet and brocade creates original optical effects on a colour palette that includes dusty pink tones, metallic greys and neutral colours such as classic black or ink blue.

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FACING UP TO AIR POLLUTION HELEN RAINE reflects upon the effects of air pollution on the skin before rushing off [on foot] to buy herself a zinc oxide day cream.


o one in Malta needs to read an article to know that air pollution is a problem – a walk alongside any of the major thoroughfares will have you breathing in enough exhaust fumes to last a lifetime. We know it’s not good for our lungs – Malta has one of the highest asthma rates in Europe, with up to one in three people suffering from the condition. But recent research has shown that it’s also bad for our skin. Don’t worry though – the beauty industry has already seen the dollar signs behind the concentrations of NO₂ [nitrogen dioxide] and they can’t wait to offer you plenty of products to counteract the effects of pollution.

But there are also some quick [and cheap] fixes that will help to reduce your exposure.

with sunlight. Both are created by vehicle and industrial emissions or electricity generation. The body of evidence linking PM pollution with accelerated ageing has been growing recently. This year, researchers studying German and Chinese women concluded that females living near busy roads had more hyperpigmentation [dark spots] on their faces than rural dwellers. Lead investigator Dr Jean Krutmann of the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute

“THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY HAS ALREADY SEEN THE DOLLAR SIGNS BEHIND THE CONCENTRATIONS OF NO2 [NITROGEN DIOXIDE] AND THEY CAN’T WAIT TO OFFER YOU PLENTY OF PRODUCTS TO COUNTERACT THE EFFECTS OF POLLUTION. BUT THERE ARE ALSO SOME QUICK [AND CHEAP] FIXES THAT WILL HELP TO REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE” Look the Evidence in the Face The main forms of air pollution affecting skin are particulate matter [PM], which is made up of tiny drops of chemicals and soot in the air, and ground-level ozone, which occurs when oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds react

says: “While NO₂ exposure is known to be associated with low lung function and lung cancer, the effect of NO₂ on human skin has never been investigated. This is important because environmentally-induced lung and skin ageing appear to be closely related.” Pink November 2016 ∫ 67

BEAUTYPARLOUR Krutmann notes that the problem is a global one and that it’s hard for urban dwellers to escape it as the pollution is carried on the wind. Dr Zoe Draelos, a professor of dermatology at Duke University School of Medicine in the US, told Dermatology Times: “Nanoparticles that are generated from either internal combustion engines, cigarette smoke, or byproducts of industrial processes… can have a profound effect on the skin in terms of premature skin ageing.” She says the result is similar to “chronic exposure to UV light”.

red wine, dark chocolate and coffee for the polyphenols. If you’re looking to splurge on products to help combat the effects of pollution on your skin, you won’t be short of options. Almost all of the big brands are producing some kind of pollution-fighting unguent: there’s Ren’s Flash Defence Anti-Ageing Pollution Mist [€34], which forms an “invisible protective, breathable barrier”; Chanel’s La Solution 10 [€72], with silver needle tea extract to “to help regulate skin’s response to irritants and protect against free radicals”; Dior’s One

They don’t make you look like a geisha anymore either – these days, there are plenty of brands that have mastered the art of adding tiny particles of zinc oxide so their creams work for everyday use. You might need to trial a few different options to see what works for your skin tone, but Neutrogena’s options pop up regularly as recommended, such as the Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 60 [€10], or you could try the organic Badger Sunscreen [€14]. As an aside, it’s worth noting that the Environmental Working Group in Washington has grave concerns that vitamin A [including retinol and retinyl palmate], common ingredients in sunscreen, might actually increase the “speed of tumour and skin damage development on sun-exposed skin”.

Facing Down Emissions

“YOU CAN WASH IT ALL DOWN WITH SOME GREEN TEA AND, PRAISE BE, RED WINE, DARK CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE FOR THE POLYPHENOLS” Face Off Dr Draelos says that one of the first lines of defence is to wash our faces daily; that, at least, gets rid of any build-up of toxins on the skin. Some dermatologists recommend an electronic brush, like the Clarisonic, which retails for around €120; but others say using a mild cleanser will do the job just as well. Exfoliating too vigorously can actually make the problem worse by damaging the skin. Eating a healthy diet full of vitaminrich food and antioxidants can also help. Load up on foods like blueberries, leafy green veg, such as kale, brazil nuts [ for selenium], sunflower seeds [vitamin E], papaya and broccoli [vitamin C] and carrots [carotenoids]. You can wash it all down with some green tea and, praise be, 68 ∫ Pink November 2016

Essential Detoxifying Mist Purity Booster [€55] for “triple anti-pollution action of cleansing, rebalancing and detoxifying, targeting 100 per cent of particles on the skin’s surface”; and Dr Weil for Origins Mega Defense SPF 45 Advanced UV Defender, made with cactus extracts [€36], which “creates a moisture barrier to boost skin’s resilience and help prevent the daily damage caused by pollution and other irritants”. If the cynic in you suspects that the beauty industry might be jumping on the pollution bandwagon to flog expensive cream, you could go back to basics and buy sunscreen with zinc oxide. It is a good option because it will keep damaging UV rays, as well as pollution, at bay, without breaking down in the sun.

Of course, it would be great if we could radically reduce air pollution in the first place. After all, according to the European Environment Agency, it caused 220 premature deaths in Malta in 2012 alone. The same agency reported that 57 per cent of nitrogen oxide in Malta is produced by energy use and supply, 32 per cent by road transport and 11 per cent by other transport; unfortunately, these emissions are rising. We already know the solution: we need to green up our energy production and cut down on our car use. That’s not easy, given the vagaries of public transport and the risks of cycling. But even substituting a few car journeys for two legs will help, as will carpooling and working from home. When you do drive, avoid residential areas, turn off your engine when idling and report polluting vehicles by sending a text to the alert number 50611899 with the registration number [three SMS reports, from three phones, need to be received before a vehicle will be tested]. Until we can manage that, eat well, slap on the zinc oxide, reduce your electricity consumption and car use; and be grateful that you weren’t born in Beijing. Air pollution levels are so high there that age spots and wrinkles are the least of the inhabitants’ worries. There, women are reduced to wearing masks when they go out to avoid having their nostrils fill with black dust. It’s enough to make you want to ditch the car for good.


SAVING YOUR SKIN Being a leading expert within the dermatology field, La Roche-Posay has recognised the severity of skin problems experienced by the vast majority of patients undergoing both chemo and radiotherapy treatments. Prof. Diana Lüftner from the German Society for Haematology and Medical Oncology tells Pink the skin is our biggest organ and any cutaneous side effects of cancer treatment can influence quality of life.


ttention has recently started to be paid to the more dermatological side effects of chemo and radiotherapy. Why do you think this is happening? Could it be because cure is more attainable and the focus can shift to quality of care and treatment, or is that too optimistic? Other predominant oncological problems like nausea and vomiting have already been solved, so we can now focus our attention on the unsolved problems. The skin is our biggest organ and any cutaneous side effects can influence our quality of life. It has nothing to do with the possibility of cure; this is also important for terminal patients. Side effects on the skin may influence the dose density of systemic treatment and, therefore, have an impact on life expectancy. Is this more superficial aspect of treatment really so important to cancer patients? To what extent do you feel these problems affect their morale? And are they not insignificant in the face of life-threatening illnesses? No, quality of life is essential even in the face of a life-threatening disease. This is absolutely not superficial. Why should it be? When it comes to the skin, what sort of problems do patients undergoing chemo and radiotherapy treatments experience? And what is the percentage of those who do? Basically, all patients suffer side effects; it is just a question of detection and interpretation. If you do not ask, you will not make the observation. When it comes to the skin, patients suffer from itching, dryness and inflammation.

 ∫ Pink November 2016

To better understand the impact of oncology treatment on skin, La Roche-Posay has brought together a working group composed of dermatologists and oncologists, the European SKIn Management in Oncology [Eskimo], which has identified and analysed the various side effects of treatments. What recommendations has it proposed in terms of suitable skincare products and make-up? In a nutshell, what sorts of products work well on the skin of cancer patients undergoing treatment? Everything that reduces dryness helps. This is only possible if you provide water to the skin; oil is not helpful. Niacinamide, as a vitamin analogue, also helps against inflammation and protects the skin barrier. As part of the social corporate values of Prohealth Ltd, local distributors of La Roche-Posay, about €3,000 worth of La Roche-Posay products were donated to the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre and the Rainbow Ward for child cancer patients at Mater Dei Hospital.



Pink November 2016  ∫ 



CRIMINI MUSHROOMS I’m packed with good stuff Crimini mushrooms are a coffee-coloured variety of the world’s most commonly eaten “button” mushroom. Baby bella mushroom, mini bella mushroom, baby portobello mushroom, and portobellini mushroom are other names for crimini mushrooms, which are also sometimes referred to simply as “brown mushrooms”. [Portobello mushrooms are crimini mushrooms that have been allowed to grow to full maturity.] While often thought of as a vegetable and prepared like one, mushrooms are actually fungi, a special type of living organism that has no roots, leaves, flowers, or seeds. Mushrooms do not require soil or light to grow – just decaying organic matter of some kind. The unique nature of mushrooms as a fungus that grows on decaying matter is one of the reasons why the certified organic versions should be purchased.

My nutritional information Mushrooms, including crimini mushrooms, are not usually considered as offering great nutritional value. However, one cup of crimini mushrooms provides a good, very good, or excellent source of 15 different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients. Sautéing crimini mushrooms for just seven minutes brings out their best flavour, while maximising their nutrient retention.

Influenza vs Common Cold By Daniela Tonna from the Malta Medical Students Association

Feeling under the weather and sniffling? You’ve got a cold! That’s the conclusion you immediately reach whenever symptoms of nasal congestion, a cough and headache arise. Although these symptoms are common, they may vary in severity and may not all be present together at once. This is because different viruses may affect people differently. Moreover, not all illnesses can be grouped together as a ‘cold’. There are differences between a common cold and influenza. Although they may present similarly, the severity of symptoms is usually worse in influenza, where their onset tends to be abrupt and fever is usually high. Conversely, the common cold comes on gradually and fever is commonly mild. Influenza typically causes muscle aches and pains, headaches, loss of appetite and severe tiredness, leading to impaired work

performance, lost productivity and disruption of family and social life. Despite these differences, both are usually self-limiting illnesses and require symptomatic treatment. The influenza vaccine is readily available every year. This is important because whereas the common cold may give mild complications, influenza’s can be severe, including bronchitis and pneumonia, possibly leading to hospitalisation. If severe symptoms occur, consult a medical doctor for professional advice. Influenza can be prevented by taking the vaccine, which can also be given to children over six months. It is an asset to protect yourself !

of a population of sufferers of anorexia are younger than the age of 10, according to a recent study.


[See ParentingTips on page 77]

How to choose me Look for crimini mushrooms that are firm, plump, clean and brown in colour. Those that are wrinkled or have wet, slimy spots should be avoided. Choose the certified organic versions. Examples of unwanted contaminants that may be greatly reduced or eliminated by stricter organic standards include synthetic herbicides, insecticides and heavy metals. The best way to store loose button mushrooms is in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag, wrapped in a damp cloth, or laid out in a glass dish that is covered with a moist cloth. Whether you use a paper bag, a damp cloth, or a glass dish, it's worth avoiding all storage methods that leave the mushrooms stacked in one big clump. The less surface contact they have with one another, the fresher they will stay. These storage methods will help preserve the mushrooms' moisture without causing them to become soggy and keep them fresh for several days. Once mushrooms have developed a slimy layer across their surface, they are no longer fully fresh. Mushrooms that are purchased prepackaged can usually be stored in the refrigerator for three to seven days. However, to maximise freshness, remove from the original container. Recent research has shown refrigerator storage to be especially important for preserving mushroom phytonutrients. Dried mushrooms should be stored in a tightly sealed container in either the refrigerator or freezer, where they will stay fresh for six months to a year.

MONTHLY MUSE “Food is my ultimate stress relief, and it's surprisingly easy to go into I-couldn’t-care-less mode, which starts off as a day, turns into a week and then a month of being off track…” Kurt Paris, fashion photographer and software architect. [See LifeStyle on page 20]

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PRODUCTIVITY there is no such thing as waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or monday blues. we can be more in control of our moods. dott. EDWARD CURMI lists simple ways to be happy, such as a good english breakfast, which, in turn, can lead to being productive.


ew of us realise that being productive, one of everyone’s ultimate goals, very much depends on our mood. There is no doubt that our brain performs better when we are happy, not sad, or indifferent. So, if happiness is the key to productivity, it might be worth developing a number of rituals that can bring out this state of mind. Make sure you give a kiss to someone in the morning This might sound silly, but according to Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of the book, The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips are Telling Us, a German longitudinal study proved that husbands who kiss their wives before they go to work live longer and are more successful at work. Husbands who did not kiss their wives were 50 per cent more likely to have a car accident. Obviously, it is not the actual kiss that prevents car accidents, but the feel-good factor that this instils in a person is likely to make them happier. Make sure you hug someone throughout the day Similarly, in another interesting book called The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, psychologist Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky says we should consider hugging someone at least five times a day. Her study concluded that people who hug at least five times a day reported feeling much happier when compared to those who do not hug at all.

“husbands who kiss their wives before they go to work live longer and are more successful at work” Thank someone Many studies keep on confirming the power of being grateful towards others. In fact, there is ample research showing that complimenting others not only makes them feel better, but it also builds a healthy attachment between two people possibly cementing their relationship. So try and find the time to say thank you on a daily basis, with a simple Post-It note, e-mail, SMS, or call.  Always have something exciting up your sleeve Having something to look forward to seems to be one of the essential ingredients to a suc-

cessful and happy life. When we look forward to something, we not only build up excitement, but in the process, we also create a state of anticipation. So make sure you indulge in something you love on a daily basis as you are bound to be happy chasing it throughout the day. Take on something that you dread early in the day According to most experts in the field of happiness, it is essential that we tackle something that we dread on a daily basis. Yes, it might sound rather ridiculous, but studies are showing that when we face something we have been avoiding, the chances are that it can actually boost our morale. Of course, timing is important and experts seem to be in agreement that, ideally, such challenges should be tackled early in the morning when our brain is nice and fresh and rested. Be more in control of your moods. Never undermine the power of the mind. There is no such thing as waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or Monday blues. Each and every one of us has the capacity to decide how we want to perceive the world. Staying realistically positive is a guarantee of a good mood. Pessimistic approaches only cloud our judgement and prolong our suffering. Our attitude is everything! Don’t forget to eat a scrumptious breakfast Never underestimate a good English breakfast! According to Roy Baumeister, author of the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, those who choose to have breakfast tend to start the day on a better note due to the positive chemical reaction of food on the brain. In his study conducted with schoolchildren, those who had breakfast before school tended to be less frustrated, happy and well behaved when compared with those who preferred not to. Dott. Edward Curmi is a registered clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and author of the book Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, and its sequel More Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, available from Agenda Bookshops.

Pink November 2016 ∫ 75


WEIGHT WATCHING In a world that holds the belief there is no such thing as being too skinny, educational and child psychologist Dr STEPHANIE SATARIANO tells us how to help our children cope with eating disorders, or prevent them from developing a disordered relationship with food. Don’t comment on your child’s weight, or body image, and don’t tolerate derogatory comments about other people’s weight.


or many of us, eating disorders probably bring to mind very skinny fashion models; we tend to think they are a consequence of being superficial and obsessed with weight. But the reality is that eating disorders are very complex. Yes, they affect adults, but they also affect young children, adolescents, girls and boys, people from all walks of life. Although hard to believe, a recent study found that three per cent of a population of sufferers of anorexia were younger than 10. The medical profession has tried to categorise eating disorders, and in the most recent DSM-IV [a diagnostic manual], they identified eight types: • Anorexia Nervosa – characterised by low calorie intake, malnutrition and a fear of putting on weight.

• Bulimia Nervosa – characterised by binge eating, followed by purging, taking laxatives/diuretics/other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise. • Binge Eating – characterised by eating an excessive amount of food in a short space of time, with a sense of loss of control.

selective food disorder – characterised by highly restrictive food preferences that result in nutritional deficiency. • Other specific feeding or eating disorders – such as atypical anorexia, purging disorder [recurrent purging in the absence of binge eating], night eating syndrome [eating when awakening from sleep or after an evening meal].

“THE SELF-BELIEF OF MOST YOUTHS TODAY IS DETERMINED BY HOW MANY FACEBOOK LIKES THEY GET, WHICH IS LARGELY DETERMINED BY WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE” • Pica – eating non-nutritive substances. • Rumination Disorder – the repeated regurgitation of food. • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder [ARFID] also known as

• Unspecific feeding or eating disorder – a feeding or eating difficulty that causes significant distress, but does not fall into one of the categories above. Pink November 2016 ∫ 77

PARENTINGTIPS The cause of eating disorders is still unknown, however, research suggests it is the relationship between genes and environmental influences. Sadly, we live in a world where body image, food and exercise are the focus of the media. The self-belief of most youths today is determined by how many Facebook likes they get, which is largely determined by what they look like. So, in a society that holds the belief there is no such thing as being too skinny, how do we help our children cope with eating disorders, or prevent them from developing a disordered relationship with food? • Spend quality time with your child; take time to listen to your child’s worries and fears in a non-judgemental and warm way. This will help to build a positive and nurturing relationship with your child. • Think about the ‘food narrative’ you have in your home: What dialogues do you have around food? Is food seen as a source of nourishment? A source of frustration? A source of comfort?

• Think about the relationship you have with food, body image and weight control – children learn so much through observation and are aware of a lot more than we realise. • Monitor how you comment about your own weight and food intake, especially in front of your children. • Try to make meal times a relaxed and fun time, so that food has a positive association for your child. • Should your child be a fussy/selective eater, try to understand why and what is going on for them. For example, recent research has found that for some people, certain vegetables have a metallic taste. • When children are full, let them stop eating. Allow them to feel a sense of control over their food and food intake; the parent can determine the menu and the child can determine the amount of food intake. This will also help them to develop awareness of when they are full, or hungry. • Don’t comment on your child’s weight, or body image. • Don’t tolerate derogatory comments about other people’s weight.

• Teach your child moderation with food, as well as other aspects of life. Bear in mind that an eating disorder may also be a symptom of a more general mental illness, or a difficulty coping with a stressful life situation. Eating and food are usually a way to seek control over an overwhelming external environment, and/or overwhelming internal emotions. Therefore, if you are noticing such trends developing in your children, try to take a non-judgemental, compassionate stance to understand what they are going through. Hitting them head-on may lead to further resistance and denial of the situation, and result in secrecy and lies on their part. Most importantly, if you are worried your child is developing an eating disorder, seek help from a psychologist, or psychiatrist. Such support is important for your child, as well as for you. Family is an integral part of the treatment of an eating disorder. So remember you are invaluable in supporting your child’s mental and physical health and well-being.

The venue for weddings, corporate and private functions Triq Madonna ta’ l-Abbandunati, Wardija. For more information, contact us on 9942 9678 or 9974 7714.


A NEW CHAPTER Classique and Le Mâle Essences de Parfum add a luxurious and sophisticated touch to this iconic fragrance universe from Jean Paul Gaultier, opening a new premium fragrance chapter. Perfumer Daphné Bugey wanted to keep the gingery, almost spicy dimension of Classique, but make it lighter, adding bite and burst. It is based on the idea that when it smells this good, you just want to eat the air. Quentin Bisch, the perfumer of Le Mâle, says he saw its new body and he thought skin; he thought leather; he thought a leathery suede-like perfume, soft as velour and sexy as the smell of skin. Essences de Parfum are exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd [2133 1553].

REBALANCING EXTREMELY REACTIVE SKIN The Ultra Sensitive Series by Dr Grandel is especially designed for customers with extremely sensitive and reactive skin, who can hardly tolerate anything. Often their skin is reddened and flaky, with a tendency towards itchiness and inflammations. To rebalance extremely reactive skin, none of the products in the Ultra Sensitive Series from Dr Grandel contain any preservatives, fragrances, or colorants. Thanks to a special cream foundation, even the use of emulsifiers is unnecessary. In combination with selected soothing active ingredients, the skin is noticeably calmed and rebalanced, and maximum skin tolerance is ensured. The main substance of this line is a tamarind extract, which covers the skin with a protective film and provides it with pleasant moisture. Dr Grandel is available in beauty salons and Spas. For trade enquiries, contact Carewell by Reactilab on; 9982 8498; or 9945 7245.

HAUTE COUTURE REINTERPRETATION The ‘haute couture’ reinterpretation of Bonbon Couture is said to be a more intensive, luxurious and stronger version of the original, with more prominent notes of caramel. The nuanced and sensual oriental-gourmand composition of the new edition begins with a juicy combination of mandarin, neroli oil and peach. Its creamy heart notes include white flowers such as orange blossom, sweetened by a potent caramel note. The base is defined by a woody accord of sandalwood and patchouli, with vanilla and blonde tobacco. Viktor & Rolf fragrances are exclusively distributed by Chemimart [2149 2212].

MY FRAGRANCE My Burberry Black is the new fragrance joining the My Burberry collection. It follows the same codes of craftsmanship, innovation and appreciation of the iconic heritage trench coat. My Burberry Black travels back to a London garden amidst a gathering storm; heavy rain contrasting with the warm and captivating flora. The fragrance fuses the scent of sun-drenched jasmine flower and peach nectar with a touch of rose. This signature rose note at the heart of My Burberry is given a sweet and inviting twist, while rich amber patchouli rounds off the scent for a deep and captivating finish. Burberry fragrances are exclusively distributed by Chemimart [2149 2212].





find that if your hair and nails are done, the rest of you usually looks so much better. It’s magical – an instant makeover and shape-up, even if you’re not feeling your best.  But for some reason, I rarely manage the two together. If my hair looks great, my nails are usually shapeless and chipped. And conversely, if my nails are manicured and polished, my hair has white roots and looks frizzy and unkempt.  I know that I’m probably the exception here because, nowadays, many hair salons offer in-house nail and other beauty treatments, so you can actually have a two-in-one: do your nails while your colour is cooking as it were. It’s all rather cosy and convenient. In fact, whereas in the past, hairdressers may have been the privilege of a few, nowadays, hair and nail appointments are de rigueur, and most women have a whole year’s supply booked well in advance – a standing weekly appointment.   I’ve been colouring my hair for years and have probably changed just as many hairdressers, although I think they call them hair technicians nowadays… which is curious because they’re also nail technicians. It’s a strange word to adopt in this business that is all about glamour and glitz. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing less glamorous than the sound of a  ‘technician’. Technicians make me think of things I’d rather not think about. I’d rather plug out.  82 ∫ Pink November 2016

Anyway, 25 years and too many hairdressers/technicians, I decided enough was enough. So I’ve finally stopped going to the hairdresser to colour my hair and I have her come to me. 

I visit the hairdresser – or have her visit me – for colour once a month. I have not yet graduated to the weekly blow-dry, which, considering my age, is shameful. Once you hit a certain age,

“LIstenIng to otheR peopLe tALk cAn be stRAngeLy theRApeutIc And comfoRtIng. When I feeL I need my fIx, I pop Into the hAIRdResseR foR A bLoW-dRy” It’s not half as glamorous of course, and a part of me does miss the ritual of waiting my turn [which can be a major pain especially in salons that overbook and are wont to keep you waiting]. But it does have its advantages. And truth be told, if you allow yourself the luxury of relaxing and unwinding, idle chat has its own value. Listening to other people talk can be strangely therapeutic and comforting. When I feel I need my fix, I pop into the hairdresser for a blow-dry.

a weekly blow-dry should be mandatory. You’ve earned the right to pamper yourself once – even twice – a week, instead of kneeling on your bathtub with your head face down and then trying your damnedest to get your hair to look decent. And you owe it to yourself. But I’m a bit erratic about most everything in my life and blow-drying my hair is no exception. I may go through a stint where I blow-dry my hair once a week, and then have a six-month

moratorium. Because funnily enough, like most everything else in my life, where I’m concerned, it’s never straightforward. I’m the one who goes for a blow-dry and wants to leave the hairdresser looking like I haven’t. I don’t like the spaghetti straightened ironed look. My preferred hair is actually curly, but when you reach my age, you realise that curly hair requires so much more maintenance. It can look good for a few hours, but once you sleep on it, it looks the worse for wear [and sleep].  So every time I go for a blow-dry, it always requires a bit of a speech. And I invariably end up leaving the place a little dissatisfied because hairdressers never really know what I want. Maybe it’s because I don’t know what I want, or because I’m useless at explaining myself. Sometimes, I’ll show them a picture, but we all know that pictures are just that. Real life is entirely different and weather plays a big part… as does age. My hair today is nothing like my hair three, five, let alone 10 years ago.  I’ve come to learn that hair always looks better a couple of days after you’ve washed it. When it’s too clean, it tends to fluff up, or look a little lifeless, and then just as it starts to dirt up, it sort of ‘stays’, or hangs well. Such is life.  My nails are a different story. If I’m erratic about my hair, I’m even more erratic about my nails – manicures, that is. I’m far better when it comes to pedicures, funnily enough.  I can count the number of times I do my nails in any given year. I am also very conservative when it comes to length and colour. I’m not exactly daring. It’s either red, pink, or something ‘French’ and neutral. I want none of that decorative stuff and I’m partial to a nice rounded finish.  I don’t like my nails to look like talons, or stilettos.   Incidentally, the nails are mine – I just add a coating of gel. There was a time I got myself nail extensions, but even then, I’d try to keep them as short and natural as possible. There are practical reasons for this. I find that when nails are too long, it interferes with day-to-day stuff like opening a can, or trying to button up a shirt. Clasps are a no-go – forget about trying to wear jewellery, or putting on earrings. Although, I suppose, like everything else, you get used to it. I see women pounding away on typewriters, handling cash registers, and swiping barcodes all the time. But I question why they would want to have such long nails. Really I do… especially because I don’t think men like them at all. I bet you that if you had to ask any man whether he prefers shorter or longer nails, he’ll go with the short reply. Not that that should be a determining factor, or the reason why women should keep their nails trim. But I do find that many women do want to look attractive to men. And length is often the operative word.  Women go through great lengths with their hair, make-up and nails, while most men like to keep things very simple. In my experience, a man would rather hair is down and natural looking, rather than tied up in an elaborate upstyle. Similarly, although they may be turned off by women who bite their nails, they are equally turned off by nails that look dangerous and sinister.


A BIT OF FUN ON THE SIDE MARIA CACHIA prepares two dishes, built on a toasted couscous base, together with beetroots or carrots, and a coriander or dill dressing. Both can be served with cheese and salad leaves for a main course, or as a side salad with fish, poultry, or meat.

METHOD INGREDIENTS Serves 4 100g carrots, peeled and cut into quarters 100g crimini mushrooms, cleaned and cut into halves or quarters, depending on size 1 tsp coconut oil 100g toasted couscous 2 red or green chillies A small bunch of fresh coriander 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds For the dressing 2 anchovies, or 1 tsp anchovy essence 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 tbsp olive oil Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a roasting tray with baking paper. Place the carrots and mushrooms in a bowl, together with the coconut oil, and season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Toss the carrots and mushrooms so that they are evenly coated with the oil. Place them, separated, on the roasting tray – the carrots will need a longer cooking time. Roast the carrots for 15 to 20 minutes and the mushrooms, depending on their size, for five. Cook the toasted couscous according to the packet instructions: either in boiling water for 10 minutes, or gently steam for 20. Allow to come to room temperature. Place the chillies onto a flame on the hob and allow to slightly char. Turn

them so that they are cooked through. Once ready, place them in a bowl and cover tightly with cling film for five minutes. Gently remove any charred parts, chop the chillies and set aside. Place the anchovies, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. Season with freshly ground pepper. To assemble, mix the couscous, carrots, mushrooms and chillies in a bowl together with the dressing and the pomegranate seeds. Add some finely chopped coriander.

METHOD INGREDIENTS Serves 4 2 beetroots, peeled and cut into wedges 100g toasted couscous 100g fresh mango, not too ripe, finely chopped A few sprigs fresh dill, finely chopped For the dressing 1 tsp wasabi 1 tbsp lime juice 2 tbsp olive oil Freshly ground salt and pepper

86 ∫ Pink November 2016

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a roasting tray with baking paper. Place the beetroots and mango in a bowl together with the coconut oil and season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Toss them so that they are evenly coated with the oil. Roast in the baking tray for 15 to 20 minutes. Cook the toasted couscous according to the packet instructions: either in boiling water for 10 minutes, or gently steamed for 20. Allow to come to room temperature. In a food processor, add the wasabi, lime juice and olive oil together with the seasoning. Process until blended. In a bowl, add the couscous, beetroots, mango, dill and the dressing and toss until blended.


SmartCity Malta

Verdala Palace


For more information, contact us on 9942 9678 or 9999 9978



PINK ARIES MARCH 20-APRIL 18 Initially, the battles you face during December will seem familiar. Still, don’t ignore them. Each is about clarifying your priorities and, better yet, gaining powerful insights. These motivate you to declutter your life, eliminating both unproductive arrangements and questionable future plans. While often this is a relief, some seem a loss, at least initially. Still, your efforts now are clearing the way for a rewarding cycle that begins in late January, when ruler Mars moves into Aries, kick-starting an amazing year.

CANCER JUNE 20-JULY 21 For ages, you’ve intended to declutter your life, rid yourself of unnecessary possessions and explore a bit more. But life’s obligations have always interfered. Now shake-ups, some expected, others not, are forcing that rethink. This is chaotic, but also a relief, as you’ve no choice but to do things differently. Challenging as living with so much unsettled may be, it’s freeing you to explore options you’ve never before considered. Continue this until mid-January’s Cancer Full Moon brings things together in unexpected but wonderful ways.

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 21 You’re by no means narrow-minded. Yet you long ago decided certain kinds of people, activities and even pleasures are of no interest to you. Now events, some sudden, others non-negotiable, force you into exactly such situations. Instead of searching for excuses to get out of these, explore. Times have changed and, even more, so have you. The resulting surprises, combined with discussion of serious changes in your work or lifestyle, mean you’re soon embracing changes that, only recently, you’d have refused outright.

CAPRICORN DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 19 Planning ahead may be a virtue and, as a thorough Capricorn, allow you to achieve each day’s numerous goals. However, December is a changeable month, which means you’re better off listing your goals, but avoiding fixed plans. This ensures you’re free to explore exciting encounters and unexpected opportunities without concern. More important, you’ll be ready for the changes in circumstances and your perspective, triggered by the Capricorn New Moon on December 29, which constitutes a sort of personal new year.

According to astrologer SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL… TAURUS

APRIL 19-MAY 19 Life’s exciting. It’s about venturing into new territory, personally and possibly in terms of travel, or study. Intriguing as these ideas are, initially they seem worrying, or unsettling. Still, explore each one. At minimum, you’ll learn something, but mostly, you’ll be surprisingly intrigued. So much so that by late December, you’ll be considering serious changes. Better yet, this excitement brings new life to elements of your everyday life that have become too predictable, if not dull. Soon there’ll be a flow of unexpected delights.

LEO JULY 22-AUGUST 21 While you’re in a period of intense review, you can’t avoid planning. But you can ensure whatever you organise can be easily rethought. Then, when discussions with loved ones, family, or close friends lead to changes, you’ll experiment without having to commit. Happily, instead of facing unwelcome disruption, who and what you encounter adds welcome spice to your life. Some activities and alliances will be brief, but others will surprise you by becoming an important, if not cherished, part of your life.

SCORPIO OCTOBER 22-NOVEMBER 20 For ages, you’ve wrestled with practical, financial, or business issues and have made, and unmade, decisions often. However, events during the first half of December reveal vital faces and force you to settle on a single plan. This is both a relief and frees you to pursue offers as exciting as they are unexpected. While you’re lacking facts, you can trust instincts that say how good these are. Still, expect to go through several versions before anything is settled, probably in mid-January.

AQUARIUS JANUARY 20-FEBRUARY 18 Usually you’d be delighted with the exciting, if unexpected, ideas and offers that come your way during December’s first half. It’s just that either they’ll lead to unsettling changes, or mean allowing others to make decisions you should be making. Despite these doubts, explore what’s involved. You’ll soon realise that the circumstances and people involved would be so beneficial that it’s worth taking a chance. Although changes are inevitable and sometimes unsettling, you gradually recognise how much these would add to your life.

Visit to learn more and order your own chart.

GEMINI MAY 20-JUNE 19 As you begin December, you’ll be unsure about a number of situations. That’s because you’re in the run-up to the pivotal Gemini Full Moon on December 14. Beforehand, you’ll need to give serious thought to your priorities – personal, professional and involving work. Afterwards, you’ll take action, but find yourself frequently rethinking even simple decisions. While aggravating, this is also good, because you’ll begin to explore unexpected options, each of which promises something wonderful.

VIRGO AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 21 December is all about rethinking elements of your life. Some changes will be longplanned and often a welcome relief. Others will be sudden, possibly unsettling, yet ultimately, lead to breakthroughs. If there’s any problem, it’s that you, as a thorough Virgo, will worry all this chaos means you missed something important in the past, or will misjudge situations now. However, because this cycle is all about exploration, you can’t get things wrong. Adopt an inquisitive attitude. The more chances you take, the better.

SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 20 The most influential event during the last part of this year and early 2017 is the Sagittarius New Moon on November 29. So as you begin December, you’re questioning unrewarding arrangements and, equally, giving serious thought to the practical and financial side of your life. Often unexpected events pave the way for changes, although possibly not until late in the month. While opportunities are thrilling, they form slowly. Although the plan may not be clear until mid-January, once it is, you’ll be thrilled.

PISCES FEBRUARY 19-MARCH 19 After an unsettling November, you begin December confident about both shortterm and long-range goals. However, you’re unprepared for the swift pace of events, including crucial decisions, and the need to be firm with certain people. Say nothing in the hope they’ll live up to recent commitments, or your hopes, and you’ll regret it. From midmonth onwards, focus on exploring new and often surprising ideas and offers. While these may not be settled until early 2017, they hold huge promise. Pink November 2016 ∫ 89

SNAPSHOT How limited is life in a band in Malta?

When I started singing, I thought that in Malta, music could only achieve hobby status. I was wrong, happily! We continually work super hard and the job is perhaps not as straightforward as working from 9am to 5pm, but I don’t think any of us could imagine not choosing music. The scene in Malta is going through a revival of sorts, so I think we’re lucky to be riding that wave.

SWINGING GYPSY STYLE Music is above all about having fun for Angela Vella Zarb, vocalist of the band Swing Nuages. When she started singing, she thought it could only achieve hobby status in Malta. But as she prepares to perform at APS Teatru Unplugged 19, she happily admits she was wrong,


ow did Swing Nuages come to life and where is the band going? Swing Nuages started

quite particular, and I guess the fun vibes are just infectious.

off as a jam session between two guitarists and a violinist. Eventually, they decided to flesh out the line-up, brought a singer and bassist on board, and started gigging in bars and small festivals.

You’re described as a “fun-loving gypsy swing and manouche jazz band”. Could you see yourself doing something totally different? Actually, all the members come

Introduce us to this eclectic five-piece group of musicians in a nutshell… The

founding members were Karl Galea [guitar], Joshua Bray [guitar] and Jan Joachimsen [violin]. Dean Montanaro was then recruited to play bass [and he has since upgraded to double bass], with Sonja Stellini on vocals. Sonja and Jan eventually left the group, so I was brought on board to sing, and Reggie Clews became our new violinist. And then there’s the lead vocalist… What about her in three words?

My band would tell you: control freak, organised, but hopefully, also fun. You perform up-tempo and retro music in the style of Django Reinhardt, who popularised the ‘hot’ jazz genre in the 1930s. How does this generally go down with your audiences? We’ve been

pleasantly surprised to find that people really seem to dig the style! The genre is 90 ∫ Pink November 2016

from and are active in different styles of music and projects. Reggie [violin] is a fulltimer with the Malta Philharmonic. Joshua [guitar] comes from a bluesy rock background. Karl [guitar] focuses on traditional jazz, but he’s coming from a rock background. Dean [bass] and myself were actually in a prog-rock/metal band together before joining Swing Nuages. Recently, a Maltese singer said she was quitting the music scene due to depression, aggravated by the pressures it brought about. How does that make you feel about ever making it on an international level, or have you never aspired to reach such heights? Music is above all

about having fun for me. It is also our full-time job, so I think we are lucky to get work doing what we really enjoy. The industry in Malta isn’t really big enough to be competitive, so I guess we get a pretty relaxed deal compared to musicians on the international scene. We try not to let that make us lazy, though, and I hope that we can reach a wider audience in the future.

In the last couple of years – pretty much since you were formed – you’ve performed on some of the biggest local stages. Where to next? We’re working

on some new repertoire and, hopefully, will be getting some recordings done in the near future. My next goal is to target some international venues and play a few shows abroad. What does it mean to you to be performing at the Manoel Theatre? And what is the allure of unplugged music?

We’re all pretty excited to perform on the Manoel’s stage. It feels as though we’ll be part of a little piece of Maltese history. The manouche style we play is all about acoustic, percussive instruments, and it’s just great fun to be able to play a swinging tune anywhere, without needing to plug in. When you dream big, what venue are performing at? No particular venue in

mind… Any gig that gives me the opportunity to travel would be great. And who with? If I could get to drag along my band mates, that would be awesome, as well as any like-minded foreign musicians we might meet along the way. What’s the best thing about being on stage? Having a laugh and getting our

audience smiling with us. When you’re not singing, what do you do that gives you equal pleasure? At the

moment, I’m preparing for a climbing expedition abroad in January, so lately, if I’m not singing, I’m usually training. And I’m really enjoying this. APS Teatru Unplugged 19 is being held at the Manoel Theatre on December 2, 3 and 4. Tickets are available from; for more information, check out

ISSUE145∫ NovEmbEr2016 PINK ISSUE145∫ NovEmbEr2016

PUTTING EATING DISORDERS IN ORDER Weightlifting out of a life on a few crackers a week one man’s ups and downs of yo-yo dieting, bulimia and being fit battling a bad relationship with food in kids

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE The Pink Fashion Show sets the scene for the season’s top trends at the national theatre Female directors, producers and playwrights on performances for children

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