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German actress Tiana Pongs releases insider’s guide to modelling

Filed by Lucire staff/July 2, 2020/12.23

German model and actress Tiana Pongs, who had authored Der kleine Model Guide in her native country some years ago, has released an updated English-language equivalent, Keep Smiling: a Career Guide for Models, from the same publisher, Ebozon Verlag.
   According to the publisher, the guide ‘explains, step by step, how to start, what the everyday life looks like and how emerging models can successfully establish themselves on the international market.’
   Pongs runs through advice on securing an agency, photographers and clients, photo shoots, and general conditions. She also discusses fees, tax advisers, travel, and beauty and nutrition. The book also has a verified list of international agencies.
   She also covers the seedier side of the business, including ‘dirty offers’, as well as personal difficulties such as homesickness.


Tiana Pongs’ original German edition, from the same publisher

 


Facebook’s demise wouldn’t affect us much

Filed by Jack Yan/May 30, 2020/11.14

Like many other publications, Lucire sends updates to Facebook, Twitter and Mastodon. Occasionally we’ll Instagram an image to a story. However, we’ve had reservations about social media, especially Facebook, for over a decade. In November 2010, we wrote on our Facebook page, ‘We have stopped the automated importing of notes to this Facebook page. These stories receive around 200–400 views each, but that also means that our site loses 200–400 viewers per story.’ At that stage we probably had around 600 fans on the Lucire fan page, showing you just what cut-through pages were getting before Facebook intentionally broke its sharing algorithm to force people to pay to get the same reach. (Reach dropped 90 per cent overnight.) We didn’t feel any desire after that to build social media presences, because we spotted the con—as did this YouTuber:

   Back then, Facebook allowed the importing of articles via RSS, which meant everything from Lucire’s news pages automatically wound up on the social network. It was a crazy idea, when you look back: it wasn’t designed to drive traffic to our main site, it only made Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg rich as you spent more time in their walled garden.
   Even after we stopped, we still shared headlines to Facebook, thinking that these would entice fans sufficiently to click through. At one stage, we could see referrals from Facebook among our stats, but these days, there is no correlation between the Facebook reach numbers and the actual views of the story on our own site.
   In 2016, NPR posted a headline to its Facebook page, ‘Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?’ but the contents of the article read, ‘We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this “story.”’ You can predict what happened: the link got plenty of comments. Anyone who says that Americans don’t get irony is gravely mistaken.
   Even in the late 2000s I was saying we lived in a ‘headline culture’ where people might never read the article itself, and social media have exacerbated this phenomenon. Many social media today, including the largest sites, are little more than glorified Digg sites, places where links are shared, but not necessarily places which drive traffic.
   Of course there will be exceptions to the rule, but generally, social media do not mean engagement. A 2015 study by Parse.ly showed that social media-referred readers engage the least with a given article. Search engine-referred readers were slightly better. But the best came from those who were already loyal readers on the site.
   In an age of “fake news” I do not believe the statistics will have improved, particularly on websites whose businesses thrive on outrage. People are divided into tribes where they seem to derive some reward for posting more links that support that aims of those tribes: a situation rife for exploitation, if certain countries’ investigations are to be believed. Certainly as early as 2014 I was warning of a ‘bot epidemic’, something that only became mainstream news in 2018 with The Observer’s exposé about Cambridge Analytica.
   But none of that bad news broke the addictions many people have to these websites. On our ‘about’ page on Facebook, we note: ‘Fast forward to (nearly) the dawn of the 2020s. We won’t lie to you: we’re not fans of how Facebook says one thing and does another. In our pages, we’ve promoted based on merit, and Facebook wouldn’t actually pass muster if it was a fashion label.
   ‘We know Facebook is tracking you, often more than your settings have allowed. Therefore, we’re consciously trying to limit the time you spend on this website.
   ‘However, we also know that we should maintain a Facebook presence, as there are many of you who want that convenience.’
   Nonetheless, I regularly wonder if that convenience is even worth it if there is no correlation with readership.
   Twice this month I was locked out of Facebook, because, allegedly, there was unusual activity. If checking your Facebook on a far less regular basis—say a couple of times a week—is unusual, then I’ll expect to get locked out far more frequently. As the importing of our Tweets to Facebook is driven by another program (on IFTTT), and that is linked to my personal account (one that I haven’t updated since 2017), then each time Facebook blocks me, it breaks the process. It’s also a website that has bugs that were present when I was a regular user in the late 2000s through to the mid-2010s, including ones where we cannot even share Lucire links because the site automatically ruins the address, rendering the previews anywhere from inaccurate (claiming the page doesn’t exist) to useless (taking you to a 404). Only the text link will work.
   We get the occasional like and share from our Facebook, although these do not inform our editorial decisions.
   We won’t go so far as to proclaim the end of social media, regardless of how angry the US president gets with fact checks; but we’ve been sceptical about their worth for publishers for a long time, and there are increasing days where I wonder whether I’ll even bother reconnecting the sharing mechanism from Twitter to Facebook if Facebook breaks it again. The question I’m really asking is: does the presence of links to our articles matter much to you?
   Ultimately, I care about all our readers, including Facebook users, and that remains the overriding motive to reconnect things one more time after Facebook locks me out. And I suppose the lock-outs in 2020 are much better than the ones during most of the 2010s, where Facebook forced you to download a “malware scanner” on false pretences, planting hidden software with unclear purposes on to millions of computers around the world. Their record is truly appalling, and if Facebook vanished overnight, I wouldn’t shed a tear.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


British Fashion Council names 37 designers receiving COVID-19 emergency fund support

Filed by Lucire staff/May 13, 2020/10.42

The British Fashion Council has announced the first recipients of its emergency fund, helping members of the fashion industry navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
   Thirty-seven British designer businesses, out of 220 applications, have been named in the first round, with the BFC using its £1 million fund to support them. A portion has been allocated to students. The amounts range from £5,000 to £50,000 depending on urgency and capability. Recipients would also receive business support and mentoring from the BFC Fashion Business Network, which includes DLA Piper, Eco-Age, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Farfetch, FashionEx, Google, HSBC, Instagram, Lewis Silkin, Lloyds, LVMH, Mishcon de Reya, RSM, Sheridans, Taylor Wessing, Value Retail, and YouTube, and one-on-one mentors.
   The earlier BFC–Vogue Designer Fashion Fund (VDFF) was a £200,000 prize set up for a winning designer. This amount has now been shared with the six designers originally shortlisted for the grand prize.
   The recipients are: Alighieri (VDFF 2020), Ahluwalia, Aries, Art School, Bethany Williams, Bianca Saunders, Chalayan, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy (VDFF 2020), Chopova Lowena, Craig Green, David Koma (VDFF 2020), E. Tautz, E. L. V. Denim, Edeline Lee, Eftychia, Halpern (VDFF 2020), King & Tuckfield, Kwaidan Editions, Liam Hodges, Matty Bovan, Metier (VDFF 2020), Nabil Nayal, Neous, Nicholas Daley, Palmer/Harding, Paper London, Paria/Farzaneh, Per Gotesson, Phoebe English, Raeburn, Rejina Pyo (VDFF 2020), Richard Malone, Richard Quinn, Roksanda, 16Arlington, Stefan Cooke, and Toogood.
   Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC said, ‘Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen an astonishing amount of applications come through from British designer businesses all over the country, asking for help to survive the crisis. The need for support is immense. Our hope is to reopen the fund for future rounds, to help as many businesses as possible, and ensure the future growth and success of the British fashion industry.’
   The fund comprised support grants from the BFC–Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, BFC–GQ Designer Menswear Fund supported by JD.com, BFC Fashion Trust and BFC Newgen.
   The BFC estimates that £100 million of support is required over the next 12 to 18 months. The fund will reopen for further rounds every time a £500,000 milestone is reached.
   Alexander McQueen, Browns, Clearpay and Coach Foundation have already contributed to the next round.
   Arch & Hook, BFC Fashion Trust supporters, British GQ, British Vogue, Browns, Burberry, Depop, European Regional Development Fund, HSBC, JD.com, Label/Mix, Mayor of London, Paul Smith, Revlon Professional, Rodial and Value Retail have been contributors to the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund.

 


Supermodel Naomi Campbell photographs herself for Essence’s 50th anniversary issue

Filed by Lucire staff/May 8, 2020/11.53

It’s by no means the only case of a model doing a shoot herself during lockdown—Lucire KSA’s May 2020 edition has Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Tania Dawson at home with a Playstation in its opening spread—though it is probably the highest-profile, as Naomi Campbell took to doing a series of self-portraits using her Iphone for the 50th anniversary of Essence.
   Campbell, born the same year as the magazine—indeed, the same month—was the ideal choice for the title aimed at black American women. While selfies—even those done with the cellphone camera set to shoot on a timer, and placed in a correct position—will never be a match for having an entire crew, including a professional photographer, stylist, make-up artist and hairstylist, her efforts are still creditable. No doubt having years of experience in front of the camera helped, as well as the high resolutions offered by modern phones.
   The concept was conveyed via Facetime by Essence’s chief content and creative officer MoAna Luu.
   Campbell wears a vintage Chloé dress on the cover—complete with a thick white border, which seems to be a late 2010s–early 2020s graphic design trend—and more images appear in the magazine’s May–June 2020 issue. Part of Lola Ogunnaike’s interview with Campbell appears on Essence’s website.
   It is the first time the supermodel, whose career began in the 1980s, has photographed herself for a magazine cover.

 


Twelve things I do to keep balanced while working from home

Filed by Jack Yan/March 17, 2020/23.08

When I was 13, my father became self-employed after being made redundant at his work. By choice, my mother did the same when I was in my early 20s. They both loved the lifestyle and I imagine it was inevitable I would do the same in my career, beginning at a time when I was still studying.
   As some who self-isolate because of the COVID-19 pandemic say that their mental health is affected, I thought I’d share how I’ve been based at home for over three decades—a period that saw the founding of this magazine in 1997.

1. For those working, make sure it’s not just one project. There’s nothing more wearing that having just one thing to work on the entire day. I always have a few projects on the go, and make sure I switch between them. The second project should be a lighter one or be of less importance. Even if it’s not work, make sure it’s something that gives you a bit of variety.

2. Make sure you have a decent work set-up. I find it important to have a monitor where I can read things clearly. Also I set mine on a mode that restricts blue light. If you’re working at home, it’s not a bad idea to have comfortable settings on a screen. If your monitor doesn’t have a native mode to restrict blue light, there’s always F.lux, which is an excellent tool to make screens more comfortable.
   If you’re used to standard keyboards and mice, that’s great, but for me, I have to ensure my keyboard is either at around 400 mm in width or less, and my mouse has to be larger than the standard size since I have big hands. Ergonomics are important.


Above: Westward view from the publisher’s office

3. Find that spot. Find a comfortable space to base yourself with plenty of natural light and ventilation. At-home pet cats and dogs do it, take their lead.

4. Stretch. Again, the cats and dogs do it. Get out of that chair every now and then and make sure you don’t get too stiff working from your desk. Exercise if you wish to.

5. If you relax to white noise or find it comforting, there are places that can help. One friend of mine loves his podcasts, and others might like music, but I enjoy having the sound of web video. And if it’s interesting, you can always stop to watch it. One site I recently recommended is Thought Maybe, which has plenty of useful documentaries, including Adam Curtis’s ones. These give an insight into how parts of the world work, and you might even get some theories on just what landed us in this situation in 2020.
   When Aotearoa had two network TV channels, I dreamed of a time when I could have overseas stations accessible at my fingertips. That reality is now here with plenty of news channels online. If that’s too much doom and gloom, I’m sure there are others that you can tune into to have running in the background. Radio.net has a lot of genres of music.

6. Find that hobby. No point waiting till you retire. Was there something you always wanted to learn about but thought you’d never have time? I recommend Skillshare, which has lots of online courses on different subjects. You learn at your pace so you can delve into the course whenever you want, say once a day as a treat.

7. I do some social media but generally I limit myself. Because social media are antisocial, and they’re designed to suck up your time to make their owners rich (they look at how much attention they capture and sell that to advertisers), there’s no point doing something draining if you’ve got some good stuff to do in (1). However, they might be cathartic if you want to have some human contact or express your feelings. Personally, I prefer to blog, which was my catharsis in the mid-2000s, and which I find just as good today. It’s a pity the old Vox isn’t around these days as there’s much to be said for a long-form blogging network.
   Sarb Johal started the #StayatHomeEnts hashtag on Twitter where Tweeters have been putting up some advice on what we each do to keep entertained. I just had a scroll down and they’re really good!

8. Many of us have this technology to chat to others, let’s use it. We’re luckier in 2020 that there’s Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. I had thought that if we didn’t have social media, we’d be finding this an ideal opportunity to connect with others around the planet and learning about other cultures. I remember in the early days of the web how fascinating it was to chat to people in chat rooms from places I had never visited. I realize these days there are some weirdos out there, who have spoiled the experience for the great majority. But I’m sure there are some safe places, and if they’re not around, see what friends are in the same boat and form your own virtual networks. Importantly, don’t restrict yourselves to your own country.

9. Don’t veg: do something creative. For those of us with a creative bent, draw, write, photograph, play a musical instrument—something to de-stress. I can’t get through a day without doing one creative thing.

10. Anything in the house that you said you’d always do? Now’s your chance to do it, and hopefully you’ve got your tools and equipment at home already.

11. If you’re in a relationship, don’t get on top of each other—have your own spaces. Having said that, seeing my partner helps as I used to go into town a few times a week for meetings; because I see her each day, that need to meet up with colleagues to get out of your own head space isn’t as strong.

12. Take plenty of breaks. You’d probably have to anyway, in order to cook (since you’re not heading out to a café) so structure in times to do this. It soon becomes second nature. Don’t plough through till well after your lunchtime or dinnertime: get a healthy routine. Remember that self-isolation means you can still go for walks, just not into crowded places or with someone. When we self-isolated in January over an unrelated bug, my partner and I headed to a local park that wasn’t busy during the day and we were the only ones there.

   Normally I would have a small amount of meetings during the week but as I get older, they’re actually fewer in number, so I can cope with not having them.
   Do you have any extra tips? Put them in the comments and let’s see if we can build on this together.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Basquiat items at accessible prices

Filed by Lucire staff/February 25, 2020/12.54



If you’re a fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat, but can’t touch his unique work, here’s a wallet-friendly group of alternatives for you. Lucire’s travel editor, Stanley Moss, has just released a reissue of his privately printed 1980 limited edition The New Wave Cookbook in book form. It’s a chance to get a collectible 33 pp. booklet based on a rare item (only 200 were originally printed), one which is included in the permanent collection of the MoMA NYC, and occasionally comes up at auction for over US$1,000 a copy. The unconventional and irreverent cookbook contains Basquiat’s recipe scribbled on a card, along with eleven others, and a photo album of snapshots from the nightlife which includes pictures of Basquiat, Deborah Harry, Fab 5 Freddy, Robert Mapplethorpe and other habitués of the punk nightlife. Basquiat’s recipe card features a photo of the artist taken by Stanley in 1980. The collectible reprint, available on Amazon, goes for US$25 plus shipping.
   If you like the recipe you can also visit Stanley’s Espace DiGanZi printables’ website, and order a replica of Basquiat’s card printed on a mug, T-shirt, tote bag or pillow. Visit diganzi.wixsite.com/espacediganzi/objets to view the possibilities.
   Basquiat produced a limited number of works in his short career. He did not do a lot of multiples. You may not be able to hang an original on your wall today, but here’s a chance to at least live with a replica of one of his rare early works.




 


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