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In Defense Of Tyra Banks.

It’s well known that former model and America’s Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson says whatever she wants, whenever she wants. As a result, crass remarks pretty much eject regularly. This time she is going off on Tyra Banks and the series in what seems more like a jealous rant than anything insightful.

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It’s well known that former model and America’s Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson says whatever she wants, whenever she wants. As a result, crass remarks pretty much erupt regularly. (Kind of like a cold sore – just when you think you haven’t seen her in a while, she pops up and makes an appearance.) This time she is going off on Tyra Banks and the series in what seems more like a jealous rant than anything insightful.

In an interview on Janice TV at FilmOn.com, Dickinson talked about a revelation regarding how the series America’s Next Top Model is made. One that shouldn’t be that shocking. But she also takes such a low road in doing so that it’s Dickinson herself that looks like the fool.

In her ‘shocking revelation,’ she reveals what she claims made her leave the show:

“CoverGirl are the ones who choose the model — not any of the judges. People don’t know that! … When I found that out, I split. It’s rigged!”

First of all, I doubt that she spent as many seasons as she did on the show without knowing that CoverGirl would have an enormous impact on who won, whether or not they actually choose the winner. They are the show’s largest sponsor, they provide a six figure contract to the winner, and they have a brand to protect. They also provide a lot of credibility to the show. It stands to reason that they are not going to blindly allow people who don’t have an investment in CoverGirl to just gratuitiously decide who should be the face of their brand without their input. Still, you can’t underestimate the input and value of Tyra, a seasoned model and businesswoman, and her various judges to translate what works as a model and a brand in the world of fashion, TV and marketing. They will add insights that CoverGirl execs won’t have. The truth is, it is more than likely a synergistic relationship where everyone has discussion about what makes for good television (characters) and good business (beauty, grace, and personality that fits the brand.) You can bet that CoverGirl signs off on the winner.

But step back for a moment and consider – what IF CoverGirl was the sole decider? (The network denies the claim.) Would that be such a big deal? As a television executive producer myself who has worked on reality shows, I can tell you that TV isn’t free. When a major sponsor is integrating themselves into your show, you can bet they will have an impact on the show’s direction to some extent.

Additionally, Dickinson implies she ‘left’ the show on her own volition in light of this realization. But it has been previously reported that she was actually fired from the show back in 2005 after four seasons. That’s a long time working on the show in complete ignorance. I don’t buy it.

Dickinson did not take kindly to the ouster, reportedly calling Banks a “huge, big woman,” and a “man” in later interviews. (How professional!) Honestly, for kids who think the cattiness and rudeness of high school ends after graduation, look no further than Janice Dickinson. The sour grapes she’s been eating is evident in the expression she uses in most of her photos.

It seems the former supermodel is bitter about the money Banks makes lincensing the series internationally, but Dickinson wouldn’t be complaining so much if the concept was her own idea, and she were selling it to the world.

“The fact of the matter is [Tyra Banks] makes like $90 million,” Dickinson said. “She makes a lot of money per year still hawking that franchise worldwide — they’re doing it in every country — and it’s CoverGirl who chooses the winner…F*** you Tyra!”

Really, Janice? Banks makes cash on the show because she developed a smart concept that works. Networks don’t throw money at people out of kindness. Frankly, this wreaks of jealousy and competitiveness and ulimately it’s Dickinson who ends up looking like the fool.

As campy and silly and dramatic as Tyra can get on ANTM, don’t forget that she is also a businesswoman who is keenly aware of her own brand and image, how to ‘work it,’ and when. Note how she presents herself on the series versus interviews on other programs. She behaves differently. She’s adapting to each audience at any given moment.

In Dickinson’s own way, she herself is keeping her own, trash talking image in tact by sounding off. She knows it. She’s built a brand based on being brassy bitch. Mission accomplished. Given the choice, I’ll take Banks – who opts for professionalism and fun. (And, it’s worth noting, generally takes the high road, avoiding comment on her detractors, but isn’t afraid to speak up when she deems necessary.) Her success in of itself is a testament to what works.

For more entertainment news and commentary, follow @BrianBalthazar on twitter.

For Tyra Banks twitter updates, follow @TyraBanks on twitter.

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Wendy Stuart Kaplan Knows How To Party – Now She’s Throwing An Epic One Of Her Own!

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Wendy Stuart Kaplan knows her way around a party. In her book, ‘She’s The Last Model Standing,” she wrote about her headline grabbing days at Studio 54, and now throws more than a few of her own. The latest is her “Reading For Filth” and her birthday extravaganza, where she, hosts Eileen Dover and Nick Lion and others (including yours truly!) will perform a collection of wildly entertaining essays, poems, comedic rants and more. The kind of person who is so ‘on the go’ you get exhausted just thinking about it (she, however, does not) I caught up with her as she was taking a break between a radio show, a modeling job and a party tonight. If you want to catch up with Wendy, you have to be flexible… she’s probably got a full schedule that day! Her party this Friday is one that will not only celebrate a wildly varied and entertaining life, but also celebrate the spoken word from a variety of performers.

Anyone who’s ready your book “She’s The Last Model Standing” knows you’ve been partying since studio 54 – when did you first realize you were a party girl?

I first realized when I came back to New York after college! I wasn’t until then, because there was no good place to party.

Where did you go to school?

SUNY Binghamton where I majored in anthropology – and then I went to Nigeria! I definitely enjoyed partying eventually, but back then I really, really wanted to go to Africa, which I did!  I have gone back often, most recently to work on my documentaries.

Wendy Kaplan was a bold faced name for tearing up the dance floor AND going home right after.

That’s wild! But it’s not surprising to hear of that passion since you make films about wildlife conservation there. But your festive side eventually DID come out! We all know you now as a social butterfly! Whether you’re at a party, or working a film premiere – but were you as confident and comfortable in the spotlight as a kid as you are now?

I was an oddball kid. I had two things: I had my friends in the Bronx, and the ones that I had in school and they didn’t mix all that well. I loved growing up there, that was home – but I remember as a kid I would get stomachaches before parties! How weird is that? Until you asked me I had forgotten all about that.

What were you worrying about?

Social pressures – what if nobody talks to me – oh my god, I’m not pretty. I had a short mop of brown hair because my mom thought I looked better with short hair, and I had chubby cheeks. I didn’t love that look. I used to put on wigs as a kid and imagine myself with long blonde hair!

And here we are! 

Here we are, right? Long blonde hair. I morphed into it. I’m totally self made!

Tell me more about Reading for Filth – your event this Friday at Club Bedlam.

Reading for Filth came about when Brian Butterick, also known as Hattie Hathaway, used to have these events. One had the byline, “low rent reading for a high rent city.” Reading for filth is an expression for ‘I’m going to read you to filth,’ as in, “I’m gonna tell you what I really think.” The performers would do a reading of their choice. Something personal, maybe about an old boyfriend, or something someone else wrote, and they’d get up and read it in front of a room. At the last one we had, Michael Musto read from Suzanne Somers’ poetry book. I didn’t even know she wrote poetry… here the same person who wrote about African violets is also behind the Thighmaster! Brought me to tears! I imagine her thighs going back and forth as she sits next to a table with a sole African violet in its little pot, which inspired her to write the poem.

The reason we chose to open my birthday party with it is, when Hattie passed away, my friend and partner in crime Michael Fontana (Eileen Dover) really wanted to keep it going. We say it’s such a downtown New York thing but it’s a New York thing. It’s a nationwide thing. Think about what’s hot right now: storytelling. And here we have had Reading for Filth going on long before all that other stuff. Brian Butterick had been doing it for six to ten years. He was very ahead of his time. We brought it back this past year.

You love people and being around them, entertaining them, but you also love your home life – please describe your NYC living situation. You have a beautiful place… but describe your roommates.

Well, we will have to go back about 30 years when I got my first rabbit. I haven’t lived without one for 30 years, so when one dies I always have one in the wings. Fast forward to now, we always have two rabbits. It’s nice if they have another rabbit to hangout with. Also, 33 years ago we got a baby cockatoo, named her Louise, fed her formula, and she is now hanging out with me in my living room. Did I also mention our blue merle chihuahua?

In my New York apartment everyone is loose. No one is caged.  Everybody is trained to go on those wee-wee pads you buy for dogs, and everybody goes on a wee-wee pad including the rabbits… but not the dog.

Wendy’s rabbit S’mores roams free in her apartment along side another rabbit, a cockatoo and a Chihuahua.
Wendy Kaplan’s dog Nugget does what it wants.

You know how to party – we know that – your wedding was no exception…describe your epic wedding.

So my wedding was 32 or so years ago. I should know that! Alan (a renowned photographer) and I got married in our huge loft, and you had to come dressed as members of a bridal party. It was on Halloween – you could be a bride, or a groom or a bridesmaid. The only problem was a lot of people thought it was a costume party and not an actual wedding. So we had people dressed as bridesmaids with five o’clock shadows and brides with full beards. They thought this was just going to be a big loft party – because we always gave huge parties – and not a wedding. But it was actually our wedding. I didn’t get many gifts because no one took it seriously. I won’t make that mistake again!

You’ve been modeling since you were in your twenties – what’s the best thing anyone can do to look and feel like a model whether they’re walking down the street or working it in the office?

You have to know who you are. What’s your style? What makes you feel good? What floats your boat? When you put on a certain dress how does that make you feel? Don’t go with trends, go with what you’re attached to! Listen to your inner fashionista. And you know what? We all have that.

Reading For Filth is open to the public this Friday at 8pm at Club Bedlam, 40 Avenue C, NYC. For more on Wendy visit her book’s Facebook page, her personal facebook page, or her instagram.

Visit her website, and buy her book on amazon!

 

 

 

 

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All 18 of the BAFTA Acting Nominees Are White, All Directing Nominees Are Male

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“Joker” is the one to watch at the upcoming BAFTAs, but if you’re looking for diversity and female directors, sadly you’ll have to look somewhere else. All the acting nominees are white, and all the directors are male.

Led by a lead actor nomination for Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker” received 11 nominations for Britain’s equivalent to the Oscars, competing with familiar Golden Globe nominees Taron Egerton, “Rocketman,”  Leonardo DiCaprio for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” Adam Driver for “Marriage Story,” and Jonathan Pryce for “The Two Popes.”

Renée Zellweger leads the nominations for the best actress category for her role in “Judy,” alongside Jessie Buckley,  “Wild Rose,” Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story,” Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women,” and Charlize Theron for “Bombshell.”

Here are the other notable highlights:

See the full nomination page HERE.

  • 11 nominations for Joker
  • 10 nominations for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  • Nine nominations for 1917
  • Six nominations for Jojo Rabbit
  • Five nominations for Little WomenMarriage Story and The Two Popes
  • Four nominations for For SamaParasite and Rocketman
  • Three nominations for BombshellJudyLe Mans ’66 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The ceremony will be held on Feb. 2 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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The Best Golden Globe GIFS That Keep On GIF-ing.

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Sometimes an award show recap is best done with looping clips and no audio. Here are the best Golden Globe gifs making the rounds!

GIFS  via GIPHY  via NBC’s awards coverage.

THE FIRST WINNER OF THE NIGHT,  RAMY YOUSSEF ADMITTED THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVEN’T SEEN HIS SHOW ‘RAMY’ ON HULU. BUT THANKS TO HIS HILARIOUS, CHARMING SPEECH, A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE CHECKING IT OUT NOW.

I WANNA BORROW GWYNNIE’S SHEER GOWN FOR LOUNGING POOLSIDE AND SMOKING A VIRGINIA SLIM. AND I DON’T EVEN SMOKE. IS THAT MACRAME? I AM NOT HATING ON IT. I THINK IT’S DARING.

BEYONCE LOOK TRAPPED. HERE SHE IS GIVING US THE GOLD SHOULDER…

TOBIAS MENZIES SUMS UP A LOT OF FOLKS’ REACTION TO RICKY GERVAIS.

TOM HANKS FELT SIMILARLY.

WHEN YOU JUST WANNA FIND AN OPEN SPOT AT THE BAR…

BUSY PHILIPPS IS ALWAYS THERE TO SUPPORT BESTIE MICHELLE WILLIAMS. TONIGHT WAS NO EXCEPTION, AS SHE CHEERED ON MICHELLE’S SPEECH SUPPORTING A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE…

TIFFANY HADDISH AND SALMA HAYEK WERE FEELING IT TOO…

CAUGHT ON GIF: A MARRIAGE STORY‘S ADAM DRIVER CAUGHT SMILING!

ONCE AGAIN, WHATEVER WILL FERRELL DOES IS HILARIOUS:

IF YOU DIDN’T FALL FOR ADORABLE ROMAN GRIFFIN DAVIS IN HIS MOVIE ‘JOJO RABBIT,’ YOU FELL FOR HIM LAST NIGHT…

WHEN A CAMERA IS TRAINED ON YOUR FACE FOR MOST OF THE NIGHT… WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO EXPRESSION? HERE’S BRAD’S:

AND HERE’S PACINO’S: LOOK CLOSELY AND YOU’LL SEE HE’S BREATHING.

AND FOR SOME REASON THIS IS THE ONE OF JEN THAT’S TRENDING. WE CAN DO BETTER.

Jennifer Aniston Golden Globes

EVEN IF YOU DON’T WIN, THERE’S STILL CHAMPAGNE.

AND THEN IT WAS OVER. LOOK HOW MUCH TIME YOU’VE SAVED!

FOR MORE OF THIS, OR SOMETHING ELSE, OR JUST BECAUSE WE LIKE YOU, FOLLOW @BRIANBALTHAZAR ON TWITTER.

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