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POP INTERVIEW: Lady Gaga’s New Shoe Queen, Kira Bundlie, of Hourglass Footwear



Currently, she and her team are working on a pair of custom shoes for Lady Gaga, but the Hourglass Footwear shoes made by Kira Bundlie and her business partner Lisa Ström, all about $200 a pair, are easily affordable and provide a unique look. No worrying about someone else having your same logo shoes here! Each pair is vibrant and hand painted. Some pairs, like my personal favorites online I am pasting below, have bold colors, cute flowers and an almost Bohemian look.

hourglass footwear shoes

Check these out. They seem like I’d become a Celtic goddess in them. I just love forest green.

Kira is also a great example of a non-stereotypical LGBT role model. Unlike the “rough cut, tough and rude” LGBT characters the media shows us on TV reality shows, she doesn’t fit the shoe mold. Kira is a hardworking businesswoman all right, but she is someone who also happens to be super girly-pretty and runs, well, a company all about looking hot for yourself or a significant other through your footwear choices. Because as we who wear these crazy, tall shoes know well, you’re nothing without a great pair of shoes that look professional for work and great for fun!

Hourglass Footwear ladies

When you were researching footwear, what did you have to do?
We launched our company with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Through that process we got a ton of feedback on what types of shoe shapes women wanted to see on our site–turns out, everyone wanted something different! We settled on five of the most popular heel heights (platforms, stilettos, mid-heels, flats and Mary Janes), and also offer a “Your shoes, our paint” option on our website, which lets our customers send in their own shoes for us to paint.

Did you work with foot fit models? (How’s that for a tongue twister.)
Absolutely. Us! We started our little company-that-could on a very tight, shoestring (ha) budget. Lisa and I wear Hourglass shoes every day, and our artists pretty much do the same. We can personally vouch for their fit and durability.

Did you take shoes apart? Did you obsess over shoes and their construction until you dreamed about them when you went to sleep?
We currently wholesale most of our “blank” shoes, which means that we glue in our own custom labels to each shoe bed before they ship. We’re working towards sourcing our shoes–having them made and branded for us–and have already chosen our leather and insole material. Since we’ve only been in business for six months, we’re just waiting until our bank account to tell us we’re ready to take that leap. And yes. We are perma-sleep deprived and dizzy with images of shoes swimming in our heads. But in a good way. 🙂

Which of your designs is the most popular?
Right now, the Sriracha-inspired Rock Out design is uber-popular and getting a ton of attention. Some of our other really big sellers are Smoke and Mirrors, Force Majeure, Champagne Supernova, Silk Stockings, and Anime-trix.

How can women wear your shoes?
We carry everything from flats to platforms–they can pretty much be worn in every way imaginable. Maybe not hiking, though. But you’d want to keep them in your backpack for photo opps at least.

What kinds of clothing?
Lisa wears a lot of cute, girly dresses with Hourglass platforms. I’m partial to pencil skirts with stilettos, and skinny jeans or leggings look great with both flats and platforms.

If people want to order a pair of shoes, how do they run? How can someone determine the best fit at home so they won’t have to return them due to the wrong size, fit or width?
Our flats, mid-heels and Mary Janes run very true to size and are also available in wide width. Our platforms are also true to size, but don’t come in wide at this point. Our stilettos run about a half size small, so we usually recommend ordering a half size up–in that case, we always include heel guards to be safe. We also have a very fair exchange policy–if your shoes don’t fit, we’ll swap them out for a pair that does.

How many of your own shoes do you own?
We probably own about 15 pairs each. We both need bigger closets! It’s a burden we’ll just have to suffer, I guess.

How do you personally wear them and make them your own special wardrobe?
The shoes speak for themselves. They really compliment and enhance both of our individual styles. We like to say that they make any occasion a special occasion–cheesy maybe, but true! They are one-of-a-kind, work-of-art, walking signature pieces.

Your shoes aren’t extremely cheap, but they aren’t terribly expensive either. Do you ever want to be in a store like Nordstrom?
SO many people have asked us when we’re going to partner with Nordstrom in particular! We really wanted to tighten our business model and be 100% confident in our product before we approached a dream company to work with like Nordstrom. We now know the right combination of paint brands, and the perfect way to prep and seal our shoes, and our behind-the-scenes, daily business operations are pretty seamless. It’s just a matter of timing.

I could totally see you blending in with the price range and styles at Nordstrom Chicago…the ultimate shoe paradise.

I love that you are openly lesbian with a straight business partner and nobody makes a big deal of it, as most people think it’s either two straight women or two lesbian women working together.
Yeah, it’s really never come up as an issue at all…except that we have to be very careful to stress the business part of “business-partners” when we’re referring to each other in interviews! Seriously, though, Hourglass Footwear is made up of some pretty amazing, open-minded, wonderful people. It has never felt weird at all.

How do you think you can change the world so more people can be OK with people as business partners?
I think the only way to change the world is to be genuinely yourself as much as possible, and perhaps be patient with people who are simply scared of the unknown. It’s central to our company’s mission to help women be more fully who they are.

Why do you think people think all LGBT women wear frumpy flats and look, paraphrasing Legally Blonde‘s infamous pool line on how she wanted to go to law school, “boring, ugly and serious?” Embarrassing but true. Men seem to have that idea!
Lisa and I are both blondes. There’s a stereotype that all blonde women are dumb. There’s also a stereotype that all lesbian women are frumpy and humorless. I will tell you from experience that neither is the rule. Also, we were very recently commissioned by Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis to design and paint a custom pair of shoes for Lady Gaga as a thank you gift for performing there next month. We’re going to be traveling to Minnesota ourselves to hand-deliver the shoes. The concept for the totally brilliant design comes from Hourglass artist Debbie Faas, and she and the talented Rachel J. E. Sprague are collaborating and painting the shoes together. They’re going to be amazing!


Three Words That Went So Viral That Kylie Wants To Trademark Them – And Why She’s Right To Do It.



It all started when Kylie Jenner gave us a tour of her Kylie Cosmetics office on YouTube. Then, she went to wake her sleeping daughter, singing “rise and shine.”

Maybe it was the way she sang it, but it went viral, memes followed, and it became the most hashtagged phrase EVER on Tik Tok. Almost immediately.

Within a week, she filed an application to trademark the phrase, hoping to turn the now viral moment into a merchandising opportunity. Folks called it excessive and silly, claiming such a common expression shouldn’t be up for the taking.

Those people are wrong. What it is, is smart.

Take a look – the seemingly innocuous moment happens 15 minutes in to the tour.

Why is it smart? Because if she doesn’t trademark it, someone else will. People are ALL about capitalizing on viral moments, and if she didn’t, someone else would have tried to use Kylie’s influence to benefit themselves, just like people are using the #RiseAndShine hashtag right now for views and likes. And that’s not taking advantage of it?

In fact, she’s not the first person to even apply for a trademark for the phrase. Roughly 100 applications, some active, some dead, have been filed with variations of the phrase over the years. A mattress company liked the sound of it, so did a coffee company, a beer, snack mix, and Hardee’s wanted to use it to promote breakfast entrees. All of them make sense. McDonald’s trademarked the common phrase “I’m Lovin’ It.” Emeril trademarked “Bam!” and Paris Hilton trademarked “That’s hot.” Having the trademark doesn’t prohibit everyone else from saying it in conversation, but it does limit the ability for others to monetize it for themselves. It keeps a phrase that is uniquely attributed to another person or business from being used in a misleading way for monetary gain by others. Sports announcer Michael Buffer wisely trademarked “Let’s get ready to rumble” so that others couldn’t go and make t-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise with a catchphrase that he made famous. Anyone can file for a trademark on a phrase. In the end, the trademark office will decide if the application has merit. Before you do, it is suggested you seek the advice of a legal expert.

By now we know that Kylie Jenner is a successful business woman, given the enormous popularity of Kylie Cosmetics. It stands to reason that she is going to expand her scope of business. No matter WHAT she decided to name a spinoff of her brand, she would trademark it. By jumping on a phrase that is now already organically linked to her, thanks to the fans themselves, she merely did the SMART thing. Coming up with a brand name is one of the hardest things an entrepreneur does. Half of the ideas are taken, the others you don’t love, and sometimes the ones you do love other people don’t like.

So before we start hating on Kylie’s fast acting ingenuity, we should be inspired and do some of it ourselves!

For more pop culture and entertainment analysis, follow @BrianBalthazar on twitter!

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VIDEO: Why Paris Hilton Is A Chameleon.



Paris Hilton sat down with me and Makho Ndlovu at the People Now studios to talk about her new fragrance “Electrify,” the first song she plays when she’s DJ’ing, and what character’s she likes the play… in real life!

What an amazing time it is visiting and guest co-hosting People Now. The people on camera and behind the scenes couldn’t be more kind and welcoming! And Paris herself was absolutely charming and sweet.


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Watch How This Hasselhoff Deepfake Takes Years Off The Actor!



Visual effects artist Chris Ume takes countless images of David Hasselhoff from his past Baywatch days, then creates a younger avator, blending the new, artificial Hof onto the real life Hoff.

The process of this crazy magic? It’s called a Deepfake = combining and superimposing existing images and videos onto a source image or video. The process is incredible, and yet still relatively in its infancy. If things keep progressing this genre as we can only expect they will, it’s not a stretch to imagine that we could someday see an actor actress play a younger version of themselves so convincingly we won’t see how they did it.

To follow more of his work, subscribe to Chris’ youtube channel.

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