Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Beauty of Anonymity: J. Jill catalog model

For my 1,100th subject, I offer this unidentified model from a recent J. Jill catalog. scanned from a copy that appeared in my mother's mail recently.

The online J. Jill catalog available at this writing features a model who looks like she's the same woman featured here, but I'm not sure if they are in fact one and the same person.

Incidentally, not all catalog models are anonymous women with no more than comp cards on fashion archivist Peter Marlowe's model-composite Web site to document their careers.  Several top models, including Nancy Donahue, Anna Anderson, and Alva Chinn, have done catalog work, and I have shown examples of such from their portfolios here.  The modeling profession considers such work to be "bread and better."  (Beverly Johnson started modeling in Sears catalogs, and you can't get more bread-and-butter than that.)

As always, if you know this model's identity, please identify her in a comment in the field below this blog entry.   

Back soon with a list of the the past year's additions to this blog, then I close out September with looks back at models I've previously featured.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Mary Elizabeth Winstead could easily be considered another Jamie Lee Curtis, as she's made a name for herself in horror-genre cinema and television.  But just as Jamie Lee Curtis branched out to other genres, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has proven herself ready to do "something else."

Although she started out as a scream queen, Ms. Winstead began to broaden her horizons as early as 2012, when she played an alcoholic wife struggling to stay sober in Smashed, which was featured at that year's Sundance Film Festival in Utah and gained her rave reviews.

More recently, she's spoofed her own horror-flick reputation by appearing in the CBS summer series "BrainDead," a sci-fi satire about Washington, D.C. in which insects are eating away a the people who make our laws - which explains a lot about the U.S. Congress.   This came after her role as Mary Todd Lincoln in - I am not making this movie up -  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Perhaps it was both of those projects associating her with Washington the place and Lincoln the man that prepared her for her role as Civil War nurse Mary Phinney in "Mercy Street," the PBS historical drama set in Alexandria, Virginia.  Despite Ms. Winstead's solid performance and the equally solid performances of her fellow cast members, the show was canceled, a victim of unstable funding for public television and of high production costs.  The fact that PBS is not the American equivalent of the BBC explains why we can't have quality shows like "Mercy Street."  (Talk about brain-dead folks in Washington.)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead has since bounced back. She appears in "Fargo," the black-comedy TV series based on the 1996 Coen Brothers movie of the same name.          

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Model/actress Gay Thomas

Gay Thomas is a model/actress I'm happy (get it?) to feature here.

Ms. Thomas was one of the top models of the late 1970s and of the 1980s, appearing in numerous fashion editorials and makeup ads.  She was originally a client of Elite but later moved to the Wilhelmina agency.

She went on to a solid acting career in both movies and television, having been a cast member of TV's "Mercy Point" and also having also played Kathleen Arnett in the 1993 HBO miniseries "Laurel Avenue."  Other shows she's been on include "The Sopranos, "Law & Order," and "Seinfeld," and you might have seen her in the 2003 teen-romance movie Love Don't Cost a Thing.  Among the stellar actors Ms. Thomas has worked with are Joe Morton and the late Roger Rees.

Now Gay Thomas Wilson, she is currently a self-employed "personal development and success strategy consultant," running her own business as a life coach to help people reach their full potential. But she still devotes time to her acting career.

Why not check out her Vimeo reel video below for some of her thespian highlights? :-) 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Spanish actress Blanca Suárez

At this writing, Spain's Blanca Suárez is not yet thirty, yet she's already made a huge impression on Spanish cinema and television.

She gained widespread notice in Pedro Almodóvar's 2011 psychological thriller The Skin I Live In, in which she played a psychotic daughter of a plastic surgeon for which she got a Best New Actress nomination from the Goya Awards, Spain's equivalent of the Oscars.  She later appeared in Almodóvar's ensemble comedy I'm So Excited, set on an airplane.

Ms. Suárez also also played Queen Isabella of Portugal in a miniseries about Charles V, the Holy Roman emperor.  In addition, she gained solid notices for her portrayal of Ainhoa Montero in "The Boat," a Spanish TV miniseries about students trapped on a ship in a post-apocalyptic world caused by a particle accelerator experiment gone bad who find out that there others out there that they have to face.  This got her an Ondas Award (sort of a Spanish equivalent of a Golden Globe Award).   

In all, she's won eleven out of eighteen awards she's received nominations for in Spain.  Having already worked with Spanish actors whose names are familiar to Americans - Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz - she might one day receive an award called Oscar.

Hollywood might already be looking at her . . .  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Model and photographer Alexa Singer

Recognize this sweet face?

She's Alexa Singer, a model from South Africa who seemed to grace the cover of every other fashion and beauty magazine back in the 1980s.  Her Glamour and Vogue shots were ubiquitous.

She also appeared in other magazines, such as Self.  The photo above is from a 1983 Self fashion editorial.

Since then, she's moved over to the other side of the camera.  Ms. Singer is now a photographer, and her work includes photographic editorials, beauty headshots, and commercial photos. 

To get a look at her oeuvre, just go to her Web site.     

Monday, September 11, 2017

Actress AnnaSophia Robb

She's just twenty-three, and she doesn't mind acting.

AnnaSophia Robb is a young actress who's likely to become one of the mainstays among American actors in this century.  She was discovered at the age of nine and began doing commercials.  Now she's doing movies and television, and she's beginning to attract a lot of attention.

While she's known for Return To Winn-Dixie, a movie about a girl and her dog, and for playing Violet in the 2005 film version of the Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ms. Robb is best known (so far) for her television work.  She starred in The Carrie Diaries," a prequel to "Sex in the City," as the very young Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker's role, of course) and she played the impetuous Alice Green, a Southern girl with a streak of independence, in PBS's scripted Civil War hospital drama "Mercy Street," a show that would still be on if PBS were anything like the BBC.  

I think it's a safe bet that we'll be seeing more of AnnaSophia Robb. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Model Beverly Peele

With her exotic face and a height of just an inch under six feet, Beverly Peele was destined to become a model. Indeed, she's one of the last great fashion models, having been at the top of the profession in the nineties.

Her work includes ads for Ralph Lauren and Chanel, Donna Karan.  Not to mention 250 magazine covers!

Personal demons got in the way of her career, and she's had a few rough breaks, but she's found a way to persevere.  She managed to find work as an actress, appearing in TV shows such as "Sister, Sister" and "Girlfriends."  She also had a role in Sweet Friggin' Daisies, a 2002 movie starring Zooey Deschanel (an earlier honoree on this blog).

 For all her bad breaks, though, it's a safe bet that Beverly Peele will always find a way to survive.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Model and architect Robin Osler

Robin Osler is a model from the seventies and eighties who worked with many fashion designers. She eventually established herself in a different sort of design field after her modeling career ended.

She worked in Europe through various agencies in Paris and Zurich, as well as in America with Elite Runway in New York.  Among the designers she worked with were Thierry Mugler and Gianni Versace.

Her poses were always classy and dignified, as both of these color photos prove.

When her career was over, though, Robin Osler followed in the footsteps of members of her family and became an architect. Her grandfather Emil Lorch founded the University of Michigan's School of Architecture. Her great-uncle George Elmslie was a leading figure in the Midwestern-based Prairie School style of American architecture, which also included Frank Lloyd Wright, and her own father, David Osler, was a successful architect himself.   

Robin Osler (above, in her current career) is a 1987 graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.S. degree in architecture - yes, she modeled her way through college - and she earned her master's degree in architecture from Yale in 1990. She's now one of the top architects in New York.

Her firm, Elmslie Osler Associates, has some incredible examples of work to boast about.  You can see them, and learn more about Robin Osler, at her firm's Web site.   

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Actress Olivia Munn

Lisa Olivia Munn, who goes by her middle name, has had a career that can definitely be described as "varied."

The Oklahoma-born Ms. Munn has been a correspondent for "The Daily Show," has starred in TV shows such as "New Girl" and the somewhat misunderstood "The Newsroom" (as main character Sloan Sabbith), and has appeared in popcorn movies such as X-Men: The Apocalypse as the superheroine Psylocke. (She is reprising the role in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, due in 2018.)

She gets her exotic looks from her white father and her Vietnamese-born Chinese mother.

Fan fact:  Olivia Munn graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism, and she started as as an intern at NBC's Tulsa affiliate. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Singer/actress Mandy Moore

Strictly speaking, Mandy Moore ought to be featured in one of my "Beauty of Song" series focusing on beautiful women in music.  But she's too enormously talented to be merely defined as a singer.

When the New Hampshire-born Ms. Moore first appeared as a fifteen-year-old pop singer at the close of the twentieth century, it was easy to dismiss her as yet another teen pop idol pushed by the suits who run show business to sell complacent entertainment to a generation of underthinking high school students.  But Ms. Moore had one thing that distinguished her from most other teen-pop divas - she could actually sing.

Maybe that's why her 1999 debut album was called So Real.

After  hit singles such as "Candy," I Wanna Be With You," and a cover of John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith In Me" (can you imagine Britney Spears covering John Hiatt?), Ms. Moore became a movie star. While she'd had roles in movies like The Princess Diaries and the teen romance A Walk To Remember, she really showed her acting chops as Sally Kendoo in the hilarious 2006 black comedy American Dreamz, a satire of talent-contest TV shows.  This led to other meaty roles such as Molly Wilder in the 2007 mother-daughter flick Because I Said So, opposite Diane Keaton (an earlier honoree on this blog).   

Now she's scored big time in one of the biggest hits of her career - "This Is Us," a TV series following the lives of the Pearson family through the past and the present.  Ms. Moore plays Rebecca, the family matriarch - she's the mother of three children, including an adopted black child, and she has aspirations of becoming . . . a singer. :-)

As of this writing, "This Is Us" is a huge success on NBC, and it's about to begin its second season.  At a mere 33 years of age (again, as of this writing), Ms. Moore has assured herself a lasting place in American popular culture.

Mandy Moore was married to singer-songwriter Ryan Adams for seven years beginning in 2009. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

TV newswoman Karen Lee

If you watch a lot of local cable news in New Jersey, then you know about Karen Lee.

Until recently, she was the beat reporter for News 12 New Jersey's bureau in Bergen County, in New Jersey's northeastern corner, where she originally comes from. Now she's the cable news channel's weekend anchor.

Karen Lee worked in broadcast news as a reporter for WFSB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Hartford, and she's also worked at TV news outlets in upstate New York.  

Fun fact:  She's also a certified scuba diver. :-)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

British actress Lily James

Pictures of Lily!  (Sorry, couldn't resist . . . )

Lily James is a British actress known for highbrow projects and clever action movies.  She's best known to viewers of public television as Lady Rose MacClare in "Downton Abbey."  But she's also known for her star turn in the movie Baby Driver, as the girlfriend of a young man who drives getaway cars for bank robbers and relates a great deal to pop music.  Ms. James's character is a waitress that the young man falls in love with.

Other roles include Juliet in a production of Romeo and Juliet at London's Garrick Theatre and Countess Natasha Rostova in the 2016 BBC adaptation of Tolstoy's "War and Peace."

Oh yeah, she also played Cinderella in Disney's 2015 live-action version of that fairy tale.

Not yet thirty as of this writing, Lily James is definitely an actress with a brilliant future.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Chanel Iman

With a name like that, she was destined to become a top model. :-)

Chanel Iman - her full name is Chanel Iman Robinson - has been modeling since she was twelve years old.  Fortunately, at the age of 26 as of this writing, she has made the transition into adulthood with flying colors.

Chanel Iman has appeared on the covers of numerous international editions of magazines such as Vogue, Allure, and Harper's Bazaar, and she has walked the runway for designers such as Burberry, Max Mara, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney, Tommy Hilfiger, Jason Wu, Dior, Michael Kors, Hermés, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, and Marc Jacobs.  This is only a partial list. :-)

She gets her exotic looks from her half-Korean, half-black mother. 

The Los Angeles-raised Ms. Iman has dabbled in acting, appearing in Dope, a coming-of-age movie with a black cast and set in southern California.  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Actress Meagan Holder

Another post about another rising star in Hollywood. :-)

Though Meagan Holder has been in a few movies, including an installment in the cheerleader movie franchise Bring It On and the Four Seasons biopic Jersey Boys (in which she played a jazz singer), Meagan Holder is best known as a television actress.

Her best known TV role is as Darby Conrad in "Make It or Break It," a comedy-drama series on ABC family about aspiring gymnasts.

Meagan Holder seems to have a knack for making people laugh and cry on the small screen.  She appeared in another comedy-drama, "Born Again Virgin," about dating and relationships, on the TV One channel, as a regular cast member (playing Kelly Bowers).  That series lasted two seasons. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Musical actress Lana Gordon

Lana Gordon is a singer, and actress, a dancer, and all that jazz.

And while she's played many roles on the stage, she's best known for playing Velma Kelly in the Broadway revival of Chicago.

An alumna of New York City's Alvin Ailey School, Ms. Gordon was in several ensemble companies before her career took off.  Her first notable role was as Dionne in a European tour of Hair

Ms. Gordon debuted on Broadway in 1997 as an ensemble original cast member in The Lion King, in which she also played the role of Shenzi.  She also spent a decade performing abroad in productions of such musicals as Sister Act, West Side Story (as Anita, a role made famous by the great Rita Moreno), and Carmen Cubana, a retelling of the old Prosper Mérimée story in a Caribbean setting - our heroine played the title role.  She's also in demand as a solo vocalist in Europe.

And oh yes, this shouldn't surprise you, but Lana Gordon has also worked as a model in the U.S., both in print and television advertising.  And like the most beautiful of top models . . .

. . . she looks even more gorgeous without makeup. :-D

And all that jazz. :-)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Actress Claire Foy

Another Brit named Claire. :-)

Claire Foy is a British actress who has done a few movies and a lot of British television.  Americans may remember her roles in Jon Stewart's political drama Rosewater and in the Maggie Smith movie The Lady In the Van.

She's made more of a mark TV, playing Lady Persephone "Persie" Towyn in an early-2010s reboot of "Upstairs Downstairs" and she's also played some royal roles as well. She played Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second wife,  in the miniseries "Wolf Hall," a drama about the Tudor king and the rise of  Thomas Cromwell in Henry's court, and she currently plays the U.K.'s current monarch, Elizabeth II, in the series "The Crown," a fictionalized account of Her Majesty's life.  There's a lot of material in that, to be sure.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Actress/singer Doris Day

The one and only. :-)

In the fifties and early sixties, a time when the movies were dominated by sex goddesses  - Marilyn Monroe, Diana Dors, Brigitte Bardot - the similarly alliteratively named Doris Day stood out for playing the good-girl-next-door type, most notably in her movies with Rock Hudson - Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Send Me No Flowers.

Even James Garner lost his heart to Doris Day.  They appeared together in The Thrill of It All, a comedy about a housewife who becomes an unlikely celebrity when she endorses a laundry soap in a TV commercial, and they also co-starred in Move Over, Darling, in which Garner played the husband of Doris's character, who's mistakenly believed to be dead after a plane crash they were both in . . . until it turns out she survived the plane crash and returns to her remarried husband. Both movies are from 1963.  (Move Over, Darling was a reworking of the unfinished Marilyn Monroe film Something's Got To Give.)     

Doris Day, of course, started out as a singer in the 1940s, recording such songs as "Sentimental Journey" and "The Whole World is Singing My Song." She was in fact as big a star on the Billboard charts then as, say, Taylor Swift (an earlier honoree on this blog) is in the twenty-first century.  Her singing talents led to the a movie career when her performance of "Embraceable You" got her a role in the 1948 movie Romance on the High Seas. She also appeared in musicals like 1955's Young At Heart with Frank Sinatra, and her signature song, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", was the song she sang in the 1956 James Stewart/Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much.  Musical ability was something she passed on to her son, Terry Melcher; he produced the Byrds' first two albums and also worked with the Beach Boys.  Melcher died of cancer in 2004. 

She became a TV star in the sixties and seventies with "The Doris Day Show," which ran for five seasons, and she returned to the album charts in Britain and America at the age of 89 in 2011 with My Heart, an album of contemporary tunes from folks like John Sebastian, Billy Preston, and the Beach Boys' Bruce Johnston.  There's even a duet with her son,  Most of this material was recorded years before.  The proceeds from My Heart went to her animal-welfare charity, the Doris Day Animal League.         

At 95 in 2017 (this picture was taken for her ninety-fifth birthday, Doris Day shows no signs of slowing down. :-) 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Actress Jenna Coleman

British actress Jenna Coleman is best known in the United States for the title role in "Victoria," an ongoing series about the life of Great Britain's legendary nineteenth-century queen.  At this writing the first season has just concluded, covering the first four years of Queen Victoria's long reign.

She's also known, though, for her role in the long-running sci-fi time-travel series "Doctor Who" (which has been on the air since 1963) as Clara Oswald, the traveling companion of the Eleventh Doctor.  She also played Jasmine Thomas in the British soap opera "Emmerdale," which debuted in 1972.  Jasmine was an investigative reporter who killed a police officer who tried to rape her, though she eventually broke down and confessed to the crime, leading to her being sent to prison.

So, playing a long-reigning queen comes naturally to Jenna Coleman, thanks to her experience in television programs that have run longer than she's been alive.  And I look forward to continuing to see her in a long run of "Victoria." :-) 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Model Barbara Brejwa

Barbara Brejwa is another model from the 1980s.

Like most models, she was based in New York.  She was represented by the Wilhelmina agency.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

British model Claire Atkinson

The British Invasion of the 1960s wasn't just about popular music.  It was also an infusion of British movies, art, and yes, fashion into American culture.  British models were as celebrated as British rock stars and actors.  By contrast, however, a good deal of what came to America from Margaret Thatcher's Britain in the eighties, shall we say, left something to be desired, but the U.K.'s contributions to the modeling profession were still impeccable.  Claire Atkinson, one of the most active models of the 1980s, is proof of that.

Her smile and pose in the picture above are indicative of her beauty and of her charm.  And the 1991 photo below, showing her in a Sophie Hallette number, demonstrates how she can turn many a head with her poise.

Among the other fashion houses she's modeled for is Ungaro, as seen below.

And if beauty is fatal, she could be lethal in a strapless number with matching opera gloves! :-O


Claire Atkinson's career took her to New York, London Paris . . . Munich?  I don't know about Munich, but she certainly worked in the other three cities, having been represented by Elite Model Management and Pauline's in New York, Models1 Elite in London, and by the Zen agency and by Pauline's' French offices in the City of Light. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Latest Numbers (And Other Things)

I have posted pictures of 1,080 different women on this blog, and I am on course to reach 1,100 by the end of this blog's eleventh year in late September 2017.  I won't bother to recap the ten most popular posts on this blog, as nothing has changed; the same posts occupy the same positions.  I believe my top-ten list has assumed permanent shape.

Also, I'd like to address, before anyone else does, an issue with my just-concluded fourth series of beautiful athletes, which was the fact that nine out of my ten subjects were white - the exception being Jackie Joyner-Kersee.  I wasn't trying to exclude women of color; I wasn't trying to exclude anyone.  I simply picked the first names that came to mind or the first female athletes I found online.  Bear in mind that female athletes, for the most part, aren't as famous as their male counterparts for obvious - and obviously misogynistic - reasons, so their names don't come to mind as quickly or as easily as Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, or Michael Strahan.  (See what I mean?  See how quickly I came up with three male athletes named Michael - only one of them a white guy?)   But I believe I've kept my blog very diverse in the nearly eleven years I've been doing this, so I don't apologize to anyone for lack of diversity.  In putting together my fourth "Beauty of Sport" series, though, I did drop the ball - pun intended - and I'll make an effort to do better next time.

Meanwhile, I have to acknowledge the death of Jeanne Moreau, who died yesterday (July 31) at 89.  I featured her here - four years to the day before her death, by a bizarre coincidence - and even though my July 31, 2013 post of Mlle. Moreau will remain, I will not of course post any more pictures of her going forward per my own my rule of not featuring women here after their deaths.

Back tomorrow with another A-Z series of new subjects - twenty women in total. :-)        

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Beauty of Sport, Part Four: Brianne Theisen-Eaton

When Jackie Joyner-Kersee was making history at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton hadn't been born just yet.  (She was born in December 1988.)

Brianne Theisen-Eaton would grow up to become a track and field star herself, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee of the Great White North.  As a Canadian, she'd competed in the Commonwealth and Pan American Games, having won the heptathlon at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and won bronze in the 4x400-meter relay in the 2015 Pan Ams in Toronto, before going on to take bronze in the heptathlon at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  She also won the pentathlon in the 2016 World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Portland, Oregon.

It was while at the University of Oregon where Brianne met a fellow student athlete, American (and native Oregonian) Ashton Eaton.  She married Eaton, a two-time Olympic decathlon champion (2012, 2016), in 2013.

And here's the happy couple.

Don't they look cute?  They reside in Eugene, Oregon, both having retired from track and field.

Eaton caused a stir among American reactionaries - not for being a biracial man married to a white woman, but for cheering his wife on at the 2016 Olympics . . . and thus rooting for a foreigner.  So what if there were no American women in serious contention for the heptathlon that year?  Well, Brianne Theisen-Eaton is a de facto American now, so maybe Ashton will be forgiven for . . . rooting for his own wife!  (Sarcasm.) 
That's it for this edition of beautiful athletes. I'll have a fifth edition later on.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Beauty of Sport, Part Four: Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Oh, come on now, do I have to explain who this is?

Jackie Joyner's mother named her daughter, born in 1962, after First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy because she hoped she would become the First Lady of something.  And while Jackie didn't become the first black First Lady of the United States (she left that honor for Michelle Obama to achieve), she did become the First Lady of Track and Field, an honor that long outlasts being the President's wife.

And why shouldn't it?  Jackie Joyner-Kersee racked up some unforgettable feats as a track star, having won the heptathlon (a series of seven track and field events) at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona - after winning silver in the event at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.  An injury at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta caused her to withdraw from the heptathlon, but she managed a bronze medal in the long jump that year, ending a stellar career that people still talk about today.  But then, she does still hold the world record in the heptathlon. 

Her other accomplishments include gold medals in the heptathlon at the 1987 and 1993 World Championships and a gold medal in the long jump at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis,. the last Pan Ams held in the U.S.

Her withdrawal from the heptathlon at the Atlanta Olympics was still tough for her to do, but her injury caused her coach, Bob Kersee, great concern.  After all she is his wife.  When he told her she had to quit, he said, "This isn't your coach speaking, Jackie.  This is your husband."     

She's part of an athletic family as esteemed as it is extended.  Her brother is track athlete Al Joyner, the widower of Florence Griffith Joyner, the big star of the Seoul Olympics. 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee's namesake foundation helps provide underprivileged people with athletic lessons and resources, with special emphasis on her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois.