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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Bye Bye NY, Hello Port Au Prince

Dec 24 0 Comments

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Tomorrow I will be leaving for Haiti to join the Wings Over Haiti Foundation to help restore a school and volunteer at the hospital. Needless to say, fashion DOES stop once in awhile, and I will not be blogging until the my return on the 3rd. Thus said, there is a LOT to look forward to in the New Year. I can’t share all of the upcoming excitement, but get ready for an amazing feature on one of the most dynamic duo’s in New York, an exclusive walk through of a couturiers atelier, interviews and introductions to loads of new designers and interesting figures, and a very big surprise at the end of January…Oh, and that’s just getting started. ; )
Last but not least, I wish all of my readers, fans, haters, family, skeptics, and friends a most happy New Year, with the promise of continued growth, excitement, and diversified expansion from the Alexa Winner brand to come in the New Year.

Rachael Rubin: Talent You Just Can’t MAKEUP

Dec 22 0 Comments

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One may assume that if you’re a trained artist, particularly in fashion, you would be able to have a fairly decent set of skills when it comes to doing your own makeup. Such is not the case. For the last five years I have literally been wearing the same Almay concealer, Nars bronzer, Bobbi Brown liquid eyeliner, and random Walgreens lipgloss. The heaviness may change depending on where I’m going, and occasionally I’ll get experimental with a little gothic look, but generally speaking, I’m pretty much clueless (and actually content being so) about doing my own hair and makeup. I’ve stuck to these patterns because when I try any harder, things just start looking uneven or I end up looking like a transvestite. Case in point: Halloween 2006. I tried to dress up as a Japanese Anime character, I ended up looking more like a street walker in Chelsea.
Thus said, I do however have an extreme appreciation for anyone who can do hair and makeup well. How lucky am I to not only have an assistant who can do everything (and I truly mean everything) but is also a professionally trained hair and makeup artist. Sometimes I swear God or Buddha or whomever sent Rachael to me as a gift. 
Aside from her interest in fashion, Rachael also has an incredibly unique style when it comes to doing hair and makeup. She is innovative, creative, intuitive and inventive. Simply put, Rachael is a master of her craft; a true artist. Rachael combines her impeccable creativity with personalized attention to each model or client to create a one-of-a-kind look that ultimately pleases the client themselves as well as anyone else involved in the project. Rachael (like myself) has taken the old wisdom of “find a way to do professionally what you would do for fun anyway” and turned it into a career that clearly reflects her natural talents and dynamic personality.  For the last several years, Rachael has been working to create an extensive and varied portfolio that truly reflects what she does best. Below are images of some of what I feel is Rachael’s best work.
And last but not least, Rachael’s top three makeup tips:
1) For a tired eye, add a little white eyeliner on the upper and lower inner eyelid to make the eyes look more awake and bright.
2) The best overall brand of makeup is Makeup Forever (sold at Ricky’s and Sephora).
3) The most essential item of makeup to have is Great Lash Mascara by Maybelline.

For more information on Rachael’s work you can check out her web page, www.rachaellynseyrubin.com  or you can email her at Rachael@Alexawinner.com

Shots to Kill: Dean Dodos

Dec 21 0 Comments
Every once in a blue moon you come across an artist who really seems to have created something that doesn’t exist. Dean and my friendship has been years long, but what I always enjoyed about watching him shoot, whether it be with me or another subject, is his focus and ability to pull someone’s spirit literally out of their bodies and onto film. Dean has a unique talent to see beyond the surface of a person and capture their true energy. Shooting with Dean, in a somewhat indescribable way, is almost a sort of outer-body spiritual experience. He is able to take you to a dimension which you may not of even known existed within you. I often look at his work and question “is that really who I think it is?” because he is able to capture such pure moments. Having worked with some of the greatest photographers such a Juergen Teller and Angelo Pennetta, Dean’s list of credentials are long and impressive. Aside from the aforementioned, Dean is also able to differentiate himself from every other burgeoning photographer on the Lower East Side in the unique way he eclectically (and thoughtfully) is able to combine fashion, music, and art into all of his pieces (yet to be decided if it’s subconsciously or not). Dean has accomplished what some photographers spend years trying to do: having the capacity to look at one of his images and KNOW that it was he who shot it. Below are a few of my favorite pseudo-candid photos Dean and I have taken over the years. By pseudo- I mean we never really plan on taking photos, Dean’s brain just see’s a moment and the next thing you know your listening to Burke and banging your head against an American flag at three in the morning. Call it madness, call it brilliance, call it Dean.
 

Au Revoir Carine : (

Dec 20 0 Comments
It brought me much sadness to hear this weekend that legendary editor-in-chief of Bible French Vogue will be stepping down from her position, completing her last issue in March. Thus said, while the staff at French Vogue may be shaking in their Louboutins about what is to come for the future, I have a feeling Ms. Roitfeld will be strutting out the offices comfortably in ease having known (on the celebration of her ten year anniversary as editor-in-chief at French Vogue) that she did a damn good job. And to paraphrase her words; when you’ve done a great job at something, it’s time to move onto the next project. My selfish input would be to send her with a one way ticket to New York to replace Anna, but that’s just my bias opinion. Dutch school boy hair cuts work for some I suppose…. 

And now begs the greater question; who is to replace Carine?
The rules of fashion change weekly, if not hourly, so why should we just assume another chic French woman is going to fill Carine’s footsteps (not that they could quite be filled, but hey, if Sarah Burton can do it for Alexander McQueen, anything is possible).
Here are a few of my choices that I think could actually handle the job and bring an interesting perspective to the magazine.
Who: Allona Doletskaya
Why? Allona, like Carine, was formerly editor in chief of Vogue; albeit Russian Vogue. While the nitpicking and skepticism will be endless for anyone replacing Carine, perhaps it’s those strong Russian genes (and yes I mean genes, not jeans) that can handle the strain of the job.
Who: Tom Ford

Why? Why can’t a male fill a traditionally female’s role? He and Carine are quite close so the aesthetic would remain just as provoking and as Tom dabbles in all sorts of media, from fashion to film, why not do it all and put it into one magazine?
Who: Emanuelle Alt
Why? As current fashion director at French Vogue, it would only be a natural progression to move up in the chain. She clearly exemplifies Carine’s aesthetic but brings a bit more severity to her style. She’s also got the “I’m the editor of French Vogue-my-hair-can-be-messy-and-I-still-look-stunning-whilst-pouting look down to a Tee.
Who: Julia Restoin-Rotifeld
Why? When your mother knows the industry like the back of her hand, and you also have a unique eye of your own, it would seem to be a pretty natural progression for Julia to take the reigns. Forget the age, the girl has brains and style equal to if not beyond any other competitors vying for the position.
Who: Daphne Guinness
So what if I’m being slightly bias on this choice, the woman’s a living legend. No one wears (or KNOWS) couture like her. Daphne embodies all that French Vogue stands for. I don’t know that she’s up for the work (or is even interested) but I’d certainly nominate her for the candidacy.

Wiggin’ Out

Dec 18 0 Comments
Nagi Noda: Wiggin’ Out
While reading one of my favorite accessory blogs, bobbintalk.com, I came across designer Nagi Noda whose work can only be described as the most beyond out of this world fantastic genius of creations…and what pray tell, is she creating you may ask? WIGS! There’s no wonder her last name rhymes with moda, because I’m vibing on this feeling that Nagi’s creations are going to be a major runway trend for February Fashion week, particularly on the European runways. I could see Nagi’s wigs walking down the runways of McQueen in a split second, but given the current “situation” at the house, I’m going to cast my vote for Victor & Rolf to try their hand at a collaboration with Nagi. These wigs are SERIOUS pieces of art, dare I say even collectors items. I’m really just in awe. I can barely french braid my own hair without the help of my assistant Rachael, so the thought of Nagi creating these cranial masterpieces is just too much for me to handle – in the best way possible.
The Elk Wig

The Elephant Wig

The Cocker Spaniel Wig

The Lion Wig
For my information about Nagi Noda’s wigs and other artwork, visit her official webpage at http://www.naginoda.com/

The Myth of the Opal

Dec 16 0 Comments
Anyone who knows me well enough, or pays attention at the very least, knows I never take my grandmother’s opal and diamond ring off my right finger. I found it while perusing through her jewelry drawers sometime in high school and absolutely fell in love with it. Opals, with their ever changing colors that almost seem to glow at times, are a stone to me that seem to possess so much magic. Yet what’s baffling to me is that despite the compliments I get on my ring nearly on a daily basis, you seldom ever see people wearing opals anymore. The only places you really come across opals are in vintage jewelry stores. How is it that such a beautiful stone is overlooked by nearly every prominent jewelry designer?
My favorite ring
Recently, when asking this question, it was called to my attention that there is the “myth of the opal,” perhaps justifying (for some) why they simply won’t wear it. I had never heard of this myth before, but seeing as the ring hasn’t really come off in years, I figured I might as well find out whether I’m cursed or not..Not that it really matters because I love it so much that I’m willing to take that risk. (If someone told you you’re Rolex Oyster was cursed would you stop wearing it? Didn’t think so…)
So now, I present you with the list of opal myths and facts courtesy of opaltrader.com
Myth……… It is bad luck to wear an opal.
Fact……… This rumor may have originated around the mid 1800’s, when Sir Walter Scott published a novel called Anne of Geierstein. In his novel he used an opal to reflect the changing fortunes of the heroin. Critics of his novel conjured up the idea that opal could have an evil influence due to some of the heroin’s misfortunes. This dramatically reduced the value of opal at the time. Amazingly, this myth started by book critics so long ago still exists today.
Myth……… It is bad luck to receive an opal.
Fact………. It was also considered that receiving an opal as a gift would cancel out any bad luck that it carried. In any case, the opal’s reputation of carrying good or bad luck has ranged to both extremes over time. There is nothing to prove that unfortunate things happen to those who wear opals – some people just have over-suspicious imaginations! While not supernatural, the mysterious opal is certainly a stone to be revered and wondered at.
 
 
Myth……… It is unlucky to wear an opal if it is not your birthstone.
Fact………. The opal is the traditional birthstone of people born in October (***My birth date is in March), however it likewise has been considered that wearing your opal birthstone actually shields you from any bad luck that it carries. The bad luck myth could have also been influenced by the opal’s fragility – having nothing to do with magic.
Myth……… The colors of an opal are responsive to moods or temperatures of the wearer.
Fact……… These factors will not change an opal’s color, although change of viewpoint, orientation or lighting condition can reveal different hues. This optical phenomena due to the opal’s structure gives the curious property called ‘play of color’.
Myth……… An opal of red/blue or green/blue alone is less valuable than an opal with all the colors of the spectrum.
Fact……… Pattern and brilliance are the major factors in determining an opal’s value, not color.
Myth……… Opals are available in stockpiles managed by large companies.
Fact……… On the contrary, opal mining is done by individuals and syndicates. Therefore there are no stockpiles and prices reflect their true market-driven value.

Scallywagandvagabond.com’s Take on Alexa Winner’s Top 22 List

Dec 15 0 Comments
In typical Christopher Koulouris fashion, the ultimate list lover and name tamer, he decided to (graciously) and (comically) provide his own twist on my previous blog, The Top 22 Most Beautiful Women in New York: Inside and Out. For an interesting perspective, and a good laugh if nothing else, see what Chris had to say on the subject by clicking the link below:
Mr. Scallywagandvagabond Himself
 So Chris…Does this mean I should be doing a top 22 Men’s Version too? ; )

The Top 22 Most Beautiful Women in New York: Inside and Out

Dec 14 0 Comments

Nowadays, every publication seems to bombard us with celebrated lists of the “top ten socialites” or the “50 most beautiful people.” These magazines and blogs seem to base these “list-worthy” qualifications simply around one sole quality or attribute, and generally speaking, it’s external. “How many times was she photographed on Patrick McMullan?” “How many feature roles did she star in this year?” “How many actors has she dated?” “What’s her net worth?” Now don’t get me wrong, these lists can all be quite musing, but what they gather so easily is collectible external information. I’ve yet to find a list that not only credits ones outward “image,” but all gives credit to what is equally, if not more important; the internal information. Internal information are the things that make us human, the things that can’t be found on the internet, paid for by an inheritance, or found in the backlogs of Page Six. Thus said, I have compiled a list of the 22 most beautiful women in New York whose outward beauty is just as dazzling as their inward beauty.
The list is in no particular order, and while I’d like to give a witty answer as to why I chose the number 22, the truth is that it’s simply because it’s my age. Thus said, if I could learn one thing from each of these women for every year that I have lived, then that would be the greatest gift I could ask for. What I have however learned, from my experiences with some of these women firsthand and others in passing, is that learning from them has been far more exciting than posing with them. 
CHARLOTTE RONSON
Ann Dexter-Jones clearly raised her children right, and Charlotte is a shining example. Young, ambitious and business savvy when she could be just lounging around like many of her counterparts, Charlotte remains humble despite her success and enviable creativity. While many socialite/designers do little more than sign their name to a sketch, Charlotte is not only hands on in all of the creative aspects of her line; she is so hands on that she has taken time in the past to write a hand-written heart felt letter to a friend of mine with a severe medical condition.
 KARA ROSS
When the first Lady of the United States asks you to make custom jewelry from a tree on the Whitehouse lawn as a gift for all the other first ladies of the world – you know you’ve really made it. Michelle Obama aside, Kara Ross’ roster of celebrity clients is endless. Despite her jewelry being in the closets of nearly every chic lady in the world, Kara still comes into her office in casual clothing and takes time with each client, celebrity or curious intern, to teach them about her line and make them feel as special as possible. Kara’s calm demeanor and down-to-earth presence make all the lovely baubles in her showroom just a little less intimidating. And unlike most designers who will only lend pieces when they know they will be photographed, I have watched Kara on numerous occasions casually lend her finest jewelry to her friends and even friends of friends whom she hasn’t met, simply out of the generosity of her heart.
 MAGGIE NORRIS
Maggie Norris is a woman whom words cannot give justice to her presence and talent. Maggie has the most elegant demeanor and has an educated knowledge of the world (both in and out of fashion) unlike any other woman I have met. Her designs are nothing short of perfection, and her showroom makes one feel as if they have transported themselves into a Parisian atelier in the 1920’s. Despite Maggie’s poise and passion for her work, Maggie is one of the funniest (sometimes even unbenounced to her) and most enjoyable designers to be around. One minute Maggie will be on a tangent about artists such as Vermeer, while the next minute her curious dog Timmy will burst into the room and and seemingly try to attack you. Despite $40,000 dresses hanging on racks, Maggie is so relaxed that even the possibility of Timmy attacking her precious fabric or tugging at one of her dresses doesn’t seem to phase her in the slightest.
 ELISABETH KIESELSTEIN-CORD
Elisabeth Kieselstein-Cord is an exception to every preconceived notion about a young, beautiful, socialite. The daughter of famed jewelry designer Barry Kieselstein-Cord, Elisabeth’s looks are nothing short of breathtaking, which makes it a pity to the rest of the world when they don’t see her prancing around on tables or walking red-carpets for meaningless events. Elisabeth saves her beauty for only those who are fortunate enough to be blessed to know her. Elisabeth and I became friendly when I had first moved to New York and all I wanted from her was an internship; looking at her as a role-model and she and her fathers company as an amazing brand. Despite the timing of the internship not working out, Elisabeth made every possible effort she could, for no reason at all, to reach out to me for the next four years and check in on my path. I admire Elisabeth not only for her kindness towards me, but she is one of the only women I have ever encountered whose diction and perspective of the world are so on par with reality that I would nominate her for President. Her un-jaded philosophies and well educated knowledge of what surrounds her impresses me immensely, but what I also enjoy most about Elisabeth is her amazingly endearing quirkiness. Elisabeth feels like a kindred spirit to me as we both share passions about strange philosophical concepts, disappear and reappear at strange hours of the night, love animals to a fault, like to speak what’s on our mind whether it makes sense or not, and aren’t afraid to take risks, both socially as well as engaging in activities like kayaking in the dirty Hudson River.
 SOMALY MAM
Somaly Mam is a true renegade and hands down the bravest person on this list. Born in Cambodia and sold into the sex trade as a child, Somaly eventually escaped but unlike most of the other girls who lose themselves after such a horrific experience, Somaly channeled that terror into strength and now commits her life to helping other girls caught in the sex trade, already rescuing over 6,000 girls in Southeast Asia alone. Somaly doesn’t just send someone out to rescue these girls, she herself is hands on doing the work and also makes it a top priority to continue relationships with all of the girls she encounters, many of them even referring to her as “mother.” I was so touched by Somaly’s hands-on work with her charity, I decided that I would re-visit Cambodia this summer and meet the girls she has rescued firsthand. Somaly has graciously allowed me see a part of her world that would disturb or frighten most people, but her enigmatic personality and pure heart left me feeling I simply had no other option than to travel half way around the world to help this amazing woman continue on with her amazing work.
 JULIA RESTOIN-ROITFELD
Julia Restoin-Roitfeld is the girl every girl wants to hate, and the girl every boy wants to date. Unfortunately, you just can’t do either. Despite being the daughter of the editor of French Vogue, having access to the most glamorous clothing and exclusive parties, Julia is just too nice to dislike. She is the girl who has everything, but there is nothing negative that could ever be said about her. Not only does she have a wicked sense of humor and a joie de vivre, she makes herself approachable and destroys any notion of what the daughter of one of the chicest women in the world should act like. Julia keeps herself busy with lots of travel, but also maintains her own job outside of her mothers shadow at Vogue. When Julia walks into a room, she brings an energy with her that only few in the world posses; her amazing smile and cheerful demeanor bring liveliness to any event. A party really isn’t a party if Julia is not there, and if she is, she is never there without a smile.
ALLIE RIZZO
On paper, Allie is a young, beautiful model and socialite, engaged to nightclub owner Scott Sartiano. Despite her youth, Allie is wise beyond her years, perhaps one of the many reasons Scott chose Allie to be the one. Allie’s natural beauty is almost shocking, and the philanthropic work that she and Scott do are completely unpublicized, simply because Allie is so grounded and genuine. Anything that Allie does come from her heart, and she finds no need to brag when someone like herself could easily do so. One may think the being around the glitziest of nightclubs could easily get you caught up with all of the hard-partying, but having known Allie for a few years now, never once have I seen her anything less than lady-like and composed, despite whomever is dancing on the table in front of her or pouring drinks on her dress. She’s not only a supportive and sensible friend, but she takes those qualities along with her to work. Many models come and fade, but Allie’s level-headedness and dedicated work ethic makes it easy to understand why her success as a model has come so naturally. Beauty AND brains, Allie is certain to be a success in any and all paths she takes; as a model, as a wife, as a friend, or as a charity volunteer, Allie is the girl who can do anything with grace.
 ALEX McCORD
The “Real” Housewives are easy to dislike, in fact they’re scripted to dislike in some cases. Having met many of them, some of them actually are unlikable human beings, but Alex is the rare exception; perhaps the only “Real” person on the show. Alex is not afraid to stand up for herself and also involves herself in many charities that some people may snark at. Alex, however, is proud of what she supports, even if it means that it takes place in Brooklyn. My first experience with Alex was dressing her with designer Rolando Santana. Having only known her from her edited scenes on The Real Housewives of New York, I didn’t quite know what to expect. What I found, however, was a woman who was so motivated and interesting that she actually stayed far past her appointment time simply to engage in “normal” conversation with Rolando and I. Alex is unique in that every time I encounter her, it is as if time stops and the rest of her friends/appointments/conversations don’t exist; she truly engages with you. At the same time, a woman so likable simultaneously juggles about 8,000 hats between filming the show, promoting her new book, and always putting her children first to make sure they are a part of her life, wherever her life may be at that moment.
 NATALIA VODIANOVA
Natalia is proof that anything is possible. Born in a small town in the former USSR, Natalia paved her way to becoming one of the highest paid models in the fashion industry. Somewhere along the runways, she managed become multilingual, get married and have three children, seemingly overnight. Natalia has a way of making magic happen both in front of and behind the camera in what seems to be an effortless yet implausible way. She is the founder of the Naked Heart Foundation, Ambassador for Hear the World, and even takes time to donate to charities outside of those she represents, such as a charity I am involved with called donate life. There must secretly be three other Natalia’s because it is hard to imagine accomplishing all the things Natalia has while not showing the slightest sign of age or stress. Mother, wife, supermodel, philanthropist; Natalia is easily the Angelina Jolie of the modeling world.
DANAE CAPPELLETTO
When New York Magazine likens you to becoming the next Amy Sacco, you know you have big boots to fill. While Amy’s may be a size 11, Danae’s boots are tiny Uggs. Don’t let this petite girl from Australia fool you though, there is a reason she stands apart and can hold her own in an industry primarily run by men (and that reason has more to do with than just her looks). Danae is knowledgeable in every minor detail that has led to the success of her restaurant Travertine and nightclub XIX. From overseeing construction to creating the menu to entertaining endless crowds night after night, it’s hard to believe how much energy this beautiful Aussie has. I have been privileged enough to watch Danae in many environments, and there is not one that she doesn’t handle with an absolute eye for perfection. Despite all of her work maintaining her restaurant and club, Danae is a part of the Carma Foundation, a foundation she recently invited me join as well. While one would think Danae’s role of hosting the event at her restaurant would be stressful enough, Danae is also meticulously involved in every detail of the planning and has traveled to Haiti multiple times herself. When Danae says she’s going to do something, she does it no matter what. That endless drive and perseverance is what not only has made her a successful businesswoman, but it is also what has made her a solid and reliable friend.
 TIA WALKER
Cultured, engaging, and diplomatic are three adjectives I would use to describe Tia Walker. The fourth description I have left out is survivor. Tia makes life look effortless; she runs a blog called The Quest For It that contains a preposterous amount of well-researched content and she shows up to the best of events making an unmistakable presence at nearly six feet tall and with the figure of a twenty year old (I know firsthand that she has had no work done, having met her family they are all blessed with same envious genes of flawless skin, immaculate cheekbones, and perfect figures). While doing all of these things, it’s hard to conceptualize that just a few years ago, Tia Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of falling into a lull and letting the cancer get the best of her, she channeled the illness into strength and is now cancer free. It is fairly rare for a woman to develop breast cancer in her thirties, but Tia, now at the fabulous age of forty, has committed herself to spreading awareness about breast cancer research. In addition (which is almost a joke, because how could this woman have time to do anything more???) Tia is also the founder of Sfumato Artist Management and a contributing blogger to websites outside her own such as PatrickMcmullan.com and Uptown Magazine. All strength and accomplishments aside, what I love most about Tia is her patience and honesty. A personal client of mine, she is a true gem to work with and game for trying all sorts of fun looks, and at the same time, she has a strong enough eye and well-developed self-confidence that she knows what she likes and can wear it with pride. Tia’s kindness extends far beyond  her “social” facade; what you see is what you get, she is the real deal. More impressively, she’s not afraid to talk about her life story and is proud to be a unique socialite from the south who through kindness and perseverance, has been able to fulfill her dreams.
ELLE SAKELLIS
Elle Sakellis is not your typical girl who works in fashion. No one would know that this stunning Grecian beauty is holed up in an office in the garment district making multi-million dollar transactions all as a part of the development of her families multi-generational fur line as well as creative endeavors Elle has taken upon herself, which too have proven to be a smash hit . A graduate of the prestigious Columbia University, Elle’s business skills have taken her far. She continues the legacy of her family business but has branched out into her own ventures, all of which have become a success due to her maturity, intelligence, and knack for knowing just when the timing is right. Elle is the type of girl you can go to for anything; you need a doctor? She has five recommendations. You need a strange shipment of exotic furs? She has five factories that she can send you samples  instantaneously. You need to know the where to go on a date? Elle has five reservations already waiting for you. Elle is somewhat of a human Rolodex. With all the work Elle puts into her various private label collections as well as her side ventures, like the Grecian goddess Otrera (and one of her namesake labels), Elle is a fighter and even in the toughest of times, it would take a bulldozer to knock this girl over from getting a job done. Elle is a go-getter, yet refreshingly enough when she is not busy making business deals around the world, she runs an HONEST company, always paying both myself and her other clients on time. The same can also be said about how she treats her friends and others she meets; her honesty and loyalty never cease to amaze me, and with the ambition and skill set she has, she will (and has) continue to make an impressive mark on the business/fashion world.
 ALEXANDRA RICHARDS
You can’t really be anything less than cool when you are the daughter of a Rolling Stone and a supermodel. The result of Keith Richards and Patti Hansen’s gene pools colliding? An enigmatic beauty with a killer sense of style. Don’t be fooled though, Alex is real and being raised in Connecticuit, Alex’s parents raised her outside the mayhem of New York which has thus made her character gracious and approachable; a contrast to many other girls who were born and raised in Manhattan their entire lives. Her presence in front of the camera can be almost intimidating as one could say she was biologically born to be photographed, however, Alex is less interested in the parade of paparazzi and more interested in perusing legitimate careers she is passionate about; yes, I said career(S) plural. Alex is an exemplary painter, a world-known model, an in demand DJ, and an aspiring actress. What challenges me so much when trying to figure out Alex is how this goddess of a girl we see on the red carpet can look equally as beautiful (if not better) with no makeup and gym-shoes at a downtown bar and can sit with you for hours with an open heart, willing to trade stories of insecurities all girls face and chit chat with you as though as she truly wants to be around you, even when her blackberry is undoubtedly buzzing with texts from people far more important than myself. The word “REAL” is somewhat strange and truthfully, a bit vague, but Alex is every bit as real as someone in her position could be. Un-phased by her parents success, Alex is determined to, and already has, made her own special mark on the world. Her ability to be introspective about her life is also an asset that will only undoubtedly help in furthering her acting and modeling careers. Alex recently purchased a pair of shoes I designed for her, and I will never quite know if it is because she truly loved them or was kind enough to give me an opportunity. Either way, Alex is a delicate but powerful soul and I look forward to seeing what other wonderful things she pursues in her years to come.
 COURTNEY DAWSON
When you look at Courtney, what you see is a stunning girl – that “type” of classy girl with the perfectly manicured nails, impeccably straightened hair, and sophisticated outfits that would make her, what we often refer to as “marriage material.” The charming a bubbly personality is only an added bonus to whatever lucky man (or friend) who may has the privilege of knowing her. Courtney is listed on nearly every social roster, and is the Principal for Courtney Dawson & Company, a consulting service for the fashion and entertainment industry. My mailbox is always filled with new events Courtney is holding or supporting, which makes me feel rather lazy that a girl working this hard can look so impeccable yet I can never find the time to get a proper manicure. What you don’t know about Courtney, however, is that she has been diagnosed with the incurable and life threatening illness of Scleroderma. When I learned this, it came as an absolute shock because from my knowledge of patients with the same diagnosis, they are by no means as active, put-together, and optimistic as Courtney is. Naturally, her personality seems to be finding the good in the bad, and has since developed the Dawson Scleroderma Foundation. The way Courtney plans for her Foundations events is typical Courtney style; they are often fashion oriented and lighthearted, making the evening enjoyable as well as educational. Courtney was put on this Earth to make a difference, and as disturbing and heartbreaking it is to know that she has this condition, I know that Courtney will continue to fight until there is a cure, all while having a brave face and trying to lead her life as normal as any of her other friends would.
 LYDIA HEARST-SHAW
Lydia Hearst-Shaw…where to begin. Some people make comparisons to Lydia being akin to Paris Hilton, but the difference is, Lydia is in it for the fun, not for the fame. Additionally, topless or not, Lydia brings a sophistication to her modeling that Paris could never accomplish. With a reported 16″ waist, perfect model proportions, and eyes that make you want to melt, Lydia is quite the force to be reckoned with in the modeling industry, additionally expanding to a career in acting as well. The best part is, she doesn’t have to rely on her family’s last name or heritage to score a job; Lydia is a true talent whether or not they knew where she grew up. Being the busy butterfly she is, she still enjoys taking time out to share what with the rest of the world what she is up to on her webpage, blog, facebook and twitter accounts. You get the sense that Lydia is who she is and exudes that confidence (NOT to be confused with arrogance) no matter what people have to say. When not busy traveling for work, Lydia is a regular attendee at New Yorks swankiest charity events (often thrown in the museums and buildings that belong to her very family), but best of all, she is the burst of bright light that walks into the room that unofficially lets the crowd know the party has begun. She had a knack for mingling and networking, and isn’t “too famous” to return emails or offer advice. Lydia, simply put, is a prettier, classier, and far more interesting and educated Paris Hilton. In fact, it makes me uncomfortable to even go on about comparing the two because the really are so very different. Like it or not (and really, what’s not to like!), Lydia Hearst-Shaw will be around for a very very long time.
 YAZ HERNANDEZ
Aside from my mother, Yaz Hernandez is one of the women I most look up to as a role-model of what a proper lady should act like. Fashion savvy, worldly, multilingual, and a passionate supporter of many of the greatest charities in Manhattan, Yaz is a permanent fixture on the social roster. Whether she is hosting the event or simply attending, Yaz is always the life of the party. She is always dressed impeccably and takes the time to greet every guest with hugs and laughter. My first encounter with Yaz was a second-hand invitation to her bi-annual El Museo Del Barrio Gala. I didn’t even know Yaz at the time, but we she took the time out to chat with me for over twenty minutes over how much we admired one another’s dresses, when she could have been spending her time in the presence of Oscar De La Renta and other New York legends. I was so taken aback by her kindness, I simply had to know more about her. Yaz and I stayed in contact over the next few months and she has since allotted me the honor of attending many of her functions both as a contributor and as a guest. She is a strong empowering woman, but her generosity towards people such as myself as well as her generosity towards the various charities she works with make her a true role-model. It is hard to find a woman who can dress in couture but can command the attention away from her dress and direct it towards her words in a room 1,000 onlookers. Yaz not only talks the talk, but she walks the walk.

 REBECCA DAYAN

To me, French actress and model Rebecca Dayan is a true ingenue. Sweet, refreshing, and dare I say mystical, she also has a dark and alluring side to her that keeps you always wanting more. Rebecca’s uniquely French characteristics, the strong nose, the high cheekbones, the knowing eyes, and the effortless approach to style make her a the combination of what can only be described as Audrey Tautou meets Edie Sedgwick; only ten times more striking than either of those women. Rebecca lives as a woman who wears her emotions on her sleeve (perhaps that comes as part of being an actress). She is divulgent, insightful, and challenges life, or takes life challenges, both with equal amounts of grace. Rebecca is one of the most interesting people to have a conversation with, as she has an opinion (yet remains open-minded) on everything. From trading our favorite documentaries on obscure world issues with one another to developing business plans or meeting for bubble tea, this walking-talking French starlet is nothing short of brilliant.
 NANCY GRACE
Nancy Grace has been a long time role-model for me because of her no holds barred approach to standing up for what she believes in and her commitment for seeking justice. She may be fun to poke jokes at, but she too is in on the laugh. This well educated woman was engaged over a decade ago and shortly before the wedding, her fiancee was murdered. Since then, Nancy has devoted her life to becoming a victims rights advocate. She may play a fierce and easily mock-able roll on television, but her credentials and outstanding work in her field of law speak for themselves. Nancy is now a proud mother of twins Lucy and John David, after nearly dieing during pregnancy due to severe medical complications. Life has thrown a lot of challenges at Nancy, but her fervor and passion for what she believes in makes her that much more compelling and interesting to watch. People may be turned off by her bold opinions and unapologetic demeanor, but saving the lives of countless victims of abuse is no small feat. Like it or not, sometimes it takes a loud voice and an even louder personality to make a difference, and for her to be bold enough to do that and take the snarky comments in stride, I envy her greatly and wish there were more women (myself included) who could raises their voices just a little bit louder.
 GEMMA KAHNG
The first three letters of Gemma’s name says it all; she truly is a gem. Working closely with Gemma as her in house stylist, I have never once seen her in a bad mood or act in any way like a diva. In fact, despite all of Gemma’s success, she is the complete opposite of a diva; willing to help whomever and whatever she can; even at the expense of her own well being. Gemma is a selfless individual who would (and has) put her own food on someone else’s plate just so they can eat, even if it means she may starve. The Gemma Kahng brand is legendary, having had her pieces grace the cover of Vogue and the insides of nearly every other international fashion publication. Gemma is a brilliant visionary (literally every piece she designs is better than the last; it’s quite remarkable) and also, unlike many designers these days, is entirely hands-on with her work, loving the process of her work equally as much as the outcome. Loyalty is rare in the fashion industry, and Gemma is nothing short of extremely loyal. When asked to describe Gemma in an interview once, the only response I could give for a woman who is capable of (and has done) so much, is that “Gemma can do anything short of flying.” – I don’t want to bite my tongue though, knowing Gemma and her business partner David Victor Rose, I wouldn’t be shocked if I walked into the studio one day and saw David and Gemma flying around in some sort of motorized couture dress…Seriously.
PETRA NEMCOVA
During the tragic tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004, the girl that had it all, suddenly lost it all in a matter of minutes. Not only did she injure herself, but she lost her long time boyfriend photographer Simon Atlee. Prior to the tsunami, Petra’s career wasn’t exactly at it’s peak, but through months of rehabilitation and therapy, Petra was able to both heal her body and soul and face the public as a heroic and newly enlightened supermodel. Petra started the Happy Hearts fund, a fund committed to rebuilding the lives of the people who had lost so much in the tsunami. This was no publicity stunt, SIX YEARS LATER Petra is still actively involved in her charity along with lending her name and face to a variety of other charities as well. I have never spoken with Petra personally, but having attended many events, the ONLY ones I see her at are related to charities; and that alone speaks volumes about her character.
 IVANKA TRUMP
Trump. Need you say more? The word should be in the dictionary by now. But Ivanka feels the need to say more, a lot more actually. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Ivanka could easily have sloughed off high school, taken a semester or two at college, and lived happily ever after traveling the world. Instead, this otherworldly beauty decided to take the complete opposite path; excelling in school and graduating from the Wharton School of Business to follow in her father’s footsteps, as well as branch off on her own. Her hands-on work ethic is enough to make her commendable enough for this list, but a dear friend of mine works in Ivanka’s office and said she is an extraordinary business woman as well as a genuinely nice girl, often taking breaks to sit down and read gossip magazines with her employees. Hearsay is one thing, but my friend who works with her is not the only one to tout Ivanka’s work-ethic and kindness, it’s a pretty well known fact around New York that Ivanka is a class act an as such, treats construction workers on her buildings and employees in her office with equal respect as she would the Queen of England.
NEDA HAKAKIAN
Heiress to the Barami clothing chain, Neda’s decided that it’s time to shake things up a little in the family business. Instead of lounging back in St. Barths in one of her father, Baram’s, new designs, Neda has taken the large task upon herself to update the Barami image with the creation of a second line, P. Luca, designed by Neda herself. While Neda and her father often butt heads about what will sell, Neda has proven her business, design, and style skills so far, already garnering a great amount of press for her newly released P. Luca line (sold in all the Barami stores) with customers such as myself, actress Rachel Heller, socialite Tia Walker, and actress Whitney Port to name a few. Neda’s fantastic energy is tantamount to drinking approximately ten Redbulls; but it is that very natural energy that she has that has made her such a success. No job in the company is too big or too little for her, she oversees everything form the design meetings to even helping out the shipping room count packages. In addition, Neda was kind enough to give Kristin Molini (see aforementioned blog) an entire viewing of the showroom as well as six blouses that hadn’t even been released into stores yet to go home with. Neda has a smile as sparkly as diamonds, a heart of gold, and with all her hard work, there is sure to be a silver lining at the end.
 
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