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10 Fashion Bloggers You Should Know via [fashionbombdaily and essence.com]

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by Claire

Hey Guys!
I wrote a quick article for Essence.com on 10 Fashion Bloggers You Should Know:

Some faces may look familiar:)
I think it’s important to shine a light on those fashion bloggers who are super dope, but who may fly under the radar.
Click here to read up!

From breathtaking street shots to uniquely personal photos, these 10 bloggers are setting the Internet ablaze with their passion for fashion and all things chic.

Street Etiquette

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Bronx raised Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi are redefining urban style with their personal style blog, Street Etiquette. With a closet brimming over with oxfords, varsity jackets, and close creased pants (instead of low slung pants and white t-shirts) the clean cut pair photograph each of their looks, in vivid detail, all the while paying tribute to well-groomed style czars of the past.

They say, “We can’t help but be grateful we were raised in such a diverse city as New York.  By great chance we have this platform that gives us the opportunity to connect with millions of different individuals from all around the world. From a young male in Chicago to another young man in Amsterdam — all of these people relate to and connect on Street Etiquette.  I like to think we’re the new ambassadors of style.” streetetiquette.com


All the Pretty Birds

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Tamu McPherson of All the Pretty Birds shoots eye catching looks in the streets of Milan, New York, and Paris. Instead of simply snapping away, she speaks to her subjects, providing background details to accompany her stunning photographs.

The New York native currently lives in Milan, but travels the globe for freelance projects with Elle Italia, Refinery 29, Metro Newspaper, and Harper’s Bazaar.
alltheprettybirds.com

Red Carpet Fashion Awards

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Need to know what your favorite starlets are wearing on the red carpet? Catherine Kallon can give you the scoop on her blog, Red Carpet Fashion Awards, thanks to her photographic memory and sincere love for runway collections.

The London-born, Sierra Leonean stylista worked at an ad agency and in event management before launching her highly popular blog in 2007. Now you can find her front row at Emilio Pucci in Milan, Lanvin in Paris, and at all the top shows in New York and London.
redcarpet-fashionawards.com

Jazzi Mc G

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Jazzie Mc G aka the “Queen of Do it Yourself,” shows off her closet full of refashioned vintage digs mixed in with designer brands on her self-titled online journal. About starting her blog, she says, “I was definitely going through a transitional period yet brimming with creativity and spending a lot of time on the web anyway… so I thought, why not have my own little e-corner to sort it all out?” jazzimcg.com

JC Report

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Jason Campbell of the JC Report offers a global view on fashion news and trends. He pushes outside the Milan, Paris, New York triangle to strike out in Japan and even Brazil.

Before starting his daily fashion news journal in 2002, he worked as an account executive at In the Mix Public Relations firm, introducing fashion great Alexander McQueen to the US market. A founding member of Flavorpill.net, Jason consults for brands like Piazza Sempione and the Limited, styles Vogue regulars like Wendy Murdoch, and writes for Style.com, the New York Times Magazine, and Surface. jcreport.com

Marian Kihogo

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Celebrity stylist and fashion writer Marian Kihogo used to collect all her images, texts, sketches, and pictures in a scrapbook-until she left the treasured item in a closet during a move and lost it forever. She was heartbroken, but quickly took to the web to construct a virtual version of her prized book, one she hopes she’ll never lose.
She says, “The contents of my blog are things I cannot wait to share with a close friend: that product, trend, label or talent that you go to bed thinking about and is still on your mind when you wake up.”

She describes her style as, “a car crash of 70’s luxe bohemia, sharp masculine tailoring, structure, texture and rock ‘n’ roll,” and can’t wait to get her hands on a camel Max Mara coat for fall.
mariankihogo

Where Did U Get That?

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Brit Karen Blanchard of Where did u get that? flexes her inimitable style on her blog, incorporating crisp snapshot of her trips around the world. The edgy urbanista offers a trendy/boho take on American brands, spiced with English flair.
wheredidugetthat.com

Mop Top Maven

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28-year-old Nikole Crow brings to light her personal style on The Mop Top Maven, and also offers hair and beauty advice, DIY projects, cooking tutorials, self help topics, and reviews on places to eat in her hometown of Los Angeles. She explains, “My blog is definitely an extension of me.”

The jewelry designer by day loves to blog and shop in her free time, and spends weekends tutoring at-risk teenage girls.  She says, “Nature, music, and art are amongst some of my biggest influences. Certain songs or images evoke different emotions and my choice of clothing or blog topics are greatly influenced by my interpretation of these sources of inspiration.”
moptopmaven.com

His Hers Chicago

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Lori from LA has an enviable wardrobe full of vintage items, and photographs herself wearing them with the help of her photographer boyfriend, Michael Britton.  Her readers’ enthusiasm and feedback are constant motivations.
She explains, “After sharing my personal style through our photography, I began to receive requests from readers to share more on how I manage to easily find great pieces at amazing prices as well as how to create looks that fit their lifestyle. I decided to focus more on sharing tips that readers could use that have helped me in creating an eye that can find clothing everywhere from Goodwill to Forever 21 that look as though I spent top dollar on them.”

She turned her expert thrift shopping into a consulting business, which she does on the side while attending graduate school.
hisherschicago.com

Swagger New York

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Bostonian Sian Pierre Regis seizes the best in street style with an urban edge on Swagger New York. He reveals, “I started Swagger because there were no sites speaking to the true urban style I was seeing on the streets of NYC and Paris. In ‘07, there were a host to celeb-driven sites and the Sartorialist had just begun to make its mark. So I thought why not display a site that gave a platform to the young and cool ’real’ people, one that was social-networking savvy, genuine, and totally fashion forward? And it struck a nerve.”

He continues, “I love spotting and talking to young people who feel great about who they are. Swagger aims to capture these kids in their most confident moment, while wearing clothes that speak to them. And the fact that we’re getting popular among the style set by applauding a young and very diverse demo, all that support keeps me pushing.”
swaggernewyork.com



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Meet Janet Jackson’s Arabian Knight Heartthrob…Wissam al Mana via [necolebitchie]

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Janet Jackson’s Boyfriend: “I’m Fortunate To Be Dating My Dream Woman”

by Bitchie Staff |

“I don’t date Janet Jackson. She is my girlfriend; there is a difference. She is a very special and talented woman who never ceases to amaze me” -Wissam Al Mana in VMAN

I don’t know much about Janet Jackson’s boyfriend Wissam Al Mana, but he seems like a special type of guy who’s not afraid to openly express his feelings for her. In a recent feature for Harper’s Bazaar November Issue, we find out more about the 36 year old billionaire including what he does for a living, how he likes to dress and what he considers his dream girl.

I think a man’s dream woman changes as he goes through different stages in his life. I’m fortunate to be dating my dream woman now.

Read his Harpar’s Bazaar feature below:

Career in a nutshell:
I work in a family business founded by my late father over 60 years ago. Today our group comprises over 50 companies in the Gulf region in real estate, automotive distribution, engineering and construction, retail, food services and media, and is managed by my two brothers and I. In 2004 I wanted to expand our retail division nto luxury. Today, our luxury division comprises of over 40 stores in the Gulf, representing brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Hermès, Balenciaga, Chloé and Roberto Cavalli. We have also developed two Saks Fifth Avenue department stores, one in Dubai and the other in Bahrain, with plans to open more.

How did you pick your career path:
I spent many years growing up in London where I developed an early love of fashion and remember applying for a job at every fashion boutique on the Kings Road. At 14 I finally found a weekend job at a multi-brand store. I really enjoyed it and began to acquire an insight into the world of retail that would prove crucial for my career.

Who is your career role model:
My father was a very humble and down to earth man, and was known for being very honest and trustworthy. He taught us many great values such as to treat our employees with dignity and respect.

What ambitions do you harbour:

I would like to get more involved in art, photography and design. I would also like to get more involved in philanthropy and maybe take some time off everything to do just that.

What do you wear to work:
I’m usually wearing a pair of jeans by Dior, PRPS or Dolce & Gabbana. An Hermès or Balenciaga hoodie, Rick Owens tank top and leather jacket with a pair of sneakers or Louboutin hi-tops. Sometimes I wear a suit – only Giorgio Armani made to measure – with an Hermès shirt, belt and shoes. When I’m in the GCC I like to wear my traditional attire; thobe and ghutra, which is so comfortable and I love the fact that it’s tailor made and you can choose between different fabrics. Besides, it’s part of my culture and heritage.

Who is your dream woman:
I think a man’s dream woman changes as he goes through different stages in his life. I’m fortunate to be dating my dream woman now.

What is your dream boy’s toy:
Ha! That’s funny because my girlfriend [singer Janet Jackson] just bought me the most amazing gift; a 1964 Lincoln Continental convertable with suicide doors… and it’s in mint condition. That’s my ultimate boy’s toy.

Is greed good:
Greed is terrible. I think we need to learn how to be content with what we have. Money doesn’t buy happiness, nor do material things.

Via BV & Rhymes With Snitch

The OpuluxeLtd.com™ Style Muse of The Year is ……The Forever Alluring Shala Monroque!!!

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Style Spotlight – Shala Monroque via [redcarpetfashionawards]

Shala Monroque is a fashionista who shouldn’t be under the radar.

The fashion writer, Editor-at-Large for Pop magazine and blogger has impeccable taste.

She’s not afraid of fashion often wearing bright bold pieces, but she can also been seen wearing more timeless classic pieces like the look above.

I love how she accessorizes with stand out pieces to add a touch of pizazz to some of her looks.

Like most fashion editors footwear is vitally important. Her Prada studded heels are still one of my favourites of that Spring 2010 season.

Her trademark has to be her turbans. She’s been donning this head-wear long before they were deemed cool.

This simple strapless LBD is instantly transformed with Shala’s Delfina Delettrez skeleton hand belt and black satin Prada turban.

I love the dark smokey Grace Jones-esqe make-up Shala wears here, as you’re more likey to see her without much make-up.

Her shortened modified Miu Miu dress suited the sexier look she was going for which she paired with bronze platform heels.

With her trademark turban and statement necklace, this Miu Miu maxi print dress is transformed into a more ethnic look.

Not many people would pair a Prada turban with a Rodarte Fall 2009 mini dress, but Shala is bold enough to do just that.

Love her Prada heels.

Shala does seem to favour Miuccia Prada’s work as you can see from her love of both Prada and Miu Miu.

Here are those stunning chartreuse Prada heels I referred to earlier, which she wore with a Prada ensemble.

Her love for Prada heels continues as she goes from an edgy look wearing Christopher Kane.  Her sophisticated look of a red dress was paired with a mustard bag, and my favourite was this chic Prada look.  I just love that tiered skirt.

Credit: Style.com, Jak&Jil & Getty

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Shala Monroque + Industrie Magazine

via [bryanboy]

The incredibly chic and gracious Prada Ambassadress Shala Monroque (who I first met at the Miu Miu show in Paris a few months back) hosted an intimate soiree for the very smart folks over at Industrie Magazine at her apartment in New York last week.

Shala Monroque

Click click click!

To be honest, it’s been quite awhile since I was last captivated by someone’s beauty, both in and out. With her tall, lithe figure, amazing bone structure, beautiful skin and high-voltage infectious smile, Shala Monroque is STUNNING! She’s the woman who lit up the room, the woman you’d want to know… assuming you didn’t know who she was. THANK YOU SHALA FOR YOUR EXISTENCE!!!

Shala Monroque

Shala Monroque

Shala Monroque

Jason wu

Christian Remrod

Stephanie LaCava

Greg Kessler and Jane Keltner de Valle

Derek Blasberg

Industrie Magazine

Bryanboy

Thank you Shala and Industrie Magazine for the lovely evening.

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Girl of the Month: Shala Monroque via [WhoWhatWear]

When trying to articulate the style of bon vivant Shala Monroque, a few bon mots come to mind: daring, vivacious, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, eclectic, well-traveled, elegant, and unique. In a rather dizzying pace, Monroque, whose post as editor-at-large of Dasha Zhukova‘s incarnation of Pop magazine, has made waves on the international party circuit for her fearless taste and boundless joie de vivre. Whether Monroque is reporting on the Amelia premiere at the Doha Film Festival in Qatar (her very inspiring blog is a must-read), dancing the night away at a speakeasy in St. Petersburg, or hosting a fashion week fête attended by the jet set and art world elite, one thing becomes very clear: Shala Monroque’s wonderful wardrobe is a collection of great beauty and her artfully crafted ensembles have made quite a bold impression! 

Speaking of fashion week, it seems as though no one racked up more invitations (and best-dressed nods) during the S/S 10 season than our gorgeous GOTM. Spotted outside of the Miu Miu show in Paris (above, far left), Monroque looked magnificent in a head-to-toe Prada ensemble. This particular outfit highlights one of our favorite aspects of Monroque’s artistic assemblages: her fearless approach to incorporating color and patterns into her picks. (Though our subject du jour claims to be experiencing a post-fashion month shopping hangover, she did cop to having a serious velvet crush this season.) We love her bright yellow printed skirt and the way it plays off the Mohawk-inspired heels from Prada’s F/W 08 collection and tribal beaded necklace. Try Loeffler Randall‘s Loop Skirt ($325) and Jenni Kayne’s Roll Sleeve Tank ($350) with Fiona Paxton’s Metallic Necklaceicon ($375) or the Beaded Collar Necklace ($58) from French Connection.

Monroque offered yet another great skirt-and-top outfit at the Museum of Modern Art’s 41st Annual Garden Party last May in New York City. Though her Prada tiered skirt and chemise aren’t bold and bright, the satin and cashmere combination certainly showcase Monroque’s deft ability to weave luxurious textures into one killer look. The aforementioned pieces are no longer available for purchase, so try Theory’s Carmela Sweater ($100) tucked into Forever 21‘s Exposed Zip Mesh Skirt ($29) for a close approximation. Though Monroque’s jeweled sandals are from Prada’s S/S 09 collection, make sure to achieve a similar final polish via snakeskin platforms like Chinese Laundry’s Tied Python T-Strap Sandals ($80) and lots of faux-pearl baubles—Monroque’s are from H&M—but any costume jewelry piece will do the trick!

Of course, what is a sophisticated social without a few strong and standout frocks? Fortunately, in Monroque’s case, we’ll never have to know, as she has a wardrobe packed with directional dresses from daring designers, such as these two stellar examples from Rodarte. The cobweb Hand Knit Dress she wore to a Mike Myers-hosted benefit late last year (second from left) has been an editorial and celebrity favorite; we like how Monroque styled it with a wide black belt and ombre ankle boots. Make sure to try ASOS’ Loose Stitch Knitted Dress ($68) for a look-a-like alternative and pair it with Georgina Goodman’s Riva 1 Booties ($665) to achieve Monroque’s enviable ensemble. Last but not least, we have another cleverly crafted Rodarte design, specifically their Rafia Fringe Dress ($2500) from the spring collection. This plum-colored creation, which she wore to sit front row at Narciso Rodriguez’s S/S 10 show (far right), incorporates organic material such as fiber tassels, as well as bold colors and patterns too, and is the perfect piece to steal the show. And though this exact style is not yet in stores, we think Anna Sui’s Ditzy Floral Print Dress ($374) or Vena Cava’s Mandala Dress ($495) would be equally vibrant additions to your holiday rotation. Just make sure to slip into a pair of complimentary hued heels, like Nine West’s Fuchsia T-Strap Platform Sandals ($79) and you will be the object of outfit-centric attention everywhere!—KM

Photo of Shala Monroque from Getty Images.

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Shala Monroque: Girl About Town via [harper’sbazaar]

The chic art maven takes her singular style to the streets. Check out some of our favorite candid shots of Monroque on the fashion party circuit. By Anne Monoky



“I don’t have a high threshold for pain,” jokes Shala Monroque. No, the slender 31-year-old isn’t speaking about exercising or medical procedures; she is talking about her heels. “I have to have comfortable shoes,” she insists. Her preference? Well, Monroque hasn’t been named the proverbial queen of the kitten heel for nothing. In fact, the striking St. Lucian has been wearing the barely there heel for several seasons now, long before they were deemed in style again for fall. Such daring decisions have grabbed the attention (and admiration) of the fashion world, gradually landing Monroque on the It-girl map. 

Proenza Schouler dress, by special order. proenzaschouler.com. Dannijo necklace, $595. Miu Miu shoes, $990. Hermès bag, Monroque’s own.

As venerable designer and close friend Miuccia Prada puts it, “She has an incredible sense of fashion, and, more importantly, it’s all very instinctive and natural. It’s really a gift.” Unlike her boyfriend, art mogul Larry Gagosian, whose more reliable style she describes as “preppy — he has worn the same look his whole life,” Monroque is continually pushing the boundaries. 

Monroque in artist Tom Sachs’s studio. Miu Miu sleeveless coat. Prada shoes.

She wore full midcalf ’50s-style skirts before Marc Jacobs sent them down the runway, turbans before Mrs. Prada reinstated them, and cat’s-eye sunglasses before Alexander Wang made them cool again. And for fall, she has her very discerning eye on a specific set of runway looks that she is coveting: the belted autumnal trenches at Dries Van Noten, the vivid glow-in-the-dark linear outfits from Balenciaga, and the fun, flirty party dresses from Giambattista Valli. 

Chris Benz jacket, tank and pants. Marc Jacobs shoes.

As for accessories? She can’t get enough of Fendi’s animal-print-lined Peekaboo bag or the luxurious snakeskin heels from Lanvin. And while her out-on-a-limb fashion sense may be innate, Monroque is banking on another theory. “Ironically, some of the outfits that receive the most attention from the fashion crowd are the ones that are a little off,” she admits. See, this girl on the go hates to pack and is actually quite bad at it, often forgetting key components of her ensemble. So she improvises. 

3.1 Phillip Lim cardigan. Louis Vuitton skirt. Tory Burch necklace. Delfina Delettrez cuff.

For best friend and fellow fashion favorite Dasha Zhukova, Monroque’s innovative style can be summarized with a simple anecdote. “One time, Shala was hosting a party for a designer whose clothes she didn’t have in this particular remote location,” says Zhukova. “In order to be politically correct, she found a random piece of fabric, belted it, and turned it into a cute minidress.” 

Trying on a chapeau at the Hat Shop in SoHo, New York. Prada dress. Yestadt Millinery hat. Delfina Delettrez cuff.

Such occurrences are de rigueur for this jet-setter, who spends less than six months a year on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where she lives. Instead, she’s in Paris, sitting front row at the Valentino couture show in a leggy lace number; in Rome for the opening of the Maxxi museum (“It’s unbelievable,” she reports back); or off in Colombia for an intimate dinner party honoring young designer Esteban Cortazar. 

3.1 Phillip Lim blouse. Rodarte skirt. Tory Burch necklace.

But international expeditions aside, New York City still holds a special place in her heart. She arrived in the city 10 years ago, and after several jobs (she was a maître ‘d at 60 Thompson’s eatery, Kittichai), she found her footing as both a Pop magazine editor at large and blogger and as an art consultant. Through the latter, she has forged strong bonds with artists like Taryn Simon, Ellen Gallagher, and Tom Sachs, who opened his awe-inspiring studio for Monroque’s photo shoot. During which, for effect, she slipped on a pair of jeweled Miu Miu stilettos, Cinderella-style. As is true for any ardent follower of fashion, if the shoe fits and is divine, she’ll wear it. 

In Giambattista Valli.

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Shala Monroque: Fashions Newest Muse Speaks via [Divalocity]

As one of NYC’s hottest “Uptown Girls” who is now reaching fashion icon status with her elegantly-chic look. Shala Monroque, writer and Editor-at-Large for The Pop Magazine has been rising to the top of the fashion heap for the past three years. With her ever-changing coif and sophisticated lady like vibe, the fresh faced beauty and St. Lucia native is making her mark as a writer and a modern-day muse. 

This fashionable beauty is all over the web and her chameleon like traits are getting her noticed. Whether this fashion renegade is jetting off to Paris, France or to St. Petersburg, Russia on choice assignment’s for her job or off to the many art exhibits, she’s often found in NYC where she is a part of the cultural scene.

I was interested in talking with Shala to find out a little more information about her, so I got up the nerve and asked her for an interview. As the saying goes, ask and you shall receive and she was gracious enough to allow me to interview her. No, I didn’t fly to NYC, which would have been great, but I conducted the interview the way we do them in these modern times-over the phone or via the web.

I’m sure there will be more from other individuals in the future because she is now, one to watch. And everyone wants to know who is this Shala Monroque? She’s not a singer. She’s not an actress. She’s not a model, but she sure looks like one.

Fashions newest muse gives us a taste of who she is.


Shala in front of one of artist, Richard Princes,
Naughty Nurse Paintings.


Shala looking fabulous in Valentino.
(Photos:The Pop Magazine)

Divalocity: “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview you.
First of all, how are you?”

Shala: “Very well, thank you.”

Divalocity: Give us a little history about yourself. What is your occupation and where were you educated? It doesn’t matter where you attended school, I just want to show women that they can do and be anything that they set out to be with or without a higher education, just as long as they have the desire and determination to succeed. We tend to concentrate on the superficial of women and dismiss their intellect and accomplishments and I want to show them that how we think and act counts first before how we look.

Shala: I grew up in St.Lucia and went to secondary school there. I’ve attempted college, and I’m still in the process of slowly getting a degree. It’s taking forever but I’m also learning a lot by travelling as well. That works for me. I’m not going to advise anyone against pursuing higher education, I would encourage it. I’m very curious and have lots of questions and so its possible I may keep going to college for life.

Divalocity: Vogue magazine and other’s are labeling you as a socialite, do you consider yourself only a socialite? If not, please elaborate about the various philanthropic endeavors that you are involved in.

Shala: To quote Whitney Houston, “I’m every woman, its all in me” I would hate to think that I am capable of doing only one thing, its just not me. I’m very fluid and enjoy being in various environments. It’s a good way to learn. I’m currently not involved in any philanthropic endeavours. I haven’t been moved that way yet, not that I don’t care but I like to do things genuinely. I sometimes donate to Doctors Without Borders.

Divalocity: Who are your fashion influences and icons?

Shala: I don’t know that I really have any. Everybody influences me. The list would be too long.

Divalocity: I believe that Haute Couture is an art form and should be protected and preserved for future generations to see. Do you feel that there is a relationship between fashion and art?

Shala: Art speaks, fashion speaks. That’s the relationship between the two.

Divalocity: Who are some of your favorite designers? You seem to have a penchant for fabulous accessories and I love how you play them up, who are some of your favorite handbag designers?

Shala: Right now, I’m over the “It Bag” phenomenon. Actually I was never really into it. I am not into “it-anything” for that matter. I like what I like no matter what anyone thinks. That said, I am into Hermès now because they are classic bags that are very utilitarian and chic. Some of which have been around for decades.

Divalocity: I saw the pictures on The Sartorialist Blog of you taken during PFW and every one commented wanted your Birken bag.

Divalocity: Who are your favorite artists? Which do you prefer, Modern Art or that of the Old World Master painters?

Shala: Difficult to answer, so I’ll stick with Picasso for the moment because he can never be erased. I’ve learned that sometimes the paintings I hated most are the ones I’ve come to love the most.

Divalocity: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Shala: I don’t really look at life that way, especially now. My motto of the moment is “Inshallah” God willing, what will be will be et cetera.

Divalocity: What words of inspiration can you give our readers?

Shala: “This too shall pass”

Divalocity: Jet-setting from place to place seems like a glamorous lifestyle, please tell my readers how important it is for women to travel the world and learn about other cultures.

Shala: Travel is important to learn about the world. But I also know people who have zero interest in travelling and are quite happy. So its all about knowing oneself and what one wants out of life. I’ve always wanted to travel, I was always curious and so that has led me down this path but before I could physically travel, I travelled by way of books and its also a great way to see the world. Read, read, read, ask questions, its like travelling through the minds of others.

Divalocity: What are some of your favorite cities in the world?

Shala: Paris, Rome, Venice, Marrakesh, and of course, New York City.

Divalocity: What simple health, fitness and beauty tips can you give us to continue looking fabulous?

Shala: I’m the worst person to ask that question. I’m all about a healthy mind, a curious mind, intelligence, these are the things that are beautiful to me.

Divalocity: What are some of your fashion words to live by and words of inspiration that get you through tough times?

Shala: It’s not that deep. Always Wear Confidence.

Divalocity: You are so right and that’s one of my favorite accessories.

Divalocity: What are some of your favorite home essentials that you can’t live without? Do you bring a touch of home with you when you travel?

Shala: Music.

Divalocity: What are some of favorite shopping destinations and why?

Shala: Souks, because there’s just so much to see. Prada because of the whole environment, the music, the art, you sometimes walk into a Prada store and every single person is dressed alike right down to the red lipstick. I like that sort of madness. But in general I love to shop, I always have and suspect always will. Growing up as a child I would save the bus fare just to walk around “town” and window shop. I could have told you where to find anything.

Even when I moved to New York and had no money, I loved walking into expensive or 99cent stores just to see what was going on. One can tell a lot about a people by the merchandise of their stores. Like I could tell there were Chinese living in Harlem because at Pathmark they sold chicken’s feet. I look at shopping mostly from that angle. So mostly its shopping for ideas and information.

Divalocity: You are indeed a style chameleon when it comes to everything about your style and there’s never nothing routine about it. When I first your picture in the NYSD, I was in awe of you because you wore your hair natural, now with many women of African descent embracing their beautiful hair, what is your favorite way of wearing your hair and why? Women of African descent have various ways that they can wear their hair styled and always have, I just feel it’s refreshing to see a woman self-define what she deems as beautiful by embracing who she is.

Shala: HAIR. The one constant is that my hair is always changing. Mainly because I’m easily bored. I had my hair short and natural then because at that point wanted one less hassle in my life. But then I wanted to look less like a boy and more “feminine.” Only black people truly understand the difficulty of black hair, and also the pride that black people take in their hair.

I have a book that documents the various hair-styles from Africa for maybe two hundred years, and basically black people have always had fun with their hair. None of these hairstyles are new. Afros, cornrows, Mohawks, dreadlocks, weaving, its centuries old. I don’t know why people take it so seriously. For black people hair is like the “It Bag” or a blank canvas, same thing.

Divalocity: How can I score an invite to NYFW, my daughter and I have been dying to get there forever?
Shala: I have to think about that one for a bit. I go because of work. Maybe you can do it through your blog, get a press pass.

Divalocity: I’ll do just that and I’ll start writing the PR’s of the designer shows that I want to see.

Divalocity: Again, thank you for your time and the wonderful opportunity to interview you.

Shala: Thanks.

Divalocity: There you have it ladies and gentlemen. Shala has given us a little information about herself and she seems to be just as down to earth as ever. She’s what I call, “Living Well” and that’s what we all should strive for because we deserve it.

You can read more about Shala’s adventures in the art world, travel and fashion world at her blog.

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Closet Crush: Shala Monroque via [clutchmagazine]

– By Audra E. Lord

There’s no question that the editor-at-large of Pop Magazine is a visionary. Just take a look at her personal style. Her coveted fashion sense is best described as classic meets edgy—a sophisticated yet eccentric blend of tailored designer pieces (think pencil skirts and flirty A-line dresses) and bold statement-making accessories (chunky necklaces and animal-print clutches with unexpected pops of color). She has definitely been on our style radar for a minute. This is one crush that’s not going anywhere. Check out her blog here!

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You Should Know : Shala Monroque via [fashionbombdaily]

by Claire

Hey Guys!

Today I wanted to profile a new Fashion Bomb worthy stylista on the scene, Shala Monroque:

Shala Monroque Fashion style

The young editor-at-large of Pop Magazine (and girlfriend to famously wealthy art mogul Larry Gagosian) has been busy on the party circuit, meriting a place as one Style.com’s Top Party People of 2009 and Who What Wear’s Girl of the Month, thanks to her fearless style, sick shoe collection, and indisputable beauty. We thought it was high time to see what all the buzz was about, and we weren’t disappointed!

Shala Monroque Fashion style

For international fashion weeks, Shala brings out the boldness in vibrant colored skirts and simple shirts, punched up with tribal heels and chic statement necklaces.

Shala Monroque Party

Shala Monroque Fashion style

At fashionable fetes she keeps the flavor going in fun mini dresses set off by cute feather adorned stiletto sandals or slim cut airy separates with interesting details.

Shala Monroque Fashion style

For more casual engagements, she skews towards simple in solid colored blazers worn over conservative shifts.

Shala Monroque the Fashion Bomb

But whatever she wears, it’s clear: homegirl is fierce!

If you want to channel a bit of her essence, do so with these fun picks:

She might give Genevieve Jones a run for her money on the socialite scene!

What do you think of this new Fashion Bomb addition?

If you need more Shala, check out her blog, Shala the Pop, here.

Photo Credits: Jak & Jil & Getty.

The Winter 2010 Haute Hair Restoration Project via [HueKnewIt]

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HAUTE HAIR: The Great Weave Debate

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Photo Credit: Russ Einhorn/Splash News – Omarosa

To weave or not to weave. That is the question.

The level of discussion that surrounds a black woman’s hairstyle (relaxed or natural, short or long) is one that is never-ending. But whatever side of the issue you fall on, one thing is true – you still need to wear a style that you makes you look your absolute best and what better person to be the star of today’s discussion than reality television star, Omarosa.

Omarosa (or Lady O as she is called on The Ultimate Merger), has worn a variety of weave styles as evidenced here, and has done so unapologetically. But many struggle to take the first step in donning a weave because they’re afraid of how they will be perceived by others. The entry entitled, Hair Problems Solved: Combat Premature Balding which talked about the damaging effects of neglecting one’s own hair while wearing a weave spurred some debate among women and some brave men – just check out the comments on:

Hellobeautiful.com.

Celebrity stylist, Sophia Alston shares her expert opinion on which styles do and don’t work for everyone’s favorite villain.

Off the face is a no-no: The first look isn’t the best style for her, however, the brown color is a do.

The bang is too severe: This weave looks well done, however, the black color is too harsh and the straight bang isn’t very becoming. An off-black color might have been a better choice.

Sophia loves Omarosa’s look with the side swept bang because it softens her appearance.

To keep your weave in the best condition for as long as possible, just follow Sophia’s suggestions:

1. Treat your weave like your own hair by shampooing it at least every two weeks with Pantene Pro-V Color Hair Solutions Color Preserve Shine Shampoo ($5.97, walmart.com) and sit under the dryer so your hair and braids avoid mildew. If you don’t let it dry, then you risk an odor-filled scalp which is a smell that’s hard to remove.

2. Keep the color of your hair looking shiny and healthy by using The Pantene Color Nourishing Treatment ($3.97, walmart.com). These Pantene products (and really any product from the entire color line) is perfect to use to keep your weave in tip-top condition.

Should you or shouldn’t you? Synthetic or human hair? These questions and more will plague you until you come to grips with not caring about what anyone else thinks and going for it.  Your concern should only be what style looks best on you.

HAUTE HAIR: How to Get Beyonce’s Volume

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Long, straight hair is one thing, but waves add an interesting textural element that also softens your look. To get cascading, sultry, sexy hair like Beyonce’s, you just need the right tools of the trade and to follow these steps:

Step 1: Divide your hair into 2-inch widths.

Step 2: Curl them in opposite directions with Hot Tools Gold Curling Iron 2” ($37.59, ulta.com). Make sure to curl the pieces along your hairline away from your face.

Step 3: Spray your hair with Samy FAT Hair 0 Calories Amplifying Hair Spray ($12.99, walgreens.com). Fat Hair shapes, holds and is an amplifying mist that adds extra volume and shine to all styles and leaves it feeling soft.

Step 4: Brush your hair lightly with Goody’s Pro Dual Bristle Oval Brush for Volume (walmart and target stores).

Step 5: Finish by raking your fingers through your hair for a slightly unfinished look.

HAUTE HAIR: Rehab Dry & Brittle Hair

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Hearing your hair snap as you comb through it can be as traumatic as having a loved one do the unthinkable and play in your hair and you hear the comment, “wow, your hair feels a little rough.”The horror!

Rather than worry yourself into a craze, concern yourself with reviving your dry & brittle hair and turn it into shiny & lustrous hair like Kenya Moore’s. If you don’t have an appointment lined up with your stylist, it’s easy to do a series of at-home treatments to make this transformation happen on your own.

No time. No problem. Do a one-step treatment if you suffer from hair breakage with ApHogee’s Keratin 2 Minute Reconstuctor ($9.99, sallybeauty.com). It’s made specifically for home use between salon visits, so there’s no way you can make a mistake. This product is a concentrated blend of keratin amino acids, botanical oils, and vitamins that does a wonderful job of restoring strength and softness to hair that requires a deep, penetrating treatment.  It’s recommended on tinted, bleached or relaxed hair. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor even helps to repair damage caused by chlorine and hard water. It soothes irritated scalps and can be applied following each shampooing until the healthy condition of the hair is restored.

To use, just apply to clean hair in the shower and rinse to treat brittle hair with cuticle damage and moderate breakage.

If you need a root to tip treatment and you have no time commitments, Phytospecific Intense Nutrition Mask ($28, sephora.com) is a good option. It improves strength and elasticity. The ingredients include an interesting mix of (but aren’t limited to) mango seed, plaintain, quinoa oils which hydrates and fortifies and vitamin E which sooths the scalp. There is also wheat amino acids and wood cellulose which help lock in moisture and detangle your hair. After using this product you will notice that your hair will feel hydrated, soft, and very strong.

To use, shampoo hair and towel dry. Apply a generous amount of product to your entire head and then put on a plastic cap. Sit under a dryer for at least 10 minutes. Rinse and continue styling.

Queen Helene Hot Oil Treatment (local beauty supply stores) is a product that many have used in their homes for years, but for those of you new to the Queen Helene phenomena, a hot oil treatment is yet another way to lock some moisture into your otherwise, dry, drab hair.  It also restores softness, shine, manageability, breakage and split ends.

To use, simply shampoo your hair and towel dry. Place bottle in a cup of hot tap water for one minute. Massage 1 oz of warmed oil into hair and scalp. Cover hair with a dry towel for three minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Towel dry and style. This heat-activated treatment penetrates deep into towel-dried hair to control damage caused by chemicals, over-processing and weather exposure.

HAUTE HAIR: Turn Fine Hair into Fuller Hair 

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Not everyone’s blessed with thick strands of hair which is why weaves and wigs have become the norm, and in some cases an unfortunate crutch. What would you do if you had fine hair like the chanteuse Toni Braxton, who from her early years as a recording artist never had the fullness that she boasts as of late (with the help of a weave no doubt)? Would you treat your underlying issue and use some of the following products to bring some fullness to what nature blessed you with or add superficial fullness to give you a little extra confidence?

Folicure Moisturizing Conditioner ($6.39, sallybeauty.com) is part of line that was formulated to develop fuller, thicker hair for men and women. This particular moisturizing conditioner is the first everyday use, rinse-out Folicure conditioner. It leaves your fine, delicate hair smooth, shiny and full while it stimulates your scalp with a refreshing tingle.

Many of you have of the Bosley System for men’s hair loss, but there’s a line specifically made for women as well. Bosley’s Professional Strength Bos Defense Nourishing Shampoo for Normal to Fine Hair for Non Color Treated Hair ($18.99, haircarechoices.com) is a sulfate free cleanser helps to promote hair growth by removing buildup and toxins like D.H.T. (a male hormone that stops hair growth, in other words it stops hair growing from the roots) from the hair and scalp. This shampoo nourishes, strengthens and fortifies your hair follicles to result in thicker, fuller looking hair.

Marc Anthony’s Instantly Thick Hair Thickening Cream ($7.99, ulta.com) is a little different in it’s ability to thicken your hair. If you have what is typically called “wet & go” hair and you get blow outs then this may be the perfect product for you. This product is formulated with phytokeratin which wraps a secondary layer around each and every hairstrand. Also provides heat protection and shine. This heat activated cream is used after you shampoo and condition your hair. To use: Apply the cream from roots to ends on damp hair, the hair is thickened by the blow dry process. For added lift and hold, combine with other Instantly Thick™ styling products.

Hue Knew It? I did.

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Around the Town in A Day With Miami’s Most Vivacious Socialite, Barbara Becker

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On the Town with Barbara Becker

For the German-born socialite, actress and model, a day isn’t complete without caviar, wallpaper, Warhols and barbecue ribs.

BY Bill Kearney

Clockwise from top left: Becker (left) shows Sam Robin her latest collection of wallpaper; With Sandee Saunders at Caviar Kaspia; With Saunders at The Webster; With Dorothy Blau in front of Blau’s portrait by Andy Warhol; Chef David Whyko heads the table at Delishe; From left, Saunders, Author Lynn Gallow, Maryel Epps, Becker and Robin at Delishe

2:30 PMBarbara runs around the toy-strewn front yard of her Venetian Causeway colonial in bare feet with the kind of frenetic yet unflappable demeanor of someone who’s used to wrangling children.

https://i1.wp.com/www.gala.de/asset/Image/artikel/talk/2009/kw37/becker-quinze-miami.jpg Barbara with her handsome husband Arne Quinze

She has been back from Russia for 24 hours (there to help artist/designer hubby Arne Quinze scout for an event), the kids are still overseas, and right now we’re off to kibitz with mentor/ interior designer Sam Robin, who was mistaken for Barbara’s mother at her wedding last fall in Germany. Bulldog Rocco and cocker spaniel Diva Baby Girl greet us with Sam, and we’re immediately offered glasses of Blanc de Blancs. Billie Holiday plays on the stereo and the girls discuss Barbara’s latest collection of wallpaper (she’s huge in Germany). Soon the conversation turns to kids and weddings, but they both stop and listen to the music a moment, singing together, “If I should take a notion, to jump into the ocean, ’tain’t nobody’s business if I do.”4:30 PM

We hit friend Dorothy Blau’s Bal Harbour condo. Dorothy was the first to bring Andy Warhol’s art to South Florida, and he gave her her signature haircut. Barbara’s in the market for a Christopher Makos. There’s a triptych portrait of Dorothy that Warhol painted in the dining room, and a Jasper Johnsin the kitchen. Dorothy offers white wine and advice about dealing with the death of loved ones, which is pretty much to celebrate that you even knew them. She and Barbara talk art, how to manage expectations and happiness, and set up a meeting between Dorothy and Arne.

6:30 PM

We rush into The Webster to catch BFF Sandee Saunders. Barbara goes gaga over Sandee’s Krelwear dress (she must have one), and there’s an impromptu runway strut. After a caviar session with chef Todd Adkins at Kaspia and a quick shopping excursion for a new bag, we’re off to a gal-pal dinner party at Delishe.

8 PM

At Delishe, chef David Whyko’s private dining spot on the Upper Eastside, Barbara meets with Kiki Kuhnert, president of Dolphin Aid (Barbara is a spokesperson), photog Iran Issa-Khan, singer Maryel Epps and some other friends for a gourmet soul-food dinner of collard greens, truffled mac and cheese, barbecue baby backs and wings. David’s wife, Author, takes music requests, and before long the girls are up and dancing. When the Temptations’ “My Girl” comes on, they all form a kick line, arm-in-arm, and sing along, but change the lyric to “My Girls.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL KEARNEY

via [YouTube]

More on Barbara Becker here

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The OpuluxeLtd.com Tribute to Über-stylish FASHIONGATE Scapegoat: The Forever Fabulous Ms. Desiree Rogers via [NYT]

via YouTube

Obama Social Secretary Ran Into Sharp Elbows

Globe Newswire

Desirée Rogers drew criticism for her high profile as social secretary in the Obama White House. More Photos »

By PETER BAKER

WASHINGTON — Long before the State Dinner party crashers and the tension with her White House colleagues and the strain in her relationship with the first lady, Desirée Rogers began to understand she was in trouble when David Axelrod summoned her to his office last spring to scold her.

Multimedia
The Rise and Fall of Desiree Rogers

Ms. Rogers had appeared in another glossy magazine, posing in a White House garden in a borrowed $3,495 silk pleated dress and $110,000 diamond earrings. But if the image was jarring in a time of recession, Mr. Axelrod was as bothered by the words and her discussion of “the Obama brand” and her role in promoting it, according to people informed about the conversation.

“The president is a person, not a product,” he was said to tell her. “We shouldn’t be referring to him as a brand.”

The confrontation that day between Ms. Rogers, the White House social secretary, and Mr. Axelrod, the senior adviser to President Obama, put at odds two longtime Chicago friends of the first family. And it foreshadowed a deeper, wrenching conflict that would eventually cost Ms. Rogers her job and tear at the fabric of the close-knit inner circle around Mr. Obama.

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The rise and fall of Desirée Rogers, the glamorous Harvard-educated corporate executive who brought sizzle to the State Dining Room but became a victim of a publicity stunt by a pair of aspiring reality show stars, is a tale familiar to almost any White House. A new president comes to town and installs friends he trusts, but inevitably some of them wind up burned by the klieg lights and corrosive politics of Washington.

While it has happened to past presidents, though, this was the first time it has happened to Mr. Obama, who prided himself on running a campaign free of the typical petty rivalries and personal subplots that distract other politicians. And it happened with a friend who at first was celebrated for personifying the fresh, new-generation approach that the Obamas promised to bring to Washington.

For Ms. Rogers, associates said the episode proved a searing experience that has soured her on Washington. She believes she was left largely undefended by the White House, by her colleagues, including Mr. Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and even her close friend, Valerie Jarrett. And while she is unwilling to discuss her story publicly, several associates shared her account in the belief that her side has been lost in the swirl of hearings, backbiting and paparazzilike coverage.

“As she put it, ‘They never lifted a finger to help me set the record straight,’ ” said one of the associates, who insisted on not being identified to avoid alienating the White House. “She didn’t get any help from Gibbs, no help from Axelrod, no help from Valerie Jarrett. Nobody came to her defense.”

White House officials who asked not to be named rejected that, pointing to instances where Mr. Gibbs and the others publicly defended her, even if it was not as vigorously as she may have wanted.

Asked for comment, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama’s press secretary, praised Ms. Rogers’s “track record of success as an incredibly successful leader of a team here that turned out 330 events over 13 months.”

The tension with her colleagues was building long before November when Michaele and Tareq Salahi, socialites from Virginia, managed to slip uninvited into the State Dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. Ms. Rogers’s hip style, expensive clothing and presence at fashion shows at first were seen as symbolizing a new Camelot but ultimately struck many as tone deaf in a time of economic hardship and 10 percent unemployment.

The White House eventually clamped down on her public profile. She was ordered to stop attending splashy events and showing up in fancy clothes on magazine covers. When Michelle Obama learned one day that Ms. Rogers was on a train heading to New York to attend an MTV dinner, the first lady told her longtime friend to cancel, associates said.

After the Salahi incident, these associates said Ms. Rogers was barred by the White House from testifying before Congress or giving interviews or even answering written questions. She was told she could not attend the Kennedy Center Honors, a major annual Washington event. And even her decision to finally resign leaked before she could secure a new job.

So Ms. Rogers is leaving the White House and Washington never having been allowed to describe publicly what happened that night four months ago. But in conversations with associates, she has defended herself by noting that she had positioned a staff member to greet guests at the East Portico landing just as the Social Office had sometimes done in the past. And she has expressed disappointment that her work at creating a “people’s house” for the first couple has been overshadowed by one lapse.

“It’s been very difficult for her,” said Amy Zantzinger, who was President George W. Bush’s last social secretary and has become a friend of Ms. Rogers’s. “And I think what can’t be lost is there are all these unbelievable events they did at the White House when she was there, particularly bringing in all the artists and musicians. I don’t think that’s ever been done before to this magnitude.”

Representative Peter T. King of New York, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, faulted Ms. Rogers for not having a staff member at the outer checkpoint on the street and complained that the White House “just totally stiff-armed us” in terms of getting answers to what happened.

But Mr. King suggested Ms. Rogers was left hanging in the wind by the White House. “She was in a tough spot,” he said. “All of us in public life dread the screw-up which is going to come back to haunt you.”

Public life has singed presidential friends over the years with striking regularity, people like Bert Lance during Jimmy Carter’s administration, Vincent W. Foster Jr. and Webster L. Hubbell during Bill Clinton’s, and Harriet E. Miers and Alberto R. Gonzales during George W. Bush’s. Washington can be seductive and then destructive.

In some cases, they were ill equipped for the jobs they were given, unable to transform success in private life or smaller-scale politics to the White House. In other instances, the cutthroat politics proved too caustic to stomach. In the most extreme example, Mr. Foster, a law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton before he became deputy White House counsel, committed suicide in 1993 leaving behind a note saying that “here ruining people is considered sport.”

Off to Washington

A native of New Orleans, Ms. Rogers graduated from Wellesley College and earned an M.B.A. from Harvard University. She got to know the Obamas some 20 years ago through her husband at the time, who went to Princeton University with Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson.

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Ms. Rogers’s glamorous looks, fashion taste and on-the-town profile in Chicago obscured a fast rise through the management world, as she served as head of the Illinois lottery, then president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and finally as a senior executive at Allstate Financial. During the 2008 campaign, she helped bring in roughly $600,000, according to a person familiar with campaign finances.

Tall and striking, Ms. Rogers can easily pass for younger than her 50 years. She seemed to the Obamas to be a natural for White House social secretary. The first African-American to hold the job, she swept into Washington brimming with ideas for executing the Obamas’ vision of opening the White House to a wider circle of people, and became an instant magnet for attention.

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After taking an apartment in the same exclusive Georgetown building as her friend, Ms. Jarrett, Ms. Rogers quickly became a hot Washington draw. She posed for a spread for Vogue and later accompanied its editor, Anna Wintour, to Fashion Week in New York. Within months, other magazines came calling, including Town & Country, Vanity Fair, Michigan Avenue and Capitol File.

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But it was a spread in The Wall Street Journal’s magazine, WSJ, with the expensive clothes and jewelry provided by the magazine, that got her in trouble in the White House.

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Mr. Axelrod called her in for a long conversation about her interviews and photo shoots, warning her explicitly that she was flying into dangerous territory and that Washington loves to watch people become too big and ultimately crash and burn, according to people familiar with the conversation. Ms. Rogers noted that everything she had done had been approved by the White House. She viewed her trips to fashion shows and other events as a way to make connections in the creative community and find talent to perform at the White House.

But her profile was deliberately lowered. Mr. Gibbs, the White House press secretary, had already canceled a proposed photo shoot of Ms. Rogers wearing an Oscar de la Renta ball gown in the first lady’s garden, officials said. Michelle Obama’s new chief of staff, Susan Sher, more closely scrutinized Ms. Rogers’s public activities, to her aggravation.

Praise and Criticism

Amid all this, Ms. Rogers earned widespread praise for the events she organized at the White House, including a summer luau for members of Congress, a poetry jam and a Halloween party for 2,000 trick-or-treaters. She managed to put on 309 events in 2009, compared with 231 produced in the last year of the Bush White House.

“If you look at the totality of her time here,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, “she did a good job of projecting a White House that was open, family friendly and classy.”

Shawnelle Richie, a Rogers friend from Chicago, said, “She is a multitasker of the first order.” Ms. Richie added: “She did a good job. If the impression is she didn’t, I think people are wrong. They’re misinformed.”

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For all the attention to Ms. Rogers’s photo spreads, Ms. Richie said, Ms. Rogers kept focused on the job at hand. “Glamour wasn’t a distraction,” she said. “If everybody were to look at her complete work and her history and her background, as opposed to an isolated event, they would see she was the right person for the job at the right time.”

The isolated event, of course, was the State Dinner in November, which in fact received near universal acclaim as an elegant, memorable evening until the next morning when the first reports of the party crashers emerged.

As she put together plans for the dinner, Ms. Rogers and her staff consulted records of two State Dinners held by Mr. Bush before leaving office. The records indicated that the social office in both cases sent a person to the East Portico of the White House, where the metal detectors are stationed for State Dinners, in case any guests are not on the Secret Service list. Her office copied that arrangement.

In the Spotlight

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At State Dinners in the past, though, the social office stationed a person, or even more than one, at the outer checkpoint. Critics like Mr. King faulted Ms. Rogers for not doing that. Still, the Secret Service acknowledged it was not supposed to allow the Salahis in without checking. And the officers on duty that rainy night as the long line of wet celebrities and power players waited impatiently did not check with anyone from the social office when the Salahis showed up.

The White House afterward issued a memorandum announcing the policy would be changed. In interviews afterward, both the president and first lady praised the State Dinner, with Mrs. Obama calling it “an outstanding success” and dismissing the gate crashers as “a footnote.” But she and Mr. Obama bypassed opportunities to defend Ms. Rogers. “I was unhappy with everybody who was involved in the process,” the president said. “It was a screw-up.”

Lisa Caputo, who worked in the East Wing under Mrs. Clinton when she was first lady, said Ms. Rogers had weathered the hothouse glare of Washington with grace. “She’s done a fantastic job of opening the White House,” Ms. Caputo said.

“She was put in a position where the spotlight was put on her in a different way,” Ms. Caputo added, “coming in as someone who was not a Washingtonian, coming into a high-profile senior role and being the first African-American in that role. The combination of all three makes it not easy. I would venture to say she’s had a larger mountain to climb.”



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World’s RICHEST man, Slim is a born wheeler-dealer via [Reuters]


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World’s richest man, Carlos Slim, a born wheeler-dealer

by Noel Randewich

MEXICO CITY
(Reuters) – Mexico‘s Carlos Slim, named the world’s richest man on
Wednesday, first showed a talent for business as a 10-year-old kid when
he filled his pockets with pesos selling drinks and snacks to his
family. 

Lifestyle |  Mexico
As a youngster he also kept accounting ledgers of what he earned and
spent and bought a government savings bond from which he learned
valuable lessons about compound interest.
More than half a century later Slim, 70, has amassed a fortune of
$53.5 billion, beating Microsoft founder Bill Gates to top the list of
the world’s richest people, according to a new ranking published by
Forbes magazine (www.forbes.com).
His far-flung business empire includes some of Mexico’s best-known
department stores, its biggest telecoms operator, hotels, restaurants,
oil drilling, building firms and Inbursa bank (GFINBURO.MX)
— making it hard to go a day in Mexico without paying him some money.
Outside Mexico Slim has holdings in such prestigious groups as
retailer Saks (SKS.N)
and New York Times Co (NYT.N).
His defining foray occurred in 1990 when he and his partners bought
creaking state telephone company Telmex (TELMEXL.MX)
for $1.7 billion. Turning it into a cash-making jewel, he spun off
America Movil (AMXL.MX)
and expanded it through acquisitions to become the world’s No. 4
wireless operator.
While critics accuse him of using a monopoly to build his fortune,
Slim has a simple philosophy about making money.
“Wealth is like an orchard,” he told Reuters in 2007. “With the
orchard, what you have to do is make it grow, reinvest to make it
bigger, or diversify into other areas.”
Cigar-smoking Slim’s trademark is his “Midas” touch, acquiring
struggling firms and turning them into cash cows.
In 2008, he bought a minority stake in the New York Times as the
stock tanked. Now, warrants he received for lending the publisher $250
million could net him more than $80 million and could lead to a 16
percent stake in the company for Slim, who says he has no interest in
becoming a U.S. media baron.
But Slim’s newspaper investment has ruffled feathers in the New York
media establishment. As investors speculated last week that he could
move to acquire more of the Times, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said he
doubted the controlling family would relinquish control to an outsider,
especially from abroad.
FRUGAL LIFESTYLE
Slim learned his first business lessons from his father, Julian Slim
Haddad, a Lebanese immigrant who came to Mexico in the early 1900s,
opened the “Star of the Orient” general store and bought properties
cheap during the Mexican Revolution.
In 1987, when stocks nosedived during one of Mexico’s many crises,
Slim saw opportunities where others feared disaster, picking up
low-priced shares and selling when they recovered.
“We know that crises are always temporary and there is no evil that
lasts 100 years, there is always an overshoot,” Slim once said. “When
there is a crisis that provokes an adjustment, an overreaction comes
along and things get undervalued.”
Slim’s enormous wealth stands starkly against his frugal lifestyle.
He has lived in the same house for about 40 years and drives an aging
Mercedes Benz, although it is armored and trailed by bodyguards. He
eschews private jets, yachts and other luxuries popular among Mexico’s
elite.
After studying engineering, Slim founded a real estate company and
worked as a trader on the Mexican stock exchange.
His wealth growing, he opened a brokerage in the mid-1960s and a
decade later he began his trademark trait of buying failing businesses,
including a cigarette company. He acquired department store and cafe
Sanborns, a mine operator and manufacturers of cables and tires.
By 1990 Slim had built the fortune he used with partners to buy
Telmex and launch his telecoms empire. America Movil now has 201
million customers from Brazil to the United States.
Slim has handed over the day-to-day operation of his companies to
his three sons and loyal business partners but remains clearly in
charge when appearing with them at media events.
He has become involved in combating poverty, illiteracy and poor
healthcare in Latin America and promotes sports projects for the poor,
but has never voiced plans to give chunks of his wealth to charity like
Gates or fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.
Businessmen, he says, do more good by creating jobs and wealth
through investment, “not by being Santa Claus.”
(Editing by Catherine
Bremer
and Eric
Walsh
)



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