MTV’s Video Music Awards 2013

I like red carpet events like the VMAs because you get to see fun twists on red-carpet fashion. There’s a level of relaxation that allows people to really be themselves, for good or bad.

For example: Katy Perry and Richard Simmons. Is this not the greatest thing ever? Even though I wasn’t in love with her dress, I thought it worked for her. And Richard is fabulous. Always.

Richard-Simmons-and-Katy-Perry-attend-the-2013-MTV-Video-Music-Awards-2222746I’m just going to say it and get it over with: Miley Cyrus needs to stop. Especially that tongue thing. Was her performance enough proof it’s time to have a child-star-growing-up intervention?

Moving on to more beautiful and worth-while things.

I would like to take a moment to publicly declare my obsession with Ellie Goulding. Only she could rock a studded dress so flawlessly. I genuinely think she’s never looked better.

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Can we be best friends?

MTV’s Video Music Awards 2013: The Gentlemen

I don’t know if it’s the perfectly matching suits, the secret-agent space helmets or the sparkly shoes, but Daft Punk made me swoon. Yes, seriously. I want to have this picture blown up and framed.

2013-vma-daft-punkAlso, I am obsessed with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis; they should always be together in pictures, I love their faces. I think it’s because they both look polished yet they are so strongly tied to the roots that made them famous. Keep it up, men.

2013-vma-macklemore-ryan-lewisI wish Macklemore’s fiance was on the red carpet. I think she’s simply adorable.

I’m surprised how much I like 2 Chainz outfit. I think it’s because the pants reminded me of these Cavalli pants I’ve been obsessed with for far too long, but it was a win for me.

2013-vma-2-chainzAnd then that one time Justin Timberlake made me pee my pants. Thank you, JT, for being amazing.

MTV’s Video Music Awards 2013: The Ladies

I’m a fan of black gowns at red-carpet events and I wasn’t disappointed. Jennifer Hudson’s leather and hounds-tooth dress was stellar. It’s also one of the best appearances of a choker.

2013-vma-jennifer-hudsonLady Gaga’s dress was surprisingly demure but I thought it was flattering, though slightly Morticia Addams-esque. It does makes me want to start doing giant kimono-style bows around my dresses.

173533133AP00041_2013_MTV_VOkay, Naya Rivera’s dress was boring. She looked great, but it was so one-dimensional. She needed a clutch or earrings or a better lipstick or something. Whatever, I’m bored again.

173533186KR00239_2013_MTV_VHere’s how you keep a simple outfit from being boring (take notes, Naya). Allison Williams looked like a dream in white. Her makeup was fresh and dynamic, the details (earrings, the textured sheer, the details on her cuffs) add depth and her hair is polished and out of the way. It’s all glorious and fun to look at.

173533186KR00224_2013_MTV_VI wish I could do the short-dress trend, but it just isn’t meant to be for me.

Remember that Alexandre Vauthier dress I liked but thought was a misfit in the 2013 couture collection? Well, Erin Wasson rocked that bitch. It was flawless, from the braid and turban (I wasn’t sold on the turban trend before this) to the minimal makeup and the strappy heels; I feel like she stopped by the VMAs on her way to the runway.

Erin-Wasson-attends-the-2013-MTV-Video-Music-Awards-2222743Strategically worn sheer dresses are almost a requirement at award shows. Sadly, that means we are forced to see dresses like Ciara’s. Seriously, that thing is heinous.

164960831JN00040_2013_MTV_VThe shape of the detailing, the frills and the messy hair make this more like a skeleton mummy Halloween costume. And the detailing that extends down the fingers? Let’s leave gaudy gloves to Beyonce. Bow down, bitches, for reals.

Luckily, Iggy Azalea made up for the Ciara atrocity. She looks chic and put together and the red lipstick with her gold tones: win.

Iggy-Azalea-attends-the-2013-MTV-Video-Music-Awards-2222733Ariana Grande wore a fabulous dress that reminded me exactly of Carolina Herrera’s dress Lucy Liu wore to the 2013 Golden Globes. I feel like her hair washed her out a little and distracted from the dress. I wish she had it a shade or five darker and pulled it back. Ms Liu’s fishtail braid was perfect, Ms Grande’s loose curls and sharply separated bangs were not doing it for me.

173533120LL010_2013_MTV_Vid Coco Jones, on the other hand, looked flawless. The only criticism I have is I think it was a little too casual for red carpet, but that doesn’t take away from the fact I think she nailed her clothing.

173533186KR00018_2013_MTV_VSpeaking of nailing it: There were two clear winners from the entire evening for me. Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez.

Ignoring all parler pas, Taylor Swift is beautiful. She has definite style hits and crash-and-burns, but this one just screamed stunning. Well, well done.

173533186KR00215_2013_MTV_V Selena Gomez’s dress was one of my favorites because it is elegant, but the bustier cut-away allowed her to prove she’s not a little girl anymore.

173533120LL245_2013_MTV_VidAlso, when NSYNC started singing they both looked like all their elementary school dreams had come true and it made me like them both so much more.

Let’s talk about princesses

I’m undeniably a product of the Disney Princess empire. Ariel is my favorite because I love the ocean and use to wish on everything I could think of that I’d wake up a mermaid. (Ironically, Mary Poppins has always been my favorite Disney movie. I’ll have to think more on that later.)

I’ve noticed that lately the Princesses have become the face for the gender-specific limitations our culture places on our female youth, and while I believe deeply in the importance of well-rounded, anti-stereotypical education, I also think it’s unfair to set these characters up as bad.

Princesses exist, and they are badass. Let’s talk about a few of them:

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge – England Kate+Middleton+Duchess+Cambridge+Visits+Liverpool+OByA-bhrCdCl

As the most popular princess today, Kate Middleton has rocked the world. Known as the Kate Effect, she has become one of the most influential people from fashion to her charitable support. I love the Kate Effect because she presents herself in a very modern, yet sophisticated and classy way. It’s also interesting that so many of my peers idolize her, yet continue to skankify; a contradiction in desires I think. Don’t get my wrong, I’m not a prude, but the Duchess’s elegance comes from restraint.

Let’s get beyond clothing. Kate Middleton has been an icon of and catalyst for women’s empowerment. If she becomes Queen Consort, she will be the first Queen of England to have a university degree. Also, soon after marrying Prince William, England began the process to reform the current law which would allow for the couple’s first child, if she is female, to be first in line to the throne. That changes thousands of years of history, and requires approval from multiple countries. That’s amazing.

Queen Noor Al-Hussein – Queen Consort of Jordan

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Queen Noor is an American-born woman who became Queen of Jordan. Her defining strength is her ability to withstand criticism; a talent more women would benefit from developing. I believe that was one of the strongest understatements.

As one of the first women to study at Princeton she graduated in 1974 then went on to work around in various countries before working for on a new airport project in Jordan where she met and married the recently widowed king.

Stepping into an established royal household as a young outsider is tough as it is, but include a change in religion, name and a desire to break tradition. Queen Noor handled all this, and though she received criticism her work is a testament to her dedication and passion. Because she takes her projects so seriously she found her role as royalty distracted people from listening to the more important topics:

She said: “The pioneering attempts I made to level the playing fields through education and micro financing were initially met with skepticism by a few with fixed kind sets.” But she said her husband “fully supported me and the responsibilities I felt I should assume.”

Instead it was the media that held her back. On her first visit to Washington as a queen she was upset that reporters failed to ask her meaningful questions, instead focussing on her clothes and hair. “I hoped to be taken as a credible voice with serious matters to discuss,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I could not help but feel like a useless accessory.”

The Telegraph

Queen Rania Al Abdullah – Queen of Jordanqueen-rania-jordan

Anyone who promotes education, especially among women, is my hero. Please meet Queen Rania, the voice of education around the world. After receiving a degree in Business Administration she worked for a couple high-powered international businesses.

After her marriage she has promoted domestic education programs, founded and worked with multiple international organizations including: Queen Rania Scholarship ProgramJordan River Foundation and Al-Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans.

 

These women are amazing. We should spend our time encouraging our daughters to expand their interests in Disney Princesses to the real-world princesses and the causes they champion. Why wouldn’t we want our daughters to be educated, elegant supporters of equality, charity and education?

Influential Thinkers: Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein

“If ever there were a year for Big Ideas, and a frustration at not hearing them from our leaders, 2012 was it.”

-Foreign Policy

Since 2005, Foreign Policy magazine has built an annual list of those people considered to be the most influential thinkers of that year. The list is built on reader’s ballots and focuses on key living public intellectuals who are active in the public eye.

This year’s top thinkers are Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein, “For showing that change can happen anywhere, even in one of the world’s most repressive states.” If you don’t know the story of the Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi, I recommend reading about her. TIME magazine wrote a fascinating article about her not too long ago.

Thein-Sein-Aung-San

The modern history of Myanmar (Burma) is a fascinating study on the tug-o-war between extremist government and the will of the people, and Aung San has been a beautiful symbol of peaceful but powerful resistance.

Burma gained independence from Britain in 1947, in large part due to Aung San’s father Bogyoke (General) Aung San. After Bogyoke’s assassination, his wife became an influential politician in the new Burmese government as ambassador to India and Nepal.

Aung-San-Family

I think it’s fascinating a newly widowed, young mother would be appointed this position by the government then, not long after, the government of the same country becomes notorious for various and violent violations of human rights, and harsh restrictions on freedom of speech.

The beauty of the change in Burma/Myanmar is that it happened slowly and in large part thanks to the patience and selflessness of two people. It’s difficult when I see all the dirt of the world, it makes me feel impossibly small and useless.

“It’s also testament to the notion that individuals and their ideas can truly change the world, a theme that resonates in ways large and small throughout this year’s list”

-Foreign Policy

The biggest lesson for me is one person can make a difference, it just takes time and work, and that inspires me to keep going.

What inspires you to keep going?