Needleman named ‘Harper’s’ editor at large

Sometimes, you need a change — in your style, career and life. And for Deborah Needleman, that change is coming in the form of a new job.

According to Fashionista, the former editor in chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine has been tapped to become an editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar. Effective immediately, Fashionista says Needleman will report to Harper’s editor in chief Glenda Bailey and will be “responsible for contributing story ideas.”

Previously, Fashionista says Needleman served as an editor for WSJ magazine and also was a founding editor at Domino.

Girl Scouts create troop for homeless

Everyone needs something — a group of people, a community — to call home, and a Girl Scouts troop in New York is providing just the community for a local group of girls.

Located in Queens, Troop 6000 is based out of a shelter where all of its members are homeless, according to Glamourmaking it the first specially for homeless girls in New York.

“The troop was a product of Giselle Burgess, a community engagement specialist for the Girl Scouts who’s also homeless,” says Glamour, as well as “councilman Jimmy Van Brager, who represents the borough of Queens and whose family was homeless for a period in the 1970s.”

Currently being housed at a Sleep Inn rented by the city, Glamour reports that the members of Troop 6000 have “lived through the fear and uncertainty of poverty and homelessness,” though joining the Girl Scouts troop will offer some semblance of normalcy and give a platform for the girls to express their ambitions. Many quoted in The New York Times‘s original piece on the story have already announced their plans for the future, and among the desires to be doctors and fashion designers was an aspiration to help the homeless, says Glamour.

“I’m going to help the homeless,” said a third-grader named Silkia. “I’m going to get mad money, and I’m going to ask them if they want a shelter.”

While the Girl Scouts of Greater New York is currently covering the fees for the troop’s members, which total “about $100 for patches, vests, and the membership fee, plus $20 in monthly dues,” according to Glamourdonations can be made and designated specifically to those in New York shelters.

 

Coles named Hearst’s chief content officer

After a four-year stint as the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Joanna Coles is set to leave her post for an all-new position within the Hearst magazine empire.

According to the New York Times, Hearst announced on Tuesday, Sept. 6 that Coles will become the company’s first chief content officer, allowing her to “work closely with Hearst editors and oversee the company’s magazines in the United States and internationally.”

In addition, the Times says Coles will “look to identify new business opportunities and partnerships for Hearst in areas including television and live events, with the goal of extending the company’s brands beyond just print magazines and websites.”

Considering her impact on Cosmopolitan, President of Hearst magazines David Carey said he knew Coles’s reach could extend far beyond the purview of Cosmo.

“I’ve watched Joanna lead Cosmo,” Mr. Carey said, according to the Times, “and the whole time, I thought she could make an even bigger impact.”

While it will be difficult to fill Coles’ shoes, Hearst seems to have found a good replacement in Michele Promaulayko, who the Times says worked as Cosmo‘s executive editor between 2000 and 2008. Promaulayko will also take on the role of editorial director for Seventeen magazine, reports the Times.

As for Coles, while her new journey as Hearst’s chief content officer has only just begun, she already has some projects in the works, which the Times says will be announced soon.

Legendary ‘Times’ photographer dies

Few have left their mark on the fashion industry like Bill Cunningham, and now the industry is mourning his death on Saturday, June 25.

According to Glamour, the iconic New York Times fashion photographer died at age 87 after being hospitalized recently for a stroke. But with his loss come reflections on his career and his indisputable influence in the world of fashion.

Photographing street styles in all corners of Manhattan over a 40-year career, Glamour says Cunningham was known to photograph “the city’s characters who pushed boundaries with how they dressed,” all while “wearing his signature blue jacket and often riding a bicycle.”

Although Glamour says of the legend that he was not one to assume the spotlight, he also earned several awards for his work, including the French Legion d’Honneur — the highest French honor for “military and civil merits,” according to Wikipedia — and the CFDA Media Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In addition, Glamour reports that he was named a Living Landmark in 2009 by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

While his impact on fashion will not soon be forgotten, perhaps we should also remember the way Cunningham saw fashion — not merely as just articles of clothing, but as a means of surviving.

“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life,” he said, according to Glamour. “I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”

 

Zari to the rescue

Known for being an educational program for young children, Sesame Street will be not only be teaching kids, but also providing a role model for girls with their newly-introduced Muppet.

Meet Zari, an Afghan Muppet that The New York Times says will “become a strong role model for girls in a country with a poor record of promoting women’s rights, according to the production company Sesame Workshop.”

Only appearing in the Afghan version of the program, the Times says the character sports “multicolored hair and wears a head scarf with her school uniform.” But the 6-year-old Zari, whose name means “shimmering,” will not only act as a form of representation of Afghani girls, she will also “focus on girls’ empowerment, health and emotional well-being, the production company said,” according to the Times.

Director of Communications for Sesame Workshop Philip Toscano told the Times that although the show has been in Afghanistan for five years, Zari’s introduction comes in an attempt to offer more relevant content to the show’s viewers.

The Times says of Zari’s incorporation into the show:

“The debut of the character is notable in Afghanistan, a country that imposes strict limits on women’s lifestyles and rights. There have been efforts to improve conditions for Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban government 14 years ago, but many of the gains are seen as fragile.”

According to Toscano, Zari will appear in every episode. For Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, Zari will be important in not only teaching children, but also in modeling strong character.

Explaining that research has indicated that depictions of confident girls have changed boys’ opinions, Westin told the Times, “We know children learn best when they can identify themselves with characters on the screen.”

 

Young journalist curbs her competition

There is no rule that says a ‘professional’ has to be a person of a certain age. Just look at Hilde Kate Lysiak, and you’ll see that professional prowess comes in people of all ages.

According to Women in the World, a division of The New York Times, Lysiak is a 9-year-old multimedia journalist and the founder of the Orange Street NewsBut just because she is young doesn’t mean Lysiak doesn’t take her job seriously.

In fact, Women in the World says that she reported a local suspected murder case ahead of “more established competitors with her scoop and the headline, ‘Exclusive! Murder on Ninth Street.’ She posted a story and video from the crime scene, and promised readers that she was ‘working hard’ on the investigation.”

Acting on a tip she received from a “good source,” the young entrepreneur and her parents received some backlash on her publication’s Facebook page on Saturday, April 2, according to Women in the World, but her father — a former reporter for the New York Daily News — said, “she’s really motivated.”

So far, her Orange Street News has garnered 18,000 pageviews in the past month, according to Women in the World, and even has a “print edition that can be mailed to subscribers for $10 a year.”

While Lysiak is certainly a flourishing journalist, she told the Washington Post this week that she does it for the love of information.

“I just like letting people know all the information,” she said.

Spoken like a seasoned journalist.

Women’s place in politics

In a scintillating piece written for The New York Timesbest-selling author Jennifer Weiner tackled the changing significance of nude images and sex tapes in the realms of politics and pop culture. Arguing that while these videos and photos were once the source of a public female’s fall from grace, Weiner says that they are now losing their destructive force, so long as the woman is in charge of not only the camera but the release of such images.

However, Weiner also claims that such uses of the sexualized female are infiltrating the current presidential race, citing the recent showdown between Republican hopefuls Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (R-TX), which began with the release of a video from a super PAC called “Make America Awesome” that shared images of a nude Melania Trump posed for GQ with the words “Meet Melania Trump. Your Next First Lady.” emblazoned across the screen. Thinking that Cruz’s team created the ads, Trump fired back, taking aim at Cruz’s wife, Heidi, even sharing a side-by-side image of Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump, with the image of the former model Melania clearly serving to diminish Heidi.

Although Cruz jumped to the defense of his wife, Weiner argues that not only have both women been reduced to mere “things” through the exchange, but also that other women — like FOX New’s Megyn Kelly who was called a “bimbo” in a tweet shared by Trump — have been downgraded to objects throughout the entire presidential campaign season. She writes:

“In this strangest of primary seasons, women exist primarily in terms of their relationships to the men they marry or question or critique. They can either be beauties or beasts or ‘the love of my life.’ They can be ‘crazy’ or ‘losers,’ ‘fat pigs’ or ‘dogs.’ They can be mothers and daughters. They can be the currency with which you buy voters’ belief in your machismo and alpha-maleness, or they can be the sand you kick in the face of a ‘New York bully.’ In every case, whether they are assets or liabilities, they are objects. In no case are they people.”

Wrapping up her argument by saying the super PAC’s ad not only brought on “the predictable calls to leave candidates’ families out of the fray,” she says that it was also accompanied by “charges of slut-shaming, and the insistence that a grown woman can pose as she wishes; that as long as it’s her choice, it’s empowering.” And while Melania Trump may have opted to pose for GQ, the way in which her photos were used to slut-shame her portrayed her “modeling portfolio as revenge porn.”

What, then, could change such perspectives on women on this side of the aisle? Perhaps the answer exists in a strong female who, as Weiner argues through the person of former Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, is “a candidate, not just a wife and a mother, or a face and a figure — a person, instead of a thing.”

Consider, for a moment, what such a figure could do; maybe an assertive female would voice objections to the treatment and portrayal of women thus far in the campaigns. Maybe she wouldn’t even need to vocally oppose such images of women; maybe her presence alone would prove that women are not objects to be talked about, ammunition to feed virulent campaigns or voiceless, helpless things to be defended by the more emphatic presence of a man. Maybe her presence would prove that women are capable of defending themselves, being leaders and being more than just a pretty thing to be talked about — maybe she could prove that women are people, too.

As Weiner points out, both Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz are accomplished in their own rights: “Melania Trump speaks multiple languages and is a successful businesswoman,” while “Heidi Cruz has an M.B.A. from Harvard and had made a name for herself in the worlds of both politics and finance.”

But what we, the general public, knows of either of them is that they were recently pitted against each other not in a face-off that would crown its winner the most successful or the most intelligent, but in one that would only compare superficialities — as if we were deciding between one brand of car and another, merely comparing one’s features to its rival’s.

While the media will surely be tracking the Trump/Cruz feud in the coming week(s), one thing is for sure: women are not being treated as women. What is worrisome, then, is how such candidates may — or may not — address hot-button issues that directly impact women; from reproductive rights to equal pay, there are a host of issues concerning women that will need to be addressed by each candidate sooner or later. But if the candidates’ wives are being outrightly discussed as objects, as Weiner so eloquently pointed out, then how will they tackle issues that concern all American women?

Sifting through the excess to get to the heart of each candidate’s platforms and beliefs can be difficult, but Weiner’s article certainly shed some light on a concerning aspect of the current presidential race, and her argument is something we should not take lightly as we enter into the homestretch of campaign season.

 

Food For Thought

It is no secret that America has a hunger problem — according to Move for Hunger, a program that picks up unwanted, non-perishable food items from those who are moving and delivers them to food pantries, “one in six Americans live on incomes that put them at risk for hunger,” with over 14 million American children relying on food banks for assistance. This is the exact problem that Komal Ahmad seeks to remedy with something as tiny as a smartphone app.

According to Women in the World, an affiliate of The New York Times, Ahmad is the founder and CEO of Copia, an “online platform that connects businesses with leftover food to local organizations that can distribute that food to people in need.”

Described by Ahmad herself as the “Uber of food donation,”she explained the impetus behind her app, saying that while our society has become accustomed to ordering food from our phones, we can now do something “that’s good for your company, that’s good for your company’s brand, that is good for the community, that’s good for your body and mind, and that makes you feel good too” by donating food through the app.

For her efforts thus far, Ahmad was awarded a $50,000 grant to put towards growing her company at the Feb. 9 Women in the World Salon in Los Angeles, with Toyota official Dionne Colvin-Lovely naming her as one of the Toyota’s “Mothers of Invention.”

Ahmad detaileded her first encounter with real-life hunger while studying at the University of California Berkeley, where she was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money; after taking him out for lunch, she discovered he was an Iraq war veteran. According to Women in the WorldAhmed noticed that “across the street from where Ahmad and the man had eaten lunch, the university’s cafeteria was throwing out thousands of pounds of leftover food. Right then, the dual problems of hunger and food waste struck her.”

But Ahmad’s shock over the dichotomy didn’t render her immobile. Women in the World reports that Ahmad then launched Feeding Forward, “a local service that began with UC Berkeley’s cafeteria in 2011 and has since grown into the tech startup Copia, which has now distributed some 600,000 pounds of food to 720,000 people in need across the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the company.”

As her company expands, Ahmad says she hopes Copia can begin to accommodate a larger variety of needs, including medical supplies. But for now, her app is focusing on solving food problems for all parties involved.

“Everyone wins,” Ahmad said. “We win because we’re feeding hundreds of thousands of people – including veterans, especially, and children and women. And corporations get to reduce the amount of food that they’re wasting. They reduce disposal costs. They get to feed people directly in their community, which is awesome. And we also help our environment.”

 

All Females at Freckle Films

If Jessica Chastain wasn’t content with taking on the lead role in Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming film Molly’s Game, a story of poker legend Molly Bloom, the actress just scored another major victory.

According to Women in the World, an associate of The New York Times, Chastain has launched her own production company called “Freckle Films,” in which she will serve as the president alongside development execute Elise Siegel.

Partnering with Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray of Maven Pictures, the company has already bought the film rights to two novels with female main characters that were written by women.

The Magician’s Lie, by Greer Macallister, tells the story of a famed female illusionist who is forced to prove her innocence after a dead man is found among her stage props, while Life and Other Near Death Experiences, by Libby Miller, follows the trials and tribulations of a young woman who finds out that her husband is gay and she has cancer on the same day,” Women in the World wrote of the two films picked up by the new company.

According to Deadline, “Maven will provide development funds and cover overhead costs to acquire IP for Freckle and Maven to jointly produce. Jacqui Lewis, Leili Gerami, Clemens Pongratz and Elise Siegel will serve as exec producers on these films.”

Chastain spoke on her excitement over the launch of her new production company and said that she looks forward to working with Maven Pictures.

“Trudie and Celine are not only both highly experienced and successful producers, but the projects they’ve created demonstrate their tenacious dedication to strong characters and compelling stories that clearly resonate with audiences. It’s an honor to work with them, as well as their company, one that mirrors many of the goals that I aspire to achieve with Freckle Films,” said Chastain.

Maven’s Celine Rattray had some compliments of her own for Chastain, explaining that she and Styler have been big fans of Chastain’s work both on screen and off.

Rattray said, “Her intelligence, passion and talent are something that so naturally align with our work and mission at Maven Pictures—showcasing female talent both in front of and behind the camera. We are immensely thrilled about the opportunity to work together for many years to come.”

 

Physicist of the Future

Women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are few and far between; as of a 2011 survey, the United States Department of Commerce found that while women fill half of the jobs in the U.S. economy, they tend to hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. But one Alabama scientist is drawing attention to the field and making a name for herself in the process.

Meet Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green — one of less than 100 black female physicists in the United States, according to The New York Times’ Women in the World.” Green earned a degree in physics from Alabama A&M University, and upon graduation, she received a full scholarship to the University of Alabama in Birmingham to pursue her Master’s and Ph.D. There, she became the first to deliver nanoparticles exclusively to cancer cells, thus allowing them to be specifically targeted by lasers for removal, and she successfully carried out this treatment on living animals.

As Alabama.com points out, Green’s determination to treat cancer stems from her personal history with the disease. After her parents’ deaths early in her life, Green spent the rest of her childhood in St. Louis with her uncle General Lee Smith and her aunt Ora Lee.

But when Ora Lee was diagnosed with cancer, she refused treatment, said Green. “It was heartbreaking, but I could appreciate she wanted to die on her own terms,” she said.

Three months later, Green’s uncle was diagnosed with cancer, and she took time off from school to help him through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, witnessing firsthand the devastation such intensive treatments wreaks on a patient’s body.

But today, Green has not only pioneered a laser-activated treatment that could change the way cancer is treated, she is also the recipient of a $1.1 million grant to further the develop the technology.

Although her responsibility is growing, Women in the World explains that Green makes it a point to speak at schools, Boys & Girls clubs and other events. “Usually if there is an invitation to speak at a forum like that, I accept it because I feel like it’s a responsibility,” she said of accepting guest speaking requests. “There are so few of us (black women in STEM fields) I don’t feel like I have the luxury to say I’m too busy.”

Green also saix that she usually accepts such speaking requests to provide young women other role models to encourage studies in the STEM fields. “Young black girls don’t see those role models (scientists) as often as they see Beyonce or Nicki Minaj,” said Green. “It’s important to know that our brains are capable of more.”

Thank you, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, for showing us that we are, in fact, capable of more.