Davis makes history with Oscar win

The Academy Awards are always filled with history-making moments, and this year was no different.

According to Buzzfeed, Viola Davis not only took home her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences, she also made acting history at the award show on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The win launched her into the exclusive “triple crown” of acting club, says the Huffington Post, a group of now 23 actors who have each won “at least one competitive acting award at the Oscars, the Emmys and the Tonys.”

However, HuffPost says Davis is the first black woman to achieve such a feat. Her previous accolades that contribute to her now elite status include a 2015 Emmy for her role in How to Get Away With Murder, reports HuffPost, as well as two Tonys: “first in 2001 for her work in ‘King Hedley II‘ and then again in 2010 for her work in the Broadway rendition of ‘Fences.'”

Well deserved, Viola!

Davis’ Wise Words

How to Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis didn’t get to be as successful as she is today without learning how to believe in herself. And according to ELLE, the actress wants other women to learn to do the same.

In between discussing her beauty routine, Davis shared with ELLE the advice she gives to her 5-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Genesis.

“The biggest beauty advice I’ve given her is every morning I say, ‘Genesis, what are the two best parts of you?’ And she says ‘my brain and my heart.’ And I say, ‘You’ve gotta remember that, Genesis,” she shared. “‘You’ve gotta remember that you’re not what you look like,’ you know? I think that’s the best beauty advice I could give her.”

The 50-year-old actress, who renewed her wedding vows this year with her husband of 13 years Julius Tennon on Valentine’s Day, also told ELLE about fellow actress Meryl Streep’s advice to her after her vow renewal. “‘Now that you’ve just had your vow renewal,'” Davis said Streep wrote to her in an email, “‘this is the best part of your life now. There’s not anything that you don’t know anymore in terms of what’s good and bad out there, so now you can just fly.'”

In an interview filled with advice, Davis definitely saved her best piece of wisdom for last, beseeching all women to recognize every day just how fabulous they actually are.

I just look at women sometimes and I just want to ask them, ‘Do you know how fabulous you are?’ I look back at pictures of myself and I remember thinking, ‘I was so fat when I was growing up. I was 165 pounds when I graduated from high school. I was a mess.’ And then I look back at pictures of myself, and I’m like, ‘You were fabulous.’ I wish I would have known that then. I wish people had just kept telling me and telling me, beating me over the head and beating me over the head some more and more and more. I talk to women all the time and try to impart that wisdom.

We second that, Viola.

She Leads, You Follow: NAACP Image Awards Edition

The Pasadena Civic Auditorium was filled to capacity on Feb. 5 when television, film and music’s best and brightest came to celebrate Hollywood’s efforts to create a more diverse landscape at the 47th NAACP Image Awards. With awards going to the likes of Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson for Outstanding Actress in a drama and Queen Latifah for her role in Bessie, the awards were a must-see event.

But while some were honored for their outstanding performances and groundbreaking influences on the entertainment industry, many deserve honors for their impeccable red carpet fashion.

Scandal’s Kerry Washington was the definition of elegance in a black and white Victoria Beckham number, complete with a plunging neckline and a hint of sparkle, says ELLE. Washington completed her look with a box clutch, minimal jewelry and a neat updo.

Following suit in an equally stunning all-white ensemble was partner in Shondaland Viola Davis. The How to Get Away With Murder star walked the red carpet in a white tank-style gown with silver beading outlining her frame. Adding even more sparkle to her luxurious look was EFFY jewelry, says ELLE

Gabrielle Union decided to provide some contrast in a black tulle gown. The mermaid gown featured a dramatic skirt and an illusion top with a V-neckline and lace appliqué. Union topped off her look with a piecey updo, dewey makeup and a statement ring.

Although these leading ladies are dressed for a night of celebrating Hollywood’s most talented, there are several things that we can take away from their looks to apply to the way we dress every day:

  1. White on – Washington and Davis both wore white gowns, but they were far from boring. While Washington’s ensemble feature asymmetrical folding at the bust and a band of beading at the waist, Davis’ all-white look was framed in silver beading. These little details not only look visually appealing, they also help to create shape in the garment. For example, the band of sparkles at Washington’s waist creates a focal point in her outfit, making her waist appear even narrower than it is. The beading on the sides of Davis’ gown starts at the shoulder, widens around the bust, narrows at the waist to define her waistline, and widens slightly again at the hips, all to create a perfect hourglass silhouette. While these may just look like fun details, they are actually quite useful; so when you are shopping for anything from a dress to a top to a skirt, look for details such as panels, seaming or even embellishments that act in a similar way. The best place to start would be to look for garments that accentuate your waist, which could be done through a seam, a peplum or even a sheer panel across your midsection — all of these are tiny details that make a big difference.
  2. Go deep – Both Union and Washington wore gowns with deep necklines, and they have a great reason to do so: a more open neckline not only draws attention to your face, but it can also elongate your neck (which makes you look taller overall). Union’s V-neck actually helps to deemphasize a larger bust since the neckline is angled out toward her shoulder; this gives more width to her shoulder while slightly narrowing her bust and creating a slimmer waistline. Washington’s more rectangular neckline acts as a fabric frame for her face, acting as a pointing device to direct our attention from the band of sparkles at her waist straight up to her naturally beautiful face. Wearing a more open neckline has obvious benefits; whether its in the form of a fancy gown, a cocktail dress or a casual top, V-necks can make you appear long and lean while also directing our attention to your pretty smile.


She Leads, You Follow: Golden Globes Edition

Awards season has officially begun, and at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, the red carpet was rolled out for the finest actors and actresses to be honored at the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards. The Jan. 10 awards brought out Hollywood’s best, and they certainly dressed their best for awards season’s kickoff event.

First to impress us with her white-hot ensemble was none other than Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson. Channeling Cookie Lyon’s fierce persona, Henson rocked the red carpet in this stunning white gown with a Watteau train, which she accented with Kimberly McDonald jewelry.

Glimmering down the red carpet was How to Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis, who wore a tulle Marchesa gown covered in beading, according to The Huffington Post. She added a little more sparkle to her look with a Jacob & Co. ring and drop earrings.

Bringing some color into our lives was Jennifer Lawrence, who opted for a bright red Dior number, says E! Online. The Joy actress’ gown was replete with cutouts, featuring two at the sides and one at the back . She topped off her look with a neat updo and a jaw-dropping statement necklace.

Although these ladies are dressed for the kickoff event to the 2016 awards season, there are some things we can take away from their looks to apply to the way we dress every day:

White is far from boring – Henson’s stunning gown shows us just how exciting white can be; its sleek silhouette and dramatic train combine to create a sexy, yet elegant look that makes us pay less attention to the (lack of) color and more attention to the style of the gown — not to mention how gorgeous she is. Henson wasn’t the only leading lady to take to the red carpet in a white gown. Others like Orange is The New Black‘s Laverne Cox and Brooklyn‘s Saoirse Ronan wore white in completely different ways; Cox’s gown gave us a more regal vibe with its high neckline and dramatic train, while Ronan’s gown delivered an ethereal, yet elegant look with its deep v-neckline, its soft skirt and its goddess-like shoulder train. All three women show us that it’s not the color but the cut that makes the gown.

Use cutouts to your advantage – Take a cue from JLaw and use well-placed cutouts to your advantage. Her side cutouts not only accentuate her waist, they also create a curve on her hips in an otherwise column-like gown. The quasi-croptop style of the top of her gown also exaggerates the effect of her cutouts, adding width to her bust while making her waist appear even smaller. If you want to try cutouts in a dress, start with smaller cutouts at the sides of your waist; this will have a similar effect to Lawrence’s cutouts without showing so much skin on your first attempt with the style.

Try a gem tone – Although Davis’ gown is covered in sparkly beading, it is also a gem tone. Her navy-sapphire dress delivers a rich, deep color that warms up all skin tones. Gem tones seemed to be a big trend on the red carpet this year, with everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Lola Kirke to America Ferrera wearing the same yellow garnet shade to attend the Globes. Colors such as these are universally flattering to all skin tones and generally pair well with other colors and neutrals, so when you are shopping for a dress, a blouse or even accessories, try to look for pieces in colors like sapphire blue, yellow garnet, amethyst purple and ruby red — these are sure to be versatile, yet flattering pieces that will only benefit your wardrobe.

Happy Awards Season, everyone!

Nicole’s Favorites: TV Moments Edition

At every award show, there seems to be one speech that stands out among the others. And while every recipient is overcome with emotion when they’re accepting their awards, there was one actress at this year’s Emmy Awards who delivered a noteworthy acceptance speech.

Enter Viola Davis, who made history at the Sept. 20 award show by becoming the first African-American to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama. As if winning weren’t enough to seal her place in history, she proceeded to deliver perhaps one of the most touching and inspirational speeches not only of the night, but also in Emmys history.

The New York Times provided this transcript of her speech online:

Transcript via The New York Times.

Transcript via The New York Times.

Davis’ speech spoke to the importance of her winning the award, while also pointing out the trailblazers that have cleared a path for actresses like her to have a chance for success in the industry. She also acknowledged her fellow actresses who help to further the prospects of future generations of women and women of color.

There was no better way to cap off the Emmys than with this speech. And what was equally touching about her win was that when Davis’ name was called, her fellow nominees were just as excited for her as they would be if they had won. Couple this with her speech, and we are dealt two major takeaways from this one moment: that success is possible despite the restrictions societies and industries may place on women and women of color, and that it is more than possible for women to support their peers in their successes.

While we can watch award shows idly and comment on the fashion, it is a moment like this that makes award shows worth watching; here, we not only celebrate the success of a talented actress, but we received a speech that will inspire countless young women across the country and around the world to fearlessly and passionately pursue their dreams.

Somewhere, a little girl was watching Davis win that award. And what she saw was more than an actress in a pretty dress receiving a trophy — she saw a woman who has transcended barriers to achieve her dreams. She heard a speech that not only recognized the hurdles Davis overcame, she heard her graciously celebrate her peers.

She saw that dreams do come true, and Davis’s Emmys win may be just the thing that inspires this little girl to go after her own dreams without fearing societal barriers and racial or gender restrictions.

While Davis expressed her gratitude in her Emmys acceptance speech, we — the women of the world who watched with pride — want to thank you, Viola Davis, for being an inspiration to us all.



She Leads, You Follow: 2015 Emmys Edition

The stars of the small screen took to the red carpet outside of the Nokia Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 20 to recognize the year’s stellar television performances at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards. And while the award show itself brought some surprising wins, it should come as no surprise that the the red carpet prior to the main event showcased some stunning fashion. Although it was hard to pick our favorite looks, there were several leading ladies who led the pack with their red carpet style.

Sparkling in a silver St. John gown was none other than Sofía Vergara. The Modern Family star walked the red carpet in a body-hugging beaded gown with a strapless neckline and modified mermaid silhouette.

Viola Davis was the picture of elegance as she walked the red carpet with Julius Tennon on Sunday night. According to E! OnlineDavis wore a Carmen Marc Valvo gown, featuring dense black floral beading at the waist that dispersed as it neared the gown’s fuller A-line skirt. The highlight of Davis’ night was yet to come, however, as she went on to win the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her role in How to Get Away With Murder.

Keeping it simple in an all-black ensemble was Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen, who donned a Georges Chakra number for her walk down the red carpet. Featuring a multi-strap neckline and a trumpet skirt, Bowen took her gown to the next level by pairing it with bold jewelry and a shiny frame clutch.

The Good Wife’s Christine Baranski added a pop of color to the Emmys with her bright pink gown. Baranski walked the red carpet in an eye-catching hot pink gown, featuring a cap sleeve, a cutout at the neck and a defined waist. She completed her look with a gold clutch and gold jewelry.

Amy Poehler continued the cutout theme with her all-black ensemble, which featured  cutouts at the ribcages to accentuate her waist. The high-neck Michael Kors gown featured a column skirt that fell from her natural waist straight down to the floor. Poehler offset her minimalistic look by adding a stack of bold bangles to each wrist and dainty gold earrings to frame her face.

It seems like good style is all in the ‘family’, as Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland rocked the red carpet in a wine-colored Zac Posen gown. The dress featured an off-the-shoulder neckline (which created a cutout on the back of her dress) and a modified trumpet skirt. Hyland completed her red carpet look with a maroon bangle, beaded earrings and handfuls of rings.

Rounding out our favorite looks of the night was E! host Giuliana Rancic, who took her turn on the red carpet in a soft pink Zuhair Murad gown with all-over beading. The off-the-shoulder gown featured a defined waistline and soft, ethereal mermaid skirt.

Although these ladies are dressed to impress on the red carpet of the Emmys, there are certain elements of their glamorous gowns that we can apply to the way we dress every day:

  1. Define your waist – The one common thread among these diverse gowns that they define a waist in some way, whether it’s through cutouts, like Amy Poehler’s dress; a simple band, like Giuliana Rancic’s dress; seaming, like Sarah Hyland’s gown; or even embellishments, like Viola Davis’ gown. Defining your waist allows you to create the illusion of a smaller frame, while also making it seem as though your legs begin at your natural waistline (making them look much longer than they are). Each gown defines the waistline in a unique way, so there’s no excuse not to do so in your own outfits every day!
  2. Less is more – There were some simple gowns on the red carpet, but simple doesn’t necessarily mean ‘boring.’ Amy Poehler, Sarah Hyland, Julie Bowen and Christine Baranski all wore solid-colored gowns, but they each had intrinsic features that made then stand out, such as cutouts, an off-the-shoulder neckline, a multi-strap neckline and intricate seaming respectively. They also punched up their looks with jewelry and accessories, which instantly added visual interest to the blank canvases of their gowns. It’s so easy to discredit a piece of clothing just because it’s not flashy or loud enough, but these ladies showed us that sometimes, less is more.
  3. Confidence is key – The most essential part of any outfit is something that cannot be bought: confidence. All of these women (and those we didn’t have space to discuss!) walked the red carpet with confidence in who they are. The expensive dresses, jewelry and shoes, the hair and makeup all add up to make a stunning red carpet look; but all of this doesn’t equal the priceless value of confidence. So no matter what you’re wearing, be confident in who you are and believe in your own beauty, because that’s worth so much more than the cost of your outfit.