Complexd Women

A day in the life of cosmopolitan women around the world

COMPLEXD WOMEN: RUBY PAYGE JOHNS

I’m a West Indian currently residing in Oxford in the UK. On an average day I wake up at 7am and have a meat and nut breakfast with a glass of lemon water. I travel to London for castings or shoots and try and get back home to Oxford early so I can hit the gym with my trainer and catch up with my family in the evening. My family and I are super close.

I was scouted by Select Model Management at the age of 15, standing outside of McDonalds. I didn’t consider modelling until then but I am pleased I did because I have had incredible experiences. One of my most memorable was posing on top of a camel on a mountain in Spain which is a wild thing you don’t get to do every day.

If you want to be a model it is important to be prepared to work and to look after yourself. Eat well, exercise regularly and keep a healthy state of mind. You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, “I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.” I used to have a very low self esteem and  it was making me unhappy. Now I have a healthy diet, train regularly and I have stopped being so self critical. I have learnt to appreciate the good things about my body and my look, one being my trademark cheekbones. One thing I would never do is tamper with nature and resort to extreme measures such as surgery.

In my spare time I design a lot of garments. It’s something I have always been interested in since I was a young girl. For now, I am focusing on my careers in Modelling and Acting but who knows; in the future you may see my dress on a hanger.

A bit more about me…

When I was a child I wanted to be… an Air Hostess. I’ve always wanted to explore and experience the World.

A film that changed me was…The famous ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ starring Will Smith. It showed me that there is always somebody in a worse situation than yourself and if you work hard and keep faith in yourself, blessings will come your way.

My favourite quote/proverb is…’you will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life’.

If I was invisible for a day I would… listen in on conversations and read a few minds. Who wouldn’t? Ha ha!

Love is…a promise and a bond. It comforts the soul and It is an important part of life.

The 4 words that describe my life are…A wonderfully, blessed ride.

Follow Ruby on Twitter.com/RubyJohns

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COMPLEXD COUCH: NATASHA DEVON

Natasha Devon joins us on Complexd Couch to talk to about her personal experiences with beauty and her body.

Video Editor – Henry Robinson
Director – Kered Clement

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COMPLEXD WOMEN: ALL WOMEN

In Complexd Magazine’s Love Thy Woman issue on pages 30-47 we featured All Walks Co-founders Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O’Connor. All Walks Beyond the Catwalk is an initiative that campaigns for a more diverse representation of women in the fashion industry. In the feature Caryn and Debra had said the following…

Debra: It begins in the classroom because every student sitting there is not a size 8, so what’s going on in their heads, how do they feel when there working to perfection when they know that’s not true in reality’.

Portraits by Maxi Kohan

Caryn: We thought, let’s go into education. We had to change the curriculum and broaden it so people don’t feel that they have to turn something around and make a big change, there already embracing it and taking it in at the beginning of business practice’.

Photograph for All Walks s/s’11 by RANKIN

A few months on and the All Walks team have delivered their pledge to inspire change in the British fashion curriculum with the launch of Britain’s first ever, educational institution devoted to furthering the promotion and design requirements of diverse body shapes. This will take place with Edinburgh College of Art, at their 2nd annual All Walks Futures Forum at Graduate Fashion Week on June 7th 2011. It will be attended by Govt. Minister for Equalities and Lib Dem Body Confidence Campaign founder, Lynne Featherstone a Complexd Woman we mentioned here.

Currently all fashion colleges train on dummies size 8/10. The All Walks founders believe that there is a need to create imagery that mirrors the diverse and individual beauty of women, and designs that have been informed by knowledge of a realistic body shapes not just tailors dummies or sample sized models. Students will benefit from training on a specially commissioned set of UK sized 8 to 18, tailors dummies, donated by leading mannequin specialist, Proportion London.

Kiki Kendrick is a Complexd Woman who has created provoking advertising campaigns and sat on the debate panel at the All Walks ‘SNAPPED’ event and attended the Endangered Species summit during International Woman’s Month. In 1997 she became a consultant for Anita Roddick and The Body Shop International and created RUBY, the size-16 living doll, inspiring women the world over to ‘LOVE YOUR BODY’.

Her curvy creation and campaign above sums up the reasons why these Complexd Women feel the need to campaign on behalf of all women who are alienated by images in the media.

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COMPLEXD WOMEN: CAMPAIGNING FOR CHANGE

The majority of world leaders may be men, but there is no denying that women are the influential underdogs campaigning for change.

Susie Orbach

When Complexd attended the Endangered Species Summit – A campaign that challenges the culture that teaches women and girls to hate their own bodies – we met the passionate and talented Stephanie Ifill who was feature on pages 44-51 of our 1st Anniversary issue. In attendance were professional women from media, fashion, health and educational organisations, who came to share their ideas on how they were going to make a lasting difference for women and girls around the globe.

Susie Orbach, a key member of the Endangered Species team and author of ‘Bodies’ and ‘Fat is a Feminist issue’, Equality minister Lynn Featherstone, TV presenter Gok Wan and Mumsnet will all be backing a campaign to combat image anxiety amongst young people. MP Lynn Featherstone also spoke at the summit and one of the major concerns along with serious health issues was how women are perceived in magazines. Image manipulation has become so advanced and unrealistic in published imagery that it has lead to parliamentary discussion on whether the air brushing culture is having an effect on how young people perceive their natural beauty and body.

MP Lynn Featherstone

As fashion becomes art and portrayals of the female body are pushed to the extreme, sometime you need Complexd Women like Susie Orbach and Lynn Featherstone who have a voice that can infiltrate the political world to step up and try to regulate a few things.

Images by Frederique Rapier

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: ANGIE NG

Angie Ng was featured a year ago  in our Launch issue on pages 20-23. Angie is a determined model with strong features and a versatile portfolio. Most importantly she knows how to manage and promote herself as a model, which is a key tactic for the competitive nature of the modelling industry.

Image by Chin Too

I wake up around 8am in the morning and get a face mask on to treat my skin and then I start making coffee and breakfast. I tend to eat complex carbohydrates and a little protein in the morning such as wholemeal bread with scrambled eggs to keep my energy running high in the day.

After breakfast, I get ready for work. My outfit is based on how I feel that day but generally my style is laid back/ rock chic. Work starts with checking emails and then going off to castings or jobs. My advice to up-coming models is to never put yourself down if you do not get a job, you can never get every job you cast for. After work, I either go home to cook dinner and chill or go out for a meal with friends.

When travelling to various countries for work, I try to stay true to myself, but I also try to respect each countries customs. I am very lucky to be able to experience the variety of cultures and customs around the world. Travelling avidly has made me much more of a mature person. I feel like it has widened my horizons in many ways.

I have travelled to…Hong Kong - Image by Dan Ho

Paris – Image by Michele Yong

London – Image by Anne Laure Fayemi

And worked in my hometown Malaysia – Image by Chin Too

Being an Asian in a Caucasian populated society can cause some prejudice; whether you’re a model or not. In my opinion I think Asian models can still be represented better, but there is no doubt that Asian Models are getting much more recognition now. Ling Tan is one of the very first Asian supermodels that set the platform for Asian Models in the international fashion industry. I look up to her a lot.

Ling Tan editorial for Harper’s Bazaar 1997

Check out Angie Ng’s strong portfolio below and follow her at angiecl.blogspot.com


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COMPLEXD WOMAN: ISAMAR GONZALEZ

Image by Tarrice Love – Necklace by Isamar Gonzalez

‘After the birth of my daughter  my body didn’t change that much apart from my pear-shaped boobies which used to be perky mangoes’

I was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and raised in the South Bronx with my twin sister, older brother and single mother. I’m a self-employed model; jewellery designer; waitress; mother and student living in Brooklyn, New York. I start my day around 7am when I rise to meet the sun. I have my favourite fruits mango and avocado and I dress very urban bohemian. I like my long halter dresses, but I also love rocking my army pants with a delicate blouse and Pumas. Once I’ve dropped my daughter to school I go to the gym, run around on castings, design my jewellery, then pick my daughter up, cook, eat, paint and hula hoop.

The birth of my daughter was my most unforgettable experience. Feeling her grow inside of me was so amazing, I actually miss it. After her birth my body didn’t change that much apart from my pear-shaped boobies which used to be perky mangoes. But I love my body more than I used too, I feel like a woman and I am more in tune with how my body works.

As a model I noticed that work was definitely slower but I was so focused on being a mom that it wasn’t a bad thing. I was able to discover my real passion which is keeping creativity in my life and finding new ways to become a better person, mother, jewellery designer, friend, lover, daughter and sister. Everything falls into place when you live out your passion. I hope that one day I can have my own jewellery store with one-of-a-kind pieces for women who strive to be unique.

A bit more about me…

When I was a child I wanted to be an…astronaut and a singer.

A film/book/song that changed me was…Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday and Feeling Good by Nina Simone. These women sang their stories with their strong powerful voices.

My favourite quote/proverb is…”be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden.

If I was invisible for a day I would… sing to the whole world and leave them with a feeling that there is a GOD.

Love is…I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. So love freely today and every day.

The 4 words that describe my life…unpredictable, confident, blessings and fragile.

If you could have one wish granted it would be…to always be surrounded by love, family and friends. Without them everything else means nothing.

I am a Complexd…spirit! I think my enthusiasm and my optimism are my strongest traits, and I am a little feisty…OK, maybe a lot feisty!

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: ARELY MORALES

‘I model part-time – my modelling career has just kicked off because having Tabitha has changed my body for the better, it has given me more lovely curves’.

I am a full-time mother and part-time model. I live in Virginia USA, with my boyfriend and daughter. My family is from Bolivia where I was born and raised. I come from a humble background and my life as a little girl was pretty normal until my parents separated. I grew up with my mom and she moved me, my brothers and sisters to the United States so we could have a better future.  My mother inspires me because she raised five children on her own. She is a hard working woman who has never depended on anyone.

On an average day, I wake up around 7am to make breakfast. I always wear something comfortable like shorts and a tank top, so I can run around chasing my very active daughter Tabitha.

I love the unconditional love I get from Tabi, the hugs and kisses keep a smile on my face when I am having a difficult day. That’s why my most unforgettable moment was the day I gave birth to her. Becoming a mother changed my life in many ways. I have learned to be appreciative, fearless and strong in times of adversity. I have matured as a person and I have more dreams and goals for myself and my daughter.  I will do everything for her; that’s why I put my heart and soul into being the best mom I can be.

A bit more about me…

When I was a child I wanted to be a… Veterinary surgeon.

A film/book/song that changed me was…Eli because he never lost his faith.

My favourite quote/proverb is… “Even if an army came against me with its tents, my heart would have no fear: if war was made on me, my faith would not be moved” Salmos; 27:3 because I believe in the word of God, I live with his faith.

If I was invisible for a day…I would walk around naked because that’s when I am at my most comfortable.

Love is…”patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.  Corinthians 13:4-7

The 4 words that describe my life are…fearless, selfless, motivated and loving.

If you could have one wish granted what it would be…That all the bad people in this world would disappear.

I am Complexd…because I have a strong personality. I am very passionate, outgoing and sometimes goofy.

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COMPLEXD COVER WOMAN: RACHEL RITFELD

In 2010 Model, Actress and Humanitarian Rachel Ritfeld featured in our Launch issue on pages 38-39 (read here). Her positive persona and diverse background of Indian, Lebanese, Dutch and Ghanaian mean’t that for us she epitomized the Complexd woman. When we caught up with Rachel a year later, we were humbled by her harrowing story and pleased that she wanted to share it exclusively with Complexd magazine.

This issue marks our 1st Anniversary so the theme had to be Celebration and we were happy to celebrate surviving life and embracing a new life with Rachel and Rosalia. On the day we did the cover shoot mother and daughter did not disappoint because the bond between them beamed in each image. There is no doubt that giggling and gurgling Rosalia is a very happy and loved child. Check out this picture of a young Rachel…it proves that ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree‘.

We hope you enjoy reading the 1st Anniversary issue! (read here)

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COMPLEXD VISUALS: WOMEN STRIPPED BARE

‘I don’t like looking like other people, I like to be different ’  - Bianca Wright

Women Stripped Bare Directed by Simret Cheema Innis is the first of many more short documentaries to come. Our debut documentary was a chance to give a voice to a selection of Complexd Women that we feel represent Complexd magazine’s concept, our readers and our editorial content. View the documentary here

Images by Simret Cheema Innis

 

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