Despite what we see in film, TV and the media; a wheelchair can often be the most beautiful part of a person, an extension of themselves.
When it comes to representation and wheelchair users, what is often presented to us is vastly different from the reality.
We recently chatted to Izzy Keane, one part of the duo that founded Izzy Wheels, to get a grasp of what it means for her to see fellow wheelchair users on magazine covers, in the film industry and in media campaigns.
Dove’s new project #ShowUs aims to empower women by showing faces and bodies that normally aren’t displayed in the media, and Izzy herself has been one of the hand-picked people in the 5,000 photo-strong movement.
So, why is this movement so vital? According to new research, a shocking 70 percent of women still don't feel represented in media and advertising.
This affects more than just beauty routines and self-esteem; by homogenising the idea of ‘beauty’, it undermines the notion that being different is what makes us stand out.
From dating to style to career choices, confidence goes a long way. It’s time to get unapologetic about diversity in fashion and media, and demand to see a more truthful and authentic portrayal of real people in our daily lives.
Digital editing, filters and social media have shined an ugly light on how narrow-minded these industries are when it comes to a woman’s appearance.
Dove are helping us to take back control of our differences, and it’s high time they’re highlighted for how perfect they truly are.
From people of various ethnicities to freckles, stretch-marks, acne and wrinkles to older mothers and people with disabilities- beauty doesn’t have a single face or body.
In collaboration with Girlgaze and Getty Images, Dove’s #ShowUs is no ordinary campaign, but showcases how nobody is simply ordinary. #ShowUs is the world’s largest stock photo library of images created by women for use by brands and agencies in marketing and communications.
The phenomenal project is designed to shatter beauty stereotypes by showing women as they are, not as others believe they should be. It aims to drive a more diverse and inclusive visual landscape through media and advertising, and it's set to be a game-changer.
The images are a call-to-action in the beauty industry, it’s no longer good enough to see the same type of body shape, skin tone, and ability on billboards and magazines every day.
True confidence lies in the individuality and unique essence within every single person.
Izzy was born with spina bifida, which meant that Izzy has never been able to walk.
Does this stop her from achieving any of her goals with infectious energy while wearing unquestionably funky clothes? Not a chance.
Her wheelchair and it’s kaleidoscope of brilliant designs reflects her vibrant personality, her ethos of creativity and self-confidence.
Who better to interview about her part in Dove’s new campaign of representation? The young student is acutely aware of the need to show individuality when it comes to representation;
“When you turn on the television, you don’t often see people with disabilities. People’s favourite soap operas, if you see someone with a disability it’s as a result of something really extreme and tragic.
"It’s really important in all types of media to show that it can be a really positive thing, and we shouldn’t see our differences with so much negativity."
“The whole purpose of the Dove campaign is to represent women of diversity, of all different shapes, sizes, levels of ability, ethnicities; as many types of women as possible. I ticked that box, because of my disability and because I wear quite unusual clothes and colours,” Izzy says, with a laugh.
Looking through her impressive Instagram, it’s difficult to ignore the splashes of colour and statement prints.
The motto of Izzy Wheels is a breath of fresh air in itself; ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out.’ It’s clear that Izzy intends to bring this principle into all aspects of her everyday life, and is refreshingly aware of the magical potential which unique traits hold.
Unfortunately, most of those currently in power in the beauty industry appear to disagree with expressing difference as a strength.
With current standards of beauty seemingly impossibly high, what is Izzy’s own perception of beauty?
“I honestly believe that the most beautiful people are so self-confident that their confidence is infectious, and they make everyone around them feel amazing about themselves. The type of person who is able to bring everyone up around them.”
Brands in the industry have a huge responsibility to boost the confidence of consumers, rather than profit from their insecurities. Thankfully, Dove's message is one of hope for people who feel left out.
“Dove is an absolutely amazing brand to be undertaking a cause like this, because they’re so huge. Everyone knows about them, they’re very highly regarded and respected. It’s such an important task to undertake and I think they’re able to do it in a meaningful way."
Together, we have reached 4 million young people with our body-positive and self-esteem curriculum and now we will reach even more! https://t.co/9hFz7nJ4Ug
While numerous brands are beginning to expand their reach in terms of diverse models, it’s still a rarity to see anyone with disabilities such as those with hearing loss, blindness or users of wheelchairs in the media.
The modelling world have strict limitations on what they see as beautiful, but many brands are seeking to break those chains.
Some of them may not use authenticity, but Dove’s latest batch of stunning imagery are gorgeously genuine.
They show off the essence of the models themselves, and their personalities jump from the photographs.
Izzy’s bright and sunny nature as well as her taste for the colourful are weapons in her beauty arsenal, but her wheelchair assists her in her quest for confidence.
“I think that we’re living in an era when finally brands like Dove are starting to realise that it’s not acceptable to just show one type of body or one type of person. It’s really important for even their own sales and their own business that their audience is able to relate to the image they put out to the public," Izzy shared.
Writers and activists like Erin Clark are opening up more and more about the difficulties of never seeing your appearance in the media, and slowly progress is being made.
How does Izzy feel when she sees how limited images in the media are in terms of ableism?
"It can be really annoying when people like myself open up the fashion magazines and I don’t see anyone like myself, but things are going in the right direction.
"There’s always further to go and I can’t wait to see the strides that are made by everyone to be more inclusive, it’s an incredible thing to be part of. It’s really about embracing the thing that makes you different," she continues.
Izzy’s wheelchair is a device used for her creative-expression, why should a wheelchair only be seen as mechanical?
We were interested to hear Izzy’s own personal inspirations, and who she loves to see on the covers of magazines representing her.
“Sinéad Burke is an absolute legend, I absolutely love her. There are so many people making big waves in the area of diversity," she says.
"There’s such an opportunity there. People shouldn’t be afraid to tap into that, and push the boat a bit.”
The campaign hopes to target those who work in the media as well as those who deserve to be included and see their own faces reflected back to them.
What makes the images extra special is that each woman photographed has chosen the search result tags, meaning they have digitally taken control back over their own beauty.
Izzy's goal is to share that part of her which she wants seen the most:
“My wheelchair! The wheels do so much for me, and I think it’s so important out of a sign of respect to show it off well and make it look nice. It’s an extension of my body and it tells such an interesting story.”
#SeeUs is a direct challenge for the beauty industry to tackle, what does Izzy hope the audience will get from seeing these pictures?
“I think so many different groups will finally feel represented and included. For someone like me can be asked by a brand such as Dove to work with them is incredible, it’s a dream come true."
"Other people will realise that that kind of dream will come true for them too.”
Women worldwide can get involved in #ShowUs: go to Dove's website to share your images.
Check out Izzy Wheels' incredible array of wheelchair cover designs by Ailbhe Keane and other artists here.
The next Captain America (Falcon) is now a black man, a woman will play Thor, Mahershala Ali is starring in the Blade reboot and an Asian-Canadian newcomer Simu Liu snagged his role as Shang-Chi by literally annoying Marvel on Twitter.
Black Panther 2 is also in the works, and hilarious actress/comedian Awkwafina will join Simu Liu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
the diversity that’s in these upcoming marvel shows and shows is so important and wonderful to see. there’s been a real lack of real and accurate representation in the mcu and it’s about bloody time that they stepped the fuck up.
Much diversity, many feels. Thank Goddess they came to their senses and decided to include people, now we need women and people of colour, as well as people with disabilities in the writing room and director's seats.
Many fans are pointing out that the billion-dollar company waited until it was convenient and profitable for them to bring diversity to the table, but we just have to be grateful they finally stepped up.
Avengers: Endgame has just become the best-selling movie of all time, beating out Avatar in the box office.
The stunning size 16 model encourages people to adore their bodies on her podcast, dismissing the idea that a career should be based around your weight.
"This is my natural weight and I’ve been able to make a career from it. If I was to stop liking cake and lost weight then I would probably lose clients because when you get down to a size 14/12 it can be harder to get jobs."
Love Island features contestants with identical, gym-obsessed physiques, which can often lead to controversy given their audience of young women and girls.
The casting announcement has arrived just after an insider revealed that the show will see more variety in terms of the islanders' bodies.
"With everything that’s happened, bosses know that the show will be under intense scrutiny this year so they’ve gone back to see what it is the viewers want, and if there’s anything they can do to make it better."
They continued: "One thing that keeps coming up is the lack of body shape diversity. Viewers want to see girls and boys with bodies they can relate to. Sexy singles come in all shapes and sizes and this is what the viewers will see this year. It’s a really positive move."
The ITV2 series is also bringing in new measures to protect the mental health of contestants after they leave the villa. This was seemingly as a result of the suicides of two former Love Island stars; Mike Thallasitis and Sophie Gradon.
Other names on the love list for this years' show include; Rochelle Humes' sister Soph Piper, AJ Pritchard's brother Curtis, Big Brother star Lotan Carter, Ted Pullin, Sav Berry, and American model Delilah Belle Hamlin.
Love Island kicks off Monday 3 June on ITV2, we're excited to see the positive vibes that Jada can bring to the show.
Yesterday, the eyes and ears of the world were firmly rested on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and their new baby.
The couple debuted the first photos of their newborn, and shared the name at St. George's Hall at Windsor Castle.
Little Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is clearly adored by his royal parents, and Meghan chose to wear a very special trench dress by rising biracial menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner for the occasion.
According to Richard Palmer, the dress is intended to show unity between the two families. The royal reporter described the momentous event as, "A day for the couple to introduce their son to the family as well as the waiting world."
"It’s also my personal opinion that this was a good day for Buckingham Palace after the shambles of day one which exasperated British and overseas media trying to cover the story."
Archie is the first baby of mixed race in the senior ranks of the royal family since the 18th century, and the style of his mother reflected this wonderful merging of two loving families of two nations.
Meghan’s choice of a trench dress by London-based Jamaican-British designer Grace Wales Bonner was an inspired piece of symbolism for the first pictures of the first mixed race baby in the senior ranks of the Royal Family since the 18th century.
Meghan always embodies symbolism within her fashion choices, and she has chosen to send a vitally important message about representation while showing her first born to the world.
The pair managed to step in front of the cameras just 48 hours after welcoming a new baby to the world, but Harry and Meghan managed it with glowing smiles. Meghan's sleeveless, double-breasted trench dress was immediately noticed.
British designer Grace Wales Bonner runs her own namesake brand, Wales Bonner, and has won prestigious awards for her menswear collections. She was raised in Southeast London and has a Jamaican father and English mother.
It speaks volumes that Markle chose a biracial designer for one of the biggest moments of her life.
Grace is renowned for her menswear designs, but is known as one of the UK's most celebrated young designers. She was also awarded the revered 'LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers' in 2016, and graduated from the esteemed fashion school Central Saint Martins.
Each fashion choice Meghan makes is surveyed by the masses, and there's no doubt that she is aware of the ripple effect of her style. The Duchess is reflecting the diversity which the British royals must now embrace.
Grace welcomes gender fluidity in her stunning collections, as she told GentleWoman: "I love it when a boy puts on one of the embroidered jackets that the women wore and doesn't know the difference- my work is about being open to interpretation."
Bonner references black culture consistently in her work and draws inspiration from Nigerian writer Ben Okri and artist James Hampton.
We have seen the tuxedo/trench style on the Duchess on the tour of New Zealand in 2018 with Prince Harry, where she sported a navy blue tuxedo-style dress by Kiwi designer Maggie Marilyn.
In another fashion moment, Meghan wore an iconic striped tuxedo dress design by Altuzarra in as she attended a reception for the Commonwealth Youth Forum last year.
Archie marks a new age for the monarchy, with Meghan bringing positivity and genuine compassion to the royal family. The baby is the first biracial British-American royal, and is seventh in line to the throne.
Keep up with her apparel selections, and you'll be in for a symbolic treat each time she debuts a new outfit.
The historic image of the six members of the British monarchy gazing fondly at Archie has been shared across the world on social media, and offers a hopeful message for diversity in the UK.
First of all, Sandra Oh is a NATIONAL TREASURE who must be protected at all costs.
The Killing Eve protagonist is the first actress of Asian descent in a shocking 39 years to win the Golden Globe for best leading TV actress. That's not where history-making ended for the co-host of the awards.
To be exact, Oh broke THREE records last night, and also succeeded in making everyone cry during her opening monologue.
She was the FIRST person of Asian descent to be asked to host the awards ceremony, with the gig normally going to a white male, except for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's iconic three-year-run from 2013 until 2015.
Hilarious Brooklyn 99 and Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg co-hosted the Globes alongside Oh, with the actress declaring during their opening speech that;
“I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change.” OKAY NOW WE'RE IN TEARS.
She witnessed that outstanding moment of change later on, when she won Best Actress in a TV Drama for the BBC America fixture Killing Eve, making her the first woman of Asian descent to win more than one Globe.
She won her first award in 2006 for her ground-breaking run as badass heart surgeon Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy. BUT SHE WASN'T DONE.
Sandra became the first woman of Asian descent in 39 years to win best actress in a TV drama, with the last actress (Yoko Shimada) winning in 1980. Thank the Gods, Oh will return to Killing Eve for season two on April 7.
Sandra Oh: ["Crazy Rich Asians"] is the first studio film with an Asian American lead since "Ghost in the Shell" and "Aloha."
Emma Stone shouting an apology at Sandra Oh for whitewashing was a major gas. We love you Emma, never change. Except for personal growth regarding diversity maybe…
The 76th Annual Golden Globes awards was a ceremony of laughs, drama (what else) and celeb moments, and we made the ultimate list of winners and snubs.
Freddie Mercury (semi) biopic Bohemian Rhapsody quite surprisingly took home the coveted Best Picture gong, with Rami Malek also winning Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture for the Drama category.
Nicole Kidman later ignored him onstage in what was possibly the most awkward moment of anyone's lives ever. Literally.
Musical A Star Is Born received by far the most snubs of the evening, only winning the Best Song category for Shallow after being nominated for five awards overall. BUT GAGA?!? SHE A STAR.
Glen Close took home the Best Actress Globe for The Wife, beating Lady Gaga for the achievement. Bodyguard actor Richard Madden was given the Best Actor award for his BBC role about the Home Secretary's security agent.
He also broke our hearts by saying that all the talk of him playing James Bond were mere "rumours." PLEASE make it happen honey. Please.
look at him!!!!!! i knew it!!!!! nothing but love and respect for my golden globe winner richard madden pic.twitter.com/TApgEuNAsd
Political biopic Vice, which chronicles the later life of American Vice President Dick Cheney, shocked the audience by losing the Best Picture – Musical or Comedy award to Green Book.
The award for Best Supporting Actor was given to Green Book actor Mahershala Ali; the film also took home the Best Screenplay gong. Christian Bale's award was Vice's only win of the night, despite six nominations.
Hilariously, a girl who was serving Fiji water the entire night has become the internet's new meme, for the purpose of living her best life;
Her hair matches her dress, and it looks God Damn Stunning. We're shooketh.
People were NOT happy that Gaga lost the Best Actress award to Glen Close, but they were doubly annoyed that Mark Ronson arguably stole her thunder during their acceptance speech for the Best Song award.
Despite co-writing Shallow with Gaga and two others, Ronson did nearly all of the speaking while accepting the award.
'As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivety. Especially not one motivated by stereotype.'
Halsey's comments were motivated by a statement made by vice president of public relations, Ed Razek following the show's filming.
'Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don't think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special. That's what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us,' he said, in a comment that caused offence to many in the transgender community.
'If you are a trans person reading this, and these comments made you feel alienated or invalidated please know that you have allies.'
'We stand in solidarity, and complete and total acceptance is the only "fantasy" that I support…'
The singer has been widely applauded for her words, however, other fans questioned why she accepted the performance gig if this is how she felt about the brand, as they have not previously shown a commitment to including a diverse range of body types.
Get ready to be the next global sensation, because Britain's Got Talent are bringing their open auditions to Ireland for their brand new series, with dates for Dublin, Tralee, Kilkenny, Tralee as well as further venues around the country.
The much-loved show are branching out their reach to the Irish nation, and now is the time to get your act together and audition for the one of a kind prize.
This year, the Britain’s Got Talent team is coming to Dublin, on the Sunday 25th November at The Spencer Hotel from 12-5pm. Auditions are open to any performer of any age, with absolutely any talent.
Successful acts at the auditions will then be in with a chance of securing a place at one of the 2019 judges’ auditions.
Whether you're a comedian, actor, singer, dancer troupe or even animal- now is your chance to shine.
Executive producer Charlie Irwin said:
“We can’t wait to see what talent you’re ready to bring to the BGT stage in 2019. Anyone can apply – there is no age limit and we are looking for all kinds of talents. So, if you feel you have something special to show us, no matter what it is, then make sure you apply, you never know where it might take you!”
Following his win last year, Lee Ridley, also known as the Lost Voice Guy, sold out his entire Edinburgh Fringe run and had to add on extra performances.
In 2019 Lee will be embarking on a UK tour, he is currently writing the second series of his popular Radio 4 sitcom Ability and has also been commissioned to write about a book about disability.
Since being crowned the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2017, Tokio Myers has co-produced the Artists for Grenfell charity single to support The London Community Foundation, has released his debut album Our Generation, the biggest classical crossover of 2017. He is currently in the process of creating new music.
Of course, we can't forget about Susan Boyle, who has sold more than 23 million records worldwide. Diversity have sold-out seven nationwide tours and are about to embark on their eighth UK tour Ignite, while multi-platinum selling artist Paul Potts has sold six million records worldwide.
BGT 2014 winners Collabro have had a No. 1 album and Calum Scott, Simon’s golden buzzer in 2015, was the first ever Britain’s Got Talent contestant to be nominated for a Brit Award. His song Dancing on my Own achieved phenomenal success.
Previous BGT Series 9 semi-finalist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who was part of the classical band The Kanneh-Masons, went on to win the BBC's Young Musician of the Year 2016. Since appearing on BGT, Sheku has performed at the BAFTAs, the BBC Proms and even the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
We're jealous of the last one especially…
If you want to join this group of successful contestants, come down to audition next Sunday. You won't regret it.
The Victoria's Secret fashion show took place last weekend, and the controversy surrounding the event has been mounting ever since, despite the fact that it hasn't even been aired yet.
Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of L Brands (VS's parent company) threw caution (and tact) to the wind in his exclusive Vogueinterview about the fashion show, which first began in 1995.
The public were less than impressed, to say the least, about his statements regarding transgender models in his 'fantasy' show, as well as his attitude towards Rihanna's ground-breaking Savage x Fenty lingerie show.
Razek was quizzed about the lack of diversity in his own show, which features predominantly skinny, cisgender white models, and had more than a few things to say on the matter:
"Do I think about diversity? Yes. Does the brand think about diversity? Yes. Do we offer larger sizes? Yes….Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy."
As you can imagine, this caused major drama, as it appears to imply that transgender models are not part of the 'fantasy' world of Victoria's Secret.
Razek later issued an apology regarding his comments about transgender models, which wasn't received well:
Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM
His outspoken opinions on the 'fantasy' which excluded transgender models were not the only bone of contention. Razek also shared his own thoughts on Rihanna's phenomenally successful show:
"It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us."
"They carp at us because we’re the leader. …We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning."
"Everybody keeps talking about Rihanna’s show. If we had done Rihanna’s show, we would be accused of pandering without question."
Blogger and influencer Louise O'Reilly (@StyleMeCurvy) spoke out about the contentious chief marketing director in a tweet, which Bad Gal Riri LIKED. The shade.
Prime example of why brands need to be careful of casting directors opinions. Especially when it’s a 70 year old man who’s living in the past. Thank god @rihanna brought us @SavageXFenty this year with genuine attention & love of diversity in her branding https://t.co/pdCk2ueSGq
Many of us by now have noticed the ONSLAUGHT of reboots which have come our way. Between the incessant Marvel movies and comic book sequels which literally will not stop coming, the millions of Spiderman flicks, not to mention the ridiculous amount of Bond movies (25 to be exact).
Yes, 25 movies about the same man doing the same uber-masculine assassinations and the same women dying for him and the same villains again and again and again. *Sigh* Even Daniel Craig agrees that good old James is a misogynist.
The live-action remakes of every single classic Disney animation, the TV reboots of our favourite characters for no actual reason and the revivals of our childhood bands. It begs the question, is the entertainment industry just profiting off of our nostalgia? Most definitely, yes.
When it comes to the Spice Girls, Westlife or Take That, by all means they are welcomed back with open arms.
Yet, when it comes to cinema, which is literally CRYING OUT for representation and new voices which are demanding to be heard, why are they using the same old formulas?
Art is supposed to be unique, a form of expression. Not recycled like old Halloween costumes that don't fit anymore but you're just gagging to feel 18 again. Back when life was more about what alcohol to buy for pre-drinks and not what bills you have to pay first so you can survive as a full-grown adult. *shudders*
Recent groundbreaking genre favourites such as A Quiet Place, Get Out and Moonlight have pushed the boundaries of cinematic territory and have told stories from new and vital points of view, so why can't Hollywood give more opportunities to scripts, directors and voices like these?
Disney: we are going to reboot Pirates of the Caribbean! Isn't that cool?!
News recently broke that Shrek, one of the most popular animated franchises of all time, is getting a reboot (pause for gasps).
Those of us who grew up with the infamous green ogre and his hilarious sidekick, Donkey, will most likely shudder at the thought of Hollywood studios replacing a beloved film of our youth with a facade, a copy which can never truly replace the original.
Others will delight in the nostalgia of creating more content surrounding the comedic protagonist and his fairytale friends, especially since the man behind the reboot, as well as the revival of Puss in Boots, is Chris Meledandri.
Known as the mastermind of the Despicable Me movies (and creator of the minions, which have literally overtaken the world and internet memes), Meledandri has been tasked by Universal Pictures with finding some fresh storylines to being the lovable ogre into the modern time. I say modern time as if Shrek is donkeys-years old (yes, I made a donkey joke. Deal with it).
Shrek was originally released back in 2001, making it barely 17 years old. While a lot has happened in technology and film-making in this time, does it really seem necessary to bring back a franchise which has really run its course? After all, Shrek the Fourth only entered cinemas in 2010, and left much to be desired.
Studios are so obsessed with maintaining popularity and success of these franchises, that often they completely ruin the essence of what made it loved by audiences in the first place, in this case: comedic integrity.
I mean, a storyline about an ogre defending his swamp in a land of fairytale creatures, voiced by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas and Eddie Murphy? The person who successfully pitched that idea must be incredibly rich by now.
I haven't even relaxed for 24 hours and they're already rebooting shrek
“When you look back on those vocal performances they’re awesome, and while you certainly could make a case for a complete reinvention, I find myself responding to my own nostalgic feelings of wanting to go back to those characterizations,” explains Meledandri.
“The challenge for us has been to find something that really does feel like it’s not simply yet another film in a series of sequels.” Good luck with that, Mr. Director Whose Film Company Has Just Released A Remake Of The Iconic The Grinch. You paint a highly believable portrait.
Hollywood remakes have been saturating cinema over the last decade, and there are arguments to be made for both sides of the tide. If a remake is done right, à la A Star is Born, something special can happen.
This is usually a result of some newfangled aspect of the film however, a tweak or drastic change which brings the piece back to life but also gives it a platform in its own right.
Lady Gaga, for example, plays the role of struggling artist Ally in a way that makes it impossible to compare her to Barbara Streisand. The songs are also freshly crafted, and impactful in their raw energy, partially due to Bradley Cooper’s directorial talent and surprising talent as a singer.
Formerly known as an actor, his transition into musicality and the directorial chair allows the film to reach new heights, as if feels as if we are being introduced to someone who we’ve never really known at all.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has also achieved phenomenal success, however there is next to nothing about the show which resembles its predecessor, and it is stand-alone as a result, especially with its sense of ‘woke’ teen angst which is captured almost to perfection.
Yet the majority of remakes are arguably just major Hollywood studios tapping into the nostalgia of audiences who are ready and willing to return to the cinema seat to catch any glimpse of their favourite childhood character or storyline in action.
Certain remakes adapt the trend with refreshing results; such as the Fargo reboot which was recreated as a mini-series and is widely well-reviewed. An audience is more likely to watch something which they are already familiar with, and if the sense of familiarity is matched with something genuinely unique, truly excellent cinematic gold can occur.
Classics are classics for a reason, and taking the formula and twisting it to adapt to a new generation often leads to disastrous consequences. The remake of Psycho, the Great Gatsby (controversial, most people loved the grandeur of Baz Luhrmann yet the power of the written words were essentially erased) and Footloose, for example, need to die a slow death.
The endless sequels are also a problem, I mean PLEASE learn to leave it alone. Just because the movie was good does not mean it has to be continued and drawn out until the life is sapped out of it.
If there is a new technology, a new actor or actress or director, or scriptwriter who are talented enough to reuse old material and revitalise it, by all means, go ahead. Yet the magic of the true classics cannot be forgotten.
The day the news breaks that the Harry Potter franchise is getting a remake, for example, you will find this writer in a pool of her own tears, echoing the chant; “YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME!” on repeat. Don’t judge. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were the heroes of my youth, the faces which encapsulated the characters I had fallen in love with page by page.
Transforming the series would simply remind me that I am now old enough for my childhood characters to be replaced and made into something new and alien altogether. If they even DREAM of touching perfection like Back to the Future or The Godfather, there will be hell to pay from the ever-protective fanbases.
The love most people harbour for that first spark of a film or character which had never been seen before is difficult to rearrange. There are an infinite number of voices in cinema which have yet to be heard; only now are women gaining access to cinematography, directorial roles, production roles and script-writing responsibilities.
Only now are people of different ethnic backgrounds, diverse economic circumstances, sexual orientations having their voices heard. Can you imagine how many stories they have to tell?
For so long, only the powerful were given the chance to create movies. Creating new formulas which give other people a change to feel represented and tell their own stories would revolutionise cinema.
So before we rush to discuss which man will be chosen as the next Bond, which Disney film will be recreated, or which superhero will once again be given a new face, why not look to those who haven’t been given a face, or a voice in cinema?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the phrase goes, but authenticity is the greatest form of art.
John M. Chu directs the film, and the cast truly lives up to the hype. The glitz, the glamour, the acting, and of course the breathtaking beauty of every aspect had me swooning in the cinema. Perfect for the big screen, each scene brought colours, dazzling cinematography, sumptuous settings and of course, the ‘over the top’ Great Gatsby vibes.
Set in Singapore, the movie follows the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, which portrays the romance between a Chinese-American NYU economics professor Rachel Chu and the heir to the famous Young family.
Chu has zero clue about the ridiculously wealthy family she is visiting in their mansion of Singapore, and it soon becomes clear that Rachel must navigate their world with extreme caution, as it is presumed that she is the gold digger who wants to steal Nick’s family fortune.
Constance Wu and Henry Golding have sizzling chemistry throughout, and the female antagonist Michelle Yeoh plays the part Nick’s Chinese mother as if she embodies the character IRL. She’s terrifying, but the woman demands respect.
The gorgeous diamond ring which features is also belonging to the actress, and boy is it stunning. Astrid (Gemma Chan)acts out the role of Nick’s gorgeous and intelligent sister, and deserves a shoutout also. Both generous and clever, she adds a female friendship and connection with Rachel to the storyline and provides a much needed layer to the rom-com flick.
The persistently strong female presence is such a breath of fresh air – the girl power is strong in this one.
The cast has seen its share of controversy, with the male lead Henry Golding being criticised for not being ‘Asian enough’.
For the record, he’s British Malaysian, and plays the protagonist male character Nick Young in the perfectly charming and dashing way necessary for the female lead to shine.
Nick Young: played by potential Crazy Rich (Bae)sian Henry Golding’ Constance Wu as Rachel nails the balance between vulnerability and strength throughout the flick, persistently gaining the audience’s trust with her charm and integrity.
We root for her, cry for her and laugh with her as she goes head to head with Nick’s scary as hell mother. Wu composed an email to the director asking him to push production back in order to cast her, and it worked.
She is open about the fact that she always pushes to get the lead role, never number two or three. Even superb actresses like Sandra Oh in Hollywood rarely get the lead role, and Wu’s determination is badass in itself. We, for one, are happy that email worked.
The Eastern symbolism which is layered throughout is also not to be ignored, specifically in the colours which the female cast wear, and the mahjong game scene between Rachel and Nick’s mother.
Awkafina stole the comedic scenes as Peik Lin, Rachel’s best friend. With her perfect delivery of the wittiest lines in her trademark husky, down to earth tone of voice. She gained fame previously as one of the stars of Oceans 8.
Ken Jeong (of course) makes a cameo appearance as Awkafina’s dad, and provides some of the funniest scenes in the whole film.