Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Shit I taught you in 2012

1. Yes, there is a how-to guide on how to be a hipster.

2. Kate Middleton's cousin likes to take her clothes off.

3. Tom Hank's son is a douchebag.

4. Warren Beatty's son is a daughter.

5. Nail art is really, really old.

6. There are fast food workers who LOVE their jobs.

7. I introduced you to the world's most eligible bachelors.

8. Barbie is a real person.

9. Tom Cruise is an equal opportunity Casanova.

10. I've been using Twitter for 15 years.

11. Paranormal activity is real.

12. I'm an emotional wreck.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

(Un) Happy Birthday

I'm alive, I swear.

This week has been one of the most emotionally draining and horrific weeks of my life.

I think the lowest point was when I found myself sobbing on my bathroom floor at 3:30 a.m. on my birthday. What a fabulous way to start the next year of my life.

Yeah, my birthday was yesterday.

I don't want to get into all the dirty little details, but let's just say there were certain people who made my life a living hell.

I haven't been getting much sleep either. Like, I think it has been over three months since I've had more than five hours of sleep at night.

Despite being an exhausted sad wreck, there were some highlights.

My friend Andrew and I had a joint birthday party last week. My best friend Jonny flew in from New York City just to attend. I hadn't seen him since this summer!

Here are some photos:

Me & Andrew

Me & Jonny

Me & Rian

My friend Craig

It was a fun time with lots of people. We even had a few party crashers, who we welcomed because they brought expensive booze.

Craig (above) made me the most amazing Morrissey-themed birthday present which I immediately put up in my apartment next to my Marilyn wine bottles:

So, see, my life isn't really that bad. I have wonderful friends.

Anyway, I'm sorry for not being around lately. The stress of the holidays, mixed in with a jaw-dropping amount of work, just took over my life this month.

I hope your December has been awesome!

Monday, December 17, 2012

(my moment of silence)

In the past few days, I've written three blog posts.

One filled with hatred.

One filled with sadness.

One filled with exasperation.

But I scrapped them all.

Innocence was murdered on Friday.

There are no words.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Once Upon a Time: Nargis

I'm sorry, I have been so swamped with work lately. Having time to post has become a rarity, I'm afraid.

In the meantime, please check out my latest guest post for Tanvi. It's about a real-life Bollywood love story.

You can check it out here.

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Don't they know it's the end of the world.

Clueless. Girl, Interrupted. Eight Mile.

Her films defined a generation. But when your career hits a snag, the Midas touch of Hollywood turns to ash within the blink of an eye.

With rumors of prescription drug abuse and anorexia, the film offers stopped coming. She clung to whatever independent or low-budget movie she could score, no matter how terrible the script.

She fell in love with a con artist, who flaunted himself as a rich, powerful producer with connections. After they married, the financially struggling actress was paying off her unemployed husband's debt.

In the final two weeks of her life, she was so sick with pneumonia, her lips were blue. She could barely breathe. Yet she was still playing nurse to her ailing mother and husband, who were also sick. Her domineering husband convinced her that they didn't need a doctor.

One afternoon, she was on the floor, unable to breath, her face turning blue. She refused to go to the emergency room. Instead, she told her mother she was going to die. Nobody called 911.

Five hours later, her prediction came true.

After her death, the bitter reality became painfully obvious: If Brittany Murphy had seen a physician at any point before her death, she wouldn't have died. By not seeking medical help, Brittany Murphy had essentially killed herself.

I've always seen myself as one of those 'show people.' My earliest memories are wanting and needing to entertain people, like a gypsy traveler who goes from place to place, city to city, performing for audiences and reaching people.

Everybody has difficult years, but a lot of times the difficult years end up being the greatest years of your whole entire life, if you survive them.

God forgot to give me the jealous bone.

I'm a giver. I have learned to be selective of the people in my world, because if I love someone, I will give them my blood, whatever they need. In doing so, one can end up with little left for themselves. It's a lesson in self-preservation that I'm still learning. If you don't have yourself, you have nothing to give.

I don't even take myself seriously, so how could I possibly take Hollywood seriously?

I have always wanted to be really tall for a day. That's kind of a superficial thing. I'm 5'3, but for one day I would love to be 5'9 and tower over everybody.

 I can't believe that people actually know my first and last name. I think it's really, really, gosh-darn neat.

 I think to call my mom and I best friends is almost an insult to our relationship. She's the greatest in the whole wide world, and I don't feel closer to anyone. She's a pillar of strength, and she doesn't flaunt it. She has this will - she just knows she can get through things. It's inspiring.

It's easy to get wrapped up in sharing everyday life with a partner. It's fun to get lost in love and romance. It's the best. But holding on to yourself while doing that is the most important thing.

I would like to be very, very, very, very old.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Read all about it? Or not.

This might sound strange coming from a news reporter, but I don't like to read the news.

My life is already so stressful, that whenever I hear or read about something horrifically tragic, I get way too emotionally involved. I just can't handle it.

There are too many murders. Too many freak accidents. Too many victims.

Whenever I learn about a horrible incident, I obsess over it. The story doesn't leave my mind, and I wallow in it for the rest of the day.

For example, about one month ago, I happened upon a story about a mentally disabled janitor who was the helpless victim of mistaken identity. His name was Otto.

Police had been notified that a man matching Otto's description had stolen money from an ATM at a convenience store.

Enter poor Otto. Apparently his usual routine had been to always buy a soda and Snickers bar from that store, after work. Unfortunately, he happened to be doing that when someone stole money from the ATM machine. The police arrived at the store, saw Otto, and without any warning, they struck him seven times in eight seconds with a baton and stun-gunned him to the ground.

The officers hogtied Otto, put a rubber mask over his mouth, and sat on him. Otto literally had no idea what was going on, while he was being brutally tortured. When officers taunted him, he breathlessly insisted he hadn't done anything wrong. He eventually lost consciousness.

The police later determined that he had not committed any crime.

He died the next day from his injuries.

Otto's last words had been "All I wanted was a Snickers bar."

A few weeks ago, the main officer at the scene was sentenced to only four years in prison for the wrongful torture and murder of Otto. Figure that one out.

I had the misfortune of reading this article before bed. It haunted me.

I felt sick to my stomach, thinking about poor Otto. I couldn't sleep. I tossed and I turned, my hate for those police officers and my fury at the world in general growing with every hour.

At 3 a.m. that night, Rian was astonished to turn on the light to see me curled up in my rocking chair across the room, sobbing.

"All he wanted was a Snickers bar," I wailed.


So, I stay away from the news.

Fortunately, as a reporter, I cover local government. I'll write a 20-inch article on rezoning ordinances over a brutal murder any day.

I think what freaks me out the most is that it seems like there is more bad news these days than good. Did we always have so many mass shootings? This many domestic violence killings? Police brutality?

Or maybe our ability to access every news story in the world only makes us feel that way. The internet has made the world seem much smaller. And more dangerous.

I'm not sure what's worse: being bombarded with every tragedy in the world or living in blissful ignorance.


So, am I the only one relieved that the big news story this week is Kate's pregnancy?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Anna Karenina

This might come as a surprise to you, but one of my favorite novels is Anna Karenina.

I don't really broadcast this fact because it seems so cliché and pretentious.

But, it's a book that really did resonate with me and made an impression in my life. Plus, I was one of the few who read it for pleasure, rather than being forced to in school. And that always makes a difference. So, obviously, I was counting down the days until the film came out.

Unfortunately, I had high expectations. After all, my heart was stolen by Greta Garbo in the 1935 version. But that film only told a sliver of the actual story. I was hoping the Keira Knightley version would be all that, and more.

Well, let's start out with the positives.

The film is breathtakingly gorgeous. I wouldn't even call it a film. I would call it a work of art. The costumes are dazzling. The production design is spectacular. It flows like an enchanted ballet, rather than a movie. It is set on a single soundstage, rather than actual outdoor locations. It's one of the most unique films I've ever seen in that respect. Very mesmerizing to watch.

But, that's where the magic ends.

The film lacked the one quality that would have made it perfect: passion.

Anna Karenina is one of the greatest love stories of all time. And yet, there was absolutely NO chemistry between Keira Knightley as Anna and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played her young lover, Count Vronsky. Their romance was totally unbelievable to me.

I don't totally blame Keira. She looks divine in the film (although a little young and less curvy than I imagined). But I think Count Vronsky was terribly miscast. I personally didn't find Aaron handsome or charming in this role.

In fact, the only actor who I really appreciated in the film was Jude Law, who plays Anna's reserved and heartbreakingly forgiving husband. His portrayal of an aloof, yet humbled political figure, was actually very touching.

While I thought Keira did an okay acting job in the film, I wasn't blown away. I suppose trying to live up to Garbo was too much to ask, but unfortunately that's what ultimately happens when you take on a role this huge. She just didn't compare. Not by a long shot.

But her beauty lit up the screen, which makes her lack of charisma slightly forgiving.

Overall, I thought the movie was very lovely and ethereal, but disappointing for an avid fan of the book.

If you have money to burn, I would suggest seeing it on the big-screen because it's very beautiful to watch.

But don't expect anything more.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Green Monster

I think one of the biggest aspects of growing up is self-acceptance.

At least it was for me.

Throughout my life, there have been so many instances where I wanted to be somebody else. Desperately. And it would consume me.

When I was in elementary school, I thought my cousin Tiffany was the most beautiful girl in the world. She was like a teen dream out of a movie. Skinny. Blonde. Blue eyes. Cheerleader. Whenever we would walk places, people would turn and stare.

For example, one afternoon, on the beach, when she was wearing an American flag bikini, a line of hot guys stood up and saluted her, shouting remarks like "god bless America for you, baby!" And she just laughed at them. Because she was young and gorgeous and carefree.

I remember in 1995, whenever Tiffany would come to our house to stay overnight, usually with her best friend, I would linger in the hallway near their room and listen to them gossip and giggle. They often talked about cheerleading practice, what boys were the cutest in their English class, or silly articles from Seventeen magazine. I fervently wished that I could join them, but I doubted they wanted an annoying 11-year-old girl hanging around, making their sleepover lame.

I wanted to be Tiffany so badly that I pleaded with my mother to buy me the same perfume Tiffany wore and the same shampoo she used and a subscription to Seventeen. My parents bought me the first two, but I was deemed too young for the third.

And as a pre-teen, I would stare in the mirror and hate what I saw. Instead of a beaming blonde beauty queen, all I saw was an unattractive brown kid with crooked teeth, long ratty hair, and glasses. It broke my heart. It didn't seem fair. I had absolutely no self-esteem and while my friends were starting to be interested in boys and makeup, I found myself fantasizing about things I couldn't control, like silky blonde locks, ivory white skin, and bright blue eyes.

Several years later, when I was in high school, I was still licking my wounds from my self-destructive childhood image. It didn't help that Britney Spears, basically a younger version of my cousin, was now the face of my generation.

But when I was 16, I met a girl who changed my perspective. Lisa was cute, with long brown hair. She dressed in "skater" clothes. She wore black eyeliner around her eyes. She smoked. She listened to alternative rock music I didn't even know existed. She said "fuck" so frequently, it just became another word.

She also had a wicked sense of humor. Like, she was hysterical. Without missing a beat. She was like a teenage Janeane Garofalo.

I thought Lisa was so cool, I started copying almost everything about her. The way she talked. The snarky attitude. The questionable fashion decisions she made (Hot Topic, anyone?). The black eyeliner. It was very Single White Female of me.

I noticed that adults started treating me differently, like I was a delinquent. And looking back at old photos, I don't blame them. I looked like I should have been dealing drugs behind the gym.

Instead of being weirded out by my transformation, Lisa happily accepted it and we became best friends, walking around the cafeteria making bitchy comments about the popular kids and casually saying "fuck" in every sentence.

When I moved away to college, I never saw her again. And I threw away all those horrible clothes.

Now, ten years later, I'm surprised to realize that it has been a very long time since I've wanted to be anyone else.

I still don't have the highest self-esteem in the world, but I've accepted who I am and what I am. My twenties has been a period where I've discovered a lot about myself. It is fulfilling to know what I really like and what I don't, rather than copying someone else.

I have also embraced my differences. I've grown very pleased to be half-Indian because it's exotic and terrifically unique. The blonde princesses of the world no longer rule. Our role models come in every color. So do our sex symbols.

And while I do envy qualities in the people around me (Rian's brains, Jonny's charm, and my best friend Jenn's jaw-dropping singing voice), I don't want to be them. Instead, I appreciate them even more for it.

After all, I'm sure there are people out there who envy me, right?

That's just how it goes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oldies (but goodies)

Wow I'm sorry I disappeared into thin air for the past week with no explanation.

I've been unable to blog because of a broken computer. I'm not sure how long it will be until I can get back to blogging again. It could be tomorrow (fingers crossed) or it could be later this week.

While I'm borrowing this computer, I thought I would remind you of why you love me.

Here are some vintage Jennifer Fabulous posts. Some of you may remember them. For others, they will be totally new.

Let me know what you think!


The Indian Bestie

Fast Times at Wikipedia High

Creepy Bird Advice

Parody of a Fashion Blogger

Life Lessons from my Dad

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The story of us

During my senior year of college, I was massively burnt out.

I had spent three years obsessively studying physics, biology, and chemistry for a pre-med major I gave up at the last minute. I was an editor at my university's newspaper. I had a boyfriend who consumed every waking minute of my free time.

So, by my second semester of senior year, I just didn't give a damn anymore. I was tired.

I skipped classes. I barely turned assignments in on time. Sometimes, I didn't even bother turning them in at all. I hated school and I wanted it to be over.

I was also immensely disappointed with my American Literature class. I expected the reading assignments to include Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and John Steinbeck. Instead, my professor dug up dry, boring novels by no-name authors. It was a complete snoozefest.

One afternoon, I was lounging at my college newspaper house and decided to go to my American Literature class. I had skipped two in a row, and figured it might be good to catch up.

As soon as I got to class, a realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a book review presentation that day! Holy shit. I hadn't even read the book I was assigned! And it was some random book from the 1970s that wasn't even well-known. Every student in class had been assigned a different book, so it wasn't like I could quickly ask someone to fill me in either.

With three minutes remaining, I ran down the hallway into the computer lab. I googled the book, finding nothing but a very short summary on Amazon. There wasn't even a customer review on the novel, it was so obscure. Fuck, fuck, fuck!

When I rushed back to class, my mind was racing. Should I pretend to be sick and bail out? But I've already missed so many classes! I'll just have to wing it.

There were three students who had presentations ahead of mine. They each took about ten minutes and afterwards, when it was time for the class to ask the presenter questions, nobody raised their hand. I was relieved. At least I wouldn't have to answer any questions about the book!

Finally, it was my turn.

I got up to the front of the room and cleared my throat. Staring at the class, it hit me that I was wearing pink flannel pajama pants and a glittery shirt that read, "Boys come and go, but diamonds are forever." I wanted to die.

I held up my brand new copy of the book, which I had thankfully dug out of my backpack minutes earlier.

"I have never been more haunted by a book, than I have with this one novel," I lied. "The tragedies the main character, David, faced were astounding, to say the least."

I glanced over at my professor. She nodded encouragingly.

"This story is a lesson on courage, strength, and honesty," I continued. "David went through so, so much. He encountered struggles most of us can't even fathom. He was consumed by the choices he had to make."

My professor pumped her first up in the air.

"Yes!" she exclaimed from the back of the room. "'Consumed by his choices'! That was brilliantly stated, Jennifer. Perfect!"

I smiled weakly.

"Um, I found myself feeling torn inside, trying to come to terms with how he dealt with his struggles and all the important people he faced in his life," I said. "And there were so many people who stood in his way. David really overcame a lot of obstacles."

I had no idea if this was true, or made any sense. My classmates stared at me, oblivious. They hadn't read my book, so as far as they knew, I wasn't just making shit up. I relaxed.

"So, does anyone have any questions?" I asked quickly, starting to walk to my seat.

A good-looking boy in the front row raised his hand. I froze and then walked back up to the front of the room.

"What?" I asked wearily. None of the presenters before me had to answer any questions! What the hell.

"You didn't mention anything about the Vietnam War," the boy said. "I was curious as to why."

I stared at him blankly. Was my book about the Vietnam War? Wait, how did he know this? Did he actually read my book?!

"If you listened to my entire presentation, you would have known that the Vietnam War was exactly what I was talking about," I responded, coolly. "The war was the struggle to which I was referring. Now does anyone else have any more questions?"

I started to walk to my seat.

He raised his hand again.

I glared at him.

"What." I said, frostily.

"I've read passages of this book in the past, and I found the scenes with Michael most interesting," he said. "Didn't you find him a bit abrasive, especially after he saves David's life?"

I closed my eyes. This was not happening. Who the hell was Michael? Amazon didn't mention that shit.

"Abrasive might be a harsh word," I said, condescendingly to him. "If you had read the entire book, you would understand. But I guess you didn't."

The boy looked at me, startled and confused. I smiled patronizingly and walked straight to my seat, without even bothering to ask if there were more questions.

I ended up getting an A on the presentation.

And six years later, Rian would admit that the moment I first glared at him was when he fell in love with me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"I'm from the moon, darling."

I can't imagine being a teenage girl in a world where millions of people think you're ugly and they hate you, even though they've never even seen you.

No matter who you are or what you look like, you're trash. And it feels like there is nothing you can do about it. You fall asleep crying. It seems like the world can truly offer you no hope.

You stare into space while you're in class, dreaming of a way to be happy, fantasizing about a world where you are special, and wishing with every ounce of your heart that maybe one day you will feel beautiful.

This is a story about one of those girls.

Donyale Luna was born to a poor black family in Detroit. Her father was cruel and abusive. The gangly, somewhat awkward beauty was quiet, but inside her head raged an elaborate fantasy world. She daydreamed constantly. Her relatives thought she was odd. Her schoolmates made fun of her.

Desperate to leave behind her miserable life, she moved to New York City in 1965 to pursue a modeling career and changed her name to be racially ambiguous.

Her stunningly gorgeous face and long, never-ending limbs shocked the fashion scene. She was immediately signed to an exclusive contract with a famous photographer and a sketch of her appeared on a now-historic cover of Harper's Bazaar. She became famous, fast.

Modeling jobs were overwhelming her schedule. Everyone wanted to be her friend. She started hanging out with Andy Warhol, Mia Farrow, and Mick Jagger. She was the guest of honor at the wildest Hollywood parties.

But only a few months after she found fame and fortune, she received devastating news. Her mother had murdered her father, out of self-defense one night, when he came home drunk and violent.

Unable to cope with the tragedy, Donyale turned to drugs and alcohol for the first time in her life.

Plus, her photo shoots in Harper's Bazaar were having a negative impact on a nation being ripped apart by the civil rights movement. Advertisers in southern states were pulling their advertising and the magazine lost hundreds of subscriptions over it.

Horrified and betrayed by the reaction, she fled to Europe to model over there.

Fueled with self-hatred towards her own race and desperate to be somebody, anybody, other than herself, the supermodel turned her fantasy life into her real life.

She wore blonde wigs. She sported green contact lenses. She made up an elaborate tale to the media, and her new famous friends, about how she really wasn't black, but actually an exotic mix of Irish, Native American, and Indonesian. But her birth certificate and relatives back home knew the truth.

In 1966, she became the first African-American to appear on the cover of Vogue (the British version) but posed in a concealed way that wouldn't offend the magazine's white readers.

She also pioneered the way for non-white models by appearing on the cover of several other major fashion publications.

Time Magazine declared 1966 the Luna Year in her honor.

But while the white public was adoring her, the black community was starting to hate her.

Donyale made it clear in interviews that she couldn't care less about paving the way for non-white models. She distanced herself heavily from the much-publicized civil rights movement occurring in her homeland. She only married and dated white men. She refused to even call herself black, insisting she was that ridiculous global mixture. It was insulting to the black community around the world, to say the least.

(Although, it could be argued that by denying her full-black heritage and pretending to be multi-racial, Donyale was actually breaking barriers by forcing people to view the human race as a global, interlaced species).

As the years went by, her loopy tales and drug use were spinning out of control. She crawled on runways. She showed up late for bookings. Sometimes she wouldn't even show up for photo sessions at all.

In a time where non-white models had to work extra hard to prove themselves, Donyale was unraveling her own career with her own self-destruction. Younger black models, who were hungrier and more professional, such as Beverly Johnson and Pat Cleveland, trampled over her lifeless career.

In the 1970s, she barely made waves, except for appearing nude in Playboy in 1975. She also had a daughter with her Italian lover around that same time.

In 1979, at 32, Donyale accidentally died of a heroin overdose, leaving behind an 18-month-old daughter, Dream.

And while her climb to the top in the modeling industry is epic, her tale is mostly forgotten.

The girl who dreamed of being beautiful and being special and being recognized for who she was, rather than her race, erased her own footprints in the sand because she couldn't even acknowledge her own reflection in the mirror.

She couldn't accept herself.