Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Spider Woman Gets Panned

I’m not talking about acid-tongue Joan Rivers and her Acolytes today but about the press: ‘fashionista’ Shebugs are feverishly digging into the alabaster skin of an accomplished actress one of the few who possesses an aesthetic eye. Let’s face it: Audrey Hepburn, touchstone of impeccability, will forever trump the likes of a Courtney Love or a Rhiannon hand down. My friend who ran Chanel in Spain told me that Penelope Cruz was clueless when it came to selecting the right clothes. This is why designers and stylists are paid fortunes to make them look good.

Cate Blanchett is the fashionista Shebug’s target. The cool blonde remains one of the few Hollywood heavy weights guaranteed to swan onto the red carpet - or anywhere else, perfectly polished. Another contender of this elusive ilk is Nicole Kidman, though she does not have the clean-cut sleekness of her fellow Antipodean. Cate is a master of showcasing her assets with stylish elegance, femininity and dignity.

Christopher Kane designed the offending dress that  is being ripped to shreds. The spider web motif is madly theatrical but done in a quiet way with the black lattice floating whimsically on a nude background. 

Would I choose it? No, but I’m not walking down the red carpet nor promoting my new movie, am I? One quote reads:  “Unflattering: the 44-year-old Oscar winner’s halter gown looked as though it was assembled quickly and without regard for things like symmetry or proper fit”...Nothing personal, but THIS is a BAD fit!

Cate has kept everything else deliciously muted. Only her sky-blue eyes pop. It’s the uniqueness of the dress that does the talking. And isn’t that what her stylist is trying to achieve as well? Still not convinced? Simply contrast Cate Blanchett to her fellow actress...

The unimaginative way to get the paparazzi’s attention is to flash a lot of skin.  Angelina Jolie did just that when she wore that black thigh-high slit dress: people were talking about ‘that leg’ for weeks. But it was Jennifer Aniston who pulled it off in a much less aggressive way with her sun-kissed skin and airy high heel sandals.

These are veritable no-nos Shebug fashionistas have every right in the world to feast on, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Sneak preview before publication date!

Chapter One

Manhattan, 1959

Bettina sniggered as she observed her parents’ transfixed expression centred on the Broadway singer warbling on stage.
She might be real pretty, thought the pouting girl, arms folded tightly over her chest. But I could do it better, a lot better!
The musical came to an end. The star bathed in an encore and blew kisses to the audience with one hand and held a large bouquet of roses in the other. The lights eventually brightened and people made ready to leave.
“So Betti, what did you think?” her mother, Elsa, asked. “Wasn’t she fabulous?” Her husband nodded in agreement.
The ten-year-old did not crack so much as a smile. Instead, she buttoned up her coat, adjusted her matching beret and prepared to join the human stream into the theatre lobby.
“The day I’m up there,” she replied without hesitation, “I’ll have at least three encores.”
Betti did nothing tepidly. She lived by the motto ‘All or Nothing’ from the day she said took her first unassisted step and voiced her first word, “Betti.”
She grew up in a household of adults in Princeton, New Jersey; her parents, both university professors, spent much of their time either on campus or with their noses in their books. Dr Bulmers taught Literature and her mother, Italian History. Little Betti’s favourite playtime took place in a pastel-coloured playpen with no sibling in attendance. This suited her perfectly. Betti lived in an imaginary world full of promise without having to share a thing or compete for parental attention.
As master of her reveries, she ruled like a monarch—autocratic, respected and revered.
# # # # 

“You have a big nose, you have a big nose,” taunted a third grader.
Betti struck a pose in profile, rested her chin on her interlaced fingers and retorted without missing a beat. “I have an important nose just like Cleopatra’s. And her face was on every single gold coin every made. Ever! You have an elf’s nose, and the only important elves I ever heard of are the Seven Dwarves, Dopey!”
In reality, she hated her nose, courtesy of her mother’s Italian genes. But over time, the precocious brunette grew a face whose exquisitely chiselled bones would play to its imperiousness like an Aphrodite bust from the antique.
The knack of deceit came fluently to Betti, and her imaginative stories left strangers believing her every word. Every gesture had intent, every glance, sigh and pregnant pause, a desired effect.
Betti found herself drawn to the stage at an early age. She fought tooth and nail to land the main leads regardless of other’s feelings - or fairness.
“Betti, this time I think it’s best you let someone else give it a shot,” her teacher said before the auditions began.
“Why?” she asked in earnest, “I’m the best Little Miss Muffet in the whole school. You know I am!”
If a teacher did not bend to her will, tantrums ensued. When tantrums backfired, Betty bribed her competition or took matters into her own hands in the most creative, if not unethical ways.
But Bettina Bulmers always landed in the spotlight.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Madame Nhu

The name, Tran Le Xuan, means Beautiful Spring, but you might know her as Madame Nhu, First Lady of South Vietnam (1955-63). To the American press she was Vietnam’s very own Joan of Arc, a vocal champion against spreading communism. But a decade later, the lacquered lady would be referred to Lucrezia Borgia of the Orient, to the CIA, Dragon Lady.

The Shebug was born into a wealthy Buddhist Saigon family. Rather than get roped into an arranged nuptial, the eighteen year old chose to wed one of her mother’s Catholic friend, Nhu of the prestigious mandarin Ngo clan, whose brother, Ngo Dihn Diem, would become Vietnam’s emperor. While Nhu acted as Diem’s political advisor and head of the secret police and of the Special Forces, the Catholic convert played the docile part of Leading Lady to her perennial bachelor brother-in-law who rarely ventured outside the palace walls.

Behind closed doors Madame Nhu cracked her whip- or rather, her ivory fan. Not only was it deployed coquettishly she clacked it shut like a gunshot to ensure she got what she wanted.

The diminutive deputy to the National Assembly with her trademark kohl-rimmed half-moon eyes and iconic beehive founded the Women’s Solidarity Movement between accumulating untold wealth and building her power base. Its 25,000 strong paramilitary members were paid double the wages of conscripts though they never set foot on the battlegrounds. Instead, the ladies happily paraded and saluted their founder in front of the cameras.

Her impolitic penchant to say exactly what she thought was catnip to the international press. Her favourite motto was: “ Power is wonderful. Total power is totally wonderful.”  She once told a group of American congressmen, "I'm not exactly afraid of death. I love power and in the next life I have a chance to be even more powerful than I am."

Madame Nhu might have lost her way in a big way drunk on power, but she certainly possessed style. She made the form-fitting classic Vietnamese tunic, ao dai, her signature outfit, modifying the national dress with a deep neckline. When Diem, a notorious prude, once questioned the modesty of his sister-in-law’s low-cut dress, she was said to have snapped back: “It’s not your neck that sticks out, it’s mine. So shut up.” One French journalist described her as being ‘moulded into her dress like a dagger in its sheath.”

She also went from anti-communist champion to zealot when she outlawed divorce, contraception and dancing the Twist; but she also put an end to cock fighting, opium dens and brothels.

But what keeps her name imprisoned in Shebug annals was her reaction to the Buddhists who revolted against the corrupt regime by setting themselves alight. She icily told reporters, “Let them burn and we shall clap our hands.” Whilst the world was left stunned by photographs of monks shrouded in flames, Madame Nhu offered to bring along some mustard for the next self-immolation...

Pre-warped mind, Madame Nhu said she had taken her inspiration from the Trung sisters who in 40AD gathered up armies and fought off the Chinese with formidable fury and cunning astride mighty elephants.  Madame would later have statues erected of the famous siblings with the facial features modeled on her own costing her countrymen a cool $20,000. No sooner did the Diem regime was topple, so did that statue.

U.S. Defense Secretary McNamara noted, "I saw Madame Nhu as bright, forceful, and beautiful, but also diabolical and scheming—a true sorceress."

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Alpha Male & Best Friends

If you believe that a youngish, attractive an Alpha Male is immune to Shebug’s talons, reconsider… First it was Shane Warne, New Zealand’s renown cricket super star who succumbed to a Shebug noose.

Simon Cowell, 53, is the latest to slip into a Shebug-with-a-past’s grasp. I will concede, he is not half as handsome as the New Zealander is—or rather, was pre-Hurley – but he retains his masculinity despite his Hollywood makeover and choice of bristly doormat hairdo. Fully loaded and armed with global recognition, why would Mr X Factor himself opt to kiss his ego-driven diet of sex-for-a-song adieu?

Enter Lauren Silverman, wife of property developer Andrew Silverman. The couple have a seven year old son.  The Silvermans have spent a handful of island holidays with Simon and his date-of-the-month since 2011. Lauren, 37, is now pregnant with Simon’s love child. Andrew is Simon’s best friend - up until the baby bomb dropped.

Her day job reads 'New York Socialite', much like a Paris Hilton, though physically the brunette is cut from pure Kardashian cloth. Interestingly, she could pass for Simon’s ex-girlfriend's doppelganger.

Lauren is no stranger to controversy despite the seventeen-year age gap with her lover. The news reported that she was taken out of school at sixteen and immediately placed elsewhere the day her parents found about Lauren's affair with a 26 year old married English teacher. But does a Shebug ever look back? Never! As we speak, Mrs Silverman is shipping her things to the new $10 million pad lover Simon has bought for her. 

As a man spoiled for choice, why her? Lauren is a married woman. Her husband is a millionaire. In my exposé, Shebug: Dissecting the Gold Digger, I shed light on the highly focussed serial Shebugs who trade up when the opportunity presents itself. Mind you, I could be wrong about her. 

Oh, did I mention the British media mogul is worth $350 million?

I also reveal why Shebugs with high profile exes manage to ooze a je ne sais quoi pheromone irresistible to influential men. To the Alpha Male, it is the equivalent of successfully claiming his opponent’s booty; it’s the domineering five-year in the playground looking to appropriate another’s bigger, shinier and louder toy.  

As we speak, both Andrew and Simon are sharpening their swords for when they do battle in the divorce courts.

Take it from Coco Chanel herself: “As long as you know men are like children, you know everything!”

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Shebug Pub Quiz

Guess who ranks number 7 out of the US TV Guide’s 2013 ‘The Nastiest Villains of All Time’ list? 

Let me give you a few clues about the memorable antagonist everyone loved to hate:

·      She exchanged wedding vows with four men
·      Was left a widow twice
·      Divorced two husbands
·      Is bent on destroying husband Number One
·      Smokes Nat Sherman cigarillos
·      Was schooled in Switzerland
·      Dropped out of The Royal Academy of Arts
·      Lives for lip gloss
·      Wears hat exquisitely
·      Born a Gemini
·      Worked as an artist’s model in Belgium
·      Has a one-night stand with her cousin’s husband
·    Weds her first husband’s super-rich arch-rival
·     Nearly drowns
·     Has a secret ex-jailbird sister
·     Resorts to firing a shotgun to what she wants
·     Owns a Rocky Mountain newspaper
·     Uses shoulder pads as her armour
·  Sashays about in satin nightgowns - also equipped with shoulder pads
·     Had a baby kidnapped 
·    Falsely assigns different fathers to her children other than their own to stir up the nest
·     Drips in diamonds, rubies and emeralds 
·     Favours furs and stilettos
·     Lived in Acapulco for a spell
·     Spews venom in an exquisite British accent
·     Owns a five-star hotel and an enviable percent of an oil company
·  Provoked her ex-husband’s angelic wife to the point of a cat-fight that held viewers across the globe spellbound!

Her name – a mouthful of mouthfuls - is Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan.

Joan Collins played the role to purrfection. I have had the privilege of seeing 'La Collins' in London, close-up. She sat at a table next to mine at a restaurant on Beauchamp Place called San Lorenzo. Petite, immaculately coiffed and in full seamless make-up, the brunette commanded a table that sat eight people.

But rather that reek of Poison, her perfume was that of Joy, as she and her real family enjoyed a merry lunch out. Lucky for us, this English actress is anything but a Shebug in real life... Bravo Joan!