Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dis Grace Prints

Certain women have distinctive trademark looks that set them apart from the masses. Leopard ballet flats were mine 30 years ago when nobody else dared walk on the wild side. Soon after these wore out, I spotted a pair of flat Italian pony boots on Park Avenue and made them mine. But, alas, my trademark print continues to thrive in the mainstream so no wearing my wonderful leopard look till it dies down.

Interestingly, pins were Madeleine Albright’s distinctive fashion statement. The former US ambassador to the UN’s choice varied depending upon which head of state she was scheduled to negotiate with. A serpent with a gem in its mouth sparkled provocatively upon her lapel when she last saw dealt with Saddam Hussein. Yasser Arafat was met with a warning wasp. Ms Albright let everyone know exactly where you stood with good taste, ingenuity and taste. That's real style.

A high ranking African player marks her terrain clothed in animal prints. But unlike the feline-look norm, her trademark twist guarantees that nobody else would even dream of wearing this notorious shopaholic’s pet peeve print.

The 48 year-old Shebug is no ordinary creepy crawler; she secured herself a very high title, indeed: First Lady of Zimbabwe. Many refer to her as Gucci Grace, though her real name is Grace Mugabe. But the people’s choice of moniker is Dis Grace. She worked as Robert Mugabe’s secretary whilst she was married to an air force pilot. The Shebug became the dictator’s mistress, bore him a couple of children then became one his wife - after the previous Mrs. Mugabe allegedly committed suicide.

Grace’s choice of spots is the cheetah. But not just any cheetah…Hers is crouching, ready to pounce and maulAnother print to her liking is an abstract black and white motif shaped like razor blades with white doves in flight crowning each sharp blade.  If this doesn’t read under- this- peaceful- exterior –lies- a –lethal-First –Lady, nothing does…

Take a close look at this matching ensemble the tyrannical couple selected to wear at a political rally. The face emblazoned upon the fabric is Mugabe’s. I find this His & Hers statement a bit too kitsch, wouldn’t you agree? After all, he is already 89…

As the once bountiful but still beautiful nation of Zimbabwe continues to be raped and plundered, Shebug Dis Grace has only this retort when confronted with her regular shoe shopping sprees:

‘I have very narrow feet, so I can only wear Ferragamo.’ 


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

And the WInner Is...

There are titles and titles. History, religion, literature and myths refer to many individuals who possess such an illustrious designation whether Empress or Lady and everything in between.

But there is one unique title every girl on the planet has fantasized about at least once in her life. It is not aristocratic in origin nor does the Vatican granted it.  Forget the Olympics and, no, it did not originate in 1940 by Hoosier, Eleanor Lambert, because Numero Uno of the Best Dressed List it is not.

It is given in a ceremony that is aired worldwide, a title  that comes equipped with a  sparkling crown immediately fitted upon the winner's heavily coiffed mane, a label deeply embedded in the female realm: Beauty Queen. 

One of my favourite birthday gifts as a tiny toe head was a white one-piece swimming costume with red and blue letters emblazoned across the front. It read: MISS AMERICA. I strutted upon an imaginary spot-lit stage throwing kisses to a clamouring crowd holding a make believe bouquet of flowers so many times, I must have worn a trail on the rug beneath my Ked-clad feet.

Many of today’s top beauty contestants have academic backgrounds that are not only verifiable they are respectable. Once the coveted Beauty Queen title is nabbed, doors will effortlessly open for throughout their lives. I have met a handful and can vouch for this. It may sound silly and frilly, but it holds more power than you might think. Even in the XXIst century.

Rakhim Ganieva, a Miss World hopeful, is one such eager contender. This eighteen-year-old is determined to go where no other contestant has gone before. Legally or illegally. The brunette is busy hobnobbing with Miss Russia, Miss Albania and Miss Georgia plotting her way towards the pinnacle as we speak.

Do not be fooled: this competition is not for the faint of heart. It requires unwavering determination and impenetrable self-assurance at every turn. Every single contestant selected to represent her country has done her tour of duty. Except for one…

Miss Uzbekistan is an exceedingly thick-skinned eighteen-year-old, whose very daring plan is literally hatching upon the world stage. She said she was a student at the University of International Diplomacy and Economy.  Her written biography, however, reads  ‘graduate of the Tashkent Professional School of Tourism’. Lost in translation? You tell me…

She poses for the press and tells them how she hopes to become a lawyer one day, regales them with her skills on the tennis court and her passion for music and travel. All the while, the Uzbekistan Culture & Sport Ministry and the National Committee suggested on the radio that Miss Ganieva is an imposter. Uzbekistan officials stated clearly that their country has not held any Miss World pageant and worse yet, they still have no idea who Rakhim really is.

Nonplussed, Rakhim continues to learn the dance routines and faffs over her wardrobe and makeup just like the other international participants. Nobody ruffles this feisty contestant’s feathers, whether her title is real or not: she IS and WILL BE Miss Uzbekistan until some official literally pulls her off the stage. Quitting, losing face or running for the woods are not Shebug options.  Rest assured that Ms Ganieva will continue to smile at the camera extol the virtues of reading Tolstoy, Chekov and Dostoevsky.

Though no one has records on her, they sure have her number. The president’s daughter is tweeting catty comments about the “Tajik-looking girl” who “appeared out of nowhere.” But nobody’s fool, Rakhim Ganieva is well aware that even ‘bad’ press is good press.

The Miss World officials are scouting for a new location for the upcoming finale, as threats from Jakarta Islamic hardliners grow nastier. But sweating bullets they are not: the Miss World ratings remain sky-high thanks to the pretender for the crown, Miss Whoever-You-Are.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

SHEBUG DIVA! The Summary

Enter the final protagonist in the Shebug Stories series: SHEBUG DIVA! This specimen is the only glitterbug, a Shebug with an ego the size of the firmament itself…

Bettina Bulmers has but one focus in life: to become a screen star. Her first step is to ditch her lacklustre name for one that can never be forgotten: Artemisia Ardente.

The year is 1966. The well-educated Jersey girl is under no illusions.  She knows full well that the road to fame is pitted and arduous. So when mild-mannered Mike Middleton cycles past her on campus, the Theatre Studies sophomore looses no time and pounces on him like a panther on a Pomeranian.

This alliance places her face to face with America’s literary legend silver fox playwright, Howard Middleton - her father-in-law.

Dark secrets are committed, tempers combust but persistence secures Artemisia the chance of a lifetime. In record time, La Ardente’s name is on every studio’s lips – and on those of Hollywood’s top box office Adonis, New Zealander Eric Brena.

Artemisia and Eric soon become the most photographed couple in the world with every key studio in Hollywood vying for their attention.

But fame blinds, temptation on set is rife and the competition is a killer...

In the starry Land of Legends there is only enough oxygen for one Superstar.

Available now on Amazon, iTunes and Kindle!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Plotting Italian Style

Cutting down can be frightfully tough, specially when down-sizing from a 16th century Milan villa to another only to live under house arrest for the next twelve months… But for Signor Bunga-Bunga, the worse part was giving up his infamous entourage of prostitutes, showgirls and strippers.

But let’s not feel too sorry for the 76-year-old Italian politician, Silvio Berlusconi. After all, he has been allowed one female companion: his fiancée, Francesca Pascale, born a cool 48 years after his arrival onto the planet. The Italian press refers to Ms Pascale as a ‘shadow first lady. 

Spoiled for choice as Berlusconi was, the question on everybody’s lips is, “Why her?”

The answer is deceptively simple: Determination, pure and undiluted of the Shebug kind…

The bronzed brunette might have under-gone cosmetic surgery and a makeover. But underneath her Hermès outfits, arched eyebrows and pulled back hair, lurks a murky background she is keen overshadow.

Ms Pascale first appeared on the scene singing a dirty ditty on a dodgy local television station in Naples. But her ambitions were considerably higher than suggestively sucking on an ice cream in a bikini.

When Berlusconi’s mad lifestyle hit the news and put his rule into question, Francesca put together a support group she named ‘Silvio, we support you’. But it wasn’t until she ambushed the prime minister outside a swanky Roman eatery and shouted at him, “Prime minister! How handsome you are”, that she registered on his radar.

From that moment on, she did anything but hide her determination to gain pole position alongside Berlusconi. In 2009, she even managed to get herself elected as a provincial councillor. The expression ‘turning back’ does not form part of her vocabulary. She means business.

Silvio Berlusconi is a tycoon who has lived a very thorough life, much like Roman Caesars of centuries past – minus the toga and laurel. He remains full of beans guilt-free and impervious to his utter lack dignity. No pity party for Silvio. Reports indicate that he is feverishly planning to return to the political arena in some capacity as we speak.  

His fiancée knows this. She also knows he is not getting any younger and that he has amassed £4.9 billion. Shebug that she is, Francesca Pascale will not stop until Silvio says ‘I do”.

Her choice to imitate Evita Peron is no coincidence; that first lady slept her way to the top, though that was the lesser of her sins. Francesca Pascale and Evita are decidedly two birds of a feather!