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We Lied…We Are Back!

19 Oct

Gemini Magazine Special Edition 2012: Asia Monet

 

Well, no, not entirely. During an afternoon chat with plus model Asia Monet, the subject of doing a special edition of Gemini for October popped up. Why you ask? Mainly to celebrate a dear friend and long time supporter of the magazine, and secretly I kind of missed the late nights staring at a computer screen. Any who, a few weeks later, the Special Edition 2012 was born and it is here for you to enjoy. So while we are not entirely back the way we teased you in the title of this post, we are here for a short time to spread a little inspiration.  Enjoy! [Click here to check it out]

~Sommer J.

42% of 1st-3rd Grade Girls Want to be Thin…

28 Jun

And (to add to that) 81% of ten year olds are afraid of getting fat. Considering I have a fifth grader who just happens to be a girl, that scares me. She has watched me carefully sculpt a healthier routine and way of eating, but how she feels about her weight still sits in the back of my mind with every day that passes. She is tall and lanky, by far way more skinny than I ever was when I was her age (I wore a size 16-18), but knowing the images she is bombarded with on a daily basis has me worried.

Gemini Magazine was started because I hated seeing all of the skinny, perfectly smooth faces and bodies in every magazine on the rack, but I also kept in mind the millions of little girls and boys left to stare at their glossy pages too.  At the check out counter, while we fuss over our wallets and groceries, the children are left to stare at perfect faces and bodies on brightly colored glossy covers. We seldom think about the impact that has, but the masterminds behind Missrepresentation.org have it at the forefront of theirs.

MissRepresentation.org is a call-to-action campaign with the mission to empower women and girls to challenge labels (and their limitations) in order to realize their potential and transform our culture for the better.  Their latest endeavor is the Keep It Real Campaign which asks the major publication players to use at least one non-photoshopped image in every issue.

I cannot say that I am not in favor of Photoshop, because that would be lying. What I am not in favor of is the body manipulation that some publications green light. Publishing is a business, yes, but it is also an influencer. We should take that more seriously, and I personally pledge that Gemini Magazine will do just that.

Join MissRepresentation.org in making the larger publications accountable for their photoshopping actions.  Forty-two percent of girls from first through third grade wanting to be thin is forty-two percent too many.

For more information on the (3) day campaign, click here to visit Miss Representation on Facebook.

GO VOTE! (Please)

28 Jun

Very rarely do we ask our readers to do anything. Our job is not to beg and plead for anything. Our job is to give you all of the information we think is key to living your life (not that we would ever tell you how to live it…we aren’t your mother, after all), and we take that seriously. We also take $250,000 seriously.

Chase and Livingsocial got together with an inspired project–err, mission.  Their mission is to grant a small business with $250,000, and to a small business that could go a long way.

Operating any business can be tricky when finances are called to order, however, operating a business that relies on advertising dollars, marketing, and distribution can be even trickier. (Clearing throat) Thus the plea for your vote. It literally only takes about 15-20 seconds (Instructions are below). We have until Saturday (June 30th) to get 237 more votes and we are hoping you will be one.

(1) Go to: http://missionsmallbusiness.com/
(2) Login via Facebook
(3) Search for GEMINI MAGAZINE
(4) Vote for us!

Happy Voting!

GEMINI Is Back: Change Is Good

4 May

Model Brittany Jemison, Styled by Faithe Dennis and Crystal Smith, Hair and Makeup by Kortney Moffett of Dull to Diva and Photography by James Lewis of Noire 3000.

Change is a good thing. Often times we run from it when in all actuality our lives would be so much more fulfilled if we ran toward it. We have been missing in action for quite some time and while it hurt to be away for so long, it feels good to know that we did a little changing too. When there is growth there is change and vision becomes transformed as well. Happily, we can say the GEMINI vision has been tweaked a bit.

The vision for the publication has always been to inform plus size women on how to improve their life through simple solutions. Luckily, for those who enjoy that type of material, we are keeping with that tradition, but our latest vision is to take a step beyond the fashion, the parties, and the pretty pictures and provide a comfortable place for women to voice their opinions and concerns and learn about something a little deeper. Clothing is important (especially for those of us who may want to go outside in something more than our birthday suit) and we get it. Fashion shows are fun and exciting, we get that too, but without physical/mental/spiritual health the fun stuff is all for naught.

Over the next few months, you will hear us reference change being good quite a bit because we believe that nothing great can come from being stagnant. We are so proud to celebrate our return with our cover girl Brittany Jemison who has lost over 100 pounds. She had the courage to step out of her norm and do something different and boy look at her now!  We can not wait for you to get to know her and we hope you love her as much as we do. We invite you to grow and transform with us. Reach out there and do something you have never done. Get lost on your way home from work or eat a food you have never tried. Step out of your norm as we step out of ours and let’s learn together.

Coming Soon: National Women’s Health Week

1 May

As women, we know it’s hard to take a week out of your life to do anything–so when we ask you to take a week out of your life for this we are not asking lightly.  We have all heard the stories about women who lost their lives or who had to come back fighting from an illness that could have been prevented. We have seen the news blurbs in the paper or floating on the internet about this health scare and that.  We have all urged our mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, and friends to get one symptom (or several) checked out just to be on the safe side. Well, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health is taking it one step further and dedicating an entire week to us and our health.

National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day (how appropriate), May 13, 2012 and is celebrated through May 19, 2012.  The focus of the week long celebration is to empower women to make their health numero uno (not second, third, or not at all).

Mark your calendars, set your iPhone or Droid alarms and get ready.  Don’t fret though–we will be sure to remind you to take the week to take care of you. It’s hard, we know, but leaving the dishes in the sink for an extra 15 minutes to take a brisk walk or taking your lunch hour to get a quick check up from the doc will help to keep a preventable illness at bay.

For more information on National Women’s Health Week and so much more and if you are as serious about this (as we know you are), visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/check-up-day/#pledge and take the Checkup Day Pledge (NWHW Checkup Day, May 14, 2012).

NEW FIRST LOOK!

10 Apr

Photo Credits:
Stylist: Spry Lee Scott
Makeup Artist: Tara Taylor
Hair Stylist: Aliza Williams
Photographer: Lucas Pictures
Picture Editor: Poetic Image

Ok, so what–we are a little bias when it comes to Christina Mendez. It could be her candidness during an interview, or it could be her 24/7 grind–we aren’t sure which, but anyway you slice it we just love her.

If it seemed like she had been missing in action, you can attribute that to her new bundle of joy, Cailey Christine. Although, being a mom for the second time around did not stop her for long. Three months after the birth of her baby girl, Christina hit the ground running with high-profile features on Good Morning America and Rachael Ray modeling for Modern Family’s star Sofia Vergara’s Kmart Fashion segment, BET’s Rip the Runway, New Jersey Full Figured Fashion Week, Rocawear.com, Qristyl Frazier’s Epitome Collection, WABC (NY) speaking on behalf of Autism Speaks, and numerous commercials. Did we mention that she was ranked #3 on Oddee’s list of “10 Incredibly Hot Women Who Are Larger Than A Size 12”?

“I’m a strong believer in fate/faith and I am so happy that the industry has welcomed me back after my hiatus. My goal as a plus size model will always be to continue to diversify my resume with brands and campaigns that truly embrace what I have to offer,” says Mendez.

Even with all of that going on, Christina never strays too far from the still shot. “Working with the amazing styling team I was fortunate enough to partner up with, these new photos definitely show my versatility.” Luckily for you, she loves us enough to share her latest looks (and they are smoking hot might we add).

If you don’t know much about this positive powerhouse, you’ll get to learn more in an upcoming issue of Gemini Magazine (shhhh…we haven’t told her yet). Until then, enjoy the view!

Quick News: Catwalk Model Turns Plus Size Model

2 Oct

Karolin Wolter, Spanish Vogue, Jan 2011 (Photographer Michelle Ferrera)

Following in the footsteps of Crystal Renn, Robyn Lawley, and Alyona Osmanova, Karolin Wolter has made the switch to the plus side of  Ford.  Wolter has worked the runway for Marc Jacobs, Lanvin, and Yves Saint Laurent.  According to Gary Dakin at Ford+, Wolter’s agent, says that she’s “absolutely thrilled about the move.”  It is unclear as to why she made the switch, or exactly what that means, but it will be interesting to see what she does next.

American Apparel Does It Again

1 Oct

Nancy Upton

Poor American Apparel.  They just can’t seem to stay out of trouble when it comes to the plus community.  Their first boo-boo happened in the spring of 2010 when plus size adult film star and model, April Flores, was told that they did not carry clothes in her size because she was not in their demographic.  A big oops. Currently American Apparel is stepping in a steaming pile of…well…you know yet again.

Late August, the clothing company launched a campaign to find the perfect face and bod for their plus line.  The winner of the “Next Big Thing” (we’ll reserve comment about that title for now) by popular vote, Nancy Upton, a size 12 student in Texas, turns out isn’t exactly what American Apparel had in mind. Earlier this month, the AA rep, Iris Alonzo, broke the news to Upton via letter.

Dear Nancy Upton,

My name is Iris Alonzo and I am a Creative Director at American Apparel. Along with four other women, I conceived of the Next BIG Thing campaign for American Apparel. Firstly, we are very sorry that we offended you. Our only motive was to discover and celebrate the many beautiful XL women around the globe who enjoy our brand, and to promote the recent size additions to our collection. Nothing more, nothing less. We would also like to assure you that no one is getting fired over your stunt, as you expressed concern about in a recent interview. We are fortunate to have a great boss who trusts and believes in our instincts and ideas, and we are still very excited about all of our Next BIG Things and looking forward to meeting our new XL brand ambassadors.

It’s a shame that your project attempts to discredit the positive intentions of our challenge based on your personal distaste for our use of light-hearted language, and that “bootylicous” was too much for you to handle. While we may be a bit TOO inspired by Beyoncé, and do have a tendency to occasionally go pun-crazy, we try not to take ourselves too seriously around here. I wonder if you had taken just a moment to imagine that this campaign could actually be well intentioned, and that my team and I are not out to offend and insult women, would you have still behaved in the same way, mocking the confident and excited participants who put themselves out there? Maybe you’ll find it interesting that in addition to simply responding to customer demand and feedback, when you’re a vertically-integrated company, actual jobs are created from new size additions. In this case, for the XL women who will model them, industrial workers that make them, retail employees that sell them and beyond. That’s the amazing reality of American Apparel’s business.

Though I could spend hours responding to your accusations and assumptions, this isn’t the appropriate forum for that, so I will only briefly address a few issues here. In regards to April Flores’ “that’s not our demographic” experience, I don’t recall the name of the confused employee credited with saying that, but he or she was sadly uninformed, and our company certainly does not endorse their statement. For as long as I can remember, we have offered sizes up to 3XL in our basic styles, and as far as adding larger sizes to the rest of our line is concerned, if there is the demand and manufacturing power to support it, we’re always game. There are thousands of brands in the market who have no intention of supporting natural – and completely normal – full-figured women, and American Apparel is making a conscious effort to change that, both with our models and our line. If every brand that tried to do this was met with such negative press, we may have to wait another decade for the mainstream to embrace something so simple.

 

In the past, American Apparel has been targeted for various reasons, many times by journalists who weren’t willing to go the extra mile to even visit the factory or meet the people in charge. Dov is a great executive director and American Industrialist, but there are hundreds of other decision-makers in our company, over half of whom are women. I suppose you have read a few too many negative pieces about us that have helped to form your opinion of who we are and what we stand for, and perhaps this has clouded your ability to give us a chance. I get it. I read some of it too. As a creative who isn’t always the most tactful and tends to stay away from the limelight, maybe I haven’t spoken up as much as I should have over the past 8 years that I’ve worked at American Apparel. Perhaps I could have shed some light on some issues that have been left cloudy over the years. However, sensational media will always need something to latch on to and success, spandex and individuality (and mutton chops circa 2004) are certainly easy targets. And who knows – maybe the PR ups and downs are all part of our DNA as a company. What I do know is that after all the years I have been working for this company I can wholeheartedly say that American Apparel is an amazing and inspiring place to work. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can represent of a ton of people I know when I say that we really like Dov and we passionately believe in his vision for a beautiful factory with sustainable practices. We are the largest sewing factory in North America, after all…10,000 jobs is nothing to sniff at. A lot of people would be very sad if this company wasn’t around.

That said, we realize that we are in no way perfect and that we’re still learning. We want to do better or differently in many areas, and we are actively working on them every day. You’re literally witnessing a transparent, sincere, innovative, creative company go through puberty in the spotlight of modern media. It’s not easy!

Oh – and regarding winning the contest, while you were clearly the popular choice, we have decided to award the prizes to other contestants that we feel truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out, and whom we will be proud to have representing our company.

Please feel free to contact me directly anytime. If you want to know the real scoop about our company before writing a story, I’ve got it (or if I don’t, I can put you in touch with the person that does!).

Best of luck,

Iris Alonzo
Creative Director
American Apparel

Upton never really intended to model for AA and her entry was more of a satire than an actual earnest attempt to win.  The whole campaign did not seem to sit well with a lot of plus women–especially with the cheesy big girl references in the narrative of the campaign–Upton being one of them.  Earlier last month, American Apparel reached out to Upton and offered to fly her out to their headquarters.  Nancy told Fox411 that the company offered her the opportunity to tour the factory and sit with the creative directors to discuss the contest and talk about how to advertise to a different demographic.

The idea behind the photos, Upton explains, was to convey the idea that a big girl can be as sexy as ever and “she can’t seem to stop eating because she is plus size and plus size women love to eat. You can be beautiful and fat and that’s not a problem.”  Take a look at the photos and let us know what you think.

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Mike & Molly Co-Star to Launch Plus Line

30 Sep

We have all been there (“we” meaning the plus size woman) in a store wanting to spend money on the latest trend or at least something that resembles fashionable only to find that the selection is (in the eloquent words of Mike & Molly co-star Melissa McCarthy) “either for like a 98-year-old woman or a 14-year-old hooker, and there is nothing in the middle.”

For some of us, the talent of being stylish is completely God-given, for others (raising hand here) not so much, but we can all agree that for years stylish plus size clothing options were far and few between.  Melissa McCarthy is seeking to change that for the fashion-handicapped.

McCarthy plans to launch her own plus size line with the help of couturier Daniella Pearl (who, shall we add was the helping hand behind her self designed Emmy dress).  Before you roll your eyes at yet another celebrity putting thread to fabric, McCarthy has a slight edge on the other celeb fashion designers. She has a background in design and wanted to actually become a designer, however, as luck would have it she ended up doing stand-up in New York.

There is no definite timeline as to when the line will launch, but we are sure it won’t be too long.  We wish the Emmy Award winning 41-year-old mother of two the best of luck in her endeavor. Let’s face it, it can’t possibly hurt for the curvy girl to have more choices.

JHud Opens A Weight Watchers Center

29 Sep

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

The ex-American Idol contestant turned Oscar winning actress has been the topic of many discussions since her debut as the latest Weight Watchers spokesperson.  For some she has gotten too small and for others she seems to be just right, but no matter what any of us think–one thing is for sure…JHud is making this weight loss thing stick.

In a Chicago South Side strip mall (not far from President Obama’s home) JHud stood gushing at her latest accomplishment.  “I never thought I would make it to have my own center,” said Hudson. “I’m so honored to be here and see this day.”  On Tuesday, September 27th, Jennifer Hudson stood alongside Alderman Will Burns, Dave Burwick (President of Weight Watchers North America), and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and cut the ribbon to the Weight Watchers Jennifer Hudson Center.  Weight Watchers has pledged to donate a portion of the funds generated by the center to a foundation Hudson co-founded in honor of her nephew, Julian King.

So here’s the question we ask–a lot has been said about JHud’s 80 pound weight loss (dropping her from a size 16 to a size 6)–what do you think about it?  Is Jennifer promoting a healthy lifestyle, a dieting system, or both? Do you think we focus more on the diet than living a healthy lifestyle?

Comment, tweet us, facebook us or all of the above. We really are interested in what you think.