Editor's Picks Self-Care Fashion Lookbook

Here’s what those “comfy” Insta-famous sneakers are really like

When it comes to shoes – especially sneakers – you know that the look is never really that universal. You’ll see the shoes on the model, the shoes in real life, but they’ll always have a unique fit on you.

So we decided to do something different when we discovered Cariuma, and instead, had our team try them on, instead. Who better to tell the truth, right?

These six women – Deema, Yannise, Meagan, Aafiyah, Tamanna, and Tiara – are the willing testers.

Meagan (top left): I work in an office setting so I’m all heels and flats during the week and typically wear booties or flipflops (depending on the weather) on the weekends. Sneakers? Not so much. I never felt like I had the legs or style to wear them without looking a little silly. I mean, of course, I wear them to the gym, but that’s different! 

Aafiyah (top middle): I don’t really wear sneakers, choosing instead to wear boots. I always thought that I wouldn’t be able to buy sneakers that are reasonably priced and still be able to dress well. Instead, I usually choose to wear boots and my past experiences with sneakers? Nothing to write home about. 

I never felt like I had the legs or style to wear them without looking a little silly. —Meagan

Tamanna (top right): Sneakers are my everyday go-to, but finding shoes that are stylish, sustainable, and comfortable is close to impossible. In my experience, I have to compromise at least one of these factors for the rest. Because of my chronic pain, I prioritize comfort, ending up with sneakers that allow me to painlessly go through my day.

Tiara (bottom left): I’ve always been a big sneakerhead. I grew up in the South and it’s just a part of the culture there. Every year, I was always so excited to pick out a new pair of sneakers to show off to my friends. To this day, I’ll quickly grab a pair of sneakers over anything else. Comfort is a must, though, otherwise, I get plantar fasciitis, which exacerbates my flat feet and bad ankles.

Deema (bottom middle): More often than not, my carefully-curated sneaker collection can’t be used out of fear of creasing and wear. As someone who wears sneakers 75% of the time, this can be a bit of a struggle. Logical? Not really, but hey, aesthetics matter to me.

I’ve always been a big sneakerhead. I grew up in the South and it’s just a part of the culture there. —Tiara

Yannise (bottom right): I don’t remember when it became the norm, but sneakers have always been my go-to for casual footwear. If I had to choose my favorite brand of sneakers before this experiment, I’d have to say Converse. Their style has always appealed to me, and can really elevate an outfit. I’ll wear them down until they have nothing but holes in them, which I prefer anyway!

Since Cariuma’s always touting just how eco-friendly, consciously-made, and comfortable their shoes are, we definitely had to put them to the test. So we each got a pair and wore them every day for a week. Here’s what happened.

…some thoughts while waiting for the packages to arrive…

Meagan: Frankly, I was a little worried. I kept thinking, ugh they’re suede so I can’t wear them everywhere, plus I have no idea how to match sneakers to my outfits.

Deema: I’ve been a borderline sneakerhead since I wore my first pair of classic Adidas. When I discovered Cariuma, I was hesitant. Ordering shoes that were ethically sourced was something that was largely new to me. In a way, ordering the clean-cut OCA Low sneakers in Off White Canvas felt like a way to “give back.” 

Deema wearing Cariuma OCA Low Off White Canvas sneakers.
Deema wearing Cariuma OCA Low Off White Canvas sneakers.

Tiara: Before the shoes arrived, I assumed they wouldn’t work for me. Generally, canvas shoes that look similar to the OCA Low sneakers that sport the flat bottom shape are absolutely terrible for my feet. I was also worried they wouldn’t fit since my feet are wide (flat + wide feet = difficult to find cute shoes).

Deema Alawa / The Tempest Media, Inc.

The shoes we got were a variety of OCA Low and High sneakers. Sustainable and eco-conscious materials are a big part of Cariuma’s brand, and they use everything from canvas, rubber, and leather (both vegan and not) to make their stuff.

So some of us really loved getting the packages in the mail. Like, really, really loved it.

Tamanna: The first thing that caught my eye when I received the shoes was minimal packaging. I have reused, repurposed, and recycled every part of the packaging, which is rare for an international online order. 

Tamanna showing off her Cariuma OCA Low Navy Canvas sneakers.
Tamanna showing off her Cariuma OCA Low Navy Canvas sneakers.

Aafiyah: The box is bright and colorful. I love it! To this day, I still put my shoes back in the box so that I have an excuse to keep the box.

I have reused, repurposed, and recycled every part of the packaging, which is rare for this sort of order. —Tamanna

Tiara: When the shoes arrived at my door, I was so excited! I’m a massive shopping junkie, and I absolutely adored the Cariuma packaging. I know it sounds strange but I loved that the box was completely sealed. I hate when I order shoes that come in the traditional box because they’re always half-open. I’ve had instances when my shoes come all messed up. I especially liked that Cariuma sends you two pairs of shoelaces because it allows me to play around with my style a lot more. 

Deema Alawa / The Tempest Media, Inc.

…and how things went down when we threw our fresh pairs on for the first day out:

Yannise: Putting on the OCA Low Stripe Leopard Suede sneakers wasn’t difficult, and they surprisingly had some height to them (I am 5’1 and love those extra inches). Since I was going to work, I wore light blue high-waisted jeans, a gray long-sleeved top, and an oversized black jacket. Usually, I wear long socks, but this time I chose to wear ankle socks with these shoes. Big mistake.

Yannise Jean rocks the Cariuma OCA Low Stripe Leopard sneakers.
Yannise rocks the Cariuma OCA Low Stripe Leopard Suede sneakers.

Not only was it a rainy day, but the back of my socks slid off of my heel, making the commute somewhat uncomfortable. Can’t blame that on the sneakers, but definitely make sure you’re wearing longer socks if you rock the low tops (or no socks!). 

Tamanna: I got the OCA Low Navy Canvas sneakers. I was excited because they aren’t completely neutral and can bring some understated color to an outfit. On my first day, I styled them with wide pants and a colorful button-up. I love that they didn’t take away from my overall look, but were also interesting in their own right. Over the next few days, I styled these sneakers with midi skirts, jeans, and dresses. 

I styled the shoes with a metallic blue skirt from Zara and Madewell shirt and the sneakers pulled the entire look together, giving a classic edge to street style. —Deema

Meagan: When I pulled out my OCA High All Camel Suede sneakers, I couldn’t wait for daylight to try them out – I decided to go out that night. I immediately put in the brown laces (the OCA sneakers come with two shoelace colors) and was off to a winery with some friends. I combined them with jeans and a green flannel shirt. I looked cute.

Meagan rocking her Cariuma OCA High All Camel Suede sneakers.

Deema: I tried the OCA Low Off White Canvas sneakers on the spot and instantly felt relieved that I didn’t have to worry about creasing the soft canvas. The shoe’s low-cut heel and complementary off-white canvas gave the shoe texture, adopting street style’s shift to juxtaposing textures while retroactively supporting sustainable fashion. I styled the shoes with a metallic blue skirt from Zara and Madewell shirt and the sneakers pulled the entire look together, giving a classic edge to street style.

Tiara Jenkins rocking the Cariuma XXX
Tiara rocking the Cariuma OCA Low All Black Suede sneakers.

Tiara: The next morning I styled the OCA Low All Black Suede sneakers with my normal work attire: black slacks and a sweater, and took off. When I wear shoes with no support I can almost immediately feel the shock in my ankles when my feet hit the concrete, but that wasn’t the case this time! I can’t say I made it all the way to work without any twinges of normal discomfort, but they’re much more comfortable than most of my other shoes. My ankles remained supported and for me, that’s a win.

Deema Alawa / The Tempest Media, Inc.
Deema Alawa / The Tempest Media, Inc.

Now that our week with Cariuma is over, here are our main takeaways:

Meagan: I will say that the next day my butt was a little sore…strange right? I wonder if the shoes act like shape-ups and help tone my legs while I wear them? Technically, they aren’t meant for that, but that’s my belief. Honestly, these are cute-ass sneaks that match with a ton of different stuff and they are ethically-created. Plus I didn’t experience any of those first-day-of-wearing-new-shoes blisters. The price for what you’re getting? Worth it.  

Aafiyah rocking the Cariuma OCA Low cloud grey suede sneakers.

Aafiyah: To be completely honest, initially, the inner sole cushioning worried me slightly, and that I would feel it against my foot. However, it’s felt like I’ve been walking on a cloud. 

Honestly, these are cute-ass sneaks that match with a ton of different stuff. —Meagan

Since I first heard about Cariuma through The Tempest (they’re not that well-known in the UK), I was worried about how good these shoes actually were. To date, though, none of my other shoes compare to the comfort of these sneakers. Since the first day I slipped these on, they remain my go-to for whenever I have to do something for long periods of time. I’m a massive fan.

The shoes are light, somewhat airy, so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything less than a cloud. —Yannise

Tamanna: I love these sneakers, and they’re going in my regular rotation! Even after my busiest days, my feet didn’t get cramps like they usually had before I discovered Cariuma. There was a break-in period for me (I mostly felt it on my ankles), but after a week, they felt like a second skin. These days, you’ll find me in my Cariumas if you run into me – so my verdict? Hell yes. 

Tiara: To my surprise, I was pleasantly comfortable in my Cariumas – but! Cariuma, if you’re reading this: in the future, I’d love to see a little bit more cushion or arch support, for those of us with foot problems. I feel like it’s possible to have cute shoes that both help out the wearer and the environment. 

[We reached out and asked Cariuma, and they stated that”our insole is completely removable and can be replaced with special insoles as needed by the wearer!”]

Even after my busiest days, my feet didn’t get cramps like they usually had before I discovered Cariuma. —Tamanna

Deema: The shoes did not disappoint. I’ve been wearing my Cariumas for over a month now, and the fact that they only get more comfortable every day makes me a die-hard supporter. The shoe’s classic look and resilience to wear and tear consistently delivers, making them one of my favorite accessories. Absolute 10/10 on quality, style, and performance. 

Yannise: The shoes are light, somewhat airy, so it doesn’t feel like you’re dragging your feet (which is a massive plus if you live in New York City). Of course, they will feel a little tight when you first wear them, just like with any new shoe. But they’re perfect for styling with any type of wear—casual, formal, dressy, etc. Overall? Ten outta ten.


So now, when you see Cariuma on Instagram you’ll know what they’re all about — and if you want a pair of your own, check out their online store. In the words of one of our fave memes:

[Image description: Shia LaBeouf in front of a green screen, saying
[Image description: Shia LaBeouf in front of a green screen, saying “Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Just do it!”] via Giphy

Seriously. Find your solemates today – before they go out of stock!

Hair Skin Care Fashion Beauty Lookbook

Best of The Tempest 2019: 20 Lookbook articles that made us feel seen, heard and celebrated

Fashion has always been known as an arena for challenging the status quo. This was more than apparent in 2019, when modest fashion finally entered the mainstream, influential figures deconstructed gender binaries, and conversations opened up about sustainability and ethics in the world of fast fashion.

As you’ll see in the following stories, fashion isn’t just for straight, thin, white people. Lovers of fashion come in all different shapes, from all different races, and all across the gender spectrum. What constitutes as fashion is no longer decided by the elite, and the diverse voices in fashion that emerged this past year prove that.

What makes Lookbook an integral part of The Tempest is that we have writers and editors who think critically about the ways in which politics, culture and activism intersect with fashion and beauty. As trends change with every coming season, one thing remains the same: the fight for POC, trans and fat people to be included and celebrated in the industry.

Our writers discussed and analyzed an endless variety of topics, from new and emerging trends, to the importance of brands catering to all their consumers, to cultural appropriation and the weird, sexist histories that permeate our current culture. We hope that you read these articles and leave feeling enlightened, informed and ready to take on 2020 with a fresh perspective.

Here are 20 of the best Lookbook stories from 2019:

1. What I really mean when I talk about skincare

What I really mean when I talk about skincare

Skincare has gone through many changes. Once a political, revolutionary act, it’s now become watered down by capitalism. In this piece, our former Managing Editor

2. Yasmeena Rasheed is working for free to offer good representation for Muslim women

Yasmeena Rasheed is working for free to offer good representation for Muslim women

Modest fashion really had its moment this year and hijabi influencer Yasmeena Rasheed is making sure everyone knows it. writes about the demeaning treatment of Muslim women in the fashion industry and how—despite doing all this work for free — Yasmeena doesn’t mind losing out on a check if it means that Muslim women can get the representation they need. Despite the disgraceful lack of pay, she’s worked hard to spread the message that modest fashion isn’t just for Muslim women.

3. Dressing modestly doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the latest trends

Dressing modestly doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the latest trends

Everyone is entitled to wear what makes them feel comfortable. That’s the beauty of fashion. It’s a personal decision we make every day, choosing how we’ll express ourselves in the world. Some people enjoy showing more skin than others, but most popular clothing retailers offer very few options for those who want to cover up. In this piece, breaks down the rise in interest in modest fashion and how covering up doesn’t mean sacrificing style.

4. The Verona Collection and Macy’s partnership is history in the making

The Verona Collection and Macy’s partnership is history in the making

Is it safe to say that 2019 was the year of modest fashion? writes about The Verona Collection and Macy’s collab bringing modest fashion into the mainstream. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented.

5. The size of women’s pockets have a strange, sexist, and oppressive history

The size of women’s pockets have a strange, sexist, and oppressive history

Most women have thought about the reason why their pockets are so damn small while men have so much space in theirs. For women’s clothing, pockets are regarded as nothing more than a useless decoration on your jeans. I mean, what can you realistically fit in there besides, like, a small crumpled up piece of paper? explores the history behind the pocket phenomenon, and – surprise! – it’s sexist.

6. Your brand isn’t body-positive if you don’t make clothing for fat people

Your brand isn’t body-positive if you don’t make clothing for fat people

In case you didn’t know, yes, thin privilege is real. Brands can pretend to be as “body-positive” as they like, but it doesn’t mean anything if they’re still only catering to a very thin consumer base. argues that you can’t truly be body-positive if you’re not making clothing for fat people. Thin people have unlimited clothing options, while for fat people, the number dwindles with each rising size. It’s high time that clothing brands cater to people of ALL sizes.

7. Camp fashion is about making a beautiful statement; it’s not an excuse to be tacky

Camp fashion is about making a beautiful statement; it’s not an excuse to be tacky

The Met Gala is arguably one of the biggest fashion events of the year. While we were all rightfully missing the queen of the Gala herself, Rihanna, this year’s theme had everyone scratching their heads. The theme was ‘camp’. wrote about what exactly camp is and how the trend — started by Black drag queens — has leaked into the mainstream.

8. If you’re afraid to show your self-harm scars this summer, this is for you

If you’re afraid to show your self-harm scars this summer, this is for you

Overcoming dark times can feel deeply empowering, especially if we’ve gone through the journey with people who care for us. Sometimes, along with that journey, those dark times leave scars. Whether they’re emotional or physical, these wounds tell a story that only we can choose to tell. wrote about physical scars and the anxiety over whether or not to reveal them, particularly in the summer when everyone is showing skin, and offers tips to ease your worried mind.

9. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of braids

Here’s everything you need to know about the history of braids

Most people’s introduction to cultural appropriation comes from braids.  Braids aren’t relegated to Black culture, and in this article shows us that braids go back thousands of years and across numerous cultures. But the problem lies in Black people who wear braids facing discrimination — being denied employment, suspended from school, etc — while white people are praised and emulated for wearing the same styles.

10. A look back on Victoria’s Secret’s controversial history in light of the annual fashion show’s cancellation

A look back on Victoria’s Secret’s controversial history in light of the annual fashion show’s cancellation

A big surprise for the fashion world this year was Victoria’s Secret canceling their lauded fashion show after 23 years. The news came just a year after the brand’s CEO made offensive comments about trans and fat bodies. wrote about the controversial history of the company and how this cancellation was actually a long time coming. Who needs them when we have Savage x Fenty?

11. How Black fashion became a radical political statement

How Black fashion became a radical political statement

Many of today’s most influential figures in the world of fashion are Black – Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief for British Vogue, Virgil Abloh, artistic director for Louis Vuitton and founder and CEO of Off-White, and Rihanna, who made waves in fashion, beauty and lingerie this year, and became the first Black woman to join the luxury LVMH group. Black fashion has always been political, particularly in response to and in defiance of oppression and appropriation. In this article, Nasira Pratt takes us back in time to Black fashion’s origins.

12. It’s time we start rethinking the way we shop in a world that values consumerism

It’s time we start rethinking the way we shop in a world that values consumerism

This past year in particular has prompted many questions and conversations about fast fashion and its impact on workers and the environment. The rise in popularity of online retailers and increasingly quick turnaround time of fast fashion giants such as Zara and H&M has only served to intensify consumer culture. Alice Draper explores the seemingly inescapable clutches of capitalism and offers some tips on how best to avoid our consumerist urges.

13. Here’s your definitive guide to modest dressing during the summer

Here’s your definitive guide to modest dressing during the summer

Modest dressing’s worst enemy by far is the summer. It’s hard to find ways to cover up that won’t result in heightened irritability and discomfort at best, heatstroke at worst. Amrita Chakraborty offers some tips on how to stay cool and cute during the summer months.

14. Every time I visit the salon, the West African braiders weave my culture into my hair

Every time I visit the salon, the West African braiders weave my culture into my hair

Hair braiding salons run by West African women with years of experience in the art of braiding are a community of their own, writes Modupe Adio. Making the discomfort and boredom of sitting in a chair for hours on end slightly more bearable, these braiders have built an institution that has become an integral part of Black culture – but gentrification and rising scrutiny from government officials are putting these women’s very livelihoods at risk.

15. The rise and fall of Forever 21 and the reinterpretation of fast fashion

The rise and fall of Forever 21 and the reinterpretation of fast fashion

Clothing giant Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy in September 2019, leaving many to question whether fast fashion was facing a reckoning of sorts. Attiya Latif writes about how the company’s fall does not signify the slow death of fast fashion but rather a reinterpretation of it. Fast fashion is experiencing a revamp via online retailers such as ASOS, whose affordable prices, quick delivery times and environmentally-aware advertising are more appealing than ever to consumers.

16. My skin is brown and it’s still effing lovely

My skin is brown and it’s still effing lovely

Colourism continues to be a huge issue in Desi communities – women with darker skin tones are considered less attractive than those with lighter skin, made fun of because of their skin colour, and have to endure constant suggestions and unsolicited advice on how to lighten their skin. Sahar Arshad writes about this particularly cruel side-effect of South-Asia’s colonial hangover, and you should definitely hand out copies to every aunty you know.

17. Here’s why many feminist clothing brands aren’t fighting the patriarchy

Here’s why many feminist clothing brands aren’t fighting the patriarchy

Alice Draper wrote this insightful piece about how fast fashion brands use slogans and ideals related to feminism for commercial gain while simultaneously exploiting workers and enforcing unethical and unsustainable production methods – actions that stand in direct opposition to the values of feminism. While highlighting the hypocrisy of these brands, she also recommends a number of smaller brands that uphold true feminist principles.

18. A lot of what’s wrong with Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video has to do with clothing

A lot of what’s wrong with Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video has to do with clothing

In this analysis of Taylor Swift’s music video for her single “You Need to Calm Down”, Zoe Marquedant writes about how one of the aspects of her video that Swift got glaringly wrong was its representation of homophobia and bigoted individuals. In her video, Swift offers an over-simplified, stereotypical depiction of hatred and bigotry, which ultimately does more harm than good.

19. If you’re dealing with hair loss, don’t worry – you aren’t the only one

If you’re dealing with hair loss, don’t worry – you aren’t the only one

Hair loss in women remains something of a taboo subject, rarely ever discussed and almost never depicted in mainstream media and entertainment. Femininity is so inherently linked with thick, healthy hair, particularly in South Asian cultures, that experiencing hair loss can be an extremely painful and isolating experience. Amrita Chakraborty writes about why hair loss in women is treated as if it doesn’t exist, despite the statistic that a third of all women will experience hair loss during their lifetime.

20. 7 tips on how to keep your shopping habits fashion-forward and sustainable

7 tips on how to keep your shopping habits fashion-forward and sustainable

And finally, a little something to help you out if one of your new year’s resolutions is to shop more sustainably. Attiya Latif offers a list of tips on how to achieve the wardrobe of your dreams through responsible, ethical means. Easily applicable and adaptable to any and all types of shoppers, let this list be one of the many steps you take this year to be kinder to our planet and its inhabitants.

Fashion Beauty Lookbook

20 of the biggest moments in fashion and beauty in 2019

If we could sum up 2019 in one word, it would be ‘chaotic’. From dealing with our insane administration, climate change strikes, and the ending of fashion eras, it’s been a long year. But it’s also the year of fresh faces in fashion and beauty, new up-and-coming icons who are giving us a sneak peek of what’s to come in 2020 and beyond. It’s the end of a decade, of an era, but it’s also the beginning of something new.

Looking back at the past year, the worlds of fashion and beauty have made progressive strides that we’d like to see continued, as well as a few missteps which we hope serve as lessons learned. Here are the 20 biggest moments in fashion and beauty in 2019:

1. Rihanna becomes the first Black woman to own an LVMH brand

Image result for rihanna luxury fenty
[Image description: Rihanna standing in front of a wall that reads FENTY.COM] Via Newsweek.
While we didn’t get a new album this year, Rihanna delivered on the fashion front by making history as the first Black woman to have her brand with LVMH. If you don’t know, LVMH is the fashion conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton and Dior. The thing about luxury fashion lines is that there isn’t anything different in the process, but Rihanna doesn’t follow the crowd. What makes her luxury brand Fenty so unique is that the shop is exclusively online and releases on a schedule different from the fashion seasonal calendar. Ms. Fenty gave luxury a modern update, now if only she could give us that album.

2. Victoria’s Secret loses it’s angel wings

Image result for victorias secret show
[Image description: A model at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.] Via Adweek.
Last year, Victoria’s Secret CEO Jan Singer came under fire for defending the brand’s lack of inclusivity by stating that trans and fat bodies aren’t part of anyone’s fantasy (which we know is a lie). Even though the brand would soon part ways with the CEO and work with a trans model for the first time, their efforts would not be enough. We’re no longer accepting boundaries being placed on beauty, which explains why the annual Victoria’s Secret show had record low views in 2018. In November, the problematic brand decided to cancel the show altogether. It will be interesting to see how the brand shapes up in 2020.

3. Savage X Fenty breaks the fashion show mold

Image result for savage fenty show 2019
[Image description: Rihanna and models at the 2019 Savage x Fenty show.] Via Variety.
Our favorite multi-hyphenated creative, Rihanna, stayed on our necks all year. In the 3rd annual Savage X Fenty show, Rihanna did things a little differently. The event was streamed on Amazon Prime, it was part fashion show, part documentary and part concert, with an array of musical performances. Rihanna has always spoken about the importance of diversity within her brand and she made sure to keep her promise. Apart from the celebrity models, there were models of different races, disabled models, and plus-sized models. It was truly one of the greatest fashion shows we’ve seen in a long time. I guess you could say that Fenty may be what killed off Victoria’s Secret for good.

4. Beyoncé makes money moves with the relaunch of IVY PARK

Image result for beyonce ivy park
[Image description: Long braids with beads that read IVY PARK.] Via @beyonce on Instagram.
After Topshop CEO Sir Philip Green was accused of sexual assault, Beyoncé ended her joint athleisure line, IVY PARK, with the company. Now, Beyoncé is the first Black woman to own an athleisure brand, and back in April, she announced that she would be launching the brand in collaboration with Adidas. The collection is set to launch on January 18th, with hints that the entire collection will be gender-neutral. While we still have a few more weeks to go, you can see sneak peeks of her line on Queen Bey’s Instagram. This line might just be the motivation you need to get into the gym.

5. The Squad bring progressive politics and style into Congress

Image result for 116th congress inauguration
[Image description: Women representatives in Congress.] Via The New York Times.
In the political arena, we saw more women being sworn into Congress than ever before at the 116th US Congress inauguration. We had a record number of African-American women being sworn in, as well as the first Native American and Muslim women being sworn in. Not only did they make strong statements with their policies, but they did it with their fashion too. Ilhan Omar took her oath while wearing her hijab, Rashida Tlaib wore a traditional Palenstitan thobe, and Representative Deb Haaland wore a Pueblo dress and mocassins to represent her Native American culture.

6. Celebrities have tiny bag energy

Image result for lizzo tiny bag
[Image description: Singer Lizzo with a tiny bag.] Via
Tiny bags had a big moment this year. From Rihanna to Lizzo, tiny bags were one of our favorite trends of 2019. Lizzo’s tiny Valentino bag quickly became a meme, with Twitter users guessing what she was carrying. Is it our patience? Our will to live? The world may never know.

7. Forever 21 files for bankruptcy

Image result for forever 21
[Image description: Entrance to Forever 21.] Via
If you were a teenager during the 2000s, its more than likely that you spent a lot of your free time at the mall. The mall was a place where brands like H&M and Forever 21 reigned supreme, and most teenagers you ask would probably tell you the same. Back in September, Forever 21 announced that they were filing for bankruptcy and closing over 178 stores in the process. Forever 21 is one of the biggest names in fast fashion, so hearing that they’re closing their doors incited mixed feelings of surprise, sadness, and hope. Maybe this is just the beginning of the end for fast fashion.

8. Jenny from the block shuts down the runway in an iconic dress

Image result for j lo green dress
[Image description: Jennifer Lopez wearing a green Versace dress.] Via Variety.
In June, the incomparable J.Lo was honored with the CFDA Fashion Icon Award. As 2019 was a year of throwbacks thanks to it marking the end of the decade, a lot of 2000s fashion trends started quietly making their way into modern fashion. To pay homage to the past, and the green Versace dress that helped propel her to stardom, J.Lo rocked the runway in that same iconic green dress that she wore to the Grammys in 2000. Almost twenty years later and J.Lo still looks that damn good.

9. Billy Porter strikes a pose on the red carpets

Image result for billy porter dress
[Image description: Billy Porter in a tuxedo dress.] Via Hollywood Reporter.
And the category is…. style icon! 2019 belonged to Pose actor Billy Porter. Not only did he become the first gay Black man to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Pose, but he also ruled the red carpet. At the Academy Awards, he wore a custom Christian Siriano tuxedo gown, showing other men that it’s okay to have fun with fashion. Billy Porter is a personality, and he’s not above expressing himself. He understands how important fashion is when it comes to representing who you are and how everyone needs to feel comfortable in their skin. Billy Porter was also one of the few men who understood the 2019 Met Gala’s camp theme.

10. Sunday Riley’s fake reviews are exposed

Image result for sunday riley
[Image description: Skincare products from Sunday Riley.] Via Elle.
Expensive skincare doesn’t always mean that it’s good for your skin. Sunday Riley is a notoriously expensive brand, known for its ‘good’ reviews and high prices. According to the FTC, Sunday Riley had their employees write fake reviews and dislike negative ones to boost their sales. Yes, fake reviews are against the law! While the company did settle with the FTC after the incident was exposed, consumers’ trust in the brand seems nonexistent following the scandal.

11. Meghan Markle guest edits British Vogue

The cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue alongside a black and white photo of Meghan Markle.
[Image description: The cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue alongside a black and white photo of Meghan Markle.] Via News on the Flipside.
Meghan Markle’s 2018 marriage to Prince Harry marked many changes in how the royal family operates and is perceived, from her being the first Black woman to marry into the British monarchy to carrying out her royal duties on her own terms, maintaining her individuality, and publicly aligning herself with causes she believes in. And in 2019, everyone’s favourite Duchess took her talents to guest editing the September issue of British Vogue. In the issue, titled ‘Forces for Change’, she highlights trailblazing women from around the world, from activists to artists to politicians.

12. Karl Lagerfeld dies

Karl Lagerfeld wears a black suit and sunglasses and looks towards the camera.
[Image description: Karl Lagerfeld wears a black suit and sunglasses and looks towards the camera.] Via BBC.
Karl Lagerfeld, one of fashion’s most prolific figures and former creative director for Chanel and Fendi, passed away in February 2019. Known best for transforming and modernising Chanel after joining the French fashion powerhouse a decade after Coco Chanel’s death, Lagerfeld was as controversial as he was renowned. Criticised for his comments about the #MeToo movement and for condemning Germany’s open-door migration policy, Lagerfeld’s insensitive and bigoted beliefs no doubt tainted his creative legacy for many.

13. The polka-dot Zara dress steals the summer

Two women model a long, loose black and white polka-dot dress by Zara.
[Image description: Two women model a long, loose black and white polka dot-dress by Zara.] Via Zara.
A full-length, relatively shapeless polka dot dress went viral this past summer, with the unexpected side-effect of creating an online community dedicated solely to styling and altering the dress in a myriad of different ways and creating something of a sisterhood among it’s wearers. The dress boosted Zara’s sales worldwide, with Zara’s parent company Inditex growing by 5 per cent over a 6-month period, and even got its very own Instagram account. The dress’ popularity largely owes to its offering something for everyone – it’s versatile, adaptable to all seasons, modest-fashion friendly, and works for all body types.

14. Timothée Chalamet’s red carpet style wins him White Boy of the Year

Timothée Chalamet walks the red carpet in a gray silk suit.
[Image description: Timothée Chalamet walks the red carpet in a gray silk suit.] Via @tchalamet on Instagram.
We all acknowledge and submit to the phenomenon that is White Boy of the Month. Popular past recipients include Chad Michael Murray (sometime in the early 2000s), Noah Centineo (August 2018), and Harry Styles (all of eternity). Timothée, however, has won White Boy of the Year this past year solely due to a steady stream of downright delightful red-carpet looks. From the sequinned black harness at the Golden Globes to the hot-pink suit at the Little Women premiere (accessorised with an Eiffel Tower keyring, no less), to my personal favourite, the belted gray silk suit at the Venice Film Festival. All other men, take note.

15. Tevas have a brief but memorable moment

Three models wear sandals from the Teva x Outdoor Voices collection.
[Image description: Three models wear sandals from the Teva x Outdoor Voices collection.] Via Teva.
Teva sandals unexpectedly rose to fame this past summer on the basis of their unfailing practicality. Apparently the only instance in which Velcro is not only acceptable but also encouraged, Tevas follow Birkenstocks and dad sneakers in the latest trend of comfort-first, aesthetics-last footwear. Adding to its appeal is Tevas’ adaptability to any activity on any terrain, from hiking to the beach to a barbecue. Ranked the hottest women’s shoe and second hottest women’s product for the second quarter of 2019 on this year’s Lyst Index, Tevas’ popularity has become somewhat more subdued towards the end of the year, but we’re all for a resurgence in Spring/Summer 2020.

16. Law Roach makes a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after stylists

Law Roach and Zendaya walk the pink carpet at the 2019 Met Gala.
[Image description: Law Roach and Zendaya walk the pink carpet at the 2019 Met Gala.] Via Getty Images.
Law Roach, known on Instagram as @luxurylaw, is perhaps most often associated with Zendaya. Credited for some of her most show-stopping red carpet looks, Roach also worked on the actress’ recent 1970s-inspired collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy X Zendaya, presented at the Apollo Theater during New York Fashion Week . Roach is no stranger to styling big names – he’s also worked with Celine Dion, Anne Hathaway, and Ariana Grande, among others. 2019 has brought Roach increased visibility and he’s become one of the most in-demand stylists in the entertainment business. Vocal about the lack of Black stylists being granted opportunities to work with Hollywood A-listers and their exclusion from narratives surrounding fashion and clothing, Roach is a creative trailblazer who shows no signs of stopping.

17. Fashion Nova gets called out – but was it all a publicity stunt?

Kim Kardashian's vintage Thierry Mugler dress alongside its Fashion Nova replica.
[Image description: Kim Kardashian’s vintage Thierry Mugler dress alongside its Fashion Nova replica.] Via Business Insider.
Fast fashion retailers like ASOS, Fashion Nova, Missguided and Pretty Little Thing have made a business of copying celebrities’ and influencers’ styles and outfits, and mass-producing and churning out these designs within days to legions of online shoppers. The process has often brought into question issues of plagiarism and creative license, all of which were brought to the fore this past February when Fashion Nova debuted a replica of a black vintage Thierry Mugler dress worn by Kim Kardashian only a day after she was seen wearing it. Despite the Kardashians’ past collaborations with fast fashion retailers, Kim lashed out at Fashion Nova on both Instagram and Twitter for copying the Mugler dress. Fashion watchdog Diet Prada, however, suggested that since the dress was knocked off by Fashion Nova so quickly, Kim’s team must have tipped them off in advance. That Kim’s sisters have advertised Fashion Nova’s products and continued to work with the brand throw her side of the story into further question.

18. The 90s came back with a vengeance

The Spice Girls smile and pose for the camera.
[Image description: The Spice Girls smile and pose for the camera.] Via NME.
2019 brought with it an onslaught of nostalgia, with reboots dominating the entertainment industry and the internet developing an avid fascination with 90s fashion, beauty, and aesthetics, aided by Instagram accounts like Nineties Anxiety. For most millennials, the 90s is a holy time, protected by a soft sheen of childhood innocence, morning cartoons, and no internet. So it makes sense that so many of us want to go back in time, even if the only way we can is by how we dress and what we watch. From leopard print to bucket hats to oval-shaped sunglasses, the 90s are back, baby.

19. Princess Diana dominates Instagram

Two photos of Princess Diana walking down the street wearing different combinations of bicycle shorts, oversized sweatshirts, and chunky sneakers.
[Image description: Two photos of Princess Diana walking down the street wearing different combinations of bicycle shorts, oversized sweatshirts, and chunky sneakers.] Via Marie Claire.
An extension of our obsession with the 90s, I couldn’t scroll through my Instagram Explore page once in 2019 without seeing a photo of Princess Diana, usually wearing some 90s interpretation of athleisure, looking flawless and busy, as if she had better things to be doing than being a timeless fashion icon. We’re not complaining, though. We could always use a photo of Princess Di in dad sneakers and an oversized Harvard sweatshirt to brighten up our day.

20. Zendaya continues to thrive

Zendaya wears an emerald-green strapless dress with a thigh-high slit. Her hair is dyed red.
[Image description: Zendaya wears an emerald-green strapless dress with a thigh-high slit. Her hair is dyed red.] Via Revelist.
Named 2019’s Woman of the Year by GQ Australia, Zendaya’s influence and success this past year have been undeniable. In addition to starring in Euphoria and debuting her Tommy X Zendaya line at New York Fashion Week, Zendaya was also responsible for some of this past year’s most stunning red carpet looks. From her green Poison Ivy-inspired Vera Wang dress at the Emmys, to the all-orange Carolina Herrera look she wore for an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, to when she paired her newly-dyed red hair with an Alexandre Vauthier pantsuit in London, 2019 was the year Zendaya proved that, style-wise, she’s a cut above all the rest.

Here’s to hoping 2020 brings us more progress, innovation and evolution in the worlds of fashion and beauty!

Pop Culture

Best of The Tempest 2019: 13 of our favorite Pop Culture stories

Here we go again. The end of a year which also happens to be the end of a decade. It’s now time to weigh everything in and evaluate what kind of year it was. 2018 was a ‘meh’ year for Pop Culture, where so many good things happened that they almost, almost outweighed the bad.

2019 has also been a whirlwind of pressing pop culture moments. From end-of-an-era milestones like Avengers: Endgame, the final season of Game of Thrones, and The Rise of Skywalker, to an egg dominating Instagram and the notorious Fyre Festival. These are but shallow offerings in comparison to the nuances layered beneath. 

At The Tempest, our commitment to pop culture has always been to explore deeper, personal issues. 

What’s the impact pop culture is having? How are things changing? What are we doing to hold those with influence accountable?

The roundup ahead is simply 13 pieces we’ve published this year that we believe are dedicated to the tenets we’ve built our vertical on. As you revisit (or visit for the first time!) these pieces, we ask you to move into 2020 with us with a more critical eye but also optimism; hope that with our words we’re changing things for the better.

1. False Gods and the religious evolution of Taylor Swift by Chloe Hadavas

False Gods and the religious evolution of Taylor Swift

We are all, in large part, looking for the divine.

It’s been a great year for Taylor. Her album Lover smashed records and she was named Billboard’s Artist of the Decade. Where does faith fit in all of this? Does she even believe in (any) God? The answer might just shock you.

2. “Supergirl” Melissa Benoist makes a valiant admission to being a survivor of domestic abuse by Mishal Nawaz

“Supergirl” Melissa Benoist makes a valiant admission to being a survivor of domestic abuse

Let this moral from a real-life superhero not go to waste.

We were all shocked by the news that Supergirl herself, Melissa Benoist, had been a victim of domestic abuse for years. Our hearts broke at her honest confession. The author of this piece explores how this revelation made her feel in relation to her own past experiences.

3. Let’s not pretend that Chuck Bass was some sort of Prince Charming by Maheen Humayun

Let’s not pretend that Chuck Bass was some sort of Prince Charming

Love should never justify treating women as objects.

Gossip Girl premiered in 2007 and for six years it pressed its misogynistic views of romance and chivalry onto a wide cast of impressionable viewers. The author dove back in over a decade later and highlighted just how toxic (and highly romanticized) one of the show’s main characters was. 

4. How Toni Morrison brought life into a generation of Black writers by Yannise Jean

How Toni Morrison brought life into a generation of Black writers

There’s no writer I know that does not fear Morrison.

August saw the passing of one the world’s most prominent writers, Toni Morrison. Her work was best known for exploring black identity in America. Jean, a black author herself in America, pens a beautiful piece about Morrison’s impact on her writing, the tools she’s now equipped with, and the importance of not bending to the pressures of writing for a community outside your own.

5. Ariana Grande’s excessive use of fake tan is ‘blackfishing,’ and that’s a real problem by Sara Hussain

Ariana Grande’s excessive use of fake tan is ‘blackfishing,’ and that’s a real problem

Celebrities like her profit off of black culture.

We love Ari, her voice, and her music. But we also need to call her out on her behavior when she’s being problematic. The author of this piece unpacks the pop star’s image and coded behavior through the difficult concept of blackfishing – when a white person deliberately employs a darker skin tone and AAVE to appear black.

6. How Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven is redefining the portrayal of morally ambivalent women by Mishma Nixon

How Amazon Prime’s “Made in Heaven” is redefining the portrayal of morally ambivalent women

Tara is the kind of female character that is never written into stories.

Nixon writes about one of her favorite shows, the sadly underrated Made In Heaven on Amazon Prime. What may look like a story behind a typical Indian wedding, conceals so much more. Its protagonists are real gems, refreshingly gray people that stem so far away from the stereotypical good and bad characters. The show is definitely worth a watch.

7. BTS are (finally) subverting their own old sexism with their new concept by Saira Mahmood

BTS are (finally) subverting their own old sexism with their new concept

We’ve grown up, we’re sorry, we know better now.

Everyone can make mistakes, even the wildly popular boyband BTS. Not everyone always makes amends, but luckily, they did. Author Mahmood proudly delves into a deep analysis of their new, woke ways through more recent iconography and lyrics.

8. Disney’s Aladdin is bragging about “representation,” but we’re still stuck in the desert by Lara Azar

Disney’s Aladdin is bragging about “representation,” but we’re still stuck in the desert

What do we do for positive representation?

This piece aims to analyze where we actually are on MENA representation in Hollywood with empirical data. No sugarcoating it. We’re still “stuck in the desert” because it’s rare to see someone with MENA origins playing a character that’s not either involved in a terrorist attempt or in an ancient, magical story.

9. Ramy Youssef on what it’s like disrupting Hollywood’s typical Muslim narrative – and on what keeps him going by Aysha Qamar

Youssef isn’t your typical actor.

Our staff writer Aysha Qamar had the opportunity to interview the one-and-only Ramy Youssef. They talked about his new show Ramy, what he thinks of current Muslim representation in media, and much much more in this honest interview.

10. How my brain tumor affected my career as a thriller writer by A.F. Brady

How my brain tumor affected my career as a thriller writer

I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news.

Few of us come face-to-face with our mortality at a young age. Even fewer of us, perhaps, find the strength to continue afterwards. Brady, who is a published writer of several books, recounts her decade-long journey of post-diagnosis, reflecting upon the aftermath and the journey it pushed her on since. 

11. Seeing yourself as a songbird: how Tuca & Bertie on Netflix gave women a mirror by Zoe Marquedant

Seeing yourself as a songbird: how “Tuca & Bertie” on Netflix gave women a mirror

In an animated world, is anything inanimate?

The question that this article sets to answer is, how can a cartoon be more realistic than your regular sitcom? Somehow, finds our author, it is. Tuca and Bertie might be two cartoonized birds, but they’re realer women than the protagonists of Sex and the City or Friends are. Watch this show for an oddly realistic portrayal of millennial women.

12. Here’s why I have major issues with women’s body hair in Hollywood by Alice Draper

Here’s why I have major issues with women’s body hair in Hollywood

Is television finally starting to embrace female body hair?

Women’s bodies are constantly under the microscope, with every emotional and physical attribute put on display to be judged. And when it comes to body hair, this author highlights mass media’s one-dimensional portrayal of it and her struggle between embracing her own body hair and embracing the long-ingrained appeal of hairless bodies that we’ve been fed our whole lives.

13. We have to stop making straight celebrities our gay icons by Federica Bocco

We have to stop making straight celebrities our gay icons

I would like for a gay icon to actually… you know, be gay.

Last but certainly not least, Pop Culture editor Federica Bocco highlights how adorning Pride events with a majority of straight artists is a blatant misstep in the presence of the vast number of LGBTQ+ talent in the world. And as we head in 2020, it’s about time that the fight for representation no longer remains a fight, but a victory. 

And there you have it, our top 13 pieces for 2019. Hit us up on our Instagram with your thoughts and tell us what you’d love to see next year. See you in 2020!

Fashion Lookbook

7 fashion trends that need to die in 2020

2020 is just around the corner, which means Christmas shopping, resolutions, and jam-packed stores are well on their way. And while the ‘new year, new me’ mentality is still fresh in our minds, let’s direct that sense of renewal and change towards saying goodbye to some of fashion’s biggest sins from this past year!

I am all for self-expression, but there are some trends that really make me want to scream, “WHY?” and also, “HOW?”. The worst part is that these trends have gotten immensely popular, which is as concerning as it is surprising.

Here’s a recap of 7 fashion trends that emerged in 2019, but definitely should not make it into 2020.

1. Boiler suits

A woman wearing a dark navy blue boiler suit.
[Image description: A woman wearing a navy blue boiler suit.] Via Amazon.
I feel like this trend is having an identity crisis. I don’t even think it knows what it is, let alone what it wants you to be when you wear it.

It doesn’t know whether it wants you to be  a skydiver, a member of a quarantine unit, the latest inmate on OITNB, or an extra on Top Gun whose 4-second appearance got cut out in post-production. Whatever the case, this look does not belong in your closet.

2.  Dad sneakers

Gray, white, and blue colored jogging shoes.
[Image description: Gray, white, and blue colored jogging shoes.] Via Amazon.
I get it, they’re comfortable. They make you feel like you’re walking on air. But – and I hate to be the one to break this to you – they don’t look nice worn with dresses, skirts, or any attire that is not intended for running. They don’t compliment the outfit at all.

Besides, they’re called ‘dad sneakers’ for a reason. Pass them on to your old man and move along.

3. Bike shorts

A woman standing with one knee bent wearing a white top, white sneakers, and gray biker shorts.
[Image description: A woman standing with one knee bent wearing a white top, white sneakers, and gray bike shorts.] Via Forever 21.
I don’t even want to know why anyone thought these would be okay to wear as an everyday look. They are not complimentary at all. Say it with me: in 2020, we save gym-wear for the gym!

4. Puff-sleeves or power shoulders

A woman wearing a pink puff-sleeved shirt with a python-printed pleated skirt and black open-toed heels.
[Image description: A woman wearing a pink puff-sleeved shirt with a python-printed pleated skirt and black open-toed heels.] Via SaksFifthAvenue.
Hi, the 80s called, they want their unnecessarily dramatic shoulder silhouettes back.

I never understood why or how the padded shoulder look made its way into the fashion world, both in the 80s and now. I also don’t understand why anyone would want their shoulders to look so puffy. It makes everything look so disproportionate!

 5. Birkenstocks

A woman wearing black jeans and tan Birkenstock sandals with orange nail polish on her toes.
[Image description: A woman wearing black jeans and tan Birkenstock sandals with orange nail polish on her toes.] Via Flickr.
Why are we even having this conversation? When did this become fashion? I feel like 2019 has turned into the year of wearing anything and everything that’s in your dad’s closet. Stop it!

6. Puffy, fluffy, or pom-pom sandals

A woman with toenails painted bright white is wearing sandals covered in fluffy yellow pom-poms.
[Image description: A woman with toenails painted bright white is wearing sandals covered in fluffy yellow pom-poms.] Via IvyRose.
Unless you plan on auditioning for Sesame Street as the newest Muppet, don’t do this. I don’t care how comfortable they are, these better be the first trend to die in 2020.

7. Cargo pants

A woman stands against a white wall wearing dark cargo pants with a white shirt.
[Image description: A woman stands against a white wall wearing dark cargo pants with a white shirt.] Via Flickr.
Yet another item we’ve taken from dad’s closet! One we should have left there. This style never belonged in any year or decade unless you were a member of the armed forces. May it die in 2020 once and for all!

Which trend is your most hated, and which is your – dare I say – favorite?

Skin Care Lookbook

6 soothing products to ease your skin into winter

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Snow, hot chocolate, ice-skating, Christmas shopping, and so much more to look forward to! But while the holiday season is amazing, it can be a bit harsh on your skin. Having to transition from warmer temperatures to hand-numbing cold can do a lot of damage, which is why it’s important to incorporate skincare products that will keep your skin looking and feeling soft, smooth, and youthful, regardless of the weather.

Here are 6 products, listed in order of application, that are winter skincare must haves! While these products can and should be used year round, these particular versions are best suited to harsh winter weather.

Note:  I have very sensitive skin and have tried many different types of skincare routines over the years until I found one that was best suited for my skin.  I have combination skin, so I tend to get oily in my T-zone area, while the rest of my face is relatively dry. As with any skincare product, you should consider whether or not the product will work for your skin specifically before using it, and always do a patch test in advance!

1. Toner

Toner is a multi-purpose product. It takes away any excess dirt that might be left over after washing your face, while also adding pH balance, hydration, and clarity to the skin. I typically apply my toner with a cotton pad and wait one minute before moving on to the next step. It’s important not to use toners that have alcohol or astringents in them as these ingredients tend to dry out your skin!

A clear bottle with a red cap and a label that reads 'facial toner'.
[Image description: A clear bottle with a red cap and a label that reads ‘facial toner’.] Via Amazon.
My favorite toner is the Thayers Witch Hazel Facial Toner in Rose Petal. It is completely alcohol-free and infused with aloe vera, which gives your skin the TLC it needs and deserves!

2. Essence

There is some confusion in the beauty world as to what the difference is between toner and essence. Essence originated in Korean skincare and is intended to add moisture into the skin prior to applying any other products. It is supposed to give you a flawless base to work with and you are supposed to apply it after toner.

Typically I apply a little bit of essence into the palms of my hands, then gently dab the product into my face in an upwards, pressing motion.

A clear bottle that has red writing that reads 'SK-II'.
[Image description: A clear bottle that has red writing that reads ‘SK-II’.] Via Sephora.
My go-to essence is one by SK-II. It’s pretty pricey, but worth every dime! You’ll notice a difference in your skin within a week!

3. Serum

A serum is intended to apply moisture to the face prior to using moisturizer. Think of it as a layer of protection on the skin to ensure that all of that moisture is locked in place.

A clear bottle with a red label that says 'REVITALIFT' on it.
[Image description: A clear bottle with a red label that says ‘REVITALIFT’ on it.] Via Amazon.
My favorite serum by miles is Loreal’s Revitalift. I thought all the hype online was exaggerated, but boy does this product deliver! After using it for 2 weeks, I noticed my skin was a lot smoother and healthier looking. It also gives the skin a glow that is much-needed during colder months.

I apply a drop to my fingertips and rub them together. Then, I proceed with tapping the product into my face.

4. Moisturizer

Moisturizer is a huge step in making sure your skin doesn’t dry out during harsher seasons. Add this to your skincare routine and see the difference unfold before your eyes!

A blue container with a white lid.
[Image description: A blue container with a white lid.] Via Amazon.
I have used many different moisturizers over the years, but the one I keep going back to is Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost water gel. The formula is so lightweight yet efficient, and gets the job done without making you look like an oily mess. I like to apply a small amount into my hands and then gently dab it onto my face and neck – don’t forget the neck!

5. Oils

If you have oily skin, you might think putting oil on your face is a recipe for disaster. On the contrary, applying oils to your face will prevent your skin from over-producing its own oils. One of the best oils to use in winter weather is Rosehip oil.

A brown bottle with a red label that reads 'Certified Organic Rosehip Oil'.
[Image description: A brown bottle with a red label that reads ‘Certified Organic Rosehip Oil’.] Via Ulta.
My personal favourite is the Rosehip Oil from Trilogy. There is a reason this oil is a must have for the Duchess of Cambridge – it not only provides the moisture your skin needs, but tackles issues like acne and scarring. It’s also a proven anti-aging remedy for keeping your skin silky smooth and youthful!

6. Sunscreen

I will admit I used to skip this step in its entirety. Having read so many pieces on the importance of adding SPF to your skincare routine, I decided to incorporate it and it has made all the difference!

A white container with red and black writing on it.
[Image description: A white container with red and black writing on it.] Via Amazon.
I love the SPF by eltaMD because it is incredibly lightweight and doesn’t have that odd smell many SPFs carry. It also does wonders for sensitive skin that cannot handle strong scents, like mine. This SPF adds the sun-protection your skin needs while also delivering moisture.

Culture Books Pop Culture

How Toni Morrison brought life into a generation of Black writers

Since the announcement of Toni Morrison’s death, I’ve found it difficult to find the right prose to correctly eulogize one of America’s greatest writers. Her influence in the literary world is inescapable. She has made her mark in every Black writer work from the moment she published her lauded novel The Bluest Eye.

There is no writer I know that does not fear Morrison. Not as a person but as a writer – one that was unapologetic, ingenious, effervescent, bewitching and ever so cunning. Language became supple under her care, sentences were graceful, bountiful, and pulsing with veracity.

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” – Toni Morrison

Morrison’s words were not written with white audiences in mind, a fact that she has always unapologetically expressed throughout her decades-long career. The African-American experience has always been the focal point of her work, bursting with the quintessence of her vivid imagination. In her works, Black people – both men and women – contained multitudes, personalities as rich and luscious as her words.

But Toni Morrison’s acclaim did not come as easily as it should have.

Despite being the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature, she came across hurdles where institutions failed to recognize her genius. In the 80s, over 40 Black writers – including Paule Marshall and Maya Angelou – signed a letter in protest in The New York Times Book Review asking that Morrison be recognized for her achievements.

Her novel, Beloved, would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction a year later in 1988 (but 30 years later and a Black woman has yet to win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction again). There was no need to request a seat at the table when she had created her own.

In Morrison’s mind, the glass ceiling did not exist for her. She knew her talent was far more exceptional than many of her contemporaries and she wasn’t afraid to shake the table. In the literary world, her novels shifted any negative notions people had about Black literature and its lasting legacy in the literary canon.

Morrison’s shift within the literary canon did not begin with her first novel though but as an editor at Random House. As a curator of the Black Arts Movement in the 70s, she helped edit and publish several Black writers and the biographies of Black figures like Gayl Jones, Angela Daivs, Muhammaed Ali, Toni Cade Bambara, and Henry Dumas.

Her work as an editor and as a Black woman writer fostered a generation of Black writers, thinkers, and scholars. Morrison – along with the work of Black women writers before her – had a hand in molding our minds and showing us the limitlessness of our imaginations.

In an interview with the Guardian in 2015, she spoke about writing for a Black audience and other white authors who don’t indulge in other narratives:

“I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don’t know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them.

It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That’s what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective, there are only black people. When I say ‘people,’ that’s what I mean.”

The first novel I read of hers was The Bluest Eye in college. Anyone’s first exposure to Morrison is usually through school but, unfortunately, I was not exposed to her works until I went searching for her words on my own.

By then, I was struggling to figure out who I was as a writer. It’s simple – I wanted to write about Black people, I wanted our experiences to be apparent on the page in a way that wasn’t pandering or leaning on the aforementioned “white gaze”.

There are many Black artists who have created art that is seemingly created for us but with a different audience in mind. Using the same tools as your oppressors to tell stories is not progress, it does not dismantle the systems in place that keep us from moving forward.

“Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form.” – Toni Morrison

Morrison’s refusal to cater to the default is one of the reasons why I write about Black women of differing personalities, backgrounds, and looks. She taught me about world-building and ushering in diverse worlds full of color, texture, and beauty. I have no other way to contend with my talent and training than to honor the Black women writers before me like her, who push me to aspire to their skill.

Toni Morrison died at the age of 88; double infinity – a symbol of how her legacy does not end with her life, it will persist, expand, and transcend. We should count ourselves blessed to have lived among her time.

As a Black woman writer, Morrison was the embodiment of Black excellence, a symbol of what it means to take up space in a world that won’t make space for you but having to shimmy your way through all the noise. She knew what kind of writer she was and as I grow and learn, I have learned what kind of writer I am as well.

We must never deny nor diminish the skill needed to create art for consumption. Black literature is not just the tools to teach but a piece of art to be admired and analyzed.

Makeup Hair Skin Care Fashion Beauty Lookbook

Best of The Tempest in 2018: Lookbook

Fashion and beauty have become quite political this year, From Megan Markle’s influence as our favorite black princess, Melania’s deliberate “I Don’t Care Do U?” jacket and the various shirts created to draw up momentum for voting fashion is constantly intersecting with otherworldly topics.

Fashion isn’t just about what we’re wearing. Beauty isn’t just about the greatest hair trends. It’s about how these factors can not only influence us as individuals but how they intersect in other ways. Fashion is political and it’s always been political. There is no way around it. But while fashion became the axis of the political world, we also saw a push for more inclusion.

Consumers have spoken. With Victoria’s Secret CEO telling the world that trans and fat people are not part of his “fantasy”, it’s clear that we have more work to do when it comes to inclusion. It’s come down to either pushing these brands to include us or maybe spending our coins on brands that are true for us.

But here at The Tempest, we asked the tough questions and explored what intersectionality in the beauty industry means to us. I’m proud of everything we published. In 2018 we longer accepted the status quo of beauty, we took control of that image and made it our own. Hopefully, in 2019, we’ll get to the point where we won’t have to ask where we can find representation. Here are 9 of the best Lookbook stories from 2018:

1. Stop telling me that I’m “not like other Muslims” – just because you’ve never met another Muslim

Stop telling me that I’m “not like other Muslims”

Muslim people are not a monolith. In this piece, Zara Asad tackled Muslim stereotypes and how embracing who you are can be dangerous. Not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims, yet they’re constantly forced to demand that their humanity is seen. At the end of the day, those of us who aren’t Muslim don’t get a say in what their culture is. Western Ideology is toxic, and it’s best that they no longer speak on things they don’t understand.

2. Was the 2018 Met Gala trendy or just plain insensitive?

Was the 2018 Met Gala trendy or just plain insensitive?

Grace Wong wrote about the 2018 Met Gala’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic imagination” theme and whether this trend wasn’t insensitive. When it comes to high fashion there are no limits. Some designers like to be provocative just for the sake of being edgy. But when it comes to issues of people’s faith do they go too far?

In 2019 I’m hoping we won’t have to ask that question again.

3. My parents would punish me if they ever saw what I wore at school

My parents would punish me if they ever saw what I wore at school

When I was in high school, I remembered being upset because my mom told me I wasn’t allowed to wear ripped jeans to school. To her, ripped jeans symbolized a low economic status instead of just a fashion trend. This piece by Injie Anis hit a little too close to home. We’ve all had moments where our parents, or just society in general, try to make us ashamed of our bodies. Especially for those of us who identify as women.

However, being away from our families own internalized misogyny can be freeing. Which leads to our, and the writers, freedom to express themselves through fashion anyway they see fit.

4. Rochelle Brock is celebrating fat-positivity through her photography

Rochelle Brock is celebrating fat-positivity through her photography

Representation matters! This isn’t a new thing, but it’s been the biggest theme in 2018. Aliza Kkan interviewed photographer Rochelle Brock about how she promotes body-positivity in her photos and the importance of confidence in an industry like this.

5. When I found out why so many women remove their body hair, it made me question everything.

When I found out why so many women remove their body hair, it made me question everything

When it comes to body hair on women, it’s always controversy. Body hair is natural. We all have it! But yet when it comes to women, we must be hairless or face humiliation. Our editorial fellow, Saira Mahmood, wrote about the history of women shaving and the negative attributes attached to women who don’t shave.

Fortunately, there are a lot of women who are trying to alter stereotypes about women and body hair, advocating for women to do whatever the hell is comfortable for them. Want to shave? Go ahead. Want to keep your body hair? Go ahead. Your body, your choice.

6. Want to make your wardrobe more green? Here’s how.

Want to make your wardrobe more green? Here’s how.

There have been a lot of studies on how fashion is terrible for the environment. Editorial fellow Meg Leach wrote about how we can not only be stylish but eco-positive consumers. At the Tempest, we saw a lot of articles dedicated to shopping more ethical brands, and hopefully, in 2019, we’ll be talking about how our efforts have worked.

7. Fight the patriarchy and look fly as hell with this bad-ass F**K Kavanaugh lipstick

Fight the patriarchy and look fly as hell with this bad-ass F**K Kavanaugh lipstick

There are a lot of ways we can protest. We saw it in the Women’s March pussy hats and in the “I am a voter” t-shirts celebrities wore this year. But when it came to the Kavanaugh case, editorial fellow India Kushner wrote about the cosmetic company Lipslut and their efforts to protest against the Supreme Court nominee.

Yes, men suck. But you can not only look great in this color, but all the proceeds go to anti-sexual assault organizations that are doing great work.

8. Where are all the plus-size hijabi fashion influencers?

Where are all the plus-size hijabi fashion influencers?

What did I say earlier about representation? THAT IT MATTERS. Editorial fellow Saira Mahmood wrote about her struggles to find modest plus-size fashion and how there aren’t really any influencers who represent her. Finding plus-size fashion is a nightmare. Finding modest fashion can be stressful. But trying to find a combination of the two can be downright discouraging.

While there are some efforts, the fashion industry still needs to do better.

9. Stop shaming women into believing that aging is a curse

We still aren’t okay with women getting older. Here’s why.

We are all aging, there is no way around it. But when it comes to aging, women always get the short end of the stick. Women aren’t supposed to age. At least that’s what society tells us. Shehzeen Rehman wrote about the how we have grown accustomed to shaming aging women. We don’t just do it through words, but anti-aging products and our focus on “young” skin.

Aging isn’t a curse! It’s a beautiful thing and we need to see it as such in 2019.

Hair Fashion Beauty Lookbook Pop Culture

20 of the biggest moments in beauty and fashion in 2018

2018 was a tough year for many of us. There was a lot going on when it came to politics and world events. But in the world of beauty and fashion, there were some wins. There is a lot to be said about the state of diversity within fashion and beauty, like how it isn’t enough. But slowly we’re making strides towards more inclusivity across the board. It’s time to recap 2018 with 20 of the biggest moments in beauty and fashion in 2018:

1. Activism made its way to the Red-Carpet

[Image description: Actresses and activist Tarana Burke wearing black at 2018 Golden Globes.] Via Slate
The #MeToo movement, originally started by activist Tarana Burke, made its way to the red carpets when actors decided to wear black at the 2018 Golden Globes to show solidarity towards the movement. Some might say that the conversations surrounding it are long overdue, and others might find this kind of activism lazy. But it’s definitely brought the issue to the forefront in Hollywood.

2. Beauty Banks is here to fight hygienic poverty

Image result for beauty banks
[image description: Beauty Banks logo.] Via Beauty Banks
Earlier this year beauty PR Jo Jones and writer Sali Hughes made headlines for their non-profit, Beauty Banks. Beauty Banks is a charity similar to food banks—except it offers hygienic essentials and toiletries to women instead. According to In Kind Direct, 37 percent of the nation had to go without hygiene or grooming essentials. Hygienic poverty is real, and it’s time we stopped treating hygiene as a luxury.

3. The Meghan Markle Effect

[Image description: Meghan Markle wearing sunglasses.] Via Vanity Fair
When Meghan Markle announced her engagement to Prince Harry, she instantly became influential. Every item she wore—from the publicized engagement to her wedding dress and now to her maternity clothing — has led to sold out items. The media has dubbed it the Meghan Markle effect. Anything she wore produced an increased search for that brand. The Duchess of Sussex has impeccable style, and sometimes breaks royal protocol with her sense of fashion. Meghan had a fantastic year, and I’m sure the Meghan Markle effect isn’t going to die down anytime soon.

4. Rihanna revolutionizes the lingerie industry

[Image Description: A model wearing Savage x Fenty.] Via Instagram
Diversity and inclusion is a BIG part of Rihanna’s Fenty brand. We saw it in her makeup line when she debuted 40 shades of foundation, which led to various makeup brands following suit. Now, Rihanna is killing the game with her lingerie line, Savage x Fenty.  There’s something refreshing about seeing models of various sizes with stretch marks, love handles, abs, curves— all walking down the runway wearing the same lingerie.  This, of course, differs from Victoria’s Secret CEO’s comments earlier this year claiming that plus-size and trans models weren’t on the runways because they don’t contribute to the “fantasy.” Rihanna is a sexually empowering individual. She wants ALL women to feel empowered in their sexuality. There is no fantasy with Savage x Fenty, it’s only the reality that everyone is and can feel sexy in lingerie. No exceptions.

5. Rihanna took us to church at the 2018 Met Gala

[image description: Rihanna wearing pope outfit at 2018 Met Gala]. Via TeenVogue
There were a lot of questions regarding the 2018 Met Gala. Is religion high fashion? Is it offensive? But besides the questionable theme, there was no questioning whether or not Pope Rihanna ruled the carpet. (Spoiler alert: she did.)

6. Serena Williams proves she’s a superhero in her catsuit

[Image description: Serena Williams wearing her black catsuit at 2018 French Open]. Via GQ
Back in May, the GOAT Serena Williams wore a black Nike catsuit specifically designed for her to the 2018 French Open. The suit not only confirmed that Williams is, in fact, a superhero, it also provides compression that can protect her from the blood clots she’s been getting since she gave birth to her daughter. Despite the suit fulfilling medical needs, the French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli, banned the suit at next years French Open. But that catsuit will always live on in our hearts.

7. Cardi B becomes a fashion icon

[Image description: Cardi B at the 2018 Grammys.] Via Glamour
Cardi B has had a spectacular year. She gave birth to her first child, released a double platinum debut album, was featured on a host of singles and delivered on a sold-out Fashion Nova fashion line. Yes, this all happened this year. But one thing we have to give credit to is Cardi B’s style. At every event she’s been too, she’s never made a fashion misstep, even when she was pregnant. Cardi B killed it on the red carpet and award shows. Can’t wait to see what lewks she’ll be serving next year.

8. Beauty Brands are bringing diversity with these ambassadors


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Very excited to be the new face of NARS Cosmetics ? Shot by my dear friend François Nars✨ @narsissist #NARSissist

A post shared by Naomi Campbell (@naomi) on

Beauty brands are still struggling with diversity, which is no surprise. But we did see some more diverse faces repping big brands this year: Ducki Thot, Ashley Graham, Naomi Campbell, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah and more. As always, we still have a long way to go.

9. Melania Trump tells the world she doesn’t care with a green jacket

Melania Trump wearing green “I Don’t Really Care Do U?” jacket.] Via Washington Post

There wasn’t a time when Trump, his family or those involved in the administration didn’t make the news. First Lady Melania Trump makes the news for her fashion style, but not in the best way. Melania visited a children’s detention center in Texas, wearing a green jacket that said “I Don’t Really Care. Do U?” Despite the fact that the jacket is ugly, it’s also insensitive. Hopefully, she’ll make smarter choices than her husband.

10. Virgil Abloh is Louis Vuitton’s First Black Creative Director

Virgil Abloh became the first Black Creative Director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear this past spring. He’s founded the brand Off-White, is friends with Kanye West and designed a “Queen Collection” for Serena Williams.  While Black models have been steadily increasing, the number of Black designers are still very few. But Virgil isn’t just trying to a source of representation, he’s also using his fashion to bring awareness to humanitarian issues like immigration.

11. Black women dominate 2018 September magazine covers

[Image description: Beyoncé and Rihanna on the September Issues if Vogue.] Via Vogue
For fashion magazines, September was a good month. We had Beyoncé and Rihanna slaying for Vogue, Slick Woods showcasing her pregnant belly for Elle, Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of Porter and Zendaya killed with cat-eyeliner. These aren’t the only black women featured of course. September belonged to Black women with 12 of them gracing the covers of mainstream magazines. Black women are changing the face of beauty and have the industry shook. From Slick Woods pregnant belly to Beyoncé choosing a Black photographer for her Vogue shoot (the first in 126 years), to British Vogue’s first black editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful— it’s clear that Black women are determined to alter the beauty industry.

12. Slick Woods shows us that motherhood can slay the runway

As mentioned before Savage x Fenty embodies diversity. Savage x Fenty closed out NYFW with an incredible show, but the highlight was model Slick Woods. Not only did she walk the runway pregnant wearing lingerie, but she was also IN LABOR. Women are strong as hell.

13. Nike makes activism profitable with Colin Kaepernick

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[Image description: Colin Kaepernick in a Nike ad.] Via Nike
There’s a lot to be said about activism in the form of consumerism, but I can’t be upset with Colin Kaepernick for collaborating with Nike. Right-wing Nike customers were outraged and called for a boycott. They burned their shoes and cut their socks, while Nike became $6 billion dollars richer.

14. Voting becomes high fashion

Image result for I am a voter shirt
[Image description: I am a voter. t-shirt.] Via Amazon
With the 2018 midterms approaching, voting was everywhere. People were posting links to register to vote under twitter threads, asking potential dates on Tinder if they were planning to vote and of course they made their way to the fashion runways. Christian Siriano showed support for NYS Governor candidate Cynthia Nixon and Prabal Gurung designed “I am a voter.” t-shirts. Jeremy Scott even urged others to call their Senators so they could vote no on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Voting is now high fashion.

15. Nancy Pelosi serves “Big Coat Energy”

[image Description: Nancy Pelosi wearing a red coat.] Via Twitter
Clothing can be a powerful tool, especially for women. After Trump made a fool of himself on television while in a meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Nancy stepped out in a glorious red coat. The media dubbed it “Big Coat Energy” and it became so popular that the brand, Max Mara, decided to re-release it.

16. The #Redefinepretty movement takes center stage

[image description: Em Ford in YouTube video for #Redefinepretty movement.] Via YouTube
Skin Positivity activist, Em Ford teamed up with YouTube Creators for Change for the #Redefinepretty movement. In the video she directed, she shows the harmful psychological effects on those dealing with a skin condition and people’s reaction to them. The video did reveal something that I’m sure we already know: the industries definition of pretty doesn’t help our self-esteem.

17. Fashion is going fur free

[Image Description: An announcement from brand Furla that they are going fur-free.] Via Furla
In the fashion industry, the subject of fur has always indicted controversy. Whether your vegan or not, animals really shouldn’t be killed so you can wear a mink coat in the winter. Earlier this year several luxury brands have decided that they will no longer be using animal fur in their clothing. Not only is it more humane, but it will also lead to better sustainability.

18. The beauty industry gets ready to reduce plastic waste

[Herbivore Botanicals product] Via Herbivore Botanicals
The beauty industry heavily contributes to plastic waste. Beauty brands are now trying to combat waste by using recyclable material, like Herbivore Botanicals and Tata Harper. Beauty is going green.

19. New York Fashion Week is the most diverse it has ever been

[Pyer Moss 2018 NYFW Runway] Via
This year’s New York Fashion Week was the most diverse it’s ever been. The runways featured 44.8% models of color. There was an increase in Black models, plus-size models, transgender & non-binary models and models of various ages. Brands like Savage x Fenty, Opening Ceremony, Chromat, Pyer Moss and Gypsy Sport promoted inclusivity.

20. Tiffany Pollard hosts a Fenty Beauty holiday gift guide

[Image Description: Tiffany Pollard advertising Fenty Beauty makeup] Via YouTube
Fenty Beauty’s social media marketing is on point. They released a 9 minute YouTube Video with the original HBIC, Tiffany Pollard aka New York. The video is a holiday gift guide so customers can figure out what to buy their grandmother, sister, or uncle for the holidays. The Queen of reality television’s commentary is hilarious and looks amazing in the products (She changes her lip color several times). This marketing campaign is a match made in heaven.

Makeup Hair DIY Fashion Movies Lookbook

31 of the most creative Halloween costumes we’ve seen this year

Halloween is the perfect time to show off how clever you are. We love seeing how people take their one opportunity to change themselves, and see how they use it! From dogs dressed up as memes, to a group of friends becoming emojis, this years Halloween did not disappoint. Here are 31 of our favorite Halloween Costumes!

1. The Notorious RBG

This little girl’s parents covered up her wheelchair with this powerful judge’s stand. This costume is truly notorious!

2. Hocus Pocus

The love for Hocus Pocus has put a spell on us this year, and we’re totally game! We love seeing

3. This woman made her costume exclusively out of Halloween Decorations


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This woman holds more creativity in her pinky toe than I do in my entire body of work. Her Spider Queen costume is absolutely stunning!

4. This is the only baby shark I want to hear about


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A post shared by S H A Y J A D E (@thesavageadventure) on

“Baby Shark” was a song we sang on the bus in 5th grade, why is it a thing now? This baby shark however, can doo, doo, doo all over my heart.

5. Flash the sloth

Yes, he is a sloth and yes his name is flash. It’s only fitting that he would work at the DMV.

6. When you love your pets a little too much

All of our pets are our children and it’s only right that we emulate them.

7. The Incredibles

Shout out to the family for turning the wheelchair into a superpower!

8. The Joker

The make-up and green hair make for a convincingly pretty yet terrifying Joker.

9. Bring It On!


There is no competition with this team on the floor. Brr it’s cold in here!

10. Nothing like a 90’s throwback


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Nailed it @essencetatiana ?

A post shared by @ blackkbombshells on

Janet Jackson & Tupac are iconic for not only their music, but their iconic roles in Poetic Justice. (every one wanted those poetic justice braids).

11. The legend of the headless child.

I always thought it would be the parents who would finally lose their head.

12. The Cutest Delivery Boy

There is nothing better than seeing a meme come to life. Especially when it involves dogs AND pizza.

13. Bratz Doll

These dolls always had style, class and big heads. The make-up? The hair? 12 year old me is LIVING.

14. Phoni Braxton

Only legends pay homage to other legends!

15. Missy Elliott as…Missy Elliott

Imagine being so talented that you have no other choice but to dress as yourself? Just another example of black women blessings.

16. To All The Lara’s I’ve Loved Before

Everyone needs to scroll through this (very long) thread of the the best Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsy impersonators.  They’re very good and you’ll probably start crying again.

17. This amazing makeup look

There are talented make-up artists of color lurking in the shadows! Find them!

18. This adorable loofah

Check out this adorable baby ready for bath time. She’s going to give you clear skin and lots of giggles.

19. This woman trying to bond with her cat.

Unlike dogs, cats do not appreciate the lengths pet owners will go.

20. The dreaded slack notification

The scariestest thing known in existence. There is no escaping it, once you hear that bell, you know.

21. This hitchhiking ghost family


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Welcome, foolish mortals. We hope your Halloween is happily haunted, but heed this warning: beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts! @nph

A post shared by David Burtka (@dbelicious) on

Nothing better than a family full of ghouls!

22. That hilarious Fresh Prince scene

The Fresh Prince has always had iconic moments, but the You are my Sunshine, will always reign surpreme.

23. The Black Panther family

When we said Wakanda Forever, we meant it.

24. Susie Carmichael


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#HappyHalloween ? whatcha being for Halloween?

A post shared by Kiera Please (@kieraplease) on

Be honest, Susie was THAT girl on Rugrats! There is no comparison. Check out the Kiera’s full instagram to see what other characters she has cosplayed. (hint: they’re our favorite 90’s cartoons).

25. When couple costumes don’t work out as planned…

Et tu tomato? Even though the costume didn’t pan out the way they wanted it to, you can’t say that he isn’t dressing the part.

26. This adorable ghost dog

These pictures are not that scary but they are doing their best. This is the best costume so far, I will not argue with you.

27. Scar


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*scar has entered the chat* ??? #halloweekend

A post shared by aliya? (@aliya.will) on

As a child I hated Scar, as an adult I’ve grown to understand him.

28. Baby Serena Williams


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When your mom helps you channel your inner @SerenaWilliams. Photo credit: @__torey__ #halloweencostumes #becauseofthemwecan

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Babies dressed as legends (including one of the greatest athlete this world has ever seen) is my aesthetic.

29. The best couple from the Office

I know Jim and Pam get a lot of love, but Dwangela deserves recongition!

30. The ultimate emoji costume

Get yourself some real friends who will be an emoji with you.

31. Princess Fiona


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Primeras fotos! #heidiklum #tomkaulitz #heidihalloween #halloweenparty #lavonyc #Halloween

A post shared by BillyLatam (@billylatam) on

Now last, but certaintly not least, the Queen of Halloween herself, Heidi Klum as Princess Fiona. Everyone can go home now, she won.

TV Shows Pop Culture

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is wickedly good

When I was younger I wanted to be a witch. I’m not talking about signing my soul to Satan and all that, I just wanted magical powers. I blame my love of witches on shows and movies like Charmed, Halloweentown and of course the OG Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

That was my favorite show as a child. I loved the hijinks and Salem’s sassy lines. I appreciated the love connection between Harvey and Sabrina. There is a lot to love about the original sitcom, but I don’t want to compare it to the newest Netflix reboot.

I’ve had the pleasure of watch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina early. The show is produced by the same team who brought you the wonderful mess that is Riverdale. The premise is simple: Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka), a half-witch, half-human must choose between her mortal life or the path of darkness. It’s a trope we’ve long grown tired of. A woman forced to choose between two things she really loves!  What will she choose? How will she muster up the strength to leave her boyfriend behind?

Yes, it is a tired trope. But by the end of the season, Sabrina Spellman grows into her own, not only as a witch but as a woman. From the first episode we see Sabrina struggling to accept the fact that on her 16th birthday, the day of her dark baptism, she might be signing away her autonomy.

Once a witch signs her name in the book of the beast, she belongs to the Dark Lord. Sabrina wants the power, but she always wants to retain her freedom. It’s Prudence (Tati Gabrielle), a marvelous witch, who reminds her that having both freedom and power is an unrealistic feat for women like them: “He’s a man, isn’t he?” It’s this dichotomy between freedom and power that really sets a grim tone for the series. These women are powerful but also trapped in their own prison created by the Dark Lord himself. Even the Church of Night is dripping with sexism.

It’s the sumptuous visuals and self-aware lines that really portray a haunting and chilling world of Greendale. Sometimes I was frustrated with Sabrina’s love of the mortal world (Let’s be real, being a mortal is a snoozefest). The world of Wicca is enticing and much more interesting than anything the world of Greendale an ever offer (Orgies! Sacrifice!).

There is a lot to say about the season, but I would break down the highlights and downsides of the show.

The highlights were, of course, most of the female characters. The best ones, the evil ones, were fully fleshed out and human. Witchcraft has always been viewed as a practice for women. A community of women sticking together and having their own power.

Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto) are of course here to lead Sabrina and guide her. The two are completely reimagined from the sitcom, with Zelda being much sharper and witty then Hilda. Netflix’s version of Aunt Hilda is sweeter and more docile, which isn’t bad. I just wish there was a little more edge in her character.

Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo), Sabrina’s cousin and guide is also a delight. He’s pansexual (hello representation), smart and yes very handsome. His character arc doesn’t rely heavily on Sabrina, he can shine as his own separate entity. I hope to see more of him next season.

The A+ role goes to Ms. Wardwell or otherwise known as Madame Satan (Michelle Gomez). She is cunning, manipulative and evil. Everything a good witch should be. Even when she’s trying to manipulate Sabrina into doing her bidding (per order from Satan himself) you kind of almost… root for her.

I would also say that the side characters, Susie (Lachlan Watson), Roz (Jaz Sinclair), and Prudence shine in their own light. While Susie’s storyline could use a little more character development, the two other characters who are black women prove they’re more than just tokens. Roz deals with the possibility of disability and Prudence struggles to maintain her own power.

The greatest downside, however, is attributed to the focus of the mortal world and Sabrina’s romance. Sabrina and Harvey falling in love is canon. You cannot tell the story of Sabrina the teenage witch without including Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch). The problem is the relationship between the two of them is so boring I found myself rooting for Sabrina to fall in love with the sexy, charming warlock Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood). It came to a point where I was yelling at her from my screen.

Why is she so in love with him? I mean is that love really worth giving up a life of awesome magic, for a man with the personality of a wet towel? I would say no.

Besides the failed Harvey romance and lack of voice from our favorite cat, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a deliciously wicked show. The intertwining of themes like freedom, power, and womanhood really blend together to bring wonderfully supernatural horror show.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina streams on Netflix on Friday, October 26th.

Movies Pop Culture

Netflix’s Sierra Burgess is a Loser is bringing plus-size visibility to the romance genre

Romantic comedies get a bad rep. They’re seen as cheesy, stereotypical, and safe; and rightfully so. This year, Netflix decided that 2018 would be the revival of the romantic comedy and I’m here for it.

After the success of “Set It Up” and “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”, Netflix premiered “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” on Netflix on September 7th.

This teen romance is a little different than what we’re used to. Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) is a typical dorky straight-A student who wants to get into Stanford. Sierra is not stick skinny. She looks like the average American teenager. She has short red hair, freckles and is well-versed in literature. In the opening scene after she gets out of the shower, she looks at herself in the mirror. Most viewers would expect her to be unhappy with herself, but she proudly proclaims, “You’re a magnificent beast!”

Sierra’s secure self-esteem and nonchalance towards bullying is due to her parents. Her dad (Alan Ruck) is a writer and her mom (Lea Thompson ) is a motivational speaker. When the resident mean girl in school Veronica (Kristine Froseth) insults her, she corrects her taunts: “You’re thinking of Quasimodo, not Frodo.”

After Veronica purposely gives out Sierra’s number, she receives a text from the jock with the heart of gold, Jamey (Noah Centineo). An unintentional act of catfishing ensues as Sierra pretends to be Veronica, for fear of her own insecurity: Jamey being disgusted by the sight of her. In this day and age, it doesn’t seem to hard to catfish others with our dependence on technology in relationships: “I was just kind of relying on our generations total disregard for human interaction.” She enlists Veronica’s help to keep up with the ruse in exchange for helping her win back her college-aged boyfriend.

The best parts of this film are seeing Veronica and how she interacts with her family and the circumstances that ultimately structure her life and viewpoints. It’s 2018 and we’ve moved past the stock mean girl character. Veronica has so much depth to her character, that towards the end you feel much more sympathetic for her.

As mentioned before, Sierra does not look like your typical onscreen love interest, and it’s refreshing. After the debacle with Insatiable, it is imperative that we do not view slimness as a means to be attained and fatness as a liability. Yes, Sierra has insecurities (as does every teenager) but her lack of social standing in high school does not paint her as a tragic character who needs salvation. The only person who can save her is herself.

Now onto Jamey, played by the same actor who also stole our hearts as Peter Kavinsky. Jamey is charming, funny and has a vulnerability that speaks to me. Even though he is the quarterback of his football team, he still gets nervous and anxious about his crush. It’s a shame we don’t get more scenes with him in the movie. Also, the scene with him using ASL to speak to his deaf brother was a highlight.

While there were many bright spots in the “Sierra Burgess”, there were slight issues. I felt that the constant insults towards Sierra calling her a man and a lesbian were unnecessary. I mean, it’s 2018. Are we still calling straight people gay as an insult? I just wish the writers had come up with something that wasn’t so cliched and offensive.

I also felt that Sierra’s best friend Dan (RJ Cyler) was reduced to a sassy black friend trope. Dan had great lines: “Are you a catfish or a can’t fish?” But there were times where I was wondering if his purpose was nothing more than just delivering one-liners and providing comic relief.

Despite the issues, Shannon Purser proved that she is more than just Barb, and Noah Centineo is doing everything he can to make audiences fall in love with him. “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” checked all the boxes of a sweet, charming rom-com. It’s not overly progressive despite having a plus-sized protagonist, but it’s a start. I want to see more characters like Sierra, women who don’t view themselves as disgusting creatures, but magnificent beasts. The world is kind of crazy right now, let Netflix fill you with love.