Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Public Speaking & Etiquette Workshop for Teens in Maplewood, NJ

The GSE Company is coming to Essex County with a workshop tailor made for teen and tween girls. In "Confidence 101" teens aged 16 and up will perfect their public speaking skills, poise and presence. Tween girls will learn about etiquette, social skills, and strategies to feel confident at all times!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Rules to Always Being a Lady

How to Win a Beauty Pageant

As advertising creatives and beauty editors know, there are different types of physical beauty. Humans don't simply judge beauty on a scale from 0 to 10. We inherently recognize, and respond favorably to different culturally constructed beauty ideals. A woman may be a sensual like Marilyn Monroe, a classic beauty like Grace Kelly, the girl-next-door like Jennifer Aniston,  a trendy, off-beat beauty like Kate Moss or an exotic beauty like Iman. All these women are gorgeous, but they are beautiful in different ways. This is the thought process industry professionals use to decide which model should grace the cover of a particular magazine or which celebrity should promote a brand. It also, believe it or not, plays a role in how pageants are judged.

Pageants are often won by the woman who  best plays up her own personal brand of beauty.
They are won by the woman, who in the limited amount of time she appears before the judges, presents a powerful and cohesive image. When physical appearance, hair, wardrobe, demeanor, and on-stage personality harmonize, that contestant almost always ends up in the winner's circle.

Need Proof?

Chelsi Smith, Miss Texas, Miss USA, and Miss Universe 1995.
The Feminine Beauty
In 1995 Chelsi Smith captured the Miss Texas, Miss USA and Miss Universe crown. Her beautiful face, big eyes, bright smile, and soft hair gave Chelsi a very sweet, soft and romantic appearance, such is the feminine beauty.  Her body was slender, yet voluptuous,  and very womanly.  To play this up, Chelsi didn't strut in her swimsuit, she walked very elegantly, all the while smiling very sweetly, almost innocently at the judges. In evening gown, she chose a stunning dress that accentuated her waist and bust. It was white, the color of purity. At Miss Universe, she chose a flowing soft red chiffon gown with a billowing scarf around her neck. In her on-stage interview at both USA and Universe, she referred to her admiration for her fellow contestants, again demonstrating to the judges a very soft and sweet nature. Other examples of feminine beauties are Kristin  Davis (Sex and the City) and Natalie Portman.

Kandice Kreuger, Miss USA 2001

The Classic Beauty
In 2001 Kandice Kreuger, Miss Texas, won the title of Miss USA and 2nd runner up at Miss USA. With her green eyes, blond hair, and classic facial beauty it is easy to see how she attracted the judges attention, but it is how she played up her classic beauty that helped her win.  The classic beauty most often has exquisite facial features and an aristocratic, statuesque bearing. Think Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman, and Caroline Kennedy. For her evening gown, she chose a white beaded gown which made her appear wholesome. White also makes the wearer appear slightly aloof (as it is a clinical color) and this works for the classic beauty who is regal, and hence somewhat other worldly. Kreuger  styled her hair in a slick low pony tail which accentuated her sophisticated demeanor and drew attention to her lovely face.  Kreuger carried herself in a very graceful manner on stage, choosing not to model with too much hip sway, and during her on-stage interview she was incredibly poised,  speaking through her smile, which made her seem composed and stately.

Oksana Fedorova, Miss Universe 2002

The Sensual Beauty
The sensual beauty oozes quiet sex appeal, womanhood, and sophistication.  She is a goddess. Think Sophia Loren, Jennifer Lopez, Melania Trump, Nigella Lawson and Angelina Jolie. In 2002 Miss Russia, Oksana Fedorova, captured the Miss Universe crown embodying this ideal. Her make up was nude, barely there. Her hair; long, straight and flowing. Her dress; sheer, white, and billowing to accentuate a fluid walk. The thing about the sensual beauty, is she doesn't have to try too hard. Being overly made up or overly be-dazzled almost kills the look. In swimsuit, her walk was smooth and sexy with nice hip movement. She moved gracefully and her smile was easy, not forced. For the on-stage interview, her response was short and sweet. She seemed very relaxed and down to earth even. The sensual beauty is confident, at ease, and totally comfortable in her body.

Ever wonder why so many pageant winners wear white?

Mallory Hagan, Miss America 2012, in 'winner's white'.

There are many coaches that believe the secret to winning is a white or very light neutral colored dress. They will tell you that this is because  it is safe color that draws attention to the wearer and won't potentially sway judges negatively.  In fact, the opposite is true. White, along with red and black, have the strongest psychological impact of all colors. This means white sends a very strong message about its wearer. White clothing can make a woman appear pure, wholesome, heavenly and innocent. These are the virtuous qualities that pageant organizations seek in pageant winners.

White is also a go-to for sensual women like Miss Universe 2002 Oksana Fedorova and icon Marilyn Monroe. Why? Because the color white juxtaposes a woman's sex appeal with a coy innocence.  The 'sexy' yet 'innocent' image is very powerful. This contrast is the essence of Marilyn Monroe's lasting appeal.

In this iconic scene from Basic Instinct, Stone's white
ensemble accentuates her iciness, and  contrasts with her
sex appeal. 

In short, white is a winning color because it sends out very positive messages about its wearer and because it advances under the stage lights. Even so, the white gown isn't for everyone. There are certain skin tones that don't look great in white. 'Fall' and 'spring' women should stick with ivory and beige, colors that don't always read well on stage. Also, white can work against your image. If you are going for the wholesome, feminine or even sensual look it can work for you. If you are more exotic, or unique, like Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella, a white dress will work against you.

Ever wonder why Venezeula has so many beauty queens?
One Miss Venezuela crowning another at the Miss Universe pageant.

Venezuela holds the record for the most international title holders. The country is known for exporting oil and beauty queens and this is all because of one man. Osmel Sousa. In 1981 Sousa took over the Miss Venezuela Organization and used his keen eye for detail to turn Venezuela into the pageant powerhouse it is today. Some of his methods could be considered unethical. Contestants of the Miss Venezuela pageant are often handpicked by Sousa in spite of local competitions and urged to undergo plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry. Contestants spend a year preparing for the Miss Venezuela pageant, undergoing intense training in elocution, modeling, hair and make-up as well as a strict regimen of diet and exercise.

Many assume that it is the plastic surgery and catwalk lessons that are the secret to Venezuela's success. These things help, but they are not what distinguishes Venezuelan queens. Pay attention to Miss Venezuela's from the past decade. They are all essentially the same type of girl.  She is the sex kitten. The sex kitten is sexually provocative, yet playful like a child. She is alluring, confident, and she enjoys life. Think Victoria Secret models, Bridgette Bardot, Pamela Anderson, and Kim Kardashian.

Now consider every Miss Venezuela for the past ten years. They have all been cut, coached, and prodded into the same sex-kitten mold. She is a Victoria Secret model with a sash; bubbly, high energy with a sassy walk. All of Sousa's girls smile the same way (as if they are laughing at a great joke), toss their hair, walk and coyly pose the same way. Their bodies are engineered to embody the modern day sex kitten; tiny waist, disproportionately large breast, slender limbs. They're evening gowns are either tight and wait (Mis Venezuela 2005) or in a playful eye popping color like red, green, or yellow. Everything, from wardrobe down to their gestures is rehearsed and carefully planned out to communicate this strong beauty ideal. This is Osmel's winning formula.

Miss Venezuela 2011 contestants pose after swimsuit. 

Victoria Secret models pose after show.

What is the best image for YOU?! Ayesha Faines is a New Jersey based pageant coach also available to contestants in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Email today!

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Per il Giorno il Tailleur", Marie Claire Italia, May 1995

10 Ways To Instantly Look and Feel Like A Lady

I personally believe that "ladylike" is in fact a state of mind denoting a woman who is soft on the outside, yet strong on the inside. She projects warmth, strength and dignity, even when she feels like she's coming apart at the seams (because we all have those days). That's the true function of fashion, to construct an image that ultimately improves the way we view our self. The old saying goes: When you look good, you feel good!

Here are ten ways to instantly boost mood, and presentation, with ladylike details.

1. Polish your nails- You present your hands to every new person you meet so why not present the best of yourself? Chipped polish and unkempt nails seem sloppy and can leave you feeling self-conscious, but a quick coat of nude, pink, or red varnish will instantly make you feel more feminine and glamorous.

Tip: In a hurry, try Sally Hansen Insta-Dry or a simple clear coat for shine.

2. Curl your hair- Oh I know what you're thinking. Bone straight locks are all the rage. But don't you  feel extra glamorous with fresh, bouncy waves or even a nicely coiffed chin bob??? Hair is important because it frames your face. Even more so,  studies show that "good" and "bad" hair days really do effect your mood, and possibly your health! A Harvard study found that women who felt they appeared younger after a new hair cut actually showed a drop in blood pressure. Remember, your outward appearance influences the way others perceive you,  and the way you perceive yourself.

Tip: No time for curls? Try an elegant top bun.

3. Apply Lipstick- Notice I didn't say lip gloss, rather lipstick, and preferably in a ravishing  red or berry. Keep the rest of your face neutral. Not only is a bold lip an instant pick-me-up, it's a classic make-up look that bluntly tells the world you put some time into your appearance.

Tip: MAC's famous Ruby Woo doesn't smear.

4. Wear pearls- Pearls are the official gemstone of ladies everywhere! And for good reason. Each delicate orb casts a soft glow upon its wearer. Pearls are universally flattering.

Tip: They don't have to be real!

5. Spray On Perfume- While scent often places a distant second to our more keen senses of sight and hearing, smell is incredibly powerful. Why? One reason is that the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that processes smell,  interacts with regions of the brain responsible for storing emotional memories. And while some charlatans will argue that smell alone can seduce the opposite sex, the truth is, smells seduce us. Smells have the power to relax, empower, and make us feel as beautiful as the tuberose note in our perfume. Those good feelings translate into a better mood and more confidence throughout the day. Now confidence is alluring!
Tip: Citrus notes like grapefruit, tangerine and lemongrass make you feel refreshed and happy. Rose notes are uplifting. The smell of sandalwood (found in most orientals)  leads to  feeling centered and relaxed. Vanilla is calming and Ylang Ylang is sensual!!

6.Slip into heels- A  pair of heels will literally make you stand taller, so the next time you feel so-so, ditch those flats and slip into a pair of pumps, even if they are just kitten height. You'll walk more powerfully and feel more confident.

7. Tie in a scarf- Add a touch of luxury and splash of color with an elegant silk scarf. In the annals of style, the silk scarf is a ladylike staple, made famous by the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly. Tie it around your  neck, head, or even  ponytail.

8.Don a nice coat- One of the things that I enjoy about the fall and winter seasons (certainly not the chill) is that I can throw on a stylish cashmere coat and instantly appear pulled together, even if underneath, I'm totally casual. The same applies to the warmer months as well, during which you can wear a chic blazer or elegant cardigan to immediately appear more polished.

Tip: Look for coats that accentuate the waist.

9. Carry a handbag- Ditch the hobo and backpack for something more refined, like a handbag. Handbags lend a note of elegance to any outfit, regardless of if it consists of jeans or a dress.  It's no coincidence that Hermes' most popular handbag is named after the timeless Grace Kelly.

10. Wear a Headband-  Good news! Headbands aren't just for baby girls! They are a beautiful way for women of all ages  to  frame, flatter and add sparkle to her face. They are also a terrific remedy for a less than stellar hair day.

Tip: Be creative! A colorful scarf, ribbon or even necklace can be used as a headband. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Zac Posen in Winter

Love this GIF!

Lemon-Ade Exfoliant for Body and Face

There are so many exfoliants on the market, some better than others, but ladies, trust me when I tell you, you really only need one. And it's probably already in your kitchen. Take half a lemon and while you are in the shower or bath (certainly in a tub because it can get messy) rub the lemon half along your limbs. Follow up with a liberal sprinkling of sugar and rub.
Use this exfoliant all over your body, even your face. Try to let exfoliant sit on your skin for about ten minutes. It will become slightly sticky as the lemon-sugar mix forms a simple syrup.After  you rinse off, your skin will be soft as silk.
Fresh lemon juice contains naturally occurring alpha-hydroxy in the form ascorbic acid and is excellent at eliminating fine lines, age spots, and dry patches of skin. Sugar contains glycolic acid, another naturally occuring alpha-hydroxy and the granules are the perfect size to deliver a smooth polish. Even better, the sugar dissolves in water, so this DIY scrub will not require a messy clean-up. Just rinse away and follow up with your favorite moisturizer.