Brett Kavanaugh’s Name Is Now Being Used As A Resource For Sexual Assault Survivors

Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial ascent to the Supreme Court has been difficult for many women, particularly those who have endured sexual assault. But any survivors who are struggling in the wake of the confirmation now have one new and unexpected resource to turn to: Brettkavanaugh.com.

According to reports, the website launched the same day Kavanaugh was sworn in through the efforts of Fix The Court, a non-partisan organization that advocates for increased transparency and honesty within the Supreme Court. The site consists of a simple landing page that includes multiple links to different groups specializing in helping sexual assault victims, and they include the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, End Rape On Campus, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

“The start of Brett Kavanaugh’s tenure on the Supreme Court may look like a victory for one interest group or another,” the website reads. “But, more importantly, it is putting a national focus on the issue of sexual assault – and how we as a country can and should do more to prevent it and to support those who have experienced it. This past month, thousands of survivors came forward to tell their stories. We applaud your bravery. We believe you.”

In a statement on its website, Fix The Court executive director Gabe Roth explained that three years ago, he bought a handful of URLs that related to possible Supreme Court nominees. One of these was BrettKavanaugh.com. He also secured BrettKavanaugh.org and BrettKavanaugh.org, which now redirect back to the Brett Kavanaugh landing page.

“I believe Dr. Ford. I believe Prof. Hill. I also believe that asking for forgiveness is a sign of maturity and strength, not weakness,” Roth wrote.

Roth also referred to a divisive public ceremony that the White House held for Kavanaugh on Monday, during which President Donald Trump apologized on behalf of the nation for “pain and suffering” that the new justice been forced to endure” after several women, including Christine Blasey Ford, accused him of sexual misconduct.

“Watching last night’s White House event and listening to the President again cast doubt on veracity of Dr. Ford’s claims, while not hearing a word of contrition from the newest justice, was difficult for many Americans who have experienced sexual misconduct firsthand,” Roth said in his statement. “Fix the Court stands with you. We believe you, and we support you. And if you seek additional resources, you can go to BrettKavanaugh.com.”

Lady Gaga Wrote a Powerful Essay About Mental Health Awareness

Wednesday is World Mental Health Day, and to raise awareness for it, Lady Gaga is speaking out. While she’s done so on numerous occasions before when talking about her own personal experiences, Gaga is now wondering aloud why there aren’t more resources for those dealing with mental health issues.

“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” she writes in an op-ed cowritten by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, for The Guardian. “Stigma, fear and lack of understanding compound the suffering of those affected and prevent the bold action that is so desperately needed and so long overdue.”

Gaga and Dr. Ghebreyesus also questioned how mental health issues are so prevalent yet so unaddressed. “One in four of us will have to deal with a mental health condition at some point in our lives, and if we’re not directly affected, someone we care for is likely to be,” they write. “Yet despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources. Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering.”

The pair also shined a light on the lack of resources available for those dealing with mental health issues, writing, “In too many places support services are non-existent and those with treatable conditions are criminalized – literally chained up in inhumane conditions, cut off from the rest of society without hope… Mental health currently receives less than 1% of global aid. Domestic financing on prevention, promotion and treatment is similarly low. At present, every nation in the world is a ‘developing’ country when it comes to mental health… The two of us have taken different paths in life. But both of us have seen how political leadership, funding, innovation and individual acts of bravery and compassion can change the world. It is time to do the same for mental health.”

Earlier this year, Lady Gaga opened up about her own mental health journey when accepting an award for her Born This Way Foundation, telling the crowd per Billboard, “I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness. But I truly believe that secrets keep you sick.”

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Priyanka Chopra’s Proposal Didn’t Go Down How You Think It Did

In an interview with People this week, Priyanka Chopra explained the cinematic reason why she had her heart set on receiving a diamond Tiffany & Co. engagement ring from Nick Jonas.

“Well, I may have dropped that hint. I think we had a conversation about it when we were dating and I’ve always known it had to be Tiffany,” Chopra said while attending a Tiffany & Co. event in New York City on Tuesday night (October 9). “I just knew it since I was a kid. First, it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s that did it for every girl in the world, and then, of course, Sweet Home Alabama came and put a stamp on it that it has to be Tiffany!”

She added, “Since I was a little girl, it was just something that was stuck in my head. And I may have said that, and I guess he remembered.”

While the Quantico actress did get her gorgeous Tiffany ring—it’s a large, cushion-cut diamond surrounded by smaller, tapered baguettes—the proposal didn’t actually happen just like it did in Sweet Home Alabama, despite previous reports. Over the summer, when news broke that Jonas had proposed to Chopra, multiple outlets reported that he popped the question in the middle of an actual Tiffany & Co. store that he rented out for the day, just as Patrick Dempsey’s character did when he proposed to Reese Witherspoon’s character in the 2002 film.

But Chopra set the record straight, telling People that while Jonas did, in fact, shut down an entire Tiffany store, she wasn’t in attendance. “No, I wasn’t there. He and his brothers went and did a whole thing to buy the ring for his future wife,” she said. Still a pretty movie-worthy moment!

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How Ganni Came to Dictate Pretty Much Every Major Fashion Trend

Flip through street style photos from basically any fashion week, and you’ll start to notice seemingly everyone is wearing the same few things. Ever ogled that bizarrely brilliant poufy-sleeved, plaid maxi dress, or perhaps this green polka-dotted wrap number? Or maybe you’ve fawned over this fuzzy, chunky, color-blocked sweater, a distinctive player in 2018’s ongoing parade of rainbow knits? Guess what: They’re all made by the same brand—Ganni.

In recent years, the Scandinavian label has reached international ubiquity, all while maintaining a relatively accessible price point. (Basics hover around $200, versus $500 to $600 per piece for comparable “contemporary” labels.) But its story begins back in 2000, as a side hustle of Frans Truelsen’s, a Copenhagen-based gallerist. Nine years later, he would bring in Nicolaj Reffstrup and his wife, Ditte, to manage the business and creative, respectively. That’s really when Ganni began its ascent.

Street Style - Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 - Day 3

PHOTO: Christian Vierig

Ganni jeans. Shop similar styles here.

Ditte, a former fashion buyer, first got involved by helping Truelsen design some shoes, at a time when Ganni was bringing in less than one million Euros annually, according to the now-creative director. “It was really nothing—Frans designed a couple of cashmere sweaters, some T-shirts,” she recalls of Ganni’s earliest days. Nicolaj, now the brand’s CEO, adds: “It was not coherent, not a fashion collection, really. It was just Frans doing what he thought would be cool; one-off products.”

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PHOTO: Melodie Jeng

Ganni Dainty Wrap Dress, $235, available at Shopbop.

What made Ditte want to be involved with the growing brand was a desire to create a different type of Scandinavian style: “Every time I was out traveling, it really annoyed me that people thought that being Scandinavian meant either you were very androgynous or very bohemian, and I couldn’t really recognize myself, my friends, or the girls I’m inspired by in that at all… I thought there was a ‘Scandi 2.0’ style that the world hadn’t seen yet.”

From the beginning, the price range has been set to be relatively affordable. (Accessories start at $20, and nothing in the collection is over $1,000.) “We just did what we felt was right, a fairly honest price point,” Nicolaj says. “Democratic fashion is a concept that reflects very well the society we live in, and way we think and act. You wouldn’t get an average Danish customer to pay $600 or $800 dollars for a basic dress, as is usual for contemporary brands in the U.S… In return, we get very high sell-throughs.”

He continues: “From a product and a price point, we just did what we wanted to do: We wanted to be perceived as an international premium or designer brand, without knowing it’s not how you’re supposed to do things, we insisted on sitting next to very, very cool brands, in very, very cool specialty stores across the world.”

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PHOTO: Cornel Cristian Petrus/REX/Shutterstock

Ganni Edison Bucket Bag, $220.50, available at Shopbop.

Ganni positioned itself as on the same level as pricier contemporary labels, but with a lower entry point and a quirkier approach to wardrobe staples: cozy knits in rainbow stripes, easy dresses in bold floral prints, drawstring pouches covered in beads … Ganni has that charm of being an indie brand based in a very cool city that’s not a fashion metropolis, as well as a tremendous trend-spurring power that stems from understanding what people wear, versus shock-and-awe feats of design made for the catwalk and Instagram. You’ll absolutely see its wares on your social feeds, but it’s not just on diehard fashion industry types—these are the kinds of clothes that speak to intelligent, confident women across creative industries: a mix of slightly-off-kilter basics, like high-waisted, wide-legged red jeans and a demure shift dress, alongside a zebra print midi dress and a pleasingly duvet-like quilted floral jacket.

“The styles can easily mix-and-match, but are also special enough to stand out on their own,” says Caroline Maguire, fashion director at Shopbop.

Creating pieces that feel directional, interesting, and thoughtful is one thing. Knowing how to get them in people’s closets is another. And the Reffstrups have adopted a somewhat unconventional strategy to grow Ganni’s business—one that involves turning away potential retail partners.

“Again and again, we’ve edited out retailers we didn’t feel were resonating with the brand,” Nicolaj says, versus continuing to take on more wholesale buyers, as most indie brands do. Case in point: In fall 2017, Ganni dropped around 100 retailers out of approximately 400 total; one of which constituted 10 percent of the brand’s total sales.

info@imaxtree.com

PHOTO: Szymon Brzoska

Ganni florals. Shop similar styles here and here.

“A lot of things went into making that decision,” he explains. “We’ve been running this company as you would a tech company, with a very strong vision but no business plan… We always knew what brands we’d sit next to, and and the retailers we wanted to work with. We kept pushing until we got into those retailers.”

That approach has paid off: According to Nicolaj, Ganni has grown around 50 percent each year—“steady, organic growth that we hope is perceived as sustainable and relevant… Honestly, we could have probably grown a lot faster, doubled our growth overnight, by not dropping wholesale accounts, taking on even more wholesale accounts, opening more stores, but that’s never been the ambition.”

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PHOTO: REX/Shutterstock

Ganni Denim Jumpsuit, $405, available at Selfridges.

Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matches Fashion, which began carrying the brand this season, highlights the success of Scandinavian designers and “their simple, clean aesthetics and effortless wardrobe essentials” on the online retailer. “Ganni is a strong addition to the mix of these designers we already have and the brand has quickly garnered the attention of the street-style set; we find that Instagram is a powerful shopping tool.”

Net-a-Porter discovered Ganni a few years ago, first through Instagram and then at Copenhagen Fashion Week—before the brand had any online wholesale business. “The brand’s designs were popping up everywhere and being worn by all of the Scandinavian It-girls,” Elizabeth von der Goltz, the retailer’s global buying director, explains. Sales of the brand are very strong for Net-a-Porter—without sharing specific figures, von der Goltz says: “We keep exponentially expanding our buy with Ganni. We noticed very early on that our customers could not get enough of their designs. It’s grown to be one of our top selling brands.”

There’s an approachability to Ganni that Saks Fifth Avenue, another one of its major stockists, credits for its success. “Ganni has hit the sweet spot of balancing the storytelling elements of fashion with everyday consumer wearability,” says Tracy Margolies, its chief merchant. “There’s a romance in the Scandinavian lifestyle; it evokes a carefree, lighthearted feeling, and Ganni does just that. The clothes are easy to wear, the silhouettes are flattering but never restrictive, and the prints and palettes are always happy.”

Street Style - Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 - Day 3

PHOTO: Christian Vierig

Ganni Rosenfeld Mini Trapeze Dress, $900, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Saks Fifth Avenue declined to share sales figures or distribution changes (previous or planned) for its Ganni business, but Margolies says customer reactions to the brand have been “very enthusiastic,” with “figure-flattering wrap dresses, feminine silk tops, and easy separates” as bestsellers. (Those wrap dresses have also been a hit season after season for Net-a-Porter, too, “because they transcend trends and age, can be worn from day to night, and styled in many ways,” per von der Goltz.)

The brand’s remarkable success has resulted in an outsized effect on fashion trends more broadly. (Our sleeves are much puffier, our printed dresses much more floral, in a post-Ganni world.) Ditte insists it’s not by design: “It happened very organically, we didn’t have a master plan, honestly, we just tried to do what we like and what feels right. I think people can really recognize themselves in it.”

It didn’t hurt to have a crew of #GanniGirls, brand ambassadors that wear its latest collections and post about it on social media, on their side, including mega-popular street-style stars like Pernille Teisbaek and Reese Blutstein, aka @double3xposure.

Street Style - Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 - Day 3

PHOTO: Christian Vierig

Ganni Marlyn Cowboy Boots (right), $548, available at Farfetch.

“I really love the quirkiness of the pieces they create, and they just have an eye for unique patterns and fabrics I would never think to pick out,” Blutstein says. Ganni’s success, she believes, has a lot to do with being “extremely wearable,” while still having unusual twists, that give its designs more mileage.

Stylist Alexandra Carl praises the fact that Ganni “doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is very appealing, because essentially we all just want to have fun. It’s just clothes, after all… I think they capture something very playful and of the moment; women want to have fun and experiment with their style.”

Street Style: September 19 - Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019

PHOTO: Christian Vierig

Ganni Charron maxi dress, $267, available at Farfetch

There’s also a quality that’s hard to describe—a Danish je ne sais quoi—that maybe fills a void for shoppers who might feel fatigued by certain fashion tropes, like the fascination with “French girl” and the “New York model-off-duty” aesthetic. Perhaps the timing of Ditte and Nicolaj’s Ganni in the late aughts, ushering in a fresh interpretation of Scandinavian style, aligned well with our collective tiring of these mythical style icons. As Nicolaj explains: “The Copenhagen girls in general have a style of their own, [they] dress well, and they’re confident… It’s not just like we’re particularly great at dressing themselves; it’s a matter of attitude, and living in a society that’s the most well-balanced places left on earth, and that injects self-confidence and attitude, and affects how they look.”

“Growing up in a place where you’re allowed to be yourself; it’s personality, you see the person behind the clothes, not the clothes that wear the person,” Ditte explains. Carl calls Ganni’s take on it a “liberated vision of Scandinavian style, that’s not so clean, strict, and ‘uptight’; it’s quite free and laissez faire, which I think suits the vibe in Copenhagen very much.”

info@imaxtree.com

PHOTO: Szymon Brzoska

Ganni Blakely Zebra Print Wrap Top, $362, available at Farfetch; Ganni Blakey Zebra Print Trousers, $335, available at Farfetch.

Right now, Ganni has its sights set globally: “We’re hoping to build an international brand, but we’re trying hard to keep it very relevant and sustainable in the long run,” Nicolaj says. The Reffstrups are particularly focused on the U.S., with a goal to have a bigger retail footprint stateside. (“We like old-school retail, where you can meet and embrace the customer—they can touch and feel your product, and I don’t think that’s ever going to go away,” Nicolaj says.) So don’t be surprised if you start seeing more ruffled skirts or bold prints in your neck of the woods.

So, what’s that Ganni secret sauce, exactly? “The brand has had a very strong point of view and that’s something that has stayed true despite their global success,” explains Net-a-Porter’s von der Goltz. “Ganni is particularly good at building a loyal following and social presence, and I think that’s something every brand should be considering in the coming seasons.”

The magnitude of its trend-spawning, Copenhagen-cool-dispersing effect, though, is nearly impossible to explain, even for the couple responsible: “We’re both insecure overachievers,” Nicolaj says with a laugh, noting that when the brand gets lauded for being a global trend-creating force in and of itself, the couple tends to “feel even more insecure and work even harder; we’re not too good at stopping to appreciate things. We like to be very honest and sincere!”

In fact, it’s all about moving onto the next—as Ditte describes: “After our show this summer, people were very positive about it, and the first thing I’m thinking is, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing next time?!’”

Melania Trump Says Women Need ‘Hard Evidence’ When Saying #MeToo

While wrapping up her recent international tour in Africa, Melania Trump sat down for her first-ever television interview with ABC reporter Tom Llamas. In a short clip released by Good Morning America Wednesday, the First Lady offered her thoughts about the #MeToo movement, shared her belief that both women and men need support in this era, and said that accusers need “hard evidence” to show.

“I support the women, and they need to heard. We need to support them, and also, men, not just women,” Trump says in the preview, when Llamas asks her about the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Llamas pushes further and asks her if men who have been accused have been treated unfairly, and Trump responds, “You need to have really hard evidence that, if you’re accused of something, show the evidence.”

Llamas then explains that someone could hear her comments and wonder how she can say that instead of fully standing with women.

“I do stand with women,” Trump insists. “But we need to show the evidence. You cannot just say to somebody, ‘I was sexually assaulted’ or ‘You did that to me,’ because sometime the media goes too far, and the way the portray some stories, it’s not correct. It’s not right.”

Earlier this month, the First Lady had evaded questions about Kavanaugh, saying only that she found him to be “highly qualified” for the Supreme Court.

Her husband—who has been accused by more than 20 women of sexual misconduct himself—had previously spoken about Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her three decades ago, and had said he found her to be a “credible witness.” However, he changed his tune quickly and mocked her at a rally, suggesting her story lacked evidence.

Just days ago, the First Lady had told reporters that she and her husband “don’t always agree.” However, when it comes to instances of sexual assault allegations and evidence, their opinions seem to be much more aligned.

The full interview—called “Being Melania—The First Lady,” will air Friday on ABC News, and will also include details about FLOTUS’ cyberbullying campaign, something that, as the network teases in the promo, started off because of an unexpected reason. We’ll have to stay tuned for more.

It Sure Seems Like Kylie Jenner’s Lip Fillers Are Back

After spending months going Restylane-free, Kylie Jenner appears to have added lip filler appointments back to her calendar. On Tuesday afternoon, she shared a selfie on her Instagram Story and revealed in the caption that she had some sort of lip procedure the night before, courtesy of Pawnta Cosmetic Dermatology of Beverly Hills.

“Thanks @pawnta for coming through late last night with a lip touch up!” Jenner wrote. Though she didn’t explicitly say what that “touch up” entailed, it seems likely that the makeup mogul has gotten her formerly signature lip fillers once again. This comeback arrives about three months after the 21-year-old shared that she decided to have her filler removed. At the time, after a commenter wrote on Instagram that Jenner looked like “the old Kylie” in one post, Jenner admitted, “I got rid of all my filler.”

Kylie Jenner Confirms She's Using Lip Fillers Again 1

PHOTO: kyliejenner/Instagram Stories

Though she never explicitly explained why she decided to stop getting her lips filled for a few months, it may have had something to do with 8-month-old daughter Stormi Webster. In her September 2018 cover story for Vogue Australia, Jenner posed makeup-free and spoke about how becoming a mother had helped her accept her unfiltered self. “I feel like having a daughter, and thinking about beauty in the future, has definitely changed me, and I feel like it has made me love myself more and accept everything about me,” she told the magazine. “It’s just having a different outlook on life so I can pass that on to her. I want to be an example for her. What kind of example would I be if she said she didn’t like her ears, and then I didn’t like them either? I just want to teach her that. I’m trying to love myself more.”

Jenner has long been open about her insecurities about her lips. She revealed during a September 2017 episode of Life of Kylie that she first turned to lipstick and then to fillers after a boy she liked criticized the size of her lips. Earlier this year, the star promised she’d soon be sharing her entire experience with fillers with her fans, writing on Twitter that she was working on a vlog “about my whole lip filler journey.”

Related: It Sure Looks Like Kylie Jenner Skin Care Products Are on Their Way

Riverdale Season 3 Spoilers: Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Reveals What’s to Come

Last season, Riverdale ended with Archie Andrews wrongly accused of murdering Cassidy Brooke (remember him?) and faced with the harsh reality that he might end up in prison instead of high school. Meanwhile, Veronica basically emancipated herself from her father and came away with a new business endeavor in the process: Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe. Bughead seemed to be in fine form—for once—but Betty’s sister, Polly, was a different story. The elder Cooper sibling joined a cult, and it looked like Alice is her next target. Cheryl became an honorary serpent and coupled up with Toni, while legally emancipating herself from her mother and taking control of Thistlehouse. Oh, and Hal Cooper went to jail, as one would expect if you’re the Black Hood.

Got it? Good, because Riverdale returns for season three today (Wednesday, October 10) with a whole bunch of loose ends to tie up and a brand new mystery to reveal. Damn, can’t these people get any rest?

Actually, that’s exactly how Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa likes it. “Everyone is treating season three like it’s season one,” he tells Glamour.com. “We want this to be an edge-of-your-seat season, so we’re really excited. Unless you’re Archie, of course, who probably wouldn’t mind a little less drama.

“We’ll definitely know Archie’s fate by the end of the episode,” Aguirre-Sacasa promises. “One thing we’re doing a little bit different this year is jumping in time—three months to be exact—so when we meet [up with] Archie he’s mid-trial.” While Aguirre-Sacasa won’t reveal Archie’s odds of being set free, he will tell us plenty of other information, including some exciting news for Choni and Bughead fans. But with the news that Jughead’s mom and sister are coming on board (played by Gina Gershon and newcomer Trinity Likins), what does that mean for F.P. and Alice hopefuls? To our surprise, Aguirre-Sacasa is spilling the tea. Spoilers ahead!

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PHOTO: Katie Yu/The CW

Fans have dissected the teaser trailer where the core four are at the lake, riding in the jalopy, etc. Is that all a dream sequence or, if it’s real, does that mean that Archie is exonerated?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Those scenes really happen, and we wanted to capture this idea of stealing one last moment of youth and innocence and, honestly, summer vacation. It’s like trying to get that last day of summer vacation to be the best day of summer vacation, and that’s what went into that episode. Those scenes really happened. I wasn’t there personally, but [I heard] the water was cold. It was a really hot day the scene was filmed, so even though the water was cold, I think everyone was really down for it.

Varchie fans will get some wish fulfillment in those scenes, but going forward, which pairing will have the happier season three? Varchie or Bughead?

RAS: I think right now Bughead [is going] to have the happier season three. I will say though to Varchie fans that Veronica and Archie are proving to be very much…they’re trying to hang on to each other through the troubles in a really visceral way. Even though they could be heading towards rocks, they’re really clinging to each other because they feel so deeply for each other.

Right. And Veronica has now severed ties with her father, owns Pop’s, and went through a major transition since we last saw her.

RAS: Veronica is not to be trifled with, and Hiram is the architect behind her unhappiness and Archie’s troubles. She’s not down with rolling over and just letting him steamroll over her happiness.

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PHOTO: Katie Yu/The CW

Over the summer, Lochlyn Munro (Hal Cooper) told me he’ll be back this season. When can viewers expect to see Hal again?

RAS: Not in the first few episodes, but sooner than you might expect.

Should we expect him to be behind bars all season?

RAS: When we reconnect with him, he’s definitely behind bars, behind glass, behind barbed wire. He’s in maximum security, that’s for sure.

And what about Chic? His fate was left open-ended toward the end of season two.

RAS: That is buried a bit, I would say. But we haven’t seen the body. Even when you’ve seen the body, I say never say never.

Chapter Thirty-Four: Judgment Night

PHOTO: THE CW

That’s why I have a theory that Cheryl’s uncle Claudius is really her father. I think he’s been impersonating his brother, and it was the uncle who we saw die at the end of season one.

RAS: [Laughs] That’s a theory that has been floated by a few people. It’s definitely something that’s within the realm of possibility on our show, that’s for sure.

Let’s talk about F.P. and Alice. We know from last season that Polly was trying to help Alice by drawing her into this cult, so how will that impact—if at all—Alice’s potential relationship with F.P.?

RAS: In a weird way, the farm could open the door for Falice because the farm says to be alive in the moment. Do whatever you think, burn the past, there is no future, there’s only now. So in a weird way, the farm could be seen as giving permission to Alice to pursue F.P. The bigger threat to them will be the fact that Alice is married to Hal and F.P. is married to Gladys.

Speaking of, what’s the state of the marriage between F.P. and Gladys?

RAS: They’re strained and estranged from each other. [Laughs]

Gina Gershon doesn’t appear as Gladys until December 12, which means there are two months of episodes from now until then. What will Falice’s relationship status be by then? One would assume they’d be in a relationship just to make things more complicated when Gladys enters the picture.

RAS: Yeah, I think if this wasn’t Riverdale and it was just Falice exploring their relationship, they would be in pretty deep by the time Gladys gets there. We do see them quite together and quite intimate, but Falice is also dealing with their part in a crime that happened 25 years earlier, which is sort of rearing its ugly head this season as well. So Falice doesn’t exist on a blissed-out island apart from the day-to-day trials and tribulations of Riverdale. They’re very much caught up in the season mystery as well.

Let’s move on to Cheryl and Toni. They were together by the end of the season, and Cheryl has emancipated herself from her mother and has Thistlehouse all to herself. So will Choni be moving in together?

RAS: We’re really enjoying them being the reigning queens of Riverdale High, which we’re going to play them as. They’re still in the honeymoon phase. They are kind of getting in and out of trouble with the Serpents, without the Serpents. They too will be drawn into the season-long mysteries, and, yes, there will be a discussion about Choni living together.

From Barber to Actress and Musician: Meet All American’s Bre-Z

On the surface, All American might seem like a male-heavy drama about football. Not so fast: While the CW series does feature two male leads (Daniel Ezra as high school player Spencer James; Taye Diggs as the coach who recruits him), that would be only half the story. Where All American really excels is the depiction of James’ home life—and the complicated, fascinating women who affect it.

One of those women who serves as James’ moral compass is his cousin/best friend Tamia “Coop” Cooper, played by Empire star Bre-Z. “She constantly pushes him not be afraid to leave his comfort zone,” Bre-Z tells Glamour. “I love that my character is not one dimensional. I love the positivity within her regardless of what she feels like she has to do because of the environment that she’s been brought up in. And she’s funny as hell.” Most important, “I just love that for women on TV right now, we’re displaying the power that we always knew we had. That’s so exciting.”

And much like All American, there’s more to the Philadelphia native, 31, than what’s on the surface. From her former career as a barber to the story behind her name, Bre-Z wants to share her story. Read on.

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PHOTO: Sami Drasin

What’s your birth name and the story behind Bre-Z?

Bre-Z: My birth name is Calesha [Murray]. It was so funny because I think when I was in fifth grade, my mom got a call home from my teachers and they said, “Your daughter can’t keep writing Bre-Z on her papers.” I thought that was my name. Everybody always called me Bre-Z, so I didn’t know. My mom sat me down and [explained it to me]. Now when people want to call me Calesha, I’m like, “No, it’s Bre-Z! You can’t take it from me again!” [Laughs] Bre-Z is cooler anyway!

So how did everyone start calling you Bre-Z?

Bre-Z: My grandmother on my mom’s side actually gave me that name. I was in the delivery room, crying at the top of my lungs, but they couldn’t figure out why because nothing was really wrong. [It turns out] I was cold. Once they wrapped me up and swaddled me and shut the windows, that was the end of it. My grandmother said, “Oh. She was cold!”

What brought you to Hollywood?

Bre-Z: I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was raised in Wilmington, Delaware. I kind of just knew there was something just special about myself, coming from a place where people rarely make it out. I’ve seen friends and things like that…so many people pass on before we even got to the point where we wanted to pursue a career. Ever since I was in sixth grade, I knew what I wanted to do. Once I had that talk with my mom, I was into music, and she helped and filled out college applications, and I actually did everything I said I was going to do.

I started off as a barber, cutting hair for men since I was 10 years old. I was working in the shop, and that was my bread and butter throughout high school and growing up. I finally got to a place where I wanted to focus on my music, so I pulled back from cutting hair a little bit and eventually I landed up in Atlanta because my mom had a job transfer. I was like 19, and I was there working and making so much money. It was great—but a few years after that, I got tired of it and felt like I hit a plateau in my life. I was just kind of cruising altitude.

And then what happened?

Bre-Z: Me and a friend decided, “Fuck it. We’re just going to move to L.A.” So, we moved out here. I was maybe 24. I’m still a mama’s girl, and we’re very family oriented. I got here, and six or seven months later I was asked to audition for Empire. I’ve been here ever since.

Did you have any acting or music training? Or are you self-taught?

Bre-Z: I self-taught, even as a barber. I felt like I never had the money to afford the training or all the necessary things…I didn’t have it. I was forced to teach myself everything, even when it came to making graphics. I had to teach myself that and how to edit videos, and I’d take my own photos. I was always very artsy and in love with the art, but I couldn’t afford it. So I had to teach myself.

Were there any actors you looked to for inspiration along the way?

Bre-Z: I was always such a fan of strong, powerful women like Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah. Now you got Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson. I was always a fan of that. But I don’t think I looked any further than just being a fan. Acting wasn’t anything I was pursuing. That came from God himself. You work so hard to do one thing, and then you’re like, “What? Now I’m a makeup artist?” That’s what it was. I was so in love with being a barber and the satisfaction I got from making people feel good and look good. Then you just drop me on a TV screen…so it really took for me to have a sit-down from Terrence Howard discussing the same thing you and I are, and he was like, “Best thing you can do is just be yourself. You’re very passionate, you’re very sympathetic.” So every time I got a role, he would just tell me to put myself in their shoes. As simple as it sounds, it was the greatest advice he could have given me.

Do you feel most yourself when you’re acting or creating music?

Bre-Z: In my music. The music and being in the studio is one of my most vulnerable places. On TV people perceive me to be a particular type of person. People get so invested in these [characters] they don’t actually know who I am. But my music is a chance for me to say, “This is me.”

Will you get to sing on All American?

Bre-Z: I think it’s only right. So I’m excited. I think so.

Finally, what do you hope other young women take away from seeing you in this role or hearing your story?

Bre-Z: I want women to understand that they can do it. I’m not afraid to tell [my] story. I don’t come from a bad place, but I do come from a place of uncertainty. We don’t know what the plan is going to be for our lives. Your faith, along with your drive, is only going to take you where you allow it to. I really hope women are inspired and not afraid to dream or do it. I think we fear the thought the most. Because when you think about it, nothing actually ever happens because you didn’t do anything.

From Barber to Actress and Musician: Meet ‘All American’ star Bre-Z

On the surface, All American might seem like a male-heavy drama about football. Not so fast: While the CW series does feature two male leads (Daniel Ezra as high school player Spencer James; Taye Diggs as the coach who recruits him), that would be only half the story. Where All American really excels is the depiction of James’ home life—and the complicated, fascinating women who affect it.

One of those women who serves as James’ moral compass is his cousin and best friend Tamia “Coop” Cooper, played by Empire star Bre-Z. “She constantly pushes him not be afraid to leave his comfort zone,” Bre-Z tells Glamour. “I love that my character is not one-dimensional. I love the positivity within her regardless of what she feels like she has to do because of the environment that she’s been brought up in. And she’s funny as hell.” Most important, “I just love that for women on TV right now, we’re displaying the power that we always knew we had. That’s so exciting.”

And much like All American, there’s more to the 31-year-old Philadelphia native than what’s on the surface. From her former career as a barber to the story behind her name, Bre-Z wants to share her story. Read on.

daniel-ezra-bre-z-all-american-season-1-2018.jpg

PHOTO: Sami Drasin

What’s your birth name and the story behind Bre-Z?

Bre-Z: My birth name is Calesha [Murray]. It was so funny because I think when I was in fifth grade, my mom got a call home from my teachers and they said, “Your daughter can’t keep writing Bre-Z on her papers.” I thought that was my name. Everybody always called me Bre-Z, so I didn’t know. My mom sat me down and [explained it to me]. Now when people want to call me Calesha, I’m like, “No, it’s Bre-Z! You can’t take it from me again!” [Laughs.] Bre-Z is cooler anyway!

Glamour: So how did everyone start calling you Bre-Z?

Bre-Z: My grandmother on my mom’s side actually gave me that name. I was in the delivery room, crying at the top of my lungs, but they couldn’t figure out why because nothing was really wrong. [It turns out] I was cold. Once they wrapped me up and swaddled me and shut the windows, that was the end of it. My grandmother said, “Oh. She was cold!”

Glamour: What brought you to Hollywood?

Bre-Z: I grew up in Philadelphia and was raised in Wilmington, Delaware. I kind of just knew there was something just special about myself, coming from a place where people rarely make it out. I’ve seen friends and things like that…so many people pass on before we even got to the point where we wanted to pursue a career. Ever since I was in sixth grade, I knew what I wanted to do. Once I had that talk with my mom, I was into music, and she helped and filled out college applications, and I actually did everything I said I was going to do.

I started off as a barber, cutting hair for men since I was 10 years old. I was working in the shop, and that was my bread and butter throughout high school and growing up. I finally got to a place where I wanted to focus on my music, so I pulled back from cutting hair a little bit, and eventually I landed up in Atlanta because my mom had a job transfer. I was like 19, and I was there working and making so much money. It was great—but a few years after that, I got tired of it and felt like I hit a plateau in my life. I was just kind of cruising altitude.

Glamour: And then what happened?

Bre-Z: Me and a friend decided, “Fuck it. We’re just going to move to L.A.” So, we moved out here. I was maybe 24. I’m still a mama’s girl, and we’re very family oriented. I got here, and six or seven months later I was asked to audition for Empire. I’ve been here ever since.

Glamour: Did you have any acting or music training? Or are you self-taught?

Bre-Z: I self-taught, even as a barber. I felt like I never had the money to afford the training or all the necessary things…. I didn’t have it. I was forced to teach myself everything, even when it came to making graphics. I had to teach myself that and how to edit videos, and I’d take my own photos. I was always very artsy and in love with the art, but I couldn’t afford it. So I had to teach myself.

Glamour: Were there any actors you looked to for inspiration along the way?

Bre-Z: I was always such a fan of strong, powerful women like Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah. Now you got Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson. I was always a fan of that. But I don’t think I looked any further than just being a fan. Acting wasn’t anything I was pursuing. That came from God himself. You work so hard to do one thing, and then you’re like, “What? Now I’m a makeup artist?” That’s what it was. I was so in love with being a barber and the satisfaction I got from making people feel good and look good. Then you just drop me on a TV screen…so it really took for me to have a sit-down from Terrence Howard discussing the same thing you and I are, and he was like, “Best thing you can do is just be yourself. You’re very passionate, you’re very sympathetic.” So every time I got a role, he would just tell me to put myself in their shoes. As simple as it sounds, it was the greatest advice he could have given me.

Glamour: Do you feel most yourself when you’re acting or creating music?

Bre-Z: In my music. The music and being in the studio is one of my most vulnerable places. On TV people perceive me to be a particular type of person. People get so invested in these [characters] they don’t actually know who I am. But my music is a chance for me to say, “This is me.”

Glamour: Will you get to sing on All American?

Bre-Z: I think it’s only right. So I’m excited. I think so.

Glamour: Finally, what do you hope other young women take away from seeing you in this role or hearing your story?

Bre-Z: I want women to understand that they can do it. I’m not afraid to tell [my] story. I don’t come from a bad place, but I do come from a place of uncertainty. We don’t know what the plan is going to be for our lives. Your faith, along with your drive, is only going to take you where you allow it to. I really hope women are inspired and not afraid to dream or do it. I think we fear the thought the most. Because when you think about it, nothing actually ever happens because you didn’t do anything.

Women in Congress Have Never Hit What Researchers Call “The Tipping Point.” How Would Government Change If They Did?

The end of 2013 government shutdown started with pizza, wine, and 20-ish frustrated female senators. It was Aaron Sorkin–esque, except zero men were present.

By the first week of October, the partisan battle had dragged Washington to a halt. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D–N.H.) invited the women to her office to discuss a plan to reopen the government that Senator Susan Collins (R–Maine) had put forth. “There were a lot of people—ahem, men—who would have liked to be the bullies on the playground and just cross their arms and see who had to back down first,” Senator Patty Murray (D–Wash.) recalls. “We didn’t want to wait to see who backed down.” She’s heard that women politicians are more polite and more patient than men, but that wasn’t their motivation: “What we were was impatient.” To finish it. To get back to business.

When the shutdown ended at last, the late Senator John McCain (R–Ariz.) tipped his hat to his female colleagues: “Leadership, I must fully admit, was provided primarily from women in the Senate.”

The Senate comprises 100 members. At the time of the 2013 fracas, its female faction was made up of 16 Democrats and four Republicans. Today the Senate boasts 23 women (only 52 have ever served). It’s a paltry improvement, but leaps and bounds better than the fraction of women in power in other strata of influence: Just six governors are women. Only 24 Fortune 500 companies are women-led—that’s less than 5 percent.

Sen. Shaheen wants to see the Senate look like America, with an equal gender split. (Hers is a moderate stance; when asked at what point there will be enough women on the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pronounced, “When there are nine.”) But even a modest increase in women could make a difference in how the legislative branch operates and votes and affects all our lives.

The midterm elections will see more women than ever on the ballot. What we don’t know is how many of those candidates will win. If current female incumbents hold their seats, a woman-versus-woman race in Arizona will inch the number of women in the Senate up to 24. Some pollsters think it’s possible that Democratic Representative Jacky Rosen could win in Nevada or Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn could come out ahead in Tennessee, which would push the number to 25 or 26 and create a coalition with far more influence than women have had so far.

With a result like that, we’d be closer than ever to getting the answer to a question that has tantalized and divided political scientists for decades: What would happen to our gridlocked, super-partisan politics if women surpassed the tipping point?

The idea of the tipping point dates back to 1977, when Rosabeth Moss Kanter, then a professor at Yale University and Harvard Law School, theorized the idea of critical mass as it applies to women in positions of power. Kanter observed that women had to make up at least 30 percent of a team to contribute at their full potential. Under that threshold, women were often dismissed as token representatives of their gender—not equal participants, let alone persuasive decision makers. Ever since then, experts have debated the ideal proportion: Is it 35 percent? Would 25 be sufficient? Whatever the number, women in federal government haven’t reached it. “The point is to be included—not seen as an outsider,” says Kanter, now chair and director of Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative.

Make no mistake, it does help to have one woman, or a handful, in “the room where it happens.” That was visible in April, when Senator Tammy Duckworth (D–Ill.) gave birth to her daughter, Maile. Less than two weeks later she was back in the Senate, Maile in tow, for a vote. But Maile’s presence there—let alone her warm welcome— would have once been inconceivable. Babies have been banned from the floor as far back as all the people who serve in the Senate can remember. When Sen. Duckworth learned she was pregnant, she asked Senator Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) to lead a bipartisan effort to strike down the rule. For months Sen. Klobuchar met with colleagues to convince them to support a reversal. Some on the Hill were worried about whether—the horror!—Sen. Duckworth would have to breastfeed. But Sen. Klobuchar made her case, and the rule was overturned with unanimous consent. “I think it would do us good…to see a pacifier next to the antique inkwells on our desks,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D–Ill.) at the time.

PHOTO: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Senator Tammy Duckworth, back at work with her newborn.

It’s a nice sentiment, but it overlooks the fact that the United States remains the lone industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave. Kanter believes that more elected women would lead to changes in policies like paid leave or access to health care. But Georgetown University professor Michele Swers, Ph.D., is more skeptical. While she acknowledges that women have unique experiences to draw on that can make men view certain political issues with a fresh perspective, she cautions that women are not immune to the extreme partisanship that has infected Washington, despite the notion that women are reputed to be better at collaboration and risk assessment than men. “At the national level, there’s just less room for collaboration than there used to be,” Swers says.

Even so, women in the Senate have tried to make the most of their low numbers. It was former Senator Barbara Mikulski (D–Md.) who set out to boost women’s collective power with routine bipartisan dinners. Credit where credit is due, notes Sen. Murray: “Because we took the time separate from legislative action to know where people come from…then when those impasses are reached, it’s much more likely that someone will reach out and ask, ‘How can we solve this?’ ”

There’s evidence, too, that women in office use their voice to different effect than men. In a 2010 University of Minnesota study, researchers found that women in the House of Representatives give more floor speeches. (How else to be heard in public?) And female politicians tend to emphasize issues that matter more to women and families (never mind that most families include men too): A deep dive into 2018 congressional transcripts found that female representatives spent more than twice as much time on health care in their speeches as male legislators did. Those efforts could have a greater impact, in part, because of the “Jill Robinson effect.” Two political scientists coined the term in 2011, positing that because bias makes it harder for women to get elected, those who do persevere are more adept lawmakers. (The phenomenon is named after baseball icon Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball.) To wit: The research found that congresswomen claim up to 9 percent more in flexible dollars for their districts than congressmen do. Want to better fund education or health care in your area? Elect women.

While business doesn’t do much better than government when it comes to female representation— women make up just 21 percent of corporate board seats in the S&P 1500—active steps have been taken to boost their ranks. California recently passed bills that would require publicly traded companies in that state to have at least one woman on their board by 2020, and more women, depending on a company’s size, by 2022. Europe has had such requirements for a decade. In 2006, for example, Norway established a quota for women on boards. France now has one too; the aim for female representation is 40 percent. The laws were passed in the name of fairness, but they’re also good for business. A 2016 report from global nonprofit Catalyst found that companies with three or more women on their board of directors, no matter the size, outperformed the competition across three crucial metrics: return on equity, return on sales, and return on invested capital. In other words, money, money, money. And research from Miriam Schwartz-Ziv, Ph.D., assistant professor at Michigan State University, has found that members of gender-balanced boards are twice as active (meaning, likely to take initiative) as non-gender- balanced boards.

That math underscores principles that William P. Lauder, executive chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies, says have been baked into the DNA of his family’s business since its inception. In April the company added two more women, Jennifer Hyman, cofounder and CEO of Rent the Runway, and Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty, to the board, which means eight of its 17 directors are now women. (For perspective, just three Fortune 500 companies have an equal number of male and female board members.) Lauder chafes at the excuse that there are too few qualified women candidates in the pipeline. Lauder, a member of the 30 Percent Coalition, an initiative to create more diverse corporate boards, maintains women are a “value add” for companies’ boards. Before beginning this latest search, he remembers he was explicit with his current board members: “I said, ‘Here’s what we need—we need expertise in cyber and we need expertise in social and digital.’ On top of that, I said, ‘We need more women directors.’ Those were the criteria: female, with these qualifications.”

Hyman notes that women are responsible for 85 percent of purchases in the U.S., so it just makes sense to empower them in business—who better to know the consumer? She joined Estée Lauder because she trusted her opinion would be valued. “It wasn’t that they hit a number,” she says. “It was that they embraced the diversity of the people who were there across every metric. They say it out loud.”

When Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman ever to serve on the Boston City Council in 2009, she did not feel, from the media and the public at least, the kind of embrace that Hyman describes. What she remembers was the sense that people outside the council believed her success was owed to the idea that voters had wanted to elect a “first.” That narrative, she says, “took away from what I had accomplished.” (After she defeated a 10-term incumbent for the Democratic nomination in September, Pressley is now expected to be elected to Congress in November.) Pressley hoped that chatter would die down in 2013, when Michelle Wu was elected to serve on the council. But both women insist it wasn’t until two more women, Anissa Essaibi George and Andrea Joy Campbell, joined in 2015 (and pushed the 13-person council over the 30 percent mark) that their gender started to matter less.

PHOTO: KEITH BEDFORD/THE BOSTON GLOBE VIA GETTY IMAGES

Ayanna Pressley (second from right), Michelle Wu (second from left), and the women of the Boston City Council.

“There had been a lot of pressure on us to represent this whole spectrum [of womanhood],” Wu says. “Would we line up together? Would we take opposite sides? There was so much examination, solely about our relationship with each other because we are women.” The addition of Essaibi George and Campbell made clear that they serve their own constituencies, not just those who happen to have the same chromosomes. That’s a freedom women in federal government, and Democratic women in particular, lack. When Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D–N.D.) declined to vote for stricter gun restrictions in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting, she said in an interview with Time that the backlash from women nationwide surprised her: “A female friend in the Senate said to me, ‘You know, it’s because they feel you represent all women, not just the women of North Dakota.’ ”

Earlier in 2018, as yet another government shutdown over how and whether to protect the Dreamers loomed, Sen. Collins introduced a compromise bill that would have given the young undocumented immigrants legal status over time and fund border security. Her effort came closer than other prospective fixes, but failed in a 54–45 vote. An overwhelming number of female senators voted for her amendment, 18 in all. (Four opposed, and one wasn’t present.) Sen. Shaheen points out that with six more likeminded women, the bill would have passed. Nine or 10 more, and women would have had a critical mass—and votes to spare.

Perhaps the headline would have read: “Women Save the Dreamers.” But a better result? If people had looked at the numbers and seen that more than 60 senators with different points of view found a path forward. That, explains Ellen Pao, the activist who cofounded the nonprofit Project Include after losing a gender discrimination suit against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers in 2015, is the real purpose of a critical mass. The more women in power, the less gender has to be discussed. “People need to focus on full representation for all people,” Pao says. “Not just on gender, but on race, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic background. We have to keep that goal in mind and realize that 30 percent is nothing, or at least it’s not enough. A threshold is not a destination.”

Mattie Kahn is a senior editor at Glamour.
Lede photo by OLIVER CONTRERAS-POOL/GETTY IMAGES