17th Jun 2019

As any bride-to-be knows, planning your perfect day is a deeply personal affair, and for me it’s no different. Next month, my partner David and I will be marrying in front of immediate family as part of a group holiday to the exquisite Kokomo Private Island in Fiji. Given that for us both us this will be our second marriage, and symbolises the coming together of two little families to make one big one, it felt fitting to keep the occasion intimate. You can read about my own choice for a destination wedding (and a bridal party made entirely of kids) from page 162.

For this special issue, ’s talented editors have also curated their pick of fantasy dresses, beauty looks, flowers, rings and more, while experts offer insights into how to conceive a truly contemporary and distinctive event.

Whether you choose to be married in Australia or abroad, our edit of weddings offers inspiration for both. On these pages you’ll find celebrations in Italian villas, a French chateau and museum spaces in both London and Miami and, closer to home, nuptials nestled among classic coastal and rural properties unique to our beautiful country.

In creating your own dream wedding, remember that as long as love is centre of your celebrations, everything else will fall into place.

Vogue Brides ia,

One afternoon a little over a year ago, I got a brief and mysterious e-mail from a man named Jackson Taylor. It was sent from a personal Gmail account. “I am heading up a new literary fellowship here in New York,” he wrote. “You have been secretly nominated for a spot in the inaugural group—and I was wondering if I might have a moment of your time to speak by phone? The fellowship begins in April but won’t be publicly announced until June.” Before I had a chance to respond, my cell phone rang: it was Jackson. He said he was travelling and sounded out of breath, but I heard something about a “congress of writers” that would teach skills and speak truth to power. If I showed up for twice-weekly sessions for two semesters, I would receive ten thousand dollars. The program’s benefactor, Jackson told me, was the family foundation of Leonard Riggio, the executive chairman of Barnes & Noble. They had “deep pockets,” he said.

I had recently moved to New York after five years of reporting, mostly as a freelancer, in Boston and Berlin. I was working a full-time job that I regretted taking, and writing on the side. My apartment had a bedroom too small to fit a desk or even a dresser, and its single window faced an air shaft the color of dryer lint. I was a journalist, not a novelist or a poet, and, in New York, writers seemed to sprout from every sidewalk. I had no idea why Jackson and this foundation had singled me out.

I turned to Google. Leonard Riggio, I learned, had amassed hundreds of millions of dollars as the man who turned Barnes & Noble—which had one location when he bought the company—into a nationwide chain. His blend of cutthroat competitiveness and generous philanthropy had led New York magazine to call him, in a profile published in 1999, “Barnes & Noble’s Jekyll and Hyde.” I searched for Jackson, too. After scrolling past results about a country singer with the same name, I found a writer who had directed the Prison Writing Program at PEN America, which provides resources and mentorship to incarcerated writers. He had taught at the New School and published a novel, about a white woman in Depression-era Pennsylvania who is arrested for helping a black doctor perform abortions, a story apparently based on the life of his grandmother. It had a 3.8 rating on Goodreads.

I replied to Jackson and asked whether he could tell me who the other participants were. He gave me a few names, including those of a début novelist and a poet who had been published in The New Yorker. I noticed that they were all writers of color, which seemed in keeping with the progressive ideals that Jackson had talked about on the phone—speaking truth to power and so on. In his response, Jackson asked me to be discreet, and he mentioned, again, the deep pockets of the Riggios. “In a year or two we aim for this prize to be synonymous with excellence, intellectual rigor, and artfulness… in short—the very best,” he wrote. I accepted the offer.

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The first session was on a Wednesday in April, in an old building in Chelsea. I was late because I was riding the subway from work and got off at the wrong stop. When I arrived, overheated from running up Tenth Avenue, I took the elevator to the fifth floor, then wandered a narrow hallway looking for Suite 513. I walked the length of the floor several times before noticing that someone had papered over No. 514 and replaced it with a handwritten “513.” Inside, about a dozen people were sitting on wooden chairs and two uncomfortable couches, writing in red notebooks. They had all written their first names on pieces of white printer paper.

Other than the handful of people Jackson had mentioned to me, I didn’t know anyone’s full name. A few days before the session, Jackson had e-mailed the fellows as a group, but he had blind-copied us on the message. There were reasons for this secrecy, he insisted. “We prefer to minimize the social pressure of social media on our congress,” he informed us. “Yes… this is another cryptic email… but one that takes seriously the question of how do we as writers circumvent the fashions of the day… and recast what others tell us is necessary or expected?” Also, because of “copyright diligence,” he was still unable to share the name of the program, he wrote. He did introduce us to two colleagues—Tim, who would lead class sessions on Thursdays, and Antonio, the program’s administrative director.

In the far corner of Room 513, or 514, Jackson, a large man with fair skin and a fondness for wearing vests over T-shirts, sat in a leather reading chair. It was hot, and the windows were difficult to open. The air-conditioning unit sputtered too loudly to use during class. Jackson told me to write my first name on a piece of paper, and to complete a writing exercise. I was to create an original fable, complete with talking animals and a moral. After we’d all written our fables, we took turns reading them—but we were only supposed to listen to one another’s pieces, not to comment on them. Jackson called this “the pedagogy.”

What it produced was a series of awkward silences. At the end, Jackson launched into a lecture on literary structure. Pausing frequently for effect, he spoke about constructing fables, discerning between the abstract and the concrete, and “kicking the tires of aphoristic writing.” Somewhere in the middle, without any warning, he began to speak angrily about PEN America, its hiring processes, and its executive director. Then he handed out copies of “Springing,” a poem by Marie Ponsot about a leisurely day of boating and swimming. (“Swimming aimlessly is luxury just as walking / loudly up a shallow stream is.”) The poem prompted a debate among the fellows about privilege, which, Jackson said, was an aspect of the poem that he had not considered. He said that the fellowship would likely be called Springing, after the poem.

In subsequent sessions with Jackson, we discussed a range of writers and theorists, from Henry David Thoreau to Northrop Frye. Most of the fellows were women, and about half were writers of color. (My mother was born in Singapore, to Chinese parents, and my father is Jewish; I’m often taken for white.) In our discussions of the readings, fellows brought up questions of race and gender, but Jackson said that these subjects were distracting. One fellow suggested that we read “Citizen,” Claudia Rankine’s book of poetry about anti-black racism in American life. A week later, we read a passage from Rankine’s book in which the speaker describes a conversation with the head of an academic department: “He tells you his dean is making him hire a person of color when there are so many great writers out there. You think maybe this is an experiment and you are being tested or retroactively insulted or you have done something that communicates this is an okay conversation to be having. / Why do you feel comfortable saying this to me?”

After the reading, Jackson told us that he had once run into difficulties firing a writer because the writer was black. He looked for excellence rather than diversity, he said, and he lamented the difficulty of recruiting and retaining staff members of color. (Tim and Antonio were both, like Jackson, white men.) He asked a black fellow whether she would want to be hired because of her race. She said no. “Thank you!” he exclaimed.

Soon after the sessions began, a few of us started gathering after class, in the hall or in front of the building, to talk about what was going on. The neighborhood was crowded with warehouses that had been converted into art studios; during the day, it was noisy with construction. But by evening it grew quiet, and we lingered on the sidewalk in the dark, talking about how strange everything seemed. Some of us traded phone numbers; a couple of times, we walked to bars in Chelsea, making quips about needing a drink.

Many of the fellows were growing frustrated with Jackson and his methods, but there were a handful who defended him from time to time, and two who consistently took his side. Stephanie, a writer in her thirties, often complained when fellows brought up race or gender or privilege. They were interfering with the pedagogy, she said. Tom, the only visual artist in the program, said that we should trust Jackson, that he knew what he was doing. (Both Stephanie and Tom were white.)

One evening, walking to the subway after class, one of the fellows, a black poet named Hafizah Geter, told me that she had been searching for details about the others. By this point, all the participants had exchanged e-mail addresses, and Hafizah said that she had come across Stephanie’s maiden name online. It was Riggio. Stephanie, who had been attending the sessions and reciting her work like the rest of us, was the daughter of the fellowship’s funders. That’s odd, I thought. Was this the reason that Jackson had never shared our full names?

At a session in early May, one of the fellows, a black poet, brought in a poem that he had written which alluded to Wallace Stevens’s “Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery,” and reflected on Stevens’s use of the racist slur in his poetry. We broke from the pedagogy and took turns talking about the poem. When it was Jackson’s turn, he accused the writer of “baiting” the group, and, in the course of sharing these thoughts, he repeated the slur several times. Another black writer asked him, as calmly as though she were asking for a glass of water, to stop saying the word. Jackson compared her request to censorship—and if the word were off limits, he said, we would also need to ban words that are derogatory to white people, such as “whitey.” Hafizah told Jackson that his desire to use the word as a white man was outrageous. But black people say the word on the street, Jackson replied, using the word several more times as he made his point, and gesturing at Hafizah. Maybe we should disband the fellowship, he said, raising his voice. She told him that the classroom did not feel safe. Stephanie seemed upset. Tom said that we should get back on topic.

We took an afternoon break. I joined Hafizah in the hall. Antonio, a short and soft-spoken man in sneakers, came out to talk to us. Quietly, he asked us to e-mail him our concerns, so that he would have them on record. After a moment, Tom came out and invited us back into the class. Hafizah and I decided to leave early.

That night, Hafizah texted me a link to Tom’s Web site, which she had found in her continued Internet sleuthing. I clicked on the link, and photographs of Jackson appeared, along with art works that I recognized from the space in Chelsea. “Guess who he is to Jackson,” Hafizah wrote. “His fucking boyfriend.” I eventually learned that the artist’s studio in which we met was in the same building, and on the same floor, as Tom’s previous studio. Jackson had recommended it to the Riggios for the fellowship, and it had been renovated to Tom and Jackson’s specifications. The Riggios approved a lease, and Tom moved his art works into the fellowship space.

Later, I talked to Hafizah about that day. We met at her apartment, in Brooklyn, which was stuffed from floor to ceiling with books. “It was a nightmare,” she told me. “You felt trapped, you felt like you were suffocating in all this.” She told me that she went home and cried for a long time. Hafizah is one of the writers Jackson mentioned to me when I first asked him who the other fellows were; she’s won several awards and fellowships for her poetry, which has been published in The New Yorker and Tin House and many other places. Her confrontations with Jackson convinced her that she had been recruited to the program, and then marginalized, for the same reason: that she was a black woman. During the session, she had said to him, “If every person of color left this room and didn’t come back, this room would be irrelevant. It would just be another white room talking about white power.”

The day after that session, I e-mailed Antonio to say that I was disturbed by what had happened, and we made plans to talk over coffee. Hafizah e-mailed Jackson to say that she was quitting. She was the second to leave: one of the fellows, who was commuting a long way from out of state, had quit at the end of the first week. “You can’t come back from the N-word,” Hafizah told me. She regarded his use of the word in class, spoken in her direction, as a threat. She was careful, in her e-mail to Jackson, not to say that she had left because of him. She was worried about her career, she said. Could the Riggios, or their employees, hold this against her, she wondered? Would they tell their friends not to hire her, not to publish her? She didn’t know what to think, and she didn’t want to risk it.

At his next session, Jackson said that Antonio was no longer working at the Springing Center. (We never did get that coffee.) According to the Springing Center, Jackson fired Antonio without consulting the organization. Antonio told several people that Jackson threatened to keep his work out of Barnes & Noble stores if he made a fuss.

Jackson also announced that he was banning class discussion. If we had questions or concerns, we could write them down and save them for the end of each class. Several of us raised objections, saying that restricting conversation would only increase tensions, but we didn’t get anywhere with him.

Shortly afterward, another fellow, a woman of color, e-mailed the group to announce that she was quitting, too. A fourth fellow, who was also a woman of color, did the same the next day. I had thought a lot about quitting myself. I had visions of waiting until the official announcement and publicly refusing the award, like a disgruntled actor at the Oscars. I also thought that maybe someone should stay and write about what happened. We had joked to one another while out for drinks in Chelsea that we were all getting a lot of material.

I called my editor at The New Yorker. I had already figured out that he was the person who’d suggested me for the fellowship—Antonio and Jackson, it turned out, were former colleagues of his, at PEN America. Antonio had e-mailed him, asking for recommendations, and he’d written a little blurb making the case for my abilities. That was pretty much the extent of the selection process. Now I told him the fellowship might be worth writing about. He seemed skeptical, but said to keep him posted.

After the fourth fellow quit, Jackson e-mailed those of us who were left. The week’s sessions had been cancelled due to “an electrical emergency,” he said. Two days later, Tim wrote to explain that Jackson had a family emergency. The remaining spring classes were cancelled, and we were told that we would “regroup in the fall.”

Weeks passed without any updates. At last, in June, when the fellowship was supposed to be announced to the world, we received an unsigned e-mail from “Springing accounting.” “Earlier this year, the corporation retained an outside consultant to evaluate the corporation’s mission and programs,” the e-mail read. “The fellowship program is now terminated.” We would receive five thousand dollars. The check arrived a few weeks later, and I felt grimy when I cashed it. “Stay tuned for information about our new programs,” the e-mail concluded. “We wish you a fruitful and fulfilling summer of writing.”

The early years of a writing career are often full of an unsteady kind of optimism. You hope that someone will notice you, or, more grandly, that someone will become a champion of your work. And, particularly if you’re a writer of color, or a queer writer, or a woman, you may learn that entrusting your work to would-be champions is a fraught endeavor. I remember more experienced writers telling me that I should say yes to every opportunity until I had earned the privilege to say no. But hope is both a strength and a weakness; it takes time to learn the difference between those who feed it and those who feed off of it. I wish someone had told me that early-career writers are the cheap gas on which much of the writing business runs.

Shortly after the fellowship was discontinued, I returned to Google in earnest, trying to understand what had happened. I was a reporter, after all, and this seemed like a story. I learned from nonprofit filings that, between 2003 and 2011, the Riggio Foundation had donated millions of dollars to the New School and its creative-writing program, where Jackson taught. In 2008, two years after she graduated from college, Stephanie enrolled in the New School’s creative-writing program, and Jackson became her thesis adviser. Later, I learned from Stephanie that, in 2012, after she graduated, Jackson encouraged a friend who worked at St. Joseph’s College, in Brooklyn, to offer her teaching work. Jackson was hired to direct St. Joseph’s creative-writing master’s program shortly afterward. His method drew on the writings of Marie Ponsot, a St. Joseph’s alumna and the author of the “Springing” poem that we had read in class, who is now in her late nineties.

Between 2013 and 2016, while Jackson and Stephanie worked at St. Joseph’s, the Riggios donated at least $187,500 to the college. The gifts funded a scholarship that Jackson oversaw, and it also endowed the Marie Ponsot Chair, which was awarded to Jackson. (The Riggio Foundation said it was unaware that he had received the chair.) Tim joined the faculty, and, in 2015, Jackson’s partner, Tom, was, according to his résumé, offered a residency at St. Joseph’s.

In 2017, Jackson was abruptly dismissed from his position at the school. Ponsot joined a protest on the sidewalk outside St. Joseph’s. A story about the protest in the Brooklyn Paper referred to Jackson as “the beloved founder and director” of the school’s creative-writing program. The story quoted a school spokesperson, who said that St. Joseph’s had “determined the need for new leadership” after a “thorough assessment process.” One of the organizers of the protest, a second-year student named Alexa Wilding, told the paper, “The value of our degree will go down. In the literary world, it’s who you work with, that’s your value.” That year, the Riggios were not listed as donors to the school. (St. Joseph’s College declined to comment on Jackson’s dismissal or any other aspect of this story. When I e-mailed Wilding, and told her about the Springing Fellowship, she replied, “I have had only positive experiences with Jackson as a teacher.”) Around this time, the Riggios decided to fund a charitable corporation in New York that Stephanie would oversee.

I thought about Jackson’s references to the Riggios’ deep pockets. “The resources are vast,” Jackson had written in his third e-mail to me. Since the nineties, the Riggio Foundation has reported donations of more than a hundred million dollars to hundreds of tax-exempt institutions, including public schools, private universities, equestrian organizations, art museums, Italian-American cultural organizations, and religious institutions. Several of the contributions, to institutions such as Spelman College and the National Council of Negro Women, specifically support women of color. The donations often seem scattershot in their aims and amounts: twenty dollars for a breast-cancer nonprofit, five thousand for a dog shelter, a hundred thousand for the Utah Film Center. There is, one imagines, a story behind each of these contributions, though they might be personal or even impulsive. Meanwhile, for those on the receiving end, the money could be life-changing. (Most notably, the Riggio Foundation spent millions building homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, an effort that eventually became a separate nonprofit.) Most of the foundation’s assets originally came in the form of Barnes & Noble stock. This month, after going through four chief executives in a five-year span, Barnes & Noble was sold to the hedge fund Elliott Advisors, for six hundred and thirty-eight million dollars, including debt. Before the sale, the Riggio Foundation reportedly owned 4.3 per cent of the company.

Around the time that Stephanie enrolled in Columbia University as an undergraduate, the foundation donated a hundred thousand dollars to the school; after she earned an art-history degree there, the Riggios donated five million dollars to the art-history and archaeology department. (The Riggios are also major art collectors.) Four universities that have received major donations from the Riggio Foundation have awarded Leonard Riggio honorary doctorates. Riggio and his wife have each contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic political candidates; two of the recipients of their generosity, Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo, were New York gubernatorial candidates who had previously settled lawsuits against Barnes & Noble while serving as the state’s attorney general.

For someone of Leonard Riggio’s personal resources and political commitments—he grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, the son of a dressmaker and a boxer who became a taxi-driver, and is a long-standing supporter of liberal causes—none of this is particularly unusual. But it did help me understand how a program like the Springing Fellowship could suddenly materialize, and then vanish, without so much as a public announcement or an explanation for the participants. The Riggios are rich enough to move on to their next philanthropic endeavor without worrying too much. They seem to know the difference between money, which one spends, and wealth, which one wields.

In the fall, after I had decided to write this essay, Stephanie, to my surprise, agreed to a phone interview. “It was horribly uncomfortable, and just offensive in every way,” she said, referring to the fellowship; I had not yet asked any questions. “It was not what I wanted it to be in any way, shape, or form, which is why it is no longer in existence.” The Springing Center was supposed to offer a range of cultural programs, she said, and Jackson only oversaw one part of it. “I’ve been on a lot of boards, I’ve done this work before, so I know what it takes to get a foundation off the ground,” she said. (She previously chaired the board of the Equestrian Aid Foundation, which is funded in part by donations from the Riggio Foundation. Last year, the organization gave Stephanie an award for the work she’s done for it.)

The nonprofit was set up in a hurry, without independent oversight, and the board of trustees included five people: Stephanie, Stephanie’s mother, their family lawyer, Antonio, and Jackson. There was no formal selection process for fellows. According to Stephanie, Jackson sent offers to friends and former students before notifying the Riggios, then pressured her to start the program six months earlier than she had planned. He claimed, she said, that one fellow had already left a job, and another had moved from Portugal, in order to accept his offers. Stephanie also blamed Jackson for the decision not to share her identity with participants, and criticized his conduct in class.

I pointed out to Stephanie that she was Jackson’s boss. While she was attending the sessions, as though she were a writing fellow, she and her family could have disciplined or overruled him. “It’s true,” she said. “I could have, and I should have, and I didn’t.” She fired Jackson and Tim in late June, she said, and ended the fellowship. Antonio took legal action against the Springing Center. Multiple people told me that he received a settlement that barred him from speaking freely about his employment there. Tom moved his art works into a different studio in the same building, one floor up.

I e-mailed Jackson, asking if he would speak with me, but he didn’t reply to that message or another I sent later, following up. Eventually, I sent him detailed questions about the accusations that the Springing Center had made against him, and about things that had happened during the fellowship, and what I had learned since. I repeated my request to speak with him in a text message. He never responded to me, or to a fact checker for this magazine. Tom, too, did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment or to a list of written questions.

I talked to people who had worked with Jackson in the past, trying to make sense of his role in everything. The people I spoke to generally reacted with surprise. One former colleague, who requested anonymity for fear of losing a job, noted that he could be capricious, and often seemed to speak without a filter. “He has always viewed himself as the person who speaks truth to power,” the former colleague said, and that attitude persisted, the colleague went on, even in situations where he was the more powerful person. I remembered something Jackson had said in class, about feeling misinterpreted as someone with privilege, when he did not see himself that way. I found an interview that Jackson gave after his novel was published, where he said, of the black doctor at the center of the book, “I didn’t want to appropriate someone else’s history as if I understood it fully, because I don’t. A white person will never know what a black person experiences, despite the empathy they may have.”

After speaking to Stephanie, I e-mailed her to ask what kinds of programs the Springing Center might offer in the future. She told me that she was unable to share any details, and that if I had other questions I should direct them to the senior vice-president of communications at Barnes & Noble, Inc. Included in her e-mail was a short mission statement. “At the Springing Center, we believe that there is a way to unlock every door,” the statement read. “The heart of this conviction lies in our unwavering dedication to allowing suppressed voices to be heard, to helping traumatized psyches heal, and to including marginalized voices into the global conversation.” Recently, the Barnes & Noble spokesperson sent an update. Around the time that I talked with Stephanie, she said, the Springing Center closed permanently.

My Father’s Things, and My Own

June 17, 2019 | News | No Comments

My father died nearly twenty-five years ago. Still, I can conjure that time as if it were yesterday: the bewildering, quiet ride to the hospital, with the ambulance lights flashing but no siren, early on Christmas Eve, 1995; his week of decline; his funeral procession, inching past the farm in a swirl of snow. Somewhere deep in that December storm, the barn roof, which had been standing for more than a century, half collapsed. I had to look, then look again, to comprehend what had happened. I hadn’t a clue what to do next. It was then that I realized that all my father owned and everything that had been in his care—his farm, in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts, where he’d spent his entire life, his house, my mother and her failing memory—had become the province of others.

There were many large things to sort out in the wake of his passing—repairing the roof was the least of it. But, after all this time, I remember just as vividly the small portions of grief. Going through my father’s possessions, I found that objects that had barely registered while he was alive seemed just as precious, if not more so, than the ones I’d imagined treasuring. His own father’s watch, which he kept in his desk drawer; a wooden bowl he’d carved in his teens; his notebooks and textbooks from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, one of which contained a chapter on chestnut trees, for he’d come of age as the blight was ravaging nearly every one of them —these held just as much resonance as his work jacket and boots, which I saw almost daily, and which seemed to define him.

As I sifted through his possession, I began to think about my own. I felt how freighted and cumbersome inheritance could be. And so, after the obligations to his estate had begun to lift, I went to a lawyer to make my will. I thought it would be simple enough. I was single and without children; I owned a modest house and the items that filled it. For nearly two decades, I’d been accreting, carrying things with me as I moved from an island, to a city, and then back to the farm where I’d been raised. Each time, I’d unpack my possessions from my hatchback—books and photographs, ceramics from Italy, an old cream bottle from the family dairy, my grandmother’s afghan, arrowheads I’d chanced upon—and settle into life among the mosaic of my belongings. I told my lawyer that I wanted to leave the house itself to my niece and nephew. The contents, I thought, could go to my brother and sister.

“Oh, don’t do that!” he said. “Nobody wants to inherit the contents of a house!”

I was taken aback at first. Then I couldn’t help but laugh at the realization that almost every object that held my affections would mean little to anyone else. Still, in spite of that recognition, my things lost none of their attraction. In fact, they seemed to mean all the more to me when, a decade later, I moved to an even older house, in Maine, where I still live, and where I imagine I’ll die. By then, I’d acquired chairs and tables and dishes, and I needed to rent a U-Haul.

Do I think these things keep me tied to earth? All I know is that, together, they provide an unquantifiable comfort. Every once in a while, I wonder whether they could be calcifying around me like a shell.

Today, enough people feel weighed down by their possessions to make “decluttering” a social phenomenon. It’s a word that came into use only in the middle of the twentieth century. Almost certainly, I possess more things than everyone else who’s inhabited my approximately hundred-and-fifty-year-old Cape Cod. It was built by a blacksmith, and most of what he and his family owned probably had a practical use: chairs and pots and tables and cooking utensils, a bread bowl and canning jars. This place must have meant a lot to them; it stayed in their family for nearly a century. Surely, they felt a sense of comfort here equal to or greater than my own.

I often think that everything I own now—a mix of the essential and the desired—wouldn’t be capable of making me feel comfortable in the house as they inhabited it. They kept winter at bay with wood heat alone, through stoves and fireplaces on the first floor. There were fewer windows then, so the house would have been darker in winter—darker always, with just the small and wavering flames of kerosene lamps to illuminate it at night. My father would have known that kind of darkness. He was the son of Lebanese immigrants, born not long after the Wright brothers lifted off from Kitty Hawk. As a boy, he slept in the same bed as some of his siblings, and in winter they’d place hot bricks at its foot to keep warm. I have no doubt that the cold, the closeness, and the dark had something to do with the loyalty they felt to one another all their lives.

When I think about the way that even humble possessions can give us comfort, because we invest our feelings in them, I recall a passage from “The End: Hamburg 1943,” by the German writer Hans Erich Nossack. He describes returning to his bombed-out city. In some neighborhoods, little more than chimneys remained standing. There were few discernible streets; people created paths through the rubble and glass. When refugees encountered the intact possessions of others—even of those who had taken them in and fed them—the objects had no resonance at all. “They would walk through strange rooms, touch an object, hold it, and look at it absently,” Nossack writes. “The unspoken question would fill the room: What is the use of still having such things?” Even so, when they discovered that their own possession—a faded photograph, a childhood doll—had been destroyed, they were overcome. “These things have their life from us, because at some time we bestowed our affection on them; they absorbed our warmth and harbored it gratefully in order to enrich us with it again in meager hours,” Nossack explains. “We were responsible for them; they could only die with us. And now they stood on the other side of the abyss.”

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After my father died, it was hard to let the merest thing go. Dropping off a box at the Salvation Army felt like a betrayal. His favorite viyella shirt, his desk blotter, his household hammer, anything written in his hand: it took a force of will to do what was required of me. Now that his passing is so much further away in time, it’s not his things that I cling to the most. It’s memories. I’ve watched helplessly as my mother and all of my father’s siblings have died; now there’s no one on earth who remembers him as a child, or as the young man who, caught in a photograph, walked across the farmyard with a fox slung over his shoulder. Soon enough, his middle age will disappear. After my siblings and I are gone, all that will be left will be his grandchildren’s dim recollections of his old age.

Every once in a while, a fragment of my father rises unbidden—I see him dropping off a basket of dark, shining eggplant and ripe tomatoes on the porch, or wading into the cornfield to pick a dozen ears for dinner—and I imagine such fragments must be authentic for being spontaneous. More often, I consciously conjure him: the way, for instance, he would put a basket of apples in the back of the car when we took a family trip. As we moved westward and northward across New England, he’d give his Macs and Baldwins and Cortlands to gas-station owners and innkeepers along the way.

As much as I tell myself that I can still see him and hear his voice in my head, the man he was may already have disappeared. Memory, with its faults and uncertainties, has made him my own creation, and I’ve changed him as desired. The father I have been shaping out of air for nearly twenty-five years is a man more of his later years. I’ve softened some things. What I conjure often feels companionable and comfortable, and I try not to think that, when I myself die, such memories will slip away in an instant—possessions no one can inherit. Of all the things we ever talked about, all the things he ever said to me in our nearly forty years together on this same earth, out of the drift of the decades since, I recall most often a bright, clear May morning in the apple orchard. The Northern Spies are coming into bloom. The finch’s song, the soft breeze, his voice: “Don’t you just like to watch things grow?”

Attempts to know the soul of the new generation always tremble with the fetishes and the embarrassments of aging ones. In this week’s Newsweek, for instance, a group of smiling, multiethnic students are trotted out as representatives of the post-millennial cohort that’s become known as Gen Z. Graduates in the college class of 2019, they have been “raised by cynics,” the magazine tells us, and have reacted by becoming “clear-eyed, economic pragmatists.” They will avoid the mistakes of their sinner predecessors—the gig economy and the Internet’s irony-poisoning, climate-change ambivalence, and millennial listlessness. Stern and chivalrous and goal-oriented, new-age patriots and effective workers, they will pull the planet back into orbit.

“Euphoria,” a new teen drama from HBO and A24’s television company, is here to denude us of such naïve thinking. It styles itself as a punishing Gen Z exposé, channelling the spirit of movies like “Kids” and “Gummo,” here to make “Skins” seem basic. Last week the president of the Parents Television Council warned that the show “appears to be overtly, intentionally, marketing extremely graphic adult content—sex, violence, profanity and drug use—to teens and preteens.” But “Euphoria,” which is interestingly naïve itself, will destroy the innocence only of adults who wish to maintain the illusion that sex, violence, profanity, and drug use, not to mention revenge porn, are not in the province of high-school life.

That said, I shouldn’t undersell the bleakness of “Euphoria.” There are dead-eyed, graphic sex scenes, nonconsensual-sex tapes, beatings, underage camming, and chronic male nudity. In the pilot episode, our protagonist, Rue Bennett (Zendaya), her narration heavy like medicinal syrup, explains that she was born only days before 9/11; the planes crashing on loop on television was her generation’s first film, their primal political event. Seventeen years later, Rue is an addict. Her sister Gia (Storm Reid) found her overdosed in her bedroom. Her drug of choice is pills, mostly, that she buys (on credit) from a regretful dealer and his face-tattooed partner. When Rue consumes them, she is overcome with a rush of the opposite of the show’s title: nothingness, a pitch blackness, a silence that is like, she hopes, being dead. Rue’s habit is self-medication, an overcorrection to the stifling regimen she was put on as a young child to help manage O.C.D., anxiety, and a personality disorder. At the beginning of the show, she has just returned from rehab, where she didn’t so much get clean as get cunning. The urine of friends, kept warm in little pharmaceutical bottles strapped to her thigh, tricks her mother’s at-home drug tests.

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Our omniscient storyteller, Rue gives us the backstory of the show’s three other major characters: her best friend, Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer), a repressed jock named Nate (Jacob Elordi), and Kat (Barbie Ferreira), a smart-aleck who hides a secret Internet life. The portrayal of this hot-girl friend group is cannily sensitive to how teen-aged society has progressed; when Kat tells her friends that she’s a virgin, they scold her warmheartedly. “Bitch, this isn’t the eighties. You need to catch a dick!” Zendaya, a twenty-two-year-old actor and singer, is the best part of “Euphoria.” It becomes difficult, and then absolutely silly, to recall the pink outlines of her early career on the Disney Channel, so grandly does she inhabit this dark new role. She understands the neediness of her character: that Rue, at heart, wants nothing more than to be loved; that her chemical cravings work in service of a spiritual one.

The second-best part of “Euphoria” is Schafer as Jules—a young trans woman playing a young trans woman. A high femme newcomer in town, Jules marks her introduction like a spirited combatant, picking up a knife and drawing her own blood. (It’s a callback to a history of self-harm, we’ll later learn.) Jules is a drug for Rue, but a good one. Their noses touch in bed at night, and what courses between them is platonic, romantic, filial all at once. They trip on pills with happy faces stamped on them; while high, Rue thinks that they are both crying glitter. The electric stirrings we felt as young girls, reading best-friend adventures that we so desperately wished would rise into romance, emerge again seeing these two.

Rue and Jules’s relationship is the jewel of “Euphoria.” I’ll keep watching because I desperately want to protect them. Otherwise, the show so far (I’ve seen four episodes) is a highly self-conscious study of ennui, overfull with fancy camera tricks and thousand-dollar designer getups. Drake lends his name as executive producer, and the episodes glow like music videos. As in “Assassination Nation,” Sam Levinson, who has done most of the writing and directing of “Euphoria,” which is based on an Israeli show, creates a glamorously trippy suburbia that distracts us from the story’s thinness, its reliance on vintage tropes on the subject of teen-aged self-abasement. Rue’s highs are diegetic: the camera spins as her head spins; she walks on walls and we are upside-down. There is a stunning long sequence in Episode 4 that takes place at the town carnival, featuring Rue, Jules, and a closeted family man whom Jules has met on Grindr.

Like Rue, you will hate what that man has done to Jules in a dark motel. And Jules, painfully sophisticated, will tell Rue, who is occasionally a proxy for the horrified audience, that there are experiences she must abide in order to feel desired. That man ends up pleading with Jules, but another man, a teen-aged peer, physically threatens her just moments later. Here and throughout, “Euphoria” overcorrects in its strain against wokeness and didactic optimism. You think Generation Z is sexually liberated, politically engaged, emotionally self-aware? Think again, “Euphoria” retorts, shoving a dick pic in your face. Like a surly teen-ager, it wallows, refusing to let itself or anyone feel good. The show forgets to be funny at all until the third episode, which focusses on the sardonic and insecure Kat, played by the influencer model Ferreira. She wears glasses—the universal sign, onscreen, that a woman isn’t seen as attractive—and writes One Direction fan fiction in which (ripping from a real-life Tumblr theory) two of the boy-band members are secretly fucking; she might be the only character that thinks of sex as a creative force. (A spoiler: you might not be able to stomach the swerve of a sixteen-year-old deciding to work as a cam girl, but you have to respect the resolute realism of it.) Often, “Euphoria” feels like two different shows: one that coolly epitomizes sexual fluidity and contemporary teen angst and modern addiction, and another that is relentlessly stylized and pornographically sad.

Still, I happen to prefer “Euphoria” ’s melancholy over the gooey liberalism of a film like the recent teen-girl comedy “Booksmart.” How you like your Gen Z prophesying is, ultimately, I suppose, a matter of taste. Levinson, who is thirty, is a recovering addict, and he’s said that he has written “Euphoria” partly from personal experience. The affection he has for fuck-ups like Rue, and for romantics like Jules, shines through his show’s peacocking. So does Levinson’s sincere fondness for those kids whom he imagines need a show like “Euphoria,” to reflect back to them an image of their lives that defers to their pessimism, that treats them like the sinners they are, or, maybe, want to be. But the show’s opening, with its indictment of a damaged nation repressing the instincts of its children, sets us up for a return I’m not sure is coming. “Euphoria” is a love letter that hasn’t figured out a coherent love language.


15th Jun 2019

For some people, mention of the word ‘pitch’ conjures up sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and bouts of nausea. But the fact is that pitching is an incredibly important part of selling yourself, your business, or both in the corporate world.

At the 2019 Vogue Codes Live event in Sydney, venture capitalist and partner at Blackbird Ventures Samantha Wong sat alongside Faebella founder Alisha Geary to discuss the idea of the perfect pitch—from both the perspective of the founder and the investor.

If you’re sitting on a killer business idea, but a little hesitant to follow through, read on for their best tips, knowledge, and practical pieces of advice.

“When it comes to delivering a pitch of any kind, the first thing to remember is the story. The feeling the person gets on the receiving end is a huge contributor to why a pitch will make it over the line.”—Samantha Wong, Blackbird Ventures

“If you are in a position where you’re looking for investment for your business, try and look for free money (as in no equity in your business) first. Universities especially are incredible if you’re connected. I was given $10,000 for Faebella from uni pitching comps.”—Alisha Geary, Faebella

“Practice your pitch, whatever it might be, over and over again with multiple audiences. So many people actually don’t do that and it really surprises me.”—Wong

“Also remember that you and the person you’re pitching to are on the same team. If you win, so do they.”—Wong

“With my business, I am so passionate about sharing the story. Yes, I would sometimes rather sleep every day, but it’s exciting because it’s my own. It’s like being on a train, but I’m the one laying down the tracks.”—Geary

“A good idea always solves a problem for some group of people, especially ideas that solve what we call a ‘hair on fire’ problem. Early on, products or ideas can be bad, so the problem needs to be so serious (like your hair being on fire) that people will use whatever they can get their hands on to solve it.”—Wong

“Success can be embedded in an entire journey, not necessarily the destination—there is not just success, but multiple successes.”—Geary

“If you’re looking to build an app or flesh out a business idea, start by validating the assumptions surrounding it: what are the problems you’re solving, and what are the critical features people are paying for? You can even use no-code programs like Google Bubble to build out first iterations to test it.”—Wong

“When it comes to finding the right people to work with, put in time to build a good relationship. I get down to the nuts and bolts of what they’re doing and make a judgment call if their values align with mine.”—Geary

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In 1953, Italian author Anna Maria Ortese was forced to flee her hometown when she wrote a brutally honest (and critically acclaimed) collection of stories about the good, the bad and the positively Goyaesque of post-WWII Naples. Almost 70 years later, architect Giuliano Andrea dell’Uva is convinced he lives in one of her stories’ real locations. “I was reading Il Mare Non Bagna Napoli [The Sea Does Not Reach Naples] when I first laid eyes on my house, on top of a very decadent late-1700s building,” says dell’Uva, “and I thought, and I am now sure of it, that [Ortese’s] observatory of the city was exactly from here.”

On the terrace, Exteta Locus Solus chairs (1964) by Gae Aulenti; 1950s Vietri vase (on table); glazed ceramic hand-kneaded floor tiles by Galleria Elena Superfici.

Like Ortese before him, dell’Uva loves Naples, warts and all, and his house-hunting search had focused more on specific locales and how each place related to its city than on the houses themselves. “I liked the spontaneous coexistence of aristocratic architecture and people’s markets in the Rione Sanità area,” he recalls, “and as for the historic centre [Centro Storico], I would have liked to breathe in its stratified monumentality.”

He came full circle when he saw this place in Chiaia, the waterfront neighbourhood of his childhood. “It had thick walls, rooms with high ceilings and old paint hidden beneath layers and layers of plaster, waiting for me to discover it,” he says. “Here, I can watch the waves from my think tank while my ideas take shape.”

In the living room, sofa by Rodolfo Dordoni for Cassina; lamp by Sebastian Wrong for Flos.

The architect’s ideas do take on many forms. His work has reached the international circuit, but mostly keeps him in Naples and around southern Italy, between trips to Milan, with Capri a favourite spot in which he has created and co-owns a small hotel. He’s the creative director of the furnishing line of iconic fabric producer Livio de Simone (the late designer himself Naples-born), made famous by the likes of Capri’s high society and Audrey Hepburn. He’s also overseen the renovations of grand villas and luxury apartments, boutique hotels, lounge bars and cafes.

Dell’Uva’s mobile phone rings endlessly and he’s a hard man to pin down. “I have to be honest, I have a rather busy working life and it is difficult to reconcile it with my private life,” he admits, but in the quiet atmosphere of his top-floor home, he’s able to pause for reflection. His work with local brands such as much-loved pasticceria Giovanni Scaturchio reveal the heart of his business and his life. “This is Naples,” he says of his apartment’s locale, “the Naples that I wanted for me; working class and elegant together.”

On the upper floor, daybed with Livio de Simone fabric; yellow iron stairs by Giuliano Andrea dell’Uva; Vitra Potence wall lamp by Jean Prouvé.

Once dell’Uva found his place in Naples, he needed to reconcile the interior with that beloved outside world. First, he felt, he would strip it back to its original state and start again. Then, he invited in new light and fluidity by arranging split levels within the living room’s soaring ceiling height, before opening it all up to the roof terrace planted liberally to assure privacy from neighbouring apartments.

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Architecture is clearly in his blood, and he speaks fondly of the family homes designed by his great-grandfather, who was also an architect. He references his nostalgia in his mixing of antique heirlooms with recently acquired designer pieces. “The houses that I like [and] those where I grew up are like that,” dell’Uva explains. “Every age has produced something beautiful, so everything can coexist peacefully.” The marble effect of the paint he uncovered beneath the layers of plaster inspired his use of granite and ancient breccia in the otherwise contemporary kitchen.

In the kitchen, vintage table and Gio Ponti chairs; 081 03 Reaction Poetique centrepiece for Cassina by Jaime Hayon, on black granite island.

p>The terrace’s tiled floor pays homage to that of the Palazzo Butera, further south in Palermo, and furnishings designed by Gio Ponti for the city’s Royal Continental Hotel take pride of place. “I wanted Ponti’s designs to tell a kind of international hotel story of the city.”

There are so many stories of the city, and it is this richness of place and history that keeps dell’Uva in Naples. “All around me here is the typical daily life of Naples; neo-melodic music in the middle of the afternoon, saints in procession with small musical bands, salty smells from the sea. This is the cheerful, easygoing Naples — the Naples that I love.”

In the living room, custom lacquered iron fireplace; LC2 sofa and armchair by Le Corbusier for Cassina; Chess table by Front for Moooi; Arch coffee table by Front for Thonet.


Some weeks the Trump Presidency is a horror show; some weeks it is slapstick. This week it was both. In the Middle East, tensions with Iran rose alarmingly, while, on the domestic front, Donald Trump got himself into yet another political mess. As of Saturday, it has been three days since Trump told George Stephanopoulos, of ABC News, that he would accept damaging information on political opponents from foreign governments, and the White House is still trying to repair the political damage. It isn’t working. Instead, things are only getting worse for the President.

One should never underestimate Trump’s capacity for self-harm, of course. This is the man who, in May, 2017, fired James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., in a fit of pique, thereby siccing a special counsel on himself and everyone around him for the next two years. This week’s blooper may not compare with that blunder for the ages, but it was epic, nonetheless. To begin with, consider the timing. Just two days before Trump sat down with Stephanopoulos, the House Judiciary Committee began its quest to build a public case against him on the basis of Volume II of the Mueller report, which focusses on possible obstruction of justice. In a hearing devoted to legal experts, John Dean, who was Richard Nixon’s White House counsel and went to prison for his role in the Watergate coverup, compared the special counsel’s report to the grand-jury report to Congress that played a significant role in Nixon’s downfall—the so-called Road Map. Like that document, the Mueller report “conveys findings, with supporting evidence, of potential criminal activity based on the work of federal prosecutors, F.B.I. investigators, and witness testimony before a federal grand jury,” Dean said in his opening statement.

But if Monday’s hearing annoyed the President—he lashed out at Dean in advance of his testimony—it didn’t necessarily represent any new threat to him. Dean and the other witnesses had no news to impart. Nor could they provide any firsthand accounts of the incidents contained in the Mueller report. The hearing produced no blockbuster moment, and there were subsequent reports that some Democrats had questioned the wisdom of calling Dean. So far, so good for Trump, but then came his Rose Garden sitdown with the ABC News anchor.

It all started to go wrong for the White House when Stephanopoulos brought up Donald Trump, Jr.,’s closed-door appearance on Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Stephanopolous asked Trump if his son should have contacted the F.B.I. when, in the summer of 2016, he received an e-mail from the British publicist Rob Goldstone offering him a meeting with some Russians connected to the Russian government who allegedly had the goods on Hillary Clinton. As he has done before, Trump defended Donald, Jr. Then he doubled down and tripled down. By the time he was done, Trump had said that “you don’t” call the F.B.I. in such circumstances; asserted that the current F.B.I. director, Christopher Wray, “is wrong” to suggest you do; and vouchsafed that in the 2020 election, if the Chinese or Russians offered him information on his opponents, “I think I’d take it.” (He also said, “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the F.B.I.—if I thought there was something wrong.”)

“Does the President actually want Congress to impeach him?” my colleague Susan B. Glasser asked in her weekly Letter from Washington. To that question, on balance, it appears that the answer is no. Rather than trying to goad the Democrats, Trump appears to have simply been doing what he always does: running his mouth. His primary argument, which has some substance, is that, these days, virtually everyone in electoral politics uses negative information, or “oppo research,” on their opponents. But it is a long way from uttering this sad truism to suggesting that it’s O.K. for a Presidential candidate to accept favors from foreign governments. “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public or anyone running for public office: It is illegal to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,” Ellen Weintraub, the head of the Federal Election Commission, the independent body tasked with enforcing campaign-finance laws, said in a statement on Thursday night.

Trump had not only stated that he would willingly break the law. He had also reminded everyone of the contents of Volume I of the Mueller report, which detailed the extensive contacts in 2016 and thereafter between people connected to the Trump campaign and people connected to Vladimir Putin. The report concluded that the Russian government, with its hacking and Internet disinformation efforts, purposefully assisted the Trump campaign, and that some people connected to the campaign were eager to make the most of this assistance. But the report also said, “there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy”—a statement that Trump and his allies seized upon as vindication of the President’s refrain that there was “No collusion,” even though the report said explicitly, “we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of ‘collusion.’ ” Now here was Trump saying, in effect, that he would gladly collude.

Even the late-night comics, who have been feeding on Trump’s gaffes for years, were stunned, a Vanity Fair article noted. Seth Myers: “The guy who has spent two years scream-tweeting ‘NO COLLUSION!’ is now saying, ‘If anyone’s down to collude, I’m your guy.’ . . . If Trump had been President during Watergate, he would have left a business card at the break-in.” Stephen Colbert: “You’ve got to imagine Robert Mueller is just getting home with all of his boxes after clearing out his office, turns on the TV, and he’s like, ‘Damn it, honey, I’m going back to work. I’ll see you in another two years.’ ”

When the news about Trump’s statements broke, the reflex response of his Republican enablers was to scream “Christopher Steele”—a reference to the former British spy who was paid by a law firm working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and, before it, a conservative newspaper) to dig up dirt on Trump. Politico pointed out that the House Republicans’ own 2018 report on Russian interference in the 2016 election said, “It is not illegal to contract with a foreign person or foreign entity for services, including conducting opposition research on a U.S. campaign, so long as the service was paid for at the market rate.” The full contents of the dossier were also not made public until after the election. It had no impact on the vote.

So much for that comparison. By Friday, a number of Republicans who usually defend Trump were peeling away from him on this one. “I think you have an obligation to pick up the phone and call the F.B.I. if we know this is from a foreign government,” Representative Tom Cole, of Oklahoma, said. “I don’t think that’s going to sit well with most Americans. It shouldn’t. It’s just not an appropriate way to behave in a political campaign.” In a rare acknowledgment that he had erred, Trump was prompted to call into his favorite show, “Fox & Friends,” to try to do some cleanup. He still insisted that he would accept the information from a foreign power—“because if you don’t look at it you won’t know it’s bad,” he said. Then he went on: “But, of course, you give it to the F.B.I. or report it to the Attorney General or somebody like that. But, of course, you do that—you couldn’t have that happen with our country—and everybody understands that, and I thought it was made clear.”

What was made very clear, of course, was Trump’s culpability. Far too clear for Trump’s most ardent defenders. Instead of holding Trump responsible for his statements, Fox News anchors demanded an inquest into how Stephanopoulos, a journalist who once worked in the Clinton White House, received so much access to the President. According to ABC News, Stephanopoulos was in Trump’s company for thirty hours. In addition to carrying out the interview, he flew on Air Force One and sat through a number of White House meetings. Sean Hannity, the primus inter pares of the Trump mouthpieces at Fox, dismissed Stephanopoulos as “Little Georgie,” Erik Wemple, the Washington Post’s press critic, noted. Laura Ingraham said she didn’t know who at the White House had approved the interview. Tucker Carlson said, “I’m not here to defend Trump’s interview with Stephanopoulos. Why would you have given an interview to Stephanopoulos in the first place? It’s a very good question.”

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The most likely explanation is that spending a few days in the company of a network anchorman appealed to the President’s vanity. On Friday, the damage continued. ABC News released another clip of the Stephanopoulos interview, in which Trump accused the former White House counsel, Don McGahn, of lying when he told Mueller that, in the summer of 2017, Trump twice asked him to fire the special counsel.

“I never suggested firing Mueller,” Trump claimed. Stephanopoulos pushed back, asking Trump why McGahn would lie under oath. “Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer,” Trump replied. “Or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen—including you, including the media—that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.”

On this vital matter, which goes to the heart of whether Trump sought to obstruct justice, it is Trump’s word against the word of two others: McGahn and his former chief of staff at the White House, Annie Donaldson, who reportedly took detailed notes about her boss’s exchanges with the President. To put it another way, this is an area where great peril may lurk for Trump, and, rather than stepping carefully, he’s just plunged into it head first.


14th Jun 2019

Just one week after Jennifer Lawrence, 28, spoke publicly about her engagement to art dealer boyfriend Cooke Maroney, 34, for the very first time, the notoriously private actress has revealed details about her impending wedding, and the bachelorette party that left her in tears.

When asked about Maroney’s proposal, which took place in early February, Lawrence confessed “it was a very, very easy decision” while walking the red carpet for the X-Men: Dark Phoenix premiere in Los Angeles on June 4.

Now, the star has gone into further detail during an appearance on the Naked with Catt Sadler podcast. Revealing she started with the basic questions – “How do I feel? Is he nice? Is he kind?” – she confessed: “It’s just — this is the one, I know that sounds really stupid but he’s just, he’s — you know. He’s the greatest person I’ve ever met, so I feel very honored to become a Maroney.”

The pair, who began dating in June 2018, hosted an intimate engagement party for friends and family in May. For the occasion, Lawrence opted for a pink silk chiffon dress from L.Wells Bridal. Since then, the loved-up couple have been spotted enjoying low-key date nights across New York City.

“I definitely wasn’t at a place where I was like, ‘I’m ready to get married,’” Lawrence revealed on the podcast, admitting that marriage was not originally something she predicted was on the cards at the time.

“I just met Cooke and I wanted to marry him,” she continued. “We wanted to marry each other, we wanted to commit fully… He’s my best friend. I want to legally bind him to me forever. And fortunately the paperwork exists for such a thing. You find your favorite person on the planet and you’re like, ‘You can’t leave!’”

Touching on her bachelorette party, the actress said that as she had originally not wanted to host a celebration, when she finally decided that she did, it was such late notice that few were available to attend.

“Nobody was available because it was last minute,” she shared. “And then I started crying. I was like, ‘I don’t even know why I’m crying. I didn’t know that I wanted a bachelorette party. I guess I just feel pathetic.’ [Cooke] was like, ‘Oh my god, you don’t need to feel pathetic.’”

While we know little about her impending wedding, Lawrence did confirm she’s already said yes to the dress, and selected the location for the big day. “I’ve been in a good place,” she said. “I haven’t been neurotic about [wedding planning]. I’m like too lazy to be neurotic. I saw a dress I liked and I was like, ‘That’s the dress.’ I saw a venue and I was like, ‘Cool, we got the venue.’”

Watch this space, as we have a feeling this wedding will be a star-studded ceremony you won’t want to miss.

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14th Jun 2019


You probably know someone who has had cosmetic treatments. You may have even had them yourself. In 2019, the popular age-positive dermal filler and anti-wrinkle treatments are readily available. These are non-surgical procedures with minimal downtime. With that in mind, it’s helpful to be armed with all the relevant information pre-appointment. Read on for some things you should know.

Seek out your aesthetic practitioner

Every face is unique, and for this reason your journey and treatment plan may be very different to your friend/mother/sister/BFF. The first step is selecting a reputable aesthetics practitioner whose advice you trust. Consider factors such as the experience of the aesthetics practitioner, cost and the aftercare on offer post-treatment. Also know that simply booking a consultation doesn’t necessarily mean you’re locked in for the treatment: book as many consultations as you please until you feel comfortable going ahead with the procedure. For further information, take a look at

Manage your expectations

To achieve the best outcome (read: the results you want) when it comes to dermal fillers and injectables the way they’re administered should be individual to your face. For this reason, during your first appointment your aesthetics practitioner may ask a long list of questions, evaluate the unique contours of your face, and even take photographs that you can review together to ensure your visions are aligned. In short, you want to get to a point – pre-procedure – where you and your aesthetics practitioner share a common goal for the treatment at hand.

Know your ingredients

Different cosmetic treatments have different ingredients, so knowing what you might eventually have injected is important. Put simply, dermal fillers aim to mimic the naturally-occurring sugar molecules which are responsible for attracting and retaining water (read: plumpness, firmness and elasticity) in the skin, which diminish as we age. Anti-wrinkle injections, however, relax the muscles that cause fine lines and deep furrows in the upper face and eye area. They vary in brand, so do your research and discuss with your aesthetics practitioner to find a brand you trust.


14th Jun 2019

On average, men take home $25,000 more than women a year. The gender pay gap is real, and it’s one that Meggie Palmer is proactively trying to close.

Palmer, a former journalist and finance expert, is also the founder of PepTalkHer – a platform and newly-launched app designed to bolster women’s negotiating skills in the workplace, arming them with the confidence necessary to ask for what they deserve.

As a keynote speaker at the Vogue Codes Sydney Summit event, Palmer delivered inspiring words on how to firstly, understand why and how the gap exists, and also practical ways to help women affect change in their financial and professional lives.

According to Palmer, there’s three ‘gaps’ pertaining to the gender pay gap we need to consider:

  • The reality gap: “There’s a disconnect in what we see versus what the reality is. For example, Hollywood has been telling us there’s no market for content produced by women, for women – Reece Witherspoon and her production company proved that incorrect,” explains Palmer. Similarly, society has conditioned women to believe they aren’t worth as much as their male counterparts, but this is not at all rooted in fact.
  • The ownership gap:“This relates to people not owning the situation they’re in and doing things differently,” says Palmer, adding that there were pivotal moments in her career that finally pushed her to own the fact that she was opposed to the gender pay gap, and taking action, thus launching her app.  
  • The value gap: “Women don’t accept compliments, sending a message to themselves, and others, that they’re not worthy.”

At its very core, the PepTalkHer app is a place to log work successes, learn negotiating skills, and ultimately, close gender pay gaps between women and men in similar working roles. According to Palmer, the app focuses on three main pillars: 

Track your contribution – know you’re awesome

You can log your achievements and have a running list of all the reasons why you deserve a raise.

Know your value

Start having conversations about money. Talk to your friends, talk to males in your industry, and colleagues in your business. If you don’t know what your colleagues are earning, it’s likely your not earning enough.

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Always negotiate, and if you’re uncomfortable negotiating, practice it in a low risk situation. It will become easier.

Build a support crew

Ask your friends questions, for support, and to help you in high stress situations. Bounce ideas of people in similar situations, and don’t be afraid of asking for advice.

For more Vogue Codes coverage, head to