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Beautiful People 2015: Film & TV

Meet 10 of the most exciting big-and little-screen actors working today -- and check out the wildly diverse ways they redefine the theme of our April issue: the American Dream.

STELLA_BERKOFSKY_ELLAR_COLTRANE.jpgPhoto by Stella Berkofsky; Ellar wears pants and coat by GANT, sweater by Howlin and a knit by Pari Desai; Styling by Tiff Horn, grooming by Hayley Farrington; Location: BOXeight Studios

Ellar Coltrane
With the accolades surrounding Boyhood -- the Oscar-nominated family epic that Richard Linklater shot around Texas over the course of 12 years -- it's understandable that star Ellar Coltrane has spent a lot of time in Los Angeles lately. It's equally understandable that Coltrane, an amiably slouchy 20-year-old, isn't used to all the attention. "It's really been a culture shock to come out here and be in the middle of all this craziness," he says.
Out west, Coltrane is making friends and has a clandestine project in the works. Still, he doesn't plan to move to Hollywood. "Austin is home," he says. In addition to the film gigs, he paints, writes, models (thanks to a freshly inked contract with Wilhelmina) and hopes to attend college in the next year.

Coltrane's American Dream is as lucid and sincere as the performance that has launched him into the mainstream. "We've gotten ourselves into an uncomfortable 
position in this country and the whole world," he says. "My dream for America? To heal and learn to love each other."
[Liz Ohanesian; read our extended interview with Ellar here.]

Gina Rodriguez 279.jpgPhoto by Albert Sanchez; Gina wears earrings by Lauren Harper; Styling by Dana Goldenberg at Wilhelmina, hair by Paul Norton at Tracey Mattingly LLC, makeup by Carissa Ferreri at Tracey Mattingly LLC; Location: the Forge LA

Gina Rodriguez
Countless American eyes welled up when Gina Rodriguez, accepting her Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, said that the award "represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes. My father used to tell me to say every morning, 'Today is going to be a great day. I can and I will.' Well, Dad, today's a great day. I can, and I did."

Thanks to her titular role in the breakout CW series Jane the Virgin, Rodriguez has become a high-profile activist for a sorely underrepresented community. "I hope Jane the Virgin has contributed to that letting go of the fear that it's a risk [to cast Latinos]," she says. "You hire a good actor, they're going to deliver, regardless of their color."

Rodriguez will appear alongside Ray Liotta in the forthcoming film Sticky Notes and join Mark Wahlberg in 2016's Deepwater Horizon. But true success came when she was 24 and starring in a play in St. Petersburg, Florida. "My father was like, 'Man, you're good.'" she recalls. "My parents' acceptance of my art? Recognizing my talent in their eyes? The American Dream for me is to live happily." [Emily Warman; read our extended interview with Gina here.]

desiree_akhavan.jpgPhoto by Danny Baldwin; Desiree wears a dress by Vivienne Westwood and rings and watch by Daisy Knights; Styling by Adele Cany, hair by Nuriye Sonmez using Bumble and Bumble, makeup by Violet Zeng using M.A.C. Cosmetics

Desiree Akhavan
"I think I'm the poster child for American Dreams," says filmmaker Desiree Akhavan; "a female, bisexual child of immigrants who makes movies."

From Park City to Sydney, the 30-year-old writer/director/actor has been wowing festival crowds with the semi-autobiographical romantic comedy Appropriate Behavior. Akhavan's knack for finding humor in intimate details -- like an awkward lingerie shopping trip -- has earned the film more than a few comparisons to Girls. (In fact, Akhavan recently appeared in the fourth season of the series, as Hannah's Iowa classmate, Chandra.) Akhavan has more stops ahead, but Appropriate Behavior is just the start for this New York auteur: she's been developing a television series and is currently working on her next feature.

Akhavan, whose parents came to the US from Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 Revolution, grew up hearing her dad say that she could do whatever she wanted with hard work. That lesson is coming to fruition with the success of Appropriate Behavior, which was made with a tiny budget and features no major screen stars. Says Akhavan, "I feel like every viewer was a coup." [Liz Ohanesian]

ARIELLE HOLMES-044-vF8bt_F_DI.jpgPhoto by Rodolfo Martinez; Arielle wears a shirt by Diesel, vest by Edun and a skirt by Sandro; Styling by Jessica Zamora-Turner, hair and makeup by Christy McCabe at Utopia the Agency

Arielle Holmes
It wasn't supposed to end this way. In the final scenes of the Josh and Benny Safdie movie Heaven Knows What, a pair of homeless and heavily addicted kids board a bus from New York to Florida. The Safdies intended to wrap up the story down south, but they moved the last scene back to New York when actor Arielle Holmes kicked a bus window till it cracked. "If [the character] broke a bus window in real life, they'd probably throw her off," Holmes explains. "So that's where the different ending came from. I love that it worked out that way."

One explanation for Holmes' extreme investment in the part is that Heaven Knows What is based on her life: when she met the Safdies, she was a homeless 19-year-old, hooked on heroin and soon to do a stint in Bellevue Hospital's psych ward. But living your life and recreating it in front of a camera are two very different things. And though her previous acting experience amounts to a couple of grade-school plays, Holmes carries the film masterfully -- and mercilessly.

Now based in L.A., with her second movie already wrapped, Holmes has once again shown a miraculous gift for adaptability. No wonder her American Dream is simply "to be open to anything." [James Rickman; read our extended interview with Arielle here.]

Dope2.jpgShameik Moore
The Atlanta-bred 19-year-old is the star of the very '90s Sundance darling Dope, and was scooped up by ICM Partners months before the premiere. Now he's headed for 1970s Bronx as the star role in the upcoming Netflix series The Get Down. All this in addition to multiple music credits on Dope's Pharell-produced soundtrack and millions of clicks as a singer and performer. As his website says, "You are now entering Meak's world, a world where anything is possible."  [Jacob Muselmann]

I embody the American Dream by choosing to live in each moment, making the most of every situation, keeping a positive mindset, and by operating on excellence.
-- Shameik Moore

gallery_nrm_1417552800-458466932.jpgPhoto by Getty

Aubrey Peeples
Hot off her part in ABC's Nashville -- where, when she wasn't singing, she was dealing with divorce and suicidal tendencies -- Aubrey Peeples is stamping onto a different stage: the big-screen, neon proscenium of Jem in the Holograms, in which she plays the lead. Reflecting on the theme of our issue, Peeples says that "empty words like 'the wealthiest' and 'the skinniest' have crept their way into our dialogue, and I think today, the American Dream is about ridding ourselves of these and redefining success on an individual basis, thus taking back the ideal that once was." [JM]

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.00.13 PM.pngPhoto courtesy of Comedy Central
Anders Holm
Workaholics was never meant to be about actually working, necessarily, but star and co-creator Anders Holm is beginning to live up to the name. The show's fifth season just closed, hot on the heels of Holm's roles in the notorious Rogen-James comedy The Interview and Chris Rock's Top Five. And with his surprisingly understated performance in the film Unexpected, Holm just might be our next Adam "Where the Hell Did All That Gravitas Come From" Sandler. [JM]

LESLIE JONES.jpgLeslie Jones
Just months into her stint as a writer at SNL, 47-year-old comedienne Leslie Jones made her extremely edgy Weekend Update debut -- with comments like, "Back in the slave days, I would have never been single" -- and was catapulted to the sketchy limelight for good. She became the oldest cast member to get hired for the job, which marked the first time two African-American women have been in the cast at once. Now she's been drafted into the SNL super-elite with a starring role in 2016's all-female Ghostbusters reboot. But above all, it's the fearlessness that Jones brings to her comedy that landed her in our class of 2015. [JM]

FFfe_01-bryshere-gold_0044.jpgPhoto courtesy of Fox

Bryshere Gray

You might've heard Bryshere Gray in the rap world, but chances are you know him as the privileged Hakeem on Empire, the Fox show that just wrapped its record-smashing first season. The 21-year-old from Philly, who also goes by Yazz the Greatest, has come a long way since spending his last Pizza Hut paycheck on his first music video: moving to Hollywood, performing on The View and, oh yeah, doing a love scene with Naomi Campbell. [JM]

Lily James
Between her role as Downton Abbey's Lady Rose MacClare and her ascent as the star of Disney's Cinderella remake, Lily James has a knack for portraying both sides of the aristocracy. And while her ability to sell period parts is obvious, her range within that category is remarkable: next year she'll star in the miniseries War and Peace and the timeless flesh-ripper Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. [Molly Beauchemin]


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Beautiful People 2015: Models

Meet 10 of the most exciting new models working today -- and check out the wildly diverse ways they redefine the theme of our April issue: the American Dream.

15_0313_PaperMagazine0424.jpgPhoto by Kathy Lo; Hari wears a dress by Calvin Klein, a shirt by JW Anderson, sandals by Marc Jacobs and a bracelet by Kate Spade

Hari Nef
"I always wanted to be beautiful and I never thought I was. And then the cultural definition of beauty shifted around me, and all of a sudden I was led to feel differently," says Hari Nef, a 22-year-old model, writer and actress who has found herself at the forefront of a seismic shift in the media and public's perception of trans people.

Coming off last year's high-profile NYFW runway debuts at Hood by Air and Eckhaus Latta, Nef walked in VFiles' fall/winter 2015 show and appeared in Degen's presentation. Recently she starred in Dev Hynes and Neneh Cherry's video short He She Me, part of a campaign to promote gender neutrality. This year will yield more fashion, television and theater work.

"The American Dream to me is the unlimited potential to manifest," Nef says. "I was a short, overweight Jewish boy in the suburbs of Boston, and there came a point where I realized that the stuff that I liked was literally part of a person that I could become. Regardless of sex assigned at birth, if you shout something long and loud enough it will eventually become true. And if you work really, really, really tirelessly hard." [Emily Warman; read our extended interview with Hari here.]

Photo by Diggy Lloyd; Bella wears an outfit by Prada

Bella Hadid
In the modeling world, good genes and family connections will only get you so far. Thankfully for Bella Hadid, daughter of model and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Foster and sister of model Gigi Hadid (see: Beautiful People 2014), catwalk poise and on-camera spark come naturally. After signing with IMG Models last August, the 18-year-old quickly landed editorials with Teen Vogue and CR Fashion Book. This past February, her turn in Tom Ford's fall/winter show served as her coming-out ball. "It was nerve-racking, because I'd never met Tom Ford," Bella says. "But he was so sweet. He said, 'Don't be nervous. You look beautiful and you're going to do great.' If Tom tells you to calm down, you calm down."

Bella now calls New York home, but the L.A. native hasn't lost her California Zen. "I'm just trying to work on being one with myself," she says. "People always think that the American Dream is to become wealthy or famous. I think it's just to be happy." [Abby Schreiber]

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.33.12 AM.pngPhoto via Style.com

Lucky Blue Smith
When you're born with a name like Lucky Blue Smith, you're pretty much destined for a life in front of a camera, and Smith's career as a male model is only gaining momentum. With his icy platinum hair and breathtaking blue eyes, Smith has graced the covers of Jalouse and Rollacoaster, walked in Jeremy Scott's FW 15 show and signed on to be the new face of Hilfiger Denim. World domination is only a piercing gaze away. [Kate Messinger]

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.36.40 AM.pngNatalie Westling
With her one-two punch of brown saucer eyes and flame-red hair, it's not difficult to see how Natalie Westling landed herself in campaigns for Saint Laurent Paris and Marc Jacobs at the tender age of 17. Discovered only a few years ago in her native Arizona as a skateboarding kid who could care less about fashion, Westling has been practically omnipresent at recent New York Fashion Weeks, snagging a coveted spot opening Marc Jacobs' 2014 Spring show and walking for Anna Sui, Dior, Tom Ford and DKNY. Something tells us we'll be seeing even more of those big brown eyes come Fashion Week in September. [Elizabeth Thompson]   

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.38.12 AM.pngTarun Nijjer
When a relatively new face opens and closes the Burberry fall show, people start to take notice. Tarun Nijjer, the 19-year-old model from London, is the first man of Indian descent to reach such success in the fashion industry, and now that he's working exclusively with Burberry, it won't be long before his name is just as recognizable as his face. [KM]

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.40.30 AM.pngPhoto via Style.com

Aya Jones
Nothing cements you as a face to watch in fashion quite like an exclusive debut at Prada. Paris-native Aya Jones has been working for under a year, but she's already walked every major show and made her editorial premiere in it-girl making magazines CR Fashion Book, Love and Vogue. Though her resume may already be impressively long, Jones' career is just getting started. [Emily Kirkpatrick]

Newcomer Molly Bair's singular beauty immediately set her apart from the model pack. At just 16 and with only one season under her belt, Bair has already secured her haute couture status, walking in more shows than many models book in a lifetime and starring in a number of big name editorials to boot. Clearly, Bair's career is poised to be as out-of-this-world as her looks. [EK]

Corey Baptiste_BP_4.jpgPhoto by Celeste Sloman

Corey Baptiste

24-year-old Bronx-native Corey Baptiste has quickly garnered comparisons to male-modeling OG Tyson Beckford. And considering the relative newbie's chiseled features have already landed him international campaigns for brands like Kenzo, Ralph Lauren, Adidas and DKNY, the hype around him is more than justified. In an industry where most men struggle to even have a career, Baptiste makes it all look easy.

"To me, the American Dream is having the opportunity to not only achieve your goals but to also defy social and racial inequalities so that you can be both a part of change and a catalyst for it. I embody this dream each day as I still face adversity in a world that is defined by what is only skin deep. Being one of the few African Americans in the industry, I have been able to continue clearing the path for equality by fighting for it every day." -- Corey Baptiste

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.44.18 AM.png
Photo via Style.com

Mica Arganaraz
Mica Arganaraz was a breakout star of 2014, fronting i-D magazine's Beautiful issue and scoring the first solo Prada campaign since Sasha Pivovarova. The 22-year-old Argentinian rightfully nabbed a spot on Style.com's new faces-to-watch list after opening for Miu Miu and closing at Isabel Marant and Margiela. With a banged bob that puts Taylor Swift to shame, Arganaraz is a fashion force to be reckoned with. [EK]

DC_SooJoo_Look_01-0163_Dario Catellani.jpgSoo Joo Park
When you're known by one name in the industry, it's pretty safe to say you've reached living legend status. Case in point: bleach-blonde South Korean phenom Soo Joo Park. Soo Joo has already attained the most prestigious heights of fashion as the face of Chanel, Tom Ford and everything else under the sun. Now she's breaking down new barriers as the first Asian model to land a beauty campaign with L'Oreal. [EK]


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Beautiful People 2015: Fashion Designers & Stylists

Meet 10 of the most exciting designers and stylists working today -- and check out the wildly diverse ways they redefine the theme of our April issue: the American Dream.

Photo by Basile Mookherjee; Mike and Zoe wear full looks by Eckhaus Latta

Eckhaus Latta
Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta create minimal, often unisex looks full of striking details: loose-fit button-downs end in squared shirttails, turtlenecks wrap around the waist and half-skirts hang from the back of baggy pants. Even the homely "scrub top" is elevated in their hands.

Together, the cross-country designers (Eckhaus is based in New York, Latta in Los Angeles) are mastering the art of museum-quality garments. A recent video revolving around their rigatoni pasta top appeared on MOCAtv. They designed the uniforms for Dora Budor's work at the 2013 Venice Biennale. And their pieces have appeared at New York's Museum of Arts and Design.

At the core of of Eckhaus Latta's work is a "visceral, emotional feeling toward clothing," says Eckhaus. And while his American Dream is "being able to achieve what you want to achieve," his happy place is more about process than product: "those private moments when you're working on something and things just click." [Liz Ohanesian]

WILL FRY (1).jpgWil Fry
Wil Fry has come a long way since his days creating limited-edition, Internet-fueled fashion for logomaniacs with a sense of humor. (He's perhaps best known for his cheeky "Expensive" print -- a pattern of luxury brand tags, including Jil Sander, Rodarte and Raf Simons.) The Australian-born, New York-based designer has just released his first full-fledged collection of surprisingly ascetic, minimalist garb that still manages to retain the same kind of hypebeast aura as his first offerings. Perfect for a sneakerhead with the soul of a Buddhist monk.
[Emily Kirkpatrick]

andylecomptebig.pngAndy Lecompte
If there were an award for hottest hairstylist, Andy Lecompte would be the winner and the runner-up: when he's not cutting famous heads at his eponymous L.A. salon, he's taking his sharp magic on the road, shearing manes for editorial moments shot by the likes of Steven Klein and Mario Testino, or giving vision to Madonna's bullfighter-cum-1940s-romance-movie tresses for the Grammys, or styling Nicole Richie's lilac locks (see: PAPER's May 2014 cover). Head game strong. [Jacob Muselmann]

photo 1.JPGRyan Roche
A runner-up for last November's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Ryan Roche is the master of sumptuous knitwear. The Idaho-bred designer takes sweaters and elevates them to new heights of 4-ply luxury in a palette of neutral earth-tones. Her perfectly draped garments are the types of timeless, quality-made knits you always hoped to steal from your grandma but could never find. Roche's thick, piled-on pieces are the definition of polar vortex chic. [EK]

69 Worldwide
Part art project, part fashion spectacle, denim brand 69 Worldwide designs ballooning, "non-gender, non-demographic" clothing from the future. Launched a few years ago by the elusive A. Halford, the L.A.-based, DIS magazine-associated line feels more like a jean-wearing cult of cool kids than your typical clothing label. Add some of the most fearless casting out there, and you have a brand that's changing the face of unisex fashion -- one enormous denim top at a time. [EK]

BFA_11485_1402622.jpgPhoto by Paul Porter/BFAnyc.com

Paul Andrew
Over the past two years, footwear designer Paul Andrew has become a name of note in the high-heel game. Considering he honed his craft at houses such as Dona Karan, Calvin Klein and McQueen for 15 years before going solo, his success comes as no surprise. The winner of the 2014 CFDA/Vogue Fashion fund is gaining recognition for his graphic designs and sensible silhouettes that look tailor-made for Audrey Hepburn on a tropical getaway. [EK]

Aurélie Bidermann

Aurélie Bidermann's jewelry mixes bohemian sensibilities with an aristocrat's eye for gemstones. The designer draws inspiration from her travels abroad, siphoning those ideas into creations as elegant as they are easy to wear. Bidermann may be fiercely Parisian, but there's a decidedly American essence at the core of her aesthetic -- a free-spirited insouciance in the face of fine jewelry. [EK]

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.35.19 PM.pngHarbison
Launched in 2013, Brooklyn brand Harbison does classic Americana with a high-fashion twist. With a background in textiles and design jobs in womenswear at Michael Kors and Billy Reid, Charles Elliott Harbison has plenty of experience creating clothes that blend traditional activewear and strikingly modern construction. Already a favorite with both Knowles sisters, Harbison's color-blocked creations are sure to spread all over the A-list. [EK]

GypsySport_credit_Jonathan Grassi_RioUribeAW14.jpgPhoto by Jonathan Grassi
Gypsy Sport
Gypsy Sport fuses New York-centric, genderless sportswear with a global folk aesthetic to create designs made for nomadic millennial city-dwellers. Now four seasons in, designer Rio Uribe is honing his ability to seamlessly mix cultural style cues and slowly but surely building up huge momentum behind the brand -- opening up a new kind of open-minded and all-inclusive dialogue between sartorial citizens of the world. [EK]

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.32.28 PM.pngOrley
Working with a sibling would be a nightmare for most of us, but the two brothers and one sister-in-law behind Italian-made knitwear brand Orley seem to pull it off effortlessly. The family label's quirky prints and unexpected use of color have swiftly helped the brand evolve from a small capsule collection to a full-blown men's and, this year, women's line. Orley's knits could easily belong to the wardrobe of a '60s French matinee idol on a Californian vacation.

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Beautiful People 2015: Zendaya

Zendaya-0422-Sage-BG-RGB.jpgPAPER is proud to present a conversation with Zendaya -- singer, star of Disney's K.C. Undercover and member of the Beautiful People Class of 2015. Read on for her take on the American Dream (the theme of our April issue), and meet Zendaya's classmateshere.

Congrats on the new K.C. Undercover. It's a huge opportunity for you -- you're starring in the show, obviously, and it's been quite the year. Tell me a little bit about it.

Well it's cool for me because not only do I get to act in it and be in front of the camera; I get to be behind the camera and produce, which is kind of a new hat I'm putting on. I've always wanted to do it, and I've always kind of paid attention to behind the scenes, but now I have a whole new respect for what goes into creating a production.

Pretty much any kind of decision that is being made, they usually talk to me about it first - whether it be script changes, costumes, sets, design, whatever. I like to be involved as much as possible.

Are you also in the midst of working on your new album, or have you kind of had to put that on pause while you're shooting the show?

No, I'm working on it. I usually work on it on the weekends. 

Can you share anything about that?

Well there's no title yet, but honestly I'm just trying to make good music that I enjoy and that I think that is a step up from the last time.

How so?

I'm taking more time, first of all. So I think being able to sit back and take the time and not be afraid to just wait and have everything you need and make the right connections and do the right collaborations and have the right songs -- I think it's already starting off in a better direction. 

It's less pop and more R&B and urban rhythmic with a dash of pop, rather than the other way around.

I want to talk a little bit about how you originally got into the business. I know you're from Oakland, and you started acting at a pretty young age, and your mom worked with a theater company, right?

Yeah, my mom worked at the California Shakespeare Theater; she started working there when I was like two. So that's kind of where I got the whole acting thing - just being submerged in a real theater world.

When did you and your family, though, make the decision for you to actually come out to L.A. and start auditioning for film and TV roles, as opposed to staying at home in Oakland and doing theater and school productions?

It kind of started with me and my Dad driving back and forth from Oakland to L.A. multiple times a week while I was still in school. He ended his job as a PE teacher so that he could help me pursue my job in the entertainment business. I wanted to be a singer, I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to do all of that, you know? But it's not promised - going out there for auditions. Not even for a callback. But, fortunately enough for me, I think because I was really strong in what I wanted and I went out there to just get it, I got my first big job: Shake it Up.

So how long had you been auditioning when you were cast in the show?

Six months. 

And what was it like to hear that you had just landed this massive role? Do you remember what you were thinking or feeling at that time?

I don't know. I think I was in shock a little bit, but again, I had come out there for the intention of getting a show, or being on a show or something like that, so I always knew it would happen. It wasn't a matter of if, but a matter of when.

Who were some of your role models in the entertainment world?

In the entertainment world, I think there're definitely careers I look up to, like Beyonce's and Michael Jackson's and stuff like that. But as far as role models - role models for me are like my big sister. She's always there for me. She somehow balances having a family, going to work, all this craziness, and still has time to make sure her little sister is OK and hang out with me. 

Did you ever have a moment when you wished you could have more of a typical teenage life?

I don't think so, honestly. I never really thought that way because I feel like I may miss out on going to prom, but think about the greater percentage of kids who will miss out on being on Dancing with the Stars, you know what I mean? So in the end I'm pretty cool with my decisions.

I know you've attended Fashion Week and shown some very cool style on the red carpets. Is fashion something that you're interested in? 

I think that fashion -- contrary to some people that believe in trends, I believe in honestly, wear whatever you want, whatever makes you feel comfortable. I believe in confidence and just dressing for yourself. So me, I never have ever really worried about what people thought based on what I dress like. If you leave the house and you feel good, that's all that matters. I think that's what fashion is about: expressing yourself, whether you wear the hottest, most expensive designer or you wear something from Target or something you made, as long as it's fly and you like it. 

Are there any brands or designers that you really like, or think what they're doing right now is really cool?

I love Fausto Puglisi. He's also the head designer of Ungaro, and I wore an Ungaro dress to the Grammys. I've been able to meet him and he's a wonderful person, so that was really cool for me. Vivienne Westwood is so fun, and patterns that are so different -- she's a legend, so I love working with them. Who else? I love DKNY -- I love their campaigns and how they really celebrate different kinds of people. It's very inspired by urban culture, which I like. 

Last question. How, in an ideal world, do you see yourself transitioning from the teen roles that are appropriate to you right now as an 18 year old to an adult career? How you'll straddle the adult audience and your fan base of Disney fans and teens and young adults.

You know, I think there's a way to balance all of them at the same time. I think people have yet to really do it -- to engage the young fans, which is really important because the young fans, you've got to realize, are sometimes the most hardcore fans out there. They're the ones that are going to force their mom to support you. And a lot of the kids that grew up watching me on Shake It Up are now like 17, it's weird; it makes me feel old. There's that group of people, and as I get older and people know me from different things or just follow me on Instagram or whatever, I think the most important thing is to have that balance: for everything to be edgy and different and something that a 25-year-old would want to be a part of, but also at the same time you don't have to cover your eyes when a seven-year-old is watching. I think that's a balance that is really hard for people to find, but I think can be done. So I'm going to do it.


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Beautiful People 2015: Food

Meet 10 of the most exciting chefs, restaurateurs and dessert bosses working today -- and check out the wildly diverse ways they redefine the theme of our April issue: the American Dream.

Photo by Alan Gastelum

Gerardo Gonzalez / El Rey Luneonette
Chef Gerardo Gonzalez coaxes big, bold flavors out of his miniscule 5' x 3' kitchen at El Rey Luncheonette on the Lower East Side. Taking inspiration from the Middle East, coastal Mexico and hist native SoCal, Gerardo keeps his dishes fresh by creating specials out of produce brought to him by neighbors with local gardens. With limited space and an open kitchen, Gerardo talks to his regular customers and uses their feedback to shape his bright, colorful, veg-centric menu. His warmth and fearless culinary innovation make his one of New York's most exciting young chefs.[Leif Hedendal]

Photo by Christelle Castro

Sabrina De Sousa & Alissa Wagner / DIMES
Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner, co-owners of beloved Chinatown health oasis Dimes, rule the downtown wellness scene with seasonal-local-organic food, juices, teas and homemade apothecary products. As a realization of their combined interests in healthy California cuisine, DIY herbalism, design and art, the Jersey natives and longtime friends opened Dimes a couple years ago to immediate success. Now they've moved across the street to a larger space with a more developed menu; the original will reopen as the takeout / produce / hippie body product outlet Dimes Superette. Artists and models: flock accordingly.

Elise_Kornack2.jpgPhoto by Issy Croker of The Curious Pear / @Curiouspear

Elise Kornack / Take Root
Elise Kornak's Take Root is one hot NYC dining concept whose food far outshines its artsy premise -- and that's saying a lot. Begun as a dinner party habit by 28-year-old aspiring artist-turned-chef Elise Kornack, the tiny spot only opens three nights a week, offering an ephemeral set-dinner menu for 12 seats a time. Footprint aside, Kornack's restaurant, with its surprisingly harmonious juxtapositions of ingredients and intricate plating, has already earned a Michelin star. [Cathy Erway]

jessica_sqirl_bp.jpgPhoto by Jeni & Dylan

Jessica Koslow / SQIRL 
A jam empire turned full-throttle food revolution... SQIRL's Jessica Koslow is officially the talk of L.A.. Her self-described California comfort food draws lines around the block for her famous burnt brioche ricotta toast dolloped with seasonal jam, her Kokuko rose sorrel rice bowl and other next level dishes. A critical darling, she's been praised for walking the line between reimagined classics and market-driven innovations. Up next: SQIRL Away, for the gourmand on the go. [Vanessa Lavorato]

Sara Kramer.jpeg
Sara Kramer
Pour one out for Brooklyn. Los Angeles pulled a coup on us last spring when it was announced that chef Sara Kramer, formerly at famed veggie-centric Greenpoint restaurant Glasserie, would be taking her talents to the West Coast. The winner of Eater's 2013 Award for Best Chef is opening two spots later this year with her former Glasserie sous chef Sarah Hymanson: a falafel shop and a more formal Mediterranean outfit. A tale of two Sara(h)s, indeed. [Emily Warman]

I think a strong component of the American Dream is the opportunity to have (and employ) the freedom to determine one's own destiny. It's an opportunity I try very much to not take for granted.
 -- Sara Kramer 

Janeen Gudelj / The Donut Snob
Los Angeles is the donut capital of the nation, and Janeen Gudeji's Donut Snob is its shiniest monument. From the get-go, the gourmet donut delivery operation has tempted the collective sweet tooth of countless Angelenos with fluffy raised sugar bombs coated in peanut butter glaze or salted caramel and topped with maple bacon. Despite the gluten-free craze, her award-winning sweets -- her babies have been named the best donuts in L.A. and Donut Snob one of the top 10 donut shops in the nation -- are the new classic. [VL]

Alvin Cailan / Eggslut, Ramen Champ
It might feel like food porn has hit its climax at Eggslut, but chef Alvin Cailan is just warming up. Since opening his breakfast hotspot in downtown L.A.'s food mecca, Grand Central Market, Cailan's slinky egg sandwiches have created a buzz as far as Tokyo. Riding the wave of hashtag fame, the culinary ace followed up with Ramen Champ in Chinatown's trendy Far East Plaza (Both Andy Ricker's Pok Pok Phat Thai and Roy Choi's Chego are there). Drool-worthy photos of his bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and steaming bowls of ramen have set Instagram on fire, as food nerds geek out over the latest dish to make a debut. [VL]

Miles Thompson copy.jpg
Photo by Eric Wolfinger

Miles Thompson / SHED
At 13, he was in the kitchen of a New York catering company; as soon as he hit the L.A. scene, Miles Thompson was on the line in top eateries Nobu, Animal and Son of a Gun. When his slick pop-up, the Vagrancy Project, turned full restaurant as Allumette closed, he took his knives to James Beard award-winning SHED. As head chef of the Bay Area grange, Thompson has dialed into agrarian sustainability to preserve the seasons through a Nobu-inspired menu focused on fermentation and produce cross-utilization. It's safe to say that the vegetable maverick has hit his stride. [VL]

I define the American Dream as the ideal that all people in this country, citizen or not, can better their lives and ultimately the lives of their children and future generations through the commitment to and devoted practice of a strong work ethic. This to me is a reflection and definition of the self, and limited not only to the work that one is compensated for, but the work it takes to search for and hold fast to love, dreams and family.
-- Miles Thompson

Photo by Jackie Yen

Alexandra Whisnant / Gâté Comme des Filles
Combine the richness of chocolate with the vibrant flavors of seasonal ingredients and you get the brainchild of chocolatier Alexandra Whisnant. With the Cordon Bleu in Paris and Chez Panisse in Berkeley under her apron, Whisnant creates masterful bonbons that mark a renaissance in the craft chocolate arena. After pop-ups in Paris and a return back to California, where her confections have been featured in San Francisco's Bi-Rite Market and the likes, her next step is a brick and mortar chocolaterie devoted to the world's favorite bean.

Photo by Ethan Scott

Angela Dimayuga / Mission Chinese NYC
When Danny Bowien decided to expand his makeshift Chinese restaurant from the Mission to the mean streets of NYC, he needed a local chef at the helm. Coming off years at Vinegar Hill House and having no previous experience in Sichuan cuisine, Angela Dimayuga was it. After a roller-coaster two years of fame and rats, she's now executive chef at the restaurant's newly reopened Chinatown location, where she adds a taste of her Filipino background to its expanded menu -- along with plenty of numbing-hot spice. [CE]


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Beautiful People 2015: Ta-Nehisi Coates

PAPER is proud to present a conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates -- journalist, author of the nation-shaking Atlantic cover story "The Case for Reparations" and member of the Beautiful People Class of 2015. Read on for his take on the American Dream (the theme of our April issue), and meet Ta-Nehisi's classmates here.

I know that you're a big Civil War fan and an admirer of Ulysses S. Grant. Why is he such an important figure to you? 
For me it's a personal thing. Grant was not a person who, if you went and talked to the people around him when he was 12 years old, would say, "That guy is going to be president." He wasn't that sort of dude. He went to West Point and didn't really distinguish himself there, and he did distinguished himself in the Mexican-American war and later in the Civil War. I think we have this preoccupation with talent and obvious talent. For Grant, it was not obvious that he was going to be great. He had problems with alcohol and all sorts of issues. People think the Civil War is glamorous, like Robert E. Lee, dashing. And Grant was not like that. He was a rugged, everyday dude who just happened to be good at fighting. He inherited a slave through his wife, and he freed the slave. But you have to understand what that meant in the 1850s. People would let their slaves buy their freedom, because slaves were really expensive. It would be like walking away from your house, but he just did it on moral principle. He was the sort of dude that was a good dude when no one was looking, and I like that. I'm surrounded by people who were smart when they were young, and were told they were smart. And not undeservedly. But they were told that they would get things, and my path into the field of writing is much more Grant-like. Just coming out of West Baltimore and having to work in a particular way, so there's a lot about him I admire. He was also just a beautiful writer. Gorgeous, gorgeous writer, and not the dude you would think would be a gorgeous writer. His memoirs are incredible.

You've said before that every African American should leave the country once. What did you mean by that? 
Not even black people in particular, but probably everybody. African Americans occupy a particular place in the world. You take this moment right now with Ferguson, stop and frisk. Every moment, you exist within a certain American dynamic. You can think that that's who you are, you can think that that's the world. But then you go to other places where you don't necessarily occupy that same status, and it gives you a chance to see yourself differently. It gives you a chance to get in touch with who you are as an individual. It's one of the rare opportunities to just live in it. I've actually never been called "nigger" by a white person, but the first time this happened I was in France. This woman looked at me, she said, "Oh, negre." It didn't even bother me that much, because it's like I'm not France's nigger. I'm not a part of whatever is going on there. She can't get me fired from my job. She can't call the cops and get my head bashed. I'm American. Obviously I don't want to be called that, but it was like if someone had yelled something at me randomly, just on the street. It really didn't hit me because I was outside of that dynamic. It's a very peculiar feeling. Black people in this country especially -- so much of their identity is derived from occupying a particular place. In this country you should leave and go somewhere where you're kind of unimportant and irrelevant. I think it's mentally healthy. 

Who is on your shortlist of American heroes? 
I like Lincoln. He's a dude who basically self-educated in a log cabin, comes up and goes from that position to believing that black veterans deserve the right to vote, which was a really, really radical position at that time. Can I name an artist? I love Nas. I know people don't think about that when they think about American heroes. I love the position in this culture that MCs occupy. I first learned to appreciate words from hip-hop, and when I heard Nas, it was the first thing that I heard that I felt was actually articulating what people felt. The intensity, the feeling of violence. And he did it so, so beautifully. I always tell people if they want to get some idea of what it was like to be a young black man, you just gotta listen to Illmatic. It's all there. I love Kendrick Lamar for similar reasons. These are the people I draw energy from as a writer. I love James Baldwin. As a writer he's probably the person I pull from the most. Ida B. Wells I adore, a journalist from the 1920s who witnessed a race riot, wrote about it and was run out of her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, on pain of death. They said, "We'll kill you if we see you down here again," and she kept going back to the South reporting on lynchings, endangering her life over and over again.

What do you personally feel patriotic about?
There are a lot of things. I think it's very hard to live in any country and be patriotic about politics. I think politics wherever you are is ultimately an ugly business. And I don't say that to demean people who are in the business of politics; you need people to be. When I think about America and the things I'm proud of, I love the culture here. The vibrancy, the sense of choice. I spend quite a bit of time in France, but there's a kind of uniformness to French culture. My wife, she wraps her head here in this African fabric. She would never do it in France. It just feels inappropriate; they have certain ways and they're set. One of the things I like about America is the great, great diversity in style and range. You really have good and bad. Freedom to live out who you want to be. I adore New York City, which people don't really think is American but I think it's ultimately the most American place. It's ultra America. The incredible amount of diversity and crazy shit you can see walking down the street. That's what it is: You go do your thing and I'll do mine. That's the American ideal, and that's totally here. 

You've credited David Carr with helping launch your career when he hired you as an intern at the Washington City Paper. Did you get a sense of what he thought about this country? 
Damn. I have this memory, and I'll try not to get emotional. We were at a party, and his wife was there and my wife was there. And he said, "A couple bums like you and me, we end up with two beautiful women. This is a great country, isn't it?" One of the things me and him bonded over is we came to New York and came into this field from such different angles -- me being African American and being from Baltimore and being a college dropout, I was so outside. I'm trying to say this and not make it sound resentful. There can be this resentful thing toward Ivy leagues, and I really don't have that. I'm just saying I was different. There aren't and there weren't that many African American magazine writers. Now Carr, the drugs and alcohol and being from Minnesota... He had this really rough way of talking, and he did not sound like a New Yorker at all. He sounded like he was from West Bumblefuck. And that's what made him cool. The long artistry of his life, I think, is what a lot of people want America to be. That possibility. You had this kid born out in Minnesota, and he had a good home. He fucked up for a good part of his life and did shit that he was not proud of. And to turn that around -- forget the career stuff. To become a father to two little girls like he did, and to be a really good father, a decent husband, to have another kid and to be a good father and then to come here and to become one of the best writers at the New York Times, I think that's what people think about. That's what they want America to be. Whether it is or not, that's another story, but I think that's what people want. 

In regards to the protests surrounding Eric Garner and Michael Brown, did you ever join in? 
No, because I'm a writer and that's not my place. It's no disrespect to people who protest, but writers have their jobs and protesters have theirs. You have to have your critical distance. I'm not saying I was unbiased; I'm not talking about objectivity. I was not objective at all. But I avoid rallies and marches and that type of thing unless I'm watching and observing. 

What do you tell your son?
[laughs] I have a whole booking coming out in October that will hopefully answer that question. It's called Between the World and Me: Notes on the first 150 years of America.

What else is going on with you this year?
I'm leaving the country with my family in August. We're going to Paris and we'll live there for a year, so we're excited about that. My book comes out October 17th -- I can't believe it. It's largely about how you explain to young children Eric Garner, Michael Brown. How you explain all of this. 

Styling by Jessica Zamora-Turner / Grooming by Alexis Williams at LVA Artists using Chanel Cosmetics and Aleksandra Sasha Nesterchuk using Kerastase France / Styling Assistant: Jordyn Payne / Location: Dune Studios

Ta-Nehisi wears a coat by Burberry Brit and a shirt by Tom Ford


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Beautiful People 2015: Arielle Holmes


PAPER is proud to present a conversation with Arielle Holmes -- star of the forthcoming Safdie brothers drama Heaven Knows What and member of the Beautiful People Class of 2015. Holmes' real-life experience as a homeless, addicted teen is the basis of the film, and her near-total lack of acting experience didn't stop her from bringing a merciless intensity to her role. Read on for her take on the American Dream (the theme of our April issue), and meet Arielle's classmates here.

How long have you been in LA?
Since August, so like seven months. I was born here, but when I was not even a year old yet, I moved to Jersey, where my mom's from. So I grew up in Jersey. 

What's a typical day in LA for you?
It depends. I just finished shooting this movie in buffalo called Winter's Dream. And in a month I'm going to start on a third project. I can't tell you what that is, not yet.

How's are you adjusting to this new life? I imagine it's pretty different from when Safdies came along.
Completely different. It's hard adjusting, you know? But I'm getting the hang of things. Just feel a lot better about life and everything I'm doing. It's good now.

Was it ever challenging or frustrating to see your story translated into a fictitious piece of cinema?
No, not really. I'm really happy with how the movie came out. I don't really see it as my story; I feel like it's just the story of that lifestyle in general. And I love how it was expressed. Whatever changes that were made from what actually happened in my experience, I'm fine with it.

Did you have any acting experience at all before Heaven Knows What?
Not at all. Aside from a couple school plays when I was in third grade or so.

What was the most challenging scene to shoot?
Probably the scene where I freak out on the bus. Josh [Safdie] was explaining to me how he wanted it to look like a ballet or a dance in a way. I don't know if I made it look like that at all, but I tried to be very flamboyant, I guess, with my motions. Animated, that's the word. And then when I sat down and kicked the bus apart, that was really fun. [laughs] I accidentally broke the window. 

That changed the whole movie, actually. There was originally a different ending, but since I broke the window, we were like, "Alright, well, if she actually broke a bus window in real life they'd probably throw her off." So that's where the ending came from, but I love that it worked out that way, 'cause I think it ends perfectly. 

So originally you weren't going to make it back to New York?
Yeah, I was going to make it to Florida, alone, and end up helping this guy move these boxes or reptiles or something like that, and that would just be the end. But I like how it ended so much better.

Tell me about the first time you saw a full cut.
Like getting to view myself through another perspective, through someone else's eyes. And I actually got to see myself and how I was living and what I was doing -- it was very surreal. Now when I watch it, it's more separated from myself, more like it's just a character.

Heaven Knows What is based on a memoir you wrote about. What's the status of that?
I don't know when it will come out. It's not as ready as I thought it was. At first I intended to publish it as a memoir, but I don't want to do that anymore; I want to take all those writings and turn it into a work of fiction. I want it to be more like a story than my personal diary, you know? 

How do you define the American Dream?
Mine is just to be open to anything I can possibly do -- to express myself and find out who I am and understand other people better. Getting to a place when I'm older and can look back -- I've had all these experiences and led a full life. To have a family at the end.

Last question: what's your take on legalization?
Drugs should be legal. I believe we should all be informed about all of them, and people who would go down a bad path and really destroy themselves should be helped, rather than put in jail. People don't get fucked up drugs because they're happy, you know? And recreational use -- I think that if drugs were legal and accepted as a thing that some people choose to partake in, I don't think it would lose as many lives, because there wouldn't be a need to hide it; they wouldn't have to worry about losing their jobs or being arrested. I'm not saying people should use drugs, but there are a lot of benefits that can come out of certain drugs. But in the long run, it's your choice. People are doing drugs whether they're legal or not, and I think one of the reasons they're illegal is because the government makes money off it by putting people in prison. Then you've got the pharmacy that prescribes really dangerous drugs to people. Those are legal. It's a messed up system, but I hope it changes. Somehow.

Styling by Jessica Zamora-Turner, hair and makeup by Christy McCabe at Utopia the Agency


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Beautiful People 2015: Hari Nef

Photo by Kathy Lo.

PAPER is proud to present a conversation with Hari Nef -- model, actress and member of the Beautiful People Class of 2015. Read on for Hari's take on the American Dream (the theme of our April issue), and meet her classmateshere.

What was your childhood like?
I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, which is a suburb outside of Boston. It's a typical New England suburb -- very pleasant, very Jewish, with great public schools where nothing bad ever happens. It's a lot of people walking around thinking that they live in New England and that they're enlightened and super liberal, but mostly they're a little apathetic. I felt like people in my town were OK with everything so they cared about nothing. It was a nice place to grow up, but it wasn't very fun. I definitely wanted to move to New York for the longest time. And I did.

I was looking at your Tumblr, and you answer a lot of questions on there. Do you see yourself as a resource for the trans community on that platform?

I do. I mean, It's not necessarily something I chose, but a lot of trans women who find themselves in the public eye... I think a lot of girls get really paranoid about the idea of being seen as a woman by other people and having their femininity go unchecked, and they want to make sure their femininity is appreciated and observed, and a lot of the time that manifests in a rejection of the trans community -- a silence about anyone else's story other than your own. I never had the option of being stealth trans. I transitioned after I moved to New York and I kind of transitioned in front of everyone. People always knew that I was transitioning. I don't mind talking about it; I'm very comfortable sharing information about myself, and I don't hold that as something precious I need to hide for the sake of being chic or respectable. I try to help if I can, especially when you have these young girls who are just starting to transition. I'm always talking to these 16-year-old girls from Wyoming and Minnesota. It's as important to me as answering emails about booking. Why am I even doing this if I can't help girls?

What do you think it is about Tumblr that makes people want to reach out to you in this way?

I post things on Tumblr I wouldn't dream of posting on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. The thing about Tumblr is that it's even more focused around youth. "Grown-ups" don't go on Tumblr, really. A lot of the people I interact professionally in New York, most of them aren't on Tumblr. When I'm on Tumblr, I'm talking to people who generally are not in New York, who are isolated and dispersed around the world but all come to the same place based on identity or things they love or aesthetics they appreciate. I think it's a really good platform for kids whose immediate community isn't necessarily cutting it for them. You can carve out a little chunk of cyberspace. It's cultural production and it's accessible to anyone who wants it. I would not be where I am now without Tumblr and without my Tumblr followers. They've inspired me and helped me do so many things. I feel a little dorky being like, "My Tumblr!" but I think it was the original playground to experiment with myself. 

You're involved in so much fashion and film; what is that like while you're in the process of transitioning?
It's really difficult. On one hand it's beautiful and sublime, because I'm finally able to walk into certain roles, certain visual contexts, even certain professions the way I've always wanted to walk into them, which is as a woman with a women's body. I became so much of a better actor when I started playing female roles exclusively. It's really difficult to cast a trans woman -- or people think it is. There are no trans roles, and if there are they go to Jared Leto or Eddie Redmayne or Elle Fanning. And yet people are booking us more and more. I'm OK with that because I get to work, but will there ever come a point where I could play a woman in a realistic, naturalistic drama and have there not be the word "trans" in the script? In terms of trans narratives, people really only care about trans people insofar as the moment of revelation, the drama of transition. After she transitions or begins to transition, it's like, "Where's the drama?" There need to be more opportunities for trans women to step into roles or bookings and bring what they have to the table, versus performing a certain aspect of their identity. If somebody has to do it it should be them, but what comes after Transparent? What comes after Orange is the New Black? I want to be in a period piece in a time that comes before hormones. Could people watch that and not have a negative reaction to it for historical inaccuracy? That could be cool.

How do you feel about what's going on with Bruce Jenner?
I feel bad for Bruce Jenner. I don't know what's going on with him and I don't think anyone should presume to know what's going on. I don't think people should be using any names or pronouns other than the ones he has on the record. If I were a grown man in the international spotlight and had some kind of epiphany about myself that I were trans or I weren't, I would definitely feel extremely caught between a rock and a hard place. And what the media is doing, for instance In Touch photoshopping makeup on him -- those are teachable moments in terms of what not to do. You can't turn someone's identity, or your hypothesis about their identity, into a circus.

Let's talk about the he/she/me campaign for Selfridges'"agender" pop-up shop that you starred in. How did that come about and what was the reaction?
It was beautiful. Unlike anything I've ever worked in or ever done and unlike anything I've ever seen. I thought it was kind of funny because I showed up on set and, when I saw the other folks they had cast, was thinking to myself that if I had been staying in London for an extended period of time, this is who I would have wanted to hang out with. It's fascinating. I'm not going to name names, but in the months leading up to that I had been put up for an agency or two, and no one ever wanted me to come in -- they said that the market was too narrow for them to make money. But all of a sudden, dot dot dot... It's interesting to see this kind of stuff not only become stuff that you can accept or tolerate, but something that is beautiful to celebrate. Glamorous. Aspirational. That's the only reason I find modeling halfway fascinating. The idea that I can insert myself into a discussion of beauty, something from which I felt exempt almost my whole life? Suddenly now that I'm a trans woman, I'm a model?  That just blows my mind. I always wanted to be beautiful and I never thought I was. But the cultural definition of beauty shifted around me, and all of a sudden I was led to feel differently.

What's coming up for you the rest of this year? 
Television. Modeling. Theater. There are documents flowing in and out of my inbox, there are some contracts that are going to be signed this week, there's some flights to L.A. happening, there's even some stuff about to come out next month or so. I wish I could tell you more; it's not like I even have that much to hide. I'm in college but am about to graduate. I have no idea what's going to happen. The industry is a very surprising place to be right now. I'm just going to go where the work is. All I want to do is work.

What does the American Dream look like and feel like to you?
The American dream to me is the unlimited potential to manifest. I was a short, overweight 15-year-old Jewish boy in the suburbs of Boston, looking through $20 fashion magazines in Borders and watching films I illegally downloaded and looking at party photos from New York nightlife. I saw so much that moved me and was beautiful to me and glamorous to me, and alluring and fascinating to me, and there came a point where I realized that the stuff that I liked was literally part of a person that I could become. Regardless of sex assigned at birth, gender assigned at birth, regardless of anything, if you shout something long and loud enough it will eventually become true. And if you work really, really, really tirelessly hard. I'm lucky I have access to a lot of things -- I'm a white woman living in America and it's a lot easier for me than it would be for a lot of other people. And yet the hand of cards I'm holding is not totally the hand of cards I was dealt when I was born. If one cards, two cards three or four cards are different, I think that's the American Dream.

Styling by Jessica Zamora-Turner, makeup by Alexis Williams at LVA Artists using Chanel Cosmetics, hair by Aleksandra Sasha Nesterchuk using Kérastase Paris; stylist assistant: Jordyn Payne; location: Dune Studios


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Jimmy Fallon Is Stealing Fran Lebowitz's Life


Last night municipal treasure Fran Lebowitz went on the Tonight Show where she confronted Jimmy Fallon about "stealing her apartment." As if that weren't egregious enough, it turns out Jimmy might be stealing Fran's life. As always, her singular repartee will make you want to rush out and buy some French cuffed shirts, a blazer and a pack of Marlboro Lights but, as Jimmy finds out, there can only -- and ever -- be one Fran. Watch the exchange, above, and see Fran share her "ostensibly favorite" things in New York City, below.

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Donatella Versace Is Starring In the New Givenchy Campaign


We remember thinking it was an inspired choice for our former cover guy Riccardo Tisci to tap Julia Roberts to star in his Spring 2015 Givenchy campaign but his latest model might be even more interesting: Donatella Versace. Tisci cast his fellow designer in the label's Fall/Winter 2015 campaign, which, as his Instagram post indicates, was shot by Mert & Marcus and styled by Carine Roitfeld. And, just in case the rarity of having a designer become the face of a competing label isn't clear enough, Donatella posted the image on the Versace Twitter with the caption "For my friend Riccardo. Together we break fashion boundaries today!"

What's next? A kumbaya circle next Paris Fashion Week? We're in.

[h/t Dazed]

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Meet the Beautiful People Class of 2015

Every April for the last 18 years, we've scoured the earth to bring you a dazzlingly shot portfolio of people who are helping to shape their cultural moment and looking really good while they're at it. This year, we decided to blow things out of the water with a mega-edition of scene-making, earth-shaking, heartbreaking creative folks across a vast range of disciplines. And because the story happened to coincide with our American Dream issue, we asked some of them how they define, embody and/or subvert that elusive ideal. From white-hot fashion duo Eckhaus Latta to lightning-rod singer and actress Zendaya to cultural critic Ta-Nehisi Coates and beyond, here are 70 people we only have eyes for in 2015.








Text by Emily Warman, Liz Ohanesian, Abby Schreiber, James Rickman, Kate Messinger, Emily Kirkpatrick, Jacob Muselmann, Elise Gallant, Vanessa Lavorato, Cathy Erway and Leif Hedendal

Photos by Kathy Lo, Albert Sanchez, Rodolfo Martinez, Stella Berkofsky, Diggy Lloyd, Basile Mookherjee and Danny Baldwin [see individual photos for additional credits]

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Ciara Instructs You To "Dance Like We're Making Love"

ciara's 'jackie'album cover.jpg
After her split with Future, former Paper cover girl Ciara is ready to tango with a new partner. A new song off her upcoming Jackie album, "Dance Like We're Making Love," is out today and on it, the singer really *goes there* with lines like "we'll dance like we're making babies as soon as our song comes on." The space-y tune is a lot more electro/dance-focused than what we're used to hearing, which may be thanks, in part, to Dr. Luke who produced the track and is known for having worked on songs for Rihanna, Miley and Britney. Listen to the track below and keep an eye out for Jackie when it drops on May 4th.

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Rich White Ladies Show Some Love in Their "No Bad Vibez" Video


"It's very different as far as the vibe... I don't think we said 'Bitch' once." Tokyo Diiva, one half of the NYC duo Rich White Ladies, is referring to the fact that, with the release of "No Bad Vibez," which PAPER is proudly premiering today, we're finally getting a full dose of RWL love. Here, they swap out their well-established gift for trash-talking and blueblood-bating for a simple tribute to friends and good times.

Directed by Frederic Esnault, who also did the insane "Wimbledon" video, "No Bad Vibez" is a slo-mo roving party down the Venice Pier in the afterglow of a rainstorm. Shots of booze made up for the lack of appropriate layering, and Diiva herself created the heart-spangled umbrella.

"I'm glad we have this feel-good record sending positive vibes out with all the fierceness," Diiva concludes. "That's hard to do."

Watch the video, above, and check out the Rich White Ladies EP here.

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Listen to Earl Sweatshirt Find "Solace"


Mother's Day is just two weeks away but Earl Sweatshirt is already starting to show his mom love. The rapper released new music in the form of a 10-minute, eerie sound collage called Solace. In a recent interview with NPR Sweatshirt revealed,  "We set up a studio at my house and I did a little project real, real fast, it's called Solace. And that, I'm just sitting -- it's more for my mom." Aww. Stream "Solace" above. 

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Todrick Hall's 4-Minute Cover of All 5 Beyoncé Albums Is a Wonder to Behold


YouTube star and former American Idol contestant Todrick Hall, he of the awesome Beyoncé-fied Cinderella parody and these two excellentMean Girls spoofs, bestowed another impressive gift to the Bey Hive yesterday: a four-minute video of him covering 70 songs from all five of Queen Bey's albums. With four separate clips featuring different lyrics and choreography cut side-by-side, Todrick harmonizes and synchronizes moves with himself, thereby creating your de facto "drinking Sauvignon Blanc before going out with my girls" playlist. Give it a watch, above.

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Amy Schumer Eviscerates Every Dumb "No Makeup" Pop Song Platitude Ever


Put down your vomiting Amy Schumer doll and watch her perfect take-down of every dumb, confusing "girl, you have no idea just how beautiful you really are" platitude ever shared by a heartthrob pop musician (we're giving hard looks to One Direction and Drake right now). It's a great evisceration of the impossible beauty standards created by pop culture's disingenuous attempts to loosen those very standards -- the myth of "I woke up like this" culture and all. Also? It's just really catchy. We miss Zayn.

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Future Islands Return to Letterman & Dedicate New Song to the People of Baltimore


"This song is going to go out to the people of Baltimore. Let us not discount their voices, or the voices of all the people in the cities that we live and love." With that, and three hard chest-smacks, Baltimore's Future Islands lift off into their new song "The Chase" -- a haunted sequel to "Seasons (Waiting on You)," the one that launched them into household name status when they performed it on Letterman a year ago. Once again, singer Samuel Herring's voice and moves (i.e. the James Brown knee-drop at 3:51), which would be absurd for just about anyone else, are totally magnetic and moving -- and very welcome after this morning's headlines.

Watch the video, above.

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Public School Designing DKNY Is a Game-Changer

youngdesigners_publicschool.jpgOsborne (second left) with models wearing Public School. Photo by Bill Durgin.

It was announced this morning that Public School's Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne will be the new creative directors for DKNY. Chow and Osborne combine New York coolness with a sophisticated take on sportswear that brings to mind the best of classic American fashion. From the beginning, Public School, a seven year-old-brand, was astounding in that they had a completely recognizable identity. In a marketplace where so many designers create unremarkable basics, Public School uniforms its customers in a way that makes them walking billboards for the brand, much the way Rick Owens, Azzedine Alaia or Riccardo Tisci do. Their ascent has been quick, winning the Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund among many other prizes, but they've avoided the hiccups or missteps that often come to designers who are showered with accolades at an early stage in their careers.

DKNY has spent the past few seasons re-branding and upping their cool factor, collaborating with Opening Ceremony on a reissue of vintage DKNY and casting their fashion shows and ad campaigns with New York nightlife fixtures like Brandee Brown, Chelsea Leyland and Vashtie Kola. Chow and Osborneare about to make a secondary line the most coveted brand in the naked city.

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Watch the Trailer for the New Nina Simone Netflix Doc


Netflix continues its war against your ability to get anything done with its announcement of a documentary about legendary soul singer Nina Simone. You probably know Simone for her iconic recordings of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" or "I Put A Spell On You." Most recently, she showed up in a haunting sample for Kanye's "Blood On the Leaves" -- a cover of a Billie Holiday song. Directed by Oscar-nominated Liz Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against the World,Girlhood), What Happened, Ms. Simone? pulls together archival footage, interviews, and concert footage from a period of over three decades that saw Simone play a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. So far, we know the movie will be out June 26 and will almost definitely feature a talking head saying something like, "You have to understand -- things were different then."

Via Pitchfork

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"We Want to Be Free": Rapper OG Maco Is Showing Trap's Conscious Side

ogmaco1.jpgThe pitfalls that can trap a perceived one-hit wonder in the digital age are far deeper and more plentiful than they were before social media accelerated the shelf-life of your average flash-in-the-pan from weeks to days. Just ask 23-year-old Atlanta rap upstart OG Maco, whose leftfield hit "U Guessed It" went viral last winter, thanks largely in part to Vine (the video proper currently has over 30 million views on Youtube). On its own two feet, the skeletal "U Guessed It" is tense, manic and unnerving -- in other words, what a lot of good rap music should be. But in the hands of teenagers with too much time on their hands, the song was used to soundtrack a variety of goofy-ass clips, contorted into an instant parody of itself before it even had a chance to breathe. "People [were] taking my viability as an artist a lot less seriously because they was thinking I was some guy on Vine that made a song and now I'm trying to make a career out of it, when I was already an artist puttin' in work," Maco says, sounding less exasperated and more collected than the character portrayed on the hit he made "off some alcohol and a little bit of frustration."

At this point in his career, Maco's at something of an identity crossroads, but there's no question that, as an artist deeply entrenched in Atlanta's latest rap renaissance, being known only as the "U Guessed It" guy is a tough position from which to navigate. He also seems keenly aware that his fame clock is ticking: "I got a couple of seconds up," he raps on recent mixtape 15, "when they said I had 15." Today, the idea of minutes, as opposed to seconds, seems like a luxury. At the same time, it's going to be a challenge to tow the line between pumping out the kinds of tracks that his "U Guessed It" fans want to hear while also showing off his lyrical skill and artistic potential. "A lot of people who aren't ready for the complexity in the majority of my music, they just wanna hear some fuckin' noise," he says matter-of-factly. "So I give it to 'em. It's just, 'to yell, or not to yell?,' you know?"

Maco grew up on Atlanta's South Side, surrounded by the same ills that plague a lot of young men and women in our inner-cities, despite the best efforts of his parents ("they tried to keep me me out of trouble, keep me out of shit"). Of Atlanta he says, "If you really out here making it happen, that shit... it ain't easy. I had a bunch of friends die. A bunch of friends go to prison." His best friend Dale Mattox was murdered while playing basketball when Maco was 13, and, unsurprisingly, drugs have impacted his life and work in significant ways. "You know I'm seeing all my homies still selling drugs, still making it happen however they gotta make it happen, and for some of them it's because they're addicted to money, they're addicted to the hustle. But for others, it's all they got," he says. "There ain't a million ways to make a million dollars."

ogmaco2.jpgMaco performing at SXSW this year

Maco has been frequently pigeonholed as a trap artist -- a tag he neither embraces nor eschews -- but the realities of his environment are impossible to ignore in the music he makes. "Violence wasn't just in my early life, it was continuing through last year. It's been non-stop. So it never stops influencing it." That reality is compounded when considering the fickle ins-and-outs of the contemporary rap game, something that Maco and his contemporaries understand all too well. "A lot of these people came from environments where they was in the streets, and they went from in the streets to rapping," he explains. "Or in a lot of cases, they still in the streets. Just making music at one point, and famous on Monday, and then Tuesday they back in the trap. So we have authenticity to our music, and we're easily misunderstood and don't give a fuck. Everybody's trying to figure out the mojo, and we ain't trying to figure out shit. We're just doing what we do."

It's that same "don't give a fuck" attitude that's led Maco down several different creative paths in his short but prolific career. While his breakthrough OG Maco EP contained the same kind of hard-headed urgency as "U Guessed It," it was far more nuanced than most gave it credit for, complete with mainstream radio bids like "Let's Get It" ("'Let's Get It' should definitely be on the radio"). More surprising was 15, which was as introspective and restrained as anything that's come from from the "New Atlanta" scene. But it was with the Breathe EP that Maco showed just how dexterous an artist he's willing to become, offering three songs that collectively tackled everything from racist slut-shaming to marijuana legalization to, most importantly, police brutality. While many saw these overtly "conscious" recordings as a counter to his trap-minded releases, Maco sees them as two sides of the same coin. "We want to be free. We want equality. Real equality, not fake-ass, 'we can walk around and breathe the same air' equality. And that's obvious. We could do that when there was still Jim Crow laws." This past week, he released OGZay, a collaborative mixtape with super-producer Zaytoven, which finds Maco "back in the pots and pans" and "back whippin' dope." He says, "You never stop letting those experiences craft your music because they never stop crafting you as a person. You can get trap music from OGZay from the same perspective that I had from Breathe."

Maco's fate is yet to be determined, but thanks to the fact that Atlanta has always made room for a variety of voices, both in the past and in the present, he has a good chance of being heard outside of a Vine window. "Atlanta -- whether it be old Atlanta, new Atlanta -- influences everybody and makes shit different," he says. "T.I. and Jeezy and Gucci Mane made everything different, and now it's me and Migos and [Young] Thug and Rich Homie [Quan] and a bunch of other cats. Makkonen's the one now. Atlanta is always the place that takes everybody to the next step. That's what we do, we show people where to go." Where Maco is going in specific is murky at this point, but the prospects are, if nothing else, interesting. "I might get some shit that sounds like Genesis for the hook, and the ad-libs are purely, purely trap," he says, making an indirect reference to his nickname -- "Black Phil Collins." Next month he's slated to tour with Migos, members of which he knew from the streets before either parties began making music, and whose label, Quality Control, he's currently signed to.

He has Migos' Quavo doing some "real soul singing" on what he considers "definitely a pop song" from his forthcoming debut album, Children of the Rage. His own collective, OGG (which stands for Originality Gains Greatness), are hard at work and "in a really good place right now." Words like "random rock song" and "EDM" are thrown around with little hesitation. But ambition doesn't necessarily equal arrogance, something that Maco attributes a good deal of his success to. He's even gone so far as to dub himself "the rockstar next door." He tell us, "I don't give a fuck about being famous. So I don't have any of that whole big-headed shit going on, you know, I don't really care about none of that. I don't think that make you any more important than the next n****." And while humility won't make you a star, ability certainly can. Or as Maco neatly sums it up, "I can make a 'U Guessed It' any day of the week."

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