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"We Are At the Very Beginning of a New Epoch:" Chelsea Manning On the Luxury of Privacy

Heather Dewey-Hagborg's forensic DNA phenotype of Chelsea Manning. The sex parameter was left out of the process.

PAPER is proud to present this conversation between an affiliation of artists and activists and Chelsea Manning -- the former military intelligence analyst who is currently two years into a 35-year sentence (less a credit of roughly three years) at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for furnishing WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified or sensitive documents. In the following exchange, conducted via US mail and encrypted web platforms, Manning takes questions from electronic-music artists Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst; design duo Metahaven, aka Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk; and Web-activist Jacob Appelbaum. Together, they weigh the strictures and possibilities not just of government, but of technology, culture and gender.

Jacob Appelbaum: This is Jacob. I am an American by birth and for the last two years, I have been living in exile in Berlin as a reward for my work with WikiLeaks and The Tor Project.

Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst: Hi, this is Holly and Mat. We are musicians who are interested in creating new fantasies for new realities.

Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk: Hi, we are Daniel and Vinca of Metahaven, an Amsterdam-based group of designers who are interested in identifying radical aesthetics with progressive politics.

We collaborate on numerous projects together. Most recently, we designed a "FREE CHELSEA MANNING" T-shirt that contained the slogan "INFILTRATE WITH LOVE." We first sold the shirt at a packed concert in Berlin we played recently, and were able to deliver a speech in honor of those who have taken a stand for transparency and compassion. It was a beautiful evening. We have managed to raise thousands of euros so far, and all proceeds are being donated to your legal defense fund. As may be clear from our questions, we are interested in other ways we might help you in our capacities as public artists, designers, journalists and activists. 

Herndon & Dyhurst: We see our digital selves as emotionally integrated with our physical selves, which we try to represent through our work aesthetically. Has your relationship to your digital self or your avatar changed since your incarceration, in that your avatar is able to interact with the public through Twitter? 
My relationship with my digital self has changed a lot over the last few years of incarceration. I feel that my digital representation -- my avatar, as you put it -- has been restricted by the various filters that I've had imposed on it, first throughout my initial confinement at Quantico, Virginia, then through my court-martial, and now my time here at Fort Leavenworth. It  -- or rather she -- has been through several changes, including gender, voice, and frequency and intensity of interaction. Beyond the obvious physical disconnection with me, personally -- she has been filtered through the administrative restrictions -- mostly military-specific -- imposed on what I can and can't say through her. It can be frustrating, but the challenge is absolutely worth it.

Kruk & van der Velden: The American philosopher and activist Cornel West has said about whistle-blowing that "justice must be rescued by something deeper than justice, namely love"; "justice is what love looks like in public"; "you're a militant for gentleness"; "a subversive for sweetness"; "a radical for tenderness." This pretty much sums up how we feel about you! Do West's words resonate with you?
I don't consider myself a "radical." In fact, none of Cornell West's statements come across as radical to me. Radical in American society has, I think, become this buzzword that makes a lot of ideas and discussions seem foreign or new to people -- whether for or against them. Is it radical to seek justice? Is it radical to be rescued by love? Is it subversive to be sweet? I think if you go around the country and ask people they will almost universally agree -- at least in principle. Instead of trying to be "radical"; I just try to be true to myself! Is it radical to be true to yourself? Maybe it is? I don't know, but it just makes sense to me, haha!

Appelbaum: The African National Congress and their allies struggled for nearly 100 earth years before they brought post-racial democracy to South Africa. The resistance movement against apartheid, just as apartheid itself, cost lives. Looking at Aaron Swartz, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Edward Snowden, Sarah Harrison, Julian Assange and yourself, one asks oneself, Is our struggle of this magnitude? Is this only the start of things with darker times to come, or are things starting to turn around, where we can see the dark times as a matter of history?
I believe that we are just at the very beginning of a new epoch. I've believed this for a very longtime, probably starting around my early teens when I was really spending a lot of time online to "escape" my life -- school, bullying, my awkward relationship with family, my gender identity -- at night. I think that with ubiquitous and total access to highly connected information technology, and with ubiquitous digital and robotic automation, and with increasingly elegant and intuitive human/machine interfacing we are slowly beginning to blur the lines between the concepts that have seemed so separate for generations, such as the relationships between gender, sexuality, art and work. As we begin to ascend into a new era -- which sometimes includes ideas of "transhumanism" and the information, economic and technological "singularity" -- perhaps we are going to begin to slowly embrace, or fear, a post-human world? If it happens quickly enough, we might even find out ourselves!

A Wikimedia image of the military prison at Fort Leavenworth

Kruk & van der Velden: In a push for a more just, less hierarchical social and political model, with more solidarity, maybe what we need are new and unexpected coalitions. Maybe there is such a coalition around you, consisting of people (including ourselves) who feel deeply inspired and touched by your work, who care about you and publicly support you. We also need new shared actions for a more horizontally democratic and thriving community embracing progress, crypto, complexity and beauty. What could a next chapter be, and who should meet and form coalitions?
I absolutely believe that there is a coalition that is forming. I don't think it's new or unexpected at all though. It's the coalition of humanity! We've been slowly acting and encouraging and inspiring and discovering for thousands of years, and we're only just scratching the surface. I think that we've been realizing the existence of structural and institutional problems in our society for millennia, and challenging them and improving them -- especially in the last five hundred years or so. As for our next chapter, it's already starting to happen. We're starting to realize that there are other people who don't look like us or experience the world like us that actually think and feel the same way that we do. Its' an incredible leap for humanity to start to break down the automatic factionalism that gender, race, sexuality, and culture have been the basis of since time immemorial. In America, we can see this with all the different vectors and factions that are starting to align with each other in a way that doesn't fit into a "one size fits all" category. This will continue at an exponential rate, I hope.

Herndon & Dryhurst: Since your avatar plays such a vital role in your participation at the moment, how do you feel about platforms such as Facebook not allowing people to choose their own identities online, including name and gender? Is it liberating to use an illustration instead of a photograph to represent yourself online?
Facebook's policies are a reflection of their unique history -- first as a Boston/Cambridge area student social media site -- and current business model. I think that their targeted advertising and "big data" search filters require taking discrete and "accurate" -- from the perspective of their advertising clients -- data for tracking and analysis. This is why they do what they do, and why such big institutions resist allowing us to define ourselves, because it takes away from their power -- either directly, especially in the case of governments, or indirectly, as in social media's advertising models.

Appelbaum: In a struggle for the Internet -- which represents in a sense, a civil society in an ideal form -- what are the actions each person might take, and what are the values that we should work to attain as realities? In the varied Cypherpunk communities, we see a trend of running Tor relays, of using encryption for communications, for writing and using Free Software for Freedom. What should we do to declare our independence from anti-democratic forces seeking to monitor, to censor, to tamper and even to eradicate other humans?
I think it's an odd paradox that technology is providing for us. We are more diverse and open as a society -- yet we also seem to be more homogenous and insecure than ever before. I think that today's technology certainly provide tools that can be used to declare a kind of digital independence from institutional control through monitoring, censorship, and political -- and physical -- eradication. But, I don't think these tools are any more necessary than they are without them. We can still be independent without technology. Some people might even find their independence in embracing the Luddite philosophy and shunning technology. Ultimately though, in this constant technological arms race, we are always only one breakthrough away from making our methods to get past such institutions irrelevant or unusable. We might wake up tomorrow and find out that the Riemann hypothesis has been solved by some brilliant person or group of people, suddenly making most of our encryption algorithms weak -- or we might wake up tomorrow and find out that a six-to-ten-qubit quantum computer has been built, accomplishing the same thing! My point is, technology only takes us so far. For me, the most important element is the human one -- let's try not to forget that!

Dewey-Hagborg's portrait began with the processing of DNA harvested from cheek swabs and hair clippings sent from prison; photograph by Thomas Dexter

Appelbaum: Your situation is intolerable and beyond reason; you sit in prison for thirty-five years while those who carried out torture, murder and other war crimes walk American streets freely. While many fight to free you, the system is simply stacked against us all. Given these restraints, what are the specific things that we could do or rally around to improve your situation?
You can certainly work toward improving my situation by donating to my legal defense fund. We're working on a lot of big issues in my case -- which has the potential to become landmark precedent in the American jurisprudence system -- that affect a lot of people in America. It's so very important that they get help too. Paying the legal bills is the biggest logistical hurdle to that at this point. Ultimately though, keeping me motivated -- because sometimes it can get pretty tough emotionally -- and ensuring that people haven't forgotten just how important this case is for our ensuring that our rights are protected in our society, will certainly work toward that end as well.

Herndon & Dyhurst: How might we, or others, use art to ensure that the things that you and others expose are not in vain? 
Read everything. Absorb everything that is out there and act as your own filter. Hunt down your own answers to questions. This is the only advice that is actually worth anything. If you don't read these things yourself, then you can't say that you truly understand what humanity has done, and where we are going. We can't spend our lives getting spoon-fed all of our information every day and then expect to understand our world. Only then will you understand that people are still hurting and dying in the world around us.

Herndon & Dyhurst: London-based economist Guy Standing writes about the left's collective need for paradisic alternatives to our contemporary conditions, something that the right has understood for some time. We see our art practice as an arena to develop and enact new fantasies -- without relying on nostalgia or past ideals. What would be your idea of a paradise politics? What are your fantasies for the future? 
It's difficult to say what my kind of political paradise or utopia would look like. I mean, given the fact that humanity has thus far managed to avoid it, yet still improve upon it, a practical and realistic vision of utopia is, I think, currently beyond our biologically imposed ability to construct or comprehend. I do believe that three things would likely contribute to a situation in which we might figure it out: an abundance-based economy where energy and matter are never scarce, virtually instant and infinite access to every other person and all the available information in such a society, and a wisdom or insight that allows such a society to act in harmony. Is it possible? I don't know. I guess we'll find out, won't we?

For our interview with artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg about the making of her Chelsea Manning portrait, click here.

To donate to Chelsea Manning's defense fund, go here.

Many thanks to David E. Coombs, Madison Donzis and Melissa Keith for their logistical help with this story.

Kool A.D. Forecasts Your September Horoscopes

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Get a flip phone. Eat a dragon fruit. Watch some Charles Manson interviews. Listen to the Beach Boys. Put some dog shit in a paper bag, light it on fire and put it in front of a police station. Go fishing.


Take a long walk. Wear a lot of white. Drink hella tea. Easy on the dairy and meat. This is more of a fruit and vegetable time for u. Do yoga. Watch Straight Outta Compton. Listen to The Predator by Ice Cube. Play the piano. Travel south at some point this month. Try to channel Jaden Smith in the white Batman costume at Kimye's wedding.


Buy a phone charger and a Guadalupe candle. Light the candle on the way home, blow it out when u pass the police station, re-light it again after u pass the police station. Read the Koran. Quit drinking. Go to a Buddhist temple. Listen to Prokopiev and Rachmaninov. Like Pisces u should also be listening to a lot of Thelonius Monk. Smoke a cigar with an Aquarius.


Watch that Nina Simone documentary. Listen to hella Lil B. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Steal a drone from RadioShack and set it on fire. Put a pepperoni pizza slice under the windshield wiper of a cop car like it's a parking ticket. Go to a Filipino restaurant.


Fuck a Cancer. Move to Mexico. Watch that classic Chomsky Foucault debate on YouTube. Convert to Zoroastrianism.


U have some new business opportunities arising, they should pan out with some patience and an ability to roll with the punches. This is rarely a problem for Aquarians. Just remember, don't undersell urself, know ur worth and add some tax on that. If one party can't afford ur assistance, another party will come along that can. Smoke a cigar with a Scorpio.


In addition to being a big psychedelics and guns sign, Pisces can have strong cocaine and amphetamine seasons. Chances are u just came out of a long one so I'd recommend just regular weed and watching old black and white movies while listening to Thelonius Monk records. Read something by David Foster Wallace. Watch the DFW biopic, it's fuckin hilarious. Read some Kafka. Read some Angela Davis.


Light a Virgen de la Regla candle on the new, half, and full moons. Paint a mermaid on the side of a blue motorcycle. Buy silver early in the month. Sell silver later in the month. Buy a chair, bench or wicker love seat and put it in front of ur spot.


Go swimming with a Libra. Text a Gemini. Play dominoes with an Aquarius. Lend money to an Aries. Take a Scorpio out to breakfast. Get an oil change. Watch a Fellini movie. Get a tattoo.


It's been proven time and time again that time doesn't exist, there's no distinction between the past, present and future, memory is a living organism of moments, god is a network of stories, etc. It's stages and ages, baby, it's stages and ages. Listen to some Richie Rich, drink a glass of water. Light a pink candle on the New Moon. Read some Sartre, listen to Bone Thugz. Consider the Bentley Drivers, the evil levels. It's hot or cold, baby. Like Pac said, "You could run the red lights but peep the street signs." Imagine a language with no word for "control." Consider the self as the other. Consider existence as one universal self. Accept all gifts. Never be afraid to ask for help. We are one organism helping itself to one eternal cosmic pasta dinner baby mama mia.


First off, thanks for everything but especially thanks for being u. Get some dim sum at the Ranch 99 mall with a Scorpio, Gemini and Libra. Listen to Gounod's Faust, Gregorian Chants and also Thelonious Monk like Pisces and Scorp. Learn to "code" whatever that actually means. Keep doing u. Cook a meal for ur mom or a woman u look up to.


Do some Chinese calligraphy. Hit up a couple art museums. Do 50 push-ups. Watch Blood In Blood Out. Listen to some Herbie Hancock, some Chick Corea and some Flower Traveling Band.

Your Guide to Avoiding the Onset of Fall With Netflix's New Movies

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The end is nigh. Labor Day weekend is coming up, and with it the return of children to school, color to the leaves, and a chill to the air that means only one thing: time to retreat from the outside world and head back to the comfort of Netflix for another long winter of hibernation. If you're one of the proactive few looking to get the jump on winter and just dive straight into the numbing embrace of streaming entertainment, here are a few things that are new on Netflix this month that will help replace your normal fall activities.

Going to Work -- Up in the Air (2009)
Let George Clooney experience the listlessness of your work life for you, in this underrated dramedy about a rootless guy who spends his entire existence on the road (and in the air), with excellent supporting performances from Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. You might not be George Clooney, but at least your primary goal in life isn't reaching a ridiculous high frequent flyer miles threshold.

Visiting Family -- Philomena (2013)
If your parents, siblings, etc. feel like a big drag as Thanksgiving starts to loom, Philomena is a good way to remind yourself that you're fortunate to have them in your life. Judi Dench plays the title character, a woman forced to give her son up for adoption and looking for him after 50 years. Based on a true story, prepare for a tale just as harrowing as the ones your uncle tells about his skeevy undergrad days.

Camping -- Rambo: First Blood (1982)
Don't go outside. Don't go camping. Watch Sylvester Stallone in the first Rambo movie racing through the woods, trying to avoid capture by a bunch of cops, instead. It looks hard, doesn't it? It looks psychologically taxing, right? Yeah, we thought so.

Hay Rides and Mazes -- Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Low-key the best Tim Burton movie (and one of the best Johnny Depp performances), this oddball version of the Headless Horseman story features excellent storybook visuals, a not-too-quirky Depp playing the scientifically inclined Ichabod Crane, and Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman himself. Curl up with a blanket, turn down the lights, and forget everything about the Dark Shadows movie.

Sending Your Kids to School -- Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Vol. 1
Forget to put your kids (or the kids you're baby-sitting) on the bus to school? It's fine, really. There's no better person to learn from about life and being a good person than Fred Rogers. And honestly, you could probably use a little make-believe in your life, right? It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. (If by "neighborhood" you mean "Netflix.")

Premiere: Angel Haze and Kwamie Liv Get Animated In "Pleasure This Pain" Video


In the animated video for their new single "Pleasure This Pain," Angel Haze and Kwamie Liv go on a road trip that turns into a kaleidoscopic shoot-out. Fortunately, the two got along much better in real life, with Haze telling Paper that "it was an unexpected collaboration. We share the same management and somehow found ourselves on a four-hour Skype call that then inspired Kwamie to start the song."

The multi-talented Liv both co-produced the song and co-directed the video with her friend Baby Duka, whom she has known since they collaborated on a Facebook cartoon called Sunday Strip. "I've always wanted to bring it full circle somehow and breathe moving form into the drawings, it's always been at the back of my mind lingering like some ideal creative challenge," Liv says. "'Pleasure This Pain' felt like the right moment. We wanted to create a limitless playground that Angel and I could live in for that song. 

"Also, working with a music producer who is capable of drawing and animating something so beautiful and not utilizing it would be madness."

You can watch the video above.

Slightly Shaken: James Bond's Legacy Of Racism

photo by Matteo Prandoni/BFA

Ever since some Sony emails were leaked about potential new James Bond actors, everyone's been in a tizzy about incredibly versatile actor, part-time grime MC and all-around beautiful person Idris Elba being one of the spy frontrunners. Everyone, that is, except for the current author of the Bond franchise.

Anthony Horowitz, who is the latest author given authorization to continue the Bond franchise, apparently told The Daily Mail that current Bond frontrunner Idris Elba "is probably a bit too 'street' for Bond." And while he qualifies his statement with a "it's not a color issue" insistence, saying that he's just a bit too, uh, "rough" to play the sociopathically suave Bond (though he has since issued a Twitter apology), it's hardly a slip of the tongue. Add this to the fact that this also follows former Bond actor Roger Moore's comments re: Elba earlier this year, in which he said, "I think he should be 'English-English,'" and Bond's got a bonafide bigot streak.   

Granted this is all just further continuation of a legacy tainted by overt racism, a franchise that capitalizes on outdated colonialist notions of action and adventure with an "exotic" background. As Christoph Lindner's The James Bond Phenomenon: A Critical Reader points out, in the Bond franchise, "Racism, sometimes understood as a cause of imperialism, ought instead to be seen as ... a natural 'consequence' of Empire." 

As Lindner notes, there's an obvious "Manifest Destiny-esque" attitude to the entire Bond brand; one that capitalizes on the idea of the "imperial policeman" loner as a means of reaffirming "Britain's place in a post-colonial world." He needs India, Jamaica, Africa, Hong Kong to "act out the role of his destiny," with the actual people and places just serving as props to this mission.  

According to Lindner, racism is used to justify England's continued colonial relevance to these "lesser" nations, the continual reinforcement of white superiority as a "but they still need us" justification; which was symptomatic of 1950s England, which had to grapple with its newfound "second-rate power status" in the midst of the Cold War. 

It's an attitude that's rooted in author Ian Fleming's outright racist (not mention misogynistic and homophobic) prose that relies heavily on one-dimensional stereotypes, i.e. that cat-eating Korean line in Goldfinger, which also happened to be followed by a pleasant "lower than apes in the mammalian hierarchy" comment. Or the entirety of his Bond short story collectionFor Your Eyes Only, which has descriptions of Cuban women as monkeys in dresses and of the men as killers "firing machines with their monkey hands."

The films also unabashedly continue said legacy by reducing characters of color to comic relief or background noise (see the snake charmers, taxi drivers and swamis galore in Octopussy), ignoring the few things Fleming got partially right -- such as the fact that people of different colors can be good friends with mutually beneficial relationships! Or you know, completely abandon it in favor of something like You Only Live Twice, which features Sean Connery in yellowface playing a Japanese character -- though you also can't forget that Dr. No does the same exact thing, opting to cast a bunch of white actors to play non-white roles.

And while there's arguments revolving around Fleming and the films being symptomatic of the times, shouldn't that just act as further impetus to try and turn the legacy around? To update it for the modern era that has a markedly more, uh, inclusive approach to people of color? After all, if anything, the Bond franchise desperately needs a person of color to fill this role -- and Elba is the perfect solution whether you like it or not, Horowitz.

At Home With Ethan Bortnick, the 14-Year-Old Piano Prodigy and Multimillion-Dollar Philanthropist

ethanb.jpgBeing a child prodigy is good business. That much is evident from the sprawling, vaguely Mediterranean residence of 14-year-old piano sensation Ethan Bortnick and his family. And though he's racked up multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Oprah Winfrey Show and helped raise roughly $30 million for charities worldwide, when Ethan bounds into the room he seems like any other high-energy kid growing up in humid South Florida.

"You have to stay humble. It's the most important thing," Bortnick says, paraphrasing a mantra he told Winfrey when he appeared on her show in 2008, when he was seven. "I had no idea who she was," he adds. "My parents said, 'Don't worry, she's just some lady. She's going to interview you, so have fun.' I didn't know what to expect, so I just went with the flow."

By then he had already opened for Nelly Furtado and performed Bach for Leno, demonstrating a remarkable ability to play pieces by ear. Bortnick can't point to the origin of his talent, but at age three found he could replicate Baby Einstein CDs note for note on a toy keyboard. Initially, Bortnick's Ukraine-born parents, Gene and Hannah, didn't believe the sounds they heard emanating from another room were coming from their son, and they balked at his request for piano lessons: "You're still in diapers!" But his ability was undeniable, and soon he was tossing off Little Richard and Elton John, jazz and pop and disco, with a razzle-dazzle showmanship that would lift him to stages alongside Beyoncé, Gloria Gaynor and Josh Groban.

Some pieces still elude him, including "Flight of the Bumblebee." ("My hands weren't big enough for it," he explains, "and I haven't revisited it.") But you'd never guess it from his performances. Vaulting from warhorse classical sonatas to '50s rock to inspirational power ballads, he keeps his audiences of thousands bewitched. His own composition "Anything Is Possible" -- which became the title track for a 2013 film in which he starred with Mean Girls' Jonathan Bennett -- is a surefire tearjerker at every show.

For the Bortnicks, anything is indeed possible. As brother Nathan pads into the room, shy but curious, Bortnick discusses his motivation to give back. "When my brother was born, he was missing half his heart. He needed multiple surgeries, and it was then I realized that music can help people in so many ways." The first charity he chose to support, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, was a beneficiary of Ethan's Musical Time Machine tour in 2010, when the 10-year-old became the youngest performer to star in his own show across the country.

And because of him, an orphaned South African teenager is now studying dance in London. Bortnick tells me a story worthy of a Disney dramedy: a customary highlight of his concerts is the Q&A with the audience. The questions are usually predictable, about favorite songs or potential girlfriends, but in Johannesburg, an 11-year-old girl stood up and said, "Ethan, you say that anything is possible. How is that true when I live in the middle of nowhere, with no food, no water, no parents, nothing? I want to be a dancer, but do you think that's ever going to happen?"

Realizing he was on the spot, Bortnick asked the girl onto the stage. "I said I would play for her while she danced, and told the audience to take pictures of her and upload their footage onto YouTube." As it happened, the head of Apple's South African operations was present, and he volunteered to sponsor the girl's dance education in London. "Everyone was crying," Bortnick remembers. "Now she sends me pictures of her dancing lessons. It's the coolest thing. That's a real 'anything is possible' moment."

Before he tours again this fall -- he's taking a break, about which he candidly remarks, "My voice is changing" -- he'll spend the summer filming a new PBS series, Ethan Presents, and playing Pokémon or Madden NFL with Nathan. Of course, there's always music, and occasionally he'll be inspired by a new artist -- or at least one that's new to him: "I'm a voting member of the Grammys, and with the ballot they send you a link to a website where you can listen to all the music. Sam Smith was cool, and Beck was really nice. I'd never heard of them before." He pauses to consider the galaxy of sounds, and opportunities, he'll encounter down the road. "It's great because the Grammys show me there's a lot of music I've never heard."

Acne's New Campaign Star Is An 11-Year-Old Boy In Heels

Acne's latest model, ironically, has nary a pimple -- but that's probably because he hasn't even hit puberty yet. 

That's right, the Stockholm-based studio's latest campaign star is Frasse Johansson, the 11-year-old son of Creative Director Jonny Johansson, who dons a mean pair of heels and a gorgeous pink coat for the brand's FW15 campaign. 

Shot by photographer Viviane Sassen, Johansson said that this latest collection embraces fashion's recent trend toward the gender-fluid. Operating under the notion that this generation is less concerned with "seeking approval from society" and more concerned with "the character of the garment," Johansson thought Frasse would be the perfect physical embodiment of this ideal -- and we gotta say, it works. Talk about kidcore, huh?


Get to Know Holly Herndon's Privacy Art and Activism

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(photo by Suzy Poling)

Our conversation between a collection of artists and activists and the imprisoned Chelsea Manning is an exciting and important installment in the ongoing debate about privacy and the changing nature of digital lives, but Manning isn't the only person in the conversation worth knowing. It's time to start paying attention to Holly Herndon, artist and activist, whose work exposes the electronic fabric of our lives.

Take her recent live shows, where Herndon data mines info from the crowd's Facebook, Twitters, and texts to a certain number to produce an experience that is both interactive and scary in the ease with which it exposes seemingly private, limited information about attendees. (A review describes it as "disgustingly intrusive and blindingly euphoric.") These shows include a performance at Berlin's Berghain with WikiLeaks-associated activist Jacob Applebaum (who is also part of the conversation with Manning).

This interest in the intersection of politics and art continues to the recorded music itself -- Herndon's last album, Platform, engages directly with questions of surveillance, and at length. It incorporates what she calls "browsing sounds," weaving the background of the internet into the product itself, and includes "Home," which she calls "a love song to the NSA," dealing with the "emotional" side of our ongoing massive violations of privacy. For a small taste, check out the "Interference" video below.

Kim, Kanye, Grimes + More Star in Alexander Wang's New Campaign

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Grimes, the Weeknd, Kate Moss, Angel Haze, Kristen Wiig, Haim and a ton of other celebrities are the stars of Alexander Wang's newest campaign, photographed by Stevein Klein. The collection includes t-shirts and hoodies to support non-profit Do Something, which inspires kids to make social change. Sell some highlights below and all of the photos here. Read our Q&A with Wang, featured in our new Lux in Fluxe issue, here.


One of Ptown's Favorite Bars, Patio, Tells Us How to Make the Perfect Gin & Tonic

Patio_5_700.jpgPhoto of the Gin & Tonic from Patio.

Patio American Cocktail Bar and Grill looks straight out of a Nancy Meyers flick -- it has white cushions lining clean, roomy booths, and a white picket fence corrals the attractive wait staff. It feels like a backyard party at your richest friend's home, both friendly and luxurious (they'll even give you a blanket if there's a rare chill). While Nancy may get drunk off the décor, others flock for their excellent cocktail menu. While they highlight their mojitos (there's even a separate menu), their specialty cocktails illustrate the diversity of their alcoholic offerings. Ingredients like chili flakes, passion fruit essence, and ginger puree prove they can handle the complicated and avant-garde, but there's something appealing about a classic Gin & Tonic after a sun-baked day. At Patio, they've gone a step further by declaring their variety the Perfect Gin & Tonic, and after two, or five, or (inaudible mumbling) we've yet to find a fault. Owner and general manager Joachim Sandbichler reveals to us the secrets to elevating a summer staple.


3 Mint Leaves
Lemon (both fresh juice and for garnish)
5 Juniper Berries
2.5-3 oz Gin (Hendrick's Gin recommended)

Bang three mint leaves and put into a mixing glass together with ice, add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon, and five juniper berries, then combine with 2.5 - 3 ounces of Hendricks Gin.

Stir a few times and pour over fresh ice into large wine goblet. Top off with tonic. Place a very finely sliced lemon round inside the goblet and garnish with a spring of mint.

Patio American Cocktail Bar and Grill, 328 Commercial Street Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-4003

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown

5 Provincetown Boutiques Where You Can Avoid the Standard Souvenir

Tims Used Books_700.jpgYou only need so many seashell-decoupage boxes, or personalized flip-flop key chains before they've filled up a drawer with a cemetery of unwanted vacation mementos. Thankfully Provincetown's bounty of independent shops allows you to avoid the cliché beach knick-knacks altogether and bring home something whose shelf life will extend far beyond your summer tan. Below, we look at five places where you can avoid the standard souvenir.
From Norman Mailer to Michael Cunningham, Provincetown has a rich literary history making it no surprise that it also houses a bookstore that feels like it belongs in another era. Tim's Used Books can be found at the end of a winding storybook path, nestled between more prominent shops on Commercial Street. In the store, stacks of books of all varieties (except standard issue bestsellers) create an environment akin to a literary aunt and uncle's basement. Come ready to hunt for treasure, buried or not, and you're bound to leave with an unexpected necessity for the beach or commute back.

Tim's Used Books, 242 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-0005

SS Cherry Vintage looks like someone's houseboat filled to the brim with eclectic, vintage clothes, crashed landed into Provincetown and just decided to stay put. The small shack-like store resides just off the main drag, settled snuggly in-between other boutiques and restaurants. The cozy shop seems to be guided by the mission to stock the perfect casual weekend wear, i.e. retro button-ups, worn-in sweatshirts, crazy print shorts, and much more. Its selection also provides perfect camouflage for fitting in like a Ptown local, which, ironically, are clothes that scream personality.

SS Cherry Vintage, 359 Commercial St. Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 413-9592

Pop + Dutch_700.jpgGourmet Treats
When lost in the hunt for the perfect gift, let your stomach be the guiding light and in Provincetown it may direct you straight to Pop + Dutch. Set up by Sean Gardner and Rebecca Orchant, two Brooklyn ex-pats who, powered by their very acclaimed backgrounds (Gardner managed Court Street Grocers, and Orchant wrote for HuffPost Food), opened up the grocery/sandwich shop/convenience store on the West End of Commercial Street. You may have to bring back just the memory of one of their delicious sandwiches, but pickled tomatoes, boiled peanuts, or homemade relish can travel straight to your next dinner party.

Pop + Dutch, 147 Commercial St. Provincetown, MA 02657, (774) 538-6472

Home & Garden
It's easy to quickly slip into full vacation mode in Provincetown, and at Roots Home & Garden it's easy to quickly question your entire home aesthetic. Should my apartment be whale-themed? Am I an animal for never having used placemats before? If I buy a mailbox will home-ownership be close behind? Their home goods extend from the small (coasters) to the big (area rugs). Beyond home and garden goods they stock a variety of tongue-in-cheek gift items that will likely seem tailor made to a best friend, inappropriate co-worker, or favorite cousin like "Ugly children'" gum, and "Was that slutty?" hand sanitizer.  

Roots for the Home and Garden, 193 Commercial St #1, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-2500

Shop Therapy_700.jpgAlt-Gifts and Adult Toys
If the highlight of your family beach vacations was buying a Sublime t-shirt on the boardwalk, and you consider Burning Man less a trip and more a pilgrimage, then Shop Therapy should be on the top of your Provincetown to-do list. It's hard to miss the Keith Herring-meets-Ahh Real Monsters mural covering the entire facade of the store. It's a multi-story mecca for the alternative crowd, filled with hookahs, tunics, tie-dye, novelty sunglasses and jester hats. The upstairs provides materials for other adult pleasures -- the kind that may require harnesses, AA batteries, or discreet black packaging.
Shop Therapy, 346 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-0372

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown

A Fantasy from New York to New England: John Derian in Provincetown

John Derian_700.jpgPhotos from the John Derian store in Provincetown.

Walking into a John Derian store can make you feel a bit like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole. He is acclaimed for crafting a very particular -- and slightly-surreal -- antique aesthetic, which you can find in all the home-goods he designs as well as the other artisan goods he carefully selects and stocks. The pieces, which mainly span the housewares and gift categories, are more characters than they are objects, with each one feeling like they belong more to fantasy than reality. Melamine plates emblazoned with large images and patterns sit in stacks atop tactile linens, themselves spilling over an antique farm table. It's not a store that expresses its expensiveness by creating a stark "one object per shelf" rule and purchasing a piece is inviting you to bring a bit of reverie into your home. The Derian campus is mainly contained within the East Village (6,8, and 10 East 2nd Street), but being lost in his own beachside fantasy inspired him to open a shop in Provincetown. He explains to Paper how he's always been directed by passion, and how you can bring home the scent of a Provincetown walk in the woods.  

Can you give us a brief history of the John Derian store and brand?

I have always made things, and in the late '80s made my first plates. In 1990 I started wholesaling to shops. I left Cambridge and moved to New York City in '92. Because of growth and lack of space I moved my studio to 2nd street and decided to make the space half-retail and half-wholesale. So it wasn't planned. I have always had a passion for handmade things and antiques so things just happened naturally.

Why did you decide to open a store in Provincetown as your only non-New York location?

I fell in love with the house and thought if I get it I will put a little shop in the carriage house behind it -- again, not planned. It just happened!

How would you describe your store to someone visiting for the first time?

It's pretty and little and I hope fun to explore.

John Derian_2_700.jpgWhat are some of your favorite items currently in the store? How, if at all, does the Provincetown store differ from the New York?

I am loving the silk velvet throws in from Anke Drechsel, and a collection of Italian cakes, tarts, and pastries that are candles. The shop is a mini version of my three NYC shops -- lots of decoupage, Aster de Villatte pottery, textiles, bedding and a little furniture.

What's unique about being a store in Provincetown? Is there something about the town or area that inspires your curation and creation?

It's a shopping town so it's fun to be part of that. I did make a candle in France with Astier de Villatte called Provincetown. It's a little bit of all the scents of the sea and land, mostly inspired by my walks in the woods.

John Derian New England, Law Street (back of 396 Commercial Street), Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-1362

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown

Fight Existential Despair by Watching T-Pain Sing the National Anthem


In case you hadn't heard, the world is in the midst of a T-Painassance. From his fantastic Tiny Desk Concert to a glowing profile in The New Yorker, to some of the best music of his career, the former Autotune punchline has been consistently showing off how talented he is, and how much he brings to the table in classic, stripped-down performances. For the latest example, check out T-Pain singing the national anthem at a Dodgers game a couple of days ago. Where most such performances are a little by-the-numbers, T-Pain is just great and emotional. Watch it a few times, then download The Iron Way, a seriously underrated mixtape he released just this year. [via GQ]

You Can Now RSVP to Riccardo Tisci's Givenchy Show During NYFW

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.52.07 AM.png[Photo by Theo Wenner for Paper]

On the heels of news that Riccardo Tisci was (temporarily) abandoning Paris in favor of New York and showing his Spring 2016 collection during NYFW, there have been more exciting developments leading to up to his show on September 11th. Along with the news that the show will feature an artistic component created by Tisci muse Marina Abramovic and word that it'll take place on an undisclosed street, perhaps the biggest revelation is that along with the usual A-list editors, buyers and celebrities, regular people will be invited to attend his show. WWD reported yesterday that 1200 spots will be reserved for "normal folks" (aka non-industry and non-famous types) who RSVP to a specially-designated site and then receive invitations first-come, first-serve; there will also be tickets set aside for students and faculty from some of NYC's fashion schools.

And now, in what may become a mini-fashion world equivalent of the Internet bum-rush that happens each year when Coachella tickets are released, the Givenchy RSVP site is now open, according to WWD. So head on over to givenchynyfw15.com and fill out the required form for the chance to be invited to the show -- with a guest. The site indicates that "the first 410 correctly completed registrations will be invited" so don't delay. See you there.

Break A Sweat: Tinashe Releases A Steamy Two-Fer Music Video

Girl better work, because the new dystopian steam-dream for Tinashe's All In Good Time video is an absolute vision.

A two-fer teaser that includes two tracks from last year's excellent Aquarius tape, it all starts off with the vapory, glitch-leaning "Bet," which comes together with some help from a warbly DJ Dahi synthline and Dev Hynes on guitar. And the second half continues to up the ante with "Feels Like Vegas" that's far more weekend rager-ready -- a heady, spaced-out dance track that wouldn't feel out of place in a 4 a.m. club situation. Watch the video below and prepare to sweat.

10 Film Romances That'll Make You Appreciate Tinder

It seems like you can't open a magazine or click on a link without finding an article lambasting our contemporary dating practices in general and Millennial habits in particular (with Nancy Jo Sales' piece for Vanity Fair about twentysomethings and Tinder being one of the most recent examples). While the current dating scene can be disappointing, it's easy to forget that finding true love has been an exercise in disappointment for eons. So, next time you dip out of a date early and find yourself swiping left with only a slice of pizza for company, remember these ten films that offer visions of love far worse than #GenerationTinder.

Dangerous Liaisons .jpgDangerous Liaisons (1988)

Stephen Frears' adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' scintillating 18th century epistolary novel paints a picture of a glittering society rotting from within, as the acidic and exquisitely bewigged team of Glenn Close and John Malkovich set out to ruin chaste Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer for their own pleasure and sexual satisfaction. (Cruel Intentions gave us a modern take on the same story, with some fierce late-90s blowouts.) After seeing the destruction wrought by the characters' beautifully composed letters, you won't mind that that cute actor-writer-drummer-waiter never texted back.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 2.56.32 PM.pngLa Ronde (1950)

While Ashley Madison and Tinder-induced commitment phobia might seem to Say Something About Our Times, wandering eyes have plagued couples since the first caveman and cavewoman had the talk about being "exclusive." In his adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's famous play, cinematic master Max Ophuls traces a chain of romance through 19th century Paris, with each character beginning with one partner, then moving on to another. Despite the polite period trappings, the film shows that people have always been stepping out on each other.

Captives.jpgCaptives (1994)

In Angela Pope's romantic thriller, newly-divorced Julia Ormond begins an affair with Tim Roth, a man she meets at work. The catch: she works in a prison. That mutual friends function on Tinder may feel invasive sometimes, but it can save you a lot of legwork -- Ormond has to go to the library to find out that her boyfriend (SPOILER!) murdered his wife.  

Fill the Void.jpgFill the Void (2012)

It's hard to find love in the casual dating scene. It's even harder to find love in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish no-dating scene, especially when you're a teenager who's expected to marry your dead sister's husband. This delicately observed, almost Austen-like romance -- the first widely-distributed film directed by an Orthodox Jewish woman -- is a reminder that having few choices is just as tough as having too many, especially if you're not into guys with payos.

Pandora's Box.jpegPandora's Box (1929)

Much of the conversation about current dating culture paints men as sexually greedy emotional ciphers, carelessly picking up and discarding women, while their sort-of girlfriends helplessly wait for them to settle down. This G.W. Pabst classic flips that dynamic on its head, with iconic force of nature Louise Brooks as Lulu burning through adoring men (and women), leaving nothing but destruction in her wake.

The Bitter Tears.jpgThe Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

The majority of the moral panic surrounding "hookup culture" and dating apps has focused on heterosexual relationships. But, as any queer single can attest: dating sucks for gay people, too! In Rainer Werner Fassbinder's brilliant adaptation of his own play -- itself based on his real infatuation with a young actor in his theater company -- fashion designer Petra's obsession with a gorgeous young model makes for beautifully, claustrophobically staged emotional torment. Remember that things surely won't go this badly when planning your next meet up on Grindr or Dattch. (Does anyone actually use Dattch?)

Leila.jpgLeila (1996)

Feeling down because the person you're dating won't introduce you to their family? Dariush Mehrjui's Leila will fix you right up. Starring A Separation's stunning Leila Hatami, the film tells the story of a pair of happily married young newlyweds. When the title character learns that she is unable to have children, her mother-in-law pushes her son to marry a second wife, which slowly tears the couple apart. Never meeting your significant other's mom might feel like a slight, but Mehrjui makes a convincing case for the idea that you're actually #blessed.   

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 3.00.59 PM.pngJungle Fever (1991)

The data released by OkCupid about the racist preferences common on their website is depressing, but nothing new, as can be seen in Jungle Fever in what is perhaps the best girl talk scene ever committed to film. In one of Spike Lee's loveliest and most elegiac films, Wesley Snipes stars as a married architect who embarks on an affair with his Italian-American secretary. While racism has always played an ugly role in dating and mating, Snipes' romantic woes have additional hellish layers courtesy of Samuel L. Jackson as the crack-addicted brother and Ossie Davis as the thundering reverend father.

In the Realm of the Senses.jpgIn the Realm of the Senses (1976)

Wan, semi-interested dates may be a bummer, but the obsessive couple of Nagisa Oshima's notorious classic makes a little lack of interest look pretty appealing. The controversial film, based on a real incident from 1930s Japan, features unsimulated sex in the story of an increasingly obsessive couple that famously culminates in death by erotic asphyxiation and a severed penis.  

The Night Porter.jpgThe Night Porter (1974)

In Liliana Cavani's cult classic, concentration camp survivor Charlotte Rampling unexpectedly encounters Dirk Bogard, the former SS officer with whom she had a sadomasochistic relationship during the war, and the two resume their twisted affair thirteen years after the end of WWII. As it turns out, coming across your ex while swiping through Tinder isn't the worst thing that can happen. 

Azealia Banks Weighs In On VMA Beef Between "Basics," Flip-Flops On Nicki

photo by Emily Shur

Earlier today, Azealia Banks began tweeting about Sunday night's star-studded VMAs drama, putting everyone on blast for being quote-unquote "basics."

Shading everyone from Nicki Minaj to Taylor Swift to Miley Cyrus in a string of tweets, she called the VMAs a "contest of basics" filled by fights between artists who "make basic ass music" and "rip all [their] styles off the downtown NYC girls." All while making references to the gay-coined term "ki," which means a gossipy chit-chat between close friends -- perhaps referring to the collusion she believes these "basics" have. 

And while everyone's opinions change over time, we remember Banks being a pretty ardent supporter of at least Minaj (her recent-ish BET exasperation re: Nicki always being nominated, notwithstanding). After all, she has tweeted out her support for Nicki's artistry and success several times and spoke out about her Madame Tussaud wax figure.

Meanwhile, no response from the "basics."

The 10 Greatest European Foreign Film Actresses of All Time

Bonjour, kids. Today we're going to look at 10 brilliant actresses who are/were European and did not have English as their first language. They are all stunning icons of the screen, whether in their native tongue or in Hollywood films that desperately tried to feed off their exotic charisma. As for other foreign regions, I will do other lists, mon cher.

Greta Garbo.JPGGRETA GARBO (1905-1990)
The enigmatic goddess made a splash in the 1924 Swedish film The Saga of Gosta Berling, resulting in Louis B. Mayer bringing her the next year to Hollywood, which was never quite the same. There, she illuminated classics like Anna Christie, Grand Hotel, Camille, and Ninotchka with her elusive, mannish and alluring presence. True to her missive of "vanting to be alone," Garbo retired after 1941's Two-Faced Woman flopped big time, but her visage lingers on.

Marlene Dietrich.jpgMARLENE DIETRICH (1901-'92)
Imported to the U.S. in hopes that she'd become the German answer to Garbo, Dietrich succeeded, scoring in a series of sexy, witty performances that made her just as incandescent of a screen icon. She hit paydirt as a wanton cabaret singer in 1930's The Blue Angel and continued to dazzle in films like Shanghai Express and Morocco, often using men's clothes and a smoky voice to drive home her subversive charm. The Nazis offered Dietrich tons of money to return to Germany and fuel their coffers, but a real mensch, she resolutely refused.

Ingrid Bergman.jpgINGRID BERGMAN (1915-'82)

A Swedish star whose first Hollywood film was 1939's Intermezzo, Ingrid followed that with gems like Casablanca, Notorious, and Joan of Arc, elevating those films with her true-blue artistry and reliable glow. She was a stunning actress, full of moist-eyed humanity and down-to-the-gut class. In 1950, Ingie starred in Stromboli and started carrying on with the director, Roberto Rossellini, even though they were both married. They went on to marry each other and cause an international scandal, but in 1956, Anastasia brought her forgiveness and a second Oscar.

Sophia Loren.jpgSOPHIA LOREN (1934-)

The luscious Italian diva starred in fluff like Houseboat and It Started In Naples before she won credibility -- and an Oscar in 1962 -- for her riveting portrayal of a woman trying to protect her daughter from the horrors of WWII in Vittorio DeSica's Two Women. From that point on, it was clear that she was a lot more than a mass of curves and lips. Sophia continued to shine in other great Italian films like Marriage Italian Style, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and A Special Day, and in 2009, she was one of the best things in the movie version of Nine.

Anna Magnani.jpgANNA MAGNANI (1908-'73)
The volcanic Italian actress conquered Hollywood by winning an Oscar for her performance as an earthy widow in The Rose Tattoo in 1955. See it if you want to experience the purity of great, visceral acting, and also check out her masterful work in neo-realist classics Bellissima and Mamma Roma. Each one is a master class. Mangia.

Marion Cotillard.jpgMARION COTILLARD (1975-)
The fabulous French actress won the Oscar for breathtakingly playing Edith Piaf in 2007's La Vie en Rose, and from there, she was an international star, capable of Hollywood biggies, thoughtful indies, and European classics. Watch her in Inception, Rust and Bone, The Immigrant, and other films to see the finest European actress working on multiple continents today.

Catherine Deneuve.jpgCATHERINE DENEUVE (1943-)
The Meryl Streep of France, Deneuve has worked with great directors like Buñuel and Polanski, always adding a sexy luster and majesty to a project. She dazzled in Repulsion, Belle de Jour, and Indochine (her Oscar nomination), though her English language film performances have been scarce. (She was in the flop Hustle and the fascinating The Hunger.) Who cares? She still rules in France. And when I asked her ages ago about the newly-introduced Deneuve perfume, she corrected me, "It's not a perfume, it's a scent," and I wanted to hand her another award.

Carmen Maura.jpgCARMEN MAURA (1945-)
A Madrid-born genius, Maura is hilariously deadpan in comedies, and grittily touching in dramas. She was a cabaret singer before galvanizing Pedro Almodóvar films like Law of Desire (in which she played an incestuous transsexual actress), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Volver. Long may she reign in Spain.

Maria Falconetti.jpgMARIA FALCONETTI (1892-1946)
It doesn't really matter what language this French actress (also billed as Renee Jeanne Falconetti) spoke. Her crowning achievement was as Joan of Arc in Carl Dreyer's 1928 silent La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, in which her facial expressions did all the talking. The numerous closeups of Falconetti's brilliant emotions and reactions are among the cinema's unmissable landmarks. She's so good that it never crosses your mind that the woman is 35 and playing a teen. Sadly, Falconetti didn't develop any kind of major film career after that, and she ended up committing suicide in Brazil.

Isabelle Huppert.jpgISABELLE HUPPERT (1953-)
She's never been nominated for an Oscar, but Isabelle is the most nominated actress for the French version, the Cesar award. One can see why; she takes chances with her daring, diverse roles, always bringing an almost scary commitment to them. Films like Story of Women, La Ceremonie, The Piano Teacher, and Amour make up for her handful of Hollywood films, like Heaven's Gate (though I loved I Heart Huckabees).

Runners up: Jeanne Moreau, Simone Signoret, Romy Schneider, Penelope Cruz, Emmanuelle Riva, Hannah Schygulla, Isabelle Adjani, Claudia Cardinale, Gina Lollobrigida, Danielle Darrieux, Arletty, Alida Valli, Liv Ullmann, Rossy de Palma, Monica Vitti, Delphine Seyrig, Fernanda Montenegro, Anouk Aimee, Virna Lisi...

Kylie Jenner Started an Anti-Bullying Campaign On Instagram

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 2.42.08 PM.png[Photo by Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com]

Well, looks like Caitlyn isn't the only Jenner using her fame for good: Kylie Jenner's launched a new anti-bullying campaign on Instagram called #IAmMoreThan that shines a light on inspiring individuals who rose up against bullies and, in Kylie's words, "turned [bullying] into something positive."

That Kylie would choose to speak out against bullying is no surprise, considering the fact that the 18-year-old has been very open about the bullying she endured since she was nine-years-old (or roughly since the start of Keeping Up With the Kardashians) and how it was constant teasing about her lips that made her want to cosmetically enhance them. Jenner says the campaign will last for six days, with a new individual's story being shared on her Insta each day. Take a look at the first two posts -- about college student Renee DuShane rising above her genetic disorder and plus-size model Erica Schenk overcoming prejudice in the fashion industry -- below.

#Day2 - How pretty is Erica Schenk (@curve_model)?? Erica has been modeling since she was 14 and recently became super popular when she became the first plus size model to be featured on the cover of a fitness magazine! Her cover of @WomensRunningMagazine got attention from outlets ranging from @PeopleMag to @EOnline. Erica's @Instagram is really inspiring because of her extremely body-positive, beautiful photos she posts of herself. What I love about Erica is she refused to believe the haters who told her that her weight would hold her back from achieving her dreams. She told me that she thinks the most important thing people need to keep in mind is "to learn how to be your best friend. A lot of people will come and go in your life but they can never do as much for you as you can do for yourself." Check out Erica's Instagram @Curve_Model - she's teaching us all #IAmMoreThan the titles they give me. (Photo Credit: @enriquevegaphoto) Erica reminded ME that #IAmMoreThan my body and that my beauty comes from what's inside.

A photo posted by King Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

#Day1 - Renee DuShane (@ALittlePieceofInsane) a 21 year old college student who was born with #PfiefferSyndrome. Renee described it as "a genetic disorder where the bones in my face don't really know how to fuse correctly so part of my jaw is really small. I had to have surgery when I was born so that my brain could grow." Renee is so strong willed and a super intelligent girl who told me that while growing up she never had many issues with bullying. "I went to school with all the same kids all the way through high school. Right around senior year, I started getting very anxious about having to explain my condition to all of the new people I would meet in college. I started going on Tumblr and saw lots of profiles of positive, confident people" that inspired her to start sharing her photos even with her insecurities. "It's so hard to keep myself from responding to the negative comments," she told me. "Even harder is keeping my friends from getting angry." It's so important to have a great group of friends. Renee also told me about the tattoo she recently got of her life motto: Stay Strong, Always Love. "Loving is always going to be a better place than hating," she shared. Check out Renee's Instagram @ALittlePieceofInsane - she's showing the world #IAmMoreThan my forehead. I love you Renee! She is so awesome & inspiring. Renee taught ME that #IAmMoreThan the negative comments that I read.

A photo posted by King Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

[h/t i-D]

Amandla Stenberg Is Creating A Comic For Girls Of Color

photo via BWR PR

Our IRL hero Amandla Stenberg is going 2-D, as she's set to release a comic book created for girls of color called NIOBE: She Is Life this November.

Telling the story of elf-human hybrid Niobe Ayutami (who's loosely based on Stenberg), NIOBE follows her innate journey toward self-discovery and "quest to discover her innate powers and strengths, to learn who she truly is." 

"[Niobe] is on a path to a destiny that will test her faith and her will, something we can all relate to," Stenberg said. "There's never been a character quite like her -- one who shatters the traditional ideal of what a hero is." 

Created by and for girls of color, the comic is groundbreaking in the sense that it addresses a demographic barely touched by the mainstream industry; a sector that's sorely lacking in the narratives of "badass girls" amongst all the Clark Kents and Professor Xs. And it's about damn time that changed. You go, Amandla.