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. Wednesday, 17 October 2018 .

"Do we really need another remake of A Star Is Born?" I pondered hours before the New Zealand premiere held last Wednesday evening, a week before the film finally premieres in our side of the world. This is the fourth retelling of this tale so I was incredibly curious as to what made this so special that it had to be retold every few years. The original version first came our in 1937, then in 1954 with Judy Garland, and again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand.

What was it about this film, then? Are we really that lazy to come up with 'original' storylines and are we doomed to spend our days watching remake after remake in film and TV? Yeah, maybe. But do 'original' ideas even exist? Or do we just go down the same creative paths over and over again, offering a new perspective each time our stories are told?

Not that I'm complaining. I'm a sucker for these plotlines! Give me a story with fallen stars and undiscovered artists any day. I don't know why I like this so much. Is it because I'm fascinated by this glamorous world as an aspiring actress myself? Is it because I really like seeing two attractive, heterosexual, caucasians fall in love on screen? Again, I don't know.

All I know is that even though we've been down the same road before, I still found myself getting giddy at the inevitable meet cute between Bradley Cooper's "Jackson Maine" and Lady Gaga's "Ally". Maybe this is what makes this movie so magical - the fact that everytime this story is told, while the foundations and themes are the same, the story always ends up different. I had not seen any of the original versions but after doing a bit of research, I found out that none of them followed the exact same plotline. They didn't even all have the same character names!

This latest version is set in a contemporary world. Jackson Maine is a troubled musician, a true blue rockstar who ticks every single stereotype of the word. Ally is a struggling artist who has somewhat given up on her dreams of being a musician. By day she works in a restaurant (every artist can relate to this scenario of taking day jobs to pay the bills while we hustle to make it big), and at night she performs in drag bars. Jackson discovers Ally and as her star rises we see his decline.

I liked it but I expected more. The more I think about it, the more frustrated I am about how it all ended. The movie started off strong but the middle made me feel a bit restless. It's a long movie (2 hrs 15 min to be exact) and I felt that it was gratuitous to keep dwelling on Jack spiralling down. To me that wasn't the story. I would have loved to know more about Ally's life. Even though it's 2018 and more women are at the forefront of their own stories, I still feel like the film carried over its past patriarchal ideologies in this version. Ally's life seem to only center around a man, whether that's Jack or her father. Her career was only a second priority. And even though there were a few scenes with her and her friends, it still feels like those scenes were only focussed on Jack and not really on her.

I wanted her backstory. I wanted to get to know her as a person, her hopes and dreams deeper than what was explored. I wanted to know the family dynamics and her relationship with her dad. All throughout the film we only know her as "Ally" - no last name or even a clue to what it is. Then in the end she introduces herself as Ally Maine. She didn't even have her own identity beyond Jack.

I think not showing her full character development did this film a disservice, especially considering how it ended. I didn't feel as strong of an emotional connection as what I should have felt after that climax. The last 20 minutes is intense and while I'm a highly emotional person who cries over everything, I felt nothing once the credit rolled. Well, maybe not nothing because I'm not a heartless person, but I didn't feel what the movie was probably hoping it would make me feel towards the end. I couldn't help but think that it was a complete waste of a roller coaster and that the events that happened to get us to that ending was all for nothing.

I also think the contemporary setting could have been embedded more in the film, perhaps incorporating the modern way we consume 'celebrity' these days. Sure there were mentions of YouTube and algorithms in a heartwarming scene between Ally's dad and her friends, but where were the celebrity gossip blogs? The depiction of Instagram and it's relationship to the overall celebrity culture and identity? I think incorporating those would have really left a mark as a very 2018 thing to do so that when we watch it in the future before it gets remade again, we can feel nostalgic for 2018 and how the world was back in that era.

All this being said, though, I feel like I'm one of the only few people to share this opinion of liking the film but not really loving it as much as I thought I would. So far on social media all I see are people raving about it, talking about how it's the best movie of the year etc etc. To each their own, I guess. It IS a must-see though purely for the acting (Bradley and Gaga are sensational in this film, their chemistry so believable and genuine that I forgot she was the Lady Gaga for most of the film), the gorgeous cinematography, and Anthony Ramos' portrayal of Ally's loyal bestfriend Ramon.

Then there's the soundtrack. All original, mostly written and performed by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The music feels organic to the film and I think if I had listened to the songs before I had seen it, I probably would have been more connected to the film. I'm planning to see the it again, this time more familiar with the songs. It might change my view of the film. The like might just turn into love. After all, if I've learnt anything from this movie, it's that a song can change someone's life and that music and love are two of the most powerful, magical forces in our human experience.

A Star Is Born opens in New Zealand on Thursday, 18 November. Watch the trailer here. This review originally appeared on

. Sunday, 14 October 2018 .

It’s Sunday evening which means in my head I've basically gotten through Monday already (lol no send coffee pls) and it's Project Runway time! Like I said, I’m very much looking forward to TV viewing old-school style again that I’m even enjoying watching the ad break! Can you believe?

Anyway, I know I said I was posting a recap of the first episode and I didn’t. Ok so I lied. But shit happened (shit being me) and Tuesday came around and my whole team was off sick so homegirl was busy. By the time I got home, all I could do was legit pass out and eat in bed. Ah well, this week is a new week and I am READY!

Here’s what you missed on Glee Project Runway New Zealand: First episode finally aired on TVNZ 2 and of course they wasted no time at all and went straight to the first challenge. Actually, no, the show opened with the designers meeting each other for the first time. Of course this being New Zealand (with a small but vibrant fashun industry), we find out within the first 10 minutes of the show that some of them already know each other. That tug at my heartstrings, to be honest. I love that this is New Zealand and we are so small and that we can have moments like this on a massive TV franchise like Project Runway. The challenge for this episode was to create a cocktail dress inspired by Hopt soda, a major show sponsor. I personally found it to be a bit meh as a first challenge, but then again what do I know?

The first round of eliminations saw Nicole get the cut and while I really didn't like her dress, I do respect the fact that she stuck with who she is as a designer and what she wanted to create. I think that's the most important thing in a show like this - to create what you want. Other's opinions be damned.

Episode two was a bit more exciting for me. First of all, Judy finally got more airtime! We barely saw her in episode one - a sentiment that other people on Twitter shared too so of course I'm feeling validated. This episode opened with the designers on location at everybody's favourite mall - Sylvia Park - home to the only Zara in NZ! We are told that Kiwi Property is a major sponsor, hence the location and the accessory wall. Actually, I feel like we keep hearing about this accessory wall but never get to see it in full. Can someone please do an accessory wall tour like they do in YouTube? Kind regards.

Mentor Andreas Mikellis assigned each designer a store where they get to pick one item to incorporate into this week's look. Ok look, Sylvia Park is my jam. It is my mall shopping destination of choice. I know these stores and their merchandise and their layout so seeing them film inside Gassons was honestly the show's most relatable moment so far. Anyway, the group reconvenes back in the middle of Sylvia Park (idk what time they filmed but the mall was ghost town!) and Andreas reveals that they now need to swap items with the person next to them. They were clearly SHOOK by this and as my friend Geoj said in our comment thread, "were they not expecting the old switcheroo?!"

They weren't. But what can you do, eh? This week's challenge is to come up with a contemporary streetwear look incorporating the item they got and it is ON. I must say this week's outfits were so much better. I'm not the biggest streetwear wearer in the world, but I appreciated how they interpreted this brief. I'm not prepared to talk about each of the looks because it's been, like, a week and I'm kind of tired, but this is something I'd love to go more into this week!

What I will say though is that my boy Massey won this week's challenge with his uber chic cape/top thing that I would 100% buy if I saw it in store. I don't even mind that it's not in black! I loved everything about this look - the top and the handpainted design on the skirt was such a fresh take on streetwear. The only thing I'd probably change is the skirt length. I'd take it up a bit higher so homegirl can show off her legs more while in sneaks. And I say this as someone who wears sneakers 99% of the time.

But of course this being a competition, someone had to be cut this week. And unfortunately that someone is my girl Lenon. I am genuinely shocked about this. All she ever wanted to do was create androgynous and gender fluid garments! Is it too much to ask that we have this type of creativity on our TV screens? Is it too much to ask for Lenon to have her own TV show because I LIVE for her commentary! As I was live tweeting last week, I found that most of NZ shared the same sentiment. We want Lenon back. She deserved better. We all deserved better than this. I still can't believe they picked Beth's design over Lenon's. This is an injustice and I'm still not over it.

So this is an interview I didn't think I would be doing so soon! Lenon and I have been following each other on the ol' Instagram and have slid into each other's DMs before finally meeting IRL at the Project Runway launch last September. Lenon has such a great energy to her - fun, charismatic, unapologetically herself, and just is. She even shared her last pizza slice with me. That's a true friend, right there. I definitely don't think this will be the last we'll see of her. She tells me she's into acting and loves to pursue other creative endeavours. I told her I couldn't wait to make magic with her. It's happening. I'm excited! But for now I leave you with this:

How are you feeling now?

I don’t see leaving Project Runway as the end, it’s more like the beginning of a new chapter. The show has really inspired me to get creating!

What inspires you?

My aesthetic stylistically echoes my African heritage and also reflects my androgynous and flamboyant personality. I am a huge fan rich bold colours and strong silhouettes.

Dream collaboration/dream person to design for/dress?

I dream of dressing up Lupita Nyongo, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Lady Gaga because these figures are not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to personal style.

Fun fact, I actually had a cameo role in Scarlet Johansson’s movie, Ghost in a Shell, and after meeting her I was in absolute awe of her personality – so I would definitely take up the offer of dressing her if this were ever to arise!

Advice for those wanting to pursue a career as a fashion designer?

Don’t be afraid to take risk; trust me you will be amazed. Keep at it and believe in yourself, and one day you might surprise yourself!

Where can we follow you and keep up with what's next?

Follow me up on Instagram: @lenon_wakuwa
Facebook: Lenon Wakuwa Mudiwamwanawaishe
Also check out my website; it is still under construction, but it should be finished soon:

Project Runway New Zealand airs every Monday, 7:30 pm on TVNZ 2. Watch it On Demand here. Images by Tom Hollow.

. Monday, 1 October 2018 .

I don't know about you, but I've been missing the good ol' days of sitting down in front of the TV to watch a show that you're completely devoted to. Netflix and chill is great and all, but I miss the excitement of watching an episode of your favourite show only for it to end on a major cliffhanger! Do you remember that feeling? The anticipation for the next week, the 'googling' of spoilers and going on forums to read people's reactions. Those were the days, man.

When I found out that Project Runway was coming to our shores for the first time ever, I knew this was my chance to get into TV again. I grew up watching Project Runway. I think I was about 13 years old when it first came out. A High School freshman in an all-girls school in Manila, I lived for fashion and dreamed of being part of that world someday! Unfortunately I quickly learnt that I couldn't sew for shit. Ah, well. I have other skills.

Anyway, back to Project Runway New Zealand...

I came along to the launch party at TVNZ a few weeks ago and got a taste of what was to come. I got to see some of their garments IRL, meet the designers, and got to know them a little bit before the show aired. Needless to say, I am invested AF. So for Season 1 of Project Runway NZ I'll be doing a recap of each episodes, doing some interviews, and live tweeting #projectrunwaynz. But before all of that, let's kick things off with a quick chat with Project Runway New Zealand host, Georgia Fowler.

It's safe to say that Georgia Fowler is definitely having a moment (well, lots and lots of moments. Homegirl is a powerhouse!) A staple in international fashion weeks, Georgia has modelled for all the big guns from Victoria’s Secret, TopShop, Chanel, Yeezy and Armani. Project Runway is her first foray into the glamorous world of TV hosting.

How was the overall experience filming a TV series for the first time?

I absolutely loved filming Project Runway. Though it was such a new challenge for me (most of my jobs have me be seen and not heard), it was incredible to be surrounded by such talented contestants, and judges alike. I feel very blessed.

What are you looking for judging-wise?

A talented designer who would stand out on global scale and fit in at fashion weeks around the world.

What was the most important advice you offered the designers?

I tried to encourage the designers to stick to their strengths and stay true to their brand. I wanted the designers to be brave and trust their instincts to create a cohesive look that was exciting enough to be a runway piece, but alone would fly off the racks.

What can we look forward to?

I think the viewers will be mostly really impressed by the high level of talent amongst the designers, and hopefully slightly entertained by the judges’ chat.

What did you find the most challenging?

The judges don’t know which garment belongs to which designer during the runway show. I surprisingly found it hard to say, “an anonymous runway show!” Try it, it’s quite the tongue twister!

Missed tonight's episode? Catch it On Demand here. Full recap tomorrow, fam! I'm off to watch it again.....