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. Thursday, 10 October 2019 .

Hello and welcome to Ten Things! It's been ages since I've last done this and honestly I don't know why I even stopped. It's one of the funnest pieces to write and I bloody love it! Another thing I haven't done in a while is share my movie thoughts here. I've been doing quick reviews on my Instagram stories (@jessmolina if you're keen) while the new website is being developed (I can't wait to show you - the movie section is going to be amazing) but I've been missing the long form version of reviews so here we are.

I decided to combine my two loves of Ten Things and movie reviews into a Ten Things Movie Edition hybrid. So without further ado, let's talk about Hustlers...

I loved that they didn’t make a big deal out of Constance Wu’s ethnicity. It wasn’t the big selling point of the film – having an Asian lead – it was mentioned she was Chinese once and that was it. But the Asian values of looking after your elders was such a massive plot of the film and was central to understanding her motivations as a character. I understood why she did the things she did and the Asian family dynamics of looking after your family and sacrificing a lot for them. 

One of the most pivotal scenes of the film happened with a New Zealand song playing in the background. That was a nice surprise! And I love that it was an unexpected choice but worked so well with the scene. 

Actually, the whole soundtrack was amazing! Fiona Apple? Hearing ‘It’s Britney, bitch’ on a big screen again? Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls? Iconic. It’s the perfect mix for going to the gym. Not that I know anything about that – I haven’t been to the gym in years. 

I think overall the sentiment at the cinema after the film was that we all wanted to try our hand at stripping. Being that physically strong to do those moves on the pole all while wearing heels and a cute outfit? Sign me up, STAT! 

I just realised this film didn’t really have a lot of thirst or a romantic lead and I find that so refreshing! Usually in female-led films they still do some semblance of a romantic storyline (idk why fam – Hustlers prove that that’s not essential to a film about sisterhood) but not here. That, too me, really made the film stronger. 

What this film did really well was portraying these characters as women who are complete. Their motivations in life wasn’t to find a man or to land a job in magazine in New York (I bet even that line makes you think of a few movies immediately). It was to be independent and not rely on anyone and be able to support their families/the life they want. 

There were a few scenes that were visually symbolic of the film’s central film. SPOILER ALERT: One of my favourite scenes was that of J.Lo sitting outside in a big fur coat against a gorgeous backdrop of the Manhattan skyline (pictured above), taking Constance Wu under her wing. Visually it had everything I loved in a film – a big city skyline, good fashun, empowered WOC banding together. 

I genuinely think this is J.Lo’s best role yet. I feel she’s done the same roles lately (Maid in Manhattan, Second Act) but this one really showed her range. 

Hustlers reminded me a lot of my own squad, the sisterhood, and the people who have my back. We all have very different hustles but I feel we are all working towards the same thing, fighting similar battles. I loved their friendship and that the film also showed the gritty side of female friendships. It’s not all #squadgoals and heart eyes emojis – and sometimes loving someone also means keeping them accountable and knowing when to step back. 

Read the original New York magazine article here.

P.S. there’s a lot of tits in this film. All kinds! All shapes! All sizes! We love a diverse celebration of our girls and it was good to see that on screen. Hustlers is out in NZ from today and you can check out the trailer here. Thanks Undertow Media and Roadshow for having me along!

. Thursday, 3 October 2019 .

I've been meaning to get back into sharing my current wishlists. If you've been checking up on me for a while, you'd remember my previous layout had a section specific to my current wants and needs. So I'm bringing it back today! This was originally going to be a Spring wishlist as I've seen some fabulous pieces coming out recently, but then I remembered I also used to post my birthday wishlists back in the day (as a not so subtle hint to my parents, although I end up buying it for myself anyway because I have no self-control patience). Since my birthday is on Sunday, I thought I'd hit two birds with one stone instead.

So here we go - my Birthday/Spring Wishlist- or at least some of it:

A few weeks ago I had the loveliest time at the Smith & Caughey's Spring/Summer launch. I *accidentally* stayed for a few hours because it was set-up in such a way that you could look at the pieces up close, have a chat to the buyers about the selection, and even try some of the delicious drinks from their Food and Wine section (I had the Puhoi Distillery Blueblood Vodka and I am still dreaming about it until now). If you follow me on Instagram (@jessmolina if you want to have a nosey!) you would have seen me absolutely go crazy on my stories while I was at the launch! That photo from above was one of the things I posted on there. The neutral palette!

So it's no wonder that my wishlist from Smith & Caughey's is a mile-long at the moment. Add the fact that my office is dangerously close to one of their stores so I'm always tempted to 'pop in for a look' and my wallet is shuddering as we speak. Here's a few things on my wishlist. Not pictured: new sheets and a gorgeous white couch I want to spend the rest of my life stitting on.

Tommy Hilfiger Souvenir Slub Sweater (I know it's menswear but I would very much like to wear it thanks)

CODAGE Serums (Particularly 'Spring Break' and 'Fall In Love' - I'm a sucker for French pharmacy products )

I had a look at RUBY the other day as I've been thinking about getting one of their purses that I saw the other day. It's a pink bag but also comes in black. I'm conflicted because the black will match more things in my wardrobe, but the pink one is so beautiful:

And then I found this gorgeous set that I am just head over heels in love with! When I was a child, mum said I watched Cinderella on repeat, day in, day out. She'd rewind the VHS for me and I just loved it so much. She and dad are still haunted by that 'Cinderella Cinderella' song from the film. Anyway, I saw this outfit and the colour reminded me of Cinderella's dress so much. It's magical! I don't wear a lot of colour but I would totally wear this. The more I look at it, the more I convince myself to try it on tomorrow after work... I've got a staycay and a high tea planned for my birthday this weekend and I think this may just be perfect outfit for it!

Last but not the list is the ONLY ABOUT YOU rose quartz face roller. I've been wanting to get one for a while and this one looks like the best quality out of everything else in the market. I'm going on two mini trips for my birthday so I think I most definitely need this stat. 

. Tuesday, 1 October 2019 .

I modelled for someone else the other week. As in stood in front of a professional camera in a studio set up and was photographed by someone other than my family/friends/the odd random person I can find around who is kind enough to take my phone and be my Insta bae for a couple of minutes. I spent the morning with Designer Wardrobe and did some modelling. And, dear reader, I never thought those words would ever be uttered from my mouth (well, typed from my keyboard).

And you know what? I fucking loved it. Every second of it. Admittedly I've always been quite intimidated by places like Designer Wardrobe - convinced that just like most ready to wear places, there's probably nothing in there that would fit me. So when they put a call out on Instagram looking for girls in all sizes to model their new pieces, I was so happy! Now that’s something you don’t see everyday. And for someone like Designer Wardrobe to be so inviting, so inclusive, so ready to celebrate every girl? It felt like an awakening.

This For Love and Lemons dress was the first thing I tried from the pile of options Donielle, founder of Designer Wardrobe picked out. It fit like a glove. I wanted to cry. And then she did something that made me feel like I wasn’t just tolerated here. She took me around the store to show the team how the dress looked like. We all gushed at how perfect the dress was, and that it fit so nicely. Everyone was so kind and so encouraging. All my nerves about that day and all my (admittedly silly) preconceptions of myself and my place in the fashion world – and now modelling world - melted away. I was actually welcome and wanted! No, I was celebrated. I can’t begin to express how this feels and what it means to me.

Since that day, I’ve been thinking about the future of the fashion industry. Beyond the well-loved buzzwords of diversity, inclusion, and representation, are we just tolerating or actually celebrating and creating space for change?

I mean, we've taken baby steps, sure, and one could argue that progress is still progress no matter how tiny. But the more I explored this thought, the more I've realised that actually, representation is no longer enough. Being represented in these industries feels like the bare minimum we can do to change it. It's not good enough. It's not enough for me. I don't want to just be represented at a fashion show, in images I see in the media, in the people I see working with PR companies and attending events. I'm no longer tolerating tokenism in this industry - adding a some 'colour' here and there, maybe a size 12 -14 and calling it 'plus size' when according to this piece, the average size of an American woman is between 16 - 18.

I'm done with stereotypes and being put in a box (nobody puts baby in a box - perhaps the 2019 refresh of that Dirty Dancing line?). I'm done with bullshit connotations of what an 'Asian woman' is - that we're all fair skinned and lithe and petite - and only showing one type of Asian beauty whenever we're 'represented'.

The future of the fashion/beauty/influencer industry (or, come to think of it, this applies to any industry really) isn't representation. It's normalisation. Normalise seeing plus sized bodies in 'normal' runways instead of just token representation shows. Although there is space for specific shows celebrating diversity too and I understand its importance, I'd love to be able to see something where there is no big fuss or PR buzz about how 'diverse' a show/editorial/movie/photoshoot/whathaveyou is because there's a POC or plus sized or there's a gorgeous model in a wheelchair. I want it to be just is. Because it is what it is.. We are who we are. Being exactly who we are is good enough.

I'm no longer tolerating 'she looks good for a plus sized fashion blogger/influencer' comments. No longer accepting that the reason this industry only chooses one specific type of look to showcase is "because clothes tend to look better on them than normal people". Yes, this is an actual quote I read in a magazine as a teen. While I can't remember exactly which magazine published this irresponsible sentiment, nor can I remember what year or issue it came out, I remember the quote word for word. Because it's these kinds of statements that end up being etched on your skin growing up in the Philippines where genetically speaking, it was more common to be petite than to be big like me. Comments like that are not only harmful, but what an insult to the models too - who are no doubt beautiful as they are, in just another normal body like mine. That statement, although one that I still think about from time to time, have never had the power to stop me from loving dressing up and expressing myself through clothes.

It's a bit silly, isn't it? You are a person with a body. Clothes are something that we need everyday. We all get dressed in the morning. And isn't it time we give everyone a chance - no matter how they look like or where they come from - to feel good in something as normal, banal, mundane, and everyday like the clothes?

Times are changing and maybe it's the littlest change that makes the biggest impact. Showing up as ourselves, for a start. Loudly, quietly, proudly, taking up space and tirelessly screaming into that void until more of us join in that we'll be so loud that the industry just can't help but listen and change. I know I will be, posting outfit shots of my style almost feels like a rebellion against those who think bigger girls shouldn’t draw too much attention to themselves.

The future of fashion isn’t representation. It’s normalisation. Tokenism is no longer enough. I don’t want to just be represented. I want to be in included in the standard. Not just tolerated but celebrated. That when given the space, we are actually welcome there. And while I can scream and shout into the void with my little voice as much as I can, I know that’s not enough of a driver for change. I've come to realise that while I can scream and shout as loud as I can, while my tiny voice a mere echo in a void as big as this industry, where most of the time it doesn't feel like my voice is heard, more so mattered, for any real change to really start happening, it takes other people supporting people like me too. Standing alongside us, actively driving change, amplifying voices like mine, listening when it's time to listen, doing the doing when it comes to action. 

There are so many amazing people who are out here making this industry a better place for everyone. From people like Zeenat Wilkinson at Sauce who provides such a great platform to creative, Danielle France from The Mustard Jumper who opens up her DMs as a safe place to have difficult (and sometimes controversial) conversations about fashion, to Jessica Emily Quinn who recently just launched All Bodies Welcome Here  who are on a mission to and Grace Stratton from All Is For All, to Meagan Kerr who has been tirelessly making our fashion industry more welcoming for years, and Ellie from Loving Ellie's Belly whose username is literally all about loving your body, it takes a hell of a strong village to create change and I’m proud to stand alongside them in support, solidarity, and love.

And to Donielle Brooke and the team behind Designer Wardrobe, who are so proactive when it comes to making sure they cater to curvier girls, including us in conversation about who they stock, proudly showcasing us in their social media feeds and celebrating all kinds of looks – thank you. You are, too me, the best example of what normalisation in the fashion industry in the future looks like. A collaboration, a celebration, accessible self-expression through clothes. It's inspiring to see this change come to fruition.

The future of fashion isn’t representation. It’s normalisation. There is space for me in this changing time. Just like there is space for you, too. Let’s not be afraid to take it and use it to challenge old narratives and limitations. It's our fucking time. And sis? Wear what you want. Life is too short for anything else. Really.