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Hannah Foskett

Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Swimsuit

ith endless categories being used to define women’s bodies, swimsuit shopping has become an impossible task—especially as clothing tags don’t tend to say: “buy this if you’re an inverted triangle.” This season is all about body positivity and feeling good in your own skin, so let’s leave the apples and pears in the fruit bowl and get back to soaking up the sun. Baring all in a string bikini is easier said than done, however. If you feel more confident drawing eyes away from a certain area or giving yourself a little more support, our swimsuit guide for different body types has— literally—got you covered.

Small chest

If you’re looking for a suit that flatters a smaller bust, go for an embellished or ruffled design up top to help give the illusion of a larger chest. Alternatively, there are many styles on the market that have sewn-in padding to give you a little extra boost.

Big chest

A triangle bikini may not be your friend, but cup sizes, underwire and thicker straps are. Choose a stretchy material that won’t dig in, don’t be afraid to get coverage by going up a cup size, and consider flattering your décolletage with a deep V-neck. Halter straps may place pressure on your neck, but halter-top suits that sit higher up on your chest can provide great support.

Swimsuits for broad shoulders

If you’ve got wider shoulders, you can balance them by going for suits with an asymmetrical neckline that will draw the eye up and away. Similarly, patterned bottoms with a plain top, or a solid-colored suit with paneling details, will give the illusion of an hourglass figure.

Broad hips

Solid bottoms and printed tops will draw the eye away from broader hips and balance out your body. Off-the- shoulder numbers will also serve to elongate your clavicle and give you a curvy silhouette.

Complimenting a short torso

If your waistline is closer to your chest than it is to your hips, you have a small torso. By lifting the bust line with a bikini and donning low-rise bottoms, you can serve up an elongated mid-section. Adding halter straps will also work by showing off your neck and shoulders, instead of your short torso.

The ideal swimsuit for a long torso

Long torso girls can really rock a one-piece. Bikinis with high-waisted bottoms will also work to give the impression of a shorter mid section.

Flatter your back

If love handles are getting you down, tuck them away with a one-piece or high-waisted bikini bottoms that cover the belly button (to prevent a muffin top). If your problem area is higher up, go for pieces with a high back and thick straps that—instead of digging in and creating depressions—flatter and smooth your profile.

Swimsuits for short legs

To elongate shorter legs, go for high-cut suits that sit further up on the hips, creating a V-shape. If you’re feeling brave, thong-style bottoms will work to generate an optimum limb-length.

Straight figure

If you have an athletic or narrower figure you don’t need to worry about balancing proportions. To create a curvier silhouette, you can add dimension with cutouts, shirring and bold prints.

Tummy

To hide a tummy or the liters of seawater you accidentally swallowed, sport a peplum style one-piece or a tankini for a cute cover-up. Ruching will also work to conceal a stomach and a plunging neckline will draw eyes away from your mid-section. Tummy control suits are revolutionary—offering easy curves and ample stability.

For the guys

Boys: will you be bold in briefs or opt for comfort in board shorts? These are longer than swim trunks and are perfect for adventurous-types that plan to surf or skate whilst catching rays (hence the word “board”). More options include square leg swimsuits, which are the equivalent of boxer underwear, and swim jammers, which hug the legs and are ideal for endurance pros.

Wear what you want

Swimsuit shopping, harsh dressing-room lights and friends with mile-high legs can be more-than-enough to ruin a beach day. Remember that nobody is looking at you. In fact, everyone feels this way—we’re just all built differently. Try to focus on emphasizing your favorite feature when choosing a suit, not covering up your least favorite. If you’re comfortable, protected and having fun, swimsuit season can’t get you down.

See Also:
Bon Voyage! Staying Safe on Vacation

How to Transition Your Summer Staples into Fall

 

 

Get Ready for Your Summer Vacation

Jetting off for summer vacation is a rite of passage for college students all over the world. Consider our favorite destinations offering the best sun, fun and sand of 2019.

Sun-kissed vacation at Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach lies in Volusia County and is an easily accessible party spot that is perfect for students on a budget. If you’re looking to spend sunny days relaxing on a 23-mile stretch of sun- kissed sand before stepping out to the hottest club scenes in Florida, head to Daytona Beach for amazing surf and headlining DJs. Explore the uniquely drivable beach by renting a motorcycle or bicycle, and maybe even plan a trip to Walt Disney World, Sea World or Universal Studios in Orlando—it isn’t far. Student friendly and one your parents may even approve of—get the sun, surf and nightlife without breaking the bank.

Non-stop pool parties’ vacation at Cancún, Mexico

One of the most-visited student destinations on the planet, Cancún is the ultimate, unforgettable experience. Situated on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, this convenient location is easy to fly to and is known for its breath-taking tropical beaches, turquoise waters and unrivalled nightlife. If you somehow get bored of white sands, non-stop pool parties and world- class DJs, you won’t have to look far to encounter water sports, island shopping, authentic Mexican cuisine and huge whale sharks to swim with. One of the most sensational attractions in Cancún is the Museo Subacuático de Arte, an underwater museum that features more than 400 life-sized sculptures. The sun, sea, food and swarms of party-lovers are all accounted for in a summer vacation at Cancún.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is high on most students’ lists of places to visit and is one of the most multicultural places in Europe. If you’re looking to swap crowded beaches for the relaxed way of life this year, you can actually do so on a tight budget. Traveling with a group will secure you cheaper rates, and Amsterdam’s free tours, afternoon concerts and countless other cheap tourist attractions will keep you busy without emptying your wallet. From the world class Van Gogh Museum to the famous Anne Frank House, with this vacation you’ll be enjoying the city’s never-ending selection of attractions, festivals, food and nightlife.

Resort Experience at Nassau, The Bahamas

The city of Nassau can be found on New Providences Island – the 11th largest of 700 islands in The Bahamas. With low cost flights from much of the East Coast, the Island offers students sun-drenched beaches, clear blue waters, foam parties, dance clubs and casinos (think Las Vegas meets tropical paradise).  The whole island is set up like a resort, so a break from the sun can offer world class snorkelling and diving, ever water sport imaginable, an assortment of shops and restaurants, boat-renting and even an authentic pirate museum. Tracing its heritage to the shipwrecking days of Blackbeard, the locals will tell you that Nassau is where rum originated. Whether you’re relaxing in paradise or enjoying the wild nightlife, you can expect to do it with a rum punch in hand.
When traveling, make sure to:

• Check any rules or restrictions in an area before booking your vacation
• Stay close to friends, making sure everyone is accounted for • Always check the credentials of your taxi driver
• Lock valuables away
• Keep your drink with you at all times
• Never go to an ATM alone or flash your cash in public
• Never swim alone or enter the water if you’ve been drinking • Watch the weather for storms that can move in fast

Mads Mikkelsen Open Up About Polar, Gymnastics and Playing the Bad Guy

Mads Mikkelsen has starred in everything from Hannibal to Casino Royale, The Hunt and Doctor Strange, and he’s here to talk to College News about his latest movie on Netflix: Polar.

One of Denmark’s biggest actors, Mads Mikkelsen commands the screen as Duncan Vizla, a recently retired assassin better known to his colleagues as Black Kaiser. It’s graphic, it’s intense and it’s a journey about grief, friendship and redemption.

COLLEGE NEWS: First things first, can you tell our readers a bit about your upcoming film, Polar?

MADS MIKKELSEN: Polar is based on a graphic novel—it’s about a hit man who is supposed to retire and, in his effort of doing so, he tries to go out into the real world and see if he fits in there. But he’s quite socially awkward and bumps into another person who’s equally socially awkward, and it becomes a funny little meeting between these two characters. On the other side, we have a simultaneously running story where a high-paced film is taking place—crazy action characters who are chasing and hunting down this character. So these two different entities will eventually collide in the film and that’s part of the journey.

CN: How did you first become involved with the project and its director?

MM: The graphic novel came my way a few years ago and I loved every thing about it. Then it came again with Jonas [Åkerlund] attached to it and then we started discussing and coming up with ideas and polished the script more and more together with writers. Jonas was just a fantastic match, he’s a completely insane person, and I think that really was a good match for this film.

CN: So, you’re playing a retired assassin who shows younger killers a thing or two–how would you say your approach towards acting has developed as you’ve grown older?

MM: I don’t know really. I mean, it’s one of those questions that’s really difficult to answer as an actor. I think if you asked someone who’s 90—what are their techniques, what have they learned—they would always say “can you just wait one year, I don’t know.” One of the things I have learned, years ago, is that the better everyone is in a scene, the better the scene is, the better you are. If anyone feels uncomfortable in a scene, it’s everybody’s job to make this person not uncomfortable and to do their best. So we need each other to make a good scene.

CN: Do you have any favourite or most challenging scenes to shoot from Polar?

MM: Well the most difficult ones were obviously some of the long stunt sequences which, in the nature of themselves, are quite difficult. It doesn’t make it easier that I’m not wearing any clothes and it’s taking place in a concrete hallway, you know.

And it’s very cold, so that was by far the most difficult. Some of my favorites were the ones I had with Vanessa [Hudgens]. These two awkward people who are trying to have a normal conversation and it turns out to be quite awkward… and I love those scenes—they’re sweet and comedic in a subtle way.

CN: Can you tell our readers about how you first got into acting?

MM: It was kind of strange; there were some detours in my life. I was a gymnast. After that I discovered dancing, because I wanted to do some flips in the background of a musical. And then the choreographer of that musical asked me if I wanted to learn that craft and that was a Billy Elliot kinda thing.

I was a working class kid learning how to dance. So, I did that for ten years and through the dancing thing I discovered acting. I was very pleased about that; I thought I might have been a little more in love with the drama of dancing than the aesthetics of dance, so I applied for a drama school and I went in and then from there on I’ve been an actor and so far, I love it.

CN: What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

MM: There are obvious highlights that people would point out, and of course, you would have to mention winning at Cannes with The Hunt. Being part of the Bond franchise was a highlight. But there are many highlights in the sense of personal highlights, you know? Certain things you discover, certain things you’re very proud of, and I try to make my next project the highlight every time. I just try to make this the most important thing, so it doesn’t become a stepping-stone in my career but it becomes the most important thing. I think that’s the best approach I can have.

CN: What does your future career look like at the moment?

MM: I’ve got a couple of months off. Then I will hopefully start up something this coming year with Thomas Vinterberg that I’m looking very much forward to.

See also: Everything There is to Know About Psalm West

Our Favourite Films Directed by Women This Year

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby, Let’s Talk About STDs

In 2018, rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in the US had climbed among young adults aged 15 to 24 for the fourth consecutive year. However, according to the Guttmacher Institute, only 22 states and the District of Columbia require sex and HIV-prevention education in grade school, and only 20 of these require information on condoms and contraception to be taught. Twenty-six states require abstinence be stressed when teaching students about sex, so it’s time to shout the words ‘sexually’ ‘transmitted’ and ‘diseases’ from the rooftops. In today’s Sex Ed class, learn how to protect yourself from STDs and seek help discreetly.

What are STDs?

STDs are passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal and oral sex. They’re common, but 80 percent of people who have them do not experience any symptoms.

Some prevalent STDs include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • HPV
  • Pubic lice
  • Genital warts
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV & AIDS
  • Syphilis

At risk

The bad news is that anyone who is sexually active can get an STD. The good news is that, in general, STDs are highly preventable. While the only guaranteed method to prevent infection is to abstain from all sexual contact, there are some sure steps that you can take to reduce your risk of contracting an STD if you’re exploring sex in college.

Outside of the act itself, educating yourself about sexual health and taking a couple of precautions before engaging in any sexual activity can help to reduce your risk of getting an STD. The following may sound obvious, but in this case, the phrase “better safe than sorry” definitely rings true. Remember: taking control of your body isn’t something to be embarrassed about.

Take these precautions:

  • Limit your number of sexual partners.
  •  Explicitly talk to potential partners about your sexual histories.
  • Get tested, along with your potential partner, before having sex.
  • Avoid having sex when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B (HBV).

Practicing Safe Sex

Okay, so you’re having sex—but how can you make it “safe sex”? From male and female condoms to dental dams and gloves, the world of barrier protection is vast and in place to help protect you against STDs.

The most popular form of barrier contraception is the trusty condom, which may not be so reliable if used incorrectly. Be sure to check the expiration date and that the condom package has an air bubble (to show it hasn’t been punctured). Read the instructions on the box and ensure you know how to put the condom on correctly. Use condom-safe lubricant, make sure it doesn’t slip off, and never reuse a condom or take it off and put it back on.

You might be feeling confident that your condom game is strong but, while barriers are good at preventing the exchange of bodily fluids, they do not prevent the transmission of infection entirely. Syphilis, herpes and HPV are all STDs that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, so take precautions and talk openly to your potential partners. If you’re unsure, seek advice from your healthcare provider.

Get tested

With most people who have an STD displaying no symptoms, it’s really important to get tested if you think you could be at risk. STDs can cause serious health problems if they’re left untreated, and having one also makes you more likely to get other STDs, like HIV. According to the American College Health Association, only 52 percent of young people actually use a condom during sex, so let’s keep it real. Ideally, you should get tested after the first time you have sex and between every partner. The best part about getting tested: once you get it over with, your mind will be at ease.

Most STDs are easy to treat and getting checked can be quick and simple. Depending on what you’re being tested for, your healthcare provider may take a blood sample, a swab or ask you to pee in a cup—easy!

It’s normal to feel embarrassed or uneasy about getting tested for STDs, but safe sex is a reality for everyone, because everyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting infected. Here are some tips on how to get checked discreetly:

  • Take advantage of college resources. Most campus health centers will be able to answer your questions about sexual health, prescribe birth control, distribute condoms and dental dams and even offer STD testing.
  • Bite the bullet. Search for a nearby healthcare center by zip code on websites like STDcheck.com and the CDC’s website—many take walk-ins.
  • Order a self-test kit. You can test for certain STDs from the comfort of your own home.
  • Rope in a friend. Offload your worries onto a close friend or make getting checked for STDs into a group outing (soooo Insta-worthy?)

See Also:

Looking Back On Your First Love

STDs: When to have the talk

The Home STD Test: 5 Massive Myths

Writing the Perfect Resume

Writing the perfect resume is one of the toughest parts of job-hunting, and also one of the most important. If the gruelling odds of success are making your job prospects seem as sad as your blank resume, don’t worry. Even if you have little or no work experience, knowing how to draw on relevant skills and a clearly set out resume will help you to sell yourself effectively. Here’s how to impress a recruiter in six seconds flat.

Resume Format

If your recent nightmares consist of being stared at by a blank page, there are plenty of resume templates available online that can help you get started. Remember to list your experience in reverse-chronological order and choose a format that plays to your strengths. If you have less work experience, you may want to feature your education first. If you’ve been exploring the industry during college, you could highlight a separate section about your relevant or professional experience.

Unfortunately, the design of your resume is important, too—hiring managers may have to read thousands of applications and they won’t appreciate the extra work if your information isn’t clearly set out on the page.

Design rules:

  • Aim for one page, but if you have information that is highly relevant, add a page instead of compromising on a clear layout.
  • Choose an easy-to-read font and keep this consistent.
  • On average, hiring managers spend just six seconds considering a resume before deciding whether to dismiss it.
  • Use a variation of font sizes (make headers and your name larger).
  • When choosing a font size, many resumes follow a 24, 12, 10 format—the name is 24pt, the body headers are 12pt, and the bullet points are 10pt.
  • Create white space by breaking up text with paragraphs or lines.
  • Never set margins below .5—if you lack experience, stick to one inch margins.
  • Focus on readability

Profile summary

Including a brief profile summary or statement at the top of your resume can be a great way to attract attention and show the employer, at a glance, why you’re qualified for the job.

E.g. “Self-motivated and adaptable business graduate with proven experience in business, marketing, sales and communication.”

Education

With entry-level applications, graduates benefit from emphasizing the education section on their resume. Include the names of institutions, their location, the date of graduation and your degree. Only include your GPA if it is above average. You may also wish to mention your thesis or the most relevant courses that you took.

Work experience

Yes, getting professional work experience whilst you study greatly helps to differentiate your application from your competitors’. If this isn’t you though, don’t panic—you may have more experience than you think. Part-time jobs, volunteer work, summer internships and college clubs will all work to embellish your resume. Include the company’s name, location, your title and the dates of employment (month and year). Use around three to five bullet points per experience to cover your main duties and achievements.

Additional sections

While education and experience are necessary to a resume, adding additional sections can help to strengthen it. Examples include: skills, interests, certificates, publications and languages.

Perhaps most important here is a skills section that features soft and hard skills. Soft skills include attention to detail, teamwork, critical thinking, etc. Hard skills include technical expertise, foreign languages and SEO knowledge. Don’t try and save time here—each resume should be tailored to the individual job ad. Don’t list all of your hobbies, unless they’re relevant—you’ll need things to discuss in the interview.

Tips to make your resume stand out!

Statistics are your best friends—exactly how many followers did you attract to social media pages? Even if a company doesn’t ask for a cover letter, you should almost always include one. Submit a separate document that highlights your strongest skills and qualifications or include it in the body of an email with your resume attached

Step-by-step resume checklist

  1. Decide on a resume template and make it readable.
  2. Make your contact information easy to find and use a professional email address.
  3. Write a brief profile summary that responds to what the company are looking for.
  4. Write your resume content—most relevant and most recent experience first.
  5. Check your skills clearly match those in the job ad.
  6. Check you use tailored keywords, quantification and action verbs

This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 of College News.

See also: Free Courses to Boost Your Skills Profile

Avoid These Interview Mistakes

Do You Need a College Degree to Be Successful? 

Highlights-from-the-2019-Oscars-

Highlights from the 2019 Oscars

On Sunday February 24, everyone who is anyone in Hollywood attended the entertainment industry’s biggest and most dazzling night of the year: The Oscars.

For some, the dream of winning an iconic golden Academy Awards statuette came true. For everyone else, the 2019 Oscars would surely be remembered as a night of powerful speeches, captivating performances, overdue breakthroughs and multiple backlashes (we’re looking at you Kevin Hart).

Here are the night’s highlights.

The talk of the town

If you’re not familiar with Hollywood’s latest imaginary love triangle, it involves the undeniably compatible stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Are the pair just friendship goals? Did Gaga leave fiancé Christian Carino because she’s secretly in love with Cooper? Why did Cooper’s girlfriend, model Irina Shayk, sit in-between the two at the awards ceremony? And, most importantly, did you see that steamy performance of Shallow?

Whatever fan-fic A Star Is Born enthusiasts are living, we’ve been team Gaga since her Just Dance days and we’re thrilled that she won Best Original Song on Sunday. 

Tweeted about by the President

 Spike Lee leapt into the arms of Samuel L Jackson as he was finally presented with his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. But it wasn’t the endearing bromance or the fact that Lee’s outfit paid tribute to his friend Prince that got viewers, and the President, talking.

“Do not turn the motherfucking clock on,” Lee said about the organizer’s 90-second time limit before using his acceptance speech to talk about how it is 400 years since “our ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa and bought to Jamestown, Virginia, enslaved”.

“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there,” he urged.

On Monday, President Trump struck back at the film director, accusing him of delivering a “racist hit” on Twitter.

“Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts, etc.) than almost any other Pres!” Trump wrote.

Defying fashion norms

While there were certainly some magical outfits at this year’s Oscars, none were as unapologetically magnificent as Billy Porter’s. The Pose star worked the red carpet in a custom creation by designer Christian Siriano, which included a tailored tuxedo jacket overtop a velvet gown.

“This industry masquerades itself as inclusive, but actors are afraid to play, because if they show up as something outside of the status quo, they might be received as feminine, and, as a result, they won’t get that masculine job, that superhero job,” the star told Vogue about his outfit-choice.

Captioning a snap of the ensemble for Instagram, Porter added: “When you come to the Oscars, you must dress up.”

Making history

This year’s Oscars saw African Americans who work behind the scenes picking up awards for the first time in decades.

“Wow, this has been a long time coming,” said Ruth E Carter when she became the first African American woman to win for costume design for Black Panther.

Marvel may have made the first black superhero, but through costume design we turned him into an African king.”

Her colleague, Hannah Beachler also made history as the first African American woman to win for production design.

A film about periods

Period. End of Sentence covers the deep-rooted stigma attached to menstruation in a rural village in India, and it won the award for Best Short Documentary despite an anonymous male member of the Academy recently feeling the need to share his thoughts about the film.

“[I’m not going to vote for] Period. End of Sentence—it’s well done, but it’s about women getting their period, and I don’t think any man is voting for this film because it’s just icky for men,” he wrote in his ballot outlining his selections for the year’s awards ceremony. Boy bye.

The film’s director, Rayka Zehtabchi’s summed up our feelings pretty accurately in her acceptance speech.

“I’m not crying because I’m on my period, or anything. I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!” She said.

Olivia Colman keeps it real

While she may not have been the favorite to take home the 2019 Best Actress award, British actress Olivia Colman reminded us all why she deserved the win with her down-to-earth acceptance speech.

“It’s genuinely quite stressful,” The Favourite star began, before adding: “This is hilarious. An Oscar. OK. I’d like to thank a lot of people, but if I forget people I’m going to find you later and give you a massive snog.”

The star told her children watching at home that “this is never going to happen again” before apologizing to fellow nominee Glenn Close.

“You’ve been my idol for so long and this is not how I wanted it to be,” she admitted.

Colman, who made her name in TV comedy prior to landing her award-winning role, had begun talking about how she had been a cleaner when she was told to wrap up her speech, leading her to promptly blow a raspberry at The Academy.

Lacking a host 

Without a single host (we’re still looking at you Kevin Hart), plenty of people who had something important to say were allotted time on stage during this year’s ceremony.

Immigration was a recurring theme, with Best Actor winner Rami Malek stating that he was a first-generation American. Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón thanked the academy for “recognizing a film centered around an indigenous woman, one of the 70 million domestic workers in the world without work rights. A character who has historically been relegated to the background in cinema.

“As artists, our job is to look where others don’t. This responsibility becomes much more important in times where we are being encouraged to look away,” he said.

There was also many a Trump reference on Sunday night, with Keegan-Michael Key descending from the ceiling with a Mary Poppins-style umbrella only to discard it in apparent mockery of the President.

Barbra Streisand praised BlacKkKlansman “because it was based on the truth, and truth is especially precious these days” and 79-year-old congressman John Lewis spoke of his experiences in the civil rights movement before introducing the nomination of Green Book for best picture.

Speaking of Streisand, we’ll just leave Richard E Grant’s precious reaction to the legend gracing the stage at the ceremony, here. The actor recently shared his “lifelong fandom” for the star, along with the sweet letter that he had penned for her at the age of 14.

Further reading: Why Beyoncé’s Shout Out to Meghan Matters

See Also:
The Met Gala’s Best and Worst Dressed Highlights 

 

Sylvia Plath’s “Newly Discovered” College Story

January 22 marked the first American publication of Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom: a story written by Sylvia Plath in 1952, while she was studying at Smith College.

For those of us who have found a worthy school companion in the esteemed poet, novelist and short-story writer, and have devoured everything from Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (1977) to Plath’s profound journals, this news is revolutionary.

For those who have yet to be informed that reading The Bell Jar (1963) is a rite-of-passage for all college students everywhere, this “newly discovered” text has since sparked an intriguing debate concerning the story’s mischaracterization.

First thing’s first…

Plath was born in 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. A gifted and ambitious writer, she attended Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge. In 1956, she entered into a troubled marriage with fellow poet Ted Hughes—the pair had two children before separating in 1962. Following a long history of clinical depression, Plath took her own life in 1963 at the age of 30. Many of her works have been published posthumously.

The story behind the story

Written when Plath was 20-years old, Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom was penned as an assignment for her English 220 class, “Practice in Various Forms of Writing.” The story borrows the name of her high school friend.

Plath, who would later become one of the most revered poets of the 1900s, arranged for the prose to be sent to Mademoiselle magazine, where she had secured a coveted and infamous internship (seriously, read The Bell Jar), for potential publication. The story was rejected.

Plath edited the story, changing the title and ending among other significant parts of the work, but never submitted the draft for publication again. The newly published version is that of the original, rejected draft, which most believe to be the story’s best form.

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Never before published, this newly discovered story by literary legend Sylvia Plath stands on its own and is remarkable for its symbolic, allegorical approach to a young woman’s rebellion against convention and forceful taking control of her own life. . Written while Plath was a student at Smith College in 1952, Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom tells the story of a young woman’s fateful train journey. . Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom goes on sale 1/22! Enter now for your chance to win 1 of 10 copies. See the link in our bio, or go here: https://ig.pgtb.me/ZqDkgP This sweepstakes ends 1/23/19 at 11:59pm EST. U.S. only. . . #sylviaplath #maryventuraandtheninthkingdom #comingsoon #bookstagram #bookish #igbooks #igreads #instabook #classicliterature #literature #shortstory #thebelljar #womenwriters

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What’s it about?

Mary Ventura follows a young woman—roughly the age Plath was when writing the story—as she reluctantly boards a train at her parent’s insistence.

Destination unknown, Mary finds herself reassured when she is seated next to a kind, older woman who is knitting a beautiful dress of green wool. Having made the journey before, the woman shows her around the luxurious train and invites her for a beverage. The bright garment she is knitting initiates a deliberate emphasis on colours and provides a visual, foreboding contrast to the darkening train and ominous red, grey and black scenery.

“Outside the picture window the orange sun was sinking in the gray west. It seemed smaller than when Mary had last looked at it, and the orange color was deepening into red.”

Indeed, halfway through the story Mary discovers that the train is actually “hurtling” towards the Ninth Kingdom, or “kingdom of frozen will”, and that no one else seems disturbed by this obvious but unspoken doom. Her companion eventually offers her an escape and Mary flees the train through a dark, snake-filled stairwell, up into a bright, summer city where she is received with love.

With Plath merely having referred to the story as a “vague symbolic tale”, the piece has been interpreted as an allegory for the ending of life, a nod to Dante’s Divine Comedy, and a discovery of female autonomy.

With full knowledge of Plath’s biography and the fact that she would attempt suicide for the first time the following summer, the story’s open-ended but urgent message seems undoubtedly significant.

“One can see why Mademoiselle magazine would have declined to publish such a nihilistic allegory, while also appreciating its rediscovery today”, wrote Claire Armitstead when The Guardian released an extract of the text.

Perfect timing

The US publication of Mary Ventura followed UK publisher Faber and Faber’s announcement that the story would be part of their 90th anniversary series of standalone short fiction titles. The media has since described the text as “newly discovered”, “recently discovered”, “lost”, “found”, “largely unseen”, and more to imply that Plath’s work has been freshly unearthed in some kind of treasure hunt. In the press release issued by HarperCollins, the story was promoted as a new find, unknown even to Plath’s estate.

As pointed out by Vulture, it’s “odd to imagine that any of her known work would not have been mined for publication. We can already read her senior thesis, her diaries, and her letters, and yet here’s a polished work we’ve never seen.”

In standard practice, this suspicion of the story’s lostness became the subject of a Twitter debate, until the truth was in fact confirmed.

“This story wasn’t ‘lost,’” Rebecca Baumann, Head of Public Services at IU Lilly Library wrote in a series of tweets.

“It is at @IULillyLibrary, where it is described in a detailed finding aid. It wasn’t ‘stumbled upon.’ It was given to the researcher by librarians.”

“Literally thousands of researchers have accessed this material, in our collections since the late 70s.”

“’Discovered’ in this story actually means the estate lifting their restrictions and allowing this to be published at a culturally opportunistic moment,” she added.

Following its rejection from Mademoiselle magazine, the story made its way to into Plath’s archives as an “open secret”—where it had been available for at least four decades.

It was there that the work was “stumbled upon” by the critic, academic and former classmate of Plath, Judith Glazer-Raymo. Raymo revealed that the text had appeared in auction in 2014, failed to sell, and that she had arranged to purchase the manuscript directly two years later.

Raymo included the work, along with the Mademoiselle rejection letter, in the Grolier Club’s 2017 exhibition: “This Is the Light of the Mind: Selections from the Sylvia Plath Collection of Judith G. Raymo.” She also approached Faber with scans of the piece.

With such a compelling history, any Plath devotee who’s college workload is perhaps slightly too heavy to allow time for a one hundredth re-reading of The Bell Jar, will be sure to relish a short story that offers a glimpse into the young writer’s enormous future.

However, Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom is a student’s story, and it has its flaws. If you’re not committed to analysing Plath’s entire oeuvre, just read The Bell Jar. I beg you.

Further reading: Five Books About Climate Change You Need to Read Now

The-Biggest-Highlights-from-the-2019-Grammy-Awards

The Biggest Highlights from the 2019 Grammy Awards

The biggest night in the music industry came and went with minimal controversy. This year’s Grammy Awards were packed with touching speeches, well-deserved wins and stellar performances. We’re talking musical legends like Diana Ross and Dolly Parton, and a surprise appearance by the former First Lady herself.

Like any awards show however, Sunday’s 61st annual ceremony didn’t go off without a hitch. In case you missed any of the four-hour long action, we’ve rounded up the highlights, the gossip and a healthy amount of social media drama.

When they cut Drake’s speech off 

Perhaps in the biggest plot-twist of the night, Drake—who has notoriously boycotted previous Grammy ceremonies—actually showed up to collect his trophy for best rap song.

Celebrating the hit single God’s Plan from his 2018 album Scorpion, the rapper took the opportunity to remind his fellow artists that the Grammy’s do not a winner make.

“The point is you’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown,” he said.

“Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don’t need this right here. You already won. But—”

Drake was then cut off as the telecast went to a commercial, leaving viewers furious at the interruption.

Cardi B makes history

Cardi B won the best rap album award for her debut Invasion of Privacy, beating out Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T, Travis Scott, and the late Mac Miller, and becoming the first solo woman to take home the trophy.

The rapper gave an emotional speech that touched on her pregnancy and daughter, who was born in July.

“I want to thank my daughter,” she said. “I’m not just saying thank you because she’s my daughter. It’s because, you know, when I found out I was pregnant, my album was not complete, like three songs that I was for sure having. And then you know, you know how it was, we was like, we have to get this album done so I could still do videos while I’m still not showing. And it was very long nights.”

Ariana Grande tweeted and then deleted a series of insults as Cardi B took the stage, beating Grande’s late ex-boyfriend Mac Miller to the trophy. The singer called Miller’s snub “trash” and “literal bullshit,” before writing “sry” and deleting the posts.

Grande clarified afterwards that her tweets had “nothing to do w [Cardi]. Good for her. I promise. I’m sorry,” and called someone out for calling Cardi “trash”: “she’s not at all and that’s not what I meant and u know that,” she wrote in another, now-deleted tweet.

In a video recorded backstage at the ceremony and posted to Instagram, Cardi B dedicated her win to Miller, promising that she was “sharing this Grammy” with the late rapper.

Ariana drama 

The night also saw Grande win her first Grammy award for best pop vocal album with her record Sweetener. After a public spat with the show’s producer however, the star took to Instagram to confirm that she would not be attending the ceremony.

“I know I’m not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things…this is wild and beautiful. Thank you so much. I love u,” she wrote on Sunday. 

Last week, the singer accused the organizer of the Grammys of lying about her reasons for withdrawing from a performance at the ceremony.

Grande still managed to steal the spotlight during the show however, dropping a series of photos that revealed her wearing her custom Zac Posen gown, which had been made for the event, around her house.

Women take center stage

This year, 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys led the show, stepping up as the first female host since Queen Latifah took on the role in 2005. Keeping the focus of the show on her love for music, she also enforced its female inclusivity. Last year’s ceremony was criticized for side-lining women, something that Keys was keen to address.

The star’s “sisters,” Lady Gaga, Jada Pinket-Smith and Jennifer Lopez, were invited onto the stage to each tell a personal story of how music changed their life and were joined by a certain former First Lady.

In a surprise appearance, Michelle Obama was forced to restart her speech, after her initial attempts were drowned out by applause.

“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side, to the Who Run The World songs that fueled me through the last decade, music helps me tell my story,” she said.

“Music helps us share ourselves, our dignities and our sorrows. Music shows us all of it matters, every story with every voice, every note in every song.”

Captioning a photo of the group that she posted to Twitter, the former First Lady said she showed up for her close friend Alicia Keys—“one of the most genuine and thoughtful people [she knows].” 

Powerful performances

Our favorite performances of the night included Alicia Keys’ piano medley on two pianos (at the same time), Dua Lipa and St. Vincent’s seriously cool collaboration with Masseduction/One Kiss, Lady Gaga’s theatrical performance of Shallow and Kacey Musgraves serene version of Rainbow.

In answer to the question: “Was Jennifer Lopez the right person to choose to do a Motown tribute?” We think not.

Big winners 

Childish Gambino took three of the night’s biggest awards—record of the year, song of the year and video of the year—for his track This Is America. The song became the first hip-hop track to win song of the year, with Alicia Keys and John Mayer accepting the award when the rapper and actor didn’t turn up to the ceremony.

Lady Gaga also won big, accepting two awards for the soundtrack for the movie A Star Is Born. Gaga used her speech to discuss the importance of opening up about mental health, revealing that she was “so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues” and adding: “We gotta take care of each other. So if you see somebody that’s hurting, don’t look away.”

While her co-star Bradley Cooper represented the film at the BAFTAs, Gaga bagged a further trophy for best vocal performance for Joanne.

Kacey Musgraves triumphed by winning album of the year and Dua Lipa was the only British artist to take home a trophy in a major category. Accepting her two trophies, Lipa made a small dig at the Recording Academy, thanking “all the incredible female artists” and saying “I guess we’ve really stepped up.” 

You can find a complete list of winners here.

Further reading: Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host

See Also:
The Met Gala’s Best and Worst Dressed Highlights 

Everything-you-want-to-know-about-Jennifer-Lawrence's-Engagement

Everything You Want to Know about Jennifer Lawrence’s Engagement

Jennifer Lawrence isn’t the kind of gal to rush onto Instagram and show off her flashy new diamond ring—one of the many reasons why we love her. However, this makes an in-depth Internet search for every single detail of her engagement an absolute necessity.

For those at the back: J. Law has a fiancé.

If you’re late to the search party, here’s what you need to know.

Who, why, how, when?

Following speculation on Tuesday night, after Lawrence was reportedly spotted out at Raoul’s in New York “rocking a massive ring on her finger”; her reps confirmed that she and Cooke Maroney are officially engaged.

In classic whirlwind romance fashion, the low-key couple started dating last summer and moved in together after just two months. Eight months in and it’s apparently official. Don’t worry, you can find snaps of the Oscar-winning actress’ mystery engagement ring here.

Spoiler: it’s stunningly modest, not “massive”.

Commit this name to memory

If you’re struggling to recall where you’ve heard the name Cooke Maroney before, that may be because you haven’t. Unlike Lawrence’s previous boyfriends—Chris Martin, Nicholas Hoult and Darren Aronofsky spring to mind—her latest and very much official beau isn’t famous.

Maroney, 34, studied art history at New York University and is now a director at Gladstone 64—the Gladstone Gallery’s Upper East Side Location. The gallery represents a number of high-profile artists, including Lena Dunham’s dad, Carroll Dunham.

Apparently, Maroney is a respected player in the industry, and a source told The Cut that he’s pretty chill but “goes to a lot of art-world parties.” Basically, you have permission to re-watch every episode of Gossip Girl in celebration.

Asking for a friend

Yes, he’s on Instagram, and yes, his account is private.

How did they meet? 

According to several reports, Lawrence’s non-celebrity best friend Laura Simpson introduced them last spring.

While we’re happy for the happy couple, we’re betting that their low-key relationship is indicative of a quiet wedding to come.

Further reading: Priyanka Chopra & Nick Jonas Are Married

We Need to Talk About Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy Movie

We Need to Talk About Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy Movie

If you haven’t already heard, Zac Efron is starring in a new and highly-anticipated Ted Bundy biopic called Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

For us true crime fanatics and OG High School Musical fans, this sounds unmissable, right? Well, that’s up for debate.

The movie is directed by Joe Berlinger, whose documentary series Conversations With A Killer: The Bundy Tapes recently fascinated and disturbed Netflix viewers. Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this month, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile received mixed reviews, and those on Twitter are finding it much more difficult to agree about how Thursday’s trailer makes them feel.

With the film arriving in theatres later this year, here’s everything you need to know.

Ted Bundy who?

Ted Bundy is one of the country’s most infamous criminals—a serial killer who murdered, raped and assaulted numerous young women and girls as young as 12 in the 1970s. He was a necrophile, a kidnapper and confessed to 30 homicides after more than a decade of denials. His crimes took place on a huge scale and went unsolved for a long time, supposedly because Bundy was charismatic, educated and a genuinely liked member of society. He was executed for his crimes in 1989 after receiving three death sentences.

What’s the movie about?

In Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy as told from the perspective of his long-term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. Played in the movie by British actress Lily Collins, Kloepfer used the pseudonym Liz Kendall to publish her memoirs, and this is the name used in the film. The movie follows Kloepfer’s seven-year relationship with the killer, instead of detailing the horrific acts of violence he committed.

Other casting choices include The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons, who portrays prosecutor Larry Simpson, and John Malkovich, who appears as judge Edward Cowart. Cowart famously called Bundy a “bright young man” and was known for being sympathetic towards the killer in court.

Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment and James Hetfield also appear in the movie. 

What’s being said?

Dramatizing real life events invites discussion about ethics, and in this case, some of Bundy’s victims and relatives are still living, making the conversation more significant.

While critics have commended Efron’s performance, many have been left unsettled by the movie’s general “glorification” and humanization of the serial killer and rapist.

A key issue here is the casting of Efron in the first place, with the argument being that it seems disturbing to associate a murderer of young women with a teenage heartthrob whose fans are mostly made up of young women themselves. On the other hand, in all references to Bundy at the time of his crimes, he is described as “charming”, “normal”, “attractive” or similar, and these traits undoubtedly played a part in making him an infamous monster.

In their review, The Playlist noted how the movie “can’t resist making Bundy look like a little bit of a rock star at times even though the movie purports to condemn him.”

This opinion has circulated in more ways than one, with many finding it hard to miss the upbeat “rock music” that appears in the trailer for the movie.

Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui shared the clip on Twitter, adding: “The romanticization of a serial killer is exactly why these sick f**** continue to do things like this to women. Notoriety. This is appalling.”

Many who caught the premiere of the movie at the Sundance Film Festival—for example, this writer from Cosmo—have promised that the trailer was not representative of the entire screening. “Never is there any doubt Bundy did what he was accused of.”

Amid the debate, is the voice of Kathy Kleiner Rubin, who survived an attack from Bundy in her sorority house at Florida State University in 1978.

Speaking with TMZ, she said: “I don’t have a problem with people looking at it, and as long as they understand that what they’re watching wasn’t a normal person. 

“I believe that in order to show him exactly the way he was, it’s not really glorifying him, but it’s showing him, and when they do say positive and wonderful things about him… that’s what they saw, that’s what Bundy wanted you to see.

“I think everyone should see it,” she concluded.

Serial killer’s are not hot

Perhaps proving that there is cause to worry is the vast number of people “swooning” over Bundy on social media.

Following Berlinger’s, Conversations With A Killer: The Bundy Tapes, viewers have been describing the murderer as “hot”, “attractive” and “a waste of a baby daddy”.

Netflix has had to step in to address the issue, tweeting: “I’ve seen a lot of talk about Ted Bundy’s alleged hotness and would like to gently remind everyone that there are literally THOUSANDS of hot men on the service—almost all of whom are not convicted serial murderers.” 

The comment comes after former Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley spoke out on a similar issue surrounding his new fictional Netflix show You, in which a serial killer uses social media to stalk and manipulate a young woman.

Badgley has replied to various tweets that express admiration and attraction for the character.

Further reading: Are Thrift Stores Really Getting More Donations Because of Marie Kondo?