Thursday 26 June 2008

Henna Magazine - a review of the newly launched magazine for asian women

Way back in February, I posted information about a new asian magazine that was looking for models. Today that magazine, Henna, launched and I picked up my copy straight away so I could have a browse and see if it's worth it's £4.50 cover price!

Front Cover
Henna's tagline is "the stylish magazine for the glamorous asian woman of today".
They went for a close-up beauty shot on the cover with a dark background. I think the dark background definitely sets Henna apart from it's biggest rival - Asiana Magazine, who went with a very light/floral/summery front cover with their latest issue.

Fashion Articles
For all the hardcore fashionistas out there, Henna has pages and pages of catwalk couture pictures from the likes of Neeta Lulla, Shatanu & Nikhil, Rohit Bal and Manish Arora, as well as editorials featuring designs by Sobia Nazir.

Beauty-wise the one article that caught my eye was the home-made beauty recipes by Monisha Bharadwaj...not only are these beauty recipes good for your skin, some of them look good enough to eat!
I really liked the make-up on the editorials, there's hardly any safe natural make-up looks - it's all dramatic, funky and totally glamourous.

All the Rest
So I've covered the fashion and the beauty, what else is there to Henna? Quite a lot actually! Including:
- Model Speak
- Books
- Music
- Movies
- Bollywood
- Recipes (food recipes this time)
- Travel
- Editorials/Opinions

Other notable features
Competitions! I love competitions, compared to their mainstream counterparts I think asian magazines don't give away enough free stuff. Henna are giving their readers the chance to win "a dream wedding worth £25,000".

Henna is definitely different to the other asian mags out there at the moment, and not just in the way it looks. I actually found navigating my way through a bit strange because I'm so used to the format of the magazines I usually read. Plus, I ignored the contents and dived straight in. Is there a specific formula for the order of what goes where in a magazine?
Either way there's so much to this magazine and the Henna team have obviously worked really hard to make their first issue special and original.

The official Henna website has a more in depth preview of the mag if you want to browse before you buy. Let me know what you think!!

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Interview with an Asiana model

Model Tasleem Malik graced the cover of the Spring issue of Asiana Wedding magazine and also walked the runway at this year's Asiana Wedding exhibitions in London and Birmingham.
I tracked her down and she very kindly agreed to answer some questions for me, so here it is, an interview with an Asiana model:

How did you get into modelling?
I was always asked to pursue modelling from a really early age but was very into my studies until I moved to London for my work placement with Microsoft. I went along with a friend to Asiana Wedding Exhibition a couple of years ago and was spotted by a few members of the team there. They were very interested in me coming into the studio for a casting. I went along and have been working with them since. I have been lucky to travel to some amazing places and meet some inspiring individuals.

Do you have any advice for aspiring models starting out?
The advice I have for aspiring models is if it’s what you want, go for it with everything you have. I would advise you do think about the consequences of everything you do – is it worth it? Is it the image I want to portray of myself? I totally believe that beauty is individual and everyone is beautiful in their own way. The industry is very demanding in every aspect from your weight or the type of shoot you are doing. I am a Muslim model and people in this industry always like to test what your limits are when they already know them. I believe morals make you who you are and that’s how I decide on what to do. My family are my strongest support and keep well grounded when things seem uncertain. Just keep believing in yourself and go for it!

Do you have any do's and don'ts for aspiring models?
Everyone is different and there are clearly things I wouldn’t do that other girls would. That’s life in the modelling business but I honestly believe that there is no one like me; I am unique and know that if I stick to what I think is right for me, I’ll be happy and successful. I mean it hasn’t done me any harm so far!

What are your top tips for looking good?
I would say drink plenty of water, it really helps your skin and hair. I don’t drink enough. Other than that, I can honestly say I am not your stereotypical model where you expect me to be going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week, watching the calories in what I eat etc. I have a very healthy appetite and I walk everywhere so count myself very lucky I don’t have to join a gym or watch my food portions… yet. But my tips would be take care of your skin with a good beauty regime, plenty of sleep and no drinking of smoking.

You've had the chance to model a large variety of Asian bridal wear, if you were getting married this summer, where would you get your outfit from and what would it be like?
This is the question that does baffle me, I have wore every type of Asian bridal wear from couture to very traditional to classic western styles. There are only two ways I would go for; the first being very minimal, natural tones and simplistically stunning so would go to somewhere like Silons or Mongas. The alternative would be very traditional with striking bold colours, beautiful intricate embroidery visible in Seasons and Sana bridal wear.

Tasleem wearing an outfit from Variety Silk House at the Asiana Wedding Show Birmingham

Which do you enjoy more – photo shoots or catwalk shows?
There’s no question; if I am doing a string of shoots I wish I were doing a show and if I am doing a few shows then I wish I had shoots. I have so much fun doing both of these that its impossible to separate them. Photo shoots I enjoy because of the outfits, make up, the people behind the scenes and just being able to capture various emotions in a moment through a picture whereas a show you are able to bring some life to it, interact with others more and have fun with what you are doing.

Do you watch any reality TV modeling programs (eg. Britain's Next Top Model)? and if so, do you think they show a realistic view of the modelling industry?
I really enjoy watching all these modelling programs and do think there are elements of reality to them but you have understand that its such an intense process and done in a short period of time done on a TV program which guarantees management afterwards whereas if you are model outside of that it takes so much more time, dedication and struggle to even get those opportunities. The reality is you have to work hard to be noticed and I think as a viewer particularly the younger generation, can get sucked into all the glamour and naivety of believing that Britains Next Top Model is what modelling is like all the time.

What's the best thing about modelling?
The best things about modelling are the people I get to work with and meet who I can call friends now. I am like every girl so I love the clothes, jewellery and being able to see the new fashion trends before it’s released, the travel opportunities as well as the exposure to different people and networks.

What's the worst thing about modelling?
For me, even though the incredibly early mornings and even later late nights are quite exhausting, I would have to say that you can never really trust people in the industry, it is such a fickle and fierce environment which can really drag you down. Many girls and guys feel the pressure to do or not do certain things which really gives the industry a bad reputation.

What's next for you career-wise? (Where can we expect to see you next?)
I have a few offers to do things on the catwalk and with magazines all in the pipeline. I am going to be doing a lot more mainstream work with fashion and bridal. I am really having fun with what it so I want to keep enjoying it. I have been incredibly fortunate to have done some incredible shoots and the best shows with many designers. My main highlight is making the front cover of Asiana Wedding internationally which in 2 years is quite an accomplishment. It is because of that I have had so many other opportunities have present themselves and I intend to make the most of each one.

Much Love, Tasleem Malik

Sunday 15 June 2008

Shop Review: Arinder Bhullar in Leicester

After seeing the Arinder Bhullar collection on the catwalk at the Asiana Fashion Show in Birmingham, and visiting their exhibition stand, one outfit caught my eye and I decided to visit the shop in hope of finding my perfect wedding outfit. It also helped that when visiting them at the Asiana Show they gave were giving interested customers a 10% off voucher to use in store!

The shop itself is on Belgrave Road, which is a road full of asian clothes shops (a list of all the shops on Belgrave Road can be found here)

After finding the shop, we went in and mentioned we'd see an outfit at the Asiana Show, and the next thing you know there it was in front of us. I tried it on even though it was a size 14 and far too big for me! The sales assistant pinned it in place though, gave me a pair of heels to try it on with and then (as cheesy as this may sound) I had that moment where you think "wow...this IS the outfit".
I tried a few other outfits on, in different colours and styles but I'd already decided which one I liked best.

So I'd picked the outfit, what next??

The assistant called "aunty" over to take my measurements and discuss technical details. Did I want sleeves? How long did I want the top? Did I want a netted underskirt?
It was all pretty standard although one major change I made was to have more embroidery on the dupatta. Most of the outfits from Arinder Bhullar tend to have quite light/plain dupattas (you can see for youself by checking out photos I took from Arinder Bhullar catwalk show)

After my order had been written up, they took my contact details and I paid a 50% deposit. I was told the outfit would be ready in 4 weeks, but if there was any delay they'd contact me to let me know.


2 weeks later I got a phone call from the store to let me know the outfit would be delayed by 2 weeks. Luckily I wasn't on a tight time schedule, so the extra 2 weeks didn't cause a problem.

When the outfit was ready I made an appointment to go in on a day when the instore tailor was available to make any tiny adjustments.

I must admit I was a bit nervous about how the outfit would turn out, I hadn't made too many changes compared to the original version but there was that little worry that it wouldn't be as amazing.


Thankfully there was no need to worry :) the outfit looked every bit as amazing as the one I'd initially tried on. It fitted almost perfectly and there was only one tiny adjustment to the sleeves which was done in store there and then for me.

My only complaint was that they hadn't ordered a netted skirt for me. I could probably easily have ordered one from any English bridal shop, but as Arinder Bhullar had my measurements and could get me one in the exact same shade as my bridal outfit, I ordered it from them and had it posted it out to me.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with the service I received, they were professional every step of the way - ringing me with important updates, they even rang to let me know when they'd posted out the netted skirt :)
I didn't get a chance to check out the non-bridal outfits in store, but they had some great accessories (my sister ended up buying a handbag too)

Friday 6 June 2008

New online magazine - Flair Now

There seem to be a lot of new magazines for asian women launching this year, all promising to be unique and bring something different. I can't wait for the likes of Henna Magazine and Fusian to launch so I can rate or slate them...but who knows how long it'll be before they arrive in the shops!

It's just as well that there's an online alternative in the newly launched Flair Magazine. Yes, you read correctly it's an online magazine meaning it's absolutley free to view at the click of a mouse!

Although not strictly just for the asian market, Flair Magazine features a lot of ethnic models, make-up artists and photographers. The slick navigation (designed by Pixelplaya) takes about 5 seconds to figure out, and then you can easily browse the articles and editorials on offer.
As with all magazines there are adverts, and with Flair these come in form of the occassional pop-up ad, however they're not the annoying kind of pop-ups, they're built into the flash of the site and it's a no brainer to press "skip ad" to carry on reading the article. If you do click on the ads though, they open in a new window so you won't lose where you're up to in the mag :)

Overall it's not a massive chunky magazine, the articles are short and snappy and in my opinion Flair Magazine makes for a good quick read, so go and check it out and let me know your thoughts!!

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