Blog Posts by Piper Weiss, Shine Staff

  • Reality rehab: suicide and survival when filming stops

    Gordon Ramsay and Joe Cerniglia in Gordon Ramsay and Joe Cerniglia in Earlier this month, Nadia Almada was found lying unconscious in her bathroom after an overdose of prescription pills. It was only a week since she'd been kicked off the British version of "Big Brother," a gargantuan hit in the UK.

    "I just feel my life isn't worth living any more," Alameda, a Portuguese transsexual, had told the Daily Star two days after her eviction. After her failed suicide attempt days later, producers of the series released a statement saying: "We have been in constant touch with Nadia and like all housemates, she has access to all of our aftercare facilities."

    With a spate of reality contestant fatalities in recent years, producers are stepping up damage control.

    Last week saw the second suicide of a chef featured on a reality show helmed by the brutally honest, and sometimes just brutal, Gordon Ramsay. After public backlash (including chastising tweets from fellow reality chef Eric Ripert) Ramsey released a statement: "Joe [Cerniglia] was a

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  • Stiletto studs: the rise of men in heels

    They already wear thongs, strap on bras and carry purses. But heels? Eh, why not.


    In the last century, women fought for equal opportunities in the workplace. In this century it's men fighting for equal rights in style. It's true that women have long had the physical benefits of make-up, heels and spanx while men have had to face the reality. If they had a zit, there was no covering it up. A gut? Blame it on beer. And if they were on the short side? Forget it. Their best bet was to seek out friends under 6 feet. Or go into acting.



    But in 2010, men--both short and tall--are trying on platforms and stilettos for size. Lenny Kravitz wore platform wedge boots to Fashion Week in New York. Johnny Weir has made it his mission to pose in stilettos when he's not on the ice rink. And darn it, if they don't look fabulous. Russell Brand and Jude Law sneak their heels into boots, as if the extra lift is just a part of the style. Yeah, right.



    And then there's Tom Cruise. Rumors of his lifts,

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  • Lady logos: why are they all alike?

    Even if you've never purchased Mifeprex, the abortion pill that turns 10 years old this week, you've seen the logo. At a yoga studio, in the supermarket's natural foods aisle, or even at a charity event, the silhouette of a dancing woman has become the marker of a product designed for women.

    In logo-speak, it's got another name. "It's called a figurative logo, and alas it's been done to death," says designer Sagi Haviv, a partner at Chermayeff & Geismar. His firm has designed some of the most influential logos for everyone from Armani Exchange to the Library of Congress. Working with various female-branded organizations, he's noticed the dancing woman crop up time and again.

    "That goes against the whole principle of branding, which is to stand out and be memorable," says Haviv. "At this point not using a dancing woman would be a bigger statement."

    The statement was first proliferated at the end of the last century, as demand for wellness products--from yoga mats to

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  • What bad jokes about women should be banned?

    Andrew Dice Clay needs some new material. Ay-oh! (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)Andrew Dice Clay needs some new material. Ay-oh! (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)Mother-in-laws aren't funny. So says a British council that warned staffers against employing the naggy female stereotype joke. A sensitivity training packet given to Barnet Council staff members says: "British mother-in-law jokes, as well as offensively sexist in their own right, can also be seen as offensive on the grounds that they disrespect elders or parents."

    In fact, a lot of those over-involved mother-in-laws are being asked to get more involved. A new survey shows grandmothers are becoming one-woman nurseries for their daughters and son-in-laws as childcare costs rise. In other words: can it, guy.

    While we're at it, can we ban the "women drivers" joke, the "dumb blonde" and "Take my wife" one-liners and the "that's what she said" comebacks that still tickle some guys to the core?

    Comedy's golden rule: the best jokes are true. Since we're actually pretty good drivers, even blondes, and since we can't be "taken" because we're financially supporting men as they pursue their

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  • Wait, co-dependent couples really do read each other's minds?

    We owe this blissfully co-dependent couple an apology. Their connection is very real, albeit annoying. (ThinkStock Images) We owe this blissfully co-dependent couple an apology. Their connection is very real, albeit annoying. (ThinkStock Images) You know those annoying couples who finish each other's sentences? They can't help it. New research suggests they really can read each other's minds. It's a happy day for couples who believe they're psychically connected. It's a sad day for those of us who've been writing them off as deeply needy.

    New research suggests that some couples develop a "sixth sense," according to the Daily Mail, my source for all things science and weird British celebrities. In a brain scan study, several couples shared identical mental activity and "physiological alignment". "They had reached a state in which their nervous systems were ticking over in harmony, helping them to know each other's thoughts and emotions," according to the Mail.

    In other words, some couples really are soul-mates. Of course, it's a result of spending way too much time together. But still, apologies are owed to those friends we've expressed concern over "turning into their boyfriends". They actually might be, and it's kind of

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  • Who really killed 'Sex and the City'?

    A scene from the tragic last days of A scene from the tragic last days of Mr. Big is dead. So is his wife Carrie and her three best friends, according to actor Chris Noth. He broke the bad news to New York Magazine this past week saying: "It's over. The franchise is dead."

    And whodunnit? Noth is blaming the press. "The press killed it. It's like all the critics got together and said, 'This franchise must die.'" Case closed? Not exactly.

    It's understandable that an actor who spent over a decade in bed with a cash cow would be blinded by grief, unable to see the truth about what really happened: "Sex and the City" did itself in.

    Of course there were a number of factors at play that compelled the writers, actors and fans to put the ailing powerhouse to sleep. But it no doubt played a hand in its own demise.

    Like all legends, the series rose to fame on the basis of talent--a strong cast and crew and an even stronger writing staff with a ground-breaking take on female sexuality: It's funny, not sad.

    As the plot-lines thickened, so did the wardrobe and by

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  • How to love the job you have

    Five years ago, corporations wooed workers with foosball tables and gourmet food. Meanwhile, self-help books on finding your dream job and reducing your hours dominated bestseller lists. Things have changed since 2005. Nowadays keeping a job seems more important than loving one. And the best advice may be found in a 1970 Stephen Stills song: "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with."

    Unfortunately, a lot of people don't love their jobs. About 61 percent of newly re-employed workers consider it "just what they do to put bread on the table," according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. But with an average 90,000 hours of our lives spent on the job, it helps to care about what you do-or at least have a foosball table in the break room.

    Every year, the companies that rank the highest in employee satisfaction are the ones that offer creative perks. Pet-friendly days, team-building activities, small performance rewards all break up the monotony

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  • "The Bachelor" recycles Brad Womack for a new season

    Meet the new Bachelor. Oh wait, you already know each other. (The Bachelor/ ABC)Meet the new Bachelor. Oh wait, you already know each other. (The Bachelor/ ABC)
    You know that guy who hurt you and treated you like dirt? Why is he the one who always comes back? And why on earth do we take him back? Chris Harrison, why don't you field this.

    "The Bachelor" has picked a new bachelor: It's old bachelor Brad Womack--otherwise known as the guy who didn't choose anyone. He made a fool (a fool I tell you!!) of us all when he left Deanna and Jenni rose-less. Only recently did we start to mend, thanks to Kirk, Jason's wedding, and Jake's captivating repressed anger. And now this? Why, casting directors, why?

    Here's one explanation from an Us Weekly source: "Brad is very sincere and believes in the show. That's why he didn't pick someone last time. He was never in it for the publicity. He wants to find a wife."

    Hate to be a stickler but it's been 3 years since the 37 year-old bar owner dumped two women on the finale. If he wanted a wife so badly, I'm sure there are some women out there who love a Ty Pennington knock-off. If he didn't like the 25

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  • The 71 year-old runway model: a field guide

    Veruschka the runway in London this week. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) Veruschka the runway in London this week. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)


    Don't believe Janice Dickinson. The first supermodel was born in 1939, and her name is Veruschka. A veteran of Vogue covers, art parties and surrealist '60s films, the Russian born star taught Janice, Naomi, Linda and the teenagers she shared a catwalk with in London yesterday, how to work the runway.



    At 71, she took the stage at the Giles show at London Fashion Week in a fluffy helmet, Ziggy Stardust eyeshadow and a ballgown. She didn't look a day over 70.



    Unlike other aging stars, Veruschka doesn't mask her wrinkles or gray hairs. She wears her years, paired with her signature quirky style, like a statement piece. You would too if you had her life. Here's a brief history:



    • When she was five, her dad was executed for attempting to kill Hitler. Did you get that? Her dad tried to kill Hitler. She's made from the stock of heroes.

    • As a teenager her family was homeless.

    • She was discovered at 20 while studying art in Hamburg.

    • She did a shoot with Salvador Dali.

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  • Why are we still wearing heels?

    There are the basic facts: they hurt. They're impossible to walk around in. They can cause permanent damage. If you live in a major city, you probably spend a quarter of your salary on cabs when you wear them. And if you drive, you no doubt keep a pair of "driving" flats in the glove compartment. Th

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