Exclusive Interview with Tanay Jackson – VIDEO!

Here’s your Jackson family lesson of the day: Tanay Jackson, the niece of the lateMichael Jackson, is pursuing a music career!

Tanay, who began talking to her father, Michael’s older brother Tito, when she was in her teens, is following in the family business. Not only has she rerecorded the classic ’80s hit “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too!),” she’s working on a new single, “In the Spotlight” (seems like an appropriate title!)

Watch below as Image Gal Samantha von Sperling gets the exclusive scoop on Tanay’s career and her NY Fashion Week adventures!

NY FASHION WEEK Fall 2013 – Image Gal Interview with Rocco!

Image Gal Samantha von Sperling interviews fellow image expert Rocco Gaglioti at the CONAIR STYLE360ʼs semi-annual New York Fashion Week showcase showing Fall/Winter 2013 Collections. Check out her exclusive interview below!

Enter our NY Fashion Week Swag Gift Bag giveaway and take home some Fashion Week of your own!

IMAGE GAL’S Excellent Fashion Week Adventure – PHOTOS!

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NY Fashion Week Fall 2013 was one excellent adventure for our Image Gal Samantha von Sperling, who weaved her way from the tents at Lincoln Center to Pier 59, and captured it all in photos!

The beginning of Fashion Week at Demeter custom fragrance event at the Duane Reade Look Boutique.

I’ve always wanted to hold an Oscar, from Oscar Roadtrip at Distrikt Hotel.

Backstage in the chaos at W Hotel Union Square with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics,Prive and KISS Nails.

Cool nails by KISS for NY Fashion Week!

With designer Mathieu Mirano at his show at Lincoln Center.

With Conair Style360 host Rocco at Tumbler and Tipsy by Michael Kuluva show.

At Vantan Tokyo at the Stage at Lincoln Center.

The NOLCHA  clothes!

At Yotel for NOLCHA Fashion Week Closing Party with liquor rep and friend Steve Shaw Jr. in a private booth sponsored by Iceberg Vodka!

I sent my mom a Papyrus card from Lincoln Center to tell her I wish she could have been with me at the shows!

Until next season!
Image Gal

CELEBRITY BEAUTY SECRETS: STYLE YOUR GUY Philip Garbarino’s Hair Makeover!

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We know that girls have a hard time parting with their long locks. But what happens when your man needs a major trim?

That was the case for Philip Garbarino. The author of The Devil Repents and A Bronx Tale star hadn’t cut his hair in years and was due for a new look. The DivaGals turned to New York City’s Eiji Salon for some serious hair-aphy.

Our Image Gal Samantha von Sperling had a consultation with salon owner Eiji, who explained to complement Philip’s naturally curly locks, it should be cut to a midneck length in layers so he could keep that just rolled out of bed look.

Philip didn’t cry, though we knew he was nervous. Master stylist Kenjiro was charged with the task, and he meticously cut Philip’s strands to perfection.

Samantha used Rusk WIRED Flexible Styling Crèmeto coax Philip’s natural waves into place… The final verdict? Fabulous! Let us know what you think, below!

 

photo credits: MC Deyte Productions, Jeffrey Neira

GAL APPROVED: Model Kitchen!

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It’s DivaGals’ third and final installment of Model Kitchen!

Our first digital web series, shot in a $7.5 million dollar loft on Park Avenue in New York City, features our own Image Gal Samantha von Sperling and our special guest, model agency owner Karem Belalcazar (KB Models), as they whip up some incredible Colombian dishes.

Be sure to watch our two other episodes featuring Gossip Girl’Zuzanna Szadkowski and America’s Next Top Model alum Aminat Ayinde.

Want to know about about our location? Check out our exclusive video inside the amazing duplex!

 

NY FASHION WEEK 2013: Stuart Weitzman – DivaGals VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!

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Stuart Weitzman. The man! The Shoes! Need we say more?

On Fashion’s Night Out, our Image Gal Samantha von Sperling got tickled pink chatting with the creative genius himself inside the Weitzman flagship store on Madison Ave. in New York City. Check out our exclusive video below to learn the secrets behind his exquisite shoe construction, his fall shoe style suggestions, and how he puts together an outfit (from the shoe up, of course!).

IMAGE GAL: Celebrity Stylists Hair Tips! VIDEO

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Image Gal Samantha von Sperling got a brand new look for summer, courtesy West Coast celebrity stylists Cherry Petenbrink and Mika Fowler, who traveled to the Big Apple to share their celebrity stylists hair tips. Check out our exclusive video, shot at the luxurious Eiji Salon in Midtown Manhattan, to see Samantha’s transformation!

Prepping Students for Sorority Rush (The New York Times)

By ABIGAIL SULLIVAN MOORE

Published: July 16, 2012

MARGARET KING of Birmingham, Ala., was at a loss about how to help her older daughter prepare to rush at the University of Virginia. In the South, where sororities have long been a momentous rite of passage, the road to sisterhood is long and not so clearly marked.

Cary Norton for The New York Times
Pat Grant, left, and Marlea Foster coach a client on the dos and don’ts of sorority rush, which at many campuses begins in August.

So Mrs. King, who graduated from Yale in 1984, before it had any sororities, enlisted the aid of Marlea Foster and Pat Grant, local consultants who had coached their own daughters through rush at Furman, the University of Georgia and Auburn University. Naming themselves theRushbiddies, they opened shop in 2009 after hearing about the rush misfortunes of their daughters’ friends. About 50 mothers and their “chicks,” as the Biddies affectionately call them, attended one of their two-day workshops in April ($100 a couple), complete with mock rush party, wardrobe hints and paperwork prep.

And there is a mound of it. The smart rushee, the Biddies advise, will have a résumé stressing community service, leadership, academics and teamwork, letters of recommendation from alumnae of each chapter, preferably on the campus in question, and reference letters.

With the help of Ms. Foster and Ms. Grant, who wears a pink feather boa during workshops, Mrs. King asked alumnae of about 10 chapters, several from U.Va., to write her daughter’s recommendations. To guide their plaudits, she sent them packets with a professional photograph, transcript and résumé. To thank them, she dropped off a bottle of rosé in their mailboxes.

The rush proved successful, but, she says, “I’m just glad I didn’t have four daughters.”

For a generation that grew up on tutors, admission counselors and relentless competition, prepping for rush seems only natural. A mini-industry of blogs, Web sites, books and consultants now helps them prepare for sorority recruitment and all its fallout, professionalizing what was once left to older siblings.

Samantha von Sperling is an image consultant in New York, but lately her bread-and-butter Wall Street clients have asked her to help their daughters get ready for rush at schools like Harvard; the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and New York University, which has added three chapters since 2006 and more than doubled the number of sisters, to 570.

“It’s the same kind of coaching I do on Wall Street,” Ms. von Sperling says.

Sororities are emerging in surprising force at campuses not usually associated with the Greek tradition. Students raised on Facebook and fears about post-college careers view sororities as the ultimate social network and an extension of the community service begun in high school. Nationwide, membership is up, growing a bit more than 15 percent from 2008 to 2011, to 285,543 undergraduates, according to the National Panhellenic Conference, which represents 26 old-line sororities.

Twenty-eight percent of female undergraduates at George Washington University last semester were Greek, about double that in 2006; at Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pa., the number reached a high of 50 percent; at the University of Rochester, 22 percent; at the University of Pennsylvania, 29 percent.

Though new chapters are being added and membership expanded, competition is palpable for hot sororities. “The most sought-after organizations aren’t able to keep up with the demand,” says Matt Supple, director of Greek life at the University of Maryland, which recently added a new chapter.

Which sororities get the most first-choice rankings is a closely guarded secret.

“Sorority recruitment is like no other experience that you will ever have for the rest of your life,” says Sunday Tollefson, author of “Rush Right: Reveal Your Best You During Sorority Recruitment.” “It’s like speed dating meets interviewing meets beauty pageant meets upscale academic summer camp, complete with a counselor.”

Rush often begins in August or early fall — for January rush, substitute Uggs for fashionable flats. At the University of Mississippi, which has nine sororities, all candidates attend a first-round “philanthropy” event at each chapter that includes learning about its charitable work. Candidates can visit up to six chapters on the second round, depending on how many invite them to return, and three on the final.

In the early rounds, they have only minutes to make a positive impression. The trick, says Ms. Tollefson, whose Web site, SureSister.com, aims to demystify rush, is to be memorable for 10 minutes after each event. That’s when sororities typically decide who will be cut.

Appealing facial expressions, confident body language and good conversational skills are critical. “Practice, practice, practice in the mirror, saying your name, and see what you look like when you listen,” advises Denise Pietzsch, an etiquette consultant in Ohio who works discreetly with clients heading to Miami University. “If you’re a great active listener, they will remember you because you let them talk.” Her typical fee: $125 an hour.

Ms. von Sperling offers a Friday-to-Sunday intensive, for $8,000. One day is devoted to carrying yourself properly and the art of conversation. Treat rush, she says, as you would a job interview. Avoid politics and religion. “I teach them how to make interesting small talk: what you saw at the cinema, a trip to Europe. I don’t know too many 20-year-olds who are having a debate about economics.” Another day is for getting physically ready — hair, makeup and wardrobe. Ms. von Sperling organizes “outfits down to accessories, completely strategized.” Just in case a client forgets, outfits are photographed and placed in a style file.

When Rachel Lewis was president of Alpha Chi Omega at the University of Kansas, parents asked: “Should I buy all J. Crew clothing? Do they need designer purses?” Ms. Lewis, a 2010 graduate, recently wrote “Recruitment 101: an Insider’s Guide to Sorority Recruitment” and started up Sorority Corner, a membership-based Web site. Her advice: “Dress like you are meeting your boyfriend’s parents. If it’s too short or too tight or too out there, it won’t impress.”

Sundresses by Lilly Pulitzer, the designer of happily hued clothing, are particulary popular for August rush. Two years ago, the company introduced the “Sorority Line” — totes, scarves, makeup bags and the like — using chapters’ colors and symbols. Sales are strongest in the South: “OBSESSED! E-mailing this to the entire Gamma Psi chapter at Wofford College!” gushed one fan on the company Facebook page.

Copyright 2012 Lilly Pulitzer
A swatch from Lilly Pulitzer’s “Sorority Line” of clothing.

The Rushbiddies host a fashion workshop at Saks Fifth Avenue in Birmingham; they also give individual consultations. In late May, they visited a client’s home in an affluent Birmingham cul-de-sac for a final session. They reviewed paperwork, dispensed advice and vetted dresses for August rush at Auburn. “This I love,” exclaimed Ms. Grant of a one-shoulder black cocktail dress destined for the last rush event. “It’s not too over the top.” And shoes? “Black strappy sandals,” said Ms. Foster.

During the session, the rushee, Mallie, who did not want her full name published because it might affect her chances, was mostly quiet, worn out by her recent finals. Her mother took notes and asked questions. Later, Mallie talked about rush: “It’s going to be stressful — not only making a decision for the next four years but for friends you will have for the rest of your life.” Because the experience can be so emotional, consultants provide “on-call services.”

Many aspiring sisters spend their summer working out and dieting. “Rushing shakes your confidence level,” says Maggie, who also spoke on condition she not be fully identified. She will soon be heading to Washington & Lee, and is trying to lose weight. “You are being judged on how you look,” she says. Case in point: A study of Northwestern undergraduates in a normal weight range, published in 2010, showed the thinner women more likely to join a sorority.

As rush grinds on, students often text their moms with frequent, sometimes tearful updates. “Drama Trauma Drama,” wrote one weary mother on a Greek chat forum. For some mothers, empathizing with the pain of peer rejection is excruciating.

“I lost six pounds that week,” recalls Julie Baselice, whose daughter Christina is now a Chi Omega at the University of Texas. “It was the most stressful experience of my life.” As for Christina, she is grateful for the counsel of Marjorie Burciaga, an Austin, Tex., consultant, on how to handle herself during recruitment events. “It’s so easy to go in there and start talking, talking, talking,” she says. “You need to learn how to have a filter.”

Many students who don’t get asked back by their dream sorority during the early rounds walk away from recruitment altogether. Last year at the University of Virginia, 27 percent left during January rush. Students often have their hearts set on a particular house, says Michael J. Citro, the assistant dean of students.

Or a rushee might limit herself to the house her mother belonged to (legacy status is a plus but no guarantee of a bid). Ms. Burciaga encourages her clients to keep an open mind about chapters they visit. “I talk to them about what seems like a good fit for them,” she says.

One obvious reason for rejection is inadequate grades. At the national level, sororities set a grade-point average, and individual sororities often raise the bar. Beyond that, candidates can rarely discern why a sorority rejects them.

Madeline D’Arcambal Braun, a Manhattan native entering her junior year at Indiana University Bloomington, says she had “absolutely no idea” why she wasn’t asked back. She dropped out of rush freshman year after the houses she wanted didn’t invite her back. “It’s exactly like a breakup. That’s how this feels.”

Indiana is reputed to have one of the toughest rushes. Parents have complained on the Sorority Parents blog, operated by the National Panhellenic Conference, that space is too limited. Last year, a little more than half of the 1,718 women at Indiana who registered for recruitment joined a sorority; about 800 either didn’t continue or did not receive a bid. Possible reasons, say university officials: inadequate grades, student dissatisfaction with the chapters that chose them and vice versa, or not enough spaces.

This past year, the nonresidential sorority Theta Phi Alpha was added to expand slots, becoming the 20th chapter at Indiana. Ms. Braun decided to give this one a whirl, and joined sophomore year. “It’s awesome,” she says. “I’m always raving about it.” Another nonresidential chapter, Alpha Sigma Alpha, is coming this fall.

Rush at George Washington University is a different ballgame. No résumés are needed. Nor are alumnae letters of recommendation or references. Requiring them “is ludicrous,” says Sara Fischer, who as president of the G.W. Panhellenic Association last year helped bring an 11th sorority to campus. “G.W. is not this kind of place.”

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times.
Alpha Delta Pi members talk up the Greek life at freshman orientation at George Washington University.

There aren’t a lot of legacies at G.W.; students are not drawn there for its Greek life. “Most come to school with a bad idea of sororities, like hazing,” said Marta Cofone, current Panhellenic president, struggling to be heard over the throb of Katy Perry at a meet-the-Greeks event during new-student orientation last month. Last year, a G.W. sorority lost its housing after an alcohol-fueled hazing incident.

“I wasn’t even going to join,” Ms. Cofone said, but the group leader she met at orientation was a “smart, intelligent and interesting person,” and Greek.

Several sorority members from New York and New Jersey, clustered at the Sigma Delta Tau table that night, recalled their mothers’ collective shock at their decision to go Greek. But, says Ms. Fischer, “being in a sorority is the best way to network.” She credits her Greek contacts with helping her secure an apartment, jobs and internships. She and others also attribute the recent growth of their sorority to recruiting a broad swath of women. “You’ll see that same set of Greek letters on someone with a nose piercing,” Ms. Cofone said, referring to the chapters’ names emblazoned on members’ T-shirts and caps. “That’s why it’s so successful.”

Valerie Berg, vice president of recruitment at G.W., notes that if students are open to any sorority who wants them, nearly all will get a bid. No prepping required.

Still, the elements of competition persist. Anticipating questions about October’s rush, Ms. Berg recently updated the sororities’ Facebook page. The topic: what to expect and what to wear on each day.

 

Abigail Sullivan Moore is co-author of “The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up.”  A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The New York Times on July 22, 2012, on page ED28 of Education Life with the headline: Pledge Prep.

STYLE YOUR GUY: Grooming Tips for Men!

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The DivaGals know that Old Spice will get your man smelling fresh … but why stop there? We asked our resident Image Gal Samantha von Sperling to share her topGrooming Tips for Men to get your man looking fine!

  • Get a nose hair/ear hair trimmer from your local drug store and don’t forget to use it!
  • It’s Spring: time for manscaping that excess hair away.
  • Don’t overgel! Crunchy hair is not cool. Invest in a decent haircut. Ask your stylist what products you need to maintain your ‘do and have him give you a lesson in proper application.
  • Deodorant, clean teeth and fresh breath are still standard issue!
  • Facials are for men, too! Nickel Spa For Men, located in New York City, offers a full range of at-home products to keep your skin looking smooth.
  • Neat, clean hands and feet are a must. Nothing should scratch your partner while in bed. So please, invest in a nail clipper.
  • Get your shoes shined regularly; it’s true that women look at men’s shoes. Make sure yours say you pay attention to detail.

photo credit: graur razvan ionut/FDP.net