Cher Horowitz is one of the biggest 90s muses of days gone by, with our love for Clueless never wavering (side note: have you ever noticed this major mistake in the movie before?).
Well, get your favourite Clueless quotes ready, because the iconic movie is apparently getting a TV reboot very soon. Yes, really!
It’s not the first time that the film has been adapted for the small screen – a three-series show ran from 1996 to 1999 – but it’s now getting a millennial make-over.
According to Deadline, the hour-long TV series is in the works with CBS TV Studios, and will be ‘Mean Girls meets Riverdale meets a Lizzo music video’. We’re into it.
There is one pretty major catch, though: Cher won’t be present for the majority of the show. As if, we know.
That said, we’re excited to hear that it’ll be Dionne who takes centre stage (or screen) this time around, as Cher has *mYsTErIouSlY* disappeared.
The show will follow Dionne’s adjustment to being high school’s new ‘It Girl’ while simultaneously trying to solve her best friend’s strange disappearance, all set in modern day LA. Certainly very Riverdale, no?
Don’t know about you, but our interest is well and truly piqued. We’ll definitely be tuning in…
She’s the highest paid chat-show host on US TV and was recently honoured by Barack Obama for campaign work for the LGBT community. But it hasn’t been an easy rise to the top for one of Hollywood’s first openly gay women
Words by Michelle Davies
In the summer of 1980, Ellen DeGeneres moved out of the New Orleans home she shared with long-term girlfriend Kat Perkoff after an argument. A few nights later, on 26 June, Perkoff tried to make amends when they ran into each other at a gig. But DeGeneres, an aspiring comedienne, ignored her. ‘She was trying to get me to come home,’ DeGeneres recalls. ‘I acted like I couldn’t hear her because the music was too loud.’
That night was a pivotal moment in DeGeneres’s life, because it was to be the last conversation the pair would have. Travelling home later that evening, the comedienne, then 22, passed a wrecked Mercedes at the side of the road. The following morning she discovered that Perkoff, a 23-year-old poet, was in the car when it crashed and had been killed. ‘I should have gone home with her… I should have stopped… [I thought] all kinds of things,’ DeGeneres said afterwards, admitting to feeling ‘a lot of guilt’.
The event sparked a dramatic shift in her career: while grieving, DeGeneres wrote a comedy monologue about mortality called Phone Call To God. In it she pretends to be on the phone to God, chatting about the surreal qualities of death. It would go on to propel her to stardom.
Today, the 58-year-old is the highest paid female talk-show host on US TV, even out-earning Oprah Winfrey. She’s also the highest profile lesbian in the entertainment industry, and was recently praised by US President Barack Obama for her influence on the gay rights movement, receiving the Medal of Freedom – the country’s highest civilian honour.
She was born Ellen Lee DeGeneres on 26 January 1958 in Metairie, Louisiana. Her father, Elliot, was an insurance agent and her mother, Betty, a speech therapist. They divorced when she was 13 and her brother Vance was 17, and it was in the aftermath that DeGeneres discovered her talent for comedy. ‘My mother was going through a tough time and I made her laugh,’ she said. ‘It was a powerful thing [to discover].’
DeGeneres knew from an early age that she was gay, but waited until she was 20 to tell her family. ‘This was the biggest shock of my life and the last thing I had ever expected to hear,’ her mother Betty later admitted in her 2013 memoir Love, Ellen: A Mother/Daughter Journey. Immediately accepting of her daughter’s sexuality, she was concerned for DeGeneres’s well-being ‘given society’s prejudiced and negative attitudes’.
By then DeGeneres was living in New Orleans and doing stand-up in clubs. Her softly spoken goofiness and tendency to self-deprecate for laughs masked a burning ambition to succeed. ‘I wanted to have money, I wanted to be special, I wanted people to like me, I wanted to be famous,’ she said.
In 1982 – two years after Perkoff’s death – Showtime named DeGeneres the Funniest Person in America following a city-to-city search for new comedy talent. Her big break came in 1986 after performing her ‘talking to God’ routine on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Other comediennes had performed on the top-rated programme before her, but DeGeneres was the first to be invited by Carson to sit on his sofa and be interviewed afterwards. The footage demonstrates what a big deal it was – DeGeneres is clearly taken aback as Carson beckons her across the studio, while the audience erupts. ‘It catapulted my career,’ she later acknowledged.
More TV appearances followed, along with roles in adverts and sitcoms. Then, in March 1994, DeGeneres, aged 36, was cast as the lead in a new Seinfeld-esque sitcom called These Friends Of Mine. Her character, bookshop owner Ellen Morgan, was so liked by audiences that when the show was retitled after the first season to avoid confusion with Friends, it was named Ellen. By season two, it was one of the highest rated comedies on US TV (in the UK it aired on Channel 4).
With success came scrutiny, however, and the tabloids started digging into DeGeneres’s private life as rumours about her sexuality began to surface. Her family and friends knew she was gay, but she wasn’t ready to come out to her fans. ‘I was very insecure and depended on the validation of people who watched my show or my stand-up – validation I felt I’d lose if everybody knew who I really was,’ she said.
But as the tabloids became more persistent, DeGeneres began to change her mind. It was a risk – she was a prime-time TV star in a predominately conservative country, working in an industry full of people too scared to admit their sexual orientation – but she felt she had no choice. She persuaded the network, ABC, to out her character after she announced her own sexuality on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and on 30 April 1997 a staggering 44 million viewers sat down to watch Ellen Morgan come out as a lesbian. That same week, DeGeneres appeared on the cover of Time magazine with the headline, ‘Yep, I’m Gay’.
Ellen’s character Ellen Morgan came out on her show in front of 44 million viewers
‘It was a watershed moment,’ said Trish Bendix, former editor-in-chief of AfterEllen.com, the popular US culture and entertainment website for lesbians that was launched in response to DeGeneres coming out. ‘It challenged viewers to consider that someone they loved and respected was doing something they assumed was morally wrong. For many people it was the first moment they “knew” someone was gay.’
Sadly, the overall response wasn’t positive, and detractors labelled her ‘Ellen DeGenerate’. Companies withdrew their adverts from Ellen and, spooked by the backlash, ABC began to air parental advisory warnings before each episode. ‘Initially [my coming out] was celebrated and I thought that this was the greatest thing, because finally I was free too,’ said DeGeneres. ‘But then it just turned, and I mean turned.’
The storm only intensified when she went public with her first high-profile relationship with a woman. That summer, she began dating 27-year-old Donnie Brasco actress Anne Heche. ‘It was a lot for people all of a sudden,’ DeGeneres reflected. ‘They hadn’t seen two women holding hands, or with their arms around each other on a red carpet.’
The ratings for Ellen suffered, and in May 1998 ABC pulled the plug. In the months that followed, DeGeneres discovered that doors were slammed in her face, and yet opened for others. On 21 September that same year, Will & Grace, featuring two openly gay male characters, launched to a great fanfare on another network. ‘I came out, which was good for me, and ultimately it was the only thing I could do, and then I got punished for it. I was so angry,’ she said.
Meanwhile, her relationship with Heche was imploding under the strain and in August 2000 they split. Ugly headlines followed when the police found Heche in a disorientated state on a stranger’s doorstep in LA, saying she was waiting for a spaceship. She later confirmed she’d had a breakdown.
With her romance over and her career tanking, DeGeneres hit rock bottom and went back to stand-up comedy. Then, to her surprise, salvation came in the form of a little blue and yellow fish. Scriptwriter Andrew Stanton was working on a Pixar film called Finding Nemo about a clownfish searching the ocean for his missing son, but was struggling to develop the dad’s sidekick, Dory. Then he caught a rerun of Ellen. ‘Her character tended to ramble, and when she changed the subject matter five times in one sentence, a lightbulb went on,’ said Stanton. ‘I wrote Dory with only Ellen in mind.’ Finding Nemo was the second biggest-grossing film of 2003 after Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, taking £681 million at the box office worldwide. Thanks to Dory and her short-term memory loss, DeGeneres’s career was resurrected.
In September that year, she returned to TV with The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and her amiable probing of A-list guests made it an instant hit. It was nominated for 11 Emmys in its first season and won four, including Best Talk Show. It has since won 38 in total. During its fourth season, DeGeneres was asked to host the 2007 Oscars, the second female after Whoopi Goldberg. She hosted again in 2014 when she memorably broke Twitter by posting an all-star selfie.
It wasn’t just her career that was soaring again. DeGeneres had dated photographer Alexandra Hedison (now Jodie Foster’s wife) between 2001 and 2004, but didn’t know she had another admirer – actress Portia de Rossi, who played Nelle Porter in Ally McBeal. The pair were friends, having met at an awards show, but de Rossi hadn’t yet come out. ‘I was closeted and afraid that if I talked about being gay it would be the end of my career,’ said de Rossi. ‘So I wasn’t about to then date the most famous lesbian in the world.’ In late 2004, she told DeGeneres the truth. Four years later, on 16 August 2008, they wed at their Beverly Hills home after the same-sex marriage ban was overturned in California.
Her chat-show success and the public’s acceptance of her marrying a woman must seem like validation to DeGeneres after everything she went through when she came out. Last year, Hollywood trade paper Variety named her as the person who has done more than any other celebrity or public figure to influence Americans’ attitudes to gay rights. ‘Her impact on modern culture is immeasurable. Her coming out and her success as a person and a TV personality have directly contributed to how the world sees gays and lesbians,’ Bendix told Marie Claire. ‘She’s often cited, mentioned and thanked by other out celebrities and public figures who praise her for having done so when it was at peak difficulty. She blazed a trail for others to be able to do so with less fanfare and negative focus. She’s a hero for LGBT people.’ One such celebrity was Glee’s Jane Lynch, who said to DeGeneres: ‘It made it so much easier for me, what you did.’
Her success shows no signs of waning: last summer she voiced Finding Dory, which has made £772 million worldwide to date; The Ellen DeGeneres Show was recently renewed to run until 2020; her personal wealth is estimated at £300 million. But if she ever hits rock bottom again, DeGeneres is prepared. ‘You have no idea where the darkest times of your life might end, so you just have to keep going,’ she has said. ‘I know that I’m strong enough to come back.’
From War & Peace to Fantastic Beasts, Callum Turner’s roles are anything but predictable. The Brit actor tells Sophie Goddard about counting Jeff Bridges as a friend and why he’s glad he skipped drama school
Callum Turner has just said goodbye to his colleague. Smudge, he explains, is an ex-paratrooper training him to play Shaun Emery, a soldier convicted of murder in Afghanistan, in new six-part BBC drama The Capture. ‘It’s intense,’ he says of the role, which sees the soldier fighting for his freedom. Later this year, Turner also joins Anya Taylor-Joy and Bill Nighy for the 2019 big-screen adaptation of Emma, in which he plays romantic deceiver Frank Churchill. Growing up on a council estate in London’s Chelsea, Turner left school at 16 to pursue modeling – ‘[school] was very rigid, I couldn’t wait to leave’ – before his first major role beckoned in 2014’s Glue. The BBC adaptation of War & Peace followed, then his breakout film, The Only Living Boy In New York, before Turner was selected by JK Rowling for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, which firmly put him on the map. Now dating fellow actor Vanessa Kirby, who he met on 2014 drama Queen & Country, Turner explains where it all went right…
What was it like training with a real soldier for your character in The Capture?
‘I trained with Smudge four times a week. We learned surveillance and how to shoot guns. That stuff is so important because if you’re playing a trained soldier, it’s a completely different perspective on life.’
Is it ever surreal, thinking, ‘Who am I today?’
‘Yeah. I didn’t have it so much with Shaun, but I was doing a dance sequence in Emma and I had an out-of-body experience, like, “What’s going on?!”’
Do you think skipping drama school has had an impact on the kind of roles you’re offered?
‘At the beginning, definitely. I remember people saying I should go to drama school [while I was modelling] and I thought about it, but, actually, in the three years I would’ve been at drama school I worked with John Boorman, Paul McGuigan, Jeremy Saulnier, Adam Leon… I would’ve been wandering around pretending to be a tree so I’m glad I didn’t!’
Did the modelling come in useful?
‘I guess [acting and modelling] are similar. I started modelling at 16 − I’d just left school and someone asked, “Do you want to go to Paris tomorrow?” and I was like, “Sure, why not?” I didn’t do it for long, but I guess being in front of a camera, understanding angles and building confidence helped.’
What kind of films were you into growing up?
‘My early inspirations were − and still are − anything by Gary Oldman, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson is the god of cinema. He did Five Easy Pieces playing this alpha male character, then in The King Of Marvin Gardens he plays the complete opposite. He can do anything!’
‘In the years I would have been in drama school, I worked with John Boorman, Paul McGuigan and Adam Leon… I’m glad I didn’t go’
Your roles are varied, too…
‘If I do ten per cent of what Jack Nicholson does, I’ll be happy.’
What made you want to become an actor?
‘I’ve always loved films and the way you can tell the same story in different ways. Watching films for escapism, and being entertained – that’s why I’m in it. I don’t want to just plod along, I want to work with people who do stuff that’s interesting. My philosophy has always been that I’ll take on any character… it means I get to play a varied bunch of people.’
Fantastic Beasts was huge. How did it feel to land the role?
‘I was over the moon because I really wanted to work with David Yates and Eddie Redmayne. And obviously JK Rowling, whose cultural footprint on this earth will last hundreds of years. I wanted to learn from them, and Zoë Kravitz. We’re all friends now, that feels very special. To see how it works on such a big movie − what they all do is create this safe space, this intimate environment for you to feel comfortable. Everywhere you go, there’s a Harry Potter shop! I feel very blessed.’
What’s it like to step on to a new set?
‘I think every actor will say it’s nerve-racking on the first day. It’s like going to a new school. But that’s why I like playing leads because you’re on the journey the whole way through, with the director and other actors. So you find the rhythm and the flow, and can really start to play.’
It must take time to spot everyone’s work style?
‘Completely. Like when I did The Only Living Boy In New York, I had two weeks with Jeff Bridges, then a week with Pierce Brosnan and a week with Kate Beckinsale, then finished with Cynthia Nixon. I didn’t go to drama school, but watching those guys do their thing − that’s how I learn. These people are experts; they’re at the top of their game.’
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the talent?
‘No, I don’t get star-struck. I get nervous in the same way I’d get nervous if I went to a friend’s party and you don’t know many people. But it’s soon cool and I don’t get overwhelmed.’
I guess they’re not ‘Jeff Bridges’ any more, just ‘Jeff’?
‘Yeah it’s funny. I’ve got a great video of me and my friends and Jeff and his mate when we were doing the press for The Only Living Boy In New York. We got a helicopter and were all pretending to play it cool like, “Yeah, we’ve been in a helicopter before” and all of us are freaking out and laughing − it felt like we were six years old, having too much sugar.’
Some actors hate watching themselves back. Do you?
‘I think it’s important. I’m a visual person and I’ve got a system − I watch it once to get through it, cause I’m dying inside. Then I watch it again [feeling] less [like I’m] dying, then the third time I watch it for the performance. Like, “I wonder why that shot was used”, or “I could’ve done that more”. I analyse.’
Acting can be feast or famine. Is that stressful?
‘Last year, I didn’t work because the films I wanted to do fell through, and I was quite bored work-wise. We spend all this time doing interviews, going to events, meeting with people… then the bit you enjoy most is between ‘action’ and ‘cut’. That’s what’s frustrating. You’re not doing ten hours of acting, you’re doing 20 minutes. Playing someone else, going ten to 15 times, that’s what I want to do. That’s what’s exciting.’
Actress Elizabeth Debicki talks to Martha Hayes about empowering career moments, stealing her character’s clothes and playing it cool in front of Mick Jagger
Elizabeth Debicki must think I’m stalking her. I first met the Australian star best known for the hit BBC spy drama The Night Manager three years ago when she was living in London. This time, we meet in LA, where she’s been based since the beginning of the year. ‘How’s London?’ she enquires with a smile, standing 6ft 3in tall in a flowing Grecian-style dress and velvet ballet flats. I tell her I’ve actually just moved here to LA, too. Then, it turns out we live down the road from one another. ‘Get out!’ she says.
But it speaks volumes about the 29-year-old Widows star as she thoughtfully reels off recommendations for the best coffee, yoga and flowers in the area, when she knows we should be discussing her new role as the latest recipient of the Women in Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award. The next time I see her (stalking, much?) is later that evening at a chic cocktail party thrown by Max Mara/Woman in Film in her honour at the legendary Chateau Marmont – the very hotel where Debicki auditioned for her first Hollywood film, Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Working the room in an oversized cream trouser suit, this cool chameleon is an affirmative far cry from that nervous ingénue…
As well as honouring you for your (obvious!) acting achievements, Face of the Future commends your ‘timeless style and grace’. How would you describe your own style?
‘Changeable. I change and assimilate culturally wherever I am, which is part of my personality, I think. I can be in London for 12 hours and it’s like jeans, coat and boots. It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining, that’s it.’
I can vouch for that because I’ve met you in London.
‘And then in LA, I’m like, “Who am I?” I’m all peasant and flowy.’
You’ve just played Virginia Woolf in Vita and Virginia. Of all your characters, whose wardrobe have you coveted the most?
‘Jed in The Night Manager. I was going to say Jordan Baker [The Great Gatsby], but I’d nick all of Jed’s stuff because I could actually wear it. She had the best nightwear I’ve ever seen; the most beautiful nightgowns. I tried hard to steal them.’
Have you ever taken a souvenir home?
‘Jed wore this amazing necklace I don’t think anyone noticed – maybe if you freeze-framed and zoomed in – but it was so important to me. It was a little skull on a gold chain with a diamond in one eye, and I just loved that I knew it was hers, unlike all the other Richard Roper-bought jewellery.’
It’s a very interesting time for women in film. How confident do you feel in your own voice?
‘The older I get and the more experience I have, the more it becomes apparent that your truest strength is to speak with your own voice. It’s scary to be authentically yourself.’
Why do you think we find that so difficult?
‘I think it’s natural, when you’re trying to stake out a place within a particular industry, to have role models. But the flip side of constantly looking upwards is feeling unworthy. If you’re always being comparative and believing you’re coming up short, that’s destructive. It’s important to think, “One day, I will…” For me, [my role models] were always women who carry themselves with integrity, but make interesting art. That’s a powerful but difficult dynamic to strike up in your own life.’
‘The older I get, the more it becomes apparent that your truest strength is to speak with your own voice. It’s scary to be authentically yourself’
Has there been a particular turning point in your own career?
‘I think it’s only with hindsight that you understand what was a turning point. If you actually felt the penny drop, you should probably check yourself, like, “Whoa, you’re doing OK, but you’re not that great.” [Laughs.] It’s an interesting schism between knowing quietly inside yourself that you’re worth being heard, but challenging yourself so you don’t plateau. I look back at certain moments that empowered me and it’s always about the people I worked with.’
What springs to mind?
‘Making Steve McQueen’s movie Widows was a huge moment in my personal life. I can remember when I first saw Hunger  and thinking, “I don’t know what this is, I’ve never seen a film like it.” There are images in that movie that never leave you. So then I meet this man [McQueen] and he gives me a job. Then the work starts. And the work is, “How do I rise to the challenge of what he’s going to ask of me and how do I do it so that I’m proud of it myself?” You can never be in control of how someone receives your work, but you can know in the moment whether you have done yourself justice.’
You’re about to start filming Christopher Nolan’s thriller Tenet, but before that we’ll see you in The Burnt Orange Heresy with Mick Jagger…
‘Meeting him was surreal. We were shooting in a villa in Lake Como and one of the big, old kitchens had been turned into a make-up room. And someone was like, “Mick’s on set, he wants to meet you.” I walked in and he was standing there, hopping from one foot to the other eating a chocolate biscuit. He was just really excited to hang out. You flatline in your brain when you meet someone like that. You just think, “You are Mick Jagger”, you don’t hear anything else.’
Elizabeth Debicki is the 14th recipient of the 2019 Women In Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award
The millennial royals are by far the most popular with the public, simply for the fact that they are relatable.
Gone are the days when royals would just wave from a balcony – they’re now all over social media, wear high-street brands and have refreshingly normal hobbies.
The latest royal to make news on the subject is Prince William, who aside from his love of Game of Thrones and emojis, has recently revealed another love – and it’s a high fashion BBC drama.
Prince William is a huge fan of Killing Eve.
Yes, this is not a drill.
The revelation came about when Prince William, president of BAFTA, attended the opening of London’s ‘Behind the Screens’ exhibition, celebrating 75 years of UK film and TV.
One of the shows featured was Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s award winning hit, Killing Eve, a programme that Prince William claimed to be a fan of.
‘Apparently he has watched it all,’ Killing Eve producer Sally Woodward Gentle explained. ‘We didn’t test him, but he did say it was quite a final ending to series two. So at least he watched the last three minutes of the last episode! He said he loved it.’
She continued: ‘He said he didn’t quite get it to start with, but then he got into it.’
And to top it off, Prince William was given a pair of Villanelle’s iconic hospital Pyjamas from the season two premiere to take home.
‘They are meant to be worn quite small,’ Sally Woodward Gentle went on to explain, via People. ’But they are adult-sized. We had them made up especially for the show. We had a few made up, and that’s the last pair left.’
As the all-round culinary expert on Netflix’ Queer Eye, Antoni Porowsi knows a thing or two about food. Ahead of the release of his first cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen, we asked the self-taught chef about his love for cooking, go-to dinner party recipe, favourite foodie destination and so much more.
Tell me a little bit more about your background?
My upbringing was a mix of Polish heritage and Canadian culture. I was born in Montreal, but my parents and older sister emigrated from Poland, so I was the first member of my family to be born outside of Europe. Montreal is a very diverse city; I was exposed to multicultural foods from a very early age. We had this tradition in elementary school called ‘buffet de nation’ and all the kids would bring food from their respective countries. Most of the parents were from different countries, so everyone would bring two dishes.
I lived in Montreal for most my childhood, then moved to West Virginia for three years, and ended up going back to Montreal for university. I was studying Psychology and working night time jobs at several restaurants – from a family run Polish restaurant to the sort of farm-to-table restaurants – until I moved to New York, where I’ve been living for ten years now.
At what point did you develop an interested in food?
It sort of stemmed from necessity. As a child, I wasn’t really allowed to partake in the kitchen in terms of cooking, only my mom would do that, and I would just watch from a distance. It wasn’t until I was 18 and no longer living at home, that I had to figure out how to cook meals for myself. I quickly realised that it was such a lovely way to communicate with other people. My friends and classmates from university would come over and we would make meals together – it was such an easy, inexpensive way to socialise.
But you never trained to be a professional chef?
We have a lot of physicians in our family, so when I graduated high school, I was encouraged to pursue medicine. That wasn’t something I wanted to do – I was obsessed with movies and I wanted to be an actor – a degree in Psychology ended being the middle ground. When I finished my undergrad, I moved to New York and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Afterwards, I worked for Ted Allen for a couple of years – he was the original food and wine expert on Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
When I was studying, and afterwards even when I was working, the one job is always had was working in restaurants. It didn’t register to me that it was something I could do in a professional capacity until Queer Eye came about and that is when it all changed. For me, food was how I connected with my family growing up, behind closed doors in our dining room. I would consider myself a private person and being on Queer Eye sort of flipped the tables because now I’m talking about my personal life, my experience growing up and what it was like being part of the LGBTQI community.
As a private person, what has been like dealing with the success of Queer Eye?
It was definitely rather explosive at the beginning. It felt like this overnight thing that happened. I would get really exciting about meeting all kinds of interesting people, going to these events and being flown around for press. It was, and still is, an exciting new life – I mean, it’s only been two years. During that first year, I didn’t know how long the excitement was going to last, so I would drain myself until exhaustion and then go home and cry. There were mornings when I would step outside my apartment to get a coffee and within a few minutes, someone would recognise me and ask for hug, even though I hadn’t showered yet, or had just gotten back from the gym.
People get very excited because they think they know us personally. We are ourselves on the show, it’s not a full-on performance the way an actor plays a character, we are wider versions of ourselves. At first, I would forget this and someone would grab and I’d be like: oh right, this is a thing, and this isn’t a thing that is only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Eventually I started to get used to it, and now I’m able to remain cool and calm, say hi and not be as much of a weirdo. But I still have days where I’m a little shyer and I have to remind myself that this interaction might be really important to this person.
Do you help the other cast members with their cooking skills?
Tan once made me roasted and mashed sweet potatoes with chilly flakes and they were really nice, but he hasn’t fully cooked a meal for me yet. I do know for a fact that Tan cooks a lot at home for him and his husband, so he doesn’t need the help. Jonathan, however, I believe has absolutely zero interest in ever preparing a meal for himself. He is arguably one of the largest sponsors of Postmates, it’s a delivery service that will delivery anything at any time of the day, whether it’s McDonalds, limes, a block of cheese or chips in the middle of night.
I’ll be 100% honest, whenever I have Tan and Jonathan over at my house for fajita night, Tan always asks if he can help, but I love to do everything myself. One because I’m way too much of a control freak, secondly because I tell myself that’s what a good host does. But I’m trying to be better. I recently watched the docu-series Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix and chef Samin Nosrat was explaining that if she is making pesto, she lets one of the guests tear the basil so they feel like they’re part of the process, and leave feeling like they have learned something. So maybe that’ll lead up to teaching Jonathan and Tan something.
What’s your go-to dinner party dish?
Growing up in Quebec, we always had a cheese course after dessert, so I kick off my dinner parties with the thing that makes me the happiest; dairy. My favourite starter is a cheesy, lemon, rosemary and artichoke dip. It’s dairy-heavy, but the brightness of the lemon and tanginess of rosemary make this perfect with crackers, chips, or even some beautiful rainbow carrots, endives or thinly sliced radishes. If I don’t make the dip, then I will always have a cheese and charcuterie board.
And for date-night?
The champagne and lemon risotto is easy and light. You and your date can drink some of the champagne and use the rest in the dish. It’s a simple recipe, only takes 20 to 30 minutes to prepare, and there’s something sexy about stirring gently over a stove. Another favourite is the macadamia-crusted lamb lollies. There’s just something very primal about tearing away the macadamia nut crust of these perfectly medium-rare, salty, crispy lamp lollies drizzled in a spicy honey agrodolce. It’s sticky, it’s spicy, it’s meaty and it’s a bit of animal fat – I think that’s the sexiest dish in the book.
I assume you have a lot of cookbooks. What’s the one you always grab when looking for inspiration?
My favourite one is Feast by Nigella Lawson. I received it as a gift, and it’s the one that inspires me to be a little creative and try to figure out the story that I’m telling with my food. It’s a fantastic book (especially if you’re looking for inspiration for festive menus) and there’s something so sensual about the way she writes about food that is also so comforting. If she manages to do that with her writing alone, I can only image what her dinner parties are like.
You now have your own cookbook. What has this experience been like?
It all happened when we were filming season 3 and 4 of Queer Eye in Kansas City, Missouri. I would film during the day and then go home at night and test out various dishes per night. None of my recipes were ever written down, everything was just in my head, and I’ve never measured a single thing, so the technical part of the process took a lot longer than I thought it would.
I’m really fascinated by the fact that food can be so incredibly intimate and personal, so there’s a story behind every recipe in the book, no matter how basic or how complex it is – whether it’s a memory of where I tried it for the first time or who made it for me, a dish I invented out of necessity when I was a broke student or a Polish heritage recipe that I wanted to improve and reflect a little bit more of who I am.
What’s your favourite foodie destination?
Paris is great for decadence. When I’m there I just sit in a café, have an espresso and then go somewhere fantastic and enjoy really nice traditional food that is all about technique. What I love about Rome is the lack of pretention. You’ll have some of the best food there is, served at rickety tables in little cobble stone streets. One of my favourite restaurants is Su & Giu – I once went for three meals in a row – it has laminated photos of the food hanging on the walls and the nonna there runs the show. They have the best puntarelle salad, made from the leafy tops of chicory, anchovies, lemon juice and olive oil.
What about London?
Ninety per cent of the time I go for Indian or Pakistani food with Tan – our favourite restaurant, Star of India, sadly closed down – and the other ten per cent, I go to Nando’s. I’ll order two sides of halloumi – I love it so much, it’s squeaky, it’s delicious and it brings me so much joy – two classic burgers, one order of the peri-livers, three sides of the peri-naise and finally, I’ll ask them for a large plastic bag of their nut mix – they usually sell them in little containers but I’m not about that. Actually, since we’ve touched on Nando’s, I actually have a little homage to Nando’s in my cookbook and created my own version of their livers.
I really wish I had a chic recommendation, but that’s the tricky part. We’re so lucky to visit all these great cities, but we get taken from one hotel to the next, and we don’t really have time to actually explore. I know London has a really awesome food scene, but as soon as we get there, it’s all about Indian food. I was raised on Indian food so that’s something, especially when I tried it in London, that changed everything for me.
Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski is out on September 19
The 90s were made for all things witchy – Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Charmed, Hocus Pocus, The Craft… who went through the decade and didn’t want the power to battle baddies and cast spells?
And when it comes to magic movies, one that definitely stands the test of time is Practical Magic. For those of you who missed out on this gem back in the day (and by the way, you really missed out), it stars the legends that are Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, two witch sisters who have avoided using magic their whole lives until they are forced to learn the craft when Kidman’s terribly frightening boyfriend suddenly dies.
It’s dramatic! It’s scary! It’s a sort of witchy rom com! And it’s bloody brilliant.
So for anyone who is tempted to dig out their Practical Magic VHS, we’ve got some wonderful news – the film is getting a prequel series and we are so here for it.
Rules of Magic and Practical Magic are both novels by Alice Hoffman, with the latter being made into a movie back in 1998.
Now HBO Max, a streaming service that is yet to be launched, has ordered an hour-long pilot of the prequel series and it will be written by Melissa Rosenberg and Dana Baratta, the minds behind Jessica Jones.
It will see the Owens children, Frances, Bridget and Vincent, living in 1960s New York City and follow the trio on their own magical journey.
After ten years of being there for us, Friends left our screens in 2004 – leaving a Central Perk shaped hole in our hearts – and we’re still not over it. Yes it may have been 15 years since Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Phoebe and Joey made their last appearances but it still feels like it was just yesterday.
We’re still deeply invested in Rachel and Ross’ tumultuous relationship, we’ve never given up hope on Parker (Alec Baldwin) coming back into our lives, and we can’t believe how quickly the Friends children have grown up. Are we the only ones confused by our feelings for Ben now that he’s grown up and starring in Riverdale?
But it wasn’t Cole Sprouse or the news that a former employee of Robert De Niro’s company was getting sued for binge-watching the show in company time that made all the noise this week. Instead, it was the revelation that one of the core six characters was almost written out of the show.
The popular Netflix series You left us with a lot of questions. Did Karen ever find love after her fling (close call) with Joe? Were we actually meant to like Beck? And what actually happened to Candace?
The streaming service confirmed that the thriller would be back with a second season, but so far there haven’t been many clues about what we can expect.
In the first season, we saw bookshop manager Joe Goldberg stalking customer Guinevere Beck, hacking into her social media accounts and following her around, wanking in bushes outside her flat, and murdering her ex, best friend and therapist before killing her. While it appeared that he had also offed his ex-girlfriend, the mysterious Candace, she turned up on his doorstep at the very end and told him they had ‘unfinished business’.
Filming for the second instalment is underway, and Netflix has promised that it’ll be available to watch soon but that was all we knew – until showrunner and co-creator Sera Gamble revealed that the upcoming season will be ‘gorier and scarier’ than the first.
She told LadBible: ‘At least one scene comes to mind that’s gorier and scarier than anything we had in season one.
‘Joe is new to Los Angeles fully intending to start over a new leaf and never being forced to do bad things again.
‘Joe is always trying to be a good guy but yet somehow he’s finding himself in these thriller, horror kind of situations. It’s terrible for him but I think it’s going to be so much fun for the audience.’
A new character, Love Quinn, will be played by Haunting of Hill House’s Victoria Pedretti (aka Nell, RIP), and it’s rumoured that she will become Joe’s newest obsession.
Sera continued: ‘Love is very different from Beck. We were aware going into season two of the show, there was something very special about Beck the way that we told it in season one.
‘We knew that it wouldn’t be possible to repeat it as the audience is very much onto Joe now and will see through him. The way that Love enters his life is very different. His interest in her and his expectation is also very different. I think it will be fun and interesting.’
Fun and interesting/terrifying. Will we be able to sleep at night after watching it?
Guess we’ll have to wait until it’s released to find out. Gulp.
Actress and comedian Aisling Bea talks to Sophie Goddard about love, loss and why she’s definitely not the new Fleabag
Aisling Bea is, in her words, ‘living a circus life’. The writer/actor/comedian is currently in Rome filming Netflix rom-com Love. Wedding. Repeat, starring Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn, Eleanor Tomlinson, Jack Farthing and Freida Pinto (Aisling Bea plays Rebecca, a friend of Eleanor Tomlinson’s character). Apparently, six weeks filming away from home is a doddle. ‘This year has been nuts,’ she explains. ‘I have a house in London – that’s “home” – but a year ago I was in LA. Then I moved back to London, then New York in September. Then I came back in January and now I’m in Rome.’ Most of us would be flagging by this point, but Bea, 35, is impressively chirpy. ‘It definitely feels normal now – when I was 18, I moved to Dublin for four years, then to London. I suppose I haven’t been near the house I was brought up in for 17 years. It’s sort of in my bones.’
Within seconds of talking to Aisling Bea, you realise why she’s so good at what she does – storytelling is in her blood (quite literally. Her grandfather was novelist and poet Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and her great-aunt was playwright Siobhán Ní Shúilleabháin). ‘Making people laugh is the greatest love of my life, and it has been my favourite thing to do since I was a kid,’ she tells me. ‘My cousin showed me a video of me hosting “the cousins talent show”. I swear to God I was nine, stood on a chair in this hotel function room, with 40 aunties, cousins and uncles. My granddad used to love it when we’d get up and sing – it’s not too far off my persona now.’
Brought up in Ireland’s Kildare by her mother, a teacher and former jockey, with younger sister Sinéad, Aisling Bea’s father Brian, a vet, took his own life when she was three years old. Bea (real name Aisling Cliodhnadh O’Sullivan) changed her surname to Bea in memory of him and wrote an article about the experience of loss in 2017. I say how touching I found it. ‘It is very odd when someone talks about it because it is a piece of writing, and I am a writer,’ she says, thoughtfully. ‘On one hand I’m like, “Thank you very much, that is a lovely thing to say about a piece of work”, but on the other it’s like, “I still feel like I am getting my head around it”.’
Aisling Bea’s latest project involves working with some familiar faces. ‘I’ve known Sam [Claflin] from when we did our first audition for drama school together [Claflin and Bea trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art]. Jack Farthing was the year below us,’ she says. The others have become firm friends, too. ‘Eleanor Tomlinson, she’s one my best friends here, we’re like two little peas in a pod. We went to an aerial yoga class this Saturday and it was genuinely one of the worst things I have ever done in my life, like, “This is hell, when will this end?” Eleanor has never done yoga before and the first version she gets is hanging from the air. It made me start laughing uncontrollably while we were upside down.’
‘To say I’m not confident would be ridiculous. I can go on stage in front of 6,000 people. But self-esteem is something I’m trying to work on’
One of the biggest misconceptions about Aisling Bea is that she was a comedian first, who ‘fell’ into acting second. ‘I had been an actor for a long time before stand-up took off,’ she explains. ‘I was an actor my whole career, but it’s only in the past year that people describe it as “taking off”. Something can’t take off when it’s been slowly in the air for 17 years!’ Clearly, she’s not too shabby at it, either. She has just wrapped another Netflix project, Living with Yourself, opposite Paul Rudd, as well as writing and starring in comedy This Way Up with friend Sharon Horgan, in which Bea plays a teacher trying to pull her life back together after ‘a teeny little nervous breakdown’. Other acting credits include Hard Sun, Gap Year, The Fall, Damned, Trollied and Dead Boss. ‘I love pretending to be other people. When I was doing The Fall, I was going through a break-up and remember loving going in, putting on a nurse’s outfit and zipping up as someone else for the day. To get an escape from yourself, in a lovely and creative way.’
Stand-up, though, has been a whirlwind. In 2011, Aisling Bea became the first woman in 20 years to win the So You Think You’re Funny? stand-up competition, before selling out her debut solo show at Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. Bea’s stand-up is observational, sharp and witty, poking fun at both herself and those around her (watch her ‘fat-thin’ routine on YouTube ASAP if you haven’t already). In 2014, she won a British Comedy Award for Best Female TV Comic, and in 2016, landed the first female captain seat in 8 Out Of 10 Cats, appearing on everything from Live At The Apollo to James Corden’s A League Of Their Own and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Alongside her acting projects, she’s currently starring in The Comedy Lineup on Netflix. ‘It went from nought to 60,’ she agrees. ‘I was on TV a year and a half after I started stand-up. I felt like I’d been picked up by a tornado.’
Does she feel pressure meeting people, being the ‘funny’ one? ‘No, actually,’ she says. ‘I’m not a shy person, so I don’t. I was talking to my therapist about this recently – about the difference between confidence and self-esteem. If I were to say I’m not confident that would be ridiculous. I can go on stage in front of 6,000 people and walking into a social situation I’m never nervous. But self-esteem is “what do those 6,000 people think of you?” Someone might have amazing self esteem, but not the confidence to get up there. I think a lot of performers have low self-esteem; I definitely fall into that category. That’s something I’m trying to work on.’
Then there is the small matter of attention on her personal life, something that Aisling Bea (who dated Michael Sheen and was most recently linked to Andrew Garfield) is still navigating. ‘What is odd, is when you meet someone for the first time and you can be Googled. Or they can,’ she considers. ‘We are all becoming more in the public eye, but you do start to care less and less. One great thing about being a stand-up is that I can address it on stage. It must be hard for people who don’t get to use their voice. I can always take that back with a microphone, even for 60 people in a small comedy club. I feel lucky to have that element of control.’
Thankfully, Aisling Bea has the support of her ‘comedy sisters’ – Roisin Conaty, Katherine Ryan and Sharon Horgan. ‘After one panel show went awfully, I rang Katherine and Roisin crying, and they were in terrible moods about it, too,’ recalls Bea. ‘You’re not looking for people to have a bad time, but by connecting over real experiences, you feel calmed. Like, “Oh, I am normal”. We are a very tight community.’ The notion of ‘competition’ between the women doesn’t factor, either. ‘There was a long time where people didn’t believe in the universal law of abundance – that there is no limit to how many women you can put on TV, because TV expands,’ she explains. ‘When there was a limit to TV and there were too many shows, Netflix got developed. When Netflix got overwhelmed, YouTube developed. Then Facebook TV started. There is no limit to how much space there is, because if you make a story people want to watch, they’ll find it. I’m not the new Fleabag, Fleabag is not the new Girls, Girls is not the new Sex And The City – they are all separate things, and there can be many. Maybe it’s because I grew up with women, but I really believe in an abundance of women.’ Amen to that.
This Way Up will air on Channel 4 in August, and Living With Yourself will be on Netflix later this year.