Bleats

Ariana Grande Suing Forever 21 For 'Lookalike Model' Is A New Level Of Narcissism

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Ari.

Over the years, we’ve grown accustomed to Ariana Grande’s signature look: gravity-defying ponytail, winged eyeliner, cat ears, baggy jumper or dress and thigh high boots. But according to the chart-topping singer, the distinctive style belongs to her, and her only. 

We all know this look. Credit: Giphy

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for “tricking customers” into thinking she had endorsed the brand by using a model who looked “strikingly similar” to her. 

Credit: Twitter

Grande has taken particular issue with a series of posts on Forever 21’s Instagram featuring a “lookalike model” sporting a slicked back ponytail and wearing clothes similar to the ones the singer wore in the video for her song ‘7 Rings.’ 

According to CNN, Forever 21 had approached Grande to be part of an endorsement deal in late 2018 and early 2019, but she declined “due to Forever 21’s unwillingness to pay the fair market value for a celebrity of Ms. Grande’s stature.”

To make matters worse, Forever 21 even used lyrics from ‘7 Rings’ in the Instagram captions e.g. “Gee thanks, just bought it! Shop our favourite trend atm.”

Credit: NYT

“The resemblance is uncanny and Forever 21’s intent was clear: to suggest to the viewing public that Ms. Grande endorsed Forever 21, its products, and was affiliated with Forever 21,” the lawsuit states.

There is absolutely no doubt that Forever 21 took major inspo for Grande’s look, but the singer’s legal team might not have such a strong leg to stand on. 

Professor Rothman told the New York Times that “Forever 21 could argue that they were simply mimicking a popular fashion trend and were protected by First Amendment rights.”

“We can imagine that teenagers who love Ariana Grande are looking at her Instagram, dressing up themselves, maybe wearing Forever 21 clothes and posting it on Instagram,” he said.

Rothman has a point. If Grande is suing Forever 21 for using a “lookalike model” she must also have a problem with the hundreds of thousands of teenage fans who follow her – and dress like her – every day. 

As much as Grande has the right to be part of a deal making money off her appearance, the whole lawsuit comes across as somewhat narcissistic. It’s a massive milestone in the fame game to have fans (and brands) inspired by your look, and it’s not like Grande hasn’t taken style cues from other celebrities.

Hm..Credit: Giphy

Last week, Forbes reported that Forever 21 was considering filing for bankruptcy after sales dropped by 20-25% last year. If Ariana Grande wins the lawsuit, will Forever 21 even be able to cough up?

You know what they say Ari: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Social Media In 2020 Is Making Me Miss These Simple Pleasures Of MySpace

What a time to be alive.

It’s 2020, which means each day we are ambushed with an onslaught of buzzing social media notifications and the temptation to compare our lives to other people’s ‘highlight reels’ while aimlessly scrolling through an endless feed of nonsense.

Modern life. Credit: Giphy

It’s times like these that I cast my mind back to a simpler time, when flip phones and polyphonic ringtones were the nifty new technological advancements and MySpace reigned supreme.

Sadly, MySpace (as it used to be) is long gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get all nostalgic and remember the things that made it so great:

Your First Friend Was Old Mate Tom

The real MVP. Credit: Giphy

MySpace did a really great job at making us feel like less of a loner by automatically blessing us with MySpace creator Tom as our first ‘friend’ upon the creation of a profile. Is there anything more iconic than his low-key, pixelated profile picture? I think not.

Fun fact: Tom Anderson sold MySpace to News Corp in 2005 for $580M before retiring in 2009. Today, Tom is living it up in exotic destinations all over the world as a travel photographer.

‘Coding’ And Customising Your Profile

Iconic. Credit: Codecademy

One of the coolest features of MySpace was the way you could completely customise your profile. Using basic HTML and CSS, users were able to change their profile backgrounds, add funky fonts and even change the cursor on your page. I proudly made mine a disgusting mixture of different fluro colours.

Showing The World Your New Fave Banger

Mine was (obvs) My Chemical Romance. Credit: Giphy

Another way MySpace gave us ~permission to shine~ was by allowing users to add a song to their profiles. This was pre-Spotify and Soundcloud, so the novelty of your favourite track auto-playing with the click of a button really never wore off. 

The Stressful Yet Exciting Politics Of Picking Your Top 8 Friends

Kim Kardashian’s actual MySpace profile. Credit: Mic

Before there were Internet trolls and keyboard warriors, there was Top 8 politics – and damn, did it get nasty. Back in the day, MySpace allowed you to carefully select eight of your friends to be featured on your profile page in the Friends section. It made relationships, it ruined relationships, but my goodness, I miss it dearly.

Commenting Was The Way To Communicate

These days, there are endless ways to get in contact with your loved ones. If you haven’t caught them on text or phone call, you could try FaceTime, WhatsApp, SnapChat, or Facebook Messenger. In MySpace’s heydey, commenting was all the rage. It was simple, really – if you wanted to chat to someone, you’d visit their profile and say “hey, how are you?” WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.

Glittery Graphics

Credit: Giphy

In 2019, there;s no need to communicate using words when there are so many amazing Gifs and emojis out there. But before all of this innovative technology, we had glittery graphics. You could tell your MySpace friends you were “100% cute” or an “angel baby” and there was absolutely no need for an explanation. 

There Wasn’t An Annoying App For It

Credit: Giphy

One of the biggest things I miss about MySpace is the fact that there was no app for it. Because our phones were so prehistoric, the only way you could find out if someone had left a comment on your profile was by firing up the old Dell and logging in, the old fashioned way. These days, our notifications are being pushed to us left, right and centre – there really is no escape, unless you delete the app and suffer through soul-crushing FOMO.

To app or not to app. Credit: Giphy

Perhaps it’s time for the simplicity and innocence of MySpace to make a comeback. Lord knows we could all use a break from the mounting pressures of a social media-driven life.

Anger Is Growing Towards 'Begpackers' Who Want You To Fund Their Dream Trip

"South-East Asia is not a personal playground."

If you thought drunk Aussies making a fool of themselves was all you needed to worry about when you go on vacation, think again. ‘Begpackers’ are the new embarrassing stereotype in town and South-East Asian officials are damn sick of it.

According to Urban Dictionary, begpackers are “tourists who travel backpacker-style without sufficient funds but ask for donations, freebies, and handouts from locals.”

Credit: Twitter

Begpacking “is often done in countries where the average income is far lower than what they could earn working a minimum wage job at home,” and a new report from the ABC states that the disdain towards it is growing. 

“We hate them,” Malaysian counterterrorism analyst Munira Mustaffa told the ABC. “South-East Asia is not a personal playground for Westerners to come seek ‘spirituality’ and treat us as props for your self-discovery.”

Peace, man? Credit: Giphy

Sometimes, begpackers use signs asking passersby to “help me fund my dream trip,” while others sell sketches and postcards, or busk for money.

Credit: Twitter

“We have seen many cases of problematic tourists, lately they are either Australian, British or Russian,” Indonesian immigration official Setyo Budiwardoyo told Detiknews in June. “We tend to report these cases to the relevant embassies so that they can oversee their citizens who are on holiday.” 

According to the ABC, Thailand is attempting to combat the issue by more strictly enforcing its rule that foreigners are required to have at least THB10,000 ($480) at immigration checkpoints. 

However, there are mixed opinions on begpackers. Joshua D Bernstein, a tourism researcher from Thammasat University in Bangkok told the ABC the criticism was just “callout culture.” 

Credit: Twitter

In a 2017 feature for The Independent, Helen Coffey said she refuses to judge Westerners busking in South East Asian countries. “There’s an uncomfortable assumption that every white person in Asia has independent means and a rich family back home to call upon should they run out of money,” she wrote.

Others have pointed out the double standards, considering it costs Indonesian citizens $140 just to apply for a visa to holiday in Australia, while begpackers are getting a ‘free ride.’ 

Credit: Giphy

“Do they realise how much we have to spend just to get visas in their countries? And here they are parading themselves as needy in a context where poverty really means living in sub-human conditions,” Filipina community worker Nash Tysmans told the ABC.

So, is throwing the term ‘begpackers’ around judging travellers without context, or is it offensive to expect free handouts when travelling in these countries without sufficient savings? Either way, it’s ruffling feathers all over social media and stirring up plenty of debate. 

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