Inside My Wardrobe (& The Silo Hotel) Part 2 | In Herve Leger at The Willaston Bar

0756As you might have seen, last week I posted the first of our launching three-part fashion and beauty series, featuring a simple black cocktail ensemble I am currently loving, set inside the marvellous penthouse of the The Royal Portfolio’s brand new Silo Hotel.

For today’s post, I am sharing our second round of photographs by the incredible Jean-Pierre Uys, featuring a super formal black-tie look that is very close to my heart: I first wore this dress at my thirtieth birthday party at our family wine estate, Lourensford, about four years ago. I still remember spotting the dress in Harrods, after a week-long and extremely thorough search in ice-cold London, calling my dad and asking him whether he thought the dress was too expensive. He said “if you really love it, you’ll only turn thirty once, so get it and enjoy it.” And, while I did only turn 30 once (thank heavens for that, because it did not come without its own very unattractive little quarter-life crisis), I have worn this treasured wardrobe item on many subsequent special occasions and, I figure, if I work out the cost per wear, it actually wasn’t that expensive;). You can watch a short video clip of my 30th birthday party here (event co-ordination by The Aleit Group).

As the setting for the second part of this series, I wanted to give you a glimpse into the magnificently furnished Willaston Bar at the Silo. Our (crazy) crew fell instantly in love with the opulent and seductive energy of this particular spot at the hotel, boasting unbeatable views of Cape Town’s city centre in a magically eclectic, jewel-toned environment.

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After ordering a Martini or two, and making absolutely sure that Gilbert and Renee had taken a sufficient amount of selfies in this new setting,  we started creating some images. Here is a selection of a few of my favourits. I hope you enjoy them. And, if you live in Cape Town or are planning a visit soon, go ahead and put “sunsets drink at the Willaston Bar” right at the top of your to-do list.

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WHAT I WORE

Dress | the black full-length beaded evening gown is by Herve Leger.

Shoes | the patent leather black strappy sandals are by Jimmy Choo (my all-time favourite shoe brand. I wore Choos on my wedding night on the dance floor until 05h30 and my feet still had blood supply at the end of it – that’s saying something.)

Diamond earrings | these are my everyday (and pretty much every evening) go-to earrings: a simple pair of 0.80ct diamond studs claw-set in 18 carat white gold. Personally, I prefer smaller diamond studs to larger ones, as I find the bigger ones often look fake and a tad Desperate Housewives. I am thinking of getting some black diamond studs made, set in rose gold claws, which I think will be amaze-balls.

Engagement & wedding ring set | these rings were designed by the lovely Ida-Elsje and myself, as custom-made Paka Paka pieces. The engagement ring features one brilliant-cut centre stone, flanked by vertically- and horizontally positioned baguette diamonds that form a complete eternity band. My wedding ring consists of baguette diamonds only, and all the stones have been set in platinum claws. You can see I have a small thing for baguettes (the edible version too, I’m afraid).

Cocktail ring | the 18 carat rose gold and black ceramic cocktail ring I’m wearing here is from the iconic B-Zero collection by famed Italian jewellery house, Bulgari. It was given to me by my darling younger sister, as my 30th birthday gift, and it’s thus become one of my most treasured items.

Stole by Errol Arendz (my favourite South African designer and an absolute hoot – now that I think about it, I could write a whole blog post just on him. In fact, a video interview (after a few glasses of bubbly) would be best. Watch this space.

Handbag by Chanel (this has been my go-to evening bag for the last decade). “I own too many Chanel bags” said no woman, ever.

MY HAIR & MAKEUP

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HAIR | Gilbert gave my hair a look that was a bit glamorous, a bit messy-hair-don’t-care. We wanted to keep things young and modern and achieved this using Gil’s Kardashian Beauty curling tong, a sufficient amount of old-school teasing and our hands (for a regular old pull-through, to loosen those curls). And, while no volumising mousse, spray or shampoo will, in my opinion, ever achieve the same effects as a good-old-fashioned tease (done right, of course), I am feeling generous today and want to share a little hair-care secret with you: be introduced to Joico’s Glamtex Backbomb Effect Spray (as the name says, it’s basically a backcomb in a bottle). Use this together with a good manual tease and you (and your hair) will be transported to new heights. Believe me when I say, this stuff works. (If you live in Cape Town or South Africa: contact any hair salon that stocks Joico to get your paws on a bottle of Glamtex.)

MAKEUP | Renee used the following key makeup products on me to create some sultry smokiness (I’ve been known to tell Ren not to “under-smoke” me and, as usual, she didn’t disappoint): Bobbi Brown’s Smokey Cool Eyeshadow Palette, MAC’s Smolder Eye Liner (this is a must-have makeup product for any girl who loves a smokey eye), Sensai’s Fluid Finish Lasting Velvet Foundation and, on my lips, Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Moisturizing Glossimer in 172 (a soft peachy pink colour in a translucent gloss finish.)

If you can never get enough makeup tips, read my recent interview with Renee where she generously shares a whole list of her best-kept beauty secrets.

WITH MY SINCEREST THANKS TO THE WORLD’S BEST GLAM SQUAD

Photography & (some necessary;) re-touching by Jean-Pierre Uys | The single photograph of the bar, appearing at the top of this post, is courtesy of the Silo Hotel | Makeup by Renee De Wit | Hair by Gilbert Mofubelu at Spoilt (moving to Hair soon) | Styling by Clare Wiese & Shari Kennedy

& THE AMAZING SILO HOTEL, SUPPORTED BY THEIR WONDERFUL MANAGEMENT TEAM. I WISH YOU ALL THE SUCCESS YOU DESERVE.

If you’re enjoying this blog, please don’t forget to Like The Global Critic Facebook’s page.

Love,

Clare.

Inside My Wardobe (& The Silo Hotel) Part 1 | A View From The Penthouse

0312BLOGI recently decided it was time for The Global Critic’s first fashion & beauty editorial series. It all happened quite serendipitously (which, in my opinion, is how the best things always happen). My dear friend Jean-Pierre Uys let me know he would be in town for a few days and was keen to collaborate.

JP is recognised as one of the world’s best wedding photographers (which is why I had no choice but to “import” him from New York to be the head photographer at our wedding, published in WedLuxe Magazine’s Global Trend Report last year).

A few days prior to his arrival, my father and I had attended the official opening of the Royal Portfolio’s magnificent new Silo Hotel in Cape Town (hosted at its incredible rooftop bar with unparalleled views of the Mother City). The five-star hotel, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above what will become the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). I could not think of a location more desirable for this particular blog series.

The Silo graciously opened up one of their penthouses to us, where my glam squad and I spent the day taking an insane amount of photographs, sipping on champagne and gazing at the spectacular sunset over Lion’s Head (whilst Renee and Gilbert were taking about 5000 selfies). If only all my “days at the office” were this much fun!

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WHAT I WORE

I wanted to give you a peek into my very own wardrobe (nothing sponsored, nothing borrowed) for the first of this 3-part series. For this (Part 1) I chose a cocktail ensemble I’m currently loving. I pretty much live by the rule “I’ll wear anything, as long as it’s black” and I always try to wear a variety of textures, when wearing only one colour, such as suede (pointy heels) and lace (crop top by Alessia). The pencil skirt is from Zara, the thin beaten gold vermeil ring I am wearing is from one of my all-time favourite jewellery designers, Monica Vinader, and the statement black cocktail ring is a costume piece from Saint Laurent, which my husband  gave me years ago during a holiday in Thailand (when I thought he was going to propose;).I love the elegant and effortless simplicity of this outfit, which (as long as you haven’t had too many carbs at lunch;) works well for after-work drinks, cocktail parties or date nights.

MY HAIR & MAKEUP

HAIR | Gilbert (thank heavens for this man) gave my hair a soft, relaxed wave to soften this look and lend some romance to it, using his trusty Kardashian Beauty curling tong and his mad skills, of course. He is almost so good I don’t want to advertise him, as I’m worried I’ll no longer get appointments! I always keep loose waves in place with a light misting of the iconic best-selling hairspray, L’ORÉAL Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hair Spray. It’s affordable and works like a bomb!

MAKEUP | Renee (no 1 on my glam squad speed dial) used the following makeup products on my face to work some serious Cinderella magic and create a soft, smokey eye with dewy skin: Sensai Mascara, Chanel Espresso Stylo Yeux Long-Lasting Eyeliner, Bobbi Brown’s Smokey Warm Eye Shadow Palette and Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick Highlighting Compact (one of my all-time favourite beauty products). If you’re a beauty junkie like me, read my recent interview with Renee where she shares her best-kept beauty & makeup secrets.

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WITH MY SINCEREST THANKS TO THE WORLD’S BEST GLAM SQUAD

Photography & (some necessary;) re-touching by Jean-Pierre Uys  | Makeup by Renee De Wit | Hair by Gilbert Mofubelu at Spoilt (moving to Hair soon) | Styling by Clare Wiese & Shari Kennedy

& THE AMAZING SILO HOTEL, SUPPORTED BY THEIR WONDERFUL MANAGEMENT TEAM. I WISH YOU ALL THE SUCCESS YOU DESERVE.

Love,

Clare.

My Father, Christo Wiese, On What Defines Happiness, What Doesn’t Matter & What Keeps Him Grounded

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A few years ago (OK, if I were to give away my age and be brutally honest, I would confess it was about 14 years ago), I found myself working as a naive, annoyingly enthusiastic intern at Marie Claire magazine in South Africa (think Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. Pre-makeover). This internship took place during my three-month summer break from my last year of studying journalism in London.

I was about 20 years old at the time and ended up getting my ‘big break’ in the world of glossy magazines, in a very similar way to how I ended up on a film set with Colin Farrell. I had nothing to lose, took a wild, impulsive chance and “fortune favoured the brave”. I simply picked up the phone one day, called Cosmopolitan magazine and told them I was a journalism student looking for an internship. The lady who answered the phone said they didn’t have any vacancies for me but she knew that Marie Claire happened to be looking for extra help. The rest, as they say, is history.

As time progressed during my stint at Marie Claire, then deputy editor Kate Wilson and editor Suzy Brokensha gave me increasing responsibility. I eventually suggested we interview my father for the “What I’ve Learned” section which, at the time, was published every month on the very last page of the magazine.  The team had mostly interviewed celebrities, artists and people in the creative world for this section, but I felt my dad would be the perfect interview subject for this particular page (even though his most “creative invention” to date has probably been the Panado box he keeps in his car for spare change to give to car guards. He simply cannot recommend this nifty little trick highly or frequently enough to any passengers who happen to catch a ride in his car).

ChristoClareWieseMy father had been interviewed countless times before, but with an always-similar line of questioning: what are the keys to success and serious wealth? Today, over a decade later, this question has become: “how did a barefoot boy from Upington (a small arid town in South Africa) manage to get onto Forbes magazine’s global rich list, in one generation?”

The Marie Claire interview (which was, as the name of the page suggested, about “what life had taught” him) turned out to be a huge hit – at least insofar as I was aware. He was inundated with calls from friends and relatives, who had found his comment about “the secret to a successful marriage” particularly entertaining. I will repeat it hereunder, as it’s just too good to leave out.

This past week, over the course of some deep conversations, my father’s illuminating philosophies on life, loss and everything in between, once again struck a cord with me. As much as the world sees my dad as one of the big bosses of South African business, I feel his greatest wealth lies in the sum of his experiences, the priceless life lessons he has taken from them and his discerning outlook on the world. Perhaps this is why I always turn to him first when life throws me lemons.

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Remembering the Marie Claire interview we did so many years ago, I decided it was time for a refresher course; an updated “What I’ve Learned”. This piece is, at the heart of it, really just for me (a type of “dear diary”entry, if you will). However, I nevertheless wanted to publish it here on my blog, with the simple intention of sharing some of my dad’s personal life hacks, just in case some of them might strike a cord with you too.

So, here they are:

What gives life meaning is the love of family and friends, and one’s love for that which is yours, like your country and your people.

What keeps me down-to-earth is my family (I have three very strong-willed children) and my very cheeky dog, Kimbey, who treats me like her personal servant – I have to carry her wherever she goes and, 90 per cent of the time, she ignores me when I call her.

The most impressive people are those that are not overwhelmed by their perceived success and therefore do not become a legend in their own minds.

I combat stress by regularly having fun with my friends over lunch at my favourite Capetonian restaurant, Magica Roma, and playing matches to determine who has the privilege of paying the bill. I used to play under the name “Champ” and now play under the name “Prince”. Let’s just say, we all have our noms de guerre.

It’s frustrating when things go wrong that can so easily be put right and those in positions of power lack the courage or political will to do so.

Growing up in Upington is something I am very grateful for because of the life lessons I learned in a beautiful but harsh part of the world, one of them being that life is not always a bed of roses and sometimes you just have to get on with it.

How you treat people says a lot about who you are and will determine, in most instances, how they treat you.

It’s OK to make mistakes, to fail and to try again.

My mother taught me that one should not concern yourself with things you can do nothing about. Rather focus on those things you can do something about and then go ahead and do something.

My father taught me to treat people from all ranks, creeds and races, equally. He got on with everyone.

The three biggest lessons I wish to impart to my children are: be your own person, never allow others to determine your horizons and accept that “life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” (as the movie character, Forrest Gump, so eloquently put it).

Happiness is achieved when you consider all your blessings.

The secret to a successful marriage is, inter alia, learning what your spouse’s air conditioning preferences are, prior to tying the knot.

The hardest lesson I have had to learn is that there are circumstances in life which are simply beyond our power to change.

The measure of a successful life is when you leave the world a better place than you found it.

I try not to fall into the trap of focusing on the negatives.

Age makes you realise that patience is a great virtue.

I thank my lucky stars that I grew up in a loving and nurturing home, and that I in turn am the father of a happy family.

My children have taught me that there is something like limitless love.

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend (it’s a cliché for a reason).

My wife has taught me that I am allowed to decide the big issues (like what the gold price should be and whether America should go to war in Iraq) but all other decisions will be made by her.

All of us should try to give more than we take. And all of us can do that.

What helps me most during turbulent times is my belief in a higher authority whose guiding hand determines our way through life.

I look up to so many people that it’s impossible to name them all. The qualities I admire most in others include compassion, humour and having a sense of direction.

It doesn’t matter if your dreams don’t all come true. What does matter is that you do have dreams.

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Our little gang at my father’s festive yet informal 75th birthday party at our family’s wine estate, Lourensford. Clockwise from left: my sister Bella, myself, my father, my brother Jacob, my beautiful mother Caro, my sister-in-law Ty and my husband Marco (aka Planet).

Love,

Clare.

PS thank you, Jani B, for the beautiful photographs of my dad’s 75th birthday “boerefees” used throughout this post.

This interview, translated into Afrikaans, was re-published with permission by Huisgenoot.com.

The Skin Care Products I’m Loving Right Now

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 9.42.06As you might have seen, I’ve done some once-off blog posts on what I believe are some of the best (if not THE best) beauty products in the world. Find them under the BEST IN BEAUTY category right here on The Global Critic.

Today, I want to share a whole list of some of the essential skin care products I’m currently using daily and can’t live without: some newly discovered life-changers have been thrown in amongst the oldies-but-goodies (those iconic cult-status products that have never been beaten and aren’t going anywhere any time soon.)

FOR MY FACE

Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse 

To get that facial-at-home feeling, I love starting my face-cleansing regime with this incredibly addictive cleansing oil, applied directly onto dry skin. It might sound counter-intuitive, but this is one of the best products for oily skin (so I really love it). It gets rid of excess oil, sun lotion, foundation, the most stubborn smokey eye make-up (which I am an avid fan of;) so that – by the time you apply your cleanser – you feel like you have paved the way for it to really penetrate the skin and do its job properly. No need to double cleanse! It’s one of Dermalogica’s best-selling products and, in my opinion, it’s no wonder.

Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser

This frothy face wash leaves your skin feeling delightfully origins_sku_048E01_500x625_0and throughly cleansed, but never dried out, pulled or tight. As the name suggests, it works on dry, normal or oily skin, bringing oily and/or dry patches into perfect balance.

It really is a wonder product and, since discovering it, a refill always makes its way into my shopping bag at Selfridges in London.

Image Clear Cell Acne Facial Cleanser

I have had problem skin since I can remember (read my post on how I finally solved the problem) and this cleanser has been a game-changer for me. Its main ingredient, salicylic acid, works perfectly to prevent and treat breakouts, although it can be drying. I therefore alternate between this one and the Origins cleanser (mentioned above) depending on where my skin is at.

Stockist information: if you live in Cape Town, contact facialist extraodinaire, Libi Roos (072-850-9279), to purchase this product. If you live anywhere else, just check out the Image website for a list of their stockists.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Again, this is one of Dermalogica’s most popular products. If you like that squeaky clean, smooth skin feeling (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), you will fall in love with this product (no matter what your skin type). I have used it for years and a facial cleanse (without using this baby at the end) just doesn’t feel the same. There is no better feeling than applying moisturiser to my face once I’ve given it a gentle emulsifying scrub with my trusty Microfoliant. It’s gentle enough to be used every day and it leaves my skin looking and feeling brighter. (I blogged about this product a few years ago and, here it is, still in my kit, proving it’s stood the test of time).

Image Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum

UnknownI absolutely love this moisturiser. It gives my skin an inside-out glow like no other. I am careful with how often I use it, though, as I do find it can be a bit rich for my sensitive skin (sometimes causing small breakouts), but – when my skin is on a good wicket – I simply love applying this stuff. It smells amazing and gives my skin a brightness and luminosity that makes whatever makeup I put on top of it just look that much better. If I could use it every day (without worrying about breakouts), I would. It’s paraben-free, which makes me even more obsessed. This product would work beautifully on normal and dry skin types.

The Clarisonic Mia Facial Cleansing Brush

I blogged about this baby before and, again, it’s stood the test of time. Think of it like a toothbrush for your face – it really polishes the skin like no other gadget can. Love it, can’t live without it. My husband can’t either;)

FOR MY BODY

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil

61vs3SG4WsL._SY355_Firstly, let me say I have long been a huge fan of French skin care brand, Clarins. The French just do it better, especially when it comes to skin care products. This is one of their most popular and iconic products. I have been given this product twice, as a gift, by two very discerning ladies (one in her thirties and one in her sixties), who are both die-hard devotees. It just goes to show: this body oil is loved by everyone.

It’s made from 100 per cent pure plant extracts, firms and tones the body and – of course – leaves your skin feeling hydrated and nourished, never oily or greasy. My fabulously talented friend and celebrity makeup artist Renee De Wit (whom I recently interviewed) gave me a great tip last week: apply this oil to chapped or dry heels every night, to ensure permanently silky feet in between pedicures.

Silc Skin Decollette Pad

main-decollette-padThis is me, honestly and truly, giving away one of my best-kept beauty secrets of all time (in the name of “sharing is caring” and that’s what this blog is all about). If you, like me, wake up looking like your décolletage needs a good ironing out, this silicone pad will change your life. It helps prevent and treat chest wrinkles (or “fine lines” to put it more discreetly) caused by sun damage, ageing and sleeping on your side (how else is one supposed to sleep?). Use it for a week, be amazed and thank me later (or share my Global Critic Facebook page and pay it forward;) I discovered this product on Amazon and have never looked back. It works better than anything else I have tried for this pesky problem.

Stockist information: purchase it online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk.

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

Probably Clarins’ most famous product, there is – quite simply – no other hand cream in the world that compares. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already own it but – if you don’t – go out and get yourself a tube now – or three: one for at home, one for the office and one for the car.  This is just one of life’s little luxuries you can’t do without.

Jo Malone Vitamin E Body Treatment Scrub

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 9.30.15This is one of the best body scrubs I have ever tried and I always keep a big tub of it right by my bath. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every cent. Its silky, Vitamin E-infused richness is super moisturising, whilst its sugar-particles are great for exfoliation. This baby leaves your skin feeling smooth, revitalised and nourished after a long, hot bath. Nothing better!

Kiehl’s Creme De Corps

Often cited by fashion magazines and those in-the-know, as The Best Body Cream Ever, this product is truly a dream come true. Not too thick, not too greasy, but beautifully rich, in all the right ways;)  This one makes for a great bridal shower gift!

Bettaway Aloe Vera Gel

pn-aloe-gel-75ml-carton-3d-no-shadowThis product is the bomb. There’s nothing fancy or expensive about it but it’s simply amazing. I used to shave my legs (thank heavens, I have since discovered the life-changing effects of laser hair removal) and this was the only thing that took away the annoying after-shave burn I used to experience every time after shaving.

This particular one contains 100 per cent aloe vera (no nasties, additives or fragrances) so it works perfectly for any kind of irritated, sensitive or dry skin. An after-shave must-have for all you ladies who have yet to discover laser hair removal (which I strongly recommend). Buy it at any pharmacy or ask them for a similar pure aloe vera gel.

That’s it for now, ladies. This list of mine could go on and on (I am an obsessive skin care product researcher and purchaser), but it’s 23h06 on a Wednesday evening and a Friends re-run awaits my tired self. I do believe, however, I’ve shared a good dose of skin care secrets with you this week and, while there’ll be plenty more to come, for now, I hope you’ve found something new on this list, worth trying.

Love, Clare.

My Oscars Best-Dressed List for 2017

I haven’t done a fashion-related post for a while, so I simply couldn’t miss the opportunity of rounding up my favourite fashion moments from this year’s Academy Awards.

Aside from the Best Picture Award mix-up (which I happened to catch live on television, in the early hours of the South African morning…and, yes, it was #superembarrassing) the most entertaining part of the whole event, for me, was of course the fashion.

So, here is a list of my top ten Oscar looks from this year’s red carpet arrivals and Vanity Fair after-party appearances.

No 10 | Kirsten Dunst

The blonde actress rocked the red carpet in a black Christian Dior Haute Couture gown. But, what really got this look onto my list was her incredible choice of accessories (diamond necklace & earrings both by Japanese fine jewellery brand, Niwaka) complemented by perfectly on-point hair and makeup.

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No 9 | Jennifer Aniston 

OK, we all know Jen always wears black. To every event. Always. And, yes, it wouldn’t kill her to deviate a tad. But – because it’s Jen and I am still an embarrassingly-obsessed Friends fan – I simply couldn’t exclude her. Plus, I reckon her body deserves an Academy Award of its own. The girl’s 48 years old, for heaven’s sakes.

PS This plunging Atelier Versace gown was previously worn by Jennifer Lopez at Radio City Music Hall, which makes me love Ms Aniston and her refreshing devil-may-care approach even more.

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No 8 | Amy Adams 

The red-haired fashion maven stunned in this glamorous yet super modern Tom Ford show-stopper. Those curls, reminiscent of old-world Hollywood, were pretty impeccable too.

PS Amy wore a pair of our Paka Paka earrings to the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Premiere in March 2016, so the girl clearly has taste and she’ll have this aspirational South African jewellery designer’s loyalty for some time to come.

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No 7 | Alicia Vikander 

Love this festive black number (by Louis Vuitton). Adore this actress. Obsessed with this Bulgari necklace (and the way she teamed it with that casual, innocent little top-knot). The strappy heels are winners, too.

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No 6 | Hailee Steinfeld 

This dress is dreamy, romantic, ethereal perfection. Nobody does high-voltage evening glamour quite like Ralph & Russo. I particularly love how she’s matched this very feminine dress with fiercely made-up eyes (I make no secret of my penchant for a (very) smokey eye). Just ask my go-to makeup maestro Renee De Wit.

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No 5 | Hailee Steinfeld 

Hailee got into a much more seductive number, also by Ralph & Russo, for the Vanity Fair after-party.  This look was sultry, sexy and sheer, yet just enough mystery remained to keep things elegant and glamorous.

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N0 4 | Thandie Newton 

I must admit I had never heard of this designer before spotting Ms Newton in this glittery rock-n-roll sensation, but Italian luxury brand, Schiaparelli, is now firmly on my (and probably everybody else’s) fashion radar. As the fabulously OTT celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe would put it, “this look is everything”.

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No 3 | Jessica Biel 

This form-fitting metallic Kaufman Franco gown and Jessica Biel’s body were quite simply a match made in Hollywood heaven.  The dress, the body, the necklace and of course her drooling husband, Justin Timberlake…the whole darn package was just one big fabulous feast for the eyes.

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No 2 | Chrissy Teigen

Let me start by saying, I love this girl. Chrissy was one of the first celebrities to buy one of my Paka Paka rings, right out off the floor of our Los Angeles showroom. Let’s just say that gave me (a very humble and grateful) spring in my step for a few days!

I was also lucky enough to meet the insanely talented and delightful Zuhair Murad (who designed this sensational dress) when I was wedding dress hunting in Paris last year. I am in love with each and every one of his designs and this one is no exception.

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No 1 | Emma Stone 

And the award goes to…the girl who got The Award (Best Actress, La La Land). Yes, she is probably at the top of every other best-dressed Oscar list out there, but credit must be given where credit is due. The 28-year-old star owned the red carpet (and the night) in this golden delicious 40’s inspired Givenchy gown, complemented by the perfect Hollywood hairstyle and impeccably painted brown-red lips (she wore NARS Audacious Lipstick in Mona, in case you’re wondering). The height of red carpet magic.

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Hope you enjoyed my best-dressed list! I’ll definitely be drawing some inspiration from these glamorous gals for my next black-tie event.

Love, Clare.

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Jo-Ann Strauss on Finding Balance, Handling Self-doubt & Flirting with George Clooney

jo-annstraussglobalcriticJo-Ann Strauss is one of those girls it would be easy enough to hate. Not only is this former beauty queen and university graduate a self-made media mogul and one of South Africa’s most iconic faces, but she is also married to an almost uncomfortably attractive surgeon (her very own McDreamy) with two gorgeous toddlers filling their home in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town. Oh, and I forgot to mention, she’s had personal interactions with the likes of George Clooney and Nelson Mandela – yep, that should do it.

However, as someone who has known Jo for a few years now and seen her go from strength to strength without ever losing sight of what really matters, I can see why she is (on the contrary) adored by so many: both those that know her on a personal level and the South African public, at large.

She exudes that rare and delicate combination of aspirational glamour and down-to-earth authenticity that simply makes her, well, impossible to hate. Instead, she can’t help but inspire. It’s for that very reason that I asked Jo to share some of her personal stories with us, right here on The Global Critic. Of course, being the supportive friend that she is, she graciously obliged (whilst being out of town for work on a super tight schedule).

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Despite her insanely busy life, Jo-Ann always makes time to pause and celebrate life’s special moments: this was taken at her birthday lunch in 2015 at the fabulous Grand Beach Cafe in Cape Town.

Jo-Ann, you stepped into the spotlight in 2000 when you were crowned Miss South Africa. Many beauty queens are one-hit-wonders and disappear from the scene after their reign, yet you have steadily maintained your position in the spotlight. Was this always the plan?

jo-ann-strauss-miss-south-afric-768x768I never planned on staying in the spotlight, so this was not quite a focus for me. Before I had entered Miss SA, my long-term goal was to work in the media industry, so I knew that the pageant would be a good move strategically and I leveraged my contacts and networks accordingly.

I had initially planned to become the MD of a huge media company. Now, when I look at how things have turned out, I enjoy the flexibility that being a media entrepreneur affords me, as I have time to travel and spend time with my family.

What was the first step you took towards fulfilling your dreams of working in the media?

After my reign as Miss South Africa, my immediate priority was finishing my Bachelor of Commerce degree at Stellenbosch University and so that’s what I did. My career in media actually started during this period. When I wasn’t in class, I was television presenting, while other students had jobs as waiters and waitresses.

What was your very first job in television and how did you land it?  

My first job in television was for the SABC lifestyle show, Pasella. I started working on 1 April 2001 and thought it was quite an apt date (being April Fool’s Day) as they had me in a ballgown and stilettos, prancing about in the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn. But, like everyone else, I first had to audition.

Were you nervous as a newbie television presenter or did it come rather naturally?

I had been exposed to some television work through Miss SA, so I was ok, but not quite a natural.

From there, how did your career evolve to where it is today?

After my time at Pasella, I started presenting for Top Billing and ZDF, Germany’s largest television channel. From there, my reach into the media world steadily expanded: I started my own television production company, became an ambassador for large international brands like Lux and Samsung and launched an online presenter search (www.socialstar.me), which quickly morphed into a huge social media competition and has been running for three years now.  Through this, I have helped many youngsters break into the media world, including Mishka Patel who has presented for Pasella. I am currently producing a new reality series, to be unveiled soon.

Everyone has dreams. What do you think differentiates those who have dreams from those who go out and make them reality?

I live by a mantra, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” I think some people wait on others to fulfil their dreams. That way, their dreams remain dreams.

It would be easy for the public to look at your life and assume you have it all: a gorgeous husband, two healthy kids and a dynamic career. What makes you human and what do you struggle with from time to time?

I am constantly struggling to juggle everything and am so grateful for my husband being a supportive man … and a damn good-looking one at that;) When I have moments of self-doubt, which I do, he pours me a big glass of red wine and tells me to put on my big-girl panties! Overall, however, I do feel super blessed and say thank you every day.

What are your moments about self-doubt about? 

I had a major impostor-complex as Miss SA, as I never felt I was the prettiest girl in the competition. I experienced some hurtful media scrutiny from radio DJ’s who said some nasty things about me, when I was still 19 and wearing the sash. But, I soon adopted the attitude that I simply couldn’t let others’ perceptions of me detract from my own truth and living my life. I am older and more confident now, but I definitely still have my moments.

Who have you most enjoyed meeting during your career as a media personality?

I was honored to have met Nelson Mandela a few times; his humility made a lasting impression.

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Name some other celebrities you have had the opportunity of meeting. 

George Clooney, Bono, Kim Kardashian, Elton John, Heidi Klum … there have been quite a few, so it’s impossible to list them. An “occupational hazard,” I guess;)

Which celebrity surprised you the most and why?

George Clooney was hilarious and so kind. He threw in some unexpected answers to my questions, containing the odd sexual innuendo, which made me blush. But, luckily, I managed to hold it together and make him blush in return with a few witty retorts.

What is Kim Kardashian like in person?

jo-ann-kimkardashian-clarewiese-globalcriticI met Kim at a fashion gala in Monaco. She was initially quite aloof, but after she realised we were seated at the same table, she became curious and a bit more chatty.

She was actually quite sweet, but I understand why she is so stand-offish.

Thousands of people were staring at her every move and her huge engagement ring. This was just after she became engaged to Kris Humphries.

What is the craziest interview question you have ever been asked?

I was asked which celebrity I’d want to sleep with.

And…what was your answer? You can’t leave us hanging!

I said Angelina Jolie. I figured I might as well make the interviewer’s jaw drop too;)!

If you could interview one person (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d interview Reeva Steenkamp and ask her what happened that fateful night.

What has been your favourite fashion moment of all time?

My wedding dresses. I had asked my friend and one of my favourite local designers, Gideon, to design them and he created three incredible dresses that perfectly reflected my personality.

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Who is your fashion icon and why?

Jessica Alba. She understands subtlety and effortless style.

What are your best spots in Cape Town?

Which beauty products can you not live without?

I love everything from La Mer. Their Renewal Oil is amazing. I also love The Mist and, of course, their iconic Crème De La Mer.

Finish these sentences:

  • I never leave home without my Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. It takes the best pictures.
  • I would hate to be in a closed room with a praying mantis. I’m terrified of them!
  • My favourite book of all time is The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho.
  • My favourite movie of all time is Zoolander.

Is there a down-side to fame in South Africa?

I think maybe the fact that it’s not as financially rewarding as in the States, but on the flip-side, it’s also not as intrusive as elsewhere and you can still live a “normal” life.

You recently started a blog about the challenges of being a mother in modern times.

I started my blog, Modern Mommy, in 2014 and try to spend as much time as I can on it, but it’s hard to focus fully on it as I have a few other businesses and a family that require my attention. I would however like to use my blog as a tool to empower “mompreneurs” and share useful tips with other mothers. I have been encouraged by the response the blog has received thus far.

What is the biggest challenge facing modern mommies today and how do you handle being a mom, a businesswoman, a friend and a wife?

screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-18-33-21The challenge is the guilt. You feel guilty when working too much and being away from home. When you’re at home with the family, you feel guilty for not working. Even now, as I am sitting, typing these answers (at 05h35), I am trying to make sure that the tapping of the computer keys doesn’t wake up my baby.

There are simply not enough hours in the day, so I work when I can, often sacrifice my beauty sleep and rely heavily on concealer and eye drops!

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your mother?

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

If you could teach your kids one indispensable lesson about life, what would it be?

Be kind.

What are your rules for living a well-rounded, happy life?

There are no rules, but I try to make a conscious decision every day to focus on that which makes me and those important to me, happy. You can’t please everyone, so it’s pointless trying.

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