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L’Oréal Paris Announces Gemma Chan as International Spokesperson

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Actress Gemma Chan
In 2018 Gemma Chan burst into Hollywood in the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians

From the moment she turned down her law career to follow her dream into acting, Gemma Chan has forged an unconventional path to Hollywood. The feminist is one of a new generation shaking up the film world – calling out what needs to change, and then working to make it happen. The British actress has grown her influence for greater inclusion in cinema; for gender equality and for race diversity among the movie industry’s storytellers and makers, as well as actors. She has also partnered with international NGOs to campaign for children’s rights and equality. Always taking an active role for society’s most vulnerable, Gemma most recently supported the UK’s frontline workers at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, by volunteering with Cook-19 to deliver much-needed free meals to help overwhelmed healthcare workers across London.

FORGING HER OWN PATH

After graduating in law from Oxford University in 2004, she was offered a job with one of London’s leading law firms but turned it down. Instead, she decided to follow her intuition to pursue an acting career. She spent a year working as a model to fund her studies at Drama Centre London, the acting school that produced talents such as Emilia Clarke, Colin Firth, and Pierce Brosnan.

Gemma followed first roles in theatre with appearances on household shows such as Doctor Who and Sherlock, before landing her breakout role in sci-fi series Humans. In 2018, she burst into Hollywood in the decade’s biggest romantic comedy, Crazy Rich Asians, followed by the first women-led action film from Marvel, Captain Marvel, an international success. Following this, Gemma returned to British television in the I Am anthology drama series for Channel 4, from BAFTA winning writer-director Dominic Savage. The trilogy explored the experience of three women in moments that were emotionally raw, thought-provoking and very personal with themes including relationships, societal pressure, identity and empowerment. Gemma received rave reviews for her performance in I Am Hannah, which she co-developed and co-authored. This December Gemma will star alongside Hollywood royalty Meryl Streep in the Steven Soderbergh comedy for HBO, Let Them All Talk and next February, the actress makes an awaited return to the blockbuster Marvel franchise alongside Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek in Eternals.

A VOICE FOR INCLUSION

For Gemma Chan, to be an actress gives her the chance to speak up on issues that matter to her. She advocates for inclusivity and feminism, values at the heart of L’Oréal Paris. As often the only person of color on-set when her career began, Gemma experienced first-hand both the need for cultural change – and how much change is resisted.

Transforming her support for underrepresented groups into concrete action, in 2019, the actress founded her own production company – with the intention of amplifying voices and helping to tell the stories of minorities. The extent of her positive influence was recognized when she was crowned a ‘Force for Change’ by British Vogue in its Duchess of Sussex guest-edited edition. 

ACTIVIST FOR THE FUTURE

Gemma is an advocate for women’s rights and against sexual misconduct within the film industry and across wider society. She was one of 190 signatories of 2018 ‘Time’s Up’ movement and is a founding member and financial contributor to the Justice and Equality Fund, the U.K. equivalent of the ‘Time’s Up’ Legal Defense Fund to combat sexual harassment, assault and discrimination. Together withher work for diversity and equality, Gemma is an ambassador for future generations. In her campaigning for children’s rights, she is a High Profile Supporter of UNICEF UK.

“Gemma Chan is proof of the success that happens when you have the confidence to follow your own dreams, and speak up for others to be able to follow theirs. Committed to her causes with innate female strength, she’s a source of inspiration beyond the screen, for young women to be the change. We’re delighted to welcome Gemma to the family.” – Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, Global Brand President L’Oréal Paris

“I’ve always believed that we should embrace our difference as our strength. So I’m thrilled to join L’Oréal Paris, a family of empowered women of all origins standing together to show the power and beauty of diversity. The L’Oréal Paris message to every woman: “believe in your self-worth” is as needed today as ever.” – Gemma Chan

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Ruben Ostlund wins second Palme d’Or in Cannes with ‘Triangle of sadness’

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Filmmaker Ruben Ostlund wins second Palme dOr at Cannes Film Festival with Triangle of sadness
In good form: Ostlund won his first Palme d’Or in 2017 with “The Square” | Photo: Jean-Louis Hupé (FDC)

American tennis player Bill Tilden once said: ‘Never change a winning game’. So Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund did exactly that and secured his second Palme d’Or in Cannes.

Five years ago, the director of “Force Majeure” (2014) triumphed at the Cannes Film Festival with “The Square”, starring Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, which poked fun at the exclusive contemporary art world. Fast forward a few editions of the event, which returned after two years of turbulence caused by the global pandemic, Östlund aimed, once again, at those with more money than sense. Welcome to “Triangle Of Sadness”, a satirical comedy unceremoniously targeting the shallowness and obnoxious entitlement of the obscenely rich – and cleverly named after the term given to the frown lines between your eyebrows.

“When we started to make this film I think we had one goal – to really, really try to make an exciting film for the audience and bring thought-provoking content. We wanted to entertain them, we wanted them to ask themselves questions, we wanted them to after the screening go out and have something to talk about.” – says the 48-year-old filmmaker.

The two-and-a-half hour long film, starring Harris Dickinson, Charlbli Dean and Woody Harrelson, features the saga of eight people from a luxury cruise liner that end up stranded on a desert island and have to face unexpected events. Although lengthy for a comedy – and sometimes slipping into a sitcom mode – the warm reception of Ostlund’s film, when it was screened during the first week of the festival, was an indicator that it could become the winner of the coveted Palme d’Or this year.

“The first Palme d’Or can be an accident, but the second really means something.” – says Ruben Ostlund. “My first time In Competition, everything was new for me, and I didn’t take advantage of it. This time, I’m with friends, with the team, so I’m very happy. At the time I had the impression that auteur filmmaking had become boring. I had the idea of taking up the important themes of our time in a context that makes audiences want to watch the film. We bring the audience in to discuss important themes. The most important question is that of responsibility: how do we build a society together? – questions the film director.

There were 21 films in the competition this year for the 75th edition of the festival, including David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the future” and James Gray’s “Armageddon Time”. The awards were selected by a nine-member jury headed by French actor Vincent Lindon and presented Saturday in a closing ceremony inside the Grand Lumière Theater, in Cannes.

The jury’s second prize, the grand prix, was shared between director Claire Denis’ romantic thriller “Stars at Noon”, starring Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn, and Lukas Dhont’s tender boyhood drama “Close”.

“I’m very honoured to win this prize with this film. It’s a very important film for me. After Girl, I wanted to speak of the subject of a film with the same intensity. It talks about very personal things. I wanted to make these emotions universal. It’s always a very fragile moment, sharing something with the public when you have put everything inside it. I tried to remain faithful to myself while trying to challenge myself to do even better. There’s a great desire to make films. I hope that, in the future, my films will be just as warmly received.” – celebrated Dhont.

 

Here are all the winners of the Cannes Film Festival in 2022:

Palme d’Or
Triangle Of Sadness, dir: Ruben Ostlund

Grand Prize (TIE)
Stars At Noon, dir: Claire Denis
Close, dir: Lukas Dhont

Best Director
Park Chan-wook, Decision To Leave

Special 75th Anniversary Prize
Tori And Lokita, dirs: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Jury Prize (TIE)
EO, dir: Jerzy Skolimowski
The Eight Mountains, dirs: Felix Van Groeningen & Charlotte Vandermeersch

Best Actor
Song Kang-ho, Broker

Best Screenplay
Tarik Saleh, Boy From Heaven

Best Actress
Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Holy Spider

Camera d’Or
War Pony, dirs: Riley Keough & Gina Gammell

Camera d’Or Special Mention
Plan 75, dir: Chie Hayakawa

Short Film Palme d’Or
The Water Murmurs, dir: Jianying Chen

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Cecilia Vicuña announced as the Next Hyundai Commission Artist at Tate

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Poet Cecicila Vicuna
During the early 1970s, the artist went into exile after the violent military coup against former Chilean President Salvador Allende | Photo Lucy Dawkins

Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña has been announced as the next Hyundai Commission for Tate Modern‘s Turbine Hall.

The annual Hyundai Commission, currently in its seventh series, offers artists an opportunity to create new work for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, a space that has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art.

Vicuña is perhaps best known for her radical textile sculptures, combining natural materials and traditional crafts. A prolific multi-disciplinary artist, she explores the pressing concerns of ecology, community, and social justice. Born and raised in Santiago, Cecilia went into exile during the early 1970s after the violent military coup against former Chilean President Salvador Allende. This sense of impermanence, and a desire to preserve and pay tribute to the country’s indigenous history and culture have characterized her career, spanning half a century.

“Cecilia Vicuña’s work explores generations of memory and history from a wider perspective, attending to the world around us. We look forward to seeing how the seventh Hyundai Commission with Vicuña invites audiences to think about their role in a broader conversation about our present and future.” – says Thomas Schemera, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Customer Experience Division at Hyundai Motor Company.

Hyundai Commission: Cecilia Vicuña at the Tate Modern will open to the public from October 13, 2022 to April 16, 2023.

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“Women must strive harder to act confident, even if we don’t feel it”

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Riannon Palmer, founder at Lem-uhn London

Entrepreneur Riannon Palmer launched her business, a London-based communications agency, in May 2021. She wanted to create an alternative PR company that prioritises positivity, after experiencing the stress and long hours agencies demanded and wanting to create a happier work environment.

“Prior to the pandemic, starting a business wasn’t something I thought I could do as I hadn’t seen young women, or people, in general, starting their own business. I think there is a huge issue with a lack of representation being a barrier as people want to see people like themselves do things to know it’s possible” – reveals the 26 years old business owner who started from scratch and outreached to several companies to secure 15 clients and long-term retainers. Her team now has five employees working limited set hours with wellness practices implemented and encouraged. “I aim to show the industry this type of agency can thrive, to ensure the negative stereotype of agency life isn’t putting off the next generation of PR professionals. The majority of our clients are on the younger side, and I think for older people who are more traditional, being a young woman has been off-putting for some potential clients.”

Lem-uhn is a communications agency for the modern age that works with brands that have a positive ethos and the power to make the world a better place. We help brands to grow and shape their public perception. As a company, we are creating a happier type of agency that embodies a healthier way of working by using efficient and modern practices. We believe work should be a place for people to come together in a positive environment and we place an emphasis on promoting positive mental wellbeing. This translates into high quality and reliable work for our clients because happy people can do their best work”.

The road getting here wasn’t so smooth and trouble-free for Riannon, though.

“When I started out in my career, I didn’t see many women in the top positions, and I think it’s really important to see a representation of people like yourself to know you can follow in their footsteps. And since launching, I think being a woman has led people to treat me slightly differently than if I was a man. Some family members also tried to discourage me as they thought I was doomed to fail” – says Palmer.

Although historically men have accounted for the majority when it comes to opening a new business, a recent government-commissioned review has found a record number of start-ups are being founded by women, with the growth of female ventures outstripping male-led companies for the first time.

The Rose Review’s 2022 Progress Report, led by NatWest chief executive Alison Rose, revealed there were 5,951 companies established by women in Scotland, which is twice the figure reported in 2018 – and across the UK, female founded businesses account for a record share of new firms, outstripping growth in male led firms for the first time, with more than 140,000 companies having been established by all-women teams.

Not all business areas, though, are likely to grow at the same pace.

“PR as a profession is female-led until you climb up the leader; men tend to have the leadership roles. In our case, the majority of employee applications have been women, and we have an all-female team currently. But we would like to be more representative and have a mixed team, moving forward” – says the entrepreneur that believes that the fact that public relations enterprises have more men on the top of the pyramid has to do with issues seen in all sectors, such as female professionals having to take maternity leave and struggling to find flexible solutions to fit in work alongside their family life.

“Women are also still expected to do the majority of the childcare, generally, which means sometimes their career can take a hit. Ideally, we’d live in a society with government-funded creches and equal responsibility for childcare between men and women. I’m currently reading ‘Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men’ which is very insightful for anyone looking to discover how society is currently built to favour men and that fundamental policy changes are needed if we want to live in a world where both genders can have the same opportunities” – defends Palmer.

“My key tip for a young entrepreneur starting a business in 2022, especially a woman, is to keep in mind that people will underestimate you. One way to counteract some of this is to be confident in your abilities. Studies have reported that women are less confident in themselves, especially in the workplace. This means we must strive harder to act confident even if we don’t feel it which, in time, can build confidence”.

 

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