My Dukan Diet: CRUISE STAGE day 2

Weight: 9 st 2 (meaning a total loss of 4lb after 12 days on the Dukan Diet 🙂 )

Water: 1.5 litres plus 3 cups of green tea

Breakfast: 300 ml Fat-free vanilla yoghurt

Lunch: Prawn, turkey and ham omelette

Dinner: Stuffed turkey breasts (very tasty!)

Snack: 100 ml Fat-free vanilla yoghurt

Calories: 1368    Exercise: 30 min walk, 30 mins of Davina’s Cardio Box DVD!!

If you read my previous diet post you’ll know I recently started the popular Dukan Diet but had some difficulty sticking to it. My main problem has been finding interesting ways to create meals on the pure protein days, but after having a read of a few Dukan Diet blogs I’ve become more inspired and a lot more motivated. Today was a pure protein day and I managed to have three tasty and protein-packed meals and feel surprisingly full. Also upped my exercise by going Davina’ McColl’s Power of Three Cardio Box dvd. It’s so much fun and really got me sweating – while I felt exhausted afterwards I feel so much better now! Planning to do this and her other workouts three times a week and 1 hour of swimming as well.

I’ve also roughly planned my meals for the next three days (I think this is where I was falling down before). The key to succeeding on the DD is forward planning – know what you’ll eat and make sure you have a stocked fridge – the main staples I make sure I always have are turkey mince, chicken, ham, low-fat cottage cheese and yoghurt, eggs, onions and phillie extra light.

Also realised I made a major mistake when it comes to a key factor of the DD – oat bran. That’s OAT BRAN, not to be confused with porridge oats, which I’ve done for the last few days! Apparently oat bran is finer and made from a different part of the oat husk, and most importantly much much lower in evil carbs (speaking of carbs, I half expected to turn into a monster from carb-withdrawal but instead I’m finding much easier to live without them than I thought … although I still miss whole grain toast with my scrambled eggs!) I’ve been struggling to find oat bran in somerfield, but luckily Sainsburys seem to sell Mornflake Original Pure Oat Bran at ÂŁ1.41 for 500g so I’m gonna try to grab that tomorrow so I can enjoy some guilt free porridge and have a go at these Dukan Gallettes that I keep reading about (I’ll let you know how they work out.)

Also decided I’m going to go against Dukan’s advice and weigh myself just once or twice a week instead of everyday, as my weight seems to fluctuate so much and its quite demoralising seeing it suddenly go up one day when it will just come down again a day later.

With the added exercise and my motivation up again I’m hoping to shift another 2lb and reach my first mini target of 9st by next week. Fingers crossed!!

Oh and here’s a really helpful link for interesting recipe ideas: x


Rebelle meets … Jonathan Keltz. Hello handsome!!

Young, hot, hugely talented and incredibly upbeat pretty much sums up the lovely Jonathan Keltz; Canada’s next leading man. In 2009, Keltz became a household name in the US when he landed a recurring role in the popular HBO series Entourage. Since then the 23-year-old actor has appeared in two series of the show and has also worked on a number of films, including Transgression, Playback and Disney’s Prom. He tells me about landing his dream role on Entourage and his subsequent foray into the film industry…


You’re well known for your role as Ari’s assistant Jake in the hit show Entourage, how did you get the part?

Originally, it started off as just a one scene guest star where I get fired for cracking a joke, but they decided to keep me around and kept writing for me. All of last season I was just trying to go with the flow and keep up, and I ended up sticking around for the whole season!

Was it intimidating joining a show with such a successful track record?

Absolutely! It was crazy and intimidating to suddenly find myself in the middle of such a successful show but everyone was so welcoming and I had a blast. My character was in exactly the same position as I was. All of a sudden he’s in a job he doesn’t know if he’s ready for and he’s running around trying to get everything right and not get fired.

How did you get on with Jeremy Priven, who plays your tyrannical boss Ari? 

As his assistant, I still get a fair bit of abuse from Ari! Working with Jeremy was a wonderful experience. Going toe to toe with him in a scene is quite thrilling because you never know what’s about to happen. His completely grounded presence in every moment is inspirational to watch. 

Since Entourage, you’ve worked on a few upcoming films. What can you tell us about Transgression and your character?

Transgression is a psychological thriller looking at trust and betrayal and how we move through transgressions to survive. I play Michael Ironside’s son who, through divorce, has been transplanted toBarcelona. I don’t trust my father’s new wife and have been rebelling against the two of them since their engagement. We then become the victims of home invasion and through the struggle, all the dark secrets and corners of our lives come to light. 

You’ll also star in the horror Playback. What can we expect from this film?

Playback is a terrifying look at what can happen to a small town and group of friends when evil has been released and slowly corrupts us and takes us over through the media we use to connect ourselves. It was a joy to work on; a great young cast and a brutally entertaining vision combine for a fun ride!  

Who are your acting role models?

Newman andRedford; they’ve been idols of mine since the beginning. I would love to work with Daniel Day Lewis because it would be such an educating and challenging situation; the guy is a master!

The Dukan Diet ATTACK Phase – 7 days finished, did it work?

Start weight: 9st 6lb  Goal weight: 8st 5lb = Total Amount to Lose: 17lb

say hello to your new best friend – protein!

In my last post I introduced The Dukan Diet, which I’ve started on in an attempt to lose just over a stone. It’s now been 7 days since I started on the initial Attack phase, and it did work up until last night when I majorly fell off the wagon! (and into a massive portion of Toad in the Hole – it was amazing, but it put paid to all my hard work! GUTTED!)

Anyway, before last night’s major fat/carb fest – which I’m now really seriously regretting – things were going fairly good. For those of you not familiar with Dukan’s diet/regime, the first of four phases is the Attack phase where you cut out all the really good things in life; saying goodbye to carbs, fatty foods, alcohol, and even fruit and veg(!) and instead say a big hello to your new best friend – PROTEIN!

On the menu are low-fat proteins – lean cuts of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, non-fat dairy, eggs and lots of water (be prepared to pee a lot!) … and that’s your whack. Duckan also suggests veal and swordfish, unfortunately my budget only stretched cod and chicken (am against eating veal anyway), and this brings me on to a major drawback of The Dukan Diet – the price! I seemed to be continuously food shopping for meat and struggling for interesting ways to make up a meal based entirely on proteins i.e one example dinner was 2 pieces of cod served with 2 slices of ham and 2 boiled eggs mmm yum!

While the pure protein meals are pretty bland the big plus side is that you see the weight come off instantly. Unlike a lot of diets, Dukan advise you weigh yourself every day and I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d lost 2lb after my first day on the diet (pretty sure it was all water weight, but still its a start.)

Dukan advises 20-30 mins of walking a day, which I usually manage anyway on the walk home from work, but I found quite it quite tough on my first day as I felt I had no energy and was extremely tired. If you’re doing this diet make sure you’re hydrated!

In the next two days I lost 1 lb a day, bringing me down to 9st 2lb, up until this morning That is, when the effects of my fatty Toad in the Hole binge became apparent – back up to 9.4! (I think I tried to justify to myself that eggs+sausages were still protein so ok, but my brain seemed to skip over the alarming fat content.. ah well live and learn!)

After the attack phase you’re meant to go onto an alternating phase on 1 day protein/1 day protein and veg, however after my lapse last night I’m adding on an extra 2 days or pure protein to get myself back on course. Seeing the weight go back on has given me a kick up the arse, so hopefully I’ll stick it out for a while longer!

Here’s an example of a day’s menu for me on the diet:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs (1 egg + 1 egg white + 1tbsp skimmed milk)

Snack: 100ml fat-free yoghurt + drizzle of honey (technically Dukan doesn’t allow honey)

Lunch: turkey meatballs and 2 tsp low-fat cottage cheese

Dinner: 2 salmon fillets and 2 more tsp cottage cheese

Snack: 150g yoghurt plus honey

About 2 litres water + 4 cups of green tea

Total calories = 1168    Total Protein = 123g

Dukan give you a list of 72 protein rich foods from which you can each as much as you want and advises against counting calories, but I’m glad I didn’t follow that last bit as most days I found myself struggling to eat over 1200 calories and some days, without adding in yoghurt and a glass of milk, I would’ve been eating as little as 870 calories!

Eating less than 1200 can seriously affect your health and could undermine your weight loss, as not getting enough calories means your body starts to use up muscle instead of fat – not good as the more muscle tone you have, the more calories you ultimately end up burning!

So my conclusion on the Dukan Diet’s ATTACK Phase?

Well, after six days of sticking to the diet fairly strictly I lost 4lb, so yes the initial phase of the diet offers   some considerable weight loss in a short space of time, but be warned – one slip and it can go straight back on again! It’s really tough to follow and your meals are seriously bland and boring – meat, fish, yoghurt, eggs, meat, fish, yoghurt, eggs … but at the end of it you do lose some weight and end up really craving veggies, which is your next reward! (well I also ended up craving carbs carbs carbs, and fruit and cake and alcohol – none of which is permitted till the consolidation phase … sob!)

I’m not entirely sure what is so awful about wholemeal bread and fruit – which are both prohibited. While I’m trying my best to avoid carbs, I’m allowing myself a little fruit in the form of blueberries to jazz up my porridge and yoghurt. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll get back down to 9st 2, add some veg and up my exercise but I’m determined to regularly post my progress to keep me motivated and avoid any more Toad in the Hole incidents.

Wish me luck!!

The skinny on the Dukan Diet – does it really work?

If, like me, you’ve suddenly noticed that Summer’s round the corner and it might be a good time to shift a few pounds (well more than a few in my case!), you’ve probably heard of The Dukan Diet.

Head over to Amazon and you’ll find Pierre Dukan’s book sitting quite comfortably at the top of the best-selling diet book charts – the fact that Kate Middleton was rumored to have used the diet to slim down for her royal nuptials might have something to do with this, while J. Lo and Gisele Bundchen are said to have used the diet to return to their pre-baby weight! The diet that took France by storm makes the impressive claim that it will put an end to obesity and will help you lose weight and keep it off forever. What’s better is its half price – for just ÂŁ4 I figured it was worth a go!

So, while it certainly seems to be the diet du jour, does The Dukan Diet really work?

What is the Dukan Diet?

It’s the “fat attack” diet devised by doctor/nutritionist Pierre Dukan which French women apparently swear by. Dukan states that his approach to weight loss is not a fad diet but rather a completely different approach to eating, promising two steps to loosing weight and two to keeping it off for good. Dukan says you can eat as much as you want (as long as what you want is pure protein that is!) Yep, that’s right – say goodbye to carbs. Dukan’s diet is pretty much like Atkins, only much stricter! More like a regime, it’s not for the faint hearted! It does, however, promise fast and permanent results.

The diet takes the form of four different stages – Attack, Cruise, Consolidation and Stabilisation.

The Attack Phase is the Dukan fatblaster – from 2-10 days of pure protein including lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, low-fat dairy products and lots of water. You can lose up to 7lbs during this stage which is incredibly motivational for you to stick with the diet!

The Cruise Phase is the next stage of the diet which you stay on till you reach your goal weight by introducing certain veggies, alternating between pure protein days and protein plus veg in a 1/1 pattern.

The Consolidation phase is what you progress to once you’ve got down to your target weight. This stage is designed to ease you back into a normal eating pattern without piling the pounds back on and introduces fruit and wholegrains.

The Stabilisation Phase is the final part of Dukan’s program which returns you to normal eating, but advises you to keep doing one day of pure protein (meh). For some reason, Dr Dukan reckons Thursdays are best.

Sounds fun huh? Ah well, what diets are?! There’s a lot said about the Dukan diet, both good and bad. Lots of people reckon a diet based on protein alone isn’t good for as you’ll be missing out on essential vitimins you get from fruit and veg, but as the diet reintroduces veg in as little as 2 days in, I don’t think this should be too big a concern.

The main thinking behing the predominantly protein diet is that it takes the body more energy to process proteins compared to fats and carbs, so by consuming more protein, your body’s immediately burning more calories.

Another good thing about The Dukan Diet is that – as the Amazon stats prove – it’s incredibly popular and the net is filled with tons of stories from genuine people who have recorded their progress online and found success (two that I’ve found pretty encouraging are and There’s even online communities and websites dedicated to the diet, so just by typing The Dukan Diet into a search engine you’ll find plenty of online resources, advice, recipes and forums to keep you motivated.

I’m gonna try stick to this one as I’m determined to get back down to 8.7 stone (according to the Dukan website my ideal weight is 8.3 but I’m gonna set this as my initial target and see how it goes!) For a bit of extra motivation I’ll blog my progress here to let you know if it really does work!! Next post – the results after finishing the attack phase.

Black Swan DVD review

Out now on DVD, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, much like its subject matter, is thrilling and darkly majestic, featuring an incredible performance from Natalie Portman as its tormented protagonist. 

Set in the brutal yet beautiful world of ballet, Daren Aronofsky’s psycho-thriller leads us on an intoxicating and at times terrifying journey through the psyche of a principal working at a New York ballet company, as she grapples with her dual role as the swan queen.

In a career defining performance, Natalie Portman excels as the troubled Nina Sawyers, whose life is consumed by dance. After years toiling in the chorus, Nina is finally given her chance in spotlight when the company’s chauvinistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) chooses her as the lead in a new version ofSwanLake, replacing his bitter has-been star, Beth (Winona Ryder).

Graceful, delicate and innocent; Nina perfectly embodies the role of the white swan, yet the ballet’s principal must also capture the essence of the evil Black Swan. This demands a wild, alluring and sensual sexuality which Nina lacks, yet the company’s newest member Lily (Mila Kunis) effortlessly embodies.

For Nina to dance both sides of the swan queen, she must let go of her inhibitions and embrace her sexuality (to achieve this, Thomas demands relentless training and masturbation). As Nina attempts to embrace her dark side with reckless abandon, her initial rivalry with Lily morphs into a twisted friendship.

In her unrelenting pursuit of perfection, Nina becomes so absorbed with her character and performance that artistic breakthrough fuses with mental breakdown, and Aronofsky’s distorted use of mirrors become powerfully symbolic of her fracturing mind and personality.

 As her paranoia intensifies, the realms of fantasy and reality dissolve and we become complicit in Nina’s terrifying hallucinations. Her reflection continues to stare back after she has turned away, paintings writh and shriek before her eyes, she imagines horrific self-harm, embarks on a sexual tryst with Lily and begins sprouting feathers.

Although demanding to watch at times, Portman’s award-winning transformation into the swan queen is nothing short of stunning. She endured ten months of gruelling and immersive training to help her deliver a virtuosic performance worthy her ensuing Bafta and Oscar glory. The film’s intricate ballet sequences are delivered and captured beautifully, as Aronofsky’s floating camera tracks his subject’s every movement to thrilling effect.

With costume design playing an integral role, it fell to Amy Westcott to create the company’s elegant attire, with Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy collaborating on the hauntingly beautiful outfits featured the final performance, when Nina surrenders completely to the black swan and performs the role to tragic perfection.

Provocative, powerful and visually arresting, Aronofsky’s Black Swan is a creature of intense beauty; as elegant and mesmerising as it is seething and ferocious.

Rebelle meets … Regina King

I recently interviewed Regina King, one of the stars of TNT’s hit drama Southland in which she plays the tough LAPD detective Lydia Adams. I’ll admit this was an email interview so this isn’t the most in-depth article you’ll ever read, but she did tell me a little about Southland, fashion and her career in general…

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Regina King began her career in 1985 with a five-year stint on the sitcom 227 when she was just 14. During the nineties, she established herself as a skilled actress with roles in hit films including Boyz N the Hood, Jerry Maguire, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Poetic Justice and Enemy of the State. She has acted alongside Will Smith, Cuba Gooding Jr. Eddie Murphy and also Jamie Foxx in Ray. King is currently starring in the hit series Southland as a tough LAPD detective and talks about her career, Southland and style …

What first interested you in Southland?

I was looking to do a TV show that shot in LA. Of all the things I read, Southland was the most realistic. The creators and people behind the show (John Wells, Chris Chulack, Ann Biderman) are well-respected in this business. Every actor interested in doing television would love jump at the opportunity to be working with all of them.

Tell us about your character Lydia Adams, how do you relate to her?

I think she represents a huge number of women in the 35-45 age range; women who have put fostering a relationship on the back-burner, to focus on their careers. They are the best at what they do career wise but something is missing.

We’re into the third season of Southland, how has the show and your character progressed?

I think the show is as close to real life as you can get in the world of law enforcement. With that being said, it’s the characters that move the show. So the audience is constantly witnessing the characters progressions and setbacks.

Which project have you been most proud of?

I feel that I have been very blessed and couldn’t narrow it down to one. There have been roles that have definitely served as turning points in my career. Those would be 227, Boyz N the Hood, Jerry Maguire, Ray and Southland.

What would you attribute to the longevity of your screen career?

Luck – where preparation meets opportunity.

What would be your dream role and why?

I’m still trying to figure that out! The first thought that came to mind was an action hero, like a female Bourne Identity. Why? Because I’m athletic, working on Southland has taught me how to handle a weapon, and I can imagine myself doing it.

How would you describe your style and do you have any favourite designers?

I’m not a trendy person, but I wouldn’t consider myself earthy or conservative either. I would say I like more of the classic styles. I like pieces that never go out of style or at least not for long. So I guess I would say my style is…chic. I wear a lot of Theory suits on the show because they fit me perfectly.

Clegg’s coalition is becoming a nightmare, but could he learn from Chumbawamba?!

A resounding no to AV was the political equivalent of a kick in the nuts for Nick Clegg, but will the humiliating result give the Lib Dem leader some balls when it comes to standing up for his party and opposing the Tories?

There’s probably still a lot of ringing in Clegg’s ears left over from the aftermath of last weeks elections and AV referendum. For the Lib Dems, it was a disaster. Clegg has been left looking like a fool, having lost all credibility which he’ll be hard pushed to claw back any time soon, and once loyal Lib Dem voters are now baying for blood. On the other hand, for their coalition buddies, it was a resounding triumph!

It’s safe to say that Clegg has pretty much used as a human shield by the Tories – they really thought it out, didn’t they? They never wanted the Lib Dems in power and were dead set against political reform. To get into government they lured Clegg’s Party by dangling the promise of a referendum on the current voting system on a stick, then when the time came they did everything in their power to undermine the Yes to AV campaign and have reneged on most of what was once promised during the ‘honeymoon period’ of government.

Tomorrow sees the coalition’s one year anniversary, and its fair to say that the relationship between Lib Dems and the Tories has been far from sweet. Both Cameron and Clegg have vowed to create a strong, decisive government but how is this achieved when the government is comprised of two different parties with very different views and agendas, and politcal mudslinging, bickering and back-stabbing abound?

By jumping in bed with the Tories, Clegg may have got his party into government but he’s also undermined a 25 year campaign for electoral reform. Now, as Britain’s third party the Lib Dems have been neutered (not that they were much of a threat before forming the coalition), any hope of voting reform has gone up in flames. 

Clegg has promised to be more assertive when it comes to the coalition and challenging Tory policies i.e. the governments planned NHS reforms, but is this a lesson learned or a case of too little too late? He’s already lost the respect of those he won over during the televised electorial debates. To gain some of it back, he and his Party need to stop being the blame-takers for Cameron’s administration.

He admits, “there are lessons to be learned, and the lesson I have learned listening to people on the doorsteps is that people want a louder Liberal Democrat voice in government.” Unfortunately, up until now, that Lib Dem voice has been stifled by a majority Tory administration who, like playground bullies, seemed to have Clegg and his Party backed into a corner when it came to electoral reform.

Clegg has vowed he will “never, never, never” join the Conservatives, pledging: “I will be carried out in my coffin as a card-carrying Liberal Democrat.” No, he won’t join the conservatives. What will probably happen is that the Tories will hold another election at some point down the line, hoping for the chance to lose the Lib Dems and form a majoriy government. Bankers, the business elite and middle England will be thrilled, while the rest of us will remain broke, jobless and under-represented. Bye bye democracy!

We can only that Clegg learns from his defeat, mans up and starts calling Cameron on what he believes is important – especially the looming NHS reforms. But right now it seems that  Cameron remains the puppet master jerking at Lib Dem strings, and while he’s running the show with worrying ease, his deputy minister is left shouting hopelessly from the wings.

Maybe Clegg should adopt Chumbawamba’s “I get knocked down…” as a new personal theme tune. Unless he wants to jump ship and side with labour, learning from his mistakes and coming back stronger is essential for his survival within the coalition. If he could grow a pair and publically kick Cameron’s arse over the NHS, he’d definitely win over a few more voters!

Until that happens, politically, it seems the future’s blue.


“The King’s Speech” DVD review

The Royal Standard

The King’s Speech *****

It’s been a good year for British filmmaking with The King’s Speech garnering critical acclaim both at home and abroad, collecting a royal  flush of awards along the way, which included 7 Baftas and 4 Oscars in the major categories Best Film, Director and Screenplay with double acting honours given to King Colin himself. Now the biggest British film of the year, and no doubt the decade, is available on dvd. If you missed it in cinema (sacrilege!) grab yourself a copy now- trust me, The King’s Speech and Colin Firth deserve all the hype!!

Driven by a magnificent performance from Colin Firth as King George IV, Tom Hooper’s film tells the story of the afflicted monarch’s personal struggle to overcome his stammer and rally his nation during the onset of war.

After the death of his father (Michael Gambon) and the abdication of his arrogant elder brother Edward (Guy Pearce) in favour of the arms of American divorcee Wallace Simpson, it falls to the Duke of York, Albert (or Bertie) to take the throne. Yet these are perilous times in 1930’s depression-eraBritain, when a nation is gripped by the threat of war withGermanyand the introduction of mass media throws Bertie his greatest challenge: a nine minute radio speech addressing his subjects across the empire.   

The prologue depicts the extent of Bertie’s affliction during an agonisingly embarrassing speech at Wembley Stadium during the 1924 Empire exhibition. We then fast-forward to 1934 when Bertie’s charming and robustly supportive wife Elizabeth (Helena Bohnam Carter) seeks the help of an innovative and straight-talking speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

While the film’s social and political background is acutely observed and carefully interwoven, The King’s Speech transcends its historic setting to focus on Bertie’s personal journey and his relationship with Logue, who is optimistic and charismatic where Bertie is solemn and repressed.

An unlikely bond is forged between king and commoner as their sessions slowly progresses from sparring matches with sharp and witty exchanges, to genuine friendship. In these impeccably written scenes David Seidler finds humour and emotion, while Firth and Rush are both exceptional and work off each other beautifully, as Logue pushes Bertie to soften his reserve and come to terms with his illness in a step to overcoming it.

Hooper’s backdrops, pace and tone further enhance Seidler’s uplifting and compelling tale of British stoicism and quiet heroism, which is ultimately driven by fantastic character performances from an impeccable cast, including Derek Jakobi as the Archbishop of Canterbury and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill.

Firth delivers a performance of a lifetime and expertly conveys the depth of Bertie’s sadness, toil and torment, often without the need for any words at all. While the era and characteristics of Englishness it puts forth may be lost to the history books, The King’s Speech is a rich yet crowd-pleasing showcase of filmmaking at its very best!

Catfish: A Cautionary Tale for the Digital Age!

If anyone caught the network premiere of Catfish on More4 last night, they would’ve been given a harsh and often hilarious reminder of the certian perils of social networking and the potential pitfalls of finding love online. The documentary created by 28-year-old Henry Joost and 29-year-old Ariel “Rel” Schulman using handheld digital cameras follows Schulman’s brother Nev after he makes a Facebook connection with child prodigy Abby Wesselman and her eccentric family, including her creative and beautiful 19-year-old sister Megan.

What was initally intended as a sweet record of the shy photographer from New York’s burgeoning online relationship with Megan, Abby and her mother, soon turns into an engrossing detective story; as Nev becomes more involved in the family it becomes increasingly apparent to the three young film makers that things arent quite as they seem!

Things start innocently enough. Nev recieves painted copies of his own photos in the post from Abby, a little girl from rural Ishpeming, Michegin. They become pals via Facebook, Nev chats on the phone with Abby’s mum and begins a cyber relationship with Megan, at which point Rel and Henry begin filming the scenario from Nev’s point of view – they reckon the resulting film will be a great mememto for the couple, but when the group start to become suspicious of the Wesselmans, after Nev discovers that songs Megan claims she wrote for her beloved are taken straight off Youtube, a surprise trip to Ishpeming uncovers a twist in tale so bizzare that you couldn’t make it up! Or could you? (cue spoilers)

Since Catfish’s debut at the Sundance Festival, critics and audiences alike have been fairly dubious about the film’s authenticity as a documentary – given its incredible twist in which sexy Megan, her network of 17 Facebook friend’s and Abby’s artistic talent all transpire to be complete fabrications, labouriously created by Angela – Abby’s 39-year-old mother/bored housewife and carer, who suffers from schizophrenia and it seems is besotted with poor Nev. (the scene towards the end where Nev sits in a rocking chair chatting to Angela about the deception as she paints his picture and swoons over his smile is painfully hilarious!)

True or false (and I think I’m a believer here, whatever Morgan Spurlock might have to say on the matter) Catfish may begin as a seemingly intrusive look at online love but ultimately turns into a rather moving and haunting story of someone looking for an escape from a tedious life and the extent to which social media can be used, and sometimes abused, to obtain that. It’s certainly a far more candid and revealing look at how big a role social media and networking plays in our lives, with Henry and Rel incorporating Facebook images, status updates, Youtube clips and even Google Maps to chart the trio’s bizzare journey.

The experience doesn’t seem to have put Nev off looking for love on Facebook though (he met his current girlfriend through the newtorking site) and at the end of Catfish we’re told that he remains friends with Angela, who has started selling her artwork online. While all involved seem to have proffited from the film, its ultimately little Abby I feel sorry for – she’ll eventually grow up and learn of Catfish’s twisted tale and her mother’s oddball actions.

Still, I’d reccomend Catfish as essential viewing: a fascinating cautionary tale for the digital age!

Exclusive Interview with Janie Bryant: Mad Men’s costume designer Part 2

Read on for the second part of my interview with the extrememly talented women behind Mad Men’s costume design, in which she tells all about the women in Mad Men, working with Christina Hendricks and how to achieve tht that sexy sixties silhouette …  





(make sure to check out the complete editorial version of my interview with Janie at for more on what goes into creating the wardrobe of the most stylish show on telly!)

So Janie, are you a fan of 60’s style, and when did you first become familiar with 60’s fashion?

I think we use fashion to be beautiful and the Mad Men era, the 50s and early 60s, was so ladylike and elegant. The colours, the fabrics – everything about the period is beautiful. I’m a big fan of this era because the silhouettes are so flattering; they take inspiration from art, sculpture and architecture. Mad Men appeals to me so much because the period is elegant and sharp.

How do you go about creating the Mad Men wardrobe?

Creating the wardrobe for Mad Men is a combination of designing and building costumes from scratch, buying vintage, sometimes redesigning vintage pieces and renting costumes from the amazing shops in Los Angeles.

What’s been your favourite outfit used in the show?

There are so many! One of my favourites would have to be Joan’s red Christmas dress from season four. I designed this for her. It was wool crepe, silk satin around the neckline and cuffs and bows. I loved that dress on her but I also loved the way she moved in it during the scene with the conga line at the office Christmas party. Christina Hendricks who plays Joan has an amazing figure. She truly is the sexy bombshell of the office.  

What has Christina been like to work with and how have you gone about her costume design? 

I love working with Christina and we share a love of her character. Christina has an appreciation for her costume and how it informs her characterisation of Joan. She loves the details of the costumes like the scarves tied to Joan’s handbags and the bows on her dresses.    

The jewel tones Christina wears are a fabulous contrast with her alabaster skin and red hair and all work towards portraying her character’s strength in the office. Joan is a very sexy character and her costumes, from the tight sweaters and pencil skirts to the ruby sheath dresses, reflect this along with her poise and self-possession.

Joan wields a lot of power in the office for a woman, how have you reflected this through her costumes?

Joan is one sassy lady. She tells it as she sees it which inspired me to use a lot of strong colour in her palette on the show. This is in direct contrast with the mossy, earthy tones of other women in the office in less influential positions. Joan wears clothes that show us she understands the power of her femininity – clothes that show off that amazing hourglass figure. 

How do you go about shaping that perfectly sculpted silhouettes on Joan and the rest of the female cast?

On Mad Men the actors know all about the importance of great undergarments. The foundations of a costume help to create a beautiful line and it’s amazing how long-line bras and girdles can help create this. It’s not purely about the clothes because the actors use these foundations to help them to fully inhabit their characters. Wearing the proper underwear from the period is part of the creative process and the transformation through costume. It was important for me to give the actors the same experience of getting dressed that women in that period had. There can be discomfort, and of course I’ll help with a little pad of moleskin or other ways to make it more comfortable for them. Christina now comes into my fitting room and announces “I love my bra, I love my girdle”!

Both Peggy and Betty have grown more independent and confident as the series progressed, how did you reflect this through their costumes?

In terms of Peggy’s character arc overall she has changed so much. In season one when Peggy was pregnant and struggling with both her private life and issues in the workplace her costumes got uglier and uglier as time went on. In season four she is really coming into her own in the workplace and her clothes reflect bolder choices and a greater level of sophistication. In this season she wore a black and mustard windowpane dress, a navy dress with red inserts and one that I particularly loved was her grey and black wool crepe dress with a full skirt and big bow at the neckline. Peggy’s costumes are graphic, multilayered and strong, the same as her character.

Many of Betty’s transformations occur through colour. Take for example season two, Betty wears what I called her “sad clown dress” when she is hosting dinner and is “performing” to her house guests. She has this huge transformation in the story when she’s finally realising who her husband Don Draper is and this is the first time we see her in really strong colours – bright yellow, green and turquoise.  It was important to me to have a shift in her colour palette at this point. One of my favourite costumes for Betty was during her trip to Italy with Don. She wears this dramatic black fringed dress – again a time of another transformation in her character. In season four it is all about Betty being the perfect politician’s wife and her clothing reflects this. During this season my inspiration for Betty’s costumes come from Jackie Kennedy.

Out of all the characters, whose wardrobe would you love to steal for yourself?

Trudy’s wardrobe is very appealing to me because I envision her as the younger, city version of Betty.  She wears some very fashionable fabrics and optimistic shades of blue. I love her hats too. I’d like to steal some of those for myself.

In terms of costume design, what other period would you like to bring to life?

This is always difficult to answer. I love the Baroque period, I love the Romantic period and I love the 1970s. I would wear a gown every day of my life if I could!