Male model Tyson Beckford would like you to know who really deserves credit for the success of his model girlfriend, Shanina Shaik: himself. Seriously. It's all Tyson, baby:
"When I found her she was a regular girl. I helped place her with the right people, get her teeth cleaned, her body toned up," he says, framing himself as the Henry Higgins of fashion. "Everything changed and now everyone wants a piece of her. I hear people say, 'You can do better than Tyson.' I'm like, 'Really? Really?! I created her!'"
It's just as if he were on that catwalk himself, you guys.
For the record, "when he found her," Shaik was a working model in her native Australia who was competing on a modeling reality show that Beckford was judging. She came second. Since moving to New York, Shaik has gone on to work for top commercial and fashion clients including Victoria's Secret, Jason Wu, and L'Wren Scott; she was one of New York fashion week's top models of color this season.
But who are we kidding — that was practically all Tyson's doing! Few people know this, but Shanina Shaik doesn't even do her own castings. It's just Tyson in drag, walking back and forth, saying "G'day mate!" and "Put another prawwwrn on the barbie" on a loop. (Don't tell the casting directors.) All her photos: that's Tyson. Agency meetings? Tyson. Then Shanina sneaks in at the last second and just profits off all poor, put-upon Tyson's hard work. When's Tyson going to get the credit he deserves, hmm? What's a male model got to do around here to get a little recognition? All Tyson is trying to do is make the world a more beautiful place.
Elsewhere in this interview, Beckford points out that his cameo in Zoolander required him to play himself ("one of the hardest things you can do"), says things like "As a supermodel, I go with the other supers round the world: Dubai one day, Paris the next," and admits that if he had to choose between racing cars and ever having sex again, he'd pick the cars "even though I've got a hot girlfriend. She'll understand." After this article, he may not have the choice. Although we're expecting an "I was misquoted" press release in T-23 minutes. [ES]
- H&M is rumored to be starting a pricier "luxury" collection. Although the company wouldn't confirm or deny this, and no pricing information for the possible line is currently available, Michelle Williams' custom H&M BAFTAs dress may have been a feeler sent out to gauge consumer response. H&M is also launching what it calls the Exclusive Glamour Conscious Collection (that name, yikes) this April, which includes some evening wear looks made from eco-friendly fabrics. [WWD]
- Today in Kate Moss going to parties: at the 60th birthday celebration for Topshop founder Philip Green, Enrique Iglesias was serenading the crowd when he decided to direct his attentions to the supermodel. "Get the fuck away from me!" a laughing Moss reportedly "screeched" as he approached her table, crooning, "I can be your hero, baby/I can kiss away the pain." "Kate Moss," Iglesias protested, "I used to have the biggest crush on you as a kid. Be nice. I had your poster on my wall." Instead, she started pelting him with bread rolls and her table napkin. This has been an important update on the party life of Kate Moss. [Mirror]
- The paleoconservative tabloid juggernaut that is the Daily Mail is the subject of a great story in this week's New Yorker, which includes a few tidbits about the paper's relationship with Kate Moss. ("Relationship" meaning here that the Mail loves to call her fat, wrinkly, and drug-addicted, in about that order.) After the Mail ran a story that described her as having "very obvious crow's feet and lines beneath her eyes as well as blemished skin from years of smoking and drinking," the supermodel was asked why she thought the tabloid had such a fascination with her. She replied:
"I don't know. 'Cause it's the Daily Mail?…They just get on everyone's tits, don't they?"
- Naomi Campbell's longtime boyfriend, the Russian billionaire Vladimir Doronin, has just one minor technical defect, as partners go: he's still married to his first wife, Ekaterina. Although the family generally seems pretty chill about it in the press — they've been separated a long time and probably remained married for complicated billionaire-related tax reasons — the more it seems that ol' Vlad might want to tie the knot with the supermodel, the more restive Ekaterina gets. She reportedly told the News of the World last year that Naomi is kidding if "she thinks she can take my husband," and now Ekaterina's camp is using the word "homewrecker" in the pages of the Daily Mail. [DFR]
- Alexander Wang says the garment worker who is suing him is just a bully. As expected, the plaintiffs in the Alexander Wang sweatshop case have refiled their lawsuit in Federal court. Meanwhile, the company is hitting back at the former employee who brought the suit, Wenyu Lu. Alexander Wang says that Lu was fired because of "serious harassment issues" and that he was a "bully." Lu contends that he was fired in retaliation for complaining of poor working conditions — like being required to work 16-hour shifts and one 25-hour shift without being paid legally mandated overtime — and for filing a worker's compensation claim for injuries allegedly suffered on the job. A second employee has joined Lu's suit. [WWD]
- The apparel industry is looking for a shiny new low-wage economy to exploit, now that labor costs in China are rising by double-digit percentages per annum. Vietnam is, like, so played, says a former Wal-Mart vice-president — "There are just not enough bodies in Vietnam to satisfy any significant new volume." But the rag trade sees potential in Bangladesh — which has one of the lowest minimum wages for garment workers worldwide, $43 per month (that's 21 cents an hour!) and only a teensy little problem with deadly factory fires — and in Central America. And of course, there's always sub-Saharan Africa. Really, the world's your oyster if you're an apparel executive catering to Americans raised on artificially and historically low clothing prices to think that $30 jeans are a birth right. [WWD]
- It looks like Thailand just took itself out of the running: it's raising its minimum wage for most garment workers to a whopping $9.75 a day on April 1. [WWD]
- Fashionista has a hilarious round-up of Vogue style editor-at-large Princess Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis' most blithely inane Tweets and column excerpts. Including such gems as, "I was just given the COOLEST Bday gift eva and eva- flying to the Arctic Circle dog sledging etc… Now that's what I call a surprise!!...Need some cute furs for the trip," and "Later that night, I told Raqib [Shaw] that I thought traveling with one's florist was just about the chicest thing I had ever heard." [Fashionista]
- A bill has been introduced by a bipartisan group of senators to speed up visa processing times for tourists from countries including Brazil and China, so they can come here and give us all their money. [WWD]
- Marie Claire accessories editor Kyle Anderson only spent $1,416.49 last weekend. Quel restraint. [DFR]
- British model Charlotte Wiggins says she was initially "weirded out" when an agent from Supreme "discovered" her at an indoor market: "He was this huge, 6-foot, 2-inch guy and he bolted towards me as soon as I came in the door. He kept trying to get me to go with him to the agency right then and there. At first I was pretty weirded out." [WWD]
- Beyoncé has announced that she's doing a third fragrance, Beyoncé Pulse Summer Edition. Her Heat and Pulse scents set records for sales upon launch. [People]
- Kenneth Cole is launching a new line, Kenneth Cole Collection, with higher prices. [WWD]