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    Showing posts with label Photo Galleries. Show all posts

    Zoe Saldana: 'There's Just Not Enough Diversity On Magazine Covers'

    She's the female star of the highest grossing movie of all time (James Cameron's "Avatar"), and the female lead in J.J. Abrams' popular "Star Trek" franchise. She's also a Calvin Klein underwear model and she's been romantically linked to the Sexiest Man Alive (actor Bradley Cooper). With that kind of resume, you would think actress Zoe Saldana could grace the cover of any magazine in the world. But the 33-year-old actress tells The Huffington Post exclusively that's not the case. "I can't yet pose for any magazine. I wish I could," the soft-spoken actress told us on the red carpet at the Cosmopolitan for Latinas launch party Wednesday night in New York City. "There are a lot of magazines that are still sort of...that only cater to a certain demographic and only put certain people on their covers," she added. "And that's fine - I never lose hope that one day certain big magazines can broaden their exposure of what is an American face," added the half-Dominican, half-Puerto Rican actress. Zaldana says magazines have tremendous power to bring about change. "I never like to get political, but when you have the ability, through your media, to influence a large mass of people, I would want to be a part of the evolving cycle of progress vs. keeping things the way that they are. I think that I speak for a lot of us, Americans, that I would want to see a little more diversity," she said. "For the love of God, we have a Black president," Saldana added. "That should've set the tone on a lot of things that should've been a little quicker, and it's not enough." Saldana says she feels it's important to address these kinds of issues. "I feel like I need to contribute my two cents in terms of something that should be happening more," she said. "But that said, I'm always a person that's half-full, and magazines like Cosmopolitan for Latinas are doing what others should be doing more of." Cosmpolitan for Latinas, a new magazine aimed at acculturated Latinas in the U.S., launched earlier this month. Zaldana is the magazine's first ever cover girl - an honor that she takes very seriously. "For me to have been invited to be the first on their cover, I feel so honored and grateful," Saldana said. "To be seen and to be respected for my work and acknowledged as a true American Latina...means a lot to me."

    Hillary Clinton Drinks Beer, Dances, Meets First Lady Of Colombia

    Hillary Clinton is riding a brand new image wave lately. It started with that epic photo of the secretary of state wearing sunglasses while looking at her Blackberry, which quickly turned into the "Texts from Hillary" meme (approved by Clinton herself.)

    And we're sure these photos from Hills' fun night out in Colombia this weekend will only win her a few more admirers. Clinton was in the country with President Obama -- on the same Summit of the Americas visit that launched the Secret Service prostitution scandal -- and let loose on Sunday night at the Cafe Havana, dancing and drinking from what looks like a bottle of Aguila beer. The New York Post claims the group ordered a "dozen beers, two glasses of whiskey and bottles of water."

    The outing reportedly began after midnight because Clinton was at an official dinner until late, after which she headed to the nightspot to celebrate with some of her female aides.

    Earlier in the day, Secretary Clinton met with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos Calderón and his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriguez, wearing a very chic all-black outfit and a trendy sparkly bib necklace (with nary a scrunchie in sight).

    New HBO Show And Lena Dunham Face Backlash On Racism And More

    HBO's hotly anticipated comedy "Girls" premiered last night to 872,000 viewers. The Lena Dunham-created, Judd Apatow-produced series presents itself as a window into a generation. But not everyone is liking the view.

    Though "Girls" (Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO) received rave reviews from multiple places (Emily Nussbaum touted the show as revolutionairy in a New York mag cover story and HuffPost TV's Maureen Ryan said it was "bold" and fresh"), morning-after reviews seem less enamored.

    "Girls feels less like a commentary on this generation and more like an indictment on it," John Kubicek wrote for BuddyTV.com. "These characters have been raised believing that they're special and that they can do anything they want. The problem is that none of them seem to want to do anything. There's nothing particularly special about Hannah's life, no reason that her memoirs would be remotely interesting."

    Many writers found the characters unsympathetic, mostly on account of their privilege. (Dunham is photographer Laurie Simmons' daughter and plays the daughter of two professors on the show. Brian Willliams' daughter Allison plays Dunham's roommate).

    "Laurie Simmons' daughter's best friend is Brian Williams' daughter. She is uptight, pretty, straight-laced, and has a boyfriend who's just too nice and loving. She wears a retainer when she sleeps, symbolically," John Cook wrote on Gawker. "Laurie Simmons' daughter says Brian Williams' daughter's boyfriend 'has a vagina,' a notion that isn't at all hackneyed and retrograde when it's uttered by a self-aware 24-year-old girl who has tattoos of illustrations from children's books all over her body."

    Besides taking issue with the cupcake Dunham's character takes in the bath with her, Jenna Wortham wrote for Hairpin: "My chief beef is not simply that the girls in 'Girls' are white ... The problem with 'Girls' is that while the show reaches -- and succeeds, in many ways -- to show female characters that are not caricatures, it feels alienating, a party of four engineered to appeal to a very specific subset of the television viewing audience, when the show has the potential to be so much bigger than that. And that is a huge fucking disappointment."

    'Cabin In The Woods,' 'Three Stooges,' 'The Client List' And More: The Week In Ouch

    The reviews for Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's new horror flick "The Cabin in the Woods" have been mostly positive. However there was one critic who wasn't so impressed with Whedon's "nightmare spoof," claiming that it's not as scary as the movies it seems to copy.

    "A testament to the wonders of writing under the guidance of crystal meth, this nightmare spoof of everything from 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' to the 'Scream' franchise totally defies logic, and pretty much eludes description," wrote Rex Reed of The New York Observer.

    Meanwhile, the return of Fox's "Glee" made teenage girls squeal with delight -- and HitFix's Ryan McGee cry out in frustration. As for ABC's "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23"? Well, even James Van Der Beek (playing The Beek himself!) couldn't save this new comedy from The Washington Post's wrath.

    HuffPost Entertainment has rounded up the week's snarkiest reviews just for your enjoyment in this week's installment of our "Week In Ouch" series.

    This week, critics from Empire to The New York Times and HitFix all had something nasty to say about the latest movies, music and TV shows.

    Let us know what you think deserved the harsh critiques, and which ones you think critics should ease up on in the comments.

    Stars Of The '90s: 14 Teen Idols We Wish Would Make A Comeback

    J-14, Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, BOP. If you were a pre-teen girl in the ‘90s, you probably recognize the names of these teeny bopper magazines. You also may have plastered your walls with their glossy pullouts, printed with uber-cheesy photos of teen idols (don't miss TresSugar’s extensive collection).

    James Van Der Beek (a.k.a. Dawson Leery) has recently re-entered the world of television -- and the cultural zeitgeist -- on “Don’t Trust the B-- In Apt. 23.” And the best part is, he’s playing himself! During the first episode he brings a girl back to his apartment, only to have her start playing “I Don’t Want to Wait.” It was hard to watch without getting a serious pang of ‘90s nostalgia: Beanie Babies! Lisa Frank! The Macarena! It was also hard to watch without thinking about those other teen boys that captured the hearts (or at least infatuated) of young women everywhere during that decade. So here’s to you, JTT, BSB and everyone who wasn’t lucky enough to have an acronym. We wish you’d join Dawson and come back into the spotlight. (Important note: Justin Timberlake and Will Smith have only been left off of this list because they’re still superstars.)

    Coachella Newcomer Sees Music As 'Following A Piece Of String And Seeing Where It Leads'

    This is part 2 of 4 of our "My Coachella" Series. Check back during Coachella for profiles on our favorite bands.

    His name is Wally De Backer, but many of you know him as Gotye (pronounced go-ti-yay): the Australian musician whose smash hit, "Somebody That I Used To Know," is on every station, every iPhone and practically stuck in every head across America. The song is so popular that HuffPost has already put together a list of the best covers.

    The Belgian-born artist has found success in Australia for years, but he is currently making waves in the US -- scratch that -- he currently has jumped from a high cliff and made a giant cannonball splash into current pop music culture. The video for "Somebody That I Used To Know" [watch above] is like an infectious disease on YouTube, and watching it once is seriously not enough.

    To put to simply: Gotye, age 31, is somebody that we all should know. He recorded his most recent album Making Mirrors in his parents' barn on a huge plot of land in Australia and uses every instrument in the book. A self-professed sample junkie, Gotye mixes melody, rhythm, lyrics and beats into a sort of potion you just can't turn off. Part haunting and part enchanting, Making Mirrors is proof that this artist is only on the way up.

    He is the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" On April 14, and he arrives on the scene at The Coachella Music Festival on April 15. The Huffington Post spoke with Gotye recently to learn how he found his incredible voice, what his darkest periods are and who he's most excited to see at Coachella.

    Tallulah Willis On What Demi Moore Taught Her About Body Image

    Clad in her mother's vintage clothing, 18-year-old Tallulah Willis invited Stylelist Blogger Network members Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum of StyleLikeU into her Los Angeles home. There, the student displayed her singular style, from her Doc Martens to flea market finds.

    Of her style influences, the youngest daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis lists Edie Sedgwick and her older sister Scout -- who used to dress her up in vintage dresses that were "10 sizes" too big. But it's mom's warehouse of vintage clothing and a super-supportive upbringing ("[My mom] was very much like 'Love your body, love yourself, run around naked....' Whatever we wanted to do, it was very accepting.") that made Scout the articulate, wise and stylish young woman she appears to be.

    Tallulah also opens up about friends with eating disorders (apparently not eating for a month before Coachella is a thing--who knew?) and her own positive body image. She echoed the sentiments behind Stylelist's "I Promise To Stop Saying Negative Things About My Body Jar" when she says "It's almost weird if you're like 'I love my body" everyone's like 'you're conceited.' It's like you have to be insecure and hate yourself to be the norm. Just have fun, smile and laugh...that's the best thing in the world." Amen!

    See StyleLikeU's video interview with her sister Scout, along with SLU's interviews with Tavi Gevinson, Ally Hilfiger and Waris Singh Ahluwalia.

    11-Year-Old Girl From Colombia's Wayuu Tribe Gives Birth, Government At Odds With Tribal Mores

    An 11 year-old Colombian girl gave birth last week to a daughter. The baby was born via C-section and is reportedly in healthy condition. During her pregnancy, the young girl never consulted with a doctor according to the video report by Univision's Primer Impacto.

    The 11 year-old mother belongs to the Wayuu tribe, an indigenous group from the La Guajira Peninsula in the northern region of Colombia and Venezuela. She's originally from the city of Manaure.

    “We've already seen similar cases of wayuu girls," said Efraín Pacheco Casadiego the director of the hospital where the girl gave birth, to RCN La Radio noticias, a Colombian radio station. "At a time when (the girls) should be playing with dolls, they go to having to take care of a baby. It's shocking."

    The Colombian constitution guarantees the Wayuu land and autonomy, and allows for the indigenous tribe to maintain their own sovereignty.

    "Since it's a Wayuu girl we are trying to respect all of their rights since they have autonomy and their own jurisdiction," said Alejandro Samplayo, director of "Instituto Colombiano Bienestar Familiar" a family welfare program with emphasis on attention of infants.

    Little information has been reported about the baby’s father who has remained anonymous. And, according to Primer Impacto, nobody in the indigenous community is willing to speak about the circumstances of the birth.

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the "Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar" is an organization similar to the U.S.'s Planned Parenthood. But the "Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar" is a family welfare program with emphasis on attention of infants.

    Bethenny Frankel Skinnygirl Shapewear Ad Features 'Real Women'... And We're Looking For More!

    Reality TV star and now "Skinnygirl" entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel has already deluged the market with her Skinnygirl brand books, makeup, ponytail (yes, really) and those (controversial) Skinnygirl margaritas.

    But now, you can get Skinnygirl even closer to your body with Frankel's new line of Skinnygirl Smoothers 'n' Shapers.

    Launching in May 2012, the shapewear will be available at select Macy's stores, and for the line's "Real Woman" campaign, Frankel put a bunch of her real life besties -- i.e. her hair stylist, makeup artists and personal assistants -- in Skinnygirl shapewear and towering heels.

    Frankel told People that she wants real women to experience the "confidence" shapewear brings:

    “I created [my shapewear] for real women, so having the actual women in my life model my collection was the only truthful choice ... Everyone has a body part they’re not thrilled about, and the campaign gives women a firsthand look at how a little shapewear can give you the confidence to show it off and feel great while you’re doing it.”

    Madonna's 'MDNA' Fail: Singer's Album Sales Plummet

    Madonna's MDNA may be the first album to both top the Billboard charts and be a massive commercial failure.

    The record debuted at No. 1 on the charts, prompting her longtime manager Guy Oseary to herald the singer's comeback as a great success. And though it was quite a triumphant return, it turned out to be a short-lived one buoyed by what some are calling a cheap trick.

    MDNA sales have fallen a record 88 percent week-over-week, from 379,000 copies to a mere 46,000, Forbes reports.

    So why the dramatic drop? In a somewhat savvy move, Madonna packaged the album with ticket sales on Ticketmaster. Though Lionel Richie's Tuskegee was outpacing her in projected sales, Madge was able to surpass his release by essentially giving her album away to anyone who bought a ticket to see her tour. These "sales" were then counted in Billboard's tally.

    The only problem? With her shows either sold out or nearly sold out, no one's going to be buying tickets any time soon.

    Page Six notes that Madge didn't invent the trick. Both Bon Jovi and Tom Petty used the loophole to finagle their way to the top of the charts.

    In his email newsletter, Bob Lefsetz slammed the singer and her team for failing to understand that Super Bowl shows don't translate to album sales, especially for "an ancient superstar dashing for cash."

    "Oldsters just want to hear the hits, and youngsters ... just don't care," he wrote of her halftime show. As for her tour? "Charging a fortune and playing huge venues. It's like a going out of business sale. What do you do next?"

    Richie, on the other hand, sold 20,000 albums in just one hour by swallowing his pride and appearing on the Home Shopping Network. That's almost half the number of albums Madonna moved all week.

    In Oseary's defense, he claims that Madge has foregone traditional album promos, instead focusing on prepping what he's touting as an epic tour. "The focus is getting the show together so MDNA can come to life," he tweeted.

    Though Lefsetz and other critics are making it seem as though Madonna's career has seen its last sunset, it's important to remember she still has some pretty fierce fans, including this lady who tattooed MDNA's artwork on her ribcage:

    Jennifer Love Hewitt Receives Digital Breast Reduction For 'The Client List' Ad

    Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a single mom turned prostitute in the new Lifetime series "The Client List," but her curves proved too much for some.

    Fishbowl L.A. first reported that the actress received a digital breast reduction in an advertisement for the show found in Entertainment Weekly, while her natural curves remained untouched in an ad in The Hollywood Reporter.

    The 33-year-old is known for her ample curves and even she admitted she was surprised to see them nearly vanish in the Photoshopped ad.

    "Somebody sent me a copy of the photograph, and I was like, 'Um, what happened?" she told KROQ's "Kevin & Bean Show" on Friday. "I'm not quite sure what's going on, but apparently somebody wanted me to have a boob reduction."

    Hewitt likely isn't too happy that someone at Lifetime or Entertainment Weekly thought her boobs needed to be reduced, as she recently told Maxim magazine, "It's horrible to say, but I like my boobs. They've always served me well. They're good."

    Photoshopped ads are the norm, but typically actresses end up getting a boost in the bust, rather than having their assets downplayed. Actress Keira Knightley's chest grew significantly in a poster for the 2004 movie "King Arthur," while actress Emma Watson's bust appeared to be digitally enhanced for the IMAX 3D poster for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

    Nicki Minaj 'Beez In The Trap' Video: Rapper Releases Sexy Video And Rocks Times Square

    Nicki's at it again with a hot new video for "Beez in the Trap" and a performance in Times Square.

    The video is not complicated: 2 Chainz and Nicki dance and stand around rapping their verses while scenes from a club are spliced in to add some visual texture to the song. Though the lyrics of the track contain plenty of boasting on Minaj's part, she seems to be moving more and more away from the tough girl vibe she cultivated on tracks like Kanye West's "Monster" and instead playing up her curvy sex appeal to great effect.

    In that vein, the video is not unlike the visuals for Big Sean's "Dance A$$" remix. Minaj's provocative dancing in that video set the hip hop blog world ablaze, as many were surprised that as high profile an artist as Minaj would take the role normally relegated to models in hip hop videos.

    The lyrics for "Beez in the Trap" made it into HuffPost's list of the 19 most laughable lines on the album, as "N----s move weight but still live in Hoboken" is one of the most unexpected insults of all time. "Trap" is a slang term for a crackhouse, and by saying that she "beez" (is in) the drug den, Minaj means to say that her music is so addicted that it's like crack cocaine to those who listen to it. Serious stuff!

    Perhaps the most interesting part of the video is that rapper Birdman makes an appearance and doesn't rub his hands together.

    Putting out a racy video wasn't the only way Nicki turned heads this week. She also performed in Times Square as the secret performer for Nokia's Lumia 900 launch event. A video of the performance -- during which she premiered a new downtempo remix of "Starships" -- was posted on the phone company's Facebook page.

    "Beez in the Trap" is a single off Minaj's album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded which is out now in stores.

    The Wanted Perform 'Glad You Came' On 'American Idol'

    Sure, One Direction may have debuted on top of the U.S. albums chart -- and made history -- with their teen pop record "Up All Night," but there's another British boy band hoping to make it big in America. Meet The Wanted.

    In case you haven't heard, The Wanted -- Max George, Jay McGuiness, Siva Kaneswaran, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes -- are sure to become this summer's next big thing, especially under the superstar guidance of Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber's manager.

    The group's single, "Glad You Came," has already been featured on Fox's hit series "Glee," and the boys made their U.S. television debut on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." The single peaked at number three on the U.S. Hot 100 and has sold over a million copies in America since its release.

    To add to their stateside success, The Wanted made their "American Idol" debut on Thursday night's results show, singing their hit single "Glad You Came."

    The Wanted recently released their new U.S. single "Chasing The Sun" on Thursday, and their U.S. album will hit shelves on April 24.

    Watch a clip of The Wanted's live performance above, and tell us: Do you prefer The Wanted or One Direction?

    Want to know if your favorite 90's pop group is reuniting in 2012? Check out the slideshow below.

    Kelly Clarkson Covers Britney Spears' 'Til The World Ends'

    How does Kelly Clarkson celebrate her two Academy of Country Music wins? By singing Britney Spears' pop hit "Til the World Ends," of course!

    "I thought this might be a fun one that you all might enjoy," Clarkson told the crowd at a recent concert. "I'm going to sing it a little differently ... I love that song."

    Clarkson covered the pop princess' hit single Tuesday night in Los Angeles, as a part of her nationwide Stronger tour, but she put her own acoustic spin on the infamous dance track. The first "American Idol" winner slowed it down but still managed to bring the cheering fans to their feet.

    The Fray should take note. This is how you properly rework a song.

    Clarkson's latest album Stronger is currently holding steady at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

    Speaking of covers, check out some of our favorite "Somebody That I Used to Know" covers below. The Gotye song will next be covered on "Glee."

    Rihanna Would 'Love' To Portray Whitney Houston In Biopic

    Rihanna has officially thrown her hat in the ring for the role of Whitney Houston if there is ever to be a biopic and a role to be played.

    Reports recently abounded that record label executive Clive Davis was heading up efforts to make a biographical film to honor his close friend, but Davis has since denied the rumors.

    Rihanna was reportedly being considered for the role, but she recently revealed that she would "love" to portray the legend.

    "That would be something that I would have to give my entire life to do because I would want to really pull it off," Rihanna told The Press Association. "That's a huge, huge role and whoever does it has to do a good job."

    Rihanna was on the short list of contenders for the role, along with Jennifer Hudson, Vivica Fox and "Sparkle" star Jordin Sparks. Brandy was also mentioned in some reports.

    Though Rihanna may lack acting experience compared to the other candidates, she's not completely new to the industry. The Talk That Talk singer is set to debut her acting abilities in her first film, "Battleship," alongside Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Liam Neeson. The sci fi thriller will be released in the U.S. in May.

    But for Rihanna, portraying Whitney is not so much about acting experience, but about the chance to represent her musical inspiration on the big screen.

    "My first song that I remember falling in love with was a Whitney Houston song -- 'I Will Always Love You,'" Rihanna said. "It was really inspiring and it made me develop a passion for music, so really she's partly responsible for me being here in this industry."

    The City Where Women Value Sex The Most

    How much do single women value sex? According to a new survey, it depends where you live.

    Online dating site, Chemistry.com, asked over 10 million singles across the country whether they strongly believed that sex was an essential part of a relationship. The question was part of a larger personality test, overseen by the website’s chief scientific adviser, biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher and addressed both men and women. After breaking down the data, Chemistry.com looked at the 10 cities that held the largest concentration of women who "strongly agreed" that sex was essential.

    While not new, the idea that women are into sex has received particular attention from researchers and the media in the last year. A July 2011 study found that sexual satisfaction was more important to women in long-term relationships than frequent kissing or cuddling. And contrary to popular myth, women rated sexual satisfaction as more key to a lasting relationship than their male counterparts did. When it comes to singles, Match.com's survey of 6,000 men and women from February indicated the single women were significantly less likely to settle for a partner that they didn't find sexually attractive than men were. And in her new book "The Richer Sex," journalist Liza Mundy predicts that in the near future, women will want sex more than men.

    Scroll down to see Chemistry.com's top 10 cities where women value sex. While California women overwhelmingly said that sex was very important in a relationship, Southern cities are glaringly absent from the top 10.

    Fashionably Late: Style News You Might Have Missed This Week

    Welcome to Fashionably Late, where we round up the style scraps that didn't make it to our news page this week. Click through and catch up on what else happened this week!

    Jennifer Lawrence graces the cover of Germany's Interview magazine. The starlet ditches her pants and barely there makeup for a sequined bodysuit and smoky eyes. (Courtesy photo)

    'Roman Reloaded,' 'Wrath Of The Titans,' 'Brooklyn 11223' And More: The Week In Ouch

    Mirror, mirror on the wall, which one of this week's reviews is the snarkiest of them all? That award might belong to "Mirror Mirror," the romantic comedy based off the "Snow White" fairytale, starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Sean Bean.

    While it may seem like this all-star cast can do no wrong, according to Rolling Stone, the film falls flat. "The script by Marc Klein and Jason Keller is a model of storytelling incoherence and a lot of good actors go down in its swirling drain," wrote critic Peter Travers.

    Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj's new album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," isn't faring much better in the critics' eyes. According to Billboard, the album is just as schizophrenic as Minaj and her two alter egos -- and that's not a compliment.

    HuffPost Entertainment has rounded up the week's snarkiest reviews just for your enjoyment in this week's installment of our "Week In Ouch" series.

    This week, critics from TV Guide to The New York Times and HitFix were left shaking their heads and sharpening their critiques.

    Let us know which films, albums and TV shows you think deserved the harsh critiques, and which ones you think critics should ease up on in the comments.

    Jennifer Lopez: 'Dance Again' Single Debuts On Youtube

    It's here! Jennifer Lopez's newest single "Dance Again" (Click to listen on Youtube) has finally arrived!

    After weeks of teasing sneak peaks and snippets of photos, the full audio version of the J.Lo-Pitbull collaboration debuted on Youtube. Though the accompanying music video will not be released until April 5, today's video features the full lyrics in all their flashy, glittery glory.

    A quick electro beat and rapid clapping pushes the momentum of the song from the start as Pitbull launches into a brief introduction.

    The beat shifts from upbeat pings and claps to a bass backdrop as Lopez takes over the vocals.

    "Nobody knows what I'm feeling inside. I find it so stupid so why should I hide that I love to make love to you baby," she sings.

    The quick electro beat returns, revving up the energy before the chorus: "I wanna dance and love and dance again."

    That's the line that will surely get stuck in your head.

    J.Lo fans have been in a frenzy on Twitter today awaiting the release of soon-to-be dance hit.

    Read some of the enthusiastic reactions to "Dance Again" in the gallery below.

    'Mirror Mirror' Song Mystery: The Missing Woman Behind 'I Believe in Love'

    This is the true story of a quest -- the quest for a song, first, and then for the woman who wrote it.

    The song appears in the closing credits of "Mirror Mirror," the first of this year's two big-screen adaptations of the Snow White fairy tale. Its director, Tarsem Singh, first heard the song in the early 1970s, when he was a boy growing up in India's Punjab province.

    The song was called "I Believe," and it was sung -- in English -- by a woman who might best be described as the Madonna of Iran at that time. She went by one name, Googoosh, and sported a pixie haircut presumably inspired by Mia Farrow. "As kids, we used to dance to it," Singh told The Huffington Post. "We loved it."

    Three decades later, Singh played the song for his niece, who was staying with him in Montreal while he shot his 2011 film, "Immortals." "She's this clubbing girl and she loved it," he said. "Every morning when I woke up, she'd be playing it in her shower. I'd hear it in the next room. It would be Googoosh going, 'I believe, I believe, I believe in love! Love!'"

    Clearly, this was a song with broad appeal -- and a special resonance for young people. So when Singh read the script for "Mirror Mirror" and decided that his film simply had to end with a musical number, it didn't take long to settle on one, he recalled: "Suddenly, I went, 'It's perfect; the movie ends with Snow White singing, 'I believe in love!'

    "And then the fun started."
    *****

    Singh's decision set off a chain of events that spanned a year and drew in dozens of people, from studio executives to a private investigator. At the end of the trail was a woman nobody could find.

    The reason for the search was simple: To include "I Believe" in "Mirror Mirror," the producers needed to secure the rights. But they had no idea who even owned those rights. "Tarsem wanted to have that song," said Bob Bowen, senior vice president of music at Relativity, which produced the film. "And then we had to figure out … how do we get it cleared? How do we license it? Who do we get to record it? And all the other production logistics that go with that."

    "I just told them, 'We need this song; we need this song,'" Singh recalled. "And they couldn't get the rights. They kept saying they contacted Googoosh's people but … basically the rights belong to the Iranian government. And I said, 'That just sounds like something I don't want to believe.' I was a bit heartbroken."

    Before giving up altogether, a production assistant at Relativity made a call to Koo Abuali, a former musician who had done some low-budget soundtrack work in the past and was looking for a big break. Abuali had recently moved from Los Angeles to Montreal -- where "Mirror Mirror" was being shot -- in pursuit of a love interest and, with any luck, a job on the film.

    Abuali remembered getting the call on June 2, 2011: "He says, 'Um, I have a little task for you. But I honestly don't think that you're going to be able to do this.' And I said, 'If it's an opportunity, hit me with it!'"

    Working with little more than the song's title and the knowledge that a woman named Googoosh had once performed it, Abuali launched a frenzied research effort. "I knew that I had a very tiny window to get in to meet with this director," she said. "And I knew that it would be an opportunity that would change my professional life."

    Right away, Abuali had a stroke of luck. She tracked down Googoosh's lawyer and discovered that he was an old acquaintance from Los Angeles. But this success was followed by four days of round-the-clock frustration. She contacted the Iranian consulate, the Cannes Film Festival (where Googoosh had once performed the song) and practically everyone in the Iranian singer's circle, including her assistant, two songwriters who had worked with her in the '70s, her doctor -- and even her ex-husband, Mahmoud Ghorbani. "It was like one piece after another after another that was all adding up, but they were all leading nowhere," Abuali said.

    In the end, the World Wide Web gave her the break she needed. Her Iranian friends had advised her to google transliterations of the song's English lyrics "I believe, I believe, I believe in love." Sure enough, a search for "Vabeli, vabeli, vabeli" led her to an article in Portuguese that -- when entered into Google Translate -- unlocked the mystery. The article revealed that Googoosh's "I Believe" was a cover of a song titled "Love," which had first appeared in a film called "Taking Off." It was directed by Milos Forman, the Oscar-winning director of "Amadeus" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and had won the Cannes Grand Prix in 1971.

    Better yet, the woman who performed "Love" in the movie was also the songwriter. Her name was Nina Hart; she was 20 years old in 1971 and an American. How hard could it be to find her?

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