Rob Luce

Judge Mathis Is Courting Change

In a case on a recent episode of his TV court room show, Judge Greg Mathis recounted a story of a “lifelong friend” to a heartbroken mother who took custody of her heroin and fentanyl addicted daughter’s two children. The mother was now in front of Mathis suing that daughter for stolen money.  “I know two families very, very close to me who went through that and gave up their kids,” said Mathis.

Read More

Before Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot Got Fast & Furious

Before slipping on the gauntlets of feminist icon Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot had already amassed an impressive resume in the worlds of modeling and acting. After being crowned Miss Israel at age 18, Gadot went on to a successful modeling career. Ultimately she got her big acting break in the fourth film in the Fast & the Furious franchise. Now, with the international success of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a whole new group of moviegoers have been introduced to the accomplished Glamour covergirl. I spoke to her shortly before the theatrical release of Fast and Furious 4 in March of 2009.

Read More

Monochrome Effect is Hiring!

Looking to jumpstart or expand your career in media? Monochrome Effect is looking for the following:

  • Interns
  • Writers
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • On-Air Talent
  • Sales
  • Promotions
  • Marketing

Interested applicants should e-mail


Carly Rae Jepsen: Pop’s Newest Princess

Pop-Tarts Crazy Good Summer Concert in Chicago with Carly Rae Jepsen

When it comes to picking a favorite collaborator from her debut album dropping this September, Carly Rae Jepsen just can’t do it. “I mean truthfully it’s hard to pick favorites like that because they are such different collaborations,” says Jepsen of the chart-toppers that range from Redfoo of LMFAO to Justin Bieber. “For me there’s still that moment where I kind of pinch myself and ask if this is all really happening.”

One of those songs, “Good Time,” a duet with Owl City, is quickly leapfrogging its way to the top of the charts, where her bouncy, syrupy “Call Me Maybe” has held the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the last seven weeks. “It’s the project of my life. It’s my baby. I’ve written on every song that’s on there,” she says of her involvement on the new album.  “Some of them I did myself but some of them are collaborations, but the main focus was always on how the album should sound, so it was really important for me to be a main writer on this album.”

Even before working on the new album, Jepsen had an idea of what she wanted it to sound like. “I’ve been addicted to Robyn. I listen to her so much that people who are friends with me are sick of it.” Electropop band Dragonette and Sinead O’Connor, who Jepsen calls “an oldie but a goody with an incredible voice,” also helped add to the creation process. “Those three artists are the vibe I’m going for with the new album. But with that being said, when I listen back to the CD, it sounds like none of them. It’s kind of cool that what you’re inspired by has an effect but really doesn’t sound like any of them at the same time. The end result sounds totally different.”

Though her new album won’t be released until September, she’s already thinking of dream collaborations. “I know they wouldn’t work right now, they would work in my later years when I transform into a late-life Norah Jones,” she says, laughing. “But I definitely think John Mayer is on the top of that list. I’ve always wanted to sing with him or James Taylor, because that’s the music I grew up listening to.”

While Jepsen is no stranger to the spotlight, having placed third in season five of “Canadian Idol,” she was thrust into worldwide superstardom rather suddenly thanks to her boss—Justin Bieber. One would think she’d be under pressure to match the success of “Call Me Maybe” with her new tracks, but she says she hasn’t had the time to sit back and have too much concern for anything. In fact, she’s having the opposite feeling of pressure. “It’s more excitement,” she says. “And I just feel very blessed that I have such an amazing group that really seem to get me and respect what I’m doing. They’ve made a platform for me to be able to do it in a worldwide way and not just in Canada.”

While that platform has led to her partying it up with Katy Perry (“She’s the bomb. Katy is one of those people I really, really love.”), don’t expect her to deviate from her squeaky-clean pop princess trail. “I’m one of those few people who has only gotten a hangover once in their life and it was a lesson learned that I haven’t done twice,” she says. Jepsen is just happy being blessed with the man (she’s not willing to go public with his name just yet) she’s found. “It’s definitely important to have somebody who really knows you and gets what you’re doing. It’s fortunate to find somebody who gets that.” Does that mean we shouldn’t expect any public displays of affection with her current beau, then? “I’m still kind of in the new business of this,” she says of keeping her private life out of her professional one. “I think I’m still learning to balance that right now. But it’s good to have something that’s inside and outside this world I’m living in.”

The world she’s living in also requires the pop star to know her designer labels. Jepsen isn’t afraid to admit that she’s new to the designer world, too. “The Dolce & Gabana dress I wore at the Billboard Awards made it my Cinderella night. I felt very, very special in that dress.” And when she’s just out hanging with friends? “I like a nice twirly skirt or dress—something that I can move around easily in.”

Learning the latest fashion of the season takes backseat for Jepsen. She’s all about carving out a long and diverse successful musical career for herself. “There are so many people I admire, but those artists that have such longevity in their career and remain classy are those I most admire,” she says. “John Mayer is one of those artists where every album of his is a little different, but there’s so much quality in each of them. But then I’ve always had a secret crush on him so that probably doesn’t hurt my view,” she says, laughing.

And where does Jepsen see herself down the road? “That’s a great question,” she says. “I think my main goal is to continue writing and hopefully improving that skill. And I think it’s something you can learn from collaborations and life experience. My main goal has always been to put out that song that really lasts after I’m gone—and that connects with a lot of people, the way that the songs I love have connected with me.”

The Evolution of Borris Powell

By Allison Duncan

Borris Powell’s evolution as a designer started at a young age, watching his mother dress for any and every occasion, and he has since continued to grow into a world-renowned designer with a unique, classic and clean aesthetic. Powell says that he didn’t pursue fashion; rather, fashion pursued him. Inspired by all things beautiful, Powell’s three muses are his mother, his best girl friend Kenya Patterson, and finally himself.

“My mother will help my thoughts stay clean and classic,” says Powell. “I channel Kenya when I need to see a more youthful and racy look. And I’m quite conservative in dress myself. And then there’s the world that is just full of beauty.” With a variety of influences, Powell imagines the men and women wearing his designs as confident, chic and lovers of attention, but doing nothing to command it… other than wearing his captivating designs, of course.

Powell designs with everyone in mind. “I am currently working on making everyone my target market,” says Powell. “For now, however, my target is an individual that likes to splurge on a piece that we call, ‘an investment piece.’” Powell hopes that anyone and everyone who wants to wear Borris Powell designs will be able to in the future.

In the next five years, Powell sees his brand as becoming a recognized label throughout the world, hopefully as a label that everyone wants to wear. He hopes to expand to having locations in Amsterdam, Milan, London, Moscow, and Paris.

With such lofty goals, it’s no surprise that Powell says there is no such thing as a typical day for him, aside from the daily feeling of running a mad race from sun up to sun down. “I find myself working way more than I find myself not working,” says Powell. “But my work is my playground so, to me, I get to play everyday.”

Although work is pleasure for Powell, he does advise aspiring designers to recognize that fashion design is a business more than an art now. He recommends knowing your voice, knowing what you want to be known for and being hungry for it.

“Once a dear friend of mine by the name of J Wolf told me that you can be the best at everything,” says Powell. “So surround yourself with people that are much stronger than you at your weaknesses, and this is the fastest way to grow your business.”

And while Powell is on the fast track to massive success, he has faced some struggles as a designer. “The struggles for me have been following my crazy dreams in a place where the resources are plentiful,” says Powell. “But this has also turned me into a very resourceful person.”

Having won the Oscar Designer Challenge in 2011, Powell has used his resources wisely. He cites the win as his proudest accomplishment to date, with opening his own studio/showroom space as a close second.

And aside from being resourceful, Powell has had several mentors in his evolution as a designer. Both Christian Dior and Valentino have been a source of inspiration in the design process, and Powell also mentions his family and friends for their constant love and support.

Powell’s mission, however, is to follow in the footsteps of Dior and Valentino. “They knew how to dress women,” says Powell. “It was so effortless. They made every women feel like a princess, and that is my mission. I can only hope that when I’m gone the industry will say the same about me.”

Based on his past accomplishments, one can be confident that Powell will soon join the ranks of his role models.

Photos by Donna Binbek

Behind the Lens: Getty Images’ Most Prized Photographers

By Allison Duncan

The top photographers from Getty Images are some of the most celebrated celebrity/event/fashion photographers in the world. From shooting the cover of The World in Vogue: Peoples, Parties, Places to snapping photos at the Playboy Mansion to covering the Academy Awards, these photographers have seen it all. The Getty Images’ photographers have become household names in a notoriously competitive industry.

They honed their craft from a young age, realizing their passion for taking photographs early. Inspiration was around every corner. Dimitrios Kambouris, for instance, worked at a mom and pop camera store in Astoria, New York after high school, selling cameras and film. He soon became inspired by the craft and started taking photos of everything and anything in New York City, from Times Square and Rockefeller Center to The Empire State Building AND Central Park.

Their commitment to taking pictures has kept them relevant in an ever-evolving medium. Each photographer agreed that the change to digital photography has created a platform for nearly everyone with a digital camera or smart phone to be a photographer, so they have to work hard to continue to stand out.

“It’s obvious that photography has been changed by digital technology, but at its core, it will always be a visual medium so you still have to see and have some kind of vision of your own,” says Larry Busacca. “That vision can range from creating fully conceptual imagery or as seemingly simple as choosing the exact right moment to push the button on the red carpet, and it’s not as easy as it looks.”

It takes an exceptional eye to capture a great moment, and the Getty Images’ photographers explained the need for both a technical and creative background. Even more so, a strong photo evokes an emotion, both in the photographer and in the audience. “When I get a great photo, I just know,” says Jamie McCarthy. “It’s kind of hard to describe, but if someone else sees that photo and gets the same feeling, then I’ve done my job well.”

Photographers capture memories and tell stories through visual art, but the men vary in which stories they are most eager to tell. Andrew Walker is most fond of shooting celebrity portraiture and day-in-the-life stories because of the one-on-one experience, which he believes is an opportunity to collaborate and create something interesting. McCarthy, on the other hand, is partial to concerts and the Victoria’s Secret models, “for obvious reasons,” he says.

Regardless of their personal preferences, they agree that there are particular shots that are most popular with consumers. In the past few years, fan favorites have been celebrity event photography, especially traditional full-length photos. And what matters most to these photographers is that their photos are being seen and appreciated.

“What makes it worthwhile is when I see that the pictures are being used, seen and liked,” says Frazer Harrison. “There is nothing like seeing your work on the front cover a magazine while you’re browsing through the magazine racks at airports. I always want to sneakily sign it and leave, but I have not yet done that.”

Although the Getty Images’ photographers have their work seen by millions of people throughout the world, they also use their talents for personal moments, too. Harrison says that one of the most intense and emotional shoots he’s ever done is shooting his daughter Yasmin moments after she was born because he knew it was one job that he could mess up. It’s in moments like those that photographers realize they are part of the action even though they’re behind the lens.

“I never feel like I’m missing something; on the contrary, I feel like I’m more a part of the action,” says McCarthy. “I get to do and experience things that many photographers don’t get to do. Many of my subjects and clients treat me more like a guest taking pictures than just the photographer.”

Each photographer stressed the difference between a celebrity photographer and paparazzi; that is, the treatment of their subjects. Each of the Getty Images’ photographers has gotten to where he is because of his commitment to honoring the art of photography. Many of their best moments so far in their careers have come when a celebrity or client gives thanks for taking a beautiful photograph of them, and that’s what makes it all worth it.

Their inherent ability to find beauty has been the difference between one-time success and becoming a household name. “I think one of the factors that may have changed how beauty is defined is the sheer volume of imagery that is in our faces all day that attempts to tell us what and who is attractive or not,” says Busacca. “Much of beauty is personal perception.”

Although beauty may very well be in the eye of the beholder, there are certain moves that can help you look your best in photos. And while each photographer stresses the importance of practicing your poses in the mirror, Walker also advises that women place one hand on the hip, slightly turn your shoulders and cross your legs.

These men have seen it all, and their reputations precede them. Time and time again they’ve proven their worth in the photography industry, and each of them hopes to still be around many years to come. Perhaps Busacca says it best, “The best moments keep coming.”

Bright Pink: A Cause to ‘Rime’ About

By Jamie DeGraaf

Chicago has been endorsed be country superstar LeAnn Rimes-Cibrian. We get a “Fabulous,” which translates to 5 stars in our book.

A previous albeit short-lived Chicagoan herself, Rimes-Cibrian was looking forward to visiting the city on February 25 for the Fashion, Fitness and Fine Art Fundraiser benefiting Bright Pink. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen medical reasons Rimes-Cibrian was unable to attend the event, but her support for the mission of Bright Pink was palpable throughout the evening. Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization that provides education and support to young woman who are at high-risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The event was hosted at The Kimpton’s Palomar Hotel Chicago by Lookstyle and Barre Bee Fit. On display throughout the ballroom was the Revlolving Collections Gallery, completing the theme of fashion, fitness and fine art. The evening featured cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction which boasted multiple dresses donated by Rimes-Cibrian among its collection.

For Rimes-Cibrian, supporting Bright Pink is about empowering women through education. Bright Pink offers support programs and educational workshops that encourage women to be more proactive about their health. “Women need to be more in tune with their bodies; they need to know what to look for, what to feel for in order to catch breast and ovarian cancer early on,” she said. “Bright Pink does a wonderful job in educating women and giving them the power to keep themselves healthy in order to live long, prosperous lives.” To date, Bright Pink is the only resource solely focused on education and early detection for high-risk treatment and it has created a unique community of women that has never previously united.

In addition to Bright Pink, Rimes-Cibrian supports other philanthropic ventures including volunteering with wounded soldiers, Children’s Miracle Network and Stand Up for Kids. “Giving back was something my mom and dad instilled in me early on,” she said. “There’s nothing more gratifying than helping another and bringing a smile to someone’s face.”

Rimes-Cibrian hopes that supporting causes like Bright Pink will spread awareness and inspire people to take action to show their solidarity as well. “Giving back is one of the most important lessons my husband Eddie and I try to instill in Eddie’s sons,” she said. “It’s important to me to help raise children that are more selfless than selfish.”

Rimes-Cibrian and her husband have called Chicago home in the past and were disappointed to miss the opportunity to visit. “It is a fabulous city,” Rimes-Cibrian said. “The people there are so welcoming. I really fell in love with the bar and restaurant at the Elysian hotel and Sunda is a favorite for sushi. Barney’s and RL’s are amazing for brunch. Eddie and I felt very much at home while living there.”

Joe Davis, Anna Marie Gongola

Sheena, Travis, Amanda