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The Advice Goddess: September 2016
Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:32

Duck face the nation

Q: I’m a woman in my late 20s. Guys don’t have car crashes looking at me, but I am pretty and have a nice boyfriend. I have three drop-dead gorgeous girlfriends who are perpetually single, but not by choice. I realized that they all do two things: complain that things never work out with a guy and constantly post stunning selfies on Facebook. One takes a daily pic in her car, showing how hot she looks. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend, he said guys want a hot girlfriend, but they don’t want one who does that. Please explain.
— Wondering


A: Sure, getting other people to like you starts with liking yourself  —  just not to the point where you’re dozing off in front of the mirror.

Selfie posting, not surprisingly, has been associated with narcissism — being a self-absorbed, self-important user with a lack of empathy and a sucking need for admiration. 

But consider that there are nuances to what sort of person posts selfies and why. There are those who post selfies in keeping with their interests — like “here’s today’s outfit!” (because they’re into fashion) or “here I am about to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel” (because they are into adventure travel and are also kind of an idiot).

Though these “stuff I like!” shots include a picture of the person, they’re ultimately about some hobby or interest they have. 

And then there’s the person — like these women you mention — who simply posts endless vanity shots, like “it’s Monday, and I’m still alive, and aren’t I pretty? #WeAllHaveOurCrossToBear”

Clinical psychologist Christopher T. Barry and his colleagues found that posting a lot of “physical appearance selfies” is associated with a subtype of narcissism, “vulnerable narcissism.”

Vulnerable narcissism involves self-worth that’s “highly contingent” on what others think, “hypervigilance” about rejection, and a tendency to manufacture a facade to protect against rejection. (“Grandiose narcissism” is the louder, more domineering subtype most of us think of as narcissism.) 

Yes, like ice cream and medical marijuana, narcissism comes in different flavors. Though you can probably feel for the vulnerable narcissists, they also come up short on empathy. They just do it more quietly. 

Chances are, guys who want more than a hookup or arm candy see a slew of “Worship me!” selfies as a generic sign of narcissism — and a big flashing danger sign telling them to look elsewhere. 

As the saying goes, “beauty fades…” but unempathetic is forever. 

(c.) 2016, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ( 

Fashion Week showcases city’s styles
Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:00
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Asheville Fashion Week, a four-night celebration of the fashion arts in Asheville, scored a hit as it featured a good mix of local designers and between 100 to 200 models strutted down the runways in the event’s second year, according to Sarah Merrell, the event’s community director.

The Aug. 3-6 event, hosted by Gage Models & Talent Agency in Knoxville, Tenn., is billed as “an art and fashion event with the ultimate goal of creating buzz and giving a relevant outlet to fashion houses, buyers and culture enthusiasts. 

“AFW connects consumers with products and services that relate to fashion, beauty and luxury while showcasing incredible Asheville talent and highlighting the rich fashion community that has been thriving in Asheville in recent years.”

The first two nights of the gala were held at Altamont Theatre in downtown Asheville, while the two final nights took place at Crowne Plaza Resort’s Event Center in West Asheville. A portion of the proceeds from each night of Asheville Fashion Week was given to Autism Speaks.

Merrell, a working model in Asheville who is public relations director for Gage, teaches modeling and acting classes for Gage. Currently, Gage’s classes only are taught in Johnson City, Knoxville and Nashville — all in Tennessee, but Merrell noted that the agency is considering adding Asheville, based on the city’s modeling and fashion interest, as shown at AFW.

As for the Asheville gala, Merrell told the Daily Palnet, “We had a great representation of designers — most of them from the Asheville area. They provided a unique mix — lots of designs  ... There was organic fabric ... repurposed fabric... So that was wonderful to see our Asheville designers. We also had designers from other cities, includes Garit Stephens from Virginia — he previously had shown (his designs) in 2013 New York Fashion Week....

“We also had Angel Blanco — he is actually from Venezuela — whose designs were very modern, edgy and artistic.”

Turnout varied from 50 to 100 people each night at the Altamont Theater, she said. She did not have crowd estimates for the nights at the much-large Crowne Plaza Event Center, but early Friday night the turnout appeared to be more than 200 people. “It kind of built each night,” Merrell noted. “For the grand finale event (on Saturday night), I think we had all the seats full.”

She added, “ We were very happy with the event. The great thing about Asheville Fashion Week — and I do a lot of fashion shows in Asheville — is Gage Models and Talent just do a fantastic job. They built this amazing 90-foot runway with a super-cool background. No other fashion shows do that. It gives an opportunity for designers to show more looks.”

AFW “is the biggest (fashion show in Asheville) because it’s four nights” long, she said. “All other Asheville fashion shows are just one-nighters. It has the most models, the most designers, the biggest runway and biggest advertising and marketing. I also do Color Me Goodwill fashion show, which has about 500 attendeess, which is one of the bigger shows” in Asheville. “The Asheville Community Theatre’s Costume Drama also is a big one.” However, she reiterated that they are just one-night events, compared to AFW’s four-night soiree.

Regarding AFW, “The main purpose is just to give the Asheville fashion community a relevant outlet to basically show the work that they do …. That helps show the rest of the country what we have here. Its useful for networking. They (the models) have met photographers... It helps elevate and connect people and raise awareness....

“The fashion in Asheville is unlike in any other city,” Merrell said. “The fashion designers (in Asheville) are amazingly talented and a lot of them have a lot of education that goes into this. The Asheville mentality is very eco-friendly and eco-conscious. They like things that are ethically made. In addition they’re very artistic — Asheville’s a very artistic town and you see that reflected in the fashions

“We had a diverse range of models. It was really cool to see models of all different sizes and ages. We saw models of kids’ designs that were absolutely adorable. We had some veteran models who have walked in huge” fashion shows in major metropolitan cities. 

“We had some models who it was their very first time. Our veteran models… have gone through our modeling classes at Gage. We offer development classes, including on how to walk down the runway. Runway is something that takes so much practice to really perfect. The difference (between a regular person walking and a runway strutter) is confidence,” Merrell said.



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