Stacey Abrams is Re-Releasing Three of Her Romance Novels
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Stacey Abrams standing in front of a microphone stand while smiling away from the camera.

By , Vulture

Get ready to swoon. Berkley, a Penguin Random House imprint, is rereleasing three Stacey Abrams romantic suspense novels that have been out of print for many years. Originally published under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Rules of Engagement, The Art of Desire, and Power of Persuasion will be out in hardcover and audio in 2022. According to a release, each of these novels, which were her first published books, features “international espionage, page-turning action, a core love story, Black heroines, and a diverse cast of characters.”

While the Democratic political leader and Team Spike fan has since written bestsellers on topics from voter suppression to leadership, she has never shied away from her romance-novelist roots. “As my first novels, they remain incredibly special to me,” Abrams said in a statement. “The characters and their adventures are what I’d wished to read as a young Black woman — stories that showcase women of color as nuanced, determined, and exciting. As Selena and as Stacey, I am proud to be a part of the romance-writing community and excited that Berkley is reintroducing these stories for new readers and faithful fans.”

Click here to read the full article on Vulture.

Why Jennifer Aniston ‘absolutely’ will not try online dating
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Jennifer Aniston revealed why she won't try dating apps.

Jennifer Aniston is still looking for love — but she refuses to find it online. The “Friends” alum, 52, said in an interview published on Wednesday that she “absolutely” will not try dating apps to find a new partner. “Absolutely no,” she told People. “I’m going to just stick to the normal ways of dating. Having someone ask you out. That’s the way I would prefer it.” Although she’s still looking for a “fantastic partner,” the twice-divorced “Morning Show” star isn’t certain about making any relationship legally binding again.

“Oh, God, I don’t know,” she said. “It’s not on my radar. I’m interested in finding a fantastic partner and just living an enjoyable life and having fun with one another. That’s all we should hope for. It doesn’t have to be etched in stone in legal documents.”

Aniston was married to Brad Pitt from 2000 to 2005 and Justin Theroux from 2015 to 2017. She is still friends with both of her exes.

“I would say we’ve remained friends,” Theroux, 49, said in his Esquire cover story published in April. “We don’t talk every day, but we call each other. We FaceTime. We text.”

Denying that they had a “dramatic split,” he added, “I’m sincere when I say that I cherish our friendship.”

Click here to read the full article on Page Six.

Victoria’s Secret Swaps Angels for ‘What Women Want.’ Will They Buy It?
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The actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas is part of the rebrand for victoria's secret

Sapna Maheshwari and , New York Times

The Victoria’s Secret Angels, those avatars of Barbie bodies and playboy reverie, are gone. Their wings, fluttery confections of rhinestones and feathers that could weigh almost 30 pounds, are gathering dust in storage. The “Fantasy Bra,” dangling real diamonds and other gems, is no more.

In their place are seven women famous for their achievements and not their proportions. They include Megan Rapinoe, the 35-year-old pink-haired soccer star and gender equity campaigner; Eileen Gu, a 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier and soon-to-be Olympian; the 29-year-old biracial model and inclusivity advocate Paloma Elsesser, who was the rare size 14 woman on the cover of Vogue; and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, a 38-year-old Indian actor and tech investor.

They will be spearheading what may be the most extreme and unabashed attempt at a brand turnaround in recent memory: an effort to redefine the version of “sexy” that Victoria’s Secret represents (and sells) to the masses. For decades, Victoria’s Secret’s scantily clad supermodels with Jessica Rabbit curves epitomized a certain widely accepted stereotype of femininity. Now, with that kind of imagery out of step with the broader culture and Victoria’s Secret facing increased competition and internal turmoil, the company wants to become, its chief executive said, a leading global “advocate” for female empowerment.

Will women buy it? An upcoming spinoff, more than $5 billion in annual sales, and 32,000 jobs in a global retail network that includes roughly 1,400 stores are riding on the answer.

It is a stark change for a brand that not only long sold lingerie in the guise of male fantasy, but has also been scrutinized heavily in recent years for its owner’s relationship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and revelations about a misogynistic corporate culture that trafficked in sexism, sizeism and ageism.

“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said Martin Waters, the former head of Victoria’s Secret’s international business who was appointed chief executive of the brand in February. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”

The seven women, who form a group called the VS Collective, will alternately advise the brand, appear in ads and promote Victoria’s Secret on Instagram. They are joining a company that has an entirely new executive team and is forming a board of directors in which all but one seat will be occupied by women.

Rarely has a company so dominant in its sector been exposed as trailing so far behind the culture as Victoria’s Secret was in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

It was, Ms. Rapinoe said bluntly, “patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired. And it was very much marketed toward younger women.” That message, she said, was “really harmful.”

Click here to read the full article on the New York Times.

TOKYO 2020 TRANSGENDER WEIGHTLIFTER TO COMPETE IN GAMES … On New Zealand Women’s Team
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Laurel Hubbard lifting weights in a competition

By TMZ

For the very first time, a transgender athlete will compete in the summer Olympics … and shocker, there’s already controversy. 43-year-old Laurel Hubbard — who transitioned from male to female in 2013 — has been selected to the New Zealand women’s weightlifting team to compete in the women’s 87-kilogram division. The issue?? Hubbard competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before she transitioned — and some critics are already blasting the situation as unfair to other athletes.

But, the International Olympic Committee has specific guidelines for transgender athletes to compete — testosterone levels must be below a certain level — and Hubbard has met the criteria since 2015. In other words, she’s good to go!! The CEO of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Kereyn Smith, issued a statement Monday supporting Hubbard.

“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said. “As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of manaaki and inclusion and respect for all. We are committed to supporting all eligible New Zealand athletes and ensuring their mental and physical wellbeing, along with their high-performance needs, while preparing for and competing at the Olympic Games are met.”

Not everyone feels that way … back in May, Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen reportedly called Hubbard’s qualifying situation “unfair” and a “bad joke.”

Hubbard, though, wasn’t letting the disapproval get in the way of her feat Monday … saying, “I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders.”

“The last 18 months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose. The mana of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride.”

Click here to read the full article on TMZ.

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Laganja Estranja comes out as trans: ‘I feel so beautiful’
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'RuPaul's Drag Race' queen Laganja Estranja comes out as trans in EW's exclusive interview.

By Joey Nolfi, EW

RuPaul’s Drag Race legend Laganja Estranja is chassé-ing into a new chapter of her life as an out, proud trans woman. “There are so many other women around me who’ve inspired me to come forward today, and it’s because of their fight and their struggle that I’m able to really do this and say that I’m nervous, but I’m not scared,” the 32-year-old recording artist and cannabis activist exclusively reveals to EW. “I’m not going to live my life in fear anymore.” Estranja says after “presenting as female for the last 10 years” as a drag performer, she eased into her identity while on the stage in a way that “made it more explainable to the masses,” but, in 2021, she’s living her truth for one person only: Herself.

“I do want to be able to express this at all times,” she continues. “I just got my haircut – a very feminine cut – and in one week already, my life has changed. I’m able to come off stage and take my makeup off and still see a beautiful woman in the mirror. It’s powerful.”

The Texas native, who rose to prominence thanks to her flamboyant personality on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014, says she came out to her “incredibly supportive” family one week ago, but has been “comfortably, fully committing” to who she is as a trans woman among her inner circle for one year, after previously revealing her truth to friends on her birthday in 2020.

Without a prompt, she volunteers information about her physical transformation, stressing that it’s important for her to highlight this part of her story – which involves deliberately coming out before beginning hormone therapy – to emphasize that no one’s transition is the same, and that everyone deserves the space, time, and love to come out on their own terms, at any age, and at any physical point on their personal trajectory.

“That will come,” she says, later explaining: “Glam doesn’t make you a woman; it makes you a woman to people outside, in the world…. gender is performative, and what we wear is an extension of what we feel on the inside. That’s the real truth here: once this is out and once people know, I’m going to be more free to explore what it means to be a woman on the inside. The dressing part? I’ve got it down, but that’s not what makes you a woman.”

For Estranja, getting to a place of comfort took time. She says she first told others she was nonbinary as both an easing-in for her and those around her, because she often felt trapped by the pressure to fit into the constraints of constructed gender.

“People think that when you’re trans that you’ve wanted to be a girl your whole life; yes, that’s partly true [for me], but it’s also true that I’ve wanted to be male my whole life to fit into what society deems as normal,” she explains. “But, that isn’t my truth, and I’m daring to take this on. I tried to be male and be in-between and nonbinary. The truth is I’m a feminine entity and I can live this life.”

Still, her transition will be an ode to the person that laid the foundation for this moment over the last three decades of life. She doesn’t plan to change her drag name or her birth name; she’ll still perform as Laganja Estranja, and go by Jay among those closest to her, so she feels like she’s “not turning [her] back on” the bricks that built the woman she is today – many of which, she reveals, came to her in unexpected ways, like the time she remembers feeling her natural hair growing long enough to touch her neck for the first time last year, when the global pandemic interrupted her regular two-week haircut schedule.

“When my real hair started growing, I remember it touching the back of my neck, and that’s funny, because wigs have touched the back of my neck forever, but it was my real hair; my real truth was physically touching me in a way,” she recalls.

She shares that something as simple as performing drag with her natural hair versus a wig has drawn criticism from cis members of the community in the past – something that’s “not fair,” though she’s prepared herself for it by watching her Drag Race season 6 castmate and close friend, Gia Gunn, while the pair lived together.

“I feel blessed to have had that experience. Our transitions are different and will manifest in different ways, but it was so incredible to see someone live their truth and to be happy,” says Estranja, who joins past Drag Race contestants like Gunn, Gottmik, Peppermint, Kylie Sonique Love, Jiggly Caliente, and Carmen Carrera, among others, who’ve come out either before, during, or after their time on the show.

“I’m so thankful that Gia didn’t push me and has allowed me to take my time,” Estranja says. “Of course she’s encouraged me. From day one when we met, she was like, ‘Oh honey, you’re a woman!’ She’s known longer than I have!”

Click here to read the full article on EW.

How Riot Games will ensure that Valorant’s esports stars include women
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Riot games illustration of new female video game character

By , Venture Beat

By any measure, League of Legends has been an enormous success for Riot Games for more than a decade. But when it comes to the diversity of the esports stars in the multiplayer online game, it’s clear that women are missing. And since the company is more aware of diversity issues than it has been in the past, Riot is taking a more proactive approach to its next big esports game, Valorant.

Valorant has a lot going for it. Riot recently announced that its team shooter game has reached 14 million monthly active PC players and half a billion games played in its first year. The new Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) in North America is hitting new peaks with each event, with more than 8.7 million hours of tournaments watched, 360,000 peak viewers, an average of 560,000 viewers each minute, and similar good results for regional events. Riot Games is still investing heavily ahead of making profits with Valorant, just as it has done with League of Legends.

But Valorant is different from League of Legends in another respect, as about 30% to 40% of the players are female, said head of esports partnerships Matthew Archambault said in an interview with GamesBeat. One reason that has happened is that times have changed, Riot has matured since being accused of sexism in the past, and it can put more resources toward making sure the ecosystem is diverse.

“If you look at the FPS space, that’s kind of amazing because if you look at other FPS titles, you can see they are mostly men,” Archambault said. “We wanted to ensure that we could create this very welcoming experience for women and marginalized genders.”

And to stoke their interest in Valorant esports, Riot Games announced in February it was creating the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Game Changers program. It’s an esports tournament initiative to supplement the competitive season by highlighting women and people of marginalized genders. Riot wants these events to foster an inclusive environment for competition and create safe opportunities for women to compete without fear of identity- or gender-based harassment. After all, esports is something where the sexes should be equal, since, unlike in traditional sports, there isn’t a difference between men and women when it comes to playing a computer game with a mouse and keyboard. There isn’t a physical difference that explains why there aren’t enough women in esports.

“I worked on [League of Legends Championship Series] LCS for a really long time as well. And there are no female players,” said Shelby Ulisse, an event producer at Riot Games and head of the Game Changers Initiative. “That’s the reality, and I think it is a huge bummer and missed opportunity. We’ve had females enter and come into the pro scene on League of Legends. And so this time around, we were like, ‘That can’t happen again.’ We need to make sure that from the beginning, from the inception of what this esport is, women are at the forefront of our mind, because we want to see mixed teams, we want to see all of those teams and a variety of different people represented.”

Click here to read the full article on Venture Beat.

The Bidens Take Britain! The Royal Family Meets President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden
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Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden walking through the palace with Queen Elizabeth

By , US Magazine

Afternoon tea with the Americans. Queen Elizabeth II met with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on Sunday, June 13, at Windsor Castle in England. The Bidens arrived at the royal residence and reviewed the Guard of Honor, formed of the Queen’s Company First Battalion Grenadier Guards, which gave a royal salute. The queen, 95, POTUS, 78, and FLOTUS, 70, posed for photos at the same canopy from which the queen watched the Trooping the Colour on Saturday, June 12. After listening to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the trio went inside. The queen introduced the former vice president and his wife to her lady-in-waiting, Dame Annabel Whitehead, and they drank tea in the castle’s Oak Room. The sit-down lasted about 10 minutes longer than it was supposed to, the BBC reports.

“I don’t think she’d be insulted but she reminded me of my mother, the look of her and just the generosity,” the president told reporters before leaving London. “She’s extremely gracious, that’s not surprising, but we had a great talk.”

The 46th President of the United States is the 13th U.S. president to meet with the queen. Though she previously met Biden before his presidency when he was a senator in 1982, this was his first time meeting with the monarch since taking over the Oval Office.

The Bidens had briefly interacted with the queen and other members of the royal family, including Prince William, Duchess Camilla and Prince Charles, on Friday, June 11, during a reception at the G7 Summit.

The sovereign sat for a photo with many world leaders and joked, “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”

Duchess Kate and Jill got some one-on-one time as they went to meet children at Connor Downs Academy preschool and participated in a roundtable discussion with early childhood education experts. “It’s a huge honor to have you in the United Kingdom,” the Duchess of Cambridge, 39, told the educator. “I’m very much looking forward to the conversation.”

In a statement shared via Instagram, Will and Kate thanked the first lady. “It was great to host Dr. Jill Biden and experts from the UK and the United States for a discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes, and how we can work together to make a difference,” they said.

The royal couple continued: “The importance of providing support for parents and children alike during early childhood, and the positive impact that this can have across society, is something we share a great passion for.”

Scroll through for more photos from the Bidens’ meetings with the royal family.

Click here to read the full article on US Magazine.

Actor Alyssa Milano has her eye on a congressional seat in California
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Alyssa Milano says she might challenge California Rep. Tom McClintock at some point.

By Christie D’Zurilla, Yahoo! News

Alyssa Milano, a veteran of TV shows including “Who’s the Boss?,” “Charmed” and “Insatiable,” has her eye on a seat in Congress. “I am confirming that it is possible that I will run for office in 2024,” the actor-activist said Tuesday in a statement to The Times. Milano told the Hill on Tuesday that she was possibly interested in challenging California’s 4th District Rep. Tom McClintock for his House seat, building on a tweet she floated in late May. “I split my time between Truckee, Calif., and Bell Canyon, Calif., and the Republicans have basically had a strong arm there in the 4th District,” Milano told the Hill, saying she would love to potentially flip the red district to blue.

The district has consistently chosen a Republican as its House member since 1992, though Democrats were in charge there for 30 years prior. McClintock, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of California in the 2003 recall, has held his seat since the 2008 election. Milano’s decision wouldn’t happen in time for the 2022 midterms, though. She has a “Who’s the Boss?” reboot in the works, in addition to other commitments, and she couldn’t do that and run for Congress simultaneously. “It’s going to take someone with, I think, name recognition and deep pockets to be able to run against McClintock, and so I’m considering it,” the COVID-19 long-hauler told the Hill. “I’m basically gathering information right now, speaking to different consultants, speaking to the community.”

Milano’s political ambitions build on her history of activism and embrace of liberal and progressive causes, which is mirrored in her “Sorry, Not Sorry” podcast and likely in her upcoming book of the same name. She was an online leader, for example, in the #MeToo movement and has defended abortion rights. On Wednesday she will rally virtually with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss canceling student debt. Milano has worked with UNICEF, PETA and other animal rights groups, and canvassed for various candidates. Leading up to the 2016 election, Milano first threw her support behind Sen. Bernie Sanders before switching to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She endorsed Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! News.

Watch Zendaya’s Debut as Lola Bunny in New Space Jam: A New Legacy Clip
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Zendaya smiling at the camera in a suit

By Vanessa Etienne, People

Zendaya just made her debut voicing Lola Bunny in Space Jam: A New Legacy and fans are going crazy. On Sunday, ESPN shared a six-minute ad about the upcoming film on Twitter, creating a parody of the network’s own “30 for 30” series and poking fun at some of the “tension” that’s going to come with the animated basketball showdown. But what stole the show from the lengthy video — and has fans talking online — is the reveal of Zendaya’s voice as Lola Bunny for the first time. The beloved character briefly appears mid-way through the clip when Lebron James calls Lola the “greatest sidekick ever.” Zendaya’s voice comes through her character as she says, “When it’s crunch time, the ball is going to be in my paws.”

Following the video, the Euphoria actress’ name started trending online with fans excited to hear Zendaya’s voice as the famous bunny. The 24-year-old was announced as a member of the cast in April, set to portray a completely reimagined version of Lola.

In EW’s New Legacy cover story, director Malcom D. Lee revealed that when he watched Space Jam for the first time, the portrayal of one Bugs Bunny’s love interest left him shocked. “Lola was not politically correct,” he said of the 1996 film. “This is a kids’ movie, why is she in a crop top? It just felt unnecessary, but at the same time there’s a long history of that in cartoons.”

Click here to read the full article on People.

Meghan Markle gives birth to daughter Lilibet, her second child with Prince Harry
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry walking through the rain with an umbrella together

By CBS News

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has given birth to her second child with Prince Harry, welcoming daughter Lilibet on Friday in California, the couple’s press secretary said in a statement. “It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world,” the statement said. “Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home.” The press secretary said Lilibet was born Friday morning at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, and weighed 7 lbs., 11 ounces.

The statement said the child is named after Queen Elizabeth, Harry’s grandmother, “whose family nickname is Lilibet.” Her middle name of Diana was chosen to honor Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. The couple have a 2-year-old son, Archie, and wished to thank the public “for your warm wishes and prayers as they enjoy this special time as a family.” Lilibet is eighth in the line of succession for the throne. Harry and Meghan’s children do not have titles like “prince” or “princess” because only the grandchildren of the monarch have those titles, although Queen Elizabeth made an exception for William’s children, since they are in the direct line of succession.

Harry’s brother, Prince William, and sister-in-law, Catherine, issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying they are “all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie.” And their father, Prince Charles, issued a similar statement, saying they were “wishing them all well at this special time.”

Harry and Meghan have been estranged from his family since at least January 2020, when the couple announced they would be stepping down from royal duties.

In a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, the couple detailed some of the disagreements they had with his family, including how there were conversations when she was pregnant with Archie about “how dark” his skin color would be.

Harry returned to the U.K. in April for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, who died on April 9 at the age of 99. Meghan stayed in California, where the family lives, on medical advice.

Lilibet is Queen Elizabeth’s 11th great-grandchild, and his cousin, Princess Beatrice, announced in March that she is pregnant with the queen’s 12th great-grandchild.

Click here to read the full article on CBS News.

Lady Gaga Awarded Key to West Hollywood as Mayor Declares “Born This Way Day”
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Lady Gaga at declaration of “Born This Way Day” in West Hollywood

Lady Gaga’s album Born This Way celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sunday, and to mark the occasion, the City of West Hollywood officially declared May 23 “Born This Way Day.” Gaga was also awarded the key to the city by West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “Thank you for encouraging us to love ourselves and be proud,” Horvath told Gaga. A street painting featuring the album’s title was also unveiled to kick-off West Hollywood’s Pride season.

“Born This Way, my song and album, were inspired by Carl Bean, a gay black religious activist who preached, sung and wrote about being ‘Born This Way.‘ Notably, his early work was in 1975, 11 years before I was born,” Gaga wrote. “Thank you for decades of relentless love, bravery, and a reason to sing. So we can all feel joy, because we deserve joy. Because we reserve the right to inspire tolerance, acceptance, and freedom for all.”

“Thank you for decades of relentless love, bravery, and a reason to sing. So we can all feel joy, because we deserve joy. Because we deserve the right to inspire tolerance, acceptance, and freedom for all.” – Lady Gaga Instagram

Click here to read the full article on Pitchfork.

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    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
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    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
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    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021

Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
  4. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  5. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021