On Aug. 10, 19-year-old Remington Williams was washing dishes during her shift at a North Austin Chipotle when a modeling agency spotted her.
It’s a Cinderella story for the ages.
On Aug. 10, 19-year-old Remington Williams was washing dishes during her shift at a North Austin Chipotle when a modeling agency spotted her.
When they asked if she’d be interested in becoming a model, Williams, an ACC student studying graphic design who has no prior modeling experience, was shocked. And intrigued.
Now, barely a month later, she’s walked runways for the likes of Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and, currently, Paris Fashion Week.
Tanni Foreman, who owns model scouting and placement agency Foreman Management, was out to dinner with her husband and daughter at the Chipotle at 1700 W. Parmer Lane on Aug. 10 when she saw Williams in the back of the restaurant, “lugging around huge trays and washing dishes.”
“She’s wearing this Chipotle uniform — T-shirt, hat, pants,” Foreman said. “With me, when I see a potential model, I can tell really quickly, I can see in their face if they’ve got what it takes.”
After a quick chat during Williams’ lunch break, they arranged to meet the next day at Foreman’s company, Foreman Management, a “mother agency” that scouts talent and helps place models all over the world. For the next few days, Foreman said she walked Williams through the ins and outs of modeling and sent her photos to a high-profile agency called DNA Models, which replied that they wanted Williams to walk in New York Fashion Week.
Soon, Williams, who could not be reached for comment due to her busy travel schedule, was on a plane to the Big Apple. She walked her first runway as part of Calvin Klein’s show on Sept. 7. She walked for Marc Jacobs on Sept. 13.
“Normally the agencies have more time to develop the girls before Fashion Week and be gently introduced to the industry,” said Foreman, who spent time with Williams in both New York and London showing her the ropes. “She was kind of thrown into the madness of it.”
For now, Williams, who was dubbed by Vogue as “Fashion Week’s buzziest model,” seems to be embracing the madness. She posted a photo of herself on Instagram earlier this week with the Eiffel Tower in the background and the caption “Paris is the most magical place I’ve ever seen. I never want to leave!”
“She went from scrubbing pots at Chipotle to meeting designers at Fashion Week. Her work ethic is so strong, she’s grateful for everything,” Foreman said. “That’s my favorite part of this business. I love finding somebody and changing their life.”
It’s baby skunk season! I didn’t know that it was baby skunk season, of course, but when driving in Eastern Travis County yesterday for a story, I came upon a family of baby skunks crossing the road. As I was pulling up, their mom was scurrying off into the woods on the other side of the road, and the five or six babies were still on the road.
Several cars ended up stopping to wait as the skunks crossed the road. They were extremely curious about the cars and the drivers who got out to try to shoo them across the road.
They made the cutest little noises and, though their tails were raised, they didn’t spray.
This year, the same duck (his best guess, anyway) returned to build another nest. When the ducklings hatched this past weekend, Brashear had a food dispenser and saucers of water for drinking and swimming at the ready.
Usually, the mother leads them across the lawn to the food and water. Monday morning, though, mama duck was away briefly, so he stepped into service, with camera phone.
“She was comfortable enough to leave while I was in the backyard with them,” Brashear commented on Facebook. “She flew off to be with her man for a moment. They both landed shortly thereafter. He was not happy with me.”
Follow @bitterwhiteguy on Twitter and Instagram for more duck-cam updates as the spring saga continues.
It was a moment that warmed my Ben Covington-loving heart: On a recent episode of “Watch What Happens Live” on Bravo, Keri Russell said the cast of “Felicity” might reunite next year in Austin.
Although she couldn’t remember the name of the event (she referred to it as not-South by Southwest but happening in Austin), she likely was referencing the ATX Television Fest, which is known for reuniting folks from beloved shows, including “The West Wing,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Designing Women.” (This year’s fest is June 8-11.)
The late-night and free-wheeling Bravo talk show featured Russell and her “The Americans” co-star Matthew Rhys in a rare joint interview for the real-life couple, who play married Russian spies on long-term assignment in the U.S. on their F/X show. Watch the full episode here.
Russell was responding to a viewer question about whether our curly-haired college heroine might be resurrected in a reboot. That seemed like a straight “nyet,” but she said the Austin fest has been trying to get the cast back together for a couple of years and it seems likely to happen in 2018.
The flamboyant comedy performer, a fixture at Oilcan Harry’s in downtown Austin, was diagnosed with stage 1 liver cancer shortly after returning to town from filming season eight. Fontaine (aka Carlos Hernandez) has since gone into remission, and the storyline featured prominently in her return to the show.
“It’s a wonderful experience to represent Austin, Texas, my Hispanic community, and my community here in Austin,” Fontaine told Austin360 before the debut of “Drag Race” season 8. “We are equipped with great performers — female, male, androgynous, campy, trashy, whatever — and this city provides everything in between. So I’m just proud that I can represent a little piece of that and share it with the entire world.”
Oilcan Harry’s will host “Drag Race” viewing parties all season on Friday nights, so you can root for Fontaine on her home turf. Watch Fontaine’s “Meet the Queens” interview for season 9 below.
If you’re hoping to make slime — the “it” craft project of the moment — you might have to get creative about where you get your glue.
Slime is the latest craft project to go viral, thanks in no small part to YouTube and Instagram, where DIY lovers flock to share their latest and greatest creations.
My kids and I first made galaxy slime last fall, and the recipe for mixing glue and Borax to make a stretchy, mesmerizing goo has grown so much in popularity that we’ve had a hard time finding glue at local stores.
I posted about it online, and lots of parents responded with slime stories of their own, including tips about where you can still find glue (Michael’s and Five Below) and reports of having to throw out large quantities from a classroom.
Although I have been known to ban bottle flipping in certain situations, I like the slime project.
We’ve had fun making it, giving it as gifts and turning it into a lesson about Non-Neutonian fluids, but not everyone loves it. Slime is starting to get banned at schools (and households) for possible burns, stains and plain ol’ parent/teacher annoyance. I also heard on Facebook about some students turning their hobby into a business by selling slime in school.
Have you made slime with your kids? Have you heard about edible slime? Any slime disaster stories to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Fans of the the CW’s criminally short-lived teen detective series “Veronica Mars” are well aware that the show took place in the radically divided Neptune, Calif., a town where all that separated the elite socialites from the seedy criminals was a murky gray line of questionable morality.
But, as Entertainment Weekly has revealed, the show wasn’t always set in California. In fact, “Veronica Mars” wasn’t even originally imagined as a TV show. At first, it was going to be a Young Adult novel set right here in Austin at Westlake High School, and the titular character later became Veronica’s dad, Keith.
First things first: If you haven’t already seen “Veronica Mars,” you’re missing out. The plot centered around Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), a high school student who moonlighted as a private eye for her father Keith. Keith was a former sheriff who opened up his own detective agency when he failed to get re-elected after he accused a Neptune socialite of murdering his own daughter (and Veronica’s best friend).
“Veronica Mars” was full of noir, camp, crime, quippy teens and lots of high school mysteries to solve. It also went to some pretty dark places in its examinations of class, race, wealth, sex and morality. The show was cancelled after three seasons, but a crowd-funded film was released in 2014 after a fourth season pilot was ordered by a network but never aired. Since the film’s release, series creator Rob Thomas has partnered with Austin author Jennifer Graham to write two books continuing the story of the plucky sleuth.
Anyway, Thomas originally intended for the story to be told as a young adult novel. He started a draft, “Untitled Teen Detective,” in 1996. That draft was shared with Entertainment Weekly this week for its “Hollywood’s Greatest Untold Stories” issue.
Thomas set “Untitled Teen Detective” in Austin. His story revolved around Keith Mars, teenage detective. Keith became a detective after his father quit a promising career with the Austin Police Department to open up a private investigation agency. Like in the TV show, there is no mother figure in the picture. Also like in the show, the titular young detective starts out by catching the parents of his wealthy Westlake High School classmates in after-hours trysts at seedy motels.
Another Texas twist: Keith pines for a popular girl who’s said to be dating a University of Texas football player.
But perhaps the biggest Austin element to the “Veronica Mars”-that-almost-was is a still-unsolved mystery that’s only hinted at. In the original draft, Keith discovers that the reason his dad left the police force is because he knowingly sent the wrong men to Death Row for involvement in Austin’s “Chocolate Shop Murders case,” a name which bears a striking resemblance to the real-life, still-unsolved Austin yogurt shop murders from 1991.
Years later, when Thomas took ideas from the draft into a spec script he sold to UPN (now The CW), Keith Mars became the disgraced law enforcement father figure, the main character became Veronica, and the main plot centered on a different kid of murder.
All of the Texas setting came natural to Thomas. He grew up in Texas, graduating from San Marcos High school in 1983. His father was a vice-principal at Westlake until the early 1990s, and Thomas attended Texas Christian University on a football scholarship before transferring to UT and graduating in 1987. Thomas was working as a high school teacher at John H. Reagan High School in Austin when he wrote the first draft of “Untitled Teen Detective,” and many characters in “Veronica Mars” were named for Austinites he met or musicians he played with. The music of several Austin bands also played in the show.
Alas, the Texas version of “Veronica Mars” is not the version that made it to the small screen. Maybe someday, if Netflix reboots the series (one can only hope) a mystery might take Veronica all the way to Austin.
It’s a good time to be a wrestling fan who happens to be a feminist.
World Wrestling Entertainment’s biggest event of the year, WrestleMania, is this weekend, and this athlete-turned-academic who once hated everything about commercial sports will watch every minute of it.
I’ve been a feminist for longer than I’ve been a wrestling fan, and when I first watched wrestling as a high schooler — my first boyfriend was a fan — I didn’t quite know how the two might intertwine many years later when I picked it up again.
I’m drawn to wrestling because of the silly, overdramatic plotlines, not unlike the “Days of Our Lives” era of my youth. (My parents never miss an episode, to this day. Mostly because of my dad. That’s a think piece for another day.) I’m fascinated with the history of the brand. Vince McMahon’s ownership of the WWE goes back to 1980, but he’s the third generation McMahon to helm a professional wrestling league. There have been many leagues, many owners, more tragedies and scandals than you could count, and my boyfriend, Eddie, a wrestling savant if there ever was one, can spin those stories all day long.
Wrestling has all the elements of professional sports that I hated for many years, but now that I’ve started to accept that celebrity drama, outrageous salaries and even bigger egos are part of all of them, even the “real” sports of baseball, basketball and football, I can appreciate the narrative and theatrics of entertainment sports.
If wrestling is as much performance art as sport, what kind of story is the WWE telling these days?
From what I’ve seen in the months leading up to WrestleMania, that message is this: Women are bench-pressing, show-stealing badasses, just like men.
In my first round of being a wrestling fan, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin were bringing this historic entertainment brand into the 21st century, trying to find just the right balance of flash, crass and sweaty might. They bad boy days of the 80s and 90s were coming to an end, and wrestlers like Chyna and Lita had fans wondering just what women might accomplish in the ring.
Now, as a cover story in USA Today this week explains, power couple Triple H, a wrestler-turned-exec, and Stephanie McMahon, a wrestling heir-turned-wrestler-and-exec, are overseeing a totally different kind of transformation, one that puts women in the center of the ring, not simply as eye candy or token athletes. The female wrestlers are no longer called “Divas” (even though their reality show plays up that image), and they wrestle in some of the most hyped matches of both “Raw” and “SmackDown,” the weekly WWE shows. The brand as a whole now acknowledges women’s athleticism and ability to captivate an audience that is now nearly 40 percent female.
You could make the argument that the women at the center of this WWE revolution are getting more regular airtime and more viewers than any other female athletes in American sports.
More than 70,000 fans will be packed into the stadium when Wrestlemania kicks off on Sunday, and no one will draw larger cheers than Bayley, a bubbly, kid-friendly pop star of a wrestler who is about to dethrone John Cena as the most popular athlete in the WWE right now.
Bayley is sweeter than Hannah Montana, less racy than Miley Cyrus and tough enough to fly off the turnbuckle to take down a 275-pound opponent. (That opponent was Nia Jax, a member of the extended Dwayne Johnson family, who, in case you were wondering, we think is going to win the title this weekend.)
Sunday’s event is a four-hour celebration of machismo, but there’s a fair bit of fem-chismo, too. Bayley is one of more than a dozen female wrestlers on the roster right now. Some of them star in a pair of reality shows on the WWE Network, including Nikki Bella, who is the real-life and character girlfriend of John Cena and star of “Total Bellas.” This weekend, she’ll stand toe-to-toe with Maryse, the wife of another wrestler named The Miz, and the four of them are scheduled for a tag team match.
With Bayley in the pole position and other top female wrestlers, including Charlotte and Sasha Banks, earning top billing, this year’s WrestleMania shows just how far the WWE has come since the Hulk Hogan days, but let’s not get too carried away.
A few weeks ago, my 10-year-old son asked: “Do the men and women ever wrestle each other?” I hemmed and hawed about how they don’t but they should. Eddie cut to a biological fact I like to ignore: That men are, for the most part, fundamentally stronger than women. There are certainly female wrestlers who could match some of the men — it’s been nearly 20 years since Chyna was the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble and Charlotte has been a proponent of more co-ed matches — but I doubt we’ll see full parity in terms of salaries, airtime and match placement, thanks in part to biology but also to the ungodly strength of many of the male athletes that make me question the enforcement of WWE’s rule against steroid use.
WWE still has plenty of misogyny baked into its brand. Xavier Woods, one of the announcers of this year’s Wrestlemania who was also in Austin a few weeks ago to host the SXSW Gaming Awards, got pulled into a sex tape scandal earlier this month, but he’ll still have the mic at Wrestlemania and his career likely won’t take the hit of Paige, the wrestler whose ex-boyfriend allegedly released the tape. We can’t forget that Hulk Hogan’s fragile male ego about a sex tape ultimately took down Gawker. He has been written out of WWE history but because of racial slurs, not the sex tape controversy, even though Chyna’s own sex tape practically derailed her career.
In an arena where it’s hard to separate the drama outside the ring from the drama inside it, we have to pay attention to make sure this women’s revolution in the WWE is actually a revolution and not just a marketing strategy to hook more viewers like me. I still use my critical lens to ask lots of questions about gender, sexuality and race in professional wrestling — the McMahons are, after all, well-known Trump supporters — but that lens also allows me to celebrate small wins.
Right now, that looks like Bayley, a happy-go-lucky 27-year-old millennial dominating the biggest wrestling event of the year.
She’ll be surrounded by super-strong athletic women who are changing our ideas about what women can accomplish in sports entertainment, and a whole bunch of burly men who don’t seem to mind sharing the spotlight.
You know what fries go well with? Burgers. You know what else they go well with? The endorphin-rushing satisfaction of national culinary praise.
The locally beloved French fries served at Hyde Park Bar & Grill have been named among the 20 best in the country by Food & Wine magazine. From the magazine’s accolade:
“Hyde Park treats its fries like many people treat fried chicken: by soaking cut potatoes in buttermilk, battering them, and then frying them. They’re served with a side of mayo that’s kicked up with jalapeños and dill. Possibly the most famous fries in Austin, and deservedly so.”
As a news release from the restaurant points out, this is not the first honor bestowed upon the fried tubers. Last year, the dish also made Food Network Magazine’s list of “10 Best French Fries in the US” list and People’s “15 Best French Fries in the US” list. The fries have been on the Hyde Park Bar & Grill menu since the restaurant opened in 1982.
Also on the list with an Austin connection: the duck fat fries at Salty Sow. Food & Wine spotlights the egg-and-béarnaise-topped dish at the gastropub’s Arizona location, though you can get the same fries at the Austin location on Manor Road.