30 July 2008

The 20 Most Famous Celebrity Swimsuit Shots of All Time

It just took one skimpy bathing suit and a few seductive poses on a sandy beach to catapult these women into Hollywood immortality. Who knew achieving fame could be so easy and bring joy to so many adolescent boys and young men? Check out this list of some of the hottest celebrity swimsuit photos in history.

  1. Farrah Fawcett: This legendary photo of Fawcett in a red, one-piece bathing suit was taken in 1974 and is credited with kicking her career into overdrive. Posing with a southwestern-print blanket as a backdrop, the photo in poster form sold 8 million copies across the globe. Two years later, Fawcett became one of the original and most popular “Charlie’s Angels” on the then-new Aaron Spelling-produced show.
  2. Bo Derek: The scene from the movie “10” where Bo Derek jogs down the beach sporting cornrows and a flesh-toned one piece became an instant classic and has even been imitated and parodied in several other films. Derek netted a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, but the real reward came from the fact that she was instantly labeled the sex symbol du jour upon its release. While “10” would represent the film highlight of her career, Derek capitalized on her physique and modeling experience, going on to appear in “Playboy” several times.
  3. Pamela Anderson: A list of sexy swimsuited celebrities would absolutely not be complete without the famous “Baywatch” photo of Pamela Anderson in her regulatory lifeguard uniform – a high-cut, red one-piece – bounding down a California beach, Rescue Can in hand. Even though this photo is tame compared to some of the other material available on Anderson, it’s still the most renowned.
  4. Demi Moore: While in her 40s, Demi Moore staged a miraculous body comeback when she was asked to appear in the “Charlie’s Angels” movie in 2003 as a nemesis of the three Angels. She shocked and wowed the crowd by looking fitter than anyone else in the film with not a jiggle to spot as she did her obligatory run down the beach in a black string bikini. Photos of Moore’s new bod from the taping of this scene instantly appeared in every celebrity news publication known to man.
  5. Marilyn Monroe: This photo of Monroe decked out in a hot-white one-piece represents one of Norma Jean’s most famous photo shoots. While several of the shots taken at the shoot can be found in poster form, this one of her looking somewhat coy could be considered the best of the bunch. Want to see it really large? Check out one of the many Internet poster dealers who sell life-sized cut outs of The Blonde Bombshell.
  6. Christie Brinkley: In this “Sports Illustrated” photo, Brinkley is modeling a type of swimsuit called a maillot tanga, which is essentially a G-string with a small triangle of fabric at the top. Both the suit and the fact that Brinkley was wearing it in a mainstream magazine were considered something of a breakthrough for its time. However, while this particular suit and pose has more character, it wasn’t the first time Brinkley had modeled the style. She appeared in a tanga bikini on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” in 1975 when she was only 20.
  7. Paulina Porizkova: Czech model Pauline Porizkova is best known for two things: marrying “The Cars” lead singer Rick Ocasek and making every man’s mermaid-come-to-life fantasy come true in this shot where she casually models a suit made up of two tiny seashells and a loin cloth. Porizkova is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful, though not the most financially successful, supermodels of all time.
  8. Elle Macpherson: Elle Macpherson has been in “Sports Illustrated” so many times that asking someone to name her sexiest photo could easily start a lengthy and heated debate. But the argument for this photo is clear – the Thailand Fling was a popular issue due to Macpherson’s most intense come-hither look. Though Macpherson has graced other covers of the magazine, but this one routinely gets top marks from subscribers.
  9. Kathy Ireland: But while Macpherson’s “SI” covers always sell well, no one can top the 1989 issue featuring a playful Kathy Ireland bouncing in the surf wearing a white bikini. This issue is the best selling issue of “Sports Illustrated” on record. While Ireland is now a multi-billion dollar business woman as CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a motivational speaker, and one of the top 5 celebrity entrepreneurs to be named by “Inc. Magazine”, those envious of her success might be comforted to know she was once known for nothing more than her ability to look good at the pool. Or, actually, maybe that’s not so comforting after all.
  10. Heidi Klum: In 1998 this German-born bombshell made many a man happy to get the mail one fine day in February. The photo of Klum wearing a modest-but-sexy suit on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” was instantly praised for its suggestiveness and beauty. Klum, who now hosts the hit show “Project Runway” and is married to singer Seal, is yet another seasoned “Sports Illustrated” veteran to achieve legendary status.
  11. Brigitte Bardot: This risqué bombshell from France set herself apart from Hollywood actresses in the 1960s and 1970s with her seductive and forward nature. A style icon, women everywhere admired her big blond hair and large oval sunglasses. But men liked her for far different reasons. This photo, which appeared on the cover of the “Paris Revue” in 1964, was considered to be extremely tawdry for its time, especially in the States. Bardot starred in more than 50 movies during her career and was often cast in roles that highlighted her sexuality.
  12. Rita Hayworth: This “Life Magazine” cover of Hayworth giggling on a beach in a modest, white two-piece debuted in 1941 and quickly became one of the most popular WWII pinups to be seen on an Army barrack wall (along with the famous “Life” cover of her in a white negligee taken the same year). Hayworth’s nickname was “The Love Goddess” and her cute and easygoing beauty makes it easy to understand why this photo consistently ranks high when considering the best swimsuit pictures in history.
  13. Cheryl Ladd: Cheryl Ladd, one of the original Charlie’s Angels, had a successful acting career in the 1970s and was thought to be one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood – an assumption that is clearly backed up by this photo of a glistening Ladd in a striped bikini. Ladd has also appeared in both Playboy and Maxim.
  14. Raquel Welch: Whether or not what Raquel Welch is wearing in this photo is an actual swimsuit seems to be besides the point, considering the picture’s rampant popularity. The legendary shot was taken in 1966 to promote Welch’s movie “One Million Years, B.C.”, a fantasy film in which Welch plays a cavewoman named Loana. It became a bestselling poster in no time and was part of the reason why“Playboy” dubbed Welch the “Most Desired Woman” of the 1970s.
  15. Betty Grable: Compared to today’s standards, this photo’s timidity probably wouldn’t warrant even a glance from most modern men. But Grable was a legend in her time and rightfully so. This photo of the actress in a modest one piece and a pair of heels became iconic and was considered the most popular pinup of the World War II era. It was even included in the “Life Magazine” list of the “100 Photos that Changed the World.” Despite stiff competition from contemporaries like Hayworth, Grable’s pinup was the number one choice for GIs across the nation, probably due to her knockout legs, which her studio insured for $1 million each.
  16. Ursula Andress: One of the most – if not the most – popular Bond girls of all time, Ursula Andress came booming onto the scene with her role in “Dr. No” in 1962. The movie opens with this iconic shot of Andress emerging from the ocean in a fitted white bikini and is often referred to as one of the sexiest movie moments of all time. She went on to star in movies with both Elvis and Frank Sinatra.
  17. Phoebe Cates: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is a cult classic from the early 1980s partially due to the every-teenage-boy’s-fantasy scene where Cates removes her bikini top for Judge Reinhold while standing underneath a waterfall. The scene launched her sex-symbol status and helped her movie career – Cates starred in 7 successful subsequent movies that decade before her career slowed in the 1990s.
  18. Beyonce: In 2007, Beyonce made history by becoming the first musician to ever appear on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”. To top it off, she was sporting a bikini of her own design, which is part of her House of Dereon label. The issue was wildly popular and featured a more curvaceous model than is usually chosen for the cover.
  19. Niki Taylor: No stranger to “Sports Illustrated,” Taylor has many hot photos for the magazine under her belt. This one, shot in the Galagapos Islands in 1998, was featured in the “Ultimate Swimsuit” edition and is noted by many for its uber-sex appeal. Taylor now co-hosts “Make Me a Supermodel” with male model Tyson Beckford on the Bravo Channel.
  20. Cameron Diaz: If this photo of Cameron Diaz isn’t legendary now, it will be soon. Shot for the cover of the May 2008 Hollywood UK “GQ” edition, Diaz shows off a buff body and an extensive set of legs. Not bad for an actress who, at 35, could be considered out of her prime.

Although these shots may forever be known as some of the most famous swimsuits in history, nothing is more memorable than a one of a kind swimsuit. Visit CustomizedGirl.com and customize your suit today!

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29 July 2008

Design Contest Policies

  • Must be at least 18 years of age to claim the prize
  • Enter as many times as you want
  • There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest
  • We reserve the right to slightly alter the winning design for publication in the magazine (for example, we might need to make the text size bigger to increase readability).
  • All designs saved to the gallery are in the public domain.  Customized Girl and all Customized Girl users may use community gallery designs in any way they would like.

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23 July 2008

Fashionista 25 Trendsetting Celebrities

In Hollywood, Scientologists and Kabbalists alike worship the same God – the almighty lord of fashion. In a town where Versace and Armani retain deity status, it’s pretty much a career deal-breaker to not follow the style laws set forth by the more innovative stars that set the bar of fashion very high. Here are 25 celebrities known for their ability to make and break trends.

  1. Madonna: Definitely the oldest celebrity on this list, Madonna is still setting trends even in her 50s. Madge has been gracing the pages of fashion magazines since she first hit the scene in a pair of fingerless, lace gloves back in the 1980s. The Material Girl made layering, hair bows, and leggings cool over 25 years ago, and she had teenage girls from L.A. to Scranton mocking her style. In the 1990s, she got a little chicer, and, in some respects, much more risqué, before adopting a gothy, hippy look for her Rays of Light era. Madonna’s proving that she’s still got what it takes – for her Confessions tour in 2006, she sported a coveted purple leotard from Dolce and Gabanna that turned the heads of every major fashion editor.
  2. Sarah Jessica Parker: Sarah Jessica Parker was basically hand-delivered her role as one of the most fashionable celebrities on the planet when she nabbed the role of Carrie on “Sex and the City”. While her on-screen character sported ever-more-enviable outfits week after week, Parker seemed to almost be competing with her fictional self in real life. The New Yorker was constantly photographed walking around her trendy downtown neighborhood in even trendier outfits. During the filming of the “Sex and the City” movie last year, Parker’s on-screen costumes made the tabloids and the pages of Vogue. From Christian Dior to the man she made uber-famous, Manolo Blahnik, Parker is trendsetter that will go down in history. She now, predictably, even has her own line of affordable clothes called Bitten.
  3. Katie Holmes: Katie Holmes is perhaps both the most surprising and relevant celebrity to make this list. Less than a decade ago, she mostly graced the “who cares what she’s wearing” pages, as she was usually spotted out and about wearing a ponytail, a bulky Abercrombie sweater and a pair of corduroys. But today Holmes, the wife of megastar Tom Cruise, can more commonly be seen in Armani, Lagerfeld, and Chanel. Her swan-like transformation must have surely involved the hand of a high-paid stylist, but the pricey price tag on that service was well worth it. Holmes may not have look-a-like, copy cats following her around, but her sleek and classy style is definitely worth copying and certainly worth noticing.
  4. Victoria Beckham: Famous for being one-fifth of the UK pop group The Spice Girls, Beckham’s fame survived the group’s disbanding when she married soccer hottie David Beckham. With her music career in the dumps, Posh Spice had some free time on her hands. So she turned to fashion and hasn’t looked back since. Beckham is well-known to always be wearing the latest and greatest items from the highest-end designers and she has even started a few trends of her own – remember her angular, bob haircut? She sent stylists across the country back to training so they could recreate the look on every plain Jane who started demanding it. In addition to inspiring trends, Posh Spice has also done some designing of her own – a denim line for Rock & Republic called “VB Rocks” and in 2006 a line of jeans and sunglasses called dvb. She has also landed quite a few spokeswoman contracts, and has even worked as a stylist on many photo shoots.
  5. Nicole Richie: When Richie began dropping weight like crazy following the first season of “The Simple Life”, it seemed like every pound lost was chronicled in the press. But with her new waif figure came a more concentrated approach to her style, and while the tabloids criticized her figure with one hand, they praised her fashion know-how with the other. Richie is known as one of the best-dressed stars in Hollywood today, and there’s even a blog that chronicles her outfits every day! Whether she’s cleaned up in a sleek Missoni dress or dressed down in a flowy shirt and ripped jeans, Richie always looks spot-on cute.
  6. Gwyneth Paltrow: Paltrow is a girl that designers love to dress – especially her good friend Stella McCartney, who recently made her a stand out one-piece jumpsuit that got the actress lots of ink while she was out promoting her new film Iron Man. Paltrow has even been tapped to be the face of Estee Lauder, a high honor for a non-model. But ever since she first became famous, Paltrow’s tasteful, simple style has been praised and lauded in the press. A reporter at Style.com even congratulated her for being the “classiest label slut,” always wearing the right designer at the right time – Calvin Klein in 1995; Gucci in 1996. Today, Gwyneth gets photographed more for being out with her kids, but, typically, the photo captions will also reference her well-chosen outfit.
  7. Mary Kate Olsen: This tiny actress made a name for herself in the fashion world by taking all the latest trends and wearing them at the same time. Mumu, floor-length scarf, floppy hat, gigantic sunglasses – why not? But though Olsen took loads of hits from the press for her bag-lady style, she also seemed to be sparking something in trendsville. Not long after she began tromping around in her combat boots and layered shirts, lots of starlets starting adopting a more frumpy approach, wearing tunic shirts, scarves, hats, and leggings out shopping or to the park. While Olsen gets to keep the prize for the most overzealous frumpy dresser, she did succeed in inspiring others to layer like crazy. Oh, and accessorize! Don’t forget her rule of thumb: always, always carry a Venti Starbucks in your hand.
  8. Paris Hilton: Hilton’s style is not really that exciting. Yes, she’s always sort of well-dressed, in the sense that her outfits are cute and cost an arm and a leg, but really there’s never anything super notable about her attire. That was until she got a little dog named Tinkerbell. One thing Hilton can certainly get credit for is reinvigorating the “pets as fashion accessories” movement. While it’s true that many starlets from old Hollywood used to do this very thing, it seemed to have completely got out of style in the past few decades. But Hilton resurrected it, even inspiring Britney Spears to run out and get her very own arm-Chihuahua. Lately though, Hilton seems to have swapped out her canine friend for herself, as many recent paparazzos have snapped the socialite sporting T-shirts with her own face and name on them. Narcissism at its finest.
  9. Gwen Stefani: No matter how bold or how crazy, one can’t help but love Gwen Stefani’s rockin’ sense of style. When she started out as the front woman for No Doubt, boys and girls alike drooled over Stefani’s cool, tomboyish look that was always made more feminine by the fact that her abs were exposed and she wore colorful hair accessories and make-up. Pairing plaid work pants and a chain wallet with a bikini top, Stefani looked both sexy and approachable, inspiring a cadre of young teenage girls who didn’t fit the Britney Spears mold to follow Stefani’s lead. Now, Stefani’s style has definitely evolved into something a little more classy, but still funky, creative, and one of a kind. In 2004, she launched her own fashion line L.A.M.B.
  10. Rachel Bilson: Bilson is best known as Summer from the former hit series “The O.C.,” but while her acting career hasn’t given her anything more notable to put on her resume, her personal style has won her tons of fans. The tiny actress is always put together in the latest styles, making trend setting look totally effortless. One blogger, who writes a weekly tribute to Bilson’s outfits, wrote this recently, “Seriously. Her outfits are just always great and this is just how she dresses when she is running errands.” In fact, there are several blogs dedicated solely to the task of monitoring what Bilson is wearing. It’s safe to say that one of her biggest charms is the fact that Bilson makes fashion seem doable to the rest of the world. Her not-over-the-top style makes average, non-Hollywood girls think, “That’s something I could pull together, too.”
  11. Kat Von D: It’s hard to tell how quickly Kat Von D’s covered-in-tattoos look is catching on with the general public, but this ink artist has definitely opened a whole new door in the fashion world for women who aren’t interested in having too much natural skin showing. Von D, star of the new reality show L.A. Ink, owns her own tattoo parlor in L.A. and sports tattoos all over her body. She’s also a fan of tight jeans and cleavage-revealing vests. She’s made rocker girl look both real and cool and has given tattoos a place in women’s fashion.
  12. Jennifer Lopez: J. Lo has not only brought big booties back from the dead of the curve-loving 1950s, but she has also managed to make hip-hop street style (as well as Miami-inspired floral prints and cut-out dresses) classy and glamorous. Remember her floppy hat and lace-up pants from the “Jenny from the Block” era? Who could have thought that an outfit normally reserved for a prostitute from 1975 could look so stylish? But then she turns it around and starts making plunging necklines the thing to do. Who could possibly forget the outfit she wore to the Grammy Awards in 2000, with its neckline nose-diving well below the naval and its see-through skirt? That dress is surely one for the history books.
  13. Amy Winehouse: While we hate to call a crack addict and alcoholic a trend setter, we have to admit that Winehouse’s look is certainly a signature one. Who else could sport a beehive, dramatic, thick eyeliner, tattoos, and miniskirts and look great? Well, great if you don’t count the crazy-eyes and cut marks. Winehouse’s musical and personal style are definitely one of a kind and they’ll stay that way. Anyone who even tried to copy her would quickly fall to wanna-be status.
  14. Missy Elliott: Big, ornate hoop earrings, head-to-toe matching outfits, messenger caps, and flamboyant sneakers – that’s the style of hip hop artist Missy Elliott in a nutshell. She’s the woman who made the old school track suit both stylish and feminine. Wo said only guys can wear tricked out Nikes? Elliott is also a trendsetter in her music videos. Remember the trash-bag-looking thing she wore in her “Supa Dupa Fly” video? While Elliott’s copycats most certainly come from a different sort of sub-culture than those emulating Rachel Bilson, she can be given partial credit for at least one mainstream trend – the sideways pageboy cap. Heck, even Paris Hilton kicks those these days!
  15. Chloe Sevigny: On her TV show “Big Love,” Chloe Sevigny plays a polygamist Mormon and her costumes consist of floor-length denim skirts and turtleneck prairie shirts. But in real life, Sevigny is a fashionista of the highest caliber. She’s the girl hipsters fawn over with her heroin-chic figure and her adventurous way of dressing. She’s been known, on separate occasions, to rock only a sweater with ankle boots or a tiny leotard dress that looks like it was meant for the Ice Capades. Sevigny usually sticks close to the hipster designers of NYC, like Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen, but overall she has a pretty wide palette and is definitely worthy of style icon status.
  16. Jay-Z: Jumping genders for a minute, let’s talk about Jay-Z. The so-called “best rapper on Earth” is also known to be quite the style setter in hip-hop fashion. Jay-Z himself always looks classy and in charge, whether he’s wearing a suit or a basketball jersey. And he’s taken his love for fashion a little further than simply being a model for other people’s clothes. He co-founded the label Roca Wear, which sells over $400 million each year in merchandise. Jay-Z also designed a line of Reeboks that made him a cool $100 million. The man clearly knows clothes and business.
  17. Joel and Benji Madden: These brothers, who head up the band Good Charlotte, have had their own signature styles ever since they came on the scene in 1996. With Benji’s trademark fedora cap, which he is rarely seen without, and Joel’s mini-mohawk, both brothers are always decorated from head to toe in tattoos, diamond earrings, sunglasses, and loud, vintage T-shirts. So recently, they decided to parlay their personal styles into a little extra moolah. They launched their own clothing line DCMA in 2006, which used to be called MADE clothing. Originally just a T-shirt line, DCMA now makes hats, belts, baby clothes, hoodies, and soon will release a line of sneakers. Because the brothers just opened their first retail outlet in L.A., the line has been garnering lots of attention from both the press and other celebrities who are helping the Maddens promote the line by wearing the products all over Hollywood.
  18. Travis Barker: Before the Madden brothers, however, there was Travis Barker, former drummer for Blink 182, who almost single-handedly brought the Mohawk back into style. In addition to setting a new hair trend, the tattooed and pierced drummer also has his own line of skateboard apparel called Famous Stars and Straps. Barker started the line in 1999 when he began making T-shirts for his friends and band mates. Those designs generated interest from outside parties and so he expanded his hobby into a business that now makes shirts, sneakers, and skateboard gear.
  19. Kimora Lee Simmons: The ex-model and ex-wife of Russell Simmons latched onto the coattails of her ex-husband and rode them high. During their marriage, Russell Simmons launched the ubiquitous hip hop clothing line Phat Farm. Kimora Lee launched a side line off of that venture for women called Baby Phat, which specializes in booty-licious clothing for the hip hop girl looking to add a little sex appeal and bling to her wardrobe. Think huge, gaudy handbags, loud sneakers, six-inch heels, and blinging belts and earrings. It’s doubtful that you would catch the Chloe Sevignys of the world decked out in Baby Phat gear, but Kimora Lee has managed to become a style icon in her own right amongst many women with a little junk in their trunks.
  20. Fergie: The female component of the Black Eyed Peas recently launched a successful solo music career, but she has been getting kudos from magazine editors and fans alike for more than her musical chops. Fergie’s fashion-forward style leans more toward short shorts, sleek pantsuits, high heels, and any outfit that shows off her chiseled abs. She makes hip hop style feminine and demure by pairing baggy bottoms with tight, cropped tops. And she’s not afraid to show off her physique, often wearing short, short, tight dresses. Fergie makes her style her own by combining elements from many different genres.
  21. Lauren Conrad: While it’s easy to argue that Laruen Conrad, of “The Hills” and “Laguna Beach” fame, doesn’t really deserve any street cred for her pseudo-famous status, she is getting more and more press for her efforts as a fashion designer rather than her non-efforts at being a reality TV star. Her brand, Lauren Conrad Design, is pretty staid and not at all exciting, but then again it’s the sort of stuff you see just about everybody wearing these days. Did she copy the masses or did the masses copy her? Hard to tell, but we think that among the high school contingent of gossipy girls who hang on every word Lauren Conrad mutters on “The Hills,” she probably holds some sway. At this point, though, it’s doubtful Vogue will come calling anytime soon.
  22. Mischa Barton: This other former star of “The O.C.” may not be quite as iconic as her buddy Rachel Bilson, but Mischa Barton is definitely a favorite of the photogs for always rocking high fashion on the streets of L.A. Tapped to be the face of Bebe, Barton’s tall figure has gotten her more modeling contracts than petite Bilson can ever hope to see, but Barton’s personal style is much less skimpy Bebe and much more 1960s hippy. She digs leather, high-waisted pants, suede moccasin boots, and head scarves. Her free love fashion has definitely earned her some fans – there’s a few websites dedicated to tracking her daily styles, as well.
  23. Agyness Deyn: This British model may not be known to too many folks in the regular world, but when it comes to fashion she makes big waves of which bloggers, reporters and designers alike are taking notice. Her pixie haircut and popularity with European designers has earned her the nickname “the new Kate Mosss.” And when she’s not posing for the cover of Vogue or singing with her band, she’s being photographed walking down the street in shredded jeans or loud layers of scarves, T-shirts, and hats.
  24. Cameron Diaz: Spunky, sporty Cameron Diaz has a pretty moderate, yet tasteful, style day-to-day, but the actress really makes a big fashion splash when she’s out attending events. Consistently named on all the media’s “best dressed” lists, Diaz recently made headlines when she paired a fuchsia floor-length Dior gown with turquoise Fred Leighton jewels. In 2007, she was named best dressed at the Oscars when she wore a white, off-the-shoulder Valentino gown and $2.9 million worth of Cartier jewelry.
  25. Natalie Portman: Natalie Portman is not often spotted at Fashion Week events, but she is seen as a style icon in her own right. This socially-conscious star is known for her red carpet pizzazz, wearing timeless, classic designs with a dramatic flare. Ruffles, lace, stripes and anything by Lanvin are her friends, as are non-leather accessories. In fact, Portman recently launched her own line of vegan footwear called Te Casan.

You don’t have to be a big buck celeb to be a trensetter. Be a fashionista by designing custom threads! Visit CustomizedGirl.com today to create your custom wardrobe!

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21 July 2008

Congratulations to the Winner of Contest 6!

Congrats to allsmiles0960 for winning Customized Girl’s Sixth Design Contest! She wins a $250 Customized Girl Gift Certificate and her design will be featured in the August 1st issue of US Weekly.

contest6winner.jpg

We love t-shirts that support events like high school sports.  The extra clever part was that this particular shirt was supporting a team called the “Northwoord Bears”, which made the wearer a “Mama Bear”.  Combined with a cute piece of clipart, we had to call it the winner.  Excellent work allsmiles0960!

There were so many awesome designs that is was once again difficult to choose.  The Olympics designs were especially cool.  If you’re looking to support Team USA with you apparel, look no further than the designs tagged olympics.

Thanks so much to all who entered. And with that, Contest 7 is officially launched!

Edited to Add: We have not had a chance to publicize Contest 7 much, so we’re going to let it run for another month.  A winner will be announced later in September.  Thanks to everyone who has particapted so far!

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15 July 2008

Wrong Side of the Tracks: 10 Celebrities who Overcame their Pasts

When you see celebrities all dolled up in their million dollar jewels, pulling up to the most exclusive restaurants in the latest Bentley, it’s hard to imagine that any of them could have ever known what it was like to be poor. But in fact there are many stars who come from humble beginnings and dysfunctional families. Here are 10 who have overcome great obstacles to get to where they are today.

  1. Jim Carrey: Jim Carrey is widely known as one of the funniest, most outrageous comedic actors to grace a Hollywood movie. But before he rose to his multi-millionaire status, Carrey lived a difficult life in Canada with his three siblings and out of work parents. His father, an accountant, lost his job to a younger man when Carrey was just a kid. To generate income, Carrey’s father accepted a job offer at a tire factory that wanted to hire the entire family. In exchange, the Carrey’s were allowed to live in a small building next to the factory. In the 10th grade, with pressures to work and big dreams, Carrey dropped out of school and started doing stand up routines at a local comedy club in addition to working at the factory. But eventually, succumbing to the pressures of the situation, the family left the factory and ended up homeless. They moved into a van and Jim began performing at a comedy club called Yuk Yuks. Though initially not accepted there, he worked his way into the crowd’s graces by the age of 16. In the early 1980s, Carrey moved to L.A. and began performing at the legendary club The Comedy Store. One night comedian Keenan Ivory Wayans came to see a show and ended up casting Carrey in his sketch comedy show “In Living Color.” The rest, as they say, is history. With more than 35 films under his belt, Carrey is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, earning more than $25 million per film. He is currently dating Jenny McCarthy.
  2. Hilary Swank: Born in Nebraska, Swank moved to Bellingham, Washington when she was six and was raised, for the most part, in a small trailer by a lake. Outcast from her peers and poor, Swank has often said that the only time she felt accepted was when she was reading a book or acting in a play. When she was 13, her parents divorced. Though Swank was a gifted athlete, she also adored acting. So, she and her mother packed their bags and headed for Hollywood when Swank was 16, living out of a car while Swank auditioned for roles. She dropped out of high school and quickly landed a role in “The Next Karate Kid.” Soon after she met actor Chad Lowe, whom she moved in with while still a teenager. Though the couple was together for more than a decade, Swank’s career skyrocketed, while Lowe’s stagnated. She won an Oscar, he booked a made for TV movie. In 2006, amid rumors of Lowe’s drug problem, the couple divorced. Swank continues to star in movies, most recently the romantic comedy “P.S. I Love You.”
  3. Oprah Winfrey: Now the richest and most powerful woman in television, Winfrey’s life started off on anything but the right foot. Born in rural, poverty-stricken Mississippi to two teenage parents, Winfrey grew up mostly with her dirt-poor grandmother on her languishing farm. Her parents split town early on, and when she got a little older Winfrey decided to move up to Wisconsin to be with her mother. But once she got there, she was repeatedly molested by male relatives. Traumatized, Winfrey turned to drugs, alcohol and sex and gave birth to a premature baby when she was just 14. It died soon after birth. Looking for more stability, Winfrey decided to move in with her father in Nashville, where she got her start as a reporter with a local TV station. In just a few years, she was promoted to co-anchor and, soon after, the host of a local talk show. In 1984, she landed a national talk show spot in Chicago, competing in the ratings with Phil Donahue. Though she has struggled publicly with her weight, Oprah has reigned supreme in her career, and her talk show is now the most watched talk show on television. In most recent years, Winfrey has used her post to speak about the importance of philanthropy in the world.
  4. Charlize Theron: Theron was born to a French father and German mother on a small farm outside of Johannesburg in South Africa. Her businesswoman mother often left her in the care of a nanny. Theron showed a penchant for acting and dance as a child, but at the age of 12 her parents sent her away to boarding school – away from the dramas of their home. Theron’s father was a longtime alcoholic who abused and cheated on her mother. Though Theron’s mother put up with the behavior for many years, the situation came to a head one night, when, while Theron was upstairs, her mother shot her father dead as he was trying to attack her. It was ruled self-defense. In an attempt to get Theron’s mind off of what had happened, her mother forced her to enter a modeling contest. She won and was sent to Europe to model in many countries. But wanting to be more than a pretty face, Theron moved to New York to study ballet. After a knee injury killed her dreams of being a dancer, she moved to LA to pursue acting. Within months, she landed her first acting role in the horror movie “Children of the Corn III.” Things got better from there and Theron won an Academy Award in 2003 for her portrayal of serial-killing prostitute Aileen Wuornos in “Monster.”
  5. Anna Nicole Smith: Born Vicki Lynn Hogan in Houston, Texas, Anna Nicole was raised by her mother and her aunt for most of her childhood. Her father took off when Anna was only two years old. Her mother, a law enforcement officer in Houston, entered into a string of bad marriages in the 1980s and when she was a teenager Anna Nicole went to live with another aunt in small town Mexia, Texas. There she got a job at a fast food fried chicken restaurant, where she met a boy named Daniel Wayne Smith. She dropped out of high school and they married when she was just 17 and he 16. Soon after the couple had a baby, but they split up when their son was only 1. Anna returned to Houston, working odd jobs at Wal-Mart and Red Lobster before she became a stripper in 1991. That same year, she auditioned to be a Playboy model and landed the cover. From there, Anna Nicole’s career took off and she became a model for Guess jeans and married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall, who was 89 at the time of their marriage. Now known as a sexy model and gold-digging wife, Anna Nicole began landing movie roles in the 1990s and her looks catapulted her to full-blown stardom. She became even more famous after she agreed to star in her own reality show on E!, in which she often came across as a clueless woman unsure of what to do with herself and her riches. In 2007, Anna Nicole died after an apparent prescription drug overdose. Right before her death, she had given birth to a baby girl, who now lives with her father Larry Birkhead.
  6. 50 Cent: Born to a cocaine-dealing, 15-year-old mother, rapper 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, had it bad from birth. His mother, a native of Queens, continued to sling cocaine until she was murdered when Jackson was 8. She died after someone drugged her drink and then gassed her apartment with her in it. Fatherless, Jackson then moved in with his grandmother and his eight aunts and uncles. He said this was the moment he turned to the streets. At 11, he started selling crack on the streets. By the age of 12, he was carrying drugs and a gun with him to school. In 10th grade, he was caught and decided to come clean with his grandmother, telling her straight up he was a dope dealer. He began getting arrested in the mid 1990s for drugs and served six months in prison where he earned his GED. In 2000, Jackson was rapping locally in New York and getting attention from many lyrical big wigs, though he still didn’t have a record deal. One day, he was sitting in a friend’s car outside his grandmother’s house when another car pulled up and a gunman shot Jackson nine times at close range, putting him in the hospital for 13 days. The alleged shooter was said to be Mike Tyson’s bodyguard, who was himself killed a couple of weeks later. After his recovery, Jackson put out an independently produced tape, which caught the attention of Eminem. Eminem signed Jackson as 50 Cent and in 2003 Jackson became a star. Since then he’s put out 4 multi-platinum albums.
  7. Demi Moore: Born in New Mexico to an 18-year-old alcoholic and bipolar mother, Moore’s father took off before she was even born and her parents were only married for two months. She was named Demetria Gene Guynes and given the last name of her former stepfather. Her stepfather struggled to hold down a job due to his own addictions and because of this the family moved more than 40 times. Both her mother and stepfather were serious alcoholics who also physically abused each other. In 1980, Moore’s stepfather committed suicide. During her childhood, however, the family suffered in poverty and Moore had both a vision and a kidney problem that she could barely afford to treat. As a teen, Moore moved to L.A. and then dropped out of high school to pursue acting. She worked as a model and an actress in some B movies before landing a role on General Hospital. She then started getting movies and in 1987 married Bruce Willis. The couple had three children and then divorced in 2000. Moore then went on to marry Ashton Kutcher, who is 15 years younger than her. She is now estranged from her mother.
  8. Naomi Watts: Watts’ father was a roadie for the band Pink Floyd and her mother was a wanderlust hippie, who Watts has described as having “passive-aggressive” tendencies. Her parent split when she was four and she and her brother moved with their mother to Wales to live on her grandparents’ farm. But Watts moved frequently, as her mother followed boyfriends around the U.K. Watts has said that her mother often threatened her own parents, saying she would send Watts and her brother to foster care if they didn’t financially support them. When Watts was a teenager, the whole family moved to Sydney, Australia, where Watts attended high school with fellow actress Nicole Kidman. She started her career on Australian television, acting in soap operas, but had much difficulty landing the film roles she coveted. After many years of scoring only B roles in Hollywood, Watts finally was cast in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” in 2001, several years after first moving to L.A. She has gone on to star in many acclaimed films, such as “21 Grams”, “The Ring” and “King Kong.” She is dating actor Live Schreiber. They have one son and another child on the way.
  9. Christina Aguilera: Aguilera was born in New York to a father who served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and a mother who was a Spanish teacher. Aside from moving around a lot in early childhood, Aguilera has discussed how she, her mother, and her sister were subject to much physical abuse at the hands of her father. Though police would often come to their home to break up domestic disputes, Aguilera says that because many other of her father’s peers in the military abused their families, little was done to punish him. When she was 7, her parents divorced and her mother moved the family to Pittsburgh, where Aguilera’s grandparents lived. There she began singing in local talent shows, making a name for herself in Pittsburgh. Because of this fame, other children resented Aguilera and taunted and shunned her at school. But despite having few friends, Aguilera broke into show business quickly, singing the National Anthem at Pittsburgh Steelers games, getting on Star Search, and eventually getting cast on the Mickey Mouse Club. In 1998, she was chosen to sing the theme song for the Disney movie “Mulan.” Two years later, she released her self-titled debut album, which catapulted on the charts. Aguilera is now a multi-million dollar recording artist, who is also married and just gave birth to her first child.
  10. Jewel: Jewel was born in Utah to a folksinging Mormon father and an artist mother. She was raised mostly by her father in Homer, Alaska, where she lived in a small house without plumbing and sang songs with her father at local bars to make money. Though she had a bohemian and poor upbringing, it was not without its charms. After high school, Jewel lived in her van while she traveled the country, broke, and performed on the street or in small coffeehouses. In 1993, Flea, from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, saw Jewel perform at a café and was mesmerized by her voice. She took him back to her van and played songs for him. But it was an agent in San Diego that actually helped Jewel attain success after hearing her perform at a coffee shop. In 1995, at the age of 19, she released her acclaimed album “Pieces of You.” Her music career skyrocketed after that and she has released several albums, some of which were more successful than others. She has now taken a departure from her folk roots to make country music. She is dating professional bull rider Ty Murray. They live in Texas.

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8 July 2008

The 15 DUMBEST Celebrity Quotes EVER!

It’s hard to be on point every minute of the day, especially when you’re a celebrity. Having to do scores and scores of media interviews each year must truly be taxing, and no one is going to nail every question every time. So, it’s understandable when stars slip up. But it’s still pretty funny. Here are some celebrity quotes that will leave you scratching your head and holding your side.

  1. Jessica Simpson: “Is this chicken what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna but it says Chicken by the Sea.” In 2003, Jessica Simpson uttered the above sentence, which would forever seal her status as a dumb blonde, while being taped for the reality show “The Newlyweds.” At the time, she and her then-husband Nick Lachey were casually eating a bowl of tuna on their living room sofa, when a bewildered Simpson asked him what it was exactly that they were eating. She was confused by the brand name Chicken of the Sea, which, to Simpson, suggested that her dinner could be either chicken or something from the sea. The snafu was major fodder for the press, who couldn’t help but question Simpson about her dimwittedness time and again during subsequent interviews. Instead of feeling embarrassed by it, though, Simpson reveled in the attention, saying she didn’t care if the world thought she was a bimbo – she still honestly couldn’t figure out if it was chicken or fish. She was even invited to the Chicken of the Sea conference so company leaders could help her solve the mystery once and for all.
  2. Paris Hilton: “What’s Walmart, do they like make walls there?” Yes, Paris. Walmart is a place where they make walls. WTF?!? But it’s not surprising to know that: 1) Hilton said something stupid, and 2) Hilton’s never been inside a Walmart. Fine. We wouldn’t expect the richest, most pampered person on Earth to be either intelligent or relegated to shopping at America’s biggest discount chain. But, c’mon – you’ve never even heard of the biggest store in the world? For a shopaholic like herself, that’s a little embarrassing. But also, what kind of store makes walls anyway? Oh, well, we couldn’t really expect too much else from the woman who was responsible for saying these other gems: “What’s a soup kitchen?” and “I don’t think, I just walk.”
  3. Brooke Shields: “Smoking kills. And if you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” Sage words of wisdom, Brooke. But isn’t it true that when you die you actually lose your whole life and not just part of it? Call me crazy, but I think that is what happens at death. All parts of you and your life stop existing. The end. Next time, try Googling things before you speak and see what happens. The greatest part about this quote from Ms. Shields? She said it while being interviewed to become the spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign. Let’s bet the tobacco giants were crossing their fingers that she would get the job.
  4. R. Kelly: “All of a sudden you’re like the Bin Laden of America. Osama Bin Laden is the only one who knows what I’m going through.” During R. Kelly’s several-year-long child pornography criminal investigation and trial, he, in a moment of distress, claimed that people were making untrue claims about his guilt without knowing the facts. Then he shockingly stated that the only person who could possibly know what he was going through was Osama bin Laden – the Islamic head of the terrorist group Al Qaeda. R. Kelly – you are on trial for child pornography, not a misdemeanor shoplifting charge. For Pete’s sake don’t make it worse by comparing yourself to the number one enemy of the U.S. and the biggest terrorist on Earth. What lawyer actually let you talk to the press? It’s a wonder a jury managed to find you not guilty.
  5. Linda Evangelista: “I don’t diet. I just don’t eat as much as I’d like to.” Ummm, last time we checked, not eating as much as one would like to is the very definition of dieting. It’s like saying, “I’m not anorexic. I just don’t eat.” We know there’s lots of pressure for supermodels to make it look like they’re rail thin naturally, but trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with a statement like that is a bit insulting.
  6. Britney Spears: “I’ve never wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.” Damn, the Louisiana public school system really is as bad as they say. First, Spears utters this hand-wringing quote, in which she states that the country of Japan, located in Asia, is actually located on the continent of Africa. On a separate occasion, Spears has also been quoted as saying, “I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada.” We know Spears is more accustomed to looking at blank walls rather than maps of the world, but someone get this girl a Carmen San Diego book STAT! Otherwise, her toddler sons are going to know more about geography at the ages of 3 and 2 than she does at 26.
  7. Marion Barry: “Outside of the killings, Washington, D.C. has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.” Marion Barry is the former mayor of Washington, D.C. who was unceremoniously dumped from his post when he was arrested for possession of crack-cocaine while in office, and then later sent to prison for six months. But before this downfall, Barry was not shy about his accomplishments as Mayor, bragging that despite the city’s incredible murder rate there was little other crime to report. So, can we attribute the fewer drug-related arrests during his tenure to the fact that he was diverting law resources away from his dealers? Obviously, a low crime rate is nothing to brag about if your murder rate is second to none in the country. It’s the most serious crime in our penal system.
  8. Keanu Reeves: “I am a meathead. I can’t help it, man. You’ve got smart people and you’ve got dumb people.” Phew. Well, this one sort of takes the pressure off. Here we all were going around feeling bad about calling Keanu “Excellent” Reeves an idiot behind his back, when it turns out that he’s known it all along! We think this quote has actually elevated Reeves’ cool factor. Just be yourself, buddy.
  9. Nicole Richie: “When I pictured heroin, I pictured some crazy crackhead with no shoes under a bridge. You never think that is going to be you. And it never was me. I was never under a bridge, and I always had shoes.” It’s funny, isn’t it, that people with shoes who live in actual houses can also become addicted to drugs? Drug addiction really is the “everyman’s disease” it seems. Because despite the fact that Richie was raised in a nice, big house with loads of money and a closet full of shoes, she still became addicted to heroin, which got her arrested in 2003.
  10. Christina Aguilera: “So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?” Is this a trick question? It seems akin to asking someone, “What year did the War of 1812 take place?” The fact that Aguilera would ask this question is made even funnier by the fact that she has been to Cannes several times. In fact, this is a photo of her at the festival last year. We know she’s blonde, she’s a pop star, and she was on the Mickey Mouse Club at the same time as Britney. But up until this the public had reasonably assumed that she had come through all of that with most of her intelligence intact.
  11. Dolly Parton: “I love being out here rather than in the big cities. You hardly ever hear of a drive-by shooting from a hay wagon.” Yee haw, Dolly! We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. It’s true that you rarely hear about drive by shootings by way of hay wagons anymore. In fact, you rarely hear about hay wagons at all these days, unless you’re out in the sticks, in which case you have other things to worry about, like Moonshine-fueled murderers armed with a toothpick and a pick ax. But Parton has been a quotable source for many years. Consider these other spot-on observations: “I’m not offended by dumb blonde jokes, because I know I’m not dumb. I also know I’m not blonde” and “I’ve always said if I hadn’t been a woman, then I’d damn sure have been a drag queen.”
  12. Axl Rose: “It’s really hard to maintain a one-on-one relationship if the other person is not going to allow me to be with other people.” Poor Axl Rose. Monogamy is hard enough as it is without having to answer to a demanding romantic partner or wife who asks – sorry, requires – that you only have sexual relations with her. I think many people can relate to Rose, here, right? Wrong! What’s great about this quote though is its feigned innocence and the fact that he seems to be seeking sympathy. Welcome to the real world, Axl. Unless you’re dating a porn star, you’re going to find most women seek actual commitment when entering a committed relationship.
  13. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” This is one of Arnie’s most famous gaffs, though there have been many others. He clearly just jumbled his words, but it’s pretty funny anyway. If gay marriage should be between a man and a woman, perhaps regular marriage should be between two men or two women?
  14. Alicia Silverstone: “I think the Clueless movie was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it’s true lightness.” This confounding statement, which Silverstone made in 2000, won her the “Foot in the Mouth” Award from Britain’s Plain English campaign that same year. The “Foot in the Mouth” Award goes to the person who made “the most baffling verbal statement of the year.” Enough said. Anyone who has seen “Clueless” knows first hand that it is not deep, nor did it come from a deep place. It was an entertaining, airhead comedy that did nothing to further the course of humanity except allow a few weary souls to rest their feet and their minds. Silverstone was obviously clueless herself when making this comment.
  15. Vanna White: “I never get bored, because there’s always different puzzles, I’m wearing different clothes, there’s different contestants, there’s different prizes.” Who would have thought that the very same reasons people tune in to Wheel of Fortune every night – new puzzles, different people, exciting prizes – are the very things that keep Vanna White on her toes. For 25 years, White has been dutifully walking across the stage, touching light boxes, and turning them to reveal letters that eventually spell words, phrases, places. A lot of people want to know how she keeps doing the same mind-numbing task every night without going bonkers. But apparently the minute changes in scenery are enough to keep her interest fueled to the max.

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