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Cosmo team blog

  • WTF is #GamerGate?
    1:48AM, Oct 31 Lauren Smelcher

    For a few weeks now, I’ve seen the hashtag #gamergate on almost every news site I visit. I knew, vaguely, that it had something to do with accusations of misogyny in the gaming industry, but on the specifics, I wasn’t clear.

    Then I looked into it, and what I found was incredibly distressing.

    #GamerGate, for those not in the know, began when game developer Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend wrote a post about her affair with a game reviewer who mentioned her game, Depression Quest. Among other things, he claimed their relationship should have been disclosed and that it was unethical for journalists to have relationships with their subjects. So far, so understandable.

    Except that all of the hatred and disgust was directed at Quinn, not the reviewer himself, Nathan Grayson. After all, wasn’t the complaint that HE should have disclosed his relationship with Zoe? That he should have been transparent, in the interest of journalistic ethics?

    After the blog post, things quickly spiralled out of control. Zoe’s game, Depression Quest, was attacked because it didn’t fit the traditional idea of what a video game should be. It’s a role-playing game where the player answers a series of questions – but their choices become increasingly limited as they suffer depression. Quinn herself has suffered from mental illness. The game highlights her experience, and was intended to shine a light on what’s often a neglected topic.

    Zoe was doxxed – meaning her personal documents were posted online, with a tacit agreement that these details should be used to track down and harass her. And on 4chan, things got ugly. Here’s a selection of the things said in the thread “burgersandfries” (named after Zoe’s ex-boyfriend’s nickname for her, which rhymes with “five guys”… the number of men she allegedly slept with while they were in a relationship).

    JLaw calls nude photo leak a "sex crime".

    “It's only the fact that Zoe has a festering cheese-filled vagina that's keeping them from writing about it.”

    “Look gentlemen, the lesson here is that never trust or date any bitch with crazy colored hair. At best, pump em and dump em!”

    “What the hell would she know about depression?”

     “I just want to see her die horribly.”

    “All I know is I want Zoe to die like that.”

    “Why have her die? She’s just gone then.”

    “She’s a known attention whore.”

    “Wtf why won’t she just shut up?”

    “I love how feminists think they have a handle on comedy.”

    “Feminists are too stupid to know when they’re being fucked.”

    Hackers threaten Emma Watson with nude pics.

    Zoe’s response – via her tumblr – was this: “This is another example of gendered violence, whereby my personal life becomes a means to punish my professional credentials and to try to shame me into giving up my work. I’m still committed to doing my small part to create a world where no woman is at risk of experiencing this.” And fair enough.

    Except then came the death – and rape - threats.  She was forced to leave her home and couch-surf. And she’s not the only one. Since then, various women weighing in on the #GamerGate controversy have been attacked for their views.  Game critic Anita Sarkeesian, who has posted a series of Youtube videos calling out tired, sexist tropes in video games, was forced to cancel an appearance at Utah State University after she too received a death threat. The organisers received this email: “I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs. She is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU….I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.” Then they came for Brianna Wu, an indie game developer who posted an image on Twitter comparing GamerGaters to crying children. And just this week, actress Felicia Day was doxxed too, for speaking out against #GamerGate.

    10 guy celebs who are feminists too.

    Maude Garrett, who runs the website GeekBomb, and is an avid gamer, says that these sorts of death threats in response to sexism “happen every day, especially to those that wish to take a stand within the games industry and support equality.” She says she’s been subject to abuse on Youtube, but that it doesn’t bother her. Still, she concedes, “it’s scary how people can hurl so much abuse and hate.”

    And speaking of that, one Australian woman I contacted for this story declined, saying that she was scared to after receiving threats of personal violence. I feel such anger towards these anonymous men – these cowardly guys who won’t put their real names to the threats they make, but who are forcing women to stay silent with threats of intimidation. Nobody should be so scared to speak out that they choose not to – and yet, this is what #GamerGate has done. Because the threat of violence – especially in an age where you can get doxxed – is very, very real. That this all stemmed from one angry ex-boyfriend – and has now become a blanket excuse to  target, humiliate and intimidate women for speaking freely about misogyny (that very clearly exists) says a lot about the dark side of gaming, and more generally, of the ways women are attacked for having differing opinions every single day.

    I thought about whether I’d put my own name to this piece, given that so many women – and not just the high-profile ones I have mentioned here – have been attacked for speaking out against #GamerGate. But since I’ve been researching this bizarre, aggressive and misogynistic sub-culture, I’ve felt compelled to tell people about it. Because it’s awful and sexist and disgustingly callous. So in the end, I decided I would speak up in my own name. Because if more of us agree that this is wrong, and are willing to go on record saying it, then we’ll begin to drown out the voices of the cowards whowant us to be scared.

    25 reasons being a totally girl rocks.


  • Nat the Great
    6:43AM, Oct 30 Alexandra Whiting

    Singer/songwriter-turned-actress-turned-presenter, Natalie Imbruglia is now, at 39, a beauty entrepreneur. She’s one clever lady. Her anti-aging skincare range ILUKA is in Priceline stores Australia wide from this month. Beauty Assistant, Alexandra Whiting spent some time with Natalie (on a fancy yacht) to talk childhood idols, natural ingredients and pimple problems.

    You have a skin care range! When did this start?

    It’s been in development for two years. My business partner, George approached me about it, and it’s actually something I’d always wanted to do. I used to look at the pictures of Isabella Rossellini in the Lancome ads when I was a little girl and think; I’m going to do that one day. Because she’s Italian and I’m half Italian, so I thought ‘I could do that’.

    And the range was inspired by your childhood, yes?

    Yeah, it’s more about me growing up on the Australian coast, by the water. Iluka an Aboriginal word meaning, ‘by the sea’. I’ve tried to get Australian ingredients in there too. We get our Manuka honey from Tasmania. I didn’t know we had Manuka honey in Australia! I thought it would be exciting to educate people about that as it’s so good for keeping hydration in your skin. I also love the Kakadu Plum. When I found out it has the highest amount of Vitamin C I was really excited to use that.

    So how does one create a skin care range? What’s the process like?

    I jumped at the chance when George came to me. He’s set up a company like this before so I knew he had the experience and as much as it was something I wanted to do, it’s a completely different world and I wouldn’t have known where to start. With everything else I’ve got going on, I probably never would have got around to it. Or at least not for a long time. So this was perfect.

    What kind of woman have you designed Iluka for?

    I hate to say it, but firstly I wanted something that would work for me. If you’re going to develop a product line, it’s got to work for you. I have oily, problem skin. I wanted something that wasn’t going to make me breakout, so that it wouldn’t make other people break out. When I went off the pill I got rosacea acne. It gives you redness between your cheeks and chin. I have to be so careful with moisturisers, especially the ones with SPF – so that was a really important product for me to get right. Ours is really light and doesn’t give me any problems. I love it. It’s the same with the Luxe Night Cream. If it was too thick or rich, that would give me problems. So we spent a lot of time on getting the absorbency right. I’ve tried it on my dry-skin friends also and they love it too.

    It’s also very affordable [all under $30], was price point important to you?

    I wanted it to look expensive, something you could put on your dresser with your fancy fragrances, but be very affordable. Packaging was really important to me. I was very into it. There were a couple of presentations that were initially way too foofy. I wanted something clean and I like that it feels a bit Japanese.

    There’s ten products in the range, which do you use?

    I like to keep my everyday regime simple. I don’t use the polish all the time because if you have skin like mine it stimulates the glands too much. I use it every other day, and use the foam cleanser. It’s great for my skin. I’ve never liked cream cleansers, but actually, ours is great for removing my mascara without stinging my eyes. Bonus! Then I use the toner and moisturise. That’s my basic routine.

    Best beauty tip you’ve learnt?

    Lots of sleep, lots of water, and running is really good for your complexion. And with makeup, Less is more.

    When you travel, what do you always have on you?

    I have the whole Iluka range with me at the moment, but if I had to choose, I’d take the Luxe Night Cream, a cleanser and the primer. I like to use it as a highlighter under my eyes. And a good shampoo and conditioner. Hotel ones just don’t work for me. I like Kevin Murphy’s hair products. He uses Kakadu Plum too I’ve noticed.

    How do you treat a pimple?

    With proper acne, the kind of thing I have, you can’t go anywhere near it – if you try to squeeze it, it can spread. This facialist in LA, when I was living there, told me only to touch a pimple if it’s on your jawline or up high, anywhere else and it spreads. The only thing to do is use the right products and prevent it.

    Do you have a signature fragrance?

    I like Amber and Lavender by Jo Malone or Coco Chanel Mademoiselle. There are my two I wear at the moment. One day I’ll do my own.

    So you do think a fragrance or make up might come next?

    Who knows, I just want to see how this goes. If I’d chosen from everything, this range would be my ideal. I’m less into makeup than skincare, but it’s one of those things. When I first started in music I wasn’t interested in fashion, and then I learned about fashion through music. I definitely want to do a tinted moisturiser. I’m passionate about the products you can’t live without and things that I struggle to find. Those are the things I want to do, and we’re already talking about products we’ll be adding. Things like serums. Watch this space.

  • The Railway Romeo nobody needs
    9:43AM, Oct 22 Lauren Smelcher

    Meet Brian Robinson. He's 48, single, and since 1999, he's gone on dates with 500 women - all of whom he's met on the subway.

    Last week, he even published a book - a manual of sorts - called How to Pick up Women on the Subway. His MO is to appear lost, ask for directions, and then enquire as to the accent of the woman he's speaking to - where is she from?

    While Brian's intentions might be completely harmless, what he fails to understand is that, for women, public transport isn't exactly a safe place. The proliferation of women-only carriages and guards' cars on trains and buses shows that women need safe spaces on public transport. Look around you, at the way women hold themselves on public transport. There's not a lot of unsolicited chatter. Not a lot of eye contact. Most women do that subconscious thing where they pull their bag in close to them - the public transport equivalent of holding your keys between your fingers walking home late at night, I guess.

    What makes Brian's story that much ickier is his purported "family history" of harassment. He told the new York Post, "My late Uncle Minor was a big womanizer - maybe that was part of my gift. He got kicked out of nursing homes for pinching the nurses' bottoms." Well, Brian, womanizing is not a "gift", it's really gross. And getting kicked out of a nursing home for harassing the very people who are caring for you is a really odd thing to be proud of.

    And look, there are plenty of women who meet men on public transport by chance and it turns out to be true love (hello, Missed Connections!) But going out of your way to purposely target women is just plain creepy. There’s a big difference between a flirty smile with a stranger and a calculated, rehearsed way of getting women’s phone numbers. Women deserve the right to keep to themselves, even in public. We deserve the right to feel safe, to feel protected, to go about our business without worrying that (in the best case scenario) someone's going to think we're "bitchy" because we don't respond to their advances. We deserve to be able to sit down, scroll through our Instagram feeds and get to and from work safely, for God's sake. Is that really too much to ask?


  • Powerful Paula
    10:30AM, Oct 21 Leigh Campbell

    You’d be forgiven for not knowing about the skincare line Paula’s Choice (because it’s only just landed on our shores!), but it’s likely you’ve heard of one of Paula Begoun’s books, considering she has 20! Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me, and The Original Beauty Bible are just two in which Paula reviews and rates thousands of cosmetics products based on what is in them. I had a chat to the beauty industry veteran when she was in Sydney last week to launch her skincare line in Australia.

    What inspired you to write your first book?

    “I wrote my first book, ‘Blue Eye shadow Should Be Illegal’, in 1984. I got pissed at the cosmetics industry very early on. I had acne at a young age. I had terrible debilitating eczema and no matter what I used, no matter what I put on, no matter how many dermatologist I saw, no matter what skincare I used, my skin just never got better. Not only did it not get better, it got worse. And then in 1975, in the United States, the food and drug administration made ingredient labels on cosmetics mandatory.  Now, most countries do have mandatory ingredient listings but even with that regulation, there are still a lot of companies who won’t put it on their website. I wanted to give consumers a place to find information on what was in the products they were using.”

    Following the success of your books, why did you launch Paula’s Choice Skincare?

    “Well just because I didn’t want to write any more books! It really is the truth. From the exhaustion and the frustration of writing books and having people who read my books say “you always say a product is good BUT, it shouldn’t contain this or that”, and “this is good BUT it’s too expensive”, “this product is good BUT it shouldn’t contain fragrance”, and then they would ask “what should we buy then?”, and were like, “give us something!”. So I did. That’s what started it. I obviously went on from there; but I couldn’t give up the passion for writing the books. Not to mention, writing the books also helps me be a better researcher, it keeps my feet to the fire, so to speak, to understand what’s in products, to understand what are other people doing.”

     Can you name your favourite three products from the Paula’s Choice range?

    “One of the reasons the line is so extensive is because skin problems and skincare concerns are vastly different. And there are permutations and combinations. Take my skin for example; I have oily skin, I have blemish-prone skin, I have sun damage, I have large pores. And that’s classic, I’m hardly the exception to have such different issues, and so the problem with saying the three must-haves is that if that’s not your skin type, your skincare concern, I would be leading you in the wrong direction. I have so many products in my range because there are so many different skin types and concerns to address.”

     What are your best sellers?

    “Worldwide actually I think our biggest seller is our Resist Super antioxidant Concentrate Serum. The two categories that really set Paula’s Choice apart, at least in the minds of new customers, are our serums, and our exfoliants. The serums, because we pack a lot of great ingredients in there for a very affordable price. The exfoliants, because we have so many, there’s one to suit any skin. I think we have twelve different exfoliants!”


    Resist Daily Pore Refining Treatment 2% BHA, $38.


    Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, $44.

     Do you have some favourite ingredients to formulate with?

    “Well, I don’t know that glycolic acid and salicylic acid are stand out ingredients, they’re pretty well-known ingredients, but we love using them. It’s more that we use them in a wide variety of textures and combinations with other skin-beneficial ingredients. We also frequently use niacinamide and retinol. They’re also pretty standard cosmetic ingredients, but what we do to keep them stable and the other ingredients we combine them with is what really makes them unique.”

     Check out for a full list of products.

  • Survey says sexism
    9:24AM, Oct 16 Lauren Smelcher

    Last night's Family Feud episode asked contestants to "name a woman's job." The top eight responses? Cooking, cleaning, nursing, hairdressing, domestic duties, dishes, receptionist and washing clothes. And remember, these aren't random answers - they're the answers of 100 ordinary Australians, surveyed for the show. Wowsers.

    Behold! The most sexist Australians of 2014...

    We can't change what happened last night, but if you're listening, Family Feud producers, we'd like to offer a few more suggestions for these "women's jobs."

    COO of Facebook

    Prime Minister of Australia

    Sex Discrimination Commissioner

    Anchor of The 7.30 Report

    Oscar-winning director

    Managing director of the IMF

    Creator, producer, writer, director and star of a hit HBO show

    Deputy leader of the Opposition

    Chancellor of Germany

    Secretary of State

    CEO of Yahoo!

    Best-selling author

    Australian Fashion Laureate

    First female self-made billionaire



    Any more suggestions?

    10 guys who are feminists too *swoon*


  • The New Ombre
    5:01AM, Oct 13 Leigh Campbell

    Remember balayage? A few summers back, seemingly overnight, balayage burst onto the hair colour charts with girls sporting dark roots and lighter lengths from Bondi to Broome. Then, the next summer, the almost identical trend was called ombre. But we daren’t call it balayage, oh no, that was so passé. To be fair though, ombre was a more subtle, better gradiated take on balayage.

    So what’s the new ombre? It’s called Freelights, and it’s hitting a salon near you as you read this. I went along to trail the colour (tough gig, I know) and am pretty chuffed with my new balayage. I mean, ombre. The lightener is applied with a brush (like balayage) to get a super natural result, no stripes to be seen (were looking at you, foils and streaks). But, unlike most ombre techniques, the painted sections don’t need to be wrapped in foil to protect them from the other hair, as this formula is thicker in texture. Instead, it’s painted onto strands with a custom made hand held shield created specifically by Wella for the Freelights process. It makes the whole thing faster. The formula is also a lot gentler than traditional blonding methods, so you can go up to seven shades lighter than your natural colour with a lot less damage. 

    I’ve been rocking the dark-to-light trend (whatever name you choose to call it) for years now, in various degrees of contrast, and even in red. It works for me as I am 90% grey, so this way I can home colour my roots every few weeks and just have the lightness ‘carried up’ my lengths every few months. This trend is also super flattering around the face, no matter your shape, or the colour of your stands. You can fade from black to medium brown, brown to sandy blonde, or blonde to platinum. The best bit? If you’re blessed with no grey roots (unlike me) it requires literally no maintenance.


  • My Pink Ribbon promise
    11:52AM, Sep 30 Leigh Campbell

    A few years ago my doctor called me back to her surgery to discuss an abnormal pap smear result. She asked about the occurrence and history of various ailments, diseases, and cancers in my family history. You know what? I didn’t know the answer to her questions. There I was, thinking I was an independent woman who proudly owned her own health, and I didn’t even know if my grandmother’s had suffered any ills, or what they had died from.

    Turns out my mother’s sister had had a mastectomy, followed by another, years later. My mother’s mother had also been diagnosed with a lump in her breast in her later years.  I was so shocked to learn this from my mum, and disappointed in myself for not having had this discussion with her sooner. I realised I am so lucky in that I have access to my family’s medial history, meaning I can educate myself on probabilities and be proactive in my approach to prevention.

    My experience years ago was the reason I jumped at the chance to help The Cancer Council spread their Pink Ribbon Promise this October.  Every day in Australia, around 50 women are diagnosed with breast or a gynaecological cancer. Through opening the line of discussion and starting conversations with our girlfriends we can band together and remind each other to have regular checks, lean on each other when one of us receives bad news, and find comfort in the support from the sisterhood.

    I nominated Cosmopolitan’s beauty assistant, Alexandra Whiting, to make my Pink Ribbon Promise to. Her and I spend a minimum of eight hours together Monday to Friday, send around a hundred texts to each other each week, and hang out on the weekends. I’ve promised to have her back, and I’ve asked her to have mine, so that we can rejoice in good health, and if we ever need, tackle cancer head on together.


    You can join the fight, too. Unite in Pink and show your support for Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon this October by:

    - Hosting a Girls’ Night In or Pink Ribbon fundraiser.

    - Buying Pink Ribbon merchandise on Friday 24th October ahead of Pink Ribbon Day 2014.

    - Volunteering your time and joining thousands of generous volunteers across the country who will work together selling merchandise to help beat cancer this October.

    - Donating to Cancer Council Pink Ribbon this October. Big or small, your donation will help beat breast and gynaecological cancers.

    - Sharing a #PinkRibbonPromise with someone close to your heart, via

    Call 1300 65 65 85 or visit to get started. This October, Cancer Council aims to raise $9.47 million nationally, and $3.66 million in NSW, to continue to fund vital research, support and prevention programs for the thousands of women affected by cancer, and their families.

    Here at Cosmo HQ, we are excited to host our own Pink Ribbon high tea on October 24th to raise funds, and of course, eat pink cake. Unite in Pink and register today at

  • Made by a model
    2:45AM, Sep 16 Leigh Campbell

    When I was young I remember pawing through the pages of Dolly and Cosmopolitan, admiring all the happy, pretty models on both the editorial and advertising pages. One particular model I had a girl-crush on was Josie Maran. She was always smiling back at me form the Maybelline and Guess ads and I just wanted to be her buddy. Fast forward a few years *cough* and not only do I work at one of my fave mags, I was given the opportunity to interview my old fan-girl subject about her beauty brand.

    Do you think modelling gave you the opportunity to experience a wide range of makeup? How did this exposure inspire you to create your own line of beauty products?

    “When I was traveling the world on modelling shoots, I was always asking my makeup artists what was in the stuff they were putting on my face, and wasn’t happy with their answers. I was hearing them say the names of many toxic chemicals. I asked if they could substitute healthy, natural cosmetics and they said no such thing existed that performed at the same level. So I became determined to find a way to create high performing cosmetics that were good for people and planet!”

    Josie Maran Cosmetics launched in 2007. How has the brand evolved between now and then?

    “When I started the company, I was doing nearly everything by myself. I learned a lot very quickly! Our cosmetics have always been about simplifying and purifying what you have in your makeup bag or medicine cabinet. But as I’ve grown my team, we’ve started to pioneer major advancement in cosmetics technology. My Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment is a great example of this. It’s a blend of microdroplets of Argan Oil suspended in water without the use of harsh chemical emsulfiers. I had no idea seven years ago that we’d be innovating in the oil category so dramatically.”

    How do you sum up the brand philosophy?

    “Our philosophy is Luxury with a Conscience, which means we strive to make the best, most effective products while also treating people and the planet with the utmost care. I try to make my cosmetics for everyone. I think all women care about being healthy and about contributing to the health of others. It’s my mission to contribute to a healthy lifestyle while empowering each woman to live the fullest, most beautiful life she can.

    If you had to choose one favourite product you’re loving right now, which would it be?

    “I’m always in love with my 100% Pure Argan Oil. It’s the cornerstone of my brand, and my ultimate head-to-toe solution. But right now, I’m also obsessed with my Argan Black Oil Mascara. It’s 91% natural, which is pretty unprecedented for mascara, and it lifts, lengthens and curls like no other.”

    What is your your daily skincare and beauty routine like?

    “I like to think I’m pretty low maintenance! I wash my face only at night with my Argan Cleansing Oil or Argan Cleansing Treatment. In the mornings, I just apply my Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment and then my 100% Pure Argan Oil. If I have time before getting out the door, I apply a bit of my Argan Tinted Moisturiser, my Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee, and a few swipes of my Argan Black Oil Mascara. I am also so addicted to my Shu Uemura eyelash curler. I love the feeling and the look — I need it!

    What’s the best beauty tip you’ve learnt on a shoot?

    “I think the most important thing I learned is to hydrate your skin before putting on makeup. Without properly hydrated skin, your makeup is just never going to look as good and as glowing as you want it to.”

    When your travel what beauty essentials do you always carry with you?

    “I always have my Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil. It has infinite uses. I use it under my eyes and on my lips while I’m flying to prevent my skin from getting dehydrated. I also always carry my Bear Naked Wipes to keep my face and hands clean. If I’m travelling with my daughters, wipes are a must to clean grubby hands and faces.”

    How do you deal with a zit if one pops up?

    “Before I discovered Argan Oil, I would deal with blemishes pretty regularly. Argan Oil balances my skin perfectly so I don’t break out very often anymore. But if one does pop up, I make sure to keep it simple. My Argan Cleansing Treatment is ultra-hydrating, but helps decongest pores and gently exfoliate. I’ll use that for a few days and get my washcloth really warm to help soften my skin. Then I just use my 100% Pure Argan Oil Light on it. I find keeping it simple and not letting your face dry out is the best way to help a pimple heal. 

    Do you wear a signature scent or have a favourite fragrance?

    “I don’t wear a lot of perfume because it’s often packed with synthetic fragrances, which are neurotoxins. My mom is very sensitive to fragrance so I try to keep it light so that it doesn’t affect her. I like to blend essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, patchouli and bergamot.”

    What would you say your influences are?

    My influencers range from poets to chefs to my mama. My favourite poet is Rumi, who inspires me to live in love in every moment and create delightful things that will inspire more love in the world.  I am influenced from many chefs including friends of mine who artfully cook because they create courageously, boldly, take risks, and are often spontaneous in the kitchen and that’s how I like to think about making my products. And my mom is an artist who has given me the utmost respect for life’s aesthetic beauty.”

    Who is your beauty icon?

    “My mum has been my biggest inspiration in discovering what it is to be a beautiful woman. She has an inner light that just invites the world in. She always taught me that a smile does more to make you beautiful than any makeup ever could.”

    Josie Maran products will be available 28 September at Kit Cosmetics, Mecca Maxima and


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