Tag Archives Female Empowerment

ALITA Explores Sensuality and Empowerment in New Single ‘Bodies’

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Female artists are, more often than not, discouraged from writing about their sensuality in their music. However, Seattle-based alt-pop artist ALITA is here to prove that there is power in owning your sexuality as a woman. ALITA is back with her new singleBodies” that is equal parts passion and power. The sultry track, laced with 80’s synths, offers a personal look at sensuality and the strength of being a woman. Her inspiration for this track came from her discovery of the translucent and unimaginative male perspective of sensuality in R&B music. We caught up with ALITA to talk about “Bodies”, female empowerment, and much more! 

How have you been spending your time in Quarantine?ALITA

It has honestly been a lot of what I’m currently doing, which is sitting in the yard with my dogs. About a month ago, I started experimenting with remote sessions. While it’s definitely not the same as being in person, they have gone really well! Like most people, my entire schedule & routine has been uprooted. Trying to find any sense of balance between work and the rest of my life has been non-existent. But I’ve also had the time to slow down and work on some house projects I’ve wanted to do. I’m fostering a dog for the first time, I’m learning to garden, working on new music. It could be a lot worse!

I saw that you have been doing a #ALITAcoustic cover series on your Instagram! Are there any upcoming covers we can expect?

Definitely! I did a Watermelon Sugar cover, accompanied with a homemade quarantine music video. It premiered on Stage Right Secrets and was a ton of fun! Right now, we’re focusing on getting “Bodies” out the door, but after release week, I’ll definitely pick up doing more covers. They’ll be uploaded on my socials every Thursday!

Who are some leading female voices today that inspire you?

Musically, my two favorite female artists right now are LEON & Lennon Stella. They’re exceptional – I’m serious. Sit down and listen to both their new albums, they’re phenomenal front to back. Overall, I’m a huge fan of Viola Davis, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna. They’re all powerful, confident, truth-speaking women. I admire people who walk through the world with honesty and integrity, especially when it’s challenging. People who stand up and call out injustices and refuse to live in the comfortable. There are endless women who embody those characteristics – so many voices to choose from!

Talk about “Bodies,” what inspired the song and what was the creative process?

On the surface, “Bodies” is a song about sex. With that description alone, I stand by it – I think it’s a bop. But the truth is, the writing process and deciding to release it wasn’t so straight-forward. The song carries a lot of weight for me because as a young woman, talking openly about body confidence and intimacy can still be pretty taboo. Whenever I’m working on music, I’m almost always the only woman in the room. That’s not because there aren’t endless women creatives to collaborate with, it’s more because they’re not always as easy to find, especially in the small music scene here in Seattle.

So when I was toying around with the idea for “Bodies,” I initially shut down the idea. I felt like the unconscious biases in the room would impact my ability to write honestly. I was afraid that I would have to hold back some of my ideas just to feel more comfortable in that space. Eventually, I had a little pep talk with myself and ended up writing it the next day when I had a session. It was freeing and fun to work on, but I wasn’t sure it’d ever see the light of day. A few months later, I brought it to another writing session, revamped a lot of the older ideas and production and finished it up. My manager was really the one who was pushing me to release it. She loved the idea since day one and I have so much faith and trust in her that I thought “alright, maybe she’s onto something”. I think a lot of that hesitancy was coming from my fear judgement. I claim confidence a lot of the time, but when push comes to shove, releasing a song about sex and releasing shame around it is intimidating. 

Listen to Bodies here!

The topics of female sexuality and intimacy are often told from the male perspective in music. How important is it for you as an artist to reclaim that narrative and share it from a woman’s perspective?

At the time I wrote “Bodies,” I was listening to a lot of male R&B and hip hop artists. I was bored with how unimaginative lyrics and stories about sex are. That was another reason I wanted to take a stab at it. I think challenging the taboo around sex is important for a ton of reasons for women. One of them being that I want women to feel empowered and entitled to pleasure, and I want them to feel comfortable expressing themselves with their partners. Women are entitled to enjoying sex! Another darker reason, (but extremely important), is that the taboo around women’s bodies and sex affects women’s ability to come forward when they experience abuse, and it affects their ability to be believed. I’m not disillusioned, “Bodies” is not a song really directly addressing that part of reality. However, I do think the more normalized talking about sex, consent, pleasure, communication with partners is… the better it is for preventing a culture that permeates sexual abuse toward women.

What makes you feel empowered?

Pushing my creative boundaries makes me feel empowered. I’m guilty of living very much in my comfort zone, and that ultimately informs what perspective I write music from. When I’m able to push myself just a little further past what my anxiety or nerves want, I know I’m growing. 

ALITA

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

LEON, Lennon Stella, Adele, Rihanna, Sasha Sloan, Julia Michaels, Kacey Musgraves, Sigrid, The 1975, Troye Sivan, Jon Bellion, Ellie Goulding, Lorde… those are just the top ones right now. 

What is next for you?

More music! Hopefully touring in the new year depending on safety. I’m focusing on pushing further in my own craft. I stand by all the music I’ve put out, I’m also ready for the next evolution and I’m excited to discover what that will sound like.

ALITA has established that her musical journey is about both individual growth and professional progress. Her bold sound beautifully partners with her determination to tell intimate stories in fresh and innovative ways. Her fearlessness in her artistry is what sets her apart from the pack. With each release comes profound perspective as she lays the foundation for what’s to come.

Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com
Images Provided by Austin Hodaie

Miss America Changing for the Better

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The Miss America Competition was under fire last year when CEO Sam Haskell and other board members in the Miss America Organization had their emails uncovered to reveal sexist content concerning the pageant participants. These emails were extremely hurtful to the organization, the contestants, and women across the United States. Miss America is a very controversial topic; there’s a lot wrong with the organization, which has been the center of objectifying contestants, and the generator of sexism, xenophobia, and racism towards women since its birth in 1921. Miss America was always meant to be a reflection of the social and political situation of  women in the United States. Miss America has always been evolving it was not until the 1970’s when a pretty lady involved in charity work was no longer the standard for a winner, but an educated successful role model for young women. Now, with the rising social status of women, feminism, and especially in light of these emails, the Miss America Organization has officially decided to try and change the pageant for the better.

Miss America 2016

 

From now on, the Miss America Competition will be judging competitors based on their intelligence and talent over their physical appearance. The biggest change the organization has made is the decision to eliminate the swimsuit section. Beauty has always been a prominent aspect in the competition, however, forcing the candidates to walk across the stage in high heels and nearly no clothing places too much emphasis sexualizing them. Instead, the swimsuit component will be replaced with an interactive session between each participant and the judges. The judges will be able to interview the candidates and discuss what their goals are, how they want to use their talent to make an impact on the world, and what they want to achieve with their passions and interests. The focus should be on how well-rounded and cultured the girls are, not on their cup-size.

Miss Illinois 2017

Another part of the competition that will change is the evening gown contest. Earlier in the year, Chairwoman of the Miss America Organization, Gretchen Carlson, claimed that this would be eliminated along with the swimsuit modeling. Yet, there was a fair bit of pushback— instead of eliminating the evening gown, the girls preferred to dress sophisticatedly and have intelligent conversations. They want to be allowed to choose the evening dress they feel best represents themselves and the image they are trying to promote. Officially, this has always been the case but the pressure from previous winners’ looks were limiting the contestants’ styles: dresses were typically form fitting, sparkling, with cleavage exposing, paired with stilettos and long shiny hair or a classy up-do. It was very uncommon for a girl to break away from this unspoken standard. This freedom is very new to the Miss America Competition, and it will be interesting to see how each candidate’s individuality comes through in her dress and speech. Perhaps it will encourage them to challenge what society has deemed “beautiful” for so many years.

The judges criteria for each candidate will also be completely revamped. Physical appearance, aside from posture and grace, comprised of the majority of the criteria for the Miss America candidates. In future competitions, talent will be the most compelling aspect. Although, a guide for the judges has not been released yet, we do know that talent will make up nearly half of each participant’s score.

Miss America has been struggling to define itself in a world of female empowerment. It was very clear to the Miss America Organization board that the competition needed to modernize and relate to ambitious young women. Not everyone agrees that recreating the system is going to fix the years of hatred these contests have promoted towards women. Yet, they are beginning to represent an American society that values and respects women.

 

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Miss America Changing for the Better: Featured Image Credit: Press of Atlantic City, Philadelphia Magazine, and Cosmopolitan

Frankies Bikinis Channels the Summer of Love

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Frankies Bikinis founder Francesca Aiello has been taking the fashion industry by storm with her swimsuit lines for years. Being one of the youngest designers to feature her collections during Miami Swim Week in 2014, Aiello is no stranger to success. The Malibu-raised fashionista has seen her designs on supermodels and celebrities such as Candice Swanepoel, Ireland Baldwin, and even social media queen Kylie Jenner!

 
Now back with an even bigger splash this summer, Frankies Bikinis is now featuring their newest collection called The Summer of Love, focusing on female empowerment. With must-have tropical tie-dyes, sweet florals, and bold solids to mix and match, Frankies has every swim look in mind. Ranging from edgy and daring to relaxed and carefree, these unique and sexy swimsuits are tailored to channel every girl’s inner confidence.


Cliché: Why is The Summer of 1966 special for you?
Francesca Aiello: For this collection, I wanted to pump up the volume and have fun. I was inspired by the psychedelic ‘60s, an era of social, musical, and artistic change. I always want women to feel beautiful and empowered when they put on a Frankies bikini, and nothing says female empowerment like the 1960s when the bikini finally became accepted into women’s lives.
What are some of the best features of this new line?
The best features of this collection would have to be our unique and signature crochet accents and all of our amazing prints.
What can you tell us about the fit, style, and design of the bikinis?
This collection is full of flirty bardot necklines, ultra-feminine lace-up detailing, and Frankies Bikinis’ signature boho-chic crochet accents, in the psychedelic 1960s.
How is this collection’s design different from every other brand?
We always try to strive for flirty and feminine pieces with a twist of boho. We have some amazing new one-pieces with lace up sides, which have become our super flirty and popular pieces from this collection!

Ashley Moore was an excellent model choice for this collection. What inspired you to feature her for your lookbook?
I was already a huge fan of Ashley Moore and casted her to walk in our RE17 fashion show, which is when I really fell in love and knew she would be perfect for the SS17 campaign.
How is Frankies Bikinis better than the average brand?
Frankies has distinguished itself from other brands for many reasons. One being our intricate designs and prints—making us recognizable to almost everyone!
What is the ultimate goal for the brand as a whole as well as for the new collection?
The ultimate goal is to keep making unique suits that make girls of all shapes feel beautiful!
What is your inspiration behind Frankies Bikinis and what motivates you to continue to work hard to produce quality bathing suits?
I am inspired by everything constantly. Ever since beginning Frankies, I’ve always been on the lookout for inspo!
What is your favorite piece from The Summer of 1966 collection?
I would say the Stella Crochet bikini and the Valentina!
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Frankies Bikinis Channels the Summer of Love: Featured image and all images courtesy of frankiesbikinis.com