Month: August 2021

Meghan teams up with Melissa McCarthy for birthday mentorship video

Britain’s Duchess Meghan celebrated her 40th birthday on Wednesday with a light-hearted video and an appeal for people to mentor women trying to get back into the work force.

Meghan, the wife of Prince Harry, teamed up with “Bridesmaids” actress Melissa McCarthy for the tongue-in-cheek video to launch her “40×40” initiative.

The two joke about marking her milestone birthday by holding a cast reunion of the duchess’s former TV series “Suits, getting matching tattoos or partying on yacht.

Meghan, however, announces she is asking 40 friends to mentor a woman for 40 minutes, and encourages others to do the same.

Meghan, formally known as the Duchess of Sussex, said in a message on the couple’s Archewell Foundation website that she sees mentorship as a way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength.

“For my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce,” she said.

Meghan said millions of women around the world left or lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, and many shouldered the responsibility of child care, caring for relatives and home schooling.

Meghan has made women’s empowerment a key part of her platform before and after she and Harry quit the royal family and moved to California last year to live independently.

Last month she announced she had teamed up with Netflix to produce an animated family series about the adventures of a 12 -year old girl who is inspired by influential women from history.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #MeghanMarkle #MelissaMcCarthy @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Britain’s ITV says ‘no current plans’ for another ‘X Factor’ series

British broadcaster ITV said it has “no current plans” for another series of music talent show “The X Factor”.

The singing competition, created by British music mogul and television personality Simon Cowell, debuted on UK screens in 2004 and kick-started the careers of chart toppers such as Leona Lewis, One Direction and Little Mix.

Its last series aired in 2018 before going on hiatus.

“There are no current plans for the next series of The X Factor at this stage,” an ITV spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

Once hugely popular, the UK show has seen ratings fall over the years.

Newspaper The Sun reported late on Wednesday Cowell was axing the series “for at least five years”. 

The show, in which aspiring singers aim to win a recording contract and are mentored by celebrity judges, has been exported around the world and has had various spin-offs, including a celebrity version in 2019.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Britains #XFactor @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Singer Rihanna is officially a billionaire, Forbes says

Pop star Rihanna’s net worth is estimated at $1.7 billion, making her the richest woman musician in the world, but her music is not the primary source of her wealth, Forbes magazine said on Wednesday.

The Barbados-born singer, whose birth name is Robyn Fenty, derives an estimated $1.4 billion of her fortune from her 50% stake in the Fenty Beauty cosmetics line, Forbes reported.

The rest of Rihanna’s wealth comes from her share of the Savage x Fenty lingerie company and her income as a singer and actress, the magazine said.

Rihanna’s beauty company, of which LVMH owns the other half, is known for its broad range of 50 skin tones, including dark shades for women of color, which were rare when it launched in 2017. This made it a leader in inclusivity in the industry.

The singer of “Umbrella” and “Love the Way You Lie” ranks second behind Oprah as the richest female entertainer, Forbes said.

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Meet a pint-size U.S. piano prodigy

Brigitte Xie reads music, can play Beethoven’s Sonatina in F Major and has won a spot to perform at Carnegie Hall. She is 4 years old.

Brigitte’s feet dangle above the ground when the petite girl sits on the piano bench, her hands moving gracefully across the keyboard.

With long brown hair in a ponytail and bow, she cast her dark eyes shyly downward when her mother, Nicole Sun, asked if she likes piano and if it was fun. “Yeah, fun,” Brigitte replied.

Brigitte’s father, Tao Xie of Ridgefield, Connecticut, signed her up for piano lessons on Zoom about a year ago to give her something to do during COVID-19 lockdown.

“At the beginning, I never expected that she’s going to be a prodigy or anything,” he said. “But yeah, it turns out it’s amazing.”

Brigitte was the youngest winner of the prestigious Elite International Music Competition, which earned her a spot at Carnegie Hall. She was supposed to play at Carnegie Hall as part of the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition in November 2020. That got postponed to this November and now to November 2022 due to COVID-19.

Brigitte’s mother gives credit to her piano teacher, Felicia Feng Zhang.

“Brigitte came to me when she was just two months after three years old,” her teacher said. “From the lessons, I observed she has a curious mind and she loves to learn. We call that passion.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Music #Brigitte @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Amazon’s pricey ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV series to launch Sept 2022

Amazon’s multi-million dollar TV version of “The Lord of the Rings” will launch in September 2022, Amazon Studios said on Monday.

The streaming platform said filming on the first season has wrapped in New Zealand, and it released the first images of the show.

“The journey begins September 2, 2022 with the premiere of our original The Lord of the Rings series on Prime Video,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

Amazon is spending about $465 million filming the first season of the show, according to New Zealand government officials. It is expecting to make five seasons of the show, making it one of the most expensive TV series ever.

It said in a press release that the first season would be available in more than 240 nations, with new episodes released weekly.

The epic fantasy plot will take place thousands of years before the events narrated by writer J.R.R. Tolkien in his books “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #LordOfTheRings #Amazon @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Blackstone and Hudson Pacific plan $1 billion film studios in UK

U.S. firms Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties said they planned to create a major film, TV and digital production complex in Broxbourne, north of London, in the first overseas expansion of their Sunset Studios platform.

Funds managed by the two companies had acquired a 91-acre site, 17 miles from central London, for 120 million pounds, they said on Sunday, adding that the total investment would be more than 700 million pounds ($975 million).

Subject to planning permission, they said they would build a world-class film and television studio campus, creating more than 4,500 permanent jobs.

Investment firm Blackstone last year bought a 49% stake in real estate company Hudson Pacific’s Hollywood media portfolio, comprising 35 sound stages and offices, including the facilities where hits “La La Land” and “When Harry Met Sally” were made.

Blackstone’s head of real estate Europe James Seppala said the partners intended to deliver a studio facility that would help ensure that Britain continued to be a premier destination for production.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Film #UnitedKingdom @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com