Letter from the Editor:
Well, hair coloring has come a long way since the ancient Egyptians used “lead” to darken their hair, and some others, like the Romans, used everything from earthworms, pickled leeches, and pigeon excrement as hair dyes. You are probably thinking “Thank God!” and you would be right. Although there are vastly different methods employed now there is one thing going on that has had several “revivals” throughout history: “Fantasy Hair Colors.” The ancient Egyptians favored “blue” for wigs, as recently as the 1930’s and 1960’s there have been spurts of popularity. (All ages of women indulge in this at different times but I admit one of my favorite people to wear funky hair colors was “Mrs. Slocombe” on the British comedy “Are You Being Served”).
In this issue we’re going to meet the latest stylist to take the coloring world by storm, Gina Forestieri. Gina is a fave in the “O.C.” and Los Angeles area for her absolutely stunning hair coloring talents that can literally mimic the colors of gemstones to a “tee.” Really, her work is no less than remarkable and that is why she is our “Artist of the Month” – because – after all – isn’t hair styling an “Art?” Gina was featured on “The Style Network’s” series “Split Ends” (“Gina Forestieri and Alexander Hernandez,” Season 3).
Gina is our cover girl and we were fortunate to have her lovely mother belly dancer/artist Susanne Forestieri as our cover girl in April of 2016.
Not living near Los Angeles, I was not able to get a “fantasy hair color” make-over from Gina so I took the plunge my self. I had tried out pink lipstick and an aquamarine eye shadow stick last summer – just to put a couple of streaks at the top of my then “platinum” hair. I thought it looked cool so I decided to go full throttle a few weeks back when I had a new costume ready. The results were interesting and very theatrical but not quite what I expected so I let the sort of “sea foam” green wash out.
My latest hair color? Not pastel at all just plain old Joan Jett “Black” – that shade of black that’s really shiny and true – “blue black” with no warmth. Thinking of Joan Jett here! And, of course, Cher and Linda Rondstat too. (But what’s to stop me from putting a pink streak in, of course?”)
Also in this month’s issue I explore the history of the image of the “Blackamoor” in pottery and jewelry. “Mystery Belly Dancer” is back too. Hope everyone had a great “Mother’s Day” and you enjoy the issue.
Artist of the Month: L.A.’s Hair Stylist Extraordinaire Gina Forestieri Shows Her “True Colors”
By Aziza Al-Tawil
“So don’t be afraid to let them show…your “True Colors”…your “True Colors”…are beautiful…like a rainbow.” – Cyndi Lauper
Our spotlight “Artist of the Month” is actually a lady who works in the medium of hair styling, which could definitely be described as a type of art, and if it wasn’t she would certainly bring it validation as such through the sheer creativity she brings to her clients. Gina Forestieri was in no short supply as child growing up, with parents like visual artist painter Susanne Forestieri and musician Lou Forestieri. Her mother encouraged Gina to enjoy countless hours of creative expression through things like “dress up” time and in fact it was this subject matter-little girls playing dress-up-that led to Susanne’s own recognition with a National Endowment for the Arts Prize in painting in 1992. Lou’s piano and clients for his talents at composing and arranging no less left an impression as well. Besides hair styling and coloring, Gina, a fan of the mystical beauty of “elven forests” and the “paranormal” has also found a niche in creating whimsical miniatures. I was so lucky to catch with this fascinating and charming lady and ask her a few questions for our readers.
Aziza: Gina, we grew up in New York together and it’s great to see the creative baby I knew has grown into a creative woman as well. You decided to be a hair stylist – what led you to that path and tell us a little bit how you became one of the personalities on the reality show “Split Ends?”
Gina: Me and my old boss and a few of my co workers decided to try out for the show. We actually tried one year and didn’t make it on and went back for season 3 and they picked us. The show was about swapping hairstylists in different salons so I was picked to swap and of course drama ensued.
Aziza: You are known as a “magical” expert “colorist”-down to being able to copy the look of various gemstones, etc and have done well during the “Fantasy Hair Color” craze. When we were kids, Tish and Snooky of “Manic Panic” seemed to lead the parade during the “Punk Era” in Manhattan. Do you think this last craze for unique hair colors came from the live action film they made based on the 1980’s cartoon “Jem and the Holograms?” Or a renewed interest in “Unicorns” or “mermaids?” What is your take on what started the craze this time around?
Gina: I think everything comes back around at some point and with social media at our fingertips, people’s creativity is endless. I think looking at pics of other people and there work inspires and drives stylists to do more and more. Also with everything that’s been going on here and around the world I think people are just like “Fuck it! I want to be me and I don’t care what others think!” Hair color technology has also grown so much, things are possible now that were not possible even 10 years ago.
Aziza: You are a native New Yorker and live on the West Coast now. Both of your parents were artists, a talented pianist for a father and a dancer and painter for a mother. Before deciding to be a hair stylist did you ever foray into their artistic mediums?
Gina: Seeing my parents struggle in the arts kind of made me want to go another route but undeniably it’s in my DNA. I unfortunately didn’t get any of my dad’s musical talent other than just a love of music but I do like to sculpt and I am working getting some items up for sale on Etsy.
Aziza: You are a designer not just of hair but of crafts like charming miniatures and have a love of mystical things like Harry Potter. Let our readers know where they can view and purchase your wares.
Gina: As of now, I can do custom orders and have pictures of my art on Instagram @wintermagick.
Aziza:You love nature and take wonderful photos of the outdoors. You seem to be content. Are there any other dreams though you’d like to tackle and experience that you’ve not gotten to yet?
Gina: I am a happy person because I am selfish and always do what I love no matter what. You never know what the future holds but I want to buy a house, that is probably my biggest dream. SoCal is so expensive and it is nearly impossible around here! I also would love to move to the pacific north west because I loath hot weather but I couldn’t fathom leaving all my wonderful clients I have here in the OC and LA and I do get people visiting me from all over. I am so lucky to have those people who support me!!
Lost Racehorse of Pompeii
By Aziza Al-Tawil
Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 Ad. In May of 2018, researchers have excavated and found an ancient stable. There is preserved the last day in the life of a racehorse.
Mystery Belly Dancer From “Warrior Queen”
by Aziza Al-Tawil
The Actress Sybil Danning made a career out of “exploitation” films, some of her most notable being during another round of popularity of “Sword and Sandal” flicks (also known as “Peplum” films because of that feature on the skirts of some of historic male characters, etc.) “Warrior Queen” has quite a bit of “sexploitation” (As did some of the “New Wave” post apocalyptic flicks of the 1980’s) but is by no means “hardcore” porno. In fact, the violence that does occur in this film occasionally is not quite as gratuitous as in many films now.
While some of the film is offensive it really has a pretty good story and the acting, including the great Donald Pleasance in later years, is really quite good for this genre. It concerns the lives of various inhabitants of Pompeii right before Mount Vesuvius blows her proverbial “top.” Somewhere in the action is a topless belly dancer with finger cymbals on. Don’t know who she is or really if she is a real belly dancer but I offer up her image here as “Mystery Belly Dancer” of the month. (Hint: She could be Italian. It was filmed in Rome and environs).
Aziza Al-Tawil is “The Psychic” in the upcoming film “The Grave Caller.” To order an autographed 5X7 promo card shown above please have “PayPal” account and inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org. The price is $20 including shipping. Monies from the promo card sales will fund Aziza’s future creative endeavors including a film in pre-production about a missing woman in Lebanon’s Civil War.
The Fetishization of the Moors and It’s Sicilian Origin
By Aziza Al-Tawil
There was a bit of a row on December 17th, 2017 when Princess Michael of Kent showed up for a lunch meeting with Prince Harry’s multi racial fiance’ Meghan Markle. The controversy was caused by a turban wearing “Blackamoor” brooch. At issue was whether or not anything derogatory was meant by her wearing of the brooch on her coat or if it was just an antique “fashion statement,” a vintage glamour piece to be admired. Princess Michael, the Queen’s cousin, claims she’s had the pin for years and wears it oft, and it had no relation to the “multi-racial” background of Harry’s lady. So what is the story behind this kind of jewelry and what is the story behind the “Moorish” head vases I’ve seen also? Well, the stories are quite fanciful and not exactly what I expected.
The Moors invaded Sicily in the 11th century and brought with them their culture from North Africa which included the art of “Majolica” and they quickly set about to teaching the locals the art of this pottery. The “Moorish Head” planter pot was soon seen atop gateposts and represented the fact that the “Moors” were “in charge” of everything on Sicily. Caltagirone, near Catania, is the city most famous for making these heads and “Al Halisa,” now called “La Kalsa,” is the district in Palermo where the fanciful story of their origin arose: A young lady was tending the flowers on her balcony when a handsome Moor stops below. A flirtation ensues that only ends a while later when the lady learns the Moor is married with children back in “the old country” and in retaliation she cuts off the head of the Saracen upon his next visit. Thinking his head should not go to waste she decides to use it as a “planter.” A batch of Basil flourishes there and in turn inspires others to try the head vases for similar results.
Upon further research though, it’s discovered that there are more than one version of the story that inspired people to seek fertility for their plants with these talisman vases.
Messina holds a celebration every year in Mid August celebrating the town’s patron saint the “Virgin Mary.” They also honor the original Pagan founders of the city and parade them in “Papier Mache’ effigy. The original story goes that a very tall Moor named Hassan Ibn Hammar showed up in the region and with the help of fifty pirates plundered the area during the period where the area was resisting the Saracen invasions of 964 – 970 AC. During a raid he spotted a lovely girl named Marta (“Mata”) the daughter of King Cossimo of Castellucio whom he fell in love with and wanted to marry. She wanted nothing of him, but through a turn of events during gambling, he won the right to marry her. She still took no interest in him romantically until he agreed to “follow Christ.” After he made the transformation she proceeded to fall in love with him as he “beat his swords into plowshares” and became a farmer (Herein lies more connection with planting and fertility). Most residents have thought of “Mata” as the local version of the Greek heroine “Persephone” who was kidnapped by “Hades” the “King of the Underworld.” Mata finally agreed to marry Hassan (his new Christian name “Grifone” means “big”) and they became the first rulers of Messina. (It should be noted that when the Muslims ruled Sicily most of the inhabitants were Greek Byzantine Christians-therefore not surprising the Greek touches that survive like the use of “Medusa” on the Sicilian flag although some Greeks have attributed her origin to Berbers in North Africa).
A third tale tells of a noble family of Messina with a beautiful girl and three protective brothers. Written about by Boccaccio in his “Decameron” the story has the girl known as “Isabella” fall for a boy named Lorenzo. Her three brothers kill Lorenzo and bury his body in a secret place. Lorenzo comes to Isabella in a dream and divulges he was murdered and the location of his remains. In horror, Isabella goes to the site and after finding the body in a fit of grief cuts off Lorenzo’s head. Back at her home she plants basil in it to disguise it and waters it with her tears.
The interesting thing to note about “Blackamoor” tchotchkes is that many depict them in the sense of a “ruler” or “nobleman” in turban and regal dress and do not always show them as “subservient.” “Blackamoor” figures have also been depicted as dancers. As far as collector’s of antiques and curiosities, these items will probably still hold some appeal to those interested in the “folklore” origins of these unique designs even as time goes on.
Congratulations to the lovely Couple of the British Crown! Long live Prince Harry and HRH Meghan Markle!
Egyptian Chick Magazine is published by:
Aziza Al-Tawil “Editor in Chief”
Billy Jack Watkins, “Research Assistant to the Editor”
Josephine Homonai, “Fashion Consultant and Model”
Cruelty free make-up from “Coastal Scents” Click the eyeshadow pallette above for their site.