Diminutive in the imposing vastness of her office, Angela Merkel appears surprisingly frail for someone who's spent the past 20 years upending political norms. Now 55, Merkel, Germany's first Chancellor raised in the communist East, is the head of a democratic form of government and the guardian of individual freedoms that she was denied until her 30s. She outsmarted phalanxes of gray-haired, gray-suited machine politicians to set two other precedents, becoming the first woman to occupy the Chancellery as well as its youngest incumbent.
Paradoxically, Merkel's life under communism may have helped when it came to starting a political career as the Iron Curtain began to crumble. She knew how to navigate around blockages and when to keep a low profile. Her rise to prominence went all but unnoticed, except by the rivals she deftly derailed along the way. Elected to the first parliament of the reunited Germany, she was appointed a Cabinet minister by Chancellor Helmut Kohl just one year later. He called her das Mädchen, "the girl." She was used to sexism. "There was no real equality in the German Democratic Republic," she says. "There were no female industrialists or members of the politburo." So she smiled her feline smile and made no protest but quickly distanced herself from her patronizing patron once he became entangled in a party finance scandal.
In fashion, beauty is a commodity. But supermodels like Elle Macpherson, Megan Gale and Miranda Kerr have turned it into a bankable brand.At the age of 26, Kerr has already reinvented herself several times over.She has transformed from Gunnedah breakthrough beauty to the girlfriend of Hollywood hunk Orlando Bloom and multi-million Victoria’s Secret Angel.Now she’s turning her beauty into a brand that she owns, rather than hires out.Kerr’s new organic skin-care range KORA was launched at David Jones this month and is available exclusively at David Jones stores and online. She has also licensed the KORA name to include a clothing line and is set to exploit her appeal in other products, including her first book Treasure Yourself: Power Thoughts for My Generation.
"Being the Body is worth so much more than doing the catwalk in Paris, once you start commercializing it that’s where the money is," says fashion photographer David Gubert of Macpherson.Gubert has worked with the likes of Hawkins and Kerr and scored a coup as the first Australian photographer to ever shoot a Victoria’s Secret catalogue."These girls continuously re-invent themselves... it’s like Elle, it started with print and then she went into lingerie and now she is doing cosmetics," he says."They have to continuously reassess things, work on things, and (improve) the brand so they have something else to offer."The commercial appeal of Kerr’s beauty enterprise, like Hawkin’s Cosi swimwear range, is a boon to the department stores who both support and benefit from supermodels" brand empires.
Helen Keller was an American lecturer, author, and activist. Deaf and blind since early childhood, and living in an era where most individuals similarly afflicted were consigned to an asylum. Later, Arthur became the editor of a weekly local newspaper, the North Alabamian. Helen was born with her senses of sight and hearing.
In 1882, however, Helen contracted an illness—the family doctor called it "brain fever"—that produced a high body temperature.
Looking for answers and inspiration, Helen's mother came across a travelogue by Charles Dickens titled "American Notes" in 1886. There she read of the successful education of another deaf and blind child, Laura Bridgman. She dispatched Helen and her father to Baltimore, Maryland, to see specialist Dr. J. Julian Chisolm. After examining Helen, he recommended she see Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell met with Helen and her parents and suggested the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts. There they met with the school's director, Michael Anaganos. He suggested Helen work with one of the institute's most recent graduates, Anne Sullivan. Thus began a 49-year-long relationship between teacher and pupil.
In March 1887, Anne Sullivan went to Helen Keller's home in Alabama and immediately went to work. She began by teaching Helen finger spelling, starting with the word "doll" to help Helen understand the gift of a doll she had brought. Other words would follow. At first, Helen was curious, then defiant. She refused to cooperate with Sullivan's instruction. When Helen did cooperate, Anne could tell that she wasn't making the connection between the objects and the letters spelled out in her hand. Sullivan kept working at it, forcing Helen to go through the regimen. As Helen's frustration grew, the tantrums increased. Finally, Sullivan demanded that she and Helen be isolated from the rest of the family for a time so that Helen could concentrate only on Sullivan's instruction. They moved to a cottage on the plantation.