The couture line that Balenciaga launched this summer is another thing that has permanent residency in my brain. I think that what Demna [Gvasalia, creative director] is doing with sculpture and architecture through fashion is some of the most interesting theatre of our time. It’s like a marriage of Romantic and gothic style – it’s a bit ecclesiastical, almost monastic, and I want it all. There’s this really wonderful circular headpiece that feels like: “I’m going to service, but in the year 3021.”
Once upon a time, Lena Dunham's boyfriend told her she was "the most mentally energetic, physically lazy person he’s ever met." And she agreed with him. Now, the author-actress-screenwriter-producer-overall superstar is proud to share mid-jog paparazzi shots on her Instagram. How'd she come such a long way?
In a new interview with espnW, the author, actress, Girls creator, and co-owner of the soon-to-launch Lenny newsletter opened up about her evolution from a sports-free childhood to having a newfound love of running. One of the best parts, she explained, was realizing just how much her body is physically capable of. (The talk was part of espnW's "My Body Can" campaign, a series to celebrate women's athletic accomplishments.)
"When we really own and understand our bodies and claim our physicality, our superficial quibbles with our bodies lessen because we realize what our bodies can do for us," Dunham told the website. "My relationship to eating, my relationship to critiquing my own shape, all of that has changed since I've started viewing my body much more as a tool to do my work."
Here are our favorite healthy and happy quotes from her candid chat.
On learning to love fitness
"When it became something that actually gave me pleasure, I was shocked. Also, endorphins are real. You run with someone for an hour, you feel pretty good," she said. "Running for an hour does not make you feel worse."
Is a triathlon on her horizon? Not yet—and that's totally okay, she said. "I just feel good knowing that if I were to choose to try and run, it would be possible," said Dunham.
She also talked about getting hooked on the workout method crafted by Tracy Anderson (who is Health's contributing fitness editor), which Dunham described as "a mix of aerobics, strength training, and something that kind of resembles Pilates."
Dunham explained, "With Tracy it's not about getting everyone to look a specific way. It's about getting everyone to feel strong. And she uses the word 'connected' a lot, which I really love. I love the idea of feeling connected."
On using exercise to help relieve her anxiety
"I have to remind myself that when you exercise, there is a natural calm that comes from knowing that you did something with your body that day. Actually going and working out makes everything else easier and better," she continued.
The star also addressed her struggles with endometriosis and obsessive-compulsive disorder: "Another lesson came because I have endometriosis, which has been chronic for me and at times very painful. I've also had mental health issues. I value my health and my happiness. And I've realized exercise can give me both of those things."
On getting older
It's constantly evolving, according to the 29-year-old. "I'm going to be 30 next year. I had to learn, as you age, you have to move. You have to move so you don't die. You have to move so your brain doesn't atrophy. … There are a thousand reasons why exercise is important, and I've had to find ways to make it sexy for myself."
On her favorite physical trait
Let's just say she doesn't hate staring into her own eyes—or at her boobs. "I don't know if this counts, but I'm really into my face. I feel good about it most days," she said. "I like my teeth and my eyeballs. And I also really, really feel great about my boobs. They are doing what I want them to, and I feel like they're continuing to impress me as they grow and change."
On the haters
Dunham is no stranger to dealing with trolls who feel the need to constantly critique her body on her Instagram, but she doesn't ever let it get to her.
"When I see s—-y comments, at this point they don't even feel like they're about me. Like, I don't feel I need to lose 200 pounds or whatever these people are saying. I don't feel that way about myself. I feel like I have better days, I have worse days, but I'm pretty happy in my own form."
On the advice she'd give other women
Focus on loving your whole self—not just your thighs. "I know that so many women think they're being held back by the shape of their body, and ultimately what is holding them back is that they have absorbed all of this negative messaging," Dunham said. "And so you just have to work, we all have to work really hard to take care of ourselves and feed ourselves good information, just like we feed ourselves good food."
Her second life tip? Get rid of your scale. "There is no reason why you ever need to be getting a scale or measuring your value by a scale," she added.
Leeds Festival: Bad Boy Chiller Crew get Yorkshire bouncing
Bad Boy Chiller crew may have started out as a bit of a joke online but on Friday they provided some serious party vibes as Leeds Festival got under way.
Bradford’s notorious bassline collective got a sea of bucket hats bouncing with their infectious energy and hilarious stage presence.
The rap-dance collective brought their dads/friends onstage for a rave, while downing booze in between spitting bars.
But they were enjoying themselves for so long organisers pulled the plug.
Having overrun, the fun-loving outfit had their microphones, decks and music silenced, drawing boos from revellers as they stormed off to make room for a “No Leeds on a Dead Planet” public service video about environmental concerns around the event.
West Yorkshire Police later said they arrested two people following an incident on stage at Leeds Festival shortly after 16:00 BST on Friday.
The pair were subsequently bailed, pending further enquiries.
In recent years, the rap trio, comprised of Gareth “GK” Kelly, Kane Welsh and Sam “Clive” Robinson have have been not so quietly working their way up the bill at their home county festival, rapping over old school dance beats.
They’ve gone from starting in the BBC Music Introducing tent to one of the main stages, where they looked very at home, leading the crowd in a chorus of “oggy oggy oggy”s.
Dressed in their crispest white shirts and big red ties, the local rappers – who recently starred in their own ITV2 docu-series – raced through verses from their recent mixtape and debut album, including 450 and BMW, as well new track When It Rains, It Pours (thankfully it didn’t, as the clouds covered the Yorkshire sun for the first time on Friday).
They raced through beer, cider and vodka at an (alarmingly) equally rapid rate, as a family friend known affectionately as Kitchen Steve twirled a cane in a head-masterly fashion and Kelly’s dad Hopper, wearing a Burberry outfit, threw out some serious shapes and hip shakes.
One Twitter user commented: “Omg! Bad Boy Chiller Crew. What is this?! It’s like [Welsh act] Goldie Lookin Chain on speed. There is even a ‘Bez'”.
Robinson even appeared to have had an influence on, or at least reflect, some of the festival-goers’ fashion senses, with mullets adorning the heads of young men at Branham Park, for possibly the first time in decades.
Rap music from around the UK regions, not just the capital, has become more prominent on the bill here in recent years. “It’s tongue-in-cheek funny and unashamedly Yorkshire,” wrote the BBC’s Will Chalk about Bad Boy Chiller Crew – who recently launched a fans for foodbanks initiative – in an interview two years ago, when they were just starting their journey to where they are now.
Earlier on Friday, emo rocker Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith brought the first big singalong of the day as the crowds began to arrive in the searing heat, with one of the songs of last year, her viral hit Meet Me at the Spot.
She followed it up with a new one of her own, Hover Like a Goddess. “Every woman is a goddess,” she beamed, drawing loud cheers.
Bastille did an early set on Friday evening, having just released an extended version of their latest album Give Me the Future.
They told the BBC that performing at the double header Reading and Leeds Festivals 10 years ago in a smaller tent – and hearing one of their softer songs sung back to them with gusto – was the first time they thought they were really on to something as a band.
“We had to stop because I was it was so blown away, it just was just so overwhelming,” said singer and songwriter Dan Smith.
“That was kind of amazing moment, as particularly as back 10 years ago, Reading and Leeds was much more like rock and heavy music. So as a as a weird little cinematic indie band, and being the massive cynic that I am, I was like, ‘what’s the crowd gonna make of us?’
“So to have that first experience all those years ago was pretty surreal.”
The Leeds leg of the Bank Holiday weekender was officially opened on Thursday evening by up-and-coming Sunderland indie rocker Tom A Smith, who recently supported Sir Elton John. Afterwards he told the BBC it was “without doubt the best [gig] I’ve ever done”.
“We had mosh pits and people singing my songs back,” said Smith. “It was absolutely insane, what an experience.”
Reading and Leeds Festivals take place across two sites and will feature headline performances at each from artists including The 1975, Dave, Arctic Monkeys and Megan Thee Stallion.
On my radar: Moses Sumney’s cultural highlights
theguardian– Singer-songwriter Moses Sumney, 29, grew up between Ghana and California and studied creative writing and poetry at UCLA. His piercing falsetto and genre-defying music have brought him critical acclaim, starting with his self-recorded 2014 EP Mid-City Island, followed in 2017 by his debut album, Aromanticism, and the 2020 double album Græ. Sumney has collaborated with musicians including Bon Iver and James Blake and toured with Solange and Sufjan Stevens. His latest project is Blackalachia, a self-directed concert film created in association with WePresent, shot over two days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, where he lives.
Selling Sunset (Netflix)
I pity anyone who hasn’t seen this show. It’s a reality show about a real estate agency in west Hollywood, and it follows the lives and deals of the people who work there, predominantly the female staff who are all ridiculously Barbie-ish – essentially “career Barbie on crack”. It’s incredible. I love reality TV – it tells us a lot about humanity. Reality shows are always inherently dated, so they’re a great capsule of the modern era.
Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty by Yeule
I don’t know what it is about this song, but I’m addicted to it. Yeule is a Singaporean artist based in London who’s kind of new on the scene, and this song is just so hypnotising – it hints and winks at hyperpop while being an absolutely heart-shattering folk tune. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of a lot of different genres, and it’s stunning. I have a lot of playlists – for driving, for chilling at night, a morning playlist, a folk playlist – and this is in all of them.
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
I’m currently reading this – I put off reading it because it looks like a self-help book – but it’s really fascinating. The author is an artist who works largely in digital art and the book is about how to free yourself from the capitalist trappings of the workforce – not necessarily saying “quit your job”, but suggesting a new path for work. It asks the question: how can we construct our identities apart from defining ourselves by what we do and by our income? It’s a very radical book, and it’s often a hard read. But it has been mind-shifting.
Western North Carolina
I’ve been travelling a lot for work, so I’ve been thinking about how much I would prefer to spend my time in western North Carolina, particularly in the mountains, where I live. I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I first arrived in Asheville when I was on tour and knew immediately I wanted to live here. You turn around, 360 degrees in any direction, and you’re surrounded by trees, by the sound of animals, and that’s really a rare feeling for anyone who’s spent most of their life, as I have, living in the city.
Eve’s Bayou (Kasi Lemmons, 1997)
This stars a young Jurnee Smollett, who recently had a resurgence with Lovecraft Country. She’s 10 years old in the film, which is set in a fictional small town in Louisiana. Samuel L Jackson stars as the patriarch of the family, who is maybe cheating on his wife, his daughter sets out to kill him and punish him, perhaps through witchcraft. It was incredibly critically acclaimed and subsequently snubbed by every major award ceremony. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking film. I first saw it last year and I think about it every day.
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