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13 details from the VMAs that you totally missed

13 details from the VMAs that you totally missed

miley cyrus vmas

Miley Cyrus debuted a new tattoo during her performance.

John Shearer/Getty

  • This year’s MTV Video Music Awards were held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, but one award presenter, Adriana Lima, got the state wrong.
  • Miley Cyrus debuted a new tattoo and changed a song lyric during her performance.
  • John Travolta almost handed his award to a drag queen who was dressed like Taylor Swift instead of the actual “Lover” singer.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

One of music’s biggest nights of the year happened on Monday at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Between the truly memorable performances and the wild outfits some of the celebrities in attendance were wearing, it was easy to miss some of the little moments that happened in the audience, on stage, and behind the scenes.

Here are 13 details from this year’s VMAs you might have missed.

Missy Elliott had former Disney star Alyson Stoner dance on stage during her performance.

Alyson Stoner was once a Disney-channel star.

MTV/Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Missy Elliott’s medley was easily one of the greatest VMA moments of all time and what made it even better was her attention to details.

Fans were thrilled to notice that former Disney star Alyson Stoner took the stage as one of the dancers and totally killed it, just like she did years ago when she was the kid featured in Missy Elliott’s video for “Work It.”

John Travolta almost gave Taylor Swift’s award to the wrong person.

John Travolta and Jade Jolie, not Taylor Swift.


After joking about when he mistakenly called singer Idina Menzel “Adele Dazeem” a few years back, John Travolta seemed to have another slight mishap.

This time, the actor was presenting an award to Taylor Swift, but instead of giving the “Lover” singer her Moon Man, he tried handing it to drag queen Jade Jolie, who was dressed as Swift.

Miley Cyrus had a new tattoo and it might have to do with her recent split from Liam Hemsworth.

Miley Cyrus’ new tattoo is song lyrics.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Cyrus also subtly changed the lyrics of “Slide Away.”

The lyric swap made some think she was referring to Liam Hemsworth.

John Shearer/Getty

Her new tattoo wasn’t the only thing that reminded fans of Cyrus’ split with Hemsworth. She also subtly changed up the lyrics of “Slide Away” during her performance.

Instead of singing the original lyrics, “You’re right, we’re grown now,” she sang, “You’re right, I’m grown now.” Some felt this could be a reference to her recent split from Hemsworth.

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner cheered for Swift.

Joe Jonas and Taylor Swift used to date.


It seems like there’s no longer bad blood between this pair of exes. When Swift won one of her awards, the audience cam captured a sweet shot of Joe Jonas (and his wife Sophie Turner) cheering hard for the pop star.

Swift and Jonas dated for a few months in 2008 — and in the past, she’s called him out, saying he broke up with her via a phone call.

Adriana Lima apparently thought she was in New York.

The VMAs took place in Newark, New Jersey, this year.

Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19/Getty Images for MTV

When supermodel Adriana Lima came on stage to present with Victor Cruz, she got confused about where she was and yelled, “What’s up, New York!” The award ceremony took place in Newark, New Jersey.

Halsey wore a rainbow part in her hair.

The singer had a few outfit changes throughout the night.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty Images

Everyone noticed Halsey’s colorful outfits and they were so eye-catching that it was almost easy to miss her vibrant, yet subtle hairstyle. The singer dyed her roots into a little rainbow, which was a unique touch.

Queen Latifah arrived for her performance on a motorcycle.

She put on a coat right after.


For the show’s final performance, Queen Latifah rolled up in style and, in a quick clip, she made an entrance on a red motorbike.

She expertly maneuvered it to the stage before hopping off, sliding on a coat, and beginning her set.

Two stars walked the red carpet wearing snakes.

H.E.R. and Tana Mongeau

SOPA Images / Contributor/Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor

YouTuber Tana Mongeau and musician H.E.R. both channeled Britney Spears’ “Slave 4 U” performance from the 2001 VMAs by pairing their outfits with a live snake.

Gigi Hadid danced to Taylor Swift and raised a glass for her.

Gigi Hadid raised her glass as Swift played “Lover.”


Stars were yelling for Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello to kiss during their performance.

The two stars didn’t kiss, much to the audience’s dismay.


Taylor Swift raised her glass during Lil Nas X’s performance.

Lil Nas X was performing “Panini.”


Swift had a great time on stage and in the audience, as evidenced by her enthusiastic dancing. The star was spotted swaying and raising a glass during Lil Nas X’s performance of “Panini.”

Trinity “The Tuck” Taylor, a drag queen who was performing with Swift, seemingly paid homage to Lady Gaga during the opening performance.

Taylor Swift’s music video for “You Need to Calm Down” also features drag queens wearing celeb-inspired looks.

MTV/ Kevin Mazur / Contributor


MTV VMAs 2019

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The best subscription boxes in the UK — from food and booze to entertainment

The best subscription boxes in the UK — from food and booze to entertainment

It’s like getting a present in the post when it’s not even your birthday.

By Team Commerce

If you ever listen to podcasts (and don’t skip the ads), you’ve heard about the magic of subscription boxes. These services make life easier and more convenient, and merge the excitement of getting a package in the post with the joy of opening a gift. That’s double the fun. 

SEE ALSO: 8 food subscription boxes we’re loving right now in the UK

We’ve rounded up the best subscription box services in the UK, including food, wine, cosmetics, clothing, and razors, because you deserve the best of the best. There are absolutely loads of options for each of these categories, so we’ve pulled out the boxes where you’ll get the most stuff for the best value. 

These are the best subscription boxes in the UK for 2019.

One-person box • Vegan recipes available • Fresh vegetables and generous protein portions

Don’t deliver seven days a week

Mindful Chef is health focused and is the only company that offers a one-person box.

Mindful Chef

Mindful Chef food box delivers everything you need to make delicious meals every night.

  • Price:
    about £7 per meal
Mindful Chef

offers healthy and delicious recipe boxes, packed full of nutritious vegetables and natural food. 

All the recipes take under 30 minutes to make, with less than eight steps. Things are easy to follow, even for real beginners. 

You have 16 recipes to choose from each week, with lean, gluten-free, and organic food that can help you to lose weight without feeling like you are on a diet.

You can now get £10 off your first two boxes (£20 off total) of Mindful Chef using the exclusive code


From independent winemakers • Tasting notes • Wine map • Podcast

Pricey, but the discount helps

Start a worldwide wine journey with this boozy subscription service.

Savage Vines

From the vineyard to your door.

  • Price:
    from £29.95 per month

We don’t know about you but the thought of getting multiple bottles of wine delivered to the door sounds like some sort of dream. Well that’s exactly what you get with

Savage Vines


You can choose between two and three bottles a month, with the option of red wines, white wines, or both. All the wines on offers come from independent winemakers, and it’s delivered direct to your door. You can also get 25% off wine repurchases with a subscription.

Wines are delivered each month, in an easy to carry briefcase with handle. Each subscription wine box also comes a wine map showing you where they’re from, tasting notes and food pairing suggestions, and even a podcast talking you through each wine.

Start a worldwide wine journey with this boozy subscription service.

Guaranteed saving of 50% • Discreet packaging • Exclusive products

Only for heterosexual couples

You probably don’t need over £100 worth of sexy treats, but that’s not the point.

Lovehoney Play Box

Every three months, you’ll receive a box of five new toys and sexy treats worth over £100

  • Price:
    £50 per month


Play Box

is a quarterly subscription service, filled with exclusive goodies to enjoy all year round. 

This is how it works. Every three months, you get a box of five new toys and sexy treats worth over £100, but you only pay £50. So you get a guaranteed saving of at least 50% on the list price, every time.

Each delivery comes in a discreet package with a simple delivery label, so there’s nothing to identify Lovehoney as the sender or what the contents are, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

This version of Play Box is aimed at heterosexual couples, but Lovehoney is working on subscription boxes for gay couples, lesbian couples, and those with other relationship statuses. 

Low starting price • Choice of three blades • Access to giveaways • Easy to cancel or amend subscription

The perfect service for anyone that regularly forgets to stock up on shaving essentials.


The perfect service for anyone that regularly forgets to stock up on shaving essentials.

  • Price:
    from £4.95 a month

The first things that come to mind when you think about subscription services are food and cosmetics, but there is a wide range of options out there, like shaving subscription services.

You can now sign up to the

Gillette’s subscription service

, and save on all of your shaving supplies. It’s the ideal service for anyone that regularly forgets to stock up on these sort of essentials. 

A subscription to the service starts at just £4.95, and can save you up to £10 on a Gillette starter pack with free delivery. When you subscribe, the first step is choosing the razor you want to shave with, and you have the choice of Gillette’s three most popular blades. After you select your blade, you choose how often you want to receive your refill blades. It’s as simple as that.

Once you have placed your order, you’ll receive a starter kit and get access to exclusives, offers, and giveaways. It’s easy to delay, amend, or cancel your subscription at any time.

Cancel or amend at any time • Free delivery • Subscribe and save

Not the best option to discover new beers

Sit back and save, as craft beers are delivered to your door with no contract or commitment.


The best value can be found by subscribing to exclusive batches of craft beer.

  • Price:
    from £26.90 per month

offers a wide variety of craft beers, but to get the best value, you should subscribe and save.

Subscribing to Flavourly is a great option for those looking to keep their fridges stocked up with fresh craft beer at low prices. Each month, Flavourly’s team of experts curate a box for you. You’ll receive 20 craft beers for £26.90, with free delivery. That’s 10% off the standard price, every time. 

Simply choose how often you want a delivery, sit back and relax, and Flavourly will send your subscription box right to your door. You can adjust your frequency at any time, and cancel any time, too. There’s no contract and no commitment.

14 days to cancel your subscription • Great range of products • Exclusive items

Look no further if you’re a geek who likes exclusive goodies.

My Geek Box

You are just a few clicks away from the ultimate in geek.

  • Price:
    from £9.99 per month

We’re not picking favourites here, but the

My Geek Box

subscription service is just about the coolest subscription box out there. 

Each month, you’ll get sent a mystery box filled to the brim with geek gear, including a limited edition t-shirts in your chosen size. There’s a different theme every month, with everything from zombies, to video games, to superheroes, and even your favourite films. 

Your Geek Box is sent between the 15th and the 20th of each month, and delivery is free. All you need to do is choose a subscription plan (the longer the plan, the more money you save), choose your t-shirt size, and your box is packed with five to eight products.

What’s stopping you?

Big brands • Deluxe samples • Tutorials and beauty tips • Collect credits by completing surveys

Customer service complaints

The easiest and cheapest way to get regular doses of cosmetics from the biggest brands.


Makeup, skincare, and haircare from the world’s biggest brands.

  • Price:
    from £10 per month + P&P

If you are heavily into cosmetics, this is the subscription service for you.


has a range of plans starting from just £8.50 per box, offering makeup, skincare, and haircare from the world’s biggest brands.

Payment is taken as soon as you join, and then on the first of every month after that. Your box is dispatched from the fifth of every month, and many of the products are full size, with some deluxe samples, too.

There are a few other bonuses associated with signing up to the subscription service. You can get beauty tips, tutorials, and exclusive offers straight to your inbox, and if you complete monthly surveys, you get GLOSSYCredits to spend at Lookfantastic.

Hand delivered • Florist styled bouquets • Great for birthdays

A little pricey, but you are paying for a touch of luxury and class.

Appleyard Flowers

Luxury bouquets at slightly cheaper prices than other high-end options.

  • Price:
    from £22 per month + P&P

is a boutique London florist that specialises in delivering flowers with professional arrangements.

You can now subscribe to the service and send year round happiness with florist styled bouquets delivered each month. You simply choose a first bouquet, subscription duration, and delivery date. Appleyard will make sure beautiful blooms are delivered each month. 

Subscriptions cost from £22, but the longer you subscribe with Appleyard, the more you save. You can opt out of deliveries at anytime, so if you’re going on holiday next month, you don’t need to worry. Just skip upcoming deliveries in your account.

It’s not the cheapest service, but you are paying for a touch of luxury and class, and the chance to make someone feel loved.

Options for couples • Stylish designs • High quality

You can’t put a price on luxurious socks delivered to your door.

Socks In A Box

Meet your new favourite socks.

  • Price:
    from £6.50 per month

Socks are no longer the joke gift, or unwanted inclusion in a stocking. We now respect and value the sock, especially when we’re talking about stylish, contemporary designs delivered by

Socks In A Box

Treat yourself to a sock subscription to liven up your sock drawer, or give as a gift, with Socks In A Box. Firstly, you need to decide whether the sock subscription is for yourself or if you are buying a fixed-length gift subscription. Then tell Socks In A Box if you want socks for men, socks for women, or a pair of each in the same box.

Select whether you wish to have one or two pairs of socks in each box, and pick your plan. For a recurring plan for yourself you can select a rolling monthly subscription, but gift subscriptions are always fixed-length. 

You then select the date you want the first box to be sent out and Socks In A Box will send subsequent boxes every month after that. It’s the perfect option for anyone that appreciates the luxury of a high quality sock.

Customise boxes based on preferences • First box is regularly half-price

Pricey if you’re not used spending on snacks

Fresh snacks are cool, and so is the customisable flavour profile.


Receive a curated box of different treats and goodies based on your profile.

  • Price:
    from £4.49 per box

lets you customise your own snack profile based on what you like to eat or your health preferences. 

Each week, you’ll receive a curated box of eight different treats and goodies based on your profile. It’s a great way to try new snacks and stock up on some favourites.

Some of the flavour combos are seriously cool. Expect to get things like bagel sesame sticks, black pepper popcorn, and even salted fudge and peanut cookies. There is something for everyone.

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Pamela Adlon, the TV Auteur Hiding in Plain Sight

Pamela Adlon, the TV Auteur Hiding in Plain Sight

Each day, on the set of her show “Better Things,” the director and actor Pamela Adlon retreats to a small room while the cast and crew eat lunch. She turns off the lights, shuts down her phone, removes her pants and her bra, and lies face down on a couch. Often, she falls asleep. Adlon is a single mother of three daughters, as well as one of the few showrunners who direct, produce, write, and star in their own series. This makeshift sensory-deprivation room is often the only opportunity she has to generate new ideas.

One afternoon in September, during the filming of the show’s third season, Adlon was directing a scene in which her character’s increasingly absent-minded mother, Phyllis, who lives next door (as Adlon’s mother does in real life), barges into her kitchen. Adlon’s character, Sam Fox, is hanging out with her brother and a couple of friends, cooking a meal. After a take, Adlon, who likes to describe her show as “handmade,” darted behind the director’s monitor to review the footage. The cast broke for lunch, and she retreated to her chamber of solitude.

Adlon, who is five feet one inch, hunches constantly. She loves to call people “bro” and has the energy of a hyperactive teen-ager, but she also has a tendency to lumber about, brows furrowed. She looks prepubescent one moment and geriatric the next, and that makes it difficult to guess her age, which is fifty-two. She likes to come up behind her cast and crew, reach up, grab them by the shoulders, and march them over to whatever she wishes to show them. She emerged from her break and took Celia Imrie, who plays Phyllis, aside. She had decided that she wanted Phyllis, whose cognitive abilities have gradually flagged over the course of the series, not to recognize one of the friends, Rich, played by Diedrich Bader. Instead, she would think he was “a handsome, sexy man” to flirt with, Adlon said. “Even though he’s gay.”

After the next take, Bader left the set, appearing stricken. In 2017, his father died, after struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. “Alzheimer’s patients are trying to prove, like drunks, that they’re fine,” Bader said. “Before, it was a light, frothy scene about the mom not liking the risotto. And then she sprang this on me and didn’t tell me she was going to change the way she did it. This show, it’s a fluid thing.”

Adlon, however, felt that she had crossed a tonal boundary that didn’t suit the show. “It was very intense,” she told me the next day. “Now we’re getting tragic. And I always have to remember that my show is a comedy.”

“Better Things,” which airs on FX, is concerned above all with realism. “Smaller is better,” Adlon said. The show is loosely the story of a middle-aged single mother of three daughters who is also a working actor. Like Adlon, Sam is not starved for roles, but casting directors are not chasing after her, either. Sam is lewd and indelicate, but the show has a gentle way of exploring how a single mother in the entertainment industry must juggle her friends, her aging mother, her work, her shoddy romantic prospects, and the needs of her precocious, headstrong children. It is a sitcom in the lineage of shows such as “Girls” and “Insecure”—and “Louie,” which Adlon co-wrote and guest-starred on. It expresses a character-driven point of view rather than following a narrative arc. Many such shows land on unsettling or unresolved notes to affirm their commitment to truth. Adlon, though, is not afraid to make feel-good television. “It always feels like these are real choices being made, and it is, at the end of the day, a very life-affirming, heartwarming show,” Dan Cohen, one of the executive producers of the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” told me. “The show isn’t made with a grudge.”

“She did something that every writer is supposed to do, but they never actually do, which is write the show that only she could write,” Tom Kapinos, the creator of “Californication,” said. In 2007, he cast Adlon in the pilot of that show as Marcy, a foulmouthed aesthetician. Kapinos had no long-term plans for the role of Marcy, but he admired Adlon’s unflinching capacity for raunch and kept her on as a permanent cast member. (He said she became his “gutter muse.”)

Even in the age of autofiction and the television auteur, “Better Things” is particularly autobiographical. Adlon initially considered tweaking the central character to distinguish between Sam’s life and her own—“to make her a manicurist, or have a gay brother living in the back yard, or something,” she said—but eventually she decided that the details of her own life felt the most resonant. Sam lives in a shabby-chic home in the Valley, ornamented with an eclectic collection of trinkets and art made by friends. (Adlon picked out the art that crowds the walls of the house built to stage the show.) One of the few points of deviation between Adlon and Sam is that the fictional character is more vocal about her feelings. It’s satisfying to watch Sam snap at her children, her mother, colleagues, or strangers, as if Adlon is reacting onscreen in ways that she is unable to in real life. In an episode of the third season, which will begin airing on February 28th, Sam takes her daughters to drive go-karts. Just before they strap in, Sam’s daughter Frankie asks, “Do you want to ride the go-karts, or not?” Sam turns to her and says, “No, I really don’t. But I’m trying to give you guys a fun childhood, and, at the same time, to not die or get paralyzed.” (Adlon once took her children go-karting, and got whiplash.) Later, when the girls are arguing over who will ride home in the front seat, Sam tries to solve the problem the way Adlon’s mother once had: she instructs them to spew the meanest, foulest possible remarks to one another for exactly one minute. “It was a great defuser,” Adlon told me.

One of the revelations of “Better Things” is that children are the people least sensitive to the plight of their parents. Sam’s daughters are blithely indifferent to her struggles. Adlon is not afraid to convey that most of the emotion generated in the act of parenting is not love. “I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen my mom stay at home and relax,” Gideon, her oldest daughter, told me. “I can remember when she’s had a breakdown because it’s been too much. All of us have been really difficult.” Gideon, who is twenty-one, has moved out of her mother’s house twice—once for a brief stint at college and once to her own apartment in Hollywood—before promptly returning home. Gideon’s best friend, who works as a member of the art department on “Better Things,” also lived at Adlon’s house for a while. “My mom is a charity,” Gideon said.

When television audiences hear the word “showrunner,” they often assume that that person is responsible for the majority of the creative decisions on a show. But there is a carrousel of professionals involved in any production—there are the writers, the directors, the executive producer, and the stars. Adlon spins all these plates at once. She has evangelized to other showrunners the importance of directing. Issa Rae, the creator and star of “Insecure,” wrote me in an e-mail, “She’s always exhausted and claims it’s worth it, but I don’t want that life. She’s great at it and loves to challenge herself more and more every season.” Rae added, “No thanks.”

Felicia Fasano, the show’s casting director, has known Adlon for almost fourteen years, but after reading the script of the “Better Things” pilot she called Adlon to apologize: “I’m so sorry for all those times I’ve made you have dinner with me! Oh, my God, I forget how busy you are.”

“Better Things” is Adlon’s first time directing a TV show, but she has been acting since she was twelve years old, mostly in parts that she calls “kick-around side characters . . . the little raccoons, the guest stars.” Her IMDb page lists a hundred and ninety acting credits, with roles ranging from the younger sister of a Pink Lady, in “Grease 2,” to an alien in an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to Jenny Sheinfeld, the daughter of a doctor in “E/R,” a short-lived CBS sitcom. Four decades of scrapping for parts has given her a deep well of bad Hollywood experiences to be addressed onscreen, and “Better Things” doubles as a critique of an entertainment industry that glorifies a small minority of stars while largely demoralizing an army of supporting actors and crew members. In the nineteen-nineties, Adlon worked on a monster film called “The Gate 2: Trespassers.” One scene required her to wear a harness and get pulled through a ceiling, a maneuver that had not initially been classified as a stunt. Adlon’s head broke through the ceiling, leaving her unconscious. “When I came to, my arms were completely torn up,” she told me. After protesting, she was given an eight-hundred-dollar stunt fee.

Adlon showed me a scene from a new “Better Things” episode that recalls this incident. While shooting a blockbuster film in the desert heat, Sam is strapped into a fast car. Everyone is uncomfortable—two of her co-stars vomit—but not quite uncomfortable enough to protest.

Sam, however, cannot hold back from talking about it. She stands before a few crew members, perspiring heavily. “Was that legal, what just happened?” she asks, the director in earshot. As consolation, he offers her access to his private toilet.

“This was, like, my MeToo response,” Adlon told me, but it was one framed more broadly around abuses of power on set. “Which I think is more rampant than the other stuff, and nobody talks about it.” The mistreatment of non-famous actors and crew members looms large in Adlon’s experience of Hollywood. “It’s producers, it’s studios, it’s directors,” she said. “Everybody’s afraid to say something. People are afraid for their jobs.”

Yet directing a meta scene like this forces Adlon to assume the duties of the people she is critiquing. She’s now the person with the power to abuse or to behave responsibly. The scene was shot in the Inland Empire of California, in hundred-degree heat. “It was the second week of shooting—I have all these people to take care of,” Adlon said.

Adlon’s father, Don Segall, was a screenwriter and producer who took her to sound stages when she was a girl, but it was her mother, Marina, who created the blueprint for her career. Segall was intermittently unemployed, and so Marina Segall, who is British, worked as a travel agent and a reporter, among other jobs, as the family bounced between Los Angeles and New York City. Adlon and her older brother, Gregory Segall, were exposed to the fringes of Hollywood—minor screenwriters, classmates whose parents worked in the business. “As a child, she was meant for this world,” Marina told me. One of Adlon’s close friends is the actress and talk-show host Ricki Lake, whom she met while attending Manhattan’s Professional Children’s School. She befriended Lenny Kravitz in high school; he was a guest star in the first season of “Better Things.” As a teen-ager, Adlon was friendly with Katey Sagal, who played Peggy Bundy in “Married with Children” and who starred in the FX series “Sons of Anarchy.” Through Sagal, Adlon met Allee Willis, an eccentric artist and songwriter two decades her senior—she co-wrote the “Friends” theme song, plus hits for Earth, Wind & Fire. This past Christmas Eve, Willis and Adlon, along with Marina, Gideon, and Frank Zappa’s daughter Diva Zappa, went to Toluca Lake, California—about seven miles from Adlon’s home in the San Fernando Valley—and followed a decorated bus full of carollers which was blasting music to crowds of revellers.

At Willis’s parties, which are attended by industry people ranging from “A-list all the way at the top to D-list all the way at the bottom,” Willis said, she wears a microphone, so that all the guests can hear her conversations, even if they don’t get the opportunity to speak to her. Occasionally, Adlon will m.c. the party, using another microphone. “People love hearing her talk,” Willis said. Adlon’s husky, androgynous voice—a surfer-bro affect with a faint New York accent—is her defining characteristic and her meal ticket. She told me that her voice-over jobs, which she began doing at age nine, are her most lucrative. (She said, of her paychecks from voicing Bobby Hill on “King of the Hill,” “That’s the money my ex-husband is interested in.”) The high-pitched rasp of her voice sounds like that of a child chain-smoker, and magnifies the comic effect of her profane way of speaking. According to Gideon, Adlon was given the nickname F-mom by her daughter’s principal, for cursing at a school event. That isn’t to say that Adlon is aggressive or domineering; on the many occasions I heard her ask someone for something—a waiter for extra sauce, an editor to rewind the tape on a scene—she followed up with a thundering “I love you!” If anything sticks with audiences, it is Adlon’s voice, a version of which has been passed down to all three of her daughters. (Gideon has just begun doing voice work, as well as acting in feature films.) “But, even now, at the most recent party I had, I would still say that most of the people at the party, although in show business, did not really know who she was,” Willis said.

“Nobody gets my name right, ever, or my show right, or me,” Adlon said, sounding proud and amused. Just a few weeks before, she had flown to New York to participate in Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit. “And my makeup woman, who I love, puts me on Instagram: ‘Oh, my God, the best boss in the world! I love her so much. You have to watch her show, “Better Days.” ’ ”

In Adlon’s post-production editing office, a mock promotional poster for the show hangs by the door. Instead of “Better Things,” the poster reads “Better Days,” and, instead of Adlon, it pictures the actress Constance Zimmer—the two look quite similar, and Zimmer appeared in the “Better Things” pilot as another actress auditioning for the same role as Sam. Under Zimmer’s image is the name “Pan Aldon.” Fake reviews of the show feature several of Adlon’s least favorite words: “A brave, empowering, badass feminist,” and “So brave. Real thighs.”

Adlon got her first video camera in 1986, when she was twenty. Madonna’s “True Blue” album had just come out, and the singer held a contest for young filmmakers to create a video for the title track. Adlon and two friends made one that was chosen as a finalist, an achievement that she describes as “the most exciting thing in my life.” Around the same time, she helped direct a documentary called “Street Sweep.” Adlon and her friends would head to downtown Los Angeles to befriend and film people who had become homeless as a result of President Reagan’s federal housing-budget cuts. “There were so many documentaries narrated by Martin Sheen, or whatever,” Adlon said. “This was for people to be able to speak for themselves.”

The documentary made it into the Cleveland International Film Festival, but Adlon was rejected from New York University’s Tisch Film & Television program. She spent a single semester at Sarah Lawrence. “I was really more interested in working,” she told me. She’d already scored a number of roles that fans and colleagues still associate with her, appearing in “The Facts of Life” and “Say Anything.”

In the early nineties, Adlon was cast in “Down the Shore,” a pre-“Friends” sitcom about the foibles of a group of twenty-somethings at the Jersey Shore. “Right away, I fell in love with her, because she was the funniest one,” Phil Rosenthal, one of the show’s writers and the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” told me. But Adlon’s character was eventually cut from the show, because, according to Rosenthal, she wasn’t attractive enough. “I was furious about it,” he said. “I thought, This is everything that’s wrong with TV. Nobody watches a sitcom because of pretty people!” At the time, Adlon was living in Laurel Canyon with her co-star, Anna Gunn, who cried when she learned that her roommate had been let go. Adlon’s reaction was more jaded: “I was, like, I’ve been down this road before, bro!” Her daughter Gideon summed up this quality, saying, “She gives a fuck about everything, but she doesn’t give a fuck about anything.”

Adlon married the movie producer Felix Adlon (the son of the German director Percy Adlon), in 1997. They had three daughters—Gideon, Odessa, who is now eighteen, and Rocky, fifteen—before divorcing, in 2009. Felix Adlon then moved to Europe. In “Better Things,” Sam’s ex-husband gets the villain treatment—he comes to Los Angeles for the summer only to warn her that he won’t have much time to spend with their kids. Marina Segall, who is as cheeky and chatty as Celia Imrie portrays her to be on “Better Things,” told me, “She was always the person who earns the money. The fact that she’s had to pay her ex-husband a great deal of money when he basically, as far as I know, never earned a dime . . . I don’t think that’s easy for her, but she never talks about it.”

For both Adlon and Sam, dating in middle age is a nuisance that must be extinguished quickly each time it pops up. “I don’t think dating is gonna be part of my life,” Adlon told me. “I say this line in my show this season: ‘I’ve aged out of men like kids age out of the foster-care system.’ ”

In 2006, Phil Rosenthal recommended Adlon to the producers of “Lucky Louie,” a short-lived HBO show written and directed by Louis C.K. The show was, in many ways, a dry run for FX’s “Louie.” “Lucky Louie” had a more conventional format than its successor—it was a multi-camera sitcom filmed before a live studio audience—but it hinted at the ways in which television creators could deploy their biographies and points of view to deconstruct a tired genre. C.K. played a broke, sexually frustrated mechanic married to a nurse. At the audition, “I was brought in up against all these blondes and cute women,” Adlon told me. “And he says he wanted to cast me because I was a mother of three, and that was interesting, and he knew I would have stories to tell.” In the first episode of the series, C.K.’s character masturbates in a closet while his wife, Kim, played by Adlon, gives their daughter a bath.

“Lucky Louie” was cancelled before its second season ran, but Adlon and C.K. had become close. Together, they wrote a pilot that was rejected by CBS and Fox. But FX picked up another show, “Louie,” with Adlon as a writer, and it began airing in 2010. The series was her first exposure to a new way of making television—one in which a single person could exhibit complete creative control over a project. But, as much as the show represents C.K.’s vision, it is indebted to the sensibility of Adlon, who helped serve as a proxy for the female characters who enter Louie’s orbit. When C.K. was writing an episode in which his character goes out on a date with an overweight woman, he called Adlon and asked her for dialogue for the woman. “I said, ‘Tell her to say, “I got my period when I was nine,” ’ ” Adlon told me. When the episode aired, in 2014, the Washington Post described the woman’s monologue as an “epic, mesmerizing speech.”

Adlon guest-starred on the show as one of Louie’s dear friends, with whom he is also in love. They have a cat-and-mouse relationship. She repeatedly resists his overtures. One night she is babysitting his daughters and, when he returns home, he tries to force himself on her. “This would be rape if you weren’t so stupid,” she tells him, more exhausted than afraid. “You can’t even rape well.”

“Louie” won two Emmys for its writing. “There was an immediate sophistication and coolness to it. She just hooked up with the right person,” Allee Willis said of Adlon’s relationship to C.K. “Because she was involved in so much of his work, I think that translated over when she finally got a chance to do her own thing.”

Like many networks, FX wanted more of the kind of deconstructed, personality-driven shows that C.K. had pioneered, but ones that featured the perspectives of people of color and women. The network tried to buy Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” but lost a bidding war to Netflix. At the time, Adlon was acting in a major-network television show—“a big-budget show for NBC or ABC, one of those,” she told me. (She has had so many parts in the past four decades that they blur together.) “I was doing an arc and a Friday turned into a Saturday, and I was, like, ‘What the fuck? Don’t they have kids? Don’t they want to go home?’ I remember being on set that day and thinking, I’m ready. I think I know how to run a show.” C.K. pitched Adlon as a showrunner, and the first season of “Better Things”—with C.K. as Adlon’s co-writer and executive producer—began shooting in the spring of 2016.

“This is what I would call, in business terms, arbitrage,” John Landgraf, the C.E.O. of FX, told me. “It’s about finding a masterpiece hidden in plain sight that might have been overlooked because of biases we have carried forward in our industry and our society.”

Adlon likes to say that the challenges of single parenting equipped her with the skills necessary for running her own show, and she exudes a maternal energy on her set. When someone is sick, she is sure to suggest a remedy, which is typically homeopathic. “I want to hear your sinus-infection story!” she shouted across the set at a crew member one day. When I had arrived, I had been presented with a reusable water bottle by an FX representative, who explained that single-use plastic bottles were not permitted. Between takes, Adlon took colloidal silver for her own sinus infection. She is fixated on food, and on making sure that her cast and crew are fed properly. On set, there is kombucha on tap, and, the day I visited, a food truck arrived midafternoon to serve bowls of cucumber and mango with chili salt to the cast and crew. “Food truck! Food truck! Food truck!” Adlon yelled, like a middle-school softball coach.

Despite the familial environment that Adlon has tried to cultivate on set, “Better Things” has experienced major setbacks. “A million horrible things happened, and then other fucking earth-shattering, terrible things happened,” Adlon told me. For the first season, FX hired Nisha Ganatra, who has worked on Lena Dunham’s “Girls” and Jill Soloway’s “Transparent,” to direct seven episodes. It eventually became clear that Adlon should be directing the show, but the shift to install her was turbulent; in Adlon’s words, it was “a fucking shit show.” (According to Ganatra, there was always an understanding that Adlon would take over directing duties.) The Directors Guild of America has rigid rules in place to prevent executive producers or other employees of a show from replacing directors, and a grievance was filed. “That got really bumpy,” Ganatra said. FX hired Lance Bangs to “smooth the transition,” Adlon said. (“They had to hire some guy, and that was a little disappointing,” Ganatra told me.)

After the first season, Adlon was nominated for an Emmy for acting, and she received a Peabody Award for the show, as well as the go-ahead to direct the second season. As a director, Adlon prefers warm, natural light. She has instructed her camera crew to watch John Cassavetes movies and take notes; she has a fixation on Cassavetes’s ability to make “conversational, documentary-style films,” she told me. “Like a fable, based on reality.” She shoots the minimum number of takes possible to nail a scene; this is partly so that she and her employees can get home to their families. She likes to let her shots linger even when the dialogue is over, allowing the scene to wallow in its own awkwardness or tension.

For a decade, it seemed as though Adlon and C.K. were a well-matched pair—two disillusioned entertainers and parents in middle age with equal proclivities for the scatological and the profound. Then, in November, 2017, just before the finale of Season 2 aired, the Times published a report detailing a pattern of sexual misconduct by C.K. Several women said that he had exposed himself and masturbated in front of them. These reports had been circulating for years, albeit on blogs, like Gawker, making them easy enough to dismiss as gossip, for those who wished to. (If there is any theme in C.K.’s work, it is the plight of the chronic masturbator, something he explores at great length in most of his television and standup work.) A few days before the news broke, C.K. phoned Adlon and warned her that “people were calling people he knew” about reports of sexual misconduct. Although Adlon was his closest collaborator, she says that she was not contacted by any reporters. FX cancelled its extensive deal with C.K. and his production company. “What’s happening? What’s happening?” Adlon remembered thinking.

In one of the many phone calls between Adlon and C.K. “to process,” Adlon told him that she, too, would need to sever ties. She gave him a preview of the statement she would release: “My family and I are devastated by and in shock after the admission of abhorrent behavior by my friend and partner, Louis C.K.” She soon also fired Dave Becky, who managed her and C.K., and who was accused of making threatening comments to some of C.K.’s accusers.

Adlon describes the period after the news broke in the same extreme terms as she does the time of her divorce. (“These men,” she said, her voice dripping with disgust.) “I’ve had a few 9/11s in my life, including the real 9/11,” she told me one evening, driving her Audi Q5 S.U.V. from her post-production studio to dinner at a hip Thai restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. “It felt like the world was ending,” she said. “I was his champion and he was my champion for ten years.” She paused. “And then you’ve got these women, who’ve all been through these things. And you’re, like, what does that mean? What did you do?”

Her concern was not only for C.K.’s acknowledged victims. “I felt like I was going to get arrested,” she said. “I just felt, like, paranoid. That there were people around every corner.” I asked her if it was because she felt implicated in some way, for being so close to C.K. “No,” she said. “It’s not a logical feeling. I just didn’t want to go outside.”

She continued, “I felt enormous empathy for him. And for any woman whose reality is that somebody fucked her up. Because I’ve been there.” I asked her if she meant with C.K. specifically.

“Oh, no. You mean, did he do this to me?” Adlon said, and shook her head. I pointed out that she had appeared in multiple shows with C.K. that explore unwanted sexual approaches and compulsive masturbation. “Ewww!” Adlon shrieked. “Don’t say ‘masturbation.’ Oh, my God!” C.K. seems to be the one subject that draws squeamishness out of Adlon.

“If I name-checked any people, of which there are, who did fucked-up things to me,” Adlon said, trailing off. “You sit there, and you go, ‘I don’t want my name to be linked with their names for the rest of my life. I don’t want to go after somebody’s family.’ ” She reconsidered for a moment. “Are they a predator? Can this happen to somebody else? Then you certainly have to speak up and say something.”

Adlon felt that the furor about C.K. had become unproductive. “I wanted the world to calm down. I wanted a conversation to happen,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anything that can compare with a massive public shaming like that.” Mostly, she has been frustrated with what she describes as the “flying shrapnel” of the news. “It was another example of extremism happening in my lifetime,” she said.

In C.K.’s silence—he also declined to comment for this piece—the people, particularly the women, being forced to answer for him are his colleagues. Adlon said, “Anybody who has any association with him is peppered” with questions. “Sarah Silverman is his fucking spokesperson.” At the Toronto International Film Festival, Chloë Grace Moretz, who was in the film “I Love You, Daddy” with C.K., “got murdered with Louis questions,” Adlon said. “She was trying to promote her movie.” Even Gideon Adlon was asked about C.K., during the run-up to her début feature film, “Blockers.” At the Emmy Awards last September, where Adlon was one of the nominees for Best Actress, she avoided red-carpet interviews in order to dodge questions about C.K. Now every time his name pops up in the news—which is increasingly often, since he has made a foray back into standup comedy—she asks the people around her to refrain from talking about him. “I just need to focus,” she told me. “I don’t want to have to weigh in on his sets.”

Adlon, who had never written for television without C.K., didn’t know if she wanted to make “Better Things” on her own. She told me John Landgraf had said that, because of her association with C.K., her show wasn’t being considered for various awards. “It was, like, I don’t know if I can do this,” she said. “My heart’s not in it.” Nevertheless, FX executives encouraged her to continue. Twice-weekly therapy sessions helped, and Rosenthal coached her on how to continue making the show, including hiring four writers to replace C.K. “I told my daughters that I should make T-shirts that say ‘Bad for my life, good for my show,’ ” Adlon said.

This season, Adlon made her editing room all female (“our little estrogen chamber,” she called it), and she often points out that most of the show’s major decision-makers are women. During the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, the cast and crew staged a mini walkout. Yet these gestures to womb-ify the show can feel like attempts to buffer the unsettling new reality of the series, which is that it was shaped and championed by someone with a grotesque track record of behavior toward women.

At dinner, Adlon begged me to change the subject. I told her that I had interviewed some of the new writers for her show, and had asked if they felt that C.K.’s shadow loomed over the process. All of them said no; C.K. was generally off limits as a topic of discussion. (Many people who are associated with Adlon refer to C.K. simply as “her former writing partner.”) One writer, Joe Hortua, confessed to feeling a sense of anxiety, knowing that he and his colleagues were replacing someone with such a celebrated—and now marred—legacy. I mentioned this to Adlon, and she seemed taken aback. “Of course,” she said. “That’s so interesting. Of course. I didn’t even think about it.”

Recently, I asked Adlon if she’d been aware of the Gawker reports. She paused, sighed heavily, and said that she had. “I was aware,” she said. “There’s certain things— Do I lay everything bare? I don’t know how to respond. All you can do is, when you know somebody you confront them.” I asked if she is still in contact with C.K. “No, I’m not,” she said. “But I hate saying that. If I said, ‘Oh, yeah, I talk to him every day,’ or ‘No, I’m not,’ both are awful. But I haven’t spoken to him in quite a long time.”

One afternoon, I met Adlon for lunch at a quiet dim-sum restaurant, where she did what she always does when being served food or drink (even at the Emmy Awards, last year): she negotiated with the waitstaff about their use of plastic straws and containers.

“Do you want something to go?” she asked me as the plates were being cleared. I said yes, and she turned to the waiter. “What are the containers made of? Are they paper?”

“It’s Styrofoam. You don’t like those?” the waiter asked.

“You have another kind?” she asked him. He nodded. “Thank you, sweetheart!” she said, overjoyed. “I give everybody a hard time,” she said. The waiter returned to the table with a plastic container, which was unsatisfactory.

“Fuck, what do I do?” Adlon asked out loud. “I’ll take one of these and I’ll reuse it.” Of all the ills in the world, the one Adlon is the most preoccupied with is climate change. She is a crusader for the battle against the use of plastic straws. “We’re fucked,” she said. “And it’s not just the straws that’s fucking us up, it’s everything.” Adlon was recently recruited to direct a Yoplait commercial, an opportunity she turned down because of her environmental convictions. “I said, ‘I need money badly!’ ” she told me. “ ‘But I can’t do this unless you tell me you have some kind of sustainable packaging going on.’ ”

The Yoplait commercial is one of many unexpected opportunities presented to Adlon in the wake of “Better Things,” some of which are more interesting to her than others. She would like to direct a film, but only one that pays well. “What I don’t need to do is go work in a ditch and make an independent movie for thirty days that doesn’t pay me any money, because that’s what I do in every episode of my show,” she told me.

When Adlon’s father turned fifty, he began to experience a form of discrimination typically imagined to be reserved for those in front of the camera. Networks and studios started favoring younger writers. Adlon remembers her father and one of his writer friends sending the friend’s son to pitch an idea for a show; the show was picked up. Adlon has experienced the opposite phenomenon. “A new life beginning at fifty,” she told me, in awe. “I should be in the dustbin at the Jewish Council Thrift, down the street.”

Adlon is deeply superstitious. She is constantly knocking on wood, and she and her daughters have a tradition of making a spitting sound—“toi toi toi ”—at their fingers to ward off something sinister. Adlon is certainly the type to open a fortune cookie, which she did at the end of our meal. “You will soon be the center of attention,” the tiny slip of paper read. Adlon cackled. “I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing anymore,” she said. ♦

An earlier version of this piece misstated the connection between “E/R,” the CBS sitcom, and “ER,” the popular NBC drama.

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Ariana Grande’s 2019 Grammys Dress May Not Have Made It To The Show, But She Wore It Anyway

Ariana Grande’s 2019 Grammys Dress May Not Have Made It To The Show, But She Wore It Anyway

If you thought Ariana Grande was planning on making anything but power moves this year, think again. After dropping her latest fire album thank u, next just days ago, Grande announced she wouldn’t be attending the Grammy Awards, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t be sharing her red carpet look. Ariana Grande’s 2019 Grammys dress may not have made it to the show, but she wore it anyway. (And looked incredible, of course.) In fact, I’m honestly not ready to say “Thank U, Next” to anything about it.

We all know Ari’s had an intense 2018 personally, but she’s also faced some drama from a professional standpoint. Last year, Grande didn’t even make an appearance on the Grammys red carpet, and everyone was wondering where the heck she was. This year, we were all ready for her to serve looks, only to have her announce on Twitter that she would be neither performing nor attending. Apparently, Grande didn’t feel “supported” when it came to figuring out her performance. “My creativity & self expression was stifled,” Grande wrote in a tweet, which is a real shame, considering Sweetener won tonight for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Despite not hitting the carpet, Grande decided to show off her pre-planned look:

“When @zacposen makes u a custom gown it doesn’t matter if you’re singing or not,” the singer captioned the shot of herself in a breathtaking baby blue pleated dress. The Zac Posen dress was styled by celebrity stylist Law Roach, and celeb makeup artist Rokael Lizama was responsible for Ari’s flawless, simple beauty look.

Along with the gorgeous gown, the singer sported a wavy high ponytail styled by Josh Liu, and a blingy choker around her neck:

Is this a wink? Is she winking at us? Ari literally always gets the last laugh, it’s a fact:

I remember when I first discovered Grande back around 2011 or 2012. I was absolutely obsessed with Imogen Heap at the time, and I found Grande’s cover of Heap’s “Hide and Seek” somewhere on YouTube. I was transfixed by Grande’s strong voice, and loved that she was playing around with her looping machine. I replayed her YouTube cover over and over and over again, and sometimes I even go back to this video to see how far Grande has come and how talented she has always been.

I recently discovered that Grande included her own cover of Heap’s “Goodnight and Go” in her 2018 album Sweetener, and I now feel some sort of kinship with Grande knowing that we both love Heap so much. Heap had the nicest things to say about Grande and her “goodnight n go” remix in an interview with Billboard in August 2018, saying, “It feels like a gift: when somebody that famous picks up on a song that has had its day and gives it a second life, it’s a real gift.” I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Anyway, it’s safe to say I love Grande a lot, so getting to see her look tonight despite her choice to ditch the Grammys was honestly so exciting. That dreamy Cinderella-like gown should’ve had its time to shine on the carpet, but a few dedicated Instagram posts will do. Keep serving power moves, Ari! This is your year.

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Khloe Kardashian dons a silky robe for ‘moon child’ selfie before singing good morning to True

Khloe Kardashian dons a silky robe for ‘moon child’ selfie before singing good morning to True

Khloe Kardashian dons a silky purple robe for ‘moon child’ selfie before singing good morning to True


Tracy Wright For

17:09 EST, 21 January 2019

17:56 EST, 21 January 2019

She recently released a line of highly coveted cosmetics.

And Khloe Kardashian was positively glowing in her latest selfie posted to Instagram on Monday morning.

The 34-year-old television personality covered her curves in a silky purple robe before sharing a sweet video singing to her daughter True.

Beauty: Khloe Kardashian was positively glowing in her latest selfie posted to Instagram on Monday morning

Khloe showed off peeks of her ample assets in a blank tank top worn underneath the over-sized silky robe.

Her makeup was flawless for the simple selfie which she captioned ‘moon child’, a possible ode to last night’s Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse.

The Good American owner then posted a darling video cozied up and singing good morning to her baby girl.

Fun: The Good American owner then posted a darling video cozied up and singing good morning to her baby girl

Awake! True was cuddled up in a heavy blanket with various filters focused on her face in the quick clips

True was cuddled up in a heavy blanket with various filters focused on her face in the quick clips.  

Earlier in the week, Khloe boasted about her daughter’s affinity for cosmetics as the nine-month-old sat in the sink wrapped in a fluffy pink towel and matching silk sleep mask. 

‘My little Becca Bff approves of mommies and aunties collab with @beccacosmetics,’ Khloe captioned the post. ‘True’s Makeup tutorial will be uploaded shortly.’

‘My little Becca Bff approves of mommies and aunties collab with @beccacosmetics,’ Khloe captioned the post. ‘True’s Makeup tutorial will be uploaded shortly’

Sparkling: Her latest business venture with best friend Malika Haqq is a range of Becca Cosmetics ‘made with love’; seen on Thursday

The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star quickly added, ‘ok calm down, I’m just kidding about the tutorial guys.’  

Her latest business venture with best friend Malika Haqq is a range of Becca Cosmetics ‘made with love’ and features special edition palettes, lipsticks and highlighting products, and is aptly titled the #BECCABFFs Collection.

Khloe has been enjoying her role as a mother since True was born in April, and routinely shares updates with her millions of followers on social media.

Flawless: The #BECCABFFs Collection features special edition palettes, lipsticks and highlighting products


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