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How ballet shoes for brown-skinned ballerinas are made

How ballet shoes for brown-skinned ballerinas are made

  • Pinkish nude ballet shoes have become an industry standard, but on brown skin, they can shorten the silhouette.
  • Dyeing ballet shoes brown in a process called “pancaking” has been a traditional solution for many ballerinas- but it’s time consuming and messy.
  • Ballet Black, a dance company with a black and Asian cast, joined forces with a ballet manufacturer Freed to create bronze and brown pointe shoes for dancers of color.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

What we’re seeing here may seem like a typical ballet shoe factory. But its actually one of the few factories filling a critical role in the changing world of ballet.


Because these pointe shoes are made specifically for brown-skinned ballerinas.

Ballet Black, a dance company composed diverse dancers, and Freed, a ballet shoe manufacturer in the UK…

Are working together to flip diversity numbers on their heads.

From the dancers themselves to the shoes on their feet.

In 2015, Misty Copeland became the first African-American prima ballerina in the American Ballet Theater, but not just there.

You see, she’s the first in any major international company. Period.

So it’s no surprise that beige nude shoes have become the industry standard.

“Ballet Black is a London-based company and it’s specifically for black and asian dancers. It was started because there was a lack of black and asian representation in the ballet world.”

In 2018, they partnered up with Freed, their go-to ballet shoe manufacturer. Together, they created a line of brown and bronze pointe shoes for their dancers as an alternative.

But why is color matching so important in ballet anyway?

Ballet is all about graceful lines. A pointe shoe that matches the ballerinas skin tone extends the line a ballerina makes from her leg to the tip of her toe.

In the past, most dance companies sported pink, beige, or white tights… so color matching to the shoe wasn’t a huge problem.

But now, more modern companies are ditching the tights for bare legs.

And if your skin is, say, a lovely caramel color, a pink ballet shoe totally ruins your line.

“For me in my company, I feel comfortable in my brown shoes because it is extending that line that we want.”

Before this partnership, ballerinas resigned themselves to the old-school solution — pancaking.

Pancaking is taking a typical beige or pink ballet shoes, and coating it with a layer of foundation.

“I remember having to pancake my first pair at fifteen, and it was nothing unusual. I never thought about there being a shoe made in my color where I wouldn’t have to pancake.”

“Once I pancaked the shoe I would usually have to touch it up after a couple of wears. Just because naturally the makeup on the fabric would start to fade, you know, with the sweat and wear and tear of dancing anyway.”

While dancers of all colors pancake shoes, it’s more of a necessity for dancers whose complexion isn’t on any of the shelves.

“My reaction to the Freed shoes was for me, a long time coming. As a dark-skinned ballerina, to have something that is just catering to my darkness, I felt kind of like someone was listening.”

Freed produces over 330,000 ballet shoes a year, each one hand crafted to suit a dancer’s individual needs.

“The life of a pointe shoe really begins with myself and the rest of the team, when we go out and meet the dancer. We have what we call a pointe shoe fitting and we discuss with the dancer, and maybe the teachers or the ballet staff, exactly what each girl needs.”

When Ballet Black expressed the need for skin toned pointe shoes, Freed delivered.In their London workshop, they make everything from the raw materials to the finished product.The maker receives builds the shoe from scratch, laying the soles, placing the block and attaching the insoles. “They’re baked in an oven overnight like a cake, then the next day and quality checked, and then go to the binding or finishing room.”

The shoes are stitched by hand and bound together.

Freed isn’t the only manufacturer that’s working to serve dancers of color.

Robinson credits American ballet shoe manufacturer Gaynor Minden as well.

But while these dance and manufacturing companies are making great steps in a white-dominated industry, the world of ballet still has a long way to go in terms of inclusion.

“As far as diversity, it’s a must. Times are changing. Black ballet dancers, we’ve always been around. We’re not going anywhere. It’s just highlighting those little things that don’t take away from tradition. It’s just a little something for us to feel good about being in a world that we don’t always feel involved in. I love Ballet to death. Having these shoes is just that extra something of showing how much I love it.”

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Morning in Angkor Wat

Morning in Angkor Wat


September 2019 : Saturday
Sep 2019 : Saturday

Morning in Angkor Wat

Trey’s 360 Podcast – Fossil Hunting with Dr. Jack Horner in Yellowstone

You’ll probably want to check out the video version of this one but I’ll include the audio option as well. 🙂

Join Dr. Jack Horner (part of the inspiration for Sam Neill’s character in Jurassic Park) and I on a short exploration of Slough Creek where he explains the makeup of the landscape while we hunt for some fossils.

Daily Photo – Morning in Angkor Wat

I made it out to this amazing temple three mornings in a row to take photos. Each one was more beautiful than the last. One of my favorite bits was there were a bunch of young Cambodian boys running all over the place offering to bring me coffee. They have this coffee there that they mix with evaporated milk to make it extra creamy.

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Kim Kardashian Reveals She ‘Got in Trouble’ with Kanye West for Letting Daughter North Wear Makeup

Kim Kardashian Reveals She ‘Got in Trouble’ with Kanye West for Letting Daughter North Wear Makeup

Looks like it’s no more makeup for North West!

On Thursday, Kim Kardashian West opened up about her 6-year-old daughter wearing beauty cosmetics and revealed that the youngster is no longer allowed to do so after her husband Kanye West got mad about it.

“I think he had it, he changed all the rules,” Kim, 38, told E! News during her KKW x WINNIE makeup collaboration dinner in New York City.

Fans of the Kardashian West family know that North is no stranger to makeup.

The 6-year-old has been featured on her mother’s social media accounts multiple times wearing lipstick or eyeshadow, and even wore a bold red lip to their annual Christmas Eve party last year.

The Kardashian West family

Kim Kardashian West/Instagram

“I’d let her wear — you know, she has a little red for Christmas — I’d let her wear a red lip, or I’d let her do one pop of something,” Kim explained to E! News. “I’d let her, if she’s wearing a black dress, a black lip.”

“So, I kind of got in trouble for that,” the mother of four continued of her husband’s reaction. “So, it’s now no more makeup.”

Though North may not be able to play around with makeup, her mom reassured that she’s “absolutely” allowed to “weigh in” on fashion choices.

Kim Kardashian West and North

Michael Simon/

RELATED: ‘Auntie Kylie’ Jenner Tries Out Her Lip Kits on North West

Prior to West stepping in, North had proven that she was quite the beauty icon in the making.

Last year, Kim shared a series of videos to her Instagram Stories featuring North with a face full of makeup, including light foundation on her nose, dark eye shadow, bronzer, and a gray lip.

The beauty mogul filmed her daughter using a brush and her hand to attempt to blend her look and captioned the clip “Contour Queen,” adding the crown emoji. Another clip shared by Kim showed North modeling a bright red lipstick.

Suspecting that she may have to fend off some mommy shamers, Kim also wrote over the video, “Relax Mom Shamers, It’s coming off in a few mins. I just needed a bribe to get out of the door … you feel me?!?!?!”

Two months later, Kim documented North and her niece Dream Kardashian working together to contour her face with the newest KKW Beauty “Glam Bible” makeup kit.

North West

Kim Kardashian/Instagram

And it’s not just her mother who gives North makeup, either. Auntie Kylie Jenner has also given her niece some lip kits to wear — part of which were shared on Kylie’s Snapchat years ago.

Her stylish moments don’t just apply to beauty — Kim’s eldest child has also proven she’s quite fashionable, from wearing giant hoop earrings to a fake nose ring, to landing her first solo magazine cover for WWD Beauty Inc., as well as her runway debut.

Kim recently raved about her little girl’s style after the Kardashian West clan took a family trip to Japan.

A photo gallery shared by Kim in August showed her oldest child rocking colorful ensembles complete with bold accessories, like a pink ruffled top and floral-patterned skirt over fishnet leggings, the latter of which was covered in flower appliqués.

North West

Kim Kardashian West/Instagram

RELATED: Kim Kardashian’s Daughter North, 6, Is the ‘Ultimate Fashionista’ During Family Trip to Japan

Another snapshot saw North wearing feather-adorned kitten heels paired with athletic pants and a denim jacket. In subsequent images, the little girl sported tie-dye shirts, light-wash jeans, purple sweatpants, hoodies, a feathered top and more, carrying a variety of fun purses and backpacks.

“My Northie girl is the ultimate fashionista! She comes with me to fabric stores and picks out what she likes and for our Japan trip I let her style herself,” Kim proudly captioned her post. “I should have let her style me too lol. She loves it. She’s having fun and I am so happy she’s so expressive. 💅🏼👽👘👑🌊🍬”

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11 incredible TV shows that have never won an Emmy

11 incredible TV shows that have never won an Emmy

star trek original series

“Star Trek” premiered in 1966.

CBS Television Distribution

Some of the most memorable television shows in pop culture history have never won an Emmy.

Series that defined a generation, like “Star Trek” and “Happy Days,” as well as shows with long-standing fan bases that have spurred sequels several years after the original series ended, like “Gilmore Girls” and “Veronica Mars,” have never won the coveted golden statue.

The 71st annual Emmy Awards will air on September 22 on Fox. Until then, take a look at 11 incredible TV shows that have never won the most coveted honor in TV.

In the seven years that “Gilmore Girls” ran, it was never nominated for any category except for outstanding makeup.

Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham starred on The WB’s “Gilmore Girls.”

Warner Bros. Television

“Gilmore Girls” follows the lives of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a mother-daughter duo who live in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. It’s arguably one of the most important shows from the early 2000s, and even came back with a Netflix limited series in 2016, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”

However, many believe that because the show was equal parts “drama” and “comedy,” and the fact that it was on The WB (what we now know as The CW) were some of the factors as to why the Emmys never took it seriously.

Vogue wrote that Lauren Graham, who played Rory’s single mother, especially deserved to be nominated for best actress.

The CW’s “Veronica Mars” never received an Emmy nomination.

Kristen Bell starred on 2004’s “Veronica Mars.”

Warner Bros.

HBO’s “The Wire” is a critically acclaimed show that never snagged an Emmy.

“The Wire” first premiered in 2002.


The crime series that was set in Baltimore aired for six seasons on HBO from 2002 to 2008. Despite being one of the most critically acclaimed series ever — Slate called the show “the best TV show ever broadcast in America”— it never received any Emmys nominations in the major categories.

It was only nominated for best writing in 2005 and 2008, two of which they lost.

CBS’ “The Brady Bunch” is one of the most iconic shows in sitcom history, but it was never nominated for an Emmy.

A still from “The Brady Bunch” in 1969.

Paramount Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Although “The Brady Bunch” is considered one of the most memorable series on TV, the ’70s show was actually panned by critics at the time. And even though it was popular among viewers, it never received an Emmy nomination.

But after its five season run, the series lived on through its reruns and various spin-offs — including HGTV’s latest TV show, “A Very Brady Renovation,” featuring the original kid stars.

Read more: THEN AND NOW: The kids of ‘The Brady Bunch’ 50 years later

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is an iconic teen drama series that was nominated for numerous Emmys but only won an award for makeup.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” premiered on 1997.

Warner Bros.

The WB series, which followed the life of a vampire-slaying teen girl, was mostly nominated for best makeup and hairstyling.

Viewers have since called out the Emmys for never giving “Buffy” a real chance. People once wrote, “Emmy voters still cannot imagine that a show about attractive young people driving wooden stakes through blood-sucking fiends could possibly have the resonance of more ‘realistic’ shows like ‘West Wing’ or ‘NYPD Blue.'”

NBC’s “Star Trek” was nominated for numerous Emmys, but never won any.

“Star Trek” aired for three seasons, from 1966 to 1968.

CBS Television Distribution

“Star Trek” is one of the most beloved universes in pop culture history (it’s up there with “Star Wars” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Every decade the story of the intergalactic people comes to life, whether it be on TV shows, major motion pictures, video games, or theme parks.

But the series that started it all, 1966’s “Star Trek,” never won any of the 13 Emmys it was nominated for.

Fox’s “Prison Break” was never nominated for an Emmy.

“Prison Break” aired from 2005 to 2017.


“Prison Break” was one of the late 2000s shows that everyone was talking about — even if it’s because it got “silly” toward the end.

Even so, there’s no denying that the show was full of impressive acting by stars Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, and Sarah Wayne Callies. But it never received any Emmy nominations in the major categories, only for outstanding theme music.

NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” was nominated for several awards but never took one home.

“Parks and Recreation” aired on NBC from 2009 to 2015.


“Parks and Recreation” became an instant classic, with an outstanding cast of some of today’s biggest Hollywood names: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, and Rashida Jones.

Even though the series received 15 nominations throughout the years it aired, including for outstanding comedy series and outstanding actress, it never won any.

“Jane the Virgin” was nominated for two awards, but none for outstanding actors or outstanding comedy.

Gina Rodriguez starred on “Jane the Virgin.”

CW via Netflix

“SpongeBob SquarePants” is one of the most iconic cartoon series in pop culture history, but has never won an Emmy.

“SpongeBob SquarePants” first aired on Nickelodeon in 1999.



Emmys 2019

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Millie Bobby Brown Apologies For Faking Her Skin Care Routine

Millie Bobby Brown Apologies For Faking Her Skin Care Routine

Millie Bobby Brown is apologizing for one of the “Stranger Things” we’ve seen in the beauty space this year. 

The “Godzilla” actor came under fire for publishing a video last week of her supposedly replicating her nighttime skin care routine to support her new vegan skin care line, Florence by Mills.

In the YouTube clip, it becomes apparent that the 15-year-old star isn’t actually washing off her makeup or applying anything, as the makeup on her face remains intact and no products are used, despite her verbal commentary throughout the clip, where she says things like, “I’m applying now!” 

Screenshots from Millie Bobby Brown's skin care video.

Screenshots from Millie Bobby Brown’s skin care video.

After lots of backlash, Brown apologized on Instagram Thursday for the nearly two-minute video where she supposedly tried out products like a face mist, scrub and a moisturizer. 

“I’m still learning the best way to share my routines as I get to know this space better — I’m not an expert,” the actor wrote. “I thought doing a quick video replicating my personal process for that night was okay, but that’s not what was conveyed.”

She added, “I understand, I appreciate all of your feedback on this journey, please keep sharing your thoughts and I will too!” 

Despite asking fans to share their thoughts, comments on Brown’s latest Instagram have been disabled, as have the comments on her video, which has over 425,000 views. 

People on social media are still confused as to why the video happened in the first place. 

I’m in tears Millie Bobby Brown did a skincare demo using her brands products WITHOUT ACTUALLY USING THEM LOOOOOOL

— kayla (@kaylawolfenden) September 10, 2019

can’t stop thinking about that video of millie bobby brown pretending to apply her own skin care range omg

— daisy 🥀 (@ggolddustwoman) September 11, 2019

Others thought the clip harkened back to the backlash Kylie Jenner faced for her suspicious face wash routine.

y’all seen that video of Millie Bobby Brown fake using her skincare line? ….it’s worse than Kylie’s video

— bri (@_brixk) September 10, 2019

Jenner came under fire earlier this year for demonstrating how she uses her foaming face wash and washing her face for only six seconds, when most dermatologists recommend spending at least 20 to 30 seconds scrubbing, while others advise at least 60 seconds.

People also called out the beauty mogul for leaving so much foundation on that it was visible on her towel when she dried off her face at the end: 

towel is FILTHY !!!!!

— hunter harris (@hunteryharris) May 29, 2019

“Pretty Little Liars” actress Shay Mitchell also faced criticism for a Bioré makeup remover ad in September 2018 where it looked like she pretended to wipe off eye makeup:


Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.

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Meghan Markle left her first royal engagement since giving birth to get back to baby Archie for ‘feed time’

Meghan Markle left her first royal engagement since giving birth to get back to baby Archie for ‘feed time’

  • The Duchess of Sussex told reporters she had to leave a royal engagement for “feed time” with baby Archie.
  • In her first engagement since giving birth, Meghan Markle stepped out for the launch of her new clothing line in London on Thursday.
  • In a clip of the event, Markle can be heard saying that she had “to get back to the baby.”
  • There have been rumors that the duchess is breastfeeding Archie, with royal sources previously confirming this to Elle and Us Weekly.
  • However, this is yet to be confirmed by Markle herself.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Meghan Markle‘s first engagement since giving birth appeared to be cut short as she told reporters she had “to get back to the baby” for “feed time.”

Just days after the duchess paid tribute to baby Archie and Prince Harry with her US Open outfit, she spoke fondly of the newborn at the launch of her new clothing line on Thursday.

Read more: Meghan Markle paid a subtle tribute to Prince Harry and baby Archie with her US Open outfit, which also included a $175 J Crew dress

Royal correspondent Chris Ship shared a video of the sweet moment on Twitter.

Although there has been speculation as to whether Markle has been breastfeeding Archie, the duchess herself has never officially confirmed the claims.

Back in June, a source close to the family told Us Weekly that the reason Markle and Harry arrived late to the annual Trooping the Colour celebrations was because the duchess was breastfeeding the newborn.

“The reason Harry and Meghan didn’t appear on the balcony when the Queen returned back to Buckingham Palace was because she was breastfeeding,” said the source.

Meanwhile, another royal source told Elle that the duchess is breastfeeding.

“Meghan is breastfeeding, and Harry is changing diapers,” reads the article.

“Both are bonding with the newest addition to the family. Harry wants to be as ‘involved as possible,’ so like every parent, he is feeling the effects of the sleepless nights. He’s exhausted, but ‘enjoying every minute of it.'”

In her first working engagement since taking maternity leave, Markle was in London to promote her new clothing line, the Smart Set Collection.

Meghan Markle launched her new charity clothing line in London on Thursday.

For every item purchased from the collection, another will be donated to Smart Works, a charity which aims to equip women with the essentials — including clothing — to get them back into the workplace.

Wearing a $154 button-up shirt from the collection, she delivered a speech — without any notes — on how women should be supporting one another.

“I think it’s really key in this day and age to remember it’s not just about the people that you know you’re supporting, it’s about the people that you don’t know, that you may never know, you may never meet,” she said of the collection.

Read more: Every item in Meghan Markle’s new clothing collection, ranked by price

“As women, it is 100% our responsibility, I think, to support and uplift each other, to champion each other as we aim to succeed, to not set each other up for failure but instead to really be there rallying around each other and say, ‘I want to help you,'” she added.

“And you may not ever meet that person, but you’ll know when you put on that blazer, or that shirt, or you carry that tote, or put on those trousers, that dress — that some other woman on the other side of this country is wearing that piece because you made that purchase.”

Read more:

Ellen DeGeneres says she got to hold baby Archie, who ‘looks just like Harry’ and had more hair than she did when they met

Prince Harry says flying by private jet was ‘a unique circumstance’ to ensure Meghan and Archie were safe

Meghan Markle’s makeup artist posted a photo of a 1962 Andy Warhol painting that may have eerily predicted Archie’s birth

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have reportedly gone through 3 different nannies since Archie was born 3 months ago

Read More