TIME World Cup

Beautiful World Cup Fan Nabs Modeling Contract After Picture Goes Viral

Guess sometimes it does pay to root for a losing team

Updated Thursday, July 10 at 1:50 pm ET

Belgium may have gotten the boot from the World Cup after falling to Argentina last Saturday, but one of the team’s fans reportedly scored big. After a photo of 17-year-old Axelle Despiegelare cheering on her country’s team during the group stages went viral, she captured the attention of beauty brand L’Oreal Professionnel.

And on Tuesday, the Red Devils supporter told her thousands of Facebook fans (17,603 at the time of this writing) that she officially nabbed a modeling contract. A representative for L’Oreal Professionnel informed TIME on Thursday that it was a one-time contract and has been completed. The company has no plans to work with her again.

Despiegelare appears in number of promotional videos for the beauty brand on their Facebook page, in which she’s referred to as “ la plus belle des supportrices de la coupe du monde,” or the most beautiful World Cup supporter. Guess sometimes it does pay to root for a losing team.

 

 

TIME Religion

Vatican Hires British Politician to Overhaul Media Strategy

Lord Chris Patten attends a mass with newly appointed cardinals held by Pope Francis at St Peter's Basilica on February 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.
Lord Chris Patten attends a mass with newly appointed cardinals held by Pope Francis at St Peter's Basilica on February 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Franco Origlia—Getty Images

The Vatican taps former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten to revamp its PR operation

Veteran British politician Chris Patten has been tapped to bring the Vatican’s media strategy into the 21st century. Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s prefect for the secretariat of the economy, announced the appointment of Patten at a press conference on Wednesday.

Patten, 70, a former governor of Hong Kong and former chair of the BBC Trust, will chair a new media committee at the Vatican set to oversee and modernize the various media outlets produced therein, including Vatican Radio and the Vatican TV Center. Variety reports Cardinal Pell said Wednesday that the goal of the new committee is to reach more Catholics and “recognize that the world of the media has changed radically and is changing.”

Currently, Vatican media reaches about 10% of Catholics worldwide.

“We want to build on very recent positive experiences, such as ‘The Pope App’ and the Holy Father’s Twitter account.” Pell said, according to the National Catholic Register.

Patten, a devout Catholic, has a long history of public service having served as a member of the U.K. Parliament and chairman of the Conservative Party before taking the role at BBC Trust. He recently resigned from the post for health reasons, but told the Financial Times he’s looking forward to what he called “an important and challenging” assignment.

TIME Crime

Essence Honors Mothers Who Lost Children to Gun Violence

Amid recent shootings in Essence Festival host city New Orleans

This article originally appeared on Essence.com

For Patrina Peters, the final day of the Essence Festival in New Orleans wasn’t a joyous occasion. Peters, a native to the city, was one of dozens of mothers who attended a prayer vigil Sunday morning at the Ernest J. Morial Convention Center to pay tribute to the children they’d lost to gun violence.

For the second year in a row, Essence has partnered with the city of New Orleans to bring attention to the issue of gun violence in the Black community by honoring mothers who have lost their children. Mothers and festivalgoers gathered in prayer on the Festival’s Empowerment Experience stage, which served as a hub for thought leaders and celebrities conducting insightful talks over the four-day event.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse opened the prayer vigil with a moment of silence for the lives lost, taking a moment to acknowledge the city’s ongoing efforts to curb violence. Over the past year, the Landrieu administration has helped bring the number of murders in the Crescent City down from 193 in 2012 to 155 in 2013.

“We as a nation should say this has got to stop,” Landrieu said Sunday.

Landrieu has also launched the NOLA for Life initiative, which works within communities to address crime and to provide alternatives for youth who would otherwise fall victim to violence. Peters, whose 19-year-old son was shot and killed in May 2010, works with the organization to provide support for mothers and families suffering in the wake of a devastating loss. She addressed the crowd on Sunday, sharing her son Damon’s story while holding back tears. “He was smart. He played basketball and he was a Mardi Gras Indian since the age of 10,” Peters said. “It is so hard to describe the emptiness I feel.”

At one point during the ceremony, mothers pinned photos of the sons and daughters they’ve lost to violence on a “wall of remembrance.”

After the vigil, Peters (with a little help from a local brass band playing “When the Saints Go Marching In”) led the mothers out of the hall and into the atrium of the Convention Center. There she met Tanaka Charles, a mother from Miami who lost her son four years ago, just five days shy of his 21st birthday. The two women embraced, and Charles burst into tears, saying, “We want our kids to be valued just like everyone else.”

TIME Education

Kids Learn How to Code at Essence Festival Hack-a-Thon

The #YesWeCode initiative launches in New Orleans

This article originally appeared on Essence.com

Victoria Pannell could have spent her Fourth of July weekend going to barbecues and hanging out with her friends, but the 15-year-old chose to stay indoors and learn how to code.

Pannell, who traveled 24 hours by car with her mom from New York to New Orleans, was one of dozens of teens from all over the country who participated in the Essence Festival’s first-ever hack-a-thon. The event was the official launch of #YesWeCode, an initiative spearheaded by Van Jones (and supported by Prince, who gave it a shout out during his headlining performance) that aims to get 100,000 “high potential, low opportunity” youth to interested and involved in coding.

The event presented the perfect opportunity for Pannell to marry her love for computers and her passion for helping to end child sex trafficking, which was the focus of the application she spent the weekend building. When Pannell was 13, she portrayed a girl forced into sex trafficking in a public service announcement for change.org. The issue has stuck with her ever since. “After I portrayed Monica, the victim, I couldn’t sleep thinking about how there were girls whose bodies were being ravaged by strangers every day,” Pannell said. “Sex trafficking is an operation, and we want to prevent that operation from happening.” Through her application, the Sex Trafficking Operations Prevention app or, STOP, she’d help connect potential and current victims of trafficking to support services like the Polaris Project’s Hotline.

The sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) are the fastest growing career fields in the United States. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates occupations in the STEM field will by 17% by 2018, while non-STEM jobs are expected to grow by 9%. Microsoft projects about 1.2 million jobs will open in computer sciences by 2020—but only about 40,000 Americans currently graduate with the necessary credentials to fill the positions. #YesWeCode is looking to increase the number of African-Americans in STEM.

“I aspire to become a software engineer,” said Zachary Dorcinville, a rising high school senior from the Bronx who crowd-funded $1,500 to purchase his plane ticket to get to the Festival. His team developed an application that uses music to make workout experiences more social. “Technology is always changing and always evolving. I love it.”

While some applications were teen-centric, focusing on issues like bullying and writing college essays, many spoke to problems that face the community at large. A group of boys built a glucose-reader. A girl from Memphis built an application that would create food-to-table partnerships in areas that are considered food deserts.

On Sunday, after working for four days to bring their ideas to life, the teams pitched their apps to a panel of judges that included executives from Microsoft and Facebook.
The most fulfilling aspect of the weekend, says #YESWECODE mentor and creative technologist Errol King, was how much the kids were able to grasp in the short amount of time.

“When you start to see light bulbs go off, when they start using the terminology we use every day in the field, you start to realize the universe has expanded,” King said.

TIME Essence Festival 2014

Watch Robin Roberts and Her Sister Tell Their Remarkable Story

The sisters also shared how their unwavering faith in God helped them through the most trying times

Good Morning America host Robin Roberts and her sister Sally-Ann appeared together at the 20th anniversary Essence Festival Friday to share the remarkable story about how Sally-Ann helped save her sister’s life.

In June 2012, the ABC anchor announced she was diagnosed with a blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, just five years after beating breast cancer. Two years later, thanks to the life-saving bone marrow donation her sister provided, Robin is healthy, happy, and most of all–grateful.

“You don’t take it for granted that someone is going to put their life on hold for you,” Robin said, holding back tears. But Sally-Ann said she never would have considered not providing the bone marrow that saved her younger sister’s life.

“I was born for this,” Sally Ann said. ” I believe that before I was in my mothers womb that God knew. I believe that God allowed me to be a perfect genetic match.”

Sally-Ann took a moving moment during their talk to thank God for her sister’s health. “Isn’t God good,” Sally-Ann said, before leading the crowd of festival-goers in a song of praise. “Look at Robin!”

The crowd stood when Sally-Ann, a broadcast journalist based in Louisiana, asked who in the audience prayed for Robin’s health and healing. They sang “Thank you, Lord,” when Sally-Ann began to sing a hymn of praise.

The sisters took part in a talk on sisterhood during the 20th Anniversary Essence Festival. More of the sisters’ story is shared in Robin Roberts’ new book, Everybody’s Got Something. The sisters used the word of God and their unwavering faith to speak to the power of believing–particularly in moments when faith is tested.

“Optimism is a muscle that gets stronger with use,” Robin said.

TIME cities

Mayor Aja Brown: If Brooklyn Can Change, So Can Compton

Compton Jr. Posse 7th Annual Fundraiser Gala
Mayor Aja Brown attends Compton Jr. Posse 7th Annual Fundraiser Gala at Los Angeles Equestrian Center on May 17, 2014 in Los Angeles. Keipher McKennie—Getty Images

No one wants to be Brooklyn

Mayors from around the country want their cities to be more like Brooklyn — but they also don’t.

During a discussion on urban planning during the Essence Musical Festival on Saturday, mayors from Atlanta, Compton, Baltimore and New Orleans used the example of the New York borough to talk about a touchy subject facing their cities: gentrification. Essence is owned by TIME’s parent company, Time Inc.

Compton, California Mayor Aja Brown said she wants her city, known as a rap hotbed, to experience a renaissance similar to that seen in Brooklyn — the hometown of Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls — which is now known more for its artisanal goods and hipsters than its once-gritty streets.

“If Brooklyn can change its image, I’m sure Compton can too,” Brown said. But Brooklyn’s new “image” has come much to the disdain of some notable residents, including director Spike Lee, an outspoken opponent of Brooklyn’s gentrification process.

“I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It’s changed. And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better?,” Lee said in February.

However, Brown, who was elected in 2012, says with strategic planning cities can reshape blighted areas without sacrificing the identity of a community or excluding long-time or poor residents. That’s exactly what she’s working to do as a part of her vision for Compton, she said.

“Gentrification is a problem of poor planning,” Brown said.

The United States is on a path of increased diversity, expected to be mostly made up of various minority groups by 2050. Cities are the center of that growth — about 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas of 50,000 residents or more, according to the 2010 census, and a recent Brookings Institution report says minorities have made up 98% of the population growth in the country’s biggest cities over the past 10 years.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu leads a city that has long prided itself on its inclusion and diversity, despite some residents’ uneasy reaction to rebuilding post-Katrina. Landrieu said Saturday that communities’ shifting attitudes toward diversity could cool tensions as neighborhoods shift.

“I think you can actually rebuild neighborhoods and actually produce diversity,” Landrieu said. In the past, “people thought isolation and distance brought them happiness, but now they realize diversity makes us smarter and better.”

But Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said it’s up to citizens to hold mayors accountable for the ways in which neighborhood shifts come into fruition.

“Impose your will and stop letting mayors off the hook with gobbledygook that they don’t know what’s going on,” Reed said.

TIME Election 2014

Congresswoman Waters Urges Blacks to Vote in This Year’s Midterms

Maxine Waters
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) marches in the 29th annual Kingdom Day Parade on January 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. David McNew—Getty Images

Speaking at the 20th anniversary Essence Music Festival in New Orleans

Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters urged African Americans on Saturday to get out to the polls in November for the sake of President Barack Obama’s legacy. The representative from California also stressed the historic significance of voting in the African American community during a year when the nation is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Midterm elections are just as important as presidential elections,” Waters said during a speech at the Essence Music Festival. “Think about your ancestors; think about their sacrifice. Think about all of those who gave their lives. Get to the polls.”

African American voters turned out at the polls in record numbers in 2008 and 2012. In 2012, 66.2% of eligible black Americans voted, outnumbering white voters for the first time in history. And black women, who are the target audience of the Essence festival, were primarily responsible for that surge. Essence is owned by TIME parent company Time Inc.

But 2014 is a midterm year, during which non-white voters often turn out in lower rates. And without a big name like Barack Obama up for election, many Democrats worry black turnout will revert back to their typically low levels this November, hurting their chances at the polls.

Waters also said the African American community’s legislative goals are at risk of dying in Congress if Republicans gain control of the Senate on top of the House of Representatives. Fighting for issues like the Voting Rights Act, raising the minimum wage, and improving health care, Waters said, should drive African American voters to the polls.

“We’ve got a lot at stake,” Waters said. “You have got to realize you don’t just vote in a presidential election. We cannot get a bill through. We cannot get anything done as long as [Republicans] are in the majority.”

TIME

New Orleans Mayor: Essence Festival ‘Huge Economic Engine’ for the Big Easy

2014 Essence Music Festival - Seminars - Day 2
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu onstage at the 2014 Essence Music Festival on July 4, 2014 in New Orleans. Paras Griffin—Getty Images

The three-day event generated around $241 million in 2013

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Friday the Essence Music Festival “may be the most important event the people of this city are involved in.”

“What started off as a small music festival,” Landrieu told TIME, “has now turned into a huge economic engine for this city over a weekend that otherwise wouldn’t have filled up the city.”

Over the past 20 years, big names from Beyoncé to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have drawn massive crowds to the “party with a purpose,” which has become the largest African American music festival in the U.S. Essence is owned by TIME parent company Time Inc.

At a press conference on Friday, Landrieu said the financial impact of the 400,000 people expected to pass through New Orleans over the weekend is “in some instances, incalculable.” Last year, the event brought over a half-million people to the city, generating about $200 million during a weekend that was at one time “dead,” says National Urban League president Marc Morial, who was the city’s mayor when the event first came to town.

“Essence not only gave us something over the Fourth of July weekend, but it gave us something every year,” Morial says. “There’s a lot of local businesses that take advantage of the opportunity to enhance their sales by way of Essence.”

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Essence moved the festival to Houston, Texas. The festival’s absence meant the city was left without the people and the money it typically brings in.

“When Essence wasn’t here there was nobody working,” says Murphy Christina, the general manager of Mulate’s Restaurant, a family-owned Cajun restaurant near the festival’s headquarters. The town was so empty that Fourth of July weekend that Christina closed the restaurant. But today, it’s open for business — and business is booming.

“Today, everybody is working,” Christina says. “We’ve got a full house three days in a row.”

Joe Blancheck, general manager of the Marriott hotel across the street from where the event is held, also said the event helps his business.

“All of our hotels sell out pretty far in advance,” Blancheck says. “We have a lot of repeat customers every year.”

TIME cities

New Orleans Says City Is Safe for Essence Festival

Bourbon Street Shooting
Blood stains are seen on the sidewalk at the scene of a shooting that happened early Sunday morning, June 29, 2014, on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Nine people were injured, one seriously, according to New Orleans Police. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Gerald Herbert—AP

Heightened security after last weekend's Bourbon Street shooting

Deputy Mayor of New Orleans Judy Reese Morse says attendees of the 20th annual Essence Festival can rest assured that the city will keep them safe in the wake of last weekend’s shooting in the French Quarter.

“For this weekend, we’ve got what we need to make sure that the city is safe and that the city is secure,” Morse tells TIME. “[The shooting] was a very, very unfortunate incident. It’s something that we focus on every day, not only in the French Quarter, but in neighborhoods across the city.”

Morse said the city has increased security as a result of last weekend’s shooting, which left one dead and nine injured after two gunmen opened fire on the ever-packed Bourbon Street in the Crescent City’s famed French Quarter. The shooting was the third in the past three years on the famous street, the Associated Press reports, but it couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time—just days ahead of the 20th annual Essence Music Festival, where headliners like Prince and Lionel Richie are expected to bring thousands to the city.

As a precaution, 30 state troopers have reportedly been deployed in the city and Morse says the city is working to reassure festival-goers and New Orleans residents that they will be safe.

“We’ve got the security in place. We’ve informed all of our hotels,” Morse says. “This is a great place, it is safe and they’ll have a great experience this weekend.”

Though the focus of the Essence Music Festival is family fun and empowerment, there will be moments throughout the weekend that address the violence that plagues New Orleans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu has overseen a reduction in the number of murders from 193 in 2012 to 155 in 2013, thanks in large part to the city’s community outreach through the NOLA for Life initiative. But Morse says there’s still a lot of work to be done, and that the Essence Festival is the perfect time to address the issue.

“New Orleans is going to be 300-years-old in 2018, but we’ve got a situation right now that we’ve got to get our arms around and that is bringing down the rate of murder, particularly among African American men,” Morse says. “There’s no better time or place than Essence to take that issue head on.”

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 2

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: Poll says Obama worst President since WW2; Palestinian teen dies in possible revenge killing; Tim Howard had best World Cup match, despite loss; and Obama to Congress "sue me"

  • Iraq reinforcements: Return of the “5 o’clock follies”? [TIME]
  • The Bill and Hillary Clinton money machine taps corporate cash [WSJ]
  • Protesters in Murrieta, Calif. halt buses in tense standoff [LA Times]
  • Palestinian kid killed in possible revenge killing [Reuters]
  • How would Chuck Norris vote? [NYT Magazine]
  • Why the Civil Rights Act couldn’t pass today [Politico]
  • Obama blasts Congressional inaction: “So sue me” [TIME]
  • US turning the screws on tax cheats [The Hill]
  • Hong Kong police arrest democracy protestors in sit-in [BBC]
  • “The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)’s data collection program has been an effective tool to enhance the country’s security but some elements of the cyber-spying raises privacy concerns, a U.S. federal privacy watchdog said in a report.” [Reuters]
  • “A plurality of voters think Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, a new poll says. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 33 percent of voters think the current president is the worst since 1945.” [Politico]
  • Benghazi suspect organized attack out of ideological fervor, prosecutors say [Washington Post]
  • Many sharp turns in Bergdahl’s path the Army [NYT]
  • “The Federal Trade Commission accused wireless carrier T-Mobile of adding bogus charges totaling “hundreds of millions of dollars” on customers’ accounts without their consent.” [USA Today]
  • Tim Howard lost, but he had the best match of the World Cup [FiveThirtyEight]

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