Women’s Health: They Don’t Call It Barren Anymore

Women’s Health: They Don’t Call It Barren Anymore

Women’s News: Ari Graynor On ‘For A Good Time Call,’ Female Friendships & Navigating Twitter

Women’s News: Ari Graynor On ‘For A Good Time Call,’ Female Friendships & Navigating Twitter

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Venus Williams

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Venus Williams

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Venus Williams

Venus Williams was born on June 17, 1980, in Lynwood, California. Her father was a former sharecropper who introduced Williams to tennis on the public courts near Compton, LA. She turned pro in 1994, and has since won seven Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon championships, as well as four Olympic gold medals (three with her sister, Serena). Williams lives in Palm Beach, Florida.

Early Life

American tennis player. Born Venus Ebony Starr Williams on June 17, 1980, in Lynwood, California. One of Richard and Oracene Williams’ five daughters, Venus, along with her younger sister, Serena, has redefined women’s tennis with her strength and superb athleticism. Since turning pro in 1994, Venus has captured seven Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon championships, joining Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only women to have accomplished this.

Venus was introduced to tennis by her father on the public courts in Los Angeles, not far from the family’s home in Compton. Richard Williams, a former sharecropper from Louisiana, used what he’d gleaned from tennis books and videos to instruct his girls on the different aspects of the game.

The fact that the family had relocated to Compton was no accident. With its high rate of gang activity, Richard Williams had wanted to expose his daughters to the ugly possibilities of life “if they did not work hard and get an education.” In this setting, on courts that were riddled with potholes and sometimes missing nets, Venus and Serena cut their teeth on the game of tennis and the requirements for persevering in a tough climate.

Turning Pro

By the age of 10, Williams’s serve topped 100 miles per hour, a weapon she used to go 63-0 on the United States Tennis Association junior tour. On October 31, 1994, she turned pro, something she proved she was more than ready for when, in her first match, she beat 50-seeded Shaun Stafford at the Bank of the West Classic in California.

It was a momentous occasion for the Williams family, Richard in particular, who wasn’t afraid to let the tennis world know that his girls were going to change the game. “That’s one for the ghetto!” he shouted out at the press conference following Williams’s victory.

Resounding Success

In 1997, Williams became the first unseeded U.S. Open women’s finalist in the Open era. She lost to Martina Hingis. In 2000, she won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, paving the way for her to ink a $40 million contract with Reebok. She then went out and defended her titles in 2001.

At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Williams captured the gold medal in the singles competition, and then took a second one with Serena in the doubles event. The sisters have credited the other with pushing them in tennis, both as teammates and as competitors. Together, the pair have won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles and have squared off more than 20 times, including the finals of eight Grand Slam tournaments. In addition to their time spent together on the court, the sisters also share a home together in Florida. Their parents continue to coach them.

In recent years, Williams has struggled with injuries—she competed in only a handful of tournaments in 2006—but returned to form in 2007, winning the singles title at Wimbledon. She repeated the victory a year later, when she defeated Serena for a fifth career Wimbledon championship, placing her fifth all-time in women’s Wimbledon singles championships. A few months later, the Williams sisters teamed up to capture the doubles title at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, held in London, Williams and sister Serena won gold in women’s doubles against Czech Republic tennis stars Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. The victory brough both her and Serena’s Olympic gold medal count to four.

Off the Court Pursuits

Off the court, Venus Williams has cultivated a varied number of pursuits. She’s pursued art classes, and earned a certificate in interior design. She has started her clothing line called “EleVen” as well as a collection of women’s apparel for Wilson’s Leather. In addition, she has launched her own interior design company, V Starr Interiors, which works on residential projects throughout the country.

Williams has also been active in a number of social causes, including working closely with UNESCO on promoting gender equality throughout the world.

Williams lives in Palm Beach, Florida, with her sister Serena and their two dogs, a Jack Russell terrier and a Maltese.

Read More: http://www.biography.com/people/venus-williams-9533011

A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: Ari Graynor On ‘For A Good Time Call,’ Female Friendships & Navigating Twitter

Christopher Rosen

Christopher.Rosen@huffingtonpost.com

Ari Graynor isn’t your best friend, but she plays one on screen. A lot.

Since breaking out as the perma-drunk Caroline in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” Graynor has played a variety of supporting confidants in “What’s Your Number,” “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” “Whip It” and the upcoming “10 Years.” However, it’s the BFF she plays in “For A Good Time Call…” that could launch Graynor into the same class of leading comedic actresses as Anna Faris and Drew Barrymore.

Co-written by Lauren Anne Miller and Katie Anne Naylon, and based on their relationship and Naylon’s time spent as a phone sex operator, “For A Good Time Call…” is that rare Hollywood film: A romantic comedy about female friendship. Graynor stars as the screen incarnation of Katie in the film, a role that was written for her after Miller and Naylon became friendly with the actress. (Miller, meanwhile, co-stars, playing a slight variation on herself.)

Graynor — who started a very active Twitter account during the press rounds for “For A Good Time Call…” — spoke to HuffPost Entertainment about why the movie is the most important project of her career so far and why it’s important to choose unrealistic looking dildos when making a sex comedy.

You’ve been a supporting actor in so many films — what was the hardest part of transitioning to a leading role?
There was very little that was difficult about it — or any more difficult than being a supporting player. The work is essentially the same. It was such a welcome challenge, however — especially executive producing the film as well. There was a different stake in this film for me, and certainly for our entire team: Katie and Lauren wrote it, Lauren acting in it, Katie and Lauren producing it, [director] Jamie Travis’ first feature — this became our baby. The four of us worked so closely together before production that a lot of it became a different sense of responsibility for creating what we knew we wanted to create, and just trying to do everything we could do to that in the best way — as an actor, producer, helping with the story, the script, just all those pieces. Just saying, “OK, if we’re going to take this chance on ourselves, we better make this the best thing we can make.”

This is a role that was expressly written for you. What did you think when you first read the script?
I loved it from the second I started reading the script. It was so fresh and it was so mind-boggling to me that there are not more movies about female friendship. Being women, your friends are such an enormous part of your life, and it’s been such a void for movies — especially in the last 10 or 15 years. This movie has a bit of a nostalgic feel back to some of the ’80s movies we all loved with Shelley Long, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Lily Tomlin; that culture of movies with really strong yet vulnerable women involved in stories that were not fully about getting the guy. I thought that Lauren and Katie did such an incredibly smart thing by subverting the romantic comedy and using it as a friendship love story instead. Then the setting of the phone sex was such a clever, naughty, delicious piece.

Was there anything you had to say that just went so over the top that you couldn’t believe it?
No, I mean, the script I read originally was much broader than our shooting script. There was a man that worked at a porn shop who drove a dick car. We ended the movie on the “TODAY” show having written a book about phone sex. There were a lot of different incarnations of the script. When the four of us became the cohesive unit that we became, so much of our journey was about working through it to make the script and story and friendship feel as real as possible. Then, with that, it allowed the phone sex piece to take on a fantastical, fun element. We always wanted it to be funny, rather than overtly sexual or titillating. I don’t know — I guess it takes a lot ot make me blush over that kind of language. The irony is, we wouldn’t bat an eye at all the crazy and outlandish stuff, it was more of the intimate moments. The phone sex call between me and Sean (co-star Mark Webber) and some of the scenes with him, where the intimacy was more real and we got a little bit blushy. We had to pull back on it in the editing and shooting of it.

You mention some of the broader aspects of the film: I’m reminded of the scene where you and Lauren are inspecting a bunch of dildos and your character puts one in her mouth. So, a) are you ready to have that scene appear as one of your top choices in Google image search, and b) how much discussion went into how big the dildo should be?
That’s so funny. I had not really thought about the Google image search of the blue dildo in my mouth until this moment. So, thanks for bringing that up. I’m totally terrified. No, but I purposefully did chose the least natural looking dildo for that moment so were that to happen, it wouldn’t look overtly sexual. It was a very funny set with those props. You just become immune so quickly: “You want the dildos in or out of this one?” “We’ll have the dildos in!” We had a dildo washing station that day. We would say, “We need dildos that are bigger. Do we have anything that’s bigger?” Then they get it. In the world of comedy it’s just about catching the eye off-guard and being silly and not taking yourself too seriously.

Switching gears: When you were making “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” did you realize how important that film was going to be to your career?
I definitely knew that was an incredibly special project and an incredibly special character. The way I felt about that is the way I felt about this too: Those kind of characters in those kind of movies don’t come along every day. There’s so many great movies and great stories to be told, but it’s really hard to write a surprising, full-bodied, super-alive female character. Especially in comedies. I wanted to play Caroline so, so, so, so, so badly, and I feel so lucky that I got to be a part of that. And I felt very similarly when I read this script.

The challenge is that we made an independent film and no one really knows me and Lauren. It’s a movie starring two people that people don’t know, and I think some people hear phone sex and get nervous. But I know people love the movie once they see it, and I think that if we can get people in the seats and have them go in with an open mind, they’ll be pleasantly surprised and this could find a special place in their hearts.

To that end, I noticed you joined Twitter recently. How are you enjoying it so far?
Twitter’s a lot of work! That’s the first thing I would say. There’s so much pressure to be funny. The reason why I joined was certainly to get the word out about this movie and one of the best parts of it has been communicating — I feel silly using the word fans; that feels like a pretentious term coming out of my mouth — but it’s so nice to communicate with people who have any kind of enthusiasm or excitement for the movie or me or anything like that. But it is hard! It is a lot of work. There’s pressure to come up with something genius every time. I feel like I keep letting myself down with my Twitter posts. I have to start keeping a journal of rough drafts of prophetic ideas about the world.

You’re on record as being a huge Barbra Streisand fan and you’re in “The Guilt Trip” with her later this year. Did you get to share any scenes?
I’m not going to say anything about that movie — but I’m so excited to be a part of it. That is for sure. Otherwise, mum’s the word.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/ari-graynor-for-a-good-time-call_n_1842797.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s Health: They Don’t Call It Barren Anymore

Ashbey Riley

Writer, Filmmaker, Entrepreneur

The year I turned 26 I was happily married, had a blooming career and was open to the possibility that I may never want children. My mother’s reaction to this was shock and dismay mixed with a healthy dose of anger.

The year I turned 36 I was a divorcée with a loving boyfriend of four years, the owner of a blooming business and a very clear personal goal: I was ready for a family, and soon. My mother’s reaction to this was one of completely unrestrained relief.

If you asked me to pinpoint the moment I became family-aloof, I couldn’t. Perhaps it was a control thing or maybe part of my evolution. I needed to conquer before I could mother. I’ll admit that looking back, I feel a little guilty for being so capricious about it, for admitting my disinterest out loud. I feel bad for upsetting my mother. There, I said it.

So I feel a fair amount of guilt, but should I? After all, I was surrounded by women my age who were married to their careers. In fact, when I was 26, I had only one friend who had children. My life had very defined stepping stones: college, grad school and a long list of work goals that filled up the page before marriage and children. And besides, what was the harm? I still had plenty of time.

Ah, time. Such a sneaky thing. That whole “You’re only as old as you feel,” or however the saying goes, I get it now. Thirty-six feels vibrant and sexy, youthful but wise. It feels strong, fertile. It feels like I still have plenty of time.

I was still wrapped up in this feeling when I began to experience hot flashes. I’d had them throughout the week and attributed them to the summer heat wave. When I told friends, one of them immediately joked that I might be going through menopause. She quickly retracted her comment, saying I was too young. But it was too late; the idea was already floating around in my brain like a loose balloon.

The next morning I did what any rational, intelligent and resourceful person would do: I did a Google search so I could self-diagnose myself. I was, for the most part, calm as I surveyed the list of common symptoms.

Irregular Periods: check, but that’s pretty normal. Hot flashes: check. Palpitations: check, usually with the hot flashes. Weight gain (especially around your waist and abdomen): check, but this is where I always gain it. Headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, insomnia: check, check, check and check. Bladder control problems: in the most candid way possible, I will admit to having this issue recently, it’s not out of control (just so we’re clear), but it has happened on occasion. Sore joints/muscles: check, I have trouble with stairs lately. Dizziness/Lightheadedness: check. Dry Mouth: check. There are some others, but you get the picture.

A heaviness started to set in as I moved on to the list of causes.

Radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy…

My heart sank swift and hard.

The words stung. I stared at them for a long time. My face burned red and hot, and I couldn’t tell if it was a hot flash or just reality setting in: This October will mark my 16th year of remission. I am a cancer survivor.

I went through the motions. I called my gynecologist and made an appointment. I visited dozens of early menopause sites. I cried and cursed my body.

Did I know this could happen? Was I warned? Did I ask? Did I have alternatives? My mind raced and probed, searching my memory for some place to lay the blame. But deep down, I knew the answers were irrelevant. We hadn’t asked. We didn’t care. We were just so happy that it could be treated. We had celebrated my remission with joy and humbleness.

I fought the urge to call my mother. No one could possibly understand the fear of infertility more than she could: She began her own struggle just after she turned 20. On the outside, my mother had displayed a kind of steely grace that masked the pain she carried deep in her heart for the children she could never bear. Her sorrow was real. Her frustration was never-ending, and her questions were never answered, as the doctors were never able to diagnose the problem. At 28, after eight years of struggling with infertility, she became a mother via adoption.

While she relished her role as a parent, the heartache of never giving birth weighed heavily on her. She later told me it crushed and consumed her and that she never felt 100 percent complete. I don’t begrudge her for being so honest. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be a woman of her generation unable to do the one thing she believed was part of her duty.

So I didn’t call her.

I called three of my friends instead. The first blithely told me not to worry, that everything would be fine. She said a long walk would help. The second started to cry and apologized profusely. I did my best to console her. The third, my best friend Lisa, mulled it over for a moment. “Well, are you surprised?” she said. “You have to be first at everything, you had to skip grades so you could graduate first, you were the first to move away, the first to get a real job, the first to get divorced. Now you are the first at menopause. Congratulations, you beat me to it yet again.” Then she told me to break something. I smashed a plate on the front porch.

Over the next several days, I did okay. I deactivated my Facebook page and went into hiding from all of the chubby baby and over-the-moon bump photos. I refused to talk to anyone about it. I sat at home without the radio or TV on and stared off into space for hours.

When the morning of my appointment finally arrived, so did the anxiety.

That day, I learned many things. I learned that early menopause is very common for someone with my medical history. I learned that I’m good candidate to have my eggs frozen. I learned what FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) levels are and where mine should be. I also learned that there will be more waiting, that I will need to have my blood drawn on the third day of my period and I will likely have to repeat this for many months. I learned that my boyfriend is very pro-adoption. And a saint. I learned that if I’m grateful to be here, I have to accept the consequences of what it took to save me. But moreover, I learned that no matter how much my heart wants to tell me differently, this is not the end of the world. This time, I have options.

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