Is Tennis Champ Naomi Osaka A 'Baby-Faced Assasin'? Allure August 2019 Skims the Surface

Abdul Sillah is hardly a household name in the sports world. At a time when Donald Trump is telling people of color to go back where they came from, it’s noteworthy that Sillah arrived in the United States from Sierra Leone.

AOC discovered Sillah reading Allure Magazine’s August 2019 cover story featuring rising tennis star Naomi Osaka. Lensed for Allure by Wai Lin Tse, Naomi Osaka didn’t know that she would be eliminated at July 2019 Wimbledon in her first round, losing to Yulia Putlintseva.

Unlike Serena Williams, whose powerful muscles dominate the pages of fashion shoots, Osaka’s do not. Sillah has trained both women, giving him a comparative lens into the superb two athletes.

Allure opens their cover story Naomi Osaka Wants to Win More Than Anyone Else with Brennan Kilbane’s observation:

“Naomi Osaka serves a tennis ball at a speed of 125 miles per hour. I do not need to tell you that this is nuts fast: 125 miles per hour is almost twice the maximum speed of an adult cheetah as it bounds across the savanna toward the jugular of a gazelle; 125 miles per hour is as fast as a Bugatti Veyron coming at you at 125 miles per hour from across a tennis court.”

Fitness coach Sillah chats with Kilbane on the bench, calling his client Osaka the “Baby-Faced Assassin.” Serena was “the Closer”, as “fury coursed through her veins from the moment she set foot on the court until the moment she set foot on the podium”.

Sillah, “whose voice is softer than a chinchilla wrapped in Egyptian cotton” summarizes Osaka’s style differently. “Nothing about her gives warning of the existence of several reserves of rage bubbling just under the surface of her skin, and by the time she sends a 125-mile-per-hour tennis ball directly at you, it is too late, and rest in peace.”

No longer ranked No. 1 in women’s tennis — but holding at No. 2 inspire of Wimbledon — Osaka is facing many mental and emotional challenges at age 21. In fact, her immense physical prowess is not delivering, causing John McEnroe to wonder aloud at Wimbledon if Osaka’s large numbers of business and endorsement contracts, coupled with her celeb status, have become a distraction. (Note that tennis great Billie Jean King wondered if Serena also has too many irons in the fire.)

Add to this tennis celebrity brew, 15-year-old Coco Gauff, whose wildcard entry at Wimbledon warmed hearts far and ride. The 15-year-old American from Atlanta rose 172 places to world No.141 in post Wimbledon rankings, from No.313 before the tournament.

Learn more about Naomi Osaka’s personal history at Allure. But note also that the least of Osaka’s current real-world concerns is ‘Allure’ question 1: What’s your best beauty tip? Naomi proceeds to deliver a series of canned beauty answers promoting her role as a brand ambassador for Shiseido, which owns Anessa and Bare Minerals.

That’s a mighty tricky tightrope Naomi Osaka is navigating in a world demanding authenticity in its stars.

In a real-world where our teen suicide rate is skyrocketing and superficial pressures dominate in our Instagram-life world, Naomi doesn’t touch any topic including her emotional moments beating Serena last September and subsequent followup communications with Williams. Nor does she reflect in any way around pressures on the court or being downgraded after losing matches she should have won in 2019.

For the real-deal story about Serena and Naomi, turn to the infinitely meatier (I blame this on the writer, not Osaka) Serena Williams interview in American Vogue’s August 2019 cover story.

Reflections on Minnesota + The Somali Community, As Trump Tells The Quartet To Leave America

Nawal Noor was named one of 24 Bush Foundation fellows this year. She plans to expand her business and pursue national leadership opportunities.

Nawal Noor was named one of 24 Bush Foundation fellows this year. She plans to expand her business and pursue national leadership opportunities.

I just popped into the Minneapolis Tribune to get a read on their Quartet reporting -- and Trump's racist rants. It's factual and neutral w/o commentary.

I'll take the opportunity to share a totally separate article about another Somali-American citizen in the Twin Cities: Nawal Noor.

She is the rare woman in construction at the developer level. And definitely the rare woman of color. Noor is hiring more immigrants and ex-offenders.

Minnesota is my original home, and Minneapolis the place of my closest, loved very much relatives. I was not fortunate enough to grow up there.

This story of Nawal Noor is Minnesota at its best, with the Twin Cities welcoming countless Somali immigrants and surely standing by them in these difficult times -- in principles of free speech and democracy. Racism is racism, and Minnesotans know it when they see it.

Is Minnesota a perfectly just place? Or course not. We all remember the horrible death of Philando Castile and the not guilty verdict against the officer who killed him.

Minnesota voters will decide how to handle all these controversies and how they make their state better or worse. But I know for certain that in Minneapolis, these days are very painful on every front. They have been for months now. And Minneapolis-St. Paul in particular, will treat Trump, his racism, Ilhan Omar, and the impact of all this conflict on their Somali and Jewish communities -- in particular -- in a reasonable, fair and humane way.

Jane Fonda Gets Candid On Her 'Woke' History, Celebrating 60 Years Since Vogue Cover

Left: Jane Fonda photographed by Irving Penn,  Vogue , July 1959; Left: Fonda in 2018, photo credit Getty Images.  via Vogue US

Left: Jane Fonda photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, July 1959; Left: Fonda in 2018, photo credit Getty Images. via Vogue US

Bridget Read interviews Jane Fonda about 60 years of activism , looking totally fab in her 80s and her first Vogue cover shot by master artist Irving Penn in July 1959.

We learn that Fonda actually worked for Irving Penn for a year, acting as his assistant at age 19. How thrilling! The Vogue cover shoot was a year before the actor’s first film ‘Tall Story’. She was wearing lipstick-color gloves available at Saks Fifth Avenue and a “spice brown” rinse in her hair.

Jane was studying at the time with Lee Strasberg and assigned to the Eileen Ford Agency as a model to pay for her acting classes. “If you had told me at that time that at age 81 I would again be on the cover of Vogue, I would’ve told you you were out of your mind, that that was completely and utterly impossible,” Jane tells Briget Read. Fonda continues:

My image of women was that they were victims and not very powerful, and my dad didn’t encourage me, or make me feel I was attractive. I mean, everything was a surprise to me. I was surprised that I got cast in a movie. I was surprised that I was ever accepted as a model at Eileen Ford’s agency and surprised that I ever ended up on the cover of Vogue. So my life has just been one big surprise for me.

It fact it wasn’t Jane Fonda’s visit to Angela Davis in the Marin Couny Jail that propelled her into activism. Nor was it her ‘radical’ husband Tom Hayden’s state assembly campaign in California. Fonda became an uber progressive in Paris, hanging with American GIs who had served in Vietnam. They had become resistors and gave the blooming model a book to read by Jonathan Schell called ‘The Village of Ben Suc’. There was no turning back after reading that book.

This interview gets better and better, as Fonda and Read discuss what it is to be ‘woke’. Read on at Vogue.