May 17, 2022

Spanx CEO Gives Employees $10,000 and Two First Class Round-Trip Tickets to Anywhere in the World; Keanu Reeves Gave Rolex Watches to His Stunt Team; Jason Momoa Admits Feeling Like the ‘Sh***iest’ Actor in a Dune Scene; Emma Watson Shares Her New Passion of Being Behind the Camera; Pablo Escobar’s ‘Cocaine Hippos’ Are the First Animals to Be Considered Legal ‘Persons’ in the United States

Spanx CEO Gives Employees $10,000 and Two First Class Round-Trip Tickets to Anywhere in the World

Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx, recently celebrated a significant milestone for herself, her company, and female entrepreneurs worldwide when asset management firm Blackstone acquired a majority share in the shapewear company for $1.2 billion. Now, the Spanx founder is expressing his gratitude to those who contributed significantly to its success.

Blakely stated last week in an Instagram video that she will award all of her staff $10,000 and two first-class airline tickets to anyplace in the globe.

“I really want every employee to celebrate this moment in their own way and create a memory that will last them a lifetime,” she wrote in the caption, adding, “Cheers to 21 years of magic and many more to come….”

In a video clip, the CEO delivers an empowering and passionate address to her employees, reflecting on how she founded the firm and the lofty goals she set for it.

“On the whiteboard in my room, I wrote a goal down. I said, ‘This company will one day be worth $20 million.’ Everybody laughed at me… And so, to stand here today and think about what we’ve been able to create and what we’ve been able to do by being authentic and kind and [delivering] amazing products to women,” Blakely said. “To use very feminine principles in a very masculine space, which is business, leading with intuition and vulnerability…I think it’s a really big moment in time for women.”

Blakely continued by toasting the ladies who helped pave her way, including her mother and grandmothers, before announcing the incentives.

“My life motto is the more you experience in life, the more you have to offer others,” the entrepreneur captioned the video.

Several colleagues, who appeared stunned, burst into tears upon hearing the news, while others discussed their travel plans.

“I’m gonna go on my honeymoon with my fiancé, and we’re going to Bora Bora!” one lady exclaimed. “I’m going to South Africa,” a second woman exclaimed excitedly.

Blakely shared a photo of herself signing paperwork to conclude the Blackstone sale last week, including a lengthy caption detailing the history of Spanx and her motivation for selling the company’s majority stake.

Keanu Reeves Gave Rolex Watches to His John Wick: Chapter 4 Stunt Team: ‘Best Wrap Gift Ever’

Keanu Reeves is at it again, this time with his stunt squad for John Wick: Chapter 4. The 57-year-old actor surprised his stunt squad on Saturday night in Paris with personalized Rolex Submariner watches following the conclusion of filming for the upcoming action flick.

Reeves presented the timepieces to Bruce Concepcion, Jeremy Marinas, Dave Camarillo, and Li Qiang. Each watch was engraved on the inside with a special greeting from the actor to each stunt member.

Marinas revealed the watches in his Instagram Stories, calling them the “greatest wrap gift ever” and revealing that his watch read “The John Wick Five” alongside the statement, “Jeremy Thank you Keanu JW4 2021.”

Concepcion also published an Instagram Story with a photo of his Rolex, stating, “Got that new new thank you bro KR.”

Reeves has never been afraid to make romantic gestures. In July 2019, while filming Bill and Ted Face the Music, Reeves noticed a sign reading, “You’re breathtaking,” on the front lawn of a home in Louisiana, where the film was being shot.

The statement was a reference to a viral occasion in which Reeves addressed the words to the crowd during the E3 video game conference in response to a fan shouting the phrase at him from the audience.

Reeves pulled over when he saw the sign and knelt in the grass to scrawl, “Stacey, You’re Breathtaking!” alongside his signature.

Eventually, a Twitter user confirmed that she was the woman behind the placard by sharing a photo with Reeves.

“Wow! Yesterday was a dream come true! We knew Keanu Reeves was filming up the street, so my son said we needed to make a sign that says ‘you’re breathtaking,’ so we did! A few cars stopped, but then a car stopped, and there he was!! He actually stopped! Oh my heavens!” she penned.

His tendency of performing simple and pleasant acts for his fans frequently goes viral, as evidenced in May by a writer recounting the occasion the actor purchased an ice cream cone solely to sign the receipt for a 16-year-old admirer.

Despite the attention, Reeves was unaware, telling PEOPLE in 2019 that he was stunned the internet was so taken with him.

“That’s, uh, that’s wacky,” he commented at the Toy Story 4 premiere. “Well, the positivity’s great.”

Jason Momoa Admits Feeling Like the ‘Sh***iest’ Actor in a Dune Scene with Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin

It appears that the awful ‘impostor syndrome’ can strike even big-name actors like Jason Momoa, who recently opened up about a sequence he filmed in Dune. The actor, who plays Duncan Idaho in Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, discussed a sequence he shot with Javier Bardem as Stiglar and Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck.

The 42-year-old actor revealed that it was his favorite day on set, as it was the day Stiglar is introduced, despite his fear that everyone would ‘discover’ his self-perceived lack of talent.

“I’m definitely the sh***iest one in the whole room, and I was really afraid that they’re going to find out,” Momoa revealed in an Entertainment Weekly interview.

“It’ll go down in my top-five moments because I got to work with those heavy hitters.” he continued.

“I never stood and acted with that level of talent before,” Momoa stated, though he made it plain that they were both fantastic on set, though he emphasized Bardem on an entirely different level.

“We were all very close; they were so sweet. But when the scene starts, he’s a whole different dude,” Momoa said of Bardem.

“He walks into that scene with so much mana, so much power. He didn’t miss a beat, just struts right in and eyes everyone down. I’m like, ‘I can’t. This guy’s rolling in like Mick Jagger, just so much confidence,” Momoa said.

“He gets to me and looks at me, but we’re supposed to be friends, so I just have a little smile. He looks at everybody else, and that’s when he spits. It was just amazing to watch him stare down everyone,” he continued.

“Him and Brolin, they’ve done films together, so they’re great. They’re locking horns, and I’m just standing there pinching myself and praying (director) Denis (Villeneuve) is not going to go, “Uh, is it too late to recast?”‘

Duncan Idaho is the House Atreides swordmaster, pledged to guard Duke Leto Atreides and mentor his son Paul (Timothee Chalamet), with Momoa stating, “I love the idea of serving something greater than yourself.”

“I play a lot of outcasts and men who do bad things, so it was nice to play this knight who does everything for his family. I love that relationship between me and Timothée,” Momoa continued.

“I really felt like I had those men in my life when I was younger, who went off mountain climbing and explored and came back. As a little kid in Iowa, I would hear these great stories and feel excitement to get out there. I really feel like I was the explorer going out and bringing this gold back to Timothée,” Momoa explained.

Momoa is not only the star of Dune; he is also a self-described ‘uber-fan,’ having seen the film five times.

“Every time, it gets better and better. I didn’t really get to see the Harkonnen side of things on set, so every time I’m just like, “Whoa, this is unbelievable!”‘ he explained.

Emma Watson Shares Her New Passion of Being Behind the Camera

Emma Watson, like many others, occupied her time during lockdown by learning a new skill. The actress, who is most known for her work in front of the camera, having starred in the Harry Potter franchise, as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and most recently in Little Women, discussed how she spent her sequestered days learning how things work on the other side of the camera.

The celebrity took to Instagram to share her experience “getting behind the camera” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, characterizing it as the most “empowering thing” she learned at that time.

“Getting behind the camera and learning how it works is about the most empowering thing I’ve learned in lockdown,” she wrote.

“As a young woman, I always thought the most glamorous and exciting thing would be to be someone’s ‘muse’; and of course as women, we are inspiring… but wow, it’s something else to be able to tell your own story and other people’s.” She included photographs of herself holding a large professional camera beside her text.

Fellow actors expressed their support via comments on the article, including Reese Witherspoon, who wrote: “Yes! I love this. Go E.”

Ahead of the Earthshot Prize event, which was sponsored by the Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation, Watson, who is well-known for her activism and long-standing advocacy for sustainability, returned to the red carpet for the second time.

For the event, Watson presented an award on the night in an upcycled gown conceived and produced by Harris Reed. The latter made the garment out of an old wedding dress that was donated to the Oxfam charity.

It was also an occasion for the royals to spread a message about sustainability; Prince William wore a recycled velvet jacket, and the Duchess of Cambridge decided to wear an Alexander McQueen gown that she had previously worn rather than anything new.

Pablo Escobar’s ‘Cocaine Hippos’ Are the First Animals to Be Considered Legal ‘Persons’ in the United States

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has, for the first time, recognized animals as legal persons in the country, according to a press statement from the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The hippos in question live in Colombia’s Magdalena River and are descended from four animals Pablo Escobar formerly held as part of his private zoo.

Since Escobar’s death in 1993, other animals in that zoo, rhinoceroses, elephants, and giraffes, have been transported to more suitable habitats, but the hippos were left alone and have thrived in the area.

The hippos, which are native to Africa, become plaintiffs in a 2020 lawsuit made against the Colombian government, which intends to slaughter approximately 100 of them due to their proliferation and intrusion into adjacent settlements.

To give more humane alternatives to death, including sterilization, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, on behalf of the hippo plaintiffs, filed an application in the Colombian litigation to depose two wildlife experts with experience in nonsurgical sterilization who reside in Ohio.

Judge Karen L. Litkovitz of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio recognized hippos as legal persons last week in order to allow them to benefit from a specific statute.

According to the release, this U.S. statute allows anybody who is an “interested person” in a foreign action to petition a federal court for authority to take expert depositions in the U.S. in aid of a foreign case. Animals are recognized as legal parties in Colombian court proceedings.

The District Court’s decision is the first time in the United States that this recognition has been extended to an animal.

“Animals have the right to be free from cruelty and exploitation, and the failure of U.S. courts to recognize their rights impedes the ability to enforce existing legislative protections,” Animal Legal Defense Fund executive director Stephen Wells said in a statement.

“The court’s order authorizing the hippos to exercise their legal right to obtain information in the United States is a critical milestone in the broader animal status fight to recognize that animals have enforceable rights.”

Wildlife experts Dr. Elizabeth Berkeley of Animal Balance and Dr. Richard Berlinski of Animal Balance provided testimonies that will be used to build support for a contraceptive that would prevent the hippopotamuses from proliferating without slaughtering them.

However, a CBS News article on the topic stated that the legal action would have no effect in Colombia.

“The ruling has no impact in Colombia because they only have an impact within their own territories. It will be the Colombian authorities who decide what to do with the hippos and not the American ones,” said Camilo Burbano Cifuentes, a criminal law expert at Colombia’s Universidad Externado.