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Private Sydney: Nothing negative about this African teenager’s story

So far she has walked for Bottega Veneta, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Simone Rocha, Burberry, Versace, F..

So far she has walked for Bottega Veneta, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Simone Rocha, Burberry, Versace, Fendi and Prada.

She recently told Vogue: "I never thought, at 18, I'd have my own apartment, renting in a new country. I was dying for the new year to start. I'm a grown woman – I'm 18!"

Akech is not the only Australian model making waves around the world.

Currently the darling of the male modelling world, our very own Zoolander, Jordan Barrett, has caused a stir around the offices of global modelling juggernaut IMG after he ditched the agency to sign up with new Sydney outfit Kult.

Strike a pose: Jordan Barrett gives his best "Blue Steel".

Photo: Brook Mitchell

This poses an interesting conundrum for IMG in the lead-up to Australian Fashion Week in a few weeks. The event is owned by IMG and, previously, Barrett has walked for local designers, being one of the models on IMG's books.

It remains to be seen if his latest move will thwart his ability to return home and strut the Sydney catwalk.


It was a bad day for millionaire polo enthusiast John Marshall last Saturday.

Not only did he grace these pages after PS revealed he had pleaded not guilty in Windsor Local Court to charges of assaulting his neighbour, fellow polo moneybags Peter Higgins, but he ended the day in a hospital bed after falling off his beloved polo pony, leaving him poleaxed in the middle of his polo field.

John Marshall with his son Adam Marshall at their Kurri Burri Polo Club in Richmond.

Photo: Supplied

Marshall, who was also ordered by the court to stay away from Higgins and is due back for a hearing next month, is understood to have suffered several serious injuries, but his spokeswoman did not elaborate when PS inquired.

"John is recovering very well, thank you," Marshall's spokeswoman told PS.

"He was hospitalised but is due out this week. All active polo players have injuries from time to time."

As for rumours he was airlifted to hospital after fracturing his ribs and suffering a punctured lung, no further information was forthcoming.

However, his spokeswoman did comment on the charges Marshall, whose business interests include the huge Sportscraft fashion label, is facing after PS's revelations last Saturday.

"As for the spurious charges, once the full facts come out – and they will – those charges will be shown to have been misplaced," she said.

"The matter is before the courts so it is not appropriate to comment further at this time."

Last week, PS reported millionaire businessman Higgins, a founder of Mortgage Choice and a former Dragons' Den judge, who is also the owner of the Sydney Polo Club at Richmond, claimed he was left bloodied, bruised and "stunned" following an alleged incident involving Marshall.

Polo horse breeder and businessman Peter Higgins.

Photo: Edwina Pickles

At Windsor Local Court, Marshall, 68, pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and trespass after he and Higgins, 58, had an encounter on Higgins' property during a polo match.

Higgins' lawyers had previously sent Marshall a letter informing the latter that he was not welcome on the former's property and that, if he turned up, the police would be called, which is allegedly what happened when Higgins confronted Marshall after discovering him on his land. He alleges Marshall then headbutted him following an altercation.

Locals have been agog with chatter following the latest episode in what has been a long-running feud between the men, with lawyers at 10 paces, elaborate public relations campaigns, and Facebook catfights in a turf war between two of Sydney's wealthiest men.

Higgins only had one word to say on the matter when PS called: "Karma".


A decade ago he was one of Double Bay's leading society hairdressers, splashed across the social pages with his star clients and a key player during the early days of Australian Fashion Week, though several years ago he gave up the glitz of Sydney for the calm of Byron Bay.

Former Double Bay hairdresser Bruce Mann and his partner Llan Anthony, accused of illegally taking explicit photos in public toilets.

Photo: Facebook

These days the headlines surrounding Bruce Mann have not been quite so welcome, especially after his partner, Llan Anthony, was accused of taking illicit photographs and videos of more than 60 people in public toilets without their knowledge.

Last month Anthony, 44, spent the weekend in jail but was granted bail under the condition he not visit or loiter near public toilets, not use electronic devices except landline phones, not visit the Lismore Bunnings store and not leave his home unless accompanied by Mann.

The Northern Star reported his lawyer, Edwina Lloyd, questioned the strength of the prosecution case, noting the alleged victims in each image and piece of footage would need to be identified and must confirm their lack of consent but none of the images police showed included the subject's face.

Anthony's alleged activities were brought to police attention after an incident on March 8, when he was accused of looking over a public toilet cubicle wall at a plain-clothes police officer in South Lismore.

Anthony is due to enter a plea on Monday when the matter returns to Lismore Court.


It's been called Elizabeth Bay's very own Berlin Wall, but millionaire property developer Theo Onisforou is adamant the two luxury terrace houses he is planning to build along the exclusive Billyard Avenue will become "architectural classics".

Millionaire property developer Theo Onisforou's proposed terrace houses in Elizabeth Bay, a "future classic".

Photo: Angus Property

Onisforou is waiting for City of Sydney council to determine a development application he has lodged to demolish an existing home and build two new, 10-metre wide terraces. He predicts they will be more valuable than "the current Australian records for a terrace house", which incidentally is held by his estranged wife, former Harper's Bazaar "gemologist" Heidi Onisforou, who last year sold her Challis Avenue home for a record $13 million.

But none of it has impressed local development agitator and self-styled heritage warrior Andrew Woodhouse, the president and founder of the Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage Conservation & Residents Society, which is vehemently opposing Onisforou's vision.

"The proposals design is anathema and obnoxious, out of character with its surroundings, and is neo-brutalism. It has hallmarks of the Berlin Wall," was how Woodhouse viewed the DA in his submission to council, telling PS his unincorporated group had more than 1000 members, though he was unable to provide evidence to back his claim.

Andrew Woodhouse has dubbed the proposal the "Berlin Wall".

Photo: Michelle Mossop

Onisforou says he is planning to live in one of the homes when it is built and that he had personally addressed each of the objections he had been notified of, with his proposed design not affecting any neighbouring views and within the floor-space ratio for the area.

Landlord and millionaire property developer Theo Onisforou.

Photo: Katherine Griffiths

"I am not a property vandal," he assured PS, inviting Woodhouse to see his detailed plans of the proposal, though Woodhouse indicated he was "not interested".


One of Sydney's more intriguing characters has quietly slipped back into town, with PS hearing none other than Andrew "Baci" Whitlam has returned.

Andrew "Baci" Whitlam with Gough Whitlam in 1980.

Photo: Fairfax Media

The former socialite, who changed his surname by deed poll to Whitlam in honour of the former prime minister, the late Gough Whitlam, whom he famously described as his "godfather", once sold imported European clothes at Double Bay boutique Baci Da Roma.

Whitlam was unable to attend his "godfather's" funeral in 2014 as he was still serving prison time for dealing cocaine.

Gough Whitlam's son, Nicholas Whitlam, was at pains to make sure PS was informed that claims his father remained close with Baci in his later years were not accurate: "Gough resided at Lulworth for the last six years of his life. Andrew Whitlam never visited him there and he was never invited to do so."


Long before Patsy and Edina got hold of it in Absolutely Fabulous, Bollinger was being quaffed by the colonials by the crate-load.

A grand affair: The Bollinger RD 2004 dinner at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Photo: Supplied

On Tuesday night at the Art Gallery of NSW, Bollinger threw a dinner to launch the release of its R.D 2004 (tough gig), but even more interesting was the discovery that the first bottle was imported to Australia in 1901, and the stuff is still being imported by Rob Hirst, a direct descendant of the family that first brought it here.

Eat your heart out James Bond, Australia ranks as Bollinger's third biggest market – per capita – in the world.

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Andrew Hornery

Senior journalist Andrew Hornery is the man behind The Sydney Morning Herald's Private Sydney column. If they are worth knowing about, they are on the PS radar.

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So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn


Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

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Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.


"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

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Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.

The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.

"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.

"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.


Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.

"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)

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