Doing more than protest: When management at Britain’s Channel 5 asked Selina Scott, 57, if she’d be
available to cover for anchor Natasha Kaplinsky’s maternity leave, she said yes and marked her calendar. When instead the channel tapped Isla Traquair aged 28 and Matt Barbet aged 32, Scott did more than complain. She hired a lawyer:  “TThe Channel and the director of programmes for Five, Bob Gale, have stated that they deny this claim and will defend themselves against it,” reports the Daily Mail. Emily Bell, at the Guardian UK, calls Scott’s lawsuit an important step forward:

The temptation to hire in one’s own image for most managers is as irresistible as it is subliminal – which is why there are a lot of opinionated women working in digital management at the Guardian, and why we all need targets to remind us to look beyond the mirror.

On screen, any number of unconventional-looking ageing blokes (Jeremy Clarkson, Jonathan Ross, Chris Moyles, Alan Sugar, Adrian Chiles, Jeremy Paxman, Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan) are paid at a top rate for the talent they possess beyond their appearance. For women it is an altogether different story – appearance and age are clearly factors in choosing female presenters in a way that they aren’t for men. The media should be deeply concerned about this un-diversity – not because it represents moral turpitude on our part, but because it represents bloody awful business sense.

Gym fix everything: That’s long been one of Newsmix’s sayings, reinforced every week when we hear about the benefits of training for cancer survivors, dementia prevention and sleep. And at least one midlife woman found that becoming a trainer at a mall gym helped her come back from a heart attack:

years ago, Rhonda Atkinson sat down for an interview at a small
Roseburg gym for women with little hope of landing a trainer position.
She’s now convinced that getting the job saved her life.
Then weighing 253 pounds, the 5-foot-5-inch Roseburg resident said she hadn’t faced the reality of her health. “I was in denial,” said Atkinson, an outgoing blonde in her 40s. “Food was an addiction.”

found herself interviewing for a trainer position at Contours Express
after spotting a newspaper ad. Atkinson accepted the job the same day
of the interview. That first week she said she could barely make it
through one of the gym’s 30-minute weight and cardio circuits.
Exercise, though, is now a part of her workday… [And] Atkinson’s diet was about
to undergo a dramatic change. She had just stepped out of the shower
one morning in April when she felt a pain in her chest that was like
two hands clenching her heart.

From Harrisburg to Hollywood. Award-winning director Kimberly Peirce may live in Malibu and be able to work with the likes of Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny. But as she explained in a recent magazine interview, both the stories she needs tell come straight from her roots in working-class central Pennsylvania:

Peirce, forty, carries herself with a seriousness that seems in keeping with someone so drawn to such grim material. She’s small, with angularly attractive features, protuberant brown eyes, and a leanly muscled body, coming off a bit like a battle-hardened elf. She showed up for lunch at an oceanfront restaurant near her Malibu home, wearing a narrow-lapeled tuxedo jacket over a purple motorcycle T-shirt, to talk about Stop-Loss, Iraq, and why she felt she had to make the movie.

Q: Stop-Loss and Boys Don’t
are both set in small towns, among hard-drinking working
class Americans. What draws you to that milieu?

Peirce: The first thing is that it is very personal. We’re from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is real working class.

Q: Your parents were very young when they had you.

Very young. Fifteen-sixteen. As one of my father’s friends told me,
“You’re taught to drink, to drive, and to fuck.” That’s how you’re
taught to be a man in Harrisburg. I got out because I educated myself,
went to the University of Chicago, went to Columbia. But Harrisburg is
where I came from.

Q: What do you want people to take away from your [new] movie?

Peirce: I’d like them to be incredibly moved. I don’t make movies so people will come out of the theater and say, “Let’s stop the Iraq War.” It’d be great if that could happen, but that’s not the thing. It’s to move them to think, “Wow, I didn’t realize that this was what it was like for a young man to go over there and put his life on the line.” It’s not a protest film. A director has to tell you good stories.

— Chris L.

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