Categories
Beauty and Fashion

Gucci sells £1,700 dress with ribbon waist for men to fight 'toxic masculinity stereotypes'

FASHION giant Gucci is flogging a £1,700 orange check dress with a ribbon on the front for blokes to disrupt the “toxic stereotypes that mold masculine gender identity”.

They reckon it looks great with a pair of ripped jeans, a man bag and a woolly bobble hat.


And there’s a floral print creation for £1,150 in its latest range of gender-fluid clobber.

The Italian firm says of its pricey check creation: “Inspired by grunge looks from the ‘90s and styled over ripped denim pants, this tartan smock in delicate colours reflects the idea of fluidity explored for the Fall Winter 2020 fashion show, disrupting the toxic stereotypes that mold masculine gender identity.

“The contrast Peter Pan collar and smock embroidery on the front add a childhood inspired element, which ties to a recurrent theme of the collection.

"Pieces with versatile ways to wear and style embrace each person who is part of the House’s individual spirit.”


The orange and beige garment is cotton with a satin bow on front.

But it hardly embraces the average male body-size as it only comes in XS and XSS.

And the firm’s website says of the £1,150 pink and torquise number: “In an exclusive collaboration for Fall Winter 2020, Liberty London’s emblematic floral prints define a collection of Gucci accessories and ready-to-wear styles.

"With its collection of fine ornaments, fabrics and objets d’art from around the world, the Tudor revival luxury department store founded in 1875 invoked social change in interior design and dress to the point that the Art Nouveau period in Italy is called 'Liberty Style'.

“This long shirt features the ‘Gucci Liberty’ label at the back in honour of the special mash-up.

"Pieces with versatile ways to wear and style embrace each person who is part of the House’s individual style.”

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TV and Movies

'On the Rocks': Bill and Sofia's Excellent New York Adventure

Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks, which is now streaming on Apple TV+, is in many ways a straightforwardly neurotic New York comedy — albeit one run through the stylishly lensed, muted discontent familiar to this director’s work. It’s a little zany, a little blue, emotionally jagged, adventurously all over the place. If you’re a romantic, though, the movie’s inciting incident — the bomb that detonates all the problems to come — probably plays like something closer to a scene out of a horror movie. 

Laura (Rashida Jones) and Dean (Marlon Wayans) are a handsome young couple well-off enough to afford a family-size SoHo apartment. She’s a writer; he’s a rising star in tech who knows, to the day, how many followers his company’s account has gained on Instagram. They have a kid who’s still stroller-age. He, being the head of a startup that’s off to a dizzying start, is often out and about traveling on business. She, being a writer, is the one stuck back in New York playing stay-at-home mom, walking the kids to school, enduring the self-obsession of her fellow Manhattanite parents, making sure the kids don’t float off into space. All of this despite the mounting pressures of an upcoming deadline for her book.

One night, Xanaxed and groggy from a flight back to New York City from London, Dean arrives home, collapses on the bed next to his wife, and starts to nuzzle and kiss her. She stirs awake, happy to see him, and says, “Hi.” Dean stops and gives her a confused look, then hits her with a deflated flash of recognition. “Oh,” he says. “Hi.” And passes out. The second strike comes the next morning, when Laura finds a bag of toiletries in Dean’s suitcase the next morning that is distinctly girlish and very obviously not Dean’s. It is also, equally obviously, not Laura’s — nor is the body oil she finds when she opens it. 

That’s bad. But in truth, the damage had already been done the night before. Laura’s mind had already been flooded with questions, and those questions are what drive her through the rest of the movie. Who did Dean think he was kissing last night? Because it sure wasn’t her. And what’s with that reaction — “Oh”? The undistilled, chopped-liver disappointment of it. She’s his wife! 

On the Rocks kicks off, in other words, by cracking open a sinkhole of desperate questions, dangerous suspicions, and comically bad choices beneath what otherwise appears to be a stable, loving marriage. Not that things were perfect. Plain, uncomplicated happiness for women — particularly married, well-off women — is not exactly a trademark of Coppola’s work. And Laura arrives with all the hallmarks of a Coppola heroine. She’s a woman with everything she needs, materially speaking, who is nevertheless visibly unsatisfied. What is often mistaken for mere bourgeois ennui in Coppola’s films is, here as elsewhere, a more specific ailment: privilege that isn’t quite paying off, a good life that doesn’t really feel so good.

That’s in large part because of Laura’s other baggage. Baggage that arrives charming but gimlet-eyed, smooth with splash of venom. Baggage manifest in the form of a man named Felix: Laura’s father, played with incredible wit and cucumber-cool misogyny by Bill Murray. He is as attractive as he is repulsive. And he is, as this movie shows, a powerful force in Laura’s life. Sure, she has other problems. She is uncertain of where she fits into the life of her husband, cheating or no; her book isn’t going well; conversations with other women —  more visibly “cool” women — leave Laura feeling alien. Still, somehow, these roads — Laura’s general lack of sense of where she fits into her own life — seem to point back to Felix.

On the Rocks is a movie about a mistake: Not Dean’s, but rather Laura’s. Because she asks her father for advice on what to do about Dean. Hilarity, of the cringing, ridiculous variety, necessarily ensues. Felix, who’s 76 and very much stuck in his was, is the kind of man who — old-school player that he is — calls his “kid” with equal parts affection and sincere diminishment. This is a man who freely flirts with, practically harasses, younger women in front of his daughter, who openly discourses on the evolutionary explanation for why men prefer women of a certain age and size and shape of ass. “Can’t you ever just act normal around any woman?” Laura asks him over lunch, to which her father replies, referring to a waitress, “She’s a ballet dancer. They love to be complimented.” Oh dad, you kidder. 

It’s worth saying outright that Felix seems jealous of Laura’s husband. Certainly he has a “men are men” lens on the world and, accordingly, figures Dean is cheating because men cheat. Because he, Felix, cheated. Hence what follows. The plot of On the Rocks is largely concerned with what happens when Laura enlists her father (or does he enlist himself?) in the hunt for answers about Dean. Plenty of bad choices are made. But what matters to this movie aren’t the plot points of their adventure so much as the why. What matters is that, after having left Laura’s mother many years ago to live the international player’s life — after proving to be an awful model, for young Laura, of what a father and husband can and should be — Felix is suddenly waryingly eager to be involved. Has he ever been this gung-ho about his daughter in his life? From Jones’s performance, one gathers not. 

The power of Coppola’s film, and of Murray’s performance in particular, is that the answers to this why stack up with more and more implication and complication as the movie proceeds, without the movie overly pronouncing its intentions. Instead, Coppola proceeds as she usually does: with the veneer of a light touch in the construction of her scenes, and an attention to her characters’ lifestyle that never bleeds into self-seriousness. Visually, her work here isn’t as overtly stylish as it has been in the past. But the psychological swings she manages are canny and precise, informed — this being a comedy in form, if not always content — by the power of a quiet punchline. (Jenny Slate, as a motor-mouthed parent Laura cannot stand, is a pleasurably loud addition to the muted Coppola universe; she’s to this movie what Anna Faris’s karate-chopping movie starlet was to Lost in Translation.)

The question that drives this movie forward isn’t that of Dean’s possible infidelity, but rather of Felix’s intentions. Why does he suddenly care so much about the happiness of his now fully-adult, unhappily married daughter? Murray’s disarming wisdom and charm, anchored in a movie that keeps its plot slim and its best scenes robust, bump heads against the things that make his character despicable. The movie is all the more prickly and rich for having a man whose displays of power over women gross us out even as his personality, that smooth talking confidence, reels us in as effectively as the Sirens. Felix’s intentions, Murray shows us, have a little to do with his age and a bit more to do with the accompanying regret, even if he never quite confesses to it. The man knows that he set his daughter up. A man such as this, certain that daughters will ultimately marry men like (but of course lesser than) their fathers, accordingly has reason to believe that, when it comes to the promise of a happy marriage with a good man, his daughter is fucked.

Is it also possible that race is on Felix’s mind? Race — that unspoken subject, at least in this movie. There’s a scene here that doesn’t work for just that reason. It involves the police. The problem with the scene isn’t so much its sense of how a man as entitled and well-connected as Felix might react to being pulled over — that is to say, by having the upper hand and wielding it shamelessly — but rather in its sense of the way Laura might react to it all. Laura’s mother — Felix’s ex-wife — is black. Her husband is black. (And, to the point about marrying one’s father, there’s some delicious irony in that fact.) Yet race is the one potential thing on Laura’s mind that On the Rocks potentially shortchanges. You believe the “Oh, Dad” bit when it comes to Felix talking about a woman’s ass, because, frankly, he’s always that guy. Cops? Well, that’s different territory. The feelings Laura would plausibly have about all of this are notably absent. And so are Dean’s. The plot of this movie boils down, in some ways, a white guy’s not-totally-justified suspicions of his daughter’s black husband. Does the movie know it? A glimmer in Wayans’s eye late in the movie, one of those looks that seem to summarize a thousand conflicting feelings at once, suggests that if the movie doesn’t totally own up to what might be going on here, Dean is most certainly not in the dark.

On the Rocks proves far wiser, and somehow diverting, as a portrait of a father’s clear but uncomfortable love for his daughter. By the end you may feel encouraged to recall the beginning, when, before we even see a single image, before we know anything about who Laura and Dean are, Felix reveals to us who he is. “And remember,” we hear him say. “Don’t give your heart to any boys. You’re mine — until you get married. Then you’re still mine.” In everything that follows, Felix proves how thoroughly he means this. The movie doesn’t redeem him, exactly. But there are lessons — for Felix and viewers both — in excavating just what it means.

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Beauty and Fashion

Botox Alternatives: 40 Wrinkle Treatments We Love

With the best foundation, lipstick, face oil, self-tanner, face moisturizer, face wash, eye cream, teeth whitener, eyelash serum, face masks and face cleanser to decide on, it is easy to forget to add wrinkle treatments into your beauty regimen. 

Maybe you’re unable to get to your aesthetician for Botox appointments due to social distancing. Maybe you’re curious about cosmetic injections but prefer a treatment you can do at home — or without needles. Whatever the case, there are a lot of beauty products on the market right now that can be used as Botox alternatives to aid in wrinkle treatment and fine lines.

Botulinum toxin, which is administered by certified medical professionals in the form of Botox injections, is used both to treat and prevent facial wrinkles by paralyzing muscles underneath the skin. Common targets include fine lines on the forehead, frown lines (also called “the elevens”) and crow’s feet. Once a taboo topic, female and male celebrities alike now talk openly about their injections — Kelly Ripa even filmed a recent Botox appointment for her Instagram Stories.

Lines and wrinkles are a completely natural part of aging, caused in part by reduced collagen production and loss of elastin in the skin. While some choose to embrace (or simply don’t care about!) their wrinkles, others look for ways to reduce the appearance of aging. If Botox is off the table, even just for now, we’ve found some stellar products that can mimic its effect by smoothing, plumping, blurring, brightening, lifting and other magic-like tricks through powerful ingredients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

Ready for a facial refresh in the form of cleansers, creams, face wash, moisturizers, serums and face oils? Shop our top alternatives to Botox injections below.

Injections no more — and wrinkles no more! This powerful skin care treatment tingles a little as it works its magic. Its neuropeptides relax facial areas that need it, while magnesium and adenosine soften the appearance of fine lines, frown lines and crow’s feet. It’s worth noting that in a self-assessment test conducted on 25 volunteers, 100% reported that the skin around their eyes had a more lifted appearance after just 15 minutes of using this cream.

The high-end Eve Lom Cleanser was described by Vogue as “worth every penny.” This cleanser can be used on all skin types and deep cleans (without drying) while exfoliating, toning and improving circulation — and it’s on sale for a limited time at LookFantastic.

Obagi’s Hydrate Facial Moisturizer can be used on all skin types. This formula helps to combat skin dryness without clogging pores and provides hydration all day long.

Wish list item! La Mer’s pricey but powerful eye treatment delivers faster everything: brightening and strengthening of the skin, smoothing of lines and wrinkles, and soothing of the under eye area. In a sensory test conducted by a third party, the concentrate was shown to reduce aging signs in 21 days after participants used the product twice per day for four weeks.

The Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker SPF 30 uses a two-prong approach to anti-aging: an advanced treatment to both rejuvenate the skin and protect it from the sun’s harmful rays.

Yves Saint Laurent Forever Youth Liberator Water-in-Oil is an anti-aging oil in a patented formula that delivers more nourished, radiant and supple skin that keeps improving over time.

This affordable lightweight serum uses glycerin to smooth and moisturize lines and wrinkles, while reflecting pigments form a light-diffusing cushion. The result is a younger, healthier-looking complexion — all without fillers. (You can also use it on your neck!)

Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum is an anti-wrinkle serum that’s appropriate for all skin types.

Sunday Riley’s Bright Young Thing Set includes Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment, Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream and C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum. A trio of Sunday Riley’s advanced formulas that help fight the appearance of dark spots, discolorations, fine lines and aging to reveal clear skin.

M3 Naturals Collagen Lip Plumper is a natural lip enhancer for fuller softer lips with increased elasticity. This lip plumper reduces fine lines and aging. 

This powerful anti-aging serum is packed with 15% vitamin C, 5% PHAs and hyaluronic acid for brighter, firmer and more hydrated skin.

Re-create Sarah Chapman’s world famous Skinesis facial at home with the Skinesis Overnight Facial. This silky serum is enriched with the anti-aging complex Renovage, vitamins A and C, and omega oils to smooth, balance and refresh your skin overnight. Use promo code CELEBRATE to score the 15% discount below.

If you’re new to Lancer Skincare, we highly recommend trying the Method range with this intro kit. Dr. Lancer’s bestselling three-step regimen features the Polish, Cleanse and Nourish products to exfoliate, cleanse and moisturize the skin, helping with a range of skincare concerns from breakouts and dullness. The Method line is available in options for normal-combination skin (pictured here), sensitive-dehydrated skin and oily-congested skin.

Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment deeply exfoliates the surface of your skin to reveal radiance, clarity and a youthful glow. This super-concentrated treatment plumps the look of fine lines and wrinkles on your face in three minutes.

Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum, a cult favorite of the beauty-obsessed, is a brightening and tightening serum with 15% ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C).

Give yourself an at-home facial with this exfoliant that has PHAs to unveil plumper, fresher skin. 

Patyka’s Advanced Plumping Serum is a certified organic option that uses a high concentration of hyaluronic acid to firm skin, fill in fine lines and revive natural collagen production. This bottle will last a long time — you only need to apply a few drops at a time.

Dr Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro is an LED wearable device that targets and treats wrinkles and the common signs of aging. The LED device smooths out fine lines balance discoloration, wrinkles and redness. Expect to see noticeable results within two weeks.

The Dewy Skin Cream by Tatcha is a super rich face cream containing Japanese purple rice, which can plump skin as the product delivers its namesake dewy glow.

The Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior Eye is a hardworking eye gel that plumps and hydrates to erase visible dark circles, puffiness, lines and wrinkles.

This anti-aging cleansing duo includes a cleansing cream and balm aimed at helping to revitalize the skin and remove impurities. Please consult a dermatologist before starting a new skin care routine. 

The Strivectin Power Starters Tightening Trio contains Tightening Face Serum, Tightening Eye Serum and Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus. These three products visibly tighten, lift and firm your neck while toning the look of your fine lines and firming, tightening and revitalizing the skin around your eyes.

This indulgent anti-aging face mask contains caffeine, peridot and flecks of actual gold. Keep it on for 10 minutes in the morning to reveal a radiant glow for the rest of your day.

If your skin is looking dull and needs a refresh, the Caviar Lime Acid Peel — a Victoria Beckham staple — is the solution. This wash-off peel boasts 10% glycolic acid and caviar lime along with 10% phytic acid to resurface the skin for a brighter, radiant complexion. It also has stabilized retinol to help with lines and wrinkles. This product is an anti-aging essential.

Remove impurities and unclog pores to reveal the healthy, glowing skin underneath. This little gadget is especially great for the areas around the nose and chin.

The Clinique Smart Clinical MD Multi-Dimensional Age Transformer – Revolumize is formulated to achieve a plumped look by combining three different molecular weights of Hyaluronic Acid. You should apply where needed (or your full face) twice a day on face, neck and décolletage where you see a loss of volume.

Tula’s 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream is perfect for combination skin — its filled with probiotics, superfoods, watermelon fruit extract and squalene to deeply hydrate and firm skin. Stuff it’s not filled with? Parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehydes, formaldehyde releasing preservatives, triclosan, retinol or gluten.

Dermatologist to the stars Dr. Erno Laszlo treated radiant style icons like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. His namesake line’s Firmarine Lift Essence Lotion Anti-Aging Essence lifts the skin thanks to a blend of botanical extracts and spirulina maxima extract. The firming gel formula glosses over wrinkles, bounces light away from the face and is a quick fix for smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and help your body repair damaged cells. This serum from Miranda Kerr’s organic beauty line is chock-full of it (and is especially good for fading dark spots), while its sodium hyaluronate helps to plump the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The Kate Somerville Ageless Icons Set contains a full-size Kx Active Concentrates Bio-Mimicking Peptides Serum and ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment. To use this dynamic duo: Apply the serum twice a day to your face, eyes and neck, after gently cleansing the skin. The exfoliating treatment should be used once or twice a week, either morning or night.

Approved by Goop and radiant actresses like Olivia Wilde and Laura Dern, True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil contains a blend of natural ingredients like pomegranate and grapeseed oils that fight free radicals and reduce signs of aging. If you have breakout-prone skin, try Clear Pure Radiance Oil; if you have sensitive skin, try the Calm version.

First Aid Beauty’s FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum is safe for sensitive skin. This serum combines retinol and polypeptides to help soften the look of wrinkles and fine lines with ingredients including hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, aloe, colloidal oatmeal, allantoin and ceramides.

With regular use, this wildly popular handheld facial device can effectively reduce wrinkles and crinkles, resulting in improved facial contour and tone.

Physicians Formula’s Plump Potion Needle-Free Lip Plumping provides instant lip plumping effect for the look of fuller lips with no lip injections required. Hyaluronic Acid is used for moisture that penetrates to fill in the look of fine lines in your lips.

Crepe Erase’s Advanced Body Repair Treatment is a décolleté and neck cream that is designed to repair and condition dry, aging, “crepey” skin on the neck, chest, arms and legs.

The comprehensive Eva Naturals Facelift in a Bottle 3-in-1 Anti-Aging Set contains a retinol serum, a vitamin C serum and an eye gel. This trio is formulated to reduce wrinkles, fade dark spots and treat under-eye bags and dark circles.

If you’re looking for an eye-specific product, this treatment contains eight forms of hyaluronic acid and three forms of collagen to tackle crow’s feet. The applicator is shaped like a fingertip; use it to gently massage into the delicate area around your eyes. Fillerina has an extensive anti aging skin care collection that targets eyes, lips and mouth with varying strengths.

Expression lines and wrinkles from your pillow — yep, we get them too — are no match for this innovative patch, which uses medical grade silicone to compress and smooth your brow line with near-instant results. You can wear it while you sleep or for a few hours while you’re working from home. According to SiO Beauty’s clinical studies, regular use can even prevent new lines from forming while wearing the patch.

This firming overnight mask gives “sleep tight” a whole new meaning. A combination of peptide water, shape-memory and oat-derived polymers, and collagen work together to firm up the skin and improve facial contours. It’s appropriate for all skin types, but especially if you need an extra shot of moisture. Use this two or three times a week while you get your beauty rest.

 

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Lifestyle

Tennis umpires are making match-defining calls by tracking marks in the clay, and stars say it’s time to go digital

  • Tennis pros — including Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Dominic Thiem — are calling on the French Open to introduce shot-tracking technology such as Hawk-Eye and FoxTenn at Roland-Garros.
  • Stars at the Grand Slam have grown increasingly frustrated with umpires making match-defining — and sometimes incorrect — decisions based off of marks in the clay and the naked eye alone.
  • The French Open is the only Grand Slam event that has yet to implement the use of simulation technology to more accurately pinpoint where balls strike the court.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Many aspects of the game of tennis have advanced considerably in recent years.

But in some regards, the sport's officiating has been left in the dust.

Such is the case at the French Open, where umpires call shots in or out based on marks in the clay and the naked eye alone. Unsurprisingly, a system subject to human error such as this one often results in inaccurate judgments — from umpires focusing on stray marks in the clay, balls leaving unclear impressions in the dirt, or line judges mistracking shots.

Denis Shapovalov plays a ball during his French Open match against Roberto Carballes Baena.
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Stars at the Grand Slam have grown increasingly frustrated with the powers-that-be making match-defining decisions based on unreliable methodology. And now, calls to implement technology designed specifically to track tennis shots with pinpoint accuracy — such as Hawk-Eye and FoxTenn — are growing louder by the day.

After losing a five-set thriller to Roberto Carballes Baena Thursday — and finding his own match marred by a crucially miscalled shot — Canadian star Denis Shapovalov took the question on everyone's mind to Twitter.

"When are we going to have Hawk-Eye on clay @rolandgarros @atptour?"

He's far from the only one. World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas said he believes "they should implement that into tennis" because "technology allows us to do far more things than current knowledge allows us."

"Doesn't really matter the surface," the Greek superstar added. "That's innovation, and we have to keep growing and keep adding new things to the sport that will help make the sport better and more fair … So I fully support that there should be Hawk-Eye in every surface on tennis, regardless of whether it's clay or grass."

Rafael Nadal reacts to the result of a hawk-eye challenge at Wimbledon in 2017.
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Roland-Garros is the only Grand Slam tournament that has yet to turn to computer systems as a means of making pivotal calls on the court. The US Open first began implementing Hawk-Eye technology in 2006. The following year, the Australian Open and Wimbledon followed suit.

As of 2016, more than 80 tournaments used the technology to help improve the accuracy and fairness of calls, according to the company that produces the line-calling service. Clay events have been notoriously slow to evolve, but Austrian Dominic Thiem said he didn't face "any issues" at the Rio Open after the tournament became the first clay competition on the circuit to use FoxTenn.

Thiem, who won the US Open just last month, agreed with Shapovalov and Tsitsipas about Roland-Garros adapting to the times.

"I would 100% support Hawk-Eye on clay," Thiem said, per journalist Max Gao. "Today in my match there was a mistake in my favor actually. Casper [Ruud] showed me the mark on his phone after the match in the first game of the second set."

Italian Stefano Travaglia (left) examines a ball mark with chair umpire James Keothovan during his match against Rafael Nadal.
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

The world's third-ranked player insisted that "it's not the umpire's mistake" in every instance. Instead, he noted that court cleaning and brushing the lines makes it "almost impossible to see where the mark starts."

"So I think it would be fair for everybody if Hawk-Eye would also exist on clay," Thiem said. "So I think we should make it happen.

"I hope that next year we will have it in every clay court tournament," he added.

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Lifestyle

UFC refuse to bow down to coronavirus pandemic

Halfway around the world, inside a massive pandemic-proof bubble dubbed “Fight Island,” Dana White heard the news that President Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. 

White, as president of the UFC, is as well-versed as anyone on how to keep the virus at bay — this weekend his company will stage its 30th fight card (a Fight Night from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates) since the initial March outbreak shut things down in the United States. 

Meanwhile, as Trump’s longtime friend — dating back to White’s early UFC days, when he staged cards at Atlantic City casinos Trump owned at the time — he was uniquely concerned at what was happening back home.

“I called Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser],” White told Yahoo Sports Friday morning. “I think [Trump] gets through this. He has so much energy. He never stops. He’s in great shape. I think he’ll be OK.

“He’s the President of the United States,” said White, who has spoken on Trump’s behalf at each of the last two Republican National Conventions. “Even if you don’t agree with him, he’s a human being. And he’s done some good things for this country. What’s wrong with these dummies [rooting for him to be sick]. It makes me happy to be in Abu Dhabi.”

It’s been a wild 2020 for everyone, and White maybe more than most. Trying to run an international mixed martial arts operation during a global pandemic tested the skill, resources and resourcefulness of a company that had seen it all in building itself into a multibillion-dollar global behemoth the past two decades. 

White received significant criticism when he tried to start holding cards as early as April — his first attempt at a tribal casino in California was canceled at the request of broadcast partner ESPN. He was scolded for even attempting to get back to business. He was told that doing this safely was nearly impossible. 

Undeterred, White and his staff were able to pull off UFC 249 on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. It wasn’t perfect — one fight was canceled due to a positive test — but it worked. There was no major, or even minor, outbreak. 

From there the UFC has never taken its foot off the pedal. White has consistently said that every company should try to return to as close to normal as it possibly can.

“Obviously, we had some trial and error at the beginning,” White said. “We had to reanalyze early on how we were doing things. But we continued to tighten things up and made everything stronger. That was the key to the success. 

“We’ve gotten better and better at it,” White continued. “We are testing people 3-4 times before they even get to Fight Island.”

The UFC certainly figured it out — and nearly every sports league in the world has followed along as well. This weekend is the start of three more fight cards at the company’s Middle Eastern home, a sealed off man-made island in Abu Dhabi that has allowed international fighters to compete. 

The idea of attempting this was daunting. It is no less so as White looks back, or even forward. As Trump’s positive test shows, the virus is still out there. The natural inclination to relax and believe you can avoid it must be avoided. 

It’s why White, who readily admits he is “petty” and loves “shutting up” the doubters, isn’t quite willing to spike the football yet. 

“Let me get to 2021,” he said, laughing. “This year is crazy.”

He considers this the new normal — fight cards in television sound stages with stringent and relentless protocols surrounding it. Testing. Masks. Distancing. Mandatory quarantining. Virus-killing misting tunnels. You name it, they have it. 

He says the UFC is only looking to make safety stronger. He has no plans to allow a limited number of fans into arenas, as other sports have. 

“I’m not doing fans until we can have a full arena,” White said, saying he’s figured out how to make revenue numbers work despite missing out on multimillion-dollar live gates. 

“I get calls from these countries, ‘We can allow fans. We have fans here in New Zealand. We have fans here in Australia,’ ” White said. “But we’d have to quarantine for two weeks and we can’t do that. We are doing fine. We are going to keep going.”

That means a normal schedule of fight cards split between the company facility in Las Vegas and in Abu Dhabi. 

That includes Saturday’s Fight Night featuring Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana, and the big one, UFC 254, later this month headlined by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje, who took a star turn by defeating Tony Ferguson at the first pandemic card in Jacksonville.

If that means White has to keep spending long stretches in the Middle East, then so be it. 

“Since Day 1 with this company we have said, ‘Let’s try to figure it out. Whatever is thrown at us, how do we deal with it and run the business?’ This is no different,” White said. “Everyday we worked on it, though, and we figured it out. We’ve always figured it out.

“This was hard because so many powerful forces were against us even trying. And the winds changed every few hours, every day. Every time we got something done, there was something new.

“But we’ve done it.”

Related: UFC star Stephan Bonnar 

16 PHOTOSUFC star Stephan BonnarSee GalleryUFC star Stephan BonnarLAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 09:Stephan Bonnar reacts after his decision loss to Forrest Griffin in the light heavyweight finals bout at The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Finale inside the Cox Pavilion on April 9, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) LAS VEGAS – DECEMBER 29: Mixed martial arts fighter Stephan Bonnar arrives at the grand opening of the CatHouse at the Luxor Resort & Casino December 29, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)LAS VEGAS – JANUARY 28:Stephan Bonnar poses for a portrait on January 28, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)LAS VEGAS – JULY 11:Stephan Bonnar looks on against Mark Coleman during their light heavyweight bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)LAS VEGAS – JULY 02:UFC fighter Stephan Bonnarweighs in for his Light Heavyweight fight against UFC fighter Krzysztof Soszynski at UFC 116 on July 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)UFC fighter Stephan Bonnar attends the UFC 111 party at 632 Hudson on March 26, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)LAS VEGAS – JULY 03:Stephan Bonnar reacts after defeating Krzysztof Soszynski during the UFC light heavyweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 3, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 09:Stephan Bonnar poses for a portrait on May 9, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)LAS VEGAS – DECEMBER 04:[R-L] Stephan Bonnar punches at Igor Pokrajac at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale at the Pearl at the Palms on December 4, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 30:Mixed martial artist Stephan Bonnar arrives at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)VANCOUVER, BC – JUNE 10:A shirtless Stephan Bonnar answers questions from the fans after giving a fan the shirt off his back during the UFC Fight Club Q&A at the UFC 131 weigh-in at Jack Poole Plaza on June 10, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)SAN JOSE, CA – NOVEMBER 19: Stephan Bonnar celebrates defeating Kyle Kingsbury during an UFC Light Heavywieght bout at the HP Pavillion on November 19, 2011 in San Jose, California.(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)US MMA-UFC fighter Stephan Bonnar practices in Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, on October 10, 2012. Bonnar will fight against Brazilian Anderson Silva on October 13.AFP PHOTO/Christophe Simon(Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/GettyImages)LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 03:Stephan Bonnar works out for the media during an open workout session at One Kick’s Gym on October 3, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 02:UFC fighter Stephan Bonnar interacts with fans during a Q&A session before the official weigh-in for The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale at The Palms Casino Resort on December 2, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 16:Stephen Bonnar attends the UFC 167 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 16, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)Up Next

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'Married at First Sight': Are Dr. Jessica Griffin and Jon Francetic Still Together?

Many cast members on Lifetime’s Married at First Sight have moved on to other relationships after ending their arranged marriages to complete strangers. But only one cast member has moved on to one of the experts who matched them in the first place!

Jonathan Francetic married Molly Duff on Married at First Sight Season 6 in Boston. Jonathan and Molly had a difficult relationship that never got off the ground.

Alongside Pastor Cal Roberson and Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Jessica Griffin was one of the show’s experts at the time. After filming wrapped—and Jon and Molly’s relationship was long since over—Jon and Jessica got together themselves. Today, they’re a happily engaged couple.

Jon married Molly on the sixth season of ‘Married at First Sight’

Molly and Jon tied the knot on Married at First Sight Season 6. Their shared love of adventure made them seem like a good match at first, but their relationship stalled on their honeymoon and never got much better after that.

Jon’s wife admitted she wasn’t attracted to him, and the pair never consummated their marriage. Some Married at First Sight fans thought Molly was overly harsh with her husband, even snapping and calling him “disgusting” at one point during an argument. Later, after breaking up with Molly on Decision Day, Jon accused her of being “emotionally abusive” throughout their eight weeks of marriage.

Jon started dating Jessica after appearing on the show

Many Married at First Sight fans noticed that Jessica was especially disapproving of Molly during an on-screen counseling session before Decision Day.

The Married at First Sight expert confronted Molly for what she referred to as her “dishonesty” about how she spoke to and treated Jon. When Jessica and Jon announced their relationship, some viewers even thought they’d glimpsed the chemistry between the unlikely pair while they were still on the show.

Jessica left Lifetime and was replaced by Dr. Viviana Coles. Jon proposed to Jessica, who is a divorced mom of three, in 2019. The pair has since opened up on Instagram about their wedding planning, including picking out a wedding dress, rings, and a venue.

In April 2020, Jon’s ex-wife spoke about the unusual situation for the first time to host Kevin Frazier on the Lifetime special Married at First Sight: Where Are They Now.

“It kind of sucked, because I was like, ‘Ok, this is someone that I had been confiding in the whole time,’” Molly admitted of her discovery that Jon and Jessica were together. “[Jessica] was supposed to be fighting for our marriage together. And then, kind of out of the blue, seemingly, they’re suddenly together.”

Still, Molly told Frazier that she’d spoken to both her former matchmaker and ex-husband in private about the situation. The Married at First Sight star said she was happy for the couple and wanted to move on with no hard feelings on either side.

Jon and Jessica recently shared photos of a romantic getaway

While the beginning of their relationship was certainly unconventional, Jessica and Jon have proven to be love goals since then. They even launched a coaching and webinar business, Love Builder, together.

Sadly, Jon and Jessica recently told fans their wedding might be postponed due to COVID-19. Still, their recent snapshots of romantic getaways in the Berkshires, cocktail date nights, and family evenings with the kids have made it obvious that the engaged couple is still very much in love.

Recently, Jessica shared a sweet message on Instagram that encapsulated her deep connection with Jon after their Married at First Sight beginnings.

“Just because,” she wrote poignantly. “So thankful for my best quarantine buddy. My best man. My best friend. My best everything.”

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Once heralded Yankees prospect unravels mystery of Aaron Judge’s No. 99

Slade Heathcott is so busy nowadays, largely with baseball-themed projects, that he barely watches the game itself. Although, he noted his 5 ½-year-old son’s increasing interest could change that equation.

Yet the Yankees’ top draft pick of 2009 still values the relationships he built with current players on the team that will face the Rays in an American League Division Series, and he complied when I asked him to share any memorable anecdotes from his time in the minor leagues with these guys

“When I came up with Gary, Gary was always different,” Heathcott said Thursday, in a telephone interview, of Gary Sanchez. “The one thing that came in front of Gary was his work ethic. I think he’s trying to improve that. Good guy, not really loud and obnoxious off the field.

“(Aaron, of course) Judge is exactly what you see. He’s an unbelievable presence: His demeanor, the way he handles everything.”

Then the former outfielder Heathcott, who was Judge’s teammate on Triple-A Scranton for parts of 2015 and 2016, offered an origin story of sorts on Judge:

“When we were in Scranton, I was like, ‘Judge, you’re wearing number 99 when you get to the big leagues. I’m like, ‘You’re the person that can wear number 99 (and make it work), and he was like ‘No, no, no, no,’ and he wound up wearing it.’”

Judge has said that the Yankees assigned him number 99 in spring training of 2016 and it just stuck with him — and he with it. Maybe the Yankees saw the same fit with Judge’s defensive-end physique that Heathcott did. Maybe Heathcott planted the seed in Judge’s head. Or maybe it was just kismet.

No matter, the story illustrates the feel and passion that Heathcott, who actually put up good numbers with the Yankees during a brief run in 2015 but failed to stick around due to a litany of injuries, holds for the game and its players. Along with a couple of ex-players, Heathcott founded More Than Baseball a foundation that helps current minor-league players — famously under-compensated — get by as they strive to reach their goals.

“I just feel like there’s a lot of money left on the table that could go in the pockets of minor leaguers,” Heathcott said. “…We have to raise money, but how can we give players a voice but do it in a way that brings the game together and shares the voices of people doing good things?”

One of the best answers to that question? Cleats. Mets’ Pete Alonso and Jacob deGrom and the Yankees’ Aaron Hicks were among 23 big-leaguers who wore special cleats designed by Stadium Custom Kicks over the final days of the regular season, then auctioned those cleats off with Major League Baseball’s help. Some players donated all of those proceeds to More Than Baseball, while others split their donation between MTB and personal causes.

“We’re not taking money out of ownership’s pocket,” said Heathcott, who believes that social-media posts of his supporting minor leaguers contributed to his inability to find a job playing, “but we’re putting money in minor leaguers’ pockets in other ways.”

Stadium Custom Kicks founder Alex Katz, a Long Island native and resident whom we profiled (https://nypost.com/2020/06/02/why-royals-minor-leaguer-wasnt-surprised-by-dayton-moores-commitment/) during the shutdown, is very involved with MTB, as are Rays minor-league pitcher Simon Rosenblum-Larson and former Mets minor leaguer Jeremy Wolf. Said Katz: “We help minor league players find jobs, find housing during the season, get equipment. There was a Venezuelan prospect, we gave him $200 for a taxi ride ride from the airport (in Venezuela) back to his home.”

All great stuff, and that’s not all for Heathcott, who splits his time between New York and Tampa. He also works with Players for the Planet, MVP, which stands for Merging Vets & Players. Oh, and by the way, the 30-year-old obtained his pilot’s license last year.

While he of course wishes that his career had gone differently — he is very open about his turbulence off the field as well as his injury issues —Heathcott speaks like a man at peace with his fate who enjoys helping people, keeping a hand in the game and leveraging his name to make it better.

“I live in New York half the time now, and as I’ve made this transition, hopefully one of these days I can trick the Yankees into bringing me in for some community relations,” he said. “My passion is kids. Being able to be that cornerstone (for them).

“One of these days,” Heathcott repeated, “I’m gonna trick them into hiring me.”

He has plenty to offer. Perhaps, as a bonus, he can throw in uniform number recommendations?

— This week’s Pop’s Quiz question came from Jim Balbirer of New Canaan, Connecticut: Name the Baseball Hall of Famer who plays himself in the 1978 TV movie “One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story.”

— My heartiest congratulations and gratitude to George A. King III, The Post’s longtime Yankees beat writer, who has announced his retirement (he’ll be working through November). I competed against George for his first 15 seasons on the job, 1997 through 2011, and then served as his teammate for the last nine. It was a lot more fun and I slept far better doing the latter, but even when we worked at different outlets, George always treated me with respect and humanity. And even though George published countless stories featuring information that the Yankees didn’t want public, the team showed its respect for him — and the way he did the job — with a great tribute video featuring all three managers from his time on the beat.

— Your Pop Quiz answer is Al Kaline. If you have a tidbit that connects baseball with popular culture, please send it to me at [email protected]

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Beauty and Fashion

Target Deal Days: What to Know About Its Early Holiday Savings

This year, Target will offer huge holiday deals early. The retail giant has announced multiple sale events for the holiday season, offering almost 1 million more deals than last year with savings extended from October to December. 

First, Target’s Deal Days will return on Oct. 13 and 14 — rivaling Prime Day, which will take place on the same days. Deal Days will feature online deals on hundreds of thousands of products across categories including electronics, home, toys, beauty, apparel and more (this is more than double of what was offered last year). Select deals will be released early starting Oct. 5. 

Contactless drive-up and order pick-up will be available, along with same-day delivery. 

Second, Black Friday deals will be available for the entire month of November with weeklong discounts and online deals revealed every day starting Nov. 1. If you have a Target RedCard, use it to get 5% off your purchase. 

Finally, Target is extending its Price Match Guarantee program beyond the 14 days. From Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, Target will price match and refund the difference of your Black Friday deal purchase if you find it for a lower price at Target. The retailer will also price match select competitors’ prices within 14 days of purchase. 

Be sure to check back as ET Style learns more about the best holiday savings for 2020. 

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How Jeffrey MacDonald Met His New Wife From Prison

FX’s Wilderness of Error revisits the case of MacDonald, who was convicted for killing his wife and daughters in 1979.

Over three decades after being convicted for the murder of his first wife and their two young daughters, Jeffrey McDonald found a new wife. According to the Washington Post, he married Kathryn MacDonald in 2002, and she believes her husband is innocent.

As chronicled in FX’s new docuseries Wilderness of Error, Jeffrey was convicted for killing his family in 1979 and has been in prison ever since. He’s always maintained his innocence in the case, instead claiming the murders were carried out by four home intruders. But it wasn’t until 2005, at the encouragement of Kathryn, that he considered applying for parole. "I didn’t want to go to the hearing," Jeffrey told People magazine in 2017. "But I was newly married — three years at the time with a loving and supportive wife. And I had new attorneys offering encouragement saying, ‘Times are changing and you never know.’"

However, Jeffrey was denied parole because that would mean claiming responsibility for the crimes, ultimately dashing Kathryn’s hopes of having a "normal" marriage. "I certainly didn’t see myself married to someone in prison," she told the Washington Post in 2005. "There’s no glamour in it. It’s not fun at all. I hate it. But I love the person."

According to the Post, Kathryn and Jeffrey’s relationship began after she wrote him a letter in 1997. She believed he was innocent and wanted to help with his case. Along the way, they fell in love. "When we realized that we were the single most important person to each other, then it seemed like a no-brainer," Jeffrey told the Post of their decision to get married.

In the 18 years since their wedding, Kathryn has spent a lot of time trying to get Jeffrey released from prison. In 2007, she even visited the mother of Helena Stoeckley, a woman who Jeffrey believes was one of the four intruders allegedly in his house that fateful night. Stoeckley died in 1983 and was never charged in connection to the crime. Though she made conflicting statements about her level of participation in the murders, her account was considered unreliable because she was a heavy drug user. Kathryn told the Fayetteville Observer that she also thinks Stoeckley was involved, and that Stoeckley’s mother allegedly confirmed so.

However, that didn’t lead to any progress in Jeffrey’s case, so Kathryn tried a new tactic earlier this year. She tweeted directly at President Donald Trump to ask for help. "You can save my most deserving husband’s [life]," she pleaded, citing Jeffrey’s age and the coronavirus pandemic as reasons that he needed to be released from prison. Trump didn’t respond.

Kathryn told the Washington Post that she’s been saving the bottle of wine from her wedding celebration "for when Jeff comes home." Nearly 20 years later, she’s still waiting for that to happen. But it’s clear she has no plans to give up. "I know my husband is innocent. He is the most honorable person I have ever known," she told the Observer. "If I ever had one scintilla of a doubt about Jeff. … I wouldn’t be where I am. He is innocent, and justice has to mean something."

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'RHOP': Robyn Dixon on the Aftermath of the Candiace and Monique Fight

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but for the women of The Real Housewives of Potomac, wrongs can be weighted. Such is the case when it comes to the shocking physical altercation between castmates Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard Bassett. The fight played out nearly a year ago at a Maryland winery, with the headline-making moment becoming the subject of much speculation in the months since — even within the group at the center of the show. The cast saw the moment play out for the first time since they experienced it by watching last Sunday’s episode.

“When I watched it, my stomach just turned,” Robyn Dixon tells ET via video chat. “I was so mortified.”

Getting to see the episode was almost — to put it bluntly — like seeing “game tape” footage for the cast, a chance to see frame by frame what really transpired over the course of about a fleeting 45 seconds: Candiace asking Monique to “drag her” led to a hair flip by Monique, then (according to Robyn) Candiace lightly touched under the lapel of Monique’s vest. Seeing that physical contact sprung the women into action, with Wendy Osefo attempting to pull Candiace away from Monique, and Gizelle Bryant nudging Monique to stop. Then, Monique grabbed a handful of Candiace’s hair and yanked. Wine flew through the air, out of Candiace’s glass and into Monique’s face. It’s unclear if Candiace tossed her drink intentionally or if the force of the tussle caused her to lose control of her glass. Either way, Monique didn’t respond well to getting splashed, yanking harder on Candiace, pulling her in closer as she started whopping the top of her head. That’s when producers intervened, physically separating the ladies, locking Monique in a hallway.

For Robyn, the footage actually seemed less intense than what she remembered. “Watching it, to be honest, it was … not as bad as it was in the moment,” she admits.

It’s hard to see what Robyn was doing during the back and forth, as she’s behind the action and blocked by the rest of the women. She says she jumped into action amid the action to hold up the hefty table that separated Candiace from Monique, fearing if it fell, someone could get seriously hurt.

In the moment, Robyn and Gizelle placed the blame for the attack on Monique, while Karen Huger and Ashley Darby seemingly took Monique’s side (it’s worth noting Ashley wasn’t actually in the room when the fight broke out, though). While Robyn stands by her original assessment, she does admit that watching back what played out, she can see why viewers might blame Candiace. After producers removed Monique from the barn where things went down, the former Miss United States started taunting her co-star by shouting, “Where she at? ‘Cause you a ghetto a**, hood a** b***h! You don’t know how to f**kin’ act!” 

“When you see stuff like that, it makes it harder for people to feel sorry for Candiace in that moment, because it’s almost like she was waiting for Monique to lose her cool,” Robyn laments. “Monique lost her cool and Candiace took the opportunity to really, like, just make it worse.”

“She probably was baiting her,” Robyn says. “She probably was trying to get her to come out of her person and to lose control and, in that moment, Candiace ‘won’ by making Monique lose control. I don’t — it’s, it’s unfortunate on both sides, it really is. It’s so unfortunate.”

Robyn hung back when things started escalating again, Monique charging around the building and away from producers in an attempt to, seemingly, go after Candiace again after Candiace egged her on with her new comments. Robyn says she knew if she were to try and intervene, there was a chance she could become Monique’s new target.

The moment was weeks, or maybe even months or years, in the making, frenemies Candiace and Monique having danced around their issues with one another. Robyn says she’s still trying to “understand how it got to that point,” because at the time, the cast had no idea how deep the problems were between Candiace and Monique. They’re learning by watching, though it still doesn’t all add up for Robyn.

“There’s been moments when we’ve all been taken to a level where you don’t think you’ll ever be,” she says. “I always have in the back of my mind, I’m on camera here. … As a 40-year-old woman with children … it’s just not worth it to me. And, yes, Candiace is annoying, but nothing she said in that moment … warranted someone to get very upset. And, looking back at it, if this initial contact wasn’t made with the hair, the physical fight never would’ve happened. Never.”

Robyn is still trying to unpack how the women got to this place, confused by why Monique and Candiace didn’t attempt to hash out their issues more civilly and separately from their co-stars.

“Really, if there were things that bothered her so much, I don’t understand why they didn’t have an honest, heart-to-heart conversation,” Robyn notes. “If there’s a lesson to be learned for anyone, communication always helps prevent stuff like this from happening.”

This Sunday’s episode picks up with communication, the group gathering at Karen’s house to discuss the incident, per Monique’s request. Candiace, however, sits out the sit-down, telling Karen, “I appreciate you giving me the opportunity, but I’ve spoken to all of the women. I think everybody saw what happened. She is dangerous.”

“It definitely was better that that happened without Candiace there,” Robyn admits. “I mean, that would’ve been a disaster, because the emotions were still running really high for both of them.”

Both Gizelle and Karen called in security to be on hand for the discussion, a move Robyn finds a bit laughable, as she doesn’t think anyone needs to be scared of Monique.

“It was a very open and honest and raw conversation,” she says. “Nobody held anything back, and we were just you know, very hell bent on holding her accountable and figuring out what’s next and where do we go from here? Well, first of all, how did we get here, you know, and why did this happen? And then, how do we make sure this doesn’t happen again?”

“There’s a lot of calling her out on some of the stories that have been twisted,” she adds, “and saying, look, I wanna believe you, but when I’m hearing that you were saying Candiace threw a glass of wine in your face, it’s hard to believe that you’re actually remorseful.”

Robyn says the biggest issue she and some of the other women have with Monique is that her story about the incident keeps changing. Recently, Monique posted a Q&A to her Instagram Stories and claimed that when Gizelle or Robyn attempted to hold her back from Candiace (for the record, it was Gizelle), she must’ve thought that was Candiace touching her and making things physical, and that’s why she attacked. Previously, Monique claimed that it was the wine toss that made her ramp the attack up, even though that came after the hair pull.

Monique answer some questions about her fight with Candiace and more. (📹 @mrsmoniquesamuels) #RHOP #RealHousewives #RealHousewivesOfPotomac #RealityTV

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“This is so disappointing to me, because if I’m wrong, I’m wrong,” Robyn says of watching how Monique is handling the situation. “It’s OK to say, ‘I lost control’ instead of trying to place blame on other people. I’ll be honest, Gizelle and I have been harassed on social media, blaming us for this fight and it’s very mind-boggling to me, and it’s very disappointing — there’s nothing wrong with saying you don’t agree with what someone did, or saying, ‘I was wrong, I made a mistake. I’m gonna learn from it and I’m gonna move on.’ I don’t understand all of this shifting blame and trying to blame other people for your actions.”

Robyn and Gizelle were the two who initially brought up the topic of Candiace and Monique’s friendship at the event, a conversation which ultimately escalated into violence, but Robyn says “it’s pretty sad” that anyone would try to pin what occurred on the two of them.

“I easily could’ve — if she would just say, ‘I’m so wrong. I will never do this again. Please, give me another chance,’ or, ‘Can we just start over?’ I would be so open to that,” Robyn says. “But hearing the blame be shifted, that’s — for me — worse than the actual fight.”

Robyn says the sit-down with Monique is the last time she filmed with Monique during the season, seemingly confirming speculation that Monique and the group part ways for the rest of season 5. Monique did continue to film for the remainder of the season, though, so some one-on-one moments with her and other cast members may make it to TV.

Somewhat surprisingly, Robyn reveals that the group did not have a separate sit-down with Candiace. It’s largely because the group, as a whole, didn’t blame Candiace for what happened — and Candiace didn’t take any responsibility for it, either. Opinions may have shifted now that everyone’s seen the footage, though.

“Maybe if she were to do any type of media interview now, she might say, ‘Yes, I escalated it. I was doing a little too much.’ But during the season, we didn’t, in the moment, we didn’t see it that way,” Robyn admits. “We never really, during the season, really thought that we needed to hold Candiace accountable, because we’ve seen — you know why? We’ve seen Candiace say far worse things … so we didn’t think it was anything to be so upset about.”

“She also was the subject of a lot of bullying on social media right after the fight, so I just wanted to be there for her, you know, whether or not I thought she was responsible,” Robyn shares, but notes that she did talk to Candiace about needing to take ownership over her words.

“I hope she has maybe learned her lesson and has realized, like, certain things, she shouldn’t go too far,” Robyn says. “And I talked to her recently, and she does take responsibility for her mouth.”

Two things I’ve missed dearly during Corona times – girl time and great food!!! The chef @cbassett33 served up a bomb meal while the ladies just sat chatting and laughing all night! 🌸💗🌸💗 Reminder: #RHOP season 5 premieres Sunday Aug. 2nd on @bravotv 🤗🙌🏽🌸🌸🌸

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Robyn also points out that how the viewers view the women and how the women view each other is always going to differ. One, the ladies know more about the nuances of each of their friendships and two, they don’t live their lives in “seasons.” These relationships continue when cameras aren’t around.

“The audience holds onto the past,” she says. “So they’re like, ‘Well, remember season 4, [Candiace] threw a knife at Ashley? And remember season 2, Robyn, you went to Ashley’s restaurant?’ I don’t — in our world, we have to move on so quickly. This is season 5. I’m not thinking about what Candiace did in season 4. I’m thinking about the moment. I’m thinking about what’s happening in that present day. I’m not holding onto grudges, because there’s no way we can move forward like that.”

As far as where the group goes from here, Robyn isn’t sure. They’re all in a bit of a holding pattern until the reunion, which will be the first time Monique and Candiace could come face to face since the altercation. It’s still unclear if RHOP‘s reunion will be in-person or virtual, and if it’s in-person, if the two women would want to be in the same room together.

“There’s no way we can move forward as a group, with Monique and Candiace in the group, without the two of them at some point coming to some sort of, I don’t know, place of forgiveness or reconciliation,” Robyn says. “I pray. I really pray that we can all be open and honest and really take responsibility for everything and listen to each other.”

“I’m not confident,” she adds. “I am hopeful.”

While the fight changed the trajectory of season 5 dramatically, it isn’t the total focus of the rest of the season. Yes, it will be a continued topic of conversation, but there is a lot of season left to unfold. The cast will go on their group trip (sans Monique) and Robyn and her ex-husband/longtime partner Juan Dixon finally get engaged to remarry, a surprise to the 41-year-old.

‘RHOP’: Robyn Dixon on Getting Re-Engaged to Ex-Husband Juan Dixon (Exclusive)

Robyn had hoped the engagement would remain a secret until it aired on TV, but in the age of social media, it’s hard to keep something like that under wraps for nearly a year.

“The engagement itself was just, it was just exciting,” she teases. “Just to have our family in the room, you know, we’re celebrating the holiday season and special time of the year, but there’s also some drama that pops off, involving some other cast members at that engagement party, which I was very disappointed that it happened. You know, it’s a special moment. We’re all supposed to be celebrating and happy, but there was some serious drama that popped off, that I think will be, like, pretty shocking, yeah.”

“It was kind of out of left field, you know what I mean?” she continues. “It wasn’t something that was brewing. Now, I can say there was a little tension amongst the ladies, that was, like, the most drama that I thought we were gonna have. But something else takes place.”

“Although we’ve been building up to the moment we saw last week with the physical attack — I don’t even like to call it a fight, ‘cause it was very one-sided — but we’ve been building up to that, but there’s so much more to see the rest of the season that is just as entertaining and controversial,” Robyn adds. “We’ll have some stuff to talk about at the reunion other than the fight.”

And for those viewers who like to label Robyn “sleepy” or “boring,” she has a message for you: you’re entitled to that opinion, but please take a closer look.

“Just because I’m not speaking in riddles or dropping one-liners all the time — you know what?” she starts to say, before redirecting. “I honestly believe I’m like, low key, the funniest one. … I’m not afraid to just do something silly, and we’ll see more of that this season. There’s one scene that I cannot wait to see, because it was really funny — it’s actually two scenes I can’t wait to see — but if you think about all the funny moments that happen on the show, usually I’m there!”

The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.

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