Freeze Frieze

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Maldives resort distinctions are like London busses…you wait forever, and then a bunch come along all at once. That’s the case with the clever content of “Animated Wedding GIFs” featured as item #20 in Part 5 of the “Haven’t Seen Yet” series. Now there’s a whole collection of these Maldives-own Mannequin Challenges (albeit technology assisted)…

    1. Sailor Moona (China) – NIYAMA [ABOVE]
    2. Coco Laite (Germany) – Holiday Island

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    3. Sania Camelli (Russia) – Dhigali

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    4. Karina Leyman (Russia)

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    5. Natasha Davydova (Russia) – Soneva Fushi

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    6. Bernshtein (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi

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    7. Man Chia (Malaysia) – Ayada

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    8. Nadya Kiss (Russia)

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    9. Chou Chou (Vietnam) – W Maldives

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    10. Maria Medvedeva (Russia)

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    11. Camila Carril (Brazil) – Six Senses Laamu

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  1. Maria Karieva (Ukraine)
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Best of the Maldives: Social Media Mob – W Maldives

W Maldives - Rebok instagram 3

One resort with its own collection of Instagram luminaries is W Maldives:

  • “Reebok Women invited 12 ladies from Southeast Asia and the Pacific to W Maldives as the faces and voices of their #PerfectNever campaign in the region, with the aim of flipping the conventional notion of perfectionThese are influencers with a huge following on social media and admired for their flawless lifestyles. With the #PerfectNever campaign set in the perfect environment, the aim of the happening was to show that there are more to these women than the airbrushed images on their social media accounts – the grit and the determination that makes them human and ‘perfect’ in their own way.”

Already a top 10 resort for attracting Insgrammer fashionistas, this esteemed group of snappers add another 7.7 million followers to their tally. Rest assured that Maldives Complete will be featuring many of the snaps shared on their popular Instagram feeds in upcoming photoshoot collections, but if you can’t wait, here is the list of Instagrammer stars and their feeds…

W Maldives - Rebok instagram 1

W Maldives - Rebok instagram 2

Best of the Maldives: Celebrity Instagram – Velaa

Paris Hilton (USA) – Velaa

Nine years ago today, Instagram was unleashed on the world. Maldives Complete had already been on the web for nearly a year at the time. Instagram has come a bit further since ;-). It has emerged as the social media of choice for the celebrity and fashionista class. The photo-based platform suits the beautiful people crowd quite well.

Instagram has changed our world and even Maldives Complete. The “Celebrity Visited” field in the resort profile has been a part of the site from the get-go and was gleaned mostly from press reports and celeb sponsored visits travel pieces. But Instagram has turned both the information and photo op spigot full on. I introduced the “Fashion” section of the blog two years ago this month and it has rapidly grown to be one of the most popular features.

So who is the “Best of the Maldives” at attracting Instagram followers through its guests? Velaa – they have the largest total number of aggregate celeb guest followers (117,790,176), as well top (tied) position for most Top 20 guests (3, along with Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru).

Here are few other fun figures about the sun-kissed figures…

  • Followers: Each cluster of an order of magnitude of followers all had between 300-400 fashionistas.
    • < 10k followers:     341 visitors
    • 1k – 10k:         454
    • 10k – 100k:    468
    • 100k – 1m:     347
    • > 1m:               106
  • Occupation – Entertainment was the dominant field here with creative and sporty type following.
 

RESORT

FOLLOWERS

1

Velaa

130,684,342

2

NIYAMA

108,835,373

3

Finolhu

57,357,484

4

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

57,100,000

5

Cheval Blanc Randheli

44,084,145

6

One & Only Reethi Rah

43,016,283

7

Huvafenfushi

35,564,912

8

Six Senses Laamu

34,504,716

9

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

23,093,022

10

W Retreat

13,266,346

 

OCCUPATION

FOLLOWERS

1

Singer / Musician

215,354,798

2

Model

201,904,735

3

Actress / Presenter

125,240,233

4 Blogger / Designer

99,388,622

5

Athlete

6,912,456

6

Dancer / Yoga

6,323,516

 

COUNTRY

FOLLOWERS

1

USA

130,684,342

2

United Kingdom

108,835,373

3

Russia

57,357,484

4

Barbados

57,100,000

5

India

44,084,145

6

Columbia

43,016,283

7

Thailand

35,564,912

8

Brazil

34,504,716

9

Australia

23,093,022

10

Philippines

13,266,346

 

INSTRAGRAMMER

COUNTRY

RESORT OCCUPATION

FOLLOWERS

1 Jennifer Lopez

USA

Velaa Singer

68,600,000

2 Rhianna

Barbados

NIYAMA Singer

51,700,000

3 Shakira

Columbia

Velaa Singer

42,700,000

4 Cara Delevingne

United Kingdom

Finolhu Model

40,600,000

5 Bruna Marquezine Brazil Cheval Blanc Actress 22,600,000
6 Huda Kattan USA Huvafenfushi Blogger 15,200,000
7 Jacqueline Fernandez

India

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru Actress 13,800,000
8 Rita Ora United Kingdom Palm Beach Singer 11,400,000
9 Victoria Beckham United Kingdom One & Only Reethi Rah Singer 8,900,000
10 Aum Patchrana Thailand Coco Palm Bodu Hithi Actress 7,400,000
11 Roe Huntington-Whiteley

United Kingdom

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru Model 7,400,000
12 Zoe Sugg United Kingdom Ranveli Blogger 6,800,000
13 Park Shin-hye South Korea Soneva Jani Model 6,600,000
14 Davika

Thailand

Club Med Finolhu Villas Designer 6,400,000
15 Kimberley Anne Tiamsiri Thailand Kanuhura Actress 5,700,000
16 Belén Rodríguez

Argentina

One & Only Reethi Rah Model 5,600,000
17 Paris Hilton USA Velaa Model 5,600,000
18 Eva Gutowski USA Six Senses Laamu Blogger 5,400,000
19 Aliaa Bhaat India Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru Actress 5,200,000
20 Sveta Bilyalova Russia LUX South Ari Atoll Model 4,900,000

Surfin Cine

While the summer winds down in the Northern Hemisphere, Maldives remains an Endless Summer. The dramatic photos capture some gnarly moments on the board, the year round Maldives really comes to life in video.

  1. “Billabong Girls” – Courtney Conlogue (USA), Catherine Clark (USA), Alessa Quizon (USA),  Felicity Palmateer (Australia), Ellie-jean Coffey (Australia), Paige Hareb (New Zealand), Justine Dupont (France) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  2. Nobody Surf” – Monyca Eleogram (USA), Stephanie Gilmore (Australia), Kelia Moniz (USA), Zoe Cros (Australia)

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  3. KALOEA Surfer Girls” – Eve Riviere (Australia) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
  4. Angelika Timanina (Russia)

  5. Roxy Surf Team” –   Kassia Meador (USA), Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia), Rosy Hodge (South Africa), Monyca Byrne-Wickey (USA), Kelia Moniz (USA), Bruna Schmitz (Brazil)
    6.  Beautiful Maldives from Above” – Yoni Klein and Caity Griffin (Israel / USA) – Cokes Surf Point
    7.  Sally Fitz in the Maldives” – Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia) – Cokes Surf Point

6 Tips for Maldives Fashion Pics

Photography in the Maldives

World Photography Day today.

A perfect day for the Maldives Complete recipe for the perfect pix, at least from a fashion shoot side. This piece is not about general photography or even just shooting in the Maldives. I’m not covering tips on some of the most popular subjects in that paradise like…

  • Underwater Photography (but make sure you have a good light and red filter for deeper shots)
  • Seascape Photography (but get yourself a polarising lens filter to bring up some of the underwater)
  • Sunset Photography (an art in itself with hordes of guests mobbing the west side of the resort island every evening)

This post is just tips for fashion shooting based on the extensive research into the Maldives Complete Fashion Base. As Insta-mania and the popularity of the Maldives as a photoshoot destination continues to grow, the bar for top shots is set even higher. When I select showcase shots, it is always about the photo itself. I do give points for profile prominence (because people do get enchanted with celebrity), but the first question I ask is “how good of a photo is it?” I find myself scrutinizing what makes one photo better than another. Same winsome models, same alluring backdrop, and yet often dramatically different quality and impact.

Here are the Maldives Complete top tips for fashion shooting in paradise…

1. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting – This is photography 101 really. First of all, avoid backlighting (see below). Either through posing the subject or through use of flash and aperture. For best results, do your shooting when the sun is low in the sky (early morning or sunset). It imparts a whole different hue on your subjects that makes them glow and fills out their features. When you have overhead sun, too often the features (eg. face) are spoiled by shadows. Most professionals do almost of their shooting in a frenzy of early morning and late afternoon.
Maldives Photography lighting

2. Take off the sunglasses – You might think sunglasses provide a “cool” look, but really they make you look detached. They are cliché and the dark spots in the middle of the bright, colourful picture doesn’t work aesthetically. They take away all the personality. They turn the subject into something cartoonish like Little Orphan Annie. Yes, the bright sunlight can hurt the eyes and make the subject want to squint.  First, see “Lighting” point above as the softer crepuscular light alleviates this issue.  Also, simply give the subject a countdown so they open there eyes just when you are ready to snap.  And on the subject of black eyewear, for the underwater shots, don’t choose the black mask. Choose something more colourful. Or for the truly pro shot, a mask that matches the swimsuit.
Maldives Photography sunglasses

3. Choose your sky – The backdrop is the whole reason you are shooting in the Maldives. And the ocean-counterpoint of the sky is a huge portion of your picture. In a place like the Maldives, blue skies complement the azure sea for a dazzling background. Some bright white cloud highlights are fine, but too often people do shots with grey skies in the background. Wait for the skies to clear or position the shot in a direction with fewer or brighter clouds.
Maldives Photography sky

4. Fill the frame with the person – Yes, the Maldives backdrop is unique and enchanting, but don’t forget that the human being is nearly always the most important part of the shot. Maybe your focus is the background and the person in the shot is just meant to be a small touch, but most people are more interested in the person than the backdrop. Yes, if you fill the frame with the person, one will see less background square inches, but actually you will still get plenty of a feel for the background. Most people who fall into this trap, I think, are simply trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want a shot of their subject, but they can bring themselves to cut out any part of the gorgeous background. That’s where the editorial discretion and artistic input comes in – deciding which part of the background to feature as the best complement to your foreground subject.
Maldives Photography framing

5. Twist the body – Armography. Nothing more boring than a straight body standing or lying there. Get the body into an interesting shape. Do something.  The shape gives the photo visual interest and even a sense of movement.
Maldives Photography standing

6. Enough with the Selfies – Can I have a quiet word, please? Selfies are photographically ridiculous. Maybe if you are with a friend and no one is around and you want a quick snap to capture the moment spontaneously, they can be tolerated as a last resort. You can’t be model and photographer at the same time. The composition sucks with arms and selfie-sticks (oh my god, how dreadful) jutting into one of the lower corners. Just say no to selfies. They look ridiculous, contrived, self-absorbed and awkward. A decade from now, they will be one of the things we look back at the Teens and say “what were we thinking” (as we do today with mullets and teased hair styles). Digital photography is so easy. Mistakes can be fixed with multiple shots and imperfections can be touched up in Photoshop. Just ask a passer-by to click the button. Several times to get it right if needed. Staring at the phone instead of the audience.
Maldives Photography selfies

Happy shooting!

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Beauty – Coco Bodu Hithi

Coco Bodu Hithi - Raudha Aathif - advert

Athif Raudha is literally the face of the Maldives. She displays the classic sun-kissed, delicate features of the Maldivians, except for one extremely striking exception. While most Maldivians have dark brown eyes, hers are an iridescent blue more like the cerulean sea that surrounds the country. Even her Facebook handle is “Wild Blue Lustre

Her captivating look has drawn her into modelling for a number of years now including Coco Bodu Hithi’s recent campaign (see above). She is also a favourite subject of artistic fashion photographer Alexey Vladimir (in fact, her red hooded portrait featured in yesterdays Christmas Red post is Alexey’s Facebook Profile picture).

Raudha agreed to do a first-ever, exclusive interview with Maldives Complete to share some insights into this intriguing poster child for Maldivian beauty (thanks Paola)…

  • How were you “discovered”, ie. how did you get started?

It was always a hobby, because I grew up posing for pictures. But it wasn’t until I did a few shoots with Sotti (a professional photographer) that things really kicked off. I started getting offers for ads, and I always had people advise me not to take any of them until something good came up. And that worked out quite well.

  • What was your first modelling gig?

If I remember correctly, it was something like a PSA, for national TV, encouraging people to stop using plastic bags, and choose eco-friendly stuff. I was 14 years old, and quite the environmentalist, so, naturally very happy to be a part of it.

  • Do you have an agent?

I don’t. Anyone’s free to contact me directly, regarding any business.

  • Where did you get your distinctive eyes from (do other members of your parents families have similar eyes)?

My paternal grandfather, his eyes were a sort of dark hazel. And my beautiful great grandmother had a greyish blue.

  • What types of work would you like to do in the future?

Contrary to popular belief, modelling isn’t all I want to do with my life. I’d like to work as a doctor, in many places all over the world. I’m leaving to Bangladesh to study for a Bachelor s of Medicine next month. And that, becoming a doctor, has been my dream, and primary interest, since I was 5, maybe.

  • Is there a model whose look/work you most admire?

I can’t possibly name just one. Adriana Lima, Cara Delevingne, Angelina Jolie. And I can never leave out Deepika Padukone. These women are beautiful, inspiring, and I love them for the things they stand for.

  • What’s been your most lucrative modelling gig?

That would definitely be working for Sotti in his “Maldives” series.

  • What’s been your most enjoyable modelling gig?

A collaboration shoot with Alexey Vladimir, where I got the chance to entertain my inner daredevil. I had to make my way to the middle of the reef. Beyond an area called Usfasgandu in Male’ where there’s a destroyed, unused platform-like bit covered with seaweedy things. Between land and the platform, we had steep, slippery tetrahedral rocks to climb down, then the reef, with more rocks and sharp corals. Strong waves too, because it was a rainy day. Had I slipped or fallen over, or lost my balance with an incoming or outgoing wave, my face would be in coral hell. And then I didn’t fall. And it was all done with me in a full length dress. I LOVED it. The result was a beautiful picture titled “The Night”. Everyone lived happily ever after.

  • Are any particular pressures you face doing modelling?

Well, before a shoot, there’s almost always pressure. A weird, unspecific kind. Ha ha. I suppose it’s natural, wanting to do well, feeling nervous for how it’s going to turn out. But once it starts, it’s always fun and an amazing experience. I’ve been lucky to work with great people.

  • Any pet peeves when you are working modelling?

I think the only thing would be, when people fail to communicate very well. Maybe my friends think otherwise, and I don’t express this very often. But, I actually have very little tolerance for rude or bossy people.

  • What are your favourite pastimes?

Modelling IS a pastime for me! Ha ha. Okay seriously though? I have phases. All in all, I love learning new things. And a lot of that happened while I worked at the military hospital and then IGMH, for a year and a half.

Besides that, I’ve also had my time with yoga, painting, dancing. At school in India, I played the congas – that was fun. And also failed quite terribly at singing. When I want to laze around, there’s always a good book to get lost in. Most recently, I’ve taken up open water diving and trying to play the piano. New things are excitingly endless, you know.

Coco Bodu Hithi - Raudha Aathif portrait

Best of the Maldives: Fashion Shoots – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - Liza Adamenko

London Fashion Week comes to a close today wrapping up a glimpse of the eye-catching styles in the season ahead. And here too at Maldives Complete, I’ve shared just a small sample of the beach beauties collected as a part of the Fashion Week research. Overall, I‘ve found nearly 200 photoshoot subjects over the past month with the help of the resorts themselves as well as my many website supporters (and more keeping coming in every day now).

I’m also a big database guy. Structured information allows for dissection and interrogation. So in addition to the Resort Room Type and Dive Site databases, I have now started a “Beauty” database with over 200 entries. Details on not just the names, provenance and resort of the highest profile and most dazzling photo shoot subjects, but also information about their Wikipedia, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles. It all makes for some intriguing analysis which I will be sharing in the coming months.

I also categorised the subjects by “profession”. Most were “Models” (obviously for photoshoots), but others we other celebrities…

  1. Model – 128
  2. Blogger – 39
  3. Actress – 28
  4. Athlete – 12
  5. Singer – 5

The professions a bit of an arbitrary distinction as oftentimes prominent Athletes become Models, Models become Actresses, Actresses become Bloggers, and so on. I have a few examples where the person has all five listed in their biography.

I was struck by the prominence of the “Fashion Blogger”. I had no idea there were so many out there. I had no idea they were so popular (judging by their social media numbers). You obviously need to have a little something to say to be a fashion blogger. But the two primary prerequisites seem to be (a) you need to be female (I did not come across a single male fashion blogger), and (b) you need to be attractive (I did not come across a singe fashion blogger where I thought, “well, her readers must be following her for her writing skills…”).

Knowing the resorts of the shoot and the names, my first step today was to add a picture to the standard Resort Profile of a featured photoshoot beauty (bottom right-hand corner). Of the 121 active resorts, I have at least one fashion shoot example for 73 of them.

A few highlight stats to mark the end of #LFW2015. The top of the league table is Gili Lankanfushi. Gili benefits from their hosting the Kingfisher Calendar shoots which brought a fair number of models to its beaches. But its popularity extends to all sorts including this week’s “Pirate Model”, La Carmina.

The UK led the country league table which is probably a function of the destination’s popularity among press. One of the major tabloids, The Daily Mail, runs a regular feature on celebrity holidays and regularly sends big names to various resorts in the Maldives.

The two models featured today showcase the top two resorts (Gili Lankanfushi and LUX Maldives) and the top two countries (UK and Russia) though in swapped orders (I couldn’t find examples of UK models at Gili and vice versa.

Resort League Table

  1. Gili Lankanfushi – 12
  2. LUX Maldives – 7
  3. Per Aquum NIYAMA – 6
  4. Velassaru – 6
  5. Anantara Veli – 6
  6. Taj Exotica – 5
  7. Huvafenfushi – 5
  8. Paradise Island 4
  9. Sun Siyam Irufushi – 4
  10. Four Seasons Kuda Huraa – 4

 

Country League Table

  1. United Kingdom – 22
  2. Russia – 16
  3. India – 14
  4. Australia – 14
  5. USA – 13
  6. South Africa – 12
  7. Ukraine -6
  8. South Korea – 5
  9. Italy – 5
  10. Denmark – 4

 

LUX Maldives - Chloe Lloyd

Best of the Maldives: Pirate Shoot – Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi - La Carmina pirate shoot

What’s a pirate’s fashion nightmare?
A sunken chest with no booty.

Today’s “Speak Like a Pirate Day” illustration carries on the Fashion Week theme with Japan’s La Carmina (featured in yesterday’s post). Her own posts from Gili Lankanfushi also included the swashbuckling gem above.

I always do a post on this special occasion. The exotic and remote Maldives isles evoke so many images of pirate treasure islands. We used to hold treasure hunts for our kids when they were younger (and now many resorts offer this activity themselves). As it happens, La Carmina is channeling our kids a bit – our daughter Isley was the pirate princess in her Leaver’s Day parade, and our son is himself an aficionado and chronicler of Japanese culture.

Well, blow me down!