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While You Were Out: Tina Fey’s New Show, Downton Actor Cast As Beast, and More


“While You Were Out,” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the water cooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to if it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

Facing Momism in the Workplace

This week, Fortune magazine published a striking article by Katharine Zaleski, president of a company called PowerToFly, in which she apologized for her sins against mothers at past jobs. “I secretly rolled my eyes at a mother who couldn’t make it to last-minute drinks with me and my team. I questioned her ‘commitment,’ even though she arrived two hours earlier to work than me and my hungover colleagues the next day,” she confesses. “I scheduled last-minute meetings at 4:30 p.m. all of the time. It didn’t dawn on me that parents might need to pick up their kids at daycare. I was obsessed with the idea of showing my commitment to the job by staying in the office ‘late,’ even though I wouldn’t start working until 10:30 a.m. while parents would come in at 8:30 a.m.” Perhaps most sinister, “I didn’t disagree when another female editor said we should hurry up and fire another woman before she ‘got pregnant.'”

Today Zaleski, who now has a child and sees things differently on the other side of mom-hood, dedicates her work to make amends for past sins. Now, she says, “I’m a mother who can manage a large team from my home office or on a business trip, raise money, and build a culture for women to succeed. I’ve never been more productive, satisfied, and excited about my future and my daughter’s. I wish I had recognized this years ago. For that, I’m sorry to all the mothers I used to work with.”

Since, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 80 percent of us will become mothers by the age of 44, working women everywhere can learn from Zaleski’s story to “embrace your future and support it at work!”

Mary Rose Somarriba

More, Please

Netflix has picked up Tina Fey’s new show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and we couldn’t be more excited. Starring the adorable and hilarious Ellie Kemper (we've missed you, Erin!), the show centers on Kimmy's fresh start in New York City after she's rescued from a cult. Judging by the two-minute trailer, this series looks like it will provide plenty of laughs. It premieres today—and you can bet we're partaking in some quality binge-watching this weekend.

Maggie Niemiec

Duchess Kate to Visit Downton

Downton Abbey’s finale last Sunday may seem to have tied up several loose ends like a Christmas miracle, but the story has no shortage of fans tuning in. The latest is Duchess Kate ,who has revealed plans to make a visit to Downton, meet members of the cast, and even watch part of an episode being filmed.


House of Cards Returned This Week

When it comes to quality of acting, the Netflix original series started its third season with a bang. But when it comes to content, it’s so dark, and with so little redeeming or redeemable content in the story, you could just as well call it House of Depressing Corruption. But, then again, maybe that’s what they’re going for.


Lord of the Manor… Um, I Mean Castle

Remember how Emma Watson was cast as Belle in the new film version of Beauty and the Beast recently? Well, Dan Stevens (you might know him as Matthew from Downton Abbey) has been cast as Beast, confirming rumors when he tweeted a picture saying “Beast mode.” He supposedly won the role despite stiff competition in the form of heartthrob Ryan Gosling. As a Brit myself, I have to admit I'm excited to see two English stars take to the screen together in this Disney classic, and Dan does have exceptionally piercing blue eyes…

Sophie Caldecott

Blanchett on Live-Action Cinderella

As excited as we are for the fairy tale magic of the new live-action Cinderella opening this month, we're even more excited that the story has been updated from just pretty-girl-meets-handsome-prince. Director Kenneth Branagh sought to add a contemporary element to the beloved story, a moral we could all relate to and recognize. Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett, who plays the evil step-mother, expounded on this for The Telegraph:

"[Branagh] kept talking about kindness as a superpower, which I think has taken the story into a contemporary arena. In this cut-throat world where economics is everything, if you stop and pause, have empathy and kindness towards someone, then people can walk all over you. The fact that her goodness and kindness triumphs, that it really truly is a superpower, is a wonderful message in the contemporary world."

Hooray for teaching little girls that kindness goes hand-in-hand with beauty! (Okay, and us big girls, too!)

—Hannah Allen White

Marvel Marathons Are Coming!

News came this week that this summer’s expected blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron (opening May 1) will bring with it Marvel marathons across the country, featuring a string of films from the Marvel-verse, from Iron Man to Thor to Captain America, in a screening session that would last more than 24 hours.

If you don’t have that kind of time to spare, then have you seen this short video of what it would be like if Wes Anderson directed X-MEN? Because, especially for those who like the Grand Budapest Hotel director, you simply must.


A Look at Lauren Bacall

Student curators at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York are honoring the late icon Lauren Bacall with an exhibit called "Lauren Bacall: The Look." The exhibit features roughly a dozen pieces donated by the actress from her personal wardrobe and her costumes.

Aside from the mark she left on Hollywood as an actress, she also appeared as a host for a CBS special called "Bacall and the Boys" in 1968, the same year she began donating clothing and accessories to FIT. During the hour-long program, Bacall interviewed couturiers Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, and Emanuel Ungaro about their fall collections from Paris. If that isn't impressive enough, Bacall herself modeled several of their creations during the show, a few of which are featured in the FIT exhibit. This exclusive-yet-intimate look into Bacall's timeless style runs through April 4th.


Bathing Suits That Will Make You Feel Good About Yourself

If the thought of bathing suit season fills you with dread, then you just might love ModCloth’s new swimwear advertising campaign. Not only do ModCloth's bathing suits scream vintage-inspired elegance, but the company has also persuaded their own employees (of different shapes and sizes) to model the line. As ModCloth’s merchandise stylist put it, the idea is that other women “can see themselves in the pictures in the campaign” and recognize their bodies as uniquely beautiful. If that puts you in the mood for a little swimsuit shopping, be sure to check out our guide to the best swimwear for every body.


Did Men’s Health Photoshop Bieber?

News of the many unrealistic images on magazine covers these days may never end, but this week’s offense is different in that it is of a man. The latest issue of Men’s Health featuring a shirtless and flexing Justin Bieber on the cover has struck many to be just a little more beefed-up than reality. The singer insists it’s his real body, but given the frequency of fake covers on newsstands today, suffice it to say I’m not a Belieber.


More Equal Opportunity Objectification?

So there’s this thing about the men on the Paris Metro. They’re really good looking. Not unlike the recent image collection of “Hot Dudes Reading” on the New York Subway, this trend in Paris judges solely on cuteness. Maybe I’m not the right person to ask because I think Paris basically looks good on everyone, but we have to draw a line somewhere. If we as women don’t like being judged solely on appearances then we need to ask: Are we seeking equal treatment by judging men in the same way, or do we want all sexes to be free from that objectification? Food for thought on your next subway ride.


Film on Rape Banned in India

This week there’s been a kerfuffle in India after the country banned a film called India’s Daughters on the subject of rape and prejudice. According to Reuters, “Late on Tuesday, the Indian home minister directed Delhi Police to obtain a court order prohibiting the film's release.” Officials are suggesting the ban was to protect the dignity of women since the film includes interviews with an unrepentant rapist responsible for the death of a 23-year-old woman. I have not seen the film, but I know a documentary about rape is never going to be a pleasant viewing experience. Seeing as the director Leslee Udwin is a rape survivor herself, I think it’s worth hearing what she has to say.


The Good News of the Week

What if you knew you could help the homeless in a real and meaningful way? And how could you do that for just a dollar? A pizza shop owner in Philadelphia is showing compassion to the homeless one slice of pizza at a time.

Just over a year ago, Mason Wartman left his job on Wall Street to start Rosa's Pizza. When a customer asked to prepay for a slice in case a homeless person walked in one day, Wartman decided to make sure that he could always provide a slice—even if someone's money came up short. Wartman grabbed a Post-It note, stuck it on the wall by the register, and began asking customers if they'd like to prepay for a slice during every transaction. The concept caught on, and the walls are practically covered in Post-It notes. Some have kind notes and words of encouragement while others simply have initials, but they all mean a hot meal for a person in need. To date, Rosa's has given more than 8,500 slices of prepaid pizza to its homeless and needy population. If you're in Philadelphia, consider stopping in for some delicious pizza. If you're not but want to donate, check out Rosa’s website.