Madonna Makes Appearance In Tokyo


Madonna is currently touring Asia but she has more than just concerts on her itinerary. After playing two shows in Tokyo as a part of her Rebel Heart tour, the Material Girl put in an after-hours appearance at Tokyo’s Ginza Mitsukoshi store to promote her skin-care line, MDNA Skin.

The superstar arrived at the basement of the department store at 10:30 p.m. an hour behind schedule for a five-minute photo shoot with Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings president Hiroshi Onishi and Tsuyoshi Matsushita, president of Japanese beauty company MTG, which makes the skin-care line.

Wearing a sheer black dress and a silver cross necklace, Madonna signed an advertisement board promoting her line but declined to give a speech or take questions from the dozens of reporters assembled. When asked by the photographers to smile bigger for their cameras, she replied softly, “I can’t,” before blowing a kiss and making a quick exit.

MDNA Skin was launched in 2014 in Japan and it is now being expanded and rolled out to select Asian markets. The line is produced by MTG and was developed with the singer herself and her aesthetician, Michelle Peck. The brand made its debut with a device called the “skin rejuvenator,” which is designed to be used with a clay mask, as well as a serum. Products being launched now include a face wash, a rose mist, an eye mask and another device conceived specifically for removing the clay mask. Prices range from 4,500 yen, about $37, for the face wash to 58,000 yen, or $481, for a set including the skin rejuvenator and clay mask.

MTG’s Matsushita said he plans to introduce MDNA Skin to the U.S. and European markets in the future, although no dates have been set.

The MDNA Skin line utilizes ingredients including thermal water, clay and olives from the Italian town of Montecatini Terme in Tuscany. MTG has plans to add even more products to the line in order to offer a total skin-care solution, but development and approval takes time when one is working with one of the world’s most famous perfectionists.

“All these products had to get by Madonna,” Peck said. “We’re not going to rush something just to make a launch. If it’s not ready, it’s not going to be here, because it’s not approved because there’s still things that need to be done to it to get in ready for the public. Which means it didn’t get by Madonna, it didn’t get by me and we’re still working on it. And that’s what I love about her. We would rather have it be ready than have it be presented in a way that’s not authentic.”


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Berlin Review: ‘Strike a Pose’ Revisits the Complicated World of Madonna

"Strike A Pose"
Linda Posnick

Backing singers are rarely name-checked, let alone encouraged to let their own personalities shine alongside that of the star they’re supporting. So the fact that an extraordinarily gifted group of male dancers was front and centre of Madonna’s acclaimed and controversial Blond Ambition Tour of 1990, and the accompanying backstage documentary “Truth or Dare,” was incredibly significant.

For the seven dancers — six gay, one straight — who were plucked from obscurity by Madonna herself, this was a life-changing experience. But it was also, inevitability, short-lived. Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan’s very touching documentary “Strike a Pose” considers two things: the complicated, even messy reality behind that heady moment — backstage of the backstage, if you like — and what happens to those left behind when the superstar and her spotlight have moved on.

Twenty-five years after the tour, the directors have found six of the seven dancers (one has passed away) and given Luis Camacho, Oliver Crumes III, Salim Gauwloos, Jose Gutierez, Kevin Stea, and Carlton Wilborn the chance to reflect; moreover, the film offers them an opportunity that Madonna didn’t: to speak for themselves.

Creatively, the singer couldn’t have been more generous in 1990. As Carlton recounts, her primary instruction was “Give me more of you.” At the same time, the themes that the star chose to express through the tour, film and surrounding media circus — gay rights, freedom of expression and the fight against AIDS — came with a sting in the tail for those alongside her, who were less keen than their boss to push buttons, or to have their own sexuality brandished in the media.

"Strike a Pose"
“Strike a Pose”

On top of that, some of their number were living, secretly, with HIV. One clever sleight of hand by Gould and Zwann is to show Madonna’s on-stage speech about her late friend Keith Haring, who had recently died of AIDS, urging listeners to “face the truth together,” then later in the film to return to the same clip, this time with Salim’s commentary, pointing out the evident discomfort on his face as he was standing next to her.

The film suggests that while Madonna may not have outed her dancers, their presence certainly fueled her agenda, whether they liked it or not. They were and remain role models of self-expression for many gay people, but this came with a price.

“Truth or Dare” was followed by lawsuits, for different reasons, and a gradual distancing between Madonna and her dancers, and between the dancers themselves. Life for them after such heady fame has had its share of difficulties and disappointments.

Neither these engaging men (now in their forties) nor the filmmakers themselves seem overly interested in pointing fingers. In many respects, “Strike a Pose” is a celebration of a brilliantly creative and formative period, for all concerned. It seems undisputed, too, that during the tour a genuine, quasi-family bond developed, with Madonna — who had barely turned 30 herself at the time — becoming a mother figure to her handsome boys. Was she striking a pose? We can only ask her.

Read more at Indiewire

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New unofficial release: Rebel Heart Tour in Cologne – 2CD digipack

The first factory pressed silver disc bootleg of the Rebel Heart Tour has surfaced. This digipack with booklet and double picture CD contains the full show recorded in Cologne, Germany on November 5th. By ‘first factory pressed bootleg’ we mean a release not homemade on cd-r by fans. This however still is an unofficial release with a recording taped by someone in the audience. The sound quality however is good, even though it is an obvious audience recording. Madonna’s voice and music are clear throughout.

We have added this release to our Rebel Heart Tour page. We don’t have this for sale, nor do we have any information on where to get it. The submission of this unofficial release is for information purposes only.

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Our Book Review – ‘The Music Of Madonna’ by Chris Wade

Chris Wade has just released his second book on Madonna discussing her discography. His first book focused on the movies Madonna’s starred in, giving the reader a good reminder why they needed to check out her filmography and forget the everlasting bashing by critics.

Madonna: On Screen was a very enjoyable read and it truly did make me want to jump back into my closet, find those DVD’s and reflect.

‘The Music Of Madonna’ discusses her albums from ‘Madonna’ up until her recent ‘Rebel Heart’. The opinions in this book are those of Chris Wade, this is something you have to remember while reading the book. Chris does a great job in describing the record and what he hears while listening to the tracks.

Of course you will disagree or agree with Chris a lot throughout the book. Songs that he might describe as a hidden gem, for example ‘One More Chance’, while others might think this is one of her weakest songs to date. Stating ‘Gang Bang’ is awful while many consider the track to be absolutely brilliant (and Madonna’s personal favorite off MDNA too).

Remember you are reading a book about Madonna’s discography with the opinions as stated by the writer, there is absolutely no way for you to agree with everything he writes so don’t expect yourself to. Chris Wade is entitled to voice his opinion about it just as much as you are. If you set your own opinions aside and are open to someone else’s, this book makes for a fun read.

The book is a nice addition for people wanting to know more about the songs of Madonna’s album releases as well as those looking for a Madonna book which is not another biography.

There is nothing so diverse as Madonna’s music, causing for fans to have very different opinions about it.  Her best and weakest efforts will forever be something none of us will ever agree on. But that is what is so good about her music, it is never dull and it always takes you a new ride. Whether it’s funky pop, inspired by jazz, dark and moody, electronica or disco and uplifting. There is always something for everyone in Madonna’s back catalogue. You may enjoy her music or you may not, but you can’t ever deny the impact her singles, albums and videos have had in the music industry.

It’s time for some true acknowledgements, critics show her some respect please, she’s earned it ages ago.

Order ‘The Music Of Madonna’ HERE


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Liz Smith on Madonna, Rocco & Guy

I have refrained until now from commenting on the matter ofMadonna and her 15-year-old son, Rocco, who has recently declined to return to the United States and live with his mother, preferring the more lackadaisical lifestyle of his father, director Guy Ritchie. (Madonna married Ritchie in 2000. They divorced in 2008 and he — already a wealthy man — took the pop icon for about $75 million bucks.)

I have no inside information, other than the fact that Madonna is crushed by this turn of events. I know her quite well. I have seen her with all four of her children. I have heard her speak privately about them in the most glowing — and intelligent — terms. She is a stickler for education, self-discipline and motivation.

Despite the professional image and stage persona she often embodies, Madonna is a very good mother, and not, appearances to the contrary, a hedonist or self-destructive. No drugs, no drinking, no dissipation. The male company she has kept since her divorce from Ritchie are separate from her role as a mother. She is not given to wild or inappropriate behavior in front of her children, or anyone else, for that matter.

(I, along with others, might roll my eyes at some of the things she wears, or how she presents herself in photo shoots or on Instagram. But that’s not her daily life. She marches to her own drummer and refuses to be categorized or held back by what others think is “suitable” for a woman of 57. She enjoys making us crazy.)

I am fairly certain that continuing with her current “Rebel Heart” tour has been agonizing, but it would be out of character for Madonna to cave, give in, give up. And what would it gain her? Bad press, enraged fans, and her son would still be in England.

This unhappy situation will likely sort itself out, but that the situation exists doesn’t surprise me. I wondered what was going on in Guy Ritchie’s head when he put Madonna in a film short as a movie star abused by her driver, and then starred her in “Swept Away,” as a wealthy woman abused by one of her servants.

Madonna entered her marriage to Ritchie fully committed. To such an extent that photos of the wedding were never made public.  Her nuptials were not grist for the PR mill. Madonna’s two “I do’s” — to Sean and then to Ritchie were absolutely sincere. That Catholic girl from Michigan always lurks beneath the “outrageous” star.

I don’t think Madonna regrets her marriage to Penn. They have remained friends. I believe she regrets most of her marriage to Ritchie, except for their son, Rocco.

Good luck with all this, honey. You are a good girl.

Read full blog by Liz Smith HERE

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Behind the scenes with the Rebel Heart

For her “Rebel Heart” tour, Madonna wanted to look “strong and fierce, but feminine at the same time”, says her makeup artist, Gina Brooke, who’s spent 10 years on and off the road with the American superstar.

“The look comes from a process of collaboration among Madonna, myself, the hairdresser and the other stylists,” Brooke said before Tuesday’s concert.

“Of course she has to have beautiful, glowing skin and a ‘full mouth’ because we felt that’s what really signifies a woman’s strength, as well as strong lashes and brows. She had to look like a rebel ready to stand up for what she believes in – love.”

Brooke has worked with Madonna on five world tours and numerous videos. “I don’t do the whole tour, but I train the makeup artists and set the looks. I come in for different countries and make sure everything is working.”

Brooke has decided she likes the final segment of the current show best. “It’s like the 1930s, because she wears a sort of flapper dress. So I made eye shadow out of real gold for her and apply it to her lips as well, with a bit of eight-hour cream on top to make it glossy. I love that era and she wears it very well.”
Brooke confirms that a concert tour is anything but glamorous. “It is very hard work, very demanding. Madonna is one of the hardest-working artists I’ve ever worked for. There is really no one like her. She’s very structured. She likes things a specific way, all the time, the same thing.

“She doesn’t meet people before show. She has the regimen she follows very rigidly. You really have to be professional – when she asks a question, you want to make sure you give her the answer right away, because if you take a minute away from her, it could cause you your job.

“Most artists show up just before the show and just perform,” Brooke said. “Madonna shows up hours before show time, checks the lights, goes through all the songs, makes sure the sound is working and so on. And what’s always amazed me is that, after all that and just before the show, she’ll sit with the head of each department, all of them with a notepad and pen. And she’ll say, ‘When I sing this song, this or that went wrong.’ She can remember every single detail of what happened at that moment and knows how it needs to be fixed. She’s a real perfectionist.”

There’s a big of magic involved in the quick costume changes, Brooke reveals.

“Underneath the stage is a small changing room, with two stylists, the makeup artist and the hairstylist, some chairs, a clothes rack and a mirror.” And every speedy change is practice-perfect. “We have to choreograph our movements for three or four weeks,” she laughs.

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Top 10 Richest Female Singers 2016

So let’s take a look at the top ten richest female singers, and find out where they made their money.

#3 – Mariah Carey Net Worth 2016 – $520 Million
#2 – Celine Dion Net Worth 2016 – $630 Million
#1 – Madonna Net Worth 2016 – $1 Billion

Singer, actress, songwriter and entrepreneur Madonna has done it all. And it has paid dividends. Her true net worth is a whopping $1 Billion, this makes her not only the richest female singer in the world, but the richest of all singers, regardless of gender. She is known for her reinvention on the stage and a genre spanning back catalog of music. Beginning in the 1980’s and remaining popular to this day. Her business ventures outside of music include a wide variety of branded merchandise, clothes, books, makeup, fragrances, you name it she sells it. She owns a chain of fitness stores, Hard Candy Fitness, founded an entertainment company, Maverick, and has made appearances in film and television. Madonna has leveraged a successful singing career into a multimedia empire that spans the globe.

Full list HERE

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Madonna’s Blond Ambition dancers: New film ‘Strike a Pose’ reveals what happened to them

It’s 25 years since seven male dancers were picked out by Madonna for her Blond Ambition tour. They became gay role models and celebrities in their own right but inevitably the bubble burst, as a new film reveals.

It’s just over 25 years now since Madonna placed an ad anonymously to recruit “FIERCE male dancers who know the meaning of TROOP STYLE, BEAT BOY and VOGUE…wimps and Wanna-Be’s need not apply.”

The seven dancers she chose from open auditions in LA and New York accompanied Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition world tour, celebrated in the Truth Or Dare (aka In Bed with Madonna) documentary. They were all in their early twenties. Six were gay. They became celebrities in their own right as they travelled the world with the biggest pop star of the era. The dancers were wildly flamboyant. Most were classically trained.

“They are still very intriguing characters, all of them,” says Reijer Zwaan, whose new documentary about them, Strike a Pose (co-directed with Ester Gould) screens at the Berlin festival next week. Five of the dancers will be in Berlin for the world premiere. “To this day, they are great, inspiring and bold characters. These guys, when they were 20, were having the time of their lives. They were travelling the world. They were well known. They were performing in front of 50,000 people.” The dancers and the singers became a very close-knit group. Madonna talked about “feeling like a mother” toward them.

As a kid growing up in the Netherlands in the early 1990s, Zwaan, now a respected current affairs journalist with Dutch public TV, had been obsessed by Madonna and the dancers. He first saw Truth Or Dare when he was 11 years old.

“At the time, I was just fascinated by the tour, by the concert footage but also by the backstage material – the larger-than-life reality that they were all in. I saw it (the film) many times afterwards for the simple reason that my stepmother had bought the VHS.” What, Zwaan wondered, had happened to all the dancers in the intervening years? He decided to find out.

Thanks to social media, the dancers weren’t hard to track down. The trick was to convince them all to appear in the film. Zwaan and his co-director, Gould, wrote them all “a beautiful letter”, asking them to appear in the film.

Some responded immediately and agreed to appear in the film. Others were more cautious. “It’s not the same story for each dancer but in general, they were interested in what we were talking about… they were flattered and wary at the same time,” Gould suggests.

It was clear to the dancers that this wasn’t just a gossipy, nostalgic film with Madonna at the centre. The real intention was to explore just how these dancers reinvented their lives once their time in the limelight was over. The dancers are acknowledged to have had a considerable influence on gay culture. Truth Or Dare was considered groundbreaking – a mainstream film that turned into a huge box office hit and featured a scene of two gay men kissing.

As one fan puts it, “I remember watching this movie in middle school. It was before the internet. I rented it from the video store. It was the first time I saw gay people talking uncensored, being themselves, with this amazing woman.”

Twenty-five years on, the dancers are still stopped in the street. “People will say to them, ‘Thanks to you, I dared to come out to my family,’” says co-director Gould. “Every week, they get a letter or message from somebody thanking them. They know they have had an impact. At the same time, they have had to move on.”

Strike a Pose includes scenes in which the dancers read some of their fan letters. These message are often very poignant. “You guys were and still are my heroes. You gave me hope when there was none,” reads one typical message. “

The dancers may have been role models and a source of inspiration to fans but they have experienced chequered lives. They were all from very different backgrounds. One of them, Gabriel Trupin (whose mother appears in the film), died of an Aids-related illness in 1995.

Luis Camacho in make-up (Lisa Guarnieri)

Not long before his death, Trupin, together with two of the other dancers, had launched a lawsuit against Madonna (which was later settled), claiming that the film had invaded their privacy. It highlighted a paradox that Strike a Pose now attempts to unravel. Trupin has been an inspiration for many young, gay kids. He and the other dancers gave the impression on screen and on stage that they didn’t care what the outside world thought about them. They were reckless and very creative. As it turned out, though, they were far more vulnerable than they appeared. Trupin was horrified that the scene of him French-kissing another man had been included in Truth Or Dare.

“That paradox was very interesting to us and something we talked about a lot to the dancers and to Gabriel’s mother,” says Zwaan. “So many people have pointed out to us that that scene (of the gay kiss) helped them to accept themselves and to dare to come out. Then, at the same time, one of the kissers had a whole different feeling about it.” During their time with Madonna, the dancers had been living in “a bubble” and inevitably that bubble burst. There were struggles with alcoholism, illness, professional disappointment, personal rifts.

“They all have dealt with self-doubt, shame and losing their own identity,” says Zwaan.

These proud dancers became defined in the public eye for what they had done with Madonna. “It’s one of the themes of this film – how do you get over this highlight? If you have this highlight when you’re 20 or 21, or for Jose and Luis, I think they were 18 or 19. There comes a point where they think, do I have to do another interview about Madonna? It keeps on following you throughout your life. Of course, they’re trying to move on,” Gould remarks.

No, Madonna hasn’t seen the film yet. The film-makers have “reached out” to the singer, her lawyers and management but haven’t yet had a response. Nonetheless, Zwaan believes she would be fascinated by what they’ve uncovered. “She is touring right now. She is doing the Rebel Heart tour and so she is all over the world and quite busy – and so I can imagine she didn’t even have a chance to respond. But I do believe that she cares about these guys. They were with her at a very important part of her career and they were very close. I do think that once she sees the film, she might be touched by their stories… they were sort of a family.”

Whatever the price they later had to pay, the dancers were Madonna’s foot soldiers when the singer was at the very height of her power and popularity – and their contribution to the success of the Blond Ambition tour was immense. As Gould puts it, “they do realise that they made a mark”.

‘Strike a Pose’ receives its world premiere at the Berlin Festival on 15 February 

Read more at The independent

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Last week we revealed how directors Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan were preparing to premiere their new documentary, Strike A Pose, at the Berlin Film Festival. Featuring the dancers from Madonna’s iconic Blond Ambition tour and the Truth or Dare documentary aka In Bed With Madonna, they explain what life was like for them at the time and how it changed them forever. Before the film launches we spoke to Ester and Reijer about how they persuaded the dancers to regroup and why now was the right time.

How easy was it persuading the six dancers to be part of Strike A Pose?
Ester Gould: We first sent them a letter explaining our motives and why we felt that these dancers had managed to write history. It wasn’t going to be a ‘tell all’ tale. We were interested in what had happened to these men, not in gossiping about Madonna. I think the dancers liked us and understood the relevance of telling their own stories. Some were reluctant in the beginning, but they all agreed to meet and see who we were in the end. They have often been asked to participate in TV documentaries about Madonna, but what attracted them to this was that it would be about their own lives and experiences.
Reijer Zwaan: Some of the dancers were immediately open to the idea of talking to us about a possible documentary. Others were very reluctant to even meet with us. After 25 years they were somewhat tired of answering questions about Madonna. It helped when we explained that our film would be about them, about their own stories and about the influence that Truth or Dare has had on others. We also made it very clear that we were not looking for gossip. As soon as we met, we felt a true connection with all of them and I think the time was ready for it.

Truth Or Dare
Where were you when you first saw Truth Or Dare?
Ester: I remember seeing the film in the cinema when I was 16. It made quite an impression. It was daring and liberating.
Reijer: In a cinema in Amsterdam, where I grew up. I was 11 years old and my then-stepmother took my sister and me. Beforehand, I wasn’t that interested at all, but when we left I wanted to see it again right away. That whole world – bold, fun, larger-than-life – intrigued me. Even though I remember feeling slightly intimidated by some of the dancers too (they were all so mean to Oliver), their daring and outgoingness made a huge impact.

What made you want to revisit the Blond Ambition tour now?
Ester: I think I miss those times. People were more free and liberal back then than they are now. To some extent making this film is an homage to my teenage years and the eccentricity and dare that was celebrated in the early nineties. Pop culture feels more conformist and boring now.
Reijer: I love how political and outspoken it all was and that’s what has made it so influential. The research was sparked out of curiosity, ‘What would have happened to these seven special guys who were part of this groundbreaking tour and film?’ When we started looking on the internet, it became clear that we were not the only ones asking that question. The tour and the film have touched so many people’s lives. That’s when we realized that there might be a bigger story to tell.

Strike A Pose
Did you reach out to Madonna?
Ester: We did reach out but haven’t heard back from her personally yet. It’s understandable because she’s so busy with her tour but we believe she will see the film soon. We also think she will like it, because the film honours the impact she made. But who knows – we can’t speak on her behalf.
Reijer: Yes, we wrote her a letter about the film and about our intentions in making it. For some reason, I think she still cares about these guys. Obviously, many people pass through her life, but I do think that that particular era of the Blond Ambition Tour and Truth or Dare must have been special for her too. I can imagine she will be touched by the stories of the dancers whom she has known so well and who were there with her.

Voguing is almost as hot as it was in the 80s. Why do you think that is?
Ester: Voguing is a form of dance and art that enhances pride and self-confidence. Why it’s hot now is a question that’s hard to answer, perhaps it’s simply proving itself to be more than a fashionable phase because there’s something very truthful and authentic about it.
Reijer: The arrogance of it, the fierceness, is very attractive and fun. It’s such an expressive form of dance, so stylish too. Somehow it’s about feeling free and on top of the world, or as Jose put it, ‘Everyone deserves feeling like they are having their picture taken at one time or another.’


Visit to read the full interview

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Summer concert rumors: Beyoncé, Madonna, Britney?

must be mid-February if local promoters are talking summer concerts.

Rumors started spreading last week about the possibility of a Bruce Springsteen concert in late July; now there’s talk of Madonna, Britney Spears and Beyoncé taking over Tel Aviv — separately — over the course of summer 2016.

Springsteen may just be wishful thinking, but Madonna is currently on a world tour and is in talks with several Israeli producers to perform this summer, reported Tourist Israel. Ditto for Britney Spears, who hasn’t yet performed in the land.

Madonna’s last Tel Aviv concert was in 2012, when she launched her world tour from Israel with 30,000 fans in attendance at the Ramat Gan Stadium.

Israel Hayom reported that several Israeli producers are working together to bring superstar Beyoncé, the mega pop star they’ve wanted to host for years.

According to Israel Hayom, the producers are talking about two consecutive concerts in the first week of August, in a production that would cost $7 to $8 million.

One concert that is confirmed for this summer is Mercury Rev, an alternative New York band that is slated to perform at Tel Aviv’s Barby club on July 20.

The band, formed in Buffalo, New York, in the late 1980s, has had some musician switches over the years, but vocalist Jonathan Donahue and guitarist and clarinetist Sean Mackowiak a.k.a. Grasshopper, are still in the band, joined by bassist Carlos Anthony Molina and drummer Jason Miranda.

Mercury Rev has played three times in Israel and, having made ties with other Israeli musicians, had rocker Aviv Geffen open for it in France several years back.

Israeli fans, the band has said, are among the most appreciative and knowledgeable.

Read more at TimesOfIsrael

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Madonna Plans Tokyo Ginza Appearance

Madonna is currently touring Asia but she has more than just concerts on her itinerary. The superstar is gearing up to make a special appearance at Tokyo’s Mitsukoshi Ginza store on Feb. 15 to promote her skincare line, MDNA Skin. A Hong Kong event is scheduled for Feb. 19 at The Ritz-Carlton, although it is still unclear whether or not the singer will attend that installment of the festivities, which coincide with the dates of her “Rebel Hear Tour.”

The Material Girl launched her own skincare line in 2014 through a collaboration with Nagoya, Japan-based niche beauty player MTG and skincare artist Michelle Peck. The initial product line up, which is currently sold only in Japan, featured a Skin Rejuvenator device that employs magnet technology, a clay mask and a serum. The newly expanded range, which MTG is rolling out to other markets, will include a face wash and another serum.

Madonna recently attended her ex-husband Sean Penn’s fundraiser for Haiti.

To read more visit WWD


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