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Zooey Deschanel and the twee revival | Culture

Actress Zooey Deschanel’s new podcast Welcome to Our Show sees her dissect her own hit show New Girl (2011-2018), joined by cast members Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris (who played Cece and Winston respectively). The team has released six episodes so far, including a discussion of the show’s pilot episode, the first wedding and a new version of the drinking game “True American” invented for the sitcom.

Coincidentally or not, Deschanel’s reappearance coincides with a return to the twee style that she continues to embody, and which peaked in popularity when the series aired. The style is characterized by brightly colored babydoll dresses, decorative bows, polka dot or animal prints, ballet flats and prominent bangs.

This image was also associated with a certain kind of attitude: eccentric, clumsy, wide-eyed and smiling, the girl who always wants to get along with everyone – basically the personality of Jess, the protagonist of New Girl, who is played by Deschanel. A middle school teacher with horn-rimmed glasses, Jess moves into a shared apartment with three guys after discovering her boyfriend’s infidelity. Of course, her arrival is a bomb of girlishness in this slightly sweaty manhole. But she is so adorable despite her awkwardness that the four end up living together for eight years.

The show garnered numerous Golden Globe, Emmy and People’s Choice Award nominations, and Deschanel won a TV Guide Award and a Critics’ Choice Television Award, while Hannah Simone won a Teen Choice Award. Although the passage of time has not been kind to the first few episodes, the comedy improves in strides as the show progresses – no doubt thanks to the arrival of Kay Cannon to the writers’ room, who was responsible for multiple episodes of 30 Rock.

Zooey Deschanel has remained tied to the twee aesthetic, partly because it appears to be her actual style in real life.
Zooey Deschanel has remained tied to the twee aesthetic, partly because it appears to be her actual style in real life.Steve Granitz (WireImage)

According to Guardian cultural critic Shaad D’Souza, the show became funnier as each character was pushed into caricature: “Jess becomes a delusional smart-ass; Nick starts acting like a curmudgeonly old man in the body of a 30-something; Schmidt, a persnickety, image-obsessed sociopath; and Winston, a moderately dim-witted prankster.” Even the show’s theme song, composed by Deschanel herself, was stripped back to a brief instrumental version.

Deschanel has remained tied to her character’s personality and aesthetic, partly because it appears to be her actual style in real life. A decade on, she still sports the same look and quirky yet forthright attitude, choices that don’t seem to have helped her professional career. The so-called Manic Pixie Dream Girl stock character fell out of favor when cultural critics pointed out its inherent misogyny: she’s a cute, ditzy girl who is just there to fulfill a man’s fantasy. Film critic Nathan Rabin described the archetype as “existing solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” People trace Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s origins to Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie, and its apotheosis to Summer, the protagonist of (500) Days of Summer, a role also played by Deschanel.

When New Girl ended, the media began to speculate about the reasons for Deschanel’s extended disappearance: was she broke? Tired of acting? Focused on raising the two children she had with her ex-husband, producer Jacob Pechenik? Her current relationship with Jonathan Scott, one of the twins who presents the home improvement show Property Brothers, has once again captured the attention of the press, and it seems her comeback goes beyond her personal life.

 Zooey Deschanel and Justin Long in an episode of ‘New Girl.’
Zooey Deschanel and Justin Long in an episode of ‘New Girl.’20th Century Fox Licensing/Merch

The boom in companion podcasts began with obsessive fans of shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the actors themselves didn’t take long to cash in on these extended looks back at the peak of their acting careers. In 2016, The West Wing Weekly, hosted by Joshua Malina (Will Bailey in the show), began airing. There’s also Welcome to the OC, Bitches! with Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke (Summer Roberts and Julie Cooper, respectively) and the recently launched XOXO, which focuses on the original Gossip Girl series and is hosted by Jessica Szohr (Vanessa Abrams).

Will Pearson, chief operating officer of the iHeart Radio Podcast Network – which hosts Welcome to Our Show – says the success of these companion podcasts is driven by the pandemic-induced need for listeners to find “comfort, escapism and a reason to smile whenever possible.” During lockdown and the months of uncertainty that followed, the company decided to play on feelings of nostalgia: “People were looking back at better times, looking for comfort and something to latch onto.”

In September 2021, Deschanel’s band She & Him released three Christmas songs on an EP titled Holiday, and it has just been announced the actress will feature in the live-action adaptation of the children’s story Harold and the Purple Crayon. But unlike actors such as Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker, who turned their careers around to free themselves from typecasting, Deschanel continues to cash in on her twee repertoire.

Zooey Deschanel in 2003, in a look that epitomizes the twee style.
Zooey Deschanel in 2003, in a look that epitomizes the twee style.Donna Ward (Getty Images)

Users of TikTok, the internet’s cultural melting pot, have rescued her style, which did not even disappear that long ago. In fact, many may not even have had time to cleanse their closets of the look before they were forced to reconsider throwing out their twee pieces. Deschanel has since made a video thanking the social network for showing her what twee actually means.

As with all things nostalgic, if there’s one good thing about the cyclical nature of fashion, it’s the new social context that demands a reinterpretation of what is offered from the past. Zooey Deschanel’s podcast could serve to deconstruct her own public persona and show us there is little else to recover from Manic Pixie Dream Girl.



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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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