5 Hottest Commercials Bringing Sex to TV

Kylie Minogue in Agent Provocateur

The use of lingerie in these five commercials will surprise you with their controversial seduction. From super model Adriana Lima, to Kylie Minogue’s scantily clad, banned from TV, mechanical bull riding attire , you won’t regret checking out the very creative ways these commercials brought the sex to television advertising like never before.

Go Daddy

Kia — Drive the Dream

TeleFlora — Valentine’s Day

Miller Lite — Cat Fight

Kylie Minogue for Agent Provocateur

A Kylie Minogue Fashion Book is Finally Happening

For the last 25 years, Australian actress/singer/showgirl Kylie Minogue has been charming the globe with her superior voice, beauty, body, and style. Top designers love her and fellow pop icons sometimes want to be her (remember Madonna’s Kylie tee?), so it’s safe to say that the world is collectively excited about her latest project. To celebrate her quarter century in the music industry, Minogue is set to unveil a style retrospective tome called Kylie/Fashion that’s filled with images of her most memorable looks as well as words from her famous fashion friends.

"This book charts my relationship with some of the most talented people in fashion throughout my career," Minogue reveals to British Vogue. "It makes me very proud to see gathered together all the great designers and houses I’ve worked with over the years. Looking through my personal archives has been a real trip down memory lane and it is the fashion that brings back moments and memories of the last 25 years." 
 
To get us all hyped for the November 19 release, enjoy some Minogue eye candy below.
 
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All Grecian everything during her Aphrodite world tour
 
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A Ziggy Stardust moment
 
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From her "Love At First Sight" video
 
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One of the best: That skimpy "Can’t Get You Out of My Head" hooded situation
 
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’80s Kylie. Never Forget.
 
Photos via The Fashion Spot

Leos Carax on His New Masterpiece ‘Holy Motors’ and His Island of Cinema

The power of cinema lies in its ability to transport you into another world, into another life. You go to into a theater, take your seat, the lights dim, and suddenly you’re given the keys to embark on something completely unknown, to bid yourself adieu and leave your fate into the hands of another. You fall down the rabbit hole into a different world and for these few hours, you bear the pain and the weight of the lives of those onscreen, assuming an identity with infinite possibilities. And in the end when the credits role, you go back to your normal life. Nothing may have changed fundamentally—just because the protagonist has murdered their family, doesn’t mean you’ll soon be carted off to jail—but if the film has served it’s purpose, you’ll never walk away unscathed. 

And with Leos Carax’s new science-fiction epic, Holy Motors, by the end of the film you’re left sitting in your seat baffled by the myriad lives you’ve just walked through, in awe of the power of cinema as an experience that is sacred and fantastic.  A film that both explodes and implodes, a masterpiece of clever wit and visual wonder, Holy Motors is just as heartbreaking as it is hilarious—and you’ve never seen anything like it. Walking out of the theater, I found myself thinking, Why haven’t we seen something like this before? Where has this type of film hiding? But perhaps it is because a film such as this requires not only an incredible about of imagination and fury but a great deal of fearlessness. Holy Motors was “born of rage” by Leos after he was consistently unable to get funding for other features he wanted to make—thus becoming the brain child of a rebellious genius with nothing to lose.

Is the film a meditation on the different masks we wear as humans; is it an outcry for the takeover of technology over the organic; is it a plea for human connection; is it a virtual nightmare where our future lives only in the eyes of the screen; is it a love letter to cinema in all its forms? Or, is it simply a story about what it means to be alive in a world where human experience is on the verge of extinction? In one scene of the film, it states that, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and with Holy Motors, how you view the beauty of the film is entirely up to your own obsessions and predilections. It may be a delicate web to maneuver your way through, but it is malleable to everyone’s own perception. There are moments when you cannot help but gaze in amazement, not only of Leos’ clever genius but of Denis Lavant, who plays Monsieur Oscar (as well as the nine other roles he assumes throughout the day), who delivers an astonishing performance in which he disappears into each of his roles with the intensity of a madmen. Lavant has a physicality that haunts, with a body sculpted like the recurring images of athletes crono-photographed by Marey that appear sporadically throughout the film. 

In its simplest form, Holy Motors is an odyssey through the body and soul that takes place over a single day in modern Paris. Monsieur Oscar is chauffeured by limousine, traveling to and from his various “appointments,” venturing from one life to the next. Throughout the day we see Monsieur Oscar transform into these differing worlds in which he plays everything from a lonesome gypsy crone on the streets, to a finger-eating troglodyte, and an assassin sent to kill his own doppleganger—just to name a few. The genre shape-shifts with every scene, never becoming static, while allowing the moments to play out in all their bizarre glory. With a cast featuring Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes, and most notably French actress, Edith Scob, Holy Motors is a surrealist dream in which Leos doesn’t feed the audience anything and yet, the satisfaction is undeniable.

Yesterday, I was joined by three other writers and lovers of cinema to speak with Leos about the evolution of his work, the miracle of cinema, and courage as lesson to be learned.

You directed Denis Lavant now over the course of three decades, how has your process of working with him evolved over the years?
Mostly it evolved between the first film and the second film. I don’t know Denis in real life. We live like 500 meters apart in Paris but we’re not friends and I’ve never had dinner with him and we don’t talk much. But I was lucky, it was a miracle to find him for my first feature. I was looking for this boy for a long time—I had to post-pone the film for a year because I couldn’t find the boy—but finally I found Denis and made it. I was aware after the film that I had not used him enough in his physical capacity. The first film I made with him was called Boy Meets Girl, which was very static. So I made a second film with him which was much more physical and then the third film and then I didn’t shoot with him for sixteen years or something. Then we made a film in Tokyo two years ago where I rediscovered him and thought he had just become much greater actor. At the time, he was great but limited. Even ten years ago we could have never made this film together. He could have played parts of it, like the motion capture part, but other scenes, he couldn’t play it—like the scene with his daughter or the scene where he’s dying. So when I imagined this film, because this film was born out of the rage of not being able to make other projects,  it was imagined very fast. I think I did all of it in two weeks. I knew the film would be shot in Paris for little money, it would be shot in digital, it would be shot with Denis, and I would not watch the dailies—that’s the only things I knew. And then those two or three scenes, I imagined them for Denis but I didn’t think he would be able to do them, it won’t be good. But I thought, Okay let’s try, and I was very surprised. I think now there’s nothing he can’t play.

Was there one of the scenes that sparked your initial idea to the make the film? I’d heard you had this image of a theater full of people and you didn’t know if they were sleeping or dead.
I’m not a writer, so I don’t write a script from A to Z. I start usually with two or three images and two or three feelings and then I try to edit these feelings and these images together. There was this image of the public, you don’t know if they’re dead or sleeping. And there was obviously this limousine that had been attracting me. I first saw them in America and the neighborhood I live in in Paris is a Chinese neighborhood and they use them to get married,—strangely, because I find them very morbid, they’re more like coffins. But I was very intrigued by these limousines, I thought they were a very great vehicle for today because they’re quite virtual—they want to be be seen but you can’t see inside them and people feel very protected inside them—they play a role. You don’t buy them, you rent them, it’s like a rented life, like avatars of themselves whether they’re playing to be famous, to be rich for a day or an hour. I thought they were very interesting and they’re very cinematic.

And also, I had this image of the old beggar which is the second avatar for Monsieur Oscar after the rich banker. I pass these beggars, these gypsy beggars everyday in Paris. They’re all the same and they have their backs completely bent and I’ve always felt, how can you be more alone than them, than this? What’s left of life, they’re still alive, what’s left of life? And I thought, there’s no one more foreign in Paris more than these women, I’ll never be able to be in contact with them. I thought maybe I’d make a documentary about that, about one of these women and me: we pass each other on this bridge and I try to relate to them and then I have to go to their country to understand their story and how it happened. I always wanted to make documentaries but my fear is if I make a documentary, it will have no end, my whole life will be consumed. Because how do you end a documentary? Even a fiction film is hard to end; I end it because of money reasons but I could keep editing it and shooting it forever. So I went the opposite way: I thought, No if it’s not going to be a documentary, this one is going to be complete fiction, it’s going to be played by an actor and I’m going to put my words into the mouth. I guess I associated this idea of playing roles with the limousine and put them together. 

The movie is completely different than anything I’ve seen by you. It seemed a lot freer than your other films and I’m just wondering how not getting funding played a role for you to do something this different?
The film was born of that rage. It was imagined much quicker than any other project I had. Within a few weeks. I think if it’s strong and if it feels free, it’s because of that rage and that fast process. It took us a year to find the money, I wanted to shoot it right away but it was imagined that way and shot that way a year later.

If someone were to come up to you on the street and ask you if they should devote their life to cinema, what would you say?
I wouldn’t call it devotion. I don’t think you should devote your life to anything. But I feel it’s really a miracle that cinema exists, that it had it be invented. It’s an invention and no other art is an invention, it has a machine. It needs machines. It needed machines and now it needs computers. It needs motors and in french you say “Motor,” like in English you say, “Rolling,” before the director says, “Action.” So I felt very relieved when I was sixteen to discover cinema and to discover there was a land, a place, I call it an island, from where you could see life and death from another perspective or angle or many different angles. I think every young person should be interested in that island; it’s a beautiful place. But it has nothing to do with that. I like cinema, I don’t like cinephilia. I don’t care so much about films, I care about cinema in terms of place, this place where you can see. It may be arogant but I do believe that I live in this island; it’s worth living there.

Do you feel any kinship with any other French directors of your generation?
No. But I’m not looking for it. I started young and as a young man I was quite alone. I came to Paris from the suburbs when I was 17, I didn’t know anybody in Paris. I didn’t study films, I had never been on a shoot before I made my own films. Asking for money was just saying, “Trust me, I can make films.” And after that, I did interviews and stuff so I guess there was just kind of pride of being alone. So I paid the price of this pride and I benefited from it, it gave me strength but at the same time, it made me really alone in the industry. But that’s my story, I can’t say it’s good or bad but that’s the way it was. I don’t really see myself as part of a generation. I don’t care about the idea of French filmmakers or Chinese filmmakers, I’m a director and sometimes it happens I was born in France but that’s it.

Nowadays where it seems like so many people are just living their virtually and without human connection, adopting these identities it felt like the film really echoed that, especially in the fact that no matter which life he hoped in and out of, no matter what he did there’s no consequence. And we’re living in this time where we can act out these fantasies without consequence, is that something you were thinking about making the film?
Well yeah, the film is about our actions and the notion of experience and how important it is. Life is experience, experiencing life today, do we still want to experience? Do we still want to be responsible? Do we still want to  write our own life? I’m interested in virtual reality but it’s not something I want to impose on my life. I like to be inhabited by different worlds but I don’t like to be imposed whether it’s this world or the virtual one, I don’t want anybody to impose it on me. The film is not against anything, it’s just saying that we’re mutants and that every generation more so than any other generation, we have to fight like a mutant has to fight. It’s not nostalgia and it’s not stupid hope for the future, it’s just fighting as always. The risk is and I see it in young people, the lack of courage. We’re lacking courage. Filmmakers are lacking courage but we as people are. I think they should teach courage in school to kids–whether it’s civic, political, philosophical, poetic courage, or physical courage even. They should be taught in school because if we have courage anything is possible. 

Did it take you a lot of courage to make this movie? All your movies are very personal. They have a lot of elements that come from you. I was really touched by the father daughter scene. How much of it was inspired by your personal life with your daughter?
There’s a special courage in filmmaking but I do what I can. When I make a film, it’s the only possible film I can make when I’m making it. It happens that Denis and me are the same age—he has three daughters, I have one daughterso in films you put all your fears, all your question marks and all your fears. Obviously, I think the relationship between father and daughter is the most beautiful most possible relationship but also the closest to all the horror tales, I mean the father can be a monster very easily. That’s my fear, being a monster but it doesn’t have to  do with the actual relationship with my daughter I hope.

What do you think, in your capacity as a filmmaker, is your relationship with cinema history?
Well, I started making films at the same time I discovered film, which rarely happens. Usually it’s two different times in your life. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but that’s how it happened. So I watched a lot of films from age 16 to 24, a lot of silent films, Hollywood films obviously, and New Wave films but I think I stopped watching films at the time of my second film. I felt I’d paid my depth of love for the cinema. I needed to go my own way. I never think I’m a cinephile, I never think in terms of films. I do live on this island called cinema but I never think terms of genre. People see lots of references in this film, I don’t. There are one or two but as references, I hope they serve. I think the best viewer for a film like this is someone who doesn’t know much about cinema, that’s why when I travel with the film, the further I go usually the closer I am to people who see the film in a way it was imagined which is not a cinephile. Hopefully if the film is successful, it’s about the experience of being alive today. Cinema permits us to see things like ghosts, but I don’t care too much anymore about cinema’s history.

You put humans and machines and animals all on the same level as these things that were alive—why is that something you wanted to show?
I thought—now I’m saying I thought, I didn’t think anything. Now I think that I had to create a kind of science fiction worldthere’s not much science in it but there’s a lot of fiction—where this job would exist, where he could travel from life to life in a limosuine. It’s not that I’m interested in actors or actors’ work and life or whatever, but it made it possible to, in a day, to have him do this. Otherwise, I would have needed a classical narrative or flashbacks; this permitted, in one day, a large range of human experiences—grieving, love, loss, joy.  And the film was born of these two opposite feelings: the fatigue of being yourself and another reinventing yourself, which you need to do a few times in your life. So I invented this science fiction world where animals, humans, and machines had a kind of solidarity to fight this virtual world where there was no responsibility. Because I like motors, I like machines, I like action. And that’s how cinema started, it’s a machine filming a horse, it’s a machine filming a man running. You still love to watch human bodies, you also like to watch landscapes or things we’ve created: buildings, cigarettes, guns, cars, but mostly we love to watch human beings and that’s action. We love to watch people walking, running, fucking. So that’s how the title came, “Holy Motors.” Holy would be the soul part and Motors would be the body: body and soul. 

May’s Key Events: Met Ball, Beastie Boys, Cannes Film Festival

May 1: The Met Ball celebrates the launch of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Watch your step, Paz! May 3: Scary Spice: Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, Beastie Boys’ first album in four years, is released today. May 4: Kylie Minogue plays Hammerstein Ballroom, which is probably the size of her dressing room in England.

May 6: Let the Natalie Portman authenticity debate continue! Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and the Oscar-winning body-double enthusiast, comes out today. May 10: Rob Lowe releases his memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography, a book that, unless you’re Rob Lowe’s friend, is totally blank. May 11: Yes we Cannes! American directors invade the Riviera as Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Gus van Sant’s Restless, and Jodie Foster’s The Beaver screen at the prestigious film festival. May 12: Sleigh Bells play the Music Hall of Williamsburg to a crowd of people who discovered them first. May 20: Serious actor Johnny Depp continues his adventures in moneymaking with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. May 23: Lady Gaga releases Born This Way, the first and only concept album about a cesarean section. May 25: No! More! Ooooooprraahhhhh! Harpo Studios says goodbye to screaming moms and toaster ovens when Oprah Winfrey airs her final show. May 26: The Hangover II, in which the guys go berserk in Thailand, hits theaters. Haven’t they ever heard of Gatorade? May 27: CGI dinosaurs meet real-life dinosaurs in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.

David Koma’s Limited Edition Designs for Topshop

No stranger to fast-fashion designer collaborations, Topshop is back in the swing of things with its current partnership with David Koma. You may recognize his designs from paparazzi pics of Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Kylie Minogue. Koma’s avant-garde garments feature futuristic tailoring and unconventional lines. As if Topshop sales weren’t competitive enough already, the collection contains just 5 designs, with only 30 items per piece.

Dresses run around $560, which is pretty steep for Topshop, but the extra cost is evident in the tailoring. The dresses are trimmed with metal tubing (a belt in the collection costs $160.) At such low quantities, the collection is sure to be highly coveted upon release. However, the internet can’t seem to agree on when that happens. Pieces will be available in NYC, London, and online on either Feb 10th, 16th, or 18th. But rest assured it will go quickly whenever it releases, so hedge your bets and log on to the site all 3 of those days.

Kylie Minogue: Mighty Aphrodite

For as long as she can remember, her every smash success, personal failure and public tragedy has been devoured and documented by international tabloids. As she readies the release of her eleventh album, pop icon, fashion goddess and cancer survivor Kylie Minogue finds solace away from the media glare in (of all places) a Brooklyn coffee shop. Nick Haramis spends a few days getting to know the woman responsible for all those headlines. Check the exclusive, behind-the-scenes video of our June/July covershoot here.

I first encounter Kylie Minogue in the lobby at TriBeCa’s Greenwich Hotel. Seated on a couch, her slight frame is half-swallowed by its plush cushions. Her wavy, caramel hair is pulled back into a loose ponytail, and the clothes she’s wearing are similarly unfussy: gray tank top, black bra and dark jeans. Almost a year has passed since the 42-year-old Australian pop superstar embarked on her debut North American tour, and while she was trumpeted as Britain’s most powerful celebrity in a recent U.K. poll, not a single person in this room seems to recognize her. In London, where she’s now based, she can’t take a walk without being hounded by the swarms of paparazzi who camp nightly outside her house. Stateside, she says, “The anonymity is amazing.”

Minogue flew to New York from England to attend an event in support of DKMS, an organization that raises awareness about bone marrow transplants. Later this week, she’ll relocate to Los Angeles to film the music video for “All the Lovers,” the first single off her eleventh studio album, Aphrodite, due out in July. Directed by Joseph Kahn, the video re-imagines the works of Spencer Tunick, an American photographer who famously corrals thousands—sometimes tens of thousands—of nude volunteers into public spaces such as the Zócalo in Mexico City and the steps of the Sydney Opera House. “The video came down to two treatments, including one that was a little gentler. But the general consensus was that we should go with the edgier option,” she says. Shaking her head, she adds, “I don’t exactly know how we’re going to pull it off.”

It’s the mass of people, not the prospect of a little skin, that has Minogue worried. This is, after all, a woman who regularly uses and markets her sexuality to her advantage—even if that means being taken less seriously. “I have big ambitions,” says Minogue, once the most-groped wax figure at Madame Tussauds’ famed London gallery. “But I’m really quiet about it. What’s that saying? ‘Never let people know how much you know.’” Although she’s a shrewd business mogul, it’s Minogue’s body, rather than her brain, that generates the most buzz. Take, for example, her career comeback at the turn of the millennium—thanks, in large part, to a revealing pair of gold booty shorts. Her backside had its own following way before Kim Kardashian came along, especially after she allowed herself to be pawed by Justin Timberlake during a live performance at the 2003 Brit Awards.

Still, Minogue has limits. “I did a commercial for Agent Provocateur a while ago,” says the Grammy winner, referring to a video she filmed in 2001 for the slinky lingerie brand. In it, Minogue rides a red velvet–covered mechanical bull to simulated, unrestrained orgasm. Though the BBC banned the spot, it went viral with more than 360 million YouTube views as of 2007. “I was so timid about that one,” she says. “I didn’t want to take my robe off, but then I passed through this chasm and on the other side of it was a professional who knew what she had to do. Next thing you know, the robe came off and there I was, riding that bull.”

The tension between modest girl-next-door and bronco-bucking vixen cuts to the heart of Minogue’s enduring worldwide appeal. She is at once a low maintenance innocent and, as she is more frequently portrayed in gossip rags, a relentless showgirl with an exhibitionist streak. The Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, her friend and collaborator, says, “Her on-stage persona is very true to who she is. To watch her perform is to get a glimpse into her soul.” But Minogue insists that her sexpot image isn’t the entire truth. “People know me from one angle, or two angles, but few people actually know me. That’s not my real world and yet it’s some kind of reality for me because I do it,” she says. “Sometimes I think, Did I really, actually do that?”

It wouldn’t be the first time Minogue, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, surprised herself—or her audience—by drastically flipping the script on her professional life. Her first risk-taking career choice came when Minogue skipped college at the age of 17 to seize her big break: the role of mechanic Charlene on the enduring Aussie series, Neighbours, a part that won her considerable acclaim. “Acting was the first thing I did when I left high school,” she says. “I signed up for the dole when I graduated, but I never got a check because I started working on Neighbours. Fame wasn’t the driving force, but I can’t say I didn’t aspire to it at all. I used to daydream as a kid that my neighbor was a record producer and that he would hear me singing.”

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It wasn’t a neighbor, but rather a label executive at Mushroom Records who signed Minogue in 1987 after hearing her sing “The Loco-Motion” at a benefit concert with her television co-stars. Since that time, Minogue has released 10 albums, seven signature fragrances, three books (one for children), one documentary and even a line of bedsheets.

From award-winning soap star, to precocious teenybopper, to Michael Hutchence-dating bad girl, to dancefloor queen, Minogue has shed skins and changed images ever since she was first recruited, at 19, by English power-producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman. But the single biggest shift in the way people perceived her came when she transitioned gracefully from “Kylie: feverishly objectified music sensation” to “Kylie: cancer survivor.”

On May 17, 2005, when she canceled the Australian and Asian legs of her enormously successful Showgirl tour, Minogue released the startling news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The day before her public announcement, Minogue went for a walk with her brother, Brendan, and her then-boyfriend, actor Olivier Martinez. “It was the first time I’d felt such absolute terror,” she recalls. “We stopped at a café that day. I remember looking at everyone around me, watching how normal they all seemed, and thinking, These people don’t know now, but they will tomorrow.”

Her adult life has been a deluge of rapt attention from the media, but it had never been so deeply intrusive, especially given her tenuous state. Overnight, paparazzi were stationed outside her parents’ house in Melbourne; photographers hounded her sister, Dannii, at the airport as she hurried home to be with her family; Australian Prime Minister John Howard issued a public statement of regret and support; newspapers across Europe ran front-page headlines like “Kylie’s Cancer Battle,” “I Am a Fighter” and “She Can Beat This.” Her cameraman brother works at an Australian news station, where his colleagues were assigned to capture video footage of his sick kid sister. “The guys told the network, ‘We can’t do this. You’re going to have to hire a freelancer,’” she says. Not that one extra television crew would have mattered at that point. “There were stacks of people camped outside the house.” Still, she’s loathe to wallow in self-pity and quietly keeps her personal struggles in perspective. “We’re all pretty realistic about what we do and what difficulties that brings,” she says. “We’ve all got stuff to deal with, so we deal with it.”

The next day, I meet Kylie Minogue at a photo studio just north of Canal Street. A hairstylist sprays her head with water, while a makeup artist rubs bronzer across her body. In the time it takes the bronzer to be applied smoothly over her skin, her hair dries considerably, which prompts a few more sprays from the bottle, which in turn causes the bronzer to run. It’s what her music videos might look like if directed by Samuel Beckett. But Minogue pays it no mind. Dressed in a white one-piece bathing suit and coral necklace, she shakes her hips and sings along with the lyrics to “The Girls” by Calvin Harris, with whom she has worked twice before. It’s a daring wardrobe choice for any woman in her forties—let alone a breast cancer survivor.

In 2006, Minogue was issued a clean bill of health, and with it came another personal high. The media attention to Minogue’s illness generated a significant spike in scheduled mammograms among Australian and British women, a phenomenon now dubbed The Kylie Effect. She eased back into the spotlight with a children’s book titled The Showgirl Princess and, in 2008, her tenth studio album, X. “That album had some great moments on it, but, as a whole, it wasn’t cohesive. I think people wanted to hear something with more gravitas considering what I’d just been through, but the most personal songs I’d written, like ‘Ruffle My Feathers,’ didn’t end up on the album. That one was about cancer: How could you do this to me? How could you ruffle my feathers? It’s symbolic, but also, very literally, cancer put an end to my Showgirl tour.”

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Coming out the other side of such a terrible and terrifying ordeal forced Minogue to reevaluate her life and career. “When I came back after I’d healed, I realized, more than ever, that performing is what I do,” she says. “It’s what I love to do. Strangely, I’m less stressed about getting in front of an audience now, and so the shows have gotten better.”

Aphrodite, executive produced by Stuart Price, the go-to wunderkind for artists from Madonna to New Order, is an important album for Minogue. It’s her first release since she toured America in 2009, and expectations are high that this will finally be the record that breaks her through, once and for all, into the U.S. market. Although 2001’s Fever was a huge international success, going platinum in America and spawning her second-ever top-10 U.S. single with “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” it never translated into lasting stateside success. (Her follow-up, 2003’s Body Language, moved only 177,000 copies in the U.S.)

More importantly, Aphrodite is her first release since the tepidly received X. Shears can relate to his friend’s predicament. His sophomore album with the Scissor Sisters in 2006, Ta-Dah, also fell flat. “Kylie and I are both in a similar spot right now,” he says. “I didn’t feel particularly connected to our last album, and I think she felt the same way about hers. If either of us puts out a bad record right now, we’re kind of toast.”

Although it’s a bit dramatic to suggest that Shears or Minogue has anything to prove at this point, both of them have invested considerable faith in Price’s magic touch. Minogue says, “I recently played Jake some of the new tracks on my iPod, and he was so ecstatic. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this about an album.” And it shows. “Although I’m not taking the title too literally,” she says, “Aphrodite is the goddess of love, and as far as the music goes, there’s a feeling of euphoria on this one.” Perhaps this new sound reflects her current state of mind? “Am I happy right now?” she asks. “What’s happy? I have moments of happiness and sometimes they’re even strung together, but I definitely have dark moments, too. Thankfully, those don’t last very long. I can go down very quickly, but I won’t stay there.”

To keep herself from spiraling into those dark places, Minogue is forever on the lookout for new challenges, which could mean a return to acting. Earlier in her career, she starred in a handful of movies, including Bio-Dome and Street Fighter, neither of which did much to galvanize her credibility as a serious actress. “The mid-’90s were a bad patch,” she admits. “But show me an actor who hasn’t done a few bad jobs. I have a deep desire to challenge myself with that again. As a ‘pop star,’ I’ve created this world for myself, and it becomes very natural to stay inside of it, but I’d love to do some independent films. It’s still very early, but I’m in the process of choosing between specific parts.”

With William Baker, her creative partner for the past 16 years, Minogue is also at work on a new Mamma Mia!–style musical, weaving together her songs and an original story. “We’ve been talking about doing it forever,” she says. “I would like to get a couple of writers involved. I think we’ll probably co-direct it.” Laughing at the absurd loftiness of it all, she adds, “Don’t let us get bored for five minutes—we’ll come up with another project! My dad has always said since the very beginning, ‘Kylie, you know you can say no to any of this. You can walk away from the whole thing if you want.’ But I’m a people-pleaser. ‘No’ doesn’t come naturally to me.”

Dusk looms over the Manhattan skyline on an unusually hot day in early May when I meet Kylie Minogue for the third time. She chose as our destination Supercore, an unassuming Japanese café with a backyard garden in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She looks rested, despite having co-hosted a small gathering the night before with her boyfriend of two years, Spanish model Andrés Velencoso. Hidden in plain sight among a crowd of animated locals, she beams when regaling the details of how she spent her morning. “I did all of the dishes from last night, but I refused to wash anything without gloves,” she says, which seems reasonable when one considers that she is among the world’s richest female performers, her net worth estimated last year at $71.25 million. “That was my only diva request. So I went to the store and bought a pair.”

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Two gay men walk out onto the patio. One of them looks in our direction and freezes. Stifling a sharp gasp, he collects himself and continues to his table. The expression on his face, excitement verging on total mania, calls to mind something Shears said about Minogue earlier that week. “She’s a showgirl at heart and gays love a good showgirl,” he offered. “If Madonna is the Wicked Witch of the West, then Kylie is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. She’s like a beacon of light for the gay community.” Designer Jean Paul Gaultier was equally glowing: “I first met Kylie almost 20 years ago. She was so sweet and beautiful, and I liked her from the moment I saw her. I’d seen her infrequently until, one day, she asked me to design costumes for her X tour. I was struck by how little she had changed. For me, she is the definition of the word ‘nice.’” Similarly, musician Rufus Wainwright once referred to her as “the gay shorthand for joy.”

It’s hard to imagine where Minogue would be today without her gay following, a devout demographic she first encountered in 1998, when drag queens began performing her songs in Sydney, Australia. “I was ecstatic when I found that out,” she says. “Shocked, but ecstatic. Before I knew it, I was cradled in their arms.” Her star rose in tandem with her over-the-top stage show, suggesting that perhaps Minogue knew a good thing when she saw it. But, she insists, “As far as the music goes, I’ve just kept doing what I do, which is, I suppose, what endeared me to them in the first place.” But surely there are times when she caters to her gay fans? “I don’t know how to answer that question,” she says, before a considerable pause. “To be honest, I like not having an answer to that question, because it was never calculated in that way.”

Calculated or not, Minogue is, without question, one of the great international gay icons, sharing space in the pop pantheon with Judy Garland, Grace Jones and Cher. But the comparison that gets thrown about most often is between Minogue and Madonna, and not without reason. Madonna has her controversial Sex book, and Minogue has Kylie, an equally envelope-pushing collection of photos—some topless—and an illustration of her with a penis; Madonna has Truth or Dare, a tour documentary, and Minogue has White Diamond: A Personal Portrait of Kylie Minogue; Madonna has a much-younger boyfriend, Brazilian model Jesus Luz, and Minogue has 32-year-old Velencoso. “But it’s a bit of a lazy comparison now,” she says. “If someone were to look at it more closely, they’d see that I have a lot of influences that precede Madonna.” She adds, “We have friends in common. She’ll pass me a message and I’ll pass a message back to her. I’m sure we’ll meet one day and have a good laugh.”

The terrain of dance-pop has shifted considerably over the last couple of years, namely because of Lady Gaga, whose oddball combination of couture and camp has endeared her to fans of all sexual persuasions. “I think there’s an element of me in her, but you’d also have to add into that mix all of the other women we’ve been talking about,” she says. “It’s all part of a chain. Inasmuch as dance music has gone mainstream, I’d love to think that I’ve played a part in that.”

Kylie Minogue is sweet, yes. She’s certainly kind and generous and polite—but modest? If that’s the case, she’s come a long way. I pull out a yellowed copy of i-D magazine from July of 1994, when Minogue, their cover girl at the age of 26, insisted, “I don’t want to be second to anybody.” She bursts into laughter, the smile on her face betraying only the slightest nostalgia and perhaps a touch of pride for the woman she has become. “‘I don’t want to be second to anybody!’” she says, marveling at the audacious folly of her former self. And then, to no one in particular, she whispers, “God bless her.”

Photography by Simon Emmett. Styling by Christopher Campbell.

Kylie Minogue on the Cover of BlackBook

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In her second-ever North American cover appearance, international pop superstar Kylie Minogue turns up the heat for our June/July Smart Issue wearing the season’s most scorching swimwear. Inside, Bill Murray tries his hand at auto-asphyxiation, Inception‘s Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe do battle, filmmaker Sarah Polley cozies up to a latex glove-wearing, life-size lamb, Crystal Castles get bestial, Luke Wilson loses his cool, Denis Leary burns Bush, MNDR takes us shopping, and photographer Tim Hetherington brings us into Afghanistan’s deadly Korengal Valley. Plus, Vice co-founder Gavin McGinnes stops by to art direct “Beach Boners,” a fashion story inspired by his new style book. There’s also an in-depth look at The Killer Inside Me‘s tortured adaptation history, a male model, half-naked, on a beach, and some tips for how best to weather the warmer climes. You might call this issue kind of genius. Also, don’t forget to check out our full cover gallery. Next week, stay tuned for the full issue rollout right here.

The Secret to Ke$ha’s #1 Single: Ripping Off Kylie Minogue’s ‘Love At First Sight’

The day after Christmas, I discovered Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK.” I listened to the tune once. Then again. And again and again. Then I finally set my iTunes on “Repeat One” and listened to nothing else for a few hours. With lyrics like “Before I leave, I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack” and “Now the dudes are lining up ’cause they hear we got swagger / But we kick ’em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger,” I easily identified with Ke$ha’s teenage angst. So did all of America, apparently. Pop poetess Ke$ha has emerged in 2009’s eleventh hour as a very viable threat to Lady Gaga. But alas, some pop songs were built–by geniuses no less–to be broken down and picked apart. Before this year, you actually heard “TiK ToK”–or at least its signature riff–in a Kylie Minogue stomper that bowed earlier this century.

A problem with having a job where you’re expected to scrutinize pop music is that most of your colleagues have similar tasks. So between both of you, a pop song’s allure can be demystified in sheer seconds, leaving nothing but a carcass of lazy rhymes and sloppy electronic blips behind. After a discussion with Interview‘s Colleen Nika, I learned that Ke$ha, that no good tart, basically ripped off Minogue’s “Love At First Sight.” We drew the conclusion that Ke$ha copped that song’s signature synth riff. More problematic, Team Ke$ha did a pretty lousy job covering up the theft. We weren’t alone in unearthing this stark similarity, however.

Sure, Minogue didn’t employ the sound of Super Mario jumping over a koopa shell as a dance beat. And whereas “TiK ToK” is a song about promiscuity, “Love At First Sight” is about monogamous happily ever afters. But differences end there. Because once you identify “TiK ToK”‘s riff as an almost beat-for-beat carbon copy of “Love”‘s driving force, it kind of takes the punch out of Ke$ha and a song so charmingly ridiculous in its ability to summit the American charts. Both songs are featherweight without their shared riff.

But is this the end of the world? Nah, Plagiarism is part of pop music’s circle of life. It does, however, dampen an otherwise intelligently indulgent dance tune. And number Ke$ha’s days in pop. Because seriously, how do you top “TiK ToK”?