Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mile High Club?

Ex-stewardess publishes memoir

A former stewardess has published a memoir of her sexual escapades in the sky.
The Singaporean stewardess, identified as Chew, 35, published The Mile Hi! Club: Memoirs of a Stewardess last Wednesday.
Chew confided that she had received more than 20 requests for sex from passengers in her years as a stewardess but claimed she had turned down all of them.

Sex in the air?
by Ho Lain Yi

ONCE, she caught an air stewardess under her charge engaging in hanky panky with an Australian passenger in the plane's toilet. Another time, she claimed, a local 'leading man' told her that he had sex with an air stewardess in the crew bunk.

Such tales of sexual trysts at 35,000 feet are revealed in a new tell-all book, The Mile Hi! Club: Memoirs Of A Stewardess, by former air stewardess Janet Chew, 35. The title is a pun on the term 'mile high club', which refers to people who have had sex in the air.

All the names in the book - launched last Wednesday - have been changed and the airline Ms Chew worked with is also not named, except it is 'reputably one of the best in the world'. Ms Chew, who quit flying last year, worked for the airline for 13 years. So is Ms Chew, who is married with a son, a member of the mile high club? 'That is a very interesting question,' she said, before laughing. After a pause, and some explanation of her stand against such behaviour, she said: 'A big no!' She wrote in her book that she reported the stewardess under her charge though it was 'painful' her to do so. 'In my opinion, such unprofessional behaviour can never be condoned,' she said. She has no idea what happened to the girl, and has not seen her since.

There are also tales of good-looking married male attendants who cheat on their wives, one who was seduced by a senior stewardess and a steward with a 'partner in every port'. She also dished the dirt on the 'tryers' among pilots who are tired of their wives and the 'willing, young impressionable girls' who surround them. Small minority But Ms Chew insisted that those in the mile high club are a small minority, and that they are not representative of the profession as a whole. She said she has personally encountered only two cases. 'The majority go home with a clean conscience,' she added. Not that there is any shortage of temptation in the skies. To fend off unwanted attention, she said, some girls took to wearing 'wedding bands' even though they were single.

Ms Chew claimed she got around 20 offers, but accepted none of them. 'The thing is, I don't know if the passengers were just using a 'cut-and-paste' on every girl,' she said. She insisted she is not out to slam the industry. She claimed to have loved her stint and stopped flying only so she could look after her 5-year-old son. She still misses the experience, she said.

The 1.71m former Miss Intercontinental and Miss Chinatown runner-up still walks with the leggy, straight-backed grace of a flight attendant. She said she wrote the book because she had many stories to tell. Her father, Mr Chew Kok Chang (better known by his pen name, Zhou Can), a Cultural Medallion winner for literature, also encouraged her to try her pen. So she and a friend, Mr Adrian Teo, 37, set up PepperConn, a social media and marketing company. They self-published the book at a cost of $9,000, and printed 3,000 copies.

Ms Chew said the book does not just have tales of sex - she could have added a lot more of that if she wanted. It is also full of humorous anecdotes, such as how an airline crew was booted out from a serviced apartment in Adelaide for stealing. Then there is the story of the stewardess who went without panties because she found the uniform 'inhibiting'. And in case you wonder, the book also reveals the state of a stewardess' panties after a tough flight of standing and squatting. Ms Chew said she also wanted to dispel the idea that stewardesses were just 'waitresses' in the air. The book features many examples of the hard work flight attendants put in.

Her business partner, Mr Teo, said: 'We try to have a good balance of the good and the bad. We wanted to be as close as possible to what is really happening, not to be scandalous.' What crew think of book So, what do airline crew members think about the book?

A 33-year-old air stewardess of 13 years, a friend of Ms Chew's, who gave her name only as Ms Celestine, said she is glad someone has finally decided to put their experiences on paper. After browsing through the book, she admitted that what it describes does happen, but added that hanky-panky among crew members in the air is not common. 'With the workload, I'd say that the people up there have no time,' she said. And such things happen in most workplaces, anyway, she added. 'People always view it as juicy because it's up there in the air,' she said. Former air steward Willy Tan, 33, who flew for three years, said it is 'quite common' for flight attendants, pilots and passengers to form relationships.

'When one is away from home, from friends and family, one tends to get lonely,' he noted. 'Friendships and other bonds may form quite naturally, through working, sightseeing and dining together. How far they want to take it is up to the individual.' He recalled that the closest encounter he had with mile-high clubbing was when a passenger complained about 'a couple (having sex) in the toilet'.

The Mile Hi! Club: Memoirs Of A Stewardess is available at major bookstores for $22.90 and at for $19.

This article was first published in The New Paper s

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My feature in Oak Cliff People

Issue Date: June 12, 2009, Posted On: 6/11/2009

For Fashionista, Sky’s The Limit
Designer adds airline-inspired clothes to her line of accessories
By Silver Hogue
Staff Writer

Photo: Shoshana Portnoy
Tara Tonini designs accessories and clothing on Tyler Street. With her platinum hair and bright red lips, Tara Tonini bares a striking resemblance to the 1960s stewardesses that inspired her new clothing line.

The 23-year-old designer opened a Tyler Street studio in January to showcase her line of “Tara to the T” accessories, some of which will debut at tonight’s Dark Carnival. In February, Tonini added her own vintage-inspired clothing line, Sky Girls, to the mix.

“I learned all of my apparel skills, like pattern making and design, at school in California,” she said. “I studied costume design, and that is when I got really interested in vintage clothing and construction.”

Tonini, whose wide array of hats, feathered barrettes, and headbands are inspired by fashions from the 1920s to the 1970s, said her foray into clothing has an aerodynamic feel.

“I used colors from different airlines in the 1960s as my color palette,” she said.

While she has found her voice as a designer, the road that led to her business was a long one. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California in 2005, she was hired as a lead fashion accessories designer for Tandy Brands Accessories in Dallas — a gig she felt strangled her creativity.

“I did it for several years and just wasn’t cut out for it,” Tonini said.

She decided to turn her love of period clothing and accessories into a business of her own just a stone’s throw from the Bishop Arts District.

“I just saw so much potential in the community,” she said. “It’s just one of those neighborhoods that really
sparked my interest and reminded me of home. I really enjoy Tyler Street. All of the artists that are in my building are super-friendly, they look out for each other, and they’re really making an effort to clean up the neighborhood.”

Tonini runs every aspect of her business herself — from the designing and sewing, to the packaging and selling — but admits to hiring a few interns from time to time.

“Tara’s work is timeless and classy without being dated,” said Oak Cliff designer Stephanie Hindall, founder of Etsy Dallas, a website where Tonini and others sell their wares. “You can wear anything she makes, anytime, anywhere.”

Tonini has been an Etsy member since it was established in late 2007. Hindall remembers selling some of her handmade hair accessories at Etsy’s first show.

“Ever since then, I’ve been a huge Tara fan,” she said. “I’m proud to call her a friend and fellow crafter living and working in Oak Cliff.”

Etsy artist Pamela Jackson, creator of Pamela Michelle designs, said the Bishop Arts area is great for independent designers like Tonini.

“The indie shops there, like Make Shop and Studio, are the first to welcome in the new, young talent,” Jackson said. “They aren’t looking for boring, repetitive, or safe items that line the walls of your typical craft show or shopping mall, but rather the unique and different.”

While she has had to get “really creative” because of the economic climate, Tonini said business has been fairly stable. She hopes to turn her studio into a boutique.

“It’s definitely a plan in the future,” she said. “Maybe next year when I’m a little bit more established in the neighborhood and we get some more foot traffic down Tyler Street.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On the cover of Pin Curl Magazine

Special thanks to Pin Curl Magazine for featuring me on the cover of the June 2009 issue. Check out a snip-it below and follow the link for the rest of the article.

*All photography provided by Through the looking glass studio.

Tara to the T — June 2009
We sat down with Tara Tonini in her studio to talk about her company Tara to the T, fashion design, feathers, flight attendants, and daydreaming. Interview & Cover Photograph: Shoshana of Through the Looking Glass. Article Photograph with Car: Scott Hunter Smith Tell us about the birth of Tara to the T. How did you get your start? I’m originally from California and I attended the Fashion... [Read more]

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dark Candles & Tara Tonini present: The Dark Carnival

Friday, 6/12/2009 - The Dark Carnival
"Something Wicked This Way Comes"

Join us as we present our new collection of Vicious Vixen Candles and Fashion Accessories with a Vintage Twist by "Tara to the T"

Jugglers, Mimes, Magicians, Tarot Card Readers, Face Painters & Freak Shows,

DJ "Wild In The Streets" the Video Bar

Free Cotton Candy & Popcorn

Admission: $10 over 21/ $15 under 21
$5 off with Church VIP or Dog Tags
18 + welcome!
Doors open at 9 pm