Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Second Life Prodigy : Topaz Joubert

Written by Carmichael Caudron

This interview took place on July 15th.
Since the year 2009, Topaz Joubert aka Thelma Lay in real life, has been a prodigy in the Second Life™ virtual world, simply because she was one of few who managed to catapult her virtual digital magazine, MANIERA™ into a real life legitimate magazine just like any other in the real world we all normally read. Real life models, real life coverage of fashion shows, art events their real life reporters attend and ofcourse also real life advertisers which truly makes it worth it in the magazine business.

MANIERA even got nominated last year at the Digital Magazine Awards™ ceremony, amazing.

Throughout all this, she remains as humble and genuine as can be, a pleasure to be around.

I interviewed Miss Joubert via Facebook™ this Monday morning at 11 AM Pacific time for an hour, getting all the details of her journey that seems to have many more accomplishments to discover.

How did you discover Second Life?

"I first heard of Second Life by watching the show The Office™ and thought it was fictitious until I heard a few guys I worked with talk about virtual games . I became curious and decided to check it out."

MANIERA magazine was first noticed in Second Life before you made it a real life magazine, what made you want to start a magazine, do you have a background of being an editor in real life already or was this all first created in SL™ (Second Life)?

"Everything I learned about publishing and the magazine business , I have learned in Second Life. My background in RL is travel management. But what I found was useful with my real life background is always thinking on your feet.

I was not the founder of MANIERA, I was originally hired as a fashion editor . After the company was formed in SL and before the very first issue was released the owner stepped down and asked if I would take over.

Well, to answer your question. We put a lot of work to get the first issue together. We had everything just about done and when the owner stepped down. It was either trash it all or try to make a go for it.

We all decided we wanted to make it work."

Thelma Lay's Second Life avatar Topaz Joubert by G Photography.

What made you want to take a job as an editor in Second Life?

"I saw the job noticed posted for a stylist and thought it would be interesting , I think at that time I was in SL for approximately 9 months. I honestly thought it would be fun."

How on earth did you manage to make MANIERA into a reality in the real life publishing world? It is so rare and unheard of,seriously.

"Well, I think we were in our 2nd year in SL when we first starting talking about it. by the end of that year , I honestly felt where do we go from here? We put so many hours into the SL magazine, and I say "we" because it was not only me but NOx Deigan, Aphrodite Brianna, Lovelymiwacko7399 Menna and our former photo editor AtomicSparkle Skytower. I personally got to a point of either close it, sell it or see how far we can take it. I knew I just could not let it go because MANIERA became so much a part of my life.

So I talked to the team and its been amazing. They all trusted and believed in the vision . I honestly think, or should say I know , that this would have not been possible with another group of individuals."

Sweet! how did the transition come about? Did you have real life contacts or you got real life offers? Dish some (not all) secrets to our readers please :D

"Real life contacts definitely help but with this business I am finding its based on trust , building relationships. Yes, there were real life contacts, friends of friends and a good portion of reaching out to people and building a relationship.We all do our part , researching, networking , searching for new and interesting topics to cover. Our writers play a huge part in obtaining content for upcoming issues."

Thelma Lay on the cover of ManieraSL's Women issue (June 2012)

Awesome, if I am not mistaken your first real life issue was the one where you were on the cover?

"The edition with my picture on the cover was out SL Women's issue. That was the edition where we first announced we were going real life. We ran a real life preview edition and had a launch party in SL which I think is one of my happiest memories of SL. Our first official real life edition was released September 2012 with the Russian Designer Dmitry Loginov on the cover."

MANIERA's November 2012 issue, one of their best releases




Taking a look back at the cover of October 2012

Some editions of real world Maniera including last month's cover of June 2013

Please tell us about yourself a bit.

"Hmm.. well, I am single , I live in Washington DC. I am a lousy cook . I wish I could say my life is all glamour and glitz but working on the magazine consumes all of my time. I am still trying to find the balance between work and leisure. Overall , I think I am pretty laid back, some may say too laid back or some may just disagree. Hell, I am still trying to figure it all out."

From a personal standpoint, I have always looked up to you. Remembering seeing the arrival of MANIERA on the scene in Second Life when I was actively publishing OI Magazine SL™ at the time back in 2009 and 2010. I even attended some of your workshop classes on publishing back then. I knew right away you would go far from the beautiful professional work you did but just how far I was pleasantly surprised! Having said that, what advice would you give beginners in the magazine world besides not giving up on their dream? Follow up question, MANIERA publishes 2 magazines a month, the real life one due today I understand and then the Second Life issue too, can you give us a sneak peek what they are about for which we will post the embedded links below for our readers to read.

"Thank you , so much for your kind words and as well for all the support you have given us. The real life magazine is monthly and we have moved the SL magazine to bi monthly. We had to make some touch decisions regarding our publications. We felt going bi monthly at this time was the best decision , to keep the quality to a certain standard. The real life magazine started growing at a fast rate , faster then we even dreamed about. We started to be noticed in the industry , mind you we were only in our 3rd publication when we made the finals of the Digital Magazine Awards™ and that is pretty unheard of. So with how great that was it also added tremendous pressure to the entire staff.

Well, I am excited for this issue , we love fashion but we also love new technology as well as science and I think this one has the right blend. We also this issue have a very special interview with Tobias Tobell director of the new thriller Confine which will have its international release. We are so fortunate to be able to get one of the first interviews with such an up and coming director.

For the Second Life issue which is now called MANIERASL™ we have a special edition featuring Mohna Lisa Couture™ and the new MLC Adriel Huntress™. Our July SL edition is a new twist on fairy tales.

Read it here at the MANIERA website (click hyperlink)


The best advice I can give anyone who is planning on launching a magazine in SL is to really think on why you want to and are you willing to devote the time. Also, decided on what magazine you want , what will make it different from the rest and look not only at SL magazines but real life ones as well to get a sense of design, content and layout."

Then the only way is up!  Thank you for your time Topaz, it is an great honor you deciding to let us interview you.

"Thank you.. it was an honor and once again Thank you Carmichael for all of your support . It means alot."

Update for 2014 :Topaz Joubert is hitting another milestone, she is going print in real life with Maniera and thus retiring what started it all ,the SL Maniera, congrats Topaz!

Her words on Facebook :
As you all know, last year we took on an unheard of step in launching a RL magazine. In such a short time, we saw how what was a pipe dream became reality - not just any reality, but a recognized and respected reality, but with that came some hurdles. One of which is one many here in SL can relate with: balancing SL with RL. I know many of you have seen how it has affected the SL side: halting the SL publication, less shows and less communication.
This is due to the fact we are redirecting our focus. In 2014, the RL MANIERA Magazine will be not only a digital magazine but also a print magazine, which will be carried in bookstores and newsstands around the US, Canada and Europe. Another major change is that while we will still carry international features, we will be more centered around the events, people and news makers in the Washington DC area. Washington DC is an ideal market for us and having a “home” location will not only build distribution and circulation but also build the brand.
The RL MANIERA has grown over the past year and is at a critical stage. We just finalized a working relationship with a business consultant who specializes in launching new magazines and circulation and distribution with existing magazines. We are fortunate to be working and guided by someone with over 30 years experience with magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Time and with Bob Guccione, Jr.owner of Penthouse launched SPIN magazine.
So, what does this mean to SL? After much discussion and some serious soul searching, we decided it is time to phase out the Second Life operation over the next few months. We will be contacting students holding unused vouchers to finish their courses, downsizing the sim and APR/MAR will be the last official edition of MANIERASL. We will not be closing down any groups as to retain the MANIERA brand in the SL community. Our RL staff will still be here in world to keep an eye on the brand as personal members of the SL community -- but not as MANIERASL. There may be opportunities for shows, just can't say when. I will, of course, understand if any of you feel the need to drop our groups. I will keep you posted on the timeline of events as they happen.
Aphrodite, Nox, Deep and myself want to deeply thank each and every one of you for the last five years. I know I have said this many times, but SL has changed my life in so many ways and each one of you have been a very important part in MANIERA. This is not goodbye, but instead a new journey for us. Ending a relationship - whether it’s business, romantic or friendship - may be sad, but remember it is not the end of the world but a chance for a new and better beginning. (end quote)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Rap Sensation Tomgirl From Japan Is Also A Star In Second Life™!

Written By Carmichael Caudron

2 glam pics of Tomgirl's avatar done by our photographer,kaley fancypants.

Japan is a country where if you make it big, you have realized your dreams.
Tomgirl™, a rap sensation from Japan did just that, starting back in 2003, driven to become a rapstar after being a backup vocal musician for various Japan pop groups.
With the help of a Nigerian composer, Udy Frank, she started her success in rap in 2005.

The exact start of her professional music career was 2005 November , when her song “Give It A Try”...was nominated for “Yokohama Music Award” in FM Yokohama, Japan’s one of main radio stations. Tomgirl got the second best prize thanks to the listeners’ vote, which led her regular appearance in FM Yokohama.

Rap is big in Japan too besides the United States of America or Europe and the artists are very versatile, rapping in various languages besides Japanese, doing it in English and even in Chinese.
With her first album “Tomography” released nationwide in June 2007, Tomgirl did just that collaborating with fellow music star MC Maira™.

Her most recent release on Dec. 24th 2011 , Tomgirl released her third album "Lady Samurai" in downloading format. The album hit No 1 position in download hiphop album category.

OI Magazine SL™ took notice and had the pleasure to meet with Tomgirl in Second Life ,a virtual world to discuss her expanding success in this virtual world what we call the future of the internet and unlimited potentials to come how musicians like Tomgirl and other world sensations have used it to advertise their real world success to millions of internet gamers from all over the world, in Tomgirl's case , making fans outside of Japan!

Her glamorous promotional pictures are as beautiful and "kawaii"(Japanese word for cute, adorable, pretty) as expected, the radiance of a rap star.
We met on a Saturday afternoon inside of the virtual world after making an appointment to meet there with communications via her official Facebook page.

Our interview starts.
"Konnichiwa Tomgirl", Thank you for meeting with us at OI Magazine SL.
How did you discover Second Life?

2 Nice real life photography promos of rapper, Tomgirl

"I had a producer who made several hiphop tracks for me. He urged me to perform in Second Life. That's how I got to know second life. So firstly I went to his house to perform.", she replied.

Do you perform by request or do you have a schedule?
"Since the first performance went very good, I wanted to do the broadcasting from my house. So I invested my money in expensive PC parts so that the PC I build up is fast enough to do SL™ (Second Life)", she continued. "Since then I kept on my regular show for about 3 years even though the producer quit his activity in SL. At the same time some of my SL audience started to invite me to his/her place and asked me to perform, which I also am thankful."
"As far as concert schedules, I both had scheduled gig and at the same time people requested me to perform."

Your English is excellent, you also rap in English, did you learn English in school or were you raised speaking English because I read in your Facebook bio that you once lived in the United States?

Tomgirl performing in Second Life (from Tomgirl's Facebook)
"I went to US when I could not speak English. But the hiphop tracks that my host brother was playing in his room hit me like a thunderbolt in 94. Since when I came back to Japan I started to buy lots of hiphop CDs and started to copy rap music exactly like Coolio™, Salt N' Pepa™ and other 90s rapstars were doing. That was how I evolved my English skills. But at the same time my high school provided the higher English education than other schools & my mom was an English teacher so I could always go ahead of the curriculum that also must be part of the reason."

Your rap music is really good, I listened to Lady Samurai and Player, do you write your own lyrics? What do you mostly like to rap about?
 "Yes I write my own lyrics. I'm glad you liked the messages in my songs, too. I express my message to boys in those 2 songs. In 'Player' I sing about boys who have two names, two cell phones, several chicks to play around and never commit to one girl. The message is similar to TLC™'s "No Scrubs". This song is favored by lots of female fans. In "Lady Samurai", I deliver messages to foreign guys who have fixed images to Japanese girls as nice, rich and obedient."

Pictured above are the cover photography of her 3 published Cd's in real life.
To our readers at OI Magazine SL, Tomgirl's music Cd's "Lady Samurai"(2011) , "Give it a try"(2005) and "Tomography"(2007) are available at this online store (click hyperlink). The albums and songs also available in iTunes Music Store. Spread the word!

Ok, continuing our coverage of this gorgeous female rapper we told her we were so excited to interview a real life star who made an account in the Second Life virtual world, our second time a OI Magazine SL so far to have the honor to have done this, our next question was how it felt when she first saw she became successful and what the first thing was that she bought to spoil herself.
Humbly, Tomgirl answered , "Honestly the first moment I thought I earned money with my music was when I won a 2 million yen (about 20,000 dollars) scholarship from one company to make my dream come true. But that money vanished quickly by my activity trying to print CDs, shooting PVs, hit ads and pay for my dancers. Everyday was another struggle after a success. And I don't feel that I came to my goal till today, which motivates me more. But one thing I learned is I should keep investing to my music from the money I earned from music because it surely paid back to me. Never buy a sexy sport car out of your music earnings if you want to keep on going with your dream job."
"And as far as in Second Life, the first thing I bought out of my SL earning was a stage costume from SL boutique, because I know I cannot look the same on 2 stages to impress the audience everytime.

That is great advice, and also I saw on your Facebook update that you are expecting! Are you having a boy or girl is its secret still? Congratulations!
"I will have a boy in mid August. This is my first baby and I am so excited!"

Thank you so much for meeting with us, Tomgirl ,it is a true honor.
"It was an honor for me to get interviewed from a famous editor in SL, too. Thank you for choosing me as your article subject. And thank you for the congrats to my baby", Tomgirl replied.

Here are some additional nice pictures including one of her on maternity leave, borrowed from her official Facebook page, a truly beautiful and successful woman, enjoy!

a promo in Second Life virtual world for one of her concerts

TomGirl beaming expecting her first child

She also Dj's in Second Life

Nice glam real life promo

Tomgirl's article translated in Japanese!

Update August 31st! :

Nice update : Tomgirl told me she had her baby August 14th. Congrats ! :)

Our fb convo :

Carmichael Caudron
Hey tomgirl I saw your baby on twitter! Beautiful and congratulations
Thursday at 9:44pm
Hi Carmichael. Yes my son was born on Aug. 14th. Thank you for your message. I am feeling great to be come a mom.
Yesterday at 1:04am · Sent from Web

Update December 5th! :

Tomgirl posted a new song featuring the birth of her son on Facebook, check it out below from this proud momma! Enjoy.

[Tomgirl's Facebook quote]I'd appreciate your feedback and sharing to your friends. 感想コメント、シェア歓迎いたします

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kylie Sabra, Author Of "The Singing Dagger" & Upcoming "The Lost Child"

Written by LadyVictoria Lenoirre

Glam pic of Kylie Sabra done by kaley fancypants, OI Magazine Photographer

Most of you who have heard of or know Kylie Sabra, know that she is

the curator of the Rose Theatre and Art Gallery and is known for her photography, but did you

know that she is an author in real life?

She wrote a novel called The Singing Dagger which was published in 2012.

If you think photography is hard, trying writing an entire novel! That really takes time and


The Singing Dagger is a novel about intrigue, romance, and lots of drama. It is a “Celtic

fantasy.” Kylie ,who has Scottish ancestry, started writing the novel before she heard of SL. I found

time to question Kylie about her fascinating novel. She invited me to her place for a little afternoon


What is The Singing Dagger about?...........

You might be wondering about the singing dagger. Kylie said frankly, "There is actually a

singing dagger wielded by a ruthless wizard who thinks he's in control.”

“It is a time of magic or rather magic had been "put on hold" so to speak as many felt it to be a

dangerous practice. But the people of Tara realize that they must once again embrace magic if

they are to survive the onslaught of the wicked king from the South. Although it has magic and

witchcraft in it, I would not say it is Wiccan as Wicca, as a practice, has only been around since

the mid-fifties.

Is it based on SL experiences?..........

The first novel is not, she admits. “I am looking forward to writing my second one though. I

think my experiences here will make it even richer.”

How did you prepare for writing this novel?.............

“I did a tremendous amount of research on Celtic lore and gods/goddesses for the book. Then did

what I wanted. Lol”

Did you hear stories and read about Celtic lore when you were little?.............

“My father told me tales. I think I've always very much felt my Celtic roots. I was an avid

reader. I was reading Tolstoy when many my age were reading much lighter fare. Now! I love

young adult literature. And particularly fantasy. This book however is not for the young adult


Cover of the Singing Dagger

So it's darker than JRR Tolkien?!......................

She grins before replying,  "I jokingly refer to it as Tolkien with sex. OMG So sorry, Mr.


What are the series based on?................

“The series is based upon a poem, which is indeed a prophecy, which affects three generations.”

It is a poem I wrote, called "The Bane of King Adaire".

Who or what has influenced you to become an author? Do you feel that your experience in SL has enriched your writing in any way?...

“Not for this book it hasn't as it was finished. As to what influenced my writing... I started

writing stories, music and poetry as a child. As well as creating art. As well, I was in corporate

marketing and communications for 15 years as a writer.

I do think that my experiences here will affect the next book. Just in the practice of constantly

writing every single day.”

The Lost Child, the sequel, how would you describe the tone, darker or lighter than The Singing Dagger? When is the tentative release date?...............

“Darker. I'd say it is about a year out. I'm honestly waiting to see how sales of this book go,

but I've had little time to promote it as I should for both SL & RL reasons. My work here at the

gallery is pretty intensive. Additionally, I've focused more on my art and art promotion. Frankly

I’m hoping that promotion will overlap as my name is broadcast about. I write 3 blogs as well.

You really can't run about saying "READ MY BOOK!'. There are too many out there doing that.

Best to let people read your other writings and get a sense of who you are. If they like you, they

will buy your book.”

What are your sites?.............

Amazon link for The Singing Dagger:

“The Singing Dagger” is available in both paperback and kindle. When you

have time, you should read it. In Kylie’s words, “It's a beautiful love story, but with plenty of

violence, mystery and magic to keep it out of maudlin' territory.”..........