The Russell Bateman Video: As Shocking As It Is, We Shouldn’t Be Surprised

By Hanieka Balint

The Skinny Bitch Collective (a name that is a statement in and of itself) is a workout program run by celebrity coach Russell Bateman that is as exclusive as it is intense. The all-female program costs between $50–$60 per class and is strictly invitation only, leading to a clientele that is entirely made up of wealthy white women, many of whom are celebrities and supermodels.

Photo obtained from @russellsbc on Instagram

Photo obtained from @russellsbc on Instagram

It may be unsurprising, then, that Bateman’s fitness retreat in Kenya led to controversy. Last week, Bateman posted a video online of one of the workouts from the retreat, showing the participants meeting on the Maasai tribe’s ancestral lands and using men from the tribe as props. In some parts of the video the white women exercized to the beat of the Maasai, who were evidently instructed to dance and pound a drum. In other parts of the video the white women weaved around the men, using them as markers in an apparent obstacle course.

The video brought an onslaught of criticism, and for good reason. It showed an alarming distinction between the white women and the Kenyan men that had strong colonialist undertones. The white women got to play their part—they were the travelers, the self-improvers and the ones seeking a unique experience and willing to pay top dollar for it. Apparently that unique experience must come from the Maasai, whose only role in the video was to add to the exotic scenery.

We see people of color being used in this way all the time. There are the countless photos posted on social media of white tourists taking selfies with African children in order to document their “life-changing volunteer work.” There are the token minorities who are used to add to the showcased diversity of institutions without being given any of the organizational power. There are the politicians who use people of color to prove their apparent open-mindedness, as demonstrated last month when Representative Mark Meadows argued during a testimony that the President of the United States could not possibly be racist simply because he has a black woman working for him. And now there is a fitness program that uses Kenyans as physical props during workouts.

Russell Bateman already received his 15 minutes of infamy after posting the video. The Skinny Bitch Collective’s website is “down for maintenance,” and its Instagram account has been deleted, the offending video along with it. Bateman publicly apologized, acknowledging that SBC’s actions “lacked appropriate cultural sensitivity by reinforcing colonial era stereotypes of people of color" and stating that the experience was a "huge wake-up call."

But where should the SBC go from here? Where can the SBC go from here?

Surely Bateman knows well enough to avoid hosting another retreat in Kenya. But that doesn’t mean that the toxic culture of the Skinny Bitch Collective will change. The SBC is composed entirely of rich white women, a demographic that has a tendency to perpetuate elitist tribalism in the name of sisterhood. The program is exclusive by design - it is no accident that only white women are allowed to be part of an invite-only collective, or that only the rich can take part in pricey fitness programs, or that all of the participants are conventionally attractive enough to be used in promotional photoshoots for Bateman’s business. There are plenty of women-only workout groups that exemplify sisterhood in a wholesome, motivating, and unproblematic way. As a female athlete growing up, I was part of many teams that were just that: a true sisterhood. But no matter how apologetic Russell Bateman is, no matter how hard he tries to rebrand, it may be impossible for the Skinny Bitch Collective to become that kind of a program.

Local Artists: Cristina Silva

By Anita Goharfar

“Local”: a word that has found its way into our twenty-first century vocabulary as we frown at the growing hold of mass consumption, and in return place a newfound emphasis on what it means to be sourced from a place of familiarity.

“Artists”: a maker, a do-er, and a creator of sorts; a person who seeks to find his or her place in the creative realm, whether with a tool as complex as a camera or as atypical as typography.

What happens when these two powerful words come together? Who is a “local artist”? Is he or she any different than the renowned artists we hold in high praise or the newcomers learning the basics? I have to admit, I don’t have an answer to this question, nor is it an easy one to answer. However, I’m starting to learn how to tackle this, so there is a lot to be learned from aspiring designers and artists such as Christina Silva, who themselves truly define the term.


Part-time faculty and alumni Cristina Silva graduated from Northeastern University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. Originally from Boston, she transferred into Northeastern from Fordham University and soon began to thrive in her work and in the campus community. During this time, she founded Scout, an organization for designers and creative thinkers with a strong entrepreneurial drive. But to Cristina, design is more than just studio work. She incorporates her passion into her newfound hobby, pottery, as she brings together crafting skills and influences from her surroundings to create unique bowls and mugs. And just as most of us can relate to, food plays an important role in her life. From cookbooks to experimenting with new recipes, she uses the skills she learned in college and through co-op to constantly expand the scope of her art.

Just as all artists have their own studios, offices, or even  corner coffee shops, Cristina has a special place where she creates. Her current position as Senior Product Designer at BevSpot allows her to work partially at home. And this home office is like no other. She works surrounded by her favorite inspiration posters, string lights, cozy throws, and plants that create an energetic vibe in the room. This environment gives her the perfect opportunity to read the works of her favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, or make works she is most proud of, one being front-end development for bars and restaurants.

Cristina considers herself a designer, and not necessarily an artist. She consumes, but she also creates and she emphasizes the importance of collaboration as a source of inspiration. For example, she sports tattoos with a meaning, but also cool works of art such as those of Justine Wayne, Hannah Medeiros, and Magic Mallo — an artist by whom she will soon be tattooed  — who motivate her to travel as far as Paris to materialize the aesthetics of linework. And Paris is not an unusual destination. Cristina has had the opportunity to travel all over the wold, from a dialogue in Berlin to visiting family in Italy and other — often solo — ventures to Iceland, Lisbon and Amsterdam. Alongside linework, Cristina is extremely passionate about typography. Her belief, which I find truly eye-opening, is that design must be made for its platform. So when she plays with fonts, she must consider, How does this font fit this web app?

Design, she expands, “is positive. It makes you happy. It doesn’t need to necessarily be intense.” That is something we typically overlook at a place such as Northeastern where the why is the driving force in our education. I asked Cristina to describe her why using only three words; a question I can barely answer myself. She responded: intention, delight, and pride. Because after all, good, thoughtful work influences people and regenerates satisfaction.

Retreating back to the original purpose of highlighting artists such as Cristina Silva, it is crucial to assess how these local artists interpret the term themselves. Cristina connected it to her concern for the role a city plays in deviating artists from living in expensive places such as Boston and New York City. With the pre-existing concept of the starving artist, how do we welcome back these talented people?

And of course, like any other artist, Cristina has her own notable preferences that  give individuality to her craft and her personality. The following Q&A is a glimpse into Cristina’s lifestyle:

Q: What is the one tool or tech you can’t live without?

A: Kindle/Kindle App

Cristina enjoys reading and listening to audio books such as Swingtime by Zadie Smith and cookbooks such as Salt Fat Acid Heat, which she highly recommends as all you need to know about cooking.

Q: What is your go-to song/artist?

A: Drake, Emmett Kai, Phoebe Bridgers, and of course Ariana Grande’s new album

Who can resist hits like “break up with your girlfriend” and “7 rings”?

Q: If you were to revive a fashion trend, what would it be?

A: Candy Jewelry

Just like me, she is very much opposed to the revival of tiny sunglasses. How do you even wear those? Am I supposed to be squinting this much? That being said, candy jewelry is a must; What’s better than having hip, colorful accessories, as well as a snack on you at all times?

Finally, I asked Cristina for any advice she may have for students and even artists. From her own personal experience, she encouraged us to “keep making things” even if there is a gap in the craft. I consider Cristina a local artist, but not in the connotation that hinders her reach. From the time I spent with her and the works I’ve seen, she is a force. She constantly designs and exercises her craft in every aspect of her personal and professional life. But most importantly, she taught me that local is not necessarily small. And an artist is not always a painter or a photographer. Through words on a website and in hobbies like pottery, Cristina illustrates that it is always important to return to art if that is the dream, and her words “don’t stop making things” are a compelling phrase to live by.

Check out Cristina on social media:

portfolio: code pen:         instagram: @ohaicristina

Why the BuzzFeed Layoffs Aren’t The End of Media

By Phil Zminda

Image courtesy of Digg

Image courtesy of Digg

In October 2014, tech and media journalist Simon Owens wrote that the immense layoffs hitting media companies like CNN, The New York Times, and Yahoo were indicative of a positive shift in the industry. “Many of the most recent layoffs can be seen through the lens of an industry in transition,” he wrote. Given the strengthening economy at the time, Owens opined that the companies needed to invest in new business models and revenue generators to stay afloat. “And this influx of capital due to a rising economy,” he wrote, “may indeed be their last shot at doing so.”

The first few weeks of 2019 hint that these companies’ shots have only blown up in their faces. According to The Cut, as many as 2,100 writers, editors, producers, and other media professionals have been laid off in the latter half of January alone — and unlike the local newspapers whose deaths rarely make headlines, the companies doing most of the damage are new media juggernauts like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Vice, and Mic.

These companies, from the outside, seemed to represent the stable future of the media world; places where both mindless content and rigorous, never-before-seen journalism could thrive (absolutely free to readers, no less). For the college students and fresh graduates who came to journalism in the wake of this nouveau riche media cohort, it seemed like a stable career in the technicolor dream world of digital media could actually, maybe, somehow exist. But with even these success stories falling prey to the outsized influence of social media, pursuing a traditional media career feels more dangerous, difficult, and unclear than ever before.

Caty Enders, a journalism appointment at Northeastern and contributing editor at The Guardian who has been in the industry for just over a decade, understands why these layoffs are so alarming to students. “It’s unsettling because the outlets involved in the layoffs in recent weeks are considered hot properties,” she said over the phone. “It’s an indication that the outlets that were alternative and innovative and new when I was coming out of school are hitting the mainstream, and hitting those layoffs the same way those mainstream media companies are.”

Like most layoffs, these have little to do with the quality of these employees’ work and rather aim at creating a more stable financial position for the company, which is becoming exceedingly difficult. Nearly 60 percent of digital advertising revenue — historically the primary revenue stream of media companies — belonged to Facebook and Google alone in 2018. And when nearly two-thirds of Americans get their news from social media and minute changes in news feed algorithms have outsized impacts on article readership, the media industry has found itself in an even more precarious position than during the Great Recession.

What’s so disconcerting about these layoffs, says Enders, is that people saw these younger outlets as ways to stabilize the industry and avoid having to go through these constant layoff cycles.

For what it’s worth, though, the media industry has never been an easy one to enter. When discussing the future of the journalism industry in 2014 with BU Today, renowned New York Times columnist David Carr was quick to quip “Journalism has always been horrible to get in; you always have to eat so much crap to find a place to stand.”

But, thankfully, he followed it with something a bit more reassuring:

If you’re gonna get a job that’s a little bit of a caper, that isn’t really a job, that under ideal circumstances you get to at least leave the building and leave your desktop, go out, find people more interesting than you, learn about something, come back and tell other people about it—that should be hard to get into. That should be hard to do. No wonder everybody’s lined up, trying to get into it. It beats working.

Enders shares this same sense of optimism. Even though those companies may be seen as the new standard in the digital media, “it’s important to remember that those places didn’t exist too long ago,” she says. “And it’s reassuring to think about the publications that [people] want to exist, that they want to work for.”

This optimism isn’t in defiance of the facts: layoffs are horrible, it’s terrible to see talented people lose their jobs, and the media industry is (and likely will forever be) difficult to get into and succeed in. But perhaps these obstacles should not be seen as impenetrable walls, but hurdles necessary to sustain a pillar of our democracy that is quite literally under attack. For better or worse, it’s up to us — students, fresh graduates, young people — to defend it. Let’s not cower away from that responsibility, but rather take it, celebrate it, and get to work.

How To Avoid the Freshman 15 - A Guide For Northeastern Students

By: Marcella Kukulka

1. Establish a Workout Routine. Whether it’s lifting weights at Badger & Rosen or attending a group fitness class at Marino Center, establishing a daily workout routine is key to avoid packing on the extra pounds. Even if heading to the gym isn’t your thing, joining an intramural sport or an outdoors club can also keep you in good shape. One popular club is NUHOC, which offers to take students on weekend trips to hike, rock climb, bike, and ski. Find out how you like to stay active and don’t be shy to mix it up - the only way you’re going to stick to a schedule is if you actually enjoy what you’re doing!


Photo by:


2. Motivation is Key. Sometimes you may be too tired, have too much work, or are just plain lazy. But ditching your workout isn’t the answer. Surrounding yourself in constant motivation is a nice way to get yourself to the gym. But how, you may ask? Enlist a friend and set some common goals for the semester. You both will feel equally responsible for helping the other succeed and you will have a whole lot more fun! If that doesn’t work, follow a Fitstagram to get your booty to the gym on a day that you just want to spend scrolling on social media.


3. Take Control of What You Eat. While it may be easy to take the first thing you see, it is always a good idea to survey the dining hall area before choosing your meal. The key to a balanced diet is to get a few servings of that food pyramid - grab a little protein, starch, vegetables, fruit and dairy. It’s also best to avoid processed and fried foods because most of the time these contain more calories and fill you up at a slower rate. While I know that the desserts at IV are irresistible, take everything in moderation (which means limiting your cookie intake to less than ten per meal)!


4. Netflix and Lift. Everyone knows that the majority of television at fitness centers generally sucks. So why not take the Netflix app on your phone as an opportunity to binge-watch the brand new season of “Stranger Things” while you lift weights at the gym. Not only will this keep you entertained, but it will keep you distracted from how tired you’re getting during a rigorous workout. Take my advice and try it out - you may as well be killing two birds with one stone.

Image by Shardayyy on Flickr.


5. Lay off the Liquor. I know you don’t want me to say it, but it’s true! An influx in the consumption of liquor is normally the main reason of weight gain for college students in the United States. I’m not telling you not to drink, but Alcohol has a very high caloric intake, so setting a limit before going out for the evening is just one other method to make sure you don’t go home for winter break with a full-on beer belly!

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Links We Love: April 6th, 2016

By: Meredith Fisher

"15 Chic Spring Jackets — Because It's Finally Warm Again" on Refinery29

One of my many self-proclaimed talents may include procrastinating on the Internet, but I can assure you that it is not always wasted time. I have decided to share a few of my favorite recent discoveries, encompassing styling advice for spring, a look into the business of fashion, and a lighthearted list that will hopefully brighten your day as much as it did mine. I refrain from a common theme because there is never truly a method to my madness. Spring has sprung and it is time to bring back lightweight jackets, bombers and wraps in order to adapt to the warmer weather of the season. Especially in Boston, layers are essential in riding the erratic weather roller coaster and key transitional pieces are an important investment. It is time to embrace this season’s offerings including kimonos, wraps, printed blazers and more that will keep you warm during the Winter/Spring limbo. My favorite featured piece is the & Other Stories Patchwork Jacket.  

"How to Incorporate Color into Your Wardrobe if You Only Wear Black" on The Zoe Report

Everyday fashion is currently trending towards minimalism, featuring simplistic lines and neutral colors. While this is not inherently negative, it can often feel challenging to incorporate prints and color into your wardrobe. I for one, am personally guilty of often falling into a consistent stream of all-neutral outfits. Head-to-toe black is a statement in itself, but if you’re on the lookout for more eye-catching styling options, The Zoe Report has got you covered with ideas that even the most minimal dresser can appreciate.

"Remix My Sneakers" on The Business of Fashio

One of the main elements of the millennial generation is our obsession with individualism. We emphasize the importance in what makes us unique and we strive to stand out amongst the crowd. Modification “artists” such as The Shoe Surgeon cater to this growing desire by offering customization of shoes from Nike Air Force 1s to Adidas Yeezy 750 Boosts. Sneakers can be colorized to personal tastes and can even transplant soles from other shoe models. Although the luxurious customization options seem a bit out of price range, the exploration of the growing business will keep you engaged throughout the piece. As mentioned, “Having a unique pair of sneakers is a currency of street credibility,” reinforcing the idea that one size does not fit all.

24 Girl Power Pins That Prove Females are Strong as Hell on

Mid-semester blues can hit, and they can hit hard. Escape your busy schedule, drama and bombardment from daily life and let a girl power pin ignite your internal female chutzpah. This list of small shiny accessories frivolously reminds us that we run the world (girls)—and we can do it. Wear them as your armor, or simply peruse the female power mottos for an emotional boost.


Spring Break 2016: Where are students going?

By Vanisha Dansinghani

In the midst of a stressful semester, students are struggling to juggle academics, co-op interviews and extracurricular activities and are looking forward to spring break as a way to refresh and recharge. Meanwhile, trying to find motivation to come back and complete the rest of the semester with a bang. While there remain some classic destinations for all students, let’s take a look  where we can expect Northeastern students to spend their Spring Break or should I say in some cases…“Spring Broke.”

Miami, Florida

Miami is collectively the most popular spring break destination for students in America, it is no doubt that a majority of Northeastern’s jetsetters would not miss an opportunity to travel to a city dominated by white sand beaches, elite parties and chic clubs.

Cancun, Mexico

Famous for its EDM festival, Inception fest and tequila tasting tours, Cancun is a classic choice for spring break.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

As Punta Cana is the spring break location of my choice, I am looking forward to relaxing with my friends on tropical beaches, sipping martinis (virgin of course), and dancing to tunes at beachside parties by night. Punta Cana is not only a popular spring break destination because of its near-perfect weather, but also because of its all-inclusive resort packages and diverse range of activities including banana boating, snorkeling and swimming with dolphins just to name a few.

Costa Rica

The active and adventure-seeking students opt to travel to Costa Rica to engage in exciting water sports such as surfing, white-water rafting, kayaking and scuba diving. These daring individuals also have the chance to live the life of the monkey by exploring Costa Rica’s lush jungles.

Los Angeles, California

Popular for its star-studded vibes, world-renowned beaches, and occasional celebrity sightings, Los Angeles is the perfect destination for students in search of a balance between an urban adventure and a relaxing time at the beach.


Students looking for a picture-perfect paradise vacation among white sand, crystal-clear water and palm trees find the Bahamas to be their suited spring break destination. Whether it be the lavish Atlantis resort or rowdy party cruise- this is one destination filled with young party-goers.

New York, New York

Someone once said, “there simply isn’t any place like it.” There is never a wrong time to visit New York City. Students on a tight budget may choose to stay close to Boston over spring break, but will spend time in a city where it is impossible to get bored. Being a city that highly demonstrates the freedom of expression, New York invites people of all cultures to engage in the city and enjoy its vast diversity.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Attracted by the El Yunque Rainforest, beautiful beaches and blue cobblestone streets, but mostly because of its cheap airfare, students chose San Juan as a popular spring break destination this year.

Must See: Boston Public Market

By: Yashi Gudka

Photography: Yashi Gudka

The Boston Public Market is an indoor public market featuring produce, delicacy items, and much more. All of the items are sourced from either Massachusetts or the greater New England area. It has a historic origin as seen in the revival of the original Faneuil Hall marketplace. The Boston Public Market is the only market of its kind in the entirety of The United States. It promotes Boston residents to purchase fresh and local food, encourages consumers to understand how food is produced, and promote regional flavours.


Taza Chocolate, Soluna Garden Farm, and Red’s Best Seafood are just a few examples of the great vendors the Boston Public Market has to offer. Vendors sell produce, beverages, poultry, and specialty products such as apple cider donuts and lattes.



The Boston Public Market also hosts exhibitions Wednesday through Friday on sustainable cooking and wellness events that are held in an event space within the market known as The Kitchen. At this venue, people are able to learn new cooking techniques, healthy eating, and overall wellness. Multiple culinary experts have been drawn from around the United States to educate people about the importance of food and share delicious recipes.


Over the next month, The Kitchen is filled with exciting programs; as per below:


Brown Bag Lunch- Fridays 12-1:30pm

Taste of the Season- Sundays 11am-1pm

REI Yoga- Thursdays 7-8am

Fresh, Fast, & Delicious for less


Date Night Cooking, Risotto for Two- Saturday 1/30 6-8pm

Bakeology 101- Sunday 2/7 2-4pm (DIY Cupcakes)

For the Love of Fish- Thursday 2/11 5-7pm (with Red’s Best Seafood)

Next time you are in the South End, be sure to check out the Boston Public Market!  Also, interested students can purchase a membership at The Trustees in order to get 10% off your purchases at select vendors and discounts on programs at The Kitchen.