Model Andrej Pejic risks being overexposed, experts say

On a chilly winter afternoon, Andrej settles into a Manhattan cafe with a cup of Earl Grey tea, sitting gracefully, long legs crossed.The blue-eyed fashion model gazes out a window, unaware that almost every man sitting at surrounding tables is transfixed.

A man in a black leather jacket walks up to the window, presses his face against the glass and kisses it.

Andrej giggles and admits: “I find it flattering.”

The admirers are likely unaware that the beautiful blonde is actually a man.

As Fashion Week gets under way in New York City, Andrej is one of the most recognisable – and controversial – faces in the industry.

He’s the only top-tier fashion model who can walk down the runway as either a man or a woman.

His androgynous beauty has turned him into a trendsetter in an industry that’s always seeking to push the envelope.

“He’s just this beautiful thing that everyone wants a piece of,” says stylist Ken Anderson, who dressed Andrej for a German magazine cover.

He has the kind of face that makes even the vainest woman jealous: high cheekbones, flawless skin and plump, shapely lips. Continue Reading…

Questions And Answers On The Mortgage Settlement

After nearly a year of negotiations, federal and state officials and five major mortgage servicers have announced a $25 billion settlement over alleged past foreclosure and mortgage loan-servicing abuses. Here are answers to questions about the deal.

Q: Who is participating in the settlement?

STORY: Mortgage deal is broadest action taken in foreclosure crisis

A: All states except Oklahoma. Oklahoma reached its own settlement. The five servicers are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial. Smaller ones are expected to join later.

Q: Who may get help under the settlement?

A: Borrowers whose loans are owned by the participating banks and those who suffered foreclosures by one of them from 2008 through 2011.

Q: How will $25 billion be spent?

A: The terms include:

•At least $10 billion for reducing principal on loans for borrowers who are either delinquent or at imminent risk of default and are underwater — meaning they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. .

•At least $3 billion for refinancing loans for borrowers current on their mortgages and underwater.

•Up to $7 billion will go toward other kinds of assistance, including forbearance of principal for unemployed borrowers, anti-blight programs and short sales.

•$1.5 billion will provide cash payments to borrowers whose homes were sold or taken in foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, and who meet other conditions. Officials estimate up to 750,000 borrowers could receive checks for $1,500 to $2,000.

•$3.5 billion will be used to repay public funds lost as a result of servicers’ misconduct and to fund housing counselors, legal aid and other public programs determined by attorneys general.

•An additional $1 billion will be paid by Bank of America to resolve a separate federal investigation related to alleged wrongful conduct by the bank and Countrywide involving inflated appraisals of Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages. Half of that $1 billion will be used to fund a loan modification program for Countrywide borrowers who are underwater on their mortgages. Bank of America acquired Countrywide in 2008. Continue Reading …

CPAC Kicks Off With Marco Rubio

Thousands of conservative activists converged Thursday on Washington for CPAC. But aside from a packed hotel ballroom and a few memorable applause lines, the throngs were noticeably subdued as the yearly conservative confab kicked off.

That may change Friday, when Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are scheduled to speak. But for a crowd of self-identified conservative activists that numbered about 10,000, there was no palpable sense of excitement and few outward signs of support for most of the presidential contenders.

“It’s been tough. A lot of people are still undecided, and they keep saying they need more information. There’s not a lot of excitement here yet,” said Joseph Lipp, who was handing out stickers for Santorum.

In a primary season that has thumbed its nose at many of the typically predictive events on the campaign calendar — Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll but finished sixth in Iowa — campaigns may have made a conscious decision not to invest heavily in CPAC. Continue Reading…