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Old 19th May 2006   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Empress of the Tarot

Fans of Christina Schmidt fondly remember an episode from the first season of Degrassi: The Next Generation, titled "Cabaret." This was altogether the best episode of the show's first year, and amply rewards repeated viewing--not only to catch a glimpse of the loveliest face that has ever appeared in film or on television,

but also because the storyline is uncommonly strong. In this episode, Christina's character, Terri, is shown researching topics of divination and occultism

with a particular focus on the Tarot. Terri even delivers a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of the Tarot to her class,

and offers to do an impromptu Tarot reading for one of her fellow students.

Terri's dabbling in the occult leads to numerous complications in the plot of the episode, but we won't provide a play-by-play account here. However, we will note--for those readers who are interested in such matters--that the Degrassi production team gave Christina an appropriately exotic makeup look for her divination scene, with haunting green eyeshadow, and dark lipstick.

At any rate, the topic of the Tarot came to mind again recently, while reading a series of essays that Kirsten (an occasional contributor to this forum) has posted on her Web log, "The Bacchante Files." Kirsten describes the appearance and function of several Tarot decks, and she singles out an intriguing card that relates directly to the topic of this forum.

The card is from the "Rider-Waite-Smith Deck" (which is the set that Christina's character employed in "Cabaret"), and it is called, "The Empress":

The description of The Empress, as provided by a Tarot learning site (to which Kirsten drew our attention), indicates that this could basically be deemed the "plus-size model card" of the Tarot.

The qualities that are associated with The Empress include the following:

welcoming abundance
enjoying extravagance
receiving lavish reward
luxuriating in plenty
having more than enough
feeling rich

experiencing the senses
giving and receiving pleasure
focusing on the body
appreciating beauty
feeling vibrantly healthy
From our many recent discussions, readers will notice how closely these characteristics resemble the traditional attributes of Venus, the Classical goddess of beauty. And just as an actual belief in Greek/Roman deities is not required in order to appreciate the aesthetic significance of Venus as a timeless feminine ideal, so is a belief in any supposed "powers" of the Tarot not required in order to respond to these cards aesthetically. Like the paintings of the Old Masters, the graphic details of the Tarot can be read as symbols, and interpreted in the same way that one interprets the imagery in a Renaissance sonnet.

But however one approaches the Tarot, The Empress card provides us with yet another example of how the ideal of feminine beauty was, throughout history, a "lavish" and opulent one, an ideal that emphasized "enjoying extravagance" and "abundance," "having more than enough," and "luxuriating in plenty." It is an ideal that is embodied by today's plus-size models (today's goddesses), rather than by the starving tanorexics who provide society with an artificial and unhealthy standard of appearance for women.

In the card game of modern culture, it is time to reshuffle the deck . . .

- Click here to read Kirsten's post about The Empress and the Tarot

Last edited by HSG : 19th May 2006 at 23:33.
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Old 21st May 2006   #2
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 633
Default Re: Empress of the Tarot

I love the fact that on the card, the Empress is shown reclining on soft cushions. It gives the card and that figure a soft luxuriance- which is just what that description of the card's meaning indicates that it should evoke.

I stopped watching Degrassi after Christina left, since she really was the only reason I ever viewed it, but I really enjoyed the episode with the Tarot. The message of that episode was about not letting yourself be unduly influenced by peers, but finding the self-confidence to believe in yourself. It was an important message for all full-figured girls to learn, and Christina played it perfectly. I already thought that she deserved an acting award from that episode, and I'm glad that she was given one, a few seasons later.

And it's so true- she really does have those perfect, round facial features. She's too gorgeous for words.
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Old 23rd May 2006   #3
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Posts: 441
Default Re: Empress of the Tarot

Christina was always beautiful on Degrassi, but I have to say that in her modelling work, she has become even more gorgeous. And I dont think Degrassi ever allowed her to show the fire in her personality, which is what makes her Torrid photos so exciting. Michael Anthonys picture in the recent "Luminous Christina Schmidt" thread shows how her features have become even more flawless - truly like those of a silver-screen starlet. And in her eyes, and in her pout, you can really see a smouldering passion just underneath the surface.

I think that with her modelling work, Christina is actually fulfilling the storyline of the "Cabaret" episode, which is all about finding your inner talent and revealing it to the world. I am constantly inspired by what Christina is accomplishing - she is my favorite model - and I know that many, many other full-figured girls are as well.
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