LIFE, LOVE & LIPSTICK
The name brings to mind different things for different people.
"She's, like, my favorite singer of all time! Marzena is, like, absolutely wizard," gushes Lucette van Kamp, aged 13, of Dosuun.
"A dedicated and conscientious citizen of the First Order," declares Benton Hofstetter, First Order Deputy Minister of Culture. "And a wonderful addition to our team as a cultural ambassador."
Moff Natasi Fortan, who met with Marzena Choi following the summit at Bespin recently, offered her unique analysis: "Ms. Choi is the example of what is best in the First Order. She has taken her talents -- as an entrepeneur, as an entertainer, and as a communicator -- and put them at the service of the First Order for the benefit of us all. I'm just delighted to be working with her." Ms. Sioux Chambers, who also met Marzena Choi briefly praised her as "a pop singer -- no further comment."
We caught up with Marzena in Cloud City for an exclusive sit-down interview, where we quizzed her on her thoughts on our fair city, her beauty secrets, her thoughts on the First Order, and more -- including the most-requested questions we received: her signature shade of lipstick! Read on:
Q: I almost can't believe I'm sitting across from the Marzena Choi, celebrated songstress! Thank you for taking the time, especially since you've been so busy. It seems like you are all over the place these days -- if there's a First Order function, your name is usually attached. Is there something besides geography that draws you to the First Order? What about the First Order's philosophy speaks to you, personally?
A: Well, Cloud City really is the place to be -- but there is an appeal that extends beyond the luxuries of Bespin. I was attracted to the high culture that the First Order brings to each of their worlds. As a citizen of the First Order, I am proud to be a part of such a superior society.
Q: This may seem trivial, but I've received so many requests to ask this question from the girls back in the office. You're widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women this side of the core. Can you share any of your beauty secrets? What is your go-to brand for makeup products? Do you have a signature lipstick color?
I am always testing out new products, but I have some brands that I keep in my daily rotation: Aritaum, Swulghasoo, IOPE, just to name a few. One of my new favorites is Quaint Gardens Beauty. I am very excited with my upcoming collaboration with Alize Rosenheim. I am a firm believer that you can never underestimate the power of red lipstick -- it's bold, chic, and classic. While I do have many favorites, I absolutely love CoCo Rouge Pur Courture, No. 52.
Q: You recently gave a concert at a summit right here on Cloud City, but we've heard rumors that you were spotted after the summit with a high-ranking member of the First Order's government, and since then sources at the Palace confirm you're involved in a project with the government, but they declined to confirm. What can you tell us about this meeting, and can you describe your plans for your continued involvement with the First Order?
A: Aesthetics can influence attitude -- it is a belief that I have taken to heart. As I worked with members of the First Artists Guild, I began to learn that there is much we can do to show our support for the First Order. We may not be soldiers, but we are in a unique position to promote our ideals and way of life.
I can tell you that I did meet with Moff Fortan after the summit, and we have been discussing some exciting opportunities concerning establishing a comission for arts and culture. Our first potential project would be to assist with dedicating a space for a memorial museum in Avalonia. I am very pleased with the progress we have made so far, and ever so grateful for Moff Fortan's assistance. It would not be possible without her.
As a cultural ambassador, I do hope to be very involved with the high art movement here in Cloud City, and other First Order worlds as well.
Q: Now, the tentative title of our article is "Life, Love, and Lipstick." We've covered life and lipstick -- now we just need love. I'm sure you're aware of the rumors swirling around you -- we certainly are. Who's this mystery man -- or is it all made up by less-reputable publications than our own? Do you even have time for a personal life with your busy schedule?
A: There have always been rumors about my love life, and I expect that there always will be. It is simply something that I have learned to live with.
There you have it -- she may not have been willing to spill all her secrets, but at least now we know some of the most-sought-after information about her beauty routine. Regular readers of the Cloud City Chronicle will certainly recognize the brands Marzena Choi mentioned in her interview, but we expect a run on the products she identified very soon -- particularly CoCoRouge Pur Couture, No. 52.
We spoke briefly with Moff Fortan relating to the memorial museum, and she echoed Ms. Choi's comments: "This is a project very near to my heart, and I am so pleased to be working with Ms. Choi. It is rare to encounter someone who has talent, taste, and empathy -- normally you're lucky to get two of three -- and rarer still to encounter someone with all three plus consideration. I see no limit to what Ms. Choi can achieve in her role as a cultural ambassador in the First Order."
Whether in performing arts, society, or the First Artists Guild, it looks like Marzena Choi's star will burn bright into the future.
TEA FOR TWO OR TWO HUNDRED
Ask anyone on Bespin where to go for an afternoon full of the refined delights of afternoon tea, and you're bound to get the same answer: "Perennial." So iconic and universally recognized is Perennial that it has become the standard by which other establishments are measured -- and consequently, are often found lacking. We took a tour of the establishment with the general manager, Ikor Minkut, who glowed with pride at the recognition -- and admiration! -- his establishment has recently garnered.
"Naturally it's a real honor to be recognized. Our staff put a lot of effort into making sure each guests enjoys the perfect experience -- whether they've come in for a quick cup of tea and lunch, or whether they are here to enjoy the afternoon tea experience -- so it's a real lift to their spirits, and mine, to see a lot of return customers and word-of-mouth. It means we're doing something right," says Minkut.
When we question him about the different options for tea, Minkut explains the capacity of Perennial. "Whether it's tea for two or two hundred, each guest gets the same top-of-the-line, white-glove experience from our highly trained staff. And we are also expanding our tea to incorporate different tea traditions. For instance, one group's tea service might not be the same as another group's, so it's important to us that we recognize the unique contributions of each culture within the First Order."
While walk-ins during breakfast and lunch hours are encouraged, Minkut cautions that potential guests for afternoon tea should call ahead for a reservation. "We get very busy for afternoon tea and, for heaven's sake, there's only so many scones our poor bakers can turn out in one day. We hate to have people make a special trip and be disappointed to find that our tables are full up or we've run out of something."
Perennial has played host to the many high-profile individuals in its day. During a tour of the Kuat Royal Ballet, the entire company had tea there, and more recently, Moff Natasi Fortan and Marzena Choi were spotted meeting there following the First Order summit at Bespin. "We've played host to some of the cream of Bespin and First Order society," says Minkut. "And we hope to continue that going forward."
NEXT STOP: LUXURY
ON THE LIPSTICK EXPRESS
Star Tours is the premiere travel agency in First Order space -- and more than that, regionally. Many famous faces have been spotted embarking and disembarking from Star Tours vessels. One of the most innovative concepts developed by Dunames Lopez, the visionary leader of Star Tours, is the Lipstick Express, an inclusive luxury tour that ferries shoppers on a luxurious journey to the Kartika SuperMall on Lipsec.
Emelanda Starky, a socialite living on Dosuun, utilizes the Lipstick Express at least monthly. "Oh it's beautiful," says Emelanda. "Sometimes you want something you can't find on Dosuun -- sometimes you don't necessarily want to go to some small boutique or your dressmaker. It's ever so convenient -- you just hop a flight to Lipsec and you're there. It doesn't get any easier than that!"
While the Lipstick Express is geared towards such fineries as cosmetics, clothing, and fashion accessories, the destination -- Kartika SuperMall -- features a wider range than that, from sporting goods to personal defense, from housewares to gardening supplies. Says Lopez: "You want people at all levels to come to Lipsec and to be fashionable whatever the budget they have."
Star Tours public relations had this to say: "Star Tours introduces the perfect shopping getaway. Now it's your turn to become tthe most fashionable person in the galaxy, with all the cosmetics, haute couture, and other fashion accessories you can possible dream about. Or, if you prefer, learn about the fashion of a thousand generations at the Galactic Cosmetics Museum. Just ask for the Lipstick Express. Visit Lipsec today!"
And the results have just been good for Star Tours!
Revenues at the Kartika SuperMall are up 18% since the first flight of the Lipstick Express, and rumor has it that the First Order is looking to encourage other areas of economic significance within First Order space. The retail spaces on Bespin, with their flashy couture, and the more individualized, boutique retail experiences on Dosuun reflect just two of the different cultures in the First Order's shopping style. And with both Bespin and Dosuun featuring extensive cultural offerings -- museums, theaters, memorials, etc. -- offering vacation packages with well-rounded offerings is expected.
THE BELL CENTER FOR ARTS & CULTURE
Opening recently with great fanfare was the Bell Cneter for Arts & Culture, a stunning, modern structure designed to showcase the best of the best of the First Order's most talented artists. The first floor features five small galleries and shops that represent First Order artists, and visitors are welcome between 1100 and 1800 daily. These galleria are available for rent by artists and other creative types, so the exhibits are subject to change.
The Chapman Theater features a large lobby, usedfor a rotating display of visual arts. The theater has a large seating capacity, making it a popular location for large meetings, lectures, and other large-capacity gatherings. The theater features a holoprojector and stage, making it a location suited to concerts, theater productions, film, and other events. The space is available to rent for special events; contact the management for further details.
The largest space in the Bell Center is also reserved for the most prestigious art displays. The Weaver Gallery & Ballroom functions as an event space, suitable for fundraising evnets, dances, and other large social events. The management cautions that the room is available to rent, but comes with a high damage deposit.
In addition, the Bell Center, under the guidance of the First Order Arts and Culture Commission has sought to expand outreach, including an Art and Wine Walk during the spring and summer seasons, as well as the patriotic Citizen Artist and Cultural Ambassador programs. Perhaps the most famous proponent of these outreach programs is Marzena Choi, galactic pop star and First Order Cultural Ambassador. Inquiries into these programs my be directed to the First Order Arts and Culture Commission, of which there is a branch office in Cloud City.
Citizens are invited to partake in the offerings of the Bell Center often, as the offerings do change.