Tag Archives: Bill Gates

Watch Laurelton man on TV’s first body painting competition show

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of GSN

Fernello Nelson wants to become the “Bill Gates of body painting.”

The 31-year-old Laurelton resident may get his chance to do so on season two of “Skin Wars,” premiering Wednesday night on GSN.

Nelson is one of 12 contestants who will test their skills on TV’s first-ever body painting competition show and the network’s most watched original series.

Hosted by actress Rebecca Romijn and judged by entertainer RuPaul Charles and body painting icons Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina, “Skin Wars” hands the winner not only $100,000, but also an all-expense-paid trip for two to the World Body Painting Festival in Austria, and a nationally distributed Royal and Langnickel custom brush collection with their name on it.

Starting at age 5, Nelson knew that being an artist “was always something true” to who he was, but didn’t know where his creative desire would lead him.

He eventually studied graphic design, but only worked in the field for a few years before he began airbrushing, including on T-shirts. A photo shoot where the T-shirt was painted on the body changed Nelson’s career direction, and he started building his body painting resume.

“[Body painting] was more controversial because you can paint on a canvas and you can do your work and it moves people, but body painting moves people in a different way,” he said.

“It brings painting to life,” he added. “You feel like you are creating this living, breathing entity.”

At first working as EMT to supplement his body painting work, Nelson is now doing the art full time mostly for private parties and events. He decided to audition for the second season of “Skin Wars” because he wanted to show the world his abilities and style, which he describes as very sexy, tattoo-like and making women feel confident and comfortable.


“I wanted to be part of this pioneering adventure, this movement of body art and I felt ‘Skin Wars’ was giving this platform for body artists,” he said, explaining that the show is helping the art form as it’s becoming more acceptable.

“It’s not like you are having a stripper at your event. It’s art, it’s different,” he said.

The show is also giving Nelson, who describes himself as a newbie with a lot of experience within the time frame he’s worked, a chance to sharpen his skills.

“It’s like body paint boot camp,” he said. “You’re working and you are doing body painting that you thought you would never do before. But it’s worth it.”

There is also the chance to win $100,000, which Nelson hopes to reinvest in his business and one day run a company that creates jobs for other body paint artists. And this is where he looks toward Bill Gates as a model.

“I could do the same thing with body painting and grow a company and manage others,” he said, speaking of the Microsoft founder.

“Anytime you set out to do business you want to be number one.”

“Skin Wars” airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on GSN. 


Forbes names Bloomberg the world’s 16th most powerful person

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Flickr/nycmayorsoffice Photo credit: Spencer T Tucker

New Yorkers who believe Mayor Michael Bloomberg wields too much authority will not be surprised by his high ranking on Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people.

Bloomberg placed 16th on the annual list that includes heads of state, CEOs and magnates, one spot behind Warren Buffet and one ahead of Walmart CEO Michael Duke.

President Barack Obama unanimously topped the rankings for the second consecutive year, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bill Gates. Pope Benedict XVI, who recently joined Twitter, rounded out the top five.

Seventy-one people from 24 countries made their way onto the Power list.

The list was compiled based on four standards: whether the candidate has power over lots of people, how much money is controlled by the person, if the person is powerful in more than one area and whether they actively used their power.

Forbes said Bloomberg, who was 17th on the list last year, projects his influence in myriad ways.

“New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has power because he’s a politician, because he’s a billionaire, because he’s a media magnate and because he’s a major philanthropist,” Forbes wrote.

The magazine also pointed to his push to ban sugary drinks over 16 ounces as a highlight of the past year.

Bloomberg, who is about to enter his final year in office, will continue to wield power even after his days at City Hall are over. Independence USA PAC, a Super PAC created by Bloomberg to back candidates around the country who share his views, spent nearly $10 million on elections this fall and will continue to support office-seekers who share Bloomberg’s ideals, including gun control, the environment and education.

Other well-known names on the list include Mark Zuckerberg (#25), Rupert Murdoch (#26) and Bill Clinton (#50), though his wife and Secretary of State Hillary, who Bloomberg reportedly called to gauge her interest in the mayorship, was left off.

Bloomberg’s wealth grows, now 10th richest American, says Forbes

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo credit Edward Reed

Forbes unveiled its list of the 400 richest Americans which featured Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has seen his fortune continue to grow, the same day census data showed the disparity between the rich and poor in the city continues to widen.

Bloomberg came in at number 10 on the annual list with a net worth of $25 billion, more than a 25 percent increase from last year when he was only the 12th richest American.

The average net worth on the list jumped from $3.8 billion last year to $4.2 billion, for a combined total of $1.7 trillion in the hands of the 400 wealthiest Americans.

The list, which was released yesterday, featured more than 50 New Yorkers. The mayor — whose fortune stems from Bloomberg LP — topped some notable city residents on the money list, including: Rupert Murdoch, $9.4 billion, Ralph Lauren, $6.5 billion, and Donald Trump, $3.1 billion.

The third-term mayor does not keep all his cash to himself; Forbes estimated he has given away nearly $4 billion to support public health, the environment, the arts and education over the years.

Bill Gates topped the list with $66 billion, followed by Warren Buffet and Larry Ellison.