The most Texas tidbits from this Anna Nicole Smith profile

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of Texas native Anna Nicole Smith, who captured the heart of America with her beautiful looks and the rags-to-riches tale of a dirt-poor small-town girl turned superstar.

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 12: Anna Nicole Smith walks the runway at the Heatherette fashion show on February 12, 2004 during Olympus 2004 Fashion Week, in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 12: Anna Nicole Smith walks the runway at the Heatherette fashion show on February 12, 2004 during Olympus 2004 Fashion Week, in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Buzzfeed published a profile detailing the late American icon’s rise to fame and the subsequent destruction of her image, her life and her health. Here are a few Texas highlights from the profile on Smith, who was born in Houston and raised in Mexia.

“…the high-fashion look didn’t count for much in Mexia, or even in Dallas or Houston, and Vickie Lynn needed a body that would help her survive the world she lived in, and maybe even escape it.”

Born Vickie Lynn Hogan, the model’s 6-foot figure and stunning looks were too much for the small town (Mexia’s population was only about 6,000 in the 1960s, when Smith was born). So she left Mexia when she was 18, a single mother recently divorced from her allegedly abusive husband, and she headed to Houston.

“Though inescapably connected with a commodity drawn up from deep in the ground, Houston belongs to the ocean.”

The profile details a part of the Lone Star State many Texans know well: “Dry farmland” giving way to “pink skies and sudden downpours” all-too-common on the land along the Gulf Coast.

Buzzfeed writes:

“It’s a port city, and like all port cities, it is a place of transformation: a place where the skyline can change seemingly overnight, where fortunes can be won and lost in an instant, and where the people who kept you down all your life can’t keep you down anymore, because you can become whatever you say you are — or at least whatever the city will pay you to be.”

In Houston, Smith — still going by Vickie Lynn — found jobs at Walmart and Red Lobster in the mid-1980s.

“Houston was the implant capital of America…”

Now here’s a “today I learned…” story you can tell your friends about.

Silicone breast implants were invented in 1961 by two surgeons from Baylor University, and according to Buzzfeed, they were one of Houston’s hottest commodities in the 1980s, “almost as synonymous with Texas-sized dreams and desires as the lasso was.”

However, Houston also later became “the implant-related lawsuit capital of the world” in the early 1990s, as women sued manufacturers for faulty implants.

She became Anna Nicole Smith while dancing at a Houston strip club

After realizing Walmart and Red Lobster couldn’t pay the bills, Smith took a job dancing at the Executive Suite, a strip club near Houston Intercontinental Airport.

Buzzfeed reports the businessmen who frequented the club didn’t much care for Smith’s body, as she was “both too big and too small for the business of seduction.”

So Smith saved her money to get breast implants and buy herself the body of Anna Nicole Smith, saying goodbye to Vickie Lynn and landing a job at Rick’s, the “legendary Houston strip club that some claimed had singlehandedly popularized the silicone implant,” Buzzfeed writes.

She met J. Howard Marshall while dancing at Rick’s in 1988. Marshall, an elderly man who had gotten rich on the East Texas oil boom of the early 20th century, would later become Smith’s husband.

Read the rest of the profile, which goes into detail about Smith’s professional life, her personal relationships and her ties to her Texas family. 


WATCH: UT Austin sophomore wins Grammy tickets in The Ellen Show’s Beyoncé costume contest

Hundreds of University of Texas students flooded the campus’ Main Mall on Tuesday for a chance to win tickets to the Grammys from Ellen Degeneres. The catch? The student with the best Beyoncé costume gets the golden ticket.


The segment aired on The Ellen Show Wednesday, featuring several finalists clad in their best Queen Bey looks. In the clip, one of Degeneres’ correspondents shows off a few of the best outfits (mostly donned by UT students from Houston, Beyoncé’s hometown) and then Degeneres presents the students with a challenge: Recreate Beyoncé’s now-iconic pregnancy announcement Instagram photo from last week.

RELATED: See the best Beyoncé costumes from UT students

The winner was Katy native and UT sophomore Collin Wang, who chose not to recreate the Instagram photo but instead one of the other photos Beyoncé posted to her website after the viral announcement, featuring her underwater wrapped in flowy fabric.

RELATED: UT students get all Beyonce’d up for ‘Ellen’ TV crew

Degeneres commended Wang for his creativity, awarding him the grand prize of Grammy tickets, and recognized McKenzie Jones of Austin, Katie Lewis of Dallas, Victoria Vecchio of Houston and Alexa Vecchio of Austin with runner-up prizes: $500 gift cards to Best Buy.

RELATED: See more Beyoncé photos in our gallery



‘Fixer Upper’ teamed up with Robert Griffin III to remodel home of veteran, wife with lung cancer

“Fixer Upper” is a heartwarming show. Viewers get a look inside the lives of charming Waco couple Chip and Joanna Gaines, who renovate the homes of equally charming Waco families. It’s not often a television show about remodeling homes will make you cry, but this week’s “Fixer Upper” episode just might.

Photo by Rachel Whyte / HGTV
Photo by Rachel Whyte / HGTV

The story of the Grahams is sure to capture the hearts of “Fixer Upper” fans everywhere. According to KWTX in Waco, Bill Graham, a veteran who was featured on Tuesday night’s episode, lost his wife of 45 years, Sherry, to lung cancer last year. Sherry Graham was too ill to witness the renovation process of the home she shared with her husband, Bill, but she was released briefly from the hospital to see the grand reveal of their home, where she died in October.

KWTX reports former Baylor football star and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III helped pay for the Grahams’ home remodel after learning of Bill Graham’s service in the Army and National Guard, after which Graham developed prostate cancer as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. Griffin even stopped by the hospital to visit Sherry Graham before her death and even got in on some of the remodeling action.

Photo by Rachel Whyte / HGTV
Photo by Rachel Whyte / HGTV

See more photos of the remodel process from HGTV.

Professor Matthew McConaughey talks about teaching at UT on ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’

Matthew McConaughey, the patron saint of Longhorn fans everywhere, just finished up teaching his first semester at the University of Texas. Despite Texas’ less-than-great football season this year, he’s still spreading the Longhorn love.


On “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Thursday night, Meyers asked the actor about the class, and McConaughey responded, “It’s the class I wish I would’ve had when I was in film school.”

The university announced in August that the actor, who graduated from UT in 1993 with a radio-television-film degree, signed on to teach a course titled Advanced Producing: Script-to-Screen in the Moody College of Communication. He taught the course mostly through recorded videos, but he made an appearance or two in class for some face time with his students (and he did it all totally pro bono, too).

“Late Night” shared a clip on Twitter from the interview with McConaughey, who plays a koala in the upcoming animated movie “Sing,” on Friday morning, asking, “What would you do if Matthew McConaughey was your college professor at @UTAustin?”

The university responded accordingly, writing, “We’d at least be sure to raise our hand before asking a question.”

Savage, @UTAustin.

See the full interview Meyers did with McConaughey on YouTube.





Watch Miley Cyrus and Pentatonix join Dolly Parton for an epic version of ‘Jolene’

You’ve probably heard countless covers of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” — but you’ve never heard it like this before.

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

Miley Cyrus is a judge on this season of NBC’s “The Voice,” and during Tuesday night’s results episode she brought out her godmother and longtime family friend Dolly Parton and Texas a capella group Pentatonix for a slightly up-tempo, a capella version of Parton’s classic song that can only be described as “chilling.”

It’s not the first time Parton and Pentatonix have teamed up on the song. They got together for an excellent a capella rendition of the song back in September.

RELATED: Dolly Parton gets back to basics with ‘Pure & Simple’ tour and album

And it’s not the first time Cyrus has covered her godmother’s song, either. This backyard performance from a few years ago is absolutely beautiful.








You can now download your favorite Netflix shows to watch offline

No internet connection? No problem.

You’re now able to download your favorite Netflix shows and movies to watch without needing an internet connection, the company announced Wednesday.

Juan Pablo Raba, from left, Luis Gnecco and Wagner Moura star in "Narcos." (Daniel Daza/Netflix/TNS)
Juan Pablo Raba, from left, Luis Gnecco and Wagner Moura star in “Narcos.” (Daniel Daza/Netflix/TNS)

Netflix didn’t announce exactly which shows or how many shows will be available to download, but the company said Orange Is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown are all available immediately, but a teaser video released by Netflix also shows clips from House of Cards, The Art of Cai Guo Qiang, Stranger Things and Black Mirror.

The feature is available on iOS and Android phones and tablets — all you have to do is update your app,  and you’ll see an arrow pointing downwards next to content that you can watch offline by accessing the “My Downloads” menu in the app.

Screenshot courtesy of Netflix
Screenshot courtesy of Netflix

According to TIME, you’ll also be able to browse an “Available for Download” menu so you can see all the content available on the app.

Just in time for your holiday travels — make sure to download as much as possible for those long days in the airport.

Stop everything you’re doing and watch Rick Perry on last night’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ finale

Rick Perry: Two-time presidential candidate, Texas’ 47th governor, potential contender for a number of Cabinet positions in the Donald Trump White House . . . and really bad dancer.

Former Texas governor Rick Perry will pair with Emma Slater on "Dancing with the Stars, " which starts its new season on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Craig Sjodin/ABC)
Former Texas governor Rick Perry will pair with Emma Slater on “Dancing with the Stars, ” which starts its new season on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Craig Sjodin/ABC)

I mean, really bad. Perry was on Dancing With The Stars earlier this season but was the second contestant voted off the show. On Tuesday night, he made an appearance on the show’s season finale, dancing with Vanilla Ice to — what else? — “Ice Ice Baby.” And it’s a little painful to watch.

According to People, Perry and Vanilla Ice formed a bit of a “bromance” when they were on the show together. I would say that’s probably the least likely friendship ever, but honestly, nothing Perry does surprises me anymore.

You know, you have to commend the guy for trying, though — he may not be the most talented dancer on the stage, but man, he always looked like he was having a great time.

RELATED: Gold medalist Laurie Hernandez wins ‘Dancing with the Stars’

RELATED: This is what happened the last time a Texas politician joined ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Your favorite food, home and travel shows are leaving Netflix soon

No more lazy days binge-watching “House Hunters” and “Chopped,” if you’re into that kind of thing.

The shows, included in a host of Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel shows that are currently on Netflix, will soon leave the streaming platform due to Scripps Networks Interactive ending its distribution deal with Netflix, according to Variety.

Clint Harp of Harp Design Co. has built a furniture-making business in about four years that has landed him on "Fixer Upper." Portrait of Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines with clients Kelly and Clint Harp in their new living room, as seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper. (portrait)  Credit: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images
Clint Harp of Harp Design Co. has built a furniture-making business in about four years that has landed him on “Fixer Upper.”
Portrait of Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines with clients Kelly and Clint Harp in their new living room, as seen on HGTV’s Fixer Upper. (portrait)
Credit: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

The shows affected include:

  • Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
  • Food Network Star
  • Cupcake Wars
  • Chopped
  • Cutthroat Kitchen
  • House Hunters
  • Property Brothers
  • Fixer Upper
  • Love it or List it
  • Man v. Food
  • Expedition Unknown
  • Kitchen Crashers
  • The Layover with Anthony Bourdain
  • Good Eats
  • Worst Cooks in America
  • Iron Chef America
  • The Great Food Truck Race
  • Giada at Home
  • Ace of Cakes
  • Guy’s Grocery Games
  • Mystery Diners
  • Kids Baking Championship

Fox News reports the deal expires at the end of this year, so you have about six weeks to get your binge on.

Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by Netflix.


Maybe it’s for the best, though? No more sitting on your IKEA couch in your overpriced one-bedroom apartment, yearning for fancy houses with shiplap or farm sinks or pretending like you actually know what a coulis is when you actually don’t even know what the “broil” option on your oven does.

This mashup of Harry Potter and ‘Stranger Things’ is actually kind of great

If you’re a fan of “Stranger Things” and Harry Potter, you’re gonna love this.

Comedy Central UK posted a video (that has since been taken down, but re-uploaded by other users) called “Potter Things” that mashes up the two beloved stories pretty seamlessly.

The video opens to (what else?) Hedwig’s Theme and a “Potter Things” title card in the “Stranger Things” font, but it quickly segues into the Netflix show’s theme song from Austin synth band Survive. Apparently, in this combination of the two universes, the “Stranger Things” kids show up at Hogwarts, and things get…strange. Harry and Ron find Eleven in the woods, Snape accuses Eleven of stealing Eggos from his personal stores (let’s all pause for a moment to laugh at the mental image of Snape eating Eggos) and the “Stranger Things” discover the Vale of Shadows which, let’s be honest, is the most Harry Potter-sounding thing ever.

READ: Survive members on how Austin band’s music ended up on “Stranger Things”

RELATED: Eleven from ‘Stranger Things’ tried her first barbacoa taco in San Antonio and loved it

Even the details of the video are perfect. Check out this conveniently placed ad for dragon’s blood:

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

The best part, without a doubt, is Winona Ryder standing in front of the famous alphabet wall in her home, as the Christmas Lights spell out “Harry Potter.” It’s bloody brilliant.


Eleven from ‘Stranger Things’ tried her first barbacoa taco in San Antonio and loved it

Twelve-year-old Millie Bobby Brown is officially an honorary Texan.



Last weekend in San Antonio, the good folks at Alamo City Comic Con introduced Brown, the British actress who played Eleven in Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” to the delicious joys of barbacoa. Spoiler alert: She loved it.


I have questions: Did she wash down her taco with Big Red? What other Texas cuisine did she sample last weekend? Will season two of “Stranger Things” see Eleven chowing down on tacos instead of Eggos? Nobody knows.

Brown wasn’t the only “Stranger Things” cast member in San Antonio for the convention. Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, took in the sights and sounds (and flavors) of the Riverwalk.

And Caleb McLaughlin, a.k.a. Lucas, met some celebs.

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Epic airport moment. 🔥🔥 @kehlani

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Hope you had a great time in Texas, guys. Y’all come back now.