Portraits by Other Means

Comeback Kings and Queens

Comeback Kings and Queens
Credit: Thomas Hawk

Friends! Alas, it has been far too long since we’ve seen each other. One of the things I love about America is how willing the public is to accept someone stepping back into the spotlight (most of the time) (athletes especially). Well, you be the judge.

Sinead O’Connor

Outside Sinead O’Connor’s whitewashed home here, on a windswept beachfront overlooking the misty Irish Sea, there are two talismans. One, a knee-high statue of the Virgin Mary stands with her arms beatifically spread, silently welcoming visitors. The other, a crudely taped-up sign, written so emphatically in ballpoint that the paper is almost torn through, is directed at the reporters who have besieged the singer, her four children, three dogs and a cat in recent weeks. It reads: “Dearest loving hacks. This is your quote: Rock ’n’ Roll!”


At the same time buzz of an artistic return to form was building around her.

Przewalski’s Horse

The Przewalski’s horse has survived despite great odds and remains a special part of Mongolian culture. Takhi, the name the horses were given by the Mongolians, means spirit, and truly defines their story. As of 2008, the international studbook listed 1,872 living animals. Considering there were only an estimated 31 horses left in 1945, the Przewalski’s horse has made a phenomenal comeback.

Newt Gingrich

These days, to hear Republicans tell it, the conservative movement’s intellectual and strategic thunderbolts seem to be emanating, instead, from an undistinguished box of a building on K Street, amid the city’s famed corridor of lobbyists. In unmarked office suites scattered across separate floors, some 35 employees divide their duties among a consulting group, two insurgent policy centers, a documentary-film production company and a public-relations firm with only one client. That client would be the man who sits atop this emerging center of opposition, the once-defeated revolutionary who, like Che or Tito, is best known by a single name: Newt.

Britney Spears

Despite rave reviews about her latest world tour, we must admit we were a bit skeptical of the legendary Ms. Britney Spears when we purchased our über-pricey tickets for her show last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

So was it worth it? In a word: yes!

Brit-Brit is back and better than ever—well, at least better than she's been in a long time. So what was our first clue that the pop princess is back on top?

Her mic was actually turned on—like, throughout the whole show!

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant wasn’t about to go there. Not when he controls the message, and what happened seven years ago in a hotel room in Colorado fades from public memory.


“Yes, Kobe Bryant had an incident,” said Ronn Torossian, president of 5W Public Relations in New York. “But the incident didn’t define Kobe Bryant. He has recovered, just like many others have recovered.”


TMN Editor Leah Finnegan is from Illinois by way of Texas. She splits her time between New York City and her website. More by Leah Finnegan