All Posts By Julie Ham

Shelby Surdam is a Rising Force

by

Shelby Surdam is a rising force. Her youth is not a limitation on her already impressive resume of shows. From starring on “Believe Me” to the main role in “SKAM Austin”, an iteration of the SKAM series, she is a force to be reckoned with.

“Cruel Summer” is her latest project, a psychological thriller that centers on the problematic teenhood set in the ’90s where the drama lay bare and authentic, that is without social media. Shelby stars as Tenielle, a “queen bee” whose life is upended by the disappearance of her posse. Learn about her life on set and as an actress at large below. 

Photographer Credits: Anthony Chiang

What was your experience like filming for “Cruel Summer”?

 Everyone was phenomenal! To the writers, actors, crew, everyone is so talented. They are real pros and I felt really safe while filming during these times. It was a blessing to work on this project and I’m really grateful for the friends and the memories made along the way. It was a great time filming!

As Tenielle, how did you channel a “queen bee” persona? Were there any challenges you faced learning her character?

Well, I was homeschooled in high school, so it was a little bit of a challenge finding this “queen bee” persona but we have an amazing team of wardrobe, hair, and makeup that helped a lot as I think if you feel confident then it will show. That’s what being a “queen bee” is all about – having confidence. 

What was it like regressing back to your high school self for the role?

Well, being homeschooled I felt I never got a real high school experience and now I feel like I’ve had one! Especially since at that age I was very nerdy so I never thought I would be playing a popular girl. Playing Tenielle is so different, she’s very much a gossip who tells it like she sees or hears it. 

Photographer Credits: Anthony Chiang

Was there anything you learned from being on set?

There was a lot that I learned while being on set. I’m really just a watcher, just taking everything in. What was so great is that “Cruel Summer” is so women-driven. To the story, but also behind the scenes as well. Seeing Michell Purple, working with Jessica Biel and Tia Napolitano, our showrunner, they are all such hard-working women. We also had two women directors, Kellie Cryus and Alexis Ostrander, and seeing how they do it and taking directions from them was so cool. It was great to see and gave me hope that one day I can do that as well.  

How did you decide to become an actress?

There were a lot of things on why I decided to become an actress. I started in theatre when I was younger and transitioned into a film when I was a teen. With doing that, I found something that I loved doing, that I was really passionate about. It’s a bug I caught because I wanted to learn everything there was to learn and I had this huge curiosity. I know I haven’t learned everything and I don’t think I ever will, but that’s the beauty of it. Finding something you never knew.

What does being an actress mean to you?

Being an actress to me means you’re helping tell a story. The great part is doing the work and the research, all while having fun. There’s also the part where viewers might resonate with it in some way. I don’t know, there are lots of emotions being an actress and that’s why I love it. Because I can feel all of them and that’s okay.

What are the (unspoken) challenges in pursuing acting as a career and in the art itself?

I think everyone knows that there is gonna be a lot of rejection, but an unspoken challenge is that sometimes it does take time, even years, to get that gig or job. I know for me it didn’t come quickly. I went to acting classes, worked at restaurants as a host, and worked in fast food. And still, I don’t think I’ve yet “made it,” whatever “making it” means to you. But everyone’s journey is different and it’s good to remember that.

Who/what motivates you whenever you’re in an acting slump or block?

If you’re ever in a slump or block I think it’s a good idea to talk to friends or family about how you are feeling. That always helps me. Usually, I don’t want to do anything, so I’ll watch movies, TV shows, some comfort films and while watching, it helps me and inspires me. Films and TV shows make me feel less alone. Hopefully one day I can do the same in projects. 

What kind of projects do you hope to work on?

Photographer Credits: Anthony Chiang

I don’t want to put myself in a box genre-wise. For me, I just want to help tell stories that need to be told and matter.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

In five years I hope to still be acting. It will always be my number one passion. Hopefully, I get the opportunity to dip my toes and branch out into other avenues like directing and producing. I’m already writing! I’m writing with a great group of girls and I’m so proud of what we have right now. I would love to get something off the ground and see it come to life. 

If you were given the opportunity to create your own show (reality, drama, etc.), what would you create?

 If I was given the opportunity, I have two ideas. One is more fantasy: it was a book that my friend loved. It deals with life and death and wonders if the monster everyone says is real or is it really humans who are the monsters all along. I and a group of talented girls wrote a pilot for it already.  

The second is more reality-based and deals with being in your twenties.

So that the readers can get to know you better, here’re some fast facts for you to answer!

Favorite animal?

Favorite animals are seals. They’re like dogs of the sea.

Star sign (and do you believe in them)?

I’m a Leo sun. Yeah, why not? It’s fun but I definitely won’t dislike you just because of your star sign.

Favorite album?

Depending on the mood, some albums I like with no skips Rex Orange County “Pony”, Kacey Musgrave “Golden Hour”, and “Ungodly Hour” by Chloe x Halle, Dayglow has some new songs that I’ve been listening to lately! And of course, I like Taylor Swift. I could listen to her music from any album any day.

 Is there anything else that you would like to mention?

Tune in on Tuesdays on Freeform to watch Cruel Summer or the next day on Hulu!

This article has been lightly edited for clarity 
Read more celebrity interviews at Clichemag.com

Avianna Mynheir is Modern-Day Wonder Woman

by

Photographer Credit: Simply Adri

Avianna Mynheir is the modern-day Wonder Woman. There is nothing to stop her in the quest for female representation and empowerment in the vast sectors of STEM, business, and media. She literally does it all.

Acting is a delight and a difficulty of its own for Mynheir, but her time on the hit show “The Walking Dead” has inspired one of her greatest passion projects: “Uprising”. She sought inspiration and where she found a lack of it replaced it with her own voice and interviews actors, chefs, entrepreneurs galore so that others won’t find the same challenges she did. 

Read about her journey as an actress and a champion of women empowerment and inspiration in our interview with her:

 

What are some of your favorite moments working on “The Walking Dead”?  

Gosh! It’s tough to choose. Many good times are had in the Georgia forests at 2am working on pure adrenaline and caffeine. One that comes to mind is shooting the season 10 finale. I got to shoot an explosion scene with Seth Giliam, who plays Father Gabriel, and I had such a blast (pun intended) working out that stunt. 

What differentiates your podcast from other inspirational ones?  

The diversity of guests. I really try to ensure that there is something stimulating for everyone. I chat with Forbes CEOs, Michelin star chefs, Tony winning actors, professional athletes, modern architects, tech entrepreneurs— the whole gamut. 

Do you find it different now working on set with your inspiration podcast? Has the job become easier at all?  

Has my podcast affected my acting? No, I don’t think so. They’re different beasts. But some of my friends on set appear as guests on the podcast, so there is some crossover in that capacity! 

What inspired your change from a secure future like science technology to a riskier one like acting? What motivated you through this change?  

Goodness, good question. This might sound crazy, but it was instinctual. Deep-rooted passion for storytelling got me through. 

What does being a woman mean to you?  

Ooof. Big question. To me, being a woman in this era means championing modern womanhood, even when it’s daunting or inconvenient. It means striving toward gender equity with an understanding of the past and a vision for the future. It means celebrating every kind of woman and doing my part to help all women, myself included, find self-sufficiency if we choose it. It also means loving and honoring the vessel I’m in. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  

I have no clue – and that excites me! I am best when I’m following my passions real-time.  

What do you hope for America in the future?  

I hope for unity, open-mindedness, integrity, empathy, responsibility, and inclusion. I hope for anti-racism, gender equality, scientific understanding, and basic human rights for all. I hope we humanize each other, even when it’s hard, and begin to paint a more tolerant future for our country. 

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?  

The road is long, winding, and unexpected. It’ll rain, but also shine. You won’t get to drive the whole trip, so let go and enjoy the ride. 

So that the readers can get to know you better, here’re some fast facts for you to answer! Favorite album?  

Bad Self Portraits by Lake Street Dive 

Favorite book?  

Educated by Tara Westover 

Favorite fact?  

Cows have regional accents. BBC released an article about it. I find that hilarious. 

Is there anything else that you would like to mention?  

Readers can check out my podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, or Stitcher! Just type “Uprising by Avianna Mynhier” into the crazy web and things will pop up.  

Read more celebrity interviews at Clichemag.com

Mya Xeller is the Next Big Thing

by

Mya Xeller is America’s next big thing. She stars in Amazon Prime’s new reality show “Next Big Thing NYC” which follows the successful yet young lives of thriving teenagers. For Mya, she has made tremendous footholds in the pageant and fashion industry. She has won various titles including 2019 Miss Teen World Connecticut and 2020 CT Royal International Miss Teen. She has also modeled for a variety of designers at New York Fashion Week and numerous magazines. 

Mya is, above all, a person. She has hopes to use her platform for good and to use her voice to help others. Learn more about Mya’s plans for herself and others, for now and later. 

What was your first experience on a reality TV show like? 

This was my first time ever filming for TV, so I wasn’t really used to having all the cameras that like every angle of me catching every single word that came out of my mouth. Definitely had to be careful there because sometimes you say things under your breath and well, that’s on camera now so it’s definitely different for me, but I’m a very outgoing person so it didn’t make me nervous at all. It was a lot of fun the first time we ever filmed. I was definitely more held back then than I am now, because I’m so used to it now since we filmed for a full year.

But definitely has been a dream since I was very little, so having that dream come true and actually being on a TV show now is incredibly insane because I didn’t know that it would come too soon in my life, and I know that this is only just the first step to being really a TV star, and my expectations for filming “Next Big Thing” I didn’t really have any to be completely honest because I didn’t cast for the show. I actually just got reached out to and casted for it, so I didn’t really plan on it to be 100% with you. So going into it, I was kind of just free falling. I didn’t really know how it was gonna be, I didn’t know what it was gonna be like filming, it was really just me walking into it being like, “Alright, I guess I’m doing this now”. 

I went and I filmed and from there we kept getting, you know, emails and stuff that we were going to be filming here and here, doing this and this. It was really cool because I knew everybody on “Next Big Thing” before we filmed, but some of the cast members I didn’t know too well. I just saw them at New York Fashion Week in previous years so filming day one was really like getting to feel everybody out and see, “oh I know you but I don’t really know you, do I want to know you” all that kind of stuff, and I definitely formed, really good friendships with the cast throughout filming. 

In addition to that, did you have any concerns with the camera not really picking up on the entirety of your person? Were you worried about the camera not picking up on other facets of your personality?

Definitely one of my big concerns (after at least the first day of filming) was that I could be portrayed in many different ways. Because once you’re on a TV show and you sign those contracts and you agree to be filmed and put on a show, they can really manipulate and edit that show however they want to, so you have to be very careful about how you’re acting and what you’re saying, on camera for sure. 

One of my concerns definitely was, you know, I don’t want to be portrayed as someone that I’m not, and I don’t want to come off as someone that I’m not because I’m a very down to earth person I like to keep it very real. I like to be very genuine. So when I filmed I really didn’t put on an act at all I just stayed 100% myself, and I acted as I would in my everyday life, just because that’s how I want to be portrayed on the show. I didn’t want to look like I was putting on an act, because that’s not me at all. So throughout filming, I never was trying to be something or somebody that I’m not. I was always just being 100% myself, and I said you know what this is going to go on TV and either people are gonna love me or hate me and that’s just how it works. You just have to accept it that way. 

Photographed by Brett Martelli

What do you think then you’ve learned from your time on this reality TV show? What kind of lessons did you take away from your experience?

From my time on “Next Big Thing NYC”, I’ve definitely learned that friends will always be there. But there are friends that turn family, and those are the people that I will look back at “Next Big Thing” in forty years and be like, “Wow, I remember this time with Isabella and Peter and I remember when I did this with Eden”, and I’m going to look back at that say they were really there for me. And the same goes with the entire cast because we have really become a little family of our own, just from filming and spending so much time with each other because we always were that little support group for each other. And so my biggest thing that I’ve learned from “Next Big Thing” is definitely cherish those moments with your friends because you never know when that will be your last, and you never know when you’re going to want to look back on this and reminisce about the memories you’ve had with your friends that literally turned into your family. It also taught me that there’s friends, and there’s best friends that turn into a family. Friends will say they’re there for you, but it’s different when somebody says it and when somebody shows.

The focus of Next Big Thing NYC seems to be trying to channel your stardom and really achieve your aspirations even at this early stage of life. So my question is what is your definition of being a star?

Well, let me start here: “Next Big Thing”, yes, is defined by teens who are up and coming and trying to reach that all-star level of stardom, but it also is meant to show what goes on behind the scenes, and who we are as people, and the stuff that we do that shows our normal teen side because I think a lot of people see what we all do and they think, “well they’re missing out on you know being a being a teenager and doing all these fun things and they’re all they’re doing is like all this series business stuff”. “Next Big Thing” really does let you get a grasp of us being normal teenagers and just having fun and doing fun stuff that everybody in the world does so, I think that’s probably the most awesome and relatable part of the show because you really get to see relationships being formed or ending. 

My definition of being a star is having a platform that you use in a positive way because I think there are a lot of stars in the world and a lot of people who are considered famous, but not all of them really use it in the right way sometimes. I know for me, with pageants and stuff and holding a big national title, my biggest goal is to use those platforms to be a positive impact on people and be a role model for people that are looking up to me. The platform doesn’t really mean anything unless you’re using it the right way because then you don’t have an army behind you when you’re really somebody who is a role model and inspires other people and you are likeable. That’s what makes you have an army, that’s what makes you have a fan base. I always tell people, my goal is not to be famous and be rich, my goal is to gain a big platform so that I can do what I love and my dream, but also it will give me such a big platform to be able to be the role model and be the leader to younger generations that are looking up to me.

Photographed by LeRed Photography

I know in your pageant days you started All About Pink to support breast cancer awareness, so what kind of positive impact besides, or in addition to that, do you want to do?

Being a role model to me means that you take the platform that you’re given, and you use it to inspire younger girls and boys to be the best versions of themselves and to do good, don’t sit there, don’t allow people to hate on you, don’t allow people to hate on those that you love. Always keep striving for what you want to do, no matter how mean, or, you know, hateful people can be. We live in a really, really sad society sometimes when it comes to things like social media and people having dreams that they’re really working towards. People like to kick people down when they see them trying to do good. 

And so for me being a role model is inspiring younger kids to keep up the hard work, keep reaching for your goal because someday you’ll get there. It might take longer than it does for other people but you will get there it will happen for you, and you know just inspire younger kids and anybody looking up to me, really, to use your talent and use your platform to do good things, not to be famous, not to have money, not to have followers, but to really inspire other people to do the same because I inspire them, they inspire somebody else and that person inspires the next person in the list and it just keeps going on and on. I like to inspire young people and anybody looking up to me, to do good in your community and put hard work into doing community service and all that kind of stuff because it really, it’s a very gratifying feeling to do good things like that and I never used to prioritize that when I was younger but now that I’ve grown up and I’ve been given big pageant titles, that’s something that I really cherish and that I actually love doing, with or without pageants, I’ll always continue to do my community service projects.

Could you tell me about these community service projects that you’re involved with?

Yes. So last year 2019 I was the Miss Teen world America Connecticut, and I placed first runner up for Team World America. I was actually the youngest one in the top five, which was really awesome. And when I won for Connecticut and I was preparing for Vegas for nationals, I decided that I wanted to have my own platform. At this point in the pageantry, you kind of need it. 

And so I was planning and I was thinking what do I want to do, I need something that’s personal to me that I can really connect with on a personal level, because that’s what will inspire me to do it. I lost my aunt when I was younger to breast cancer, my entire family did, so at a young age I kind of got to see how that affects a family when you lose a loved one. I was young but still old enough to realize you know how it was emotionally affecting everybody and I got to see how if you don’t know that you have a gene, or you don’t know that there’s a possibility that you could get breast cancer or any type of illness for that matter, how do you prevent it? You really can’t. Once you have it and you don’t know for a while and you’ve had it, there’s not really a way to backtrack. Starting All About Pink, the goal is obviously breast cancer awareness in the fight against breast cancer, but really to help have these fundraisers and donate the proceeds to bigger breast cancer organizations that work in all different areas: genetic testing, simplifying health insurance difficulties, all of that kind of stuff. Those are the things that prevent other families from losing their loved ones because then they can have the means to find out if there’s a chance that they could be diagnosed with cancer, breast cancer more specifically. 

My grandmother had the gene, my mom had the gene, my mom actually had preventative surgery so that she did not risk, you know, not being here today. And yeah, so I definitely connect with all about pink in the work that I’m doing very personally because it’s been in my own family so I definitely feel that in my heart when I do stuff with that. And All About Pink has recently partnered with a nonprofit More Than Likes, it is run by another local teenager in Connecticut. We’ve teamed up, we actually have our first fundraiser started, Pennies for Pink. The proceeds will be donated to See More Pink, which you might not know but that’s a Connecticut breast cancer organization. I’ve actually done work with them before, I love what they stand for, I love what they do. So yeah, the proceeds will be donated to them, and this is just our first fundraiser and there are many more to come.[The partnership] is basically all about breaking the stereotype of teenagers just being a like or follow on social media and actually having them do good in the community and put hard work into helping others that need it more. We have a lot of fundraisers planned and we are in the works of all of those but currently Pennies for Pink is out and running. 

Furthermore, with my pageantry, I’m currently holding a new title: Connecticut Royal International Miss Teen. I’ll be headed to Florida in July to compete for Royal International Miss Teen, and also the role model competition as well so I’ll be going for two national titles. Royal International Miss the Pageant Circuit is very big on community service work, and, you know, your platform. It’s not just about beauty, it’s not just about the dress, it’s not about money, it’s about seriously the hard work that you put into earning that crown and with that crown and with that title. Every month Royal International Miss has a monthly service project which I’ve been partaking in. I spend countless hours just driving around. We did eyeglass donations that were donated to the Lions Club in Connecticut. We collected toys, I’m grateful to everybody who donated all these things but spent so many hours just driving around and networking on social media posting about all of these fundraisers, and it’s really awesome that this pageant circuit gives me an opportunity to do such good things every single month, as well as the things that I’m already doing on my own with my own platform.

Photographed by LeRed Photography

Well, congratulations. I know you might need a breather after listing all those accolades. It seems like pageantry and activism takes up a lot of your time but how do you wind down and enjoy this normal state of just being a regular teen?

I’m also a competitive dancer, so I dance at a dancing studio and it’s actually competition season right now, like in full swing, so dance is kind of a crazy schedule for me right now more than usual, but I’m actually really happy about it because I’m grateful that we’re able to do competitions, even though it’s COVID style. I’m just grateful because we did miss out on a whole year last year. I dance pretty until pretty late at night most nights that I’m there. 

When I get home, I obviously take a nice shower, I lay on my bed and I find a new Netflix show to binge watch until I just get too tired and I have to turn it off and go to sleep. I also do online school at home so hours go into that as well. But being online actually works so much better for me with my schedule so it kind of worked out for me this year. 

I definitely have a packed schedule. I really wouldn’t have it any other way because everything that I’m spending my time on I actually love doing so I don’t mind being busy with it.

Even though you have so many things going for you now, what do you see yourself doing either in college or adulthood? Are there any concrete goals that you’re working towards now or you hope to achieve?

I am a big makeup and hair junkie, I love everything to do with beauty. I definitely want to get my cosmetology degree so that I can maybe one day have my own salon or be a traveling makeup and hair artist. I love that kind of stuff. That’s definitely something I would do. 

But in reality, my dream and what I’m really working towards is continuing to be in the TV industry and hopefully book more jobs and just get bigger and bigger and bigger, and as well as modeling, that’s something that I hope to carry on. And you know I love performing. I love dancing, I love singing, and that’s stuff that I’ve been training for for years, so I don’t have a solid one direction plan, but I hope to just be able to accomplish all of it. But like I said, I do want to get my cosmetology degree so that I can open up my own business or be a traveling makeup and hair artist, because you know it’s always good to have a plan B for everything. 

School wise, I’ve been thinking about a few different performing arts schools where I could focus on dance, singing, acting, stuff like that because that’s what I really enjoy. And yeah, I mean I always tell people, if it comes down to not doing what I love and working in an office, I might just live in a cardboard box. I cannot see myself working in an office or working at a counter. it’s just not something I see myself doing and I’m definitely not the person that wants to be working a job that turns into a lifestyle when it’s something I don’t love, because I feel like then yes, you’re making money, but you’re not happy, and I’m not somebody that thinks that money makes somebody happy. It definitely can make you happy in the moment but when it comes to your life, definitely is not something that would keep you happy. 

I really have to be doing something that I love and that I have a passion for sure.

I can just tell that your passion is probably not going to lead you anywhere near that carpet box. I know you’re already in the very early stages of your career, but has being in the public eye been taxing on you as a regular teen that’s just going through development?

I think that even though I am only in the first milestone of my career, there is a lot of hate. 

I’m a very, very strong person. I don’t let most words get to me. Yes, it makes you feel down for a second, but I think that I’m very, very strong, so a lot of people’s words they just come in and they go out, because I, I know where I want to be, and I’m not going to let anybody tell me I can’t get there. I know for myself that I just have to put in the work and I just have to wait until it’s my time. I’ve faced a lot of hate, a lot of negative comments, a lot of people who just definitely don’t like me for some reason. And it really hasn’t thrown me off track. I just listen to it, throw it out and keep on moving.

But for a lot of other teens, words really strongly affect them. And I think that’s one of the cons with social media, is that there’s a lot of bullying and a lot of hatred spread on there. Although there is good, there’s also a lot of hate and negativity, and it can be very detrimental to, you know, becoming an adult and growing up because it makes you feel like you’re less than you really are. Being in the public eye and just on social media in general can be, can be very stressful to young teens and young adults because it’s just for some people that can’t handle that pressure that hate being put on them, can definitely put them down and throw them off track of whether where they’re really trying to go.

How did you develop this strong of a mindset, able to deter every hateful comment that you come across? Would you say that it was something you were born with or can you attribute the development of it to something?

I would definitely say that growing up as a little girl, my mom definitely she’s my biggest role model. I love her to death. She definitely taught me how to be strong, and not to let people or my losses get me down. Like I said I’ve been competitively dancing since I was very young, and I never used to be the big winner out of my age group, let’s be honest, I never really won. As a little girl I would always start to cry, and then my mom would grab me by the ponytail and say, “you don’t cry, do not cry one more tear right now”. She taught me that if you’re going to cry over a loss, we can’t do this because that loss might be a win next week. It doesn’t matter because you’re not really losing. You’re just getting the experience and you’re growing and you’re learning, and from that you’re just going to keep working hard. You don’t always win, not the same person is going to win in every single aspect, every day of life and I think that’s what I’ve grown up to learn because of my mom. 

For me, I definitely think it has developed though. I would say definitely through elementary school and middle school even. I was always worried about what other people thought of me, always worried of what other people thought of my clothes, how I acted or even how I talked, just basic anxiety and worry that people might not like me. That always really got in my head, really trying to like change myself to make sure that I was making other people happy or satisfying other people. Now that I’m in high school, I’ve learned that people are going to love me, or they’re going to hate me. As long as they don’t hate me because of me treating them badly, then I don’t worry about it. I’m going to be nice to everybody and I’m going to do me and I’m going to be 100% and whether people like it or not. I just have to leave it because people sometimes just aren’t going to like you just because they don’t want to like you and that’s how it works today 

My mom has definitely been that role model who taught me how to be like that. And I’ll be forever grateful for that.

I think that concludes our time together. Are there any last words that you would like to say, or include in the article? 

Definitely just my instagram handle is ‘at’ myaxeller

This article has been lightly edited for clarity
Read more celebrity articles at www.clichemag.com

The CONNECT Collection

by

Kikiito is releasing the CONNECT Collection, a new fashion couture bag line with focuses on sustainability and functionality. It is to debut on February 19 at London Fashion Week. 

There are 6 pieces each of a unique blend of à la mode minimalism with modernity in their cut lines and leather. Their multifunctional use allows the wearer to personalize the bag’s figure using hooks or chaining multiple bags together.  

The CONNECT collection was designed and created by Kiki Ito from her experience throughout the pandemic. Channeling her struggle with depression and anxiety, she drew inspiration through introspection and reflection to help discover and flesh out the authenticity of her brand. 

“The mind is such a powerful thing it can control you in the worst ways but it can also take you to the best places. I wanted to express all the honest emotions I had from my fear to the strength I found through this collection” says Kiki.

Sustainability is the main focus of the collection with their usage of leftover leather for every intricate detail of the bag. Each is designed for longevity for long-lasting use and only a limited supply will be manufactured to minimize waste.

 Pre-orders will be available for global shipment from February 24th on weareyugen.com/collections/kikiito 

For more, visit www.kikiito.com/

 

Photographed by Catarina Silva

Read more fashion articles at ClicheMag.com

Last-Minute Valentines Gifts

by

It’s a week before Valentine’s Day. You’re stressed, fifty tabs open all of the different shops and each cart has a miscellaneous of items that you probably won’t buy. 

Take a deep breath. It’s not too late to get that special someone something so close all those windows and follow this last-minute Valentines gifts guide.  

For the Cozy:

Image provided by Nike.com

For those who love staying comfortable, a hoodie is a perfect gift for both partners. Personalize the hoodie by embroidering your initials on the sleeve so that they think of you with each wear.  

Price: Amazon $15,  Nike $50,

 

For the Fashionable:

Image provided by ClemBoutiques on Esty.com

Image provided by TheCraftedCreationCo on Etsy.com

Matching jewelry has recently been the trend for couples, physically memorializing the consolidation of two people in a relationship. There’s no better reason to support online local businesses through platforms like Etsy to get personal with your choice of decor. 

Price: ranges

 

For the Musical:

It’s never bad to go old school. Create a Spotify playlist of songs that remind play a significance or remind you of your relationships and burn it on a CD. Decorate it with your personal touch to add personality and meaning. If time provides, go the extra mile and decorate flashcards for each song explaining their significance. 

Price: able-to-be-found-around-the-house

 

For the Floral:

 

Flowers might seem like the cliché choice but there’s good reason. For those not quite fond of the materialistic nature of holidays, floral arrangements can act as a prolonging alternative. Visit a local florist to personalize your selection and take great care in what flowers to pick her using flower almanacs.

Price: varies

 

For the Sweet

Image provided by Giftbox.ps

Channel your creativity in designing a more homemade gift. Purchase some of their favorite candies and assemble them in a craft box to make a sweet present for someone who is too. 

Price: dollar store

 

For the Friends:

Friends are equally deserving of Valentine’s presents as a partner is, perhaps even more so. Treat your friends to a day together, full of laughs, loves, and sweets! Celebrate by baking a cake and enjoying it on a social distanced picnic amongst other snacks and delectables. A day to yourselves to replace that of an unnecessary beau. 

 

Gifts, of course, are not the end all be all in enjoying a nice day with friends or family. Even if you can’t find your hands on one of these gifts, make the day special with your simple being because that’s far more than enough. 

 

Read more lifestyle articles at Clichemag.com

Images provided by Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels & Pixabay

Jackie Tohn: Powerhouse of Talent

by

Jackie Tohn is a powerhouse of talent. An actress, writer, comedienne, and musician, her projects reflect the range she possesses from the pained Melrose in GLOW to creating, producing, and writing music for the children’s show DO RE & MI. She has recently become the host of the new Netflix cooking show Best Leftovers Ever. Learn about the different projects of Tohn and get to know her better as all her grandness and simply a person. 

Being a foodie, I’m so excited for your new show Best Leftovers Ever! Could you give the readers a quick pitch? What can they expect from the show?

Best Leftovers Ever! is a wild cooking competition show. In each episode, three cooks take last night’s Leftovers and turn them into high-end cuisine, competing for the chance to win 10 thousand dollars! It’s like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse meets Chopped. 

People can expect to have (maybe too much) fun watching the show. Also, it’s genuinely funny. I’ve never had the chance to say this about anything I’ve been in before, but it is truly fun for the whole family. You can also expect to learn! In every episode, we share tips and tricks for turning your leftovers at home into totally new dishes. This is also exciting because using what you have in the fridge reduces food waste. Wins across the board! 

I have to say, I picked up GLOW during this quarantine break and I regret not doing so any earlier! Melanie Rosen particularly speaks to me through her Jewish representation which I don’t see all that often in the media. How does it feel knowing that you contribute to a more open discussion as well as a representation for the Jewish community?

This is such an important question to me. After the camping episode of Glow aired (Season 3 Episode 6), the response was overwhelming. So many people came out of the woodwork to tell me how much it meant to them. Our writers created this super powerful episode of television connecting two of the characters through their unfortunate common bond of inherited trauma. Jenny’s family survived the Cambodian Genocide and Melrose’s family survived the Holocaust. What’s wild, is that that storyline was based on our actual histories. Ellen Wong is the daughter of Cambodian Genocide survivors and I am the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. We got to memorialize our family’s history through the characters we played on TV. It was so so special.

Photographed by Sela Shiloni

On that same note, what was it like working with an all-female crew?

It was unreal to work on a show with mostly women. Over the course of my entire career, I had never worked with even CLOSE to that many women. Usually, there’s room for one or two women in the cast. One or two in the writer’s room. Maybe a female director pops in for an episode. And on Glow, our writers were all women but one. Our directors were all women but two. Our cast was 14 hilarious, deep, brilliant women and three (depending on the season) incredible men. And because the show was run by women, they encouraged us to be who we are. They never asked us to change our bodies. They just wanted us strong and safe (because we did all our own wrestling.) I never had a sister growing up, and now I have 13. 

What was it like working on GLOW? How did this experience set you up for your other projects?

I had been acting since I was nine and Glow was my first big break – in my mid-thirties. And for a show, this rare to be my first consistent gig was an absolute dream come true. We did extensive wrestling training for a month before every season under the guidance of multi-Emmy winning stunt coordinator Shauna Duggins and wrestling royalty, Chavo Guerrero. Being on Glow and using my body the way I did really helped me rewrite the stories and false narratives I had been living my whole life – that I wasn’t athletic or strong. Glow changed how I feel about myself and what I now know I’m capable of. 

On the other hand, how was your experience working on The Boys?

The Boys was a blast! I shot for three weeks in Toronto and had no idea what to expect going into it. When you’re a guest star on the first season of a show, you only get to read the episode you’re in and since the show isn’t out yet, you can’t watch it to get a grasp of the tone. So you’re sort of going in blind. I was reading the script thinking, “who is Mothers Milk, and what in the hell is going on here?!” Ha. I had an incredible time on what I now know is an AMAZING show that I am super proud to be a small part of. I’m looking forward to going back for Season three!

I imagine acting is hard enough but creating, executive producing, AND creating music for a show seems impossible. How did you manage on Do Re & Mi?

HA! Quite the opposite of impossible. I’m at my best when I’m doing 100 things at once. My brain pretty much fires on all cylinders at all times, so when I’m not busy it makes up stuff to worry about. Michael Scharf and I created Do Re & Mi way back in 2014! My BFF Kristen Bell came on board in 2015. That’s when my co-songwriter David Schuler and I started working on the music. We partnered with our dream production company, Gaumont in 2016 and started really developing the show. Amazon got on board in 2017 and green-lit us in 2018 with a massive fifty episode first season pickup! At that point, the scripts were coming in once a week and Dave and I were writing our butts off. It wasn’t till 2019 when I started doing all the jobs at once. Voice recording (I play Re the hummingbird) twice a week, songwriting twice a week, producing and giving notes on scripts and art the other days. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to having a full-time job. Do Re & Mi finally comes out in the spring of this year and I truly cannot wait for everyone to see it. 

Photographed by Sela Shiloni

Starting stand-up comedy at just fourteen, you prove to be a comedic veteran. How has comedy contributed to your other works, if at all?

More than a contributing factor, I would say that comedy is the major reason I got any of those jobs in the first place. I love standup and musical comedy. I toured the country for years doing schtick and I loved it. Being funny has been my currency my whole life. 

Am I allowed to ask what your favorite project, small or large, has been so far? 

It’s hard to say which has been my favorite because I wished and worked for so long to have ANY job and now I just feel incredibly grateful to be part of all the incredible projects I’m working on.  

Are there any future projects you hope to work on? 

My writing partner and I just finished writing our musical comedy feature film – so I wanna make that! One day I’ll write my Broadway show. I just want to keep creating. I can’t not. 

Any particular people?

I’d love to do some sort of mother-daughter comedy with Bette Midler – maybe that would have a musical element too. Now you got me thinking…

Lastly, I have a quick “favorites” for you to fill out to know you as a fully-fleshed person. Feel free to comment!

Favorite food: hot pretzels or pizza. I eat like a toddler. 

Favorite animal: my dog Glen 

Favorite hobby/past-time: singing, playing the guitar, and writing music. 

Favorite person: (people) My parents. 

Is there any else you would like to include for our readers? Follow me on Instagram @jackietohn

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Read more celebrity articles at Clichemag.com

Kyle Klaus is not your typical actor

by

Kyle Klaus is not your typical actor. He hails from atypical acting roots, from a sector of work entirely unrelated to the screen, that is real estate. His business acumen has lent to becoming a millionaire by the age of 30 and starting a line of successful businesses in the NJ area. This smartly provided the cushion he needed to pursue the acting career he always wanted. Since, he’s premiered in “The Blacklist,” “Billions,” and “Homeland” among others. 

Klaus discusses with Cliche Magazine the intersections of his dichotomous lifestyle. 

Working in real estate was your solution to avoiding the life of the starving artist, but you’ve made quite a name for yourself founding Prestige Properties as well as becoming a millionaire by the age of 30. How do you feel about achieving such success at a young age? What do you attribute this success to?

I attribute my success to an insatiable hunger and drive for greatness. You get to a certain level and you’re still not happy with it. That is because it’s not about a destination, it’s more about growth. You are either growing or you aren’t.  You are either improving or not.  I’ve also always known that real estate was a means to an end  – meaning that if I could keep working really hard and saving up, and making the right investments that it would set me up early on at a young age for later in life.  Then when the acting projects and opportunities came up – I would be able to take those and not worry about what was next, or if it was going to be a hit, or if it was going to make my career take off.  I would always be able to have something else there, and wouldn’t be worried about my acting career, especially since there are so many variables to whether you get a job or don’t, or you have a successful career and are famous or not.

What are some similarities and intersections you’ve found in acting and entrepreneurship? Are there things you’ve learned working in real estate and founding your own business that you apply to acting?

Yes, definitely.  Probably the most apparent is that you are your own CEO.  I know people say that about acting all the time, but I don’t know if everyone really gets it. In acting, you have to make sure you understand your audience, what they want from you, and try to give them some of that.  Also that your “craft” is on point.  That is just like your skills or quality in business.  Also – there are many other things like dealing with people, organization, scheduling, and also hiring/ outsourcing things that will free you up for better uses of your time.

What are surprises about the acting industry that you hadn’t realized before entering as an actor?

I think the biggest thing is that you really don’t need too much to get started and be successful.  You really just need your talent, a headshot that represents you well, and opportunities.  That’s it.  People get so caught up especially in the beginning that you need some amazing reel, marketing materials, all sorts of classes, etc.  There are businesses that prey on the neediness of actors.

You’ve managed to find the best of both worlds in both finance and art, two dichotomous fields. Do you have any advice for those out there who are struggling with choosing between a realistic aspiration versus a creative passion?

This is just my opinion and I may be wrong about this – but I don’t think you have to choose.  I think too many people allow others to affect their thoughts and their actions. I think it’s all just BS. It’s my hope that people can start saying “F.U.” to a stereotype.  I can be an artist and I can be an intellectual.  I can be creative and I can be a finance wiz.  I can be a computer engineer and I can be a painter.  Yes, they might be different sides of the brain you use, but why not work them both.  I think it makes you more well rounded and I also think that you should strive to do something you don’t think ANYONE else has done just because it’s not the TYPICAL way to do things – from what you think or have been told.

You mention to Authority Magazine that you worry about the socioeconomic effects of wealth disparity on vital financial literacy and knowledge. How do you think that we can work towards solving this issue? Do you have any specific plans?

I really don’t yet.  I know that I grew up not learning ANY of that stuff, and just through my own reading and learning have learned more real-world things that many of my friends that went to school for finance or economics or business have.  With all the resources we have handy these days, I actually believe that people can learn and become experts in anything they put their minds on.  Take for instance YouTube.  Years ago we didn’t have this thing that we could just type into a search bar and find tips on ANYTHING you wanted.  I know a lot of guys on there, including myself, teaching real deal type life financial lessons and I just hope that people that need it, find it.  I mean – I just found a video last summer on “how to clean my gas grill” because I didn’t know and I figured I would just “youtube it” – sure enough, I found a perfect video with visuals.  It’s out there and basically, anyone with internet access can watch it.

Are there any future endeavors – anything at all – that you hope to accomplish post-Corona?

Well, I really hope Corona goes away really soon for all the reasons possible, especially for acting. I miss so much being on set.  I really have a lot of things I want to accomplish there and it hasn’t been easy and productions haven’t been going on as much because of corona.

Lastly, to paint a more humanizing portrait of you, I would love it if you could speed run through a couple of “favorites” so that readers get a better sense of who you are.

  • Favorite book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
  • Favorite piece of advice: Don’t talk about it, be about it.
  • Go-to Musical Artist/Album: Empire of the Sun
  • Favorite food: Porterhouse Steak Medium Rare

Is there anything else that you would like to say to Cliche readers?

You only have one life and there is an UNLIMITED supply of information out there at your fingertips. Whatever it is you want to do, but you may be feeling like you cannot do it – find ways to overcome those obstacles and focus on how to bring your dreams to life.  Once you figure out how to overcome yourself, you can do mostly anything.

This article has been lightly edited for clarity

Read more celebrity articles at ClicheMag.com
Images provided by Creative Commons, Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels & Pixabay

How to Shop Sustainably for 2021

by

The end of 2020 marks the long-awaited finale to a disastrous year. But it also provides new opportunities: the end of the Trump administration opens up opportunities for movements and rights as restrictive legislation ebbs. But an issue that is perhaps one of the most pertinent is the environment.

The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water supply and contributes to 10% of total carbon emissions; and in total 10% of all textiles travel to landfills every year, as reported by BusinessInsider. If this trend persists, we can expect to see retreating glacier ices, alterations in climate-privy environments, and the disappearance of the year-round sea ice in the Arctic, as told by Climate.gov. It means losing Instagrammable igloo hotels and the extinction of more animal species upon those lost just earlier this year. It’s vital that the upcoming year is met with action then. 

Here are some tips to help:

1. Try your best to avoid fast-fashion brands – buy second-hand

The appeal of fast-fashion hidden behind big companies like Forever 21 and YesStyle is its inexpensiveness. This is made only by cheap, horrid cuts in human rights like their exploitation of child workers in underdeveloped nations. Instead, look to buy second hand from sellers through Instagram, Depop, and Poshmark, among others. Thrifting is also an option, however, use discretion as increased consumerism can drive prices up making thrift stores inaccessible to low-income families. 

2. Buy locally

Buying second-hand is half the battle as domestic shipping in and of itself causes pollution via gas emissions and packaging. Of course, there are circumstances that necessitate it but consider buying from local shops if you can. Buy from local businesses this gradually post-COVID environment as it supports them and you never know when you’ll find your next unique piece.

3. Research, research, research

When buying from companies otherwise, make sure to do your research beforehand. Utilize websites like https://goodonyou.eco/ to review a company’s efforts towards sustainability before investing in their work. 

Whether this article is a launchpad or a continuation of your awareness, make sure to continue researching and educating others on fashion sustainability. The effects of global warming on our environment are enduring and persisting and so should we be in trying for a better life. 

Read more fashion articles at ClichéMag.com
Photos provided by GettyImages

Not Just Harry Styles

by

Harry Styles quite literally broke the Internet, garnering over 9 million likes on Instagram, of his first Vogue cover. Donning a Gucci gown, Styles stands as the first-ever solo male to do so. His gender-defying appearance has brought both adoration and contention to the table. Many have applauded him for taking steps to overtly represent gender-neutrality in fashion but conservative critics reject his stepping out of the rigid lines between male and female. His work, however, as masks the decades of gender-defying that other artists and designers have done to pave the way for him to act heretofore – it’s not just Harry Styles.

Unisex fashion in the modern day can largely be attributed to the year 1968, a time where both the feminist ideals of the Women’s Movement and the global Space Race contributed to a ‘Space Age’ in fashion. In her book Sex and Unison: Fashion, Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution, University of Maryland professor Jo Paoletti references Paris runways on which designers like Pierre Cardin and Andre Courreges delved into the idea of exploration in simple silhouettes and synthetic fabrics, helping to muddy the burgeoning gender of clothes. Cardin’s “Cosmocorps” collection particularly highlighted unisexism offering zipped sweaters and belted jumpsuits that could be worn by both men and women.  

Unisex clothing only persisted temporarily, however, ironically acting as agents of promoting gendered clothing rather than ambiguity. Paoletti writes “part of the appeal of adult unisex fashion was the sexy contrast between the wearer and the clothes, which actually called attention to the male or female body.” Gendered fashion then naturally became characterized by their target audiences, there only two “boy or girl” definitions for clothes.  

Image provided by AnOther Magazine, shot by David Sims

Since the 1990s, this trend has hiccuped to famous fashion brands that have established non-binary fashion as a progressive movement. Moreso, it became attached to celebrity media helping to set a playing field for others. Think Kurt Cobain in a traditional baby doll dress slap on the cover of “The Face” or gender-defying performances given by Prince. Either way, genderfluid fashion was now unsheathed from the world of high-end runway fashion and exposed to the general public via these popular faces. It makes sense as to why TeenVogue had to write and title an entire article deattributing the movement to these pop stars. 

At present, there is a new creative collective that has taken the reins on genderfluid fashion. Though Harry Styles is at the forefront, sporting many iconic looks like Marc Jacobs at the Brit Awards and his Met Gala work by Gucci genius Alessandro Michele, there have been others that paved the road that Styles now leads on. Jaden Smith has appeared as an advocate of androgynous dressing since starring in Louis Vuitton’s SS16 womenswear campaign. He has also started his own gender-neutral clothing line MSFTSrep. But Styles’ work should not be consequently discredited as it takes multiple kegs to make a cultural change occur.  

And we can look forward to where that came from.

 

Read more fashion articles at ClichéMag.com

Images provided by Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels & Pixabay

Winter is Coming: How to Prepare through Fashion

by

Winter is coming and here’s how to prepare for it through your wardrobe. But while quarantine will occupy our time indoors, there’s still the obligatory grocery trip so here are some tips to make that trip fashionable because we all know that all that pent-up fashion energy is being channeled in that 5-minute walk. 

Courtesy of Christy Dawn

1. Have fun with your masks

Masks have become a part of normal attire but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with them. Try jazzing up an outfit with tiny details, whether it be coordinating a pattern mask with a look or attaching a dainty eyeglass chain, these are the details that can improve an outfit. Masks seem to be here to stay so might as well have fun with them!

2. Puffer jackets

Puffer jackets were a trendy item last year, appearing on runway shows and neighborhood dads alike, and have remained at the forefront of casual fashion even now. Stay fashionable layering a classic North Face or an All Birds plain puffer jacket on top of an already established fit that’ll fend off the cold and those germs. 

Photo of woman holding red bolt cutter standing by doorway

3. Sweatpants

If quarantine has taught us anything, it’s how to be lazy. For those of us out there unwilling to spend the extra effort in formulating an outfit, choose a fashionable pair of sweatpants to get the best of both the cozy and chic worlds. A monochrome look would go perfectly with some Everlane Terry joggers or for a more streetwear/ tech look, try some classic Nikes

4. Sweater Vests

There’s one staple that is definitely the “in” right now and it’s sweater vests. Adorned by celebrities like Emma Chamberlain and Harry Styles, it’d be unfair to say that this classic elderly look hasn’t taken the fashion world by storm. Whether it be layered over a tennis skirt or some well-tailored jeans, a sweater vest is a must-add to this winter’s closet. Look towards brands like Land’s End or just nab one from a male’s closet!

5. Chelsea boots

Of course, the best has been saved for last. Chelsea boots have always been a classic shoe choice and it’s never been truer than this season. Think of a strong, independent woman walking by you on the streets, and what is she wearing as foot decor? Chelsea boots, of course. Channel your inner vagabond and invest in some classic Dr. Martens or if you’re looking for something a bit more classy, & Other Stories. Either way, there’s no going wrong. 

Read more about fashion articles at Clichémag.com
Images provided by Getty Images