All Posts By Keah Brown

Chloe East Talks ‘Kevin (Probably) Saves the World’

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Chloe East does a bit of everything. She has a YouTube channel, does hot yoga, dances, and acts. She is currently starring in the ABC comedy Kevin (Probably) Saves the World as Reese Cabrera, the niece of Jason Ritter’s character, Kevin Finn, who is tasked with, you guessed it, saving the world. Prior to her newest show, you could catch East in True Blood, Jessica Darling’s It List, Sleep Tight, Liv and Maddie, and Ice. With these titles under her belt at just 16, it’s East’s world and we’re all just living in it.

 

Chloe East’s dance training prepared her for acting. A quick YouTube search could show you the ways her dancing experience prepared her for her acting roles. Not only is East a truly talented dancer, but she’s graceful, strong, and sharp, too.

“Although I was modeling before I started acting professionally, I believe my dancing training has prepared me the most. The discipline and work ethic I learned from dance has really impacted my life,” East says.

Though she loves dance, East’s passion for acting is crystal clear. Her role as Gloria in the play Wait Until Dark at the age of 10 was an experience so great that it made her want to continue acting. East often switches between TV, movies, and plays with ease, believing that the medium doesn’t change the way she approaches characters. In fact, she believes, “It’s the same approach. A character is a character, full of life, no matter film, television, play, etc.”

We believe that approach serves her well in her newest role as Reese Cabrera in the ABC comedy Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. East’s character Reese is smart, witty, and inquisitive. She’s eager to know just what her uncle is up to when she goes off to school and her mother, Amy, played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher, goes off to work. In the pilot episode, we learn that Kevin returned to his hometown to live with his twin sister and niece after his suicide attempt as a way to start fresh. However, that night, when Amy is called in overnight to work, Kevin and Reese see something flash across the sky and go to check it out. What they find is a meteor, and when Kevin decides to touch it, nothing is ever quite the same. The new ABC show is charming, fresh, funny, and smart. It is surprise hit in the eyes of critics and audiences alike.

East’s favorite part of working on the show is the people she gets to work with on a daily basis. “The people working on this show are so, so special,” she says. “From the cast to the crew, everyone truly loves their job. I can always feel the positive energy when I pull up to the studio.”

As for her character, Reese, the audience can expect a lot of growth from the teenage girl. Kevin’s moving back to town really shapes the person Reese wants to become. East believes that Kevin both directly and indirectly helps Reese get out of the rut she was in. So, not only is Kevin getting a fresh start with his family, but the other characters are starting fresh, too.

In the show’s six episodes, there is a lot to love about Reese. According to East, she and her character have something in common: their curious nature. Like most teenagers, she’s not impressed by much, but she’s loyal and loving. And, like most adults, she wants the answers to life’s questions. She levels out her often scatterbrained but well-intentioned uncle and her loving but worrisome mother.

When East is not on set, she enjoys various activities that her character would love, too. “I love to cook, bake, watch movies, shop at Sprouts, dance, and go to hot yoga,” she says.

Outside of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, East has a few things she’s working on but couldn’t tell us about just yet. What she did tell us is that she wants to go to the hotel made of ice in Quebec this winter. We agree that she should; she’s earned it.

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Chloe East Talks ‘Kevin (Probably) Saves the World’: Photographed by Keitaro Cloward

Liane V Discusses Her New Capsule Collection with G by Guess

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Liane V is the kind of person you might see everywhere, doing everything. She likes to keep busy as an actor, YouTuber, model, musician, and now, fashion designer. With the launch of her recent capsule collection with G by Guess, we can see just how busy she is.

Liane V’s fans love everything she does. With over 172,000 followers on Twitter and 4.4 million followers on Instagram, her fans feel like they are following the success of one of their friends and cheering on every milestone she passes. Liane doesn’t have a first career love. Instead, she loves all the work necessary to manage everything she does.

“I’m so passionate in every angle. I am so very much infatuated with anything creative, like music,” she says. “I moved out to L.A. because I knew I wanted to be in the industry and I already had a heart for fashion and music. I discovered comedic skits when I moved out here, and I honestly don’t think I’m funny, but a lot of people like my comedy videos. I come up with really great ideas. While juggling all these things, I can’t say I have a favorite, but I do enjoy creating everything.”

Creating everything is exactly what Liane does. In her multi-hyphenate career, a clear schedule is key. Though she is surprised by how much she manages to get done during the day, Liane has a schedule and a calendar for her own work, but the tough part is coordinating with other creators and scheduling out time to do videos with her parents. Liane is often juggling the schedules of others with her own, but she has learned to take things one step at a time and pay close attention to deadlines. There is also the pressure of making sure she doesn’t double book herself as, admittedly, she has in the past, or overbook herself. The learning process for the influencer has been an “on the job” one, which is true for many creators.

Top & pants: NA-KD, Earrings & ring: Jewelry Bar USA

If Liane wasn’t already busy enough, now she’s also creating fashion lines. Her capsule collection with G by Guess is filled with new twists on holiday classics like jumpsuits and dresses that will be the statement pieces your wardrobe needs. Our favorite piece is the (currently sold out) Liane V Candlynn Velvet Dress, which Liane says she’d pair with a black clutch, heels, and a bold red lip, but the collection has something for everyone to love. The partnership between G by Guess and Liane had a surprising beginning.

“I’ve been working with G by Guess since before the collection,” she explains. “I was working with their team on social media campaigns and doing a few shoots for them. When they reached out to me and said they wanted to work on a collection, I was so shocked! To be honest, I’m still taking it in now. I have a dedicated window in the stores and people send me pictures of themselves with them! It’s really mind-blowing and the whole process felt like a dream.”

What’s her favorite piece in the collection? It depends on the occasion. However, Liane loves the Cecelia Jumpsuit because it is comfortable and reminds her of a disco party. And she didn’t just slap her name on the tags of the collection and go. She was very involved in the creative process. She recalls going back and forth to the headquarters, meeting with the Guess co-founder Paul Marciano, taking trips with the Guess team, and wanted the pieces to reflect her personality so people could understand it was really hers.

I’m so passionate in every angle. I am so very much infatuated with anything creative.

Liane’s favorite part about making music also makes it clear why the road to fashion design makes sense for her. She enjoys music videos and the process of creating “an image for the music.” She knows that everyone loves to listen to great music, but once you put a visual to a song, “sometimes it can make the song even better.” Her favorite video to date was one she shot in London and Paris. Her keen eye for what works visually explains why Liane is so good at her job. She knows what her audience wants and what will keep them asking for more.

Making new videos every week for her YouTube channel isn’t easy, but the gratification comes in knowing that people are engaging with her videos, leaving comments, and laughing. She also enjoys when they come up to her in public and encourage her to keep making them. The work that Liane does is inspiring the viewers of her videos and that’s the biggest reward for the influencer and it’s also a great motivator.

Dress: White Fox, Earrings: Princess P Jewelry, Necklace: White Fox Accessories, Ring: Charles Albert Jewelry, Ring: Jewelry Bar USA

Her dream is to act beyond YouTube and try her hand at the big screen. She is looking into acting classes to sharpen her skills because, to her, “it’s a whole different world from comedy skits to acting.” She says in comedy skits you have to overact because you have limited time to try and get a laugh.

Getting laughs is a part of her job, but learning how to unwind after a long day took some work. Liane started losing hair because she was so stressed out at one point. As an influencer, she wears many hats. She is often the director, producer, camera person, dancer, and actor for her creations. There is a lot of work and long hours that go into the job. In order to unwind, she goes to the movies or has a spa day with her girlfriends. She also spends a lot of time with her family as well as her dogs, Noah and Sir Bigsby. After unwinding, it is back to work for Liane, who is hoping that the immense amount of work that she is doing now will pay off for her career in 5 to 10 years.

“I hope that it is definitely on a whole other level. I do want to cross over to the big screen and I do see myself continuing to design clothes,” she says. “I just want to do everything I am doing now and elevate it to the next level. I really want to be an international brand. I look up to JLo because she is a person I feel has created a strong brand. She’s also Latina and I’m Filipino. I love how she represents Latinas and I want to be that for my Filipinas.”

Click here to see more exclusive photos of Liane V in our Dec 2017/Jan 2018 issue

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Liane V Discusses Her New Capsule Collection with G by Guess: Photographer: Quavondo, Styling: Yesenia Cuevas, Hair: Ieva Radina, Makeup: Nina Arce 

Denise Boutte Talks Acting and Her New Cooking Web Series

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Denise Boutte loves to cook. In fact, she loves it so much that she has a cookbook out in October, her own cooking web series, and a killer recipe for a crowd-pleasing, seafood-stuffed catfish. When she isn’t making meals that her family loves, she is acting, a profession she didn’t know she wanted until she was already in the thick of it. Though she’s known most for her roles in Why Did I Get Married? and Meet the Browns, Boutte has the star power that proves she’s just getting started.

 

Cliché: What was the role that made you want to continue being an actress?
Denise Boutte: This is the weird part about my journey. I never thought about being an actress. I was actually in corporate America for almost 5 years and it was all thanks to clients casting me for jobs. I thought, “This is actually kind of feeling good. What if I could get representation? What if I actually pursue this thing?” I got thrown into acting but I thoroughly enjoy it because I am a Capricorn and a control freak by nature. Acting was my freefall before I came to Los Angeles and I started getting formal training. Acting was about having fun with not being in control because you are kind of living vicariously through the characters. I wouldn’t say that there was a role that made me necessarily continue, for the most part. When I’m not acting, I’m staying creative, so I have something to fill those in-between times.

What have you learned about yourself as a person through acting?
There is a lot of this that I can’t control and that’s hard. For me, I’ve been blessed to have a very firm personal foundation so that, I guess, enables me to take the ups and downs in my professional life. Because I have that steady foundation, I can more easily handle the unknown. My business savvy from back in the day has allowed me to create opportunities. So I’ve learned how business savvy I really am because I was working at advertising for other people. I realized that I’m pretty good at this.

You played Sasha Brown on Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns. What was that experience like for you? What did you take away from playing Sasha?
Why Did I Get Married? came before Meet the Browns. It came out a year and a half after I was here and then we already knew there was going to be a series. The specifics of the series were kind of unknown. For me, it was an amazing experience because I was still so new and fresh to the acting game. I threw caution to the wind, loaded up the truck, and moved to Beverly. I’m not in Beverly, but it was such an amazing experience and I met such amazing individuals. We became a family of sorts. Tyler became like my big brother/mentor; it was just a safe, beautiful place for me to kind of figure it out. I came here with a really good foundation in regards to acting and I was open to trying new things and freefalling into it, but there’s a technique to it. After getting a comedy, there is a lot of technique to it. Everybody thinks you just jump on set and make it happen, but no, there’s very specific things that you have to do in order to bring a comedy to life. Once I knew that Browns was coming, I was in class every day, all day from this amazing guru of comedy named Lesly Kahn. Logan [Browning] and I were the newbies. This was our first series and our first real acting gig.

I would say to not take myself too seriously. I can tend to do that sometimes and the beauty of Sasha for me was she was kind of like a new age Lucille Ball. She was quirky; she was a little offbeat, but she was strong. She was a very strong force who put the family together, but she wasn’t afraid to be who she was and to be quirky, smart, and fearless, but still have fun. For me, Tyler cast me as such because Sasha was very close to who I am.

For me, I’ve been blessed to have a very firm personal foundation so that, I guess, enables me to take the ups and downs in my professional life.

You were recently in the film Media about a lawyer hoping to run for mayor until his mother asks him to run the family empire. What did you love most about your character, Danielle Jones? What choices did you disagree with?
The thing about Danielle is that there were so many places that we wanted to explore with the character in the initial film. The whole basis for Media was to have very, very strong female characters. We were vibing off a lot of things that are trending right now with regard to what the audience is gravitating toward, but I don’t think that we really had the opportunity to show how strong these females were. You can only do so much within the episodes, but Danielle had a lot of girth and Danielle had a whole lot of developing to do. I don’t think that we were fully able to execute that in the initial movie. Either way, it was an amazing opportunity to work with some brilliant actors I admired.

You are not just an actress, but you love to cook as well. In your cooking web series, you make a lot of southern dishes. Do you have a favorite dish? What about cooking do you enjoy most?
My family favorite is my seafood-stuffed catfish. That is, I think, number one. I’m not huge on baking, believe it or not. My mom is the baker. My mom is the one that does the sweets and the delectable desserts, but I would say that I do have a crowd pleaser and it’s my bread pudding. I would say that cooking started the appreciation for the simple life that I lived. When I was growing up, my grandparents had a farm; we had livestock, we had produce, we had it all. With that comes a lot of responsibility. Most weekends, we were together as a family and we were making sauces and doing all this stuff. Of course, as a kid you’re like, “Oh my god, I have to wake up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning? Really?” There’s no replacing those memories getting together with the family in the backyard and visiting and going home with what you made from the crop that season. I think that cooking gave me a more in-depth appreciation for the simple life.

A cookbook of your favorite Louisiana recipes is coming out in October. Do you find that expression via acting and cooking can be similar? Or are they very different?
There are a lot of similarities in that you can put your own spin on it. Each person’s take on a character…the interpretation is going to be different. Your past, your history, and the things that you are exposed to are going to totally change your interpretation of that character. The same thing goes for cooking; it’s based on my roots, where I am from, and how I grew up. There’s certain flavors and tastes that I wasn’t even used to using. There were certain things that I kind of had preconceived notions about. The title of the cookbook is Southern Modified; we’re changing it up. So, in that regard, there is a very similar connection between acting and cooking. They are both very different mediums, but for me, it’s an outlet. I need something to fill my creative outlet. I had no idea that I had this need until I fell into acting and it felt good.

Aside from your cookbook, what is coming up next for you as we near the end of 2017?
Who knows, right? I’ve been very fortunate. The new season of Stan Against Evil starts November 1, so I’m very excited about that. The cast was so welcoming. Dana Gould [creator of the show] is such an amazing talent. He created an amazing character that I really had fun with.

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Denise Boutte Talks Acting and Her New Cooking Web Series: photo courtesy of Birdie Thompson 

Anneliese van der Pol On ‘Raven’s Home’ and Friendship With Raven-Symoné

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Anneliese van der Pol’s character Chelsea was a big part of the childhoods of many ‘90s kids. She was the lovable and goofy best friend of Raven Baxter on the Disney Channel show That’s So Raven. She was loyal, funny, and always willing to help Raven with one of her schemes to make sure that her visions did or didn’t come true. However, Anneliese is much more than the character she brought to life during our childhoods. She is a great singer and stage/theater actress. Ten years after That’s So Raven’s end, Anneliese is back as Chelsea, reminding us why she is one of pop culture’s favorite best friends, making us feel nostalgic and genuinely laugh again. Now that she’s back on our TV screens every week, we couldn’t be happier about it.

 

Anneliese van der Pol loves Raven-Symoné as much as her character Chelsea Daniels from That’s So Raven loved Raven Baxter. In fact, that love and lasting friendship is the reason they came together to return to their Disney roots and co-star in the new reboot Raven’s Home, which follows Raven’s twins and Chelsea’s son as they navigate psychic visions and childhood, all while Chelsea and Raven navigate being divorcees and parenting.

Long before she was Chelsea, Anneliese belonged to the theater. She played Lucy in a production of The Good Times Are Killing Me. The role granted her an equity card at the age of 9 and her love of theater has only grown stronger since.

“I would say what I love most about the theater is both the live performance aspect and how much traveling it can allow, especially if you book a tour. In those instances, you can travel all over the world,” she says. “But lastly, it is the people. I like leading a large cast. It is a powerful feeling without having to bear too much of the power. I have met some of the funniest people I have ever met while being involved in the theater.”

Anneliese is also a wonderful singer, a fact many readers may know from the song “Over It” featured on the soundtrack for Disney Channel’s original movie Stuck in the Suburbs. Though the song was released in 2004, Anneliese has lent her vocal talents to many places since then in her turn as Belle on Broadway’s Beauty and The Beast, as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and more. Though she says she isn’t sure if singing has helped her with her acting, the reverse is true.

“When approaching music or a particular song, you have to come at it as you would with any scene or monologue, of course, by figuring out what you want and what is standing in your way,” she explains. “For example, where the character is coming from and how that relays to his or her sound quality, as well as phrasing.”

Viewers of Raven’s Home haven’t heard Anneliese sing yet on the show, but many ‘90s kids and fans of That’s So Raven have. Who could forget the episode where Raven and Chelsea were booked for the same spot in the talent show in “A Fight at The Opera” and while Raven sang about shopping at the mall, Chelsea sang about dying trees. The episode, despite its comedic nature, showed off Anneliese’s vocal ability.

The show itself, in tandem with its comedic stylings, touched on serious issues during its run. There was the episode when Chelsea helped Raven expose racism via the shopping store manager who refused to hire black people. There were identity and body image episodes, and episodes about family; the kind we create and the kind we are born into. That was the magic of That’s So Raven, the ability to perfectly blend comedy and real-life issues. Anneliese agrees. In her opinion, what stuck with viewers about the show was that Raven and the cast were funny and there were subtle, yet poignant messages. Not to mention the diverse casting made the show special.

She hopes that this rings true for viewers of Raven’s Home, which she says has the same amount of faith in its viewers, comedic magic, great writing, actors, and care for the subject matter. One of the biggest issues surrounding children’s programming now is the lack of attention paid to plot, idea, and writing. Anneliese believes that, in part, it is a result of laziness and because someone gave the green light. There is a lack of finesse in the programming because children often watch whatever you put in front of them, causing networks to become lazy. Raven’s Home hopes to change the landscape of children’s programing.

No one will break our unit. That goes for our characters as well as Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol.

Though the show is only in its first season, it is clear that the change is taking place. Raven’s Home stands on its own; it takes the children of the show and the adults seriously while still keeping the intended comedy of the show. Raven’s Home picks up with Raven and her two children, twins Booker (Issac Brown) and Nia (Navia Robinson), Chelsea and her son Levi (Jason Maybaum), and their next-door neighbor, Tess (Sky Katz) when Booker discovers that he has psychic visions and sees a vision where his sister gets hurt. Instead of confiding in his mother “who couldn’t possibly understand” his new powers, he entrusts Levi with his plan to help his sister, and hijinks ensue.

According to Anneliese, playing Chelsea then and coming back 10 years later has been a dream come true. She says making anyone laugh is a great comfort to her and she loves the fact that she gets to work with her best friend and make money while doing so. She also assured us that both fans of That’s So Raven and Raven’s Home will enjoy Raven’s iconic physical comedy. On Raven’s Home, Raven and Chelsea are as close as ever, and although Anneliese kept mum about who from the That’s So Raven cast might be popping up, she had this to say about her co-star Raven and their bond: “We never stop believing in each other. And we never take both eyes off each other’s backs. It is the only way. No one will break our unit. That goes for our characters as well as Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol.”

When she isn’t on set, Anneliese enjoys eating and sharing the best #TBTs Instagram has seen. We’ll get to hear more of her music in the near future because outside of the show, she is busy recording new music. If her past work is any indication of her new work, we can’t wait to hear it and see more of what trouble Chelsea and Raven can get into.

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Anneliese van der Pol On ‘Raven’s Home’ and Friendship With Raven-Symoné: photos courtesy of  Bobby Quillard 

Francesca Curran on Season 5 of ‘Orange Is the New Black’

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Francesca Curran cares about Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black as much as you do. As Helen, the white supremacist and Neo-Nazi, Curran must step outside of herself and still find depth and humanity in and for her character. The future looks bright for Curran and now that season five of Orange Is the New Black is streaming on Netflix, the sky’s the limit. She has dreams of working with your favorite actors and has already worked with some of your favorite directors on OITNB. We can’t wait to see what happens next for the eager and talented actress and we’ll be rooting for her the entire way.
 
Cliché: When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? What was your first role?
Francesca Curran: I knew I first wanted to be an actor, in reality, since day one. I have always felt an extreme yearning to perform, a deeply rooted desire to use acting as an outlet for my seemingly overflowing creativity. Growing up in the suburbs of Minnesota, I heard the phrase “you’re a fish out of water” on repeat. I used to mistake it for not fitting in, but as an adult, I’ve finally understood it’s precisely what makes me perfectly imperfect and unique. In the theater, my soul was at peace. It was in the dark backstage alleys and under the burning spotlights of the theater that I found my true self. Every night was a new opportunity to playfully seek the laughter of the audience, to inspire tears, and to discover fresh and real ways to breathe life into the script.

I vividly recall my first experience seeing live theater at the age of 8. One of the most lasting memories I have was the soft trail of tears that fell down my face as I was completely taken over with emotion. I felt utterly freed. I think that was the moment I made a promise to myself to dedicate my life to this craft. I still have recurring dreams of my 8-year-old self walking out onto a stage in front of a full house, under the blinding lights. In every part I play, in every character, in everything I do, there will always be ingrained the feeling of my young self and the significance of what this means to me. My first role was as a wildcat cheerleader in Disney’s High School Musical at The Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis. My mom cut out the casting call announcement in the local newspaper and I practiced my 32-bar cut of “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera for hours every day.

What makes acting worthwhile on a particularly long day?
Oftentimes on set, the days are undoubtedly long. One particular day while filming season four of Orange Is the New Black, we broke the record of production with a 21-hour day. My call time to set was four in the morning, and we cut production in the wee hours of the next day. These are the types of days that I have dreamed of my entire life. It is challenging, mostly because even when we’re going on our seventeenth hour of the day, we can’t be low-energy. As an actor, you have to be professional, receptive to direction and change, giving as a scene partner, communicative with your fellow actors, thoughtful in your delivery, and most importantly, always, and I repeat, always, kind to others.

When you mix exhaustion into this recipe, it can be arduous. Personally, even at four in the morning, I typically wake up before the alarm sounds and drink my coffee with a smile on my face, because I can’t believe the opportunity I’ve been given. Being on set every day is a blessing and it’s something I will never take for granted. It’s pretty staggering because I grew up watching the women of OITNB on television, in films, on the stage, as activists, and as creators. I respect them so deeply and I know that as a fairly new cast member, I had big shoes to fill. It’s worthwhile because when I leave at the end of a long, emotionally grueling day, I feel that my soul is satisfied. I feel like I have been, for lack of a better word, creatively juiced.

You play Helen on Orange Is the New Black. What has playing her taught you? What do you love most about Helen? What do you disagree with?
Playing Helen has taught me, firstly, so much about myself. I think I learned that there is a small part (but a part nonetheless!) of me that is a tom-boy. Helen has really made me channel the tougher side of me, which has been so fun because it’s such a contrast of who I genuinely am.

In all seriousness, playing Helen has taught me that there’s so much more going on in our world that I was so blind to before being offered the role. Playing Helen forced me to delve into some uncomfortable subjects and into heavy research about the culture of white supremacy, white nationalism, neo-Nazism, and its presence in the modern world. From a strictly research standpoint, I’ve learned about the pride that goes hand-in-hand with being a white supremacist. The desire to be a part of these groups stems from a hunger for power. Because of the quick turn-around time of my audition, being offered the role, and my first day on set (only a matter of a few days), I was basically locked in my house, eating Chinese takeout, and doing research for three days straight. Growing up, I shielded myself from these topics in fear of what they stood for. It wasn’t until the age of 22, when I was offered the role, that I became educated on this terrifying culture. That being said, I try with all of my might not to judge Helen. Although my beliefs are the furthest as possible from hers, I try to find the humanity in her.

One of the things I love about Helen is that she finds humor in many situations where others don’t. She laughs at herself. She is intolerant of others, but finds hilarity in her own shortcomings. If you’ve seen season five of the show, you’ll see that Helen thinks she’s sexy as hell. It’s so hilarious the way the arc of the character has ebbed and flowed.

Helen has really made me channel the tougher side of me, which has been so fun because it’s such a contrast of who I genuinely am.

How do you get into the headspace to play someone so far outside your own beliefs?
It has been a process for me to learn to get into the headspace of playing Helen. It definitely didn’t happen overnight. I was preoccupied the night before my first time on set thinking about how difficult it will be to have to jump right into such a dark character at the drop of a hat. I am well aware that time is money in this business, and the show must go on. For me, it was finding a series of emotional and physical workouts to get me psyched and worked up like Helen so often is.

As the girls on OITNB know, my day starts with a venti latte from Starbucks. It’s kind of an inside joke that I created for the character that Skinhead Helen loves espresso. She just seems so anxious to fight all the time that I just assumed she’s jacked up on espresso shots. So I have my latte that I chug at four in the morning, and by the time I’m done getting my head shaved and the tattoos applied, I’m ready for another large coffee. I always have an omelet, oatmeal, and a gallon of ice water, too. Basically, the adrenaline of being on set kicks in around the same time the caffeine does. By that point, I put on my wardrobe, the prison uniform, and I head back to my trailer and do a hundred push-ups. I do some jumping jacks, some burpees, some wall presses, squats, and then I brush my teeth. This is the exact order of how I do it, by the way. I’m not a superstitious person, but I think Helen is, so I follow my list the same way every morning.

In what way do you think binge-watching the show is beneficial, and in what ways is it not?
I think binge watching is fun, especially season five, because the whole season takes place in 72 hours, so it’s extra packed with action. In that sense, it’s great because you can keep trucking along and get the full effect of how it was intended to be viewed and how it was written. The whole idea is that you’re watching three of the most intense days at Litchfield Penitentiary unfold in real time. Similarly, the binge-watcher can watch it within three days and really feel the parallel of the exhaustion of not leaving a place for three days.

Binging is also useful for people like me who forget what happened the episode before. I think the culture of Netflix has become one of binge-watching and it obviously has been effective. Netflix is taking over the world of network television for that reason. We live in an impatient world where we crave instant gratification. We don’t want to wait another week, just to sit in front of the television at a specific time. That’s why DVR is successful, as is Netflix. The concept is genius and I applaud it. I am the type of person who has to watch the episode after a huge cliffhanger, so I’m appreciative for binging. I think, at the same time, it’s heartbreaking when you finish your favorite show within 48 hours and have to wait another several months until the next season. I see the fan comments daily; it’ll be just a mere few hours after the release of a new season, and they’re asking, “How much longer do we have to wait until the new season?!” It takes major willpower to put a limit on how quickly you’ll watch. I do think, though, that it feels good to hear that people can’t stop themselves from watching because that tells us that we’re doing our job with storytelling.

Do you have any favorite fan theories about the show or your character?
I’ve definitely heard some thoughtful fan theories about Helen, how she’s come to jail, and what her story is. I have my own theory about Helen, but I’ll keep that a secret because that’s what I use to inform Helen and how I personalize scenes for myself.

One theory I heard from a fan is that she thinks Helen was an only child who grew up in white privilege, in a mansion with everything a little girl could dream for. Her family was attended by black servants, cooks, and a black nanny that raised her and lived in the mansion. Her family treated them like family and cherished them. Basically, through the years, she fell in love with one of the young black men, a son of one of the women who cooked for the family and lived upstairs. After throwing herself on him, which soon turns into a violent sexual attack, she runs away to seek refuge in a nearby white power group that was forming. She finds shelter and comfort with them as she struggles with the mental consequences of what she’d done to the man she once loved. It’s then when her racism grows strong and her hate builds. Helen goes back to her neighborhood after being convinced and encouraged by her new neo-Nazi “family,” and in a violent dispute, ends up killing her father. Obviously, this is merely speculation and we know none of this to be true about Helen yet. I found this explanation to be very interesting because the incriminating act doesn’t directly reflect her hate for non-Aryans.

What is your dream role? Do you have any actors or directors you wish to work with one day?
My dream role would be anything alongside Meryl Streep. I watch her on screen in every movie and I feel like I know her. It’s a strange sensation, but I know what it really is just flat-out good acting. I really would love to see her process, see how she takes notes from a director, how much she improvises, and how she is on a set in-between takes. I think you can tell a lot about an actor based on what they do in-between takes.

I have always wanted to be on Broadway, and it’s still at the top of my list even though I think I’ve been bit by the television bug. I’m currently obsessed with Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway, so I’d love to play Natasha one day. I would love to play Regina George if Mean Girls ever went to Broadway. That sounds so funny but I think it would translate really well on stage. I would’ve died to play a role in Bridesmaids. I think Kristen Wiig is comedic gold. If Breakfast Club ever gets re-made, I’ll play any of the roles; just sign me up.

It’s funny because a lot of the directors that I’ve always wanted to work with I’ve had the opportunity to work with on OITNB—Jesse Peretz, Matthew Weiner, Uta Briesewitz, Phil Abraham, Andrew McCarthy, Laura Prepon, etc. It’s pretty wild. As far as the list of actors I dream of working with, I could go on foreverbut Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Liam Neeson, Viola Davis, Kevin Spacey, Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Kristen Wiig, and Denzel Washington are just a few.

What is coming up next for you outside of Orange Is the New Black?
As of now, I’m completely focused on Orange Is the New Black, and anxiously awaiting the new season! I have been working on writing a play, which is a dark comedy loosely based on my life but much more twisted. I am hoping to get that up and on its feet in the near future. I’ve been staying busy auditioning and doing readings, and as of now, I’m open to any project that may be interesting and fun, as an actor always must be!

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Francesca Curran on Season 5 of ‘Orange Is the New Black’: photos courtesy of Zach Alston 

Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack Review

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Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack finds Destiny (Christine Prosperi) in a bit of a pickle. As the captain of the three-time national championship team “The Rebels,” she has got a lot on her plate between practices, friendships, cheer routines, and enemies. That’s right, being the captain of a widely celebrated cheer team comes at a price. Destiny has enemies around the world and when she and her team are challenged to a global cheer takedown by a new and edgy team called “The Truth,” Destiny realizes that she may be in over her head and in desperate need of a new game plan.

 

After being laughed off of the competition stage by “The Truth” squad that seems intent on taking her down, Destiny believes her best course of action is to run. In her quest for escape, she meets street dancer Blake (Jordan Rodrigues) and the rest of his crew. When Blake challenges her to a dancers vs. cheerleaders competition in effort to keep her from posting a picture of him and his teammates, Destiny declines. However, when Destiny arrives at cheer practice the next day, she learns that teams from around the world have also decided to challenge “The Rebels” in a “cheersmack” and many of the boys on her team have left. Due to the shortage in male cheerleaders, Destiny and her team head out in search for new male cheerleaders and when the ones they asked turn them down, Willow (Gia Lodge-O‘Meally), fellow cheerleader and Destiny’s best friend, suggests changing up their routine. Willow’s idea is shot down and Destiny brings her, Hannah (Sophie Vavasseur), and Roxanne (Natalie Walsh) to meet Blake and his crew and ask them to join the squad. After losing the battle, the boys minus Blake agree to be on the team.

Once the team is settled, Destiny still struggles to find her footing as the leader she once was and starts to question who she can and cannot trust. A betrayal leaves her world in a tailspin but pushes her in ways she never thought possible. When Blake surprises her and joins the team, Destiny finally feels like she has everything it takes to defeat “The Truth” once and for all.

Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack follows the formula of its predecessors but finds its plot choppy in places that they did not. The worldwide plot is a little thin and flimsy in its underutilization of the global cheer squads in anything, but small bursts and the DVD cover reveals the plot twist before the movie itself does. However, what the movie misses in plot details, it makes up for in the role of Vivica A. Fox as Cheer Goddess, the chemistry between Destiny and Blake, and the believable best friendship between Willow and Destiny.

Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now.

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Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack Review: photo courtesy of Universal Entertainment 

Pepi Sonuga Talks ‘Famous in Love’

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Pepi Sonuga’s excitement is contagious. When I spoke to her over the phone, I found myself feeling giddy too as she spoke about her first acting role with Cuba Gooding Jr., her love for music, and the relationships she has with her Famous In Love castmates. You may not know her well yet, but you will. Trust us when we tell you Pepi Sonuga is just getting started.

 
Cliché: What do you love most about acting?
Pepi Sonuga: I love acting because I get to go out of myself and be whatever I want to be. You get to live so many different lives and live out so many different fantasies and, also, it helps for me to release. When I’m acting, it’s like nothing else matters, and when I’m on set or I’m on stage, literally anything going on outside of that doesn’t matter. It’s an escape for me.
What was your first role and how did it prepare you for roles now?
My first role was The Life of a King, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. He played an ex-con who started helping kids in a low-income neighborhood to become better through playing chess. He’s teaching us chess and I played the love interest of the lead kid (Michelle). It was surreal to work with someone as amazing as Cuba that early on in my career. I think because I started out like that, working with someone who was so professional and has been in the business for so long, he gave me so much advice. Just by watching him, I learned how to act on set or treat other people. It kind of set the tone for my career so far.
You are currently starring in Freeform’s Famous In Love as Tangey Turner. What would you say are your character’s strengths and weaknesses?
I would say Tangey’s strengths are that she knows what she wants and she is willing to fight for what she wants. She’s got a good head on her shoulders. She doesn’t give in to the bullshit. I think her weaknesses are that she is impulsive. She doesn’t trust her instincts a lot, or as much as she should, so that leaves her in the back and forth areas of “I think this is good…is it? I don’t know.”

Can you describe Tangey in three words?
Feisty, determined, and warm.
You are starring in the show alongside fellow rising stars Keith Powers and Bella Thorne. What is your relationship with your castmates like?
I’m getting breakfast with them right now before I stepped away to talk to you. We are the best of friends. It’s incredible getting to go through this with them because every time we have something for press or we’re on set, it always feels like we’re hanging out with our friends and we’re getting paid to do it and it really is just awesome. Keith, Bella, and Niki [Koss]—we’re all so supportive of each other. I think Freeform has done a good job of setting the tone with all its shows where we all kind of know—it’s embedded in our souls—that the more you are successful, the more the show is successful. So, we all want success for each other so that our show can be more successful. We’re a really great team.
What is an average filming day like for you?
An average filming day is either one of two things. You’re either waking up at 3 a.m. to get to set, maybe 5 or 4:30 a.m., then you go to the studio and get your makeup done for about two hours, and then you get your hair done. You hang out for a little bit, wait around. Then, it can go the other way. I like night shoots. So, the night shoots would be that you arrive on set maybe 5 p.m. and then you’re there until like 5 a.m. and that’s your day.

I love acting because I get to go out of myself and be whatever I want to be.

Will the show follow the book closely?
The show is not going to follow it that extremely close. I think the book is sort of like our Ikea manual and the TV show is after we’ve made the table and now we’re painting it with glitter and making it all fancy. We have the structure of what the author, Rebecca Serle, created and she was very involved with this process. She’s a co-executive producer, so we have her characters down and everything, but the situations, the people, and the character traits are very different. It’s just glossier, sexier, and more grown-up than the book.
When you aren’t acting, what do you most enjoy doing?
I love music. I love listening to music and writing poetry. I love reading. I love scrapbooking; I take a lot of photos on my film camera and print those out. I love being creative. In episode five, Tangey sings. Actually, I recorded original songs for this. We had songwriters, I went into the studio—it was a whole thing.
Outside of the new show, what new projects are coming up for you?
I just wrapped a film called Under the Silver Lake, which stars Andrew Garfield, and it’s a really cool project. It has so many awesome, talented people involved in it. I’m really excited about that. Otherwise, I’m really just basking in the Famous In Love glow. I feel like this is a moment where I’m going to look back in ten years and I’m going to realize that this could’ve possibly been the beginning of everything. So, I really just want to not miss out on that right now.
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Pepi Sonuga Talks ‘Famous in Love’: Photographed by Kate Szatmari

Recap: “Younger” Season Four Premiere

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The following contains spoilers from the Season Four premiere of Younger.
Younger, for those unfamiliar with the show, is about a 40-something-year-old woman named Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) who has just separated from her husband and is looking to get back into the workforce she left to raise her daughter. When she is honest about her age, she received nothing but closed doors, but when she reaches the publishing firm Empirical Press to apply for an assistant position, she pretends to be 26 and lands the job. Thus, her life has been a series of elaborate and not so elaborate lies to keep the truth hidden ever since.
When we last saw Liza during the season three finale, the life she’s spent so long trying to protect was falling apart. Her boyfriend, Josh (Nico Tortorella), had just broken up with her though he was planning to propose, after seeing her kiss Charles (Peter Herman) in the Hamptons. They have one of the most emotional and heartbreaking fights of the season as Josh calls her out deservedly on her lies and her behavior. After losing her boyfriend, she decided to come clean to her work best friend, Kelsey (Hilary Duff) about her real age, daughter, and second life outside of work. Season three closed with this reveal and Kelsey feeling betrayed by one of her closest friends.
In the season four premiere, which aired last night, we see Kelsey walking down the street, suitcases in hand, reliving the explanation that Liza gave her for why she lied. On top of that betrayal, Kelsey finds out that Liza bought a book that she specifically asked her not to buy in order to keep her age a secret.
Meanwhile, Kristin Chenoweth shines in her guest spot as a confident and flirtatious woman who is pushing a book wherein the truth is subjective, operating under the belief that if you say something loud enough no matter what it is, it can be true. For the sake of their millennial imprint, Kelsey implores Liza to keep her secret from their bosses, Charles and Diana (Miriam Shor), leaving Liza to believe that Kelsey has forgiven her—that is, until later at the “29 under 29” Entertainment Weekly party that they strong-armed their way into. When Liza confesses her relief at Kelsey’s forgiveness, she learns that their comradery in the party was just business for the imprint, and Kelsey feels that Liza broke her heart and can never be forgiven. Shortly after, we learn that Kelsey has moved in with Liza’s ex, Josh, which is sure to create even more drama for the show that started out its fourth season with a bang.
What did you think of the Season Four premiere? Let us know in the comments below!

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Younger Season Four Premiere: photos courtesy of TV Land

Sierra McClain Talks Music, Acting, and ‘Empire’

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Sierra McClain cherishes the position that she is in. As a former child actor, she relishes the love and support of her family, especially her sisters, with whom she began her career. From a Tyler Perry lead film to Disney and now Empire, McClain has kept busy and done a lot in her 23 years of life. As Nessa on Empire, she is all grown up and making waves on the hit TV show as the character fans love to hate. We can’t wait to see what she does next.


Sierra McClain loves working with her sisters as much as you love watching them together. Her first role was a background role in a movie called The Gospel that her sister China was in, but the role she most remembers having an impact on her life was Tyler Perry’s 2007 film Daddy’s Little Girls, where she co-starred as a character named Sierra with her sisters, China and Lauryn, opposite Idris Elba. For anyone unfamiliar with the film, Sierra was one of the three girls that Elba’s character, Monty, was fighting for sole custody of. The movie was an emotional one, a tear-jerker with a happy ending.

“I think that movie laid the foundation for every other job I did after that because we were so young, but it was actually very complex,” McClain said. “We were telling a very serious story so the content was very real and it was very emotional. It was a role that we could really sink our teeth into. I don’t think we realized how deep it was until we got older.”

Denim jacket & pants: Res Denim, Earrings: Jewelry Bar USA

The sisters didn’t work together again until 2011 in Disney’s A.N.T Farm, which was a less emotional role. McClain considered it a mini McClain sisters reunion as far as acting is concerned. She enjoyed the fact that they were having fun in the role and had the opportunity to sing together. She fondly stated that her sisters are her favorite co-stars. Since Daddy’s Little Girls, McClain said she has learned a lot.

She approaches acting differently now as she tries to learn from the people around her and how to trust herself. Because she started out so young, she was focused on knowing her lines and what the director wanted, thus making her roles about other people. Now, she is learning how to step into the shoes of whoever she is playing and create a real character. She now views acting as a collaboration between the actor, the writer, directors, and anyone else who is involved.

This is one of my favorite jobs because of the marriage between acting and singing.

Currently, McClain is starring on the hit Fox TV show Empire. McClain plays Nessa, the newest confident and bold recording artist signed to Empire Entertainment, the show’s record company founded by Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson). For her fans who knew of her first as a child actor, this new role she is in has been a bit of an adjustment for them.

“It has been an adjustment, I will say that. Not just for the fans but even for my friends and family,” McClain said. “I get a lot of phone calls like, ‘What? Who is that I’m watching on screen?’ so it took some getting used to. I don’t think I got any super negative comments as far as the transition. I think everybody sort of embraced it. I feel like people can’t stand Nessa because the stuff she does is very controversial.”

Woven Cardigan: Gudrun & Gudrun, Swimsuit: Tee Ink

McClain and her character share a love of music and that is one of the things McClain respects about her. There are many things Nessa does that McClain does not agree with and she said that sometimes it is difficult co-existing with her, but McClain understands Nessa has been through a lot. So, even though she may not always handle things correctly, McClain believes her decisions are based on her experiences and that even if she doesn’t always agree with the decisions she makes, Nessa stands up for what she believes in. The problem isn’t necessarily the character Tiana (played by Serayah), Mcclain said, but the fact that Nessa has the mentality of having to eliminate or step on whoever in order to get to the top.

“She has done some petty things, but it doesn’t come from a place of pettiness,” McClain explained. “She grew up around people who don’t necessarily play by the rules and they’ve kind of shown her by example that you have to do whatever it takes to get to the top. So, that’s the mindset that she’s adopted in the entertainment industry.”

Despite the actions of her character, McClain said the cast welcomed her to the show with open arms. During her first week on set, she said Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon, spoiled her from the moment she arrived at the table read and has been kind to her. She promised that everyone has been taking loving care of her on and off set. This treatment was something she didn’t expect walking into a hit TV show with veteran actors like Taraji P. Henson. She walked on nervous and wanting to make sure she kept up with everyone, but they embraced her and treated her like she was a part of the family.

Music is a universal language so to be able to incorporate that in telling somebody else’s story is beautiful.

What new fans of McClain might not know is she’s a triple threat. She’s a singer, an actor, and she plays various instruments, but don’t expect her to choose, even if music was her first love.

“It’s funny because I used to listen to China doing interviews all the time and she would say, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t choose. I have such a hard time choosing.’ And in the beginning, I would be like, ‘Really, man? It’s easy for me; I would say music.’ But now it’s funny because I’m in her shoes and I don’t know which one I would choose,” McClain said. “Music was my first love. I grew up around it, but I have a newfound respect and love for acting.”

Who doesn’t love the best of both worlds? And because McClain enjoys both, it is fitting that she is on a show like Empire where she gets to do both in almost every single episode. In many ways, the music on the show is a character in and of itself. The music either moves the episode ahead or reflects the plot as a whole or individual character arc. The episodes’ songs are almost always available right after each episode ends, giving the actors and their characters the chance to live outside of the show, as well as in it. Empire, in many ways, has created a platform for the actors to become as big as the characters they play on TV in the realm of music.

Pleated Dress: OTT, @ottdubai, Bra Top/Bottom Set: AMI Clubwear

“It’s a beautiful relationship between music and acting,” McClain said. “It tells somebody else’s story with songs driving everything. Music is a universal language so to be able to incorporate that in telling somebody else’s story is beautiful, especially when you’re so in love with music. This is one of my favorite jobs because of the marriage between acting and singing.”

When she wrapped her shooting for the show in Chicago in early March, she spent a lot of time talking to her family or having her mom come visit. When she wasn’t talking to her biological family, she was spending time with her Empire one. She laughed when retelling the story of how she would bother Ta’Rhonda Jones, who plays the role of Portia on Empire, and the fellow actress would cook for her. An admitted homebody, McClain said she tried to get out a lot and see the city on her days off.

Outside of the show, McClain has kept busy and is keeping hope alive that she and her sisters will work together again, though there are no set plans. They were doing music together for a long time and were signed, but then they began doing music individually. McClain would love to do a movie, a serious project or something “special” with them. Aside from planning new projects with her sisters, McClain was headed to film an unannounced project the day after this interview that she was very excited about. And although it may be awhile until we learn about it, we are very excited, too.

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Sierra McClain Talks Music, Acting, and ‘Empire’: Photographer: Quavondo, Stylist: Melissa Lynn Woodbury, Retouching: Katja de Bruijn, Hair: Lisa Deveaus, Makeup: Jorge Monroy. Necklace and Ring: Kat Ong, Top/Bottom Set: Paradise Ranch Designs

The Space Between Us: A Twist on Love

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Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) just wants to be on Earth. Gardner is a 16-year-old boy who lives on Mars. His mother, Sarah Elliot (Janet Montgomery), an astronaut on a four-year trip to Mars, finds out she’s pregnant shortly after they arrive. When she dies during childbirth, Gardner is left in the care of a team of scientists. We never learn what became of the other astronauts on the trip who knew the truth about how Sarah died, a truth NASA kept from the public citing a malfunction instead. After we learn of her passing, the movie cuts to Gardner at 16 who is a bit mischievous and desperate to be around someone who is his own age.
 
As a young boy who was raised without his mother, he believes that going to Earth is the only way he can connect to her. He becomes friends with Tulsa (Britt Robertson), a girl he met online, and tells her that he lives in a New York City penthouse and he can’t leave because he is sick. In fact, when he makes it to Earth seven months after he promised Tulsa he was coming to visit her, he headed straight for her high school. After some back and forth about why he “ghosted” her, the two teens head off on a quest for adventure, eager to ditch Kendra (Carla Gugino) the closest mother figure he had growing up, and Nathaniel Shepard (Gary Oldman), who was the person behind his mother’s four-year trip to Mars. 


Gardner, despite what he may endure, is on a mission to find his father, convinced that he is the last piece that he has of his mother and the key to finally discovering where he belongs in the world. Often, when we want something so bad, we tend to romanticize it. From the outside looking in, the thing we want seems perfect, the answer to all that ails us. Gardner does this very thing with Earth. After all, he is a teenage boy. As he and Tulsa continue in their quest, they find themselves falling in love with each other and the way it feels to be around someone who sees you in a way no one else can. Still, even as Gardner tells her the truth about his birthplace, she doesn’t believe him; she just believes that he believes it and that is enough for her. When Gardner starts to get sick because he is in an atmosphere he is not used to, Tulsa thinks he may just be telling the truth.

With twists and turns, the age-old story of young love and self-discovery is reimagined and given the revival it deserves. Robertson gives great life and care to Tulsa in the only way someone with a magnitude of talent can. Butterfield’s Gardner is charming and honest in a way that makes him instantly loveable. Gugino and Oldman give stellar performances of their own bringing weight and complexity to complicated characters. The Space Between Us is a must-see movie and it is out on Blu-Ray and DVD today.  
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The Space Between Us: A Twist on Love: photos courtesy of MPRM Communications

After Laughter: The Return of Paramore

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Paramore is back. The trio, Taylor York, Hayley Williams, and Zac Farro returned with After Laughter, their fifth studio album. Zac Farro, who rejoined the band after Jeremy Davis’ 2015 exit, was a welcome surprise to longtime fans. The 12-track album comes after the group almost disbanded, according to Williams, but York is the reason they are still a band and we couldn’t be more grateful.

 
The album begins with lead single “Hard Times,” which is one of the faster songs on the album. The track is all about the difficult moments in our life when you want to give up because they seem never-ending but comfortable because you’ve lived with them for so long. In many ways, “Hard Times” feels like a song that is asking the listener to join them on a journey of their highest highs and lowest lows as they try to figure out how they survived it all. “Rose-Colored Boy” is the track that follows and appears to be about a person who is optimistic but doesn’t understand that not everyone has optimism left in them regarding the way the world currently is. The track is great in that it doesn’t ask the optimist to change themselves but only asks the optimist to allow pessimists to be upset and feel what they need to feel. I think too, in many ways, they are asking their fans both old and new to do the same.
Told You So,” the second single off the album, takes a bit of a turn and focuses in on the people who jump at the chance to say “I told you so” the minute that something goes wrong. These people are the kind of people that feign concern but delight in being right much more. “Fake Happy” is exactly what the title suggests, faking happiness in public places so that people don’t see how much you’re hurting. The track opens with a single guitar for the first two verses, slow and steady before the third verse brings in a drum as the song insists that everyone is a little fake happy and that they don’t want to pretend anymore that things are okay. This ties in with the earlier request in “Rose-Colored Boy” to let them feel what they need to feel.

“26” is simply heartbreaking. It’s about the moment when you stop the façade and let the tears fall as you recount the memories you made and the person you used to be as if you’re mourning them with the understanding that you can’t ever be that person again. “Pool” is the closest to a love song Paramore has gotten to a love song, but there’s a catch. The song isn’t about a love being perfect or beautiful but a love that hurts and is hard but worth the effort. “Grudges,” Williams admits in part two of a beats 1 interview, is a song about Farro and the rebuilding of their friendship after a long time and how they let go of grudges and are enjoying what their friendship is now and who they are now. “Caught In the Middle” is about being stuck between nostalgia and the urgency to move forward and keep living.
“Idle Worship” and “Tell Me How” are our favorite tracks on the album. “Idle Worship” addresses the way in which some fans of the band put the band and Williams herself on a pedestal, believing as though they can do no wrong when everything is going well, just to cut them down when something goes awry or they make a mistake. The song explains that Williams herself is just a human being who is not perfect while explaining that she nor the other band members are not worthy of blind worship and that, if someone decides to do so, they will surely be let down. “Tell Me How” is the gut-wrenching closer of the album all about being unsure of where you stand with someone all the while being unsure of how you’re supposed to feel about them.
“No Friend,” which falls just between “Idle Worship” and “Tell Me How” is the only song on the album that doesn’t quite seem to fit. The song is not in fact a song at all nor does it feature any of the members of Paramore and maybe that’s why it seems so out of place on the album. The track feels like a better fit for 2005’s All We Know Is Falling or 2007’s Riot!
We love the new album, and as longtime fans of the band, we can’t wait to hear them perform live. How do you feel about the new After Laughter era? Let us know in the comments!
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After Laughter: The Return of Paramore: Featured image courtesy of Paramore/Facebook

Kara Royster Talks the End of ‘Pretty Little Liars’

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Kara Royster is just like you. She is a fan of the TV shows and especially loves the ones she is a part of. When she booked the role of Yvonne on Pretty Little Liars, she was just as shocked as fans to learn that she would be Toby’s love interest, ending the Toby and Spencer relationship during the show’s time jump. As Pretty Little Liars comes to a close this spring, Royster is saying goodbye to the character everyone loves to hate and hello to the new roles where she will be stirring the pot and making your favorite shows much more exciting.

Cliché: What was your first acting role and what did it teach you?
Kara Royster: My very first acting role on TV was in Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures (2011) on Nickelodeon. It was so much fun, and it made me realize that it takes many people to put on a production. It also showed me just how much fun I could have on a set. I got to be close with everyone and even stayed friends with some of them to this day, which shows that true friendships do exist in this industry.
Is acting the career you always wanted?
It is something that I have always wanted since I was very, very young. My sister, who was an aspiring actress, introduced me to it. She taught me that is was just a fun profession and was enjoyable even when acting in the saddest dramas. I was always having a good time creating these characters, diving into their stories, and bringing them to life. It was just something that was deep rooted in me that I always wanted to do.
Fans of Pretty Little Liars may know you as Toby’s new love, Yvonne. What do you love most about your character?
Being a part of Pretty Little Liars in general is insane to me. I was such a huge fan of it. I love how Marlene (the show’s creator) and that whole team created the character of Yvonne. Instead of her coming on as a mean girl or being the bitter girlfriend hating his ex, she was very mature and confident and very poised. I love her strength and how she handles all the situations. I think it is something very different that we don’t typically see with new love interests, so I was really happy that they had a different spin on it. It shows that you don’t always have to be so defensive.

I was always having a good time creating these characters, diving into their stories, and showing them off.

As the series comes to a close, what was it like joining such a beloved television show?
It was a dream come true. It was also kind of crazy coming in-between a love triangle. I remember when I was auditioning for the show, they finally revealed to me that I was going to be reading with Keegan Allen (Toby). I thought, “That can’t be right. He’s with Spencer—why would I?” Then, “Oh my gosh, oh no!” I already knew in my head that was going to be an issue, even if I didn’t get it yet. I was watching the show waiting for Toby and Spencer to happen. Coming in-between them was daunting, but the fans have actually been great about keeping it separate, like, “Hey Kara, you’re doing a great job. We hate Yvonne, but you’re doing great.” I’m a fan of the show, too, so just to be a part of the end of it is so much fun.
Is there anything you can tell us about the end?
It just gets so crazy very much at the start. You get a lot of good info, so that the rest of the time it’s about getting those answers and getting into the mystery of it [before it comes to an end]. It’s more mysterious, more dangerous…it’s everything a Pretty Little Liars fan would want.
Outside of Pretty Little Liars, you have been in many TV shows and movies. Is there one that you prefer over the other?
The bulk of my work has been in TV and I have always loved TV. I love that you can take a character’s arc over multiple seasons versus the hour or two-hour span of a movie. For example, you’ve seen the arc of these characters on Pretty Little Liars over seven seasons. However, I recently worked on Mono and it really opened my eyes to working on movies. I liked sitting down with the whole cast, reading this one story and then executing it. I also kind of learned to love that. I think TV is where my first love will always be, but I am very much open to the magic of the movies.
What’s coming up for you in 2017? What are you most excited about?
I am going to be doing a recurring role on The Fosters. I will be returning back to Freeform, which I love very much. I’ll be back at it, doing some more love triangle things and coming in-between the couples. There are a couple other things in the works that I will be able to talk about soon enough. I am excited about all the opportunities and I’m excited to see where 2017 takes me. I’m going to be open to trying out some different ventures, maybe getting involved in voice-over roles or something new.
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Kara Royster Talks the End of ‘Pretty Little Liars’: Photographed by Brandon Showers