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Shelby Surdam is a Rising Force

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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

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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

Rachel Kove: Life is Messy, Deal with It

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Rachel Kove is the CEO and co-founder of Transformational Solutions — a Los Angeles-based, trauma-informed, life-coaching company that helps provide people with sustainable solutions to self-destructive habits and to ultimately find their true purpose.

What’s your motto (in life/work)? 

My motto is: Life is messy. Learn how to become exceptional at dealing with the mess. If you become skilled at facing the challenges, it’s impossible to fail. I am also a strong believer in the power of vulnerability. If we can all learn to be more vulnerable, we would be able to connect more easily with one another and have more meaningful and authentic relationships.

What’s your work-from-home uniform?

If I am not on a Zoom meeting, sweatpants and a sweatshirt. If I am on a zoom meeting, sweatpants and a casual T-shirt with a leather jacket.

Is there a piece in your closet that makes you feel powerful (whether it be a blazer or pair of shoes)?

I wear my combat boots almost daily. When I wear them, I feel powerful, confident, and sexy. It makes me feel like no one can mess with me.

Take us through your morning routine.

Morning is my favorite part of the day. It’s my “me” time. It’s the time I intentionally create to connect with me and the Universe/God. It’s my “hour of power time” (which I adopted from one of my favorite mentors, Tony Robbins). It’s the peace before the storm (a.k.a. before my toddler wakes up). Being a mom, a business owner, and a life coach requires an immense amount of energy. Morning is when I fuel my tank. I have to make sure my cup is full before I am able to offer anything to my son, clients, or anyone else in my life. I have a meditation table that I sit in front of every morning. On it are items that represent and symbolize qualities that I want to embody throughout my day: wisdom, strength, love, letting go, power, and peace. I am also an avid journal writer, and journal for about thirty minutes. I then do my affirmations and write down everything I am currently manifesting in my life. I meditate anywhere from 5-30 minutes. And then I say my prayers and gratitude list for the day.

When things get stressful, what calms you down?

Rachel KoveI know where I am at emotionally by how I respond to stress. I read this book that says, “Stress results from the accumulated pressure of our repressed and suppressed feelings. The pressure seeks relief, and so external events only trigger what we have been holding down, both consciously and unconsciously.” So, for me, I calm down by making sure I make my emotional, physical, and mental health my number one priority. I feel and express my feelings so that they don’t get stuck in my body. Emotion is energy in motion, so we all need to find healthy ways to release that energy so it doesn’t get built up in our bodies and accumulate into stress. The truth is, I don’t get that stressed if I am taking care of myself exceptionally. Meditation is also a huge part of how I regulate my nervous system. Breathing is our body’s natural way of dealing with stress, and yet so many people forget this. Singing and exercise is another way I deal with stress. Being creative and pursuing my passions makes everything more meaningful and purposeful, so it doesn’t feel as much of a burden. 

How do you balance being a mom, CEO and life coach?

I have superb selfcare routines. I make “me” the most important person in my life. If I don’t have me and I am not taking care of myself, I am not able to show up effectively for the rest of my life. I am not able to be a present mom or a leader at Transformational Solutions. I value time. I am not someone that says, “I don’t have time for this.” I make time for the things in my life that are important to me. I am also not one of those CEOs that works 24 hours a day. I don’t judge those people, but I also don’t know how anyone can have a balanced life working 24 hours a day. I need my sleep. I crave my connections with my friends and loved ones. I thrive on them. I talk to my best friend at least two times a day. Yes, I have a lot of responsibilities, but I choose to have that. I strongly believe that if you take care of “you,” one can be present to how much is actually available in this present moment. And when we are present, balance is 100 percent attainable. 

What have you learned from your dad (Martin Kove, “The Karate Kid,” “Cobra Kai”), when it comes to mastering business?

I have learned a lot from him about how to achieve goals. I have always looked up to him and how hard he works. He’s taught me to never give up on my dreams. That if someone doesn’t like something I have, it’s their loss. My dad is one of the most tenacious and persistent people I have ever met. He told me this story that has always stuck with me. When he was in his twenties living in New York, for an entire year he would call this producer in Hollywood and ask him to put him in a movie. And for an entire year, this producer said, “No.” But my dad was persistent and kept calling. After a year of what some would perceive as rejection, my dad flew out to Los Angeles and this producer put him in one of his first movies. Persistence is key to any success. Action plus consistency equal results. My dad has taught me how to be tough and that nothing is impossible. And that if I want something, I have to go after it — because no one is going to do it for me. And by the way, if you haven’t watched Cobra Kai, you need to. I am able to be objective since acting is one of my other passions, and this show is brilliant! And so inspirational. And I am so proud of everyone who is a part of it.

How would you like your son to think of you (e.g. kind, funny)?

I want my son to think of me as human. I want to teach him to be okay with being human. To know that we are complex creatures. To see me as kind, loving, non-judgmental and emotionally available. I want him to see me as strong, powerful, and above all, present and silly. Someone who loves life and loves people.

Read more celebrity news at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Nate Taylor

Fearless, Confident, Limitless – Ruby Jay

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At just 16, actress and singer Ruby Jay has already broken into the industry and landed a role as the star of Hulu’s hit television series Holly Hobbie (2018). Jay plays Holly, who much like herself has a passion for music and helping save the world. Jay’s character navigates being a teenager and dreaming big – she doesn’t let her age limit herself or her dreams. Jay is also featured in CBS’s The Unicorn (2019) as Grace – the eldest daughter of her widowed father. Both Ruby and her characters show the importance of having confidence in yourself. When Jay is not acting, she is working on her music. She recently released a Christmas single, “My Favorite Christmas.” In this interview, Ruby Jay discusses what she’s learned from her characters, what makes her a Unicorn, and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.  

Q. Like you, your character Holly in Holly Hobbie also makes music – What lessons have you learned from your character? 
 
A. Holly has taught me how to be more connected to my music, and let my emotions be heard through the lyrics I write. Watching her process of writing inspired me to try and write in the same way, and I’ve gotta say, it worked! 
 
Q. Hopefully you’ll be shooting season 3 of Holly Hobbie soon! How would you like your character to develop over the season? 
A. Well, we don’t have a confirmed third season yet, but hopefully we will see that news soon! At the end of season two we’re left with a cliff-hanger; Holly is trying to decide whether she wants to go on tour with a famous singer or stay home with her family. Either way the story goes I would be so excited to see how it all plays out! 
 
Q. You just released your song “My Favorite Christmas” – What is your favorite Christmas memory? 
 
A. I have so many Christmas memories because it’s my favorite holiday. I’ve got to say that one of my favorite parts is a family tradition of baking and setting out orange rolls instead of cookies for Santa. Making the orange rolls with the family is always so much fun. Marveling at the tree while eating the rolls before we go to sleep on Christmas eve is always so magical. 
 
Q. Who are your favorite fashion designers? Have you had a chance to work with any of them? 
 
A. My favorite fashion designer is obviously my sister, Pearl. I love being able to work with her and be her personal model as she works on some incredible pieces. Quarantine has given her a chance to be creative with her fashion and it’s so much fun to watch her work go from the sketch in her book to a dress on the mannequin. 
 
Q. If you could only use 3 makeup products for the rest of your life, what would they be?
 
A. Well… I only use 3 makeup products in real life, so I guess it would just be my normal routine! Mascara, clear eyebrow gel and tinted Chapstick.
 
Q. I understand one of your interests in crocheting – Did you crochet anything special over quarantine?
 
A. Quarantine has given me so much time to just sit and crochet and I have been absolutely loving it! I’ve made a few tops, a cardigan, and even some stuffed toys for fun. I’ve loved being able to also expand my knowledge of crochet techniques and putting them to the test.
 
Q. What makes you a “Unicorn” – Unique or Special? 
 
A. Well, my mom thinks I’m cool.
 
Q. You have accomplished so much at such a young age – What new goals do you have?
 
A. One of my lifetime goals has and always will be to be on Broadway. If I had the opportunity to work on a Broadway show, my life would be complete. I would be that happiest girl in the world. 
 
Q. Where do you get your confidence from? What advice can you give to your fans to be confident?
 
A. The key to being confident is loving yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. You only get one body, mind, and soul in a lifetime so you might as well work with what you got and make the most of the beautiful body protecting and encasing your soul. 
 
Be sure to check out Ruby Jay’s Instagram and Youtube to keep up with her ongoing and upcoming projects! 
 
Read more at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by David Higgs
 
 

Irina Proskurina on Her Journey in the Modeling World

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Irina Proskurina is a wildly successful international model turned author, founder of the UMMA bot, and CEO of Forma Model. Born in Stavropol, Russia, Irina first came to the United States when she was 19; she has since worked her way to the top and become a very successful businesswoman. She now uses her wealth of experience to educate aspiring models on how to make it as a model in the United States and to encourage them to never give up on their dreams. We had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Irina Proskurina and ask her a few burning questions about her journey.

How did you get into modeling?

I am from the small town of Stavropol in Russia. There, when I was a student, they asked if I wanted to work as a model at an exhibition. I agreed and earned money from it which was a lot for a student back then. All I had to do was just stand there and smile. I realized that this is how you can earn money. I made a portfolio with a local photographer and flew to New York on a J1 visa for a student exchange program and got a job in a kindergarten. At the same time, I went to auditions and looked for an agency and jobs.

Did you receive any advice or have a role model when you first began modeling? 

I knew that there are supermodels like Claudia Schiefer and Naomi Campbell, but I thought these were unattainable peaks. Unfortunately, I didn’t get advice from anyone, so I lost a lot of time on unnecessary people and projects. I would have appreciated even time when I was just starting out to have gotten advice such as I now give to novice models.

What is your favorite thing about your career?

I do what I love and I get paid for it. I get to meet famous people. Each new shoot or show is a new team of creative people. As a result, you get beautiful photos and videos. What else can you dream of!

What is the most rewarding part of your career?

I am always aware of the most fashionable trends since my profession obliges me to look well-groomed and beautiful. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it.

Did you ever want to be anything else or did you always want to model?

Yes, I had a plan B. I graduated from the Faculty of Journalism in Russia. I also received an MBA in New York. I worked in finance for three years, but this was not for me at all. So, I started my own agency and went back to fashion.

Did you ever think about giving up when you began modeling or were you always committed?

Yes, there were such thoughts. When I wasn’t booking jobs and being denied, these thoughts came more often. But what you need to understand is that they refuse you not because you look like that, but because at the moment they are looking for a different type. So, I always tell novice models to never give up.

What inspired you to create the UMMA bot?

First of all, the bot determines your model type. People assume that a model is a tall and thin person. But this is not so. There are more than 30 different types in modeling. There is plus size and children and hair models and adult models and much more. Therefore, before giving up and abandoning your dream, you need to determine your type and just contact the right agency that deals specifically with your type.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Reading. I read a lot, I can read two books at once. As soon as I finish I start a new one. Well, just this year my book, “How to Become a Model in America” was published.

What is next for you?

Now, I have decided to launch my agency’s franchise. I want it to be in many cities. So that every person who wants to become a model has such an opportunity.

How has Covid-19 impacted your current/future plans?

I myself was ill myself in March. And of course it was impossible to arrange any photo sessions. So, I launched an online course. Anyone can take it, there are 30 lessons and more speakers. I am very pleased with this project.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Irina Proskurina and learned more about the modeling industry.

Read more celebrity articles at ClicheMag.com
Images provided by Photographer: Lisa Pavlova Make Up Artist: Kate Yuzefovich and modelnews.com

Celebrity Interview: Madison Thompson Shines on Netflix’s hit Series Ozark

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  1. Tell us a little bit about your character ‘Erin’ and the hit series “Ozark”

Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning show Ozark is about Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), a financial advisor who relocates to the Ozarks with his family to pay off a substantial debt to a Mexican drug lord. After 2 seasons of family drama, laundering money and murder, the Byrd family is back at it again in season 3. Six months after season 2 ended, they now have their casino up and running, but Marty and Wendy (Laura Linney) are fighting for control of the family’s destiny.

The writers have introduced some new faces this season, including my character Erin Pierce, who is the daughter of the lawyer for the drug cartel. Erin is dragged from Chicago to the Ozarks for the summer by her mother Helen Pierce (played by the magnificent Janet McTeer). The intention is for some mother-daughter bonding, but it ends where no one expects. Erin also becomes friends with Marty and Wendy’s kids Charlotte and Jonah. The three of them manage to get into some pretty messy situations on the Lake of the Ozarks.

This season is all about complicated family dynamics, as the lines between family and business have never been more blurred for the Byrdes, Helen, and Ruth (Julia Garner). New characters mean new threats. And my character Erin is no exception. She is her mother’s daughter. Very headstrong and not afraid to take charge, she goes for what she wants, even if it is completely disastrous and the wrong choice. At the same time she is also a teenage girl, with insecurities, fears, and ambitions, all while she is trying to define herself in a new town that she knows nothing about.

  1. What was it like working with Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and Janet McTeer?

Jason, Laura, and Janet are the absolutely the dream acting team. They seem like the darkest and sometimes most evil people on screen, but in real life they are incredibly kind human beings. Each one of them taught me so much while shooting this season. They were lessons I will use for the rest of my career.

It was amazing to witness someone like Jason be so involved in so many different facets of a show (directing, acting, producing). As someone who is interested in pursuing behind the camera opportunities in the future, I was inspired watching Jason do all of his jobs on such a high level. It showed me how much preparation, research, and experience it takes to get to his level. You have to understand aspect ratios, different angles, finances, tone, editing, and the coordination of all the departments that make up the show from props to sound mixing. Jason, our incredible showrunner Chris Mundy, and many others put a tremendous effort into creating the content and visual story for this show.

Laura is a powerhouse. I have looked up to her for so many years in both her tv/film and theater career. I loved getting to work with her this season and witness, first hand, the evolution of Wendy Byrde. There is a magic in the way she builds Wendy’s arc and persona –  a strong, intelligent woman with so many nuances and flaws all at the same time. Laura is so committed to her work. One of my favorite conversations with her on set was when we were talking about her approach to acting. She explained that she tackles a scene the same way an athlete approaches a game. Once she is shooting a scene, she so focused and stays in the mental headspace of the character even when we have downtime between shots. She is so empowering and hardworking.

Janet is my amazing TV mom! Wow, what an incredible woman, actress, and human being. Janet immediately took me under her wing when we began shooting this season and taught me so much. One of the biggest lessons I learned from Janet was the importance of being a giving scene partner. This goes above and beyond coming prepared with your lines memorized and character choices. Being a giving scene partner means taking off all the external pressures for the other actor in a scene when the camera is on them. Be the eyeline, give them the emotional conviction they need, don’t overpower or distract. I think that Janet plays the most terrifying character on Ozark by far, but in real life she could not be a sweeter person. Clearly, she really is good at her job.

  1. Madison ThompsonWhat was the audition process like for the role of ‘Erin’?

The audition process for Erin was fairly quick. I had taped for a couple of other roles on the show before reading for Erin and had worked with the amazing casting group (Feldstein-Paris Casting) on other projects. I knew the second I read the character that this role was meant for me. I just had this weird feeling. So, I put myself on tape for the role and sent in the submission. There was no callback, no director’s session, no testing – just a straight book off tape. About a week after I auditioned, I got a call from my agent when I was in my AP Physics class. I remember running out of the classroom without saying a word to my teacher to answer the call and sign the deal. Luckily, my teacher was a big fan of the show and was very understanding when I explained after class!

  1. How is it juggling both being a college student and your acting career?

It is a full-time job! When I am not working professionally, I am a Presidential Scholar at the University of Southern California in the BCA program, which means I am pursing a Business Degree in Cinematic Arts. This joint degree program allows me to explore the financial and producing side of the entertainment industry, which has always been a strong interest of mine. I also recently declared a Musical Theater Minor in the Thornton School of Music.

Attending school in Los Angeles makes it a lot easier to balance my academic and work career due to the sheer proximity of my campus to several major studios. It becomes a bit trickier when I have to travel to shoot a show like Ozark, which  films in Atlanta. Luckily, my family lives in Atlanta, so I can stay with them when I work in town.

Overall, juggling college and professional work is by no means easy. It often comes at the sacrifice of social or personal time, but I am happy to make the sacrifice because of my passion for acting and education. I learned how to manage the balance because of my experience with it in high school. My school strongly supported the Arts and I learned to work closely with my teachers and the administration on many occasions during absences to shoot various shows.

In the end, education has always been a very important part of my life and I have always thrived in the classroom setting. Being a student keeps me thinking, on my toes, and genuinely makes me a better actor. 

  1. What is your typical day like during quarantine?

If the past few weeks have taught me anything, it is that I enjoy staying busy. I weirdly love checking off my daily to-do list. Quarantine has just meant that I have had to be a little more creative and self-motivated about creating my own list of projects to pass the time.

On an (ideally productive) typical quarantine day 🙂 my to-do list would include:

  1. Chasing my dogs around the backyard to try and get some fresh air
  2. Using Zoom to attend my microeconomics and business communication classes
  3. Chipping away at my room re-decorating project! I thought that since I’m probably going to be living at home for the next few months, I might as well make it a dream room. Today I will work on organizing my childhood books that I just pulled off my bookshelf, pulling out a few to give to my younger cousins and donating the rest!
  4. Tuning into my friend Makenna’s Zoom Sculpt Yoga Class! I am missing the hot, sweaty rooms of the CorePower Yoga Studio so I am going to try putting a space heater in front of my yoga mat today to see if I can replicate the experience. Wish me luck!
  5. Finishing some black line final touch ups on paitnings for The Foundation for Hospital Art
  6. Baking a new chocolate dessert and featuring it on my little chocolate Instagram account (@choco.lot)

My typical day looks like the above or involves me sitting in bed on my computer all day as I eat girl scout cookies and pet my dog.

  1. Tell us about your involvement with the Foundation for Hospital Art and what the organization stands for:

Working in the entertainment industry can be hard at times because of the self-centered nature of the business. That is why I love to spend my free time volunteering for and sharing the message of The Foundation for Hospital Art (FFHA).

For over 30 years, FFHA has been a preeminent force in warming hospital and shelter environments with colorful paintings, murals and ceiling tiles. Right now, I am finishing final paint touch ups on 24 canvases for 4 murals that will then be shipped to healthcare facilities around the world. I have also used my voice on social media to connect with families in my community so that they can volunteer their time. Especially during this quarantine, people feel so grateful for all that the hospitals and medical personnel are doing for our citizens.

What is great about FFHA is that it gives people the ability to volunteer and make a difference from the safety of their homes. You can social distance and make a social difference! I love supporting this organization because of the wonderful message they spread about the positive effect art has on healing lives. It is something that I have experienced first-hand.

Learn more about their mission and how you can get involved: http://www.hospitalart.org

  1. What is one actor/actress that you would love to work with one day?

For many reasons, I would love to work with Reese Witherspoon. Not only have I enjoyed following her very long-lasting career, but I also have a lot in common with her style of acting and approach to the industry in general.

Just as it is to me, education is very important to Reese. I’m in college now, and I decided to follow that track in tandem with a professional acting career. I’ve read that she attended Stanford for a few years and even after leaving to pursue her professional acting career, she has continued to support the education system. She is an avid reader and huge supporter of books!

I also love the fact that Reese started her own production company and she’s passionate about telling stories about women. That’s something that inspires me and that I would love to do with my own production company, hopefully in the future.

  1. Any projects coming up that you can tell us about?

In addition to the release of Ozark season 3, I have some really exciting upcoming projects (some I can share and some I can’t yet share). What’s interesting is that they are all very different styles! I’ve often said that I love being able to push myself as an actress and create characters and content that lies at opposite sides of the spectrum. One project that will be airing soon is a guest star role on ABC’s American Housewife (a very different type of Housewife than Wendy Byrde!) In addition to American Housewife, I also have some other projects in development that I hope to be able to share more about soon. The best way to find out about them is to follow my

Social Media accounts:

Instagram: @madisonthompson
Twitter: @madisonthompson
Facebook: @madisonithompson

Read more celebrity interviews at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Nathan Johnson

Q&A with Eliana Alexander: Accomplished Actress and Novelist

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Eliana Alexander is a veteran of the entertainment industry for over 30 years. She has shared her talents in both the English and Latin markets in series such as The Bold and The Beautiful and Desire as well as Telemundo hits such as La Ley del Silencio and Sin Verguenza. Recently she starred alongside fellow acting veterans Luis Guzman and Sir Ben Kingsley in an EPIX series titled  Perpetual Grace LTD, which critics have called exhilarating and infectious. 

Beyond her work as an actress, Eliana maintains a secondary career as an incredible novelist.  Her first book, titled The Neighbor, was released in 2012. She recently announced the first installment of an adventure/sci-fi book series called Tilt. The stories are set to follow two teens, Blane and Jake, who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes the duo on exciting and dangerous new possibilities and times whilst learning about the worlds within themselves.  The first book was newly released on August 8th

I had a chance to speak with the actress and novelist about her extensive list of talents, Perpetual Grace LTD, and her newly released novel. Check out our Q&A below: 

Clichė: As a veteran in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, what is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned? 

Eliana: To stay on my game. Stay in shape and skilled and very focus in order to keep working. 

What do you find most fulfilling in acting? 

Being able to breathe life into a character and to immerse myself in this new way of being as the character. To [be] a part of a story that unfolds right before peoples’ eyes. [And] to collaborate and be a part of a vast puzzle with lots of angles. Being a part of a tapestry that has a lot of threads that will unravel or come together. Once a project is done, being a part of a team that created something together is pure joy! 

Prior to your acting character, you started off as a singer as well as teaching dance and musical theater. Your passion seems to be tied to the arts. Why do you think you have such a love for music, acting, dancing, and theater? Where do you think it comes from? 

I have always been exposed to music and arts while traveling. Music was always playing in our house. I was raised overseas in South and Central America where I was exposed to a lot of cultures. I think the music and the arts of each country helped weave a beautiful pattern in my life. The unique sounds and rhythms of each country resonated in my heart. When I was young I wanted to be a doctor but the universe had other plans for me. I kept getting pulled into the arts and learning a lot. Even when I began teaching dance and musical theater at Dupree’s dance academy, I continued to evolve as an artist and spiritual human being. Music and arts open our minds to go to another place. Music and arts touch our souls and raise our spirits. Music and stories are something that will always pull people in. Even as [the] audience, it gives us a chance to be a part of someone’s imagination for a little while. 

You star alongside an all-star cast in a new series titled Perpetual Grace LTD on EPIX. Your co-star Sir Ben Kingsley has described the series as a “10-hour movie.” What can audiences expect? 

I am incredibly fortunate to be on a series with a stellar cast. The writing is magnificent and the cinematography is exquisite. Steven Conrad and Bruce Terris did a great job as they blend the modern noir feel with a western touch. As the story unravels they intertwine the characters beautifully. I love it because it is edgy, gritty and at times it will jolt you, wake you up with the unexpected. I truly feel that people are ready for something like this. 

You play Marisol Contreras in the series who is the wife of Hector (Luis Guzman). How does she fit into the story? What was it like working with Luis and the other actors on set? 

Marisol Contreras who is the wife of Hector Contreras who is the town sheriff in Hermosillo, Mexico. She is a mom of two very smart teen boys Emile and Mathias and she is very proactive in their lives. My TV sons are played by Alonso Alvarez who plays Emile and Calvin Benuto who plays Mathias and they are magnificent. Marisol truly values a strong family unit. You see her changing when she begins to discover that something is going on with Hector, yet she doesn’t know what. Throughout the series you see her step up for her family. On working with Sir Ben and Luiz, it is great. They are very different. Sir Ben is very focused throughout the day and when working with just the family, the boys and Luis, Luis is funny and keeps the cast and crew laughing. I mean it when I say I am truly blessed to be a part of this amazing project! 

What drew you to the character of Marisol Contreras? 

What drew me is her strength and how she becomes a warrior and not a victim. She does go through a lot and yet she still values her family and works at keeping them together. 

Perpetual Grace was filmed in New Mexico. What was it like filming there? Any memorable stories from the set? 

I love Santa Fe, New Mexico! You can feel the energy of the land and everyone is kind and open. The mountains and the sunsets are formidable. Even though Santa Fe is a small town it has everything; culture and arts and lots of history. While there I learned that Santa Fe was established in 1610 and that Santa Fe is the third oldest city in the United States. Only St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, and Jamestown, Virginia are older. It is always great when we can see new states and really learn about them; a huge added gift to my career! 

 

Along with this new series on EPIX, you also have a book releasing on August 8th, titled Tilt. What can you tell our readers about the book series? 

I am very excited about this novel. TILT is an action/adventure sci-fi novel series, TILT: Magic Ei8hts follows Blane and Jake, two teens who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes them on adventures to exciting and dangerous new worlds and times. Blane and Jake learn a great deal about themselves while learning about the Universe and eras. These teens are super savvy with technology yet when they travel back in time, they have to learn how to exist in a world with bare minimum necessities and no technology. TILT: Magic Ei8hts is the first book in the series. I am already in the midst of writing TILT: The Red Moon and I am looking forward to the readers getting their hands on that as well! 

You released your first novel ‘The Neighbor’ in 2012. What has your career as a novelist taught you? Now that you’re a storyteller yourself, do you read scripts differently? 

I started writing scripts for TV and film. The beauty of writing a novel is that you can expand and color. While adapting the script to novel form on “The Neighbor,” I got to expand the characters with more description. That vast colors of description allows readers to glide right into your imagination. As a writer/author, I am always learning about everything while I do research. That is what I love, that I continue to learn about many things as I am in the throes of research when writing a book. My mind is always expanding and I absolutely enjoy that. 

What is your writing process like? Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you deal with writer’s block? 

I love to write in the morning very early, we are talking 5:00 AM! The morning is quiet and the world hasn’t really started. I get an idea and my mind takes off. The idea comes with concept and characters and off I go. I will write for about three hours, take a break and come back to my desk for another two. Many times I want to keep going yet my day begins and my career has to keep going, so the book or scripts wait until the next morning. I wake up excited to bring life to the story and characters. I have so many ideas and concepts that I have a body of work to keep me busy for a very long time. I am blessed that I have an active imagination for it truly keeps me going. 

What do you hope your readers get when they pick up a novel of yours? 

I am in great hopes that they take a chance and they lose themselves into their imagination through my stories. Also that they go into another place. I would love for them to connect with the characters. Especially on “TILT: Magic Eights” I would love for them to root for Blane and Jake as they travel throughout this journey. Also from the worlds and dimensions the characters visit, to see how our world is affected by how we live. In TILT, the characters learn a lot about the planet and themselves and really evolve. While reading any one of my novels, I am hoping that the readers also experience a sense of evolvement on their own. To me, there are messages in the stories so we can all get something. 

 Who is your biggest inspiration as a writer? 

Too many to choose for I have many writers that I like and I really feel every novelist has at one point inspired me. To list only a few, one of my favorites, of course, being Shakespeare, the classic way of speaking and the stories hit my heart. Another book that to this day blew me away is “Memoirs of a Geisha” written by Arthur Golden about a fictional geisha working in Kyoto, Japan, before and during World War II. The way he wrote and the details in the story pulled me in to where I truly lost myself while I was reading that book. I loved it and I did not want it to end. 

Another great book that has crossed my path is “Fast Ball” author Anthony C. Tripari. It’s a fictional novel about the Boston mafia and is intertwined with an Italian family: the Panarellis. The book starts in the nineteen fifties, a time when families were bound together by their heritage. I was recommended to Mr. Tripari by a friend to adapt his novel into a film script. Once I read this magnificent book that pulled me in right away, I shared with Mr. Tripari that it has beautiful treasures throughout the book and that it would play better as a mini-series. He agreed and hence became the beginning of a great relationship. Mr. Tripari has now three books that are great, of course, they are the sequels “Butchie” and “Vendetta.” I can’t say who just yet, but several actors from the famed TV series “The Sopranos” have expressed an interest. Fingers crossed! 

When you’re not acting or writing amazing novels, what do you like to do on your downtime? 

I always love spending time with my family, my husband John Nikitin and my amazing dog Bosco. We spend time going on hikes and long walks. Being by the beach, it is easy to want to be outside enjoying the day. John and I enjoy home time yet we occasionally have dinner watching the sunset at several of our beach community restaurants. We enjoy working out, one to stay in shape, yet it is fun especially while taking dance classes or even Jazzercise with Dwain and Marie at our Beach City Jazzercise community. We love supporting our local beach community. At home, we read and also dig into some streaming and binge on TV series. 

 I’ve read that you are an avid animal rights supporter. What organizations do you support and what drew you to the cause of animal rights? 

I am a huge animal lover. I believe in caring for these beautiful souls. They need our voice and that is why I appreciate and support Sea Shepherd. Captain Paul Watson and his crew risk their lives supporting the sea life, especially whales and dolphins. We need to care about our oceans and they really help us learn and understand how to do that. I support PETA and appreciate how Ingrid and her team strive to better the lives of all animals. I am a proud vegan. Even in my nutrition, I support animals and in addition, I get to stay very healthy. 

I just want to add that I am grateful and honored to be interviewed by Cliché Magazine!

 

 

You can follow the latest on Eliana on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Read more Entertainment News at Cliché Magazine

Q&A with Eliana Alexander: Accomplished Actress and Novelist: Featured Image: Courtesy of Melina Kelly / Shandrew PR

Q&A with Ana Sophia Heger: The Child Star of “Life in Pieces” on CBS

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Life in Pieces is a comedy series on CBS in its fourth season. The show chronicles the lives of the Short Family as the large three-generation family delivers heartwarming, hilarious and awkward moments to viewers! The all-star ensemble cast includes Colin Hanks, Zoe Lister-Jones, Angelique Cabral, Betsy Brandt and is led by the legendary Dianne Wiest and James Brolin. Ana Sophia Heger plays Lark Short, the youngest star in the series and the adorable child of Greg (Colin Hanks) and Jennifer Short (Zoe Lister-Jones).

The young scene-stealer began auditioning for roles at the age of three and landed her first ever role as Lark! If her acting skills aren’t impressive enough, Ana is also fluent in German and is currently learning Spanish and French in between Preschool and dance classes!

 

Image courtesy of Life in Pieces / CBS

 

We had the chance to discuss her role, how she got into acting and what she likes to do when the cameras are off:

 

Cliché: This is your first acting job! How have you enjoyed being a part of Life in Pieces?

Ana: I love acting and enjoy being on this set so much because they are all so nice to me! I love seeing everyone! It’s my favorite activity!

Your parents on the show are played by Zoe Lister-Jones and Colin Hanks. What is it like working alongside them?

I love it because they always make jokes or do silly things. I also learn a lot, because they do something different [with] each take.

 

Image courtesy of Life in Pieces / CBS

 

How did you get your start into acting? When did you discover it was something you enjoy doing?

My Mom tells me that a lady discovered me at Starbucks.  Suddenly I start to go to castings and Life in Pieces was one of them.  I have always enjoyed acting, even before [getting discovered at] Starbucks, I make up stories to act out at home.

Your father is an actor. What acting advice has he given you?

Learn all my lines, really listen to my scene partner, so that I can respond naturally and not be over the top.  He always makes sure I understand what the scene is about and helps with all my questions.

What’s your favorite part about acting?

I get to be somebody else.  I love being creative and using my imagination!

 

Image courtesy of Life in Pieces / CBS

 

Tell us about your character, Lark! What do you like about playing her?

I like how Lark can be very silly and how different she actually is from me. When Lark finds out that her Mommy has another baby in her tummy, she is NOT at all excited, but when I found out my Mommy is pregnant in real life, I was very happy.  We are quite different.

Other than acting, what are some hobbies you have?

My favorite thing other than acting is painting. I also enjoy my dance, piano and tennis lessons.  I love trying many different activities!

What is it like auditioning for roles? Do you ever get nervous?

I get so excited, that I really do not feel nervous.  I also love meeting new people and each casting is fun for me.

What has been your most interesting scene to film?

I loved all my “Potty” episode scenes.  I had to pretend that Lark is not potty-trained yet, but I was already trained in real life! It was so much fun!

 

Image courtesy of Life in Pieces / CBS

 

And lastly, tell our readers why they should watch Life in Pieces!

I love that all the actors are so funny and that it is about a big family who really loves each other.

 

Life in Pieces airs Thursdays on CBS 9:30/8:30c.

You can follow Ana and see some behind the scenes glimpses of her work on Life in Pieces on Instagram @AnaSophiaHeger

 

Interview with Ana Sophia Heger: The young star of Life in Pieces: Featured Image: Courtesy of  Rochelle Brodin / Shandrew PR

Read more Entertainment News at Cliché Magazine

Everyone Wants to be Charmaine Bingwa’s Little Sista

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Award-winning actress Charmaine Bingwa wears many hats. She’s the creative force behind the upcoming webseries Little Sista, which will premiere on the re-designed Revry network in early to mid July. The series follows the eponymous main character’s attempts to mentor an at-risk girl as part of a court-mandated Big Brother, Big Sister program. Needless to say, hilarity ensues. Little Sista is already generating festival buzz, winning the award for Best Screenplay at the LGBT Toronto Film Festival and earning selections in the Web Series Festival Global, Hollywood, Out Fest LA, Sicily Web Fest, Roma Cinema DOC, and Melbourne Web Fest. Charmaine hopes the series is a stepping stone towards a more inclusive tapestry of LGBT characters in media.

Cliché: You’ve given award-winning performances on stage. What have your experiences with theater taught you about being an actress?

Charmaine Bingwa: My experiences in the theater have taught me EVERYTHING. I can’t speak highly enough about how working in the theater is the ultimate acting apprenticeship. Rehearsing every day and being able to live as a character for months at a time allows you to go so deep in your exploration. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to work with some of the finest actors. Seeing how they work helped me form my own process. Theater lives and dies on the craft – physicality, dramatic stakes, siphoning the truth of the text and finding a way to do it night after night as if it’s the first time. The thought of it is electrifying to me. Last year in Australia I was in five different theatre productions and appeared before audiences 79 times – you can’t buy that kind of experience or confidence.

Where did the idea to create a web series come from?

I was having breakfast with a friend and I was telling him about how I was a mentor in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Program, and he was like “WTF, you??!!” So, I kind of built the show around this reversal of expectation and seemed to strike comedy gold!

Tell us about the plot of your new web series, Little Sista.

Little Sista is about a girl with commitment phobia who must learn to grow up when she is paired with an at-risk youth in a Big Brother, Big Sister program. Charmaine, a thirty-something black lesbian, is a wounded child in an adult’s body. She’s self-absorbed, terrified of commitment, and oblivious to the needs of others. But when a judge with a sense of irony orders her to mentor an at-risk young girl, she identifies with the kid’s difficult childhood and attempts to teach Lucy the life lessons her own parents failed to.

This comedy web-series normalizes ethnic diversity, LGBTQ+ relationships, substitute families, and shows how easy it is to let a world of selfishness preside.

Little Sista isn’t just about telling ‘gay stories’ and putting ‘minorities’ on screen. It’s about normalizing same-sex relationships, and exploring human stories that we can all connect to on some level, with a main character who just happens to dig other chicks. Like Transparent it’s a boundary pushing rollercoaster ride about dysfunctional people who have depth.

Your character, also named Charmaine, doesn’t really have her life together – she won’t listen to authority, can’t commit to her girlfriend, and has to do community service. Do you think looking after a child changes her perspective on things and in what way?

I do. I think she has led this hedonistic life where she can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants – and it’s not until she comes face-to-face with someone truly in need that she begins to question her life philosophy. Of course, Lucy must prove herself to be cool, first by threatening Charmaine’s shady ex-flatmate with a water pistol full of urine… a pretty standard initiation!

You wrote, produced, and directed Little Sista. How did it feel having almost complete creative autonomy over a project? Was it nerve-wracking?

Terrifying. But I’ve learned to love the things that terrify me as they cause me to grow the most. There is nothing more satisfying than doing something that I initially doubted I could do.

Little Sista is already winning awards on the festival circuit. What does it mean to you to be able to bring LGBT narratives to screen?

It’s my mission to normalize the LGBTQ+ community. There has been so much progress – marriage equality exists in many parts of the world, laws preventing discrimination based on sexuality exist – but there is still a stigma around it. Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 10 to 24, five times more likely for LGBTQ+ youth compared to heterosexuals. I want the next generation to grow up knowing it’s okay to be exactly who they are. Hopefully this story goes some way to help that issue. The way people have embraced Little Sista thus far fills me with hope.

How would you like to see LGBT roles and storylines continue to diversify in media?

I just want to see LGBT stories told in a way that is as valid as heterosexual stories. We need stories that are as diverse as people. And TV writers need to stop killing off gay characters… grrr!

Talk about your other upcoming project, The Pitch.

I met the team making the film through a friend and I immediately clicked with them. They offered me the role of yoga teacher, Summer Akers, who is a little too devoted to her yoga guru. She is crazy, so it was fun! And it got super-steamy filming in an actual hot yoga studio.

You’re also an accomplished guitarist and singer. What attracted you to guitar initially? Do you remember the first song you learned how to play?

I was about to start high school and my parents suggested I learn an instrument – they said no to my first request for drums, so I settled on the guitar. I love that it’s both a melodic and harmonic instrument, and it’s a perfect songwriting tool.

The first song I learned was ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries. A song I still love today – RIP Dolores O’Riordan *prayer hands emoji*.

What are the differences between performing as a singer versus as an actress? Have you ever learned a lesson through singing that has helped you with acting or vice versa?

I personally don’t see much difference between performing as a singer versus an actress – I treat them the same way. You have a message and a need to communicate and you use your body to do so. One of my favorite things I stole from the singing realm that I use in the acting world is that your body doesn’t lie; when you tell the truth, your physicality sings harmoniously with your message. Also, always utilize your breath, voice and consciousness.

If you could serenade one person, who would it be and what song would you pick?

Kristen Stewart with Madonna’s Like a Prayer (just like in episode 7!)

Little Sista
facebook.com/littlesistaseries
instagram.com/littlesistaseries
twitter.com/littlesistaTV

Charmaine Bingwa
facebook.com/thecharmedone
instagram.com/charmainebingwa
twitter.com/charmainebingwa

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Everyone Wants to be Charmaine Bingwa’s Little Sista. Photo Credit: Paul Smith.