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The D’Ambrosio Twins: A Q&A With Disney’s Iconic Twin Stars Bianca & Chiara

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D’Amrosio Twins. Photo credits: LastingLegacy PR

Disney’s iconic twin stars, The D’Ambrosio Twins, have been acting alongside one another for as long as they can remember. As actresses, singers, and and best friends, Bianca and Chiara D’Ambrosio have extensive experience in television, film, and music, and are most well-known for their roles as Frankie and Reagan on 19-time Emmy Award-winning series “The Bay” and for starring in its spinoff series “yA.” Additionally, they have been recognized for their performances in “See Dad Run,” “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, & Dawn,” “Diary of a Future President,” and, most recently, Disney Plus’ new film, “To the Beat!: Back 2 School,” the sequel to the hit teen comedy, “To the Beat!” 

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with the twins about their prolific career paths and numerous professional milestones at such a young age. In this candid conversation, the twins reflect upon their journey to stardom as both independent actresses and partners in crime and share their most memorable experiences and lessons with their fans. 

You’ve both been acting since the age of 3, when you were cast in the role of Summer Newman on CBS’ The Young and Restless. Please tell us about your experiences on a mainstream television channel at such a young age. Do you have any distinct or formative memories? 

BIANCA: I was three years old when I started working on “the Young and the Restless.” I can’t remember much, but I do have memories of bonding with my on-screen parents playing Disney cards and eating candy!

CHIARA: Because I was so young on “the Young and the Restless,” I can’t remember a lot. I do remember fond memories of Michelle Stafford coming to our dressing room to see us before going to set. She would hold my hand and walk me to set sometimes.  

On both The Young and Restless in 2008 and Parks and Recreation in 2009, you shared the role of Summer Newman and Lennon Parham’s daughter, respectively. What was it like to take turns playing the role? 

BIANCA: It was fun! Chiara and I got to work together and experience everything at the same time. 

CHIARA: Switching places with my sister while on set was super fun because we always got to hang out with each other and practice our lines with each other.  

What was the best part of being cast together as twins from an early age? Did it ever cause confusion on set, or did it ever create any tension between you as independent actresses? 

BIANCA: It never caused tension between us. We have always loved being cast together because we get to do what we love together. A lot of people got us confused on set, so we would just have fun with it. 

CHIARA: Being cast together as twins has always been a blast. We get to work together in scenes and make life-long memories together. I don’t think that us being known as twins caused tension for us to book projects independently. I was lucky to work on Disney Plus’ show “Diary of a Future President” last year while Bianca worked on a film. We are happy for each other! 

When did you start making music? Please tell us about your breakthrough song “Let Your Light Shine.”

Bianca & Chiara D’Ambrosio. Photo credits: LastingLegacy PR

BIANCA: We started making original music when we were seven. I love to play instruments and wanted to try singing for a change. I ended up loving it and combined my love for playing instruments with singing to create “Let Your Light Shine.” I knew that I wanted our first song to touch on the topic of bullying since we experienced that back in school, so after talking with our parents, we created the song!

CHIARA: We started making music by releasing our debut song “Let Your Light Shine.” We had been bullied at school when we were younger, so we wanted to create music to encourage others to tell someone when they are experiencing bullying. Our song reached a lot of people, and that’s when we realized how our music can inspire others.

Please tell us about the process of creating your first album, “Got You Covered.” What was the source of inspiration behind your album?

BIANCA: “Got You Covered” was a cover album we did to music hits from the 80s, 90s, and even 70s. My parents raised me listening to older music, and I developed a love for songs created in those eras. My sister and I wanted to do something fun with our music and decided to use our parents influence’ on us to create “Got You Covered.”

What is the best part of being twin actresses? 

BIANCA: For me, working with my sister is an amazing experience. She is my best friend and I love that we get to work and do what we love together. Having those memories together on set is something I will remember forever.

CHIARA: I think the best part of being twin actresses is that I have someone who can experience the highs and lows of the entertainment industry with me, and I always have someone to talk to.

How do you differ as actresses and singers? 

CHIARA: We differ as actresses because Bianca enjoys drama and single-camera comedy roles, while I love comedic roles. We differ as singers because Bianca’s voice is higher than mine. Bianca loves the piano and guitar, while I love the drums.

Photo credits: LastingLegacy PR

What is your single favorite memory from your career thus far, independently or as twins? 

BIANCA: There are so many incredible memories that it’s hard to choose just one. I would have to say one of my fondest memories was back in early March of this year when we got to see ourselves on the big screen! We got to watch ourselves surrounded by our family, friends, and the rest of the cast and crew. It was a memory I will never forget. 

CHIARA   I have many favorite memories from my career as an independent actress and as a twin actress. My favorite memory so far in my career was when we wrapped filming yA and I shared a moment of celebration with my sister that has stuck with me since last year. We were so proud of each other and it was a magical experience.

You’ve both had quite a diverse array of experiences as actresses. What is your favorite character you’ve played?

BIANCA: That’s a tough one! I’m so grateful for every experience I’ve had, and It’s so hard to choose one. I would have to say it’s a tie between my character on “yA,” Frankie Sanders, and Donna from the upcoming film, “Slapface.” Donna and Frankie are two completely different characters who I loved equally. Frankie is the spunky twin who hides her feelings and puts her sister before herself. Donna is a mean girl who only cares for her sister and her best friend, Moriah. It’s a tie between those two!

CHIARA: Any opportunity I get to play someone else is surreal. My favorite character I’ve played so far is Regan Sanders from yA. Playing Regan was a wild ride. She is so similar yet so different from me as a person, so it was amazing to step into her shoes.

What’s the one biggest piece of advice you’d give to a fan looking to pursue acting and music? 

BIANCA: To never give up. I know it sounds cliché, but it is so true! Giving up just puts you one step further away from achieving your dream. 

CHIARA: My advice to a fan looking to pursue a career in the entertainment industry is to never give up hope. Sign up for classes or audition for school plays so that you get an experience of working on set. If this is something you really want to do, then go for it and don’t let anyone stop you

What’s next for you both?

Photo credits: Everett Wise

BIANCA: Right before quarantine, I had the chance to work with Justin Long, Judy Greer, and Melanie Lynskey on a comedy movie called “Lady of The Manor” which will be premiering next year. Chiara’s and my new show called “yA”, which is a spinoff of “The Bay,” will also premiere next year. 

CHIARA: We finished filming yA last fall and are looking forward to the release. We are also going to be in a few episodes of “The Bay” coming up, so stay tuned if you want to see a little bit of our characters Frankie and Regan Sanders.

BIANCA AND CHIARA: Thank you so much for the interview. Happy Holidays!  

xoxo, B & C 

Read more celebrity interviews at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by LastingLegacy PR

A Chat with Mary Kate Wiles – Her Path to Digital Fame

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Actress, producer, and creative Mary Kate Wiles is no stranger to digital fame. Over the past decade Wiles has been featured in a number of successful web series. Wiles stared in the groundbreaking Emmy award winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012), Squaresville (2012), and now Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye (2020). Additionally, Wiles is a member of “Shipwrecked Comedy”, a Los Angeles based comedy production group. And, gifted with a divine voice for storytelling, Wiles produces a Podcast series, Anne of Green Gables, that features the classic tales of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Wiles does it all – but she knows all too well the hustle it takes to make it as an actress. In this interview, she discusses her background in english literature, her beauty routine, what she wishes she knew earlier, and how Quibi quickly failed to follow YouTube as a web series platform.

Q. Which of your characters do you most relate to? Do you take roles where the character is a lot like you, or do you prefer characters that are very different from you?

A. Oh wow. Well, in the past few years I feel like I’ve gotten used to playing characters that are very stylized – characters who have a very distinct voice, or accent, or way of carrying themselves which is very different from mine, and that’s made playing characters that are closer to me – like Artemis in Wayward Guide, who is fairly like me in voice and mannerisms – a lot more uncomfortable in some ways. I’ve found I have to trust myself and my instincts more when I don’t have a super character-y character to hide behind. But as far as which of my characters I relate to most, probably Zelda from Squaresville. She’s a teen and she just so desperately wants to get out of her town and do something big with her life, and that was very much me when I was a teen as well. She also holds everyone around her to an impossibly high standard, and I am kind of guilty of that, too. 

Q. How did your formal education at USC prepare you for your acting endeavors? Do you think it is a path more aspiring actors / actresses should consider?

A. I definitely wouldn’t change it – my time at USC was invaluable just in terms of the growing and learning and practicing my craft (as silly as that sounds) that I did. I do wish I had learned more about the actual business of acting – the day-to-day real life things you experience as an actor. Getting representation, working side jobs, doing taxes – all that. I didn’t really learn any of that in school and I think I would have benefited a lot if I had been able to learn those things ahead of time rather than spend the first few years of my career figuring them out on my own. But I think college is hugely important and I am glad I went to USC – I had a blast and I made connections with other alumni and professors that will last a lifetime. And I also studied English Literature and in a lot of ways I think that helped me become a better actor just as much as acting classes did. 

Q. Is there something that you know now that you wish you knew earlier in your acting career?

A. A lot of things, haha. Like I hinted at before, I wish someone had walked me through the whole process with agents and managers. I’m so, so happy with my agent now, but I spent a lot of time with agents who weren’t really doing anything for me and I didn’t realize that I could demand better from them. I wish I had had that confidence.

Q. Who has been the biggest motivator of your acting career?

A. This is sooooo cheesy, but…me. You can’t keep doing this career if you don’t get up every single day and want it. And there have been a lot of times for me that were really, really difficult. But at the end of the day, I keep going, because there’s nothing else I want to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of support around me and I’m so thankful. My dad is a creative soul and I think he’s proud of me for embarking on this as a career. My mom took a little more time to warm up to the idea, but now she’s very supportive. And for the past (nearly) seven years my partner Sean has supported me and I have supported him, and we get a lot of joy out of helping each other succeed. But yeah, when it all comes down to it, it’s up to you. You’re the one who has to want it the most.  

Q. What is your beauty routine? What are the products that you cannot live without?

A. Oooh. Well, I love makeup and I always have. I used to experiment with a ton of looks, but now I’ve kind of settled into a routine. I’m a big fan of L’Oreal True Match foundation.  I love Maybelline’s Age Rewind Concealer, and I always always always have to fill in my brows with a Rimmel brow pencil, because my hair is naturally blonde and my eyebrows are too. I’m constantly trying out different skin products, but CeraVe moisturizer has been my best friend recently.

As for my beauty routine, if I have to see people I will put on a full face of makeup. I always have – my features are very light and I feel like I disappear without makeup. If I’m in a hurry I whittle it down to just concealer, eyebrow pencil, mascara and lip balm. But most days I do the whole thing. It’s also, like, part of my routine – listening to the news while I put makeup on, getting ready for my day. I also do masks a couple times a week and steam my face at home. Trying to use this at-home time during the pandemic to nurture my skin as much as possible!

Q. In your new Podcast, Anne of Green Gables, you read the classic tales of Lucy Maud Montgomery. How did you come up with the idea to start this podcast? 

A. Yeah! Well, this idea was born out of my Patreon – I have a Patreon (and have had for over six years), which is a way that people who like my work can support me as an actor and also become a part of my community. Since I’m not a writer and it’s very hard to creating “acting” work in a vaccuum without other filmmaking artists, it’s been a challenge for me to figure out what sort of thing I can offer as a perk. Musicians can write songs; artists can draw – there’s only so many monologues one can do. So, considering that a lot of the work I’ve done has been based on classic literature – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party – I started to think about that and realized that I could read a book, and bring in other actor friends to read the different characters, and add sound effects, etc. And classic literature is in the public domain so it’s all fair game. My patrons actually voted on Anne of Green Gables – I gave them a few different books to choose from – and I’m so glad they did. It’s been such a fun project and I’ve so enjoyed experiencing the story again in this way. 

Q. The Lizzie Bennet DiariesSquaresville, and Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye have garnered lots of views. How do you think YouTube has evolved as a format for episodic TV?

A. You know, when Quibi was announced it kept being advertised as “quick bites” and this revolutionary way of storytelling, myself and all the digital creators I know just had to roll our eyes because, come on. We’ve been doing this for YEARS. The internet has made our attention spans very short! And I think digital storytellers have found ways of telling some truly compelling narratives over a series of short episodes. That said, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is actually the longest adaptation of Pride & Prejudice ever made at over eight hours long – but told over many, many five minute episodes. I think it’s clear that digital storytelling is having an impact and traditional networks are starting to realize and try and copy this format. My only hope is that they would – instead of trying to do it themselves – start hiring some of these YouTube writers/creators that have been making content in the digital space for the past ten years, because we understand it. We’ve proved it over and over again – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries won an Emmy, for goodness sakes! Felicia Day, like, pioneered webseries with The Guild! And she recently tweeted that Quibi wouldn’t even take a meeting with her. I just thought that was the stupidest thing. Lots of cool and engaging stories are being told via YouTube series and I hope traditional networks – or digital networks like Amazon and Netflix – will take more notice. 

Q. In these different YouTube projects that you have been a part of, how much creative control were you given? Was the creative process fluid or traditional? 

A. I mean, it’s a case by case basis, but I have found that no matter the project, if I have a good relationship with the director/writer/creator, it just inherently becomes collaborative. I took that a step further with Shipwrecked Comedy when I came on as a producer for Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party – and have gone on to produce many projects with them. But even with projects that I wasn’t producing on, like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I think when you’re all in the trenches together creating low-budget narratives, it just can’t help but become collaborative. Or maybe it is for me because I care so much, haha. I may be just an actor, but I want to do everything I can to help make the project the best it can be. And I have wonderful collaborative creator friends who are kind enough to let me chime in every now and again.

Q. You’ve tackled Theater, YouTube series, Podcasts, Production; what would you like to do next? 

A. Oh man. Well, I wouldn’t say no to more steady TV work. And I’ve really loved recording the podcast for Wayward Guide – I’d love to do more VO/audio acting in the future. And Shipwrecked has a lot of big ideas for big budget series – I hope we get to make them someday. 

Q. Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about? Where should we look forward to seeing you?

A. We haven’t announced what it is yet, but Shipwrecked had plans to do another big multi-episode series this year, but of course the pandemic put that on hold. But we’re still planning on crowdfunding in early 2021 and hopefully will be able to shoot and start releasing next year as well. It’ll be a return to our roots in some ways, but also something new and completely different than anything we’ve done before, and I’m very excited about it. Other than that, I’ll be continuing to release Anne of Green Gables episodes for the foreseeable future. And just waiting for the next big adventure! 

Be sure to check out Mary Kate’s Instagram, YouTube, and Webpage to keep up with her ongoing and upcoming projects! 

Read more at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Christopher Higgins and Eric Carroll

 

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.

interview with Irina Proskurina

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!

interview with Irina Proskurina

 

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.

interview with Irina Proskurina 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 

Kezii Curtis on Charm City Kings

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Today we want to share an interview with Kezii Curtis, an actor in the film Charm City Kings. Charm City Kings is a coming-of-age story about Mouse (Jahi Winston), a 14-year-old from Baltimore, who becomes involved with an infamous Baltimore dirt-bike group, the Midnight Clique. The movie won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and offers a gritty look into the crossroads young Black men find themselves at in communities that are difficult to navigate. Kezii Curtis stars as Mouses’s friend Sweartagaud, a typical 13-year-old who just wants hang out with his friends and crack some much-needed jokes. We had the chance to ask Kezii some questions about the movie (out now on HBO Max).

What originally drew you to Charm City Kings?

Everything. The story, the script, the incredible talent attached (Caleeb, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith) were just the icing on the cake!

How did you get interested in acting? Do you remember the pivotal moment that influenced your career decision?

My older brother (Mekai Curtis) was on a TV show when my family first moved to Los Angeles. One day we were visiting him on set and I got a chance to see how it all worked. I said to my parents, “I can do that.”  They believed in me and here we are!

interview with Kezii Curtis

Did you have a favorite moment on set?

There were so many, but if I had to choose… it would be in-between takes when we would make up our own raps and jokes. Some of the stuff we came up with was really good!  “Barz” is what we would all yell when someone said something really catchy.  (I’m still thinking of coming out with a mixtape. LOL) Seriously, there was never a dull moment when we were all together and that just made the time so fun.

How would you describe your character, Sweartagawd? In what ways do you relate and differ to your character? 

I would describe Sweartagawd as the calm in the storm and the voice of reason between his polar opposite friends, Mouse and Lamont.  Sweartagawd is the glue that unites the trio.  He is the lighthearted logical one of the three and the comedic relief.  He is a lot like me in that we both like to crack jokes, goof off, and just have a good time with friends.

interview with Kezii Curtis

Who are your role models?

Some of my role models are Denzel Washington, Michael B. Jordan, my older brother Mekai Curtis, and the person who discovered waffles. 

What does the movie mean to you?

Charm City Kings is very meaningful to me.  Aside from it being my biggest role to date, it allowed me to portray a role that was equally challenging and fun. It also has such a powerful story line with a thought provoking ending that leaves the audience emotional and most importantly thinking. I feel it was a great way to “start” my film career. More importantly, this was a story that needed to be told. Far too often, the behavior and interests of Black boys are criminalized. In other neighborhoods, they have found a way to incorporate the interests of their young people by building arenas for bike racing or skate parks for skaters. I hope Charm City Kings continues to highlight the disadvantages of people from inner cities so that change can happen. I know my castmates and I are getting a lot of slack for our lack of Baltimore accents, but I hope the people of Baltimore are proud of the job we have done to bring needed change to their city.

What are a few things that you hope audiences will take away from Charm City Kings?

I hope audiences take away the story of hope and second chances. I hope the audience can see past the fast bikes and understand the message that is in the movie. Often times young Black men come from circumstances that leave them at a crossroad in life, where either decision they make is crucial to their future. I hope it highlights why bike culture is so popular as it has become an outlet for people who ride to feel free. I hope young men like myself see how important decisions are and I hope older men see how important male role models are for young people.

Outside of acting, what else are you passionate about–hobbies, charities, etc.?

In addition to acting I enjoy producing music, playing the piano and bass guitar, and recently the harmonica. I also have been thinking about doing stand-up comedy because everyone tells me I am funny. (I have to get some material before I give it that my all.)  Also, I have been writing, producing, editing, and directing a parody series with my siblings on YouTube. I also really enjoy drawing. 

What’s next for you?

There is so much I would like to accomplish in the near future.  I would love to film another movie. I would even love to get the chance to star in a more serious role. Last year, I was cast in a pilot that did not get picked up, but I loved the vibe of the multi-cam series. I honestly cannot wait for a new series regular role.

Read more celebrity articles at ClicheMag.com
Images provided by Photographer: Tatiana Katkova Stylist: Ani Hovhannisyan