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Get to Know Teen Star Armani Jackson – Actor, Producer, Musician

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Armani Jackson is the rising teen star who does it all – acting, music, and producing. He’s been in the business since he was 6, landing roles in leading television series and films. Now, Jackson stars beside SNL cast member Nasim Pedrad in the highly anticipated TBS/HBO MAX series CHAD. At just 17, Jackson has created his own production company – Blue Velvet Productions. He aims to create a diverse space for teens to be taken seriously in the writing room. Continue reading our interview with Armani Jackson to see how he constantly pushes the limits of himself.

Q. What can you tell us about the new show CHAD? What is your character like?

A. Chad is about a 14-year-old boy whose main goal in life is to be popular in high school and he will stop at nothing to achieve it. In the process, he makes a fool of himself in some of the most cringeworthy scenes you will ever see. I play Joey – he is part of the friend group that Chad wants so desperately to be in. I’d say Joey is a lot nicer to Chad than most of his peers. I think Joey feels for Chad a little and tries to give him second chances despite everything he does.

Q. What was unique about filming this series? 

A. This was a unique filming experience for me. Chad was more of a loose and creative filming process. Lots of improvising from Nasim Pedrad, which made it such a fun set. We were all able to give ideas and even change our lines on each take if we thought something was funnier a different way. I was able to come up with my own lines for my character quite a bit of the time.

Q. You’ve starred in a number of popular tv-series and films – what has been your favorite on-set memory?

A. My favorite on set memory is from Netflix’s Little Boxes where I played the lead role. It was a lot of fun to film in New York and it went to the Tribeca Film Festival, which was a blast because there were a lot of premieres, Q&A’s, and press events involved. I met so many cool people on that set and we’re still great friends today.

Q. When did you begin writing your own scripts? How did horror / psychological thriller become your favorite genre to write?

A. I started writing in 2020 during the beginning of the pandemic with my long-time friend who I met on a film set and is now my writing partner. We started writing a psychological thriller script that we finished late 2020 and are getting meetings for it through our literary agent. I have always loved the horror/thriller genre since I was really young. I begged my mom to see Chainsaw Massacre at 7 years old and was always interested in the special effects and makeup for horror films. At 8 years old, I went to my first Halloween Horror Nights, which is primarily for 13 and over. I have gone every year since! When I booked Cooties, it was a dream project to see how horror films were made behind the scenes. Of course, I got work with the King of horror films, Leigh Whannell. He created SAW, Insidious and directed the Invisible Man. I’m looking forward to getting some meetings to pitch my horror concepts to hopefully Blumhouse – 
the biggest wheelhouse for horror films.
 
Q. Tell us about your production company – Blue Velvet Productions? How did you make the decision to start your own production company? 

A. We started our own production company this year called Blue Velvet Productions which has always been a family goal. My mom just produced the documentary More Than Miyagi, The Pat Moria Story, which has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, my sister Talia Jackson and I have always been throwing concepts around since we were little. We want to focus our development and stories on young diverse writers, Black creators, and true stories. I think a lot of young adults feel that the narrative about us in TV and film are not often representing us accurately. Mostly due to not having young writers our age in the writing rooms… I recently saw a lot of Twitter comments about this. 

Q. What is your favorite lyric that you have written?

A. My favorite lyrics that I’ve written [right now] is probably “I got lots of demons and they’re visiting me daily, and you just might be one of them, Light Yugami’s got one I got a ton of them.” That’s a reference to an anime called “Death Note” that was adapted into a Netflix film. Light Yugami is a character that has his own personal demon throughout the film.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish in the future? 

A. Booking a series regular on a CW show would be super cool. I just tested for two of them. I would love to have one of my horror concepts picked up by Jordan Peele or Blumhouse where I play the lead character. Another major goal for my music career would be a #1 song.

Q. Where can we look for you next? 

A. You can expect a lot of new stuff next. More music for sure! I’ve got a lot of songs in the vault that I’ll be releasing monthly and I’m continuing to make new songs. As far as acting you can watch Chad April 6th on TBS. I’m also going to be filming a movie based on a New York Times best-selling book. It’s supposed to be shooting this summer.

Follow Armani on Instagram 
Read more Celebrity Interviews at ClichéMag.com
Images Provided by Shane McCauley
Styled by Dev Alexander 

 

Get To Know Ethan William Childress, in Mixed-ish on ABC

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Today, I had the pleasure of  interviewing Ethan William Childress from the TV series, Mixed-ish on ABC. Here is the inside scoop.

SOME BACKGROUND ABOUT ETHAN WILLIAM CHILDRESS

  1. How did you first know you wanted to act?

 My parents took on this audition for the chance to participate in this showcase put on by Adrian R’Mante. I went really to see what it was all about. But the minute I stepped into the room to perform, something just clicked in me and I was so anxious that night waiting to see if I got picked or not. It’s probably one of the times I was really nervous.

  1. When did your career take off once you began acting?

I am actually super blessed in that I was able to be cast in Mixed-ish within my first year of acting. My mom had me do background work just so I’d understand what it was like to be on set.  The expectation, the pace. Then I was able to do a couple of short films which were fun and a different experience.  I did go on a lot of auditions in that first year which because I still was living in Las Vegas all the time, meant a lot of road trips. When I got cast on Mixed-ish it really was a dream come true because it just doesn’t really happen like that for actors.

  1. In your free time, what do you enjoy doing?

Right now, I can only really play video games.  I play on my PC, online. I have a few friends that I play with.  Before Covid, I liked being able to go home and play soccer and flag football. I had to give up playing competitively when I was started acting so I miss it. But I’ll go play around with my friends when I can.  And I really like when we get into Nerf gun wars with my brothers and sister. There’s bullets flying everywhere as there’s no teams. We’re all 4 against each other.  I don’t enjoy having to clean up all the bullets when we’re done. And we never find them all. 

  1. What actors and or actresses do you look up to?

Daveed Diggs, Kevin Hart, Will Smith, Michael B Jordan, Dwayne Johnson. I think they’re all very accomplished in what they do and how versatile they are. I’ve also heard really great things about them from other people who have worked with them. I want to be the type of actor that people like to work with and people say nice things about me to other people.

  1. Can you give us a sneak peak into what this season of Mixed-ish will look like?

Well because of Covid things for the Johnson family look a little different. Like you won’t see any school scenes this season. I did think it was really great that they brought back Rainbow’s friends in a very unique way with the phone calls. All the kids are growing up so they are facing different challenges and have new experiences. Johan is of course having himself all kinds of new adventures like the whole skateboarding thing.

  1. Is there a memorable moment that you remembered happening while being on set of Mixed-ish?

 There have been a couple of scenes with Mykal-Michelle and Christina and myself that left the whole crew cracking up.  Like when we were filming tag for the Spades episode.  Anytime they allow Christina to go off script laughter is sure to follow.  Or one scene where they filmed the whole scene, it was like the perfect take and then someone noticed that Christina still had her face shield still on. It was a lot different this year though as we didn’t get to just hang out with everyone.

  1. What is your characters role on Mixed-ish?

I play Johan, Rainbow’s little brother. He’s a fun loving, adventurous kid. He can be a little gullible at times too. But he tends to see the best there is to see in things. 

  1. What do you have in common with your character, Johan Johnson on Mixed-ish?

I would say that we are both adventurous and like to have fun. We both don’t always get along with our siblings but family is everything so we will always be there for each other. And we’ve both been mistaken for being Mexican. My mom has a friend that when she’s with us, everyone thinks she’s my mom.

  1. What is a big challenge you might of had to overcome being an actor?

Getting in touch with certain emotions is a challenge for me. I’m still young so I don’t have all these life experiences to draw from.  But that’s why you have to take classes and work on being able to bring something to life whether you can relate to it or not.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR ETHAN WILLIAM CHILDRESS?

  1. Being a young actor like yourself, what will you hope to accomplish in the near future?

The next thing I’d like to experience is being in a feature film, to see how that differs from TV. I really want to be able to experience all aspects of being in front of the camera. And then as I get older I may like to start looking at the behind the camera stuff. But right now I’m really just enjoying what I am doing and still being a kid.

Read more Celebrity Interviews at ClicheMag.com
Images provided by Paul Gregory 

Haley Kalil: Sports Illustrated, STEM, and her Empowering New Organization

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Haley Kalil is a model, scientist, and an activist. She was just announced as a returning model in the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for the 4th year in a row.  She has published award winning immunology research, is a winner of the first ever Sports Illustrated Swim Search, and now she is launching her very own organization called “The Nerd Herd”. The organization was created to empower women to love their bodies and their minds, while working to educate the new generation of women in STEM. Haley will be releasing a collection of Nerd Herd loungewear later this year, donating 100% of the proceeds from the first launch to organizations that help get young women involved in STEM at an early age.

You graduated with a 4.0 in Biomedical Sciences and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. What drew you to the STEM field? 

 I have always been fascinated by the human body. I was also raised by two mechanical engineers. Almost everyone in my immediate family is in a STEM based field – so passion for science runs through our veins. I was drawn to math and science for as long as I can remember. My friends would dread chemistry class… while I secretly loved it!! My friends would complain about Physics… but it was one of my favorite courses. I just knew science was my calling because it came so easily to me. I also love that science is a field where there are no limits to what you can learn. There is so much out there to still be explored, investigated, and studied. I wanted to be the person doing those things. 

You started your modeling career on a whim in 2017, when you decided to submit a video via Instagram for Sports Illustrated’s open call. Before you were modeling you worked in an immunology lab, what was that like? 

 Working in a laboratory setting is a LOT different than working as a model. Although the process of discovery is exciting….a lot of the time, years of hard work on a project can result in no significant findings. I always enjoyed the lab because it was a place where I felt “in my element.” …But, I won’t lie…. there was nothing more disappointing than when your hypothesis did not end up being accurate – especially if you spend a lot of time working on the project. 

Photo By: Derek Kettela

Sports Illustrated saw your submission video for their open call and messaged you about being in the next Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. You treated the shoot like a big test and you studied. Can you share with us what that studying looked like?

 Oh man… I watched every single “Making of SI Swimsuit” I could find online. I STUDIED for that shoot. I watched old school videos of Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks… you name it… I watched it. I practiced their poses in the mirror. I would film myself posing and making facial expressions – trying my best to mimic the powerhouses of the industry. I thought of modeling the same way I viewed anything else in life…. it can be learned. It just takes a lot of hard work and dedication…. and I definitely put in the endless hours because this was my one shot!!

Do you have someone who acts as a role model or inspiration? 

 My mother is my greatest role model. I know a lot of people have celebrities or social icons they look up to…. and I completely understand why. But for me… I don’t know those people on a personal level. I haven’t seen them at their worst. I’ve only seen them at their best. I’ve seen my mother go through some of the hardest times and she still handled herself with grace, humility, and kindness. I aspire to be as good of a woman and to have as kind of a heart as she does. 

Modeling has always been something that has interested you. Now you are modeling for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition for the 4th year in a row. Can you share a little bit about the process of shooting the issue? 

 Shooting for SI Swimsuit is one of the most exciting things I have ever done and I am honored every single year they invite me back. SI Swimsuit has become a second family to me. Being on set with them is fun, goofy, empowering, and inspiring. I can truly be myself and feel my most confident.

The one thing many people don’t know about SI Swimsuit is that the team is made up primarily of women. The editor and assistant editors are women. The social media, head of PR, and many set assistants are women. It’s a very empowering feeling when you get to stand in front of a group of powerhouse women in a bikini and they cheer you on and build you up!! Because, as a woman, sometimes it’s very hard to stand in front of a group of extremely powerful people in a bikini and not second guess something about your body. When I’m shooting with SI Swimsuit, I have never once had a negative thought go through my head. I feel like they truly see me and celebrate me. Shooting with SI Swimsuit is like shooting iconic, mind blowing images with your best friends. 

Photo By: Nick Suarez

Traveling is something you love to do in your free time. You have been in Miami Swim Week and have shot in Belize and Kenya. Where has been your favorite place that you have traveled? 

 Thailand is absolutely magical. I think it may be one of my favorite places on earth because the natural beauty of the environment is so striking. Kenya was incredible because I never envisioned I would ever get the chance to travel to Africa. The people, the food, and the culture were beautifully intoxicating. I didn’t want to leave. 

You are launching “The Nerd Herd”, an organization that empowers women to love their minds and bodies, as well as empowering women in STEM. Can you tell us a bit more about “The Nerd Herd” and what inspired you to create this organization? 

 The Nerd Herd is my passion project. What started as a social media hashtag has grown into a movement. It is a way I am hoping to give back to a community I know and love dearly. Science was once my entire life. I came from a world where I was respected for my mind….and entered a world where I was respected for my body…. and it made me aware of the incredibly stringent rules that have been placed on women in the sciences and in society as a whole. Society tries to place women into categories. If you embrace your intellectual abilities, you can’t embrace your body and vice versa. Our society puts women in boxes based on their choice of swimsuit or the length of their skirt. But women are incredibly multifaceted and embracing both one’s body and one’s mind at that same time should not be deemed inappropriate. The Nerd Herd is a place for women to feel safe expressing their passion for knowledge, science, math, etc. while also loving and embracing every curve of their physical bodies. It is also a place to encourage young women to pursue their passions in STEM – despite many of the fields still being male dominated.

What are some inspirational words that you live by?

 “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie (the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for her studies in radioactivity) 

Haley Kalil | Instagram

The Nerd Herd | Instagram 

Read More Interviews on ClichéMag.com
Images Provided by: Christian Michel, Derek Kettela, and Nick Suarez

Interview with Dominique Druckman

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Can Fame happen over night?

This interview with actress Dominique Druckman, explores her experience getting discovered filming her new show and what’s she is up to now. Dominique plays one of three influencers in the HBO documentary, Fake Famous, which premiered February 2nd on HBO. First-time director Nick Bilton explores the industry of social media influencers through an innovative experiment, taking an actress, fashion designer, and real estate agent, and demonstrates how easily an online personality can launch to Instagram fame. Dominique studies with the Groundlings in Los Angeles and is originally from Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida State with a BA in Theater. Thanks to Fake Famous, Dominique now has over 300,000 followers on Instagram. 

Q & A with Dominique on Fake Famous 

  1. How were you discovered for Fake Famous and can you elaborate on the recruiting process?

–  “Somebody actually DM’d me asking if I would be interested in sending in a self-tape!  This never happens to me, so after sussing it out and it felt legitimate, I sent in my tape.  Turns out she is an intern for the production company, I’m so glad she found me!”

  1. What was it like working with first time director Nick Bilton?

– “Nick is amazing, he is just so intelligent, which is really inspiring when it’s not intimidating.  He was always very understanding of our lives outside the social experiment and I couldn’t be luckier that my first big project was with him as our captain!”

  1. What was your favorite and least favorite part of being on Fake Famous?

– “I’d say my favorite part of being on Fake Famous would have to be all the free gifts, coming home every day felt like Christmas! Being around the crew, calling out sick from work to go film definitely wasn’t bad either. My least favorite part would have to be online bullies and trolls.”

  1. Do you look at influencers different now after experiencing the ins & outs of being one?

– “I look at influencers a little differently, and feel like Fake Famous reveals what is behind the curtain for a lot of them. I admire influencers who hustle every day to make this their full-time job.  It’s a lot of work to keep up with!”

  1. Tell me about the adjustment of becoming an influencer from working in retail.

– “I still have my day job of working in retail, I’m currently waiting on Steven Spielberg to cast me in his next project so I can quit! I never found my niche that felt believable to an audience, which made it difficult to fully portray an influencer.” 

  1. Did participating in this show make you realize you want to be an influencer or is acting still the main goal?                                                                                                                                                               – “Acting is still the main goal and I am working at it every day.”

Interview with Dominique on Life After the Show

      7. What acting genre do you aspire to be a part of? Are you more interested in TV roles or movies?

– “I love comedy, making people laugh just warms my heart.  I’d love the consistency of working on a TV show but at the end of the day I just want to act full-time so will take either TV or Film.”

  1. Are you afraid this show will give you a reality TV/ Instagram model stigma?

– “I was a little worried being perceived as an influencer for Fake Famous would keep me pegged as an influencer.  No disrespect to the hard-working people in that industry. However it’s not for me and never want to lose sight of acting as my main priority.”

  1. How has life been after the show?

– “Life has been fun and interesting.  Now that the show and my secret is out, I have real engagement on my Instagram. It is weird to wrap my head around.  I also have some trolls and internet bullies whose words can be harsh. I wish that if they didn’t have anything nice to say they just wouldn’t say it at all.”

  1. What are your plans for the future and are you currently working on any projects that you wish to share?

– My plans are to be able to get out of having a survival job. I want enough time to work full-time towards becoming an actress this year. I’m manifesting that for the year 2021.”

Read more celebrity interviews at clichemag.com 
Images provided by Dean Foreman 

WandaVision – How Marvel Continues After End Game

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*WARNING: SPOILERS*

WandaVision is the latest installment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series follows Marvel Avenger characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision living a seemingly perfect life as a married couple in the suburban town of Westview. The show is produced as a satire of classic television sitcoms with a marvel twist. Each episode is set in a different decade beginning in the 50’s, jumping in and out of present-day. The show is both a glance at life for the MCU post Avengers End Game, and the backstory of how Wanda became the “Scarlet Witch” – Wanda’s official title announced for the first time, only previously used in the comics.

Dottie is introduced in episode two, played by actress Emma Caulfield, as the Queen B of the Westview housewives. Caulfield says about shooting the series, “It was a blast capturing the different decades. The authenticity level was well, next level.  Everyone working on this project is a master of their craft.”

Historically, comic books have captured a primarily male demographic, but the MCU has expanded their demographic to women by giving female superheroes leading roles and dynamic backstories. WandaVision is a great example of this. Speaking with Caulfield, I asked why she believed WandaVision was successful at capturing a female audience:

“It gets super boring to see women in distress or inconsequential, or one dimensional. At the heart of this show is a fierce, complex and interesting woman who is complimented by her male counterpart, not overshadowed by him. I want to watch that show. I’m on the show and I want to watch that show.”

The show came to a close in typical Marvel fashion with cliffhangers and suspense, toying with the possibility of a second season. And good news for those who are new to Marvel – you don’t have to be familiar with the entire MCU to understand and enjoy WandaVision.

All episodes have been released on Disney +.

Follow Emma on Instagram

Read more Celebrity Interviews at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Dean Foreman 

Ava Jules : Youtube, Fashion Design, and Hawaii Life

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Ava Jules is a 20-year-old lifestyle and beauty Youtuber based in O’ahu, Hawaii. She is an advocate for Environmental and Oceanic Preservation, as well as Body Positivity. Ava has 1.3-Million subscribers on Youtube and over 100-Million views on her main Youtube Channel alone. She has balanced College classes, launching a jewelry line, and designing her own sustainable fashion brand. 

What was it like growing up in Hawaii? 

Growing up in Hawai’i was filled with beach days, island fun, and lots of good memories. I definitely feel very connected to the ocean and nature because I grew up learning to love and care for it.

You began your Youtube Channel in 2013 in an effort to show your love for Justin Bieber. How has your content evolved and what are some of your favorite videos to create? 

 Unfortunately I do not make Bieber fan videos anymore. My content now is very much a representation of what my life currently is like, so it’s bound to change as I change as a person! I love creating vlogs that bring people along into my life and tell a story. Lately, my favorite videos to make have been a new series on my channel called “Home in Hawaii”. 

What is something that you enjoy about creating content whether it’s on Youtube, TikTok, or Instagram?

I love seeing the comparison between the raw videos and the final edited version of the videos I create for YouTube. It’s absolutely hilarious to me that I’ll sometimes have more than two hours of footage, then end up with a seventeen minute video.

You act as a role model to many by using your voice to shine a light on body positivity and environmental preservation. Do you have any role models, or someone who acts as an inspiration to you?

I’m really inspired by Blake Lively because she’s spoken up about issues she cares about in a very informative and empowering way. It inspires me to use my voice and platform to do the same. 

Photo by: Sienna Morales

 What is a piece of advice you would give to someone about body confidence?

Speak to yourself the way you would speak to a dear friend.

Fashion has always been a part of your life, and now you are launching your own sustainably-designed fashion collection. Can you share a little bit about what the creative process was like? 

Everything starts with a “vision”, as dramatic as that sounds. I love coming up with designs and (very roughly) sketching them on my iPad is probably my favorite part. It’s a long process to create clothing, with a lot of back and forth and re-designing, but to see the final product is well worth it. 

 

Being a college student, content creator, and fashion designer, what does the average day in your life look like?

No day is really the same because there’s always different things that need to be done and things tend to pop up out of the blue. BUT, I do have a steady morning routine that I do pretty much daily. I start off by waking up, drinking water, and I’ll either workout or take my puppy for a walk. Then I’ll have some breakfast, shower, do my skincare, and get ready for the day. After that, it’s really unpredictable.

Photo by: Sienna Morales

You met your best friend, Hannah Meloche, through the Youtube Community. She is now in Hawaii and you guys just collaborated to create the “Ava x Starlite Village” jewelry collection. What was it like working with your best friend? How did the idea of the Jewelry collaboration come about? 

Working together to create something that represents a piece of our friendship was so much fun. The best part was probably launch day, and seeing the little dots pop up on the world map of where in the world people were on the site. The idea to do a jewelry collaboration randomly happened when we were in LA together in February of 2020. Hannah and I were chatting and she looked at me and went “We should do a collection together.” 

 

What can we expect to see from you in the future? What are some goals that you have? 

Oh man.. who knows? Between you and me, I don’t think too far into the future because it’s so unpredictable and gets me kind of anxious. However, I think the future will bring a lot of changes in my life and my career online since I still am so young and have lots of life ahead. One of my biggest goals is to create something that is bigger than myself and helps/inspires others.

 

Where can we follow you? 

 You can find me on almost every social media site if you search up my name, Ava Jules

Youtube Main ChannelYoutube Vlog Channel |Instagram| Tik Tok |Twitter|Snapchat|Facebook

Read more Interviews at ClichéMag.com
Images Provided by: Sienna Morales

Jackie Tohn: Powerhouse of Talent

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographed by Sela Shiloni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographed by Sela Shiloni

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

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

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

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

Are there any future projects you hope to work on? 

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

Any particular people?

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

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

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

Favorite animal: my dog Glen 

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

Favorite person: (people) My parents. 

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

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Read more celebrity articles at Clichemag.com

BANDS INTERVIEWING BANDS: Roderik and Tzarina

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This week’s feature sees post hardcore performers Tzarina and NY band RODERIK quiz each other on their influences, how they have found working during a pandemic and the all-important topic of new music. 

Tzarina: Congrats on the release of “Save Me.” Can you tell me a bit more about the song? The writing process, production, etc.?

RODERIK: Thanks guys! Yeah, it was definitely an interesting process. The initial riffs and melodies for the song were actually started mid-late last year. We entered the studio around January to start recording this song, but due to the pandemic, we didn’t finish the song until about mid summer. It was by far the longest time I’ve ever taken to record a song, so there was a lot of tweaking and stuff throughout that long wait time. 

RODERIK: What does “Tzarina” mean and what was the main influence behind the band name?

Tzarina: Tzarina is basically just a Russian queen. So like in the old Russian empire, the royal family had a Tzar (also commonly spelled Czar), to which his bride was often referred to as Tzarina. I went down a really intense history rabbit hole on pre-WWI Russia and watched a couple documentaries where the term was thrown around. It sounded musical so I basically told the guys one day we were changing the band name.

Tzarina: How are you all getting by as a band with the current state of the world and the pandemic?

RODERIK: It’s definitely weird. RODERIK is basically a band made up of some of my best friends, so we all really get along well, but it’s really a strange situation that we can’t all get together and jam, write together, or even just hang out. Other than that, I REALLY miss playing shows. I’ve been impatiently waiting for shows to start up again, but I’m happy to stay on the cautious side until they can safely do so. 

RODERIK: I know we’re all pulling for shows to come back, but when they do what’s the first venue you have in mind for your first performance back? 

Tzarina: Somewhere in Bowery. A bunch of the local clubs on the LES. Outside of that, my hometown of New Haven in CT has some pretty legendary venues like Toad’s Place and The Acoustic.

Tzarina:  What are some of the musical influences that inspired you to piece together this band?

RODERIK: Oh man, way too many to list. We went into writing songs for this band with an open mind. I feel like a lot of artists try to focus on one primary genre, but for us, there’s no limit on what influences go into our songs. Some of the biggest ones are probably My Chemical Romance, Too Close to Touch, Point North, Lauv, Ruel, Dance Gavin Dance, and even Mac Miller.

RODERIK: I know for us, the pandemic has really changed how we function as a band. We’re so used to getting together and hashing out new songs, or just jamming for the fun of it. How has the pandemic impacted your band in general? 

Tzarina: To be honest, outside of affecting how we were going to record the album not much else has changed. We have been having regular rehearsals to make sure that our live show is on point and ready to go as soon as it’s okay to do so. We’ve also just been trying to hammer out the content to round people up and keep them interested in what we’ve got going. I’ve been toying with the idea of our first show being a live stream but I’d want to do it right. Lights, good audio and video, etc.  

Tzarina: Can we expect any more new material in the near future?

RODERIK: Yes, absolutely you can. We’re constantly writing and working on new material. You might even see a new release as early as November. 😉 

RODERIK: Now that ‘Deadsong’ is out, what do you guys have planned for next?

Tzarina: Hopefully playing a show sooner rather than later, but just like everyone else, we’re playing it safe and waiting. It’s kind of ridiculous, I’ve been seeing bands on DIY touring forums actually asking for other bands to come on and support shows that are happening in states where the COVID numbers are through the roof. For early 2021, we’ll be releasing the second single with a video and then hopefully we’ll have a better idea on timing of the things opening across different states (in a safe way). We’d like to finalize the album dropping around that time.  

Follow Tzarina:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tzarina.official

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tzarina.official/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0vqW0rp5eMIldvGwQveMzN

Follow RODERIK:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RODERIKMusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roderikmusic/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6ZWEU3cIwl4EdCVRaeLtZS

 Read more Music News on ClicheMag.com

(Right) Tzarina. Photo credit: Kelli J Bartlett.(Left) Roderik. Photo credit: Photolitsina

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

Get to Know Young Millionaire Isabella Barrett

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Isabella Barrett does it all! This former Toodlers and Tiaras star is taking over the world from skin care to TV to jewerely! The 14 year old self made millionaire talks to us today about how she made it all happen.

Maya: How did you go from  Toddlers and Tiaras to where you are now?

Isabella: It’s hard to believe Toddlers & Tiaras marked 8 years since the show this past June. It was an amazing launching platform for me and I went on to be on Bravo TV Game of Crowns, Get Made Global, Kid entrepreneurs, the movie EIGHT, and now I am just finishing a new show coming out on Amazon Prime called Next Big Thing NYC. I also have had my companies Glitzy Girl, Bound by the Crown & House of Barretti

M: Can you tell us about Amazon Prime’s new show Next Big Thing NYC

I: Next Big Thing NYC is about 8 Teens who are on their come up in different fields. The cast ensemble consists of a rapper, an R&B singer, Miss Teen CT, An Olympic aspiring figure skater, A famous teen DJ, A millionaire, an actress, and an influencer. The cast is all connected in some way like a family and with family comes drama. Don’t miss the full season premiering September 25th. 

Photo: Jared Siskin
Wearing House of Baretti

M: You’re only 14 and have accomplished so much. How do you handle it all? Do you make time to just be a teenager? 

Photo by Brett Martelli

I: Everything that I do really revolves around being a teen. From my clothing line to my skincare to my character on the show everything is Teen-based. Aside from business and travel, I love jet-skiing, 4-wheeling, acting, and modeling. I was cheer captain last year for my school and ran track, but now with COVID we don’t really know how sports will go this year. 

M: What’s the number 1 piece of advice would you give to other teens trying to make it? 

I: My number one piece of advice is if you’re passionate about something and want to try it, DO IT! Being young gives you the opportunity to try and fail many times. The best way to describe that is there is a lot less at stake when you’re young.

M: What’s in store for you in the future? 

I: I really think we are living in a time of change and I can see myself definitely continuing to make or invest in brands, concepts, and ideas that move me. I see college in my future and just so many amazing experiences to learn and grow from.

I also really want to adopt my first dog. I am hoping for a Lab or a golden retriever. I am very annoying when it comes to animals just ask all my friends. I can’t help but stop and talk to every dog I see and will definitely be joining a dog park walking club when I get my dog. 

Read more Celebrity Interviews at ClichéMag.com

Isabella Blake-Thomas: Star, Activist, & Producer

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Isabella Blake-Thomas is a young actress with an impressive resumé. Most recently featured in the upcoming Disney program, “Secret Society of Second-Born Royals”, Isabella plays the Princess January. “Secret Society of Second-Born Royals” premieres September 25th on Disney+. 

Cliché- Isabella, how does it feel to be so heavily involved in the entertainment industry at such a young age? 

Isabella Blake-ThomasI feel incredibly blessed. It’s an industry that I love and so to be in-front and behind the camera on all levels is very unique. Being able to experience all aspects allows me to be a better and more considerate actress. I really enjoy the writing and the pre-production of projects. It’s incredible to have an idea and then see it fully blossom into a finished project. Running a production company with my Mom and her team means that I can also learn from the ground up and so I can help and mentor others who want to be involved from a young age. 

Cliché- Does it ever feel hard to balance music, acting, producing, writing, and activism while also maintaining a life outside of these things? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas: They all flow very well into each other. I enjoy writing, this can be scripts or for my music. I find a subject matter that can make a difference and so I create a role that I can play which is related to a cause I’m passionate about. The music is necessary for the film and is a good outlet to be able to make even more noise around an important issue. The project becomes my life. The rest of the time I get to read, write create and just be. Giving me the space to then get ready for the next project. It’s true what they say that if you do what you love then you don’t work a day in your life. 

Cliché- As a young woman with a voice in the media, which you have used to speak about about mental health recently, what would you say drives you to use that voice for good? Do you have any inspirations that make you passionate about particular causes? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas: I am the ambassador for suicide awareness with an incredible non-profit called Awareness ties. Mental health is such an important thing to talk about because so many people struggle with it. I have had 5 people close to me in the past few years who have taken their own life so I am very passionate about helping people who are struggling, to see that it’s okay to not be okay. 

Cliché- Is working with Disney something you are excited about? If so, was there anything in particular that was exciting to you about the process? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas: Disney is an iconic family and one that everyone, whether you’re in the film industry or not, wants to be a part of. We all grew up with Disney movies and so to suddenly be in one is quite literally, a dream come true. One of the things that excited me were the costumes. Disney princesses are known for their gorgeous wardrobes so when I got to try on incredible clothes and handmade gowns, I felt like I was living in a fairytale. 

Cliché- What was it like working on a Disney set? What was your favorite part of filming? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas: It was magical. We filmed in Toronto for two months so the cast and crew all became like family. We would hang out after work and on the weekends and we made so many great memories. My favorite part of filming would be the stunts. We all went through training to make sure we were prepared for any stunts we had to do. We did have stunt doubles for some of the major things but a lot of the free running stunts and the ones where we had close ups, was all us. 

Cliché- You play Princess January in Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, did you find it easy to step into this role? Do you have anything in common with your character? What qualities, if any, do you see in yourself and in her? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas: It was easy to become January because I essentially got to create her from scratch. I was able to create a backstory, mannerisms, reactions and little things that made her really come to life. One of my favorite things to do was create a family tree for her so in my mind, I had full awareness of who she was and where she came from . January and I share lots of things. First of all, we look identical… *wink wink* second of all, we are both extroverted. January and I were both home-schooled and we love being happy and smiling, in fact we are known for it. 

Cliché- Your previous work includes a diverse list of television productions, including Shameless and Doctor Who. Is there anything different about working in a production more geared towards a younger audience? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas: Definitely. The way people work is different. If the subject matter is for an older audience then as a young actress, the producers really protect you. Often there’s someone on set to make sure the actors are comfortable with the scenes they are doing, regardless of their age. However, if you’re part of a project that anyone could watch then you get to see all aspects. Also your acting styles are different. For a younger audience it’s slightly bigger and there’s more movement because it’s what attracts a child to watch. When you’re acting for adults, your movement is smaller and less noticeable because adults like not being distracted from the story. I was lucky with Secret Society because it was a combination of both. I was able to have the comical moments and beats but I was equally able to stay real and honest to my character and her journey. 

Cliché- As a rising star, what do you hope to do in the future? Do you have any dream roles that you aspire to play, or upcoming projects that you are excited about? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas: I’m always excited about the future. I have some wonderful projects that I’m working on including a children’s TV show called “Captain Jemma and The Space Pirates.” I love working and so I’m always thinking about my next roles. A superhero would be brilliant, I also enjoy playing iconic characters from History. I would love to be directed by Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino. 

Cliché- You are part of a production company, Mother & Daughter Entertainment, that focuses on making “content that matters”. What are some of the responsibilities that come with being a founding member of a production company with so many outlets, such as a podcast, music, and publishing? 

Isabella Blake-Thomas:I oversee a lot of our projects “from script to screen” as they say. I’m also responsible for creating new projects and I’m heavily involved in the ideas. We want them to be something that can make a difference in the world. It’s important that all our voices are heard and we take that as a huge responsibility. I’m very proud to be part of such a forward thinking female led company.

Read more Celebrity News at Clichemag.com

Makeup and Hair Credits to Andrew Toma

Styling Credits to Lisa Cera & Tyler McDaniel

Crosby Carter Mgmt

Image Credits to Dean Foreman