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A Conversation with Virgin River Star, Jenny Cooper

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If you are a fan of great television, specifically, shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and 24, then Jenny Cooper is a familiar face. The Canadian-born actress continues to grow her impressive resumé as she stars in the hit Netflix series, Virgin River.   

Based on the novels by Robyn Carr, Virgin River follows Melinda ‘Mel’  Monroe, a woman who answers an ad to work as a midwife and nurse practitioner in the remote California town of Virgin River. While she hopes it will be the perfect place to start fresh, she soon discovers that small-town living isn’t quite as simple as she expected. She must learn to heal herself before she can truly make Virgin River her home. Jenny Cooper plays Mel’s cautious older sister, Joey Barnes. Joey is weary of Mel’s move to Virgin River and makes every attempt to convince her to return to Los Angeles. 

The critically acclaimed series has made its mark in Netflix streaming history. The season 2 premiere was given a coveted 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes while racking in nearly 1.8 billion views in November and December of 2020. Following the news of Virgin River being picked up for a third season, we caught up with Jenny Cooper to chat about her admirable career and of course, Virgin River

 

Jenny Cooper

Cliché: What drew you to acting? How did you get your start in the business?

Jenny Cooper: My parents were huge movie and theatre buffs. So, I grew up really appreciating the arts, both visual and performing. At some point, when the lights would dim before a performance or a movie, I started to have a sense of belonging. That led to studying acting, which was extremely fulfilling, and finding “my people.” I had done a few commercials when I was little so had my SAG card when I came out to LA. My career kind of started backwards with a couple of series regular roles (Jake and the Kid, a Canadian series) and Fast Track (Showtime). They both filmed in Canada and lasted one season each. When I came back to LA, I had to start back at square one. I had to build my resume with guest star roles and take every acting class I could fit into my schedule.

 

What entices you about joining a project, the people involved, the overall script or the character you are reading for? 

All of the above! Definitely the people involved. The longer I am in this business, the more I want to be surrounded by like minded people I can trust and grow with. And of course the script and relationships depicted are key. I love it when a theme or role mirrors an experience I have had or grown from, something I can recognize. That’s part of what I love about playing Joey on Virgin River. My own sister lives in NYC so we have, for the most part, a long distance phone relationship. But we are so close that it always feels like we are in each other’s living rooms. And no one knows me better than she does. No one shares your life experiences quite like a sibling does…

 

You’ve been on so many successful shows with such incredible followings like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and now Virgin River. How does having such dedicated fans inspire and motivate you on set?

So, it’s an interesting relationship. Of course, we’re not really thinking about pleasing the fans when we’re on set doing the actual work. The writers come up with the storylines they feel work best, a million things go on behind the scenes to help realize those storylines and lastly, the actors (and director and crew!) come in and do their best to bring them to life. But I have often found there is no rhyme or reason to shows that do amazingly well and some that just don’t find their way. Virgin River definitely seems to have found a robust and international audience. It is very exciting, and I find our fans to be incredibly loving and generous, both to the show and, personally, to the cast. Social media really allows you to hear from everyone, for better or worse, and the support has been extraordinary.

Tell us about your character Joey on Virgin River.

I would love to! Joey is a mother of three. She’s recently separated from her husband, Bill and is heading into unchartered territory. Joey is used to being on top of everything; a multi-tasker who manages to take care of her busy life with effortless style. However, all of that comes crumbling down when her marriage falls apart and she has to figure out what to do next. Mel relies on Joey for her big sister advice, but Joey leans on Mel too for comfort and support. And I think that’s why she has such a hard time accepting the fact that Mel is really happy somewhere else.

Congratulations on Virgin River being renewed for a third season! Is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming season?

Thank you. I can’t really say much other than you’ll get to see more of Joey’s awesome house!

You’ve played some amazing roles in your career. Is there a dream role you’d like to play?

I would love to do something totally different, like a period piece or play a vampire. Just a fun 180 of some sort.

What’s next for you? 

I am working on a couple of projects that I am writing and producing, which are my other passions. And sending my children back to school in April, which is very exciting!

Read more Interviews at ClicheMag.com
Images Provided by Dean Foreman, Hair – Matilde Campos, Makeup – Ashley Donovan 

TGIT: Where We Left Off

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It’s no secret that Shonda Rhimes has taken over our Thursday nights (and arguably our lives) with her trio of Shondaland dramas that return Thursday, Jan. 26 on ABC. “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away with Murder” (HTGAWM) make up the “Thank God It’s Thursday”, or TGIT, lineup.     

Image courtesy of ABC


The Grey’s and HTGAWM winter finales left us on Nov. 17, 2016 with about a zillion questions, and we haven’t seen our Scandal gladiators since their season five finale on May 12, 2016. So, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be parked on your couch this Thursday with your drink of choice and popcorn at the ready.
In case you’ve forgotten exactly where we left all of our favorite characters, here’s a little refresher on each of the shows to get you up to speed and ready to dive back in this week!
First up, let’s check in with our Grey-Sloan Memorial family.
Grey’s Anatomy:
The mid-season finale is appropriately centered around the collapse of a Seattle apartment building that matches the potential collapse of the hospital as we know it.
While the doctors navigate the insanity following the collapse, we are getting to know the newest addition to the Grey-Sloan team, Dr. Eliza Minnick, who is in the process of taking the teaching program out from under Richard Webber. However, as the episode comes to an end, it looks like the fellow doctors and surgeons are less than okay with this decision and are planning to fight it.

Image courtesy of ABC


In the biggest ongoing drama this season, the Jo-Alex-Deluca lawsuit, things come to a head as Karev’s trial date is quickly approaching. Jo, out of fear of having to testify and risk her abusive husband finding her, comes clean to Alex in the elevator. When we leave the two of them, it seems that Jo may be ready to take flight again and Alex is in the waiting room ready to confess to the district attorney and potentially spend the next two years in jail. In the final scene, Meredith makes one last ditch effort to keep Karev from leaving, reminding him (and us) that they are the only two left of the original five and she needs him to stay with her.

Image courtesy of ABC


We also witness some heart-warming bonding between Dr. Hunt and Dr. Riggs, the possibility of a future romance between Robbins and Minnick, and trouble in newlywed paradise as Amelia leaves a note for Owen to find saying that she has left and that it is not his fault.
“Grey’s Anatomy” will air on ABC at 8/7c. We can’t wait to see what kind of drama Shonda has in store for us with the second half of this season.
Scandal:
It’s been awhile since we last saw Olivia Pope and her team of Gladiators. When we left them, everyone was deeply entrenched in the republican convention in preparation for the upcoming election.
Mellie Grant who intends to run has Olivia Pope and Associates (OPA) running her campaign. Frankie Vargas, her opposing republican candidate, is having his campaign run by Cyrus Bean. The episode takes us along as the two hunt for the proper running mates for each candidate and try to tear each other’s campaigns apart. Making the ultimate move, Cyrus surprises everyone and announces that he will be running for VP alongside his candidate Frankie Vargas.

Image courtesy of ABC


In the midst of all this, it seems that Jake Ballard has been roped back into B613 and is under the thumb of Eli Pope, Olivia’s father also known as “Command.” Jake comes to Olivia asking for her help to get out and, being Olivia Pope, she comes to his rescue. In a move appealing to Command’s paternal instincts, Olivia takes Jake from him and recruits him as Mellie Grant’s VP. Jake, however, has different plans and would like to live an “ordinary” life. Olivia simply tells him to put his tie on and go do what she asked him to do. Jake then realizes and verbalizes that he hasn’t escaped anything. He just went from “being [her] father’s bitch to [Olivia’s].”
In the final scene of the finale, Shonda gave us a montage of conversations between Olivia and her father, highlighting how alike they are and proving that Olivia too, will do whatever it takes to get what she wants.

Image courtesy of ABC


In the background of this episode, we see things heat back up between David Rosen and Elizabeth North, some healing between now divorced Mellie and Fitz, and a bomb dropped onto Abby’s desk and into the hands of Fitz in the form of Olivia’s medical records which we can only assume (as it is never directly mentioned) reveals the abortion she had recently undergone.
Season 6 of “Scandal” will premiere at 9/8c on ABC following “Grey’s Anatomy” on Jan. 26 and a scandal it most certainly will be.
How to Get Away with Murder:
“How to Get Away with Murder” has become the TV thriller we all never knew we desperately wanted. I think everyone is with us when we say the return to season 3 better have some serious answers in store.
The mid-season finale, aptly titled “Who’s Dead,” did finally answer the question we’ve been asking all season: who’s under the sheet? The episode takes us back to the beginning of the night we have already seen the aftermath of in true HTGAWM fashion.

Image courtesy of ABC


The episode gives us a glimpse into every facet of the season so far and how we ended up with a dead man under a sheet, a pregnant Laurel in the hospital, and an incarcerated Annalise Keating.
We also finally get to see Frank again and we are not liking the view all that much.The showdown we’ve been waiting for between Annalise and Frank reveals Frank holding a gun to his head, ready to kill himself, and Annalise urging him to do it until Bonnie steps in and talks them both down.
On the student side of the world (because remember this show is about college students!), we get to see the Keating Five – Wes, Laurel, Michaela, Asher, and Connor – take their final exam and celebrate the fact that they all passed by getting drunk on champagne.

Image courtesy of ABC


Following the showdown with Frank, Annalise goes back to the bottle and calls Bonnie to take care of her. Once she wakes up, seemingly okay, Annalise calls Wes and Laurel telling them to get everyone together then meet at the house. She, however, goes to enlist Oliver, who has now connected the dots about the night Sam Keating died, to help her with her next scheme. With Asher and Connor being too drunk and Michaela taking care of a surprise visit from her mother, the only two who make it to the house are Wes and Laurel. Nate then shows up looking for Annalise and that’s when it all really hits the fan. The house explodes and Annalise identifies the dead body they roll out. Wes Gibbons is under the sheet.
At the hospital, we see the heartbreaking moment when the rest of the Keating Five along with Meggie and Oliver find out that Wes is dead and simultaneously wondering what the hell happened that night.

Image courtesy of ABC


The first half of this season most definitely left us with more questions than we even knew were possible and we are hoping the second half can give us some of the answers we need. How to Get Away with Murder will return to ABC on January 26th after the season 6 premiere of Scandal at 10/9c.
Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, and get settled in. TGIT is back and Shonda Rhimes is certainly ready to take us for a ride.
Read more Entertainment articles on ClicheMag.com
TGIT: Where We Left Off. Feature image courtesy of hypable.com.

Shonda-land: #TGIT Returns

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ABC’s #TGIT is back this week with the return of the Shonda-land. With a powerhouse line up of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder, your Thursday is sorted.  In case you forgot, lets have a quick recap of where our favorite characters left off, shall we? (Warning: spoilers ahead!)

Grey’s Anatomy

Last season ended on a low as our hearts were ripped from our chests and stomped on following the tragic death of Derek Shepherd. (A moment of silence, please.) So, what will life at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital be like without McDreamy? The cast teases that Grey’s is about to go in a much lighter direction, both in story and shot. Ellen Pompeo revealed that Season 12 will be reminiscent of the earlier seasons of the long running show.
Still, how is Meredith coping as a working single mother of three? My guess is she will struggle, which is the perfect excuse Christina Yang to make her epic return. Of course, Sandra Oh‘s return is just speculation, but it would make for a great character arc. Plus, isn’t it Yang’s duty as Mer’s ‘person’ to be there to help her heal? Yang can leave her fancy hospital in Switzerland for a week or two; it will be fine.
With the MerDer story-line closed, which was a driving force of the show since it started, I think season 12 will provide some space to really explore stories with other characters at the forefront. What will happen with Karev and Wilson? Will Jackson and April work through their problems? Will Bailey finally become chief of surgery? We’ll soon see!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8DwupUJhJU

Scandal

When we last saw our favorite Fixer, and her envy-inducing closet, she was being twirled around the balcony of the White House by President Grant; sorry, Jake fans (I’m not really that sorry, #OlitzForever)! As we left the season, it looked like those two were well on their way to ‘Vermont.’ But will they really get it?
I’ll answer with a follow-up: does Shonda ever let us stay happy for long? My guess, sadly, is no. Although the trailer shows us Fitz asking Melly for a divorce, I would bet that something horrible will happen and Olivia and Fitz will be torn apart. Again.
Like the fairy-tale ending, last season seemed to conclude with everything wrapped up in a nice bow. Papa Pope is in jail and no longer Command, Pope & Associates saw promise of growing, and B613 seemed to be in the gutter. Still, the Scandal universe can not exist without a constant state of chaos, so I’m excited to see what, or who, is going to unleash some trouble.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgoN-IxQ74k

How To Get Away With Murder

Only premiering last fall, HTGAWM quickly became one of the most tweeted about shows of the network year. Throughout the 15-episode debut season, we quickly fell in love with the ensemble of characters led by Professor Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis, who just won the Emmy for the role). The twists and turns between each episode were enough to make your head spin, which is probably why the stationary summer hiatus was so particularly painful. Sure, we finished the season with the answer to who killed Lila Stangard, but we were also left with more questions that left us counting down until September.
Who killed Rebecca? How will Connor (swoon) handle the news? And what the heck does ‘Eggs 911’ mean?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRwv5mJ6MpY
So, in classic Olivia Pope style, pour yourself a big glass of red wine and spend your Thirsty Thursday in the mind of Shonda Rhimes. TGIT returns TONIGHT at 8/7c on ABC!
Read more TV News on ClicheMag.com
Shonda-land: #TGIT Returns: Photography courtesy of ABC

Top 5 TV Shows

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The world of television is quickly changing and with good reason. The days of complacency are long gone as we finally begin to see the realistic world reflected on our television screens. The following top 5 TV shows are game-changers. Not only are these shows helping a variety of people push past the stereotypes that they have learned, they are also allowing people of color to view themselves as they truly are on the screen. The fact that these shows are fantastically dramatic is a huge plus. Drama is what makes the best television series — don’t you agree?

  1.      How To Get Away With Murder 

courtesy of abc

Courtesy of ABC


Once again, ABC has hit the nail on the head with its decision to green light a show backed by Shonda Rhimes. After having such groundbreaking success with Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, it isn’t a surprise that Peter Nowalk’s newest hit, How To Get Away With Murder — which she is the executive producer of — is a hit. How To Get Away With Murder is chock-full of exciting moments that are equally frustrating and wonderfully performed.
This is one of those television shows that will make you laugh, cry and shout in in aggravation. Viola Davis is most definitely the  perfect choice for the role of Annalise Keating. Keating is a law professor and totally in control in her professional life, while being a perfectly imperfect woman in her personal life.
She navigates cases with her impassioned “Keating 5,” a group of five students who won their positions as members of Keating’s law firm when they were all instrumental in helping her win an important case. While Davis has been a staple in our hearts for her multitude of television and film roles, this is arguably her biggest and most engaging role to date.
When she won her SAG award for her groundbreaking role, she took the moment to highlight the lack of diversity in Hollywood and said: “Thank you Shonda Rhimes, [producer] Betsy Beers and [creator] Peter Nowalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark skin African-American woman who looks like me.”
Within only the first season, we’ve seen her completely take off all of her makeup and her wig before bed. This is certainly the first time we’ve seen a black woman remove her makeup entirely on primetime. The scene was Davis’ idea. She told the Wall Street Journal that after she pitched the idea Peter Nowalk was on board. Annalise is passionate, strong, and vulnerable all at once, and we love her for it. Davis may be the first, but she certainly isn’t the last Shondaland resident to make our list.
How To Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Gabrielle Union Falls Victim to Celebrity Nude Photo Leaks

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Say it isn’t so! Of the newest celebs in this hacking scandal, Gabrielle Union falls victim to celebrity nude photo leaks. In the past several weeks various celebs such as Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have been targeted, hacked and exposed with nude photos and sex tapes being leaked online by unknown sources.
Now, why are these stars being targeted? There hasn’t been a definitive answer for that, however, this is not the first time Hollywood stars have been plagued by the stunts pulled by these online hackers– And from the looks of it, this is not going to be the last.
Former Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens and ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star Kim Kardashian, are allegedly under fire– yet again, with newly leaked photos of women that appear to be them, yet these allegations have yet to be confirmed. Although they were previously caught in a whirlwind of tabloid drama, they were able to bounce back and continue their flourishing careers, but will things be the same the second time around?
Surely everyone can agree that those who are hacking and leaking these personal photos are in the wrong, but American Idol runner-up and current Democratic congressional candidate, Clay Aiken, had a bit more to say in his interview with The Washington Post about the latest celebrity hacking scandal– aside from the hackers needing to be “hogtied”. “Anybody who takes inappropriate pictures of themselves deserves exactly what they get,” Aiken expressed. Aiken continues on to say, “And it’s unfortunate that we don’t have internet security right now or the laws in place to protect people from pirating that stuff.”
Hopefully celebs will be more weary of snapping that sexy photo for their significant other because privacy these days is obviously at an all time low.
Photos courtesy of Instagram