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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 Conversation with Ava Cantrell: Her Journey to Stardom

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This week, I was so thrilled to interview Ava Cantrell, a 19-year-old actress, dancer, director, and philanthropist. Born and raised in San Diego, Cantrell began her acting career in 2008 and was recognized for her breakthrough performance of Penelope from the Nickelodeon sitcom The Haunted Hathaways in 2013. In the past decade, Cantrell has received numerous accolades for her proliferating portfolio of performances, including feature films One Under the Sun and Lights Out, CBS show young Sheldon,  and numerous TV commercials, music videos, and short films. Additionally, Cantrell is a nationally-recognized competitive dancer and has directed her own short film, published a comic book, and spearheaded a variety of philanthropic endeavors. 

I was so excited to speak with Cantrell about her journey to stardom, her experiences as a performer, and her upcoming endeavors. 

Q: How did you first break into the television and film industry? 

A: I was a dancer when I was little. At the recitals, I would always catch everyone’s eye and I stood out when performed. I was not the best dancer, but I loved to get on stage. My dad was a child actor and recognized the love of the art in me. My parents submitted to the top three agents, and they were interested! My career began at age 7, and I am still with my awesome agents Nicole and Milton. 

Q: Nickelodeon’s Haunted Hathaways was your big break— please tell us about how this opportunity came to fruition and what your first experience on a major television channel was like. 

A: I had been working on lots of commercials, music videos, and short films but hadn’t hit TV yet. I had auditioned, but nothing clicked. When the role of Penelope Pritchard came along, I genuinely thought it was just my role. I went in to audition WAY over the top. I dressed exactly as a young, rich, bratty little girl would dress. The role was meant to be mine. 

It was my first time on a big set, and I needed a bit of extra direction to adapt to the fast pace of Nickelodeon. Fortunately, I had great coaching and picked it up fast. It was pretty amazing to book a guest star role, and even more exciting that turned into a recurring role. You never know in the business what’s going to happen. When you go on set for the first time it is super easy to get overwhelmed, but even as a young girl I knew that I needed to be professional and it was my job. During lunch and after I clocked out, I would just walk around Paramount in complete wonder and excitement! That lot has so much history and I feel lucky to be a part of it now. 

Q: What was the single most challenging part of your career thus part? And what about the most rewarding?

Ava Cantrell

Photo credits: Stage18 Productions

A: The most challenging part of my career is staying motivated and not getting burnt out. I have a career spanning over a decade. I have had some close calls to major roles and then not get them and that is hard. What has helped me is to have a super fulfilling life outside the industry life. I always did well in school. I graduated high school as valedictorian with a 4.4 GPA, I am in community college now, I surf often, and have a great boyfriend. The most rewarding is booking jobs. I feel incredibly grateful for each one, no matter how big or small, they have helped pave the way for my career. 

Q: Is there a specific type of character you usually play? How do you connect with your characters as an actress?

A: The interesting thing about me is there is no specific role I play. I have worked on almost all genres and played all types of roles. I was the killer in Warner brothers “Lights Out,” a girl with terminal cancer in “One Under the Sun,” a bratty super doll fan in Nickelodeon “Haunted Hathaway’s,” and most recently, a drama student in “Young Sheldon” I want to work on roles that are outside of my comfort zone. I am willing to go way out on a limb for a role, and the more challenging the better. My coach and manager Sharon do character development for each of my auditions and if I am hired, I think that work helps. I love working with Sharon and bouncing around ideas and why and how. It is one of my favorite parts of acting. 

Q: What is your favorite character you’ve played thus far? 

A: I get asked that a lot but because I have played so many great roles, I can’t call it. I would like to think my favorite character is still in a role out there in the universe. 

Q:  Please share a little bit more about your experience as a dancer, director, entrepreneur, and comic book writer. How do these disparate art forms shape and inform your role as an actress? 

A: All those things as well as my surfing and photography all tie together. Dance led me to act, acting led me to direct and to create a comic book. I wrote the comic book “Amulet of Lilith” with my Dad. I would love to play Lilith in a movie or on TV one day. She survived the holocaust, and her story is an interesting fast-paced one. It is amazing how many people do not know what the Holocaust is anymore, and I hope that my comic brings awareness. Being an entrepreneur runs in my family so that was a given, but I was more motivated to get my brand ZOOMe up and running because while acting is my passion but not my plan to support myself in the future. If we all stay open and don’t force things, it is amazing in which the universe can guide you. I am part of a family that taught me that the road less traveled is a beautiful one. 

Ava Cantrell

Photo credits: Stage18 Productions

Q: Please tell us a little more about your philanthropic endeavors and your passion for animal rights and anti-bullying activism. 

A: I have been involved in charity since I was a little girl. I think it is especially important to give back. I spend my time now doing charity work and giving back over the many things people my age do. I was bullied as a young girl by people I had known my whole life. It was one of the hardest things I went through, but it made me stronger. I must tell my story even if it helps just one person. I am deeply passionate about animal rights, rescue, spay, and neuter. I lend myself to so many charities especially now over the pandemic. I have recently hosted virtual danced parties for Angel City Sports and Urban Surf Kids as well as “Acting with Ava” on Facebook live to raise money for Starlight Foundation. I love helping out! 

Q:  What is the one biggest piece of advice Ava Cantrell would give to young, aspiring actresses? What is one lesson you’ve learned that you wish you knew at the beginning of your career path?

Photo credits: Stage18 Productions

A: Do the work and know that slow and steady wins the race. I don’t want to be famous; I want to work for a long time in the business. Don’t go into acting for fame. Right now, you will get more famous on Tik Tok anyways, so act because it is in your blood, you are passionate about it and would do it for zero dollars. What I wish I knew is that the industry keeps changing every year in who it hires, what looks are booking, if it wants a serious actor or an influencer. If you do you, and stop looking around and comparing, you will go far in this industry. I know I have a long career because I am staying true to who I am and taking my time with the journey. 

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I have projects!!! Yeah! I had three on the calendar for March that all got canceled. I am going to star in an indie short called “Mission 22” with a powerful message for veterans. I am working with Brandon TV and we have a few projects in the works. Timing is everything and the timing is still a bit off. But I am here, and I am ready for the next wave of work. It will be super exciting to get back on set. 

Read more celebrity interviews at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Stage18 Productions

Why You Should Be Watching NBC’s The Village

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From This Is Us to A Million Little Things, it seems as though NBC has made it their mission to produce dramatic television shows that, if nothing else, pull on your heartstrings. The latest series to join that batch is one that you should be watching: The Village. Created by Mike Daniels, this ensemble drama follows a number of residents, all living in the same apartment building in Brooklyn, who have built a close-knit, family-like bond. They all deal with their own personal issues, but still find time to be there for each other.

Lorraine Toussaint (left) as Patricia Davis. Grace Van Dien as Katie Campbell.

The series stars a number of familiar faces, including Michaela McManus (of One Tree Hill and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fame), Lorraine Toussaint (The Fosters and Orange is the New Black), Frankie Faison (The Wire), and Dominic Chianese (The Sopranos and The Godfather Part II). The show also stars Daren Kagasoff, who is most recognized as bad boy, Ricky Underwood, on the ABC Family (now Freeform) series The Secret Life of the American Teenager

What makes The Village such a good show, aside from the fact that it will most definitely force you to shed a few tears, is the fact that the acting is very powerful. When you have three legendary performers such as Toussaint, Faison, and Chianese on one show, you know you’re in for a treat. In addition, the show deals with issues that anyone can relate to. From teen pregnancy, to an amputee war veteran dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to cancer, to immigration issues, to caring for the elderly, this show certainly has something for everyone. You care for these characters because you either see yourself – or someone you hold dear to your heart – in them. You relate to their struggles and celebrate their triumphs along with them.

Lorraine Toussaint (left) as Patricia Davis. Michaela McManus as Sarah Campbell.

Sure, the show may not pull the numbers that This Is Us has seen in its three seasons, but it does get better as it goes along. There’s also something very endearing about a group of people who aren’t blood-related, coming together to create a stronger family than those who are!

The Village airs Tuesday nights on NBC.

 

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Why You Should Be Watching NBC’s The Village: Featured Image Credit: Ice Cream Convos.

The Characters We Love: Andrea “Andy” Herrera from ABC’s Station 19

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For every project that is touched by the legendary Shonda Rhimes, there’s a very good chance it will be a huge success. Just take a look at Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. ABC really hit the jackpot with these iconic television series. Station 19 is one of the newest shows on Rhimes’ résumé that is also airing on ABC. While she did not create the show herself (that credit goes to Stacy McKee), Rhimes is playing her part – and playing it well – as the executive producer of the show. As a spin-off to Grey’s Anatomy, and also set in Seattle, the series centers on the lives of the men and women at Seattle Fire Station 19. Only in its second season, the ensemble stars Jason George, Grey Damon, Barett Doss, and Jay Hayden, among others. However, at the helm is Jaina Lee Ortiz, who portrays Andrea Herrera, or simply: Andy. A firefighter, as well as a qualified EMT, Andy is confident, independent, and badass, and that’s why we love her!

There is no Station 19 without Andy Herrera, and Ortiz portrays her with authenticity and power. She lost her mother at the young age of 9, and her father (and former Captain) practically raised her at the station. Saving lives and making a difference is all she ever knew and wanted to do. She’s resourceful, often finding herself in the toughest of situations, but knowing just what to do to get out of them. In almost every episode, her friends, colleagues, and even potential lovers all look to her for guidance simply because she’s seen it all from such an early age.

Jaina Lee Ortiz in uniform, and on the scene, as firefighter Andy Herrera.

Jaina Lee Ortiz can relate to her character greatly. Born Jessica Ortiz in California and raised in the Bronx, her father, Joe Ortiz, is an NYPD 1st Grade Detective. Because of this, she got accustomed to hearing crazy stories nearly every day growing up. In addition, Ortiz is one of the very few Latina leads on television, something she had to learn to embrace. “When I got my first headshots, I felt like I needed to blend in,” Ortiz said on a 2018 episode of The View. “I felt like I needed to dye my hair a lighter blonde and I considered sticking some blue contacts in my eyes. It’s sad that I didn’t feel accepted and included. Women and minorities are really underrepresented in the media. So just to be a part of knowing that Shonda Rhimes has created this environment where women get to be their own heroes and their own stories, it’s refreshing and empowering.”

Station 19 airs Thursday nights on ABC. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all things Jaina Lee Ortiz, check out both her Instagram and Twitter.

 

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The Characters We Love: Andrea “Andy” Herrera from ABC’s Station 19: Featured Image Credit: abc.com

Why You Should Be Watching Netflix’s Workin’ Moms

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You don’t have to be a mother, and you certainly don’t even have to be a woman to enjoy the comedy gold that is Netflix’s Workin’ Moms. Created by and starring husband and wife duo, Catherine Reitman and Philip Sternberg, the Canadian series follows a group of friends dealing with the challenges of being working mothers, hence the title of the show. If you haven’t already, you should definitely start watching.

Reitman portrays Kate Foster, whom, along with her husband Nathan (portrayed by Sternberg), must learn to deal with raising a newborn while both being working parents. Dani Kind portrays Anne Carlson, a no-nonsense psychiatrist, and mother of two. Juno Rinaldi plays Frankie Coyne, a real estate agent in an interracial, same-sex relationship. She’s learning to overcome the emotional and mental struggles that many women face post pregnancy. Finally, Jessalyn Wanlim portrays Jenny Matthews, an I.T. specialist who is struggling to find her true identity after giving birth.

What makes Workin’ Moms so special is the fact that each character on the show is relatable in some way. They’re real and they’re raw. Reitman created the show to shed light on the fact that having a baby and starting a family isn’t always bright rainbows and sunshine. It’s tough and it’s a lot of work, but it’s not impossible and can be rewarding. If you’re watching the show and are already a parent, there’s a chance you know exactly what these families are going through. But if you’re tuning in and are not yet a parent, the show serves as a reminder of what your parents may have gone through.

The show wasn’t designed to scare viewers away from being a parent. In fact, the heart of the show comes from the fact that if you have a wonderful support system – whether it’s your friends, family, a support group, or a therapist – you can overcome anything. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be true for parenthood only. Happy Netflix binging!

 

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Why You Should Be Watching Netflix’s Workin’ Moms: Featured Image Credit: cbc.ca

Actress Helen Highfield Talks About “I Ship It”, Regrets, and Dream Roles

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Actress Helen Highfield stars on I Ship It, a series that first aired on CW Seed. The show gained such a following that the network decided to air the second season on television. As for Highfield herself, she’s determined to create a different narrative about female characters on television and movies. We chatted with this funny, free-spirited talent to discuss her hit television series, whether or not she has any regrets, and if there are any dream roles she wishes to take on.

 

Cliché: First off, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to answer my questions. It is greatly appreciated! Now, from what I gathered, not much is written or known about you. So, if you don’t mind, I would like to use this interview as a way for people to get to know who Helen Highfield is! Let’s start with your upbringing. You’re from Ithaca, New York. Would you say you had a relatively normal upbringing? Tell me about that.

Helen Highfield: Of course, thank YOU! Well, I was born and raised in Ithaca, NY – a small liberal university town with a bumper sticker that reads “Ithaca: 10 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality”. And, of course, there’s the more famous one: “Ithaca is Gorges” (cause we have quite a few). I’d say I was pretty lucky to grow up there because there’s a ton of support for the arts and a big mix of people who live there because of Cornell. We Ithacans have a lot of hometown pride.

 

How did you get bitten by the acting and performing bug? Was it a particular show or film you saw that resonated with you the most?

I always loved going to see theater and watching movie musicals like Singing in the Rain but I was mostly focused on singing for a long time. I sang in several choirs and I got into acting by doing all the school musicals starting in 8th grade. In high school, some friends told me about The Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca, a local acting class they were in, and it sounded absolutely terrifying but I gave it a try and fell head over heels in love with it. I was always a bit of a perfectionist and I remember leaving that first class thinking “this is the first thing I’m willing to be bad at and I think that’s important.”

 

Tell me about your time in school. Did you ever feel out of place? Were you ever bullied? If so, how did you overcome that and what advice would you give to kids who are going through the same thing?

I was very lucky in this regard cause I had a couple of besties who had the same interest in theater and music as I did and that’s all that really mattered to me. I was never really worried about joining a certain group and preferred to get to know people individually. The best advice I can give is: focus on finding your people. Your people will be kind and laugh with you at the same dumb stuff and share your interests. The mean people aren’t your people.

 

Since beginning your acting career, you’ve guest starred on a number of highly successful television series such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds, and Rizzoli and Isles. Which means you got to work alongside some pretty powerful actors such as Mariska Hargitay, Joe Mantegna, and Angie Harmon. What lessons did you learn from these people in particular that you have taken with you in your life and career?

Unfortunately, I didn’t have scenes with those folks – though I fully geeked out at Chris Meloni (a fellow alum of The Neighborhood Playhouse) on my way to set! I think the main thing I took away (and continue to marvel at) from those first few jobs was the overwhelming sense of community that comes through on set. It’s so exciting to experience how everyone there is happily focusing their job so it can all come together. I think it’s an important lesson to understand that it’s such a collaborative effort and your acting is only one part of a much bigger machine.

 

Helen Highfield as Ella and Riley Neldam as Tim — Credit: Jordon Nuttall/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved

 

In 2016, you began portraying Ella on I Ship It. What drew you to the project and the character of Ella? How do you see yourself reflected in Ella?

I’d actually randomly stumbled upon Yulin Kuang’s (creator of I Ship It) YouTube channel a year or so before I auditioned and I loved her work. When I auditioned, I had this weird feeling that I somehow recognized the character but I didn’t make the connection till the callback that this was the series iteration of her short film by the same name. I loved how messy and determined Ella is. And of course, was really excited about singing in a show – it was my first time recording! There’s definitely a lot of me in Ella. We’re both ambitious and can get kinda intense when we’re going after something we want. We both feel a lot of feelings. Though I think Ella is a lot more impulsive than I am. I think that’s part of what I loved about playing her.

 

The first season aired on CW Seed and was so popular with audiences that the show has graduated to airing on television? The premiere date is April 10th. Why do you think the show resonated with viewers the way it did?

Yes! Starting April 10th, it’ll be available for 2 weeks only on CW Seed before it moves to broadcast later this year. There’s a lot of fandoms out there but not a lot of content about the fandoms themselves so I think Yulin tapped into something special with this show. Ella is a fangirl who writes fan fiction and in this season, our show takes place in an alternate universe (a popular fan fiction trope) so we get to play with the musical genre in a whole new way. No more nerd rock, just full on musical moments. Our composer, Brian Grider, did an excellent job and I think the music in this season is even better than the last!

 

According to your website, you say that a career goal of yours is to “play smart, sophisticated, sexy women who have fun with language”. Elaborate on that? What does that mean for you personally?

Haha, yes! I’ve just seen way too many parts for women that aren’t very dynamic or interesting – they just ask the male characters “what do you mean?” to propel the plot. All the women I know are WAY more interesting than what’s largely been portrayed in TV and movies so it’s really exciting to see the shift that’s happening in Hollywood. My current obsession is Pen15. Those characters are so beautifully written and acted and I see the complexity of my female friends in them. I just want to work with great writers who write multifaceted female characters! That’s another reason I loved playing Ella – she’s so honestly ambitious, a quality we still sometimes vilify in women when we really shouldn’t. And as for the “sexy” part… I like the idea of playing women who are at home in their bodies in a way that doesn’t need to be their one defining quality as decided by the (often) male writer. Sexy is just a confidence in oneself.

 

What is the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?

Oh man, they’re all surprising! But let’s go with the realization that my perception of things is the only thing I can truly control and so I get to have a lot of choice in how I see my life. It’s pretty empowering to realize that I get to choose how I react to life’s ups and downs.

 

 

What’s one thing you did in the past that you really wish you could go back and undo, or do differently?

Oh man. I think I’d go back to 18 year old me who’d just moved to NYC to go to acting school and was low key terrified and I’d give her a hug and tell her to breathe. Not sure she/me would listen, but it’d be worth a try!

 

Finish this sentence: I am most fulfilled when ______.

I’m able to find balance and create boundaries. I’m guilty of putting other people’s needs ahead of mine a lot but I keep learning (and re-learning and re-learning…) the lesson that when I make time for self-care, I’m a much better version of myself to everyone around me. I now literally set alarms to remind myself to eat because I can get the suuuuper hangry!

 

Are there any particular dream roles that you see yourself portraying? Why do you see yourself in those roles?

When I saw August: Osage County on Broadway, I got really excited to act for a long time and get to play some badass ladies like Barbara. I’d love to play her in that play someday.

 

Finally, what kind of legacy do you wish to leave behind? What kind of message would you like to get across when all is said and done?

Oooooh this is deep. Ya know, I don’t feel like I have any big ambitions for changing the world purely with my acting. Of course, I’d love to be remembered for a large body of inspiring acting work, but mostly I think we influence the world in much smaller interactions. I think we can all spread kindness daily and inspire those around us by offering ourselves compassion. I was introduced to the Marianne Williamson poem “Our Deepest Fear” when I was in acting school and I just love this line: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

 

Thank you so much for speaking with us!

Thank you for having me!

 

Be sure to catch I Ship It airing right now on CW Seed. It will remain there for two weeks before moving to the CW Network later this spring! To stay up to date on all things Helen Highfield, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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Actress Helen Highfield Talks About “I Ship It”, Regrets, and Dream Roles: Featured Image Credit: Sela Shiloni

Why NBC’s Good Girls Is A Show You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

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As March approaches, all of our favorite shows will be returning with new seasons that are highly anticipated. One return that you should be anticipating is NBC’s Good Girls! Season 2 of Good Girls is set to premiere on March 3rd! If you have never watched the show on television, chances are you’ve seen it promoted on Netflix. It appeared on Netflix over the summer and If you haven’t clicked play just yet, here’s why you should:

Good Girls is a sophisticated and funny show that centers around three strong women who each face a huge obstacle in their lives. At first glance, Good Girls may seem like just another show about three bored housewives unhappy with their lives, but after a successful first season, it proved why it’s different than the rest. Viewers fell in love with the main components of the show: the leading ladies. These three women are at a point of struggle in their lives and the only strong and stable force that is present is their friendship. The friendship and loyalty between the three women is refreshing to watch on screen even if they’re often committing crimes.

The show kicks off with Beth (Christina Hendricks) discovering that her longtime husband has been cheating on her and lying about what he’s been doing with their money. Beth’s younger sister Annie (Mae Whitman) is dealing with a nasty custody battle and could possibly lose her kid due to her not being the most responsible parent. And lastly, their longtime friend Ruby (Retta) is running out of money as she and her husband struggle to pay for the medical care of their ill daughter. Feeling wronged by the people in their life and victims of their own circumstance, they all come up with a crazy plan that they believe will solve their problems: Robbing a grocery store. The plan seems crazy and impossible…until they actually do it.

Beth soon leads the charge, as the three of them actually go through with robbing the grocery store Annie works at. Their dabble in crime is supposed to be just a one-off, except they soon find themselves being threatened by a mobster, Rio (Manny Montana) who informs them that the money they stole actually belongs to him. The show excels at finding humor in the midst of all the drama and sad realities.

When season one premiered, many feared that Good Girls would fall victim to an early cancellation. But the show proved it’s worth by scoring a second season and landing an international distribution deal with Netflix! With season two just around the corner, we’re sure to expect the unexpected.

The first season of Good Girls consisted of the women having one foot in their normal lives and the other foot in the life of crime. As the second season approaches, the teaser trailer suggests Beth, Ruby, and Annie might be all in with the life of crime. Check out the preview below:

 

Read more Entertainment News at Cliché Magazine.

Why Good Girls Is A Show You Don’t Want To Miss Out On: Featured Image Credit: @nbcgoodgirls on Instagram.

Top 5 Thanksgiving-Themed Sitcom Episodes You Must Watch Again

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It’s that time of year! The holidays are rolling in. It’s the time where you’re pretty much forced to let go of that summer bod of yours for just a couple of months before you attempt to get it back in the new year. The day that starts it all is Thanksgiving. It’s the day where you get together with your family. Maybe you haven’t seen them in forever, or maybe you just don’t really get along with some of them. But for the sake of the good food that you’ve been craving for the longest time, you put all of that behind you. Or perhaps you’ll decide to have a Friendsgiving, where you ditch those annoying cousins and hang out with your close group of pals that you can really let loose with. Speaking of, have you ever gotten together with your friends and family around the holiday’s and thought to yourself “our shenanigans would make a really great sitcom episode”? Everybody Loves Raymond to Will & Grace, no one can deny the fact that over the years, the Thanksgiving holiday has brought some classic sitcom episodes into our lives. While there are many to choose from, here is a list of the top 5 Thanksgiving-themed episodes from some of your favorite sitcoms!

 

Full House – “The Miracle of Thanksgiving”, Season 1 Episode 9

In this special episode, Danny (Bob Saget) makes it a mission to make Thanksgiving extra special for his daughters as this will be the first one without his wife Pam who has tragically passed away. When the men decide to make restaurant reservations, due to Grandma being snowed in and unable to make it, DJ (Candace Cameron Bure) and Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) refuse and convince them to have the traditional festivities at home. The results are a burnt turkey, a smashed pumpkin pie, and lots of tears as it is revealed that Jesse (John Stamos) has not yet come to terms with Pam’s death. This episode is special because of the fact that it is the only Thanksgiving-themed episode in Full House history.

 

Modern Family – “Three Turkeys”, Season 8 Episode 6

We all have that family member whose cooking we just aren’t too crazy about. In this iconic episode, Claire (Julie Bowen) feels the exact same way about her husband Phil (Ty Burrell) and their son Luke (Nolan Gould), who decide to team up in an attempt to cook the family a Thanksgiving dinner they won’t soon forget. Because of her lack of confidence in their cooking skills, Claire cooks a turkey of her own as back up. Meanwhile, Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) find that their trip has been canceled at the last minute, and Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), fearing that he’s always the “bad cop”, asks Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) to confront their daughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) about a dress she refuses to wear on Thanksgiving.

 

Will & Grace – “Queens for A Day”, Season 7 Episode 10

In this unforgettable Thanksgiving episode, Will (Eric McCormack) attempts to impress the mother of his partner, Vincent (Bobby Cannavale), who warns him that his mother Annette (Lee Garlington) never likes any of his boyfriends. Everything immediately goes wrong when Will causes her to break her toe while the two are out shopping. Meanwhile, Karen (Megan Mullally) and Grace (Debra Messing) are both single, ready to mingle, and haven’t had sex in quite some time. Because of this, they both find themselves having the hots for Vincent’s attractive brother Sal, who, much to their complete and utter shock, is only 16-years-old.

 

Everybody Loves Raymond “Fighting In-Laws”, Season 5 Episode 9

In this hilarious episode, Raymond (Ray Romano) accidentally overhears that his parents, Frank (Peter Doyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts), are having marital problems and seeking counseling. The next evening during Thanksgiving, the truth comes out into the open, and all hell breaks loose. This is also the episode where Debra (Patricia Heaton) fails miserably at cooking the turkey, dropping it on the floor and unable to pick it up as Raymond just watches. This scene brought about a huge laughter from the live audience that lasted nearly 40 seconds!

 

Friends – “The One Where Ross Got High”, Season 6 Episode 9

When it comes to picking a Thanksgiving-themed episode from Friends, there’s a bunch to choose from, and they’re all hilarious! However, the one that takes the cake is this episode where secrets are revealed during Thanksgiving. Ross (David Schwimmer) is forced to reveal why his parents Jack (Elliott Gould) and Judy (Christina Pickles) do not like Chandler, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) makes a rather interesting dessert for everyone that involves beef, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) attempts to get out of Thanksgiving with his friends to hang out with a couple of “dancer girls”, and Phoebe develops an unusual crush on Ross’ dad. Does that sound like a lot? That’s because it was, and it was amazing!

Read more Entertainment Articles at Clichemag.com

Top 5 Thanksgiving-Themed Sitcom Episodes You Must Watch Again: Featured Image Credit: NBC

Natalie Paul: From Center Stage to the Big Screen

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Natalie Paul is absolutely inspirational. She went from stage acting with theatre groups such as The Classical Theatre of Harlem to writing and directing her own short films, Everything Absolutely and Sweet Tea. Now, she’s an incredible film actor who has taken on roles in Crown Heights, The Deuce, Show Me a Hero, and most recently Heather in The Sinner. Natalie has been impacted by many tough female actors and loves to play strong women with complex personalities. Through her film career and work with the Epic Theatre Ensemble, she hopes to help change the film industry for the better.

   

Have you always been interested in acting? Who’s your biggest inspiration?

Natalie Paul: I’ve always been interested in storytelling- whether it was through acting, writing, dancing. My biggest inspiration has always been the women in my family – listening to them tell stories, hearing them make everyday dramas to be larger than life. I was always in awe of them; I think that was the beginning of it.

What has your experience been like working on a stage compared to working on a film set?

On stage you get the instant knowledge of whether you’ve got the audience or not. In film, you often have to wait months! Sometimes the crew will come up to you and say, “good work” after an exceptionally difficult scene – that can be sweeter than any round of applause at times, because they see you day after day and they’re working really hard right alongside you.

Theater is more athletic; it takes more energy to keep something fresh night after night. I love both mediums a lot though.

How is playing Heather in The Sinner different from any other role you’ve had?

In so many ways, Heather has a lot going on. Our showrunner, Derek Simonds, said to me early on that because Heather’s a junior detective she has to clean up a lot of messes in town. She knows the different sides of people that they try to keep hidden. I’m not sure I’ve ever played a character like that before. But at the same time she’s got things to hide herself, as you ‘ll see in the show. So I guess juggling that professional side with the personal side of Heather has been really juicy and complex.

What goes into acting on a crime series? Do you have to do a lot of research to prepare for such an intense role? How does it affect your everyday life?

Yes – I got to talk to some experts about the investigation process, the criminal justice system, and the juvenile detention system, as well as the personal consequences of the job. As for mindset, I watched some documentaries and read a few personal essays to get inside the head of a police officer and a detective – since Heather is transitioning from one to the other. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that as a woman you have to be twice as tough, you really can show no weakness. They’re waiting of you to fail or get emotional, so you’ve got to be impervious.

As for me, I just had to get really used to being totally contained. I’m a pretty joyful person, I love dancing and singing and sharing a big hearty laugh with my co-stars, so it was always about knowing a police officer might be the same way and they would have to contain all of that as well. Wearing a uniform every day can be a little pampering on your personality but it’s been interesting to really embody that strength and power. So it’s a bit of a trade-off.

Who is your dream character to play? Why?

I would just love to continue to play strong, complex women – full characters that go through a transformation. But if I had to choose a person, I’d absolutely love to play Pam Grier, she is an absolute inspiration to me. She is always so kick ass, strong, intelligent and sexy. To me, she is the full package! Not only that, she also overcame so much adversity. She’s definitely a huge inspiration to me as an actress.

What are some of your greatest challenges that you would like to overcome?

I have to acknowledge that I’m still pretty lucky to be able to do what I love to do. Being an actress was a dream ever since I was a kid, making faces in the mirror with a turtleneck hanging off my head and trying to make myself cry (haha). So I feel really happy to be on the journey I’m on but I do feel that there’s a long way for the industry to go as far as seeing actresses who happen to have a different skin color or ethnicity for who they are and how hard they work. We project possibility onto some people and limitation onto others and it needs to stop. I feel like I’m often misunderstood because people might assume that I’m certain way just because of my skin, or that people might not relate to me because of it. It really goes beyond roles. We have to start seeing each other for who we truly are, past appearances.

What made you want to work with the Epic Theater Ensemble?

Throughout my life there were people there that took me under their wing and mentored me. If it wasn’t for them I have no idea where’d I’d be today. It helped me feel like I had a future and that I could make a difference. So, it’s natural for me to pay that forward, you have to “lift as you climb.” And you can do that at whatever stage you’re at on your journey. Epic is an amazing organization that really changes lives, and it’s really more of a gift to me to be a part of it than it is for the kids. Seeing their faces after they’ve written their own play or performed is priceless.

You have written and directed a few short films (“Everything Absolutely” and “Sweet Tea”), do you want to continue writing and directing in your career? What are some of your top goals?

Yeah! I’d love to keep writing and possibly direct one day. Right now I’m pretty in love with acting so it’s about trying to find time around shooting to really delve into some of my independent projects. I am writing a few things that I want to wrap up soon. We’ll see! Just want to continue honing my craft as I work always.

As far as the future, I just hope to continue telling good stories that move people, that get people to think and that remind people that we’re all connected. I’d love to play a variety of characters, I don’t want to be in a box. And hopefully I’ll help change the real world too.

 

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Natalie Paul: From Center Stage to the Big Screen. Photo Credit: Jai Lennard

‘Veronica Mars’ Reboot? Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell Are Both Hoping for a Revival

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Do you remember Veronica Mars? Who could forget Kristen Bell’s snarky portrayal of the female detective? Many of the fans can’t. Veronica Mars ran for three seasons on UPN and The CW networks. Despite the show’s cancellation back in 2007, many fans have felt that the show should have continued. The fans aren’t the only ones, either. The series creator Rob Thomas wants a ‘Veronica Mars’ reboot, and apparently, so does Kristen Bell.

Rob Thomas Speaks With E! News About a Future ‘Veronica Mars’ Reboot

'Veronica Mars' Reboot

Veronica Mars ‘Reboot’ May Happen. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Television

In a recent interview with E! News, Thomas stated that he and Kristen are both “hopeful” and remain “very into” the idea of reviving the show. The two creatives have both expressed their love for the series. Fans have done so as well, as they partially funded the  2014 Veronica Mars movie. Displaying a positive outlook, Thomas knows exactly what he wants the reboot of Veronica Mars to focus on if it comes to fruition. The “kick-ass mystery” is what the show should be all about, he claims. “I want to make Veronica the first name in female detectives,” Rob asserts. But he also makes it clear that if he can’t do the show with Kristen Bell, the show may not happen at all.  

“I can’t imagine doing it without Kristen in my professional lifetime. I mean, never say never, but I think if I’m not doing it with Kristen, it means that Kristen no longer wants to do it. And Kristen has said she’s willing to do it until it’s ‘Murder, She Wrote.’ As long as she holds to that, then I think I want to keep doing the Kristen Bell version, if there’s an opportunity.”

Unfortunately, there is nothing set in motion just yet, but with Thomas and Bell both strongly set on the idea, a reboot may be in the foreseeable future.

 

Read the full article at E! News.

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‘Veronica Mars’ Reboot? Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell Are Both Hoping for a Revival. Featured Photo Credit: Robert Voets, 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment

 

 

The Rising Power of Streaming: Netflix is Now a Top Contender for The Emmys’

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Awards season is fast-approaching. This year’s list of Emmy nominations dropped Thursday and it’s becoming clear that top networks like HBO have something to worry about. Netflix’s vast expansion of original streaming content is growing and growing. And with that, so are the Emmy nominations. Netflix has nabbed a total of 112 noms for their originals, which just beat HBO’s 108. It’s impressive to say the least. Thanks to their originals—such as GLOW, The Crown, and Stranger Things to name a fewNetflix has jumped from their 2015 bottom spot on the nomination list to the top in 2018.

Why Netflix is Now a Top Contender for The Emmys’

It took Netflix about five years since they debuted their first original to climb to the top of the nomination charts. According to an article from The Verge last year, Netflix “has only climbed the ladder by strategically playing the odds. The company is almost doubling its nomination count every year, but it’s also producing a mind-boggling 600 hours of content and spending $6 billion a year to do so.” The success can also be attributed to the streaming interface allowing Netflix to track viewer habits, and thus provide more original content based upon viewer preferences. Well played, Netflix, well played.

 

Read the full article at ABC Action News/Newsy.

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The Rising Power of Streaming: Netflix is Now a Top Contender for The Emmys’. Featured Photo Credit: Photofest, The Hollywood Reporter

 

Netflix’s ‘Anne with an E’ Actress Amybeth McNulty Talks About Nasty Criticism

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The Anne of Green Gables reboot, Anne with an E returns on Netflix with season two. Although there are a lot of fans of the update, there are a faire share of critics. Some seem to think that Anne with an E is a far cry from the 1985 miniseries with Megan Follows. Whether you like the reboot or not, it’s clear that many take it a step too far with rude, unwarranted comments. Actress Amybeth McNulty talks about nasty criticism in a recent interview with Independent.

Amybeth McNulty’s Attitude Toward Unnecessary Criticism is Golden

Amybeth was fifteen when she read the initial responses from online trolls about Anne with an E. Most of these were based solely on McNulty’s appearance. McNulty voiced her shock and initial feelings to Independent.

“Bearing in mind this was the first thing I had ever really done that was really that big, I never expected criticism, because they hadn’t even seen my performance yet. I remember specifically the first 12 comments were just so nasty towards me and specifically towards my appearance. It really hit me. I was 15 when that trailer released and that’s such a tender age.”

She has agreed to take the high road, moving forward with her head held high. After letting the bad vibes roll off of her back, McNulty has stated that “in the end I’m just doing my job…and the criticism is not going to change anything I’ve done or will do in the future.”

 

Read the full article at Good Housekeeping.

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Netflix’s ‘Anne with an E’ Actress Amybeth McNulty Talks About Nasty Criticism. Featured Photo Credit: Getty Images, GoodHousekeeping.com