Chit Chatting with Dancer and Choreographer Kristin McQuaid

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Kristin McQuaid is an actress, dancer, and choreographer. You may have seen her work on So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Moms, and she even got to dance on tour with singer Britney Spears. Read on and learn more about her, what she has acted in, and what five things people may not know about her.

 

R: Tell us about yourself and how you got dancing. Was being a choreographer something you wanted to do as a child?

K: Well, I didn’t start dancing until I was eleven years old. I was playing soccer, but my younger sister danced and I thought I would try it out. When I try something new, I put 110% into it, so, as you can imagine, I was at the dance studio seven days a week trying to master the art of dance. Choreography didn’t come into my life until around the age of fifteen. I started choreographing group routines and winning awards, and something told me that was my calling.

 

R: What is your favorite type of dance and why?

K: Jazz! It’s so high-energy and fun to watch. Jazz also matches my personality. I am really outgoing, spunky, and energetic. Jazz dance is all that combined.

 

R: What is your process of creating a dance routine?

K: I never pre-choreograph anything. I never like my choreography when I do so. I like to live in the moment and let my mind and body speak to me right then and there. I feel that is when some of my best work comes to life. Music is my biggest inspiration, as well as life’s struggles and accomplishments.

 

R: What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a choreographer?

K: To take a risk. Show who YOU really are. I feel that is the hardest part about being a choreographer these days with social media and YouTube on the rise. Everyone is seeing what is working and they then bring that same thing to the table. Be unique. Everyone is created differently for a reason and we should all embrace those attributes.

 

R: You have worked with many talented entertainers. Who were they and what are your top five projects?

K:

  1. Hailee Payne, So You Think You Can Dance Season 11: I got to choreograph her solos for the season.
  2. Nia Sioux Frazer, Dance Moms: I choreographed a concept piece for her called “Shark” and also just completed a celebrity endorsement commercial for her.
  3. Dance Moms: I was a guest choreographer on Season 6.
  4. I danced for Britney Spears during her Onyx Hotel tour.
  5. I was in a music video with Prince. It was really cool to have worked with such a legend.

 

R: You are also an actress. How did you get your start in acting? Tell our readers about some of the things that you have been in.

K: I fell in love with acting through dance. I find they are very relatable in many ways. My big break into the acting business was on American Dreams on NBC. It was a show set in the 60s and I got to dance and act on the show! It was the best of both worlds for me. I was then seen in the feature film Beautiful starring Minnie Driver, several episodes of Days of our Lives, and the film Zombie Prom, produced by Wes Craven.

 

R: Do you have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?

K: I am going to be releasing a music video that I choreographed for a huge up and coming artist. I am so excited for everyone to see it! This artist is extremely talented and only thirteen years old!

 

R: Tell us about your clothing line Kraze. Do you have a website for your clothing line?

K: I started my own clothing line! I have my own spin on style and I wanted to share it with the world. I am all about being unique and being true to who you are. This line speaks that. All of my 2016/17 spring line is on sale now and my 2017 fall line is coming out soon!www.krazebykristin.com

 

R: How did you come up with the idea for the line?

K: I want people to feel they can express who they are with the clothes they wear. I feel my line lets you be YOU. Clothing speaks volumes and I want to improve the minds of those that feel trapped. I wanted to create a line that was comfortable to wear when just hanging out or even wear to dance class.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

K:

  1.    If I wasn’t a choreographer, I would be a marine biologist.
  2.    I am a HUGE animal lover!
  3.    My favorite color is yellow.
  4.    I am OBSESSED with the Titanic!
  5.    I love Hello Kitty.

 

R: What are some of your future goals?

K: I definitely want to keep working on my craft. You can never stop learning and growing. I want to choreograph music videos for new artists, and work on more TV shows!

 

R: Do you have any charities or causes that are close to your heart? If so, tell us about them.

K: The ASPCA. With me being such a huge animal person, I knew that was the best charity for me to serve with and be a part of.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

K: “Has anyone ever told you that you look like the singer Pink?” (I get asked that all the time!)

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

K: Yes!

Instagram: @kristin_mcquaid

Twitter: @kristin_mcquaid

Facebook: Kristin McQuaid

Snapchat: @krazebykristin

YouTube: Kristin McQuaid

Website: www.KristinMcQuaid.com

 

R: Anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

K: I would love this world to turn into a happier place, so try and find the positive in everything you do. Some days might be tough, but there is still a positive in there somewhere. I would also just like to thank all of my fans for their continued love and support! You guys are awesome!

 

Picture source: Kelly Lee

 

Christina Grimmie Steps it Up in The Matchbreaker

 

Written by Jill Sheets

 

When Ethan, played by Wesley Elder, gets fired from his job, he is offered money by the parents of a girl whose boyfriend they do not approve of. They hire Ethan to break the young couple up, and soon, by word of mouth more parents who don’t approve of their child’s relationships contact him to break them up. Things get a little sticky when he falls in love with a client, Emily, played by the late singer Christina Grimmie. How is he going to keep his secret job away from the girl that he is falling for? What will happen if she finds out?

The cover was the first thing that I noticed about the movie. I kept flipping through films on Netflix, and as I kept coming across The Matchbreaker cover, I kept thinking, “that looks like Christina Grimmie!” But I kept telling myself that there was no way that it was her.  As I continued to flip through the movies, however, I finally decided to look and see what the film information was and who was in the movie. I was excited to see that it was her and I could not wait to watch it. So at first, I watched the movie because of her, but I am glad that I did because it was a great film. Christina Grimmie delivered an excellent performance not only when she sang, but when she was acting. This movie was well done and will keep your interest from the start. The acting from the entire cast was fantastic, along with the writing for the film. I do not usually laugh out loud when it comes to funny movies, but with The Matchbreaker, I did. Even if you are not a Christina Grimmie fan, you will love this touching romantic comedy.

 

Chit Chatting with Charlotte Mary Wen

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing a very talented actress and singer, Charlotte Mary Wen. She was the winner of the 2013 LA’s Next Great Stage Star Award, and that award was well deserved. She has acted not only on stage, but also in movies and TV shows. Read on about Charlotte, her upcoming projects, and find out who her biggest influence is.

 

R: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting.

C: I grew up in San Diego playing on the beach, singing on kitchen tables, and putting on skits with my cousins. I think ever since I was little, the idea of “playing” and “creating” was a huge passion of mine. I started out in musical theatre in San Diego, then Los Angeles and New York City. I discovered a love and interest of TV and film when I got older, and now I’m in Los Angeles pursuing a career on the stage and screen!

 

R: Tell us about your TV movie Life on Mars and about your character Rebecca.

C: Life on Mars is about a young man trying to find his way – he’s a little lost in life and trying to find the balance between love and relationships and his career. Sounds kind of typical of young adults in Los Angeles! I play Rebecca, a snarky girl who shuts him down, but who hysterically does so by misusing idioms.

 

R: Can you tell us about the movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?

C: Oh my gosh! I can’t say much about the movie, but I will say you will love Melissa McCarthy’s performance. She is a dream and I loved working with her!

 

R: You are in the movie A Killer Walks Amongst Us. Tell us about the movie and about your character.

C: The death of a high school girl leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I play her best friend, Michelle.

 

R: You got to work with an incredible cast. What was it like working with Dominic Keating, Ashley Scott, and the rest of the cast? What was your favorite memory from that film?

C: The cast was so kind and professional. Everyone on set felt like a family. I loved filming my scene with Eva LaRue and Michael Welch – they exemplified ease on set that I aspire to achieve.


R: Do you have any other upcoming projects that you would like to talk about?

C: I’m excited to play Ali in Mamma Mia! at the Hollywood Bowl. I can’t believe I get to work with Tony-winner Kathleen Marshall and a stellar cast. I feel truly blessed.

 

R: What theater plays have you been in? Which ones were your favorite?

C: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old Globe), One Day: The Musical (Off-Broadway) and American Idiot (La Mirada) are some of my favorites, but I absolutely loved playing the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (3DT).

 

R: What is the best thing about performing on stage?

C: I love the feeling of sharing an experience with a live audience. There is something beautiful about live theatre and every performance being different from the one before.

 

R: You also sing. Do you have any plans on recording an album?

C: I love singing covers on my YouTube channel. I’ve never thought about doing an album, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to it in the future!

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence and why?

C: My younger sister, Janelle! She has incredible faith and dedication and I aspire to be more like her every day. She is a graphic designer for Universal Studios and an incredible hip hop dancer and choreographer. She’s also my go-to for encouragement and advice.

 

R: What are your future goals?

C: I love comedy and sitcom. I’d love to get deeper into funny content on TV, film, and new media. I also want to eventually coach young adults in performing arts.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

C:

  1. My two favorite cities are Barcelona and London
  2. I love pesto
  3. I once ate ten eggs for breakfast–yep, count ’em!
  4. My family has been in San Diego for five generations
  5. I have two dogs, one of which is 17 years old

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

C: I like this one! Hmm…I think my favorite is, “Why do you have such big feet?” It’s true. I have pretty big feet for my height, and it still baffles me. I think I was meant to be taller!

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

C: Yes! My official website is www.charlottemarywen.com. I’m on Instagram and Twitter as @charmarywen, and my YouTube channel is youtube.com/charlottemarywen.  I use Instagram and YouTube the most!

 

R: Is there anything you would like to add or say to your fans?

C: In this career, you go through lots of ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like the downs are outweighing the ups, but you need to keep at it and if there is nothing else you could imagine making you as happy, stick with it. The work doesn’t validate you, but knowing you are enough and you have something to say and share is all you need. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy every moment!

 

Picture credits: Taili Song Roth, CBS Television, LA Stage Alliance, Isaac James

 

Chit Chatting with Madison Lintz

 

Written by Jill Sheets

I recently got to interview 18-year-old actress Madison Lintz. Some of you may have seen her as Sophia Peletier on The Walking Dead, or as Maddie on the show Bosch. Madison has a new movie coming out called Tell Me Your Name. Learn more about this film, about her, and what the strangest question she has been asked is.

 

R: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start acting.

M: I’m from a family of actors, my mom being the first. She had to take me to set with her one day when I was six, and I knew right then that I wanted to be an actress, too.

 

R: Tell us about your movie Tell Me Your Name and about your character Hannah.

M: Hannah is a well-meaning friend who, during a DIY séance, unwittingly brings about a doorway to evil to her best friend. Séances are never a good idea! Don’t try them at home.

 

R: How did you prepare for your character?

M: The character was a little bit goth, a little bit spunky, but also popular, fun-loving, and kind. Hannah and I dress similarly, but that’s about it! I prefer having a small circle of close friends, and I’m not necessarily the most outgoing; I don’t prefer to be the center of attention. It was interesting to go outside of my comfort zone to play this character!

 

R: Tell us about your show Bosch and your character Maddie.

M: Bosch is a crime drama series on Amazon Prime. It’s based in Los Angeles around a tough cop, Harry Bosch, who struggles to attain justice amongst the most formidable cases. I play Harry Bosch’s daughter in the show, Maddie Bosch. My character definitely has an element of innocence to her.


R: You were on The Walking Dead. What was that like?

M: I absolutely loved my time on The Walking Dead! The cast and crew were so amazing and supportive–I have nothing but nice things to say about them. I was 10-12 years old when I did the series, so it was like summer camp, but with zombies.

 

R: Do you have any other upcoming projects you would like to talk about?

M: I’m moving out to Los Angeles at the end of July to shoot Season Four of Bosch!

 

R: If you could make your favorite book into a movie, which book would it be? What character would you play and who would play opposite you?

M: Most of my favorite books have been made into movies! (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Fifth Wave, I Am Number Four) There are so many other series that I’d like to see turned into good movies, like the Young Elite series, the Golden Son series, and so many others. I love to read!

 

R: What are your top five favorite movies and what are your top five shows?

M: Top five shows: Gilmore Girls, Game of Thrones, Vikings, Teen Wolf, and New Girl

Top five movies: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, How to Train Your Dragon, and Me, Earl, and The Dying Girl

 

R: What would your dream vacation be? Where would you go?

M: My dream vacation would be going to Europe, staying in a fancy flat, going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in theaters, then taking the studio tour at Leavsedon where Harry Potter was filmed…which is convenient, because that what my parents got me for my eighteenth birthday/graduation present!!!!!!!


R: Who has been your biggest influence and why?

M: God is definitely my biggest influence. My goal in all that I do is to present myself in a way that represents him. I always hope that’s my biggest influence on how I treat others, especially.

 

R: What do you do in your spare time?

M: I go to the gym, hang out with my boyfriend and friends, play the violin, and I read non-stop!

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

M:

  1. I play the violin (going on 4 months)
  2. I may be in a show that shoots in all Los Angeles, but I’m actually based out of Alpharetta, Georgia
  3. I have two brothers and a sister, and they all act as well (so does my mother!)
  4. I’m 100% addicted to coffee
  5. I love Harry Potter, and literally slay at Harry Potter trivia–no one can beat me (except MAYBE my sister)

 

R: Other than one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

M: Someone has asked me to sign their arm so they could tattoo it! Nerve wracking.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

M:

Instagram: @madisonlintz

Twitter: @madison_lintz

To find out what me and my family are up to, visit my mom’s blog, lifeinthehoneywagon.com. Several of her posts include me being an absolute brat! Just kidding, but you should definitely check out her post titled “Sepulvatory”.

 

 

Chit Chatting with Actress Abby Donnelly

 

Written by Jill Sheets

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to be able to interview young actress Abby Donnelly. Many of you may have seen her as Darbie on the Amazon series Just Add Magic. Read on about Abby, what her favorite shows are, what shows does she want to make a guest appearance on, and who her biggest influence is and why.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting.

A: When I was about nine, my best friend was acting and I thought it would be really fun to be able to act on some of my favorite shows, so that’s how I started!

 

R: You are in Just Add Magic. For those who have not yet seen the show, tell us a little bit about it and your character Darbie.

A: The show is about three best friends who find a magic cookbook. I play Darbie who loves cooking and eating. She goes on adventures with her friends and absolutely loves it.

 

R: What is your favorite episode that you have done so far and why?

A: In Season Two, there is an episode where we go back to the 1950s and it was so much fun to film! Seeing the transition from 2016 to 1950 is so cool.

 

R: If you could pick one thing from the magical cookbook to make what would it be?

A: I would make the Mind Peering Peppermints because it was super fun to film!

 

R: You made a guest appearance on American Horror Story. Tell us about the episode. Who did you play?

A: I played Peggy Cartwright, who was at school when she discovers a “monster.” Like anyone else would do, she screams and runs over to her teacher.

 

R: That show has many talented actress and actors. What was it like working with them and did any of them give you advice?

A: It was really great working with them! They were amazing because it was my first job and they were really welcoming.

 

R: If you can pick five shows to make a guest appearance on, which ones would they be?

A: Probably Agents of Shield, Stranger Things, Greys Anatomy, and The Flash.

 

R: What are some of your favorite shows?

A: I love Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 13 Reasons Why, and Survivor. 

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence and why?

A: My mom is my biggest inspiration. Her work ethic inspires me, because she works six days a week and never complains. She inspires me to be my best self.

 

R: What are some of your hobbies?

A: I like to box and do calligraphy.

 

R: I read that last year you went to the Say NO Bullying Festival. Tell us about it! 

A: Yes I did! It was so inspiring to meet other kids who have overcome bullying. We met a mom and her daughter, who was being bullied at her school because she liked to wear boy clothes. I thought it was very important to tell her that she should not change the way she looks and to keep being herself.

 

R: Speaking of bullying, what advice would you give to someone who is being bullied?

A: Do not let other people bring you down. Always stay true to yourself no matter what and make sure an adult knows what is going on.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

A: I box once a week, I’m starting to learn the ukulele, I am in a regular high school, I enjoy reading Shakespeare, and I love makeup!

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

A:  I was once asked, “Can you drive a tractor?”

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their address? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

A: I am on Instagram @abigail.donnelly and my Twitter is @itsabbydonnelly

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

A: Thank you so much for always supporting me and what I do! I love you guys!

 

Chit Chatting with Actress Marlowe Peyton

Written By: Jill Sheets

I recently got to interview “Fresh off the Boat” actress Marlowe Peyton, who started to act at the young age of 4 years-old.  This 12-year-old also has many talents other than acting.  She loves to sing, write songs and she was able to teach herself how to play the piano by ear and there are much more.  Continue to read and learn more about her talents, about her and her animated show.  I have a feeling that we are going to hear more good things about this young lady in the future.  Keep your eyes and ears open.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting?

M: I was four when I started acting. My sister had been acting for a couple of years and I thought it looked awesome. I asked my mom if I could act like my sister but she thought I was just wanting to be like my sister. A few weeks later we went into Merit’s managers’ office and I just asked her manager if I could act too and they said “Yes.”  I went to my first audition and booked it and I’ve been acting ever since.

 

R: Tell us about your show “Fresh Off The Boat” and about your character Reba?

M: Fresh Off The Boat, is about a Taiwanese family in America during the 1990s. My character Reba is in love with their oldest son Eddie Huang. She’s a student at Abraham Lincoln Middle School with Eddie and his younger brother Emery. Reba’s a self-possessed, confident girl who runs the school paper, audio-visual department, makes the schools morning announcements and plays sousaphone in the school band. Fun fact: Reba also loves to sing and has sung twice on the show so far.

 

R: What has been your favorite episode so far?

M: Well, that’s an impossible question to answer! The writers on Fresh Off The Boat give me some amazing material. I’d have to choose between, singing, doing a Polish accent, playing the sousaphone or running the school paper! I can’t pick! (laughs).

R: Tell us about “The Nerd Posse” and about your character Aria Crunch.

M: The Nerd Posse is a show that wants you to know, “It’s weird NOT to be weird!” The posse consists of comic nerds, YouTubers, inventors, anime lovers and hackers. My character, Aria Crunch is the daughter of Carson Crunch played by Andrew Bowen (who is absolutely hilarious!!) my crazy, off-beat dad who has created a Nerdtopia for us! Aria is unique, quirky, constantly cosplaying and vlogging which has, sometimes made it difficult for her to fit in. I love this character and I can’t wait for you to meet the whole Nerd Posse! Follow @thenerdpossetv for updates and news!
R: What was it like working with Benjamin Stockham, Emma Rayne Lyle and the rest of the cast?

M: FREAKING THE BEST! Ben Stockham and I have been best friends for years. Interesting fact – Ben and I had a joint Gravity Falls birthday party a couple of years ago! Getting the chance to work with him was an awesome experience. Emma and I have been close friends for a really long time as well and I adore her. Everyone on this pilot Ben, Emma, Jacob Hopkins, Zoe Fowler, Izzy Eggerling and the rest of the cast are so talented and SUPER nice, we had the best time hanging out every day.  I look forward to working with the whole cast again!

 

R: If they were going to make your favorite book into a movie, which one would it be?  What character would you play and who would play opposite to you? 

M: Okay I’m about to go into dreamland here! (laughs) Since my favorite show “Gravity Falls” is over, I am reading the books that are out based on the show. Right now I’m reading – “Gravity Falls: Dipper and Mabel and the Curse of the Time Pirates’ Treasure!.” How cool would a live action “Gravity Falls” movie be??? Kind of amazing right? So if I get to cast myself, (laughs) I would want to play Mabel, Ben Stockham as Dipper, Danny Devito as Grunkle Stan and Josh Gad as Soos. That would be the best thing to ever happen!

 

R: I read that you are creating your own animated show.  Is that true?  If so, tell us about it.

M: Yes it is true, I’ve been developing it for the last 2 years, it’s called “Parker Bubblegum.” I was trying to fall asleep one night and an image flashed in my mind of this girl, and I had to get out of bed and start drawing her immediately, that girl is now known as Parker. I have been obsessed with creating the world she lives in ever since. I have illustrated and created all the characters, developed the story and late last year I got the chance to direct the amazing voice actors I have involved in the project.

 

R: I read that you also sing.  Is recording music something you want to do in the future?

M: Yes, definitely! I have worked as a session singer in the past and I taught myself how to play piano by ear.  Since then I’ve been writing a lot of instrumental music, mostly for my show “Parker Bubblegum.” Each character has a theme song and I listen to those songs when I’m illustrating or writing storylines. Music and singing are a really important part of my life.

R:  What is your favorite genre of music to sing? Who are some of your favorite singers and/or bands?

M: Oddly enough, I don’t think my music taste has a genre! My favorite artist is GHOST (AKA Spud-P) I also love many different styles of music from producers that work with Japanese Vocaloids, A-tonal electronic music, electro swing, my playlist is pretty odd and eclectic.

R: Who has been your biggest influence in your life, so far and why?

M: Definitely Alex Hirsch! He is my all-time hero for many reasons. His show Gravity Falls had a HUGE effect on my life and has inspired me to perfect my drawing skills, write interesting stories, and learn how to animate, which has all led to me creating my own show. So, Mr. Hirsch thank you for being such an inspiration.

 

R:  What are some of your hobbies or what you like to do when you are not filming?

M: Besides illustrating, I also love to watch Youtube, some of my favorite Youtubers are Matthias, Zylbrad and Knitting Giant Beanies. Memes I’m obsessed with meme’s and often spam my friends in our group texts, I also love to play Overwatch!

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

M:

  1. You can sometimes see me on my sister Merit Leighton’s Youtube channel KawaiiHappii.
  2. My friends are everything to me I love them dearly.
  3. I had a heart defect in the womb, but my mom prayed over me and it was gone when I was born.  
  4. I’m super into the new Nintendo Switch, and Breath Of The Wild is slowing taking over my brain.
  5. I have a quite a dandy Tracer and Mei impression from Overwatch.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

M: I can’t recall any actually, but one of my best friends got asked the most random question at school, “Have you ever frozen your arm?” (laughs)…so I don’t think I can top that.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites?  If so, which one and what are their addresses?  Do you have an official website and/or youtube page?

M:  @marlowepeyton on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Website: marlowepeyton.com

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

M: Let me leave you with a quote that the very wise Alex Hirsch once said to me. “You can do it!”

 

R:  Marlow, thank you for the interview.  It was an honor.  Have a great day.

Chit Chatting with Actress Lulu Lambros

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing up and coming  actress Lulu Lambros. She plays Ellie, the best friend of Harley, on the show Stuck in the Middle. Read on and learn how her parents took her request for an agent when she was three years old, what five things people may not know about her, and what the strangest question she ever has been asked is.

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting.

L: I’m a Cali girl, born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve wanted to act as long as I can remember. When I was three years old, I told my parents I needed an agent so I could be on TV just like the kids I watched on my favorite shows. It wasn’t that simple though. My parents said, “Start with theater, and if you still want to do it, we can talk about getting an agent for TV and film.” I performed steadily in local theater productions, including Shakespeare in the summers, from the time I was four until I was ten. It was then that my current agent scouted me at an acting showcase and signed me immediately.

 

R: Tell us about your show Stuck in the Middle and about your character Ellie.

L: Stuck in the Middle is a single camera comedy series on Disney Channel. We see the crazy, fun, everyday life of the Diaz family through the eyes of Harley (Jenna Ortega), the middle child of seven. I play Ellie, Harley’s lovable best friend and neighbor. My character lives next door to the Diaz’s with her hilariously over-protective mom. Ellie is Harley’s biggest fan and an honorary Diaz. The writers have created such a likable character in Ellie–she’s sweet, innocent, super eager, and ridiculously funny. I love her!

 

R: What was the audition process like? How did you find out you got the role? Where were you?

L: Wow, I can’t believe its been a year and a half! The audition came in just like any other audition, I had a few days to prepare, and went in hoping for the best. I remember having a good audition, but there were a lot of girls there, and you never know. A week later I got a producer’s callback and again I felt good about my audition, but the producers didn’t give anything away. The next day my dad picked me up after school, which was weird because my mom always picks me up. My dad said he just felt like picking me up, and when we got to the car I saw my mom standing there with a huge smile on her face. I looked at both of them and at the same time they said, “You’re Ellie, you got the part!” I cried, laughed, screamed, and jumped up and down all at the same time.

 

R: What is a typical taping day for you?

L: My favorite days! It usually starts with an early call time of 7 or 8am, sometimes earlier. Every day you get a call sheet with your schedule for the day–it tells you approximately when to go into hair and makeup, when to report to school, when you will be on set, and when the meals will be served. We all start our days with breakfast on set, and then spend a little time with the set coach before we rehearse for the actual taping. Because we have so many kids in our cast, it’s fun and games all day on set!

 

R: If you could pick any five shows to make a guest appearance on, what would they be?

L: Oh my gosh, five shows, that would be a dream! Well, if I could go back in time it would be Gossip Girl. Currently, and this is so hard because there are so many awesome shows out there, I would say Pretty Little Liars, Stranger Things and KC Undercover.

 

R: Do you have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?

L: There are a couple of cool projects that I would love to be a part of, but I don’t want to jinx it.

 

R: What are your future goals?

L: Oh, so many! Of course, like most other actors, I would love to work with the best. To have the opportunity to challenge myself and learn from the greats would be a dream. Growing as an actress is something I try to do every day with every experience. Even if don’t get the part, I learn something from every audition process. It would also be cool to combine my love of acting with my love of travel and work all over the world. Of course, school is important every step of the way, and college is definitely in my future.

 

R: Tell us about No Bullying.

L: First of all, I feel so fortunate to have amazing friends in my personal and my work life. I have not personally experienced bullying, but it is an important topic today. It seems like it should be pretty simple, right? Be kind, spread love, and treat others like you would like to be treated. Unfortunately for some kids, that’s not their reality, so we have a lot of work to do to raise awareness and educate. Recently I partnered with FREE2LUV and Kid Fash Magazine for a fashion show fundraiser to raise money for the anti-bullying movement. It was a fun way to spread the word! Coming up, I’m proud to be involved in another anti-bullying event: Say No Bullying Festival. It’s going to be an awesome day of presentations, speakers, and performances by talented young entertainers, as well as a young celebrity meet and greet.

 

R: Do you have any other charities or causes that are close to your heart? If so, tell us about them.

L: Animals! Any charity or cause that helps protect animals, keep them safe and healthy, give them love, and help find them forever homes has my support.

 

R: It’s not easy being a teenager. What advice would you give them in general?

L: As a new teen myself, my best advice to other teens is to be yourself and, most importantly, love that self. That will give you the confidence to go out into the world and rock it! Also, be true to yourself. It will make it a lot easier to make those tough decisions that teens face, especially when there is peer pressure.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

L: I randomly break out in an Australian accent, I don’t like apricots, I was a competitive swimmer, romaine lettuce is my favorite food, and I love looking at real estate.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

L: Believe it or not, the strangest most-asked question I get on social media is if my lips are real. I mean, I’m thirteen!

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

L: Yes!

Instagram: @lululambros

Twitter: @LuluLambros  

Facebook: Lulu Lambros  

Musical.ly: @lululambros

Snapchat: @luluberrypie

I do have a YouTube page, Lulu Lambros, but life has been so hectic with work and school that I haven’t been able to post. I’m hoping to work on that this summer!

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?

L: I love you guys so much!  You have shown me so much love and support–I’m the luckiest girl! I have the greatest job and even greater fans. I love meeting you when I’m out and about, so please say hi if you see me. Sometimes fans reach out to me on social media to say that they saw me somewhere but were nervous about approaching me. I’m very friendly! I love hearing from you guys and connecting with you on social media–keep in touch!

 

R: Lulu, thank you for the interview. It was an honor. Have a great day.

 

Photo credit: Don Sparks

 

Careers for the Young Woman

Many young ladies are leaving high school and entering college with only one concern on their mind, what are they going to do? In America, what we do is considered a factor in who we are. The importance of what we do with our lives is a top priority. There are certainly no “wrong” answers when it comes to what we want to do with our lives but when you are unsure of which direction to go in, it becomes a daunting task. Today we want to share with you some top careers for women entering the workforce today.

Actor

Acting is a top contender for careers amongst young women. You can easily begin on stage, television, or even movies. It’s not an easy career to obtain, but if you have the willingness to learn and tenacity to work hard for it, you could become successful. Acting classes are an absolute must. Private coaching can be available. Most importantly, if you don’t do well at an audition, ask for constructive criticism. It helps to know what others see in your abilities and what needs work. One thing that can help spark the passion to get started, or keep going, is to go to famous locations related to the acting field. For instance, you could visit West Hollywood or attend a Broadway show.

Be an Entrepreneur

Most people think that starting their own business does not involve young women. However, women are becoming very successful entrepreneurs daily and all over the globe. All it takes is a strong passion for something and filling a need. Carrie Green was 19 years old and in law school when she started two businesses to help generate income. She had no idea what she was doing but she learned every step of the way. She got her law degree and founded the Female Entrepreneur Association and has now released a book. A large part of her success was her willingness to learn; she avoided telling herself what she couldn’t do and focused on what she could, and did not give up on herself. Some entrepreneurial ideas:

  • Owning your own brick and mortar retail shop
  • Selling your handmade items online
  • Writing and self-publishing your own eBooks
  • Open a yarn truck (like a food truck, but for fiber arts)
  • Start a traveling spa clinic
  • Start a Neighborhood Nanny Network

Look at what you love to do in your spare time and ask yourself, “Do I want to do this all the time?” and “How could I make income from this?” If you get stuck, look for local Women’s Business groups and look for connections online. Women are most successful when they have other women entrepreneurs supporting them!

Doctor

Women are natural caregivers. The medical field is perfect for natural caregivers. Becoming a doctor is a perfect fit for the woman who wants to help save lives and heal souls. Becoming a doctor is by far not the easiest task. It can be roughly 9 years of schooling; 4 years of undergraduate, 4 years of medical, and one year of residency. You will need to be sure you have excellent grades and get as many grants and scholarships as you can possibly obtain before taking out any loans. However, the ability to help people take care of themselves and heal is well worth the journey!

Landing your dream job is no easy task. We highly recommend you reach out to career counselors to help determine which direction you want to go in. No matter what field you are in, networking is crucial for success and you should start that as soon as you can. Be open to unusual twists and turns in your journey and don’t be afraid to take chances. You will be a success!

Chit Chatting with Actress ViviAnn Yee

 

By Jill Sheets

Recently, I got to interview Los Angeles native, ViviAnn Yee. This award-winning American actress started acting, singing, and dancing roughly around the age of four, when her mom signed her up for a musical theater class. She has made guest appearances on Modern Family. She has many upcoming projects that I cannot wait to see. Read on and learn more about her upcoming projects, her top five favorite authors and books, and who has been her biggest influence.

 

R: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start in acting.

V: I was born in Los Angeles and live with my mom, dad, and older brother. I am very lucky because I have a wonderful family who supports me in everything I do. I was four years old when my mom first signed me up for an after school musical theater class at my new preschool. She thought it would help me meet new friends and give me something fun to do after school. Because of that, I fell in love with acting and singing. After about five years performing in local theater productions, I got signed with a talent agency and started doing commercials, movies, and television.

 

R: You have a lot of projects coming out. Let’s start with The Boss Baby. Tell us about the movie and about your character Staci.

V: The Boss Baby is a super funny and heartwarming animated movie that everyone can enjoy. The story follows a baby who is a secret agent in a war between babies and puppies, but it really has a deeper message about family. My character, Staci, is the assistant to Boss Baby (voiced by Alec Baldwin). She’s supposed to be Boss Baby’s official note-taker, but she’s not very good at it. However, she does come through later for Boss Baby when he really needs it. I am so thankful to director Tom McGrath and producer Ramsey Ann Naito, the two amazing and kind people who gave me this wonderful opportunity. It’s such a fun movie that I hope you all will go see.

 

R: Tell us about A Children’s Song and about your character.

V: This project was important to me in many ways. First, it’s such a wonderful story based on true historical facts of friendship between the Chinese and Jewish people. Did you know that in the 1930s and early 1940s more Jews went to Shanghai, China to flee Nazi Germany than any other city? I didn’t know that before working on this movie. Another great thing about this film is that I got to use my bilingual language skill of Mandarin Chinese. My character, Young Meizhen, shows the audience this story of how one friendship between two cultures all began. And most importantly, this film was made by an amazing team headed by famous producer Sid Ganis and actress/producer Jane Wu, so I got to work with and learn from the very best.

 

R: Tell us about some of your other projects that will be coming out.

V: I just finished playing the lead role in a film called Paper Daughters. This is a beautiful and moving story that, coincidentally, is also set in 1940s Shanghai. It’s about two sisters who want to move to America after their mom dies. The problem was that, at the time, the Chinese weren’t allowed to enter the United States because there was a ban on Chinese immigration. So the two sisters pretended to be mother and daughter so they could get in another way. This immigration ban is a factual part of American history that many people don’t know about and is really relevant to today’s times. The director Alexander Lu is a very talented young filmmaker and this is the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to work with him. He flew me out to New York from Los Angeles to work with him and his incredible team and I loved every second of it.

 

R: Not only do you act, but you also sing.  Do you have plans to release any music in the future?

V: I do have another really amazing project that will be coming out later this year. I’m not supposed to discuss any details about it yet but I can tell you that there will be some singing in it. So please follow me on social media for updates.

 

R: What has been your favorite memory so far?

V: My favorite memory is of all the great times with people I’ve met on sets. I’ve learned that filmmaking is kind of like a big jigsaw puzzle, where every piece is a person who has a very important job. We become like a big family who depends on and supports each other. We all work hard together to make sure everything turns out well, but we also try to find little moments during the day to joke around and have some fun too. On one set we held “staring contests” with each other in between takes to see who would blink first. Everyone got a good laughs out of that.

 

R: What advice would you give someone who wants to become an actress?

V: I would say that continuing to study and do well at school is really important. It’s also good to take acting classes, but it’s also equally important to just be a kid. Have fun with your friends, take on a hobby, or maybe learn a sport or musical instrument, and develop some really good work and study habits, because being an actor takes lots of hard work and discipline.

Photo credit: Alexander Lu

R: What is your favorite Bible verse?

V: Luke 6:31: “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” I think it’s important to treat all people with kindness and respect. So I always try to be mindful of others and treat them the way I would want them to treat me.

 

R: Do you have any charities that are close to your heart? If so, tell us about them.

V: I really like to give back and help others whenever possible. I have volunteered for the Junior Blind of America since I was eight years old. I followed in my older brother’s footsteps on this one because he started when he was my age too, and now he’s a counselor-in-training for them during the summer. It’s a really great and important organization that helps blind and visually-impaired kids and their families. I’ve volunteered as a sighted “buddy” for several years now and the experiences there have meant so much. A few of the many others organizations I have volunteered for include my local church and Project Angel Food which prepares and delivers meals to those who are critically ill.

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence?

V: My mom has definitely been my biggest influence. She always told both my brother and I that our true character is what we do when no one is looking. She has been there for me every step of the way and is the main reason I’ve gotten to where I am today. I couldn’t ask for a better mom.

 

R: You are a member of Mensa. Would you mind telling our readers what it is and how you became a member?

V: Mensa is the oldest and largest high-IQ society in the world. You can get in if you score really high on an official intelligence test. I got in by doing really well on a gifted test they gave all the kids at my public school. So I guess you could say that it’s an organization of smart people. But I’ve realized that my proudest accomplishments happened when I worked really hard on something rather than just relying on my natural abilities.

 

R: I read that you like to read books.  Who are your top five authors and/ or books?

V: My top five authors and books are:

  1. Rick Riordan – “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.”
  2. J.K Rowling – “Harry Potter.”
  3. Suzanne Collins – “The Hunger Games.”
  4. Natalie Babbitt – “Tuck Everlasting.”
  5. Madeleine L’Engle – “A Wrinkle in Time.”


R: What are five things people may not know about you.

V: I play the cello.  I like to jazz and hula dance. My favorite color is periwinkle. My favorite animal is the panda. I am bilingual, so I am also fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official site and/or YouTube page?

V: Please follow me on

Instagram: @viviann_yee

Facebook: ViviAnn Yee

Twitter: @ViviannYee

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

V: I love to hear from you, so please write to me. And if you include a stamped, self-addressed envelope I’ll send you a signed photo (size of the envelope will determine the size of photo you will receive).

ViviAnn Yee c/o  CESD Talent Agency

10635 Santa Monica Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90025

 

R: ViviAnn, thank you for the interview. It was an honor. Have a great day.

V:  Thank you for having me! The honor was all mine!

 

Picture credits: DreamWorks Animation and ViviAnn Yee, ViviAnn Yee, Guy Pooles, and Jih-E Peng

Meet 25-year-old Award Winning Actress, Writer, and Director Castille Landon

“Diversify your interests, study anything and everything, and most importantly, never compare yourself to anyone else. There will always be someone more intelligent, more talented, more beautiful, more connected, etc., but that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for you at the table. You are enough; it’s a matter of working hard for yourself, striving to become the best version of yourself, and believing that you have something that is worthy of contributing.”

25-year-old actress, screenwriter, and film director Castille Landon is making history and paving the way for young women who are pursuing their dreams and careers. Born in Florida, she moved to Los Angeles when she was fifteen to pursue a career in acting. She graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in English, and is currently a student at Oxford, working on her creative writing major as the only screenwriter accepted into the class. “I think it helps as a filmmaker to be exposed to as many subjects as possible so as to create work that more broadly reflects humanity. I’d rather tell the stories of humans (especially women) throughout time, or be inspired by big ideas in science and medicine or great minds than become insular and just tell stories I relate to personally, or make films about filmmakers or writers,” said Landon, when asked why she decided to pursue a college education instead of only going straight to a career in the film industry.

She has appeared in numerous television shows and films such as Criminal Minds, Wind Walkers, Land of Leopold, and Among Ravens, and played a major supporting role in the comedy Sex Ed opposite Haley Joel Osment and Glen Powell. Now she writes, produces, and directs films such as Apple of My Eye, starring Burt Reynolds and Amy Smart, and I Believe in Unicorns, which premiered at SXSW and was screened in more than 40 film festivals worldwide. Her latest film, Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, was just released on Pay Per View on April 2, and will be available on DVD at Walmart on May 2.

The story follows a thirteen-year-old girl, tasked with the responsibility of caring for her disabled father, who is transported by a magical black stallion to the mystical world of Albion, where she discovers that she is the key to saving an entire race of people. It stars Oscar-nominee John Cleese (Monty Python), Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon A Time), and Debra Messing (Will and Grace). “The film was a blast to direct,” said Landon. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of actors. Everyone really nailed their characters, and [the cast] and I became very close during the whole shooting process.” The film earned a 93% audience approval rating when it was previewed at the Bentonville Film Festival, and received both the IFP Director’s Lab Selection award and Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the Equus Film Festival in New York.

In her free time, Castille enjoys hot power yoga, horseback riding, and reading. She is also a very strong supporter of women in film, gender equality, inclusion of girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, and de-stigmatizing mental illness. This is what she had to say on the subject:

“Gender equality is something that needs to happen, and that I’m constantly shocked to see is not even close to our present conditions. As far as STEM fields, I think it’s important to empower girls through school and teach them that their contributions in those fields can be great. I personally really struggle with understanding detailed science and math, but I’m obsessed with learning about them in the general sense. I love learning about neurology, epigenetics, and cognitive and behavioral psychology— how the brain works, why we do what we do, etc. Perhaps my brain really doesn’t grasp on to the intricacies of it, but it could also be that if I had been encouraged to study those subjects as a younger person, I might have been able to train my brain to function in those fields. Too often, young girls are told that they are meant to be studying subjects in the humanities, that we’re the ‘emotional’ gender, and so we turn the logical, mathematical sides of our brains off. Do we really lack those talents, or are they muscles that we weren’t encouraged to strengthen and have atrophied without use? Geena Davis’s Institute is doing great work and putting forth the idea that young people need to see themselves reflected on screen, so we, as creatives, need to show women doing these things to inspire the younger generation to pursue them.

“All of that being said, de-stigmatizing mental illness and promoting mental wellness is one of my greatest passions in life. There’s a long history of mental illness in my family, particularly in the women, up the maternal line for several generations. I was raised to understand that and so it didn’t even occur to me that discussing one’s struggles in that area was taboo until fairly recently. It dawned on me that many people turned to suicide not only because they were struggling with mental illness, but because they felt too ashamed of their condition to speak up and get help. That’s unacceptable. No one would be ashamed to say they had asthma so they needed to take a break from exercise. Society doesn’t judge those who get cancer. Why do we not regard mental illness in the same manner? It’s really nonsensical to me. And furthermore, positive psychology should be taught alongside any other subject. We should promote positive thinking instead of perpetuating the culture of fear and anger that the media seems intent on spreading.”

You can learn more about Geena Davis’s Institute here: https://seejane.org/
Also, check out the trailer for Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, like the Facebook page, and go follow Castille on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on her upcoming projects!
By Anna Tallarico