Teen sensation Joshua Rush dishes on Disney Channel series Andi Mack,and streaming CNN news twenty-four-seven
Teen sensation Joshua Rush dishes on the popular Disney Channel series Andi Mack, taking us threw a typical day on set for his character of Cyrus Goodman, and streaming CNN news twenty-four-seven.
Congratulations on a leading role in the Disney Channel series "Andi Mack" as Cyrus, one of Andi's BFF! How did you get started acting? Tell us about your acting path that led to playing Cyrus.
Thanks! My mom got me started in the business. At a very young age she set me up with an acting coach in Houston, which is where I lived at the start of my career. Eventually my acting coach told us we should try out Los Angeles, and that was all my mom needed to hear! She had us move to LA for 3 months (I was 6 or 7 years old) and eventually we called her and said "We're not coming home!"
Cyrus is quirky, not athletic and a little bit awkward, but he has a sense of humor that can make just about anyone laugh. What are some of your similarities and differences to the character?
I think Cyrus and I are similar in a lot of ways. Our awkwardness, sense of humor, and general weirdness are definitely similarities. I think something amazing about Terri Minsky is that she's not only an amazing writer, but an amazing observer too! We (the cast) would just be talking around her, and she would just sit and listen. A week or two later, one of our sentences would appear in the script! I'm still waiting for my writer's credits!
Andi Mack" is a coming-of-age show about not only the usual young teen issues, but deals with family drama. Do any fans reach to you out about issues they face, both with family and peer relationships, and how do you respond to those questions?
I've certainly gotten some fans who ask me for some help with their issues and, when I respond, I try to make it as clear as I can that I'm not really a great person to be asking for advice on these things! I try to give them a personal anecdote from my own life and explain how my solution to the problem worked and how it didn't, and what I'd do differently. When I'm at a loss, I get advice from my Dad, who is a psychotherapist!
You played the younger version of Zachary Quinto's character in "Heroes" and younger version of Zachary Levi's 'Chuck' in "Chuck." Did you have to research your older counterparts' characters beforehand, and did you get to rehearse your characters with them? Tell us some special memories of working on these shows.
I don't have as many memories from those shows as I used to because when I worked on "Chuck" and "Heroes" I was only 7 and 8! It's been almost 9 years since I worked on them! I do know that when my episode of "Criminal Minds" came out, I wasn't even allowed to watch my scenes, because my parents thought I was too young. Eventually I watched "Chuck" (I think around age 10) and saw my episodes; I really liked them! But researching the part at that age wasn't much of an option.
You can be heard in hit shows such as "Family Guy" and "The Cleveland Show" and, on the big screen, fans may recognize your voice in movies such as "Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman". You voice 'Jeremy' on Disney's "Star Vs The Forces of Evil", and 'Toby' on Netflix's "The Adventures of Puss in Boots". Have you done special training for voiceover and what are some of the differences between on-camera roles and voiceover?
I've worked one-on-one with David Kaufman, who coaches me, and has starred in roles like Danny Phantom (basically my childhood!). I think the biggest difference is the time. Working on voice over we can record an episode in 5 hours (for a 45 minute episode, with every character on-mic) while on "Andi Mack", it takes us a week to record a 21 minute episode! We work 9.5 hours per day with an hour for lunch and 10 minute breaks every hour on "Andi Mack", and on "The Lion Guard" — other than the first episode (Return of the Roar, a 45 minute TV movie with a few songs) — I've never taken longer than 2 hours, with a snack break of 5 minutes in the middle. It's a major parallel!
You've had some starring roles in some big budget productions such as "Parental Guidance" alongside Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei, and "Break Point" alongside Jeremy Sisto and David Walton. What films, television or VO projects should we be watching for you in next?
I'm focusing on my three shows in the Disney family ("Andi Mack", "The Lion Guard", "Star vs. the Forces of Evil") right now, as well as finishing up the final season of my Dreamworks/Netflix show ("Adventures of Puss in Boots")
I read that you a passion for cars and could name the make and model of many styles of cars at just 2 ½ years old and were featured on the news. What are some of your other hobbies and interests outside of acting, and how do you balance school, friends and family with your successful career? Do you have any charities you are passionate about?
My biggest hobby right now is reading the news! I read and listen to the news about 3 hours per day. I carry bluetooth earbuds where I have CNN streaming 24/7. I read the Atlantic, New York Times, Washington Post, and a few others daily, and I watch cable news probably an unhealthy amount. It's not easy to balance my school, friends, and family, but something really important to me is a strong calendar. Every minute of my day from 6 am to midnight is scheduled out, and I try to give every part of my life as much time as I can, even if it means combining time with friends with work time. For example, Sofia and I work together on lines almost every night but at the same time we play poker and pool. We have to keep it fun!
What advice would you give our readers that are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry?
It's hard but having the right people behind you makes it easier. Get an agent or manager and a coach who is behind you, and who will really help you put the right foot forwards. And always remember this: out of 100 auditions, sometimes you will only book one role. So don't get discouraged if you don't get a callback!
Starlet Hayley Orrantia opens up about typical day on-set of The Goldbergs, her journey on The X-Factor, and writing lyrics
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY TJ Manou
- Los Angeles, California
Starlet Hayley Orrantia talks exclusively with We Blab Entertainment Magazine about a typical work day on-set of The Goldbergs, and her journey on The X-Factor. Hayley also opens up about how she personally writes lyrics for her music.
Congratulations on the huge phenomenon of "The Goldbergs" on ABC, which, was recently renewed for seasons 5 & 6. Having grown up in the late 80's culture "The Goldbergs" reminded me of my own family with the fashion, and attitude. Can you take us threw your audition process for Erica Goldberg?
I actually was the first person they saw for the role of Erica! I received the audition from my agent while I was driving into California with my dad for pilot season back in February of 2013. As soon as we arrived I put myself on tape for it and soon after received a callback. The Goldbergs was also my first screen test ever so I definitely got lucky. The best part of this story is that I have heard that it came down to me and one other girl.
They originally went with her until an intern in the back of the screen test room fought for me. She apparently made a compilation of my personal YouTube videos where I was being my goofy self and the producers decided to take a chance on me despite my limited resume. I have been so grateful to work on such an amazing show for four years now and hopefully many to come!
You grew-up in Highland Village, Texas singing at the age of just nine years old R&B, and pop music which, eventually lead to writing with songwriter Jamie Houston from the (High School Musical series). How did you get started in the music business, and what made you decided moving to Los Angeles was your next step to stardom?
Music has always been a first love for me. It all started when a family friend heard me singing in the car along to the radio and suggested I take it more seriously. Over the next few years I performed all across the DFW metroplex and made incredible connections through my music school. Eventually those connections led me to Jamie.
Jamie introduced me to a bunch of labels in NYC and LA where they suggested I get some sort of "platform" to further my music career, like a television show. That is ultimately how I ended up acting and booked The Goldbergs. I happened to move to Los Angeles around the same time I booked the show. I really feel like it has all been fate the way it has worked out in my life.
The first time I personally became aware of your name was on the first season of "The X Factor", and I remember thinking Hayley is going to be a big star. Your appearance on The Which, eventually led to you be eliminated during the fifth week, but I'm sure it was a one of kind experience. What was your personal experience like being on the "The X Factor", and what did you learn from being on the show?
My journey on The X Factor is one I hope to write about someday. To sum it up, however, it was a whirlwind of emotion and excitement. I met some lifelong friends on that show and I learned so much about the way the industry works, good and bad. I learned that, as an artist, you cannot allow other people to dictate what kind of music speaks to you.
There will be countless people fighting to push you in one direction and while there are times they could be right about it, you have to follow your instincts because your journey to find your sound will come in time. It's been almost six years since my time on The X Factor, but i can still vividly remember my experience and treatment on the show. It shaped me into the artist I am today in so many ways.
On "The Goldbergs" set in yhe 1980's you play Erica Goldberg the older sister of Berry, and Adam whom is extremely popular, fashion crazy, mostly cares about boys, and loves to torture her brothers. What dose a typical day on-set look like, and how has your character evolved over the years?
A typical day on set requires about a 5:30 AM wake up call to be on set for an hour and a half of hair and makeup. After quickly shoveling breakfast and coffee in my face and memorizing my lines for the next scene, it's on to set where we put the scene on it's feet. We do one rehearsal before the crew sets up lighting and then we film that scene anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the scene. Our work hours and be anywhere from 5 hours to 12 hours in one day. It's kind of crazy schedule, but in the end it's all so worth it! Erica has evolved in so many ways over the last four years. Erica is actually based on creator & producer, Adam F Goldberg's, older brother, Eric. Because of the age gap between the real life brothers and the fact he didn't have an older sister,
Adam didn't have as many stories to start the show off involving Erica. I am actually thankful for that because I believe it gave the writers a lot of freedom when writing about Erica. She's always been headstrong, wise and the-middle-man of the family, much like Eric Goldberg. However, the writers have since added her musical ability once they saw my interest in wanting to do both. I believe it has really worked in the favor of the show & definitely for my career to be able to do both music and acting. Now that Erica is headed to college and chasing her dreams, the writers have a whole new playground to work with on the show.
In 2011 you started in the independent comedy "Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang", where you played Penny the mean sassy older sister of Cooper who, comes-up with a devious plan to foil her little brother's quest to find a family heirloom. Do you have any memories filming in Lewisville, Texas and what do you hope kids who just discover the movie take away?
I think working on Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang was a perfect transition for me into the acting world, especially since it was filmed in my hometown. I was actually a junior in high school during filming which was difficult for my schedule, but I learned so much. It was such a well produced movie and everyone involved was so incredibly kind that I could not have asked for a better first experience.
I hope that when people watch it, it can be an enjoyable family friendly movie that brings them together. I hope they can appreciate all the time and love put into that project and also the features that the movie highlighted about Castle Hills. Overall it was a fun and educational experience that I will never forget.
One of my favorite episodes of "The Goldbergs" is Kara-te where Erica sings Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" at the high school Holiday Talent Show. Can you tell us how the producers first let your character start singing on the show, and are you self-tough on the guitar?
I had a conversation with the producers one day asking that if they ever had an opportunity for me to sing on the show that I would be more an ecstatic. Luckily for me they gave me a shot with that first talent show episode. It went over so well that they continued to write Erica's musical interest into the show. Fun fact: I don't know how to play guitar! They hired a teacher to help me, but I REALLY struggled with it and even begged the producers to stop writing it in unless I could play piano. I guess I've made it look real enough that everyone thinks I can play. However, this summer I spent some time working with an amazing coach and I now can accompany myself a little better. We'll see if those skills are tested this next season!
You have an amazing singing voice, and your singles "Love Sick", and "Silence You" have a very indie country sound that you don't hear in most modern country songs. Can you give us some insight into how you go about writing lyrics? Are your lyrics based off personal experiences?
Lyrics to me are one of the most important elements of a song. A lot of people, I notice, just breeze by the lyrics and only tune in to the melody or production of a song, but I am so different. I love hearing the real story of the songwriter or artist played out in their song and the cleverness of a good line. My goal is to have someone listen to my song and be speechless with emotion because it truly hits home for them in a way that no one can explain. I know that when I go through something difficult in my life and I hear that experience reflected back at me in a beautifully written song, I feel more understood than having a discussion about it in person with someone.
All of my songs are based on a personal experience of mine. Even if I it's something I am not going through at that moment, I can tap back into that feeling or relate it to a time in my life when I did feel that way. I think that's where music and acting cross for me. It's very important to me to make sure that every line of my song is true to my personal experience. I believe this is what makes a song more relatable than anything else. If you share your truth honestly, it will resonate better with other people.
Since 2007 you have serviced as the ambassador for Texas Music Project, which raises awareness and funds for music education in public schools. What can you tell us about the non-profit, and how important is keeping music education in our schools?
When I started working with Texas Music Project, I couldn't yet appreciate the reality it would play in my own life. Music has always been important to me and while I am lucky enough to have been able to do it outside of school, not everyone can. During my time on The X Factor, I was a senior in high school and was forced to quit & take online homeschool courses to finish my education. Many states, including Texas, have a policy that does not allow the amount of absent days required to further a career in entertainment, despite your grades. Around the same time, my high school cancelled all future Musical Theatre programs due to minor complaints and issues. I was devastated that the next 4,000 kids to walk through that school would not have the opportunity that I did to appreciate the value of music & theatre classes. It has been my ultimate goal to change this policy and allow every child the same opportunity as I had whether it's a class for one year of high school or the beginning of a long lasting career. Many people view a career in entertainment as risky and short lived. However, from my experience, I know there are many levels to this industry, more than just being in front of a camera or behind a mic. I hope one day in the near future I can work with statewide school boards to discuss a change in policy.
The Goldbergs returns with season 5 this fall on the ABC network.
American actress Masiela Lusha discusses George Lopez Show, playing Gemini in Sharknado series, and non-profit Uncommon Good
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Raul Roa
- Los Angeles, California
American actress Masiela Lusha opens up about the groundbreaking sitcom The George Lopez Show, and playing Gemini in the hugely successful Sharknado series. Also Masiela talks about her non-profit Uncommon Good helping families rewrite their stories.
Congratulations on the success of "Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens", and the sequel "Sharknado 5" which, premieres August 6th on SyFy. The Sharknado series of films has become a huge phenomenon, having personally seen memes based off your character Gemini. Can you tell us about the audition process for the role of Gemini, and how difficult was it doing your own stunts in Sharknado?
Sharknado felt like a whirlwind from virtually out of nowhere! Within 48 hours of my scheduled flight to Florence, Italy, I received an offer. I read the script and absolutely needed to portray the role of Gemini. Her fierceness and compassion was perfectly fleshed out, and I said yes. Within 48 hours of my acceptance I found myself on set, meeting everyone for the first time.
Filming my own stunts was what motivated me accept Sharknado as well. Gemini was fearless and it felt like such a fulfilling outlet. My favorite stunt would have to be leaping off the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas at 4am. Leading up to this particular stunt, our director, Anthony, and our producers insisted I wouldn't be able to follow through. Of course, when someone says that something can't be done, I feel compelled to prove them wrong.
You recently stared in the Lifetime movie "Forgotten Evil" which, is about a woman with amnesia who tries to restart her life until the past comes back to haunt her. The character you play is the multi person role of Renee, Jane Doe, and Veronica, who has amnesia, and can't remember things. Was it a challenge to play three different roles in one film, and what kind of working relationship have you built with director Anthony C. Ferrante?
Anthony and I worked together on Sharknado a few months prior when he offered me the opportunity of Renee. I adored working with Anthony in Sharknado because he had quite a fluid way of filming scenes, sometimes rewriting scenes on the day of shooting. With Sharkando, as actors we simply didn't know what to expect day to day, and it was quite alright because the end product was rewarding. With Anthony, I felt safe, and I considered him an actor's director. I didn't second guess his vision, and I was always pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
While I've worked on heavy genres in the past, I loved Renee because she essentially evolved with the audience. She began to piece her world at the same pace as the viewer began understanding her circumstances, so essentially she lived on the same plane of understanding. There was no backstory to draw from, essentially nothing she was privy to that the audience would need to eventually catch up on. Anthony asked that I play various firsts in the film: the first taste of a strawberry, the first moment of spotting a person that Renee would eventually love, the first kiss, and the first betrayal. The audience lived through these moments with Renee and that made me feel more connected with my craft.
As actors, we are taught to draft a little backstory diary on our characters, outlining subsitions, and explain the hidden machinations of every physiological twist. With Renee, and for the first time in my career, I was forbidden from exploring this tactic. I simply needed to live moment to moment with her. It was exhilarating.
Having grown-up with "The George Lopez" I felt the similarities between The Lopez family, and my own family. My favorite episode was when Carmen convinced Max he was adopted with the classic line "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you're adopted! And when you turn 16, your head will explode just like your real mom's said!" Can you take us threw your audition process for Carmen Lopez, and what can you tell us about working with George Lopez?
What made the George Lopez show magical is the authenticity injected by the producers and our incredibly dedicated staff of writers. This authenticity is what feels most rewarding to actors, in my opinion, because it breathes life to our craft. We then act for a reason, and that reason is to elevate, reflect, and by doing this, essentially heal. We act for the audience, not at the audience. And we absolutely have the writers to thank for this honor and privilege.
The George Lopez show was my first sitcom audition, my first Network test, and my first major offer. And I believe these series of first could have helped my performance of Carmen. During the audition, I didn't have any exceptions, I was even jarred at the bursts of laughter in the middle of my audition. I always assumed an actor's stage was sacred, but this laughter fueled me forward, and felt more natural than other more quiet and respectful audition experiences. I then realized that sitcom was my home, that one space of reassurance and direct validation of healing I needed to witness realtime.
I do believe having no expectations and preconceived notions about this particular audition process and even the Hispanic family is what inspired an offer from the producers. I didn't impose an accent, a style of delivery, a preference of clothes. Carmen was written with such contradictory and complex characteristics that I remember thinking, "ok, they clearly just want a real girl, contradictions and all! I'll be me then."
That was it! The series of auditions and tests felt easy, natural, and for the first time in my early career, I felt that this was where I needed to be. I simply glowed auditioning for Carmen because I loved her so much even before the offer. She was an amalgamation of nearly every friend I had known and adored in school, and the most authentic pieces of me.
Over the years "The George Lopez Show", has become a cult sitcom that raised the bar for latinos in television. The many fans we're very excited when the cast reunited after 10 years on "The Lopez Show" George's new semi-autobiographical sitcom that airs on TV Land. What was like reuniting with the cast after 10 years, and can you tell us exactly why Carmen was written out of series after season 5?
I feel Carmen had such a diverse trajectory in her storyline, they took her through so many growing pains, that at some point she needed to find herself, settle into an understanding of who she was, and go to college. She learned too much over the five years not to grow up and move on. I learned so much through Carmen and was pleased to see her finally settled. It was rewarding as an actor to take her through her journey.
Reuniting with George and Constance felt easy and natural, like the original sitcom days. Within minutes of our tableread, we found our rhythm again. This surprised me as we hadn't seen each other in years. For me, it must have been nearly a decade!
One of the many things that I personally loved about "The George Lopez Show", that made it stand-out from other sitcoms was the fact it wasn't afraid to address serious issues. The episode where Camren told her parents she was pregnant so she could move into her boyfriends house, had a very serious tone. How did you tackle the more serious issues, and looking back on the show what was your proudest moment?
I agree with you that this was truly one of the most fulfilling aspects of the sitcom. The producers weren't afraid to let the characters scream, cry, feel genuine heartbreak, and simply live. Often times our endings weren't tied with a perfect bow and that's what kept the show timeless. It was real life.
There were moments when my direction for Carmen was to laugh, and in the middle of filming the scene, I would tear up instead because that simply made more sense to me in her situation, or even vice versa because George was hilarious, and angry or not as his daughter, I couldn't help but laugh. How often do we find ourselves stifling a laugh when we're angry with someone, despite our own attempt to be serious and dignified? That's life.
You're also a published author with the book "The Living Air" which, is about exceptional book of poems. Can you tell us what's your inspiration behind writing the book?
The Living Air is my most diverse collection of poetry. For the first time in my writing career, I wrote a few poems in German, and translated each back to English. I would say the translation (even of my own poems) feels by far the most complex and time consuming. Figures of speech that feel natural in one language feel forced or unintelligible in another! What to do?
For the first time in my career, I also translated poems by Saint Theresa, herself an Albanian. This translation felt like acting to me. To truly understand her meditations and the correct English interpretation, I needed to read a few books on her biography, and dive into her personal letters to friends and confidants. I needed to understand the depth of her yearning and insecurities to find its meaning in English.
I think a lot of people would be interested to learn your not actually Latino but, born in Tirana, Albania before your family left as refugees to Budapest, Hungary, and Vienna, Austria. Can you tell us how you got started acting, and got discovered?
That's right! The first quarter of my life lacked consistency and comfort. While I never felt deprived of a normal childhood, as it was the only childhood I knew, I did feel a sense of how truly big the world can be, the wide spectrum of people, dreams, dreads, and desires. This realization made me love people, and absorb their world in a very sensitive and intuitive way. I was able to follow the nuances of individuals, as it meant survival for me, and I was able to utilize this in acting later in life. And this is why I simply adore acting, it provides an outlet for every human experience, and validates it. Every heartache can be manifested into a reward in acting, every injury, a fulfilling journey. It's nice to have that outlet to rewrite one's experiences in a healing way.
I began acting at 12 in Macomb, Michigan. An agent from Los Angeles was combing the Midwest for fresh faces. Of the 600 or so aspiring talents at the open call, I was one of the three he asked to return with him to Los Angeles. While I did not know a single person in LA, I was fortunate to start with an agent.
You're new project "Uncommon Good" is a non profit charity that helps mentor youth to attend college, eat healthy, and combat health care issues. Tell us about your role in "Uncommon good", and what you would like to see for the future?
I feel my experience as a refugee galvanizes my passion for humanitarian work. I simply to need to support any way that I can. This automatic drive feels as natural and obvious as breathing. Perhaps I feel I was given too much in my youth, had witnessed a palpable human need on the receiving end, had lived through kindness and compassion from perfect strangers, that it is absolutely unimaginable not to relive this experience in a healing way.
Uncommon Good helps families rewrite their stories. They can re-interpret their expectations of what they were taught through our mentorship program. For example, our students from unfortunate circumstances have a 41.5% chance of graduating high school. Less than half! We find these students, help define their dreams, and mentor them through scholarships and college acceptances. We have a perfect 100% success rate in sending our students to college. Yes, 100%. We help them find the courage to define new expectations for the future, and all the golden possibilities that their society couldn't articulate let alone dream up.
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming premieres August 6th at 8/7c on the SYFY network.
Glee cast member Noah Guthrie talks playing Roderick Meeks on hit tv series, and releasing first album Among the Wildest Things
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Brayden Heath
- Los Angeles, California
Glee cast member Noah Guthrie talks about playing Roderick Meeks on Fox's hit tv show, and releasing his first album "Among the Wildest Things". Also Noah tell us about masking a large following on Youtube in High School with his original song covers.
I’ve watched several of your covers, including one with more than 25 million views, “Sexy and I Know It,” by LMFAO. Your version is amazing and I’m listening to your cover of “Skyfall” right now. Love it! How did you get started in music and how did it unfold to bring you to your pivotal role as Roderick Meeks on FOX’s hit TV show, Glee?
Thanks! I have been around music from an early age. In a family of studio singers, it's hard not to catch the bug. When I got my first guitar I fell in love with songwriting and it became the main way I express myself. During my last two years of high school, I started posting cover songs on Youtube and quickly received a lot of unexpected attention. People would comment and tell me that they liked what they heard and how I twisted songs around to make them my own. I decided to keep posting videos as a way to get my name out there while I worked on my own album of original music.
In 2013 I released my first album called Among The Wildest Things and started touring all over. After a couple of years of working the road, writing songs, and putting more content online I got a phone call from the Glee casting directors. They said they were looking for a certain kind of person to fill a role for the last season of Glee. Actually, they said that they needed a shy, chubby guy with a very soulful voice. haha. I happen to meet that criteria quite well so I sent in a self-tape audition and next thing I knew I was flying out to Hollywood to shoot the last season of Glee. Everything cool that has happened so far in my career has kind of fallen out of the sky. When that happens I work hard and try to run as far as I can with it.
It’s been said that Glee isn’t popular just for the music, although we all know the music is incredible. Part of its popularity is that it brings up real teenage issues and makes the misfits feel like they could belong. Do your fans approach you about issues and challenges they face, and can you share with us some of your techniques for making a difference for those reaching out to you?
I think one of the most meaningful and rewarding parts of being on Glee was hearing from the audience. People from all over would write in and tell me that they really identified with Roderick or with his struggles to fit in and that has always touched me. The best thing I can hear from a fan is that they relate to the character and that it has helped them with their own struggles. I was not the most popular kid in high school and was definitely the butt of many fat jokes so I understand how hard it can be. I think one of the most important things to do is to let those fans know that you hear them and you understand. The impact that this show had on its fans amazes me and I'm so grateful that I got to be a part of it in any way.
When I got on Glee I got a peek into the TV world and see how things are done and its truly incredible to watch. The time, money, and crew it takes to shoot one episode is amazing! Each week would vary on how much we had to learn. Sometimes it was just one song and dance, other times it was five. In my opinion it wasn't the rehearsals that were so hard but the actual taping of the performance.
Once you start recording a dance number it takes forever. You just keep doing the same thing over and over while cameras move around to capture different angles. In between each take you have to catch your breath (or maybe that was just me) and make sure your wardrobe is still intact. Then you get reset and go again. After about the 10th take it gets a little tiring haha.
You’ve performed on NBC's, Today Show, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as two performances on ABC's, Dancing With The Stars. Do you ever get nervous or star struck when performing live on TV?
I don't usually get very nervous. I've been so lucky that all of the shows I have been on are comprised of some really great people. Everyone is very inviting and have always tried to make me feel comfortable. This is not to say that I NEVER get nervous, but if I am it is usually if I feel underprepared for something. I'm also not the best with surprises so sometimes that can throw me off. For the most part I just try to stay focused but loose and have fun with it.
You’ve opened for Ed Sheeran, Neon Trees, Selena Gomez and many other talents. Do you go on tour with them for entire tours or for single shows? Tell us about one or more of your most memorable experiences while opening the show.
All of those opening slots have been for single shows. I think one of the most memorable experiences was actually when I was opening for Matt Nathanson out in Sonoma California. It was in the most beautiful concert hall I've ever seen on the campus of Sonoma State University. One of the stage hands had told me that the week before the show, Alison Krauss had opened the venue and I have always adored Alison Krauss. Anyway, where she stood on that stage was still marked on the floor and I got to stand in that spot and play my songs for a full house that night and just breathe in the Magic.
You released your first album, Among The Wildest Things, in August 2013. What was the inspiration for the album and what did you learn with the release of that album that has prepared you for the release of your second album?
The first album was really just the first snapshot of me as an artist. I wanted to put that album out on the heels of the Sexy and I Know It viral video so that I could capitalize on the new fans that I was gaining and let them know that I write original music too. I think the first album process taught me that things rarely go as planned with recording. Some songs change and take longer to complete than others. Some get thrown out entirely. The whole process taught me to be open minded and let things flow naturally. You can't force a song to be something that its not.
What advice would you give to other aspiring performers that might help them on their journey?
The main advice I would give you is to be patient. This is something that I try to tell my self often. If music is the business you want to be in then you need to know that it takes time. Time to get better at your craft. Time to figure out who you are as an artist. Time to assemble the right team to help you reach your goals. No matter what social media may lead you to believe, over night success doesn't happen. If you are true to your self and true to your craft you will find a place for your music.
Japanese American actress Ally Maki dishes on TBS's Wrecked, Dear White People, and breaking racial stereotypes
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Ryan West
- Los Angeles, California
Japanese American actress Ally Maki dishes on TBS's "Wrecked", satirical series "Dear White People" and breaking racial stereotypes in Hollywood. Also Ally tell us about how Mosquitos nearly bit her alive.
Congratulations on TBS's "Wrecked" being renewed for a second season. What is it like getting to film in Fiji, and can you take us through your audition process for the role of Jess?
Filming in Fiji was absolutely incredible. The people there are so friendly. Every single person you pass gives a huge smile and welcomes you with a "Bula!" I loved being away from the rat race of LA for a bit and completely getting immersed in work and the culture there. The cast really bonded on a whole new level in that way. Doing a Kava ceremony in the home of a Fijian local was definitely a highlight! I am so grateful to this show for providing me with these epic and life changing experiences.
Jess Kato is a fun; feisty, hopeless romantic and the plane crash survivors have to adapt to life without the usual comforts like WIFI, or indoor plumbing. Have you learned any survival skills that would help you if ever found yourself on a remote island?
Absolutely. I've become a connoisseur of mosquito bug products. I probably should open a reviewer site on it. Mosquitos destroy me so I really had to find ways to keep them away. First season, I had almost 250 scars on my legs from bites and had to do 12 rounds of laser scar removal when I got home! It was terrible. I have it all down now. Mosquito pants, every type of spray, bracelets, candles, the whole works.
You've been in quite a few comedic TV series. Do you find comedic roles or dramatic roles more challenging, and why?
I love comedy so much. There's a little more ease for me with it, I think because growing up with all brother's you really had to learn that snark. Brother's really give you that tough skin in that way. Comedy was also the way I was able to express myself. I've always been very shy, almost to the point where I didn't really speak much growing up, so playing big, bold characters was my comfort zone.
It felt like it wasn't really me so no one could shame me for the crazy or weird choices I would make. Dramatic roles are more challenging because you have to completely strip down every wall and insecurity to bring truth to the role. The audience has to be able to trust that you're giving them the most authentic emotional experience.
Would you consider doing a biopic in your grandparents honor about the time they spend in internment camps?
Absolutely. I'm in the very beginning stages, but it's in the works.
You are breaking racial stereotypes with by getting a leading Asian female in the "Wrecked" series. What do you bring to your character/role to help change the stereotypical radical standards?
I'm fourth generation Japanese American, so my experiences and what I bring to every character are truly American. My parents were born here, my grandparents were born here. I have no stereotypes to bring because I am no different than the girl who grew up in a suburb of Kansas or an Indian American girl living in the Bronx. I think the more we can portray all different types of people in the media as just people and really humanize our experiences, the more progress we are going to make in this country.
You're a part of the satirical comedy-drama series, "Dear White People." It's been called revolutionary. Tell us about your character, Ikumi what she experiences, and how the show deals with current issues in 2017?
I am so completely honored to be a part of this groundbreaking and revolutionary show. Filming the show itself was somewhat of a life changing experience for me because of it's real and very emotional subject matter. When we filmed the party scene in Episode 5, the whole cast and crew had to take a break to deal with the weight of it all because it felt so real. You felt Reggie's struggle in every way. Everyone was crying and holding hands. It was a really beautiful thing to see everyone united in that way. I spoke to one of the wardrobe women who said that she fears everyday for her son to drive to school. It's heartbreaking. Ikumi is awesome because she's bringing that Asian American presence. She's really trying to find her identity with the group. Being Asian American in this country is sometimes hard because we don't have that strong community and cultural identity that most other groups have.
We don't have those things that define us as truly Asian American. So I think that's Ikumi's struggle. Finding that identity. It's fantastic that Justin Simien (the creator) thought to shed light on how Asian Americans feel in all of this. What we go through. I hope that Season 2 will show more on the racism and discrimination we go through as always being the butt of the joke. I think it's often overlooked because it's overshadowed with laughter. I remember when I was young, kids would pull their eyes back to look slanted and yell "Ching Chong China" and everyone would burst out laughing. I laughed along because I didn't know what else to do. I knew it was wrong but wasn't old enough yet to stand up for myself or my people. Asian Americans are not a joke and I think it's time we start fighting back in that respect.
What advice would you give young people that might be considering pursuing acting?
Do it for the love of the art. Find that thing that gives you that spark. The thing that even if you didn't make any money doing it, it would still fill your heart in ways nothing else could. Find it and then go for it 110%.
Season 2 of Wracked aires Tuesday nights on TBS at 10:00pm.
Follow Ally Maki on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Notlim Taylor talks new NBC sitcom Marlon, prayer sessions before tapings, and working with Kevin Hart
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY #twaintaylor
- Los Angeles, California
Fresh faced teenager Notlim Taylor talks about getting casting in the new NBC sitcom "Marlon", having prayer sessions before tapings, and working with superstar comic Kevin Hart. Also Notlim gives us advice for break-out into show business.
Congratulations on booking the role of Marley Wayne in NBC’s new sitcom “Marlon” which will premiere August 16th, 2017. Can you take us throw the audition process for Marley Wayne, and how did you feel when you got the role?
Thank you! When my dad told me I got the role, I didn't believe him? Then my agent called to congratulate me, I couldn't believe it. I was shocked, happy, and confused. I didn't understand what I did to deserve what God has blessed me with. I was thankful at the same time though. I'm so blessed and so thankful to be apart of such an amazing show with amazing people.
One of my favorite actors is the hilarious Marlon Wayans from the “Wayans Bros”, and “In Living Color” whose new sitcom is named after him. What’s it like having Marlon play your dad, and did he give you any career advice?
Where do I start!? Marlon is crazy but professional and he reminds me a little too much of my own dad. He makes the set a comfortable environment for everyone to work in. He is a great multitasker by the way, he advises me while collaborating plus checking the rollback plus cracking jokes and delivering his lines.
At the age of 4-years old you started doing local still photography, and just a few years later got the attention of Disney. Can you tell us how you got started in the business, and how your mom picked the name Notlim?
My father (Milton "Twain"Taylor) is an actor, my brother and I would watch him act and rehearse all the time. Then we started practicing commercials in the mirror at bath time that we'd seen on television, our dad decided to take a chance and let us audition for our first commercial which ended up being our first job. My name is MILTON backwards, my parents were expecting a boy so when they saw me they decided to just switch the name around.
What advice would you give a young actor who might be asking their parents to pursue a career in acting?
You have to be willing to put in a lot of hard work, you must stay focused, and you have to be patient. The business is tough, sometimes you'll get tired of auditions ruining your weekend or changing your family plans because you have to study but don't look at the constant auditions as annoying, look at them as opportunities.
In the upcoming series "Marlon" you play older sister Marley Wayne, with divorced parents, who are trying rising two kids. Can you tell us some details about your character, and how much you can you relate to Marlon?
Marley is a 14 year old book worm and a 4.0 student in her private school. She is extremely educated, mature, and she juggles a lot of responsibility between dealing with the divorce of her parents while helping to raise her little brother Zack and school work. She respects and loves both of her parents unconditionally. No matter how immature or over protective Marlon might act towards different challenges in her life, she is always going to be daddy's little girl.
I loved your performance in Kevin Hart's "The Real Husbands of Hollywood" where you played his adopted daughter Lola. I'm interested to hear any stories about working on-set with Kevin Hart?
It was amazing being able to work with Kevin, his jokes always went over my head. I remember one day on set Kevin complimenting my work in front of me and my dad. He said that my performance was great, he loved that I was exercising good comedic timing, and that I was gonna go somewhere. I thought that was so big coming from Kevin.
Just like your character in "Marlon" I heard you're a real bookworm in school, with a 4.0 GPA. How do balance school with your acting responsibilities?
When I was in public school, I would always make sure my homework was completed before anything else even before I studied my lines for an audition. Now that I'm homeschooled (for the first time) I get to move at my own pace. I make sure I stay ahead that way when I have to work I have nothing to distract me.
We have a lot of teenagers who would be interested to learn more about auditioning for network roles. Can you tell us what you do to prepare for an audition?
The entire cast have a group prayer before each show, praying lifts any fears or doubts that I maybe having, I love the audience, I can just feel the positive energy in the room. The audience is your added support or your cheering squad. My advice to those reading is to relax and have fun. You already got the job! You will really enjoy it.
Follow Notlim on Instagram, and Twitter.
NBC's Marlon premieres Wednesday August 16th, 2017 at 9/8C.
Young actress Brielle Barbusca talks about auditioning for The Starter Wife, and wanting to guest star on Fox's The Mick
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Deidhra Fahey
- Los Angeles, California
High school graduate Brielle Barbusca talks exclusively about the audition process for USA's "The Starter Wife", wanting to guest star on brother Thomas' hit Fox sitcom "The Mick". Also Brielle dishes about her plans to attend College in the fall.
You played smart aleck Jaden Kagan in the TV series “The Starter Wife”, when you were about seven years old. Can you take us thought the audition process?
I was in New York at the time, so auditioning was me going on tape a few times for the role because it was all being filmed here, in Los Angeles. Eventually, they flew me out here to screen test and read with Debra Messing. I remember thinking I wasn't going to get it because the other girls there actually lived here in LA, and I was the only one from out of town; but once I got in there and met everyone, it really just clicked.
Congratulations on graduating high school with one of your best friends Emmy Kenney from “Shameless”. Are you planning on attend college while, continuing your acting? If so what would you like to study?
Yes, I did just graduate! It was a great experience to finish school and walk with some of my best friends, which is something you don't think you'll get to do in an independent schooling situation. I'll be starting college in the fall, focusing on communications and psychology. Even with acting and work, it's always been no question when it came to college for me. It's all really exciting and nerve wrecking at same time.
You have some amazing IMDb credits, and guest started on one my favorite series “Shameless” on Showtime.
Working on Shameless was fun, especially because I got to do scenes with Emma Rose Kenney, who's also my best friend.
We recently interviewed your little brother Thomas Barbusca who, currently stars in the Fox breakout sitcom “The Mick.” If you couldn’t guest star on an episode of “The Mick”, what character would you create for yourself?
Hmm, honestly, I would play just about any role on The Mick and be happy about it. Maybe, I could be a long lost cousin or something; there’s a lot of possibilities with how Season 1 ended. The writing for the show is just so good, that I think any character they could come up with for me would be funny; although, I don't know if I'd be able to keep a straight face with Thomas. I've worked on some great comedies and have never really “broke character,” on sets, but I have a feeling that I would if I had scenes with my brother.
After “The Starter Wife” was canceled you moved back to New Jersey before heading back out to Los Angles. Do you prefer living in LA or New Jersey?
It's two totally different worlds. East coast is definitely home for me, and it’s always nice to go back and visit. I can see myself moving to New York one day, but as of right now, I prefer LA for sure. After living here during production for “The Starter Wife”, I knew this was where I wanted to be.
One of the many highlights was attending the 2016 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Can you tell us what that experience was like walking the orange carpet?
KCA's are always fun. You get to see some cool performances, hang with your friends, and hope and pray you don’t get slimed in the process.
If you could guest star in one sitcom which, one would you choose, and why?
My favorite sitcoms are the more classic ones like Friends and Seinfeld. I wish I could have guest starred on one of those. I could re-watch and binge those two a thousand times and still think every episode beyond funny every time. As in for just a show I want to be on in general right now, at this very moment, Twin Peaks. I'm absolutely obsessed right now. I've never seen anything like it before.
What advice would you give teens looking to break into acting?
As general as it sounds, my advice would be to never give up. There will be bumps along the road and times you feel like giving up, but remember that no matter what you're doing, hard work always pays off.
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Isaac Sterling
- Los Angeles, California
Actress Jennifer Schemke talks about Dirty Dancing remake, and advice for upcoming inspiring actors, Also Jennifer talks with us about how she learned to dance badly, and working with Billy Dee Williams.
You play Esther Feinberg in ABCs up-coming remake of “Dirty Dancing” airing May 24th. Can you take us through the audition process?
When I got the audition, I was in New York, so I had to send in an audition tape. My dear friend, Izzy, who’s also an actor, came over and read with me. I dressed with a hint of the 60’s, backcombed my hair a bit, and we did a few takes until we felt the magic. I didn’t hear back for a long while. I kind of forgot about it. Then, while I was visiting my parents in Northern California, babysitting my niece, I got the call that I booked it, and celebration ensued!
We all remember the original dirty dancing starring Patrick Swayze, and Jennifer Grey. How much dancing did you learn for the role of Esther, and was it difficult?
So, my character isn’t supposed to be a great dancer. My first day on set, we were shooting a scene featuring a group dance lesson and the director, Wayne Blair, came up and asked me if I could lose a bit of my fluidity. Basically, he asked me to dance badly. So, if when you watch it, you think I’m uncoordinated, then I’ve done my job!
You graduated with a BA and BFA in theater from San Francisco State and DePaul University. What’s the most difficult part about studying acting, and what lessons can tell people who are looking to take some classes?
Studying acting is great, because it gives you tools to navigate what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, creating and giving sincere voice to a character you’ve only just met. The nice thing, is that you come to the table with all of your own experiences and observations, so the tools help you to hear that voice you already have, and to stay relaxed and open to your scene partners. The most important task is to tell the story. Studying the craft helps you lose self-consciousness and do that. It’s always a good idea to study, even if you’re an accomplished actor. It’s a safe place to experiment.
You recently had a guest role on the series “Magic Funhouse”, playing the role of Gidget. Can you tell some more your character?
Brandon Rogers, who writes, directs and stars in the show writes me in as a different character each season. “Gidget” is the first of those. Brandon’s writing is outlandish, and this character fits that bill for sure. She’s a “Laughter Therapist”, a woman of manic optimism, with a searing darkness lurking just below the surface. She laughs to stave off these darker urges, and encourages her therapy group to do the same, to questionable result. A lot of the characters Brandon writes make you laugh, but have an element of the disturbing. My character on Season 2, though totally different from “Gidget”, is consistent with that sensibility. Funny, unsettling, unsettled.
You recently launched a new start-up called “CreativeTao”, which is aimed at connecting art teachers and students. What can you tell us about your new start-up for education?
CreativeTao was the brainchild of my former improv student in New Orleans, Mikeal Woods. He never considered himself creative, but is the father of a highly creative son. He found he had trouble finding a wide variety of teaching resources to help his son explore his creativity. Me, being a teacher at the time, sometimes found it difficult to market beyond word-of-mouth or flyers with those tear-off thingies hung in the back of cafes. So, together we decided to create a platform where both creative arts teachers and students could find each other on the web, as well as a place to find creative inspiration.
A large part of the audition process is rejection. How dose Jennifer personally handle rejection?
Oh, Lord. It’s the classic case of learning how not to take things personally. To ascribe to the rule of “Rejection is God’s Protection”, as my mom says. If you’ve done the work, and done your best, you have to remember that different projects are comprised of various aspects beyond your control. It’s also great to create your own work. You never know who you’ll meet when you’re consistently working and creating, and who will see your work. One of my teachers, Tom Todoroff always says that when you convince yourself you’re an artist, the world will also be convinced. Making your own art is a way to learn more about your unique voice, and keep you feeling powerful.
We always hear if you to pursue a career in acting move to L.A. Do you think people can still have an acting career outside of Hollywood?
There are so many great and smaller markets outside of L.A. Hollywood shoots all over the globe, and many of them hire some sizable roles locally. If you’re a tiny fish in a huge pond like L.A., it can be challenging even to get seen. It’s a very smart idea to build your credits and experience in smaller, but burgeoning markets, like Georgia or Louisiana, to name a couple. Make your life happy first, go for the opportunities in that locale, and when you’re ready to get in that big ring you’ll fight more like the champ you are.
In “Dirty Dancing”, you got to work along-side an all-star casting including Sarah Hyland, Abigail Breslin, and Billy Dee Williams. Can you tell us what it was like working alongside such powerful talent?
Every day was an ecstatic and humbling experience in this regard. I was surrounded by the best in the biz, on set and in the hair and makeup trailer. Debra Messing and Katey Sagal were both lovely to work with, and consummate pros. Nicole Scherzinger is such a sweet spirit, and an incredible dancer, and Abbie and Sarah were very friendly and supportive. My high school math teacher used to have framed headshots of Billy Dee Williams around her desk, and Tony Roberts (of Broadway and “Annie Hall” fame) went to Northwestern with my aunt, so that was a fun coincidence. I learned a ton about staying relaxed and confident among this company. I had to balance my inner fangirl with the the part of me that was there to do my work. It was invaluable experience and I owe all of these actors a great deal of gratitude.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter.
Abby Donnelly 14-year old starlet talks about Amazon's Just Add Magic, shooting the pilot, and juggling school
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Jesi B Photography
- Los Angeles, California
Abby Donnelly 14-year old starlet dishes exclusively with We Blab Magazine, about her Amazon hit series "Just Add Magic", and doing a "mix and match" audition for the pilot. Also Abby talks about her on-set chemistry with co-stars Olivia Sanabia, and Aubrey K. Miller.
You have some great IMDb credits and are now starring in Amazon’s big hit, “Just Add Magic.” How did you get started acting?
When I was 9, I signed up for a musical theater summer camp with a friend. We learned all the lines, all the songs, and all the dances in eight days. On the ninth day we performed it with costumes and everything! I loved performing so much that I joined the drama club at my school.
I had a friend at school who was acting in TV and film and I thought it might be really fun to try doing that too!
So I joined a scene study class and that's where I was introduced to my manager, Sheila Russo/SR Talent Management and she help me get an agent for television and film and one for commercials as well! That is how I got started!
Congratulations on the success of “Just Add Magic,” an Amazon Studios series based on Cindy Callahan’s book. What did you do to prepare for the role and can you take us through the audition process?
Thank you! I love working on Just Add Magic! It's a really fun show to be on and I'm very proud of it! Not all shows have something for everyone in the family but, Just Add Magic does! I was really excited when I got the audition for the pilot! It seemed like a character that fit me perfectly! I love food and love to eat and the idea of magic made it seem even more fun! I went in for the initial audition and then I was so happy because I got a call back the next week!
And after the call back I got called in to do a "mix-and-match" where they had me do some scenes from the pilot with other girls that we're up for the parts to play Kelly and Hannah. I went in about five different times with different girls but, the first and the last time I went in I was with Olivia and Aubrey! I had so much fun at the mix-and-match! Later that night I found out I got the Pilot and that Olivia and Aubrey did too! I was crying I was so happy! It's kind of funny but, when Olivia, Aubrey and I are together we just kind of turn into Kelly, Darbie and Hannah!
"Just Add Magic”, is a fun mix between cooking and magic. If you, in real life found magical cookbook would you try the recipes, or avoid it at all costs, and why?
At first I would be hesitant because why is a magic cookbook in my house? And then I'd probably try one of the recipes to see what would happen! Why waste the opportunity to do magic when a magic cookbook is sitting right in front of you!
I hear you go to public school during the year calendar year. How do you juggle that with your acting responsibilities?
The school I go to is very supportive in my acting career! And so are all of my teachers! When I'm working and on set every day, I can look at my assignments for each class online. Each teacher has their own portal and will post when assignments are due and when I will have a test. It's kind of like homeschooling but not. When I'm not working I go to school just like everyone else. If I have an audition I can leave school early but, I always make sure to get my homework done and study for all my tests!
Tell us about your character in “Just Add Magic,” Darbie O’Brien. How are you similar/different to Darbie?
When I first read the script I really liked the character of Darbie O'Brien because I felt like I really related to her. We have a similar sense of humor and we both really love hanging out with our best friends! Although we have a lot in common (like our love of trying new food), Darbie is definitely more adventurous than I am. I definitely have become more outgoing playing her. Darbie also has a really cool sense of style! I'm working on that!
You are in Shakespeare troupe. Do you prefer the comedies, tragedies, or histories?
I prefer comedies to watch and to act in. It is really fun to re create what comedy was like in Shakespeare's time period. I also like tragedies because it is interesting exploring the character's thoughts and motives!
In 2012, you had a scene in American Horror Story in the “I AM Anne Frank: Part 2” episode as Peggy Cartwright. Were you screaming towards a green screen or did they provide another stimulus for your well-done screaming scene?
Originally, they were going to have a green screen because the producers were worried that we (all the kids) were going to get scared. Instead, they let us all meet the actress who played Shelley who was turning into some kind of monster. When I met her she took out her false teeth to show me that she actually had real teeth behind these rotting ones!
They asked me if I knew why she had green socks on and I thought it was because she needed to have amputated legs in the scene and I was right! They put the green socks on her so they could take them out with CGI it was really interesting!
What advice would you give teens looking to break into acting?
If you really feel passionate about it, I would start in either a summer acting camp or in school plays! It is always a fun way to see if acting is really your passion!
Watch full episodes of Just Add Magic now streaming now on Amazon Prime.
14 year-old teen sensation Thomas Barbusca blabs about Fox's The Mick, and playing Drew in American Wet Hot Summer
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY April Mills, Kathy Hutchins,
- Los Angeles, California
14 year-old teen sensation Thomas Barbusca gives us the inside scoop on Fox's "The Mick", and getting into a physical on-set fight with co-star Sofia Black-D'Elia. Also Thomas shares his memories playing Drew in American Wet Hot Summer: First Day of Camp.
Congratulations we just got the news Fox's "The Mick", will be renewed for season two. Can you tell us about the audition process for the role Chip Pemberton?
I had just got back from filming the movie Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life in Atlanta and got a bunch of scripts and auditions. The Mick was one of them. The script was super funny and I ended up getting an offer for it.
"The Mick" is a fantastic hilarious sitcom about Mickey, a not so bright aunt who is forced to take care of her sister's three kids that live in a mansion. Can you explain to us what kind of character Chip is?
Chip is super entitled and spoiled. Money is no object and he thinks he can buy his way into any situation.
At 14-years-old you've already starred in the film "Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life." What was it like shoot the film with Griffin Gluck?
He's my best friend I had the best time filming with him.
One of my favorite scenes in "The Mick", is when Chip and Sabrina get into a physical fight over their parents' bedroom. Do you have any favorite on-set stories shooting with Sofia Black-D 'Elia?
That was probably my most favorite episode to shoot with Sofia. We were doing a lot of the stunts and having fun with it. I think we definitely had some bruises after that episode. She's just so cool and we get along so well. Just like my real sister.
Actors tend to get overwhelmed when seeking out representation. How did you find the right agent?
My mom found us the right team early on. My advice is just find a team that fits and that has your best interest.
You also played Drew in "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp". What was your favorite memory of Wet Hot American Summer?
So many! Paul Rudd being super nice when we first met. David Wain was awesome and I got to work with him again on Another Period. I had the most fun on that set and ended up staying friends with all the kids on the show. It was like being at summer camp with my best friends.
Chip is not your average middle child. He's mischievous, a little high class, and enjoys tormenting his little brother Ben. How much can you relate to the character?
I'm pretty opposite of Chip. I don't have a little brother, I have an older sister who I probably torment a little.
Since the first season of "The Mick", recently wrapped earlier this year. Can you tell us what you like to do for fun outside of acting?
I love basketball and going to games, skateboarding, spending time with family and friends is most important.
Watch full episodes of The Mick on fox.com.
The Mick was recently renewed for a second season by Fox Television.
African American actor Echo Kellum, chats hit series Arrow, LGBT community, and working with starlet Sami Isler
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Lesley Bryce
- Los Angeles, California
African American actor Echo Kellum chats exclusively with We Blab about his role on the hit CW show Arrow, and doing justice for the LGBT community. Also Echo share his memories working with young rising star Sami Isler on NBC's Sean Saves the World.
You grew-up in Chicago Illinois, and moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to pursue acting. How did you first get started in the business?
I was in the commercial realm and theater realm in Chicago and when I moved out to LA I really dived head-first into improv. Improv was something that blew me away and I fell head-first for it. It taught me that I wasn't just an actor, but a writer and director and that I had all these intricate parts to my art. I was so grateful for that and it's something that I really credit to an enlightening, or awakening, in my career.
During your lush career you've been cast in roles including Arrow, and Comedy Bang-Bang. Which do you find more challenging: Comedic or dramatic roles?
They both have their own unique challenging aspects to them. I think I would just say dramatic roles, only in terms of television, just because you shoot longer. Your days are usually longer and it's a more time consuming process. But when you do comedy, there's the pressure of actually being hilarious and funny, and delivering on lines with great timing and whatnot. In drama, you just really have to hone in on what's happening around you and touch deep with some emotions while 25 people are watching you and setting up the shot. So they both have their own difficulties.
You actually play the first openly gay superhero character on television. Do you feel any pressure to do that role justice for the LGBT community?
My entire life has been heavily influenced by LGBT members of my family and my friends, so I feel an obligation to play this character in a non-stereotypical way. People in the LGBT community have lots of different layers and they are all kinds of different people, so I definitely feel like I have to do it justice in that way of letting him be a human who isn't defined by his sexuality. He's a person first — none of us live our lives strictly through our sexuality — so I think it's important to play him as real as possible and not put any flourishes or anything like that on him and just let him be as realistic as we all are, because that's what people in the LGBT community are: they are all of us. They are your friends, sisters, moms, cousins, nephews. It's great that we have more characters like that on television and we haven't made it to the promised land yet, we're not all the way there, but it's great that we're making progress.
We often talk with up-coming actors who are interested in breaking into the business. What advice would you give aspiring actors/entertainers?
To never give up. You don't know when your time is going to come, you don't know what audition is going to change your life. Never give up. Continue with the craft, and if you do, they will find you. You might not make Will Smith's $20 million a film, but you can definitely find a place in this industry where you can do what you love and still live in a safe environment — a house or apartment — and just do what you love. So never give up.
Congratulations on the recent Netflix film "Girlfriend's Day" starring Bob Odenkirk. Can you tell us about your role as Madsen?
Madsen's a beat poet who really tries to help Bob Odenkirk's character get back into the field after his divorce and losing his job. He's there for support, he works with Bob's character, but he's really into beat poetry and being there for his friends.
In 2013 you co-starred in the NBC sitcom "Sean Saves the World", with one of our favorite actresses Sami Isler. Do you have any favorite memories of working with Sami on set?
Oh man, I really do and I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Thomas Lennon had a Tesla and I fell in love with Tesla. I want a Tesla one day! Sami was so cool... on my birthday she came up with a toy car Tesla that had my name on it and I was like "oh my gosh, this is the best!". I'm so proud to see her career blossoming and blooming, and seeing that she's getting recognition. She's definitely someone that I knew back then was going to be a star one day — and she was a star then — just that there are more and more people being able to take in her talent... I'm just so happy for her. She's such a great young lady.
Actors tend to get overwhelmed when seeking out representation. How did you find the right agent?
I did one of those casting workshops where you can meet a lot of agents. It was just by happenstance. I went in once and did a monologue about Katrina, and then this agent saw that I had comedy experience and said he loved my monologue! He came to see my show at UCB; he thought I had some talent and so I signed with him and was with him for about 6 years.
Jasmin Savoy Brown blabs about HBO's The Leftovers, working graveyard shift, and breaking into acting
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Ryan West
- Los Angeles, California
Jasmin Savoy Brown blabs about playing Evangeline Murphy on HBO's hit series The Leftovers, and working graveyard shift at restaurant in Hollywood. Jasmin also share her knowledge with teenagers about breaking into acting.
You started performing at a young age playing guitar, piano, and violin. Can you tell us how you got started in the business?
Absolutely. I wanted to go to school for musical theatre, so in high school I auditioned for thirteen college programs and the one that accepted me didn't accept the FAFSA, meaning I couldn't afford to go. That rejection lit a major fire inside of me. I took the anger and sadness and moved straight to Portland (from Springfield) where I threw myself into my career - taking screen acting classes, voice lessons, nannying full time, and auditioning several times a week. I barely slept. After thirteen months, I made the move to LA where the grind continued full swing. In 2015, I booked The Leftovers and that changed the game for me.
Congratulations on the third season of the hit HBO drama The Leftovers. Can you take us through the audition process for Evangeline Murphy?
Thank you! When I first found out I was auditioning, I was working graveyard shift at a restaurant in Hollywood, taking classes and auditioning full time, and in rehearsal for a musical. Needless to say I didn't have a spare minute or a spare penny, so I didn't spent the $1.99 to rent an episode of the show on iTunes! I just watched the teaser for season one over and over again to understand the tone. Once I got the callback, I took the plunge and bought an episode.
It was so good I bought three... I could not stop watching. I thought it was brilliant. After the callback was the chemistry read where I met Jovan and we instantly annoyed the heck out of each other - perfect for that sibling vibe. Over two weeks later I got the job, and flew out only two days after that.
The Leftovers is a brilliant series about the Garvey family, and the global events that take place after the departure of 140 million people. Please describe to our readers your character on the show?
I play Evie, one of the neighbors to the Garvey family in their new neighborhood. When we first see her, she seems like an exceptionally happy, successful, loved and fulfilled teenage girl - she is good at everything and adored by her friends, family, and community. But just like everyone else, she has her secrets...
We recently got the chance to watch Lane 1974, and your performance of Puma was electrifying. What was it like working alongside lead actress Sophia Mitri Schloss?
A dream. Sophia is not only a phenomenal actress, she is smart, funny, and kind. Watching her work and process notes may have been my favorite part of the job. She is going to change the world just by being herself.
We often talk with young actors who are looking to break into the business. What advice would you give teenagers who are interested in starting a career in acting?
Work as hard as you can play. Meaning, if being in class 24/7 and taking lessons and doing the grind full time brings you joy - DO IT! But if not, don't. You will not be successful if you aren't happy. In high school, I knew I would regret if I didn't take the time to be a teenager, so I enjoyed my social life while training part time. I was SO HAPPY doing that. I saw some kids my age training full time and they were so sad, some of them quit.
You have to balance your professional life with your social life forever, but especially as a teenager when you can still live for virtually free and enjoy life at a bit of a slower pace. I'm not saying don't work and make sacrifices, just do so in a way that is true to you. I know it doesn't feel like it, but you have time. Being a kid won't last for ever. Enjoy that time.
At just 23 years old you've accomplished quite a bit in the entertainment business. How do you prepare for an audition in front of casting directors?
This is a complicated question to answer. There are several different types of auditions. Across the board, I am always as prepared as possible, and ground myself before walking into the audition. I work to remind myself I am not there to present a finished project, but to share my artistic expression. It's much more fun that way.
Later on in 2017 you'll be starring in the new TNT drama Will, which mixes Shakespeare with punk-rock. Can you reveal the character you will be playing?
In Will I play Emilia Bassano, the famous Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets. She was a real person, who many believe was Shakespeare's muse and inspired his greatest works. She was the first published female English poet, a singer, musician, and an artist through and through.
One of your co-stars on The Leftovers is actress Liv Tyler from some of our favorite films, Empire Records, and That Thing You Do! Do you have any interesting stories about working with Liv Tyler?
She is incredibly collaborative! We had rehearsals for the end of episode 10 in season 2 when Evie and Meg are singing together, and she brought several ideas to the table, making the process much more fun. Shooting the scene in episode 9 with the carrot was a special day to me as well. Watching her process and work on that scene will stay with me forever.
15-year-old Soccer star Sixx Orange, discusses Amazon's The Kicks, Alex Morgan, and advice for teen girls
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Brett Erickson, Lisa Rhymer
15-Year-Old Soccer star turned actress Sixx Orange, chats about her Amazon series The Kicks, shooting the pilot with Alex Morgan. Also Sixx talks about life grown up with her godfather NSYNC's Chris Kirkpatrick.
Congratulations on Amazon’s The Kicks a smart, and witty show about a Jr. High Soccer player. Can you take us threw the audition process for Devin Burke?
So I was notified about the audition for The Kicks in September of 2014 and I remember getting it super late at night and freaking out when I read what it was for. I had the first audition and then got a callback a week later. The callback audition was with the Casting Directors and the actual Director. Once again about a week later I tested for the show which was super fun because I got to play soccer in the room and ultimately be myself. Right after my testing I received a call from the writer saying that I got the role of Devin.
You’re an internationally renowned soccer star at just 15-years-old. Can you tell us how you got started playing soccer?
I started playing soccer at the age of 4 and fell in love with it instantly. I had previously tried other sports but none of them stuck like soccer did.
With each episode of The Kicks Devin learns a different life lesson, which contributes to the fantastic writing. What do you hope kids who discover the show on Amazon take away?
I hope that kids or anyone in general who watches the show takes away the lesson of pursuing what you are passionate about. Yes, there are going to be obstacles and challenges but if you really want something you can have it. Along with that I want everyone to take the lesson of life throwing curve balls like moving or mean girls. That is simply life but it isn’t the end of the world though it may feel like it.
You still compete in soccer tournament around the country. How do you prepare for a soccer game?
For me my preparation for a game is hydrate, carbs, music, and watching a good pro game. Especially when I have a tournament coming up I drink lots of water to keep my muscles hydrated and eat a lot of carbs to burn off that weekend. Music is a necessity for me because it gets me in my head space for game time. And watching a pro game just gives me a visual of what I want my game to look like.
You have become a role model for teenage girls in the sports world. What advice would you give young girls who, are interested in playing professional Soccer?
My advice would be do it. If a young girl has the goal of being a pro player it is 100% possible. I would tell her to give soccer everything she’s got, to work hard and do her thing.
I feel like a lot of people who be very surprised to learn that Chris Kirkpatrick, from N’SYNC is your godfather. What’s it like having Chris be a part of your family?
Growing up with Chris as my godfather was nothing but fun. He was basically my best friend! We went to Disney World a lot, it was like our place. He would play dolls with me and by that I mean he had Star Wars characters that fought battles against my princesses. We even pulled all-nighters playing videogames! Couldn’t ask for a better godfather.
The Kicks was based off a series of books, published by international superstar soccer player Alex Morgan. Can you tell us any interesting stories about hangout with Alex?
I met Alex when filming the pilot and I was on the verge of losing my cool, mind you I’ve been watching Alex play since I was 8 haha. But we were in the makeup trailer and she came up to me and introduced herself and from there on we talked about my soccer career. It was like talking to a friend, she was humble and sweet just like I had always thought she’d be!
Lastly can you tell our audience what you’re currently up to professionally in sports, and acting?
As of right now I am auditioning for new projects and in soccer my team just finished State Cup which we made to the final 16 of 72. Doing both acting and soccer everyday.
Disney actress Kimberly J. Brown, dishes on working with Debbie Reynolds, and recasting of Halloweentown
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY LIz assitstant to Kimberly J. Brown
- Los Angeles, California
We Blab Entertainment Magazine, catches up with former teen actress Kimberly J. Brown about her memories working with the late legend Debbie Reynolds (Singing in the Rain), recasting of Marine Piper in Disney Channel's Halloweentown 4, and advice for breaking into Hollywood.
Most people remember Kimberly J. Brown, from the Disney Channel Halloweentown trilogy. Can you tell us how you got started in the business?
I started in NY w/commercials and print and eventually did my first of three Broadway shows at age 7. My parents had put me in a class in my MD hometown because I loved acting out pretend “plays” in my house, and I was one of the few students encouraged to try auditioning in New York. My parents always told me if I didn’t like it I could stop but I fell completely head-over-heels in love with it and here I am all these years later!
Halloweentown premiered in 1998 which, made you a household name with my generation. What was the audition process like for the role of Marine Piper?
I read a couple of times for the role. If I remember correctly, we did the scene in the beginning with Marnie arguing with Gwen about going trick-or-treating and the scene with Marnie telling Dylan about Halloweentown in her bedroom. I was so thrilled when I found out I booked it because I loved Marnie as a character and couldn’t wait to pretend to have magical powers :)
When filming begun on Halloweentown you were just 14 years old. How did your personal life change after the film became a hit on the Disney Channel?
It’s been amazing to watch the movies’ fanbase grow over the years. I’m so flattered by fans who still come up and quote the movie to me. It’s the greatest gift to have something you’ve acted in enjoyed by people, and have them tell you about it.
After two more successful sequels the Disney Channel chose to recast the role of Marnie. You originally voiced your disappointment; can you elaborate on the recasting for Return to Halloweentown?
Yes, I was disappointed for the fans but I’ve been doing this for over 25 years. My fellow actor friends and I have all had stuff happen through the course of doing this for a living that sometimes you just have to chalk up to being in a crazy industry.
The sudden death of Debbie Reynolds was a complete shock to the whole industry. Can you tell us what it was like working with the legendary Debbie Reynolds?
I can’t say enough about what an incredible human being she was. Getting to grow up with her and become her friend outside of the “Halloweentown” shoots was such a blessing to my life. She was the ultimate supportive, insightful, hilarious performer and friend and I will always miss her.
Also the death of Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in Star Wars was quite emotional. How did her untimely passing affect you?
It was quite shocking. She was such a strong, funny, bold woman. Her amazing talent and sense of humor will be missed.
We often speak to kids who want to enter the entertainment industry. What advice would you give someone if they wanted to pursue a career in acting?
People ask me that all the time and I always say to start with training, because it gives you a real idea of what it takes. Many people think that the industry looks fun because of what celebrity looks like on social media but it is work. Fun work, and work that I love and have loved since I was little. So I think taking classes first to see what kind of work it takes is a good start because that fundamental love of acting will drive you through all the ups and downs of the crazy business aspect of it.
Our readers are very interested in what you are currently up to professionally. Can you tell us about any future projects your working on?
I’m currently performing improv at UCB, and write & direct original skits and videos for my YouTube Channel. I also have a film called “The Wrong Side of 25” in post-production, with a couple other films in development. ;)
Kimberly will be appearing at the 2017 Cherry City Comic Con happening April 8th-9th in Salem, Oregon.
Follow Kimberly J. Brown on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Danielle L. Jackson
- Los Angeles, California
15 year old Atlanta native Myles Truitt talks about being cast in BET's The New Edition Story, bootcamp and, working with the real life Ronnie DeVoe.
Can you tell us how old you currently are, and what made you want to become an actor?
I am 15 years old. I wanted to always do something that was fun and different. I like making people laugh too.
The New Edition movie recounts the story of the popular 80’s R&B group from Boston. How did you end up auditioning for BET Casting?
I am a part of a theatre company called The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta. We had performed at the Trump Awards in Atlanta. The casting directors for the New Edition were there or heard about it (something like that). They asked about us and our director of the school asked us to audition. Then we had to go to a chemistry read…it’s to see who would do the best together. They would switch different ones of us up to see who worked better. We got a call that I was selected!
You played young Ronnie DeVoe in The New Edition Story. Did you sit down, and talk with the real Ronnie DeVoe before principle filming started?
Definitely. The real guys of New Edition were very involved. Ronnie talked to me about how he felt, how he lived and how it was being the last to join the group. He helped me make sure I was talking and walking like him too.
The choreography and, singing was spot-on from Luke James (Johnny Gill) to Algee Smith (Ralph Tresvant). Can you tell us about the New Edition boot camp?
Boot camp was rough at first. We worked really hard. We would be at the studio at 8 o’clock in the morning or earlier. We would dance and sing until like 1 o’clock. We got breaks and we still had to do school. But we finally got it and it wasn’t so hard. It was really a lot of fun. Leon (Leon Lee) was on us. He made sure we got it right. But we had a good time too. The last part of boot camp was cool because we went in the studio and worked with Babyface. It was amazing to hear your own voice on the song….
The New Edition Story premiered on the BET network to 29 million viewers, making it the most watched premiere since the 2012 season of the sitcom The Game. The three-part mini-series originally aired on January 24, 25, and 26, 2017.
What advice can you give to other kids who want to be actors?
You have to make sure you really want to do it. It is fun, but it is a lot of work. But if you want to do it, don’t give up. Ronnie could have been any other kid but I was blessed. You could be next.
The BET mini-series was the number one, trending topic on twitter during its premiere. How has your life changed after the huge success of The New Edition Story?
Well, my Instagram followers went way up (laughs) and sometimes people recognize me. I have had more auditions and more interviews. Other than that, nothing much.
What do you do for fun when you’re not acting?
I like to play basketball with my friends and my little brother. He’s only 6 but he is really good. I like to play on my PS4 too.
Can you tell us what’s next for Myles Truitt?
I have a movie coming out in Sept or October of this year. It’s a Sci-Fi really cool. Can’t tell you much quite yet. It’s going to be really good. I’m excited about it.
Lastly do you have a favorite New Edition song?
My favorite New Edition song is “Can You Stand the Rain”. I love that song. I love good singing. My mom sings, my grandfather sings so singing came a little natural (laughs). So I love to sing that song.
Follow Myles Truitt on Instagram: www.instagram.com/myles.truitt/