I have decided to pursue tv/film acting and just signed up for Stella Adlers school of acting! I’m super excited and this post is really just to test my subscription link on my site, so if you’re getting this email, know that you’re still on the email list on my newly revamped site and give a shout out for 2015! Here’s wishing you well and praying God’s blessing over you. I’ve written a few posts that haven’t been sent out to the subscription list, so please catch up on the latest entries when you get a chance!
If you’re in NYC and in the Rockefeller Center area, swing by the phone booth on 6th Ave btwn 46th and 47th to get up close and personal with my bad self! This was a shoot in November booked through Ken Park for Design Firm Pentagram, photographer Sam Robinson, all for Rockefeller Center, for print and taxi videos! Here are some fruits of our labor! THE SHOOT: It was an early morning with a call time of 6am on Sunday morning, so I remember taking a taxi up and it being dark and cold! Go figure that our first shot was to be ON the ice skating rink! We were ushered onto the rink where bar tables and drinks were setup…remember it’s November and freezing…and we shot a “summer scene,” depicting the rink when it is transformed into a plaza in the summer! So, there we were, w/o jackets, smiling and toasting our glasses, standing on ice, in November…what a crazy sight! Everyone was shivering, but the talent especially, as we were dressed for summer! I remember getting back inside and a fellow talent turning the hair dryer on his feet! When it came to my solo shoot, I was dressed up in chic designer duds and my shot was walking along 50th Street with the Radio City Sign behind me. I just walked the 10 feet up and down the corner of 50th and 6th while the photographer walked backwards, shooting me. I walked, I looked, I smiled, I walked, I smiled, I looked around. One funny thing is that they were timing the shots with the taxi traffic behind me so that was interesting. It was like, “wait for it…ok, taxis are moving, walk, walk walk!” Again, it was FREEZING, but a short shoot because I still made it to church by 11am! Here are some shots and a video from the day of the shoot: I COULDN’T HELP BUT CREATE A LITTLE SKETCH WITH MY PHONE BOOTH! CHECK IT OUT!
According to my college friend, my old college Hall Director, and a smattering of other keen eyes out there, my Web.Com commercial, where I fill the role of a yoga instructor/user of web.com, has his the airwaves! We shot this in a studio in City Stage in August and I booked it through Liz Lewis by way of good ‘ole Actors Access. (I’m not too good for self-submitting!) The script was one of those pages of one-liners, many of which ended up in the final product. In the first casting, I read the lines w/ a another woman and in the callback, I read them alone. I remember being in an ornery mood at the initial audition and was so gratefully baffled to be called back, during which I came w/ the charm and talent full-force..haha! Angela was incredibly supportive, even just through email, throughout the entire process…I felt fully prepared and nurtured from casting through to payday…a refreshing rarity! The shoot itself was a pleasure. I had a shoot earlier that day and they worked with me so that I could shoot during the later portion in the day, allowing me ample time to shoot a voiceover in NJ for Deloitte Touche and get back to NY to shoot Web.com. Some highlights of the shoot, in bullet-point recollection, in no particular order:
- Catering by Carmine’s (their famous: tiramisu, garlic bread, chicken marsala)
- Fresh-baked-on-set cookies
- Creative craftie all-around (can you tell I did a lot of eating?!)
- The opportunity to improv while on set. They just had me speak off-the-cuff about my “experience” after delivering the scripted lines
- Bumping into a crew member that I’ve worked with several times and catching up
- Having the opportunity to relax and read while waiting for the turn (it’s the little things!)
Get Fit New York just had the pleasure of interviewing two Olympic athletes who live and train right here in NYC! Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad-Tabago (2nd from R) and Paul Kim Williams of Granada (far R) sat down [on the ground] with me to divulge their Olympic stories. Then I took it to the gym w/ their strength and conditioning coach to see how I’d measure up next to these guys. They were extremely gracious in sharing their experience, they were gentle on me during their workout, and they really showed both their humility and their athleticism between their interviews and workouts…I was and remain in awe! For those of you who don’t know, I have just launched my very first fitness web series, titled Get Fit NY! We profile the fitness culture in NYC to spur its residents on to the incredible events and opportunities pulsating right here in NYC! We release new videos every Wednesday, so you’ll have to wait to see our interview w/ the Olympians. But for now, you can get caught up on the past three episodes right here!
I just completed one of my most grueling shoots yet…who said modeling is easy?! haha! I was booked through Hampton Models for a print ad for a casino campaign. The one thing that struck me as my agent was rattling off the litany of things I needed to know was that the call time was 2:00…A.M. I didn’t think too much of it, as my M.O. is to worry about each bridge as I get to it when doing something that I know I have to do. So, here is how it went down…and even as I write this, I can hardly believe that the events I’m about to recap took place only within the past two days. The van picked us up in Manhattan at 3pm to embark on our 4-hour drive down to the shoot in Maryland. The ride went quickly, as we chatted and I did work on my computer. We arrived to our hotel for the evening at 7:15pm and were instructed to order room service and then get to bed as quickly as possible, as we were to re-assemble in the lobby at 12:40am. The next few hours were blissful as I ordered room service, hung out in a plush hotel room and simply RELAXED! I actually had the focus to get a lot of work done with a calmness and ease that being in that room allowed…it was heavenly. I didn’t hit the pillow until 11:15pm, requesting a wake-up call for only an hour later. It even sounded ridiculous as the words left my mouth! 12:40am: we all assemble in various states of energy, dress, & readiness for the “day.” We piled into the van and headed over to this casino that was the unlikely highlight of a mall that also boasted Modell’s and Longhorns…what a bizarre sight! We started hair, makeup, and snacking on craft services immediately and for the next 10 hours, shot various scenes in the casino portraying a group of aspirational friends gambling, eating, and laughing on a fabulous night out! Some memories of the night:
- The photographer, perpetuating the stereotype of photographers, kept cheering us on w/ phrases such as, “C’mon Kat, let’s see you meow,” and “c’mon Triple boy, it’s all about you,” and “oh yea Jeanette, let’s see how much you love your man!”
- Everyone hit the wall at some point in the night and we would catch each other in various states of consciousness, including the producer!
- We had the entire casino to ourselves from 2am-8am! Can you believe that people actually arrive to gamble that early? Rise and gamble?!
- We packed ourselves so full of cookies and chocolate and snacks it was pretty gross…but oh so good.
- We shot a roulette scene, a slot machine scene, a noodle eating scene, and a walking at the buffet scene.
- The hotels were gorgeous, the room service was a treat, the shoot was fun, the people were great, and the Amtrak ride back was definitely the way to travel!
Here I am, on page 43 of NYMoves Magazine!When I think about how it all came together, it kinda blows my mind. I’ve dreamed of the day when I would be profiled in a magazine…not just photographed as an anonymous model, not photographed as myself in an array of event photos, not just with a by-line as a writer…but as the star of an article…an article about me. I remember picking up a magazine a few years ago, reading a profile on a local new york reporter and sighing to myself, “I hope that’s me one day.” And now, IT IS! No success, however, is overnight. It is the culmination of various elements working together in synchrony under very certain conditions that produce a desired outcome, as such! As they say, it’s only preparation meeting opportunity; or as my holy makeover for that phrase goes: it’s your works and faith meeting God’s timing. Here are some lessons that I pulled from this experience that may perhaps resonate with you: It is about who you know. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just something you have to know so that you treat people well so that they become one of those people that you end up “knowing.” I would have never gotten the gig that got me this article were it not for a friend who referred me. She was given free rein to find a fitting reporter and I was on her short list. And this is not to say that I was not qualified because I am, as are many other willing reporters! It was this relationship that was started years ago and maintained on a professional and social level that earned me the place on that carpet. So, use this fact of life to your advantage…build relationships! Be flexible: I was given all of two days notice to do this job. I received the request one day, met the editor the next, and hit the carpet the next! I had to be ready to meet the editor in the middle of my run and she accepted me, sweat and all, into her office to discuss details. And of course, I didn’t have a dress worthy of the occasion, so I purchased something just hours before the event. In this business, being ready physically, mentally, and skillfully may make the difference between you and the next. Checking the ego at the door is sometimes necessary. I’m a proponent of sticking to standards, but develop an eye for opportunities that may require a little hustle and cooperation…and be flexible. 🙂 Dream On: Like I said, there was literally a day when I read an article just like what you can read here on page 43, about another reporter, and thought to myself, “sigh…one day…I hope.” And now, here it is! I kept at what I knew would be necessary to produce that desired result and wrapped up in this unexpected opportunity, I received my wish. And so, I’m encouraged to continue dreaming big and I hope you do to!
I finished last year on a high note when I was granted the incredible opportunity to hobnob with 25 of our culture’s most powerful feminine forces. It was the NY Moves Magazine‘s Power Women Issue, personified in red-carpet fashion. This was the 8th year of this glorious spectacle and I was armed with a mic and the job to capture it all! The beholders of this award did not fit any one mold. These women were old and new, foreign and American, business and non-profit, CEO’s and CCO’s, beauty queens and humble Hannahs. One thing they all did hold in common was, as told by Moves Magazine ” These are women of substance who have made an incredible impression in their respective fields and an impact on their environment…pushing boundaries without fear or favor, prejudice or pre-conditions and always from the right direction.” I was to come up with clever questions to accomplish the task of extracting the most memorable sound bites from these women. And so I came up with, “Where do you summon your powers from?” and “What do you think makes a power woman?” The arrivals were a frenzy of wisdom and accomplishments, all wrapped up in perfume and gowns. Then, I joined everyone for a fabulous dinner and the awards ceremony. Here are my most memorable encounters of the evening. Lisa Ling: Host of Our America with Lisa Ling on OWN She said that she “summons her power,” by doing what she loved. Ling claimed that she never really worried about how much was in her bank account and to this day, does not really know. She said, and we all know this to some degree, if you do something for the money or the fame, you’ll cease to be satisfied. I appreciated her confirmation on that. Gloria Allred: Lawyer/Partner at Allred, Maroko & Goldberg. Also a famous lawyer on high-profile cases such as the Nicole Brown Simpson case and with the court TV show “We the People With Gloria Allred.” I sat next to Gloria at dinner and helped her to get a vegetarian dish and I was amused at her lack of amusement for the food. We chatted about commonplace things, such as her flight and such, but what else was I going to do? Ask her about the O.J. Simpson case? Haha Sade Baderinwa: Anchor, ABC New York’s Eyewitness News Sade was stunning…and fit! She pulled off a cute pixie cut effortlessly and was every part graceful and well-spoken in speech as well. It was no wonder, after a minute with her, why she is an anchorwoman. Amy Chua: Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Author You can call me biased, but I definitely swelled with a little more pride upon seeing my Asian women representing on that carpet. Amy reminded me of wanting to read her book, “Battle Hymns of the Tiger Mom,” and I was genuinely star-struck upon hearing that it was her book! She packs a big impression for the cute little thing that she is! Betsey Johnson: Chief Creative Officer, Betsey Johnson Betsey was just loopy! She was really something else. I didn’t know where to hold the mic as she danced around in response to my questions! She wore a patchwork dress, Chucks, dreadlocked blonde extentions, and her signature bright red lipstick and big lashes. She is a tiny little thing though and had a childlike demeanor that belied her 60+ years. Iman: Supermodel, Founder & CEO of Iman Cosmetics I didn’t expect the thick accent that emerged from this statuesque supermodel. What I remember most about Iman is that she used her acceptance speech to plug her organization and attempted to, in her allotted handful of minutes, rile up a passion in us for these women in the Congo. Kudos to Iman for being shameless! Grace Hightower De Niro: Philanthropist Grace and Robert were an odd coupling to me, but I appreciated that he was supportive of her, accompanying her to this humble event. Now that is a true power couple! S.E. Cupp: Conservative Commentator, Author I love a woman with a sense of humor…who doesn’t? And S.E. Cupp wrote her acceptance speech to highlight just that! She read it straight from the page, but with a deadpan delivery, stated, “The last thing I won was a buffalo wing eating contest…and it was against myself.” Perfection. And, she was very pretty and brought mom as her date, to boot! Gabrielle Hamilton: James Beard 2011 “Best Chef NYC” Gabrielle was extremely personable and affable. She played down winning the “Best Chef in NYC” title, and although is the first woman recipient, is more proud of holding her own against the boys. My kinda woman. 😉 Sukanya Krishnan: Morning Anchor, PIX11 News Sukanya was the emcee for this event and this woman raised the bar for me in terms of what an emcee should be. She killed it. She was hilarious (she had us truly laughing out loud), spontaneous, accurate and she managed to both honor and poke fun at each honoree…what a feat! One would have never known she had only met some of these women that night! Now that’s skill! Nancy L. Zimpher: SUNY Chancellor What impressed me about Nancy was that she is the first woman to serve as Chancellor of SUNY, which I learned is actually the largest university in the nation. The first female Chancellor…of the largest university…in America…now that is impressive! Jennifer Siebel Newsom: founder & CEO, MissRepresentation, org I just love the name of this website. Sometimes you have to give it up to someone for simply being clever with their words! But on top of that, Jennifer’s cause is also incredible: to fight the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence. Right on, Miss! Babe Rizzuto: Vice President of Public Relations, Conair Corporation Babe…(I mean, it’s in the name)…was the girly girl of the night. She was blonde and bubbly and her catchphrase sums it up: “Beauty is comes from within, but gorgeous hair can’t hurt!” And what I loved about her story is that at age 18, she created the High Energy line of neon-colored hair tools. She was born into a family well-off in the salon business, but was an entrepreneur in her own right! Below are the remainder of the Power Women, some whom did not make it to the event or whom I did not have the opportunity to interview. A common sentiment that was expressed throughout the evening was the love that these women had for their careers and the appreciation they had for their family. Nell Newman: Co-Founder & President, Newman’s Own Organics Tonia O’Connor: President, Distribution Sales & Marketing, Univision Mia Herndon: Executive Director, Third Wave Foundation Dorothy Herman: President & CEO, Prudential Douglas Elliman Kate D. Levin: Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Dana Fiser: Global CEO of Jenny Craig Inc Maria Bartiromo: Anchor CNBC’s Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo Robin Wright: Actor, Raise Hope for Congo Gillian Tett: US Managing Editor, Financial Times Rosie Perez: Actor, Activist, Director, Producer Lori Ordover: Managing Member, Ordover Group Laureen Ong: President, Travel Channel Norah O’Donnoll: CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Connie Nielsen: Actor, Co-Founder & President, Human Needs Project Heidi Manheimer: CEO, Shiseido Cosmetics America It was an amazing evening. Inspiring. Exquisitely executed. It was a Cinderella evening for me. I will end with this quote that I love from Iman: “I totally believe that success is not what you do but what you inspire others to do. Mentor a young girl or find yourself a good mentor – make a difference in the lives of others.” Beautiful.
I had the pleasure of playing a nurse in a Homefirst commercial this past Saturday. The job was booked through Ken Park Management and Don Case Casting and shot in Brooklyn by a Production Company. A first for me on this job was being provided limo service from my home in New Jersey to the set in Brooklyn and then back! What a treat! On set, I met Kim, one of the other “nurses,” who wrapped soon after I arrived. After some natural makeup and designer scrub changes, it was time for Mr. Lee, my “co-star,” and I to shoot our scene! Mr. Lee was an 88-year old Chinese man who was actually street-casted from Flushing, Queens. He was a natural, however, and surely won the entire crew over…I may venture so far as to say that he stole the scene! Our shots were simple, taken in the kitchen, meant to portray an early morning setting. In actuality, we were shooting at 8pm, but with production magic, they were able to create the illusion of sunlight streaming through the window and splashing onto the tray of oranges just perfectly! The task was to capture moments of connection between me and him. That was simple, as Mr. Lee was adorable, repeating the word “action” in his Chinese accent each time after they spoke it! We also conversed in Mandarin in-between takes and shared many laughs. He had me rolling when he commented on how much tea we were drinking and I got a chuckle out of him as I told him he could go on to Hong-Kong movie stardom! I wrapped around 9pm (started at 3:30pm) and my limo awaited me, whisking me back to Jersey. I felt like a princess indeed. Check out the pictures below. Good times!
I have always always ALWAYS been a lover of good comedy. Dane Cook, Mitch Hedburg, Russell Peters, Demitri Martin, Chris Rock, Pablo Francisco, and Jim Gaffigan are just a few of my rockstars. I had my favorite bits from each of them that I could literally recite verbatim…Dane Cook’s “Chicken Sangwich story,” Mitch Hedburg’s line about flyers being given out in New York, Russell Peter’s “Indian customer-Chinese salesman” joke, Chris Rock’s “bad phone-sex” rendition, Pablo Francisco’s “Spanish girlfriend” story, Jim Gaffigan’s “robe” joke..and of course, “hot pocket” joke. And since peering into NYC’s own local comedy culture, I also quickly came to respect Wil Sylvince, Godfrey, Eliot Chang, and Kevin McCaffrey. Now, enter another factor into this equation. People have always told me that I am funny. Some people have even gone so far as to say that I should do comedy. So, for the average person, this would elicit something to the tune of a “psssshhh!” in response and the notion would soon evaporate from their mind. For me, however, this often offhand comment excited me. Part of me wanted to believe that it was true! Part of me would have loved to possess just an iota of this comic genius I had come to so admire. But alas, standup was always fear’s reach away from me. I didn’t spend too much time brooding over it, but for the record, I loved the fantasy. I went on to live vicariously through comedians that I dated, an impromptu jump up onto stage at an open mic, and glossing over a standup class that did not fit my schedule. Eventually, the planets aligned and God must have deemed me ready. And about two months ago, I received an e-mail from the PIT promoting a standup class that actually cooperated with my schedule. Now, it was scarily possible! I diligently surveyed my comedian friends and non-friends alike as to the necessity of a standup class. Most of them touted it as unnecessary, pointing instead to open mics as being the true training ground for any standup. I could see their point but enjoyed the structure that a class promised. I hinted at my dad enough for him to spring for half of my class tuition. And it was done! A day before The Art of Standup was scheduled to commence, I was enrolled! For the next two months, I was thrust into the world of New York’s amateur comedy circuit…and I have lived to tell the story! Following are the most prominent observations from my experience in the standup world!
- Comedy is hard work! Comedians walk into a stigma of being a lazy, bitter, late-night drinking, non-contributing members of society. What the general public doesn’t see, however is that these guys are constantly working! They carry a pad and paper with them at all times to record joke material as it is inspired and have stacks of already-filled pads at home! According to comedian Joe Wong, the average comedian uses about 1 out of every 10 jokes that is written and then practices that joke nearly 72 times before it is perfect. That means a comic, at any given point, is simultaneously thinking about material, writing material, and practicing material…meaning the cyclical process is never done. That’s a lot of work!
- Comedy Open Mics are a twisted concoction. I remember thinking that it was backwards for comedians to have to pay in order to perform. Yet, I found myself doing it during these two months! What I quickly learned was that http://badslava.com was the go-to resource for open mics. Every comedian in New York hops on this site to see where open mics are happening on any given day. They then attend these open mics, taking place anytime between 4pm-10pm, and tolerate the 5-minute performances of their fellow amateur comics until it is their turn to hop on stage and try out their material. Open mics are accepted as being a brutal setting where laughs are not expected, as the audience usually consists of hard-to-please fellow comics. The organizers of these open mics strike deals with the clubs with the door and drink fees and are usually comedians themselves and host the open mic. In the end, all anyone wants to do is practice. The hierarchy of spots seems to be open mics, bringer shows, scheduled spots, and eventually headline spots. It’s an even crazier industry to navigate through than acting, I believe, and that’s hard!
- Comedy is teachable. I used to see what standup comedians did as this intangible gifting that they possessed. I used to think that I could never do something like that. But upon closer examination, I realized the methods and the practice and the true, blue work that went into comedy. I realized that comedians often repeated jokes and that sets were no different than monologues, save for the risk of unexpected hecklers. I saw the discipline behind comedy, especially after watching the documentary “Comedian” by Seinfeld, in which one comedian tirelessly recorded and played back performances, kept a file cabinet full of jokes, filed according to category, and truly breathed comedy. And I was reassured that I could do this thing.
- Comedy is terrifyingly exciting. I performed at a total of 5 open mics and 1 show during the course of my standup class. Every single time, my heart raced in anticipation. Every time, I threatened to jump ship. Every time, I experienced mini-anxiety attacks. And every time after a good set, I was elated! It’s the natural nervousness and accompanying high that accompanies doing something you love. I know that every artist has thought to themselves at some point, “Why am I torturing myself like this?” And the ironic answer is “because I love it.” I know. Crazy.
- Comedy is not my new career. I am so glad that I can now check “do standup” off my bucket list. I feel a personal sense of accomplishment. I am already reaping the benefits of having done this, both personally and professionally as the needle on the funny meter has climbed in both my conversations and auditions. I am beyond happy with this foray that I took. In the same breath, however, I know that I do not want to invest the amount of time necessary to do this thing well. I am very happy to draw from my comedy experience to complement my acting career, but don’t look for me at a comedy club near you anytime soon! For now, you’ll just have to make do with this video of the fruits of my labor!
I am the face of “SHAPE’s New Workout Builder Tool!” In short, I’m demonstrating 100 exercises which you can drag-and-drop into a playlist and when you hit “play,” I will lead you through to your fitness goal! It’s all about interactive, portable technology, and SHAPE’s got it right! Especially when they chose me! 😉 This was an incredible shoot. I had so much fun. We shot in Jersey City, for 3 full days. I was so sore, let me tell you! These shoots are actually very challenging because you have to execute the moves with an expression of ease and mistakes are expensive because your body tires with each take! I was doing exercises that even impressed myself! Be sure to check out the one-legged squat, the weighted push-up, the triple-stop push-up, and the dive-bomber push-up! What, what?! Amazing! I admit that I was nervous about some of these exercises, but I had a lot of support from the crew and there were times when I had to eeeek out that last repetition and they would start cheering and clapping to squeeze it out of me! It was a great shoot and the first time that I asked everyone to pray on set with me afterward! Check out that story in my keynote speech! If you want to use it yourself, check it out here! And since we shot for three days, I had plenty of time for fun behind-the-scenes shots, now included in my gallery! Fun Fact: This has always been a dream of mine, to model for a fitness magazine. No exaggeration, I have a composite of my image superimposed on a Shape Magazine cover that I created as a visualization tool! I bet it’s still lurking around in my hard drive somewhere, but I don’t even know if I want to reveal it. The point is, I visualized and focused attention on this goal and it came to fruition in this project! Praise God and Hallelujiah!