Hello friends!

Life is a killer
How ironic right?

Just popping in to say this week has been hard. I know so many people have gotten the unfortunate we are letting you go phone call. Be sad, be angry but remember it’s not your fault. I repeat it is not your fault! This shit sucks. It sucks that doctors and nurses are running out of supplies, ventilators and having to decided who lives and dies. It sucks that we have to fight over food because some people had the resources to overbuy more than 3 months worth of food while the rest of us only got two weeks worth. We are in the middle of a global crisis. Companys are responding irrationally by letting go of people that have been on their jobs for over 5 years. It feels cruel and personal, but I promise you we will get through this. Economist are stating this is worse than the 2008 recession. One of the scariest times of my life when I wondered if my mom and I were going to have to live in our car. We got through that hard patch and we will all get through this one too. You are more than the number on your paycheck stub. Remember that your true value comes from your character. How you treat other people and move in the world.

Take this time to be thankful for your loved ones. Hug them tight, Zoom conference call them, and talk to them about your mental health! Reconfigure what you want to do with your life. Are you great at Public speaking? Can you edit a resume like no other? Well it’s time to think of how to make those skills marketable. Maybe make a Facebook page promoting that and look for other opportunities to make an online course for people in your niche market. I believe in you. Be kind to yourself friends and feel free to email me if you need someone to talk to just click here.

Art Basel Throwback

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Hello everyone! How are you? Are you staying busy? Have you found a way to center yourself? I’ve organized so many things and gotten rid of a ton of old photos and footage from my dropbox and Google drive.

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I thought I would share a post I’ve been meaning to put up since this past December. I had the pleasure of going to Art Basel and stayed at the Eurostars Langford in Miami.

 

What is Art Basel? Art Basel is basically a huge art show that originated in Switzerland and is now in Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Artist and galleries from all over the globe bring their piece to be shown and sold at this huge art festival. The first two days are not open to the public. As the years have gone by it has become a huge tourist destination for New York and LA gallery girls, socialites, DJs, celebrities and more. There are tons of brand parties and occasionally fashion events. Overall it’s a fun time to celebrate great art and get inspired for the new year. I always see this as a time to get recharged from the chaos of the year and see what some of my favorite artists have been up too.

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I have never stayed at the Eurostars Langford hotel before and thought it would be easier to be close to Miami Beach, but not stay in that strip of hotels. The Langford was even more beautiful in person and they gave up vouchers for drinks at their rooftop bar. This hotel was a bank back in 1925 and still has some of the beautiful art deco touches. It was renovated in 2016 and officially opened as the Lanford Hotel.

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The breakfast area at the Langford

Right now Art Basel is providing a free virtual tour you just need to make an account here. Did any of these pieces spark your interest or inspire you to create something?

9 Ways to Stay Sane During the Coronavirus Panic

Hello beautiful people! I hope you all are staying safe and healthy, that you’ve managed to get the necessary supplies you and your family needs for the next 2 weeks.

KeriElaine.com 9 Ways

  1. Try to practice social distancing. Stay home! You can reach out to your friends through the Internet. As an extrovert, I know how hard it can be to sit in one place without a bunch of people to interact with, but this is the perfect time to call your grandparents and chat on the phone ask them things like what their childhood was like? Often we don’t take the time to stop and think about how life might have been different for our grandparents when they were growing up versus now. This is a great time and a beautiful reminder to try to get to know our older loved ones even better than we currently do.
  1. Text your friends and schedule a call! Seriously, when is the last time you caught up on the phone with a friend. A decade ago I l knew so many of my friends and my ex-boyfriends’ numbers by heart. (Full disclosure, I still know my 5th grade best friend Daniela’s house phone, so if anything ever happens I can call them and my mom). Nowadays I don’t even know anyone’s area code.
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Photo Credit here
  1. Clean out your closet. We all know the spring cleaning usually starts now anyway and what a better time to do it than when you’re stuck in your house. Make a game out of it, FaceTime a friend and put on a fashion show in your closet. Try on different things and showing them like the famous scene in the Sex and the City movie. Then you can make a pile of giveaways for a date when it’s safer to go out or even offered to give some of the pieces to your friend when we’ve all been lifted from the band.
  1. Clean your apartment. We all know as life gets chaotic, we get busy and we don’t take the time to dust off the shelves or wipe down our bathroom counters as often as we need to. Now is the time especially if you’re someone who has a lot of skincare and makeup products. Good news now you have the time to do all that because what else are you going to do. Put on some YouTube videos and get to cleaning before you know it 2 hours will go by and your house will look speaking span which feels amazing.
  1. Donate any excessive products you have. If you find you have an excessive amount of cleaning products or medical supplies please, please look to donate to your local old folks home or homeless shelter it’s incredibly frustrating to see so many people hoarding products to these days like it’s the end of the world. This is not a zombie apocalypse and we all need to be more supportive and respectful to each other be the bigger person give what you can.
  1. Read a book. There are tons of E-books and most libraries have an online link to a variety of books, and magazines you can read. You’ve already paid for the library with your taxes so take advantage of this. You should be able to log in with a simple library card if you already have one. Did you know that last year 24% of American adults did not read a book? We need to do better America.
  1. Join Facebook groups. There’s literally a Facebook group for everything you like cosplay put cosplay into Facebook and I’m sure you’ll find one you like. Enjoy Game of Thrones? There’s a group to discuss that. There is even a group of people who like knit. You may make a new friend from another part of the country or discover people that live in the same area as you that you could eventually hang out with once this is over win-win!
  1. Watch TV. Enjoy watching scripted and reality shows. There are so many entertaining shows out there and now is the perfect time to Binge watch a show. Might I suggest something fabulous from Amazon like Fleabag or Schitt’s Creek and Insatiable on Netflix? I also hear Killing Eve and Billions are pretty brilliant.
  1. Keep calm and carry on. This is temporary and we will all get through this if we’re just patient and take this time to set back think about the more important things in life like the ones we love who we want to be and trying to make our world a better place.

 

Women in Film Seminar

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This past rainy Friday I had the honor of joining a bunch of women for a Women in Film symposium. Even though I was incredibly stressed on the way there due to the traffic caused by Trump visiting the CDC. (Yes, I too I’m surprised that he actually came considering he originally cut funding to the CDC but that is beside the point)! At the Women in Film seminar, we all spoke about the fact that we need to start creating more quality content on our own. Stop waiting for the perfect audition to come along and choose you. We are all storytellers and now is the time to start sharing those stories.

Michelle Obama International Women's Day
Photo credit here

The following women headlined as speakers Christine Adams from Black Lightning a series regular reoccurring – a dream role for many of us. Charlene Fisk a director and cinematographer who created a beautiful short film about her own coming out story. Caroline Slaughtera producer, writer, director, and actor who created a short film about the women who lead actresses to Harvey Weinstein. Sara Elizabeth Timmins the producer for the 6 part mini-series documentary Mcmillions. I’ve watched two of the episodes of McMillions and it really pulls you in. Listening to Ms. Timmins speak really made me think about investigative journalism. It’s a branch of film and gives the producer the opportunity to create the B roll that guides the story along.

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At the seminar, we discussed how we all have so many stories to share and that we can’t sit and wait on Hollywood to come up with them, unfortunately, the majority of writers is not female therefore we need to be proactive in writing our own stories even if it means doing it on a smaller platform such as YouTube or spending the time to try to get on to Amazon or into different indie film markets. One fascinating way to go about doing that would be to think about the causes that really matter to you. I’m very passionate about Mercy Ships which is a charity that performs surgery on children that need their cleft lip to be repaired, helps with leg deformities, tumor removal and gives these children the ability to live a healthier life. If I was to do a movie involving a child with a cleft palate I could potentially reach out to Mercy Ships an ask if they would also like to Co-sponsor/promote said film this would be a great way to spread the message further and hopefully you get more people interested in the cause. Which would ultimately have a bigger positive impact for everyone.

I almost didn’t make it to the seminar because I was so stressed due to traffic and being an hour and a half late. If you know me I’m very punctual. It completely stresses me out to be 10 minutes late. I always like to come at least 15 minutes early if not half an hour. However, something in my spirit told me that I needed to be there that night and not to just skip out because I was stressed. That it was better to walk in late and be slightly embarrassed but receive the message meant for me then to stay home and wonder about what could have been.

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Photo credit here

The symposium was in honor of International Women’s Day and I was very empowered to be around a bunch of women of multiple cultures all proud to gather and share how we can improve our film industry in Atlanta. How can we get more women working behind the camera? What do we need to change to help women become better writers? One guy even asked for tips on writing female characters. One woman brought up that we all have a nurturing side and an aggressive side a feminine and a masculine and that he just needed to listen to that side. We also brought up the Bechdel test, and that you do not need to use a rape scene as a way to make the character “stronger” or give her an arch. That women can build character through other trials and tribulations the character goes through. We can all implore to be better in the film industry whether that means learning how to edit, become better behind the camera learn how to execute sound instead of the usual costuming position or being in front of the camera. It was awesome to have a bunch of men also in the symposium since the only way to move forward is to have allies. I ran into my friend Brittany who I shot a short film with. We both agreed that we need to write and update our material because we work so well together.

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Photo credit here

As I drove home I felt light. I realized I was meant to come to the seminar that night. I ran into a good friend I hadn’t seen in over a year and now we have a project we can work on together. I met a couple of great women who are working on a play and may need some help directing, casting a role or backstage – which would be really fun and great for my resume. After all, I always love the intimacy of a black box theater the buzz of the energy in the room as the audience anticipates the show that’s about to begin. So often we let the stress of the day and the little things block us from our blessings. I just want to remind you to not allow the little attacks to detour you from your true purpose.

How Art Influences Film and Our Lives

After spending a lovely afternoon at the High Museum of Art I began to think of how art influences film and our daily lives. There are so many scenes in various tv shows and films that directors have mimicked from famous works of art. Django Unchained has done this, Frida, so have many others. If you are interested you can see more on YouTube here.

Thigh high boots, movement, beautiful black woman, blvgari sunglasses, High Museum of art.

Even in high school, we had to look through art books to find a painting to reference for inspiration for our Shakespeare unit and Chekov. I absolutely loved it. So many of my fellow actors wined and asked what’s the point. I pointed out that we get inspiration from everywhere so why not art. The paintings we used showed us how the character would dress, stand, their status and give us an idea of how this person would move throughout the world. I would often sit on a bench in the gallery building on Dreyfoos’s campus in high school just gaze at the work my classmates did. Some in charcoal, oil paint others in watercolor. I was always amazed at the amount of time and patience it must take to make a painting look like a photo.

Art is also used in marketing which has influenced how we shop since the dawn of time. Mad Men is all about an ad agency that copywrote for women’s makeup, household products, and other things. Now it’s used as the mock-up for commercials or editorial shots to get us to buy the latest trend, health gimmick or travel destination.  Just think about Andy Warhol and the Campbells soup cans. They didn’t know whether to sue him for copyright infringement or thank him for advertising their brand.

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Is there a specific film scene or art piece that has influenced you? I know in the age of Instagram ads people are more likely to buy a fast fashion item then see a piece of art in person, but Instagram ads are full of influential material whether it’s a luxurious vacation or the latest handbag. These are our modern art forms.

The Importance of Dressing for Yourself

Dressing for yourself. It’s been so long since I’ve chosen an outfit purely for myself. Everyday when I wake up for work I choose something that is conservative, muted in tone, non-lacy, non-offensive, and with minimal detail. After choosing a generic white, grey, or black crew neck sweater and throwing on a black or cream blazer with basic black slacks; I was told to make sure my pants are not too fitted. As someone who has lost over 25 pounds about four months back, it can be discouraging to have someone trying to police your body. I get that miniskirts are not appropriate for the corporate world, but I still don’t see how wearing pants that FIT your body instead of being two sizes too big is considered inappropriate. Do corporate men not go outside? Do they avoid the beach, malls and restaurants so they are not “distracted” by the female figure? 

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Stop, and tell me what you think of this outfit. Is there an outfit you have that makes you feel invincible?

Come on now, it’s 2020 if we cannot hold people accountable for their actions about whether or not it is appropriate to comment on someone’s body or resist their urges then we have even bigger issues than the upcoming Presidential election. It reminded me of one of the many articles circulating about girls getting sent home for dress code because their shorts weren’t finger-tip length. I remember my frustration in high school as teachers (usually women) commented on my attire because I was taller than my friends (myself 5’5, them 5’1 and 4’11). My fingertips were closer to an inch above the knee theirs were barely halfway down their leg. I remember feeling angry for being singled out because I had boobs and a butt while my classmates were not as developed. On one occasion my 40 plus year-old health teacher who was wearing a low-cut V-neck and matching mini tennis skirt told me I needed to go to the principal’s office for dress code. I told her sure, we can go together since your skirt isn’t fingertip length either. Her face turned beet red and as she vehemently read me the riot act, I pointed out that the dress code is incredibly sexist and she is a role model to our class. By being a role model she too should be held to the same clothing standards since we are all in the same place of business. 

Beautiful woman smiling, black woman in 20s, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta  Keri Elaine, BCBGMaxazria, black over the knee boots, blgvari sunglasses, Maje navy fringe bag.
Over the knee boots similar here, similar Maje bag here, and black off the shoulder top here

My point is, clothing brings me joy. I don’t know about you, but I dress for my mood. Somedays that means boots because I’m ready to strut proudly and confidently into an audition, other days boho dresses because I’m feeling mellow and want to sit outside and read. When I’m sad and we are talking sobbing depression, I still wear the over-sized grey hoodie I keep in the back of my closet from an ex-boyfriend. It’s the one sad piece of clothing I’ve allowed into my apartment. In a weird way I feel comforted when I wear it because it gives the feeling of being wrapped in a hug. 

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Who knew an elevator could be a great opportunity for a photo op.

Everything else in my closet is colorful, lacy, fringe, beaded, and one light pink sequin miniskirt (I can’t let go of) all of which reflect my creative personality. When you dress for yourself you feel empowered and ready to face the world head-on. When you have to dress with everyone else in mind you start your day feeling like you have to apologize for the beautiful features God blessed you with. It’s a way of suppressing your confidence so you don’t “draw too much attention” or “intimidate anyone”. I just want to reach a point where we can teach everyone to be more confident in their self and respect other people instead of policing them. 

The Photograph Review

Hello Beautiful people! I hope you all had a beautiful Valentine’s Day full of love and laughter. I had the pleasure of seeing the Photograph this weekend and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I love how the writer connected the two main characters well before they were even conceived. I think it was a beautiful expression of fate. This film will definitely become a modern staple of black love stories – instead of films like Love and Basketball, Brown Sugar or Poetic Justice. The perfect cherry on top of the Black History month sundae.

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The Photograph photo credit to IMDB

I found it incredibly refreshing that Issa Rae’s character Mae worked in a galley as an art curator. A job I often thought would be so fascinating to do. Picking out pieces for the masses to come and enjoy that will also bring funding to a museum is super cool. This was a refreshing change from the stereotypical roles black women often play in movies with as the “arrogant shred boss everyone hates” instead these women were strong, confident and determined to make something of their lives.  Mae’s mother had the confidence to pursue a photography career in New York on her own against all odds. 

The Photograph shows us just how important communication is. Mae’s mothers’ lack of communication caused her to miss out on the greatest love of her life. She also struggled to communicate how much she loved her own daughter because of her mother pushing her away emotionally and prematurely kicking her out of the house. Mae’s miscommunication with Michael almost caused her to relive her mothers’ fate. What are some ways you can better communicate how important people in your life are to you?

2019.

Hello beautiful people!

Keri Elaine at Cloud Gate in Chicago, beautiful black woman in the city. Actors who travel.
Nighttime in front of Cloud Gate

Can you believe it, we finally made it to the end of 2019. This year has been the most fulfilling thus far. I think we all know it has been a complete dumpster fire with student loan debt at an all-time high, a reality star running the country one Tweet at a time and mental health issues increasing. I for one have taken this year to focus on being as healthy as possible mentally and physically. Sometimes that meant ignoring social media for weeks at a time since I was too busy working, working out, and going to acting class. I maximized my time by reviewing lines for my self-tapes on my lunch break and shooting them as soon as I got off. I’ve seen my self-tapes grow leaps and bounds in the shortest period of time. I’ve auditioned for various roles, Networks and directors I have admired for years and only dreamed of having the opportunity to work with. I’ve managed to juggle a full-time job, auditions, submissions, partner work, weight loss, networking, catching up with old friends and travel. I started a Youtube channel since I’ve wanted to for ages and thought it would be a fun way to dive into film. If you want to see the world through my lens please subscribe to my Youtube channel

Multicolor couch bag, beautiful fashion blogger, black girls who travel and Chicago. Grey sweaters and black ankle boots.
Trying not to freak out over being 103 stories in the air and feeling the building sway.

This year, I finally understood what my favorite acting coach was trying to teach us about life. So often we try to understand the lessons God is teaching us quickly so we can move onto obtaining whatever thing we are chasing – whether that thing is love, financial freedom, a promotion or a materialistic item. While I completely agree that these things are important the question, I always ask myself is what makes your heart sing? What do you truly feel drawn to? Sims always said, “Life is a journey, not a destination. You all are so quick to get the destination you skip over the whole journey.” While we all knew he meant we should stop and smell the roses, I truly believe it is so difficult to sit still and observe the world when there are so many distractions. Even as I went out to dinner with friends, we observed every other table in the restaurant on their phones while out with their spouses, children even the grandparents playing candy crush instead of engaging with their grandchildren. Honestly, it’s no wonder there is a mental health crisis. How can you tell if someone is struggling if you haven’t even noticed their change in body language, behavior and lack of communication? I for one am thankful for the group I have that enjoys taking the time to talk eyeball to eyeball and people watch while discussing our future plans. 

As I flew to Chicago to join a friend on a last-minute girl’s trip, I realized I felt completely peaceful. I felt centered for the first time in a long time. Proud of the work I’ve done this year in my acting career and the shift in my day job. I stopped allowing other people’s comments to affect how I act and feel. I allowed everything to roll off my back like beads of water on a duck’s feathers. I feel hopeful that even though my love life can often be a dark comedy at times – that my person will come when he’s fully ready. I met a stranger who confirmed to me that he is coming, God just needed to work on him a little bit longer. Which immediately lifted a weight off my shoulders that I did not know I was carrying.

Foggy Chicago view of a beautiful young black woman in Chicago. Black chunky ankle boots and a cheetah sweatshirt.

I am so grateful to God for safely allowing me to travel to Mexico and Chicago, to continue to love the woman I have become, pay off my car, and one of my student loans. I am so excited to end this decade and began the next one with 2020 vision as I carry all the lessons I have learned into the future. Cheers to you all! What are some of the lessons you learned this year?

Thanksgiving Reflections

Thick brunette hair, Chicago, princess, looking at the river, downtown Chicago, emerald green Ted Baker coat.

Hello Beautiful people!

This past Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of going to my acting coach’s house for a formal dinner with part of our studio family. We were welcomed into Sara and Derek’s warm beautiful home. Everyone was excited to catch up about life and hilariously trying to understand what is Tik Tok? Is it the new Vine? If you know please leave a comment below. 

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We sipped on cucumber water in between glasses of wine and hugged each person that walked in the door. We all reflected on what we were thankful for and took turns going around the table. The one thing we all had in common was being thankful for feeling confident in our talents. The peace of mind that even though we don’t get what we want, we are all so thankful for the even better opportunities God has brought to us. We all laughed and teared up about the fact that when we make plans God laughs. Every time things are slow and you finally book a vacation, you get the call for an avail check to fly to Los Angeles and commercial auditions. Which while phenomenal! Sucks when you are meeting up in a new city with one friend and can’t really cancel on them. We each discussed how beautiful it is to be a part of this supportive community. How rare it is to be around other actors that want the best for you and aren’t competing with you. Actors that see one another as people, not an opportunity to social climb. I finally got to meet the husband of a classmate whose project we shot a couple months ago. She started her own production company and he designed the gorgeous logo. We talked about his new job in a Persian rug store. I told him it’s amazing how the arts are everywhere. Each Persian rug is hand-woven, with specific colors and patterns to tell a story. Therefore, they are one of a kind and usually passed down from generation to generation. Similar to how we share stories through art, dance, song and film. We discussed how thankful we are to start writing and producing some of our own work. After all the market is changing HBO, Netflix, AMT, Showtime and Hulu are constantly looking for new material so what do we have to lose? Becoming the next Righteous Gemstones, Schitt’s Creek, Atlanta or Insecure would be an honor. I left this Thanksgiving completely thankful for the beautiful fulfilling people in my life and so empowered to see what we accomplish in the next year. What are you thankful for this lovely holiday season?

Tulum Trip Preview

Keri Elaine Tulum Ruins Mexico Birthday trip! Beautiful Tulum Keri Elaine Youtube Video
Ocean view clear seas Tulum. Keri Elaine black bloggers babe!

Hello beautiful people! Back in September I got to go to Tulum Quanta Roo, Mexico for my birthday. By far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The city was robust with traffic and it was great to have authentic Mexican meals. The seafood was so fresh and affordable (think 13 USD for octopus), the butter was the best I’ve ever tasted and the spicy margaritas priceless.  This year has definitely felt like the best year yet. Everything seems to be falling into place. I’m so grateful for the blessings God has placed in my life. I know that every hard time, every negative person or situation was a way of God pivoting me into a better opportunity. 

Beautiful laughing woman, black bloggers, vacation, spicy margarita, Mi Amor Tulum

I picked up this gorgeous maxi dress in Tulum. The beach side of Tulum had tons of clothing boutiques. I loved that this dress was made of natural materials and hand painted. The owner mentioned the pieces are one of a kind since they are hand painted. I selected was on of the few in this style. The artisans vary from Venezuela, Colombia and the Caribbean. I am working on a Youtube Video that will show clips from this store.

Natural Rough cotton dress Bohemian Keri Elaine
Gorgeous Natural Rough dress from Tulum

I also picked up a piece from Pepe Soho Studio. After meeting Santiago the gallery manager and getting a full demonstration on these pieces, I had to have one. I have a tradition of buying street art from every place I visit, and I bought three in Mexico. Two from an original Mayan family in Coba and the third from Pepe Soho in Tulum. Each piece of photography is printed on a special metallic reflective paper that reflects light and glows when you turn the lights off. The art work is not only vivid in color with the lights on, but glows like a nocturnal piece with the lights off. Every fall I reflect on the year and feel incredibly grateful the lessons of the previous months. What are some things you want to accomplish before December 31?