Happy Monday beautiful people! I hope you got some time for yourself this weekend. I hope you have been able to gain some happiness in our new normal.
I bought this dress back in February when I was out exploring different cities in Atlanta. When I moved here I knew Atlanta was made up of various cities but I did not realize how much each on has a completely different vibe. So I was over in Downtown Decatur which can only be described as a quaint small-town vibe. There was a patch of restaurants, stores, and a hotel surrounding the Dekalb County Courthouse. The restaurants vary from southern comfort food and pub food to an ice cream parlor and cupcake shop. There is even a mom and pop bookstore called Little Shop of Stories I highly recommend checking out. Anyway, I looked up and saw this huge mural of a Native American man and stubbled upon the shop Squash Blossom Boutique.
The Squash Blossom Boutique is owned by a beautiful Black woman named Lisa! That is where I spotted this amazing dress. The interior of this store is the bohemian dream. The dressing rooms are so fun! You walk up and its a door that has a curtain covering the window part of the door. So you can try stuff on and pull the curtain back from the top half to model what you are trying on for your friends or the sales associate. I tried on this beautiful Free people dress, but unfortunately, my boobs did not completely fit lol. So back to the sales rack it went. I did fall in love with this BBDokota yellow floral eyelet dress. This is the perfect spring and summer wedding dress. I also thought it would be cute to wear on my next girl’s trip at the time (before we all knew the virus would change our lives).
Instead, I decided to wear it in the park, since my appreciation for green space has grown exponentially during this time. I wanted an excuse to dress up in more than just a work outfit! Have you all found any cute new places to check out in your neighborhood?
This weekend I saw The Art of Racing in the Rain. As a car enthusiast who used to race cars on occasion with her friends, (sorry mom!) I knew this would be an interesting film. While I am a complete sucker for Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried this film had beautiful lessons about life. One of the main rules they teach you when riding a motorcycle is where you lean, you will go. If you lean to the right, your bike will head to the right. In The Art of Racing in the Rain they say, “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.” Meaning if we focus on the negative things in our life we will continue to spiral into depression, loss, and stress. If we choose to be aware of the negative things happening around us but stay positive that everything will work out in our favor, then it usually will. We can all use the reminder to focus on the good in our lives. Especially when pursuing a career in the arts, which is full of unnecessary opinions, rejections, self-doubt, and occasional financial hardship. However, it only takes one person to change your luck. One music producer to sign you, one person to buy your painting, one person to cast you on a tv show to put you back on top.
Another one of my favorite quotes from the film states, “This is a rule of racing: No race has ever been won in the first corner; many have been lost there.” Perseverance is the key to success. It doesn’t matter how far behind on your goals, it only matters if you quit. One of my friends always says a year from now you’ll look back and think wow if I had quit I would’ve missed out on so many opportunities. No one comes into this world with all the wisdom to be a CEO or knows the exact steps to get there. We all have to finish what we are truly passionate about, then the success will come.
“You should shine with all of your light all the time”.
So many times in life I have allowed other people to dull my sparkle all for the sake of preventing conflict.
As I have gotten older, I have learned that anyone who does not want the best for you is not meant to be in your life. Holding yourself back is never the correct answer and prevents you from reaching your full potential. The one critique I consistently got back on my theatre juries in high school is why are you holding back? I never thought I was. I was going as far with the character as I possibly could. Now that I am in a studio that is supportive and positive, I realized I was holding back. Why? Fear, fear that I would deal with more judgment, drama, and stress than I already was. I did not feel like my classmates had my best interest at heart, or that I could trust my teachers enough to give me a parachute that would open. Now I have that. I know to go into every in-person audition, every self-tape and give it my 110 percent. So that no matter what happens I am proud of my performance.
Sorry I have been M.I.A. I must admit it’s been a mixture of auditions, self-tapes, writer’s block and going on a hardcore fitness journey. I made time to see Aladdin yesterday since its obviously my favorite Disney movie.
We all know adapting a film from animation to live action is incredibly challenging, but Aladdin did a wonderful job. Will Smith managed to keep Genies light-hearted essence while infusing his personality into his character. I felt like we got a little bit of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and an all-knowing, sassy Genie in one. Dalia (Jasmine’s friend and handmaiden) was also added to the film. Played by Nasim Padrad, who has been on Saturday Night Live, Gigi from Scream Queens and Aly on New Girl. Ms. Padrad adds depth to Jasmine’s character by bringing out her softer side with girl chats and quick-witted comments. Don’t worry Abu and Raja make their appearances throughout the film as well.
A Whole New World was sung in a lower register but was still enchanting and beautiful since we got to experience the various dips and dives of the magic carpet ride in reality instead of animation. I love that the costume designer Michael Wilkinson took the various colors from Jasmine’s animated outfits, but kept her costume modern and modest. Instead of having Jasmine run around in a crop top and Harlem pants she made her corsets with tulip pants and occasionally a sheer cape moment. The influence of peacock feathers was a nice nod to the original animation while still making it modern. The various beautiful earrings and matching necklaces added the classic princess touch. Fun fact: Naomi Scott who plays Jasmine, was in the movie Disney movie Lemonade Mouth and she played the Pink Power Ranger in the Power Rangers.
The addition of the song Speechless, sang by Naomi Scott brought this film into the 21st century. In a time when women are quite literally still fighting for the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, Speechless was right on time. Scott belts out, “I won’t be silenced you won’t keep me quiet, won’t tremble when you try it all I know is I won’t go speechless.” You can watch here, 5 million views and counting I might add. I for one am proud that Jasmine continues to be the intelligent, strong, badass Disney princess we have always loved. She is determined to take Jaffar down and run her country for the sake of doing what is right for her people.
While I know the casting is not one hundred percent historically accurate, the dancing in some people’s opinions could have been filmed better, I loved it. I think Guy Ritchie did a great job of making Aladdin modern while honoring the classic without making it cheesy.
The film is a circular narrative and ends in a beautiful way that leaves the audience feeling satisfied. Have you seen Aladdin? What did you think?
As an actor, things have changed so much over the past ten years. Before you could Google “commercial or film auditions in (insert metropolis here)” and you would get a list of auditions. The posting would include when, where, what time, an email address and a contact number. Your agent would send you auditions to go to as well. You would either schedule a time slot to audition or show up and wait, cattle call style. You get your sides there or before. Bring multiple copies of your headshot with your resume stapled to the back and go dazzle the casting folks!
Today you need to be on casting sites. On each of these sites, you should have your headshots, demo reel, sizing, contact information for yourself and agency.
Headshots – You need two headshots at the very least. One commercial headshot which should show you in a cheerful friendly way. Think friendly and approachable, and the other is your theatrical headshot. This shot should show no teeth and have a serious expression. You want to show your range as an actor and your personality.
Demo Reel – This should be made up of the best clips of your on-camera performances in film, tv and commercial work in less than 90 seconds. If you only have enough powerful moments for 30 to 45 seconds that is completely fine! 90 seconds is the max, two minutes can feel longer than you think.
Slate shot – A Slate shot is a short clip of you stating your name. Actors Access does a great job of showing slate shot examples here. The purpose is to show your personality and give the casting director an idea of what your voice sounds like.
Sizing – Grab a measuring tape, because you will need to list your chest, waist, hips, and sometimes inseam. Your weight, height, shoe size, and hat size as well.
Once you have a profile set up on these sites, you read through the breakdowns and submit your headshot, demo reel, resume and size to be considered for an audition. If the casting person thinks you fit the description they send you a link to sides for the audition for a self-tape and request a slate shot. Then they will hire you based on your self-tape and slate shot, or they will bring you into the casting office for a callback. Finally, you wait to hear if you got the job or silence.
If you want more experience for your demo reel, you should check with your local universities film and communications departments. These students often have multiple film projects to work on during the school year and need actors. The work will usually be unpaid, but you gain experience, and IMBD credit if they submit their work to a film festival.
Actors Access. This is one of the main casting sites. The site gives you the option of checking breakdowns for the Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Eastern Canada, Southeast U.S., Florida, Texas, Chicago, the Northwest and more. You can look at breakdowns for each specific region or just select all breakdowns fit for me. Actors Access also allows you to add a video clip from each project you worked on to your resume page. It is an extra charge but looks incredibly professional if you have the means to do it. If you are looking for theatre work there are casting calls for national tours on here as well.
Casting Networks. Fox is casting exclusively through Casting Networks, which was formerly known as LA Casting. This site has network tv auditions for principal roles, featured roles and commercials. There are also theatre and student films on Casting Networks. One thing I love about this casting site is they list if the job is paying, how much and the type. So you know how much you are going to make, and if it is a commercial or short film before you even open the casting call.
IMDbPro. Internet Movie DatabasePro is perfect for when you have a couple of professional credits under your belt. A lot of the castings on here will say for name talent. Meaning a well know actor, someone people will recognize on the screen. I do not think the ranking system or “STARmeter” matters much to casting directors, but they do want to see professional credits under your name. The STARmeter just tells producers and casting who is most popular currently or most likely has a project coming out. When you pay for IMDb pro, you also can see a list of talent agencies, contact information, message boards, projects in preproduction and ongoing.
Naw ‘leans as the Southerners call it is an enchanting city. Since I had a three day weekend I decided to visit my college friend and her New Orleans born and breed boyfriend. So I was lucky enough to be given the local tour, which we all know is the best one! Her boyfriend told us all about parade floats and how each of them is known for a specific thing. There is a hierarchy among the floats and you have to join to be a part of the Krewe, pay dues and pay for the items you throw. So some floats throw one shoe (which is for decoration not actually use), purses, tons of beads and other swag. These shoes are one of a kind, hand decorated shoes. If you want to know more about the different Krewes feel free to read about each crew and what they throw here. The tradition of decorating and throwing one shoe represents
The food. Let’s be honest we all need to eat, so why not eat something delicious! The beignets are a magical and delicious reason to visit New Orleans alone. If you crossed a donut with a funnel cake and covered it in powdered sugar, then you would have the beignet. To eat one of these delicious morsels you must go to Cafe Du Monde. Insider tip: there is no formal wait to be seated rule. So keep walking past the long line of tourist and walk into the restaurant and look for an empty table. The staff there will quickly bus the table and ask you for your order. DO bring cash! This place is pretty cheap and I do not think they take credit. Also the little water cups they bring you are to wash the sugar off your fingers not for you to drink!
Try the po’ boys. There are shrimp, crawfish, catfish and fried clam po’ boys. These are everywhere and the Cuban sub of New Orleans. Named the po’ boy after the poor mans’ sandwich. It is crunchy and delicious. Usually, bread toasted on both sides with butter, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Alligator Bites. I know some of you are thinking ew. BUT the last time I had alligator was an RJ Gator’s in Florida about 12 years ago. The alligator bites in New Orleans are juicy, tender and chewy. I personally am not a huge chicken person, but alligator bites always taste like better than Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets.
Gumbo. It’s seasoned to spicy perfection, full of shrimp, crawfish, scallops, sausage, and vegetables. A must if you love soup or spicy foods.
Art in the French Quarter
2. The Art in the French Quarter. I have a tradition of buying street art from the places I visit and the French Quarter was filled with photography, sculptures, and paintings. The artist my friend bought her art from told us he grew up there and was one of the first contractors to come back and rebuild. Each frame was made from the wood of the houses he helped take down to the studs and rebuild. He told us the red spray paint was how many people had passed (animals included) and the black spray paint was how many people (and animals) had been saved from the home. The green spray paint was from the homeowners spraying Help on their homes. The painting she bought was of the very street we were on that he use to look out on as he drank his morning coffee before he began to work. Stories like these are the reasons why I love collecting art, not only are you stimulating the local economy instead of the tacky tourist shops, but you also get to connect with some truly beautiful people.
3. The live Jazz bands on the streets! There is nothing like a live Jazz band. Every couple of blocks there were four and six-piece jazz bands filling the air with sweet sounds. I loved dancing in the streets with the locals and laughing with my friend. Full disclosure I have always found Saxophones to be so sexy! Idk I blame my mom for playing so much Kenny G as I grew up.
4. The parades! It’s impossible not to, “let the good times roll,” in New Orleans! You can pay a fee to the city and have a police-escorted parade in the French Quarter. It’s super common for Bachelorette’s, weddings and birthday celebrations. So you can march up and down the Quarter with your very own jazz band, parasol. It’s pretty affordable to have your own street parade and open container. You can read more about that here.
5. Bourbon Street! I have one photo from Bourbon street, because if you have seen Girls Trip you know exactly how wild Bourbon Street is. I basically thought I had stumbled across a post-college frat party in the best possible way.
6. The shopping! I reclaimed my love of earrings in New Orleans. There were so many boutiques with interesting colorful earrings. Since I have returned home I’ve bought three more pairs, but that was partially because Babblebar had a sale. (Instagram’s ads will be the death of me). I must warn you that some boutiques are overpriced compared to others. So visit multiple boutiques before purchasing. You could save some bucks.
7. The architecture. If you love French architecture, but want to enjoy it in tropical weather. If you are looking for a unique bar to beat the heat, then you must go to the Carousel bar. Inside the Hotel Monteleone is this beautiful one-of-a-kind rotating carousel bar. The floor moves around in a slow spinning motion, while a jazz band plays in the back. Make sure to get there before 8 if you want a seat!
8. The historic sites like the Lafayette Cemetery. This cemetery has been featured in multiple movies and the CW show The Originals. These beautiful giant tombs hold multiple family members some dating as far back as the 1840’s. These tombs are above ground since New Orleans is in a bowl and will flood. Sadly a lot of these tombs were damaged during the hurricane like many peoples home and through vandalism. There are tours you can take to learn about the various families, secret societies and burial styles here.
Have you ever been to New Orleans? If so what are some of your favorite spots?
First and foremost Happy Valentine’s Day darlings! I think Valentine’s Day is a beautiful reminder to appreciate the ones you love. Even if that means just calling them to say two things you love about them.
I picked up this fabulous off the shoulder side tie red dress from Abercrombie and Fitch. Which is on sale btw! This looks completely different than the Abercrombie and Fitch I worked at eight years ago, so shout out to their new buyer this linen dress is so beautiful!
I recently finished reading a book called The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo and it made me rethink my perspective on love. At one point in life I thought love was very black and white. Now I know there are tons of gray areas with love. Times where you are so drawn to someone that it is entirely magnetic and other times when you just get butterflies. Then just complete admiration for another person. You can read some of the reviews here to get a good summary. By nature I am a complete hopeless romantic. I love nothing more than great conversation, when a guy plans out a unique date and remembers the little things I even forgot I said. This always shocks my friends, because I’m often single and dating longer than I am in a relationship. I’ll be honest with you all, it’s because I have been afraid of commitment. Why? When I am in a relationship I am one hundred percent invested in my person. I use every spare minute I have to do what my guy wants, shop for the perfect birthday gift for him, plan a party, hang out with his friends and sometimes his family. The thing is in the past this has not been reciprocated. My ex’s have often been insecure due to rumors their “friends” made up, comments about me being out of their league or allowed their families to dictate who they can date and make racist remarks to me. The only thing I wanted was quality time with my man, who loves and trust me unconditionally and would stick up for me with his family/friends.
This past year I have taken the time to completely fall head over heels in love with myself. I have planned trips, taken acting classes, laughed with old friends over lunch, gone to viewing parties for my fellow actors, had drinks with some interesting people and honestly loved every minute of it. Ironically I had a four-hour conversation with a stranger about love, life, and marketing. Our conversation basically reminded me that through everything, I still completely believe in love. The kind that is patient, magnetic, passionate, selfless and comes when you are completely happy with where you are in life.
This year my Valentine is my fur baby who loves me unconditionally and I am completely fine with that! Do you think there are different types of love?
I’ve been using Dior’s mascara for years now and occasionally their lipstick that goes on as a clear light pink and adjusts to your own personal pink based on your skin tone and PH.
When Dior came out with over six new colors I ran to Sephora to try them out. Since I already have a good amount of Red, Burgundy, and Berry colored lipsticks, I tried out the lilac tinted one named 009 Holographic Purple.
I must say I have been in love with the lip color ever since! The best part is this lip gloss is not sticky so you don’t have to worry about your hair getting stuck in your lip gloss in the wind. The best thing is you can use this over or under your favorite lipsticks to enhance the color! Have you ever used a Dior product?
The 75th Golden Globe’s was a complete blackout. Usually the red carpet is full of vibrant colorful dress, suits and accessories. This year MOST celebrities showed up wearing all black. I have never been so proud to see this industry unite with Time Magazine for the Times Up initiative. A few celebrities opted to bring sexual assault activist as their dates. Why now, you might ask? Why now are all these people coming forward about sexual assault after being silent for so long? Why is Hollywood speaking up now and listening to activist? The climate we are living now. I’ve had this debate with a family friends dads who know I am actively working to be apart of the film and television industry. I pointed out to them that women have been harassed forever, but we often do not come forward because we are belittled and slut-shamed. What were you wearing? Are you sure you didn’t want the attention? Did you drink? How much were drinking? Why were you alone? Well did you lead him on? Are you sure you didn’t want it? Well were you a virgin? How many partners have you had? Well what did you think was going to happen?
None of these questions justify the perpetrator’s behavior. No one has the right to touch you or make a sexual advance to you without your permission. I believe the reason why Times Up has become a huge movement in Hollywood now, is because of our current president. To have a political election where one candidate is over-qualified for the position has decades of experience as a politician and public servant consistently answers all question about what they would do if elected. The other candidate belittles reporters with disabilities, ignores questions, does not submit their taxes, does not resign from their companies, has been accused of sexual assault, is currently being sued for sexual assault and harassment by multiple women. Then, is quoted saying, “grab ‘em by the pussy” wins over the over-qualified female candidate. This tells women they are not equal, they are not important and they do not have control over their own bodies. Add the lack of equal pay and well you’ve completely handicapped an entire sex.
The 75th Golden Globes has been the most powerful because they did not try to sweep the uncomfortable elephants in the room under the rug. Jokes were made using Harry Weinstein and Kevin Spacey names, calling them out for their crimes. Natalie Portman also pointed out that in the director category only men were nominated (even though there have been many great female-directed films and tv shows this year). Debra Messing called out E! for lack of equality – in reference to paying Jason significantly more than Catt Sadler. Oprah accepted the Cecil B DeMille Award and gave the most eloquent speech since Obama was in office. My hope is that this momentum will continue and all workplaces will promote a safe, respectful, equal pay environment we all are owed. I can not wait for the day women and men do not have to say #metoo Did you watch the Golden Globes? If so do you think the blackout showed unity or just a fashion statement?
I know I have been away way to long. I just wanted to say Merry Christmas!
To me, Christmas has always been about the joy of spreading kindness to others. Whether that is buying gifts for Christmas Angels through the Salvation Army, holding open the door for others or tipping your fabulous server 50 percent of the bill. This time of year so many people get caught up in the gifts I think its important to reflect on doing something kind for others. Two scriptures to remember this time of year.
A reminder of unconditional love and sacrifice
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
A reminder that patience and kindness is free, something we should all aim to practice year round.
1 Timothy 1:15-16
“15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
So I hope your Christmas was filled with love, joy and laughter!
I apologize for being M.I.A., I have been rehearsing for a showcase, updating my resume, getting my costumes together and such. I just realized yesterday (October 31st) makes two years since I left South Florida (to pursue my dreams of becoming an actress) and drove out to Los Angeles. The drive itself took about three days, but that’s a story for another time!
Two years later I am still pursuing acting now in Atlanta. I am proud to say I don’t regret going to Los Angeles. I have some great connections out there and am more familiar with a variety of areas in Los Angeles.
Four things I have learned over the past two years about pursuing your dreams.
1. God laughs when you make plans.
Meaning everyone always says you need a plan. While a plan is important you also need to be flexible. I am a firm believer in walking by faith. Every time I said, “Lord I am going to let your will be done. Please guide my path in neon lights so I know which way to go because I am completely blind!” As a result, he has always provided a way. Even when I was freaking out and down to my last ten bucks a job opportunity would appear and a new opportunity to work in the film industry would arrive.
2. Moving is a great way to find out who your real friends are.
Often times we make friendships of convenience. Sometimes it’s a friend we grew up with, lived near or ate lunch with so we wouldn’t have to sit alone in the cafeteria. Sadly every friendship is not for a lifetime. That does not mean this person was not important to you it just means you each grew into different people, with contrasting views of the world and probably could not agree to disagree. Looking back I realize a friend who never celebrates your victories is not a friend. A true friend is shouting from the rooftops all your accomplishments along with you. Instead of belittling your accomplishments and then expecting you to celebrate their own. When I moved my friends constantly tagged me in Memes on Instagram, called, texted and help reach out to any connections they had. These people are part of my tribe. I have continued to keep in touch with them even through different time zones. I’d like to thank Instagram DM messages and WhatsApp voice recordings for keep my group and I connected.
3. Ignore the naysayers
There will always be people to play devils advocate. Misery loves company and sometimes other people are afraid to pursue their dreams so they will try to hold you back from yours. You have to live your life for you. You only get ONE make it count!
4. When Plan A doesn’t work make another Plan A.
Put your heart into Plan A. Think of every possible negative and positive outcome. Then think about why you want to pursue this. Is it because other people told you too? Is it because you actually want to jump out of bed in the morning to pursue this industry? Or is it for financial gain? Is this your passion? Would you do it for free for a little bit, if it meant turning into a long-term career? Next evaluate each method, select the best and execute it as plan A. After all the A stands for Astonishing. Definition: Extremely surprising or impressively amazing. Because when you achieve your dreams everyone will stare at you in astonished silence, because that is exactly what you are, astonishing.