Saturday, December 31, 2011

MY TOP TEN LISTS OF 2011


These songs, shows, and movies may not necessarily be the worst or best of 2011, but they certainly caught my attention. Not exactly in order from most to least favourite. No explanations needed.

Top Ten Songs

1. "Friday" - Rebecca Black
2. "Born This Way" - Lady Gaga
3. "N***** in Paris" - Jay Z & Kanye West
4. "Man Down" - Rihanna
5. "Hangover" - Taio Cruz feat. Flo Rida
6. "Headlines" - Drake
7. "Lazy Song" - Bruno Mars
8. "F*** You" - Cee Lo Green
9. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
10. "Black and Yellow" - Wiz Khalifa

Top Ten Shows

1. Pretty Little Liars
2. Jersey Shore
3. Desperate Housewives
4. Law & Order SVU
5. Criminal Minds
6. 90210
7. CSI: Miami
8. Flashpoint
9. Degrassi: The Next Generation
10. Gossip Girl

Top Ten Movies

1. Crazy Stupid Love
2. The Roommate
3. Hangover 2
4. Footloose
5. Lincoln Lawyer
6. New Year's Eve
7. Just Go With It
8. Friends With Benefits
9. Bad Teacher
10. What's Your Number

Monday, November 21, 2011

CANADIAN AND AMERICAN ARTISTS SHINE AT THE 2011 AMA'S

When Canadian superstars like Drake, Justin Bieber, and Nickelback appear at an American Music Awards show, you know Canadians have reset norms for the mainstream industry. Not only do these Canadians take pride in their culture and alternative paths to fame i.e. YouTube, mixtapes, television programs, etc., they exude confidence in their eclectic and original fashion choices. But, one thing's for sure. Whether American or Canadian, older like JLo grinding in a barely there suit or younger like Sophie Grace and her sister belting out Nicki Minaj in pink tutus, every walk of life in the 2011 AMA's caused reaction - for better or worse.


Heidi Klum's a mom who's definitely still has it going on! Rocking a silver minidress (is it cutout? ah, the mystery), Heidi can show off her toned legs and still leave enough to the imagination.


Jennifer Morrison is white hot in blonde hair and a white dress! Actually, it's more cream. But, with her subtle waves and plunging neckline, Jennifer can still keep it simple - without the monotony!


While some can pull off simple sophistication, others may just be more naturally inclined to create complicated chaos. Katy Perry strikes a pose, assertive with her pink hair and flattering frock. Is it all written in Chinese, Japanese? Who knows - or cares? Katy's famously big bust and small waist take centre stage.


There's no doubt Mary J. Blige looks amazing, considering we can still tell while she's hiding in this overwhelming animal print. Not even a hint of her strong gams or solid stomach. Shame.


Speaking of overwhelming, Phoebe Price's "gown" - with faux fur? (I'm hoping) and unnecessary stripes running in every direction - is just too much. Too wild to be a wedding dress, but too tame to be a Lady Gaga outfit.


Damn, they're actually cute! Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez surely emulate some retro couple with their slick hairstyles and upscale attire. You know what they say - "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" - and the young ones have it made in old school Hollywood glamour. Impressive!


Winning three awards, Taylor Swift dresses the part - playing the country/pop princess she is. This strapless, sparkling glass of champagne is no "love story," though. Both Taylor and her dress are the real deal.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

ANOTHER "MONROE" SEX SYMBOL: IS MANDY MONROE THE NEXT MARILYN MONROE?


While she may be only 23, Mandy already exhibits Marilyn Monroe-esque characteristics. Like Marilyn, Mandy can simultaneously become the curvaceous girl next door and sweet sex symbol. However, Mandy integrates herself not only as her own person but as her own authentic 2011 version of Marilyn. She is not as known as Marilyn – of course – but she makes sure her face and voice are known. She is outspoken, (literally) tattooed with her thoughts, and doesn’t deceive with a corset or even much with photoshop. And, most importantly, she is influential. Women can both envy and admire her, because not only is Mandy irreplaceable; she does not represent an impossible, airbrushed fantasy.

Mandy stems from a striking genetic collaboration of Russian and Chinese. In her late teens, she started off in a wholesome bridal magazine. Still barely legal tattooed flesh , she successfully broke the mold of a conventional Hooters girl. Despite the fact that she challenges Playboy’s Barbie doll standards, she still aroused, titillated, and stimulated in the Toronto division of the 2010 Girls of Playboy Golf. She even debuted her natural female form in the erotic book “Confessions Sauvages.”

Whether she’s causing a stir in SHARP magazine for breaking Facebook “laws” or playing a riot in American Pie: Beta House, Mandy promotes her talent through various mediums. She has been elected as a feature guest multiple times this year: in the 2011 World of Motorcycles Expos (London and Kitchener), 2011 Super Show/International Bike Show, and the National Motorcycle Show (Toronto). She has graced the backpage as a Toronto Sun Sunshine Girl and a couple of times, either as feature or cover, of The Rider’s Mag (two consecutive months in a row – that’s a record, no?)

You can catch Mandy in the upcoming film Breakaway, playing a club dancer in a Ludacris music video. Or in a few calendars, including her own! And you can check out her food for thought here – in our exclusive interview. Here, Mandy talks about Hooters, adult magazines, cheaters, bullies, and that famous Ludacris music video. Check it out!


Being a Hooters Girl

I actually really enjoyed working at Hooters. I did SO well; everybody loved me and my tattoos! But, back then, I had fewer than I do now. It's a shame to say but, after about 3 months I realized that these girls were not only ditzy but much more friendly with the managers than any employee should be. Guys did try to pick me up, but not as much as you might think - nothing over the top. The managers were bigger pigs than the customers. Not every girl had big breasts. I will say the only thing that might have bothered me was the way the shorts were made with the elastic band did push out my love handles. (Laughs). But, what can I do?

Her Ideal Wedding

My ideal wedding would be extra glamorous! I can't wait for my wedding day. It will be all white and baby blue, my favorite color. Not TOO many people - close friends and family, of course. It will be a Russian and Serbian mixed wedding, with all foods from those nationalities. I am half Russian, and my boyfriend - who I am planning to marry - is Serbian. If I ever get rich enough, I would love for Shania Twain to sing at my wedding.

Posing for Adult Magazines

I will admit I have thought about Penthouse and Hustler, only because I was so desperate to get a cover on a magazine - ANY magazine. I was offered the cover of some adult magazines, but I thought about it, and I think my beauty is more than the raunchy, sexy kind. Even though I could pull that off, I am very versatile. But no, especially since I got with my current boyfriend, he wouldn't like that, and I think I would be disrespecting him if I were to do that now. Playboy though I would still do, and my boyfriend would not like it, but he understands how much it would mean to me. The title of being in Playboy is very big in the modeling industry, it opens a lot of doors, but it does close some at the same time too!

Being Too “Curvy” for the Industry

However, I have given up on Playboy. I don't respect them as much as I used to. I have applied over 50 times, attended live casting calls, and sent pictures to them online. They will not accept me, and I know why. I am too curvy/pudgy and tattooed for them. They are very close minded. They used to say they like the natural look, but now all I see are fake breasts all over their pages. They don't open their minds to the versatility of beauty all over the world. It comes in all shapes and sizes, but they don't see that.

I applied for some MMA Ring Girl jobs; some of them did like me, but one of the recruiters replied to me saying that they love my look but they would consider me, if I flattened my belly a bit more. If you look at my pictures, I have no six pack, but there's not much to flatten! I am FAR from perfect, I know I could have a banging body if I worked out a little more, but I have no need to. I like the way I am. We do not have to be bony or six packed-out to be models. It's just not like that anymore; people need to open their eyes a little more.


Modeling Scams

Any agency that asks for money is a scam; everyone knows that. Companies, not so much as certain photographers to look out for. If you are going to shoot with a photographer, always ask for at least 5 references from other models he's shot with, and ask them about their experience with him. Also, I am not comfortable with home studios but I do make exceptions, provided references or if friends of mine have shot with him. If you sense any weirdness or inappropriateness with a photographer, always trust your gut instinct. If you can, bring a friend with you for safety.

Being Too “Sexy for Facebook”

My images were all tasteful and in bikini or lingerie. I have haters; all of us models do. They get pissed, because their boyfriends are probably viewing our pages. Or they are insecure and hate to see me getting attention and being confident, so to make themselves feel better, they report me so they don't have to see me anymore. I've gotten used to it now, but it is annoying.

Her Calendar(s)

My calendar is going to have my modeling shots - nothing too fancy. It's my first, so it's pretty simple! I am in two calendars for 2013: Auto Body Hotties and Asian Mystique, which will be sold in Calendar Club stores next year.

Asian Women

Honestly, besides the perverted reasons men have for liking Asian women, I think it's the exotic features, especially with me being mixed (Chinese and Russian). It's the slant in the eyes, like with cat eyes, and I guess it's just something different next to the plain American girl-next-door look. Something different is always good! HINT HINT PLAYBOY!


Cheaters

There is nothing more I hate in life than CHEATERS. I am extremely strict, when it comes to cheating. Online cheating is the worst. It's so available and condoned it's disgusting, especially that AshleyMadison.com bullshit; that should NOT even be legal! BUT, if a guy is willing to cheat on his girlfriend, then he is worthless and should not be with her. I believe if you really, truly love somebody, you wouldn't even have to think twice about cheating on them. The thought should not even cross your mind.

I feel cheaters cheat because they are shitty people, evil in a way. They know they will be hurting their gf/bf and do it anyway, so in that sense, they are evil to me. They are obviously insecure as well; some guys/girls do it because they need to feel that they can still get whatever they want.

The cheated-on: they have to move on and set rules in their next relationship. My current boyfriend? I know he would never cheat on me. How do I know? He has been my best friend since we were 17, and the type of man he is - he is just a good soul and thinks of cheating the same way I do.

So, maybe putting a little fear in them might help, but that doesn't mean they won't do it. Bottom line: if they love you, they won't. If they don't love you, they will. I think there should be a law against cheaters. They should be locked up for 5 years minimum; that should teach them.

Bullies

I hate bullying. It's so cruel, and it really breaks my heart when I hear about kids committing suicide (as a result of bullying). The only way to really deal with this is leave it up to the parents. It's how these kids are raised that make them cruel bullies. Everything stems from home and how you were raised. Other than that, there needs to be harsher punishment. When someone bullies, especially if they bully a certain child to the point of suicide, they should be put in juvenile jail to scare the wits out of them. (That suicide) is indirect murder to me. I am also a firm believer that you treat others the way you want to be treated, and what goes around comes around. I would bully that bully back and see how they like it, but then it would just end in a bully war, but that is what I would do.

What Really Happened in the Ludacris Video

Well, this story will show you another terrible side of the modeling industry. Whores get dibs.

I was told I was getting a lead role, being next to Ludacris and what not. Then I find out an unattractive set of twins get that role, because they were apparently sucking off the talent manager. I was still right behind Ludacris in the video, but you can't even see me. At the end of the shoot, I said something to the guy that got me the job. And you know what he told me? That's just how the business is...

This is something I already knew, but the point of putting a PRETTY girl next to the star in a video is to (grab the attention of the audience). I do say that there is beauty in everybody, but some are better looking than others, and when you are told that, you expect what you were promised.

So there was my confirmation - from the talent manager himself. Needless to say I was very irritated.

Coming Up Next!

Please go like my Facebook fan page! www.facebook.com/modelmandymonroe

You can see me next at the International Motorcycle Super Show in January 6,7,8 at the International Centre in Mississauga.

I'll be selling and signing my calendars (and some posters), plus taking pictures with fans and bikes! Stop by and say hello!

Friday, October 28, 2011

THREE K'S, ONE STORE: THE KARDASHIANS DEBUT THEIR LINGERIE "KOLLECTION" AT SEARS


Most stores distribute clothes that flatter just one body type. Despite the fact that we all own different bodies, many pieces are reserved only for the tall and thin supermodel. The number of "regular" stores outweigh the existing "plus-size" stores; but even though we have both (hey, we can't run around naked!), each store's attire is created in mind for both the extremely large plus-size or extremely taut "regular."

So, where's our in-betweens? What if you're not a size 2 or 20? If you have big boobs, forget squeezing into that buttoned blouse. Proud claimer of a booty? How did you get in 'em jeans? (No, really. How did you?) Or even with those thunder thighs? Well, the Kardashian sisters can provide their physical answers to these questions.

These ladies know how hard it is to find cute clothes for their buxom bods. After all, they're famous for their bods. And, yes, they may be rich and able to afford custom-made designer duds, but that doesn't mean every other girl can. So they designed inexpensive Kardashian Kollection SEARS attire, the answers to YOUR body/fashion issues. And it all starts with what's underneath.

Whether you're a statuesque Khloe, a petite Kourtney, or a bootylicious Kim, you can work your wonders in their line for outside (or inside) the bedroom. Need underwear to skim over wide hips? Check out the stretchy-comfy undies Kourtney's wearing in the above pic. Want to draw attention to your upper half? Opt for the girly pink lace bustier Khloe's in. It subtly lifts cleavage and camouflages tummy. Or are you blessed with a behind like Kim's? The corset-like top and bottom expose a tiny waist to better empha-size sexy fuller curves.


While these supermodels may not model close to your body type, there's no doubt these Kardashian-friendly pieces won't! Slender-ize an athletic bottom half in these black tights, or lengthen a shorter torso in the accompanying sweater! Switch from coy to conservative in the above pink dress that tames voluptuous sex appeal, while still accentuating a narrow waist. Or control yet amplify a bigger bust with this animal-printed blazer.


Speaking of animal prints, the Kardashians make it possible for curvier femmes to lounge in prints without adding unnecessary curvage. To avoid havocing too much busy-ness in the style, like Kourtney, you can balance out a savage blazer with human-wearing pants. Or unleash the hourglass like Khloe did with a leopard print v-neck jumpsuit that points and runches to the middle, while flowing around the rest of your figure. Finally, you can just decide to hold it all in with Kim's skin tight/animal skin dress.


Monday, September 19, 2011

LADY IN RED...AND WHITE AND SILVER (AT THE 2011 EMMY AWARDS)

Red must be this year's colour - and if it's any consolation, this year's Emmys is all about power and sex appeal, which red admirably symbolizes. Yet, here, I present you those celebrities in attendance who delighted and disappointed in a plethora of colours. Take a look.


Canadian Vampire Diaries beauty Nina Dobrev embodies various reminiscent pinup trends with an animated strapless neckline, nipped waist, and mermaid tail. Finishing off touches with long waves and soft makeup, Nina proves an already known fact: her gorgeous features are one of a kind!


Another lady in red, Lea Michele, also opts for a diverse top, middle, and bottom. Even though her whole body is covered in fabric (well, except for her arms), Lea still manages to mold a hourglass silhouette with broad flowered shoulders, tight waist hugs, and loose hip skims that flow out towards the end of the gown. Some may say this is sexy and simple, while others may feel it's unflattering and un-fun?


Adrianne Palicki dazzles in a Betty Boop-inspired red dress and neckline, adding on a modern halter and longer hemline with a seductive slit. Hey, she can even pull off Betty's famous chocolate brown locks and red lips!


Now that I'm done with the reds, let's move on to the not-so-great blues. Amy Poehler squeezes into a restrictive metallic blue gown with no neckline or hemline. The tiny black waist belt can't save her from this blue monster, which does nothing for her healthy curves!


Va-va-voom! If anyone knows anything about flaunting voluptuous curves, it's Christina Hendricks. The Mad Men star selects a luminous silver dress that reveals her buxom chest and shapely legs. The thinner fabric supports the fact that you don't have to be a size 2, 4, or 6 to wear such a vibrant hue. Although her breasts do look a bit squished together - the girls need room!


Claire Danes is back in this multidimensional blue gown. Hues of sky and midnight splash onto this strapless frock, making it a "night" to remember. While still a literal day-to-night transition, the brighter blue still seems a bit cartoonish.


Elisabeth Moss appears as a vision of love in this angelic and almost-transparent ivory piece with minor silver detail. The earrings match, too.


Gwyneth Paltrow is ready to shake her hips in a translucent carpet-like black top and skirt that bares her rock hard abs.


Taraji Henson may sparkle in this iridescent cloud of a gown, but the middle lacks shape or tummy control.


Bridesmaids' Kristen Wiig chooses a dress that offers lack of cleavage and colour.

Monday, August 29, 2011

ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN'T GOLD - AT THE 2011 MTV VMAS

From Lady Gaga's manly masquerade to Beyonce's womanly baby bump, some of the occurrences at the VMA's were considerably exuberant; as for the rest, not so much. And, of course, this completely reflects on the outfits they wore. Some were simple and sweet, while others were just simply tamed and tired. Just take a look for yourself.


As always, Beyonce looks fabolous! With a pregnant glow and newer, more temporary curves, Beyonce can still don orange without looking like an orange herself (and I mean "orange," as in the fruit!)


Speaking of colours, Jersey Shore's Deena clearly couldn't just pick one, so she decided to wear all of them! But, you can only catch a taste of the rainbow wrapper; Deena's goodies stay in the jar (well, most of them, anyway).


In other Jersey Shore news, JWoww and Snooki can compare in sparkle but contrast in brightness. JWoww's dress may match her earrings and eyes, but trust me when I say "no one is looking there!" Snooks cut it at a more appropriate neckline. Remember, you can only flash so much leg and boob simultaneously...


Leave it to Katy Perry (or Gaga) to step up the costume attire! What could possibly beat Nicki Minaj's vibrant locks and restricting robotic dud? Katy Perry's sexy little Bo Beep - with pink hair. What else?!


Kim dazzles in silver, but perhaps the fabric fit doesn't flatter her crazy curves with the utmost compatibility.


Once you go black, you can't go black! Selena Gomez spices it up Latina styles with a lower neckline and a higher hemline. You go, girl!

Friday, August 12, 2011

SHE'S 'THE PERFECT ROOMMATE' - ASHLEY LEGGAT TALKS 'DIRTY DANCING,' GEMINI AWARDS, AND HER NEW FILM ROLE



A few years ago, you may have watched Ashley Leggat as brainy brunette Casey on Life with Derek or even as Megan Fox's blonde sidekick Marcia on Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. But, just recently, Ashley played the legendary role of "Baby" in Dirty Dancing here at The Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. Add that to her spots on Aaron Stone, Murdoch Mysteries, Vacation with Derek, and Made…The Movie; an impressive resume barely cut 12 years or half of her 25 years aged. It's no wonder Ashley wrapped up two Gemini nominations, which includes one for this year's: Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series for Vacation with Derek. Here's Ashley to reel us in with details about her latest movies - The Perfect Roommate and My Dog’s Christmas Miracle. P.S. Did you know she's married?

V.B. So, tell us about your new film The Perfect Roommate. Where can we see it? The plot looks pretty intense.

A.L. The Perfect Roommate is a suspense thriller in which a crazy woman pretends to be someone she is not to get to my father. It was the first intense drama I have filmed, and I loved getting to play in a darker film. It has aired on TMN in Canada and various other channels. I am sure it will be airing elsewhere; I'm just not sure when.

V.B. You've played the popular cheerleader type, the perfectionist, etc. Who would you say was the most eccentric or multi-faceted character you have portrayed or want to portray? Any characters very distinct or similar to your personality?

A.L. All of the characters I have played have had a bit of me in them. The popular cheerleader was not my personality, but we had the love for dance in common. Casey was probably most opposite of me, as I am definitely not a perfectionist or very organized. I'd say I was more like Derek in that sense. Casey and I share a strong determination and care for others. The most similar out of all the characters I have played would probably be Baby in Dirty Dancing. That role was very reminiscent of me when I was younger and more naive. I found it the most rewarding to play her, as it felt like I was reliving my youth every night.

V.B. You have danced and acted for an array of theatrical productions. Would you ever audition for a reality TV program, like So You Think You Can Dance Canada?

A.L. I do love to dance, but I would not audition for So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Although I absolutely love the show, I would look more to do something like Dancing With the Stars. If you had asked me when I was 17, I probably would have wanted to do So You Think..., but at this time in my life, and where my career has taken me, it would not be an option.


V.B. Speaking of dancing, you performed as the lead for the Broadway version of the classic film Dirty Dancing. How was it like mentally adapting and becoming a character so famously known? Have you ever watched Dirty Dancing? If so, what's your favourite part of the movie?

A.L. Taking on the role of Baby in Dirty Dancing was one of the scariest, most exciting adventures of my life. I was very nervous to play a role that people had come to love so dearly, because it's difficult to match the amazing talent of Jennifer Grey. Eleanor Bergstein worked with me and really gave me confidence in what I was doing, and that pushed me to fully let go and be consumed by the character. I did watch the movie and tried to match Jennifer's voice, so people really felt like they were watching her on stage. As for the movie, my favourite part would definitely be the end: the "Time of My Life" dance and the lift. That was my favourite part of every single show, too. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

V.B. You have performed alongside celebrities like Hilary Duff (in Cadet Kelly) and Megan Fox/Lindsay Lohan (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen). What's it like meeting and working with (these) stars in your own hometown?

A.L. Working with celebrities is always exciting, and there is a bit of apprehensiveness that goes along with it. At the end of the day, you are all there to make the same movie or show, and they quickly become just another person you work with. If you treat them like you treat everyone else, it makes them more comfortable and the shoot a lot more fun.

V.B. You've starred in local programs, such as Life With Derek, Aaron Stone, and Murdoch Mysteries. Please enlighten us with your advice on how young adults and youth especially can break into the entertainment industry here.

A.L. This is an important question, because I get people asking me all the time how to get into the business. Sadly, a lot of people are taken by scams of agencies promising false, unrealistic hopes. It is most important to get an agent who is reputable, and this is as easy as googling to see what others are saying about the agency. If you contact ACTRA, you also will get a list of agents whom they recommend. I also suggest taking acting classes at local theatres or summer programs. You are never too good to take classes and become better, and most of the actors I know still take them. You can always go to open casting calls or local theatres, which is how I got my first role. The biggest thing to remember is that it takes a lot of time and energy to be a successful actor. It may take months of years to get your first part, but every actor has been there, so stay strong. You will be a better actor for it in the end.

V.B. Any last words? Where else can we look out for you?

A.L. Lastly, I am so excited to be nominated for my second Gemini. It is such an honour, and I couldn't be more proud. I began shooting a new Shaftesbury show, which will be a whole new direction for me, since it will air on SmartPhones. I am really excited as it is the first of its kind. Also, My Dog's Christmas Miracle is coming out in December.




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

KATIE BOLAND: DIRECTOR, DAREDEVIL, DREAMER.


She’s been deemed “reminiscent of a young Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster.” “In a movie called Mount Pleasant, she put in a heartbreaking performance as a prostitute and is, hands down, the best thing in the picture, as she so often is.” In 2009, Katie Boland was selected by Elle Canada as one of the three Canadians to watch. And when Eric McCormick (Will & Grace) is the one who compared you to a “young Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster,” people have good reason to believe it. Publications like The Toronto Star have held Katie in such high regard for her acting that they have even allowed her to display her impeccable writer’s craft for their own use. Over the past decade, Katie Boland has morphed into a triple threat: a Canadian writer, actress, and director.

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Katie Boland is the offspring of Canadian film director Gail Harvey and retired journalist Kevin Boland. Inheriting her parents’ artistic talent and creative hunger, Katie – even as a little girl – dreamt of becoming an actress. When Katie was eight, her mother sent her to an agent. Katie landed her debut in the CBS mini-series The Third Twin (1997), starring Kelly McGillis and Jason Gedrick. At only 11, she began collaborating with her mother as a director in Striking Poses (1999), starring Shannon Doherty. Katie then made her big break on the children's puppet TV series Noddy. One guest appearance on the Disney Channel series In a Heartbeat led to her main role as Gwen on YTV/Fox Family Channel's The Zach Files. The program, with their vast demographic being pre-teens, completed two seasons and created another opportunity to work with her mother, who directed a few episodes. Katie also squeezed in another CBS TV movie called One True Love (2000) starring David Hasselhoff.

But, was this too much for a growing girl to handle? Katie doesn’t think so. “I think being in the industry as a child instilled in me a strong love of being productive. It really fed my desire to be busy, working, and successful. I feel working as a child taught me to juggle many things, and that is a wonderful skill in this industry. Finally, I think being a child actor taught me to have a sense of humour about the realities of this crazy industry.”

Even though Katie stayed positive about her real life hectic work schedule, she could reach into the hypothetical yet realistic and negative mindsets of very dark characters. She played a younger version of Ellie Nesler, a woman who kills her sexually abusive camp counsellor, in Judgment Day: The Ellie Nesler Story (1999). Katie also converted into prostitute Nadia for Mount Pleasant (2006).

“What has stuck with me the most is that people are just people. I love doing a lot of research, and after having spoken with people who were molested/raped/worked in the sex trade industry, I was struck by how, at the end of the day, we weren't so different. Having something horrible happen to you, having a dangerous job - it definitely shapes you and molds you, but when you get right down to it, everyone wants the same things. We all want to be loved and happy. The sameness of the human condition is so moving, and if being an actress has taught me anything about people and life, it's that we're all in this together and no two people are as different as we'd like to think. I could relate to everyone I spoke to on a very human level. Lastly, I learnt that people can be victims of horrible circumstances (abuse) or wonderful circumstances (fame and fortune), and at the end of the day, it's their choice what they make of it.”

Her first starring film role was in the independent feature Some Things That Stay (2004), which was also directed by her mother. In October 2004, she traveled to Sudbury to film a role as Shania Twain's older sister Jill in a CBC biopic about the singer then relayed back to Toronto to act in a new drama series titled Terminal City. Playing Annie Putnam, the ringleader of a group of girls who suspect adults of witchcraft in the CBS miniseries Salem Witch Trials, opened doors for Katie to work with actors like Kirstie Alley, Peter Ustinov, and Shirley MacLaine. Katie also then snagged a 2004 Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries.

Katie has most currently starred in Lost Girl, Murdoch Mysteries, and “Daydream Nation” (alongside Kat Dennings). She is now also concentrating on her journalism career; her work has been published in The Toronto Star, Blog TO, SheDoesTheCity and TChad Quarterly.

Not surprisingly, Katie prefers to ink about those much like herself. “I really love writing about people. I love writing columns about women I admire and how they've chosen to live their lives. I also love writing articles where my subject focuses on their past, what they wished they'd done different, what they did right, what they learnt and how they've changed. I am fascinated by the idea of past and future selves; who we once were and how we became who we are.”

Katie also pens her own novels. “ Although I love journalism, I really feel that I am best writing fiction and creative non-fiction, like personal essays based on my own life. I love writing short stories and novels. I love the leaps that you can take while creative writing. It just feels more free.”

Could she ever choose between writing and acting? “I never would have pictured myself saying this a few years ago, but the funny thing is, no. I love them equally and couldn't picture my life without either one. They also feed one another. I use the same part of my brain, the same tenderness and separateness to write and the act, and I think they rely on one another. I always thought I loved acting more than anything, but now it's tied with writing.”

Katie Boland travels and resides between LA and Toronto. “I just finished working on the new Paul Thomas Anderson movie called The Master, which starts Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. It was a total dream come true and a joy to go to work everyday. All the people were amazing, and I'm so grateful I got to be apart of it.”





Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SEXUAL-ASSAULT-MEDICAL-COUNSELOR-TURNED-MAXIM-HOMETOWN-HOTTIE APRIL ROSE SPEAKS UP ABOUT ABUSE


Did I get your attention? Even though everyone knows sexual assault is a touchy topic, I bet some of you wouldn't have bothered to look twice at this article, if it wasn't for the absolutely stunning April Rose gracing the front (well okay, ONLY) page. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that. April Rose is using her beauty and brains for the greater good: to raise awareness for women and children everywhere about the strengths and weaknesses of sexual predators. She understands that her sex appeal is empowering; it influences others to listen and come forward about first-hand information or experience dealing with sex offenders. Saying that, she would definitely disagree with that police officer who told students at York University that if they didn't dress like "sluts" (in other words, like sexy, comfortable women free to wear what they want), they wouldn't be raped or touched inappropriately (hence resulting in the news-breaking Slut Walk). April would definitely reinforce the FACT that victims are NEVER to blame, and that there's so much MORE to the way we dress or the way we take home.And it's not even about what we wear; to these men, abuse is all about what's going on UP there and not necessarily what's going on DOWN there). Abuse is about power, not sex.

Before she became Maxim Hometown Hottie in 2008 and Maxim Canada cover girl in the inaugural Spring/Summer 2011 issue, April was employed as an art director, photo editor, talent recruiter, and certified Sexual Assault Medical Counselor on call for victims in 14 Chicago ER’s. Yeah, she knows what she's talking about. Here, in our exclusive interview, April Rose discusses her expert knowledge on how to beat sexual assault as individuals and a whole.


Her job as a counselor

"I believe there’s a specific chemical released from your brain from sexual assault that can’t entirely be explained in words. I was honored to advocate and comfort victims with direct knowledge of this specific emotion."

Why victims and perpentrators alike may overlook abusive tendencies

"Emotional abuse has multiple levels, and the people that perform them may not even be aware of it. They may be predisposed to doing it, because of family history

Not-so-obvious warning signs of an abuser

"Some red flags that can/may be subtle is the abuser attempting to control situations with verbal comments when not directly addressed, domineering eye contact, making the abusee look for approval."

Or of a sexual predator?

"Sexual predators aren't always so obvious. They tend to spend years honing their specific skills. It can take a little time to study them and find their unnatural mannerisms or tendencies. Some subtle signs may be lingering besides the subject they are targeting and staring devoid of conscious thought of what's going on around them. Many predators are devoid of emotion. They do not consider their targets as human beings, but more objects they can force themselves on. At times, they can give themselves away by attempting to "force" an unnatural conversation with a victim. Often, eye contact can be/will be avoided, as a predator does not want to establish or view the victim as a person."


Sexual Assault Prevention

"The common assumption is that sexual assault takes place in dark places by strangers. In contrast, 75% of sexual assault victims know their attacker. I’m not saying you should go play in dark alleys. I’m stating that if you are victimized, it's three times more likely by someone you know. Prevention? No. But trust your instincts; if something is uncomfortable, then remove yourself from the situation."

Self-defense techniques for women

"Naturally, women are taught to go for the ‘goods,' but guys have been quick to protect this area their entire life, and their reflexes to guard it are quick. My best advice: you probably can’t break a guy's arm, but you can break a finger - which is extremely painful - so go for that. The problem with women is when shown signs of pain, they can be quick to back off feeling empathy, which then may result in greater damage."

Hiding from an abuser

"Escaping an abusive situation isn't easy; it takes time and determination. First; TELL SOMEONE! Someone you trust and can depend on. So they are aware, of the who, what, when & where. The worst thing you can do is ignore it and hope it goes away. It doesn’t. By not taking proactive steps, you are essentially enabling your "problems" all over again. You have to take control of yourself. No more excuses. No longer accepting what may have been considered okay in the past. You do this by denying someone else the right to make you a victim. By allowing these acts in the past, you've "enabled" this person to take control of you. When you establish yourself as an individual, you take back a little of that control. Get the law involved. File police reports; get Orders Of Protection or restraining orders. Protect yourself. Build a paper trail, and follow through. As much technology as there is out there to stalk you, there’s also technology to defeat it. There are businesses that can assist you with these situations. GPS? Get a bug sweeper. Credit cards and mail? Change it to a post office box, or even get paperless billing. Silence and complacency are always your worst enemy."

Physical and Emotional Recovery

"Everyone has a different filter; they take the world in shaped by culture, experiences, and mental disposition, so its hard to have a single answer to this question. Psychology isn’t an exact science. Its important to remember that nothing you did made you deserve for this to happen. Abuse can diminish your self worth slowly, which is why some people stay in abusive relationships for long periods of time. Confiding in real friends is always a first healthy step. As I said before, 75% of predators are someone you already know, so there really is no ‘look' (these victims have that make them become targets). The best prevention strategy is speaking up about it. Once an attractor gets away with the act, they become enabled by your silence to do it again. They got away with zero repercussions. Speak up, even when the act plays down your self worth, and you don't feel important enough to speak up for yourself. Think to speak up for the next victim, that your voice could prevent someone else’s misery."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

FROM SEXY DEMON TO SOFT ANIMATION: CHRISTIE LAING CAN PLAY IT ALL


Whether she's left unmasked in her natural caramel skin or camouflaged in the form of a drawn cartoon, Christie Laing can wear any character well - especially the naughty ones. She became a sultry demon on Supernatural, a lewd monster with dangerous moves and dangerous curves, so to speak. Now, she represents a form of human monster, if you buy the stereotypical queen bee (sans magic and keeps dangerous toned curves), along with a movie like Tucker & Dale vs Evil due in theatres September 30, 2011. The feature film stars Tyler Labine (Breaker High, Boston Legal) and Alan Tudyk (Transformers). And if you missed it, last week on Nickelodeon, Christie portrayed Janice in the Movie of the Week entitled A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner alongside Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Jay Leno. Here, in our exclusive interview, Christie talks about mean girls, sexiness, and yoga (and being a sexy meanie doing yoga!)

V.B. Why did you decide to make the switch from dancing to acting?

C.L. Dance was a huge part of my life for a long time. I loved how emotion, movement and music could tell stories. I think I gravitated towards acting, because it was a new form of expression. Many of my auditions have incorporated dance, and I'm still hoping that one day I can have a role that showcases both.

V.B. You were on two episodes of Supernatural. You once played a demon, the Demon of Robert Johnson? How do you put your mind into unrealistic characters like those, characters you cannot empathize with? Or do you believe in any supernatural myths? Are you very superstitious?

C.L. I am so superstitious! It drives my friends crazy. One of my most annoying superstitions is that I will never toast with a glass of water. I also used to be terrified that someone would be hiding in the back seat of my car after hearing the Hookman myth. That was years before I even auditioned for Supernatural, so I was very excited to book a part in their Hookman episode. The thing I like most about playing characters such as Robert Johnson's Demon is bringing a sense of humanity to them. I feel like these characters are real, and the more realistic they are, the scarier they are as well.

V.B. You made the lists of "The Sexy Women of Supernatural" and "The Beautiful Women of Supernatural." Which characteristics of outer and/or inner beauty do you find most appealing - in yourself or others?

C.L. It was very flattering to be included on these lists, especially since I was dead or covered in blood in the episodes. The most beautiful characteristic to me is being able to laugh and make others laugh. There's something so magnetic about people who are in a great mood, and being able to laugh your way out a funk is the best feeling ever.

V.B. You play Naomi, a preppy college girl, in Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (alongside Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk). Is it more fun playing a stereotypical "mean girl" or a supernatural "cruel monster"?

C.L. That's a tough one. I hate the idea of being "mean," but most mean girls are usually so insecure themselves that you can't help but feel badly for them. Cruel monsters are similar, because they're usually tortured souls who aren't able to move onto the afterlife. Although neither of their actions are typically kind, I have a lot of sympathy for both of them. I think that's what makes both of them equally fun to play - is they're a tough nut to crack.

V.B. You're being featured in a famous sketch (for "Movie of the Week") in Nickelodeon alongside Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Jay Leno. What was it like working with such revolutionary comedians, let alone as a cartoon? How would you describe your sense of humour?

C.L. The first table read everyone had together was the most memorable. I had watched the cartoon and was amazed at every one’s ability to bring The Fairly Odd Parents to life. When you watch the film, you will literally see your favourite characters jump from animation to reality. Most of my work on was with Steven Weber who played Hugh J. Magnate. It was a great learning experience working with him.


V.B. You keep trim with dancing, yoga, running, hiking, and the Tracy Anderson Method. Would you consider yourself a health nut, or do you only yearn for moderation? What's your take on young women's issues with body image today?

C.L. I really believe that balance is a necessity. I have phases where I just feel like watching movies all day, or the other extreme, where I'm going on a hike and then to yoga. But I feel the best when I do a little bit of something I love every day. I always run because my dog needs his exercise, and then after that, I usually do what I'm in the mood for that day. Sometimes a run is all I do, and other days, I'll hop on the trampoline or dance around to Tracy Anderson Method. I think people focus too heavily on the immediate results instead of making being active a social, fun, everyday activity.

V.B. You love to write. You've already started planning your screenplay and eventually hope to write a book. If I asked your family or friends what kind of non-fiction book (autobiographical, self-help, etc.) you'd write, what do you think they would say? If you need an example to better illustrate your answer, take a gander at this question: Which celebrity would you cast to play you in a film about your life, and why?

C.L. Remember those “choose-your-own-adventure books” where you could choose a direction and get a different ending? I think, right now, that's my kind of book. I love writing and have numerous ideas started on my computer; the difficult part is bringing everything together. I feel like I keep learning and changing every day; I can't quite put the finish on anything yet.

V.B. You support a charity called Just A Drop, which cause is to lower child death due to unhealthy, contaminated water. Where can we best preserve healthy and clean water?

C.L. We are extremely fortunate in North America, because we have some of the cleanest water. Still so many of us choose to use bottled water. Roughly 1.1 billion people in the world don't even have access to clean safe water, and over 2.5 million die every year of disease from unsafe water. The best way you can help is by going to www.justadrop.org and educating yourself about the different donation options as well as the shocking statistics.

V.B. Your passions are fashion, food, home decor, and travel. What advice can you give us based on any or all of those four areas? Do you find yourself talented in any of those areas, and why?

C.L. Fashion and home decor are great ways to have fun and express yourself. My advice would be to stick with what's true to you. I don't know how many times I've been distracted by someone constantly adjusting their outfit. Buy clothes that fit you properly and you feel confident in; you will always look good in these items. And take little risks now and then; otherwise you'll end up with a closet of the same things.

Home decor has always been a passion of mine. I remember as a kid, I got a book on Feng Shui and stayed up all night rearranging the furniture in my parents’ house while they slept. Your home should be your oasis, and I believe that cleanliness and organization goes a long way.

Traveling and food go hand in hand for me. I love taking mini trips around my own city to search out new restaurants, but when I'm vacationing the focus is defiantly on food. I don't know how many times I've ended up somewhere less than visually appealing and had an amazing experience. My advice would be to try new things often and don't be afraid to leave after just an appetizer, if it's not what you were looking for.

V.B. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years, acting and/or non-acting wise?

C.L. I am really looking for a character I can grow with. I grew up watching television, and would love to spend some time growing and developing a character for the next few years. Since I love to travel, I would welcome any job that takes me somewhere new as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

THE MIND, BODY, & SOUL OF MODEL MARISA NERO


Thanks to an innocent hobby of playing dress-up and posing on her parents’ coffee table, Marisa Nero has now ventured into more professional and mature modeling markets. And why wouldn’t she? Part Argentine/part Italian, the Toronto native’s exotic mix of light hair, colourful eyes, and deep curves has men and men’s magazines alike drooling for her snapshot. Not only was she labeled sexiest out of all her competitors - winning the titles of Miss Bikini Canada 2008 and Importfest 2008 Featured Model - Marisa has been featured in promos for mainstream names like Budweiser, Superbowl, and Harley Davidson. Marisa’s habit of gracing publications is included but not limited to a Nike print ad, several wall calendars (like one as a super cool “Ice Girl”), and several issues of American Curves Magazine (such as a 10 page pictorial in their December 2008 issue). And, of course, you can’t get glossy magazine-published pictures without the help of glossy magazine-published photographers. Marisa has shot with high-profile glamour photographers like Paul Buceta, Eikona, and Ward LaForme. Her more recent works include, more specifically, Eikona 2010 Bedroom Girls Calendar and, less specifically, several radio and TV appearances as a spokesperson, actress and promotional model.


However, Marisa’s extensive resume of ambitions isn’t just restricted to modeling. In shape and (always) working out in a gym, she turned to Bikram yoga, a form of hot yoga which consists of 26 repeated poses. Practicing yoga for over half of a decade, Marisa will commence her Yoga Teacher Training next month to further discover herself and “connect her mind, body, and soul.” Understanding the benefits of yoga and possessing a natural sense of altruism, she wants to help others - as a teacher and a fellow yogi - find themselves too. As essential as it could be for teaching, Marisa graduated from the Social Work program immediately after high school. As for her being a yogi, it makes sense she would like to take classes for healing/holistic arts, Reiki therapies, and other healing methods. Holistic nutrition allows Marisa to energize her mind and satisfy her body.


Marisa hopes to one day educate others with her own holistic, healing, and yoga workshops. She would also love to volunteer and perform charity work wherever possible. Marisa’s interests include “dancing, working out, yoga-ing, spending time with (her) Yorkie puppy, volunteering, and travelling.”

You can connect with Marisa Nero on her website www.marisanero.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/marisanero.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

FROM LEBANON TO CANADA AND THE WORLD: KARL WOLF'S A SPOKESPERSON FOR PEACE AND AGAINST WAR

 
He's backkkkkk...yet his spirit never left us. Karl Wolf may be best known for "bless(ing) the rains" down in "Africa" (his first single), but he's been all around the globe. A producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and entrepreneur, he was selected as one of the World’s Most Influential Arabs by ArabianBusiness.com’s Power 100 in 2009.

Karl was born in war-affected Lebanon and raised in Dubai before transferring to Montreal with his family when he was 16. " “I was young. I was 3 when the civil war happened in Dubai," Karl tells with - what seems to be over the phone - a subtly composed yet tragically numb tone of voice. "We lost our business, work, etc.; we had no choice but to flee. I only remember so much, but I see it through my parents’ tears, see it through their stories. I want to forget all the negativity and just make my music."

As devastating as a war becomes to one individual as it would to one town, city, or country, Karl still remembers Lebanon for its more upbeat vibe. " Lebanon has less rules, driving – sometimes no one stops at the stoplight J Lebanon is about party or survival." As for Dubai? Well, the binary opposites of work and play definitely blend in juxtaposition. "There is a work ethic taught in schools; in Dubai, it’s very strict. So, I’m used to working hard, which gives me an edge here in Canada. But, Dubai also has the craziest people in the world; it's a real party city. I would invite people to come check it out."

Oddly enough, coming from Dubai himself, Karl doesn't see many differences between his home land and Canada. “Canada’s my home. It’s my family. It’s where I’m from now. Even when I came in 1995, there was no culture shock for me, because where I’m (originally) from is very hip and updated. Living in that part of the world, not many people have access. Dubai was more of a melting pot; British, Dutch people, etc. though." And even though Canada may be somewhat similar to Dubai, Karl doesn't take the Canadian lifestyle or freedom for granted. He is very thankful for how Canada has offered their venue to locate and transport his dreams. “I grew up in Dubai, not Canada. Lifestyle there is a bit different, people aren’t used to being an entertainer or singer not something a reality back then there. But in Canada…never thought it’d be possible growing up there. But I felt different anyway, and being Lebanese and Arabic descent gave me an edge and individuality. East meets west.”

Saying that, Karl is proud to be Arabic, Canadian, and anything else for that matter. "I’m proud to be who I am. It’s not a political statement. Not gunna lie about where I’m from; it’s who I am. If anyone’s gunna be stupid and racist, that’s their prerogative. I wouldn’t want you to be my fan, if you were racist. Who’s to say you’re better than anyone else (because of your race)? I try not to acknowledge racism, because I don’t wanna know about it. I surround myself with positive people"...which is exactly what his song "My Ethnicity" is about. “Dad instilled these thoughts into my head for this song. Remember your roots, and let it be apart of you. Reinforce this to your kids and grandkids.”


Yes, instead of pushing it away, Karl has made culture apart of his identity and music. He has hold and sold two albums previous to NightlifeFace Behind the Face and Bite the Bullet - and has conjured up a storm of musical and cultural strength evident within his Top 5 records in Japan, Lebanon, Egypt, Czech Republic and Dubai. His big breaks in Canada are no less staggering, his single “Africa” was officialized to run 3X platinum, and landed as the #1 spots on MuchMusic (video), the Adult Contemporary Charts (radio) and iTunes influential Pop chart (sales). And yes, Karl shows love for his music and other cultures, as Nightlife was also released in the Middle East and Japan, then in Australia and Europe. On “Love,” Karl protests a need for world peace, singing “Together we can change this world around and you know it.” “Yalla Habibi” - another one of his multiple hits - is Arabic for “let’s go.” Karl celebrates and facilitates a proactive quest for appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism with the earth in its entirety.

It may seem as though Karl popularizes this concept by manipulating his "celebrity," a undeniably powerful influence within society and the media, yet he insists that doesn't get him going. “I want people to shut their eyes, look at my music, and nothing else. I don’t need people to see my celebrity; I don’t act like “I’m the shit.” He wants people to "hear songs the way (he) hears it," especially when he masters his own interpretations of older songs like "Africa." As a producer (and songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and singer AND entrepreneur), he aims to provide the younger generation with the chance to understand how newer remixes derived from their older originals - and without those past opponents, we may not have mused - on the same level - the songs or artists that exist today.

While he adores being both a producer and singer, Karl can hop back and forth between the two based on certain pros and cons. “I like to separate the two, because being a celeb, you have to be in the public eye and look good. But in studio mode (as a producer), I like to grow my beard and look like a bum."

But, being a celebrity definitely has its perks. In 2008, he helped launched MTV Arabia with Akon, Ludacris, and others. "“Akon and Ludacris have been good friends of mine for the past 3 or 4 years. Once you’re respected in the industry, it (becomes) a small world.” Karl's music video for “Africa” was also the first ever to be played on MTV Arabia. In November 2008, Karl won the MTV Europe Music Award for MTV Arabia's Best New Act. Karl has performed across Canada with artists like Akon (with whom he resumes to tour with extensively), Flo Rida, T-Pain, Girlicious, and Sean Kingston.

As for 2011? " My single “Ghetto Love” (ft. Kardinal Offishall) will be released on Itunes on the 28th. My self-titled album (including collaborations with 36 Mafia, Kardinal Offishall, etc.) is out August 16th. I want to tour the world – Holland, Germany, Dubai, Japan.” May Karl bless the world with his music and presence.











Saturday, June 18, 2011

IT'S ALL ABOUT "THE GAME": MMVA-NOMINATED ARTIST ALYSSA REID WRITES ABOUT DRAG QUEENS, SONGS, & BIEBER FEVER


You may know Alyssa Reid as the soulful vocal partner of Canadian rapper P.Reign in "Alone Again," but what you may not know is that the Edmonton, Alberta native may be more independent than many aspiring or working professionals. She wrote her first song at age 7 and taught herself how to play the guitar and piano, so it's no surprise she took the time - like her fellow neighbour Justin Bieber - to post a video on YouTube and get discovered by a record label.

Of course, all that energy and motivation stems from pain - a reason to desire change. Constantly moving around in Alberta and then to Ontario, Alyssa obviously felt the pressure to assimilate quickly and unfortunately became a victim of bullying. "People will look for any reason to tear someone else down, and for me, they found that opportunity through my music, because it was so public. I'm also going to throw in the fact that I had a mushroom cut did NOT help my cause," Alyssa says. 

Luckily, Alyssa realized at an early age the thing that ironically caused her struggle also helped her cope. She also realized that music alleviates her stress with any emotional issues. "I wrote a song (out of anger) on the back of a post-it note that my father kept, and it hangs on a cork board in the hallway. Looking back on it now, it made absolutely NO sense. I somehow managed to rhyme "quest" and "chest" in there, too. I have no recollection of why I wrote it, but I was seven."

Of course, (song)writing in itself allows one to identify and record their specific feelings in words. "I tend to get most inspiration through negative experiences, just because I find I express those with more detail and emotion. The songs "Watch Me Soar" (On the iTunes copy of my album),"Burned," and "Letting Go" are my favourite songs on the album, mostly because those are raw emotions that I felt and wrote about. Now, kids from all over Canada message me every day saying that the songs fit perfectly in the situations they are in right now and help them get through it. It’s an amazing thing to see that despite how alone and upset we feel in these moments, there are people everywhere dealing with the exact same problems and feeling the exact same feelings. Music really connects people."

Of course, playing the guitar or piano alone may not require or rely on the power of words to release any pent up trepidation, yet Alyssa digresses - it's her self-teaching that gave her the opportunity to experiment with different types of music and emotions.  "I had a keyboard that sat in my basement for the longest time, so one day, I dusted it off and decided to give it a try. I had no idea what notes were what, so I had to Google it, and with tape and a Sharpie, I wrote the notes on every single key. All I knew how to play was the James Bond theme song, and "Row Row Row Your Boat." I didn't get serious with piano until Twilight came out. ."


As open minded as she is determined, Alyssa considered - and decided - to perform in some spectacular and even controversial places, including a Miss Drag Queen International pageant, boxing match, and a cruise ship. "My favourite show was definitely Miss Drag Queen International. That show had the most amazing performers, and being with them back stage, watching them get all dolled up, was incredible. Everyone was so glamorous; I couldn't wait until I became a big star, so I could be decked out in bling, sparkles, and amazing outfits like them!"

In the fall of 2009, her soon-to-be record label found Alyssa, thanks to a YouTube performance. Emulating his pathway to stardom, Alyssa created her own version of Justin Bieber's hit “One Less Lonely Girl." She penned the song from a girl's point of view and titled it “One More Lonely Boy." However, she may have not attained nearly 200,000 YouTube hits and signed with Wax Records just based on a YouTube video proof of her exceptional talent alone. There are also consensual perspectives based on relationships between men and women. "(Laughs). Girls are nuts. They are emotional, crazy, and complicated. A lot of guys don't know how to deal with that, and instead of investing their time in trying to work at a relationship, they opt out for a much simpler physical relationship. When a guy is ready to put the work in, then maybe he won’t be so lonely anymore."

Joining forces with a wide selection of experienced "celebrity-worthy" producers; Dave Thomson (Lights), Da Heala (Massari, Belly, Danny Fernandes), Jeff “Diesel” Dalziel (Edwin, Melissa O’Neil) and Jamie Appleby (Jesse Labelle), Alyssa has been working conscientiously to complete a dozen self-written songs and collaborations for her upcoming album. "My debut album entitled "The Game" is available June 21st! If you pre-order the album on iTunes, you get a "live off the set" acoustic studio version of "Alone Again." Its only available for the pre-order though, and then it’s gone... forever. If you get the album on iTunes, my favourite song " Watch Me Soar " is included, and in hard copy, "Alone Again Pt. 2" is included, along with "Encore Seule."

Alyssa may be young, but she has done more than most would have asked for at twice her age. "I am 18 years old now, but I feel like I am 30. I work very hard and have a lot of responsibilities, so I have had to mature fairly quickly." What's coming up for her? "I have no idea where I actually see myself in the future. If you were to ask me last year where I thought I would be in a year, I probably would have answered "Donut Baker at Tim Hortons." This song blew up so fast, and the impact it had on my life is surreal. It all happened so quickly, and I spend every day trying to catch up to the success of the song. Right now, I am where I want to be, and if I get to stay exactly where I am, I will be extremely proud of myself and my team."

Friday, June 17, 2011

"TORONTO'S VERY OWN JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE": DANNY FERNANDES TAKES CENTRE STAGE WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, & FANS


“I sleep, eat and breathe music from when I wake up until I go to bed.” You would think a great artist like Betheoven mouthed and counted these syllables, but in fact, this quote was spoken by no other than modern day Canadian pop artist Danny Fernandes. Perhaps Betheoven said it in other words, but Danny couldn't paraphrase or improvise that thought better. And he does know and live music. After all, Danny has been dancing since the age of 6 and singing since before we've ever heard his first (or only) single that famously mentions "morning after" pancakes. So, yes, in this case, Danny is what he eats: (and that's) music.

As the middle child in a musical Italian/Portuguese family - with an opera singer for a grandfather and a pop sensation for an older brother (Shawn Desman) - it's no surprise Danny was already dancing at the mere age of six. By eleven, he was represented by an agent and dancing in commercials. By the time he was 16, Danny rightfully earned so many gold medals, medals that symbolically foreshadowed his transformation into the youngest member of the Toronto Raptor's Dance Pak. Shortly after, he was regularly featured as a backup dancer in various music videos. Unlike many parents, his were supportive of such a cutthroat dream; even though in 2003, a beautiful mistake was born by a common mishap with internet privacy.

"Curious" was somehow leaked online and found by a DJ in Germany who pressed it to bootleg vinyl. But, Danny is grateful for whoever could've screwed him over, because it turns out that became his debut infamous hit in first Europe and then Canada. After all, who could forget the original line “Tell me who wants pancakes...we want pancakes,” a line that was rapped by no other than Juelz Santana, all because Danny sent the "rough draft" to New York in late 2007. Even without any label backup, the song hogged the radio spotlight. Once the song resurrected into top 20, CP Records let Danny Fernandes join their club of fresh Canadian talent, whom of which included Belly. Belly literally wrote Danny's first album Intro, which snatched #1 on iTunes.

His first two singles “Private Dancer” and “Fantasy” have both dropped gold and blasted airwaves. Along with his hit singles, Danny came out with three back-to-back #1 videos, which owed him 5 nominations at the 2009 MuchMusic Video Awards. Danny won Best Pop Video Of The Year for “Private Dancer” at the 2010 MMVAs and was also crowned the Best Male Artist of the Year at the 2009 Top Choice Awards. Danny has toured with the likes of Akon, Flo Rida, Sean Kinston, and Girlicious.

For this year's MMVAs, Danny's nominations include "Video of the Year,""Post Production of the Year,"and "Ur Fave Video" (for his single "Automatic"). Check out our exclusive email interview here!


V.B. How did you get started?

D.F. I started out a dancer at the age of 6. By the time I was 18, I had experienced it all, so I decided to take on a singing career. Seems like it worked out pretty well (laughs).

V.B. You were a professional/competitive dancer for years, performing as a backup dancer in concerts and dancing in music videos. If you had to choose between dancing and singing, which one would you choose, and why?

D.F. That's a tough one. Dancing is a passion I have always had and I've done it my entire life! Singing, on the other hand, was just a hobby that turned into a profession from my love for music.

V.B. Your first track "Curious" somehow leaked online and was found by a DJ in Germany who pressed it to bootleg vinyl. And then your MySpace was bombarded by fans and professionals alike. How do you utilize the internet now as an artist? Do you prefer using the internet over traditional methods of advertisement, promotion, etc.?

D.F. The Internet changed my whole life! I owe it to the net.. No, with Twitter and Facebook and all these blogs, it's kind of hard to stay away from it... Anytime of the day, I can grab my Blackberry and tweet or promote any show I'm doing. You know what I mean? I feel like it's more intimate.

V.B. You have 3 MMVA nominations for "Automatic." What stands out to you most about making that video?

D.F. What stands out to me is that I haven't seen any other video come out of this country that's like it. My crew was amazing and fun to work with.

V.B. Some of your songs - "Private Dancer," "Automatic" and "Fantasy" - have suggestive undertones. Do you draw a line as to how explicit you want your lyrics to be, or are you opposed to censorship? Drawing from specific examples in the media, what do you think is crossing the boundaries of being too sexual or inappropriate i.e. music video, song, tv wise, etc.?

D.F. Honestly, I don't have any boundaries.. This second album was a little more explicit, as you say. I'm getting older, and so is my music. I don't think it's wrong to be sexual in a proper manner.



V.B. Do you feel like you're a mentor to younger children? What advice can you provide to youth who aspire to be like you in the entertainment industry?

D.F. I do feel like I'm a mentor, and children do look up to me. I'm always happy to work with kids and give advice... I tell them if you have a dream - either it be music or anything, - follow it! When you put your mind into it anything can happen.

V.B. You're related to Shawn Desman and Tyler Medeiros. Do you think having your family in the music business with you makes you or breaks you?

D.F. I don't think so. I am my own artist, and what they do doesn't affect me at all. Yes, we are related, but we are different people.

V.B. You've collaborated with many artists - Shawn Desman, Juelz Santana, Benny Benassi, Mia Martina, etc. - but you work most closely with Belly. Describe Belly to me. What do you guys bring to the table individually and/or as a team?

D.F. Belly is like the other half of my brain. We are always thinking alike, and I work with him the best out of anyone else. We have become so close in the last few years it's hard not to have him around. He is a lyrical genius! You give us anything, and you are promised a hit record! I'm living proof.

V.B. Your quote (you said) "I sleep, eat and breathe music." If this is true, give me a typical day-in-the-life of Danny Fernandes for me.

D.F. Well it varies; everyday is different. I could have a show. If I don't, I'm in the studio, or I'm doing vocal training, writing, etc. Music is an all day thing for me; it's my job!

V.B. What's coming up for you?

D.F. Were planning a European tour this summer. Also, my brother and I have a few things in the works for all the fans too! More videos, more music, more Danny! Stay tuned :)