Tuesday, July 26, 2011
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
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.