Category Archives: Actress

A MODERN CLASSIC WITH KARLEE SQUIRES IN “SUGAR”

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In case you aren’t aware of it, vinyl outsold downloads last year and are posed to repeat the occurrence this year. That might seem counterintuitive to most readers. It’s easier to access a download and you get to pick out the specific parts that you desire rather than purchasing the entire product. What this trend tells us is that the public is beginning to realize what they forgot, that there is a difference. This same template can be applied to live theater. There is something about the experience, the sound, the energy, and obviously the momentary performances that are created by the entertainers who take part in this classic medium. While Broadway has never gone away, the plethora of touring companies that used to blanket the country and beyond have dwindled. As with vinyl, the “real” thing is starting to make a resurgence, much to the delight of an excited public. Entertainers who can do it all, such as Canadian Karlee Squires are more in demand than in decades. It takes great talent, commitment, and a love of the uncertainty of each performance that drives Squires and this new generation of talented live performers who act, dance, and sing. Even Hollywood and television is taking part in this trend as more and more productions of this kind are seen on both the big and small screens. For Karlee, this is simply more proof that the path she has chosen was well worth the effort it has taken.

“Sugar” is based on the classic comedy “Some Like It Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon in 1959. The music for “Sugar” is by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and the book is by Peter Stone. Set in 1920’s Chicago, the story follows two unemployed musicians, Joe and Jerry, who witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by Spats Palazzo and his gang. The boys go undercover to get out of Chicago, dressing as women and joining an all-girl band, Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators, who are travelling to Florida. Joe takes the name Josephine and falls in love with the band’s singer, Sugar. Meanwhile, Jerry (now Daphne) catches the attention of a wealthy, elderly man named Osgood Fielding, Jr. Karlee appears as Mary Lou early in the plays as Mary Lou leaves the band, figuratively opening the door for Sugar. As proof of her talent and malleability, Squires then appears as Olga and stays in this character for the remainder of the play. In a particularly hilarious scene, while on the train to Miami for the band’s gig, Olga asks Jerry/Daphne to help her fix the bra strap that fell down her shirt. Jerry/Daphne has to reach down her shirt, fumble around until he finds it and tie it back together. It’s a featured comedy skit in Sugar and goes on for quite a few minutes. The character Olga is unaware of what’s happening, as Jerry/Daphne is having too much fun, and the audience roars with laughter. The show heats up when Spats Palazzo and his gang show up in Miami and figure out that the girls are actually boys.

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Squires performance in “Sugar” belies the curt amount of time she had to prepare. She had twenty-five hours to learn script, blocking, and choreography. The nature of theater is that it can often change at a moment’s notice which makes being a quick learner a substantial attribute. The intensity of learning so much so quickly was offset by the pleasure of being surrounded by an incredible cast and crew. Two time Tony-award-winner Robert Morse shared his stories of performing with the cast and gave direction and encouragement to Karlee during the play’s run. Producer/Production Coordinator Eileen Barnett notes, “It was hard not to notice Karlee; there she was on alongside actors from some of the biggest stages in the world, from Broadway, to the West End to national tours; some even being Tony and Drama Desk nominated, and she was enchanting. She is mature beyond her years. Karlee does all of the preparation and rehearsal that any consummate professional does but she is also always looking for a new way to add something. She has talent and drive which is an outstanding combination; one which was very evident to all of us in Sugar.”

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The method for any art form, including musical theater, to move forward is by using one’s talent to push yourself forward by learning from those before you. Karlee Squires is surrounded by her peers and those of legendary status of previous decades. Enabled with a skill set that encompasses the heart of the great musical theater tradition, she is on the forefront of the new generation that carries the torch into the modern era and its productions. As the attendees of “Sugar” can confirm, it’s going to be exciting to watch.

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After Her Rivetting Performance in “Hypersomnia” Actress Yamila Saud is Tapped to Star in “El Encanto”

Actress Yamila Saud
Yamila Saud walks the red carpet at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina

The stage has been Argentinian actress Yamila Saud’s second home since she was 7, and for as long as she can remember, she has come alive through acting. That passion has allowed her to become one of the most compelling actresses in film today, and her latest film is proof.

Currently streaming on Netflix, “Hypersomnia” is a dark psychological thriller from director Gabriel Grieco. Saud plays the main character, an actress named Milena who finds herself caught somewhere between nightmare and reality as the movie keeps the audience in suspense.

“Hypersomnia” is about a young actress preparing for a big stage role in a play, where her character is a sex slave who falls in love with her captor. Milena’s rehearsal experience leads her into a rabbit hole. Soon, Milena is unable to tell where her own life ends and her character’s begins. Everything begins to feel unreal and dreamlike, and Milena’s confusion quickly turns into madness.

“After an experience her character has, Milena begins to have dreams which feel very real,” Saud said. “Laly shows [the viewer] a world where women are deprived of freedom and all their rights.”

Milena’s trance-like acting exercises go haywire. The film uses the inside of a brothel as the alternate reality where Milena’s character Laly lives with other tortured sex workers. When Milena is not in the brothel playing Laly, she comes out of the trance state — from the looks of it. Yet Milena feels like the abuse and violence of playing a sex slave are all too real, like method acting gone wrong.

Saud skillfully adjusts herself to each scene as the film goes from suspenseful to dark to violent, truly embodying the character’s feeling of pain in the most believable way.

The movie was a huge challenge for me. One of the strongest and most disgusting scenes for me was when Milena is forced to enter with a client in a room, and she sits on the bed next to him,” Saud said. “The cigarettes he smoked were the same brand that my dad consumed when I was a girl. It’s horrible that girls so young are abused by men who could be their own father.”

In a huge shift from “Hypersomnia,” Saud took on a more lighthearted role as Lana in the upcoming 2018 film “El Encanto.” Directed by Juan Sasiaín and Ezequiel Tronconi, the romantic drama has both a sensual and a serious side.

The film focuses on Bruno, played by Ezequiel Tranconi, and his wife Juliana, a famous television host played by Mónica Antonópulos. Juliana is eager to have a baby, but Bruno doesn’t feel ready. The disagreement kicks off Bruno’s midlife crisis. Things get even more complicated when Saud’s character, an attractive young woman named Lara, walks into Bruno’s work.

Saud explains her critical role in the film, “My character is the knot that ties the film together. It’s because of Lara that Bruno’s character reacts and begins to realize what he really wants.”

Produced as an independent film “El Encanto,” focuses on character development. That meant Saud was able to stand out and show off her raw natural talent as an actor. The story line’s depth is explained producer Diego Corsini, saying “It’s a story of growth and maturation. It is reflecting in a poetic and sincere way that stage in which one still does not realize that he has grown and is an adult, and he wants to continue holding on to a past adolescence.”

Saud’s drive and passion for film show so pressingly in every role she plays. A dedicated artist, Saud pushes herself to go above and beyond the call of duty.

“I am a proactive actress who does not wait for the opportunity. I get completely involved in each project and don’t hold back, knowing I am making my mark.”

 

Actress Ingrid Haubert’s Magnetism On Screen Captivates Audiences

MpireStudios
Actress Ingrid Haubert shot by Mpire Studios

Some actresses have a certain magnetism when they hit the screen that captivates audiences and makes us want to watch them. Australian actress Ingrid Haubert, who’s known for her starring roles in the films “2Survive,” “Ambrosia,” “Painkiller” and more, is one of those dynamically talented performers who draws us in with every role she takes on.

While Haubert, who resides in LA, has only been in the states for a few years, she began her acting career early on whilst living in Australia. “I always wanted to be an actor, I think I came out of the womb wanting to act,” she says with a laugh. “I began acting professionally when I was 15 and attended the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art.”

With her white blonde bob, piercing blue eyes and pale skin, Haubert is not only uniquely beautiful, but the way she brings her characters to life on screen makes it impossible to peel our eyes away. Through the wide range of performances she’s given to date, such as portraying the snobbish stylist in season 5 of MTV’s multi-award winning series “Awkward.,” to Dawn, the cunning girlfriend of the lead character in “Painkiller” who orchestrates an elaborate plan to help her love escape from prison, it’s easy to see that Ingrid Haubert has a powerful range on screen. Clearly acting was what she was born to do.

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Ingrid Haubert shot by Abigail R. Collins

Haubert explains, “There are so many things about acting that fill my soul… I think I’d have to say the biggest thing for me always comes back to the story. I love stories. When my mum would read to me at bed time when I was a child I just wanted to be in the story, I wanted to have adventures, and feel, and experience. When I read a script with great story I get so excited to create what is happening on the paper and bring it to life.”

In 2015 Haubert took on the lead role of Amber in the dramatic adventure film “2Survive” directed by Tom Seidman (“Horizontal Accidents,” “The Christmas Bunny”), which is available to stream on AmazonPrime, Google Play and vudu.

A ‘found footage’ film, “2Survive” follows a cast of reality show contestants into the desert where they compete against one another in hopes of winning the $100,000 grand prize; however, after only one night in the desert the contestants wake up to find the cameraman, the only one of them who’s in contact with those running the show, is dead.

Starring alongside Golden Globe Award nominee Erik Estrada (“CHiPs,” “Finding Faith”), Jonathan Camp (“S.W.A.T.,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) and Michael Laurie (“Nuclear,” “CollegeHumor Originals”) Ingrid Haubert gave an impeccable performance as Amber, a cute but naive waitress from Studio City, who’s a pivotal contestant on the show.

“She starts out as this seemingly stupid, helpless girl, but over the course of the film realises her strength and ability and comes into her power as a woman,” explains Haubert about her character.

Stranded in the desert with no way of contacting anyone from the show and only a day’s worth of food and water, the remaining contestants decide that their only option is to continue on with the missions in hopes that it will lead them out of the desert. Their individual weaknesses and strengths come out as they try to piece together the clues that will lead to the next destination; however when Peter, one of the contestants, finds a clue and keeps it to himself as the competition is still on, the situation becomes increasingly dire for the rest.

Out of all of the characters, Amber (played by Haubert) is by far the most dynamic and intriguing, and as more and more layers of her personality are revealed she serves as the driving force that keeps viewers watching to see what will happen next. Initially appearing as no more than the blonde bombshell assumedly chosen to compete due to her good looks, we soon learn that Amber has a unique capacity to solve intricate problems, which prove invaluable to the team.

“I really enjoyed playing Amber, she was a lot of fun. I was determined though, not to let her just be an airhead. I wanted her to have substance and vulnerability, something to make the audience care about her and root for her,” explains Haubert. “In the story she forms a close bond with Bruce, as they are both lonely people. I made my objective for her to bring Bruce back. I felt that this was something that audiences could connect to as the character of Bruce is so lovable.”

While the other characters get wrapped up in their desperation to survive and begin to turn against one another, Amber maintains her benevolent nature and devotes herself to helping Bruce, an overweight gay buddhist, keep up as they try to make it out alive.

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Actors Michael Laurie, Jonathan Camp, Stephanie Greco and Ingrid Haubert at the Los Angeles premiere of “2Survive”

Haubert’s costar Stephanie Greco (“Phoenix Falling,” “Rest for the Wicked”), who played Violet in the film, says, “Ingrid was a dream castmate… She is incredibly talented. I remember there were times when I was done shooting for the day but I stayed around to watch her scenes. She has an energy about her that draws people in and she lights up any room she enters. She’s magnetic and I’ve worked in this business for over a decade now and can say that is a quality most people desire, but rarely have. For her, it is just a part of who she is.”

Besides the appeal of both the story and her character, another aspect of “2Survive” that made Haubert decide the project was one she wanted to be a part of us was the unique way that the film was shot. As viewers watch the film they soon notice that all of the contestants’ helmets are equipped with cameras which, in the film’s story, are intended to capture footage from their personal perspective as they compete on the show. This was key as key element in both the fictional story and the shooting of the actual film, as Haubert explains, “We did actually film with the cameras that were strapped to our helmets, a lot of people don’t believe this, but it is true. We would often be filming a scene but having to stand in weird poses in order to ‘get the shot,’ but then also having to be natural.” She adds, “The whole making of the film was a memorable experience. It’s not everyday that you are an actor and camera operator at the same time.”

Ingrid Haubert is one actress who’s continued to captivate audiences across continents with her performances in both the theatre and on screen, and she continues to push her craft to new heights. In recent years she’s expanded the scope of her work to include performing stand-up comedy on stages across Los Angeles.

“I had a number of friends who also do stand up who had been bugging me for years to try it due to my comedic abilities. And one day, I decided to. It’s really invigorating that I can make my own material, direct myself, and basically have control over all aspects of the performance,” explains Haubert. “I’ve done shows at EXTRA Comedy Show, which is held at Junior High, Drunk on Stage at Akbar, The Comedy Stew at Bar Lubitsch, and Late Nights at the Loft Ensemble to name a few.”

Up next for Australian actress Ingrid Haubert is the sci-fi film “Birth,” which is slated to begin filming later this month and will be directed by award-winner Brett G. Walker (“The Groundskeeper,” “Box 3125”). Haubert will take on the lead role of Tehra, an alien lost in a new world.

 

Wait ‘till you see Anna Pniowsky in “Wait ‘Till Helen Comes”

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Photo by Kevin McIntyre

When most parents ask their child what they would like to be when they grow up, they often expect to hear answers like “actress” or “singer,” and simply hope that the novelty will wear off with age. For Anna Pniowsky’s parents, however, this is not the case. Not only does Pniowsky have a burning passion to be an actress, she is not ready to wait until she’s an adult. At the young age of 12, Pniowsky is proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry, and she is certain that this is what she wants to be doing for the rest of her life. For Pniowsky, acting provides her with a platform to unleash her creativity, and it is an outlet to transform herself into each new role that she takes on. She loves all aspects of her job, and she soaks up any opportunity to learn from other professionals every time she steps on set. From camera operators, to hair and makeup, she will stop at nothing and at no one to expand her knowledge and skills in the acting world. Knowing that she has an opportunity to evoke unfamiliar emotions from her audience is what motivates her to keep her head down and focus on her craft, something which she aims to continue doing as she builds her career.

When asked about what initially lead her to the idea of becoming an actress, Pniowsky cannot pinpoint an exact moment. For as long as she can remember, acting has been a world that she was drawn to and that passion has only ever grown with time. Despite her age, Pniowsky has already won herself lead roles in films working with well-known cast members and directors, such as her lead role in Light of My Life, for which Pniowsky was directed by and co-starred with Oscar-winner Casey Affleck. When she sets her sights on a role, there are few limits to what she can achieve and she immerses herself into roles in ways that some established actors and actresses could only admire. Pniowsky is wise beyond her years and she has pieced together a remarkable career path very early on in her life.

At the mere age of eight, Pniowsky landed herself her first ever role in the film Wait ‘Till Helen Comes. The film, which can also be known as A Little Girl’s Secret, is about a reconstructed family who moves to a converted church in the country. When a 14-year old Molly realizes she has a gift that she must use, she has to face her deepest fears and save her troubled step-sister from a dangerous relationship with the ghost of a lonely little girl. In this role, Pniowsky played the powerful role of a young girl that goes missing, walks into a river and drowns. Her character was instrumental to the horror film’s plot line and needed to be played by a highly attuned actress who would know how to keep with the atmosphere and the mood of the storyline. By walking into the river and drowning, Pniowsky’s character helps the audience to draw the chilling conclusion that the story’s antagonist, Helen, targets young girls and leads them into the river to drown. Pniowsky set the scene for the entire film, and without her talents, the film would not have earned the reputation that it did.

As a learning experience, Pniowsky could not have asked for more. Not only did she gain exposure to working with other actors on set, as well as taking direction from a vetted production crew, Pniowsky also gained experience shooting a physically and psychologically demanding scene. She was tasked with shooting the film’s opening scene in close to freezing water. The water was so cold, in fact, that she was immediately pulled from the water and placed in a hot tub when the scene wrapped in order to ensure that there was no damage done to her body from the cold. Pniowsky handled the tasking scene with a high degree of professionalism and ease. Even when there was a flaw with the camera, and she was asked to shoot the scene again, Pniowsky got back into the character and executed the scene flawlessly for a second consecutive time.

Victoria Sanchez-Mandryk, who produced Wait ‘Till Helen Comes, was shocked to experience the caliber of acting that she received from Pniowsky at such a young age. She learned very quickly that Pniowsky’s acting skills rival that of highly experienced actors and actresses who have dedicated a lifetime to their craft. According to Sanchez-Mandryk, “Anna is like an old soul, who quietly watches and listens with wisdom beyond her years, taking everything in. When action is called, she delivers in full force.” To receive such high praise from a professional like Sanchez-Mandryk is not a small feat. For Pniowsky, however, it simply motivates her to continue mastering her artistry and showing the world what she is capable of.

As Pniowsky patiently awaits the release of Light of My Life, she continues to search for new ways to challenge herself and push her acting abilities to the limit. She considers herself extremely fortunate to have earned the experience that she has earned thus far in her career, but aims to build on those successes for many years to come. Keep an eye out for Pniowsky as she continues to rise to the top.

Actress Madalein Jackson May Look Like an Angel, but She Plays a Convincing Villain

Madalein Jackson
Australian actress Madalein Jackson

Actress Madalein Jackson began her career back home on the stages of Australia where she quickly became known for her ability to breathe life into diverse characters. Through her roles in high-profile theatre productions such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Oliver!,” Willy Russell’s “Our Day Out” and the Footlice Theatre Company’s popular “Grubble” series, where she took on multiple roles, Jackson carved out a reputation for herself as one leading actress who effortlessly commands the attention of her audience.

“I am quite versatile, and as a result I’m lucky to have not been typecast,” says Jackson. “I also think I have a pretty keen insight into human behaviour, which helps in effectively conveying emotions and reactions.”

Playing everything from the shy underdog Gertrude McFuzz in the hit production of “Seussical” to the psychotic Clytemnestra in Andrew Coates’ staging of “The Golden Masque of Agamemnon,” Jackson’s versatility has been a driving force in her career, and it’s one that has kept her working non-stop.

While she looks innocent, once she gets into character Madalein Jackson transforms completely, and that’s exactly what she did when she took on the cunning role of Caroline Bingley in YPT’s period drama “Pride & Prejudice.”

Jackson says, “Caroline Bingley is such a great, complex character. Playing the villain is always more interesting than playing the hero, and Caroline is no exception to that. Her motivation is her snobbery and greed, however I always imagined that she must have been damaged in some way in order for her to have such a deep reservoir of pain and hatred.”

In this classic Jane Austen novel adapted for the stage, the Bennet family works to marry off their two daughters Jane (played by Kelsie Allan) and Elizabeth (played by Katy Price) in order to ensure their continued wealth and societal status. While the wealthy Mr. Bingley (played by John Shearman) swoons over Jane, she does not reciprocate his feelings, but that doesn’t stop his sister Caroline (played by Jackson) from inviting Jane over in hopes of creating a bond and furthering her brother’s chances. However, when Caroline realizes the potential match between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, who she wants for herself, her attitude swiftly switches gears. Keeping her exterior composed, Caroline turns into a cunning villainous woman, planting seeds about Elizabeth’s shortcomings in order to boost her chances with Darcy, and Jackson played the part perfectly.

“Caroline mostly keeps her thoughts to herself in polite society, making everyone aware of her opinions purely through knowing looks, however when she is in private with her family she lets fly with contempt and vitriol! Playing someone so manipulative and antagonistic is hard work, but always wonderfully rewarding,” says Jackson.

Madalein has undoubtedly made name for herself in the theatre, but she’s no stranger to the big screen. In 2013 she took on a critical role in the family dramedy film “Wiener Dog Nationals,” which won the Audience Award and the Honors Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival in addition to being nominated for four Young Artist Awards.

Wiener Dog Nationals
Poster for Wiener Dog Nationals

Directed by Kevan Peterson (“Wiener Dog Internationals,” “The Super Holidays”), “Wiener Dog Nationals” follows a family who adopts a dachshund from a shelter and enters her into the nation’s most prestigious wiener dog race, Wienerschnitzel’s “Wiener Dog Nationals.” New to the world of wiener dog races, the family is met with a series of challenges caused by the leading wiener dog champion’s owner Ms. Merryweather and her assistant (played by Jackson), who take unscrupulous measures in order to ensure their dachshund remains the champion. Embodying her character’s cold nature and looking ever-fierce on screen, Madalein Jackson nails the mark as Ms. Merryweather’s assistant in the film.

Jackson says, “I loved the challenge of playing a villainous character in a family film; there had to be a balance between meanness and humour. The character was torn between supporting Ms. Merryweather and helping with her evil schemes, and struggling with working for such a cruel, mean employer. She knows what they are doing is wrong but feels she has to support her boss or face the consequences.”

Acting alongside award-winning actors Jason London (“Trafficked,” “All Roads Lead Home,” “The Rage: Carrie 2”), Alicia Witt (“Urban Legend,” “Dune,” “Cybill”) and Morgan Fairchild (“Days of Our Lives,” “Freaked,” “Flamingo Road”) Jackson definitely holds her own in the film.

Up next for this diversely talented actress is the film “All Our Yesterdays” from writer and director Emily Price. In the film Madalein Jackson will take on the starring role of Dianna, a successful young woman whose death is ruled a suicide, but she knows she was murdered and she’s out to prove it, even if she has to do it from the other side.   

 

DANIELA JUNKO: INTERNATIONAL ACTRESS FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE

Daniela Junko
Actress Daniela Junko at the Madrid International Film Festival for her film “Alone”

With her exotic looks, fighting skills and ability to speak several languages, Daniela Junko is an embodiment of intertwining cultures. With her recent leading turn in the film “Alone,” which screened at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Daniela is not only a multicultural individual, but a global storyteller capable of connecting with audiences regardless of origin.

Daniela tells us more about playing the lead role of Ella in “Alone,” a story about Ella’s depression and a young couple who appears to have the perfect life. “The movie gives us the insight of their life. Although Ella is a beautiful model, with the perfect social media life…in reality she is deeply depressed.” Elaborating on the relationship component, Daniela explains that “Gabriel does his best to help her. She does not enjoy life anymore. Can’t leave her bed, does not want to be sociable, despite Gabriel’s attempt to help her, nothing works…[she] can’t leave her bed.”

Without giving too much away, Ella deals with a tragedy, a storyline that gave Daniela an important opportunity to show off her impressive emotional depth. It didn’t hurt that Daniela was working opposite Swell Soubra, who played Gabriel. Soubra, known for his work in the hugely successful TNT drama “The Last Ship,” gave Daniela a phenomenal chance to bring truth to an important story with a fellow foreign actor also at the top of his game.

“Alone” director Angelo Perrino, known for directing “How I Met Your Mother” actor Doug Heiar and Jose Rosete from “The Walking Dead: Red Machete” in “Dirty Spaghetti,” also gave expert guidance that clearly paid off and ensured the film would be received well by audiences. Daniela recounts, “I was amazed with the responses I got from my peers, and everyone we show it to. I can honestly say, either they like it or not, it brought everyone to tears, it had such an impact. I did not expect myself.”

The enthusiastic response to the film wasn’t the only cause for excitement, as being accepted to screen at the Cannes Film Festival and Beverly Hills Film Festival was yet another reason for the filmmakers to bask in the glory of a job well done. Rather humbly, but also in an indication of how she owns her tremendous success, Daniela recalls screening at the Madrid Film Festival where she was nominated for Best Actress, by saying, “It still sounds surreal to me.”

Of course, Daniela is no stranger to appearing in lead roles at exclusive and internationally renowned festivals. Daniela gave a powerful performance in the leading role of Charlotte in the film “Three Kings Down,” which was featured at the New York Audience Now festival and the MIA Film Festival (Mostra Internacional Da Amazonia), and reached millions of viewers worldwide via #TOFF (The Online Film Festival).

It’s no surprise though that the project was received so well by such prestigious organisations, as it presented an interesting take on the film noir genre by showcasing Daniela playing a female hero who manipulates card players in Vegas to help herself get ahead, and challenging a mafia boss in the process. Reinforcing her reputation as an actress who lifts the game of those around her, but also as one who only works with the best in the business, Daniela starred opposite Alen Matters (known for his recurring appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”) in the homage to notorious femme fatale characters.

Daniela Junko clearly proves herself as an actress functioning as a leader in the industry – not only through her critically acclaimed performances in terrific projects, but because she is a performer who can represent various cultures from around the world, and access emotions that resonate with viewers in every corner of the globe

 

Marysia Peres on using her talents to make the world a better place

A common misconception about the modeling industry stems from the idea that models who are born “tall and skinny” have their careers handed to them. What these critics underestimate, however, is the grueling, cutthroat nature of the industry. The competition is fierce and opportunities are often scarce. For this reason, models have to work harder than most to build their careers and to ensure that they keep themselves fresh and ready for whatever is ahead of them. Oftentimes, this involves exercising, training, networking, and more. For many models, the obstacles and challenges become too much for them to persevere. For models like Marysia Peres, however, these obstacles and challenges are merely the fuel that push her to continue doing what she loves to do and to remain at the top of her field.

“The biggest challenge is the competitiveness of the industry. Casting sessions in big cities can be quite intimidating, with hundreds of girls auditioning for the same job. Everything from your portfolio to your personality can play a role, but ultimately, you have no control over a client’s decision making and I find it extremely important to understand that. I believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, working out, being curious and proactive, and most importantly, remaining true to myself, my unique character, and my style,” told Peres.

Peres learned how to pose for photographs from an early age, working the camera for her mother. As she grew up, she became increasingly intrigued by the unique career opportunities that modeling offers. Not only would she get to work amongst some of the most talented individuals in the fashion industry, but she would also get to travel the world in order to do what she loves. As a travel and fashion enthusiast, Peres couldn’t think of a more fitting job for her to work toward. Flash-forward to today, Peres has established a successful modeling career and continues to strive to improve herself in order to take on bigger, better roles. As a model, she does photo shoots for magazines, for fashion catalogues, and for other advertising campaigns. She also performs in fashion shows, as well as special art and fashion projects.

Not only is Peres a fashion and travel enthusiast, she is also a firm believer in philanthropy. She is an advocate for building a self-sufficient lifestyle wherever possible and lending help to others who aren’t as fortunate to do so. She finds personal value in the knowledge that with her career in fashion, she is able to merge her charitable intentions with her natural talents. Throughout her time as a model, she has committed herself to keeping true to her moral compass and with that, she has participated in a number of charity fashion shows. Most recently, Peres lent her modeling expertise to a charity fashion indicative called “Project Mother.” The project, spearheaded by the highly influential German photographer Laura Helena Rubahn, aims to raise awareness about nature preservation through a series of breathtaking photographs taken around the world. The proceeds from the project are to be directed to a nature protection and preservation fund and Peres was humbled to be able to help place a spotlight on this important, worldwide issue.

When Peres isn’t embarking upon a philanthropic journey, she is continuing to train herself and seek out opportunities to expand her experience and skill set. Throughout her career, she has modeled for a number of well-known fashion brands such as Kuraudia, Le Moir, and Key Wear. In fact, some of her most memorable modeling jobs occurred when she worked for agencies in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Over the past few years, however, Peres has been modeling and acting in Europe where she has shot several editorials and runway shows. Her latest editorial work includes cover shoots for Vamp Magazine and Hilton Malta Magazine. In addition, spanning beyond editorial and runway work, Peres is also known commercial personality having shot a commercial print for Vodafone in 2016, as well as a video commercial for Radley London. Her skill, energy, and professionalism make her an asset to any modeling shoot and she is known for being a pleasure to work with. Even for her fellow models, Peres acts as an inspiration and a reminder that no matter how talented someone may be, there is always room to remain kind and humble. Marina Plotnikova has modeled alongside Peres on multiple occasions and understands why Peres has the reputation she has better than most.

“Marysia is always very responsible but more importantly, she remains positive no matter what the circumstances are. During shows, she is always happily involved in all of the activities. Most of all, she motivates the people around her by setting a good example. As a model with vast experience in the industry, she is always eager to help others. She is a joy to work with,” Plotnikova said.

When Peres sets her sights on a goal, she will stop at nothing in order to achieve it. She sheds her own blood, sweat, and tears in order to be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that she has brought her best possible performance to every task she sets out to do. Fortunately, the result comes with widespread recognition and at times, even awards. For instance, Peres’ talents were recognized sufficiently in June 2014 when Starcentral Magazine dubbed her Sexiest Woman of the Month. For Peres, this title was simply a testament to the fact that hard work pays off and that she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to with the right type of drive behind it. She is an inspiration to her fellow models and hopes to be able to bring even more prestigious titles to her resume as she continues along her career.

If Peres could offer any advice to young, aspiring models, she would tell them this: “It is a tough industry that requires a lot of confidence and hard work. You have to be not only be healthy, fit, and photogenic, but you also have to be communicative, easy to work with, and resilient. There will be several reasons why you either do or do not get a job, and those reasons shouldn’t give you an ego or make you miserable. Just remain true to yourself and remember that beauty always comes from within.”

Be sure to follow Peres’ modelling career on her website.

 

Photo by AJ Singh

From Beauty Queen to Leading Lady On Screen

Actress Jane Kapriss
Actress Jane Kapriss shot by Bjoern Kommerell

 

It’s no secret that the media, and the general public for that matter, have a thing for beauty. We are mesmerized by beautiful things, places and of course, beautiful people. Ukrainian beauty Jane Kapriss seemed destined for the spotlight since a young age, and while she definitely achieved impressive success as a beauty queen, it’s her talent as an actress coupled with her stunning aesthete that has kept her in the public eye.

Over the years Jane has won countless beauty pageant titles such as the Miss Fashion Award at the Miss Teen International competition, Miss Pearl of the Ukraine from the Ukraine National Beauty Pageant, as well as being chosen as a top ten finalist at the Miss Teen World competition where she also took home the Brand Ambassador Award. But anyone who’s seen Jane’s performances as an actress, on both the screen and the stage, knows that she is much more than a pretty face.

Jane let us in on a funny story from her childhood, and it’s one that makes quite a bit of sense now, considering the career path she’s chosen. She recalls, “My parents still argue about my first word. In Russian the words ‘building crane’ and ‘movie screen’ are very similar. The difference is just the first letter. For some reason my first word was not mom or dad. My dad heard it as ‘building crane’ and he said it was a sign that I was gonna be an engineer. But my mom heard it as ‘movie screen’ and said that it was a sign that I was gonna be an actress. Now our friends who know the story say: well, we all know now what word she meant.”

Prior to moving the U.S. where her success has continued at record pace, Jane made a huge mark for herself Back home in Kiev, Ukraine with her lead role as Anastasiya in the 2008 comedy crime feature “Hand for Luck” aka “Ruka na Schaste.”

Since then Jane has become known for her stand-out performances in a plethora of films such as “Love Changes,” which was chosen as an Official Selection of the Odessa International Film Festival, Manhattan Film Festival and the Toronto Independent Film Festival, WIND International Film Festival Award winner Antonio Chavez Trejo’s (“Bloody Luck”) comedy crime film “Killer Tango,” as well as the film “Mac Daddy and the Lovers,” and the sequel “Mac Daddy’s Vegas Adventure,” which was released earlier this year.

Directed by Mac Jay, who plays the lead character Mac Giani, “Mac Daddy and the Lovers” follows the notorious Mac Daddy, a suave ladies man who seduces rich women and then robs them with the help of his two accomplices. While Mac Daddy doesn’t believe in love, his best friend Franco (played by Mario Novell) does; but unfortunately for Franco, his girlfriend Tina, played by Jane, is a ruthless gold digger who’s only with him for his money.

Jane says, “It was interesting. I personally disagree with her logic on so many levels so it was challenging and interesting to dive into her life to understand her and to be able to play her.”

Right before Franco is about to propose Tina dumps him for a wealthier man. Giving a knockout performance, Jane flawlessly breathes life into her conniving character making Tina an easy character to hate, one who also represents the reason Mac Daddy turned away from love in the first place.

After the successful release of “Mac Daddy and the Lovers,” which earned the Golden Reel Award from the Nevada International Film Festival in 2015, Jane was tapped once again to star in the sequel “Mac Daddy’s Vegas Adventure” where she acts alongside Madeleine Wade (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Sons of Anarchy”), Jacqui Holland (“My Best Friend’s Girl”) and C. Young Artist Award winner Thomas Howell (“The Outsiders,” “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” “Animal Kingdom”). This time Jane was cast in the critical role of Megan, and like the true chameleonic actress she is, she brings Megan to life in a way that it is so different from her character in the previous film that few could tell these characters are played by the same actress.

After finding love in the first film Mac Daddy takes himself out of the game, but when his accomplices continue his former racket without him in “Mac Daddy’s Vegas Adventure” Mac Daddy is forced to come to their rescue. After targeting the wrong woman and pissing off Vegas’ feared Italian mafia boss Alfieri (C. Thomas Howell), Mac Daddy’s accomplices find themselves in hot water. Realizing that his woman was susceptible to the con artists seduction tactics, Alfieri works out a deal with Mac Daddy to teach him his womanizing expertise in order to get a woman to really fall in love with him in exchange for sparing the life of his friend.

Jane’s character Megan comes onto the scene as the unassuming woman who Alfieri seduces into falling in love with him. “She shows that even the mafia lord can truly fall in love and second, that karma will find you no matter what,” says Jane about her character in the film.

While Jane Kapriss has made a name for herself on the big screen on an international scale, she is no stranger to the theatre. Over the years she’s performed starring roles in a number of productions across continents including “Dark Side of the Moon” at The Next Stage theatre in Los Angeles, “Something Outrageous” at the Michael Chekhov Theatre Company in New York, as well as “A Servant of Two Masters” and “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” in Ukraine.

It’s clear from Jane Kapriss’ impressive body of work over the past decade that her first word was without a doubt ‘movie screen’ and that’s exactly where she belongs.

 

Actress Francesa De Luca to star in upcoming film ‘Café Mnemosyne’

Originally from Hammersmith, London, Francesca De Luca knew she was meant to perform at the age of six. At the time she was dancing, but she realized the stage was her home. She knows what it is to connect with her audience, to make them feel something they didn’t know was there. She brings everything she has to every performance she does, and this is what makes her such an outstanding actress.

Throughout her career, De Luca has risen to one of England’s top actresses. She has worked alongside extraordinary talent like herself, including Producer, Writer, and Director Francis Ford Coppola, known for many award-winning films including The Godfather trilogy. He is also one of De Luca’s idols.

“He reminded me of my grandfather with his warmth and he told me I reminded him of his daughter Sophia. I spoke about my Italian heritage and it felt like I had known him for years,” she said.

With a busy upcoming couple of years, De Luca will once again appear on the big screen in several new films. One of these is Café Mnemosyne, set to be released in 2019. The film will be directed by a prominent director, who approached De Luca knowing he needed her to make his film a success, and that she would be perfect for the role. This was four years ago, and now, the film is finally coming to fruition. De Luca immediately was on board.

“I’ve seen this director’s previous work and love the script and think he will be a nice guy to work with. I like working with talented, nice people, and it’s important to feel relaxed on set,” she said.

Scripts are extremely important to De Luca. She wants to read a script and feel compelled by the story, and if she is, that is when she will take on a role. Café Mnemosyne is one of those films. It is set in a strange diner where a young girl shows up with an odd dilemma, throwing the regular café occupants into a panic. The suspense is evident while she finds out what the café really is and what will happen to her next. De Luca will be playing the role of Carrie, who is one of the main characters in the diner. The film is expected to make its way to many of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.

“The filming will be in New Jersey so it will be an opportunity to spend time in New York again and spend time with my cousins and friends. I love New York as a city and I love the directness of the people. Also, I love playing Italian America New York characters, so I enjoy people watching while I am there and picking up traits that I can later bring to my characters,” said De Luca.

There is no doubt that De Luca will help make the films a success. She is known for working on acclaimed projects, such as the docudrama Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. De Luca played the role of Margot Fonteyn in the film, a true Prima Ballerina. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and was subsequently selected for the prestigious Hamptons Film Festival and the Key West Film Festival. Earlier this year, it was released in theatres across the United States and Canada, receiving rave reviews from the New York Times, with a score of 82 per cent “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. It was released on iTunes in July of this year, and went straight to number one in the documentary chart and top ten in independent movies.

“I am proud to have been part of such a successful film,” said De Luca, speaking of Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent.

De Luca saw similar success with the film Passports. The film follows Tanya who returns after six wild years of travelling. Once home, her mother and grandma make her join an online dating site and go on a date. The date is a visit to a psychic. During the visit, unexpected events occur and the guy hits on the psychic secretively sliding to her a piece of paper reading ‘Call Me.’ The psychic ignores him and tells Tanya her fortune and after Tanya shows the psychic a ‘new’ game of magic in which she makes her date’s car keys disappear. From then on things get heated between the three. This film is a dramedy with beautiful cinematography and interesting characters. De Luca plays the pivotal role of the psychic. Passports went on to win several awards at many prestigious international film festivals.

“During Francesca’s audition for Passports, we decided to cast her immediately because of her commanding stage presence and the many unique details she brought to her acting. What makes her special is her uncanny ability to perform at the drop of a hat, improvisation skills especially with dialogue, and her capacity to do numerous accents from all over the world. We are currently in the development stages of our first feature Midnight Daughter, filming to start early 2018, and are casting Francesca in one of the primary roles of the film. Her vast skill set allows Francesca to fit into different characters. Overall, Francesca’s dedication to the craft of acting and her easy-going attitude are two of the many reasons why we like working with her,” said Jeremy Pion Berlin, the Director of Passports.

Audiences have a lot to look forward to with De Luca gracing their screen presence so frequently in the coming years. She has recently been working with Mark Myers of CSP Management, who also plans to cast the actress is roles with his production company Citizen Skull over next few years. She is also looking forward to working on various roles in US television programs. She is definitely one to watch out for.

Actress Michelle Howarth to share important world issues in TV show ‘Hummingbird’

MichelleHowarch-345-minLACASTING2
Michelle Howarth

Growing up in South Africa, Michelle Howarth started acting as a way to express herself. The country has eleven official languages, and communication barriers often arise. Being on stage, she found she was able to transcend this obstacle and connect with her audience no matter what language they spoke. The arts, she found, can relate to any person. Film and television are enjoyed around the world, in every culture. This reality got her hooked, and her natural talent and creative instincts are what allowed her to rise to the top of her field, making her one of the best actresses to recently come out of South Africa.

“I wanted to be a professional actor because I knew I was obsessed with the craft and wanted to mold it into my career. I wanted to specialize and fine tune my acting and creativity to the point that I am able to create films and performances that resonate globally. I was big into physical theatre growing up, and that medium especially is able to communicate across transnational borders and cultures. I wanted to be able to do this on a global scale through film and television and tell stories that would otherwise go unheard. I wanted to be a professional actor to be a part of an artistic process that initiates conversation, understanding, empathy and insight across the globe,” said Howarth.

The twenty-five-year-old actress has done just that. Through her work in several successful projects, she has captivated audiences around the globe. She has had a leading role in films and television series such as Just Animals, Parenthood, Talk Stew, Shameless, King Krule, and Jackson and Randall, as well as stage roles in Angel Academy, Chicago, Ivy, and Hanamichi. Howarth consistently impresses not only audiences, but her colleagues as well. Sonja Smit, the director of the touring play Villian in which Howarth was the star, says the actress’ performance greatly contributed to the success of the play.

“Michelle has the rare ability to truly inhabit a character, always merging naturally into the character’s personality without losing any of her inherent “star power”, an ability that was on full display in her extraordinary lead performance in Villain. It is this exceptional quality that has allowed her to become one of the most exciting new faces in theatre and independent cinema over the past several years, and there is no doubt in my mind that her career will only go from strength to strength,” said Smit.

Despite such success, the highlight of Howarth’s career comes from her work in the highly-anticipated new television series Hummingbird. The series tells the story of a group of American teenagers that go missing in the United States. Detectives look into the disappearance of these teenagers and see that, although they disappeared independently of one another, there are similarities between the cases. After further investigation, one detective in particular notices a thread between each case. Each one seemed to be very active online and in each case met a member of an extremist group in Syria, and went over to Syria to do their Jihad and join ISIS. The show reveals the psyche of each individual and the process of their decision to now be a part of ISIS.

The story is incredibly timely, given the war against ISIS and terrorism that is taking place around the world, with such divisiveness on how to handle people that make these decisions. Not only is the show based on true events, it will be shot in a realistic way, and each actor knows the responsibility they carry with their portrayal of their characters. Howarth wanted to do her part to enlighten audiences on such an important issue.

“It is an important story that needs to be told, and I am proud to be a part of a show that is didactic as well as entertaining. I believe the show will shed light on socio-religious and economic issues and help initiate conversation and critical thinking around said issues,” she said. “I believe it can create a basis for conversation and debate around the subject matter on a global platform. I also believe it will give insight to a world far removed from most people and hopefully offer understanding of that culture and religious practice.”

In Hummingbird, Howarth plays the pivotal role of Cassandra, one of the American teenage girls who goes missing. It is later discovered that she met an older man online and after falling in love with him, was flown over to Syria to do her Jihad and join an extremist group. She is one of the girls who they are able to find. However, unlike the other girls, Cassandra refuses to come back to her family and the United States. Cassandra is strong willed and happy in her decision to convert to this new religion and live this extremist life.

Howarth’s portrayal of Cassandra will allow the audience to witness such a journey and possibly understand the reasoning behind it. Cassandra reveals the extremities and consequences of social media and online interactions. She shows the journey through the psyche of a young teenage girl who goes to extreme lengths for the man she loves. Through her portrayal of Cassandra, Howarth will allow viewers to witness the practices of the Jihad and life in Syria, as well as what it would be like for a female member of an extremist group such as ISIS. The role of Cassandra is vital to helping reveal why these girls made the decisions they did and how their lives ended up.

The show is expected to be an instant hit, and Howarth’s portrayal of Cassandra is a large part of that. The story is something viewers around the world want to know more about, and Howarth will help audiences gain insight into such troubled mindsets.

“In today’s world, there is much turmoil regarding this subject matter, and this series dives into these issues. The story is important because it may help one experience and understand a world we are removed from and its practices and realms,” she concluded.

Audiences have a lot to look forward to from the South African native. Beyond Hummingbird, be sure to check out Howarth in the upcoming film Madness Descending, which will be released next year.