Category Archives: International Creative Talents

A PHOTO IS ONLY A GLIMPSE INTO THE DEPTH OF RANDI KENNEDY

Randi Kennedy is attractive…and a fitness enthusiast…and an extremely positive person. How is this possible when she two of the main facets of her life and career are social media and being a fitness model? That’s because much like the aforementioned aspects, Randi Kennedy is much deeper and more complex than a superficial viewing can ascertain. You have to spend time with Kennedy to understand what makes her tick. In contrast, her enthusiasm is evident within the first few seconds of speaking with her. All of these characteristics have led international companies such as 1UP Nutrition and Live Fit apparel to seek her out as an ambassador of brands. In this modern day society where it seems everyone wants to be famous by presenting commonplace as extraordinary, Randi has done the opposite by making her followers and fans believe that her extraordinary accomplishments are achievable by all…something which she wholeheartedly believes.

When posed with the query of how one gets to the same point of success and personal fulfillment that Randi has attained she communicates, “My best advice is to aim big and don’t settle, chase after those dreams. If you aim low, you are going to fall short of the bigger picture and what you truly want to accomplish. I believe you can truly accomplish everything and anything with hard work. Create a game plan for yourself. What do you want to accomplish? What do you need to do to get there? What would the first and second steps be? Take action and keep a clear vision. You’re not going to build your dream career overnight but it will take a lot longer if you give up. Don’t be afraid of hard work and don’t be afraid to take risks. Owning your own business is not easy but it’s worth it.”

Judging Kennedy by her big smile and her athletic physique will misinform you as to the astuteness and determination to have a benevolent effect on those around her, which is the true center of this self-made very modern day success story. As a health and fitness enthusiast herself, she noticed early on that there weren’t a large number of what she considered to be healthy supplements marketed towards women when she first started her journey, this has since changed. While her endorsement and use of such products from companies such as 1UP Nutrition shine a light on the visceral physicality of a woman, her work as one of the faces of Live Fit Apparel embrace the femininity of it. There’s a holistic approach to Kennedy’s personal life and her professional/public one. As with any relationship, Randi feels that both herself and the companies she works with must have a belief in each other. When a common goal appears, both sides benefit. Since it is a working partnership so of course both sides need to feel they are being taken care of for the relationship to work. When it comes to sponsorships in the clothing and supplement industry it typically goes something like this: The sponsor receives a brand affiliate and becomes associated with the influencers brand. They receive marketing which generates more brand awareness and sales. The influencer receives support from the sponsor in the forms of compensation in a monthly salary, commission on sales and can even go as far as support for competitions and further education in addition to marketing by the sponsor.

It’s one of the great dichotomies of the industry that the visual aspect of the exterior is so often displayed as proof of internal health. Sometimes these traits are congruent and sometimes they are not. Kennedy adamantly relates, “I think that it’s very easy to forget about your mental health/mental state when you’re caught up in looking a certain way. Often people are working so hard to improve their physique that they don’t realize how extreme they are being with training and nutrition, which can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and create body dysmorphia. This is something I preach about on my [social media] platforms. I always tell my clients: “Work to improve your mindset just as hard as you work to improve your physique.’ Many people seem to think that fitness is solely having shredded abs and being jacked all year round; little do we know that same person thinks that nothing is good enough, barely eats enough to fuel their body, their energy levels are low, they’re hair is falling out, hormones are out of whack and it’s all in order to look a certain way. Social media does not help with this but I’m happy to say that it is slowly changing, people are sharing a more realistic side of fitness and starting to accept that it is unmaintainable and unrealistic to look like that year round. Not all progress is physical! Fitness is more than a shredded physique.”

In the fitness world, one of the bench marks is having your photo taken by the celebrity photographer known as “King of Covers” Jason Ellis. The noted photographer has taken cover photos for more than five hundred magazines. With his work gracing the covers of magazines such as: Muscle and Fitness, Fitness RX, Oxygen, Iron Man, Men’s Health, Muscular Development, Train, and many others, Ellis is the gold standard of the industry. Jason worked with Randi two years in a row, shooting her at the IFBB Olympia in Las Vegas. He professes, “Randi is a young talent who both reflects the fitness aesthetics and lifestyle and is very astute in her comprehension of the modern industry. She is very marketable and understands how branding works in this new marketplace. Add to that, she is always a pleasure to work with. That positivity of hers is very authentic!”

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 9.03.19 PM

Part of the new model of branding and marketing is social media; it’s something which Kennedy has embraced deeply. There’s a duality to the modern approach. Meet & greets and magazine covers are still important to be noticed but social media means there is a necessity and a responsibility to stay connected to followers on a daily basis…no matter where they might be in the world. While she concedes that social media can have negative aspects, Randi also notes, “I enjoy social media in my professional life because it is an amazing way to market to your ideal demographic all over the globe. We literally have access to millions of people at our finger tips. Social media is a very powerful tool if you know how to use it. There is an account for almost every business these days. I enjoy social media in my personal life because I get to capture and share memories and moments that will last a life time. I get to share the experience I had a restaurant and say “hey, you should go here too!” I can share my travels and inspire others to get out there and explore the world. Through my photos they get to see something they might not have ever seen, and then I get to reflect back on it years down the road.” No matter where she might be and what the images she shares, Randi Kennedy will be encouraging and assisting those in her sphere to challenge and better themselves just as she had done.

www.randikennedy.com

Instagram: @randikennedy_

YouTube: Randi Kennedy

Facebook: Randi Kennedy
Advertisements

Maria Akpan Scouted by Mark Anthony for Prince Revelation Tribute Show

Screenshot_2016-04-20-09-43-57-1
Maria Akpan

When most parents ask their children what they’d like to be when they grow up, they expect to hear answers like professional “actor” or “dancer” and simply hope that the novelty will wear off with age. This, however, was not the case for Maria Akpan’s mother and father. From a very young age, Akpan knew that she had a gift and over the years, she has been determined to share that gift with the world. The talented dancer and choreographer is passionate about not only keeping the art of dance alive, but ensuring that it remains fresh, engaging and entertaining. She has creativity soaring through her veins and is eager to continue shedding her greatness before aspiring dancers everywhere.

Only a small fraction of human beings can confidently say that they get to do what they love for a living, and Akpan is one of those few people. In living out her dreams, Akpan has built a strong career full of invaluable experience. Her exceptional reputation has earned her a vast amount of achievements. For instance, Akpan performed as a lead dancer for the production Thriller Live, where she was tasked with taking the audience on a journey through Michael Jackson’s childhood and career. She has also appeared in a number of hit music videos, like Funky Twinz featuring N. Kay’s video, Entertain You, where she choreographed each dance number and subsequently acted as the lead dancer in the video. Her exposure to high quality productions and performances has allowed her to showcase her skill set before the eyes of several major production companies and fellow dancers. As a result, she has been recognized for her talents and even won an award in 2014 when Shirlene Quigley, a former dancer for Beyoncé and Rihanna, was looking for a dancer that wowed her enough to donate $500 toward a scholarship for the Broadway Dance Centre in New York. Unsurprisingly, Akpan blew her away and won the competition by a landslide.

One of Akpan’s most notable career highlights was when she choreographed and danced in a lead role for Mark Anthony’s, Prince Revelation Tribute Show. When Anthony was looking for talent to not only choreograph dances for the show, but also star in the show alongside him, he demanded that Akpan come on board. He was astounded by her natural affinity for choreography and dance when he stumbled upon her website online. Akpan was thrilled to be able to lend her talents to the show, as Prince was one of her favorite artists. The job allowed her to dance in well-known venues all over England and she thoroughly enjoyed all of the various aspects that the job entailed.

“Working on this project was so awesome. Contributing my skills and work to this show made it feel like my own. It was even more fulfilling when crowd members would approach us after the show to let us know that they thought Prince would’ve been proud watching it. It was surreal doing the festivals because you knew people had travelled miles to be there just to see the show. The energy coming from the audience was addicting and Twitter views were at an all-time high after each show,” recalls Akpan.

20170607_174958Akpan is no stranger to the world of choreography and her unique delivery and storytelling are what set her above her competition. She has had to fight for every opportunity she has accomplished thus far in her career and has developed a certain strength through her perseverance, a strength that every dancer sticks around long enough to develop. It is a grueling profession, but it is one that Akpan excels in. Her unprecedented skills as a dancer are the reason that she is a perfectionist, holding herself to the highest standard possible, as she knows what she is capable of. In stressful situations, she thrives and her drive is at an all-time high.

Lucie Camelo, who was fortunate enough to dance alongside Akpan in the Prince Revelation Tribute Show, witnessed first-hand Akpan’s profound ability to take a production or performance to the next level. She knows of the quality of work that Akpan is capable of delivering and considers herself lucky to have worked with such unparalleled talent.

“Working with Maria was definitely uplifting and enlightening for me. To be able to work closely with someone of her caliber was intense and just to get a glimpse into what it takes to be successful in this industry was a blessing in itself. She is a true inspiration to many. Her drive, commitment, and discipline for her work is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Working with her left me inspired,” says Camelo.

So, what is in store for this extremely talented dancer? Akpan created her own dance class called “#LinesNsaucewithmimi” which is taught in heels and has earned her great success so far. She also teaches children’s dance classes and continues to audition and perform for productions that interest her. On top of that, she is often called upon to teach private lessons for individuals of all different levels, from beginners and non-dancers to professional artists. In future, she hopes to dance with iconic artists like Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Madonna, Usher, and Christ Brown. So long as she is teaching, choreographing, and dancing, she will be content and motivated to continue along her successful path.

Design Director Bonnie Park talks working with the world’s biggest brands

When Bonnie Park was a child in Seoul, South Korea, she was always interested in making things. She would catch herself looking at an object, or a space, visualizing in her head how she might have created it differently. When she was a teen, Park moved to Switzerland and found her love for creation intensified as she immersed herself into such new and enticing architecture. Even the smallest of details became eye-catching works of art, and her simple sketches molded into intricate drawings. This was where Park’s journey in design began.

Now, she is internationally celebrated for her work as a Design Director, collaborating with some of the world’s largest brands. Working with CS Global, a worldwide agency delivering strategic brand consulting and integrated production, design, film and lighting services for live event, print, digital, television and travel retail, Park is well-known for bringing the visions of her clients to life, be that through fashion shows, product launch events, gala dinners, private dinners, social activations, press previews, photo shoots, and more.

Park’s process begins when her clients share the experience that they hope to generate for their guests. From there, she brainstorms with her design team, producers, and lighting designers to exceed her client’s expectations. This requires Park to coordinate many different aspects of design. For instance, she has to communicate her design with the scenic vendors who are responsible for building her drawings and renderings. She also searches for new technologies and materials to use that fit within the client’s budget, as well as keeping on top of trends that will satisfy both her clients and her guests. It is an overwhelmingly challenging role, but Park does it with ease.

“As stressful as my job can be, it is extremely satisfying when you see your work come to life. Looking at your finished product makes all of the troubles and obstacles along the way disappear. In my opinion, an effective leader knows not only how to bring people together, but how to help them work together harmoniously. In my line of work, I’m exposed to so many different professionals and as a result of that, I get to learn about areas within the industry that I’m not always as familiar with. I think that is the best part of my job – despite all of my experience, I am continuously learning and there are always new challenges for me to solve,” said Park.

The truly remarkable part about Park’s career, however, is the rate at which it has grown. When CS Global was exposed to her talents, they offered her a position in the company as a design intern immediately. From there, in just five short years, she has become their Design Director. In this position, she is responsible for managing teams and is given full creative freedom to execute her ideas.

During her time working with CS Global, Park has been involved in several major projects with world renowned brands. In fact, a highlight of her career was working on an event for Tiffany & Co., when they celebrated the 175th anniversary of their Blue Book Collection. Working with her team, they built their iconic Tiffany jewelry box on top of the New York’s Rockefeller ice rink. The surrounding building was lit in Tiffany blue, and the result was extremely impressive. Inside, all of the furniture was custom made, as the evening was inspired by 1920s architecture and style. There were cigarette girls, and the band The Rockettes performed with an aerialist in the air. Park had to largely consider the technical side for the project, and learn how to have an event in a public space, something that attendees don’t typically have to consider at such an event.

FullSizeRender
Daniel Gabriel and Bonnie Park at the La Perla event, photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

Such consideration was also required when Park designed an entire life-size, two-story doll house with six different rooms for a La Perla event. She had weeks of limited sleep in her determination to execute the perfect design. Each room had its own theme, such as the study and the foyer with the grand faux marble staircase, the bedroom that was covered in moss and baby’s breath, the dining room with custom flower chandelier and swings, the living room with oversized paper flower art work, and the terrace wrapped in ivy and bougainvillea. Despite the fact that her team encountered several obstacles, Park managed to pull the project together with a high degree of efficiency and professionalism.

“Initially, this event was more daunting than doing your taxes alone. Bonnie’s intellectual focus, educated background on interior design, professional background of event design, leadership skills and general modest, human and strong disposition turned a nightmare event into a project to be proud of,” said Kevin Bova, Production Director at SBI. “My main objective in this industry is to only work with people that I respect on both a professional and emotional level. Work is work, but if I have the opportunity to make work a little more enjoyable, I will take it. Bonnie seems to structure her professional persona with a foundation of strength and respect. She treats those who work with/under her as her equals, while controlling each situation with incredible ease. Her disposition creates an environment where people are eager to collaborate, which in turn yields the best possible result without the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ that others in her position use to create what she does effortlessly.”

Bova and Park have worked together on many projects during her time at CS Global, and Bova knows that no matter what the Design Director works on, it is formidable. When Park worked on the 10th Year Anniversary of the Black Orchid Event with Tom Ford Beauty, she transformed the gallery space at the Christie’s. It was a regular gallery space, with white walls and a wooden floor which she turned into an elevated, high end pop up for guests to immerse into Tom Ford’s vision of Black Orchid. Park and her team created three different rooms. In the first room, the walls were covered by screens projecting videos and created an infinity box, whereby guests had an immersive experience learning about the birth of the Black Orchid. Park’s aim was to transport the guests to the world of Black Orchid. The second room introduced the campaign model for the first time, for which Park created a peekaboo wall which invited the guests to peak through a gap and watch the campaign video. In addition, it prohibited the editors from sharing the content on social media, as it was yet to be revealed to the public. In the last room, a touch screen table revealed the Black Orchid’s ten-year evolution, creating an interactive experience. It was an instant success.

Internationally, Park has had the same effect. She travelled to Shanghai for a private internal event for Estée Lauder. As the Design Lead, she created the overall layout and the flow of the evening, the printed graphic collateral, as well as custom designed furniture.

“It was exhilarating studying the existing architectural details that I applied to designing the custom furniture. It was my first time designing furniture and the experience was unlike anything I had ever done in the past,” said Park.

Park also has skills in merchandising, showcasing the jewelry line for Jennifer Meyer, the first time this happened at New York’s Fashion Week. Park explored different and unique ways to showcase the jewelry, and the feedback from both the press and the client were overwhelmingly positive.

Her skills are becoming legendary in New York City and the rest of the world, and Park has no plans on slowing down. Her designs carry her character, and she constantly exposes herself to different art forms in order to keep growing, and to keep bringing her clients something different every time. She encourages others to follow in her footsteps, and knows the power that creation can have.

“Travel and expose yourself as much as possible to any form of art, whether you choose to cook, to dance, to perform, to write, or whatever else you enjoy. Always allow yourself to be curious and inspired. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail or change. Search for your strengths and weaknesses because once you know what they are, you’ll know exactly what you need to work on. You cannot be good at everything, but you can absolutely be good at something,” advised Park.

“Also, confidence is key. Don’t doubt your abilities. If things don’t work out, find a work-around and run with it. Don’t dwell on things that don’t go as you planned. You may think you have failed, but you haven’t. It simply wasn’t meant to be, and that is all part of the learning process,” she concluded.

Featured Image by Rosanna Bach

Behind the Scenes of 24 Hours in A&E with James Ralph

When you think about your favorite television show, what comes to mind? Is it your favorite actor’s Emmy-worthy performance? Or is it perhaps set in a part of the world that you’ve been itching to explore for all of your life. Is it funny, or is it sad? Is it dramatic, or is it scary? No matter what comes to mind, each component that makes it the show you love and cherish is rooted in an editor’s ability to tie every element together seamlessly before your eyes. Without the help of a skilled editor, storylines would falter and viewers would lose interest. Films and television shows that dominate the industry require a seasoned editor, one with a keen ability to captivate an audience and ensure that only the best quality content makes a final cut. They require an editor like James Ralph.

Ralph’s versatility as an editor makes him difficult to define, but a mere glance at his work will tell you that his talents are profound. His ability to transform his skill set to meet the demands of the project before him allow him to ease into new premises, scripts, and storylines flawlessly. He brings a certain authenticity and creative edge to his work that makes him instrumental to every job he accepts and over a twenty-year career he has accepted many. His unique editorial style can be understood through a variety of different projects he has worked on, from British favorites like X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK, to hit reality television shows like Love Island and First Dates. He differentiates himself as an editor through his natural ability to transition between different genres without weakness. According to Ralph, he doesn’t have one specific style or technique that characterizes him, which makes him all the more suitable to work on a diverse array of projects.

“I wouldn’t say that I have a definite style as my work spans multiple genres. I think my work is always smooth in that you can watch it without ever being aware that there are edits – unless I’ve placed them there deliberately. Editorially, I am thoughtful, intelligent, visually creative, and musically dynamic, all of which are crucial to any story you’re trying to tell. I think that there is a certain energy in everything I do,” tells Ralph.

Over the last three years, Ralph has worked on a number of series for the well-known British television show, 24 Hours in A&E. 24 Hours in A&E is a medical documentary set in a busy hospital in London, England. The unique docuseries offers an inside look at one of Britain’s busiest Accident & Emergency departments. For the show, cameras roll for 24-hours straight over the span of a 28-day period.

With a reputation as unparalleled as Ralph’s, it is not uncommon for a production company to solicit his talents. When 24 Hours in A&E’s production company, The Garden, were looking for an editor to flavor their series with the perfect amount of suspense and truth, they demanded that Ralph come on board. In fact, the show’s Executive Producer, Spencer Kelly, had worked with Ralph in the past and knew he was the perfect fit for the job. For Ralph, the opportunity was too great to turn down and knowing The Garden’s respected reputation in the factual and documentary making world, he was eager to accept.

Despite Kelly’s experience working with Ralph, he never ceases to be amazed by the quality of Ralph’s editing skills. Ralph is a rarity in his field and production companies are extremely fortunate when they come across talent as remarkable as his.

“I have worked with James on prime-time series for BBC 1 and for the last three seasons of 24 Hours in A E. Throughout each, he has brought a unique combination of consistency and editorial clarity. His work is beautifully crafted and his editing delivers compelling, thoughtful and entertaining television,” states Kelly. He also points out that Ralph’s “good humor and hardworking, collaborative attitude make him a pleasure to work with. Most importantly, he is quick at what he does so he can quickly sift through material and implement changes to meet pressured deadlines.”

As an editor, speed is crucial; however, the true art of editing shows in an editor’s ability to produce content quickly without sacrificing quality. Ralph is well-versed in this skill and it makes him a true asset to the teams he works on. For 24 Hours in A&E, this skill is paramount to the show’s success. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, it is important for Ralph to be able to accurately portray each situation with every aspect of authenticity and human nature possible. The show’s audience become privy to very intimate parts of people’s lives, ranging from birth to death and everything in between and as a result, Ralph has to thoroughly explore all of the footage, identifying any stories or themes that can be developed into an episode. On the surface, the show is about medicine but in reality, it is about people and the often fascinating stories of their lives. It is a challenge unlike any of Ralph’s other projects.

“It can be very challenging when you’re faced with the reality that people sometimes die or appear on the show with appalling injuries. As an editor, I have to work with this footage and find ways to tell these people’s stories without glorifying or reveling in the gruesomeness of the situations. It’s all about being sensitive and respectful to the people on the show and to your audience as you tell each story and ensure that you do them justice,” notes Ralph.

From an editing standpoint, 24 Hours in A&E was a thrilling job. With full creative reign, Ralph was trusted to make his own decisions in terms of which stories he followed and developed. He thrives in an autonomous environment, allowing his unrestricted creativity to reach the surface. He loves the responsibility that comes with being able to showcase such raw, human stories. There are moments of humor, as well as moments of grief. It can be touching, but also devastating. The show is characterized by a wide spectrum of emotions and Ralph gets to choose how he wishes to present each and every one. He has been instrumental to the show’s success and is without a doubt one of the main reasons that his viewers absorb the show in the way that they do.

“I take a great deal of pride knowing that the show is so popular, not only with the public but also amongst my colleagues. The fact that it is repeatedly commissioned, as well as on repeat across many of Channel 4’s subsidiary channels, is a tribute to the hard work and dedication that goes into making it. It’s one of those shows that a lot of my friends in the industry always say, “I wish I worked on that,” concludes Ralph, and he is proud that he does.

GIVING A 50’S LOOK TO SHAKESPEARE WITH RUOXUAN LI

When it comes to revered creative works, there are those who believe that a classic is not to be touched and those who believe that the spirit of creating art is in pushing those boundaries and buttons, to attempt to develop a new piece of art that both pays homage to the original and seeks to place it in a contemporary setting that it might be more accessible to the general public and thereby spur them to revisit said classics. Costume designer Ruoxuan Li has worked with those on both sides of this idea. She feels that her role is not to be the one who is polarized on the topic but to grow through embracing both perspectives. This what me be referred to as a “creatively open mind.” It’s something that would seem to be inherent in the artistic mindset but is not always so. Luckily for those she works with, Li has the pedigree and the experience to enable both factions. When ISC (Independent Shakespeare Company)was presenting a modernized production of Shakespeare’s “The Two Men of Verona”, Ruoxuan was an obvious choice as costume designer. Li cut her teeth in Shakespearean theater at the at Wimbledon College of Art, University of The Arts London. Since then she has worked on countless productions including Distant Vision with Francis Ford Coppola. Intensely familiar with both traditional and contemporary approaches to the look of stage, TV, and film, Ruoxuan worked with director David Melville to place the characters in a modern world for crowds of 20,000 in Los Angeles.

Melissa Chalsma is the artistic director of the ICS production of “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” who sought out Ruoxuan and enlisted her into the production team. Melissa describes, “I was first attracted to Ruoxuan’s work because of her outstanding portfolio and the breadth of her experience. She is an inter-continental artist who excels in a wide range of styles, has done excellent work in a variety of mediums, and has wonderful inter-personal skills. Without Ruoxuan “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” would not have looked as good as it did, nor would the actors have even as able to do their jobs. She created an entirely unique world with vastly different styles authentically placing the action in the 1950’s. Each costume piece supported the actors in their work. Speaking personally, the costumes Ruoxuan created were absolutely perfect!”

Early meeting with the play’s director set the tone that the play should be apolitical and be a place of respite for the public to escape the volatile events around them. Melville communicated to Ruoxuan that he was interested in a Rockabilly style that was full of bright and engaging colors. The two primary challenges in this is that Shakespeare is not known for its use of bright colors and, as a native of China, Li does not share the same frame of Americana reference that many might in regards to the 1950’s Rockabilly style and era. Research would begin for her at ground zero rather than twenty or seventy-five percent. To fit the classic Shakespearean sensibility into a new concept of 1950’s, she started by matching the social group status for characters such as the greasers for the outlaws, teddy boys/girls for the naughty ones etc. Li then tracked each character’s change of status and change of their mental/emotional evolution, trying to express the changes cohesively through costuming. She was given some allowance to be not period-dead-on but tried to catch key elements of the 1950’s rockabilly look such as white socks, rolled up hems, pointy shirt collars, circle skirts, etc. These helped to sell the period when it’s not a full-on authentic period show.

It’s the very nature of a mingling of the arts that they affect each other. This also applies to the costume design; add maneuverability to that as well. The Rockabilly application to this classic Shakespeare play was like an actor itself, taking on the visage of a “greaser” from the era. This meant that the music and style of the 1950’s was inseparable from the look Li created. Watching the rehearsal is a key part of her process in finalizing the costuming. Ruoxuan relates, “When I saw the rehearsal with the band and all of the dancing, I realized that the research I did was not fully matching the energy on the dance floor. There were actors rapping the Shakespeare lines, the duke being the drummer at the same time, one of the two gentlemen acted like a nerdy teenage facing his lover…all these sparkling moments gave me inspiration. I switched my color palette to a much more vibrant and youthful combination of bright pastels and saturated jewel tones. I shortened all the skirt for dancing, added ruffled collars for crab the dog, and asked the attendant rapper turning his bell boy hat front to the back. These might seem minor but they bring everything into focus.”

Broadway World stated, “Ruoxuan Li’s black leather jackets for the outlaws, and circle skirts and preppy plaids for the leading players all lend authenticity to the period and its unbridled optimism.” This statement communicates the concept that the costuming itself is part of delivering the emotion to an audience, an emotion that must be congruent to that of the intent of the director. With this understanding, Ruoxuan takes great care to plan and maintain an aesthetic consistent with her director’s goal. This process begins with a conversation that continues up until the actual showtime. A strong sense of design partnered with an ease of flexibility is what has resulted in so many directors seeking out Ruoxuan to create the look for their productions whether it be stage, TV, or film.

Victor Osorio On Living to Write

Victor Osorio is part of the 0.1 per cent of the general population that suffers from a rare neurological disease characterized by recurrent, severe headaches. The disease is called Cluster Headaches, but sufferers often refer to their condition as “Suicide Headaches” due to the often insurmountable pain that it causes. Osorio, on the other hand, sees his Cluster Headaches as the driving force behind his unwavering passion to write. Despite the massive amounts of pain and suffering that he has endured over time, he has only grown stronger and more determined to enlighten the world with his ideas. For the Spanish-native, writing is his reason to wake up in the morning, and although it isn’t the simplest profession to master, he has done so with ease. He doesn’t write because he wants to share something, he writes because he has something to share, and he has crafted a remarkable career around it.

When Osorio was a child, his parents deterred him from spending too much time in front of the television. As a result, he became an avid reader. He was fascinated by each author’s ability to awaken his imagination in ways they might not have ever intended. He loved learning the various styles and techniques that his favorite writers would use and he was inspired to develop his own unique methods. Today, the renowned writer can be credited as being the successful mastermind behind works like his children’s book, Cosas Que Nadie Sabe (translated in English to: Things Nobody Knows). He also worked for the longest running child and teen magazine, Dibus! Magazine, as a children’s comic writer for their hit feature, Alienados. Osorio’s talents, however, are not limited to writing for children’s publications. When he expanded his reach into the television and film industry, he lent his expertise to the award-winning web series, Hollywood and later earned himself a position working for Origo Media.

 For Osorio, working with Origo Media is unlike anything he had ever worked on in the past. The job requires him to write short commercials and corporate videos for Origo Media’s clients. In addition, he is expected to deliver material on a weekly basis, according to very strict deadlines. Fortunately, he thrives under pressure and can produce high quality content in a very short period of time. The videos that he writes, which appear mainly online and on television in Central and South America, would not be the success that they are today without Osorio’s unprecedented ability to turn a minor concept into a piece of artwork. In his time spent working with Origo Media, Osorio has written over 200 commercials and corporate videos, as well as a spec pilot.

When asked about his position at Origo Media, Osorio would tell you that he felt lucky to expand his skill set and learn to succeed under a different kind of pressure. “Working at Origo Media was a big deal for me because it allowed me to work on a series of projects with the same people for a year. By now, I consider myself to be very skilled at being concise and to the point, without sacrificing flavor, entertainment, and quality writing. Working on commercials really brings those skills to light and being able to put them to use within the context of this job has been extremely satisfying,” said Osorio.

Those who have worked with Osorio, however, would tell you luck has little to do with it. Luiz Santiago, who is the CEO at Origo Media, considers Osorio to be an invaluable asset to his company. “Victor is a very good writer with a big imagination and his command of creative writing techniques highlight his prowess as a writer. He also takes any potential set and post-production complications into account when developing his scripts to make everyone else’s work easier. Beyond that, he writes interesting, dynamic characters for our actors to explore,” told Santiago. Given the fact that Origo Media creates commercials and corporate videos in Central and South America, it is also important to bridge the gap between American and Hispanic culture in their work. Osorio’s life experiences allow him to do so flawlessly, in a way that resonates well with his audiences. For this reason, Santiago went on to say that, “Victor’s Spanish heritage and culture give him a unique perspective into American culture that infuses his work.”

Working at Origo Media has added a new and interesting dynamic to Osorio’s career. His eagerness to write and his passion for spreading his ideas across the world make him particularly open to expanding his horizons into new mediums and genres wherever possible. He enjoys stepping out of his comfort zone and striving for excellence in each new territory that he embarks on. A quick glance into the future of Osorio’s career looks bright. Recently, his children’s book was translated into English and eventually, he hopes to see it on as many bookshelves as possible. He is also working on a second children’s book, as well as a feature film script. He has no shortage of ideas in his brain, and will continue to craft them for success. From the outside looking in, Osorio writes for a living but if you ask him, Osorio simply lives to write.

ACTRESS JAEDA LEBLANC IS A LITTLE GIRL ON A BIG SERIES

Actor’s know that when you exhibit your skills on a project this is not only the action of using your talent but also the way in which you advertise yourself to other potential employers. Being of benefit to any production allows directors, writers, and other professionals to envision you in their own creations. An actor can spend a lifetime amassing a collection of performances that will keep them employed doing the vocations that they enjoy so much. It can take decades, even lifetimes to do so. In the case of Canadian Jaeda LeBlanc, it may happen much more quickly…because it already has. While still in her single digits, this young actress was noticed by Gregory Smith, director of the highly successful TV series “Saving Hope.” Airing on Fox in the US, “Saving Hope” joined the lineage that has lasted for decades of popular dramas that take place in the medical field and portray the humanity behind the healers, the afflicted, and their loved ones. When Smith saw Jaeda on “Odd Squad” he understood that her talent and abilities transcended those of youth based stories. Casting her as Aisha Kai in “Saving Hope” not only proved that he was correct but also gave a boost to LeBlanc’s credibility and vetted her as an actress more than capable of working in prime time television.20728338_157108004866208_2853571896937534171_n

The key to being a great guest star on an already popular show, as well as being a great actor, is being memorable without trying too hard. Performance is a requirement; beyond that you can chalk it up to charisma. Robin Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, countless actors have appeared on prime time TV shows in bit parts that morphed into careers on the small and the big screen. Canadian actress Jaeda LeBlanc has that same magnetism. Although still in her early teens she has appeared in a number television and film productions. She’s appeared in films with such household names as Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, and Natalie Portman. It’s easy to see why her roles have been much more prolific in the past two years when viewing the heartfelt portrayal, she gave in “Saving Hope.” As Aisha Kai, a bossy, sassy, and very intelligent young girl mature beyond her years, Jaeda gives a layered performance. Aisha’s mother died of cancer three years prior and she now lives with her father who is also terminally ill. She has learned everything she can about her father’s illness and takes the doctors to task about it. Dr. Reid (Erica Durance, star of Saving Hope) makes matter worse when she makes a promise to Aisha whose own birthday is derailed by her father’s sickle cell crisis. Aisha (powered by LeBlanc’s portrayal) gives the audience the dual sense that she is very young but has been forced to mature quickly due to her difficult circumstances. She’s a girl who is aware well beyond her years about life’s harshness…but still is a young girl, with all of her concerns and uncertainty. At times irreverent and at other times fearful, the role gave Jaeda the opportunity to convey many subtle shades of emotion rooted in body language as well as dialogue. Gregory Smith, director of “Saving Hope” tells, “On our show Jaeda played Aisha, an insecure stubborn child that is authentic without being annoying or exaggerated.  As a director I know that it is not easy for a young actor to fully immerse themselves into a role but this is not the case here. Jaeda translated her actions and emotions to a believable character that drew sympathy with her realistic yet endearing delivery. Jaeda is an accomplished young actress who commands powerful, nuanced performances, the quality of which exceeds that of many of her peers. She was able to take on and be this child with a sick dying parent, unsure, stress and sad of what could happen.  Jaeda has the ability to know if she is under or over acting and correct her own self, this is an impressive trait.”Photo 2016-05-11, 4 37 09 PM

You’d think that for a young actor the excitement would be finding themselves on set, under the lights with all eyes on them. For some it might be the luxury of having their own trailer with snacks and video games. For LeBlanc it was sitting down for the table read. The formal table read is a staple of all major productions; for Jadea, this was her first and a true indicator that she had made it to the big leagues. Many table readings would follow this one but you always remember your first…like a first love. Without a frame of reference, Jaeda paid attention to how far the other actors “turned up” their performances at the table read and matched them toe to toe. Reading the room and acclimating is a benefit of being an actor. While she received praise for the read, it was the test of being on set that confirmed her abilities when under pressure. LeBlanc remarks, “It was nice to be a ‘Guest Star’ and work with seasoned actors in one of the most popular TV show in Canada. From the first moment I was on set everyone was super nice to me, not only because I was a kid but as another actor. People may not always admit it but, kids can tell when someone is being nice to you because you’re young rather than being honest. It was a great feeling to be treated as a peer by so many great actors. Like my mom always says, I have an ‘old soul’ so for me to be around adults feels normal. It was nice to feel like a peer playing in the same field as all those seasoned actors of this start cast TV show.” When you play a role in a Canadian Screen Award-Winning Series (“Saving Hope” has received numerous awards including: Canadian Screen Awards, Directors Guild of Canada, Leo Awards, Joey Awards, and others) that is watched by most Canadians, you are bound to get noticed. Casting Directors definitely paid attention as proven by the numerous TV and film roles which followed this young actress’s appearance on the series. Jaeda LeBlanc is just embarking on her teen years yet she has already amassed a long list of credits that have set a strong foundation for an already impressive acting career.

With Director

(Jaeda with director Gregory Smith)