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Renowned Events Coordinator Nathalie Woog Leads the Way in Events Planning

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International Events Coordinator Nathalie Woog

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”  -Douglas H. Everett

There are extraordinary party planners who create events that draw crowds in the hundreds through a combination of great music, enticing venues and eye-catching acts; and then there are corporate event organizers. While each needs to draw a crowd and make sure guests have one hell of a time, the latter of the two needs to deliver on a much larger scale. Providing an unforgettable experience to thousands of people compared to a mere hundred is an arguably more challenging feat, but it is one that Parisian corporate events organizer Nathalie Woog excels at at a global level.

Nathalie Woog founded Paradise Events in 2015, and has organized roughly 20 events in Florida, for high-profile clients and companies in the fields of advertising, design, finance, and insurance, as well as a host of other prestigious organizations.  In recognition of her achievements and standing as a business leader in her field, Nathalie Woog was recently selected to join the Forbes Business Council. An invitation-only organization, the Forbes Business Council is a high-profile professional community that brings together the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in the world. In order to be considered for acceptance, one has to be a proven owner, founder, or executive leader of a business who has generated at least $500,000 USD in annual revenue or funding.

Though Woog has clearly reached an astounding level of success in her field, with her acceptance into the Forbes Business Council being a mere one of the several accolades that reveal her shining reputation, creating innovative and unforgettable events is more than just a job for her, it is an art form and a challenge that never gets old.

I take this quest to organize innovative events more as a challenge, as a challenge to be taken up every time. There is never a rest, because when an event is held, you have to think about the next one, which must be even more innovative,” explains Nathalie Woog. 

“I need to be amazed at every event. If I am not, then the event is not innovative.  So I keep my eyes open all the time, I’m interested in everything that’s going on around me and I try to imagine possible combinations, with all the suppliers I come across, in each place I walk through, to find the unique concept that will hit the bull’s eye.”

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(Right to Left) Donel Jack’sman, Fary, Michael Guez, Nathalie Woog, and Kyan Khojandi at an event featuring famous artists at Cirque Phenix Paris (Photo by Libre Comme L’Art Agency Paris)

Nathalie Woog launched her career as a leading events director for the French multinational technology consulting and engineering company Alten in 1996. There, she spent nearly two decades knocking people’s socks off with the large scale events she created for the company, which employs over 25,000 people and has offices in 25 countries. 

When it comes to throwing large scale corporate events, the planner behind the scenes takes into account everything from the range of clientele the event is targeting to the personality of the brand and how to creatively meet the desires of both. But Nathalie Woog does more than just meet their desires, she brings a special kind of wow factor to every event that she creates. Doing more than just drawing in attendees, Nathalie Woog makes audiences feel like her events are something they cannot miss and ensures that they’re remembered long after they’ve passed.

“I always ask myself how to get as many participants as possible to join and participate in a particular event. How can I obtain general satisfaction on each of my events?,” explains Nathalie Woog. “I usually draw inspiration from my environment. I’ve always loved the world of shows and dance in all its forms. The performance of the athletes and especially the innovation, precisely in the shows and their staging … I have this ability to marvel every time I see a show, as children do, and I think that you have to look at your whole environment with children’s eyes to always keep this state of wonder.”

Initially, Nathalie Woog began as the corporate events director for an Alten subsidiary, but before long she was managing the events for 12 separate Alten subsidiaries, a role that led her to create events around the globe. Her talent for bringing together top-tier talents to recreate iconic spaces and deliver mesmerizing events placed her in a tier of her own. 

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Nathalie Woog front and center at an event she organized at the Paris Air Show Bourget

Over the years, Nathalie Woog has created, managed and overseen events at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, such as the Grand Palais in Paris in France, where her event garnered more than 5,000 attendees, as well as at The Zenith de Paris, The International Paris Air Show Bourget, The Eiffel Tower, The Opéra Garnier, The Palais de Tokyo, The Louvre, The Musée d’Orsay, The Coupole du Printemps Haussmann, The Cirque d’Hiver, The Château de Versailles, Chantilly, Cirque Phenix, The Fouquet’s, Chez Maxim’s, L’Atelier des Chefs, The Musée National des Invalides, and more.

“Since I was a child, I have always been attracted to going out, discovering new places, finding original activities to do, discovering friendly and festive places and above all, meeting many people and socializing,” admits Nathalie Woog. “I’m always in search of exceptional places to organize events, conventions, seminars, evenings, conferences, fairs, and incentive travel.”

In addition to having an expansive contact list that includes many of the most well-known venues across the globe, Nathalie Woog has an eye for talent, and she’s inexhaustibly on the lookout for the next big act to include in her events. Over the years, she’s managed to recruit internationally in-demand acts for her events, such as Gad Elmaleh, Bérengère Krief, Jérome Daran, Dany Boon, French actor Donel Jack’sman, Verino, Eric et Ramzy, Fary, Michael Guez, Jean Marc Dumontet Productions, Jerome Sordillon and Michael Levinas, and more.

“The choice of location remains a must for me. Choosing prestigious, mythical or inaccessible places to open to the public is my motto. One of my private events held at the Grand Palais de Paris in 2008, for 5000 people, was just incredible because it was very difficult to imagine such a grandiose place transformed for one evening into a private reception and scripted for 5000 people,” explains Nathalie Woog. “The adrenaline you feel every time you start an event is something exhilarating. And of course, the thanks of the participants at the end of each event is always very rewarding.”

For Nathalie Woog, who has established a shining reputation as a leading corporate events organizer over the past two decades, throwing unforgettable events is what makes her heart sing. Hailing from Paris and born into a family of artists, Nathalie Woog discovered early on what connotes creative appeal and it shows in her work. Something unique about her story is the fact that in her early 20s she was diagnosed with incurable Leukaemia, and though none of her doctors thought she would survive, she proved her fighting nature. 

“It was then in shock, and with courage, that I decided to fight with strength and conviction, having only one objective in mind–surviving and living to achieve great projects,” recalls Nathalie Woog. “To the general surprise of the medical profession, I won my one year battle for life, and decided to use this experience where I came close to death, as a personal force, to lead in my wake, all the people who would now be with me, in order to disperse the joy of living.”

After beating Leukemia, Nathalie Woog dedicated her life to following her passion, which centers around brightening the lives of those around her, something she’s managed to achieve through her work in the events sector. Through her work as an events specialist creating large-scale international events for huge international companies, Nathalie Woog’s innovative approach and continued success has led her to establish a shining reputation over the past 15 years. With a reputation that precedes her, her role has extended beyond creating events to the point where other leaders in the industry turn to her as a consultant for advice when organizing their own events.

While working with Alten, Nathalie Woog has regularly been invited as a judge for various opportunities for the organization where she was part of the jury in charge of selecting the best events and event service providers. She was also the lead reference for the company when it came to establishing specialized guidelines for organizing the company’s events, which were disseminated throughout the organization’s team of communication professionals and ushered her into a speaking role at conferences where she has shared her knowledge of the industry with others.

Nathalie Woog adds, “I also had the privilege of presenting at conferences in universities throughout France, exposing the best practices in the field of event communication.”

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Nicolas Laugero Lasserre, Nathalie Woog, and ZDEY at the Art Basel Icart Event in Miami at Sagamore Hotel Miami Beach

In 2015, Nathalie Woog started her own event company, Paradise Events, in Miami. Through Paradise Events, she has spearheaded numerous events, including those for EFAP ICART at Art Basel. In 2018, she facilitated the meeting of 10 world renowned artists during Art Basel Miami, where each of the artists painted live during the event in front of an audience of professionals in the artistic sector.

Nathalie Woog says, “During my 15 years of experience prior to founding Paradise Events, I was able to see all possible situations in terms of requests, customers, suppliers, management, and unforeseen events.  You have to have a strong heart to face all these elements. You have to know how to manage stress, both your own and that of the people you work with, customers or suppliers.”

Based on her professional integrity and the significant impact she’s had in the field of events organization and management, Nathalie Woog was recently elected as the Vice President of Events for the 2020 Board of Directors for SITE, the Society for Incentive Travel, for the Florida and Caribbean Chapter. Founded in 1973, SITE is a professional association of 2,000 senior level members located in 90 countries, working in corporations, agencies, airlines, cruise companies and across the entire destination supply chain. With 29 chapters around the world, SITE is the only global organization dedicated to strengthening and supporting the incentive travel industry, and as such, the organization has gone to great lengths to fund research and establish guidelines on sustainable travel.

As the new Vice President of Events for the Florida and Caribbean Chapter, Woog’s role as a chapter leader places her in charge of promoting all of the events for her chapter and ensuring that they are educational, while also maintaining the ethical standards of what constitutes sustainable travel in today’s market.

“Being part of this association is a privilege because it gives me the opportunity to communicate with more than 2,000 personalities from the world of travel and events,” says Nathalie Woog. “I can bring all my knowledge in travel and events, all my expertise, give advice, and participate in many networking events, and organize interesting big events.” 

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Site Florida & Caribbean Sustainable Meeting Event at the 1 Hotel Miami South Beach (Photo by Christie’s Photographic Solutions)

While there are countless event organizers across the globe, there remain few that have made it to the point of creating events on the scale that Nathalie Woog has, so it’s no surprise that SITE chose her as the new Vice President of Events for their Florida & Caribbean Chapter.

At the end of the day, Nathalie Woog says, “My overall creative philosophy is to always have your eyes open, to be generous with others, to know how to give a person a chance, to let yourself be won over by emotions and to have the desire to pass them on to others, and finally, to have this constant desire to share, because happiness is above all to read it on the faces of others. That’s what matters most to me in the world.”

 

 

Transforming the Food, Beverage and Nightlife Industry: the Journey of Villa Azur Owner Jean Philippe Bernard 

Aristotle famously wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not a single act, but a habit.” For French restaurateur and nightlife impresario Jean-Philippe Bernard, co-owner of Azur Hospitality Group, excellence is a cornerstone of his life’s work, which in a nutshell, consists of creating unforgettable experiences for guests across the globe.

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Jean-Philippe and Paul Young

As one of the first people in the industry to meld an atmosphere of fine dining and nightlife into a single locale nearly 30 years ago, Bernard has had a massive impact on the food and beverage industry; and he’s continued his legacy with Villa Azur. Bernard began Villa Azur Miami, Azur Hospitality Group’s first restaurant, back in 2012 alongside partners Michael Martinez and famous actor Olivier Martinez, who many will recognize as Halle Berry’s boyfriend. 

A destination for fine food, great music and a rare ambience that transports restaurant goers into a world of flawlessly fresh Mediterranean magic the second they step foot inside the door, Villa Azur quickly became one of the posh beach city’s hot spots, attracting the likes of Paris Hilton, Robin Thicke, Leonardo Di Caprio, Ronaldo, Gael Monfils, Gabriella Sabatini, Florent Pagny, Johnny Halliday, Eric Cohet, Enrique Iglesias, Gerard Butler, Adriana Lima, Donatella Versace, David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, Gerard Depardieu, amongst others. 

Bernard has constructed Villa Azur in a way that places it in a league of its own; however, long before opening Villa Azur he was already one of the biggest influencers in the nightlife and food world. His hospitality concepts with Villa Azur, Nikki Beach, and Le Patio, to name only a few, have had a lasting impact on the development of new trends and international hotspots.

“If you want success for a business like this in hospitality, spectacular food is a priority, and then the decoration, so you’re coming into a space and you have beautiful decorations, and finally, you have to have great service,” explains Bernard. 

“When you have this combination you create the right atmosphere. Then you bring in the music, and you can catch people, they feel comfortable, you can see them moving with the music, they really feel free to dance on tables and enjoy themselves.”

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Inside Villa Azur Miami

Bernard has a unique affinity for creating a comfortable, yet luxurious atmosphere, which shows through his work with the famous Nikki Beach Group, where he was a part of the leadership responsible  for opening and developing Nikki Beach St. Tropez, St. Barth and Miami, as well as opening the popular Corsican restaurant lounge Le Patio and more. 

Now, three decades into his career, it would be difficult to find a posh restaurant owner, impresario or foodie who doesn’t know his name. From creating the ambiance of the places he’s managed and owned through the decor and lighting to the cocktails and cuisine, to the party themes and music, and putting in place the perfect team, Bernard creates the kinds of experiences that guests will never forget.

“Jean-Philippe is a 360 degree person, he knows about the hospitality on both sides from a customer experience point of view, as well as on the operation side of things,” says Celia Serra, the director of operations for the world famous Nikki Beach Group. 

“Being so knowledgeable in so many different areas gives him a full overview of any hospitality venue… Normally in our business people are only good on one side of the business, not on both.”

Bernard began carving out his reputation as a nightlife impresario back in 1989 when, at the age of 19, he was asked to help open the Le Passport nightclub in France.

“A friend of mine was buying a nightclub and he asked me to help him. I’d never worked in a nightclub but he knew I was really conscious of everything I did,” Bernard explains. When I start something I do it correctly or I don’t do it. I very quickly understood how the nightlife worked and knew it was an area I wanted to get involved in.”

On top of creating the menu and cocktails and booking the DJs that appealed to the clientele, Bernard created  the ordering system, service bar, and the additional front and back of the house positions that turned Le Passport into a buzzing nightclub. It wasn’t long before his reputation expanded beyond Marseille. 

He explains, “After that people started to know about me because the nightclub was doing super well… and then I was asked to start running another nightclub and then a restaurant…”

It wasn’t long before the general director of Nikki Beach Group, asked Bernard to join them as the General Manager of Nikki Beach St. Tropez, opening this beach club and eventually Nikki Beach St. Barth. 

With destinations around the world, Nikki Beach is known for its opulent atmosphere and is often referred to as the first luxury beach club concept to combine elements of  music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film and art all in one

With Bernard as the GM, Nikki Beach St. Tropez was hosting 1200 to 1500 guests per day, making it the most popular beach club around. Famous celebrities like Puff Daddy, Beyonce, Brad Pitt, Mike Tyson, Sting, Mick Jagger, Michael Schumacher and other international jet-setters were in frequent attendance.

He recalls, “It was the place to be and it was the place to be seen.”

Bernard attributes much of Nikki Beach’s success to the fact that for literally the first time in the industry, the venue offered both a comfortable and luxurious atmosphere combined with fabulous entertainment and incredible food. 

“The decoration was Bali, Indonesia inspired, the chairs, cabanas and sun beds with the white and blue, beautiful drapes, but what made us the best was the food. Because it was a beach club where people were coming to party, but they wanted to eat and they wanted to eat well,” explains Bernard. 

“Our chef was spectacular and I was really aware of the dishes, just because you are on the beach, it doesn’t mean you are going to eat sandwiches.”

As the GM, Bernard was in charge of nearly everything about the beach club. He decided the menu and cocktail list, created theme-based parties for his guests, and developed new experiences for his ever-growing high-class clientele. Above all though, he was there to ensure that they turned a strong profit, handling the business side of things and constructing a passionate team to making sure Nikki Beach remained the best in its class. He also managed the Nikki Beach pop-ups at prestigious film festivals around the world, including those at the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and Venice Film Festival.

Being a lover of new challenges, Bernard joined a friend and opened Le Patio in Porto-Vecchio on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. Le Patio soon proved to be another major accomplishment under his belt.

He recalls,  “It was 2004 and I was the first one to bring a live DJ to that part of town in Porto-Vecchio.”

When he began Le Patio it was a simple bar, but Bernard quickly turned it into a happening spot that attracted numerous French celebrities. Using his eye for decor, Bernard transformed the look of Le Patio by adding a chic lounge atmosphere, resplendent lighting and an enticing cocktails and tapas menu designed for people to enjoy their evening before hitting the nightclubs.  

Now 16 years later, Le Patio remains a go to spot for Corsicans and travelers from abroad who want to settle into a comfortable space surrounded by traditional Corsican architecture with a modern feel, delicious cocktails, food and great music.

It seems that above all, Bernard has a keen eye for trends and creating a captivating atmosphere that people want. After Le Patio, Bernard returned to Nikki Beach, where he would spend the next nine years as General Manager for Nikki Beach St. Tropez, St. Barth and finally Nikki Beach Miami.

In 2011, Bernard left his position with the group in order to devote his full attention to opening Villa Azur, and what he’s created since is nothing short of amazing. 

Bernard fused an upscale dining atmosphere and a “nightclub” together, something that was unheard of before he began his work as a restaurateur and nightlife impresario back in the 90s. 

Villa Azur offers the finest cuisine and a luxury lounge atmosphere, then transitions effortlessly at night into a go-to spot for live music and dancing.

There’s no doubt that Bernard knows exactly how to turn any space into the ‘it’ place to be, and that’s exactly what he’s done with Villa Azur. Shortly after opening, Villa Azur Miami was ranked by Haute Living as one of the Top 5 Most Romantic Restaurants in Miami 2013.

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Villa Azur Miami

Bernard says, “There’s one very important thing when you do this job and that is that ‘No’ doesn’t exist. You are here to make people happy, you want them to leave with a smile and already start thinking ‘when am I coming back.’ We have to do our best to make whatever they want possible, and 99 percent of the time we are able to deliver on their request.”

Bernard ensured Villa Azur made its way into the public eye in a big way through his creation of numerous pop-ups around the world, including those in Montréal, Toronto, New York City, Art Basel Miami, and more, all featuring a variation of their signature dishes and cocktails amidst an unforgettable party. 

Over the course of his 30 year career, Jean-Philippe Bernard’s passion, innovation and inexhaustible attention to detail in terms of developing a mouth watering cuisine and a luxurious atmosphere backed by the kind of entertainment that draws guests from around the world have made him one of the most prominent restaurateur and impresarios on the planet; and he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Before his arrival on the scene back in the 90s, the concept of a festive restaurant where people could simultaneously enjoy the nightlife and fine food didn’t exist; but thanks to Bernard, it has become the staple of what constitutes an unforgettable night on the town.

Campbell Greenock: One of a Kind n More Ways Than One

Campbell Greenock is a great example of the new wave of young actors marking their acting spots on different platforms and mediums in Australia and throughout the world. These days, more and more Aussies are taking over starring roles in major US TV and movie productions to top the credit rolls. 

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Campbell Greenock, shot by Sally Flegg.

The talent, originally from Heath Ledger’s home city of Perth, boasts the same agents as Chris and Liam Hemsworth, and knows how to breathe life into his roles with just the right portion of exposing the vulnerability of his character and does it well. Mastering his talent, he has appeared in a lot of films that have paved him the way towards an international career path. 

One of the most memorable leads he has performed so far was Brett Whiteley in the hit feature, Whiteley, which portrays the outstanding life of an Australian icon who has shaped the art world as we know it.  

Taking on the role was a no-brainer for Campbell, yet also somewhat intimidating.

Whenever you are playing a real-life person, as an actor, you want to give it your all to do that person justice,” Campbell notes.

“Those parts in particular require a whole lot of research and studying the material on the subject of the story which eventually will pay off. It is absolutely necessary to familiarize with the character as much as possible so that I understand that person’s mentality. In my opinion, it’s critical for an actor to prepare for roles like these in order to deliver an authentic performance.”

Distilling his thoughts even further, Campbell remarks: “It was an honor to be part of keeping the legendary Brett alive.

Naturally, this doesn’t apply to all sorts of roles. Campbell should know, since he is known for accepting parts that are nothing alike to previous ones he has played. It is a risky challenge that could go wrong but the challenge in each of those performances only further boosts his confidence.

Throwing myself into roles that I have never taken on before keeps me on my feet and constantly refining my acting skills,” the unique red-head humbly notes.

He can currently be seen on the hit 9Go! comedy series ‘Metro Sexual’, starring alongside comedian Geraldine Hickey (RRR ‘Breakfasters’, Tonightly). The story is set in a disaster-prone sexual health clinic. The show is filmed in a mockumentary format and follows the lives of the sardonic personnel as it navigates government cuts and all sorts of diseases. 

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Campbell as Toby in the Channel Nine/Go! series, Metro Sexual.

These are merely a few of his many accomplishments in the industry that have catapulted his career to heights he had only dreamed of when he was only a young performing arts student in his home country. 

What comes next for the ambitious actor? 

At this point, one thing is for certain, Campbell won’t have much free time as he has received many offers for projects shooting in the United States. Some of these are due to film in the City of Angels itself, boasting a producing team who have worked with the likes of Lucy Fry and Kong: Skull Island actor Thomas Mann

When asked about how Hollywood has already embraced him, before he has even worked there, Campbell simply states: “I am utterly excited to collaborate with Hollywood’s elite and star in big productions that give me the opportunity to contribute to create the best possible content across all media platforms.

It won’t be hard to keep your eyes open for this Aussie – there’ll be many reasons to across the next few years. 

Polish model Joanna Borov: Not Just a Pretty Face

As the media landscape changes on a continual basis, so do the standards which have long defined beauty since the birth of modern media. Once considered the apex of traditional femininity, beauty pageants specifically have had to find a different place in the market in such ways that resonate with the traditions of times past, and point towards the future. 

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World Beauty Queen Poland Joanna Borov as captured by Monto Fashion Photographer, wearing a gown by Iris Rodriguez.

Multi-award winning beauty pageant queen Joanna Borov is the perfect example of how beauty pageants are not the hallmarks of women vying for attention, but empowered creative individuals who have found an empowering platform for their interest in philanthropy and fashion. The busy jet-setter, who was awarded a Masters degree in Fashion from the University of Arts London, has kindly offered us her insights into how her career, pageants and fashion have coalesced.

“I have been very lucky to build a lot of publicity and popularity throughout Europe, South America and Asia for my participation in a number of pageants, it’s helped me forge some incredible collaborative relationships with a number of people I admire.” 

One of those people is innovative and acclaimed fashion designer Will Franco, an industry powerhouse with whom Joanna will collaborate on a number of campaign and publicity related duties in the United States. 

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Joanna (right) and celebrated fashion designer Will Franco (left), with whom she has already established a successful business relationship and will build on this further in the United States this year.

“Will’s company asserts itself in the market in a really creative way, and it’s truly empowering to be a part of it as a model – not just a face, but someone actively involved in the creative strategy of campaigns and business,” Joanna elaborates. 

Further into our discussion, Joanna explains how Will spotted her because she won prizes at many notable beauty pageants, including World Beauty Queen and Miss Motors Formula 1, the latter of which lead her to being profiled in 32 magazines worldwide and 15 TV stations, including ITV, BBC and CNN. The annual event, which boasted the attendance of celebrities like Luke White and Jordan Wright, has enjoyed sponsors and company association such as BMW, Lamborghini London, Luxor Gold and Pilsner London. 

“I felt very lucky to be a part of that event,” Borov explains. 

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Joanna as Miss Motors Formula 1, alongside reality television star Kurtis Hartman.

To be given a prize by the Miss Motors Formula 1, which hosts over 200 casting sessions throughout Europe to find its eventual winner, is no small feat – the winner is awarded a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix worth £10 000, material awards from sponsors, an opportunity to participate in Grand Prix all over the world including in the UK and Abu Dhabi, press exposure, and an invitation to many prestigious events throughout Europe. 

In an even stronger testament to how well-respected she is in the arts industry, Joanna has been asked to judge beauty pageant too – further cementing her status as one of Europe’s top models. 

Of course, it’s not just a series of photoshoots and catwalks which has lead to a watershed career moment such as this. Joanna, as someone focused on more than just physical beauty, has had to develop meaningful business relationships with key creatives, understand advertising, appreciate and perfect skills in brand ambassadorships, and ultimately position herself as a conduit through which the public and consumers see themselves. 

It is this universal appeal that has positioned her to be the face of Will Franco’s upcoming winter collection and beyond, requiring her to star in a number of fashion shows, commercial photo shoots, billboards and editorials centering around LA Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and face-to-face presenting collections within and outside the United States over the next three years. 

The distinguished nature of Will’s company is self-evident. After graduating with honors in Fashion Design and Merchandising in CSULB, Franco has shown at LA Fashion Week, Palm Springs Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, New York fashion Week and featured in New Face Magazine, Vuez Magazine New York, Elegant Magazine and Teen Cruze. The list, as it were, goes on, exhaustingly so – but not too exhausting for someone with the one-of-a-kind and incredible talents and work ethic of Joanna Borov. 

“My parents always told me to never rest on my laurels, and I think it’s important to match skill and talent with ambition and hard-work,” she says. 

This hard work was most obviously reflected in her judging experience in Argentina, where she was invited to oversee and evaluate the merits of top South American models participating in Miss Film Festival International Argentina 2019.

backstage photo from a photo session for Urban Look Cosmetics with World Beauty Queen Taiwan
Joanna with Taiwan’s representative at World Beauty Queen, promoting Urban Cosmetics.

Other judges, which reinforce the esteemed standing of Borov’s career, were Miss Universe Argentina 2015 Claudia Barrionauevo, international journalist Renato Russo and assisted by the presenting styles of Argentinian star Hernan Drago. 

“It was very fun,” Borov explains. What was most exciting for Joanna was how she was able to support another model rising through the ranks as she did years prior, as the winner was flown to the Cannes Film Festival. 

Supported by the local government, and sponsored by many brands including Bodega Puna, Dakota and others, the event was screened on live TV and profiled by Argentinian news and magazines, further elevating Borov’s profile in the region.  

“I’m excited to perhaps do more of that type of work in the future, but for now, I want to enjoy the start of my work with Will, and other endeavours in the US – it’s a great time to be a part of a changing industry,” Joanna states with a smile.

 

European star Alina Nastase on breaking into the US market.

Upon meeting Alina Nastase, her bubbly and warm nature is immediately apparent. 

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Alina Nastase, shot by Jonathan Stoddard. 

“I’ve always liked meeting new people, it’s why I’m an actress. I’m curious about how other people live their lives, and what motivates them to make certain decisions that will make them who they are, and that’s amazing to be able to explore and learn from it in my own life too”  

The Ginger beauty speaks with the hint of an accent, a distinct marker of her Romanian-Spanish heritage which is clearly becoming an attractive feature in generating the interest of directors and producers who are clamoring to work with her. 

“It is hard to learn the American English accent initially, but I am very lucky that I can speak multiple languages and work as an actor all over the world. The challenge of learning other languages has  ultimately been worth it, and i’m motivated to keep learning more languages” 

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Alina Nastase on set for her latest TV series, La Valle. 

Indeed, Nastase’s multilingual capabilities are one of many characteristics which sets her apart from other actors who might simply trade on their looks. Nastase craves the exploration of human empathy and imagination in serving her roles. This hunger has unsurprisingly led her to being signed on for some exciting projects shooting in the United States.  

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Alina Nastase at the premiere of Vampyres, a role which has built her a huge fan base. Her profile in the film industry amongst fans is what has lead to her casting in US projects (photographer unkown).

Her managers and agents speak proudly when discussing their client, as they recall first impressions on their big expectations when they first signed the committed artist. These agents are the same who have also helped facilitate her engagements in two feature films shooting across the US. Each will make the most of Nastase’s European heritage and give the actress an opportunity to showcase her range. 

The first involves her working with producers who have previously collaborated with Funny or Die, in a feature film titled Reunion. The second, a sci-fi drama, called The Next Earth, which poses the question of how humanity can survive if planet Earth as we know it does not. 

The fact Alina is due to be working in different genres and exploring completely different characters is nothing new to European audiences, as existing in the polarity of these extremes is one of the hallmarks of her career. 

Indeed, she has flourished in comedic roles before – as she did in the Warner Bros’ feature Villaviciosa de a Lado where she played the memorable character Simone, a prostitute with a heart of gold. 

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Alina on-screen (right) with legendary Spanish actress Carmen Machi (left) in Warner Bros’ comedy hit, Villaviciosa de a Lado.

“I loved that movie so much – it was so much fun and everyone was so nice. I love comedies like this one, especially because this one was based on a true story” 

Alina’s portrayal of Simone as a naive and warmhearted person went against both the writers’ and producers’ expectations, so much so that out of the hundreds of girls who auditioned, it was only she who could have played the role. 

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Alina (third from left) at the premiere for mega-hit comedy, Villaviciosa de a Lado. 

The experience in comedy will serve the actress well when she steps up to play Brittany Smyth in Reunion, where she will play the more beautiful and successful version of a character in a story that will explore success and why similar people with similar attributes still find varying levels of success. 

“I am very excited about Reunion – it should be a lot of fun.” 

Alina’s experience in the sci-fi world has set a strong foundation for another upcoming role in the US, in the project The Next Earth. Indeed, she notable appeared in the dark fantasy drama Vampyres in the starring role of Ann.

Vampyres” was a hard shoot because it was emotionally demanding, but the pay-off was worth it.” 

Shooting across Tulsa and California for The Next Earth will also allow Nastase to explore parts of the US as a tourist, as much as an artist. 

“I love exploring different parts of the world, that’s what is so great about being an actor.”

Cinematographer Xavier Dolléans Captures New French Series “Mental”

Xavier Dolléans
Xavier Dolléans shot by Fabien Malot

There are so many pivotal contributors that come into play in the creation of a film or television series. While the director envisions the narrative story and the actors become the characters that bring that story to life, it is the cinematographer who directs the lighting and wields his camera in a way that creates the kind of visual story that dazzles our eyes.

A proven master behind the lens, French director of photography Xavier Dolléans knows exactly how to construct the lighting and capture each shot in a way that draws the audience into the unfolding story on the screen.

Xavier is the cinematographer behind the newly released French TV series “Mental” starring Horrorfest Award winner Constantin Vidal (“Mortel”), Marie-Aude Barrez (“A Billion to One”), La Rochelle TV Award winning actress Alicia Hava (“Plus Belle La Vie”) and Louis Peres. 

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Poster for “Mental”

Premiering in October on Slash TV, France Télévision’s digital platform, “Mental” has generated quite a buzz among international viewers with its engaging story, which Xavier captured brilliantly.  Revealing truths about what it’s like to actually be institutionalized, “Mental” takes audiences into the lives of four young patients living in a psychiatric ward where their new found friendships with one another prove to be more potent and healing than the medicine administered. 

Working closely with director Slimane-Baptiste Berhoun to determine the best way to capture the story, Xavier skillfully set up each shot sequence in a way that brings us closer to the characters and deeper into their story. From the lighting to the framing to fluidity of the camera movements, Xavier’s work behind the camera endow “Mental” with a visual tone that is raw, powerful and uniquely intriguing. 

Xavier, who shot “Mental” using the Sony Venice, which he chose for its ability to cleanly capture deep low lighting, says that a key aspect in his camera work for “Mental” was being able to maintain a wide angle view whilst getting as close to the actors as possible. He explains that this technique helped “give the feeling that we are in the [character’s] head and at the same time give the viewer the feeling that something weird is going to happen.” 

The story begins with Marvin, played by Vidal, a 17-year-old boy who arrives in the hospital accompanied by police. Over the course of the first episode we begin to understand that Marvin’s criminal issues stem from a mental illness, and as the series unfolds, we begin to see what life is like for young patients living in a mental institution. 

Though the first season is only partly under way, “Mental” has gained extensive industry attention and has already taken home its first award, the prestigious La Rochelle TV Award for Best Television Series from the 2019 Festival de la Fiction TV.

With his career as a cinematographer spanning more than two decades, over which he’s earned numerous awards for his work including the Best Cinematography Award from the 2016 Warsaw Independent Film Festival for the film “Rocambolesque,” Best Cinematography Award from the 2017 Slum Film Festival for the film “Animal” and the Festival Prize for Best Cinematography at the 2015 Festival Alto Vicentino for his work on the film “Mecs Meufs” aka “Guys Girls,” Xavier is well versed in both the creative and technical aspects of capturing the stories that enthrall us on screen. 

With his body of work spanning every genre and format imaginable, Xavier has amassed unparalleled knowledge of what’s needed in terms of lighting, framing and pacing, as well as the technical equipment required to nail each shot, in order to seamlessly bring each story to life in a way that does justice to the story. Whereas directors often become known for the overarching style that connects their body of work, the power of a cinematographer rests in their capacity to adapt their style to creatively deliver the vision and vibe of each production.

For Xavier, it is important to approach each project from a different standpoint as no two stories are the same; and with his seasoned knowledge of cinematography at his disposal, he has the rare capacity to bring a new flavor to each project depending on the director’s vision. When it came to shooting “Mental” one of the unique approaches he brought to the table was configuring the Sony Venice with an extension module that allowed him to detach from the sensor, making the rig light enough that he was able to move with the actors and improvise as they shot each scene.

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Xavier Dolléans with actress Ayumi Roux in “Mental” shot by Thomas Gros

“I think every cinematographer is different. You have different ‘families,’ some more technical, some more artistic, and everything in between. I think my strongest quality as a cinematographer is my sensitivity,” admits Xavier.” My sensitivity to interpret the director’s vision. Then, because of my experience on tv series I know I can be very fast and efficient with minimal equipment and crew without scaring the quality. And I always try to discover new techniques. Reinventing myself is a challenge I want to have every day.”

Xavier is also the cinematographer behind the mega-hit series “Skam France,” which has reached more than 80 million viewers, and is slated to release season 5 later this year. Xavier has shot every episode of the popular series, which follows five teenagers as they traverse the highs, lows and tumultuous dramas of high school and stars Axel Auriant (“Jamais Contente”), Théo Christine (“War of the Worlds”), Lula Cotton-Frapier (“Bula”) and Marilyn Lima (“Hungry for Love”).

As it is with any of the world’s top cinematographers, lighting and color are of extreme importance to Xavier. The way a scene is lit and its dominant color schemes set the visual tone and create an energy the audience can feel, and it’s something Xavier paid quite a bit of attention to for “Skam France,” especially seasons 3 and 4. 

“This show is full of energy… most of the time we are very close to the actors, so it is important to me that they appear at their best. I’m very sensitive about the lighting of the faces… On season 3 and 4 we worked with colors a lot to create a world that suited every character,” explained Xavier. 

“Elliot’s world is tenebrous and he brings Lucas into it…. for every sequence involving Elliot, everything was darker in terms of lighting and set design. With Assa on season 4, things were a bit different. She was very often alone, isolated and at the same time at a school full of people. I decided to use a specific thin full-frame cinematography depth of field to emphasize this loneliness. I really used the lens aperture as a tool to give the viewer the ability to feel the level of loneliness in each sequence.” 

Xavier’s experience shooting hundreds of episodes of hit TV shows, such as “Mental,” “Red Shadows” and “Skam France,” require him to work quickly under pressure while simultaneously ensuring the highest cinematic value of the production, something he is able to achieve thanks to numerous decades in the industry. 

He is undoubtedly among the small handful of not only France’s top cinematographers, but those in the world. Aside from being praised with several awards for his individual contributions to the historical comedy film “Rocambolesque,” Xavier’s skill behind the lens helped the film take home numerous other awards, including the Audience Award from the Paris BD6Né and Rouen Film Festivals, and the film “Animal” to earn several other awards from the Slum Film Festival, FEFFS Strasbourg Film Festival, Dublin Sci-Fi Festival, Audincourt’s Bloody Weekend and more.

At the end of the day, Xavier admits, “I think my favorite projects are the ones where I have the most possibilities to express myself visually.”

 

British Actress Liane Grant’s Work Celebrates Diversity and Reflects Strength in Versatility

Actress Liane Grant
Actress Liane Grant shot by Michael Wharley

British actress Liane Grant is a prime example of the direction the acting profession is taking in the 21st century, working effortlessly between stage and screen, taking on commercially-relevant and socially-aware roles, switching between countries, accents, eras and even genders. 

Having firmly resolved to become an actress at the young age of 13, Grant’s subsequent 15-year career has seen her portraying a plethora of diverse characters such as an American police officer, the fictional British madam Mrs. Warren and even the Roman emperor, Julius Caesar. 

I’ve always prided myself on being versatile,” said Grant, reflecting on her more than 30 global credits as a thespian. “I’ve performed in classical, contemporary, all types of comedies, and drama… I’ve done theater, commercials, films… I’ve played young, old, beautiful, ugly, men, women, and I’ve used multiple accents along the way.”

actress Liane Grant
Still of actors Rick Kissack and Liane Grant

Born in Gibraltar off Spain’s coast to British parents, Grant studied acting in the UK and USA, and has starred in several award-winning productions on both sides of the Atlantic such as the dystopian play “Half Me, Half You,” which ran in New York, as well as the UK, and the hit feature film “Gypo” in the UK.

Grant, a British Caucasian actress with blue eyes and blonde hair, wrote and played the starring role of Meredith in “Half Me, Half You” opposite African-American actress Jennifer Fouche, who played the role of Jess, an award-winning production that allowed Grant to not only showcase her acting range, but her writing prowess as well. 

Both actresses received awards at the play’s debut at the Fresh Fruit Festival in New York in July 2018 with Grant scooping up the Outstanding Playwright Award and Fouche, who previously starred in the popular American TV series “Quantico” and “Jessica Jones,” taking home the Outstanding Featured Performer Award.

“Meredith’s complex and messy, funny and cutting, loving and cold, fierce and weak… she and I differ on a fundamental level on some of the deepest things,” said Grant. “As an actor, we crave parts that allow us to show versatility.”

Whilst her starring credits tend to focus more on the theater, Grant first came into her own as an actor with her role in the 2005 British feature film “Gypo” directed by the award-winning female British filmmaker Jann Dunn. With “Gypo” taking home the British Independent Film Award for Best Achievement in Production, as well as numerous other awards and nominations, the project, in which Grant portrayed a key role as a ruthless bully, proved to be a strong acting debut for her.

As an actress who craves versatility, the role offered unique challenges on multiple levels, especially considering her own personal experience with bullying.

“At school I was a very good student and did really well, but I was bullied mercilessly for most of my school years, so I spent a lot of my time feeling quite lonely,” said Grant, who did her formal education in the UK.

“When I was finally able to study theatre in secondary school I found an amazing theatre teacher, and being an actor himself, he really encouraged my choice of acting as a career… this certainly made all the difference, given several other teachers had laughed in my face.”

actress Liane Grant
Robert Frimston, Liane Grant and Jonathan Wooldridge in “Richard II”

In a way, that subtle push from one of her coaches early on, was a gift that solidified the fact that Grant was on the right path; any viewer who has seen her perform since will be grateful that  Grant received that early encouragement as she’s one actress we can’t help but take our eyes off every time she hits the stage or screen.

In her stage career, Grant has built up many credits in plays with all-female ensembles and productions, from playing the title role in William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” to “Taken in Marriage” and “Half Me, Half You.”

“Half Me, Half You director Leah Fogo explains, “Liane has a unique ability to empathize with vastly different people which makes her a great asset to any project… she has raw talent but has learned many skills to harness it and bring it to the next level. She is very dedicated in the search for her character.”

Actress Liane Grant
Actress Liane Grant as Meredith in “Half Me, Half You”

Working with an all-female cast and majority female crew, Grant not only wrote and starred in “Half Me, Half You,” but she produced the acclaimed production through her production company, RoL’n Productions, which she founded several years ago in an aim to provide opportunities to females in the performing arts.

“There is a very special energy in the room when a group of women come together to create something, and this unspoken but deep understanding of the additional hurdles we’ve all had to climb to get there,” said Grant. 

“I suppose, especially in the current climate of female empowerment, the connection we have as females from all walks of life, coming together and lifting each other up, sharing our gifts with each other, is really quite special.”

From the classic plays of William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw to those she’s written herself, acting is Grant’s life’s work and passion, and it’s one that she is clearly dedicated to for the long-term with her performing prowess leading her to follow in the footsteps of British acting luminaries like Dame Judi Dench and Dame Emma Thompson.

Emergency LA
Poster for the series “Emergency: LA”

“Acting is not a solo support, it is without question a team effort, and the better the team, the better your performance, and the end product as a whole,” said Grant, who’s next role will be in the US TV series “Emergency: LA,” which will begin shooting next year.  

 “The range of parts I’ve been fortunate enough to play has been enormously helpful, because it has made me capable of accessing whatever part of my skill set I need to, to play any type of character that might come my way.”

 

 

 

 

 

Charismatic Actress Scherrikar Bell Goes Viral

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British actress Scherrikar Bell’s combination of natural talent, technical skill and intuitive gift for manifesting an emotional reality qualifies her as an extraordinary force. From her 2011 start on stage in London’s West End to her extensive film and television work (credits include roles on BBC’s “EastEnders,” “Famalam,” “Doctors”), Bell unfailingly radiates an engaging quality that profoundly enhances every portrayal.

Her memorable performance as a professional assassin in masked British rapper SL’s “FWA-Boss” music video is a prime example of the inescapable Bell charisma.

With over 100 million streams of his music to date, the enigmatic, teenaged SL is one of UK hip hop’s most important and fastest rising artists, and landing her role in the video (SL’s first single of 2019) was a plum assignment for Bell.

Helmed by the award winning director Myles Whittingham, the deeply cinematic film short  showcases the masked rapper’s downbeat, almost nonchalant UK drill sound—a smooth, minimalist mid-tempo style—and Bell’s lead character anchors the video from it’s opening through to its final shot.

As SL’s low key rhymes roll above the track’s glimmering, almost meditative beats, we see Bell donning a nun’s habit, then cut away to an exterior where the Mother Superior calmly approaches an automobile, produces a wicked looking automatic handgun and shoots the vehicle’s occupant at point blank range.

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It’s downright startling moment—made all the more so by Bell’s  serene demeanor and measured pace—and she draws the viewer in close as we witness a series of similarly deadly encounters.

A subsequent sequence find her clad head to toe in black leather (an updated Emma Peel comes delightfully to mind) and wielding a high powered sniper’s rifle which she uses to coolly dispatch a trio of obvious ne’er do wells before breaking into a lethal Mona Lisa smile and slowly sauntering over to retrieve chrome-plated brief case  from one of her victims.

The unforgettable instant when she cracks that malevolent grin is so subtly evil and cold-blooded that it qualifies as an absolutely masterly piece of acting, one that Bell makes look so easy but is, in truth, an example of deep stagecraft.

It’s the ideal set up for the next murderous tableau, a scene straight out of Hitchcock—Bell strolls wordlessly up to an approaching woman, suddenly produces a nasty looking shank from within her sleeve to adroitly deliver a swift shocking stab, another deadly encounter stunning in its almost mechanical precision.

Bell’s comprehensive involvement with the role allows her to inhabit this icy-hearted murderer so convincingly that it made the video a fan favorite, with almost 4.5 million views since its March 2019 release. Intriguingly, the video ends with her appearing in SL’s living room then fades to black with a lingering “To be continued” screen title and an open-ended question as to what she was doing there—reporting to her employer or preparing to dispatch him?

The mood and mystery of the video inspired multiple fan-made reaction videos and cemented SL’s reputation as one of the UK’s fastest rising stars, and there’s no question that Bell (currently featured on the BBC “Teach The Victorians”) and her blood curdling contributions to the video played a significant part in making it such a sensational, feverishly viral internet and commercial success.

Entertainment Journalist Maurice Cassidy: From Humble Beginnings to Covering the Lives of Celebrated Stars

Maurice Cassidy
Journalist Maurice Cassidy in Los Angeles, CA

When others are asked to describe acclaimed entertainment journalist Maurice Cassidy, the words ‘passionate,’ ‘hardworking’ and ‘reliable’ frequently pop up. In a current news landscape filled with a multitude of bloggers, self-proclaimed influencers and ‘fake news,’ Maurice Cassidy has risen to the top through sheer integrity and hard work.

Indeed Anna-Marie LeBlanc, the founder of CelebDirtyLaundry.Com, an entertainment news outlet that boasts more than 15 million readers per month, sings Maurice’s praises when asked about how she has known him since he started in the industry, and seen his rise through the journalism ranks.

“Maurice always had a passion for entertainment, even when he was working as an intern,” Anna-Marie exclaims. “He didn’t mind covering the articles that others would skip out on because they were deemed ‘boring.’ In terms of reliability, Maurice could not be faulted in any way.”

Anna-Marie also elaborated on another of Maurice’s strengths, patience.

“There were several instances were breaking news would need to be covered on our main site and given that Maurice was living in London and our writers were located in the United States, Maurice would more or less update the site on his time zone, which greatly helped us upkeep our traffic 24/7.”

As many others will attest as well, Maurice’s patience is one area of his character that has led him to excel at what he does.

While writing for CelebDirtyLaundry.com, Maurice experienced tremendous success as an interviewer of some of the hottest contemporary stars, such as pop star Natalia Kills, whom he marks among his favourite subjects to interview, and Mayra Veronica.

I remember being asked if I wanted to interview pop singer Natalia Kills, and the idea of interviewing a celebrity left me feeling nervous, seeing that I was still a teenager at the time, and I had never interviewed someone before,” recalls Maurice. “Needless to say, the interview went smooth and, again, it made me fall in love with journalism all over again because I was stepping into situations of my field I had never been before.”

While Maurice’s success as a journalist has continued to flourish, his humble memories of how he first began in such a competitive industry have kept him grounded throughout.

I started writing from a very early age; I believe 16. I started interning for an entertainment website, which had a fairly large audience with over 4 million readers a month. I would produce roughly five 400-word articles per day and for each of those posts, I’d make, maybe, $3.”

A low-starting salary however was not enough to deter Maurice from pursuing his passion and far-reaching talent as a journalist. He elaborates.

“The money was simply complementary to the dedication I had put in those articles. I remember when I first started writing in the field of entertainment, I didn’t know how to phrase sentences effectively, or in channeling the tone of a news outlet.”

Maurice’s persistence and attention to detail has clearly served him well. His reputation has also been bolstered by his experience as an entertainment writer for the popular news publication the Inquisitr, which averaged 90 million page views per month during the time that Maurice’s pieces were being published on the site.

“Upon having heard about the [Inquisitr] job role as a freelance journalist, I immediately applied, but it was a tough process. There was a 50-page handbook that every application must read before they take on a quiz consisting of roughly 40 questions. All of them had to be correct in order to be even considered for a position,” recalls Maurice about the rigorous process.

Ultimately Maurice’s dedicated nature and willingness to devote himself to the challenge of completing the application process for the Inquisitr paid off, and he was chosen out of thousands of other applicants. Though it was still early on in his career, Maurice was steadily climbing the ladder.

He admits, “It was a great achievement given that this had been the biggest company I had worked for at that point.”

Maurice’s experience at the Inquistr gave him the opportunity to exercise his skills in a uniquely independent and creative way, allowing him to flourish as a writer and reporter, not to mention the fact that his pieces attracted international attention.

He explains, “While I was at the Inquisitr, you really do work independently. There’s nobody really telling you what to do: you choose the stories you want to write and focus on making it the best possible article of that particular topic.”

In one story, Maurice chose to focus on Grammy-award winning superstar Mariah Carey and her performances, a buzzing subject considering Carey’s international appeal. Catchy, poignant and an invigorating read, Maurice’s article revealed his knack for catering to the gossip interests of a hungry public. He proved his ability to snuff out stories that most interest the Inquistr’s readers through his coverage of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s marriage woes. In both cases, such stories required a highly specialised understanding of the entertainment industry and Hollywood that only a select few seem capable of mastering.

The freedom Maurice enjoyed while serving as a lead entertainment journalist at the Inquisitr brought with it a unique set of demands, such as those that required him to push his skill as a photography editor  to the next level. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he quickly became a skilled Photoshop master, which gave him the power to effectively curate the visual imagery that accompanied his stories.

Over the years the German-native has become increasingly well-known for his journalist work as a showbiz reporter at the Daily Mail, a flocked to news publication that receives over 270 million page views per month.

“Landing a position as a showbiz journalist at the DailyMail was a pivotal moment for me because I grew up reading this particular news publication in my teenage years in London,” Maurice admits. “Two weeks into my position as a showbiz journalist for one of the biggest media firms in the world, my editor Heidi Parker had assigned me to write a breaking news article which was to be featured on the frontpage of the website.”

A rare occurrence for a new writer to land a front page story at such a massive outlet, Maurice covered the death of “Sons of Anarchy” star John Vasquez, who passed only minutes before he received the alert at the news desk.

He recalls, “I was initially nervous, given that I was still new at the company.” Despite his nerves Maurice’s journalistic dedication persevered and he not only published the article with a record turnaround time, he continued to update the story as more details emerged.

Daily Mail covers live red carpet events on a daily basis, as arduous undertaking considering all of the occurrences that Hollywood has to offer its A-list celebrities. As a showbiz journalist, writers like Maurice are often assigned to recap outfits, such as those at big event including the 2019 Breakthrough Prize Awards and the GLSEN Respect Awards.

“It can be challenging sometimes to keep up with all the big names showing up on the carpet and finding different ways to describe each ensemble. At this point, you somewhat rely on teamwork; we’d often support one another in writing up red carpet events such as a recent article I did on Kendall Jenner being named Icon of the Year at the Revolve Awards,” explains Maurice. “It was a collaborated effort given the amount of details that had to be covered in the story, but, again, the experience was to partner up with a colleague and put a piece of content together.”

To go from being a loyal patron of a news outlet to becoming one of their revered writers has got to be among the top achievements in terms of personal fulfillment for any journalist, and Maurice recalls these moments fondly.

“I remember being on the bus, on my way to school, and I’d be reading all the latest news they had to offer. So, when I found myself in a position where I was even just interviewed for the role, it felt very surreal at that time. Writing for a company that boasts of [that many] readers is nerve wracking when you think about it, but it left me feeling with so much excitement… I couldn’t wait to embark my career in journalism at an established firm as big as Daily Mail..”

While readers across the globe have embraced his writing, he takes the praise in stride, never failing to recognize what matters most is doing his job.

Art Director Corinne Daldorph Utilizes Social Media for Hugo Boss

Corinne Daldorph
Art Director Corinne Daldorph shot by Angeliqa Daldorph

Art director Corinne Daldorph is known and respected throughout her field for spearheading dozens of innovative campaigns for a long list of illustrious brands. Her job demands that she draw attention to her clients, many of which compete for consumers in a saturated market. To that end, Daldorph is remarkably effective. Her expertise covers a broad swath of applications within the creative and advertising industries, including an unmatched talent for the use of social media platforms to reach potential customers in the most crucial demographics.

“Without labeling myself as an Art Director at the time, I think my first art direction position was in my own company,” Daldorph said, describing her early experiences with the enormous array of responsibilities her future career would hold. “I would create concepts, be on shoots making sure the overall idea and execution were in line with the concept, and then oversee the entire edit.”

For decades, her predecessors focused primarily on the artistic and creative side of advertising. In the modern world of social media and big data, however, there are more tools than ever to help advertisers identify who their current and potential customers are and what appeals to them. One of the effects this explosion in the use of “big data” has had is to create a sort of arms race within the advertising industry. The cost of ignoring or misusing these new tools can be staggering. Working as an art director in advertising today demands that Daldorph be as fluent in the high-tech data-driven aspects of the industry as she is with the more conventional creative component.

“I got interested in strategy and worked for a start-up as an influencer marketing strategist, at the time when influencers started to become more and more relevant. I moved to New York, where I continued my career in integrated strategy,” Daldorph said. “The plan was always to return to the creative field once I gained an understanding of how data works, in order to make smarter creative work… Having an understanding of how to work in a social field is crucial not only for advertisers, but for any creator.”

Daldorph stands at the cutting edge of the advertising industry. Not only is she an exceptional creative force in her own right, she’s also capable of utilizing the full potential of social media platforms to deliver meticulously-crafted content to millions of possible customers.

Among her illustrious clients is Hugo Boss, the iconic German fashion company. The Hugo Boss brand has long been associated with its ultra-high-end formalwear, and is perhaps best known for its sleek and stylish men’s suits. In 2018, however, the company began a new venture to reach a more youthful, casual clientele. It would continue selling its classic, more mature formalwear under the brand name BOSS, while offering a new line called HUGO, which embraces a younger aesthetic and audience. Determined to put the best team together to promote the launch, Hugo Boss contracted advertising firm Annex88, where Daldorph worked at the time.

“I, together with Annex88, was tasked to create a campaign to highlight the collaboration and to create hype around the launch event,” she explained. “This was the first big activation for the HUGO brand which allowed me to not only create a multi-platform campaign, but to establish their social presence and legacy.”

Because of her proven effectiveness on similar projects, Daldorph was the obvious choice to head the project. The firm immediately approached her to be the art director for the campaign.

“Hugo Boss is one of Annex88’s clients, and I was assigned to the project as they saw it fit my skill set, as it tied social concepts together with an experiential execution,” she said. “Together with Annex88, I was tasked to create a campaign to highlight the collaboration and to generate hype around the launch event.”

As the lead creative figure, Daldorph was given an immense amount of responsibility on the HUGO release promotion campaign. She headed up the campaign’s social media channels, designed imagery for each of the accounts, and developed promotional concepts that would connect the brand’s roots with its new brand ambassador, Liam Payne. Fans of the enormously successful boy band One Direction will remember Payne as a singer in the group.

“I was the lead creative for the entire campaign, in which I was responsible for creating digital teaser content for HUGO’s social channels including Youtube, Facebook and Instagram,” Daldorph recalled. “By taking inspiration from HUGO’s logo and the Liam Payne campaign footage, I designed the profile pictures for all of the channels. To further our teasing phase, I was tasked to come up with a concept to tie-in Berlin with the overall image of Liam at the forefront of music and fashion.”

Her tireless efforts and brilliant creativity were critical to the campaign’s ultimate success. The amount of work Daldorph did on the HUGO campaign drove a massive wave of buzz around the launch. Those who worked alongside Daldorph on the campaign saw up close just how talented a leader she is. Among those is Reginald Van Nurden, Assistant Creative Director at Annex88.

“I’ve worked on a number of accounts, projects and campaigns with Corinne over the past two years, each one more complex than the last,” Van Nurden said. “Working with Corinne is an incredibly collaborative process driven by both strategic insight and pure creativity. In tandem with her indefatigable work ethic, these qualities contribute to an incredibly strong working experience.”

The HUGO launch was not the only Hugo Boss campaign on which Daldorph worked. She was also at the forefront of the company’s other big launch event for the BOSS line. The counterpart to the HUGO line, the BOSS line was aimed at a more traditional and mature clientele. Daldorph elected to design the campaign around a concept that while the new line was formal, the high-end fashions were versatile enough to be worn in any occasion.

“I was the sole art director on this campaign which included everything from concept, choosing talent and locations, making storyboards and directing on set,” Daldorph explained. “I was tasked to shed some light on what’s possible to do while wearing a suit. I picked athletes from the worlds of BMX, basketball, skateboarding, and freerunning, with campaign content featured on the brand’s website and Instagram. By working with a range of athletes, BOSS is showing consumers there is a place for tailored suits in more adventurous settings.”

 

The BOSS campaign, dubbed Suit Challenge and featuring actor Chris Hemsworth (of Marvel’s “Thor” and “The Avengers” series of films), was an enormous success under Daldorph’s leadership. Olivia Reid Cooper, senior art director at the marketing and advertising firm Laundry Service, worked with Daldorph on the launch event campaign and sang praise of her colleague.

“I worked closely with Corinne on an influencer-driven project featuring Chris Hemsworth called Suit Challenge for the fashion brand Hugo Boss. Corinne created and executed the campaign to shed light on what exactly is possible when wearing a suit, collaborating with athletes from a variety of sports,” Cooper said. “Corinne brought a high degree of craft to both the ideation process and to her directing of the video series for the campaign. It’s by her hand that the project came fully to life.”

Daldorph’s experience leading the campaigns for Hugo Boss granted her a sizable advantage in another of her incredibly successful projects. One of her most effective projects to date, at least in terms of its social media reach and response, is the campaign she ran for the launch of the MAFF.tv website. The site’s name is an acronym for ‘Music, Art, Fashion, Forward,’ fields which comprise the central focus of the media platform’s content.

“The platform highlights new and upcoming artists as well as established musicians, curators and painters to name a few. All of the content lives in the world of either music, art or fashion, the purpose being to bring those worlds closer together, with creativity as the common denominator,” Daldorph said, describing the project’s objectives and how she became involved.

“Lauren Nadel, the founder of MAFF.tv, had seen my work for Adidas Originals and had been to a few events I art directed. She reached out to me and we had a conversation about it, and she immediately brought me on.”

Nadel swiftly saw how valuable an asset Daldorph would be to the site’s ultimate success. For MAFF to take off, it was critical to spread awareness of the project and to steadily increase the momentum of the growth of its user base. The first step was to constantly keep the site full to the brim with content from new artists, designers and musicians. The next challenge was to reach through the noise and tap into the deep well of ideal potential users. This particular challenge would be Daldorph’s domain, and was yet another opportunity for her to prove herself an unrivaled art director. According to Nadel, she couldn’t have hoped for a more skilled and efficient person for the job.

“Corinne art directed the most beautifully designed site, being a master of Adobe creative suite and understanding the web and its code. Corinne developed from scratch our latest CMS and front interface in a trendy and brilliant way,” Nadel said, explaining how varied and important Daldorph’s work was to MAFF. “Not only did Corinne spearhead the creative direction of the website but she also leads our social channels… She was responsible for the brand’s art direction and graphic design for all mediums, and she contributed tremendously to the success of the design team and marketing program.”

Measuring the success of a campaign like MAFF’s is much more accurate and immediate in the digital age of big data. Upon taking charge, Daldorph immediately set about exceeding even the most optimistic hopes for the campaign’s success. Nadel, who had placed her confidence in Daldorph, was blown away by the results.

“Under Corinne’s direction, MAFF’s social media followers increased by 700-percent in less than three months — improving the engagement and visibility of the brand, as well as the sales,” Nadel said. “Corinne has garnered up nearly a 10k platform across social networks within 3 months. She has strategized and creative-directed our YouTube channel, which has a total of more than a million views.”

The level of growth seen following Daldorph’s work as MAFF’s art director is simply staggering. The number of MAFF.tv site users and social media users sharing posts about MAFF grew to a fever pitch, building a solid foundation for the site’s future. Much of Daldorph’s success with the MAFF campaign can be attributed to her strong personal belief in the project’s importance. Unlike other streaming platforms devoted to a single niche, MAFF offers artists and creators across mediums the chance to be featured in the spotlight.

“When all of the spotlight shines on the musician, it’s usually not visible who was behind the production of the actual video. So with Maff I saw a possibility to bring a greater focus to the creators themselves,” Daldorph explained. “Every single person that we know who was a part of a given production automatically gets their own hubpage on the site that will be populated with all of their content.”

The spirit of MAFF reflects Daldorph’s own beliefs in the power of art to reach the masses. In a saturated industry, she stands out among her peers as one of her generation’s most skilled and successful art directors. Entrusted with the success of hugely-expensive campaigns for brands like Adidas and Hugo Boss, she has never failed to exceed the hopes and expectations of those who seek her out. Corinne Daldorph is an art director capable of maximizing the power and reach of her position far more effectively than any other figure in the industry today.