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.”

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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.

Britain’s Ron Carroll on passion for television and advice for newcomers

It seems Britain’s Ron Carroll has always known what he was destined to do in life. As a child in Liverpool, he used to play newsrooms in his bedroom, obsessed with typewriters and tape recorders. Even at that young age, the idea of being a journalist and creating compelling stories for the world excited him. When he finished university, he never felt lost the way so many do, wondering what their next move was. He knew he was going to be a writer, and quickly got his first job working for a newspaper.

Now, as a showrunner and development producer, Ron’s passion for detailed and accurate storytelling is seen on a grand scale. He traded in a pen and notebook for scripts and sets and has never looked back. Once his career in print journalism had taken off, he began wondering what else he could sink his teeth into. Television became the obvious next step.

The transition started when Ron was working as a senior producer on US talk shows. He went back to work in Britain for a while and got a really interesting opportunity, which came to him the moment he stepped off the plane. Sky TV, one of the UK’s largest networks, was launching a new daytime television show. It was live with phone-ins. They asked Ron to develop the format for the show and produce it, and that really put him on the career path he is on today, an industry leader in his country, developing new formats and launching new TV and Digital projects.

“It may not be everyone’s dream job, but it was one of mine. I loved producing talk shows. I still do, if I get the opportunity. Nothing is better than writing a funny line for the host or having a guest share a story and getting an immediate reaction from a live audience,” said Ron. “I get to meet all kinds of people. I have interviewed A-list celebrities, got to produce shows that make life-changing dreams come true for people, and in some small ways made a difference.”

Audiences all around the world have enjoyed Ron’s shows, whether binge-watching Blown Away on Netflix or waiting each week for the newest episode of Canada’s Next Top Model or Game of Homes. Ron knows how to tell a good story, and his roots in journalism only fuel his passion for reality television.

“When I am developing a new show, whether it’s my own idea or it belongs to a production company that hires me to help bring it to life, I am very guttural about it. Over-thinking can be the curse of death. I have witnessed great show ideas get grinded to a pulp because producers over-think. I always say know what you like and make the shows you love. I like to produce shows that have heart, humor and hope. Shows that genuinely make a difference to people’s lives, which is why producing Undercover Boss was so rewarding. At the end of the day, I am a viewer first and a producer second,” he said.

Ron has developed a “3-H formula” based on his success: Heart, Humor and Hope. These characteristics are always at the forefront of whatever he produces. When he looks back on his career, he has had many highlights, but it is making a real difference through his work that fuels him.

“I was the lead story producer on an ITV show that aired live across Britain on Christmas Day, and I had people in tears on both sides of the camera because of surprise reunions, uniting families across the globe. Well-crafted shows should connect with viewers in real and tangible ways,” he said.

So what’s next for this industry titan? Ron has several new shows that are at various stages of development, including the community-uniting format “The Tree” that he is very excited about. He also has several other shows in the works, in conjunction with collaborators, which include an exciting new design competition format, a reno series, and a fun food competition show. In addition, he has a strong and growing reputation as a content consultant. He is in increasing demand, working with production companies in the US, Canada and the UK, helping trouble-shoot their shows and help devise formats, pilots and presentations for both TV and Digital platforms. For those looking to follow in his footsteps, he offers some wise words:

“It worries me that so many people seem to leave media courses and not know how to apply for a job.  That’s a problem and they are being disserviced by colleges and universities. Know what you want and network. That’s code for pick up the phone and write emails to heads of departments. CC-in Human Resources if they have them but don’t rely on HR. Reach out and ask for meetings directly with frontline creatives. You have to be bold and tenacious. It’s a tough business and breaking into it is more competitive than ever. Some people will love you and some people won’t, because they don’t get you. There will be times when doors won’t open and you’ll get career-blocked. But, generally, if you don’t have too big an ego and you are willing to listen and learn and work hard, you will be welcomed with open arms, across all departments. And when you finally get to break into the industry, don’t work for free or at a reduced rate. Know your worth. Every time someone works for free or at a reduced rate, they devalue the industry they want to be part of,” he advised.

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.

Jack Loy: Bodyguard Bound for the States

Award-winning British actor Jack Loy is used to attracting attention.

The 6’4” performer, known to worldwide audiences for his acclaimed work in ‘Jenifa’s Diary’ and the recent British crime flick ‘King of Crime’, nevertheless embodies the humility of someone shorter in both resume and height. 

Jack Loy Event Pic
Jack Loy: used to the attention, but never defined by it. 

Such is the integrity of this artist though, that, while a towering presence on both screen and in real life, Jack is more concerned with leaving anyone with whom his work comes in contact feeling better for the experience. 

“I think one of the best things about acting is that you get the opportunity to entertain people.”

The trained thespian, of part Indian heritage, goes a little further.

This might be by bringing a smile to their faces and an opportunity to escape ‘real life’ or it could be something that inspires new ideas and thoughts.”

It’s clear that this attitude at leaving a positive impression on people has helped Loy in more ways than one. Most obviously, Loy recently won the Best UK Actor Award from the London International Motion Picture Awards for his leading role as Nick in the film Beautiful In The Morning. 

Jack Loy King of Crime Premiere
Jack Loy at the premiere for his film, ‘King of Crime,’ with Hainsley Lloyd Bennett.

The most obvious of these is that Loy is consistently cast in a number of impressive productions all over the world, with a number of filmmakers jumping at the chance to work with him. 

In the past few years, the stages and screens of the UK, India and Russia have been blessed with Loy’s presence. Next stop? The US. 

“I’m really excited to be entering the U.S market. It’s surely the biggest acting market in the world.”

Loy is attached to a number of US projects, including one involving him filming across Nevada and Los Angeles. The role will call for him to use his well-known charm with a dose of darkness.  

Editor Haansol Rim’s Remarkable Visual Eloquence

HAANS-By Chiao Chen_2 (2)
Photo by Chiao Chen

In the world of film and video, no other single craftsman exerts as much influence over a film as the editor. As the legendary Orson Welles said, “The notion of directing a film is the invention of critics—the whole eloquence of cinema is achieved in the editing room.”  It is a very particular skill, one that demands a profound aesthetic sense, a gift for visual rhythm and a wealth of technical knowledge, a complex set of capabilities which editor/creative editor Haansol Rim possesses to the highest degree.

Whether he is doing a television commercial or music video, Rim’s visionary approach determines the tone, pace and feel of every project. With his international heritage (born to Korean parents in Germany) and the benefit of his classical training in fine arts and an extensive musical background (he is an accomplished composer, arranger and performer), Rim’s multi-faceted creativity always operates at the highest level.

The New York-based creative editor enjoys a thriving roster of jobs at well-known creative production company MATTE, and he brings in every assignment with an elegant final cut that perfectly complements the project and consistently exceeds expectations.

“His understanding and versatility of skills are priceless,” MATTE’s associate creative director Danny Yirgou said. “Because he has such a diverse background and experience in multiple fields, Haans knows how to stylize his edits and design them according to each project. For some he might edit focusing on the tempo of the film, creating a certain tone; vs on others, he might edit using more fast paced effects, and diverse frames to create a different speed and tempo, ultimately creating a completely different film altogether.”

Some prime examples of this impressive range are Rims’s work on commercials for famed luxury fashion brand Prada, athletic footwear giant Adidas and a promotional world tour announcement video for Grammy-winning EDM duo the Chainsmokers (recently named by Forbes magazine as the highest paid DJS in the world).

Taking on such a wildly disparate work load from some of the highest profile brands and clients in the world would intimidate many, but the gifted Rim —thanks to his coolly professional attitude and boundlessly creative approach—always makes it look easy

“As an editor, I choose works in which the director’s vision aligns with my editing style,” rim said. “I think synergy between the director and editor is essential to really bring to life the best version of the project.”

To achieve this end, Rim also applies a shrewd analytical approach: “Commercials are based on the client and the consumer, so I need to consider the psychology of the buyer. What would appeal to them? What shots, editing, and story would draw the consumer to purchase the product?”

That kind of comprehensive understanding and anticipatory finesse are hallmarks of Rim’s highly individuated and winning style as a creative editor. On the Chainsmokers video Rim, typically, nailed it from the start.

“I was initially assigned to work on the pitch video for this project,” he said. “The Chainsmokers loved our pitch, and chose us for the commercial. Since I had edited the initial pitch video, I got to edit the final work as well.”

“They were looking for the film to be visual effect heavy and overall, for it to look cool. I have a background in visual effects, so it was easy to collaborate with the VFX team. Based on the client’s feedback, we worked to make their vision come to life.”

“It was released earlier this year and seen everywhere. This was a world tour commercial for all of 2019, so it was posted in all video streaming sites such as YouTube.”

The Adidas job allowed Rim to mix stylish visuals with a semi documentary format: “The commercials are all heavily reliant on the client’s wishes,” Rim said. “So o celebrate the launch of James Harden Vol. 3 shoe line, MATTE brought the next chapter in James Harden’s ongoing narrative to his greatest fans, shooting over the course of two days through premium activations in Houston. Then, as creative editor, I matched the commercial to the director’s desired style and vision”

The Prada commercial was set in a particularly rich visual milieu—the Chinese New Year’s celebration, always a riot of giant lion dancers and fireworks.

“Prada wanted to pay homage to the Chinese New Year celebration with the aim to promote products developed specifically for this holiday,” Rim said. “The commercial was dedicated to modern Asian youth culture and style.”

Once again, Rim’s sensitivity and artistic skill as an editor perfectly suited the spot’s needs.

“Since the director’s goal was to make it seem like a one take film,” he said. “There weren’t a lot of shots, it was mainly a long single take shot without a lot of cuts. I tried to make the editing as seamless as possible to make it fluid.”

With his constantly growing resume of internationally known, high-prestige clients, Rim’s penetrating, holistic approach is a true recipe for success.

“I am naturally curious and analytical,” Rim said. “My brain works both ways, from beginning to the final product, and from the final product to the beginning. That’s why I am adept at handling these processes so well.”

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