Canadian Actress Lisa Jai Stars in the Upcoming Film “Runaway Dream”

Lisa Jai as Birdie in "What of the Night?" at the Vagrancy in Los Angeles
   Lisa Jai as Birdie in “What of the Night?” at the Vagrancy in Los Angeles

Audiences across the world know the work of internationally acclaimed actress Lisa Jai. With an impressive career that has spanned more than two decades, viewers old and young have had a lot of opportunities to see Jai’s diverse talents on the screen in everything from the hit television shows Barbar, Rupert and The Magic School Bus, to the films Balance of Power, Creed and Lost Angels.

Jai recently finished filming Runaway Dream, a film about two Hollywood transplants who get a whole lot more than they bargained for when they make the move to tinsel town with stars in their eyes.

Directed by award-winning cinematographer Daniel Abreu, Runaway Dream stars Jai in the role of Linn, and Vivian Ahn (Sisters, Inside Carly, Trail Mix, Lost Angels, Henry Danger) as Jess.

Jai says, “It is a story of the length’s people could go to when in need of more money than they are earning and what happens to someone when they have lost sight of their dream.”

A sad tale with an unpredictable twist, Runaway Dream follows Jai’s character Linn, a down and out aspiring actress who works as a maid to make ends meet. When things don’t pan out as Linn hoped, desperation leads her to hatch a plan to rob the home of an ex-boss who she believes is out of town—a move that leaves her in circumstances that are far more dire than those she faced before.

The film is currently in post-production and is scheduled for release later this year. Originally from Sweden, director Daniel Abreu received the Best Cinematographer Award for his film James & Quinn from the Sherry Theater’s 120Hour film fest, a prestigious festival run by Scott Haze (Star of Child of God directed by James Franco) and Jim Parrick (True Blood).

“Lisa is a dream to work with, she’s captivating onscreen – a gifted talent,” says Abreu. “She’s improved me as a filmmaker, truly.”

It is not surprising that Abreu says Jai’s contributions to the film improved him as a filmmaker considering the actress’s longstanding position in the industry as both a performer and a producer.

When she first rose to fame as an actress she was barely 4-years-old– an age where it is difficult for a person to be unequivocally dedicated to one thing. For the following decade Jai continued to land starring roles in a long list of international television shows and blockbuster films, as well as innumerable commercials for brands including Hasbro, Ocean Spray, Hallmark cards, Charmin, Ivory soap, Tang, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds and more.

While many children dream of becoming stars on the screen, the spotlight wasn’t always an easy thing to handle.

Jai recalls, “I was being teased at school and bullied for being on television. I was accused of being a show off and also keeping up with schoolwork caused a lot of tension with teachers.”

Despite the difficulties, the foundation Jai laid for herself as a performer in the entertainment industry in her early childhood definitely helped make her the incredible actress she is today.

“I worked a lot for the Canadian Broadcast Company. I was a guest regular on the children show Mr. Dressup where I had to sing and worked alongside puppeteers,” explains Jai. “We would tape live so that truly taught me how to think on my feet as an actress; plus having dialogue with puppets and making that ‘relationship’ believable to the audience only bettered my craft — like, there I was, staring into a pair of man made paper-mache eyes having a conversation: can you imagine?”

Naturally, as Jai transitioned into adulthood, it took a few years for her to affirm her individuality as a person outside of the spotlight, and really discover what it was that she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

She says “Even after trying to quit and go to University so I could get a ‘real job,’ I missed acting so much, even at its roughest points… That’s how I know it’s my true passion and chosen profession. I love it too much.”

After returning to show biz a few years later, Jai realized that her love for performing extended beyond the film and television industry alone. She was immediately recognized for talents on stage going on to land starring role after starring role.

When it comes to acting in comedies in the theater, Jai says, “I love hearing peoples laughter; there’s a joy in bringing smiles to the faces of others.”

She adds, “On stage you’re not limited by being out of frame if you move too much…. as long as the true feeling is there, you can justify every move – use up the whole stage.”

Last year she gave a riveting performance in the leading roles of Birdie and Wang in the Pulitzer-Prize Nominated play “What of the Night?” written by Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes. The play, which was staged at the Vagrancy Theatre in Los Angeles and directed by Caitlin Hart, was just another opportunity for Jai to showcase her unparalleled talents on stage. The production was so well received that it garnered a prestigious Ovation Recommendation from LA Stage Alliance in 2014.

In addition to “What of the Night?,” the actress has also led several other productions to success with her unforgettable performances as Fiona in “99 Ways to F*ck a Swan,” Masha in Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” at the Irene Gilbert Theater, Ruth in Timothy McNeil’s “Dead Pussy,” Mrs. Banks in Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park,” Titus in “Titus Andronicus,” Kate Keller in “All My Sons” and many more.

Out of all of the characters she has played on the stage, Jai notes her role as Isela Sanchez from Lynn Manning’s play “The Unrequited: A Tale Between Two Worlds,” which was directed by Shishir Kurup and staged at the Cornerstone Theater in 2011, as her favorite to date.

The production followed Jai’s character Isela, a young woman living in a wheelchair due to Polio during the 40’s in LA, as she prepares to marry a man she doesn’t love; and the mysterious events that arise to keep her from betraying the soul of the man to whom her heart is truly devoted.

Today Jai has established a a glowing reputation for her ability to touch audiences emotionally through her portrayal of characters across genres on both the screen and stage; and with several upcoming projects in the works, and the release of Runaway Dream slated for later this year, there is literally no stopping her.

Alex Luukkonen, A Phenom of the Stage!

Alex Luukkonen
                                                          Alex Luukkonen shot by Bryan Wriggle

A great actor is more than an entertainer, more than an artist, more than the sum of their roles. A great actor has a rare form of empathy—he or she is a student of humanity, a philosopher who uses their understanding of the world and the people in it to become somebody else, even it is only for a little while. Originally from Finland, actor Alex Luukkonen has spent his entire life traveling the world, meeting people from Scandinavia to Japan, China to L.A., Poland to London. He has used his worldly experience to become a master of his craft, and in so doing he has worked alongside visionaries of both stage and screen.

In Slavs!, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America), Luukkonen plays the lead role of Yegor Tremens Rodent. Set during the collapse of the Soviet Union, Slavs! explores love and loss in a rapidly crumbling empire, examining the lives of characters who are suffering from radiation poisoning caused by the USSR’s nuclear programs. Rodent (Alex Lukkonen) is a bureaucrat dispatched to Siberia, where he bears witness to the agony of a family torn apart by the effects of the radioactive waste left behind by the brutal communist regime, which has neither the resources nor the will to protect its own people.

In the Clifford Odets’ 1935 classic Waiting for Lefty, Luukkonen took on the role of Miller, a lab assistant who grapples with the moral issues of a promotion he is asked to accept. The new job would see Miller working with, and secretly spying on, a chemist who is designing a new chemical weapon for the imminent war in Europe. Having lost family in World War I, Miller refuses to become involved in what he views as a wholly unethical project. The production of Waiting for Lefty was directed by Academy Award-winning director Milton Justice (Down and Out in America) and staged in Los Angeles.

“In Lefty, I played Miller, an honest to-a-fault researcher who loses his job due to refusing to compromise on his principles,” Luukkonen said, lending his personal insight to a character with whom he became intimately familiar.

Out of all his work though, Luukkonen’s stage presence shined through with unseen magnetism during his performance as Inspector Ruffing, the lead in Ravenscroft, written by Don Nigro and directed by May Quigley (Murder C.O.D., Picture Perfect). The play, which was adapted into the 1999 hit The Manor, is an Agatha Christie-esque comedic mystery. Luukkonen’s character is dispatched to the Ravenscroft manor to investigate a murder at the secluded mansion.

“Inspector Ruffing is a sure-of-himself Sherlock Holmes-type detective who comes to the Ravenscroft manor to investigate an apparent murder,” Luukkonen said of the character, joking that the character’s impressive investigatory skills are dulled by drinking as the play unfolds. “Throughout the investigation, his sureness in his own instincts slips from him at the same rate as his sobriety does.”

After his arrival at the Ravenscroft manor, Ruffing begins to examine the mysterious death of a man who suspiciously fell headfirst down a flight of stairs. Surrounded by a group of five femme fatales, each of whom is a suspect in the death with their own motives, Ruffing begins to dig through the facts in a story that leaves the audience in suspense until the very last minute.

The intercontinental phenom’s talents on stage are just one facet of his incredibly diverse creative skillset, and his ever-growing repertoire of roles has ensured his place in the zeitgeist across cultural and national boundaries.

Creative Genius Jennie McGuirk

Jennie McGuirk
Creative Director Jennie McGuirk shot by Christian Thomas

Award-winning creative director Jennie McGuirk represents the perfect dichotomy of creativity and commerce. Under her belt, she has an innumerable list of hugely successful projects for international businesses, publications and agencies. Clients have included: Mercedes-Benz, BP, Ford, WWF, DHL, Kronenbourg, The Westfield Group, Dove, and American Express.

She has an acute vision for artistic and creative detail, yet maintains a clear focus on the bigger picture. Her eye-catching, tailored solutions for trendsetting brands are executed with laser-like precision and have boosted the success of her international clientele.

Before coming to Los Angeles, the Manchester native worked in London for several years where, among other ventures, she assisted agent Charlotte Wheeler and fashion photographer Nick Knight. Alongside projects for Nick’s groundbreaking online platform SHOWstudio, she was exposed to campaigns for major players in the fashion and music industry, such as Levi’s, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Massive Attack.

McGuirk began working in Los Angeles in 2008, and has become one of the most respected names in the world of creative direction. Her stature in the field is exemplified by her recent appointment to the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the AIGA association. AIGA LA is one of the largest, most influential branches of America’s professional association for design.

“AIGA is the world’s largest professional association for design, and it is a great honor for me to be recognized by such a high-caliber group of peers,” McGuirk said. “As Engagement Director, I will be helping to support and develop the Los Angeles chapter and elevating the LA design community on both a national and international level.”

In 2013, McGuirk won the AIGA (Re)design Award for her Creative Direction and Copywriting, a highly-prized honor from the association, which was established more than a century ago and currently represents over 22,000 designers nationwide.

“I’m particularly proud of the AIGA (RE)design Award, as it recognizes creatives who put in the extra effort to consider all impacts of a design project, including environmental, economic, social and cultural,” McGuirk said. “It effectively raises the bar for what constitutes ‘good design.’”

She received that award in recognition for her work on the Small Gestures Campaign for Sunrise Brands, an apparel conglomerate that designs, manufactures and sells both branded and private label clothing. Sunrise Brands’ partnerships with names such as American Rag Cie, Superdry and Melissa McCarthy for Seven7, have made the company a leading name in LA’s renowned fashion scene. She conceived the Small Gestures Campaign to create a sense of community for the company’s employees, while simultaneously encouraging conservation and an environmentally friendly workplace. The campaign was lauded with praise by the esteemed judges at AIGA and had a tangible effect on the community spirit and reduction of waste in the office.

A seasoned veteran in her field, McGuirk’s role sees her working closely with clients to research, plan and implement the creative and visual direction of a brand’s image and experience. She has worked with clients in many industries, and possesses a rare knack for visualizing not just the needs of her clients, but the trends and patterns of their customers. McGuirk is a master of both the ephemeral and the timeless; able to foresee and target consumer trends with pinpoint accuracy, her talents lend a considerable advantage to those she works with.

“I monitor the comparative and competitive landscape, and reference cultural influencers to help inform my concepts. I then define the individual aspects that will set the brand apart. This ensures the creative solution has both relevance and authenticity,” McGuirk said. “I work to make sure the brand messaging is consistent, cohesive and impactful, in order to create that all-important emotional connection with the consumers.”

A versatile and innovative creative, McGuirk has a particular affinity for the fashion industry and has recently dedicated her talents to developing the brand identity and ecommerce experience for West Hollywood boutique, TAGS. Part of the Sunrise Brands portfolio, with which she was well-acquainted from her prior work, TAGS’ massive inventory of affordable luxury brands features the latest styles from Zimmermann, A.L.C., IRO, Vince and Theory, among many, many more of the most up-to-the-minute designer fashions. Since tapping McGuirk as the Creative Director for TAGS last year, the company has had an undeniable surge in site traffic, record Holiday sales, and content-driven marketing campaigns are flourishing. More importantly than the immediate sales growth however, is the way McGuirk has managed to create a recognizable online presence for the company, making them a go-to designer boutique for shoppers around the globe.

“I have been writing about the incredible offering of brands that the store carries for several years,” McGuirk said. “In 2014, I initiated and directed the brand development, content creation and ecommerce site redesign… The company aesthetic is now more in line with the amazing roster of brands that it carries and I’m continuously working to direct site content and enhance the user experience design.”

In a city like Los Angeles, it takes a tremendous amount of talent to stand out among the creative community. McGuirk has become one of the most recognized figures in design, employing innovative and adaptive styles and campaigns to bring national attention to her clients. Her growing list of clients have benefited immensely from her astounding vision, both creatively and fiscally, and her successes have made her one of the most sought-after icons in an industry that begins at the crossroads of aesthetics and economics, beauty and business.

Canada’s IT Girl, Model Shiva Negar!

Shiva Negar
                             Model and actress Shiva Negar shot by Cameron Rab

If you haven’t yet heard of Shiva Negar by name, you’ve surely seen her face. Perhaps it was on a commercial, or a billboard or in a magazine ad. While you might not be able to place a finger on it, upon seeing her again you may think to yourself, “I’ve seen her before.”

Such is the fleeting nature of the advertising industry, attaching beautiful faces to commonplace commodities. As a model, Shiva Negar has lent her image to many of these brands and products. While the products she represents may be disregarded, however, a beauty as distinct as Shiva’s is seldom forgotten.

It is for this reason that Qatar Airways selected Shiva as their hallmark model in 2012, and for this reason that she has been the face of the company ever since. Advertisements with Shiva representing the company have been distributed worldwide.

As demonstrated by Qatar Airways, when a company is able to convince Shiva to be their model, they don’t want to let her go. The same was true for the Listerine brand, which used Shiva’s face for two years on a billboard campaign for their pocket packs.

Shiva was also selected as a Stoli model for Stolichnaya Vodka, and in addition to print modeling for the brand, she modeled at most of the events Stolichnaya hosted in Canada. Through her long-term relationship with this company, Shiva again has confirmed that her desirability only increases with time.

Shiva has presented many products and brands as a model at live events as well. Some of the most notable of these include shows for Porsche & Fiat automobiles, the Grand Prix, WIND Mobile, Carls Jr., and Nespresso by Nestle.

Additional brands that have featured Shiva in their international magazine advertisements include Apple Computers and Walmart. Shiva has also been featured in print ads for Top Choice Magazine, Dream Body Fitness, and Deca Professional Cosmetics to name a select few.

To complement her tremendous body of work in print, Shiva has also developed an extensive amount of experience in commercial acting. Some of the international commercials in which she has appeared include campaigns for: Doritos, Corona, Itel Pasta, Molson Beer, Zantac, and Cosmo TV a branch of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

While simultaneously working for internationally recognized major brands, Shiva also has the perfect look to fit more artistic and character driven projects. In 2013 she was featured on the cover of the novel “Breath of Iron: a Novel of the Clockwork Agents,” a steampunk/fantasy novel written by Kate Cross and published by Penguin.

Building a bridge between modeling and acting, Shiva Negar was cast alongside Kelly Clarkson in the music video for her smash hit, Behind These Hazel Eyes. The song and music video both went on to win awards on MTV, Much Music, and the Teen Choice Awards. She has also had principal roles in music videos for bands such as Our Lady Peace and Young Empires.

Extending beyond her experience acting in music videos, Shiva has appeared on a variety of television shows and films. In 2011, she was cast as a guest star in the leading role of Lucia on the Disney Channel’s My Babysitter’s a Vampire. The show was a huge success garnering the 2012 Shaw Rocket Prize for Best Program and a Writer’s Guild of Canada Award, as well as a Gemini Award nomination and many others.

Negar has also had single-episode appearances on Combat Hospital, Alphas, Murdoch Mysteries, Covert Affairs, and Hemlock Grove, and a recurring role on Super Channel’s TV show 24 Hour Rental. She has also had many prominent roles in film, most notably, as a leading actress in the feature film Lost Journey.

When considering her comprehensive body of work in film, television, and modeling, Shiva cannot fail to impress even the most skeptical of audiences. As she continues to accept leading roles and top-tier modeling contracts, the world will only become more familiar with her face and name as time goes on.

From Behind the Glass & On the Stage, Andrew Kesler is a Musical Swiss Army Knife

Andrew Kesler
                   Musician and Producer Andrew Kesler shot by Von Wong

Andrew Kesler’s multi-faceted skills as an instrumentalist, singer and engineer have undeniably made him a valuable asset to the Grammy Award winning producers (Al Schmitt, Tommy LiPuma) and independent artists (Milan Boronell, Justin Dunlop) he’s worked with.

The Canadian-born music producer has married art and science to become a virtual Swiss Army knife in the studio. He’s learned to play seven instruments, including bass, drums, guitar and piano, since he picked up his first, the ukulele, when he was two years old. But it’s been his ability to create music from concept to finished product that’s set him apart.

“Part of what makes me unique is my versatility and experience,” Kesler said. “I don’t think it is common to find someone who plays a lot of instruments proficiently, writes, arranges and engineers music.”

Kesler’s worked with some of the industry’s top producers such as 21-time Grammy Award winner Schmitt (Quincy Jones, Steely Dan, Natalie Cole), three-time Grammy Award winner LiPuma (Miles Davis, Joe Sample, Barbra Streisand) and Grammy Award nominee Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry, Aerosmith).

Because of his reputation, Kesler was brought in to be the recording engineer for Al Schmitt in a session he was producing. After the session, Schmitt urged Kesler to move to Los Angeles, where he said his skills and personality would be a “breath of fresh air.”

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native moved to L.A. in 2015 with an already impressive portfolio under his belt, and multiple projects underway. His work with some of North America’s brightest young talents has spanned across a wide variety of genres, ranging from classical to indie-pop.

His album “Dragon Suite” with Homzy/Kesler Duo partner Aline Homzy won Best Contemporary Classical Album at the Independent Music Awards in 2013. He played on Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Dunlop’s album “Black Bay Nocturnes,” which was nominated for a Hamilton Music Award in 2015. Kesler produced Montreal native Milan Boronell’s self-titled EP, which was released in February, and is currently working on the debut album of Mario José, who was featured on NBC’s hit show “The Sing-Off.”

Boronell, an accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist, needed the skills of an experienced producer for his EP, so he called on Kesler. The pair spent countless hours together to ensure they were on the same page before production started.

“My approach when producing is to do whatever it takes to make sure the artist’s vision is realized,” Kesler said. “It’s never about adding my footprint to their music, but rather understanding who they are, what the message is and using my skills to present it loud and clear.”

Kesler used his talents as a producer and a musician to bring their concept to life. His chemistry with Boronell was so good that he played a vastly larger-than-normal role in the EP’s production. Not only did Kesler produce, but he also played instruments, hired additional musicians, arranged parts for strings and background vocals, engineered the recording sessions and mixed tracks.

“I wouldn’t normally suggest to an artist that I be the one to fill all these roles,” Kesler said. “However, Milan’s music resonated with me and he really liked my contributions, which lead to me shouldering most of the load.”

The deep musical bond he shared with Boronell was a great example of Kesler’s approach in the studio.

“To achieve my best work as a producer, I have to find something about the artist I can invest in. I have to develop a connection with them,” Kesler said. “If I think my skills can contribute to helping them create the music they hear in their head then to me that’s a perfect fit.”

The time he spent with Boronell in pre-production was typical of his workflow. But Kesler showed his flexibility when he produced Dunlop’s latest single “Into the Cold.”

Kesler wanted to capture the roots musician’s “creative vibe” rather than record a “perfect performance,” so they spent just thirty minutes playing through the parts and crafting the song’s arrangement before recording. A few hours later they had recorded the entire song, including the vocals, overdubs and beds.

“Because I know Justin’s style, I knew what kind of contributions I could make that would be fitting for his music,” Kesler said. “Knowing this we were able to achieve a ‘live off the floor’ feeling with nuanced performances and interaction. I try to bring this approach to the pop productions I do as well.”

Along with José’s debut album, Kesler is currently producing the second album for his a cappella jazz group Accent. The group will guest-speak at the EG Conference in Monterey, California in May, and is planning to tour Germany in November. He is also producing the sophomore album for his indie-pop group Holy Oker, which is planned for release in 2016.

DJ Kiraz, Bringing Female DJs into the Spotlight

Despite electronic dance music’s quantum leap in popularity in recent years, success for female DJs in the male-dominated industry has been scarce. But Swedish-born DJ Elin Ekdahl, known to most of the world as DJ Kiraz, has successfully carved a niche for herself in the EDM “boys club.”

EDM DJ
DJ Kiraz shot by Andy Thien

DJ Kiraz has played some of the biggest venues in the world such as ageHa in Tokyo and Exchange LA in Los Angeles. Though she’s established herself in the business, the well-travelled DJ is not content with her male counterparts dominating the dance music scene.

“I love seeing other female DJs killing it on stage,” Kiraz said. “I think we need to stick together and support each other more. We need to show that we can, and that we want to, be a part of it, too.”

Music has been a part of DJ Kiraz’ life for as long as she can remember. EDM became her favorite style of music when she was 13-years-old; but it wasn’t until she saw a female DJ take the stage at Club Atom in Tokyo that she wanted to learn the craft and become a DJ as well.

“I was so excited, as it was the first female DJ I had seen there,” Kiraz said. “However, her music selection was completely different from the club format, and she seemed to have a guy helping her out in the DJ booth.”

The experience filled her with determination. She recalled, “That’s when I knew I wanted to prove that girls are equally capable of being great DJs.”

Kiraz went back to Europe to learn the art of the club DJ. She studied under some of the most successful European DJs such as Swedish DJs Mikey Mic and Havin Zagross, and U.K. DJs John Taylor and Graeme Lloyd. Two years later she was on stage at the biggest clubs in Japan including Warehouse702, Club Asia and ageHa.

The gig at ageHa, Japan’s largest nightclub, took Kiraz’ career to new heights. The club’s 2,500-people main stage had been previously played by world-renowned DJs such as Armin van Buuren and Paul van Dyk. DJ Kiraz stood in their footsteps and shined.

“It was nerve wracking, but so much fun,” Kiraz said.

Kiraz has played all kinds of EDM from deep house to hardstyle. But trance has been her true passion.

“Trance makes me happy,” Kiraz said. “It makes sad. It gives me goosebumps. It makes me feel something.”

The loyalty to her joy has clearly served Kiraz well since her move to the U.S. She’s played alongside internationally renowned DJs Simon Patterson, Sean Tyas and Headhunterz at Exchange LA in the heart of Downtown L.A.’s thriving club scene.

The similarities between L.A. and Tokyo took DJ Kiraz by surprise.

“I was told that it would be so different and that I would need to change my style of DJing,” Kiraz said. “But honestly, if we are talking electronic music crowds, I don’t think that they are all that different. They all dance, they all rage and they all have a true passion for the music.”

Kiraz’ ability to heat up the dance floor all over the world has earned her a loyal fan base, too.

“There aren’t enough female DJs out there that can play the way that Elin can,” fan Kelly Sandgren said. “She really knows how to bring great energy to a set and I haven’t seen many other DJs, male or female, who can do it as well as she can.”

But DJ Kiraz’ gender has been just a small part of her story. Her time in the genre as both a fan and DJ, and her love of and loyalty to trance has earned her spots at major league clubs on both sides of the Pacific.

“My style of music is unique, especially for a female DJ,” Kiraz said. “I have a lot of experience in the industry, and I have been able to closely observe the evolution of electronic music from three completely opposite sides of the world for the last decade.”

Outside the club, DJ Kiraz has hosted her bi-monthly podcast on SoundCloud since October, 2013 at www.soundcloud.com/kiraz-1.

The Spanish Actress to Watch, Ainara Landon!

Ainara Landon
                                                      Actress Ainara Landon shot by Russell Thomas

The versatility of Spanish actress Ainara Landon has dazzled European and American audiences alike. Landon is trilingual, internationally recognized for her devotion to her craft, and her work has won prestige on both sides of the Atlantic. Her incredible talent can be seen in major projects such as The Avatars, a Disney production. The show, which is set in New York, filmed in Spain and airs in Italy on the Disney Channel, is known for drawing a huge number of viewers.

The Avatars takes the adaptable Landon back to high school, where her character Jana wins the heart of Robbie, played by Kirk Bonacci. The Avatars centers around a band of teenagers – one of whom is Robbie – whose musical skills have been underestimated because of their young age. In the series the group decides to form an online, pseudo-anonymous band to avoid the judgment of record executives and to prove their talent isn’t limited by their youth.

In the first season Robbie develops a crush on Landon’s character, a romantic dynamic that builds anticipation until the two finally go on a date, which, although ends in catastrophe, doesn’t stop Robbie from trying to win her heart in the second season. Landon described the project as both challenging and rewarding, and said the opportunity to work with an entertainment giant like Disney really helped her grow in her craft.

“Playing a younger character is always a challenge, and going back to high school is definitely a big challenge,” Landon said. “Disney shows are very fast-paced, so it was a really good experience.”

Adept as both a dramatic and comedic actress, Landon’s work has won over audiences and critics in both the U.S. and Europe. Notably, her role in the romantic comedy Stuck to Your Pillow, which earned a Goya Award nomination, the most prestigious award available in the Spanish film industry, and one that is comparable to the Oscars in the U.S. and the BAFTAs in the United Kingdom. Her extraordinary talents in Spanish and Italian productions caught the attention of filmmakers in the States, who have cast her in 8th House, a cerebral drama, which examines the psyche of a woman struggling to recover from heartbreak.

In the upcoming feature 8th House, Landon’s dramatic talents will be on full-display. She plays Paulilu, the lead character’s best friend and editor. Paulilu struggles to help her friend Salome, a poet played by Andrea Goldman (The Sonnet Project, 1/20), after she suffers a nervous breakdown. The film follows Salome as she travels to France in an attempt to win back her married lover. During her journey, she meets eight women who reshape her views on love, femininity, and independence.

8th House is directed by Marem Hassler (House of Saddam, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) and co-written by both Goldman and Hassler. It is a co-production of Viscus Films and FleenKat Films, the creative groups behind several exciting upcoming projects including DU-O and Sprouting.

In Dig Deep, Landon gives an amazing performance in the starring role of Jessica. Jessica finds herself at the center of a love triangle, but the audience soon discovers that the men she’s torn between are brothers. The brothers haven’t seen or talked to each other in years, and when they realize they are both falling for the same girl, the movie swiftly turns from romance to drama as it examines the complicated nature of love and the baggage each character carries with them.

Her international and cross-cultural appeal have made Landon one of the most sought-after actresses in the business today. Her sophistication, ability to adapt to filming on location across Europe and the U.S., and her natural talent for becoming the characters she portrays have endowed her with a Midas touch. Landon strives to gain insight from every performance she delivers, and believes each role she’s played and each genre she’s worked in has taught her more about the art form.

“I think it is important for an actor to show versatility. You always find yourself more secure in one genre or character, but you grow more when it’s a challenge,” Landon said. “I think as an actor you are always learning. You learn from every role.”

Incredible skill and a proven track record for bringing the very best qualities to her characters across every genre have made every project she’s been a part of shine like gold. Ainara Landon will no doubt be a household name internationally as she continues to take the American and European continents by storm.

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