Tag Archives: Model turned Actor

Top Model to Leading Lady On Screen: Ashiko Westguard

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Ashiko Westguard shot by Stephanie Daniel

 

Hollywood has no shortage of beautiful actors who first began their careers in the public eye as models. Ashton Kutcher, Cameron Diaz, Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel all come to mind, and right along with them is Canadian beauty Ashiko Westguard. Growing up in the small town of Innisfil in Ontario, Canada, Ashiko was scouted by Next Models at the age of 18 and that is when everything really began taking off for her.

About signing with Next, Ashiko recalls, “They were amazing, one of the best if not the best. It was this hot fresh agency that had an amazing list of models. I was always told since I was so short not to expect to travel and do major runway shows or campaigns or even to travel to certain markets. But that did not faze me. I knew I was going to do all those things.”

And she did.

As a model Ashiko has been featured in massive campaigns for Honda, Garnier, L’Oreal, Lancome, Dita Von Teese Lingerie, Triumph, Nivea, Coca Cola, Revlon, Nike, Redkin and many other household name brands.

Her career as a model has taken her around the world several times over. An exotic beauty by anyone’s standards, Ashiko knows just how to use her looks and express emotion with her eyes to meet whatever a client needs; but even before becoming a model, Ashiko’s sights were set on acting.

She explains, “As a child I always dreamed of being an actress. My family had no idea what to do with me but my mother did enroll me into a theatre group. I had such a hard time overcoming being shy yet I wanted to be an actress more than anything. I laugh now at how silly that sounds but somewhere, somehow, I got over being shy.”

Ashiko first began honing her skill as an actress in the theatre in her youth, and despite having an incredibly busy modeling career, she has always found the time to take acting classes in order to perfect her craft.

One of Ashiko’s first on screen roles came in 2007 when she guest starred as Beverly on Syfy’s Leo Award winning action-packed drama series “Painkiller Jane,” where she acted alongside award-winning actress Kristanna Loken (“Burn Notice,” “The L Word”), Noah Danby (“Bitten,” “Defiance”) and Stephen Lobo (“Continuum”).

Shortly after “Painkiller Jane,” Ashiko landed a role on the series “Kaya” acting alongside Danielle Savre from “Heroes” and “Hollywood Heights,” Mike Dupod from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Man of Steel” and Cory Monteith from “Glee.”

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The role she has become best known for over the years however, was the critical role of Eve in the sci-fi crime thriller “A Dark Matter” directed by James Naylor (“Under the Bridge”).

Produced by Film Folks, “A Dark Matter” follows Angus, played by Daniel Briere (“The Parent Family,” “Antony and Cleopatra”), a talented but tormented artist whose girlfriend Laura, played by Shauna Bradley (“Hemlock Grove,” “Nikita”), leaves him without warning, the main catalyst in a chain of events that ultimately lead him into a dark underworld where he encounters a demonic mix of unsavory characters.

In search of answers to why she left, Angus discovers that Laura harboured a dark secret that ties her to The Albino, played by David Tompa (“The Conspiracy,” “The Returned”) and Ashiko’s character Eve.

While Eve at first appears to be a tool of seduction used by The Albino to distract Angus from his missing girlfriend, over the course of the film we begin to realize that devious Eve may just be the mastermind behind Angus’ slow descent into insanity, and the person who murdered his girlfriend.

Playing the femme fatale character Eve was very interesting. She was so vulnerable and dark and beautifully complicated. I feel like during the filming I really took on Eve in my life. I was happy to finish filming though. Eve was evil and used people as pawns… It was hard to be her for a few weeks… especially with consecutive night shoots,” explains Ashiko.

Regardless of the challenges though, in the end Ashiko’s portrayal of Eve was the standout performance of the entire film, unforgettable to say the least. The raw energy she brought to her character, and the way she seemed to effortlessly exude Eve’s dark and evil nature was enough to send a shiver down the spine of even the most jaded viewer, which makes it easy to understand why the actress was happy to release her character back into the story and return to her charismatic and bubbly self after the filming was over.

 

 

In addition to making her name known in film and television, Ashiko has also been a featured actress in several music videos over the years, including Crazy Town’s video for their hit song “Come Inside” off the album “The Brimstone Smugglers.” Released last year the music video for “Come Inside,” which garnered thousands of views on YouTube and was featured on The PRP, Pop Deflators, Metal Nerd and several other high profile music outlets, reveals Ashiko once again as an undeniably sexy vixen with a dark side on screen.

One area where Ashiko has brilliantly blended her work as a model and an actress has been as the lead in commercials, and she’s done many. From major roles in globally released commercials for Axe Deodorant to nationally released commercials for Honda, May Company, Workopolis and Leons in Canada, and those for Sony Ericsson and Nikon, which aired nationally across the U.S., Ashiko has proven her skill to immediately captivate an audience and leave a memorable impression in their minds every time.

 

 

In 2014 Ashiko was the lead actress in Old Spice’s ‘head to toes’ stairs commercial, which aired thousands of times across the country and followed a robot who claims to love human women, so naturally he uses Old Spice to smell more like a human man.  Not only does Ashiko look dolled up and dazzling in the commercial, but she plays her role so believably anyone would believe that robot or not, Old Spice products are enough to get the girl of their desires.

With beauty, charm and an impressive range on screen, Ashiko Westguard is one model turned actress that we cannot help but love.

 

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From the Pages of Magazines to his Most Recent Film “Il Sonnambulo” Rob McLoughlin Continues to Turn Heads

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Actor Rob McLoughlin featured in an ad for Spoke Pants

 

For English model-turned-actor Rob McLoughlin, the ability to embody a character comes genuinely and naturally. With a scope of work ranging from commercials to live theatre to feature films, this London based performer is grabbing the attention of industry leaders worldwide with his captivating charm and organic believability. Enthralled by the opportunity to get into the heads of characters both real and made up, McLoughlin has delivered memorable and unparallelled performances over the last six years that are enough to impress even  the toughest of critics.

McLoughlin’s roles have been as diverse as they have been challenging. He has played everything from the nerdy, hyperfocused computer technician in BBC’s Micro Men to a cheeky and daring journalist in the award winning feature film Il Sonnambulo and a hostage-taking, weapon-wielding gangster in Sam Walker‘s black-and-white noir film, Suspect 13.

While he currently works predominantly in film, McLoughlin’s roots began in the live theatre, where he worked for eight years at the Royal Opera House in London, where in addition to acting, he brought his stunt and combat skills to the stage.

“I’ve worked with world renowned director David McVicar many times,” McLoughlin recalls of his time at the theatre. “One of the things I worked with him on was Le Nozze Di Figaro, or, ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ which won several awards. We actually devised an opening scene during the overture which has never been done in the two hundred years of its production, so there’s a little bit of history there.”

With talent extending from the stage and onto both television and film screens across the globe, McLoughlin demonstrates his versatility and depth of skill wonderfully in Il Sonnambulo. Having already won “Best Horror Film” at Vancouver Web Fest and both “Best Cinematography” and “Best Director” at Seattle Web Fest, Il Sonnambulo is sure to win even more awards in 2016 as it is slated to travel to Buenos Aires Film Fest, Toronto Film Fest, New Media Film Fest and Montreal Web Fest where it has been chosen as an Official Selection. You can get a taste of the film through the trailer below:

 

 

The film, whose Italian title translates to “The Sleepwalker,” is gaining momentum in the film festival circuit for its macabrely gripping storyline. The feature tells the tale of photographer Atticus Hurst, a distraught though numb father of a missing girl, as he teams up with reporter and all around badass Roberto Aurelio to chase the scent of Il Sonnambulo, an ominously threatening boogeyman-like murderer who has been taunting Atticus over the past twenty years.

Proving that nothing is out of his wheelhouse, McLoughlin breathes life into the complex and peculiar character of the reporter superbly and naturally.  Before the shoot, McLoughlin sat down with director Doug Rath to develop more of a backstory for his character. While the backstory would never be directly mentioned in the film, the work that goes into character development bleeds through into every scene of the film and is instrumental to the overall success of the project. In fact, it is in large part due to McLoughlin’s dedication to the project that it is being seriously considered by many networks in the United States to further develop into a series.

 

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Still shot of Rob McLoughlin as Roberto in “Il Sonnambulo”

 

Able to pull from his own experiences, McLoughlin relates to his character, comparing Roberto’s dichotomy to that of an actor feigning confidence. “Roberto thinks that Atticus is completely mad, that this is all some spooky crap that Atticus has made up after too many absinthes. However, it’s all too enticing and could get him back on track professionally. I mean, who knows that feeling better than an actor right? Pretty much everything we do is a shot in the dark.”

It is this very confidence, willingness to take risks, and belief in the art that has gotten McLoughlin to where he is today. Never type-cast, McLoughlin proves his range and flexibility as he tackles role after role, some serious, some funny, and everything in between. For instance, he played a hostage-taking, bar-robbing, roughed-up gangster in Suspect13 and, while he says it’s “fun to play the bad guy,” his talents don’t end there. McLoughlin makes for a genuine and believable hopeless romantic in the six-part Mark’s and Spencer Valentine’s Day commercials.

“I can scrub up ok,” McLoughlin says with a smile. “I can don a suit or scruff up quite easily for a role. My normal style is jeans and a t-shirt. I’m witty, I’m intelligent; I was given a good brain and I like to use it. I’m relaxed. Maybe too much sometimes but I’m also professional. I do my job to the best of my abilities every time.”

Stopping at literally nothing to live out his dream, McLoughlin can be seen in a recent Audi commercial, strapped to a car travelling at 80mph down an airport runway in a hundred degree heat, reading a newspaper. “That was so much fun,” McLoughlin admitted, “I wanted to do it all week.”

With a passion met only by his charisma, talent, and motivation to succeed, Rob McLoughlin is an actor whose portrayals will not soon be forgotten.  The ability to take viewers on an emotional journey while maintaining their credibility and telling a story is truly the mark of a good actor, and McLoughlin demonstrates this with modesty and enthusiasm every single time.