Who works out with Magic!?

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This girl!!!

So..I’m a girl who works out. A lot.

If you live in LA, there’s really no excuse not to.

You can’t beat the weather with a stick and if by some chance, you’re lacking in inspiration, there is plenty of it to be found right outside your front door!

This city is a city adorned, in epic proportions, by yoga pant wearing, cold pressed juice sipping, $18 salad eating, super-model-hikers; tea cup puppies in hand..who may or may not be wearing matching yoga attire.

My point being, everyone in LA exercises. Or, at least they buck up and dress like that’s what they are doing..or about to do or just did do. I mean, you don’t know shit about fitness until you’ve spent $100 on a sports bra from LuLuLemon!  Am I right, people!!??

Anyway, back to Magic!

So, as some of you know I am gearing up for shooting the sequel of my beloved TED! After taking almost two years off from acting, I am now getting ready to move to Boston and partake in some pure Raunchy-Bear-Love:)

As part of my preparation, I’ve been changing up my fitness routine quite a bit. Basically, I’ve been trying every class in LA..well, at least in the valley. (Do other parts of LA exist!?). In the past few months I’ve done my share of hiking, running, spinning, personal training, pilox-ing, Pilate-ing, cardio barre-ing and just about every other ing-thing you can imagine. I love it all! Well..except for running. I don’t love running.

So, there I was going through my routine, feeling all proud of myself when I decided to try a little class called DRENCHED.  I walk in with my usual hand towel, my bottle of unpressed juice and knock-off LuluLemons thinking, “I got this!”

It was right between the moment when Rob Base started BLARING throughout the studio and the moment when Billy Blanks’ 7-foot-tall brother ever so encouragingly held me down into the lowest squat my poor hamstrings have ever felt for what felt like..a good day or so, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye an even BIGGER, TALLER African American gentlemen to my right. A closer look through my sweat stained eyeballs and I realized that this man was Magic Johnson!  You know Magic.  You know, the Gold medal winning Olympian, Basketball Playing Hall of Famer, All Star MVP who played 13 seasons with the Lakers and is considered one of the 50 Greatest players in NBA history?  Yea..him.  It was Magic Effing Johnson and he was SWEATING HIS BALLS OFF! Yea, that was pretty much the moment when I realized that, “No.  No, I don’t got this” and that my little hand towel and one bottle of juice would not prove appropriate for this class.

I fumbled my way through that first class with men and women of all ages, races, shapes and sizes and it was no less than AWESOME! Michaels Blanks is an excellent, if not a little intimidating, motivator and he creates a family like atmosphere while pushing you to your limits and beyond. I have never, in my life, sweat so much in one hour.

I was DRENCHED.  Yes, I said it.

It was extremely intense and even a little MAGICAL;)

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Lessons

“I’ve learned that you can’t be resentful. I’d much rather forgive, accept and do the BEST THAT I CAN and move on. Because, the past is the past and when you reach your final goal and it’s out of LOVE and STRENGTH, you’ve won.” 

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So this happened..

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So, there I was, minding my own business at the premiere of, A Million Ways To Die In The West, getting ready to partake in some after party libations when suddenly, I was bombarded with people requesting my picture and autograph.  I immediately started to sweat.  I didn’t expect this.  This wasn’t my premiere.  How did they even know I would be there? I don’t play off being comfortable when I am not very well, at all, but they still seemed to want my picture. (I can assure you these were not my best selfies!)

Before I could really comprehend what was going on, I had thousands of photos.. of myself, being pushed in my face to sign! In reality there were probably like 12.  But, it seemed like thousands!! 

I suddenly forgot how to spell my name!

What was it again?

Fuck! My handwriting is so sloppy.

I should have practiced more!  This isn’t the Palmer method!  The nuns in the 4th grade would have cracked a ruler over my wrist for such bad handwriting...had I been taught by nuns in the 4th grade. No joke, these were the thoughts running through my brain at this exact moment.

Insanity.

It was then, some sweet little hand reached out and touched my shoulder ever so gently to encourage me to turn and smile at a camera her husband was holding. As I looked down at her, I saw the most beautiful, beaming little Asian face and I realized..these weren’t just random people, they were also fans.  My fans!

I immediately relaxed and told myself to enjoy this moment.  I signed as many autographs as I could before the security guard had to escort me out of the crowd and into the party. That’s something pretty special for a girl from Frankford.

I cannot promise you I didn’t pee a little in my pants.

 

FIVE THINGS <3

So, after taking a year off from acting, I am back!  It’s kind of like that boyfriend you can’t help but go back to.

“I can’t quit you!”

I guess it is like this with anything or anyone that you love.  You go through periods where you think that you have had enough and then something draws you back in and you pray that it works this time!

This time, the thing that is dragging me back in is TED 2..and I’m pretty sure it is going to work!

Filming begins this summer and so I have already begun my prep work.

1.  HEALTH: I have hired a WONDERFUL trainer!  He is not only one of the nicest guys that I have ever met, he really knows his sh*t!  I have always been athletic and played some type of sport so it is important to me to keep my workouts not only challenging but FUN!  If I am bored, I totally zone out.  We have been doing lots of strength training with barbells, ropes and the TRX–which I LOVE!  If you guys are looking to amp up your fitness game and nutrition, he is your guy!  (He also is a hell of an actor and prominent voice over artist!)

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2. CRAFT: Brushing up on my Bah-stin dialect!  Cannot wait to be back east!  So close to PHILLY!!! I have an AMAZING dialect coach and friend, Bailey Duemmel!  She is a speech therapist who does wonders with dialects!  Check her out!

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bailey-duemmel/71/33/aba

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3. NUTRITION:  My focus right now is health and being mentally, spiritually and emotionally focused. Alex has been on me to begin some sort of meditation routine..to this I say, baby steps, my friend.  Baby steps.  I have however met with a nutritionist and have specific meal plans I am following which don’t allow much wine which kind of makes me want to kick something. Hard.  (myfitnesspal.com)

4. COACHING:  Warner Loughlin. Enough said.

5.  Most importantly, FAMILY:  My family is my life and the security, love and joy that they fill me with every single day I open my eyes gives me the courage to not only dream big, but to live big and to also live in a constant state of abundance and appreciation.  I carve out time each and every day to communicate with my family on a deep level.  This isn’t an area in which I have always been the best, but I have learned how imperative connection is within relationships.  Without my family, I’d be lost.  LOVE YOU ALL, SO MUCH!!

Highs and Lows..

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Sometimes I am overwhelmed with inspiration. Not all of the time, but sometimes. And, these are my favorite times. So many of these times, I find what sparks any sort of inspiration in me, is creativity.  Or better yet, the desire to create, or watching someone create or even talk about creating.  Tonight, I watched an interview with Amy Adams on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”  Amy spoke with great difficulty about the tragic and unexpected death of fellow actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Now, unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware that Hoffman was found dead on February 2nd, in New York City, from an apparent heroin overdose. She also spoke of training with Warner Loughlin and of working with Mark Whalberg.  She referenced her fiancé, Darren LeGallo and Bradley Cooper. I couldn’t help but feel some sort of strange six degrees of separation with her through this interview.  Amy and I both studied at the same acting studio together, I have worked with Mark Whalberg and when Darren moved in with Amy, my ex-boyfriend moved into his bedroom left covered in many of Darren’s BEAUTIFUL paintings. Bradley Cooper..well he is just a guy from Philly who is making it happen..so that’s awesome!

It really is an unbelievable thing that happens when you stick with your dreams and you make the decision to never give up on them.  At least in Hollywood, the circles become smaller.  You begin to see the same faces over and over at auditions, you develop relationships with casting directors that actually have a say in this industry and more than that you start to make a name for yourself.  More times than not, I can watch a movie and know many of the names listed in the credits.  While I may not be on a first name basis with all of them, I have either worked with, auditioned for or trained with someone in most films out today.  The closing of this circle, I believe in any industry, begins to happen when you really put your time in and when you really go full force in the direction of goals.

I have learned so much during my time in LA.  I have learned about the business and craft of acting and through this I have learned about life and about myself.  Since this blog focuses on acting, let’s talk about that for now.  I have learned that every audition, good or bad, propels my career a bit further.  Some further than others but it propels, nonetheless.  I have learned that you are not walking into that office to land the role but to create a character and more importantly create a connection with the people in that office. That is your job as an actor. I have learned to prepare.  Most of the nerves subside when I am fully prepared.  When I have created as many details about a character’s life and story as I possibly can, I am able to walk into any room and whether I am reading for one person or twelve network executives, I am able to feel comfortable.  Well, at least as comfortable as possible while baring my soul to a bunch of complete strangers.

Back to the interview. Amy spoke about her craft and how she created her diverse characters. It was kind of a surreal experience to watch this because here I am, a little girl from Frankford watching an Academy Award nominated actress speak about how she does what she does and I knew it, already. I knew it because I studied the same method, with the same coach, with her.  With this multiple Oscar nominated actress. She spoke about working with hugely famous actors and I could relate because I had worked with the same actors!  It made me laugh, in the best of ways, to think about it. 

This entry is filled with personal thoughts and I don’t wish to share them as, “Oh look at me! Amy Adams and I have a few connections we share in Hollywood and so we should totally be best friends weird kind of vibe.”  I share this entry because, I shared an acting studio with Amy Adams 10 years ago when no one knew her name and today she is one of the most well respected actresses of our generation.  I share this because I grew up on a dead end street in Philadelphia where few people rarely venture out of the neighborhood, let alone across the country with a belief that they have something to offer.  I share this because all of this fills me with the promises of possibility and sparks of inspiration. I hope that you reading this can be filled with the same sense of possibility towards whatever you would like to achieve in your life.  It can be done.  It is being done all over the place.  Find your inspiration and follow it. Do not doubt yourself. Really and truly follow it and it will happen.

And, when it does..don’t waste the moment.  Don’t waste your talent. Don’t end up in a bathtub with a needle in your arm, gone way before your time because you..because..

well, I don’t know because why…just don’t.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

July 23, 1967-February 2, 2014

Such a loss..rest well..

‘TIS THE SEASON!

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So now is the time of year where the paying of your SAG dues begins to pay off! If you are a member of the Screen Actors Guild and you are up to date on your dues, then you begin to receive some perks. One of which being a mailbox full with DVD screeners of the nominated films. You are also given free tickets to theaters and access to watch movies on certain websites.

This season I was offered screenings of the following films and here are some of my thoughts.  Short and sweet.

AMERICAN HUSTLE: Made me question what the hell I was doing with my life at 23 years old because I certainly wasn’t winning  Oscars. This movie highly benefits from the 360 degree concept of film direction taken by David O’Russel.  The actors had to be 100% present in every given moment and it works.  Christian Bale has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  His performance in, “The Fighter” ranks as one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE PERFORMANCES, EVER!  I am always impressed with Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper is proving himself as a force to be reckoned with in this industry with each new project.  It was, however, Jennifer Lawrence who captivated the screen.  She is a POWERHOUSE of an actress with the capability to express dark manipulation, brutal vulnerability, sadness and unabashed confidence within one moment of a scene.  She lives the life. She is exhilarating on screen creating an impossibility of taking your eyes off her.  And she is 23.  Impressive.  Watch the movie for her performance if nothing else and you will be pleasantly surprised with everything else.

BLUE JASMINE: Cate Blanchette’s performance should make us all acutely aware that only a streak of bad luck is the breath of difference between our present lives and the random ramblings on a park bench.

PS..I had the privilege of sitting in on a conversation with Miss Blanchette last week. Consider me smitten. This woman defines poise. Radiates charm and intelligence and just kind of makes you want to become a better human in her presence. She shared the intricacies of her craft in a way that validated all young actors; actually actors everywhere indiscriminate of age. She did a service so great to the actor that say Meryl Streep did not. I’ll never forget literally, LITERALLY, sitting on the edge of my seat as Miss Streep conducted her interview on, Inside The Actors Studio, grasping for any tiny nugget of information that could give me the tiniest glimpse into the creative genius that is Meryl Streep, only to receive in turn this comment, “I am afraid to disclose too much about my craft in fear of losing it.” Really?  REALLY?  Then why even do the interview?  On INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO?

Cate Blanchett really gave us a lot of insight into her method of creating characters and what it means to train.  Her advice was invaluable.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY:  Ok. She may never divulge the secrets to her extraordinary talent.  Fine.  You can still learn a lot through observation and this movie only further validates my opinion that Meryl Streep must be an alien from Planet Thespian. Only logical explanation. Seriously..she never ceases to astound me. Such an elegant woman completely and utterly living in the addicted skin of a self indulgent mother is pure perfection.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: DYING TO WATCH THIS..(no pun intended). I am currently in Mexico and haven’t had the chance but had the privilege of an hour of conversation with the ever charming Mr. Mcgoneghy. Later blog about that experience soon to come! Congrats to the coolest snd most charming southern man who ever lived! Challenge me. You won’t win.

**Update**

Saw this.  Loved this.  Matthew Mcgoneghy is at his absolute finest.  I have a deep rooted love for Jennifer Garner stemming from her Alias days but I’m sad to say, I think she was terribly miscast in this film.  I feel like an unknown would have been a better choice.  All that being said, Jared Leto steals the movie. STEALS IT. He plays Rayon with such delicate perfection. Portraying one of the most charming and lovable human beings I have ever seen in film.

12 YEARS A SLAVE: Great movie. Great movie. Made me realize how blessed I am in my own existence. However. I have to say..and oh, how I love me some Brad Pitt but while watching this film I was thinking..”There is no way Brad Pitt is gonna have any kinda part in owning a slave much less whipping one. So, then I’m thinking he’s gotta be some sort of help to one of them. WELL, he not only plays a good guy and he not only saves the day in this film but he also mouths off, in defense of mistreated salves to the actual slave trader in the early 1940’s, as a hired hand. Probably the most unbelievable part in the movie. However..as previously noted, I do love me some Brad Pitt so I will forgive this unbelievable performance…even though he never took off his shirt. The rest of the film is heartbreakingly spectacular.

On the other side of the risk taking spectrum is Michael Fassbender.  He perfected a conflict of brutality and vulnerability in a way that the audience was able to humanize a truly barbaric individual.  He did his job and he did it very well.  I applaud him.

THE BUTLER: Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines in this true story about a man doing whatever necessary to support his family.  Whitaker radiates warmth and vulnerability but is able to balance this with a certain strength in maintaining his household.  I just believed every second of this performance.  Every single second.  I have to give it to Oprah Winfrey!  This woman is an icon.  A woman who we see every day on a television screen, being as close to herself as humanly possible for the past 20 years and I believed her portrayal of Gloria Gaines, completely.  Sometimes, someone is such a big star, or we know so much of their personal lives that it is difficult to see them as anyone but themselves.  Take Brad Pitt in 12 Years a Slave as an example.  This was not the case with Ms. Winfrey and I love her even more for taking a chance on this film.

PHILOMENA: Had zero interest in this film. Zero. Yes, I understand how wonderfully talented Brits are. They must be. They steal all of our work.  I get it. I still don’t like their films. And then..I watched one. Ahh..with absolute authenticity both these actors portray utterly believable and sympathetic characters. Judi Dench is heaven. The heartbreaking enthusiasm Ms. Dench portrays, upon her learning a few words exchanged between her estranged son and her journalist friend, is nothing less than brilliant. BRILLIANT. It is a must-must see and not only because I have an affinity towards the mother-son bond; )

NEBRASKA: OK. My nephew cracked up before falling asleep at the suggestion of the first five minutes of this film. I do believe the son was miscast although I understand they were going for some comic relief to lighten up this black and white film. I wish they would have had more confidence in the other actors as well as the film’s director, Alexandor Payne to provide this comedy. Bruce Dern delivers his best and the supporting cast is phenomenal. I do think the film would have worked in color but I appreciate the artistic adventure. Bottom line: good performances and worth watching.

GRAVITY: I can only hope to look that good on screen while pushing 50. And, if I am ever lost in space, I wouldn’t mind George Clooney being there to keep me company. Those are my thoughts on Gravity.

ENOUGH SAID: Let me preface this little review with how sad I am that Gandolfini is gone. Fuck. He was great. GREAT at what he played. A gangster. Tony Soprano will live in my card catalogue of influential characters as long as I live. And..he wasn’t so bad as a divorcee trying to get back in the game.

Julia Louis-Dreyfess, however, steals the show. From everyone. From Gandolfini, from Toni Collette, from Melissa McCarthy’s husband..even from the pretty newcomers who play her daughter and her daughter’s friend. She plays her character with a perfect blend of strength and vulnerability. To watch her face on screen in all of it un-botoxed glory is refreshingly magnetic. She shines as a television actress but she sparkles on film

And so, those are my thoughts these season. Hope you enjoy:)