Rising Star Spotlight: Find Out More About Tom Gay From The USA

Amidst the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, the American screen industry shifted its gears and moved its production to Australia. At the thick of the action is Tom Gay from the USA, a familiar face gracing the Australian and American television screens during these unprecedented times.

Chances are, you have seen Tom being an absolute joy in the Samsung/Telstra adverts or jumping into a glass of Coca-Cola in the Sensodyne advert. Perhaps, speaking the iconic Australian line, “That’s why I pick Woolies,” playing a father figure in the new Woolworths Discovery Garden commercial.

With his grit and his magnetic attitude, he scored television appearances for Australian household brands, which propelled him to national recognition. His signature curly hair, electric blue glasses, and energetic persona caught many directors’ eyes. The adverts caused a domino effect, which led to his growing recognition amongst the Australian public. 

“Many people have stopped me in the streets, I had an 80-year-old woman come up to me after eating lunch last week and said, ‘I love that ad with you and the Telstra dog.” Tom said, “People would even pose and take photos of the adverts I’m in around the city and send them to me. I seriously love receiving these!”

Due to this unique circumstance, his presence is ubiquitous on American screens, appearing on television such as the H&R Block commercial and the newest iconic game show, Name That Tune, without leaving Australia. Talk about being in two places at once!

His advert appearance in the H&R Block commercial, currently airing in the US, was directed by Micheal Gracey, Director of The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron. Tom said, “It was an honour to learn from such a talented director.”

Tom also appeared as a contestant on Name that Tune, which is currently airing on the FOX network and HULU in the USA—hosted by Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) and bandleader Randy Jackson (former American Idol judge). The show challenges Tom to dig deep into his wealth of music knowledge and identify specific songs for a chance to win a jackpot of cash.

Although you can easily typecast Tom as the eccentric, fun-loving character based on his television appearances, he can be serious when it comes to business and his media career. Not only is Tom an actor and model, but he is also a marketing guru as his latest project is managing the world’s largest inflatable theme park, The Big Bounce Australia, soon to expand to New Zealand.

With his extensive background in fashion and modelling, Tom has showcased us with his modelling expertise on the show Miss Multiverse Australia, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Tubi. He is the co-host and judge with Yolandi Franken. The series centres around beautiful, multifaceted women from around the country through a series of challenges until one woman is crowned Miss Multiverse Australia. 

Tom attributes his success to his partner, friends, and family, especially his mother, affectionately known as Mama Gay. 

His mother is the biggest cheerleader when it comes to Tom pursuing his dreams. “I remember a Runway Fashion Show I was in. From the silence of the crowd, the moment that I walked on stage my mum started cheering, not embarrassed at all, my serious model face turned into the brightest smile!” said Tom.

“My parents have always encouraged me to pursue my career goals whether it was in marketing, sports, modelling, television or film, even outside of the US.”

Despite leaving everything behind in the USA a few years back, Tom still has such a strong connection to home.

The rising star, Tom Gay from the USA, continues to make an impression within both the Australian and American screen industries. 

You can also follow him on Instagram and Facebook @TomGayUSA to keep up with his endeavours.

Producing a Movie, Television commercial, TV Show, or simply in need of a model? Look no further, you can book Tom Gay through his newly launched website to find out more.

Meet The Rising Stars Behind The Latest Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Winston and Sitara Vengapally

Photo Credit: Alex Matt
MUAH & Stylist: Daniel Cartagena
Designer: Polo

Winston Vengapally is an up-and-coming actor as well as a comedian. He was recently seen in the movie: “Big Feat” as well as in the music video of “Be Legendary” as the lead singer’s child version. He is currently represented by multiple agents and managers around the world.

Sitara Vengapally is a 12-year-old actress, and one of the most sponsored kids on social media. She recently booked a guest star appearance on a Netflix hit series (name under NDA) which is scheduled to shoot in a few weeks. She also starred on Netflix’s “Magic for Humans” as well as in the movie: “Big Feat.” Sitara is represented in several markets around the globe and she’s also an Instagram star as well as a favourite to many famous brands. In fact, she has been sponsored by brands such as Chi Hair, Target, Shein, Pat Pat, Vtech, and many more.

FilmCentral Magazine recently did an exclusive interview with Winston and Sitara’s mother and “momager” Meeta Vengapally and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself? How did your kids get started in the entertainment industry?

I am a businesswoman, influencer, writer, and I manage both of my kids: Winston and Sitara Vengapally. They actually got started by accident, I was invited to speak at a business panel at a convention center in a hotel and there was a Disney open call audition happening next door. I was there with my husband and both kids and we planned on spending the night there. As we checked into the hotel, the lady beside us happened to be a casting director and asked me if we were there for the Disney open call. I said no and told her we were there for the business convention. She said hello to the kids and wanted to know if they would like to attend the open call. Kids had a blast meeting everyone and with the entire experience. They caught the bug once they read the short script provided to them and wanted to explore the path. The rest is history.

What do they enjoy most about acting?

Their favorite is the experience of living the life of many different characters. In one project they are playing superheroes with special powers and in another, they are planning a mischievous escape from school. I think the variety of genres (comedy, drama, thriller) keeps their imaginations at their peak. As an actor, you never really know what role will get thrown at you and you just have to be ready for anything. This is one of the things I work with both kids on a daily basis, practicing and honing in on emotions including happiness, sorrow, anger, and how to cry on demand.

They also enjoy the journey wholeheartedly, they have met so many amazing people from famous A-list celebrities to famous producers and directors and then of course their fellow actors. They love to train together with their fellow actors.

What are their weak points when it comes to acting? How do they try to improve them?

I think one of the challenges for every actor is how to quickly change characters, as it requires an entire emotional shift and then finding that place where it feels true to be in the role. They work on this with their coach and by playing a wide range of roles. This is definitely a work in progress and with more experience they will improve their craft.

What are their strong points as an actor?

Winston and Sitara both are quick learners and take directions very well. I say this based on the feedback they’ve received from the directors, producers that have worked with them on different projects. Another strong trait that I think is really amazing is that they tackle every role, character, project, without losing their natural instinct. There are choices that actors have to make at any given moment and I admire how Winston and Sitara allow their intuition to guide them vs. faking something they are not.

What have they learned from the directors and industry experts that you have worked with throughout your career?

They were only 9 and 10 when they got started in this business, I think the key takeaways they have learned at such an early age is that politeness, kindness, and working hard takes you far. They have heard countless stories from famous directors and other industry experts on how they got started and it has a humbling factor on them to learn that everyone starts at ground level. It is so easy to get discouraged and disappointed in this business like you have your heart set on a project, and you work your butt off but you don’t book. One thing both kids have heard repeatedly from everyone they’ve had the honor to work with or meet in their journey is to keep going and not give up.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

The biggest challenge of this business is that you can’t get your hopes up on any project. I continue to train my kids to put in their 1000% effort in each audition and as soon as that audition is over, forget about it. It is so easy to get tied up in thinking if you did well or not or if there was just feedback that can be provided. Unfortunately, in this industry, no news is bad news. You only hear back from casting or producers if they liked what they saw. However, in our case, these kids stay extremely busy. They sometimes get multiple auditions daily so it keeps them going. For us, the challenge is the juggling act, which I guess is a good problem to have.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

For my kids, it is almost always finding a link/bridge to their personal life in one way or the other. Most of the time the scripts are relatable but occasionally they’ll get something completely out of the blue like the character is an orphan living in an orphanage and the script is surrounding those emotions. In such cases, whats helped them is to create a story in their personal life about something/someone similar and living through that. It always helps when they can visualize the character in real life and then work backward if you know what I mean.

What do they do when they are not on set?

These guys are always filming, seriously. They each have so much filming equipment at home. They are also Top Video Creators on IGTV, so they make content for Instagram regularly as well, including sponsored content. Aside from that, they both love to play competitive sports. Winston plays in a Basketball competition and Sitara is in a Soccer competition. When not on set, they are with their teams practicing and playing games. They also love to play with their friends (who they see occasionally, depending on their schedule). Biking, gaming, and just hanging out on the front porch with their pals is still a fav for both.

What has been the most memorable experience of their career so far?

The most memorable experience is definitely their first big booking. For Winston, it was a show for Comedy Central, and for Sitara, it was her project for a Netflix series. Winston met some amazing actors on set and they are good friends since then. For Sitara, it’s also the people she met but also the amazing wardrobe, jewelry, make-up, etc. She enjoyed every bit of it all.

How do you help your children plan for the future? Inside their acting career or out of it.

I love this question. The way I see their acting endeavor is equivalent to any sports kids play. The only difference is that they are working in this industry vs. if it were any other industry they don’t work till they are adults. I see it as they can get bored of this any day. Because they are in business and are learning what commitment, building relationships, and hard work look like I think it’s vital for them to receive ongoing training to stay solid. I have a simple strategy in place that I use with them daily. Each time they receive an audition, I offer them an out. This helps remove the pressure like feeling where they feel like that’s too much work and it also provides a reality check. It places the responsibility of all the work required to put onto them but also makes them think hard and reevaluate their commitment and intentions. Mind you, getting an audition is only half the equation, there is an insane amount of effort and work that goes into executing it successfully. By offering them an out it becomes evident how much their heart is into it. I have to say, I get stronger and more genuine performances since I started doing this.

Actress To Watch Out For In 2021: Introducing The Beautiful Vanessa Davis

Vanessa Davis entered the entertainment industry at the young age of sixteen. Her passion for performing has earned her numerous roles in film and television over the years. She has also studied at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) where she got her degree in Musical Theatre. Soon after Vanessa realised her love was acting and begun studying at Actors Pulse Sydney which lead to her landing her first television role. Vanessa is best known for her role in the much-celebrated Logie award-winning Australian TV series franchise ‘Housos’.

During the 2020 pandemic, Vanessa revisited her role on Housos to launch their latest series ‘Housos Vs the Virus’ that aired last October on 7MATE. She has recently wrapped filming on her series “Don’t Tell My Wife” and is looking forward to starting working with the cast and crew on ‘Our Friend Flint’ and her other upcoming projects for 2021. Vanessa lives in Sydney and is proudly represented by power agency GTE | GLOBAL TALENT ENTERPRISE.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Vanessa to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

My mum says that from the moment I was born I was an entertainer. For me, it all began when I was in Year 10 when my drama teacher told me I had to audition for Mrs. Hangian in the production of Annie. I was a competitive 400m runner at the time with dreams of the Olympics
rather than being an actor. On opening night it turned out I was a natural and received a standing ovation and that was it, I was hooked.

What do you like most about acting?

My favourite thing is getting to become a character that is totally different from myself. There is nothing greater than being able to ‘step into someone else’s shoes’, take on their feelings and emotions, and do and say things that I wouldn’t typically do and say in my own life. That’s an amazing thing about acting, becoming someone totally different and at the end of the day I get to step away and be myself again after experiencing all these new things.

How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer?

I absolutely love both and while there are many similarities, there are all subtle differences. With a TV show, you film out of sequence a lot more, you do this as well for movies but sometimes it can be harder to connect with your character emotionally when you can start Ep.1 then jump to filming Ep. 5. Having to constantly jump between my character’s process is more of a challenging emotional journey.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

One of my weak points as an actor is my modesty, I’m just no good at it… just kidding. Actually, it’s probably the fact that when I’m lacking a sense of balance in real life, this can occasionally travel over into my acting but that is also part of being human and the journey of being in someone else’s emotional ‘shoes’.

What are your strong points as an actor?

I am fearless brave, unique, determined, spontaneous, and love what I do very, very much.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

That the director is the person who decides how the story should be and there are many ways and styles to tell a story. A big thank you to Paul Fenech, Kevin Khachan, Jay Peacock, and Samantha Serhan, just to name a few, for all they have taught me and for being a great source of inspiration.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

Trying to mold yourself to someone else’s vision or criteria is somewhat challenging. There are many traps and pitfalls in this industry however I am very lucky to have great representation and management who genuinely ‘have my back’ and go above and beyond to develop, promote and nurture my career.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

The most challenging part about bringing a script to life is keeping within the standards of the character/script that someone else has created but also adding my own level of depth so I can truly inhabit the character and tap into them on an emotional level.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

I love to shop, my sister, who is an incredibly talented and successful Australian fashion designer loves clothes and especially designer fashion dresses and I guess we share that passion for fashion to some extent. I do work incredibly hard so when I’m not, I take pleasure in the simple things like spending quality time with my partner and our dog Churro, spending time with my amazing sister and my family, and my secret love of pretending to be a mermaid.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Getting on a bus and seeing my face on it and being on the big screen was an absolute insane moment.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

The fans, they are absolutely incredible and truly make it all worthwhile. The support and devotion of Australian audiences and people around the world is incredible.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Definitely, 80’s young Goldie Hawn with a tan.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

Outside of my career, it is the simple pleasures of life… marriage, kids, and family. In terms of my career, just to continue to develop and grow as an actor and be the best possible actor that I can be. My best-case scenario is to be recognised by my peers in some capacity for my hard work and abilities and the dream would be to one day win an award for best actress in a major motion picture. In the meantime, I just want to be a part of making truly great films and television and to continue to do what I love.

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Sorry, but it has to be Housos vs Authority.
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? The ocean because its moving art.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Write, direct and star in my own series/film.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” pack my bags and swim to an island with my partner and churro the dog/
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? That I’m competitive.

Actress To Watch Out For In 2021: Introducing The Talented Brie Jurss

Brie Jurss is an Australian actor, producer, and voice actor who is passionate about connection and story. Brie has worked all over Australia. performing and teaching young people for The Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe & Mashed Theatre. In 2019, Brie produced and performed in ‘FLOOD’ by Chris Isaacs which was an award-winning production a part of Anywhere Theatre Festival in Brisbane. Her array of skills helped get her selected by La Boite Theatre Company to perform a rehearsed reading in September, developing new Australian work – ‘Motive’ by Emily Burton & Steve Pirie.

Off the screen and stage, Brie loans out her voice to companies such as Suncorp and Queensland Writers Centre for their individual campaigns as a freelance voiceover artist. In 2020, Brie and her husband launched their own production company. Imperfect Creatives is designed to provide quality content for creatives at affordable prices. Brie is a proud member of M.E.A.A and currently sits on the Actors Equity branch council.

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Get To Know Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Actress Jacqueline Piñol

Multi-lingual, Latinx firecracker actress and video game veteran, Jacqueline Piñol is back as ‘Rio Morales,’ the mother of Miles Morales in “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.”

Picking up a year after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps, superhero hopeful Miles Morales has gained spider-like powers himself and looks to become the newest web-slinger of New York City under the guidance of his mentor, Peter Parker. Later after his training with Peter is complete, Miles has fully integrated himself into the black and red suit as an experienced Spider-Man while defending both his new home in Harlem and the rest of New York City from a gang war between the energy corporation, Roxxon and a high-tech criminal army, known as the Underground, lead by the Tinkerer. Parker tells Miles that he has to be like his late father and walk on the path to becoming a hero for the city of New York. Jacqueline brings to life ‘Rio Morales,’ the mother of protagonist and hero Miles Morales. She’s a strong and encouraging presence in Miles’ life whose support helps Miles keep his head above water when he feels overwhelmed. In this new story, ‘Rio’ has entered the political race, and is campaigning for office in Harlem against the nefarious power company Roxxon, which opens her up to a whole new world of attacks and danger.

Amazon Prime’s hit series “Bosch” follows the life of Los Angeles police detective ‘Harry Bosch’ who works to solve the murder of a thirteen-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court for the murder of a serial killer. Jacqueline brings to life ‘Detective Julie Espinosa’ a detective that works in the Robbery-Homicide Division of the LAPD.

The Latin beauty was born in Queens and moved to Los Angeles at a young age with her parents and 2 sisters. A determined child, Piñol always knew she wanted to be an actress. While attending Beverly Hills High School, she was busy early on with commercial jobs and landed her first television role as Ricky Martin’s younger sister on “General Hospital.” She went on to attend college at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and continued to pursue her dreams. Her resume grew quickly, landing major roles on popular shows including “Ponderosa,” “Resurrection Blvd,” “CSI: New York,” “Lincoln Heights” and many more. A woman that can do it all, Piñol has also excelled as a voiceover actress in feature films such as BRIDE WARS (Anne Hathaway & Kate Hudson) and in some of the most popular video games including “Transformers: The Game,” “Unchartered 3,” “Quantum Break,” and much more.

Not just a multifaceted actress, Jacqueline is a jack of all trades in her personal life. Most don’t know that Piñol fluently speaks 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and Italian. She is also a passionate animal advocate and works with various charities throughout the states and is currently working on a documentary about saving abandoned animals across the country.

Now a mother, when Jacqueline isn’t busy in front of a camera acting or working with motion capture experts on a new video game, she can be found spending time with her family. She is also a fierce advocate for dogs in the United States which lead to her creating THE CANINE CONDITION: A Dogumentary Series.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jaqueline and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

I was born in Queens, NY to Guatemalan and Colombian parents. Harsh winters drove them to Los Angeles when I was 5 and I grew up an L.A. kid. I always loved being in plays and choir and orchestra (I played the violin). All through school I was involved in the arts. I got my first agent by looking in the Yellow Pages. (I’m definitely dating myself here. LOL) I had my parents take 4×6 shots of me “posing” and I mailed them myself with typed letters and “my autograph” to about a dozen agents. I got my first agent at 13 and started to dabble in commercials and auditioning for TV and film. There wasn’t too much opportunity back then for a Latina kid but I had fun. Going to university was very important to me and the money I made from booking commercials helped me pay for 4 years at Loyola Marymount University. It was after college that I pursued my acting career full force.

Photographed by Annie Shak/Images from Spider-Man: Miles Morales courtesy of Sony

What do you like most about acting?

I love immersing myself in a fantasy written by others. It’s like when we are kids playing house, or doctor or flight attendant. It is an escape into another reality and to me that is thrilling.

How different is it to act in a video game and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer?

Very different. For me, a video game is more challenging. We film motion capture on a stage in special suits with camera equipment on our bodies and all of what we see or touch lives in our imagination. It gets brought to life on a screen by animators and the creative design team. We record the dialogue in a voice-over studio. Having to emotionally recreate the character’s journey from the motion capture shoot days is essential in the voice over recording is another challenge. I guess you can say it feels more fragmented to bring to life a character like Rio Morales in Spider-Man: Miles Morales. When we film TV shows and films, it is all happening in the moment and captured on film that way. It’s a much smoother experience to live through. I don’t prefer one over the other. For me, it’s about the story and the character. Rio Morales has been one of my absolute favorite characters to play. She has so much heart and strength and vulnerability. I couldn’t have asked for better writing. What a gift.

What are your strong points as an actress?

Hmm. It’s funny, I don’t often think about my strong points. I get caught up trying to perfect my imperfections. LOL. But I would say being multi-lingual has been one of the best things for my acting career. I speak French, Spanish and Italian with a perfect accent so that has allowed me to portray characters using those languages and/or speaking English with a French or Italian, or Spanish accent. I have had a lot more work opportunities in various mediums because of my hobby which is learning foreign languages. I speak conversational Mandarin Chinese now too. I love it!

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

There are so many ways to direct. That is what I have learned. And the ones that get the best performances out of me are the ones that know how to communicate with actors. They know how to get what they want from an actor because they speak the actor’s language.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

The biggest difficulty has always been “when will I book my next job?” Unless you are a superstar and being thrown scripts at you to choose from, an actor is always hungry for more. The ups and downs of that part of the journey are a challenge which is why I always have hobbies and other things to fulfill my life. I need to live a full life outside of acting otherwise I would feel too dependent on it for my happiness and that is no way to live.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

Filling in the missing pieces. But it is that very challenge that makes the work so much more fun and gratifying. A character is so much more than what is written on the page. Doing the work of what happens between the lines, that is the sweet spot. That is what brings the character to life.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

I have 6 dogs and a 4 1/2-year-old son. And a husband. Do I need to say more? I need a spa day (laughs). Prior to Covid times, road trips were our thing. Everyone piles up in a van or RV and we hit the road. We have driven across and around the U.S. several times. My hubby and I love to travel overseas as well. We can’t wait to get back to that. We have so much to explore and show our son about the world. I help rescue homeless dogs and find forever homes for them through licensed dog rescues.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Steven Spielberg. In my 20s he cast me in a small role in A.I. as a Tango Dancer. He is such an incredibly talented and visionary man. I was truly inspired to watch him work. He knows every aspect of every part of the whole. That production was massive and I was in awe of the flow with which it was run. Steven doesn’t miss a beat and runs his show like a Tango. Sharp, precise, and to a beat that delivers perfection. I am not even a Tango dancer but he turned me and Jude Law into a Tango dancing couple in a week! And to top it off, Steven learned the routine himself and danced it with me before the shoot. He is a true artist.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Sarah Edmondson. She was one of the main women in the cult documentary The Vow. I have been told so many times that I look like she or she looks like me. Or maybe I can play her in the film adaptation of The Vow…if there is one (laughs). Ya never know.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I want to continue to pursue film and TV roles as they come. I am immersed in my own project right now as a film documentarian. It is called The Canine Condition – a DOGumentary series. I bring awareness to dog adoption for homeless, abused, and neglected dogs around the United States while also focusing on the people and places that work/volunteer tirelessly to improve the canine condition. I hope to continue my journey as a producer and get this project seen wherever I can because the cause is very important to me.

I just launched a new podcast called The Canine Condition where I share conversations with dog lovers and dog experts who are making a difference every day to improve the canine condition. No dog topic is off the table!

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen – SOUL

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Looking up and the stars in the night sky in a remote area like Joshua Tree, Lake Arrowhead or Yosemite. Why? Because the idea of looking at infinity is mesmerizing and calming to me. There is so much space out there, I can’t get over that.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Gone to Egypt to see the Pyramids. I must get there one day.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” go deep-sea diving.”

Actress To Watch Out For In 2021: Introducing The Stunning Anthea Murfet

Anthea Murfet represented the Philippines along with two other Philippine beauties for Asia’s Super Model Competition in 2009 and guested in the Philippines’ local TV shows. Together with the other 4 co-hosts, she hosted a TV show in the Philippines which was shown on the TFC channels. In her first feature film, Chasing Fire, she played the lead role of “Kristine” – this indie film went on to win an award during the Barcelona, Spain Film Festival. She also played another lead role in “So Much Pain” and “So In Love.” Furthermore, she co-produced Trafficked and worked behind the scenes in building the character of various artists during 2013.

She has modelled for several high profile brands such as Bench, Guess, and Kasheica. She has also appeared in various TV commercials such as Royal Thai Airways, Splenda Sweetener, NIVEA cream, Fit & Right Delmonte, Nestle Products, HSBC bank, BDO bank, Lucky Me pancit canton, Coffee Mate, Skechers Shape-Ups, Hush Puppies, Coca Cola, Marlboro, and several others. She’s also the image model for Dr. Jart’s BB Cream campaign.

She has appeared in catalogs for Sundance, Tupperware, Natasha, Boardwalk, Oroton, SM Catalogue, and Zalora and during the year 2018 to 2020, she became the brand ambassadress of Shangri La Hotel, Anchorland, and Okada Casino and Resorts.

FilmCentral Magazine’s Top 12 Rising Actors Of The Year

It’s definitely inspirational to look back at how some of the world’s most successful actors got started on their journey to success. Achieving sustained success in the entertainment industry is extremely difficult, but these 12 inspiring individuals have definitely earned the bragging rights.

Some of these actors have taken big risks to build their brands but now they’re reaping what they sowed. And, in establishing these amazing careers, they have flourished and turned themselves into some of the most sought-after people in their field. But who are they? So without further ado let’s get to know these 12 rising actors who had to claw their way to the top.

Kayleigh-Paige Rees

Breakout actress Kayleigh-Paige Rees stars in the upcoming coming-of-age drama “Faulty Roots.” The plot of the movie revolves around two teens with different genetic conditions who are forced to form a friendship. Rees is set to play the lead character of Lola, a teen diagnosed with depression. If she looks familiar you’re right, she recently played the role of Julia Beaufort in the ITV/PBS primetime period drama ‘Sanditon’, adapted from an unfinished manuscript by Jane Austen, and as Ann in the indie feature ‘Ann Rolls Green’. Kayleigh-Paige also has her own popular podcast ‘Real Talk with Kayleigh’ and she has over 10,000 followers on Instagram.

Joy Osmanski

Joy Osmanski, the alluring, graceful and jovial actor, dancer and mother of three has established herself as one of Hollywood’s hardest-working entertainers with her new series “Stargirl” (recently renewed for a second season) now streaming with new episodes every Monday on the DC Universe streaming app, as well as Tuesdays, on The CW. Joy can also be seen in FOX’s newest Animation Domination series “Duncanville,” which has already been renewed for a second season.

Earning stellar reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, The New York Times, and Collider, the action-packed DC Universe & CW’s “Stargirl” has won the hearts of superhero fanatics, and viewers across the country. Joy portrays the infamous villainess ‘Paula Brooks,” aka Tigress. Best known for her skills in hand-to-hand combat and extensive weapons background, ‘Tigress’ is one of DC Universe’s deadliest non-superpower villains. CW’s “Stargirl” tells the story of high school sophomore ‘Courtney Whitmore,’ who discovers a powerful cosmic staff. After learning that her stepfather Pat Dugan used to be a hero sidekick, she becomes the inspiration for a new generation of superheroes. The new hard-hitting superhero drama also includes Luke Wilson, Amy Smart, and Brec Bassinger.

“Duncanville” centers around the life of ‘Duncan Harris’ (Poehler) an average 15-year-old boy, who is always one step away from making a bad decision. Along with Duncan lives his mom ‘Annie’ (Poehler), a parking enforcement officer, who dreams of being a detective someday and always has to watch Duncan, his dad ‘Jack; (Burrell), who tries to be a better father figure to Duncan than his father was to him, his sister Kimberly (Lindhome), who is a normal teenager going through normal teen-phases, and his other adopted sister Jing (Osmanski). ‘Jing’ is also known as the moral compass of the family at 5 years old.

Born in South Korea, and brought to the United States when she was adopted at a young age by her American parents, Joy had a drive and appreciation for the arts from the age of 3 when she began ballet lessons in her hometown of Olympia, Washington. From the very beginning of school, Joy was moved up from kindergarten to first grade after a few weeks and would be hyper-competitive academically throughout her entire school career. After taking multiple college courses in her senior year of high school, Joy would continue on to university at Principia College and graduate within 3 years with a degree in creative writing and studio art. She would then begin her career as a graphic designer and moved to Boston. After a year on the east coast, Joy moved to San Francisco where she created her own graphic design company. Having continued to dance through both high school and college, Joy continued to work on her ballet and dance skills and would book professional gigs on the side. After seeing a notice for auditions for a local production of “Our Town,” and missing her performing arts side, she auditioned for the play and was cast in the lead role. Following her performance, Joy auditioned and received her MFA from UC San Diego, one of the top three professional actor training programs in the country. After relocating to Los Angeles, with her husband Corey Brill, Joy has continued worked steadily in theater, television, and film, booking roles in hit projects including FOX’s “The Loop,” Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet,” Freeform’s “The Fosters, FIRED UP, and ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL, to name a few.

Mahdi Cocci

Atlanta-based actor and model Mahdi Cocci currently stars in the new BET+ series “Bruh,” a 30-min comedy series from powerhouse producer Tyler Perry which celebrates black male brotherhood. Cocci is also co-starring in the Netflix romantic comedy feature The Lovebirds opposite Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani.

His BET+ series “Bruh” examines the contemporary world of dating, career, and friendship through the lens of four African American men with a brother-like bond. ‘Tom’ (Cocci), ‘John’, ‘Mike’ and ‘Bill’ are four college friends now in their thirties. Tom is a doctor with lady problems, but he is also the glue that holds the group together. As they navigate life, they are learning to stand on their own two feet, while relying on each other for support. Sometimes the love is tough, and the honesty brutal, but no matter the situation they see each other through with levity and laughter. In a society where companionship between men of color is often misjudged and misrepresented, the show depicts a healthy image of black brotherhood, embracing vulnerability without playing on stereotypical hyper-masculinity.

The Lovebirds is a new rom-com from Paramount/Netflix that tells the story of couple ‘Jibran’ (Kumail) and ‘Leilani’ (Issa), who on the brink of breaking up, get unintentionally embroiled in a bizarre murder mystery. As they get closer to clearing their names and solving the case, they need to figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night. Cocci portrays ‘Keith,’ a potential love interest to Leilani who gets in the way of her relationship with Jibran.

Cocci was born in Minneapolis, MN, and was raised by his mother, Stephanie. Education was always emphasized growing up, and Mahdi earned a full Navy ROTC scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. He put his burgeoning modeling career on hold to serve as an officer in the Navy upon graduation. After serving honorably, Mahdi shifted gears and pursued a career in acting. His first professional credit was earned on the TV series, Dynasty, in 2018, and soon followed by roles on other network shows, including The Gifted, The Resident, MacGyver, and more! He currently resides in Atlanta, GA, where he works tirelessly to build his career.

Bahara Golestani

Multi-faceted actor Bahara Golestani is definitely the new fresh face to watch on the new season of NBC’s smash hit series “This Is Us.” A graduate of the world-renowned Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre, Golestani is best known for her roles in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” Jason Koch-directed indie film Beneath The Black Veil and Michael Bay’s blockbuster film 6 Underground.

Sloane Siegel

Charismatic and multi-talented television and film actor, Sloane Siegel (Amazon’s Emmy-nominated “Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street”) returns to television yet again, leading as “Dwight,” opposite Caitlin Carmichael (Life Itself) and Joel McCrary (American Beauty) in the third season of “Dwight in Shining Armor,” (Season 4 coming soon) the hilarious, campy family adventure-comedy.

Recently picked up for seasons 3 & 4, Sloane plays “Dwight,” a modem, 21st-century teen, while taking photographs in the forest, accidentally falls face-first into an ancient, underground chamber, and lands on ‘Gretta’ (Carmichael) a medieval sleeping princess, planting a kiss on her and waking up not only her and her loyal court magician, ‘Baldric’ (McCrary) but all of the medieval villains that have been asleep like her for the past 1000 years. Together, the trio must defeat her hordes of enemies.

Born in Washington, DC, and raised on a Rescue Farm in West Virginia, Sloane began his career dancing hip hop but made the transition to acting at age eight after a chance casting call. At 10, he came to Hollywood to pursue his dreams and just 2 short years later, Sloane booked his best-known role as “Gortimer” in AMAZON’s award-winning “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street”. He has been awarded the Best Actor Award as the Lead in a TV Series by the Young Artists Awards 3 years in a row, has earned the Best Leading Young Actor in TV Award from the Young Entertainer Awards, and has won 16 awards through the film festival circuit. Audiences may also recognize Sloane from dozens of appearances on other top shows including CBS’ “Pure Genius,” & “Partners,” ABC’s “Modern Family,” and NICKELODEON’s “Big Time Rush.”

Carlo Arrechea

Sizzling hot Havana, Cuba-born bilingual actor Carlo Arrechea is a star on the rise in Hollywood, recently making his U.S. prime time debut in the CBS hit TV series S.W.A.T. where he portrayed ‘Gio Torres’, a middleweight Cuban boxer, aka “The Caribbean King.” In the series, Torres is a prizefighter set to win a huge upcoming match when his pregnant wife is kidnapped and held for ransom. He enlists the S.W.A.T. team and works with them to retrieve his wife right in time for the delivery of their first child. The heartfelt role has garnered him much media attention and was one that was especially significant to him as it tied back to his Cuban roots.

A third-generation actor, Arrechea’s career began at the age of 6 when he played the son to his biological mother in a telenovela in his home country of Cuba. He fell in love with the craft and was selected as one of the stars of the children’s show “Los Chicos Altura” (“The High Kids”). In 2002 his family moved to Miami when he was 12 years old and he faced a culture shock that made him rethink acting. He decided to study psychology in college but dropped out after only one semester to return to his true passion. It was during this time that he got into theater and started receiving a lot of attention for his stage performances including “El Solar de la Palangana de Oro” by Raúl de Cárdenas, a work that opened many doors for him and earned him press coverage as the “new face of acting” by People en Español.

From theater, he jumped into television where he began with small roles in well-known Telemundo and Univision telenovelas such as “Más saber el diablo”, “El Cartel 2” and “Alguien te Mira”. He also starred in two short films, “Fate’s Decree” directed by Michael Ruiz and the super production “El Manantial”, with renowned Sam Bradley as director. His career thus began to roll, and his name to be known on the Miami scene. Not long after he was cast in the successful Nickelodeon Latin America series “Grachi” which he starred in for three seasons (152 episodes). It was during this time that he also starred in his first leading film role in the romantic comedy LA REBÚSQUEDA, the highest-grossing Salvadoran film in the country’s history.

After his success in Latin America, Arrechea decided to move to Los Angeles to begin his crossover into the U.S. market. Throughout his acting career, he has starred in several television commercials, including the Johnnie Walker campaign which toasts to immigrants and highlights their grueling path towards citizenship. He is a member of SAG-AFTRA and is an alumnus of the Stella Adler Academy of Acting. As a Cuban-born actor, Arrechea has always looked up to the original Latin Comedy star Desi Arnaz and a dream role for him would be to reprise the role of ‘Ricky Ricardo’ in a comedy series or film.

In his free time, Arrechea enjoys reading, meditating, and exercising, and sees every day the opportunity to grow and improve in all aspects. He also enjoys volunteering for The Ronald McDonald House, where he feeds, plays games, and speaks with children and parents who have seriously ill children or family members in the hospital.

Kirsty Mckenzie

Kirsty Mckenzie is an actress, with Scottish blood, causing mischief in Sydney with an accent that no one can place. She was originally supposed to be a veterinarian – possibly even a surgeon/doctor or a scientist. However, starting her adventure in Sydney changed all of her plans, and she has never looked back.

After literally stumbling onto the set of Mad Max Fury Road as a featured extra, she discovered a world of creativity and limitless imagination and she has been hooked on film ever since. She has won acting awards (Best Actress for Rearview and Best Supporting Actress for Brainless Killers), completed two indie feature films, survived as a lead in a Shakespeare stage play and she’s even had her ass kicked in stunt and fight training (more than once). Through it all, she has been rejected, she has been accepted, and she’s made the most incredible friends and have experienced things she never thought possible while constantly being amazed at opportunities she didn’t think existed.

What she lacks in skill, she makes up with an endless tenacity and a thirst for knowledge (as well as a dark sense of humour). She has been so incredibly lucky in her acting career and she’s grateful to all of those who have been part of the adventure thus far.

Anis Maknojia

Anis Maknojia’s road to success didn’t start with glamour and glitz. It started in Texas, built on a lifetime of hard work, and overcoming personal hardship.

Anis grew up in oil-centric Houston, the son of Indian immigrants. Throughout his childhood, his parents worked hard to provide for their family through their retail business. Anis soon worked with them, taking the time to become an alum at the University of Houston. Eventually, he took over the business, allowing his parents to retire.

Anis has always been interested in photography. He began to take photographs, as a way to express his emotions, as a way to let the pain out. Framing an image became an escape from the hopelessness and depression. Like a bright flash lighting the shadows, the art form became the spark, igniting the path to his future.

In late 2019 and early 2020, he completed numerous advertising projects, supporting Mercedes-Benz, Don Julio Tequila, and Armani Code.

With the mission statement, ‘We are stronger together,’ Land Ahoy! Films were formed at the beginning of 2019. Land Ahoy! aims to showcase multicultural talent from around the world and to bring up-and-coming creators together to create inspiring and thought-provoking works of art. Anis calls the company an extension of his passion for photography, this time with moving pictures and the birth of his desire to become an actor and produce films.

Collaborating with Phoenix 4 Productions and Land Ahoy!, Anis starred as Tony in the short crime drama Artifice while also taking on the responsibilities of executive producer. He pursued the lead role because he saw an opportunity to bring an unexpected quality – his race – to what could have been a cookie-cutter presentation.

Anis is the executive producer for Breathe, which is currently in post-production. The short film connects several stories exploring the darker side of drugs, violence, and religion, again he takes the lead role in the film. Additionally, the two companies are currently in pre-production for With Intere$t, a short film following a mob debt collector into his rising interest in stand-up comedy. Anis will both act in and executive produce the project.

Besides being passionate about creating art, Anis is an advocate for animal rights, world poverty and climate change, LGBTQ rights, and more diversity in film. He holds mental health awareness and finding a cure for multiple sclerosis close to his heart because he has family and friends who suffer from these issues.

Jason Collett

Breakout movie star Jason Collett makes a statement in the upcoming star-packed midwestern gothic drama THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME opposite Tom Holland, Haley Bennett, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgård, Jason Clarke, and Riley Keough, written and directed by Antonio Campos (THE SINNER). Collett is also featured in HBO’s hit series “Watchman” in the episode “This Extraordinary Being” episode, the critically acclaimed episode which was just nominated for eight Emmy awards.

Collett has been acting on film and stage for over 15 years and is also a trained stunt professional. His appearances in television include HBO’s “Watchmen,” in an episode that was just nominated for eight Emmy awards, he’s also appeared HBO’s “Hung,” and NBC’s “Chuck.” His film credits include “Stay at Condor Beach,” the action-thriller “Military State,” and the faith-based film “Inheritance”, starring alongside legendary actor Robert Miano. Jason also played the lead role of Jamie Nabozny in the documentary “Bullied: A Student, A School, and a Case That Made History” for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program. Jason has studied under some of the most influential teachers in Hollywood, including Alice Carter, Joseph Pearlman, Robert D’Avanzo, Sandra Merril, and Sara Mornell.

Collett has extensive stunt experience and has trained in pole climbing, weapons, hand-to-hand fighting, pratfalling, bungee harness, high falling, and ATV riding. Some of his stunt experience has helped him not only in the acting industry, but he has also dressed up as Spider-Man to visit local children’s refugee camps outside of Atlanta, his current hometown, to help bring some simple joy to the children who need it most.

Melissa L. Williams

Having already made waves on BET’s currently #1 ranked new scripted series “The Oval” with dual roles, breakout star Melissa L. Williams, who has quickly become Tyler Perry’s new muse, is now set to lead Perry’s spin-off series “Ruthless,” as the title character Ruth Truesdale on BET’s new streaming platform, BET Plus, out now.

“The Oval,” tells the story of a family placed in the White House by people of power while also highlighting the personal side and everyday lives of the staff who run the inner workings of the nation’s most iconic residence. On the new hit series, Melissa portrays twin sisters ‘Denise’ and ‘Ruth,’ polar opposite roles, both with their own agenda.

Perry’s spin-off series “Ruthless” follows Ruth Truesdale as she’s forced to play nice with a scandalous religious cult of powerful sex-crazed fanatics in the hopes of freeing herself and her daughter. Williams stars opposite Stephanie Charles (“The Paynes”), Anthony Bless (“Tyler Perry’s Sistas”) and Bobbi Baker James (“House of Payne”).

Melissa actually grew up in Oklahoma City as the oldest of six and utilized her family holiday gatherings to put together and star in her own talent shows. A natural performer from an early age, she set out to do as much local theater as she could find in Oklahoma City, eventually heading to Clark University in Atlanta for college to study theater. Williams joined the CAU Players, the University’s drama club, which puts on various productions yearly ranging from classical works, musical works, children’s productions, and one-act play festivals. Melissa starred as Carmen in F.A.M.E. during her time in the CAU Players. Even after finishing her degree, she went to get additional technical training so that he could produce projects herself and applied it to several music videos she produced when she moved to LA.

Tonya Cornelisse

To say that actress and writer Tonya Cornelisse has had an illustrious career in theatre, film, and television is an understatement. From acting in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Broadway, to winning the audience award for her writing at Sundance, to working along with such notable talent as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Cassavettes, Riley Keough, and Kelly AuCoin, Cornelisse has worked in over 40 films big and small. The award-winning actress can now be seen in NBC Peacock’s new comedy series “Hitmen” (SKY ONE) alongside the British comedy duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (“The Great British Breaking Show”) which the New York Times has just included in their “Watching” newsletter as a must-see (“Hitmen” is currently streaming). She also co-stars in the 2020 Sundance FF feature film MOPE, currently streaming on VOD and is also set to co-star alongside Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci in the upcoming Showtime series “Yellowjackets”.

“Hitmen” is the latest comedy series that NBC’s Peacock has acquired from overseas, and the UK dark comedy mixes pitch-black humor with rapid, dry banter between the all-star duo of Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins who star as professional hitmen ‘Jaime’ and ‘Fran’ respectively. Cornelisse stars as the gravel-voiced, ultra-intense American rival ‘Liz’ whom lesbian ‘Fran’ is smitten with. ‘Liz’ occasionally drops by the duo in her hitman-esque black SUV to keep their beef going and to fluster ‘Fran’. The show’s six episodes are each structured around an individual kill and find their comedy in the workaday tedium of contract killing, from debating who is the sexiest character in The Lion King to pranking fellow hired guns. The series has been praised by critics, with The AV Club saying “This tonal fusion of slapstick silliness and wry heart is a welcome re-imagining of the lady assassin trope, which often demands that an anti-heroine look impossibly hot as she pulls a trigger and affects a constant, unflappable cool even in the most dire circumstances.” The series is currently streaming on NBC’s Peacock.

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival indie film MOPE is the true-crime story of the 2010 salacious and gruesome murder of Herbert Hin Wong by his best friend and colleague Steven Clancy Hill by samurai sword on a pornography set. The two friends worked as “mopes” on porn productions – someone willing to do the most degrading acts in the industry – with dreams of one-day becoming stars. Cornelisse stars as the female lead in the film, a porn star named ‘Tampa’. MOPE examines the psychology behind such a bizarre and twisted event and where it goes leaves you rattled. The upcoming Showtime series “Yellowjackets” follows the survivors of a plane crash deep in the Ontario wilderness – both in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and decades later. Created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson (“Narcos: Mexico” and “The Originals”) the series also co-stars Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci and will air on Showtime.

Born in NYC and raised in Michigan, Cornelisse fell in dance at a young age, ultimately taking center stage as a ballerina for the Chicago Ballet’s Jr. Dance Company. Growing up in a family that believed in taking many extracurricular activities, she began taking drama and when asked by her teacher to pick a play to act out, she decided on The Odd Couple with her in the leading Jack Lemmon role. The acting bug had a bit, and before she knew it, at the age of 16 she was admitted by early action to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she went on to double major in Psychology. In three short years, Cornelisse found herself working Off-Broadway with some of the best in New York including Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Arkin, and Thomas Sadowski. She also understudied in the Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, performed in a handful of indie feature films, and won “Best Supporting Actress” at the prestigious Humana Festival at The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. Her career in film began taking off and she decided to move to Los Angeles where she also began focusing on writing. Soon after the move, her comedic short film DOG LOVERS that she wrote, produced, and starred in, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, ultimately taking home the short film award and earning her a deal with FOX Searchlight Digital.

Cornelisse then booked a co-starring role in Nick Cassavetes’ indie dramedy feature YELLOW alongside Riley Keough, Sienna Miller, Melanie Griffith, and Ray Liotta which went on to compete at TIFF and SXSW, winning the audience award at the latter. Next came a role alongside Sofia Vergara and Andy Garcia in the feature film BENT, as well as tv roles in hit shows such as “Parks and Recreation”, “Scandal”, “How to Get Away with Murder”, and Amazon’s “Catastrophe”. Beyond acting, she is an active writer having written two animated projects and two pilots during quarantine alone. She is also a writer, producer, and sketch comedian for the half-hour digital sketch comedy series “The Homemade Sketch Show” which was just picked up to series by Tubi TV.

Photo Credit: Bobby Quillard

Alberto Zeni

Mexican-born actor Alberto Zeni has just made his way to the small screen in the second season of Netflix’s crime drama “Narcos: Mexico.” Heis starring alongside Diego Luna (Gallardo), Scoot McNairy (the narrator), and Teresa Ruiz (Bautista).

It has been over a year since the Season 1 release of “Narcos: Mexico”, which effectively shifted the long-running drug cartel drama into new territory. The first season of “Narcos: Mexico”, was the fourth season of “Narcos” overall and it reset the Netflix series when it traveled back to 1980s Mexico to show the birth of the Guadalajara cartel and trace the origins of the Mexican drug war, beginning at the time when Mexican traffickers were a loose and disorganized confederation of small-time independent cannabis growers and dealers.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Alberto first caught the acting bug when he was 14 years old while working for Parque Plaza Sesamo in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico; a family-friendly destination with a Sesame Street theme featuring rides, games and a water park. Singing, dancing, and playing characters at the park wasn’t his only direction as he had goals of becoming an inventor and even received a degree in Engineering.

After completing his studies, Alberto continued working in the entertainment industry starring in telenovelas such as “Hoy Soy Nadie,” “Trillizas de Colores,” “Bajo el Alma,” “XY. La Revista” and the web series “Vidas Cruzadas” starring Kate del Castillo.

It wasn’t until his mid-twenties, where he decided to make a drastic change, pack up his bags and move to Los Angeles, CA to continue his acting journey. While in LA, Alberto immersed himself in the craft – training in the Meisner Technique and teaching himself English.

The Verdict On Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Is It Worth Watching??

2020 has been a miserable, horrible year and one section that has been struck with countless complications and delays in the movie industry. With so many big titles sidelined to streaming services or just getting outright pushed back further and further, there have been very few pieces of cinematic scraps for theatergoers to appreciate and attend. The world needed a pick me up and bad. Luckily for us and much to our surprise, Sacha Baron Cohen had secretly filmed and completed a sequel to his polarizing persona, Borat; entitled “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Very few knew this film had been made and its release on Amazon Prime took everyone by surprise. Despite his crass signature brand of humor, Cohen’s resurrection of his iconic 2006 role may be just the comedic shot in the arms everyone quarantined at home needed.

This time around, Borat returns to America with his daughter Tutar Sagdiyev (Maria Bakalova) in hopes of offering her as a “marriage gift/proposal” to Mike Pence in order to improve his image with his homeland country of Kazakhstan. What transpires is Borat’s return to the public eye and learning to adjust and foster his unique brand of comedy/public exploration skills in a world ravaged by a pandemic, a presidential house rife with controversy and all around; trying to bring a few smiles and laughs in a movie that no one asked for, but turns out, we all actually needed.

“Borat,” much like Cohen’s specific brand of humor, is an acquired taste, to say the least. His polarizing characters have generated controversy and comedy alike and this new film is no exception to either. While most of the gross-out nudity and sexual humor from the first film is still present, it’s been toned down quite a bit and successfully uses it without relying on shock value to deliver the brunt of the gags. Most of the “story” relies on hitting on-point political and social issues that have been dominating our society since Trump became president, and have since escalated in wake of the all-consuming pandemic crisis. Never have the jokes hit more perfectly nor have they felt so deliciously well-timed than in this gloriously immature sequel. To even speak or describe most of the film’s side-splitting jokes would ruin the punchline and dampen the enjoyable experience for anyone curious to give this film a much-needed look.

Even one of the most well-known characteristics of the character of Borat (mocking/fearing the Jewish community) is given a serious and more respectful lens by the film’s end, which is something I was not expecting in the slightest. The standout scene-stealer is actually not Cohen himself but his “daughter.” A newcomer to the scene who has remarkable comedic timing and creates an absurd and amusingly occasionally touching dynamic with Cohen in some of the most unusual daughter-father bonding moments. But really, it’s the wild reaction and ugliness in certain circles that Cohen exposes that really amplifies the humor and awareness in our society; even during times as stressful as these does this prove how effective humor can be.

My only slight criticism would be the slight feeling of having the father/daughter issue being forced for the sake of making a cohesive story seem sensible. The original Borat film made no effort to disguise the film as anything else than Cohen in a costume and weird accent obtaining wild reactions on tape. Even when the original film did try and craft a story, it was always and rightfully sidelined for the physical and adult humor you expect and hope to see. At times the story elements can feel so absurd (as intended) that their earnest take on it works to the film’s advantage, but sometimes, it drags on too long and lingers a bit more than it needs to be. You should always stick to your talents and not strive to be something else, especially when you’re making a mockumentary parody film from a character from over 15 years ago.

Overall, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is an early Christmas present that the world can and should enjoy if you happen to have the means of seeing it. All of the flaws and fumbles of the original film have been toned down or updated with far better, more on point relevant humor that perfectly encapsulates people’s collective thoughts regarding this year’s disastrous turnout. It hits practically every mark, reflecting so much back at us through an ingeniously crafted comedic lens and even manages to grow and expand beyond the limitations of its predecessor. The sappy family story didn’t need as much attention as it thought it did but it’s a minor gripe at best. Love Cohen, hate him, trash his movies; whatever you want, this one is no joke.

I give “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” 3 stars out of 4.

Editorial credit: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

Meet The Man Behind The Latest Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Deven Powers Aka Mr. Hollywood

Born Deven Lavale Purifoy on February 27th, 1983 in San Bernardino California; Deven Powers aka “Mr. Hollywood” is the 10th child out of 14 children. His father was a pastor and his mother is an amazing gospel singer. Deven started playing the drums at just 9 years of age, and at the age of 13, he was given his very first drum set by a member of the legendary Gap Band. At age 13, he also became California’s state drummer in his church congregation. When he became a freshman at Rancho Verde High School in the city of Moreno Valley, California, Deven joined the marching band which eventually went on to win several championships.

Fast forward to today, Deven Powers aka “Mr. Hollywood” is currently the host of the LA Live Film Festival from 2018 through to 2020. He’s also the founder and CEO of the Black Film Festival in Los Angeles. When it comes to the high life, Deven is definitely living up to it, hence you can catch him on the cover of High Lyfe Magazine’s highly anticipated Hollywood issue. When Deven’s not gracing the cover of magazines or hosting red carpet events, he’s hosting the “Mr. Hollywood TV show” which airs on AT & T, channel 99 in U-Verse, and channel 32 in Charter Spectrum.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Mr. Hollywood to discuss his journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

My name is Deven “Mr. Hollywood” Powers, I was born and raised in Southern California and my father was a pastor and my mother is a Legendary Gospel Singer. I got my start in the entertainment industry doing ‘extra’ work in Hollywood for various TV shows, movies, and commercials.

What do you like most about acting?

I love the challenge of jumping into different roles.

How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer?

Well, it’s very different. You see, acting on a TV series is more on the spot with less time to prepare and get into character… In movies, you have more time to prepare and practice the script and perfect the character to nail the scene spot on. I love acting in movies because I love to take my time a execute the part given to me perfectly!

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

My weak point is the fact that I’m a perfectionist and because of that I get over-anxious and this anxiousness can lead to anxiety. It’s kind of a gift and a curse. I want everything that I do in life to be done perfectly. What I do to improve them is the fact I’m learning to become more patient through prayer and meditation. As an actor I’m pretty versatile – I can take on any character and any role at any given moment

What are your strong points as an actor?

My strong points as an actor are my work ethic and my ability to jump into character at the drop of a dime.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

Working with directors in Hollywood, I’ve learned first, and for most that you have to have tough skin working in this business; you have to develop a strong unmovable belief in yourself. Regardless of how many doors get closed, you have to move on and still continue to progress

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

The limitations others try to put on you… Sometimes casting directors try to typecast you and say you only fit this type of a role. Another difficulty actors and artists in general run into is finding the right agent and manager.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

The only difficulty I find about bringing the script alive is catching the beat of the character and the rhythm of the script. Once I get a feel it’s game over – I can basically get creative and make this character real.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

Well I’m an artist so when I’m not filming I’m writing movie scripts, recording music, writing poetry, working out, and I’m contemplating new business ventures.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I would have to say working on the Bad Boyz of Hollywood working alongside Khalil Kharraz if you guys get a chance go check out his latest movie “Redemption Day” where he did the entire fight choreography for that project along with The Bad Boyz of Hollywood.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

That’s a great question. Definitely my friend Khalil and I would have to say my business partner and my team at Big House LA.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

I would have to say either Jamie Foxx or Michael B Jordan either actor would get the job done.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

Well, I plan on taking over Hollywood and the music industry in 2021! Outside of that, I plan on starting a Street Basketball League this Summer called the NSBA TOUR. I also plan on building our Bighouse LA brands Discover My Music Radio, Black Film Festival Los Angeles, Mr.Hollywood Magazine, and Ms.Hollywood Magazine not to mention the Mr.Hollywood TV Show that’s coming soon to Amazon.

The Verdict On “The Wretched”: Is It Worth Watching??

Monster movies tend to stick to the old tried and true beasts of horror lore: vampires, zombies, demons, ghosts, and even a werewolf every now and then. But the one featured creature you rarely see addressed these days are witches. Now I’m not talking about broomstick flying, cackling witches who flaunt spells like spitballs and carry black cats, I’m talking old school; truly horrific and gruesome witches who feast on children and give you proper nightmares like the rest of those aforementioned Halloween horrors do. With a very brief plot description and an unusual looking poster, I wasn’t sure what “The Wretched” had to offer or what kind of setting or take on witches it would attempt. What I discovered was that there truly was more to this gruesome witch tale than I (and I think a lot of other people) gave it credit.

Struggling to deal with his parents’ divorce, Ben (John Paul Howard) goes to live/work with his dad (Jamison Jones) at the boat docks and tries to figure out how he’s going to deal with it. But things get complicated when he comes across a 1,000-year-old witch who murders a woman (Zarah Mahler) and then wears her skin like a suit. Now children are disappearing from the area and no one seems to remember them or know who they are. Ben and his new friend Mallory (Piper Curda) have to dig deeper and uncover the truth about this witch in order to save many lives and break whatever spell she has on this town and its people before it’s too late for the kids.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this movie, I expected less thrills, more slow-burn kind of stuff, and an older period setting with a more disturbing looking (albeit still traditional) kind of witch. I was pleasantly surprised to see “The Wretched” clearly has more to offer than you’d expect. Starting things off with a gruesome and chilling opening sequence, “The Wretched” displays inventiveness in utilizing the witch’s powers, how it moves, what it can do, and even keeps you guessing how many there actually might be. No jump scares are used here, just a good old fashioned creepy atmosphere and palpable tension that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You never know when or in what way the witch will appear and that keeps the surprises coming at you when you least expect it. I was definitely hooked on this.

Despite the horrific notion of witches murdering/eating people (especially young children), the film never gets too bloody and barf-inducing you want to stop watching but it leaves you with enough visible and unseen horrors that just the sounds and implications are enough to make your face cringe. The backstory is never fully explored and honestly, it doesn’t need to be. Were given enough to put the pieces together ourselves and it helps aid in the unpredictability in this witch’s powers and how she could appear next time you see her. In a way, this movie comes off as a more supernatural version of “Disturbia” or “Secret Window”; following the evil in question through the eyes of a curious teenager who keeps digging where he shouldn’t.

Sadly as a protagonist, Ben falls flat because well…he is flat. His uneasy feelings due to his parents’ divorce and his rebellious attitude don’t come off as interesting or even that sincere. He’s just kind of there personality-wise and while he has moments with Mallory (the most charming and delightful character in the movie I might add), he’s just not enough of a person to be engaging. The film’s pacing and abundance of surprising developments do more for the film than the cast ever does, though Zarah Mahler deserves recognition for doing a perfect 180 and turning into an absolutely terrifying and intimidating possessed victim. But back to the pacing, the film just moves along at a solid pace; never lingering too long or rushing off too quickly. Ben doesn’t do stupid cliché horror movie victim mistakes, he tries to play this wisely and even his father proves not all parents in horror films are disbelieving idiots and plays a significant role in wrapping things up in the climax.

Overall, “The Wretched” is a fresh bucket of blood for Halloween horror fans to sink their teeth into. Its lead character isn’t particularly deep and I feel our leading lady is criminally underused, but the scares are effective and chilling, the monster’s design and execution is superb and it kept me legitimately hooked and surprised from start until finish and I cannot recall the last time a had that level of investment in a horror movie. This is worth a watch, maybe even a couple of watches; definitely something different.

I give “The Wretched” 2 ½ stars out of 4.