Meet The Rising Star Behind The Latest Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: The Incredible Ruensito

Growing up in between the favelas of Mexico City and Michoacán de Ocampo, this Latin artist got rhythm in his veins. Selena, Thalia, and other Latin pop stars helped him survive his surroundings and dream of stardom like his worldwide idols. Dancing in front of the mirror since he was 3 years old, a career in entertainment was the obvious choice for this loud kid.

Now living in Beirut, in the heart of the Middle East, this happy-go-lucky artist is creating a unique mix of hot Latin and chill Mediterranean vibes and building bridges between cultures by telling the stories of a global community united through his music.

As 2020 went down in history, it seemed the more the hardships, the more Ruensito was determined to be creative and push back the negativity. The year saw Ruensito’s dream become reality after the launch of his first song “Me Corono” which rose to the top quite fast and positioned in the Top #4 Latino chart on Anghami. The song also went around the world on Spotify accumulating more than 250 thousand reproductions around 85 countries. An amazing international audience that during the same year also welcomed his first book “Seven Moms” and that now is ready to receive all the love put on his latest song “Mi casa es tu casa.”

“With a laid-back vibe and acoustic sound, “Mi casa es su casa” it’s a reminder for us of what being home feels like” – Ruensito.

The song is a catchy Latin anthem characterized by traditional mariachi trumpets and mellow acoustic guitars. It’s an invitation for everyone to celebrate Mexican culture, its traditions, and its people, and it will transport you all the way to the warm streets of Ruensito’s busy town where you will shout ¡VIVA MEXICO!

What is this artist about? Love, friendship, and a good time wherever you may be on earth. If you want to know where that inspiration drives for life this versatile artist read between the lines on his blog “My Life Story” on www.ruensito.com.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Ruensito to discuss his journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:

How did you get started in the music industry?

It all started 10 years ago while I was still in school, I released my first single “Adorarte” accompanied by a music video that went viral on YouTube, at the dawn of the social media age.

But even though it did well I decided to take it down after not having the strength to deal with some bullying comments around it. I had wrongly focused more on the negative comments than the actual positive ones, and it literally put a stop to my dream of a music career. Instead, I focused on what I knew I was good at, which back then was studying. And it wasn’t till May 2020 during the lockdown that I decided to stop the little voices in my head and go for it with my first song “Me corono”. That’s when the real fun began.

How were you actually discovered?

Funny story, but I think that during the Corona lockdown last year while I was forced to fill my time between four walls, I started concentrating on singing again. I just couldn’t stop thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and my dreams of singing. So after some work, in collaboration with La Kate studio in Mataro Barcelona, we brought to life my first single “Me corono”.

This is when the magic happened. This song brought so much joy to my life. It travelled to more than 90 countries and rose to the top quite fast on Anghami, TV shows, radio, billboards and it put me in the spotlight not only in Mexico but in Lebanon too.

What do you like the most about being a singer?

I am a storyteller, and I believe that each song is a story to be shared. And I’m just in love with the whole process. From the excitement of having the initial idea of the song, to how it develops and then completed and recorded – It’s unbelievable! The excitement of recording in the studio… this excitement just increases especially if there is a video clip involved. The whole experience is like being high 24/7. You never get tired and you feel just like a kid having fun. The whole creative process gives me life, it’s really something that fulfills me in every way.

Can you tell us about your latest release?

Well If you haven’t been cheated on before, with this song you’ll know exactly how it feels like. CIEN X CIEN (100 x 100) is a Latin Urban / Romantic Ballad track that talks about love’s hurtful side. It’s about a guy who just got cheated on and goes through a rollercoaster of emotions. First the anger, and then to an “I don’t care” “ok it’s fine”, ending up asking for forgiveness to get his love back. It’s a whole journey not only in the lyrics but also in the melody. You go from the rock to the soft chill beats to a delightful melody that slows down the whole track and then takes you back to the ecstasy of our beating hearts.

What sort of person is going to love your music?

My music is for everyone who’s young and fun. But if I have to label it then I can tell you that I connect with anyone who loves life, lives life to the fullest, dreams big, and loves to dance and laugh. You know the saying the best things in life are free? That’s how it feels whenever you listen to my music. I think that my music can speak to anyone who has no judgment and no boundaries – they live their lives without giving a sh*t about what others are doing with their own. How do you call them? Free spirits? Yeah, free spirits.

What inspires you to be creative?

Having fun! Most of the time I feel more creative when I’m just having fun, laughing, and being free. Also traveling is another thing that helps my mind to get out of its cage. Reading, people… inspiration can come from anywhere. We just have to pay attention.

Is there anything special that you do to get into a creative mindset?

I don’t have any creative process I follow. Things just pop up in my head. But I like to feel; whichever emotion I’m feeling, I try to feel it to the max. By doing this, by never repressing my emotions, I learned how to completely let myself go and live in the moment. That is how I connect with everything around me, with my true self. It’s a double-edged sword, but it’s also the mark of a creative artist.

What message, if any, do you try to put into your work?

Positivity, love, and kindness. I know every person out there has their own struggles, even If we don’t get to see them. And I know from my own experience that behind every smile there is plenty of sad moments, hurt, and unhealed wounds, so I try to be a kind human being.

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

So far, each moment of this career is coming with different surprises. Each song has brought different experiences that I try to live to the maximum. I’ve met new people, connected with fans, and discovered how much Latin music is really loved around the world. But most importantly, each song has taught me a lot… and for me, this is something memorable – constant learning and constant growth.

Do you ever find yourself unable to express your creativity to the fullest? What kinds of things inhibit you?

Yes, I’m no different than any person, insecurities are present all the time. But day by day I try to fight them and get more secure in my artistic decisions. I also try to surround myself with people that love me and that I trust. So in them, I also find the strength required sometimes to overcome fear.

Who is your greatest influence?

The love of my life. Being in a relationship with the most incredible person has been by far my greatest influence. It has taught me about the real meaning of love, partnership, comprehension, support and so many more values that mold me to be the human being I am now. And the best thing is, I still have plenty of time to learn from it.

Do you feel that you chose your passion or did it choose you?

I think it goes both ways. Singing has been a dream of mine since I can remember, it chose me a long time ago. But life circumstances were always getting in my way every time I tried to follow my dream and that kept me apart from it. But now, I’ve decided to choose it too. We finally merge and coincide in time. Because now I’ve come to realize that I have no other option but to do whatever it is that makes me happy.

If you hadn’t chosen your field, what would your alternate field have been?

I’m DRAMA personified. Acting absolutely!

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

For now, I wanna keep exploring the arts. Keep writing and singing and at some point, I want to direct a music video. Who knows? Even do a movie adaptation of my book.

The ‘Lightning Fast’ round:

What do you consider beautiful and why? Sunset… it means that another day will come tomorrow.

What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Acting. I used to do musical theater but I stopped and now I still dream of being in a movie or a series and hopefully one day I’m going to be able to do it.

Complete this sentence: if I had no fear I’d …” Be the best version of myself.

What is one flaw you wouldn’t change about yourself? Thinking with my heart. Being extremely emotional and exposing myself that much to emotions. I think a lot with my heart, and I let emotions control my actions. This can sometimes be such a stupid way to go for things, leaving the reasoning on the side can make you do big mistakes. But you know what? I love being that way, because that’s how I’m able to understand emotions the way I do.

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.

Meet The Woman Behind The Latest Cover Of FilmCentral Magazine: The Beautiful Yolandi Franken

Yolandi Franken is a film and TV producer, TV-host, and an industry all-rounder. She started studying and working in the film industry almost exactly 21-years ago now and although it’s a difficult industry to be in love with due to its inconsistent nature, she still wouldn’t change it for the world. Her job has enabled her to meet some amazing people and travel the world. She has worked in China, Hong Kong, South Africa, India, Dominican Republic, and the USA and she will forever be thankful for the opportunities that were presented to her and the people who helped her grow.

She was a producer of three feature films; Turbines, Tabernacle 101 and Streets of Colour, a two-part documentary series called Yols Discover, two TV series; The Fast lane and Miss Multiverse Australia, and hundreds of shorter format stories (music videos, short films, TV Ads, Corporate videos, etc.) Many of these got accepted into countless prestigious film festivals, some even winning some awards. These productions are available worldwide on streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Tubi, Google Play, Apple TV, and many more. Tabernacle 101 also had a US cinema release and The Fast Lane was aired on television sets throughout South-East Asia.

She’s currently a part of WIFT (Women in Film & Television) Australia and is Co-Chair of their NSW Committee and Chair of their National Virtual Arm where she’s involved in organising face-to-face and virtual events and workshops with industry leaders, educators, suppliers, funding bodies and guilds. She personally had the privilege to work with Disney, Niki Caro, Mandy Walker ASC ACS, Steph Power, Jill Bilcock, Bonnie Elliott, Arri, all the amazing people on the WIFT Australia Board, and many more.

As a secondary passion, she also works in front of the cameras. She hosted Teal Wings, Indie Film World, Yols Discover, The Fast Lane, Miss Multiverse Australia, and Miss Multiverse International. Some of these are available on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and some aired on Television. As far as acting goes, she’s had a number of smaller roles in Australian TV-series and Films and even a tiny role in the Hollywood Blockbuster, Kingsmen – The Secret Service. In her younger years, she was also a model but she ended her modelling career after representing Australia three times on a world level in Mrs. Globe, Mrs. World, and Miss Multiverse.

In 2014 she started a charitable film festival called Cause Film Festival which she ran for three years before passing on her role as Festival Director to Suki Foster. The festival is still running and has housed some of Australia’s most talented filmmakers and actors. Furthermore, she was actually nominated as “Australian of the Year” in 2015 for the work she does in the community and for various charities.

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

What is your motivation as a filmmaker?

In short, giving audiences an escape from the real world. I just want to give the world more stories to love. But I also love the process of creating films, both creatively and the generally considered “boring side” of producing. I don’t have a creative mind that can create something from scratch, but I have an absolute passion for creativity and the creative industries. So being a producer allows me to apply what I am good at in order to bring the creative works that I love to life.

What generally inspires your interest?

I believe in being true to yourself, and for society to be true to itself. For me, if there is a story that I connect with, I feel passionate about bringing that story to the world. If it is something I believe in, something I feel will make a difference in the world, or just simply make people laugh and have fun, I want everyone to share in it.

I have to come clean here, I am a workaholic. But I also have an intense love for life and want to live it to the fullest and experience everything. Shows that I host and produce, such as the Yols Discover series is something I create so that I can not only entertain others, but it also gives me an opportunity to do the things I love and want to explore. Because trust me, being a workaholic, I will never otherwise get an opportunity to do the things I love.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Well, Producing is really the non-creative part of the process, but it also doesn’t mean that I don’t WANT to be creative. This only applies to scripted content, but one thing that frustrates me is that I am not naturally creative. I have so many great ideas for films, but I do not have the ability to flesh out the details of the story. I am therefore always reliant on others to write the story for me, or for scripted stories to come to me.

Luckily on Streets Of Colour, I had an amazing writer and director, Ronnie S. Riskalla. It is actually his story, but I was there from the start to brainstorm with him and had the opportunity to be part of every draft. See, I cannot create something from scratch but I can add pieces and I can comment on what I like and don’t like. He was generous enough to allow me to do that.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to viewers what they want?

A bit of both. This is showBUSINESS. If you create content that people don’t want to see, it is not good for business. So the more you can create what people want to see, the better. Saying that I am always trying to be original in the approach or to add something original. You still want to be distinguishable from other similar content. I will however never create something I don’t like or don’t agree with.

Occasionally there will be a project that, in reality, you are making for yourself and to scratch a tickle within yourself. For these projects, you don’t want to consider what people want to see and whether it ends up being successful or not, is not the priority.

If you could tell your younger film making self anything, what would it be?

Study accounting. Don’t even taste filmmaking, because it is like a beautiful addiction that you can never escape. No in all seriousness, I would say to not be scared of failing and rejection, the quicker you can become desensitised to that, the faster you will grow in the industry.

What was an early experience where you is learned that filmmaking had power?

I can’t recall a specific film, but I remember realising when I was very young that the seeds that get planted in films and TV Shows can make a big difference – in a good or bad way. Seeds that get planted while you are absorbing the content you love will grow much bigger than seeds planted when you are being preached to. People don’t realise the power that content has.

Can you tell us more about your latest project?

I currently have a handful of projects in early and late development. But I also have Streets of Colour in post-production. This is the project that I am most proud of in my career. The story, the acting, the look, everything has exceeded my expectations. It is not done yet, and it was made on a small budget but it just comes to show that if the story, acting, and sound are good, you don’t need fancy visual effects and crazy external factors to make it amazing.

It has a fantastic set of cast and crew and stars AACTA and LOGIE nominated actor Rahel Romahn. In my opinion, one of Australia’s most talented gems. It was written and Directed by Ronnie S. Riskalla and we had an award-winning DOP, Zacharee-Peel McGregor. Depending on what happens in the cinema and distribution world, it should be released in 2021.

Here’s the synopsis of Streets of Colour: “after being blamed for the death of his best friend in a racist street fight. Tez a 23-year-old drug dealer loses custody to a son he’s never met. He must now find a way to get his life back on track and get his son before it’s too late.”

We also just started filming the third edition of Yols Discover which will come out on Amazon Prime (and maybe a few other platforms too).

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

“Live in the moment”. I sometimes struggle to do this because I am always thinking about what is next and seldom reflect on what was achieved or what greatness I am experiencing at the moment. But the times that I do live in the moment, I feel great and peaceful and content. I am currently working on doing that more often.

What advice would you give to a newbie filmmaker who wants to make it in the industry?

Get experience and get credits, no matter what else you have to sacrifice to get it. That is how you learn and that is how you get your name out there. In the film industry, the first thing people want to know when considering someone is what credits they have and what the projects were (not where they or what they studied). Secondly, this industry is all about networking and who you know, so make yourself visible. If you are always at the front of people’s minds, you’ll be the first one they call for a job. But don’t be annoying or harass people either.

What are your future plans?

I just want to keep creating bigger and better projects that get seen by more and more people. It’s simple. If I can make a difference in the world through the stories I help tell, I’ll die happy.

Remembering The Legendary Chadwick Boseman In Film And Beyond

Chadwick Boseman was a man on a mission.

A mission to portray many African-American greats and the superhero, T’Challa in the movie, Black Panther, to inspire many young African-American children to strive to be anything they wanted to be.

On the 28th August 2020, Boseman lost his battle to colon cancer – he found out about the diagnosis four years ago. The legendary actor died peacefully in his home in Los Angeles with his wife, Taylor Simone Leward, and his family beside him. He was 43. It was reported that none of his co-stars, directors, or the public even knew about his diagnosis.

There is no doubt there was an outpour of grief amongst his fans and his co-stars that was impacted by his presence when he was alive. His co-stars from Black Panther, Michael B, Jordan, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Letitia Wright have all written poignant tributes to Boseman’s legacy as an actor. Many tributes honoured him as a person who never ceases to inspire and create good art that is everlasting and impactful.

Barrack Obama has tweeted, “Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson. You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do all while in pain – what use of his years.”

Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther, was devastated when he discovered about Boseman’s illness and endearingly honoured the actor by stating:

“After his family released their statement, I realised that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity, and pride, he shields his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days.”

Through the course of Chadwick Boseman’s acting career, he was always determined to make a change to the predominately white-washed film industry. His breakout in the 2013 film, 42 as Jackie Robinson, the legendary African American major league baseball player was critically acclaimed. Critics praised his performance as “transcendent” and “as serve as a powerful vehicle to the audience for generations to come”.

Coincidentally enough, Boseman’s passing was on the birthday of Jackie Robinson.

The next year, he lent his acting chops to the role of James Brown, King of Soul from the film, Get on Up, which also earned his praise.

Editorial credit: Sarunyu L / Shutterstock.com

Although the actor had faced his share of discrimination in the industry, he earned international stardom when he played T’Challa, the Black Panther. His character debut in Captain America: Civil War, was released in cinemas in April 2016.

In February 2018, the stand-alone film, Black Panther broke the box office and earned upwards of $US 1 billion ($1.35 billion) worldwide.

At the height of success, he was invited back to Howard University, where he earned a degree in Fine Arts and delivered a commencement speech to the graduating year with poignancy and bestowing his wisdom on how to attain greatness.

“Some of you here struggled against the university itself,” he said to the majority of African-American audiences.

“Many of you will leave Howard and enter systems and institutions that have a history of discrimination and marginalisation.

“The fact that you have struggled with this university which you love is a sign that you can use your education to improve the world that you are entering.”

Rest in Peace, Chadwick, King T’Challa. You will be missed forever and always.

Editorial credit: DFree / Shutterstock.com

Rising Star Spotlight: Make Way For Akeem Jamahl Mair

Akeem Jamahl Mair is definitely an emerging actor to watch out for in 2020! He has booked several principal and leading roles in various student films. These include some well-known and popular remake titles such as Hannah and her Sisters and Good Will Hunting. Additional appearances include Limbo, All about the Money, and Initiation. He’s currently under the management of Commercial Talent Agency.

Akeem was born on September 16, 1988, in Pasadena, California, to entrepreneur Erol James Mair and Queen Alice Mair, a public service professional. Akeem was named after Eddie Murphy’s character in the box office hit Coming to America. He is the oldest of four siblings.

Akeem first became interested in acting as a child at Linda Vista Elementary school in Pasadena, California, performing in many school productions. “I fell in love with the excitement and reactions my onstage talents had on people. To be any character I wanted to be, gave me escape from my everyday life.” He then attended John Marshall Fundamental High School in Pasadena, California, receiving his High School Diploma in June 2007. Having a solid educational background was huge for his parents.

Since graduating high school, Akeem has taken college courses at Pasadena City College in pursuit of earning a business degree to become a financial banker. Everything changed when a loyal customer at his former daytime job commented, “You have this huge charismatic personality that radiates positive energy in people, are you an actor?” Since that day, Akeem made the decision to pursue acting as his passion and career.

At Columbia College of Hollywood productions, Akeem was involved in two lead roles of “All About the Money” as Jim, a lowlife who gets killed over never paying back his debts and “A Wonderful World” as the homeless man, Frank Simmons, who gets a second chance at life. At the University of Southern California, he booked leading roles in “Spotted” as Todd, the remake of “Born Fourth of July” where Akeem plays Jerry Levine’s character, Steve Boyer. At the University of California, Los Angeles, he booked leading roles in “Initiation” as the BKE leader Brad, “The Old College Try” as a robotic inventor named Anthony, and “Adagio” as a gym instructor named Marcus.

Akeem has worked for CBS and Comedy Central on the hit show “NCIS: LA”, and “Key and Peele.” Additionally, he has landed principal roles for live performances across major Southern California Universities. He has also appeared in national television commercials for eHarmony, The Clippers, and most recently for The Dominguez Firm and has played the lead in numerous music videos. Additionally, he performs in high-traffic original content on the web in numerous roles such as Allistair, a vampire seeking to exterminate vampire hunters, in “The Blood of the Dead” and he has appeared on the Youtube channel “Girls Going Viral.” Most recently he appeared on an episode of The Ellen Show which garnered over five million views.

Whether he is bringing life to characters in film and television, on small and big screens, or in high-traffic original content on the web, Akeem’s upbeat attitude and infectious energy towards every project and role he takes on is definitely a step towards stardom.

StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Akeem 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?

 At first, I had my mindset on becoming a financial banker because I saw Michael Douglas’s character and lifestyle in the movie, “the game.” I saw his 2000 BMW 740i, his custom suits, the excitement in the office, and a maid at his house… I was blown away. Plus, I loved math and punching the numbers in a calculator so I figured that being a banker is my dream job. Little did I know while working at Ralph’s grocery store, a loyal customer would change the course of history for me. I remember being a cashier and her coming into my line with a sad demeanor. It seems something was bothering her so I did what I normally do with any of my customers which is brighten their day up. I said hi, “it’s good to see you again, did you find everything okay?” She said, yes I did thank you!” I said, “I usually see you smiling but whatever you’re going through I know will God rescue you!” “He never gives you more than you can handle!” After the transaction, I said, “have a bless day!” “I hope to see you again soon.” Immediately she paused and finally looked up at me for the first time and I could tell she had been crying. she replied, “Are you an actor?” I said, “No. Why do you ask?” She said, “Because your energy is filled with so much positive energy. You move people by it. You lifted up my spirits after I just lost my house in a foreclosure. Thank you!” Her reply shocked me. After she left I went home that day and wondered, What would my life look like if I was a successful actor? I thought about how I’ll be able to help my family so much more and how I can infect millions of people with the same positive energy. That night I searched ‘how to become an actor’ and it said most start as an extra on a movie set. So I called Central Casting in Burbank the very next day and here I am.

What do you like most about acting?

I just grew up with this love of being in front of the camera. Most of my family and friends are a bit terrified and want to always look their best but for me it was different. I felt like I always treated the lens of the camera like a best friend of mine and in that space, I totally just let go of life and be free from all of the worries I deal with on a daily basis. I love the idea of jumping into another person’s life and taking a break from my own reality. Each of the characters I play have their their own life and story. Something about playing other characters makes everything I’m going through in my life disappear. I can let go of my own problems for a change and take on new ones. It’s kind of the Bible saying, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3. Instead of judging a person, I rather jump in that person’s shoes and see what it’s like to see life out of their eyes and understanding. To see how they’ve dealt with their own problems and that creates a new perspective for me.

Can you tell us about your latest project?

I plead NDA! But trust me, when it comes out you’re gonna love it! What I can say, is that it’s an upcoming project that features my dad. I’ve never thought in a million years I’ll be able to do my passion and also bring my family in and experience it with them. My dad is not an actor at all but all of his actions came straight from his heart. It was a powerful project and there was a real moment my father and I shared. I forgot about all of the camera operators capturing the whole moment, it was surreal. Afterward, the owner came rushing down to hug me because he too had a similar experience with his father. I didn’t expect a breakdown in tears like I did with all the cameras in my face, but it happened out of nowhere. I am used to holding things in and not letting others inside so you could imagine my shock as the tears started pouring out. The other actor in the scene was frozen, he didn’t know how to react to something like that. This project definitely brought me closer to my dad as we are now talking as often as we can. The experience changed me. It allowed me to see the things in my life that scares me the most and go straight after them. Acting became a healing moment for me and one of my projects that I’ll never forget.

What’s the biggest challenge in your chosen career path?

Being persistent and aggressive all the time in activities that benefits my career. Even when you’re burned out and tired, and you have an audition to do, you have to get it done. And don’t be afraid of doing things by yourself. If people on your team are busy or don’t have the time to help you, you gotta learn to be strong and do it yourself. You’re gonna hear, “I’m busy,” a lot in this industry. You’re gonna hear, “sorry, we went with the other actor or actress for the role but we wish you the best in your future endeavors.” You’re gonna hear, “sorry we are not taking in new clients at this time.” Despite all of that, you have to stay positive and confident. nobody gonna tell you that when you really need it at like 2 am. So you have to be your biggest motivator and most reliable person you can trust.

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

It happened when I was in acting class at the time. I swear my phone kept buzzing every 5 minutes like crazy. My friends and family kept blowing up my phone up with texts like, “you were on The Ellen Show??? Call me!” They were thrilled to see me on the recurring humor segment called “Speak The Lyrics.” A show where one of Ellen’s writers walks up to a complete stranger and begins speaking to them in song lyrics.

I swear I had no idea it was on TV because I was in a class, ‘On-Set/On-Camera’ breaking down being realistic with your actions in a scene taught by David Rountree. I originally had no idea I was even being filmed for The Ellen Show. A couple of months earlier, I stopped at Barnes and Noble in Burbank. I notice a bunch of film crew standing outside so I asked one of the crew members, “What’s going on?” None of them claim they knew any information about what’s going on. I walked in and checked out some books and was on my way out when I notice a 2pac record and stopped at the record section. That’s when Lauren appeared.

I remember Coach Mike’s lessons of being completely confident and don’t disagree with what anyone says while their improving. Next thing I know, I was signing some papers and it airs on TV, Ellen calling it, “The best episode she’s ever seen!”

It was definitely a moment to remember and has been a huge exposure for my career. It generated over 5 million views on Instagram and even landed in the Instagram feed of my future agent, Sarah Angeli from Commercial Talent Agency. The timing was perfect because I had just submitted my headshots and resume to her last week. So when I walked into her office for my agent meeting, she had my episode cued up on her computer. She was like, “I just saw this yesterday and here you are!” She played it again and we both smiled and laughed. I’ll never forget that experience, it was God’s blessings written all over it.

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

I’ve met so many incredible people. One of them was LL Cool J on the set of the TV series “NCIS Los Angeles. I wasn’t supposed to be his body double but the one they hired was super late to set and the director walked up to me said, “hey can you help us out?” I was like “sure why not?” He said, “great you’ll be a cover for LL Cool J!” I was shocked. Apparently LL Cool J who was still getting his makeup and outfit checked out by the wardrobe manager and makeup artist. We filmed a scene of me sitting in his black Dodge Challenger while waiting for my partner to come out of the building from meeting one of his informants. It was awesome being in that car, had my hand on the steering wheel and it felt like this was what I was born to do! As the scene finished, here comes LL Cool J walking up to me. I was shocked at first because I didn’t realize he was so tall. I’ve always seen him on television and figured he was my height. He shook my hand and said, “great job bro I appreciate you covering for me.” It was such a great moment because I was being praised by somebody I listened to as a kid.

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

To win an Oscar! That is my ultimate career goal and the only future plan that I have. So everything that I am doing now is to put myself in the position to win. If I have to stay up at night to practice and study, that’s what I have to do.

Outside of acting, my plans are to become a global icon and activist. I want to be a role model for kids and inspire them to go after their future dreams too. I want to fight for justice and peace all around the world. I just want to inspire the entire world with positivity like Martin Luther King Jr, Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Michael Jackson, 2pac, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, etc.