Australian Star Emily Gruhl: Truth on Screen at Home and Abroad

Picture1
Emily Gruhl continues to push the boundaries of acting truthfully with her groundbreaking performances.

Australian actress Emily Gruhl quickly became an audience favourite upon entering the industry, winning roles in a range of highly-esteemed projects that have helped her carve out a place at the top of what is frequently perceived as an incredibly competitive field.

A graduate of the prestigious QUT acting programme – the same school through with “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Brenton Thwaites trained – Emily hasn’t let a busy filming schedule get in the way of balancing work with artistry. She sat down with us to discuss her views on acting, and how it has helped her traverse a relatively calm journey in a notoriously difficult career.

Upon listening to her reflect about her authoritative approach to her craft, it’s not surprising to learn that Emily has enjoyed more leading roles in a range of film and television projects than some actors more than twice her age, such is the depth of her experience and the degree to which she is respected in the Australian entertainment industry.

Emily explains, “I believe the best actors strive to achieve the highest level of truth in performance possible. This is certainly something that is of the utmost importance to me. I feel a responsibility to my characters when I play them and do everything in my power to achieve this.”

In Hobby Shop, Emily delivered a leading performance in the character of Mary. Produced by the highly regarded team at Like a Phonton Creative in partnership with Screen Queensland, that film concerned a hobby shop owner who kidnaps Mary while in grief over the loss of his daughter. In a creepy twist, Mary is forced to be displayed in the shop as if she is a puppet. Without Mary, and therefore Emily’s scene-stealing acting, the film simply would not have any drama and it wouldn’t make its creepy turn into the horror genre.

The film’s directors, Stephanie Liquorish and Isabel Stanfield, elaborated on how Emily’s performance was inextricably tied to the film’s success. “Emily had a remarkable character transformation…She had developed a different gait and speech pattern. It was incredible character work…you could really feel the desperation and intense need of her character for salvation. This was all due to Emily’s wonderful screen craft and her inventiveness in the presentation of Mary.”

“Hobby Shop,” along with Emily’s masterful work, was showcased at the prestigious Chinese Theatre in Hollywood at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival – the largest and longest running horror film festival in the United States. In addition, it recently won the Gold Award at the Australian Cinematographer’s Society Awards.

IMG_7818
Emily Gruhl on set for “Hobby Shop” with the award-winning cinematographer, Lucas Tomoana.

The successful project is another example of how Emily has become a leading lady in the style of Golden Age Hollywood – a true thespian who can work like a character actress and appear in different genres, but also present herself as a true movie-star.

This is because accessing truth for Emily is more important than fame. “Last Cab to Darwin” star Mark Coles Smith offered our editors unfiltered praise when asked what sets Emily apart from other actors. ““It is not often you have a deep sense of the talent and focus of a particular artist until you get to know them, however, Emily’s unprecedented excellence was apparent from my first meeting with her.”

Such compliments are unsurprising considering her experience in theatre, well-known for providing a necessary training ground for thespians who build long-lasting careers. Emily shared the stage with Golden-Globe nominee Katherine Langford (“13 Reasons Why”) under the direction of revered coach-to-the-stars, Larry Moss. She has also worked with  star AACTA award-nominated Andrew Ryan in the Queensland NRL program, in which she had to deliver a heartfelt and challenging monologue.

“Every time I did the monologue the men were extremely affected and I really do believe we affected change during the time we were there.”

Mark Coles-Smith, who also appeared as the lead role in the SyFy series “Hunters,” elaborates even further in his praise. “It was an absolute pleasure working with Emily. She is so giving with her time and energy, which is the hallmark of a world class actor with an assured future of success. She is an incredible performer, a truly exceptional actor and gracious and giving human being.”

Ultimately, from “Hobby Shop,” to “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, and now feature film “Angel of Mine” with “Dracula” star Luke Evans, Emily has indeed proved herself more than capable from being just another actor. Emily Gruhl is truly unique.

She eloquently adds, “The character of Courtney in “Angel of Mine” is extremely different to me as a person. [Director] Kim Farrant knows me very well personally after working together so much and so she very clearly knew that I am very different to the character of Courtney.”

Extending on her comment regarding truth in performance, “Kim’s work is very personal and she kindly demands a lot from her actors to the point where she believes that putting yourself back together emotionally as an actor is as important as getting to those intense emotional places.”

Emily offers an even more specific viewpoint. “The kind of acting Kim excels at directing and enjoys the most is performances that have incredible emotional dexterity, complexity and nuance to them. This is also the style of acting I most enjoy doing and this usually requires incredible emotional depth from the actors.”

Another project that demanded Emily’s attention, and ability to be truthful, is “A Suburban Love Story.” In the key role of Molly, Emily worked opposite “The Mummy’s” Luke Ford and “Secret City” actor Vanessa Moltzen. Director Stephen Wallace, who has also directed Oscar-winner Russell Crowe, explained that Emily “worked extremely hard in some very difficult circumstances, never giving less than her best. She is a true professional whom I would recommend to anyone.” Extending upon his exploration for why Emily is truly a one-of-a-kind actor, Stephen added: “She is also photogenic and can produce deeply emotional performances when called on. That’s rare.”

While Emily spoke about her craft fondly, she was simply too humble to offer an assessment for why she is considered a true star. Instead, to carve out the truth about Emily’s uniquness it only made sense to seek out the opinion of one of Australia’s leading casting directors, Faith Martin (responsible for casting “Peter Pan” and “Evil Dead”). Martin notably cast Emily in her critical role in “A Suburban Love Story”

“Combined with her naturalness, her beauty and her commitment,” Faith explains, “Emily Gruhl is a force to be reckoned with.”

 

Advertisements

Maintaining Healthy Skin in Our 30’s

Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche
Healer and Life Coach Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche

At 31 my skin is changing in ways I’d never predicted. It seems to be getting drier, I’m getting way more pimples than ever before, specifically around my chin, and it’s not looking as bright and firm as it did a few years ago.

After perusing countless retinol night creams and eye serums claiming to have the anti-aging answers I never knew I needed, and the kind of price tag that made me feel weary of taking a risk, I decided it was time for some legit professional help.

The urgency to figure out what exactly my skin needs to stay young and fresh for as long as possible led me to Natural Feeling Spa on 3rd st. in Los Angeles, a beautiful space with an eco-friendly design founded by esthetician Adina Diaz.

Aside from word of mouth about Adina’s astonishing knowledge and skill as an esthetician, what drew me to Natural Feeling Spa was the fact that they only offer 100% natural holistically crafted products.  

“I’m very selective about my products,” admits Adina.

After a decade of working as a professional esthetician at a long list of places that included everything from high-end day spas to plastic surgery facilities where she felt her morals were being compromised, Adina went out on her own, opening Natural Feeling Spa in 2016.

“I was being asked at certain places I worked at to have girls as young as 18 to start looking into botox, it was against my morals and ethics because I don’t believe people should be told to do something without having alternative methods of preventative skincare before being pushed to do something so extreme,” Adina explains. “It’s nothing against people getting injections or laser treatments, but 18 I feel like you have so much to grow and to live… by just drinking more water and having a better skin care routine you can have better results, you don’t have to go so extreme. You can try different things first before going down that road.”

Adina Diaz
Skincare Guru Adina Diaz at Natural Feeling Spa (Photo Courtesy of Verite Woman)

Upon entering Natural Feeling Spa I immediately felt at home. I went for a Pumpkin Facial and after that, a much needed consultation about what will make my skin happiest. The facial was nearly an hour long and a lot of treatments went into it (an in depth post about the facial step by step coming soon). After the treatment I felt completely relaxed overall, while my skin felt more alive than ever. Adina’s upbeat personality made the whole experience fun, but it’s her gentle precision coupled with her encyclopedic knowledge of everything skincare related that’s made her stand out as LA’s go-to skincare guru. After an hour with her I learned a lot– far more than I would have if I’d devoted another three hours to researching skincare treatments on the computer without professional guidance.

As a woman in our 30s our skin is changing and there’s no way around it– but there are things we can do to slow the aging process. On the most basic level, Adina says, “Everyone should have a good cleanser, a good exfoliant and a good moisturizer, those are a necessity. What’s really good to incorporate into your 30s is having a high potency serum, something that’s going to have an AHA, a BHA and an acid that’s going to help buffer out fine lines and wrinkles and help with some of the damage you did when you were younger.”

How the skin changes from our 20’s to 30’s to 40’s

“It’s a drastic change. In the 20’s we get away with going to bed with makeup on, we get away with going to bed at 4 am and waking up for an 8-hour shift and still looking good, once you hit the 30’s that really does change. The elasticity and the collagen starts to deplete. We start to get wear and tear from how way we treated our skin in our 20’s, it starts to show in our 30’s. Hormones change. All these things combined together, plus environment, plus stress levels are different in our 20’s versus our 30’s.

So the things you want to do in your 20’s are preventative. You really want to start at a young age, start drinking lots of water, do your L-Ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C, do your hyaluronic acid, these are things that are going to help hydrate and stimulate collagen without any down time and give you that extra boost for when you get into your 30’s.

In the 30’s it’s all about the acids, it’s all about retinol, glycolic, lactic, salicylic, all of these things are going to help with the cell turn over, so it’s going to help minimize enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles and help kill bacteria and just really give that extra boost that most people in their 30’s need.

Once you climb over to the 40’s then there’s a lot of damage that’s settled in so you really need to have a deeper treatment, doing chemical peels, microdermabrasion and really having a rigorous skincare routine, that’s going to go a long way.”

Healer and Coach Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche
Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche

How Often Should We Get Facials In Our 30’s?

“With family, friends, work, life our budget can be tight, but ideally once a month. The cell turnover is about 27 or 28 days, that’s the natural process that your skin naturally sluffs off the dead skin cells. Living in a place, particularly like Los Angeles, California there’s smog, there’s dirt, there’s pollution, so it is a different kind of environment that we live in, we are exposed to more pollution and free radicals than in other places, so it’s really a great idea to stay on top of your skincare routine and do it once a month for good results– I like to say to people: If you want a six-pack you wouldn’t go to the gym once a week, you’d go every single day. If you want good skin you would do skincare every single day, have a good routine down, and then follow up by having good skincare treatments done.”

And If You Can’t Afford a Facial a Month? Adina has advice on that too:

“If budget is an issue, you want to have your arsenal at home, you want to have your little soldiers ready in the cupboard. A good mask goes a long way, and a good enzyme peel, a safe one that you can do at home will go a long way. There’s  a lot of peels that I sell, a wild blueberry that’s an 8% lactic, a raw cacao peel that’s a 10%, these are light treatments you can do on yourself that will help prolong the lifespan of the facial, and also address the issues at hand, so you get a  little bit more bang for your buck and also feel like that when you do have some dullness creeping up or some hormonal breakouts you can address it, you have the tools at home. When in doubt spend the money on good skincare and when you can indulge, go for the deeper treatments.”  

But What Kind of Facial is Best for the 30’s? There are so many out there, how do I choose?!

Adina says, “The pumpkin facial is a go-to because there’s no downtime. It’s a light enzyme so it will eat away the dead skin cells, brighten, tighten and tone the area… It’s a really strong peel with a low pH so it will have a lot of effect on the skin, so a lot of people will do that before a red carpet event, a wedding, a speech, something where they want to have an extra glow to their skin. That’s a really good one for people to start with.”

**Again, this is the one I had, with the added boost of LED Light Therapy, and it is mind boggling how refreshed and active my skin still feels, and I left the spa 5 hours ago!

adina diaz
Inside Natural Feeling Spa (Photo Courtesy of Verite Woman)

What Chemicals Should We Avoid?

Parabens
Aluminium
Aluminoxide
Dimethicone
Silicone
Mineral Oil
PEGS
Dyes and Fragrances

Adina adds, “Though some of these are ingredients are not on the ‘extreme’ toxicity level in the blood, they’re still going to be toxic and clogging. For example, dimethicone is not “toxic” in the blood stream, however it weighs on top of the skin not allowing anything to go in or.  It’s basically like wrapping saran wrap around your face or body, so when your sweating and have makeup on it literally cannot escape, so in my opinion when your skin can’t ‘breathe’ you’re aging your skin faster and it is toxic because nothing is able to be expelled.”

So What is the Take Away?

The things that worked for us (and the things we could get away with) in our 20’s change drastically once we hit our 30’s. The normal aging process causes our hormones to change, the cell turnover rate to slow and collagen production to drop--ahhh so are we doomed? Not by a long shot!

There are so many things we can do to keep our skin looking bright and youthful. On the most basic level it’s vital that you begin a daily skincare routine that works for you. Find a good enzyme cleanser, moisturizer and exfoliant. In order to help the cell turn over rate, find serums and moisturizers that include retinol, and a glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid. If it’s within your means try to get facials every four to five weeks, and consult a dermatologist or esthetician to assess your skin type so that before you go spending hundreds of dollars on products, you can learn which ones are going to be the most beneficial for you.

***

Adina’s been featured on Better Nutrition, Green Beauty Love, Wallace and James, Beauty Banter, The Carat Diet, Wella Bella, Coco Perez, Kuyam, Bond En Avant, HelloGiggles, West Hollywood Lifestyle, Beauty Style Watch, and The Organic Life Blog. Some of her celebrity clients include actress Sundy Carter (“Soul Plane,” “Bringing Down the House”), actress and TV host Vanessa Simmons (“Project Runway: Threads,” “Run’s House”), vegan chef and blogger Jenné Claiborne, body positive model Dana Isabella and more.

***

Photos of Adina and Natural Feeling Spa are from a recent interview she did with Veritewoman.com which you can check out here: https://veritewoman.com/life-green-beauty-advice-from-las-favored-skincare-guru/

Canada’s Romaine Waite terrifies audiences in sci-fi horror flick ‘Antisocial’

WAITE_6
Canadian Actor Romaine Waite

Romaine Waite has always been an outgoing person, a trait he believes has helped him greatly as an actor. When he was a child, growing up in Canada, he participated in school plays and drama programs, not because he thought it would be his career, but simply because that is what he enjoyed. It wasn’t until his early twenties when he realized he could truly follow his passion, and the second he got his first professional part, he knew that acting was his calling.

“I’ve always had this innate ability to connect with people in some way, making people laugh or causing disruptions, depends on who you ask,” he joked.

Now, Waite is a celebrated actor. His work in television series such as Star Trek: Discovery,Frankie Drake Mysteries, and The Mistimpressed audiences in not only Canada, but the rest of the world. His versatility knows no bounds, and he is always looking for a new way to explore his talents.

“Romaine is great. He makes my job a lot easier. He is the consummate professional and a very dedicated and crafter artist. It is always pleasurable working with him,” said Alan Moy, Producer who worked alongside Waite on Murdoch Mysteries and Usher the Usher.

Waite recalls his first real taste of international success as the sci-fi horror flick Antisocial. The movie follows five university friends who gather at a house party to ring in the New Year. Unbeknownst to them, an epidemic has erupted outside, causing outbreaks around the world. With nowhere else to turn, they barricade themselves indoors with only their phones, laptops, and other tech devices. They use their devices to research the possible cause of this outbreak. Information and video footage over flow their computers as they descend further into the cause and the ensuing chaos. As the virus spreads, the mood in the house changes from fear to paranoia. Who is safe? Who can they trust? Reality becomes blurred as they slowly discover the source of the virus causing the sickness… and there is no going back.

“I thought the story was clever it takes something that everyone was familiar with, being social media, and took it to the extreme. If you take away the gore, it’s basically what we’re experiencing today. Snapchat, Instagram, etc. have become these tools that are allowing people to share every single aspect of their life. In a way, I think the film talks about a very important subject in our society — what are the effects of social media and what are the limits and consequences of sharing too much on social media,” said Waite.

In the film, Waite plays Steve, one of the five friends gathering to celebrate New Year’s Eve. He was jovial and sincere university student. Audiences got to see him enjoy time with his close friends and girlfriend. Unfortunately, he was first in the house to experience the epidemic that trapped them in the house. This is pivotal, as Waite was responsible for getting the audience to truly understand the epidemic, and therefore the film. Within the film, Steve was the only individual who the audience was able to see go through a full transition. With this, the audience knew what the signs were and what would happen if another character was to get infected.

“It was really important to me that people felt the struggle of this character. As he tried to figure out what was happening to him without revealing anything to others in house. Through my portrayal, I hoped the audience would feel like they were a friend to my character and miss this him when he was gone,” Waite described.

The film had its premiere at the Fantasia Film Fest in Montreal back in 2013, and from there went to several high-profile international film festivals, including Calgary International Film Fest, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival. From there, it was distributed through Monster Pictures on DVD, through Super Channel, and on iTunes. Such success could not have been possible without Waite’s portrayal of Steve, hooking audiences to the story early on.

“It’s always nice to see an indie film do well. It takes so many people and long days to make a film. To me the success is in completing the project. I am proud of everyone involved,” said Waite.

Antisocial was Waite’s first horror feature film, and five years later he still looks back and coals the experience amazing. At the time, he was still very curious about the process of filmmaking and how it all would come together, and he could not have been happier with the result. Everyone on set was professional and inspired, creating a contagious energy. He found himself watching everyone on set, from the cinematographer to the special effects make-up artist, taking everything in and reminding himself why he wanted to be an actor in the first place.

“I liked the comradery. Everyone was really passionate about the project. We were all stuck in a house for weeks. Friendships were built, and some good memories were made. I hadn’t done anything like that before. Overall it was a great experience,” he said.

Be sure to check out Antisocial to see Waite’s terrifying performance as Steve.

Finessing the Footage: Film Editor Oliver Harwood

Oliver Harwood
Film Editor Oliver Harwood

Like a well trained surgeon, award-winning film editor Oliver Harwood’s ability to carefully cut together media is as inspired as it is precise. A storyteller at his core, Harwood’s impressive body of work spans widely across a decade, boasting perfect examples of both skill and art in dozens of films, including the multi-award winning “Waste” and the international sensation “A Meditation,” which was chosen as an Official Selection of more than 25 film festivals across the globe.

Originally from Northamptonshire, UK, Harwood is far from just a “set of hands” in the editing room. In the industry, Harwood’s strong ability to work symbiotically with the director is a coveted talent, setting him apart from other editors who let their own personal style get in the way of the director’s vision.

“As an editor, I feel that my personal taste is a secondary concern to the director’s intention,” he remarks. “I like to think that my personal style is to have no personal style. In other words, it’s about bringing out the personal style of the director. If an editor’s primary concern is to impose an intrinsic style on every project they do, they should quit editing and be a director,” he says with a smile.

Film Poster for "Waste"
Film Poster for “Waste”

And acclaimed director Justine Raczkiewicz of “Waste” may agree. Her film, edited magnificently by Harwood, took home many awards through a large circuit, including Best Female Director at the Hollyshorts Film Festival and a Finalist at the USA Film Festival, as well as multiple Official Selections for festivals including the Brooklyn Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival and more.

“Waste” tells the story of Roger, a shy and reclusive man working at a medical waste disposal facility. In the film, Roger becomes infatuated with his roommate Olive, a woman who models herself after a 1950’s housewife and seems to be more interested in pursuing the latest culinary fads rather than finding a mate.

Roger finds her quirkiness endearing, but learns one night over dinner that they have slightly variant food preferences (read: Olive eats human beings.) Roger politely dines with Olive, apprehensively crunching a sauteed human tongue which she has procured from a website selling ‘the discarded tongues of Buddhist monks who cut them out to be closer to God.’

Awoken now to a grizzly new world, Roger must balance his feelings for her with this dark new insight into who she is. After nodding off at work, Roger experiences a series of disturbing and strange dreams which ultimately lead him to confess his love for Olive.

Roger arrives, flowers in hand, to find Olive in a ball on the floor. She has severed her own toes and, barely hanging onto consciousness, she tells Roger that she’s tried to saute them. The picture changes to a black screen, and credits roll over audio of Olive instructing Roger on how to perfectly cook the toes, and Roger seems to be obeying.

Harwood does a brilliant job telling an unsettling love story using carefully selected lingering shots and impeccably timed cuts. At times, thanks to the editing technique, the viewer’s own levels of discomfort seem to perfectly match what the characters are feeling in that moment.

Harwood articulates his method best, explaining that “typically, a scene would start with a wide shot to establish the space, and then gradually work into the close ups, where the best performances are usually found… But with this one, we decided to start some [scenes] with a closeup shot, and then work our way to the wider shots. This helped reinforce the weird and uncomfortable tone of the story by creating ambiguity to some of the physical spaces used in the film.”

In film, when genres are combined, it takes an experienced, intelligent, and talented editor to tell the story correctly, without playing up one genre more than the other, and Harwood delivers this impeccably.

“When a film chooses to explore darker subject matters with a comical slant to it, the story must remain engaging enough to stand on its own and not be overridden by the themes,” he explains. “Otherwise, the overall feeling of the piece can be left feeling a bit pretentious without a strong emotional narrative to back it up. I tried to remove all thoughts of deeper meaning and intellectual subtext when editing and focused on the emotional through lines that guide the audience.”

Film Poster for "A Meditation"
Film Poster for “A Meditation”

Able to get into the minds of all types of genres, Harwood also displays exceptional work in the film “A Meditation,” which took home six awards from festivals including the MedFF and the Red Corner Film Festival, and screened as an Official Selection of the BLOW-UP International Arthouse Film Festival, Eindhovens Film Festival, Lisbon Film Festival, Oaxaca Film Festival, Kansas City Film Festival, and the San Francisco Black Film Festival to name a few.

This film, on the surface, does not appear to have much going on in terms of the story itself. “It revolves around a man who seems to be ambling through a particularly aimless point in his life,” Harwood describes. “He has no quest, no great adversity, just a vague sense of anxiety that comes with anyone who fears the existential dread of an empty weekend. He meditates, feeds his cat and browses the news, everything done without any particular enthusiasm or resentment.  He seems to be just passing the time.”

The subject is awoken from a midday nap to his doorbell ringing; a young woman wants to buy a DVR he listed on Craigslist earlier that day. She wants to ensure that the machine works, so she follows him into the house to test it out. While in the bedroom, she notices marijuana on the dresser and asks, rather bluntly, if he’d like to smoke. They do, laughing together, and then the woman suggests they take off their clothes and get into bed. The initial awkwardness wears off quickly, and the pair embrace each other warmly until they are interrupted by the woman’s ringing cellphone. Her boyfriend has called, and she has to go.

She leaves, her warmth and presence from moments before replaced with a curt, aloof awkwardness, and the male subject goes about his daily routine of nothingness.

Harwood leans into the simplistic tone of the film by making similar editing choices at the top of the movie. “Because this is rather a simple story, I felt as if the editing of the piece should reflect that. Before the girl arrives, nothing of much significance seems to be happening, though there is a heavy emphasis on establishing a mood and tone,” explains Harwood. “To be able to do this effectively and as economically as possible is something that I believe is vital to a story of this kind.”

However, when the film moves in a more sexually explicit direction and the characters start to open up to each other, the shots became much closer and more personal.

Harwood says, “It was this break in style that influenced me to shift from a rather ‘matter of fact’ and simple editing practice to more abstract and emotionally driven choices.”

The shift is seamless; the viewer cannot quite put their finger on what has happened, but rather they can suddenly feel a change in energy, and this is the mark of a very, very good editor.

“Outside of the technical skill to handle the physical editing of the film, Oliver brought his unique and specific talents and approach to storytelling which is why I selected him to be the editor,” says Joe Petricca, the director of “A Meditation.” “He has great taste in and knowledge of film.”

The director and cinematographer may get all the coverage in the world, but when it comes down to it, how those shots are carefully stitched together bares some serious weight in regard to the final outcome and impact of the project. Oliver Harwood is undoubtedly a gem amongst ediors in the industry, and his refined and invaluable skill set is truly an asset both to the industry and to audiences worldwide.

 

Using makeup to embrace womanhood with Allison Giroday

Allison picture sitting down
Allison Giroday, photo by Liz Rosa

There is a common understanding in the fashion industry that clothing, and makeup are products that you buy, but style is what you do with them. Style is eternal. It doesn’t fade when new trends emerge, or when old trends divulge. For makeup artist, Allison Giroday, style is inherent, running deep through her veins. She credits her love for fashion and makeup to the fact that she grew up in one of fashion’s most acclaimed decades: the 1990s. She recalls herself as a young girl, inspired by the token 90s bombshells she’d see on billboard signs and magazine covers. She even remembers her 13-year-old self, locking herself in her school bathroom, trying all sorts of tips and tricks to achieve Pamela Anderson’s signature smudged-eye and baby pink lip look.

“I thought those women were just the most beautiful women in the world and I would stare at their pictures, studying their makeup. I collected fashion magazines and watched Fashion File. I never anticipated that I’d be in the position I am, looking back on those days. Now, the greatest feeling in the whole entire world is when a client gets excited over the reflection she sees in my mirror. It doesn’t matter whether she gasps, smiles, tears up, or sits up taller, it brings me a pride like no other. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful, powerful, and confident. I love the fact that I get to be a part of that,” raved Giroday.

Fortunately for Giroday, she has been able to be a part of that journey for a number of different people, projects, and publications over the duration of her career. For instance, Giroday was referred to hit Canadian artist, Lights, in order to do her makeup for Canada’s largest, most prestigious music event, The Juno Awards. She has also worked for several other celebrities such as professional basketball player, Steve Nash, and successful rap artist, Lil John. Her work has even found its way into publications such as Glassbook Magazine, British GQ, Life & Style, Reader’s Digest, and several others. When founder and editor-in-chief of Mother Muse Magazine saw Giroday’s work, she knew she had to bring her on board for her publication.

Mother Muse is a fashion and lifestyle printed coffee table book, available worldwide, that focuses on the quality of slow living and modern motherhood. It is rich with artwork, articles, interviews, and editorials intended to inspire everyday women and everyday mothers to follow their passions and to live life to the fullest. Due to its heavy emphasis on style, Mother Muse is often full of unique images of models, beautiful color schemes, and several other style inspirations. It is important, therefore, that Mother Muse work with exceptionally talented artists to shoot images that will captivate their readers’attention at first glance.

Working for Mother Muse was unlike most makeup jobs Giroday is used to. They begin every shoot with a mood board selected and prepared by the editor with a description of the woman or women that will be featured. This is when Giroday begins to determine how best to match her model’s facial makeup with her other style and hair elements. In a constant determination to outdo her former self, Giroday places great emphasis on keeping her makeup looks current and ensuring that she doesn’t fall behind on the latest trends. With that, she conducts research in her own time to ascertain that she is providing her clients with the latest and greatest that the cosmetics industry have to offer.

“Success has the ability to breed complacency and that’s an easy trap for an artist to fall into because at that point, you stop continuing to grow. It’s important to want to stay inspired so that you never fall out of love with what you are doing. To me, the term makeup artist really is about the art. I don’t just apply makeup, I paint the canvas. My goal is to make my client feel like it’s the best makeup they’ve ever had and I’m so passionate about that,” noted Giroday.

In addition to her passion for makeup itself, Giroday loves working for Mother Muse, as it allows her to explore femininity with every shoot and to embrace the qualities of a goddess. She has crafted her talents so much over the years that she manages to evoke emotions of power and wisdom through the makeup looks she presents and with that, her work tends to flow seamlessly alongside the rest of the magazine’s team. She loves being able to work with other organized, motivated individuals to promote and celebrate the nuances of motherhood, and womanhood in general. What’s more, is that Giroday gets to see the final outcome of her work in print form, a dying art. She loves the fact that she can pick her work up, hold it beneath her fingers and touch it. The amount of dedication and love she puts into her work makes it all the more exciting when she gets to hold it in her hands.

Overall, Giroday considers herself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Mother Muse in the past. Every time she is brought on board for a project with them, she remembers exactly why she fell in love with their publication in the first place. She also takes great pride in knowing that Mother Muse has been covered internationally by Yahoo Australia, as well as the Daily Mail. It has also showcased the faces of popular celebrities like Selma Blair and Brie Bella. Next time you’re walking by a copy, pick one up and witness Giroday’s greatness with your own eyes.

 

Written by Sean Desouza

Richard Rennie: Dominating the Entertainment Industry from All Angles

Multi-hyphenate Richard Rennie – well-known for his work across the fields of acting, modeling and dancing – is not going away anytime soon. Much like entertainers Jennifer Lopez and Donald Glover, Richard has found that expression in all areas have helped him cultivate a truly unique place as an artist in an ever-evolving world. It’s this quality that ensures that there is no one really else like him. Yes, he might fall in the same area as the aforementioned Lopez and Glover – zipping between jobs on even a daily basis – but the energy with which the award-winning performer does it, is very distinct to him.

“I think I’ve always had a unique way of looking at things; a little bit left-of-centre, that has meant people know when ‘Richard’s stamp’ is on a piece of work. Whether that’s a film project I’m acting in, a performance I’m dancing in, or a campaign I’m featured in as a model or spokesperson.”

The entertainer, well-known for his work at the Moulin Rouge and on “Unverified” for Funny or Die, has several acting projects out this year that would suggest this man never quite stops.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.57.55 pm (2)
Richard Rennie has a slew of acting, dancing and modeling projects out this year.

“Bachelor Lions,” co-starring David Arquette from the “Scream” franchise and “Eight Legged Freaks,” is one such film that will showcase the unique blend of performance skills that Richard has at his fingertips. “I actually got to play their dance coach in the film.  It was an amazing experience – combining my love of dancing and acting. David Arquette, Mitchel Musso, and James Maslow were all so great to work with and I must say, they’ve all got some moves.”

This project, from RiverRock films, has already had a VIP screening at Cinerama Dome, the famously known leading first run theater. “Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the red carpet event, as I had commited work in Paris at the time. My co-stars included me though.  They were sending photos of themselves all posted up on the red carpet showing off some style, but that only made me want to be there more” Richard explains with a wink.  

Another project Richard has lined up, “My Mom Is Dead”, marks a change in pace for the comedic thespian who plays ‘Kristoff’ in this heartbreaking drama. “That film was challenging to shoot.  The story was created from real life hardship and experiences of the writer. It was great to have her on set sharing the experience with us. I wanted to make sure that we respected her truth and portrayed her story in the most realistic way possible. The whole cast went through something magical together, as we let our raw emotions run free to tell this sad but beautiful story.”

Co-starring Melanie Vesey (“Law & Order”, “Man on the Moon”) and “Twilight” hunk Michael Welch, also well-known for his role in “Z Nation” and NBC’s “Grimm”, “My Mom Is Dead” hails from acclaimed director Sophie Webb (dir. “El Mirador” starring Rick Cosnett of “The Flash”.)

“I really enjoyed the change of pace with “Mom” – every actor was amazing and the mood on set brought out a naturalism in everyone’s performances.” In that film, Richard’s role is crucial because he is the best friend of Emma. “Kristoff is really Emma’s pillar and emotional support throughout the whole film. Emma has lost her mother and is not close to the rest of her family, so Kristoff brings happiness and optimism to the story, proving that you do not need to be blood related to be family.”  

To top it all off, Richard solidifies his prominent relationship with ‘Just One More Productions’ – the esteemed company behind Lionsgate co-production, “Open Water 3: Cage Dive,” starring Megan Peta Hill (“The X Files”) and Joel Hogan (“Home and Away”). In the sequel to “Cage Dive” directed by festival darling Gerald Rascionato, Richard will play the lead love interest Chris. The role and project signifies yet another change in style that we are confident Richard will take with ease.  His previous collaboration with ‘Just One More Productions’, also directed by Rascionato, was “Call Me By Your Maid”- a hilarious award-winning parody film.

That project simultaneously confirmed Richard’s indispensable position at Funny or Die, the distributor of “Call Me By Your Maid”, as Richard had also appeared in a main role for the renowned company’s “Unverified”.

As Richard explains, “it’s so interesting how Hollywood and the entertainment industry works – there’s so many co-productions and crossovers between companies. We all know each other!” he adds with a laugh.

Wendy M. Bain, the accomplished writer and actress, who co-stars alongside Richard in the Hollywood Play Old Frenemies explains “Richard has been an absolute pleasure to work with! His unique skills as a comedic actor make it a nightly challenge to not break character and laugh while I am performing on stage with him. His comedic energy is incredibly engaging and he has a natural talent of commanding the stage. Hundreds of hopeful actors auditioned for the role of Martin, but as soon as we saw Richards unique performance and take on the character, we instantly knew he was the actor we wanted.”

While his future as an actor looks bright, Richard’s tantamount career as a model also doesn’t show signs of slowing down. His relationship with his European agent, Sports Models, who also represent specialized Models with skills in athletics and fitness alongside their high fashion books, continues to thrive. Richard works often with his Parisian agent, as he is represented in both High Fashion, and as a Dancer for specific shoots that demand the unique skill set which Richard holds. Other leading fitness Models represented by Sport Models include “Axelle Etienne (BMX World Champion) and Aria Crescendo (World Renowned Yoga Master). Upcoming is an anticipated spread in edgy publication, “Fantastic Man”, putting Richard’s look in front of hundreds of thousands of readers who subscribe to the men’s fashion bible.

In the dancing arena, Richard’s muscles will continue to stretch. “Dance was my first love of performing and I couldn’t imagine not working within the field. Although I am busy with acting gigs, I make sure to find time to get up on stage and dance. There is no other feeling in the world than allowing your body to move through dancing and get lost within music.”  He is continually involved in dance projects that showcase his dominance in the style of Hip Hop and Commercial dance, constantly expanding from previous performances alongside Grammy-nominated artists Florence and the Machine back in the UK.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 11.01.20 pm (2)
Richard Rennie, center, has been celebrated for his incomparable skills as a dancer and entertainer all around the world.

“I’m excited for the future,” Richard says with a smile. “It’s important to look forward with a positive attitude, as that’s what attracts people to work with you and hire you over and over again.”

Producer Chenlin Qian sheds light on difficult teenage years and importance of family in new film

Chenlin Qian was just three years of age when she started playing the piano. Growing up in Shanghai, China, she always found that music was a way to release all of her emotions. As she aged, she found that different artistic mediums had this effect on people all over the world, and she began to explore them. That is how she found her way into filmmaking.

When watching the movie Amour, Qian was astounded by how moved she could be from a film. She noted the director’s choices and how he chose to display something as harsh and sad as death in a warm beautiful way. She realized that filmmakers had the power to completely influence their audiences, in an even more immersive way than music, and she found herself developing a new passion. She knew from then on that she wanted to make movies and has since become an award-winning producer.

“Film to me, is not a product, it’s more like a tool to help me to express myself to others,” she said.

Qian is now internationally sought-after for what she does. Her film Cowards saw great success at several prestigious film festivals, a pattern that continued for many of her other projects last year, including the drama Sixteen.

Sixteen tells the story of 16-year-old Jennifer, a girl with a perfect life who discovers her early pregnancy, breaks the image of a good girl and looks for her real self. Throughout Jennifer’s life, every choice is made by her parents. When she finds out she is pregnant, Jennifer decides to take control of her destiny, and be herself for once.

“It’s a movie about a teenager’s loss. Everyone has experienced this period of their life, it’s a time where we can so easily get lost. This story showcases the really sincere love of a family during a trying and difficult time,” said Qian.

Sixteen went on to win Best Short at the California International Shorts Festival, the Silver Award at the North America Film Awards, and Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Film Awards. Such acclaim could never have been possible without Qian, who is said to have saved the project. Without her, the production was at risk of delays and losing money, but she knew just how to rectify the situation and produce an outstanding film.

“Although there is not a very happy beginning, there is a good ending of this film, and a story that needed to be told. It was really thanks to everybody who worked on this project, didn’t complain during the tight pre-production, and instead worked harder for the production to ensure everything went smoothly,” she said.

Yiyun Zhang, the Director of Sixteen, had previously worked with Qian on Cowards, and after it’s immense success, she hired the producer immediately to take part in her new film. Initially, a different producer was working on the film, but left with just two weeks left before shooting was supposed to start. When Qian came on board, she knew she had to work both quickly and efficiently to stay on schedule. From there, Qian began her work, and in just half a month, she began conducting auditions, finding locations and getting permits, organizing the crew, scheduling the shooting plan and getting insurance on sets and equipment. Qian also supervised the post-production for this project.

Last year was a busy time for Qian, who on top of working on Sixteen and Cowardsalso produced WhirlwindandTake Me Back. The latter was the producers first comedy, a refreshing change from the heavy topics and pointed dramas she often makes.

Take Me Back follows a pair of roommates who greatly dislike each other, but after a ridiculous body exchange, they start to understand each other’s lives. The film was nominated by Direct Monthly Online Film Festival and by Newark Short Film Contest.

“It’s a happy ending. I think this movie can bring the audience a positive attitude to life, when you don’t like someone, think and look in a different angle, maybe you will find the shining part of them. After seeing this short, you remember the happiness it brought to you but also you will start to ask yourself, those who I don’t like, do they have some good part I never discovered? If we exchanged bodies, would I do what he did or even worse than he did? I think, this movie can help us to understand other people’s actions. It takes the classic mantra of living in someone else’s shoes and makes it literal,” said Qian.

As Take Me Back was Qian’s first comedy, she conducted a lot of research to see what sort of tone needed to be set to make the film a success. She realized that the new genre was another way to get the audience to feel something while they watched, reminding her why she got into filmmaking in the first place.

“It’s fun to work with people who can bring others happiness. It brought me a fresh filmmaking take, reminding me that movies can not only talk about serious problems, but also can just entertain people,” she concluded.

Written by Annabelle Lee