Category Archives: Actor Profile

Actor Profile: Ukraine’s Jane Kapriss!

Jane Kapriss
Actress Jane Kapriss shot by Chia Messina

Award-winning actress Jane Kapriss is known for her performances in an impressive range of films such as the romcom  “Mac Daddy & the Lovers,” which took home the Golden Reel Award from the Nevada International Film Festival, the film’s sequel “Mac Daddy’s Vegas Adventure,” Geraldine Winters’ (“Clownstrophobia,” “Clownstrophobia 2”) thriller film “Psycho-Path: Mania” with multi-award winning actor Keith Collins (“Gravedigger,” “Awake in the Woods”) and many more.

Originally from Kiev, Ukraine Jane knew from a very young age that she would someday embark on a career as an actress.

Jane recalls, “I was interested in acting since I was a little girl. When I was 13, my mom took me to the audition at a modeling agency. They signed me and… later the agency sent me to the World Championships of Performing Arts to compete in the modeling category. I begged them to allow me to compete as an actress as well. Thankfully, they did. And as a result I won bronze medal for acting. After that acting has always been my priority.”

It’s not at all surprising that the Veni Vidi Vici modeling agency signed Jane on the spot, she is absolutely gorgeous, but it’s her talent as a performer that has ultimately put her on the map.

Jane Kapriss
Jane Kapriss on set of “Hand For Luck”

Early on in her career Jane landed a lead role in the popular Ukrainian feature film “Hand for Luck” aka “Ruka na Schaste,” where she starred alongside some of Russia’s most recognizable actors, such as Nina Antonova (“Polar Fight,” “Iron Ivan”), Golden Eagle and People’s Artist of the Republic Award winner Armen Dzhigarkhanyan (“Assassin of the Tsar,” “The Edge”) and MTV Movie Award Russia nominee Oskar Kuchera (“20 Cigarettes,” “Law of Corruption”).

A criminal action comedy, “Hand for Luck” follows Grinya (Kuchera), a shy loser who loses his hand after being run over by a car; but as luck would have it, the hospital has a fresh hand on deck to replace it– the only problem is that it came from a gangster who died in an explosion that same day, and once it’s on Grinya’s body, it tries to control the show pulling him into the life of it’s former owner.  To make matters more complex, the hand comes equipped with a ring engraved with the last 4 digits of wire transfer password that every criminal in the city wants to get their hands on. Unable to remove the ring, Grinya becomes a prime target, but with the hand of a gangster leading the way he becomes the hardest loser any criminal has ever tried to catch.

Jane gave a knock-out performance in the film as Anastasiya, the niece of feared mafia boss Krestnyy (Dzhigarkhanyan), and the original owner of the ring. Bringing the comedy into the world of cut-throat gangsters, Jane’s character Anastasiya is a teenager who just wants to make-out with her boyfriend and pass midterms, but even when the criminal dealings of her uncle overflows into her normal teen life Anastasiya remains rather oblivious to it all.

Jane Kapriss
Still of Armen Dzhigarkhanyan and Jane Kapriss in “Hand for Luck”

Jane explains, “I loved this character. She was one of my favorites. It was very funny how oblivious she was to the crime world cause she grew up in. My favorite scene to act in was the scene where she enters their living room where the shy loser in on his knees at gunpoint about to get killed. There are gangsters with guns everywhere. And she disregards all that because she has to walk through the living room to pick up the pizza delivery.”

Jane’s portrayal of Anastasiya definitely lightens the mood in the film, while also driving home the idea that even a crime boss who kills people on a daily basis still has room in his heart for family and struggles through everyday problems such as making sure his niece doesn’t run off with her boyfriend.

Produced by Zebra Productions (“Dare to Dream”), “Hand for Luck” garnered an overwhelmingly positive reception in the Ukraine upon its theatrical release in 2008, which also helped to boost Jane’s celebrity status at home.

Producer German Arkhipov, head of Zebra Productions, says .“As soon as I read the script, I knew that Jane was the perfect fit for the role of Anastasiya. And I offered her the part right away. Jane is a magnificent actress, a true professional who can make the audience laugh and cry. It is a rare gift. As a producer, I have to be sure that my project has the best actors attached to provide further success of the show. Having Jane on board means that half of my work is done.”

After carving out a strong reputation for herself as a dynamic actress in Ukraine, Jane moved to the U.S. where her onscreen career has continued to flourish. Up next for the sought after actress is an upcoming TV sitcom directed by Lana Lekarinou (“The Sparkle”) and produced by Antonia Roman (“Altruism,” “Hollywood Tale”). While we cannot disclose too much, we can say that the sitcom is co-production between That`s So Funny Entertainment and LVP Films, INC., and Jane will take on the lead role of Kitsa.

“I just want to act as much as possible. It’s never enough for me. It might be a cliche to say, but when I’m acting, I feel that I’m alive. So I just want to have a chance to keep doing that,” explains Jane.

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Canadian Actor Donald Heng Faces the Supernatural in SyFy’s ‘Ghost Wars’

Canadian actor Donald Heng followed a downright unorthodox route to break into the business, but it’s definitely working for him. The Vancouver-born Heng’s recurring role as Deputy Larry Foon on the new SyFy network fantasy/horror television series Ghost Wars encapsulates the Heng story, an offbeat, pan-professional mash-up of career choices that has placed him alongside some high profile stars.

“Quite frankly, I never felt I was attracted to acting for necessarily the right reasons,” Heng said. “I grew up admiring the police I saw portrayed in films and I wanted to be a police officer. I studied criminology in university. In the end, I figured being an actor would provide the positive aspects of being a cop without having to deal with the public pressure and boring administrative work.”

Born in Vancouver B.C., Heng had flirted with acting as a teenager, but after graduating high school and studying for a Bachelor of Arts Degree for Political Science and History at Simon Fraser University, he decided to obtain representation and study the craft in earnest.

“Despite that initial ambivalence, I fell in love with acting for all the right reasons. I acquired an agent and jumped in headfirst,” Heng said. “I studied acting with Jeb Beach for the next 5 years. And also worked with Matthew Harrison, Robin Nielsen and most recently, Andrew McElroy.”
Donald Heng 2

“Initially I just wanted to be on TV,” Heng said. “I can pinpoint the exact moment I decided I wanted to be an actor and that I was in it for the long run. My second class ever with Jeb Beach coincided with a deeply depressing moment in my life and Jeb helped me channel that energy into something I was able to illustrate through acting. I realized that I could take all the bad things I’d experienced in life and turn these into something good. Meryl Streep articulated it best as she remembered Carrie Fisher, ‘take your broken heart, and make it into art.’”

Heng swiftly parlayed that emotional breakthrough into a successful television career, with a small but memorable role in Disney’s T.V movie Girl Vs. Monster, a string of appearances on such series as Supernatural, Ransom, Arrow and, most recently, the elegantly terrifying Ghost Wars.

“This was a project that checked so many boxes on my list,” Heng said. “First off, I got to play a police officer which has always been a dream of mine. Secondly, I deeply respect the actors on this series. It was a wonderful experience to work with Vincent D’Onofrio [Full Metal Jacket, Netflix’s Daredevil], Meatloaf and Avan Jogia. I had some challenging experiences working on this as my character goes through some traumatic events in the series premiere. But it was a challenge that I welcomed and deeply appreciate the opportunity to have experienced it.”

His co-stars agree. “Donald was an absolute pleasure to work with,” Ghost Wars lead Avan Jogia said. “It’s so nice to act alongside someone who understands what each individual character brings to a scene and then, ultimately, the entire piece.”

Heng is also fully invested in his new role. “I am very excited about Ghost Wars,” Heng said. The horror/fantasy has experienced revitalization in recent years and demand for quality stories in the genre is at an all-time high. New shows have to meet that demand by integrating a very human story into the horror and develop a show that can stand on its own and be mainstream without just catering to a niche market. Remove the ‘creepy factor,’ and there’s still a very human story beneath it. By attaching that human component, it becomes easier to think about the character’s relationships and also about what might be at stake because of that ghostly entity.”

Heng stands at the cusp, savoring a rich, loaded professional moment in a fast moving career that has already come far and is poised to reach full bloom

“I just want to make good movies and TV,” Heng said. “And I want to do it for the same reasons that I fell in love with acting—I want to continue to push that goal of consolidating all the bad that is in my life and make it into something beautiful.”

Donald Heng will next appear as a guest star on episode 2 of the 4th season of The Flash airing on the CW, Tues., Oct.17th.

More Than Just a Music Video Heroine: Swedish Actress Josefin Nilsson

Actress Josefin Nilsson
Actress Josefin Nilsson shot by Tajna Tanovic

Audiences across the globe, hip-hop fans especially, will recognize Swedish bombshell Josefin Nilsson for her featured role in an impressive list of music videos in recent years, but her skill as an actress extends far beyond simply playing a music video heroine, although she does that incredibly well.

Earlier this year Nilsson was featured in the music video for Mike WiLL Made-It’s hit song “Perfect Pint” featuring Kendrick Lamar, Gucci Mane, and Rae Sremmurd. In the video, which was released in May and has already garnered nearly 15 million views on YouTube, Nilsson comes onto the scene as a gargantuan model whose legs the rappers driving a car between as she towers over the desert. Later on in the video fans will see Nilsson fly across the screen riding a rocket through the air, a trippy video to say the least.

Nilsson recalls, “The first music video I was a part of was actually a Chris Brown music video for the song ‘Bitches N Marijuana.’ I grew up idolizing Chris so the thought of actually being wanted for his video felt a little crazy at first.”  

In addition to  “Bitches N Marijuana Feat. ScHoolboy Q,” a 2015 collaboration between Brown and Tyga that earned over 20 million YouTube views, Nilsson has been featured in a number of Grammy Award winning artist Chris Brown’s other music videos, such as those for the hit songs “Grass Ain’t Greener,” which garnered more than 60 million views on YouTube, as well as Gucci Mane’s 2017 hit “Tone it Down” featuring Brown.

Actress Josefin Nilsson
Still of Josefin Nilsson from the “Perfect Pint’ music video

While Nilsson, who attended The Ballet Academy, one of Sweden’s most prestigious dance schools, has definitely made an impact with her featured performances in several hit music videos, her performances in films such as the startling horror flick Darkest Decision prove her strong capacity as an leading lady on film.

In Darkest Decision, which was chosen as an Official Selection of the Northern Frights Festival, Nilsson gives a riveting performance in the starring role of Cara Fox. Directed by Derek Quick (Fist Full of Glove, Lovisa, Set Ettiquette), Darkest Decision is a zombie film that follows a group of friends running for their lives, with Nilsson’s character Cara serving as the hero of the movie.

After being chased down by a bevy of bloodthirsty zombies, Cara, Darren and Jay lock themselves indoors, escaping in the knick of time. However, when Cara realizes Darren, played by Shane Liburd, has been infected, she has to make the pragmatic, but cold decision to kill him on the spot before he turns.

In Darkest Decision actress Josefin Nilsson nails her mark as the film’s fierce female hero, while also imbuing her character with just enough fear to make the situation believably terrifying. In the film Nilsson stars alongside Asians on Film Festival Winter Award winner Daniel Joo (Art of Deception, Fortune 500 Man), Diego T. Kuri (Life as a Mermaid, Golden State), and Mari Ørstavik (Killing Time in America, A Dolls House).

darkest decision film poster
Josefin Nilsson on the poster for the film “Darkest Decision”

About working on the film, Nilsson says, “It was really a great experience being a part of this project. It was a great team and the other lead Daniel Joo is such a great actor, I was blessed to work next to him on this film.”

Before making her way to Hollywood several years ago, actress Josefin Nilsson took to the screen in Sweden where she took on numerous critical roles in high profile productions such as the family romance film Eve & Adam: Four Birthdays & a Fiasco directed by two-time Guldbagge Award winner Catti Edfeldt, the International Emmy Award nominated series Laura Trenter- Fire! aka Det Brinner,  and the dramatic thriller Medicinmannen.

Up next for the actress is the film 7 Days a Kingpin, which is slated to begin filming later this year and will be directed by Paul Bunch (Waiting for Michelle, Crossing the Line, Thy Will Be Done).

Nilsson says, “I am super excited for the feature film ’7 Days as a Kingpin.’ I will be playing one of the leads and it will be great to be a part of such a big production. Daveigh Chase, known for ‘Donnie Darko,’ is starring in it and big producers like Scott Reid and John Ryan Jr. are a part of it.”

From Bollywood to Hollywood: Actress Karishma Bhandari

Karishma Bhandari
Actress Karishma Bhandari shot by John Clark

Born and raised in East London, actress Karishma Bhandari first made her mark in the Bollywood film industry back in 2012 when she landed the starring role of Sita in Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood.

Aside from being a skilled actress with magnetic appeal on screen, Bhandari’s extensive dance training gave her an added edge over the hundreds of other hopefuls vying for the role. Though she was only 19 at the time, Bhandari had already spent several years perfecting her craft at home in London. Her outstanding performance in the film Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood brought her widespread attention and ultimately proved to be the catalyst for the successful career she has today.

Directed by Encounters International Film Festival Award winner Aneil Karia, who also earned  the Grand Jury Prize Award from the Utah Arts Festival for her 2014 film Tag, the comedic adventure film Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood was commissioned for the Alchemy Festival, the UK’s largest festival of South Asian culture. The film followed Bhandari’s character Sita, Sheila played by Gurkiran Kaur (Oxasians, London Kahanis) and Rita played by Roshni Rathore (80’s Vampire Flick, Love Type D), three dance teachers at a local community centre who make it their mission to keep the centre open after a wealthy developer buys the property with the intention of closing it down in order to build a hotel. Chalk full of lively Bollywood dance routines, Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood’s endearing story about three young women battling the odds and fighting for what they believe in was a hit with viewers.

Karishma Bhandari
Still of Karishma Bhandari in pink in “Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood”

The first insight into the dynamic talent actress Karishma Bhandari has become known for, Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood proved Bhandari’s ability to portray a character who was the polar opposite of herself– a necessary skill for any true actor, and one that has undoubtedly led her to land leading roles in a wide range of films since.

Director Aneil Karia says, “Karishma’s passion is one thing that makes her stand out from the crowd, as well as her striking look and her warmth. It was a challenging, nuanced role in the film and she delivered a wonderful performance.” 

In 2016 Bhandari’s international reputation got an even bigger boost when she landed a lead role as Geeta in the Bollywood feature film Club Dancer directed by B. Prasad. The film follows Ria played by Nisha Mavani, an Indian girl who moves to the city where she tells her parents she’s landed a respectable job, however she is really a dancer in a club.

When her parents come for a surprise visit and find a man at her house who they assume is her boyfriend, but is actually a criminal who sought refuge from the police the night before, they immediately want them to get married. The man quickly disappears, but Ria finds another man, Amit, who’s identical to him and negotiates a deal with him to pretend to be her boyfriend in exchange for money, which he needs for his sister’s wedding. Bhandari’s character Geeta comes into play as the man’s soon-to-be-wed sister, a key character in the plot who helps further the love story that eventually develops between Ria and Amit, who’s played by Rajbeer Singh (Who’s There?, Ishq Junoon: The Heat is On).

Karishma Bhandari
Still of Raja (left) and Karishma Bhandari (right) as Geeta in “Club Dancer”

In the film, which Bhandari traveled to India to shoot for several months, she acts alongside notable Bollywood stars such as Filmfare Award winner Shakti Kapoor (Hungama, Musafir, Raja Babu) and Stardust Award nominee Zarina Wahab (Vishwaroopam, My Name is Khan), as well as actress Judith Shekoni (The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2, Ice, Ordinary Lies).

Although she was raised in London, Bhandari’s parents are originally from Punjab, India and she grew up speaking Punjabi– something that created a challenge for the actress as Club Dancer was made in Hindi. However, Bhandari trained diligently, learning a new language and adapting her accent for the role, and she seamlessly delivered her performance as if Hindi was her mother tongue.

One of the highlights of Bhandari’s performance as Geeta came towards the end of the film when she performed an intricate Bollywood dance routine, one that few other actresses could have pulled off with the same level of grace and style she brings to the screen.

Bhandari admits, “I had already had Bollywood dance training, but to do it on a massive set in front of a lot of people was challenging… We had rehearsals every day for about two weeks and when it came time for the shoot date I had the heaviest outfit to wear. It was a wedding song and I was literally covered in jewels, which made it difficult to dance, but I pushed through and made sure my movements were seen… the song was definitely the most memorable as it was amazing to see how it was edited together.”

Karishma Bhandari
Sill of Karishma Bhandari (center) surrounded by background actors in “Club Dancer”

Some of the other film credits Bhandari has become known for over the years include BAFTA nominee Jon Jones’ (Da Vinci’s Demons, Cold Feet) 2013 drama Lawless with National Television Award winner Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster), the Empire Award nominated comedy The Inbetweeners 2 with Simon Bird (Drunk History: UK, Friday Night Dinner) and James Buckley (Zapped, White Gold), Asko Pati’s (Love Station, Super Micchua) romantic action film Aashiqui: True Love with Ankush Hazra (Romeo Vs Juliet), the 2016 sci-fi drama The Conversations with Daniella Down (The Wedding Party), and more.

Having already made a name for herself in the UK and Bollywood, actress Karishma Bhandari is currently planning to make her move to the states where she will undoubtedly be in hot demand in Hollywood as well. Bhandari is currently in production with the upcoming series The Corner Shop where she plays the lead role of Maleeka, as well as the series Emergency: LA where she plays Nurse Persis Chadra. A supremely talented actress, we have no doubt that we will be seeing a whole lot more of Karishma Bhandari in the future!

Actress Erika Garces: The Next Generation

Erika Garces
Actress Erika Garces

Born in Ecuador to an Ecuadorian father and German mother, actress Erika Garces’ undeniable beauty has been turning the heads of viewers around the world for the past seven years, but it’s her skill as a leading lady on both the stage and screen that’s responsible for the indelible mark that she’s made in the minds of fans.

Over the years she has become known for her performances in an impressive range of projects including the 2011 dramatic Argentinean film Milán directed by Festival Internacional Latin UY Award Nominee Alejandro Cuberos, Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival Award winner Samuel Gonzalez Jr.’s film Here with Me featuring TV Star James Scott from Days of our Lives, the 2016 dramatic comedy film Social Norm, which earned the Best Narrative Feature Award from the California Film Awards, and many more.

Last year Garces gave a dazzling performance in the comedy action film City of Dreams, where she took on the starring role of Audrey, a wife who leaves her husband only to be tracked down by one of his hitmen. As the lead actress and co-producer of the film, Garces earned the Women’s Film Challenge Award from the Audience Awards in Los Angeles earlier this year, as well as several other accolades for her work.

The ethnic ambiguity of Garces look has endowed her with the rare asset of being able to visually embody a wide range of characters from around the world, something that has definitely come in handy over the course of her career. Having taken on characters ranging from a Persian protestant in Rayka Zehtabchi’s (We Home, The Pad Project) film Madaran, which earned the HollyShorts Film Festival Jury Award in 2016, to a Spanish reporter in Gotham Independent Film Award nominee Mayon Denton’s crime mystery Distortion, Garces repertoire of work proves her versatility. As a performer who is always looking for a challenge, there are some character types that she has purposefully chosen to avoid.

The actress says, “I definitely stay away from the ‘cute girlfriend’ type. Not much to do.”

About what she looks for in a project, Garces adds, “One of the main things I focus on is the story…. Is there a message or a subject that I’m interested in working with. Is my character something new I haven’t been challenged with before, or is it a personal connection to something about this character that I would like to tell her story and communicate…”

The Perfect Plan
Poster for “The Perfect Plan”

In 2016 Garces took on the starring role of Agent E. in the action-packed romance film The Perfect Plan directed by Siena Sivrican (The Hitchhiker). The film revolves largely around Garces’ character Agent E. and Agent R. played by Akende Munalula (From the upcoming series Counterpart with JK Simmons, and Boo2A Medea Halloween with Tyler Perry), two CIA special agents tasked with bringing down a corrupt French company owned by three brothers that stands behind a massive money laundering operation.

While the adrenaline pumping espionage that unfolds over the course of the film is a major draw,  what makes The Perfect Plan even more intriguing is the unexpected romance that erupts between Agents E. and R., something that makes the ending of the film that much more tragic.

About working with Garces, Akende Munalula, who played Agent R. as well as wrote the screenplay for The Perfect Plan, says, “Her dedication to character and story telling is like I’ve never seen before. She truly immerses herself into her character and is always going deeper. I learned so much from watching her work.”

The Perfect Plan
Akende Munalula and Erika Garces in “The Perfect Plan”

Garces gives a knockout performance in The Perfect Plan, embodying both the cunning strength and seductive nature of a female secret agent, as well as the human vulnerability that allows the audience to see that the relationship between her character and Agent R. has grown into much more than a cover.

While Garces has taken on countless powerful authority-driven roles overs the course of her career, such as her role as Officer Johnson in the upcoming film La Cougars, Officer Greene in Decades Apart and Sergeant Lodge in The Hudson Case, the film The Perfect Plan provided the actress with a few intimate challenges she hadn’t experienced in the past.

“A new challenge I faced with this shoot is the intimacy that was required and the chemistry between the two leading characters. There were many kissing scenes, and implied sex scenes, no nudity, all implied, but it was new for me to live that on set as oppose to the stage,” admits Garces.

To any viewer who’s seen Garces performance in The Perfect Plan, or any of her other film work to date for that matter, it’s immediately apparent why the actress has managed to achieve the international level of success that she has over the last few years– her skill and magnetism on screen are virtually unparalleled.

About what drives her to perform, Garces explains, “It’s about telling a story that you’re passionate about. A story that affects the society, a story perhaps, that represents voices that can’t speak for themselves, but when they go to the theater (movie or stage) they identify themselves with these characters. I love the opportunity to be able to speak up for someone that cannot, through art.”

Having carved out a prominent position for herself as a sought after actress in both the U.S. and abroad, we know Erika Garces is one actress we will be seeing a whole lot more of on screen in the future. Keep your eyes peeled for Garces in the upcoming dramatic feature film Elevate from multi-award winning director Angela Matemotja (The Encounter, The Untimely Concurrence), as well as Marc Logan’s (Sweet 6teen, Solitary, Rats) crime film The Hudson Case.

Erika Garces will also be hosting Fashion Gossip at the magazine’s 2017 Maxim Hot 100 Party on Saturday, June 24th in Los Angeles.

Ariel Zhang talks living her dream, the importance of acting, and dancing in CD-9’s “Get Dumb”

head shot taken by Gerard Alba
Actress Ariel Zhang

From the time Ariel Zhang was a child, she always wanted to be a performer. Singing and acting were always her passions, and growing up in Beijing, China, she began to explore these passions, by studying vocal music, dance, and stage drama. At that time, she enjoyed being at center of the stage, being in the spotlight and being admired. As she grew, she began to appreciate the nuances to acting more and more. She wanted a colorful life, where she could constantly have different experiences and see through many different perspectives. She came to truly appreciate Sir Alex Guiness’ words “Acting is happy agony.” This realization solidified her future, and acting became her true love. Now, she is an award-winning actress, with international audiences appreciative of her talent.

I bring life to screen. Being an actress, I can pass all my energy to the audience with my performance. The successful performance of an actress gives vivid and direct descriptions of the hero to affect the inner heart of all the audiences. It also means that I could have the chance to experience the eternity of time and space as well as the immortality of life, as I could have the chance to act in roles from the far past to the never-ending future,” said Zhang.

And Zhang has done just that. She has portrayed characters from the ancient times, like in the film Mo Zi when she had the leading role of Song. She has represented large companies, such as Citic Bank, when they launched a campaign and commercial to help Chinese immigrants coming to the United States. She has used both her singing and acting capabilities while teaching young children English and Chinese with the interactive computer game PreSchool Play with Skoolbo. And she has captivated audiences around the world with her award-winning performance as a schizophrenic in the film Consumemate. There is no limit to what this versatile actress can achieve.

“I think that being an actress is a great almost holy job, where you can redeem people’s souls, just like doctors do to save people’s physical lives. I think that a theater is like a church, where people will get their souls purified. Watching the work of the actors, the audience will be able to look into their own minds, from which they will view the world and the society with some kind of criticism. Staying in a theater for two or three hours, the audience can be there observing themselves from the depths of their heart with quietness. This is the charm of the stage drama, which communicates with the audience by the performance of the actors. That is why I hope to have such power to influence the audience by my acting,” said Zhang.

While Zhang tells important stories, she always enjoys what she does. She always has fun, no matter what role she is playing. And sometimes, she plays roles just to have fun, going back to that thought she had as a child, that when you act, each day is different. That is exactly what happened when she was a dancing girl in Mexican pop band CD-9’s collaboration music video with South Korean girl group Crayon Pop, titled Get Dumb.

“It was fun to be one of the dancing girls. This music video doesn’t really have a proper story line to follow, so your character feels freer to do whatever feels right. In a commercial or a film, you can experiment with the character, but you know where the story is taking you, so this was different and fun,” said Zhang.

As a dancing girl in the video, Zhang got to dance in a pool that was in a fancy car, just laughing and having fun. The video gave her the opportunity to keep expanding her horizons, and work with foreign singers, something the actress had never done before.

“I felt out of my comfort zone, since I was dancing a different kind of music of that I usually listen to. But I felt comfortable enough to be myself and have fun with it. Also, as a dancer, the floor is my world, but having the unique opportunity of doing it in water, it was a nice experience,” she described.

Fellow actress Sabrina Percario worked with Zhang on the video, and describes her as extremely pleasant to work with, a reputation she carries with whatever she works on.

“Ariel is a sweetheart and very professional actress. She is a unique, dynamic and much desired creative artist. She brings to her work both enthusiasm and creative magic, and she excels in many specific areas that take her beyond the range of most artists in her peer group. She is able to play very different characters,” said Percario.

The video, produced by Sony Music, has over 2.5 million hits on YouTube alone. It is an upbeat song, made for dancing. That is exactly what Zhang did when she first saw the final product, and it made the experience even better.

“I was really happy with the video. When I got to see the music video online, I was so excited, that I danced and sang along with it,” she said. “CD-9 and Crayon Pop have so much energy, it’s contagious. Even though everyone was working so hard, they never went off. They kept the set working in a positive way with a smile in their faces. Everyone seemed to be happy to be working there that day.”

You can watch the Get Dumb music video here.

Mike Goral’s narration of docuseries “Polar Bear Town” captivates audiences

Mike Goral has built his career in acting without the “lights, camera, action” experience. Instead, he works alone, in a small sound-proofed room, with only a microphone as his partner. Goral is a voice actor, and has narrated projects appreciated by millions, both in his home country of Canada and the United States.

While working in the industry for over twenty years, Goral has worked on promos and imaging products for some of the world’s most recognized companies, narrated television shows for some of the largest networks, and voiced segments for local radio stations that thousands listen to every single day. He is extremely versatile, and has genuine passion for what he does. While working for the television show Polar Bear Town for the Smithsonian Channel, Goral is able to do what he loves while continuously learning about something he knew nothing about, making each day completely different.

“I thought Polar Bear Town was a really cool story. I loved the script and the story. It’s always fun to work on a production that is well-planned. The production team was awesome and I was drawn to the project immediately. Nothing beats working with great people,” said Goral.

Polar Bear Town is a documentary series about a community of people in Churchill and Northern Manitoba, Canada that reside in a part of the continent where polar bears dwell at certain times of the year. People from all over the world travel to this remote community to get a close-up, in-person look at the mighty polar bear.

“I’ve heard stories about Churchill for years. It’s one of the most remote communities in Canada. I grew up in Southern Ontario, nowhere near Northern Manitoba, and the polar bear stories were legendary. I always heard that some people carried guns up there because of the imminent danger of bear attacks. I always thought it would be a cool place to visit, but haven’t made my way up there just yet,” said Goral. “I’ve learned so much about Churchill, Manitoba because of this show. I’ve experienced a different culture within my own native country. I found the people’s stories fascinating: people who make a living out of being tour guides for seeing polar bears, up-close in their natural habitat. I didn’t even know such careers existed. “

As the narrator for the show, Goral has what he describes as the unique privilege of telling a great story to a large audience of viewers. Each episode shows a different element to the story, and there are different tones in the episodes. There are parts where there is imminent danger, and Goral has to deliver his narration with a certain intensity. Then, there are parts where two of the cast members are arguing, which requires different cadence to his deliveries. The narration is key to the show’s success.

“The story takes a lot of different turns, and I have to use all that I have learned over the years to help make those make transitions when I am telling the story. It was a lot of fun, and it’s what I love to do,” he said.

Goral has now voiced the first season of Polar Bear Town, and he worked with director Jeff Newman on this most recent season. The two have a great sense of teamwork, as Goral describes the director as awesome, and a consummate professional.

“Jeff is very focused and would walk into our sessions knowing exactly what he needed done. He gave very clear direction, and was a lot of fun to work with. We shared a lot of laughs while working together too. The process was relaxed and enjoyable. I really hope to work with him again. Nothing beats good chemistry,” described Goral.

Newman agrees, and says working with Goral is fantastic and a lot of fun. As the director, he knows the importance of a voice actor, especially for a documentary type of show. Narration is pivotal to the telling of the story.

“Mike’s easy to work with, consistent, and has a great delivery. He takes direction really well and was able to give me exactly what I needed really fast,” said Newman. “This series has a wide range of reads to it, from scientific and informational, to intense adventure, to balls out fun. Mike was able to cover all the bases and provide the right tone in every scene.”

Despite discussing polar bears so frequently, Goral has found he is more scared of them than he once was, becoming more aware of how dangerous the bears are.

“There was one segment of the series that described the vicious attack of a local woman. She almost lost her life. I couldn’t imagine experiencing something like that. I think going through something like that can change a person forever,” said Goral.

While his subject matter might be harsh, the experience is a great one for Goral. Working on Polar Bear Town allows him to do what he loves on a regular basis, and although he is not featured on the screen, but rather through the speakers, fans appreciate the value that he adds to each episode.

 “I really enjoy it. When you are part of something you like, it’s a lot of fun. You get to be a part of something great. I just loved the way the series was produced. It was an awesome production team. They were true professionals, and that’s what made it such a pleasure,” he concluded.

You can watch full episodes of Polar Bear Town here.