Friday, March 28, 2014

INTRODUCING THE VERY LOVELY AND TALENTED UK MODEL, ACTRESS, MUSICIAN - AND MORE - 
SAMIRA MOHAMED ALI






1        Please tell us tell us a little bit about your background; 

         A:        I am an actress working on two feature films currently in the UK , one in the States and one in Bollywood - I was a former Bands and commercial Model.



2       Have you always wanted to be an entertainer or did you want to do something else                   when younger?


        A:             I thought my career path was to become a TV presenter and I worked on many great presenting jobs - working and interviewing Ruby Wax, Rankin (Royal Family Photographer), John Barnes etc.... but I got given an opportunity to have a small role in a movie and ended up landing lead role so it all went from there in my acting career.





3       Are any of your family members or relatives entertainers?


        A:               My cousin is a rap star in Dubai and a really great break-dancer and my brother has a very witty, dry, funny, quick personality - he could become a great comedian.  But other than that no.


4        You are a model, actor, musician, dancer and photographer. Have you had formal                         training in all these skills?


         A:               I was a model and still do a small amount of modelling but with limited time I am just concentrating on my acting career - I had no training - had great feedback saying my emotions and acting is raw and real so I'm glad I didn't have the formal training  - but I do wish I had speech training to have a range of accents as I can only do my own accent which is strong Welsh accent.



5        Who and what have you modelled for?


        A                 Euros Disney in France, Redken and Aveda the hair product, Druian and Spektor Celebrity Dental Practice,  Jennifer Lopez Launch Event in London - lots more......




6       Have you acted in any major productions or TV shows? And have you worked with any              big names?




        A:                  I have worked on 'Molly Crows' - it's a small Indie production but had amazing reviews and won Best Drama in Portobello Film Festival and Moscow Film Festival.
I have just signed for Dr Who largest Fun Funded Production on the States so watch this space!




7       What sort of dancing do you enjoy?


         A:                   I love Bollywood dancing 



8        Who and/or what are your inspirations?


         A:                    I adore strong business people who are creative and not afraid to make it happen Simon Cowell, Richard Branson , Alan Sugar.    
But my main inspiration is my mum and family - they keep me positive, give me confidence and are my main support and what I need to make it in this industry.





9   Are you professionally managed or do you represent yourself?

       A:                   I have an amazing manager and team:   www.tanabi.co.uk - they are incredible and not a sit down manager - he works very hard and believes in me 100%.  I am so grateful to be managed by such a wonderful team and company.  I am in the middle of having conversations for a USA Film/TV agent to add to my team.



10  What do you enjoy doing in your ‘spare’ time?


       A:               Sleeping.  Any free time I catch up on my sleep, spend time with my beautiful dogs, catch up for dinner with my family and friends - just catch up on social time,.



11   Have you ever been bullied?


       A:              I had an incident which I was very young - about 10 years old and it was 2 girls who decided to stab me with pencils - I got taken to hospital as they made me bleed.  Children can be very cruel.  




12   Whether you have been bullied or not, do you feel that the governments and schools world wide are doing enough to try to combat this problem?


        A:      Absolutely - I feel there is more pressure on children these days - it's more materialistic if you don't have the latest phone or the trendiest trainers then you are instantly a target.  I personally would like there to be a education training programme for children to realise this is not how you should treat others.  The governments need to look at this closely.  Where I live in South Wales we had a problem in Bridgend with a large number of teenage suicides - I believe this was down to bullying.



13    What more do you feel that the above could do to either try to decrease this problem hugely or eliminate it altogether?


       A:            It's just educating and having a support network or group/charity that is accessible and known for the victims to come talk to and for them to gain strengh through this.



14     On a personal level, is there anything you would like to do to help battle bullying?


         A:           Yes it is one of my goals - if I can make a difference in helping others to understand this is a huge issue - I have an idea for a Anti Bullying Programme.



15    What is on the agenda for 2014?


        A:          -   4 x movies; 
                     -    signing a USA Agent;
                     -    producing 2 x movies;
                     -    my own lingerie and bikini line (launch).





16   Do you have a special message you would like to share with the world?


       A:           Just love life - whatever you are going through I feel it's for you to learn from and grow and strengthen you as a person - be positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel if times are tough!


17   Do you have any links you would like to include with this interview?



www.samiramohamedali.co.uk


 
     

Monday, March 24, 2014

PLEASE WELCOME ANOTHER EXTREMELY INSPIRATIONAL AND TALENTED LADY WHO SEEMS TO HAVE IT ALL - 
INTRODUCING CANADIAN ACTOR
AMANDA  WOOD


1                   Please tell us a little bit about your background;

         A:      I am a Canadian singer/songwriter from Vancouver, B.C. I have always had a passion for entertainment and travel.  I went to the University of Victoria on scholarship for acting and musical theatre. I moved to Vancouver to pursue acting in tv and movie and also started performing at local jazz clubs. Before I knew it, I was booking International Jazz festivals and started recording my own albums.  I have now just completed my first major studio album, having worked with world famous jazz musicians like the Jeff Hamilton Trio and John Clayton Jr. It has been a dream come true. I am currently singing in Hong Kong and performing around Asia.


2                  Did youu want to be something else when younger?Have you always wanted to be in entertainment or did you aspire to be something else?

      A:     My dream has always been the same since I was a little girl as young as kindergarten.  I have always wanted to entertain people and bring them joy through the arts.


3                   Are any of your family or relatives entertainers?

              A:                   My grandmother was an amateur opera singer, and we believe that is where my talent came from.

4                   You are an exceptionally talented young lady – being a model, actor, musician, photographer and stylist.  Are you formally trained in all of these?

         A:   I was scouted at young age to start modelling professionally and I took lot’s of fun modelling courses on how to walk on the catwalk and how to do professional photo shoots.  I always loved the chance to get all dressed up!  I always thought it was a lot of fun and never took the modelling too seriously. I have been training as an actor and working professionally since I was 14. The same goes for music and I inherited my Mothers passion for photography and started taking classes in high-school. I have a passion for design and style and have had the pleasure of styling my own photo shoots as well as other friends projects.



5                   Are you managed professionally or do you represent yourself?

                                          A:           I work with multiple agents from around the globe, but have non-exclusive agreements with all of them. I am currently looking for the right partner in a manger to help me take my career to the next level. Things are so busy that I literally need someone to help “manage” things.  I’m excited to be at this stage in my career, but am careful to wait for the right person to partner with.



6                   Do you write your own songs and/or write for others – or neither?

         A:        Yes, I love to co-write songs for myself.  I am very social and love the opportunity for collaboration. My new album features 6 original songs, 4 of which I co-wrote.  Including the title track, “My Love.” I spent time in Nashville writing with some of the best songwriters in the world. It was a very inspiring experience.



7                   Have you ever worked with any very big names – other than your own, I mean?  Would you be able to tell us about that?

         A:         Yes, I have been very honoured to perform with David Foster on multiple occasions.  He is from the same home town of Victoria, B.C. and I have always looked up to him as a mentor in the music industry!  Michael Buble was kind enough to call me and give me some life changing advice about whether or not to accept a record deal. I’ve work with the multi Grammy award winning Jeff Hamilton (Drummer for Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett) Tamir Hendleman (Barbara Streisand’s musical director and pianist) John Clayton Jr. (Bass player and arranger for Paul McCartney, Michael Buble, Diana Krall) Gabriel Mark Hasselbach (Trumpet player and Juno and Smooth Jazz Award Winner ) Miles Black, Jodi Proznick, Rene Worst are all incredible and award winning Canadian Jazz musicians.




8             Have you ever appeared, with any of your talents, on TV, film or stage?

   A:       Yes, I’ve been very blessed to perform in many professional productions of both theatre and musical theatre. As well I have many on camera acting credits.  I have not been as active with acting in the last few years, because my music has been taking me all around the world.  It’s tough to get into the audition schedule, when I’m always out of town. Something I’ve really enjoyed is voice over acting.  I do animation, video games, radio and tv ads, narration and on-hold.  It allows me to combine the talents of my voice and acting abilities. You can see my full acting resume and samples of my voice over demo reels on www.AmandaWood.com



9             Who and/or what are your inspirations?

  A:         My inspirations are my parents, my husband and the beautiful surroundings of my home in Vancouver, Canada.  I am very inspired by the ups and downs of great love stories and also in the acts of kindness we see sometimes in the world.  I am inspired by International travel and the exploration of different cultures.



10            Have you ever been bullied?

    A:       I have, and it was a terrifying experience.  I was hazed at the age of 15 by the older boys and girls who were graduating from high-school that year. It was a confusing experience, because we were being told that it was an “honour” to chosen as the next “cool kids” but it was humiliating, physically painful and degrading.  We experienced being rounded up like cattle, dangerously thrown into the back of an open aired truck bed, hog tied, pelted with eggs at close range, covered with kitchen condiments, forced to drink motor oil, forced to do all sorts of terrible things. At the end of it we were left there and forced to walk for kilometres back up a steep hill covered in a stinky mess, eyes stinging from the tears and a head full of questions with no answers.   I’ve also experienced the pain of not being accepted or gossiped about, but I have also always tried to stand up for those being bullied and whenever possible I have tried to be an example of strength and a safe place for other kids to come to when they feel they are being bullied.  As my self-confidence grew, I asserted myself and defended others whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The other major experience I had with bullying was when someone kept vandalizing my car.  I was friends with everyone at school and couldn’t imagine who would do this to me. I had worked really hard for my little “Sprint” and was devastated when I came out late in the evening after theatre rehearsal to find my car totally wrecked in the parking lot.  I remember the sun was setting and my car was the only one there.  It had been keyed all over the wind shield wipers were ripped off, the antenna broken and the word SLUT was keyed into the hood. I was paralyzed with fear and shock.  I was so humiliated to drive the car home. I was so embarrassed for my parents to see the car and to in any way think that the word slut held any truth. I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time and was a “good girl.” So the sting of that word cut deeply.  I had to raise the money to fix the car through bottle drives and extra work and the day I brought my newly fixed car back to school it happened all over again. I was devastated and the thing that hurt my feelings the most was that I KNEW that other kids must have witnessed it or knew through the rumour mill who had done it. About 8 years later I received a facebook message from an old school mate apologizing for her actions and confessing to it all.  She shared with me that she felt uncontrollable jealousy for my success in the dance and theatre programs. She shared with me that she came from a broken family where alcohol was destroying everything.  She was so angry at the time and used me as a target for her frustations.  We have since completely mended everything, I shared with her how humiliating the experience was and after she apologized I forgave her.  It was a tremendous weight off of both of our hearts.  We are now supportive facebook friends and enjoy being in each others lives.



11             Whether you have been bullied or not, do you feel that the governments and schools around the world are doing enough to try to combat this problem?

  A:          I have friends whose kids have recently experienced threats and acts of bullying and I have to say that the schools handled the situation with incredible speed and they took it all very seriously.  The tough thing is that we deal with it as adults, but we need to remember the complexities around child psychology and the hierarchy of the schools.  It all needs to be handled swiftly but also with a sensitivity to what is going to happen after the kids are protected.
Unfortunatley there continue to be tragic cases of bullying and two examples from my neck of the woods that will always stay with me are the tragic murder of Reena Virk by her classmates and the silence of the student body that followed. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Reena_Virk

And the more recent events of Amanda Michelle Todd (born November 27, 1996, in British Columbia)[2][3] committed suicide on October 10, 2012 at the age of 15 at her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to her death, Todd had posted a video on YouTube in which she used a series of flash cards to tell her experience of being blackmailed, bullied and physically assaulted. The video went viral after her death,[4] resulting in international media attention. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and British Columbia Coroners Service launched investigations into the suicide.

I have become friends with Amanda’s mother and we are hoping to work together on an event where I can sing and we can raise funds and awareness for the Amanda Tood Legacy Fund. http://amandatoddlegacy.org




12             What more do you feel the above could be doing to either try to decrease this problem hugely or eliminate it altogether?

    A:       I think sadly, bullying is a part of our human DNA.  It’s the “jungle” part of our reptile brain and only through compassionate thinking, evolved and informed actions and excellent leadership both at home and in the school systems can we hope to have both young and old choose the higher road.  If only we could all follow the golden rule of “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

The part of the equation that is new and I’m not sure how we are going to handle it is the cyber world.  When I was going to school we didn’t all have cell phones and facebook. We didn’t have access to Twitter and photo shop. A rumour or embarrassing incident would erase with time or the latest scandal in the hallways of the school. But now, once something is posted it lasts forever…and that is a very long time.  

There is always more that can be done. We must continue to honour those that have been bullied in the past and to acknowledge the reality that this problem is not just going to “go away.” We must all do what we can and it starts on a macro level in our own backyards, homes, schools and work places.  Being a part of a community really helps. Reach out and get to know one another. You are surrounded by loving and kind people, you just need to get to know one another.


13             On a personal level, what do you feel you would like to see being done to help in this fight?

A:         I think there need to be more anonymous options for bully reporting and more positive examples of “cool kids” showing leadership in their acceptance and protection of everyone. This starts with great training in the home. There really needs to be a zero tolerance in all schools and work places.


14             What is on the agenda for 2014?

     A:        I will be heading home after a successful tour of shows in Hong Kong in April.  I have concerts and International festivals scheduled in Vancouver and all around B.C. Other shows throughout the summer and fall are scheduled in Toronto, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Thailand. I will be releasing more videos from my latest albums on my youtube channel www.youtube.com/AmandaWoodMusic and will also be officially releasing my Christmas Album online in November 2014!


15             Do you have a special message you would like to share with the world?

     A:          There is so much beauty in the world.  Find a way to honour what is within you through your own passion and do your best to leave the world a better place than you found it.  Love yourself and then take that energy and spread it amongst all you meet. Travel and explore both internally and internationally. We only get one chance at this life, make the most of it.



16             Is there anything further you would like to add?

     A:      I feel blessed and filled with gratitude to be able to do what I love for a living and for the opportunity to spread joy and love through my music.  I hope that I will one day meet you (the reader) and have you be a part of my audience. Remember to always stand up for yourself and those around you. Do not be afraid to be different for it is your uniqueness that allows you to shine most brightly.



17           Do you have any links you would like to have included with this interview?

   A:           I am an ambassador for the RAW beauty movement.  Please follow this link to see photos of me with no makeup and my interview. I hope this is empowering for young women!


Please visit and follow me on the following social media links:


My New ALBUM “My Love” - Mixed and Mastered at Capitol Studios in Hollywood!







Sunday, March 16, 2014

PLEASE WELCOME WONDERFUL MELBOURNE ACTRESS & MODEL
LORE  BURNS




1                    Please tell us a little bit about your background.

                                             A:   I was born accidentally in the UK when my mother contracted preeclampsia; I was nine weeks early and very, very small. We lived there for a few years when I was a kid before coming back to Australia. I’ve been playing music all my life as well as studying theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts and recently working on my first commercial show: 'King Kong'. I am passionate about music, drama and social justice and I also got engaged last December (my fiancĂ© is a cartoonist)!
(Ed:  CONGRATULATIONS to you  both).
2                    Have you always wanted to be in entertainment or did you want to do something else when you were younger?

                            A:     I remember playing teacher when I was little and feeding my ‘students’ bubble gum flavoured lip-gloss as a reward and funnily enough I am now a music teacher part time. However, I also remember the feeling I got in my first drama lessons in primary school and my subsequent compulsion to write, perform and compose music and drama. It’s been my dream for a long time now to make a career out of the performing arts, but only recently have I plucked up the courage to pursue it.



3                    Is anyone else in your family in entertainment?

                       A:           My mother teaches violin as well as performing, and my father plays trumpet in a big band and chamber orchestra in between work. My uncle is a professional keyboard player and my other uncle is a bassoonist and composer. No one’s done acting yet, though!





4                    You are a model, actor and musician.  Are you formally trained in these skills?

                           A:   I’m formally trained in cello, piano, guitar, singing, composition and theatrical production. Acting is something I have experience in, but am hoping to undertake formal training very soon. Modelling is very new; I had to get head shots for acting and the photographer asked if I’d be willing to do more shoots with my cello, so now I’m pursuing artistic modelling as well (none of that catwalk nonsense for me).



5                    Have you ever worked with any ‘big’ names?

                            A:      I recently worked on “King Kong” which involved some fantastic and talented musical theatre people, including beautiful singer Esther Hannaford and well-known actor and singer/songwriter Richard Piper.



6                    What do you enjoy doing in your ‘spare’ time?

                         A:         I make a “Doctor Who” fan series for which I write, act, production manage and compose. I also compose and record my own music and enjoy studying psychology and physics alongside acting, writing and music.



7                    What and/or who are your inspirations?

                       A:            I’m very inspired by “Doctor Who” orchestrator, conductor and composer in his own right Ben Foster because he’s amazing and incredibly lovely. Obviously, “Doctor Who” inspires me a lot too with its positive values, imagination and humour. I also love German philosopher Nietzsche because he wasn’t afraid to think for himself despite opposition and had a keen love of nature, despite being perceived by the general public as harsh and elitist. And recently Jennifer Lawrence because she’s a real person who hasn’t let fame ruin her, plus she’s clumsy like me.




8                    Have you ever been bullied?

                            A:        I was bullied in primary and early high school, mainly by older girls who didn’t approve of my childishness or just didn’t like me/who I made friends with. They called me names, dragged me around the schoolyard and the boys threw things at me. It hurt, but I was fortunate enough to have a best friend in primary school and a strong friendship group in high school as well as a loving family. That’s the main reason why I was too scared to pursue acting; for so long I felt unworthy and afraid.



9                    Whether you have been bullied or not, do you think the governments and schools around the world are doing enough to try to combat this problem?

                            A:  The anti-bullying programs and spokespeople I see hearten me, but there is always more to be done, especially in our media saturated society.



10                What further do you feel the above could do to either greatly decrease bullying or eliminate it altogether?

                           A:       We encourage bullying in a certain sense through how we portray what the ‘perfect person’ is, which is completely unattainable without the aid of editing software. So, from the outset we’re all bullied by the media, which in turn encourages us to bully others who don’t fit the norm in order to feel better about our own insecurities. Not to mention the progress we need to make on gay/other sexuality rights and in accepting others (i.e. refugees). It’s all about fear. We need to recognise that we’re naturally afraid of the unknown and make an effort to be compassionate and understanding instead of lashing out or believing in stereotypes.




11                Is there anything you would like to do in this fight, on a personal level?

                       A:       I’m just one tiny person, but so is everyone else. If I can make one other tiny person feel loved, then I’ll have made a difference. If I could, I would love to give everyone who is struggling a big hug, but perhaps I’ll have to settle for writing a song instead. Songs are like musical hugs, aren’t they?



12                Are you professionally managed or do you represent yourself?

                       A:       I represent myself, although I am with a few talent agencies.



13                What musical instrument do you play?  Preferred genres?

                       A:      I play (in order of proficiency) cello, piano, percussion, guitar, bass, piano accordion, clarinet, mandolin, ukulele, violin, viola. I am classically trained, but I also love rock, folk, electronic and world music. I’m a huge fan of fusion, such as MUSE, or certain film soundtracks which combine live and samples such as Hans Zimmer’s scores.



14                What is on the agenda for 2014 for you?

                      A:       It’s going to be a big year for me! I’ll be house-hunting, wedding planning, playing in several bands on cello, recording a solo EP, teaching music and pursuing acting and music as a career *gulp*.



15                Do you have any special message you would like to share with the world?

                      A:            I want the world to know that there are many people who care and I am one of them. We’re much quieter than the cries of the selfish and the aggressive, but we’re here. And no matter who you are or what you’ve done or had done to you, we will always listen and practice compassion. There are people in your life who will too, even if you don’t know who they are yet; sometimes being vulnerable takes the most strength.



16                Is there anything further you would like to add?

                     A:         Thank you for this opportunity and do let me know if there’s anything else I can do!



17                Do you have any links you would like to be included in this interview?