This One’s For Amanda de Cadenet

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Thank you for sparking conversation.

Thank you for sparking a dialogue among women.

Thank you for showing us that a strong woman is a process.

Thank you for putting a premium on strong opinions. On female leadership. On community.

Dear readers, I have a confession to make. I have no idea what I’m doing. I never know what’s in store in the world, or in my thoughts. I still feel like a kid, a sponge, trying to absorb as much as I can so that I can one day say I have it figured out. I have a feeling that day will never come, but it’s the journey that counts, right?

The one thing I do know is that I’ve always relied on those wiser than me to guide the way. I seek them out constantly so as not to miss a single lesson. When I was a kid it was my teachers, my family, a close friend. As I got older, and was exposed to more of the world through books and television, I began to realize that there were wise people everywhere! What kid of the 90s wasn’t inspired by Judy Blume, Rosie O’Donnell or any and every segment of Reading Rainbow?

These days I’m especially drawn to women who are paving their own path, and at the same time, in a way, paving the way for me. In the last few years I’m finding these women everywhere, practically chanting for the rest of us to follow suit. I love it. Authors, actresses, business women, hosts, professionals in any field, and even women in my own life are inspiring me every single day. It’s exciting.

I discovered Amanda de Cadenet a couple of years ago on Youtube. After watching one episode of The Conversation I was forever hooked on her passion, her straightforwardness and her honesty. I immediately wanted to talk to her and learn from her, and to be honest, I really wanted to do what she did! How amazing would it be to go to work every day and just chat with inspiring people about topics that affect us all. Even cooler, how amazing would it be to be able to help others by doing something you truly love. That idea really stuck with me, and I’ve been a follower ever since.

This interview with Chelsea Handler is perhaps one of my favorites. Two powerhouse women speaking honestly about love,  life and careers. No pretense, no one worrying about their image, and sincerity all around. If you’re not hooked after this I don’t know what’s wrong with you ;)

Tonight, Amanda premieres her new talk show on Lifetime Television. This time it’s live and it’s called #Undone. I really can’t wait. As we all know, Chelsea Handler is leaving late night at the end of August and I can’t think of a better woman to take the torch! #TeamUndone is going to inspire a new generation of smart ladies and gents and I can’t wait to see what we all do next!

Amanda, I thank you :)

#Undone premieres tonight on Lifetime Television at 10:30pm EST/9:30pm PST

 

 

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Elaine Stritch – A Legend

STRITCH-2-obit-articleLarge The dear and talented Elaine Stritch passed away last week. Imagine my surprise when I logged onto my blog after 10 months to find this post I had been working on. I usually have 4 to 5 posts in my drafts folder but this time it was only this one. A bare draft of only a title and two clips of this legendary performer.

This feels like a sign. I have been thinking for months of reuniting with my blog to share with (all three of) you some of the people, places and things that have been making their way into my mind and soul, changing how I think and how I want to live. From the very beginning Elaine Stritch was one of those things.

This puts a smile on my face. It feels like things might be aligning. Perhaps my intuition isn’t that bad. Perhaps I should listen to it more often instead ignoring it over the drone of everyone else’s thoughts on Twitter and Instagram (I am too in love with it).

I think this post about Ms. Stritch will be the first of a series of posts. A series of people who have made a deep impact on my thoughts, my heart and my actions. Even if I’ve never met them, even if you think it’s silly, I’ll tell you about them. I’ll own it, and I will celebrate everything they offer me. I truly feel you never know what can happen if you just put it out there into the universe. I think Elaine would approve :)

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Vivian Maier, where have you been all my life?

Vivian-Maier

 

This year at TIFF I saw a documentary that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. I.LOVE.DOCUMENTARIES. It’s a fact. Everyone should know it. I once stayed in all day and watched a documentary about the typeface Helvetica and then proceeded to watch one about confessions of some superheroes, orphaned animals after Hurricane Katrina and then finished off with Meryl Streep and Monther Courage. My social life is huge.

TIFF is a great place to see new and interesting documentaries. Last year I was obsessed with CASTING BY. This year the film I couldn’t stop talking about (it’s true, ask my friends and family) was FINDING VIVIAN MAIER. There is nothing I like more that a documentary about an interesting and mysterious person. Someone who I’ve never heard of and that I can later google for hours until I know absolutely everything about them. Once again, huge social life.

Vivan Maier is a giant mystery because she was discovered after her death. There really wasn’t anything about her out there until John Maloof, an amateur historian from Chicago discovered her photographs and made it his mission to give her the attention and praise she deserved. Maloof bought a box of her photographs at an auction and soon discovered he had stumbled upon something special. He became obsessed with her and soon found out that her personal life was just as beautiful, fascinating and mysterious as her photographs.

I won’t to tell you the rest of the story because you need to watch the documentary and experience it yourself. However, I will say that Maloof has done an incredible job showcasing Maier’s work around the world. This documentary and the books of her photographs that have now been published will guarantee that Maier will not be forgotten. Her work is so special that anyone that sees it will realize what a gift it was that she ever lived.

Learning about people like Maier remind me that no path is ever the right path. No one can  tell you the best way to live your life or ever make you feel like you’re doing it all wrong. Vivian Maier definitely marched to the beat of her own drummer and she chose a life that was fulfilling FOR HER. She didn’t compromise herself or her art for anyone, and she definitely didn’t take photographs for anyone’s approval but her own.

Below are some of the gorgeous photographs featured in the documentary. I’m in love with  the thought that she just walked around the city and captured candid moments that no one else would have paid attention to. She also knew what was going to be visually interesting even if the picture seemed like it was of nothing in particular. I’m obsessed.

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I Miss You

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17 years ago today I lost one of my favorite people in the world. My uncle, David. The life of the party. The flawed, funny, loud and loyal rock of our family. I’ve spent a good portion of today, like I do every October 2nd, thinking of him. I think of him every day, actually. Our whole family does. My cousin, his daughter, posted a picture of him today on Facebook and our family has had a nice time recalling old memories and expressing how much we miss him.

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As I started to write this post it somehow became a moment to moment recount of what happened to me, to us, when we found out he had died. I quickly deleted everything and realized that it wasn’t really a story I wanted to, or needed to tell. I simply wanted to honour him here, and have a little something to share with my family as we spend the day remembering him. I have no doubt that he watches over all of us and I think he would get a kick out of being written about on a blog. He would have loved it, in fact. He liked attention and he wouldn’t deny it if he was still here!

However, I will say this. Losing someone suddenly and tragically at a young age was one of the most informing moments of my life. I know that all of us, especially the ‘kids’ in our family, somehow changed after it happened. In some ways it made us irrationally afraid of certain things, it made us cynical about life, and it made us question everything. But, It also brought us all closer together. For me, it made me want to pursue my passions and desires more than ever. I know that’s what he would be doing if he was still here, and I know it’s what he would want for all of us. Tio, this is for you.

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Los quiero muchooooooo!

Eduardo Fernandez – That Vintage Smile

My grandfather, Eduardo Fernandez, in 1947. He was in the Peruvian Air Force and eventually a Colonel. 

I love old photographs. It makes me feel like I’m spying on the past and at the same time connecting to it. I especially love old photographs of my family. I love looking at them and imagining what their lives were like, what their dreams were, what they were thinking! I think old photographs are so much more genuine that what we have today. They really captured a moment in time and no one could say, ‘I looked weird in that one, let’s take it again’. Some of those weird looks are my favorite! Even the photos where families posed in a studio are so mysterious. I love it.

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Allison Janney For President

Toronto International Film Festival 2011

Ok. Not literally, people. Come on, the woman doesn’t even like politics. She doesn’t trust it (neither do I. Except Obama, of course). When I say ‘Allison Janney For President’ I mean it symbolically. As a compliment paid to a distinguished artist who is making the world a little better through her art and her life.

Truth be told, I stole that line from my sister. I did not stop laughing for hours after hearing her say ‘Anita For President’, in response to my friend Michelle’s portrayal of Anita in 1st Broadway National Tour of West Side Story. My sister was so taken with that performance that she just believed Anita was real was going to conquer the world one Jet at a time. It also helped that, as a person, Michelle is the coolest girl around.

That’s how I feel about Allison Janney. Forget the fact that she played one of the most powerful and memorable characters on television (CJ Cregg). Or the fact that she transforms herself for every role (think Drop Dead Gorgeous or Juno). Or even the fact that she stands out even while sharing screen time with some of hollywood’s greatest, like Meryl Streep. The really outstanding thing is the honesty and humanity she brings to everything she does. That’s the part that makes people think they know her, love her and want to be like her.

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The Intent To Live – A Must Read For Actors

I hesitated to write about this book just yet because I’m not completely finished reading it. However, I keep talking about it with all the actors I know and I just can’t wait to share it with everyone here.

Larry Moss is one of the most sought after acting coaches in the world and from what I’ve heard from mutual friends (I can’t even believe I can say that), he is also one of the most generous and kind souls out there. In fact, he shares a lot of personal stories and feelings in this book and it is pretty evident that he’s a special person.

I had read pieces of this book when I was in theatre school but for some reason never the whole thing. It turns out it was for the best. I don’t think I was ready for it back then. This book has landed in my lap at the perfect time. At a moment in time when I needed motivation and inspiration and that extra little bit of something to remind me of why I love acting and this business in the first place. It helps that in the last couple of months I’ve also worked with some teachers who have been incredibly supportive and encouraging and let me know that I was heading in the right direction. It’s funny how life works.

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Lena Dunham On Knowing Nora Ephron (And Our Relief That These Two Geniuses Met)

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

                                                                                                            -Nora Ephron  

Is Lena Dunham the Nora Ephron of our generation?

After Mrs. Ephron died last month I wanted to write about her on this blog. Stupidly, I thought that night I would get in bed, reread some of her essays, get some inspiration and write a brilliant tribute. I wanted to, I thought I needed to, and I thought it would help me put into words why I admired her so much. Instead, I just sat there, stared at my computer screen and ultimately succumbed to reading what everyone else had to say about her on the internet.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve thought about her a lot. I read her works and I went on a mad hunt across Toronto to buy ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’, a book I had read a few years ago but never owned. It wasn’t until I started rereading the book that I was able to BEGIN to articulate why I admired her so much. I was also able to understand how people like Nora, visionaries, wonder women, thinkers, shape our lives over the years in such subtle sneaky ways that we don’t even realize it’s happening until they’re gone and we feel the hole left in our heart and spirit.

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The Cast of ‘Anything Goes’ is Beautiful.

There are moments when I think the theatre community at large is full of crazed ego maniacs who make dumb choices based on silly ideas and negotiations. I ask myself why I’m in a business that treats me like a dollar sign, an object and a pawn. I think about all the skills I have, the education, and wonder why I don’t just get up and do something else! Start my own business, work for a worthy cause, or finally start focusing on creating a family of my own.

Then a video like this comes along. It changes my whole perspective and gets me out of my rut. in the few minutes it took me to watch this, within the first 10 seconds actually, I was reminded of the power of art. Of song and dance. That power, mixed with passionate people and great talent, really does have the ability to change the world.

In my moments of frustration I try to remember that the theatre community, as crazy as we are, is continuously spreading a message of love and light. It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

I saw Anything Goes on Broadway last year. I can confirm that this is an incredibly talented group of people. It’s nice to see that they are also eager to spread a positive message and share the magic of heart and music.

Let me end this by saying that Joel Grey is perhaps the cutest thing since my grandfather.

Enjoy the magic.

Barack Obama For President, Forever.

I just wanted to give a little shout out to Mr. President Barack Obama for coming out in support of gay marriage. I’d like to think that he had always been a supporter and was waiting for the right moment to make the announcement. I hope this was it, and that it helps to propel him into his next (fingers crossed) term. I’m not a political person, and I often can’t stand politics because there is nothing real or sincere about it. There is no one to trust in politics it seems. I can’t be bothered with the games. However, since Mr. Obama came along, people, young people especially, have had a reason to hope. I’m not even American, but what I wouldn’t give to be able to vote for him!

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The Many Faces Of William Shakespeare

Among other things, Shakespeare and I share a birthday and a passion for the theatre. His plays are as diverse as the images in these paintings, and as actors we always strive to perform his rich and diverse cast of characters.

English was not my first language so I am always amazed by the language and its origins. It never fails to surprise me when I hear of certain words that were coined by Mr. Shakespeare himself. Obscene, alligator, skim milk and eye ball to name a few!

These prints, from www.fab.com are a fitting tribute to the genius. Eclectic and richly detailed. The video below is a quirky history of Shakespeare and his influence on the English language.

Who else shares our day of birth? Shirley Temple, Sandra Dee, and Michael Moore! I am in good company.

From The Earth – For The Earth: The DAVIDsTEA Promise

The Davids have joined forces! Together they will fight environmental injustices everywhere!

It was announced earlier this week that DAVIDsTEA, the amazing Tea company I work for, has formed a partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation. What does this mean, you ask? Well, it means that now a portion of DAVIDsTEA profits will go to the foundation, and in return the David Suzuki Foundation will teach DAVIDsTEA how to be as environmentally aware as possible! Since the company began they have tried to do as much as possible in an earth friendly way, but there is always room to do better! I could not be more excited to be a part of this union and try to help the earth one tea-cup at a time.

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The Sweetly Passionate Jaime Oliver

I sat through all of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution program a few years ago in one night. I was weirdly obsessed with his passion, anger and frustration with the American (North American) lifestyle. I was equally obsessed with America’s disinterest in what they ate, what it’s doing to their bodies, and how little they care to find solutions to the problem. Of course there were people desperate for help, but they were, they are, faced with a government that is doing very little to support them. Thank god now for the Obamas. I love the focus that Michelle Obama is putting on this topic and I admire how she’s making a point of appearing on television to talk about the issue. Expertly, she is trying to get young kids interested in taking care of their bodies and what they eat. It’s an amazing strategy.

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Wise Beyond Her Years, Tavi Gevinson Is No Rookie

When I was 15 I spent most of my time studying, playing soccer, singing and hanging out with my friends at the mall. I was a studious, curious teen with big dreams and ambitions to make a difference, but I saw those dreams being fulfilled in the future. When I grew up. I’ve always lived my life in order. I thought, I’ll be a kid, I’ll be a teen, I’ll go to school, I’ll grow up, I’ll get a job, and then that job will make a difference. What my dreams were aren’t the point. The point is I don’t think I realized I could make a difference in the world until I grew up.

I did dream about acting and performing as a kid. I knew I could do that at ANY age. But, the idea of being taken seriously or making a difference always seemed like something “grown ups” did. Now that I’m a certain age I’m happy with who I am, what I’m doing and how I live in the world. However, I’m also happy and excited to see how young people are taking a lead and taking charge of their dreams and issues that need to be tackled in the world.

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Caine Monroy: An Arcade Story

 

This video has been popping up all over the internet recently. I finally had a chance to watch it this morning and then I watched it again. And again. And again. This little bird is magical. I can’t get him out of my head. His eyes have the curious spark that I love to see in children. I’ve met kids with this spark and they always grow up to do incredible things. Caine is going to be magic. He’ll change the world, I know it.

His father is also a magical man. I was blown away by the simple, loving way that he described his son’s creative endeavour. As if it was the most natural thing in the world for a father to give up his entire storefront because his son wanted to create a cardboard arcade. His support is what is going to make all the difference for Caine. Parents take note.

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