The World Is Her Canvas: Ashley Longshore Update

Ashley Longshore is a highly accomplished pop artist who has taken the art world by storm. Her use of color, content and particular subjects is unique, gorgeous and daring, just like Ashley herself. Her work also tells a bold story and Longshore does not hold back. The globally recognized pop artist is at a pivotal moment in her career, has been compared to Andy Warhol by both Town & Country Magazine and The New York Post, noting the similarity in their obsession with pop culture icons and current brands. Ashley’s vivacious personality and bold artwork has been featured in major publications in the United States and abroad including; Vogue, Elle, Travel & Leisure, Details Magazine, Dujour, Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, and French GQ among others. Recently, I had the chance to speak with her and to say I was thrilled is an understatement.

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Ashley Longshore has expanded beyond belief. She now sells furniture, beaded bags and has released a book, titled “You Don’t Look Fat, You Look Crazy.” She is everywhere and deserves it all. Ashley has put the work in and her talent alone is mesmerizing!

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The Chairs in her collection are a reflection of the images in her paintings. These chairs all showcase embroidered images or phrases from her artwork. Longshore loves a great statement piece in any room of your home whether it’s a chair or a painting.

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I personally Love her clutches! The Hand beaded clutch with sequins, rhinestones, beads, contrast zipper tape, and an intricately beaded tassel. There is a cotton lining with butterfly print and an interior pocket featuring an Ashley Longshore self-portrait and signature. Includes limited edition dust bag with portrait and signature.

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GM: Ashley, I so appreciate your time doing this interview. I admire your work so much. I, as well, am from Louisiana and you are New Orleans (NOLA) based so being an admirer of your work and your views made this interview even more exciting. Do you feel the culture of NOLA (and the south in general) inspires your work?


You are very welcome Elisabeth! I think my views are swayed because I was raised in the south. I was raised to be a trophy wife, garden clubbing, junior leaguing, Mercedes Benz, kid hauling southern woman… I think being so different from that and really being interested in the role of women in society and wanting so much more out of life has influenced my work greatly, but it’s a much more global ‘thang’ than just the south.

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GM: I notice that you mix floral, fashion icons, pop icons, a touch of the southern culture and major love for Audrey and Frida in your work. These are some of my favorite elements and caught my eye from day one. What inspired you to fuse these subjects, as you have done so effortlessly?


I paint imagery that brings me joy and to is surrounded by such colorful beauty makes me feel safe from the outside world. What I paint starts with a feeling and the imagery then follows.

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GM: I know that you are a self-taught artist and did not start until college. Did you ever face self-doubt or think, “Can I do this?”


ABSOLUTELY… that still happens. It takes a lot of bravery to put your inner thoughts out there and these are why I believe artists should self-represent and keep 100% of their profits. Working with galleries and giving up 50% IS WAY TOO MUCH to give up. Also, the self-doubt keeps you humble and real and grateful. Actually, you can still be confident and have self-doubt. It’s a weird balance but that is how it goes when you are an artist and pushing yourself to the limits.


GM: It is hard to be vulnerable and put yourself “out there.” How do you stay motivated? I follow you on Instagram and cannot believe the pace you keep.


I am ALIVE and inspired and motivated and excited about all of the opportunity in the world! How can someone not be motivated? I will never have enough time in my life to create everything I want to create—that is my philosophy NOW is the time. NOW! 

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GM: You are so strong and positive. I love your message about never giving up through the ups and downs and that only YOU can make your own destiny. How do you stay so focused?


I want to keep my energy focused and directed in a way that brings positivity back into my life. I want to focus on what I DO have, not what I DO NOT. I want to keep creating and learning. I want to see the world in a happy, colorful and beautiful way. For me, this is the only way and believe me, I deal with stressful madness constantly and haters and I BLOCK THEM OUT…. who said, ” If you fight with an eye for an eye then you end up blind”… If I am productive and I work then I will always win because that makes me happy and fulfilled.

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GM: I adore the “Audrey paintings” with butterflies. Why do butterflies have such special meaning to you?


They represent the endless magic that is all around us if we take the time to look for it and we are all in metamorphosis constantly. Butterflies spend most of their life as a caterpillar and I like that thought.

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GM: You have been recognized by Forbes as one of the  “Leading Business Women in the South and have collaborated with major fashion brands, such as Chloe, Net-A-Porter, and Anthropologie, and most recently worked with New York’s, “Bryant Park Hotel” to create The Ashley Longshore Fashion Icons Suite.  You are an incredible role model for women. I am assuming your motivation comes from different sources?


I am motivated by the opportunity of being an American Woman. The sky is the limit. Considering there are so many places in the world where there isn’t the freedom to be an entrepreneur. It would be really disrespectful, lazy and pathetic to NOT be motivated to do SOMETHING.

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GM: I think your Artgasm business model is brilliant by incorporating fans and social media to promote your work and also inspiring other artists to do the same. Can you tell me a bit more?


It’s a platform for peeps who want special items that ONLY artgasm members can get. I wanted to do something cooler than pulling a damn print. I want to have things available for people who aren’t in the market yet for original paintings. Although so many of my artgasm members who are also clients. It’s been a huge success. I am really excited about the response from the members, which has been awesome so far.

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GM: I also adore the concept of the “Selfie Project” (where people are encouraged to take a selfie that they feel represents their inner personality) not having a negative connotation. Are you still involved with this?


OF COURSE…. I love the variety of images people put out there are maybe, (just possibly) exactly how they want the world to see them. Therefore, within that image, they are confident and feel like their true self. I want to capture that energy. A whole wall of 500 smiling, radiant confident faces from around the world makes me sooo HAPPY!


GM: Lastly, what do you do for just pure fun that is not art related?


I play the guitar; I fish and I love to travel too much! I LOVE nature as it helps me reflect on all of this madness in the world.

Without a doubt, Ashley Longshore is an artistic inspiration and immensely talented. More importantly, she inspires us all with her brave approach to life. Longshore is constantly raising the bar by taking on new risks and through her unstoppable dedication to her work and learning. I can’t wait to see what is coming next.

 

You can up with Ashley Longshore Art through her website: www.ashleylongshore.com

Social Media: @ashleylongshoreart

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ashley-Longshore-110592942324831/
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Bringing Diverse Representation to “Seven Seconds”– Corey Champagne Interview

Seven Seconds, the new Netflix (netflix.com/sevenseconds) series from creator and producer Veena Sud, (The Killing) has become a very talked about series, and it should be Corey Champagne plays tortured teen Kaduece Porter and Brenton’s best friend. Corey Champagne’s beautiful portrayal of Kadeuce honors Brenton Butler and who he was through his thoughtful and on point performance. It is his first significant role and what a fantastic way to start.

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Seven Seconds is about the never-ending consequences of a horrible incident in which Pete Jablonski (Beau Knapp), a white cop, accidentally runs over a black teenager named Brenton Butler on a bicycle. In sheer panic, Jablonski covers up the evidence with the help of his fellow officers. Throughout the remainder of the series, the audience follows along as an ever-increasing number of people are affected by the aftermath of the crime. Brenton’s death almost seems to have a ripple effect on how each character responds and how it affects their lives. Watching Latrice, Brenton’s mother, grieve and hunt down the answers to seek justice (played beautifully by Regina King), is devastating. However, Seven Seconds also reveals the ultimate crime — the indifference of a legal system that is supposed to protect and serve.

Corey Champagne is an integral part of the series. As Brenton’s best friend (since childhood), there is a solid bond.  However, Brenton’s father, Isaiah, (played by Russell Hornsby) did not support the friendship due to Kaduece’s gang affiliation. Regardless, the two boys stayed close, and Kaduece is the link to who Brenton was: His passion for art, a love of seagulls (as they represented freedom), and most importantly; their friendship. FB_IMG_1519909277837

Seven Seconds touches on a powerful point. One of the most hurtful realizations as a parent is the acknowledgment that sometimes you do not know your child as well as you think — due to work, stress, or the most unfortunate circumstance — you are so driven to “mold” your child, that he/she cannot be who they are. So many parents fall into this. Many aspects of this philosophy applied to Brenton’s father, Isaiah. He’s overworked, stays embedded in his faith, disciplines by the book, and is very strict. It’s heartbreaking to watch Brenton’s dad grieve his son’s death and come to the conclusion that he did not take the time to really get to know his son. Ironically, Isaiah learns more about his own son from Kaduece after a very rough start between the two.

ppeth1fi4elx9qd6ivckGemma Mag. was thrilled to speak with Corey Champagne about Seven Seconds and his character. It was wonderful to speak openly about race relations and how change must happen. He delivers an amazing performance and a rich, multi-dimensional character. Corey explained that he’s good at memorization and it shows. Champagne is only 26 and quite gifted.  Watching him play Kaduece makes you hesitate. His strong screen presence and thought-provoking emotions he brings to the role honor Brenton’s life while not embracing the stereotype.

Corey Champagne was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga, where his desire to fulfill a career in Entertainment took shape. Although naturally gifted, Corey credits his formal acting training to the renowned Alliance Theatre starting at age six. Corey attended Florida A&M University where he worked with the schools budding Music and Entertainment Industry Studies program before eventually transferring to Georgia State University majoring in Film.


GM: How did you get started in acting? Did you always know?

CC: I did always know from a little boy that I was amazed at seeing children on television, especially the Power Rangers, I wanted to be Zack (the BlackRanger), go figure. I was blessed to have a robust dedicated support system with my family; especially my mom. However, my oldest brother was the first to noticed I had a gift to remember lines. They all believed in my talent from a young age.  I started at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta from age six, where I learned that acting was so much more than just playing dress up, but it was a craft, an art form. My family never had to make me go to class, I gladly woke upon Saturdays and got ready. It was my passion because I never got tired of going. Then I attended the #1 duel-magnet performing arts high school in the State of Georgia – North Springs Charter School of Arts & Science. There, I was able to sharpen all of my talents – acting, singing, writing and my love for speaking. Hopefully, I’m well prepared for this industry – going to reach back.

GM: What was the audition like?  Kaduece is an important role (with a lot of dialogue). 

CC: My agent at the time sent me over the audition from Tucker Meyerson Casting on a Wednesday, and the next day Thursday, my friend Donivan (and reading partner) came over to tape my audition. Then I sent it off on the same day. The following day, Friday, I got the call that I booked the role. It was so crazy because the next thing you know I’m in New York and on Monday I’m in my trailer getting ready to film. The first person I meet in hair & Makeup is Regina King – Wow!! I said to myself, “This is Crazy”! The rest is history!

GM: Did Veena Sud let you have a big part in developing Kaduece, as there are many layers to him? He certainly had a hard childhood.

CC: Veena was amazing. I had the opportunity to develop Kadeuce on my own based on the script.  After I wrapped my first episode [episode 3], she called to give me more insight into where Kadeuce’s storyline would be going and was so supportive throughout filming. She blessed me with an excellent three-dimensional character and I’m forever grateful to her. She’s such a fantastic visionary and now friend. I hope to work with her again. I will never forget the lessons she taught me.

GM: What was some of your research for the role?

CC: I had the opportunity to speak with a lot of drug dealers and observed them. I learned how society wants to categorize them so quickly (as bad people), but in some cases, we need to see humanity as well.  In their minds, the drug dealers are doing what they have to in making ends meet. It’s so important for others to realize that Kadeuce Porter and others cannot just be labeled as a “black drug dealer.”

GM: How was it working with Regina King?

Amazing! Also, an incredible learning experience. We did not have a lot of scenes together. However, she was incredibly supportive and maternal. There were moments when I just sat and observed her work and her creative process, which is phenomenal.

GM: Do you feel these shows that are taking heavy material (and there have many poignant ones) are making a difference in cultural attitudes? 

CC: Well, it’s interesting because I was speaking to someone about this topic recently since so many shows are taking on challenging material. It’s s hard to give a definitive yes or no. I think it’s great that we are embracing these topics but it’s a slow process, and I do feel that progress is happening. Overall, I feel that more we bring these type of shows to the forefront, the more impact it will have on audiences. For example, there is a scene where Kaduece talks about how he likes to keep his room clean and talks about his books (lined up perfectly). This is of great significance in terms of going against the stereotype of “a black boy always on the street.”


GM: What do you feel the nature of the relationship was between Kaduece and Brenton?

CC:  The exact nature of their relationship was never fully revealed and left open to interpretation. Romantic or not, it was more about an intense bond between the two and how they understood each other. Kaduece knew selling drugs was not for Brenton. He even admitted that “Brenton was not cut out for it.” For Kaduece, it was merely a way to make ends meet. He had his own aspirations. For many teens without a support system, it becomes a way to survive. Again, as Kadeuce stated, he felt he was a burden to everyone, except Brenton. This only strengthened the connection.

You have such a strong mindset. I follow you on IG (of course to see what’s happening), but I Love “The No Negativity Zone!” How do you stay so positive?

I try to keep God first and accept that the universe is on my side. That no matter what it looks like I have to trust my journey. I also call my mom a lot to talk and pray with her which helps. She is immensely supportive.


Gemma Magazine would like to thank Corey Champagne for this interview. He is articulate, kind and very open. It’s excellent Seven Seconds takes on race relations, police corruption, the indifference of the legal system, and most importantly — the morality of the human race.

We all have choices to make in terms of doing the right thing on a daily basis. Some are more severe than others. However, all have consequences. Ironically, critical decisions can happen as fast as 7 seconds but can have a lifetime effect. With Seven Seconds, a story is told based on the reality of our society today. “When is Enough, Enough?”How many lives need to be taken before action becomes proactive. Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. I encourage everyone to watch this tragically beautiful series. The response to the show and Corey’s portrayal has been overwhelmingly positive with audiences. Netflix released this show and this story in over 193 countries around the world.

To follow Corey on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/corey.champagne

https://twitter.com/Corey_Champagne

https://www.instagram.com/coreychampagne/?hl=en

 

 

 

 

Madame Methven ~ The Sophisticated Seduction of Couture Lingerie

Kaila Methven has awakened the Dominatrix in every woman through her timeless and sensual lingerie line. Kaila is a true artist in how she creates, designs and thinks. Entrepreneur Kaila Methven might be a KFC heiress; (Methven’s family owned Rainbow Chicken Unlimited, a South African Company that at one time supplied 90% of KFC’s chicken), but Kaila Methven is a success in her own right. She now runs two high-end lingerie brands: Madame Methven and Lactrodectus (LDKM)(madamemethven.com). Kaila is also gorgeous — both inside and out and extremely generous. How can you not be inspired by a woman who goes after exactly what they want?

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Through her knowledge, training, and talent, Kaila has created a stunning couture lingerie line. The fusion of high fashion and lingerie is a brilliant aesthetic.  ‘Madame’ is the stage name for Kaila Methven. It refers to women in artistic occupations or a dominatrix. Methven is a dominatrix when knowing what sells and how to create an incredibly successful company. She represents women’s empowerment, sensuality, and the magical experience of one’s sexual desires through her lingerie. Her line is classy and couture. It might all look effortless, but Methven never stops working or learning. It has paid off. Methven has combined her romantic and seductive style with fine intimates to create one timeless lingerie brand. Each piece is custom-made and represents authentic artistry.

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Kaila’s interest in haute couture was inspired in Paris at the age of sixteen. While spending time in the “city of lights,’ Methven interned at a Paris fashion show held at The Trocadero, home to the Palais de Chaillot. Methven trained in the art of design from the distinguished Fashion Institute Esmod. Kaila went on to earn a Master’s Degree from the International Fashion Academy Paris and completed advanced training at Polymodo in Florence. Kaila’s European influences and advanced training in fashion and design have transitioned seamlessly to the states, especially Los Angeles.

When Methven returned to Los Angeles in 2014, she had the passion and confidence to create, design and tailor luxury lingerie with the powerful and sensual woman in mind.
“As a designer trained in haute couture, you have to know how to shape the women’s body. In designing a made-to-order piece, I am careful to customize my clothing to suit women’s distinct body types and the looks they want to express,” said Kaila. This is refreshing. As a designer, it’s so important to take each woman’s body type into consideration and envision what each client wants to express. This is why Methven is a true visionary. She is able to tell what looks good on a woman, what fabrics and trim curve to her appeal. Kaila feels all women are beautiful in every shape and form that’s how you design the lingerie for them- when it emphasizes her values.

Kaila’s creations have not gone unnoticed. Kaila has won Best International Designer Haute Couture and lingerie twice. She was also awarded the Most Dynamic Woman of the year by Angeleno Magazine as well. Methven was also featured on the cover of  Maxim South Africa, which historical and personal meaning to her. She won best international design awards in Pret a Porter for lingerie twice, in which Madame Methven has many collections from high-end haute couture to affordable and desirable.

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Madame Methven’s dominating online presence will allow powerful women of discerning tastes to add prêt à porter or bespoke pieces to her boudoir with ease and discretion. This new relationship ensures that leading women wishing to express their feminine prowess will have access to collections specifically for them.

Kaila Methven has designed three collections to date: the infamous  Lactrodectus Collection, The Mademoiselle Collection, The Made to Adore Collection and The Bridal Collection. 

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She debuted the Lactrodectus Collection at the Orange County Fashion Week as well as LAFW. Almost immediately after, she was receiving fantastic attention from the press and fans. Her work has appeared in countless publications and celebrities such as Demi Lovato, the Kardashians, Katharine McPhee, Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Abigail Ratchford have worn her designs. Designs by her company, Madame Methven, have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Love, and the buxom beauty has modeled the sultry attire herself for Maxim, Most and Femme. Overall, Kaila has designed and created a masterpiece regarding her entire company. In the fashion industry, it’s not easy to focus on a specific niche and stay consistent, while pushing limits as well. She has done it and very successfully.

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The Methven brand has woven themes of childlike innocence, erotic playfulness, and female power into the most elegant lace and textiles from Paris, along with brocade corsets, jackets, and top hats. Her new bridal collection will combine an array of pearls and colors in a dichotomous expression of innocence in provocative high-end lingerie. Kaila continues to stay inspired and take necessary risks. I truly believe it is the combination of her talent, her eye for high-end material, her love of details and a genuine desire to make women feel beautiful that produce successful and gorgeous results.

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The Latrodectus Collection (LBKM)

The Latrodectus Collection is a tribute to a secret elite that embraces the erotic thrill of male and female principals in an esoteric manner. The word Lactrodectus is definitive for black widow spider and Greek for “biting in secret.” Kaila’s Lactrodectus line has woven a web of timeless intrigue and artistry by crafting each stunning piece into an exquisite collection. Latrodectus is an haute couture line, made from the most beautiful beaded fabrics, laces, and other materials designed by Methven with her suppliers in the South of France. Kaila also works with feathers, bouquets, and accessories that she develops as well and dyes per the design she creates. Since the designs are haute couture, there is a process when clients order. Our team has seamstresses that create those pieces for the customer, get the fabric, the feathers, and put the art together.

LBKM is the more affordable line with pieces ranging from $20.00 – $60.00 per item which will always contain the same quality in design and fabrics used. Madame Methven’s Made to Adore is an exclusive VIP and private membership.

 

     Madame Methven’s customized Made to Adore Collection of Lingerie.

This exclusive collection is a private and personalized shopping experience for women that appreciate the world of luxurious lingerie. Mademoiselle is a semi-couture line, more accessible to the public, but still using high-end fabrics to create the products. Madame Methven’s Made to Adore is an exclusive VIP and private membership. Private clients attend lingerie fittings with trained specialists in the Madame Methven showroom or location that works best for the client. The benefits of being a Mademoiselle member are invites to special events, fashion shows, and much more which, overall, makes for an intimate Methven experience.

However, the turnaround is way faster than it would be with Latrodectus, as the fabric is not a product that has to be ordered; with pieces being made to order. Madame Methven has established a reputation for gorgeous quality fabrics and intricate craftsmanship with attention to detail that makes each piece of lingerie a wearable piece of beautifully crafted art. These are pieces to be cherished because they can’t be copied in look or feel. It is a complete high-end aesthetic that cannot be replicated.

20841750_1884553911797849_4573175555041761528_nThe custom fittings are not like the generic fittings.  They are more of a magical experience. While you are fitted by one of the trained specialists in the comfort of your home,  you are invited to sip on a chilled glass of Dom Perignon, paired with Osetra Caviar, and Pierre Herme French macaroons. The love of your life is to welcome to join while he sips on a glass of our most excellent whiskey paired with a fine cigar. The intimate experience is up to you whether you prefer an afternoon to yourself or a sensual fitting with someone special.

You will discover the brand’s extensive Silk Library and select embellishments such as hand-corded dentelle lace appliqués, gold, Tahitian pearls, (In any color) or pure diamonds, emeralds, sapphires individually hand cast in Beverly Hills, California. The luxurious fabrics and high-quality embellishments will surely make this experience feel like a fantasy. The custom fit is so comfortable you will be tempted to wear nothing but Madame Methven.

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Madame Methven’s knowledge of delicate fabrics and her attention to detail sets her apart from just another luxury lingerie line. Madame Methven also offers Made to Adore Bridal appointments. She has put all of herself into her brand. She is the Brand Ambassador (she only promotes her brand) of her company, the CEO, and founder of her company. Methven designs, creates, and manages everything from A to Z, from business and to the creative aspect.

When Kaila is not busy building her empire, she is a proud advocate for LGBT and women’s rights, feeds the homeless every Monday, and hopes to create her own Madame Methven charity foundation through a percentage of its sales.

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Kaila Methven’s collection could potentially be the world’s most expensive lingerie. It makes a beautiful tribute to women. There is both an elegance of vivacious dominance and innocent beauty in the collection, and this line is exclusively for the leading lady who wishes to express that confidence with feminine prowess. Kaila Methven invites us to embrace our inner goddess. That is empowerment for all women.

To view her beautiful designs: www.madamemethven.com

To follow Kaila on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/kailamethvenofficial

https://www.instagram.com/madamemethven/

 

 

Exclusive Launch: The “Fragile” Collection from Designer Bjorn Van Den Berg! Expect The Unexpected

Designers are very passionate people who embody the vision, talent, and mostly, self-expression to share their designs and tell their story. Then, there is Bjorn Van Den Berg, who takes and fashion and style to another level where the experience is personal, an inner journey and authentic. He is the author of his creativity and never looks back. Bjorn Van Den Berg is a Designer of Luxury. He taps into the fantasy of fashion while his creations resemble a cinematic aesthetic. Everything Van Den Berg designs are custom made and from a point of creative interpretation. Bjorn Van Den Berg is an immensely talented fashion and jewelry designer, where each collection tells an intricate story — almost like a novel that you can’t put down. We get to turn the pages to see what is next. Welcome to the world of Bjorn Van Den Berg and the launch of his fourth collection: “Fragile.”

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Previously, I reported upon Bjorn and his third collection, “Aphrodite,” for The LA Fashion Magazine. “Aphrodite” represents the strength and inner beauty each woman has to offer, and it’s an extremely inspiring message for women to embrace themselves in all forms; without apology. It’s bold, strong and beautiful. Bjorn Van Den Berg innately knows what women want.

        International Flair

When Bjorn was in Los Angeles a few months prior ( sourcing materials, taking meetings, and doing photo shoots), I was able to get a peek into how he views fashion and design, his incredible work ethic, and a hint of what “Fragile” would unveil. In person, Bjorn is bright, passionate, on point, and even a touch conservative ~ Bjorn is also tall, handsome and very polite. Again, he is Amsterdam based so the European fashion scene is a few steps ahead. Overall, Bjorn wants his work to have a sustainable quality without being trendy; yet he also is aware that a saturated and trendy fashion market can be challenging. He stays on course with his vision. On a personal level, I have deep admiration for Bjorn — he continually takes risks, has a supportive team, works until he fulfills his vision, and the result is always stunning.  This process is a combination of creativity and precision. Bjorn envisions a story, creates specific characters in his mind, and brings a collection to life.

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                Vulnerability

For “Fragile”, Bjorn teamed up with top model Loiza Lamers who tells the story of the collection beautifully. The “Fragile” collection consists of countless details, silver in combination with soft color tones and a definite international vibe. The high-end luxurious details make this collection a great representation of Bjorn’s vision of fashion and design. Van den Berg feels that “Fragile” stands for everything that he is as a designer; in quality, love, and feel. It’s edgy and trendsetting, with a never-ending, always renewing inspiration. The colors are translated through countless hand-set crystals. For this collection, Bjorn was inspired by the vulnerability of nature. “We are all fragile and a bit vulnerable in our way. This does not have to be a weakness, on the contrary, it can be translated into something quite powerful,” says Bjorn. Over coffee, we even spoke about how sometimes it is necessary to go through intense vulnerability and even self-doubt in order to have a personal rebirth. It can strengthen character and creativity to embody a powerful self or a reflection of one’s work. The designer created a character for his new collection: a spider with its body made out of fine crystals, which brings this collection to life. 

       The Collection

Couture, limited editions, and a Pret-a-porter are the three major elements that serve as the base of ‘’Fragile.” In total, the collection consists of 25 pieces with a signature corset, a beautiful crown, and a body piece combined with a spectacular jacket set with an infinite number of crystals.

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The limited collection is where you will find the collector’s items, such a gorgeous clutches, chokers, and belts, all covered in crystals, of course. These items are produced in limited numbers only, handmade by the designer himself in his studio in Amsterdam. With this particular collection, for the first time, in May 2018, Bjorn will launch a Prêt-a-porter collection which will be available and for sale through his soon to be launched online boutique.

Details

No one can cover the details quite like Bjorn. The body chain is one of the masterpieces of the “Fragile” collection with countless details and structures.  It is a mixture of different elements that Van Den Berg was inspired by. The actual structure of the body chain, inspired by a maliënkolder, represents safety and protection. The jewels and crystal seated elements embody beauty translated from the inside to the outside. There are small, crawling spiders with hand seated crystals on the back that capture the story behind the collection. However, the overall effect gives “Fragile” an edge, and a modern twist that fuses the different influences of a new look: Soft, Hard, Feminine, and Edgy.

 

 

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BVDB-Fragile-008The jacket is made from countless textures with a fantastic look. The off-white color stands for the rebirth and a new beginning, hence a “spring collection.” The collection is next level and could easily see Lady Gaga or Beyonce in this. In his “Aphrodite Collection, Nicki Minaj wore his red custom-made corset for her music video. Ciara has graced one of his crystal head crowns.

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Many people do not know that Bjorn Van Den Berg is a wonderful collaborator in that he is a stylist, creative director, and designer. Therefore he truly understands the technical side of fashion as we as the artistic aura. I can’t wait to see what is next. Bjorn definitely keeps us guessing. I know it will always daring, unexpected and a bit fragile.

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Additional Credits:

Photoshoot credits: Photographs by Hans Mooijer | Fashion & Styling by Bjorn van den Berg | Makeup by Juliette den Oude | Model: Loiza Lamers | Hair: Marc Sew-Atjon

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I want to personally thank Bjorn Van Den Berg for allowing me to be a part of this beautiful process and creative campaign. If there is someone who can make you shine — it’s Bjorn Van Den Berg! You can follow Bjorn on the following social media platforms.

https://bjornvandenberg.com/fragile/

https://www.instagram.com/vandenbergbjorn/

https://www.facebook.com/bjorn.vandenberg.54

 

Coley Mustafa Speaks about “Seven Seconds” and More!

Seven Seconds, the new Netflix (netflix.com/sevenseconds) series from creator and producer Veena Sud, (The Killing) has streamed with raw and honest emotion as well as brutal truth. The series is about the never-ending consequences of a horrible incident in which Pete Jablonski (Beau Knapp), a white cop, accidentally runs over a black teenager named Brenton Butler on a bicycle. In sheer panic, Jablonski covers up the evidence with the help of his fellow officers. Throughout the remainder of the series, the audience follows along as an ever-increasing number of people are drawn into the aftermath of the crime. Brenton’s death almost seems to have a ripple effect on how each character responds to his death. The death of Brenton is tragic — without a doubt. Watching Latrice, Brenton’s mother, grieve and hunt down the answers in order to seek justice (played beautifully by Regina King), is devastating. However, Seven Seconds also reveals the ultimate crime — the indifference of a legal system that is supposed to protect and serve.

Pete Jablonski knows the teenager who was left to die in a ditch was black. He did feel guilty but he still let his fellow officers talk him into staying quiet and literally drive away from the scene without providing one ounce of assistance. Would this have happened if the teenager in the ditch was white? It’s hard to say. We are all confronted with choices at critical moments. The decisions we make result in consequences — some harsher than others.

When I had the opportunity to speak with Coley Mustafa Speaks, I was thrilled! Coley plays Messiah in the series and  I wanted to get more insight into his character as well as the series as a whole. There are many more layers to Messiah than how he is perceived on Seven Seconds. He plays the leader of a gang that Brenton’s parents were so intent to keep Brenton out of but Messiah also has a strong mission.

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Photo: DEAN FOREMAN

Originally from Booker T. Washington Projects, in Jersey City, NJ, Coley attended Hampton University, where he played football while earning a degree in Marine & Environmental Science.  As an undergraduate, he became internationally published for his work in shark behavior while performing in numerous stage, television and film productions. He is best known for his numerous national commercial campaigns for major brands as well as his menacing roles as “Keshawn” in Harry’s Law (NBC) opposite Kathy Bates. Coley’s breakout role was on Page 36 (HBO), a short but powerful film. Coley has juggled a lot and it has definitely paid off.

Since relocating to Los Angeles in September 2008, Coley Mustafa Speaks has shared the screen with Academy Award-winning actors and has worked with numerous other multi-award winning writers, directors, and producers. He also starred as Kevin Gaines on the USA Network series Unsolved USA.  Coley Mustafa Speaks is a beautiful actor with so much to offer. (http://www.usanetwork.com/unsolved/episodes)

When he had a moment to stop, I had the opportunity to chat with him. For the record, he’s extremely polite, well-mannered, and down-to-earth.

GM: Seven Seconds is a painful but beautiful story. Amazing acting from the entire cast with wonderful cast chemistry. Overall, what was the experience like for you? Can you also expand on your audition process?

CMS: My experience was extremely challenging yet rewarding. Initially, I auditioned for the role of SETH but didn’t hear anything for several months. Then, I got a call to submit a self-tape for the role of MESSIAH to NY casting. Booked it! However, I had to work as local-hire. I was required to cover my own expenses (travel, meals, lodging, etc.). Since I’m LA-based and owned a fitness facility at the time, traveling was challenging (and expensive). I was also filming UNSOLVED (USA), so the trips were frequent. Although a lot of rough events transpired during that time, those experiences fueled me to deliver the most powerful performances possible. So, I’m grateful! I also formed valuable relationships in the process.

GM: When Brenton is left to die in the ditch, (which is so tragic),
do you personally see that as complete racism, cop corruption, some sort of warped indifference or a combination of all?
Pete (Beau Knapp) knows it is wrong and yet, still goes along with the coverup.

CMS: I see the situation as a beautiful portrayal of the indifference one feels toward another based on the demonization and demoralization by the greater society. In this story, I believe Pete’s decision to leave Brenton was motivated by a combination of fear, discrimination, and guilt. Corruption and racism began to dominate when he decided to uphold the lie as the story progressed.

GM: Veena Sud (from The Killing) created the series. Was she constantly on set? I really like her use of symbolism, dark tones and the combination of characters she pairs together.

CMS: Working with Veena was a dream! She was present for a couple of my episodes. She was also very open and accessible whenever I had any concerns. I also had the honor of being directed by Veena on my first day of shooting Episode 2. I thoroughly enjoyed her insight and perspective.

GM: Many actors say what the audience takes from the series is their own interpretation. What would you like the audience to take from the Seven Seconds?

CMS: I would hate to insult the audience by imposing my view of what they should take away. The beauty of art is interpretation. However, I would like the audience to be aware of the underlying message, which I believe is: There is a problem in society…in the system. If we chose indifference rather than definiteness, we all fall. Ask yourself, “if this were me or my loved ones, what would I do?… What WILL I do?”

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Photo: DEAN FOREMAN

GM: Your character, Messiah, plays the leader of a gang (the same one Brenton’s parents are so desperate to keep him out of). How did you regard Messiah in this specific role?

CMS: Messiah is not a bad person by any means. Yes, on the surface, he is a leader of a gang, but more importantly, he is a leader, provider, protector, savior to his children and loved ones. He also has the huge burden of maintaining balance and order in an entire city, due to his power. MESSIAH’s occupation may be illegal, but his intentions are pure.

GM: Is it true that the HBO short film “Page 36” was your breakout role? I saw a clip from this short film – very good!

CMS: Thank you! Yes, that was my first leading role on a major network. Working with the late, great, Nelsan Ellis was a true privilege and I’ve grown so much as an artist because of his influence.

GM: You also played Kevin Gaines on UNSOLVED USA. What was your experience like?

CMS: Working on UNSOLVED was an honor because of the rich, historical story.  My character, KEVIN GAINES, an LAPD officer in the Rampart Division murdered by a fellow detective, was an instrumental part of the investigation. Under the masterful direction of Anthony Hemingway, my car chase scene was intense and thrilling. I had a blast working with such a visionary.

GM: Do you have a dream role?

CMS: I would love to star in the next JASON BORNE-type franchise. I want to play characters that are highly intelligent, highly skilled badasses who are sensitive and vulnerable, flawed yet decent men with big pecs and bigger hearts.

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Photo: DEAN FOREMAN

GM: Who inspires you (Men and Women) as actors/artists?

CMS: Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Leo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Dwayne Johnson to name a few. Each of these artists possesses key qualities that I admire and “steal” from as I create my path.

GM: You previously owned a fitness business and are obviously very fit. Do you workout daily?

CMS: Health, fitness, and wellness is part of my lifestyle. My personal philosophy is: Stand Strong in 3 dimensions — mind, body, spirit. Physically, I train daily. My workouts are based on programs I design with a specific goal in mind. I also have daily practices to train my mind and spirit, such as reading, writing, and meditation. This is how my business, SS3D Fit Club, was born. I had a simple goal of sharing my lifestyle with others to help them achieve their maximum potential in every aspect of life.

GM: Lastly, we obviously need change (big time) in terms of cultural attitudes within our society Do you see that happening, even slowly?

CMS: I agree. Yes, I definitely see attitudes changing. The deeper question is, “How?” The How is not always so easy but I do feel we can do it.

“I see the situation as a beautiful portrayal of the indifference one feels toward another based on the demonization and demoralization by the greater society. In this story, I believe Pete’s decision to leave Brenton was motivated by a combination of fear, discrimination, and guilt. Corruption and racism began to dominate when he decided to uphold the lie as the story progressed.” ~~ Coley Mustafa Speaks

GM: Any new projects on the horizon? I know they said “Seven Seconds” is only going to be one season. Any chance for another season?

CMS: Not sure what lies ahead for Seven Seconds, although I would love to see it live again. Currently, I’m in development on a series I created based on my experience as a scientist growing up in the hood of Jersey City. I’m very excited about bringing this to life. Other than that, you can catch me in UNSOLVED (USA) and several national commercials selling you something cool!

I personally want to thank Coley Mustafa Speaks for chatting with us. Overall, Seven Seconds will definitely make you stop and think if our society is moving forward. As many have said, “When is it going to stop?”  There is absolutely nothing to fear in others. We all have the power within to produce change.

In the meantime, you can follow Coley Mustafa Speaks on the following Social Platforms

https://www.facebook.com/coley.m.speaks

https://www.instagram.com/coleymustafaspeaks/

https://www.twitter.com/coleymspeaks

https://www.facebook.com/sevensecondsnetflix/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Definitive Designer: Debbie de la Cueva

 

                                                    Debbie de la Cueva Jewelry

Debbie de la Cueva is one my forever favorites, I have known this jewelry designer for over 10 years and she remains a wonderful friend to this day. She has grown into an incredible artist and one that is constantly inspired. She resides in Mexico and is completely committed to her work. I genuinely adore her bohemian designs and she will always be an inspiration in following one’s passion. The best and only way to wear her works of art is to layer. You will see a lot of Antique Venetian beads, rare semi-precious and precious stones and tiny pearls. These are just a few of her creations and the colors are magical. More importantly, she’s constantly growing as a designer.

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Layered bracelets


                                               About Debbie de la Cueva

At 8 years of age, Debbie spent her next 3 years living in Paris and traveling through Western Europe with her father. Debbie’s academic life revolved around a number of boarding schools. It was there that Debbie began developing her talent with her handwork. Through the years this early skill developed into the creation of her very personal and unique style of jewelry. Each piece represents a signature creation that cannot be replicated.

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Many of the materials used in each design are of a very limited quantity. A “trademark” of Debbie’s work would be specifically the use of rare 19th-century Venetian beads in exquisite colors coupled with precious and semi-precious stones, tiny pearls and equally diminutive 18K gold connective pieces combined in unusual shapes and designs. In keeping with the size and scale of each piece, the gold wire used is of a very thin gauge. Debbie has succeeded in obtaining the elements that make each piece of jewelry a signature creation. Through skill alone, it would be impossible to replicate by anyone else.

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Debbie manages her own boutique in Sayulita but she is expanding beautifully to other exclusive boutiques. Debbie also stays inspired by traveling and constantly sourcing stones and exquisite materials that appeal to her. She then envisions the design. Her collections are one-of-a-kind and very unique, whether it’s a necklace, earrings or layered bracelets.

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Turquoise​and​d Gold Drop earrings

A wish from Debbie to you is to wear her jewelry in good health and to treat each piece as you would treat anything that is special and with the utmost care. Debbie currently resides with her family in Sayulita, Mexico.

To learn more about this artist, you can visit, www.debbiedelacueva.com

Debbie sells online and in exclusive boutiques.

 

Social media: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieDeLaCueva/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debbiedelacueva/

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De la Cueva Boutique in Sayulita, Mexico

 

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Debbie de la Cueva

 

Exclusive Interview: In the Moment with Actor Christian Keyes

Christian Keyes is a force — both in the courtroom starring as Charlie Riggs for his new show In Contempt on BET (www.bet.com) and as a dedicated actor taking his craft to the next level. The series portrays the court of law from the public defender’s point of view set in NYC, which makes for interesting courtroom drama. Christian Keyes is an extremely handsome and driven actor who is always up for a challenge to learn, to grow, and to expand his awareness. Christian has an infectious energy that he brings to every role he plays which comes through onscreen. Keyes makes it look so effortless, then again, that’s the point. It’s also the sign of an authentic artist. The audience genuinely enjoys watching Christian as Charlie Riggs, his chemistry with Gwen Sullivan (played by the beautiful and headstrong Erica Ash), and how he handles himself in the courtroom and in his personal life.

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Photo: DEAN FOREMAN

Christian Keyes was born in Detroit but raised in Flynt, Michigan. He got his start in the entertainment industry by appearing in stage plays. Next came television and film. Since his introduction as an actor, he has added singer, author, and producer to his resume. His charming and exotic looks derive from the combination of his parents. His father is African American and his mother is Native American/French. Keyes has been a working actor for years. From 2011-2014, Keyes had a recurring role on the BET comedy series Let’s Stay Together. He also appeared in the Ashanti music video, ‘The Way That I Love You.‘ In 2016, Keyes was cast in the Bounce TV prime time soap opera Saints and Sinners.

When he had a quick moment to stop, Christian spoke with Gemma Magazine and we could not be happier.

GM: Hi Christian! Thank you for joining Gemma! People love your character Charlie Riggs on In Contempt. Do you see Charlie as the ‘player’ that he is perceived as (professionally and personally)?

CK: Thank you as well! Charlie wants people to think it’s effortless for him, but in reality, it’s not that simple. Yes, he is witty, a good lawyer, and very intelligent, but he also has many defense mechanisms. There are many layers to him that have not been revealed yet. It’s known that Gwen cares above and beyond about her cases and works herself to death, but Charlie cares too. Charlie may act cocky, but he is way more vulnerable than the audience may know.

GM: I know that you really enjoy being challenged as an actor through each character that you play. What challenges you the most as Charlie?

CK: The legal jargon. I was very intrigued by it and you really have to study hard so that it looks and sounds natural. You must know the laws. Believe it or not, not everyone does. Overall, many people do not always know their rights as a citizen. It has definitely been a fantastic learning experience to get an in-depth look at the justice system. Our show was created by an amazing woman Terri Kopp, who worked for a Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. That makes for rich material and quality script writing to draw upon from her real-life experiences. At the same time, a fair amount of comic relief is added to keep it light so the audience can laugh too.

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Photo: DEAN FOREMAN

GM: Let’s talk the about the chemistry between you and Gwen. They both seem confident. Do you think either one feels “I could have this person in a minute?

CK: Not at all! Both have their guard up. They have a “friends with benefits” relationship and that works for them. There is also a history between them and Charlie is Gwen’s Supervisor. So for now, neither one is ready for a real relationship. I think when Bennet (Gwen’s ex-law professor) enters the picture, Charlie experiences real jealousy and his true feelings for Gwen became much more clear to himself.

GM: It’s always good to leave the audience open to their own interpretation. Yet is there something you would like them to take from the show?

It’s a realistic look at the justice system (with some heightened reality obviously) and it shows you that the system is not on your side. Something needs to change. These characters are fighting to defend the people that do not have the money or high power connections to walk free. Also, I really respect how the characters own their flaws. Gwen does not take care of herself, drinks way too many energy drinks, and has panic attacks. However, it is not hidden. That is a refreshing conceptual approach.

GM: I saw a clip where you were speaking about your “signature style.” You basically said it consisted of studying and preparing so much that you resent it. Then you know you’re ready. Personally, I thought was beautiful. Can you explain? 

CK: I like to be prepared. Overstudy to the point where you can’t look at it again. Then you can play with the material, get creative, and stay on point while still leaving room for some vulnerability of course. I did not come to Los Angeles to party. My goal was to work as an actor and to keep growing creatively. I want to grow in more areas than acting as well. I am currently working on my 3rd album and have written two books.

GM: I enjoy following In Contempt Writer’s Room on Twitter as well as In Contempt BET. It’s great how engaged they are with the audience and it’s always a tweet to look forward to. 

CK: Exactly! BET has been wonderful and went all out for the show. Again, we shoot in Toronto. On the set, they built a real courtroom, which is beautiful and feels like a vintage courtroom. The jail cells are real as well. It only adds to be immersed in the series for the cast and the entire crew.

GM: You also play Michael (an Archangel from the Apocalypse World) on Supernatural on CWTV (http://www.cwtv.com). You debuted in the 13th season. How do you juggle it all?

CK: Well, it definitely takes a team and I have a good one. Again, it also consists of many hours of preparation, the right balance, and taking care of yourself. If I have a premiere, I will not be the last one to leave.

When you do stop for a second, what do you do for fun? 

CK: I actually consider myself a nerd but I like to stay active. I enjoy concerts, hiking, and going to museums. I especially enjoy spending time with my son. Supernatural is shot in Vancouver, British Columbia and In Contempt is shot in Toronto so a lot of traveling is involved. So when I’m in LA, I enjoy exploring the city.

GM: Do you have a legal drama that you enjoy watching?

CK: Law and Order! The writing, acting and directing is so high quality. Also, the show has stayed true to its format (even though many characters have come and gone). There is that constant thread of authenticity. There is something to be said for that consistency.

GM: Tell us about your role in the nonprofit organization, Great Beginnings.

CK:  Great Beginnings is an organization that provides support for foster children. I actually grew up in the foster system. It was not easy but I do not define myself by my past.  I genuinely enjoy giving back to organizations like these that mean so much. With Great Beginnings, we get together and spend an afternoon with the kids just having fun. It’s a blast. Last time, we went to see Black Panther and it was a great experience.  Anytime I have the opportunity to give back, it is something that I cherish.

GM: Do you feel there will be a season 2? I know the audience wants one.

CK: I definitely hope so. The fan feedback has been wonderful. BET has been great and super supportive. I want to say we are headed in that direction but can’t just yet.

What is Charlie Riggs up to tonight? You must watch!! In Contempt in on every Tuesday at 10pm/9C on BET. Do not miss it! I thank Christian Keyes for taking the time to speak with us.

You can keep up with Christian on social media through the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/ActorChristianKeyes/

https://www.instagram.com/christiankeyes/

https://www.twitter.com/ChristianKeyes

https://www.twitter.com/InContemptRoom

https://www.twitter.com/InContemptBET