Tanna Frederick: Set for Stardom – Exclusive for Gemma

A few months prior, Gemma Magazine had the fantastic opportunity to attend “Dances with Films,” an exciting Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Many promising films and shorts had their premiere, and all deserve so much credit. One actress and film that stood out to us is Tanna Frederick from Two Ways Home. Tanna Frederick is captivating, raw, and lights up the screen. Frederick’s performance also provokes intense emotion from the audience. You find yourself rooting for her character, Kathy, who is fighting hard to put her family back together. Tanna Frederick is an incredibly gifted actress.

Tanna also produced the film, and Ron Vignone directed the feature. Tanna stars alongside the talented Tom Bower (who plays her grandfather Walter) in the heartwarming production. Two Ways Home is currently on its way to the Women Texas Film Festival womentxff.org this month and has received support from NAMI and Breaking The Chains.

So, who is Tanna Frederick? Tanna Frederick is a Producer, Director, Actress, and Environmental Activist. Tanna alongside Randal Kleiser launched DEFROST, a revolutionary VeeR virtual reality experience (Cannes). Tanna produced and stars in the feature film Two Ways Home premiering as an Official Selection at the Dances With Films 22 festival mental health awareness. She has starred in and produced six feature films with film icon Henry Jaglom, including The “M” Word, Ovation, and three of his plays, including Train to Zakopane. Frederick has a Best Actress awards from Wild Rose Film Festival, World Fest Houston, the Fargo Film Festival and the Montana Independent Film Festival. Method Fest named her “One to Watch” and she received the CineCause Award, the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s Maverick Award. She is the founder of ProjectSaveOurSurf.org (@PSOSurf) hosting monthly beach cleanups and a camp which has reached thousands of underserved youth in Southern California and Mexico, educating them on environmental issues with hands-on instruction in yoga and surfing.

In Two Ways Home, Tanna’s character Kathy returns home to her children, her ailing grandfather, and her ex-husband after being in prison. She has Bipolar disorder and made a few poor choices, which landed her a prison sentence. After becoming clear on why she made a few erroneous decisions and completing rehabilitation, Kathy is released back into society, and most importantly, joins her family. It’s a tough road ahead of her but Kathy takes on the challenge.

The film takes place in Iowa, which is Frederick’s home state. When Tanna had a moment, she spoke with Gemma about her character and her poignant acting experience in the film. We were honored that she took the time to talk with us.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an actress?
I always knew I wanted to be an actress, yes. I had stints of also wanting to be a marine biologist and a sanitation worker to clean the trash up as a kid. And I was a poly-sci major with an emphasis in international relations with honors in college. The needy artist in me won.

Your character, Kathy, is up against many challenging circumstances when she returns home from prison. How does she convince herself to keep going? Her persistence is quite incredible.
I think my character Kathy in Two Ways Home convinces herself to keep going after her release from prison because therapy helps her recognizes the past choices were the result of her unbalanced brain chemistry. Her actions were not something she would have chosen if she had assistance in understanding her Bipolar disorder. In this plotline, she’s been through rehabilitation in prison and was lucky to be in a place to face her demons and the possibility of a beautiful future.

The relationship between Kathy and her daughter, Cori, is strained. You can see that Cori wants a relationship with her mom. She’s pushing her away and can be completely inappropriate at times. How would you describe the relationship between them?
Cori and Kathy’s relationship is typical of Gen X’ers and children whose parent’s mental health issues force the role of parent and adult to be switched back and forth always. Cori has been told her mother has mental health problems and is unfit to be her mother. It is also a predisposed element placed on Cori’s judgment by society. The two women are longing for connection but are always up against each other redefining that relationship based on the terms they face. It’s a tough road for both of them.

I love the scenes with you and your grandpa (played by Tom Bower). What was it like working with Tom Bower. Your scenes together were especially heartwarming.
Tom Bower is an amazing actor! It was a gift to work with him! Working with Tom Bower is akin to merely existing as a character on the frame. He makes it so effortless in a scene because as an actor, he is immensely giving and so present. He’s such a reverberating tuning fork one can’t help but sit back and let a moment unfold naturally. Five years before making Two Ways Home, at every event I’d see Tom, I’d tell him I was going to use him in a movie where he’d play my grandfather. He didn’t believe me until I finally showed him the script.

The film takes place in Iowa, and you were raised there. What was it like to go back and film?
Filming in Iowa and being from Iowa brought this enjoyable down-home family experience I’ve never had and wish I could experience every time. I shot on family farms and had family and friends helping out where I needed backup, ending long days with homemade ice tea at my uncle’s house. We started a neighbor’s house on fire, luckily they were related to us.

In a previous interview, I heard you mention that many Iowa locals were in the movie. What was that like for them?
I think everyone in Iowa had a good time filming the movie despite the one hundred degrees heat and humidity. It was incredibly beautiful in the countryside, and we worked so well as a film family and team.

What would you say are the universal themes of Ways Home?
The universal themes of Two Ways Home are about acceptance and family. The fact that this specific character was dealing with bipolar illness is one of the many things she could have been facing. Tom Bower’s character is suffering PTSD from the war, and Riley Behr’s role as the daughter is dealing with displacement issues from being raised by her grandparents and not her mother. The parents are dealing with the loss of a daughter to the prison system through mental illness and then trying to forgive past transgressions by Kathy. It’s a universal theme I saw growing up in Iowa that stays with me to this day: the priority of family. The resilience of love is a healthy choice, and it can be a more difficult road to keep remodeling the family unit like a piece of Tupperware from 1976. Every Christmas on my grandparent’s farm my aunts would have “The Day after Christmas Tupperware Fight” because you just don’t throw Tupperware away. You keep it. It’s sturdy, and you can count on it through the decades. I think an Iowan sees their family like Tupperware. It’s worth the fight.

When Kathy returns home, it seems there is still so many feelings between her and her ex-husband, Junior. There is resentment as well. Do you feel that Kathy and her husband (Junior) still have feelings for each other? Was it more about repairing the relationship for the sake of the family?
I think Kathy and Junior have feelings for each other. Richard Schinnow (Junior) contributed to the script development, and there were a lot of ways Richard could have teased out the relationship between the two – a lot of tossed pages – that the symmetry of the grandfather and Corey’s relationship could’ve been ignored. I think we hit a perfect balance and suggestion to their history as high school lovers, the flame still burns, and then this sort of ‘Jack and Diane’ story got real once ‘Diane’ developed bipolar after having a child. Their love goes on despite all the factors involved. We pretty much left it up to the audience to detail Kathy and Junior’s relationship.

It’s brave and very empowering that the film took on mental illness as one of its focal points as well as the ability to take responsibility for it. Can you please expand?
There is such a huge stigma now and historically to speaking out about and confronting mental health. I always think of the comparison that if someone has diabetes, it’s not considered shameful or a weakness to have or a risk factor involved relating to that diagnosis. However, when someone has to say, “I have depression, I have anxiety, I have bipolar 1 or 2, etc.”, there is such a fear factor involved in that exchange because the parties receiving that information are so often uneducated about mental health. Whether that be from lack of funding to mental health programs, education, psychological studies, or outreach; there is vagueness. We just haven’t hit the spot where it’s understood yet.

We would like like to personally thank Tanna Frederick for taking the time to speak with us. Two Ways Home is a beautiful story of watching Kathy forge unexpected new levels of love and heroism through self-acceptance and perseverance.

To follow Tanna on social media:


IG: @tannafredrick


Keeping Up with Influencer Krystal von Seyfried

Krystal von Seyfried is quite the force of nature. She’s an Influencer, Model, and Actress who is motivated to make an impact — an influence in a different way. She’s passionate, hard-working, and driven to achieve her dreams; and most of all; she cares. Krystal inspires others by how much she values people and our society. Seyfried recognizes various problematic cultural issues and is determined to make a difference in her way. Krystal also understands that beauty comes in all forms: from within, through service, and simply helping others. She also enjoys fashion and beauty and sees it as an art.

Krystal von Seyfried is a Los Angeles native born to a Filipino mother and a German father. She majored in business and definitely has an entrepreneurial mindset. She got her start in pageants, which led to modeling, while she kept pushing her lifestyle content on social media. Currently, her Instagram is booming! When she had a moment, Krystal spoke wth Gemma about her aspirations, life as an Influencer and various causes that are imperative to her. We love her views on women’s empowerment.

In three words, describe Krystal von Seyfried and why?

Captivating, loving, and imperfect. All self-explanatory and all true.

Did you know that you always love fashion, style, and modeling? You mentioned that you are a fan of Melrose. What are some of your favorite brands?

I didn’t always like this stuff. I used to hate it. I was a cute kid, but still grew up feeling very different from everyone else. Then my awkward phase hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was chubby and covered in pimples. I remember accompanying my older sister to one of her photoshoots around this time, and from a distance, I heard someone say – “Who is that? Is she a model?” and then I listened to the other person laugh and said, “Seriously? She could never be a model,” and I remember feeling so ugly (inside and out) and hating everyone in that entire industry. I cried that night into my pillow, praying for God to please make me pretty so people would stop being mean to me. So no, I didn’t always like this industry. It was quite the opposite. In terms of fashion, some of my favorite brands include Versace, Chanel, Moschino, and Balmain. Yet, my real favorite is just exploring the shops on Melrose and finding random cool vintage pieces to work with.

Do you find being an Influencer overwhelming at times? How do you balance it all?

Compared to the taxing physical labor jobs so many people on this planet do day by day, it isn’t a lot of work. However, for me, I balance the influencer thing with a lot of grounding and shadow work. Being recognized and having people come up to you for the first time feels so crazy. Furthermore, seeing your likes pile up is legitimate dopamine high that I never want to get addicted to. Therefore, I balance it all in a very healthy manner. In my shadow work, I force myself to face my deepest impulses, fears and desires head-on. Then I figure out where they came from, whether it is societal programming, childhood trauma, or just from my own darker half. I hold myself accountable for my emotional and spiritual development, and I battle my demons every day. Sometimes I lose. Most of the time I win, and because of that, I’m able to be balanced and whole.

What do you do during downtime — when you log off and need to rejuvenate?

Reading and meditating! I love staying at home and learning about anything I can get my hands on, especially ancient history. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the Sumerians and the Mayas. I’ve gotten back into reading my Bible too. After a tiring day, I go to my prayer room, light some incense, do some silent meditation. I also turn on a Steve Nobel transmission (my favorite guided meditation channel on Youtube), and then I read until I fall asleep. That’s my idea of an enjoyable, rejuvenating night that I can always look forward to.

You are very ambitious. Can you please expand on your acting aspirations?

Acting is just one of the many facets of the film industry that have piqued my interest. I’ve just started to dip my toes into the entertainment sphere again, but I’ve been in talks with directors and filmmakers. We have been brainstorming tons of amazing concepts for upcoming projects. Unfortunately, I can’t divulge too much information about these things at this point in the creative process. But I will say that amazing things have been in the works, and I can’t wait to reveal everything to everyone that the right time.

What advice would you give to a teenager wanting to follow in your footsteps regarding the discipline and mindset?
Love yourself. First and foremost. Always the most important thing. When I was a teenager, I struggled so hard with self-love. At times, it’s something I still struggle with today. However, as a teenager, I made a fool of myself for unworthy, creepy older men that I stupidly attached my self worth to. I tried to fill my void with the attention of older men. Unfortunately, that’s a widespread phenomenon with young girls nowadays, especially among teenagers. If you genuinely love yourself honestly and thoroughly, so many other life problems naturally fall away. It always starts with self-love. So that’s what I’d tell a teenager to focus on – to be disciplined in programming her mindset towards self-love. And to then watch the magic that naturally follows.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself enjoying life in my little slice of heaven on earth, surrounded by people I love and a family whom I can call my own.

What will you change in the fashion industry and why?

I want to change the way people interact with one another not only in this industry but within entertainment in general. I hope to shift it in a way forward, where things are fair across the board for everyone rather than centered around a select few. This is a problem in every industry, but fashion and entertainment are notorious for it, and I want to fix that for good — Somehow

As a rising star in Hollywood, what sets you apart from everyone?

My heart. We’ve all seen celebrities let the lights and cameras get to their head, rather than scoffing at these celebrities though I pity them. As a grown adult, it’s essential to value sound qualities, values that should come naturally to us — how to live, and love. The entertainment industry entices many people out of a need to fill a void within themselves. When you pursue a passion with recognition as the primary goal, you’re never going to get anywhere.
Most importantly, you’re never going to fill that void with something from outside your vessel. It must come from within, and this is where most people get it so twisted. My goal is to change the hearts and minds of people in the entertainment industry, inside and out, and I’m going to do that with my heart.

What are your long term goals?

I want to save the planet! Nature and family are crucial –Saving the bees, saving women, and saving the family unit. I hope to have a charity one day focused on helping rehabilitate drug-addicted women throughout weak, rural areas of the United States. We continuously pour our effort and resources elsewhere, while Americans in our backyard are overdosing and dying en masse. A woman is the seat of all creation and life, so I believe that healing one woman heals all her descendants to come. I think this is the key to eradicating trauma, pain, and many other issues that plague America as well as the world’s general population.

How would you describe overall beauty?

Beauty is in everything – you can find it in yourself, in nature, or a small moment of reprieve from your hustling daily life. Grace is also most easily found in the form of a beautiful woman. Unfortunately, beauty in this form has been demonized over the years, thanks to the human ego and vanity. As a woman that people have deemed physically “beautiful,” I believe that with this, I have an essential God-given duty to do ONLY the right things with this gift. It’s so easy to do the wrong things with it. I take it very seriously as so many before me have fumbled the ball and ruined it for the rest of us. Beauty is found first within the vessel and then emanates outside of it. I intend to keep my inner landscape beautiful amidst the craziness of Hollywood so people can always see my heart shining through, bright and clear.

Where can we find you these days?

Probably on Melrose, shopping around and enjoying life! My favorite street to walk around in this city. Second place is probably the fashion district because my PR agency is around there and I love shopping around for little knick-knacks after fittings.

If you have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I couldn’t choose just one! I’d want something that would help me help the most people; I don’t care for anything self-serving. I’d probably wish for healing superpowers so that I could help humanity not suffer anymore. I’d still want to add in some cool green star bolts or laser eyes though, to indulge my inner child and also for the aesthetics.

Which force of nature would you be and why?

I would be air because almost all of my planets are in Libra. I’m a super airhead to the max! People think I’m dumb, flaky, and forgetful because of it. Which I am sometimes. In retrospect, it’s because my mind is continually flying everywhere, way up in the clouds thinking about science, history, mysticism, and the points where those three come together — always overthinking. Hopefully, this interview made you guys think a little bit too. Thank you for your time!

Gemma Magazine would like to thank Krystal Von Seyfried for joining us and for the refreshing interview!! You can follow Krystal on her Instagram site: @krystalvon