Authentic Empowerment: Exclusive Interview with Shiva Negar

Shiva Negar is a force: beautiful, smart, and strong (Both mentally and physically). Shiva is known for her role as CIA Agent Annika from America Assassian(https://www.cbsfilms.com/american-assassin/). Her exotic looks derive from her diverse background. She was born in Iran and raised in Turkey and Canada. The name Shiva is of Persian origin and means “Beauty.” Shiva embodies her name in so many ways.

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Photo: Steven Pressler

Shiva began her career as a child performer by performing on piano and guitar at recitals and in singing competitions. In high school, Shiva was involved in several school plays and theatre, which quickly became her art of choice and decided to take her passion for acting to the next level. Shiva then went to film school in Los Angeles and in between following her passion and her auditions, Shiva also managed to graduate from York University with a degree in Psychology.

Shiva played the lead role in Lionsgate and CBS Films’ Action Thriller American Assassin, which is based on the bestselling series of novels by Vince Flynn and is directed by Michael Cuesta. Shiva starred opposite Dylan O’Brien, Taylor Kitsch, and Michael Keaton. Shiva trained hard — with an elite group of specialists, performing a number of different CIA exercises. After watching American Assassin, I cannot imagine anyone else playing Annika, the Turkish CIA associate with her own personal agenda. In the film, Negar navigates the gray waters, always centering her character so that we always understand her motivations.

Shiva Negar is a perfectionist with an intense work ethic and gravitates toward characters that are very empowering, which is inspiring. She is also extremely professional and enjoys pushing herself to the limit. Shiva has that rare fusion of intense strength and vulnerability which makes her so interesting to watch.

Shiva also starred as the lead of Telefilm’s feature Becoming Burlesque for director Jackie English. She just wrapped The Cuban and is also currently filming Heartland.  She is in constant demand. When Shiva had a break from filming, she took the time to speak with Gemma and we could not be happier.

GM: I know your training was intense for American Assassian, however did you also find it empowering to build such physical strength? As you know, it’s such a great asset for your mental game too!

SN: The training was great and a lot of fun! We did a lot of kickboxing, choreographing the fights, weapon training etc.  And yes it was definitely empowering to learn these skills and be able to have the same strength and capability as the men did on the field.

GM: What would a typical day on set be like? Also, can you expand on your experience working with Director Michael Cuesta

SN: Everyday was different, but once we went on camera, typically we would always have a good amount of rehearsal time with the director to go over the scene and talk about our characters before filming. Then we would just go out and play and there was always room to improvise or tweak things around to where we as performers felt most comfortable.

I definitely enjoyed working with Michael Cuesta, he’s a very visual person and I liked that he was very open to hear our side of the story and our view on the characters, and if something didn’t feel right in the scene he was willing to change it to what we felt would be more natural.

GM: Annika is sort of every woman’s dream and men too. She’s smart, strong, confident. I also find her vulnerable at times. Did you feel as well that she had alot of layers to her personality?

 

SN: Oh yes! There were definitely a lot of different layers to Annika. She’s very driven and fearless. Her tragic past has made her become who she is and it’s where her focus and strength comes from. However I like the fact that we get to see other sides of her throughout the film, her feminine side, and her vulnerability when it comes to her family and the pain that she’s been carrying all along. I really enjoyed being able to play all of that and accessing all those layers.

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What did you learn about yourself from playing Annika?

SN: That I can kick ass, lol. One thing I love about acting is the fact that every character and every project is different and you get to learn and experience many different skills, situations etc. You never know how far you can go until you’re placed in that situation. So being a part of such a project that required a lot of physical strength made me realize how far I can push myself physically and mentally and it was definitely more than I had imagined 🙂

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GM: You also starred in Burlesque as Fatima. Your character finds herself and her sense of belonging through the Burlesque environment.  Do you find this suprising?

SN: That was another very fun and empowering role where I got to explore the world of Burlesque and had to learn to perform on stage as a burlesque dancer.

I don’t find the plot surprising at all, in fact I can somewhat relate to it myself as I’m sure many others can as well. Growing up, I was always trying to fit in with friends, in school, family etc. I buried my creative side for years as I was trying to live up to my family’s expectations and follow the “norm”. It took a long time for me to find my sense of belonging and actually embrace who I was and follow my passion which was completely against the rules and my family’s wishes. But things didn’t turn out so bad after all and I’m glad to say that I now do have their support 🙂

GM: I know you are signed on for Street 2 with producer Lyle Howry. I’m sure you are looking forward to it. It also sounds like a great cast and it centers around such an imortant issue.

SN: Yes I’m really looking forward to getting started. It’s a great script and a great cause. It revolves around the issue of human trafficking, which I believe we need to pay more attention to and create more awareness. I’m happy we will shed light on this.

GM: What is coming up next for you? 

SN: I just finished shooting for a film called “The Cuban” starring Louis Gossett Jr. and Shohreh Aghdashloo.  It’s a beautiful story about the connection between music and Alzheimers disease and how music can effect memory. It also sheds a light on different cultures and the history of Cuban Jazz.  I’m also currently filming for the TV Show “Heartland” (http://www.cbc.ca/heartland/), which airs on UP TV USA, CBC Canada and Netflix (www.netflix.com). So there will be a new character and some interesting events happening on the new season 🙂

I would like to thank Shiva Negar for speaking with Gemma Magazine. She is so lovely and inspiring. To learn more about Shiva Negar and her upcoming projects, follow Shiva on her social platforms. We are excited to see what is next!

 

 

 

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La Jolla Fashion Film Festival 2018 ~ Is Fashion Dead or Not

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Once again, the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival 2018 is prepping for its annual festivities. This event is the first international fashion film festival founded in North America. The dates this year are July 19-21st. Gemma Magazine will be attending and we are thrilled to participate. The #LJFFF is considered the Cannes of the fashion film world and the world’s largest gathering of fashion filmmakers. It’s basically creativity from all elements: fashion, film, filmmakers, actors, and beautiful cinematography with stories to tell.

Hundreds of fashion filmmakers from around the world will be in attendance as they are mesmerized by the top 1% of fashion films produced worldwide at the upcoming 9th year of LJFFF. The La Jolla community will gather together once again to network, make deals, attend seminars & panels, screen films, go to press receptions, participate in After Parties, and win awards.

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The films that make it into the final program will represent some of the most brilliant and creative directors in filmmaking today. If you have happen to viewed various clips throughout the year, the talent is stellar. Curated from the fantastic and exploding world of fashion film, are a glimpse of what’s trending in the minds of the world’s top fashion houses, designers, and stylists interpreted through the lens of their filmmaking counterparts. Creativity and on trend styles that will forshadow what’s to come on a high fashion level.

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Max Vogue is an integral aspect of the festival, and Gemma Magazine has had a crush for awhile now. Antonio Contreras Aviance created the concept, stories, and art. Antonio plays Max Vogue and so perfectly. Fred Sweet produces the series. Antonio is also a multiple international Fashion Film Award winner (5x). This year, the festival will pay homage to Gianni versace by featuring the Versace Collection in a wonderful episodic series and musical. also, for the 2018 Fashion Film Festival, Max Vogue The Musical highlights the question of whether fashion is dead or not!

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Max Vogue, a time traveling, gender bending, angst filled Fashion Historian and Detective has come to the conclusion that fashion has stopped changing since the 90’s. Max only envisions revivals and “comebacks.”How is this possible?? During the chaotic madness of a Versace fashion show, Max takes a fatal fallandhis guardian angel, “La Catrina”takes Max to what seems to be the “Fashion Purgatory Salon” where he gets his chance to meet iconic personalities of Arts and Fashion. The costumes are pure fantasy and based off of history. Costume designer Zandra Rhodes created the gorgeous creation for the character of Diana Vreeland.

The musical is inspired by the 2012 Kurt Andersen article “You want a Devolution” in Vanity Fair, the 1944 play “Huis Clos” by Jean Paul Sartreand the 1992 film Twin Peaks by David Lynch.

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Much more to come on this fabulous fashion festival, Max Vogue, and the winners.
In the meantime, you can follow Max Vogue and The La Jolla International Film Festival at the following platforms:
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Antonio Contreas

 

 

The Eloquent Actress ~ Amanda Grace Benitez

Amanda Grace Benitez is an actress, drummer, and an on-air radio personality from Los Angeles, CA. The talented actress is on the rise with a solid fan base and 11.1K Instagram followers. Amanda was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her parents worked as set decorators so she was surrounded by creativity from the beginning. There is a whimsical beauty about her and as she embodies a spirit of sensitivity and strength while having such a cool vibe. Benitez has great versatility and so much to five. Amanda is known for The Ranger, Emerson Heights, and School of Rock. While she was not busy drumming (Yes, she is a drummer) or auditioning, Gemma had the awesome opportunity to speak with the young and talented actress.
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Photo: Dean Foreman


GM: Thank you for joining us to chat! Did you know you always wanted to act or be involved in the arts in some capacity?
Thank you for having me! No, I didn’t. I was the shyest kid growing up! My first love was dancing, which led to performing at my grammar school talent shows. Later on, I became the host of my 6th-grade talent show which is where I got the bug to act. Both of my parents are set decorators and I would fake being sick to ditch school and go to work with them because   I loved the atmosphere on set. The actors really seemed like they enjoyed being there and I thought it would be a dream to play make believe for a living. I enjoy several aspects of performing, but I feel most fulfilled and in my element in front of the camera.

What was your first audition like?
Now that I look back, it was quite embarrassing! From what I can remember, an assistant brought me into the room where casting happened to be enjoying a ginormous lunch.  My nine-year-old self-said to everyone, “I’ll wait till you’re all done

eating” in a matter-of-fact tone.  Of course, everyone laughed, thought it was cute and my BARBIE audition continued.  I was left feeling extremely confused because I thought it was rude to eat during my performance.

You play Amber in The Ranger. Can you please describe your character and the movie a bit?Also, what did you learn about the filmmaking process for a horror film?
AGB: Amber is the life of the party, complete with blue hair. She’s a free spirit who left her privileged background to try the punk scene on for size.  At the end of the day, she’s just seeking acceptance and love, which happens to be all in the wrong  places. Being a punk growing up, assuming the role of Amber was a natural fit.  Amber meets the other punks at a warehouse party, high off of a hallucinogenic drug called “Echo.” Things get out of control and they all have to flee the area.  The punks wind up traveling to the forest to start a whole new life; However, just when everything seems calm, they come into contact with an unhinged Park Ranger. An insane amount of detail is put into every frame.  It’s more than just slash, gore, jump-scares, etc.
I can’t generalize all horror but in the case of our movie, there was an insane amount of detail put into the design of the film.
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Photo: Dean Foreman


GM: How was the Newport Film Festival, which you recently attended for The Ranger?
AGB: It was incredible!  Attending festivals are always interesting due to not knowing how the audience will receive your project.  Newport had a punk energy and understood our film’s intention completely!
GM: You are always so fashionable with great style. Do you enjoy fashion?
AGB: Thank you so much!  The only way I can express myself is through fashion. In my opinion, it’s the last art form left.  Everything else has been done. Fashion is ever changing and you can become anything.

 Tell me a bit about your experience in School of Rock.
It was an utter blast working with such an incredibly talented cast and crew.  Being a    trained drummer, it was awesome to take on the role of drummer girl, “Beth.” Not to mention, Pete Wentz from “Fall Out Boy” happened to be in one of the
episodes and being able to jam out with him was super cool!
You grew up in LA. I’m sure that you meet many young and aspiring actors from all over who have moved here. Do you give them advice about the industry?
Yes, I do!  I tell them to always work on their craft, be true to yourself, stay humble and never give up.

Who are some of your favorite actresses?
 I have been moved by many performances and this list could go on and on; However,       Alicia Vikander, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Meryl Streep are my my favorite.

GMEven though yougrew up here, what do you like to do for fun in LA?
AGB: I enjoy going out with my friends to hear live music,  hit up swap meets, art shows and trying out new vegan spots.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Amanda Grace Benitez as she takes Hollywood by storm. You can follow Amanda on social media with the following links.

A Fusion of Eastern and Western Fashion ~Michael Leyva

There is something admirable about a humble designer, and Michael Leyva (www.michaelleyva.com) fits the description. Humility is real, raw, and always keeps you grounded so that you are continually improving your craft. Therefore you learn not to take your talent for granted and an artist can keep growing. Welcome to the world of Fashion Designer Michael Leyva. Leyva has accomplished fusing an Eastern and Western aesthetic with his stunning designs. There are the classic Filipino characteristics combined with the contemporary and modern look from the American culture. His work is pure artistry and the definition of authenticity.

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Michael’s rise to becoming one of Manila’s sought-after haute costume designers is a beautiful story of loss, fulfillment, hard work, and humility. The story continues with Michael Leyva bringing his embellished and elegant gowns to the Los Angeles fashion district as he continues to establish himself as the high fashion designer that he embodies. His work speaks for itself, but Michael also has a beautiful story.

For a touch of background, Michael Leyva did not always know he was destined to be a fashion designer. Leyva was a flight attendant and had spent many years training for this. However, he was not happy and felt that there was something more. During this time, he also went through the tragic event of losing his brother, famed fashion designer, Brian Leyva. Michael was Brian’s biggest fan, and they had a beautiful relationship. After much soul-searching, Leyva took this moment of loss and reinvented himself as a fashion designer, which brought great fulfillment.

Coming from the legacy of his brother, who was a renowned designer, Michael Leyva was able to pick up where Brian left off and continued the LEYVA brand. Ironically, an unfortunate and tragic event in the Leyva family turned out to be Michael’s defining moment of becoming a designer and began his journey in the world of fashion.

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LAFW 2018

After years of training under Filipino Fashion Stewart, Mr. Jojie Lloren, Michael spent a few rapidly evolving years designing for the inner circles of celebrity clientele and created quite the buzz within the fashion industry. Embracing his philosophy of keen attention to detail and learning, Michael decided to refine his skills through his studies at the elite Central Saint Martins School in London. Michael also designs the most beautiful bridal gowns. They are romantic and dramatic.

Through his dedication and passion, Michael has established himself as one of the top couture designers throughout the Philippines and Asia, Michael has prepared himself to continue his immense and rapid growth by branching into and throughout the United States. After just one week after his arrival, his gowns were seen and applauded on the Daytime Emmys red carpet and stage between three presenters, winners, nominees, and producers. Leyva also made his LAFW debut in March of 2018. He featured on-trend couture designs and it was a successful show.

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Daytime Emmy Awards

Michael never ceases to surprise both the local and global audiences with his design and craftsmanship. The story of Michael Leyva will continue to shine. His late brother Brian is always within his heart to guide, support and love.

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To follow Michael on Social Media:

FB:https://www.facebook.com/reymichaelleyva

IG:https://www.instagram.com/michaelleyva_/?hl=en

He is represented by NOW PR LA

 

 

 

 

 

Shining Bright–Actress Ava Justin

Ava Justin is one motivated teen. She is a teenage actress but has been in front of the camera since the age of three. She’s beautiful — but more importantly, Ava is kind, grounded, and respects her craft.  There is an immense amount of competition when it comes to teen actors, but Ava Justin takes it all in stride and has an incredible support system. She has 53.4K Instagram followers and a great fan base. Ava started young and is now growing into more mature roles. We cannot wait to see her shine!

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Ava is based out of Minnesota but travels for booked gigs all over the country. “I’ve filmed a pilot in Florida and Chicago and filmed three projects out in Los Angeles.” “California is my second home,” says Justin.”I feel very blessed for the opportunities I’ve had so far and looking forward to what’s to come. God is good.” After speaking with Ava (as young as she is), I have deep respect for how she focuses upon the work instead of the “Hollywood game.” Ava is an authentic artist.

 

Recently, Ava has featured in several feature films currently playing on the National and International film festival circuit. You’ll spot her on the big screen side-by-side with Hollywood actors Brian White, Monica Calhoun, Loretta Devine and Sharon Leal on their feature film No Regrets which just premiered in New York. Ava just wrapped another excellent feature film playing a younger version of the very talented Hollywood actress Aurora Perrineau on the feature film Virginia Minnesota. Ava has a maturity and sense of composure beyond her years that is an asset on film sets while appreciating the priceless advice of prestigious talents.

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In addition to the light that shines from within, Ava can memorize scripts quickly. She has had the opportunity to work with some of the most requested and sought-after directors and producers. Being bi-racial (Kenyan and American roots) has enhanced her unique range of looks. Her exotic looks combined with her extraordinary acting ability allows her to play multi-ethnic roles. Ava continues to excel in her academics as well. She’s also very athletic while participating in Fast Pitch Softball as a pitcher. Though she has a gorgeous look, she exhibits a unique Tom Boy trait as she tops her class in nearly every athletic event. Without a doubt, Ava Justin is busy but made time to talk with Gemma Magazine!


GM: Hi Ava! We are super excited to have you chat with Gemma Magazine. You have been acting from a very young age. How did this creative process start for you?

You are very welcome! I knew Acting was for me when after auditioning for many national commercials with many talented kids my age and I would get that call “Ava, you’re booked.” I started auditioning for bigger gigs around age 4. I believe because I started young, I got the feel of it and even though I still get nervous depending on the projects, I feel it helped me toughen up more. That helped me know I need to do my best, leave it all there and move on to the next.

GM: What was your first project?

I booked a pretty cool Halloween national project for Target, and that gave me hope and the confidence that I can do this, that I’m capable of booking great jobs. And yes, I started booking modeling gigs for different Toy catalogs than to commercial and films. I was booking many gigs before taking acting classes than when I started getting more into movies, that’s when I started doing acting classes, I say I was around the age 7.

GM: When are you not acting or auditioning how do you spend your time?

When I’m not acting, I’m busy taking photos for different photographers as a social media influencer and brand representative; I have been getting many cool opportunities to represent different brands which have been super fun. I also love sports, and I play softball. I’ve been the pitcher for my team now for the last three years.

GM: Who are some of your favorite actresses?

My favorite actress that I look up and Zendaya, Storm Reid and Lena Waithe. I love seeing people like me are represented on Television. It gives me a lot of hope, you know. Representation matters!

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GM: You have a fantastic support system. Can you expand?

Both my Mom and Dad are such supportive people. There’s no way I’d be where I’m if I didn

GM: What is your current project?

I just wrapped up filming a very cool scene on the upcoming feature film Brother’s Keeper right opposite the Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne. It was such a surreal moment that I’ll never forget. We got to talk after our scene, and the gave me amazingly inspirational wisdom. He’s a class act. I’m also in pre-production for a film that I’m incredibly excited about called Betta Fish where I’m playing one of the lead roles. I really can’t wait to get on set for this one.

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Ava also has a business side to her. She recently created her brand of lip balms “Ava’s Luxury Cosmetics.”  She sells the lip balms on Etsy! Make sure you check it out.

I would like to thank Ava Justin for chatting with Gemma Magazine. She has such an exciting future and we will be watching.To follow Ava on Social Media:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/actress.avajustin/?hl=en

Website: http://www.avajustin.net

Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/actressAvaJ/

 

 

 

 

 

Carry a Masterpiece with Exclusive Clutches: Wearable Art with Mercedes Brunelli

How would you like to Wear Art? Be Art? Then you must discover Mercedes Brunelli. Mercedes is an amazing up-and-coming clutch designer with pops of color and true artistry! Her clutches are strong statement makers and we are in love. Most importantly, Mercedes is has created an incredible niche and specifically within the fashion industry; this is important and smart. Most women adore accessories — especially couture cluthes.
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Mercedes has always had a love for fashion and the Arts, even as a young girl growing up in Upstate New York. Her greatest inspiration came from her grandmother, whose love and enthusiasm to create influenced her own passion for design.Because of her long term battle with Multiple Myeloma, which never hindered her creativity, Mercedes donates a percentage of each bag sold to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in her loving memory.

Her grandmother’s  passion inspired Mercedes to create the exclusive “Jewel Collection.” Mercedes also created the Outre Collection, more of a nod to pop culture.

When Meredes had a a moment, we chatted and now Gemma Magazine is even more inspired.
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GM: Thank you So much for joining Gemma Magazine! Firstly, your clutches are gorgeous! VDid you always know you wanted to be in the fashion industry?

MB: Thank you! I always had some type of idea that I would be involved in the Fashion industry. When I was younger I never wanted to look or dress like anyone else, so my grandmother bought me a sewing machine. I would go to thrift stores looking for unusual items and tear things apart and make my own designs and clothing. I eventually expanded to making clothes for my girlfriends and then word got out, and people would contact me to design garments for their special occasions. My ideal scenario was to design avant-garde runway looks. I always had a love for the idea of wearable art. Unfortunately the out of the box looks of the runway are not normal everyday attire, making it hard to make a living on those types of designs. When the opportunity to make wearable art clutches came about, I took it and ran with it!

GM: What inspires you as a designer?
MB: Really anything can inspire me, I thrive on coming up with unusual and never seen designs. I’m always looking to think outside the box and keep setting the bar h
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GM: Tell me a bit about your realtionship with your grandmother
MB: My grandmother was an amazing woman who inspired and touched anyone who met her. She was my biggest source of inspiration in not only art but life in general. Everything that she touched and did she created something. Simple, everyday tasks like cooking, writing a letter, planting a garden, celebrating holidays, you name it, was done in such an amazing and artistic way. I was always encouraged to be creative and we were always making and “creating” together.
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MB: I am currently working on a new collection, something very distinct and different from my other designs. You can expect very artistic and detail oriented designs, taking my favorite term “Wearable Art” to a new level.
GM: Do you want your brand to expand into other areas of fashion?
Absolutely! My ultimate goal is to have a matching “Wearable Art” Shoe line.
GM: I noticed so many actresses wear adorning your clutch at the Daytime Emmy Awards. What was this experience like?
It was such a fantastic experience, It’s so gratifying to see peoples reaction to my designs.  Putting together an outfit for a red carpet event like the Emmy’s I think is every designers dream. Everyone has their own sense of style, and with so many different components its exciting to see the final finished product that walks down the red carpet.
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GM: If you were not in fashion, what would you be doing?
Honestly I don’t think I would be doing anything else. This is who I am and what I Love to do.

I genuinely admire when a designer lives and beathes her brand and is always aspiring to grow. I cannot wait to see the new collection and what’s next! Mercedes is represented by Now PR LA and I thank her for joining us!

You can follow Mercedes through the following links:

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.

https://www.ashleylongshore.com/artgasm/


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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