Despite COVID-19, Rebecca Olson Continues to Make Inroads in Television and Film

You might recognize her from her various small screen roles—“A Wedding to Remember,” “Just My Type,” and “Tempting Fate,” just to name a few. As a matter of fact, actress Rebecca Olson has been lighting up your TV for over several years. Since landing a guest starring role on the hit CW series “Supernatural” in 2014, Olson has continued racking up television credits including “Hell on Wheels,” “My Best Friend’s Bouquet,” and most recently a role in The CW’s widely talked about “Kung Fu,” which debuted earlier this month.

The Vancouver-based actress has found herself at home on the small screen, and in a year crippled by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Rebecca has managed to continue stacking her acting resume with a TV movie, “A Vineyard Romance.” Rebecca Olsen found a brief moment away from the set of  her current project to chat with Fashion Reverie about her new role in “Kung Fu,” upcoming projects, and how she managed to keep accumulating acting credits during a year when most of us were stuck at home.

Image courtesy of wikifeet.com

Fashion Reverie: Hello, Rebecca. You’re in Vancouver right now, correct?

Rebecca Olson: I’m back and forth between Vancouver and shooting a project right outside of the city. We aren’t allowed to travel abroad right now, so any chance to get out of the city with work is a treat.

FR: Congratulations on the projects you’ve been booking lately.

Rebecca Olson: Thank you so much! It’s crazy, because it’s been such a difficult year for so many people. I’m in a long-distance relationship across the border. I have family I haven’t gotten to see in a year. But, somehow, this has been good for the acting industry in Vancouver, in some ways, because of more opportunities going to local actors.

FR: There’s been so much film and television work produced in Vancouver recently.

Rebecca Olson: It’s been crazy. Opportunities with American productions and ensembles where American actors would have been guaranteed a certain number of roles have gone to more actors based here in Vancouver ever since the borders closed and people were unable to travel.

Image courtesy of The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

FR: I want to talk about your role in the new CW series “Kung Fu.” How were you cast in that series?

Rebecca Olson: I was lucky I booked that role prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. We weren’t sure what was really going to happen with the show after the pilot episode. All production shutdown, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen after that since a lot of productions decided not to come back to Vancouver. There was a waiting period of uncertainty. One of my co-stars, Gavin Stenhouse, who plays the character Evan, reached out to connect to see what I was doing. He kept me in the loop, [as] he was part of the main ensemble, so he was likely to hear what would happen with the show before I did. By the end of summer, the show resumed production, and we went back to filming.

FR: Were you getting nervous about having your character cut?

Rebecca Olson: Yes, I was for sure. I wasn’t sure whether they were going to change around the plotlines or relocate. I had booked another small role on a Netflix production during that in-between time, and that production decided they were going to relocate so they didn’t have to deal with the quarantines. The fact that “Kung Fu” came back to shoot in Vancouver was amazing.

FR: What’s it been liking forming working relationships with co-stars between the quarantines and COVID-19 pandemic? 

Rebecca Olson: That’s what’s been so interesting. I shot a movie called “A Wedding to Remember” this summer. As far as I know, it was either the first, or at least one of the first productions to start back up in North America after the height of pandemic. We shot in Colonna on a resort and my quarantine bubble was me and three other actors. Most of us knew each other from previous projects, but that was a very unique experience. Everything was shot in one location and all four of us were constantly hanging out with each other.

 It was a unique situation because usually when you shoot on location, you’re with the same people for a while, and you’ll bond in different ways, but now I’ve got co-stars seeing me come downstairs in my pajamas. Working this way creates a different bond, because a lot of people don’t have their families up here or couldn’t go home to them because of the pandemic, so the cast got so close.

For “Kung Fu,” we shot two episodes I was in before I went on to work on other projects, then almost two months had passed before I came in to shoot for my next scene, and when I walked in, I was immediately treated like family.

I did three movies last summer, and the working relationships I formed with co-stars last year were some of the strongest I’d ever formed because we were only allowed to socialize with each other. You’re living and working together, so that’s something I will miss in a post-COVID world when things go back to normal. I created bonds over the past year that I don’t think I would’ve had under usual circumstances where a shoot day wraps and everyone goes back to their after-work lives at the end of the day.

FR: How would you describe the character you play in “Kung Fu,” because I know your role gets bigger in later episodes that haven’t premiered yet?

Rebecca Olson: What I loved about the character Sabine and the direction they are taking with her is the love triangle. Sabine is clearly struggling with her boyfriend’s ex coming back into the picture, but nothing is ever done with malice. That insecurity is inevitably going to be there for her, but she’s trying to fight against it and be supportive. When it comes to Evan helping Nikki, she puts her own insecurities and feelings aside because she feels it’s the right thing to do. It would’ve been so easy to fall into the trope of pitting these women against each other, and it’s so not that, and I love that.

FR: You describe your character Sabine with such complexity. How did you prepare for this role?

Rebecca Olson: Life. When you get to a certain age you’re dealing with other people and other relationships in their life and history and learning how to navigate that with a balance of great, at the same time making sure your feelings are heard and validated. There was so much for me to tap into in things that I’ve been through in my own life, it was so effortless. When I read the role I immediately connected with Sabine and felt this hasn’t been something that is seen enough. I know so many women who are like this and it often gets portrayed as the need to go after the other women, but it’s not always like that.

Image courtesy of Jenna Berman Photography

FR: In your character development process as an actor, do you typically draw on your own past experiences or do you ever look to people you may know for inspiration and physical characterization?

Rebecca Olson: I feel lucky in that the roles I have played most of the time I was easy to connect with the character. I’ve yet to play a villain, that would be interesting for me. But if I did, I would still find the parts of them that are lovable to make it interesting.

For me, especially with the romantic comedies I did this summer, I build organic relationships with my castmates because then we read better as an ensemble on screen. I’m most comfortable when I can draw on my own experiences.

FR: Television shows and television movies seem to be a real sweet spot for you as an actress. What do you love about working in television ?

Rebecca Olson: What I love about television shows is the potential for growth and arcs that are unseen. Your character can get brought back in later episodes if they are guest or recurring. Your character can go through a process that isn’t even written. Whereas when you are shooting a movie all the action are determined already. With television, another season could happen, and your character could be taken in a whole new direction. I love that unpredictably and how you can sink your teeth into something that is going to evolve. Even with a show like “Kung Fu,” I’ve an found opportunity to change and adapt as a recurring character.

FR: You have an upcoming role in a new made-for-TV rom com, “A Vineyard Romance.” Could you elaborate about that project and the role you are playing?

Rebecca Olson: I play Sam Hart, she’s a journalist who works for a wedding magazine. Her passion is writing, and her dream is being a romance novelist. She’s a total book nerd, just trying to pay the bills. She’s been waiting for a promotion and she gets the opportunity to cover an influencer’s wedding taking place in her hometown. She’s confused because her hometown is a nothing town and can’t believe that’s where the wedding is happening. She goes home and finds out it’s her ex that’s getting married. She covers this wedding of ‘the one that got away.’ She and the ex-boyfriend never had closure, and she has her own feelings, but she’s doing her best to be supportive and be the bigger person and do right by this couple, even if she’s still dealing with old wounds. She and her ex-boyfriend finally figure out where things went wrong and try to figure out what this means for them going forward.

Image courtesy of Jenna Berman Photography

FR: What’s up next for you?

Rebecca Olson: I’m in the middle of working on “American Dreamer.” The cast is stellar. It’s Peter Dinklage, Shirley MacLaine, Danny Glover, and Matt Dillon. I’ve died my hair brunette for the first time in my career, and I’m playing a twin, so I’m playing two roles. It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks. I’m so excited.

“Kung Fu” is currently airing on The CW Wednesday at 8pm EST.

—Kristopher Fraser

Fashion Reverie’s Spring/Summer 2021 Movie Roundup

Images courtesy of variety.com

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

So many shocking things have happened in the past year and one of them is “King Kong vs Godzilla.” The special effects juggernaut was a huge hit at the box office. This is even more shocking when you know that movie theaters are opening with reduced capacity, yet, it still managed to pull in a $48 million opening weekend despite being available for streaming on HBO MAX. The simple explanation?  People LIKE seeing movies in theaters! The summer blockbuster is here to stay.

Please keep in mind, the pandemic is not over. Yes, we have glimpsed the finish line, but we still have a long way to go.  Even if you are vaccinated, you still need to wear your mask and social distance. Health is wealth!!

Image courtesy of Den of Geek

Black Widow

After the wild success of “Wandavision” we have another female-led entry into the MCU (the fictional Marvel Comics Universe) that was actually directed by a woman, Cate Shortland, with the story by “writer Jack Schaffer. The $200 million epic will be a feast for the eyes with its exciting action and top of the line special effects. It tells the story of Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansen) troubled past as she is forced to confront her present. It will be available in theaters as well as on Disney+ for an additional charge.

Image courtesy of Looper

Free Guy

Pushed back from its 2020 release, “Free Guy” tells the story of Guy, a simple man who works in a bank, but suddenly discovers he’s living in a video game as an NPC (nonplaying character). But hold the phone, he finds out the game is about to go offline. He’s in a race against time to make himself the hero of the game before it disappears forever.

Image courtesy of Collider

Luca

Still sad you can’t travel? The latest offering from Pixar will take you to a beautiful seaside town in the Italian Rivera. “Luca” is bursting with color and life, telling the story of Luca, a young boy who is enjoying a fun-filled summer with his new best friend while they go on scooter rides, gobble pasta, and eat gelato. But their happiness is threatened by a terrible secret. Not only does this kid-friendly fare work for grown-ups but it will be available on Disney+ without any additional charges.

(Left Center-Right Center) ANTHONY RAMOS as Usnavi and MELISSA BARRERA as Vanessa in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “IN THE HEIGHTS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Image courtesy of Variety

In the Heights

Based on the Tony award-winning play of the same name written by Lin Manuel Miranda, “In The Heights” is a bubbly musical set, where else, in Washington Heights. Filmed on location, it tells the story of a bodega owner who, after inheriting a large sum of money, is considering closing his bodega and retiring to the Dominican Republic.

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Jungle Cruise

ANOTHER movie based on a Disneyland ride? Must Fashion Reverie remind you the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” was pretty good until Disney ran the franchise into the ground? “Jungle Cruise” is already getting some advanced buzz that’s it’s a fun action-adventure thrill ride. The film stars Emily Blunt as a scientist searching for the legendary “tree of life” said to have magical healing properties. She hires a grizzled riverboat captain played by Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson to guide her down the infamous Amazon ahead of German scientists determined to find it first. 

Image courtesy of Slashfilm

The Pink Cloud

Looking for some more independent fare? While it may seem like this Brazilian film was tailor-made for the pandemic, the truth is it was written in 2015 and completed filming in 2019. It tells the story of a world where a deadly pink cloud has forced everyone to stay indoors indefinitely, focusing on a young woman now trapped with the one-night stand she brought home the night before. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to excellent reviews.

Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Summer of Soul

This documentary directed by Ahmir Thompson (better known by his stage name Questlove) recovers long-lost footage of a 1969 concert that was all but forgotten when Woodstock would take place just a few months later. The feature showcases filmed footage of the Harlem Cultural Festival, including never-before-seen concert performances by B.B. King, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Stevie Wonder, and more. Despite the top-level talent that performed at the festival, the concert went largely unremembered and, according to the opening title of the film, the footage “sat in a basement for 50 years. It has never been seen.” 

 —Cameron Grey Rose

Amber Chardae Robinson Speaks about Her Role in “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Actress Amber Chardae Robinson is now proud to say that she’s been a part of a film that received the Oscar nomination for Best Picture. “Judas and the Black Messiah,” where Robinson plays Betty Coachman, a supporter of the Black Panther Party, tells the story of party chairman Fred Hampton and FBI informant William “Bill” O’Neal who went undercover to gather intelligence on the civil rights martyr. The role of Betty Coachman was a turning point in Robinson’s career, and she got to work with an amazing group of actors including Academy Award nominees Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, and rising star Dominique Fishback. Fashion Reverie recently sat down with the actress to discuss the importance of this film, the history of the Black Panther Party, and how this project changed her life.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get cast in this film?

Amber Chardae Robinson: It’s a funny story. I was living my regular actor life in Los Angeles, and I got a phone call from my agent to do the table read for the parts they hadn’t cast. Ryan Coogler, Daniel Kaluuya, and LaKeith Stanfield were all going to be there. The casting director said there was no promise of a role, but I took it as an opportunity to deliver the material the best way I know how

 When I went in, I met Ryan Coogler, who sat directly across from me. After that, I did everything I was supposed to, some folks would say I went in and ‘dropped the mic.’ I thanked everyone when I left, and I didn’t hear anything for two weeks after that. In the meantime I just became obsessed with the history of the Black Panther Party.

FR: Were you aware of Fred Hampton and his story before you found out about “Judas and the Black Messiah?”

Amber Chardae Robinson: No, I had no idea who he was. After I did the table read, all this extra research I was doing on the Black Panthers was leisure, but some people would call it manifestation. I went to Florida on vacation, and I was speaking at Bethune Cookman University about “Always a Bridesmaid,” another movie I was in. Two weeks after that, I got a call from my agent saying there was a role in “Judas and the Black Messiah” for me. I hopped on a flight to Cleveland and lived there for three months shooting this film with these amazing people. It felt so divinely ordained. What are the odds you get cast from a table read?

FR: Do you know the producers came up with the name of the film, “Judas and the Black Messiah?”

Amber Chardae Robinson: For the longest we were shooting; we didn’t have a title for it. It was called “The Untitled Fred Hampton Project.” When the story of the film broke in the press, that was when I learned about the name of film. The entire time we were shooting the movie, we didn’t know what it was going to be called. It was like raising a child without a name, saying you’ll let them find themselves. The producers wanted to finish the project and feel what works.

FR: Talk to me about the preparation to play your character, Betty Coachman?

Amber Chardae Robinson: I engulfed myself in the culture of the women in the Black Panther Party. They played such a vital role in the movement. I listened to speeches from Angela Davis—who coincidentally was never a member of the Black Panther Party—and Kathleen Cleaver, just hearing the intelligence and gravitas they spoke with was very similar to who I am today.

I have an MFA in acting from Columbia University, and I did my undergrad at an HBCU, so I went from a predominantly Black environment to one with a lot less people who look like me. I had to constantly remind myself who I was and that I was worthy of being there.

Thinking about on my time in graduate school, there was a parallel for me. I tapped into my own strength of being a Black woman at a predominantly white institution. I had to learn to assert my intellect. I’m a Black girl from the South with a country accent. People don’t think Ivy League graduate when they see me. White people back then did not look at these women as intellectuals, they were seen as demonizing, rebels, or radicals. These women need their stories told. We need an Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver biopic next.

FR: What do you think you brought to the Betty Coachman character?

Amber Chardae Robinson: I brought myself and all of the things I possess as a Black woman in this time. I’m growing up in a time that’s very similar, but where racism isn’t as overt. I tapped into my real life and used those feelings as fuel for this character.

Growing up in the South and being Black, smart, and loud, and going off to do things like art weren’t supported. I brought strength, power, and knowing who I am to this role. I learned so much about myself doing this movie as well, and I’ve been fueled to chase after my purpose. Learning about Fred Hampton and the vision he had for us as a collective of Black people really changed me and has fueled me in my current process as an actor and person.

FR: Fred Hampton’s murder has been documented in Black Panther Party documentary films, but there’s never been a feature film about his life. His murder happened decades ago. Why do you think “Judas and the Black Messiah” needed to happen at this time?

Amber Chardae Robinson: So many people are uninformed or just don’t know about this history. I heard the name Fred Hampton before, but I didn’t know the history and issues surrounding his murder, the FBI’s involvement, or the role J. Edgar Hoover played. To this day, Fred Hampton is still held on this pedestal, and there’s a reason for that. This movie has given people the initiative to do their research and learn about the actual issues that are going on. The conditioning of this country has led us to believe things that aren’t true or accurate.

FR: Although the film takes places in the 1960s, many of the issues of race and civil rights are still relevant today. Do you think the story and issues of racial justice will appeal to current audiences? If so, why?

Amber Chardae Robinson: I hope this film educates. The reasons I tell stories is to liberate people through art. The people who don’t know anything about Fred Hampton, Bill O’Neal, the FBI, and J. Edgar Hoover will be educated from this film. One of the things that was really astounding for me about this film was someone in the FBI pushed for a bill to take J. Edgar Hoover’s name off the FBI building after he watched this film. The amount of black civil rights activists that died under J. Edgar Hoover’s watch was astonishing. Films like this cause us to reflect and make adjustments to our society. That’s why I do the work I do.

FR: Most people don’t realize the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover were involved in Fred Hampton’s murder. Do you think the film conveys the historical accuracies and horrors of the situation well?

Amber Chardae Robinson: The film does an excellent job of that. It really gives just insight and peaks into just the surface of what happened. I hope people will be motivated to go do more research about what the FBI did to the Black Panther Party and see what else really happened.

FR: Many people know very little about the Black Panther Party and don’t realize the party was established to uplift all people. How does this film help clear up some of the misinformation about the Black Panther Party?

Amber Chardae Robinson: It shows people Fred Hampton’s mission. The party was created to take care of Black people with clinics and free breakfast programs. We had to protect ourselves because they were killing us. It wasn’t about rebelling against white men. That narrative was constructed because people were scared Black people would want revenge for oppression, but Black people wanted to live and be taken care of after we helped build this country.

FR: How has working on “Judas and the Black Messiah” enriched your life?

Amber Chardae Robinson: For a long time, I had imposter syndrome. I kept telling myself get it together, and I forget that I am worthy and ready to be where I am. I spent the money and had the training to be at the point I’m at in my acting career. After working on this film, I have more confidence in my work. I don’t want to say this movie showed me my worth, but it allowed me to watch people who are where I want to be career wise, and I had intimate conversations with them, and built a familial relationship with them. Working on this film changed my outlook on this business and showed me how I’m going to grow in this field. After this experience, I feel like my opportunities are limitless, and I’m so excited about it.

FR: What did you take away from working with a cast of incredible actors including big names like Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, and Dominique Jackson?

Amber Chardae Robinson: I think I’ve gained another family. I learned so much being around these people, because they are so rooted in themselves. If they are ever second guessing themselves, I can’t see it. Their confidence and knowing who they are and what they bring to the table and knowing no one can get in the way of their journey was a privilege to witness. It helped me so much with myself. It helped me understand myself and made me feel more comfortable about what I do. Going on to the next set, I won’t be as nervous. “Judas and the Black Messiah” is the biggest set I’ve worked on. I’m grateful to have experience people who are strong in their foundation.

FR: What are some projects you have coming up this year?

Amber Chardae Robinson: Right now I’m in the process of taking a couple meetings and auditioning. We are still in a pandemic, but I’m using the time to write my own feature film. Writing has always been something I’ve done since I was a little girl. Being able to write a feature has been an interesting process. It’s kept me busy through such turbulent times, and it’s given me a foundation to come back to while the world has felt like its collapsing around us. I’m excited to share it with the world.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” is currently in theatres and streaming on HBO Max. The film was directed by Shaka King and is a contender at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best Picture.

—Kristopher Fraser

In This Season of Change, Gary Quinn Sets Us on the Path to Success, Wellness, and Growth

Have you noticed that we are on the precipice of great change? We have a new administration in the White House, we are slowly getting a handle of the COVID-19 pandemic with more and more people getting vaccinated globally, the new $1.9 billion economic relief packaged has been signed into law and we are just a week away from the season of budding flowers and chirping birds.

All things appear to be looking up. Still, everything is coming up roses only if you can tap into positivity and this new great shift in consciousness.

Author and Motivational Speaker Gary Quinn spoke to Fashion Reverie about what it takes to live a life of joy, fulfillment, and positive change. This detailed and much-needed conversation fits perfectly into this season of change, if only we pay attention and apply some of these incredible, life-affirming principles.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get on this path to positive thinking and transition your approach to positive thinking into being a life coach, a motivational speaker, and author?

Gary Quinn: I started training for the Olympics when I was very young, and I was fortunate to have great coaches and all these opportunities. Like most kids, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. From swimming I developed a great work ethic and I parlayed that work ethic into working in the entertainment industry.

I have done everything from writing situation comedies to working and representing actors, writers, and directors to being a music producer.  In other words, I have run the gamut of things you can do in the entertainment industry.

Jonelle Allen was one of my first celebrity clients and she recognized that I was very intuitive, and she prompted me to do something with this knack I have for seeing potential in people. I do have the ability to connect to a higher energy and the divine in people and help them connect or reconnect with that divine or higher frequency.

From recognizing that I had this gift, I started doing life coach work privately and from that I wrote my first book “The Yes Frequency.” This book launched a global 37-city book tour.

When I had written my first book, I was at a wellness conference and I met Dan Millman, I told Dan Millman how much admired his work and how his work had influenced and helped me. Millman took me to this crew that was interviewing him for some television show and tells the crew, “You need to interview this guy, also.” I never forgot that moment because that televised interview really helped my burgeoning career.

FR: In your life coaching, what do you teach your clients?

Gary Quinn: I teach people how to be the master of their mind and living their vision is not scary. I teach people how to activate their greatness. I teach how to work with the principles of grace, gratitude, opportunity, and knowing that every day we can do something great. My work is about rejuvenating your thought processes and your perspective on your own life.

FR: You have a book “Living in the Spiritual Zone: 10 Steps to Change Your Life and Discover Your Truth.” Quickly, name a few things people can do to facilitate change.

Gary Quinn: I start with having my clients make a list of all the stress and anger they have had in their life. You cannot upload any positive affirmations or positive change if you have not cleared the cupboards or the subconscious of all the anger and negativity that might be there.

As you right down those things that are negative or cause a lot of anger, if you need to forgive someone that has caused that hurt and anger, you should right a forgiveness letter to that individual, and read it out loud. (Often when clients do this, they began to cry which means they are beginning to release the toxins that came from living in a space of resentment.)

Then I instruct my clients to start to speak positive affirmations for 21 days. As you start to act on those affirmations, you will begin to see a shift in perspective and a shift in behavior. I also get my clients to make a mission statement of what they want their life in this new place of forgiveness and positivity.

FR: Why is making these list so important?

Gary Quinn: Making lists of what you want is very important, if you make a list, you probably will not forget and take your aspirations more seriously. From the list, you can identify events in your life where you felt diminished and felt disempowered and I can help you work through that. From these lists you can began to create the life that you want. It does take work and some research, but it is possible, if you are willing to do the work. It is about putting in  the work, doing the affirmation exercises, and restoring yourself daily.

FR: In this time of rejuvenation, a new presidential administration, and coming into a new season, what can people do rejuvenation their perspective and life?

Gary Quinn First, you should figure out if the career that you are in is the career that feeds your passion. If not, you need to change it. Secondly, you should access and look for things that will cause you to grow. You also need to monitor your diet because what you are eating affects your mood and your thought processes. During this time of activating the new you, changing your diet, exercising, positive affirmations, finding something that inspires your soul that is removed from your work life, and accessing new learning opportunities will put you the track to rejuvenating your life.

FR: We are slowing coming out of this terrible health pandemic. What positive things can people take away from being isolated, shutdown, and not experiencing life as we once knew it?

Gary Quinn: This health pandemic has caused many of us to look within, simply because some of the quarantining has slowed some of our daily activities. And because of this slowing down of our lives, we now have the time to closely examine our lives and look at the things that make us happy. This shutdown has been a great opportunity to focus on change. We all must be willing to accept change. To grow, embracing change is necessary.

This pandemic put us in front or ourselves, and we can look in the mirror and figure out what is not working. We should release what is not working and embrace change. You should also make a daily list of things that are working and things that make your feel good.

FR: Because of this health pandemic, we will be experiencing a new normal. What might this new normal look like?

Gary Quinn: Our new normal is about people looking within to take inventory of what does work. The new normal will be about more efficiency, and not wasting time.

People have been waiting for something to bring them happiness, and during this health pandemic experience, the new normal is about encouraging ourselves and others to use empowerment tools. The new normal is also be about honoring other people more because we are all connected. And this health pandemic dramatically demonstrated that.

Images courtesy of VERY New York

FR: We are now in Women’s History month. What can everyone learn from women?

Gary Quinn: Women are the power of the future and men need to get more into their feminine side to learn mindfulness and compassion, attributes that some women naturally have. Most women are very in touch with their emotions which gives them the ability to be more compassionate. Women can run this country and right now we need compassionate leaders.

Women have helped my career enormously. In fact, my book deals where orchestrated by women in positions of power.

FR: What’s next for you?

Gary Quinn: My next book, “Be Your Business Guru,” which is coming out in the fall, is about how business folks can find their own path to happiness and success in their business. This book will come out in Italy and the rest of Europe in the fall and be released in the US in 2022.

William S. Gooch

“Mahogany” Draws Inspiration from Opera, Dance, and Art

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

There are several classic films that come out of the archives folder during Black History Month. “Sounder,” “Claudine,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” and “Raisin in the Sun” are just few films that give voice to the African American experience resurrected during Black History Month. Most of us have seen these films countless times with some us able to recite lines word for word.

Of all these classic films that speak to the African American experience in the diaspora, perhaps, “Mahogany,” is one of the only films that speaks to navigating success in a white world and the cost of the success. Another unusual aspect of “Mahogany” is that it one of few films of the 1970s that uses fashion as backdrop for a storyline about the African American experience. And the fashion montages in “Mahogany” draw inspiration from theatre, dance, and opera.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

One of the most significant fashion injections in “Mahogany” is the charity auction runway scene that uses beautiful jersey and silk chiffon gowns designed by Princess Irene Galitzine. Princess Irene Galitzine is actually in the film. Princess Irene Galitzine came to prominence in the fashion industry in the mid-1950s, establishing her atelier in Rome in the late 1940s.  Galitzine saw the launch of her palazzo pyjamas which were wide-legged evening trousers made of soft silk. Evening pyjamas became a firm fixture of the fashion scene during the 1960s. Galitzine dressed many top celebrities, aristocrats, and society ladies of the 1960s—Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis, Princess Lee Radziwill, the Duchess of Windsor, Marie-Helene de Rothschild, Claudia Cardinale, and others.

Image courtesy of imbd.com

“Mahogany’s” opening fashion montage contains a lot of fashion inspired by Asian culture. All of the garments in that opening fashion montage were designed by Diana Ross. (Special note: Pat Cleveland is one of the models in that opening fashion scene. In fact, Pat Cleveland coached Diana Ross on her runway walk for the film.)

In the photoshoot montage, it is very clear that the fashion references are based on opera, ballet, and art. Which is where most stylists and fashion photographers go to find incredible sources of inspiration.

Images courtesy of NYC.LGBT.historicsites.com and pinrerst.com, respectively

The Cleopatra/Nefertiti reference that inspired said look in the fashion montage, may have come from the beautiful costumes in Samuel Barber’s opera “Antony and Cleopatra.” This opera premiered in 1966 at the Metropolitan Opera House starring the great African American dramatic soprano Leontyne Price. It should also be noted that Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra” opened the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center.

Images courtesy of pinterest.com

The “Mahogany” costume and wardrobe department also looked to dance for inspiration. In 1967, the Joffrey Ballet premiered the ballet “Astarte” at New York City’s City Center. “Astarte” is the first multimedia ballet of its kind and referenced the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, hippie culture of the late 1960’s. The unitard worn by ballerina Trinette Singleton in the ballet looks very close to the unitard worn by Diana Ross in the “Mahogany” fashion montage.

Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham was known for expanding the lexicon of modern dance. From her “Letters to the World” to “Medea” to “Appalachian Spring” Martha Graham has set a standard in dance world that cannot be surpassed.

Images courtesy of lacinemadreams.blogspot.com

In Graham’s modern dance solo “Lamentations,” the dancer is enveloped in this very stretchable fabric as she goes through signature Graham emotive contractions. Ross is similarly attired in stretchable fabric and goes through familiar Graham movements.

“Mahogany” is, perhaps, the first film with fashion as a backdrop that draws heavily from the worlds of dance, opera, and art. And though this film was not recognized as a critical success in 1975, “Mahogany” is now a cult classic enjoyed by generations of viewers.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie Celebrates Cicely Tyson

Image courtesy of Ala Midwinter

Television and the stage recently lost Cicely Tyson, the trailblazing actress who died at age 96 and appeared in more than 100 film, television, and stage roles. She was born in Harlem in a religious household and grew up singing in the choir. So, it was not unexpected that her mom was not very happy to hear her daughter wanted to become an actress. In fact, Tyson’s mother threw her out of the house. Apparently, the two didn’t speak for a while until her mom saw Cicely on stage. 

“There was no sense in arguing with my mother. What she was forbidding me to do I was already headlong into doing, with no intention of reversing course,” Tyson wrote in her memoir. Tyson added, “Mom had hoped to douse my burgeoning dream with her condemnation, prayed she could snuff it out with a stinging decree. But she’d inadvertently lit a match beneath me.”

Images courtesy of popsugar.com, Getty Images and houstonchronicle.com

Fashion

Cicely Tyson was a model first before became gainfully employed as an actress. Tyson got her start as a model working for the Grace Del Marco modeling agency, a black modeling agency in New York City. Later, Tyson was discovered by Ebony magazine and became a successful fashion model. Her sense of fashion and her connection to fashion remained and was obvious on red carpets and awards shows. One of her favorite designers was B Michael America and we could often see the two of at the events together.  

 

Her Daughter

Cicely Tyson was very private about her personal life, not letting anyone know her age for a long time. She was also very hush hush about her daughter.

 In her book, Just As I Am, Cicely discusses her daughter and their relationship for the first time. According to USA Today, the book reveals Cicely had her daughter, Joan, when she was only 17.  Cicely dedicated this book to her daughter, which is a very revealing title.  She wrote about their relationship “as fragile as it is precious.”

Images courtesy of pinterest.com, shondaland.com, and imbd.com, respectively

Big Screen, Television, and Stage

Cicely Tyson’s first role in a television series was in 1951 for “Frontiers of Faith” and her first film role was in the 1956 film “Carib Gold.” Tyson followed those roles with other numerous small roles and finally appeared on stage at the Harlem YMCA in the 1958 production Dark of the Moon.” 

Stage roles kept coming! She was a part of the original cast of Jean Genet’s “The Blacks,” acting alongside James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Roxy Roker, and Maya Angelou which was the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade! 

Tyson received her first award the Vernon Rice Award after known as the Drama Desk Award for her outstanding performance in another off-Broadway production, “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.

Soon after, Tyson became a well-known celebrity. Once she was nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and won the NSFC Best Actress and NBR Best Actress Awards for her role of Rebecca Morgan in the movie “Sounder.” In this period in the 1970s, Tyson portrayed several strong black women in film and television, Rebecca Morgan in “Sounder,” Jane Pittman in “The Autobiography of “Jane Pittman,” and Harriet Tubman in “A Woman Called Moses.”

Other performances that should be noted is her performance in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, “Fried Green Tomatoes,”  The Women of Brewster Place,” “Sweet Justice,” “Hoodlum,” “The Help,” and a recurring role on “How To Get Away With Murder.” And at the age of 88 Cicely Tyson became the oldest recipient of the Best Actress Tony Award when she won for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Miss Carrie Watts in “The Trip to Bountiful.”

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

Honors 

Cicely received several honors and was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and was honored at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball. Many of us still have a crystal-clear memory of when Tyson was awarded the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama in November 2016.

Always happy, always smiling and always super stylish, Tyson loved ruffles and big sleeves, bright colors, red and purple. Her petite figure was always wrapped up in beautiful fabrics with more than few wise things to share. Cicely was an inspiration and she raised a bar high when it comes to being an honorable and successful, independent woman.

—Tijana Ibrahimovic

What Are Broadway Performers Doing during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Image courtesy of headout.com

2021 certainly looks brighter; however, we did bring some luggage from 2020. Many businesses are still struggling, and the entertainment and fashion industries are adjusting without film debuts, red carpets, live concerts, live fashion shows, and live Broadway shows. The experience of live performances is simply impossible to improvise.

Last spring, 41 theaters turned off their stage lights,  actors left their dressing rooms full of their personal belongings as if they would be back soon from a long weekend and almost a year later we are all wondering when will Broadway be back ?“I think Broadway will definitely be back at some point in 2021. I’m sure there are going to be some changes—while you can’t exactly distance—or seat every other chair in a Broadway theater (it won’t be profitable); I bet we’ll be seeing some plexiglass—or even an added matinee or two if some seats do have to be removed. Not only is New York City missing the $14B a year that live performances bring in, but over 200,000 arts workers in New York City alone are without a job and health insurance —we cannot keep them from working, or from their livelihood,”says Lauren Conlin, Host  and Producer, “Red Carpet Rendezvous” Podcast.

Images courtesy of medium.com

“I miss the theater SO MUCH! I had tickets to “Company” and “Hadestown” before the [COVID-19] pandemic, and I was very excited for the play “Drift” to open off-Broadway. The sad part is, I don’t even think “Drift” will come back—and that’s upsetting, because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to see it—especially with the cast they had (Joe Pantoliano as the lead.) So many shows shut down before they could even open,” continues Conlin.

Lauren recently interviewed Claybourne Elder for her “Red Carpet Rendezvous“ podcast about who was starring in the ‘woke’ version of “Company’” on Broadway opposite Tony Award winners Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone before the Broadway shutdown. He is an ambitious home chef, so during this pandemic shutdown he became a spokesperson for kitchen products!

Cicily Daniels images courtesy of pinterest.com

Talented Broadway performers have had to simply reset and explore other options of utilizing their skills. Cicily Daniels most recently seen in the Tony-award winning revival of “​Once On This Island​” and was also an original Broadway cast member of ​Disney’s “The Little Mermaid​,” where she performed the leading role of Ursula, the Sea Witch has been off stage since March of last year.

I don’t think that Broadway will return until fall 2021, at the earliest.  I wonder how it will be done, especially at first—will there be pods inside the theater, will the tickets be extremely expensive?  I am hoping that there aren’t too many changes to theater, but perhaps, there will be a greater commitment to maintaining actors’ health and creating a safe environment onstage and off,” explains Cicily Daniels.  “Unfortunately, like in every industry, there are theaters, theater companies, and shows that will have been unable to survive the pandemic.  There are several Broadway shows that have closed and will not re-open.  Some theater professionals will also not return to Broadway—some have moved away or changed industries.  More tragically, there are several members of the Broadway community who have died,” Cicily continues.

“Hadestown” image courtesy of pinterest.com

“That said, I believe that the Broadway community is extraordinarily resilient, and will be back.  Broadway and theater are an integral part of New York City, and Broadway will still be a mecca of theater across the world.  I also think that all of this time self-isolating is going to make people hungry for the ability to experience live theater, so hopefully, it will mean more shows and more opportunities for Broadway professionals.” 

There is a positive side to every story. “Fashion Reverie Talks” has a Broadway star Cicily as a co-host!! “Fashion Reverie Talks” keep Cicily busy with fashion coverage while she has been working on “The Loving Project,” with her husband, composer Brett Macias. “The Loving Project “examines interracial relationships and other social issues from The Loving Supreme Court case until today. Because downtime due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cicily has become an even better baker, to the excitement of her husband and 3-year-old daughter, “but to the detriment of my waistline,” she noted laughingly!

Alex Brightman in “Beetlejuice” image courtesy of themarysue.com

“Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight has explained several times that the show’s producers are trying to hire as many Broadway actors as possible during the pandemic. Some of the stars we have already seen on “Law & Order: SVU” are Tony-nominated “Hadestown” actor Eva Noblezada and “Beetlejuice” lead actor Alex Brightman.

Stage actors already cast in parts for this season of “Law & Order” include the Tony-winning Adriane Lenox,” Doubt: A Parable,” and  “After Midnight;” Elizabeth Marvel, “King Lear,” “Picnic;” Jane Bruce, “Jagged Little Pill;”  Jelani Alladin, “Frozen;” Michael Mastro, “Love! Valour! Compassion!,”and Betsy Aidem, “Steel Magnolias,” as originally reported in deadline.com.

What New York State is anxiously awaiting is the “New York Arts Revival” that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced couple of weeks ago. This project will offer more than 100 performances in parks, public plazas, museums, theaters, and trucks all over the state. Some highlights include the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival with the opening of Little Island, a new 2.7-acre public park on Pier 55 in the Hudson River. The show must go on!!

Tijana Ibrahimovic

For SUEDE There Was a Lot of Life to Live After “Project Runway”

Have you binged on fashion reality television shows since the COVID-19 health pandemic? If you have, you’ve probably wondered what has happened to many of the talented fashion designers from “Project Runway.” In the 18 seasons of “Project Runway,” only Christian Siriano has become a household name.

Still, there was a lot of fantastic design talent on the show. (Fashion Reverie is very familiar with several designers from “Project Runway.” Some of them are friends to the site.) Did most of the contestant leave the fashion industry, move to other countries, become reality television has-beens, or just quietly get jobs in the fashion industry without much fanfare?

The latter is true for most. And that is true for SUEDE (Stephen Whitney Baum) from season 5 and “Project Runway All-Stars.”

You may remember SUEDE for his witty comebacks, blue spiky hair, and avant-garde fashion creations. And if you do, that was the plan!! However, SUEDE is so much more than that.

In this revealing interview, SUEDE talks about his stint on “Project Runway,” the opportunities that opened up for him after “Project Runway,” his love of fashion, and his new passion.

Fashion Reverie: First, how did you get the name SUEDE?

SUEDE: I attended Kent State University, where I have a lifetime endowment. Back in the day when I was just a student, I was the only guy in one of my fashion classes. We had this project, which was a very challenging project, and everyone was on edge. So, to take some of the edge off I had every gather around the fabric bin and pick a fabric. Whatever fabric you picked, you had to be that fabric for the entire day. I choose suede and the name just stuck and it became my nickname all through college.

When I auditioned for “Project Runway,” I was trying to set myself apart from all the other potential contestants, so I resurrected my nickname from college for the show. I am so glad I did that because it separated me from other designers, and it helped with branding after the show.

FR: Was fashion always something you wanted to do?

SUEDE: When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actor. I would get the Village Voice every week and look at all the apartment listings and dream about living in New York City.

Still, early in life, I was not tuned into a career in fashion. I applied to NYU to Tisch School of the Arts and my parents would not let me go to school in New York City at 17. I knew that I was creative, but I didn’t know what to do with my creativity. I knew that Kent State had a fashion program. I applied and got accepted. Even though, at the time, I wasn’t sure if a career in fashion was what I wanted, I excelled in all my classes, and over all Kent State was a great fit for me.

I moved to New York City soon after graduation and started working for Geoffrey Beene. I ended working with Alber Elbaz while at Geoffrey Beene.

FR: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

SUEDE: I believe I am very street savvy and edgy. However, when I design it is not about my personal taste, it is attempting to embody that brand. I worked for Jordache for five years, FUBU ladies, Rocawear, Polo jeans and a bunch of denim brands and working for those brands was a part of who I am because I love denim. Still, you must be able to put yourself in the consumer’s head.

FR: What brands have you worked for and in what capacity?

SUEDE: Polo jeans company, Lee jeans girls and junior division, and I worked for Geoffrey Beene on two separate occasions, Van Heusen on the sportwear side, Rocawear jeans, a lot of denim-based brands. This was in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Interestingly, that is what made being on “Project Runway” so challenging for me, is that because I had worked at these denim brands for so long and had not created or sewn a garment in some time. I was involved with merchandising and designing the denim collections and the actual production was done in some factory in another country.

When you are working for brands that are very consumer-based and mass-produced it is a huge challenge to incorporate embellishments and more advanced design aesthetics. For the most part those things don’t fit into the budget of mass-produced garments because you are making everything on a much larger scale.

FR: Everyone knows that you were on Season 5 of “Project Runway.” According to your bio, you dreamed about making friends with Tim Gunn and being on “Project Runway.” Is that true?

SUEDE: Yes, that is true. Prior to being on “Project Runway,” I was working at fashion brand that was racist and treated it’s African American and Latin workers very badly. I was having battles daily and I ended up leaving that job.

While I was in between jobs, I had a dream that Tim Gunn asked me to be on “Project Runway.” At the time I was living in Sullivan County, New York, and I decided I needed to work on my sewing skills if I was going to be a contestant on “Project Runway.” From scratch, I created this beautiful black dress which served as my audition garment for the show. And that garment got me pass the first “Project Runway” audition process.

FR:  What is your biggest takeaway from your appearance on Season 5 of “Project Runway”?

SUEDE: My participation on the show did open a lot of doors for me. That said; the fashion industry does not respond well to the talent on “Project Runway.” I was hoping that all these great fashion opportunities would come my way from the show. And that did happen to some extent.

However, what did happen from the show was the amount of notoriety that I got from appearing on “Project Runway.” I was quirky and spoke in the third person and that was a good sell for the show. And even though Obama was running for president and we were in a deep recession, people would stop me and ask me about fashion and my turn on “Project Runway.” Crazy, right?

“Project Runway” opened my eyes up to what it means to be a celebrity of some sorts and to be constantly identifiable and recognized. So, in a nutshell, “Project Runway” opened doors for me, making things easier and difficult all at once.

FR: What doors did “Project Runway” open for you?

SUEDE: I started making money by doing public appearances. You would be surprised the organizations, group, and people that will pay good money to have some one who has been on television show up at their event, party, etc.

Simplicity Patterns approached at an event, where I was making a public appearance, about working for them and making patterns and designing fabric for their company. Within a week, I had my first licensing deal with Simplicity Patterns.

FR: What was not so great about appearing on “Project Runway”?

SUEDE: I was not prepared for the hate and viciousness that was directed at me because of “Project Runway.” There was a certain drag artist that really came for me in the gay press in a series of interviews. Because I was under contract from Bravo at the time, I could not respond to this person’s venom and lack of respect.

FR: Apart from Christian Siriano, very few contestants from “Project Runway” have gone on to became household names. What is your take on that?

SUEDE: First, we are talking about two different things. We are talking about pop culture versus the fashion industry. The fashion industry is a very tight market. When you look at the fashion industry closely, the movers and shakers in the industry mostly concentrate on luxury or high-end fashion. 

Christian received a lot of support after his stint on “Project Runway” to get him to where he is now. Most of the contestants did not get that. Also, you should consider that “Project Runway” makes good television; however, good television is not the fashion industry. There is this trickle-down process in fashion and certain folks in the industry really decide who gets support and who makes it in this industry. “Project Runway,” even though there were very talented designers on the show, does not fit into that paradigm.

FR: What has your life been like after “Project Runway”?

SUEDE: My lifestyle brand SUEDEsays did very well after the show and the brand was in over 4,000 stores. I had mass brands that were buying my patterns and products and before my mom based away, we were trying to get a stronghold in the craft industry. That said; once you get into a particular market, it is very hard to go back into ready-to-wear fashion.

FR: What exactly was SUEDEsays as a brand?

SUEDE: SUEDEsays was fabrics that you could purchase to make clothing. We also produced patterns that was geared toward that home crafter. With every SUEDEsays package, I offered three patterned looks. We gave the consumer the ability to put fashion in their own hands.

Images courtesy of VERY New York

Re: You are currently selling real estate. Could you talk about that?

SUEDE:  I was recently recognized for having my real estate business increase over 2000 percent in 2019. Real estate is a great fit for me after my mom passed in 2017.  I become very depressed after my mother died. Within the two years after my mom died, I took and passed my real estate exams. And of the end of 2020, I passed the $4 million sale mark which is huge in Ohio.

FR: Are you still designing clothing?

SUEDE: I am working on a project with a company that is working on designs for the government. So, I am still working on fashion projects on the side, but it is very, very niche.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

Gadgets, Apps, and Online Services for Healthy Habits in 2021

Image courtesy of balancefestival.com

We all thought we were so smart in 2021. During last year’s lockdown everyone vowed we’d finish our novels, learn to speak Japanese, join that online workout class, and get in prime condition. Instead, we started drinking gin with breakfast, binged the same television shows we’d already seen, and put on 20 pounds from depression snacking. 

It was such a relief to put 2020 in the past. However, with 2021 barely two weeks old, and it feels like this new, third-wave lockdown will be going on for months!

Fashion Reverie is here to help. It’s so easy to get stuck in depression, but there are little things that can do, that really could make this a better year. Shouldn’t all our New Year’s resolutions been put in place weeks ago? We’re living in a new reality, time to be flexible. Check out this list of gadgets and apps to support you in your goals. Take a deep breath. It WILL get better.  And don’t give up if you skip a day or decide to change your goals. Progress, not perfection is the aim.

Image courtesy of Somnox

Somnox Sleep Robot
Many financial advisors will tell you there are places to cut corners, but your sleep hygiene is not that place. Lack of sleep is becoming a serious public health issue and can have a dramatic impact on one’s physical and emotional health. Somnox sleep robot retailing for $500 to $600 is not an inexpensive way to get a better night’s sleep, but many insist it’s worth the money.

You hold the bean-shaped device while sleeping–like a stuffed animal—and it mimics your heartbeat lulling you to sleep. Users have said it’s not for some people but many users report after only using it for a week or so they can’t imagine sleeping without it.  Shop around for discount codes.

Image courtesy of fcer.org

Noom App
Classic New Year resolutions; no sugar! No fat! One hundred percent vegan totally organic food! And that resolutions last for 10 hours.

Noom is an easily affordable app that helps you monitor your food, learn about your eating habits, and teaches you better skills for fitness. You can join online groups for support and tips. It’ not about being on a “diet” it’s about revamping eating habits and learn what works for you.  Make this the year you establish your good health and fitness habits with workable goals.

Image courtesy of Madison Reed

Madison Reed Hair Color
When all the hairstylists were forced to shutter their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was forced to be their own stylists. But watching our hair color fade can be so depressing. So, after a few months, we had Amazon send us boxes of drugstore hair color. One problem, while better than nothing, drugstore hair color is not good! Some stylists say they can spot it from a mile away.  Is there an option to using cheap dye while in quarantine? Yes! Madison Reed is top-notch salon-quality color delivered straight to your door at a reasonable price.  You can take an online quiz and speak to customer service to find the perfect shade. You can even set up a subscription service to make sure you never run out! Make 2021 the year your roots are never visible on ZOOM.

Image courtesy of Prose

Prose Hair Care
We’ve all had a hair reset in 2020. Since we rarely left the house our crimpers and blow dryers stayed tucked away. Our hair had time to rest and repair. Keep that going in 2021 with Prose Hair Care. Prose Hair Care is geared preciously toward your hair needs and type. You control everything and get exactly what you want. Take the online quiz or chat with customer service to find out what will give you your best hair.  Stop destroying your mane with $3 shampoos. Pro tip? You’re probably using too much product. No more than a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and a dime of conditioner.

Image courtesy of Ritual

Ritual Vitamins

Something as simple as taking a good multivitamin can really help your health. Ritual has created vitamins with a traceable supply chain to ensure quality and ethical sourcing. Setting up a subscription is easy, so you never have to worry about running out.  Plus, with their published scientific research you’ll know you’re getting top quality ingredients for optimum health.

Image courtesy of Ulla

Ulla

When keeping your New Year’s resolutions one tip is to be additive rather than subtractive. Instead of saying, “I will never drink juice/soda again!” which can make them more attractive try saying, “from now I will drink 1 liter of water every day.” The extra liquid will eliminate your thirst and reduce your cravings, essentially crowding out the bad stuff.

 Ulla is perfect for this. It’s a rubber band that fits around any bottle. If it hasn’t been picked up after 20 minutes, it will start to glow. It’s a simple gentle reminder to keep you meeting your hydration goals.

Image courtesy of Trial and Eater

Daily Harvest

Trying to have a healthier diet in 2021? Instead of banning certain foods one way is to commit to making one vegan meal each day. Daily Harvest is a fast, inexpensive way to get a delicious selection of easy to prepare healthy meals shipped directly to your home. With dozens of options to choose from, you’ll find stuff you love, and they will always be in your freezer ready to consume in minutes. You’ll discover that healthy organic vegan food can be insanely delicious. 

Image courtesy of PR Newswire

Yoga with Adrienne
That’s it. It’s 2021!  You’re committing to health! You’re going to do 2 hours of Physique 57 every day! No, you’re not. You might do it for 3 days but then you’ll give up. When it comes to fitness, you want to start small.

Yoga will Adrienne offers a 30-day plan for you to ease into your fitness goals. Or start even smaller. Download her videos from Youtube for free. If after two weeks you stick to three times a week, maybe consider kicking it up a notch, or just stay at that level. One idea is to pair up with a friend so you can remind the other one to stick to the plan. Keep that up for a month, reward yourself with a new sweater or lipstick.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Practical Meditation for Beginners by Benjamin W. Drecker

Meditation can sound awfully new age to people who simply don’t believe crystals can align your chakras. Some meditation courses charge an astronomical sum of money to teach basic skills. But the truth is meditation isn’t as complicated or difficult as you might think.  It can be simple to get into a routine for just 10 minutes a day. Benjamin W. Drecker’s book can take you through comfortable steps to creating a healthy habit. One big bonus? There are dozens of used copies available, so you can get the book for half price.

—Cameron Grey Rose

2021 Oscar Predictions

Image courtesy of variety.com

While we all wait for everyone to get vaccinated and for herd immunity to kick in—experts are predicting summer of 2021—the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement assuring that there absolutely WILL be an in-person ceremony for the 93rd Oscars on April 25, 2021. How exactly that is going to work, especially since so many of the likely nominees are vulnerable to the virus due to their age, remains to be seen.

The eligibility window for qualifying films has also been extended, from December 31 of this year to February 28, 2021. Also, films also won’t be required to have a theatrical run, which means there’s plenty of time to watch the possible nominees in the safety of your home.  Fashion Reverie has compiled a list of films that might be taking home Oscar statuettes.

Image courtesy of vulture.com

“Nomadland” directed by Chloe Zhao

It’s interesting that this film is based on a non-fiction book that was published in 2017 because it perfectly encapsulates the living tragedy that was 2020. Frances McDormand plays Fern, a woman who has lost everything, travels across the American West in a van seeking work. At one point, a young girl asks, “You’re homeless right?” Fern firmly tells her “I’m not homeless, I’m houseless. Not the same is it?” With Oscar buzz already circling, McDormand could make Oscar history. If she simultaneously receives both a best actress and best picture nomination as a producer of the film, she would be the first woman to do so.

Image courtesy of variety.com

“Minari” directed by Lee Isaac Chung
Comparisons to last year’s best picture “Parasite” are inevitable, but this brilliant film stands on its own. Minari is both a heartbreaking and inspiring tale of a Korean American family attempting to start a farm in Arkansas. A controversy arose when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was deciding which category the film was eligible for—Best Picture or Best Foreign Language film. Many are demanding rules be changed. Don’t be distracted; this gentle film is a feast for the eyes as well as the heart as the film quietly dissects the American Dream.

Image courtesy of variety.com

“Mank” directed by David Fincher
One major failing that seems to dog the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts is its tendency to celebrate films that, well, celebrate filmmaking. “The Artist,” “La La Land,” and “Boogie Nights” are a few examples. Director David Fincher—who also wrote and did the cinematography for the picture under pseudonyms—looks at 1930s Hollywood through the scathing wit of alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish “Citizen Kane.” The film is a passion project as the original script “Mnk” was based on was written by Finchers’ late father, Jack Fincher, in the 1990s. Be warned, “Mank” is WILDLY historically inaccurate and Gary Oldman overacts like it’s about to made illegal. 

Image courtesy of nbcnews.com

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” directed by George C. Wolfe

Based on August Wilson’s 1984 play of the same name, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is a celebration of three real-life Black artists and legends. While critics are divided on how successful the film is, the acclaim for the late Chadwick Boseman is universal. Many are calling his work as a trumpet player Lavee the finest of his remarkable career. We’ll never know if Boseman knew this would be his swan song. Boseman never gave less than one hundred percent to his often-demanding roles. He will almost certainly be awarded a posthumous Oscar for Best Actor.

Image courtesy of variety.com

“Promising Young Woman” written and directed by Emerald Fenell
Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, a young woman who dropped out of medical school due to severe trauma in this candy-colored black comedy revenge thriller for the #Metoo era. If that seems like a lot of adjectives, know this smart film has a lot of tonal shifts which makes sense considering what trauma can do to a brain. Many critics are saying this is a lock to get women nominated for writing and directing awards this year. If the name Emerald Fenell sounds familiar she played Camilla Parker-Bowles on season 4 of “The Crown.”

Courtesy of variety.com

“News of the World” directed by Paul Greengrass
Would it even be an awards season without Tom Hanks’ name being bandied about? Hanks reunites with his “Captain Phillips’” director for a sumptuous tale of an 18th century newsreader. This was a real profession at the time. Newspapers were difficult to acquire and not many people knew how to read. Newsreaders would travel around telling people the “news of the world.” Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) stumbles upon an abandoned child while traveling through Texas and is determined to find a home for the orphan.  From the score to the acting, directing, and cinematography, the entire film is an assembly of titans in the industry at the top of their game.

Image courtesy of tenet.com

“Tenet” directed by Christopher Nolan

While “Tenet” is definitely in the Oscar race, many are saying this might not be the year for Nolan. The film was definitely hurt by being screened at home rather than the original IMAX release that had been planned. The 200-million-dollar spectacular didn’t play so well on the small screen.  Audiences were utterly confused by the densely plotted film. Star Kenneth Branagh even admitted despite starring in the picture he wasn’t entirely sure if he was the villain or not.  Nolan will just have to wait and see.

Image courtesy of nerdist.com

“Soul” directed by Peter Docter

Another entry from the always reliable Pixar veteran director Peter Docter, (“Up,” “Inside Out”) “Soul” is a gentle tale of the afterlife. Jazz Musician Joe (Jamie Foxx) had a wonderful day that sadly ends with him falling into an open manhole, going into a coma, and getting trapped between life and death. Despite the dark themes, the film is a brightly colorful tale, full of music and life. So far, no animated film has ever won best picture—only 4 have been nominated—but some are saying this could be Pixar’s year.

Possible Dark Horses

Every year there are a few films that have real potential to jam up the works by being unexpected nominees and winners, And, if there was any year for that to happen it will be this one.

Image courtesy of Time Magazine

“The Invisible Man“ directed by Leigh Whannell 

“The Invisible Man” is one of the only films with some Oscar talk to enjoy an actual theatrical run. While it is incredibly rare for horror films to be nominated, there is a real buzz that Elisabeth Moss’s work in “The Invisible Man” as a woman desperately trying to survive a toxic relationship is strong enough to put her in the race.

Image courtesy of variety.com

“Let Them All Talk” directed by Steven Soderbergh

Despite starring Meryl Streep, who holds the current world record of twenty-three acting nominations, buzz from this Steven Soderbergh-directed film is around Candice Bergen’s performance as Roberta, a woman who’s painfully dissatisfied with life and determined to take steps to find happiness while cruising with friends. Many critics are saying it’s their favorite performance of the year.

Image courtesy of imbd.com

“The Assistant” directed by Kitty Green
Julia Garner—no relation to Jennifer—already has two Emmys for her scene-stealing work on Netflix’s “Ozark” but may be looking at an Oscar nomination for her role as Jane in Kitty Green’s “The Assistant.”  Jane is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-like producer. (Full disclosure: writer Cameron Grey Rose worked with Harvey Weinstein during her time at The Hollywood Reporter.) The only stumbling block is how closely Harvey Weinstein worked with the Academy (he was stripped of his membership) contributing to a breath-taking 81 wins. This may hit a little too close to home.

—Cameron Rose

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