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brink

issue 27 | April/May 2013 this issue 6 8 42

ed letter street style the last page

features

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ALC “Molly” red blouse, Beanie + Cecil; MiH (Made in Heaven) Marrakesh Kick Flares in Sugarbake, Beanie + Cecil; Flight necklace, mixed brass and black Swarovski crystal detail, Phoenix earrings, mixed brass and vintage stones with gold ear wires Stack rings (crescent moon, heart) mixed brass, Merewif Jewelry; Bahgsu Jewels turquoise necklace with Druzy pendant Ziabird

10 Jake Owen The country crooner on the upcoming Tortuga Music Festival, his latest album and all the fangirls. 14 Craft Coffee Subscription service, Craft Coffee, serves up trade secrets to crafting a smart business. 18 Hoodie Allen The Brooklyn rapper is on a mission, independently. 22 Elizabeth Mitchell Famed television and screen actress Elizabeth Mitchell shares her tips on making it big, becoming a cult fan favorite and getting over “Juliet.” 30 Cinematic Scenario: banjo arwas The photographer is back with a cinematic spread featuring Tosh Yanez. 41 Return of the zack Zack Peter writes, laughs and saves the day.

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Elizabeth Mitchell: Cover photo by Ben Carter Stylist Jess James Hair Hannah Lynne MUA Jackie Carr

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Editor’s note Welcome to the April/May issue of BRINK!

H

ello BRINKeaders! (not sure how I feel about this... BRINKsters? BRINKers? BRINKsies? I’m thinking...) Welcome to the new issue. It’s a great one. This issue is so special to us because we had some fabulous opportunities to work with some great people, and the kicker was we had ample time to set all of it in motion. Planning makes perfect right? Each BRINKmate (teammate – eh, eh.) got the chance to indulge in a story that would make us wonder: How did they do that? How did they get there? We’ll give you the play-by-play of how these analog, digital and print-based people and brands got where they are today. We call this ‘The Media Issue.’ 6 brinkmagonline.com April/May 2013

I think it’s fair to say that most people know our cover star, Elizabeth Mitchell, as the princess of peril in the cult favorite television series, Lost. Currently, she stars in NBC’s Revolution, the biggest show in the new 2012-13 TV season. We jumped at the opportunity to speak with her and pick her brain on how she got where she is today. She is a wealth of knowledge for any up-and-coming thespians. Inside the pages, we also talk with country singer Jake Owen, who is taking part in this April’s Tortuga Music Festival in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Jake recently opened for Jason Aldean at New York’s Madison Square Garden and tells us all about life on the road. Alongside Elizabeth and Jake, we’ve sprinkled in some great features on Michael Horn of Craft Coffee, young philanthropist/ comedian Zack Peter, and our second spread with photographer Benjo Arwas and his team. We enjoyed working with Benjo so much for his February/March “Innovation” spread that we jumped at the chance to work with him again. He’s not just doing photography; he executes a whole installation. Video clips, stories, teamwork, and social media make up Benjo’s submission, and it’s a pleasure that we get to publish another one. Zack Peter is a young comedian/ philanthropist who draws inspiration from family and social issues. He’s delightful to work with, ambitious, and is doing things people twice has age dream of doing. We find out how he does it and break it down for you. Then, we have Michael Horn of Craft Coffee. CC is a subscription service of artisan coffee to your door. Coffee. To your door. Need I say more? How about we tell you how he did it? Enjoy the new issue, hold these lessons close, and go out and do something today that you’ve always wanted to do. And what else could make this Media Issue even more fun you ask? Sharing it on all your social platforms using #brinkmag, of course! Hello BRINKeaders! (not sure how I feel about this...BRINKsters? BRINKers? BRINKsies? I’m thinking...)

Kyle M Menard Editor in Chief editor@brinkmagonline.com

BRINK Magazine P.O. BOX 2371 Orlando, FL 32802 PUBLISHER/editor-in-chieF Kyle M Menard EXECUTIVE CONSULTANT Steven Ozer Camille Chu Copy Editor Jacqueline Carr Contributors Alexia Johnson Azaria Podplesky Taissa Rebroff Pedro Rodriguez Anais Vaillant McManus Woodend Photographers Ben Carter Alexia Johnson Benjamin Stone Intern Kayla Hernandez Find us online www.brinkmagonline.com facebook www.facebook.com/brinkmag twitter/Instagram @BRINKmag advertising 407.456.4813 sales@brinkmagonline.com love, questions, Comments info@brinkmagonline.com Additional words and photos credited where applicable. Disclaimer: The views expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of BRINK magazine, or its management or owners. BRINK magazine has not verified the accuracy or completeness of the content of the submission but has relied on the warranty of the creator as to these factors. Please address any comments directly to the creator. No part of this publication may be reproduced or copied by any method, electronically or otherwise, without written permission from the publishing company. All information within is deemed to be true and reliable. The Newsstand Orlando LLC., and all those associated with this publication assume no financial liability for any misinformation or typographical errors in advertisements. We may at times recommend various businesses that advertise in the pages, but we make no claims as to their promises or guarantees or products or services. BRINK Magazine 2009-2012 contents The Newsstand Orlando LLC.


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street style | Photos by Alexia Johnson

Koneta What do you do? My style changes, I don’t like to categorize myself. I just wear what I want to wear when I want to wear it. It depicts my mood. Depends where I’m going too. What does your style say about you? I’m a makeup artist. I started out doing it as favors for friends in high school and now I’m working with photographers and models. Where do you get your clothes from? My sister’s closet. If you want style, holy crap — my sister’s closet. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I don’t try and make a plan for myself, because if I’ve learned anything it’s that I never end up where I planned to be — I end up where I’m meant to be. 8 brinkmagonline.com April/May 2013


Ricky What do you do? I’m an overall creative visionary. I try not to label myself to just one art or certain talent. Comfort is my enemy. A new challenge always awaits. What does your style say about you? People always say “urban yet stylish.” I dress for comfort and it could mean a full 3-piece suit one day. It’s all about how you want people to see how you were feeling for that day. Not dressing to keep up or stand out. Where do you get your clothes from? I shop mostly online, Zara and boutiques. I’m also a quality over quantity buyer. I buy clothes, shoes, accessories etc. for longevity. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In ten years I see myself traveling the world with my MacBook and camera. Keeping people up with my life via my blog. Living a successful life, but low key at the same time. April/May 2013 brinkmagonline.com 9


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body by

jake

With his tour in full gear and his single, “The One That Got Away,” becoming his third consecutive hit, Jake Owen’s career is taking off like it has since he left college with a few credits left to pursue his dreams. In April, Jake returns to his home state of Florida to perform with Kenny Chesney, Gary Allen, the Avett Brothers and many more on the beautiful Fort Lauderdale beaches for the Tortuga Music Festival. We talked to him about the festival, his favorite song and all those fan girls. By Kayla hernandez

What were you doing in the time between attending Florida State University and recording your first album, “Startin’ With Me” in 2006? I moved to Nashville. I only had nine hours of school left at Florida State, and I dropped out, moved to Nashville and spent about a year and a half just writing songs. Nashville is full of personal relationships and trying to make connections in order to get a record deal. I spent a couple of years trying to do that before I actually got it.

Have you been back to Tallahassee, Florida to perform since your career took off? Yeah, a few times I’ve been down there and it’s great. It always feels so good to go back to the place where you started and see how far you’ve come. You know it’s changed a lot since I’ve been there. It’s been almost ten years now since I’ve been, which is crazy to say, but it’s pretty cool. I’m actually going back down there. In college, I used to always go to shows. I remember going to Jimmy Buffet, Kenny April/May 2013 brinkmagonline.com 11


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Chesney [and] Alabama shows. All of them would come through Tallahassee at the County Civic Center, and I’m actually going back there myself at the Leon County Civic Center, so I went from the bars to the big arena. It’ll be very cool. Did anyone in the industry help you out as you were finding your way in the business, or did you mostly figure it out yourself? No. This business is all about people helping you out, and I definitely was helped out a lot by a lot of people. Each person has their own little way of helping me. I definitely have not gotten to where I am on my own. Have you ever written a song about someone and had them realize that it was about them? Yeah. A few times. It’s cool, ya know? I’ll eventually write sometimes to just portray someone or something that’s happened. Sometimes music is just an expression of feeling. At the same time, there are people that will totally understand the point of what it is that you’re doing, and I think that’s kind of the beauty of music. And sometimes it’s just only that person that understands it, which is pretty cool. Do you have a personal favorite out of all the songs you’ve recorded? No. I can’t say I have a favorite. Anytime a song does well, and you’re able to make a living out of it, it becomes your favorite at the time. And then something new comes along. They’re kind of like babies, I guess, you don’t have a baby and then fall in love with it and then have another one that becomes a favorite…you kind of love all your kids, ya know? Tell me about your tour. Where are you most excited to perform and what has been the most memorable experience so far? Oh, I’ve had some pretty awesome experiences. A lot of great experiences from playing stadiums from Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw to playing in Madison Square Garden. That was a really cool deal. I’m looking forward to the Tortuga Music Festival on a beach. I think that’s going to be awesome. It’s my home state of Florida; my music tends to revolve around that lifestyle. I think that it’s gonna be a really good time. I’m also with Jason Aldean, and we’re playing at a bunch of places. We’re playing at Fenway Park…it’s gonna be a good time. Which of the performers or bands that are playing alongside you at the Tortuga Music Festival are your favorites to listen to? Well, Kenny Chesney will be there. I’m looking forward to that. I was trying to read through the names of who’s going to be there last night. I think Dan Harper is playing down there, which is super cool. I’m a big Dan Harper fan. I actually recorded a cover of his song “Steal My Kisses” on my Endless Summer EP that I put out, so it’ll be cool to see him do his thing. How did it feel to make CMT history with the most consecutive sold-out shows with your 2012 The Summer Never Ends tour? Oh, it was great. Moving to Nashville straight out of college and

“This business is all about people helping you out, and I definitely was helped out a lot by a lot of people. Each person has their own little way of helping me. I definitely have not gotten to where I am on my own.” hoping to make a record deal… anytime you can kind of have success with songs… then selling out shows like that is what you kind of dream of, so, therefore, your dreams become a reality, and that’s something that is just almost unbelievable. I’m very thankful for that. These next few questions come from BRINK readers via Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, @cyncityfitness asked when you’re out there in front of thousands of fans performing, what can that feeling be compared to? You can’t really compare it to anything. It’s the reason that you wake up every day and look forward to getting better at what I do because it’s what drives me. The feeling of watching people have a good time and singing along to songs that I wrote maybe at my house on my own…watch a song go from just an idea, to, once again, a reality. Seeing people’s lips move singing a song that relates to their life is pretty cool, ya know? It’s like creating a piece of art that people appreciate, whether it is a painting or a piece of poetry or something that they enjoy reading. It’s really nice to be able to do something like that and watch it transcend to different ages and different cultures. What’s your most memorable fan girl moment asked by @jennybaby17? There have been a lot of them. I’ve seen some pretty interesting things over the years. The thing with country music is that all the fans [are] so loyal, and once they show you that they’re into what you do, as long as you treat them right and take care of them and show your appreciation… a lot of my friends and people I’ve met travel for hours and hours to see me play, and I really respect them for that. A lot of it, obviously, is for the music. What’s really cool… I’ve learned from some of these friends and fans of mine [that] they do it for them too. It’s a way for them to hang out with their friends. A lot of these people have met each other at my shows and become friends, and that makes me feel good, because then it’s bigger than the music. www.jakeowen.net April/May 2013 brinkmagonline.com 13


craft coffee Nation

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Get your mugs ready! There’s a coffee revolution happening, and you can have it delivered right to your mailbox. Craft Coffee is an inspiring Internet startup that has transformed the way we think about our daily cup(s) of Joe. Founded by Michael Horn in NYC, Craft Coffee strives to expose food and coffeelovers alike to the most select roasts in the world, and all you have to do to join is subscribe online at www.craftcoffee.com. Horn fills us in on Craft Coffee’s mission, shares his favorite coffee memories, and gives tips on starting web-based companies. By taissa rebroff photos benjamin stone April/May 2013 brinkmagonline.com 15


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Let’s start off with the very basic: why coffee? Every coffee has a story. That’s the idea behind Craft Coffee. Each month, we bring our customers a curated selection of the most exceptional coffees available in North America. Each of the three coffees in our monthly box is from a different roaster, and each has its own story to tell. My coffee story starts when I got to law school. I quickly discovered that there were no Starbucks in town. So I was forced to search for an alternative. I stumbled onto a local coffee roaster called Gimme! Coffee, and I was immediately hooked. They showed me that there was more to my daily brew than I had realized. Over the past ten years, the availability of quality coffee has grown a lot. It’s at the point where we can create very special experiences for people. We can bring them incredibly highquality coffee from a diverse group of countries, farmers and roasters, and we can tell a story. So the time was right for Craft Coffee. Craft Coffee pioneered a new kind of coffee-of-the-month subscription. It turns your morning coffee into a moment of discovery, curated by New York’s top coffee pros. There’s nothing else like it. How are the featured Craft Coffee varieties different than, let’s stay, a regular cup o’ Joe? Craft Coffee is the most selective coffee program in the country. Every single month, we receive dozens of samples from roasters around North America. Our expert panel blindly taste-tests 50+ coffees, all to find just three standouts that our customers will receive.

We’ve benefitted from open-source programming languages, like Ruby on Rails, which let me go from a non-technical lawyer to a legitimate web developer in less than two months. I built the first couple versions of Craft Coffee’s website after teaching myself to code using free online resources. We’ve also benefitted from a new school of thinking about how to test business ideas called the “lean startup.” The lean startup approach is all about launching concepts quickly and cheaply, and then rapidly evolving them with customer feedback until you find something that people really want. When I first launched it, Craft Coffee was a significantly different concept. But it didn’t work; nobody was buying anything. So I sat in a café for 12 hours a day, offering free cappuccinos for 10 minutes of user testing and feedback. Through this process, I learned why users weren’t engaging with my original site, and I quickly changed the site to reflect what Craft Coffee is today.

So there are technological tools as well as an ecosystem of community and learning around startups today that enable Internet businesses to launch fast and move very quickly at the outset. “there are

technological tools as well as an ecosystem of community and learning around startups today that enable Internet businesses to launch fast and move very quickly at the outset.”

We evaluate coffee a lot like how you would evaluate fine wine: body, aroma, acidity, balance, structure. But a Craft Coffee selection is more than the sum of its parts. First, it’s delicious. One interesting fact is that the best coffees taste great even as they get cold. Some Craft Coffee selections actually get better as they get colder. That’s always a great sign! We also find that Craft Coffee selections have a distinct and memorable character, like a juicy cherry flavor or an acidity that reminds us of apple cider. Even months later, I often remember our selections that way. Finally, when you finish a cup, and ten minutes later you find yourself craving more, you know you just found a Craft Coffee! The Internet today is a prominent medium for businesses, and Craft Coffee sure is a savvy model of it. Can you tell us how the web has affected the company? There is an ecosystem of tools available today that make launching Internet businesses easier than ever. Still, launching is easier but not easy. And finding what we call product/market fit and actually building a successful business is just as hard as ever.

How/what/where was the most unique coffee you’ve ever tasted? Every culture has its own way of doing coffee, and it’s always fun to explore those traditions when you travel. I vividly remember drinking café con leche in a plaza in the south of Spain, or sipping traditional Thai iced coffee on a patio in Chiang Mai. Each of those experiences is special for its time and its place.

But genuinely the most unique coffees that I get to taste are the ones that we put in our tasting boxes each month. Coffee is just like wine. Each plot of land has something different to offer —terroir. Each farmer has his own approach to harvesting and processing the beans. Each roaster finds his own perfect balance of flavor. So once you start drinking great coffees all the time, you start to see the beauty in each of the ones that’s perfectly executed. Because you know it had to pass through so many hands to make it into your cup. Fill in the blank time! A Craft Coffee subscription is ideal for ______. A Craft Coffee subscription is ideal for anyone who loves exploring the world through food and discovering new and delicious things. If you don’t like settling for the same old thing, Craft Coffee is for you. Finally, we’re dying to know: how do YOU take your coffee? I’m lucky to have access to the world’s best coffee, so I always drink it black. But I also love a good cortado when I’m craving espresso. www.craftcoffee.com April/May 2013 brinkmagonline.com 17


Hoodie Allen is working his way to the top with a lot of determination and a little help from social media. by Azaria Podplesky Photo Diana Levine

man on a mission In a world where a mere handful of songs rule the airwaves at any given time, it’s an auditory breath of fresh air when an independent musician comes along bringing with them a distinct sound and the ability to correctly choose between style and substance. Case in point: Brooklyn-based singer and rapper Steven Markowitz aka Hoodie Allen. Through word of mouth, Allen has managed to share his music with fans around the world without the help of a label or compromising the indie hip-hop sound he has grown into after several years as a full-time musician. It may seem daunting to go it alone, but Allen is no stranger to hard work The 23-year-old started writing songs in Long Island when he was 12. Though Allen was only a kid, he took music seriously — although he didn’t start sharing his songs with friends until high school. “[Making music] was always something that was pretty personal to me, and … I really always cared about it,” he recalls. “It was always what I was most happy doing.” Hoodie Allen — a play on a childhood nickname — reached a new level when Allen left New York to attend the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in finance and marketing. After releasing Bagel and Beats and Making Waves in 2009, Allen’s producer decided he wasn’t interested in making their particular style of music anymore and the pair went their separate ways, but Allen says that though they had not experienced much success, he wanted to keep making music using the ‘Hoodie Allen’ moniker. “I was always the voice behind 18 brinkmagonline.com April/May 2013

it,” he says. “I was always the one talking to everybody … Back then, it was still about being very communicative and trying to build real relationships with fans.” Then in Allen’s junior year, he and producer RJ Ferguson collaborated on “You Are Not A Robot,” off of 2010’s Pep Rally, sampling Marina & the Diamonds’ “I Am Not A Robot.” While the song came together very organically for the pair, they never expected anything to come of it. But, after receiving such a positive reaction, both felt compelled to work on more music together. “I don’t think either of us would be where we are today if we didn’t meet and make that song,” Allen says. Following graduation, Allen moved to California to work in the AdWords division at Google; though it didn’t take long to realize he didn’t have time for both. The release of Pep Rally brought buzz his way, but because of his day job, Allen had to turn down shows. After seven months of not being able to give music his full attention, he made the decision to quit his job and return to New York. Since leaving Google, Allen has been working nonstop. He released two mix tapes, 2011’s Leap Year and 2013’s Crew Cuts, and his second EP, last year’s All American, which debuted at number one on iTunes and at number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. On top of that, he’s completed several tours of North America and took his high-energy live show to the U.K. for the first time last year. He has also spent hours each day, even while in the studio and on tour, responding to his fans — a street team-like


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ADVERTISEMENT

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group dubbed the Hoodie Mob — on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. “It’s something that I feel brings me closer to the people who have given me the chance to do this as my career,” he explains. “It just seems like something that I can’t help but be interested in.” Allen also takes advantage of video streaming websites like Ustream and Google+, holding frequent “Hoodie Hangs.” These live-stream sessions feature Allen, and, oftentimes, his musician friends, responding to fan questions and playing sneak peeks of new songs. While many musicians have held live-stream gatherings before, Allen takes these sessions and interacting with fans one step further, chatting with those who signed up to receive a phone call from him after buying All American. He says that, to date, he has called approximately 10,000 of the 18,000 fans on the list.

“Labels come and go, but fans are forever, so I’m trying to focus on what’s important to me.” Despite the incredible number of tweets and messages he receives each day, which has been increasing steadily since the release of All American, the practice of spending hours talking with fans online hasn’t waned — especially leading up to the February debut of his latest mix tape, Crew Cuts. Crew Cuts is perhaps Allen’s most diverse release yet — both lyrically and musically. It features Chiddy, Chance The Rapper, OCD: Moosh & Twist, Skizzy Mars, G-Eazy, Jared Evan and Shwayze on songs that explore love, heartbreak, success and looking towards the future. “After being in the studio with Hoodie and seeing how [he] works, I can say that he is one of the most incredible songwriters I have ever encountered,” says Evan, a 23-year-old singer, rapper and producer who has known Allen since 2009 and worked with him on four songs

on Crew Cuts, as well as a song on his own album with Statik Selektah, Boom Bap & Blues. “His concepts and the way he puts lyrics together are so smart. You can tell in his lyricism that he is extremely intelligent, and I think that’s why so many people latch on to what he does.” Allen recorded the mix tape, which was downloaded 80,000 times in its first 24 hours, over seven months in New York City and Brooklyn. Crew Cuts, available for free download on www.hoodieallen.com, comes 10 months after All American. Though he didn’t intend to wait so long between releases, Allen says that in the end, the delay was for the best. “I ended up doing a tour in between the All American tour, and, now, that took me out of my writing rhythm,” he explains. “It did take longer than I wanted, but I think the time that it took really helped me to figure out what I wanted to sound like; what I wanted to do.” Allen hasn’t figured out his favorite song on the mix tape yet but says it’s a tie between “Let Me Be Me,” which he calls the best song on Crew Cuts, and “Good Intentions,” the song that makes him feel the best. Allen hit the road on the Cruisin’ USA tour with openers Aer and Evan in early March. On top of arranging a pre-show meet and greet each date of the tour for members of the Hoodie Mob who helped promote his concerts, Allen is also giving fans a chance to meet him after the show – so long as they obtain a wristband after buying merchandise. After getting back to New York in April, Allen plans to continue working on his debut album, which is scheduled for release later this year. He also plans to release a few free tracks in the coming months that didn’t make Crew Cuts. For the foreseeable future, Allen will continue to act as his own one-man record label, self-funding his releases, spending hours each day talking with fans, and even shipping out his own merchandise. Sure, his journey might be easier with a label’s support, but, given all the milestones he’s reached over the years, it’s apparent that he’s doing just fine without it. “Right now, I’m really happy doing what I’m doing,” Allen says. “Labels come and go, but fans are forever, so I’m trying to focus on what’s important to me.”

Hoodie Allen: A Beginner’s Guide

Hoodie d! Approve

New Hoodie Allen fan? No idea where to start? You’re in luck! Hoodie picked five essential songs new fans should listen to first:

1 “Can’t Hold Me Down”

Leap Year

2 “No Interruption”

All American

3 “No Faith In Brooklyn”

All American

4 “Let Me Be Me”

Crew Cuts

5 “Good Intentions”

Crew Cuts

Essential Hoodie Allen selections picked by Azaria:

1 “Look At What We Started”

Pep Rally

2 “The Chase Is On”

Leap Year

3 “No Interruption”

All American

4 “High Again”

All American

5 “Good Intentions”

Crew Cuts

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princess of peril Y o u kno w you’r e doin g s omet hing right when J.J. Abrams keeps hirin g you. E li z ab e t h Mi t c h e ll is on h er second majo r series with Abrams , Revolu tion, which resumes its first seaso n a fter a f o u r -mo nth hiatus o n NBC . On the show, s h e pla ys Rac hel Ma thes on, w ho, much li ke her ro le as Dr. Juliet Burke on L ost, p o ssesses a mo ral ambiguity that keeps yo u guessing what she’ ll do next.

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By McManus Woodend

Photos Ben Carter

Stylist Jess James

Hair Hannah LynnE MUA Jackie Carr


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Afte r a n e x c h a n ge o f p l e a s a n t r i es a n d a b r i ef d i scuss i o n a b o ut W i l m i n gt o n , N o r t h C a r o l i n a , w h e r e s h e i s cu r r e n t l y s h o o t i n g n ew ep i s o d es o f R e v o lu t i o n , I a ske d E l i z a bet h h o w s h e n a v i g a tes t h e i n d ust r y , h e r c r e a t i v e p r o cess , a n d , o f c o u r se , a b o ut L o s t . What have you looked for in your business relationships over the years? I’m huge on honesty. Honesty and integrity; those are the two things for me. The people that are in my life represent me, so I like to make sure it’s an accurate representation with everybody that I hire, for anything. I like to think that it’s all a team, basically, so I do look for honesty and integrity over pretty much everything else. I fell like when you have that, the rest is good. I like when people are excited, too. That’s thrilling. When people are as excited to do what they love as I am to do what I love, I absolutely look for that.

lawyer, a business manager, and an accountant. And I rely on all of them heavily, but at the same time I know what all the hands are doing, because I just feel like it’s fun. I feel like it’s fun to know what’s going on in your business and your life, even if it’s you. It’s kind of exciting.

With that in mind, how hands-on are you in working with your business team? Oh, that’s interesting. I guess I am somewhat hands-on. So much of my business is what I do. It involves me. And that part I keep pretty close control over. I also have no problem delegating, especially since the people I’m working with people I’ve worked with for years, not just a year, but years. Many, many years. I have an agent, a manager, a

What type of actors or directors do you feel you work best with? Dedicated and interested. People who have a genuine creative force, an idea of what they want to accomplish, and a real joy for it; that’s my favorite. Talented is awesome because if people are really good at what they do, that’s spectacular. So I think the drive is what I’m genuinely fond of. Somebody who’s in there, and they’re working with everything they have to make something wonderful. I will

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That makes sense, because there are some many actors that would rather not deal with that aspect of it, and just focus on performance. I do that, too. I like to have the best possible people helping me, because when I am focused, I know it’s in very capable hands, and I love that. That makes me happy.

absolutely work at a “10” for anybody who comes and works at a “10” as well. When someone isn’t working at a “10,” how do you handle the creative differences either on or off set? As long as they’re not disrespectful to the crew, it’s not going to have a negative effect on me; it’s just not going to positively influence what I do. For instance, I can act to a wall if I have to, because that’s my drive and my motivation. But I feel like if somebody doesn’t come with their A-game and their excitement, we’re going to miss that spark. You’ll get it from me, because I’ll be inventing all kinds of wonderful things, but I think that you won’t get it on their side, the thing that would make it magic. So the only way I handle it is by just upping my game. If someone drops the ball, I try to play harder. But I relax and let go. Everybody has a different way of doing things, and even doing nothing, someone’s still standing there, so it still gives you something to react to. At this level, I really do feel like people bring their A-game. I don’t see a lot of laziness or slackers. It’s just too tight a market. It’s really rare at this stage of the game. If you


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don’t bring you’re A-game, they are going to cut you out. Is it difficult to work in a setting where so many details of a project have to be kept under wraps at all cost? No, I love it! I love Christmas morning! I have no problem keeping secrets or surprises, especially when they’re someone else’s and they don’t emotionally impact anyone in my life. I’m a terrible liar, but I’m an excellent secret keeper. It works out really well. When you were starting out, how did you keep yourself focused during those initial periods of sporadic work? I have no idea how I stayed focused. I look back on it, and I’m amazed. I really don’t know. From a young age, everybody told me, you know, that I sucked and it would never happen and I should get a day job — this was from like seven. They hoped I enjoyed being a waitress or something along those lines. What it 26 brinkmagonline.com April/May 2013

has come down to for me is it’s for the love of the game. I just never expected to make money at it. So I did it because I loved it. I think of real estate the same way: you don’t buy stuff because you think you’ll make money, you buy stuff because you love it. Don’t do a job that you don’t love if you can possibly help it. If you put your passion and your joy into it, if keeping it going isn’t something you have to make yourself do, and it’s not something that you have to do, It becomes impossible for you not to. So basically, it’s just a part of who you are. It’s just a part of who you are. It’s a part that brings you joy. It doesn’t matter what people say. It doesn’t matter where you are. As long as you keep your integrity and your joy, you’re golden. What’s the best advice you’ve received about handling professional setbacks, provided you feel you’ve had any? Oh sure, no, of course, I have them all

the time. I think that’s part of being an actor. People say you get a thick skin; I don’t know that I ever got a thick skin. So it always hurts to have a setback. I guess I get excited about the next thing. I think I’m one of those people who can be hit down and crawling on the ground and think, “Oh wait, look, that’s so cool! Maybe I’ll jump up there!” They’ll say, “Elizabeth, you’ll fall three times as hard,” and I’m like, “That’s okay! I’m okay down here. It’s fine.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem getting back up again, so maybe that’s how I’ve handled it. Do I cry and scream? Sure I do. Absolutely. Terry O’Quinn said one time on “Lost,” and I absolutely love this, “It’s better to walk in gratitude than in entitlement.” If you are consistently grateful, then you don’t feel as entitled. So, as a result, if you don’t expect things to be handed to you, you’re not disappointed when they aren’t. You just work harder. That’s how it’s always been for me, but I’m in such a lucky situation because I do get to do what I love. So, a lot of that just comes naturally.


“D on ’t d o a j o b t h a t y ou d o n ’t l o ve if yo u can po ss ib l y he l p it . If y ou put y o u r pass ion and y ou r j o y i n t o i t , i f keep i n g i t goin g isn’ t s ometh i ng yo u h a ve t o m a ke y ou r se l f do, and i t ’s not so met h i ng t h at y ou h a v e t o d o , It beco mes i mp o ss i b l e f or y o u n o t t o . ” Conversely, what’s the best advice you’ve received about handling professional success? Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t get a lot of advice about success. I don’t think anybody thought I was going to succeed except my mom, my dad and my best friend Wendy. The best advice I ever got about reviews was if you believe the good ones, you have to believe the bad ones. I think that that’s been the best advice all the way around. The idea is that you need to be in charge of your own trajectory, your own ideas of what you want, and what you’ll settle for, and how much energy you’re willing to put down, what kind of level you’re willing to accept from yourself. I guess it’s like sports; I’m not competitive against other people, I’m competitive against myself. If I’ve done something, I want to see how much farther I can go. That’s where the challenge comes for me. It’s not against anyone because I’m not really that person, but it’s absolutely competitive with myself. I’ll up the ante all the time just to see what happens. On the subject of competition and how awkward it is, especially when you’re dealing with creative performance, what was the Emmy experience really like? The Emmy experience? Well, you know when I did The Santa Claus 2, I got to work with Ann-Margaret, who played my mother. She won, so I was absolutely thrilled. She sat backstage nervous and beautiful and wonderful, and I thought it was really cool. I never expected to be nominated to be honest with you, because I was on there for about five minutes, so the whole thing felt kind of like an absolute gift because I didn’t expect anything. It was fun and nervewracking and odd. Being nominated, as a

special guest star, is so strange because you’re up there with people you’ve watched and admired you’re whole freaking life. I found the whole thing to be kind of great.

they can, because it’s a smaller snapshot, and I love that. I love having expositionfree scripts. That to me It’s like flying. Ultimately, I love them all equally for very different reasons.

Overwhelming in a good way? Oh, yeah! Absolutely overwhelming in a good way. And unexpected, I think. Entirely unexpected. Plus, I got to go to the Creative Arts Awards, which is the night before the Emmys, so I also felt kind of like, “Oh, good, okay. I get a chance to see what this is really like without it being completely freaky.”

What’s the strangest thing a person has asked or said to you while on a plane? The worst one is, and I hope this person doesn’t read this and feel terrible, but I had whatever it’s called when you’re throwing up — food poisoning. And I didn’t know I had it until I was on the plane. It was horrible. I was throwing up probably every 10 minutes. I was trying to be discreet about it, as discreet as I could. And I’m running back and forth, and this flight attendant came up to me and said, “Oh hey, I know you’re having a hard time, but would you mind taking a picture? I’m a big fan.” I think that was probably the strangest experience. Chris [Soldevilla] was like, “Seriously?!,” and I was like, “Shhhhhh. Just give me a minute.” That was probably the funniest. And I’ve signed people’s shoulders or shoes or chest or whatever. And that’s always really funny too.

Film, theater, and television… do you have a preference, or do you feel that they all sort of complement each other as far as the style of performance goes? I think that I like them for different reasons. I like theater because it’s a beginning, middle and end, and at the end you’re emotionally wrung out and get to play the arc of it. I really love that. I love being in control of that; It’s my show, my doing. I do the whole thing and nobody can save me, but also nobody else is the architect. It gets to be me and the people I’m with. I love that. Now, movies and TV are really similar beasts. And maybe it’s just the shows I’ve worked on, but I’ve never worked on a movie where we’ve spent two days on a scene before. That’s just not the kind of stuff that I make. So you’re not signing up for a David Fincher film any time soon? I’m fascinated by it. I think it would be really intriguing, but the stuff that I’ve made really shoots very much like a TV show, so there’s not a huge difference. I think in television there’s a lot more exposition with you telling the story. In film, they more show the story because

What was your reaction the first time you saw a fansite dedicated to you? A nice one? I was just grateful. One site [www.elizabeth-mitchell.org/] is incredibly sweet. I’ll go on there anytime I want to see if there’s nice things being said, because it’s run by a bunch of really lovely people. I don’t really search around too much, because I find, when you do, it’s like sticking your hand under the couch cushion without checking with your eyes first. You’re gonna get bit by something. I don’t really do it that often. I think if I did, it would hurt my acting a little, so I try to protect it a little bit. April/May 2013 brinkmagonline.com 27


Yeah, I think that’s probably the smart move for anyone, even if you’re just watching YouTube. Yeah, that thing about wanting to know what people think of you, I don’t know if we necessarily do. I think that what people think changes on a dime, so people need to have the privacy and the freedom to say what they want. That’s pretty much how I feel. That’s an excellent point. Especially with the interconnectivity of celebrities or stars with ‘common people,’ which is a horrible way to put it, but we’ll say with the fans, it seems like that distance has shrunk, especially over the last 10 years. Yeah, it’s a funny thing. I meet people in person, and people are invariably lovely. I have the most incredible encounters, because people are basically pretty wonderful, and they have all kinds of interesting, amazing things to say, and I love it. But you’re given the license to say all these things, but without confronting someone directly, you’re going to probably say something negative. You’re going to work out your feelings. Or as my friends and I like to say, your first thought. Not your second thought, or your third thought. Your first thought. So I tend to let people have those in private. It’s probably for the best. Some people aren’t as good an editor as others. Right. Face-to-face is okay with me, because I love having conversations, but there’s a genuine ease about the Internet, about negativity and putting out some really dreary, nasty stuff, and I just don’t want to do it. I wouldn’t do it to anybody, and I certainly don’t want to read about it when it’s done to me. So I just let it go.

It’s that pin under the couch cushion. These next few questions come from BRINK readers via social media. Olivia Thompson asks “Did Elizabeth agree with how the story ended for her character?” I’m assuming she’s asking about “Lost.” Did I agree with it? Yeah, I thought it was, at the time, heartbreaking, but then it became great, and they wrote such wonderful things for me. They wrote such a wonderful death scene and a reemerging scene. It was so romantic and exciting and vibrant. I have nothing but gratitude for those guys. Now, when you were on “Lost,” what was the hardest scene to film? Oh, gosh. I don’t know. They were all so much fun. I wish I could say that, but “Lost” was not a hard thing. “Lost” was great stuff and great work. And reaching the emotional heights that they wanted us to reach was a fun thing to do, not a trial. So it just wasn’t hard. Hard is when you have bad stuff. Hard is making bad stuff seem like it’s not and that was not the case. This was just a joy, so I wish I could say something was hard, but It wasn’t. I had great people to work with, great words to say, and I had an incredible character to play. That sounds very Pollyannaish, but that’s definitely the memory of it two years later. Do you still keep in touch with your co-stars from the shows and movies that you’ve worked on? Sometimes I do. I think once the bond is there, that we all know we could if we needed to. I parted on great terms with everybody and would love at any time to work with all of them. Some of them I’m closer to than others, just because we

were closer when were shooting. I’m kind of a hermit, so to have people that I stay in contact with is hard on a daily basis, but as far as them knowing that I love them, I think that’s absolutely a done deal, so to speak. Who are some of your biggest acting influences? Emma Thompson, Fiona Shaw, Juliette Stevenson. Those are the ones that I love. Those are the women that I love. Smart, funny, emotionally raw and honest, and they don’t seem to give a fig what they look like. And I love that. I think that I find all of their faces incredibly comforting and joyous to watch. Those are the people who have done it for me. And I really have always loved watching Michelle Pfeiffer. I guess it’s because it’s like watching an orchid perform. She’s such a dazzling, beautiful creature, and she’s also so good. So, her, Jessica Lange… those beautiful women who are also so breathtaking definitely formed a lot of my choices…the vulnerability combined with the strength in all of them, I absolutely loved; thought they were captivating. Lastly, and I think you might get a kick out of this one, what role do you secretly want to play in J.J. Abram’s “Star Wars” film? I want to be a Jedi so bad! Man, you have no idea! I always wanted that. That would be amazing. I feel like I could absolutely do it. So yeah, please, put that out there. I’m for it. I’ll have to see if I can get in touch with J.J. Abrams and make that happen for you. Fantastic! Good! Excellent! www.nbc.com/revolution

“ i f y ou don’t expect t h i ngs t o be h a n de d t o you , y ou’r e not dis appo i nted wh e n t h ey a r en’ t. Yo u just wor k h a r de r . T h at ’s ho w it’s always been f o r me .”

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return of the

zack At 19, Zack Peter Gonzalez has accomplished more than many twice his age. With three published books, a clothing line, a comedy YouTube series, and a few philanthropic organizations, Zack — a self-classified “entertainment personality” — has the drive to make a difference. By Kayla hernandez Photo Greg Shimizu

Comedy didn’t always come so easy for Zack Peter. His first time doing stand up was at The Comedy Store in LA. He describes the experience, “I had lied to get my gig there…saying I was seasoned, and I bombed… badly. It was horrible. There was a heckler yelling at me to get off the stage. I was so nervous. It was a mess. I got off the stage, completely defeated, darting right out the back door, swearing to never do that again. Only thing was I was booked to perform again less than a week later, and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So after I sulked for about a day or two, I told myself that I would give it another go — all or nothing — and I did. And it went really well.” He has come a long way since that first time on stage. Last October, Zack joined up with his close friend Ry Romero to created a new show called “Just Plain Ridiculous with Zack and Ry.” The show airs weekly on YouTube and features the two friends talking about news and pop culture events in a carefree and comical manner. Zack says that the show is very much who they are off camera. They have been on a hiatus since December but have already begun brainstorming for their next season. Zack didn’t stop at comedian and activist, instead he combined the two and began writing in 2009 when he told the story of his family and their life with an autistic child, as well as other families’ experiences in his book Saving Deets!: A family’s Journey with Autism. After receiving awards from Mendoza Science and Art Autism Foundation, he continued on to write Charity Bites!:The Untold Stories of the Dog-Eat-Dog World of Autism Activism. In this book, he shares his experiences of being an activist. Zack began supporting autism charities — and even created his own, — primarily because of his younger brother,

Ethan. Zack says that “Deets” (Ethan’s nickname) is “the force that keeps him going.” After watching something on TV about Special Olympics and keeping in mind how much Ethan loves sports, Zack came up with Play Now for Autism, a day for children with autism and their families to meet one another and spend time playing different sports. Since Play Now, he has added branches to the philanthropy in order to continue raising money. One of these branches is the Laugh Now for Autism tour where he performs stand up and has even had special guests, such as Chris D’Elia and comedians from Chelsea Lately join in. Despite the awards and interest he received with those two books, he says that his favorite book to write was his third, When Life Hands You Lemons… Throw Them at People, in which he attempts to show people who he really is despite getting some negative feedback about his humor. Zack doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, Rock Now for Autism and Laugh Now for Autism have events coming up in Los Angeles. He even spilled that there may be a follow up to “When Life Hands You Lemons,” but we’ll “just have to wait and see if something gets released in 2014,” he says. “When people look at my charity work and then they look at how brash my humor is, they’re often confused with how the two mix,” he says, explaining further, “just because it doesn’t always make sense doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.” www. justplainzack.com April/May 2013 brinkmagonline.com 41


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April/May 2013  
April/May 2013  

The April/May edition of BRINK features NBC Revolution star Elizabeth Mitchell as she exclusively speaks to us about success, making it big...

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