Gleaming With MelanieMills The Evolution of Janelle Black
The Black Matchmaker
Curly V Editorâ€™s Beauty Picks Syr Law Beauty Is Giving, Isis Richardson
BOLD Preview Issue
Masthead Elissa Mirsky Editor-in-Chief
Michelle Morgan Editor at Large Bry Delica Contributing Fashion and Music Editor/Photographer Keyuana Rusk Fashion Editor
CONTRIBUTORS Sylvanus Finney, Sylvanus Photographer Rico Aleus, 54 Vision Amber Wright, MUA Janelle Black, MUA, Face Me Fierce
“Seeing is Deceiving, Dreaming is believing.”—Jessie J (Who We Are)
I wrote this letter while listening to Jessie J. The song really touched me, and reminded me of how many of us struggle to be the best we can be without changing who we are.
Emigee Couture, The New ‘It’ Brand
I am pleased to introduce to you BOLD Magazine! ‘When You See Black, You See BOLD.’ For us BLACK isn’t just about the color of our skin, BLACK represents the minority of talented individuals who are overlooked in the fashion industry, art industry, TV/film industry, Music industry, etc. Our goal is to bring a new era of talent to the light.
Getting To Know Curly V
BOLD Beauty The Evolution of Janelle Black Gleaming With Melanie Mills Editor’s Beauty Picks
BOLD Arts, Culture, and Society Syr Law Jasmine Diaz:The ‘Black Matchmaker’ Beauty is Giving, Isis Richardson
In our first issue you will get familiar with designers Emigee Couture- out of New York, and Curly V from LA. Both designers are extremely talented and are headed to the top. You will also meet Syr Law an amazing and talented actress who is taking the Nollywood Film Industry by storm; already winning the equivalent of an Academy Award in Nigeria. Another artists you can look forward to learning about is LA rapper Young Keno who has had a few hits on the radio, and is ready to give the music industry a taste of what he’s really about. Other artists include singer Alex Isley, MUA extraordinaire Janelle Black, Jasmine Diaz ‘The Black Matchmaker,’ Isis Richardson, and many more. This first issue of BOLD is also special because we had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Emmy Award Winning MUA Melanie Mills, who has been so supportive and amazing. Oh, and we LOVE her GLEAM Body Radiance! The BOLD team hopes you enjoy this first issue, it only gets better. So, stay tuned for 2012!!!
BOLD Music Songbird, Alex Isley Young Keno
Toodles Ciao Smoochez, Muah!! Elissa Mirsky
BOLD Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Graham, designer of the ‘It’ brand, Emigee Couture. Graham dished on everything from his inspirations to New York style, and gave insight as to why he named his Summer 2011 collection, ‘Elements of Highlight.’ BM: Have you traveled outside of NY? Is so where, and how would you describe the difference in fashion from that of New York?
Emigee Couture The New ‘It’ Brand
EC: I have traveled from different places. I’ve been to Miami, Canada, and Washington DC, just to name a few. The fashion between these three are totally different. New York fashion is more on, forward, and daring. BM: Where do you get your motivation and inspiration? EM: My motivation is my customers and supporters. I am inspired by so much. For the most part ev erything inspires me. I have an open mind. I think creativity comes when your mind is open and you are willing to do the daring and step out of your comfort zone. BM: Where do you draw your influence? And what designers if any do you get influence from? EC: I am influenced by the latest trends. I am influenced by Zac Posen and Marc Jacobs; two of my favorite designers. BM: “Elements of Highlight” was your Spring/Summer 2011 Collection, where do you come up with the concept? EC: As I sat at my design table I thought, “Spring/Summer 2011”. Then I sketched a few pieces, and I just knew I wanted to go with color for the Summer, as well as throw a few black pieces in the collection. The collection actually started off with two black pieces and I decided to make the rest of the SS’11 collection pop with colors. So, based on the two black pieces I decided to give the collection a name “Elements Of Highlight”. Elements Of Highlight meaning with a tint of no color there’s always a highlight. Highlight’s being the colors in the collection. BM: I noticed your collections are very edgy yet chic and sexy at the same time. When did you decide you wanted to design women’s clothing? EC: I went to college for two years and they taught us how to construct women’s Clothing; so, I decided to make women’s clothes back in 2009.
BM: We’ve all dealt with individuals who doubt our creative success, how do you deal with the lack of support and overcome the negativity? EC: I Have a lot of doubters, naysayers and a lot of people who always try to tell me other wise, and all I can say to that is If I would have listened to them and let there negativity get to me I’m pretty sure I would not be where I am today. BM: Do you design by yourself or do you have a team? EC: I design by myself at the moment. BM: How would you describe your creative process? EC: My creative process is fast when it comes to ideas and putting things together. The only thing that gets hectic is finalizing things and the production process, but I always get it done. BM: Do you feel that individuals who seek careers in fashion should be and/or start in New York? EC: i honestly believe that since new york is the capital of fashion, here is the best place to start, but there’s no limitation or specific place to start a fashion career. BM: What do you do in your spare times? What are your hobbies? EC: In my spare time when i’m not behind the sewing machine or on set of a photo shoot i usually shop, dine, party, and i love doing simple stuff. BM: Do you attend fashion events regularly? EC: I use to attend fashion events regularly, but my schedule got hectic and took over so i attend once and a while. BM: Where are your favorites places to shop? EC: My favorites places to shop are marc jacobs, top man, zara, hugo boss, thrift shops, and vintage boutiques BM: Where do you see yourself in Years years? EC: Five years from now i see emigee couture branching off internationally, a few boutiques under my belt. BM: What makes you BOLD? EC: What makes me bold is that i am daring, and always ready to take risk and step out the box and expand my comfort zone.
Interview By: Elissa Mirsky, Photos Courtesy of Emigee Couture
He Is Curly V
We recently interviewed a BOLD designer who is known not only for having a BOLD collection, but not being afraid to introduce the world to his BOLD ideas. His name, Curly V. He got the name from having a huge Afro most of his life and everyone began to call him Curly. He says the “V” came from his last name, Velasquez, and then the name Curly V just stuck. The company is called Curly V but during the interview he tells us, “but you can either call me Curly or V-----it separates the me as a person from the me as a brand”. Curly says he received his inspiration and motivation from the same creative source of most designers, but it is just a matter of how one interprets it. His interpretation would be to put a face on it, which he states he did in his last show. Curly shared with us where he draws his influence and what designer influences his great work. He states, “I draw my own influence from my own personality and from my own surroundings. I am a super positive person and I think my designs carry out that positivity as well. As far as designers who influence, I would have to say Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Moschino, Marc Jacobs and of course Jeremy (Jeremy Scott) to name a few.”
Article By Keyuana Rusk, Photos Courtesy of Curly V
Curly’s collections are very edgy yet chic and sexy at the same time. He tells us he had been sketching out ideas for women’s clothing since the age of 8 or 9. His idea of dressing up the female figure when he was 8 or 9 was very similar to the idea of dressing up a Christmas tree and said it was just plain ole fun. He creates curly V’s designs without the help of a team. He usually gets his ideas while is lying down in bed. He says something will usually flash before his eyes, and next to his bedside where he keeps his notepad is where he will turn over and began to draw the idea. The designer tells us that in his spare time he loves to just hang out with his friends. He has some of the most beautiful, creative and talented friends so just hanging out with friends who inspire him to reach his full potential is extremely nice to do. Curly V views on the New York and LA fashion scenes were, “NY is the American Mecca for American designers. Everyone wants to go out there because that is one of the only places in America where fashion is taken seriously by the entire Fashion World. However, I find that LA fashion has so much potential as we have Hollywood, Home of the Stars, on our side. I do feel there is a movement happening here in LA—a mesh of the artistic world and the fashion world—that can only be good for the fashion community here in Los Angeles”. When dealing with negativity and lack of support Curly seems to have a positive outlook on it telling us that people will always want to criticize what you are doing and tell you where you went wrong. But he tells us that at the end of the day, his dad always told him to consider the source. “If they aren’t paying my bills, feeding me or loving me then I don’t care what they have to say”. He only listens to the people who love him and wants the best for him he adds.
Face Me Fierce
Now, getting back to fashion and the Curly V collection. Curly speaks of the trends we can look forward to this Fall/ Winter. He expects the Boho look to still be around, but is unsure how long it will stay. California pioneered the look in the 1960’s and 1970’s so he’s hoping it will happen again. This summer Curly is hoping to see lots of color. He tells us to just expect lots of color and fun in his Spring/Summer 2012 looks as he already displays in his designs. In 5 years Curly hopes to be better established and more recognized in the fashion industry. He will be 28 years old then and although he has no need to become a millionaire, he does want to be in a good place. We look forward to seeing more of Curly’s BOLD collections, as we watch his career blossom.
Evolution of Janelle Black
BM: Why Face Me Fierce?
BM: Where do you get your inspiration?
JB: Dealing with makeup the first thing you see is the face, and I wanted to incorporate fierce. My brother named it. He played with it and came up with Face Me Fierce.
JB: I never limit myself. I get inspiration from the world, My inspiration is limitless.
BM: When did you get started doing makeup?
BM: do you have any famous clientele?
JB: I officially got started I 2008, but I’ve been doing makeup for over 5 years. BM: What is your ultimate goal as a MUA?
JB: I’ve worked with R&B singer Sammie, Travis Porter, Mickey Howard, and America’s Next Top Model contestant Tiffany.
JB: My ultimate goal is to have my own cosmetics company and continue doing shows I want to expand internationally and provide all kinds of services.
BM: What are your feelings on fashion and beauty related rreality shows?
BM: What other services would you offer?
JB: I think it’s a great media outlet and a tool for artist. I like Project Runway and America’s Next top Model. There’s lots of inspiration with the concept changes.
JB: Hair, Makeup, wig making, jewelry, fashion; the complete package. BM: Where are you originally from? JB: Abbeville, South Carolina. I moved to Atlanta in 2008 and attended Barter College for fashion design. I moved to LA January of 2010. BM: Why the move to LA? JB: Things went bad in Atlanta. I reached out to my mentor in tears and se did everything she could do for me and to help me. Three weeks late I was on the Greyhound headed to LA where there was opportunity. BM: What was your first gig in LA? JB: My first unpaid gig was with my friend Jordan on a photo shoot. We drove to Malibu Beach. That was my first time at a beach period in California, and we did the shoot on the beach.
BM: How do you define beauty? JB: I can’t define beauty because it can be interpreted in different ways. Rough, soft, nasty, sweet. It depends on how you interpret beauty. BM: What is your professional guilty pleasure? JB: Being able to do a shoot. I get a lot of pleasure painting a face. I get so much out of doing makeup.
JB: My first paid gig was with Cold Piece photography. BM: If someone wanted your services, what are your rates?
BM: Everyone wants to go somewhere, have something, do something when they make it big. What about your?
JB: It depends on the project. For personal services I charge a flat rate and for photo shoots and creative projects I charge by the hour.
JB: I want to have the ability to provide for others and implement a living program where I grew up to provide an outlet for youth that want to do amazing things. I had to find out on my own. As far as a place to go, I would like to go to Africa. I imagine there is an immense amount f inspiration. It’s a place that so warm, inviting, and beautiful.
BM: How is the LA scene different from Atlanta? JB: At the time the makeup artistry scene was flat. There wasn’t much work. In LA it started off slow but picked up. I really didn’t see much creativity as far as color and more dramatic out of the box makeup, so me and Chad Finley of Finley Photos started a trend of doing photo shoots.
BM: Do you find yourself having to step on people to get where you need to be? JB: No. I actually feel like I’m an underdog and because of that I feel like my talent isn’t being seen. So, I continue to strive for greatness.
BM: What sacrifices have you made to get where you are? JB: Leaving what I knew to come to such a foreign place Iâ€™ve never been and leaving my family. I had to go against my new life of become it and I chose to become it. BM: What makes you BOLD? JB: The rich black blood that runs through my veins that makes me fierce and to be able to step outside the box. I am BOLD because I am me and I am fearless.
Melanie Mills Interview By Elissa Mirsky, Photos Courtest of Janelle Black
Interview By: Michelle Morgan, Photos Courtesy of Melanie Mills
BM: We hear you have a new product out on the market called GLEAM. Would you like to tell us a little more about that? MM: I was on Dancing with the Stars for five years as the department head – that’s where I created the distinctive makeup look of the show, and in that process I created GLEAM Body Radiance, right on the set to finish off the bodies and perfect them. Body makeup is as important as the face for a show like that which bares so much skin. I already had a reputation for revolutionizing body makeup for television and for DWTS; I had taken more consideration than most pro artists ever had to build a great team and a solid body makeup department.
BM: What separates GLEAM from other body moisturizers? MM: GLEAM Body radiance is really more a makeup and a moisturizer combined, and its full of botanicals and skin loving ingredients and you get the velvet glow without an ashy finish. It covers imperfections, dries down fast and is transfer-resistant. Important when you are wearing a skin hugging gown or sitting on a light colored sofa! BM: We love that you have a product that includes all shades of people, especially, people of color. Was that your intention, to include everyone? MM: My intention always was that I am a makeup artist who loves to make ALL women gorgeous and glamorous! When you are a makeup artist, you learn to color correct, shade, highlight and enhance all skintones. I love to see a leg shimmering and looking velvety gleam-y and glowing! We should all love our skin, especially when it is looking so touchable, pretty and perfect with that pretty pair of shoes or special dress.
I took it to another level when I signed on as a brand ambassador with St Tropez Tan. I came up with a special color in their self tanners just for “Dancing” which in turn was spark for me to begin creating my own finish product, so that’s how I came up with GLEAM Body Radiance. BM: What inspired the idea? MM: Well, necessity first! Everything I purchased to even out the spray tans or bare skin of celebrities who didn’t need the spray tanning either came off all over the wardrobe, which is not cool. You don’t want wardrobe angry with you! Or the product lay ashy and film-like on deeper skinned stars. It was a nightmare initially. I began custom blending different items and hit on a combo that seemed to last through rehearsals and look gorgeous on all the ranges of skin tones for the camera. Then, a funny thing happened, celebrities began driving out to my house (I am not close to the studios!) to get to-go containers of my “Mel’s Mix” blend (early Working Title of GLEAM) and that set me in the direction of perfecting the formula, finding a lab who I could work with, and thinking about naming it, and then taking it to market.
When I was designing GLEAM Body Radiance, it was frustrating that there wasn’t any product out there for deeper ranges of skin tones, and I wanted to create four distinct skin shades of GLEAM Body Radiance for everyone. Here’s what’s really cool. You can use all four shades to blend, sculpt, highlight – I have many African-American stars who use Light Gold as a brow, cheekbone and clavicle highlight, and many Caucasian celebs who use Deep Gold to shade and sculpt. My intentions are always to include all skin tones in creating my upcoming makeup products, including my new GLEAM Lip Radiance by Melanie Mills; the gloss colors will knock you out!
BM: Do you find working with celebrities that ideas come cross your mind all day?
BM: What do you want to do with your success?
MM: Definitely, I am a very inventive person, I’m a go-getter and always thinking of things I want visualized, made real, My first makeup book is coming out (Viva Glitter Viva Glamour) and the celebrities I work with are always a source of collaboration and inspiration! From Wendy Williams, Nicole Sherzinger to Jennifer Grey, Kim Kardashian and Kym Johnson, I welcome their suggestions and have learned a lot from them all. Brandy Norwood and I still have a great connection, and I would see the frustration she had with some products on the market – and one of my new GLEAM Lip Radiance Gloss colors is a direct inspiration from one of the looks I created just for her when she was on DWTS.
MM: That’s a loaded question. I want the best for my loved ones and my employees. I want people to get to know me and try new and daring things to up their style game and feel and look great. I want to be able to keep creating and developing wonderful beauty products, and write more books and produce more fashion shows like Concept Fashion LA. I want to make women feel beautiful
BM: SO, how are you juggling all the facets of your life right now; awarding winning make-up artist, creator and business? MM: As I am typing this I am wrangling my 8 year old daughter Solaris, listening to my 80 year-old Glamma (Grandma) tell me about her hot 72 year-old boyfriend she is going on a cruise with, and dealing with the makeup designs and planning for Nickelodeon’s hot ‘tween show iCarly! So yes, balancing is what we single moms and women do, right? Plus running my company and keeping Team Gleam on track daily and then writing a book on top of everything too. This August I am conducting my first self-produced master makeup classes with Studio DNA’s Aubrey Loots. www.vivaglamourworkshop.com Sleep for me is hard, I wake in the middle of the night many times. The turbines in my brain switch on and I am on the computer, making notes. BM: So, what does Melanie Mills do when she’s not brainstorming her next business idea or creating facial masterpieces? MM: I do take care of myself physically, and I do pilates everyday, and I dance twice a week with a pro ballroom dancer, so I can actually do those dances you see on Dancing with the Stars! I am a homebody too, and I have a huge flower garden and chickens too- five chickens and we always have fresh eggs in the house! I have sit down dinners and cook with my family as often as possible. My Glamma and my daughter live with me, and my company is in my guest house, and Team Gleam are usually there in the house too; there’s always a crowd, and lots of female energy. BM: What is a typical, if any, day like for you? MM: Typical day I wake up very early, get my daughter ready for school, I run off to pilates or dance, and if it’s a work day I go the studio or the job, and if not I am likely to be at the lab to create more items in the makeup line, OR I am on the phone doing some GLEAM work, or arranging shoots that I am also art directing for my book Viva Glitter Viva Glamour, where stars are made up as icons of years past. Brandy, Jennifer Grey, Margaret Cho. Liz Gillies, Erin Andrews, Natalie Couglin are just a few of the stars I have for the book. Their photos, taken by my photographer David Alley, are beyond stunning. BM: Do you feel like you’re at the height of your success, or is it only just beginning? MM: I feel like it’s the beginning. I have so many ideas for the makeup line and I feel it’s going to get better and better. So many people have contacted me and given me great feedback on GLEAM, and what they hope to see from me next! The book is going to blow you away when you see the photos too. It’s a book about upping your game in glamour and taking everyday routines in makeup and popping it, tips to make you look like a star with some easy tricks and technique. I want to glam up America!
BM: How important is fashion to you? MM: Very important to me, I run the makeup for Concept Fashion LA week every year, and I work closely with fashion designers and creatives at fashion magazines constantly. I’m involved and very opinionated with red carpet fashion events in town and adore the people who create beautiful garments, shoes and accessories. What would life be like without those genius brains? BM: How important do you think fashion and beauty should be to people of color? MM: As important as it would be to anyone! Celebrating and loving these two things is part of life- for all people. Regardless of where you’re from or who you are. Fashion and beauty are a woman’s birthright, and I love a diverse playing field when it comes to looks, style and approaches to beauty.
BM: Do you think there’s anything that people of color should be doing that they’re not when it comes to looking good and feeling good? MM: I think they need to be GLEAM-ing! I would totally recommend that to my gorgeous ladies of color! It’s time to get your GLEAM on! Take care of your bodies too, your health and vitality is crucial for being beautiful inside and out. Be kind to yourself and treat yourself well. BM: You do think it’s time for more diversity in the fashion and beauty industries? MM: Yes of course! We need all people representing in these fields, what would beauty and fashion be without some of the style icons past and present – from Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Diana Ross, to Beyonce and Missy Elliott.. We need more Willi Smith’s (RIP). Someone sent me a picture of designer Laura Smalls’ little white dress from the spring collections shown on the runway, and I thought it was stunning. I also love what Fashion Row in Harlem does to support young African-American designers. We need more of that. I am all for supporting and getting kids inspired to follow their dreams, especially in the creative fields. BM: In what area in the fashion industry would like to see the biggest diversity rise? MM: Shoes. We need more diverse shoe designers; I would love to see more diversity there. Plus any excuse to go shoe shopping! Just saying.
BM: What makes you BOLD? MM: I am known to be bold with color- doing distinctive makeup with my own flavor. I wear eyelashes on a regular basis. I wear blinged out jewelry, gemstones, crystals, plus I adore accessories and I have a serious shoe fetish, it’s pretty wild. In business, I’ m not afraid to take chances and put myself out there creatively, which is why GLEAM Body Radiance is on the market, and my book will be published and I continue to produce art shows, run the makeup for fashion events and am consistently working in Hollywood.
BOLD Beauty Robert Wilson, Striving For The Best Bold caught up with long-time friend and make-up artist, Robert Wilson, who now currently resides in New York, to talk about where beauty and cosmetics have taken him since leaving sunny Los Angeles. Growing up in LA, editor-in-chief and Robert never thought their passion for fashion and artistry would have taken them as far as it has gotten them, or that their paths would even cross again. But, as Bold talked to Robert over the phone reconnecting, MAC cosmetics was more than just employment. It was the start of something beautiful… facially. BM: We’ve seen the artistry in your portfolio. It’s astounding! How do you think you’ve gotten to this place? RW: Thank you so much. I love this question because of the simple fact how I live my life. I try to live my life with the upmost gratitude for every moment whether bright or trying. I will admit that I have had to make a great deal of sacrifices and be bold enough to take risks. I can remember my family wondering how I can turn my passion for makeup into an actual career. I was leaving a stable job and I know that there was a lot of risk in choosing to do so. I knew that I was making the right decision to peruse something that made me happy. I had to
completely start from the ground up RW:I knew that I would have to work very hard and I knew that I would have to deal with different type of pressures. I had to learn a lot about patience. I can remember being up at 3 in the morning with a local photographer and one model. I had to be the art director, hairstylist, makeup artist and stylist in one shoot. I had all these ideas that I wanted to see come to life. I was blessed enough to be surrounded by people that shared my vision. As time continued to go by I started noticing that more doors were opening for me. I made sure that every time a new door was opened, I would express my gratitude verbally, physically, mentally and through personal prayer. I said yes to every opportunity that I was given to express my creativity. I never said no. It was very life changing. I could feel that I was becoming familiar with new concepts of thinking! I strongly believe that practice makes perfect. BM: As beautiful and vibrant as your work is, do you think you can get any better?
L-R: China Glaze Nail Polish “High Maintenance”Chinaglaze.com, e.l.f. Essential Correcting Concealer Eyeslipsface.com, Black Radiance Artisan Color Baked Blush Blackradiancebeauty.com, Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara Revlon.com, MOROCCANOIL Oil Treatment and Lunimous Hair Spray Moroccanoil.com, Gleam Body Radiance Gleambymelaniemills.com, Kiehls Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser Kiehls.com
RW: Thank you again! I know I can get better. I want to get better. Nothing or no one is ever perfect. I learn something new every single day; whether on a shoot back stage or on the street. I am always open to constructive criticism. I know that every time I touch a new face, it’s a new experience and new lesson that I am learning. It’s important for my work to reflect that. Self-development and growth is the most important thing to me because I am a perfectionist. BM: What inspired you to be a Make-Up Artist? Interview By Michelle Morgan, Photos Courtesy of Robert Wilson
RW: I had a friend that gave me the best advise in the world, they said “sit down, stop and listen” He gave me that advice at a time I was trying to figure out my core values and what life was trying to reveal to me. I was at a makeup counter in a mall and witnessed the transformation of so many different people. I could see how those women were feeling about themselves. It was magical to see how their beauty was being brought out of them. I knew right then and there that this was what I wanted to do. BM: Are there any other make-up artist that have inspired you or that you look up to? RW: Absolutely! I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Sam Fine, Pat McGrath, Francesca Tolot, Billy B and the legendary Kevyn Aucoin. That was not in any particular order by the way! *laughing* They give me hope! BM: Do the fashion related reality shows ever inspire you? RW: I don’t watch much television anymore. However I can remember when Americas Next Top Model had premiered years ago. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and remembered watching that show and witnessing the amount of creativity and professionalism used during the photo-shoots. The makeup artistry from that show is breathtaking. I told myself that I wanted to be a part of something like that. I wanted my makeup to speak volumes when someone saw it. I also loved how it gave someone a glimpse into our world of art. When I tell my mom I’m going to do makeup during fashion week she can respond with, “Like the people from project runway?” it eliminates the need of having to stress how important that moment is for me. BM: How do you see beauty; how do you define it? RW: Beauty is an inner light that we all posses. My job as a makeup artist is to be a mirror that reflects that light in many different directions so that others can see and feel it. That light can come from a place of humility, joy, peace, kindness or pure positivity. BM: Professionally, what are you guilty pleasures, or your sinfully no-no’s? RW: I’m not sure if I would classify solitude as a guilty pleasure but it is something that I have found to take joy in. It is important for me to spend time alone when my life gets a bit crazy or busy. I love to meditate and pray. It helps to keep me focused. I’m sure you were looking for me to say something like,” I love to sit in my underwear and watch sex and the city when I’m feeling sad or uninspired.” I will just say that Carrie Bradshaw was my favorite! BM: Where do you think you’re headed? RW: If I could answer that question then I would start charging for my insight. *laughing* I can say that I feel a strong sense of purpose when I think about the things that I have or have yet done. I’m happy to say that I feel stronger that I did five years ago. I feel wiser. I feel more relaxed. I feel like a better man, brother, artist, son, and lover. This career journey has really helped me love myself more and more everyday.
BM: Everybody wants to do or have or go somewhere great when they make it big. What about you? RW: When I make it big? I would just love to be in a personal place of gratitude when someone is able to look at me and my career and actually say, “You made it Robert!” BM: Whether professionally, or personally in your affairs, are you naughty or nice?
BOLD Arts, Culture, and Society
RW: I take much pride in treating others the way I want to be treated. I’m very cautious about the energies that I create in my life. BM: Do you find yourself having to step on or over people to get to where you want to be? RW: Absolutely not! Karma is very real! I always think about that moment in time when I was asking a photographer to give me a chance in allowing for me to create art with them. I didn’t have a portfolio or resume but I did have integrity and ambition. BM: What kind of sacrifices have you made to get to where you are and what sacrifices do you anticipate on making to go further? RW: Spending so much time away from my family and best friend is the biggest sacrifice. I have beautiful nieces and nephews that are growing so fast and I’m nit there to witness their growth. I can recall sacrificing stability/ routine in order to “go for my dreams”. I did go through a long period of time between careers. That gap really tested my strength as a human. I felt it was god asking me, “How bad do you want this?” I still feel much of those pressures today from time to time. Some of those pressures are new and some are rather familiar. I’m not certain what other sacrifices I have to make in the future. However I always recall some sound advice, “you always need pressure in order to create a diamond!” BM: If you could be anywhere right in the world or with someone, who would you be with or where would you be? RW: I would one day hope to be at the gates of heaven with Jesus and hearing him say, “I had been waiting for you, come in!”
BM: Are you living your dreams? RW: I would be a fool to say no. I’m thankful to be alive every single day. BM: What makes you BOLD? RW: The love that I feel from god, family, friends, and the man in the mirror, makes me bold!
When we think about double and triple threats in the entertainment industry, we refer our mental catalogs to individuals like Justin Timberlake, Kat Graham and J. Lo, to name a few. You know entertainers who by Hollywood’s standards have the whole package because they sing, they act and they dance. But what if we were to redefine the idea of a triple threat? Hell, what if we were to throw a few more goodies into that package taking versatility to a whole new level? Isis Richardson. You may not be familiar with this name now, but it’s a name you’re not going to want to forget. And no, she’s not a triple threat. At the young age of 10, Isis started acting in school and local productions in her home state of New York. It wasn’t too long after, that she was bitten by the acting bug and found herself going to casting calls and auditions. At 14, she was the first juvenile to perform at the Crash-Mansion Stage in New York City. But if that wasn’t enough, she was nurturing an interest in music simultaneously. “I can read music and had almost 5 years of musical experience on instruments, so music has always been a part of my life”. She’s always had an ear for music, but it would be hip-hop and rap that she would find her passion. She’s currently working with producer Ron aka Big Ron of Black Shield Entertainment. But her acting and rapping loves aren’t even her sole focus.
You would think with so much going on, Isis would be either a scattered brain or completely overwhelmed all of the time. But, this armed forces woman who joined the US Army in 2009, said it was the discipline she’s learned in the service that has helped her see all her goals through. Even with numerous projects under her belt already, Isis is looking forward to expanding her lip gloss line to other cosmetics forms, such as mascara. She’s also looking toward working with other artists and releasing her music. And she’s always trying to bring light to the Sudanese cause.
Isis is launched is a lip gloss line called Radiance By Isis, which is what really caught our interest. Not for the sake of all that glosses and shimmers on our lips, but the mission behind Radiance. While president of the Amnesty International Chapter at her high school, she met a man by the name of Francis Bok from Sudan who was a former slave. After escaping to Egypt and being granted asylum, he earned his freedom in 1999. It was in those moments of learning this man’s trials that a philanthropic cord was struck in Isis, “I knew if Francis had to escape, in order to have freedom, then humanity had a lot of work need to be done.”
She’s not a threat, triple or double. She’s not a performer, an actress, an artist, a servicewoman or an activist. She’s what we call a mover and a shaker. Isis, what makes you BOLD? “I’m bold because I am beautiful. NO! Not the kind of external beauty but the beauty within my character. Bold, because I will never accept defeat; NO is a pessimist train of thought. Yet, what makes me BOLD is that I created a product that saves lives!!!”
Article By Michelle Morgan, Photos Curtesy of Isis Richardson
BOLD Arts, Culture, and Society
Emerging Artist Jom Rivers
BM: You’re currently, still a student, right? At which school and what are you studying? JR: Currently a student at Art center College of Design. I started art center as a transportation design major which focuses primarily on car design but I was and still am interested in entertainment design and many different types of applied art. I am currently a fine art major. I do many projects in film, like production design, props and miniatures, storyboards and concept art. BM: What made you choose that? Fine art can be many things, it’s a broad subject, the focus is more on developing yourself as an artist and it gives me the freedom to explore myself and my world through using any medium. JR: I was encouraged to pursue art as a child. My Parents, my mom in particular was told not to be an artist because they “Don’t make any money”. As an adult she discovered that art was incorporated into everything we do, there are so many forms of art as well as means to make money. She was always interested in film and she was still an Artist so she went to UCLA film school for her masters. BM: Have you always been interested in art? JR: I Started at an early age because my parents wanted to nurture my talents but I was always more interested in applied art and design. Things I find interesting, as far as art and design, come from collaborations of artists/ designers who are creating something for a purpose, or to tell a story. I also appreciate Art just for being visually captivating. BM: Do you love what you do; what you’re studying? JR: I could probably be just as happy in another profession. What I have learned over the years is that being happy and loving what I do is the best way to be successful at anything. Energy needs to be there, passion, excitement, and an interest in whatever the subject. I try to have fun in everything I work on and I try not to put myself in a position where I am doing something I don’t like. So no matter what career path I end up in I will always answer Yes when asked if I love what I do. I do what I love, and if I stop loving what I do, it’s never too late to do something different.
Bold had the pleasure of sitting down with Jom Rivers in his Pasadena home talking about the finer things in life. To state it more accurately, fine art things in life. As a Fine Arts student at the Art Center College of Design, Jom has dabble in production and industrial arts working for companies such as Chiodo Brothers making stop motion props for a major movie production company project set to be release Febraury 2012. In between his schooling, prop designing, he also tutors in drawing and painting as well as conduct design, illustration and production design consultation.
BM: Do you see a lot of people of color doing what you doing? JR: Yes, I see people from many different cultures but people of color still seem to be the minority. This is especially sad to me because people of color are not actually the minority. BM: Do you think there’s a need for more? JR: I think that there is a need for more people to be aware of the opportunities there are in the world. They say knowledge is power, many people don’t know what’s available for them or how to get it. There is definitely room for diversity, and the thing that is keeping many people/ethnicities from even trying to partake is the fact that they don’t know what’s out there.
BM: Any recent projects you’ve been working on? BM: I also know that you teach too… or something like that. How did you get that gig? JR: My father is an entrepreneur, he has always told me to have at least 5 things your good at. The world is a crazy place and it is constantly changing so I keep up by having as many trades as I can and Teaching technically doubles your skills. I try to make myself and my talents known because while many people are interested in hiring freelance Artists/designers, there are just as many interested in learning from or consulting with artists/ designers. BM: Could you see yourself teaching art and guiding the next generation of creative minds? JR: I see it happen everyday, students tend to teach each other so its not just about working at a school or tutoring but exchanging knowledge between peers/ colleagues. BM: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date? JR: I honestly couldn’t say, there’s many things I’ve done, things I love, and things I don’t care for. I am more concerned with my future, there are endless possibilities so I just try to grow from what I’ve learned and keep moving forward. BM: Where do you see yourself headed; what’s your ultimate goal? JR: My new life goal is to simply do what I love and do my best. I am headed wherever life takes me. Most likely film and possibly back into industrial design (product/transportation)
BOLD Arts, Culture, and Society
Jasmine Diaz The
BM: Is that a career path you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life? JR: I have herd that today people are expected to change career paths as many as 5 times before they retire, I cant imagine limiting myself to any less. BM: What makes you BOLD? JR: Many things, not living my life in fear/ fear of failure. I am ready and willing to take on new things because the thing I fear most is missing out on new experiences and opportunities. Perspective, knowing what is important to me as well as what to let go of. Being innovative enough to accomplish my goals. I believe that where there is a will there is a way and if I fail than ill just used what I’ve learned to improve myself.
Interview By Michelle Morgan; Photography By Sylvanus Photography
2011, it’s the year of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; as were the preceding years. Where does love, marriage, and monogamy fit into the equation? For many it doesn’t. The idea of dating and casual encounters is the perfect fit for many members of this new age thinking. For some, however, attaining love is a goal. They wonder what it’s like to be in love, and spend every waking moment trying to find love. They long for a family, they want to live happily Ever After in Love… “They say money can’t buy you love cause it’s over priced” –J. Cole But can it? Jasmine Diaz, The Black Matchmaker guarantees her work. She utilizes interviews, appearance assessments, and more to make sure her clients are able to find love. Removing the excess fluff . Unlike many other dating services, Jasmine is not working to set up clients on a string of endless dates. She’s looking for life partners. While she admits, online dating isn’t as conventional as meeting a person face to face it has proven to be successful more often than not. In fact, her marriage is the product of online dating. I’ll let you see for yourself, feel free to fall in love with Jasmine Diaz, The Black Matchmaker…
BM: You’ve been a part of various areas in the entertainment business. From Artist management, to accounting. How did you get started as the Black Matchmaker?
BM: Your matchmaking is more so geared towards people of color; black people, Latino people…etc. I know it’s not exclusive, but that is your focus. Do you think it’s harder for people of color to find love? Why or why not?
JD: I actually had been kind of matching my friends casually in the business for some time. That’s kind of how I really got started. Being in entertainment lends itself to being open and meeting single people all of the time. That’s the lifestyle; most people in the business are single. I decided about two years ago to try matchmaking full time because I recognized that there weren’t many black matchmakers out there. Just looking at Millionaire Matchmaker and seeing all that was going on and recognizing that there was no one that was serving black people. I decided to just give it a try and see how far I could go with this agency. Luckily that chance that I took turned out to be worthwhile.
JD: I don’t think it’s harder, I think it’s hard for people in general. I have a lot of friends of different races, and the stories that I’m hearing amongst everyone is that’s its’ just hard. I think that may be because the dating arena has changed. People’s views on roles and what men should do vs. what women should do have changed. What I have noticed is that the courting process and somewhat gone out the window. Women are being more aggressive than men; men are stepping back and letting women take charge. I think there’s been a role reversal, and that might be a reason why it’s so hard for people to meet people these days. I personally feel as long as your open minded and don’t have any greater expectations its easier to meet people. Once you start creating these lists and adding on additional things that you’re wanting, that’s when the process becomes hard.
BM: You started in 2009, how has business been in the past two years? JD: It’s definitely been a whirlwind. I will say that, any new business you have it struggles. It’s not going to be 100% peachy all of the time. In our two years time we’ve grown to service over one hundred people across the US. LA obviously being our base because we’re located here. We have clients all across the states including the UK. So that’s been the progress over the past two years. Which is pretty remarkable growth for any kind of business. We just recognize that there definitely is a need for an agency like this. BM: Do you match people from state to state or do you only match intrastate? JD: It depends on the client. Some people are open to long distance relationships and you have others that only prefer to date locally. So it really depends on the client. I have a couple of clients who currently date people out of the state and then of course I have the people here that currently work with their local singles. It really just depends on the client and what they’re looking for. BM: Some of the services your company offers are: image assessment, professional styling and grooming, personal shopping, and more. Why are these particular services helpful in looking for a lifelong mate? JD: (laughs) Well, I’m a big believer that how you look and how you feel plays a big role in confidence and whether or not you have a good time on a date. I mean, if you feel crappy about what you’re wearing before you go on a date, you’re certainly not going to feel confident about that date that you’re going to go on. So we include some of those services because I really believe in setting my clients up for success. Which means giving them all of the tools and the tips that they can use on their own to have a successful dating life. I find that a lot of people take that for granted. They don’t really recognize that a guy might shoot you down because your hair looks a little disheveled, or that you wore the wrong outfit that day. Same for guys, you may get turned down because you didn’t shave your beard. Those are the kinds of things that I think people really need to take into account when they’re going on dates. As a matchmaker I’m not just hooking you up on dates randomly. My goal is to set you up with someone that you can be with long term. So if I can give you all that I know on how to have a long term relationship and how to meet someone then I certainly will. BM: What factors do you weigh when matching two people? For me a lot of what I do is based on intuition. My clients, I look at them as friends, rather than just clients. I develop a report with each and every one; that really helps me to match them when I’m doing what I do. What I consider when I’m matching them is obviously the things they say they’re interested in, but it takes more than finding two common things between people. I think it takes a lot of skill to know what someone is interested in and also reading through what people say they want and finding what the really need. There are a lot of times when people will say, “you know what, I really want someone that makes 6 figures.” My job is to find out why him making 6 figures is so important.
BM: So how do you break down these lists when you’re meeting with clients? JD: My big thing is picking five things that you feel are most important, everything else is negotiable. Five things being hopefully being moral and value items. What I consider to be characteristics of what you want in a person rather than superficial things like height, and obvious weight. Is he spiritually grounded? Is he honest? Those things should be more in the forefront of people’s minds rather than him being 6’2”. That’s how I break down the list, I always ask my clients to pick five things. Tell me those five things that are so important to you and let’s go out and find them. Everything else you should be open to. Most clients have a hard time figuring out their five things because most ladies already have twenty! Dwindling down to five can be a little difficult. BM: What are the key elements to a successful relationship? JD: I think key elements would be trust and honesty; it’s a huge factor in any relationship. As long as you can trust that person and you’re honest with each other. I think that’s a great tool for successful relationships. I’ve been married almost nine years and I can tell you that if I wasn’t able to trust my husband it wouldn’t be happening! (laughs) Another factor, I feel personally, is sense of humor. As long as you guys have a great sense of humor and you’re friends you can make it through any storm. Over nine years we’ve been through many trials and tribulations but I can say most definitely we’ve been able to look back on it and laugh. As long as you have someone that can be that person with you, I believe you can have a successful relationship. BM: Very nice! So, with your marriage would you say your marriage influences your work or your work influences your marriage, or sometimes both? JD: I would say sometimes both. I think being married helps in being a matchmaker; One because I have what most people are looking for. They want that long term relationship; they want to be married; they want to have that life. By me having that I’ve already been there and I have some tricks up my sleeve and some things I can share with my clients on how to make it work. If I was single I don’t know how I would be as a matchmaker. Not to say that single matchmakers aren’t effective, because I know that they are. I just don’t know how effective I personally would be because I don’t have that experience. BM: I think even more than being effective it plays into your credibility. If you were single people would probably wonder how is she going to match me up with someone and she’s not even with anyone herself.
JD: It’s so funny that you say that! I actually get two different things. Some people say to me that they really appreciate that I’m married because I know what it’s like to be married and that’s what they’re aspiring to. Then I also have people that say, well you’re married how do you really know what I’m going through as a single person? It does definitely help, I think, towards my credibility than it doesn’t but I do see both sides of the coin. BM: What would you say is the difference between online dating and utilizing Shawn Mackenzi Agency for dating? JD: Online dating works. It works for some people but not everybody. I met my husband online, and I met him long before it was like pc to meet people online. It was like taboo, I didn’t want to tell people where I met him, but now it’s cool. I feel like online there’s some struggles. I find that nowadays people are looking to hook up rather than have long term relationships. It’s hard to find those people that want long term relationships because there are profiles that you have to sort through, and they can be fabricated. There’s just a web of lies that you have to deal with online. Whereas, dealing with a matchmaker, most agencies run background checks and verifications. There’s a huge process that you have to go through with a matchmaker that you don’t have to go through online. I feel like if you’re someone that’s looking for long term love, if you don’t have time to go through the profiles then you’re not going to be successful, but if you can be diligent and have the time and willing to make the effort to meet someone online then I think it’s possible. Most people come to us because they’ve exhausted all measures. Matchmaking services are more expensive than online dating. You have to be someone who either can afford us or someone who has tried all methods. BM: Do you have an age limit with your agency? JD: I do not. I would say most people that come to me are in their 30’s. we have a couple of clients that are maybe mid to late 20’s, and we go up as high as 60. How can one become a member of the Shawn Mackenzie Agency? Well, it’s not that hard! We do have a few standards and as long as you meet them you’re ok. One standard is that you’re not ugly, obviously. Attraction definitely plays a role because when I’m dealing with females men have an expectation that if I’m working with a matchmaker that the ladies are going to be attractive. So that’s the first step. Clients have to fill out an application that’s non evasive. We do a consultation after we receive it and we tell you about our packages and how much we charge. If it’s something you want to pursue then we work together. We want to work with people who are genuine, people who are really sincere about finding someone, and are willing to listen. BM: There are various membership levels listed on your website, What are the differences in these memberships? JD: Our database is like our pool of members and we use this when we’re matching members. Some of the packages you may seen are for general matchmaking services. So because you’re a database member doesn’t mean that I’m actively searching for someone for you. I’ll call you if I have a match for you, but ultimately you have to be a matchmaking client. BM: Are you currently working on anything new? JD: I have a lot going on right now. We have a new true dedicated dating service that we’re pushing, a private club for celebs and a couple of other things.
BM: So the new dedicated dating service is something in addition to Shawn Mackenzi, I’d love to know more about your private club for celebs and all you are working on JD: Yeah, the dating service is called Shawn’s Black Book...we email a list of eligible singles each week to your inbox. If you see someone you like, you send them an email. Every subscriber is pre-screened by our agency to ensure member safety. It’s a private club with a low monthly subscription fee. The Black Label club is an invite only; members-only club exclusive to single celebs. Our members receive concierge services, access to private jets and yacht charters, and some really amazing perks that our regular clients do not receive. BM: Wow, girl you have been working. This all sounds amazing. So is the black Book and the black label club already up and running or will it be launching soon? JD: Black Book is up and going on Oct 15th and the Black Label Club is available now. We’re going to be sending special invites to a few key celebs. There is an annual membership fee, but it’s certainly worth the cost BM: I love the concepts you have come up with. are there different websites and contact information or is it all on the Shawn Mackenzi site? JD: I’ve been working towards sectioning off pieces of the agency so we can focus better on each client type. We get people who can’t afford us, so we created SBB, then we get celebs, so Black Label caters to them (I’m more hands on here), and for our business professionals, they will use SMA. One thing I didn’t add is that SMA now works exclusively with men. Somewhat of a change, but it was a strategic move BM: So no women for SMA? JD: No, we work with women still, but more on a case-by-case basis now. We’re becoming a little stricter here because we want to maintain exclusivity and recognize what men really want since we work with a lot of them. We also want to better accommodate the ladies who join our database. I decided to work more exclusively with men because I have a lot of women in my database that I’d love to match up, but I cannot give them as much focus when I have more female clients demanding my attention. I find myself scouting for men more these days and I want to help my ladies meet their prince. BM: You definitely have something wonderful going miss lady!!!! JD: But all the info for Black Label and SBB is on the website. We do have a dedicated site for SBB which is shawnsblackbook.com. Thank you so much! We’re working hard, and I know you are too...
Interview By Bry Delicia, Photography By Sylvanus Photography
BOLD Arts, Culture, and Society
First and foremost, who is Syr Law? Where are you from? I’m from Atlanta, GA. I’m a southern girl, and my roots are in the south. My family is from Charleston, SC, that’s my mother’s side. My father’s side is from Tallahassee, Fl. They met in Atlanta and established a home and got married, and had a baby which was me, and that’s where I grew up!
Syr (pronounced S-e-e-r) Law’s beautiful, distinctive face has been seen in many motion pictures, from Allen Wolf’s thriller “In My Sleep” (Morning Star Pictures) to the smash hit by Tyler Perry “Diary Of A Mad Black Woman” (Lions Gate Films). Also, the independent Award-Winning Films: “Paparazzi” won Best Feature Film, WMIFF and won Best She just wrapped her 2nd Nollywood film and is set to star in her 3rd. Syr was recently awarded Best Actress In A Lead Role In Diaspora Film at the 2011 NAFCA Awards, for her role in “Paparazzi: Eye In The Dark.” (Her first Nollywood film) The award is also known as the Oscars of Nollywood.
Do you still live in Atlanta? I don’t, I live in LA now! It’s funny; I do go back to Atlanta quite a bit, and especially to film. There’s so much going on in the Southeast that you get hired here and you fly back South to work sometimes.
Syr has been in a number of Hollywood films as well as a few Tyler Perry projects. Her current focus is to take on the roles she feels most passionate about. She is set to make a name for herself not only domestically but on an international level.
Where are you? Are you in New York?
Most people are not familiar with Nollywood. We’ve heard of Hollywood and Bollywood but Nollywood, not so much. It’s 2nd in the world as far as number of productions per year. Forbes magazine reported that Nollywood is now an $800 million dollar industry, providing employment for over 300,000 actors, directors, marketers and distributors. So, who is this raving beauty that’s taking the Nollywood industry by storm? A graduate of Hampton University, a historically black college university, Syr is as sweet as they come! Not to mention, BOLD! Not many people are willing to step out on faith in order to see their dreams become a reality; Syr is one of those people. This southern girl leaped as high and far as she could on faith and found that she had wings! Luckily for the Bold team, we were able to catch her on a brief landing…
How long have you been living in LA? Close to over three years now, and I love it. It’s funny because I studied at a studio called, Nick Conti’s Professional Actors Studio in Atlanta, and a lot of my actor friends that were in the studio with me ended up coming west. So, I was the last one to actually decide to make the move to California, and a couple did go to New York. What made that decision for you; why did you come to LA instead of New York? Well, because I thought A. I didn’t want to bare the cold and the winters in New York (laughs) I mean I love New York! I think the energy of the city is amazing, the artistic value that’s there, the artists that are there that work. Not even just actors, but the musicians, and painters, and graffiti artist are just on a whole other level. So, that excitement of New York, I think, is based around that artistic energy. But, LA was just so open, and I could have my car so I could actually drive, and the weather’s really good. I figured I hadn’t lived out west so I might as well try it! Palm trees, you can’t beat it! I mean, look, it’s Sunday at the end of October and I’m in a T-shirt and jeans! Exactly!
I’m in LA! Oh you’re in LA! Ok, so you know! (laughs) Yes! I was just talking to my mother about the same thing. I actually moved to La from Chicago, so I was telling her it’s October, and there’s no snow. I don’t know what to do! Yea, can you believe it? I’m actually at a theater going to see “The Help” and I drove with top back! My friends in Philly called me this morning like, “dude it’s snowing!” I was like, ‘You need to come to LA.’ (laughs) Exactly! I’m so late on “The Help,” but I’m really excited to see it. My schedule has just been so off that I haven’t been able to catch a good movie lately, but I hear that the work is phenomenal. Have you seen it? No, I haven’t, but I hear it’s really good too.
No, and I was just going to ask you that! (laughs) What is Nollywood? When did you decide you wanted to be an actress, or when did you just know? You know what’s funny? It was after I graduated from Hampton, and I had moved back to Atlanta, and I was working for a management company. I really wanted to be the female Sean “Puffy” Combs; I wanted to own my own label. When I was at Hampton I interned for Sony in New York, so I got to spend a summer there and I was a college rep. So I really thought music was what I wanted to do, and I wanted to own my own label. So, I was working with a management company seeking out different producers for the company to sign. I was there, maybe a couple of months, and the lady that I was working with decided that she was going to move to LA. The money that she was paying me, which was virtually nothing, she wanted to give me that same amount of money to move with her out to Los Angeles. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t foresee making a living off of what she was paying me, and I didn’t know anyone out here. So, I took a breath and a breather and I got a corporate job and I don’t even know if I was there a month but two months at the most. I just woke one morning and was like, ‘I’m supposed to be an actress!’ and I resigned. (laughs) that day! I had never taken an acting class, had never done anything on the stage, and after I resigned I called my dad and said, ‘Dad, I resigned, I’m supposed to be an actress.’ He was like, “but you’ve never acted…” I know I know, but this is what I’m supposed to do. I got the creative looking, which is like the local Atlanta newspaper and I looked for classes or auditions or whatever I could find, and I found actors express. This is a theater there, and they were doing a black playwrights festival. There were different African American writers that were going to be showcasing their works through reading; through having actors read their plays aloud. I called them to find out how I could be a part of it; I had to audition. I went and found two monologues, showed up for my first audition, and I don’t even think I got through the first monologue before the woman was like, ‘stop.’ I was like I’ve never even done this before! I didn’t have a headshot; I didn’t have a resume, nothing. She said, ‘Ok, just tell me what this woman is trying to express?’ and I did and the black play wright’s festival actually took me in. They gave me classes for free, and once the Black Playwrights Festival ended I auditioned for the conservatory at the studio and they invited me in. It was a year long program, and I learned various techniques and every method there was. I got to be a part of a theater company for a year. From there I continued auditioning, got signed, and continued to take classes and study. So, it really came from me waking up one morning and God giving me, what I feel, and my gift is to the universe, or to people; which is storytelling through acting. That’s amazing! I can’t believe you just woke up one morning and said, “this isn’t right…” Yea my dad was like you did what? You’re about to? And I was like No, I already did it! I resigned. You know what? I think an artist needs that. You have to have your family and friends behind you, or not necessarily an artist, people need that! I think when you have the support of your family and your friends it lends everything to your life and to your art. Definitely! Now, in your bio it says that you’re “…in Hollywood, taking over Nollywood” Yes! Do you know what Nollywood is, are you familiar?
Nollywood is Africa or Nigeria’s version of Hollywood. It’s like Bollywood. It is actually the second largest film community in the world, most people don’t know that. They are telling international stories, and are very open to telling stories using players, actors, of all different backgrounds and cultures. I’m one of the few American actors who have had the opportunity to work with some amazing Nollywood filmmakers. The film that I did called, “Paparazzi”, which was my first Nollywood film and the one I’m know for the most, has received a lot of attention. It’s about an international musician, he happens to be from Ghana, who ends up stepping out on me, his girlfriend. There are pictures that are posted all over the newspapers and magazines because paparazzi are following him. One of the girls that he ends up having an affair with ends up being murdered and I’m holding the murder weapon and a photographer ends up taking the picture of me holding the murder weapon over this young lady. It’s a play on what you see isn’t always the story behind what’s really there. And you were nominated for “Best Actress” for this film and you also won? I was nominated at World Music International Film Festival for “Best Actress”, and at NAFCA, which is Nigeria African Film and Critics Awards; I ended up winning “Best Actress” which was their version of the Oscar’s. Congratulations on that! How did that make you feel after your journey? Coming from quitting your job in one day, making a move to LA, and now in your first movie you’ve won an award. What’s that like, how do you feel? Well if you take a look at my resume, there’s quite a bit of work there, and what I didn’t know once I got up there… You, yes are being honored for that award, but when you’re receiving it you feel like it’s for student films you may have done, the independent projects that you did that maybe you made $100 a day or nothing! I mean it’s really…yes, you’re being recognized for that work, but it’s the body of work that you’ve done before that that’s gotten you there. It was humbling, it was exciting, and also to be recognized by an industry that did not know my name six months ago and were so open to receiving me and receiving my art, and me being American. I was the only American, outside our VP, that won something that evening. That was surprising and humbling.
It has to also be, when you’re recognized like that, just a confirmation that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Yes, exactly! I’m still in Hollywood, I’m still working, and it’s still a business and industry that I love. I believe God opens certain doors for you, and you walk through them. I’m graciously walking through this one. I completely agree. I feel like often times as artists, and as people, often times we feel like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, and we feel really excited about what we’re doing, but there’s always times where we wonder, “am I really doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Is this what God intended for me?” So, moments like that, confirming moments, show that you’re walking where you’re supposed to be walking. I see you’ve also worked with Tyler Perry? Yes! I did, and I worked with him on two separate occasions. The first, he cast me in my first studio film, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” He and Rubin Cannon were casting it, and I think I went in to three sessions of auditions. I remember I was doing a scene in the café with Kimberly Elise and I heard Mr. Perry yell, “I want to see real tears,” out of nowhere. So, Darren Grant comes over and he’s like, “Syr, Mr. Perry really wants to see you very emotional and real tears in this scene, so we’re going to give you five minutes.” So I said, Ok, I go in the bathroom, pulled out my cell phone and called my mentor. I’m like WHAT do I do? He walked me through the whole thing and literally when we got done with the day it was an awesome day. Mr. Perry was so incredible and even Kimberly came up to me and said great job, which was wonderful. Years later, “What’s done in the Dark,” which is a stage play that toured nationally, I got a call that they were interested in me taking the place of one of the actresses who was going back to “House of Pain.” I got to do a little interview/conversation over the phone and the manager of the tour at that time said, “well, do you sing?” and I said No, I can’t sing, but I’ll give you a little bit of what I’ve got. So, literally I like belt out, and I can’t hold a note, but I belt out the best I got on the phone and 24 hours later I got a call that they wanted me in Detroit that same day and could I leave? I was like, “Absolutely!” I went to Detroit and I had one day to run the show, I had one rehearsal with Demitria, and literally I was up that night in Detroit. In a full stage play…blocking, everything! That’s the thing I love about Mr. Perry, he stretches you as a person, and he stretches you as an artist. Whether you like his work or not, is an option or a choice that anyone has, but as a talent and as a person he stretches you to be more than what you think that you can be. That’s something I appreciate immensely.
What else are you working on right now? Are you working on anything else? I am! I’m actually leaving for Atlanta in November to go film, “Love Chase”, with Noah Ramsey, who is a huge Nollywood star. This month has been auditioning. Which has been fun and crazy. I’ve been working with my acting coach and learning. What are you hoping to accomplish? Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Wow, That’s such a loaded question. I hope to have, one day, a baby on the left, and an Oscar on the right, and be surrounded by my friends, family, and husband. That’s the quintessential goal. I want to have my own production company, and make my own films. You know, you plan and you plan and you plan, but I never could have planned for Nollywood. So I just leave myself open to what I think my purpose is for my life here on this planet; to do God’s work.
Is there anything else that you think is important that you would like to share with the readers? I was recently at an event, and I won’t call any names, but I had a long conversation with an older actress who’s really well known. The thing she said that struck me was, “Don’t forget about us. We need the younger generation. Older actors look for the younger generation because we don’t get as many calls as we did when we were working in our 20’s and our 30’s. Don’t forget to put us in the films that you’re making and give back to us the path that we’ve carved for you.” I think that’s an important thing. We always think we should help who’s behind us, and that’s the younger generation, but let’s not forgets about whom trail blazed for us as well. When she said that I realized my responsibility as an actor and a person to her and her generation and what they’ve done for me. Follow Syr at www.twitter.com/SyrLaw Also, go to facebook.com and search Syr Law to like her artist page!
Bold Magazine had the chance to catch up with the young and lovely, Miss Alexandra Isley in her Los Angeles home. We chatted her up about her music beginnings, her current project she’s working on and her future aspirations. If the name sounds like one we’ve heard before, it should. Alex Isley is the daughter of Ernie Isley, of the renowned R&B group The Isley Brothers. As a second generation artist, Alex Isley is looking to make her own mark on the industry. Although she is grateful for the musical genes and the influence, it’s not the Isley shadow she’s looking to follow, but rather a spotlight of her own to stand in.
Interview By Bry Delicia, Photos Courtesy of One Fresh Republic Interview By Michelle Morgan,Photography By Bry Delicia; Make-up by Janelle Black of Face Me Fierce
BM: Let’s talk about your start in music.
BM: Do you have a title for the EP, is it still in progress or is it under wraps?
Alex Isley: A lot of it comes from being around my dad and uncles and absorbing my surroundings. I developed an appreciation and a love for music. Whether it was the Beatles, [the] Ohio Players, anything he played around the house. My mom always played music around the house, too. BM: Most People remember singing at really early and young ages. Do you remember when you first started singing? AI: I can remember I started singing between 2 and 3. Singing to Mariah Carey, Anita Baker, Prince. I first sang in front of an audience when I was 5 at my Elementary School Talent show. I sung “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
AI: The EP is called The Love/Art Memoirs. I had a notebook of closes to 50 sings. For my sake, I just called the notebook the Love/Art Memoirs. Love and art are one in the same in a lot of ways. They evoke the same emotions. The songs… they represent love and art. It represents my vulnerability. It’s music people can relate and connect to. Love is like that too. The EP has five songs.
BM: What would you say is your biggest inspiration? AI: All [of] my family; mother, father, grandmother… she was an opera singer. A lot of the incredible musicians in L.A., my experiences. Nothing outweighs the other. BM: You said you don’t really listen to the radio. A lot of what you listen to is online, other underground artists, like yourself. Do you have any favorite artists? AI: I admire my uncles and my dad; how they’ve maintained their longevity in the industry. I’m aiming for longevity. [Then], of course, you have the givens. Prince is a given, Stevie Wonder is a given, Michael Jackson, as far as an entertainer. I absolutely love, love, love Donny Hathaway. BM: You’ve been singing and performing for a while now. Some of your performances have been at local venues here in LA, others in Vegas. What would you say is your greatest success to date? AI: Having patience with myself in writing and producing this [current] project. I’m excited about this project. It’s like birthing a baby! I sit in front of my MacBook and play out what I hear in my head. BM: Any challenges or setback you’ve had? AI: I don’t know if there have been any setbacks, I just remind myself I’m onto amazing things. I just stay focused, figure out what I need to do to progress. If anything, I’ve only been set forward. At this moment, I’m grateful. BM: We’ve gotten the chance to listen to “Don’t/Do”. Beautiful Song, we must say. What inspired the single, “Don’t/Do”? AI: A couple of artists; I’ve been taking in new sounds. I don’t listen to the radio anymore. Sorry. [It’s] my emotions about a… person. I think the song for me really represents my emotions exaggerated and heighten. I like how it came out. Very minimalist. I’m really happy for the way it sounds. BM: When is your EP set to be released? AI: Beginning summer of 2011. I’m working with James Tormé. He’s a great Jazz and R&B artist. His Album drops May 29th. I’m actually a back-up singer for James Tormé on his album. James and I automatically bonded with the generation thing. We’re both second generation-ers. I’m continually writing new stuff. I’m like, 6, 7 months ahead.
BM: Have you been doing any kind of promotion for the EP and the single? AI: Some promotion going on now. Facebook, Tumblr blog, Twitter. I’ve been told I should start a YouTube page, but I don’t know what I put up there yet. BM: What’s an average day like for you these days? AI: It varies day to day…in my… I’m in my last stages. I’m writing brand new songs, working on instrumentals, deciding if I want to keep them instrumental or not. It’s kind of all over the place. BM: You’ve been making a few dozen appearances here and there. You’ve mentioned that you’re going to be feature in Yoo-N- LA magazine as well as on the KCRW internet public radio station. Where do you see yourself in the next year or so? AI: I see myself doing what I’m doing now… tenfold. And it’s like I’m there already. I plan to have my own production company up and running. [Or] at least, have a full album in progress. Meet other artists…there’s network opportunities there, don’t know who I might come across. It’s a good and bad thing, but mostly a good thing. Doing and doing more. Be exposed. BM: If you could leave your fans and potential fans with something about yourself and your music, what would you say? AI: All of it is real and is me. My music and writing is the one place where I’m not holding back, tip toeing, sugarcoating.
BOLD Music Young Keno Editor-in-chief, Elissa Mirsky sat down with a long-time friend and a rising star in hip hop, Young Keno in his studio in NoHo. Present with Young Keno’s was his Producer BuccWheet and DJ Hollywood. In the midst of this small but cozy studio, was posters plastered of great entertainers and messengers of music of time such as Bob Marley and Sammy Davis Jr., and of course, the studio equipment Keno’s glued to just about every day. Ms. Mirsky and Keno had the chance to talk about his upcoming album, which is likely to be released next year with the anticipation of his first single to drop by the end of November, the struggles he’s had to overcome in life and what he feels like the West Coast is missing in their attitude and music. As Mirsky talked to Young Keno about his music, it was Keno who brought up his interest in fashion and how he would like to get more involved in the fashion industry once his music takes off. Keno mentioned in his earlier days at Birmingham High School in North Hollywood, he had the chance to model for Macy’s and how he enjoyed that experience. And although other opportunities began knocking on his door, he was unable to pursue them because his mother stressed that education was more important. He says he’s had to move on from those lost possibilities into new avenues, such as music, but that hasn’t hindered him from still expressing his style. He proclaims that he doesn’t follow the current trends because that’s never been who he is, but that he prefers to be more out of the box and unique with his look. He’s felt that his culture, the black community in the inner cities here on the West Coast, have been more focused on representing just the minimalist what they know and see rather than risk being daring and bold. Keno has always liked to try something that has never been seen or introduced in areas where it isn’t seen. Fashion and music, as Keno best worded it, is about being bold and, “being bold is not being afraid to be who you are.”
BM: You had the #1 song on the radio as an independent artist, how has life been since the success of “Lets Get Together?’ YK: Challenging and exciting at the same time. The first record was so great and that automatically put you in a state of mind to do better, and I didn’t come in with time to grow; so I had to adjust. BM: You recently released the ‘No Shirts Tattoos’ single on the airwaves, how has the response been fro your fan base, radio DJ’s, and other industry personnel? YK: ‘No Shirts Tattoos’ with JayAre of Cali Swag District and 211 of CTE (Jeezy’s label) had a bug response and a lot of feedback. The tattoo culture has blossomed. Its just as big in culture as fashion is, and a lot of people relate to it. BM: When can we look forward to another single? YK: I can’t really speak on that at the moment, but you will definitely be hearing something very soon. Its all in the works. BM: Where do you draw your influence? YK: My influence and inspiration for my upcoming records are from trials and tribulations. The last few years I’ve experienced many things in my life and so using that for my influence and inspiration makes my music more real. BM: Does any of these trials and tribulations have to do with the death of your parents? YK: After coming out the success of ‘Lets Get Together’ in 2009 I lost my dad, then my mom in 2010. Losing both parents back to back led me to figure out what direction I wanted and needed to go. I am more at peace with what I went through and it made me realize who I am and what I had to do. BM: You are quite ‘inked up,’ can you give BOLD some insight into the tattoo lifestyle and tell us what so of your tattoos mean to you? YK: For me tattooing was never a trend. It became my lifestyle towards the end of my senior year in high school throughout my adult years. Every one of my tattoos has a story. I have a line in one of my records, ‘I paint a picture with no brush or tools. Stand up and strike a pose, you read the ink fools.’ My whole story in on my body. BM: So, are you currently signed to a label? If so, is it a major albel or independent label? YK: I am currently working on an independent album with specific investors and marketing teams. BM: When can we look forward to an album? YK: The album is in the building process. After the release of the first single you can expect an album right after. So very soon. BM: You’ve worked with Wiz Khalifa, Ya Boi, Tyga, Jim Jones, Young Jeezy, and the list goes on. Who do you hope to work with in the near future?
YK: I’m a strong supporter of Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. Theya re my top three rappers right now; so working with them would be amazing. BM: What’s your favorite song you’ve released so far? YK: ‘No Shirts Tattoos’ because I was spoke of my lifestyle and it was just a fun song. It was one of those songs that you like to perform. BM: You recently spoke at YoYo’s School of Hip Hop, are you heavily involved in the community? YK: Before the music I came from a background of peer counseling, group homes, and juveniles. So, being involved in anyone’s program to spread light to a kid I a all for it. YoYo reached out to me to participate in an event at her location and we also discussed me coming on board with staffing. BM: What can we expect from the Young Keno Brand? YK: Two things; first peer counseling and humanitarianism and second breaking more into the fashion side. Not creating clothes but more of a brand ambassador for a brand’s line. BM: You had a role in ‘Operation Repo’ a couple years back, do you plan o tapping more into acting? YK: If the opportunity presents itself then yes, but not immediately.
BM: What kind of cologne do you wear?
BM: Being as tattooing is a lifestyle similar to that of fashion, what are your personal fashion must have’s?
YK: I wear Gucci, Tom Ford, Usher, Tommy Bahamas, and Givenchy.
YK: Low top chucks. V-neck tee, fly watch, and a fitted cap. I overload on fitted caps.
BM: That is quite the variety, yet great choices. You get BOLD’s seal of approval!
BM: What are the must have’s every man should have?
BM: What makes you BOLD?
YK: Every man should have a fresh pair of shoes, clean shoes. Whatever look you are rocking you should have a clean trimmed face. Oh, and a variety of cologne. I have cologne all over. I keep cologne in my car and house so I have it wherever I go.
YK: I am an artist that isn’t afraid to do what I like. I’m comfortable in my skin whether it is with my music, clothing, or business. I am not afraid to take risk. I’ve always been comfortable with me.
Interview By Elissa Mirsky, Photos Coutesy of Young Keno
Cordell Wright aka Delly4Real
n his Hollywood bachelor pad, Delly4Real aka Cordell Wright, invited Bold Magazine to get a feel of his music artistry in the making. Although many people all around the country and world come to Hollywood for a chance at stardom, Delly admits that Hollywood is just a temporary layover to his next big move. As Bold had the chance to sit and pick his brain, we learned a great deal about his passion for music, the journey he’s on and where he’s headed.
This native Ohioan has always been around music, it’s been a part of his world for as long as he can remember. He knew it was something he had to pursue; the more he listened, the more he fell in love with music. However love doesn’t always conquer all and like the adage goes: life happens. And so it did. Prior to studying music, Cordell Wright, went to school for business but had to drop out to support his daughter. “Before I pursued music, I did the Air Force thing, just learning my ways. Always in a state to sit and listen.” Even in the service, he could not escape the passion he felt for music. Having also enjoyed writing, he started cross training while in the Air Force, studying journalism. It wasn’t too long that photography caught his interest and he started shooting friends who were aspiring models and artists. Shortly after he completed his service in the Air Force, Delly4Real was enrolled in the Los Angeles Film School for audio production where he knew he’d be living his dream. The mere idea of following his dream wouldn’t necessarily equate to living on Easy Street, however. His biggest obstacle was the lack of support he received from his family and friends. “Not too many people backed me [but] this is what I wanted to pursue for my career.” It was a childhood friend, Maverick Carter that Delly grew up with up that would give him the best piece of advice, make his transition smoother and his dreams more of a reality. Carter told Delly that the best thing to do is be around like-minded people. “Be around people that were better than I was. The more you worked towards [something], the more people are willing to help you.”
Delly4Real may love music, but he has no plans on making that his only love. “[I’ve] always been into acting. I could do a great job because you have to draw from different emotions and good actors can transform into someone else.” But for now, while it’s on the horizon, Delly is focusing on his music and music production. Earlier this year his production team, Burn Unit (Truth, Matt Dasher and Delly4Real) released some of their newer music on their website, stardomave.com. But stardom is the only thing he’s after. He wants to be an ambassador for people with aspirations to do great things with their lives buy may not have the resources. When asked what made him BOLD, he replied: “I’m not afraid to do what others are.”
Article By Michelle Morgan, Photography By Bry Delicia
‘When You See BLACK, You See BOLD’
Photography By Bry Delicia, Model, Bia Barnett, Make-Up Janelle Black of Face Me Fierce, Bra by 72 Hour Freek
Photography: Sylvanus Photography Make-Up: Amber Wright Wardrobe: Curly V Styling : E.Mirsky Model: Bia Barnett Photogenics