Attorney Tre Lovell's Exclusive Interview with Hollywood Monthly Magazine

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Celebrating Diversity in the Entertainment Industry


Exclusive Interview with

Top International Women Leaders

1st Academy Awards


Michael Bublé

Hollywood Pioneer

Rita Moreno

Hollywood Icon

James Ingram

Attorney Tre Lovell Grasping the Golden, Moral Compass


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Welcome readers to our June issue of Hollywood Monthly. This is a very special issue for me. Over a decade ago I created the “Attorney Spotlight” Series. The purpose was to introduce the magnificent attorneys available to you, our readers, in Los Angeles, and dispel preconceived ideas and accepted stereotypes about who lawyers really are. Guess what? They’re human. Beautifully human and incredibly committed to helping their clients. They just never had their stories told the way we tell their stories...

VICE PRESIDENT Bernice Harris Michael D. Coxson

Attorney Tre Lovell is our HM June Cover STAR. His feature story, I believe, will restore your faith and optimism that there are still good people in this world who care when you’ve been wronged, and are strong enough to stand up for you in the face of true evil. No spoiler alerts, but Tre Lovell is the John Steinbeck “Hero” that Mr. Steinbeck never created for a novel. Somehow he must have known that Tre Lovell would eventually be created in the real world. And he was right. We are so proud to have Attorney Tre Lovell gracing our Cover.


But this is an entire issue of Heroes. HM’s Allison Kugel profiles the glorious Rita Moreno, who has been my Hero for artistic and aesthetic excellence since I first saw her as a little boy on television singing and dancing and conveying those raw emotions in “West Side Story.” I pay homage to a musical Hero of mine who recently passed away, the enormously talented and Gentle Giant of love songs, James Ingram. Keanu Reeves was asked by Stephen Colbert what his thoughts are on what happens when you die. Keanu responded: “The people who love you will miss you.” Possibly the most beautiful answer to that question ever given. And so true. I love James Ingram, and I miss him. Michael Bublé, pretty fair to say, is a Hero to everyone. Once again, Allison Kugel gives us an intimate portrait of a musical icon for the ages, because Michael Bublé embraces the music of the ages, and somehow makes it all sound so gorgeously current. We are honored to include such a fantastic artist in this June issue. As always, we thank you, our readers, for your continuing support and love. We are who we are because of YOU. We wish you all happiness and peace! Anthony Ewart, Associate Editor Celebrating Diversity In The Entertainment Industry



June 2019

Exclusive Interview with

Top International Women Leaders

91st Academy Awards Highlights

Michael Buble

Hollywood Pioneer

Rita Moreno

Hollywood Icon

James Ingram

On The Cover

Attorney Tre Lovell in his Century City office Photo Credit for Cover and Layout: Fal Adams

Attorney Tre Lovell Grasping the Golden, Moral Compass

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Attorney Tre Lovell Grasping the Golden, Moral Compass

6 • Hollywood Monthly

By Anthony Ewart


use poets as a point of reference to understand people. I imagine the poets I love orbiting you, slowly. The power of their brilliance form fixed points so I can triangulate an image of your Soul in light particles. In the case of (pun intended) Atty. Tre Lovell, he is William Blake and Robert Frost and Robert Browning; he is E.E. Cummings and Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes. It’s easy to see the Soul of Tre Lovell. It’s in his work. It’s how he runs his Law Practice. Life is more enjoyable when you keep things honest. Telling the truth has its rewards. Mainly peace of mind. But also, a sense of being plugged directly into the order of the Universe. This is not a Universe of chaos, it’s a Universe of order. If this was a Universe of chaos planets would not have orbits, and Earth would be spinning into the Sun while we all listened to David Bowie’s “5 Years” and sang R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” No, those songs are awesome, but we live in a Universe of order. Which means treating people with kindness and respect. Having fair business dealings. Understanding that trust is stronger than money. This is the world Tre Lovell wants to live in. And the truth is he’s been fighting for all of us to live in this world for many years -- setting case precedent in law that will affect fairness and justice in the legal system forever. I think it’s time I introduce you to the story of Tre Lovell. Now, before you start wondering how a “nice” Attorney with a “conscience” can survive in the legal arena, which in many ways can

be compared to the ancient Roman amphitheaters, let’s just say in court, mild-mannered, compassionate Tre Lovell is transformed into General Maximus Decimus Meridius from Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator.” Our story begins shortly after he started his own law firm. Tre was contacted by a woman with an incredible story. She, along with 143 other Plaintiffs, were victims of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that ruined their lives. They were being represented by a large, international law firm who suddenly decided to drop the entire case. 144 plaintiffs completely abandoned without care or concern for the consequences or the outcome of their civil suit. The Plaintiff’s elected a representative to go out into the world and find an Attorney (or Attorneys in a large law firm), to represent them. The setting was a Starbucks on a rainy afternoon. The kind of afternoon where career-changing decisions are made without notice, or any attention drawn to itself. Monumental decisions. The kind of decisions author Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.” Tapping into the adaptive unconscious Freud and Jung spoke about. That unknown area of our brain where intuition lives, like an eternal fire, always ready to snap out a flame of wisdom to us like a solar flare, when we need it. Somewhere in Tre Lovell’s adaptive unconscious he realized that this case was important. He already knew the merit was there. Tre’s father was a City Attorney in Vegas. He was, in fact, at the time (the 60’s), the youngest City Attorney in the Nation. Tre comes from amazing lineage of decency and a strong sense of social justice. But there was something else. The

intuition for Tre to take this case was counterintuitive as a practical business plan for a solo practitioner. Tre Lovell sat in that Starbucks across from Kathy Avilla. A woman who personally lost over $600,000 in the Ponzi scheme. She had told Tre who the victims were and what they had lost. Now she was about to tell him what he would be up against if he took the case. There were 25 defendants. They all came with varying degrees of corruption and guilt and they were spread out around the world in different countries. This meant Tre wouldn’t just be going up against one law firm, he would have to fight multiple law firms and track down Defendants hiding abroad -- all by himself. Yes, this was a case that needed to be taken on, but Tre would be betting it all (gambling his career and livelihood), on a case that could financially bleed him dry. Enter General Maximus Decimus Meridius into the Flavian Amphitheatre. So, now you know our Hero. Atty. Tre Lovell. Gladiator. To refresh your memory, a gladiator’s job was to fight another gladiator to the death, or near enough to it to satisfy the thirst of the Emperor at the moment. Death takes many forms. Albert Brooks showed us in “Defending Your Life” that a comedian dying on stage could end up in purgatory. And then there’s financial death, which many times leads to physical death. Black Thursday, October 24th, 1929. The Great Crash of Wall Street. Many believe stock brokers were jumping out of windows like people trapped in a burning building. According to the New York Times, from Black Thursday to Black Tuesday, October 29th, when HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY• 7

Tre Lovell is a fighter. A Gladiator. But he is first a human being

the New York Stock Exchange completely collapsed, the number of Stock Brokers who jumped to their deaths were, unfortunately, two poor souls. There were, however, 100 cases of suicides and attempted suicides recorded from October 29th until the end of 1929 as a result of the financial Crash. The Crash gave birth to the Great Depression and the ensuing hell that chapter of our country brought on American families. Only God knows the tally of souls who took their lives as a result of trying to survive through that nightmare. But let’s return to the 144 victims of this multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme who collectively found their way to Attorney Tre Lovell. They had been betrayed twice. Originally by the culprits of the Ponzi scheme. Then, equally as tragic and shameful, their case was abruptly dropped by the large law firm handling their case. They were dismissed with the same level of cruelty the organizers of the Ponzi scheme perpetrated when lulling them into that false sense of security that would cost them

A Gladiator. But he is first a Human Being. When he looked in the eyes of Kathy Avilla, he saw a woman hurt to her core. A woman standing with a tornado behind her, reaching out her hand. Hoping someone would help her. Help her and her friends... It’s the humanity of the moment that spoke to Attorney Lovell, not the Gladiator within -- although the Gladiator would make his appearance. The decision was clear on the right thing to do. The only question was the attack. Financially, he could never go the distance with these large firms. Not all 12 rounds. Tre would have to go for a knockout. Round 5 or sooner. Burgess Meredith (or any real boxing coach) will tell you there’s only one way to accomplish that. Plant your feet in the middle of the ring and control that fight. Be aggressive, chase your opponent, keep pushing forward until you have them on the ropes. Then pray you’ve loaded your right hook and left uppercut with all you need for a knockout. The evidence was overwhelming. The guilt of the Ponzi scheme was established by the large Law Firm who eventually dropped Kathy Avilla and the other 143 clients. Why would this Law Firm drop the case if they’ve already proven the key defendants were running a Ponzi scheme? Only they can answer that. But if you think they left Atty. Tre Lovell a hand wrapped case with a red bow on it, you’re wrong. There were 25 defendants. Dispersed throughout the world. You’d have to be Dog the Bounty Hunter to find these guys -- or Atty. Tre Lovell. Systematically he went after the culprits one at a time. Wherever the trail took him. He tracked them down throughout the Caribbean in such places as the Dominican

everything. Everything. What does it mean to lose $100,000? $200,000? Half a million dollars? How many families living in homeless shelters right now owned their own homes a year ago? How many of us are living check to check and hand-to-mouth? Financial death isn’t a boogey man, you’re very familiar with its face. Like a neighbor. A neighbor you try to avoid but you know, sooner or later, they’ll end up on your porch. But it won’t be bad casserole they’ll be delivering to you. Attorney Lovell would risk his own grizzly financial fate if the powerhouse law firms representing the Defendants of the Ponzi scheme decided to drag the case out. Filing motion after motion, extension after extension, bombarding Lovell with paperwork. If Tre took this case he’d have to win soon or he would literally run out of money as the years passed. He would end up being the architect of his own Great Crash. So, why do it? Why would anyone take such a potentially harmful risk to their career and financial future? Tre Lovell is a fighter.

Tre Lovell’s well-deserved wall of accolades, including his article in Forbes Magazine

Republic, Turks & Caicos, and Saint Vincent & Grenadines Islands, as well as in Canada and here in the states. Lovell would rent a conference hall for all his Plaintiffs where many would attend in person and others would call in on a conference line. If you’re wondering about due diligence on the part of the Plaintiffs, there was an actual resort being built in the Dominican Republic. All of the investors/plaintiffs had to make a trip there to sign the paperwork for their stake in the property. The defendants in America who introduced the Ponzi scheme to the Plaintiffs didn’t have the proper real estate/broker creden-

tials to carry out the transaction. It had to take place in the Dominican Republic. That, alone, could have raised some red flags. But they were going to actually see the property they were investing in. They weren’t buying swamp land in Florida, sight unseen. Some Plaintiffs may have felt more reassured about the resort deal after the trip. 1,200 vulnerable souls was the tally of victims in this Ponzi scheme... It was 2008 by the time Kathy Avilla was caught by the Ponzi bait. For three years the Defendants made millions of dollars off of innocent victims who willingly handed over their life savings for a

better future. And the resort in the Dominican Republic? Still under construction. By the time Kathy saw the property in 2008 it probably didn’t look much different than it did in 2005. But she couldn’t have known that. In July of 2008 she gave the Defendants $649,000 for her stake in the Dominican Republic Resort: One-Month-Later, in August of 2008 Kathy received a letter saying all the equity in the resort was gone, and the Dominican Republic resort was no more. Her entire inheritance and any savings she had was completely wiped out. Quite a letter to get. I’m not sure my legs would have supported HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY • 9

me upon hearing that news. Even a chair wouldn’t have helped me -- I would have slid right out of it onto the floor. Where I would have stayed until friends or neighbors came to check on me. Even then I’m not sure I would have been able to get up. The Diaz Firm, the large Law Firm from Florida who initially represented the Plaintiffs, began working on the case. Tragically, at this time there were only 720 Plaintiffs. 480 Plaintiffs were too damaged, too broken, too beaten to take on the momentous task of finding these Defendants and taking them to court. 480 human beings who, to this day, have never received any compensation or justice for the horrendous act of having their lives and their families obliterated by a Ponzi scheme designed to squeeze out and collect every drop of equity they had to their name. Are they alive? Have they died? Could Lady Justice really be this blind? 720 Plaintiffs were ready and willing fight these Ponzi Defendants 10 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

with the Diaz Firm. But as you already know, Atty. Tre Lovell only met 144 Plaintiffs. What happened to the other 606 Plaintiffs? It makes you wonder how much human suffering is outside the protection of the law. Criminal Defense Attorneys are paid upfront for their expenses in preparing for their cases. Common knowledge. But how much does it cost for human compassion? Month after month the 720 Plaintiffs had to make installment payments on their retainer to the Diaz Firm. If you’ve been reading this article up until now, even you can understand that the Plaintiffs probably had a hard time consistently paying their Attorney fees -- something to do with them losing all their money in a Ponzi scheme. Still, somehow, collectively, they were able to pay the Diaz Firm over a million dollars before they were so cruelly abandoned by them. But it did not come easy. And there were many casualties. Month after month, plaintiffs

struggled to make their legal payments in hopes of recovering at least some of their life savings, while the Diaz Firm routinely informed Plaintiffs of who and who would not be represented due to lack of payment. More and more Plaintiffs faded from the case. Hundreds of them. Disappearing from life into the financial blackhole that had claimed so many of their fellow victims. What a long road Hell on Earth is... Only one Plaintiff out of the 720 who signed up with the Diaz Law Firm received any form of financial recovery from the Ponzi Defendants. Which meant that by the time Kathy Avilla met Tre Lovell, out of the initial 1,200 Plaintiffs, 1,199 had received absolutely nothing in their case against the Ponzi Defendants. And now there were only 144 Plaintiffs left. They were betting everything. Their lives, their future, it was all on the line, and in the capable, reassuring hands of Tre Lovell. Kathy told me the moment she knew Tre would be her Attorney. It

was at that fateful meeting in Starbucks. She had just recounted her terrible story of betrayal, greed, pure evil and human loss at a catastrophic level. She said Tre lowered his head and said, “My God, this could have happened to my parents.” Kathy’s instincts were correct. What led her to Tre? Synchronicity at God’s behest? One thing was clear: this Universe decided that these 144 human beings had endured enough pain in their lives. It was time for compassion. It was time for love. From the very first group meet-

ing with the Plaintiffs, Attorney Tre Lovell stood on stage and his sincerity shined. Plaintiffs marveled at his patience in explaining facts of the case to them. He laid out his plans for going after the Defendants, step by step. Answering any and all questions as he went along. Not to speak ill of the Diaz Firm in Florida, but I can only go by what I’ve been told: the kindness, sympathy, and basic human compassion that Tre showed these Plaintiffs when interacting with them was something they had never seen or experienced

We all live by a moral compass. When we trust it, it will never fail us... in the end

with any other attorney. To date, Attorney Tre Lovell is now part of an exclusive group of Attorneys in Los Angeles who have won Multimillion-dollar lawsuits for their clients. The exact figures can’t be disclosed, because there are still Ponzi fish left to be caught in Attorney Tre Lovell’s net of justice. Out of the initial 1,200 Plaintiffs, the 144 individuals who survived and were somehow able to hang in there long enough to meet Atty. Lovell have all received some form of compensation. But there are

still Defendants out there. And a lot more money due to the Plaintiffs. The victories Tre Lovell has already accomplished in this Ponzi case have landed him in the history books of lawsuits. Resolution is getting as much money recovered for all of his clients as he can, but there’s a moral payoff here. Remember, Tre’s father was the youngest City Attorney in the Nation when they lived in Vegas. We all live by a Moral Compass. When we trust it, it will never fail us... in the end. Meaning, you may question the sanity of doing the right thing sometimes, especially when a happy ending seems so many lightyears away. But if you admit you have no idea how the future will play out by taking this moral path, and you trust your decision to follow your moral compass, then you will live with no regrets. To the brilliant author, Philip Pullman, with all due respect, a “Golden Compass” holds no value -- a true treasure is a “Golden Moral Compass,” just like the one in Attorney Tre Lovell’s hand.


Books That Make You… Reminisce about the LA Times Festival of Books By Bree Swider

This year the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books showcased many talented authors from all over the world at the University of Southern California, April 13th and 14th. LATFoB is the largest books and storytelling event in America. It started in 1996 and is now world-renowned. Writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, musicians and emerging authors all gathered to celebrate literary culture. Books That Make You participated in the event with many talented authors and enthusiastic readers. Here is a lineup of just a few of the premiere authors and their books that were showcased. Konni Granma


Susan Shofer Susan Shofer appeared at the LA Times Festival of Books with her new edition of The Divorce Recovery Ladder. This guidebook serves as an informative tool to help readers through the messy divorce process and beyond.

Konni Granma’s recent novel, The Lonely Hearts Bar, made its debut at the LA Times Festival of Books. Readers couldn’t wait to grab their copy of this one-of-a-kind novel-meetsscreenplay story.

Laurie Finkelstein

Author Laurie Finkelstein attended the LA Times Festival of Books with a fan-favorite, Next Therapist Please. Laurie’s award-winning novel is a comedic take on mental illness with a romantic twist.

Barbara Morriss

Barbara Morriss gave us a sneak peek at her soon-to-be released novel, A Promise in Autumn. Readers took home exclusive advanced copies of the historic romance novel.

Laurel Anne Hill

The award-winning novel, The Engine Woman’s Light, was featured at the festival with author Laurel Anne Hill available for autographs. Readers and reviewers can’t get enough of this young adult steam punk adventure.

Naomi Brett Rourke

Contributor, Naomi Brett Rourke showcased Straight Out of Tombstone at the LA Times Festival of Books. Straight out of Tombstone is a collection of seven stories that breathe new life into the dusty old west.

Mark J. Rose

Mark J. Rose launched his newest book, Virginian, the third installment in the Matt Miller in the Colonies series. Fans of the sci-fi meets history novels are thrilled to see what happens next.

Dr. Ken Best

Holistic chiropractor, Dr. Ken Best, shared advice from his book, 11 Ways to Face Life’s Challenges. His core message is “everything comes down to stress.” His book helps people to address belief systems that can cause imbalances.

Yanique Beliard-Michel

Just released memoir, Unique in America by Yanique Beliard-Michel, was available at the Los Angeles Festival of Books. Yanique’s story of immigrating to the U.S. is captivating readers everywhere.

Tara Botel Doherty

Author Tara Botel Doherty attended the LA Festival of Books and participated in interviews and book signings. She gave readers an exclusive first look into her not-yet-released novel, Growing Up Hollywood.

Robert Yehling

Robert Yehling, author of Voices joined us at The LA Festival of Books. Voices is a father-daughter-lost daughter relationship story set to 50 years of rock and roll. “Reminds me of a great musical time.” — the late Marty Balin, Jefferson Airplane.

A.G. Billig

The talented author A.G. Billing made an appearance with her book, I Choose Love: A Journey from Fear to Love. Helping people everywhere discover the secret to finding happiness and true love.

Jenna Busch

Fans of superheroes and comic books couldn’t get enough of Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth. Contributor, Jenna Busch shared this powerful psychologic book on the history and creation of the pop culture icon, Wonder Woman.

Mike Robinson

Dreamshores, by Mike Robinson is a nail-biting, fantasy novel filled with twists and surprises. Interviewers and readers alike were enthralled with the unpredictable plot.

Debra Tash

Debra Tash attended the festival with her dystopian novel, Last Call America: Last Call Before Darkness Falls. This highly-rated novel is a Books That Make You favorite.

Love books? Want to win books? Want to join us on a totally bookish adventure? Visit to discover more.

Scan to visit Books That Make You HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY 13



t h g tli our


of y s e isod today's p e t ates mas on l e h th TV dra ght c t a C ite otli r p o S v fa


“Say Mess to the Dress” - When Clem’s mother-in-law, Rose, asks her to wear “Uncanny Valley of the Dolls” -- Holmes and Watson discover that the murder of a her old wedding dress, Clem is touched, but afraid to tell her it’s not her robotics engineer may be connected to his groundbreaking secret research in the area style. Also, Nick tries to prove his athleticism by taking Ben’s advanced spin of real-life teleportation. Also, when Detective Bell is shut out of a required class he class, on FAM, on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R): Brian Stokes needs in order to complete his master’s degree and join the U.S. Marshal Service, he Mitchell as Walt, Odessa Adlon as Shannon, and Nina Dobrev as Clem. Phois shocked to discover the course instructor has personal reasons for denying him to: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved access, on ELEMENTARY, Monday, August 13 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell JEFF NEIRA/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved



TV | MacGyver

TV | The Big Bang Theory

“The Laureate Accumulation” -- Pictured: Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch). When competitors Pemberton (Sean Astin) and Campbell (Kal Penn) charm America on a publicity tour, Sheldon and Amy try to bring Nobel laureates Kip Thorne, George Smoot and Frances Arnold to their side. on THE BIG BANG THEORY, on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

TV | Arrow

LAUREL TEAMS UP WITH OLIVER — Laurel (Katie Cassidy) learns about some damaging information that affects Emiko (Sea Shimooka). Always looking to protect his sister, Oliver (Stephen Amell) invites Laurel to help investigate, which makes Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) happy as her friend is now working with the team. Patia Prouty directed the episode written by Sarah Tarkhoff & Elizabeth Kim HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY • 17


(L-R): Andri Korotun, Deedee Benkovich, Bulet Rush, Shihan Lu, Victor Migalchan, Vivi Lin, Maggie Le, Troy Montgomery

Movieverse Entertainment launches TV comedy "My American Family"

By Prather Jackson

US-based production company Movieverse Entertainment recently announced the launching of their new TV show "My American Family,” a comedy drama that deals with issues of immigration, American Dreams and humanity. The show begins with a Mexican American family whose lives are turned upside down after an international student who comes to the U.S. to pursue his American Dream stays in their house. Movieverse has also announced an open casting calls for actors whose talents align with characters in the show. Victor Migalchan (Producer/Director, Creator of the show): "The idea for the series came from real life. We hope to use our story to tell what the American dream is in today's era and how unique it is. No matter how time may cange, people's desire to pursue their dreams will never change. Although in today's political situation, there might be more twists and turns, but as long as people persist in their dreams and support each other, they will make it. Our story has tears and joy, and most importantly, warm friendship, affection and love. No matter where we come from we can pursue our dreams in the United States. The American dream depends on each one of us. I also got a lot of inspiration from Vivi Lin's new show "Zero to Hero," which is about secrets of success

from giving. I am very grateful to China and the Chinese culture and I’d like to take this chance and give back to the Chinese community by telling great stories of how east meets the west Tang Zhiliang (Executive Producer, Co-creator): "It is my pleasure to work on this show. I've produced many award-winning tv shows and programs in China, and this time it is even more exciting as we are connecting many cultures and combining different storytelling methods. We strive for perfection. Our team has analyzed both US and China Entertainment Markets, and we see huge potentials for success. Our goal is to create authentic and interesting content, to unite people around the world and most importantly to promote traditional values, such as family, loyalty and friends ." Vivi Lin (Producer/TV Journalist, co-creator):“My main goal in “My American Fam-

ily” is to make Hollywood reflect more Asian representation. We rarely see Asians playing an important role in American films and TV series, although this situation is slowly changing, as we can see from ”Crazy Rich Asians" and Netflix's "Fresh off the boat”. Therefore, I’d like to integrate the stories of Chinese culture, Asian and Chinese new immigrants into this TV series to make the story more exciting, more diversified and more international. Like “My American Family,” my other new TV show, "Zero to Hero,” is also aiming to help people succeed in life. It’s a talk show to explore the secrets behind success. I’ve interviewed a series of successful individuals who started from scratch, including a convict-turned Hollywood star, a self made billionaires, world's most successful female entrepreneurs, athletes and other successful people, analyzing the underlying reasons of their success from the scientific perspectives of psychology and brain science the . ."Deedee Benkovich (Producer/Writer):“Our show is unique, even though we did get inspirations from successful shows, such as "Fresh off the Boat," "Modern Family," "Blackish," and "New Girl." “ Bulet Rush (EMMY-winning Producer):“According to my understanding of the Emmy Awards, this show has the potential to win an Emmy as it uses humor to tackle deep social issues. Our goal exactly - to take "home an Emmy. “ Andre Korotun (Teletriumph-Award winning Editor): “The challenge of making this project is pretty big, but we are confident that we will make a show that the audience will absolutely love.” Troy Montgomery (Producer/ Member of PGA): "As a member of the American Producers Association and a native American, I am very happy to be part of this diverse team.

(L-R): Shihan Lu, Bulet Rush, Deedee Benkovich, Victor Migalchan, Vivi Lin, Andri Korotun, Troy Montgomery, Maggie Le

Mara-Joanne Derinor

My Black is Beautiful

“Mara is a writer who demonstrates with Grace and passion the history of her experience--the hopes and dreams that shapes lives. She is a young voice that we will hear from for years!” -Danny M. Hoey, Jr., Author of the Butterfly Lady.

About The Author Mara-Joanne Derinor, also known as Belle La Poet, is a Haitian-American poet, writer, song-writer, dancer, director, and choreographer. She completed her Bachelor’s in Nursing and Dance at Barry University. She is currently a Registered Nurse. She is recognized by many for her hard work. Her poetry and flash fiction has been recognized and published in Barry University’s Newspaper. Two of her poems written about the history and culture of Haiti titled “A People” and “Unity” were both published by Haiti: Then and Now” (HTN) in 2017. Her poem “The Last Dance” and her choreographed ballet piece were featured in Indian River State College’s Dance Ensemble January 2018. Her poetry, visual art projects, songs, and short films are all creative masterpieces put together to raise awareness on different social issues such as anxiety and depression, domestic violence, social injustice, Black Lives Matter Movement, self-esteem, and self-love.


@ Belle_La_Poet dp/1626329982

client to arrive and for the client to go home, we do all the in between.


THE ULTIMATE SELF-PROMOTER He’s different; he’s big, he’s loud, and he’s funny, He is Louis Perry. If the name sounds familiar, it is possible you have seen him on a news report on KCAL9, CBS2, NBC, or FoxNews. If he looks familiar, you may have seen him in over three dozen magazines or newspaper articles, or perhaps in a fight on TV at the corner of the ring as an inspector for the California Athletic Commission or you have received one of Louis Perry packages in the mail or what he refers to as his promotional packages. Louis Perry is the ultimate self-promoter; he is everywhere, and not even a publicist could do what he has done for himself. Louis Perry is on TV, Newspapers, Radios, Magazines, and has ten thousand followers on his weekly blast. According to Louis Perry, that’s the way he wants it with lots of exposure, to be seen, to be heard, and to be read about by the world. When I walked into Louis Perry’s office at Kadima Security Services headquarters to which he is the President and Founder. His office walls are full of photos of the who’s who, from him 20 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

with three United States Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Reagan; Vice President Al Gore; Top Boxers; Top MMA Fighters; Robert S. Mueller III, Special Counsel; Pope John Paul II; Stanisław Dziwisz, Archbishop of Kraków; and the list goes on. When Louis visited Poland, he visited the concentration camps in Auschwitz to pay his respects to his Jewish Brothers and Sisters as he refers to his Jewish clients who have embraced him and named him “The Undercover Jew.” He is grateful for the clients that have entrusted him with being their security providers such as movie stars, politicians, the rich of the rich and even everyday folks call on Louis Perry. Kadima Security Services is slowly becoming the most sought-after company for the high profile, the Jewish community, and according to Louis: “The credit goes all to my team!” As my team at Kadima is like a puzzle, all the pieces fit and fall into place. We have a solid team; we care about our customers, and our customers know they can trust us as our goal from start to finish is for the

When I asked Louis what the future holds, Louis stated: “Whatever God tells me to do, I will be the best at it. I have a great blessed life; I love people, I have a wonderful wife, three wonderful kids, a granddaughter, three amazing dogs, and a wonderful company with a great team and a great assortment of clients. I am blessed, and I completely want to keep doing what I’m doing.” I also asked Louis: “what does he do for enjoyment?” and he stated: “I like to assist people to find their dreams and path in life; to watch people smile, and mentoring our youth. It’s my way of giving back, and it gives me enjoyment to see others progress and I love spreading in many ways that I choose to do so!” lastly, he stated: “Life is beautiful and through hard work and a solid relationship with God is my answer!”

Louis Perry with President Clinton

Louis Perry with Odell Becham Jr.


too bad for me, I answer my own phone,” and we shared a laugh. In reality, Buble’s music is important to millions around the world who glean such joy and comfort from his flawless interpretation of some of the most iconic music of the 20th century, as well as original music written and performed by Buble. His original works have swiftly gone on to achieve classic status in the soundtrack of our lives.

Michael Bublé

Leans in with Love and Laughter


By Allison Kugel

ichael Buble’s first order of business when we began our conversation was to immediately put me at ease around his enormous celebrity. The multi-Grammy and multi-Juno Award (Canada’s answer to the Grammy awards) winning singer who sells out the world’s largest stadiums, has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, and singlehandedly made us re-visit our 22 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

love affair with the great American songbook, set out to calm my excitable sensibilities with his seamless charm and wit. Upon picking up his call, a woman came on the line asking me if I was ready to speak with Michael. Two seconds later Michael, himself, came on the line and opened with, “She doesn’t really work for me. I just have her do that to make me sound more important,” as he let out a chuckle. My reply? “Well,

The year 2019 marks a boon of personal and professional success, and a packed schedule for Buble. His family’s much publicized heartbreak as they fought for their son Noah, as he battled pediatric liver cancer, set Buble on a new course of humility which was evident =throughout our conversation. Now, with Noah’s health much improved, Michael Buble re-emerged with a new album, aptly titled Love (or simply, the heart emoji) on which he collaborated with mega-music producer, David Foster; a sold-out worldwide tour and his seventh upcoming musical television special, set to air on NBC on March 20th. My conversation with Michael Buble is one of his most authentic and reflective, to date. We cover the subjects of parenthood, success, spirituality, love, humor, and of course, the music. Allison Kugel: Hello Michael. How are you? Michael Buble: If you hear kids screaming in the background, Oh My God, so sorry about that. My daughter is running around screaming. Allison Kugel: Aww, when I do my interviews from home, I have my

nine-year-old running around in the background, so I get it! Michael Buble: Boy or a girl? Allison Kugel: A boy. Michael Buble: You’re probably like, (whispering) “Shhh, Stop it (laughs).” Does he know the deal with what you do? Allison Kugel: He knows I interview people. It’s funny, I had him with me one day for “Take Your Kids to Work Day.” I was trying to impress him, saying how I interview all of these amazing people and showing him where my work is published, and his response was, “I’m bored.” Michael Buble: (Laughs) My kids love it. They’re actually coming with me now on tour. Allison Kugel: Is your wife on tour with you as well? Michael Buble: They all come along. I set it up so that they come on tour, and when my wife (Argentine actress, Luisana Lopilato) has a film, I schedule it so that for those weeks I take that time off and I take the kids on set to watch her. It’s a lot of fun. Allison Kugel: I have to tell you, I was watching footage of your NBC special, and you always reduce me to tears. You probably hear stories like this all the time, but when my son was a newborn, I had a routine with him every night, where before I put him down in his crib, I would pick him up in my arms and slow dance with him to your music. When I hear Home or Quando Quando Quando, I just lose it, because I think back to that beautiful time. Michael Buble: That’s great. He’s your boyfriend. It sounds so strange

to say that, and whenever I say that, people are like, “That sounds weird,” but it’s not. Obviously, not in that way, but it is romantic. He’s going to love you forever. You’ll be the love of his life and he’s the love of your life. Allison Kugel: I’m banking on it. Michael Buble: I love my boys and I’m close with my boys, but it’s not the same as with my daughter. Everyone told me it would be different, and I was like, “No, no it won’t be.” And it’s different. She looks at me with those big blue eyes and I’m toast. Allison Kugel: You must hear stories like mine all the time. Do people constantly share with you how your music has been weaved into their most important memories? Michael Buble: Oh, for sure. It allows me to have an even greater sense of fulfillment when people come up to me and tell me how my music has impacted or affected their lives. More than anything, I think I have had servicemen and servicewomen

tell me that they’ve gone through scary things and been away for long amounts of time in places that were obviously not comfortable for them, and that songs like Home brought them a ton of peace and got them through a tough time. I think when people say things like that to you, as an artist, it gives you a sense of understanding that what you do matters. I don’t mean “matters” in a sense of being more important than the jobs of other people. But when you’re missing people and you’re away from your own family, there is power in music. There is power in sharing songs like that and allowing people to interpret them in their own way. I’ve heard the same stories from people who have gone through terrible breakups and people who have been legitimately lonely. They’ve said to me, “The song Haven’t Met You Yet is getting me through.” And then Christmas comes up and I’ll hear from people that that’s all their kids listen to in the car, or it makes them think of

My goal in life is to be kind, and to do what I do with integrity, and just to know myself their grandfather who they lost. It’s a testament to the power of music. Melody is the voice of God, I think. Allison Kugel: I’ll tell you what I have always found fascinating about you, and I’m a fan of music from earlier times. I’m forever listening to music from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. What’s so interesting about you is that you came along in the very early 2000s when everything was hip hop, and rap/ rock. What made you believe that you could even break through as somebody who was crooning these songs from a bygone era? Michael Buble: It was probably stupidity (laughs). I mean, thinking that I might have success was probably naiveté. But honest to God, I think I was blinded by the love of the music. And by the way, I love all kinds of music. I love rock, R & B and rap. For me, if it’s good, it’s good. It doesn’t matter who did it or where it came from. I hoped that I could trust my instincts. Allison Kugel: I’ve been listening to this author and speaker named 24 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

Dr. Joe Dispenza. He studies the patterns of the human brain and how we create our own reality. He essentially talks about how anybody who has ever achieved something great, has been able to believe in a vision and believe in a life for themselves that they couldn’t yet perceive with their physical senses. When I read that you, from the age of two, knew you were going to be a singer, slept with your bible at night and prayed for it, and you held strong to that vision for all of those years before it actually materialized in your life, I put you in that great category. Does that make sense? Michael Buble: Yeah, it does, and there’s a few people like Eckhart Tolle with The Power of Now, and some of these other philosophers who also talk about that. There is a Canadian writer [Malcolm Gladwell], he wrote a book called The Outliers. His whole premise was that to truly become great at something, you need to put in ten thousand hours of work. And if you find anyone who’s become truly great at what they do, they have put in that

amount of time. There are little parts of what you were talking about that mix with the practical application of doing things enough and focusing enough. You learn by osmosis and your experience helps you to grow. Then by the time you get your opportunity, you’re ready. I think that probably had a lot to do with it for me. Number one, I loved it. I had a passion for the music and the songs, and all of that. But I did the work; I practiced, I sang, and I studied. I took it all in and I digested it as much as possible and downloaded it as much as possible in every kind of genre. I get what you’re saying. You’re talking about visualizing. I have a friend who tells me often that he used to walk down the street and say to himself, “I have a million dollars.” Not, “I want a million dollars,” but, “I have a million dollars; I am successful.” Allison Kugel: You’re living it and believing it, rather than wishing for it. Michael Buble: Yes, but this is a difficult conversation, because I think for people who have had the success and who have done that, they can confidently say to you, “Yes, it works. It worked for me, I did that.” For most of the people who don’t have that, I think they look at it as pish posh. Allison Kugel: I think people afraid to relinquish their faith over to something that may leave them empty handed. It’s the fear of, well, if I really invest myself in this process and I really believe, and it doesn’t materialize in my life, I’ll be devastated. Therefore, I’m going to remain skeptical. Michael Buble: There’s times where I think to myself, “My God, I worked at visualizing and praying and want-

Photos courtesy of Elissa Ayadi

ing, and putting out all of that stuff to the universe, and it worked.” But then there’s a lot of times where I have to say to myself that I was just so lucky, so lucky. I mean, a million dominos had to fall in the most perfect way for this to have happened in my life. The question that I really ask myself is, if I had to do it all over again, would I be brave enough? Allison Kugel: Mmm, okay. I’ll ask you the question. Knowing everything you now know about the music industry, about the odds, about everything you’re aware of; if you had to start from square one, would you have the courage to do it all over again? Michael Buble: No. Allison Kugel: You don’t think so?

Michael Buble: I don’t think so. Allison Kugel: Wow. Well thank God that’s not an option! Michael Buble: It’s a hard question to think about, because reality doesn’t come into it. I came home yesterday with my wife and we had to take our son to his checkup, the scans and everything (Buble is talking about his son Noah, who is currently in remission from pediatric liver cancer). We take him every three months for checkups, and it’s really scary. My wife and I actually talked about this and we said, “My God, look at what we did.” Here we were, she was twenty-three years old and I was thirty-two. We met in Argentina and we fell in love. Everyone told us that it was impossible. They told us not to do it, because it was too far

away, the whole long-distance relationship thing. And we did it. We got married. Everyone said, “That’s crazy. That’s not going to work. And whatever you do, don’t have kids, because that’ll be murder.” And then we had kids. And then there’s what happened to our family (referencing son Noah’s cancer diagnosis). One of the first things a doctor told me at one of the hospitals we’d gone to, was to stay strong and help each other through this. A friend of ours, when we had asked why the doctors keep telling us that, this friend of ours who works with families going through things like this, said, that something like 92% of couples who go through this… Allison Kugel: Get divorced… Michael Buble: Get divorced. And HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY • 25

that you don’t have the power to completely shield them from the pain and discomfort of life. Michael Buble: And you don’t have the power to shield them from yourself. For sure, I thought to myself, “He’s going to be better than I am!” I am so flawed. I’m so flawed and so impatient, and there are so many things about me that I don’t like or that I wish I could improve on. And then you go, “Oh my God, he’s acting exactly like me.”

Photos courtesy of Elissa Ayadi

many of the 8% who don’t, have [more] children. And of course, my wife and I thought here we are with a beautiful daughter. We were in the car yesterday and I looked at her, and said, “Would you do it all over again?” She then answered, “Of course I would do it all over again. I wouldn’t want anything different. You guys are the greatest joy of my life.” But then my question to her was, “But would you be brave enough to do it all over again?” And then she said, “I don’t know.” And I 26 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

would have to say the same thing. I don’t know. Allison Kugel: Any of us could say that. It’s like when you have a baby. You bring that baby home from the hospital, and the thought that goes through your mind is that you are going to give this kid a perfect existence, and you’re going to shelter him or her from any pain or discomfort. And then life happens, and you feel completely out of control because you realize

Allison Kugel: You do your best and nobody gets through life without bumps and bruises. Turning things over to the enormity of your career, when you’re on that stage looking out over the massive crowd of 20,000 or 30,000 people who are there to watch you perform, do you ever have an out-of-body experience, like you’re looking at this famous guy singing his heart out on stage and you’re just like, “How did I get here?!” Michael Buble: It’s weird, I used to [feel like that] years ago. I don’t anymore. It’s really strange to say this, but after what I’ve gone through and what my family has gone through, I actually talk about it during my shows. I feel so deeply connected to all those beautiful souls in the audience; I don’t feel there is a difference between us. The truth is, they’re singing just as much as I am. We laugh together, we dance together, and we cry to together. The truth is, I would never have gotten through what I got through without them. I don’t care what people think of me. My goal in life is to be kind, and to do what I do with integrity, and just to know myself. But I’ll never use the word “fan.” I think it’s a shitty word. Allison Kugel: It is a shitty word.

Michael Buble: It’s short for “fanatical,” and I think that’s negative. I don’t think these are fanatics. I think these are beautiful human beings who need as much love, and who give as much love, as anybody else. When I’m standing there on stage, it’s emotional for me. Sometimes I can control that emotion and sometimes I can’t. But you’re asking me how I feel, and it’s overwhelming. I feel overwhelmed… and grateful. I didn’t know if I was ever going to come back. Allison Kugel: When you took that hiatus to deal with your son’s health, you really thought that could be it? Michael Buble: Yeah. Allison Kugel: What was the impetus for you to come back? Michael Buble: He was better. We didn’t know how it was going to turn out. My heart was broken, I don’t know. It wasn’t that I ever fell out of love with music. I just didn’t know if I had it in me to go out there and be joyful. It just wasn’t something I could turn on. Allison Kugel: And you returned with an album dedicated to love. The album’s title is a heart emoji, and features some of the most beautiful love songs. Is that because you were so filled with love and gratitude for your son’s healing? Michael Buble: It’s because I was in a bubble, looking out at the world, and I saw a lot of negative things happening around the world. I realized that I had an opportunity to put beautiful things out there. Allison Kugel: Which is so important, because we need as many

people out there as possible lifting collective consciousness. Michael Buble: Sometimes I feel like I’m just one small person, but I feel like there is a lot of power that one person can generate. We can all make a difference, and it usually comes in those random acts of kindness and putting love out there. I felt that if I didn’t do something that was being true to myself and true to how I felt about what the world needed, then I was one of the assholes that was making the world worse. I sat with my producer, David Foster, who had bene retired. And he wasn’t going back. This was a year before we ever got into the studio. I said, “Are you ever going to work again?” He said, “No, I don’t think so. I love being retired. I don’t think I could ever go back in the studio. What about you?” I said, “David, if I ever go back, I just want it to be joy. I want it to be bliss, and I want to work with people I love, put out beautiful music and make people fall in love.” I think both of us in that moment had this epiphany. After that day, he said to me, “Well, Mike, man, if I ever come back, it would be with you.” And then a year later we found ourselves in the studio doing it. Allison Kugel: What do you think you are here in this life as Michael Buble to learn? Michael Buble: Listen, I don’t know yet. I’m still learning a lot. What scares me is I’ve learned so much more in the past five years than I had in all my previous years combined. The reason I am reticent to give you an answer is because I can’t imagine what I will learn in another five. What I’ve learned is how much I don’t know. Life moves quickly, and… I think I sound like Ferris Bueller right now (laughs).

Allison Kugel: (Laughs) I was just thinking that! Michael Buble: (Laughs) I think just waking up in the morning and focusing on being kind. It sounds weird, but just be kind, be loving, forgive and try to get through this very short life. And especially when you have kids, you hope your actions are louder than your words. Allison Kugel: Dare I now ask, what you feel you are here to teach? Michael Buble: I do have an idea, but it’s really personal to me and I don’t want to get preachy. But I do, and I think you do to. I can hear it in the way you speak. I think you have a good, solid idea of what you are doing here. Allison Kugel: I’ve been studying this stuff for quite some time. I hope I don’t sound too airy fairy. Michael Buble: It’s okay to be airy fairy. I have my faith and I try never to put it in people’s faces, because there’s a lot of people who don’t believe the same things I do, and that’s okay I don’t know who’s right, I really don’t. I can keep it simple and say I don’t know what there is or what there isn’t, but I feel in some way we are all connected. I know that each one of us gets to play a part in bringing goodness and humanity into the world. I feel like sometimes, because of the job I have, it can be magnified. If I can do that as best as I can, that can be my legacy.


The Shadow Warrior of Hollywood

By Victor Migalchan

This story is about a unique man who stands behind success of many Hollywood stars, personalities, and athletes. He is the doctor gifted from God, a real-life warrior, and bodybuilding champion. His name is Dr. Marwan Chahayed. Dr. Marwan’s interest and passion to become a doctor started as a teenager. He was actively studying anatomy and the history of physical therapy on his free time. When he decided to go to college, Dr. Marwan became the top student through in-depth studies and hard work. During his time at college, Dr. Marwan also had rich intern experience in the medical field. While pursuing his dream to become a doctor, he was introduced to bodybuilding. He grew to love this sport and has been bodybuilding ever since. After graduating, his hard work was immediately noticed, and he received multiple offers from top medical centers. After working under other doctors for some time, Dr. Marwan decided to make his own path.

While developing his own system and medical center, he was simultaneously pursuing his bodybuilding career. He won multiple competitions and titles. Greatness is not only determined by successes, but how someone recovers from failure. Great are those who have inner power to rise and continue to fight after they are hit hard by life. When everything was going well with Dr. Marwan’s med-

ical and bodybuilding career, he faced a tremendous hit. He lost a close member of his family. Many people would not be able to deal with this great loss, but Dr. Marwan did not fall apart. He used all that pain and put his energy into going on the stage and winning his next bodybuilding competition. With tears in his eyes, Dr. Marwan shared how difficult it was to overcome his grief. He is so thankful for the support of his family and closest friends. With their support and his inner strength, he decided that he could make it big. What also distinguishes great people is their will to change the world by contributing to society, playing a strong role in the community, and serving others. Dr. Marwan never stops helping people. Despite being a full-time doctor with many patients, he always finds a minute to support younger athletes or just give advice, support, and motivation to those who need it. He gladly opens up his heart and shares his knowledge and experience with those who sincerely wish to learn.



The Funbox Influencer Event The Funbox LA, The Oaks Mall Staff Photography

Circus Vargas Presents “Greatest of Ease” Circus Vargas, Burbank House Photography

Lisa Vanderpump Cats’ opening night red carpet Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles Photo By: Matthew Murphy Manish Arora’s band of misfits Autumn/Winter 2019 Show Paris Fashion Week Photo By: Yannis Vlamos 30 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

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Malin Akerman & Constance Zimmer, H&M USA & The Environmental Media Association (EMA) Partnership Launch Event H& M, Los Angeles Photo By: Getty Images


purchasing carbon offsets. The company will donate offsets on all of its domestic flights on all trips including staff travel. It will invite clients to offset and make a donation to Offsetters.

This company that pioneered women-only adventure travel today offers more international itineraries than any of its competitors in the women-only sector. But to Jennifer Haddow, owner and guiding director, more important than the size of her company is its on-going, two-fold mission wrapped around the word kind: to support climate justice and to support women to take their place as leaders in the world of outdoor adventure travel. Climate Justice Wild Womenkind’s initial campaign focuses on the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Wild Women Expeditions will invest in a conservation economy through a planned contribution of $10,000 to this valuable resource and by


The primary recipient will be the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project. The setting is a temperate rainforest of 1,000-year-old Western red cedar and Sitka spruce that spans the Pacific Coast of British Columbia and is part of the world’s largest remaining, pristine, coastal, temperate rainforest. Here, too, are the traditional (since 7190 BCE) territories of the Heiltsuk First Nation. The forest teems with life, including the S pirit (Kermode) Bear, a white (thanks to a recessive gene) relative of the American black bear that also resides here, along with cougars and wolves. In the surrounding water are flitting dolphins and the blowing mists of humpback whales. (For details see Great Bear Rainforest Kayak Adventure, an eight-day kayaking and camping journey with July 8 and July 15 departures in 2019. See https://wildwomenexpeditions. com/trips/great-bear-british-columbia/

“Our adventure in the Great Bear Rainforest celebrates the spirit of the international campaign to bring attention to this endangered coastline and its iconic wildlife. If we want to see precious places like this protected, we need to go there and enjoy them and show the world their tremendous value,” said Haddow. “We support the end to the trophy bear hunt and making sure that threatened species such as sea wolves are targeted in a positive way by tourism.” The campaign also celebrates a new IMAX film, “Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear.” This 41-minute film debuted on Feb. 15, 2019.

Women Rising In such diverse countries as Morocco and Thailand, Wild Women Expeditions’ outreach to women – as guests on trips, as guides on these trips, as workers in their communities – is making a difference in the lives of the women themselves. The key is empowerment that can lead women to taking on leadership positions. For example, two itineraries being introduced this year focus on the Berber culture of the women of Morocco. Morocco is known for being one of the most progressive states in the Middle East and North because of its sup-

port for women’s rights. Despite these advancements, women’s education in Morocco still lags behind and over 80% of women are illiterate. By casting Moroccan women as, among others, drivers and guides for these trips, Haddow hopes that both guests and locals will be empowered. “On our Morocco tour we put the stories of women in the spotlight while empowering them with opportunities to benefit from tourism and play a leading role,” she said. Wild Women Expeditions tours in Morocco will help empower women by: Working with a female Berber entrepreneur who owns the transportation company for these tours and who hires female drivers; Engaging Berber Moroccan women as tour leaders are hiring female guides; Supporting trek guide training for Moroccan women;Visiting women’s cooperatives where locally made items are sold; Basing in a riad in Marrakech that employs women trained by the Amal Centre for disadvantaged women (http:// Conversing over a women-hosted dinner in Casablanca through Al Hidn, an association that empowers illiterate widow women in rebuilding their lives through a series of educational programs as well as providing them with financial and educational support to keep their kids in school; Supporting the Henna Café, a social enterprise project for women in Marrakech; Using accommodations that reflect the company’s commitment to women’s empowerment, such

as the Kasbah Toubkhal that co-founded the Education for All program for girls’ education (an additional 5% of the revenue from a group stay here is donated to this local project); Donating to the Education for All campaign as a project partner; Being mindful of the environment – through women – with an overnight at an eco lodge owned by a local woman and part of an ecotourism initiative focused on empowering local women in the Riff: See: For details on two itineraries being offered see: https://wildwomenexpeditions. com/trips/medinas-to-mountains-northern-morocco/ and Wild Womenkind extends a hand to both women and wildlife. On Elephants, Treks, and Temples Tour Wild Women Expeditions supports an elephant project run by the Karen Hill Tribe women to protect elephants that had been abused in an exploitative riding camp. The company is a funder of the first elephant hospital in Thailand and it supports the campaign of the Asian Captive Elephant Working group, a leading coalition of elephant experts and conservationists.


edly throughout the 1960s as she fought to be cast in roles that didn’t box her in to antiquated stereotypes. Though film roles for a leading lady of color were far and few between at the time, Rita Moreno turned her attention to television and music, taking home a Grammy Award in 1973 for Best Children’s Album during her stint on the popular children’s television program and, The Electric Company. Then came a Tony Award in 1975 for her work in the Broadway production of, The Ritz. Soon, two primetime Emmys followed in 1977 and 1978. Moreno was hard at work establishing herself as a bonified triple threat. She cemented an indelible legacy as one of the world’s most versatile and talented performers. Throughout the ensuing decades, Moreno continued to take on roles on her own terms, proving her staying power for six decades. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she played Sister Peter Marie Reimondo in HBO’s first original and groundbreaking dramatic series, OZ.

Rita Moreno Legacy of a Hollywood Pioneer and Humanitarian By Allison Kugel

Multi-award-winning actress, singer and dancer, Rita Moreno, blazed an iconic trail as the first mainstream Hispanic actress to grace Hollywood when she exploded onto the big screen as Anita in 1961’s classic film, West Side Story. The 34 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

role earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, crowning her the first Hispanic performer to ever win an Academy Award. But even after taking home Hollywood’s top prize, Moreno’s career started and stalled repeat-

Moreno currently stars as Abuelita Lydia Riera, the hilarious and spicy grandmother on the new incarnation of Norman Lear’s television creation, One Day at a Time, now streaming its third season on Netflix. The show’s official premise is, “Two Cultures, One Familia.” It’s an updated twist on the 1975 hit series starring Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli and Pat Harrington, but with a twist. The reboot centers around a Hispanic American family, no doubt Lear’s way of thumbing his nose at some of the more racist rhetoric

flung through 2016’s presidential campaign. In 2014, Actor Morgan Freeman presented Moreno with the Screen Actor’s Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, calling her “a world class actress, singer and dancer,” and just as significantly, “a fighter, who battled to break free of racial and sexual barriers that plagued Hollywood’s golden age.” Before there was Rosie Perez, Salma Hyek or Jennifer Lopez, there was the inimitable Rita Moreno. Recently, Moreno got the call from Steven Spielberg, for a forthcoming remake of the film that made her an icon, West Side Story. Moreno will play a role in the film as well as Executive Produce. I recently sat down with Rita Moreno to discuss her one-of-a-kind career and journey. Allison Kugel: When you won your Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1962 for the film, West Side Story, you thought you would then transcend racial stereotypes with the parts you would be offered. Rita Moreno: And I was very disappointed (laughs). Not only disappointed, but it really, really broke my heart. Allison Kugel: I feel you. I’ve experienced it as a journalist, not in terms of ethnic discrimination, but the bewilderment of hitting a peak and then stalling. Your famous quote about this phase of your career was, “I showed them. I didn’t work for seven years.” Rita Moreno: When I say, “I showed them,” of course, I’m being facetious.

Allison Kugel: Of course. And in this business, it’s very hard to turn down work. Writers write, Actors act, etc. It’s what you do, and you crave it. Rita Moreno: Not only crave it. It pays the rent. Allison Kugel: Yeah, and then there’s that! (Laughs) Any regrets about taking that stance? Rita Moreno: I think it was a very good decision on my part, because the only thing that was being offered, really, were gang movies, and they certainly weren’t as interesting as West Side Story. I think it would have depressed the heck out of me to go back to that stuff. It paid off in the sense that I had peace of mind and I didn’t feel like I was being insulted. Allison Kugel: Let’s talk about the amazing Norman Lear and the One Day at a Time reboot on Netflix you’re starring in. Rita Moreno: Isn’t he something?! Allison Kugel: I think he is a genius! Rita Moreno: He is a genius, you’re right. He’s still going strong. He’s going to be 96, and he can speak and he can walk (laughs). He’s a remarkable man, and a lovely, lovely person. Allison Kugel: All in the Family is my favorite sitcom of all time. Rita Moreno: Oh, it’s one of my favorite shows too! Allison Kugel: The way he has tackled race, gender, religion, sexuality... on and on, has helped to re-shape our society. The original

One Day at a Time with Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli and Pat Harrington that premiered in 1975 was very progressive in that single motherhood was much more taboo at that time. With this updated version, there’s an extra layer to the story in that the family are Hispanic Americans. After all you went through in terms of fighting for roles that accurately represent Hispanic people, do you feel a sense of vindication at portraying a positive representation of a Hispanic family on television? Rita Moreno: Vindication implies that I’m still angry. No, I don’t feel any sense of vindication. I’m just so happy and so proud that Hispanics have more representation. I think we’re still not there. I think we are underrepresented. But feeling vindictive is a waste of time, don’t you think? Allison Kugel: Wrong choice of words. Perhaps a better way to put it would be, “a sense of wholeness.” I was watching an episode earlier, and there’s a scene where your character, Lydia, is talking about the racial slurs she had to endure in her generation. When her daughter and granddaughter ask her for specifics, Lydia summons up the courage to say the word “spic” out loud. The context of the scene is that she is disempowering that word that was so painful for her. To be able to stand there and say it, and disempower the word... Rita Moreno: What was so remarkable about that scene is that kids don’t even [fully] understand that word. It’s bizarre. Lydia is carrying on and on about the word “spic,” HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY • 35

and everybody in the room is like, “Yeah, so?” It was a terrible word in my time. I love that! Allison Kugel: I have to give so much credit to the show’s creator, Norman Lear. The courage to look something in the eye and stare it down, man, and incorporate comedy into it is amazing. Rita Moreno: That’s a wonderful way to put it, yes. You’re right. Allison Kugel: What do you hope viewers of the updated ODAAT will learn about Hispanic American families? Rita Moreno: It’s what I think they are learning, because we have now gained an American audience as well. We always, of course, had the Hispanic community watching the show. People who are not Hispanic are learning that family is family, is family. It’s universal. That’s what Norman was hoping for. You want the universality of the situation to work on people, and that’s what has happened. The moment of, “Oh My God. We’re like that too!” Just add in some spice and some deliciousness, which is the Hispanic nature of the show. Allison Kugel: If you live in a smaller town in the United States, where you are only surrounded by people who are just like you, it’s so easy to dismiss other types of people, because you don’t have to get to know them. Once you get to know people who are different from you and you see their humanity, it becomes much harder to be dismissive. Rita Moreno: Yeah. And I find that a lot of people who watch our show just love Lydia. She’s so outrageous and so big. Children love Lydia. Go figure! 36 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

Allison Kugel: Because your character is that bridge between what was and what is. You’re teetering on the edge between the old school stuff that you came of age with, while trying to embrace the world we’re living in now. Rita Moreno: She’s familiar with what she calls “JouTube.” (Moreno puts on a Cuban accent) and “SnapChap.” (Laughs) But she’s familiar with it, which is terrific. It’s because we have a room full of young writers who are all into that kind of stuff. For the new season, there’s an episode that guest stars Gloria Estefan. It’s hilarious. She plays my sister, and all I can tell you is we hate each other. The whole episode is centered around a funeral of an aunt, and Gloria’s character comes to town to attend the funeral. Gloria is absolutely, deliciously funny! And of course, we’re both over the top as we’re trying to do air kisses that are about three feet apart. Allison Kugel: When you hear other Hispanic performers speak, and I know I have heard this from Jennifer Lopez, they always refer to you as the gold standard of excellence and inspiration. You were the performer who made them believe that this career was achievable for them. Have you had a chance to speak to any of the younger Latino actors and singers about your influence on them? Rita Moreno: I’ve heard it from Jennifer, and I’ve heard it from Rosie Perez, and also from Andy Garcia. Allison Kugel: As someone who emigrated to the states from Puerto Rico as a young girl and who wanted to be a performer,

who did you look to as a blueprint? Rita Moreno: Well, you know what? No, there were no role models when I was young and in the movies in my late teens. There was nobody. So, I chose one for myself. I chose Elizabeth Taylor because she was close to my age and she was brunette (laughs); and she was beautiful and gorgeous. I made her my role model. But, you know, there was just nobody that looked like me in a public [space]. The Hispanic community very often calls me La Pionera, the Pioneer. Allison Kugel: How do you define yourself as a human being? Rita Moreno: I’m a family person before anything else. I have a daughter, Fernanda Louisa, that I’m insane about. And I have two grandsons, and that is where I live. They are in my heart all the time. I adore them, and I don’t have much family; I never did because I left Puerto Rico with my mom on a ship, and that was the end of family. I never saw them again. I had a brother that I never saw. His name was Francisco. Allison Kugel: And there was no contact after you left Puerto Rico? That was it? Rita Moreno: No, and I attribute that to my mom. For whatever reasons, she just stayed away. I don’t know how to explain it, because I don’t understand it. By the time I did try to find him, I couldn’t find him. About a month or two after my book came out (Rita Moreno: A Memoir/Celebra Books), I heard that he died. I have a half-brother, Sam Alverio, because that’s my true [last] name. I’m Rosa Dolores Alverío (she speaks her full birth

name, punctuated with the pride of a strong Puerto Rican accent). I speak to him on the phone now and then. That’s about it. Like many Hispanic people, I’m sure I have tons and tons of distant cousins. Allison Kugel: How do you find peace in your heart regarding the brother who passed away? Rita Moreno: I just have to tell myself that it’s not my fault. My mom, for whatever reason, she always had difficulties with men. I had four stepfathers. It doesn’t make me happy, but that’s the reality of the situation. Allison Kugel: Let’s talk about the upcoming remake of the film West Side Story. That’s a hell of a segue! Rita Moreno: Isn’t that astonishing though? Talk about coming full circle. Allison Kugel: How did you become involved as Executive Pro-

ducer? Rita Moreno: [Steven Spielberg] always wanted to do the film, and he was a good friend of Robert Wise, who co-directed the original film with Jerome Robbins. When the original West Side Story film came out [in 1961] Steven was crazy about it, and that’s when he got very close to Robert Wise. He said he just hounded him about how the film was shot. It’s something he always wanted to re-do. The interesting thing is that he’s not updating it. It will still take place in 1957. It’s Romeo and Juliet. What’s wonderful about the young girl that he chose for the remake (17-year-old newcomer, Rachel Zegler) is a young girl. Natalie Wood was a woman. I was a woman, playing Anita. I was really, way too old for that role. But that’s how it happened, then. Tony Kushner is doing the script. He wrote Angels in America. They both thought that the original part of Doc (the candy store owner in the 1961 film played

by Ned Glass) was not fully realized, which I think is true. They both agreed that they weren’t terribly interested in that role for the remake. One, or both of them said, “What about Rita Moreno as Doc’s wife?” So, the storyline in the new film will be that Doc passed away, and now it’s Valentina who runs the candy store. They offered the Executive Producer credit to me, because Steven feels that I am the bridge to this movie. Allison Kugel: You’re offering all this first-person insight into what went on during the filming of the original movie. Rita Moreno: Exactly. He’s asked me a lot of questions, and he will probably ask even more. We talk about the shots all the time, because, you know, the director of the original film, Bob Wise, was really an editor. He was a great, great editor. He did Citizen Kane with Orson Welles.

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The Man with the Golden Voice By Anthony Ewart


here will be endless biographies written about Mr. James Edward Ingram. But that’s not how you remember James Ingram. You remember him through the moments you spent with someone while his songs were playing. Almost a musical, mental snapchat moment immortalized in your soul and the soul of the person


you experienced that beautiful moment with. James Ingram was the most altruistic singer I’ve ever heard. His voice lived for the song. It supported the melody. It gave life and meaning to the lyrics. James Ingram, the man, became the Supporting Actor -- he gave the spotlight to his voice, and made it Lead Actor. What an incredibly giving artist he was. It was all about the song. The story... That’s really what James Ingram was. A great storyteller. He took us

into tales of love and heartbreak that we all connected with. James Ingram could give confidence to a lovesick, junior high school student. He could make a husband married 30 years look at his wife as if he was seeing her for the first time. That was the magic of James Ingram. We believed him and the beautiful lyrics he chose to share with us, many of which he wrote himself. When thinking about the

sincerity and integrity James Ingram brought as an artist, it brings to mind another famous “James” who captured the trust and heart of America. James Maitland Stewart. You may know him better as “Jimmy Stewart.” One of the most loved Stars in Hollywood, Jimmy Stewart always put his art first. He inhabited the characters he played with sincerity and believability. And we believed him. James Ingram sang a variety of

songs in different styles and tempos and rhythms, but for me, and I know many others, his love songs have imprinted themselves in the atoms of my cells. Hearing his song, by chance, on a radio, through sheer synchronicity, is the Universe comforting me with love. All artists want to leave a legacy of their work behind. James Ingram has left a body of work that will be enjoyed by his fans and students of music forever. And I don’t say that word lightly. But the truly

lasting legacy of James Ingram is the ripple effect the beauty of his voice will have on us for the rest of our lives. His tone. The vibrations of his sound. That feeling of love and happiness. That’s what will live on. That is the ripple effect of James Ingram. And what a beautiful ocean of sound he gave us.


Toi is also excited about her non-fiction television drama: ‘The Commissioner,’ which investigates the hearts and minds of “life prisoners” as they appear before the California Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) for parole consideration and exploring the struggles of the Commissioner assigned to determine their fate. As an ongoing writer for several national newspapers and magazines throughout the US and

TOI MOORE Adult Coversations According to God’s Words Celebrity author Toi Moore is excited to present to us her twelfth book, Adult Conversations; According to God’s word, which will be released during the spring of 2019. This book addresses sex and relationship questions and answers from a BIBLICAL and CHRISTIAN viewpoint. Christian leaders from the; Church of God in Christ, Baptist, and Christian faith-based foundations are giving you real, raw, and unbiased opinions according to God’s word. Information provided is intended to help, strengthen, and guide relationships, while giving suggestions and advice as to how someone can grow and learn from their own personal experiences. Questions addressed are those that many want to know, but may be afraid to ask. A portion of the proceeds made from each book will be donated to each leader’s church/congregation who participated. 42 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY

Canada including; Billboard and Upscale, Toi has over 350 bylines to her name. The author has penned several screenplays, sitcom’s, television and reality shows, which she is shopping for production. Toi is also a public speaker on topics connecting to her books. For more information, visit her website: and find her books on

Brazil Carnival

A reveller from the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school performs during the first night of the Carnival parade at the Sambadrome. Photo by: Pilar Olivares A reveller from the Sao Clemente samba school performs. Photo by: Pilar Olivares

Performers from the Portela samba school. Photo by: Silvia Izquierdo

Members of the Mangueira Samba School perform. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

A member of the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/ Getty Images

Revellers from the Mocidade samba school. Photo by: Pilar Olivares HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY • 43

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