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QP MAY 2019

HANNAH

WIDMER by RAVEN DURAN FASHION and lifestyle MAGAZINE


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TEAM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JOSE-MARIA JIMENEZ

SENIOR EDITORS

CREATIVE DIRECTOR ROBERT STEINKEN

LYNN VENTURELLA

FASHION EDITORS ART DIRECTOR & JOSE-MARIA JIMENEZ LAYOUT DESIGNER

NATALIA VOYTOVA SHARON JANE ANDREA LEIGHTON

FASHION STYLISTS ORETTA CORBELLI BEAUTY EDITORS MICHELLE WU FRANCESCA LOPRESTI NATALIA VOYTOVA AMIA SERRANO CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

KORNELIJA SLUNJSKI AMANDA ROBINSON NOVA KAPLAN

MAKEUP ARTIST TEAL DRUDA HAIR STYLIST VLADIMIR SIMIC

VANESSA MAPES VALENTINA SOLCI SHARON JANE

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Hi there, With Summer just around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to start taking some layers of and showing a little bit of more skin in this cover, as a way of preparing ourselves to what we will be featuring in the next issues to come. We just love the season and we couldn´t agree more with Lilly Pullitzer when she said: "It´s always Summer, somewhere" But let´s not get ahead of ourselves. In this issue, we are proud to be featuring interviews with such talented and young actors, Jaylen Barron and Kimmy Shields: two different styles that help us realize the incredible addition young talents like them are to the actual entertainment business scene. As always, we couldn´t be more grateful to the people who are behind the scenes. They are so talented yet so unaware of it in most cases. THANK YOU!! JOSE-MARIA JIMENEZ Editor-in-Chief QPmag

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COVER

PHOTOGRAPHER: RAVEN DURAN @lightsfox MODEL: HANNAH WIDMER @hannahrosewidmer HAIR AND MAKEUP: ALLISON LAWICKI @allisonlawicki

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IN THIS ISSUE 10-19 | EDITORIAL: GIPSY SOUL 22-35 | EDITORIAL: FARM HOUSE 38-49 | COVER: HANNAH WIDMER 52-59 | EDITORIAL: EYES OF BLUE 60 | BEAUTY: POPPIN´ MY COLOR 62-75 | INTERVIEW: JAYLEN BARRON 76-77 | STREET STYLE: UPSCALE YOUR LOOK 80-91 | EDITORIAL: THINKING OF YOU 92-93 | THE HOLLYWOOD CONSPIRATOR 94-103 | INTERVIEW: KIMMY SHIELDS 105 | SHOPPING GUIDE 106-108 | TRAVEL: KUALA LUMPUR

SUBMISSIONS hello@qpmag.com ww.qpmag.com QP FASHION MAGAZINE BELLO MEDIA GROUP @BELLOmediaGroup 6404 Wilshire Blvd. #500 / Los Angeles CA 90048

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GIPSY SOUL

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FARM HOUSE

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COVER

HANNAH

WIDMER The Horse Whisperer

PHOTOGRAPHER: RAVEN DURAN @lightsfox MODEL: HANNAH WIDMER @hannahrosewidmer HAIR AND MAKEUP: ALLISON LAWICKI @allisonlawicki

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annah, how long have you been modeling and what has your experience been like as a model so far? I am really just beginning my career, so the modeling world is new to me. My journey has been great thus far, I have been able to travel, and I have met wonderful people along the way. It’s truly a whole new world than what I am used to. I am grateful that I have had the chance to experience things that I usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to.

We know you're really big in the equestrian world and have won some titles and awards, can you tell us about how you began riding horses? I began riding a few years back. One of my friends and her family ran an American Saddlebred farm. At the time, I had no idea what a Saddlebred was, but on first sight, I fell in love and I knew I had to get involved somehow, so I jumped in head first and that’s where one of the best my journeys of my life began. In every sense, modeling is similar to riding a Saddlebred. It is the thrill of a lifetime. Both riding and modeling are challenging, always pushing to be better. It takes confidence, passion, the inner fire that comes from the soul, and determination. What draws me to both of these careers is that my emphasis is to be the best at what I do, which means giving my best. I know I have to be the best version of myself at both, and I know I won’t stop until I am. Along the way, I have met wonderful people in the horse world, from Rusty Rademann to John Willis to my forever home at Highland Ridge Stables with Sarah McClintock. Sarah McClintock and I bonded right from the start. She took the time to understand me as a person, not just another client. She stood by my side and encouraged me to never give up. She ended up finding me my absolute dream and heart horse, Aussie. Aussie is truly a one of a kind, and I’m not even sure how I landed him, but the cards fell right and I did. Aussie is a top show horse, but he understood that I was a new rider and he gave me tons of patience and waited for me to catch up to his skill level. We trained all year, showed at multiple shows throughout the Midwest. With lots of ups and

downs, good moments and bad, tears and excitement. In August, we made the trek to Louisville, Kentucky where we competed at the World Championship Horse Show. It is the most prestigious and richest horse show in the world. We gave it our all. Although we ended up not placing, I gained experience and learned a lot. I had a mishap where I dropped my rein and could not get it back. It was my first time at this event, so nerves got the best of me. Since that moment, Aussie and I have set our sights extremely high and have been working all winter to team up, become one and make our dreams come true. My motto is: Where my energy goes is what grows. So this season we are embarking on a new journey and entered a new division, Adult Country Pleasure. We had our first Country Pleasure show and we won! I look forward to what the rest of the season has to offer with this top show horse and our bond growing even stronger.

“Being authentic and being who you are is crucial”

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week.

How much time do you spend riding every week? As far as my riding schedule, each week has something new to offer and is different as far as to schedule. Usually, it goes somewhat like this: I generally ride once a week that is standard, but now that it is show season sometimes twice a week. I train on a school horse first and then move to my show horse, Aussie. The rides are approximately a half hour each. So now that it is show season, I would say two hours a

You are also in University studying Art Therapy as well, what made you choose such a unique degree? What do you love the most about this area of study? I feel that Art Therapy has a way of teaching life lessons as well as obtaining a degree. It is a wonderful degree that is centered on understanding people in a deeper sense than simply talking. Using art as therapy can provide people a release when they don’t have words. I love the fact that even if I do not use this degree as in terms of a career, it has taught me life lessons that I feel are vital. It has taught me to be compassionate and how to understand people on a deeper level. Compassion is vital and I feel that the world is lacking in this area. If we took more time to understand someone’s needs rather than shut them

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down, the world would be a better place. Art therapy has a way of bringing people together and opening new doors. Humans are constantly evolving. We spend our lives learning.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your horseback riding, modeling and school full time? I have a lot of things to juggle. I have a family that comes first, my modeling career and horses come second. But everything I’ll do has to be something that’s related to higher consciousness. Really my passion for modeling and horses are quite similar. They are related in the sense that confidence, inner fire, and passion are required. These are truly the things that I absolutely love to do, I see myself setting high goals and having horses and modeling be careers in my life. Full-time school is a little tough, but I am finishing in December and couldn’t be any happier to pursue my modeling career as well as see where this degree may take me. While art therapy is a passion of mine, I’m not positive that I see it as a career, but perhaps eventually.

What challenges do you face as a young woman in the fashion industry now?

What would you say is the most rewarding thing about your career? Modeling has given me the opportunity to see things and do things that I normally wouldn’t be able to. I’ve been able to experience a whole new world and travel, I’ve met people that have changed my life. But I don’t think of myself as a model. Modeling is simply a job that I do, a career that I have. It allowed me to see the world and explore the possibilities. But it doesn’t define me or who I am as a person. At the end of the day, I’m still the same Hannah. The same goes for any career out there.

“I've always felt better with less makeup and basic clothes”

Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but people really have no idea what’s really going on inside. Living up to the persona of something unrealistic can be incredibly draining. I think in order to make it, you have to be able to separate yourself from the persona, the fashion world wants the ideal of glamorous and sexy and all that stuff. But you really have to be comfortable in front of the camera by just being yourself. Being authentic and being who you are is crucial, or else you will lose yourself. When I model, it’s all pretend. I call it another version of myself. Like, I think this other version of Hannah needs to be a little bit more like this, from tilting my head, sucking in my stomach and cheeks, and expressing an exaggerated attitude. It’s almost like an on-and-off button. I don’t see myself as this person. My perception of myself is very different from the perception people have of me. My thought is that I’m always going to give it my all, I’m going to do my best. There are people who are extremely nice and thoughtful, and there are people who are not. You can’t control how other people are

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going to act towards you, but you can focus on how you are going to react.

How would you describe your personal sense of style? What type of fashion do you tend to gravitate to? I really only keep things that I truly treasure. I’m very minimalistic. I don’t have a closet jam-packed with items I might only wear once. Truly, I wear many of the same clothes over and over again. If I buy an expensive item, such as a handbag or a pair of shoes, I always end up regretting and selling them. People think they need more stuff, but no. I’m really happy embracing what I have. I've always felt better with less makeup and basic clothes, I just feel more like myself.

Who is your favorite fahsion designer? Karl Lagerfeld is my absolute favorite fashioner designer. Needless to say, Lagerfeld had style and appeal that everyone sought after, but there was so much more to him than that. What I adored about Lagerfeld is that he was a visionary just like me. He sought to do better, to be better, while remaining true to who he was. With this, he made the world a better place. With changing times, he didn’t panic, he remained authentic. Lagerfeld didn’t rush to fit in, simply because he didn’t have to. He was in charge and he knew it. I’m not sure we will ever see another person quite like him.

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As someone who loves traveling, what's the craziest spot you've ever gone for a photo shoot, or one that just blew your mind the second you walked off the plane? The most beautiful spot I’ve ever been for a photo shoot is Thousand Steps Beach in California. It’s not really a thousand steps (more like 218 ha), but you'll feel every one of those when you're lugging your stuff back up to Pacific Coast Highway. It’s a stunning beach, surrounded by cliffs. It was one of my most challenging spot to shoot because it was a hot summer day, and here I was photo shoot ready with makeup and hair, in a bikini, and I was lugging items up and down steps. Let me tell you, it wasn’t for the faint of heart. It was my favorite location, like my own little refuge, so peaceful, just me and nature. Just the way I like it.

What’s one thing most people wouldn’t know about you? I’m an Aquarius, I’m a visionary. I imagine my dreams and I work to make them possible. I’m someone with a progressive soul. I spend so much of my time thinking about how things can be better, what I can do better, what I can improve. I can be very impatient, even temperamental, but I want to leave the world a better place then I found it.

With so many hobbies, interests, and successes in your own life, how do you continue to stay motivated throughout your journey? Everything in life starts with a dream. But first the dream needs to be clearly defined and, more importantly, you need to understand why you want it. At 14, and 19, and at 23, I never said to myself, my goal is to be a great model or a great equestrian.

Rather, my emphasis was to be the best at what I do, which means giving my best. I knew I would have to be the best at whatever I set my mind to. Not the best compared with others, but the best version of myself. I feel that when you define what you want it gives you direction and the inner fire that can motivate you. I have an endless amount of fire in my soul when it comes to modeling and my equestrian career. I know exactly what I want and I won’t stop until I achieve it. Maybe I want to be a great human? Maybe I want to be a World Champion with Aussie? Maybe I want to help people through Art Therapy? If these are my goals, then I am very clear with myself up front. How will reaching your goals serve a larger purpose? Why does it matter to you? What are you willing to do to come closer to achieving your goals? What do you need to get there? I focus on taking many small actions to propel myself forward.

Lastly, we've got to know what's next for you? I am so excited for what’s next. I am so incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to grace the cover of QP Magazine, what an honor! I also have two other major covers coming out that I am ecstatic for! As far as my equestrian career, I have multiple shows throughout the Midwest now through October. In August, is the World Championship Horse Show. Please watch and send good thoughts for Aussie and me in the Adult Country Pleasure Division. You can stay tuned with my modeling career on: Website: https://www.hannahwidmer.com/ Instagram: @hannahrosewidmer Facebook: Hannah Widmer And with my equestrian career on: Website: http://www.highlandridgestables.com/

“Everything in life starts with a dream, but you need to understand why you want it.”

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EYES OF BLUE

PHOTOGRAPHER: VERONICA SAMS @veronicasams MODEL: STEPHANIE PETERSON @stephaniempeterson AGENCY: WILHELMINA MODELS @wilhelminamodels HAIR AND MAKEUP: MAXINE CHRISTIANS @maxine_christians PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANT: REECE KNUPP @reeceknupp RETOUCHER: ANASTASIA KUCHMA @akuchma.retoucher 53

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INTERVIEW

JAYLEN

BARRON Fearless Beauty By VANESSA MAPES @vanessa.mapes

American actress and model Jaylen Barron is known for her roles as Dominique in Showtime series “Shameless” and Zoe Phillips on the hit Netflix original series “Free Rein”. We felt so lucky to have her sit down with us and let us into her heart, everything from the makings of Free Rein to her inner creative passions. PHOTOGRAPHER: DYLAN PERLOT @dylanperlot WARDROBE STYLIST: ERICA MER @ericas_style makeup artist: EMIKO SMITH @emiko_smith HAIR STYLIST: RENÉ CORTEZ @hairbyrenecortez

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ould you say you can relate to Zoe? I think in a way yes, I believe most of us have experienced a time where the place we are is new the people are new and we are the odd ball out. We adjust and overcome certain situations to make new friends and find our way. What is it like having all the animals on set? It can be fun, but a lot of work. Animals have feelings and if they decide they don’t want to act then guess what? They will not budge lol Did you have to go through any training with horses to prepare for this role? Absolutely, we do and we have the very best trainers and horse masters in the business. They make sure we are safe and properly handling the horses. How would you describe your personal aesthetic? A bit of 70s glam mix with a dash of Spice Girls. The question, of course, everyone is asking: who would you personally pick, Pin or Marcus? Oooh that’s a hard one but Marcus, Bruce and I have a great time on and off set.

Who inspires you? My mom is my inspiration. Who are your favorite music artists at the moment? Anything playing on repeat? Teyana Taylor is on repeat. Love her right now. What is it like to travel back and forth from L.A. to Wales for 6 months of the year to film? Do you ever get used to it? It’s amazing to come home and see my dad, my sister, all my friends and eat all the food! Sleep in my own bed. I can go on and on. I miss home so much when I’m away. I made some life-long friends and family in the UK and I wouldn’t change that.

"My focus was always acting, never modeling "

Walk us through a day in the life of Jaylen Barron whilst shooting? I wake up, shower and I'm picked up by about 6 am for a 6:30 am chair for hair and makeup. I get my costume on and off to set we go where I film all day and I wrap about 7/8 pm and do it all again Mon through Friday. We beg of you, what is your skin care routine? Thank you. I do drink a lot of water but my brand of choice right now is Glossier. I use their face wash, toner and moisturizer.

How do you keep yourself empowered? I don’t compare myself to others, I create vision boards regularly to focus on my goals and read Michelle Obama's book Becoming for inspiration. I can always lean on my family for comfort and strength.

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What were auditions like for Free Rein? I honestly did a terrible job. I remember knowing I messed up on my sides and really wasn’t feeling my performance. However, Lime productions took a chance on me and I appreciate them for being able to see beyond the nerves and give me the chance to play Zoe.

From first starting out as a model, what words of wisdom do you have for girls wanting to make the switch to start an acting career? My focus was always acting, never modeling, but my agent thought I’d enjoy it and I did at that moment, at the same time I was auditioning for acting roles. Even if you’re doing other things always keep your focus on what you want and don’t let what others say sway you. What was it like going from adult shows like Shameless to children shows? How would you say that’s helped show off your range of acting? Shameless was so much fun to film. It was fast paced and you never knew what was going to happen. I loved it! Free Rein is fun with horses and new places and people it’s light and happy. The styles have definitely shown the range of my craft. What is it like being such a big role model? Oh, that’s a strong description of me. I don’t really consider myself a role model but I always try to be respectful of myself and people around me. I don’t put up with bullies or injustice and I speak up about it.

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THINKING OF YOU

PHOTOGRAPHER: NATALIE DUNN @ @natdunn_photography MODEL: BRIANNA MELLON @ @briannamellon AGENCY: NOMAD MGMT @nomadmgmt WARDROBE STYLIST: JESSICA ARMSTRONG @jessicaarmstrong_style MAKEUP ARTIST: CASSANDRA PAIGE @by_cassandrapaige HAIR STYLIST: JAYCEE MNIRAJD @jayceemnirajd RETOUCHER: DYLAN REECE @mrretoucher LOCATION: DOWNTOWN LIGHTHOUSE @downtownlighthouse

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THE HOLLYWOOD CONSPIRATOR

SUMMERTIME,

AND THE LIVIN´ IS EASY

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By LYNN VENTURELLA @lynnventurella Edited by SHARON JANE @@sharon.js

hinking back to the good ol’ days, summer used to be a time when TV networks took a break and mainly ran reruns and shows that they did not expect to be strong hits. This was because their audiences would go on vacations, disconnect, and enjoy the outside world for 3 months. But, these days, things have changed. Streaming sites and the ever-growing digital age we live in now has caused a lot of new content and competition for viewers and networks accordingly, which means no one can afford to take a breath (binge party much?). In light of all the buzz, HBO has been doing really great. We all know that a record-breaking number of viewers tuned in to watch the amazing and extremely anticipated finale season for Game of Thrones. Whether you are a fan or not, you definitely were aware that an epic finale for GOT was going down. HBO lovers should also take note of the second season of the Emmy-winning show “Big Little Lies “ with its star-studded cast including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and the legendary Meryl Streep.

Netflix of course has a strong summer line up. Everyone has been anticipating for what usually would come around Halloween, which is the new season of “Stranger Things” coming July 4th. I recommend you also add the limited series “When They See Us “ and “Tales of the City”, starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, to your list.

Hulu will also step into summer with a bang with a new season of the popular original “The Handmaids Tale” and a remake of the 1994 British romantic comedy classic, “Four Weddings And a Funeral.”

I am also feeling nostalgic about MTV’s “The Hills: New Beginnings” which will feature some of our favorite original cast members: Audrina Partridge, Spencer Pratt, and Whitney Port (just to name a few) as well as some newcomers like Mischa Barton. I have always liked Mischa as an actress and I am hoping this show will help her regain her popularity. I truly think she deserves a new beginning.

Additionally, I am also really looking forward to the new Amazon mini series “Good Omens” starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. This seems something worthy of checking out.

ShowTime will be airing the “Loudest Voice” starring Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts and Seth McFarlane. This show is based on the book “The Loudest Voice in the Room”, regarding Roger Ailes’s sexual abuse scandal.

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I have also started watching Starz, specifically “The Spanish Princess.” I kind of needed to follow that royal theme after finishing Game of Thrones. I do plan to watch all the Queen and Princess series I can find. For those into documentaries, “The King Who Fooled Hitler” from National Geographic seems fascinating. There is no shortage of interesting and star-studded shows to watch. We also should expect some summer blockbusters in the cinemas. The two films I am most excited about and will definitely make time to see are “Yesterday,” a movie where the Beatles are suddenly forgotten after a global blackout and a mediocre songwriter becomes famous by passing off the legendary group’s songs as his own, and “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, a Quentin Tarantino film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Lena Dunham and Luke Perry, in his last credited role, also star in the must see film. The industry is also talking a lot about Netflix’s season 5 of “Black Mirror.” It features an all-star cast that includes the likes of Miley Cyrus, Avengers: Endgame's Anthony Mackie and Pom Klementieff. Fleabag actor, Andrew Scott, will also appear – with Spider-Man 3's Topher Grace showing up with a shaggy look, rocking long hair and a beard in the trailer. There is a lot of excitement about season 5 but since I haven’t watched any of it I can’t really give much details. I can definitely say that I will be checking it out and will get back to you with what it’s all about very soon.

Even though the best show ever is over and all “Game Of Thrones” fans are a little lost, there are some wonderful and intriguing new shows and movies for us to enjoy. Either way, it is also good to remember to go outside this summer and enjoy it to the fullest. Not to worry, you don´t have to miss anything. We now have the power to watch almost everything whenever we want. And if you can´t tear yourself away, there´s always your tablet and phone.

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NETFLIX´s DARK MIRROR - Season 5

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KIMMY

SHIELDS Charming Style By VANESSA MAPES @vanessa.mapes

The ambitious actress Kimmy Shields is known for her roles in Netflix’s Insatiable, HBO’s Big Little Lies, and her new role in the upcoming film Ad Astra as Sargent Romano. It was beyond lovely to sit down with the bubbly Kimmy to discuss her passion for different genres in acting, endearing aesthetic, and philosophies in keeping a sound mind in the bustle of the film industry. PHOTOGRAPHER: LILLIE HAND @lilliehand WARDROBE STYLIST: ANDREW MAJTENYI @andrewmajtenyi MAKEUP ARTIST: JACQUELINE HOLDEN @makeupbyjacqie hair STYLIST: BRANDON LIBERATI @brandonliberati FASHION PROVIDED BY POP PR @pop_pr_ fashion designer MALAN BRETON @malanbreton

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id you ever expect the huge success of the first season of Netflix’s Insatiable? I don’t think you ever expect something to be a huge success, you just hope people enjoy it! I will be honest and say I was nervous when the petition came out against our show from people who responded negatively to the trailer, but I’m thankful that the audience it was meant for watched and loved it. How was your experience of working with Debby Ryan? Perfect. Revolutionary. What secrets can you share about season 2? If you can imagine, it is even weirder. Please, can you talk to our readers about your character Sargent Romano in the new film Ad Astra ? She is only in the film briefly, but she is strong, smart, and knows how to get a job done. We adore your dancing and music highlights on Instagram! Would you say dancing is a stress reliever for you?

I have the most remarkable community of friends and family that will always be there to catch me when I have a mental fall. I have made a higher priority to volunteer my extra time to organizations that need extra hands, because it is never any cost to me to do it, and it helps realign my perspective about how incredibly privileged my life has been. What pieces of advice do you have for aspiring young actresses? Never lose who you are, what you stand for, or why you want to do it.

"I practice self-compassion when I can"

Wow, thank you! I definitely rely on dancing to help get rid of excess energy and performance anxiety. It is so helpful to move around like a child and get out of your head for a little bit every day. I am glad my silly little hobby has brought people smiles. Who was your biggest inspiration growing up to pursue a career in acting? My parents. Who is your favorite director in the industry? Guillermo del Toro. I love his visual storytelling, connection to monsters, and the way he has turned his nightmares into his art. I would love to work with him at some point.

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Going headfirst into this industry can be overwhelming to say the least. How do you keep your head up and refrain from dwelling on insecurities you may have?

How do you practice selflove in your everyday life? I pray, steal moments to give thanks for things, and practice self-compassion when I can. I am a very anxious person, so it has been a long journey of learning to stop apologizing for existing and enjoy the ride instead.

You have such a distinctively charming aesthetic. How have you cultivated your style over the years? Thank you very much! I have put a lot of time into seeking out clothes and brands that inspire me, as well as always going back to my high school days when my eyes were opened to the world of vintage. I am always looking for new ways to combine the old with the new and feel inspired every day that I get dressed. What sort of voice does your character Nonnie in Insatiable give viewers going through the same struggles? I think Nonnie gives a voice to those struggling with their sexuality. High school can be a nightmare when you are trying to understand the signals your brain and body are telling you, so I think the audience has found safety in her storyline because of how reflective it is of that experience.

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What is your definition of femininity? I define femininity as accessing the part of yourself that wants to nurture those around you. Do you yourself have any favorite Netflix series or TV shows?

Horror is definitely my favorite genre to watch. I like performing Comedy for the challenge of nailing a joke or earning a laugh, but Musicals will always be my number one.

I really love The End of the F*cking World, Big Mouth, and Arrested Development.

What can we expect from Kimmy Shields in the near future?

What was it like to graduate from the American Musical & Dramatic Academy just 5 years ago?

More dancing, that’s for sure! Also, be sure to catch CHARLIE SAYS and AD ASTRA, both coming to theaters this year.

It was very gratifying to finish what I started, knowing I came out ready for whatever was next.

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What is your favorite film genre? What is your favorite genre to portray when acting?

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TRAVEL

KUALA LUMPUR M

MALAYSIA BY VALENTINA SOLCI @valentinasolci

alaysia is an ethnically diverse Southeast Asian country offering a balanced combination of both traditional and modern lifestyles. It’s a peninsula just north of the equator, specifically found south of Thailand and north of Singapore. To the right of the mainland is water from the Gulf of Thailand, and, to the left, is the Malacca Strait. With an estimated total land area of 126,894 sq miles (328,657 sq km) (according to World Atlas), Malaysia contains a multitude of geographical landscapes such as: mountain ranges, forests, caves, islands, lakes, and rivers.

GOLDEN BUDDHA STATUE - BATU CAVES Photo by Laurentiu Morariu on Unsplash

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WHEN TO GO The country runs on a tropical climate, experiencing heavy rainfall and high temperatures/humidity levels. With that being said, there is no specific “best” season to visit Malaysia because that decision is subjective to the traveler. I will, however, say that Malaysia runs on a dry (April to September) and wet (October to March) season. Of course, there are pros and cons to both seasons, but, generally speaking, during the dry season one can expect less rain and enjoy the harvested tropical fruits, and during the wet season one can expect rain almost on a daily basis but will enjoy lower price ranges and the presence of fewer crowds. Aside from weather factors, another thing to keep in mind is Malaysia’s two seasons of heavy touristic foot traffic. The first season is from early December to late January, while the second peak occurs from June to late August. CAPITAL CITY In this travel guide, we will be isolating our focus on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city. This city, founded in 1857, lies on the country’s western side and has a main airport called Kuala Lumpur International Airport. ACCOMMODATION Although AirBnb is heavily used because of its affordable price ranges, decent to superb service levels, and large amount of options, I will recommend the Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton, and Shangri-La Hotel as traditional forms of accommodation for your trip to Kuala Lumpur. All three of these internationally known hotels are in the vicinity of each other. They are all in the heart of the city, where many touristic attractions can be found within walking distance. The Mandarin Oriental sits in between the gardens of Kuala Lumpur City Center Park and the skyscrapers of Petronas Twin Towers. This hotel is unique in that guests have an extensive service list: an outdoor pool, fine dining, a private spa, etcetera. The Ritz-Carlton has had its location in Kuala Lumpur for over 18 years and continues to attract the eyes of many international visitors. Just like the previous hotel, the Ritz-Carlton also offers in-house dining, spa services, and a pool surrounded by abundant greenery. Lastly, the Shangri-La Hotel is truly a full service accommodation. To begin with, visitors have 662 guest rooms and suites to choose from. There’s a fully equipped gym, a massive semi-circle shaped outdoor pool, eight dining options, and an optional shuttle service, which leads guests to specific attractions throughout the city.

Food markets can be the best way to obtain fresh food, support small businesses, and spontaneously experience new cuisines. On top of this, Kuala Lumpur also has an extensive rooftop and nightlife scene. A few spots to look into are: Marini’s on 57, Sky Bar, Nobu, Beach Club Cafe, and Club Kyō.

CUISINE As previously mentioned, Malaysia has a variety of ethnic groups within the country. Specifically, it has direct influences from Native populations, Chinese Malaysians, and Indian Malaysians. Therefore, according to The Culture Trip and Time Out, the following are some food markets in the city: Petaling Street Market, Taman Connaught, IMBI Market, and Pasar Borong Selangor.

DISCOVERY Prior to delving into activities, I’d like to mention that Malaysia has a strong public transportation system, ranging from buses to trams to the metro. The Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station is the main hub for the city. It is important to keep this station in mind as many railway lines pass through it. That said, let’s get into some options of things to do!

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CN TOWER DURING GOLDEN HOUR Photo by Izuddin Helmi Adnan on Unsplash

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As you will soon see, Kuala Lumpur has a lot of unique activities. However, one of the coolest of them has to be: Dinner in the Sky! As featured in Forbes and The Culture Trip, many consider this to be one of the most unusual dining experiences. Dining in the Sky is unique in that a table is lifted by a crane 50 meters (164 feet) off the ground. This dining experience is outdoors and offers panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur. To top it off, the experience includes a three-course meal (made by chefs at the Sheraton Imperial) and live entertainment. Tickets can be purchased on Dinner in the Sky’s main website or at its outlet in Bukit Bintang.

of Kuala Lumpur are the previously mentioned twin skyscrapers of Petronas Towers, each measuring at 1,483 feet tall. According to CBS News, Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the world until 2004, but they are still the tallest “twin” structures in the world. Purchase your tickets in advance online and enjoy the city views at the Skybridge and the observation deck. Found on the 41st floor, the Skybridge connects the two skyscrapers and provides outsiders with an interesting architectural addition to look at. In regards to the observation deck, this is the highlight of visiting Petronas Towers because of the sites one has from the 86th floor!

When in a big city, travelers have an abundant amount of shops and businesses to discover. Thus, stroll through the central business district because it will lead you to neighborhoods and streets like Little India, Chinatown, and Jalan Alor Street. In the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur City Center Park is Eco Forest Park, which is a great location for those who want to immerse themselves in a more natural environment, but don’t want to leave the city’s borders. Finally, one of the key symbols

Whether you are visiting Kuala Lumpur for business or leisure, keep in mind that Malaysia also has interesting experiences, such as, visiting Taman Negara (one of the world’s oldest rainforests and Malaysia’s central national park), seeing a rafflesia (the world’s largest flower), stopping by one of Malaysia’s many beautiful mosques, and driving to the coastline for an aquatic adventure. Kuala Lumpur is majestic and entrancing for all types of city lovers.

TWIN TOWERS Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash 108


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