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ISSUE #98 - AUGUST 2019

by Catherine Powell

DINAH JANE


AUGUST 2019 04 COY STEWART

on balancing acting and rapping + his role on mr. iglesias

22 QUINCY FOUSE

on finding her individual voice + what’s to come music wise

26 JORDAN BUHAT

on representing new orleans + her role on marvel’s cloak and dagger

32 DAISY EAGAN

on ma + working with his childhood idol, 50 cent, on power

06 ALLY MAKI

on his current role on legacies + his bigger dreams

12 EMILY WEISBAND

on figuring out what type of actor he was + his role on grown-ish

16 TASYA TELES

on bringing queer representation to screen on good trouble

on representation + her life-changing role in toy story 4

on her faith + stepping into the spotlight for the first time

34 DINAH JANE

on her youtube channel + her long-running role in the 100

44 NOËLLE RENÉE BERCY 48 GIANNI PAOLO

50 SDCC CLASS OF 2019

feat. the flash, agents of s.h.i.e.l.d., legacies, riverdale + more

CATHERINE POWELL

publisher, editor, photographer, designer, writer

SAMANTHA BAMBINO

SHELBY CHARGIN

writer

writer

OLEVA BERARD

ANNIE CONDODINA

NICOLE MOOREFIELD

CARLY BUSH

ELIZABETH FORREST

OLIVIA SINGH

writer writer

writer writer

IAN HAYS writer

HILARY MAGLIN writer writer writer


coy stewart Words by HILLARY MAGLIN Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

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FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE world, words like “work” and “job” aren’t exactly synonymous with “fun” or “excitement.” But Coy Stewart isn’t like the majority of the world. In fact, the 21-year-old actor and rapper, who currently plays Lorenzo on Netflix’s Mr. Iglesias, says the worst part of his workday is when it’s time to go home. “When you do something like Mr. Iglesias, and work with someone like Gabe [Iglesias], you never want to leave work,” the South Carolina native says. “You find yourself being done with work, but just hanging around, and it’s because his energy is so great.” On the sitcom, which also stars Sherri Shepherd and Jacob Vargas, Coy portrays the conspiracy-obsessed history student of comedian Gabriel Iglesias’ character. Working with the funnyman and a cast of other up-and-coming comics, Coy reveals, has turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. “I have an amazing, incredible cast of people to work with, and one of our biggest issues is staying on task, because we’re consistently trying to make each other laugh,” Coy says. “When we were filming the first season, getting to know each other, and figuring out our dynamic, we realized that we have a real hard time being quiet, especially when people are working.” Coy has gotten lucky over the course of his 11-year acting career — since his first leading role as Kevin in the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet? at age 10, he’s gotten to laugh his way through roles on comedy series’ like Nickelodeon’s Bella and the Bulldogs, and prime-

time shows like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But as Coy and his career have matured, so have his roles. This year, he played one of his darkest characters yet — Vontae Jones, a prisoner on NBC’s The Blacklist. And because Coy’s filming schedules for the crime thriller and Mr. Iglesias overlapped, he often found himself forced to quickly leave one character’s headspace and enter another’s. “You get there on [The Blacklist’s set] and you realize, ‘Yeah, this is definitely not Mr. Iglesias,’” Coy says with a laugh. “It was a challenge, absolutely. It was intense. But this is what it means to be an actor. I think it’s amazing when you can paint many different colors, and you can go from comedy to drama.” Between showing off major acting chops on The Blacklist and bringing the laughs on and off screen for Mr. Iglesias, Coy’s constructed a pretty impressive portfolio of characters. But as for his all-time favorite role? Well, that answer may come as a bit of a surprise. “Hands down, it would have to be my role in Logic’s ‘1-800273-8255’ music video,” he says. “I think the whole point of being an actor is to send a message to people. That video was that exact thing.” The 2017 song, featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, encourages listeners to seek help if they are in a bad mental space (the song’s title is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). In the video, Coy stars as a teenager who struggles with his sexuality. “Being able to play a gay teen who didn’t fit in anywhere, that’s

something everyone can relate with to a certain degree,” he says. “Every now and then, I’ll have people come up to me and say how much the video helped them through a tough time. That means so much to me.” Coy’s role in the music video may have been one of his most memorable performances, but it wasn’t his first venture into music: he also raps under the name KOI, and released his 14-track debut album, Everybody’s Got One, in 2018. Though he says he could never, and will never choose between acting and rapping, writing music gives him a completely different energy than that of talking in front of a camera. “When you’re an actor, you’re telling a story that isn’t yours. As a rapper, I get the opportunity to tell my stories,” he explains, noting he enjoys the unique balance he’s able to find between his two career paths. “When I get tired of saying other people’s words, I just write my own, and when I can’t think of anything to say, I go and say somebody else’s.” Coy says that over the next year, his fans will see more of him as both a rapper and an actor — he plans to release a few singles, return for another season of Mr. Iglesias if it gets picked up, and will even be part of a secret animated project. But to Coy, it doesn’t matter what type of work comes his way — as long as he’s creating. “We live in a day and age where we have the possibility to create opportunities for ourselves,” he says. “It’s really just about being able to do whatever you want in this platform.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

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ally maki Words by ANNIE CONDODINA Photos by CATHERINE POWELL Hair by JOHN D Make-Up by ALLAN AVENDAÑO Styled by ZADRIAN SMITH


After beginning her career at just 7-years-old doing voice overs for CDROM games, it seems fitting that over 20 years later Ally Maki is breaking into the Toy Story world and making a big name for herself by voicing the tiniest character, Giggle McDimples. She can’t help but compare the two bookends of her early childhood and her latest gig. “I felt like the original Dora the Explorer. I was the girl who would be like, ‘Hop forward three! Go back six!’ It’s where I first got my start, doing voice overs for computer games,” she laughs. “I also had this huge Polly Pocket collection and I would sit in my room, roll the plastic mat out, and do voices for the Polly Pockets for like, six hours a day. It’s this full-circle moment where I’m now playing this little mini character that lives in a pocket.” The 32-year-old Seattle native is having a lot of those moments lately. “I pinch myself all the time,” she says. “I think I was 8 or 9 when the first one came out, and it was the first movie I saw in theaters. These movies were basically the movies that shaped my whole childhood.” Though it seems like a milestone we should have passed long ago, Ally’s heritage is making history as she is the first Asian American female character within the Toy Story universe. Giggle McDimples is a brand new character in Toy Story 4, the latest Pixar installment released in June. With a name like that, Giggle’s laugh had to

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be out-of-this-world perfect, and Ally didn’t have to look too far to nail it. “Throughout my whole life I’ve kind of been insecure about my laugh because it is so loud and boisterous and kind of weird and all over the place. For this role, we didn’t really know what the giggle was going to be. So ,when I went in, I asked ‘Is there anything specifically that you guys want?’ And they said ‘No, we try to cast the most authentic version of the character that we want. We just want you to be you,’” Ally recalls. “So, I just started to laugh as my normal self and they’re like, ‘That’s it! That’s what it should be, that’s the giggle!’ That was very freeing for me. You know, something that I was embarrassed of, now redefining it as this awesome thing that became Giggle McDimples,” she says. The feisty, one-inch-tall toy is a police chief, but she didn’t start out that way. In fact, when Ally saw the first drawings of Giggle, she was in a pink and purple dress with a bow in her hair; a far cry from the solid blue police uniform and dark sunglasses she dons in the final version. “A few months later, [director] Josh Cooley and the gang came back and said, ‘We have a surprise. We gave Giggle a job. She’s now the police chief of Mini-oppolis.’ And I was like, ‘You guys, this is amazing, this is everything!’” Ally recalls, “Now to see 8 or 9-year-old girls literally dressing up as cops, it makes me so happy. I see

Asian American girls dressed up as Giggle, and now they’re going grow up and say, ‘Oh yeah, of course I could be a cop. Giggle was a cop.’ That kind of stuff is life-changing and powerful.” Ally’s latest passion project taps into that power that she feels when she sees the potential for the next generation of women like herself. Her apparel company, Asian American Girl Club, officially launched at the end of 2018 and aims to redefine what it means to be a modern Asian American woman. The AAGC website is full of messages and stories from Ally about the importance of representation and inclusivity, Q+As with Asian American women pioneering different industries, and a collaboration with Period Movement, an organization spearheaded by Asian American girls. Besides selling apparel, the club helps women and young girls from across the country connect with each other and share their stories. “I remember growing up, I didn’t have any Asian American friends at all. I was the only one in my school. If I had something like this when I was 14 to be able to talk to someone from across the country who was going through the same things that I was and had the same questions about identity, it would have changed so much. It really is just this shared faith and place that we can connect with each other, which is awesome,” Ally explains. Her hopes and expectations for the


brand’s growth are limitless, and the year ahead is going to be full of new additions. “This year we’re trying to do more apparel, an AAGC summit, a podcast. We’re trying to organically expand. The girls are really leading us in the direction we’re going. It’s just been really fun,” she says. The best piece of advice she can give to young women hoping to follow in her footsteps is to always be one hundred percent yourself, but Ally admits that lately she’s been struggling with that, too. It can partially be attributed to the constant pressures of social media, she divulges. “You see all these people and the highlight reels of everyone’s lives and you feel this pressure to be somebody that you’re not. I deal with this all the time, feeling like I need to be certain versions of myself. But that never ever works out because I feel uncomfortable, I feel weird in my own shoes and I realize the best things in life come from those moments of one hundred percent authenticity,” she says. “I would say to young girls, really try and discover who your authentic self is and show that to the world. That’s where every beautiful moment happens,” Ally says. Since moving to L.A. when she was 14, Ally has been able to witness the waves of representation that have washed over the film and television industry. Women are being valued more, and Asian American women specifically are getting the chance to

be at the forefront instead of in the background. From 2016 to 2018, viewers could catch Ally on the TBS comedy show Wrecked where she played Jess. “It changed my perception of my own self-worth and confidence. Before I did Wrecked, I never believed that I could play a leading character. The only roles really available to me before then were the sidekick or the roles that were seventh down on the call sheet,” Ally recalls. “It was a moment of awakening for me. I’d been in the audition thinking there’s no way I’m going to get this because of what I look like.” Even after booking the show, Ally reveals that she still had some soul-searching to do in terms of her lingering insecurities and perception of herself. “It had kind of bled into my personal life, feeling almost like an accessory. Or like my voice didn’t matter or my story didn’t matter. We have to be really conscious of that because it is informing how we feel about ourselves and our self-worth,” she says. Luckily, Ally has proved that she’s more than worthy of taking the television world by storm. Since Wrecked, she has also been seen on Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger on Freeform where she plays environmental engineer Mina Hess. She remembers her skyhigh nerves from the audition because of the connection she felt to the scene and character. Plus, the unparalleled

opportunity to be a part of a Marvel production. “Mina Hess is such an incredible woman. And then to be within the Marvel universe, it’s another bucket list dream that my younger self would have never been able to believe that I’d be a part of,” she says. “But it really is just a testament to where we’re heading in representation. We’re looking for fresh new voices and different types of people. The fact that [Mina] is a woman in STEM and her superpower is to use her mind and her brain and her passion to save the world is just so meaningful.” As if she wasn’t having the most remarkable year already, Ally recently became engaged. In fact, singer-songwriter Travis Atreo popped the question on the night of the Toy Story 4 premiere. It’s safe to say it’s a night she will never forget. “I’m so lucky to have such an amazing partner that is truly my best friend, my confidant, my rock,” she gushes. “As cheesy as that sounds, we are there for each other every second of the day just supporting each other. It’s so hard to be in this industry especially with two creative people, you really have to understand each other’s lifestyles.” There’s one thing she might be forgetting though. “We’re like, ‘Oh yeah, we actually have to plan a wedding! When will we do this?’ We’re really just trying to figure it out as we go along,” she laughs. NKD

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emily weisband Words by CARLY BUSH Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

WHETHER YOU GRAVITATE towards country, pop, or Christian radio, you’ve probably heard Emily Weisband’s music. You may not know her by name, but the Virginia native is an accomplished songwriter, with credits on tracks performed by a roster of artists from Keith Urban to Hillary Scott to Camila Cabello. At 26, Emily’s resumé is impressive. A former Belmont University songwriting student who signed her first publishing deal in 2014 after meeting Rusty Gaston of THiS Music Publishing, a division of Warner-Chappell. For most of her twenties, Emily worked hard in the writers’ room, penning chart-topping hits with a prolific ease. In 2017, Emily took home a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Performance for Hillary Scott and Family’s “Thy Will.” A life in the background, writing award-winning tracks with none of the hassle of fame and public image to contend with, is many Nashville songwriters’ dream, and Emily achieved it while many of her peers were struggling to turn in essays on time. Nevertheless, it did not come as a surprise when Emily released her de-

It was during this time that Emily but single, “Identity Crisis”, earlier this began to experience what is commonyear—at least not to those who had been following her story closely. ly known in the progressive Christian Those who knew her were well community as a “deconstruction” of aware of her personal struggles, hidher faith. For many years Emily had been content to live in the “Chrisden shames that had been surfacing since the “darkest time of her life” at tian bubble,” suppressing her natural 22, when a heartbreak inspired her to flirtatious and fun-loving personality write “Consequences”, the song now in order to keep up the illusion that sung by millions of young girls and she was more pious than her secular women in stadiums along with Cami- peers. It was Emily’s faith that sustained la Cabello, formerly of Fifth Harmony. her when she made the move to “Consequences” was a turning Nashville for college and immersed point for Emily—and proof that redemption is certainly possible, since herself in a young adult women’s ministry, and her faith that keeps her the song would almost certainly not humble and grounded today—but she exist without one of the most painful is quick to clarify that in spite of her experiences of Emily’s life. reputation amongst the CCM crowds, The oldest daughter in a large southern Christian family, Emily was she is a bit of an outlier. She is a rebel, too spiritual for the immersed in purity culture from a real world and too sexual for the reyoung age and learned to attach her self-worth to her virginity. ligious one. This paradox is explored After losing it, and consequently beautifully in the lyrics of “Identity being abandoned by a man she had Crisis,” a raw track that cuts straight believed she could trust, she felt the to the heart of the issue many young foundation of her faith beginning to women with a religious background crumble. Over the next few years, face: how can you remain true to she lashed out in increasingly self-de- yourself while conforming to unrealstructive ways, drinking heavily and istic ideals? engaging in harmful sexual behaviors. Though Emily’s upbringing NKDMAG.COM

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instilled a great deal of shame about sexuality, she still finds a “sense of confidence and peace and joy” when she looks back on her childhood faith. “It’s such a natural part of who I am, like the fabric of who I am,” she acknowledges, going on to explain that she is disturbed by the prospect of being misunderstood by a secular audience. “The last thing I would ever want to do is tell somebody that has the same understanding of it that I did, that that’s what I’m about—instead of just showing them what I’m about. I would never want to portray it in a way that was portrayed to me for so long,” she says. Emily was also fortunate to have a family who loved music and encouraged her to pursue her creative dreams, whether they were divinely guided or not. Music was all around her growing up. The Weisband home was full of ‘70s nostalgia, with Joni Mitchell, The Carpenters, and Cat Stevens on constant repeat. Though Emily developed a strong singing voice, and her unique blend of classic and edgy style meant she had the right image for the Nashville scene, she chose to write rather than sing. In another life, perhaps she could have been another Lauren Daigle. Certainly, she has the talent and the drive. Why did she not pursue fame? “Honestly,” she admits, “I think part of it was pride. When I first moved to Nashville, I constantly got stage fright. I really did. I was really self-conscious, always really afraid of what people would think. I had a hard time really letting go, and I think it really comes down to the fact that it just wasn’t right for me to be doing that at that time.” She found her own kind of confidence writing for other artists, 14

explaining that it gave her “purpose” to help others tell their stories. “I didn’t really feel like I had anything to say that didn’t feel like it wasn’t just adding to the noise.” For a time, it was enough for her. As the years progressed, a new calling was placed on Emily’s heart: to sing her own words, in her own voice. “Identity Crisis”, which explores Emily’s struggles in a candid and honest way, gets straight to the point: “God made me to be different. To have a wild-ass personality. To have a very emotional, vulnerable way of looking at things.” Emily’s second single, “Naked”, dives deep into the murky waters of sexuality and how it relates to body image. In the Instagram age, Emily is challenged daily by the trap of comparison, and must work hard at times to remind herself of her worth. As an older sister, she is passionate about this issue, and reminds young girls and women who are becoming a bit too fixated on their feeds: “Don’t be disillusioned by it. Surround yourself with people who speak life into you.” A recurring theme in Emily’s life is creating beauty out of brokenness. The God of the Bible, whether you are a believer or an atheist or you fall somewhere on the spectrum of doubt in between, is historically in the business of refining people, and making all things work for the greater good. Emily’s music career is still beginning, but already she has proven herself to be a strong and authentic voice for her generation. When she sings vulnerably about the heaviest experiences of her twenties, from drunken promiscuity to bar-hopping to finding out that God is “way cooler” than she believed as a kid, her story resonates loud and clear. NKD


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TA S YA TELES

Words by ELIZABETH FORREST Photos by CATHERINE POWELL


WITH TWO PROFESSORS as parents, growing up to be an actress was never at the forefront of Tasya Teles’ mind. As a teenager, Tasya’s mom pushed her into computer science or engineering; acting wasn’t an option that her family supported. She studied business in college because it seemed like a safe bet, but she was miserable. She soon realized that everything felt out of sync and towards the end of her degree, she finally took an acting class. “It was like my world became color or sound was introduced for the first time,” she remembers, “my senses were heightened, my life just felt like I was in the right place, things felt right again.” All she could think was, “why didn’t I do this before?” At her mom’s urging, Tasya agreed to finish her degree before pursuing acting full time. All the while, she was nervous about going into acting as an adult and having to catch up to everyone else. She was 25 and gave herself three years for her career to flourish. “One of the things I never wanted to say was that I didn’t take the risk or I didn’t follow my intuition,” Tasya says, “I just felt strongly that I had to do it, just to 18

know for myself that even if it didn’t work, that I tried and I put everything I could into it. Giving myself that three year timeframe and putting all my efforts into it really condensed my focus.” Luckily, Tasya got her first agent at 28 and everything quickly fell into place. During those three years, Tasya studied acting and developed her process. She learned that her strategy for attacking a role changes depending on how quickly she can identify with a character. For example, with her character Echo on The CW’s The 100, she had a difficult time understanding her character’s line of thinking, including why she made the choices that she did. “I did a lot of movement training with my coach and we realized that her weaponry hangs on her hip, so she has this gaze when she walks because all of her power comes from her sword around her hip,” Tasya explains. “Her walk was what really brought me into her, and then I kind of understood where I was going with her and what the story needed.” Echo continues to be an interesting character to play. “The most exciting characters

are the ones that are still burdened and fraught with anger,” Tasya says; but beneath Echo’s anger is vulnerability. Peeling back Echo’s layers and unearthing the character more and more is the most fun part of the job to Tasya. In general, she leans towards strong, decisive and opinionated women roles; but even in 2019, strong women aren’t always received the same way as strong men. “Sometimes there’s a lot of backlash for things she [Echo] does, but for me I think it’s a necessary story to tell, to naturalize strong women and to show we’re everywhere and we’re in all sorts of different roles and can make tough choices,” Tasya says. Sometimes that backlash comes to life through the internet and social media. Although Tasya is grateful for the chance to be able to connect to her fans, the negativity can sometimes be much louder than the positivity. “If you’re having a bad day and something will pop up on your phone, that can affect you,” Tasya admits, “but for the most part, like anybody, you’ve just got to shut out all the negativity in your life, including the stuff online, and you just engage with people


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who are positive and uplifting.” In Tasya’s opinion, what ultimately makes a scene work is the connection between scene partners. On The 100, although there’s a huge, ensemble cast, one-on-one takes are the most fun. Tasya especially loves working oneon-one with Eliza Taylor, who plays Clarke. “She just has a groundedness and an effortless weight to her work,” Tasya explains. With Bob Morley, who plays Bellamy, they have more of a brother-sister relationship. “It’s all laughs and jokes, which actually sometimes is a bit annoying,” Tasya laughs. She admits he can be a bit distracting, most notably during solemn scenes when she needs to keep a straight face. Tasya began on The 100 in Season 2, but became a regular on the show a few seasons later. Between seasons, she had no idea whether she would be asked back for the next. “I just fought my hardest and did my hardest work to stay a part of the story and bring as much to the show as I could,” Tasya remembers. There were many ways that Echo’s storyline could have gone: the writers told Tasya about a past possibility in which Echo and Nia were a couple and spent time together at the training posts (something that Tasya would have loved to have watched, but now seems totally wild.) And though the season finale leaves Echo in a “really 20

dire” place, Tasya’s fingers are crossed for her. Tasya has a few lighter projects coming up in the future, and they’re all very different from The 100. “It was really, really nice to go into comedy and I need more of it in my life,” Tasya says. “I had so much fun, and they’re playful and silly. It’s a great time on set. A lot of laughs.” In addition, Tasya is planning to create a food YouTube channel. She loves talking about food and travel culture. She even has two restaurants in Canada, though she doesn’t get much time to go to them. Her YouTube channel intends to be a space where she can be curious and creative and connect with others. “I kept making jokes to my friends, I was like ‘I’m the girl with no time,’ and then I was like ‘that’s brilliant, maybe that’s what everything should be around, quick and easy bits,’” she laughs. “I walked into 2019 thinking ‘I have a handle on this, I’m going to be able to control my schedule and stay on top of things,’” Tasya says, “and as life happens, the impossibility of getting on top of everything everyday hits you like a ton of bricks and you’re like ‘ahh.’” Tasya knows that other people feel the same way, so she hopes her channel will allow others who are pressed for time to go on a food journey with her… especially with healthy desserts. NKD


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quincy fouse Words by SHELBY CHARGIN Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

Quincy Fouse in a word is creative. Everything he does happens in a naturalistic artistic fashion that alludes any doubt that his talent is as shining as his character. Growing up in Indiana, Quincy was massively influenced by his “hip-hop renaissance man” dad and performative dancing and singing mom. They introduced the arts to him young and he discovered a passion that led him to move to Los Angeles at 17. When first coming to the city, Quincy would constantly bus to auditions on 2+ hour bus rides before landing his role as MG on the new Vampire Diaries series Legacies. Landing the role on Legacies has been an ever life changing process for Quincy. “It’s been really, really awesome man. I started acting… working, five years ago so to come to this timeline, it’s nice to be acting, it’s nice to be working period,” he says. Falling in love with drama through a scene he did at a workshop, Quincy cited his influences as Will Smith and Donald Glover, two of the most versatile male actors in Hollywood. “By the time I got a real good grasp on anything, I just had a genuine appreciation of everything,” Quincy

says. Talking to Quincy is an experience all its own. His constant positivity shines through his voice as though there’s never been a doubt in his mind that this path is the exact one he needs to be on. “I plan on running the distance with this thing. One of my dream roles is to play the live action Miles Morales, so I really plan on giving that my best shot whenever the opportunity presents itself,” Quincy says. It’s an inspirational goal, but like most Marvel characters, Quincy seems to be groomed for such a role. An endless curiosity and the want to do everything he can to inspire almost make you wonder how he hasn’t been snatched up for it yet. As he gets older and his “frame fills out”, he quips, Quincy is looking to see what other roles he can get into. “Right now, I’m kind of like the boy next door look, so I’m interested in tapping into the sexy buff guy or the homeless quirky dude,” he says. The duality of his wants in roles is equally matched by his future goals. While being funny and effortlessly charming seem to come easy to Quincy, so does the seriousness of being a leader in representation

for the culture. “For me, before I even got started with cultivating my career, the whole thing about Donald Glover being considered to be Spider-Man, that was such a momentous moment for me. Just seeing that it could be possible and people wanting that,” he says. He holds himself to the standard that he could be the next Donald Glover or Will Smith inspiring a new generation to get out there and live their dreams. “It’s always a magical moment to identify with someone on that screen. So anytime I get to be a part of that force, it’s an amazing thing.” That need for representation influences all aspects of Quincy’s creative life. A music producer, writer and one day hopeful executive producer, he allows his life experience and needs for stories like his to be told to help garner where he wants to go in the future. “I know what I’m doing right now is getting ready to touch the young Quincy of today, the young black youth of today. What do I want to say to these guys?” he reflects. Beyond being an influence, Quincy’s music and creative expressions are his life. He has many creative outlets and gives each the utmost attention he NKDMAG.COM

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can. Garnering his musical prowess to create a song for Legacies, he’s constantly finding ways to combine the things he loves with what he wants to do. And while he directs, he’s “afraid to don the title of directing.” In a very honest revelation, he confessed that directing other people “isn’t very attractive to me.” He’d rather be the writer who pushes to hard, or the executive producer who hold reigns a bit too tightly, but allows his trusted people to execute on his vision. The qualities that Quincy exemplifies in every answer he gives scream that of a future leader. You could just as easily see him running for Senate as you can running a movie studio, and making acceptance speeches for an EGOT. His overall exuberance and passion for both his role as MG and his position in the world shine through in a hopeful and positive manner only outshined by his smile. And while Quincy is on a new life path, MG is also exploring a new world as a vampire. “When Julie [Plec, the show’s creator] wrote this character for me - and I don’t know if she did it with me in mind, but I’m thankful for how things ended up – I came into someone who had just recently been turned into a vampire and is dealing with that. Coming into a vampire, there’s something that you needed to get used to. And then he’s on the brink of being a ripper but trying to be a good guy,” he says. It’s a duality we’ve often 24

seen throughout the Vampire Diaries universe where the best guy we know is tortured by his own abilities. But MG and Quincy bring a whole new level of experiences to this as being turned so young and dealing with the trepidations of being teenager and supernatural all at once. A major scene in Season 1 left a lasting effect on both Quincy and fans of the show where MG explored what “conditional love” from a parent truly does to one’s soul. “The second when there is something you can do to make someone else not love you, that’s so hard. To look at the empathy in MG’s position as being a guy that literally couldn’t control the fact that he was a vampire, it’s something that just happened and he has to live with it now,” he says. It’s an expression many of his fans resonate with in the current times and Quincy himself can understand. “That is who he is, and to be denied for that is a heartbreaking situation. And I definitely saw the truth and the point that Julie was trying to make, and I was all for it.” It’s hard to put Quincy into a few words on a page, it’s hard to capture someone who resembles so many trailblazers who have come before him and who will surely leave an impact long after his Legacies days. But for now, while Quincy sees himself as the next Donald Glover, it’s hard not to see him completely in a league of his own as the first and only Quincy Fouse. NKD


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jordan buhat Words by IAN HAYS Photos by CATHERINE POWELL


THERE IS SO MUCH IN THIS wild world, how do you find your place, your passion, unless you leave yourself open to explore? This is how Jordan Buhat, best known as Vivek on grown-ish, lives. Born and raised in Canada, the actor started his life with a focus on sports. The name of the game was name the game and he would try it. His family was active and loved sports, with both his parents coaching soccer. While he played soccer for multiple years, he likes to say he “dabbled” in all the other sports, playing for a season. He enjoyed (and still does) the gym, having been introduced at young age. But it was when he began high school that the stars aligned, and he discovered a new path that excited him more than sports - the arts. “I just remember this movie coming out and everyone going crazy for it. It was High School Musical. And I said I wasn’t going to watch it. Everyone else was going crazy it for it, though. So, I took one day after school to watch it; to be in the know. And that was it. That was the spark,” he says. In a wonderful bit of serendipity, the young man with an athletic upbringing finds himself enamored with the arts - specifically acting and singing. He began singing “just for fun” and discovered his proclivity for performing. He started learning the guitar and piano. This was the new path Jordan saw himself on. With sports he had fun, but there was a level of apathy; with the performing arts, his excitement was explicit. With the arts, he there was never enough learning and training to be done. With sports, you couldn’t get him to put in the extra hours of work because that spark wasn’t there. Being 28

fun wasn’t enough. Jordan’s family was just as surprised with his newly found passion. “They didn’t see this coming at all. They constantly said when I first started, ‘I have no idea where you got this from.’ No one in my family was remotely artsy, at all,” he says. Because of this, Jordan had no predetermined path or influences to guide him. It was completely up to what felt best for him. Because of that, his initial approach to the arts was broad. Just like with sports, he knew the only way to find his path was to try it all and see what resonated most. With singing he did pop, musical theater, country, you name it. He was living in the moment and seeing what stuck. His first love was singing, and this fed his need to perform. In high school, Jordan was also in Student Leadership with the ability to create events. So, inspired by his newfound love music and his desire to perform, Jordan created his own version of American Idol for his school. He wanted to perform, but he wanted to see the other talent that was out there as well. “I got to meet so many more people through this. I still have, in my mind, long-time rivals and inspirations to this day. This got me to do competitions outside school as well. I did competitions on the radio and throughout the city.” Jordan says. There was no stopping his love for performing. With each song learned, each new competition completed, Jordan found himself immersing himself more and more into signing and the arts. So, with high school coming to an end and him starting university, it was time for a new chapter and the next step in his artistic dreams. Jordan decided to pursue both his

passions - teaching and the arts. For teaching, his goal was to teach drama and physical education. So, while actively working on his teaching degree, he auditioned every year to be an acting major as well. For three years straight, he didn’t make the cut. “There is one audition slot to get in every year. So, that was crushing every year not getting in. But I had my teaching and phys. ed thing still going on. And it was during those years I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do. If was a teacher - if I will be a teacher eventually - I would like to be the teacher who’s done it,” he says. Then, in his fourth year at university, Jordan successfully auditioned into the acting major. This meant he now had three additional years to hone his skills and his arts in a structured setting. Once he started the major, he found he was wanting to act any chance he had. So, while in school, he also applied for apprenticeships in the states. He started making connections and after auditioning, made it into an apprenticeship in New Jersey all three years he was completing his acting major. So, in the summer, he came to the states and practiced Shakespearian Theater. “It was amazing. It was so cool. At that time, I really thought I was going to be a Shakespearian Theater actor,” he admits. But as time went on, he saw his peers were often either classically trained or coming from an improv background. Neither of those avenues resonated with him. The more he worked, the more he realized he wanted to do act on TV and in movies. He didn’t want, “off-thebeaten-path performance theater”. He wanted to be involved with work that sparked excitement in swaths of


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people. He embraced his competitive spirit. He won a competition in Florida and had the chance to meet with various management teams. Unfortunately, none were clicking. So, he went back the next year. It was on the last day of that second year that he met and signed with the team that he is still with today. Once he graduated, he moved out from Edmonton to Vancouver to pursue his career. While his focus in school was theater, he found that his training built a work ethic he has been able to carry into his television acting career, that mindset of needing to focus and get work done. But when it came to auditions in front of a camera? “I was completely green,” he says. “So green coming out of the program because it was theater and I had never done film. When I started doing those auditions and doing ‘shelf takes’, I just had no idea how to present myself. It took practice.” That practice came in the form of doing audition after audition and not getting the part. He soon found his rhythm though and what he felt was the most authentic way to present himself. It’s this determination - the same driving force behind him trying all the various sports and arts - that also allowed him to transition from a theater actor to television actor in those first few episodes of Grown-ish. When Jordan first auditioned for grown-ish, he didn’t hear back for a month. He then got word to fly down to LA for a chemistry reading; his first one ever. A new and frightening experience made exacerbated by a delayed flight and having to drag his luggage to the reading. Luckily, the crew got him prepared in time. Then came time for the reading. While he had seen black-ish, it was one of

those instances where in the moment he didn’t realize who he was with. It was Yara Shahidi. It wasn’t until the walk back that he realized it was Yara. Having worked with her now he can’t believe how he didn’t realize it at the time “The reading went great. I was able to get directions and constructive criticisms. Yara is fantastic and we were working off each other. Everyone is happy and I leave; but that’s still no guarantee with an audition,” he says. When Jordan learned he landed the role of Vivek, excitement was replaced with nerves. He jokes that while filming the first few episodes he was wondering if he had ever taken an acting class. It was a brave new world compared to his life in traditional theater. But his cast and producers trusted him. They knew this was his first time acting with a camera in his face. This provided Jordan the support to grow as a television actor and in turn, develop Vivek. “Over the past couple seasons, he’s become someone who really needs love. He also wants it. You can see that he needs for someone to lift him up; that he’s enough. That’s something I’ve really taken into account with shooting this new season. He wants to feel he has an effect on people’s lives,” Jordan says, “And I think that’s something people can relate to. [The show] has tackled cultural appropriation and mental health awareness. There’s more of an openness to speak on these more than ever.” With grown-ish, Jordan Buhat is actualizing his dream. Years of trial and error finding the right fit has paid off for the young actor. The joy in him recounting his journey is the excitement for what’s to come. This performer is still in his first act. NKD NKDMAG.COM

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Shoes by NIKE Shorts by H&M Earrings by THE SIS KISS


DINAH JANE Words by OLIVIA SINGH Photos by CATHERINE POWELL Make-Up by ANTHONY NGUYEN Hair by JERROD ROBERTS Styling by AUDREY BRIANNE


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yellow blazer, a flowing green and black top, black pants, and blue high heels. Standing in front of the judges, she spoke about her experience living with her family members in a four-bedroom house. When Dinah launched into her solo audition song, Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy,” she commanded the stage with a powerful voice, high notes, and a look of pure determination. She blew the judges away, with L.A. noting that performing a track from Beyoncé was a risky move, but the teenager “took that thing to places that even Beyoncé didn’t take it to.” The other judges shared similar sentiments, with Britney praising Dinah for her connection she established when she started singing and Demi saying that she “got chills.” “That doesn’t happen with me a lot and you’re someone that … I will buy your music one day,” Demi said. “I see you going really far.” “It’s so scary,” Dinah says of her audition. “But at the same time, it was something that you needed to experience to really confirm if this was meant for you.” With yeses from all four judges, Dinah advanced to the next round. She ended up getting eliminated, but was brought back to the competition in a newly formed group with four other contestants who also auditioned as solo-

ists: Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani, and Lauren Jauregui. The five girls (who were called Lylas at one point and 1432 at another time) came to be known as Fifth Harmony, a name chosen by viewers. They finished Season 2 of The X-Factor in third place and got signed to Syco Music, a record label that Simon founded. Between 2012 and 2018, Dinah and the group released three studio albums (2015’s Reflection, 2016’s 7/27, and 2017’s Fifth Harmony) and several EPs. Catchy, infectious songs like “Work From Home”, “Worth It”, “Sledgehammer”, and “Miss Movin’ On” were frequently played on the radio and the group became regular faces at award shows like the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the MTV VMAs, and the Teen Choice Awards. They went on tour, performed headlining shows for their fans (dubbed Harmonizers), and received an array of awards for their music. “Being in a group, it really helped me break out of my shell,” Dinah says. “When I first started, I just wanted to sing and make music. That’s the best way I can communicate with people and get my feelings across and make you understand where I’m at that day.” “I’m not much of a talker, but being among so many girls, it kind of helped me break out of that helped me

Blazer by SKYLAR ROSEEarrings by ASTRID & MIYU

DINAH JANE IS A SANTA Ana, California native and self-proclaimed “shy girl” who went from wanting her voice heard to having it resonate with millions of people. “My story’s pretty complicated,” the 22-year-old singer says, before explaining that she lived in a home with 20 to 30 family members. Being in an overly crowded house, she quickly turned to music as a creative outlet. “It always made me feel like I could speak even though I was among so many people,” Dinah says. “I’m the most shy out of the bunch, so music spoke to me the most and that was the way I could get my point across and communicate with others.” Dinah started singing in public as a child, beginning with performances in her church choir and at small shows within her Polynesian community. “At the time, I really grew to love music, and it just became more of a thing for me when I got out on stage in front of Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato, and Britney Spears on The X-Factor,” she says. In 2012, Dinah was 15-years-old and a student at Orange County School of the Arts when she auditioned for the reality competition that scoured the country for aspiring musicians. With her mom, Milika, and her uncle, Kennedy, watching backstage, Dinah took the X-Factor stage wearing a


50


communicate in other ways,” she adds. “It made me also just communicate better with people. If you met me like, seven years ago, I was literally just against the wall. Like sometimes the girls just forgot I was in the group, because I was that quiet.” Dinah built a strong bond with her group mates and eventually became more comfortable speaking up. “We all had organic chemistry and relationships with one another, so it kind of felt like school,” she says. “They helped me not be so shy in front of the camera and just love what I do at the same time, because whenever one of us would have a bad day, we always have one another to lean on.” In March 2018, 5H announced that they were going on a hiatus while the remaining members (Dinah, Ally, Normani, and Lauren) pursued their solo careers. Six months later, Dinah released her first solo single called “Bottled Up,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Marc E. Bassy. “It was just a feel-good vibe,” Dinah says of the track. Prior to working on the song, Dinah was a fan of Marc and his song “Love Her Too”. When they met up and started putting together “Bottled Up,” Dinah recalled the collaboration feeling “so organic.” And for Dinah, who calls herself “a shy girl,” the song title accurately encapsulated

her personality. “People who have a hard time, we turn to certain things to get our feelings out and get our emotions out, and he was the perfect guy to turn to at that time to help me break into my solo artist lane,” she says. Now, Dinah defines her solo sound as predominantly R&B. “Being that I was in a girl group for about seven years, I was exposed to so many different sounds and genres that I kind of created my own direction, if that makes sense,” she says. “So you’ll probably catch a lot of R&B and little elements from things I’ve been exposed to. Some pop, some urban.” In addition to listening to artists like Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill, Beyoncé, and Destiny’s Child, Dinah also draws inspiration from music that her parents introduced her to. She describes her dad as “the biggest hip hop and reggae lover” while her mom is a ‘90s R&B girl.” Dinah released her first solo EP, Dinah Jane 1, in April 2019. Prior to unveiling the new project, the singer recalled presenting approximately 15 songs to L.A. Reid, who gave her guidance and helped her decide which songs should be included on the EP. They ultimately went with three tracks: “Heard It All Before,” “Pass Me By,” and “Fix It.” Dinah, who admits that she’s attached to the R&B

genre, says that the goal of the EP was to help people “really get the idea that I’m heading into this direction.” “I hoped to take people back to when they heard ‘90s music,” she adds. Dinah also focused on finding a balance between originality and familiarity, trying to avoid creating tracks that sounded like imitations of older R&B songs. All three songs draw on personal topics. In “Heard It All Before,” Dinah sings about reaching the breaking point of a relationship and refusing to hear apologies from a person who was “no good.” In “Pass Me By,” she ponders about whether or not someone is “the one or just that for tonight.” “I don’t know how I ever let you slide / I don’t know how I ever passed you by,” Dinah says in the song. For Dinah, “Fix It” is the most personal because it draws on her family struggles. “Being that I was raised in a home of like 20 or 30 people, a bunch of family – my mom’s siblings, my grandparents, all the grandkids – being in that household, it wasn’t always pretty, but I always portrayed that picture just because I didn’t want people to view my family differently,” she says. In reality, Dinah thought that “no matter how much I did, I always felt like it wasn’t enough.” NKDMAG.COM

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Pants by MISTRESS ROCKS Earrings by ASTRID & MIYU


“Sometimes I felt like, ‘What can I do to fix our relationship and fix this situation?’ I kind of really went into my own space,” she says. Dinah wrote “Fix It” in two days and recalled the topic “weighing me down for a while” and being the “heaviest” to address. But after creating the song, it made her want to branch out and continue writing even more original music. Dinah’s latest track, “SZNS” features A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and explores a relationship through a “breezy” rhythm. “‘SZNS’ is one of my favorites,” she says. With her lyrics, Dinah sings about a relationship changing just as the seasons switch. “Summer through the winter we been through it / might fall but spring back to it,” she says in the song, playing on the idea of a relationship’s dynamics mirroring changes in nature. “I just hope everyone relates to it, because that’s where I took it,” Dinah says. “I’m a cancer, that’s my zodiac sign, so I love hard and I sometimes love too hard.” With most of her attention on “SZNS,” Dinah hasn’t been able to spend as much time in the studio, but she’s been enjoying the entire process as a solo artist, and she’s taking her time. Dinah knows that sometimes musicians feel pressure to “rush” and put out music, 42

rather than spending ample time “perfecting your craft.” “You get so caught up in that, but if you really feel that it’s not 100% and you don’t feel 100%, you should definitely take your time and don’t let anybody get in your way of rushing things or in the way of hurting your brand or your record,” she says. “So, stand tall, stand 10 feet tall, and make sure that you’ve mastered your craft.” “I love cooking up stuff in the studio and just getting my feelings across,” she says. “Fans have been so patient with me this year that I just want them to listen to my music and hope it helps them throughout their journey,” Dinah continues. “And that I’m writing it with them. I’m just as human as they are.” Dinah points to Megan Thee Stallion (who’s “really dope”), Teyana Taylor (“I love her song ‘You’re Gonna Love Me’, it speaks to me so hard”), and Jeremih as just a few artists she’d love to work with in the future. For now, she has two goals that she’s focused on. “One [is] to stay happy,” she says. “That’s something that we all kind of struggle with. Being also in the industry, it’s really hard to find that and maintain that. And I would say also my main goal throughout my whole career has always been winning a Grammy. That’s my ultimate goal. I have other ones, but that’s my number one,” she says. NKD


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Shoes by NIKE Shorts by H&M Earrings by THE SIS KISS


DINAH JANE Words by OLIVIA SINGH Photos by CATHERINE POWELL Make-Up by ANTHONY NGUYEN Hair by JERROD ROBERTS Styling by AUDREY BRIANNE


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yellow blazer, a flowing green and black top, black pants, and blue high heels. Standing in front of the judges, she spoke about her experience living with her family members in a four-bedroom house. When Dinah launched into her solo audition song, Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy,” she commanded the stage with a powerful voice, high notes, and a look of pure determination. She blew the judges away, with L.A. noting that performing a track from Beyoncé was a risky move, but the teenager “took that thing to places that even Beyoncé didn’t take it to.” The other judges shared similar sentiments, with Britney praising Dinah for her connection she established when she started singing and Demi saying that she “got chills.” “That doesn’t happen with me a lot and you’re someone that … I will buy your music one day,” Demi said. “I see you going really far.” “It’s so scary,” Dinah says of her audition. “But at the same time, it was something that you needed to experience to really confirm if this was meant for you.” With yeses from all four judges, Dinah advanced to the next round. She ended up getting eliminated, but was brought back to the competition in a newly formed group with four other contestants who also auditioned as solo-

ists: Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani, and Lauren Jauregui. The five girls (who were called Lylas at one point and 1432 at another time) came to be known as Fifth Harmony, a name chosen by viewers. They finished Season 2 of The X-Factor in third place and got signed to Syco Music, a record label that Simon founded. Between 2012 and 2018, Dinah and the group released three studio albums (2015’s Reflection, 2016’s 7/27, and 2017’s Fifth Harmony) and several EPs. Catchy, infectious songs like “Work From Home”, “Worth It”, “Sledgehammer”, and “Miss Movin’ On” were frequently played on the radio and the group became regular faces at award shows like the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the MTV VMAs, and the Teen Choice Awards. They went on tour, performed headlining shows for their fans (dubbed Harmonizers), and received an array of awards for their music. “Being in a group, it really helped me break out of my shell,” Dinah says. “When I first started, I just wanted to sing and make music. That’s the best way I can communicate with people and get my feelings across and make you understand where I’m at that day.” “I’m not much of a talker, but being among so many girls, it kind of helped me break out of that helped me

Blazer by SKYLAR ROSEEarrings by ASTRID & MIYU

DINAH JANE IS A SANTA Ana, California native and self-proclaimed “shy girl” who went from wanting her voice heard to having it resonate with millions of people. “My story’s pretty complicated,” the 22-year-old singer says, before explaining that she lived in a home with 20 to 30 family members. Being in an overly crowded house, she quickly turned to music as a creative outlet. “It always made me feel like I could speak even though I was among so many people,” Dinah says. “I’m the most shy out of the bunch, so music spoke to me the most and that was the way I could get my point across and communicate with others.” Dinah started singing in public as a child, beginning with performances in her church choir and at small shows within her Polynesian community. “At the time, I really grew to love music, and it just became more of a thing for me when I got out on stage in front of Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato, and Britney Spears on The X-Factor,” she says. In 2012, Dinah was 15-years-old and a student at Orange County School of the Arts when she auditioned for the reality competition that scoured the country for aspiring musicians. With her mom, Milika, and her uncle, Kennedy, watching backstage, Dinah took the X-Factor stage wearing a


50


communicate in other ways,” she adds. “It made me also just communicate better with people. If you met me like, seven years ago, I was literally just against the wall. Like sometimes the girls just forgot I was in the group, because I was that quiet.” Dinah built a strong bond with her group mates and eventually became more comfortable speaking up. “We all had organic chemistry and relationships with one another, so it kind of felt like school,” she says. “They helped me not be so shy in front of the camera and just love what I do at the same time, because whenever one of us would have a bad day, we always have one another to lean on.” In March 2018, 5H announced that they were going on a hiatus while the remaining members (Dinah, Ally, Normani, and Lauren) pursued their solo careers. Six months later, Dinah released her first solo single called “Bottled Up,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Marc E. Bassy. “It was just a feel-good vibe,” Dinah says of the track. Prior to working on the song, Dinah was a fan of Marc and his song “Love Her Too”. When they met up and started putting together “Bottled Up,” Dinah recalled the collaboration feeling “so organic.” And for Dinah, who calls herself “a shy girl,” the song title accurately encapsulated

her personality. “People who have a hard time, we turn to certain things to get our feelings out and get our emotions out, and he was the perfect guy to turn to at that time to help me break into my solo artist lane,” she says. Now, Dinah defines her solo sound as predominantly R&B. “Being that I was in a girl group for about seven years, I was exposed to so many different sounds and genres that I kind of created my own direction, if that makes sense,” she says. “So you’ll probably catch a lot of R&B and little elements from things I’ve been exposed to. Some pop, some urban.” In addition to listening to artists like Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill, Beyoncé, and Destiny’s Child, Dinah also draws inspiration from music that her parents introduced her to. She describes her dad as “the biggest hip hop and reggae lover” while her mom is a ‘90s R&B girl.” Dinah released her first solo EP, Dinah Jane 1, in April 2019. Prior to unveiling the new project, the singer recalled presenting approximately 15 songs to L.A. Reid, who gave her guidance and helped her decide which songs should be included on the EP. They ultimately went with three tracks: “Heard It All Before,” “Pass Me By,” and “Fix It.” Dinah, who admits that she’s attached to the R&B

genre, says that the goal of the EP was to help people “really get the idea that I’m heading into this direction.” “I hoped to take people back to when they heard ‘90s music,” she adds. Dinah also focused on finding a balance between originality and familiarity, trying to avoid creating tracks that sounded like imitations of older R&B songs. All three songs draw on personal topics. In “Heard It All Before,” Dinah sings about reaching the breaking point of a relationship and refusing to hear apologies from a person who was “no good.” In “Pass Me By,” she ponders about whether or not someone is “the one or just that for tonight.” “I don’t know how I ever let you slide / I don’t know how I ever passed you by,” Dinah says in the song. For Dinah, “Fix It” is the most personal because it draws on her family struggles. “Being that I was raised in a home of like 20 or 30 people, a bunch of family – my mom’s siblings, my grandparents, all the grandkids – being in that household, it wasn’t always pretty, but I always portrayed that picture just because I didn’t want people to view my family differently,” she says. In reality, Dinah thought that “no matter how much I did, I always felt like it wasn’t enough.” NKDMAG.COM

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Pants by MISTRESS ROCKS Earrings by ASTRID & MIYU


“Sometimes I felt like, ‘What can I do to fix our relationship and fix this situation?’ I kind of really went into my own space,” she says. Dinah wrote “Fix It” in two days and recalled the topic “weighing me down for a while” and being the “heaviest” to address. But after creating the song, it made her want to branch out and continue writing even more original music. Dinah’s latest track, “SZNS” features A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and explores a relationship through a “breezy” rhythm. “‘SZNS’ is one of my favorites,” she says. With her lyrics, Dinah sings about a relationship changing just as the seasons switch. “Summer through the winter we been through it / might fall but spring back to it,” she says in the song, playing on the idea of a relationship’s dynamics mirroring changes in nature. “I just hope everyone relates to it, because that’s where I took it,” Dinah says. “I’m a cancer, that’s my zodiac sign, so I love hard and I sometimes love too hard.” With most of her attention on “SZNS,” Dinah hasn’t been able to spend as much time in the studio, but she’s been enjoying the entire process as a solo artist, and she’s taking her time. Dinah knows that sometimes musicians feel pressure to “rush” and put out music, 42

rather than spending ample time “perfecting your craft.” “You get so caught up in that, but if you really feel that it’s not 100% and you don’t feel 100%, you should definitely take your time and don’t let anybody get in your way of rushing things or in the way of hurting your brand or your record,” she says. “So, stand tall, stand 10 feet tall, and make sure that you’ve mastered your craft.” “I love cooking up stuff in the studio and just getting my feelings across,” she says. “Fans have been so patient with me this year that I just want them to listen to my music and hope it helps them throughout their journey,” Dinah continues. “And that I’m writing it with them. I’m just as human as they are.” Dinah points to Megan Thee Stallion (who’s “really dope”), Teyana Taylor (“I love her song ‘You’re Gonna Love Me’, it speaks to me so hard”), and Jeremih as just a few artists she’d love to work with in the future. For now, she has two goals that she’s focused on. “One [is] to stay happy,” she says. “That’s something that we all kind of struggle with. Being also in the industry, it’s really hard to find that and maintain that. And I would say also my main goal throughout my whole career has always been winning a Grammy. That’s my ultimate goal. I have other ones, but that’s my number one,” she says. NKD


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noëlle renée bercy Words by OLEVA BERARD Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

WITH THE OVERWHELMING expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years, Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger is quite a special addition. When Noëlle Renée Bercy signed on to play Evita Fusilier on the show, she had no idea what a personal project it would become. Without knowing what the show was when she auditioned, she immediately jumped on board. The audition process for the project was fast, with Noëlle sending in an audition tape and being called back to do a chemistry read less than a week later. She wasn’t given much information about the show, only minute details about the character she was reading for, Evita Fusilier. Cloak and Dagger is a superhero show that boldly enters hard-hitting conversations to tackle relevant issues in today’s world. Filmed and set in Noëlle’s hometown of New Orleans, the show impressively covers a lot of ground while also exploring a captivating supernatural element that is

grounded in actual Haitian spirituality. Noëlle did a significant amount of research to ensure she would be portraying the culture in the most authentic way she could. “I spoke to family members, some of the elders specifically, for Evita when it comes to Voodoo,” says Noëlle. “I do have some distant relatives that believe and practice it. I didn’t grow up with a voodoo pot in the kitchen but it very much still is an alive and practiced thing. I love that the show portrays it so I was actually able to personally speak to some people who live it every day.” Evita is a strong-willed character whose personal background in voodoo culture plays a huge role in the show. Her relationship with the supernatural world has become significant to her growth as a character with the conclusion of Season 2 in late May. As the show awaits news of being picked up for Season 3, Noëlle hopes to be able to dive more into Evita’s history before they delve even further into her future. Noëlle says, “I think the

show has left a lot of room to explore why she has such deep roots in this voodoo world.” Beyond the complex supernatural aspects present in the world, the story is also highly grounded in reality. Cloak and Dagger follows two teenagers who come from very different backgrounds that ultimately come together as a supernatural element begins to unfold in the world around them. Unpacking important topics like privilege, police brutality, and human trafficking, the show reveals more nuanced layers to a superhero story in the already expansive MCU. There is also the additional pressure to accurately represent the rich culture already present in New Orleans in the most authentic way possible. Though initially she felt nervous to join a show based in her hometown out of fear of common inaccurate portrayals of the city and its culture in media, she quickly learned what a unique experience she would truly have working on the set. “The production team really does their research and NKDMAG.COM

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strives for authenticity,” says Noëlle. “They welcome the conversation and I’ve never felt like my opinion didn’t matter.” The ability to have an open dialogue in regards to representation in the show is not something that Noëlle takes lightly. “I just thank the showrunner and the writers all the time, especially being one of the only cast members that’s from this city, I feel like I have a certain level of responsibility on my back,” says Noëlle. “It’s just been great to shed light to what New Orleans genuinely looks like and to make my city proud.” The attention to detail is what makes Cloak and Dagger such a special show that is a truly unique addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Honestly, I don’t think it has yet to click to me which is crazy,” says Noëlle on joining the already massive franchise. “It’s beyond a dream come true and I’m just grateful to be a part of the show. Marvel is great in and of itself, but specifically being on a show that’s set in my home town was just an insane experience.” Beyond Cloak and Dagger, Noëlle strives to expand her range of experience with every project she signs onto. “I’m all about trying new things. I don’t want a very mundane career,” says Noëlle. “I want to take on as many different roles as possible. As polar opposite from the last role as possible.” She has several projects in the works that will help her do 46

just that including working on Invite Only, a horror flick that is due out sometime next year and getting to work alongside Patton Oswalt in a dark comedy. Challenging herself to experiment in as many different art forms as possible has led Noëlle to such a diverse resume at this point in her career as an entertainer. Initially getting her start in performing through dance, she quickly found a love of performing both on and off the stage through acting. Being open to different areas of the entertainment industry, Noëlle has also found new passions in areas she never expected. “My biggest bucket list item would be to star in something that I have written myself,” says Noëlle. “With acting, I’ve fallen in love with reading scripts which has inspired me to write my own. It’s an ever-evolving dream which is awesome. There’s always new layers to be added.” Driven by creative energy and constantly motivated to find new passions, Noëlle Renée Bercy wants more than to just become great in one area of her career. Taking her already vast experiences in acting to her own craft, she is constantly gaining insight on how to become a better writer with every script she gets to be a part of. As she continues to expand her impressive list of skills with every new project, it will be exciting to watch as she turns her life lessons into creative projects of her own making. NKD


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gianni paolo Words by NICOLE MOOREFIELD Photos by CATHERINE POWELL Grooming by BEKAH LESSER Jacket by OREN KASH Shirt by WILLIAM LEI

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FROM HOCKEY PRODIGY TO improv student to horror star, Gianni Paolo has worn many hats in his 23 years of life. The one constant throughout it all? Comedy. Growing up in Rhode Island, hockey became Gianni’s life at age 5. Despite being skilled at the sport, “I remember always wanting to make everyone laugh on my team,” he shares. One coach even encouraged 9-year-old Gianni to quit hockey and pursue entertainment instead. With Division I offers coming in and a draft from a Canadian league, Gianni was hesitant to abandon a promising hockey career, but he continued to feel drawn to comedy. At 13, Gianni finally verbalized his desire to act, but it still felt impossible. “You never really [saw] anyone who played hockey become an actor, until maybe Taylor Kitsch,” he recalls. At 18, he signed up for classes at the Providence Improv Guild and “immediately fell in love” with comedy. “It was one of the biggest highs I’ve ever had,” he recalls. His teammates gave him a hard time for a while but eventually grew to appreciate Gianni’s sense of humor, especially through his social media. At first, Gianni planned to play junior hockey and take improv classes in Rhode Island for a few years after graduating high school, hoping to later study theater at Princeton. At 19, however, he decided to move to LA and capitalize on high school roles while he was still young. “[Right now], I’d be a sophomore [in college],” he reflects. “It’s crazy to think [that] everything I’ve done

up to this point … wouldn’t even be a thing.” Gianni’s first role was on Hulu’s Chance, but it was The Mick “that really changed everything in my mentality,” he recalls. Working on the Fox lot for three days made acting feel much more attainable and taught Gianni to appreciate the process — when his recurring role on The Fosters was cut to one scene after the show’s cancellation, he was able to enjoy the experience despite not getting the career boost he had initially hoped for. Gianni had only been living in LA for two years when he booked Ma, the thriller that put him on the map, but each day felt like forever while he was working at a restaurant to make ends meet. One night, he remembers, Gianni was catering an event at the Sony lot and had to serve the stars of Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why – shows he came close to booking. Almost exactly a year later, he was filming Ma with that party’s host, Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer (something he has yet to bring up with her). Although “I really wouldn’t find myself gravitating towards horror, ever,” Gianni reveals. But Ma’s unique juxtaposition of horror and comedy is closer to the teen slashers Gianni appreciates than the dark, supernatural storylines more common today. Despite mixed reviews, “everyone who went to a packed theater said [Ma] was one of the most electric experiences they’ve ever had because it was just a fun and over-the-top horror movie,” Gianni shares. “That’s what I loved about it. I don’t care [about the

critics],” he adds. “I’m not trying to make Call Me By Your Name every other week, you know what I mean?” Shortly after booking Ma, Gianni landed a small role in Power, a crime drama produced by his childhood idol 50 Cent. After watching Gianni add depth and humor to Brayden through his improv, the show upgraded him to a recurring role rewritten from “a generic, douchey rich kid” to better suit Gianni’s strengths. Brayden becomes a more important player in Season 6, as he and Tariq are roommates and team up together. Later this year, Gianni will be filming a new television show, which he hopes will run for a full six seasons, as he has never worked consistently for more than two months. Eventually, he hopes to write, produce, direct, and run his own show. Ultimately, he is excited to finally have his dream job: stepping into someone else’s shoes each day and getting to make people laugh. “If I was working a desk job, I’d probably do this on the side just because I love doing it, but the fact that I get to do it and get paid for it is just amazing to me,” he remarks. “I was doing a self-tape for an audition the other day,” he recalls, and “it was [the] most insane dialogue. They were talking about Smurf porn, and I was orgasming,” he laughs. While watching the tape back, it really struck him that this was his actual profession. “I’m happy to be able to do what I’m doing,” he concludes. “And I hope I get to do it for a long time.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

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SAN DIEGO COMIC CON class of 2019 Photographed & Interviewed by CATHERINE POWELL

Christine Adams

KJ Apa

Black Lightning “I think it’s a show that will never, ever go away. Even if we only did a limited number of seasons, I think the way we do the storytelling, that’s something people will go back to over and over again.”

Riverdale “I hope that people thought that it was authentic. I hope that people learned from these characters. For me, from now on, all these episode are for Luke [Perry] for me.”

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Ashley Aufderheide

Chloe Bennet

Emergence “It has a lot of elements. Family, drama, supernatural elements and it’s a thriller. My character, Mia, takes on an older sister role to Piper and ends up spending less time with her father.”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “We’re shooting the finale now, and we’re almost done. We’ve done nuts things and you’re kind of like, ‘What else can they do?’ Well, we did it. It’s my favorite season.”

Jenny Boyd

Kaylee Bryant

Legacies “Overall, playing Lizzie is such a dream come true. She’s such an incredible character. In Season 2, I want her to find love and explore a relationship at some point.”

Legacies “A specific moment that stands out for me from Season 1 would have to be Alternate Reality Josie. Just for her to see what it meant to be on the completely opposite end of being codependent.”

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Jordan Calloway

Tom Cavanagh

Black Lightning “I think as a whole, as a unit, we want people to pull from this show the realities of inner city struggles and the hardships of not only the black community, but minorities.”

The Flash “Arrow, when we started as the new guy as The Flash, was so welcoming and I really remember that. And so for our legacy, I think that’s up for someone else to decide.”

Natalia Cordova-Buckley

Matt Davis

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “For me, this show is about the true, best superpower that we all have as humanity and that’s to love each other and to fight for each other. I hope that our viewers take that in mind.”

Legacies “I feel like this is my seventh Comic Con in ten years of playing this character and it’s just surreal. It’s been such a blessing in my life and I’m just happy to keep going along for the ride.”

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Michael Ealy

Donald Faison

Stumptown “Stumptown is a show that is so unconventional and also so perfectly captures the inner workings of a city that a lot of people know about, but haven’t really been to.”

Emergence “It’s very, very suspenseful. My character Alex’s family experiences a lot together as a broken family, and I think it brings them together, even though they’re not together.”

Quincy Fouse

Clark Gregg

Legacies “The stand out moments for MG are the ones where we see him coming into his own. I really loved that dancing scene he did with Lizzie. And when he went into full hero mode at the end.”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “What the show ended up being about is that sometimes the family that you fight for and connect with the most deeply, isn’t necessarily the one that you grew up with, but the one that you find.”

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Grant Gustin

Jake Johnson

The Flash “I put a lot of pressure on myself in the beginning because I know how important this character is to people. I just hope we’ve represented the legacy of The Flash well.

Stumptown “I thought the comic was really cool, and I thought it was really bold for ABC to want to do this graphic novel. I think Cobie’s character is an unconventional lead.”

Marvin Jones III

Camryn Manheim

Black Lightning “One of the things I hope people take away is that it is a show for the people by the people. And from my character, I want them to take away that everyone is better than the worst thing they’ve ever done.”

Stumptown “Stumptown has some of the baddest-ass people you will ever meet. It’s dirty, it’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s scrappy. And we’re going to bring you an awesome story every week.”

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Danielle Panabaker

Candice Patton

The Flash “I hope we’ve entertained people. That’s one of the nice things about Comic Con - the opportunity to interact with fans and see the impact the show is having.”

The Flash “I hope people see the strides that we’ve made as a cast, a production and a network to open those doors and see minorities, people of color, people of all different backgrounds, as heroes.”

China Anne McClain

Madelaine Petsch

Black Lightning “The show is really about the community, so I hope that this show in some way betters the community and helps to open people’s eyes to the different things that are going on in the world.”

Riverdale “High school shows on The CW are fairly iconic, so if the show could just be as iconic as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, that would be fantastic. It’s sort of built into the show.”

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Lili Reinhart

Danielle Rose Russell

Riverdale “I think we’ve done a good job of creating a very special world in Riverdale, and one that hasn’t been seen before. It’s very stylized. I hope that people lost themselves in it.”

Legacies “I really love seeing the relationships Hope develops. I love the dynamic she has with Alaric, and the dynamic she has with Landon. I really love to see her developing relationships.”

Hartley Sawyer

Aria Shahghasemi

The Flash “When I hear a dad say, ‘My daughter and I watch [The Flash] every week and we’ve been doing it since she was 10 and now she’s 15 and we’re still doing it’, that means the world to me.”

Legacies “One of my two favorite episodes is the first episode. Going back and rewatching the first episode is incredible. Just to see how far its come and what it was and what it became is just awesome.”

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Cole Sibus

Henry Simmons

Stumptown “I had the audition for Stumptown, and I was pumped and I knew this was my part. And I get to work with awesome people like Jake Johnson and Cobie Smulders.”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Universally, I would like people to fight to change the world for the better. I hope that’s something that people take away from our show. I know that’s quite a lofty thing.”

Peyton Alex Smith

Cobie Smulders

Legacies “Because he’s in the middle of his werewolf form but his human brain is still there, all I really know is [Landon] is helping me. When he comes back I don’t know what that will do to his psyche.”

Stumptown “My face is on things. I’m not good at stuff like that, but it’s a part of the process and I’m really excited for the show. We just shot our pilot; we’re just getting started.”

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Cole Sprouse

Alexa Swinton

Riverdale “I know it sounds a little cliche, but I hope people just have fun. The show is a visual bubblegum. I think we’re going to look back on it and look at it like a visual timepiece.”

Emergence “It’s about real people, in a real circumstance and it’s actually something that could have actually happened. My character Piper is just trying to survive.”

Allison Tolman

Carlos Valdes

Emergence “It’s based in reality with extraordinary circumstances. My character is a detective and finds this mystery child and has her investigative skills really tested for the first.”

The Flash “I hope people take away that representation matters, and that our success is only as good as the group’s success and working together as a team, and that endurance and personal will can go along way.”

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Jeff Ward

Ming-Na Wen

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “I hope what people take away from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just because everyone makes fun of you doesn’t mean that they don’t love you on the inside.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “These characters, they have their insecurities and their challenges and it’s about finding that family and being able to grow and discover who you are. It’s about connecting and loving.”

Cress Williams

Nafessa Williams

Black Lightning “I hope when it’s all said and done, I hope having African American superheroes, and having a show that’s a drama with an African American family at the center, is the norm.”

Black Lightning “We all have a superhero inside of us and we have to find out what that is. And I hope that it serves hope that in a community, education is all you need. With education, we are powerful.”

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Profile for NKD Mag

NKD Mag - Issue #98 (August 2019)  

Featuring: Dinah Jane, Ally Maki, Jordan Buhat, Tasya Teles, Quincy Fouse, Noelle Renee Bercy, Emily Weisband, Coy Stewart, Daisy Eagan, Gia...

NKD Mag - Issue #98 (August 2019)  

Featuring: Dinah Jane, Ally Maki, Jordan Buhat, Tasya Teles, Quincy Fouse, Noelle Renee Bercy, Emily Weisband, Coy Stewart, Daisy Eagan, Gia...

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