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NOV. 2017 04 CHRISSIE FIT

18 NATHAN KRESS

38 HOLLAND RODEN

on the sisterhood of the pitch perfect franchise

on his life-changing role on icarly + stepping into directing

on growing with lydia on teen wolf + her latest project, lore

08 LAURA VANDERVOORT

24 JESSICA MEREZ

48 ANNE WINTERS

on wanting to play women with substance

on joining major crimes + how her mom influences the role

on joining the cast of 13 reasons why + her new film

10 NOAH SCHNAPP

28 IVANA BAQUESO

50 CASEY DEIDRICK

on the success of stranger things + working with winona ryder

on season 2 of the shannara chronicles

on always getting back on the board

16 MORGAN EVANS

30 LANDRY BENDER

54 NYCC CLASS OF 2017

on moving to nashville + his first single, “kiss somebody”

on joining the veteran cast of fuller house

feat. some of tv’s hottest stars, photographed on monochrome film

36 ERIS BAKER

on the impact of this is us + where we’ll see tess this season

CATHERINE POWELL

publisher, editor, photographer, designer, writer

SAMANTHA BAMBINO

AUTUMN HALLE

VANESSA SALLES

SHELBY CHARGIN

IAN HAYS

OLIVIA SINGH

ELIZABETH FORREST

BRITTANY LANDAU

RILEY STENEHJEM

writer writer writer

writer writer writer

STACY MAGALLON writer

writer writer writer


chrissie fit Words by BRITTANY LANDAU Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

“It was a dark and rainy day in Miami,” Chrissie Fit jokes about her start, but it’s definitely no joke to say that the Pitch Perfect star has been taking the industry by storm in recent years. The Cuban-American actress grew up in a very musical family. “My grandfather played guitar in Cuba and my mom sings with her sisters and I wanted to do that with them. I thought that sounded and looked like fun,” she says. So when Chrissie was 5-years-old, she began singing with her mother and aunts at parties. However, her involvement with the entertainment industry certainly did not stop with music. In the fifth grade, Chrissie discovered acting as a means of winning over her crush. “The guy I liked was in sixth grade and they were putting on a show for the sixth graders. I thought if I was in the show and the guy saw me, he was going to fall in love,” she says. After asking her teacher if she can have a part in the show and being denied since

she wasn’t in the sixth grade yet, Chrissie read through the script. “I saw that there wasn’t a bad girl in the play, so I went to the teacher the next day and I was like, ‘Ms. Sanchez, I notice you don’t have a bad girl. Can I be the bad girl?’ I don’t know if she felt sorry for me or whatever, but she said sure,” Chrissie recalled. Decked out with huge hair, a polka dotted skirt, a red leotard, and tons of gold chains, Chrissie played the part of a gypsy. “The guy I liked was in the audience. He didn’t fall in love with me, but that’s how I fell in love with acting,” she laughs. Shortly after, she discovered a way to mix her passions together with musicals. Chrissie performed in shows around Miami and studied theater at Florida International University. After school, she wanted to give it a shot and had to decide between New York and Los Angeles. “Being from Miami, the cold winter deterred me completely. That’s why I moved to L.A., and the rest is history. Now I get to do

musicals like I always wanted to,” she says. Chrissie’s first acting gig in Los Angeles was on the Nickelodeon sitcom, Zoey 101. “I had one line. It was, ‘That kid has the last moon bar!’ I just screamed it and then we all went running for the moon bar,” she laughs. “I also remember from that shoot getting my hair and makeup done professionally for the first time and my eyes kept watering the whole time. Any time the makeup artist got close to my eye, I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m never going to make it in Hollywood because I can’t get eyeliner on’,” she jokes. In 2007, Chrissie became a recurring character in the medical drama, General Hospital. She first appeared on their spin off, General Hospital: Night Shift, as Lupe Rosales before joining the soap opera as Mercedes Juarez. “They were always very nice, but it always felt like I was coming in and out, which essentially is what I did. It felt like you were the new kid at school every time,” she says. Though ChrisNKDMAG.COM

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sie had acted previously, being on a soap opera taught her a lot about the craft. “I definitely learned a lot from them. They are learning a script a day and they’re so underrated for that,” she says. A year later, Chrissie got cast as CheeChee in Teen Beach Movie. “The first audition was in November and I didn’t find out that I got it until February. I remember getting the role and having to fly two days later to Puerto Rico because the audition process was so long,” she says. “We didn’t know, but we felt that it was going to be a big movie on the Disney Channel. We knew we were doing something special in Puerto Rico.” The movie has some intense dance numbers, which Chrissie learned the hard way. “After my first dance rehearsal, I went back to the room and started crying. These are So You Think You Can Dance? dancers. They’re amazing,” she says. Kent Boyd, a second place runner up on So You Think You Can Dance? and Rascal in Teen Beach Movie, became, in Chrissie’s words, her “knight in shining armor”. “I kind of had to push a little harder than I thought I needed to and learn how to dance with these professional dancers. Kent and I would practice on our own and I worked really hard to be at – not the same level as them because they’re insane and have been training their whole lives – but at least enough to fake it,” she laughs. Chrissie describes working for a brand as big as Disney as different and even a little strange. “I felt like I couldn’t be 100% myself sometimes because I was more representing this brand,” she admits. “Then, Pitch Perfect came around and it was right up my alley. It’s so weird and quirky, and the girls and I are about the same age and relate on different levels. It was refreshing to be able to be in my own skin.” Chrissie entered the Pitch Perfect franchise in the second movie as Florencia “Flo” Fuentes, a Guatemalan foreign exchange student 06

who joins the Barden Bellas during her sophomore year. Entering the franchise when some of the actresses had already known either was intimidating to Chrissie, but she found her footing easily. Elizabeth Banks, who directed the film, helped Chrissie out on her first day. “She literally took me to dance rehearsal like it was the first day of school,” she laughs. Chrissie’s fears of being the new girl were put to rest and the cast ended up spending a lot of time together. “We either do Bella Boot Camp where we’re learning songs and dances or we’re watching The Bachelor together. Rebel Wilson also loves to go to the movie theater so we would go all the time,” she says. “During the second movie, I became so protective of them because people knew them and they didn’t know who I was. I became security whenever we went out. I’m like 5-foot- nothing, but I’m pretty intimidating when I have to be,” she jokes. Pitch Perfect 3 will be released this December and shows the Barden Bellas post-college. “This movie shows how each of them struggles trying to find their place without being part of a group. Then you see them reunite and that’s going to be super fun. It becomes an action movie at one point. It’s aca-action,” she jokes. “We all had to go through stunt training. Rebel did more than the rest of us. We really wanted to up the stakes and more music, more dance, more, just more for the fans that are so amazing and supportive.” When she’s not in front of the camera, Chrissie is writing for other shows and shorts. “I’ve been developing stuff on my own and I think that’s kind of important, especially if you want to see more stories of women and women of color,” she says. “We have to get behind the camera, take initiative, and make content. We need more voices and people in positions of power to affect change. Otherwise, you’re just waiting around for the opportunity to happen.” NKD


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There’s a lot of fantasy in Laura Vandervoort’s world, but when it comes to her reality, she’s all about being true to herself. The Canadian-born actress has had her share of ups-and-downs in the sometimes uncertain landscape of the entertainment industry. Laura started acting when she was only 13, inspired by the classic childhood film, My Girl, and the emotional arch Anna Chlumsky brought to the likeable yet morbid tomboy, Vada. It was the first time Laura remembers realizing she was passionate about something, and that something turned out to be acting. “I grew up a tomboy. I was in martial arts, I was very quiet and shy. Acting was a way for me to get my emotions and feelings out in a different facet,” she says of when she began to explore the art. Her parents were immediately supportive of the youngster, allowing her to start doing background work for Canadian television shows, and eventually letting her audition for roles. “Some of the first roles I ended up booking were on Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, both of which I was a fan of at the time, so it was really exciting,” Laura laughs. “From there, I booked a few small roles on Disney TV movies and popular Canadian television shows.” Even though she was booking roles here and there she found the down time between roles, and the quality of the roles she was being offered, did a number on her self-confidence. “I was a young girl and I didn’t want to just play the girlfriend or the girl next door, I wanted to play roles that were layered and would challenge me,” Laura reflects on her aspirations. “There were periods of time, especially when I was younger, where I wasn’t 08

working and I was really discouraged. But I found that’s really the test for this industry— if you’re willing to work past those insecurities you know you really love it.” Despite the obstacles, Laura persevered. She continued to take acting classes and hit the audition circuit even harder. Her dedication paid off in a big way when she landed the role of Supergirl on Smallville. “That was my first opportunity to be on a large American series in front of a huge audience. It was pretty amazing,” Laura says of the casting. For Laura, it was the beginning of an exciting time in her career. Playing Supergirl allowed her to move to the U.S. full time and opened up a whole new world of career opportunities. She wasted no time immersing herself in the sci-fi genre and booked recurring roles on ABC’s V and The CW’s Bitten. But the fall release of the horror film Jigsaw, the eighth installment of the Saw Franchise, finds Laura tackling one of her most emotionally taxing and psychologically challenging characters to date. “I’m a fan of horror films and psychological thrillers. Saw is definitely one of the larger franchises out there and to be apart of that was an honor,” Laura continues. “I was already such a huge fan of the directors, Michael and Peter Spierig, when they asked to meet with me. We hit it off and I knew I wanted to be part of whatever they were doing.” In Jigsaw, Laura plays the determined and mysterious Anna. Of her character, Laura explains, “She’s someone that’s very methodical and tries to work through the possible ways to escape. She brings everyone together and makes them work together to get out of the trap. But most importantly,

she doesn’t believe she deserves to be there.” Despite how physically and mentally exhausting filming was, Laura felt the hardest part was one distinct flaw in her character’s past. “It took me a while to wrap my head around what she’d done and whether or not I was comfortable playing that kind of character — playing someone who’d done such a horrible thing really took a lot out of me emotionally,” Laura says. Beyond just her professional aspirations, Laura wants to be a honest voice for young actresses that might be struggling to to stay true to themselves. Her recent article on BackStage.com, “Laura Vandervoort on Dealing With Actor FOMO + Why Wanting to Quit Is Normal” was an inspirational, yet boldly truthful message about the realities of the industry. “I know how tough it is, especially for women, and I wanted to be honest,” Laura explains of the article. “I honestly had moments where I wanted to take a step back and quit. I think the business is a little tougher on us because there are more things at stake in terms of pressure from society or even that we put on ourselves to look or act a certain way. I want women, young girls, to be free of that and go after what they want. It’s really about fighting for what you want and being comfortable with who you are.” For Laura, freeing herself from the pressure to be perfect and being vocal and decisive when it came to her career, allowed her the chance to play roles that truly inspired her. With an influx of exciting projects up ahead there’s one word of advice Laura will always go back to, “Don’t worry about pleasing other people, it’s more important to be proud of every decision you make,” Laura says. Spoken like a true superhero. NKD


laura vandervoort Words by AUTUMN HALLE Photos by CATHERINE POWELL


1 B Z D E F G H I Y K L M N O P Q R S T

noah schnapp Words by OLIVIA SINGH Photos by CATHERINE POWELL


1 B Z D E F G H I Y K L M N O P Q R S T


It’s mid-August and sunny at the High Line when I meet up with Noah Schnapp. He’s wearing a white t-shirt with the phrase “Frankie Says Relax” written in bold letters, an olive-colored bomber jacket and blue skinny jeans. His appearance is a change from the ‘80s-based character with a bowl haircut that Noah plays on Netflix’s, Stranger Things. It’s almost as if he’s completely skipped the awkward pre-teen and teenage phase that most people experience growing up. But then again, most people Noah’s age probably don’t have a SAG award in their bedroom. Noah was born in New York City and started taking a mix of singing, acting and dance classes when he was around 5-years-old. “I didn’t actually know what this whole business was about, so I just did it for fun because I enjoyed it,” he explains. After taking classes for a few years and participating in productions, one of Noah’s teachers suggested that he get in touch with a manager and start auditioning for roles. His earliest jobs included audiobooks and commercials, but Noah was looking to audition for larger-scale projects. “It took me a while before I booked my first movie, but my first one ever was with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies), which was pretty cool,” Noah says. Following Bridge of Spies, Noah voiced Charlie Brown in The Peanuts Movie and booked his first TV show, Stranger Things (or as it was called at the time, Montauk). During the audition process, Noah went to several callbacks and chemistry tests. He was also auditioning for other projects, so when he received a call while at summer camp, he was caught off guard. “I go to camp every summer for 12

seven weeks and it’s like sleepaway camp,” Noah explains. “You have three phone calls every summer with your parents and I was on my last phone call. And this was some audition blurred with all the other auditions I did, so I didn’t remember what it was, but I remember them calling me. It was originally called Montauk, and I auditioned for Mike. They called me and they were like, ‘Hey, Noah!’ and I was like, ‘Who’s this?’ and they said, ‘Oh, you got the role of Will Byers on Montauk!’ and then they explained the whole thing and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ and I was so excited and things have just been going from there.” When Noah first auditioned for Stranger Things, he was drawn into the show because of its unique storyline. “It was just very different from things I’ve seen,” he says. “I’ve never seen any story like that, where a kid goes missing and there’s monsters, but there’s a girl with powers who comes in and saves them. I thought it would be really cool to play a role where I go missing and people look for me and I’m in this other world.” On Stranger Things, Noah plays Will Byers, a 7th grader from Hawkins, Indiana who mysteriously vanishes one evening. Because the show is set in the ‘80s, Noah and his co-stars were required to watch several classic movies from that era that served as inspiration for the show – like E.T., Jaws, Poltergeist, and The Goonies. Even though Noah says that he’s not too similar to his character, he doesn’t mind. In the future, he hopes to pursue more roles that are out of his comfort zone. “I don’t think I have a specific genre, but I definitely am more inter-


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ested in roles that are just the opposite of me,” he says. “I just find it cool playing something that’s not you.” When Noah filmed Season 1 of Stranger Things, he took the experience with a grain of salt. At the time, he assumed it would be a minor, one season project and he’d move on to the next thing. “When they were looking for platforms to put it on and who would take the show, no one wanted it. Netflix was the only one who took the show,” Noah recalls. And they’re probably glad they did. Since premiering on Netflix on July 15, 2016, Stranger Things has become one of Netflix’s most successful and most binge-watched originals. “It turned out unexpectedly that it was a big hit and people loved it,” Noah adds. “We were all surprised. We thought we’d never see each other again and they started writing the new scripts for Season 2 and we all saw each other again and had a little reunion. No one knew. It was such a small show. The premiere for the first season was in this tiny little building in L.A.” Stranger Things became a huge success, but perhaps it didn’t fully register with the cast until they won a SAG award earlier this year for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. “When it got nominated – nominated is its own win in itself – just being part of a category that’s the top five or however many shows,” Noah says. “And then we won out of that category, I remember that hitting me, like, ‘Oh my God, our show. People love it.’ And then being on that stage, it’s crazy. I was so emotional and I was so happy, because I just never would have expected it.” Whereas Season 1 was centered 14

on retrieving Will from the Upside Down, Season 2 focuses on the aftermath of him being trapped there for so long. Season 2 takes place in 1984, almost a year after Will was rescued. “In the second season, you’ll get into how the Upside Down affected Will and how he’s coping with it. You can definitely see it’s made an impact on how he lives and how he feels,” Noah says. “We trusted the Duffer Brothers and I was so shocked because I didn’t know where they would go,” Noah adds. “With the ending of the first season, I didn’t know what else they could do with the show, and they went on a whole different path and it’s so surprisingly good.” For Noah, Season 1 is categorized as “creepy” but, Season 2 is significantly darker in comparison. “It is scary, but there’s comedy in it too,” he says. “It’s just a mix of different things and then in the second season, there are a lot of parts where it’s scary and they show more stuff and it’s more complicated and it’s more complex. I’d definitely say that it’s a 10.” When the second trailer for Season 2 was released, it gained over two million views in less than 24 hours and was the #1 trending video on YouTube. With such a large following, Netflix made every effort to keep the details of the season under wraps during production. “Definitely there was more pressure on the second season and I think there was more security and they were more uptight, like about everything staying a secret and nothing getting out,” Noah explains. “In the first season, they’d give us sides every morning to read through what we were going to film that day and people would just leave it on the ground. And then this year, they had a certain job

for someone to pick up everything that was left behind so no one could catch anything and they had fake names for certain characters.” In addition to some new characters this season, Noah got the opportunity to film more scenes with Winona Ryder, who plays his mom on the show. “She’s always looking out for me,” Noah says. “She’s like my second mom. I remember there was a scene this season and it was an emotionally challenging scene and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it. I was kind of scared and I kept going over it and I was like, ‘You know what, why don’t I text Winona? She went through all of this in the first season, so maybe she’ll be able to help me.’ She came in extra early just to talk to me and she brought me in her trailer and she went over everything. She read the sides with me and I did a hundred times better than I would have without her help.” Aside from working with Winona, Noah genuinely enjoys being on set with all his co-stars. “It’s great because on a lot of shows, people get in fights and there’s drama and people have to fake their friendship on the show – but on our show, we really do love each other. We work together like a family,” Noah says. Noah might only be 13 years old, but he doesn’t take the success of Stranger Things lightly. “It’s really hard to go somewhere in this industry because it’s so competitive and there’s so many people wanting to go places. If you just push past all the other people who are going to push to a point and give up,” he says, “I guess you just have to push past them and keep trying and hopefully you’ll get something. There’s always going to be that one spark that’ll light up your whole career.” NKD


morgan evans Words by SAMANTHA BAMBINO Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

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A little over a decade ago, Morgan Evans was rocking out in bars and pubs across Australia, jumping off risers to entertain some of the toughest crowds in the world. Now, it’s just him and his trusty loop pedal. As his first American single “Kiss Somebody” climbs the charts, the talented Aussie is putting the finishing touches on an album, which will chronicle everything from his gutsy move to Nashville to meeting the love of his life. Morgan was born into a family of loving parents, a brother and sister. For as long as he can remember, his mother was always providing him and his siblings with opportunities to give the performing arts a shot. At 5-yearsold, Morgan was already taking piano lessons, though it wasn’t until five years and countless hours later that he realized it wasn’t his thing. For the next year and a half, he was part of the school band playing the baritone horn, which is basically a miniature tuba. Still, no such luck. “I quickly realized chicks do not dig the baritone horn,” he laughs. It wasn’t until the age of 12 that he picked up a guitar and found his true musical calling. After playing an old acoustic for three months, his parents bought him an electric blue Ibanez. Morgan started jamming with friends after school, and a mere six months later, the band found themselves playing professional gigs across Australia. Still, he never dreamed music could be a viable career option. “I grew up in a real working class town, so the idea of being a professional musician is not really one of the boxes you tick,” he says. While his band gained a steady following, Morgan earned a communications degree and balanced a variety of jobs to build a “normal” career. But one trip changed his entire perspective. For four years in a row, Morgan competed

in Australia’s Country Music Channel (CMC) competition, never imagining the fourth time would be the charm. As the grand prize winner, he was flown to Nashville to record a single. Though the trip was 10 years ago, he still remembers his first stroll down Broadway like it was yesterday. “It’s like this wonderland,” he says. It was some time before Morgan went back to Nashville, but once he did, he couldn’t stay away. After realizing he had flown back and forth nine times in a single year, he knew that was no way to live. Paperwork was filled out, bags were packed and Morgan became an official Nashville resident. So far, the experience has been surreal for Morgan. Reflecting on his Australian roots, he explains how not many country artists make their way to America, except of course, Keith Urban. As a kid, Morgan’s mother “dragged” him to one of Keith’s shows where he played almost the entire Golden Road album. It was the best thing Morgan had ever seen, and knew he wanted to follow in Keith’s footsteps. “Anyone who plays country music anywhere in the world dreams of going to Nashville. And once you’re there you think, I have to make music here,” Morgan says. “There were some tough times where I thought, I’m not cut out for this, and I mean, I still have those times. But I think if you’re truly meant to be doing it, you just keep doing it.” With the success of his first single “Kiss Somebody,” it’s clear Morgan is right where he belongs. As far as the mindset behind choosing this song as his introduction, the reasoning is simple. “I want to sing a song with a smile on my face the first time I sing for people,” he says. Accurately reflecting his easy going personality, the light-hearted song tells the true story of a close friend in Nashville who was heartbroken after

breaking up with his longtime girlfriend. “I was like, ‘Dude, you need to kiss somebody’,” he recalls. The lyrics and melody for the track came together with ease, and was the first song to receive a unanimous “let’s do this” from Morgan and his team. “It felt right,” he says. Currently, Morgan and writers Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley are continuing to create new music, and will keep doing so until they have an entire album. While he doesn’t expect there to be one overarching theme, the album will reflect the changes of the past year and a half. While performing in Australia, it was always about big, loud noises and playing as fast as possible to get everybody rocking. His music was always based around that mindset, but when he moved to Nashville, his band stayed behind. “I was pretty lonely. I had just this one guitar and I got a loop pedal. And it was just me and that thing,” he says. “And that’s where this whole record sort of grew out of. So it was a totally different place for me.” In the midst of the craziness of building his American country music career, Morgan also met the love of his life last year. With his marriage to fellow country star Kelsea Ballerini right around the corner, several tracks, including “Dance With Me”, reflect his “smittenness”. As Morgan wraps up his first radio tour, which he says included lots of compliments on his accent and too many Southwest Airlines peanuts, he’s gearing up for several shows before the end of the year. During his opening slot, fans can expect an intimate but captivating performance, a stark contrast from jumping off risers during his Australian pub-playing days. “It’s me and a loop pedal,” he says. “I feel like my show is a conversation now. And I really feel like it’s a great way to introduce myself.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

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NATHAN KRESS Words by RILEY STENEHJEM Photos by CATHERINE POWELL


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When Nathan Kress heard that he’d been cast as Freddy in the hit Nickelodeon series iCarly, he’d already quit acting once — and was about to decide to call it quits for a second time. Luckily, he’d stuck it out until he got his big role on the series. Nathan was born and raised in Southern California. “That probably makes me one of eight people in this industry that is actually from here, so I guess I’m kind of a unicorn,” he jokes. He started his acting career when he was really young — about 2- or 3-years-old. “Ever since I was a baby, I was a giant ham,” he says. “I learned to talk really early and I would memorize everything that I saw on TV and movies. I would recite it back to my family from a very young age.” At that point, his parents thought he might be interested in pursuing acting. “[They] thought that I could use that as an outlet to release my ham-ishness,” he explains. After a couple years, though, he began to lose interest. “I liked it, for what it was worth, but it just got to a point when I was maybe 6-years-old that it just wasn’t fun anymore,” Nathan says. “I was so young, I didn’t really have much of a concept of what exactly I was doing. I thought that an audition was actually the job. Anytime I’d walk into a room with a casting director, I thought that was the gig, and when I walked out I was happy because I thought that it was a job well done.” At age 6, he went back to having a normal kid’s life — but not for long. “When I was in fourth and fifth grade I started doing my school’s plays, which piqued my interest in the business again,” he

says. After realizing his interest in acting professionally had returned, Nathan asked his parents to start homeschooling him, and he began auditioning and taking roles again. “This time around I had a full comprehension and understanding of exactly what I was getting myself into and I wanted that challenge,” he says. “The passion was coming back to the point that I felt that it was something that I really wanted to do with the rest of my life.” For three years, Nathan was doing his best to find success in the industry. “I had done it for a few years and I was getting some success, but not enough to keep me interested,” he remarks. “I was very close to quitting again, and just saying that it was fun for the time being, but maybe it just isn’t for me.” But just as he was beginning to consider quitting, he got the call about iCarly. He worked on the show for five years – starting at age 14, almost the entirety of his high school years was spent on a TV set. “It’s an experience unlike any other,” he says. “On the one side, I missed out on the fun stuff of high school. I didn’t do the dances, I didn’t get the social interaction, I didn’t get as much academic challenge — but then again, I also missed out on the horrors of high school. I didn’t have to go to school dances, I didn’t have to have the horrible social interaction, I didn’t have to kill myself slaving away at a subject.” In some ways, he feels like he missed out on the usual teenage experience, but being on iCarly and working as a teen actor was an opportunity few get. “I really can’t complain. It was chaotic, it was challenging, but it was also incred-

ibly fulfilling,” Nathan says. “If I had the opportunity to do it over again, I would do it every single time.” Transitioning from the world of iCarly into other roles posed somewhat of a challenge. “Because we worked on the show for so long, it was kind of all I knew for five years,” he says. “It kind of limited me for a little bit, so I didn’t really get to broaden my horizons that much, but right after the show ended, the horizons were broadened probably more than I could handle, and more than I think I was ready for.” Nathan suddenly found himself presented with tons of decisions to make: about jobs, about money, and about what direction in particular he wanted to take his career. Luckily, at the end of iCarly, he found himself presented with something entirely new: stepping behind the camera as a director. During the shooting of the final episode of the series, executive producer Dan Schneider sat Nathan down to tell him that he had what it took to be a director, and invited him to try it out if he ever found the desire to. “He said, ‘I’m still going to keep making shows and it’s still going to be the same crew, so if you ever wanted to get your feet wet and try it for the first time, you’d be in a very welcoming environment with people that know you and trust you and want to do a good job for you’.” At the time, Nathan thought he had no interest in working behind the camera. After watching the pressure the production crew were under during shooting, he thought he wouldn’t be able to handle the stress. As time went on, NKDMAG.COM

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however, he realized that directing was something he might as well try just once. His directorial debut was on the Nickelodeon series Henry Danger in 2014. “I went into it expecting to be there for the week, hate it completely, and just have no desire to come back because I just couldn’t take the stress,” he says. But by the end of the week, he found that he enjoyed directing more than expected, and three years later he’s still doing it. Being an actor gives Nathan a unique take on directing. “It makes it a lot easier to communicate with my actors,” he says. When an actor’s working with a director who is also an actor, it makes collaboration between the two much easier. “You know that you have a collaborator on the set, and someone who isn’t just looking at shots, they’re looking at performance as well, and really focusing on getting excellence from the actors in that way,” he explains. “There’s a lot of things that I would be able to pick up from just from being on set that I’ve been able to turn into directing tactics, that I think so far have been working pretty well.” Even while doing work behind the camera, Nathan has continued taking acting roles. He recently finished shooting Alive in Denver, a comedy set to debut on Fullscreen sometime later this fall. The show begins with five friends sitting in their apartment, watching as the clock ticks down to the strike of a meteor set to hit earth and blow up the entire planet. “They all start getting freaked out and they all start to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets about themselves, because they figure 22

that they’re all going to die anyway, so why not get everything off their chests,” Nathan explains. The clock hits zero and the meteor misses earth. “They’re left with the fact that they just revealed everything about themselves, and they didn’t die, so now they have to deal with the fallout,” he says. The cast shot the full first season over the course of three weeks. “It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done,” Nathan says. “When I read the script for the first time pretty much every page had something that made me laugh out loud, and then I would read the script again five days later, and I would still laugh out loud.” He’s looking forward to its release. “If I wasn’t in it I would be a huge fan,” he says. Though Nathan’s done a lot of comedy in his career, he’s open to anything moving forward. “I really want to stretch myself in every direction as an actor,” he remarks. “Right after iCarly finished, the first thing I did was get on a plane to Detroit and shot Into the Storm, which is an environmental thriller. That was a very sharp departure from anything I’d done in the past, and since then I’ve picked up any dramatic piece that has come my way that interested me.” Comedy is his home, and it’s where he feels most comfortable, but he aims to continue taking roles that challenge him. When preparing for these new roles, there’s not much that can be done except to go into it with a clean slate. “I don’t want any of my characters to cross-pollinate,” he says. “I definitely want to approach every project as something that’s a completely different take on what I’m capable of.” NKD


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MERAZ JESSICA Words by ELIZABETH FORREST Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

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It’s never easy for an actor to jump straight into an established television show in the beginning of its sixth season - but that didn’t stop Jessica Meraz from doing it. A native of El Paso, Jessica was lucky enough to grow up with parents that cultivated her love of the arts, even though they both worked in the medical field. “At around age 7, my dad took us to a musical and there was someone just a couple of years older than me performing. I never thought it was ever possible until I saw that,” she explains. That experience and realization marked the moment she officially decided she wanted to be an actress. She told her father and by the next week she was enrolled in acting classes. What initially drew her to acting as a child was how fun it was and how much fun she and her family had while watching performances. It was always a family event; they even loved musicals and would sing songs together. But as an adult, Jessica’s draw to acting is a bit more complex and serious. “It’s nice to get out of your own head and into someone else’s for a bit,” she says. “I get to see the world through a different perspective and set of eyes and ears.” In essence, she loves having the chance to relate to a situation as a different person. On October 31st, Jessica debuted as Detective Camila Paige on Major Crimes. With the show’s huge success

during the first five seasons, Jessica admits that joining the cast so late was a little bit intimidating. She watched the show before meeting all of the other actors, so she was afraid they wouldn’t be relatable because they seemed so brilliant and serious onscreen. It wasn’t like that at all, though; on the first day, she walked on to set and her entire mindset changed. Any Hollywood stereotype about catty female relationships was immediately proven wrong to her. “I’m closest to Kearran Giovanni, who’s a woman similar in age and who could very easily have tried to intimidate me or made a situation difficult for me,” Jessica says. “She’s like a big sister to me and we each have the best time together.” She confirms that she gets along with all of the men in the cast, too. In addition to enjoying all of her time on set and behind the scenes, the role of Camila was absolutely perfect for her; she instantly reminded Jessica of her own mother. On the show, Camila lost her parents at a young age and had to raise her siblings in the same way that Jessica’s mom did in real life. “Camila has got that same grit, so to get to respect my mother and relate to her in this new way has been really lovely for me,” Jessica says. Taking on this role has even made Jessica feel closer to her mom, even though she hasn’t gotten to see her in a while. And when asked if she’s observed traits from her mother

and given life to them through her character, Jessica laughs and boldly states, “she’s going to be mostly my mother.” Playing Camila was a tremendous transition from characters Jessica has played in her previous roles. One of Jessica’s most notable past roles was as Natalie from the Freeform series Chasing Life. Whereas Natalie led with her sexuality, Camila leads with her intelligence. The dialogue for Camila felt like a completely different language from Natalie’s. “Everything changed in the way that I prepare for scenes and prepare for the day. Even how she gets dressed is very, very different,” Jessica says. In a way, it felt like growing up with the character, especially since she moved from Freeform to TNT, a network known for more adult drama. Even though it has been a transition, Jessica feels that Camila is the perfect role for her at the moment. Jessica really commits to her roles and gets excited about them; she would have said that Natalie was the perfect role for her when she was on Chasing Life as well. “Whatever I connect to and comes my way, I trust that whatever happens to me is as it should,” she explains. She becomes “obsessed” with the roles she fills, so at the moment she’s obsessed with Camila and excited to see what becomes of it. She’s had many special moments during the filming of the show. However, some NKDMAG.COM

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of the most notable have been when Mary McDonnel, who plays Commander Sharon Raydor, has invited Jessica into her office. Being invited in is intimidating, but it always turns out positively. “I go in there and she’s usually like, ‘I just thought about this and I want to share it with you,’ and then gives me some beautiful gem of knowledge that I will carry with me in my career forever,” Jessica says. It’s one of her favorite parts of being on the show. Since moving to Los Angeles, Jessica’s group of friends help keep her grounded. She’s known all of her friends since she was young, so they knew her before she ever booked any acting jobs. If she were to change in any way or let anything get to her head, every one of them would bring her back down in a matter of seconds. She’s definitely still the same person she was before she began to act in a more serious manner. “I would say the only thing that has changed is that I eat a little better, I go to better workout classes and we’re all able to live a little bit of a better life,” she laughs. She stays grounded on social media, too. Although some people in the public eye tend to be cautious and shy away from more controversial topics, Jessica refuses to do that. She lives by a Socratic sensibility: that the one thing she knows is that she knows nothing. “These are just opinions that I have. Anything that 26

is a message for love or more inclusion or equality, I can’t help but to be on that side,” she says. She also advocates for education and that delving into issues in order to gain a better understanding of them is the best way to begin to understand an issue, though she’s adamant that it is never possible to know the full extent of anything. That philosophy ventures into her professional world as well. Jessica had to put a project on hold when she took on her role as Camila. The show was based in her hometown of El Paso and was set to be the city’s first original content. The segments were going to be short and comedic and air digitally during the Friday local news in El Paso.“’I think a lot of international and nationally concerned topics are happening in El Paso and it’s only people that aren’t from there that are teaching about it,” Jessica explains. “I think it would be really nice to get a sense of what’s happening in my hometown, as well as doing it in a comedic light. That’s the easiest way to get across to people and the most palpable way for people to be able to handle it.” The show is something she still really wants to do, so she hopes during a break from Major Crimes she will be able to continue with it; she wants to be able to teach the rest of the world about El Paso’s issues from a more connected source: the people who live there. NKD


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ivana baquero Words by SHELBY CHARGIN Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

Ivana Baquero is one of the easiest going actresses in Hollywood. Her immense amount of success started at a young age and progressed into her career today. “I started in Spain and I started because of my English,” she recalls. Ivana, who went to an English speaking school in Spain was cast by a company looking for a Spanish actress between 8 and 10-years-old. “I never thought I wanted to act – it was so far from everything I knew. No one in my family has 28

anything to do with being an artist or is not related to the industry,” she says. Discovering her passion through the production, Ivana made acting her “own after school activity”. “Kids were like playing basketball or volleyball and I was doing acting,” she says. Eventually, this path led her to getting a manager and booking more projects – including the Oscar winning drama Pan’s Labyrinth in which she played the lead role of Ofelia. Humbly citing it as “the movie that

kind of changed my life”, Ivana saw just how much opportunity opened for her after landing that role, and came to Los Angeles to pursue more. Quickly jumping into a role in Kevin Costner’s The New Daughter, her career continued to build. “I spent a lot a time in the states and then booked [The Shannara Chronicles] a couple years ago, so that’s where I’m at right now,” she says. As a whole, Ivana recognizes quite a few differences between her and her


character, Eretria, but some things – like being tough – are pretty similar. “She’s known to be a bit of a badass, she’s got an attitude too. But in Season 1 she learns a lot about herself, she goes from being selfish to selfless. She meets Wil (Austin Butler) and Amberle (Poppy Drayton) and she kind of, she joins the good side because she starts out being a little bit naughty,” Ivana jokes, “But she joins the good side and helps Will and Amberle save the world from the demon invasion

and then in Season 2 it starts off a year later, and everything’s kind of gone crazy because they’ve been split.” As season two opens, we find out that Amberle has disappeared and Wil is off doing his own thing as new characters are brought it. But for Ivana, “it’s more about Eretria discovering who she really is, and really figuring out what everything that happened in Season 1 really meant for her.” The intense connection that Ivana has for Eretria comes from a place of caring for this character she so swiftly portrays. “It was a challenge at first because she starts off doing things that are easily judged. Her behaviors were a little bit, you know, rough. She didn’t trust Will so she would do strange things,” Ivana says. Eretria’s attitude comes from this being all she knew in her early life. “She grew up in a very tough, hostile atmosphere, she was abused as a kid so you really understand where she comes from,” Ivana says, It was this character development, and Ivana’s need to show Eretria’s vulnerability, that made it easier for Ivana to play her in Eretria’s notso-stellar moments. “I grew so fond of her, and it’s my first TV show so having the opportunity to play a character for so long versus the cinema or movies where you play a character for two or three months, I’ve now played Eretria for a good, solid year,” Ivan says, “I feel really connected to her. There’s so many things we have in common.” But the fans couldn’t be more shocked when they meet Ivana in real life. “I look so different from her, and I sound so different. People see me in person and they’re like ‘Oh my God! You’re Eretria! You look so sweet and little and cute! You don’t look like her at all you don’t act like her!’” Ivana laughs. As she moved from cinema to TV,

Ivana still sees a lot of similarities in the production of Shannara to her previous projects. “It’s very cinema like, but I do have to say, for me, what was different was the script,” she says. In cinema, you get one script for the project and you learn it inside out, but for TV, Ivana gets a new script every two weeks for each episode, “so the rhythm is for sure way faster, you have to adapt.” And although she’s worked alongside some incredible movie stars, she says it’s not very different than working on Shannara who has a few bigger names itself. “Shannara’s probably one of the biggest productions I’ve ever done,” citing co-stars like James Remar and Manu Bennett. Recognizing how incredible these actors are who are beside her in the show, Ivana hardly sees a difference. She felt it was on the same level. And as most 23-year-old young women, she does have a life outside her job. She spends her free time with her boyfriend from New Zealand and Netflix. Ivana confesses, “I live a quiet life. It’s not as glamorous as people think it is.” As most jobs, acting can be taxing especially on younger actors like Ivana. “Shooting is tough sometimes. You work really long hours, and you have to travel a lot to. So when I’m not working I like to have a quiet life to spend time with my family and with my friends,” she says. It’s a sound and solid answer from such a steadfast actress who seems to have the work ethic of the most successful people on Wall Street. Between Eretria on Shannara and her role in the upcoming Spanish movie Sister of Mine, Ivana has gotten to explore two of her favorite roles yet. While Ivana’s early career has already seen incredible success, she’s constantly learning and changing alongside the roles she takes. NKD NKDMAG.COM

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LANDRY BENDER Words & Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

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When I first met Landry Bender a little over a year ago, she was waiting patiently to find out the fate of her Disney Channel show, Best Friends Whenever. When the show 32

was officially cancelled this past February, Landry was heartbroken. But, as they say, when one door closes, another door opens and Landry’s now open schedule allowed her to

walk through a famous red door and onto the set of Fuller House. When I meet up with Landry in New York in September, she nervously tells


me who her character on the adored sitcom reboot: Rocki, the daughter of Gia Mahan (Marla Sokoloff ), best known as Stephanie Tanner’s (Jodie Sweetin) bad influence in

Full House. “I’ve never talked about it in an interview,” she admits, “Netflix is super top secret.” “The audience freaked out when they heard,” she recalls

of the big reveal at the end of her first episode. In the same way that Gia was a bad influence on Stephanie in the original series, Rocki will serve as a bad influence for D.J.’s (Candace Cameron-Bure) son, Jackson (Michael Campion). Landey worked with the show’s creator, Jeff Franklin, to figure out exactly who Rocki would be – eventually landing on a rebellious teenager who is smart and witty and has some feminist qualities to her, which Landry has had fun playing with. Landry may have been the new kid in school this season, but says she was immediately welcomed by the tight-knit cast – many of whom have obviously been working together since the 1980’s. “I was a little bit intimidated, but the second I stepped on set it was such a warm feeling,” she says, “They invited me in and welcomed me. I was really the new member of the family.” In the show, Rocki starts to become part of the Tanner family. One episode that stands out to Landry is “Say Yes To The Dress”, in which Rocki is left at the Tanner house for a weekend and starts to shed some of her rebel skin. “I have to put on a pink dress and pigtails and end up being all girly, and my mom comes back and is like, ‘What did they do to you?’” Landry shares, “I love the whole dynamic in that episode.” While the first half of the season depicts Jackson and NKDMAG.COM

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Rocki as just friends, things may start to change in the second half of the season. But, just like Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) was not a fan of Stephanie’s friendship with Gia, D.J. will be skeptical of Rocki’s relationship with her son. “It’s passing through the generations,” Landry says. She’s had a lot of fun working so closely with Candice, and confirms that their off-screen relationship is much more positive than their on-screen one. “We had this one scene where we were face-to-face staring at each other and then they cut and she hugged me, and the audience was like ‘Aww!’” Landry recalls. Landry has been learning a lot from her older co-stars, and especially loves the days when original cast members Bob Saget, John Stamos and Dave Coulier are on set because they tell the best stories. “They’re like father figures to the women [on the show], so it sort of shifts the dynamic,” Landry says. When reminiscing on Best Friends Whenever, Landry speaks only positively about the experience. “It was sad at first. Anytime you invest yourself in something it’s hard to let that go, but I’m still very, very close with the cast,” Landry says. It took her a little while to fully come to

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terms with the cancellation – especially considering how close the cast and crew was and still is to this day. “I’ve never had a boyfriend, but it’s sort of like a breakup,” she jokes. Outside of work, Landry recently started her senior year of high school and definitely has college on the brain. “I just had a meeting with my guidance counselor about this, right before I came to New York,” she laughs, “Education is something that’s very important to me, and just because I’m an actor I don’t want to not go to college. That’s what a lot of child actors do and I don’t want to go down that route.” She’s been looking at a few different schools, and has her eyes set on USC on the moment. She doesn’t want to put acting or college on hold, so she’s working to find a program that will work with her busy schedule. As far as majors go, Landry wants to learn more about the production side of Hollywood and has high hopes of stepping behind the camera at some point in her career. “I’ve been acting since I was 9, and no that I’m a pro at that, but I’d like to dip my toes into other things, too,” Landry says. Landry is inspired by the influx of female-centric stories written and created by

women that are seeing huge success, such as Big Little Lies and Girls. She’s hopes to follow that path in the future, and is taking every opportunity she has on set to learn about different aspects of production. “The fact that I do get to be on sets and observe everyone is something that’s very cool,” Landry says, “I get to be a fly on the wall sometimes and watch directors and producers.” Subconsciously, she’s been watching people behind-the-scenes for years, but would love the opportunity to formally shadow a director or producer to learn even more. With Fuller House’s third season officially wrapped, Landry is looking for her next big project. She currently voices Makini in Disney Junior’s The Lion Guard, which has been a new learning experience as she hasn’t done much voiceover work in the past, and later this year she’ll start work on the coming-ofage drama Zach’s Lie alongside Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things). Based on the novel of the same name, the film is about a boy whose life changes when his house is broken into and his family is threatened. Beyond that, Landry is waiting for news on a fourth season of Fuller House and filling out college applications in her free time. NKD


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BAKER

Words by OLIVIA SINGH Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

ERIS


Eris Baker was 4-years-old when she decided that she was ready to commit to a career as an actress. Today, at 11-years-old, she’s living out her acting dreams as Tess Pearson on NBC’s hit dramedy, This Is Us. Eris grew up in California with her parents and three younger sisters. Like many children, she often found herself imitating the actors that she saw on TV. And while some may outgrow that to pursue other ventures later on, Eris felt motivated to continue in that path. With her commitment and her parents’ encouragement, Eris got an acting coach, agent and manager. That quickly led to auditions and a role on one of NBC’s most popular shows to date – This Is Us. “When I went to the audition, I really liked Tess’ character because she was so bold and I really liked how she was playing on a soccer team, but it was with all boys, so I thought that was really funny,” Eris says. “The whole cast of This Is Us was really nice when I met them in person for the first time. It’s like we’re all a real family in real life.” Eris learned that she landed the role on Christmas day, 2015, and considers it “the best Christmas gift” she could have asked for. Her excitement only increased when she saw the list of co-stars who would later become her extended family. When This Is Us aired in September 2016, over 10 million people tuned in to watch the intertwined stories of the main characters unfold. The show focuses on the lives of siblings Kate (Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown), and alternates between past and present timelines. On This Is Us, Eris plays Tess, Randall and Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) older daughter. “Tess is like a tomboy and she’s really edgy with her clothes, but some-

times she might put on a dress or two – but not really,” Eris says. “She’s really close to her family though, which I really admire, because I have three little sisters and her connection with faith is really, really special and I have that connection with my sisters, so I really connect with her with that.” Beyond that, Eris, like the millions of people who tune in to This Is Us each week, connects with the show on a personal level. “And also, how Tess’ grandpa died in the show, I recently had my grandparents die, so it’s really emotional. The show really connects with real people and real life,” she says. Since airing in late 2016, This Is Us has received numerous award nominations and wins, including wins at this year’s People’s Choice Awards for Favorite New TV Drama and the Television Critics Association Awards winner for Outstanding New Program. With the return of Season 2 and a third season already confirmed, This Is Us is likely to gain even more recognition and viewers. “It’s a huge deal because not many people get this opportunity and I was just really excited,” Eris says. “It’s a lot of work put into the show, and a lot of love.” Whether it’s on-camera or off-camera, the This Is Us cast is tight knit and supportive of each other. “Sometimes some of the kids might mess up on a word and we’re like, ‘Oh dang,’ but Sterling and Mandy [Moore] would always say, ‘It’s OK. It’s OK. Sometimes you just have to breathe and let it out because everyone makes mistakes in their life,’” Eris explains. “They always give us inspiration and they’re just so much fun to be around.” When This Is Us returned for Season 2 in September, over 12 million

people tuned in. Though many are trying to piece together the jigsaw puzzle regarding Jack Pearson’s mysterious death, Eris is looking forward to viewers getting to know the kids of the show a little better this season, especially since the young actors of This Is Us got promoted to series regulars. “I feel like you’re going to learn a lot more about Tess and Annie, and about their connection,” Eris says. “And Tess, more of her sports side and how Tess really had a strong connection with her grandpa who just died, because of chess.” At some point, Eris hopes that a few of her idols might make a guest appearance on This Is Us. Among her top picks are Yara Shahidi, Kerry Washington and Oprah. Her number one choice? Beyoncé. Looking ahead, Eris will appear in Drunk History and Netflix’s upcoming comedy series, Alexa and Katie. Aside from acting, she also hopes to pursue one of her other passions, like fashion. Ultimately, Eris wants to push herself even further as an actress. “In the future, I am praying that I will get a movie,” she says. “I really want to star in a role with an amazing cast and to have the opportunity to memorize a lot of lines. I would love to do that. I hope it’s really emotional and I want to be a hero. In the movie, I would love to be a hero.” Wherever Eris ends up next, she just wants to be her authentic self and let her light shine. “My mom has always told me when I was young, ‘Let your shine,’ meaning, ‘Let God’s spirit.’ When someone sees you, let them see God and how he’s just amazing. Be nice. Be kind. Be you for everyone. Technically, a career is just a normal job, and you go to work every single day. You have to be you at all times.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

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HOLLAND RODEN Words by OLIVIA SINGH

Photos by CATHERINE POWELL Hair by MIA SANTIAGO

Make-Up by FAYE LAUREN Styling by LIZ ZAVOYSKIY


It’s early October and Holland Roden is in New York City for New York Comic Con, though this time, the experience is a little different. For the past several years, Holland has participated in multiple panels, screenings, meet and greets and conventions across different cities to discuss MTV’s Teen Wolf. However, at this year’s NYCC, Holland is talking about her latest role as Bridget Cleary on Amazon’s new horror anthology series, Lore. Holland grew up in Texas and started acting during her senior year of high school. At the time, she had left The Hockaday School – an all girls’ school located in Dallas – and transferred to a neighboring public school. “I hated it so much that I wanted a prerequisite that I didn’t hate, so I tried to act at that school and it was a very nepotistic situation,” Holland ex40

plains. Realizing that she wouldn’t be able to make any progress as an actor in that environment, Holland started taking acting classes outside of school and began booking commercials. During her sophomore year at UCLA, Holland turned her hobby into a serious career. Initially, Holland was steering toward a molecular biology major, but turning her attention to acting required a change in majors. In 2010, Holland graduated from UCLA with a major in Women’s Studies in order to dedicate more time to her career. “I love storytelling. I knew in college,” Holland says. “I came out to L.A. on purpose hoping I could get into the industry, so thankfully I was able to. I knew I had to just focus on my grades freshman year and so sophomore year is when I started acting.” Shortly after getting involved in

the acting industry, Holland booked a job as a series regular on a new HBO comedy series called 12 Miles of Bad Road, based on an affluent Texas-based family. When it got canceled before airing in 2008, Holland realized the reality of show business, and the possibility that not every project would be given air time. Needless to say, when Holland auditioned for an MTV show called Teen Wolf in November 2009, she didn’t expect it to generate the massive success and passionate fanbase that it did. Holland originally auditioned for the role of Allison Argent, but got called back for the role of Lydia Martin in January 2010 – while still in the process of trying to complete her degree at UCLA. In February, Holland filmed the Teen Wolf pilot and the show got picked up by MTV in May. She then took summer classes


in order to complete all her requirements and started Season 1 production in September, just weeks after graduating. “It was quite convenient and I was beyond lucky,” Holland reflects. Because of the large gap between when Holland first auditioned for Teen Wolf and when it finally aired on June 5, 2011, Holland didn’t anticipate that the show would even end up on television, let alone become one of the network’s most successful scripted shows. “I was thinking, ‘Oh, this will never see daylight either, just like my first show that I was a part of’,” Holland recalls. “I was just so happy that Teen Wolf got on air and I felt we had something special, so I was glad that the people agreed.” Over the course of Teen Wolf’s six seasons and 100 episodes, diehard fans got to see the development of

Lydia, from a popular, bratty high school student to a mature, invaluable member (and banshee) of Scott McCall’s pack. “It was honestly less pressure when she became ironically more humanized on a werewolf show,” Holland says. “She learned more about her banshee power and that was fun to play. Then there was a warrior banshee in Season 5, so learning more about the banshee history, I finally got to get involved in the stunts department. The evolution of Lydia felt organic for that long of a period of time, but it was also just fun because of all the different skill sets that I got to partake in as an actor.” When it was announced that Teen Wolf would be ending this year after six seasons, the fans were understandably devastated. For years, it was one of the most-watched shows among young people, offering a fair share of

action, humor, drama, horror, ships (Stydia, anyone?) and frequent lessons on mythological creatures. For Holland, she had more than enough time to gear up for the end of Teen Wolf. “We’ve had a lot of goodbyes on Teen Wolf,” she says. “It’s been a long time coming and we’ve had a year of preparation.” With her Teen Wolf days now behind her, Holland is excited to put her efforts into more projects that tell intriguing stories. This includes her latest role as Bridget Cleary on Amazon’s Lore, developed by the executive producer of The Walking Dead and the executive producer of The X-Files. The six-episode horror anthology is based on a popular podcast of the same name, created by Aaron Mahnke in 2015. Similar to the podcast, the show delves into heavily researched, real-life accounts of lore that have taken place throughout history, with NKDMAG.COM

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“I think you have to love stories. You have to really want to chase them and get the rights to them and produce them and direct them or write them. You have to love more than just acting.�


each episode focusing on a specific story. This includes subjects like vampires, werewolves and demons, in addition to exploring the dark side of human nature. Through narration from Aaron, historical footage, folklore and scripted scenes, Lore aims to shed light on some of the most horrific, true stories. Given the premise of the series, it just made sense for Lore to be released on Friday the 13th. On Lore, Holland plays Bridget Cleary, a woman whose story is so well-known in folklore that she’s known as “the last witch burned in Ireland” – and she’s the subject of an Irish children’s rhyme. During the late 1800s, Bridget lived as a successful seamstress while her husband, Michael, was a cooper. In March 1895, not long after St. Patrick’s Day, Bridget became sick and Michael suspected that fairies took away his wife’s soul and left a changeling in her place. “I’m a huge fan of nonfiction and documentaries,” Holland, who was a follower of the Lore podcast prior to auditioning, says. “This particular story is true with Bridget Cleary, and she’s the last ‘witch’ in Ireland in the 1890s. That phase of America’s history died out around the 1600s, but they went almost to the 20th century in Ireland. It only took two males to call a woman crazy or the fact that there was a changeling in her and an honor killing could take place, or they could try to get the changeling out of her.” In Bridget’s case, the fear of changelings was so rampant in Ireland that her husband performed several rituals in an attempt to rid of the evil spirit. According to eyewitness accounts and evidence later found, Bridget’s body was burned and nine people were arrested for involvement in the murder. This incident 46

prompted widespread media coverage in both Ireland and England, and Bridget’s story has also become the subject of several books that explore her life and the larger cultural context. “With Bridget Cleary, she has a pretty harmful experience in this episode because of what her husband thinks she is,” Holland explains. “She was a dressmaker in the 1890s, she was an independent person, she made more money than her husband, so it’s this fact of is he jealous or is he in fact believing that the folklore was so strong in Ireland, and was she really a changeling?” For Holland, the opportunity to take on a role based on a true story was too enticing to pass up. “It was a period piece, it’s a true story and I am absolutely smitten with trying to play a different nationality,” Holland says. Despite her signature red hair, Holland isn’t of Irish decent. “I have no Irish blood in me, so this is all Scandinavian, Viking red hair and I was excited to take a stab at an Irish woman in the 1890s.” Aside from participating in a historical project, Holland was fascinated by Bridget’s story and her spirit. “Bridget, when she wants something, she goes for it, so I like that about her,” Holland says. “And she was a woman who I think we can all say was ahead of her time.” Next, Holland will be starring in the third season of Syfy’s Channel Zero. On the horror series, Holland plays Zoe Woods, a girl who is dealing with schizophrenia. Though Channel Zero marks another project for Holland with a horror-esque setting, she says it’s simply coincidental that her most recent roles are related to horror or supernatural themes. “I’m attracted to a story and whatever genre that falls into,” Holland

says. “For Channel Zero, it was mental illness. For Lore, it was the fact that it was a true story. It was a period piece that as an American working actor – not being a movie star – you don’t really get to partake in a lot, so I was really honored that I got to join an Irish and British cast and play Bridget. As far as Lydia goes, she’ll always be close to my heart. She’s sort of this sarcastic, know-it-all. They’re all three very different characters from very different stories and I’m attracted to a story, not a genre.” On the whole, Holland just wants to continue following stories that appeal to her. “I would love to produce documentaries,” she says. “That’s where my heart really is and in addition to acting, I would love to produce scripted material as well. I love good stories. I chase good stories, whether they’re scripted or non-scripted – but my heart really follows the unscripted.” “It’s just finding the subject and sculpting the story of where is that story in that subject’s life,” Holland adds. “You’re writing without having to write it on paper.” As an individual who has been an actress for years, Holland is aware of the kind of mindset needed in order to succeed in the entertainment industry. “I think you have to love stories. You have to really want to chase them and get the rights to them and produce them and direct them or write them. You have to love more than just acting,” Holland says, “I think that we live in a day and age when we have enough autonomy on our accord to make our own kind of projects, so be prepared to work a lot for free and to constantly feel like it’s your last job, and then also get to be a beautiful gypsy telling amazing stories.” NKD


anne winters Words by VANESSA SALLES Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

If Anne Winters isn’t already on your radar, it’s time to change that. The rising actress, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, found her passion for the craft at a fairly young age. “I did a little bit of theater in middle school and really enjoyed it,” Anne reveals. “When I got to high school, I started pushing my parents to let me try acting professionally. I ended up meeting someone who had some great connections out in Los Angeles and that’s how I met my manger.” After getting signed and finding an agent, the then-teenager began sending out audition tapes. Though she was in pursuit of her dreams, missing out on the “typical” high school happenings started to take a toll. “It was definitely a struggle having to miss out on a lot of things,” she recalled. “At that age, missing a week of school meant missing out on all the inside jokes and all the outings with friends.” Wanting to reclaim some teenage normalcy, Anne took her junior year off from acting and steered her focus back on school. By the time college rolled around, the acting bug had struck again. This time, Anne dove headfirst. “I decided to defer from 48

college and move out to L.A.,” she says, “I told myself that if I didn’t land anything within a year, I’d go back to school. I made the move the month after I graduated high school and I’ve been working ever since. There hasn’t been a moment where I regretted moving; my time out here has just exceeded all my expectations.” With an already impressive resume that includes guest-spots on Freeform’s The Fosters, ABC’s Wicked City, and an award-winning role in indie feature The Tribe, the 23-year-old actress can next be seen in the second season of Netflix’s original series, 13 Reasons Why – her most breakout role to date. Anne will star as Chloe, a character described as the confident cool girl at school who just so happens to be in the midst of all the drama. “She has some things going on with Bryce and Jessica,” Anne reveals. “I think people might have their reservations about her at first but she’s a very fun and likeable character. The second season definitely explains a lot of unanswered questions from the last season and will actually give fans a lot more backstory about the different

characters. Most importantly, it’s still going to keep its core message about shining light on depression and suicide prevention.” Having joined a hit series with an already established cast and fan base, Anne reveals that she felt right at home on set. “Everyone there is there for a purpose and everyone is a family,” she says, “The cast is amazing and we all get along so well. I remember being so excited – and then so nervous – to start working there but it’s just been great; the 13 Reasons Why set is literally home for me.” When speaking of what initially drew her to the role, Anne praised the show for its courage to be real and raw. “I think it’s one of the only shows that’s not afraid to push the limits and break all the boundaries; I think that’s so important when it comes to telling a story. We can all choose to live in an ‘ignorance is bliss’ world, but it’s better to be aware and pay attention and know that the way our words and actions affect people are real.” This won’t be the first Netflix project that Anne’s a part of. The star also appeared as Holly in “#REALITYHIGH,” a film that followed high school students


and the rollercoaster that is social media. “I definitely think social media can be both good and bad,” Anne says, “I don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon so the best thing to do is making sure you’re using it for positivity and making sure it’s a good platform for everyone. I’m very active online and I notice everyone’s sweet comments and it’s heartwarming to see all of that.” Back in September, Anne started production on her latest project, Night School. The Universal Pictures film also stars A-list actors Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and Rob Riggle. “I’m so excited for this movie,” Anne shares, “It’s definitely a different pace that what I’ve been doing and I’m excited to show

off a more comedic side to me. The cast is really incredible and I’ve been having so much fun filming this.” As for what Anne has going on for the rest of the year, the actress is happily booked until the new year. “When I finish filming Night School, I’m going back to Oakland to finish filming 13 Reasons Why. After that, I start work on Zac & Mia with Kian Lawley for AwesomenessTV; we’ll be filming until Christmas and then I’ll be headed home, [to Texas].” During her (rare) free time, Anne’s favorite pastime involves watching movies that star badass women. “I would love to star in an action/thriller movie,” she says, “I just recently watched Wonder Woman, Kidnapped, and Atomic Blonde and am just obsessed with how empowering and badass those women are in the films. I would love to do that. Honestly, I just want every new role to be different than the last one. I just want to keep going and growing; every project that I’ve been apart of has been really fun and challenging. I think if I just continue to do what I’m doing and keep an open mind about everything, my ‘dream role’ will just come to me.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

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casey deidrick

Words by IAN HAYS Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

Casey Deidrick tackles everything head on. The actor was born in Hollister, California and that’s where his first love, skateboarding, came to fruition. Hollister was a small farming town with not much action happening. His mom lived outside of Denver. “One of the first things I think to really help me get through going between my parents’ houses was skateboarding,” Casey says, “A lot of people in high school have their sports or arts groups, mine was skateboarding.” It was a cornerstone of his childhood. He would skate to school. Then, after school, he and his friends would grab his dad’s camera and go shoot skate videos. His world revolved around skateboarding and pushing those limits. And he 50

got good. While many parents would be wary of supporting a serious pursuit of skateboarding, his parents were right by his side. He was eventually sponsored by Airo Skateboards and VANS Shoes. But, like many athletes in a sport that hits back hard and early, Casey eventually came to have to make a choice. “I was at a point where I was getting hurt a lot. It felt like every time I would go out and skate, I’d throw myself down stairs and just get hurt. I had to make that choice,” he says. He had been living with him mom for a period of time but decided to move back out to California to pursue acting. Ever since he was a kid, he was interested in movies. He would watch his favorite films upwards

of 50 times. One of his inspirations was Jim Carrey and he would walk around doing his best Jim Carrey character impersonations. While still in Denver, he caught wind of the AMTC (Actors, Models & Talent Competition) in Orlando. He described it as “like modeling but for actors.” “I was literally days away from swearing in the Marine Corps and my mom told me to go check out this acting thing before making my final decision,” he recalls. So, Casey went out to the massive convention. It’s held yearly and is filled with casting directors, agents and the like. You come out in groups and Casey received the most call backs out of anyone in his group. This was the sign that Casey had been waiting for. He


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was signed with his first agency and was out in L.A. within a few months. He’s now been there for 11 years. From the day he moved to L.A. he started making the connections. But, like any young artist, he received an early taste of how tough Hollywood can be. It took around two years before he landed his first role, a spot on the revamped 90210. He then started booking other guest star spots on shows like Wizards of Waverly Place. Eventually, the audition for Days of Our Lives came across his lap. It was a recurring character. “The casting director was like, ‘We love him for this. He’s perfect. But, there’s another role.’ So, I didn’t get that part. And about a month later, they brought me in for the role of Chad. Within a week I was testing and then I found out I got it,” Casey recalls. The opportunity could not have been more perfect for Casey. As he admits, he was still wet behind the ears and having a recurring role on an established show like Days of Our Lives was the stepping stone and boot camp he needed. He was still very young and this called for initiating a well-rounded character from the start to keep up with the rest of the cast and famous story lines. He worked on the show for four years and credits it for breaking down any and all barriers and misconceptions he had about the time and energy it takes to become an actor. Soap operas are notorious for their “to the T” rehearsing and shooting schedules. And while

he has nothing but respect for soap actors, that world was not his end game. But he is quick to speak of the generosity and lessons he learned while on set. “I remember the first week they sent me three scripts and I was like, ‘Holy shit. This is insane.’ I have at least fifteen pages of dialogue per episode. I dedicated that entire week to just memorizing lines. I would have friends over and they would just run them with me as I was doing stuff around the house,” he says, “And my last day of Days, we shot three episodes one day which wound up being around seventy pages of dialogue.” But, just like with the grit he showed while skateboarding, Casey got back up anytime he would fall. This was more than a job, this was training for the rest of his life. People can joke all they want about soap operas, but at the end of the day, there’s legitimate reasoning for their staying power and cultural significance. “It really is putting on a play each day. You have one take, sometimes two. They have no time for that though. They trust you with the dialogue to keep the show going. They have no time to spend time on you if you don’t know your lines. You have to be on your ‘A’ game,” he says. The other part to consider is that a show like Days of Our Lives has been running since before he was born. The show is known for the dedication of its fans. He was someone new coming in to the family and he had to prove his worth to sit at the table. Luckily, they were

welcoming form the get go. He even had family members who grew up watching the show and exclaimed, “You’re whose son?” when he broke the news. “Of course there were times when some fans take things very seriously. For instance, one time my character wasn’t treating my character’s girlfriend on the show very nicely. I would have people come up and yell at me to treat her better and be nicer,” Casey recalls, “And I forget that they grow up with us and they see us every single day. We’re part of their lives in a way that isn’t true with all audiences. They’re some of the most loyal fans on the planet.” And the same could be said for his recurring role on Teen Wolf. The show was another cultural phenomenon with a fandom to rival the best of them. Casey’s roles have allotted him the opportunity to not only immerse himself critically into his work, but he’s had the chance embed himself socially in the tough to navigate world between fans and actors. The future is just getting started for Casey Deidrick. While he has dabbled in music, he is laser focused on his acting career. While he does have to keep things under lock and key, he has revealed his is working on a project with some names everyone will recognize. It’s the next stepping stone for Casey and he is slowly ascending until his career reaches its logical zenith, picking himself back up each step of the way – just like he always has and just like he always will. NKD NKDMAG.COM

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NEW YORK COMIC CON class of 2017 Photographed on Monochrome Instax Film by CATHERINE POWELL Interviewed by STACY MAGALLON & CATHERINE POWELL

Allegra Acosta Marvel’s Runaways

Ariela Barer

Marvel’s Runaways

Samuel Barnett

“Molly’s strength is derived from her emotions. She’s very empathetic and passionate, and uses those abilities to protect her friends and everything she loves.”

“When you dive into these characters on a human level, you no longer see stereotypes, which is one of the greatest things about representation.”

“I thought it was going to be weird coming back after such a long break from filming, and it was like stepping into a pair of old shoes. Just so comfortable immediately.”

Dirk Gently


Camren Bicondova

Eden Brolin

Eliza Coupe

“I’ve just been focused on enjoying the journey that [Selina Kyle] is on. I feel like when you focus on the destination, you kind of forget to look out the window and enjoy the scenery.”

“We do pick up with Charlie at kind of a mysterious place. She’s on other things right now. She’s working for somebody else, she’s doing a different project. Nothing has to necessarily do with Holden.”

“There’s not one thing that I’m like, ‘No, we should tell them this.’ It’s like every single episode there’s 900 things I want everyone to see.”

Matthew Daddario

Fiona Dourif

Burkley Duffield

“There’s a conflict that arises as a result of what happened at the end of Season 2, between Alec and Clary. And the reason for that is that there is someone not giving full information.”

“Season 1 was about loneliness and about two people who are really isolated, finding each other and what that feels like. And Season 2 picks up like, two weeks later so fans know these characters.”

“Season 1 sort of ends on a nice, sort of settling moment in Holden’s life. At the beginning of Season 2, you see that normal life that he strives for really start to come to what he’s wanted.”

Gotham

Shadowhunters

Beyond

Dirk Gently

Future Man

Beyond


Jade Eshete Dirk Gently

Rhenzy Feliz

Marvel’s Runaways

Virginia Gardner

“Farrah struggles with a lot. She comes down on herself and she’s insecure, even though she’s an insane bad ass. So for Season 2, there’s a lot of potential for growth.”

“Marvel is taking a huge step in how visual media is presented. Four of the six members are female and then four of us are people of color. It brings together so many different aspects of the world.”

“Karolina is so emotionally sensitive – she feels isolated and scared when she discovers who she is, then becomes stronger because of it. It’s a fun arc to act.”

Dilan Gwyn

André Holland

Josh Hutcherson

“Season 2 really starts off with Willa really starting to be willing to take a new step in her life and go in a new direction that she’s never really gone before, where not everything is life and death.”

“I know it can be annoying because people want to know right away. But I think there’s something fun about building a little bit of mystery around things.”

“When you have great writing, just act it. You just say what it is, and make it real for that moment. It was definitely fun to kind of do something very different.”

Beyond

Castle Rock

Marvel’s Runaways

Future Man


Mpho Koaho

Donal Logue

Jessica Lucas

“Y’all are going to love what happens with [Bart and Ken]. I really, really think it’ll be very neatly packaged. You’ll like the way it ends up. It’s not what you expect, but you’ll like it.”

“[Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock] get into some pretty epic conflict this season. It’s been a blast and the most enjoyable thing in our arc to play.”

“I love Erin [Richards] and Camren [Bicondova] to death, and the more we can have strong women on screen that are in leadership positions the better.”

Melanie Lynskey

Hannah Marks

David Mazouz

“I’m kind of pathologically honest. So, you know, when I’m doing an interview I will answer honestly whatever someone asks me. You know? I’m just kind of like, ‘It is what it is’.”

“These are things that I never thought I’d get to do. I’ve never like, punched someone in the face in my life - why would I have done that? I don’t feel very tough as a human being.”

“There’s a lot of pressure that comes with playing Batman as opposed to Bruce Wayne. So it was scary, but it’s been fun. I know this character, I know what he’s capable of.”

Dirk Gently

Castle Rock

Gotham

Dirk Gently

Gotham

Gotham


Ben McKenzie

Katherine McNamara

Isaiah Mustafa

“Without spoiling it too much, you will see [Gordon] take concrete steps up the hierarchy where he’s actually able to, you know, be in charge of people. That responsibility changes you.”

“There’s a lot that’s changed. Yes, Valentine is dead and yes, we’ve taken care of Sebastian as far as we know. It’s seemingly happy. The New York Institute are heroes of the Shadow World.”

“It’s all a learning experience. Every character has to go from A to Z, and who you become after you come out the other end is a result of going from A to Z.”

Lyrica Okano

Crystal Reed

Alexander Siddig

“Diversity should not be a new thing. This is how it should be. I speak Japanese to my parents when I’m calling them on set. Then Allegra’s in the corner speaking Spanish to her parents. It’s great.”

“Sofia is a chameleon. So anytime she’s around someone she’ll change to fit whatever is happening in that circumstance. So we’ll see her have a lot of fun with people.”

“I’m a huge supporter of anything that a whole family can watch that everybody is going to really enjoy, so that was a real motivator for me [to join the show].”

Gotham

Marvel’s Runaways

Shadowhunters

Gotham

Shadowhunters

Gotham


Bill Skarsgård Castle Rock

Gregg Sulkin

Marvel’s Runaways

Robin Lord Taylor

“I think people will sort of try to figure out if they should root for or not root for the people that they’re watching. I think there’s a lot of surprises to be had.”

“Apart from all the superhero stuff, there are some issues my character deals with, particularly with his family, and I’m pumped to bring awareness to those situations.”

“Penguin is very much in control. More than he’s ever been. But at the same time, every time you create a wall there’s always going to be someone who finds a way in.”

Alisha Wainwright

Derek Wilson

Elijah Wood

“You do your best to put in the work and enjoy the process and experience as an artist, and you see on social media that people actually do care about it, but to see the faces warms my heart.”

“Wolf is the demolitions expert. And you know, bad ass fighter. And I fit into this world - well, that’s the whole thing. We don’t actually fit in.”

“The thing that starts to become very apparent, very quickly is that things are happening in Bergsberg and many of our central characters are heading there unbeknown to each other.”

Shadowhunters

Future Man

Gotham

Dirk Gently


NKDMAG.COM

NKD Mag - Issue #77 (November 2017)  

Featuring: Holland Roden, Noah Schnapp, Landry Bender, Natha...