[NYOTA Magazine ]
Jasmin Savoy Brown Volume 1
HELLO THERE, READER! From its inception, Nyota has focused on featuring emerging stars in music, fashion and culture that we believe should be on your radar. Our new Star Power issues will give you an indepth look at an emerging star's life and introduce you to other young people doing amazing things in their respective fields. We are honored to have Jasmin Savoy Brown as our first Star Power! Jasmin just entered Shondaland on the new show, For the People. In addition to Ms. Brown, we have Serena Foster, Abla Sofy, Nishanth R and Jahi Winston. A budding singer, a stylist walking in Paul Marciano’s footsteps, a triple threat that can be seen on the big screen this month with Tarji P. Henson and a sixteen year old author who spent his summer writing a full length novel. I hope each of our features inspire you to go after your dreams, no matter the circumstance. I’m excited about this new chapter in our publication and can’t wait for you to see what is coming next. I'd like to thank my team for their continued support and genius behind the scenes. Our amazing graphic designers have definitely taught us a thing or two about design. I would also like to thank my sister and creative director for putting this entire issue together. YOURS TRULY,
Carol Wright EDITOR IN CHIEF, NYOTA MAGAZINE @_CAROL_WRIGHT_
from the editor
Jasmin Savoy Brown
Raised in Springfield, OregonÂ
Plays three instruments: guitar, piano, violin
Lives in Los Angeles
Favorite fashion trend is socks and sandalsÂ
She is in the process of writing an album
w o n k o t t ge n i m s a J
BOOKS I am just about to crack open “Conversations With Friends” by Sally Rooney per my costar Susannah Flood’s recommendation.
Jasmin's Top Picks
MOVIES I’m very excited to see Call Me By Your Name. My favorite movies this year have been Wonder Woman, Wind River and Girls Trip.
Photo by Ryan West
PODCASTS I’m a longtime fan of “Off Camera with Sam Jones” and I’m currently obsessed with “Two Dope Queens”.
J S B
Interview by Carol Wright Photos by Ryan West
If the name Jasmin Savoy Brown doesn’t ring a bell now, it will within the next few months. Jasmin, who can be seen on the hit tv show ‘The Leftovers’ and the TNT original show ‘Will’ among numerous other television shows is about to be put on the map. This Oregon native is currently working on a new Shondaland series called ‘For the People’ which will surely be taking up space on everyone’s DVRs come March 13th. Make sure to binge watch any and all of Jasmin’s previous projects before she blows up.
When were you first bit by the acting bug?
I was an actress before I knew acting was a thing. From a very young age, I performed for family and friends every chance I could. When I was eight, my aunt and uncle gave my mom and I tickets to see a touring Broadway production of The Music Man. Seeing that show was the first time I understood that acting was something I could make a career out of and devote my life to. And that is exactly what I did.
What has been your favorite role you’ve played so far? I loved playing Emelia on ‘Will’ because she lived such a different life from mine. From a young age she was groomed to look and behave a certain way, and the penalties for defying that behaviour were treacherous,
sometimes deadly, so the risks she took to create her art were extremely dangerous and sacrificial. In researching and preparing to play Emilia, I had an accent coach, an acting coach, and two movement coaches, which added tremendously to my experience because I gained deeper understanding of my body and how people actually lived and behaved in Shakespeare’s time.
You recently got cast in the new ABC series ‘For The People’. What is it like working on a Shondaland show? It’s fun! First of all, I love the diversity I see on set. In front of the camera of course, but also behind the camera we have a lot of women, which is a rarity on a set, and people of multiple...
nationalities and sexualities. Shondaland is all inclusive and I pride myself to be part of that. The writing is superb and table reads are very exciting. Because it’s season one, we’re all finding these characters and their voices together, and with each new script we learn new things about our characters. Most importantly, I feel safe and excited to go to work each day. As the recent onslaught of sexual abuse allegations have proven true, sets and industry related situations are not always conducive to women feeling safe and respected. I feel safe and respected in Shondaland, which makes my experience enjoyable, and as a result, makes my acting better.
What do you do to prep for roles? Especially for your roles in ‘The Leftovers’ and ‘Will’?
I read the script multiple times, because with each new pass, I discover something deeper. I research any and everything in that script that my character says that I don’t understand, which often leads me to a random rabbit hole on Youtube or TED. For example I was just researching something for the show and ended up watching TED Talks about growing up in a religious cult in New Zealand. Random. I love it. I find correlations between what my character is experiencing and things in my life that are similar. I do a lot of imagination/memory work. And then I let it all go and just have fun on the day.
You’re originally from Oregon. Was it a bit of culture shock moving to Los Angeles? Yes, and no. The biggest shock for me was the diversity. Oregon is very white. Most of my friends growing up were white, straight and Christian. They are all lovely of course, but I longed for more. A variety of “types” of people with many different experiences. LA definitely fulfilled that want. I wasn’t culture shocked in the sense that nothing ever scared me. I moved here without a hesitation and dove right in, because that’s the way I always did things. I’m actually finding life gets a little scarier with age, I think because that youthful feeling of “I’ll live forever” slowly wears off.
What other creative outlets do you have besides acting?
I am in the process of writing an album. I love to experiment with cooking, and I go to open dance classes as often as I can.
"I moved here without a hesitation and dove right in, because that’s the way I always did things." What was it like being able to shoot the show ‘Will’ on location? Did you get to explore England frequently? It was incredible. Our production was based right outside of Cardiff, Wales, and I stayed in Cardiff, so most of my time was spent there. But I did have a few weekends to
fexplore London and Paris, and I will never forget the adventures I had. I went to Paris just a ew weeks before Christmas, so all of the Christmas markets were out and I walked along the famous streets and sipped mulled wine with my aunt and cousin. The culture was beautiful and the food was delicious!
What was it like working with Regina King and Justin Theroux? Did they give you any good advice? Every day on set of 'The Leftovers' was a masterclass in acting for me. Each actor is not only phenomenal, but lovely and kind and willing to teach and share. Sometimes when I wasn’t shooting, I would be on set just to observe their work. Regina became a mentor to me and has given me a lot of incredible advice. Kevin Carroll gave me some of the best advice of all, which was, in short, don’t take yourself too seriously.
Besides acting in ‘For The People’ what do you see yourself doing next? I would like to do a feature film next. I haven’t done a film in quite some time and I would like to challenge myself with a complex role I haven’t tackled yet. I am also working on an album, and would really love to get back on stage!
What advice do you have for aspiring actors?
Jasmin's Playlist Won’t Go Quietly //Company of Thieves White Winter Hymnal //Pentatonix That’s Christmas To Me //Pentatonix You’re Such A //Hailee Steinfeld Issues //Julia Michaels Bad Liar //Selena Gomez Get Away //Jessie J Desperado //Rihanna Needed Me //Rihanna American Money// Borns
Let's Get Social
oster INTERVIEW BY CAROL WRIGHT PHOTO BY KASSY MAHEA
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BE A SINGER? Believe it or not, I knew since the very young age of four years old that I wanted to be a singer. I started playing guitar at age nine and piano at sixteen. And every step of the way I knew music and singing was in my future.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE SONG MAKING PROCESS? I really enjoy all the parts because I never write any song the same exact way. I believe every song has its own story and journey.
There are a lot of different methods I enjoy in songwriting, but I guess my favorite would have to be the creation of a story and just seeing it come to life through singing the melody.
WHAT HAS WORKING WITH RAZ KLINGHOFFER TAUGHT YOU? I have learned SO much from working with Raz. He is a musical genius and understands the major trends in current music so well. I learned a lot about hook writing and how to keep a song interesting. I am grateful for Raz and feel so lucky to have worked with him so much this year.
WHAT INSPIRED THE LYRICS FOR YOUR SONG "SHOW ME THE WAY"?
So I was in a pretty bad car accident earlier this year and totaled my car. I remember going to the studio a few days after the accident and going into the session with Raz feeling pretty depressed and down about the accident and everything I was going through that week. I remember him asking me what I wanted to write about and I told him about the car accident and from there we just made the song about feeling like things just keep going wrong and needing God to help you through it.
WHAT SINGERS INSPIRE YOU?
I am inspired by Lady Gaga, Marina and The Diamonds, Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels, and Halsey.
YOU CAN ALSO KEEP UP WITH SERENA ON SOCIAL MEDIA: www.SerenaFoster.com www.Instagram.com/OfficialSerenaFoster www.Twitter.com/SerenaFosterPop www.Facebook.com/OfficialSerenaFoster
WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOUR MUSIC? Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4XIolLaFHDkNu ARwZ9fsjD YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjnhnLEaV sudYixR2mrdaXA SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/serenafoster
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SONG RIGHT NOW?
My favorite song right now is definitely "I Miss You" by Clean Bandit Feat. Julia Michaels.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING SINGERS?
I would say my best advice would be to keep working on your craft and keep exploring different styles and sounds till you find the best fit for you. I never knew I would be singing electro-pop meets EDM style music and now here I am and I absolutely love it.
INTERVIEW BY CAROL WRIGHT PHOTO BY JOSH RYAN When you were a kid was a career in fashion on your radar?
YES! Since I was a little girl my dream was always to be in the fashion world and everybody around me could see it. I knew someday I would find a way to make my dream come true, but I never imagined I would be the right hand to one of the owners of the biggest fashion companies in the world, GUESS.
What was it like getting to style Mohamed Hadid?
It's always a pleasure to work with Mohamed Hadid, we still work together after 3 years. He has an amazing personality and he is such a fun person. I always enjoy working with him, as he trusts my taste completely and gives me creative freedom.
Are there any influencers/ celebrities you hope to style in the future?
I had always wanted to style Hailey Baldwin and I had the chance to do so for a GUESS campaign. I love the way she dresses, she goes from classic to casual but is always different from everybody else. I would love to work with Kylie Jenner also because she has a great style, plus she's willing to take risks and I love that.
How did the opportunity to work with GUESS & Paul Marciano come about?
I work as a stylist and I help him with pretty much everything in the company, I am like his right hand. Mohamed Hadid saw the passion that I have for fashion and decided to introduce us and from there, we directly decided to work and collaborate together. He is Moroccan as am I and we were very happy to have each other in the company.
What advice do you have for people trying to figure out what their personal style is?
I don't think anyone should categorize themselves with one style. I personally love to change my style all the time and surprise people. I have so much fun doing that and everyone should be able to enjoy the same thing. Anything that you love you can make it work and make it personal. It's also important for people to know what looks good for their body types and skin color.
Can you inform our readers on some trends they should be rocking this winter? HIGH BOOTS!!! They are definitely a trend this year. Vintage is also back, so it’s time to revisit what we have in our wardrobes and use it. Chanel style dresses and coats are very trendy, and also the all leather look is very popular and looks amazing!
After getting your degree you upped and moved to Los Angeles. What was the hardest part of leaving home and chasing after your career goals? The hardest part for me was the language and culture barriers. I spoke zero English when I first moved to Los Angeles plus my culture is so different, so I was always in weird situations with people. It was actually funny. I had the chance to work with Mohamed Hadid and he is Arab, so we have same culture and he helped me out a lot. Paul Marciano is Moroccan like me, so it was so much easier to work for him. I got lucky.
What advice do you have for millennials that want to be stylists or work in the fashion industry? My advice is to find a way to be different and get inspired by your own personality. I always get inspired by my culture and origin, it's my personal touch when I have to style someone and is what my clients love. It is very important to always be aware of current fashion trends. This is an extremely fast moving industry, so we have to keep track of every new trend and put our own spin on it so we don't "copy".
Volez Voguez Voyagez Am I the only one that gawks in awe of the luggage that arrives in the baggage claim adorn with the LV monogram? You know you have made it big in the lap of luxury when your travel accessories are none other than Louis Vuitton. Carol and I had the pleasure to attend Volez Voguez Voyagez, the traveling Louis Vuitton exhibit. The exhibit showcases the brands innovation and how their take on luggage has evolved. We were able to see the humble beginnings of the brand, and learn about how Louis perfected the flat trunk and changed an entire industry.
Words by Niara Wright Photos by Carol Wright
The exhibit was housed at the Trinity Place in New York City with themed rooms that showcased LV bags from over the years. There was an interactive app that tells the story of the brand and makes each room come to life. Being a lover of Marc Jacobs, my favorite era of LV was when he was the artistic director. Marc brought an edge to the brand that made it more relevant to this generation. Under his reign, he collaborated with all kinds of artists and created iconic pieces for LV. LV VVV was a great way for consumers and fashion lovers alike to get to know the brand and understand its history and it was an exhibit completely worthy of the gram.Â
A chat with Nishanth R. By Carol Wright At what age did you realize you had a passion for writing? I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’ve been told I had a talent for creative writing ever since I was about 12 years old. However, I didn’t realize I had a passion for writing fiction until I became a bona fide cinephile about two years ago. In my love of film, I found a love of storytelling, and that eagerness to tell stories took many forms, one of which was writing short stories and novels.
What sparked your idea for the book? Especially since you wrote it during summer vacation. It was a history lesson on the Dust Bowl in the 10th grade that started it. We were learning about how the American farmers of the ‘30s were ruining the land by mechanizing agriculture and reaping profits without a care in the world, until retribution came in the form of devastating black blizzards. At the time, I thought that there was something oddly poetic about it, and that it would make a great setting for a story about
guilt and the futility of running from past actions. But it was only in summer of the following year that I put those thoughts down in writing (mostly because I was bored out of my mind, and needed some sort of creative outlet). What made you place the setting of your book in the United States? I think the core theme of the novel – i.e. the Dust Bowl being allegorical to the past catching up to people trying to run from it – mandated that it be set in the US in that particular time period. The old adage says
The Fated Sunset by Nishanth R. is available on amazon.com
“Write what you know”, and that setting in the 1930s was about as far away from “what I knew” as possible, but it was necessary to follow through on the idea I had.
Who are some of your favorite authors/writers?
Unlike many kids, I grew up on a strange diet of novels that ranged from Enid Blyton to J.K. Rowling to Agatha Christie even at the age of 11. But I’d say my favorite author is definitely PG Wodehouse – his fantastic feelMy father jokingly suggested I good novels contain some of the include the word in my most brilliant - and yet most dedication, and I found a way to good-natured - comedy I’ve ever actually fit it in. been exposed to. In fact, I’m almost certain that his work had Do teenagers in India get an influence on some of the their perception of teenagers drier, more humorous parts of in the US mostly from the ‘The Fated Sunset’. media? Mostly, yes. Most people in my school have friends and family What advice do you have for in the US, and some of my aspiring authors? classmates were born (and Well, I’ve written one book that studied for a while) in the US, some people have claimed is not so we do get somewhat completely unreadable. So I accurate pictures of an don’t think I’m at the level to be American childhood. But I doling out sage advice just yet. would be lying if I said that a lot However, I’d urge people, of Indian kids’ preconceptions especially kids who are about my of US teens don’t come from age, to express themselves watching the latest Spider Man creatively, whether it be writing movies. or art or music, because you
Your book dedication reads “To my parents, who supported me despite the constant negative press covfefe.” What made you make this infamous quote your dedication?
What was the hardest part of trying to get your book published?
I love reading dedications, because they often showcase an author’s personality or sense of humor, and are often completely divorced from the tone of book itself. In my case, that quotation was just a bit of fun I was having, given that that particular word entered the public consciousness around the same time that I was being asked to decide on a dedication for the book.
I’d say the hardest part was locking down a freelance editor once I was finished writing the book. I found that a lot of editors don’t really want to critique a kid’s work, so they’ll politely decline. In the end, though, we found an excellent editor in the UK who was extremely supportive, and whose appreciation of the book really boosted my confidence levels.
might discover a talent or passion that sets a course for the rest of your life.
For authors, in particular, I’d advise not to work to a deadline, at least not to the point that writing becomes a chore for you. I had an unreasonable deadline in mind for handing in the final draft of my book, and it stressed me out to no end. You wouldn’t believe how much more relaxed I got, and how much better the book got, as a result of me pushing that date.
J W ahi
Interview by Carol Wright Photo by DeWayne Rogers
When most of us look back at our Freshman year of high school, we remember learning locker combinations, comparing our schedules with our friends and trying to figure out what we were having for lunch. This is not the case for Jahi Winston. Winston’s resume reads like someone who has been in the industry for years. He played Young Simba on the hit Broadway show ‘The Lion King’ and he sang and danced his way through ‘The New Edition Story’. 2018 will bring his biggest debut yet in the movie, ‘Proud Mary’ starring alongside Taraji P Henson. If Jahi Winston wasn't already on your radar, he is now.
Your Instagram bio has a quote by Mae West that reads, “You only live once but if you live it right, once is enough.” Why did you choose this quote as your bio? Most young people don’t know who Mae West is so where’d you first hear this quote?
Well, it’s funny that you asked that question because I was actually thinking about getting rid of that quote but I didn’t because I loved it so much! I chose this quote because when I first heard it I was like wow, that’s deep and I read it over and over again. Then I realized that it’s not that deep at all there’s actually a great level of simplicity to it, which is, live with no regrets. I try to use it as a constant reminder in everything that I do. Where I got it? Where all millennials get their information the internet, so I’m not deep… at all. Lol
At what age did you discover that acting and singing are your passions?
Well, I don’t think that there was a specific age I discovered they were my passions. I just remember singing before breathing; it was just something that I could do well. I was very good at making scenarios in my head and making my action figures do cool storylines and backflips and sing! So I just had it in my blood I guess.
What did performing on Broadway teach you?
Performing on Broadway taught me discipline and to control my instrument on and off stage. There’s just certain things theatre as a whole can teach you that film and television can’t but definitely, discipline and professionalism was the biggest take away.
What made you start your nonprofit You can Too?
What made me start You can Too was really to inspire kids who feel like they have goals and ambition but it’s not possible or “realistic” because of their current situation, lack of resources, or lack of information. Even though it What was it like being in ‘The started with inner city kids, it’s New Edition Story’? Did Ralph a reminder to everybody.
Tresvant give you any advice? Did you feel any added pressure playing someone who is still alive?
‘The New Edition Story’ will probably go down as one of the proudest moments of my career just because of the unity and the brotherhood that came from it. Every time I explain it to someone, I always say no matter how much you think you understand, you had to have been there to witness and know how amazing the energy was on set. Ralph was very instrumental in really giving me an example of who my character was. He said, “You’re a star man” and I was happy that he and his family were pleased with my portrayal of him. I definitely did (feel pressure) because of what all six New Edition members mean to people of color specifically the African American community and the music culture. I definitely wanted to do the best I could.
"I just remember singing before breathing; it was just something that I could do well." 20
You released your first single ‘Shine’ in October. What inspired the lyrics to Shine?
Well, ‘Shine’ was written by my God brother Dennis Lamar many moons ago, and I’ve known the lyrics for a very long time. So, when I started doing music he came to me and said he made it more modern and to fit my voice better. The lyrics were always very smooth to me but I guess what inspired them was just the fact that you have to manifest your future before you live it! It goes hand in hand with You can Too! It’s just a solid reminder that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
What was it like working with Taraji P. Henson and Danny Glover in Proud Mary? Did they give you any good advice?
Working with Taraji and Mr. Glover was really cool because they are two of my favorite actors. They are both brilliant and I was able to learn a lot from them. The best advice that I got was basically keep your circle small and trust those who believed in you from the start.
What has been your favorite role you’ve played in your career so far?
I can’t really choose my favorite because they’re all so different. However, I’ve had roles that have been harder to play than others.
"The best advice that I got was basically keep your circle small and trust those who believed in you from the start."
Kevin is a very genuine person and I think a lot of people expect him to be doing his stand up set while he’s working but he’s really just a normal nice guy!
What is a long-term goal of yours? Would you like to own your own studio one day?
I have a lot of goals and standards that I set for myself, so it’s hard to pick just one but I plan on being the greatest entertainer of all time… and I think I could do it.
Your upcoming show What advice do you have for “Everything Sucks!” takes aspiring actors? place in the 90s. My parents Advice I would give to aspiring were in college during the 90s actors is make sure you’re doing and always say how great that it because you love it not time was from the TV shows because you want to be famous or a celebrity because a celebrity to the music. Has playing this is a title given to anyone role given you an appreciation nowadays and it can be taken for how things were in the away very easily. So, if the craft 90s? of acting is something you love I don’t know if it has given me an appreciation but it’s definitely helped me understand that era a lot better.
Fans can expect to see you in the film The Upside starring alongside Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart. What was it like filming with Kevin Hart? Was it hard not to laugh shooting scenes with him?
chase that and let fame chase you.
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Published on Jan 26, 2018