ORIGIN Magazine Issue #23

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Beryl Bender Birch Elena Brower Kathryn Budig Larissa Hall Carlson Jenn Chiarelli Brandon Compagnone Seane Corn Jason Crandell Tiffany Cruikshank Sandhi Ferreira Dana Trixie Flynn Bo Forbes Gail Grossman Michael Hayes Amy Ippoliti Rina Jakubowicz Leslie Kaminoff Coby Kozlowski Eric Kipp Vinnie Marino Alison McCue Dharma Mittra Karen Mozes Sadie Nardini Aadil Palkhivala Eric Paskel Saul David Raye Shiva Rea Natasha Rizopoulos Amanbir Singh Robert Sturman Justin Michael Williams Colleen Saidman Yee Rodney Yee ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 5

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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Editor-in-chief of Yahoo Health

Michele Promaulayko

“The same things that affect our waistline also age us in appearance, so the same inflammatory foods that do internal damage also age our face and our hair and our energy levels and everything else.”

On craving healthy foods, changing the scenery once in a while, and the health benefits of keeping in touch Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: How do you stay healthy? Michele Promaulayko: I’m very into strength training; that’s my favorite workout. I’ll supplement those sessions with other things when I have time. A cycling class or a yoga class or something else, but really, I just like to be active. In the summer, I do a lot of paddling; if I’m traveling to somewhere warm, I’ll try to do some hiking. That’s one component of fitness. The other component is the nutrition side of it. I’m lucky because, over time, I’ve evolved my palate to really crave and like healthy foods. As we get more educated as adults, we realize what a big piece of health that nutrition composes. And that includes the relationship between nutrition and cognition, which is what’s more important than the ability to use our brains. Nutrition has become a much bigger focus in my life. Trying to eat whole foods. I’m not virtuous by any stretch of the imagination; I still like to have a cocktail. One of the things I talk about in my new book, 20 Pounds Younger, is the ability to evolve your palate; you can train yourself to crave better-for-you foods. The other big component of the book is the mindful-eating component, which is not a prescriptive diet but a way of eating. Once you learn to eat more mindfully, that travels with you wherever you go. In that sense, it’s a much more sustainable way to focus on what you eat.

Another big tenet of health is sleep. I really prioritize trying to get enough sleep and the quality of my sleep. RP: How do you stay balanced? MP: That is the $24,000 word, right? The way that I do it is by trying to get away every couple of months. Do a little bit of traveling, even if it’s just for a weekend, because to me, newness and novelty and just a new landscape is a very decompressing thing. The other thing is finding time for friends. I think that’s huge. I don’t fall off the radar for long periods of time; I really keep in touch with people because I think it’s super important to health and happiness to get together with the people that make you laugh. RP: What projects are you working on? MP: I’m out talking about my new book.

The reason it’s called 20 Pounds Younger and not 20 Pounds Lighter is simply that the same things that affect our waistline also age us in appearance, so the same inflammatory foods that do internal damage also age our face and our hair and our energy levels and everything else. That’s a big thing for me right now, and then, obviously, building Yahoo Health into a premiere destination on the web. One of my big hopes for Yahoo Health is that it becomes a multiple-times-a-day habit for people, where they visit and really get some sort of takeaway that they can put into action immediately. Michele Promaulayko is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Health and former vice president and editorin-chief of Women’s Health. She is the author of the new book 20 Pounds Younger: The LifeTransforming Plan for a Fitter, Sexier You!


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On again off again digestive issues can alter your living

THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

The Haves and the Have Nots actor

On choosing to see the best in everyone, being a crybaby, and practicing japa meditation Interview: Maranda Pleasant

better only arrives when I release the grasp.

Allison McAtee: Being in nature is inspiring. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and spent countless hours of my youth wandering the woods in awe of the beauty that exists all around us.

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? AM: Falling in love. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? AM: “Look to see the best in everyone—especially in those who refuse to do the same. Perhaps your kindness will break someone’s shell or be a catalyst to change their mind.” MP: How do you handle emotional pain? AM: I’m a crybaby, which means I barricade myself in my house and scream for awhile, and when it subsides enough that I can leave, I go for a run. Tears make great fuel. Night runs, or rainy days, are best for this as you don’t get as many questioning looks. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? AM: I’ve recently started practicing japa meditation. Meditating has always been a bit difficult for me, but japa asks you to focus on the space between things, and psychologically knowing I have anchor points frees me to do so. MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? AM: To let go. I have spent many years holding so tightly to things—wants, desires, etc.—but inevitably, they or something even


AM: Life is ever evolving. The only certainty is change. MP: What is love for you? AM: The peace that comes in the quiet stillness when your heart is full.

Perhaps your kindness will break someone’s shell or be a catalyst to change their mind.

Allison McAtee

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you?

MP: Tell me about your yoga or mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life?

AM: I love Bikram Yoga. I tend to move and think at a fast pace, and the heat forces me to slow down and just focus on my breath. I’m also a fan of Kundalini yoga. It’s still a new practice for me, but I’ve found it infinitely helpful in getting me present. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. AM: This season of The Haves and the Have Nots is full of drama. [My character] Maggie Day has gone against age-old advice and can’t seem to stop herself from mixing business with pleasure. The web that is being woven is ever more convoluted and twisted. It’s a blast! Allison McAtee stars on OWN’s hit show from Tyler Perry, The Haves and the Have Nots, as Maggie Day. Allison is best known for her roles in Californication and the film Bloomington. She has had roles on many television shows, including every CSI, The Mentalist, and Revenge.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

“I finally learned it’s perfectly OK to say no. I tell my girls, ‘You can say no politely to anyone, and it is not mean to do so.’”


Cristela actor

Maria CanalsBarrera On being a fume head, the consequence of avoiding our issues, and drawing healthy boundaries

Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What inspires you? Maria Canals-Barrera: My children inspire me with their innocence and enormous capacity to love. Beauty inspires me—beauty in nature, people, and art. Smells and fragrances too. I know it sounds weird, but I’m a “fume head.” I’m very olfactory-driven. A good smell puts me in a great mood and even inspires my creativity. I love reading perfume blogs and finding and experiencing new notes and mixing them. I’m really into tuberose, ylang-ylang, tiare, labdanum, coconut aromas, leafy greens, tropical spices, resins, patchouli, and oud. RP: How do you stay healthy? MC-B: I stay healthy by dealing with things! Seriously, emotional and spiritual health is most important. I feel there is a lot of unhealthiness when we stuff our feelings out of fear rather than face them and deal with our issues. Doing that for yourself is one of the best gifts you can give your spouse. As far as physical health goes, I try to eat in a balanced way, sleep enough, and stay active. RP: What is one of the hardest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life? MC-B: One of the hardest obstacles I’ve had to overcome in my life was

not understanding how to draw healthy boundaries. I finally learned it’s perfectly OK to say no. I tell my girls, “You can say no politely to anyone, and it is not mean to do so.” Understanding what you’re OK with and what you’re not OK with is so important to learn. And those who truly love and respect you will respect your boundaries. I think freeing oneself from codependency and fear is vital for well-being. RP: What keeps you balanced? MC-B: I stay balanced by remembering to prioritize. What is most important should never be railroaded by the “tyranny of the urgent.” My relationship with God, my devotion to my husband, my responsibilities to my children, loving others, and, of course, remaining grateful for the blessings that I have. Like getting to do what I love for a living. And trust me, I am. RP: What projects are you working on? MC-B: I am playing Daniela on ABC’s comedy Cristela, on Friday nights, and loving every second of it! Maria Canals-Barrera is on ABC’s Cristela. She has also appeared in the films Larry Crowne, The Master of Disguise, and My Family / Mi Familia. PHOTOS: MARC CARTWRIGHT ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 13

THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Bitten actor

Laura Vandervoort On being inspired to challenge yourself, the drive to give back, and working toward female empowerment Interview: Robert Piper

“Being in this industry, you wear makeup a lot, and it doesn’t hurt the show for the team working on it to try to be cruelty-free.” Robert Piper: What inspires you?

RP: What activism work have you done?

Laura Vandervoort: In terms of acting, we go through phases of being really inspired by film and television and actors and works that we’ve read. For me, it’s that odd movie that I go and see, and I’ve been feeling inspired. The performances make you want to get back out there and try something new and challenge yourself.

LV: I worked with PETA, saving the exotic skins for their campaign. At the time, I was working on a show called V where I was playing a lizard, so it actually worked out well with timing to protect exotic skins of snakes and lizards.

I work a lot with different organizations. Those inspire me in my personal life—animal rights and cruelty-free products with PETA and The Humane Society. I’ve started working with World Vision Canada. I’m actually going to Africa for ten days to do volunteer work; that’s something that really inspires me to give back and educate myself on what they’ve been doing in the field, in the villages. As a person, you want to feel like you’re giving back. That’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing. LAURAVANDERVOORT.COM 14 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

And The Humane Society, I just worked with some cruelty-free products in Canada and all over the world. Being in this industry, you wear makeup a lot, and it doesn’t hurt the show for the team working on it to try to be cruelty-free and look for those products. With World Vision, I’m one of their ambassadors. I’m going out right now to educate myself about the amount of supplies and things that they’ve been doing to work with mothers and children in Africa, in Nairobi, so that I have better knowledge and firsthand experience. I’m a bit of a feminist

and very “female empowerment,” and women should be able to do what they please. RP: What projects are you working on? LV: We just wrapped season two of my series Bitten, which is on Space and Syfy. That was six months of filming in Toronto. We worked our butts off; it’s a very physical and emotional show. I’m really proud of it. It airs on Space right now. We’re waiting for Syfy’s airdate. Then I’m working on my children’s series. I’m the executive producer and creator of that. We’re going back and forth and in the process of starting production. Laura Vandervoort, an actor, activist, and producer, plays the leading role on the hit show Bitten.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Interview: Robert Piper

A m a n da C rew On listening to her body, three things for feeling her best, and the blessing of being forced to stop

RP: That’s great. What is one of the hardest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life?

I think the hardest obstacles, actually, are probably ones I’ve put on myself. I push myself really hard, and I think that’s why I’ve been able to accomplish certain things. I’m a big thinker, and sometimes I think too much, and my brain can get in the way of myself. A couple of years ago, I fractured my knee. Hiking, I tripped over my dog. It was one of those things where my life was so chaotic, and there were so many different things that were toxic in my life. When I broke my knee, I physically couldn’t keep running and moving, which then, emotionally, made me have to stop because I was distracting myself with all these things. I had to stop for a second and really evaluate my life. Who are the kind of people that I’m allowing in my life? What kind of things am I bringing into my world and allowing myself to do? It took about six months to go through all those changes and clean out everything.

Amanda Crew: It’s been a learning process. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to listen to my body and know balance for myself. I try to be active most days of the week just because I feel better when I’m moving. I was a vegan for, like, a really long time, but then I was traveling so much for work and finding it hard to make sure I was getting enough protein or enough nutrition. When you’re in the middle of a nowhere town in Canada or the United States, and they’ve never heard of quinoa. There are just salads with iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes, and you’re like, “I am going to pass out.” They’ll have the veggie burger, but it has egg whites in it, and I’m like, “Well, I’m going to eat that veggie burger.”

“ W h e n I wa s g o i n g t h r o u g h i t, I wa s c u r s i n g , b u t l o o k i n g b ac k o n i t , i t wa s a l i f e - c h a n g i n g p e r i o d f o r m e .”

That fall was a blessing in disguise because it really forced me to stop and evaluate things and make some serious changes to my life that I’m so grateful for now. When I was going through it, I was cursing, but looking back on it, it was a life-changing period for me. RP: What projects are you currently working on? ▼

Robert Piper: Amanda, how do you stay healthy?

I’m still vegetarian—no, pescatarian, because I eat fish. I eat pretty much vegan at home, but when I’m on the road, I’m a bit more flexible. That was the kind of thing I learned as I got older—being flexible with it and listening to my body. If my body needs something, I need to give it that. Yeah, I just try to be active and eat clean, and I try to meditate most days, but I’ve kind of slipped a little bit on that. I always feel my best when I’m doing those three things and also some hot yoga, always.

AC: Whoa! That’s a hard question. This question has been the hardest obstacle in my life.

AC: I’m filming season two of Silicon Valley. We get to shoot in L.A., and it’s just so much fun. It’s nonstop laughs on set, and I’m constantly in pinch-me mode because I get to be part of this fun and unique show. That comes out April 12. Amanda Crew is an actor and can be seen in the upcoming movie The Age of Adaline and the hit series Silicon Valley. PHOTO: ANDREW STILES


By Alina Z

Invigorate Your Body Five Easy Eating Tips “Once you get used to eating greens every day, you will find that they can be the main course your taste buds are starting to crave.”





Don’t starve yourself during the day. I often see people overindulging at dinners because they deprive themselves during the day. When we eat too much in one meal, our digestive track can get overwhelmed and start storing the excess as fat to process for energy later. To avoid overeating in one big meal, allow yourself small treats every day, ideally before 3 p.m. When you indulge a little bit each day during the week, you may be less likely to overindulge during dinner, when digestion is weakest for most people. Increase your intake of greens during the day. This way, you will get to give your body a good dose of antioxidants and phytonutrients that help prevent cravings. Additionally, greens can help our key detox organs work at their optimum should you indulge in something that is not so good for you. Try starting your morning with a rich green smoothie with superfoods, such as maca, chlorella, medicinal mushrooms, and ground flaxseed, added to a base which has your favorite fruits, fresh greens, and vanilla almond milk. Discover what you’re craving. When you find yourself trying to figure out what to eat for dinner, the first thing to do is, take a deep breath and ask yourself what you are really craving. Are you in the mood for grounding or uplifting foods? Are you craving hot or

cold dishes? Then fill up half of your plate with green veggies (raw or cooked) and the other half with whatever you are craving. You will get important phytonutrients as well as indulge your taste buds. Once you get used to eating greens every day, you will find that they can be the main course your taste buds are starting to crave.


Accessorize your food. Accessorize your greens with smoked salt. No need to settle for bland veggies. Smoked salt goes great with lightly sautéed spinach with portobello mushrooms and tomatoes. I love my Himalayan hickory-smoked salt and put it on almost all of my savory dishes!


Take a breath. Slow down during the meal, and focus on enjoying each bite. Wait twenty minutes after you are done with your plate before you reach for seconds. If you choose to get more food, eat it slowly and with gusto and pleasure. By taking your time to eat slowly, chewing every bite, and enjoying every morsel, you will help your body do its best to digest the food and leave you happy and satisfied. Alina Z is a detox, raw food chef and cocreator of DL revAmp, the first organic, plant-based food detox of its kind. Containing most of the best-known foods for detox, DL revAmp is also vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, grain-free, and nightshade-free. PHOTO: DL REVAMP


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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

“Every day, I have something that is so full of nutrition and so full of foods that give you life, rather than take them away, that it makes me feel amazing and really good inside.”

Food Babe

Interview: Robert Piper

Vani Hari On healthy habits, green juices and smoothies, and getting your body in an alkaline state

Robert Piper: How do you stay healthy? Vani Hari: Many of the habits that I follow are the basis for my new book, The Food Babe Way. I talk about the twenty-one habits that have allowed me to not only maintain my weight for over ten years now, but to really feel and look younger and be healthy. I mean, I went from someone who was very, very sick, was on several prescription drugs, and had really bad skin, wasn’t confident to, like, a new being of health. Every day, I have something that is so full of nutrition and so full of foods that give you life, rather than take them away, that it makes me feel amazing and really good inside. It balances my blood sugar, balances out all of the things that I need, the nutrition that I need to get into my body. I’ll either have a green juice that is a combination of all-green vegetables and a little lemon and ginger or I’ll have a green smoothie that has about half a FOODBABE.COM 20 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

serving or a serving of fruit and a ton of kale, cucumbers, celery, and maybe some protein powder. I actually start my day with a cup of warm lemon water with cayenne pepper. It jumpstarts your detoxifying system in your body, jump-starts your liver, helps you eliminate the food that you ate the day before, and also just gets your body in an alkaline state ready to ward off disease. Many of the holistic nutritionists and doctors that I’ve spoken to believe in this habit so wholeheartedly, and they see results with their own patients because they know that when a body is in an alkaline state, it avoids disease, but when it’s in an acidic state—where you’re eating a lot of processed foods, meat, dairy—you’re not going to have that hydration in your body, and you’re not going to have that ability to fight off disease, and it’s going to impact your immune system and the inflammation in your body too.

RP: What inspires you? VH: Watching people do what they were supposed to do on this earth. There are so many people out there living a life they don’t want to live. They either are eating the food they don’t want to eat, that doesn’t serve them, or they’re in a job that doesn’t serve them and what they’re really good at in the world, or they’re in a situation or relationship where it’s bringing them down. When I see someone either break free from the grips of the food industry, leave their job for something more meaningful, or start to be in a relationship that really helps them become who they’re supposed to be, that inspires me. Vani Hari, also known as Food Babe, is an activist and the author of The Food Babe Way: Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days! PHOTO: KWAKU ALSTON


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Rose McIver iZombie actor

On confidence from healthy relationships, moving from New Zealand, and her outdoorsy upbringing Interview: Robert Piper

I also follow my mum and dad’s nutritional advice and eat a variety of colors on my plate.

Robert Piper: What inspires you? Rose McIver: I am inspired by working professionals who find lots of time for family and friends. It is easy to get caught up in a career, and I personally aspire to maintain strong connections with the people who matter most to me. I think having healthy relationships makes me feel much more confident and available to do good work as an actor. RP: How do you stay healthy? RM: I make time to exercise at least four times a week. I mix up running, yoga, barre classes, and rock-climbing to get a full workout. I also follow my mum and dad’s nutritional advice and eat a variety of colors on my plate. Plenty of fruit and vegetables.

RP: What is one of the hardest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life? RM: I really struggled moving from New Zealand to the United States. I still have very strong ties to my home, and it took me a couple of years to feel settled in Los Angeles. Fortunately, I have a great group of friends and found the places where I enjoy spending my time. Finding beaches to get to made me feel much more plugged into the environment here. RP: How do you stay balanced? RM: I always find time to read novels and poetry as well as scripts; I like to enjoy different kinds of storytelling. I spend time at the beach and with my loved ones. I like traveling to unfamiliar places to challenge my perspectives and glean wisdom from other

ways of life. Exercise is great for endorphins, and I come from a very outdoorsy upbringing, so that means a lot to me. It is so important to remember that, while I love my job, there are other fantastic avenues to explore in my life. RP: What projects are you working on? RM: I am mere days away from finishing shooting our first season of iZombie. It’s a zombie drama-comedy written by the wonderful Diane Ruggiero-Wright and Rob Thomas. I am so excited for it to start airing on March 17 on The CW. It has been a wild ride, and I think we’ve made something really special. Rose McIver is an actor who’s appeared in The Piano, The Lovely Bones, Veronica Mars, and iZombie. PHOTO: LUC-RICHARD “L. R.” ELIE







Badass female Changemakers Badass Changemakers

Top Female ChangeMakers

10 Powerful Badasses

What’s your Passion?




Jill Greenberg Artist and photographer New York, New York

My passion is making images that emotionally and viscerally grab me and the viewer, as well as ones which succeed in terms of color, composition, and content. I happened to be at art school when postmodernism and feminist film theory were all the rage, and it still colors much of my work. The insight I have gained as a working photographer, when directed back at my gallery work, allows for a deconstruction of the image politics at work in our culture, where pictures have become the de facto universal language.

Ronnie Planalp Film and theater producer New York, New York I am passionate about living every day with love in my heart and compassion toward others. By letting this inform my daily life, I can see the positive energy everywhere. I am passionate about connecting people and mentoring. Through these relationships, I hope to affect change, in myself and in others. In my work, I tell stories of pursuing one’s dreams and persevering with purpose and determination. Life is full of surprises, and embracing uncertainty and risk-taking without fear of failure is something I pursue every day— with passion!

Jill Greenberg studied art and photography since the age of nine. Her newest works, Paintings (February 19 to March 28 at ClampArt, New York), questions the line between painting and photography.

Ronnie Planalp is a producer of documentary films and theater in New York and London through her production company, Clear Eye Productions. She splits her time between New York City and Martha’s Vineyard.



Satya Scainetti Designer and cofounder, Satya Jewelry and The Satya Foundation New York, New York

My passion is to give to others and help them live in their truth. This has led me to run my business outside the box of traditional business models. When I started Satya Jewelry thirteen years ago, my intention was to design jewelry that touches all truths of life and to donate a percentage to children’s organizations around the world. Living this passion daily has made me determined and fearless in what I do. We’ve donated over one million dollars to date, but there’s still much more to do! Satya Scainetti is cofounder and designer of Satya Jewelry and founder of The Satya Foundation. With a background in social work and education, she is also a shivananda yoga teacher. SATYAJEWELRY.COM PHOTO: LESLY ANN WEINER


Badass female Changemakers Badass Changemakers


What’s your Passion?


Wing Founder, The Art of Peace Club & Academy Los Angeles, California Having embraced Sun Tzu’s The Art of War in a modern context, I write about how to manage social conflict and competition to make winning decisions. Working within LA’s BEST, LAUSD, and FBI, I had a game-changing thought: Could I instill these proven, transformative, critical, and creative thinking skills in children? Yes! And The Art of Peace Club was born. Five years and over five hundred girls later, the club has flourished, curricula has evolved, and membership has expanded to include boys. Our mission: impact families and activate positive social and cultural change.


Jodi Wing, education activist and author, evolved from savvy marketer to satirical novelist, and, finally, thought leader to inner-city youth by creating and teaching Art of War-inspired lessons for practicing peace. THEARTOFPEACECLUB.COM PHOTO: STEFANIE KEENAN

My three biggest passions in life come to me every day. First, being a mother and wife. This has taught me the true meaning of love and the joy in putting others’ needs before my own. Second, building a woman’s confidence. Being a designer has enabled me to create style solutions for women to feel happy, sexy, and confident. Third is being present and acknowledging life’s little joys—a beautiful sunset, a hug from my kids, laughing with friends—which bring me so much fulfillment and makes every day special. Ramy Sharp is the creative director and founder of women’s lifestyle brand Ramy Brook. RAMYBROOK.COM


Founder and CEO of Bhakti Chai Boulder, Colorado Changemakers sowing the seeds of revolution. Not the one televised, but the small sparks igniting change every day in people’s lives. Musicians and poets—brave tones and tender bits reverberating rebellion and creativity. Activists and social workers—all on the frontline of justice and equality. Social entrepreneurs and inventors—taking risks and reinventing business. Spiritual leaders and yogis—taunting and tethering us to the other world. These change agents pursue the new kind of collaborative thinking, cultivating the new global manifesto where passion, creativity, abundance, and knowledge are free. Brook Eddy, a business leader with a social impact lens, built her company based on bhakti and is dedicated to brewing fresh ginger chai steeped in social and environmental change.

Ramy Sharp Creative director and founder, Ramy Brook New York, New York

Brook Eddy



Yael Melamede Director/producer, Salty Features New York, New York I love putting together projects and working with people where the shared hope is to create a final piece that feels greater than the sum of its parts. Yael Melamede is the founder of Salty Features, a New York-based, independent, award-winning production company whose goal is to create media that is provocative and entertaining and enhances the world. SALTYFEATURES.COM • THEDISHONESTYPROJECT.COM PHOTO: MARY DE CICCO

Jennifer McCrea Cofounder and CEO, Born Free Africa New York, New York I’ve spent nearly three decades partnering with philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and nonprofit leaders to address some of our planet’s most profound needs: easing poverty, education reform, global health solutions, and protecting the environment. The common thread in everything I do is building authentic partnerships to unlock the resources needed—money, time, networks, creativity, and courage—to get real and lasting work done. This requires moving from transactional to transformational relationships and from asking the question “What is my issue?” to “Who are my people?” Issues divide us, relationships connect us. Jennifer McCrea is a senior research fellow at Harvard University and CEO of Born Free Africa, a philanthropic initiative to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV by December 31, 2015. JENNIFERMCCREA.COM • BORNFREEAFRICA.ORG PHOTO: TORY WILLIAMS


jm Amelia


Natasha Schlesinger

Founder of Amelia Toro Inc. Bogotá, Colombia

President and founder, ArtMuse New York, New York My passion has always been to study art and communicate its beauty and content to the world. I love that I am able to work with something I have been passionate about since the age of seventeen and carry it through my education and my career, bringing art appreciation, learning, and the joy of art to children and adults through art experiences. I believe that art should be approachable and appreciated by young and old, by the layman and by the student of art. I love that art can bring such joy into people’s lives. Natasha Schlesinger, an award-winning art historian and consultant in the art field for the past twenty-five years, is a founder of ArtMuse, an international company offering exceptional curated art experiences and consultation.

My passions have always been dancing, classic films, and cinema, but my greatest one of all is fashion. I aspired to become a professional ballet and flamenco dancer, but a knee accident changed my dreams. My passion for films started when I first watched Lina Wertmüller films; she is a great director. I also have a thing for classical movies. I believe a great film is like a great dream! But most of all, I feel so blessed that I am able to work in fashion, my greatest life passion. Amelia Toro founded Amelia Toro Inc. in Bogotá in 1990. Her mission is to make a meaningful contribution to society through fashion by empowering Latin American women and preserving ethnic crafts.







TOP CREATIVES What ’s Your Passion?

They inspire us. Many are legends. They create art. They create beauty.

Most importantly, they create change. We ask these artists, the most talented creators we know, about their passions. Artists. Filmmakers. Writers. Musicians. Actors. Revolutionaries. Architects. Designers. Makers. Entrepreneurs. Sculptors.


Jody Sperling

Jody Sperling is a dancer-choreographer from New York City. Last spring, she accompanied a science mission to the Arctic and danced on polar ice. I’m a choreographer who’s passionate about merging movement and climate science. I’ve traveled to the Arctic and danced on the polar cap. I’m in love with sea ice! My current aim is to bring the Arctic “home” and tell the story of ice through dance. Sea ice has the same properties as human bone. It’s so dynamic and, unfortunately, so endangered. I want to express the beauty of the ice before it disappears. TIMELAPSEDANCE.COM PHOTO: PIERRE COUPEL

Matthew Israel

Tiffany Shlain

Matthew Israel, curator at large at Artsy, is an art historian, writer, and educator. Artsy’s mission is to make the world’s art accessible. I focus on making art and art history accessible and engaging to a wider public through writing and teaching via traditional and nontraditional online and offline means. While my expertise is in modern and contemporary art, I also prioritize showing how the art of today is informed by (and unthinkable without) the art of the past.

I love exploring the intersection of technology, humanity, and how to live a meaningful, creative life in the twenty-first century. A lot of my films explore these ideas. I’m also passionate about how profound it has been to unplug one day each week for the last five years with my family. We call them Technology Shabbats, and this ritual has been life-changing and is something I want to share broadly so others can experience it.



Elke Govertsen

Elke Govertsen scaled a local magazine into one of America’s best parenting magazines by redefining parents through multifaceted, gutsy stories. I am passionate about building a business that is as meaningful as our product. Mamalode is full of heartfelt, true stories. Our events reflect the content. From Mother’s Day Eve to Burning (Mini) Van, our goal is to bring parents together to celebrate this remarkable shared experience. I am passionate about storytelling and believe that an authentic story can change the world—or at least change someone’s life. MAMALODE.COM | WWW.ELKEGOVERTSEN.COM PHOTO: HOLLY ANDRES



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Alexi Panos


Alexi Panos is cofounder of EPIC, which brings clean, sustainable water to those in need and empowers others into global leadership through the fellowship program. I’m completely obsessed with creating things that matter, move, and inspire. Whether that’s writing a book, leading transformational workshops around the globe, speaking in front of crowds or my digital YouTube audience, hosting my show on History Channel, or leading people through their first volunteer trip to Africa, I’m committed to empowering one billion people into their greatness so we can create a “compound inspiration effect” to change the world.

Alice Frank

Alice Frank’s poetry, collected in FOA: Full on Arrival, is lauded by Eckhart Tolle. Her narrative feature, Open, is in pre-production. I am passionate about the vulnerability and liberation inherent in our collectively being one body. Violence is loud but done by very few, out of greed or need. The disentangling of a person with his race, religion, and country, seeing each perpetrator of violence as individual, empowers the overwhelming majority of peaceful within every race, religion, and country within the world. Our oneness is the key. We are each other. HEARTPRINTCESS.COM | LOVESLEXICON.COM PHOTO: JAIME BERMUDEZ WITH DAVID FRANK, BODY PAINT: JEN KOSSIN


Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis is an art historian, a curator, and the author of the acclaimed book The Rise. The work of culture—art, literature, music, and film—can create transformative change that could have occurred no other way. Knowing this to be true (and to have been true throughout history) informs everything I do, whether it is curating a show, teaching, or writing an article or a book. It is often culture that first poses us with an important question: What are we failing to see, and what would change about our world once we do?




Yarrow Kraner

Yarrow Kraner is a director at Virgin Produced, a creative alchemist, an Aspen Institute Fellow, and founder of Chisel Industries and Hatch. My passion is creativity, connection, and mentorship. Creativity is not about the arts; it’s about seeing the world through a different lens. It’s everywhere and everything we touch. It’s solving global problems and inventing new solutions. Connection is how we continue to grow. By sharing diverse world perspectives, we continue to learn and nourish our potential. Mentorship is how we exchange knowledge and wisdom. This is why Hatch was founded. HATCHEXPERIENCE.ORG | YARROWKRANER.COM PHOTO: LYDIA KAHN

Elizabeth Streb

Elizabeth Streb is an award-winning choreographer and founder of the Streb Extreme Action Company and SLAM (Streb Lab for Action Mechanics) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My passion is to use tower cranes to allow the human body to be and to go anywhere. Tower cranes are the arteries and bloodlines of an urban site. The ubiquitous presence in every city are tower cranes, and they tend to congregate like birds on the shoreline. They are a newfangled praying mantis returning to haunt the streets, the airspace, creating new arenas of human actions yet to be.



Christopher K. Morgan

Christopher K. Morgan is a Maryland-based choreographer, performer, and educator who creates theatrical, virtuosic dances inspired by current issues. Connecting with audiences is, at the core, my choreographic work and what I am most passionate about. I utilize the moving body, imagery, words, and music to explore questions I am grappling with: race, gender, immigration, climate change, and human connectivity. If my dances can create a mirror in which an audience can see their own story, refracted by the unique and beautiful lens that dance provides, that excites me. CHRISTOPHERKMORGAN.COM PHOTO: BRIANNE BLAND



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Kenji Williams

Kenji Williams is a composer and director for multimedia live theater, immersive fulldome planetariums, and interactive datavisualization.

Alice Rawsthorn

Paolo Cirio

The nexus of art and science provides a canvas of unexpected ideas, collaborations, and inspiration. Bella Gaia (beautiful earth) is an immersive multimedia show of NASA satellite imagery of Earth, and supercomputer data visualizations put to live music and dance from around the world. We just released our new album on iTunes and recently collaborated with an orbiting astronaut live on the International Space Station. BELLAGAIA.COM

Alice Rawsthorn writes about design in The New York Times and Frieze and is the author of Hello World: Where Design Meets Life.

Paolo Cirio’s controversial artworks have unsettled Facebook, Visa, Amazon, Google, and NATO. His awards include Golden Nica at Ars Electronica, Transmediale, and the Eyebeam fellowship.

Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. We cannot ignore it, even if we wish to, because design is a ubiquitous element of our world that determines how we feel, what we do, and whether we succeed or fail. Yet design is routinely misunderstood. My passion is to foster a clearer understanding of design so that it can be used to empower and inspire us.

I’m interested in fields such as privacy, transparency, copyright, finance, and democracy. They call me “information performance artist” for hacking major contemporary power structures and, in doing so, subverting their attempt to control information in the global networks. I’m more concerned with underlying social structures than with the affect and aesthetics of the Internet. Contemporary reenactments and reformulations of socioeconomic conditions and conflicts driven by the Internet become my actual work.


Shantell Martin

Shantell Martin’s work is a meditation of lines and words that invite her viewers to share in her creative process. My passion can be found within the doing. I’ve discovered that when my goal is to be a better, nicer, more compassionate, healthier human being, the result is that I really want to do what I love, and for me, that’s drawing. Because of this, when I do draw, I naturally am inspired and am extremely passionate about the process of sharing the experience. SHANTELLMARTIN.COM | FOUNDTHEFOUND.COM PHOTO: ROY ROCHLIN




Christy MacLear

Christy MacLear is a start-up expert in arts and culture, including the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Philip Johnson Glass House, and Chicago’s Museum Campus. I’m most inspired when I’m able to change rules and discover new paths which have gone untouched or reconsidered. Some people call this “disruptive”—I would call it “fog sculpting.” Examples include the chance to redefine historic preservation once Modernism presented sustainability challenges or the chance to change artist copyright given the expansive use of iPhones and social media. I think there is a natural law where progress requires constant testing to avoid stasis. RAUSCHENBERGFOUNDATION.ORG PHOTO: LAURIE LAMBRECHT

Shauna Mei

Shauna Mei is an MIT engineer turned commerce and media industry expert and founder of the world’s first curated luxury lifestyle marketplace, Ahalife. My passion in life is to help humanity celebrate and respect creativity. Since we live in this physical world, one of our main ways of expressing our creativity is through the design and construction of physical objects. I founded Ahalife on this premise, of creating a scalable platform to power creative artisans and designers from all over the world to tell their story and sell/distribute their creations. AHALIFE.COM PHOTO: AHALIFE

Folasade Adeoso

Folasade Adeoso was born in Nigeria and raised in Toronto and is living and working in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Founder and editor of Lovefola.com and 1953 Collection.


I tell people that there’s nothing wrong with having more than one passion. I am very passionate about my art and creating a dialogue around it. I am passionate about my culture and being a Nigerian woman living in America. I am also very passionate about topics of race and bringing people together to discuss the underlying issues we have faced and currently face with race today. LOVEFOLA.COM | 1953COLLECTION.COM PHOTO: JULIAN DARWALL



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Dread Scott

Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. Former president George Bush declared his art “disgraceful,” and the U.S. Senate outlawed it. I’m passionate about revolution. This is a world where a tiny handful of people control the wealth and knowledge humanity as a whole has created. It’s a horror for most of humanity—a world of profound polarization, exploitation, and suffering. Billions are excluded from intellectual development and full participation in society. We don’t have to live this way, and I make art as part of forging a radically different world.


dreadscott.net | revcom.us Photo: Malik Cumbo

Julia Lalla-Maharajh

Julia Lalla-Maharajh is working for a world free from female genital cutting. My passion is to see an end to female genital cutting within my lifetime. This is entirely possible, given the grassroots movement of thousands of communities who have already chosen to end the practice. Our work highlights positivity and opportunity; it does not stigmatize or alienate. Education and understanding lead to social change, and it is this that gives us the hope that FGC will end. ORCHIDPROJECT.ORG PHOTO: NICK CORNWALL


Rue Mapp

Rue Mapp is founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, a social network that shares resources, images, and stories to help reconnect African Americans to the natural world. I am most passionate about helping more people reconnect to nature. Especially now, it seems folks are searching for ways to find community, purpose, increased health, and a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves. For me, nature has always represented a truly open-source platform to address all these needs as well as help anyone discover their true self and our collective inheritance that is the natural world. OUTDOORAFRO.COM PHOTO: MICAH BAIRD


Taku Hirano

Taku Hirano, a multimedia influencer, performed onstage/in-studio with icons, designs multicultural streetwear, and curates AsianAmerican pop culture. I am passionate about learning seemingly disparate traditions, finding connections, and sharing them with others. Whether it is utilizing a classical tambourine technique in-studio with Dr. Dre, drawing upon street art and my skateboarding background for yogawear designs, bringing 3rd Culture kid insights to middle America via my blog, or sneaking an Afro-Cuban conga groove into a White House function, I love to share, educate, or simply elicit a reaction. 3RDCULTURESTYLE.COM | YOUTUBE.COM/TAKUPERCUSSION PHOTO: NILAYA SABNIS

Vicky Chow Will Rawls

Vicky Chow, a Canadian pianist, performs worldwide and enjoys collaborating with composers such as David Lang, Steve Reich, and John Zorn.

Will Rawls is an artist creating interdisciplinary performances at the intersection of dance, sound, dialogue, sculpture, and installation.

The thrill of walking on stage and connecting with your audience through music is magical. There is nothing else like it. Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, I started playing classical music at age five. When I moved to New York at age seventeen, I began exploring the world of contemporary music and have continued to forge new musical paths with contemporary artists and composers from all over the world.

Dance is one of our greatest human resources. I’m passionate about its potential to undo the parameters of everyday law in pursuit of experience. My choreography puts dancers into conversation with alternative spaces, original text, sculpture, and other people. The results are ritualistic, absurd, or humorous situations that suspend logic. We need new stories for new futures—for me, this starts with performance. I’m passionate about comfortable clothes too.



Helen Homan Wu

Helen Homan Wu is an independent curator and the founder of Opalnest, a cultural agency based in New York.


I moved to Chinatown / Lower East Side in the mid-’80s from Hong Kong and was shocked by the graffiti, the dirty subways, crime, and drug addicts. The scene was grim, yet this visceral experience became an informal education. My work as a curator today is heavily influenced not by art school but by the downtown New York scene. Working closely with artists as their collaborator, I create engagements that provoke, educate, and inspire. OPALNEST.COM PHOTO: FRIDOLIN SCHÖPPER



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Mary Jordan

Mary Jordan is a professional conceptualist, social entrepreneur, award-winning filmmaker, artist who likes to challenge paradigms, water activist, and armchair cultural anthropologist. I have a continuum of passions universal in character: film, art, activism, performance, and music. I am employed by the New Water Culture to protect water from exploitation, oppression, persecution, and deprivation. It is time to give a turning point to the life of human beings, and every person working with a highly intelligent mind with new innovations and talent should direct their attention to the most challenging problem of our time: water. THEWATERTANKPROJECT.ORG | MARYJORDAN.COM PHOTO: YANG WANG

Winsome Brown

mj David Rothenberg

David Rothenberg’s latest book is Bug Music, latest CD is Cicada Dream Band, and latest films are Song of the Cicadas and Song from the Forest. I engage with the natural world with music that connects with birds, whales, and bugs where words cannot. Playing with brilliant more-than-human musicians like humpback whales, nightingales, and seventeen-year cicadas makes our surrounding environment so much more exciting and alive. Evolution includes survival of the beautiful, not just survival of the fittest, and engaging artistically with nature is one more way to change the fractured human relationship with the planet. DAVIDROTHENBERG.NET | TERRANOVAMUSIC.NET


Winsome Brown is a writer, director, and Obie Award-winning actress. She comes from Toronto, and she lives in New York. I am interested in how we love. What we show, what we know, how we feel it, deal it, reveal it. I want to say that nothing human is foreign to me. It would be a lie. But I’m trying to get there, to the heart of our shared humanity, through my writing and acting. You can see me in This Is Mary Brown at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015. Photo: Mick Cantarella

William Coupon

William Coupon is a New York City portrait photographer who has shot rock stars and aboriginals, presidents and prostitutes, farmers and CEOs.

Intimacy is my passion. Finding it is all within a journey. williamcoupon.com Photo: William Coupon

Kyla Fullenwider

Kyla Fullenwider is an educator, entrepreneur, and social designer designing, building, and investing in a better world for women and families. My passion is wisdom: how to learn it, how to live it, and how to spread it. And I’m deeply passionate about my work— designing, building, and investing in a better world for women and families. This is the most important work we can do in the U.S. right now. I also love teaching. It forces a kind of practical wisdom that gets tested every day you are in the classroom. solaventures.com | kylafullenwider.com

Ariel Waldman

Ariel Waldman is the founder of Spacehack, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration.


My passion is all about mashing up ideas, mediums, industries, and people to create amazing and clever things for science and space exploration. Science should be something that is disruptively accessible— empowering people from a variety of different backgrounds to explore and actively contribute their unique skills and ideas. I view science as just another fabric to play with, and I wish others did too!

Toni Nagy

Toni Nagy is a writer, podcast host for the OverShare Show, director, and film producer who lives in New Hampshire. I’m passionate about creating thought-provoking content, examining the current state of humanity both philosophically and politically. As a writer, I blend humor with complex questions to ignite dialogue, pushing the boundaries of conversation. In addition to my blogging and podcasting, I’m producing two documentaries. Taking Our Places provides strategies for parents to improve communication within families. Fish and Men focuses on America’s fisheries and the declining state of the ocean. tonibologna.com Photo: Emily Johntson




What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Stephen Levitin aka Apple Juice Kid

Stephen Levitin aka Apple Juice Kid is a DJ, drummer, and producer. He cofounded the PBS program Beat Making Lab. Surfing, being of service, and being as loving and kind as possible every second, every day. Drumming on objects, producing music, exploring healing modalities, DJ-ing, and traveling are other passions. I am passionate about raw coconut water, massage, food cooked with love, mashing up different styles of music, creating peace through art, and living like love is the only real thing in this world. APPLEJUICEKID.COM | BEATMAKINGLAB.COM PHOTO: PETER HURLEY

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong

Carolyn Lucas

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong is an artist-chitect and educator working in social practice, architecture, and performance. My passion lies in creating transformative and performative spaces. My work investigates architecture and performance. I explore how spaces can perform on varying scales, from surfaces that accommodate the body to entire environments. It merges installation and the physical construction of spaces with relational dynamics, in which harnessing public interaction is integral. CW-ZW.COM PHOTO: DEVAN HARLAN SIMUNOVICH

Carolyn Lucas joined Trisha Brown Dance Company in 1984 and was appointed choreographic assistant in 1993. She has performed, taught, and restaged work around the world. Thirty years and counting, I experience my passion for movement through working with Trisha Brown and her dancers. Imagine moving multidirectionally, juxtaposing rigor and fluidity injected with wit. Imagine being given a direction so sussed out, its clarity yields space for a dancer’s own imagination to come into play, inviting it to join artistic vision and the present moment. Trisha’s pioneering spirit and lust for process make every day an adventure.


TOP CREATIVES trishabrowncompany.org Photo: Mark Hanauer


Alison M. Friedman Andy Cavatorta

Alison M. Friedman is a Brown University graduate and Fulbright Scholar. Her company’s mission is bringing China and the world together through the performing arts.

Andy Cavatorta is a sculptor working with sound and robotics. He is an MIT Media Lab grad, Björk collaborator, TED exhibiting artist, and Lincoln Prize recipient.

My passion is doing the impossible and fostering international dialogue and mutual understanding while doing it. I’ve lived in China for thirteen years. My organization has pioneered such crosscultural projects as bringing the first independent Chinese modern dance company to New York City’s Lincoln Center and the first American theater company ever to perform in China’s prestigious National Centre for the Performing Arts. No one thought it was possible. We did it!



Despite all of the technology in my work, it’s really about the emotional subtext of everything. Sound is what I feel the most, so it’s how I share what seems true to me. So much is possible now, it can be overwhelming. While my hands are busy building one project, I’m imagining new ones, turning the details of each around like a Rubik’s Cube. ANDYCAVATORTA.COM PHOTO: MITCHELL MCLENNAN

Carol Devine

Carol Devine is a humanitarian and environmental and global health activist who tells stories about beautiful, unexpected things and things we should expect. I’m passionate about audacious people and acts. When not working on The Museum of AIDS in Africa, I live inside books and map my next trip. Now I’m exploring glacier retreat and talking climate change with kids. I’m inspired by people who went before us for rejecting a status quo, pushing limits, and asking questions. My favorite expression is “I didn’t know I couldn’t do it, so I did it.” CAROLDEVINE.INFO THEANTARCTICBOOKOFCOOKINGANDCLEANING.COM PHOTO: SANDY NICHOLSON

Danielle Claro

My passion is helping people live happier, deeper lives. I’m amazed by how much impact we can have on each other when we find the right way to communicate. As a writer, I see what a difference words and pictures and beauty can make in opening our minds to change. Dr. Frank Lipman and I made an illustrated health book that, we hope, feels like wellness in your hands. PHOTO: HAILEY WIST / SONIMA



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)


Benjamin Moe

Benjamin Moe is the cofounder and editor-in-chief of Table Talk, a redefined literary magazine that explores hard-to-describe experiences from unexpected angles. My passion is a place that I get to where I’m writing an article or having a conversation, and I disappear completely into it. It’s a dissolving of the line between myself and the thing I’m doing, a breakdown that allows for a kind of uninhibited creativity. My passion is exploring the experiences we don’t have words for. It’s discovering the little cultures we never notice or walk right past every day. TABLETALK.IO PHOTO: NIA YANCOPOULOS

Crystal L. Freed Dr. Zubin Damania

Dr. Zubin Damania is a Stanford-trained physician, primary-care start-up founder, and off-white medical-rap YouTube satirist known as ZDoggMD. Creating a more conscious healthcare operating system by incorporating the best of digital technology while honoring and elevating the sacred, analog heart of medicine: the human relationship. Serendipitously, this feeds my second passion—spitting dope rhymes about medical stuff to educate and entertain, all while keeping it slightly funnier than placebo. ZDOGGMD.COM | TURNTABLEHEALTH.COM PHOTO: FREMONT EAST STUDIOS

Ram Devineni

Ram Devineni is cocreator of the innovative augmented-reality comic book Priya’s Shakti, which deals with sexual violence in India. I am passionate about mixing art and social change. In the comic book, Priya, who is a survivor of rape, has become a global phenomenon and one of the top ten female comic-book characters to watch out for in the future. The comic has gone viral, with over two hundred news stories, and started a national debate in India on how society treats rape survivors and is challenging patriarchal views. PRIYASHAKTI.COM PHOTO: DAN GOLDMAN


Crystal L. Freed is founder of The Freed Firm, which exists to give voice to those who are unable to speak or are silenced by another. I believe I have a calling shaped by my beliefs but colored by pain. My pain birthed something infinitely more powerful—my passion to eradicate slavery. Consequently, I left my work as a litigation attorney to dedicate my professional time, talent, and treasure to (1) organize human trafficking awareness at a grassroots level and (2) use the platform created to advocate on behalf of survivors. FREEDFIRM.COM


Erica Berger

Erica Berger, a recognized journalist and entrepreneur, founded Catchpool as a place to find the best content quickly on the Internet. I’m passionate about making sure the most meaningful and inspired content reaches the forefront of the Internet. In a world where we’re constantly overwhelmed, I care deeply about building a better web through content structuring and sharing. I believe in the notion that less can be more. Finding a balance between the virtual and physical worlds is one of the most pressing problems, and I’m trying to solve it. CATCHPOOL.COM | ABOUT.ME/ERICABERGER PHOTO: ASHLEY N. STEFAN

Eric L. Berlow

Eric L. Berlow, PhD, is an ecologist and network scientist who specializes in not specializing. Most problems facing humanity, at their core, arise from a fundamental inability to intuitively grasp complex relationships, such as what causes what, who is aligned with whom, who depends on whom. My dream is to help people connect the dots to see simple patterns in complex systems. I want to make the cartography of connections visible and accessible so human society can be smarter than the sum of its parts. MAPPR.IO | ERICLBERLOW.NET PHOTO: RYAN LASH

Rita J. King

Rita J. King is a futurist at the edge of humanity and technology, business strategist focused on culture, artist, designer, entrepreneur, writer, adventurer. Imagination is my guiding principle. I follow serendipity and curiosity and make artifacts, ideas, and relationships along the way. I’m passionate about science, art, and designing business cultures that can withstand constant change as people collaboratively create the future. My family is from a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea where the mythological sirens once lived. They were the original futurists, and their song still echoes if we listen. SCIENCEHOUSE.COM | TREASUREOFTHESIRENS.COM PHOTO: ROB LANGHAMMER



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Rachel Bowditch

Rachel Bowditch’s most recent book is On the Edge of Utopia: Performance and Ritual at Burning Man (Seagull Books).


For the past twenty years, my work as an artist, performer, and theater director has moved fluidly between the street and the stage from fully realized multimedia theatrical productions to large-scale public art projects and site-specific “atmospheric” performances. Breaking out of the boundaries of the theatrical box, venues from parks to art museums to desert landscapes offer an immense theatrical opportunity for creating performance, engaging the public in new, exciting ways. RACHELBOWDITCH.COM | VESSELPROJECT.ORG PHOTO: AARON WESTER

Laura Dawn

Laura Dawn is a cultural campaign strategist, filmmaker, writer, and producer. She spent a decade as creative and cultural director of MoveOn.org before founding Art Not War. As a child, I would leap from my seat at the dinner table and run around, kissing every member of my family. My family would laugh but eventually beg me to stop. And I’d always yell, “But I can’t! I’m full of love!” Honestly, not much has changed. But I’ve learned that that huge sense of love and empathy can also be painful if not put to use. So I channel that energy into this work. ARTNOTWAR.COM PHOTO: JILL GREENBERG

Howie Kenty

Howie Kenty is an award-winning composer of electroacoustic prog-rock contemporary artsound music, sometimes using visual and theatrical elements. The experience of music always entails more than the music itself. In my work, I often use unusual or extra-musical devices to initially engage the audience: foot-stomping within a string quartet, stagehands and audience members unexpectedly becoming performers, etc. This cannot exist for novelty alone but as an integral element of the piece, helping the audience re-contextualize the music within a more immersive artistic world, producing a greater emotional resonance. HWARG.COM PHOTO: REBEKAH NORRIS


Ashley Taraban

Ashley Taraban is a lover of books, trees, oysters, cobalt blue, ice cream sandwiches, world travel, and Mozart. I am totally in awe of the cosmos. This speaks to my fascination with the human experience of awe, the sublime, and the transformative effect. My passion is the process of painting images that inspire contemplation. It’s the ritual of slowly building layer upon layer of color and form. Eventually revealing a painted landscape that can stimulate an internal experience and visual art becomes a catalyst for awe.



So Young Yang

So Young Yang, born and raised in South Korea, studied psychology and media and makes video, film, and pen drawings. Certified in yoga instruction. I am passionate about discovering links between seemingly unrelated things. Human feelings, war, hard science, seeing art, different world views, physical beauty, acceptance, inclusiveness, personal and collective memories, walking, meditating, dancing, having honest talks with friends—do any of these have anything to do with each other? Yes, they are the neurons of our consciousness with dendrites ready to connect, as you can find in my film, The Fusion. THEFUSIONFILM.COM | SOYOUNGYANG.COM PHOTO: DUC NGUYEN


Emilie McGlone

Emilie McGlone works to promote peace, sustainability, and respect for the environment through educational programs and international exchange around the world. My passion is to inspire positive change in the world through international cooperation, artistic expression, and social innovation. Onboard the Peace Boat, we promote a culture of peace and sustainability through educational programs, and as the founder of Parties4Peace, I seek ways to provide musicians, artists, and producers from around the world with experiences and resources that further enhance and develop their creative talents. Peace is my number-one passion. PEACEBOAT.ORG | PARTIES4PEACE.COM PHOTO: BRIAN PARK



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Iara Lee

Iara Lee supports activists, agitators, educators, and artists to build a more just and peaceful world through creative resistance and nonviolent action. My passions: to learn and pass on what I learn. To travel to off-the-beaten-path countries to explore new landscapes, celebrate cultural diversity, and promote global solidarity and compassion. To defend the defenseless, such as children, wildlife, oceans/rivers, forests. To fight occupation, oppression, state terrorism. To create opportunities for the underprivileged from conflict countries so they can access education and be a positive force in the future. CULTURESOFRESISTANCE.ORG CULTURESOFRESISTANCEFILMS.COM PHOTO: CULTURES OF RESISTANCE NETWORK

Billy Clark Barbara Josephs Liotta

Billy Clark is an artist, an educator, and the founding artistic director of CultureHub, a not-for-profit art and technology incubator. The ways that art and technology connect disparate communities, whether that means using the Internet to connect people from different locations and cultures or colliding artistic disciplines. At CultureHub, we create open spaces for people to try (and fail) at making new things. I grew up at La MaMa Experimental Theatre, a melting pot of artistic voices. Now I try to translate that to this age of technological connectivity.

I make sculpture of suspended shattered stone. I use granites and marbles hung with lift cord. Each work relies on a delicate balance among the elements. The formal parallels of the suspending cord “breathe” but remain plumb. The shattered stone holds the power and an innate violence. The cascade below is lyrical and chaotic. The work is as clear as chamber music and as graceful as a dance. BARBARALIOTTA.COM PHOTO: MARY NOBLE OURS


Dan Ritzman

Dan Ritzman is the Alaska program director for the Sierra Club’s “Our Wild America” campaign, where he works to protect America’s Arctic. Defending our wildest places and wildlife and sharing them to inspire others is what I am most passionate about. To do this, I look for creative ways to connect people to places and to provide them with the opportunity to use their voice for conservation. Protecting the environment is about engaging in democracy. People need wild nature, and in our current world, wild nature needs people as well. SIERRACLUB.ORG/SCARCTICVIDEOS PHOTO: MICAH BAIRD



Limor Tomer

Limor Tomer curates performance and live arts at The Metropolitan Museum, creating unique experiences within the Met’s iconic galleries and public spaces. I’m passionate about what I don’t already know. I’m militant about curiosity and aggressive about seeking emerging talent. I’m grateful to be working with artists who are creating the great masterpieces of the future.



Dr. Peter Jacques

Dr. Peter Jacques studies global sustainability and the way power informs the human prospect. My passion is teaching students to think about a world that works for one hundred percent of humanity. However, so long as the rules of society are determined by elites in an increasingly unequal world, more and more people will struggle to survive, and the web of life on Earth will continue to unfurl. Equipping people to think about what true sustainability will require is my passion. UCF.ACADEMIA.EDU/PETERJACQUES

Louis Levitt

Louis Levitt is in the string quintet Sybarite5, winner of the Concert Artists Guild competition, which has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress. Our passion is the music. We perform Mozart, Radiohead, Piazzolla, Led Zeppelin, new compositions written for us, and everything in between. We know that if we love the music we play, our audiences will love it too. We are lucky enough to travel around the world sharing our music, and we don’t plan to stop until we’ve changed perceptions surrounding chamber music performance across every inch of the globe. SYBARITE5.ORG | FORWARDMUSICFEST.ORG PHOTO: BRIAN DAVID BRAUN



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Francesca Ferrando

Francesca Ferrando, PhD in philosophy, MA in gender studies, teaches philosophy at New York University as an adjunct faculty member of the program of Liberal Studies. My passion is envisioning desirable futures for humans and nonhumans alike. Full awareness is the key: there is no strict division between the self and the others, the futures and the pasts, immanence and transcendence. We are transforming the DNA of space-time with our daily practices of living, dreaming, visualizing. Technologies of existence: memory is energy’s rhythm. Evolution dances in diversity. The environment inhabits our consciousness. We are the posthumans. THEPOSTHUMAN.ORG PHOTO: ANGELO MARINO

Denny Daniel


Denny Daniel is president and curator of The Museum of Interesting Things, a traveling interactive demonstration/exhibition of antiques and inventions inspiring innovation and creativity. I curate The Museum of Interesting Things and created it to show people the inventions that led up to our modern-day tech and letting them handle many of them. I hope to demystify the things we take for granted and inspire and empower kids and adults not to be afraid to tinker and be curious, and to change their lives by becoming inventors or being more inventive. MUSEUMOFINTERESTINGTHINGS.ORG PHOTO: AARON SYLVAN

Ali Hossaini

Ali Hossaini was called “a biochemist turned philosopher turned television producer turned visual poet” by The New York Times. Nothing pleases me more than losing myself. I tire of the egocentric commentary that floods—or, more accurately, dims—my awareness. I’m more interested in you than me. Travel, reading, creativity, and conversation are ready means to lose the self, but every trip, no matter how remote, also takes us more deeply within our self. A journey beyond is also a journey within. PANTAR.COM | CINEMA-ARTS.NET PHOTO: LESLIE CUMMINS



Martine N. Dubin

Martine N. Dubin is an original media content producer and director featuring uncut stories and creator of digital broadcast network Newswire.fm. Redefining media is my passion, creating honest and relevant content that contains no third-party opinions. The shows connect you directly with the voices of some of the most exciting thought leaders, trendsetters, and pioneers across the professional spectrum, providing greater detail and factual background on viewpoints and stories from their hearts. On Newswire.fm, our shows are continuously available on all continents and time zones, connecting daily with an international audience across 195 countries. ONEWORLDPRESENTS.COM | NEWSWIRE.FM

Brett Littman

Brett Littman has been the executive director of The Drawing Center, in SoHo, New York, since 2007. I am passionate about what creative people want to look at that will challenge their own work and how The Drawing Center can renew a sense of intellectual curiosity. The kinds of exhibitions I have curated for The Drawing Center have looked at how drawing intersects with politics, film, music, architecture, and food. I have done this as a way to explore the boundary of the medium and maybe even step over the boundary.

Susan Galvani


Lia Chavez

Susan Galvani is owner of Spruce Interior Design, a full-service interior design firm that curates comfortable, warm, sophisticated environments that function for and reflect their inhabitants. My passion lies in identifying a client’s individual goals and translating them into a visually beautiful and highly functioning space. I approach each project with a particular sensitivity to its architecture and setting and consider its interior elements in terms of layers, starting with the spatial layout and adding texture, form, lighting, color. My intention is to create an environment that ultimately expresses the client’s unique personality and supports their lifestyle. SPRUCENYC.COM PHOTO: PEEK PHOTOGRAPHY


Lia Chavez is known for multimedia work that carefully appropriates cross-cultural contemplative disciplines which aid in achieving natural and sustainable expansions of perception. Creating across art, tech, and science, I explore the astonishing mysteries of light, form, and interior space. The body is my studio. Performance art is the lifeblood of my multidisciplinary visual work. Journeying through the processes by which an elevated state of being is cultivated and then embodied in an art object, I investigate the symbiotic relationship between the art material of consciousness and other, more traditional, art materials. LIACHAVEZ.COM PHOTO: GINO DEPINTO



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

David Eagleman

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, New York Times best-selling author, and Guggenheim Fellow. My passion is studying the human brain, a system of such enormous complexity that it bankrupts human language. I believe that neuroscience will continue to deepen our understanding of why we love, wage war, become anxious, gain wisdom. How we decide, how we should educate our children, how we can improve our systems of justice. It is engendering a new vocabulary for what it means to be human.


Philip Sheppard


Philip Sheppard is a soundtrack composer, world anthems producer for London Olympics, fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, cellist and collaborator with Pretty Lights. My passion in life is to convince anyone I meet that they are profoundly musical. My working life is spent trying to give listeners goose bumps, whether in films, concerts, or more subversive media. Music is an abstraction, but it can twist emotions across cultural, linguistic, and temporal barriers. I’m devoting all my spare time to developing games that will give anyone this direct rush of being a composer themselves. PHILIPSHEPPARD.COM SOUNDCLOUD.COM/RADIOMOVIES PHOTO: JULIAN MACEDO

Heather Bradbury

I’ve worked in many places doing things that don’t seem to connect, but look closely, everything connects. There is a quote I love by John Tukey: “The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” To me, life is all about that “Aha!” moment. I approach planning my programs at MICA with that quote in my mind: How can I help foster the unexpected? MICA.EDU/BUSINESS



Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben writes about climate change and the environment, founded 350.org, and is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College. I have many passions, but I’m clear that none of them will survive in a world with runaway climate change. So I spend my time building global movements to take on the fossil fuel industry. We march—hundreds of thousands strong, in every country on the globe. We go to jail sometimes. We build solar panels. We urge rich and powerful institutions to divest from fossil fuel. And we dream about a future that works, instead of fret about the hellish trajectory we’re currently on. Join in at 350.org. 350.ORG | GOFOSSILFREE.ORG PHOTO: WOLFGANG SCHMIDT

Jessica Grindstaff Erik Sanko

Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko are coartistic directors of Phantom Limb, a New York City-based performing arts company. We believe the fastest route to consciousness is through poetic narrative. Our work is highly collaborative and is centered around ecology. We tell story through the intersection of dance and puppetry, elaborate sound design, fashion, and installation. We are creating modern fables around issues on global consciousness and climate change. Our next piece, “Memory Rings,” is focused on the world’s oldest living tree and will premiere at BAM in 2016. PHANTOMLIMBCOMPANY.COM PHOTO: DANIEL LEEB



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

James Slezak

James Slezak is a social entrepreneur and media executive leading digital strategy at The New York Times. I’m passionate about building organizations that embody real human values at the core. For example, people want knowledge. They want to belong to communities and to contribute to the debates and decisions. Unless you can articulate the fundamental social value of your organization in terms like that, you haven’t uncovered the reason it needs to exist. NEWECONOMYLAB.COM | JSLEZ.COM PHOTO: STUART TRACTE

Martha Diaz

Martha Diaz is an award-winning community organizer, media producer, archivist, curator, social entrepreneur, and professor at New York University. My passion comes from my love for humankind and planet Earth. As a child, I was self-conscious and acutely aware of the problems in our society. I wanted to come up with solutions, fight for human rights, and uplift others so we can change the world together. I have found that hip-hop culture and music can make a difference; it helps us express ourselves, build community, educate/ learn, and heal. TIMEISILLMATIC.COM | HIPHOPEDUCATION.ORG PHOTO: SIMON LUETHI


MD Jussara Lee

Jussara Lee is a designer specializing in handcrafted, tailored clothes. With her trademark simplicity and understated elegance, she delivers a respite from relentless trends and obsessive ostentation. As someone who is part of one of the most polluting industries on the charts (fashion), I took to task how to successfully conduct my business in an environmentally conscious manner. Local production, biodegradable materials, traditional craftsmanship, and efficient usage of natural resources are all incorporated in my work and life philosophy. It is like driving a car with the brakes on, but I am in the driver’s seat. JUSSARALEE.COM PHOTO: IARA LEE



Linda Jaivin

Linda Jaivin is the author of eleven books (including seven novels), an essayist, playwright, and literary and film translator from Chinese. My passion is for words: reading, writing, playing, arguing, wrestling with them until one of us pounds the ground in defeat. The right words illuminate the meaning of justice, humanity, and love; they are whetstones that sharpen the blade of thought. Every language is a door, and every good book a travel pass. Words and wanderlust transport me to Paris, Lagos, New York, and Beijing, all on a Sunday afternoon. LINDAJAIVIN.COM.AU PHOTO: JADE MURATORE

Marc Lafia

Marc Lafia is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and most recently exhibited at the Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale 2014. My passion is deeply sensing and imaging what we’re all doing here, how things work, and how I (and the not-I of me) fold into the fabric of everything. In my art and films, I ask how we come to know the things we know and how the way we come to know things limits what we know and do. I enjoy pressing up to that limit. MARCLAFIA.COM PHOTO: SIMONE ALEXANDER

Mark Lenhart

Mark Lenhart leads a growing company that creates and manages study-abroad programs for American students. His goal: make students uncomfortable. American students talk about stepping outside their comfort zones, but fewer than ten percent leave their campuses to study abroad. I want to change that. Teaching students language and culture is just the start: dislocation creates empathy, builds confidence, and changes perspectives. Through fundraising and other efforts, I push to send more students abroad and increase access for underrepresented students. My ultimate goal? Build understanding, one uncomfortable student at a time. CETACADEMICPROGRAMS.COM | FUNDFOREDUCATIONABROAD.ORG



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Tenzin D. Samphel and Ngawang C. Samphel

Tenzin D. Samphel and Ngawang C. Samphel are Tibetan brothers born in India, raised in the U.S., who bring these worlds together as they fuse graphic arts with music. Our works range from popular EDM DJ–friendly songs to piano nocturnes and cinematic music themes. With contrasting backgrounds in classical music and hip-hop, we found creative common ground in electronic music. Our animations and graphic design work help us channel our many inspirations into a threaded package for our varying audiences. SAMPHELBROTHERS.COM PHOTO: BREE EL DAVIS

Mina Cheon

Mina Cheon, a Korean American political pop artist, runs Mina Cheon Studio and K-Town Studios in Baltimore and also works in New York and Seoul, South Korea. I’m an artist, and being an artist, making art, teaching art, talking art stuff is my passion, more than anything else. It is a privilege to have art, life, and passion tied as one thing. Part of working as an artist is the ability to organize, so my other passion tied to art is organizing. I pretty much enjoy organizing everything from socks, trips, classes, shows, studios, to cultural events. MINACHEON.COM

Scott Thill

Scott Thill is an independent journalist whose work has appeared in Wired, Salon, AlterNet, The Huffington Post, and many more. I live to save us from global warming by popularizing then literally writing the book on cli-fi, by greenvesting in the solar revolution while divesting from fossil fools, by deprogramming our unsustainable consumerism and militarism while spotlighting visionary art and cultural production that will survive the ravages of time and industry. For my girls, for our Earth, before it becomes Venus. MORPHIZM.COM


Tim McHenry Marcia Annenberg

Tim McHenry is a Swiss-born veteran of the Edinburgh, Armistice, and New Yorker Festivals.

Marcia Annenberg is a painter and installation artist. Her artwork, exhibited nationally and internationally, deconstructs press and broadcast news.

I love creating friction. The friction that comes from putting two people together to approach a common subject from disparate experiences. Usually a great glow is generated, and from time to time, that glow turns into light of a sort that illuminates the whole room. It’s a form of improv theater, and you get to be witness to two experts in their field learn from each other in real time.

I am a seeker after truthiness, as coined by Colbert. I investigate the absence of the presence of critically important news that has disappeared from the public domain. As the news industry has come to reflect partisan politics, we are all at risk for misinformation and the rise of opinion as news. We have become victims of subinformation. What don’t we know, and why don’t we know it?



Philippa P. B. Hughes

Philippa P. B. Hughes is an ex-lawyer turned writer, speaker, podcaster, flaneur, provocateur, and advocate for the arts and the temporary, creative use of vacant space. My passion is to incite creative thinking in everyone around me, to build community and connectivity, and to open portals to art and culture for the culturally curious by living an examined life inspired by art and passion. I create inventive and collaborative environments in which people who would not normally have the opportunity to interact with each other can gather to experience art and culture in alternative and stimulating ways. PHILIPPAHUGHES.COM | ARTISFEAR.COM PHOTO: KAREN YANKOSKY


Drew Gerkey

Drew Gerkey has been conducting fieldwork with indigenous communities on the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) since 2005, supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and The Fulbright Program. For too long, scientists and policy makers failed to appreciate the interdependence between people and nature. We can no longer ignore the fact that social and environmental issues are intertwined. If we are to overcome environmental challenges of sustainability and climate change, we must confront social inequalities, environmental injustice, cultural values, and historical legacies. I am passionate about collaboration and synthesis across intellectual boundaries to identify solutions to pressing global problems. DREWGERKEY.COM | SESYNC.ORG PHOTO: ILDAR AZIUKOV



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)


Nancy Hightower

Nancy Hightower is a college teacher and published author. She reviews science fiction and fantasy for The Washington Post. My passion is showing readers how literature can challenge our relationship with the environment and our preconceived ideologies regarding social justice. Whether I am discussing a book in the classroom or highlighting the best new science fiction in my column, my goal is to have people engage in new conversations regarding real-world issues. Such interactions offer the promise, the first steps, towards readers becoming participants. NANCYHIGHTOWER.COM PHOTO: APRIL OBHOLZ BERGELER

Frederik Ottesen

Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun founder, develops Little Sun’s line of solar products and works on projects with Solar Flight, including the world’s first realized passenger-carrying solarpowered airplane. I am passionate about affecting positive change globally. I want to see more equality in the world. I developed the Little Sun solar lamp with Olafur Eliasson in order to raise the standard of living for the 1.2 billion people worldwide without access to electricity. With Little Sun, people living off-grid can work, study, and enjoy time with family without using toxic kerosene lanterns. I want to leave a better world for my children’s generation. LITTLESUN.COM PHOTO: THILO FRANK

Baba Brinkman

Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rapper living in New York. His unique take on hip-hop tackles literature, science, and environmentalism, among other topics. I have a passion for spreading great ideas and stories and using them to connect people. My communication channels include hip-hop, theater, comedy, lectures, and music videos, and through these channels, I share the findings of science and the great stories of history in a way that entertains but also provokes new ideas and conversations. When I hear them say, “I never thought of it like that before,” I feel my passion fulfilled. BABABRINKMAN.COM | WILD.ORG PHOTO: TAVAKOLI PHOTOGRAPHY


David Procuniar


David Procuniar is a visual artist, publisher, and educator from New York who is writing the biography of a building. Print is my weapon of choice. From the Han Dynasty to the American and French Revolutions to the civil rights movement to the Arab Spring, reproducible media has been the crucible for social change. This June at Remont in Belgrade, I will be reprinting and hand-binding Diderot’s Encyclopédie as a way of getting Serbia to talk about the successes and failures of its own society through the lens of the Enlightenment. PROCUNIARWORKSHOP.COM PHOTO: DAVID PROCUNIAR

Melissa Auf der Maur

Melissa Auf der Maur, creative director of the Basilica Hudson, is a musician, photographer, and former bass player of Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins. Basilica Hudson is a reclaimed nineteenth-century factory converted into a seventeen-thousandsquare-foot art, performance, production, and event space. Located on the waterfront of the historic city of Hudson, New York, Basilica is an ideal setting for music, film, and art. I, along with codirector and filmmaker Tony Stone, draw on years of experience within our respective fields to bring thoughtfully curated events to the local community while inviting others to discover Hudson.



Miriam Parker

Miriam Parker is a performance artist and arts organizer. She is the cocreator of InnerCity Projects and on the advisory board for The Lowline. Art and community are my passions. Whether it’s creating multisensory installations with artist Jo Wood-Brown, exploring choreography and movement (I’ve been a dancer all my life), growing and sharing my Buddhist and yogic practices, or collaborating with Arts For Art and The Lowline to bring exciting and challenging music, dance, and art to new, young, diverse audiences, the idea is the same—to create a positive impact on the world we live in. INNERCITYPROJECTS.NET | ARTSFORART.ORG

Nili Lotan

Nili Lotan is an Israeli-born, New York-based designer whose namesake collection is synonymous with sophisticated and timeless wardrobe staples. My passion is creating my own language that manifests itself in a sophisticated aesthetic, an aesthetic made up of the utmost quality while maintaining minimalism and purity. The process begins with the design utilizing the finest fabrics to create an experiential product—a piece of clothing that represents a continual elevation of happiness and confidence ever present in the customer’s life. The culmination existing in the constant yearning to improve my craft. GARANCEDORE.FR/EN/ PHOTO: TAGHI



What’s Your Passion? (Continued)

Jayant Hardikar

Michael Brune

Founder of the Himalayan Education Foundation Peterborough, New Hampshire

Jayant Hardikar, originally from India, is committed to strengthening communities in the Indian Himalayas through lifelong education and economic independence of women.

Michael Brune is executive director of the Sierra Club. He lives in Alameda, California, with his wife, Mary, and three children.

I am passionate about lifelong learning and empowering girls and women to create positive change in my beloved India. My yoga and meditation practice, and love for the mountains, have helped me make deep and lasting connection with the people of the Himalayas. Himalayan Education Foundation’s work with local leaders in schools and women’s crafts cooperatives is our contribution to bringing positive change.

To tackle the climate crisis, we have to change everything. To do that, we need everyone. That’s why we have to put our energy in strengthening a broad, inclusive climate movement. That’s the only way we can continue to push our leaders and our nation toward the one hundred percent clean-energy economy that recognizes our obligation to act and seizes the opportunities we have when we do.




Jonah Bokaer

Jonah Bokaer, a choreographer since 2002, has created over fifty-five works in a wide range of mediums, such as film, opera, app, and art installation. As an international choreographer, I travel a lot. Because of the way I approach dance and motion most of the time beyond the stage, I get to work with a lot of different personalities from a wide range of fields, be they architects, designers, visual artists, app developers, or engineers. All this is enriching for me, for my work. I am passionate about work, about collaborations, about people who inspire me. JONAHBOKAER.NET | CHEZBUSHWICK.NET PHOTO: ADJI DIEYE


Corrado Beldi

Corrado Beldi, founder of NovaraJazz festival, lives in Milan, works in construction, loves improvised music, writes on Rolling Stone. Writing novels in a small cottage facing the Mediterranean in Ginostra, Stromboli, Sicily. The volcano behind me and some good cocktails to dig through memories of one year spent without any pause: losing time is the worst thing to do when life could be (maybe) shorter than one hundred years. ZERO.EU PHOTO: COCHI LORENZO BINI (AGIP)


Mark Prezorski

Mark Prezorski works with NYS Parks and other organizations to restore, protect, and interpret Olana’s artist-designed landscape and its integral viewshed. I admire the preservationists who saved Olana from destruction in 1966, and as we approach that fiftieth anniversary, I share a passion with those who have worked to protect Olana as an American icon of art and environmentalism. The large-scale landscape at Olana was designed by the great Hudson River School artist Frederic Church in relation to his property’s awe-inspiring views. You have to see it to believe it.


Pall A. Davidsson

Pall A. Davidsson, international human rights expert, is founder of Vox Naturae, one of the few NGOs dedicated to advocating and mobilizing on ice-related issues. My passion is ice. Without ice, the world would be a more difficult and less beautiful place to live in. As a snowflake grows by joining water molecules on its journey to the ground, I connect artists, scientists, policymakers, and others in responding to the loss of ice around the globe. Fall 2016, we are launching an education and activism week on ice by placing an iceberg in New York. VOXNATURAE.ORG PHOTO: GÍSLI HJÁLMAR SVENDSEN


Yulia Topchiy

Yulia Topchiy specializes in art curation, events production, and performances, with a passion for creating intimate, immersive, and engaging experiences for artists and the audience. As a founder of CoWorker Projects, I have built lasting relationships with people in art and fashion and enabled talented professionals to advance their careers. I am an active participant in the contemporary art world with deep interest in the intersection of art and technology, public art projects, design, and culture. I am also a volunteer at PS 11 and a single mother of a sevenyear-old boy, Anton. COWORKERPROJECTS.COM PHOTO: JESSICA WYNNE



pioneers MAKERS

Female Pioneers Who Inspire

MAKERS Female Pioneers Who Inspire

Female Pioneers Who Inspire Makers: An Introduction by the Founder and Executive Producer


s a filmmaker who had made documentaries on African American lives and celebrated American leaders, I witnessed an obvious gap in that genre: women. My first stop to fix the problem was to ask the trailblazing feminist Gloria Steinem if I could do a film on her life. Steinem, however, said outright, “No! You can’t tell the story of the women’s movement through the story of one person.” And that moment was what sparked the journey to tell the story of all trailblazing women. We began with the goal of documenting one hundred groundbreaking women from all walks of life. The vision was to put them online and then take the best stories and weave them into a documentary film—essentially, building a documentary in reverse with the digital piece as the leader rather than the follower. The dream was that the online archive could grow into the largest collection of women’s stories ever assembled. Not only was such an archive necessary to make history feel more complete, it was crucial to these women that their perseverance and leadership not be forgotten, thus leaving another generation to improvise on overcoming obstacles. That vision became a reality in November 2010 when I had dinner with Tim Armstrong, the CEO of AOL, and his wife, Nancy. Nancy had seen me speak


with Gloria at a fundraising event and immediately took the idea to her husband. At that dinner, Tim put the entire weight of AOL behind it, turning it overnight from an idea into a brand. Tim Armstrong assigned Maureen Sullivan, president of AOL.com and Lifestyle Brands, to the project, and we have worked side by side building the initiative ever since. I like to say that I don’t Google anymore; I AOL. To top it off, Paula Kerger, president of PBS, came on board as our broadcast partner for two documentary series without skipping a beat. She saw that no one had told the definitive story of the women’s movement and knew that there was no better place to tell that story than on PBS. Three years later, Makers has changed how we view history. No aspect of our contemporary lives has been untouched by women’s work. Women were astronauts and physicists, religious leaders and sports heroes, long before the mass public recognized that. What I have learned the most is that women have always been integral to shaping America; they just haven’t been recognized across all fields. On a more personal note, Makers has changed me. Before Makers, if you asked me if I was a feminist, I would have said, “No, but I believe in women’s rights.” It makes me laugh to think about it now. I think the reason I said that is because I did not know

the history of what women had done to open doors for me, and now that I know it, I’m proud to call myself a feminist and am proud to say I have two young boys who are self-proclaimed feminists as well.

“No aspect of our contemporary lives has been untouched by women’s work.” Since we conceptualized Makers over 9 years ago, we have completed 7 films, hosted 1 conference, profiled over 270 makers, and impacted millions. Our platform will continue to grow as we add more stories, more films, and more ways to fully showcase the impact women have had in America and around the globe. Makers has come to be a trusted friend to millions of people—a place to get affirmation, a place to meet new people, a place to celebrate a legacy, and mostly a place to be inspired to continue this lifechanging work. Nothing could make me prouder. And it all goes to show that Gloria is always right: you can’t tell the story of the women’s movement through the story of one woman. As one of our makers, Byllye Avery says, “It’s a lot of people’s story.”

By Dyllan McGee

martha stewart Lifestyle mogul

Really try to find a job where it’s fun to get up and get out the door, no matter what time.


pioneers MAKERS

Female Pioneers Who Inspire

MAKERS Female Pioneers Who Inspire (Continued)

Founder of Spanx

I knew that I wanted to start my own business. I knew that I wanted to work for myself. I was no stranger to the word no. You just have to keep going.

sara blakely

“ Actor and musician

Proving people wrong is probably my favorite thing to do.


MAKers “

You will definitely find moments where somebody else is going to try to suppress you or put you down, but you have a choice in how you see yourself.

Environmental activist

erin Brockovich Comedian


There are things that are going backwards. Like we’re still questioning whether or not women can have reproductive rights. That’s a really terrifying thing to go back that far.



Female Pioneers Who Inspire

MAKERS Female Pioneers Who Inspire (Continued)

“ International war correspondent and author

Christiane Amanpour

I strongly believe that journalism is one of the most noble professions, because without an informed world, and without an informed society, we are weak.


pioneers “

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.

Feminist activist

Gloria Steinem First female justice of U.S. Supreme Court

Sandra Day O’Connor

It’s hard to have little children and a job and career at the same time. There is no time left for you as a woman. . . . I finally gave up my little law practice and stayed home for about three years. You have to do what you can to keep the family going. But I wanted to get back to work. So I got another babysitter and went to work as an Assistant Attorney General.


pioneers MAKERS

Female Pioneers Who Inspire

MAKERS Female Pioneers Who Inspire (Continued)

When you oppress people either by gender, by race, by sexual orientation, when you do that and the doors become ajar, they will fly open and they will come and they have.

Tennis champion and activist

Billie Jean King

I was sick all the time, one exotic illness after another, which lasted throughout my twenties. My worst decade. But from the day the first book was accepted, I never got sick again. Writing changed my life.


Best-selling and oft-banned author

Judy Blume

As a man gets more successful, powerful, he is more liked, and as a woman gets more successful, she is less liked, and that’s true by both women and men. A woman, if you’re Most Intelligent or Most Likely to Succeed, that’s an embarrassing thing. Or something that’s not considered attractive, and I think that’s what we need to change.

COO of Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg


MAKERS Female Pioneers Who Inspire (Continued)


Geena Davis

I don’t know how in the twenty-first century we can possibly justify not showing girls things that they can aspire to, and at the same time, how can we possibly be showing boys this narrow vision of what women are and what they can be.



SARAH silverman

Comics who grew up surviving their childhood by being able to be the first one to make the joke about their weight or their hairy arms—like me—whatever they’re insecure about, whatever they’re apologizing for, that becomes their strength.



pioneers Female Pioneers Who Inspire (Continued)

Mira Sorvino

Activist and actor

One of the hugest ways that will make an impact, which is only in its infancy right now, is corporate accountability. Consumers at the buying point saying, ‘Can you certify to me that this product is slavery-free?’ And most cannot right now.

▲ Chelsea Handler

Eve Ensler The Vagina Monologues playwright and activist

Late-night TV host and comedian

I think everyone’s afraid of public speaking. There have been times where I’ve come out of my own show and been, ‘Oh, God, what am I doing ?’ . . . You have to remind yourself that ‘OK, I’m kind of a badass. I can handle it.’

I feel sometimes with boys that the tyranny of patriarchy has had a much more devastating blow on boys than it has on anyone. Because they have literally been forced to disassociate from their hearts.

▲ Rita Mae Brown Author and activist

I do think women avoid power. Power assumes responsibility and accountability, and I think many, many women want to have it both ways.

▲ Amy Richards Cofounder of Third Wave Foundation

I think we all have something in our life’s experience that makes us feel different. It’s whether we have a gay parent or we have an alcoholic mother or maybe we don’t know our father. And it’s something that we feel bad about initially because we think we’re abnormal. What’s abnormal is our assumption that there’s something called ‘normal.’


Diane Von FÜrstenbErg Iconic fashion designer

I was always a little bit of a feminist. It doesn’t mean, if you are a feminist, you have to look like a truck driver.

▲ Madeleine Albright

Hillary Clinton

First female secretary of state

Former secretary of state and first lady

I would be in a meeting and I would think, ‘Well, I’d like to say that,’ and then I thought, ‘Well, that’s really stupid. I can’t say that.’ And then some man would say it, and everybody would think it was completely brilliant, and I’d be so mad at myself for not saying it.

You don’t have to be perfect. Most men never think like that. ▲ ▲ Katie Couric Network-news pioneer

Linda Fairstein

Nobody ever asks men about the work-life balance, and I just find that interesting, because clearly, I would imagine most men also want to be good fathers, and I’m sure they want to be good partners.

Susan Wojcicki

Special-victims prosecutor

Senior vice president of advertising and commerce of Google

As a kid growing up, this was sometimes a little bit intimidating to have a mom who was always, like, speaking up and always saying something that might be kind of controversial . . . . The thing I think that we got out of that that was really good was we weren’t afraid to make waves.

Rape, unlike other crimes, has always been viewed as a victim-precipitated crime. . . . It’s the only crime I know in all the books—and I prosecute in every category of crime—in which the victim was blamed for the conduct of the man who attacked her.

▲ ▲ Martina Navratilova Champion tennis player

What I would tell girls coming up is just be yourself and don’t let people get in the way. If it feels right in your gut, this is who you are, this is what you do, this is what you feel, then don’t hide that. . . . You just stick to it and the world will catch up. MAKERS.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 69



2014 Emerging Explorers

EXPLORERS what is your passion? Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

Artist, writer, and musician (Tribeca, New York City)

“The word ‘studio’ derives from ‘study.’ Our object is not to know the answers before we do the work. It’s to know them after we do it.” —Bruce Mau Music, art, and literature are inseparable for me. How does “composition” evolve in a music and art context? It’s a question we can never answer: it only asks for more information and generates more questions.

we live on is a stunningly beautiful place we have despoiled at every level. My work is all about creating new paths for thinking about the possibilities inherent in all art; another world is possible! I think of my Arctic and Antarctic projects as reflections of the idea of “acoustic portraits”: I took a studio to Antarctica to create portraits of ice and realized that ice was all about transformation. From liquid to solid, it was a metaphor for how much our contemporary life is based on information that can change at any time. I like that. Try making a symphony out of ice, and you’ll see what I mean. DJSPOOKY.COM

PAUL D. MILLER » AkA Dj sPooky thAt sUbLIMInAL kID «

I’m passionate about the fact that this world that


“I’m passionate about the fact that this world that we live on is a stunningly beautiful place we have despoiled at every level.”


David Gruber

Marine biologist, The City University of New York and American Museum of Natural History (New York, New York)

“Life inside and outside the ocean is integral to one another; we need to protect what lies inside our oceans so that they, in turn, can protect us.”

I search the oceans for glowing animals. My research aims to understand how marine animals secretly communicate in the darkness—and what chemicals they use to do so. This involves designing my own underwater equipment, lights, and cameras and scuba diving into the darkness in the world’s remote places. I am passionate about transforming glowing discoveries from the ocean into tools that can help humans better understand life. The glowing discoveries that we find in the ocean are widely used by scientists to study afflictions such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Life inside and outside the ocean is integral to one another; we need to protect what lies inside our oceans so that they, in turn, can protect us. LUMINESCENTLABS.ORG PHOTO: ELIAS CARLSON


Christopher Golden

Director of HEAL Program, Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx, New York), and research associate at Harvard School of Public Health (Boston, Massachusetts) “I am interested in local peoples’ dependence on natural resources to obtain adequate health.ˮ

I am an ecologist and epidemiologist interested in the interface of ecosystem service provisioning and human health, specifically in the context of global trends in biodiversity loss and ecosystem transformation. Most broadly, I am interested in local peoples’ dependence on natural resources to obtain adequate health. Since 1999, I have been conducting ecological and public health research in Madagascar, and I am fluent in several local dialects of Malagasy. I am passionate about research and spending time outdoors. My main passion right now is developing innovative research programs that bridge our understanding of the relationships between environmental change and human health and well-being. CHRISGOLDENRESEARCH.COM | WCS-HEAL.ORG PHOTOs: JON BETZ / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC




2014 Emerging Explorers


EXPLORERS what is your passion? Maritza Morales Casanova

President and founder of Hunab Proyecto de Vida (Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico)

I designed a fun way to teach children about environmental issues. I am building an environmental educational theme park, which is almost 35 percent complete, where 150 children will be trained to be “Heroes of Grandmother Earth.” In May 2015, we will celebrate the organization’s twentieth anniversary. I started my environmental movement when I was a child, and after all these years, I am still convinced that children are like Noah’s Ark because inside their hearts and brains, they all have the power to protect and save living beings. I’m passionate about meeting the challenges that I face in life. I’m passionate about finding new methods to teach people about our wonderful Grandmother Earth in clear and interesting ways. HUNAB.MX PHOTO: ROLEX AWARDS / FRANÇOIS SCHAER

Robert Wood

Professor, Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)


I run a research lab that makes unique robots—robots that are very small, robots that are squishy, and robots that fold themselves from paper and walk away. My passion is in creating novel things that make our lives better—specifically, through robotics. I am also passionate about the guitar, but unfortunately, I have not yet found a connection between these two! MICRO.SEAS.HARVARD.EDU PHOTO: ELIZA GRINNELL / HARVARD SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCES

“For as long as I can remember, I wanted to learn more about the incredible diversity of life, both living and extinct.ˮ

Nizar Ibrahim

Paleontologist, The University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

I am a paleontologist and comparative anatomist. I am interested in the evolution, diversity, and anatomy of fossil animals—in particular, those from the African continent. A large part of my research deals with dinosaurs, pterosaurs (flying reptiles), and other extinct reptiles. I have a passion for animals. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to learn more about the incredible diversity of life, both living and extinct. Paleontology allows me to study fossils and living animals to better understand the incredible history of life on our planet. PHOTO: KAT KEENE HOGUE


Jack Andraka

High school student (Crownsville, Maryland) and student researcher, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

I’m an eighteen-year-old cancer researcher who created a new way to diagnose pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers in five minutes for three cents. The sensors can also be broadly expanded to detect a host of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, other forms of cancer, and even HIV/AIDS and heart disease. My more recent research focuses on crowdsourcing disease detection and environmental monitoring using inkjet-printable biosensors that change color if a biomarker or contaminant is present in a sample. The sensors can then be photographed with a phone and analyzed for rapid and inexpensive results on the spot. “I’m an eighteen-year-old cancer researcher who created a new way to diagnose pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers in five minutes for three cents.”

My passion rests at the intersection of unrelated fields, uniting computer science with cancer biology and combining physics with environmental research. JACKANDRAKA.COM PHOTO: ALEXANDRA VERVILLE / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Juliana Machado Ferreira, PhD

Executive director of Freeland Brazil (São Paulo, Brazil)

My life’s work and mission are to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and overexploitation and to work for the conservation of biodiversity. I currently do that at Freeland Brazil by developing projects on three fronts: capacity enhancement and articulation, education and awareness, and scientific research.


Shivani Bhalla

Founder and executive director, Ewaso Lions (Samburu, Kenya)

I run the Ewaso Lions Project, a small, independent wildlife conservation organization whose mission is to conserve Kenya’s lions and other large carnivores by promoting coexistence between people and wildlife. Since 2007, Ewaso Lions has used science, education, and local capacity-building to guide and facilitate long-term carnivore conservation in northern Kenya. I have had a passion for the big cats since I was a child. I was born and raised in Kenya, and going on safari with my parents and seeing Kenya’s wildlife confirmed my interest. Learning about their fate and their declining numbers in Kenya caused me great concern. That is why I started the project—to secure a future for lions and other carnivores in northern Kenya. EWASOLIONS.ORG PHOTO: KAT KEENE HOGUE / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC



I am passionate about doing work that I feel has a meaning and a positive impact. It is beautiful to feel that I am helping to make a difference, even a little one. I am passionate about wildlife, about the use of science in wildlife forensics, about biodiversity conservation, and mainly about nature and how evolution has shaped all these most beautiful and most wonderful, endless forms.



2014 (continued)

EXPLORERS what is your passion?

Tristram Stuart

Founder of Feedback (London, England)

I founded Feedback to share the idea that cutting food waste is a delicious way of saving money, helping to feed the world and protect the planet. Across the world, we organize fun events such as Feeding the 5000, gleaning days, and Disco Soups, where the public come and prepare thousands of free meals made entirely out of quality ingredients that would have been wasted. We encourage people to sign our online food-waste pledge to put pressure on grocery stores, even the most “ethical” of which waste colossal amounts of food. They chuck produce away at the end of the day and, even worse, cause farmers to waste up to a third of their crops because they don’t look perfect. FEEDBACKGLOBAL.ORG | TRISTRAMSTUART.CO.UK PHOTO: KAT KEENE HOGUE / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

“I founded Feedback to share the idea that cutting food waste is a delicious way of saving money, helping to feed the world and protect the planet.” Explorers PHOTO: MARK THEISSEN / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC







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By Kristen Walker Painemilla

WILL WE LISTEN? Conservation International’s campaign to spread nature’s urgent message


e all hear nature—the wind in the trees, waves crashing on the beach, rain on our windows. These sounds inspire us. They comfort us. They are always with us, so much so that we sometimes barely notice them. Everyone hears nature, but how many really listen to what it has to say? Earth offers us priceless gifts. Judging by our treatment of our planet, we’re not paying very close attention. Do we truly understand what it means when once-fertile soil no longer produces crops, as is happening in as much as forty percent of the world’s agricultural lands? When fisheries collapse, as they have from the North Atlantic to West Africa? When rivers run dry or flood with unprecedented ferocity? When the once-abundant resources that underpin our economies can no longer be found? It’s not nature that is hurt when these things happen. It’s us. Property loss, unbearable costs to local governments, and even the loss of livelihood and life—these are the real consequences of not caring for nature. If we listen, the message could not be clearer: people desperately need nature. My work at Conservation International often takes me into the communities that live closest to nature. The indigenous and local communities around the world are among the best stewards of the environment precisely


because they know their well-being and their culture depend on healthy ecosystems. We need to rekindle this wisdom worldwide. So we at Conservation International decided now was time to give nature a voice. And we thought that to make that voice heard in the midst of all our media noise, it might help if it was recognizable. Familiar. So in our Nature Is Speaking films, released October 2014, The Ocean sounds like Harrison Ford. The Rainforest has Kevin Spacey’s dry wit. Water flows in English and Spanish in the soft tones of Penélope Cruz. Each ecosystem that speaks tells us in its distinctive way that nature will go on in some form with or without us, but we will not go on without it. As Mother Nature herself says, in the voice of Julia Roberts, “I’m prepared to evolve. Are you?” The good news is that people are listening. We launched the Nature Is Speaking campaign in October. By December, the videos had reached 1.7 million views on YouTube and had more than a billion impressions worldwide. So go to NatureIsSpeaking.org. Watch the films. Share them. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #NatureIsSpeaking, and every time you do, our partner HP will donate a dollar to Conservation International’s urgent work around the world.

But even more importantly, take the time to listen to nature. Think about what it says to you. Think about what you can do to protect nature so that the gifts it provides can sustain humanity for generations to come. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. We can be the generation that creates a world where the seven billion on our planet today and the nine billion who will live here in 2050 can live on Earth’s bounty without destroying and degrading the planet. Nature has provided and can continue to provide for us, but her message today is unmistakable. We are compromising Earth’s capacity to sustain humanity. If we do not respect this essential truth, Earth will survive, but we will not. Nature has been missing from our conversation for far too long. It’s time for us all to listen and learn from the stewardship of those closest to nature, the world's indigenous and local communities.

“We can be the generation that creates a world where the seven billion on our planet today and the nine billion who will live here in 2050 can live on Earth’s bounty without destroying and degrading the planet.”


MOTHER NATURE “I have fed species greater than you. And I have starved species greater than you.”

JULIA ROBERTS I’ve always been an environmentalist, but my life changed the day I had children. I realized that I wasn’t doing enough to protect the planet. People need nature, and of course I want my children to have the best possible opportunity in life. I also realized how important it was for me to raise them to be conscientious people that are aware of their impact on the earth.




THE RAINFOREST “Humans making air. That’ll be fun to watch.”

KEVIN SPACEY Nature’s message is clear: we can’t keep doing what we’re doing now. Clean, sustainable energy is crucial and cannot wait. We have to start listening to nature now.




LUPITA NYONG O As human beings, it is our nature to dream about the future, but there is no future without a healthy nature. It’s the common denominator that we all depend on, not just to live but to be happy. That’s why we owe it to each other to make sure nature stays healthy.


“Their life starts with me. It could end without me.”

TOP LEFT PHOTO: © Pete Oxford iLCP | TOP RIGHT PHOTO: © Courtesy of Kevin Spacey MIDDLE LEFT PHOTO: © Benjamin Drummond | MIDDLE RIGHT PHOTO: © Conservation International by Miguel Ángel de la Cueva | BOTTOM LEFT PHOTO: © Alexi Lubomirski for Lancôme 2014 | BOTTOM RIGHT PHOTO: © Josef Wells CONSERVATION.ORG | NATUREISSPEAKING.ORG




“I covered this entire planet once. I can always cover it again.”

HARRISON FORD When I first came across Conservation International in 1991, I was just looking for a way to give back. But as I became more deeply involved with CI, I learned about the important work they were doing to improve human well-being through the care of nature. The message was simple: people need nature. More than twenty years later, this simple message is more important than ever. The environment has become a political, polarizing issue. It’s time to change the conversation about nature to focus on what we all have in common: our shared humanity. This is at the heart of CI’s mission, and that’s why I’ve been on the board for more than twenty years and currently serve as vice chair.

TOP PHOTO: © Levi S. Norton | MIDDLE Photo: © Conservation International by Sterling Zumbrunn BOTTOM Photo: © Conservation International by Cristano Nogueira CONSERVATION.ORG | NATUREISSPEAKING.ORG


THE SOIL “You treat me like dirt.”

EDWARD NORTON I come from a family of conservation activists, and so I’ve had a strong connection to nature all my life. My father has been a leader within the movement for over thirty years and has taught most of what I know about environmental conservation. While he would always take me hiking, camping, and rafting, he also taught me that the spiritual value of the outdoors alone is not enough to save nature against economic interests. We must realize that nature is absolutely essential for our survival, and we must act on that premise now. That’s why I serve on the board of Conservation International and am also the United Nations goodwill ambassador for biodiversity.


CORAL REEF “A quarter of all marine life depends on me.”

IAN SOMERHALDER It’s impossible to imagine our planet without coral. Think about this: If water is the blood of our planet flowing through veinous rivers, streams, and into our oceans, what does that make coral? Our heart. We simply cannot survive without our heart; therefore, it’s mandatory we heal and protect our coral reefs now. For this very important reason, I lent my voice as Coral Reef to Conservation International’s phenomenal campaign Nature Is Speaking. Together, we can bring our planet’s heartbeat back.

TOP LEFT PHOTO: © Courtesy of Edward Norton | TOP RIGHT PHOTO: © Conservation International by Chris Tuite MIDDLE LEFT PHOTO: © Conservation International by Sterling Zumbrunn | MIDDLE RIGHT PHOTO: © Renee Scott Photography BOTTOM PHOTO: © Conservation International by Sterling Zumbrunn, Raja Ampat CONSERVATION.ORG | NATUREISSPEAKING.ORG

ROBERT REDFORD When I was about fifteen, I went to work at Yosemite National Park. It changed me forever. Nature had carved its own sculpture, and I was part of it, not the other way around. At the same time, I would see my hometown, Los Angeles, change. Green space and orange groves gave way to cement, freeways flooded with traffic, and air pollution, all in the name of “progress.” I felt like I was losing my home. It had a profound effect on me, and I realized just how important nature was to my spirit, my soul, my point of view.


THE REDWOOD “Then there were humans, and all hell broke loose.”

Then, in 1973, I was shown a graphic of how dependent the United States was on nonrenewable resources like oil and coal and that little was being done to change that. It seemed irrefutable that we needed a change in direction or we’d be paying a huge price down the road. That’s when I made a commitment to become a political activist.

PENÉLOPE CRUZ If we continue on the path we’re on, there simply won’t be enough fresh water for everyone. I am proud to lend my voice to Water in an effort to bring attention to this pressing issue. I have seen water availability change drastically in my own lifetime. Around the world, millions of people are already living in a true water crisis.



We must act now to make sure fresh water is available to everyone, no matter where they live. The consequences of doing nothing will be even more catastrophic.

“Will they wage wars over me, like they do over everything else?”

TOP PHOTO: © William Crosse | MIDDLE LEFT Photo: © Levi S. Norton | MIDDLE Photo: © Courtesy of Robert Redford MIDDLE RIGHT PHOTO: © Conservation International by Russell A. Mittermeier BOTTOM LEFT PHOTO: © Conservation International by Sterling Zumbrunn | BOTTOM RIGHT PHOTO: © Jessica Scranton CONSERVATION.ORG | NATUREISSPEAKING.ORG

Coolest Power Couple Changing the World




Peter Knights

Corie Knights. Event Planning / Major Gifts. Peter Knights. Executive Director.

Q: What is WildAid? A: While most conservation groups focus on protecting animals in the wild, WildAid is the only organization to focus on reducing the demand for endangered wildlife products, like ivory, rhino horn, and shark fin. Working with hundreds of Asian and Western celebrities, athletes, and business leaders—including the Duke of Cambridge, Yao Ming, Jackie Chan, David Beckham, Edward Norton, and Sir Richard Branson—our message “When the buying stops, the killing can too” reaches hundreds of millions of people through a network of media partners in China and Southeast Asia. These outlets donated $195 million last year in broadcast and media space, and our campaign on shark fin led by Yao has helped to cut shark fin consumption in China by fifty to seventy percent. With transparency and low overhead as well as incredible leverage, WildAid was No. 1 Wildlife Charity according to Charity Navigator’s latest ratings. Q: What are your passions? A:

Corie: I have always loved animals in my life. It wasn’t until I went to Africa and a wild bull elephant walked out of the bush and


straight to me in the back of an open-top jeep that I realized just how at peace I am with these majestic creatures. It was a humbling experience. I burst into tears when he walked away and not out of fear. From that point on, I decided I would do anything I could to protect these animals in the wild. I feel very passionate about being able to pass this on to future generations to witness and experience. Peter and I have two young daughters, Julia and Charlotte. We are working for them and all children. Peter: My wife, my children, and wildlife.

Q: What do you do at WildAid? A: Corie: I am the Major Gifts fundraiser for WildAid, and I organize all of the events and trips we do with our donors, whether it’s swimming with whale sharks in Mexico or attending one of our video shoots. A highlight last year was the shoot in London with Prince William, David Beckham, and Yao Ming. I organize our annual gala (which raised $1.735 million for our programs last year) and many smaller fundraising events throughout the year. Our gala this year is in L.A. at the Montage Hotel on November 7! Peter: I was one of the founders and am CEO. I am also involved in creating and producing our messaging and designing our campaigns.



Corie + Peter Knights (CONTINUED)

“When the buying stops, the killing can too.” Q: What’s a secret of staying together? A: Corie: Peter and I have been together for sixteen years. Married for thirteen. We are partners, parents, and best friends. Peter: Love, a shared vision and values, understanding, and patience.

Q: What’s the best part of working together? A: Corie: It is great to have a common goal that you are working on together. We are a team in all aspects of our lives.

Peter: Our work is so all-consuming, it allows us to be together more.

Q: What’s a cool experience you two have had in the past year? A: Corie: We went to China and visited our partner program at the Chengdu Pambassador Program. We had a one-year-old baby panda sitting on our laps. She was so cute! Meeting Prince William on the set of our PSA, swimming with five hundred giant mantas and whale sharks on our Mexico trip, and, always the best for me, going to Africa. Peter: Working with Prince William and David Beckham. Filming in Africa with Yao Ming and in L.A. with Jackie Chan and recently the stars of The Walking Dead.



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ORIGIN TEAM PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maranda Pleasant Twitter: @marandapleasant EXECUTIVE EDITORS Karen Yin Paul D. Miller / DJ Spooky creative DIRECTOR Melody Tarver COPY EDITOR Ian Prichard ECO EDITOR Ian Somerhalder ANIMAL EDITORS Barbi Twins contributing editorS Robert Piper Ronnie Planalp Ramona Bruland Tiffany Shlain Laura Dawn Amy Richards Langely McNeal Jill Mangino Moby Eliana Alvarez Martinez GLOBAL YOUTH EDITOR Ocean Pleasant INTERNATIONAL EDITOR Gina G. Murdock

Contact us Head Ninja editor@originmagazine.com Advertising ads@originmagazine.com Media + Events press@originmagazine.com Ideas ideas@originmagazine.com

EDITOR’S NOTE Rarely have I been more inspired by something we have created. This has been my vision for so long: to be a platform bringing together the top changemakers in conservation and humanitarian efforts, strong female pioneers that have paved the way for so many, along with one hundred of the most creative people in the world using their art for positive impact. There is a shift happening as we find our voice and start coming together to create, collaborate, and support one another. Women are rising. Artists and creatives are coming together for progress and social good. We are so grateful to be a platform for this movement.

Maranda Pleasant ​ORIGIN Magazine • Mantra Yoga + Health • REAL Magazine • THRIVE Magazine Founder /​ E​ditor-in-C​hief


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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Little Boy actor

Ali Landry On staying hydrated, relearning what to eat, and being healthy role models for children Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: How do you stay healthy? Ali Landry: I find if I stay hydrated, of course everything works better. I exercise. It’s about quality and not quantity; I probably do it about three times a week. A lot of core-strength training. Sometimes, I’ll throw in a spinning class. Sometimes, I’ll go on a hike. I grew up in Louisiana, a lot of carbohydrates, fried foods, all very good. Butter, lots of homemade cakes and cookies. Here I am in Los Angeles and just really educating myself about food. Once you know better, you do better. My husband and I have just really been on this journey to live cleaner and eat healthier and allow our children to see us doing that so that’s the kind of lifestyle they’ll want for themselves. Just a healthier, aware, conscious life. Now we buy organic; we go to the farmers markets. We really try to involve the kids in cutting up the vegetables, cleaning them, preparing the meals, just making it fun. It’s still a process for me and just educating myself on food and what’s the best thing for my family. Right now, I have Teflon pots at my house. Just getting rid of all of those and swapping them out with healthier choices, healthier options. We’re really on a journey, our entire family. RP: Any tips for getting your children to eat healthy? AL: Part of me says, disguise the fruits and vegetables in the food. FAVORED.BY 8 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

Part of me does not camouflage what’s really different with the foods. They don’t know that they’re getting it. Really make them realize how important it is and how much our body needs to be supported.

“Now we buy organic; we go to the farmers markets. We really try to involve the kids in cutting up the vegetables, cleaning them, preparing the meals, just making it fun.” RP: What projects are you working on? AL: I have a film that’s coming out in April. It’s actually my husband’s film I was also in. It’s a beautiful project called Little Boy. I have an app for moms called Favored By that really helps moms navigate the baby world and find what products are best for their family by hearing the opinions of other moms, seeing what their favorites are. I do the Red CARpet Safety Awareness Event, raising awareness for car seat safety and all areas of safety for children. This year will be our fifth annual, and we work with amazing sponsors, just talking about car seat safety. Ali Landry is an actor, model, and winner of the 1996 Miss USA pageant. She is appearing in the upcoming film Little Boy. PHOTO: M. DESIGN



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Listen to Your Body and Find Out What Works for You By Yvette Rose


here is so much contradicting information about how to eat healthy out there, it can become really confusing. Clients often come to me and say, “I read that I should be eating like a caveman” or “I heard that organic actually isn’t the best.” My mission is to remind people to listen to your body and educate yourself about what works best for you. If my body needs more protein one day because I’m feeling fatigued, I go to my list of proteins; if I’m feeling under the weather, I’ll grab foods high in vitamins; and if I’m feeling lethargic, I’ll alkalinize my body. With so many health blogs and health channels out there saturating us with options, it’s important to not get overwhelmed and try a little bit of everything until you find out what works for you and your lifestyle. Taking the time to balance a healthy lifestyle is difficult, and not everything works for everyone, especially when you have children. Sometimes I cave and let my kids eat a brownie, but then I make a healthy meal for dinner. Staying aware of the environment is just as important as what you eat. Living in a big city like New York, my body is constantly confronted with noise, smog, pollution, and toxins. I do my best to be mindful, but some things are out of my control. That’s


why I compensate with yoga and what I eat. A few years ago, I realized that no matter how healthy I think I am, there is always a healthier way. I drink a lot of water, but I wanted to take the next step, so I started to filter water with an alkaline filtration system and eliminated plastic bottles. At the end of the day, I want my clients to take away this message, educate yourself, and find out what works for you! Yvette Rose, Joulebody founder and wellness coach, is an expert in the health and wellness field with over ten years of experience. Certified as a health counselor, holistic practitioner, nutrition specialist, physical trainer, and yoga instructor, she helps clients attain an all-encompassing lifestyle.

“Some things are out of my control. That’s why I compensate with yoga and what I eat.”

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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Celebrity trainer

Simone De La Rue On grazing like a cow, staying away from dairy, and shedding fat Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What types of workouts do you do with the celebrities you’ve trained? Simone De La Rue: My method is dance-based, so the way we do our cardio is through dance routine. So we’ll often do twenty-five to thirty minutes of high-impact jumping with cardio dance moves. Then the rest of it is a mixture of yoga and Pilates. Each hour is a full-body workout, but focusing on the dance cardio is the signature move from my workout. RP: Any tips for maintaining a healthy diet? SDLR: I think the best thing to do is try to graze and do lots of little meals. The big mistake I think women make is that they starve themselves because they believe that at least this way I don’t eat, but it actually works in reverse, slows down their metabolism. You need to think about grazing like a cow all day. Doing three small meals and then three snacks so you’re constantly starting the metabolism and you’re firing your metabolism, which in turn will help your body function the way it should. I eat Paleo, so I don’t really have gluten or dairy. I find that that’s much easier on the body to process. So I try to encourage my clients to do the same. Protein and carbs are great an hour before you work out, because it gives you energy, and then an hour after you work out, it’s great to have protein. It helps you to heal and build the muscle. If you can, try to stay away from dairy. That’s really hard for your body to process. Try to stay away from gluten. It causes inflammation in the gut. Drink lots of water. Try to limit alcohol intake. That’s a big one, for women especially. RP: Do you recommend cardio? SDLR: Yes, especially as we’re getting older. Women, we need to be doing cardio, not only for our heart health. There are so many workouts out there. You’re going to tone muscle and give your body definition, but at the end of the day, cardio is where you’re going to shed the fat. You really need to get your heart rate up, do interval training. With all my clients, I always have an element of cardio in the workout. It’s a great way to start with cardio, whether you’re doing



Women, we need to be doing cardio, not only for our heart health. There are so , many workouts out there. You re going to tone muscle and give your body definition, but at the end of the day, cardio is where , ,, you re going to shed the fat. the dance cardio or doing jump rope so that you’re getting the heart pumping, the blood flowing. You’ve picked your heart rate up, and then you’re going to continue to work in the calorie-burning state throughout the workout. I do ten minutes at the start and then ten minutes in the middle and then ten minutes at the end. It’s like interval training, keeping the heart rate up and down constantly. Simone De La Rue is a celebrity trainer whose clientele include Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, and Anne Hathaway.


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Badass Female


Annabel van Westerop Professional kiteboarder

What’s your advice



Annabel van Westerop lives on the paradise island of Aruba. Six years ago, she got in touch with a sport called “kiteboarding,” and she turned her passion into a career.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? As a professional kiteboarder, practicing becomes more than just a hobby. It can bring pressure, just like any other job. I’m definitely a perfectionist, and sometimes, it makes you forget the reason you’re doing it all. Whenever this happens, I sit down for a moment and remember why I started. The ocean, the freedom, the happiness that jumping and flying through the air brings me, the happy nerves during competition—and the list goes on. And now I think about how enjoying the


little things makes the big picture so much better.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? I genuinely never thought I would be able to beat the nine-time world champion during a competition in my first year in the world tour. After the final, I started cleaning up all my gear as I expected to have lost the final. To my very big surprise, I had beaten her, which meant that we had to go into a “super final.” I was so blown away that I completely messed up all my tricks. So I was second place after all, but I never had such a big smile on my face after losing a heat!

What’s your advice for women? I compete in a men-dominated sport where

it is often expected the women perform less than the guys. No way! We might not yet land all the tricks they do, but that does not mean our performance is inferior. So my advice is to always follow your dreams, and as long as you believe that you can do it, you will.

What do you swear by for staying fit? I love superfoods! Maca, acai, and cacao are some of my favorites to mix through my fruit smoothies. I also make sure that I give my body everything it needs to perform well. I don’t believe in weight-loss diets, because with all the sports I practice on a daily basis, I definitely need sugars and carbohydrates as well. ANNABELVANWESTEROP.COM PHOTO: CAPRICE WINNIMAN

What challenge did Ramona Bruland you face and then



Freelance TV host/producer Aspen, Colorado

Ramona Bruland, an Australian-born TV host and adventure enthusiast, presents lifestyle stories around the world, from Caribbean cruise-liner ports of call to winter preview shows. Between travels, she can be found exploring the wilderness and growing her nonprofit, Aspen Cares.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? While I’ve always been a highly motivated person, happiness has always been my greatest motivator. I don’t think of it as quitting when I make a conscious decision to not do something in life because it makes me unhappy. At one time, I thought I could do it all; however, I finally learned that by saying no to one thing I really didn’t need in my life, I was allowing the opportunity for another door to open. I try not to look at what I’m quitting or unable to achieve; rather, I choose to look at and acknowledge all the wonderful things in life I am able to do.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? Back when I was in university, there was an impossible rock-climbing crux sequence that was doing my head in. Over and over, I attempted that move, but the next hold was always out of reach. So I was just going through the motions when suddenly my hand stuck, like Velcro! What I remember most about that moment was how I felt utter surprise. Everything all of a sudden felt so . . . possible.

What’s your advice for women? Love and support the success of other women, but above all, don’t neglect yourself. Every day, find the time to do a little something for your personal health and wellness. No one will look out for you like you will.

What do you swear by for staying fit? Vegemite! Stock up on vitamin B. A Mediterranean diet—fish, olive oil, and vegetables. RAMONABRULAND.COM | ASPENCARES.ORG PHOTO: SEAN SMITH

“Love and support the success of other women, but above all, don’t neglect yourself.” ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 17

Badass Female

Athletes (CONTINUED)

“Imagine if the mistakes we made actually helped us to just become better versions of ourselves.”

Gretchen Bleiler Professional snowboarder

Gretchen Bleiler is a professional snowboarder and Aspen/Snowmass local. She’s a two-time Olympian, Olympic silver medalist, and a four-time X Games gold medalist. She’s an environmental advocate, entrepreneur, and cofounder of Alex Bottle. Gretchen teaches meditation as a tool for connection and peak performance.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to go to the Olympics and be an Olympian. My desire was so strong that it literally dictated my everyday actions and decisions. I didn’t know how I was going to get to the Olympics, and in the beginning, I didn’t really care. And that was the best part, because my desire exposed me to so many different sports, and in all of them, I always dedicated my best effort because I knew that’s what it was going to take to become an Olympian.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? For the past fourteen years, it’s been my job to push past my boundaries and do things I never thought I could do, which is why it’s been such a fulfilling career. It took me a full year of black eyes and a bruised and battered tailbone to learn how to do a crippler in the half-pipe. It was a trick that no one else was really doing, and it was scary! But I stuck with it, and one day, it finally clicked. The crippler has been my signature trick ever since, and it’s what helped me be so successful in competition.


What’s your advice for women? Imagine if you could never fail. Imagine if the whole point of this experience on planet Earth was to just open ourselves up more fully to who we really are, without filters, without masks, without any restrictions. Imagine if the mistakes we made actually helped us to just become better versions of ourselves. I believe this is what life is about, and when we look at it this way, then there is nothing to be afraid of!

What do you swear by for staying fit? I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve been a Paleo, and now I believe in the everything-in-moderation diet. But here is my quick and easy advice: eat lots of fresh vegetables, drink water, exercise often, and meditate daily. GRETCHENBLEILER.COM | ALEXBOTTLE.COM

Samantha Klanac Campanile Dancer, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Aspen, Colorado

“A huge motivator in my life is remembering that what I get to do for a living is a privilege.”


motivated you when you wanted to quit? Samantha Klanac Campanile is a professional dancer with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. She is in her thirteenth season with this contemporary company and has toured all over the world representing their hometowns, Aspen and Santa Fe, in the dance world.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? A huge motivator in my life is remembering that what I get to do for a living is a privilege. A dancer’s career is so short relative to other art forms, and any day can potentially be your last in the studio or onstage. Sure, some days are harder than others, but just like any relationship in life, if you are present and gracious, you can get through anything.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? I am still facing it! There is a particular piece in our repertoire that the company performs, and I happen to have a very hard, long featured part which I do not feel complete confidence in. We recently performed at a top venue in New York City, and for a year leading up, I lost sleep over the impending shows. It really forced me to learn how to dig deep and find confidence as well as learn new meditation techniques to mentally prepare myself. The shows came and went, and I truly felt I did the best I possibly could, and that is all you can ask for. We still are performing this ballet on tour in most cities we go to!

What’s your advice for women? When we are fearful of what is to come, or

fearful of how past events have shaped up, we are really stifling ourselves. There are so many unknowns in life, if we worry too much, then we miss out on today. We need to believe in ourselves and trust that, truly, everything will be OK.

What do you swear by for staying fit? I am really conscious of drinking a lot of water. Always. I also am a stickler for supplements of all kinds as well as trying to eat lean protein, which doesn’t always come natural to me. I do supplement my rehearsal schedule with yoga and HIIT classes when appropriate, and on a beautiful Colorado day, there is nothing better than a hike. ASPENSANTAFEBALLET.COM PHOTO: SARA FORREST


Badass Female

Athletes (CONTINUED)

What do you swear by for


fit? Emily Carpenter Cofounder of Vimana Yoga Basalt and Carbondale, Colorado Emily Carpenter, CMT, is a Synergy Yoga teacher, Yoga Asana Champion, volunteer, studio owner, and mother. She started teaching yoga in 1996 and opened the first yoga studios in Aspen, Basalt, and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, with her husband. They created four styles of therapeutic hot yoga for all levels.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? The greatest motivator and leveler in my life has been my yoga practice. It has taught me how to be a grown-up, follow through, give back, be compassionate, be a better mother, wife, daughter, sibling, friend, and just show up.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? Before I had my son, I learned that I had


previa and he was breach. When this happened, I felt so out of control. I decided to stay strong and kept doing the poses that help turn the baby. After several disappointing doctor’s visits with the same scenario, I realized that I was stuck on my birthing plan. I had judgments about how to have a baby that are not realistic for every woman. So I surrendered, let it go, and was willing to accept the outcome. All I really wanted was a healthy, happy baby.

What’s your advice for women? When I retired from the championships in 2012, I had finished in fourth place in the international division, second place in nationals, and first in our state three years in a row. This journey not only helped me

overcome my fears, it taught me discipline and perseverance. The biggest medals were the friendships that I still enjoy today.

What do you swear by for staying fit? I practice yoga nidra to support my mental health and clear my mind space. I obviously swear by yoga for staying mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually balanced. VIMANAYOGA.COM PHOTO: MELISSA MCMANUS

“The biggest medals were the friendships that I still enjoy today.”

Erica Allar Professional cyclist, Colavita/Bianchi Women’s Pro Cycling Team Tucson, Arizona

“Find what propels you internally.”

What’s your advice



Erica Allar began riding bicycles in 2002 and has won two Espoir (under age 23) National Criterium Championships and multiple Collegiate Track National Championships representing The Pennsylvania State University. Since its inception in the domestic race scene in 2012, Erica has been the only female racer to win the National Criterium Calendar overall title.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? I was not raised in a family that was athletically driven. I found cycling after dabbling in gymnastics, soccer, and track and field. When I was younger, I never committed the time and energy necessary to be a competitive athlete. It has taken a lot of hard work and a great support system to help me develop into the cyclist I am today. I am driven and

motivated by my curiosity of what I can achieve.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? Tulsa Tough is the biggest three-day criterium event for women, offering stellar spectators and large prize purses. In 2013, during the first race, a crash sent me to the ER for sixteen stitches above my eye and several more in my knee. I was not confident that I would be able to continue. I was medicated to ease the pain of road rash and slept for fewer than four hours, but I knew I was one of the most physically and mentally tough women in the event. I was cleared by the doctor to race, and I chose to line up the following two race days. On the second day, I finished third by inches and I placed twelfth on the third day and most difficult course of the weekend.

What’s your advice for women?

Find what propels you internally. Live life with a level of tenacity that will enable you to seek out and own with confidence what drives you internally. Once you are fulfilled internally, everything you would like to achieve externally will follow.

What do you swear by for staying fit? To stay sharp, fit, and healthy, I commit at least thirty minutes a day to me. Whether it be to exercise, read, nap, or reflect, I prioritize time for myself. I prefer to take my thirty minutes first thing in the morning with a great cup of coffee. It helps wake me up and sets the tone for a successful day. CAREFORCYCLING.ORG | TEAMCOLAVITA.COM PHOTO: SCOTT KINGSLEY


Badass Female

Athletes (CONTINUED)

Langely McNeal Pro skier and community director at Summit Series Powder Mountain, Utah


motivated you when you wanted to quit? Langely McNeal was ranked as the number-one female ski cross racer in the United States for the majority of her career. She was a member of the U.S. World Cup national team from 2007 to 2013, has competed in the X Games four times, and holds a national championship title.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? Belief in myself that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, no matter how audacious or terrifying. For instance, at my first X Games in Aspen, I was one of the least experienced ski cross racers and felt that I was in way over my head. The jumps were the size of a house, and we reached speeds of around 65 mph while racing within inches of one another. But I calmed myself down


by focusing on my training and all that I had done to be invited to race at the X Games. I ended up finishing in the top ten, which lead to me earning a spot on the U.S. World Cup ski cross team.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? After failing to qualify for the 2010 Olympics, I gave up skiing for a job in corporate America. I realized shortly thereafter that I might have given up too soon. I definitely had doubts about whether I could return after being out of competitive skiing for over a year. But I pushed myself and trained harder than I ever had, which resulted in me having the best season of my life, including winning the national championship.

What’s your advice for women? I believe we as women have high expectations for ourselves, whether it’s as a businesswoman, wife, mother, or athlete. We give a lot of our energy and time outward, but I think it is equally important to take time to focus on ourselves and do at least one activity each week to nourish and energize ourselves.

What do you swear by for staying fit? I start every day with a green smoothie and oatmeal. I also eat frequent small meals to keep energized throughout the day. I diversify my workouts so they don’t become repetitive and boring. I believe sleep and hydration are two of the keys to staying fit, healthy, and energized.

What challenge did you face and then



Chelsea Bruland Stunt coordinator, Stunts in Stilettos New Orleans, Louisiana Chelsea Bruland, born and bred in Australia, has a diverse athletic background which includes gymnastics and martial arts, leading her to a career as a stuntwoman. She is a stunt coordinator for blockbuster action films and works alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

What motivated you when you wanted to quit? I’m a female in a man’s world, and I’ve worked my butt off to get to where I am today. I’m fairly young for what I do, and I deal with the stigma every day that “chicks can’t do that.” Ultimately, it’s the satisfaction I get from climbing up the mountain and being at the top of my game that keeps me going. All the haters and naysayers will one day, if not already, be asking me for their next job.

What challenge did you face and then kicked ass? While I am an adrenaline junkie, everything we do is a well-calculated risk, and every scenario and safety precaution is thought through carefully. One of my most nerveracking experiences was early on in my career, when I was attempting my first car hit. Car hits are the ones I hate the most, because they’re so unpredictable. I was wearing a short dress, which meant no room for padding up my elbows or knees—yet another reason why stuntwomen are so much tougher than men!—and facing a car driving straight at me. Honestly, I don’t remember much of the stunt, but I do remember it hurt like hell! But after you pick yourself up, the medic’s given you the all-clear, and the crew applauds— some may call me crazy, but it’s worth it.

What’s your advice for women? Don’t ever doubt that you can compete in a man’s world.

What do you swear by for staying fit? Staying fit, healthy, and flexible is really important for stunt performers. I try to eat clean and healthy, but I’m also human and enjoy eating out, so I’m not super strict. I switch up my exercise regime constantly. My go-tos are a rotation between running, kickboxing, swimming, cycling, dancing, and yoga. Lately, I’ve been learning trick-riding on horses, Krav Maga—an Israeli form of martial arts—and getting some time in a wind tunnel to work towards my skydiving license. CHELSEABRULAND.COM PHOTO: CARL NESPOLI


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Fashion designer and former Extra host

Day na Devon On pursuing new passions, being married to a health nut, and plugging into mindfulness Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? Dayna Devon: I have had a few rough patches in my life, but these last few years have been among the roughest. A few years ago, I left my job as host of the television show Extra. Our parting of ways was completely amicable; they were amazing to me. I had spent over a quarter of my life at that job, and without it, I felt like I had lost my compass. People didn’t know how to introduce me anymore, because in L.A., you are your job. I started taking classes and doing things that I had always wanted to do but couldn’t because I was working. I signed up for a bunch of workout classes, and to my surprise, I realized I was enjoying it. Because I was working out so much, I started looking for more workout clothes and found a lot of redundancy— predictability that was uninspired. That’s when I decided to start my own line. RP: What inspires you? DD: People who are following their dreams inspire me. I train at this relatively new gym in West Hollywood called Training Mate. It’s owned by a former Australian football player named Luke Milton. The classes are mostly taught by other Australians that are just like DAYNADEVON.COM 24 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

Luke: fit, funny, cute, and approachable. Now they’re talking about opening another location. He will open another location and be successful because he’s following his dream. People like him inspire me because they make me think I can do it too. RP: How do you stay healthy? DD: So my husband is a health nut. He’s a plastic surgeon, and over the years, he’s explained to me exactly how important it is to take care of our bodies. It took me years to grasp this concept, but I finally got it, and it’s a lifestyle for me now. When we go to a party, we eat off the veggie tray first before moving on. We always get dressings and sauces on the side. However, we definitely like our glass of wine—or three sometimes. We order dessert but just take a few bites. I stopped buying processed foods. The hardest part is teaching this to our kids, but slowly we’re making progress. RP: How do you stay balanced? DD: Finding balance in life is perhaps the greatest challenge of this generation, especially for women. I’ve decided that I need to compartmentalize my life better. From the

I’ve decided that I need to compartmentalize my life better. From the time my kids get home until after dinner, I put my phone away.

time my kids get home until after dinner, I put my phone away. If I pick it up, my kids call me on it, and I have to put money in the “phone jar.” When the phone jar gets full, the kids can spend the money on fun family outings, like going to a movie or going to their favorite restaurant. This unplugged time has helped me to be more mindful and give them my full attention. RP: What projects are you working on? DD: I’m so unbelievably proud to announce the launch of my new fitness line, available online and in select gyms in Los Angeles. These are edgy, fashion-forward fitness pieces that can be worn inside or outside a gym. All the pieces are made from high-tech fabrics right here in Los Angeles. In addition, I have a role in the horror movie The Chosen, written by Barry’s Bootcamp founder Barry Jay. Plus I’m hosting an amazing new reality show that is set to debut in spring 2015. Dayna Devon is an award-winning journalist and the longest-running host of the nationally syndicated entertainment news program Extra. She has launched her own line of activewear called Dayna Devon. PHOTO: CHARLES “CHAZ” RODRIGUEZ

style . quality . unity

u n d e r t h e c a n o p y. c o m i n f o @ u n d e r t h e c a n o p y. c o m 2015_UTC_ADV_Origin4.indd 1

2/26/15 4:44 PM

THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

rock-climbing, and all the things that you can do up there. They were just always so fit and active, so they made sure we were fit and active. We always did beach sports as a family. They just really inspire me to keep going and do what I love. That goes for sports and business. They have just been really enthusiastic about my career and what I want to do. We just really work like a great team. I have an older brother who I try to keep up with. He does all the crazy backcountry skiing, wakeboarding, climbing, and all that stuff. I feel like, all my life, I’ve been trying to keep up with that. He’s definitely an inspiration for me as well.

“I’m inspired by my parents, definitely. . . . They were just always so fit and active, so they made sure we were fit and active.”

RP: What is one of the hardest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life?

Interview: Robert Piper

Health and wellness expert, model, athlete

Nora Tobin On growing up with athletic parents, lifeguarding, and a killer workout in eight minutes

Robert Piper: Nora, how do you stay healthy? Nora Tobin: I do a lot of plyometrics, sprints, and heavy weight lifting. I also do yoga, stand-up paddleboarding, and beach volleyball. Rock-climbing, hiking, and beach rock. All on a weekly basis. RP: What inspires you? NT: I’m inspired by my parents, definitely. I grew up in Lake Tahoe [California], and they took us to do all these different sports in every season. Snowboarding, mountain biking, NORATOBIN.COM 26 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

NT: I thought I was going to go play indoor volleyball in college and go to a big school. I ended up getting cut from the team in high school. That led me to lifeguarding on the beach in Del Mar. That was a huge challenge—not the team, but to make the lifeguarding there. They had sent us to New Zealand to do big-wave rescue in big surf. We’d go out on boats, go out on boards, and have to rescue people in big surf. That was excruciating. That was three weeks of just being thrown in seventeen-foot surf. As far as my career, I’ve had a lot of nos. I’ve always put myself out there with my brand. I’ve had a ton of people who said no, so it’s first getting through that. Now I’m getting to continue to do what I love. RP: What exercises do you recommend for people who don’t have time? NT: With my clients, or when I travel, I always try to do intervals. Twenty seconds on, ten seconds off. They’re Tabata-style workouts where you’re going as hard as you can for twenty seconds, and then you rest for ten. You can do that for eight minutes. That really is the killer for anyone. No matter where you are in your work day, or if you’re in a little hotel room, even if you have a tiny little space, you can do it. Doing that with squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and planks is just very straightforward and simple, but you get a killer, killer workout in a short period of time. Nora Tobin is a West Coast contributing editor to Shape magazine, model, fitness nutrition specialist, performance enhancement specialist, and CPT. PHOTO: RIEDER PHOTOGRAPHY

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umans all have ways they can express themselves, whether it’s through dancing, painting, singing, writing, or running. I express myself through surfing. I am definitely a water child. Surfing allows me to be in the ocean, ride waves, feel the sunshine, and stay active. I love it. It is a way I can relieve my stress and feel one with nature. I believe everyone wants to try the sport of surfing, but they are afraid, confused, or unmotivated.

H Express Yourself through Surfing A Few Tips to Get Started By Tia Blanco professional surfer

First, when I am talking to people unfamiliar with surfing, they usually are afraid of the waves or the sharks. It is important for beginners to do their research. You should find a mellow beach for beginners and make sure the waves are not too big. It is smart to go with a friend. Therefore, if anything happens, you will have someone there to help you or get help for you. Also, I think it is reasonable for people to be afraid of sharks. I am afraid of sharks! However, I think there is a huge misconception; I do not think that sharks want to eat us. If they did want to eat us, I believe there would be way more attacks. Just think how many surfers are out in the water every day and how rare shark attacks really are. Secondly, people may be nervous to start surfing because they are confused. That goes back to doing more research. Find a surf shop closest to you, and they will hook you up with equipment suitable for you. Do not be afraid to ask them or the beach locals questions. Third, people may not try the sport because they are unmotivated. We all have obligations, but everyone can make time for something


important. You do not live forever. If surfing is something you really want to try, do not wait. You will regret it if you do. Being a professional surfer and traveling the world is extremely enjoyable and exciting to me. However, it takes a lot of hard work. I try to surf every single day, and I train four to five times a week. Also, it is very important to have a healthy diet. I think that diet plays a huge role in my surfing. In addition to living a vegan lifestyle, I try to eat as cleanly as possible. My diet is filled with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, grains, and legumes. With my hard work, I hope to one day make the World Surf League and compete against the best female surfers in the world. If I achieve this goal, then many of my dreams would come true. I would be able to surf the best waves around the world and gain experiences of a lifetime. I am so fortunate that my job happens to be my passion in life. I encourage all people to follow their passions in life so that they can be happy. I believe that the highest level of success is happiness. Go surfing! Tia Blanco, a Trestles local, is one of the hottest up-and-coming West Coast surfers. This graceful goofy-foot is a member of the prestigious Surfing America team and is a Reef ambassador. Committed to Surfing America Prime and NSSA events, Tia enjoys painting and yoga while living a vegan lifestyle.

“Surfing allows me to be

in the ocean, ride waves, feel the sunshine, and stay active. I love it. It is a way I can relieve my stress and feel one with nature.”


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Richie Rich and Sequestered actor

Brooke Wexler On taking risks to pursue a dream, looking to movies for inspiration, and being passionate in what we do Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? Brooke Wexler: I would say the hardest obstacle I’ve had to overcome was the fear of failure. In order to succeed in your grandest aspirations, you most likely need to step outside your comfort zone and take risks. By moving to L.A. from Toronto with the dream of becoming an actress, I took that risk and many times thought maybe it’s just going to stay a dream, but I built up my confidence, worked hard, persevered, and now it’s a reality! An obstacle that is self-manipulated is usually the hardest to overcome. RP: What inspires you? BW: Movies. Not only because that is what I’ve chosen to do with my life, but also because there are so many inspirational and thought-provoking stories told through film that many could relate to. Whenever I need inspiration, and that can be with anything in my life—relationships, work, school, etc.—I turn to a movie that has struck a chord with me. There will always be someone going through the same thing as you, and that is what acting does: helps you create a relationship with characters and stories that don’t exist, and helps you find your place.

“I have goals, and I will stick to them until they are achieved.” RP: How do you stay healthy? BW: I try to eat healthy and exercise regularly. I am definitely someone who believes what you put into your

body matters, so I try to limit if not completely cut out processed foods and eat organically. I am also certified in yoga training and believe in finding an activity or sport that you are passionate about in order to help stay fit and healthy. RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? BW: Overcoming failure is a challenge in this profession, but the rewards always outweigh the negatives. The feeling I get when I receive good feedback, [when I] book a job, or when I’m truly proud of my work outweigh other moments. There is also something to be said for being passionate in what you do. I know I am not the type of person to give up and be

happy with an alternative. I have goals, and I will stick to them until they are achieved. Family does help with the bad times, though, especially laughing at my crazy little brother, who is three years old. RP: What projects are you working on? BW: I am waiting on the release of Richie Rich and attending school at Pepperdine University for media production. Only recently have I been able to have the time to start auditioning again, so hopefully the next big thing will click soon! Brooke Wexler stars in the Richie Rich television series coming to Netflix and has appeared in Sequestered, on Crackle.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

“Failure is just a part of life. . . . You use it to grow."

model and someone that I aspire to be like in life. People that do good in the world or that want to do good, that have good intentions and want to help other people, and people that aren’t concerned with themselves but more [with] others and helping in service of others—that inspires me. RP: How do you stay healthy? DA: That’s hard. It really is, because I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. I love chocolate, I love sugar, all that stuff. But I’ve learned to kind of not eat it but just treat myself every now and then with something. Because if you avoid it completely, then I personally go crazy. Then I binge and eat everything. I just try to eat things in moderation and find exercise that I enjoy, because I’m not a gym person. I cannot go to the gym and run on the treadmill and do weights for two hours. It’s the most boring thing in the world for me, so I found martial arts. I love karate. I like boxing. Just finding things that you enjoy and getting exercise out of them as opposed to just hitting the gym.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Isolated Victim actor

Daniella Alonso On aspiring to be like her grandmother, accommodating her sweet tooth, and accepting failure Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What inspires you? Daniella Alonso: The person that inspires me and has inspired me my whole life is my grandmother. She’s strong, head of the household, the person everyone turns to, the one that can solve problems. She’s just so warm and caring, loving, but at the same time very strong and can do anything, in my eyes. A great role

RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? DA: I think failure is just a part of life. You can’t avoid it in anything. I just accept it as a part of life and something that’s going to happen, and you use it to grow. You use it, you learn from it, and you grow from it. You develop a thick skin from it. I guess just accepting it is the thing. I don’t really look at it as a failure. I look at them as learning lessons and things you grow from but not really a failure, because that’s life. What are you going to do? You can’t do anything about it. RP: What projects are you working on? DA: I have a couple of films that are coming out. I have a film that I shot in the Dominican Republic which I am so proud of. It’s called Isolated Victim. It was the most life-changing, beautiful experience of my life, shooting in the Dominican Republic. I have a film called Re-Kill, which is a zombie/apocalyptic film. And Mall Cop 2 coming out in April, which is just a fun family comedy. It’s going to be such a great project, and aside from those films, [I’m] back in L.A. for pilot season, and we’ll see what happens. Daniella Alonso can be seen in the new movies Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Isolated Victim, and Re-Kill.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? Annie Wersching: The hardest obstacle I’ve ever had to overcome in my life is losing my mom four years ago. I wouldn’t even say that I’ve overcome it, really. I don’t imagine that I ever will. I was an only child growing up, and my father passed away when I was twelve, so for most of my life, it was just me and my momma. We were really, really close. Learning to live in the world without her has been incredibly hard. At first, it didn’t make any sense—how to do it, to live without her—but you slowly get somewhat used to it. Unfortunately. Biggest thing I’ve ever dealt with, for sure. RP: What inspires you? AW: Newness inspires me. New opportunities. New places. New experiences. Learning new things, new skills. New roles! Nothing gets me more excited and inspired than something new.

“There’s really no point in letting failure get the best of you. Better to just let it go and move on.” RP: How do you stay healthy? AW: The biggest key for me to stay healthy is sleep. If I start to feel run-down or like I’m going to get sick, I know I need sleep—stat. I can sometimes keep a sickness at bay with a good night’s sleep! Also, pineapple juice helps if I’m feeling a sore throat coming on. RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure?

Bosch and 24 actor

Annie Wersching On losing her mom, the curative powers of a good night’s sleep, and getting used to rejection Interview: Robert Piper

AW: Maybe it’s part of being an actor and getting so used to rejection, but I usually allow myself a day, occasionally two, of feeling down. And then it’s time to move on! Life is so short. And so much of this business is out of your control; there’s really no point in letting failure get the best of you. Better to just let it go and move on. RP: What projects are you working on? AW: All ten episodes of my Amazon Studios series, Bosch, premiere February 13. I just wrapped an arc on Castle. I’ve just arrived in Atlanta to start working on The Vampire Diaries. And, of course, my two wee lads always keep me busy! Annie Wersching’s acting credits include 24, Bosch, The Vampire Diaries, and Castle.


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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Suits and 12 Monkeys actor

Amanda Schull On honoring our feelings, animal rescue with her mom, and the outcome of connecting mind and body Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Amanda Schull: I think much of my inspiration comes from nature. I feel alive when I take a long hike with my dog or when I just spend time outdoors, appreciating the beauty of this world. I even feel alive and inspired when I walk through farmers markets appreciating and learning about local fruits and vegetables. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? AS: I feel vulnerable when I am underprepared. This applies to underpreparedness with just about anything, especially work. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? AS: I would remind people on the planet that this is the only one we have, and we need to take care of it. I would want people to truly consider what we do and how we treat the earth, the ecosystems, and animals we share it with, and think about the legacy we want to leave behind. MP: How do you handle emotional pain? AS: When I am confronted with emotional pain, I try to allow myself the time to properly grieve. We are caring, emotional beings, and attempting to suppress pain will only cause it to negatively manifest itself in other ways. That being said, I am not one to feel sorry for myself. I believe it is healthy to honor one’s feelings and do the best we can to learn and grow from them moving forward. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?


AS: I have different routines for different types of chaos. When I find myself swamped with work and surrounded by people, I try to carve out time to walk my dog alone so I can organize my thoughts. I also have a routine with breathing and visualization techniques that I go through when I feel overwhelmed or nervous. MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? AS: I think one of my biggest lessons so far in life is that hard work really does pay off. It may not culminate in the way you expected it to, but I have found that when I really put my head down and apply myself, I often get a good result. MP: What truth do you know for sure? AS: I know that there is absolutely good in the world. MP: What is love for you? AS: Love for me is comfort. I feel most loved and most capable of giving love when I am around people or in places that make me comfortable. MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about? AS: I am a huge animal lover. Growing up, my mother and I rescued countless animals— dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, even a turtle. I have been accused of caring more about animals than I do about people. MP: Tell me about your yoga or mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life?

AS: I give myself a Pilates/yoga hybrid mat class almost every day. I also continue to take ballet classes. Both of these practices help me to be aware of my body, my center, and how I move, both with my physical space and my mental space. I also use that centering process I mentioned as a way to focus my mind and connect it to my physical body. I feel that when we are aware of our physical bodies, we become more aware of how we exist on the earth and more considerate of others with whom we share the earth. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. AS: I am on a TV show called 12 Monkeys; we premiered on January 16 on Syfy. I also have been working on a TV show called Suits on USA. Most projects outside of work have taken a backseat for the last few months because of our intense filming schedule. I look forward to getting involved with a few new things and organizations now that filming is on hiatus. MP: Why are these important to you? AS: The work that I have been doing on television has been important to me because I have had the opportunity to portray very strong, intelligent women. It has been such a privilege to depict a woman that is independent, unapologetic, and resilient on both shows. [The series] 12 Monkeys has allowed me to investigate this wonderful character, Dr. Cassandra Railly, and how she would react when faced with life-changing challenges. This has prompted me to think about my own life, choices I have and would make, and the impact I would like to make on the world.

“We are caring, emotional beings, and attempting to suppress pain will only cause it to negatively manifest itself in other ways.”


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Black or White and Falling Skies actor

Mpho Koaho

On the vulnerable nature of acting, investing in youth programs, and his golfing meditation Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Golf is my state of peace, though. The tranquility of a golf course, all of the trees, the oxygen. It puts me right at ease.”

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Mpho Koaho: I come alive at night. I’m such a night owl. I would say music, film, and talented people inspire me. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? MK: Acting makes me feel vulnerable. Especially depending on the type of emotion I’m portraying in a scene. As an actor, you’re putting yourself out there when you perform. You’re bound to experience feelings of vulnerability because of this.

writing process puts me in a good place. Recording the music is the release of however I felt in the song. MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? MK: “Everything happens for a reason.” I believe in this at the highest level. MP: What truth do you know for sure? MK: We are all born, and then we die. Make sure you enjoy yourself while on this earth.

MK: I have been attempting to meditate more. Golf is my state of peace, though. The tranquility of a golf course, all of the trees, the oxygen. It puts me right at ease. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. MK: We are finishing up the fifth and final season of our series Falling Skies. I have been doing a bunch of press/promo stuff for our film Black or White. MP: Why are these important to you?

MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about?

MK: The television show has really progressed my understanding of what it takes to run a show. I plan to make my own projects in the future, both film and television. Black or White was the best experience I’ve had on set my entire career. It really reminded me of why I love what I do. Plus I got to work with Kevin Costner.

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

MK: My friend Neil Donaldson and I have a movement called Stolen From Africa. We are involved in a lot of youth-based programs, fundraising, food drives, cultural festivals, etc. We have an SFA clothing line as well, and we donate a substantial portion of those profits to the youth programs we readily deal with. We are looking to do more work in Africa.

Mpho Koaho is an award-winning actor starring opposite Kevin Costner in Relativity Media’s Black or White. He also stars on the popular TNT series Falling Skies, returning for a final season in summer 2015. Other credits include the Canadian series Soul and the films The Salton Sea, Four Brothers, and Saw III.

MK: Actually, I very much dislike routine. Creating music is my chaos therapy. The

MP: Tell me about your mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life?

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? MK: “Love each other.” Human life doesn’t seem to have much significance, and I don’t know why. MP: How do you handle emotional pain? MK: I don’t know if there is any specific way to handle emotional pain. Loved ones, music, and self-medicating seem to help me.

MP: What is love for you? MK: “Love is giving someone the power to destroy you but trusting they won’t.”


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Being Awesome Is Inconvenient

By James Rouse , ND

“You may need to compassionately, yet courageously, wake up and look at your daily habits and study the outcomes they are teaching and giving you.” We are inciting and supporting a movement. A movement against mediocrity and a movement to support you in getting your awesome on, and you have all that you need to actualize your awesome. The road to awesome is less traveled, much more inspiring, and all about giving yourself permission to grow your life. Here is some empowering food for thought on your journey. At 6 a.m., what is more comfortable— continuing to lie on your pillow or getting up and putting on your running shoes? What is easier—opening a bag of chips or washing a bushel of kale? Is it more convenient to lead or follow? To grow, create, expand, and become more awesome in our livingness requires that we challenge the default button and blow away the malaise of mediocritychoosing and, instead, push the Not Easy button and wage an all-out campaign to create great! Our brains are programmed to seek ease and to make living, thinking, and doing more efficient. Knowing that roughly ninety-five percent of our daily living behaviors are habitual, it is easy to see how we can fall into a rut and lose our mission and vision


for growing, creating, and expressing a powerful living groove. In our brain’s quest to conserve energy, it goes about its business to make every routine a no-need-to-thinkabout-it habit as quickly as possible. As a “lights out” student here to affirm and demonstrate living your A game every day, you may need to compassionately, yet courageously, wake up and look at your daily habits and study the outcomes they are teaching and giving you. There is inspiring evidence from the scientific community suggesting that our morning routine can truly set the tone for the day. If you program your morning mind-set by the mainstream media, be clear that you are setting up a day of bad news. Anxiety, depression, overconsumption of empty calories, and defensiveness are likely to be your experience du jour. Don’t like that show? You have the power to tune in to the media of morning mindfulness and rock a new paradigm of infinite possibility. You can use the brain’s program to make habits to your advantage and leverage its power now. I have adopted a morning habit of five rituals that I lovingly refer to as my High 5.

Join the movement against mediocrity

Here’s my morning:


Up at 5 a.m. Early-morning risers have less insomnia and are more productive, happy, and successful.


Meditate, pray, visualize, affirm, and set goals/ intentions for the day till 5:30 a.m. Each of these practices will expand your brain, lower stress, and make you more brilliant in every way.


Move with zeal and gratitude. Morning movement will increase BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor)—Miracle-Gro for your brain—and increase dopamine, which will increase your confidence and motivation.


Eat lean proteins and veggies for breakfast. Breakfast eaters crush every marker for health, from weight management to lower risk for diabetes and heart disease.


PDK. Perform a public display of kindness before 9 a.m. It improves immune function for you and all who watch!


Ignite evermore awesome with the sciencebased support of tulsi, turmeric, and ashwagandha, my favorite daily disciplines. Live like you mean it, and crush the force field of flat. Make “lights out” living your habit for life!

THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Modern Family and Sirens actor

Kevin Daniels

On his love of singing, talking to the universe, and the Alexander Technique Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Kevin Daniels: Listening to great music, especially great singing. In fact, I love singing. I just have a small problem with pitch, tune, melody, and lyrics. But that’s never stopped me. I use singing as a warm-up before big scenes I have to do on set. It’s also great to make people less nervous. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? KD: Whenever I forget that I am enough, even in my imperfection. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? KD: “In this moment, you have everything you need, and life is just a series of moments.” MP: How do you handle emotional pain? KD: I sing. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? KD: I was raised with a strong belief in prayer. And that’s never really left me. I find it great to close your eyes, breathe, and just talk to the universe. It really comforts me. MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? KD: “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” Oftentimes, we feel not worthy or we don’t want to bother people. We forget to ask for help or what we need or would like. My grandmother used to say that quote to us as kids. It’s kind of always stuck with me. MP: What is love for you? KD: God is love and love is everywhere,

however you need to see it or experience it, whatever name you have for it. MP: What causes are you passionate about? KD: Helping the homeless and feeding starving kids. I feel like we have such wealth and abundance in our country that it’s a shame to do so little about poverty. MP: Tell me about your mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life? KD: I learned about the power of the mind over the body at The Juilliard School when they taught us the Alexander Technique. It’s all about energy flow and releasing tension. I still use it to this day. “Find your feet. Free your neck.” MP: Tell me about your latest projects. KD: I’m on a situation comedy called Sirens; we are entering our second season. It was

created by Denis Leary and Bob Fisher based on a British show of the same name. It’s set in the world of paramedics, and it’s surprisingly sweet and bitingly funny. I’m very proud to be a part of the show and so happy and lucky to work with this group of talented actors. I also have a fun recurring role on Modern Family. MP: Why are these important to you? KD: They say the best things in life are free. But the second-best things are very, very expensive. Seriously, I love my job, and I love to work with like-minded folks. It has been great! Kevin Daniels stars on USA Network’s hit Sirens and has a recurring role on ABC’s Modern Family. A graduate of Juilliard, Kevin is also known for his work on Broadway as Magic Johnson in Magic/ Bird and for the film Ladder 49 opposite John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Supermodel, actor, author

Patricia Velasquez On trusting in the universe, hot yoga, and the purest love

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Patricia Velasquez: Anything that propels me to create, like [my book, Straight Walk]. It kept me inspired for almost four years. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? PV: Kids suffering, with no opportunities for lack of having their basic human needs [met], like food, health, and education, but at the same time, [it] motivates me to keep fighting for them, for the ones less fortunate. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? PV: “The universe only gives you what you can handle, so trust that whatever is happening to you is exactly what you need. Just trust. Have certainty!” MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? PV: I do hot yoga. I try to keep one hour a day where I have space to reflect and meditate and take care of me and what is going on inside. This way, I can be a better person to be around. MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? PV: It is possible to have second chances. When I thought everything was lost, when I reached bottom and things didn’t go my way, the universe gave me a second chance.


MP: What truth do you know for sure? PV: The universe always gives you what you need to grow into the person you are destined to become. MP: How do you handle emotional pain? PV: I try to go through it; understanding is going to take me to a better place. And I do hot yoga. MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about? PV: Many years ago, I started a foundation [Wayuu Taya Foundation] to help improve the life of Latin American indigenous people, providing them with food, medical attention, education, and also focusing on sustainability. MP: What is love for you? PV: For me, love is a pure, unconditional, nonjudgmental feeling that I feel towards some people and some parts of nature. Most of us love, but the purest love is the one where we take ego out of the equation, and that is the hard part of love, keeping ego aside. MP: What is the most important thing for us to do as beings? PV: To be as good as we can be. MP: Tell me about your latest projects.

Straight Walk, and my goal with it is to inspire other people to live their truth, whatever that truth may be, and to let the reader know that he or she is not alone. Also, I have a movie called Liz in September that will be released in the USA very shortly. Directed by the Cannes award winner and Venezuelan director Fina Torres. And I have a beauty line called Taya that sells across the world but in the U.S. is sold on HSN. And what I love the most about this project is that the key ingredients come from programs that are sustainable, organic, and environmentally friendly, from the indigenous communities of the Amazon. MP: Why are these important to you? PV: They are the result of years of work and desire to make them happen. And each one connects to a part of me that is important. Taya connects to sustainability, environment, and nature. The book connects to the desire to help other people that may have gone or are going through something similar that I have gone through. And the movie connects to my part as an artist, what I love doing as an artist. Patricia Velasquez is a Latina supermodel, actress, businesswoman, and philanthropist. She released her memoir, Straight Walk: A Supermodel’s Journey to Finding Her Truth, via Post Hill Press.

PV: My latest project is my book, called

Photo: Jenny Woodman

“ The purest love is the one where we take ego out of the equation, and that is the hard part of love, keeping ego aside.”


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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Jane the Virgin actor

Andrea Navedo On overcoming a tough upbringing, finding empowerment in spiritual books, and staying healthy and balanced Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in your life? Andrea Navedo: I grew up on welfare in the South Bronx; I had a very tough upbringing in that neighborhood. Reading books like The Four Agreements, A Return to Love, and The Power of Now helped me to overcome many internal battles. Had I not worked on myself, put value in myself, I would not have the loving and supportive people that I have right now in my life, including my husband and children. My life would be a reflection of my childhood, but it isn’t; it is a reflection of the dreams that I had as a child for a better life. When I look around and see the beautiful people and wonderful surroundings that are now my reality, I know that I have overcome so much. I still have plenty of fight left in me. RP: What inspires you? AN: I am inspired by positive people who have overcome difficult obstacles, motivational/spiritual books, nature, and my kids. RP: How do you stay healthy? AN: I try to get seven to eight hours of sleep. Wash my hands a lot, take a few supplements, like omega-3 and vitamin D. When I feel a cold coming on, I pop some zinc. I do my best to eat a low-sodium, high-fiber diet. I drink mostly water or coconut water. I don’t smoke, no drugs, and drink red wine occasionally. RP: How do you stay balanced? AN: To stay balanced, I exercise by walking and taking private Pilates lessons and salsa dance lessons. I also meditate and spend quality time with my kids by baking or doing crafts, hiking, going to the theater and movies. RP: What projects are you currently working on? AN: I am a series regular on the Golden Globe-nominated show Jane the Virgin, on

The CW. Also, this year, I have a movie due in the theaters called Superfast! It’s a spoof on The Fast and the Furious; I play the Michelle Rodriguez character. And out now on DVD is a movie called Once upon a Time in Queens in which I play opposite Paul Sorvino. Andrea Navedo is a series regular on Jane the Virgin and has appeared in Law & Order, Remember Me, and Washington Heights.

‛‛When I look around and see the beautiful people and wonderful surroundings that are now my reality, I know that I have overcome so much.’’


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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Being Mary Jane actor

Lisa Vidal On music, God, and attitude

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Lisa Vidal: Music makes me come alive. I love to sing and dance! Watching a great movie with a great message. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? LV: Deceit and lying make me feel vulnerable. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? LV: “Put God first in your life, and you will live joyfully!” MP: How do you handle emotional pain? LV: I cry and pray and try to find the positive or the lesson for my pain. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? LV: I believe everything has a solution, and I take it one day at a time or one thing at a time.

“You may have a plan, but life throws you curve balls.” MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? LV: You may have a plan, but life throws you curve balls. Put God first; his plan is better anyway. MP: What truth do you know for sure? LV: A positive attitude toward life is always better. MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about? LV: Anything that improves a child’s life.

MP: Tell me about your mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life? LV: I have quiet time with God in the morning. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. LV: Being Mary Jane is my current project; the second season begins February 3. I also have a film called Victor and am producing a few projects I’m developing. MP: Why are these important to you? LV: Because I get to be creative and touch other people’s lives. Lisa Vidal, an award-winning actor of Puerto Rican descent, stars on the popular BET series Being Mary Jane. She is most recognized for her work on The Division, ER, Third Watch, Southland, High Incident, and New York Undercover. PHOTO: MARC CARTWRIGHT ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 47

THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you?

The Dovekeepers producer and Touched by an Angel actor

Roma Downey: Nature. I love to be by the ocean and have always done my best thinking by the sea. The ebb and flow is like a brain massage and very calming. I am also inspired by seeing kindness in others. It touches me and reminds me to be kind as well. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? RD: Losing my glasses!

On being inspired by kindness, the centering ritual of tea, and starting the day in gratitude

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? RD: “People will never remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel. So be kind to each other.” MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space, and when you take time to pray or make a cuppa, you don’t have to live in reaction to a situation.”

RD: I pray. I try to find space to process with a walk on the beach, a hike in the hills. Nature is restorative. I also try not to overreact. I grew up in Ireland, and we are big tea drinkers, and I think it’s less about the tea itself and more about the ritual and the moment to prepare. Between stimulus and response, there is a space, and when you take time to pray or make a cuppa, you don’t have to live in reaction to a situation. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? RD: I do take time to pray. I also start my day in gratitude, and as my first foot hits the floor in the morning when I climb out of bed, I say “Thank,” and as the next foot hits the floor, I say “You,” and I say “Thank you” all the way to the bathroom. Starts the day in the right headspace and the right heart space! MP: What organizations are you passionate about? RD: I have been a spokesperson for Operation Smile for twenty years helping children with facial deformities. I also have worked with a children’s mission called Compassion International. Both are doing amazing work for the children of the world. MP: Tell me about your mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life? RD: I have morning prayers and a nighttime reflection. I also read the Bible daily. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. RD: We have The Dovekeepers for CBS, an epic miniseries based on the book by Alice Hoffman, premiering on March 31 and April 1. We also have A.D., an amazing twelve-hour series set in firstcentury Jerusalem for NBC premiering on April 5; Divine Inspiration, a show about everyday miracles for TLC; Little Boy opening in April; and Ben-Hur opening February 2016. You can see a common thread in all these projects produced under my banner company, LightWorkers Media, a division of United Artists Media Group. We at LightWorkers are committed to bringing inspirational projects to the screen. MP: Why are these important to you? RD: I believe it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.


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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

binge-watch an entire season of Breaking Bad or Gilmore Girls, pop a sleeping pill, and zonk out—all within a forty-eight-hour period. Additionally, I make a conscious effort to sporadically get fresh air, drink water, and keep my dog alive. The sooner I allow myself to feel the hurt and pain, the sooner the cloud lifts. Just like that Zoloft commercial. KY: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? HC: My daily routine usually involves waking up and writing down the first thoughts for half an hour while nursing a cup of green tea. I do this before turning on my electronics. All that noise distracts me from being an actual human being. KY: What truth do you know for sure?

Transparent and Community actor

Hank Chen On coming out, binge-watching as self-care, and the enormous impact of little shifts Interview: Karen Yin

Karen Yin: What makes you feel vulnerable? Hank Chen: Listening to people’s stories, particularly ones about coming out. As diverse as we are, every member of the LGBT community is uniquely connected in this way. Listening to these stories triggers the fear, hurt, anger, loneliness, love, profound sadness, and joy that I can map out in my own journey. Bonus points if you were raised religious. KY: How do you handle emotional pain? HC: I have a good cry, talk it out with a close friend, journal,

HC: That if he, or she, exists, God created you and wants you here. This is something I wrestled with as a child— growing up to believe that gay people weren’t welcome on this earth or in heaven. As I eventually fell in love for the first time and was forced to become the person I feared the most, lo and behold, the world didn’t end. Life is actually better when lived authentically. Imagine that! KY: What causes or organizations are you passionate about? HC: Antibullying advocacy, gay rights, and dog rescue. KY: Tell me about your mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life? HC: A lot of my mindfulness practice started from Leo Babauta’s blog, Zen Habits, which I started reading years ago. I started putting this advice into practice and was amazed at how big an impact little things can make on your life. Things like cleaning out thousands of e-mails, decluttering my closet,

cutting out sugar. I rescued a dog, got a roommate, started going to therapy, and whipped my spending habits into shape. Leo’s blogs inspired me to stop living in fear. This ultimately led me to start making YouTube videos as a creative outlet. Those videos launched me out of the closet and showed me who my real friends were. I guess that authenticity translated into something because, within a few months, I booked my first television job in New York on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

“As I eventually fell in love for the first time and was forced to become the person I feared the most, lo and behold, the world didn’t end. Life is actually better when lived authentically. Imagine that!” KY: Tell me about your latest projects and why they are important to you. HC: Currently appearing on Transparent on Amazon and in the upcoming season of Community, now on Yahoo. Being a part of something as special as Transparent is really an honor. The creator of that show is Jill Soloway, a producer on Six Feet Under, and watching that show helped me come out. Getting to work with Jill and being a part of something so incredibly landmark felt like something was coming full circle. She gives voices to people who may not get to see themselves reflected in society and validates them. Hank Chen is an actor and comedian. His numerous appearances in film and television include Amazon’s Golden Globe-winning Transparent, Yahoo’s Community, and ABC Family’s Baby Daddy.


Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life?

American Crime actor and Scandal director

Regina King On divorce as a journey, staying a family, and mind over matter Interview: Robert Piper

Regina King: Divorce. I would like to believe that most people don’t get married anticipating divorce. When I reached that crossroad, I felt like such a failure. After years of therapy together, I realized that staying together was emotionally destructive. My husband didn’t want the divorce, but I did. So there was a lot of bitterness initially. We got to the space where we understood that we have the most important thing in the world in common; no one else shared that commonality. Our son is priceless, and in order to give him the best, we have to be better to each other. Although we are still divorced, we still call each other “family.” It was a journey to get there, but it’s a beautiful place to be. RP: What inspires you?

“I try to turn most things into an exercise. Sometimes, I can’t get a workout in, so I will do things like park further away at the grocery store or take the stairs.”

RK: My family. RP: How do you stay healthy? RK: I try to turn most things into an exercise. Sometimes, I can’t get a workout in, so I will do things like park further away at the grocery

store or take the stairs. It may not be much, but I’ve convinced myself it does something. Mind over matter. Ha! But my regular workouts consist of hiking, Cardio Barre, and light weight training. I try to eat well, but I don’t deny myself the foods I love. I just eat them in moderation. RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? RK: I don’t think something is a failure if you put your all into it. I’m a big fan of the saying “Nothing beats a failure but a try.” RP: What projects are you working on? RK: In addition to my role in the new ABC drama American Crime, I’m also directing for episodic television series, such as Scandal for ABC and Being Mary Jane on BET. Regina King is well known for her roles in feature films, including Jerry Maguire and Ray, as well as the television drama Southland. Regina can be seen in the new ABC series American Crime and has stepped behind the camera to direct an episode of ABC’s Scandal.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Interview: Robert Piper

The Originals and Once upon a Time actor

Sebastian Roché On inspiration to be better, being extremely active, and resiliency in work and life Robert Piper: What inspires you? Sebastian Roché: The greatest source of inspiration for me recently has been my wife; she is the love of my life, my best friend, and my most ardent supporter. I am lucky enough to be married to someone who I believe in totally and who believes in me totally. Her every-morning smiles and encouragements inspire me to be a better man and to work harder every day. RP: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life?

RP: How do you stay healthy? SR: I am very careful about what I eat, and I exercise pretty much every day, whether it be rock-climbing, running, Muay Thai, yoga, horse riding, stand-up paddleboarding, or plain and simple working out. I am extremely active and conscious of not eating any processed foods. Everything fresh, organic, the old-fashioned way and without GMOs— and I love to cook! RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? SR: “Failure” isn’t a word I really use. I am a very resilient person; I bounce back extremely fast, and I believe in myself and my talent as an artist. Acting is a lifelong love affair, and

I am passionate and respect my craft to the utmost degree, which gives me the strength to move on from adversity in my work. The same applies to my life in other areas. RP: What projects are you working on? SR: I am working on two shows that I love. I play Mikael Mikaelson, the original vampire father, on The CW’s The Originals and King Stefan, Maleficent’s ex-lover, on ABC’s Once upon a Time. It has been a wonderful experience on both shows. I have also finished and am very proud of a movie called Phantom Halo, directed by Antonia Bogdanovich and with Thomas Sangster, Luke Kleintank, and Rebecca Romijn. It is a beautiful gem of a film. I can’t wait for the fans to see it. Sebastian Roché can be seen in A Walk among the Tombstones, The Originals, and Once upon a Time.

I am lucky enough to be married to someone who I believe in totally and who believes in me totally.

SR: I would have to say that my divorce was an incredibly difficult experience in my life, but I am truly thankful for it. It made me a stronger and better person.


“ Exercising

Golden Globe and NAACP Image Award winner

can exorcise emotional pain.”

Regina Taylor On living a creative life, prayer and meditation, and celebrating generational and multicultural dialogues Center in L.A. and the Primo Center in Chicago. Kovler Diabetes Center in Chicago. MP: Tell me about your mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life? RT: Speak what I have to be grateful for when I get up and when I lie down to sleep. Meditation and prayer. I pray that I can move through all with grace. I believe I can move through all and not only survive but thrive. MP: Tell me about your latest projects.

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

RT: Dig is an action-adventure thriller set around an archeological dig in Israel. Starring Jason Isaacs and Anne Heche, it is produced and written by Gideon Raff, Homeland, and Tim Kring, Heroes. There’s a cliff-hanger at the end of every episode.

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you?

about it by opening yourself to loved ones or a professional.

Regina Taylor: I love that I live a creative life. It is in the work that I do—acting, writing, and directing. It’s also in the mindfulness of every part of my life, from a meal that I prepare for family and friends to putting my imagination to work in a garden.

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? RT: Hard rain falls in every season. Sometimes it can beat you down; you have to try to learn how to take sustenance from it to grow.

Stop. Reset. is a play that I’ve written and I am directing at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in May. The conversation starts out about books and how technology is changing. It takes in the astronomical rate of technological, social, economic changes and who we are becoming in order to keep up.

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable?

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

MP: Why are these important to you?

RT: The beginning of a project or anything. How to take that first step. And the ending of anything. How to release what you know and leap into the unknown.

RT: I learn something all the time—rearranging what I thought I knew before.

RT: I like traveling around the globe to shoot Dig; I like being a part of a show that is big and darkly beautiful. The play places me in Chicago celebrating the communities engaging in generational and multicultural dialogues. Both pieces are challenging and entertaining.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? RT: “We are all connected.”

MP: What is something we might not know about you? RT: I am very practical, but at the same time, I am a dreamer and romantic.

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about?

RT: Changing my mind-set. Exercising can exorcise emotional pain. Prayer and meditation. Visualization. Being able to talk

RT: My mother died of ovarian cancer; I support organizations that raise awareness of this silent killer. Women’s shelters—Jenesse


Regina Taylor is a director, playwright, and award-winning actor. She will next star as Ruth Ridell, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, in the highly anticipated USA Network series Dig. Regina’s TV and film credits include I’ll Fly Away, The Negotiator, Courage under Fire, and Lean on Me. PHOTO: WALTER KURTZ ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 53

THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? Thomas Q. Jones: The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome was being from my small coal-mining town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. My mother was a coal miner for nineteen years, and the expectations of making it out of my town were slim to none. No one had ever made it big from my town until I was able to make it to the NFL and now the big screen. The journey from my town to where I am now has taught me how to be resilient and fearless, and for that, I will forever be grateful. RP: What inspires you? TQJ: My inspiration is my hometown. I feel that because I’m representing my very overlooked region of Virginia, I have to keep accomplishing my goals to show everyone there that you can truly become whatever you believe with hard work and dedication. RP: How do you stay healthy? TQJ: I’m a gym rat, I have to admit. I live in the gym, and now that I don’t have to get beat up for a living, I can truly enjoy taking care of myself without worrying about breaking my leg or getting paralyzed. While I was in the NFL, I would eat five times a day. I only eat twice a day now, and I box and play basketball every day. I’m extremely happy with my body and mind right now. RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? TQJ: I feel like there’s no such thing as failure. When something doesn’t go the way I want it to, I learn from it, and I accomplish more than I initially expected to. I look at failure as the fertilizer to success. RP: What projects are you working on? Interview: Robert Piper Filmmaker and Being Mary Jane actor

Thomas Q. Jones On making it out of a small town, post-NFL self-care, and a positive perspective on failure

“I look at failure as the fertilizer to success.” INDEPENDENTLYME.COM 54 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

TQJ: I’m working on a lot of projects at the moment. I was cast as Gabrielle Union’s love interest on the BET series Being Mary Jane. I was also cast for the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, directed by F. Gary Gray, as well as the lead role in a romantic comedy entitled Getting Even. My production company, Independently Major Entertainment, has two feature films in the process of being funded and a documentary called The NFL: The Gift or the Curse in production. I also developed a technology company called Castar Applications. I am launching my first social networking application, called Castar, in February. I’m really into technology, and I feel that Castar will be able to compete with all of the major platforms in the market. Thomas Q. Jones is a former NFL player and actor whose acting credits include Straight Outta Compton, Being Mary Jane, and Getting Even.


Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? Tim Matheson: Going through a divorce after twentyfive years of marriage was the most difficult time for me. It was challenging to reorient my life from being centered around family, a family home, and a long-term relationship. And it soon became obvious to me that I had to process and keep my relationship with my ex-wife separate from that of my children. They didn’t need or want too much personal information about our relationship. Change is good, and ultimately, creating a new path at this point in my life is energizing, creative, and rejuvenating. RP: What inspires you? TM: I am inspired by music, travel, great architecture, and good, healthy food. I look for opportunities to learn about history, art, and cooking. When I learn, I grow.

Tim Matheson Director, producer, and Hart of Dixie actor

On his most difficult time, the Whole Life Challenge, and never wallowing in disappointment

Interview: Robert Piper

I meditate on positive energy, goals, and long-term happiness.

RP: How do you stay healthy? TM: I am pretty relentless about exercise. I love working out and doing cardiovascular workouts. I’m now doing the Whole Life Challenge to discover the unhealthy patterns in my diet and to adjust them to more reasonable levels. And more yoga! RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? TM: I allow myself to have my feelings of disappointment and discouragement, but never to sit and wallow in them. I meditate on positive energy, goals, and long-term happiness. Life has its ups and downs, so to expect otherwise is setting yourself up for disappointment. RP: What projects are you working on? TM: I have two exciting projects that I am working on. For starters, Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea. This is a true story of a man whose boat sank while he was solo-sailing across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. It is a story of courage, ingenuity, humor, and the ability to change. I hope to turn it into a movie this year. And also, Weather Permitting, a feature based on an Iranian film which I have the American rights to. It is a day in the life of a famed movie director and his assistant on the set of his latest movie. The assistant is going through a life crisis, and the larger-than-life director along with the eccentric cast— several actors with Down Syndrome—and crazed crew members give the young assistant the insight, humor, and courage to solve the challenges that he is facing in his life. I am presently finding the perfect writer for the American script. Tim Matheson is an actor, director, and producer best known for his portrayal of Eric “Otter” Stratton in Animal House. He provided the voice of the lead character in Jonny Quest as well as the voice of Jace in Space Ghost. Tim stars opposite Rachel Bilson on The CW’s Hart of Dixie. TIM-MATHESON.COM


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Interview: Maranda Pleasant


Ballet Songwriter and guitar player

Gary Kemp On harnessing vulnerability, having OCD, and letting go of bad experiences

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Gary Kemp: Road cycling, especially up mountains. It’s the heady mixture of endorphins and aesthetics that I love. My wife does it too, and being with her in extreme but beautiful conditions adds to the experience and our relationship. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? GK: Being onstage is a way of harnessing your vulnerability and using the adrenaline to be creative. It’s a very vulnerable place to be— technically, emotionally, and physically—but I love it.

my first failure; I had to learn to accept that and support the people involved. The court case brought against me by three of the band was awful, but learning how to let it go, move on, and come back together as friends and creative partners was a life lesson above any other. Do not dehumanize others. MP: What truth do you know for sure? GK: I love my children unconditionally.

That and being found out as a fraud!

MP: What is love for you?

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

GK: Family, support, priority, and understanding.

GK: “Don’t give pain to others,” what else?

MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about?

MP: Do you have a daily routine? GK: My life is routine-obsessed. I’m OCD, and if I’m not at home, I always get up early and exercise. I don’t crash and burn at night, not these days, so early-ish to bed. At home, I have three small boys who bring me down to earth with school runs and endless meals.

GK: Coram. I’m a Londoner, and this London-based charity of a few hundred years’ experience looks after children who need fostering, children who are “invisible.”

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life?

Nordoff Robbins gives music therapy to people who need mental healing in some way. The results are astounding. Music gives voices to people struggling to come out of themselves.

GK: There have been so many, all of them out of pain. The breakup of my first marriage was

MP: What’s something few people know about Spandau Ballet?


Being onstage is a way of harnessing your vulnerability and using the adrenaline to be creative. It’s a very vulnerable place to be—technically, emotionally, and physically— but I love it.”

GK: After Soul Boys of the Western World, I think they know it all. Even the metaphorical warts. We are working-class lads who still can’t believe we are so lucky to have had what we achieved. That and we are really good mates with Duran, not enemies. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. GK: It’s all about Spandau Ballet right now as we’re embarking on a world tour for the rest of the year. After promoting our movie, it’s time to hit the stages, and we are so excited about it. Spandau Ballet has sold over twenty-five million records and had six multiplatinum albums and twenty-three hit singles. Their career highlights include the early singles “To Cut a Long Story Short” and “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)” and the globe-trotting smashes “True,” “Gold,” and “Only When You Leave.” PHOTO: SCARLET PAGE

International DJ

Zen Freeman On starting from scratch, everything’s potential to inspire, and staying active on tour Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? Zen Freeman: I’d say the hardest obstacle that I’ve had to overcome would be when I first moved from England to Los Angeles in my early twenties; I had to start again from scratch. It’s an obstacle that I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. Starting from scratch, making new connections, and making ends meet while fighting to pursue your dreams.

I can. I love surfing, soccer, tennis, and snowboarding. If I’m on tour, I try to take advantage of the local surf spot or a local soccer game. I’m not really the hotel-gym type. I also try to make sure I’m eating healthy. RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure?

ZF: I am inspired by so many different things—music from different eras, various songs I might just randomly hear on the radio, and different people I work with. I feel like just about anything can be inspirational if you let it.

ZF: In my work, you come up against possible failure often, where the song I’m working on gets shut down on its way up the ladder to release, or maybe the dance floor stops and stares as I drop my new tune. In those circumstances, I don’t let it get to me; I just take it as constructive criticism and try to learn from my mistakes. You can’t have a fragile ego. You just have to keep learning and experimenting. Take it all in stride.

RP: How do you stay healthy?

RP: What projects are you working on?

ZF: I stay healthy by staying active when

ZF: I’m concentrating on making original

RP: What inspires you?


dance music and remixing from the studio here in Los Angeles amidst a very busy North American tour and club residencies, usually a few different cities each week. I am also in the process of doing music supervision for various notable European fashion brands for their U.S. installations. And a bit of TV and film score and source on the side. And I have my lovely wife and kids at home. So it’s a busy time, but I’m enjoying it. It just shows, those obstacles that we have to overcome are often so worth it. Zen Freeman is a DJ who has produced events all over the world, performing alongside top musicians, such as Katy Perry, Tiësto, and Justin Timberlake.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Better Call Saul actor

Patrick Fabian On the power of live music, being connected to emotions, and his dog-walking meditation

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Patrick Fabian: Well, I have a lot of appetites and try to revel in almost everything, so inspiration can even come from a wellappointed submarine sandwich, you know? Potentially in the form of The Godmother from Santa Monica’s Bay Cities [Italian Deli &] Bakery. But for a primal “Wow, every sense is on fire!” moment, it would have to be live music. Being a part of the crowd with incredible musicians onstage summoning the muse and delivering that to us—doesn’t matter if it’s an orchestra, two bluegrass banjo pickers, a solo singer, piano player, or Bruce Springsteen—when it all comes together, you can just feel as if you are a part of something bigger and grander than yourself. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? PF: I’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters, ages four and two. It is amazing how inadequate I can feel in being able to protect, teach, and take care of them. I’m not talking about a paranoid the-world-is-adangerous-place kind of way. I mean when they just give me a simple look or ask me something like “Where do stars come from, Daddy?” I’m opened up in a way I had not thought possible. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?


PF: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could be a little less judgmental and a little more forgiving of each other’s humanness? We’re only here a short time. Let’s pay more attention to the good and not the bad in one another.”

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life?

PF: Just so we’re clear, I’m not zen by any stretch of the imagination. However, what I’ve read about change being the only constant is a concept that I can grab onto and have used quite a lot. The notion that “this too shall pass” is comforting, both in knowing that whatever pain I’m in will change into something else and allowing myself to experience the pain, not trying to blunt it or brush it aside. It’s important to feel and to be connected to your emotions, whichever way they play out.

PF: That I am not the center of the universe. And it’s a lesson that I keep having to learn; it’s my ongoing work, I’d say. And being in a career that is predicated on a degree of self-absorption, that is a tricky thing to negotiate sometimes. But I have found, without a doubt, that when I manage to get outside myself and not make myself the center, I’m always taken care of in whatever situation I’m in, even if I’m slow to recognize it. It’s counterintuitive thinking on some level and not consistently easy to do. I find, however, it’s a much more freeing way to live. It certainly beats walking around with the “Don’t you know who I think I am?” voice in your head. I find that only leads me down dark monkey-mind paths and patterns of behavior that benefits no one.

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about?

PF: I hit my knees every morning and every night to give thanks for being alive and all the blessings I have. And in the middle of chaos, it’s been suggested to me to stop and truly look around, notice the sky, the trees, the grass, and realize you’re part of it all, which is hard when you really want to focus on what you think is bothering you. However, one of the smartest things I do is check in with my awesome wife, who is really good at screwing my head back on when needed.

PF: I’m an ambassador for Best Friends [Animal Society], an incredible organization that’s devoted to the welfare of animals—in particular, trying to help make every animal shelter a no-kill shelter. My two dogs were rescues, and I’m a firm believer in finding every dog or cat a home.

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

MP: Tell me about your yoga or mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life?

“Let’s pay more attention to the good and not the bad in one another.”

PF: Walking my dogs twice a day provides me with an opening and closing of my day, and I’ve learned to use those walks for a walking meditation, which had never occurred to me until a friend gave me Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn years ago. It helped me take advantage of moments that already existed in my day and turn them into something more expansive. I also swim four to five times a week, and once you get rolling into a rhythm of breathing and movement, your mind can truly untether, which I find so refreshing. MP: What is the most important thing for us to do as beings? PF: Be honest and kind in our actions. MP: What is love for you? PF: Hanging out at the ocean, watching my wife and little girls play in the sand. I know, I threw up a little too, but it’s true. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. PF: I’m incredibly lucky to be a part of Better Call Saul on AMC. It’s the prequel to Breaking Bad, and so far, it’s launched to great success. We had a blast making it in New Mexico, and it’s been thrilling to watch the excitement leading up to, and during, the first season. I play Howard Hamlin, head of a well-to-do law firm. And I get to work with such great people—Bob Odenkirk, Michael McKean, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, and Michael Mando. Its creators, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, have put together a family out there in the desert. I’m so fortunate. Plus, I get to wear gorgeous suits, so no complaints here. Tune in Mondays on AMC. MP: Why are these important to you? PF: I think any actor will tell you that they always assume they’ll never work again, so every job becomes important. But Better Call Saul is a real capstone for me, a once-in-a-career opportunity, I think. I’m so happy they decided to invite me to their party. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.


Think Originally An interview with Glenn Aparicio Parry, founder of the SEED Institute and

president of Circle for Original Thinking Interview: Jill V. Mangino

“Original thinking, as I see it, is a reclamation project. It recovers the full continuum of consciousness, retaining the best of modern and ancient mind.”


o think originally—as in thinking new thoughts that have never been thought or said before—is, according to author Glenn Aparicio Parry, largely an illusion. So, too, is the idea of linear human progress. Can we recover the ancient ways of thinking without losing the best of modern thinking and restore our world future to wholeness? In his new book, Original Thinking, Glenn invites us to reconnect with this living, original source—nature and her interconnected elements and cycles. He believes a communion of old and new, rational and intuitive, masculine and feminine creates the tapestry of truly original thinking. I spoke with him about these concepts and more. Jill V. Mangino: What exactly is “original thinking”? Glenn Aparicio Parry: The word “thinking” comes from thanking in many languages, because originally, our worldview was one of immersive wholeness. We once felt blessed and protected by Mother Earth. Our thinking connected us to nature, which is the true source of our consciousness, unlike today, when it separates us into individual egos. It was only after we developed abstract rational thought, which enabled great innovation and mastery over nature, that we lost our sense of place, our sense of participatory consciousness, our sense of being embodied in the whole. Original


thinking, as I see it, is a reclamation project. It recovers the full continuum of consciousness, retaining the best of modern and ancient mind. It is a unitive consciousness between time and place and between rational and intuitive. JVM: How has our “rational” mind influenced the world today? GAP: For the ancient Greeks, rational thought was the highest evolution of thought, but it was also the most beautiful form of thought yet to emerge. The original meaning of “rational” is from “ratio,” or a relationship between things. For the Greeks, what was beautiful was in divine proportion, called “golden mean” or “golden ratio.” This is important, because it indicates that rational thought was originally still connected to nature. JVM: Why do you believe we lost our connection to nature? Can progress and perennial and indigenous wisdom coexist? GAP: Progress and wisdom can more than coexist; they can merge if we allow what nature wants to happen rather than forge our own path against the current. JVM: Who are your greatest influences or personal heroes? GAP: Plato, Socrates, da Vinci, Emerson, Thoreau, Krishnamurti, Bohm, Rachel

Carson, Blavatsky. Among people I met— Grandfather Leon Secatero, Dan Moonhawk Alford, Tobasonakwut Kinew, Leroy Little Bear, David Abram, Linda Hogan. JVM: Do you have a favorite maxim or quote? GAP: “All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. It is vain to hurry it. By trusting it to the end, it shall ripen into truth, and you shall know why you believe.”—Emerson. Glenn Aparicio Parry is the author of the new book Original Thinking: A Radical ReVisioning of Time, Humanity, and Nature (North Atlantic Books, April 2015). An educational consultant, international speaker, entrepreneur, and visionary, he is founder and past president of the SEED Institute and president of Circle for Original Thinking. PHOTO: KYLE ZIMMERMAN

THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Aleks Paunovic

iZombie and Dead Rising: Watchtower actor

On shadow boxing, getting out of his own way, and the importance of trying Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Aleks Paunovic: People overcoming adversity. Pushing through the uncomfortable. I feel like nothing is impossible. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? AP: Naked truth. Stripping away my ego and accepting my truth even if it’s not who I want to see. Makes me want to be better when it’s exposed. It’s very vulnerable and exhilarating. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? AP: “Smile and love.” MP: How do you handle emotional pain? AP: Breathe. Emotional pain is sometimes what we make of it. We can always choose how we react. No matter what the pain, breathing always centers me. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? AP: I come from a boxing background. Three generations of boxers. I personally hate to fight, but I love the science of boxing. Mind, body. So for me, shadow boxing or hitting the heavy bag is something that gets me in a centered state. It’s calming for me. To me, boxing isn’t about the other person. It’s about me. My inner struggles. It works for me. MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life?


AP: Getting out of my own way. That little guy on your shoulder telling you that you are not good enough. My biggest lesson has been brushing him off, Jay Z style. MP: What truth do you know for sure? AP: That I can do anything I set my mind to if I believe and am realistic. I’m six-foot-five; I’m not going to win the gold medal in figure skating. But I can try, and that’s what matters. Trying.

Smile and love.

MP: What is love for you? AP: Life. The moment. Unconditional. MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about? AP: Arts Umbrella—helping kids and the arts. MP: Tell me about your latest projects. AP: I’m working as a heavy recurring character in a show called iZombie. Just wrapped a movie called Go with Me with Anthony Hopkins. And a lead role in a movie called Dead Rising. Excited to star in my next film project, called Numb.



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THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

Justified actor

Erica Tazel On working towards truth and honesty, going through a dark period, and the importance of quiet time Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What inspires you? Erica Tazel: I am inspired by great food, theater, books, the beach, black-and-white photography, and great vocalists, like Dianne Reeves, Alice Smith, and Shirley Horn. I am inspired by my mentor Diana Castle, who is guiding me towards a truth and honesty in my life and work that I have always longed for. I am inspired by my mother’s faith and the teaching I receive under the leadership of Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer. I am also inspired by hard work and powerful people who have maintained a sense of integrity, decency, and kindness. Love really inspires me. RP: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? ET: There was a period of time between 2005 and 2008 that was pretty challenging. I had taken a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles from New York, which had been incredible to me professionally. I couldn’t get arrested in this town. There was a lot of doubt and fear that crept in, and boy, did insecurity stick her foot up in it. There were many obstacles that were overcome during that very dark period—creative, financial, emotional, and spiritual—and I’m here, standing, stronger than ever. RP: How do you stay healthy? ET: For mental and emotional health, quiet time is very important to me. I need a point in every day that I disconnect from all electronics and reconnect to my center. I pray and meditate. I drink a ton of water and believe in a good night’s sleep. Because of old sports injuries, yoga has become a physical lifesaver. I also have an honest, loving, and caring circle of friends. A little bit of laughter and an occasional adult beverage never hurt nobody. RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? ET: In recent years, I have begun to regard everything as more of a process so that the sense of right and wrong diminishes in my psyche. That’s been healthy for me and makes everything so much more fun. If something does not quite work out as expected or planned, I simply look for what did work, what I learned from the situation, and really try to keep it moving forward.


RP: What projects are you working on? ET: I am finishing up the final two episodes of Justified on FX. I have a movie hopefully coming out this year called Mr. Right [in which I have a role] opposite Columbus Short. I also have been reading scripts and taking meetings around town. So we will see. Erica Tazel is an actor whose credits include Mr. Right, Justified, House of D, The Office, and ER.

“I have begun to regard everything as more of a process so that the sense of right and wrong diminishes in my psyche.”

“I find meditation helps . . . and positive affirmations where you just replace that negative voice of ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can,’ and thi ngs get easi er, really.”

Gotham actor

Erin Richards On the influence of strong women, meditating every day, and having dyslexia

Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What inspires you? Erin Richards: People and strong women doing important things in the world of TV and around the world. I’m very inspired by Lena Dunham at the moment; I think she’s such a creative force and such a strong voice and really helping to portray women as they are. People like Susan Sarandon, who’s an activist and an amazing actress and has done such great work around the world, and my mother, because she’s such a strong woman and has given me such a positive role model in my life. RP: How do you stay healthy? ER: I do love exercise. I do love yoga, which keeps my body nice and healthy. I run a lot. I live in Brooklyn by the water, and I run down by the water. To keep my head healthy, [I’m] trying to meditate every morning, which is something I’m sort of getting into more, realizing that it’s really positive to do every day. RP: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life? ER: It’s like lack of belief in yourself a little bit. I’ve got dyslexia. When I was in school, it wasn’t really recognized as much as it is today; I’m really glad that people are a lot more aware of it now. I think, for some children, your skills don’t lie in written words. A lot of school is based around written words and how good you are at spelling or reading. From a young age, if you’re told you can’t spell or read very well, you’re made to feel a bit stupid.

It’s taken me a long time to appreciate that my intelligence is greater than what I was told and that I am very creative, and I see in pictures. I still got a university degree; I did a politics and history degree. It was only in university I was told that I was dyslexic. It kind of gave me the confidence to be able to pursue academia in the way that I always thought I could. I guess that was a bit of battle and just my own kind of negative thoughts about what I can achieve. But I find meditation helps with that and positive affirmations where you just replace that negative voice of “I can’t” with “I can,” and things get easier, really. It lightens everything a little bit. RP: What projects are you working on?

ER: I’m on Gotham, which is on Fox on Mondays at 8 p.m., 7 p.m. central. I play Barbara Kean. Ben McKenzie plays Detective Gordon, who’s new on the force; I play his fiancée. Poor Barbara’s got a lot of demons. She’s been in a bit of a spiral, a decline where she’s just looking for someone to save her, maybe. Actually, I think she’s just looking for who she is. It’s a really great storyline to play. She’s going to get deep into the dark spaces of Gotham, which is where all the fun happens. So I’m excited about that. Erin Richards, who plays Detective James Gordon’s fiancée Barbara Kean on Fox’s Gotham, has appeared in The Quiet Ones, Open Grave, Merlin, and Breaking In.


THE ORIGIN SERIES: Same Questions | Different Artists | Powerful Answers

“To give your life over to something else outside of you, that’s love.

GS: I don’t have children—yet! But I can imagine a love so potent that you would give your life for them. To give your life over to something else outside of you, that’s love. MP: What organizations are you passionate about? GS: The Alzheimer’s Association. My grandfather had it. My mom has it. It’s a horrible disease, and with our aging population, it’s a growing problem. It’s terrible to lose your brain and your power to be conscious or in the moment. MP: Tell me about your mindfulness practice. What influence has it had on your life? Olympus actor

Graham Shiels

On his question for the world, handling negative thoughts, and the influence of The Secret Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Graham Shiels: Seeing babies and little children smile or even just be inquisitive about a bottle cap. Watching a great performance, particularly live or in the moment. My favorite actor at the moment is the three-time Tony Award-winning Mark Rylance. Makes me work to be better. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? GS: Having to pee late at night off the road outside a running vehicle. What was so freeing as a little boy becomes a criminal act as an adult! MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? GS: “When in your life were you the most challenged?” I love to hear stories of adversity and how people overcome them. GRAHAMSHIELS.COM 66 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

MP: How do you handle emotional pain? GS: Replacing it with a thought. I sometimes think, “What the hell. I have four working limbs right now. I’m winning just to even have the privilege of this experience!” Steering my brain onto this track of thought begins the process of being grateful for the lesson and returns my mind to a more peaceful place. MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? GS: Catching myself in the moment. Then I remember facts are just facts, circumstances are merely circumstances. Whenever I can catch myself having a negative thought, I do Self I-Dentity through Ho’oponopono by saying to myself the phrases “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” “Thank you” in any particular order. MP: What is love for you?

GS: I meditate. Like probably a lot of people, my mind was opened almost ten years ago with The Secret. From there, I devoured anything Wayne Dyer ever wrote. I listen to him constantly in my car. And Eckhart Tolle. And Paramahansa Yogananda. All this has helped me through the ups and downs of acting and kept me on my path. MP: Tell me about your latest projects and why they are important to you. GS: Airing April 3 on Syfy, I play the mythical character King Aegeus in the swords-andsandals period drama Olympus. Also very recently, I played the evil arch-villain Victor Krane in Disney XD’s Lab Rats. Olympus has been a much welcomed return to my Shakespearean roots. King Aegeus demanded a much greater range and depth that I’ve yet had the opportunity to tap on camera. Lab Rats was a wonderful opportunity for me to just go be a goofy buffoon, which I love. It was exhilarating to listen to all the funny lines the writers would come up with on the spot and then get to play them immediately. Graham Shiels stars on the Syfy series Olympus. This Yale School of Drama graduate had recurring roles on The CW’s Arrow and HBO’s True Blood and is on Disney XD’s hit comedy Lab Rats. Feature film work includes Yes Man and the Marvel features Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World. PHOTO: IRISH GRZANICH

Interview: Robert Piper

Rizzoli & Isles actor

Idara Victor On people-watching, taking a risk with acting, and failing up

profound way. I knew then that I had to follow my heart. RP: How do you stay healthy? IV: It all starts with a clear and healthy mind for me, so I meditate daily. I love to hike also, which both works me out and clears my head. I do that at least a few times a week. I’m fed most by nature; going to the beach or lying in the grass are the greatest kinds of medicine. Cooking for other people. Kicking it with friends and family. And I love dancing—by myself in my house, with friends anywhere, or in a class.

Robert Piper: What inspires you? Idara Victor: I am really fascinated by human beings, fascinated! One thing I loved about living in New York was that I could sit on my stoop and just watch life happen. It was better than any kind of reality television—way more entertaining and enlightening. I’m moved by us, our quirks and mistakes. I find inspiration in everything from a piece of art to the hem of a dress. I’m one of those people who sees Frank Zappa in a cup of coffee, or elephants wrestling in clouds. But also, conscious creation of all kinds moves me. And a divinely expressed performance in any genre sets me completely on fire.

RP: How do you deal with overcoming failure? IV: There is no such thing as failure; everything is just a stepping stone to a greater lesson or achievement. I have found that to be absolutely true. My so-called failures have been some of my greatest learning tools. I just make sure to fail up. I’m not afraid to fall on my face while I attempt new things. It’s important to me that I don’t take myself too seriously and I have fun with every experience in life. That is the whole point.

RP: What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life?

When I engaged with an audience for the first time, I was right at home. . . . I understood flow in the most profound way. I knew then that I had to follow my heart.

IV: I knew no one in this business, and the only acting I’d ever done was in a first-grade play. I understood some of my talents—growing up playing piano, and my operatic voice led me to All-State in my first, and only, year of singing—but I didn’t yet know all of my capacities. My parents felt helpless, as they knew nothing about this world and couldn’t help me in any way except through pure love. I was risking a very promising and lucrative future in the business world that I was all set up to receive. I stepped out completely on faith. But when I engaged with an audience for the first time, I was right at home. I felt safe, and all of my senses worked together with a certain elegance. I understood flow in the most

RP: What projects are you working on? IV: Two contrastive and awesomely distinct, powerful women. In a few days, I’ll be stepping back into my character Abigail’s shoes for the last episode of our second season of Turn: Washington’s Spies on AMC in April. We start shooting season six of Rizzoli & Isles the week after, and I’m thrilled to return to my character, Nina Holiday; the second half of season five begins on February 17, and who she really is will finally be revealed. Idara Victor has recurring roles on TNT’s hit show Rizzoli & Isles and AMC’s Turn: Washington’s Spies.


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