KATIE CLEARY: No. I’ve done modeling and campaigns and the four years on “Deal or No Deal”, but people who really know me know that animals are my passion. They
It looked as though KATIE CLEARY’s career may have ended before it began when she was one of the first contestants eliminated in the first season of “America’s Next Top Model” for being “too sexy”, but that turned out not to be this beautiful humanitarian’s destiny. Dedicating her celebrity and passion to saving our Mother Earth, Katie is on a crusade to educate the world…even if it is only one person at a time…
see this is going to be an easy transition for me. I really enjoy producing. My end-all be-all goal is to be able to produce, host my own shows and documentaries, all centered around animals. I feel this is the future of how we are going to be able to get the message out there. ZEPHRA: You have a jewelry line? KATIE CLEARY: Yes, we created tiger pendants. It’s a part of my organization Peace for Animals and I’m working with a designer, who used to used ivory in her jewelry. When she met me, I said, “You need to stop using this in your jewelry. You need to come back and design something to give back.” We are doing them in silver, copper and crystal. There are real diamonds in the eyes of the tiger and a quote on the back that is unique and 20% of the proceeds go to a tiger conservation which is saving the last 1500 Bengal tigers in India. We have partnered with Born Free USA in doing that. I’m hoping we can get them into boutiques and sell them all over the internet to raise enough money to protect the last big cats in India. People can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org in regard to the tiger pendants or being a part of our team.
ZEPHRA: What have you been doing since competing on “America’s Next Top Model” and your four (4) seasons on “Deal or No Deal”? KATIE CLEARY: There’s a lot. I made the transition into raising awareness for animal welfare through entertainment. I produced my first film called “Give Me Shelter”. The film stars Tippi Hedren, Richard O’Barry, Esai Morales, Michael Vartan and a bunch of celebrities who are animal advocates. We touch on the ivory trade, the endangered species trade, conservation, puppy mills, dog fighting, basically everything that is important right now. If we don’t shed light on it, a lot of animals will be gone forever. ZEPHRA: When did you become interested in preservation of animals and conservation? KATIE CLEARY: From about five (5) years old, I was rescuing animals in Chicago, with my mom. We would take kittens and find them home and rehabilitate wildlife; everything from squirrels and raccoons to deer. I knew it was a calling. I knew I would be working in entertainment from a very young age. I got started in entertainment at about 12 years old. I utilized that as a platform. It gives you a voice toward awareness to the issues that are going on around the world. Unfortunately, they can’t speak for themselves.
ZEPHRA: What is your ultimate goal? KATIE CLEARY: To let people know that these things are happening and they are happening quickly and we need to do something drastic. Maybe do a sequel to “Give Me Shelter” and get it into film festivals like Sundance and Cannes and be able to show as many people as possible, so we can change people’s minds on how they live and how they treat the planet and other animals. Slowly but surely, it’s happening. It’s a movement. I think the movement is just starting. People are becoming removed from The Earth. It is not about money. It’s not about greed. That’s why we did “Give Me Shelter”. We want to teach people it’s about helping others. It’s not just animals, it’s how we treat each @katie_cleary other. That translate into how we treat the planet and animals. I’m hoping everyone in the world gets to see “Give Me Shelter” and I’m hoping that people can tune into the show every Thursday on TRadioV.com. It’s important that we spread awareness as much as we can. I believe one person can make a difference.
ZEPHRA: You have a radio show, as well? KATIE CLEARY: Yes, it’s called “World Animal News”. It is on TRadioV.com. Its radio and TV. It’s on Thursdays at 11AM PST. Kristen Renton, from “Sons of Anarchy” is my co-host and she is a marine mammal expert. She loves entertainment and she’s an actress, but her passion is animals. We are trying to find a way to marry the two. If we can raise awareness through entertainment and educate people at the same time, but make it viewable and fun, we can change the world with the content that we are bringing to the world. ZEPHRA: Since you are known as a model, have you found any resistance from people while you are pursuing your goal of producing?
Photographer: Steven Littles
BASIC VACATION is a hot new pop-rock band comprising of vocalist-guitarist Chris Greatti, bassist Jon Paul, and drummer Mike Montalbano signed to Atom Factory/Capitol Records. You are already familiar with the hot single, “I Believe”, off of their upcoming EP, which is featured in “The Biggest Loser” commercials. I had the opportunity to see these guys perform at Bardot in Hollywood and they are spectacular. Sitting with them at Capitol Records for our interview, I have NEVER laughed as much in an interview as I did with these guys. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to future superstars…Basic Vacation… ZEPHRA: How did you get together? Jon: Me and Chris had met through musical friends in New York. Chris was living in Philly at the time, but he was coming up for different gigs and stuff. We started writing a little bit of music together. Mike and Chris have been friends since they were little kids and playing together for a long time, so once we were looking for a drummer, he was the obvious choice. ZEPHRA: I understand that you getting signed to Capitol Records took a short amount of time, but there were several steps. Chris: Management had relationships with the label. Some people at the label were not so sure at first, so he sent it to his good buddy, Troy Carter, who is Lady Gaga’s manager. He took the initiative to immediately take a flight from LA to New York to have dinner with us. He was very into it. He said he needed to get us to LA for a showcase. A month later, they flew us out, with two day’s notice. We played a showcase for Atom Factory, which is Troy’s label, Capitol, our booking agent CAA. The next day, we met with everybody and they were like, “let’s do it”. Two days later, we signed the contract. It was very exciting and unusual. We did not expect how fast it was, it to happen at all and how warm of a welcome they gave us.
Jon: There was one night where these girls invited us to their hotel room and they just ended up being maniacs. Chris: They started saying a bunch of crazy sh*t, intentionally. There was something that switched in my head and I just started trashing the hotel room. Mike: When we were in Oakland, after the San Francisco show. The hotel gave us the wrong room with a bunch of cots in it. We had been on tour for a couple of weeks, so we didn’t want to sleep on a bunch of cots… Jon: One of them was an air mattress. They weren’t going to say anything if we didn’t say anything… Chris: So, I got upset and was purposely kicking the wall. I love hotels, but they were being really mean to us.
ZEPHRA: Your song “I Believe” is used in the promos for “The Biggest Loser”. Chris: NBC expressed interest in the track for a bunch of things and when it came time for “The Biggest Loser”, they felt it was appropriate and it is. It definitely works and we are thankful. Thank you NBC!!!
Jon: We really trashed the room. Flipped over the sh*t. Mike: Just overtired and drunk. Chris: We sound terrible, but we’re really good people. (laughing)
ZEPHRA: You just finished your first tour. Can you share some fun stories about your time on the road?
Mike: Definitely, too many drunken nights.
Photos by: Jeremy Valdez
JEREMIAH BITSUI: There is a song that is about two years old and it’s called “The Pursuit of Happiness (remix)” and it’s by Steve Aoki and Kid Cudi.
JEREMIAH BITSUI has been working in the entertainment industry since his debut, as a boy, in the Oliver Stone blockbuster “Natural Born Killers”. Recently, aside from his scene stealing roles is various movies, Jeremiah also starred for three season on “Breaking Bad”. Now, Jeremiah’s latest film “Drunktown Finest” will be screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2014. We had a chance to ask some personal questions and get to know this talented actor a little better…. ZEPHRA: How did you get involved in “Drunktown’s Finest”? JEREMIAH BITSUI: A couple of years ago the director reached out and said, “Just to put it out there, I’d like for you to read this script”. I read it in one of its earlier phases and I told her to keep going and I offered some feedback and ideas. She said she’d keep me in the loop once she got closer. A few years later, a friend of mine, jumped on as producer and he was heading up the effort and then Mateo Frazier who I worked with on a movie called “Blaze You Out”, which is currently in RedBox, said they would love to have me as the lead. I read the last version at that point and it was an amazing script and a story that I felt deserved to be told.
ZEPHRA: If you could trade careers with any actor living or dead, who would that be? JEREMIAH BITSUI: I’m not a method actor, but I think I admire guys like Matt Damon. Guys that have a family, it’s more the aspect of having a life and family outside the industry and then they are still superb and wonderful at what they do. Matt Damon seems like the type of guy who keeps the distance from where he keeps his family and where he keeps his business.
ZEPHRA: What is the film about? JEREMIAH BITSUI: “Drunktown’s Finest”, to me is about these younger people from a small town and it’s a coming of age story. They want to get out of a town that is very destructive for them. You can put that anywhere in any context and plug in any minority or any ethnic group and it’s a pretty universal story.
ZEPHRA: What movie do you wish you starred in? JEREMIAH BITSUI: Seven Samurai. It’s my favorite movie and I wish I’d starred in that one.
ZEPHRA: Now as great as “Drunktown’s Finest” is…we want to get to know a more personal side of Jeremiah Bitsui…what do your friends call you? JEREMIAH BITSUI: Usually Jay. I’ve never had a nickname. I’ve given a lot of nicknames, but I’ve never had a nickname, so probably Jay or Jeremiah.
ZEPHRA: If you walked away from acting right now, what would be your career? JEREMIAH BITSUI: I have a construction development company. I’m like a serial entrepreneur. I’d probably do that. ZEPHRA: What is something about you that people would probably be surprised by? JEREMIAH BITSUI: I really like romantic comedies.
ZEPHRA: What’s your favorite food? JEREMIAH BITSUI: Spaghetti. That’s something I could eat 24/7 if I had to.
ZEPHRA: If you are nominated for an Oscar, who would you take to the ceremony? JEREMIAH BITSUI: My mom.
ZEPHRA: Who is your favorite recording artist? JEREMIAH BITSUI: I still love Tupac.
ZEPHRA: What song motivates you?
that is in very close running with “Where Are You Now”, so I’m not sure if it’s going to be a single yet.
J HOLIDAY exploded onto the scene in 2006 with his mega-smash “Bed”. Now after successful follow-up singles, career triumphs and trials, J Holiday is back with his latest project “Guilty Conscience” on his new imprint. J Holiday is also looking to help aspiring recording artists realize their dreams. Check out what this super hitmaker is up to now…
ZEPHRA: Who writes most of your material? J HOLIDAY: Usually, I do. This album is probably the first time that I stepped back and said, “this is what I’m going through, right now. This is what I’ve been through and I want you to write the movie to it.” I wrote on the album, but I mostly stepped back. We had a variety of writers on this album. I want to shout out Urs da Verse, she’s a phenomenal writer out of Atlanta. She wrote a lot of songs on this album. I’ve known her for years and she knew pretty much just what to do.
ZEPHRA: How have you been, man, we’ve missed you? J HOLIDAY: I’ve been good. I’ve had different things going on. I’ve been working on this new material. I ran into a few roadblocks…politics and now I’m back at it. They tried to hold me down, but I’m here.
ZEPHRA: With the major success of your first releases, was there a lot of pressure on you for the follow-up? J HOLIDAY: Definitely. It didn’t put pressure on me, but it makes you want to make sure the fans know that I didn’t stop at “Bed” or “Suffocate”. I have so much more music and so many more stories to tell. It’s hard because everywhere I go, I’m known as “Mr. Bed”. That’s hard to overdo. A lot of people don’t know this, but I broke a record with that record, the fastest moving record to number one in ten years. The record before that was “Scream” from Michael and Janet Jackson.
ZEPHRA: What is your label situation? J HOLIDAY: I’m on my own label, Holidae Music Group. ZEPHRA: Now, you know you will get it down the way you want it. J HOLIDAY: Exactly. ZEPHRA: Tell us about your new release. J HOLIDAY: “Guilty Conscience” came out December 10th. We have one song out there that we are going to drop a video for called “After We…”. The second single is called “Incredible” and I think the album is incredible.
ZEPHRA: Who is J Holidae, aside from “Mr. Bed”? J HOLIDAY: People don’t realize that even when we take our hiatus, we are still working. I’ve been touring. I’ve been all over the world since then. I’ve had a chance to see Australia. I still get a chance to perform in front of people I have never performed in front of. I just got back from London. That’s my life. I have a two year old daughter and when I’m not on the road, I’m with her.
ZEPHRA: Now that you are older, what do you have to talk about now on your album? J HOLIDAY: I will say this is my best vocal performance, so far. This album you will see my vocal growth, but on this album, I’m talking about life as usual. This time, I’m talking about one situation. This album will be a movie. If you could put a movie in an album, you would have this album. If “Guilty Conscience” were the name of a movie, this would be the soundtrack to it.
ZEPHRA: What are some of your rituals before you get on stage? J HOLIDAY: No one is allowed in my room except for my team. I like to sit down and focus and get my mind right. People ask me do I get nervous before I get on stage. I don’t get nervous, but I always have butterflies. Right before I get onstage, I do my prayers and me and my bodyguard do our handshake and I’m on to the stage.
ZEPHRA: Are you looking to do anything that coincides with the album, like a movie or a play? J HOLIDAY: Yes, that’s something we’ve talked about. I think I will do a DVD.
ZEPHRA: Now that you are a label head, are you looking to sign other artists to your label? J HOLIDAY: Hell YEAH!!! It doesn’t matter what country, what city, if you have music, I will hear you and we will figure it out. It doesn’t have to be urban music. I can sell any artist. If you have a talent and I believe in you, I think I can make it happen.
ZEPHRA: What are your favorite songs on this CD? J HOLIDAY: “Where Are You Now” is my favorite song. ZEPHRA: Is it going to be a single? J HOLIDAY: I’m not sure. We don’t want to keep putting out the same type of song. We want to put out some uptempo and mid-tempo stuff. We have another ballad, “Heaven”,
www.facebook.com/jholidae @kingjholidae www.kingjholidae.com
recordings, Grammys and Stellar Awards and they all came from that night GOD planted that gift in me. I never had any lessons. Of course, Jewel has her story on how she met GOD.
BEN AND JEWEL TANKARD are RA-RA RICH!!!! The stars of Bravo’s latest reality offering “Thicker than Water” have no issue showing their affluence and the fruits of their labors. They are the ONLY African-American family or non-fictional family, in general, to glorify a wealth of their magnitude on television. Aside from their material possessions, the Tankard family is a GODfearing and entertaining cast of characters with many of the same issues that all families encounter. When you read the interview that I had the pleasure to do with Ben and Jewel, I’m sure you will be as inspired by these two role models as I am and come away with a different understanding of what “rich” is…
ZEPHRA: Jewel, what is your story? JEWEL TANKARD: I grew up in a two parent home. My parents were entrepreneurs. I’m a Motown girl. They owned record stores when record stores were really popular. They instilled in us good values, morals, education, kept us in a very good environment. I had a pretty good supportive household growing up, but I will say, they did not keep me in church. We went to church on holidays. I had praying grandmothers, though that really instilled Sunday School in me and read “The Word” to me. We actually had housekeepers growing up and my parents made sure our housekeepers were Christian. When I got to college, I started partying and got involved with drug dealers, at the time that was the popular thing to do; fast money; fast men and all that kind of crazy stuff. The guy that I was dating got indicted and I thought I was going to go to church and pray him out of jail. That was not Jesus’s plan for my life. Once I got locked in, I got locked in really strong and joined the Prayer Ministry and was on fire for GOD ever since that point in my life as a senior in college.
ZEPHRA: How did you and your family come to the attention of the Bravo network? BEN TANKARD: My daughter is a marketing and public relations genius. We had been on TV here in the Nashville area and we would take some home video and merge it with some teaching of the word of the Lord on local broadcast. Brooklyn made a compilation of some of the better footage of the home videos and she went to work and next thing we know, she connected us to Bravo and they wanted to profile our family.
ZEPHRA: How did you two meet? BEN TANKARD: I was doing a concert in Detroit, I looked up and behold, I heard the harps playing in the background. I looked up and saw Jewel sitting on the second row and I didn’t play a decent note the rest of the night. She just threw me off. I went up to her during the intermission and I didn’t want to waste any time with small talk and rap. I said, “You are the most beautiful woman I ever seen in my life and I believe you are supposed to be my wife.” She answered me and said, “Amen, brother”. Within eleven months, we were married.
ZEPHRA: How long has your ministry been in existence? BEN TANKARD: We have been pastoring twelve years. We started the church in our home the year we married and we had a bible study with local entrepreneurs and it grew to fifty people within a short time and then my wife said it was time for me and Jesus to get our own building. We rented a building and people kept coming and now we’re on our third building and still growing. Jewel and I have our own businesses to finance our lifestyle, but the church is the way of us giving back because we don’t take a salary. It’s like a community effort for us. We look forward to working hard all week and getting in there Sunday morning and giving our time to GOD on Sundays.
ZEPHRA: What was it like blending families? JEWEL TANKARD: I would say that it started off really well because Ben established from the beginning that we would not have “stepchildren” and I’m so glad that he did because I really set the course for us to have the kind of bond that we have today. I think that really helped. When we would spend time with the children, we would instill the things in them that we really believed were core values; GOD, family and getting along together. Of course, we did have issues that came up because they were raised by Ben’s ex-wife, who raised them completely different from the way we would have raised them. She loved them. She kept them in church, but they had way too much freedom, I felt. In those teenage years, it did get to be very challenging because they wanted a whole lot more freedom because that was what they were accustomed to. That was probably the biggest challenge that we had.
ZEPHRA: Were you raised in the church? BEN TANKARD: I was raised in the church. My parents were ministers, but I really didn’t take GOD serious until I got off to college and got away from them. You know, with parents and they make you go to church every day, you don’t really know if you got salvation or not because you are being force fed. I got away to college and lost my basketball opportunity. I left school and went to play pro and got injured and got cut from the team, so, here I am depressed with no degree or education and then I started to take GOD serious. I went to church and GOD saved me in a revival service. That night, I was anointed to play the keyboard and it was Gospel Jazz that came out…that was twenty-five years ago. Since then, I’ve had eighteen recordings, a lot of gold and platinum
ZEPHRA: Jewel, what is your relationship with Ben’s ex-wife now?
JEWEL TANKARD: We actually have a very cordial relationship. If she were to call me right now, I’d answer the phone. About seven years ago, Ben and I would talk negatively about her and she would talk negatively about us to the children and the Lord really convicted our hearts that we were really releasing strife that wasn’t good for them or us. My relationship with her is good. We’re not girlfriends…we’re not hanging or nothing like that, but she can call me and I can call her.
as well. Having that cash flow and being cash flow positive is huge. BEN TANKARD: It’s not the income that I think is a big deal. It’s the debt and the responsibilities. No matter what tax bracket they are in, if you take away all of the bills, whereas their income can be used for whatever they want it to, that’s the definition of rich. You have to get rid of the debt. ZEPHRA: What is your advice to our readers for them to improve their lives? BEN TANKARD: Have a dream board. I call it a “vision board”. If you shoot for nothing, you will hit it every time. You cannot afford to play Russian Roulette with your life by walking around with your dreams just in your mind. The bible says write you vision, make it plain so that he that readeth it, can run with it. You should have a written vision that’s one, two, three, five, ten year plans and it should be so colorful, whereas if you gave it to somebody, they can run with it as if it were theirs. GOD is not obligated to bring about anything that you don’t write about. Get it out of your head, on paper and watch GOD get it off the paper and into your life.
ZEPHRA: Was the choice to be on Bravo a chance to expose yourselves to a wider audience? BEN TANKARD: Absolutely. Bravo was attracted to us once my daughter did the presentation and they came down to do the screen test. Bravo was attracted to two elements of our family, one, they were attracted to our wealth status. You don’t see that many African Americans that are successful, that will admit it. I came from poverty and when I was very very poor, everybody knew about it, because I told all my business. I said when I got wealthy, I was going to do the same thing. GOD blessed me and I said I was going to be a mouthpiece for him, because I was a mouthpiece for the Devil when I was broke. They were also attracted to the “blend” aspect of five children, two daughters-in-law, one grandchild, all at some point, under the same roof. There are bound to be some Christian calamities with some Kingdom conclusions. We were excited that Bravo was such a fabtabulous, well-funded network. They do everything over the top. In the beginning, there was some chatter about the wealth side, but that was just the hook to get everybody talking. We are now into family values, family success, sibling rivalry, sisterhood, that sort of thing.
JEWEL TANKARD: Begin to learn to steer you emotions in a positive direction. One of the things you need to be successful in life is to have the ability to bounce back. When you feel good about yourself and being in your own skin and who GOD called you to be, it’s amazing. People can’t define you. It doesn’t matter what they say about you, just stay favored to Heaven. www.bentankard.org
ZEPHRA: What do you want people to take away from your show? BEN TANKARD: I want people to watch our show and get their imaginations and dreams back because it starts with a dream. JEWEL TANKARD: I want people to value the family again. Ben and I are so proud of everybody because it takes a lot of courage to expose areas of your family dynamics that normally would have been private. My hope is that they will see the good in us, as well as the worst in us. We have to learn to love our family right where they are. Let’s just agree that we don’t agree. Let’s agree that we are different, but we still love each other and give each other that space and room to grow and support one another right where they are. ZEPHRA: Financially, what do you consider being successful? BEN TANKARD: When you get a check in the mail, it’s yours. You don’t have to do a triple somersault to get to the bank to cover a check you had to write and put out in the atmosphere. JEWEL TANKARD: I have to agree with Ben. Not having car notes is whew. We are smart, we buy all pre-owned vehicles,
KYLE KELLER: Yes and here’s why, I have dated in the industry and its really hard. A lot of people tend to date people who are in the same industry because, especially in entertainment, the schedules are hard. Dating in this industry is hard, but the guys I have dated, I find, have tried to compete with me and not support me. I would absolutely date a maintenance man. It doesn’t matter to me what you do as long as you’re happy. I just want someone who is proud of me and supports me and for me to be proud of my guy and support them as well. I prefer them to be successful in some way, shape or form, but if he is great being a maintenance man, cool, keep doing it.
KYLE KELLER is such a busy woman, when she is not commuting from Los Angeles back to her hometown of San Diego for her correspondent position on the CW Morning Show or adding the finishing touches to her secret project that she has been working on “for a while now”, she realized that there were some changes to be made to help her live a full life. Realizing that she had developed some issues when it came to dating, Kyle Keller auditioned for a was casting on this past season of “Tough Love: Co-Ed” beating out more than 30,000 people. I must say Kyle was very refreshing and honest in her interview…
ZEPHRA: Did you go on the show for the exposure or the help? KYLE KELLER: To be honest, a little bit of both. I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it. I had just moved to Hollywood a year ago from San Diego and I told myself I would never do a reality show, especially a dating show because the way people are edited, it makes them look so bad. I didn’t want it to hurt my career. I have foot in mouth syndrome and I didn’t want America to take me the wrong way. I knew this could put me on the map and it really did, but I didn’t do the show to be famous because we are C-List reality stars, at best. It was a wonderful experience and I definitely took the process very seriously. I listened to what Steve and Monica had to tell me. I took their advice and try to apply it to my everyday life. It was a blossoming and overall wonderful experience for me.
ZEPHRA: So, you just finished appearing on “Tough Love” on VH1? KYLE KELLER: Yes. “Tough Love: Co-Ed”, we just finished our run end of October. ZEPHRA: What made you decide to do the show? KYLE KELLER: I was a fan of the show and it’s been one of the top rated shows on VH1 for years. I had just gotten out of a relationship little more than a year ago. When the opportunity to be on the show came, it had been about six months since I had been in a relationship and I wasn’t really ready to get back into the dating scene. I felt the only way I could learn to wear my heart on my sleeve again and be vulnerable was if Steve Ward kicked my butt into shape. It was a great experience. It was a blessing. I was really excited.
ZEPHRA: What is the benefit of going on “Tough Love: CoEd”? KYLE KELLER: Steve really turns you down and makes you vulnerable, but then he builds you back up. About 60% of the people who have appeared on the show are in committed relationships or are married now with children. You don’t win a ring at the end. You don’t win money, it is really to better ourselves. It is a feel good show. That was another reason I was attracted to being on the show.
ZEPHRA: Do you feel that it is harder for women in relationships now because many don’t need their partners for financial support and they are more independent? KYLE KELLER: Yes. I’m very independent and I think when I date, I need to find a guy who is also independent and has their own thing going for themselves. I’m not attracted to guys who are needy. I need my space, but I think in any situation, in any relationship, you have to give and take. There has to be a compromise. I think it is good to find someone who balances you out and vice versa.
ZEPHRA: Do you think there were any misconceptions about you during the show? KYLE KELLER: Not really. In terms of editing, they can’t edit you to look bad unless you say or do something to give them a reason. On reality shows, there is truth to everything. You can’t look like the b*tch or villain unless you are like that. They edited me to look like I talk way to much…and yes, I do talk a lot.
ZEPHRA: What behaviors did you have before “Tough Love: Co-Ed” that you felt needed to be changed or modified? KYLE KELLER: My nickname was “Miss Disconnected” and it’s because I kind of always dated long distance. I kind of liked that. It wasn’t because I looked for it, it was just the guys I met didn’t live in my same city. Steven said I had a fear of intimacy, which I didn’t necessarily agree with. To me, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I learned to be a better listener overall. When I finished the show, not only did it affect my dating life, but my personal relationships with my family and friends got better. I already had great relationships with them, but it flourished even more.
ZEPHRA: Do you keep in touch with your fellow castmates? KYLE KELLER: I don’t talk to everyone. We all are a family. We went through an experience for two months that no one will ever go through again in their life. I don’t necessarily get along with everybody from my season, but if the ever REALLY needed me, I would be there 100%. @mskylekeller
ZEPHRA: You are successful and beautiful. Could you see yourself dating a maintenance man?
girlfriend called me and asked me if I could babysit. I told her you have two weeks to get her back or get somebody new. When I started babysitting for her, I started hearing someone walking in the apartment upstairs. I felt that if I sang loud, they would hear me singing, so I started following those footsteps and singing and I did that every day for the two weeks that I worked for her. I went back to work and a couple of weeks later, my brother and I went to a nightclub. There was a band and then someone gets on stage and says, “there is a young lady in the audience with a great voice and maybe she will come up here and sing. I don’t know her last name but her first name is Gloria”…and he was looking at me. I went up and I sang my song, got a standing ovation and they came over to me and told me the club owner was the person who belonged to the footsteps. When I came in, he told them (the band) about me because they were having trouble with their singer and she hadn’t even shown up that night. They asked did I want to start singing with them and I said, “…yea, we can take a couple of weeks and rehearse” and they said we need you to start tomorrow night. My mother always said be prepared and I had a list of about 200 that I brought them the next day. That’s how I got started.
GLORIA GAYNOR is back with her inspirational book and accompanying CD “We Will Survive”. The collection of stories reveals the human spirit and willpower to survive and how one classic disco song “I Will Survive” has helped many people in their time of need. Having the pleasure to speak to this “Living Legend” she reveals why she created this book, how she got into the music business and what current artist she feels has “got it”… ZEPHRA: What was the motivation for your new release? GLORIA GAYNOR: People have been telling me these stories for so many years and when I hear them, they have been encouraging and inspiring to me, so I felt I should share that encouragement with the public. ZEPHRA: Which came first, the book or the CD? GLORIA GAYNOR: The book came first. ZEPHRA: Why do you think so many people identify with your song, “I Will Survive”? GLORIA GAYNOR: I think this song really does tap into the tenacity of the human spirit. I think the song is very encouraging because we are all always going through different situations and circumstances in our lives that we think are insurmountable and hope that we will survive. It’s universal.
ZEPHRA: That’s an amazing story. What made you decide to record gospel now? GLORIA GAYNOR: That is always something I wanted to do and when the publishing company heard about the book I wanted to write, they actually asked me for a CD and again, I was prepared. I had written a lot of songs and I just pulled songs from my repertoire that I had written and put songs together that I felt would give hope and encouragement and hope and faith and compliment the stories, as well.
ZEPHRA: Do you consider yourself a music legend? GLORIA GAYNOR: I don’t think that is for me to consider. I was given the “Legend Award” from the music awards in Monte Carlo by Prince Albert and I think that was quite an honor, but for me to call myself a legend…eh. When they gave it to me, I said did anyone tell them I’m not dead. (laughs)
ZEPHRA: Of the current singers on the charts, who do you think is doing a good job? GLORIA GAYNOR: That Beyonce is the real deal. I just went to see her live. When she stood there flat footed and sang ”Ave Maria”, I was done. I said, “ok, girlfriend, you got it”. She is really awesome. I like some of the things that Rihanna has done. I really like Alicia Keyes.
ZEPHRA: You were actually crowned “Queen of Disco” during the height of the Disco Era. GLORIA GAYNOR: The proclamation came from (New York City) City Hall, but it was actually done at a crowning ceremony at Le Jardin. They had a big event and had to block off the streets. The International Association of Disc Jockeys elected me “Queen of Disco” and they were coming in from all over the world. It was awesome.
ZEPHRA: If you were beginning your career now, what type of music would you sing? GLORIA GAYNOR: Gospel. ZEPHRA: Is Gospel your first love of music? GLORIA GAYNOR: Oh yeah. If you look at the CD holder in my car, six out of seven are Gospel.
ZEPHRA: When did you know you were a success? GLORIA GAYNOR: I think, like many artists, when I got my Grammy.
ZEPHRA: What’s the seventh one? GLORIA GAYNOR: Whitney Houston. ZEPHRA: I was hoping you’d say Jay-Z or somebody like that. GLORIA GAYNOR: No. Whitney Houston. (laughs)
ZEPHRA: How did your career start? GLORIA GAYNOR: Funny story. I was wanting to be heard. My brothers all sang and they had great voices. Everybody listened to them, but nobody listened to me because I was a girl and girls were meant to be seen and not heard. I was working on my first job and got my first vacation, my
Photographer: Steven Littles Hair: Priscilla Aguilar Make Up: Steven Littles
Actress, comedienne, stand-up comic JACQUI HOLLAND has been playing the sexy blonde for many years appearing in “Desperate Housewives”, “How I Met Your Mother”, “My Best Friend’s Girl” and many other TV shows and movies. In 2014, Jacqui is taking the reins of her career, by producing, writing and starring in several upcoming feature films. She is following in the tradition of the legendary actresses who managed to take Hollywood by storm. This is why JACQUI HOLLAND is “HOT IN 2014”…. 23
ZEPHRA: So, I checked out your IMDB page and it looks like you have about 3,000 movies coming out in 2014…what’s happening? JACQUI HOLLAND: (laughing) I don’t know. I started working a lot in 2013, so I have a lot coming out. It’s been a good year.
ZEPHRA: How did you get into producing? JACQUI HOLLAND: I started off doing a lot of sketches and iPhone apps about three or four years ago. I enjoyed making things and watching the final product being made. In 2011, my partner at the time decided we are going to write this film and produce it and that was “Silent, But Deadly”. It was great having a little more control over your projects. I love it. I love seeing something from start to finish, not just acting in it, but having more input.
ZEPHRA: I was shocked by how many movies you had coming out. How did you get started in the industry? JACQUI HOLLAND: I moved out here when I was pretty young and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was doing a lot of sitcoms and a lot of comedy and then, maybe, in the last two or three years, I started doing leading roles and roles that I dreamed about playing as an actor. They are not the biggest budget films, but they are super exciting to be able to do these parts.
ZEPHRA: What is the best way to get into Hollywood? JACQUI HOLLAND: Do whatever you role you can to get in. I feel that whatever set that you are on, is a great experience. Even if it’s a web series or sketch, you’re being on camera and you’re getting to act. Do as much as you can to get yourself out there and make a name for yourself. ZEPHRA: Aside from the current era, what era of film would you have liked to act? JACQUI HOLLAND: Definitely, the film noir. I LOVE the femme fatale. I’m trying to revive the femme fatale in this era. I love the woman who is bad and sexy and has a gun. Barbara Stanwyck has been an icon for me. She got me into the whole film industry. I saw one of her movies, “Baby Face”, when I was in class and I said, “…this is what I want to do with my life.”
ZEPHRA: Is it harder to be taken seriously when you fall into the category of “The Hot Blonde”? JACQUI HOLLAND: Well, thank you, first off, but I do find that since I’m blonde, I do have a problem with people taking me seriously. Not as much recently, because I feel I have a pretty good body of work, they say, “…well she’s working, so she can’t be too much of an idiot” (laughing), but I do find as a producer, people feel that I must not know what I’m doing because they think I’m young and pretty and I actually do know what I’m doing. I find that as an actor you can get around it, but as a producer, it’s harder to get people to take you seriously.
ZEPHRA: What are some of things you’d like the readers to know about you? JACQUI HOLLAND: I’m a workaholic. I’m super passionate, I love what I do more than anything and I’m launching my production company in 2014 and I want to make films that screw with you mind and are dark and twisted and I want people to have as much fun watching them, as I do making them.
ZEPHRA: What role would the general public most recognize you from? JACQUI HOLLAND: I think the movie that plays all the time on Showtime, “Hollywood Sex Wars”. I play this stripper who is looking for true love, named “Courtney”. I feel a lot of people have seen that. Also in “My Best Friend’s Girl”, it was a small part, but I was the stripper in the bathroom with Kate Hudson and people do remember that role.
ZEPHRA: Since you’ve played strippers and really sexy woman, are there any roles you wish you hadn’t taken? JACQUI HOLLAND: No. I honestly don’t. I feel as an actor, especially when you are first starting out, you have to take as many roles as you can and now that I am becoming a little more established, I’ve turned down a few roles. There was full nudity and the character was a stripper and I’m like, I want to get away from playing a stripper. I’ve been turning down those roles lately. ZEPHRA: What are some of your new projects? JACQUI HOLLAND: Valentine’s Day, I have a new movie coming called “Silent, But Deadly”. It’s a comedy/horror set in a retirement home that I actually wrote and produced and I’m one of the stars. It has Dawn Wells (Mary Ann, “Gilligan’s island”), (former Miss America) Lee Meriwether, Martin Kove (“Karate Kid”). In March, I have a horror film coming out called “God of Thunder”. I play the female lead.