H A P P Y N O W Y O U !
mind, body & soul
10 simple
ways to
Feed your
soul this
new year
Rochelle Aytes on season two of Mistresses, success
and staying grounded
elevision used to be sacred ground that rarely ...
lonGon love, the Best
man holIday, And
the one thing every
mother needs to
Be successful
Behind the
Taraji P.
By Naja Hill
I remember the first time I saw Taraji P.
Kimberly Elise, best known for her roles in
“Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “John Q,”
“For Colored Girls,” and “Hit the Floo...
Michael Clarke Duncan Remembered in His Final
Role by Producer Jamie Kennedy
7:03 PM PDT 3/20/2013 by Naja Hill
The cast o...
StreamyAwards 2013:Jamie Kennedy Mulling
Idea of‘Faux Reality’Web Series
9:48 PM PST 2/17/2013 by Naja Hill
Awards show cr...
E-mail: Naja.Hill@thr.com
Twitter: @najahill
The Design Network (TDN) -- a crowd-sourced, video sharing online network for...
of 19


Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - NajaHill-portfolio-EMAIL-01292015-SMALL

  • 1. www.heartandsoul.com H A P P Y N O W Y O U ! mind, body & soul 10 simple ways to Feed your soul this new year SINGER BEYONCÉ Of SOUTH AfRICA LIRA KeKe palmer and sherri shepherd in broadway’s cinderella BLACk WOmEN do worKout WE LOVE Goapele! ROBERT BATTLE fILLS JUdITH JAmISON’S SHOES AT ALVIN AILEY RESTORING HOpEANd HEALINGTO AUTO ImmUNITY WHAT IS SAfE TO EAT dURING preGnancy?
  • 2. Rochelle Aytes on season two of Mistresses, success and staying grounded T elevision used to be sacred ground that rarely included strong character based African American actresses, but the climate for seeing women of color on TV is changing. Keri Washington is no longer the only starlet representing the immense female African American talent pool making breakthroughs in a competitive business. On the cusp of Mistresses season two, Rochelle Aytes, makes her mark and presence undoubtedly know. The strikingly beautiful actress plays the only character on the show that is not a mistress. Her character, April, a widow and single mother, discovers her deceased husband had a secret child with his mistress. Aytes was attracted to the role because of April’s strength and multi- dimensional characteristics. Strength is an attribute that I immediately sensed Atyes has a profound understanding of. When asked why she thinks she is successful in a very competitive business, she notes with certainty that hard work, determination, and a thick-skin, combined with a pure calling to be a performer have been the ingredients that have propelled her success. brother’s comedy, White Chicks. “That was the beginning because I had never done anything before that except one scene in Sex and the City and a bunch of commercials,” she humbly notes, “then I shot right up to a 30 million dollar budget movie.” She goes on to describe her surprise that she beat out many actresses she had watched on television for years. It was in this unexpected moment of victory that a light went on revealing the possibility that even she, who constantly second guesses her abilities, must have that special something. Tyler Perry also caught on to Aytes special something when he cast her opposite Blair Underwood as a battered wife in Madea’s Family Reunion. She then went on to play Pebbles in Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story. Aytes described the pressure she felt in playing Pebbles. “I absolutely felt more pressure because I was playing a real person. I wanted it to be as honest as possible. I watched lots of interviews with Pebbles and studied her behavior and mannerisms.” As we continued to speak, I realized how extremely hard Aytes had worked to consistently book roles. With the constant pressures of being in the entertainment industry, I asked her how she maintains her spiritual and emotional health. God and prayer have been a very instrumental part of Atyes life. She lowered her voice as she discussed her realization that life is bigger then her and how she stays humble. “I make sure to stay grateful and thankful for what I have. I am always appreciative of what I have because it could be taken away at any moment.” As Aytes described her humble beginnings in more detail I began to understand where the grace she carries comes from. Besides giving gratitude, she purposefully stays connected to her humble Harlem roots. “I go home often and spend time with friends I grew up with, people that know exactly who I am. I stay at my parents simple two bedroom apartment and take the train.” She notes that in Los Angeles it can be easy to get caught up in the glamour of it all but that making a point to be, “…”regular” helps keep her grounded”. I delve deeper with Aytes on her career experiences inquiring if being an African- American actress has its restrictions in the roles available to her. After a long sigh she admits it is a bit more limiting. Though, she adds, she has been the lucky one to often play the one black role on a white show. In spite of these challenges, she feels TV is expanding and giving black actresses more of an opportunity to showcase their talent. As the sunset and our interview winds down, I ask Aytes what is next for someone with such a successful career and if she has any one special a serious commitment. She lights up as she expresses her hopes for a the conclusion the Rochelle Aytes is more than a graceful beauty, she success. By Naja Hill, For more entertainment updates follow Naja on Twitter@ najahill Rochelle’s Beauty Secret Box Hair: Wen Hair Care by Chaz Dean. Secret weapon: Applying coconut or olive oil on the ends of her hair to prevent splitting. Skin: Natural face serum called Face 4 Humanity Body: Bath Bar lotions and body scrubs; a product you can create your own scent with oils of your choice. Favorites Side Box Favorite Color: Red Favorite Food: Pasta Favorite Hangout: The Grove outdoor shopping mall in La : A man’s eyes MY FAVORITE THINGS
  • 3. www.heartandsoul.com Actress nIa lonGon love, the Best man holIday, And the one thing every mother needs to Be successful The Pink issue BreAst cAncer AwAreness mind, Body & soul thAnksgiving And grAtitude celeBrAte Ciara’s birthday iyanla VanzanT drops some wisdom takes a stand for hiv/Aids alIcIa keys sexy Actress kearran GIovannI shAres her mInd, Body And soul Gary dourdan’s redemption song the mAgic of alvIn aIley celeBrity trAiner BIG lezshAres some post cAncer treAtment workouts Fibroids in AfricAn AmericAn women W hen The Best Man first debuted in 1999, it was a pioneering film that portrayed a group of successful, upper-middle class African Americans. During this time there were few films that show- cased well-to-do, thriving, educated black characters. The highly celebrated film told a story of black people whose experiences were not defined by their race; instead their stories were defined by a universal famil- iarity that we all could identify with. Many grew to love these refreshing charac- ters and the film became known as a classic. Director Malcolm D. Lee waited fifteen long years before he decided to do the sequel, The Best Man Holiday, debuting on November 15th. He brought back all of the original cast, and then spiced things up, introducing new characters like Eddie Cibrian (Good Deeds). “The first movie was inspired by The Big Chill, in that it was a reunion of college friends,” says Malcolm. “For the sequel, instead of a group of people coming together for a wedding, they are coming together for a funeral.” The film revisits these rich characters played by Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Re- gina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa. Audiences see how they have evolved through marriages, divorces, children, and career ups and downs. Centered around the themes of love, laughter and loss, the group plays out life’s tribulations relying on friendship and faith. Faith, an ongoing theme in the storyline, played a personal part in this incredible reunion for Diggs and Lathan. FAITH FINDS A WAY TO SHINE ON AND OFF SCREEN IN “THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY” By: Naja Hill Lathan comments that she was moved by the fact that she and the eight other Af- rican American actors, were able to reunite fifteen years later, all still going strong in their acting careers. “The fact we were able to get each of us together,” says Lathan, “is a testament to some kind of faith in all of us in pursuing this career and living life. It was a blessing to have all of these characters lives represented again; for these stories to be told once more for us as a community, especially when we don’t usually see African American characters depicted so well and in such a variety of ways on film.” Diggs commented that he considers himself to be a spiritual man. He uses his faith to keep himself emotionally and mentally healthy in a difficult business. “There is so much pressure and negative energy around this holy art form that it can distract you from what you are actually supposed to do. There will always be people saying you shouldn’t do this or that, but I choose to just put that behind me and be in the moment.“ Lee noted that though he revamped a film engulfed in the ideas of spirituality, he purposely chose not to do so in an obvious way. “I incorporated faith without pushing for any kind of message, or doing so in an in your face type of way. ” We asked the beautiful, Melissa De Sousa of The Best Man Holiday, how she keeps her mind, body and soul thriving: Mind: Silent meditation in the mornings. I also listen to Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes for inspiration. I am not perfect, so whenever I feel overwhelmed, I look to meditation and the bible to block out the noise and get centered. Body: I love salsa and dance. I used to dance for Alvin Ailey, so I have a back- ground in movement. I do Pilates and cardio at the gym as well. Soul: I have seen the power of prayer at work! I lost my father three years ago. It was the hardest time in my life. I found myself so close to God during that time. As I look back, I feel grateful for the experience.
  • 4. HEARTANDSOUL.COM 112013 Behind the Scenes with Taraji P. Henson By Naja Hill I remember the first time I saw Taraji P. Henson in “Baby Boy” directed by John Singleton. I wouldn’t have guested that thirteen years later I would be sitting down to chat with the multi-talent actress. Her energy and enthusiasm immediately caught my attention and I sensed she was very down too earth and knew how to have a good time. Her personality was honest, free and inviting. She also had a beyond adorable, infectious giggle, that would spontaneously burst out. Henson found a way to break out of the stereotypical or type casted roles many actresses are faced with. She even managed to work her way up the Hollywood ladder to be considered an A list actress with an Oscar nomination for her role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” opposite mega star Brad Pitt. In her latest endeavor, hitting theaters this Friday April 25th, Henson plays Catana Starks in, “From the Rough.” Based on a true story, Henson portrays how Starks, an everyday woman, overcomes the unthinkable and manages to become the first female and African American woman to coach a men’s college golf team. “Dr. Catana Starks was a regular women, she wasn’t a celebrity, she wasn’t a movie star, she just believed in something and did it,” Henson said. Henson teamed up with the late Michael Clarke Duncan and Tom Felton as she depicts the strong minded and resilient Starks. Henson lowered her voice in remembrance as she spoke of Duncan, “…it was such a joy to work with Michael. We formed a little family and Michael was part of our family, so when he died it felt like we lost a family member. The character he plays in the film will steal your heart!” Seeing the role as an opportunity to showcase a positive image to young girls, Henson was immediately compelled to play the part. She was also enthusiastic about playing the role of a female coach, a character that is rarely seen on film. Henson was able to meet with Starks and described her respect and astonishment for her record-breaking championship wins. Starks told Henson not to worry about walking and talking like her in the movie but that she had faith in Henson to tell her story the way it should be told. Henson however, felt that the film was not about her, “this project is beyond me. It has nothing to do with me, I was just an instrument in helping to get this amazing story out,” she notes. As we discussed Starks perseverance, I asked Henson how she found strength in her own life, “I believe in something more then human. I believe in God. I also believe in myself. I believe in hard work. Any successful person will tell you that you have to work hard and believe in yourself, even when everyone else is laughing at you. It takes that kind of tenacity,” she said with conviction, “and that is what I do. There is no secret formula, anyone can do the same thing.” In addition to her belief in God, Henson also feeds her spirit by mediating and finding quiet time so she can take inventory of her own thoughts. As we further discuss Henson’s career and the many characters she has played, I asked her what excites her about acting. The arts are very powerful for Henson because it is the vehicle that helped her move forward in life. “ I grew up in the hood,” Henson admits, ”and the arts saved my life and got me out of the hood. It is a big part of my life. It has made me who I am and the woman I am. I know how powerful that is, because through this gift God gave me, I can touch other people. I can change a life, like how the arts did for me.” The longer we spoke, I could see that Henson was a woman who not only aspires to help others but also has a strong character not afraid to push the envelope. She doesn’t shy away from playing characters that may be considered by some unworthy of being portrayed. “A lot of times I play characters that other people would judge. People may ask why is she playing that pregnant ho, or the baby mama. The reason I play them is because they exist also and they need a voice. They need to see their story too. They may come to the theater and say oh my god, that is me and I need to change.” Just like Starks has changed the course of many lives, I get the sense that Henson is doing just that. By Naja Hill; For more entertainment news follow me on Twitter @najahill. For additional video clips visit the official web site http://fromtherough.com/videos/
  • 5. Kimberly Elise, best known for her roles in “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “John Q,” “For Colored Girls,” and “Hit the Floor” stars in cable channel UP’s original movie “Apple Mortgage Cake.” Based on the true story Elise plays Angela Taylor, a single working mom faced with losing her home. I sat down with the kind and thoughtful actress to discuss the film and her personal life. Tell me what Apple Mortgage Cake is about and why you wanted to be in the film? Apple Mortgage Cake is about a women who was faced with foreclosure on her house and got the idea to bake 100 cakes and sell them for $40 a cake to raise enough money to pay her mortgage. The press catches wind of it and it becomes a phenomenon. You have to see the movie to see what goes on after that. What drew you to want to play Angela Logan? I read the script and thought it was so inspiring and uplifting. It was so relevant to the financial crisis many people in our country have faced. I thought it offered a ray of hope and inspiration so I wanted to be apart of that. Did you meet Angela Logan? Yes, Angela is actually an actress so she had a small part in the film. She was on set for a portion of filming so I got to spend a lot of time with her. We also had some scenes together. It was great! What was your interaction with her in regards to you preparing your role to play her? It was great because I got to hear her story in her own words and connect with her emotionally. As an actress I was able to hear her voice and see her mannerisms, which I was able to incorporate into the character when I played her. Was is strange or nerve racking to play a real person who was literally right there with you on set in real time? It was interesting, but I always felt very supported by her. She was very happy I was playing her, which was comforting. Beyond that, on set, it was just us working actress to actress. She was really focused on her part and what she was doing. It was a really good experience. Who does she play in the film? Ironically she plays a person that I reach out to for help at a shelter my character volunteers at. This film is about perseverance and drawing strength; how do you draw strength in your personal life when you are faced with adversities? I have a lot of inner strength but I also reach out to my loved ones for support. You have to realize that people are there and that we are all in this together. Especially being a single mom, I can’t do it all. I am not a super woman so I depend on those around me that love and support me to help me get through things. How do you maintain yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually? I do yoga and exercise regularly. It is important to do regular exercise. Also Kimberly Elise On Life and "Apple Mortgage Cake" it’s important to get out in nature, and do things like hiking or bike riding. I also have three animals in my house who are very grounding and serene. The love you get from animals is astounding and their needs are so simple. Laughter is really important, my children and I laugh a lot. Journaling is equally important. Also having people you can talk to as well as finding quiet time, meditating. To stay centered you need to take time to be still so you can hear your inner voice. I use all of these things in my life everyday. You mentioned that you are a single mother, can you talk to me a little bit about your life as a mother and what that means to you and how becoming a mother has changed and effected you as a person. Well, I have been a mother my entire adult life. My oldest daughter is twenty- four so I really don’t know what it’s like not to be a mother. Motherhood has always been a part of me, a great part of me! It has been the highlight of my life. My daughters are amazing. They are two of my greatest and best friends and they make life easier. We move as a unit and are very close. They are my base and my anchors. I am very blessed to have my two daughters in my life. What is your experience being a single mother? And do you have any advice for other single mothers out there? I think it is important to know and except that you do not have to be a super woman. To know that it is okay to reach out to others for support and help when you need it. When you are tired, lay down and take a nap, don’t try to push through it. Take care of yourself first so that you can be a strong source for your children. Also look for the joy in your children. Children have so much light and energy. Cherish motherhood because it goes so fast. Don’t focus on the challenges of being a single mother but instead really enjoy the time you have together in that moment. I watched an interview you did for “Hit the Floor” and in it you said; “I know that what ever has happened to me, that I perceive as good or bad is in my best interest.” Tell me how the bad things that have happened in your life could have been in your best interest? When something bad happens, it is in those times that we have the opportunity to grow the most. Those situations can set us up for something more positive. It is important to be open to the idea that the thing that didn’t go our way will be, in the end, in our greater interest. I ask myself, how did it serve me or what is it teaching me? I ask how I can grow and learn from it. Even things that are more out of my control. For example – there was a time where I didn’t get a part I really wanted. I did all the right things and it didn’t happened but had I gotten the part I would not have gotten this other opportunity that was even greater! And at that time I didn’t even know it existed. It was this amazing opportunity that took me all over the world. I met wonderful people and made great relationships. None of that would have happened had I gotten the part I wanted in the beginning. So rather then sitting in the dark and feeling bad about something you perceived as negative reflect on why it didn’t happen and know that in retrospect it will usually make sense. You can look at it the same way in a relationship. When you have a break up you are opening your life to the right partner coming your way. You have to trust that everything is on your side. You have a tremendous emotional life that some actors have to really work at to get – has your access to extreme emotions always been easy for you? I never really analyze it or think about it. I just tap into the character and what the character is going through and let that speak through me. I don’t give a whole lot of thought to how it happens. I don’t have a special technique. I simply play the character and it happens. You mentioned you don’t have a special technique; did you train at an acting school when you first started acting? I have never taken an acting class. I did a lot of stage work and that is where I really came into touch with my instrument. The theater really helped me connect with my own gift. That is where I came to understand what I can do. I never wanted to get in my head with acting. I know some people like to read books about it and take classes but I just like to jump in and do it. Do you work with an acting coach? No never. God is my acting coach. Who has been a mentor in your life? Cicely Tyson has been a great mentor in my life. She reached out to me early in my career and remains a great friend and advisor. She is someone I admired as a young girl so I feel very blessed and lucky to have her in my life. You can find Kimberly at the following social media sites: Twitter: iKimberlyElise Facebook: Kimberly Elise Website: KimberlyElise.com By Naja Hill; For more entertainment news follow me on Twitter @najahill.
  • 6. Michael Clarke Duncan Remembered in His Final Role by Producer Jamie Kennedy 7:03 PM PDT 3/20/2013 by Naja Hill The cast of“A Resurrection”pays tribute to the late“big-hearted,sweet”actor who died in September. Michael Clarke Duncan’s co-stars remembered the late actor as “He was a big-hearted, sweet man,” Jamie Kennedy told The Hollywood Mischa Barton actor, an Oscar nominee for The Green Mile, died in September at age J. Michael Trautmann red carpet giving his best Zoolander look as he excitedly pointed to his Kennedy told THR real Kennedy’s Court The OC Rosemary’s Baby and Amityville Horror E-mail: Naja.Hill@thr.com Twitter: @najahill
  • 7. StreamyAwards 2013:Jamie Kennedy Mulling Idea of‘Faux Reality’Web Series 9:48 PM PST 2/17/2013 by Naja Hill Awards show creator Drew Baldwin,Soulja Boy,Vanilla Ice and Epic Rap Battles of History’s members also talked to THR about the importance of online media at the third annual event. Jamie Kennedy performance in a comedy -- that he has been talking to several people reality,” he said on the red carpet of the event, which was streamed live Singer-songwriter Vanilla Ice also hit the carpet before his performance Soulja Boy, who also performed Lil Wayne,” he told THR Nice Peter and Lloyd Ahlquist performed their viral famed comedic rap Drew Baldwin Tom Hanks E-mail: Naja.Hill@thr.com Twitter: @najahill The docuseries follows LaToya Jackson as she juggles her personal life and the complications that come with her famous family name. Life With La Toya complications that come with her iconic Michael Jackson Life With La Toya Katherine Jackson Paris Hilton’s mother, Kathy Hilton E-mail: Naja.Hill@thr.com Twitter: @najahill OWN Unveils First‘LifeWith LaToya’Trailer 10:04 PM PST 3/9/2013 by Naja Hill
  • 8. E-mail: Naja.Hill@thr.com Twitter: @najahill The Design Network (TDN) -- a crowd-sourced, video sharing online network for home design which launched April 10 -- is about to launch a new web series from celebrity favorite interior design experts. Designer Michelle Workman, will be leaving her Los Angeles home for the reality series, Glamour Goes South. Workman has designed homes for many of Hollywood’s biggest names like John Travolta and Kelly Preston and Jennifer Lopez. For the series, she takes her talents from the glitz and glam of entertainment to the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. “I expect my future southern clients to be much more traditional,” says Workman, “I will have to push them outside of the box.” Workman explains that designing a house means tapping into a client’s personality. “Jennifer is very glamorous and believe it or not understated, while John Travolta and Kelly Preston are both very sweet and happy people,” says Workman, “I used gray palates to glamorous side. We used a lot of happy bright yellows and reds for John and Kelly.” Viewers can expect similar design tips from the large selection of digital series that run on the network. They include videos with L.A. designer Donna Livingston and Rebecca Robeson (said to have the most watched interior design channel on YouTube), while House Trip with Leah & Mary brings viewers inside the residences of tastemakers. On the Couch with Gretchen + Shane features interviews with other high-end designers like Madonna’s designer, Jamie Drake. TDN founder Jason Harris created the network in the hope that it will become the authority on interior design, renovations, garden design and entertaining. “Home decor and interior design is not mainstream and was not resonating with consumers,” says Harris. “They rarely have awareness of the brands of home decor and basic design principles.” He formed the network to build a library that provides entertainment, inspiration and instruction reaching viewers through a multitude of screens, from computer monitors and televisions to smartphones and tablets. A key element of Harris’ approach is creating an interactive environment where any home enthusiast interior designer or trend-setter can create content and submit it. Videos submitted are reviewed and approved by the network’s team of experts and the site’s online viewer panel. Each video provider has the chance to star on the network based on ratings calculated by viewer votes. “A lot of people don’t have the funds to go out and produce great video content,” says Harris. “We want people who have a good idea within this genre to be able to have an opportunity to pitch a show to TDN, the audience will vote on it, then we will commission the work and give them a budget.” TDN’s founding sponsors include Baker, Four Hands, Harden, Serta, Stanley, Sunbrella, Surya Rugs, Thomasville and Young America. Style Notes: The Great Gatsby Celebrates in Style 10:21 AM PST 4/2/2013 by Naja Hill

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