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Entries in Fitness (5)

Friday
Jun302017

Call Answered: Marc Jordan Cohen: Daddy Issues, a web series

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Allan MaldonadoAs a spin instructor Marc Jordan Cohen inspires me. I have been taking Marc's class at CYC Fitness on and off for several months and I can guarantee you, not only has he helped me get in shape, he has left with lots of food for thought. When I found out Marc was writing, producing, and starring in his own web series, Daddy Issues, I immediately said to him, we must do an interview to promote this!

Daddy Issues is a web series about three friends who start an escort business. It's a show about resilience, love, family, and learning to accept yourself and those around you for who they are. It's about relationships, connection, and finding hope within each other.

I saw the pilot episode and could not be more passionate about a new project. Daddy Issues is sure to be a great series. After the first episode, I wrote Marc and told him how I wanted more! Marc was already one step ahead of me. He put together this great Kickstarter campaign to get the rest of Season 1 made! So, let's help Marc continue to make his dreams come true and allow me to watch more episodes! Donate to Daddy Issues' Kickstarter here!

For more on Marc be sure to visit http://www.marcjordancohen.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/writer? I’ve been performing since I was seven years old. I wouldn’t say anyone inspired me because it was something that I had to do. We had a family friend growing up that owned a community theatre, and they were looking for boys for a production of The Princess and the Pea. My dad took me to watch a rehearsal and I knew immediately that I wanted to be on that stage. Ever since that show I knew this was what I was put on this earth to do. As a writer, my mother is my daily inspiration. She is a painter but with metaphors, alliteration and memories. She’s currently working on her own memoir and we often bounce ideas off each other and she is my main editor and critic.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti2. You are developing a web series called Daddy Issues, with each episode being about 10 minutes in length. Why did you want to make your own web series? What do you like about this short format episode? After graduating NYU, I needed to take a break from the theatre world and figure out what I wanted. I went on a few auditions after the summer ended, but I felt unfulfilled. I felt stuck because I don’t have representation and I wasn’t excited about any auditions. So I started writing as my secondary creative outlet. I’ve always been told I should create my own content and I wasn’t going to wait for someone to hand me a job, so I made my own. Daddy Issues is simply what was born out of free writes and my childhood experience.

With the need for instant gratification and the short attention span of my generation, I believe that this short format or web content is the best and most pleasing way to digest entertainment. I mean, look at Vine and Youtube–people would rather watch 6 second to 3 minute videos than an hour drama. Even with Netflix, people are eager to binge and be done with a show as fast as possible.

3. To create a 10 minute episode, how many hours of filming does that come out to? How hard is it to cut those hours into 10 minute episodes? Has there been a scene you really wanted in an episode, but because of time constraints, you just were able to get it in there? It’s crazy to think that one 10 minute episode, at least this first one, was filmed over five days totaling roughly 12-14 hours. I didn’t have to cut anything for time constraint (yet) because I write the scripts to be around 10 pages in screenplay format which comes out to be exactly the length I want it to be.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti4. After watching the pilot episode, I love the complexity of the series, the multi-layer story lines. You did a great job of setting up the characters and their starting points for this series. The end of the pilot episode, definitely left me wanting more. What made you want to create this show? Why did  you title it Daddy Issues? Thank you. That was the goal! Each episode following, especially the first three, leave you with a bit of a twist or question mark over your head. Originally, it was very autobiographical and too personal. It was more of a therapeutic experience for me, and it still is, but I added the plot of an escort business as a layer to remove my life from the show. I titled it Daddy Issues because it immediately has people asking the question, "What is THAT about?" and it’s also the connection that unites "Matt," "Destiny" and "Danny." I wanted to create something that resonated with everyone. We all have daddy issues, as I like to say. But, I also wanted to write something LGBTQ+ focused that doesn’t center on sexuality being a problem. So many shows have the "gay best friend" trope, or the designated "sassy black friend." Gender, race, sexuality, etc. isn’t the focus. Ultimately, this show is about people discovering who they are by connecting to each other and learning from one another.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti5. You will be releasing the first episode of Daddy's Issues on Father's Day. Then you will be doing a crowd-funding campaign to film the rest of the season. Why are you choosing to go the crowd-funding route to make this series? How do you feel the crowd-funding will make the series more special as opposed to seeking out private donations? First off, I’m nervous to be asking anyone to back this project. There’s always that little voice telling you you’re not good enough, that people won’t like what you’re doing, etc. but we all have that voice. So, I had to silence it and just go with my gut. I believe we all can relate to this show in one way or another, and I want everyone to feel a part of this project. Having it funded by people who truly want to see it come to fruition will keep the passion in my passion project. If I just had someone throw money at it, it could possibly be blown up to a mainstream level that: 1. I’m not big enough for and 2. could lose creative license to. It’s also uplifting and validating to see people engage with the series before it exists and to see their excitement of what's to come.

6. Let's play with the title of the show for a bit. What are some of your "Daddy Issues" from childhood, but now as an adult, you were able to resolve? Well, not to go too into it, but they’re definitely addressed in the show. I wasn’t always close with my dad. We didn’t understand each other growing up and I think it had to do in part with me being uncomfortable and confused with my sexuality. But, as I grew up and learned to love myself, I’ve become closer with him and realized there are just some things he won’t ever be able to understand about me, as a gay man. He’s never been marginalized his entire life, as a white cis heterosexual privileged male. I’m not sure I’ve been able to "resolve" the issues I have, but this show is one way I continue to work through them. My awareness of my "issues" are more important than the actual solving of them I believe, otherwise my job as a creative human would be complete, right?

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti7. In the first episode, your character seems to be joining the world of escorts. If you were to bring this into reality, in what instance do you think you would sell your body or soul to someone else? Oh wow. Well, personally I’m not sure I would ever physically sell myself. Luckily I’ve never had to contemplate it. I do know people that have had to, and I respect them so much for their shamelessness, strength and tenacity to survive by whatever means necessary. I don’t think I would ever sell my soul because it’s too sacred, and I’d rather struggle for my goals. However, if Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to pay me, I wouldn’t complain.

8. At the end of the pilot I get the feeling some kind of deal is being made, though I don't know what the deal is in the show because so far there is just the pilot episode. If you were to make a deal with the devil, what kind of deal would you make? Jake Gyllenhaal’s hand in marriage. Kidding aside, I’d probably make a deal to always find happiness everywhere I go even through the most painful parts in my life. I know that doesn’t sound like something the devil would provide, but truly all I could ever ask for is to find positivity and hope daily, through all the stress and anxiety of life, I’d take the deal, whatever it costs.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Alisha Siegel9. There is a great quote during the premiere episode you say at the end of your spin class (which I think you've actually said in your classes). You say, "All great changes are preceded by chaos." What change or changes in your life were first preceded by chaos? One of my favorite Deepak Chopra quotes. I feel like I’m in the chaos right now. It’s partially why I included that quote in the pilot as a reminder to myself to keep pushing through. I'm doing all of this on my own–writing, acting, directing, marketing, scheduling (with some help from a few generous friends), but it feels like a tornado. So, I’m trying to stay focused, meditate and repeat that mantra to myself.

10. In addition to being an actor/writer, you are also a spin instructor. How do you feel acting/writing has influenced your style of instruction and then how does being a spin instructor help your acting/writing? A very interesting question! At the source of my being, I’m a performer. When I’m teaching at Cyc, I’m center stage of the Richard Rodgers theater giving my best performance sometimes 12 times a week. I think the most important thing that they lend to each other is that the show must go on, I must write, I must act, I must fake it till I make it. Even when I don’t feel like teaching, or I’m having a shitty day, I remind myself at least one person is depending on me, or needs me to better their day. I’d say writing and acting is what influences my teaching style because it is self reflective and for my own well being. That’s something I always make sure my riders know–that this is their time, their workout, and to find the joy and excitement rather than punish themselves or do it for anyone else. The most important relationship you have is the on with yourself and as Mama Ru says, "If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else?"

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? My patience. Like I said before, my generation is all about instant gratification and I’m always trying to get to the end result, but I need to be better at living in the moment, working through the struggle, and bettering myself one step at a time. I find I am happier when I focus on the one task in front of me rather than inducing myself with the stress of what’s going to happen 3 months from now.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Brian BriganttiMore on Marc:

Marc Jordan Cohen recently graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway with a BFA in Drama. He’s been performing since he was seven years old and has always known his purpose was to lead a creative life and connect with other people. From the serene shores of Newport Beach, California, Marc always strived for the fast pace of New York City his entire life. There’s an energy fueled by the determination of the city’s people that lend him to feel more motivated and excited to create. Currently Marc can be found performing on a different kind of stage instructing indoor cycling at Cyc Fitness. When he’s not on the bike, he’s writing, creating, and planning what’s next. Right now, it’s his new web series Daddy Issues. He hopes to one day marry–I mean, work alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.

Saturday
Jan072017

Call Answered: Donnell Turner: General Hospital

Donnell Turner, Photo Credit: Caroline WhiteFrom the moment I found out Rebecca Budig was on General Hospital, I knew I had to dive back into the world of soaps. What I didn't realize is that I would become a fan of her co-star Donnell Turner, who plays "Curtis Ashford." When I got a request to interview Donnell, I went to Port Charles! Upon arrival, I was introduced to a hot man with sexy eyes and a chiseled body, but by the time our interview was over, I found a humble man with a big heart, an infectious zest for life, and a desire to help/inspire others to overcome hardships.

Donnell may be in your night time dreams, but us Soap fans are lucky to have him in the Daytime as well! Donnell can be seen on General Hospital weekdays at 3pm on ABC.

For the latest news and happenings, be sure to follow Donnell on Instagram and Twitter!

Donnell Turner and Rebecca Budig on ABC's "General Hospital"1. Rebecca Budig is one of my favorite actresses, so we have to start off talking about her. What has been the best part working with Rebecca on General Hospital? What is one of the funniest things to happen during taping between the two of you? The best part of working with Rebecca is that she is a professional in every way. She is nurturing. I couldn’t have asked for a better actress to begin with at General Hospital than Rebecca.

Rebecca has great timing and an excellent sense of humor. On my first day of taping, Rebecca had a line that was directed to me. Now keep in mind I was initially supposed to be a grungy and dishelved character. Rebecca’s response was, "Really? Look at this man. I am not saying this line to a freaking model." The line was changed and "Curtis" became a little more hip.

Donnell Turner on ABC's "General Hospital"2. What made you want to get onto General Hospital? This is always a big question asked. I had been a fan of General Hospital when I was younger. In fact I wrote to the casting director, Mark Teschner long before I moved to LA. Before I was cast to play "Curtis Ashford," I auditioned for GH a couple of years earlier. And it was 2015 that I was offered a chance to originate the character that you now see.

3. What do you relate to most about your character, "Curtis"? What is one characteristic of "Curtis'" you are glad you don't have? The part of "Curtis" I relate most to is his heart for others. He has an unrelenting pursuit of the truth that I identify with as well. I would have to say that I am not as driven by money in the way that "Curtis" is.

4. If Donnell and "Curtis" were to meet in a bar. What advice would Donnell give to "Curtis"? I would pull him very close and say, "Look bro, don’t get romantically involved with your sister-in-law."

Donnell Turner, Photo Credit: Jim Warren5. Prior to joining GH, you were on Days of Our Lives and two episodes of The Young & The Restless. What is the best part about acting in the soap opera genre? What are the most challenging parts of it? I have had an opportunity to work on the soaps that you mention. I think for an actor you are always excited when you get the chance to work and do what you do. Soaps have traditionally been good for actors because one, there were a lot of them at one time, and they’ve given actors opportunities to grow and expand. Secondly, there is a mixture of seasoned professionals and newcomers that each brings something to the table.

What can be challenging early on is the amount of dialogue that you are given on a daily basis. After you’ve done it for a minute, you start to get it down and it becomes easier each time, ultimately building into your muscle memory.

6. With your sexy smile, irresistible eyes, and chiseled body, you must get a lot of attention from both men and women. How do you handle the craving for you? What do you like about it and what makes you uncomfortable? One of the most undeniable qualities about fans is their dedication to the people they love and admire. You can’t help but appreciate the attention. These are the people that watch our shows and comment on social media. I am very grateful to my die-hard fans. It does get sticky when you have an ultra-fan that takes it a step further by touching inappropriately or sending private messages that should be kept in ones private thoughts.

Donnell Turner, Photo Credit: Jim Warren7. In this world of acting, how do you stay grounded and when others have been lead down more trying roads? I think having a sense of who you are and what makes you tick is the very basis of staying grounded. Of course having a great group of family and friends that also know who you are helps to maintain normalcy in a world that is anything but normal. I’m an athlete. I stay healthy by keeping my body and mind focused on the things that are most important and will help me to continue doing what I do.

8. Like you, I'm very into fitness. I battle with eating healthy, but am dedicated to working out. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encouragepeople to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Any focus that helps to keep people on track is a good thing. Staying consistent is a challenge that we each face in our own way. With so much going on in terms of my schedule, I have to remain organized. That is the one percent for me.

Donnell Turner, Photo Credit: Jim Warren9. One thing that is very close to your heart is talking to youths at schools and motivating them for their future. Like Whitney Houston sings, "I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way." What is it about your story that made you want to inspire kids? Out of all the kids you have met, have any of them later contacted you with their success story or perhaps how you inspired them? What was the most heart-breaking story you have found out from the kids you've spoken to? As a kid, I was inspired by all of the professionals and motivators that I had the opportunity to listen to when I grew up. The idea that I get to do what I love for a living is an incredible gift. The fact that I also get to inspire others is a really big deal to me.

At Washington State I was speaking to group of youths at an event that was designed to reengage the young people and help them gain entry back into society. Since that time numerous students have contacted me through social media and have told me about the things they are doing because they were inspired by me. On the flip side, I have also seen either on social media, or have heard other students have succumbed to drugs and stints in jail.That is heartbreaking.

10. What are 8 things people don't know about Donnell Turner? I think everything that I want people to know is already out there. But to give you something that may be different, I would say that people might not know:

1. I played semi-professional basketball.

2. I have modeled around the world.

3. Last year’s Daytime Emmy Awards was my first award ceremony where I was asked to present.

4. I’m a Martial Artist.

5. I keep hand sanitizer on me at all times.

6. I am an ambassador for the No More organization that raises awareness against domestic violence.

7. A couple of my favorite clothing brands are Lululemon and Allsaints.

8. I am right handed but can only snap on my left hand.

Donnell Turner, Photo Credit: Caroline WhiteMore on Donnell:

Donnell Turner was born on January 8th in Tacoma, WA. When he was a baby his family relocated to Chicago. The love for acting was born as a child when Donnell participated in church plays. In high school he played basketball and played trumpet in the band. The talented athlete briefly played semi-pro basketball as a shooting guard before changing his focus to pursue acting full-time. After relocating to Los Angeles in 2001, Donnell has booked more than 100 print ads worldwide including: Nike, Pepsi, Hilton, Disney, AT&T, Coke, and Infinity. In addition to these major brands, he has also worked in nine national commercial campaigns in the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Donnell was the 2014 Mercedes Benz C-Class Spokesman. Donnell has modeled ALL over the U.S. and internationally including: Hong Kong, Thailand, France, Italy, Amsterdam, Belgium, and Spain. The actor has noted that one of his favorite places in the world is Florence, Italy. He trained with Northern California Casting, Van Marr Academy, Beverly Hills Playhouse, and Lesley Kahn Acting Studios.

In 2014 and 2015 Donnell was the lead in two important plays in Los Angeles including the classic, The Black Doctor (Ira Aldridge circa 1759) at the Legendary Matrix Theater, and, the modern Crescent City Ghosts (a tribute to the 10 year anniversary of hurricane Katrina).

Some of his television credits include: How To Get Away With Murder, Dexter, Anger Management, Rizzoli and Isles, 2 Broke Girls, Revenge, The Mindy Project, Teen Wolf, CSI, 90210, and Parks and Recreation. The versatile actor is not a stranger to daytime drama. He portrayed the character of "Dr. Aiden Williams" opposite to Kristian Alfonso on Days of Our Lives for five episodes between 2009 and 2010. He also briefly portrayed a doctor on The Young and the Restless in 2015 for two episodes. Donnell's perseverance and tenacity paid off. He grew up watching General Hospital and began writing to casting director Mark Teschner in the 1990's. He auditioned for the role of the District Attorney in 2014. However ABC had other plans for this hidden gem, and later offered a 4-year contract to bring life to the original character created specifically for him as "Curtis Ashford" on General Hospital. Since November 30th, 2015 he has been gracing our screens with his good looks, talent, skill, and charisma portraying this unpredictable anti-villain.

He has given motivational speeches empowering and encouraging others across the country at high schools, colleges, religious organizations, and professional business events. On April 2, 2016 (Global Autism Awareness Day), Donnell was an honored guest speaker at the Autism Speaks Walk Now event.

Fitness is an integral part of Donnell Turner's life. Aside from a regular workout routine that includes hiking and kickboxing, which he has been practicing for 30 years. He has Firearms (9 mm) training, Knife Combat, Nun Chuckas, Submission Wrestling, Tae Kwon Do, Tang So Do, Muay Thai and Yoga. He is very proud to have studied and practiced Muay Thai in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thursday
Dec222016

Call Answered: Saniyya Sidney: Fences & Hidden Figures

Saniyya Sidney, Photo credit: Anthony TopmanWhen you get a request to interview an actress that is starring in a mega hit TV show and releasing two major films on Christmas Day, you jump at the opportunity to interview them. That is how I came to know Saniyya Sidney who is starring in this season of American Horror Story as "Flora" and in the upcoming films Fences (alongside Denzel Washington & Viola Davis) and Hidden Figures (alongside Octavia Spencer & Taraji P. Henson).

At just 10-years-old, Saniyya is certainly making a name for herself. It was so great learning more about her through this interview, especially discovering her good upbringing & commitment to fitness at such a young age. I can't wait to see where she goes from here!

American Horror Story airs every Wednesday on FX at 10pm. Fences and Hidden Figures are both being released on Christmas Day!

For more on Saniyya be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Saniyya Sidney, Photo credit: Anthony Topman1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress? I always had a calling for it. Even when I was little I would tell my mom and dad I wanted to act. So when I was 5-years-old I started acting classes and have been studying ever since.

2. As a child actress, how do you balance school, friends, and filming? My parents are very supportive and help me stay organized. They teach me responsibility but also keep it all fun!

3. You are starring in two huge upcoming films, both releasing on Christmas Day...One is Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and the other is Hidden Figures starring Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson. Let's start with Fences. What did you learn from working with Denzel and Viola? What were your top funniest moments to happen between you all while filming? Denzel & Viola inspired me by how giving they are. How everything matters. Finding the truth in the moment is sometimes not easy, but you have to keep searching because when you find it you know. One of my favorite moments is when Denzel was out back teaching me to hit a baseball for the first time and I got it stuck up in the tree. They kept calling him back to the set because he was directing the movie. He finally said, "Y'all just going to have to wait, I'm playing with Saniyya!" He lifted me way up to the tree so I could get the ball.

Saniyya Sidney, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and the cast of "Fences"4. Can you tell us a bit about your character in Fences, "Raynell?" "Raynell" is the light in a tough situation. She is the light that guides the family through it. She loves everyone and she is looking for that love back. That seems to bring the best out of everyone that she meets in her family. In the end, "Raynell" is kind of the "Fence" that keeps them together.

5. So, you play Denzel's illegitimate child who's a symbol of new hope for the future and the positive values parents and older generations pass on to their young. What values have your parents instilled in you that you look to pass on to others? My parents taught me when you have been blessed with a gift from God, you should never waste your talent. You should give 110% every time because sometimes 100% just isn't enough. Always work hard and be thankful for it. Always remember to treat others like you want to be treated.

Saniyya Sidney at the premiere of "Fences"6. Now, let's switch gears and talk about "Hidden Figures," can you tell us about your role in this film? I loved being a part of this true story of three incredible woman! I play the middle daughter, "Constance," of "Katherine Johnson." She is a happy little girl who has to help take care of mom with her sisters because she has to work a lot to support them. She and her sisters realize that because she is doing important work that it doesn't mean she doesn't love them. It means sometimes it takes a lot from someone to do important things that will help a lot of people in the world.

7. So in Hidden Figures, you play Taraji's daughter "Constance Johnson," who's proud of her mother's success, but sad she doesn't get to spend much time with her. As a child actress yourself, who spends a lot of time filming, do you ever wish you could spend more time with your friends/family and just be a kid or does the thrill of getting to be on set, working with well known celebrities, doing things not everyone else gets to do, make up for that lack of time with friends/family? I don't feel like I'm losing out on anything when this is who I am. I'm not here to play at being actress, I feel like it is what I am supposed to do. Every chance I get, when I'm home, my parents let me go outside to be a kid and go over to my friend's house to hang out. My family is very supportive and makes sure that I get to be a kid.

Saniyya Sidney in "Hidden Figures"8. In Hidden Figures, Taraji plays a woman who excels at mathematics. What is your favorite subject or subjects in school? Which ones don't you like? I loved Math and English, but hated social studies and science. That's funny because my favorites are science and social studies. I like to learn everything I can about history and how it changed the world. Science is fun because you get to learn about all the different animals and how things work around us.

9. Since this film is called Hidden Figures, what is something you like to do or what is a hidden talent that you have not revealed about yourself in another interview? I like to sing and dance. I really want to be a triple threat and I'm working hard to become one.

Saniyya Sidney on the set of "American Horror Story"10. I can't let this interview go by, without talking about American Horror Story. You are on the current season of this mega hit show. What do you like most about being on the show? What are the three scariest things to happen to you so far on set? I LOVED working on that show. Every actor was so much fun and really got into the story. I loved I got to taste the fake blood! It was the best day when Kathy Bates held a butcher knife to my throat! Kathy is so sweet and then BOOM. They call "action" and she IS "The Butcher!" The house they built in the middle of no where looked so old and real, it just felt haunted. It was a closed set so not many people were there which made the night scenes with the torches so scary! And Sarah and Cuba were so committed when we were running through the cave trying to escape it was super scary. Like a haunted house at Halloween every day! And Angela Bassett and Evan Peters are so kind & generous. I would love to go back again and again to play different characters.

11. As an young actress who is exceeding to major heights in your career, can you give any advice to aspiring young actors who want be in your position? Acting is not easy. But if you truly love it, you find a way to make it easy. You must have positive thinking. I don't see not booking a job as a rejection, sometimes the answer is just no. I see that in preparing for the audition it made me a better actor.

12. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I also like to improve my fitness. I like to workout with my mom every weekend. She pushes herself in the gym and we compete on who will have the better workout. I win all the time of course, she says that I cheat but I would never do that. You believe me, right?

Saniyya Sidney, Photo credit: Anthony TopmanMore on Saniyya:

From a young age, destiny seemed to call upon Saniyya Sidney to work with some of the most respected actors and directors in the industry. Her first role was iconic. Filming five weeks in New Orleans, she played "Young Kizzy" in the new adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots. She instantly bonded and formed an incredible artistic partnership with her director Mario Van Peeples.

Next she was off to Atlanta on another historic project. Playing Taraji P. Henson's daughter in the feature Hidden Figures. The film also stars Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner. Taking place in the 1960's, it tells true story of the three African American mathematicians who computed the trajectory for the first Apollo missions into space and moon landing.

Next she received the call that can catapult the trajectory of a career. It was from Denzel Washington who cast her as his and Viola Davis' daughter in the film Fences. Another period piece, this one taking place in the 1950's. Denzel directs the story adapted from the August Wilson play, in which he and Viola reprise their Tony winning roles.

Tuesday
Dec062016

Call Answered: Sam Provenzano: Logo TV's Finding Prince Charming

Sam ProvenzanoThis past fall my guilty pleasure was watching Logo TV's reality dating show Finding Prince Charming. I couldn't wait to learn more about these guys who were vying for "Prince Charming," while seeing who would get sent home, and who would stay week after week. I definitely had my favorites and last month I got to interview one of them, Finding Prince Charming's runner-up Brandon Kneefel, and now, I get to interview another favorite suitor of mine, Sam Provenzano.

Sam definitely caught my eye from the moment he walked into the house. He was cute, charming, and had those mid-western good looks, which always makes my heart melt. I was rooting for Sam from the start! But as the series unfolded, so did Sam, and we were shown a different side of Sam. Despite his outbursts, I still cheered for Sam. I didn't want him to be affected by the drama in the house, but despite my wants, the camera was showing what it showed. Like most, I wondered if what we were seeing was the real Sam or an edited version made for television. So, I took to social media and reached out to Sam. Thankfully, Sam answered my call and I got to know just who Sam Provenzano really is! 

I'm so excited to show you the man behind the drama. What I discovered through this interview was a man who's constantly learning about himself, is very self-assured and does amazing things to help people get fit with his company "Right Fit For You!" The camera only shows one side of you, but if you look at the other angles, you see the parts that make a person who they truly are.

For more on Sam be sure to visit Right Fit For You and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Sam Provenzano1. This past fall you were featured on Logo TV's reality dating show Finding Prince Charming. What initially made you want to be on the show? You know, I really just wanted to do something different and fun! I thought it would be a great chance to not only try to find a significant other, but it could be a great way to make some new friends and just do something different. I never thought they would choose me, but they did. I had an amazing journey on and off the camera during my time.

2. What were your first thoughts upon entering the house and meeting everyone? Who do you still keep in touch with? I thought they actually casted an amazing group of guys from across the country with different backgrounds and personalities. Every single guy they chose had a great story behind them and each suitor brought something unique and special to the table. I was definitely a bit intimidated I guess you can say, and that's rare for me. I still keep in touch with the majority of the guys. I'd say I am closest to Paul, Chad, Jasen and Robby. I was the only guy from Chicago, so it's a bit hard to stay in contact with everyone, but I travel to LA a lot for work. I recently hung-out with Charlie and Robby while I was there. A few weeks ago, Paul stayed at my place in Chicago and we attended the Human Rights Campaign Gala together and had a blast.

I haven't spoken to Dillon, Brandon or Eric since the reunion, but wish them well. I ran into Robert recently but we didn't speak. There's no love lost between the two of us that's for sure.

Sam Provenzano and Paul Hollowell at HRC Gala3. As the season unfolded, a different side of you was shown a lot more then the man we met in the first episode. You were constantly being shown losing your temper or getting into arguments/fights with some of the other housemates. I was very surprised to see this side of you, considering what I saw in the premiere episode. Do you have short temper in real life or did you just get a bum rap in how your scenes were edited together? You know, I do have a short temper and a strong personality...but that's only one side of the many sides to me. I'm not going to be "that guy" that blames the way I was portrayed because of editing. Producers have a job to do and a story to tell and they are filming 24/7 -- they can't capture everything in a 60-minute episode...it's not the "Sam Show" (though that would be fun LoL). I didn't really get comfortable in the house and felt a bit isolated at times from some of the guys. I had some fantastic moments, sad moments and yes, even angry and bad moments...but it is what it is.

4. At one point, things got so out of control with Dillon, that during your argument, you went as far as to spit on him. Why do you feel you and Dillon clashed so much? Can you take us through what was going through your mind leading up to the moment you actually spit on him? After spitting on him, you immediately left the house. Why did you leave right away instead of staying and trying to work things out? After Robby and I had our "fix your dress" moment I apologized and we moved on, but Dillon kept bringing it up and saying that I was offensive to "more feminine" gays etc. when in actuality I thought Robby was just putting on a display for the cameras when he came into the house. I was just questioning his authenticity. Was I wrong about Robby? Yes. It was foolish of me to judge him the way I did...but it happened, I apologized and moved on...Dillon couldn't.

Sam Provenzano and Robby LaRiviere on "Finding Prince Charming"Dillon also had a way of getting under my skin minutes before I was going to have some time with Robert. He did so at the pool party, before the beach, before my date with Robert and Justin and minutes before our altercation. Looking back, I have to give him "kudos" for actually having the ability to get me to such a dark place— most aren’t able to, but when you are stuck in a house with nowhere to go — it gets to you. He poked, poked and poked and me and I reacted. Not terribly proud of the reaction, but what did he expect? Me to just take his barrage of attacks? That’s not going to happen. Do I regret spitting on him? Yes. Am I sorry for it? Yes. But I'm not going to crucify myself over it. It's done. As I mentioned at the Reunion, I wasn't into Robert, I had a guy that was constantly attacking me so I thought it was just time to go. No one made me leave. In my mind and heart, my time was up.

5. When you look back at your time on Finding Prince Charming, what do you think about? What do you wish you would have done differently, if anything? I wish I would have sat back and observed a bit more. I think that's what Brandon and Eric did so well the first few episodes. They kind of just stayed in the background while everyone else did their thing. Then again, staying in the background isn't who I am. I probably could have stayed on much, much longer if I would have treated it as more of a competition. But I also had some great moments and met some amazing people. I learned a lot about myself there and overall it's cool to be part of the first season of hopefully a successful franchise. Season 2 is already in the works... and maybe they'll do a Bachelor's in Paradise/Finding Prince Charming All Star Edition. I'd love to be a part of that!

From left to right: Justin Roisom, Danique, Chad Aaron Spodick, Sam Provenzano, Brodney McClinton6. Let's touch on the Finding Prince Charming reunion special. I was so excited for this special because I was like, "This is going to be great! Sam's going to get his chance to tell his side of the story, but again, the only scenes of you that were really shown, were you arguing with the other housemates. You just didn't get a break. What do you wish you could have said on the reunion that you didn't get a chance to? I was actually very happy with how I was portrayed on the Reunion. I did my best to apologize to Dillon, but he just wasn't having it. At one point, when I was trying again to explain my side of things and apologize to Dillon, he actually got out a book...yes a book...and started reading it as I was talking. It was disrespectful, but he's young and you know, it happened. The only thing I wanted to do was genuinely apologize to him and I tried. Not everyone accepts apologies that are thrown their way and that's OK-- life very much goes on. I think Dillon is driven, handsome and has a lot of offer. I wish him well and hope we can get past all this someday.

I'm also very active on Twitter (@samseles) and other social media, like most of the cast, and I definitely regret being a little hard on my perception of Eric. I did think he came off as boring and I said that many times online and in other interviews. However, when looking back on everything, I don't know Eric and to poke at him for being boring wasn't very nice. I actually sent him a beautiful bouquet of flowers a few weeks ago with a note from me apologizing and wanting to get together, but unfortunately he never responded. I tried to offer an olive branch, but he obviously isn't having it and that's okay.

Sam Provenzano7. I don't want this interview to solely focus on how you portrayed on the show. I want everyone to see other sides of you. One of things I found out about you that really impressed me was that you run a company called "Right Fit For You" which helps people find the perfect Personal Trainer for their lifestyle. While you gear it towards the LGBT community, it's a service for anyone. What made you want to start this business? What has been the most rewarding part about this venture for you? "Right Fit for You" (www.rightfitforyou.com) is all about ensuring a comfortable personal training atmosphere for the LGBT community, from beginning to end. Every Personal Trainer profiled on "Right Fit For You" will not only will help you get into shape, but will also identify as LGBT or as a straight ally to the community. Because the client-trainer relationship is an intimate one, hiring a trustworthy person is crucial. At the end of the day, if you aren’t comfortable and can’t truly be yourself with your personal trainer, you’ll have a lot tougher of a time hitting your fitness goals. As soon as you visit our site, you know you’ll find a personal trainer who just gets you. That’s priceless. I like to compare it to living in a gay-friendly part of town or going to a gay bar or club on the weekend. At the end of the day, many of us choose to live in LGBT-Friendly areas and hangout at gay bars and establishments because we just feel comfortable and safe there. That's what "Right Fit for You" is all about. It's a great feeling to know that I created something that is beneficial to the LGBTQ community. I'm very proud of it. We are just in the Chicagoland area right now, but plan on expanding to new markets soon.

Sam Provenzano8. What are some reasons you would encourage people to get a personal trainer and get fit? Who are your fitness heroes? There are so many reasons why I encourage people to get a personal trainer and get fit. Here are a few:

- They can help keep stay accountable and motivated: It's tough getting motivated to workout sometimes and by hiring a trainer they can really help you stay focused and motivated throughout your journey.

- They can take your fitness level to new heights, especially if you are an avid exerciser but have hit the inevitable plateau: A trainer can teach you new workout routines and also ensure you are doing the right things in and out of the gym to hit your goals.

- They can help people who have never worked out before do so in a safe way: It's always a good idea to start training with someone who knows what they are doing.

-  It's a fact - feeling good makes you look good, and vice versa: Not only can your personal trainer help you achieve your health and fitness goals, they provide you with positive feedback on your performance and bolster your confidence to take on new challenges.

Sam Provenzano9. Like you, I'm very into fitness. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? For me, it’s being able to live in the moment. A lot of times, I tend to think back to the past and think "What If…" or I tend to think too far into the future. I’d like to live more in the moment. I think that’s definitely a flaw of mine and a flaw of a lot of people out there. If I can improve that by 1% each day I’d be a much happier and more content person.

10. What is something about Sam Provenzano that you want people to know that you haven't revealed yet? When are you at your happiest? There are some people out there that I meet who automatically assume that I’m full of myself or something since I did a reality show or that I view myself as some sort of celebrity. That can’t be further from the truth. I don’t see myself as any type of star. I’m very humble, driven and I’m also very hard on myself. By watching the show, some think I’m an ultra-aggressive hothead. I’m not...I’m just like any other guy in his early 30’s who is learning more and more about himself and the world every day. But people will have their opinions of me and that’s fine…I’m not out doing any type of damage control. I am who I am.

I’m most happy when I am surrounded by those who love me – especially my family and my 3 nephews and niece. I live vicariously through them. Children can find the bright side of things and happiness in just about anything…it’s something we can all learn from.

Sam ProvenzanoMore on Sam:

Sam is a 31-year-old Chicagoan who started his own fitness company from the ground up. Sam is very close with his family—a no-brainer because, after all, he is Italian. This straightforward sweetie is a late bloomer after coming out at 22. He may be good with dating apps, but he’s ready for his first real relationship.

Sunday
Oct302011

The Official Naked Cowboy and Naked Cowgirl

The Naked Cowgirl and The Naked CowboyRobert Burck and Cindy FoxI had the distinct pleasure of interviewing two New York City legends: The Officially Licensed Naked Cowboy and The Naked Cowgirl. Standing in the midst of Times Square, The Naked Cowboy (in nothing more than a pair of briefs..with his hand-painted logo on the back, cowboy boots, hat, and guitar) and The Naked Cowgirl (in her own hand-painted bikini, cowboy boots, hat, and guitar) are one of New York City's biggest attractions, with millions of people asking them for their picture!

The Naked CowboyBorn Robert John Burck, The Naked Cowboy emerged on Christmas Day in 1997 in Venice Beach in Los Angeles, CA, dressed in just his underwear (at the suggestion of a friend). An instant hit, The Naked Cowboy started touring the country and finally moved East to New York City and became a Times Square fixture. In addition to NYC, The Naked Cowboy regularly travels to the French Quarter during the New Orleans Mardi Gras season, his hometown of Cincinnati, at the Memorial Day weekend Taste of Cincinnati festival and the Riverfest Labor Day Festival, events in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Music Conference, Nashville, TN during Country Music Association's Fanfare, and he travels internationally for corporate events in such countries as Germany, Japan, Australia and Ireland. As The Naked Cowboy's popularity grew, Robert made appearances on television including "The Apprentice," "Today," "The Howard Stern Show," "American Idol" (Season 1), and "Australian Idol" and "Star Search" as well as in Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and Nickelback's "Rockstar" music videos. The Naked Cowboy has been featured in such corporate advertisments as USA's "Characters Welcome" campaign, Chevrolet commercial during Superbowl XLI, a Pepsi commercial with Beyonce, and a Guinness commercial that aired in the UK and Ireland. Robert has been declared by the New York State tourism department as "more recognizable than The Statue of Liberty," been named "The Ambassador of New York Tourism," and crowned the Spokesperson for "The Times Square Survival Guide." The Naked Cowboy also officially became the most photographed person in the world at the end of 2007.

The Naked Cowboy has released three albums to date: a pop-rock album "Year of the Cowboy" (released by 4Sight Music Productions, produced by Lee Evans and Gaetano Lattanzi) and a country music album "What the Naked Cowboy Wants to Hear" (released by TMR Records, produced by Todd Rubenstein), and "X-Rated Country" (produced by Robert and Todd). In 2008, Robert was officially registered as a marriage officiant by the City of New York after becoming an Ordained Minister and in 2009, Robert ran for NYC mayor. In 2010, Todd negotiated The Naked Cowboy's biggest endorsement deal to date with Chris Quartuccio of Blue Island Shellfish Farms to harvest “Naked Cowboy Oysters” from Long Island Sound and distribute them live to fine restaurants worldwide. Naked Cowboy Oysters are already available at 22 of NYC's finest restaurants and are starting to appear on menus nationally and internationally. In 2011, Robert released his autobiography "Determination: The Legend of The Naked Cowboy." Robert continues to appear in Times Square as well as around the world as The Naked Cowboy. For more on Robert and The Naked Cowboy be sure to visit http://www.nakedcowboy.com/, follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

The Naked CowgirlGrowing up a tomboy, skateboarding, jumping ramps with her bike, playing football with friends, boxing with her dad, cheerleading, dance, and her favorite activity gymnastics, Cindy Fox loved to exercise. She was the only teenage girl she knew who was working out with free weights at age 16. She started working in her local gym (originally called Club Meadowlands) teaching fitness classes and working in the weight room and continues to in serveral gyms around NJ. This lead her to compete in the NJ Championship Bodybuilding Contest (teenage division) and 10 years later in the same contest in Women's Fitness Competition. With more than 20+years of experience, Cindy was hired to choreograph and be featured in The Method Cardio Flexband Workout DVD, followed by the NO EXCUSES! Shape Up Workout that she produced and choreographed herself. Three children later and beating an eating disorder, Cindy remains committed to helping others stay in shape through personal training, exercise videos, fitness articles, and corporate events.

After meeting Robert (The Naked Cowboy) at her gym, she started traveling the country with him stepping into the spotlight herself dressing the part as his "Naked Cowgirl." She is now known as Times Square's "Officially Licensed Naked Cowgirl," performing with her own hand-painted designed white bikini, boots, a hat, and her guitar. She continues to travel the country with Robert, performing together as well as going off on her own. In 2010, Cindy was featured (along with Robert) on CNN's iReport and has since been interviewed by people all over the world. She has appeared on several TV shows in the USA with The Naked Cowboy including "Cristina's Court" and "Only In America," appearing soon on the History Channel with "Larry The Cable Guy" as well as on a popular morning talk show in Germany. Now managed by the famous singer, dance choreographer, and songwriter Lori Michaels (who has been featured on Bravo and Real Housewives of NJ), Naked Cowgirl Cindy Fox released her first single "Ride It Like A Cowgirl" available on iTunes which has a soon-to-be Sentation "Cowgirl Dance" that will sweep the nation once her dance video is released. Cindy continues to appear in Times Square as The Naked Cowgirl as well as being a personal trainer! For much more on Cindy Fox be sure to visit http://cindyfoxfitness.com/ and follow her on Facebook (Cindy Fox) and Twitter (Cindy Fox)! For more on The Naked Cowgirl be sure to visit http://www.nakedcowgirlfox.com/ and follow her on Facebook (Naked Cowgirl)Twitter (Naked Cowgirl), and YouTube!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? 

Naked Cowboy: Tony Robbins was the first to inspire me to be everything I could be and gave me the real motivational tools to do so. Naked Cowboy is a combination of a bodybuilder, a model, a country singer, and a comedian. 

Naked Cowgirl: I wanted to be a trapeze artist when I was four years old, and by ten I was a gymnast and dreamt of being an Olympic gymnast. I went from being a cheerleader all through school to a fitness instructor teaching classes when I was 17. I competed in a bodybuilding contest at 19, a fitness contest at 29 and was hired by Inspired Corporation 2004 to choreograph and be featured in a Professional Fitness Video Called "The Method Cardio Flex Band Workout." This was my calling! I loved performing while I looked and felt my very best. It was also the same time I met Robert Burck, aka Naked Cowboy and my significant other. Never in all of that time did I think I’d be a street performer playing a guitar in a bikini, cowboy boots and a hat in the middle of Times Square, so that part is definitely due to him.

2. If you could perform alongside anyone, who would it be?

Naked Cowboy: Cowboys work alone, it’s the cowboy way.

Naked Cowgirl: Performing alongside Naked Cowboy in Times Square isn’t really productive for me since he is much louder and more boisterous than I am, but we do often walk out there together and then put a little space between us. Now that I’ve recorded my first song called "Ride It Like A Cowgirl," which is written by my manager Lori Michaels (a Lori Michaels and Hot Head Productions) and have gotten to perform it on stage with my two back-up dancers, I have the itch to do more of that. I’d like to perform alongside anyone that the crowd loves, that is very upbeat. Do you think Madonna would want the Naked Cowgirl on stage with her?

3. Naked Cowboy: How did you become "The Naked Cowboy" and what do you hope people learn from you? I was born naked 40 years ago and I hope people look at me a decide to be themselves.

Naked Cowgirl: How did you become "The Naked Cowgirl" and what do you hope people learn from you? For the last 7 years I’ve traveled with Naked Cowboy all over the world as his girlfriend. Right from the beginning people asked me why I wasn’t "naked" too so I started dressing the part whenever we traveled out of the area and often the guys would prefer standing close to a cowgirl than a cowboy. On a trip to Japan Robert taught me how to play a few chords on the guitar but I rarely practiced once we were home. When the Naked Cowboy started having legal issues to protect his trademark, I decided to sign a licensing agreement with Naked Cowboy Enterprises and be the first "Officially Licensed Naked Cowgirl."

I was more concerned with how the women would respond to me since women tend to be more critical of each other, even though my own girlfriends thought it was great. On the first day, I realized most females regardless of how young or old were very excited and happy to see a “Cowgirl” out in Times Square yelling "Girl Power!" I think older women are inspired by the fact that I’m putting myself in a vulnerable position where people can totally criticize me for what I’m doing or for any imperfections they can find on my body…not to mention I’m not a 20 year old with no responsibilities.

4. Naked Cowboy: How did you and "The Naked Cowgirl" meet and decide to perform together? I met Cindy Fox, who is now the Naked Cowgirl, at a gym in Secaucus, New Jersey, and well, I’m a natural born leader.

Naked Cowgirl: How did you and "The Naked Cowboy" meet and decide to perform together? Robert was a member at a gym that I worked at in the town we live in. I never heard of a “Naked Cowboy” back then, so we were just friends, then work-out partners, and then…well, you know. Although he tried to persuade me to practice the guitar and come out with him and take on the roll, I had too many other things going on in my life, including 3 children. When I signed the licensing agreement to become the “Naked Cowgirl”, it was because I thought it was the perfect time for me to do it.

5. Naked Cowboy: What is like working with and being in a relationship with "The Naked Cowgirl"? How does that whole dynamic work? Every now and then when I go to Times Square, I see her there working and we say, ‘Hi.’

Naked Cowgirl: What is like working with and being in a relationship with "The Naked Cowboy"? How does that whole dynamic work? I think it works great for both of us in many ways. I normally would be going to different events with him as his girlfriend, and now I can usually go as the Cowgirl and it not only brings me exposure, but it also takes the pressure off of him because he doesn’t have to worry about me sitting alone while he’s taking photos with people. We seem to actually spend more time together driving in and out of the city together sometimes, but I do know when to give him his space and not interfere with his thing.

6. Why did you make Times Square your home base and what does NYC mean to you? 

Naked Cowboy: I found NYC only after being arrested over 30 times in 15 other cities ( I averaged two!). It’s still the best thing going.

Naked Cowgirl: Naked Cowboy is identified by most people as being in Times Square so it only makes sense to start there. He has also made it much easier for another person dressed half naked to be in Times Square because the people who work there are already used to it and the authorities don’t hassle us as long as we have a valid tax ID and are being respectful to the people around us.

7. Naked Cowboy: What made you want to become an ordained minister and perform ceremonies as "The Naked Cowboy"? I want to make money, I’m all about commitment, with a capital C, and God told me to.

Naked Cowgirl: What made you want to become a personal trainer and what do you get from being "The Naked Cowgirl" that you don't get from being a personal trainer? I was the only 16 yr. old girl I knew that was working out in a garage with free weights and then in a gym at 17 and I loved it! It was challenging and helped keep me in good shape. There are a lot of things I really enjoy doing, but I get bored easily and prefer to do a variety of things as opposed to being in one place all day. I bounce around all day from one place to another but it keeps me enthusiastic about everything I do.

8. Favorite way to stay in shape?

Naked Cowboy: 'I eat just enough to live, and I train until I’m just about to die.' That is a quote from 'Naked Cowboy Dialogue,' a document I read every day.

Naked Cowgirl: I love going out running when it’s warm out, but when it gets a little chilly out I mostly rely on the classes I teach to keep me in shape such as cardio kickbox, spinning, or a cardio dance mix. When that’s not available, I use the elliptical or treadmill.

9. Naked Cowboy: Boxers or Briefs (not as "The Naked Cowboy")? Ironically, when I ‘m not working, I don’t wear underwear. Balls in. Balls out.

Naked Cowgirl: Favorite skin care product? I’m not really picky about name brands for most things, but I use Oil of Olay soap in the shower because it doesn’t dry my skin. My daughter bought me a 3-step facial product for Christmas called "Miracle Worker" which was shown on Oprah Winfrey’s and that seems to work well, but I’m often in a rush and just use the Nivea or Eucerin that I have.

10. Favorite website?

Naked Cowboy: www.nakedcowboy.com.

Naked Cowgirl: The majority of time I spend on the computer is either checking my emails or interacting on Facebook in the morning while I have my coffee. Of course I have to mention my own websites here www.cindyfoxfitness.com and www.nakedcowgirlfox.com.

11. Superman or Wonder Woman? 

Naked Cowboy: Christopher Reeves Rules!!!! His life is a testament to real super human powers.

Naked Cowgirl: That is funny that you asked me that because I was dressed up as Wonder Woman for my Senior Masquerade and the person I went with was Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. What's the best advice you've ever received?

Naked Cowboy: Hit the ‘save’ button once you’ve typed an appreciable amount of text. (writing  these witty remarks for the second time.)

Naked Cowgirl: Treat other people the way you’d want them to treat you.... Don’t worry about things you have no control over, and one of my mother’s famous quotes "Just IGNORE them!," which probably saved my sanity on more than one occasion.

13. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be?

Naked Cowboy: Dreaming is for the bums who won’t just go out and 'Do it!'

Naked Cowgirl: As long as I’m not having nightmares, It doesn’t matter who I’m dreaming about.

14. Naked Cowboy: What have you learned from being "The Naked Cowboy"? What has it been like to have such success as "The Naked Cowboy" with appearances on TV shows, commercials, releasing your debut CD, being an ordained minister, and now having your own oysters? It’s all great, I love my life and I continue to design it to even greater liking as I go.

Naked Cowgirl: What have you learned about yourself from being "The Naked Cowgirl" and from being a personal trainer? Both roles are very challenging because I have to look as good as I possibly can at all times to make a good impression and have to always have a positive attitude when in either position. I also feel like both of these roles keep me on my toes because I always want to set a good example and inspire people in some way.