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  • There there, Clare Part 1

    I don't think its possible to do a bad shoot in Central Park. When I go there for shoots, I often find 6 other photographers at the good spots, usually because the light is amazing or because they can somehow crop out or use a shallow depth of field to cut out the mass amounts of people in every direction.

    Spent under an hour with Miss Clare McConnell, and this is just one of the two parts of our shoot. I'm done the other photos but I feel like photo blog posts are best when they somewhat tell a story, and throwing in ten million different looks or locations just jumbles the message. I love taking time to get to know my subjects, to understand them and portray them as best I can.

    Clare is a fellow actress and improv addict. I met her through performing with the Calgary Improv Guild back in August. It was great to spend time with her and get to know her outside a working environment. I've always been drawn to Clare, not just because of her obvious beauty, but because she's such a genuine warm person and just plain nice to be around. Clare just got accepted into Ryerson's acting program. Can't wait to see where this lady's career takes her.

    Been trying out a bunch of new effects with photoshop. The last two are definitely my favorite. Can't wait to experiment. Hope you likey. Don't really care if you don't. Well actually I probably would care but you can still STFU.

  • But if you try sometimes, you just might find

    As a person who tends to feel somewhat inadequate whilst not accomplishing anything, my first month in NYC was really difficult. Apart from being cast in a showcase, I found myself with so much free time that I was beginning worry. I was in New York to work my ass off and I was ready to work my ass off, but despite several callbacks, no work was coming my way. 

    On my way back from Washington after I saw my extended family, I had recieved notification that I did not, in fact, get a part I really thought I was perfect for. I memorized the audition script, was one of the top three in the call backs, and still it didn't go anywhere. I found myself praying (something I rarely do) for some form of help from whomever or whatever burdened me with artistic abilities that I could not ignore or drop to do something sensible people do with their lives. 

    My training taught me that I was going to face a lot of rejection in my life, and even though I knew not to take it so personally, I couldn't help but cry behind my sunglasses as I waited to board the bus back to NYC. Embarrassed to tell my mom (whom I have a hard time disappointing), I sent a message to my good friend Ana, whom I met in my New York Film Academy acting class. Even though we don't see each other often, Ana and I still support each other whenever one of us is so emotional that our judgement is clouded. She gave me some serious tough love and basically told me that I was an idiot for being so upset. And she was right. She said "you'll get the next one", and I immediately stopped crying. For some reason, I believed her.

    Walking down the centre aisle of the bus, I was looking for someone relatively normal to sit beside. Someone who didn't smell or make too much conversation so I could sit and ponder my self-pity in silence. I took a seat next to a friendly-looking girl, whom I immediately felt at ease talking to. Cassidy. She was an actress, and a new resident of New York like me. I forgot my misery and giggled (quietly) about nothing with her for 5 hours straight. We were apparently so boisterous that a guy sitting 2 rows in front of us kept telling us to shut up (though I am sure we were not that disruptive, he was just a weirdo who peed all over the bus toilet seat and left it there for me to hover over). The bus trip flew by, and left me feeling somewhat open-minded and relieved about what was to come.  I met someone who was in a similar position, and it made me feel far less alone in my quest for artistic fulfillment.

    The next day, I went to an audition for a new play about Sigmund Freud in Greenwich Village. I arrived early, hoping that they would make time to see me before my designated audition time, and I had heard that the earlier your audition, the more likely they were to remember you. I was ready. I was going to use all that built-up, negative emotion and turn it into something great. The audition was a cold read, and despite being terrible at cold reads, I breezed through it and felt an inexplainable creative high that left me strutting all the way home. Strutting so hard, in fact, that my hip hurt for a day afterward. "This was what I am meant to do", I thought to myself; turn negativity into creativity. I received an email that day from the director who cast me as Helena, the lead in the play, all the while having Ana's words echo in my mind: "you'll get the next one".

    Perhaps this post is just to remind myself that life goes in cycles; sometimes everything goes right, and other times it doesn't. But even during those times when you don't get everything you want, you can at least be certain that those times won't last forever, and the universe will find some way to make you strut again. 

  • Then do it yourself.

    So I have this issue where I feel like people can't capture my face the way I like it. Especially my smile. I decided to take new headshots of myself because I'm going to be sending my resume to agencies this week. Not that I didn't like the headshots I had before, I'm just very picky about light and angles. I have such an angular face that it's hard to capture myself at my best when someone else is taking my picture.  That and I'm awkward as hell.

    These are what I came up with. For the natural light photos, I used nothing but window light, and for the commercial smiling shot I used two lamps on either side of my face.

  • Pretty, Skinny and Pissed

    In NYC, a girl can be certain that if she breaks her nail, there will be at least 4 places in the general vicinity that she can go to to get it fixed. There's hangover food on every corner, a hair salon on every block and retailers and advertisements as far as your little legs will carry you. But theres one thing that NYC most definitely canont provide or promise, and that my friends is love. 

    Someone once told me that people don't move to New York to fall in love; they move here for money, power and achievement. I never really understood what that meant until I lived here. I was so misinformed by the television and movies based in this city that were full of love and the promise of love that I had no idea what it was actually like. But the truth is, this city is extremely inconsistent when it comes to relationships. And it's not because I'm less pretty or interesting or captivating than anyone else. 
     
    A couple weekends ago, I went to a place in the meatpacking district called The Highline Ballroom. Upon entry, I began to realize this place belonged to a special echelon of clubs in New York that are extremely expensive, extremely female-dominated and extremely mainstream. Every girl was wearing a dress that probably cost her $5 from Necessary Clothing, but left her legs and lady parts easily accessible. As people got more and more wasted, the tension began to build. I saw a plastered asian girl pounce on a dude (I would say he was about a 6/10) and start a savage make-out session with him, which he was not in any way opposed to. About 20 seconds into their slobbery session, another girl appeared; pretty, skinny and pissed. She walked up to them and started screaming at the asian girl in her thick, Brooklyn accent whilst shaking her finger and saying "No!". The slobberer's friend swept in and apologized profusely for her friend's behaviour "She didn't know", she kept saying while they were both chased out of the nightclub by the scary sort-of girlfriend. I, of course, at this point could not help but chuckle at the scene unfolding before me. The dude glanced back at me, saw me chuckling, and shot me a shit-eating "I can't believe I'm getting away with this" grin of pure pleasure. Once his girl was finished scaring away the skirt who had hijacked her man, she took his hand and led him to the dance-floor with barely even a false word toward him.
     
    I saw about 3 fights that night between girls, and I see fights like that all the time in New York clubs. The stories I could list about jealous girls wreaking havoc because their sleepover partner was momentarily distracted by a temporary piece of ass would leave most people reluctant to go for any guy in a public setting here. The truth is, every girl is dealing with the exact same thing I am: Too many girls + not enough men = no reason for commitment, so girls become the aggressor and they compete with each other for male attention. Which is totally fucking backwards. Girls can be vicious. Gum in hair, broken fingers, hair extensions pulled out and just plain public ridicule are just a few examples of the lengths girls will go to to ensure their dominance and right to a temporary boyfriend. And those are real examples.
     
    Don't get me wrong, going out in New York is still fun, some of the most fun I've had out at nightclubs, especially when I've gone out with The Social Elites promotion company. But if one wants to kiss a male model, one just has to remember to run to a dark corner where no female competitors are lurking. Caution is the key, my pretties. And one must always remember that people don't move to NYC for love; They move here for money, power and achievement. And if one gets a bit distracted along the way by some obvious man-candy, then one has to remember that distraction is temporary, but the desire to achieve is always indefinite.
  • Grainy, Rainy days.

    Umbrellas don't work in New York. The ground is literally littered with umbrellas of people which have either been broken or given up on. This is largely to do with the brisk Atlantic air that sweeps through the city blocks to leave one soaked and dissasembled. Which is why I am perched on my windowsill and not outside taking photographs.

    Attended to my first NYC audition a few days ago (outside of school) and it really reminded me how much I love acting, and how much I love to make people laugh. I was performing an old monologue so I had forgotten how funny it can actually be. I showed my roommate the night before and I barely got a smile, but since this was for a comedy-based theatre company, I got a very different reaction from the people in the group-audition. First of all, the director laughed, which is something directors are not supposed to do in an audition, so I could already tell that it was going to go well. Theres something about the energy of an audience that provides a sort of connection when you perform. In regards to anything...from acting to dance to live music. When the audience is with you and supportive, you feel it and it lifts you up into a higher state of consciousness where you and the room and the people in it are in sync, all reacting and being affected by the same thing. To make people feel, to make people connect to art is something that has always driven me and will keep doing so until I no longer love it (which has less of a chance of happening than Grumpy Cat suddenly becoming happy).

    So a few things have happened since my last written post. 

    #1. I have auditioned for and gotten cast in The Actor's Project NYC, which is a theatre company that provides platforms for actors to meet agents and managers and also the chance to perform in an Off-Broadway showcase in June.

    #2. Been working on some funk tracks with two producers. One Defunk and the other Pimpsoul, both of which are in the final stages of post-production. Super excited to release some new music and I hope you're excited to hear it.

    #3. I'm going to be linking up with one of my good friends and favorite photographers, Suzanne Duncan and I'm going to be the one on the other side of the camera this time. Suzanne is one of the few people in the world I trust to take my picture. I somehow always end up wearing a princess dress and running around New York City. Stay tuned.

    I thought I would include a couple iPhone pictures. For those who don't already, follow me on instagram. I post on there before I post anywhere else. 

     

  • Men's Fashion

    Proud of this one. THIS IS MY FIRST SHOOT WITH A MALE MODEL EVER! I definitely want to do more of them now. Featuring the dashing Vincent Rodriguez, the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall, this shoot was inspired by the television show Suits. The show is just one example of how men can be stylish and still masculine. I, for one, am extremely drawn to men who know how to dress themselves. 

    Vincent is a male model looking to start up his career again with his new, more mature look. He has been published on the cover of magazines and in editorials. It was really great to get a chance to work with someone who knew what he was doing.

  • Kitty in the City

    I was nervous. It was as if I was going to see my long-lost love again and, in fact, thats exactly what it was like. I don't know if its the people, the architecture, the culture or all of the above; New York is the love of my life.

    Boarding my Toronto-NYC flight, a curious old man asked me "do you climb mountains?" I don't know if he was referring to my beefy Doc-Martens or my humungous, photography equipment-filled backpack, but the question definitely took me by surprise. I said "metaphorically, yes". Pleased with my answer, I boarded the flight with the notion that I was, indeed, climbing a mountain. I was moving to New York City to be an actress. I was leaving the security of my home, my parents, my friends and the accesible job network in Calgary to come to a place that would make me or break me.

    I fell in love with this city when I was about 12. My family and I had taken a trip here to celebrate New Year's eve and I knew in my heart that I would some-day make this place my home. Rich in Art, Theatre and and all manner of eccentricity, New York is and always has been my solace, and I never really understood why. Perhaps its because every day here is like a page in a story book, every street corner looks like the set of a movie, and every person is just as looney as I am. And they're okay with that.

    As I sit here in my new Spanish-Harlem apartment, listening to a hissing heater and the creaks of my old building, I can't help but feel that I am in the exactly right place at the right time.