Amanda Steele – Composure Magazine

Read the full feature and interview at Composure Magazine!

 

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STORY BY MIN. A. LEE 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARAH KRICK PHOTOGRAPHY

MAKEUP BY ARCHANGELA CHELSEA

HAIR BY PRESTON WADA @OPUS BEAUTY

STYLING BY FRANZY STAEDTER

Amanda Steele keeps it very real for our nineteenth issue. While many know her as a YouTube phenom, we see a brilliant, driven young woman who’s had her fair share of struggles. Steele refuses to get lost in the hype of numbers and instead produces content that is loyal to herself and her fans. She never loses sight of what initially put her on the map, and continues to be humbled by those who believed in her from day one. Putting vlogs out in a public space since only Elementary school has given Steele the ability to adjust her career as she grows, but also learn how to take on the pressures that come with. It’s never easy to see others tear down work that took a long time to create, but Steele gives sound advice for anyone facing bullying online and offline.

Sharing a personal look into her life and style has always been at the forefront of Amanda Steele’s empire, but also she continues to pursue acting—strengthening her abilities to take on new roles. With time we expect her to make a substantial mark in Hollywood, and we can’t wait!

ON BEING A CONTENT CREATOR

Composure Magazine: Building such a prominent career at a young age opens you up to a lot of criticism, how do you combat this negativity, and what have you learned from the challenges of being in the public eye?

Amanda Steele: The negativity was something that was really hard for me as I was growing up while posting my life online. It was really hard to find myself while thousands of people were telling me who I was. I just had to step back and realize that I am doing what I love and indulging in my passions while haters are just spewing negativity from behind a computer screen. Over time I have found that if I had never let any haters get to me, and I continued doing exactly what I was, I would be much farther in my success. The positivity outweighs the negative, and the people that do love my videos—that is who my content is for. I am not going to change what so many of my followers love because some other people out there are taking their personal problems out on the internet. My content is for my loyal followers, and nasty comments aren’t ever going to take that away from them and my own success.

CM: Your success did not come without hard work and sacrifice, was there ever a moment you felt like everything was too much to handle?

AS: Being a YouTuber is a full-time job. At my peak growth and demand, I was also in public high school. Juggling both took a stressful amount of not only time but emotion. I think high school sucks no matter who you are, but on top of school bullies and feelings of loneliness, I had thousands of haters online too. It became very overwhelming for me when I would spend nights crying over mean youtube comments and then waking up and hearing more negativity from my classmates at school. This point in my life was very hard on me, but things started to look up when I began online school and could focus more time on my YouTube channel.

CM: The digital world moves quickly with its constant changes, algorithms, etc.. How do you stay passionate as your work continues to progress?

AS: I stay passionate about my work throughout the constant changes of the digital world by keeping in touch with who I am and why I do what I do. It is easy to get sucked into numbers, growth, and competition, which could honestly lead to a fall. Luckily for me, I started my YouTube channel so young that I know exactly what my passions were. Fashion design is the reason I started YouTube. I have an intense love for beauty and connecting with other people online that like the same things as me. I was never a very social girl. I chose to stay inside on the computer most nights instead of meeting new people and hanging out with friends. This makes me so passionate about the fact that fashion, beauty, and tech are all things I have loved from the beginning. I know to follow my heart, do what I love, WORK HARD, and everything will work out.

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Jeannie Mai – Composure Magazine

Read the full interview at Composure Magazine!

 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARAH KRICK

MAKEUP BY ARCHANGELA CHELSEA

HAIR BY IGGY ROSALES

STYLING BY CHARLIE BRIANNA

WRITTEN BY MIN A. LEE

Composure: First off, we want to say a huge congratulations to you and your co-hosts on winning an Emmy this year! From the very beginnings of The Real til now, did you ever imagine taking home an Emmy would happen?

Jeannie Mai: Thanks for the congrats! No, I never imagined that I would win an Emmy, but not because I didn’t think I was deserving. It just wasn’t a focus for me. When I started out in this business, my focus was to be the very best at being comfortably myself. Well, that and being booked! That focus stays the same today, as well as my mission of empowering women in an entertaining way. So Emmy or not, I’m going to stay killing it doing just that.

C: What thoughts and emotions ran through your mind the very second they announced the win?

JM: Real talk? I couldn’t believe they called our names! We were ecstatic. Shoes went flying, and I had to try to keep my extensions in. Everything else was a grateful blur.

C: What do you hope the future holds for The Real?

JM: I hope The Real is on for another ten seasons. I love growing with our audience. In just five years, we’ve gone through marriage, divorce, babies being born, and even tragedy, and through it all, we’ve held each other closer than ever, with our #RealFam. Our show is a genuine example of how I wish the world could be, differences and all—we are family.

C: Let’s talk about fashion a bit! Looking at fashion as a way to empower, when did you first genuinely start to see clothing as something much more psychological?

JM: I first recognized the power of clothing through my mother. I saw her transform from a wife and mom of three kids to an entrepreneurial businesswoman in just one outfit. I call it “Wearapy” today. “Wearapy” describes the instant therapeutic mood clothing can give you from the outside in. It is a very powerful tool women can use to put the game face on for anything they want to achieve in life and relationships.

C: Over time, what sort of impact, positive or negative, have you seen social media have on the fashion industry?

JM: Social media is like a puppy. It’s cute and cuddly and looks easy to handle at first, but then you realize it can be a little punk that needs constant attention and care. While I like that social media allows me to see internationally what’s trending, and what everybody is wearing in different parts of the world, it has also made bullying easier and leads women to believe that things in social media are what real life should look like. FALSE! Social media is a mere highlight reel of your best filtered moments filtered. As long as you know that nothing can replace the true beauty in the ups and downs of real life, then continue playing the social media game unattached.

C: What is the best piece of style advice you have received growing up that has stuck with you over time?

JM: The best piece of style advice came from Mama Mai—that the sexiest thing I could wear is my smile, and it’s true. Even when you’re not feeling your best, walking in with a bold, confident smile leaves a lasting impression that people want to remember about you anyway, that you love yourself and the life around you.

Baby Ariel – Composure Magazine

Read the full interview at Composure Magazine!

 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAREN ROSALIE

MAKEUP BY ARCHANGELA CHELSEA

HAIR BY RENÉ CORTEZ

STYLING BY ROBIAT BALOGUN

WRITTEN BY MIN A. LEE

Composure: To start, we want to congratulate you on your debut movie role in Bixler High Private Eye for Nickelodeon! How excited are you? Can you share with us how it felt to be on your very first film set?

Ariel Martin: It was unbelievable! I loved every minute of it. First of all, Jace (Norman) is hysterical. So, much of the time, we were just cracking up being silly and goofy. I’m so thankful to have his friendship and that he was there through my first feature—it made it really easy and fun. Our director, Leslie (Kolins Small) was also amazing. She made it very comfortable for us. And Nickelodeon was so incredibly supportive. I loved working with them and the crew.

C: We’re in love with your newest single, “Gucci On My Body.” From Musical.ly (now known as TikTok) to being a recording artist, how has this transition been for you?

AM: Thank you! It has been so cool. Music has always been such a part of my life, so for me, it is part of the reason I fell in love with Musical.ly in the first place. I started playing the piano when I was a little girl, and my dad is a songwriter, so it felt very natural to work with other writers and get into the studio and record. 

C: As your popularity surged, what were some of the difficulties you faced and had to overcome?

AM: The first thing that was really hard and weird was the cyber-bullying. It was hard reading all of these horrible things people would write about me—people who didn’t even know me. I’ve learned to mostly tune that stuff out. As a result, part of what drives me is the desire to inspire other kids to be proud of themselves and stand up for themselves and tune out hate. The other thing that’s been weird is that so many people are so quick to judge and be dismissive of me as a recording artist or actor or creator. It’s as if because I gained an audience on an app, I’m not allowed or shouldn’t try to put music out or pursue other interests. I find that really strange. My whole life I’ve acted and been around music, and I don’t feel that just because I happened to gain a following in social media, I shouldn’t be able to pursue other things that I’m passionate about or enjoy.

C: Your book Dreaming Out Loud is out now! How does it feel to have it on shelves and your fans connecting to you through your words?

AM: It feels amazing. Something I’ve always loved doing is going to bookstores looking for great poetry collections or novels or psychology books. So to be able to walk into my favorite bookstore and see my own book on store shelves is almost beyond my wildest dreams, and to know that my supporters are able to get a deeper connection into my heart and thoughts means so much.

C: Let’s get into some beauty questions, who first taught you about skincare and makeup?

AM: Haha! I would say my mom, but she would tell you herself that she doesn’t know what she’s doing when it comes to makeup! However, she has taught me a lot about skincare and making sure that I treat my skin right. For makeup, like a lot of kids, I’ve watched YouTube videos and have been lucky to work with some really good makeup artists who always share their tips with me. 

Composure Magazine – ARIEL WINTER

Cover Story for Issue No. 18 of Composure Magazine.

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STORY BY MIN. A. LEE 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN WEST

MAKEUP BY ARCHANGELA CHELSEA

HAIR BY LUCY GEDJEYAN

STYLING BY ROBIAT BALOGUN

Whether you recognize her as Alex Dunphy on Modern Family or the voice of Disney’s Princess Sofia, Ariel Winter’s push to the top is unstoppable! At just twenty years old, she holds an extensive filmography. The wide range of roles showcase her talent perfectly, and if this is just a small glimpse of what’s to come—she will dominate the silver screen. This combination of wit and ability comes from personal experience, and for Winter that began with an early start in the industry at four years old. Hollywood is a beast, and to grow up in a frenzied world where everyone’s a critic, she remains very self-aware.

Every experience, good or bad, adds strength to the young starlet’s character. She never shies away from controversy and this fearless approach to fame is admirable. Winter shares with us some sincere advice for Hollywood hopefuls and how she handles the volatile nature of social media. If there’s anything you can take away from her words, it is to be kind and be humble. Two things that can be quickly forgotten, but in all of Winter’s years of acting she stays very true to.

Composure Magazine: You do voice roles with various shows, and it’s impressive how every character you’ve done has their unique tone and personality to their voice. Is it challenging or more fun? How does it compare to acting on a set?

Ariel Winter: Voice acting was actually one of the first things I did when I started in the industry! I think it is more challenging than on-camera work because you have to bring an animated character to life using just your voice—typically alone in a soundproof box. On-camera acting can be more physically and emotionally taxing, seeing as you use all parts of yourself, and you also work off the other actors in the scene. I don’t think I have a favorite [character] though. Voice-over work can be done in your pajamas which is pretty fantastic, but on-camera work is a little more communal.

CM: Can you share with us any valuable lessons you’ve taken away from the set of Modern Family so far?

AW: The time it takes to make quality. The show has been on for ten years now, and we still take a great deal of time and care to make sure every scene is right, and we’re making the most of our funny moments.

CM: What’s the most substantial piece of advice you’ve been given so far in your career?

AW: Always be professional! Make sure you’re on time and prepared at all times. Also, always be kind and grateful for the all of the blessings you get, perspective really helps in this industry.

CM: Any advice you’d give for young dreamers in Hollywood?

AW: Being humble, kind, and professional are some of the most important pieces of advice I give people. Focus on what you love about the craft and make sure you are secure in who you are because you are going to have to face a lot of judgment and rejection in this industry. It’s important to fight for what you want, and don’t get caught up in all of the side bullshit.

CM: What goals do you have set for yourself as you continue your acting career?

AW: I want to continue making movies and maybe move towards producing a little more. My ultimate goal is to make enough money to purchase some land and open a dog rescue.

Read the full article and more on Ariel Winter’s advocacy here…

Composure Magazine – Michaela Conlin

Celebrity feature for Composure Magazine’s 16th Issue, available here.
Read the full article at Composure Magazine.

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An Excerpt:

Michaela Conlin on Saying Goodbye to Emmy-Nominated TV Series “Bones” and Navigating One of the Toughest Industries.

Photography by Amanda Elkins
Styling by Jessy Cain for The Wall Group
Makeup Kindra Mann for Tomlinson Management Group
Hair by Sascha Breuer for Starworks Artists
Story by Min A. Lee

You’d recognize Michaela Conlin from her impressive 12-year run as Angela Montenegro on the acclaimed television series “Bones.” The crime drama aired its final episode on March 28th, following for the last time the work of Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, played by Emily Deschanel, and FBI special agent Seeley Booth, played by David Boreanaz, as they solved FBI murder cases with forensic anthropology. As Angela, Conlin explored forensic facial reconstruction at the Jeffersonian Institute Medico-Legal Lab and invented the Angelator then Angelatron – graphic simulators that showed victims and crime scene scenarios – and for over a decade, Conlin’s strong-willed portrayal of Angela added even more depth and balance among the already-stellar cast.

Watching Conlin on screen, you see a natural ease. She seems at home with any role she undertakes. This ability likely stems from her years of experience beginning at the young age of six. “I did a production of ‘The King and I,’” she shares. “It was a professional local theatre, and it was such a big deal to me to be a part of something. Acting was the only thing I was interested in doing.” Growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania with a strong support system, Conlin continued to flourish. “My parents still live there, and they’re incredibly supportive. They drove me to endless play rehearsals, dance rehearsals, and they were always really, really great about it,” she beams.

From Allentown to New York City and now Los Angeles, the “long road” has proven rough at times. Conlin opens up about one of the toughest lessons to be learned as an actor. “You can’t take it personally. It’s very hard not to take everything personally because it’s such a personal business. It’s a human business. It’s based on humanity. When you don’t get a job, it’s hard not to take it to heart, but really, you can’t,” she advises. “That, and just having the tenacity to keep going against all odds.”

Perseverance does pay off, and “Bones” is proof of this – not only showcasing stability in a notoriously rocky industry, but also a solid learning environment. “I think being on a 22-episode show is a really great way to prepare you for a lot of things because your workload is so intense, the hours are so demanding, you’re shooting for so many months of the year, and you’re memorizing lines at the very last minute. It’s a really great place to train,” she explains. “For example, I did [the film] ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ a couple years ago, and that was a tough shoot. It was a lot of locations, a lot of nights, and I felt much more comfortable being on that set because of ‘Bones.’”

Going through the evolution of Angela Montenegro season to season, we see why fans adore her outgoing and confident personality. “She’s a bit free-wheeling,” Conlin boasts. “She was very forthright, strong, and direct. I really loved being able to play her for so many years. I was grateful.” As for a favorite memory during her time spent portraying Montenegro, there isn’t necessarily just a single moment, but rather “being able to have spent that much time with people laughing.” While certainly there are memorable episodes, she says, “We laughed a lot shooting the show. It’s a really nice way to look back on it all. There were a lot of hours in that lab, and I feel lucky to have spent so much time laughing with everyone.”

Composure Magazine – Skylar Grey

The current cover story of Composure Magazine‘s 15th Issue: Skylar Grey

Five-time Grammy Award-nominated artist Skylar Grey talks about her latest album “Natural Causes,” the music industry, and being true to one’s self.  

Photography by Benjo Arwas
Photographer Assistant Brandon Wholihan
Styling by Monty JacksonThe Wall Group
Makeup by Jenna TuckerTomlinson Management Group
Hair by Bobby EliotTomlinson Management Group
Story by Min A. Lee
Video by Jonathan Navales

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An Excerpt: 

Scroll through the comments on Skylar Grey’s YouTube channel and you’ll find a common sentiment: “She sings from somewhere deep inside.” If you’ve ever heard her music — hauntingly beautiful, sinful yet sweet — you’re likely to agree. Her alluring vocals pull you in, and you understand immediately why Grey has been nominated for five Grammy Awards and holds a number of multi-platinum records. Yet despite her accolades, Grey doesn’t let the attention and fame drive her creativity. Her popular collaborations, such as “Love The Way You Lie” with Eminem and Rihanna and “I Need A Doctor” with Dr. Dre, offer only a peek into her genius as a singer and songwriter.

Her latest album, “Natural Causes,” unfolds a new chapter in the Skylar Grey saga, weaving you in and out of new stories and sounds. The chords and bass never overpower her vocals, creating a beautiful balance among all the underlying acoustics. She blends several themes throughout, pulling inspiration from three particular contemporaries. “I’ve been studying recently Kendrick Lamar, Bon Iver, and Radiohead,” says Grey. “As much as they are very different artists, there are things that tie them together. I feel that there is a blending of genres happening in some of these artists. Kendrick, for example, uses a lot of interesting chord changes that remind me of Radiohead. And Bon Iver, who’s collaborated with Kanye West, does this crossing-of-genre thing, and I think I do that, too.”

The way we see it, Grey is a genre all her own. There is no one way to describe her music other than it pulls at your emotions, even the deep, hidden ones. On closer inspection, “Natural Causes” incites love, hate, and every feeling in between. Take, for example, “Kill For You,” which reunites Grey with prolific rapper, writer, and producer Eminem. It carries forceful lyrics that spin the story of Bonnie and Clyde and speak of a dangerous love that can push you to the brink. It tells “both sides of the story” while exploring “different vocal approaches,” says Grey, and the process by which it came to be is the very epitome of Grey’s unconventional artistry. The collaboration started as a simple series of beats that Eminem shared with Grey with no definitive intention.

“I didn’t ask [Eminem] to put a verse on it initially,” she says. “Two weeks before my album was due, as he was tweaking the mix, I thought, ‘Hey, what do you think about adding a verse to this because I always felt it could be really cool to be a duet?’ Over the weekend he [gave it a shot], and when he turned the song back in to be put on the album, he had a verse on it. That was the first time I heard it — when he was turning it in! I was pretty stoked.”

When it comes to writing, Grey doesn’t abide by any rules. “What works one time doesn’t necessarily work the second time,” she says. “I don’t limit myself to recreating the same thing over and over again. Usually it doesn’t work out like that for me. I try to keep an open mind.” This kind of open-mindedness seems to be the foundation for her raw, candid, and “from somewhere deep inside” quality of music. It’s also what leads to the type of creative mentorships and relationships Grey has built around her, like her ongoing collaborations with Eminem, forged by intuition, confidence, trust, and good old-fashioned hard work. And building upon said foundation, she remains involved and engaged, always holding true to the heart of her vision, whatever it may be in the moment. “When it comes to my own stuff, I like to be a part of the production just because I’m such a music nerd that being confined to just doing a melody or lyric — it gets old,” says Grey. “I like to be involved with chord changes, the sounds, but I also don’t trust myself 100 percent to do it all myself, so I like working with people who can bring their expertise in and bring fresh ideas to the table.”

Another hit track off the album, “Lemonade,” showcases the same organic, avant-garde artistic stylings of Skylar Grey. She explains: “Lemonade was originally a different beat by Symbolyc One aka S1, a producer. He had given me some beats to write to, and it inspired that chorus melody which was very experimental for me. That triplet feel, it’s something I wouldn’t typically do. I did it almost playfully; I wasn’t trying to be serious and write a song. I was just throwing sh—t out there, and I recorded it. Then I listened back, and it was actually really cool. It grew from that. Originally I wrote rap verses to it, but the chorus was just so strong. Everybody on my team saw that the chorus was so strong, but the verses weren’t quite there at the same level. So we reproduced the track a bit with Alex da Kid, and the verse chords changed, the music changed, and I rewrote verses to it. It was a rewrite process, but it was because the chorus was so special to us, we wanted everything surrounding it to be just as powerful.”

Read the full article and pick up the latest issue print issue here

Composure Magazine – VÉRITÉ

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VÉRITÉ feature written for the current issue of Composure Magazine.

An excerpt:

Vérité pulls you in with her resonating vocals and an intense independence that we all can envy. 

Photography By John Hong
Styling By Franzy Staedter
Makeup By Amber Dreadon
Hair By Tiffany Lee
Story By Min A. Lee
Video By Jonathan Navales

If you haven’t heard of Brooklyn-based artist Kelsey Byrne, who goes by the stage name Vérité, we recommend you look her up immediately. This indie pop artist continues to rise fast, and her YouTube views alone push over 3 million. While high numbers speak volumes, what makes Vérité stand out is her stance against joining a major record label. She is, after all, someone who has worked endless hours at Applebee’s in Times Square for years, so it makes sense that Vérité would create music on her own terms and remain fiercely independent.

Being able to focus on her career without any limitations has led to a sound that we can’t truly categorize as just pop. For us, Vérité should be her own genre. Watching her live performances as she floats from mic to mic, singing her own background vocals, we see how each note is crucial, showcasing her ability to navigate tricky pitches. And now that Vérité has just wrapped up a successful tour and multiple EPs (“Echo EP,” “Sentient EP” and “Living EP”), we have her newly released 2017 single “Phase Me Out” on repeat, with its bold chorus weaving in and out, asking the question, “Don’t you want to stay here or do you want to phase me out?” All we can say is, Vérité is an artist you would never want to phase out.

Composure Magazine: At what age did you first realize your love for music?

Vérité: I’ve loved music since I started performing when I was younger. I haven’t always felt the love, but I’ve always pursued it with laser focus, and I believe love is shown through action.

CM: Growing up playing music, and with your father as well, how does he view your success so far as a singer and songwriter?

Vérité: Both of my parents are obviously stoked for me. They’re driven, ambitious people and have really instilled the hustle in me. My family knows how to get sh—t done.

CM: I also read you played with an all-girl punk band. Can you tell me more about this? Was it a memorable experience for you?

Vérité: We weren’t great, but I f—king loved it and was militant in getting all the rehearsals and shows together. I played electric guitar, my friend played bass, and I recruited random girls from middle school to play drums (expecting they’d know how). We played covers of Nirvana, Green Day, Led Zeppelin, The Donnas, The Cranberries, The Breeders, etc.

CM: Can you share a few artists or bands that influence you and your songs?

Vérité: Everything influences me. The list always changes. Currently: Lewis Del Mar, SZA, Kehlani, Chance the Rapper, Phantogram.

CM: Do you have any method you follow when it comes to songwriting?

Vérité: I don’t question myself, make decisions quickly and edit or change my mind when needed.

CM: Do you have a favorite place or spot you like to escape to and write?

Vérité: I do most initial melodic and lyrical writing when walking or doing random things. I finish ideas in my bedroom and then take them to the studio.

CM: The way you approach the music industry has a very organic and very confident feel to it. Has staying independent from the big labels played a part in this?

Vérité: Absolutely. I have no choice but to be confident. There aren’t many people who are currently taking the route I am. I’m committed to showing people that this route is legitimate and possible.

CM: Do you think you’ll attempt to release an album? Or do you favor EPs?

Vérité: Currently putting the finishing touches on the debut LP.

 

Read the full article at Composuremagazine.com or pick up the latest print issue

Composure Magazine – Laura Marano

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Issue #14 of Composure Magazine has released, and I was fortunate enough to interview Laura Marano for the cover story. To find and shop the issue click here.

An excerpt:

The “Austin & Ally” actress and “La La” singer opens up about her upcoming debut album, as well as landing her new role in “The War With Grandpa,” alongside Robert De Niro and Marisa Tomei. 

Photography by Benjo Arwas
Photographer Assistant Brandon Wholihan
Styling by Jordan Grossman
Styling Assistant Ava Jones
Makeup and Hair by Melissa Bedi
Story by Min A. Lee
Video by Jonathan Navales

When Laura Marano’s mother finally gave in to her daughters and brought Marano and her sister Vanessa to a talent agent — one who was notorious for rejecting most young hopefuls — Marano wasn’t going to let anything stop her. She remembers being “crazy and outgoing, singing to everyone and making up songs” in the meeting. After all, she had grown up performing in the children’s theater run by her mother, and though her mother didn’t want her daughters to go into acting, Marano, even then, knew what she wanted.

“The agent says, ‘We want to take Vanessa,’” Marano recalls. “And I say in the cutest voice possible, ‘Well, I don’t have an agent.’”

The reply she received in return? “Oh, honey, I’ll take you, too!” She’s been with the agent ever since.

Clearly, Laura Marano is hard to resist. She’s one of those people — you can’t help but smile when you’re around her. Her stories are accompanied by an infectious laughter, and her persistently positive outlook reveals the grounded quality that makes her a star. It’s a rare thing, given that the 21-year-old has been acting since she was 5, most recently as one of the leads in the Disney Channel television show “Austin & Ally,” which just completed a very successful four-season run.

Growing up in Hollywood is no doubt challenging, but with a refreshing candor Marano looks at her career as “a journey.” “It’s definitely a business that is full of rejection, full of no’s, full of people telling you, ‘you’re not this, you’re not that,’” she says. “But when I was 5, I was so confident and very like, ‘World, here I am! Take me or leave me!’ I’m so thankful I started early. I really gained so much experience, and by the time I hit middle school or high school — the years you start to feel more insecure — I already had so much experience with my acting that I didn’t feel as insecure with that.”

Indeed, Marano’s skills in front of the camera were evident in “Austin & Ally,” where she played Ally Dawson, a girl with an extreme amount of musical talent who suffers from stage fright and eventually finds her confidence through the help of Austin and their friends, Trish and Dez. Marano remembers how she felt when she found out she landed the show: “Oh my gosh, it was one of the best days ever! I never wanted a role so much. It was a dream role for me, and it became an even greater experience than I could have imagined.”

While the end of the show signaled the end of any more music by Ally Dawson, it did not for Marano. Driven by her passion for singing and songwriting, she released two singles this year, “Boombox” and “La La.” In the latter, she sings:

You can stand on my stage
You can preach every word
That you want to about me,
But I won’t believe

You can think what you think, 
But that don’t mean a thing 
The same things as you do 
‘Cause I am not you

Let me know when you are done
‘Cause whenever your mouth runs
All I hear is la la

With its upbeat tempo and melody, there’s a strong message in the lyrics. “I was coming from a place where I had been getting so much criticism from so many different avenues: professional, personal, just so many different places that I couldn’t take it anymore,” says Marano. “But instead of being angry about it, I was almost in a place of acceptance. I went into the room and said, ‘I want to write a celebratory, happy, ‘screw you’ song. Not angry, but very ‘I’m not going to let you bring me down,’ and I couldn’t be happier about that.”

For the accompanying music videos, Marano wanted to bring a certain energy to them — one that was fun and funny. “I wanted a comedy element,” she says. “I wanted something funny, and who is funnier than Ken Jeong [star of the ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken”]? I asked him to be in the [“Boombox”] video, and he was sweet enough, with his busy schedule, to do it. After that we completely bonded.” For her next video for “La La,” Marano called on Jeong again. At first, Marano wasn’t sure what the video was going to be about, “but when we started shooting it, Ken was so funny, it became this fun skit video, which was hilarious! It was actually shot in my mom’s theater, and in three hours we were done.”

With two popular songs paving the way, Marano is currently preparing for the release of her debut album. “There’s kind of a balance of relationship songs and self-empowerment songs,” she says of what fans can expect. Her voice grows deep with emotion as she continues. “It’s also about growing up in general. You’re finding yourself, you’re finding your voice, and I think everyone can relate to times you’re feeling insecure, feeling not sure about yourself, and needing some sort of outlet to find that confidence. That’s why I think art is so important in general, whether via a TV show, movie, or song. Something [to help you] find strength within.”

Marano proves that with determination life can hold amazing opportunities. She just recently landed a role in the upcoming major motion picture “The War With Grandpa” alongside Robert De Niro and Marisa Tomei, something she gushes about with an endearing exuberance. “Oh my god, I’m freaking out! I’m so excited! I haven’t met them yet, but I feel like I’m going to be — I don’t know, I think it’s going to be such an amazing experience, not just because they are awesome people, but they’re such amazing actors. I feel like I’m going to learn so much.”

Click to read the full article and see all the images from Laura’s stunning cover shoot. 

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Audrey Magazine – KUMANN YOO HYE JIN

Inside South Korean Label KUMANN YOO HYE JIN – Min A. Lee For Audrey Magazine

“Futuristic Folklore” is a befitting title to understanding HyeJin Yoo’s perspectives on spring fashion with her presentation for KUMANN YOO HYE JIN 2015.  This isn’t a collection for those who prefer safer, ready-to-wear lines. This is about appreciating symbolism, engineering and a bit of mathematics.  Beauty is found within the heavily structured looks with a nod towards today’s science fiction animation and technology printed on pastel jacquards, organzas and cottons.  Yes, those are definitely spaceships.  If you aren’t into sci-fi, she has equally interesting and provoking designs in neutral to bright shades.

Yoo works endlessly to create masterpieces that are becoming the future we can expect from the Kumann studio, while she continues to build stability for the label.  We knew viewing her clothing would bring thoughtful discussion, so we reached out to learn more about this designer that expertly molds together so many contrasting ideas into a well-balanced and fluid collection.

Audrey Magazine: When you became the head of Kumann, how did you want to redefine the label, and how do feel that style translates into your current SS 2015 collection?

HyeJin Yoo: Kumann is the name originated from the early studio of the company. When I decided to start working on the label, I felt that I needed to reconsider the story of the studio, and its original value and identity. I have been re-identifying the brand’s characters in constructive design and original graphic patterns, which are based on different concepts of seasonal collections. Particularly, for spring and summer 2015, I interpret the concept of the future and folklore with specific color arrangements and computer-embroidered spaceship images made in 3D graphics.

AM: With the SS 2015 concept of “Futuristic Folklore,” have you always had an interest in those patterns and sci-fi animation?  What inspired you to put the two concepts together as one?

HJY: Sci-fi movies and ideas of cyborgs have been greatly influencing my ideas. I am directing the brand as a high-end boutique, but I do love to mix it up with images and symbols from sub-culture. I have also been very much interested in the theoretical ideas of time and space in a parallel universe, and in Buddhism. Basically, I think that people are very accustomed to a dichotomous way of thinking. Dualism affects our perceptions and languages by dividing things in the extreme, but I think that any of those two extremes could be blended just like other previous concepts, ‘Nostalgic Future’ and ‘Urban Shamanist’.

AM: What sort of emotions do you hope to evoke for viewers and wearers of your designs?

HJY: I am drawing a woman who wears uniqueness and originality of her own. I hope both viewers and wearers have exceptional experiences and at the same time will feel assertive and happy.

AM: Can you share with us some of the challenges and accomplishments you’ve had with your current collection?

HJY: Making clothes is accompanied with various problems, especially a small boutique business like us. I am trying to set stable and secure finances to save the scale of business. Since we have launched the brand named KUMANN, we also just opened a shop with a mid-low brand ‘K. kumann’ last September at DOOTA in Seoul. I am hoping that it could be a good start to keep the business safe. – See more at: http://audreymagazine.com/inside-south-korean-label-kumann-yoo-hye-jin/#sthash.BPRxtElV.dpuf

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All Photos Courtesy Of Audrey Magazine Via Kumann

Audrey Magazine: Korean Designer Tae-yong Ko Interview

Interview With Successful South Korean Fashion Designer Tae-yong Ko Of Beyond Closet, View The Full Article With Imagery Here.

Korea Herald hails Tae-yong Ko as one of South Korea’s most popular and sought after designers.  In the midst of working on his upcoming international collections, and appearing alongside celebrities Zico from Block B and P.O for the television show Fashion King Korea’s second season, we were able to catch up with the busy designer after two very successful and critiqued showings during New York and Seoul’s Fashion Weeks.  Ko shares with us his aspirations for his brand Beyond Closet, some favorite moments from both the spring 2015 shows and an in-depth look into the most recent collection. – See more at: http://audreymagazine.com/seoul-fashion-week-interview-tae-yong-ko/#sthash.6o61EYaD.dpuf