PAST FEATURES

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Photographed by Alister Mori @alistermori

December 28, 2021

Hello Dax, tell us a little bit about yourself! You have just finished filming Swan Song, an original movie that came to Apple TV+ December 17th, 2021. How did it go, and how excited were you to be a part of this production?

First of all, I was very excited, and I was very honored because I got to work with a lot of amazing actors, and it was just an amazing time taping with them and seeing how they do their thing. I started acting from my dad. He's an actor and signed me up and I started to do the same process. Print work, commercials, shows, movies, all of that.

 

How amazing that you have him to help guide you into the acting world! Now, you got to work with some huge actors, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Awkwafina, Glenn Close, how did it feel to be able to learn from such vetted actors during this film?

Really cool! It felt like I could do anything when I was working with them because they were doing such an amazing job. It was just so fun and amazing.  Ms. Naomi and Mahershala made me feel good, but at the same time, with some scenes, I was nervous like during a scene where I cry and another when Mahershala had to yell at me.

 

Oh yes, that would be stressful, especially when you want to make sure to display the right emotions! 

Swan Song was quite a departure from your previous work as Young Chidi in The Good Place, what are the things that you truly love from each of these different experiences?

First of all, I love acting overall and I just like it because it's an experience and you get to do so many things so it's very very fun. 

What I loved about Young Chidi is that I got to play a smart kid and so it's kind of a fun role. Plus, I got to act with other kids. But, playing Mahershala and Ms. Naomi's son was an amazing role for me, and it felt like I got to play myself.

 

Other than acting what are some of your favorite things to do lately?

I like to play video games sometimes and travel. We do a lot of traveling, and I like to play with my sister and play with my dog.

 

What is your vision of a perfect world?

First, no racism, no global warming, and no trash in the oceans or anything to damage the environment.

 

Is there anyone that you look up to, that truly inspires you?

The person who inspires me the most is my dad because he helped start this career for me, so I appreciate it.

 

Who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?

Daphne (my sister), my dad, and my mom because they're a part of the Rey family which is the best!

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever received is work hard and play harder.

 

What are your big plans for this next year?

Honestly, I would like to do more movies and eventually play Miles Morales in a live-action film!!

 

And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?

I would be so happy because I love penguins and they're so cute and cuddly and that would just be random.

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Meet: Dax Rey

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Meet: Caitlin Kim 

Dec 09, 2021

Hello Caitlin! It's such a pleasure to have you be a part of this magazine. When we first met I spent less than two minutes with you and immedi- ately saw dance pouring out from you in every step that you took. I’m so excited to talk to you more about your dancing and acting journey!

When I stepped into the photo session, I was amazed by the bright colors of every room. I couldn’t wait to step in front of the camera. Our first exchange left me feeling welcomed and invited. When you started talking to me while snapping photos, I felt so in my element. I was flattered that you knew that I was a dancer, as it is a big part of my life. I would love to work with you again in the future. Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity!

Thank you! I can't wait to shoot again together. First tell me all about your dancing! How young were you when you started dancing, and what was it like then?

My dancing journey began when I was seven. Because of my parents' full time job, I was enrolled in aftercare. My parents and I felt like a more energetic environment would be beneficial towards my personal growth. My friend suggested dance and her mom offered to take me. My mom enrolled me in class that night and I loved it from the very first pirouette.

To me dance was a way to express myself through movement. I could tell stories and show how I felt through different choreographies. Embodying different emotions through individual genres enthralled me. Dancing then, was a way to connect with others.

Photographed by Kenneth Dolin @kennethdolinphotography

I have seen you do a few different styles of dance, from hip hop to lyrical, is there one that you particularly connect with currently?

Though I have much love and appreciation for all styles of dance -if I had to choose one- jazz calls out to me the most. I love the exhilarating melodies, ups and downs of the beat, and sassy energy of jazz. It incorporates a good mixture of facial expressions, flexibil- ity, and confidence to share with the audience to tell a story. When I dance jazz, I enjoy speaking to the crowd by transitioning from sharp to resistant movements. It lets me convey emotion without words. My grandfather, who has Alzheimer's, has a difficult time communicating with words. When I dance for him however, despite the feelings of sadness, I feel incredibly grateful that I can “talk”with him.

That is truly beautiful! What a gift for him and you. What are your goals for this upcoming year as a dancer?

This fall, I’m very excited to attend LACHSA as a freshman in the dance department. I aspire to learn new styles of dance and expand my knowl-edge of the diverse world of dance as well as the history of it. My hope is to acclimate well to the new setting/ learning environment as I was attending stay-home learning prior to the new school year.

Congratulations! That is a great achievement and an exciting new world you'll be in. I know dancing is a great part of who you are, but I know you also act and model, what are some of your favorite projects you have worked on lately?

One of my favorite projects of recent was working as a host for the Disney Princess Club. For the last two years I have had the pleasure of hosting on the show -one I hold very close to my heart. The best part of the job is the impact I have on little kids and the messages I receive from them. I am incredibly grateful for my opportunity to make kids smile and encourage them through their various challenges.
With continuous support from my manager, theatrical, and commercial agents, I have been actively reading for some amazing roles as well as auditioning for commercials. My most recent work, a comcast commercial, allowed me to reflect on how different directors require different work ethics. I hope to pursue more future jobs.

 

Wow! You are definitely busy! So... harder question, what is your vision of a perfect world?

To me a perfect world is free of discrimination and hate. People are not judged for things that they cannot control such as the color of their skin, personal beliefs, gender, sexuality, and social class.

I feel that it is wrong to make conclusions on others based on their ethnicity. Seeing people segregated because of their race disheartens me. I also believe in gender equality. The fact that women are paid less than men in America is truly disappointing. Another huge topic of discussion is religion. Everyone should be free to believe in their own god/deity. As for sexuality, nobody should be limited to who they can love nor their sexual identity. And social class should not determine how others are treated.

I couldn't agree more! Is there anyone that you look up to that truly inspires you?

I am truly inspired by my grandmother. It is amazing that she immigrated to the U.S. without any knowledge of the English language to pursue the American dream for her family of seven. To give her children more opportunities, she -a successful business woman- left her life behind in Korea. It had to have taken lots of courage, determination, and commitment to get as far as she has. 

As a Korean American rising star living in Los Angeles, what are some things that you wish people knew about you and your culture?

As a Korean American, I wish people knew that I’m more than just a math geek. I wish they wouldn’t perceive me as a disease but instead as a regular teenage girl. I wish they wouldn’t associate my academic achievements to my race but instead to my hard work. I wish they would stop asking me how I can speak english but instead be open to the fact that I was born and raised in America. 

An important Korean culture is respect towards elders.

Traditionally, there is a set of values that Koreans raise their kids by: #1 a good etiquette/respectful manners, #2 a hard working mindset, and #3, formal greetings.

Koreans greet each other with respect. For example when an elder walks into a room, you stand up, bow, and say 안녕하세요 (ahn-nyeong-hah-sai-yoh), instead of the casual 안녕 (ahn-nyeong) that is normally spoken amongst piers. It is important to be respectful as it reflects good parenting and ideals for your family name.

Who has been your biggest supporter in your dance career and how have they impacted your journey?

My mom has been my biggest supporter through my dance career. She is not only my best friend, but also my personal chef, chauffeur, and business partner. I am so grateful for her unconditional support, resigning from the job she loved to help me pursue my dreams...

The impact she has made on my journey is tremendous. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today, step by step, achieving my dreams.

And because I have to... Favorite K-Pop bands? I’m partial to BLACKPINK myself. 

Despite the numerous talented K-pop bands, I must say that BLACKPINK is my favorite. Their music is amazing, but I think my favorite part of the band is the members’ connection—a result of the three years they have spent working together as a team to create BLACKPINKs’ inspiring reputation.

And Favorite K-Drama? "It’s Okay To Not Be Okay" gripped me from beginning to end!

My mom and I love to binge watch K-Dramas whenever we have the chance and we’ve definitely gone through many. I believe my favorite K-Drama is “Reply 1988.” It shows the story of Korean families living in a small suburban community, much like my mom did in her early youth. The storyline is captivating and well written. Different social classes and perspectives are shown coming together in the drama.

I'll be sure to watch it! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?


“Stay curious, keep learning, keep growing, and always strive to be more interested than interesting.”

-Debbie Allen
The best advice I’ve ever received was from Debbie Allan at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She implied that success comes to curious people who aspire to continue to learn new things. Her advice encouraged me to work hard towards my goals and always ask questions to seek different opportunities.

And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?

If I found a penguin hanging out in my refrigerator, I would probably... SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS! Then call for my dad and ask him to help me set it free and get it sent back to its original habitat. Once we found a way to get it back to its home in Antarctica I would feed it some sardines, give it a waddle-5, and say “farewell my unexpected new friend!” :)

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Christmas Songs to listen to this Holiday Season!

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Meet: Aubin Bradley

December 23, 2021

Hello Aubin it's such a pleasure to get to know you! You just starred in “A Loud House Christmas” as Lucy Loud, what a ridiculously fun transformation! How was it bringing a cartoon character to life?

Sigh…..It was incredible! I used to have really long hair and they cut it pretty short and dyed it black.  I also got this hair piece for my bangs which covered my eyes. I called it “squirt.”  I still have it. The costumes were unbelievable and really helped me get into the Lucy vibe and mindset. Bringing her to life was a fun challenge. Lucy has a “deadpan” personality but secretly I think she enjoys the chaos of her Loud family.  I tried to capture that. Also, Lucy Loud has so many fans around the world and I really wanted to bring her to life in a believable way the fans would love!  

I agree, Lucy is definitely a fan of her family in her own special way. Before being Lucy Loud you were part of the Les Mis family as Young Cosette on the Broadway National Tour, how was your experience going from the stage to screen acting? What are the things that you truly love from each of these different experiences?

 

Playing the role of Cosette was a dream come true and I worked with such a talented company.  Singing live every night in front of thousands of people all over the country when I was 8 was cool.  I also loved the live audience and hearing them cheer and clap after I finished singing.  I also really love being on TV and movies. I love working with the directors and actors and trying new things and new roles.  I really loved all the improv work we got to do on the Loud House Christmas movie. It was a really creative process.  

I also like that film and TV reaches people everywhere.  What I love about both are all the amazing people I get to work with and the

friends that I have made for life!

 

Now, you are a dancer, an actress, a singer... are there any more hidden talents that we don’t know about yet?

Well, there may be a few!  I love to make fun silly voices and to impersonate people’s voices. I also am a soccer player and love to play different sports.  I also really enjoy winter sports and ski and ice skate. I also am a great chef!  My sisters and I love cooking especially the desserts for the holidays.  I am also a math and science geek and love outer space.

 

Oooh I love anything to do with astronomy too! Ok, now a very different question, but a very important question nonetheless, which house is the Sorting Hat putting you in?  

                                            

So …. I may be obsessed with Harry Potter. I have read all the books, watched all the movies multiple times, and saw the Broadway show four times when my sister, Catherine, was Lily Potter.  So, I have actually spent a whole lot of time thinking about this during my life.  To be technical, I am a mix of three:  Gryffindor, Slytherin and Ravenclaw.  If the Sorting Hat had to pick, it would be Slytherin.  I think Slytherins are misunderstood. Slytherins are actually good people with a little bit of dark quirky side that I love.  

 

I think this is not only a great answer, but that Lucy Loud would have to agree with you. Okay, now we are hoping over to the serious questions: What is your vision of a perfect world? 

My vision of a perfect world is a world where people do not judge, and people can be themselves without worry.  All of us are unique in this world and that is what makes this world special. We all need to come together, and all hold each other up and support one another. My perfect world would also include ice cream for dinner every night!   

 

I can't argue about either of those! Is there anyone that you look up to, that truly inspires you? 

So, I am inspired by so many people, but if I had to pick one person, it would be my mom.  My mom is one of the hardest working people I know.  She worked all her life, starting as a young girl.  She is an inspiration to me and many young female professionals, showing them that it is possible to have a family and a career.  She started her own company while having four young children. She believes in empowering young people and that everyone has a voice.  Her favorite saying is: "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”  She traveled around the world for work but was always there for all of us. She never missed anything.  But what I admire the most in my mom is that she is kind, silly and loving.  She is always helping her children, her family, her friends, and people in the community.  She is a strong person and I hope one day to be like her.

 

That is a wonderful role model to have in your life! How lucky you and your siblings are! Ok, so then who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?

So many people have supported my career, but my sisters, Catherine and Alex, have been my biggest supporters from the very beginning. All three of us are actors and it all began with my oldest sister, Catherine.  She worked so hard as a kid traveling the country performing in regional theatres and independent films to get an agent.  Cat and Alex then started booking national tours and I am really lucky that by the time I started acting, I had a great agent and manager at a young age. That would not have been possible without Catherine.  She is so funny and great at comedy acting, but she has such emotion and is a great dramatic actor.  I have learned so much about acting from her. And her work ethic, never giving up attitude, and her happy spirit is such an inspiration.  She also taught me how to cry on camera! Alex is my best friend and is always there for me. She is the kindest person I know. She even traveled with me on tour when I was feeling homesick.

 

What an amazing family you have, helping you achieve all those dreams! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  

My mom has always told me to “dream big and to work hard and to be kind on your journey.”  I believe that anything is possible in life if you work for it.  She also told me that the world gravitates toward “light” and “happiness” and that I must always be myself and be a positive light in this world.    

 

That is all very good advice. So, what are your big plans for this upcoming year?  

Well, I have a recurring role in a really cool animated series and a role in a few episodes of a new TV show.  But my biggest plans involve bringing Lucy Loud back to life. I am really hopeful for a series and a sequel next year on Nickelodeon! The fans really want to see more of this LOUD family. So STAY TUNED!

 

Oh that would be very, very exciting indeed! 

And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?    

WHAT!!!!!!! I would adopt it. I would snuggle it.  I would go absolutely nuts because I love penguins. I would bring him upstairs and introduce him to all my stuffed animals. He would immediately have about 50 new friends of varying animal species to keep him company when I am in school or on set.  I would then move the refrigerator up to my room so he could live with me full time!  

Oh I love that! Thank you so much for your time Aubin! Can't wait to see all your amazing projects in the near future. 

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Photographed by Jenny Anderson @jennyandersonphoto

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Photographed by Britney Young 

Meet: Jacob Laval

December 23, 2021

Jacob, you just starred in the upcoming movies 8-Bit Christmas and Unbreakable Boy, the latter in which you portray Austin, a boy with a rare brittle-bone disease and who has autism. You also appeared in “The Plot Against America”. This is quite a departure from the Netflix special “John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch”, how did you enjoy being able to really stretch your acting muscles in these new movies and series?

In the Sack Lunch Bunch, I really was just being myself, which was a lot of fun. In 8 Bit Christmas, Connor is a funny, weird character and that was fun too. I definitely enjoyed showing a more serious side of my acting as Seldon in The Plot Against America. I got to do some emotional acting and I really liked doing that. But I really enjoyed being able to stretch my acting skills farther than I even knew I could go, portraying Austin in The Unbreakable Boy.  I don't want to "spoil' the movie, but I got to do a lot of different things that I had never done before.

 

I know you got to meet Austin LeRette in person, what is something that you learned while you met each other that you knew you couldn’t wait to portray in the movie?

One thing I really enjoyed portraying in the movie was Austin's positivity. He has the most positive attitude towards everything!

 

What a wonderful quality to have to showcase! 

You are not only an on-screen actor, but you’ve also been on Broadway in The Rose Tattoo, how was your experience going from screen acting to stage acting, and then back? What are the things that you truly love from each of these different experiences? 

I loved being in The Rose Tattoo. Broadway was so special. I met a lot of great people, and everyone works so hard. I'm so happy that Broadway is back from being shut down during the pandemic. I know too many people that were out of a job. 

I just love the instant feedback you get while on a live stage. The audience's reaction is something you don't get immediately in film and most TV. 

 

On the other hand, I love how in film and TV, the schedule is not as rigorous as a full time Broadway job and I love how you get to travel for a lot of film and TV projects. Seeing different places and meeting different people is a great experience! Oh, and film and TV also have crafty!!!! YUM!

 

Now, you are a philanthropist through and through, always donating to different non-profit organizations, is there one that is closest to your heart?

No Kid Hungry because kids should never have to be hungry, and I want to help them. I try to help them often. Also, there is this new organization that I really like called Team Seas. It was started by one of my favorite YouTubers Mr. Beast who is a mega philanthropist who has started Team Seas to clean the polluted oceans and seas. 

 

Oh, this links perfectly to my next question: what is your vision of a perfect world?

A world where there is no war, no poverty, no homelessness, no illness, and everybody dies from old age. Oh and of course, no homework!

 

Can't forget the homework part! I love it! Is there anyone that you look up to that truly inspires you?

My Grandpa Bruce because he has led a very successful life and still always makes time for his family. He's led a path that I wish to follow!

 

That's wonderful, how amazing is it to have people in your family that you can look up to! Who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?

My mother. She has been there since the beginning and she has managed all of the adult stuff, and my acting coach and actress Dana Berger, who has really helped me improve my acting skills. 

 

It sounds like you have a wonderful team! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

To always stay positive and if anyone tries to give you a hard time, just walk away from them and ignore them...unless of course, they are your teacher, boss, or parent! You definitely don't want to ignore them!

 

Haha, no, can't do that, no matter how much you might want to. So, what are your big plans for this next year?

This coming year, I really hope that 8 Bit Christmas and Unbreakable Boy open up new opportunities for me in my acting career. Also, I look forward to traveling, maybe some great on-location work, and I hope to go to California to see Disneyland since I love Disney World so much. 

 

Oh, that should be a lot of fun! And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator? 

Well first, I would probably close the door really fast and then open it and look in again to see if it is real. Then I'd probably pull out my cell phone and take a photo and put it on IG and then show my parents! Then I would feed it and try to get it back to its natural habitat!

This was fun! Thanks!!

Thank you! I had a great time getting to know you better! Can't wait to see what this new year has in store for you Jacob. 

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Photographed by Emily Sandifer @emilysandiferphoto

Meet: Izaac Wang

December 2, 2021

Hello Izaac, I was so excited that I'd get to interview you after watching you act in the new live action movie that came out in November, "Clifford, the Big Red Dog". What an amazing thing to be a part of, Clifford has been in children's lives since 1963 and is still such an icon. How did it feel to breathe new life into this incredible story? 

 

It feels super incredible. Clifford was a huge part of my childhood. I've grown up reading all of Clifford’s books and watching all the cartoons on PBS. So, to be able to act and be part of the live action movie, the feeling is indescribable. The journey was incredible, like being in New York for the first time. The most exciting part about being in the movie is to be on set with so many great actors! Like Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall and John Cleese!

 

That's really amazing! You also work as a voice over actor. Are there any projects you can tell us about that you’ve been working on?

 

Yes of course! I just finished recording the second season of an upcoming animation fantasy television streaming series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. The series is a prequel of a 1984 film Gremlins and its 1990 sequel The New Batched. Set in 1920s Shanghai, East China. The series is about how 10-year-old Sam Wing (voiced by me) met Gizmo, a young Mogwai. There is also another series that I will be working on in the near future, but that one is a secret!

Oh you are speaking my language, I absolutely love the Gremlins! How exciting!

Now I know you don’t only love acting, you are also a mountain biker, anything else that you love to do that we should know about?

 

Well, I’ll state the obvious, I love video games. Warzone is currently my favorite. I also like to try new things. I really like food. Food is awesome.

 

I agree! Food IS awesome. As a Laotian Chinese American rising star living in Los Angeles, what are some things that you wish people knew about you and your culture?

 

I wish people knew more about Lao culture. My mom is Laotian, if you come into my household, you have to take off your shoes before you come in. You have to respect your elders, so you hear the younger kids calling their parents' friends “Uncle” and “Auntie.”  The meals in Laos are based on sticky rice. I would roll it into balls in the palm of my hand and then dip it in a delicious sauce. My favorite is sticky rice with Lao beef jerky. The food in the Lao culture might look simple but is always fulfilling and delicious. Overall, I think understanding different cultures allows us to be open and accepting of each other. Understanding different people and their cultures is one of the best ways we can learn from each other and learn more about ourselves. 

 

Absolutely! I adore exploring new cultures because of the glimpse in the mindset of others that I get when I do. A bit deeper... What is your vision of a perfect world?

 

A world without pollution,  a world where everyone respects each other's differences. And also, with cool cars. And lots of food, money, housing, and materials for everyone, so that everybody can try to chase the things they love.

 

That is a wonderful world! Is there anyone that you look up to that truly inspires you?

 

For sure my dad. He’s taught me a lot that I definitely would not have known without him. How to ride a bike, how to talk to people, how to drive stick shift, and basically everything I know. To be frank, both of my parents truly inspire me. You wouldn’t be alive if you didn’t have parents. So, treat them with respect.

 

You drive stick shift? I'm officially impressed! Who has been your biggest supporter in your career and how have they impacted your journey?

 

My mom 100 percent. Who I am today, who I will be in my future, is shaped by one person in my life, my mother. On the outside, she may look like an ordinary woman, but in her tiny appearance lies extraordinary strength, perseverance, a generous soul, and a kind heart. She is not only my mom, but she’s my everything. My dad and I would be lost without her. Literally. I am who I am because of her, and there are no words that can express how thankful I am to have her in my life. I love you mom! 

 

That just warmed my heart, mothers are so wonderful! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 

“Be Yourself”. In many cases, be yourself in a respectful way. Recognize that the best version of yourself should be your vision, not anybody else’s. Don’t waste energy trying to live up to what somebody else wants you to be. The point is that you should at least try to be yourself more and more every day until you feel like nothing is in your way. When you don't need anyone else's opinion, you'll never feel judged or obligated to be different for other people.

 

That can be so hard, but so rewarding! What are your big plans for this next year?

 

My big plans are to try to get all A’s in school, get really good at playing video games, and try to learn a lot from my Comedy Theatre classes. I also want to gain muscle mass, and weight. And finally, to be humbler and make more smart decisions. I’m a young adult with big aspirations.

 

I can see that, and can't wait to see what will be next for you! And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?

 

First, I would be shocked! But then I'll let it be. I mean, that penguin can do what it wants. I’d just put the refrigerator outside, and then call a zookeeper to pick it up. I would be happier knowing that the penguin is at a nice zoo instead of my cramped refrigerator. Not saying my fridge is small, but penguins are pretty big.

Yes, he probably would be much happier elsewhere, you are right! Thank you again Izaac! 

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Photographed by Emily Sandifer @emilysandiferphoto

SPOTLIGHTING OUR TALENT

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Meet: Alisha Liston

July 12, 2021

Hello Alisha, we got to shoot together for our editorial Under The Big Top and I loved getting to know you and wanted to share with our readers all the amazing projects you are working on currently!

First of all, just tell us a little bit about yourself so that our readers know who they’re reading about.

My name is Alisha Liston, and I’m a thirteen year old singer/songwriter. I’m releasing my first EP at the end of this summer: titled Beautiful Illusion.

You are in the process of releasing a bunch of new music right now. Hourglass was out earlier this month, and you’ve just released Whose Definition. Two songs that I adore. I know you have Beautiful Illusion coming out on August 27th. Tell me more about all these songs.

Yes, my EP, Beautiful Illusion, will be released on August 27th. It will contain 6 original songs, plus an experimental, electro-swing bonus track. The tempos and instruments range from fast-paced dance beats, to acoustic ballads in an all encompassing vintage dreamlike fantasy theme. I released Hourglass and Whose Definition as singles, as a prelude to the EP.

I will also be releasing another single called, Paint on a Cloud. It is scheduled to drop on July 16th.

But, getting back to Beautiful Illusion. I wrote all these songs, because I wanted to help people, especially young people, persevere through life’s challenges. It’s these challenges that are, in a sense, a beautiful illusion. This is because these challenges are what gives us the opportunity to grow & become stronger. Still it’s not always easy when we have to face them, and I just wanted to do something that could possibly help someone get through it.

Each song on the EP is themed with an overall feeling and message. For example, Hourglass is a song about healing. When my audience listens to the song, especially those that are hurting, I want them to feel understood. And, I want to give them hope. Sometimes when you are going through something major, it can seem like that hurt will never end, but it will. Healing is a process. It takes time, and eventually the storm will pass.

Whose Definition is about unrealistic social/physical standards. While social media is a great way to connect with people, seeing that so-and-so got invited to a party that you didn’t get invited to can hurt; and, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking you have to do this or that or look a certain way, because so-and-so does and look how many likes & followers they have.

I wanted Whose Definition to empower people and remind them that these ideals we are creating are toxic and are taking us away from our true selves. Trends change, and there is no single standard. We are all different, and we are all beautiful and that’s a good thing. So yeah.

Yes, that is what attracts me to your music so much, not only are you a wonderful singer and songwriter, but the messages you share with us are so amazing! Now, not only do you sing and play instruments, but you also write your own songs correct?

Yes. I play piano and guitar. And, yes, I do write my own songs. Generally, I’ll start playing something on the piano or guitar. I will come up with some general chords and a melody. From there, I’ll start creating lyrics. This past year, I took some classes in music production, and started writing my own instrumentals (or backtracks.) I do work with a producer, in fact, I work with two of them: Idrise Ward-EL & Adrian Lopez. Adrian is an incredible composer and producer, so he’ll create or fine tune the instrumental track. Idrise's speciality is songwriting & vocal production. So he will help me tighten up the melody and lyrics, record the vocals, and mix/master the final version.

How lucky to have great people around you to help you hone those skills! When was your first foray into music?

When I was in preschool, I’d literally walk up and down the staircase singing whatever Disney song was popular at the time. I’d do this at the top of my lungs and for hours at a time. Eventually, my Mom and Dad decided to get me into vocal lessons.

Haha, that was smart of them! Now music is not your only focus, your also an actress, model, and aerialist, what other projects are you focusing on right now?

I’m always auditioning for new projects and new roles. Currently, I’m getting ready to audition for an aerial performance team. Outside of that, I also love writing fantasy novels and cosplaying.

 

 

What do you wish people would know about you?

I think what I want people to know, and it’s really not just about me, but a lot of my friends and people like me. And, that is, a lot of hard work goes into what we do. And, I just really admire the talent that’s out there. There are so many amazing singers, song-writers, actors, and artists in general. And, I know what it takes for them to get to the level they are at. And, I admire that. And, for those that are still working at it: Don’t give up. Believe me, I probably wrote 20 bad songs before I wrote a good one. So, yeah. 

Is there anyone that you look up to, who truly inspires you?

There’s a lot of people that inspire me. For example, I am a huge Sophie Pecora fan. While I don’t know her personally, she seems really genuine. I like her music and what she writes about.

Taylor Swift is another one. I listened to her music so much when I was little. And I think that as an artist, it’s important that you own your own artistry. Taylor had the courage to say no when other people wanted to take her in a different direction. I really admire her for that.

My producers are another huge inspiration for me. They are so talented and incredible to work with. But, I think even more important, they are just good people.

Overall, good people inspire me. They don’t even have to be insanely talented. They just have a good heart.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve received was from my grandmother. She told me that people can take everything you have, but they’ll never take away your mind. By that, she means your imagination and creativity will be with you wherever you go. No one can take it from you, and implant it within them. It’s yours. So embrace who you are, your thoughts and your mind, develop those things within because they will always be with you.

That is a wonderful truth! Who has been your biggest supporter in your life, and how have they impacted your journey?

Definitely my Mom. She’s been a huge physical and emotional support, and I really couldn't thank her enough. My 

Mom has always been my go-to best friend whenever I’ve had a rough day, and she helps so much with music marketing. I love her a whole lot, and there aren't words to describe how thankful I am for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

I think the thing I like most about myself is my family. I feel really grateful to have the family that I have. My Mom & my Dad have always been there and supported me. I remember when I was little, I told my parents that I wanted to grow up and be a pop star and, instead of brushing off the idea, they said, “Okay, here’s what you need to do.” And, when I would get frustrated or I didn’t want to practice, they’d say, “That’s okay, you don’t have to do this.” I’ve grown a bit since then, and my goal isn’t to be a pop star anymore. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. For me, right now, I want to create music that is authentic to me and who I am as an artist. I hope my music will help and inspire others, like others' music has inspired me.

And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?

Realistically, I’d probably scream and shut the refrigerator door. But once I got over the shock value, I’d probably try to make friends with the little guy, apologize for the screaming, and then get confused as to why I’m apologizing to a penguin in my refrigerator. And I’d definitely take them to the vet to make sure they’re ok. Also make sure that the screaming didn’t bust their ears!

Love it! Thank you Alisha!

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nonbinary fashion

TINY BANGS: MEET RIOT

Hey there Riot! I had an absolutely blast at your new book’s launch party. I can tell you it was a very inspirational day and having the book you and @littleguntank created together in my hands was nothing short of amazing. I would love our readers to get to know more about you. First, let’s get down to business, tell us a bit about yourself please.

 

I’m 12 years old I live in Los Angeles, and I’m 5’2. I like to collect Pokemon Cards and create make up looks. My favorite colors are purple and yellow. I am in 7th grade, I have two siblings, and I’m the oldest. I have two pet rats, a dog, and a turtle (we tolerate the turtle).

 

Ah yes, those turtles can be a bit nasty!
You just wrote the book RIOT! And I love how easily accessible it is to everyone, yet very powerful and filled with wisdom. In it you discuss being non-binary and your journey to discovering the right words to express how you felt. How did telling your story feel? Was any of it hard to put down in words?

 

Well, telling my story was really good because we want everyone to know that these genders exist and that we support them. Sometimes I get scared that people will have a negative feeling about my story and that things might get out of hand. But it did feel really good to get it out there. It took two years for the book to be published, but it only took one month to write down my story. Honestly, when I first started writing the book I didn’t know as much as I do now about the subject. I’ve learned a lot through the journey of writing it, and the book helped me a lot in understanding myself. To those who are willing to accept others as they are, (which everybody should), I think the book will be very, very helpful. I hope that someday it’s going to be a normal thing where everyone will use someone’s pronouns respectfully.

 

Where can we find your book for purchase?

 

It’s at tinybangs.com for preorder. For just $19.99 you can get the RIOT! book at tinybangs.com

 

I also know you have a bunch of merchandise that now decorates my daughter’s room, especially the posters that were made from the book art, what is your favorite piece?

 

I really really really like the stickers! You can stick them on backpacks and stuff! 

 

We are currently collaborating on a project with @littleguntank and @tiny.bangs that I can’t wait to work on with you, but in the meantime what other projects do you have lined up?

 

The Bosio family foundation, a non profit to help people. The focus is on queer community, anti racism, victim rights, etc.. Empowering the disempowered. Right now we are building some Trans youth care kits. We are planning to have the foundation all set to start for the fall. We are also working on a swimsuit collaboration that will be gender neutral, and geared towards trans and gender creative youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny Bangs is a fashion empire created by you and your siblings as well as your mother, how did it start?

 

Tiny bangs started in 2017, I was being homeschooled at the time. It was just a fun little creative outlet, but as we started to get attention it snow- balled. It also became about activism and we started a blog as we grew. So we still sell the clothing, but we also focus more of our energy on activism.

 

@tiny.bangs is really more than just fashion, it’s a way of life, how would you describe it?

 

We can’t really say it’s a kid’s clothing brand anymore, because we started creating clothes for adults. So it's for kids and adult kids, we create vintage style with a flair! I think our presents online is about our family, and about activism that is important to us, which serves to create that sense of community.

How does it feel to be a fashion icon at such a young age? 

 

I keep on forgetting that I am a fashion icon. Nobody believes me at school when I talk about my projects. I think I'd rather be a tween scumbag to be honest, but I do like figuring out new fashions. 

 

What is your vision of a perfect world?

 

Everything is free, especially food. No racism, no cops, no transphobia, and so much more. Just everyone being open to others. I wonder what the world would be like if gender didn't exist? I feel like it would be much better in a way. I also wish money literally grew on trees and I think we all need free healthcare.

 

Is there anyone that you look up to, who truly inspires you?

My parents definitely inspire me. My Mom showed me everything and my Dad is just great. I also look up to Cardi B. and Beyonce.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

A lot of people say this, but I learned it from my art teacher. If things don’t turn out well, say in a picture if you didn’t draw it well, just keep going. Even if it takes six times to get it right,you are bound to succeed and grow.

 

Who has been your biggest supporter in your life and how have they impacted your journey?

 

My mom and my friends have been I think our presence online is about amazing. Cecilia, Dylan, Liz, Abby, Logan... They are all good friends who are my supporters. I still deal with bullying frequently, and my friends always have my back.

 

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

Hmmmmm. My favorite thing about myself... let’s think. I have a good singing voice. I love rock camp. I like the fact I can become friends with people easily.

And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?

 

I don’t know. I think my turtle would eat it. Ok, well first I’d freak out, then I’d take a picture, just for the receipts. Then I would tell Dad. My Dad would freak out, he would call a zoo. “I’ve got a penguin do you want it? You can have our turtle too.” And I’d cleanup the fridge immediately, 'cause that thing is stinky.

I'm glad your Dad would be there to rescue you from a stinky penguin! Thanks Riot, it was really fun to get to know you more! Can't wait to work together soon.

July 12, 2021

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Photographed by Michael Robles

PRIDE SOCKS: MEET RACHEL

July 12, 2021

Hello Rachel! When I was creating the Skating to My Own Beat editorial I needed the perfect pair of socks, that would highlight the clothing choice, but that would also be a statement in itself. When I discovered your socks it was a very easy choice to make, they were perfect, and shined the positivity that I wanted to bring to this editorial! So, tell me about who is behind Pride Socks! What got you started?

 

My name is Rachel and I am the founder of Pride Socks. I am now a proud mom to Moxie, who is 13 months old. She is my light and love!

Pride Socks came to light while I was teaching high school special education and after asking my brother if I could work for him at his sock company, Skater Socks and him telling me to start my own business (ha ha ha)...so I did. At the time, I knew if I started a business I would end up quitting my career as a teacher and wanted a business that made a difference.

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So I looked back on my life. The root of this passion stems from my child- hood. Growing up, I was one of five siblings, born and raised by Deaf parents; therefore, job opportunities were limited as was their income. One way my parents dealt with this adversity was to recycle clothing between siblings. Matching and hole-less socks be- came a commodity and my obsession was born. When I was in high school, I started running cross country. After the first race, I was sure to quit but my coach had other ideas. As I was getting on the bus for my second race, she gave me a card that said "I am proud of you." It was the first time the word proud was introduced in my life. Fast forward 10 years and I started teaching special education at the same high school. These were the kids who sadly were told they can't, they won’t, they never will and believed it. So I’d purposely set up assignments I knew the kids would master, watch their excitement then explain what they were feeling- pride in themselves. I wanted Pride Socks to empower individuals like my coach did for me. At times, we need someone else to be our backbone until we can be that for ourselves. At Pride Socks, our hope is to be that, if needed, or to be the continuous reminder you already have it in you. We name our products so it also creates the connection of empowerment and personalizes it to each person.

That is beautiful! And you can seriously feel all of that just from the socks themselves. When I visited your website everything just made me smile and feel happy and confident, I'm so glad that you are bringing that joy to people!

What is something you wish every child knew?

 

I wish every child knew the power they already have within themselves, simply being who they are as unique individuals, and felt that sense of pride in who they are. Kids have an insight to life I wish I could bottle and drink from daily.

 

If I am correct, socks are a family affair, with your brother selling @skatersocksusa... so do you guys collaborate and discuss designs during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner?

 

HA! We don’t wait that long! Ivan and I talk everyday or we did until Moxie was born and she stole all my thunder! We are always exchanging ideas and bossing each other around!

 

Oh yes, those little ones will take that focus away when they are small! Ok, so you started with socks, which we all love and adore, but you now have a bunch of new products and collaborations! What are you the most excited about?

 

You are asking the golden question. Don’t you know you never tell your kids which one is your favorite?!!

 

Haha! You are totally right, what was I thinking? Your pride boxes are amazing, and such a great gift to send to someone during pride month to let them know they are loved, will you be keeping them stocked throughout the year? I feel that I want to send these on birthdays, Christmas and as "just because" gifts as well!

 

Thank you! YES, we will keep them on and add more to the mix. We’ve been wanting to do boxes for years and we finally did it this year and love it! We will continue to add more! A kids box is next. Then maybe a birthday box. Then maybe an empowerment box....

That is super exciting! I adore watching your collaborations with all the amazing artists in the Artist Series Socks! I felt all the feels when I saw the @jitterbug_art design as I got really into plants during covid! What can we look forward to in that series?

 

Ahhhhh thank you! We LOVE this series as well and it started because of COVID and wanting to connect more of the community and shine light on everyday people doing amazing things. You can look forward to us continuing to add new socks each month, highlighting new artist. What we love most about this series are all the artists are so unique in who they are as individuals which then shines light on their perspective of the world!

What is your vision of a perfect world?

A perfect world is one where everyone truly knows how incredible they are.

 

I couldn't agree more! My absolutely favorite socks of yours are your Brave Knee High Tube socks... the aging goth in me is happy when I see all that black and pride, do you have a personal favorite?

 

Ha ha I love it. Honestly, my favorite always changes. At the moment I have two new favorites, the trailblazer crew and evol-e.I love how the stripes on the evol-e socks get smaller so when you lift up your pants slightly all the colors are shown! It’s the little things that make me happy!!

 

 

Yes! Those details are everything and you can find them everywhere in what you create, which is amazing. Here is a heavier question: how do you think having parents who are deaf, and thus being part of the desk community has shaped your path?

 

I could write a book on this question. It has everything to do with who I am and continues to shape my path. I was raised before there was technology which means I was their voice, literally. Imagine being 3 years old and interpreting for your parents at the doctors office, TV shows, grocery store, mechanic, etc. I was an adult before I was a kid. ASL was my first language so it's how I think, interpret and understand first, then English. People don't realize I am bicultural, but my world and the way I see it is deaf first, then hearing. Having Deaf parents has made me stronger, capable of fitting in most environments, being able to feel people's emotions, being sensitive to people's needs, and being aware when something isn't visibly right. My mom taught me tofight for whats right, never settle for less and always help when you can. Based on first hand experience of being mistreated due to her deafness, she didn't want the same for us. Seeing this kind of treatment towards my parents and their friends, it made me more aware and sensitive to people's actions and to tune in when some- thing isn't right. I am beyond blessed to be raised by my parents and to have an understanding of two worlds. It has made me strong and now that I am a mom. Moxi will get the best of that world too. 

 

Gosh, that's amazing! She is such a lucky kid to be able to have both of those cultures, I see more and more of the children around me wanting to learn ASL and hope that in the future that culture will be one that will be widely shared. Ok, What’s the best advice you’ve in what you create, which is amazing. ever received?

 

Stop and listen. Trust your instincts.

 

And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?

Ahahahahah I would grab Moxie and take some selfies with it. No wait, scratch that. I would put some Pride Socks on it, then grab Moxie and take some selfies!

Can't forget the socks! Those would be the best selfies for sure. Thank you Rachel. Can't wait to see all the future projects!

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Photographed by @Creativesoulphoto

Model @jamiasayeed

LITTLE GUNTANK: MEET LOTTIE

July 12, 2021

Hello there Lottie! You and I have been working on a collaboration this past year, and while it’s not quite ready to be unveiled, I wanted to talk to you during Pride month and tell our readers about you!

 

You are absolutely amazing, not only designing the most stunning clothes, but acting in many voice overs, illustrating the most amazing book that Riot of @tiny.bangs wrote, designing for @sarsparilly, and I know I’m not even scratching the surface. Tell us a little bit about yourself first please.

 

I’m not worthy!! Haha, honestly I feel like my resume looks impressive but I’m a bit of a mess (in a good way!) I usually describe myself as a Labrador, I have a hard time sitting still and focusing so I’m always working on something or thinking of new projects. I just like making people happy and trying to add something good to the world even if it’s just a dorky outfit or a Bobby Hill impression, haha!

A lot of people know you for your epic Disney makes. What attracted you to the world of Disney?

 

I think for a long time Disney was just something simple for me to focus on when everything in my life was a little hectic and unhappy. It was a good starting point to unleash some of my creativity because it was familiar, it was how I spent my childhood. Now a days I’m not much of a Disney per- son; I just enjoy making people happy and seeing strangers go “oh wait I know that character!”, making my clients feel special in their own skin I suppose. Disney means a lot to a lot of people, so it’s nice to witness that connection.

You came out as non binary this last year, but more importantly you came out as Rat Boy. I love that! Tell me more about what those words mean to you if you don’t mind.

 

Haha! The ratboy closet was probably the easiest closet I came out of. Non-binary to me is just an explanation for feelings I’ve always had. I just assumed because I wasn’t a boy, I had to be a girl - even if the word didn’t fit right. It’s like wearing the wrong size shoe your entire life. It’s uncomfortable but manageable. Then suddenly I found the words and realized not only did it make sense but I wasn’t alone! I love femme things, I have a deep appreciation for all things woman/feminism, but I’m not a direct part of that culture and that’s totally okay, because I don’t have to be. I’m a lot happier in my “correct shoe size” haha.

 

Ratboy is just a cute nickname I’ve found to describe who I am as a per- son. I’m weird, I’m very much in touch with my inner child, I’m playful and don’t take things too seriously. It’s just a nice way to remind myself (and others) to loosen up and be silly.

Your Halloween collaborations with @sarawrawrawr just about killed me! I love it so so much. What other collabs can we look forward to in the future?

 

Thank you! She’s actually my sister so it runs in the family! The several collections I’m doing with Sarsparilly is going to have some VERY familiar characters appearing so I can’t wait for the reveals later this year. As for my personal brand - did somebody say vintage toys? cough bittersqueaks cough.

 

Did you just say @bittersqueaks? And that your sister is Sarah Harper? I'm just going to pretend I didn't hear anything, but that is extremely exciting! What other artists and designers inspire you?

 

I’m into authenticity really. My ab-solute favorite musician is Hayley Kiyoko. There’s a lot of vulnerability in her work which makes it so much more relatable, especially in love. It’s genuine and tells a side we as queer people don’t get to see often, but feel deeply. Cut to me listening to her songs on my bedroom floor and crying in lesbian.

 

I have a big admiration for “in your face” drag queens too, like Yvie Oddly, Monet X Change, Vanjie and Symone - especially now that trans and non gender conforming drag queens such as Gottmik, Bimini and Gigi Goode are becoming more accepted. You can see a lot of hints to drag in the eccentricity of my costumes and some of my pop culture references

Tell me about Baby and Chuletas, the new characters that you are adding to your clothing recently. I absolutely adore them and feel like they feed a special place in my soul. What do they represent to you? (P.S.: I need a Chuletas jacket and will be ordering one very soon if you plan on making more!)

 

Well, my experience with love was so up and down I decided to turn it into my version of the classic “shoulder angel and devil” from cartoons. Baby is a love bunny, and my expression for all things love and romance, as I’m a pretty die hard romantic. However a big part of me hides that behind this kind of sarcastic “bite me” attitude which is where Chuletas the demon lamb comes in. (His name means Chops in Spanish, a nice morbid name for a little sheep haha) I think love can be such an innocent but exciting thing, but it can also be scary, fiery and angry, so why not turn those feelings into something I can create/laugh at/adore?of devils, which I’m aware sounds so bad! Haha but I grew up in the church and was basically told from day one I was evil not because of my actions, but because of who I loved. It used to hurt a lot, I questioned if I was truly a bad person, rotten inside. Now I kind of on it, like yes I am a demon - but I'm not the damn nicest, gay demon you'll ever meet!

 

Speaking of clothing... Baby and Chuletas might be on more jackets and things sooner than you think... stay tuned!

 

What is your vision of a perfect world?

 

I don’t believe in perfect anything. If I could change something though, I guess I’d like to just help more and have more help available to those who need it. Stuff like mental health care should be a guarantee for any human who needs it. It’s like going to the dentist, you check your teeth so you should check your mind. I’d also like to formally adopt all LGBTQIA+ children who feel unaccepted - I’m your RatDad now. 

 

Oh also - they need to cancel like 50% of the home renovation shows on tv. That actually WOULD be perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haha, I can't say that I disagree on that one! I love when you find vintage fabric and make adorable dresses or shirts Of course you would! out of them, do you find that nostalgia has a big spot in your design work?

Oh absolutely. I think now more than, ever people need that comfort. A reminder that sometimes things just exist for the sake of being good and making you happy. Not everything needs to have stress or guilt attached. Nostalgia is almost a sugar high and I appreciate that my cute outfits can make people remember something that calms them down or gives them a moment of laughter.


Also there’s something unparalleled about the 80s and 90s age of children’s entertainment - don’t you think? Who doesn’t miss seeing cute toons maim each other on TV and then trying to sell you a lunchbox?

Yes! I miss all my classics! I've tried. watching them with my daughter, but she just rolls her eyes at me.

Ok, on a more serious note, What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

 

Once when I was a sad and hurting teenager, someone I admired very much wrote me a note that said “Be Brilliant. Be Brave”. I still have it and even got it tattooed on me a year ago. It’s solid words but also a good reminder that what you say (even something simple) can stick with people for years to come. 

Oh I love that! What a wonderful phrase to live by! And last, but not least, what would you do if you came home and found a penguin hanging out in your refrigerator?

 

Apologize for not knocking first.

Thank you again Lottie, can't wait to share our design projects with everyone.

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Photographed by @vnrphoto

Model @yaniesworld_