Working with TILTED has been such a wonderful experience. The shoot was not only fun but much more artistic and challenging than may other shoots I am a part of. In addition, the interview format and the questions posed made me pause and think about my point of view and my responsibility to use my voice for something meaningful. This opportunity has been a gift. Thank you to all involved.
I am of the mind that creativity is the drive of humanity to better itself and overcome the challenges of the human condition. In an obvious sense, I deal in creativity every day for a living. One of my favorite aspects of acting is just that – the creativity involved in inventing a person to exist in a world and fill out between the lines of the why behind the what that happens in the plot. However, I don’t think creativity is limited to artists. Architects, politicians, business people, mathematicians, doctors all use creativity on a day to day basis to innovate around any problems they encounter and find new solutions. That is how we grow as individuals and ultimately as a species by questioning the world we are given and daring to think outside the proverbial box.
Having moved away from where I grew up at a young age, friendship has become precious to me. I am fortunate enough to have friends from childhood who have accepted the unpredictability of my life and taken it in stride. We know we are there for each other, even if we aren’t face to face. I have been lucky too to have met some incredible folks along the way as well that have taught me what friendship can be in adulthood. Friends are the ones you call when something happens in your life – big or small. They are the ones you call when you have a success at work and want to celebrate, or when you’ve gone through a breakup and just need a shoulder to cry on. They are the ones you stay up with all night watching animal videos or re-watching your favorite rom-com for the hundredth time. They are the ones you have adventures with – who give you the courage you to take risks that will help you grow – and the ones who will be there to catch you when you stumble.
Traveling as much as I do for work, the time where I get to see my biological family can be rare. As such, it has taught be to really appreciate those small simple moments as well as the important grandiose ones when I do get to see them. I cherish those quiet mornings the day after Christmas when I stumble in the kitchen to find my grandfather reading the newspaper and within 20 minutes, the whole family is there nibbling leftovers and sipping coffee around the kitchen table. Something else life has taught me is that your true family is not always the one you were born with. There are a few very special people in my life who have become family. There is a connection you find, form, or build with certain individuals that creates an undeniable understanding and love. If that’s not family, I don’t know what is.
One of the greatest aspects I see in young people today is their willingness to express their individuality. More and more, I see people able and eager to show the world their true selves. The freedom of information and communication allows people to share their stories and realize they are not alone. They find kindred spirits and communities even if they are on different parts of the globe. Sexuality does not have to fit into a box or a category. We are beings that exist in not only a physical plane but also an emotional and a spiritual one. As such, each of us is unique in every way. Sexuality isn’t binary, it’s undefinable, intangible, fluid if you will. The more conversations on this topic that exist, the more people are feeling free to just exist. To me, that’s the most beautiful and healing thing this world needs.
Faith has always been a huge part of my life. For me, it has been a grounding force, a guiding center, and a sense of family. I always went to church with my mom and grandmother so it was very much linked to home and family for me. Having traveled so much and been away from my family, finding a church wherever I am has been a way for me to stay connected to them and to my roots. Plus I really do enjoy exploring the different architecture… However, I am not one to push my habits or beliefs onto anyone. I am of the mind that faith should whatever each individual needs it to be to get through the day. Life can be hard and it helps to know there’s a higher power, an energy, a force out there that is overseeing it all and maybe even has a plan in the grand scheme. I am a firm believer in that all things happen as they should. I have faith and hope that it will all work out in the end however it is meant to. That doesn’t mean it always turns out how you expect and you may not understand the reasons, but it will come to a resolution. Overall, I have the utmost respect for faith in all its forms – it has been such a positive force in my life, I can only hope the same for others.
This is a topic about which I’m extremely passionate. I think we all have had this on the forefront of our minds given the Times Up and Me Too movements over the last year. Being a women in the entertainment industry comes with a lot of assumptions when it comes to gender equality. I am determined to stand firm for equality for all genders and identities. I was raised in a family that didn’t define people by their gender roles. All the women in my family were not only devoted to their families, but passionate and successful in their careers. For me, it was never a choice between the two, but always an open possibility to be abs do whatever I choose. I am so thrilled that these conversations are happening and people are beginning to question assumed gender roles in all aspects of life. However, I do have a problem with situations in which “equality” is provided in the form of special consideration. I don’t want to be treated any differently – for better or for worse – because I am a woman. I find this kind of behavior detrimental and a step away from equality. I would rather be treated like a man than given a “woman’s consideration.” People are people regardless of gender, orientation, or identity, and should be treated as such. To me, that is true equality.
Admittedly, this is one topic I am not as well versed in. From my understanding of topics such as this, I feel as though people should be allowed to be and express what they feel to be their true selves as long as it doesn’t harm or disrespect others in any way. In today’s modern culture, many of us are a melting pot of different races and people that have crossed paths over the centuries (I HIGHLY recommend a genetic ancestry test – SO fascinating). What I wish people would realize in the middle of these myriad of conflicts and controversies is that ultimately we are all just trying to live lives that are happy and fulfilling to us and the people we love. The more we understand and allow people to live life, the more unified we will be as a species.
With social media, I am a firm believer that you glean from it what you put into it – in every respect. With Shadowhunters I have had the fortunate position of learning a great deal about social media. I have seen the beautiful side of it in the SH fandom. I have seen best friendships formed across the globe, individuals gain courage to be themselves, artists begin careers, and a community start a movement all in the name of a story and a world that is ultimately about love and unity. In this crazy messed up world we are in right now, that’s a very special thing. I have also seen the negative sides of social media that we are all aware of and have experienced from time to time. However, I have faith that if we are all cognizant of what we say and do on the internet, we can create and promote the kind of ideal world we want to live in.
More and more as technology connects the world, we are becoming less of a nation based society and more of a global community in which the actions of one group affect everyone internationally as we all share this planet. With the rapid spread of information today, we can see these repercussions more readily. As such, it allows us the opportunity to affect change in our world before issues compound beyond control. Climate change is one of those issues. This planet is our ecosystem, there are so many little things we can do every day to have a positive impact on the world. Even if they seem inconsequential in the moment, over time, if everyone took an extra moment to find a recycling bin, to use fewer paper products, to plant a tree or give something back to our environment, think about what a difference it could make.
OnIMPORTANCE OF POLITICS
Now more than ever, politics is of utmost importance. While it seems far away and far removed from our daily lives at times, we have seen the devastating effects of passivity in politics. As a generation, it is our time to choose the world we want to live in, to affect the changes in our world we wish to see. All of that stems from politics and the officials that are given the responsibility of overseeing the governing bodies of our society. Many of us live in democratic nations, as such, it is not only our right but our responsibility and our duty to utilize choice that we have as a tool to accomplish this goal. To take it further, there are still many people in this world who do not have the same freedom of choice. We cannot and must not take this for granted. We cannot and must not let others write history as it happens around us. We cannot and must not sit idly by while people with prejudice and narrow minds control our world to their own advantage. We must stand together as a generation that values equality, opportunity, and freedom to create a world that reflects our beliefs.
Technology has progressed so rapidly in the last few decades. It seems that the pace at which things advance is only increasing as the years go by. There are so many more amazing things possible every year due to the brilliant minds innovating to improve our daily lives in science, medicine, communication, photography, and a myriad of other fields. However, I constantly try to remind myself to not get too caught up in the digital world and reconnect to the physical one. Life, people, nature are so beautiful. We cannot completely abandon them for all things electronic and technological. In my mind, if we do that we cease to be human. We lose that part of ourselves that is connected to the earth and the elements that created us. My advice? Enjoy technology, have fun, play with all the gadgets and gizmos. BUT. Take the time to put down the devices. Look up from your phone and into the eyes of the people around you. Take out your headphones and go for a walk – listen to the sounds of nature. Reconnect with reality. The benefits will be beyond your imagination.
OnIMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL STYLE
I think personal style is of utmost importance. Not that you have to be “on trend” or “stylish” by any defined terms, but simply that it is an opportunity to express yourself and decide how you present yourself to the world. Clothing and fashion is a way to show the world who you are on the inside without saying a word. The possibilities are endless and the freedom is limitless. Think about the icons of fashion, they didn’t try to conform to anyone else’s image of them – they defined their personality, their place in the world, their point of view simply with the clothes they wore. So go for it! Be your own fashion icon.
OnWORLD WITHOUT FRONTIERS
For me, this goes back to what I was discussing in the ethnic fluidity section. Humans have survived so long as a species because we continue to evolve. At one time, we developed a need to separate ourselves into small communities and separate nations due to the scarcity of resources. Now however, the world is changing once again. Because technology has developed to the point where transportation and communication are much easier and more efficient, the need for these strictly separate groups is waning. I am of the mind that it is not only natural but essential for us as a people to break down these superficial barriers and think of ourselves as a community on a global scale. Compassion, love, and unity must be our focus and our driving force if we hope to continue progressing as a society.
Having grown up in middle America, when I moved to New York City at 14, I was slapped in the face with a myriad of cultural diversity that I never even knew existed. I was enthralled, fascinated, and captivated by the number of languages, cultures, and people surrounding me at all times everywhere I went. As I travelled internationally, it only continued to open my eyes to the infinite possibilities and diversity that is human nature. It taught me very early on that it is so important to see and experience ways of life that differ from your own in order to broaden your horizons and allow yourself to see another perspective. I cannot stress enough the value of putting yourself in another persons shoes – especially in an ever expanding world that is becoming an ever more connected community.
Photography Arthur Galvao @artgphoto
Creative Direction Stephane Marquet @alekandsteph
Styling Lo VonRumpf @stylevr
Makeup Andre Sarmiento @andremakeup
Hair Matt Fugate @mattshair for Exclusive Artists using Serge Normant Dream Big.
Makeup Andre Sarmiento @andremakeup
Conversation by Aleksandar Tomovic @alekandsteph
Production @bellomediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la
Assistants Tiffany Yehuda @tiffanyehuda Alexandra Bonnet @bonnetalex18