BROOKE LEWIS UNVEILS HER ‘PROFESS YOUR HOT MESS’ MAKE UP LINE WITH TASH COSMETICS 49

Brooke Lewis is a woman of many talents. Not only is she a highly respected life-coach, an author and an actress, having teamed up with Tasha-Guerrero-Castagna, the owner of TASH Cosmetics, she’s now added make up designer to her ever-growing and impressive resume. As, in her own words a “Glam Gal” and a long-time supporter and advocate of girl power, the ‘Profess Your Hot Mess’ make up and ‘Ms. Vampy Girl’ skin care lines aim to inspire and encourage women everywhere to feel good about themselves from the inside out. Here, Brooke chats with Thisisthelatest about the collaboration with TASH, her new book and the importance of following your heart.

TITL: Hi Brooke, nice to chat with you again! You’re already an established actress, life coach, and author, so why did you feel now is the right time to branch out again and release your own make-up line ‘Profess Your Hot Mess’ with TASH Cosmetics?

Brooke Lewis: Thanks, and it is fabulous to be here! Many thanks for the awesome compliment! You know, you will hear me coach and also read in my Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess book that we never know how life leads us from point A to point Z, but we should embrace what “feels” good to us along the way! I have always been a Glam Gal with a love for makeup and hair products. I released my book with a bit of a buzz and Tasha Guerrero-Castagna, Owner of TASH Cosmetics, contacted me to tell me she was inspired by my positive messages for women and to share with me that, at times, she too, feels like a Hot Mess.

Tash also knew that I Glam Gal-out for red carpet events and, generously, offered to send me a “celebrity” gift set from her collection. I am blessed to receive many gifts, but when I received this one, there was something that felt different. TASH had packaged it with a beautiful, gracious note and ingredients list, telling me all their products were hypoallergenic. I have suffered from severe allergies and chemical sensitivity my entire life, so this was important to me. Then, I started trying on her loose powder eye shadows and felt like a kid again, playing with my favorite colors!

I was inspired, so I emailed Tasha to thank the company, and ended up on a two-hour call to brainstorm about branding me with my own celebrity line! This is something I had dreamed of years ago with my Ms. Vampy brand. I had been “in-talks” with another company for consideration, but it did not feel right! The moment Tasha and I connected, I knew we were a Beauty Diva match! We share the same goals, work ethic, loyalty and integrity! I am blessed to have partnered with a person and company I now consider a dear friend and we are lighting up lips everywhere with both our ‘Profess Your Hot Mess’ and ‘Ms. Vampy Girl’ lines of makeup and skin care.

TITL: The line is focused on the goal to encourage women to feel good about themselves – how have you gone about that in terms of its creation?

BL: Cheers to Girl Power! It is very important to me that any brands I collaborate with or represent, stay true to my personal brand messages, as an actress, coach and author! I speak a lot about female empowerment and cultivating your inner beauty. I did my due diligence on TASH Cosmetics and Tasha and I had many lengthy conversations. I knew that she was also all about natural, healthy products and that everything was handmade. She was also about supporting hardworking women and making sure she kept her products at a price that would be affordable to most women. During our collaboration, and to coincide with my book, I created our brand message: “TASH Cosmetics and Brooke Lewis are committed to encouraging women to “feel good about themselves” and promote beauty from the inside out, as expressed in their mission statement, “Let’s stop trying to be “perfect” and get “pretty” from the inside out!”

TITL: We live in such a beauty obsessed society, where make-up brands are constantly in competition with one another to draw in the biggest sales audience. How do you plan for this line to stand out and draw in a market?

BL: I LOVE this question for many reasons! When Tasha and I collaborated on our brands, we were very aware and humble about the fact that I am not an “A-list” actress and TASH Cosmetics is not a multi-million-dollar company, so it would be a challenge to expand quickly. We are two artists who are committed to the long haul and big picture! We also know that if one of my TV series in development gets picked up, it could change our brand expansion. But, the real answer is simple and something I coach and speak about often…we choose to commit to our truth and integrity! From my professional brand, career choices and messages to TASH Cosmetics’ unique way of creating its ingredients, we keep our own course and those who are meant to resonate with us and appreciate our products, will do so! Spiritual way of looking at things, huh?

TITL: How important is it to you that the TASH cosmetics doesn’t believe in animal testing and that they keep their products natural, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic?

BL: Again, having suffered severe allergies and chemical sensitivities my entire life, I was personally grateful to learn that TASH Cosmetics were hypoallergenic. I have dealt with acne as both a teen and adult, so I was elated when Tasha also suggested we create a skin care line for teens (our ‘Ms. Vampy Girl’) that would include products for acne prone skin, as I can so relate (Yes, girls, I, too, suffer from backne, so let’s own it and stop trying to be “perfect”, as I state in my book!). Now, sadly, I am super allergic to animals, but almost all my family and friends have them and I realize they love them like children, so I think it is fantastic that TASH supports “furry friends!”

TITL: The line has been introduced to coincide with the release of your latest book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess. For those who have yet to read it, how would you sum it up in terms of the advice/help it offers? 

BL: The title sums it up perfectly… Coaching From A Professed Hot MessTips on Life, Love, Dating, Online Dating, Female Empowerment & LGBT Support from a Board Certified Life Coach, TV Dating Expert & Hot Mess. And, my favorite excerpt pulled from the pages: “Life can be crazy! So, in 2016, I chose to embrace my “crazy” and use my blessed and beautiful bedside table book to profess…”I am a HOT MESS!” Yup…I said it, rock it and OWN IT! Now, being an actress, life coach and dating expert in the public eye, some may think I am really “crazy” for sharing this with the world! I know some of you are thinking (and, judging!) that a Board Certified Life and Dating Coach, professional and working actress should not “air her dirty laundry.” Well, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be self-aware enough to admit and embrace my “flaws.” Along with my strengths, my flaws and weaknesses make me vulnerable, special and unique. I also believe that by sharing my HOT MESS quirks with you, it will support you in embracing your HOT MESS quirks, too! Let’s break the rules and stop chasing perfection. It gets tiring trying to be perfect all the time, doesn’t it?”

TITL: With so many projects on the go, how do you find time to unwind and relax?

BL: Oh, that’s easy! My dear friend, Don Julio, always helps me to relax after a stressful day! But wait, “relax”? Didn’t we retire that concept in like 2009? Ha!

TITL: Finally, what advice would you give to anyone looking to take a career path similar to yours? Is there any advice you wish you’d been told before you started out?

BL: RUN! Faster, faster! No, I’m only kidding. Honestly, there is nothing anyone could have advised about my crazy careers to prepare me for my journey because my journey is mine and everyone’s journey is different! The thing I am most proud of is that I have followed my heart and stayed true to myself and my commitments! I have had many life and career challenges and I have fought through my fears and never quit! My best bits of advice are found in all my brands:

“Be You…And, Be Fearless!” – Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach

“Let’s break the ‘rules’ and stop chasing “perfection.” It gets tiring trying to be “perfect” all the time, doesn’t it?” – Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess

“When faced with fear, dig deep inside, find your inner vamp, and Vamp It Out!” – Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk

XO Hot Mess, Brooke Lewis

To keep up to date with Brooke, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Birdie Thompson.

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DOREEN TAYLOR TALKS HER OFF-BROADWAY SHOW “AN ENCHANTED EVENING…” 42

There are very few productions in the world have quite the personal touch a certain ‘coming soon’ Off-Broadway one does. Taking place at the 777 Theatre in New York from December 8th through to the 17th, “An Enchanted Evening: A Night With Oscar Hammerstein II”, starring Billboard Top 100 Artist and theatre star Doreen Taylor and acclaimed stage performer Davis Gaines and which intertwines stunning visuals with the reworking of more than 30 Hammerstein classics, looks set to be a show not to be missed.

Having started out in theatre, Taylor is particularly excited to be heading to one of the most famous entertainment streets in the world and she spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about Oscar Hammerstein II’s legacy, her global dreams for “An Enchanted Evening” and her desire to spend more time on a theatre stage.

TITL: When you first got involved in “An Enchanted Evening…” several months ago, did you ever imagine it’d end up receiving its own run Off-Broadway? What was your reaction when you found out?

Doreen Taylor: I have to be honest, I always had big dreams of this show doing big things. When I started creating it and it began to take shape, I knew that we were sitting on something very special. I didn’t know exactly what its path would be, but I knew that the rest of the world needed to see it and experience it. We sold out the debut performance in Philadelphia and then almost immediately we were presented with the Off Broadway proposal. I have to say that is still feels a little surreal. I grew up dreaming of performing in the heart of the theater district in New York City and here I am – it’s finally happening!!

TITL: What would you say sets this “docu-musical” apart from all the other performances and shows that take place on the most famous entertainment streets in the world?

DT: I believe we are the first show to ever coin the term “docu-musical”! Without having seen it, the best way to sum it up is that we combine curated historical content – video footage, interviews, photos, etc. – into a spectacular visual presentation that is then interwoven with over 30 reimagined musical performances of Oscar Hammerstein’s greatest songs highlighting his journey to become musical theatre’s greatest lyricist of all time. Not only is the audience thoroughly entertained, but they also leave the theater learning something too! So far it seems very well received from theater-goers and critics alike.

TITL: For those who don’t know who Oscar Hammerstein II was and the impact he had on the musical theatre industry, can you explain a little about his background and how he helped shape it to be what it is today?

DT: While most people know that Oscar wrote the lyrics to some of the greatest musical theatre shows of all time- The Sound of Music, The King & I, South Pacific, Carousel, Show Boat, Oklahoma!, etc., they don’t really know much about him as a person. As I created this show, I spent hours and hours researching his life and learning about him not only as a lyricist, but also as a person. He was a truly brilliant man who lived a very modest life. He was way ahead of his time and discussed topics in his works that just weren’t talked about at the time. For example, the show “South Pacific” – for which he won the Pulitzer Prize with Joshua Logan and Richard Rodgers – tackled the difficult issue of racism. The song “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” is a masterful piece of work that is still relevant to this day. Oscar had a gift of finding “hope” in very complicated societal issues. He is really credited for the birth of modern musical theatre and every performer who has performed on the stage since has to pay homage to Oscar for paving the way.

TITL: Oscar Hammerstein’s grandson Will has provided you and the show with a lot of the material and content that will feature in the shows – how vital has his input been? Do you think the show would work the same way without it?

DT: Will Hammerstein and his family have been crucial to the creation of this show. Not only has he been a wonderful source of information about Oscar’s life, but he has also been a tremendous supporter of the show. He has personally endorsed this production and even has stood behind it helping us open doors that would have otherwise been closed to us. Having his blessing means the world to me and I couldn’t imagine doing it without his help.

TITL: The performances will benefit the Oscar Hammerstein II Museum & Theatre Education Center. Why is that place and the cause so important to you?

DT: When I first met Will Hammerstein in March of 2017 – a chance meeting by the way! – we started talking and I learned that Highland Farm in Doylestown, PA, where Oscar lived and wrote all the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, was being threatened by a four lot subdivision and on the verge of being torn down. I was appalled and knew that I had to do something to help. I came up with the idea to create this show “An Enchanted Evening” to not only help raise awareness, but to also help raise the necessary funds to save the farm and subsequently turn it into a place where Oscar can be remembered – a museum – and also a place where young artists can be mentored through theatre education. I started my career in opera and musical theatre and this is an extremely important cause to me. I want to do everything in my power to save this integral part of Broadway history! We cannot honor our future if we do not preserve our past.

TITL: How did Davis Gaines come to be involved in the upcoming performances and given that you’re both performers, yourself perhaps more established now as a Billboard Top 100 recording artist, and Davis for his on stage roles in Phantom and Sweeney Todd, what has your collaborative process been like?

DT: I performed with Davis years ago in Philadelphia, PA when I was first starting out and before I even had a professional career! I was given the chance to sing several selections from the Phantom of the Opera opposite him. To me, it was a dream come true and I never forgot what that experience meant to me. It changed my life. When I was searching for the perfect male co-star for the Off Broadway run in December, I immediately thought of him. I reached out personally and the rest is history. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to be able to perform with him again after all these years! It’s amazing how life comes around full circle sometimes. Although we have different backgrounds professionally, our voices complement each other very well and will be a refreshing treat for the audience. Davis is really an amazing singer and performer!

TITL: What would you like those who come and see the show to take away from it? Is there a particular message or idea you’re wanting to get across to an audience?

DT: Not only do I want the audience members to have a wonderful musical experience, but I also want them to leave the theater learning something that they maybe didn’t know coming in. I’ve tried very hard to marry entertainment with education and it is very nice blend. I love that I am not only entertaining all those that have loved Oscar’s music through the years, but also a whole new group of people who are maybe experiencing it for the first time. This is a show where families can come and many generations can enjoy it together. That is very rare nowadays in the theater world.

TITL: When this run of Off-Broadway shows are over, would you like to take An Enchanted Evening to other theatres around the country and have you thought about the possibility of taking it further afield, say to Europe?

DT: That is the plan. We are presently planning a US National tour in 2018. After that, the sky’s the limit. I would love to come to Europe since Oscar was just as impactful in London as he was in the US.

TITL: Finally, has knowing you’re about to star Off-Broadway given you more of the theatre bug? Is performing in this way something you’re looking to do more of in the future, especially given how it’s where you started out?

DT: I adore the theater and I definitely think I will be doing more of it in the future. Since a lot of my strength in this industry comes as a songwriter and lyricist, I can see me writing more shows as well.

For more information on An Enchanted Evening, visit hammersteinlive.com and to keep up to date with Doreen Taylor, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.

BROOKE LEWIS REFLECTS ON HER ‘OLD HOLLYWOOD’ MARRIAGE PROPOSAL 57

Whether you believe in love and marriage or not, it’s safe to say that most women dream about romantic proposals and their dream wedding. Brooke Lewis’ dreams have now come true as, in her own words: “Holding out for my true soul mate and best friend proved to be worth the wait, as I received the best night and birthday of a lifetime.”

Lewis met her now-fiancé Mark Steven almost two years ago, at which time she was working as a dating expert. The pair have since shared several incredible and romantic experiences together, with Brooke admitting: “Mark knows me better than anyone.”

A self-confessed control freak detective who cannot (or so she thought) be surprised, Lewis got the surprise of her life when, in wanting to create an extra special birthday for her, Mark pulled off her very own Old Hollywood Movie Proposal” – the kind she had always dreamed of.

Her birthday afternoon began by being taken to Glamourax salon to have her make-up done before after returning home for a while, at 4pm, she stepped out of the front door to find a 1940’s Cadillac limo waiting for the two of them. Taking a drive, with the bubbly opened, Mark made a toast and handed her the first of the nights’ surprises – orchestra seat tickets to see Hamilton.

With dinner reservations made, the limo made its way towards the Hollywood sign, a sight Lewis has always wanted to see, before detouring to drop them at the Griffith Observatory. Brooke explains what happened next:

“Mark took my hand and led me to the “James Dean” section with the greatest view of the Hollywood sign. At this point, it was 108 degrees, we were dripping in sweat. I was a total “Hot Mess” and told Mark I was going to take one photo, then I was ready to go. As I turned around, he was on one knee, PROPOSING! The rest is such a blur, as I looked up to see one of my favorite red carpet photographers, Greg Doherty, shooting photos of our engagement. Talk about feeling like a true movie Star!! Greg took us for a romantic photo shoot around the Observatory, as I cried tears of joy!”

The newly-engaged couple then moved on to dinner at one of Lewis’ old school New York places, Rao’s. Mark had reserved their favourite Tony Soprano table – Brooke’s actress dream is to play a role like Carmela Soprano – and then, in a moment that was completely unplanned, one of her favourite Frank Sinatra songs, “My Way” began to play. An evening at the theatre followed before the couple headed home for one last champagne toast.

Reflecting on her amazing night, Lewis says:

“I realize that a “hot mess” of a girl from across the country can have her Hollywood dreams come true.”

Congratulations to Brooke and Mark!

Photo credit: Greg Doherty. Make-up by Glamorax.