BROOKE LEWIS UNVEILS HER ‘PROFESS YOUR HOT MESS’ MAKE UP LINE WITH TASH COSMETICS 127

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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JESSICA MORRIS TALKS ‘LADIES OF THE LAKE’ & BEING HERSELF 54

Best known for her role as Jennifer Rappaport in One Life to Live, Jessica Morris had a very busy but successful 2017 and following the announcement that her most recent show, Ladies of The Lake, has now renewed for a second season, fans will be seeing a lot more of Jessica in the coming months. ThisIsTheLatest chatted with Jessica to find out more about her childhood ambitions, her thoughts on social media and her love of all things ‘cheese’.

TITL: At what age did you first realise you wanted to be an actress? Has that always been your ultimate ambition or did you have other career dreams going up?

Jessica Morris: I made the definite decision to become an actress at around age 16. Before that, I wanted to be a dancer and had taken classes since I was a young child. And I was toying around with becoming a psychologist. Studying human behavior is incredibly interesting to me and luckily that activity still exists in my acting life.

TITL: When it came to pursuing your career, which actors/actresses did you admire and was there one film or TV series that ultimately made you think ‘Yeah, that’s what I want to do?’

JM: It wasn’t one actress or film that made me want to become an actress myself. I just always loved getting swept up in a story and imaginary world. The actors always looked so glamorous and free and I yearned to have an outlet like that where I could express all of the feelings that I had inside.

TITL: You’re perhaps best known for your role of Jennifer Rappaport in One Life to Live. Just how much did that role and the show change/impact your career trajectory?

JM: Well, it got my career started and I’m so grateful for that. I also learned so much about myself as a person and an actor. It helped to build my confidence.

TITL: 2017 was a particularly busy year for you, with December in particular bringing you to much wider attention thanks to two TV movies, A Christmas Cruise and The Wrong Man airing on December 16th and 29th respectively. Were you ever at all apprehensive about taking on ‘Christmas’ movie related roles given that they occasionally get a bad, or ‘cheesy’ tagline of sorts? What drew you to the roles and what was the viewer response like?

JM: I wasn’t hesitant at all. I love cheese! Who doesn’t? Cheddar, Brie, Christmas movies, bring it on! It got a great response and I think that sometimes people appreciate a light-hearted, easy-to-watch movie like that, that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

TITL: How did you get involved in your current project, Ladies Of The Lake? What was it about the show and the character you now play, Crystal Amhurst, that drew you in? 

JM: I was offered the part of Crystal on Ladies of the Lake and I thought the character was so entertaining and that she had many layers. I was also drawn to the fact that the female characters became very empowered at the end, even if it was in a criminal way.

TITL: How excited/relieved are you now that the show has been renewed for a second season?

JM: I’m very excited to go into production on Ladies of the Lake season 2. It is going to be sexier, edgier and much more action-packed.

TITL: Of all the industry professionals/fellow actors and actresses you’ve worked with over the years, who do you feel you most clicked with and do you have any funny moments or stories from sets you could share?

JM: When you film a movie, or shoot a TV show, you become so close to the other actors and the crew. You see them every day for many hours and share emotionally intimate moments with them. Also, the adrenaline is pumping and moods are elevated because most people there are doing what they are most passionate about. So, after every production I feel like I’ve met my new soul mate or new best friend. But after the high wears off, you are happy to just stay in touch with some of them. Best case scenario, they actually do remain one of your best friends. Like Melissa Archer, who I worked on One Life to Live with, or some of my other best friends, Robin Sydney and Roopashree Jeevaji who I also met on set.

TITL: Are there any other projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?

JM: I’m just finishing up my second draft of a script that I will also star in.

TITL: How do you feel about social media, and do you pay much attention to what users post, both positive and negative, on sites like Twitter?

JM: I think that social media is a great tool for actors. Everyone has a right to their opinions but I don’t think it’s cool for people to post negative comments. I just don’t understand the mentality behind wanting to make someone else feel bad. It’s totally different if they are talking about the character. But if it becomes personal, I think it’s disrespectful and unnecessary.

TITL: What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about you/your work?

JM: I’ve luckily gotten a lot of wonderful feedback from fans on social media. It’s amazing when they tag certain shows or networks, basically pushing ideas to try and help move your career forward. It’s way above and beyond and makes me feel so supported to have people that I’ve never even met believe in my dreams like that. It means so much.

TITL: What advice would you give to anyone looking to follow in your footsteps? What three things/skills would you say they need to master or acquire? 

JM: I would say that they need to learn how to be vulnerable and open in front of the camera, but hard as a rock off camera. It’s a strange dichotomy. But finding that balance is key to surviving the industry.

TITL: If you were to win an Oscar and had only thirty seconds to deliver your thank you speech, what would you say and who would you dedicate the award to? 

JM: I would thank the people who have had faith in me, even in times when I have lost it in myself. My mom, my manager, my friends who have encouraged me. There is a long list!

TITL: Finally then, whose career would you most like to emulate and what would you most like to be remembered for in terms of your work and career?

JM: I don’t want to emulate anyone. I want to be me. I want to be known for that. For showing a part of myself that hopefully makes people feel something when they watch me.

For more information on Jessica Morris, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Tim Schaeffer.

RISING R&B STAR JANICE TALKS HER NEW SINGLE “QUEEN” & UPCOMING ALBUM 48

With millions of streams to her name already, and with a sound reminiscent of Jessie Ware and Lianne La Havas, R ‘n’ B newcomer Janice- pronounced Jah-nees – already has a big year ahead with the release of her debut album and a Scandinavian tour in place for February and March. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to chat dream shows and the advice she’d give to aspiring artists.

TITL: Please sum yourself up in 3 words for me.

Janice: Warm, strong, brave.

TITL: Have you always wanted to be an artist or did you have other aspirations growing up?

J: Yes. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to sing but the confidence to actually do it came much later and also and grew into becoming an artist who creates music.

TITL: If you had to say you sounded similar to another band or artist, which would it be?

J: That’s a hard one. Sabina Ddumba and I have the same character in our voices I would say but totally different sounds.

TITL: Tell me about your latest track “Queen.” Is there a story behind it? 

J: It’s about that person that makes you wanna be the best version of yourself and also about never settling for less than a partner that makes you feel like you can do anything.

TITL: The song is taken from your upcoming album Fallin’ Up. Is there a story behind the title and how did you find the writing/creative and recording process? 

J: It was harder to come up with the title than to actually write the album! But yeah, I was listening to all the tracks and I heard it so clear. It’s all stories about a place and a state I was in and the place I’ve developed and where I’ve landed now. I felt that I was falling down time after time but I ain’t anymore – I’m Fallin Up! The creative process was long, fun, amazing and exhausting. HYENA and I experimented a lot with sounds and different genres and we found Javeon McCarthy, an amazing artist, songwriter and now friend who we connected with at first sight. We’ve written the majority of the album together. I can’t wait for the world to hear it!

TITL: Which song on the album are you most proud of and why?

J: Oh lord what a hard question! I mean, they’re all my babies and I’ve got so much love for each and every track but If I have to say one, it’ll be “Changing” I think… I wanted to write it as a part two of “Don’t Need To” and it’s a song where I’m so vulnerable yet strong which makes it special. I get to sing my heart out which I love. HYENA’s production is magical and it’s very electronic yet organic which makes it huge. And the backing vocals…SO powerful!!! I’m very proud of it.

TITL: Hailing from Sweden, how are you finding the more global reaction to your music? Is it at all daunting to hear that notably thanks to social media, individuals in far flung places are discovering your music and keeping up to date with what you’re up to? 

J: It’s been very inspiring throughout the years to see Sweden’s music export grow and to see the power of music. It’s limitless and that’s what makes it so beautiful. To see how far my music can go is a blessing. Social media is powerful in that way because basically anyone anywhere can discover you and show you and your music love and I’ve really experienced that through this process and still am.

TITL: Are you much of a social media user, and to what extent do you think it’s impacting your career and the music industry in general? 

J: Yeah I am but I try not to be for periods of time. It’s so distracting and misleading but it’s also the way we communicate and connect nowadays. I use it as a tool to extend my music and myself as an artist which basically everyone does. You can sort of get to know an artist by following them on Instagram or Twitter for example but social media is also so dangerous in that way. You can post the things you like however often you want to, or not, and in that way, it works great; but I also think it’s important to at least talk about how and why social media can be negative too. You don’t have to share everything with everyone but to show that you are human is important – especially for the ones that look up to you.

TITL: You recently participated in a Paste session in the US, performing as the headliner in their Sweden Makes Music show. What was that like and is breaking into the US market something you’re considerably focused on in terms of your plans for this year? 

J: It was like a dream. Couldn’t have ended 2017 any better. And I know it’s gonna be a challenge but I’m ready for it and I’m going to work so, so, so hard.

TITL: You’ve already been nominated for Swedish Grammy in the category of Best New Act, but do you care much about awards and accolades or are you more concerned about what your fans think? 

J: It’s insane and I’m so happy! I appreciate that they appreciate what I’m doing but that’s not what I do it for. It’s more important that my music resonates with my fans and that it brings them the kind of hope, joy and comforting only music can bring.

TITL: What are your upcoming tour and performance plans? 

J: I’m going on a Scandinavian tour in February-March.

TITL: If you could play any venue in the world, which would it be and why? What is it about that venue that means so much to you? 

J: Madison Square Garden. It’s been a dream since I was little kid and a big goal for me still. I like to visualize and I don’t know why but if I close my eyes and think of it, I see it so clearly.

TITL: Finally then, given how hard the music industry can be, especially on new and upcoming artists, what advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps? Is there anything you’ve been told recently that you wish you’d known before you started on this journey? 

J: To keep on doing what you love and don’t let anyone change who you are and what you want. Dream big, visualize, work hard and you can have it, you’ll have it!

Check out the video for Janice’s latest track “Queen” below and for more information on her and her music, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.