PRISCILLA FORD TALKS ‘DEUX FACE’, SOCIAL MEDIA & THE FUTURE 47

With her new short film Deux Face having recently been accepted into the Toronto Film Festival which takes place in September, there’s no denying that 2017’s been and continues to be a great year for actress, model and blogger Priscilla Ford. A huge advocate of social media and currently working on a few of her own scripts, Ford spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about standing out in her fields, her famous family connection and embracing the future.

TITL: You’re an actress, model and fashion blogger. Which of your career paths came first?

Priscilla Ford: My mother tried to get me involved in children’s modeling, but growing up I was more interested in watching plays like the Nutcracker and watching actors perform. I started blogging – or sharing my life with other’s online – in middle school.

TITL: Is there one you favour over another or are you just grateful to be able to do all the things you love?

PF: I am very grateful for everything I’m doing, especially for the life lesson’s that have been given to me in this the last year. I’ve learned everything happens on a steady gradient, it may not look like much to some, but life is a process, the building blocks for every career need to be in place before you can excel. If you spoke to me at 13 I would have said, “I’m failing, I want it all now!” I like the person I am growing into.

TITL: Blogging is a particularly difficult field to succeed in – how do you make your work stand out against your many competitors? Whose blogging style/writing do you admire?

PF: I can’t pin it down to just one. I recently went to a conference held by Nylon Magazine and Simply. I would say that my blogging much like life, is a personal journey-and in everyone’s personal journey there are those that we help and those that help us. I personally have taken away so much knowledge from my experience there that I’m re-aligning and re-imagining everything. I admire tons of bloggers and online writers; it just depends on what kind of support I am looking for.

TITL: How did you get into modelling?

PF: From my mother’s attempts of getting me started in children’s modeling, I guess as I got older I started to fall in love with it.

TITL: You’ve modelled for several indie clothing labels including Civil Regime. What is it about indie labels you’re so drawn to and is there any major fashion house you’d like to work for/with?

PF: Ah yes, indie is always good; it’s always authentic. Anyone will wear Marc Jacobs, it’s amazing! However, street-style has to be that, what you wear on your day to day in streets of your home city or your new stomping grounds.

TITL: A lot of models get a lot of flak for appearing too skinny or promoting products and clothes that aren’t particularly targeted at every-day people. Have you ever found yourself facing criticism for the work you do?

PF: I’m very petite, from all angles. I can imagine it’s different for a girl who is 5’10 and 108 lbs –  it’s different than what people are used to seeing. To put it in lamented terms, no, no one has ever thrown shade at my body. I dig what I have going on, and I hope that others can like themselves enough to dig what they’ve got too.

TITL: What can you tell me about your latest film, the avant-garde short Deux Face?

PF: It was so cool. The clothes were awesome and that time in my moment in my life was a very special time.

TITL: What’s next for you in terms of acting? 

PF: Auditioning, auditioning, and of course creating something new. I’ve been writing a lot during 2017.

TITL: Which actors/actresses would you most like to work with and why?

PF: Oh man, so, so many people, jeez…but more importantly you can do a film with Marilyn Monroe but if the script, the director and producers are not in alignment it’s never going to be what it ought to be. I like to take it day by day.

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

PF: I am writing a few scripts, I have a writing partner, and then there are solo projects that I have been hammering out.

TITL: How much attention do you get because of your family connections, notably being the cousin of Camila Alves/Matthew McConaughey?

PF: Some people who find out just think it’s cool, others have an agenda; it’s all a part of this revolving door city. Some people relate to me and we get closer because of the similar experiences…it always depends on the person.

TITL: To what extent would you say the entertainment and media industries of which you’re a part of have changed over the years and how big of a part do you think social media has played? Are you a keen social media user or do you prefer to interact more personally with people?

PF: It’s so important to be on social media. Period. If you have been an indie actor your whole life, and then a top 10 agency signs you because you’re going to be in a franchise film, you have to think well-what if my popularity dies with the franchise? That shiny agency will drop you. How do you prevent that? Be awesome to the people that go and buy the tickets to see you and all of the other cool actors. Interact, be human even if it is on the internet. Human interaction is of course ideal, but I love being creative and reaching out to people that I might not get to meet in my own neighborhood. It’s so rad!

TITL: Finally, then, are there any career goals you’ve yet to achieve and what would you have to do in order to feel completely fulfilled?

PF: I’m not even getting started yet, I’m so excited and happy for the future. I love my path and understand it. I wasn’t a Disney Channel star at 12 years old, there was a different plan for me. I’m going to embrace that.

For more information and to keep up-to-date with Priscilla Ford, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Erin Marie Miller.

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EMILY BECKER TELLS ALL ABOUT HER POP PUNK COLORING BOOKS 38

Music has always been a source of inspiration for millions around the world and for Emily Becker, having discovered alternative music as a teenager, it has helped inspire her to create the Pop Punk Coloring Book, now into its second volume, featuring some of her favourite bands and artists including Blink 182 and All Time Low. ThisIsTheLatest chatted with Emily to find out more about her artistic background, her thoughts on mindfulness and plans for volume 3.

TITL: Please introduce yourself.

Emily Becker: Hi, my name is Emily Becker and I’m the creator and illustrator of the Pop Punk Coloring Book, volumes 1 and 2.

TITL: Where did your idea for BeckerBelieveIt Media come from? 

EB: I think in high school I really wanted to have my own business cards, so I kept creating new companies and printing out business cards at school; fortunately for me, my teachers were incredibly lenient when it came to my business schemes! After realizing how many different areas I wanted to encompass in my life, art, photography, writing, and eventually video, I decided to put them all under one umbrella as BeckerBelieveIt Media.

TITL: You’ve clearly got a passion for art, and studied fine art at NYU, but what ultimately made you decide to use your talents to create these books?

EB: I was honestly a little dissatisfied with the limits of fine arts – I had gotten really into comic books and illustration and was told several times that those weren’t technically “fine arts,” I actually did a portrait of Frank Iero as a final project in an oil painting class just as an act of sheer frustration. I wanted to take the music-related doodles that were never able to make it out of my sketchbook and turn them into something I could share. And my artistic abilities actually improved as I did this – there’s a clear difference in my skill level between the first and second book.

TITL: It has been argued that art, in its many forms, is something that more of the older generations are interested in. To what extent, if any, do you believe that to be true and how would you say artists such as yourself are working at changing such perceptions?

EB: I think that as soon as something can be consumed by the masses, there’s a sense of elitism that begins to take hold of the community. Graphic design, cartoons, these are still artforms, but since they can now be easily accessed by anyone, it’s easy to dismiss it as not being highbrow enough to count as “art.” I think maybe this generation doesn’t realize how much art we actually consume on a daily basis just by going about our day-to-day lives, and this is where we get the idea that “art,” at least in its traditional connotation, isn’t as important as it once was.

TITL: Colouring is a major staple of mindfulness techniques these days. Was that something you had in mind during the creative process or something that just sprung up at the same time?

EB: I hate admitting this, but I am terrible with mindfulness practices. I have an incredibly short attention span so things like meditation and those really gorgeous mandala coloring books aren’t much on my radar. The Pop Punk Coloring Book was more of a way for me to produce something that others could enjoy with the skill set that I already had; I tend to think of it as fun first and psychologically beneficial maybe third or fourth.

TITL: What is it about the alternative music scene that led you to put bands who are a part of it very much at the forefront of what you do? Did you grow up listening to such bands and artists?

EB: I started listening to alternative music when I was around 16 – up until then I hadn’t really paid attention to music because I was a “visual arts kids”. I saw a My Chemical Romance video on MTV one day, and the graphic power and art direction had me so captivated that I fell down a hole of their videos, which turned into an obsession with the songs they were made to represent.

TITL: Your colouring books have been praised by both Rock Sound and Alternative Press, but who/which outlet would you most love to see compliment your work? Have any of the bands and artists you’ve featured said anything about it?

EB: I think Alt Press really was the ultimate for me, because that was the magazine that introduced me to so many of the bands that are featured in the books. Buzzfeed UK mentioned the first book in a listicle about two years ago and I literally walked out of a drawing class so I could call my mother. As far as bands go, Patent Pending have taken notice of the book, and they’re super supportive; Joe’s wife Dana was one of the first people to order a copy of the second book.

TITL: The second edition features the likes of Blink 182, All Time Low and Simple Plan among others. Have you already started thinking about who you might include in a third edition?

EB: I’m actually wondering if I’ll have to rename the book for the next volume! Volume Two included a lot of bands that aren’t traditionally considered pop punk, and I’d like to include some heavier bands like Of Mice & Men and Bring Me The Horizon.

TITL: Finally then, what advice would you give to anyone looking to follow a creative path such as yours? Is there anything you were once told that you still reflect on today?

EB: My high school history teacher once told me that “good enough” is more important than perfect. I look back on some of my old art, whether the coloring book or even portfolio submissions from when I applied to art school, and I think, “what was I doing, how did I think that was good?” But they weren’t meant to be perfect pieces of art, they were just supposed to be good enough to make people happy and teach me how to do better next time. I think if I had been striving for objective perfection the first book wouldn’t even be out yet – I’d rather create multiple works that people can enjoy over the span of my career than have one perfect work of art when I retire.

You can find out more about Emily and BeckerBelieveIt Media by visiting her website, liking her page on Facebook or following her on Twitter. The Pop Punk Coloring Book Volume 2 is available now in both physical and digital editions.

STARBENDERS TALK ‘HEAVY PETTING’, SOCIAL MEDIA & CAREER GOALS 28

With support from the likes of Guitar Player Magazine who call their music “synth-heavy with lead singer’s Kimi Shelter’s witchy voice dripping with 80’s glam”, Atlanta-based quartet StarBenders have had a rather good year, thanks in large part to the release of their album Heavy Petting. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Kimi to find out more about the background to the band, their dream show line-up and their ultimate career ambition.

TITL: How do the four of you know each other/how did you come together?

Kimi Shelter: Katie and I met when we were in middle school at a camp that was somewhere between Alabama and Georgia. We didn’t get an opportunity to play music together until StarBenders, but stayed on each other’s radar until the conception of the band. Aaron and I have played in other bands together and knew one another from the local scene. We caught Kriss playing at a house party in the middle of nowhere one night and the rest is history.

TITL: What would you say each of you brings to the band?

KS: Musically, we’re pretty traditional when it comes to being a 4 piece rock band. We rely on one another’s strengths and weaknesses intuitively. I build the skeleton of the song and the band puts on the meat. Everyone plays and writes their parts, respective to their instrument. We don’t do the ‘musical chairs’ thing where everyone switches instruments, we just play.

All of us sit more on the ‘shy’ end of the spectrum personality wise, with myself being the most outgoing. Aaron is really amazing with talking to other people and getting them excited and interested in things. Kriss is very caring, he likes to make sure everyone is taken care of. Katie is really funny and has a goofy side to her that you get to see if you’re lucky.

TITL: Can you recall the moment/time when you knew you wanted to make music a career?

KS: I think we all knew from inception.

TITL: Which band or artist would you say most similar to?

KS: We have a pretty healthy mix of influences ranging from Blondie to Fleetwood Mac to The Rolling Stones…the list goes on and on and on.

TITL: How would you sum up your album Heavy Petting? Could you each pick your favourite track from it?

KS: The album was a really exciting milestone for the band, seeing as how it was our first full length. We really got to shine and push the boundaries of what “rock” music is. My favourite track is “Blood.”

Aaron – “Powder.”

Katie – “Public Transit.”

Kriss – “U Like Me Now?”

TITL: Who or what are you most influenced/inspired by when it comes to song-writing?

KS: Life in general, love is my moving emotion.

TITL: Which four songs (or one, if you happen to all agree!) would you say are the greatest ever written and why?

KS: How about we all pick one? Mine would be “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys.

Kriss: The Beatles – “Across the Universe.”

Katie: The Band – “Atlantic City.”

Aaron: Black Sabbath – “Symptom of the Universe.”

TITL: If you could, which venue, anywhere in the world, would you most like to play?

KS: It would be a dream come true to play at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

TITL: Please put together your dream show-line up for me. It can feature four bands or artists, who can be living or dead.

KS: That’s a doozy, but off the top of my head… The Beatles, David Bowie, Elvis and The Rolling Stones

TITL: How do you feel about social media? Do you believe it’s had an entirely positive impact on bands and artists/the industry or like most things, do you believe it to have a darker side?

KS: Social media can be frustrating at times because you can feel like you’re shouting into the wind. But, it’s really incredible that you have the ability to reach people from all over the world. Just last week a fan came all the way from Belgium to see us play in Charlotte, NC. It’s pretty incredible.

TITL: Finally then, which band’s career would you most like to emulate and what would you like your legacy to be?

KS: I mean, The Rolling Stones have had an incredible career. A run like the one they’ve had certainly wouldn’t be too shabby!

For more information on StarBenders, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Their album Heavy Petting is available now. Header photo credit: Ian Vegas-Giovanni Benboe.