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‘We can be in it to win it but we should be supporting each other’
Second Act is hitting cinemas this week, undoubtedly set to become the feel-good film of the season.
The high fashion office wear and career inspiration make this a millennial must-see, but it’s the two strong female leads, coming in the form of Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens, that make it a really important watch.
‘I think it’s great for women of all ages,’ Vanessa Hudgens told Marie Claire‘s Jenny Proudfoot. ‘I think that you’ll leave the film feeling inspired to reassess and go after what you really want and know that you aren’t a victim to your life. You are in control of it. And you decide how you live it.’
This is the film’s chief takeaway – a huge dose of career inspiration and an example of why women should support other women.
Jenny Proudfoot sat down with the lovely Vanessa Hudgens to talk all things Second Act, her surreal connection with J-Lo and why we should all surround ourselves with strong women on (and off) screen.
What was your first impression when you read the script?
I mean, my biggest thing reading the script at the beginning was, ‘Oh my gosh – Jennifer Lopez is going to crush this role and I want to watch her doing it.’ I grew up with her films. I remember watching The Wedding Planner over and over again and how charming she was and I was just so excited to see what she was going to do with this script because it’s so well-written and supportive of women.
Were you nervous meeting Jennifer Lopez?
I had met her once before in passing, and I was just really excited to have the opportunity to work with her in the room, and once we did our read together we connected in a way that was kind of crazy. Every now and then I feel like you meet people that you feel a soul connection to. It’s kind of weird and unexplainable but it’s a very real thing and you just feel it. That’s what happened with us. I remember calling my boyfriend afterwards and going, ‘Babe – even if I don’t get this part, I am so grateful for the experience that I just had because me and Jennifer connected on such a deep, real level that it just felt magical’. We read the big emotional scene. There were lots of tears between the two of us which I guess is what made it so special. It was emotional for me but it was also emotional for her. And afterwards she apparently said that she wanted me. I mean, only she can vouch for that but I feel like because our connection was so real, it just felt like it was right.
Do you hope this film will push women to boost each other up in business?
Yes. I think that it’s something that is really special and important. I feel that it’s such a sensitive time right now that women are really afraid of stepping on someone else’s toes, and it just goes to show with this – it’s ok as long as there is motive to support each other. We can be in it to win it but we should be supporting each other. I have always surrounded myself with strong women – I 100% think that who you are is a reflection of the people that you surround yourself with. It’s so important to be surrounded by people that challenge you and lift you up and are always there for you. I think it’s so important – that’s why my friendship group is so small!
What’s your top career advice?
I think people should lean into their interests. I feel as though we are at a point where it’s like “Work hard, go after what you want and be focused on that”. While that’s very true, it can give you tunnel vision and you lose sight of what brings you joy. It’s most important to lean into your interests – especially as an artist. I feel that there’s no right or wrong direction. Just follow your bliss and fully lean into it.
What career advice did Jennifer give you on-set?
Jennifer says herself that she loves being a mentor. She has been in this industry for so long and she knows the ropes – she has kind of done it all. So we would talk about trajectory and image and stuff like that. I mean, she was just super open with me and was down to talk about whatever.
What was your favourite scene that you filmed together?
It is really random. There was one scene when we were walking through Central Park together around the big classic Central Park fountain while we were filming in New York. It was a walk and talk scene and at one point it literally felt like someone had turned on a massive fan and put leaves in front of it. There were just leaves blowing all around us. But no, it was just Mother Nature doing her thing. And I remember looking up at Jennifer and looking around at Central Park and all these leaves blowing and it was just one of those real life movie moments, which is so funny because it turned into a real life movie moment.
Did playing VP Zoe inspire a career change of your own?
I’m an actor because I love stepping into other people’s shoes and then I feel that I get to bring a part of that person into my own personal life. And I think that there was something very empowering about playing this character, being the VP of the beauty department and having authority and power in an office space. Granted, that was fun but I would not be down for an office job. I don’t think I would survive. I like pretending, but not in real life.
What was your favourite Second Act look?
Zoe’s wardrobe was really nice. I love the winter layering – like the big winter coats with the thick scarves – I felt like they were such statements and so chic. I do like A/W fashion and I definitely enjoy seasons for short stints of time, but being a native Californian – I just want the sun the whole time. I mean, I’ve literally just been complaining about how I want it to be summer so that I can wear a dress.
What is your pre-audition prep?
I went to an acting class and they said before you do any audition you owe it to yourself to feel your body. By doing that you lie down and breathe, take account where you’re holding tension and pick a colour and put that colour in that place of tension. You breathe into it and therefore walk into the room feeling centred and grounded and completely present, giving yourself the best shot of getting the job.
While Zoe doesn’t have a British accent, how did you nail Lady Margaret’s voice in The Princess Switch?
I had a dialect coach that I worked with religiously. I obviously listened to a couple of the royals but at the end of the day it was all about thinking how I would be as a Duchess and practicing it. I was very self conscious about it and it would get to the point where I would have to do it all the time – in real life as well – so it would start to feel less foreign to me. There would definitely be days where I would go around all day with a British accent to everyone, even my mother.
Second Act comes to UK cinemas on Friday 25 January.
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From stage to screen, Broadway will be represented on TV for the week ofJanuary 21, 2019
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OHMYGOSSIP — Vanessa Hudgens says Jennifer Lopez has become a surrogate “mamma” to her since they worked together on ‘Second Act’.
The 30-year-old actress has revealed that her and the 49-year-old star have developed a mother and daughter relationship after bonding deeply and “talking telepathically” to each other while filming their latest romantic comedy.
The ‘High School Musical’ actress told Haute Living magazine: “[Jennifer] is the queen. She’s the O.G. of rom-com; she starred in my favorite [films] growing up. When I came in to do camera tests with her, I immediately felt this insane connection. I felt like we got to a point where we could be in a scene, and we were talking telepathically, where she’d be trying to tell me something, and I’d just go with it. I’d be like, ‘Are you trying to tell me this because I feel like you are?’ And she’d say, ‘Yes, baby.’ I’d be like, ‘Oh my God, I totally read your mind!’
“But seriously, not only was it a fun, exciting, iconic experience, but I also got to connect with someone that I admire in a real and deep way.
“[Jennifer] ‘mama’-ed me. She embraced me; whenever she sees me, she gives me the biggest, warmest hug. She always checks in on me and sees how I’m doing.”
Vanessa also gushed that her curvaceous co-star gave her sound career advice that inspired her to “conquer the world” and strive for the epic success of her role models.
She said: “We’d be between sets, and we’d just talk. I’d tell her about my career and where I think I’m lacking, and she’d tell me what she thinks the right steps are to get to where I want to be. And I’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, of course, I’ll do that, and I’m going to conquer the world just like you!’ ”
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Opinion: A Diva’s Christmas Carol, the ’00s TV movie starring Vanessa Williams, is the only Charles Dickens remake we need
Author Michael Arceneaux attempted to create a definitive ranking of every A Christmas Carol remake—until he realized the VH1 movie starring Vanessa Williams is the only one that actually matters. Here’s why.
Recently, Toni Braxton starred in the Lifetime film Every Day Is Christmas. In it, Braxton played a money manager named Alexis Taylor, a workaholic who can’t stand love and is far more fixated on “the mu-mu-muny, yen and the pesos” (there’s always room for Nicki Minaj references, folks) than anything else. This is much to the detriment of her employees and everyone else around her, minus her driver who is secretly wishing to date her. Ultimately, her rude self gets visited by a few spirits from various time periods who basically scare her into being a better person. If this sounds familiar, yes, it is inspired by the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.
I love Christmas programming, and despite her blocking me on Twitter without cause, I adore Braxton (a diva and national treasure, whom I consider the Shug Avery of R&B—a compliment). I watched it, and, unfortunately, Every Day Is Christmas wasn’t it, y’all. It wasn’t even a fraction of it. Like, Toni Braxton sings like Anita Baker and wants to marry Birdman of Cash Money Records fame. In other words, there’s a lot of personality to work with here, and yet, this movie was sort of sedative in its presentation. It wasn’t horrible, but it lacked oomph.
Again, I’m a sucker for Xmas (I didn’t take the Christ out of Christmas, just Google it) and I’m into A Christmas Carol in general, so I’m always intrigued whenever anyone tries to recreate the tale. Actors will always look for an easy check, and couple that with Hollywood’s disinterest in new ideas, and this story will be redone again and again and again. Perhaps, one day, some creative will try to deliver the film equivalent of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (as in a modern Christmas classic), but until then, here we are.
In hindsight, as much as I love A Christmas Carol, I’m realizing that many have failed miserably in their attempts to create a new spin that’s worth a damn.
Much like Entertainment Weekly writer Mary Sollosi’s attempt last year, I went into this piece looking to do a ranking of the best versions—only to realize many of them were so-so or flat out sucked.
So-so spins of the classic tale would include Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which might have been all the rage when I was a kid who mostly consumed chicken nuggets, but now I’m a thirty-something man who still eats a lot of chicken nuggets, but also has a heightened palate in terms of entertainment consumption. In other words, Mickey Mouse could have tried harder.
To be fair to Mickey, at least he tried harder than that terrible animated version with Tim Curry from the 1990s, or that other 2000s animated version with Nicolas Cage—but neither stepped it up like Miss Piggy in The Muppet Christmas Carol. (If you’re a cartoon or puppet-like thing, look to Miss Piggy for guidance when recreating Dickens’s story.)
If you’re a human, there are really only two other options to model your film after. You could turn to Bill Murray, whose film Scrooged, was pretty good. Yes, I’m complimenting a cisgender heterosexual white man at the end of 2018 in this political climate, but it’s the holidays. I’m feeling festive and generous.
Bill Murray did much better than, say, Kelsey Grammer, who made a musical version of A Christmas Carol in 2004. I still haven’t forgiven Frasier for what he did to Camille Grammer on the inaugural season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but I revisited clips of that mess for this assignment. Let’s just say forgiveness will take even longer now.
When it comes right down to it, the only person who matters in the context of A Christmas Carol—outside of Charles Dickens himself, the dearly departed—is Vanessa Williams.
If you have never seen A Diva’s Christmas Carol, it’s time to atone.
In the 2000 film, Williams plays Ebony Scrooge, an international pop star that wouldn’t spit on her BFF if she was on fire.
It features Chilli from TLC, Kathy Griffin, and other people whose names I’ve forgotten, though it doesn’t matter because it’s all about Vanessa Williams. It originally aired on VH1, so it was full of pop culture references, music, and, more importantly, has Vanessa Williams. Let the record show that not only is A Diva’s Christmas Carol the best spin on A Christmas Carol—it’s one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time (I hope you didn’t hear that in Kanye West’s voice since he’s on the naughty list).
While I cannot share the bootleg of A Diva’s Christmas Carol posted on YouTube, I can strongly encourage you to search your channel guide and set your DVR if you’ve never seen it. Or use your friends’ passwords to stream it—whatever it takes. Just treat yourself to its splendor.
And for those of you who still seek to recreate A Christmas Carol, please try to be more like Vanessa Williams. You’re welcome.
Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of the recently released book I Can’t Date Jesus from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.
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Vanessa Lachey is opening up about her son’s Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) diagnosis that left him hospitalized shortly after his birth.
“When I gave birth to my youngest, Phoenix, at 30 weeks, I knew he would need extra care,” she wrote on Instagram.
In the shot, Vanessa, 37, holds a young Phoenix — who is wrapped up in a blanket, wearing a hospital gown, and has a breathing tube up his nose.
“But I wasn’t aware that he was at an increased risk for a common respiratory virus called #RSV due to his under-developed lungs and immature immune system,” she continued.
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Those with the respiratory virus typically experience cold-like symptoms, including coughing, runny nose, and fever. Although most RSV infections clear up on their own within 7-14 days, it is especially dangerous for young infants as it can cause breathing difficulty and dehydration, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“So when he was hospitalized for six days for severe RSV disease, I was shocked and terrified,” Vanessa added. “I wish I had known more about RSV before this traumatic experience.”
She also went on to explain that she is partnering with AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company, to raise awareness about the disease during its month-long initiative.
“I mean that loosely and with love — to not compare him because every kid is going to be different, especially a preemie,” she added.
RELATED VIDEO: Vanessa Lachey Breaks Down as She Reveals She Underwent an Emergency Surgery During Premature Birth of Son Phoenix
“He’s smaller, but he’s healthy. He’s so happy,” Vanessa said. “Brooklyn and Camden were standing and walking a little bit at this point and he’s not even near that.”
“And I’m okay with that because every kid has their own time and their own moment,” she explained, “and instead of us dwelling on what he’s not doing, we’re just living and relishing in what he is doing.”
“He’s the happiest, most joyful kid ever,” added Nick. “He’s crawling everywhere, he’s so curious and into everything now.”
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In honor of the American Music Awards 2018, celebs are bringing their personal style to the red carpet.
This award show is more trendy than others. It allows for Hollywood A-listers to…
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