Swarovski Brings Sparkle To The Vienna Opera Ball 2023

Photo courtesy of Swarovski

The Swarovski Tiara is once again the crowning glory of the Vienna Opera Ball, designed to illuminate one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated cultural events in the Austrian calendar.

Capturing the magic of stars in the night sky, and with a graceful nod to the famous jewels of the beloved Austrian Empress Sissi, the 2023 Tiara was inspired by the Swarovski Stella jewellery family.

A true marriage of legacy and modernity, the Tiara is meticulously crafted to adorn the debutantes in a constellation of radiance. Each spellbinding piece is made with 435 clear crystals and features a central star with a dancing stone surrounded by shimmering shooting stars.

Alexis Nasard, Swarovski CEO, “The tiaras that Swarovski has created for decades for the Vienna Opera Ball are a symbol of the unique savoir-faire that is at the heart of our creations and a testament to a century long heritage of Swarovski history. This decades-long partnership unites two icons of Austrian culture in a display of beauty, creativity, and elegance. We are truly honored to be a part of this cultural tradition.”

Giovanna Engelbert, Swarovski Creative Director, says, “The Swarovski Tiara is as iconic as the Vienna Opera Ball itself, so I wanted to create a piece that reflects the beauty of this partnership. This year’s design is rooted in Austrian heritage with an uplifting sense of magic. The Sparkling Dance stone that seems to float magically in its center, is a spellbinding reminder to always wish upon a star and believe in your hopes and dreams.”

Bogdan Roscic, Director Vienna State Opera, says, “The entry of the Young Ladies’ and Young Gentlemen’s Committee is one of the highlights of the Vienna Opera Ball. This entry is quite literally crowned by the debutantes’ tiaras, which are once again provided by Swarovski this year. For many years now, Swarovski has been closely associated with the Opera Ball, an event of great international significance for Austria. We look forward to continuing this collaboration.”

Reflecting confidence and poise, 144 debutantes will open the Vienna Opera Ball with the Swarovski Tiara as a centerpiece, creating a blindingly beautiful and uplifting opening ceremony to an already stellar cultural event.

In a partnership that has held participants spellbound since its inception in the 1950s, Swarovski ushers in the annual Vienna Opera Ball with the wondrous promise of radiant Austrian heritage and a mesmerising crystal design.

The Vienna Opera Ball takes place at the Vienna State Opera on February 16, 2023.

Revealed: The Top 10 Most Instagrammed Paint Colours For 2022

From cottagecore to grandmillennial, homeowners’ interior choices have been heavily influenced by social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest.

With people staying in more as the night draws in, Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance were inspired to discover the trendiest paint colours on Instagram for a room makeover this year. The experts collated a seed list of popular paint shades from reputable sites and examined the number of Instagram hashtags each shade has garnered.


Top 20 most Instagrammed paint colours so far…

Rank

Paint colours

Brand

Total no. of Instagram hashtags

1

Hague Blue

Farrow & Ball

54,100

2

Green Smoke

Farrow & Ball

34,100

3

Stiffkey Blue

Farrow & Ball

26,800

4

Dove Grey

Laura Ashley

26,100

5

Paris Grey

Zoffany

24,000

6

Cornforth White

Farrow & Ball

23,600

7

Sulking Room Pink

Farrow & Ball

22,100

8

French Grey

Little Greene

19,400

9

Inchyra Blue

Farrow & Ball

18,400

10

Skimming Stone

Farrow & Ball

17,200

11

Elephant’s Breath

Farrow & Ball

16,200

12

Bancha

Farrow & Ball

15,900

13

Hale Navy

Benjamin Moore

12,500

14

Setting Plaster

Farrow & Ball

12,200

15

Purbeck Stone

Farrow & Ball

11,800

16

Sap Green

Farrow & Ball

10,800

17

Jitney

Farrow & Ball

10,700

18

De Nimes

Farrow & Ball

10,600

19

Denim Drift

Dulux

10,200

20

Chic Shadow

Dulux

5,500

For a selection of relevant pictures for editorial use, please click here.

Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball has reigned supreme on Instagram, accumulating an impressive 54,100 hashtags so far! A dramatic yet elegant blue hue, the shade adds a touch of sophistication to your abode and easily warms up your living space when paired with neutrals like cream or beige.

Farrow and Ball’s Green smoke ranks as the second most Instagrammed paint colour, racking up 34,100 hashtags. This smoky green with a hint of blue evokes calmness and is a versatile shade that would fit any room from the kitchen to bath – pops of golds also go exceptionally well with this colour!

In third comes another Farrow and Ball shade, Stiffkey Blue. Having garnered 26,800 Instagram hashtags, this rich inky blue hue adds character to a contemporary-styled room, especially when paired with warm metallics. Contrast the deep blue with light greys for a cocooning vibe.

Rounding off the top five most Insta-worthy paint colours are timeless grey shades, Dove Grey (26,100 hashtags) and Paris Grey (24,000 hashtags).

Popular Farrow and Ball pink shades, Sulking Room Pink and Setting Plaster place seventh and fourteenth most Instagrammed paint colours, achieving 22,100 and 12,200 hashtags respectively.


Heath Alexander-Bew, director of personal lines at Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance, offered guidance for landlords on choosing the right paint colour for rental properties:

Picking the right paint colour for your rental home could be one of the most crucial design decisions to make – a visually appealing room will certainly help attract tenants.

You want to use something on-trend but not too striking or niche so it suits a larger audience and ensures your property isn’t left unoccupied for long. Neutral colours are a safe bet, providing tenants with a blank canvas that allows them to personalise their space much easier. Light beiges, tans, creams and soft greys are all ideal colours that will give the illusion of a larger space.

To save money in the long run, it’s also best to invest in quality durable paint that takes knocks and scratches. Remember to take pictures of the areas you’ve added a fresh coat of paint to before renting out and keep your receipts. This is so if a property’s walls  are damaged, you have proof when it comes to who should bear the costs of reinstating the area back to its original state.”

Source: Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance (https://www.alanboswell.com/landlord-insurance/landlord-building-insurance/)

This article was sourced from a media release sent by [email protected]

Methodology

  1. Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance were keen to find the most Instagrammed paint colours.
  2. The experts analysed reputable sites (ie. Ideal HomeGood HousekeepingLivingetc) and compiled a seed list of the most popular paint shades.
  3. Next, each paint shade was searched on Instagram to analyse the number of hashtags they have accumulated on the platform so far.
  4. The total number of Instagram hashtags was ranked in descending order with the paint colour garnering the highest number of hashtags concluded to be the most Insta-worthy.
    1. To guarantee accuracy, paint colours with less than 5,000 hashtags were omitted from the study.
  5. Data was collected on October 26th 2022 and is accurate as of then.

Top 10 most loved male fashion trends of 2022

A new study reveals the most loved male fashion trends of 2022.
The team at Underfit looked at Google search data and Instagram data to identify the biggest male fashion brands, as well as the biggest trends and the biggest male fashion influencers across the globe.
Here is the link to the full research: https://underfit.com/fashion-index/ 
The biggest male fashion trends of 2022:

Rank

Trend

Annual Global Searches

Instagram Hashtags

Trend Score

1

Chelsea Boots

8,252,000

473,061

9.85

2

Fleece

2,919,000

893,564

9.40

3

Vests

5,900,000

187,759

9.09

4

Varsity Jackets

7,463,000

70,467

8.64

5

Pinstripes

2,109,000

164,535

8.49

6

Leather

2,907,000

158,570

8.48

7

Balaclavas

7,859,000

14,822

8.34

8

Silk Scarves

711,500

223,675

8.33

9

Bermuda Shorts

1,576,500

52,698

7.73

10

Floral Top

269,800

130,939

6.82

Chelsea boots are the biggest male fashion trend of 2022, with a trend score of 9.85 calculated from a whopping 8 million global searches on Google and 473,000 hashtags on Instagram. Chelsea boots have design features that make them unmistakable and versatile with any outfit.
With coronavirus and work-from-home trends prioritizing cozy fashion for almost two years, men’s fleeces have finally become a well-deserved fashion trend in 2022. With over 2 million annual searches and almost 900,000 hashtags on Instagram, fleeces are here to stay. Fleeces keep you warm during chilly weather or comfy during any day at home.
The sweater with no sleeves, vests are our third biggest men’s fashion trend of 2022 with a trend score of 9.09. Vests saw almost 6 million searches on Google over the last year and occupy 187,000 hashtags on Instagram. Over recent years, sweater vests have become a well-known fashion staple for all genders.
Further findings:
  • The most common male fashion brand on Google is Converse, the most-searched-for male fashion brand in 20 countries around the world. In close second is Tommy Hilfiger, the biggest male fashion brand in 19 countries.

  • Italian blogger, actor and fashion designer Mariano di Vaio is the biggest male fashion influencer in the world, with 6.6 million followers and an average of over 84,000 likes per post.

Workwear Chic: 5 Stylish Staples You Definitely Need In Your Wardrobe

Office attire has come a long way for both men and women. There are now far more options than a plain top and a decent pair of slacks when there are so many patterns, colours, and styles making their way into the office. Choosing an outfit for work can be a pain without great staples in your wardrobe. Here are some stylish staples that you need to get you through your Monday to Friday grind. Oh, and don’t be afraid to put your own personal spin on these stylish recommendations. 

Let’s get started!

Your statement pieces

Your office wardrobe is not necessarily about making a statement. Still, everyone needs those pieces to pull out of the wardrobe for an important meeting, an offsite work lunch, networking event, and all those other special events. These items can be expensive, so look into what loyalty programs you’re a part of, as you can earn Qantas points when you shop at Myer. These perks will bring you closer to your goal wardrobe. So, start hunting for a statement jacket, dress, and skirt. 

Silk blouses

You can never have too many silk blouses in your wardrobe. These are great staple items as they perfectly pair with skirts or trousers, and they are professional and smart in appearance. Quality silk will not need to be on a strict ironing schedule, and it sits very favourably throughout the day, making it the perfect office outfit pick. If you are going to choose a few silk blouses for your staple wardrobe, then perhaps opt for some neutral colours. This means tones like white, cream, blush, and black. Also, remember to add a pop of colour too. Something stylish like a navy blue or similar jewel-toned type colour can really make an impact.

Versatile footwear

Comfortable footwear is worth its weight in gold during work hours, so don’t underestimate how important the hunt for great shoes is. Whether you prefer heels or flats, look for something that is both professional and stylish so that you’re able to really get use out of it by wearing it with the majority of your office ensembles. Unfortunately, many of us tend to buy shoes that look good but are cheaply made and so they only last a little while before they begin to disintegrate, and this then starts to cause discomfort, which is not something you want to deal with inbetween running to the coffee machine and inbetween meeting rooms. Choosing genuine leather shoes will be very durable whilst also remaining at the same high quality after many heavy footed uses. The colours and textures you choose will greatly depend on your wardrobe choices, but, if you’re looking for a safe bet, we’d recommend opting for black.

Camisoles and tops

Camisoles and tops can really carry your work wardrobe forward, mainly because they are so easy to wear with trousers, skirts, jackets and even under a pinafore-style dress. Quality is always going to be the goal here as poorly made items like these tend to erode quickly and discolouration or pilling can really take away from your professional aesthetic. If you’re heading out to the shops be sure to bring your staple skirts, trousers and jackets with you so that you can see what those tops look like in situation. The last thing you want to do is invest in a top that is perfect with jeans but doesn’t quite meet te mark when it comes to how appropriate it is for the office. 

Blazers, jackets, cardigans and sweaters

Whether you work in warm or cool climates it is always necessary that you have these staples. Not only are they the professional standard, but some offices operate at chilly temperatures, with the air conditioner blasting 24/7. So, whilst blazers and jackets might be some of the most expensive items in your work wardrobe, if you choose something that is classic and timeless in appearance, you’ll be able to use it for literal decades as it will remain a contant in your style arsenal, even throughout changing trends and preferences. If your work requires you to pin a name badge or anything on your jackets, be sure to do so in a way that does not damage the blazer or jacket.

Quality over quantity

It can be tempting to buy one, two, or even a few articles of clothing when things go on sale, but your office wardrobe should be more about quality over quantity. That means keeping your eyes peeled for those capsules wardrobe pieces, whether you find those clothes to be full price, on sale, or thrift at a secondhand shop. When you identify the brands that look good on you and make you feel great, you’ll have a better idea of where to direct your search. If your work is client-facing or requires you to attend important meetings, then the quality metric is even more important.

We hope this is enough to get you started on curating your perfect work wardrobe. Unlike your other casual clothes, your work wardrobe can be finite, so don’t go overboard in buying any and everything you like, and stick to the staples that are going to get you through to the weekend.

Ivana Alawi, One Of Philippines’ Top YouTube Content Creators Stuns In Her First Metro Cover

Ivana Alawi, one of the Philippines’ top YouTube content creators appearing in videos with views up to 30 million, is Metro’s latest digital cover star. The online personality and actress is making her star turn as Cherry Red in “A Family Affair,” ABS-CBN’s newest TV series that follows the Estrella family—four brothers played by Gerald Anderson, Sam Milby, Jake Ejercito, and Jameson Blake.

In a Metro editorial inspired by a look from one of her many viral vlogs, Ivana is stunning and smoldering as she channels that one-of-the-boys vibe in gorgeous, disarming photographs by Dookie Ducay. From her earliest role in “Precious Hearts Romances Presents” to capturing the attention of talent managers everywhere after appearing in “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” Ivana is only getting started, a star about to shine brighter.

Her exclusive interview on Metro.Style tracks her early years as a child of two worlds: a Moroccan father and Filipino mother, and growing up in a close-knit family. Ivana talks about her beginnings in vlogging, becoming a digital star, launching her own beauty brand, and her similarities to—and deep connection with—Cherry Red.

This cover, which kicks off the #MetroxStarMagic30 content series, was photographed by Dookie Ducay, under the creative direction of Eldzs Mejia and supervision of Metro Editor-in-Chief Geolette Esguerra. The glam team was composed of makeup artist Mickey See, hairstylist Brent Sales, and fashion stylist Adrianne Concepcion, with associates Vince Abarra and Dodley Gallardo, and tattoos by Tattumundo. The production design was by Rocket Design Studio. The video outputs were by Fold Canela.

The cover story was written by Metro staff writer Janelle Roa Cabrera-Paraiso. The shoot was also made possible with coordination by Metro People section editor Grace Libero-Cruz and Managing Editor Red Dimaandal, with assistance by Metro writer Carla Buyo. Shot in Studio LAJ, this shoot is also thanks to Star Creatives, Mico del Rosario, Des de Guzman, Keia Inciong, Star Magic, and Lauren Dyogi.

Celebrity Spotlight: Meet Comedian, Actress And Writer Catherine Cohen

CATHERINE COHEN: THE TWIST…? SHE’S GORGEOUS. Catherine Cohen in CATHERINE COHEN: THE TWIST…? SHE’S GORGEOUS. Cr. Aaron Ricketts/Netflix © 2022

 

By Allison Kugel

Comedian, actress and writer Catherine Cohen is a throwback to the likes of musical comedy acts like Carol Burnett, and Bette Midler, but add in a twist of ultra-femininity, glamour, and unabashed self-love. Cohen spent years cultivating an impeccable musical comedy act that made its way from intimate cabaret theatres in New York’s West Village and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in London to our television screens as part of a new comedy boom being championed by Netflix, with her hit comedy special, Catherine Cohen: The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous. For audiences, the twist, it seems, is that a one-woman musical cabaret act can be laugh-out-loud funny with the right comedienne at the helm.

In 2019, Catherine won the coveted title of Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She’s the co-host of the popular podcast Seek Treatment and author of GOD I FEEL MODERN TONIGHT: Poems From A Gal About Town. Currently filming the hour-long dramady series, While You Were Breeding for the Freeform Network, Catherine took time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her unique approach to comedy and what she is currently developing for her next act

Allison Kugel: Your Netflix special, Catherine Cohen: The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous, that title grabbed me so hard when I was thumbing through Netflix. 

Catherine Cohen: Thank you very much. I’m so glad.

Allison Kugel: How did you come up with such an in your face, ironic, and amazing title?  Not ironic in the sense that you’re not beautiful (laugh)

Catherine Cohen: Yeah, I’m thinking, “Okay Allison, are we fighting right off the bat?” (Laughs) The title came from a tweet I did a million years ago. I feel like I will often tweet things, and then if I’m trying to come up with material for a show I’ll go through old tweets and look at [my] thoughts that I’ve had. I was just thinking about movies like She’s All That or just that classic kind of romcom tropes where at the end the nerd is really hot. It’s like, “Yeah, they were hot the whole time. I was kind of playing with that trope, and in my work, I’m always trying to be hyper-confident, deciding I’m hot and making everyone else believe it, because I believe it.  It felt in line with that (laugh).

Allison Kugel: Love it! So, tell me, how does one get a Netflix special? Walk me through that… 

Catherine Cohen: I’m sure it is different for everyone, but this was a show that I was doing on my own for five years in New York. I did m show for the first time in 2017 at The Duplex [piano bar] in the West Village, along with [music composer] Henry Koperski, who plays piano and helped me write all the songs. Then we did it at Joe’s Pub in New York. I wanted to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and right before I was going to do that, I got a message on Facebook from Steve Brill, who directed the Netflix special.  I thought, “Is this spam?”  He said, “Hey, I just directed Adam Sandler’s special, and I really want to do another one. Is that something you are interested in?”  I thought, “Duh!”  But then I thought, “This feels too good to be true.” We ended up meeting for coffee and just totally vibed and had the same vision, so I said, “Let’s totally do it!” Having Steve Brill on my team really helped a lot. He had a relationship with Netflix, so he helped me make it happen. We had a bunch of meetings with them. Robbie Praw, who works at Netflix, came to see my Edinburgh show. I remember the next day we went for a long walk, and we talked about what it could be and what my dreams were, and what would make sense for the platform. Then I got the offer to do the show as a Netflix special in 2019, and we were going to shoot it in 2020… LOL. Now this has become a very long boring story…

Allison Kugel: (Laugh). No, no, no! Go ahead…

Catherine Cohen: We finally got to shoot it September 2021, and it just came out in March 2022.

We shot it in Joe’s Pub, which was nice because that was a place where we had done early versions of the show and I felt really comfortable. It was a total dream come true. I’m so happy it is out in the world. It’s been many years in the making.

Allison Kugel: Amazing. What is so incredible about your story is that this is a show you have been cultivating and working on for so long, so it was completely organic. It’s not like you got this Netflix offer and then you are writing material for a standup special. And I love the fact that it was done in an intimate setting. It was very different from your typical Netflix standup special for so many reasons. 

Catherine Cohen: Thank you so much. I was actually just talking to a friend who said, “Don’t wait to get a book deal. Just write a book, you’ll have it, and at the right time someone will publish it.” I didn’t ever think when I started doing this show, “Obviously, it should be a special.” But it wasn’t like, “Oh, time to scramble and come up with an hour of material.” It was very much a labor of love and came very naturally.

Allison Kugel: You are super smart. You went to Princeton, right?

Catherine Cohen: Yes, I did go there. I don’t feel super smart these days, but I guess I did well enough in school to get there, yes.

Allison Kugel: That is incredible to me, because I got through school by the skin of my teeth. 

Catherine Cohen: It’s a very bizarre skill set; it almost has no reflection on your intelligence. It’s just like, are you obsessive? Uptight? Really hard on yourself and a fast reader?

Allison Kugel: Oh my God! My son is going straight to the Ivy League, because you just described him (laugh)

Catherine Cohen: You just have to memorize a bunch of stuff, be absolutely psychotic, and evil towards yourself, and then maybe you can get in (laugh).

Allison Kugel: Your comedy has a musical element. Do you consider yourself a stand-up, or more of a cabaret performer who is also really funny? 

Catherine Cohen: I think I’m a comedienne, an actor, a writer… I do it all.  I’m a singer, but yes, I definitely think I’m a stand-up who does a cabaret show. The jokes in between the songs, I will do those around town as just normal stand-up shows, and stuff like that. I like to do it all.

Allison Kugel: When you were putting this show together in the beginning, were you working out your comedy set and then you decided to add the music? How did this very unique show come together?

Catherine Cohen: I had been doing improv and sketch comedy at UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) in New York, and saw people doing stand-up and I thought, “This looks fun, but I’m scared.” I started doing it and really enjoyed it, but I really missed singing because I grew up doing musical theater. So, I thought, “Is there a way to write a comedy song that isn’t really embarrassing?” I met this amazingly talented pianist Henry Koperski and said, “Can we get together? I want to try to write a song, and I want to run some ideas by you.” Pretty much as soon as we got together, it felt very magical. It felt natural, and we just started writing a bunch of songs together and I said, “I think I have enough to do a full show. Will you play with me for a full show?” We’ve been on that journey ever since.

Allison Kugel: You have an interesting background. Your dad is Jewish, your mom is Catholic, and you grew up in Houston, Texas? For starters, are there many Jewish people in Houston? 

Catherine Cohen: (Laugh) I think there are, but I did not meet very many of them because, as you said, my mom is Catholic, and we were all confirmed Catholic. We went to very religious private schools where everyone was very evangelical, and it was totally damaging and creepy.  Thankfully, I went to college and met a bunch of Jewish people and thought, “These are my friends. This is my vibe. I forgot I had this side.”

Catherine Cohen: The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous. c. Aaron Ricketts/ Netflix © 2022

Allison Kugel: So, you felt more of a kinship with the Jewish part of yourself?

Catherine Cohen: Definitely. I just hated all the arbitrary rules, the way the Evangelical church teaches woman to be so ashamed of everything; to hide their bodies, their personalities, and be submissive to their partners. It was just so against everything I had ever felt, and everything my parents had taught me. My parents didn’t teach me any of that. At one point I did get really into it, because it was intoxicating. You’re going on ski trips, meeting boys from different schools, so it was like, “Church is cool. Church is fun.” Then you realized you were kind of brainwashed into believing things you didn’t stand for.

Allison Kugel: How does your mom feel about that?  If she sent you to Catholic school, I would imagine that she was all in. 

Catherine Cohen: I think her mother was very religious, and she did it because it meant a lot to her mother. I think my parents were always supportive of whatever I wanted to do, whatever I believed, which was very lucky, obviously.

Allison Kugel: Nowadays it is very common to have mixed religious households or people celebrating Christmas and Chanukah, as they say. So, generally speaking, people don’t think very much of a mixed religious household because it is so common now. But from the perspective of a kid growing up in a home where you have a Jewish parent and you have a Catholic parent, what does that feel like from the perspective of a child? 

Catherine Cohen: I think it felt like my dad wasn’t very religious and we were just doing what my mom wanted to do, which would sometimes result in us saying, “Dad, please don’t make us go. Why do we have to go?” He would say, “Because you have to go.”  I would say, “This doesn’t make any sense.” I remember one time we were all waiting in line for Communion, which my dad wasn’t going to take, because he hadn’t been Baptized or had his first Communion, and he snuck it. My mom got really mad. My dad then said, “This is so ridiculous.  I deserve this. Everyone deserves the spirit of Christ.” He took Communion even though my mom was mad at him. They are both very smart, funny, supportive, and open minded, so I feel like when I was younger it was a big deal, but eventually we weren’t forced to go to church. One of my brothers got really into exploring our Jewish side one year and wanted to learn all of the Hannukah prayers. But I feel like I got a taste of both. It’s nice.

Allison Kugel: Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person at all.

Catherine Cohen: Definitely. I believe in God. I don’t know what God is, but to me there is a God. I’m endlessly feeling aware of synchronicities, and I believe everything happens for a reason, and that the universe is taking care of us. All of that kind of stuff I love. My friend just got me a tarot card deck for my birthday, and I’ve been taking some quiet time to draw a tarot card in the morning and journal and think, “What is going on with the planets.” Honestly, I will believe anything anyone tells me.

Allison Kugel: (Laugh)

Catherine Cohen: Literally, I say, “Okay, that sounds great.” How stupid.  I feel like it’s so insane when someone says, “That’s definitely not real.” I think, “How do you know anything, babe?”

Allison Kugel: Same.  I think it is the height of arrogance when someone says that something is definitely not real. We are limited by our five senses and there is so much more in the universe. How can you possibly say with assurance that something is not real?  You can say that you don’t know. That makes sense. But you can’t say it is not real. If you could travel back in time and have an effect on any famous historical event, or even just bear witness to it, where would you go and what would you attempt to change or bear witness to?

Catherine Cohen: I’m laughing, because I’m actively not trying to change the world. I’m just trying to enjoy my life and have a good time. I actually did past life regression therapy, recently.  Have you done that?

Allison Kugel: I did get hypnotized and do that once.

Catherine Cohen: In my first past life I was an ugly old lady who made bread, and she wasn’t allowed to go to the ball unless she brought a loaf of bread. I would actually go back in time to that first life and say, “Girl, you deserve to go to the ball, and you don’t have to bring bread. Just bring yourself.” That is where I would go. In my other past life, I was this big warrior soldier caring for my blonde wife, which is interesting because I’m not usually into blondes. Then I had a past life where I was a nurse caring for a soldier in a war who was actually my boyfriend in real life.

Allison Kugel: So, you would go back and alter your own past lives…

Catherine Cohen: And I would have to say this… I don’t think about the past much besides thinking about the fashion. I think about going back to the 1970s or dancing at Studio54.  Sometimes I wish I was part of that era, before social media, where you can just be an artist and a little freak. Just dance around and not have everything documented and measured against the success of your peers. I’m sure people throughout history have been very hard on themselves, but I feel like it is especially hard these days, being constantly bombarded with the accomplishments of everyone you’ve ever met, or even ever heard of. It is exhausting.

Allison Kugel: I can definitely say the same thing about my coming-of-age decade, which was the 1990s. I’m 47. It was so much freer in that way.

Catherine Cohen: You look so young. What is your secret?

Allison Kugel: I work hard at it.  That is my secret. Skincare is my religion (laughs).  And lots of nutrition. Tons of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, water and sunscreen!

Catherine Cohen: I know. I finally started doing daily sunscreen.  For so long I was so bad about it, but now I’m 30. There is no time and I have very fair skin.

Allison Kugel: Also, no drinking, no drugs, no smoking cigarettes. No nothing. Sorry!

Catherine Cohen: Have you always been totally sober?

Allison Kugel:  Yes, pretty much. I don’t touch alcohol or drugs.

Catherine Cohen: I definitely like a little bit of that stuff (laugh). I definitely enjoy that stuff sometimes. I actually, just last night, started the process of freezing my eggs. I just started the medications, so I’m feeling [weird]. First of all, I’m not drinking and I’m drinking lots of water, but I can’t exercise. I can only walk, and I’m feeling out of my body, but sort of a beautiful human experience, I guess.

Allison Kugel: So, when freezing your eggs, you can’t be extremely physically active during the process at all?

Catherine Cohen: Yes, which I didn’t expect. You’re getting your ovaries huge, for lack of better scientific terminology, and so there is danger of twisting or damaging them because they are so big. I’d been trying to spend more time at the gym, but now I’m just going on slow strolls, and I’ll think about the spiritual questions that you’re asking me.

Allison Kugel: You’ll come up with a better answer tomorrow and you’ll be kicking yourself, but don’t. Don’t beat yourself up (laughs).

Catherine Cohen: I’m sure. I’m sure.

Allison Kugel: If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you and why have you opted to freeze your eggs?

Catherine Cohen: I’m 30. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, so my cycle is very irregular. I don’t get regular periods and I have been told it might be difficult in the future to get pregnant. I’m definitely not ready at all, so I figured I have some time this summer. I have some money saved, so why not do it. Then I can just not have it on my mind and enjoy the next five years of my life and revisit the matter at a later date.

Allison Kugel: Let’s talk about your show some more. Are you still touring? 

Catherine Cohen: No, I’m not. As soon as the [Netflix] special came out, I was done with that material. I’m doing all new stuff. I did some shows in London. I did some shows in Austin and LA, and now I’m just working on new [material]. I’m going back to the UK this summer. I’m going to do some dates at the Edinburgh Festival, and I think I might do an encore performance of The Twist. But emotionally, I’m ready to move on creatively.

Allison Kugel: What is your creative process?

Catherine Cohen: I was just sitting down this morning thinking, “Okay, girl. You’re so all over the place.” I think what is so hard is that any kind of creative work requires slots of time, and it requires getting bored and reflecting.  It is so difficult to do that when we are constantly bombarded with emails, calls, and obligations. I do a weekly show in the East Village where I will try out new material every week. It’s a great way of making sure I’m trying out some ideas.  With songs, I’ll usually sit down with Henry or another musician. I’ll come in with lyrics or a melody and we will try to throw something together. It’s a lot of improvising, and then with jokes, it’s just a lot of talking, looking at tweets, and seeing what sticks.

Allison Kugel: Do you find that your greatest ideas come to you when you are not trying to come up with material? 

Catherine Cohen: Absolutely.

Allison Kugel: Okay, so give me an example of something that you would be doing when an idea strikes; something PG-rated. 

Catherine Cohen: (Laugh) I was just thinking, everything I say is so disgusting.

Allison Kugel: (Laugh)

Catherine Cohen: I’m very big on the idea that you can’t force it. I have a new song called, “Blame it on the Moon,” about blaming all my problems on astrology and saying it’s not my fault at all. I’m a mess or I’m rude or whatever, because of the planets. I think that phrase popped into my head when I was just lying in bed one night, and so I wrote it down. If I wake up at 4am or 6am and I’m lying in bed, my mind starts racing and I’m like a genius, and then it all goes away.

Allison Kugel: Those genius moments, I feel like they’re not inside you, they come through you. It’s like you channel something inadvertently and then you better record or put it down on paper, because just as fast as it came through you, it can evaporate if you don’t put it down. 

Catherine Cohen: I totally agree. With everything I do I think I’m literally so talented and a genius, but I think that is just because of luck. It’s not mine. Things just come to me. It’s what’s in my heart at the moment. I didn’t put it there. Who knows who did? Life is all completely random, and it’s like a balance of being confident and realizing I have nothing to do with any of this.

Allison Kugel: There is a wisdom in knowing that it didn’t come from you.  It came through you and having a healthy respect for that. Once you made the deal with Netflix, do they micro-manage everything, or do they just have you do your thing, and then they air it on their platform?

Catherine Cohen: I’m sure it is different for everyone. In my experience, the show was already done, and they had seen it. The director and I had the same vision, so they just gave us a budget, we had a production company come on board, and we just shot the show. That was pretty much it. I got to be in the editing room. I was one of the producers, so I got to make all the calls and I felt very supported and lucky. Steve is such an amazing director. He accomplished visually what I was seeing in my mind but lacked the skillset to do on my own. It was a seamless process, because as you said, it had just been an organic thing of, I had this piece I was ready to share and then it was just capturing it for the camera.

Allison Kugel: Will you do another comedy special for Netflix at some point?

Catherine Cohen: I hope so, if they ask. Who knows? I don’t know how this works. I would love to do another one. We will see what the universe brings my way. I very much feel like with any of this showbiz stuff, no one knows until you’re doing it, because no one tells you and there are no rules. You work on things that disappear, or you do something like this where you made this [show] and all of a sudden, it’s on Netflix, so you never know.

Allison Kugel: I used to always say that I never know why people say no, and I never know why people say yes. So, I just don’t analyze it.

Catherine Cohen: That is a good way to be. It is hard to do.

Allison Kugel: That is what I’ve done. It’s like “Oh, you want to do this?  Great.” Or “Oh, you don’t? Okay.” 

Catherine Cohen: Exactly. I feel very strong. I was just pitching a project and got a lot of “No’s,” and I felt like, “Okay, this has nothing to do with me, ultimately. It’s out of my control.”

Allison Kugel: From what I’ve studied and all the people I have interviewed, one thing that everybody has in common is that they were all so set on a vision that nothing could interrupt that vision. There might be a little blip here or there, but otherwise it was like tunnel vision. 

Catherine Cohen: I definitely connect with that.  I think, “Of course I’m going to make a fabulous TV show, movie, or whatever. I don’t know when or how, but of course.”

Allison Kugel:  You should watch the TV show, The Food That Built America.  I believe you can watch it on The History Channel or Hulu.

Catherine Cohen: What is that about?

Allison Kugel: It goes into how the guys that made Heinz ketchup, Hershey’s chocolate, Kellogg’s cereal, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Birds Eye Frozen Foods invented their brands. Nothing was getting in their way. I was floored, because I’m like you went broke several times, this or that didn’t work, your factory burned down, and you kept going?  It’s amazing.

Catherine Cohen: I don’t know where the belief comes from, but it is definitely there. It has to be there.

Allison Kugel: That’s what it takes. Netflix has this new brand called Netflix Is A Joke.

Catherine Cohen: That is their comedy arm. They just did a big festival in LA, which was super fun. I did a bunch of shows.  It was like two weeks ago, and it was great.

Allison Kugel: I love that they are supporting the artform of comedy, and that they created that division. 

Catherine Cohen: It is amazing. I feel so lucky they gave their huge platform to something that I do, which has been described as very niche, though I think it is universal.

Allison Kugel: The style of your show feels niche and extremely unique to you, although I think it has universal appeal.  Apart from you, the only other name that comes to mind would be Carol Burnett.

Catherine Cohen:  Love it…

Allison Kugel: The way that she would sing a little, dance a little, and do jokes. 

Catherine Cohen: Thank you. I think when you are doing it all the time, it feels different to you.

Allison Kugel: What is the greatest advice you have ever received?

Catherine Cohen: There are so many good ones. One that I think about a lot is that you can only control yourself. I think about it a lot in terms of romantic relationships. You can’t force someone to love you, and it’s the same with creative partnerships. If it’s not working, it’s not working. Just trusting that you can only do what you want to do, and you can’t really concern yourself with or take personally why other people do what they do. It is very difficult, because I take everything personally.

Allison Kugel: Who gave you that advice?

Catherine Cohen:  My friend’s mom. Shout out to her (laugh). I think whatever you are worried about, if it involves someone else, it has nothing to do with you.

Allison Kugel: What is something about yourself that continues to be a work in progress?

Catherine Cohen: (Laugh) Everything. Literally, everything. The main thing that I haven’t begun to deal with and don’t even know how, is that the way I talk to myself is so mean, and I would never talk to my friends this way. I don’t know how to begin unlearning it, but I don’t know how life would be if I wasn’t constantly telling myself I wasn’t enough.

Allison Kugel: Do you think that is a driving force that propelled you to getting where you are so far? 

Catherine Cohen: Yes, definitely. I’m constantly convinced that if I wasn’t successful, I would be inherently unworthy. My boyfriend told me I wasn’t allowed to use the word “loser” anymore.  I would say, “They are a loser,” or “I’m a loser.” He says, “What are you even saying?  Don’t use the word loser anymore.”  I’m constantly convinced that I have to be the most successful person in the world, or I’m a loser. It’s a very Princeton mentality. I actually just went to my college reunion last weekend. I was just thinking about how hard on myself I’ve been for so long. It does often yield results, though it’s taking a toll, so I’m trying to figure out how to be productive without losing my mind.

Allison Kugel: Do you think, “If I stop being hard on myself, I may not continue to succeed,” so it’s almost like a superstition?

Catherine Cohen: Absolutely. Since the [Netflix] special came out, I’ve been trying to rest, refocus, and figure out what I want to do, which makes sense, but I feel guilty.  Like, I haven’t done anything today. I’m just looking at my phone, but then I try to remind myself that the way I got to making the first show was sitting around on my phone being bored, and I had some kind of creative spark.

Allison Kugel: What do you think you came into this life as Catherine Cohen to learn, and what do you think you came here to teach?

Catherine Cohen: Wow, these are really getting into it!  I came here to learn, I don’t know, to chill out? To slow down, chill out, and that it is just for fun. It’s just a game, so enjoy it. To teach? Literally, to teach everyone that they are absolutely fabulous. You’re deserving of everything. You should laugh, you should live. You deserve all of the extravagant things that you want. Every day should be glamourous and fabulous, and don’t take “No” for an answer. I sound like a total hedonist, but maybe I am.

Allison Kugel: No. So even the wardrobe, the set, and everything in your Netflix special is very girly girl, frilly, pink, and over the top glam. I’m guessing it’s an extension of your personal philosophy and how you see the world.

Catherine Cohen: Yes. Clothes are so important to me. The way people dress and decorate their rooms, and the way we choose to express ourselves visually, I’m obsessed.  I’ve always been drawn to very elaborate over-the-top fashion and styles. I’m also hyper-feminine, which I feel like I hadn’t seen a ton of with standup [comedy]. You see a lot of jeans or hoodies, and obviously, I’m wearing something incredible.

Allison Kugel: It is so funny that you say that, because I had this really stupid thought in my twenties that I could either be funny or pretty, but not both, so I chose pretty (laugh).  It’s stupid.  I don’t know why I thought that. What is that about?

Catherine Cohen: I think it’s what we are told. I think because I was not considered pretty, or because, like I sing in my special, “Boys never wanted to kiss me,” I thought, “Well, I better be funny to get attention.” We are raised in this world where we are supposed to pick a lane, and I think I, and many other women, are saying that is absurd.  Look at us LOLing and looking absolutely gorgeous.

Allison Kugel: And by the way, you are very pretty.  I don’t know where you got the idea that you weren’t.

Catherine Cohen: I don’t know. I think everyone has their insecurities, especially when your younger sense of self-worth was so directly tied to male attention and affection, and I didn’t get any of it. Thank God!  I would be so boring if I had just decided to worry about that stuff instead of myself.

Allison Kugel: I hear you have a TV show coming out for Freeform Network. Tell me about it…

Catherine Cohen: Yes, I’m so excited. I shot this pilot. This amazing TV writer named Kristin Newman wrote this memoir a few years ago called, “What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding,” about her decision to end a long-term relationship and travel the world as all of her friends were settling down.

Allison Kugel: And having kids. 

Catherine Cohen: Exactly, breeding. She has turned the memoir into a TV show. We shot the pilot in the fall, and we just found out that it got picked up, so we are going to do a full season of it for Freeform and we start shooting sometime later this year. I play the lead girl’s best friend and the lead character is played by Chelsea Frye, who is so funny and talented, and we’ve become totally obsessed with each other. I feel really lucky to get to work with her for a few months, instead of shooting something and never seeing each other again.

Stream Catherine Cohen: The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous on Netflix and follow Catherine Cohen @catccohen and Catherine-Cohen.com.

Watch or listen to the extended interview with Catherine Cohen on the Allison Interviews podcast @ YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Follow Allison Kugel on Instagram @theallisonkugel and AllisonInterviews.com.

Aussie Fashion Stylist Natalie Mark Is Back In Sydney

Aussie Fashion Stylist Natalie Mark, who works with some of the biggest names in Film, TV & Entertainment has returned to Sydney, after spending the last 14 years in the U.S.  Natalie is excited to be calling Sydney home again, whilst still travelling internationally when required.

Natalie started out in fashion when she was just 15, gaining experience in the wardrobe department for Channel 10 News.  She then worked on Channel 7’s flagship show, Home and Away, followed by becoming a Visual Merchandiser for popular clothing brands for women and young adults in Australia.  She studied Business, Styling and Merchandising at FBI Fashion College and the Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney, then subsequently worked for international luxe brand Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) at Black Communications in Sydney, in a PR and events role for the company.

Natalie moved to the USA in 2008 to further her career as a professional fashion stylist, working with clients in London, Sydney, NYC and Los Angeles. Over the past 15 years she has worked consistently across all facets of the entertainment industry. She has built long-standing relationships with her clients, who range from Academy Award winning actors: Geoffrey Rush and Jessica Chastain to international television celebrities, including Jessica Szohr, Nina Dobrev, the Glee cast, Nathalie Emmanuel, Alfie Allen, Kristian Nairn, Liam Cunningham and Isaac Hempstead-Wright from HBO’s epic Game of Thrones.

Natalie also styled Ben McKenzie, who starred as Jim Gordon in the hit DC Comics/Warner Brothers TV show Gotham and star of the hit TV show The O.C, and styled both individual and group looks for the Entourage movie press tour in 2015 and continues to work for the creator of Entourage Doug Ellin and most of the Entourage cast to this day. Natalie is also lead stylist to one of the world’s top magician’s, David Blaine being his one and only Fashion Stylist for most of his shows and world-record breaking stunts since 2018. Also in 2018, she made Esquire’s and GQ’s Best Dressed List for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, styling Markle’s Suits co-star Patrick J. Adams in a one of a kind custom Canali morning suit that she collaborated in the designing process with Canali and Anto Shirts. She also has styled actor Pablo Schreiber for multiple worldwide press junkets for movies like Den of Thieves, Skyscraper, The First man, and hit TV Show American Gods.

As well as shaping the sartorial image of top-flight celebrities she has also styled magazine cover shoots and photo shoots, short films, music videos and television commercials. Natalie also is a personal shopper for elite A-List Hollywood producers, screenwriters and directors. Natalie has also appeared in television broadcast fashion segments, judged red carpet events in celebrity magazines including WHO Magazine, and has been invited to present at high schools world-wide, and tertiary colleges to share her experiences in the fashion and entertainment industries.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Angie Young of Xposed Media

Aussie Multi-Platinum/International Star Vassy’s Hit Tune “Bad” Reaches 2 Billion Streams On YouTube

Multi-platinum Australian singer-songwriter VASSY is popularly known for her global hits: ‘Bad’ & ‘Secrets,’ with Dance Music icons, David Guetta & Tiësto.  The Hit singles have earned VASSY multiple #1s in over 30 countries, 17 platinum certification and over 2 billion streams.  VASSY has since positioned herself as one of Dance Music’s most prominent and authentic female Artists in the world.

Originally from Darwin, U.S based VASSY made her return home recently, after a long time away.  Missing her family and hometown, she’s enjoying reconnecting with everyone and keeps busy gearing up for her next Aussie release.

Following her successful and recent #1 ARIA Club Chart Hit: ‘Chase’ (with Aussie Super Duo BONKA), VASSY has collaborated with some of Australia’s most credible Dance acts, to provide a huge remix package from the likes of: Random Soul, Rubber People, Mind Electric, Jay Sounds and Kondo. ‘TUFF’ is an upbeat and inspiring new single with its anthemic, driving house basslines. The track begins immediately with VASSY’s unmistakable and heavenly vocals, as she sings inspiring lyrics about resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.  She vocalizes the message of becoming stronger from struggles and proving doubters wrong, as the beat builds to an exuberant and driving melodic house climax that is sure to move dance music fans around the world.

In 2013, VASSY’s song ‘We Are Young’ went number 1 on Billboard’s U.S. Dance Chart, making her the first Australian artist to debut at number 1.  The song was also featured in Disney’s Academy award-winning blockbuster ‘Frozen.’ In 2014, she collaborated with David Guetta and Showtek on their iconic single ‘Bad,’ which became 7 times double platinum.  The following year she collaborated with Tiësto and KSHMR on their track ‘Secrets,’ which reigned atop the Billboard Club chart and Beatport charts and went straight to number No. 1 in 20 countries.  In 2017, VASSY and Afrojack released ‘Lost’ with Oliver Rosa, which hit No. 1, marking VASSY’s fourth Billboard No. 1 single.

‘TUFF’ follows her recent chart-topper ‘Chase’ (with Aussie duo Bonka) which was #1 on both the U.S & Australian Dance Radio charts.

“I’m so excited about this new release ‘TUFF’ (after years of my career being in America) being able to come back to Australia and to collaborate with so many incredible Australian producers, to put together this all-Aussie line up EP is so special to me.  ‘TUFF’ is a song about perseverance.  No matter how hard things get, you’ve just got to roll with the punches and keep going.  After the success of CHASE going #1 on both the ARIA Club Chart & U.S Billboard / Dance Radio Chart, I wanted to write a song about how one can get through the tough times in life and if they hang in there, they get through on the other side and feel happy about it.  I think most people can relate to this song. Sometimes all one needs is a little push to motivate them not to give up in order to get to the other side !!” – VASSY

TUFF EP REMIX DESCRIPTIONS

RUBBER PEOPLE – deliver a bouncy, modern disco house mix

RANDOM SOUL – deliver their signature sound, a deeper soulful house vibe

Mind Electric – delivers a funky chill, deep slap house mix

KONDO – delivers a punchy tech house mix

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Angie Young of Xposed Media

Kendall Jenner Poses Topless Ahead of Coachella Music Festival

Supermodel Kendall Jenner has garnered more than 8 million likes on a topless photo of herself which she took during Coachella festivities.

In one of the photos she shared on her Instagram account, the stunning supermodel posed topless, wearing nothing but a blue pair of bikini holding a bottle of her 818 tequila in one hand, while using the other arm to cover her chest by the pool of her mother Kris Jenner’s Palm Springs mansion.

The post has been liked over a whopping 8 million times as she captioned the post, “@drink818 tequila by the pool.”

Check out the photo in question below via Kendall’s Instagram account:

Editorial credit: BAKOUNINE / Shutterstock.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner)

Find Out More About Glee Star Dianna Agron

By Allison Kugel

Dianna Agron took television fans on an emotional ride playing complex popular girl, Quinn Fabray, on the hit television series Glee, which ran for seven seasons on FOX. The wildly popular show won multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, People’s Choice, and Teen Choice Awards during its tenure. Throughout the series, Agron’s character portrayed a foray of teen girl issues ranging from the common to the more dramatic. From cattiness and romance drama to matters of celibacy, teen pregnancy, and adoption; nothing was off the table. It speaks to Agron’s depth and range as an actress.

Since wrapping the show in 2015, Agron has gone on to build her resume in films, including the winner of this year’s Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award-winning film, Shiva Baby, and most recently, As They Made Us, starring Agron, alongside Dustin Hoffman, Candice Bergen, and Simon Helberg, and written and directed by Mayim Bialik.

Allison Kugel: I’m used to you as a brunette in this movie and here you are back to blonde-ish.

Diana Agron:  I know, and I’m going back to brunette for another role in a month.

Allison Kugel: How did you like having dark hair?

Diana Agron: I do like it. I think that I always welcome the opportunity to change for a project.

Allison Kugel: Did you know Mayim Bialik, personally, before her film, As They Made Us, came to you?

Diana Agron: I did not. I knew who she was by her work, but we didn’t have a personal relationship prior to this film.

Allison Kugel: How did the role of Abigail come to you?

Diana Agron: It was through my team. I immediately responded to the script and the character.  There is a lot of personal truth to my life, and it was being expressed through this piece. Mayim and I had a Zoom chat in which I felt that we connected deeply in our shared truths, but I had no idea if she felt that I was going to be right for the part. Within the hour I had the call that I was receiving the offer, and it just felt like a complete whirlwind and a surprise. I made my manager tell me the news again, because I thought, perhaps, I had heard him wrong. It was very sweet.

Allison Kugel: The writing in this film was so good that you forget there is a script involved.

Diana Agron: Yes. I think that is what I responded to as well, this very naturalistic feel.  It felt very embedded in truth and experience we kind of shared. We had a very strong open dialogue about grief, loss, love, and complicated relationships. Mayim had really incorporated such a full spectrum of these emotions and how that works through individuals and a family, collectively. It did feel very real, and I obviously can speak personally about the elements that were very real for me. I think everybody brought their own truths to the table and incorporated those into their characters and into the story.

Allison Kugel: I can relate to it very much. I had a very complicated relationship with my dad, who is now living with us. It’s a strange thing because I remember growing up, and especially in my teens and twenties, I thought, “I can’t wait to get away.” We were constantly bumping heads. Now it has kind of come full circle and he’s become a much gentler person in his older years. I’ve become much more understanding of human nature as I have gotten older, so you kind of meet somewhere in the middle.

Dianna Agron: I can understand that completely.

Allison Kugel: On another note, you are Jewish, Mayim is Jewish, I’m also Jewish. We are not always portrayed accurately or reasonably in the media, whether in television or film.  Like other minority groups, we are often made into caricatures. In As They Made Us, you see the complex humanity of a group of people, and what ties it all together that goes across all people of all different groups. That was another thing that I really enjoyed about this film. What is your opinion of how Jewish Americans are typically portrayed?

Dianna Agron: It’s interesting that you bring that up because that was one of the things that I loved so much about this storytelling, is my character’s connection to her Judaism and how that is expressed with her young children as she is teaching them, and how that part of her family aspect is just very causally there. It’s just who they are and it’s a part of her daily life. Obviously, there is a strong connection that she has to it, but that’s not saying or doing so much.  It’s just part of her character and part of her life. I do think that sometimes Jewish storytelling as it shows up in media is much more specific about either the Holocaust or you see it in Curb Your Enthusiasm, and this has been brought up and critiqued about Jews in film, where maybe one half of the couple is Jewish, but the other one isn’t. There are just so many ways with how it is expressed in the media. Not to say that anything is necessarily right or wrong. I think it’s project to project, but I did like that this was just an underlying element to who she was and that it just seemed so normal.

Allison Kugel: Not that the Curb Your Enthusiasms of the world are bad, I think they are great, but we need stuff like this too.

Dianna Agron: Yes, I think it does add to a balance. When I was promoting [the film] Shiva Baby, that whole film centers around one woman’s experience at a shiva, mourning somebody that she kind of knows, and was brought to it by her parents. That was so interesting because everyone who was interviewing us about that film had said to us, “This is like my Italian family, this is like my Greek family,” and so on. We all come from different cultural backgrounds, but there are common truths to dynamics with family, friends, or communities, which are so universal. It’s been nice to be part of both films and have that kind of storytelling be incorporated into my work.

Allison Kugel: Although the material of As They Made Us is heavy at times, there are some really funny moments.

Dianna Agron: Especially Candice [Bergen]. She made me laugh so consistently throughout filming. Her delivery is perfectly spot-on. And she is not trying to be [funny].  Her character is really just expressing things how she sees fit, which is so funny because I think it is very understandable that everyone grieves in a different way. Some people say things that are wildly inappropriate to the moment, and it just feels so real and honest.

Allison Kugel: Towards the end of the film, Dustin Hoffman. who plays your father, his character passes away and there was a moment after the funeral that I loved where Candice Bergen’s character, your mother, starts gossiping about people that were at the funeral. Your character, Abigail, gets mad at her. I actually said this out loud to my screen as I was watching.  I said, “That’s how she’s grieving! She’s gossiping to take her mind off what just happened.”

Dianna Agron: Totally.

Allison Kugel: I think that is actually why people gossip at times, to kind of take our minds off the war in Ukraine, the pandemic, all of these heavy things that are going on in the world. We need to focus on something else. We need to make it light.

Dianna Agron: Sometimes at the expense of other people (laugh). That is so not my experience. I feel it’s the last thing I ever want to indulge in or engage in, but I so understand. That was the thing.  All of the characters are so human and then you have these incredible actors bringing such humanity to the screen in this way, in this story.  I had done a film with Candice about thirteen years ago where I also played her daughter. It was so wonderful to reconnect with her and to connect with her as an adult. I was such a young thing then. That I really enjoyed, and she is just as delightful and just as hilarious as ever.

Allison Kugel: Was there a funny moment on set you can share where you had to kind of like break the tension and just have some fun in between takes?

Dianna Agron: I can’t point to one exact moment, but I will say that every day we were experiencing this wealth of storytelling because we would ask Candice and Dustin about specific projects or what growing up in LA was like back then. They were just so generous and giving. I typically find that most actors love to share, on and off-screen. It’s not one or the other.  It usually is both. There were just many personal moments that they were sharing where you couldn’t believe that the first director I had was so and so and the most famous line in that movie wasn’t originally there and it was just found on the last day of filming and that was so special to be able to really dig in and ask them anything that we wanted. Simon, Mayim, and I were like, “Okay, and then this project, and tell me about this.” I had no expectations.  I thought maybe they would want to go and be by themselves in between setups and take rests. They were always there and game, and just so much a part of sharing at all given times. Then Candice has this very sweet dog Bruce who was always around and every now and then he would pipe up in a scene and we would have to relocate him.  It was really such a joyful experience despite being in an enormous amount of pain and sadness in moments on set.

Allison Kugel: What is Mayim Bialik like as a director?

Dianna Agron: What was so obvious to me after our first chat was that she had already thought about this project, and these characters in this world, so thoroughly that we could have gone and made that film the next day. It was so obvious that it was a story she could tell so beautifully. She really hired such a beautiful team of people that worked so well together. There was a feeling of ease, even though we were this kind of tiny but mighty crew.  Independent filmmaking isn’t necessarily as glamourous or cushioned, but it is my preferred way to work. I love eliminating all the frills. It never felt like we weren’t able to accomplish our goals for the day, which was such a testament to how well-organized Mayim was, and how well thought out and planned every day of shooting was. I loved watching Mayim’s reactions to things.  I was always looking at her to see how she was experiencing what we were filming.

Allison Kugel: Some of the subject matter of this film was about dying and death. What is your take on that part of the human experience? Where do you think we go? What do you think death is all about?

Dianna Agron: I’ve been dealing with many years of my father’s own illness (Dianna’s father suffers from an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis) and watching that move through his body. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t imagine there is an enormous amount of time that we have left with him, which is really not what you would wish for at all, and very deeply sad. It has placed a lot of importance on the time that we have. He’s been sick more years of my life than he has been well. The way I have had to process that is that while I would have wanted the version of him, I knew as a very young person to last much longer, I am so lucky to have experienced many other versions of him and still have access to him and connect with him. It takes a toll in many different forms, your cognition, your physical health, etc. Death has been prevalent in my life, because I’ve lost many people that I loved, and it always feels like it wasn’t the right time. I, unfortunately, lost many people when I was very young, and my father is very ill and only sixty-six years old. I pride myself on being very present in the moment with my family and my friends and knowing that your health and wellness are not guaranteed. That centers me a lot.  As [death] relates to everything on the Other Side, it’s not something I often think about, but I’m sure that will be more prevalent the older I get.

Allison Kugel: Soon we will be coming up on the two-year anniversary of Naya Rivera’s passing. Can you tell me what was unique about your friendship with her that was different from your other Glee castmates, or even from any other friendship in your life?

Dianna Agron: Naya was my first friend on set. We were quite isolated because we weren’t involved in the entire pilot. We had our very brief moments in the pilot, and everybody else was very involved in the singing, dancing, and all the rehearsals. So, she was my point person, and we kind of instilled each other with confidence in those moments. She was just very unique and special in the way she carried herself with such confidence and certainty. If she believed in something, or in you as a person, she would always uplift those ideas. She was very, very strong in a way that I think I have adapted to moments in my own life that have been quite difficult, and the adversity you can overcome if you experience it at a young age makes you more resilient. She had that strength in spades. Any strength that I had she had ten times more of it.  It was really inspiring and nurturing to be around. She was also wickedly funny and had the best comedic timing. She is one of the people that I speak about when I say it’s so strange to think she is not here. She had years and years of love and gifts to give people, and I was so lucky to know her.

Allison Kugel: That is beautiful. What do you think you came into this life as Dianna Agron to learn, and what do you think you came here to teach?

Dianna Agron: Whoa, not an easy question! I feel particularly connected to storytelling. When I say that, I don’t mean it as it relates to my job. I feel so connected to the human experience, and that is something that has always drawn me in. I lived in a hotel when I was younger because my dad was the general manager of a few hotels, and I would witness and question… there was a complete, big world of people coming in and out of my environment from everywhere in the world. As I started being able to travel more freely and explore different cultures and people, it is something that really interests me. I feel much better when I’m learning new things about new people and cultures. I think that has led to also me wanting to be a storyteller and connect with people on that level. I think that if that is something I can share and encourage in other people to be really open-minded and to look outside of their own worlds and communities.  Go bigger and deeper to find something really meaningful.

Allison Kugel: Interesting. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Dianna Agron: I don’t know if it is the best advice, but it was certainly very helpful to hear as it pertains to my life and my career. I had a colleague say to me, “This path of yours is not about what you say “yes” to. It is more about what you say “no” to. I think as you are receiving gifts, be it jobs, opportunities, etc., it can feel difficult to say no to something because you are so happy to be there and to be part of the conversation. I think being really honest with yourself about what serves you and how you can organize your time when you really drop into those truths, so much more magic is available because you’re being so authentically yourself and you’re not compromising for other people.

As They Made Us, written and directed by Mayim Bialik and starring Dianna Agron, Dustin Hoffman, Candice Bergen, and Simon Helberg is out in theatres and on VOD digital platforms on April 8th. Listen to and watch the entire interview on the Allison Interviews podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and on YouTube.