Equal opportunities are important across all industries and upon all forums, but especially so in the highly visual, visible and influential world of Hollywood.
And so for multi-hyphenate Zendaya, making sure all are considered for acting jobs is just one way to achieve equal access to opportunities and ultimately, equal representation. In a new interview in Marie Claire‘s September issue, Huffington Post reports that the 21 year old told Janet Mock that her process for auditioning is both intentional and barrier-breaking.
“I always tell my theatrical manager, ‘Anytime it says they’re looking for white girls, send me out. Let me get in the room. Maybe they’ll change their minds,'” she said. “And, honestly, if there’s a part that I didn’t get or that I really wanted at the time, shit always ends up working out.”
Using the example of her role as MJ in “Spiderman” as an example, HuffPost says while the role wasn’t written for a woman of color, Zendaya pressed forward for an audition.
“I definitely went into it like, ‘Hopefully they’ll’ ― as they call it in the industry ― ‘go ethnic,'” she said, according to HuffPost. “I remember making the decision to straighten my hair. I didn’t know that they were going to be more diverse in their casting. I didn’t know that I was walking into a situation where they were already breaking the rules. You get so used to having to break the rules for people.”
The is one type of rule breaking we’ll fully support! Click here to read the full interview.
Women have a story to tell, and this new Disney initiative is showcasing just that.
According to Variety, Disney’s new “Dream Big Princess” project has “has selected 21 girls and women from 13 countries to develop digital short films about women who inspire them.”
In addition to giving female filmmakers the opportunity to tell stories about the influential women in their lives that work in industries ranging from entertainment and sports to government and science, Variety also says that they will participate in professional workshops that include a “training session with Apple technical experts, mentorship from the female-led production company Summerjax, and meetings with Disney film veterans.”
All shot on iPhone X cameras, each filmmaker’s project will be shared on Disney social media starting on Oct. 10, says Variety, and with each like and share of the films with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess, Disney will donate $1 to the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, which empowers and positions girls all over the world to be leaders.
One of the film’s subjects, Disney CCO Jennifer Lee, who Variety says won an animated feature Oscar for “Frozen,” says the Dream Big Princess initiative serves as an extension of Disney’s mission to inspire kids.
“Using the journeys of characters like Anna, Elsa and Moana to inspire kids to dream big is at the very heart of what all of us at Disney do,” Lee said, according to Variety. “The #DreamBigPrincess series is the perfect extension of that vision, providing a powerful platform for the next generation of aspiring filmmakers to create content about the women who have inspired them.”
Gina Rodriguez is using the money that would otherwise be spent on Emmys “For Your Consideration” campaigns and giving to the worthiest of causes: education.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the “Jane the Virgin” star convinced her show’s network, The CW, to use her portion of the “FYC spend toward a college scholarship for an undocumented high school student.”
A member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s board of directors, EW says Rodriguez partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles to “locate a Latinx high school student who plans to attend Princeton University in the fall,” allowing the student to “complete a four-year degree without financial burden.”
For Rodriguez, the attempt to do something for the Latinx community is natural, even one that has been encouraged by showrunners.
Our show has always jumped at any opportunity to help me do something for the Latinx community,” said Rodriguez, EW reports. “So I asked my showrunner, Jennie [Snyder Urman], if we could do something different with the money this year.”
And something different they did.
It’s not often that someone gets to actually see an exhibit of their life, let alone actually have one dedicated to them. But for Oprah Winfrey, both of those just came true.
According to AOL, the famed journalist, TV personality and spiritual guru received her own exhibit dedicated to her life’s legacy in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Called “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture,” AOL reports that the exhibit “includes videos from the start of her career, personal mementos and more.”
Among some of the cool artifacts incorporated into the display is the red dress Winfrey wore in “the iconic Oprah Winfrey Show episode when she surprised the entire audience with a new car,” according to AOL, an outfit Winfrey herself explained she chose to match the ribbon on the cars she gave away.
Also included is a journal entry Winfrey wrote the night before the national debut of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, says AOL, that wonders how her forthcoming show might affect her life:
“Exactly eight hours before the national first show,” it reads, according to AOL. “I keep wondering how my life will change. If it will change. What all this means. Why have I been so blessed? Maybe going national was to help me realize that I have an important work or that this work is important. I just know that I must be pressed to the work of the high calling.”
And change her life it did.
It looks like the United States might get its first female president after all — that’s all because of a brand-new comedy coming to Netflix.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, in a new Netflix production called “First Ladies,” Jennifer Aniston will star as America’s first female president, and playing her wife will be comedian, actor and writer Tig Notaro.
The script is also co-written by Notaro, says THR, who worked with Stephanie Allynne to tell the tale of “Beverly and Kasey Nicholson, America’s first female President and her wife, the First Lady, in a story that promises to show that behind every great woman is another great woman.”
Also working on the project are Adam McKay and Chris Hency (executive producer), reports THR, along with “Will Ferrell, Jessica Elbaum and Betsy Koch for Gloria Sanchez Productions.”
Zendaya has achieved quite a bit at a such a young age: at just 21, she has had starring roles in television shows and movies, dabbled in music and is even entered the world of fashion as a designer. But with all of her success comes a responsibility, says Zendaya, and that responsibility is to pave the way for her successors.
According to HuffPost, the multi-hyphenate recently spoke in conversation with Uber’s chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John at the Beautycon Festival, taking a moment to address colorism in the entertainment industry and share some sage words about representation.
“As a black woman, as a light-skinned black woman, it’s important that I’m using my privilege, my platform to show you how much beauty there is in the African-American community,” she said, HuffPost reports. “I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a black girl and that has to change.”
However, she said there is no need for there to only be one “acceptable version of a black girl.” In fact, she is trying to blaze a trail for increased representation and inspire others to shine their light in the process.
“We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to just be the only representation of that,” said Zendaya, according to HuffPost. “What I’m saying, it’s about creating those opportunities, sometimes. You have to create those paths. And that’s with anything, Hollywood, art, whatever.”
Amen to that.
Netflix has found their new Carmen Sandiego — and two times over.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Gina Rodriguez will play the film’s namesake character in a live-action remake, which follows a “fictional thieving villain from the 1990s educational children’s series.”
But Rodriguez’s contributions to the streaming service’s revival of the film don’t end there; in fact, EW reports that she will also lend her voice to Netflix’s original animated series based on the character.
What’s more is that EW says “the live-action version will also be produced by Rodriguez through her I Can and I Will production company, alongside Kevin Misher and Caroline Fraser.”
Way to go, Carmen Sandiego — er, Gina Rodriguez!
If you needed a reason to love Amy Poehler even more, her latest project may be it.
According to Refinery29, the actor and friend in our heads will be making her directorial debut with a Netflix film called Wine Country, which “film follows a group of pals who head to Napa to get their grape on and celebrate one of the women’s 50th birthdays.”
As if the plot isn’t enough, Refinery29 reports that the film’s cast features all of Poehler’s besties, including ” Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Tina Fey, and Emily Spivey, who also penned the script.”
With an all-star comedic cast, it’s hard to not be excited for the film — and Poehler & Co. seems to feel the same. Netflix announced the news Wine Country‘s forthcoming release by tweeting out a video of Poehler and her co-stars singing the Kenny Loggins song, “Whenever I Call You Friend” in slightly-tipsy unison.
While there has yet to be a release date announced, one thing is for sure: this film is going to be one to watch.
Watch the “trailer” here.
Vanity Fair’s latest cover star is making waves in more ways than one.
According to HuffPost, actor and writer Lena Waithe is starring on Vanity Fair‘s April cover, which some are saying marks “a major shift in the magazine’s largely mainstream focus by showcasing an up-and-coming black, openly lesbian woman.” The cover, photographed by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, is the first for the glossy’s new editor in chief Radhika Jones, reports HuffPost, potentially indicative of how Jones may steer the magazine in the future.
“When I thought about the kind of person I’d like to see on the cover of Vanity Fair, I thought about Lena Waithe — a member of the new creative elite remaking entertainment for her generation,” Jones wrote in a note to readers of the new issue, according to HuffPost.
Waithe is best known for her role on the hit Netflix series Master of None, says HuffPost, previously working up through the ranks of the entertainment industry while serving in a more behind-the-scenes capacity as a writer and assistant under the likes of Ava DuVernay and Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Most recently, HuffPosts says Waithe has created her own series, — The Chi, which has already been renewed for a second season on Showtime — and has another series about a queer black woman in development, not to mention she appears in Steven Spielberg’s new movie, Ready Player One.
Whatever is coming next for Waithe, we know we’ll be watching!
Just over three months into 2018, and Ava DuVernay has already had quite a year: the director and producer not only celebrated the release of her acclaimed and inclusive A Wrinkle in Time, she also made cinema history along with Black Panther, with her film and the Ryan Coogler project marking the first time in history that “films by black directors with $100 million plus budgets have ever placed in the first two box office spots.”
But now, DuVernay is making history again, this time by entering the superhero universe: according to Glamour, she will be “taking on Jack Kirby’s beloved series New Gods, which means she’s the first black woman, and only the second woman after Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, to lead a DC comics blockbuster.”
Glamour said DuVernay confirmed her history-making news on Twitter, sharing a photo of Jack Kirby along with his quote, “Our dreams make us large.” Her tweet then spurred a deluge of support and praise, with some called her “The GOAT” (a.k.a the ‘greatest of all time’), while others expressed their congratulations and overwhelming excitement.
Adding to the excitement of DuVernay’s new project is that she is a fan of New Gods, says Glamour, sharing that her favorite superhero is “Big Barda, a powerful heroine with superhuman strength created by Kirby.” And, as Glamour points out, because the series only appeared in a limited way, DuVernay will have all the room to make New Gods her own.
And we know she will!