Zendaya fights for equal audition opportunities

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.

Sowers hired by San Francisco 49ers

Katie Sowers is used to tackling obstacles in her way; she’s played football since she was a child and even played professionally in the Women’s Football Alliance. But recently, Sowers took down one of the biggest barriers in her way — and in the way of countless others.

According to ThinkProgressSowers was recently hired by the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant, not only making her “the second full-time assistant coach in the NFL,” but also “the first openly LGBTQ coach in NFL history.” Her move to a full-time position follows a stint working as a scouting intern for the Atlanta Falcons, says ThinkProgress, where she got to know and later work with then-offensive coordinator for the Falcons  Kyle Shanahan (now the 49ers head coach).

ThinkProgress also reports that Sowers began working this summer as a coaching intern with the 49ers through the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Fellowship program, which led to her full-time position. As an offensive assistant, ThinkProgress says Sowers will “help break down film, help with practice scripts and player rotations, and generally assist the wide receivers in their day-to-day preparations.”

Speaking with OutSports about her position and the influence diversity can have in pro sports, Sowers shared that seeing women work in football never seemed possible when she was a child.

“I would have loved to see women in this role when I was growing up because I think it would have allowed me to follow my passion even earlier,” she said.

But now that she has broken into the role, Sowers said that creative a diverse and inclusive environment where people feel comfortable being themselves should become a priority.

“The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people,” she told OutSports, “no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.”

Congratulations, Katie!

 

American Girl unveils first Korean-American Doll

Young girls of all backgrounds can now find a doll that looks a little more like them, thanks to the newest American Girl doll.

According to Refinery29, the famous doll company just unveiled their first-ever Korean-American doll named “Suzie “Z” Yang.” Available starting April 27, the doll’s backstory aims to inspire new ambitions in young girls as well as to represent diverse ethnicities, says Refinery29.

“Z (short for Suzie) is a Korean American hailing from Seattle, and is the latest addition to American Girl’s new series of contemporary characters and stories designed to speak to more girls’ interests, backgrounds and experiences,” American Girl said in a release. “Through Z, girls get to learn more about this creative young filmmaker who loves staying connected with friends and sharing a good story through her stop motion videos.”

The move to release a Korean-American doll follows a statement from American Girl spokesperson Julie Parks, who Refinery29 reports told NBC News back in February that “the one thing we’ve heard loud and clear is a desire for more—specifically more characters and stories from today—with more experiences, more diversity and more interests.”

Way to go, American Girl.

 

‘SYTTD’ to feature trans bride

All brides deserve to feel special on their wedding day — that’s why TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” is welcoming all brides.

According to the Huffington Post, the long-standing New York-based show will feature their first transgender bride, hairstylist and makeup artist Gabrielle Gibson, in their March 25 episode.

The 33-year-old New Jersey native took to Facebook to announce her spot on the show, says HuffPost, sharing a photo of herself in a V-neck lace mermaid gown while standing on the floor of Kleinfeld Bridal next to consultant Shay and Kleinfeld fashion director Randy Fenoli.

Calling the experience “an absolute dream” in her Facebook post, HuffPost says Gibson is set to marry fiancé Jaden Rogers this November in a “country chic” wedding. While Gibson certainly enjoyed her “Say Yes” experience, she also felt her appearance served more of a purpose than just showing off a beautiful wedding gown.

“With everything going on in the media surrounding violence towards trans women of color,” she told PinkNews, according to HuffPost, “I wanted to show that we are people who just want to live and be happy.”

We wish Gibson and her fiancé all the best — and kudos to you, “Say Yes”!

Teigen takes on equal representation in modeling

Chrissy Teigen held back nothing in an exchange with E! News when it came to equal representation in both modeling and the entertainment industry at large.

According to Marie Claire, she told the entertainment news outlet that she wants it to become normal to see Asian models walk down the runway and even see broader representations of Asians in popular culture items, such as film.

“I think it’s really important to start embracing people…seeing them in roles that are not necessarily ‘That Asian Girl’ or ‘That Asian Boy,'” she said. “In movies you’re like ‘Oh, this Asian girl is dating this white guy’ — I want that to be normal.”

Refinery29 said she also touched on cultural appropriation, offering that there is a fine line being honoring and whitewashing a culture:

“I personally am not offended by cultural appropriation of any sort because I feel like it does pay homage, but at the same time there are a lot of beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Asian women that could do the same thing.”