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.

Clinton makes cameo on ‘Madam Secretary’

Art and reality are merging for an all-new episode of CBS’ hit show, “Madam Secretary.”

According to Huffington Post, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton will take to the small screen for an episode of the show alongside other former secretaries of state, including Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

The episode the trio will star in will air on Oct. 7, says HuffPost, the show’s fifth season premiere, with fictional “Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (played by Téa Leoni) ask[ing] the three former secretaries of state for their advice on how to handle a fragile situation.”

As for the impact the three will make on the show, Executive Producer Lori McCreary said in a release that their presence is profound.

“Having three powerhouses of diplomacy agree to come on our show is awe-inspiring and humbling.”

Rodriguez uses Emmy money to send undocumented student to college

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.

Zendaya talks Hollywood, colorism at Beautycon

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.

Robbie reworking Shakespeare for new TV drama

I, Tonya star Margot Robbie has a new project in the works, and it’s definitely one to watch.

According to Nylon, Robbie has partnered with the Australia Broadcasting Corporation and Aussie production company Hoodlum to create “a modernized television retelling of Shakespeare dramas” that will be “told from the perspectives of women and led by an all-woman creative team.”

Currently an unnamed, 10-episode series, Nylon says the show will follow the traditional framework of Shakespeare’s plays and will reportedly offer commentary on modern society and pose the perfect platform to showcase Australia’s cultural diversity. The move to work on such a project follows the 2014 launch of Robbie’s own production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, says Nylon, where she tends to find and work with lesser-known female talent.

“I’m taking a lot of meetings with the lesser-known talent at the moment, the indie film-makers, first- and second-time film-makers, mainly women,” she explained to Australia’s Associated Press, Nylon reports. “I’m in a lovely position where I can actually help get things greenlit so I want to work with people who we haven’t seen yet.”

While Nylon says a release date for the series has not been announced, one thing’s for sure: we will be watching.

Waithe makes ‘Vanity Fair’ debut

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!

 

 

DuVernay makes history again with new film feat

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!

Chastain gives $2K to woman who left negative Instagram comment

The answer to negativity isn’t more negativity — that’s the lesson Jessica Chastain recently taught her followers.

According to Bustle, the actor and producer took to Instagram to share a photo on Thursday’s International Women’s Day of herself wearing a “We Should All Be Feminists” T-shirt; in the photo’s caption, Chastain wrote, “FEMINISM: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes #happyinternationalwomensday,” but Bustle says the seemingly innocent post drew ire from some followers, including one named Karin Hallsten Schulz.

“Yes, feminist that believe in God and stand up for The Unborn,” Schulz wrote. “I would be for that kind of feminist.”

Instead of immediately replying to the comment — or even thinking of replying at all — Bustle says Chastain decided to explore Schulz’s Instagram account, which led to the discovery of a GoFundMe page the commenter set up for herself to help fund fertility treatments. Asking for $5,000, Bustle says Schulz wrote that her insurance won’t cover the treatments — and in the blink of an eye, Schulz became $2,000 closer to achiever her goal of being a mother thanks to Chastain, who gave her campaign a $2K boost.

Bustle reports Chastain then responded to Schulz’s original comment this way:

“Yes you can decide what is right for you. I am pro-choice and I believe that everyone has the right to make their own decision. I read about your journey to become a mother and it broke my heart. I hope that your dream will come true in 2018! Much love to you ❤”

After also posting on her GoFundMe page by telling Schulz that her and husband will be “wonderful parents,” Bustle says Schulz wrote back to the actor sharing words of support and gratitude, offering that even though they don’t agree on everything, they are both on the same team.

“Thank you for your words, for your encouragement and loving wishes. I too am a feminist!! It is ok if we don’t see eye to eye on everything,” she wrote. “We do agree on more than we disagree!! You are my sister, and together wonderful change and more awesome things will happen in this beautiful world we live in.”

Proof positive that women can support each other despite differences of opinion and beliefs.

Female investors purchase Weinstein Company

A group of women has turned the #MeToo moment that started the movement into a major #WeConquered achievement.

According to Glamour, a group of mostly female investors have purchased The Weinstein Company for about $500 million, taking over the tumultuous company from disgraced Hollywood big-wig Harvey Weinstein. Deadline reports that “the group is led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, who worked in the Obama administration as the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration,” and is “expected to run the new board of directors, which will be composed of mostly women.”

Offering that a new company will be created along with a new vision that will include placing women in positions of authority, Glamour reports that Contreras-Sweet aims to foster female leadership on all levels, saying she has always aimed to “build a movie studio led by a board of directors made up of a majority of independent women, save about 150 jobs, protect the small businesses who are owed money and create a victims’ compensation fund that would supplement existing insurance coverage for those who have been harmed.”

Further describing the aim of her new company, Contreras-Sweet offers that the company will revolve around honesty and a respect for women:

“The cornerstone of our plan has been to launch a new company that represents the best practices in corporate governance and transparency,” she said, according to Glamour. “I have had a long-standing commitment to fostering women ownership in business. This potential deal is an important step to that end.”

Read more about the deal to acquire The Weinstein Company here.

Plaza points out lack of representation at Oscars

After winning an Impact Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, actor Aubrey Plaza decided to use her acceptance speech not only to express her gratitude for the honor, but to also point out some representation issues in a major award ceremony.

According to Glamour, Plaza — who won an award for performance in the film Ingrid Goes West — took a moment in her acceptance speech to share an interesting finding she was told:

“I’m going to accept the leading best actress award on behalf of the Oscars ceremony because I heard a fun fact tonight that I never knew before, which is that no Latina actress has ever won best actress at the Oscars,” Plaza said. “Ever. So I’m going to accept that tonight to manifest that energy.”

But Plaza didn’t end her comments there; instead, Glamour says she issued herself a challenge of sorts, saying that she will “play some kind of psychotic character, some kind of criminal lunatic, those complicated characters I’m good at, and I’ll do that for you” in order to “win that award.”

And her remarks were certainly not lost on those in attendance; Glamour says Variety describes the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Impact Awards as not only recognizing “the work of Hollywood’s Latinx community, but also individuals in that community making a difference through activism,” holding a special interest this year in Latinx representation in the industry.

Looks like Plaza looking to get the Latinx community on the map in a major way!