You A’da Know What Love Is…

When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my mom did what she does best. She circled around him and lovingly became his staunchest advocate; she became even more powerfully the backbone of our family; and she rolled up her sleeves and got to work. That work locally with our branch of the Alzheimer’s Association led to her being asked to serve on a federal council. At the time she was nominated to the NAPA Advisory Council, my dad alerted her of his knowing and approving of her accepting that great honor.

For two terms, totaling six years, my mom would travel quarterly to Washington DC to attend meetings and work towards changing the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease while giving other families hope who deal with this devastating diagnosis in the future.

Late this July, just one week after burying her cherished sister, my mom returned to Washington DC to attend her final meeting after terming out. She has been an important voice on the national stage and, as always, we are extremely proud of her.

These were her closing remarks to her colleagues. It is worth a listen. On this day of celebrating the love that my parents shared (this would have been their 51st wedding anniversary), I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate how deep that love flows.

Congratulations, Mom! You are my shero, my angel, and my ultimate role model.</p>

#ENDALZ

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You A’da Know Jeremy D. Howard!

Happy November! I can’t think of a better way to kick off my birthday month than to spotlight my friend and rising Hollywood star Jeremy D. Howard.

Jeremy is a cast member on the CW’s popular MADtv reboot that premiered this past July. In addition to having an infectious personality with a genuine spirit and heart, Jeremy is an incredible talent who has taken the sketch comedy world by storm with his unforgettable and spot on characterizations. 

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jeremy on the eve of the premiere of the MADtv series reboot. Join us as we talk acting, Hollywood and inspiration in my latest episode of You A’da Know!

Be sure to catch-up and/or rewatch Jeremy on all of the MADtv reboot series episodes at: http://www.cwtv.com/shows/madtv/

You A’da Know It’s An Honor To Be A Part Of The Rizzoli and Isles Family!

Tonight, the television series Rizzoli & Isles will present its series finale on TNT after seven seasons. It was one of the highlights of my journey to guest star in Season 4, Episode 11, “Judge, Jury and Executioner” as Judge Kathleen Harper, the murder victim of the week.

The plot for the episode: “A mock trial advisor (guest star A’da Alison Woolfolk) dies tragically during a competition. Meanwhile, Angela’s increased interest in selling brownies has Jane concerned that she may be hiding financial issues. And Tommy (guest star Colin Egglesfield) hires a lawyer (guest star Chris Coppola) to settle his claim. Doug Savant also guest stars.”

As an actress, there have been many times in the past where shows of quality, popularity and interest have taken their final bow with me feeling saddened and regretful that I never had the opportunity to play with the cast and in the world of the show. Luckily, for me, this is not one of those times.

I had an incredible and blessed week on the show back in 2013 as Judge Harper. The main cast, guest cast and crew were extremely gracious, generous and welcoming to me throughout my week of shooting.

I will never forget how Lee Thompson Young (Detective Barry Frost) advised and guided me on how to find the most comfortable position in which to lay as a “corpse” so that I would survive take, after take, after take without trouble. (Sadly, not long after encountering his beautiful and gentle spirit on set, he would tragically take his own life.)

It was my absolute pleasure to spend a day rehearsing, laughing and shooting with fellow guest star Doug Savant of “Desperate Housewives” and the original “Melrose Place” fame. It is always inspiring as an actor on my own journey to get wisdom, advice and encouragement from a veteran actor who has been there and is willing to share lessons from their own path.


One of my favorite days on set was shooting my character’s autopsy scenes with the show’s stars Angie Harmon (Jane Rizzoli) and Sasha Alexander (Maura Isles). Having to remain completely still while listening to those two crack jokes and banter back and forth was a fun task. They were so wonderful to me and even both wailed, “Nooooooo!!!” genuinely sorry to see me leave when the director, Mark Haber, declared me wrapped for the episode.

Down to a person from Casting Director, Gary Zuckerberg and Casting Associate, Kamala A. Thomas; episode director, Mark Haber; the delightful make-up and hair team; wardrobe stylists; my own personal stunt coordinator, who taught me how to fall without hurting myself; the phenomenal ADs and PAs who took care of my every need as a guest actor for the week; and the craft services and catering teams; etc, etc, etc…it was a joy to collaborate with these wonderful artists in my time as Judge Kathleen Harper.

Although Rizzoli & Isles says it’s final goodbye tonight, it is my honor to have a place in the R&I family recorded on celluloid for the ages.

Congratulations to everyone who had the pleasure of bringing this show to life week after week for seven seasons. Job well done!

xoxo ~ A’da

You A’da Know About The CBS Diversity Showcase…

Diversity has been a hot button issue in Hollywood for many years. While progress is slowly being made, we’ve seen this important issue come to a head several times over the last few years with controversies such as #OscarsSoWhite, among other prominent protests.

Everybody desires to see themselves represented on television and in movies, in front of and behind the camera. Proper representation accurately reflects the world in which we live while giving a stage and creative outlet to new and exciting voices of talented artists who should be recognized and given equal opportunity.

For the last decade or more, there have been diversity programs put in place at many studios, networks, guilds and organizations to combat this diversity concern. One such program is the annual CBS Diversity Showcase, which spotlights a new crop of diverse actors and helps give them a way of breaking through to what has been perceived as a closed Hollywood system. The CBS Diversity Showcase also incorporates a talented group of writers in this industry “boot camp,” a rigorous process from audition to stage, over the course of several months.

Through my former job as a producer at Breakdown Services, I had the pleasure to be a fly on the wall and document this incredible process for the Virtual Channel Network (VCN) for the last five years. Over that period, I’ve seen many of the actors who participated in showcase have career and life changing outcomes. Actors who landed series regular and film roles include: Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters reboot movie); Nico Santos (Superstore); Haneefah Wood (Grease Live on Fox, Zoe Ever After); Jeremy D. Howard, Lyric Lewis and Michelle Ortiz (MADtv reboot series), to name only a few.

If you are an actor of a diverse background and have Hollywood aspirations, you should seriously consider auditioning for the CBS Diversity Showcase to potentially jump start your career to the next level.

For an exclusive look inside the process, here are a short and long version of the documentary I produced for this year’s 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase.

Long-version Documentary (Running Time – 1:02:33)

 

Short-version Documentary (Running Time – 32:34)

 

You A’da Celebrate Friends!

I believe that in this life you are nothing without your community. So, when your friends do amazing things you need to cheer them on.

Today I celebrate my friend, Jeremy D. Howard, who debuts tonight as a cast member of the brand new MADtv revival television series on the CW!

Jeremy has a blessed and beautiful story that I will be bringing to you real soon here on You A’da Know. We had a blast chatting, if you can’t tell from the snaps I took of my computer while playing back footage of our interview.

Be sure to watch Jeremy, and the rest of the amazing cast, tonight and every Tuesday night, on the CW at 9:00pm EST/PST, 8:00pm Central, or check your local listings.

Congratulations, Jeremy D. Howard!

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You A’da Know Marika Casteel

Today I am very excited to introduce a brand new feature on my blog entitled “You A’da Know…” where I introduce you to someone in the entertainment industry that I feel is doing exciting things.

For our debut segment, the spotlight shines on actress, fashion blogger and my best friend, Marika Casteel. Marika is a working actress based in the San Francisco Bay Area. After paying her dues and cutting her acting chops in Los Angeles, she has enjoyed a career in the Bay Area market doing commercials, industrials, voiceover, television and film.

Last year she had the pleasure to work on two critically acclaimed features – Steve Jobs, a biographical portrait about Apple founder and tech giant Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Bridges, directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin. The second, Swiss Army Man is a unique buddy film starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, directed by Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan (winner of the Directing Awards at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival), which opens widely in the United States today, July 1!

Join me as I talk to Marika about her start in acting and the incredible experience of working on Swiss Army Man and attending the Sundance Film Festival.

For more info on Marika Casteel check out http://bit.ly/marikacasteel and http://gigisgoneshopping.com!