Category Archives: Celebrity Interviews

HBO Premiere of Ballers and Insecure

Thanks to my intern Kelly for this AMAZING blog post!

Cincy Chic was red carpet ready when we attended the premier of the hit HBO shows Ballers and Insecure last week!

Third from the left: Donovan Carter, Yvonne Orji, Jazmyn Simon

The event was hosted by HBO and Trap Karaoke at Bogarts to debut the first episodes of the new seasons for the shows Ballers and Insecure which air July 23.

We had the incredible opportunity to chat with a few stars from the shows and get some insight on the upcoming seasons (and what it was like to work with The Rock!).

Yvonne Orji, Donovan Carter, Jazmyn Simon

Yvonne Orji, who plays Molly from Insecure, reveals we will see a lot of her character trying not to repeat the same mistakes she made and bounce back from season 1.

Of season 2 she says, “It is hella funny, hella dope, hella deep, and it gets hella real. You should just watch!” Behind the scenes on set, the whole cast gets along creating a family environment and are super cool- even carpooling to work!

To her fans, Orji has a strong piece of advice: “Keep going, never let your dreams die.”

No spoilers here, but we will say that season 2 of Insecure will not disappoint. Its raw humor, authentic portrayal of life and realness continues to make it one of the most relatable “dramedies” (drama + comedy) on television.

Jazmyn Simon, who plays Julie from Ballers, says that this season fans will see her character’s strength. Previously, her character’s career as an orthopedist took a backseat to supporting her husband’s career, but this season we will see her return to work!

“When Stephen Levinson wrote this role, he wrote her strong. I think when you hear ‘football player’s wife’ you automatically have a stereotype in your mind,” she says. “When I received the material, I knew that is not who she was going to be. Just because someone is with an athlete, doesn’t mean they are a stereotypical ‘WAG’- she’s a doctor!”

Donovan Carter, who plays Vernon Littlefield from Ballers, is looking forward to fans seeing the show and all of the hard work that went into creating season 3. His character has made some mistakes the past couple of seasons but is persevering and looking to grow from those experiences.

“I can relate to Vernon because I am laid back and like to play around but I don’t depend on too many people the way he does, I step for myself. But he is learning to stand on his own two feet,” says Carter. He also adds that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is an inspiration- no matter what level you are, stay humble and true to yourself.

No spoilers, but the Ballers’ world is expanding and we will see where this season takes them next. The entire first episode is filled with witty humor and a shocking reveal at the end!

Donovan Carter’s photo of them presenting the custom created artwork to the Ronald McDonald House

After the press line, the event continued with a VIP reception and pre-viewing party complete with catered food and cocktails, custom printed tees (ours says HELLA CHIC), and custom created artwork by local artist Mark Thesken that was later donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

Following the screening of Ballers then Insecure was an insane after party put on by Trap Karaoke. Guests were invited to the stage to perform their best rap for the crowd!

The premier for the hit HBO shows Ballers and Insecure was a success! With promo lines like “If you build it, they will come” (Ballers) and “Hella Out There” (Insecure), we expected nothing less.

Don’t miss HBO’s hit shows, season 3 of Ballers at 10 and season 2 of Insecure at 10:30 on Sunday July 23!

The Sartorialist Comes to Cincinnati This Thursday

Scott Schuman’s newest book, “The Sartorialist: Closer”

I got the opportunity to interview Scott Schuman, better known as “The Satorialist,” last night. He’s hands-down my favorite street-style fashion blogger, so it was a huge honor to talk with him. He’s doing a book signing at DAAP this Thursday. So, we chatted about the signing, his books and blog,  as well as travels, fashion and life in general.

Here are the details about the signing….

Thursday, November 29
4 p.m. Signing at the College of Design Architecture Art and Planning (DAAP) Building at the University of Cincinnati. Corner of Clifton Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive, Cincinnati, OH

And below is the transcript of our interview…enjoy and I’ll see you on Thursday!  

A: First and foremost, tell me about the inspiration behind the book.

S: Well, the first book seemed to be doing really well so we decided that it might be a good idea to start another book.  It is a different skillset to do the book, you know. The blog can sit by itself and it’s chronological. But, with a book, you have the chance to pair, whether it’s two years apart or three years apart and you can put things together that are either compliments or contrasts. Also, to create something that you can hold is a great option to have.

A: Sure, especially if you know a fan of the blog, it’s a great gift idea. I was thinking of all the fashionistas who would love to have it for Christmas.

S: Exactly. It makes for a great gift.

A: Absolutely. So, tell me about the tour and how you selected some of the cities?

S: Well, it kind of just worked. I have been traveling a lot internationally so I thought that it would be fun to do something domestic. I am in Tennessee right now and then Chicago and Cincinnati. I wanted to mix it up a little bit and go to a couple of different places and see if things would fit in. You know, hit a couple of cities, boom boom boom and find some places that would be fun to do a book signing. Hopefully find some good street fashion in Tennessee, Chicago and hopefully Cincinnati.

A:  Awesome! That’s actually what some of the readers wanted to know. They wondered if you would be doing any street fashion shooting at all while you’re in town doing your signing.

S: Yeah, I don’t know how much time I’m going to have. But I will definitely be looking for people at the book signings and maybe I can take a picture of them later. I hope. I do a lot of shots from South Africa and Poland but I would love to be able to mix in some images from Cincinnati, Tennessee and Chicago.

A: Yes, for sure. How do you decide on the cities that you travel to?

S: There are a couple of different things. It depends on if there are projects, like this, I am doing. I try to schedule myself to do one day a project and then another day of shooting and writing for the blog. It matters and it doesn’t matter, I like to challenge myself. It would be easy to go to Italy or Paris or London. Those places are great, but I like to go places where you don’t have to just point and shoot. You have to find it. It’s the challenge where you have to find things, whether it’s a fashion thing or a cultural thing. It’s always a surprise.

A: Yeah, I’m trying to step into your shoes right now, thinking about all the places that you have been. It has to be difficult when you go to all of these cities and you may not speak their particular language. Walk me through that.

S: I’m a good actor. I’m a good pantomime. I act out what I want. Cultural issues are larger than language issues. Language issues aren’t always as tricky. Things like who to talk to, who you can touch or if you can talk to women. Culturally, people are worried about how their image is protected and how they are portrayed. That’s usually the hardest cultural issue. You have to be respectful about anyway that you go about it so you don’t create any problems.

A: Talking about some of your travels… What have been some of your favorite places to shoot?

S: My answer is always that I like to shoot the most interesting person I haven’t met yet. It doesn’t really matter if it is Korea, or anywhere. It’s all about the challenge.

A: How is this book new and exciting compared to your first book?

S: The way that I shoot has evolved and the way that I blog has evolved. There are images that never made it to the blog that are in the book. Actually one of my favorite images that was shot in Morocco was in the book and never made it to the blog. When you look at image shooting styles, there are different portraits, and new ways the shots are positioned.

A: Great! Those were some of my questions and I would love to ask some of the readers’ questions. Do you think that American fashion trends just emulate European fashion trends? Does America offer something distinct or are we just watered down versions of European trends?

S: America has its own look. I don’t really pay too much attention to trends but you hear it all the time. There are certain age brackets that have certain looks and tend to follow international trends — 15-20yr olds.  When they start to get older, they start to appreciate the uniqueness of where they live and begin to make their own style. They have the ability of seeing things on the internet and they start to pull everything into their own personal look and make it their own, regardless of where the are. They will make their own uniqueness depending on their pride and where they are from.

A: The next question talks about the dichotomy of street portraiture, from the $5,000 suits to the other end of the spectrum. Is fashion still the province of the social elite?

S: Even though at street level, you will see $5,000 suits but there are also things from American Apparel that are more affordable. Sure, people pay for the mass “prestige” brands, but I feel as though people don’t care as much. That is why I don’t put label names, it’s all about the people and how they feel in their clothes and how they look in their clothes. For me, it’s about the concept of the design. It’s about how you communicate and create desire. It is how clothes help you enhance or hide things about you. On my cover shot, a lot of the girl’s clothing are “hand-me-downs” and they couldn’t have cost more than $100 but she looks magnificent and that is why I shot her. Labels are not a field that I play in.

A: That’s the feel I get when I read your blog. I loved one of the things you recently posted about and it goes back to the conversation about trends. It was a young girl and she had a fur looking vest and the pleated longer skirt and you talked about that there were certain things that “transcend trends.”

S: Style last forever. Style evolves. Fashion evolves. The media and stores like us to think certain things but they “need” to tell you that. But style evolves and changes but it will always be there. There isn’t anything in that shot that is “classic” but it still looks of the moment, even though it was from five years ago. The word “trend” is kind of useless because it doesn’t go away. That trend won’t just end. There are things like military shirts and peacoats that people call a “trend” but never go away. They are styling tricks. To me, those are much more interesting than so-called “trends.”

A: Is that a mission of yours? To help people realize fashion is more about style than trends and brands?

S: I hope so, and I think they are starting to. There are two people in fashion. There are people that love design, proportion, and texture. Then, there are people who say they love fashion, but they actually just love shopping. There are people that love fashion because it boosts their image and persona through fashion. The people who truly love fashion are who I really admire. They inspire me, and through that, the blog is just a diary of my life. I am not trying to tell people who are stylish and who aren’t stylish. I am just showing what I see and what I like. It may be 50 years down the road, and I think it would just be fun to see the catalog of places and different people I’ve seen.

A: When you set out to start this blog, or diary, did you have an inkling of what it might turn into?

S: Well, yes and no. I would’ve kept going until I found something. I wanted to find something that was important in fashion. Growing up in Indianapolis, I loved the idea of that world and I wanted to do something important in it. I didn’t know what that was, but I was going to keep going until I found it. I just wanted to do something that I could be proud of. I’ve always known that my goal was to do something to make a name for myself. Going at it with that kind of idea, it really helped get me to where I am. A lot of people want to do a blog but they don’t have the drive, or don’t have something to say. You have to have that vehicle. Mine was to show the fashion world in the way that I do, and then it took off.

A: Thus far, what has made you most proud?

S: The fact that I have brought people a lot closer to fashion. One of the things that people think about fashion is that it is elitist. It’s something that turned people off. In sports, you can go to the games, wear the jersey. In fashion, you want to wear the clothes. It isn’t easy to go to fashion shows to see your favorite designer — then, if you can’t afford anything designer, it’s hard to interact with it. But now people are much closer to the fashion world. You can take pictures of it and it can be seen and you can share in that experience. So, if I’ve been apart of that, creating their own niche in that world, whether they can afford it or not, it gives them a chance to express it. That is what I am really proud of.

A: That is something that I get from your blog. It makes the world a little smaller, you make it a lot more approachable. I also like the posts where it is just a picture, and there isn’t any commentary. It leaves it up for interpretation. Why do you do that?

S: A lot of people say, a picture tells a story or a picture is worth a thousand words. I understand why people say that. That image lets people tell their own story with what they see. I like to create my own story of what that image is or who that person is. I don’t write very much because I like when people use their own imagination and make up their own story.  It can be interpreted in many different ways. I am really proud of the blog that they can see the image and share their own take on it.

A: The world of social media and the conversation that happens online has really changed since you first launched the blog. Even with the integration of the social media and the forums. It’s really enhanced the community and the conversation that happens when you first started the blog… Ok, one more question: what’s one thing everyone needs in their wardrobe?

S: For a good wardrobe, you need a good tailor. The clothes that they buy, inexpensive or expensive, need to fit you correctly. It works for every individual person.

Thanks to my right-hand-man, Drew Ross, for transcribing this interview so I could post this blog asap! 

Tyler Shields Exhibit Opens at Miller Gallery Tonight

Me and Tyler Shields

You might know him for photographing a burning $100,000 Birkin bag, dating the daughter of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, or working with the biggest artists of our time — such as Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, and Demi Lovato — to make art.

But what Tyler Shields really wants to be known for is inspiring others.

I got the opportunity to meet the man behind the camera (he’s also an author and music video director) as he prepared for his opening event at Miller Gallery. It was one of the most interesting, inspiring and surprisingly casual and down-to-earth conversations I’ve had in a long time. Not exactly what I was expecting from someone who takes pictures of Lindsay Lohan holding bloody knives.

He grew up in Florida and moved to California with exactly $137 to his name. He even recalled a time when he lived off a pizza for an entire week, truly living the “starving artist” life.

Things turned around for him when he met character actor Ben Foster, who was working on X Men at the time. While Tyler originally went to California to direct music videos, he also dabbled in photography. He did a shoot with Foster, and snapped a pic of him jumping off a building — while it only showed his back, Foster loved it. The buzz began for Tyler’s work and other celebs started to seek him out for avant-garde shoots.

He would pick up A-list actors in his ’94 Ford Camry and they’d spend the day together doing a shoot as if they were childhood friends. That’s what I loved about Tyler – he has a sincerity that immediately makes you feel comfortable around him. He says that’s gone a long way for him, and to keep himself humble and grounded, he makes an effort every day to be thankful for his talents and circumstances that have led him where he is today. “Every day, I stop everything for a few minutes just to randomly give thanks,” he said. “So many people who quickly come into money and fame get focused on more money and more fame. But I want to focus on being happy and thankful.”

Part of what keeps him focused and happy is inspiring others, which is why he does things like visiting Summit Country Day School to motivate young minds. “I like to make people realize that they can do anything they want to if they truly dedicate themselves to it,” he says. “People get told ‘no’ so much in life, but if they were told ‘yes’ a little more, a lot of lives would be different. I want to be the one that tells them ‘yes.'”

You can meet Tyler yourself tonight at Miller Gallery in Hyde Park, which is part of the Fotofocus series of events. Tyler is exhibiting across America and Europe with solo shows in LA, NY, Cincinnati, Moscow and London this year. Click here to learn more.

A Brush with Celeb Bling

Karen's design, which was featured in Miranda Lambert's wedding (click to enlarge)

Last week, I told you about the  jewelry trunk show featuring the bling that country music star Miranda Lambert wore on her big day. The designer of Miranda’s bridal jewelry, Karen Lindner, is based right here in Cincinnati! Karen has been featured in several national publications, including InStyle, and we’re just so lucky to have this talented local lady right here in the Tri-State (Oxford, to be exact).

Ilene Ross, my partner in crime at Cincy Chic, got the opportunity to go to the trunk show and chat with Karen to talk with her about the pieces on display, what it was like to have pieces featured in a celeb’s wedding, and how she even got her pieces in front of a celebrity’s stylist.

Watch the webcast below as Karen spills all the details in this exclusive Cincy Chic interview!

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Chatting with Kwame Jackson

(L-R) Ilene Ross, Cincy Chic Show Co-Host, Kwame Jackson, and me!

Yesterday, I got the opportunity to ride in the limo that picked up Kwame Jackson. This Harvard grad, worked at P&G, was on The Apprentice and is now pursuing a career in the fabulous world of fashion. I was in the limo with a few other select bloggers to get to know him, learn about what he’s in town for (a tie trunk show June 9 & 10), and find out what he’s working on for the future.

He was a really interesting person. Not only is he truly brilliant and clearly accomplished but he’s also down-to-earth, and approachable. Oh, and of course very fashionable. He was wearing a crisp button down, with his sleeves casually rolled up, a green bow tie and spring colored buttons. A breath of fresh spring air.

We had a great conversation about how we use fashion to boost confidence, brighten your day, and “dress for the job you want, not the one you have” because you never know who you’ll run into or get the opportunity to wow with your wardrobe. There’s so much truth to that, and coming from such an accomplished guy, I really take that conversation to heart.

I’m excited that he is here in Cincinnati and I hope you all take the opportunity to come see him while he’s in town. Check out the video below to learn more about his appearances this weekend!

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Kwame event

Meeting an Idol: Sex and the City’s Candace Bushnell

There are some people in this world who we idolize and respect so much, that we never – in a million years – ever expect to meet. For me, Candace Bushnell was one of those people… until I got to meet her today!

Me and Candace Bushnell, author of "Sex and the City" (click to enlarge)

Candace Bushnell is the critically acclaimed, international best-selling author of Sex and the City, The Carrie Diaries, One Fifth Avenue, Lipstick Jungle, Trading Up, and Four Blondes. She was in town for a book signing of her newest book, Summer and the City. This coming-of-age story of one her most famous creations – Carrie Bradshaw – is the second book in the Carrie Diaries sequence, and it’s the prequel to Sex and the City.

I’m a lifestyle writer for women with a penchant for pretty shoes, so Candace (aka the real life Carrie Bradshaw!) is truly an inspiration. She’s been such a huge inspiration to be a writer, and start Cincy Chic (when I realized how many “Sex and the City”-type women there were in Cincinnati). So, it was absolutely amazing to meet her, get to know her on a personal level (she’s very personable and down-to-earth btw), and chat about her newest adventure, “Summer in the City.” It sounds like a great read and I can’t wait to drink in every word like I have with all her other books!

Check out my interview with her below! Enjoy!

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Meeting David Sedaris Tomorrow!

Me with David five years ago
Me with David five years ago

In college, I didn’t have enough money to buy books and the school library didn’t have many “fun” books (they were mainly just collegiate). So, when I’d have free time, I would drive from Oxford to the Colerain Borders store.

I’d buy a small cup of coffee (and just get free refills all day long) and read random books that looked interesting. It was great.

Well, one of the random books I plucked off the shelf one day was “Naked” by David Sedaris. The title and the pair of boxer shorts on the cover made it too intriguing to pass up. After reading a few chapters I was literally laughing out loud and making a scene, it was *that* funny.

I couldn’t put the book down. I read half of it that day, remembered the page number I was on, and came back the next day and read the rest. I’m sure I should have been studying for an exam or writing a term paper, but that book was just too good and way too funny.

So, after “Naked,” I was addicted (that sounds funny!). I asked my grandma for some of his other books, like “Holidays on Ice.” She thought she was buying me an ice skating book, but really it was a book about how holidays with his dysfunctional family drove him to drink in excess.

I’m now finishing up “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” a funny book about David’s journey to smoking cessation. Ironically, I like to read that book out at our family farm bundled up by the camp fire.

I recently learned David has another book coming out called “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk” and he’s doing a tour to do some public readings and to promote this new book. I love his readings because he has great comedic timing, but he’s not a comic. He just talks about his life, and his life just happens to be really weird and funny. And he’s brutally honest about his life, the people in it, things that happen to him and all the funny thoughts that run through his head.

I’ve been to three readings of his, and now, I can’t read his books without hearing his voice and imagining his delivery. I’m super excited because tomorrow I’m going to see him at the Aronoff (on 10.10.10!) for another reading, so I won’t have to imagine his delivery!

I think there are still tickets left if you want to go… get there super early to park though, because I hear traffic will be a mess downtown tomorrow!

In case you haven’t heard of David, or seen him speak, here’s a video to give you a taste of his hilarity. : )

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Althea Update, Shows Love to Her Midwest Roots

I’ve been faithfully following Althea Harper for a while now. We wrote about her first in Cincy Chic last year when she was on Project Runway. And I’ve been blogging about her sporadically ever since.

Well, here’s another update! Harper just previewed her Spring 2011 collection at NY Fashion Week. In her video interview, she credits her inspiration for the show to her routes in the midwest and Ohio. (heyyyy, thanks for the shout out Althea!)

I really like the direction she’s taking this new collection. She combines tailoring and draping to make silhouettes appear strong, while still feminine and beautiful.

Click here to check out event photos from NY fashion week or the below slideshow of her collection.

Click on the play button below to view a video interview of Althea Harper talking about her accomplishments, NYFW and new collection!

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Check out this slideshow of her new collection. Photos by Brian Lynch.

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Kardashian Sisters Show Love to Local Designer

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Kardashian sisters sure know how to steal the limelight. But I just discovered that these sassy sisters are showing a little limelight love to Dayton native, Althea Harper (designer from Season 6 of Project Runway).

I follow Althea on Twitter and she recently posted something about the Kardashians wearing items from the ALTHEA HARPER FALL 2010 collection for her promo shoot with Keeping Up With the Kardashians Season 5.

Pretty cool! Check it out!

Kourtney Kardashian in an Althea Harper color block dress design

I got the pleasure of meeting Althea in June at an event Cincy Chic promoted for Paris J Boutique. Teresa, the owner of Paris J Boutique, is working on getting her back here in the next couple months for another event, so check back soon for more details about that.

And, can I just say, I’m pretty proud of myself for forecasting this sheer trend back in Feb! Stay tuned for more daper dopplar radar here on Chic This Week – where the fashion news comes first.

haha! Have a great weekend everyone!

Interview with Proactiv Shoot Wardrobe Stylist

I landed safely in LA yesterday and they shuffled me over to the studio lot. Apparently we’re filming on the same set as “I Love Lucy!”

First thing on the agenda: wardrobe fitting. The stylist, Julie Rae Engelsman, had emailed us testimonials asking about our personalities, where we like to shop and colors we like to wear.

They wanted us to bring our own clothes for the shoot, but she said she’d be doing shopping for us to get supplemental wardrobe if she didn’t like what we brought. She said not to bring anything solid black or white, patterned or ribbed and that literally canceled out 99.9% of my closet.

I tried to bring as much as I could, but I opened up my suitcase and she just shook her head and went to the racks. I wasn’t upset because whatever I wear of theirs on set, I get to keep!

First thing I tried on was a robin egg blue halter dress with a black floral print and a cute matching wrap-around shawl from Anthropologie. I was in love. Then Julie had me try on a blue Calvin Klein crinkle-ruffle wrap dress. Adored. Then they had me wear two purple tops with my own jeans. Didn’t love them as much, but they don’t look bad.I really hope they want me to wear one of the blue dresses!

I got to talking with Julie and she was FASCINATING! I asked if I could get a video interview with her for the blog and she shyly declined. I wanted to get a picture of us, but I didn’t want to press my luck. She said it was ok to do a verbal interview though.

So, I asked her how she liked wardrobe styling for the Proactiv shoots (she was on set with my last shoot two years ago). She said she loves it, but that she sees it more as character styling. She doesn’t shop for the trends, she shops for the character of *who* each person is, what they like, don’t like, shop, do, etc. This helps them be more comfortable on set, and more believable on screen.

She said she wasn’t a “label whore” and was disillusioned with all the celebs getting into the fashion scene. She said “if it looks good and it fits their character and personality, then they need to wear it. On screen and in real life.”

I thought that was fascinating. Here I wanted to talk with her about trends and color forecasting, and she couldn’t have cared less about all that. She took me around the room and showed me what she meant. The racks were divided into each testimonial. She said one of the testimonial is from Atlanta, and you could see how that southern belle look was different from the California girl’s laid-back, lose fitting section. Mine was all pseudo professional, but fun and flirty. She shopped at Nordstrom and Anthropologie for me. A girl after my own heart. : )

I really enjoyed learning more about Julie’s craft and how she does what she does. She’s been in the business for 22 years and worked on everything from VH1 reality shows to Matel commercials and Proactiv infomercials. Check out her website here: www.julieraeengelsman.com

And enjoy the pics I took below of my trip thus far!