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POP INTERVIEW: Celina Jade of The CW’s “Arrow”

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Describing Celina Jade packs bad ass and beauty in the same sentence. Yes, she is currently starring in a recurring role on The CW’s Arrow, but she also has a softer side. The martial arts diva and singer has modeled for the high end Japanese makeup brand, Shu Uemura, and was just featured in Vanity Fair España. Jade is a hot new actress for moviegoers in the United States – expect to see her doing movies akin to Sin City in her future.

celina jade headshot

Did you ever watch The CW or as it was called in its early “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” days, The WB? What were your favorite shows? What shows do you like recently on The CW?
My sister was a huge Buffy fan back in the day. I saw a few episodes and enjoyed them, but never had the time to really chase it. I was more focused on trying to get the best grades I could in school. I was a geek back then. My favorite show on The CW is Arrow right now…I watch a few episodes of Supernatural and Nikita too. I actually started watching Arrow just before I got my part because Byron Mann (who plays my father Yao Fei) was in it and we had worked together on The Man with the Iron Fists. I love TV series’ based on comic books! It’s been a dream to play a Comic Book character. I feel very blessed and honored to be part of this.

As a result of being on the network, are your fans predominantly young girls? What do they want to know when they meet you?
To be honest, I don’t know whether my fans are predominantly girls or boys. It used to be predominantly boys who followed my movie career and girls who followed my music career. I’m hoping they will even out with time. 🙂 Usually the first question they ask is, ‘Do you really speak Chinese?’ That’s why it’s kinda ironic Oliver says in ‘Salvation,’ “She speaks English.” I can’t help but laugh.

In your UDN.com interview, you talk about filming in the cold. This sounds like doing professional sports in cold weather. What do you do to adapt?
I don’t know if there’s ever such a thing as fully ‘adapting to the cold’. I’m just a warm weather kind of girl. Haha! Although, James Bamford, our fight choreographer has been amazing in giving me tips… obviously lots of stretching, hydration and using Epsom salts in my bath after a long shoot day. I once accidentally breathed it in trying to figure out if Epsom salts smelled good… quite embarrassing really.

celina jade

In March, you attended the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong. Who are some amazing actors and actresses who need to start appearing in American/UK crossover films like Zhang Ziyi?
Asia is definitely full of new talent! I think it’s difficult for a lot of Asian actresses to cross over because of the language barrier. Not a lot of locals speak fluent Chinese. I think the ones that will crossover will be the ones who are able to embrace the Western culture fully. I am hoping that Wu Jing will get more noticed in American/ UK films because he’s simply an amazing fighter. After all, he was the national champion in Wushu in China after Jet Li.

Meanwhile, when American movies have roles for Asian women, it is always the supporting character: the quiet best friend, the temporary girlfriend getting dumped when the American lead actress rekindles with her boyfriend, etc. The CW is amazing on a resume. How are you going to avoid being trapped in the wrong roles now that you have a starting point for nighttime dramas, comedy and the, maybe, girl character whom every guy dumps the women for in a movie?
I don’t really have a strategy to avoid being trapped in the wrong roles per se. Usually, my attitude is pick the roles you believe in and especially the ones you strongly relate to. If it doesn’t get you excited it’s best to leave it for someone else which it will excite cause she will play it better than you. I think, more and more, we will see Asian actresses in lead roles in film as well as TV. China is a huge market as well as growing and producers are very aware of that. Arrow has millions of views every week in China. It’s so cool to have Chinese fans’ support… I hope I don’t end up the girl character that gets dumped. Ha! I will do my best to fight for it so we can all celebrate together 😉 LOL.

Sometimes, I will try to get someone to watch a kung fu movie for the sheer fun of it. Nobody wants to do it. Is this out of fear of the unknown?
Haha, I don’t know! Although my cousin who is American once told me he doesn’t think there’s much of a market for Kung Fu anymore… because realistically, the bad guy can just pull out a gun and the scene is done. I think if guns were not becoming so prominent, people would appreciate martial arts more. In HK, you cannot get a gun license… so it’s fair combat. Guess that’s why there’s still a market for Kung Fu films? Honestly though, this is a farfetched hypotheses. Who knows…

celina jade 1

I’m not familiar with Asian action films at all. What is a good way to begin watching them? More often than not, I don’t feel like watching a really old movie. Are there any really good recent films? I also love movies about women in strong roles – what are your picks for that kind?
My favorite Asian action films are: ‘Hero’, ‘House of the Flying Daggers’, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ – if you haven’t seen those, then you have to get going on them. They’re old, but not super old, so not the cult film type… 😉 Also some great action comedies, the classics, are the ones with Stephen Chow like ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ and ‘Shaolin Soccer.’ In terms of movies about women in strong roles, I think I know more American film in that genre… although I heard ‘The Lady’ was pretty good with Michelle Yeoh. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s definitely on my list to watch.

On Twitter, when you photographed a bistro sandwich, you wrote, “I forgot I’m in America. The portion sizes are huge!” What else do you notice is different about living and working in America? What is special about working in Asia?
Wow! You read my twitter! I’m impressed! Now I feel like I need to write more meaningful things other than the portion size of my food. 🙂 Working in Asia is different in the sense that the timelines are much shorter… it takes on average a week to shoot an episode whereas over here it takes approx. 2-weeks. People working in action films in Asia often joke that work-life is so much easier in the States…such as the safety; the unions in the West really protect actors. In Asia, we don’t really have unions… so it’s longer hours, no meal penalties and the risk-taking in doing action is higher. I like to think working in the East has prepared me for working in the West. It definitely gives you thicker skin in some ways.

What are you doing with music in Chinese and English?
Well, I recently released my first self-written English album on iTunes. When I finish shooting Arrow over here in April, I will be returning to Hong Kong to play the lead role in our very own musical, Good Morning HK. I’m really excited because it’s an original story born out of HK about HK and is set in the context of the handover in 1997. I think we’re far enough along to talk about it now and feel comfortable. I’m really excited to be playing opposite London West End actors and honored to be working with multi-award winning director / musical directs as Warren Wills & Frank Howson. It’s gonna be fun doing 14 shows on stage at the Lyric Theatre, APA and not on screen for a change. In terms of Chinese music, I still write and place my songs in the projects that I do. I love not having a record label in that sense. I have complete creative control… if my fans find my music, it’s a hidden gem for them, not an over-marketed commercial item. I like to think of it that way… 😉

Thank you so much for interviewing me. I really appreciate your questions being different than most interviews I do. I can see you put a lot of effort into asking interesting questions. Thank you for that!

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Entertainment

What’s Brian Tryin’? The Crispy Sandwich Maker by Apod!

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This weekend I tried out a new product that’s been crowdsourcing on IndieGogo. (The link is here.)

It’s called a Crispy Sandwich Maker, made by Apod.

I always love trying out a new gadget, so it was fun to see how this one would play out.  What makes this one a bit different than most sandwich makers is that this only requires just one single slice of bread to make a compact, easy to eat snack that can be sweet or savory. It can be used over a gas stove flame, or, with caution, a campfire, although the design’s arm length better lends itself to a smaller flame like a home kitchen stove.

Because I love a s’more, I decided to do an interpretation of that using  nutella spread and marshmallow spread. My friend John and I were happily making these little sandwiches in the kitchen while I friends taste tested the results along the way.

While the product description says that it requires no oil, we did decide to butter the bread to give a nice brown color to the sandwich, although it could easily be done without it.

The results of the nutella and marshmallow spread crispy sandwiches were consistent and delicious. After about two minutes per side, sandwiches were golden brown and the inside filling was oozy and delicious.

Then it was on to make a savory snack in the form of a crispy ham and cheese with dijon. Again, about two minutes on each side over the flame was just enough to brown the bread and warm up the savory fillings.

This was a fun gadget to play with, and the results were delicious. All in all, everyone gave the results a thumbs up!

To be part of this indiegogo campaign, visit this link!

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Design

Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign

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As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!

THE DINING ROOM

Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!

ON TO THE GUEST BEDROOM!

GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
THE GUEST BEDROOM

Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!

 

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A post shared by Brian Balthazar (@brianbalthazar)

THE GAME ROOM

BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT / GAME ROOM

Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from PoolTables.com and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!

 

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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Entertainment

Well Sh-t, Leslie Jordan Has Shared Three Videos Of Himself Dancing In One Week And They’re All Perfect

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Doing much better now, Leslie.

If you’ve never believed that “good things come in small packages” then you’ve never seen Leslie Jordan’s instagram. The 4’11” actor known for his iconic roles in shows like Will & Grace and American Horror Story has recently developed a whole new fanbase who loves him for his viral Instagram videos. Usually starting each video by greeting fans with “Well shit, how y’all doing?”, viewers have grown to anticipate Jordan’s hilarious recounting of stories from his time in show biz or growing up in the south. This week, however, the Tennessee native has shared 3 videos of himself dancing within 5 days and honestly it’s precisely what we all need right now.

The first video was posted on August 12th and shows Jordan taking part of the “Git up and dance challenge” which swept the internet about a year ago. Even though he is a little late, the video is still perfection.

On August 13th, Jordan does a dance to “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from Hairspray a with special guest dance partner Katie Couric!

Finally, on August 15th, Jordan does an epic “tootsie roll” and challenges Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star, Lisa Rinna, to do the tootsie roll herself. Of course Rinna commented with a big “ON IT ❤️😂.” Who could say no to the viral star?!?

The moral of the story here is that the world is going through some tough times right now but maybe, even for a few seconds, we could all feel better if we’d just dance it out. Thanks for the inspo Leslie Jordan!

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