Spotlight on John Casablancas Alum: LaKeith Stanfield

From high school drama student to the star of numerous critically acclaimed films, LaKeith Stanfield may be young but his career is far from amateur.

Born and raised in California, Stanfield never really identified being an esteemed performer as a career path. He was simply an entertainer for his family, putting on sock puppet shows for aunts and pretending to have accents at gatherings. It wasn’t until he joined his high school drama club that his ambition began to take form. From there, he began to search for roles in earnest, eventually qualifying for a spot at John Casablancas where he was signed with a manager and began his official acting career.

Stanfield’s start was in commercials but the silver screen had a stronger hold on him. With persistence, he found success in film, landing the leading role in a student film entitled Short Term 12. After that, things went silent for a while. Then, Destin Cretton, the director of the short film, called Stanfield back and invited him to be a part of a full movie production of Short Term 12. Stanfield was in and the rest, they say, is history.

From the film’s success at SXSW and Stanfield’s subsequent nomination for a best supporting male award, he has gone on to achieve what so many set out to do. In 2014, he found himself starring in big-budget movies, including The Purge: Anarchy and Selma. Roles kept coming and, today, he’s quickly becoming a contender for an Oscar in this year’s well-received Judas and the Black Messiah.

As for the future? Only time will tell. With an impressive list of major motion pictures already under his belt and a growing list of accolades and praise, it’s hard to imagine this alum achieving anything less than a place among the stars.

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The Perfect Pose

While every pose is different for every model, that’s not to say every pose is perfect. Even if you feel like pushing the conventions of current posing to really bring out your inner fire on camera, there are still tried and true methods you should know about to ensure your bold beauty doesn’t turn out to be a disturbing dud.

Nurture the Neck

Your neck is a part of your overall beauty. When tucked away, we look downright ugly. Regardless of what you do with your shoulders, always make sure your neck is visible. Practicing elongation is the best way to figure out how to always include the neck without making it look unnatural.

See Past the Camera

The eyes are the windows to the soul. When people look at a photo of you, they should be able to see a fire in your gaze. To achieve this, though, you, yourself, have to create an intensity during your shoot. Don’t just stare off into the direction the photographer points to. Look at that direction and find an emotion to shoot at it using your eyes alone.

Keep the Limbs Out

When you hug your limbs to your body, it pushes the skin and muscle outward, creating a larger appearance. Instead, use one of the best tricks of the trade by holding your limbs slightly away. This will keep your look slim through optical illusion.

Relax Your Hands

Though given little focus, the hands are actually incredibly important parts of a photo. Keep them relaxed at all times. Ideally, you’ll want to practice keeping the fingers rounded and never showing the camera the backs of the hands. The sides of hands create interesting shapes and lines.

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Learning Lines

Memorization is essential for every actor, whether you prefer to perform on stage or in front of a camera. Many, however, also find this to be the most challenging part. Luckily, technology is changing all of that with apps designed specifically for line memorization.

Script Rehearser Free – Android

For those in need of a more economical script memorization app, Script Rehearser Free is arguably one of the best on the market. Once a script is loaded, you have access to a text reader that will recite your partner’s lines to you so that you can practice speaking back. You can even skip areas you know very well or repeat scenes that are giving you trouble. Like most free apps, there are a few bugs but nothing that can’t be overcome.

Off Book! – iOS

Another free app, Off Book! is a great option for the iPhone users of the acting world. What makes it unique, however, is its reliance on aural memorization rather than text. To set it up, you simply record the scene you want to practice. Once done, you now can add your own unique edits by either muting your lines, cueing your lines or just letting everything play through to the end. While the set up may take some time, it’s the perfect companion for the actor that learns best by listening.

My Lines – iOS

Costing only $1.99, My Lines is a tool developed specifically for actors. In it, the entire script is shown with your parts highlighted. When ready, these lines can then be turned off so that the script is still there but you see blank space where your lines should be. On top of this, all lines can be recorded to provide you with both a visual and aural means of practice.

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How to Cry on Cue

It’s the dream of every actor. Not a single role goes by where a good tear couldn’t make the moment even better, especially on camera. While not all actors can let loose when told, it’s a skill that certainly comes in handy when trying to get cast.

Stay Hydrated

Before tackling the emotional aspects of crying on command, it’s of the utmost importance to know that you can’t expel water from the body unless the body has water to expel. For this simple little concept to work, you have to drink lots of water.

Don’t Force It

For those of us that have cried and do cry when the feeling strikes, we know that it’s never forced in those moments. Our emotions are simply too strong to hold the tears back, resulting in an overflow. If, on stage, you’re obsessed with analyzing how to make that happen, you’ve already severed your connection to the sadness that would have led to tears. As soon as you tell yourself you have to cry, you won’t.

Accept Your Sadness

Odds are society has taught you to push your sadness away. Whether you needed to keep a straight face at home or were teased at school for crying too much, we, as humans, develop many ways to alter such a negatively received response. To open that outlet once again, it takes time, patience and practice. You must reteach yourself how to react to sadness. You have to learn not to cover it up but to let it out. This alone can take years of work as you figure out the “what” behind the block. Only then, however, can you hope to recondition yourself to accept crying as a normal, natural response to an emotional state to extreme duress.

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Overcoming Stage Fright

Whether you want it to happen or not, there’s no denying the increased heart rate and sweaty palms that signify every performer’s greatest demon – stage fright. It’s a frustrating feat that keeps many away from ever auditioning for anything, but not you. No. You’re different. You’re going to conquer this and you’re going to succeed. Here’s how to turn that monster into an ignorable nuisance.

Breathe Deep and Breath Regular

As soon as you let your breathing get out of control, everything falls apart. By allowing the heart rate to keep increasing through faster breathing, your mind is being told by your physical reactions that something is very wrong. It will then trigger even more crazy reactions in response to a fictional danger. While you can’t control your exact heart rate, breathing deep allows you to breathe slower. Breathing slower forces your heart to slow down, a reaction that then signals the brain there isn’t an immediate danger.

Protect Your Posture

In the fear of the moment, it’s not uncommon to want to slouch the shoulders or look less intimidating. This is because your brain is being told there is danger around. By coiling up, you reduce the chance of being noticed by this danger. Don’t cave in. There is no danger, and the longer you hold the strong posture, the more you convince your brain to let up on the anxiety.

Start with a Bang

The nerves never go away entirely. Every audition will yield stressful feelings. Because this is physically a buildup of energy, get yourself into a better place for the audition by opening with a piece that explodes into action at the start. Following this, you’ll find the calmer moments much easier to achieve now that your body has experienced the release it needed.

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How To Walk The Runway In High Heels

Fashion designers require models to wear high heels for a reason. If the recent global Fashion Weeks are any indication, heels are here to stay! Heels will make a model taller, her legs will look longer and her body will appear thinner. Popular opinion says the clothes will look more appealing.

A stiletto heel forces you to balance the majority of your weight on the ball of your foot. Your calf muscles tense up and your hamstrings shorten and you butt sticks outward. Walking in stilettos exposes your feet in a very small space of the front of the shoe which causes blisters, calluses, corns and ingrown toenails. Now, you are precariously balancing yourself on 5″ “spikes”, disrupting your posture and putting seven times more pressure on the ball of your foot. This can easily put at risk for sprained or broken ankles. So, it’s imperative you learn how to walk properly in high heels!

The first question to ask yourself is “Are your heels too tight? Too wide? too narrow or too big? Does the arch of the shoe fit your arch? If you answered yes to  one if not more of these questions, you need to reevaluate and invest in proper fitting heels.

Definitely consider insoles for added comfort. A model’s trick for walking on a slippery surface is to apply the anti-slip, non-skid adhesive tape on the bottom of the shoe, underneath the sole.

Do exercises to strengthen your calves and ankles. Stretching exercises are a must! Learn how to stand without wobbling. A simple exercise is to simply stand tall and straight for a few minutes. Once you learn how to balance your body, smooth walking will be easier.

PRACTICE walking in your heels! Start out slow with a short step and straight back. Walk toe to heel which helps to distribute your weight better. Remember to walk with your toes pointed straight in front of you. Practice walking on different types of flooring (carpet, tile, hardwood, concrete). Wear your heels at home so the shoe can mold itself to your feel. Practice will make perfect!

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Do You Breakout When Using SPF Products?

There are two general types of sunscreens, physical and chemical ones. Physical sunscreens use physical UV filters, while chemical sunscreens use chemical UV filters.

Physical sunscreen protects your skin from the sun by DEFLECTING or blocking the sun’s rays. A chemical sunscreen works by ABSORBING the sun’s rays. Obviously, a physical sunscreen is best because it deflects the harmful sun rays and it has only two UV Filers (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide). A chemical sunscreen contains 12 UV Filters which is way too many chemicals!

So, next time you are checking out skincare or cosmetic products that contain a SPF, looks for the physical version which will help prevent skin breakouts!

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Biggest Hair Trends of 2021

When you go through a major life event, you change your hair. It’s a simple fact of life. And what was 2020 if not one of the biggest life events ever?


Bangs can’t be overstated in their current level of popularity. And the best part? All types of bangs are welcome. Long, short, curly, or straight, there’s really no restriction on the type of bangs you can sport and still be considered trendy. This means you can finally find a fit for your face if you’ve never tried them before.

The Shag

A cut that looks good on everyone and is extremely easy to maintain, the shag focuses on layers rather than length. It is possible to have a great shag with any hair texture so long as the layers complement your unique facial shape.

The Bob

A longtime favorite, the bob is back in style. The key to pulling off a good bob is matching it to you. While straight and shiny is the most visually appealing, it’s not the only way to rock the look (or the best). Wear it longer if you need to or keep in the curls. It can even be elevated with a choppy look.

The Mullet

For better or for worse, the mullet is making its move. Luckily, this version’s rise is a lot shorter and has more added texture for a look that flows together a bit more seamlessly than previous renditions. And if it fails, it can turn into a great bob.

Crafted Color

If you’re looking for something fun, head to your nearest professional colorist and add a pop of blue or pink or purple to your hair. Anything bright is a fun way to spruce up your current haircut without inadvertently going tacky.

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Best Foundations for Under $20

Best Foundations for Under $20

There’s cheap and then there’s frugal. When it comes to makeup, it pays to know the difference. Here are the best foundations that will leave you looking like a million without costing just as much.

L’Oreal Paris True Match – $9

A mainstay since it first launched in 1994, L’Oreal’s liquid foundation is almost too good to be true at its price point. With 45 different shades to choose from and a smooth application that looks and feels natural without requiring a thick coat, it’s hard to pass up.

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless – $5

The Fit Me! brand is a must for anyone with oily skin. Without being cakey, the foundation softens pore appearance while keeping facial oils in check. Pair that with a velvety, natural look, and you have a foundation fit for any face.

Burt’s Bees Goodness Glows – $17

Though this foundation brushes the $20 limit, it does so for a good reason. Unlike the previous two options, Burt’s Bees stays true to its commitment to keep their products as natural as possible. It’s an eco-friendly solution designed to nourish and hydrate the skin while adding to your natural beauty.

Colourpop No Filter Stick Foundation – $11

If you’d rather have a foundation that is easy to apply on the move, look no further than Colourpop’s stick foundation. This velvety matte is easy to build on or sheer out. It’s also a top choice for those that only use foundation on certain areas of their face rather than all over.

Morphe Fluidity – $18

At the highest price point on this list, Morphe’s Fluidity is so for a good reason. Water-resistant, sweat proof, and transfer-resistant, it’s a long-lasting choice that easily endures harsh conditions.

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What to Wear to Your Zoom Audition

What to Wear to Your Zoom Audition

Clothes make the man, or, in this case, the audition. Luckily, the rules of the wardrobe haven’t changed drastically since the switch to Zoom. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always refresh your knowledge of how to dress for audition success.

Craft the Color

Avoid grays, browns, golds, oranges, and yellows. Those colors hardly enhance your natural skin tone and often pull focus away from your face. Instead, find a color that makes you look even better. Remember, you’re the one making the statement, not your clothes. Jewel tones typically look the best, such as emeralds and sapphires.

Plain but Pretty

Avoid busy patterns, garish colors, reds, and logos unless asked otherwise. Bright colors typically soak up any lighting you have, pulling it away from your face. Reds are bad because the color looks different in every camera, sometimes coming out orange. Logos and patterns are simply busy and distracting.

Know the Neck

It’s rarely talked about but is very important. Your neckline is a huge part of how your face and neck are framed. Collars and V-necks are ideal because they provide an interesting shape without distorting your natural proportions. Turtlenecks are bad because they make you seem like you have something to hide and cowl-necks distort your neck.

Keep Conservative

Unless you are specifically asked to show off some skin or a bit of cleavage, dress conservatively. At best, it’s just distracting, at worst it can be interpreted in a number of negative ways by the casting crew.

Avoid Accessories

Necklaces, bangles, and other accessories only serve as distractions, drawing the eye to them rather than your face. On top of that, you never know if a piece of jewelry will catch the light just enough to provide your audience with an annoying refraction.

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