Celeb Interviews

Interview: Tanya Clarke of Driver X The Movie: From Soaps to the Big Screen and Now as Queen Rynda on Marvel's Inhumans
Interview by Suzanne Ordas Curry

Tanya Clarke is a busy actress. Her latest movie, Driver X is now out. She plays Dawn, the wife of a middle-aged man, played by Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) who becomes a driver of a ride-sharing service. It's mainly a comedy, based on actual people the writer met while being a driver for an actual car service. So of course think funny, peppered with a dose of reality as it chronicles the challenges of a near-baby-boomer driving around millenials. Read:

TV Host Casey Messer of Good Morning New Mexico: On Puffy Shirts, Being an Architect, Festivus and How Perseverance Pointed Her in This Direction
I don't recall the initial prompt, but I met Casey on Social Media. I think what attracted my attention was her love of Seinfeld, a mutual love. So, I had to know what this girl was about.  She must be pretty cool and have a great sense of humor if she could watch Seinfeld repeats and laugh each time. Read: http://www.suzeebehindthescenes.com/2017/10/tv-host-casey-messer-of-good-morning.html

Interview: Soap Star Cady McClain Forges New Career as Director: She's On Trend with New Doc Seeing is Believing: Women Direct
  Interview by Suzanne Ordas Curry
Cady McClain is forging a name for herself as a director. Most well-known for her lengendary roles on the soaps All My ChildrenAs The World Turns and Young and the Restless, her true passion is behind the camera. Cady's recent documentary, Seeing is Believing, Women Direct, showcases several women current women directors, revealing their struggles and successes. The word is out now on the power of the female director and Cady is helping to spread it. Read: http://www.suzeebehindthescenes.com/2017/06/interview-soap-star-cady-mcclain-forges.html

Interview: Martha Byrne Talks Soaps Now and Then- CBS Daytime TV Reunion on THE TALK
Soaps are here to stay, even with changing viewing habits. Martha Byrne, legend of daytime, was on As The World Turns for two decades, General Hospital and wrote for Bold and The Beautiful. We ask her why people continue to tune in, and what 's she's up to now.     

RHONJ's Amber Marchese: The Real Cancer Story Behind This Real Housewife - "I Looked Like a Turnip" - How She Would Like to Save a Life with Her Story
Editor's Note: In this candid interview, RHONJ Amber Marchese opens up about her bout with breast cancer, detailing everything from when she first found it to the way her chemo made her feel to how her husband was there for her the whole time. Read about the doctor that saved her life, how she dealt with the pain, and get some words of wisdom. To read:

Interview: Bette Midler's Daughter Sophie Von Haselberg- From China to Wall Street She's Forging Her Own Path in Show Business - See Her in Wall Street Thriller Equity

Sophie Von Haselberg is making quite a name for herself in Hollywood. This talented and personable young lady has had roles in three feature films and her role in Equity, the story of a female investment banker who takes a company public, is sure to put her on the road to success. Read more: 

Interview: Movie Producer/Actress Sarah Megan Thomas of Backwards and Equity Movie  Can You Have it All? 
Sarah Megan Thomas is an actress, writer and producer whose second film, Equity, a financial thriller rolled out in theaters nationwide this past year and is now available on DVD. Aside from the suspense and storyline of this timely drama, Equity is known as being a film written, directed, starring, and produced mainly by women. In Equity it’s the females that call the shots. 
 Read: http://www.suzeebehindthescenes.com/2016/12/females-in-entertainment-interview.html

Interview - Loving's Christopher Mann: On Growing Up, Going Places Unplanned and Where He's Headed Next

Off the heels of  his role as Theoliver in Loving, which received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations,  Actor Christopher Mann is now appearing in an indie film, But Deliver Us From Evil. His resume is impressive, having appeared on such notable shows as The Wire, House of Cards, many other hit shows and the movie Michael ClaytonI was thrilled to have the chance to interview Chris when I met him through a film festival and even more thrilled to hear his honest, insightful and experienced answers. Click to read:

Interview: Meet Stephanie Little from Amazon's The Other F Word - "Theres's SO Muc More Wisdom at This Stage of the Game."

Actress Stephanie Little has found a home in Caytha Jentis' The Other F Word, an Amazon Video Directo Star show. I met Stephanie on the set while filming Season 2 of this hit series, which takes a comedic look at life for Generation X. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth watching. Think Sex in the City all grown up.  

SBTSTell me about your character in The Other F Word.  Click to read on: http://www.suzeebehindthescenes.com/2017/05/interview-meet-stephanie-little-from.html

Interview with General Hosptial and Fear of the Walking Dead Flight 462's Kathleen Gati: From Port Charles to the Not-So-Friendly Skies

Kathleen Gati is a Canadian actress most well known for her role as the sinister Dr. Lisa Olbrecht on the long-running daytime drama General Hospital, is now part of the immensely popular Walking Dead phenomenon. She plays Deirdre, a flight attendant on the companion series to WD Fear The Walking Dead, Flight 462.

This actress has been on stage and screen since the 80's, appearing all over the place with roles in stage and screen in Canada, the US and internationally. With her exotic European aura and her flair for European accents, she often plays . From the webseries Winterthorne to Star Wars: Clone Wars, to Meet the Fockers to Jimmy Kimmel she's got an extensive resume. On TV, she's had roles in The Mentalist, NCIS, Ghost Whisperer, 24, ER, The Practice, Bones, NYPD Blue and more. In addition to General Hospital, she had a long-standing role on All My Children and also appeared in Young and the Restless early in her career. Click here for more:

Interview: Christina Milian of E's "Turned Up" Talks Grwoing Upin in Jersey at her Viva Diva Wine's Signing, and Gives Advice for Aspiring Singers

Christina Milian is a well-known, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, actress and well, also, a Jersey Girl.

Few people know that she spent her youth hangin' out on the "Boulevard" in Jersey City, NJ. She was born in Jersey City on September 26, 1981.

Some of this might become more well-known now that she has her own reality show, "Turned Up" on E! It premiered January 18th, 2015 and airs on Sunday nights. It focuses on her large Cuban family.

After a fantastic start in the music industry, with several hit songs such as Dip it Low and AM to PM, Christina hopes the show will reinvigorate her singing career. Christina is also an actress, having appeared in the films American Pie and  Love Don't Cost a Thing, having had roles on several network TV shows and as voiceovers,
but most popularly starring on the megahits The Voice and Dancing With The Stars.
 Click here for interview: 

Interview: Trent Dawson from As The World Turns Talks About His Role On NCIS

Trent Dawson, most well-known for his role as Henry Coleman on As The World Turns (1998-2010)  will be guest-starring in tonight's episode of CBS' NCIS (titled "Grounded")  airing November 25th, 2014. Trent has also appeared in NCIS: Los Angeles, The Good Wife and Homeland since his days at ATWT. 

Suzee asked Trent what it was like working like on the set of this hit show. "This was so much fun!", he said. "First, they were planning to cast two different actors for these parts but they ended up letting me play both, which is a gift. The make-up and wardrobe teams did a great job making the distinction." 

Click here to read rest of article:

Interview: Actress Lauralee Bell of the Young and Restless Turns to Producing- Why She Made Her Dramatic Series about Texting and Driving

"If I Save One Life It Will All Be Worth It" - Lauralee Bell Martin

                                                                         By Suzanne Ordas Curry
Laura Lee Bell created MiPromise
My son just turned 17 and got his license on his birthday. Here in NJ, the anxious kids get their permits as soon after they turn 16 when their parents realize the inevitable has approached, they shortly thereafter learn how to drive, they log in the required hours with a certified instructor, and the piece de resistance is being able to schedule their lesson for first thing in the morning the day of their birthday. That day the kids don’t care how early they have to wake up to get to the DMV. Then they proudly drive to school that day. So on this date of my son’s 17th birthday, he took the car to school after his successful driving test in the wee hours of the morning. To read article click here: http://www.suzeebehindthescenes.com/2013/12/interview-with-laura-lee-bell-on-making.html

Interview: Broadway's Christian Borle Helps Makes Indie Film "Shutterflies" a Smash Hit

Christian Borle is a Tony-Award Winning actor piling up TV credits with his work on NBC's Smash and The Sound of Music. Now he's making a name for himself in film as the quirky and sinister Lieutenant Burns in the short film Shutterflies.

Tony-Award Winner Christian Borle in Shutterflies
It says a lot about an actor who would do a film for unknowns, let alone kids.

But Christian Borle helped out a friend of his he met on the set of  NBC's Smash, Jeff Muhlstock, whose 17-year old son was making a movie with another 17-year-old, without hesitation.

“I saw the script and I loved it”, Christian said.  "It was mini Quentin Tarantino-ish.”. But he added, “Jeff, and I have a great relationship. I would have done it anyway." To read the full article click here:  http://www.suzeebehindthescenes.com/2014/05/interview-christian-borle-helps-make.html

JerseyGirl RHONJ Teresa Giudice Talks Jersey Shore                                     by Suzanne Ordas Curry

There are some things that bind us to each other, that create our common culture. Given that we are one big nation, yet a composite of many states, our common culture varies from one part of the country to another. In New Jersey, and I believe some neighboring states, one thing that binds us together is the place where most of us have some of the fondest memories of our lives, the enduring Jersey Shore.

Though I am not a fan of the reality show Jersey Shore, it is unfortunate to say that some of the culture portrayed in that show is real. I am not referencing the behavior of the participants so much as the activities; walking the boardwalk, hanging out on the crowded beach under a colorful umbrella, playing the games of chance, eating a chili dog or a Kohr's cone. Though the show did not give a good name to the shore what it did do is  bring attention to it. A few years ago while Snookie and the Sitch were at their peak, I remember listening to a radio show  in which a caller from the Midwest said how she cancelled her vacation to Bermuda to go to the Jersey Shore because she wanted to see what it was all about. If she only visited Seaside my guess is that Bermuda made the top of her list the next year. But each shore is unique, you've got it visit each one to see what fits you best.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet one of the most famous "Jersey Girls", Teresa Giudice of the Real Housewives of NJ She was doing a book signing at my neighbor Gina's place of business.  I had helped Gina out with the publicity and was looking forward to getting some one-on-one time with Teresa  after the line died down to see if she had the same memories that this Jersey girl does.

Interview: Marc John Jefferies- Under the Radar Yet All Over TV and Film

Marc John Jefferies may not be a household name, but he's most likely been in your home on many an occasion.

When he was a very young boy he was a cast member of the illustrious and ground-breaking Cosby Show.  He's also been on such hit NBC shows as The Tracy Morgan Show, ER, Law and Order SVU, HBO's Treme and several others.

He's also done many voice-overs for TV and film. He's been in #Finding NemoMonster's Inc, Bill Cosby's Fatherhood, Justice League, Dexter and others. His movie appearances include Haunted Mansion (in which he played Eddie Murphy's son), Notorious,  Get Rich or Die Tryin', Spider Man 2 and Stuart Little. In a movie that also starred Halle Berry, Jessica Lange, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson Marc played the adorable and fought-over Isaiah in Losing Isaiah. 

Marc was nominated for 2 Young Artist Awards, one in 2002 for Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - guest starring Young Actor in The Practice (1997) and one in 2004 for Best Performance in a Feature Fill - Supporting Young Actor for The Haunted Mansion (2003.

I had the pleasure of meeting Marc at Jersey City Fashion Week, where he was lending his star power for a good cause. This 23- year old has worked with some of the greats in showbiz, so I just had to ask him what it was like to work with icons like  like Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, and Ellen DeGeneres, just a few on his list.

Very humbly, Marc first looked thoughtful as he realized the opportunities he had already had in his young life. He said "Well, it doesn't phase me because I grew up working with them." Then he added "Bill Cosby is like a dad. He is quiet and fatherly. He commands respect but he is sweet. I learned a lot from him." He said how Eddie Murphy was a great guy and role model and how "Eddie Murphy's son is like my best friend." Of #Ellen Degeneres, he said, "She's very funny and sweet and she is constantly telling a lot of jokes".

Marc also has done a lot of voice overs as a child actor and even up until this day. He said he liked doing them but "They are a little difficult because they show you is a storyboard so the creativity has to come through."

This Bronx actor's career is successfully transitioning into adulthood. At the age of 23, he just wrapped up filming a role in Brother Love, a movie executive-produced by Queen Latifah. Others in the film include Keke Palmer, Cory Hardict, Romeo Miller, Jay Lewis, Logan Browning, Malik Yoba and Faison Love. He also had a role in the recently-aired Cartoon Network movie entitled The Contest. It is a just had a movie that aired on Cartoon Network earlier this month called The Contest. This movie explores bullying. According to Stuart Snyder, President and COO of Cartoon Network, it is "their latest effort to help inspire more open discussion between kids, parents and educators about the issue of bullying." Visit the movie on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ContestMovie

Marc is also going behind the scenes and producing his own show, called South Brooklyn. The cast is not set yet but come back to SuzeeBehindtheScenes for updated information!

Aside from all of this Marc's biggest and most sincere project is what he is doing back in his own community. He has started his own acting school, to train and mentor kids that want to take a stab at show business. Visit the Marc John Jefferies Academy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MarcJohnJefferiesJrActingClass.

And now for some vital facts:

Favorite Show to Binge Watch: Breaking Bad
Favorite Item off the McDonald's Menu: McDouble
Favorite Movies: It's a tie between  The Green Mile and Blood Diamond

Interview: Big Rich Personalities - Meet the Cast of Big, Rich Atlanta

Sitting next to Sharlinda Parker, Kahdijiha and Sabrina "Brie" Rowe was like chatting with a bunch of girlfriends. They were warm, personable, open and fun. Definitely  people that you would want to hang out with.

Of course, meeting anyone for the purpose of an interview is different than meeting them for a different reason, but I am a pretty good judge of character from being on this planet for so long, and these ladies were genuine. We were at the same event in NY with Perez Hilton and they were happy to talk about their new show. 

Because there are so many ways of getting on a reality show, my first question was, "How did you get on the show?" (And check back soon for my post, "How to Get on a Reality Show"). Their answer was what I had been finding lately: Kahdijiha said they were personally asked. This seems to be how a lot of people are getting on shows as of late.  This could be because producers are more particular about what kind of person they want for their show; perhaps they want to bring something new to the table or to duplicate a successful model. However, I have heard of many people turning down being on a reality show so I also think casting has become more difficult and specific.

Kahdijiha said that she had been recommended by people in Atlanta to the producers, "because they knew us and they knew my dad." She said, "My dad was an popular R & B singer from the R & B Band 112 (Quinnes "Q" Parker). "

I asked her how it was all going. She said, "I love being on the show because I get to work with my mother and my aunt. We all are business owners." Then we all chatted about how great it was to see women business owners on TV. 

I had not watched the show yet when I met them, but it just started airing January 23, 2013. These ladies were very positive and I do find that there are always aspects of the true personality that shine through no matter how hard they try to portray themselves as someone else. When I tuned in to  the show I could see that the ladies were playing themselves,  which is what they told me. Sharlinda said, 'What you see on the camera is real. You can't be happy all of the time, so you see the good and the bad, but we all rock on.".  

The show is pretty good. In addition to the three I met, other cast members are likeable as well. Harvin, Virginia and Meyer were also at the same event looking fabulous.  I watched a few episodes and there wasn't as much high drama as on the Real Housewives franchises but I am sure there is some to come. It airs on the Style Network. Visit www.stylenetwork.com for details.

Interview: Two - Time Emmy Winner Martha Byrne Dishes on Soaps

Martha was part of the As The World Turns cast for almost two decades. She grew up on the soap and is a respected actor and producer in the industry.  After ATWT went off the air, she put together her own "soap" on the Internet. This continuing drama, called "Gotham" is in the process now of production for broadcast TV as well as multiple digital platforms. With the resurgence of some popular soaps, and now the recent news that the OWN Network will now show them, Martha's show is at the forefront of the new wave of popularity for soaps. 

Come back to this blog for more interviews as we follow Martha through the production process. Please "Like" GothamTheSeries on Facebook for the latest updates.

SBTS: What are your fondest memories of being on ATWT?

I specifically remember my first day. I was not the first actress to play the role of Lily. I was chosen from my original audition six months prior when the actress who was chosen left abruptly. I was called on a Friday to start the following Monday. Who knew I would stay for 19 years?? There are so many wonderful memories, but at the end of the day, it's the family aspect of the job that stays with me. There is no other job like it in the world. When you do a film or TV series, it ends after a few weeks or in rare cases, a few years. Working on ATWT brought a lifetime of relationships which are very intimate and stay with you. Over the 19 years on the show, I got married, had three babies and won a few Emmys in between. It was a great ride.

SBTS: What inspired you to create your own series for the Web? 

I wrote an hour pilot script for Gotham in 2007 and shopped it around to different production companies for television broadcast. At that time soap operas were on the downslide. No one wanted to touch it. As a member of that community, I knew where it was failing, I was living it. Elements of the genre weren't being given the attention needed to survive, from a creative prospective. You must do what's good for the show for the long haul, not make a quick decision that could impact the institution of these shows for years. Daytime shows used to have a Bible of six months of story, carefully mapped out, that disappeared. Shows would tape two-three weeks in advance when they were thriving, so if a story was tanking, it could be fixed. Due to the desire to save money, shows began to tape two-three months ahead which created the obvious problem. It was cost effective, but created other challenges. Just a few examples of what was trending at that time. The audiences voiced their frustrations by tuning out.  They want smart, thought provoking stories and when you don't respect that, you're doomed. I wanted to produce a show that was story driven with great characters that gave the audience a playground of thought. After a few companies passed on the show, Lisa Brown said, "Let's do it ourselves for the web." 

SBTS: What was the most fascinating aspect of putting together your own show on the Web? The freedom to do anything you want? The ability to produce content and deliver it quickly? 

The best part of doing a project for the web at that time was the freedom to learn. It was still considered artists just messing around on the web, because there was no money to be made in the eyes of the industry. We knew it was the only medium that would embrace what we were doing and watch. I didn't want to just talk about making something with integrity, I wanted to see if I was right about producing something at a reduced budget without sacrificing quality. I learned quickly what worked and what didn't, so now moving forward I know we are well versed on how to maximize our success.

SBTS: I heard your show was nominated for several awards. Can you tell me about that? 

Roger Newcomb at We Love Soaps (www.welovesoaps.com) has been the biggest champion for indie soaps. Gotham won an Indie Soap Award in our first year. In 2010 we were nominated for an Emmy in a new category designed for content for the web. It was a great pat on the back for the work we had put into the show. 

SBTS: What was production like for your webseries? Who did you work with? 

The beauty of having worked in daytime television for so long, I had built in relationships with friends in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Our crew was mostly made up of people I worked with on ATWT. The cast was graciously filled with actors I had worked with or were recommended by friends of mine in the business. All professionals working for the greater good to keep soaps alive.

SBTS: Are you excited about bringing Gotham to television? 

Very. It has been an incredible roller coaster ride and every day there is another challenge. After working on the web where it has been called the "wild west", now going to broadcast we have a lot more rules and regulations which I embrace. We're playing in the big leagues now and I couldn't be happier. 

Interview: RHONJ Linda Speaks - You Gotta Shake Things Up!


Tips from the Gym...

In the RHONJ episode airing June 16th Teresa's friend Linda, who we had never heard from on the show, was at the gym that Teresa and Linda always worked out at and in popped Jaqueline, Melissa and Kathy who apparently had never been to that gym.  

Linda was dumbfounded. She immediately let Teresa know.

And then the drama started.

I met Linda at one of Teresa's book signings. Ladies in the crowd were recognizing her and so I went over to talk to her about it.

"They NEVER come to our gym," She said. "I knew they were filming that day but I wasn't expecting that, and it ended up being a big deal."

Linda from the Gym, aka Linda Berger is very different from the persona portrayed on the show and she said she was not exactly thrilled with the editing. She can often be found at the gym - which certainly explains the lack of anything jellylike on her physique - because not only does she work out, but she is an AFAA trainer. Brains behind the beauty, I also learned she was a Certified Public Accountant, having graduated from Rutgers University. A fellow alum of mine, she was very well spoken.

"Okay then, Linda,", I said, seeing how I had a personal source now of fitness tips, "Seriously, tell us what the secret is."  

The ladies I was standing there with were all in their forties, some over fifty. Ironically we were positioned near a huge spread of cupcakes from various local bakeries, including Baked in a Cup, cookies, wraps, salads and other foods. I was really hungry but all I did was take a glass of Diet Coke. 

"Tell us what we should be doing. If someone has never been to a gym before, how would you suggest they start?" I asked.

Linda's eyes became expressive and you can tell she was genuinely eager to help. She said, "If you join a gym, I would first say to find an instructor. Have them show you around and show you how to use the equipment. Then take 5-10 one-on-one courses with an instructor. People have a fear of not working the machines right, and once your get familiar with the equipment, you will find something you like." She added, " I would also suggest taking a small group class. There are 60-70 year-olds in there so you shouldn't feel embarrassed."

Then I asked about women - and I hate to use this term - but middle-aged women. "What can we do?" I asked. "I walk all the time."

"You've got to switch it up, shake it up," she said. "Your body gets used to doing what it does all the time. People that clean houses and are active all day don't always lose weight because their bodies are used to walking up and down stairs and all that other stuff.  You've got to shock your body."

She continued, "As you get older you already have a tendency to gain so if you are not working out you are already at a disadvantage. You've got to keep moving.  I am a firm believer in that."

Linda suggests a cardio-sculpt class with weights as a good start. I also asked her about the tricep area, an area of difficulty for most women. "There are a lot of exercises for the triceps". At that point in time she demonstrated some. Tricep dips are great, but your elbow has to be back. She also suggested tricep extensions, adding the tip that you always have to come above your hip."

My last question was, as probably most viewers noticed, she looked great at the gym, "Do you always wear makeup to the gym?"  

"I always wear a little,", she answered with a smile, "But this time... I wore more."

Will we see more of Linda on the show? Stay tuned....