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Wingman Wednesday

Tyler Cotton

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Photo By: Noah Asanias

For Tyler Cotton, there has been nothing chilling about his adventure in acting since joining the cast of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Although he had originally auditioned for the part of Harvey, it was Melvin who he was hired to inhabit on screen – and for much longer than he ever anticipated at the time.

Melvin was only meant to be in one episode originally, so every day that I’m back on set I am so blessed and grateful,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Cotton to discuss the impact of the series on his personal life, forever friendships, and how he’d like to see the Boy Wonder factor into his career.

TrunkSpace: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has a huge following and a rabid fan base. Where has your life been impacted the most since joining the series as Melvin?
Cotton: One of the biggest impacts has been my day to day. Because of this amazing show I got to quit my day job and put all my energy and focus into this role/show and into my acting career.

TrunkSpace: Although grounded in reality, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the kind of series where anything can happen. What was the craziest on-set moment that you experienced where you looked around and said to yourself, “Is this my life right now?”
Cotton: Every day is like that for me! Melvin was only meant to be in one episode originally, so every day that I’m back on set I am so blessed and grateful. I genuinely think that every day I’m on set I have a moment where I look around and think about how lucky I am to be where I am.

TrunkSpace: You’ve spent more than 10 episodes playing Melvin. At what point in the process do you start to feel like you know him as well as yourself?
Cotton: Every time I think I know Melvin I get a script that really makes me think about the character more and more. I feel like I know Melvin really well but then I get an opportunity to explore deeper into the character and that’s something that always excites me!

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, you originally auditioned for Harvey. In an alternate reality where you’re playing that character – do you think your journey since joining the series would have been dramatically different had you played a different character?
Cotton: Oh my god, my journey would have been extremely different but I’m also really happy with how things turned out! Ross (Lynch) is the perfect Harvey and does an amazing job and I really love Melvin.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Cotton: I mean I genuinely hope that the friendships I’ve made continue on. I’m so blessed to be on a show with such an amazing cast and crew and I feel like I’ve built some really strong connections with a bunch of people and those are relationships I’d like to keep!

TrunkSpace: What is the biggest lesson you’ve ever learned on set – any set – that you still apply to your work with every job you book?
Cotton: Respect. It sounds silly but respect is the biggest thing you can apply to your work on set. Respect the crew because they are there before you get there and long after. Respect your fellow actors, respect the work they have put in and respect their process on set.

TrunkSpace: Who has had the biggest impact on your career – whether through physical assistance or as a support system? Is there someone you feel has had a lasting impact on your path thus far?
Cotton: The answer to this will always be my parents. I’m so lucky to have the parents that I have – they have supported me through this extremely difficult career and continue to push me and help me grow as an actor and as a person.

TrunkSpace: Blank check question. If someone came to you tomorrow and said, “Tyler, here is an unlimited amount of money, I want you to go and make whatever project you want for yourself,” what kind would you put into develop and greenlight?
Cotton: Good question! My dream role is to play Robin (like Batman and Robin). Robin had his own comic book series that ran for 183 issues. I’d love to do a Robin series following those comics.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Cotton: Without a doubt this show has been the highlight of my career so far. Not only because it is an incredible show to be a part of but also because of the amazing cast and crew who put so much love into the show.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Cotton: I don’t think I would take that journey because then no matter the outcome I’ll always be thinking about that future instead of focusing on myself and my career right now. It would be tempting though!

Season 3 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Adam Faison

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Photo By: Brett Erickson

While the Freeform series Everything’s Gonna Be Okay is impacting viewers on a weekly basis, it has also left its mark on star Adam Faison, who, because of his time playing Alex, has been able to put a lot of his own life in perspective.

I think this show opened my eyes a lot to accepting the place that you are at in life and loving who you are in this moment,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Faison to discuss his connection to the series, ghost hunting with costar Kayla Cromer, and why poetry helps him find calm in the chaos.

TrunkSpace: You had a lot of heavy emotional experiences going on in your life when you started your journey with Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, some of which paralleled the narrative of the show. In a way, did the work – being on set – serve as a welcome distraction, and through that, do you feel like you have an even more personal connection to the series/work?
Faison: Yes, so I’ve been pretty open with sharing that before filming, my mom was diagnosed with cancer much like Nicholas’ dad is in the show. So, there was that personal connection. But I also felt a huge connection with the autism storylines in the series. Pretty much all throughout my mom’s adult life, she has been working with kids with special needs, so as a result I was exposed to kids with different abilities from a young age. Her department was called the “Inclusion Department” because it created an equal environment where kids with special needs were included in camp activities with neurnerotypical kids. It was an environment that was really combating ableism. And growing up seeing that, really had an impact on me and was something that made this project particularly so resonant for me. If we get another season, I’m going to try to get one of my childhood friends from camp, Matthew, onto the show as a background actor because all of characters on the show with autism are authentically cast, which is really special.

TrunkSpace: With those parallels present, do you feel like it helped you connect and understand Alex in a way that would have taken you more time with another character or another storyline?
Faison: I think that having a lot of friends on the spectrum growing up led to me having a really instant connection with Kayla (Cromer). We would FaceTime every Sunday and rehearse lines together and we would connect on our love of true crime (Mindhunter in particular), SVU, the paranormal and our crushes (Matthew Gray Gubler will always be her number one).

I remember there was one time we were hanging on set and I told her I might have spotted “an entity” in the rafters of our sound stage and she planned to bust out the ghost hunting equipment the next day. (Laughter) We just had some really fun times together and a really strong bond – I mean like, we call each other brother and sister – and I can’t help but think that made for an ever richer relationship on screen.

TrunkSpace: As a whole, where has Everything’s Gonna Be Okay impacted your life the most? How has it altered your path?
Faison: I think this show opened my eyes a lot to accepting the place that you are at in life and loving who you are in this moment. I think Alex is such a free and unabashedly happy person and me, as Adam, can struggle with that at times just because I have grown up so much of my life being told by people that who I am was too much. So, in a way, Alex feels a bit like the free, uninhibited version of myself when I was younger. Before all of that codeswitching.

TrunkSpace: The best art is always the kind that is saying something – doing more that just entertaining. The kind that leaves the audience, perhaps, thinking about something in a different way than when they began their journey. Do you feel like Everything’s Gonna Be Okay is that show, and what do you hope fans get out of it other than a momentary escape?
Faison: I think it’s really combating stereotypes in that it’s just depicting humans who are living their lives like everyone else. And I think anyone can relate to that. For example, take my dad: he’s a reserved military guy in his 60s and doesn’t exactly fit the demographic of this show. So, when he came to an early screening of the show, I’ll admit I was little nervous to hear what he might think. But after the screening ended, he actually stood up during the Q&A and he said, “At first, I didn’t really know why I enjoyed this show, but I think it’s about human connection. It’s got a lot of heart.” And I hope that’s what a lot of others see as well. This idea that although we may be different in our presenting identities, in the end, we are all just humans with the same basic needs.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Everything’s Gonna Be Okay thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Faison: I guess, that sometimes life throws you curve balls but nothing is insurmountable. This message rings true in many facets of the show, but in particular I felt this in the relationship between Alex and Nicholas (played by Josh Thomas). Like, going into the season (and kind of throughout, actually), Nicholas has some real baggage he is dealing with, and many potential suitors might have shied away from him. And yet, the character of Alex really meets Nicholas halfway with where he’s at in his life. I think this was particularly inspiring to me personally, in this age of these never-ending dating apps, where it feels like there is no accountability in relationships because everybody is making these fleeting, transactional connections. So conversely, it felt very refreshing to see this couple make a deeply meaningful connection, and it encouraged me to look for something like that in my own life.

TrunkSpace: You write poetry. Is that creative outlet a way for you to work through and understand thoughts and emotions that, perhaps, you wouldn’t be able to gain personal insight on if you didn’t take pen in hand?
Faison: Definitely. What’s amazing about poetry is that I feel I can express what I want to say with no end result. It’s just for me (and for any others whom may connect with it). When I write, it feels like a real catharsis to work through all the levels of emotion that I’m feeling.

For example, sometimes at night, I’m flooded with all of these thoughts gnawing at my brain and it really helps that I can concretize them and expound them into this new form, because it makes them not feel so overwhelming. Poetry helps me find calm in the chaos.

Photo By: Brett Erickson

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an actor and how do you overcome those self-critical insecurities?
Faison: So I’m getting better at dealing with this, but I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to getting the lines right. In the past, I’ve been a pretty horrible memorizer, and if I know some words are off, I feel like I tend to hyper focus on them. However, I’ve gotten better about first seeing the bigger picture of what’s happening in the scene/ monologue so that it doesn’t feel so daunting.

TrunkSpace: If you could sit down and have a conversation with your 16-year-old self, would he be surprised by the trajectory of your career, and if so, why?
Faison: I think so. My 16-year-old self was just trying to survive and figure out who he was going to sit next to at school the next day so no one would think that he was a loner. He stopped acting for a while because people were giving him so much crap for it. He wanted to go into language studies, go into the CIA, and head abroad where no one would know him. So, I think the fact that he would’ve returned to acting and made it this far – while also being true to himself – would really surprise him.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Faison: Honestly, doing this press tour for the series. I remember interning for a few years at NBCUniversal and I would make talent itineraries: booking cars, hotels, etc, and I can’t believe that I’m technically the talent now. There was a point during TCAs when we were rounding the home stretch of interviews and we were at this Hulu video promo shoot, and I looked over at Kayla and started tearing up just thinking about how far I’d come in this journey. I know it sounds super sentimental/cheesy but in that moment, it really felt like I was the squeaky wheel that got the grease.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Faison: I try to be as present as I can and take in what’s happening around me but I definitely do like to look ahead and see what I would like to accomplish. I think it’s important for me to do so from time to time because these career decisions that I make today will ultimately affect the decisions I get to make in the future.

In the next 10 years, I would love to help other marginalized voices find a platform through producing, acting and political change, so most of the projects that I choose tend to be through a lens that will align with that.

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay airs Thursdays on Freeform.

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Wingman Wednesday

Mickeey Nguyen

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Photo By: Denise Grant

Thanks in large part to streaming platforms like Hulu and Netflix, television has become a much more diverse landscape in recent years. Not only are there more options for audiences in terms of the types of content available, but the characters being featured in those shows are more representative of our society as a whole.

For actor Mickeey Nguyen, star of the new science fiction hip hop series Utopia Falls, having a hand in the continued momentum of diversifying film and television is something he is very proud of.

Growing up, I never saw anyone in any of the shows I used to watch that I could relate to,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Nguyen to discuss playing the light in the darkness, wedging Utopia Falls into your Valentine’s Day plans, and why teaching is such a large part of who he is as an artist.

TrunkSpace: Utopia Falls looks wild, and, the kind of series that would have been inconceivable in the world of television 10 or 20 years ago. How exciting is it to be an actor in 2020 with not only the amount of projects circulating at any given time, but the quality of the narrative and character development as well?
Nguyen: First off, it’s such an incredible honor to answer all these questions so THANK YOU for allowing me on here to answer these questions.

Right off the bat, I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be part of such an amazing project. It’s one of a kind and R.T. Thorne, our director, is such a humble envisionist that bringing his craft to life was a true honor. He wanted to achieve the first performance-based science fiction show that would appeal to a modern audience of diverse, multicultural and socially-minded young adults, and I’m proud to say that we’ve done just that. Not only that, but what really took my heart was now being able to be part of the momentum of diversifying film and television. Growing up, I never saw anyone in any of the shows I used to watch that I could relate to. I had ONE favorite of mine, and it was the Yellow Ranger. I’d always get made fun of because, at the time, it wasn’t normal for a boy to like girl characters. But it was so much deeper than that, and looking back at it now, I was truly inspired by her because she was someone who looked like me and, at the time, barely anyone else on my screen did. Oh yeah, and also because she was badass. Fast forward to NOW, there have been some magical movements in this industry. We’re progressing, and I’m happy that there are such a variety of diverse casts on multiple shows today. Utopia Falls now being of them!

TrunkSpace: Utopia Falls is a new series without a pre-existing brand backing it up. As an actor on the project, do you carry any stress with you wondering – hoping – that it will find an audience or do you try not to focus on those things that are out of your control?
Nguyen: I think as an actor, or as any creative artist, you have to train yourself to not put that kind of burden on your shoulders. Everyone has their own personalized taste and some people will like certain things that others don’t, and that’s okay! Utopia Falls is SO unique and one of the most engaging projects I’ve ever worked on in my career. That is more than enough for me, and the rest of the Utopia Falls family, to put our utmost passion and integrity into this.

TrunkSpace: For those who are excited about diving into Utopia Falls when it premieres on Hulu February 14, can you walk us through your character Mags and what you love most about getting to play him?
Nguyen: Mags. Is. Everything. He is such a light, and with a series like Utopia Falls, you need someone like Mags to uplift the story because trust me, you’re already in for a wild ride. He’s bright, colorful and such a caring person to those around him. He’s made to be a comedic person, but he digs so much deeper than that and I feel like you’ll really see him blossom into a lot more. I loved playing him because he ended up being VERY similar to me, despite his ambition and hunger for fame. His traits and humor are really dead-on to mine and sometimes it’s quite scary how much I might actually be Mags in real life. He also loves eating excessively and yes… it’s another trait we share.

TrunkSpace: As we said, the series premieres on February 14 – Valentine’s Day! That’s a lot of pressure for those with significant others who also want to get our binge on! Can you give us some advice on how to best make our loved ones happy AND watch the show the night it premieres?
Nguyen: I mean, have a cute candle-lit dinner at 6:00 PM sharp. Leave the dishes, and proceed directly to the couch and get comfortable. The first episode is where you’re going to be introduced to a brand-new world and a new society, so you need to be fully ready – mentally, physically and emotionally. After the first episode, you’re going to want to watch the second – and then the third, and so forth. Then you’ll have finished the entire series and look! You’ve just spent all this quality time together! You now love the show and you now love each other for a night well spent in each other’s arms.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Utopia Falls thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Nguyen: I think I’ll carry the everlasting inspiration I got from everyone on the show. They’re ALL so talented and driven that it gives me this constant breath of appreciation for this career. The long-lasting relationships and memories that we’ve all made together and the challenges that we all faced are really what created this family bond with one another. I remember at the last week of wrap, I gave everyone a parting gift and I think I cried for each and every one of them when I gave it to them because really, they became such incredible people in my life and I’m happy to carry this bond with me through the course of my career.

TrunkSpace: Beyond acting, you’re also a dancer. Chicken or the egg question… what came first, dancing or acting? Which love served as the seed that would eventually germinate into a career?
Nguyen: I actually started off dancing first. In my high school years, I always had a love for dancing and it later became the original career that I was pursuing. Acting was never really in the picture until I was on a World Tour with Lilly Singh as one of her dancers, and someone reached out to me about an audition for this untitled show that was casting an Asian male lead who had a singing/dancing background. I didn’t think too much of it, and felt like I didn’t really have a good chance because I was traveling overseas. But the universe worked its magic and I somehow ended up landing it on what soon became Nickelodeon’s Make it Pop. That was the birth of my acting career where I fell in love with this world of artistry. I’m grateful that even when I jumped the gun and pursued acting full-force, I was able to still keep my love for dance in my life, which would later help me on my other projects like Disney’s Zombies and now Utopia Falls!

TrunkSpace: You teach dance as well. Is there pressure in helping to shape the next generation of performers that come through your studio doors? What kind of teacher do you see yourself as?
Nguyen: I love teaching. It’s one of my passions that I will always have an everlasting love for. I don’t feel that there’s this pressure to shape the next generation of performers because I’m always feeling so rewarded with the amount of love from hard-working students that come and learn from me. My goal is to thank them with everything that I know about this industry because, ultimately, they are the ones that have given me the opportunity to teach them. I see myself being the kind of teacher that is more inspired by the students than they know. I learn as much from them as they learn from me. They are the ones I admire, and will always consistently be proud of them no matter what.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an entertainer and how do you overcome those self-critical insecurities?
Nguyen: We’re always our own worst critique. Always aiming to be perfect. I think prior to achieving thick-skin in this craftsmanship, I was very hard on myself about what I couldn’t do that I never really gave myself the appreciation for the things I COULD do. In the end, this is a form of art. You have to be patient and allow yourself to make mistakes and experience them so you learn not to make them again. Allow yourself to do the best you can do and appreciate what you give as the outcome. No one is here to judge your process, so why should you?

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Nguyen: As cliché as it sounds, it has been my family. They have honestly been the backbone of my entire career, and I’m happy that I can provide for them, especially for my mother. She is such a strong human being and the most caring person in my life. To take care of two kids after my father passed away must have been the biggest challenge of her life, and she did it so flawlessly. The true highlight of my career is being able to give back to her for all that she’s done for my sister and me. Even through the toughest times, she was able to raise us to become who we are today.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Nguyen: I wouldn’t. I feel like I need to experience my career as a whole with no shortcuts. I’m sure, and I have faith, that my career will have sprouted into a successful one in the next decade, but in order for it to be one, I would have had to experience the journey there. The ups and downs, the good and bad – that’s what will take us all there. Be ready! We’re all set out to do some incredible things.

Utopia Falls premieres February 14 on Hulu.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jessica DiCicco

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Photo By: Storm Santos

Jessica DiCicco never envisioned that she would be entertaining preschoolers for a living, especially so prolifically. While the busy voice over actress seems to be bringing characters to life all over the world of pop culture – from television hits like The Loud House and Muppet Babies, to high profile films like Secret Life of Pets 2 – she still remembers the day she was able to quit her Production Assistant job and focus on the world of animation full time.

I haven’t had to go on a coffee run since,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace! “I still pinch myself that this is my job.”

We recently sat down with DiCicco to discuss embracing her voice, predicting the hits, and why she wouldn’t mind her… beeper back?

TrunkSpace: We have young kids, which is why we have seen every episode of The Loud House at least a half dozen times each. As a voice over actress, is there something kind of nice about having your work be so appreciated – often times viewed over and over again – and yet, still having a level of anonymity?
DiCicco: Your kids have great taste! Hopefully watching The Loud House brings you a Quiet House for at least a little bit.

I loved watching cartoons as a kid, and I specifically remember how comforting I found it. This may sound cheesy, but it feels like an honor to be a part of a kid’s experience. It makes me so incredibly happy to know kids love watching my shows. And now that I have a kid of my own (a busy toddler), it sometimes makes me tear up when I watch him enjoying Sesame Street and laughing. I get to have the experience all over again… and start from the very beginning, with Sesame Street.

I started acting professionally as a kid (I fell into it accidentally!), this one time I starred in this big deal TV Christmas special, and on my walk to school the day after it aired (I grew up in NYC so there was always a ton of people walking around), I noticed people were staring at me! It kind of freaked me out. I’m so happy I had that experience because it helps me to truly appreciate the anonymity that comes with being a voice actress. Between Muppet Babies and Puppy Dog Pals, I’d be swarmed by toddlers if my shows were live action. I would definitely get recognized. Although toddlers are super cute, I’m sure it would get tiresome pretty fast.

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on so many incredible brands and characters who have left lasting impressions on the world of pop culture. When you first ventured on your path to a career in entertainment, was this the plan? Was voice over work always in the cards?
DiCicco: Thank you! So I’ve always had this raspy voice, and I used to be so embarrassed by it. I mentioned that I began acting as a kid, and I remember after an audition the producer ran out and asked if my voice always “sounded like this”. I got so embarrassed and told him that I had a cold. Slowly I started to embrace my voice as I started to book voice over auditions for commercials and narration. Eventually I realized that animation would be the absolute perfect fit for me, but it wasn’t until I moved to LA that animation became my full time gig. Animation lives in LA, I’m so thankful I moved here!

TrunkSpace: Obviously a lot of your work is geared towards younger viewers, but at the same time, a lot of it crosses over as well. For example, Adventure Time and Gravity Falls have become cult hits for many adults. What have been some of the biggest surprises of your career thus far?
DiCicco: The first HUGE show I was on was Adventure Time, and the experience completely blew me away. I started going to conventions and met tons of AT fans in person, of all different ages. I got to feel the excitement first hand – it was palpable, truly like lightning in a bottle. When I was a kid I was completely obsessed with The Simpsons, everyone was, that time was coined Simpsonmania. The success of Adventure Time absolutely reminded me of that, and it was so wild to be on the other side of it this time. I know what it’s like to be a huge fan of a show. I definitely kept that in mind as I went to conventions and met AT fans. I think that whole experience has so far been one of the biggest surprises of my career. Gravity Falls was also a huge success with palpable excitement surrounding it. I feel lucky I was able to experience that. The characters you play become part of your identity; it’s a crazy thing that happens. The other huge surprise was finding out I was nominated for an Emmy! I was so early on in my animation career, I hadn’t even imagined something like that would happen.

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on some incredibly memorable television series over the years, but film has always been a part of the recipe as well. Is the process at all different, voicing a character on a television series than it is for a big budget film?
DiCicco: It’s always so much fun to do a film. Animated films have left the biggest impact on me as a viewer, so I take working on them very seriously. I mean, how many times have you watched your favorite movie? Especially as a kid! I always try to be as heartfelt and natural in my performance as possible. With TV, the performance can a little broader and “cartoonier”. My most recent film was Secret Life of Pets 2. I played a few characters in it actually, but my favorite was the puppy “Princess” with the pink bow.

It definitely feels different working on a film because you don’t go in to record as much. On a show like The Loud House, we’ve been working on it for like seven years so it becomes a family!

TrunkSpace: Oftentimes we’ll hear people say that a film or television series felt “special” while they were shooting, serving as a premonition of the success to come. Does animation have that same feel as well? Did you have any indication before its premiere that you’d be working on nearly 100 episodes of The Loud House or still talking about Adventure Time?
DiCicco: This has seriously been the bane of my existence. Shows that were super special and that I found so funny have only gone one season, and shows that I didn’t think were special ended up going for three or four seasons. I remember John DiMaggio (voice of Jake on Adventure Time) saying he didn’t understand Adventure Time for the first couple seasons! So, you truly never know. With that said, The Loud House was definitely special from the get go.

TrunkSpace: What is your process of finding the voice – both literal and in terms of character POV – when you take on a new character? Is it something you do in the room with the creative teams or do you have to step away and be by yourself?
DiCicco: Every project is totally different. Sometimes I see the character design and I read the description and it comes to me right away. Other times I work with the creator or the producers to figure it out so it seamlessly fits in with the vocal range of all the characters collectively. But either way I always spend time with the character in my own mind and figure out his or her nuances. There’s a lot of talking to myself that happens in my house, luckily the ones closest to me are used to it. I just started to incorporate it into talking with my toddler. I just got a couple puppets and I love watching him interact with them as I practice developing my characters. He’s so fixated on the puppet – it’s like there’s no one else in the room.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as a creative person and how do you overcome those self-critical insecurities?
DiCicco: Ugh, I hate watching my own work. I’m so self-critical, I always feel like I could’ve read something differently. The only way to rationalize this is to tell myself I can learn from it and do it differently next time. I’ve learned to be more forgiving and kinder to myself, I don’t beat myself up anymore. But I think it’s a good thing to be hard on myself, it ultimately pushes me to do better, to always grow and stretch creatively. Always focus on the details; they are of the utmost importance.

TrunkSpace: If you could sit down and have a conversation with your 16-year-old self, would she be surprised by the trajectory of your career, and if so, why?
DiCicco: I would have to break it to her very gently. Sixteen-year-old Jessica was very busy listening to Biggie, Lil Kim, and WuTang, very into street art, and returning beeps on payphones, she wouldn’t believe she was destined to entertain preschoolers for a living, complete with squeaky clean social media. (I’d also have to explain the concept of social media.) Oh boy, the teenage years. I’m kind of dreading going through that with my baby… it’s such a different world now. I have no clue how to navigate. Take me back to the ‘90s. Give me back my beeper.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far? Also, can you tell us a little about your new show It’s Pony on Nick and your upcoming HBO Max show Close Enough? Any other upcoming projects you’d like people to know about?
DiCicco: The highlight was when I realized I could quit my job as a Production Assistant and do animation full time! I haven’t had to go on a coffee run since! I still pinch myself that this is my job.

The new Nickelodeon show, It’s Pony, is such a great show. It reminds me of the solid, engaging, funny show that you couldn’t wait to watch when you got home from school. The creator, Ant Blades, is British so I feel like it has a different sensibility than any show I’ve worked on. It’s grounded, and based in reality, which is my favorite kind of humor for a cartoon. And parents will absolutely laugh as well.

I’m so excited for Close Enough to come out! The show is deeply funny, and I have such a feeling this show is going to be a huge hit. I really don’t want to jinx it… but this one is different, it really is. It’s created by JG Quintel who created Regular Show, this is his first prime time show, so he has way more freedom. It’s about a couple with a kid who can’t afford rent because it’s so outrageously expensive so they live with some “colorful” roommates. This one is not meant for kids, so I’m excited to see what happens and who responds to it.

I’m going to be on a ride at Universal Studios! My character Princess, one of the puppies from Secret Life of Pets 2, is a character on the ride! Total bucket list career item I never even knew I had. It opens in April, so I’ll definitely be heading to Universal Studios to see it myself.

Other upcoming shows are Season 2 of Ballmasterz on Adult Swim (I play Ace and DeeDee), Season 3 of Muppet Babies (I play Summer Penguin), Season 4 of Puppy Dog Pals (I play Hissy), and Season 5 of The Loud House (I play Lynn and Lucy). And working on The Loud House movie!

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
DiCicco: This gives me anxiety just thinking about it. What if I’m not where I want to be? I think I’ll just wait till I get there to find out. I’m sure it’s just a blink away anyway.

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Wingman Wednesday

Adam Huber

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Photo By: Rhett Wellington

For Pennsylvania-born actor Adam Huber, star of The CW’s Dynasty, going from recurring character to series regular on the rebooted primetime drama has been a real game changer for both his past and future in the business.

Dynasty has given me my first real shot at this career,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “Everything I did beforehand was leading up to this moment.”

We recently sat down with Huber to discuss being where he needs to be, the long road ahead for his beloved Steelers, and why his younger self would be surprised to hear that he wasn’t playing professional golf.

TrunkSpace: Dynasty recently returned after its mid-season hiatus. As an actor on a weekly series, how does your life change when the show is physically airing? Are you recognized more and is the work more of a focus when it’s under the fan microscope?
Huber: It honestly doesn’t change too much. We film about nine months out of the year. Twenty two episodes is a lot for one season. So, while it is airing, we are still shooting. I think we are on Episode 18 right now, and 12 is just about to air. It’s pretty crazy how fast the turn around can be from the moment we get done filming an episode to how quickly that episode airs. I definitely get recognized more. That’s a new thing for me. I think the first time it actually happened I just kinda looked at the girl, because I didn’t know what she wanted. Then it hit me, and I was like, “Oh shit, that’s right. I’m on a TV show.” When people do recognize me, it’s almost as if they don’t remember where they have seen me, and then it’s, “Are you on a TV show?” or “Are you that guy from Dynasty?” It makes me happy when people do say something because I like interacting with the fans of the show, see how they like it and their thoughts on where the storylines are going. And without the fans watching it, we wouldn’t still be on the air.

TrunkSpace: As a whole, where has Dynasty impacted your life the most? How has it altered your path?
Huber: Dynasty has given me my first real shot at this career. Everything I did beforehand was leading up to this moment. It hasn’t changed my overall life too much. I’m still just a normal guy from a small town in Pennsylvania. But as far as a career… it’s going to help a lot. I mean, I went from a guest star/possible recurring character to a major recurring character and now to a series regular. I think that shows my dedication and work ethic. It’s going to be interesting to see where my career goes after Dynasty because now I have proven to myself and other people in the industry that I can do this, and I am exactly where I need to be.

TrunkSpace: You’ve spent over 30 episodes playing Liam thus far. What is it like spending that much time with one character? At what point in the process do you start to feel like you know him as well as yourself?
Huber: This is the longest time I’ve gotten to play one character. It’s been fun. It gives you time to really get to know someone. As weird as it sounds, it’s like you kind of become friends with your character. We are very different, but then in some ways very similar. And with every character you play, I feel like you put a little bit of yourself into them. It’s kinda hard not to. It’s been a lot of fun. And just like the fans, I also can’t wait to find out more about Liam and his backstory and his life. With almost every new episode, the writers bring something more to the table with him that I didn’t previously know.

TrunkSpace: What is the most exciting aspect of getting a new script and seeing where your character is going week after week? Is the sort of macro arc more interesting than the smaller details that round out the character over time?
Huber: I love getting new scripts. The moment we get it, I immediately start reading it. It’s hard sometimes to see the macro arc because while we are filming, say Episode 18, the writers are still perfecting Episode 19. So, you kind of live in those one to two episode arcs sometimes. But with having a pretty firm hand on who Liam is based on his actions and motives from script to script, I get to see what he wants in his life as a whole. What he wants his life to be like in the end. And like I said, with every new script we get, the writers add something else about Liam that I did not previously know. So, that’s always fun finding more info out about your character.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Dynasty thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Huber: Oh wow. I mean every day on set for me is a huge learning experience. This is the most time I have had to be on set, so I am like a sponge just absorbing everything I can. But I proved something to myself with Dynasty. We all have those voices in the back of our mind sometimes saying that we can’t do something, we should give up, we’re not supposed to be here. I was able to silence some of those thoughts that got in my way. Which has allowed me to really come into my own while filming this show. And that is going to help with everything and every show I do moving forward. But then also hearing people, whether they be other actors or crew say kind things about you and that they like working with you or that you’re such a joy to work with, it definitely helps. I don’t want to be that selfish asshole actor that people go, “Oh no, it’s going to be that kind of day,” when you show up on set. Knowing that people enjoy working with me and that I help make their job easier… that’s definitely something I will be able to take with me anywhere I go. Being a good person isn’t hard.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, your passion for acting began on the stage. Is the stage still a calling and what does performing in front of a crowd do for you that no amount of on-camera work could achieve?
Huber: Yeah, I found acting in college. The stage doesn’t lie. You don’t get to go back to one and start the scene all over again because you forgot the line. I would love to do some plays in the near future. There is something about living and breathing on stage from start to finish during a play that is so moving. Telling and seeing the whole story in two hours versus two whole weeks of filming is just so different. You can’t just show up to work not knowing your lines and not doing your homework. You have to take it very seriously, prepare, prepare and prepare more. You mess up on the stage… everyone sees it. And it’s not a good feeling. Breaking character on the stage can be such a disaster.

Photo By: Rhett Wellington

TrunkSpace: You’re a Steelers fan. What are your feelings on the future of the team, at least in the short term?
Huber: Oh boy. (Laughter) Who knows. I just hope we can get back to the Steel Curtain days. I think we need a new quarterback. Ben has to retire. I think the next few years are going to be very fun for them. We have a lot of young talent there, so it is going to be very interesting to see what they evolve into.

TrunkSpace: If you could sit down and have a conversation with your 16-year-old self, would he be surprised by the trajectory of your career, and if so, why?
Huber: A little yes and a little no. I always was one of those kids who wouldn’t try something if I didn’t think I could do it really well. I hate being bad at stuff. And I don’t like trying things just for fun. I could full steam ahead and sink my teeth into it. I think he may be a little surprised I chose to be an actor as a career path instead of trying to be a professional golfer. But I don’t think my 16-year-old self would be too surprised where I got. He knew it was in me the whole time.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Huber: Dynasty has been a major highlight and being nominated for a Teen Choice Award when I wasn’t even a regular character on the show. Getting to this point has been a highlight. Working my way from guest star to series regular. Having a team behind me that believes in me. There have been highlights every step of the way. And like I said… just getting to this point, I have proved a lot to myself. And I now know that I have business in this business. I can’t see myself doing anything else.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Huber: Oof. Good question. I mean, everyone wants to look into the future. But I think, if I did, I would freak myself out. I would like to go ahead 10 years to see where we are at with other things like space travel, technology and politics. But I wouldn’t want to know what I am doing, because then I would be questioning every move I made. Is that the right move or the wrong one. You alter one thing from the past, it can change the future just like that. So no, I wouldn’t want to look to see where my career was at. I’m enjoying the ride and the journey so far. That’s half of the fun.

Dynasty airs Friday nights on The CW.

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Wingman Wednesday

Nelson Leis

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Photo By: Kristine Cofsky

When Nelson Leis first joined the cast of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, he never expected to be donning those character-amplifying Beelzebub prosthetics for long. And even as Season 2 bled into Season 3 – which is available now on Netflix – he was never quite sure if fate would see him through to the end.

I don’t know if I could assign it a percentage but it always felt quite likely that I’d get killed off,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “Low and behold I made it out of the season alive.”

We recently sat down with Leis to discuss instantaneous viewer reaction, tarantula discoveries, and why you have to swing a lot to swing for the fences.

TrunkSpace: Fans have fallen in love with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. As an actor, what does it mean to work on a series that connects with people on this level?
Leis: It’s a thrill to be on a series that has a global audience. And it’s been fascinating to find out where there are massive fan bases – South America, for instance. At the end of the day, as an actor you hope that your work will find an audience, and that the project will strike a chord with those people, and that’s overwhelmingly been the case with Sabrina.

TrunkSpace: Is it a bit surreal to have that instantaneous reaction from fans after a new season drops, because with so many people obsessed with the series as a whole, the bingeing must be pretty intense? Can you get a good sense of its impact the day of its release?
Leis: It’s definitely surreal. I think that young Nelson, who was dreaming of one day stepping onto a film set, would be blown away that there were strangers reaching out to say they enjoyed the show. Honestly, present day Nelson is kinda blown away. The day the show launched, those Instagram followers and comments started rolling in, and honestly, I’ve enjoyed connecting with the fans. This is the first time I’ve been in a position to do so, in that it’s my first multi-season recurring role. So the experience is fresh for me. The fan base has been vocally appreciative on Instagram – I’m sure they’re vocal all-over the place, but that’s the only social media I meaningfully engage with.

TrunkSpace: Your character Beelzebub has more skin in the game with Season 3. Is the path you are on with the character the one you knew you’d follow when you first landed the role or have there been creative surprises along the way for you?
Leis: The entire process has been one surprise after another. In the first episode of Season 2 my character was banished to hell, and I thought, ‘well that was fun – on to the next job.’ Then last April I found out I’d be in the first episode of Season 3. Within a few days they told me it was the first three episodes, which eventually led to six. Beelzebub’s evolution and the season storyline was revealed to me as I received each subsequent script. That story arc is kept pretty close to the vest of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and the writer’s room. I was like Pavlov’s Dog every time that script slid into my inbox, and I’d dive right into it. I don’t know if I could assign it a percentage but it always felt quite likely that I’d get killed off. Low and behold I made it out of the season alive.

TrunkSpace: There’s a big makeup/prosthetic component to your character. When you’re reading new scripts where Beelzebub appears, do you envision the scene with yourself looking as you would on shooting days? Does the visual aspect of the character play into how you present him on camera?
Leis: I don’t think on the initial read of the script I necessarily envision myself as I appear on the shooting day. I’m reading it more for story. In terms of the prosthetics, they definitely have an effect on how I work in the scene. There are just certain things I can do with Beelzebub because of the prosthetics, that I wouldn’t be able to do if I just looked like me. They work as an amplification tool. This latest season as I got to be in the prosthetics regularly, new aspects of Beelzebub’s physical and emotional life materialized for me. The wardrobe also lent to the discovery. For instance this season’s Infernal Palace storyline had Beelzebub in his royal vestments – and in putting those on, there’s immediately a sense of power and wealth, and that informs the stature. It’s a constant process of discovery.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Leis: I think what’s become apparent only in retrospect, is how my instincts and ownership in playing Beelzebub have evolved. And I’ve been able to experience that because I’ve played him in two seasons now. The trajectory is interesting – from jumping in on that first episode, having some ideas in mind, but not sure if they’d work with the tone of the show, to now, where playing Beelzebub is like putting on a familiar jacket.

TrunkSpace: You train in Brazilian JiuJitsu. Are there parallels between training in martial arts and training as an actor, especially in terms of commitment and personal investment?
Leis: One hundred percent. You just said it – it’s commitment to the process, and the long game. I don’t think you can become great at either without putting in the work year after year. It’s the 10,000 hours rule. I think you don’t start finding that flow and nuance and state of grace until you’ve been swinging the bat for a while.

TrunkSpace: Fascinating fact about you that we had to ask about… you spent (high school) summers in Nevada working in geological exploration. Which leads us to our next question, what is the most interesting thing you’ve ever stumbled on out in the desert?
Leis: Probably a tarantula. This was actually in Arizona – we were walking down this dirt path and came around a bend and there it was – a big ol’ fuzzy thing. I had never seen one in the flesh and it definitely gave me the heebie jeebies. We had shovels with us and wanted to gently nudge it to the side, so we didn’t have to step over it, but when we did that it jumped like I’d never seen a spider jump – which was a number of feet. That was one of those moments where every hair on your body stands up.

Photo By: Kristine Cofsky

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an actor and how do you overcome those self-critical insecurities?
Leis: I’m glad you asked. I’m interested in this conversation – I think it’s important to shine a light on our struggles so we can humanize them, take the shame and heaviness out of them. I think the idea of perfection has to be eliminated from any person’s mind, and certainly from any artist or performer’s mind. There has never been a time where I’ve walked away from a performance, whether it’s on stage or in front of the camera and thought, ‘well I nailed that’. Even when the scene has felt good and there’s been electricity with my scene partners, afterwards there’s always a feeling of unrest in the back of my mind. I’m more comfortable with that mental irritation now. When I was younger I used to think that it meant something was wrong, that I had screwed up, that I wasn’t enough, wasn’t talented enough. It was actually very recently when I realized, ‘oh that feeling is never going away. It’s part of the process’. I’m still as excited as ever about the work – I put in the effort, commit to the emotional and physical, and enjoy it, that hasn’t changed – but I guess what saves me is, I’m better at just letting things go… and at the same time, I’m more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I think meditation has been instrumental in all that.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Leis: As far as getting to explore a character over a longer story arc, Sabrina has been a highlight. And that the role happens to be this iconic demon from the Bible and medieval literature… and Bohemian Rhapsody, I mean, it’s so wild! I could never have predicted that a role like this would come around.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Leis: Sometimes I think, if 20-year-old Nelson could see what I’m doing now, maybe he would be kinder to himself and more confident in his path, but I’m here now, having taken a long winding road and I don’t regret it. Some actors jumped on the career Autobahn right out of the gate, but that wasn’t my path. I dig my story. But to jump forward 10 years, no, that’s not appealing. I know the quality of life, of relationships and work that I’m interested in. I don’t know exactly what the results will look like, but that’s fine, I trust the process.

Season 3 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jearnest Corchado

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Photo By: MLC PR

For actress Jearnest Corchado, her latest project Little America is more than just a binge-worthy series feeding the hunger of an entertainment-obsessed America. It’s a think piece.

Little America wants us to see what we often are not able to on the news or on TV,” she says in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “It hopes to portray the humanity of all of these marginalized people and to show everyone around the world that no matter how different our cultures, races or languages may be, we are all the same.”

Available now on Apple TV+, Little America is an eight episode anthology series inspired by the true stories experienced by immigrants today. In the episode “The Jaguar,” Corchado plays an undocumented teen who becomes a competitive squash player.

We recently sat down with Corchado to discuss the importance of the series in today’s social climate, connecting with her character, and why she would sign up to play a “badass” teen superhero.

TrunkSpace: Art is always at its best when it’s saying something and shining a spotlight on those subjects we need to continue discussing after we leave the theater or shut off the television. Why do you think your latest project Little America is so important given the current political and social climate in the United States?
Corchado: Little America is important now more than ever. The America we are living in now is not the America many of us want to be a part of. It is clouded by hatred and division. Immigrants and people of color are attacked on a daily basis, thousands of people are being put in cages… it is our horrible reality. Little America wants us to see what we often are not able to on the news or on TV. It hopes to portray the humanity of all of these marginalized people and to show everyone around the world that no matter how different our cultures, races or languages may be, we are all the same. We are all dreamers. We are all good people, we all have a good heart – a hopeful heart. We all just want to be happy. To be able to love and be loved. To be able to dream, and to be allowed to do so anywhere we decide to go. Because at the end of the day, no law, no paper, no document can dictate who we are, our values and our worth. Only our hearts can.

TrunkSpace: As an actress, do you feel any pressure when you’re working on a project like Little America because there is a layer to the piece that goes beyond simply entertaining the audience. Does it feel like there are bigger creative stakes involved?
Corchado: Yes, the pressure to be as authentic and as truthful as I can be. When I am lucky enough to be offered a role in a project that goes beyond entertaining, it is always a privilege. As an actress, I always strive to be a part of something bigger than me. Projects that could potentially change lives. I think that’s the beauty of cinema – through our work, we get to influence people and hopefully change their minds for the better. It’s a powerful tool and we must use it with purpose.

TrunkSpace: We live in very politically-divided times. Did you worry how this project and your performance in it would be perceived by the general public on both sides of the aisle and how that could trickle over into your personal life, particularly as it relates to the internet/social media?
Corchado: I didn’t think of it as a political project. I saw it as a beautiful project that followed the lives of beautiful, strong and determined humans. I thought it was brilliant because it finally showed who we are in the most beautiful and authentic light I could ever think possible. There are so many stories out there still to be told… America is the land of immigrants… we were just telling American stories. The ones that we very rarely see on TV.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Little America that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Corchado: The truly wonderful relationships I got to cultivate with the cast and crew on Little America is something I will carry with me always. Every single person I got to work with were incredible human beings, so kind and thoughtful. From PAs to the Make-Up department that basically felt like family, to our wonderful director Aurora Guerrero – who no matter how busy our days were, was always so caring and zen. And of course, the insanely talented and kind cast, who made my job a million times easier. I was very lucky.

TrunkSpace: What was the biggest challenge you encountered in portraying – and connecting with – your character Marisol?
Corchado: Understanding where she was coming from and trying to figure out the relationship she had with everyone around her. It was a continuous discovery. And learning how to play Squash! (Laughter) I definitely had to focus and give my 100 percent in order to look like I knew what I was doing. It was very tedious and a lot of hard work but it was incredibly satisfying. Addicting too! I really fell in love with the sport.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as artist and how do you overcome those self-critical insecurities?
Corchado: Probably auditions. I love the director-actor relationship, which is often missing during the audition process. I like bringing a character to life and getting feedback and taking it somewhere else. I love that continuous exploration. Sometimes auditions feel like a lot of pressure, it can be nerve-wracking… and let’s not talk about the audition waiting rooms! (Laughter) I think I’m very sensitive to energies, which is probably why I need to be 210 percent more focused once I get in the room. I am extremely critical of my work and often wonder how I did it or what I did wrong in the room or what I could’ve done better… but I learned that you just have to let it go and focus on the next (audition)… I’ve failed a million times, but I’m still here playing the game. It’s all about being persistent and being incredibly prepared. “Just do it… and then keep doing it.”

Photo By: MLC PR

TrunkSpace: If you sat down with your 10-year-old self and gave her a glimpse of her future, would she be surprised by where her journey has taken her thus far?
Corchado: Absolutely. I think of that and it makes me tear up. I was just having a conversation with a family friend who told me that when I was 10 or so, she asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, and I replied, “One day I’m going to be a famous actress.” I would always say “I’m going to be,” not I want, or I wish… I’d say it like it was going to happen. Like it was a done deal. I declared it without knowing or understanding the power of manifestation, which now I absolutely believe in. My journey is barely starting, but I am extremely content with where I am today. I still can’t believe it! I feel very blessed.

TrunkSpace: Blank check question! If someone came to you tomorrow and offered you an unlimited amount of money to go out and develop any kind of project you wanted for yourself, what would you greenlight and why?
Corchado: A badass teenager superhero. I think it would be awesome if younger brown girls saw themselves as superheroes on the big screen. I want younger girls to dream BIG! To see themselves as strong, self-sufficient and triumphant young women. I want them to know that they can be their own hero. That anything is possible!

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Corchado: I consider Little America and Cucuy The Boogeyman as my biggest accomplishments thus far. So many people have messaged me about Cucuy The Boogeyman and how cool it is to see a Latina girl as the heroine in a thriller like that. Little America is probably as, or even more, important for young girls because it’s very real, very authentic and it is based on a real-life superhero – Reyna Pacheco. It was also a big highlight because it felt like I was having my Rocky moment. (Laughter) I love doing athletic things on the job, and learning new skills… Little America was definitely a big one!

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Corchado: Yes. I believe that you create the life you want to live, and I hope to make the right decisions to take me where I want to go. The possibilities are endless… but I hope to work as an actress for the rest of my life. I hope I get to use my voice to change people’s lives for the better and I hope to make a difference in this world. I want to live a life with purpose… don’t we all?

Little America is available now on Apple TV+.

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Wingman Wednesday

Bree Condon

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Photo credits: Randy Tran/Hair: Mika Fowler/Makeup: Merav Adler/Styling: Elliot Soriano

Portraying Kimberly Guilfoyle in the recently-released film Bombshell came with its share of professional pressures, but for actress Bree Condon, taking on such a controversial public persona in these politically divided times was not one of them.

It’s true, Kimberly and I have very different political and personal views, but that’s the challenge of playing any character,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “It’s almost like you’re that person’s lawyer and you have to defend them – you have to justify their actions and way of thinking for yourself.”

We recently sat down with Condon to discuss stepping into Kimberly’s spotlight, accepting the complexities of the human condition, and why she still follows the advice of an old classroom poster.

TrunkSpace: Bombshell is such a big project and is stacked with talent both in front of the camera and behind it. When a project like this comes along, does it have the feeling of a “once in a lifetime” opportunity and how do you personally manage expectations going into a project of this magnitude?
Condon: It definitely has that ‘pinch me’ feeling all the way through! I always try with every project to really enjoy every step along the way and to be in that moment as much as possible. Especially with this project, I loved each stage in the process of building this character – the research, costume fittings, the hair and makeup tests, and then of course getting to collaborate with so many greats in front and behind the camera!

TrunkSpace: In the film you’re playing someone who is not only a real person, but someone who is still very much in the public spotlight today. Does that come with an entirely different set of pressures, both external and those that you place on yourself?
Condon: Yes, it does add pressure, especially because this was a first for me playing a real person. I approached it like I do any other character, and dove into the research. The benefit of playing a real person who is so heavily in the spotlight is that there was a lot of information to dive into. Kimberly has also written a book, which I read multiple times and held as my ‘bible’. It was extremely helpful to have that, which is so rare!

TrunkSpace: We live in very politically-divided times. Did you worry how this project and your performance in it would be perceived by the general public on both sides of the aisle and how that could trickle over into your personal life, particularly as it relates to the internet/social media?
Condon: It’s true, Kimberly and I have very different political and personal views, but that’s the challenge of playing any character. It’s almost like you’re that person’s lawyer and you have to defend them – you have to justify their actions and way of thinking for yourself. When I decided to be an actor, it wasn’t to play characters like myself. I would actually prefer roles as far from myself as possible! I take it as a welcomed opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes.

TrunkSpace: As we discussed, you’re working with amazing talent on screen and behind the camera. What do you try to absorb from those around you on a job like this and then apply it to your career moving forward?
Condon: There was so much talent to absorb and to learn from! One overall quality that I took away from the project was specificity. The attention to detail that every single person, in front the camera and behind, had on this film was amazing to see and learn from.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Bombshell that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Condon: Working with Charlize Theron on this project was the highlight and something that I will always carry with me. The first day I was on set I saw her acting all day and the moment she was done, she went back to the trailer, took off all her incredible hair and makeup, and came right back to set and stepped into her role as producer. It was incredible to see that firsthand – she wore so many shoes and did it all so gracefully.

TrunkSpace: You’re portraying Kimberly Guilfoyle in Bombshell. If in the future someone was playing you on film, what would you hope they would take into account as they gave their perspective on your journey?
Condon: I would hope they would realize that nothing is ever as it seems. In our current society, we are inundated with so many visuals that rarely show the truth. As humans, we are extremely complex and I hope they would try to lift up the hood and see what’s really in there.

Photo credits: Randy Tran/Hair: Mika Fowler/Makeup: Merav Adler/Styling: Elliot Soriano

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as artist and how do you overcome those self-critical insecurities?
Condon: I’d say self-doubt and not trusting my instincts enough. In a lot of areas in my life, not just acting… but maybe that’s because I’m a typical Pisces!

TrunkSpace: If you sat down with your 10-year-old self and gave her a glimpse of her future, would she be surprised by where her journey has taken her thus far?
Condon: I’m sure she would be surprised! It’s crazy the different paths we take in life and how everything can fall into place. But in some ways my life is still very similar to that little girl – I’m very close to my family and I still have the same friends I grew up with since grade school, which I count myself very lucky and fortunate to have that stability and love throughout the years.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Condon: Bombshell has been a huge highlight for me. Getting to be part of telling a story that is so timely and that will really make a difference moving forward in regard to sexual harassment is so rewarding. It’s why I wanted to become an actor – to tell stories that make a difference.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Condon: As tempting as it sounds… I really wouldn’t! As cheesy as it sounds, it’s a journey not a race… I think that was a poster hanging in my 6th grade classroom! But it has stuck with me. It all makes you stronger and you just have to ride the wave, and that’s what I intend to do!

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Wingman Wednesday

Will Vought

WillVoughtFeatured
Photo By: Emily Assiran

Show business is a constant hustle. If you want to survive it – and thrive within it – you have to be willing to take each day as it comes.

That’s the gig and welcome to showbiz,” said actor and comedian Will Vought in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “You are going to get new pages, on a television show, things are added, taken away, always changing, and never quite finished. Just roll with it.”

Vought appears in Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, available now on Amazon.

We recently sat down with Vought to discuss traveling back to 1959, bra fittings, and the downside of dating as a professional actor.

TrunkSpace: As an actor, when you book a job on a series that already has a loyal following, does that make the work all the more sweeter, knowing that there will be eyeballs waiting to watch your performance when it eventually airs?
Vought: What makes the work sweeter is working with truly the best in the business, and that is Amy Sherman Palladino and Dan Palladino. The Palladinos are on the top of their game, besides the fact that I was surrounded by multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actors. It’s always a plus if people are going to watch the work and I’ve been lucky. A lot of the series that I’ve worked on have had the eyeballs you talk about. It’s not something I really thought about while shooting, but I knew that the season premiere of the series was going to be a big deal… so yes, it was sweet.

TrunkSpace: You’re a comedian, and as we understand it, someone who is a student of the past, admiring the path that people like Lenny Bruce paved for future generations of performers like yourself. Did it feel like you were having the opportunity to work on a show that, in some ways, was tailor made for you, not only in a general interest level way, but also in the part itself?
Vought: I think all comedians are students of the past as it informs the understanding of the present. So, I am mindful of that and both a fan and student of all that’s come before.

To time travel back to 1959 and enter that world is absolutely surreal. You’ve seen the episode, and there was no detail left to chance in creating the USO show. Major Buck Brillstein is not a comic — he’s a major in the Army, which is where I started with the character. Buck wants to be a comic. It’s always been his dream, but life just had other plans. I believe he has a beautiful family and tortures them with his jokes, impressions, characters and antics. As the emcee of the show, Buck is literally living his dream.

I know the part was not written for me because I had to audition many times before snagging the role, but I get what you are asking. (Laughter) When I read the script, it did feel that it was an episode of television that moves the needle. Thematically, dressing up in drag and wearing heels may not have been a historic piece of sketch comedy, but it was absolutely thrilling to film in front of over 800 background actors. My request, which was honored, was to be brought in so that none of the background actors could see me. They didn’t know the script, so the first time they saw me was when we were filming, so their reaction is pure. We got the scene in two takes.

TrunkSpace: You were stepping on a set with an established tone. Is that a nerve-racking experience going into the first day of shooting, not knowing if you’ll fit into the vibe that already exists behind the scenes?
Vought: Absolutely, 100 percent yes – Day 1 is nerve-racking. I’m walking onto set as a guest with some of the most incredible actors working in television today – who have a routine and rhythm established over two seasons together. This is not lost on me. Honestly, we were all working pretty hard, so there was not a lot of downtime behind the scenes. The vibe was incredible. Everyone is thrilled to be at work, and we are all aware that we are making something special. Blocking out that first shot of the episode, which is continuous – spanning 8 scripted pages – was incredible. Knowing what’s been accomplished in past seasons, you know that you are part of something historic. We broke filming records that week for the number of background actors used in a production in New York state. So, the vibe was great. It’s long hours, a lot of work, and behind the scenes, everyone is focused. I was happy I “fit into” the uniform. Beyond that, I knew I was in good hands as Donna custom-tailored it.

TrunkSpace: Speaking of nerves, as you said, there were also a LOT of people involved in the scenes you shot. Did your career in stand-up sort of prepare you for that moment?
Vought: Yes. I’ve performed for large audiences as a comic, and I know that vibe and energy. So, I knew that on that front I’d feel comfortable. That said – this is not that.

These are not audience members that are attending a comedy show. They are actors and we are creating a world from the page. Very different. I’m not doing my material, so there’s a huge difference in terms of awareness. The energy that’s captured on film is only possible because Amy and Dan choose to hire that many background actors, and it made the production as real as possible. Eight hundred plus. Incredible. But yes, if you are a runner and asked to run, you feel more comfortable than if you had never run at all. I’m on stage a lot, so that, I’m sure, prepared and informed me to play this part.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Vought: I had an early appointment prior to filming with Emmy award-winning costume designer Donna Zakowska. After we fit the uniform for Buck, we had to play with selects for the sketch comedy scene where Major Buck would be dressed in drag. All of a sudden, I’m half-naked trying on different bras and wigs and heels and creating what you end up seeing in the episode, which is a classic 1950’s drag comedy sketch. I will never forget Donna asking me, “How does that bra work for you?” That was a first, and even at 7 in the morning, I busted out laughing. She painted a canvas and made me a woman. As I said earlier, walking onto stage, in drag, in front of almost one thousand extras… that’s a hard one to forget and what an opportunity, as an actor, to get to play that day.

TrunkSpace: As far as your stand-up career is concerned, was comedy always in the cards? Were you a “funny” kid, even at an early age?
Vought: Nope. I was sad. Sitting in the corner wishing for a friend or to get picked for kickball. (Laughter)

I don’t know if I was funny… I don’t think I was. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters, so I was for sure in my head a lot, and I did like to laugh and loved to listen to funny things. Comedy was a discovery for me early on. Who are these people making people laugh? You can do that? That’s a thing?

As for the cards, I never paid much attention to what anyone thought I was supposed to do and every family has an opinion. My grandmother, God rest her soul, likely still believes that I could be in line at a soup kitchen at any moment. Dramatic yes, but my parents were on food stamps when I was a kid and I didn’t grow up super privileged, so going into show business isn’t something that anyone would consider to be a stable job. Any actor or comic that ends up meeting the person they are dating’s parents have that experience:

Parent: So, what do you do?
Will: I’m an actor and a comedian.
Parent: Right. But for money, what do you do to earn money?
Will: I’m an actor and a comedian?
Parent: I see. One second. Stay right there.
*Will waits*
Parent: I’m sorry, Will, Emily is not feeling well, so you’ll have to see her another time.
*Will leaves*
(Parent to their daughter, Emily)
Parent: What the hell is wrong with you? I already have three kids living here in their 20s, and I’m not having this deadbeat have to move in six months from now because you’re in love and he’s broke.

…… you get the idea.

Seinfeld gave an interview that anyone can listen to on laugh.com. He was in his manager George Shapiro’s office and talked about the difference between wanting to be something and choosing to be something. You make the choice “to be” a comic when you walk into a club and get on stage for the first time. Prior to that, it’s all wanting and thinking. As a kid, I can say that I knew what was funny to me. As I got older, I then knew I had the ability to make people laugh. The cards may have wanted me to go to law school and even though I worked in the White House for Clinton, the humor of the circumstances was not lost on me, even then.

Photo By: Emily Assiran

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to pursue stand-up comedy as a career and did you make a plan for how you would attack things?
Vought: I was on the radio in Buffalo doing mornings on WKSE Kiss 98.5 with local legend Janet Snyder (who I believe is still there and #1 in the market). I was young, my early 20s, and local clubs would put me on because of the radio show. I sucked. But I got stage time, which is the only way to get better. I moved back to New York City and hit the ground running, handing out tickets on Broadway for stage time, taking acting classes, doing Off-Broadway theatre. It was a non-stop hustle.

TrunkSpace: What is your most memorable stand-up performance experience (good or bad!) that will stick with you for the rest of your career and why?
Vought: I performed on Live at Gotham, televised nationally live from Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. There was something about performing on live television that was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. The celebrity host was supposed to do 10 minutes upfront. They did four minutes and threw it to commercial. The producers walked over and said, “Hey Will, how are you feeling? You look great? Listen…. would you mind doing an extra two minutes in your set?”

Now, this is a comic’s dream. Not only performing on TV but being given more TV time. The problem is, I prepared that eight-minute set. I knew it, I knew the pacing, the material, and now ADD two minutes????

What was I going to add? Would it work? I said, “Yes, no problem at all.” HUGE PROBLEM! In the end, you suck it up, I did the 10 minutes live, and it all went great. That’s the gig and welcome to showbiz. You are going to get new pages, on a television show, things are added, taken away, always changing, and never quite finished. Just roll with it.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Vought: One of my highlights, thus far was as a writer, was when Wayne Brady brought me in to be the head writer during his time hosting the Late Late Show on CBS. It was during the transition period before James Corden took over, and they had a bunch of guest hosts for periods of weeks. It was absolutely incredible, and he is a phenomenal talent and one of my closest friends. Wayne gave me the reigns and went to bat for me, and I was basically the showrunner for the time that he hosted. Myself, Johnathan Mangum, and Wayne put together a new show every day, and it was an absolute dream.

A close second would be years ago. I had the good fortune to be cast by Sam Mendes in Revolutionary Road starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Huge congrats and shout out to Sam, who just won the Golden Globe for Best Director. His film, 1917, is on my list to see.

My role on RR was very small, however, featured, and I worked on the film for a week in Connecticut. On one day of filming, I was near Leo and he offered me a cigarette. Why not? We had a short but fantastic conversation, and he was as kind and generous a man as he is an actor. There is an inside well-known story on that film, during the dinner scene, where Leo insisted on doing his coverage last on what was a 12-hour filming day. I will never forget Sam calling for background and camera and we were not finished smoking and Leo looked at me and said, “It will be fine, don’t rush.”

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Vought: I don’t think I would want to see into the future. It would likely freak me out. Don’t get me wrong, I have clear goals and things I want to accomplish, but seeing that specifically would take me out of the present. I think it’s so hard for everyone not to live in yesterday or tomorrow. Staying grounded in right now, this moment takes an enormous amount of stamina and clarity. The mere act of answering this question is exhausting.

Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is available now on Amazon.

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Wingman Wednesday

Clarissa Thibeaux

ClarissaThibeauxFeatured
Photo By: Storm Santos

For Runaways star Clarissa Thibeaux, tapping into the personality of an existing character, in this case Xavin from the Marvel comic book universe, meant having to cull what she could from past sequential pages while simultaneously tapping into the vision of the series’ writers. The result is a memorable on-screen role, and although she had plenty of inspiration to pick from, there are still aspects of her own personality that make their way to the viewers.

I think the reality is no matter what I do a little bit of Clarissa will always shine through the characters I play,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Thibeaux to discuss personal awareness, finding her place in Los Angeles, and remaining blissfully unaware of what the future holds.

TrunkSpace: You discovered you first landed the part of Xavin in Runaways the week of your birthday. How has your journey on the series impacted your life and career? What has been the greatest gift of your Runaways ride?
Thibeaux: Yes, it was an amazing birthday week! It has been an eye opening ride so far. Being part of the series has given me the opportunity to audition and test for some amazing projects. I think the greatest gift has been getting to interact with the fans of the show and really hear about their connections to both the characters in the TV show and in the comics.

TrunkSpace: Xavin will have been the longest run you’ve had with a character in episodic television. What is that experience like for you… discovering new things that you can use day-to-day in your performance with a character? Does it make you ever second-guess the earliest choices you made with her?
Thibeaux: Having the opportunity to play such a muted yet layered character has been a great challenge. A lot of what I discovered acting-wise, with Xavin, is what is truly needed to communicate an idea of feeling. Since Xavin doesn’t have the same emotional range as some of the other characters on the show, it was a lot of fun to work with the directors to give just enough information visually to communicate Xavin’s myriad of feelings. I think my earliest choices of Xavin’s characteristics were close to what I brought to Xavin this season… Xavin has a huge shift during their arc but I think with all of the information from the new season maybe I would have done a few things differently. I’m not sure. I’m happy with my performance. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: When you’re shaping someone who is based on an existing character, in this case a character who had a history in print, how do you approach staying true to what is already there, but at the same time, bringing yourself into the character? Is it a thin line to walk?
Thibeaux: I did my best to see where Xavin’s personality came out in the comics and did my best to layer those brash or comedic moments in with the writer’s vision(s). I think the reality is no matter what I do a little bit of Clarissa will always shine through the characters I play. Xavin, however, is such a calculated being, and that gave me a lot more to use when playing them.

TrunkSpace: As you were moving into production for Season 3, did you feel more comfortable in Xavin’s shoes, even with a new and unfamiliar story arc in front of you? Does tapping into a character and her motivation get easier the more time you spend with her?
Thibeaux: Definitely! It was also easier to fall into this season because I had already built budding relationships with my castmates and had a better understanding of what each day would be like. I also knew more about Xavin after Season 2 came out. So many wonderful fans gave me a lot of insight into how they felt when they read the comics and what Xavin meant to them. For me, playing Xavin had a lot to do with awareness. Awareness of my body, my breathing, and how each word left my mouth. I did my best to make everything (at least for me) feel a little foreign and intentional.

TrunkSpace: Runaways is grounded in reality to an extent, but at the same time, is very much a part of the fantastical as well. When you’re going to work every day where literally anything can happen on camera, does it keep things interesting for you as an actor? Does 10-year-old Clarissa give you high fives with the stuff you get to do as a part of the series?
Thibeaux: (Laughter) Ten-year-old Clarissa would be AMAZED. Since a lot of fantastic things happen on the show, it makes each day really feel like a dream. Some of the most interesting parts for me were all the camera set ups. There were rigs I had never seen before – those were pretty magical.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Runaways that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life career?
Thibeaux: I think one part of Runways that will stay with me is how supportive the whole cast and crew were. Since Xavin is a shapeshifter, it was a trip to have so many actors that I admire asking for my advice on how to play Xavin. Lots of very fun conversations!

Photo By: Storm Santos

TrunkSpace: You’re starring on a show that is a part of the Marvel brand. Given how big all things Marvel has become, do you feel lucky to be a part of this very unique period in pop culture history, particularly on a show that is helping to define the future of television by offering such quality content on a streaming platform?
Thibeaux: I feel extremely lucky. I could never have guessed that my career would take me on the path I’m on but holy moly am I grateful. It is such an amazing time in TV and to be on a show of this caliber… I still pinch myself.

TrunkSpace: You moved to Los Angeles after graduating college. As look back on your experience, locating to a city where so many people are dreaming the same dream, was it a difficult transition or did you feel right at home right away?
Thibeaux: I stumbled a bit when I got to LA – it’s not the easiest city to live in or navigate. I don’t know if I feel at home now. (Laughter) This is an interesting city. It’s a love/hate relationship. Some days I feel on top of the world and other days I feel like I have no idea why I’m here. In LA there’s a little bit of everything.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Thibeaux: I have to say Runaways! It has changed so much for me and opened so many doors.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Thibeaux: Hmmm… I don’t know! What if it’s really bad? That would be depressing. I think I wouldn’t do it, just in case. I rather live blissfully unaware. I’m happy now – it’s better to live in the present.

Season 3 of Runaways is available now on Hulu.

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