Friday, May 22, 2015

Rest in Peace, Boston.

Today we said goodbye to our precious Boston. He gave us the best 9 years of our lives and for that we'll be eternally grateful to him.

We love you, Boston!




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dawn


Dawn: "I am heavily informed by Scary Spice and Japanese street fashion. My style is an expression of my infinite divinity."

TorontoVerve: "I like the skulls on your dress."

Dawn: "It's a playful dress that makes fun of evil. I like the juxtaposition of neon into everyday life."

TorontoVerve: "What was the best advice you've received and from whom?"

Dawn: "The best advice I've received came directly from the universe. The universe said 'everything is everything -- it's all one. So just enjoy it. Even the ugly bits are filthy, delicious, disgusting and sexy in their own way.'"

TorontoVerve: "And how is that advice helping you in life?"

Dawn: "When you're no longer resistant to things, you can start appreciating and approaching them in a constructive way --- instead of out of fear, which is where most of the unnecessary anxieties of human life come from today."

Check out Dawn's website. "That's where you'll find a lot of my innovative insights."


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Reza & Valeriya


TorontoVerve made #2 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular list!


Reza: "My style is a mixture of traditional British menswear and flamboyant Italian fashion."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself so far this year?"

Reza: "I'm taking more risks in my personal life."

TorontoVerve: "Is it paying off?"

Reza: "I don't know yet. We'll see."


TorontoVerve: "What was the best advice you've received and from whom?"

Valeriya: "My dad gave me the best advice. He said just be positive no matter what, and that's what I'm trying to live up to."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ashley

Ashley: "My style is fun, playful and vibrant."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year so far?"

Ashley: "The risks I've taken. I decided to quit a full-time job in events to pursue art and it's definitely taking off. Right now I'm working with a fantastic and talented team at the Jessgo Pop-Up Gallery. Come check us out! We're here at 944 Queen Street West until the end of August."

Follow Ashley on Instagram.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Laural


Laural: "I would describe my style as summertime metal. I just got my haircut today, and to get inspiration for it, I googled '1980's metal hair Slayer fans' (laughs)."

TorontoVerve: "So what was the inspiration for your tattoos?"

Laural: "She (pointing to the tattoo on her left leg) is the guardian of my unconscious. She's like a dragon and just like dragons, she protects treasure, and the treasure that she protects is the depths of my vulnerability."

TorontoVerve: "And what do you need protection from?"

Laural: "Myself, probably (laughs)."

Laural is an astrologer who does readings for self-development and empowerment. Follow her on instagram: @Uranical_Astrology.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Renee & Brixton


TorontoVerve: "What are you the most proud of this year?"

Renee: "I'm taking architecture in college and I got an A+ in my math class. I used to get low grades in high school, but I've been challenging myself and it's been paying off."

TorontoVerve: "Your son is looking cool today. What's your inspiration for his wardrobe?"

Renee: "I dress him the way I would want a guy I had a crush on would dress (laughs)."

Follow Renee on Instagram.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Nana & Jonferd: "Remain Giant"


Nana (left): "My style is 'Fresh Prince meets Steve Urkle.'

TorontoVerve: "What do you like about Urkle?"

Nana: "He was geeky. I liked how he always rolled up his pants. He never tried to change his style -- except when he became Stefan."

Jonferd (right): "My style is a little thrift store mixed with a little 90's flair. Will Smith from the Fresh Prince era inspires me."

TorontoVerve: "What are you the most proud of this year?"

Jonferd: "I just performed at Canadian Music Week. My band is called Remain Giant and we play indie hip hop. Nana is our producer."

Check out Remain Giant's cool beats on Soundcloud and find out more about the band on their website.

Follow Remain Giant on Twitter and Instagram.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dee


Dee: "I started my own company in September called Growing Goddesses -- a wellness program for young females. We empower young females through nutrition, yoga and mentorships."

TorontoVerve: "That's great! What inspired you to start your own company?"

Dee: "Working with a lot of teen girls and seeing the difference that I can make."

Follow Dee on Twitter and Instagram.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yan


"I wear a lot of black and athletic stuff. Alexander Wang inspires me. I love his H&M collaboration and street wear."

We previously captured Yan's cool street style with her friend James last summer.

Follow Yan on Instagram.

TorontoVerve made #4 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular list!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Carol


Carol: "My style is always personal and enigmatic. I don't have any inspirations other than this little girl inside of me who inspires me to wear something different every day."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself?"

Carol: "Two years ago, I quit my miserable job as a labour and human rights lawyer, and for the next six months, I rode my bike from Vancouver to Mexico alone. I started working for a fashion designer in Mexico and that's when I really heard my calling in fashion."

Carol is the founder of Prêt-à-Prêter -- a clothing library and stylist service. "We rent and sell unique high-end vintage clothing."

Follow Carol on Instagram and Facebook.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Christoph


"I'm still developing my style, but I love 90's urban glam. I'm really inspired by Aaliyah and Michael Jackson."



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Showgirls Doesn't Suck!" A Conversation with Author Adam Nayman

Ask anyone what they know about Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls and they’ll likely tell you that it’s a piece of crap — whether they’ve seen it or not. 

In 1995, the film was critically panned for its gratuitous nudity, offensive dialogue and horrendous performances, but over the past two decades, its seedy reputation has helped it achieve cult status. 

Showgirls is the story of Nomi Malone, a mysterious young girl (played by Saved by the Bell’s Elizabeth Berkley), who seeks fame and fortune by dancing her way to the top as a Las Vegas showgirl.

Say what you want about Showgirls — the film has its staunch supporters. Last year, Toronto film critic Adam Nayman released his book, It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls, a passionate examination of the film that attempts to prove its unpopular claim.

I sat down with Nayman to discuss everything from Showgirls’ critical backlash, Berkley’s public shaming, and race politics in Hollywood.


TorontoVerve: Your love of film first began when your mother encouraged you to read Pauline Kael’s volumes of criticism. What was it about Kael’s writings that inspired you? 

Adam Nayman: Without knowing what a strong film critical voice was, I recognized that Kael had one. In her review of Steven Spielberg’s JAWS, she had this curious line about Eisenstein. As a 10-year old kid, I had no idea who that was. I probably thought she meant Albert Einstein, but her review was compelling and argumentative enough to make me want to learn more. To me, that’s a sign of a really good writer. Kael also took a lot of shots at [filmmakers] and that was much of her appeal to film critics. She was often contrary and dismissive. I liked the confidence in her voice and wanted to get to that same place of authority and confidence.

TV: Why do you think your mom pointed you to film? 

AN: My parents were both journalists. I grew up in a very literary household. My mom really likes films by Stanley Kramer (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) and Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon) — that conscious and vaguely liberal American cinema that came about in the 1950’s and 60’s. I learned from my mom that movies were about life, politics and history, and how to ultimately understand them. My parents thought that films were entertainment, but also more. We never just put a movie on in our house, turned it off and went about our business. We would watch it, talk about it and argue about it. The books that we read, the music that we listen to and the films that we watch are things that we should try to share and discuss — instead of things that are just done without comment.


TV: What types of films were you drawn to as a kid?

AN: The two directors who were the primal scene of cinefilia for me were Spielberg and Kubrick. I still consider them both to be great. I probably like Kubrick more, but that’s because it’s fashionably adolescent to like Kubrick more. I respond more to his archness and his cruelty than to Spielberg’s earnestness and wonder, but when I was younger, I recognized that these guys were doing more than simply telling a story. They were also telling a story visually. They were making me feel smart by noticing what they were doing with the frame, colour and sound. In my adolescence, I felt that Spielberg was a dead-end. Not now, of course. Back then, I thought that I couldn’t learn a lot about other films through Spielberg. I was wrong, but Kubrick, on the other hand, became this incredibly open portal for me because his movies were older and had this stronger critical writing around them. Through Kubrick, I was able to learn about Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2) and Georges Méliès (A Trip to the Moon). Kubrick was one of those directors who really opened things up for me. Maybe between the ages of 9 and 11, I watched a lot of movies, but between the ages of 12 and 14, I learned a lot about movies. I learned about their history and criticism. I had all these ridiculous opinions, which were basically other people’s opinions that I read and felt should be mine. When I was 14, I wrote about everything I saw, and read as many reviews as I could about old movies. JAWS and 2001: A Space Odyssey are my two favourite films.

TV: So what was your fascination with Showgirls when it was first released?

AN: I was 14 when Showgirls came out and I was kind of interested in the sexuality of the movie, but I was more interested in why it received zero stars from Rick Groen in the Globe and Mail. I was also interested in the logistics of getting into the film because it was restricted. I wasn’t really a rebellious kid. I didn’t drink a lot or do a lot of drugs. At least not when I was 14. I thought that sneaking into Showgirls would be a nice act of defiance, and I did manage to get in.

TV: Since you brought it up. How did you manage to sneak into Showgirls?

AN: It helps to be tall and persistent. For the most part, ticket takers don’t really care. Maybe the movie was doing very badly and they were just willing to let anybody in. When I was 15, I once told a theatre that my friend’s younger brother was my son so he can get into Jackie Brown on Christmas day.


TV: How do you think Showgirls would be received if it were released now? 

AN: If Showgirls had happened now, it couldn’t happen the same way. It would be a bigger deal because Twitter and the internet would basically have all the set reports and all the bad reviews instantly. There would also be a re-evaluation of it within a day. There would be an article two days later: ‘what all the reviews got wrong about Showgirls.’ It’s amazing to see this incredible backlash and critical hit job go out on this movie in 1995. Certainly, the rebuttals or reprisals were still a long way off. I remember this movie being a news story because of the NC-17 rating. There were conservative people in Canada and the States who didn’t want to see Showgirls screened because they thought it was going to be pornographic. I think the reception of the movie proves that adult critics who are paid for a living to watch movies can’t deal with sex or sexuality without turning into 14-year old boys.

TV: I think you make a good point by bringing up the power of social media. In 1995, you could say that it was the film critics who, more or less, determined Showgirls’ losing fate. If Showgirls were released today, critics couldn’t compete with public opinion on social media. 

AN: I think that’s true. I think a lot of the recent praise for Showgirls is in proportion to how badly it was treated. If the film would have had more champions at that time, it would have been fairer because it’s clearly not a bad movie, but if there had been more supporters at the time, I don’t think that Showgirls would be as resonant now. If it had come out during social media, the response would have been more contentious in the moment. Harmonie Korine’s Spring Breakers had the exact response you’re talking about, but no one is going to care about that movie in 20 years. The need to discuss Showgirls now is because it had such a one-sided reception.


TV: What did your peers say when you told them that your first book was going to be a critical analysis of Showgirls?

AN: I think a lot of my peers were envious just because I was going to write on a film that wasn’t 200 pages long. This in no way is a slam of reviewers in Toronto because these people are my colleagues, but reviews aren’t really an analysis of film. You recap the plot, you say who's in it and you say whether you like it or not. If you’re one of the better critics in Toronto, you’re maybe able to do a bit more than that, but it’s a format restriction. It’s not the critics who are limited — it’s the format. Slate reviewed my book and said that I was a brave critic to say that Showgirls was good. I don’t really agree with that. It would have been brave to write this book in 1996. Today, in the film critical circles that I travel in, their response was like ‘of course. How has no one else done this already?’ This book is the exact kind of writing that’s being done in pop culture now. Short, packed, informational mini books, and that’s what the Pop Classics series is trying to do. I can’t wait to read Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks by Andy Burns and I’ll be able to read it in a day.

TV: Kael believed that audiences could enjoy trashy movies, but they shouldn’t take them seriously or study them in school. How do you feel differently about Showgirls?

AN: I think that Kael's essay is great and very unhelpful. This might sound like I’m being uncharitable to a great writer, but she had no idea what she was really talking about in that article. She says that trash gives us an appetite for art, but when she wrote about art films, she, for the most part, is deeply dismissive, skeptical or suspicious. I can’t think of a worse critic on some of the major art films of the 70’s and 80’s. I think that’s because she didn’t see them or she just dismissed them entirely. She didn’t like Martin Scorsese when he started making art films like Raging Bull and she didn’t like late Kubrick because she found it too arty. Showgirls is so trashy that I’m not surprised that the pendulum swung back in its direction in the realm of analysis because the whole history of b-films, cult films and exploitation films have made a mark in the film industry. When Spielberg made JAWS, it was like a Hollywood studio making a 50’s monster movie. Showgirls has a lot of the features of a sexploitation movie, but it’s made by a Hollywood studio. I think that’s where a lot of the initial hatred and repulsion towards it came, but it’s also where a lot of the sympathy and critical interest in it comes from now. People want to say that Showgirls is some kind of satire from within the system or is subversive somehow. Those are not all things that I totally agree with, but there’s enough in the movie to make it worth talking about.


TV: You mention in your book that Showgirls was trashed by critics because of the success of Basic Instinct — a film that many hated. What would you say makes Showgirls a good film? 

AN: (Laughs) It’s funny because even though I wrote an entire book on that subject, it’s hard to say. I’m a believer of intentionality. I don’t believe in movies being read against their intention. I think that could only take you so far. I guess I’m auteurist. I believe that the director has a certain power in collaboration with others in that he or she is trying to get something across — whether it’s an idea, a joke or their sensibility. Maybe one of the reasons why Showgirls is one of the first movies that I ever wanted to write about is that there’s a huge case for the prosecutor and the defence. I think it’s outrageous and perverse on purpose, and hints on at things that are taboo. There’s also a lot in it that’s inept, misjudged and lacks ideological unity. More than saying that Showgirls is good or bad — I’m convinced, beginning with the title of my book and through the rest of my argumentation, that it doesn’t suck. Everyone was so certain of it being terrible. So what is that certainty being referred to? Is it anything that’s in the film or is it stuff that’s outside the film? Is it stuff going on in the culture or the film industry? What’s interesting to me is the film is about pleasure and spectacle, but not in the affirmative way. [Verhoeven makes pleasure and spectacle] look repulsive and ugly so that either makes Showgirls deeply hypocritical or it makes it very wise.

TV: In your book, you say that you see the ‘magnificence’ in Showgirls and that’s because you know how to look at it. How would you recommend haters to watch it to see its magnificence? 

AN: Well, spending $13 on my book is a good start (laughs). I think that you have to watch the film with some knowledge of the genres that Verhoeven is working in: classic musicals, backstage melodramas and Hollywood movies about Hollywood. I think keeping those things in mind is enough to activate the movie, but I don’t think they have to be front of mind because nothing could be worse than watching Showgirls and not letting yourself be entertained by its sheer outrageousness. I didn’t want to write a dry book and I don’t want to suggest that the movie should be picked apart and placed under a microscope, but why not watch Showgirls the way that people feel comfortable watching a film like Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill? [Like Tarantino, Verhoeven pays homage to many film classics in Showgirls, but unlike Tarantino], he is not actively annotating his film references. Verhoeven is not a Quentin Tarantinoish guy. He’s not nearly as pleased with himself for being clever like Tarantino is.


TV: It’s interesting that you say that because it wasn’t until Nomi exacts her brutal revenge against her friend’s rapist that I thought this is just like those avenging angel movies from the 80’s. Maybe if Showgirls was marketed as a modern day grindhouse film, it might have done better. 

AN: That’s really a smart observation you’ve made because that’s exactly what they did with Kill Bill. If you could talk to Kill Bill while it was going on, it would say that ‘I’m an avenging angel film, a kung fu film and a blackploitation film from the 70’s.’ Verhoeven doesn’t do that. In some ways the mixing of genres in Showgirls is quite audacious because it goes from being a 40’s musical to a Russ Meyer film to an avenging angel film, but it doesn’t change its style, and I find that quite remarkable.

TV: Did you see Berkley’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show when she was on Dancing with the Stars? After nearly 20 years, she was still visibly devastated by the negative press that she received from Showgirls. I even remember Gene Siskel going as far as saying that she wasn’t attractive in his review of the film. 

AN: I was trying to be very sensitive to Berkley in my book. The reason I’m trying to be sensitive is I can’t in good conscience really disagree with some of the assessments of her acting. I try to account for her performance rather than to condemn it or praise it. In her own words, I think that she was very damaged professionally by what happened. I think a lot of people took satisfaction with what happened to her because it seemed like she was being punished for wanting to be famous. She was a Saved by the Bell star who wanted to grow up. I mention this in the book and I think it’s one of my stronger points, but if Berkley had given as good of a performance as Sharon Stone did in Basic Instinct, maybe Showgirls would have been better received. I haven’t interviewed her, but everything that I’ve read about Berkley says that she is a very conscientious person. She started a blog [called Ask Elizabeth] to answer questions from young women, which is kinda self-promoting, but it seems that she’s quite compassionate. Of all the people involved in the movie, she would be the one that I’m most interested in hearing from, if she ever read the book. I know that Verhoeven and [actress] Gina Gershon are aware of the book. I have no idea if Berkley is aware of the book, but I know that people tweeted at her about it.


TV: There’s no subtlety in Berkley’s performance. It’s way over the top. Why do you think a great director like Verhoeven didn’t dial her performance down? 

AN: I actually think it was the performance that he wanted and since I think that Showgirls is amazing, that’s to his credit, but in other ways, it’s to his discredit. He took a lot of abuse from Showgirls, but it’s different than what she took. He’s a very arrogant guy, but he was humbled by what happened; however, he didn’t get the personalized, written venom that Berkley did.

TV: Have you seen Staying Alive with John Travolta?

AN: I have.

TV: I don’t remember much about it except that the Broadway show that Tony Monero (Travolta) was performing in was god awful. And since the success of the protagonist’s dancing career hinged on the greatness of the show, then it’s safe to say that Tony will end up flipping burgers. As uneven as Showgirls is, I believe that its Stardust show is not that bad. What are your feelings about the show? 

AN: That’s a great question because the Stardust show, Goddess, makes no sense. It starts in pagan times and turns into a 60’s biker girl show. It’s like an evolution of exploitation cinema in this kinda classy matinee show — only there’s nipples everywhere. I love the idea that the Stardust show is described as tasteful even though it’s the tackiest thing in the world. As to whether the show is good or not? The music was written by Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics — so whether you see that as an affirmative or critique of the show, that’s up to you, but your comment about Staying Alive is accurate. That’s one of the things that I don’t like about that movie. The Broadway show is so bad. I’m not sure if the movie knows that as consciously as we like to think it does, but you’re right - [Tony Monero] has no chance.


TV: I’m cynical when it comes to race and Hollywood. Nothing is ever an accident in film — especially when it comes to race. While watching Showgirls, I had to ask myself: why are Nomi’s only two friends Black? Are the filmmakers telling us that she’s this really great person who doesn’t see race or that she’s trailer trash? 

AN: I think it’s a combination of things. It’s tricky because there’s a sympathy that this movie has class-wise. Nomi is a victim of incest, child abuse and she’s a drug addicted hooker who lives in a trailer — that’s what working class means in this movie, but the movie likes all that stuff or seems to like it more. It’s only as the movie goes along that you see it ultimately has more sympathy for the person that Nomi really is than it does for her Goddess [persona]. You say that you're cynical, I think that the movie is cynical too. Often the most cynical things are sentimental and often the most sentimental things are cynical. I think that there’s something sentimental about Nomi having these Black friends, who she ultimately does right by. In fact, the real villains of the film are White men — even though the people who made the film are White men (Verhoeven & screenwriter Joe Eszterhas). One person once asked me ‘how would Showgirls play if Nomi was Black?’ You can play that thought experiment with almost any movie, but I think the sad truth is, if Nomi was Black, no one in this film would want to make her Goddess in the first place.

TV: It’s interesting that the Goddess understudy was Black. 

AN: Yes and notice that she doesn’t get the part. I don’t want to read into the film too much, but [during the Goddess show], the Black understudy slips on white diamonds and is lying on the stage in pain while Gina Gershon, dressed in white, ascends above the frame. [Race politics] is definitely there. Just looking at the poster, you wouldn’t think it’s a movie about race because it just seems logical that a big Hollywood movie is about a White girl, but it’s interesting that there are Black people in it who are totally, both by the machinery of the film and by the Hollywood machinery described in the film, pushed into supporting roles.


TV: Hollywood has already remade Verhoeven’s Total Recall and Robocop, and very poorly I might add (they left out much of his dark humour). It’s only a matter of time before they remake Showgirls. What do you think a Showgirls remake would look like today? 

AN: No one would ever remake something like Showgirls because it was such a failure. I think its lessons have been inherited by filmmakers who want to apply them in their own new movies instead of a remake. If a movie like Showgirls was remade, it would do very well. People would like it and want to praise and analyze it, but they’re not going to do a remake of it.

TV: In your acknowledgements, you say that your parents have always been proud of you -- even after you announced writing this book. What are their thoughts of the film? 

AN: The person who said nicest thing to me after the Showgirls screening at TIFF was my mom. She came up to me outside and said ‘that’s pretty good.’ She’s seen it before, but after reading my book and seeing the movie again, she felt that the movie was good, which is really sweet. I’m lucky that my parents and wife were all onboard with this. I’m sure that my wife, Tanya, never wants to hear me at a party talk about Showgirls again. Not because she doesn’t like it — she does, but she’s already heard the spiel enough times.

TV: Since the release of your book last year, has anyone told you that you turned their hate for Showgirls around? 

AN: I’ve gotten a few emails from people who said they’ve read my book and they kinda agree with me. With no malice, a couple of my friends and my prof said ‘no, not really. This is well written and entertaining, but it doesn’t hold together.’ I believe everything I wrote in the book, and I expressed myself as well as I possibly could. If people say that I changed their mind about the movie, that’s great. If people say that I didn’t change their mind, that’s equally fine. Whether I succeeded or failed, I feel like I did so on my own terms.



Buy It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls.

Follow Adam Nayman on Twitter.


Showgirls photos courtesy of MGM


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Anja


Anja: "I don't have style. It's just how I feel in the morning. Painter Frida Kahlo inspires me because she is a free spirit of love."

TorontoVerve: "Is there a painting of hers that particularly resonates with you?"

Anja: "Yes, 'The Two Fridas.' It shows her true emotion."

We previously captured Anja's vintage velvet street style five years ago.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Andrea


"Ninety-five percent of my wardrobe is secondhand. I love the quality and workmanship of vintage fabric. I think that there are too many new pieces of clothing. If you want H&M or Joe Fresh, just go to Goodwill. They have their whole collection there."


Monday, March 16, 2015

Jasmine


"Today I'm wearing my grandma's beaver coat, scarf and gloves so I'm super warm."

We previously captured Jasmine's classic street style two years ago.

Jasmine Chorley-Foster is co-editor of The Business Model, a website that provides industry news and advice to fashion models.

Follow The Business Model and Jasmine on Twitter.

Check out our interview with her mother, Pam Chorley, founder of Fashion Crimes.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Actress Katie Boland: What Happened After 'the Summer She Lost Her Mind'

For everyone, heartbreak is a painful and unwelcomed emotion, but for actress Katie Boland (The Master, Gerontophilia, CW’s Reign), it would also be her serendipitous source of inspiration. Her web-series, Long Story, Short, boldly recounts every sad and humiliating detail of what she calls ‘the summer I lost my mind’, and has quickly gained a huge internet following.

Boland’s relationship sorrows also strongly influence her first novel, Eat Your Heart Out, a collection of dark and evocative short stories, and most recently her Huffington Post article about breaking the cycle of abuse.

Indeed, much has happened to the Toronto-native since she was recognized by Elle Canada and the Toronto International Film Festival for her impressive film work. TorontoVerve sat down with the multi-faceted artist to talk about her career success and her relationship woes.


TorontoVerve: You’re a hard working actor. You’ve worked in so many mediums: movies, television, print and digital. Have I missed anything? 

Katie Boland: No (laughs).

TV: Can you sing? 

KB: No, I can’t sing. I’m actually a terrible singer.

TV: So no future albums coming out for you. 

KB: No, no album (laughs).

TV: It’s 2015. How did you ring in the new year? 

KB: I was at a house party with my brother and my closest friends. I rang in the New Year in a wonderful way. I was really happy.

TV: What’s your New Year’s resolution? 

KB: I have a couple. First, I’d like to be more focussed on self-acceptance and less focussed on self-improvement. Also, this past year was amazing and I’ve had an abundance of experiences, but I definitely feel a little burnt out so I’d like to rest more in 2015.

TV: 2014 has certainly been good to you. Long Story, Short launched and you won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance in a Digital Series. The show is being compared to HBO’s “Girls.” What was your vision for the series when you began writing it?  

KB: I wrote it because I wanted to explore that period in my life, which I call “the summer I lost my mind,” but to be honest, I didn’t necessarily have a clear vision. I’ve never written anything for the screen before and I’ve never been a showrunner. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I wanted to make something with my friends. So I think my vision was to work hard and try to have a collaborative space. My mom directed it. She’s an incredibly hard worker so I knew that it would look good, but I did not think that it would have the life that it’s had. It’s been a wonderful surprise. 

TV: What kind of response have you been getting from people on the street and social media? 

KB: Well, it’s been really interesting with its most recent launch on VervegirlTV. I’ve gotten so many tweets from many people who would say, “This feels like a transcript of my life” or “Wow! I really relate to this” or “These drunken mishaps are hilarious and sad.” I think I felt very alone during that time, but I shouldn’t have because I think that many people have gone through similar experiences in trying to find themselves in destructive and hilarious ways.


TV: The women in the series offer each other much advice when it comes to texting men. For those who haven’t seen the series yet, what are some of the important rules to know about texting and dating? 

KB: (Laughs) OK, I always screw it up! I always say I’m going to play it cool and then I can’t -- especially if I like the guy. So I don’t know if I should be giving this kind of advice, but I think hopefully you meet somebody and it clicks, and you don’t have to worry about all of that stuff. You can text them whenever you want to and vice-versa. I think what’s important to work on before you fall in love or start dating someone you like is to have self-esteem and know your self-worth so when you’re texting someone and they don’t text you back, it won’t be a major heartbreak. You can say, “OK, this person isn’t ready. I’m not going to take it personally and let it ruin my day.” For me, it used to be when a guy didn’t text me back, I was like, “Oh my God! Why?!” I’d be consumed by it. So my rules are: try to date someone kind because life is hard. It should be fun at the beginning.

TV: You’ve worked with your mother, director Gail Harvey, on film projects before, but what does it mean to you to collaborate with her on such a personal project? 

KB: She’s very supportive and nonjudgmental. It was really the first time we collaborated. She is more experienced than I am as far as filmmaking goes so she didn’t have to be as supportive as she was. It was amazing. I felt really grateful.

TV: Did she ever have to tell you, “Let’s dial it back a little. This is too crazy.” 

KB: Well, I directed the sex scenes, not my mom. That would be awkward for the guys (laughs). No, she never asked to dial it back. If anything, I felt like we both wanted to push it farther than we did.


TV: Long Story, Short is partly based on your own personal heartbreaks and in your book (“Eat Your Heart Out”) dedication, you credit Peter for your heartbreak, which led to writing the book. What have you learned about yourself through your heartbreaks? 

KB: I learned a library worth of knowledge. I would say that I had two really major heartbreaks: my first and last breakups. I felt almost reinvented through each experience. It sounds cheesy, but I felt like a whole new person in a way. I’ve learned that you have to love yourself and deal with whatever’s screwed up inside of you because another relationship is not going to fix it. I learnt to be strong and to be OK with being alone. I learned to make art out of bad things that happen to me. Sometimes the worst things that happen to you are actually the greatest gifts in the world.

TV: So what do your heartbreakers think of your art? 

KB: Peter is great. He told me that he was touched by the book dedication and that he really liked Long Story, Short. He and I are still very good friends. I think the response has mainly been positive. That’s the weird thing about relationships. You can be so close and then you never see each other again (laughs).

TV: That can also be a good thing. 


KB: Sometimes that has to happen (laughs).

TV: Alcoholism plays a big part in your web series and in your book. Since both draw heavily on your life, is it safe to say that you’ve been personally confronted with the hardships of alcoholism? 

KB: Yeah, definitely people close to me have struggled with alcoholism and addiction. It also runs in my family for sure, but my mom and dad both don’t drink, which is amazing. I’m reading an interesting book now called “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol” and it’s about the drinking culture amongst young women. I think the way most young people drink today isn’t healthy. I think often times when I was binge drinking, it was to deal with something inside me.


TV: I enjoyed reading “Eat Your Heart Out.” 

KB: Thank you!

TV: I was particularly intrigued with the lead character in your short story “Monster.” Unknown to her finance, she’s a sociopath who has little regard for life. I found it very interesting that you chose her to deliver a very insightful anti- alcohol abuse message (“escaping through alcohol allows people to remain stuck in the lives they hate. I believe that if you are unhappy, you might as well know it, and know it always”). Why select her instead of one of your benevolent characters to give that message in the book? 

KB: Well, I think that that character is wired wrong. Her point of view is very black and white. She lacks empathy. I think that’s a rather harsh way of looking at alcoholism and the people who drink to escape their lives. There’s not much tenderness in her view; however, I don’t think that she’s necessarily wrong. That’s how I felt at that point in my life about drinking. If you need to get drunk every weekend to be fulfilled, maybe you need to stop drinking so you can deal with some of the bigger issues or problems in your life.

TV: Was that a personal lesson you’ve learned about drinking? 

KB: It’s definitely something that I spent much time thinking about. If I’m drinking a lot or if the people around me are drinking a lot, I always wonder why and what other motivating factors there are. Drinking is such an accepted behaviour in society and I don’t think necessarily that you’re getting any closer to knowing yourself or the people that you’re getting drunk with.

TV: So will your character, Kristen, in Long Story, Short learn that lesson? 

KB: I don’t know. I have to see where season two will go. I would hope so because you want to see a character progress. I think that alcoholism is something that you always struggle with. Kristen is in real denial about her drinking. I would like to see her hit rock bottom before she comes up.


TV: On the show, your friend Dave tells Kristen: “You will care about anyone so long as they don’t care about you.” This is also a similar theme in your novel. Is there any truth to that in your real life? 

KB: In Long Story, Short, Kristen’s self-esteem is all f@%ked up and for a long time, that’s how I really was. There were many really wonderful men who wanted to date me, but I really didn’t like myself enough to let them like me in a respectful and fulfilling way. Much of what I explore in my book and Long Story, Short are people who don’t love themselves and have low self-esteem. Thanks to my art, I’m in a different place now and I’ve learned to love myself, which is the cornerstone to every good thing in life.

TV: Is there anyone special in your life right now?

KB: No, I’m not dating anyone; however, there are MULTIPLE special people in my life: my friends and family.

TV: You’ve recently revealed in your Huffington Post column that you had a pattern of being in emotionally abusive relationships. What made you want to share something so personal with your readers? 

KB: It’s hard not to look at anything like that as a mistake or regret. I now look at everything as lessons. I hope that maybe there’s one girl in the world who would read that and feel less alone or have some sort of clarity on what is a very emotionally confusing situation. I’m really a believer in women telling their stories and men owning what’s happened to them. I felt like if I owned it and put it out there, then it wouldn’t define me. It would be something that I can finally put in the past. I was far enough along in my recovery to talk about it with clarity. Also, writing things like that helps me. It reminds me of where I don’t want to go again. And what’s the point in going through all of that and not help somebody too? It makes it less about me and more about helping someone in need.


TV: Did your abusive relationships serve as inspiration for your short story “Tragic Hero”? Rich, your lead character, had a tendency to subtly control his young female friend, Maggie. 

KB: What’s interesting is when I wrote that book, I didn’t know that I was in emotionally abusive relationships. That’s the craziest part about it. You don’t realize what’s happening is wrong or that you’re a part of a sick cycle. I think I knew subconsciously and expressed it through my art, but I didn’t have any concrete awareness about it. I find characters like Rich interesting. I like writing about people who are a bit screwed up or bent. I think I’m drawn to those types of relationships in my art, but not in my real life anymore.

TV: What would you recommend to anyone who wants to break away from that painful cycle? 

KB: It’s a difficult thing because it has to happen when they’re ready. You can talk to somebody about it until you’re blue in the face, but if they’re not ready, it’s not going to end. If you’re friends with someone who’s in a situation like that, just be there for them, listen, don’t get frustrated with them and don’t make them feel stupid because they’re already frustrated with themselves and feel stupid enough. I would also say that there is a lot of free help that you can get. Seeing a therapist can be very helpful. Trying to find people in the same situation can help too. My advice would be to get out. It’s really hard at first, but after you do, your life gets exponentially better.


TV: Both you and your mother have a production company called “Straight Shooters” and are currently developing other television projects. What can we expect from both of you next? 

KB: We have three different television projects in development. We are also working on a documentary about Rickie Lee Jones who is a very famous American singer. My mom is directing it and I’m producing it. And we’re doing some more mini- episodes of Long Story, Short, which I’m really excited about. I also have five different films coming out this year.

TV: What are you looking forward to the most in 2015? 

KB: I think all the cool projects that I’m going to get to do with my friends. That’s what I’m really looking forward to. And hopefully continuing to be happy and healthy.


TV: Care to close with a little word association? 

KB: Sure. 


TV: Toronto. 


KB: Drake.

TV: Beauty. 


KB: Mark. 


TV: Fashion. 


KB: Cabaret Vintage.

TV: Mom. 

KB: Best friend.

TV: Art. 


KB: Important.

TV: Pain. 


KB: Necessary.

TV: Love. 


KB: Nice. 


TV: Hate. 


KB: Needless.

TV: Future. 

KB: Hopeful.

TV: Happiness. 

KB: Today.

* * *

Check out Katie's website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Watch the first episode of Long Story, Short below:


Monday, January 19, 2015

Cait


Cait: "My style is classic. I have a little East meets West flavour happening today. I bought these pants in Dubai and I'm wearing a down filled jacket to survive the Canadian winter. I just came back from the heat so I'm trying to adjust to the cold weather again."

TorontoVerve: "What were you doing in Dubai?"

Cait: "I'm a model so I was getting signed with an agency there. Of course, I had to hit up all the tourist traps too. I went to that giant mall in Dubai and shopped like crazy."

TorontoVerve: "What's your New Year's resolution?"

Cait: "Keep the ones from last year (laughs). I seriously don't make resolutions on an annual basis. I make them everyday. It's an everyday choice and adventure."

TorontoVerve previously featured Cait's street style 2 years ago in Liberty Village.

Follow Cait on Instagram and Twitter.