Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Obrian: Anime Street Style

"I just dress the way I feel. Sometimes I might dress urban trendy -- sometimes baggy or classy. I love anime or Japanese animation. Anime characters' style have no limits and that inspires me."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Garrett, Sheldon & Brodie

Garrett: "I shop at a lot of vintage stores and base my style off fashion blogs."

Sheldon: "I like to wear blazers with loose fit T's and skinnies. Lookbook inspires my style."

Brodie: "I like denim and I stay away from colour."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saira & Priya Cashew

"My fashion is always changing. I like dressing up in different styles. It's a mishmash of new and old -- colours and textures. The things I see everyday inspire me."

I previously captured Saira's thrifty street style over two years ago in Kensington Market.

[Priya Cashew]

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Will: "Classic Hipster"

"You can describe my style as 'classic hipster.' I get a lot of my inspiration from a style blog in New York called TSB Men. The fashions featured would be anything from old sweaters to contemporary suits."

TorontoVerve made #8 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular Chart:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Seed of Success": Actress Carrie-Lynn Neales Talks About Yoga, Family & Her New Sitcom 'Seed'

City’s Seed is a new Canadian sitcom that follows the exploits of Harry (Adam Korson), a cool bartender, who finds out that he’s the biological father of three kids conceived using his generous donation to a sperm bank years before. The comedy ensues when the adoptive parents (an affluent married couple, a lesbian couple and a single pregnant woman) reluctantly invite Harry into their lives for the sake of their children. Seed is an ambitious Canadian half-hour show that turns the modern family concept on its head.  

In Seed, Neales plays Rose – the single and very pregnant love-interest to Harry. Although much of their interactions suggest that they would be perfect for each other, their insecurities keep them from sharing their mutual attraction.

Last weekend, I met with Carrie-Lynn Neales in Toronto’s urban oasis, the Brick Works, to discuss the show and her success.

TorontoVerve: Congratulations on your new show Seed.

Carrie-Lynn: Thank you.

TV: You nearly gave up acting. You were only going to give yourself one more year and then call it quits. Why give yourself a deadline -- especially for something that you’re so passionate about?

CL: Actually I gave myself 5 more years and it just so happened that, within that first year, Seed came into my life. Acting is my passion 100%, but I wasn’t happy doing it at the time, and I needed to know that I could be happy doing it -- so I gave myself those 5 years to try everything that I possibly could and take all the necessary risks and if I was still unhappy with it, then I would leave.

TV: What was making you unhappy about it?

CL: That’s a really good question. I wasn’t inspired by the work anymore. I was auditioning a lot and not really landing much, which happens to actors all the time. I was leaving more of myself in the audition room than I was taking with me, and I needed to find a balance again.  

TV: When you say that you left more of yourself in the audition room, do you mean that you expressed yourself so much that you felt emotionally drained?   

CL: A little drained and I don’t think I was ok with the level of vulnerability that I was giving. But now, for some reason, it doesn’t affect me anymore. I can be as vulnerable as I like and not feel completely naked in the room.    

TV: And then you got Seed. What was that moment like when you got the phone call?   

CL: It was an incredible moment. I was just out of the shower and threw on a t-shirt and a pair of jean shorts and I picked up the phone. I remember screaming and jumping on my bed. I couldn’t get the smile off my face for most of the day.   

TV: So after landing the show, how are you feeling about a career in acting now?   

CL: I have always wanted a career in acting and there was never a reason for me to leave the industry. I adore the show and feel proud to be a part of it. It’s motivating and gives me a reason to keep going for sure.

[The Warrior II posture]

TV: In addition to acting, you’re a certified yoga instructor and teach classes in the city. How would you describe your philosophy in yoga?

CL: I think the biggest thing for me with my practice is remembering that it’s all within the perimeter of your mat. When you step onto your mat, nothing else matters. It’s less about perfecting each posture and more about the journey through the postures -- the transitions between the postures and the things that you’ll learn about yourself through each transition. No matter what you’re doing, it takes the time it takes, and you should allow yourself that.

TV: What’s your favourite yoga pose and why?

CL: Oh, it changes. Some days my favourite postures are the ones that I’m struggling with the most, and typically Warrior II is a posture that I fight against a lot. There are days that I crave it and there are days that I want out as soon as possible, but I will say that my forever favourite yoga posture would be Tadasana or Mountain pose. You’re strong as a mountain and grounded. Your feet are firmly on the ground and you’re drawing that energy out from the Earth and through the crown of your head. It’s a strong posture to be in and you’re just standing, but to feel that strength in your own stance is very powerful.

[Peaceful Warrior, AKA Reverse Warrior Posture]

TV: What is your most challenging yoga pose?

CL: Physically the most challenging is probably handstand. It’s the one I love to do, but physically the most challenging for me.  

TV: How much does yoga play a role for you in managing the hectic demands of acting?

CL: My practice has taught me to be present in every moment and that is something, as an actor, that is priceless. As I continue to deepen my practice, I’m also learning more about how my body functions. When you’re on set for 12 or 16 hours a day, your body will give you signals and tell you what it needs. If you’re tuned in and listening, you can perhaps even go 20 hours or 24 hours if need be.  

TV: I’ve read your blog, which is not your typical actor’s blog. In it, you talk about your mother’s diagnosis of colon cancer 12 years ago and how it impacted your family. What compelled you to reveal something so personal?

CL: Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death for men and women within the cancer world and people don’t know or talk about it. I didn’t know that when I was 17 – when my mom came home and told us that she had cancer. I think it’s important to bring awareness to it and my mom’s story is one of survival and I think that deserves to be shared. My voice has a little bit of a larger reach now that I’m on a television show and I’d like to use that in my work with Colon Cancer Canada and other charities. It’s just so important for people to know that there’s help and support out there and that we can stop this.

TV: What especially caught my attention on your blog was the part where you confessed that when the doctor told your mother that she can beat cancer, you expected her to say “I can’t.” Why did you think that?

CL: My mom worked tirelessly dedicating herself to her children’s happiness and success. I think there was such a big part of me that thought when she was faced with something where she would have to fight for herself and her own success, part of me thought, she must be too tired after everything she’s done for us. If it were me, I probably would have said that "I can’t."

TV: Your mother successfully beat cancer. How is she doing now? 

CL: She’s great and thriving. She learned a really important lesson, which she passed on to my sister and me: you got to live each day to the fullest and live like there might not be a tomorrow. She travels as much as she can, she gardens, works-out with all of her friends and throws dinner parties – she’s living it up and having a great time.

TV: What does she think about your success on the show?

CL: I get a phone call every Monday night as soon as the show finishes. She’s grinning ear-to-ear, saying how great the show is and how much she’s looking forward to next week. She’s proud – really, really proud.

TV: Let’s talk about Seed. You play Rose who is tired of the dating scene, but ready to start a family so she gets artificially inseminated -- unbeknownst to her -- with the seed of wise-cracking Harry, whom she coincidentally rejects on the way to the sperm bank. In interviews, you describe her as a better version of yourself. Can you explain that?

CL: I would say that Rose is a better version of me because she doesn’t try to cover up her insecurities or quirks – she wears her heart on her sleeve all the time and she’s not afraid to show her vulnerabilities.

TV: Seed is a Canadian production through and through. I find that a lot of Canadian shows play it safe, but Seed goes the distance with its edgy theme. Is that what attracted you to the material?  

CL: Yeah, its edge for sure and its heart. It’s very funny and we make quips, but somehow the 9 of us always end up together as a family. It’s so smart and there are a lot of laughs.

TV: What would you like to see happen next for Rose?

CL: I think it’s going to be such a journey for her, as we watch her become a parent. She’s got so many places to go now with being a mom and being a single mom – even though she’s got a lot of support from Harry.

TV: Would you like to see her end up with Harry?

CL: I’m a hopeless romantic so yeah I think so – one day. I kinda like the friendship that they have though.  

TVSeed’s first season will be wrapping this Monday night. When do you find out that a second season has been green-lit?

CL: Hopefully very soon. The cast should get the news in the next couple of weeks and City should publicly announce it sometime in June.

TV: Have you set any other deadlines in your life? And if so, what are they?

CL: Yes, there are a few. I’m constantly setting timelines and deadlines for myself, but I’m not sure I’m willing to talk about them right now (laughs).

TV: Last question: what are you the most happy about in your life right now?

CL: I’m so incredibly blessed that I have the time and freedom to focus on the things that make me happy: my career and family. I feel very grounded and at home right now. It’s really a great time for me. I’ve always been a server or a yoga teacher and an actor. Now I get to be an actor and when I teach yoga, it’s not because I need to make rent, it’s because I love teaching yoga and that’s a blessing.

The season finale of Seed airs this Monday at 8:30pm EST on City.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Marie: 'Adoring Tilda Swinton'

"I adore actress Tilda Swinton. She's in her 50's and she's her own self. I think it's important to be who you are. We're older women -- we got grey hair. Just be yourself -- that's what it's all about."

Friday, April 19, 2013


"I love following fashion trends. Cameron Diaz inspires me -- she wears what she wants and does what she wants. She doesn't care about what anybody thinks. I purchased my coat in Barcelona -- it's a one of a kind Custo."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rohann & Chelsea

Rohann: "My style is evolving yet stays casual."

Chelsea: "I like classic styles. I don't do colour because I think it's easier to get dressed with a wardrobe of all neutrals -- it's timeless."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


"I try to mimic high-end fashion, but since I'm a student I try to do it as cheaply as possible. So I do a lot of thrifting and I get much of my clothing at Lavish & Squalor. My style icon is Man Repeller the blogger. I like what she's all about -- it's ok to dress like a boy and not care what guys think about you."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lily: Model Off Duty

"I moved here from Vancouver, where my style was mostly hippy, but since living in Toronto, I'm definitely more trendy. I'm actually learning to incorporate the two in my style."

Lily is represented by Sutherland Models.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013


"I like to be wrapped up in something that's warm and cozy. I'm inspired by places that aren't necessarily Toronto. Over the winter I got to travel to London, Paris and Dublin and over there you have to be warm because it's mostly wet and damp."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

'In the Belly of the Beast': Actress Lara Jean Chorostecki Talks About Her New Role in NBC's Hannibal

She describes herself on Twitter as ‘that actress with the big long last name.’ Brampton-born, Lara Jean Chorostecki has made a name for herself on the Stratford stage and several television series, including The Border and Dan for Mayor. International audiences have adored her as Bridget in CBC’s ambitious mini-series Camelot and this Spring, audiences will love to hate her as Freddie Lounds in NBC’s much-anticipated series Hannibal

Recently, I sat down with Lara Jean to talk about her success and what it’s like to take on Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

TorontoVerve: I've read that you got the acting bug when you were 8-years old after seeing a performance of Les Mis at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. You even drew storyboards of the production. How did your parents first react when you told them that you wanted to pursue acting?

Lara Jean: They were surprisingly and incredibly supportive. I don’t think once in my life they’ve questioned what I’ve done. When I got older, my dad revealed that they did worry about the stability aspect of things. He’s a banker and she’s a French teacher so they have very very stable jobs. But I think they saw the amount of passion that I had for the stage and acting so they didn’t question it. In fact, they were so wonderful in their supportiveness to give me every opportunity possible to learn and grow to pursue it.

TV: When did a career in acting first appear to be a reality for you?

LJ: Well, to be honest, when I saw Les Mis there was no other question -- so it was always going to be a career. I don’t think I ever had another career choice. I remember I briefly considered being a psychotherapist and then dropped that quickly. I guess when I went to Stratford that would be when it suddenly became apparent that it was an absolutely realistic career choice.

TV: So acting never appeared to be something that was unattainable for you?

LJ: No, it always felt right. Of course, there were struggles; after getting my Masters in England four and a half years ago, I sat down with my agent to plan a career in film and television and I remember feeling a lot of nerves about this whole new territory. Will I be successful? And I hate to say it, I asked, ‘do I have a face for television?’ But knowing that this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life and trusting that the pay cheques will cover the basic living stuff or maybe more -- it’s never been a concern. Maybe I’m blindly pursuing this and something bad will happen eventually (laughs), but it’s been really good so far and I’ve been really fortunate.

TV: Before working in film and television, you performed at the Stratford Festival for many years. What was your most memorable moment on stage in front of a live audience?

LJ: Oh, that’s a good question. When I was doing a show called Quiet in the Land at the Tom Patterson Theatre, I was playing Katie Brubacher, who was an Amish girl. All the men had beards and I was doing a scene with one of the older actors, Stephen Russell, who went off-stage for what was supposed to be a few seconds. I waited for him to return while I was paring beans alone in front of the audience, but he didn’t come back. I waited and he still didn’t come back. I think he was gone for a total of two and half minutes. What had happened was he had gone for a quick change and his beard came off. So he was desperately trying to come back, but couldn’t. I remember I was so close to picking up the Bible and reading a verse to the audience so they didn’t have to see me pare beans much longer.

TV: You're a classically trained Shakespearian actor and appeared in period shows like Camelot and BBC's Copper. Which gives you the most satisfaction: acting in period productions or contemporary ones?

LJ: I think that they’re just so different. I really love period pieces. I love putting on costumes of any era that is not now. It’s just so much fun exploring a different psyche when you add in the realities of what life was like during that time. The set designers of Camelot were so incredible. When you arrived on set, it would smell old and different -- like it would in that time. I loved immersing myself in those kinds of worlds. So I guess in that sense, yeah, I really do love period stuff, but the modern world is really fun to explore too.

TV: So how did you first get involved in Hannibal

LJ: I auditioned for Hannibal back in August with director David Slade (Hard CandyThe Twilight Saga: Eclipse) who put me through the ringer a few times. They were shooting up here in Toronto and I was lucky to audition. David pushed me to see how far I can stretch myself because Freddie is a bit of a chameleon at times when interacting with various characters. 

[NBC promotional photo of Hannibal cast]

TV: You play tabloid blogger Freddie Lounds on the show. Your Freddie is quite different from the "Red Dragon" novel and film adaptations (Manhunter Red Dragon), isn't it? 

LJ: Yes, because Freddie was a ‘he’ in the novels and movies, and now Freddie is a ‘she’ so that is already a huge difference. And ‘he’ was previously played by Stephen Lang (Manhunter) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Red Dragon). Before shooting Hannibal, I watched Red Dragon. First of all, Philip Seymour Hoffman is incredible in it, but second, he’s so schlubby and so wonderfully sleazy. I would say that female Freddie is also wonderfully sleazy, but in a more sophisticated way. She wears high fashion and she’s very good at what she does, but she absolutely has no moral compass whatsoever. Nothing yet has fazed or scared this girl, but fans of the book and movies know that something will eventually very much terrify her.

TV: Does the gender-switch add extra pressure on you to win over devoted fans of the material?

LJ: I don’t know -- I think it actually gives more freedom because at the end of the day, if I were a ‘he’ playing a male Freddy Lounds, I would be very easily compared to the fantastic work of the previous two actors. But here, they can’t really compare me because it’s very different. So in that sense, I think it’s less restrictive and less worrying about winning over fans. I hope that people will love to hate her because I love to hate her.

TV: Show producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me) asked you to draw inspiration from News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks who was charged with the phone hacking conspiracy. What did you draw from her?

LJ: There was a Vanity Fair article written last year by Suzanna Andrews called "Untangling Rebekah Brooks" and that gave me a ton of insight because it outlined so nicely what her rise to fame was and maybe some devious things that happened. Time will tell in her trial what she’s guilty or not guilty of. So what I drew from her was the idea of someone who is unapologetic and pretty fierce in pursuing an ultimate success for herself. The way Bryan described her is even though she’s under suspicion and being investigated for some not-so great things right now, she’s still the type of woman who can find her way around anything. And even though she may get you fired, the next day you might just send her ‘thank you’ flowers because she managed to find you a better job. So that drive that I sense in her is definitely what inspired me.

TV: In "Red Dragon", Freddy's unscrupulous tactics result in much friction between him and FBI agent Will Graham. How does your Freddie mix things up with Graham and Lecter in the series?

LJ: Actually Freddie and Will Graham have quite the antagonistic relationship. I don’t think he’s too fond of me. I think when you watch the series, you’ll probably get a sense of that. I also had a lot of fun with Mads Mikkelsen (Casino RoyaleCoco Chanel & Igor Stravinskywho plays Hannibal. He’s incredible and such a good actor. He’s so inspiring to work with. Freddie’s interaction with Hannibal in particular gets interesting at times. I think he finds her pretty fascinating. There’s a lot of thematic stuff throughout our first season with identifying parts of yourself in other people. When Hannibal first meets Will, he identifies a part of himself in Will, and everybody is identifying a psychopathic quality in each other. I gotta say that the most fun I had was when Freddie interacts with Jack Crawford, who’s played by Lawrence Fishburne (The Matrix, CSI). When I get to sit down with Jack, he’s just so intimidating and I have to be absolutely unafraid of him. Freddie doesn’t appear in the pilot. She appears in Episode 2 for the first time and when Jack says my name, you sense there’s already a history between us where I’ve gotten under his skin a number of times.

TV: I think it’s great for your character because Freddy Lounds doesn’t have much to do in the novel, but now it really looks like they’re going to flesh out the character and introduce her to people whom ‘he’ originally never met.

LJ: Absolutely, yeah, she appears in 6 of the 13 episodes so strongly. I interact with almost everyone and it’s been a real blessing to be that type of character. I think that Bryan has brilliantly utilized this character to be able to fill things in when needed and come in and stir up trouble. Also, Bryan has plans for a good long run and it’ll be really exciting to see what he does with Freddie until maybe something happens to her -- I don’t know, we’ll find out.

TV: I think the gender-switch is a good idea because author Thomas Harris’ female characters aren’t very strong -- with the exception of Clarice Starling ("Silence of the Lambs") of course.

LJ: Yes, there are not a lot of female characters in Harris' books. In the series, Caroline Dhavernas is playing Dr. Alana Bloom, who in the novel is Dr. Alan Bloom, which again is a smaller character that has been massively fleshed out for the show. I think that audiences will really enjoy Bryan’s vision.

TV: Many network shows over the past few decades like The Profiler, CSI and Criminal Minds have borrowed a lot from the Lecter films. In fact, FOX currently has a series called The Following with Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent who goes toe-to-toe with a Hannibal-like character. How do you think Hannibal will stand out from these similar-themed shows?

LJ: Well, I watched the first two episodes of The Following, which I’ll go on record and say that I really enjoyed. James Purefoy (John CarterSolomon Kane) plays the villain in The Following and I previously worked with him on Camelot so I was really excited to see it. But in terms of how Hannibal compares -- it’s just nothing like The Following. The Following is great in its own zone like Hannibal is great in its own zone. Hannibal is filmic -- there are a lot of surreal elements in it. It’s very psychologically-based. Hannibal’s tone is so different than anything I’m seeing on network television right now. Quite frankly, I don’t think that there’s anything on network TV that can compare with Hannibal and I think that’s really exciting. It’s very smart of NBC to be picking up a show that has so much of a cable feel to it. Hannibal is very film-like with high production values and great actors. The Following is a great show, but I just don’t think it’s in the same territory.

TV: Interesting that you mentioned that because I was very surprised when NBC announced that it would be picking up such a dark show.

LJ: If the networks really want to keep audiences, that’s what they’re going to have to cater to in a good way because it’s good TV. We need more Breaking Bads, Mad Men, Walking Deads and Homelands on NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX.

TV: What was it like working with such an impressive cast like Lawrence Fishburne, Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy (Our Idiot Brother, The Jane Austen Book Club)?

LJ: I like to think that it’s elevated my work. Every time you work with someone who has such a breadth of work behind them, it improves you. It’s great to be on set with those guys. They’re such pros. Mads brings with him a European sensibility that is so refreshing. He’s so subtle in his work and it’s such a lesson to watch his subtlety and yet see that he projects every single emotion so clearly. The confidence with which Lawrence approaches everything is inspiring at all times, and I think a lot of people will be impressed with Hugh Dancy as Will Graham. His work is touching and ferocious and really exciting. He’s the type of character that you really want to care for -- yet he’s playing someone who’s so anti-social. The ability for an actor to make you want to care for him so deeply when he’s playing someone very disconnected is a testament to his work.

TV: You once said that you like to ask a lot of questions when working on a set. From whom did you learn the most on Hannibal and what did they tell you?

LJ: I learned from everyone, but the best conversations were probably with Lawrence. In our first scene together, he was so generous to sit down and talk through it with me because I was a little confused about the tone. I wasn’t in the pilot so I was trying to figure out the tone that everyone had already set, as I hadn’t seen any footage. It was really essential to have those conversations. He taught me to own my own character. "You know who she is. Own her. And everything else will fall into place from there."

TV: If you had the chance to play another popular male character in film, television or theatre as a woman, who would it be and why?

LJ: That’s too easy: Hamlet. I think male or female -- who wouldn’t want to take on that character? He’s so complex. Although, another character I think that’s pretty fantastic that was played in Stratford recently by a woman is Richard III. Also, Jaques from "As You Like It." I can name you a ton of male bard characters like Ariel from "The Tempest", which has often been played by a female as well. But definitely without hesitation, Hamlet. A friend of mine once directed "Hamlet" with Graham Abbey as the lead, but Graham was busy shooting The Border and couldn’t read for auditions, so I had the pleasure of reading Hamlet opposite all the Laertes and Gertrudes that came in. I gotta say it was the most fun that I had in a day.

TV: Let’s close with word association if you don’t mind.

LJ: Yeah, let’s do it.


LJ: My first thought is biking because I grew up biking a lot there.


LJ: Cats


LJ: Blood.


LJ: Purple.


LJ: David. That's my partner.

NBC's Hannibal now airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST/PST on City.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Josee: "A Page from a Colouring Book"

"My style is quirky. I feel like I'm a page from a colouring book and I get to colour myself differently every day. I like the Nancy Drew classic look and A-Line skirts, but I also like Harajuku girls with beads and lots of colour put together."