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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Street Style Video Wrap Up!

Another year, another street style video wrap up!

Many thanks to everyone who appeared on my blog! 

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Nigel Hamid
Editor & Photographer
TorontoVerve Street Style






Check out our previous street style wrap-ups!

  





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Conversation with Actress Alysa King, Star of Berkshire County

It's not safe babysitting on Halloween night. That's what John Carpenter's horror classic, Halloween, taught us, and it's the same lesson in the new Canadian thriller, Berkshire County

Directed by Audrey Cummings, Berkshire County centers on a 17-year old girl (Alysa King) who's terrorized by a family of serial killers wearing creepy pig masks. The film is garnering critical acclaim and awards on the festival circuit, including Best Picture at Los Angeles' Shriekfest (the first time a female director has won the honour) and Best Actress for King at Atlanta's HorrorQuest and Toronto's Blood in the Snow.

Although, the babysitter-in-peril genre is certainly not new to horror fans, Berkshire County has enough surprises to thrill audiences, who will also be taken by Alysa King's strong performance. I recently had the pleasure of talking to the rising star about her latest film and more at the historic Casa Loma Castle.


TorontoVerve: Berkshire County has been winning many festival awards. Are you surprised by all the attention that it's getting? 

Alysa King: I am definitely surprised by all the attention that I have been receiving personally, especially the awards. I never expected that, but I had faith in this project right from the beginning because of Audrey and her team. She is an incredibly talented director and has been recognized for that in the past, so I'm not surprised that the film is a hit with festival audiences.

TV: Audrey Cummings has the distinction of being the first female director to win the Shriekfest Jury Prize for Berkshire County. What unique perspective do you think a woman can bring to the male-dominated horror genre? 

AK: Audrey brings an amazing female vision to her direction. For me, however, it's not about whether she is male or female, it's about her technique and style. What I love about Audrey is that she is not an overly gratuitous director, meaning she doesn't really go for cheap scares or gratuitous nudity. Her style has a feminine sophistication where it's more about tension and what you're not seeing. In the horror genre, women are often portrayed as the victim and I think that with this film, we both wanted to create a main character that would turn that stereotype on its head. 

TV: Your IMDB profile doesn’t have a shortage of dark and scary films (The Misfortune of Madeline Moody, Berkshire County and the upcoming Dead Rivalry). What attracts you to horror? 

AK: Horror has the possibility to go anywhere and do anything. Yes, there are those tropes where women are victims, but there is also an opportunity in horror for women to play badass characters and that's what I love about it. Our imagination is the only limitation within the realm of horror.


TV: What are some of your favourite horror films and how have they influenced you? 

AK: I find A Nightmare On Elm Street to be, conceptually, one of the scariest movies of all time. The Ring is another big one for me. After I saw The Ring I had to take my TV out of my room for a while. Horror movies shaped my childhood. I think they expanded my imagination and sense of adventure. Being scared makes you feel alive. 

TV: Which horror actress do you get inspiration from?

AK: Definitely Cécile de France from the French horror film Haute Tension. She plays a very strong female character in that movie.

TV: I believe the great horror movies are the ones that not only have a convincing menace but a truly terrified victim. Like Marilyn Burns in Texas Chain Saw Massacre or Shelly Duvall in The Shining, you creeped me out with the level of terror that you projected. Where do you have to go mentally to deliver that kind of performance? 

AK: To a very dark place. Luckily I have a pretty vivid imagination so I was able to concoct various scenarios in my mind based on my own experiences and imagined circumstances to get me to the level where I needed to be. I think my performance has been so well received because not only are you watching Kylie experience fear, you're watching me experience genuine fear as well. I was able to spike my own adrenaline on set just by thinking myself into it. The brain is a powerful thing.


TV: Besides thrilling audiences, Berkshire County takes the time to make social commentary on the horrors of cyber bullying. What was the motivation in doing that? 

AK: Chris Gamble, our writer, would be the one to comment on that, but I think that he wanted to make Berkshire County relevant to a modern audience. Even regular bullying is such a huge issue today in high school. I think because cyber bullying is so topical, Chris wanted to include it in Kylie's teenage experience, which I believe most people will relate to and empathize with.

TV: Although you’re in your 20's and Kylie is just 17, is there anything about her that you can relate to? 

AK: Absolutely. Although there is an age gap, I still remember how I felt at that age. I definitely have been in Kylie's position where I've been bullied for something that was embarrassing -- maybe not to that extent, but we've all been in positions where we did something that we didn't want to do because of social pressures. And I can definitely relate to her standing up for herself and finding that inner strength to become a stronger and better person.

TV: What was your worst experience in high school?

AK: I can't remember any specific traumatic event, but there were definitely times where people tried to put me down with their words. Luckily, I had a few good friends and theatre to get me through. I think most people respected the fact that I was passionate about the arts, regardless of whether or not that made me a drama geek.



TV: With all your success, what response are you getting in your hometown of Milton? 

AK: The response in my hometown has been amazing! I think that most people know that acting is my dream so they are really happy for me. My hometown newspaper wrote a positive article on me and I have another interview coming out in January in a local magazine. So the support has been overwhelming. I can't wait for them to see this movie!

TV: What kind of kid were you? 

AK: A nerdy drama geek. I was a ham and still am. I always had a vivid imagination and loved performing for my parents on video camera. I loved the attention.


TV: You’ve been modeling and acting since your were an infant so obviously your parents played a huge part in your career. How would you describe your Mom and Dad? 

AK: My Mom is a very strong and ambitious woman and has always been an inspiration to me. I draw much strength from her. She was one of the first female paramedics in Ontario. She really blazed the trail for women in that field. She's also creative and has a good artistic sense. My Dad was an amazing storyteller with a great sense of comedic timing. They both have been very supportive of me. I don't think they missed one bad school play (laugh).

TV: You’re developing a one-woman theatre show that honours your Dad who’s currently suffering from a rare form of dementia. How has your relationship with him changed since he was first diagnosed? 

AK: I was always a big daddy's girl and it's definitely changed our relationship. What he has is Frontotemporal Dementia where you first lose your behaviour and personality and then the ability to communicate and perform simple tasks. Eventually, the disease is fatal. At this point, he can't communicate or take care of himself. He requires 24-hour supervision. He is not the man I remember him to be. He is a shell of what he once was. But I have my memories of him and that's why I want to do a tribute piece to him.
 

TV: How did you first come up with the idea to do a tribute show? 

AK: Actually my boyfriend always urged me to write a book about my unique family life for years, but I was talking to my friend and Berkshire County producer, Bruno Marino, and he gave me the idea to create a one-woman show. It's still in the developmental stage. I want to include some home videos as an interactive component. Right now I'm in the middle of writing it. 

TV: What was the best advice your Dad has given that you still follow today? 

AK: To be true to myself and follow my dreams. That's what I always try to do. 

TV: What are you happiest about in life? 

AK: I've always wanted to be an actor and to be able to follow that dream with the support of my family and friends, and find success, is surreal. It's crazy that this is happening to me.


Berkshire County opens in select Canadian theatres on June 3rd, 2015.

Check out Alysa King's website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Melinda

Before street style in 2014 officially comes to an end, actress Melinda Michael gives us a few looks to close this spectacular year.


"I love styles that are classic, colourful, vibrant, edgy and ethereal. Fashion helps me bring out different elements of my confidence. I also love getting inspiration from my different ethnicities (Italian, Lebanese, British, Welsh, Irish and Antiguan)."


TorontoVerve: "What is your favourite memory of 2014?"

Melinda: "I have two great memories. My ultimate favourite is I led a musical meditation for the very first time. This past year, I've been teaching myself to play the harmonium and then one day, the leader of our meditation group asked me to sing in front of everyone. I've only ever played the instrument alone, but that amazing experience really helped me get over my feelings of self-doubt. Another cool moment happened at TIFF when I attended a dinner party with British actor Alan Rickman. I still can't believe that happened."


Next year, Melinda will be shooting a feature film in South Africa where she'll be playing one of five original super heroes. "It speaks to that whole plot of good versus evil and has a real spiritual element to it. The script is still in development so I don't know what my super-powers are just yet, but I'm really excited to find out."

Check out Melinda's website and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Connor


"My style can be described as vintage chic. Style Icon Daphne Guinness inspires me because she has such a passion for haute couture and she makes things that other people would find grotesque beautiful."

We previously featured Connor's cool street style in the summer of 2013.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Alison



"My style is classic, modern, tribal and a little bit gangsta. Mary-Kate Olsen inspires my fashion. I like her oversize sweaters and how she layers her necklaces. Kourtney Kardashian is an inspiration too. I love her bohemian and free-spirited style."

Alison Smyth is an actress and will be busy next summer performing in two theatre festivals. You can catch her in Hilda's Yard at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre and Wait Until Dark at the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth. 

Check out Alison's website and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sneak Peek of Our Photo-Shoot with Actress Alysa King


We'll be talking to Alysa King about her new film Berkshire County due out in theatres this Spring.



Clip from Berkshire County (NSFW):




Follow Alysa King on her websiteTwitter and Facebook.


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Monday, December 22, 2014

Lily


Lily: "My style is dependent on the weather and whether I've done laundry or not. I'm a model and actress so model Liu Wen inspires me because she's Chinese and our body types are very similar. I love what she wears."

TorontoVerve: "What's your biggest regret in life?"

Lily: "The one regret in my life is that I didn't tell my parents how much I love them more often. They're both still alive, so I'm making up for that now. I show them how much I appreciate everything they've done for me."

Lily previously appeared on TorontoVerve in Spring of last year.

Follow Lily on Instagram and Twitter.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Sharadha


Sharadha: "My style is casual, edgy. I get inspiration from fashion bloggers on Instagram like Jennifer Grace, The Native Fox. She looks so slick all the time. She's feminine but tough."

TorontoVerve: "What's your favourite memory of 2014?"

Sharadha: "I'm a television producer and I had the opportunity of producing a Taylor Swift special when she was in town. That was pretty exciting. It was one of the highlights of my year, career and life."

Follow Sharadha on Instagram.

We made #1 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular Chart! http://www.streetstylenews.com/most-popular-december-21-2014/


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ashley


Ashley: "I bought this poncho from Turkey a few weeks ago. I love wearing black with a little colour. I always get inspiration from looking at the New York street style blogs and Kate Moss' rock 'n' roll style."

TorontoVerve: "What's your biggest regret in life?"

Ashley: "Wearing my heart on my sleeve."


Monday, December 15, 2014

Jessica


"My style varies. I wear t-shirts and jeans a lot, but I also have over a hundred dresses. I'm influenced by the 20's and 60's era. Coco Chanel and Joni Mitchell are big inspirations."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Domenic


"I like a lot of layers with patterns. I often get fashion inspiration from women's styles -- particularly Kylie Jenner. Her fashion is edgy and effortless. I like to incorporate her look into men's fashion."

Follow Domenic on Instagram.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Satan's Doll: Andrea Werhun

One of my favourite films from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was The Editor, a fun feature that lovingly pays homage to Giallo (a bloody sub-genre of 70‘s Italian crime-thrillers). Interestingly, at the recent Toronto After Dark Film Festival, there was another Canadian film that paid tribute to the risqué genre: Satan’s Dolls, directed by Carlo Schefter. The film was well-received and soon will be making the rounds at other festivals.

In Satan’s Dolls, Toronto-native, Andrea Werhun (25) plays a femme-fatale who’s not afraid to stab or shoot her way out of a sticky situation. I visited Werhun at the Fertile Ground Farm in St. Agatha (just outside of Kitchener-Waterloo) to talk about the film and more.


TorontoVerve: What was your first experience like at Toronto After Dark? 

Andrea Werhun: It was awesome. The crowd was so supportive and laughed at all the silliness of the film. It was a fantastic experience. I didn’t feel nervous at all. 

TV: Tell us about Satan’s Dolls and your character. 

AW: It’s a Giallo-inspired short film about a lesbian nunnery. It’s a crazy sensory experience. The director, Carlo Schefter, casted me as Suzy, a mobster queen who secretly worships the devil. I get to kill people and make out with a nun and priest (laughs). 

TV: So what were your feelings about the film after you saw it? 

AW: I was in love. I laughed the entire time. It turned out so beautifully. The music was right on point. The editing was amazing. I’m very proud of this 20 minute film.

TV: What’s it like watching yourself on the big screen? 

AW: It’s surreal. I’ve seen myself on a big-screen before (Advocate) and the first time was a shock. Seeing myself the second time was an enjoyable experience. I felt like I was part of the audience, watching it for the very first time. My ass looked so big on screen. It was awesome.

TV: Have your folks seen the movie? 

AW: Yeah, they really enjoyed it. I warned them about seeing my naked butt and told them to cover their eyes during that scene (laughs).

 

TV: You’ve worked with Second City. What was that like? 

AW: I’ve taken improv classes there and have been involved with a few troupes. I haven’t done any improv since I’ve been living on the farm, but I’m definitely considering doing more when I get back to Toronto.

TV: What’s it like doing improv in front of an audience? 

AW: It can be completely nerve-racking or the most magical experience. It’s incredible to be totally devoted to a character that has spontaneously come out of you. When it works, it’s not only magical to be a part of, it’s also magical to see it as an audience member. Of course bad improv is the opposite of magical and terrible to watch.

TV: So you were telling me that you’re trying to have as little presence as possible on the internet. Why is that? 

AW: Yes, it’s just that when I came to the farm I realized that I was on Facebook way too much. I was senselessly developing jealousies. I was upset that everything was happening away from here. I eventually learned that I needed to be focussed on where I was. I was also getting frustrated with people who were lurking -- people who value looking at your online profile instead of personally interacting with you. I didn’t want my life to be lurked. I guess it was also a test to see who my real friends were.

TV: How do you plan to build your acting career while remaining faithful to that commitment? 

AW: I plan to build my acting career on my ability to act. I don’t think interacting with people through social media would make me a better actor. I also don’t think it’s good for my mental health to be constantly promoting myself online. I would rather focus on being a good artist.


TV: Why have you chosen to live on a farm since the beginning of summer? 

AW: Because my boyfriend is the field manager here. I also had practical reasons: I wanted to discipline myself by working hard and sticking to a routine. I wake up very early every day to harvest loads of vegetables for 9 hours. I also wanted a better relationship with nature because I lived my whole life in the city. Here, I’ve had the opportunity to experience giant skies, old trees and lovely trails. I have the freedom and space to do whatever I want and it’s incredible to see what darkness really looks like when there are no lights around. I’m pleased that I was able to easily adapt to this different lifestyle. I think that’s an important skill to have when you’re an actor -- to be able to adapt to any given role. Now I can adapt to the role of a hard working farm intern and do it without complaining. As an actress, I make it my main priority to live my life to the fullest so when it comes time to playing roles, I have many life experiences that I can draw upon.

TV: TorontoVerve is a street style blog so I'm obligated to ask: how would you describe your fashion? 

AW: 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.


TV: So what are you working on next? 

AW: My Satan Dolls’ cast mate, Nicole Bazuin, and I are developing a comic book together called "Modern Whore". It examines sex work in a larger cultural context and how people of all backgrounds relate to whores. Unfortunately, prostitutes are humanity’s dumpster. Nicole and I believe that there are female, male and trans sex workers who deserve love and affection just like everyone else. It’s an issue that I hold very close to my heart. I’m writing the stories and Nicole is illustrating them.

TV: How will you be humanizing sex workers in your comic book? 

AW: With first-person accounts. I’ve done much research and interviews with people in the sex trade. I think the reason people can’t relate to sex workers is because they don’t know their stories. They don’t know how similar their lives and experiences are.

TV: What have you discovered is the most common reason for someone to turn to a life of prostitution?  
AW: It’s flexible work. It obviously pays a lot of money, and believe it or not, it can be quite fulfilling, which is what we want to explore in our comic. It also parallels much work in the service industry. Anyone who has ever been a waitress or barista can probably relate to many of their experiences. There are also some poor people who have no choice but to enter the sex trade to survive, and I don’t think it’s right to chastise them simply because prostitution was their last resort. There’s nothing inherently wrong with prostitution. What’s wrong is poverty and not giving opportunities to people who are at their very bottom.


TV: You’re obviously very passionate about it. 

AW: Yes, I’m also quite interested in the politics of women and sexuality. Sexuality is a commodity. As an actress, I don’t feel that I’m doing anything all that different. I feel like I’m selling my sexuality in my roles all the time and I don’t have a problem with that because I like my sexuality. Often women are oppressed or shamed for expressing their sexuality. That’s why I’m open to nudity in film because I don’t want anyone to hold my body hostage and make me feel ashamed of who I am.

TV: Will you be collaborating with Carlo again anytime soon? 

AW: Yes, he casted me in his new music video, "Blood Royale". I play a stripper and murderer (laughs).

TV: You appear to be Carlo’s go-to-person for those deadly characters. 

AW: I am (laughs) and I’m totally cool with that. I love playing badass characters, but at some point, I’d like to play a nice girl. I think I’m fully capable of doing that too.

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Visit Andrea Werhun's website.

Check out the Satan's Dolls trailer below:


Satan's Dolls Trailer from PM Pictures on Vimeo.




Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's Our 5th Year Anniversary!!!

"I could shoot street style like the Sartorialist!" Those were the words that started it all. Five years ago today, I first walked the streets of Toronto searching for cool and exciting fashions. Since then, I've met, photographed and interviewed many interesting people.


Someone recently asked me, "So why do you do it?" The answer is quite simple: I do it because I love creating extraordinary photos. I love seeing the smile they bring to my street style subjects. I love telling people's inspiring stories, and more importantly, I love sharing my vision of Toronto with everyone.


People always ask, "How often do people turn you down?" And I'm happy to say not often. About 8 out of every 10 people I approach agree to appear on my blog, which is a great indication of our city's confidence and pride.


Not long ago, a friend inquired, "How long will you continue doing it?" I really don't know. I'm actually surprised I made it to five years. I suspect that when my love for it is gone, that's when I'll hang up my camera, but I don't anticipate that happening anytime soon.

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I want to give a big thanks to everyone who's appeared on my blog and to all my new and loyal followers!

It's been a great five years!


- Nigel

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Derek


Derek: Most of the time I dress very monochromatic. My style is just really my own. It's from years and years of experimenting and what not. I would describe it as 'Street Parisian.'

TorontoVerve: What are you most proud of in life?

Derek: What I'm most proud of? That's huge. I think it changes daily. I'm proud of who I am and who I continue to develop being. I guess I'm proud of my journey to becoming me.

We previously captured Derek's street style four years ago.

Follow Derek on Instagram & Twitter.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014