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June/July Issue of Conversations Magazine

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Actor Jonathan Chase: Living In the Moment, Loving the Process

by Cyrus Webb

Living your life with purpose and passion is more than just words. It's about action. Just ask Jonathan Chase. In the past decade he has gone from being a supporting actor on hit shows such as Monk and Veronica Mars to one of the bright stars on the new runaway comedy LOVE THY NEIGHBOR on the Oprah Winfrey Network. I had a chance to talk with him about the experience and what this journey has been like for him, and the conversation was nothing short of inspiring.

JONATHAN CHASE ON LOVE THY NEIGHBOR:
"As soon as I take a breath and realize we shot 26 episodes of a sitcom in such a short amount of time (about a couple of months), something that takes Hollywood 10 1/2 months to do... I can't believe it. I truly appreciate the speed that Tyler Perry is able to perform and function. It's a feat beyond itself. When I got to LA and worked on another job I couldn't believe how slow it was compared to what we did in Atlanta."

JONATHAN ON THE EXPERIENCE:
"I was actually going to be a sports agent. I took a semester off and traveled abroad to London for 6 months and saw a play a week. That's when I fell in love. So many musicals I saw that changed my focus. After that I did some off Broadway and got my first gig in TV for a little show called Oliver Beene playing a tennis pro. They flew me to LA from NY in 2003, and I never went back. Seeing people perform live is what got me hooked. That is what I love about Tyler. He comes from that world (of live performances), and his live audience has translated and been his devoted fan-base for television and film. Take Love Thy Neighbor for instance. It was a play, and Tyler Perry created the show around them. He's like King Midas."

JONATHAN ON BELIEVING:
"I believe that at some level you have to be able to push yourself beyond what you can even imagine. You have to be willing to never give up and never surrender and not listen to the noise that comes from outside of yourself. You're the only one that can tell you what you can and cannot do."

JONATHAN ON HIS TRUTH:
"I know what it's like to struggle. I was doing what I could to pay for class and coaching and wardrobe. There have been so many ups and downs. Right now I'm on a huge high. It's a dream come true. That is my truth. I've also had the lowest lows. It's all about the work. I do it for the work. I try to make everything I do look effortless. People ask me what I do,  and I tell them I'm in the pursuit of a career of an actor."

JONATHAN ON HIS ONLINE SUPPORTERS:
"It's like a digital blind date with 10k people at once. I feel like I'm blessed to have them. The support from fans means getting up and making it to a meeting and doing the best I can. Knowing my work has affected someone helps me."

JONATHAN ON ENJOYING THE MOMENT: 
"I take it one step at a time and try not to 'future' myself too much. As long as I'm right here right now I give you everything I got. I have no regrets. I can just focus on the work that way. That's my best approach to acting and all aspects of my life, living in the now."

Want to keep in touch with what's going on with Jonathan Chase next? Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jonathan_chase and like his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/actorjonathanchase.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CONVERSATIONS PROFILE: Towanda Braxton

by Cyrus Webb

Her family has been in the public eye for years, but one thing about Towanda Braxton: what you see is what you get.

She is a multi-talented individual who has not just relied on her beauty to make it in the world. She is a real talent that can sing, run a business and still keep it real as millions are able to see on Braxton Family Values.

It was my pleasure to speak with her about not just her journey in the entertainment industry, her venture called The Secret Squirrel and her remaining true to herself.

TOWANDA ON THE SECRET SQUIRREL:
"I came in [this business] as an artist first, and then I became an assistant. Through The Secret Squirrel I ask those who want to be personal assistants to answer this question: 'How would I want my assistant to treat me?'

"You want to be indispensable. You want it to be difficult for them to replace you.If you are going to do treat people the way you want to be treated you're going to do a great job."

TOWANDA ON PERSONAL GREATNESS:
"I'm still on that journey. I don't think I will ever reach that plateau because I'm a perfectionist. It makes me want to strive to do better all the time."

TOWANDA ON REALITY TV AND BRAXTON FAMILY VALUES:
Our family made a pact that if we were going to do it [a reality show] then we were going to be 100% real. No sense in doing it if it wasn't real. That is what people get from the show: the realness."

TOWANDA ON SUCCESS:
"If I can help somebody then I am doing my job. Everybody has hiccups along the way to be the person who they are and who they were meant to be. The things that I have gone through in life have made me stronger."

TOWANDA ON LIFE, FAMILY AND PURPOSE:
"What keeps me going is my children. They keep me grounded and laughing.

"Enough is just not enough for me. I always strive to be better than I am. When it comes to The Secret Squirrel I don't like interviewing people who know it all. Everybody should learn something new everyday.

"I think I have many purposes: my business, acting, etc. I meet people all of the time who change my life. It doesn't matter how old they are."

TOWANDA ADVICE FOR OTHERS:
"A person should find their niche and stick with it. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do. You can't live for everybody. You have to live for you. Ask yourself this question: Are you making yourself happy today?"

To stay updated on everything going on with Towanda Braxton and her brand visit www.towandabraxton.com. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/towandabraxton and "Like" her Facebook page.

*   Photo provided courtesy of Towanda Braxton

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why the World Is Going "Country Crazy" for Recording Artist Amy Rose

Country recording artist Amy Rose releases her new single "Country Crazy" today.

Read my article and review of the single here: Why the World Is Going