Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sleeping Alone

1 Night in 3mins.

me. sleeping alone. last night (1am to 9am). tv on in the background. tossing-turning. 
....and, well, there's the cat.

when you sleep alone, you either keep one side of the bed free or your claim it all

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Piers Morgan Live

Last night, for a little fun and to do some recon on live interview shows (since I'm taking tv hosting classes), a friend and I went to the Piers Morgan Live show at CNN.  And we had a grand ol' time!  The main topic was the latest Anthony Weiner scandal and guests included Star Jones, Scott Stringer, and plenty of others...

And from this screen shot of the taping, it looks like my friend and I are Weiner's next scandal victims..

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Real Talk on Hard Times

A friend of mine, who is also an actress, reflected recently that actors never talk about their financial growing pains until they've made it big – then, in cute anecdotes, they reveal the pain, stress and degradation they went through in the lean years.  Well, let me reveal one actress’ struggle right here.  MINE.

The last few months have been tough financially and emotionally.  In my personal life, I suffered a loss from which I’m still reeling. Many days it's hard to get out of bed and face another reminder of that failure.  Emotionally, I’m heartbroken and embarrassed; and financially, I’m hurting because I gave up my income and am living off savings that are dwindling faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.  In my professional life, I sometimes feel like a hamster in a wheel, running hard but staying in the same damned place. I had 9 auditions last week, 9! - in 2 days.  Normally, that’s an outstanding ratio and a sign of great things, but I didn't have enough money for subway fare to get to the auditions so I had to walk to each one - in the middle of a heat wave! - and wash up in public bathrooms (because no businesses let you use their restrooms without a purchase nowadays) so I that wasn't too sweaty-gross when I walked into each audition room.  And for all of that, I didn't even get a call-back. Not one. It happens.  But that was the worst week for it to happen because that was last of my meager savings which meant I had to get a “real” job and get some income - QUICK. 

Unfortunately, I've never really learned a trade/profession (waitressing, bartending, teaching, anything…), but I've got the qualities that corporate office managers like, so I can always get a job as an Executive Assistant (or as my Mom says “secretarial shit”), and, last week I had to suck up my pride and take a temp job  doing exactly that, at a hedge fund no less.  Irony of ironies.  Yeah, I sold out.  The anti-big-banking activist in me crumbled in shame.  But I didn't have rent money, I’d taken out super-high interest loans and those chickens had come home to roost, the power company was shutting off service, I was hand-washing my clothes and eating only beans and rice because I couldn't afford the Laundromat or groceries...I was desperate.  I was e-lancing for a couple bucks an hour, but that wasn't helping. Over the last months, I've applied for jobs in restaurants and hotels (places with non-corporate schedules so that I could still audition), but pretty much no one will hire an adult (for a living wage) with zero experience.

No one, that is, except the x-rated industry.  So, for a horrible few days, I even considered that.  You've seen the ads…..”web cam model…”  Well, I got as far as contacting them and asking for details, but when they asked me to email photos of myself, I chickened out.  Then, I talked about it to several girlfriends (actresses and not) and they ALL said that, at some point, they, too, had thought about doing some kind of fast-cash x-rated work.  And I found out that even Sylvester Stallone did porn early on to pay the rent!  In the end, I chose a boring temp job (and I still might have to take a 2nd temp job on the side to claw my way out of this debt), but for me this is no less “degrading” than porn.  I’m doing something I’m ashamed of and detest.  It might not be Brad Pitt’s chicken suit or Sylvester Stallone’s porn, but it’s no less mortifying for me. 

So there it is.  A slice of life.  On the real side in real time.  No one really chooses the “starving” part of the starving artist identity.  But most of us in this line of work have gone through this phase – and more than once.  This isn't the first time I've had to choose between food and subway fare, and while I pray it’s the last, it might very well not be.  It’s a tough life.  I’m revealing it here, because why should we only hear the successful parts of the story?  And why is the struggle hidden until the big success is won?  That kind of thing might be important to Sun Tsu acolytes, but the art of humanity and is about empathy, which means we should understand each other’s struggles, not hide and ignore them.  For all the glamour, fun and dress up, there is also desperation and destitution.  It's a high risk lifestyle.  You oscillate between splendor and devastation.

This morning I learned that there are food trucks giving out free meals every day this summer in NYC and that by texting “NYC meals” to the number 877-877 you can receive a list of the locations each day. Maybe you’re lucky and have never been in need.  But I promise you that someone near you right now, has or is.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

On Age and Acting Part I

I was watching R&B Divas Los Angeles the other night (yes, a reality tv guilty pleasure) and Chante Moore said she had just turned 30.  Now, considering she was a grown, successful woman when I was a teenager, I knew good and well she was fudging that number – by a lot, like a LOT lot.  But that reminded me of how stupid this whole age thing is for women in “show biz” and that, in fact, just the day before, at an audition, I had done the same damn thing…  I was at a go-see and I could tell that the casting agency was weeding people out based on age.  I’m one of those weird hybrids in that I look younger than my age, so I could believable portray the role they were casting for, but had they looked only at my age on paper, they wouldn’t have even considered me.  So when I signed in (name, age, address…), I fudged.  Just like Chante Moore did.  Just like countless other actresses have to do.  I hate that it’s necessary.  I hate that a youthful look is only associated with the ages under 30. 
I wonder to what extent this is or is not true for male actors... Do men lie about their age to get work?  I watched a new scripted show called The Hustle this weekend and there was a short scene in which an older legendary dj/producer tells a young rap group that he has trouble selling beats to new artists because, solely based on his age, they consider him "not hot".
I imagine, singers have it much tougher than actors, though.  How often do you see a woman "breaking into" the music industry in her 40s or 50s?  How many women at the top of the rock/country/r&B/hip hop/pop charts are over 30?  The music industry seems even more brutal with its ageism than the film industry.  How many GREAT performers are we missing out on because someone in charge thought they didn't look young enough, no matter how talented they were?
The idea that youth = relevance is bull.  And it’s sad that we have to conform to it to get ahead.  Chante Moore, as stunning and talented as she is, has earned the right to be accepted, hell, REVERED irrespective of her age.  And so have I.  And so have you.  And so have all of us who bust our tails at our work.  It’s sad that we have to pretend for the narrowminded who think anything too far over 20something is useless.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How do you say "hipster" in French? BoBo.

BoBo = Bourgeois Boheme.

So they're as annoying and pretentious there as they are here!  ....And, we are all in denial about the fact that most of us classify in this category.  So I'll admit it right here, right now.  My name is Tzena Nicole and I'm a.....hipster......soon to be BoBo.....  Now, I've got to go.  I'm going to see this fantastic underground band about to give a pop-up concert in this cool little book shop.... ;-)

Fat Actress: Workout Challenge #2

So I've been hard at it since I was told that my in-between size was working against me and I should  either gain weight to fit the "fat girl" breakdowns or lose weight to fit the "normal breakdowns".  And I lost 3 pounds last week!  That's not much, but it's a start.  Doing the ZWOW Sexy Spy Workout 5 days last week definitely helped.  I hope you tried it along with me!  If you did, I know it kicked your ass, too.  :-)   This week, I'm pushing even harder with this terrifying 10 minute torture session.  Ninja jumps, jump tucks... It's even called the "Crazy F'ing Real Time" workout.  Nuff said.  Just try this one at least once and tell me it isn't the craziest thing ever.  Seriously, I want to hear from you!  Tell me if you loved it or hated it and how many times you're able to get through it this week (I'm shooting for another 5x this week).  It's only 10 minutes, but damn....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

MANDELA - The Power of a Name

We hear Nelson Mandela called "Madiba" sometimes, but I was surprised to learn that he has had several names throughout his life.  Fitting, as he's lived more life and lives than many of us could ever dream to succeed at.  I took this picture back in March while visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.  It shows all of his names, their meanings and who gave them to him.  Reading it gave me chills.  Sometimes a name is everything. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Audition Look #5

Even though I'm moving, I'm still trying to squeeze in as many auditions as possible.  I firmly believe that it's important to keep momentum going once you've got it.  Last week, I had a meeting with an agent who I'd contacted about getting acting work outside of the US.  You know I'm making my game global!  ;-)  Seriously, though, it's important to me to be working internationally.  My very first inspiration as an actress was Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, an brilliant Italian actress who works in French, Italian and English films.  After becoming her devotee I realized that many of the great actresses of Europe do this and that's when I knew what to work towards.  Now is the perfect time to get my ducks in a row for that.  And with the acting world in Europe being a tighter nut to crack than the acting world here, having international representation, management and contacts are crucial.  That's what the meeting was about.  Pictured above is how I dressed for it (and, yes, all the goofy faces are on purpose - you know me by now...).  It was hot as hell in NYC that day so I had to wear something that was breezy, cute and that wouldn't get sweat stains (!!!!).  The loose romper and espadrilles fit the bill.  

p.s. If any of you, dear readers, have film industry contacts in Europe tbat I might connect with, holla at me! ;-)  I can provide press kit and reel.  And you know I'm fluent in French and German.....

Fat Actress - Workout Challenge #1

I'm having a Kirstie Alley moment.  Over the last year, I've put on A LOT of weight.  Funny thing is even though I know I did this to myself with sloth and gluttony, it still feels like it crept up all of a sudden - like I was fine and then suddenly none of my clothes fit and walking up stairs left me breathless.  I've wanted to talk about that here on the blog for a while because there's this weird idea for actresses that you have to be either super skinny or really big.  There's no inbetween.  I've even been advised by an agent to either gain more weight to so that I fit the "fat girl" casting breakdowns or lose a bunch of weight so that I fit in the "normal" breakdown categories.  Apparently, a 5'8" size 14 woman just doesn't fit the mold.  Specifically, I was told I am too heavy for my "look".  Yeah, that's the kind of critique that, as an actor, you can't take personally even though you can ONLY take it personally....

So, I've been trying to make the best of it and be happy about my body, but I definitely need to step up my workout game and I'd much prefer to get back to single digit clothing sizes.  This weekend, at a family gathering, my cousin Leon mentioned a killer workout I used to do, and that inspired me to get back to it and get serious about getting back in shape.  So here's the workout.  It's by Zuzana Light and it's part of her ZWOW program (Zuzana's Workout of the Week).  The beauty of her workouts is that they are free, SHORT (never more than 20mins), doable anywhere and each move basically works out your whole body so it's efficient.  Also, they classify as high intensity interval training which means quick bursts of super high intensity strength exercise and has been proven to help burn fat longer.  So without further ado, here is the Sexy Spy workout.  It's only 15mins.  I just did it.  It kicked my ass.

And I'll be doing this little workout every day this week.  Then next week, I'll post a different ZWOW and do that one all week and so on.  AND I'D LOVE FOR YOU TO TRY THESE ALONG WITH ME!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously, just give it a shot.  I promise, no matter what your gender or fitness level, you're gonna get something great out of this.

p.s. How sick is Zuzana's body?!  Good God!!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Raisin Cookies

Raisin cookies 
that look like 
chocolate chip cookies 
are the reason I have trust issues.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Sartorialist Covers "The Pit"

Just caught this brilliant mini-doc on The Sartorialist (one of my few daily addictions) and HAD to share it!  The one part of Fashion Week (no matter which city) that we never hear about is the photographers sitting at the end of the runway catching those head-on images that really show what a collection is about.  Scott did an amazing job showing us what that world is like.  Love!!!

p.s. If you don't know The Sartorialist.... I don't know you. ;-)  It's only the chicest little street fashion blog on the planet.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Audition Look #4

I promised that I would talk about what an actor wears to auditions, by sharing my audition looks on this blog.  And I talked a little about my singing audition last week...  So here (above) is my look for that one.  ;-)  I was auditioning for a chorus part in two musical productions, "My One and Only" (a Gershwin musical) and a Burt Bacharach review, for an international company.  Don't think I got the part :-(  but I felt good about how I presented myself both in performance and appearance.  That's the best you can do.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Here I Go Again...On My Own.

I have to admit something.  Over the last few weeks, my life has been flipped upside down.  Pretty much all my "life plans" have just changed.  Everything.  It's weirdly not painful, though, it feels more like a relief. .....  Actually, no, it does hurt, but I'm trying to focus on purpose over pain.  Things happen when they are supposed to happen and whatever is happening TO you can be the best thing FOR you.  So now I'm rethinking everything about everything - what my life will be, what I'll be doing, where I'll be living, and all the little details in between - by myself.

Hey, the road ain't interesting without a few turns, curves, hills and valleys, right?

p.s. And, yes, it HAD to be the WhiteSnake song. First video I ever became obsesses with as a kid and I still freakin' love the song.  My family would go to a local pizza joint on McNair army base in Berlin; there was a big screen tv on the wall that would play music videos and whenever this one came on I was in awe.  It felt naughty and bad-ass.  Tawny Kitaen writhing all over the hood looked pornographic and the loud big-hair band sound was just "heavy" enough for me.  ;-)
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