YOUR STYLE, YOUR SUPERPOWER
The eve of the convention, ‘Dan’s Beach Party’ took place at the actual seaside house that Dan Scott—Nathan’s murderous father on the series—lived in. Paul Johansson, the actor who plays Dan, attended the celebration, chatting with fans and even hopping up on the table to dance at one point.
The following day, before arriving at the convention center, I hit up some of the local One Tree Hill filming spots to get in the spirit of the show. I visited Tree Hill Café, the Karen’s Café/Clothes over Bros location, the bench on the Riverfront where Nathan proposes to Haley, and the iconic bridge that Lucas runs across in the opening sequence.
The first activity upon my arrival was a photo-op with James Lafferty, the actor who plays Nathan Scott. Since I was one of the first people in line, the photographer ended up having to take our picture four times to make sure that the lighting was adjusted correctly. As a result, Lafferty and I had a lengthy conversation about my trek from New York to North Carolina while the cameraman fixed the photos!
Next up was a photo-op with Stephen Colletti, the actor who plays Chase, a ‘Clean Teen’ turned bar manager on the show. I wanted to reenact a classic prom photo, and he was more than willing to comply.
Next up was the ‘Naley’ photo-op with both James and Joy Lenz, who plays his musician wife Haley James Scott on the series. I complimented Lenz on her adorable outfit: a chic, camel-colored duster coat with black jeans.
Then, the MC on the main stage announced that Johansson would be doing his meet and greet. When I walked up to Johansson, he read the logo on my jacket, which said ‘Tree Hill Cheerleader’ and asked if I was a cheerleader in real life (FYI, I’m a dancer—not a flyer). As I left the room, he presented me with another query: “Are you afraid of Dan Scott?” I replied with confidence and a wink: “Nope."
Next up was the Scott Brothers photo-op, with James and Chad Michael Murray, who plays basketball player turned playwright Lucas Scott. I invited them to pose Charlie’s Angels-style with me, and they seemed happy to “switch things up a bit” from the classic hugging shot.
Once the photo-ops concluded, the panels on the main stage kicked off with Lenz and Johansson. At one point, Johansson even ordered a child in the audience to come on stage for a music lesson with Lenz; the boy drummed on the table as she sang "Halo," one of her most famous songs from the series.
At Murray’s panel, he discussed how difficult it was to learn basketball in order to take on the role of champion player Lucas Scott. “I had never played or touched a basketball in my life before the show,” he admitted. “I was a hockey guy, so it was stressful. Every day before the pilot, I would just hoop it up. Fortunately I picked it up quick, but still, it was so difficult for me. [I’m] not a basketball guy.”
In the evening, EyeCon hosted their biannual banquet, where ticket holders chose their favorite cast member to dine with. I wanted to sit at a table with Murray since he’s also a writer and I wanted to get his advice. When I told him about my book series, I was amazed by his kindness as he listened intently and stared intensely with his beautiful blue eyes. Murray told me how impressed he was and left me with a poignant piece of advice: writing should always come naturally—never force it. Additionally, in the middle of dinner, cast members Tyler Hilton and Kate Voegele—who play musicians Chris Keller and Mia Catalano—performed a special acoustic rendition of “When the Stars Go Blue,” originally sang by Hilton and Lenz on the series. It was an unexpected, unforgettable moment.
But the night was still young. The festivities continued with a Halloween Party, featuring another performance from Hilton of his new song, “City on Fire.” Attendees dressed in their fave costumes—including cast member Drew Seeley who was clothed in a kilt—and Johansson, Lafferty, and Colletti danced the night away with fans.
The next day kicked off with Lafferty and Colletti’s panel, filled with lots of laughs. One of the most memorable moments was when Colletti described what he would put in his character’s iconic Brain Blaster drink in real life: “tequila, soda, lime, and blue Curaçao."
Next, I traveled to another location—the Brooklyn Arts Center—for Lenz’s private meet and greet. A small group of people gathered in her green room and asked her questions as she sipped tea. Lenz discussed world issues such as the water shortage in South Africa, as well as how she yearns to tour with Billy Joel one day.
As the convention drew to a close, it was time for the final activity of the weekend: the concert. Lenz, Voegele, Hilton, and other supporting cast members gathered one last time to perform for their passionate fans.
In the end, I had the opportunity to interview multiple cast members personally about their experience on One Tree Hill and what they’re currently up to. Read their exclusive responses below:
How did you come to be on the show?
“When I got the script for the audition, the show was actually called Ravens at first. I read about half of it but there were other things I was focused on, so I passed on it. They shot the pilot with somebody else. Then they said they were recasting my part, and I told my manager, ‘No, I don’t like the script.’ She said, "No, no, no. Watch the pilot, they're gonna send it up." They sent me a video tape and I watched the pilot. When it was over I said, ‘This cast is so good.’ I went in for my screen test and that was it.”—Joy Lenz (“Haley”)
“My audition process was pretty crazy—it was the longest audition process I had ever had. It was probably five to seven auditions over the course of two days. The last hoop I had to go through [before getting cast] was playing one-on-one basketball against [producer] Brian Robbins in his producing partner, Mike Tollin’s backyard. He wanted to make sure that we could actually play basketball because, you know, actors can say they can do things they can't actually do for the jobs. So we played one-on-one, and I let Brian score the first couple points—I was nervous because I was 17-years-old. He said, 'You know you're playing for your job right now?’ I was like, “Okay, alright, Brian Robbins.” And then I beat him. And I got the job. So it was a pretty unorthodox, weird experience. But it was a great memory.”—James Lafferty (“Nathan”)
“I remember the first time I auditioned for the show was for a different role early in Season 4. I don't even know if the role wound up making it on the show. I remember I got close, and I thought I was getting it, and then it just kinda went away. It was interesting because I remember in my audition, there was a line about the show Laguna Beach [that I was on]. I was like, ‘This is weird, they're not gonna hire me. They're making fun of Laguna Beach. I'm screwed.’ Anyways, I went away and then a few weeks later, another role came up—it was Chase. I went in and auditioned and it went well. I thought I got the job but I didn't hear anything for a few days, and then I heard, ‘Hey, they want you to come back in because the network wants to see you standing up. You were sitting in a chair the whole time so they need you standing up and moving around.’ I was so nervous because I felt like I was really close to the job that I wanted so badly. I just nervously paced around, but there was good energy in the [audition] room and I got the job. I felt like the role was built for me. Chase sounded like a name I wanted to play!”—Stephen Colletti (“Chase”)
“Just through a normal auditioning process in Los Angeles. Then, every time after that, they would check to see if I was available to come back, so I didn't have to go through the auditioning process again. They would just call, check my availability for the next coming episodes that they were writing, and then I'd go back to North Carolina.”—Lindsey McKeon (“Taylor”)
“When I got the role [of Xavier], I was living in Longton. I just went through the regular audition process; I had an agent there at the time and I auditioned for the casting directors. It was supposed to be just a one-off role, but a couple of months later, I got a call and was asked if I wanted to come back to the show and be written in as a character. I was like, ‘Yeah, of course, that would be awesome.’ It was a total surprise. I mean, it was literally supposed to be one little episode playing that little part. I was just supposed to be the guy that was robbing the gas station and then it turned into a two-season story arch.”—Devin McGee (“Xavier”)
“It's a long story. My sister actually wanted to be an actress, so my mom took me and my sister to the open call. [The casting directors] ended up liking me and not my sister, so she got a little mad at me. My mom actually was supposed to audition for the role of Chuck's mom in the show, and she was like, ‘I really think Mike could do this, he's a little bit older than they say in the script, but I think he can do it.’ I read for it and they loved me. I was only supposed to be in one episode and they just kept writing me in, so it turned into a great role for me.”—Michael May (“Chuck”)
“I responded to a newspaper ad that almost everyone in town told me about. I came home one day and my mom told me about it, too!”—Vaughan Wilson (“Fergie”)
“I first auditioned for the Nathan Scott role...actually, quite a few times. But I can’t play basketball to save my life, so the right man got the job. But I guess they liked me enough that they brought me in to play Vegas during the first season. I drove back and forth from Orlando and Wilmington to audition. After enough times, it happened.“—Drew Seeley (“Vegas”)
“Joy, who plays Haley on the show, wrote a musical based on a book and I ended up playing Noah in that. Out of support for her, [creator of One Tree Hill] Mark Schwahn came to see the musical. I guess he was casting my role at that time. It was one of those right place, right time kind of things.”—Paul Teal (“Josh”)
What was your favorite part about being on set?
“The days that Jackson [Brundage] was there—when he came onto the set, there was never a dull moment. He was always such a happy kid, always playing around and bringing his toys to set. I liked stealing his bike, hanging out with him, and playing games and stuff. For me, that was really the first time I've ever spent an extended period of time with a kid in my whole life. I truly learned how to be around kids from him.”—Lafferty
“Everybody on One Tree Hill just felt like a family instead of going to work. I've worked on a lot of different projects and some just feel like business, but One Tree Hill really felt like fun. The great thing about the show was that there was a real dynamic between all the people on the show. The cast was able to actually connect with each other before just being characters.”—May
“The adult in me liked to do the wrap parties. They were always fun, where everyone got to cut loose and put their hair down.”—Colletti
“It would have to be, you know, the other cast members, the people that we were working with. It was such a family environment.”—Wilson
“A couple of things. Being in Wilmington, being in the south, a place where everybody is super sweet...it's really beautiful. Also getting to know some of the girls and just being able to play Taylor and do these crazy things that a person would never do in real life.”—McKeon
“The catering truck. No, everybody was really nice. The vibe was very relaxed and cool. It was early on in my career, so I was just excited to be part of something that was actually major and happening. Before that, I was mostly in school plays and that kind of thing. And I was like, ‘Wow, I'm in the big leagues now.’ One Tree Hill was sort of my big break if you will.”—Seeley
“The cast, but also the fans because I got to experience firsthand the people literally standing in the street at one o'clock in the morning just to get a glimpse of the magic of the cast filming. Also, coming into a show that had already been running for six seasons, I felt like the new kid on the block, but everyone was just so welcoming and gracious.”—McGee
“I mean, the food was pretty good. No, it was my first real time being on set, and the whole experience was just so new. I got to know everybody and made lots of connections, so I guess is the people is the short answer.”—Teal
Was there a particular cast member you enjoyed working with the most?
“All of them. Everybody is like an absolute blast and a genius to work with.”—Wilson
“Joy, without a doubt, although we obviously kind of had known each other from working together in the past. She knew how I was fresh and nervous because I was 19 or 20, and she really did a lot to make me feel comfortable. She directed the first episode that I was in.”—Teal
“Definitely Sophia [Bush] because that's who I primarily had most of my scenes with. Also Austin Nichols—great dude, super talented. He actually directed one of the episodes I was in. Great actor, all-around great guy.”—McGee
“I got to work with Stephen Colletti and Tyler Hilton the most, so probably those two guys. They were super great to me and always helped me out with acting tips.”—May
“Shantel [VanSanten] and Joy are definitely my faves. James, meh. I love my sisters.”—McKeon
“I remember Joy being really sweet. And Chad, he's a good dude. He's super kind and cordial. Even though we didn't really spend too much time on set together, I know he’s a really solid, good guy.”—Seeley
Any funny moments from being on set that you can recall?
“One time, I accidentally poured a Mountain Dew down Hilarie Burton's back between takes. She wasn't too happy about that. I guess I was nervous and I turned the wrong way. But it happens. They cleaned her off, gave her a new shirt, and it was all good.”—Seeley
“When I got to drive the bulldozer in the camping episode. That was crazy because I was around 11-years-old. They were going to have a stunt double do it, but then decided, ‘Michael, I think we can actually have you drive it.’ And I was like, ‘Are you sure you want me driving this, with all the equipment?’ That was pretty fun.”—May
“We had so many funny moments. I mean there were too many to count. There are probably at least 500.”—Wilson
“I had a scene with Joy and we were fighting and yelling at each other. I think we pushed each other or something. Actors use subtext sometimes under the lines to write what they really mean, although the line is saying something different. I said out loud what my subtext was, which was, "Why don't you love me?" That was not the line. It was funny. I was embarrassed. It was pretty funny.”—McKeon
“There was a scene when Jana [Kramer] catches me, the elevator doors open, and she catches me kissing a guy. The first time we shot that, the doors opened and I couldn't keep it together. We both just busted out laughing. That was probably my blooper for the series.”—Teal
“I would probably say the most awkward moment was the scene where Sophia and I were talking about [the character] Sam, which was just a really weird scene to begin with. In between takes, we were just cracking up because it was just such an awkward conversation.”—McGee
What are your future plans?
“Right now, I'm moving to Atlanta and working on a theater show in December there. Everything else is kind of open. I'm not really sure yet.”—Teal
“I am writing and pitching my own TV show right now, a reality show with a girlfriend of mine. I’m also producing movies and doing my podcast. My podcast on iTunes is with one of my best friends, Rachel Paulson. It’s ridiculous and crass, called Gay vs. Straight ******. It's super fun and relatable.”—McKeon
“I'm still doing acting but I'm also focusing on music. I just had a new single come out last week on Spotify and Apple Music called “Give Her Up” so everybody should check that out. But yeah, just working on music now. I'm living in Nashville and just focusing on my music.”—May
“Right now, I am a drummer in a really awesome band called Sons of the Bold in Los Angeles. It's kind of a new band but we're hoping to be more well-known by the first part of next year. We're putting an album out and we're gonna be doing some touring. I'm also writing a vampire comedy series with my dad; it’s about a dysfunctional family of vampires that moves in with their estranged daughter in a trailer park in rural North Carolina. It's called The Death of Me. We're about to start shopping that around the network to see if we can get the show picked up. And I start filming a horror film next week called The Look-See, which is based on the series that's on Crypt TV of the same name. I’m really excited about that.”—McGee
“I've got a couple movies coming out this fall. One is released on November 16th on Lifetime called Deadly Hack. And then a Christmas movie I’m in called Christmas by the Book will air on Hallmark in December. I'm also doing a musical in Wilmington, Delaware starting next week going through the end of the year called Silent Nights.”—Seeley
“Just to continue on and continue on. New projects, line them up, knock them down.”—Wilson
Photo Credit from Meet and Greets: Froggy's Photos
Carrie: I am so impressed by your new single, “Done With It.” What inspired you to write the song?
Taylor: I was inspired by negative people in my life that I’ve had to let go of in the past. I was fed up with all their lies, complaining, and selfish ways, so I said I’m “done with it.” By writing this song, I turned the negativity into positivity, hopefully empowering people to let go of the negative energy in their life!
C: What is the significance of the title of the song?
T: We all have those people and things in our life that we’re just done with. It’s a freeing moment when you walk away from a person or something that has been weighing you down. Being “done with it” allows you to move on and grow, feeling happier minus the negativity.
C: How does “Done With It” differ from “Touch the Sky?”
T: “Touch the Sky” is about proving people wrong and following your dreams no matter what, while “Done with It” is about cutting negative people out of your life. They go hand and hand because you have to be “done with it” to “touch the sky.” While you’re going for your dreams, you have to walk away from the negative people that doubt you and don’t believe in your vision.
C: What was your process in producing “Done with It?”
T: “Done with It” started by me coming up with the verses while I was at home. I immediately started singing, “Why are you talking all, talking all tough like that?”, so I ran to my piano and put chords to the melody. Then, I came up with the hook of the song, “I’m done with your **** baby.” I wanted it to feel like a slap in the face and be an empowering moment, telling somebody that you’re straight up done with it! I recorded it at home and sent it to NYMZ. He was digging it, so he started producing around it. I worked with a super talented songwriter, Fresh, who helped me finish the song. Then, I recorded the final vocals, cut by an amazing engineer named Rarrii. NYMZ took the song to the next level with his dope production, making it danceable yet powerful at the same time.
C: What was the most challenging part of the song production process?
T: Coming up with the drop was tough because it was super last minute! I really liked the initial drop NYMZ made, but he wasn’t feeling it. We sent each other so many melodies and ideas but nothing clicked until I sent him the airy “I don’t got no time to, yeah, yeah” melody. He freaked out and we knew it was exactly what the song needed. For the drop, NYMZ took those airy vocals, pitched them down an octave, and reversed them! My mind was blown. It sounded like an instrument, but it was all my vocals! He played it for me in the studio and I was so hyped! If the drop wasn’t a challenge, “Done with It” wouldn’t be how it is today.
C: What has the response been like from fans to your new single?
T: The response has been so amazing! A lot of people are saying they like “Done with It” just as much as “Touch the Sky”. They love how it’s so catchy and makes them want to dance! They also like how sassy the lyrics are. I hope when people listen to it, they feel empowered and strong.
C: What type of music can people expect from you in the future?
T: I will be creating lots of music in the studio with NYMZ, Fresh, Rarrii, and an amazing songwriter named Kaydence! It’s so fun collaborating with other writers because you get to bounce ideas off of each other while creating. Some of the songs we are working on now are a little less dance and more pop. The vibes are different than “Touch the Sky” and “Done with It.” I can’t wait for you to hear!
You can stream and listen to “Done with It” on Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, YouTube, and iHeartRadio. Make sure to share videos of you jamming to the song on social media and use the hashtag “#donewithit” for a chance to be featured on Taylor’s Instagram story!
Behold the spookiest soundtrack you will ever encounter, filled with Halloween’s ten most iconic tunes. With these songs playing in the background of your trick or treat activities, you’ll surely get in the spirit of the holiday.
2. "monster mash"
3. "time warp"
5. "I put a spell on you"
6. "werewolves of london"
7. "black magic woman"
8. "the addams family"
9. "witch doctor"
10. "calling all the monsters"
Carrie: What were your expectations going into Bachelor in Paradise?
Astrid: I was hoping to meet some new people, have some fun, maybe get a little tan, and potentially meet someone I vibed with. I never imagined I would meet someone like Kevin that I had such a strong connection with. While in Mexico, I would always say how my expectations were exceeded and how lucky I felt to be given that opportunity.
C: How would you describe your first day there? Was it what you expected?
A: The first day was a bit scary, especially because I didn't know any of the cast members going into this season. But overall, I was just excited to finally make it down to the beach and experience Paradise for myself. I felt like I had a small advantage in that my friends had all been on the previous season and prepared me for it, so I was almost like a veteran going into it.
C: How did you and Kevin first meet there? Was the connection instant?
A: Kevin and I met on the first day, but it was just a brief hello where we introduced ourselves. He and I are both similar because we observe a lot--we were both more on the quiet side on the first day. I immediately got close to Bibi and she had known Kevin from Bachelor Winter Games, so on the second day there, she mentioned to both of us that we should get to know each other. Kevin pulled me aside for a conversation that day and we talked for hours. The connection was instant.
C: You and Kevin didn’t have a date in Paradise for a long time. How did you keep your relationship active?
A: The nice thing about Paradise vs The Bachelor is that even when you don't get a date, you are still getting to spend time with the person you're wanting to get to know more. Being on that beach felt like I was on vacation with my boyfriend. Plus, we got to watch everyone else's drama, so there was always entertainment. After a few weeks, we did go a little stir crazy, but Kevin set up a date for me on the beach where he wrote out a date card. It was all about "Sunset & Chill" with a wooden TV and candy. The fact that he set it up himself actually made the whole thing more special.
C: What was the most challenging part about being in a relationship in Paradise?
A: The hardest part about Paradise was trying not to compare your own relationship to others. There would be couples everyone thought were solid that would all of a sudden flip a switch and break up, so it was difficult to not worry about your own relationship.
C: Was there a lot of pressure on you and Kevin because you were considered one of the strongest couples there?
A: I wouldn't say there was a lot of pressure, but it was definitely hard not to jump ahead when we constantly had people comparing themselves to us. We always had to make an effort to ground ourselves and not let others influence us.
C: Right before the fantasy suite date, Kevin broke your heart and blindsided you. What was your initial reaction? How did you cope?
A: My initial reaction was just to get off that beach. I couldn't process what was happening and needed to get away to think clearly. I flew to Charlotte to stay with my best friend Malissa and hid away for a few days before I told anyone I was back home. My mom flew into town as well, so I leaned on her to help me sort through all my feelings regarding that last day on the beach in Mexico.
C: How did you and Kevin reconnect?
A: Kevin reached out to me immediately after we left Mexico. I took a day to myself before I spoke to him and heard him explain himself. I wanted to talk to him before I shared everything with my friends and family because I didn't want anyone to cloud my judgment with their opinion. When we spoke, we both knew we needed to have this conversation in person, and later that week, Kevin booked a ticket to come and see me. When he came to Charlotte and we saw each other, we knew the spark was still there and we just took it day by day to figure out where we wanted the relationship to go.
C: On the reunion show, you and Kevin officially confirmed your relationship. How did you two talk out your differences?
A: We both took the time between the end of filming and the reunion to figure out what we both wanted from this relationship as individuals. By the time we filmed the reunion, we both knew we wanted to be together, but we also wanted the show to be done before we jumped into anything. There was never a time when we weren't in touch as the show was airing and our priorities were always to each other.
C: Where do you and Kevin stand now? What’s next in your relationship?
A: Kevin and I are doing great right now and enjoying spending time with each other. We've been together in Toronto and have traveled since the finale aired, meeting each other’s friends and family as well. We both have several trips booked to see each other throughout the rest of the year, trying to make the distance as little as possible. Once the new year comes, I will start moving some of my stuff into his place and will be spending most of my time in Toronto.
C: Do you see a future proposal from Kevin?
A: We're taking things slow and enjoying dating each other without all of the pressure of engagement we had in Paradise. We are, however, both in the stage of our lives where we want to get married and start a family, so we've definitely talked about it happening down the road.
During New York Fashion Week, Teen Vogue teamed up with Snapchat for the first annual Body Party, a celebration of diversity and individuality inspired by the publication’s 2016 video series of the same name. With an A-list lineup of stars, wow-worthy decorations, performances, and a fashion show, it was certainly a night to remember.
Upon entering the space, I first headed to get press photos taken of myself in front of an adorable background sporting the event’s name and playful doodles. For my outfit that evening, I opted for the Giovanna Jacket with sequin embellishment and faux fur lining from Ale by Alessandra x Revolve, paired with a Shirley Bag from Staud and nude pumps courtesy of Sam Edelman.
Celebrities started to pour in as the event kicked off, each stopping to take press photos as well. Notable stars who attended that evening were Lauren Jauregui, Ty Dolla $ign, Dinah Jane, Hart Denton, Peyton List, Sofia Wylie, Laura Marano, Jack and Jack, Nina Agdal, Luna Blaise, Larsen Thompson, and Yovanna Ventura.
Ironically, the most Instagrammable spot of the night was a giant swing shaped as the Snapchat logo, an expressionless ghost! Attendees made sure to take endless boomerangs swaying back and forth for their feed.
As the night progressed, guests wrote inclusive phrases in neon markers on a black wall. Some of the words that illuminated in the dark were “self-love,” “I love my thunder thighs!” and “my body is everything.”
After appetizers were passed around for a while (“chicks in a blanket,” aka chicken sausage wrapped in pastry, seemed to be the crowd favorite), it was time for the runway show. Former Fifth Harmony-member Dinah Jane opened the show with a powerful performance of her debut single “Bottled Up,” as well as an equally inspiring speech regarding the catwalk to come. “Teen Vogue wants to show that body positivity is not just a trend but a movement,” she declared. “It’s about style the way that it lives in the world...how to work with what you got.”
The runway show featured diverse ladies of different ethnicities, weights, ages, conditions, and quirks. Dressed in designer labels such as Diane von Furstenberg and Alexander Wang were curvy girls, skinny girls, and short girls, as well as ladies with curly hair, freckles, and even prosthetic legs. Women from all walks of life were represented, and diversity truly never looked so beautiful.
Backstage, models expressed to me how grateful they were for the opportunity to take part in such an empowering show that night. “It felt amazing,” said Diandra Forrest, the first female model with albinism to sign to a major modeling agency. “The way that the industry is going in the direction of diversity is really inspiring. It’s about time! I’m happy to see so much diversity in skin color and bodies on the runway.” Betsy Teske, the first plus-size model to walk the runway for Alexander McQueen, still sees room for improvement. “I think it’s very important that we should have more diversity in general, and being here is a good first step,” she explained. “[The next step] is to diversify all the runways. We need to have more colors and disabilities [represented]. Everyone is perfect the way they are...we shouldn’t have to change to be perfect.”
Once the night came to a close, I sat in the car cuddling my Snapchat ghost pillow I snagged as a souvenir and reflected on what had occurred the previous two hours. It seemed as if, for a brief moment in time, I was living in a judgment-free world. People hugged each other and chatted as if they were all friends, and we all cheered when someone manifested their diversity with confidence. Although I can’t say that a judgment-free world is possible at all times just yet, but after attending the Body Party, I can undoubtedly say that we are well on our way.
Carrie: Congrats on the release of your new song, “FLXXN!” What inspired you to write the song?
Nia: Personal experiences--both positive and negative ones--usually inspire my songs. I wrote “FLXXN” last year during a time of transition. I was finishing my contract on Dance Moms and I was going through a lot of changes in my life. It was a scary time because I didn’t know what my next big project was going to be, and I was hearing a lot of people doubting that I would do anything else after the show. But I had faith that my hard work would pay off and I was like, “Just wait for it. You will see when I flex my success.” I didn’t mean it in an arrogant way, but as an affirmation of my talent and hard work. My music is usually me telling my story of something going on at some point in my life.
C: What is the main message you are trying to get across with “FLXXN?”
N: This song conveys so many messages for me. Courage, determination and strength, but most importantly, resilience. Life may knock you down with unexpected disappointments and setbacks, but don’t let it! You have to persevere!
C: How does this song differ from previous ones you’ve released?
N: This is the first song that I collaborated with a rapper [Riddick] on. It was fun to have a featured artist on this project.
C: How have others responded to the release of the song?
N: Fans love it! Many people are enjoying the song. It’s incredibly motivational and I’ve heard people are using it for their workouts to get them pumped.
C: What’s next for your music career?
N: I plan to release more content more often. The last song I released was from one year ago. I don’t want to wait that long for another song to be released.
As I sat on the yellow couch and waited for Empress to arrive, I examined the row of vibrant photographs plastered on the wall. I later learned the images were a part of the photo series, “What it Really Feels Like to Be Asked ‘What are You?’” by Myles Loftin. Each of the subjects identifies as black in some way, yet they each have distinct features--the point was to demonstrate that blackness is multifaceted. Right from the start, I knew that my tour was going to be filled with subtle references to inclusivity and self-love such as this one.
Once Empress arrived, she greeted me with a warm hug and quickly escorted me to an area toward the back of the office. Cast members from The Real Housewives of New York were doing a Facebook Live discussion for Refinery29 (you can watch the video here) and employees gathered to listen to their hilarious banter. Empress had saved me a seat in the second row of chairs, where I was exposed to an emotional side of the otherwise comical celebrities. Fan-favorite Tinsley Mortimer elaborated on how “it’s like therapy doing the show. I changed so much from last season to this season.” Her friend Ramona Singer added, “We all evolve. We change. We move. Life is an evolution. It’s all real. Scripted shows don’t last this long.” I pondered on that for a minute--a reality star had just given me a valuable piece of information to apply to my own life.
Once the chat was over, and I got to take pictures with both Tinsley and another cast member Dorinda Medley (dressed in an oh-so-chic Gucci tee), I learned more about the large space that I had just sat in to listen to the chat. It is called the Refinery, where events are thrown, and on a quieter day, where employees come to write. When celebrities visit the office, the room is also used to host “The Mention,” a weekly Facebook Live chat discussing pop culture. Numerous stars have guested on the Friday forum in the past, including Meghan Trainor, Drew Barrymore, and Ava Duvernay.
After Empress introduced me to her coworkers in the Refinery, I asked her a question that had been lingering on my mind: how exactly does Refinery29 go about empowering its readers? After being exposed to the employees’ kindness and respect for my writing platform, I was not the slightest bit surprised by her response: “It starts with hiring the most authentic, well-rounded, intellectually advanced women. They are the ones who produce the content you read. Refinery29 is all about being truthful, creative, authentic, and inclusive, which is why the content has the impact it does.” I explained to her how the authenticity factor is especially significant to readers like me in this day and age with all the political movements. “You can’t get around discussing politics,” Empress replied. “We are a company that believes in being transparent, so these are things we have to talk about. In order to have a more inclusive world where people can tell their stories, politics has to be involved.”
After our lengthy discussion, I felt like I really had a stronger sense of the message the company was trying to get across. Now it was time to explore their headquarters further. I was guided to Studio A, where lots of Refinery29 videos--especially for Snapchat--are shot. It was hard to believe that the stripped-down space was the same colorful one that I’d seen on their social media! There was a large wardrobe and prop closet, though, that helps it transform into a vibrant space for the final product.
Studio B is known as the smaller studio, where guests come in to film in front of a green screen. The day I visited, a videographer was prepping for a Snapchat shoot on money...cool!
As I walked from room to room, I was in awe of the artsy, uplifting murals that adorned the walls. One by Kate Moross was decorated with “Love” doodles and a light-up rainbow while Hisham Bharoocha’s wall featured colorful splatters and fashionable ladies. Not to mention, mood boards were hung throughout the office with creative images and text to “boost the mood.”
Every floor I visited also had what they call a “free table” where random, excess items are placed for employees to take, whether they are books, makeup, or even snacks. I snagged a blue glitter nail polish and an immigrant illustration during my visit!
When I was on the video floor of the headquarters, I was so excited to get the opportunity to chat with beauty editor Mi-Anne Chan. Mi-Ann produces "Beauty with Mi" videos for Refinery29’s 1.1M YouTube subscribers where she explores the craziest beauty trends, treatments, products, and more! When asked what the biggest makeup and hair trends of the summer are, she answered me without hesitation: “Lots of lilac colors are showing up in makeup. And everyone wants blunt bobs and ponytails this summer!” So accurate. (You can watch Mi-Anne's video about lilac hair here).
As the tour wrapped up, I returned to the fashion/photo/studio floor to take photos in front of the “Refinery29” mural decorated with colorful feminist art. Grinning from ear to ear, I asked Empress eagerly, “What are Refinery29’s plans for the future?” She reciprocated the smile as she responded: “29Rooms is expanding to more cities. We are trying to bring art and culture to areas all around the world and allow women to share their work in the space. We are also expanding our video platform, so you’ll see much more videos for IGTV and Facebook.” I could hardly wait. At the rate Refinery29 is inspiring its readers, America is soon going to witness a full-on feminist revolution. On second thought, the reckoning of girl bosses has already begun...
Full disclosure: Freeform’s The Bold Type is one of my guilty pleasures. The TV series revolves around three girls who navigate their way through the magazine industry while trying to find their own individual voices. As someone who dreams of becoming the editor-in-chief of a magazine one day, I, understandably, am obsessed with this show. So when I found out that POPSUGAR invited me to attend an exclusive event to celebrate the premiere of season two--in honor of National Best Friends Day--, I was absolutely ecstatic.
My outfit for the event was an adorable blue and white striped romper from Abercrombie. I paired the look with pops of metallic silver by incorporating a Yves Saint Laurent clutch and Steve Madden sandals in that hue.
The event took place in a large room at the Freehand Hotel in Manhattan’s Gramercy area. Upon entering the space, I headed straight for the LED wallpaper in the back with the Freeform, POPSUGAR, and Bold Type logos on it. I made sure to snap a bunch of pics in front of there with some of my fave blogger attendees, including Amber Fillerup (@amberfillerup) and Jessica Wang (@notjessfashion).
Throughout the course of the event, innovative hors d'oeuvres were being passed around the room, as well as some classic crowd favorites. Attendees indulged in falafels with English pea hummus, white cheddar tomato grilled cheese, fried chicken and waffle bites with smoked maple syrup, and beef sliders. But the appetizer that stole the show was the “Green Eggs and Ham,” a fresh take on devilled eggs by adding basil to tint the yolk green--yum!
Guests were also treated to a variety of fun vendor booths curated by POPSUGAR as DJ Jasmine Solano spun some tunes. I visited temporary-tattoo company Tattly’s corner first. They printed a fun, bright blue lightning bolt tattoo on the outside of my wrist--I loved how it stood out in all of the photos I took that night! There was also a representative from Deanna First Fashion Illustrations doing sketches of guests' "ootn's" (outfits of the night). Everyone seemed to be very impressed by the attention to detail in each individual drawing. I was also excited to get an aura reading courtesy of the Family of Light Holistic Center, where a picture was taken of me and my fortune was told based on the colors that showed up on the image. Apparently, the fact that I had a blue aura meant that I’m independent and go after what I want--eerily accurate.
Attendees also got pampered by Blushington, who did complimentary makeovers, and Paintbox, who treated guests to relaxing manicures. Although I was too busy socializing to do either, I did make sure to pick up my pair of infinity sign necklaces from the BFF Necklace Bar to take home for my bestie and me.
As the night drew to a close, people left with holographic bags filled with a special delicacy from one of NYC’s premier dessert shops: Supermoon Bakehouse. This treat was the bakery’s rosemary and blueberry croissant, which is one of their newest flavors. It’s a rosemary creme patissiere with house-made blueberry jam folded through it, topped with a blueberry white chocolate curled shard and a sprig of rosemary. Simply divine.
The event was truly a night to remember, and I am so grateful to POPSUGAR for extending an invitation for me to attend. Make sure to watch season two of The Bold Type every Tuesday at 8/7 Central on Freeform! I know I’ll be tuning in.
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What advice do you have for girls who want to wear makeup but are just starting to use it?
Wear whatever you feel most confident in...whatever fun thing you like. Whether you just like wearing just mascara, wanna try playing around with your brow, or feel like adding a little blush or cheek powder, wear whatever makes you feel most confident before you leave. Sometimes throwing on a bright red lipstick can make you feel like you’re on fire when life gets hard. I feel most like me when my makeup is a little more extra. Whatever makes you feel good should be your signature look for the day.
What is your go-to makeup product?
My go-to makeup product...oh boy. I mean, it's tough, because I really like me a good brow. I love to use Anastasia’s mineral brow powder--a brow can shape your whole face! That and concealer and you’re like “Woah!” You’re a new person!
What advice do you have for people who don’t necessarily have the technical knowledge when it comes to makeup?
Learn as much as you can. I went to beauty school, and then I apprenticed as a makeup artist, so I've written down every technique application I learned from watching that artist. But there’s a lot of good books you can read! Learning how to do makeup doesn’t just come from watching YouTube or Instagram videos. It comes from seeing how true artists melt makeup on their skin or how they apply color. Good makeup is when you look at someone’s face and they look like they’re just naturally amazing. That’s harder to do than a cut crease! I know that sounds crazy but giving someone that natural skin look is the hardest thing. How you apply the makeup is where the magic lies: how you’re pressing it into the pores, how you’re applying each layer...it's an artistry. But that's the part I love the most.
Who was your inspiration on Youtube when you first started out?
My inspiration is Lauren Luke. I’d never seen makeup videos on YouTube that I actually liked, and when I saw her, I was like, "I love her." You could hear her dogs howling in the background, she dropped things...I felt like she was just a friend. To this day I've never met her, but she's the entire reason that I started YouTube. I’m sad that I don’t know her in real life.
How do you dig deep and find your inner girl power when times get tough?
Have self-love, be empowered, and think positive every day. You really should just start with what your thoughts are in the morning, and no matter what hardship you’re going through, like my dad always taught me, you should "never say never." If you have problems, tell yourself that you have challenges instead, because challenges can be overcome. If your day is crazy hard, I want you to say “I’m gonna be a warrior. I’m gonna get through this day no matter what.” Turn on your favorite happy music and dance around instead of playing a song that makes you feel all the feels. Always make sure you have good feelings in the morning. I work out for ten minutes to get my body pumped up and it makes me feel like I can take on the world. Tell yourself, “there’s only one of me in this world,” and you have the power to make people happy everywhere you go. Your smile can change someone’s day.
Yeah! Kandee for President!
What advice do you have for aspiring beauty bloggers?
Always be yourself because that's what your magic is at. Your magic is in you being unique and different. Whether you're quirky or weird...whatever it is. When you’re making a video, you should always look like you’re talking to the person you’re most comfortable with. It could be your best friend, your teacher...whoever. That is what will make your magic shine through
Carrie: Hi Kristen! I have a bunch of questions that I’m super excited to ask you. But first I want to know when you started your blog and why you decided to start it.
Kristen: My blog Last Night’s Look originated while I was filming The Real Housewives of New York. People would ask me on social media about the clothing and accessories I was wearing on screen, so I decided to start a blog with each post going out the morning after the show (hence the name “Last Night’s Look”).
Carrie: That’s so clever! What kind of message are you trying to convey to your blog’s subscribers?
Kristen: I would like my followers to know that fashion can be both fun and affordable!
Carrie: Totally. How would you describe your personal style?
Kristen: I would describe my personal style as Jackie O’ meets Carrie Bradshaw!
Carrie: Wow, two of my icons. I was actually named after Carrie Bradshaw! Okay, next question: what is a current style staple piece or trend that you think everyone should embrace?
Kristen: The Gucci Leather Belt with the double G’s! I bought mine over 15 years ago and was so happy to see it make such a strong comeback! Worth every penny!
Carrie: I actually just got one of those and I absolutely love it! How about beauty...do you have a number one beauty product to recommend?
Kristen: The By Terry Sun Designer Palette! It’s the perfect compact palette that works on every skin tone and that one piece you can take with you anywhere for any occasion.
Carrie: Any future plans for your blog?
Kristen: Always! HA! Get ready for more beauty tutorials and tons of fun travel. Stay tuned!
Carrie: Where can readers find you on social media?
Kristen: You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @kristentaekman and subscribe to my blog at www.lastnightslook.com.
Carrie: Thanks, Kristen!
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Carrie: How did you come to audition for The Voice?
Shi’Ann: I submitted a thirty-two second video to NBC The Voice Snapchat (it was their first season to ever do this) and I was chosen by Alicia Keys to be her pick for the finals. Although I was one of the top four, I didn’t win Then, I was asked to come and audition for Season 13. I came to LA to sing before the show executives and then a few months later, I was invited to the Blind Auditions. Jennifer Hudson turned her chair on the first note and eventually, I made it to the Top Ten Live Show!
Whitney: I had auditioned for The Voice back in 2011 and didn't even come close to getting a shot to be on the show. I also auditioned for American Idol a couple of times and had got a no from them as well. I was pretty burnt out on hearing "no". I got an opportunity to audition for The Voice again at the beginning of 2017 and I decided maybe I would audition just one more time. I took the chance and I'm so glad I did!
Karli: I was always super focused on going to school and working (I was a barista at Starbucks, like forever). Finally, I decided I've got nothing to lose by auditioning, I mean, worst case they didn't like me and I went home. I actually decided my song choices on the way there (Jolene by Dolly Parton and The Story by Brandi Carlile)... I was super unprepared, but it ended up being one of the greatest opportunities of my life so far!
Hannah: [Season 13] was my third time auditioning. I had always been a fan of the show but I had never made it past the first few rounds of auditions until this past year.
Sophia: Third time was the charm for me.
Moriah: I auditioned for the show in NYC in February. I sang three songs then answered a bunch of questions. I guess they liked me because they called me back a few weeks later and asked if I wanted to be a part of the show!
Emily: A friend of mine from Berklee appeared on Season 11 of The Voice and gave me a call in July of 2016. She knew about my experiences in the industry already and my hesitation to move forward but felt this would be a great fit. I’m glad I listened to her and submitted my video!
Carrie: Alisan, did you ever imagine that you would end up winning the show?
Alisan: It’s actually so random! A friend gave my name to one of the casting people because she was the girlfriend of his wedding photographer! He told me at a gig and I kind of laughed it off, but then the next week I was at the audition!
Carrie: That’s crazy! Now, since I’m a style blogger, I have to ask: did you choose your own looks for the show or did the producers?
Alisan: I had a lot of influence on my looks during the show. But also had amazing stylists helping--the wardrobe department became like my second family!
Hannah: I would usually pick out 3 outfits that I liked and we would send them over to the executive producers and they would ultimately pick out the outfit I would wear.
Karli: We had to create style boards of what we were interested in. Through this, the stylists got to know us and our fashion dreams and made them come true.
Emily: On my style board, I had a mix of Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, and even some Cara Delevingne. I wanted a chic, sophisticated look with a bohemian flair.
Karli: Miley was also extremely involved in what her team wore on stage--she created themes for the Battle round and would plan song choices around what our looks were.
Carrie: So cool! The fashion on the show always stands out to me. Was there a particular look of yours that stood out to you?
Emily: My fully-beaded royal blue dress that I wore to sing “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” was one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever had the privilege to wear. The wardrobe team pulled it out of my rack as an option and I just about passed out. It probably weighed
50 pounds but it made me feel like a queen!
Shi’Ann: I loved my look for my “Diamonds” performance. There were diamonds all over the dress with a touch of leather. I even got my hair straightened instead of leaving it curly! Yeah, definitely my favorite look.
Karli: I sang a very dreamy song, "Blue Bayou," and had the opportunity to wear a look my stylist put together that I referred to as "the vintage angel" look. It was an all-white look with hand-dyed tights and a gorgeous rough-cut short dress with the craziest bell sleeves. I also had the most incredible gold and silver heels, with a matching gold and silver butterfly in my frizzed-out hair.
Whitney: My favorite look was during the Knockout round. I had on suspenders and a great hat! I felt in my element.
Alisan: I think my all-time favorite was the dress I wore to sing “Let Him Fly”. It was magical and felt like it was made for me and for that performance.
Sophia: For me, my favorite was this red romper paired with stunning with red shoes, a red ribbon belt, and red pumps. It just made me feel spicy!
Hannah: I loved my “Love On the Brain” outfit, specifically the classiness and the mix of textures. The silk pants and the velvet bodysuit went so nicely together.
Carrie: Do you think your style evolved at all during the show? Was it different during the later rounds than during the first blind audition?
Hannah: My style definitely evolved into a more sporty chic look. I started out a little more preppy and girly but as I moved on, my songs got more emotional so my outfits evolved to match them.
Alisan: I think I stayed pretty true to my boho chic ways. But I definitely got to play a lot. I love fashion and clothes and makeup and hair soooooo much. Like, maybe even as much as singing.
Whitney: I think I got a little more comfortable with wearing different outfits as the show progressed. I was a little out of my element at first, but then I ended up loving getting to wear things I normally wouldn't have felt comfortable wearing onstage. The show gave me a bit of a new confidence as far as my wardrobe goes!
Emily: I was always afraid to show my legs onstage and wear heels--the wardrobe team gave me solutions. Booty shorts underneath, stable heels…what more can a girl ask for? They were amazing!
Moriah: The show definitely made me feel more comfortable with makeup. Before the show, I rarely ever wore makeup, but ever since, I do almost every day!
Carrie: Were you inspired by your coach’s style at all?
Shi’Ann: Honestly, I wasn’t. I saw Jennifer [Hudson] as my coach and my role model. Jennifer is what makes her Jennifer, and she looks great!
Alisan: [Christina Aguilera and I] had pretty different styles but what I love about her is she can literally pull off any look and I’ve felt more empowered lately to try new things.
Emily: [My coach] Adam has this calm and cool vibe going on and his wardrobe fits that. He combines style and comfort and I’m the same way.
Whitney: Adam was also one of my coaches for the duration of the show. I love his style--he always looks so effortlessly cool.
Sophia: Miley was my coach. Her style is a work of art. She puts so much thought into everything she wears and does the same for her team.
Karli: Miley is unapologetically herself and that's extremely inspirational to me. I can definitely see similarities between our fashion tastes, so it was really neat to be able to talk fashion with her and freak out over some of the incredible outfits that she picked out for me.
Carrie: Do you feel that fashion is an important part of your performance?
Shi’Ann: It really is. Fashion shows the character of who you are and how you want to look. It speaks volumes. People see your fashion before your performance.
Hannah: Fashion is a huge part of my performances. Just like the music, my outfits and style are a great way of expressing myself. They help me get into different characters.
Sophia: Not to sound silly, but when I’m on stage, I turn into Sophia, the rock star, and the outfits help me feel that way.
Alisan: I literally can’t even walk on stage until I feel like my look is on point!
Whitney: Fashion and music go hand in hand. You gotta dress the part.
Moriah: It’s another way to express yourself along with the music.
Karli: For smaller shows, I actually liked to keep fashion extremely simple and just focus on the music. But for full band shows, I loved to have more fun and really show off my personality through my fashion choices. It creates a more entertaining experience and honestly, wearing a killer outfit hypes me up so much! It's almost crazy how much your clothing can influence you.
Carrie: Now, I have one last question before we wrap things up: how did your hair and makeup reflect your personality on the show, as well as the song you were singing?
Moriah: My makeup was always more on the natural side with a little bit of edge to reflect who I am.
Hannah: I loved my hair and makeup to be dramatic and eye-popping but also very clean and sharp. I don’t shy away from who I am and neither does my hair or makeup.
Karli: I wanted America to see who I really am, which often meant lots of purple eyeliner and butterflies in my hair. It's almost theatrical the way hair and makeup can impact a musical performance!
Whitney: Hair and makeup were so fun! I normally hate doing my hair, but the hair and makeup crew work miracles! I never wear my hair natural, which is curly. I wanted to try and do some fun "Tori Kelly-esque" hair looks on the show and the hair crew was able to nail it! I felt more comfortable than I ever have with my hair curly because it was totally, 100% me.
Carrie: It’s so inspiring to hear how you all stayed true to yourselves in the midst of all of the craziness of being involved in reality TV. I’m sure that readers are going to be inspired as well. Thank you all again for doing this interview!
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Wintery ways to wear pastels...
Where did you get your pants?
Andi: Where did I get my pants? (laughs) ASOS. I thought you were going to talk about exes and stuff. We can talk about pants all day long.
How did you start writing your book?
Andi: I actually journal my books. I started the first one, It’s Not Okay, when I was going through a breakup. I, obviously, was engaged a while ago.It was really weird because it was very public. I didn’t really know how to handle it, who to talk to, who to trust, and I just literally picked up a notebook and a pen and started writing. From that, came all these stories and it kind of became my outlet and my way to purge. I did the exact same thing with [my new book] Single State of Mind. I was actually writing it while I was on the plane, going from Atlanta moving to New York City. For me, it all came from just journals--it was the way for me to get the most detail possible.
How do you describe your personal style?
Andi: I’d say I’m high-low with stuff. I love a good pair of shoes. I have no problem spending money on a good pair of shoes. Now that I live in New York, I like simple, clean black on black. Really, really interesting (she said sarcastically, as you can imagine).
What have you learned about yourself from your dating experiences?
Andi: I would say as far as dating, I think us women just put too much pressure on
ourselves. I find myself saying, “Oh, I hope this guy likes me” or “Am I saying the right thing? Am I doing the right thing?” I think for women, we overthink and take advice columns and other
people’s relationships as what we should do and what the standard should be.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to yourself three years ago when you first moved to New York?
Andi: When I came to NYC three years ago, I moved recklessly. Everyone kind of said to me, “Oh, I can’t believe you could pick up and move to a new city.” I always tell people that you never know what you can do when you have nothing to lose. For me, I had no job, really. I had no boyfriend. I had been living with my fiance at that time so I had no home. Of course, I had the support of my friends and family, but I really had nothing to lose. I think I would tell myself that when you have nothing to lose, take that as an opportunity to gain anything and everything.
What’s the best date that you’ve had in the city so far?
Andi: This is going to sound super boring but I had an amazing date at a great restaurant. We had sushi, which I love, and it was just such good food that I think it made the date so much better.
Do you continue to watch seasons of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and, in particular, the last Bachelor in Paradise with “who shall not be named” (Josh Murray) was on?
Andi: Yeah, I definitely did not watch Paradise. I talk about that in the book, actually, because it did happen while I was writing, so I didn’t want to shy away from that. I just started watching Arie’s season and I like it because it’s all fresh faces. I feel like I’m finally watching it as a viewer.
Do you want to go back to working in law? (Andi was a former Assistant District Attorney in Fulton County, Georgia)
Andi: I do. I get asked that a lot. The honest answer is that I love my job but I did not love fighting rush-hour traffic and working 12 hours a day. I love that I got the opportunity to do something different and I had no idea that it was going take me here. I feel like it was this weird blessing in disguise that I got to do the show and I got to do all this because I always remind myself that I earned a law degree. I still have that. I will forever have that. When all this is said and done, which I’m sure unfortunately one day it will be, I will definitely go back to law.
After everything happened, what made you choose New York City?
Andi: I’ve always had a love for New York City. Anytime I visited, I honestly just
felt like it was the place to get distracted in. Like I said before, I was so lost. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, and I just kind of thought, “You know what? New York City sounds great.”
Is there any truth to the rumors about you and Chris Harrison dating (the host of The Bachelor franchise)?
Andi: Should we call him and ask? Should we put him on FaceTime and ask? No, there is no truth to it. I do love him. He’s a good friend of mine. But I won’t FaceTime him because he will probably never be friends with me again.
What other women authors have you read and admire?
Andi: I admire a lot of female authors. Obviously, Lena Dunham came out with something that was great. I loved Amy Schumer’s book too. I grew up listening to a lot of female authors on audiobook, like Sophie Kinsella. I think there’s something as a woman about a listening or reading works by a woman author that is just so relatable and I love that, especially when it comes to things like dating, love lives,
and even work.
What was your biggest goal in going on The Bachelor?
Andi: To be honest, the travel. I wasn’t against the love at all. I knew it was going to be Juan Pablo. I felt like he was attractive. I didn’t think my bosses would ever let me take a leave. I was not expecting the reaction that I received. They were all, like, “You have to do it. You just have to do it.” Cute guy. Paid vacation time. Travel. Sold--I was on the next flight.
What’s your high and your low when it comes to living in New York City?
Andi: The high, I’m going to say, is the vibe. There’s so much energy; I pinch myself sometimes when I’m just walking by somewhere like Madison Square Garden. There are so many different things happening at any given moment. The low, I would say other than the men, is the rent. The rent ain’t cheap!
What are your top three favorite restaurants in the city?
Andi: The Polo Bar, which I talked about in the book. I’m also a sucker for Katz’s Deli. The third one is Shuko, which is the sushi place where I went on a great date.
How much is scripted on the (Bachelor) shows?
Andi: Zero. Everyone always asks that. My theory is that it starts at casting. They cast people that they just know that, when you put them in a house and you have them fighting for one man or one woman, are just going to cause drama naturally. I’m telling you, nothing is scripted except for where the dates are. When I was the lead, I would walk through the dates and know
where we were going to do the ice cream and fish shop or where we were going to dinner. You would know things like that. The producers didn’t even need to tell anyone what to say. People were ready to sing like canaries.
Which couple is your favorite Bachelor success story?
Andi: I love Kaitlyn and Shawn. When I see them in person together, I always joke with her and say “You guys have morphed into one person.” They’re literally, like, the same human being. I like their relationship a lot.
Are you glad, looking back on it now, that you didn’t get married three years ago? Do you feel like you’re more ready now?
Andi: Yes, I am. I will say this, though. When I got engaged, I was 100% sure that I was
going to marry that guy. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I don’t regret saying yes. I don’t regret getting engaged. I’m actually proud to say that I feel that way but I am definitely glad that I did not end up getting married. Obviously, I don’t think it would have worked out. I think there’s nothing wrong with saying that you’re glad you didn’t do something and at the same time, being glad that you took the steps toward that.
You can be directed to purchase Andi's book, Single State of Mind, by clicking this link: https://www.amazon.com/Single-State-Mind-Andi-Dorfman/dp/1501174223
Upon entering the Palace Theater, there was a blue carpet with a step and repeat behind it. Press lined up to get photographs of celebrities’ arrivals. Most of the writers, producers, and composers of the show attended, including renowned songwriter Sara Bareilles, Yolanda Adams, and Jonathan Coulton. Also in attendance were Jill Kargman (Odd Mom Out); Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan; X-Men; Spotlight); Carolee Carmello (The Addams Family and Tuck Everlasting on Broadway); Lora Lee Gayer (Holiday Inn on Broadway); Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live); Joe Tippett (Waitress on Broadway); and Tom Kenny (the original voice of Spongebob!).
After the show, it was time to attend the VIP after party at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. There was a blue carpet that lead guests upstairs to a huge event space lit up in the same hue. Giant pink jellyfish hung from the ceiling, Spongebob Squarepants pillows decorated the couches, and an enormous light-up pineapple stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by the bar. Even the drinks were served out of pineapple shaped glasses!
The food at the party was Spongebob themed, of course. Besides an interesting selection of “Krusty Krab Pizzas” (gorgonzola & fig, grilled spring vegetable, and neapolitan style margherita!), there was a huge sushi bar! If that wasn’t enough, the “Bikini Bottom Tuscan Table” served lemon-garlic shrimp, beef & parmesan meatballs, cacio e pepe rigatoni, and chicken parmesan sliders (just like they serve at The Krusty Krab!).
For dessert, guests had the opportunity to indulge in a yellow cupcake with an edible Spongebob face on top and a star shaped cookie frosted to look like Patrick. There were also pineapple-shaped cake pops and assorted tropical pastries. Can you say, “delish?”