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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lana Parrilla Brings A Fairytale To Life

Lets Talk About It

Written by Dana Jacoviello

We all can thank the cast of Once Upon a Time for outstanding performances of epic Disney fairytale characters in a way that made them even more loveable than their alter egos in the animated versions. The show is based on messages of love and hope. It is not so much about telling the exact stories of the animated versions we all watched growing up, rather this show brought them to human form on our screen in a new light to where we are able to ask what if…

Since the beginning of season six, Lana Parrilla has been portraying dual roles. That being said, in a recent performance in episode 14 of season six, Lana Parrilla exploded on the screen in one of her most outstanding performances we have seen yet on the show. We can all agree that she has been a running force on this show since day one. Like a fine wine, she has only gotten better over the years.

Lana has given the audience characters that are relatable through her incredibly talented acting skills, and if nobody noticed, her voice skills are insane. The roles have always been multifaceted, but the way she can transition into different personalities, roles, and voice changes in one episode so many times is astounding. Lana Parrilla has played this role with grace and talent that is indescribable. She has given so much to fans on and off screen. The character development has been jaw dropping to watch every week, and we have all grown with these characters for the better. Regina and the Evil Queen have given us laughs and heartbreak, and regardless of what happens with Once Upon A Time, we have all been forever touched by Lana Parrilla, Regina, and the Evil Queen.

Over the years we have grown with Regina and her alter ego the Evil Queen in various ways. We have seen her from season one be indestructible and destructive to all those around her to Regina slowly finding the good inside of her and releasing the Evil Queen's mentality. She found people who believed in her and who were willing to forgive her past deeds. In turn it gave her hope in a future of love and happiness. She soon began to realize that she could forgive herself and see what others saw in her, which was to become the person she desperately always wanted to be and the hope that she deserved a second chance at life and finding people that accepted her and her flaws. It was no easy road and it took courage and strength, but she found it through believing in herself as she saw how much others did. Regina had help, but in the end, she did the real work. Something that is true for all of us.

She was able to redeem herself throughout the seasons, and we saw a woman who was once full of hate, chose the light. Regina not only became a beacon of hope for many on and off screen, but she found the family she never thought she would have. She was also able to go back  in season 5 to repair relationships that were once destroyed. Once again, we got to witness emotional and heartwarming scenes with Regina and her mother, sister, and father in the Underworld. There are countless moments in six years that have brought us to tears, emotional heartbreak, and happiness with Lana’s acting and her characters storylines. Kudos to the writing team for these moments.  

Regina has been awakened to the fact that though she can’t go back to change what she has done, but she is needed and loved. How often do we go through these changes or struggles where we love and hate ourselves or look to blame the world for what we are going through? We fight to forgive each other and ourselves, and we long for happiness through the storms that we weather.

Regina has shown how we can adapt and change if we truly want to change. She has given hope that as human beings we can overcome and love ourselves again. Self-love is something we all must practice. We are all human, and we make mistakes. Regina finally allowed herself to see that she deserved what everybody else had. She is no longer who she once was. After all, she wasn't always the Evil Queen.
We recently witnessed this in episode 14 where instead of crushing the Evil Queen’s heart, she shares her love with her. She might have separated herself from the dark at one point, but in the end, she took some of it back. The moment where she embraces herself is not only one we never anticipated, but whole heartedly felt and appreciated. It was a key moment in the series and Regina’s journey to redemption. What that showed us is that we all have darkness and light within us, and we can’t get rid of it; however, we can choose what we do with it and which one to embrace.

Episode 14 wrapped the entire saga up in the most heartwarming, real, and honest way for both characters. She did something she was never able to do, she chose love over hate, which is one of the most brave acts we have seen from the character. Regina gave the Evil Queen a gift in sharing her heart and in turn taking some of the pain and dark back. Once the Evil Queen felt what she so longed for…love, you can see the breakdown of emotions in the scene. The heart to heart talk between the two was not only a tear jerker, moment of clarity, and most of all, heartwarming, but a twist nobody saw coming. Sometimes we all wish we can sit down and have a talk with our other side.

The long anticipated battle turned into a hug fest full of love and respect for one another. As the Evil Queen said her goodbyes, she also apologized to Snow (where we all balled our eyes out) and was able to hear Henry call her mom. You truly felt for her. You were able to see that it was all pain and anger, and not who she wanted to be. This was proved when her spell brought her to herself in who she hated most.

In our own lives, we think it is others around us who hurt us that we are the most angry with, but all that does is hold us back from living by holding onto to pain. It takes away a piece of our souls in not finding peace in our hearts to let go.

This proved many things for Regina...that she has healed, she has changed, she has accepted herself, forgiven herself, allowed herself to love again, and is a true hero.

Fans agree that she should be racking up awards, and they find Lana and her characters to be incredibly inspirational to their own journeys. If your acting can provide that to people, then you know you are meant to be doing that job. Lana is definitely where she is meant to be, a true artist. She has taken a fairytale and brought it to life for people around the world.

Regina might not have found her happy ending in Robin Hood, but she has found her place in the world. She is at home…finally. I would say that classifies as a happy ending for both Regina and the evil queen. As Lana Parrilla always says…

“Good can come from broken.” – Lana Parilla
Thank you Lana Parrilla for not only brining a fairytale to life for your fans, but for giving us Regina and the evil queen. A Queen you will always be.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Julie Caitlin Brown: A Woman To Watch

Lets Talk About It

Interview by Dana Jacoviello

Many know Julie Caitlin Brown for different things, but one thing that makes it all come together is that she is a woman of many trades and talents.

She is much more than the entertainment business, which some may be surprised to know that are not already her fan in that arena. Julie also happens to exude love, truth, and honesty. To make a difference, and intertwine that in every aspect of her life.

Julie’s fan base is growing every single day, but not just in the con circuit, but as an inspiring woman to many.

Though most meet Julie within the con circuit where she makes sure she connects with the fans in every possible way she can, it is much more than a job.

Get to know a bit more about Julie in this interview where we talk about her work and much more.

First I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule.

You are certainly a woman with an extensive resume. You own your own company Illumina Productions LLC in which you are represent talent for appearances, an actress, (which include credits such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek; The Next Generation, Babylon 5...), you write and sing your own songs, you are a coach…just to name a few of your job descriptions.

Dana Jacoviello: Let’s begin with Illumina Productions. What prompted you to start your own successful business?

Julie Caitlin Brown: After appearing at conventions in 1994-1996, I realized that this was an emerging market without any real infrastructure.  I had been a manager for Rock Bands and high-level Comics in Northern California in my early twenties, so I applied that business acumen to the convention market.

DJ: What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your line of work?

JCB: Cancellations of actors getting jobs that conflict with conventions,  bad shows where they are undercapitalized, inexperienced, or have not done their homework in terms of what it REALLY takes to run a convention  so they cancel and hurt the fans and the actors!

DJ: What is the atmosphere like in working in the con circuit from behind the scenes?

JCB: Management is management. My job is to build, protect, and then grow the brand of my clients, while at the same time providing quality entertainment and connection to their fans. Simultaneously, it’s important to make sure that the promoters make a fair profit and to grow more shows around the world.  It’s a business, sometimes a really fun and enjoyable one, sometimes lots of travel, long hours, difficult emotions to handle, but the balance is positive or I wouldn’t still be doing it after 20 years.

DJ: How do you deal with bullying or toxicity that comes along with managing clients where the fans within the fandoms can become pretty intense at times?

JCB: My greatest concern in conventions is the growing divisiveness of the fans. Like our political climate, it seems that “choosing sides” is becoming the norm, not the exception. To me, this is an extension of the fear in our society of “Us against Them”.  This perspective is unfortunate and not what fandom is all about.  The beauty of fandom 45 years ago was the vision that ALL people would eventually find peace and co-existence. This was the vision of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

I am privileged to have worked with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, as well as Patrick Stewart and many of the cast of Star Trek TNG and Deep Space Nine, and in our travels together, the Star Trek fandom was about INCLUSION.  All ethnicities, gender, socio-economic, and religious factions were welcome. There is only ONE race. The HUMAN RACE.

Once we accept that we are all in this together and none of us are getting out alive, we might start to calm down and LISTEN to each other. To me, this is the greatest challenge of conventions in 2017. Can we sit and talk to each other in a reasonable manner?  I feel that the intense energy from some fans is about their fear of being rejected, and so they create a dynamic that PROVES this belief, creating unnecessary drama. So when the actor can’t possibly give them the time and attention they crave, they threaten to self-harm or sadly, to commit suicide. This is emotional blackmail.

It is not okay, and I intend to work closely with my clients to help them manage anyone who does not respect their boundaries.  Those who have a serious emotional issue will come to realize that these actors are not the solution, they can be a brief escape from the pain and insecurity, but they cannot “FIX” the problem.  That is the work of the individual, to seek legitimate help from professionals for their issues and to stop trying to manipulate the actors into caring for them. The truth is, my clients are truly loving, kind, and compassionate people, but they are NOT therapists or mentors. They can only teach from example and the lessons that the fans take from their example is up to them.

DJ: In shifting to your music for a moment, you have written and performed your own songs. Is music something that has always been a passion of yours and something you plan to continue doing in the future?

JCB: I started singing in public at 6 years old, soloing at church at 10. Music and singing are my first love, happy to have 5 new songs just released on my website!  I intend to do some performing soon and will post about it on my site.

DJ: You music seems very personal with a great deal of passion behind your lyrics. Where you do you pull your inspiration from when writing?

JCB: LIFE!  Writing lyrics and creating a song are my way of working through my relationships and challenges.

DJ: In discussing another area of your work, your site also includes coaching and what you call Love First where you post pieces you write and personal stories or quotes that you have written. Where did you get the idea to come up with Love First, and what are your goals you hope to accomplish with it besides, of course, helping others?

JCB: Fandom inspired Love First. The one thing that I found around the world that was true for everyone I met was this: They all wanted to FEEL love. Not be loved, but be able to feel connection to other humans.  Love First asks that you develop a loving relationship with YOURSELF, first, and then flow that love to those you meet.  I believe that if we can start from appreciating the SELF, not in a self-centered way, but truly love who we are, we can then appreciate others and feel more connection. All of my work, even booking actors for conventions, is about this idea. To connect, uplift, and inspire those I meet to remember who they really are…pure LOVE in physical form.

DJ: On a quick personal note, what are some fun and interesting things people would be surprised to know about you?

JCB: I am an avid gardener, skier, (Love to go downhill FAST) I like to bake, I have won gold ribbons at State Fairs for sewing, and I am a politics junkie.

DJ: Are you able to share any upcoming plans you are working on or projects coming up aside from what you are currently doing now?

JCB: Working on new songs and re-recording some older ones to prepare for a concert later in the year in LA.  Developing a foundation to encourage inclusion and discussion about social and political issues that will help opposing sides to find common ground, based in Love.

DJ: What are some works of wisdom or advice you like to give others out there struggling with trying to make it out there in the world doing what makes them happy without getting sidetracked by struggles that might be dealing with or facing into the future?

JCB: Be what you BE, you can’t be anyone else. When you take the time to know yourself, the good, the bad, the ugly, you will begin to see the opportunity to grow and change into the person you have always dreamed you want to be. Truth and self-awareness are the cornerstone of integrity, something NO ONE can take from you that one you have to sell.  I hope that you will find the courage and self-love to honor who you are, with all of your struggles, and remember this, “We are non-physical energy having a human experience.”  Be easy about it, be gentle with yourself and others, and when faced with the option, choose Love.

You can follow Julie on Twitter: @JulieCaitlinB
You can also check out her website and Facebook

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lana Parrilla: Hollywood Actress and Activist Does Social Good in Big Ways

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

Lana Parrilla Face Forward LA Charity t-shirt Campaign

Lana Parrilla has both privately and publicly been an advocate for years for many causes such as LGBT, equality, bullying, climate change, human rights, animals rights, and the list goes on; however, over the last few years, this beautiful hearted human being has become synonymous with the term philanthropy and being a humanitarian. 

Lana is an artist/actress known for many roles; however, her most recent and recognizable role is that of the Evil Queen and Regina on the hit ABC show Once Upon A Time, which you can all watch on Sundays at 8 pm eastern.

I am an activist/advocate, with philanthropic and humanitarian efforts myself. I am not up there with the Hollywood’s elite, but we all do our part together and united.  Doing social good is what prompted me to start my organization Bullies Keep Out LLC (currently working on our 501c3)which is only getting bigger and better with the help of my celebrity ambassador actor Michael Raymond-James and the many others celebrities that I work with. Something I always felt was a big part of who I am. 

That being said, Lana happens to follow my organization. I was thrilled to see Lana follow and have her support in any way. Always an honor to have someone like Lana Parrilla, who is so passionate, to take an interest in what you do.

Her inspiration on my timeline is indescribable, as I stated above. Again, since Once Upon A Time began, I have never seen a reaction from fans the way they way they react to Lana Parrilla. She is a true champion and warrior online and offline.

She has helped fans come out, have hope during struggle, be strong, has changed their lives, saved their lives, help them stop cutting and hurting themselves. The stories are endless, and I hear them on a regular basis.  Even her colleagues and friends praise her constantly on social media. So I say, what is there not to love , adore, or admire about Lana Parrilla?

Lana Parrilla at HRC Cleveland Gala 2012

You can also watch her incredibly heart warming and inspirational speech here: LP HRC
In the video above, Lana makes a very moving motivational speech for the Human Rights Campaign.

Lana speaks out and attends events for charity and causes on a regular basis. This is not a once in awhile thing for her. She also spoke and walked for Aids Walk NY in 2014, which I had the pleasure of participating in myself walking with Jeff and Adam of NOH8 Campaign and wonderful people such as Lana and other celebrities who participated. Of course, I am only touching the surface with her resume of accomplishments. She travels all over from LA, Vancouver, NYC, and anyplace else she can lend her hand and be of use and spread love.

Lana has a major impact on her fans, as stated above. She is always posting positive or inspirational things for them ranging from a variety of topics that are important to herself and them. She is a person who spreads hope, which is fitting considering her current role on television. Her show is about love, hope, and not giving up. It has many great messages, which is right up Lana’s alley. Even her character on television touches them on a personal level. It is astonishing to see how lives unfold.

The emotions, the loyalty, the appreciation. They truly see her as their hero they look up to. They listen to her every word. Lana has even been referred to as a walking heart. She feels for every person she meets and tries to help and provide words of wisdom.

What she does resonates with others, as they do her, which is a big part in making a difference and creating change. There is always a way to connect with others, and she finds it.

Lana Parrilla NOH8 Campaig Photo Shoot

Lana is humble, giving, compassionate, understanding, and exudes positivity. Lana Parrilla seems to have always had that presence. She is not only charming, but a strong woman who raises her voice and stands up for what she believes in, no matter any backlash. She speaks out every chance she gets.

She not only influences fans, but her friends. They all make sure to help out when they see that Lana tweets or shares information about a project or fundraiser she is doing for certain causes. You can also find Lana giving that right back to her friends in their ventures. Always sharing and discussing topics on her timeline, promoting, or whatever it might be where she can help and use her status. There are no limits on social good for this beauty.

I see her quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s top activists and favorite ladies. Watch out for her in every arena of what she does. She is an activist/humanitarian that you want supporting you. Such a beautiful soul and person inside and out.

Lana Parrilla's Ebay Charity Auction Benefiting #WildLifeCru #CecilTheLion

Lana's has also made amazing strides in the amount of money she raised with her charity for #WildLifeCru #CecilTheLion Ebay auction. She auctioned off PERSONAL items of hers that fans flocked to. I thought the idea was just plain genius, and fans were all over it. It was truly amazing. She also had another successful run with her t-shirt campaign for domestic violence for Face Forward LA. #LongLiveHope. She adopted an elephant while on her honeymoon in Africa. There is no just not stopping Lana Parrilla when it comes to her activist work.  

Those who love her give back just as much as she puts out. They respond big when she needs their help to raise money or to spread the word. They listen, they follow the organizations and charities, they donate, they do projects, and it gets even more people involved to raise awareness. There are so many ways to advocate, and Lana hits every single one on the nose. You give back what you put out, so I believe this is why so many look up to her as their idol.  

I admire and respect many, and Lana Parrilla happens to be on that list. She is quickly becoming part of the Hollywood elite.

Take a page out of her book and give some of her charities she is so passionate about, which include, but not limited to: @FaceForwardLA @DSTW, @HRC, @GLSEN, @GLAAD, and that is just some of them. She is also regularly finding new causes or charities to get behind and help. She also donates her time to others along with the never ending willingness to sign items for fundraising efforts. If she is asked, she responds.

Lana Parrilla and Rebecca Mader with Lana's #LongLiveHope Charity t-shirt

You can follow here on Twitter: @LanaParrilla and also like her Facebook page and also give her a follow on IG 

Written by Dana Jacoviello