Life On Set; The Real Reel

This week was a bit trying. I fell sick after just recovering from sickness and it’s been the mutated virus from hell. But it hasn’t been all bad. I did my first “real” film shoot this Thursday. I’ve done other films/movies before but this one was different and opened my eyes once again to what it means to be an actor.

I’ve worked background before for a couple different movies/shows. One thing most people think of when I tell them that is that I’m rubbing elbows with huge stars and I’ll be cashing my big check soon after. Well that is not quite the case. See the first thing I learned about being on set, my first time years ago, was that there is a lot of sitting or standing. You don’t approach the famous actors and you don’t yap unless instructed. I’m sure that doesn’t sound fun to the average person but it’s just exciting knowing that you’re living in a moment that can someday evolve into a rich reality. The best part of being on set as a background actor has to be craft services. Any actor that has been on set is saying “yaaassss” right now. Craft services provide the food you eat and snack on. It’s a great perk for all the standing and sitting and repeating. Of course being paid is great too but that’s a given with a job. For anyone wondering being on set as an extra can be really cool but it doesn’t make you a movie star or any of the other things people say.

But let’s talk about my shoot this week. In this shoot I had lines. Whoo! I’m sure that leaves people thinking, ‘well did you have a trailer? Did you talk to famous people?’. Not every shoot is created equal. There are different types of film shoots. I did what’s called Sag/Low budget. Which basically means Leonardo DiCaprio won’t be in it and it is most likely a documentary or something of the sort. Being on set for this shoot was so different. I had lines and the full attention of the crew for a couple hours. The individualized attention definitely fueled my actor ego. Before I got to set though there was one challenge. After memorizing my script, a new one was sent the morning of the shoot. This meant erasing everything from my brain and starting over with hours to get the job done. Now I come from a place of memorizing scripts word for word but one of the great things about film is the ability to edit. As long as you have a couple good takes you can produce a perfect end product. This was something I was thankful for yesterday.

So the real about being on set is yes it is possible to meet stars and maybe have a scene with them but more than likely there’s a lot of sitting, posing, and repeating whether you have lines or not. I didn’t get my green m&ms or Evian water but I got to do something I love to do. Sometimes you get days to work on lines and other times you have a few hours. Sometimes your shoot gets moved up a day early. It’s unpredictable but that’s apart of the joy of artists doing what they do. Hopefully more people can realize what it’s like. It’s not glamorous and probably won’t be for awhile, but for me it’s worth finding out.

Dreamers and Believers,

Kellz

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Not For Sale

Welcome, welcome. I had a thought the other day. Yes one whole thought. Something I’m not sure I came to realize before. Maybe it’s because I’m a young single woman who has done a little dating and had some relationships and have realized one true hazard of dating. I think there is this pressure for women to somehow reciprocate after being taken out by a man. Whether it’s an outwardly pressure or an inner bruding pressure there’s this need to throw our good intentions and instincts to the wind to satisfy another human being. Let’s delve deeper.

When you go on a date with an individual, a proper date as I call it that doesn’t involve netflixing or chilling, there’s always that awkward moment at the end of the date where a young woman might think ‘do we kiss now? He did spend a lot on dinner. I owe it to him right?’. The answer is no. Women listen your bodies are NOT for sale. It does not matter what a man spends on a date or if he tells you you’re pretty a hundred times, you are not required to give up the goods in return. Many times the men we date make us feel as if our bodies are there to be bartered. Pointing out how long it been since this or when are we going to do that. Or my favorite, three dates equal this and five equal sex but if the fourth date is expensive then the process is sped up. What? The men who do this aren’t gentlemen because a gentleman knows that a woman governs her body how she sees fit and it isn’t up to them to come and Columbus it.

This perpetuates what people call “rape culture”. This idea of “leading a man on” so she must of wanted it therefore she deserved it. Women’s bodies are not for sale and shouldn’t be taken because they refuse to give up. But let’s stay on topic here. Not only do some men forward this idea but women now are internalizing it. We feel bad if we don’t offer up something in fear that we’ll lose a man. Stop doing that to yourselves. There is no ‘must’ or ‘need’. If a woman wants to then that’s her prerogative. People, male or female, should do with their bodies what they want. That is the point. It’s what you want to do not have to do.

Sometimes I feel that there is a third element at work here. Insecurity. If we think we have to sleep with a man to make him want us then isn’t there something wrong about the way we feel about ourselves. We all have some sort of insecurity but we should never compromise our respect for it. Maybe I’m just a little lucky. I grew up with a dad that always told me I was beautiful. He always told me I could do anything I wanted. And he also expected more from me; held me to a higher standard. Because of that I tend to hold myself and others at a higher standard. That’s why hearing “you’re beautiful” is really nice but I grew up hearing that so there’s no getting me out of my skirt with that line. That’s why buying some dinners doesn’t guarantee getting anywhere because I am not for sale.

I won’t tell anyone how to live but I will say, don’t ever feel you have to get rid of your morals or beliefs or compromise your integrity because society has made you feel that a woman’s body is disposable to men. Do what is comfortable for you and be free to stand your ground at all costs. You earned that right the day you were born.

Dreamers and Believers

Kellz

New Year; Page One to a New Beginning

Happy New Year! It feels great to be back after a hiatus. And what better way to hop back on the saddle then to start on the first day of the year. Don’t call it a come…I’ve been here for years. Anyhow 2015 was quite the year. A couple of lows but many, many ups. I, just like the rest of the world is hoping that 2016 is just as promising if not more. Let me share a quick review of the past year and what I hope to see and do in this new chapter.

2015. One of the biggest things I did in 2015 was conquer my fear of heights. There’s something about falling to my death that keeps my trembling feet on the ground. I’m the person that prays every time the plane takes off and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. But this year I did two amazing thrill seeking things. In July I took a hot air balloon ride through the valley. It was at sunrise and was so breathtakingly beautiful. I was nervous to learn we’d be going 1000 feet in the air but that was just the tip of the iceberg. We managed to hit 5,000 feet. There’s nothing like standing next to an open flame in a shaking box 5,000 feet in the air while the wind does with you what it will. I remember looking over the edge and thinking ‘wow’. And once you allow yourself to be wrapped in the beauty of a moment fear has no place there. Of course our crash landing brought that fear back. Some other balloon took our landing spot so we skidded across a roof and landed safely in their yard. For a quick second I thought maybe we were going to crush someone’s home or just…well die. Luckily all was well especially after a champagne toast.

My second death defying adventure was for my birthday in Puerto Rico. I thought it would be a great a idea to go zip lining through the jungle. I guess I just wanted to feel like a badass last year. So I strapped myself into a harness that seemed as if it would break and leapt off a platform a few hundred feet in the air. As I leaned back I felt the wind on my face and noticed the crystal blue that was the sky. Time seemed to have stopped for a moment. There was that beauty again and suddenly I didn’t care how high up I was. I wanted to live in that moment forever. Does this mean I’ve officially conquered my fear? Faced it yes but until I go sky diving, which I intend on trying, I guess I won’t know. I will say though that it is a relief to be able to enjoy things I never thought I would.

There were a few other fears I faced but let’s look ahead shall we. There are two fears I want to truly conquer and face in 2016. Singing and swimming. Those who know me well know that singing in auditions paralyzes me. And singing in front of people scares me just like singing in a performance makes me nervous. A lot of people don’t know this because I’ve sung in a lot of performances. But I have purposely forwent auditions because they called for singing. How ridiculous is that. To miss an opportunity because of fear, but that seems to be a commonality amongst a lot of people. But after having to sing in two shows with two new companies this year and in countless shows for my company and after auditioning for a Broadway show, yeah I did that, I’ve decided “no more”. I am sick and tired of letting fear run my life. I will not miss another opportunity because I think I’m not good enough. Which is saying a lot because I think I have a great deal of confidence. So what is the best way to get over a fear of singing in front of others? To sing in front of others. Pretty simple right. I’ll face it head on. So I plan on “practicing” by just singing more and then putting it on the internet for the world to judge. Once I get over the fear of everyone hating it then I can freely do it. Not only that but then I’ll have quite the repertoire of music to choose from.

Now swimming will be a whole other beast. The fear of drowning has haunted my dreams from as early as I could remember. Maybe it was that time my swimming teacher told me to jump into the water but wasn’t there to bring me back to the surface or the time I tried crossing a flooded path that was deeper than I thought. Or maybe I never learned because I was a little black girl with a relaxer in her hair and getting it wet with chlorine meant being bald. I’m sure there are countless things but the point is it needs to end. I learned this while snorkeling a few months ago. I couldn’t let go and have as much fun because of fear. So I think there is only one way to solve this. No not by jumping off the deep end and hoping I make it back up, but by taking classes. I think as adults we also fear looking dumb or like we should know something when we don’t so that keeps us from furthering ourselves. Well I won’t let the fear of not knowing keep me from knowing. And I challenge all of you to do the same. Screw what people think or what they’ll say. Better yourself for the good of being better.

Last year was a great year and I am praying, hoping, and having faith that this year will be better. I want to conquer fears, visit new places and experience the goodness life has to offer. But I shouldn’t be the only one looking for challenges. I don’t make resolutions but I always have goals. Goals only lead to progress. So pick a place and go there. Pick a hobby and do it. Realize a fear and conquer it. We are only as strong as we want to be. Let’s starting writing this new book and we’ll meet at the end to compare the notes we took while living life.

Dreamers and Believers

Kellz

 

Modern Day Lynching; Police Brutality and Public Executions

There was once a time I felt safe. Not necessarily as a black person in America but as a woman. It has always been understood as morally wrong to use physical force on a woman. That could be because women are seen as weaker beings and though that’s a demeaning fact it worked in our favor. Recently I’ve gotten smacked in the face with reality. The bodies of blacks and women are no longer safe. And it hit me that not only am I an immigrant, not only am I black, but I am also a woman which now makes my life worthless amongst those who are ruled by their egos and get off on their power. I’d love to teach those who have never had to worry about these things what it’s like to be a second rate citizen and what it’s like to fear for your life walking out of the door but there is really no way to feel what I feel without living life in my shoes. These entitled cops are targeting anyone who they feel superior to and in almost all cases they have been black individuals. They should be tracking down child molesters, rapists, and shooting murderers who enter a church and massacre the people in it. Yet they escalate situations and more times than not publicly execute American citizens who’s rights they stripped away.

What worries me is this. Not only can I get raped walking out of my door by some sick freak on any random day of the week and not only can I be abused or killed by some anti-black fake follower of Christ on any given day but now those people who took an oath to protect EVERYONE have taken it upon themselves to instill their own form of “justice”. No due process, no Miranda rights. Just inflated egos and carelessness. And I tried to give these crooked cops some sort of leeway. “Not all cops are bad”, I would say to myself, “I’ve never been harassed at a traffic stop” but that lucky living has turned into fear.

I can’t even have a bad day. I think its humorous that a cop who slams a half dressed teenage girl to the floor can declare he was not in the right state of mind because he’s having a bad day, but if I mouth of because I’m having a bad day it can result in handcuffs or death. Why is it that we are not holding these cops at a higher standard? Because they have a badge, they will literally make off with blood on their hands. When did this become ok? When did it become ok for someone to lose their cool in a high stress situation when the reason they are hired is to deescalate the situation? Will they now proclaim mental illness to escape justice? The sad part is, that isn’t even possible because these murderers are getting off with not even a slap on the wrist but with pay and vacation.

What makes this all worse is the ignorant people who believe these miscreants are somehow justified in what they do. Should Mike Brown have been executed surrendering with his hands up? Should Sandra Bland have had her head smashed into the ground by a man who then responded to her epilepsy claim with “good”? Should Samuel Dubose have been shot in the head for missing a front license plate? When did people’s basic rights become null and void because an officer got a blow to his ego? We have the right to speak what we feel when we feel it without the need to say “yes massa” and “no massa” to keep from getting a modern day lynching. I am tired of seeing people harassed for being a minority. I’m tired of the disrespect produced by some of these cops who can’t seem to just do their job without getting their emotions involved. And I’m tired of them shooting us and getting off scot-free.

I’ve kept from writing for months. My anger and hurt left me clouded, but I can’t keep watching this brutality. We went through our civil rights movement. How is it 50 plus years later we are fighting for the same rights our ancestors already fought for? They took the police dogs and fire hoses. They took the beatings and lynch mobs. We shouldn’t have to fight for basic human rights. And this isn’t just a black versus white thing. This is a people in power against those without power. This should be a movement where we all realize that black bodies are piling up on the street and it should disgust us. All of us. Black, white, and all others. We need to fight back and demand our respect back. I am tired of looking over my shoulder on the street and in my rearview in the car. I want my body to be respected. And I want black bodies to regain their worth. If this makes you uncomfortable then good. If it makes you defensive than you should examine yourself. And if it rouses you then even better. Do something, anything. But don’t sit in silence.

Dreamers and Believers

Kellz

The Kellz Cleanse; Healthy Living

We are now two weeks into the new year and it is my hope that everyone is still hitting the gym, living life, or whatever graced their list of future accomplishments. I knew that I wanted to start a cleanse after the holidays because I just took in all sorts of sugars and junk for a few months. Not only that but I developed bad habits that I wanted to try to break. The biggest was always wanting some sort of desert after dinner and even lunch. Can anyone out there relate to that? Now don’t get me wrong desert isn’t bad but it’s when you eat it, what you eat, and how often. So I did some research and came up with what I so modestly called the Kellz Cleanse.

Here’s the breakdown. There are a number of different (and expensive) cleanses out there. I’ve done the juice cleanse which was quite difficult for me because I have low sugar and I was not getting what I needed to stay focus. You might be saying, “but Kellz, those cleanses don’t work because they’re all sugar from fruit”. Well I like to think I did it a bit healthier. I juiced an incredible amount of vegetables and added fruits only to sweeten. So that sugar spike was not a thing I experienced. Instead I needed more substance. There’s also a smoothie cleanse which is smoothies all day and a soup cleanse which is, you guessed it, soup all day. I think the smoothies trump juices for me simply because you get more of the fruits and vegetables in your diet. And soup is so warm and nice but I didn’t want that all day. So I crafted a cleanse that included all of these. Breakfast was a smoothie, juice for a snack, salad for lunch, smoothie for a snack and lastly soup for dinner. I ended up not doing the juice because I wasn’t hungry enough to need that extra “meal” before lunch.

After I plotted out my food schedule for five days I looked up different smoothie recipes. One major thing I learned while detoxing is that lemon, ginger, and a variety of vegetables are so great for your body because it balances your pH by alkalizing. We take in so many things like processed sugars and coffee and these items leave our bodies more acidic than they should be. That in turn causes digestion issues and muscle and bone problems. So alkalizing was a key needed as well as really flushing my system with healthy natural food. Smoothies are so great because they  allow you to take in more fruits and vegetables in one serving with all of it’s fiber and nutrients with out feeling like you’re eating a whole garden in one sitting. So lots of spinach, cucumbers, avocado, bananas, berries, apples, kale, carrots, and celery. I added chia seeds for extra fiber and soy milk towards the end for added protein. Lunch for me was the hardest. No dressing or dairy for the salad so I was limited to lemon juice and the tiniest bit of olive oil. Even when I mixed up the types of veggies I used I was over salads. Probably because I couldn’t have my beloved cheese so if that happens to you try mixed vegetables minus the lettuce, spinach, or kale.

But let’s get down to dinner. Dinner was the best time of the day. There’s nothing like hot soup. I picked two amazing soups. Low sodium, low to no processed anything, and cleansing veggies. One was loaded with cabbage and anyone who knows cabbage knows how great it is for flushing you clean. Not the best smelling thing at all times but you have to sacrifice sometimes for your health. The other was loaded with black beans and carrots. Now if you want to see any of these smoothies, salads and soups check out all the photos on my Instagram @kellzbroadway. The important thing here in all of the cleansing is to make sure to keep away from alcohol, dairy, processed foods, meat and sugar. The first few days were the hardest. All I thought about were the things I couldn’t have like cheese, wine, chocolate, and cheap microwaveable meals so I can eat and run. By the end of day three I guarantee life is so much better. Headaches from anything you’re weaning off of goes away. And you conquer your cravings. Some results I experienced ranged from having more energy to not needing my allergy pills every morning. I also came to the conclusion that I may have a dairy intolerance. NO! I consume dairy multiple times a day but I realized after five days of no dairy that my throat felt less clogged and singing in my upper register sounded so clear and felt easy. It’s so wonderful to discover these things about yourself especially when you’ve done something for all your life.

I did my cleanse not to lose weight, though you can do that, but I wanted to change my habits. I wanted to get back into eating right and treating my body right so it can last long and be healthy. What I find so great about this cleanse is that it can realistically be daily life. I personally would add back in meat, responsible amounts of sugar, and minimal alcohol for social occasions. I’m happy to say I’m back on the right track. And if you’re looking to kick start a healthier you  then this could help. Yes I did lose some weight but that wasn’t my focused so I couldn’t tell you exactly how much. But I will tell you to keep reaching for those goals and if you’re looking for a healthy boost try the Kellz Cleanse!

Dreamers and Believers

Kellz

Instagram: @kellzbroadway Twitter: @kellzbroadway1 Facebook: facebook.com/racquelmmckenzie

New Year New You; How to Make It Last

Welcome to 2015 beautiful people. How wonderful it is to see another year. And how wonderful it is for you to be here with me reading my blog. I do appreciate it. One of the greatest things about new years day, just like the first of the month or the first day of the week, is that we all get a chance to change. It is a new day to do new and great things. It’s a fresh start and who doesn’t like a fresh start. I’ve seen many posts on my social media about resolutions and being a new person and my hope is that, that “new” person continues through the whole year and not just the first few days.

They say, however you bring in the new year is how that year will go. I think this year will be fun filled and exciting as per usual. Well I finally made it out for NYE and it was a good time minus the sudden drop in temperature. You see for the past few years I have spent NYE at home (which is not a bad thing) or I’ve been so late to a party that I rung in the new year in the car with friends. It’s quite comical. But since there are a million and one casinos in Arizona I decided to spend a couple hours there to celebrate. It’s ironic since I don’t really gamble but it’s all for the fun right? It was wonderful to count down and see all the confetti burst into the air. It made me all tingly and happy inside. The sound of joy is so pleasing. Hearing laughter and seeing people dance, sometimes off beat, makes me warm inside. At some point though, you have to go back to life less sparkly.

Once all the bubbly has settled and the band has stopped we begin to think about what we’ll do for the new year. I personally stopped making resolutions years ago. It was so cliché and I only did it because that’s what you do during that time of the year. In two to six months those resolutions could be found gathering dust next to spare change in the couch. What I started doing about a couple years ago is writing down a specific list of goals that I had for the oncoming year. Sounds like a resolution list minus the pretense and disappoint of not following through. I’ve found this more successful. Not only do I keep this goal list on my phone but I write down things that are specific to me.

Instead of putting the same thing everyone puts on their list like “lose 10 pounds” I’d say put something specific and no matter how small. For example on my list from last year I had “leave the country” and “take a dance class”. Taking a dance class isn’t a big life changing thing but as a performer I hadn’t taken a dance class in awhile. It may seem unnecessary to take a class if I’m with a dance company but we should always be working to hone our craft. Another thing to remember is that your list is for you. No one needs to see it and no one can judge it. This list is for the betterment of you. I would suggest putting that list somewhere you’ll see it all year round. I kept mine on my phone because I’m never without it, but you can post it in the bathroom or right in front of your laptop on your desk. And let’s pretend you do actually want to lose weight as a goal. Try putting a weekly goal and a target date and then devise a plan to accomplish it. I, for example, decided to start working out again and tone up. I don’t have a weight in mind because I haven’t owned a scale in years. For me it’s only detrimental so instead I go by inches. If your dimensions are proportional than weight doesn’t mean that much. Then I decided to start a cleanse/detox to kick start my general “be fit” goal and did research. You see, once you start putting it into action it’s easier to produce. It’s also helpful to have someone to hold you accountable. We all have moments of “I don’t feel like it” but that’s what our accountability partners are for. Enough about weight though, take the time you need to come up with as many or as little goals for the year. You don’t need ten. Even three are ok because the fact is you are making goals for you. And even if it takes you all of January to figure them out then that’s perfectly fine.

Hear is one more way to make that ‘new year new you’ mentality stick. Don’t let negativity engulf you after a few days. Seriously I saw posts on my Instagram with the ‘new year new me’ hash tag and then two days later some of these people are cursing people out and are pissed at the world. What happened to the new you? And if you suffer from this ailment maybe one of those goals should be ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’. Attitude determines a lot. I can’t stand a negative person. For one it rubs off on me and secondly it gets you nowhere. In fact it hurts you. So how about we choose to be happy.

I hope everyone enjoyed their NYE and is living in a wonderful new year. I hope we all can find just a couple of things to do different this year. And I hope we all don’t forget about these things. It’s pretty great to look back on that list on the 31st and see that you accomplished all those things you set out to do. Stay empowered and stay positive.

Dreamers and Believers

Kellz

A Mexican Adventure; A Birthday Celebration

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday in Mexico. It was a well needed break from all the work I had and the crazy work schedule I am now facing. It was four days and three nights at a five star resort of bliss that made me wish I was there longer. I’ll tell you this, if you go to Mexico or anywhere give yourself enough time to see everything and soak it all in. I just left and I can’t wait to get back. The food was delicious and the beach divine. I feel so thankful to have experienced this. Even with the naysayers and obstacles it all rolled together perfectly. I’m the luckiest girl.

I’ve been wanting to go to Mexico for while now. I love Spanish culture and have always enjoyed being around it. So I decided I wanted to go to Cancun for my birthday. And surprisingly enough I was met with discourse. People couldn’t believe I’d want to go to this violent dangerous country. “Mexico? They chop people’s heads off there” “that’s so dangerous. Why not go somewhere else?” For a brief moment I forgot all about American propaganda and then it all came flooding in from these novices and haters. Let’s just call them as they are. So my response, “America? You know they kill unarmed black kids in the middle of the street there.” “It’s so dangerous. Women get raped for smiling too long at someone. Why not live somewhere else?” You see folks no matter where in the world you go, there will be danger. There will be tension and there will be poverty but once you’ve decided to leave the country you must do your research. For example, the number of tourists that have been killed in Mexico this year are less then those killed in Chicago. But because we call ourselves America the great we take no time to turn up our noses at others. It’s sad really. So many opportunities missed. Lucky for me I was not going to be apart of the heard.

Once I landed in Cancun it was wonderful. I raced past the time share people and into a private car. Upon arriving at the hotel I was met with drinks and the friendly staff at the Riu Palace Peninsula. By the way if you ever make this trip or one in the like make sure you do an all inclusive. It’s definitely worth it and the food is amazing. The suite was a private adults only villa with a hot tub on the balcony. Five bars and seven restaurants meant I could stuff myself 24/7 with food from every corner of the world. (Cue workout video) Now when I’m on vacation, I’m a “served dinner” kind of girl but I ate at the buffet every day for lunch. I’m shrimp, prawns, mussels, caviar, scallops, squid, octopus, and lobster and that was just the seafood portion. I don’t if you’re a foodie or like to eat but if you are you can also delight in my bliss. I think I ate myself into a comma…twice. And if food wasn’t already in high supply, drinks were right behind it. There were liquor dispensers in the room and premium drinks all day everyday and all night. Basically if you’re a drink and eat kind of person then this is for you. You can meet strangers at the swim up bar or frolic in the ocean. So basically this is an ad for the Riu Palace. They should be paying me for this but alas my negotiation skills have escaped me.  Let’s move on to the adventures.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was going horseback riding. I’ve been wanting to do that for awhile and that dream finally came through. It was an hour and a half ride through the jungle and boy was I afraid. I don’t know if you know this but horses are huge and heavy. Anyway, I leapt onto my horse, affectionately known as Chili, and I rode her into the sunset. Well actually I trotted her slowly up and down a path that made me clench to her for dear life, but kind of the same. It was amazing. There’s nothing like being on top of this beautiful being while feeling the breeze on your face and watching the birds fly overhead. By the end I didn’t want to leave. Isn’t that how it always goes though? Thank you my dear Chili for my first ride. I can’t wait to ride again. After that it began to rain so I retreated into the resort to get a couples massage with my guy. The wind was howling but I was blissfully unaware and loving it. After that it was time for dinner and a lovely birthday song sung by all the staff. I felt like the Prima Dona.

But now I’m back to reality. I had to say goodbye to the Riu and goodbye to Chili. I had to kiss the ocean so long and wave adios to all the cool guys at the market that I got to barter. Cancun, Mexico is a cool place. I hope to visit again and maybe even stay at the same place. If you don’t have a passport get one. Pronto. We shouldn’t deprive ourselves of experiences and cultures. We should leap forth into the unknown and ride away with something we can write home about.

Dreamers and Believers

Kellz