Alex Feldman’s “Community of Actors”


Creative, multi-talented, inspiring, innovative are a few words that can only begin to describe Alex Feldman, an actor, director, writer, mentor and teacher. His remarkable acting prowess, bold character choices, and versatility as an actor has seen him play an array of colourful and interesting characters throughout his impressive 15 plus year career. Among his most notable acting credits, they include roles in Chernobyl Diaries, The CollectorRepo Chick, Animal Hitmen, and the upcoming psychological thriller, Awakening, as well as SENT in which he wrote and directed and the hit web-series, Floored And Lifted. He has also made numerous appearances in hit television series, such as Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CSI: Miami, In Plain Sight, Cold Case, Notes From The Underbelly, and LIFETIME’s Bling Ring.

It can be said that it is Alex Feldman’s ingenuity and creativity as an actor that has been a major catalyst in shaping his career as a successful actor. Having studied at the prestigious New York Conservatory, and been taught and mentored by the crème-de-la-crème of acting greats, Anthony Abeson who has been instrumental in launching the careers of many Hollywood A-listers, has equipped Alex Feldman with not only the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed as an actor, but to also pass on that wisdom, insight and expertise to his acting students. It was his time with Abeson that has made a distinct impression on this talented performer and acting teacher.

It was this profound influence that was fundamental in the creation of For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A.), a “community of actors” dedicated to helping other actors, a concept born out of his close relationship with Anthony, who he affectionately refers to as the “Yoda of Acting”. It can be said that this concept, the very foundation of F.A.B.A. has gradually helped many of his students get a foot through the door and ultimately has given them the confidence to pursue their own creative endeavors, through his ongoing support, guidance, knowledge, advice and professional experience in the entertainment industry.

Alex Feldman’s approach to teaching acting is remarkably different to most, creating a fun and supportive “playground” where actors can learn and feel free to make mistakes, and in doing so ultimately grow as a performer. It’s clearly apparent that Alex Feldman has embarked on a labor of love, and encourages all other artists to pursue their creative endeavors. He has already provided past and current students with numerous opportunities to appear in many of his projects, as well as encouraging them to create their own  projects. His philosophy is simple – to help others to succeed in the highly competitive entertainment industry. His work at F.A.B.A. is a true testament of this. While Alex believes that his most satisfying acting role is yet to come, it’s obvious that his work at F.A.B.A. can indeed be regarded as one of the most satisfying and fulfilling roles in his impressive career, thus far.


Natalie: Alex, you and your family migrated from the Ukraine to New York in 1990 when you were only eleven years of age. How difficult was it for you to leave your country of birth, and start a new life in America at such a young age?

Alex: I turned eleven, just about a month after we moved here. Well, you know being a little kid, I didn’t really have much to say in the matter. It was my family’s decision. But I was excited to come to America, because it was sort of this, you know, as a child growing up in the Soviet Union, America was this sort of dream place. It seemed like so much fun. But when I got here, I didn’t speak one word of English. And at eleven years old, the children at schools, they find reasons to kind of bully you, or make fun of you. I needed to learn a way to communicate with American English speaking kids. And so, I very quickly realized that there are many ways of communicating, not just verbal. And probably that’s where I first started to realize that performing and communicating physically and through behaviour, was important to me. I don’t know that for a fact, but it probably led to my interest in acting. It was a tough time, but I didn’t really know better and my parents sort of threw me in there. We landed in America, I’m gonna say on a Friday and I started school on a Monday, so right away. So, you know, it was throw him in the water and see if he can swim kind of situation.

Natalie: So, it forced you to be more creative?

Alex: Yeah, absolutely. I think right around that time in those formative years, you’re trying to figure out who you are as a person. You’re not quite a little boy anymore, but you’re not quite a man. It was an interesting experience to go through, because I had to learn a new culture, while at the same time learning who I am as a person. So, it was…I don’t know. I am who I am today (laughs). Being from the Ukraine, is a big part of who I am. It’s a big part of my identity, but I definitely think of myself as an American because the country where I’m from, the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore. The way things are in the Ukraine right now, is obviously very difficult, the situation they’re going through. And I sympathize, I relate. They are my roots, but I definitely think of myself as more of an American.

Natalie: It is obvious that your new life in the “land of opportunity” was indeed the first stepping stone towards a fruitful career in acting. In fact, you studied and graduated from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Alex, is it fair to say, that you have achieved your American dream?

Alex: (Laughs) I don’t know. I’ve got big dreams, so hopefully I’ve just started out now. But I’m very grateful for whatever opportunities I’ve had. But certainly being over at the Conservatory in New York, it really made me realize how serious this industry is. It’s not something that you can just wing. It was a great foundation. Let’s just say all of that combined was happening in my life right now, is the beginning of my dream.

Natalie: How long did you study at the Conservatory?

Alex: I was there for two years. I then went off to study with a variety of teachers. In fact, I’m still taking classes now. I think acting is not like riding a bicycle. If you’re not constantly doing it, you will get rusty. There’s always more that you can learn. The cool thing about being in acting class, is watching other people make progress or make mistakes, is very valuable for an actor. You don’t really get those opportunities on the set as much, because on set usually people are fairly accomplished, and they know exactly what they’re doing. So, getting back to some basics once in a while, classes are a very important thing.

Natalie: Alex, you studied for several years with acclaimed acting teacher and acting coach, Anthony Abeson in New York City. Many of his students, including Jennifer Aniston (TV’s Friends, Horrible Bosses, Just Go With It, We’re The Millers), Ian Somerhalder (CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Lost), Reno Wilson (CBS’s Mike & Molly), Sherri Saum (ABC’s The Fosters) and yourself in particular, to name but a few, went on to pursue successful film and television careers in Los Angeles.

Having trained with Anthony, what would you say it is about his particular style of teaching that has helped launch the careers of many actors?

Alex: Anthony Abeson, he’s the “Yoda of Acting”. I don’t know how else to put it. He’s awesome. He’s been the most formative of the teachers I’ve had in my career. I’ve had a lot of good ones. So, I’m incredibly grateful to him for all of his influence, for all the knowledge he’s passed along. In fact, whenever I go back to New York, I try to sit in on his class and come in and visit with him as often as I can. He has this amazing ability to create a “community of actors”. He encourages actors in such a nurturing way, which is really inspiring. And his excitement and love for acting is so contagious that when you leave his class you just want to go create. You want to create, you want to build projects, you want to read books, you want to write…There’s a quote that he has in his book, which is “No recipes, whatever works.” He doesn’t subscribe to any particular method, nor does he deny any particular method. And it’s that sort of open-minded approach that he has to acting that is really contagious and really draws people to him. It’s my time with him in class that has been very special, and I still do coach with him if I can. He’s been very supportive of the stuff I’m doing. He really sort of planted this idea of a “community of actors”, and actors supporting other actors. So, I’ve been trying to carry that with me ever since I met him.

Natalie: Alex, how has your training with Anthony and your schooling at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, helped shaped you as an actor, and as such your unique style of acting and the techniques that you employ?

Alex: Well, the acting education that I’ve gotten early in my life with Anthony and at the Conservatory, I was given a chance and opportunity to have a creative playground. A place where I could really explore, you know, anything acting related. At the Conservatory, I studied Meisner quite a bit. And then with Anthony, he talks quite a bit about Sanford Meisner, Stella Adler, Constantin Stanislavski. So, it was really a fun place to make some mistakes, and understand that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you’re taking risks creatively. And I made some amazing friends there. Some of my closet friends, I’m friends with now, I met at either the Conservatory or through my classes with Anthony Abeson. In fact, I met my wife there at an acting class. I want to say it was a great foundation for me. But it’s way more than that, because I continue to have relationships. Professional relationships and personal relationships that I cultivated from my beginnings.

It really has shaped me as an actor, as a performer. And as I developed over the years, I think it kind of never went away. It’s still there. It’s the foundation, it’s the basics. So, every project for me is different. I don’t necessary treat every script and every project the same way. And the flexibility of doing so, I think comes from studying a variety of ideologies. Certain things still sneak in there. I don’t always know that I’m using a certain tool that was taught to me by a certain teacher. It just sort of happens. There are some conditions, where I think okay this character is way outside of my comfortable zone, and so I want to use substitutions or some emotional recall or sense memory, or something like that. Whereas others seem so familiar that I use something from my imagination, just being more or less myself, or letting the writers speak through me. So, I look at a project or character and think here’s the best tools. I just try to invent them or reinvent them from scratch and see where it takes me. But certainly techniques that I’ve learnt over the years, are in there. They’re ingrained. They sneak in. And whether I know it or not, I’ll certainly use the tools given to me by various teachers I’ve had over the years.

Alex with the "Yoda of Acting", Anthony Abeson at the Producer's Club Theaters in New York City on May 29th, 2014

Alex with the “Yoda of Acting”, Anthony Abeson at the Producer’s Club Theaters in New York City on May 29th, 2014

Natalie: New York’s film and television industry is much smaller compared to the industry in Hollywood. Alex, how does the industry in NYC differ to that in Los Angeles?

Alex: It’s changed over the last few years. When I was living in New York in the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s, all the Law & Orders was there, Oz was there, The Sopranos was there, Sex and the City. But not much more television than that. There is certainly film productions, and a huge variety of theater. I mean, New York is a theater town. But now it’s kind of changing. I think there are more and more shows that are there, more and more films that are being cast out of New York. You know, film-making and television is really becoming a global phenomenon now. All over the country and for other countries as well. So, there are more and more opportunities now in New York than there have been for film and TV. New York is the mecca for theater. So, if you are interested in pursuing a theater career, New York is definitely the place to be. LA has some good theater, but New York is a whole different boat.

In my experience, a lot projects that shoot in New York, still cast here [in LA]. They will come here to do a casting, because there’s a great pool of actors to choose from. So, while there are some really great projects in New York, usually they’ll do at least one casting session here. So, when you’re here there are much more actors here, so your competition is greater, but you’re also given more opportunity. So, probably LA for film and television, is still the best place to be for an actor. For theater, it’s still New York. But there is more and more crossover now. In this past year, I’ve done a few Skype auditions for directors. So, I think it’s changing. You can really be anywhere in the world, and if people are interested in meeting with you, or if they want to talk to you, or see you perform, they’ll find you. Much like all the other industries, the entertainment industry is really becoming digital. And with it becoming more digital, it’s becoming more global, more universal. I’m curious to see what will happen over the next decade or so. But where you are doesn’t seem to be as important as it used to be. It will be very interesting to see where this takes us. Some of my students are teenagers. They’re ability to work on their phone is astonishing to me. What their capable of doing. In my generation, we didn’t think it was possible ten years ago. So, you know, we’ll see what happens.     


Natalie: Also, would you say that it is somewhat easier for an aspiring actor to break into the entertainment business in NYC compared to Los Angeles, where the market is significantly bigger and more competitive?

Alex: Again, I think if you’re trying to get into film and television, LA’s still the place to be. It really depends on the actor. Who the actor is, what their support system is like. If they have a moral support in New York, then they should be in New York. When we accept actors here at F.A.B.A, I try to take a very individualized approach and really listen to the needs of the actor before I put out a statement on how to do things. Both New York and LA have a tremendous amount of opportunities. LA is more film and television based, and New York has a ton of film, some television and really mostly theater. So, it really depends on what your goals are. If at all possible, I would say spend a little time in both.

Natalie: Alex, your versatility as an actor has lent itself to you playing many roles. In fact, it could be said that your versatility has led to you being cast in the Law & Order franchise on three separate occasions, playing three different characters – convicted murderer, drug addict, serial rapist. What would you say it is about your unique acting style which attracted the attention of the producers of this acclaimed, long-running television series to cast you multiple times?

Alex: Just to be clear I did not play a serial rapist. I was accused of being a serial rapist (laughs). I was accused. I was innocent. I was actually a lawyer. But for the Law & Order opportunities that I’ve had on both Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Special Victims Unit, all those roles were directed by the same, wonderful director named Constantine Makris. And I met him when I did the first one, and he and I hit it off and he gave me some wonderful opportunities. In New York when I was living there at the time, it was one of the really few popular shows that gave opportunities to good actors. They weren’t sort of really hiring a name. They were looking for good New York actors. I was just lucky enough for the right part to come along, and then I hit it off with Constantine. I asked Constantine one time, how I can pay him back, cause he really gave me a nice break. He said, “Just help someone else out”. I never forgot that. That was pretty cool.

Alex as Mitch Regan on Law & Order "Teenage Wasteland" (2001)

Alex as Mitch Regan on Law & Order “Teenage Wasteland” (2001)

Alex as Kevin Donovan in Law & Order: Criminal Intent "The Faithful" (2001)
Alex as Kevin Donovan in Law & Order: Criminal Intent “The Faithful” (2001)

Alex as Danny Ryan in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit "Greed" (2002)

Alex as Danny Ryan in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit “Greed” (2002)

Natalie: Alex, your acting resume is quite impressive. In addition to various guest star appearances on hit television shows, such as Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, Notes from the Underbelly and In Plain Sight, you also have over twenty-five film credits to your name. Are you quite selective with the roles you choose?

Alex: It depends. I mean with any actor, sometimes you take a role for a pay check. Sometimes you take a role because you’re absolutely riveted by the character. Sometimes it’s the relationship you want to cultivate. Maybe I want to work with certain director, producer, or writer. There are main things that go into how one chooses a project. But you hope that when it’s all said and done you can go back and say, “Hey, you know, there were really a few good moments there”. You know, ones that you’re really proud of.

But sometimes working on a project versus watching a project, are two very different things for me. There are genres, for example, that I love to perform in. I’ve been lucky to be in some interesting horror films. That’s been a genre that’s been kind to me, and it’s so much fun. They’re tremendous fun. I love making them. I wouldn’t necessarily go and watch a lot of horror films, because I’m terrified and I don’t enjoy being scared (laughs). But making them is fun, so sometimes you take a project because you look at a script and go, “Oh my God, I’m going to travel to Louisiana and have a tremendous amount of fun being killed by bear traps”. It’s awesome.

But you know, much like the way that I approach my acting techniques, I’m not very uniformed in the way that I select projects. There are so many different variables that go into that. Sometimes it’s just right. Sometimes it’s for fun. Sometimes it’s because it’s the right person and I have a little bit of time. Let’s do it! I have a kid now, and so I’m a little bit more selective with travel. I would prefer to be at home with him. But other than that, I mean it’s just, you know, when an opportunity presents itself, you have to say well, okay, what is attractive about it to me? Can this help me? Can this help other people? Can this be something that will prove to be fruitful down the line? And you just make your decision that way.

Alex with actress Jennifer Grey and director, Michael Lembeck in Lifetime Television's "The Bling Ring" (2011)

Alex with actress Jennifer Grey and director, Michael Lembeck in Lifetime Television’s “The Bling Ring” (2011)

Natalie: Alex, some of your most notable films roles, in particular, were in Chernobyl Diaries (2012), The Collector (2009), Repo Chick (2009) and Animal Hitmen (2007). What has been you most satisfying film role so far, and why?

Alex: I believe that the most satisfying role is to come. I’m hoping that my future will bring me my most satisfying role. So far, I don’t know, I’ve been quite happy with the roles that I’ve had. I got to play a Jamaican rock star in a comedy directed by the great Alex Cox (2009’s Repo Chick) a few years ago. I got to have the long dreadlocks and learn the Jamaican accent. That was fun. I’m still a little shocked. I never thought that was going to come my way, but that was cool.

I just shot this a couple of months ago, a science fiction pilot called Eternity Hill which I wrote and directed, and I was in it as well. That’s maybe the most interesting role I’ve had, because it’s very complex. I get to play a variety of versions of the same character, as they might be remembered by their family and friends. So, there’s these very distinctive differences that each one has, and yet it’s a representation of the same character. So, that’s been challenging and rewarding. So, maybe that. I’m hoping…Get me a job Natalie. Get me a role that I can say is the most satisfying.

Alex with co-star Madeline Zima in 2009's The Collector

Alex with co-star Madeline Zima in 2009’s The Collector









Alex with director Alex Cox in the 2009 comedy, Repo Chick

Alex with director Alex Cox in the 2009 comedy, Repo Chick


Natalie: Alex, can you describe your style of acting? Are you a method actor? Do you employ the techniques of some of the greats, such as Strasberg, Adler, Meisner, Stanislavski, for example?

Alex: Yeah, I do all of those. I mean, they are all amazing teachers, you know, philosophers of acting, so you can’t really ignore them. You can’t ignore any of the people you mentioned – Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, Constantin Stanislavski, Stella Adler. Eric Morris is another one we have here in Los Angeles. Really great people. You can’t ignore them. So, I think I do use techniques from all of them, and as I said earlier sometimes when I’m acting I do have a clear decision, like this quote from a book or this technique from a book that I read or this technique from class which is very useful in this moment. Other times, I’m just going with my instincts, and I think probably my instincts have gotten a big layer of technique (laughs). So, even know I’m hoping that they’re organic, they have probably been developed through stuff I’ve learned.

There have been people who have written reviews of my work, and have called me a method actor. I don’t think of myself as that, but I know that I’ve sort of naturally or accidentally slipped into moments of, while I’m working on a character, my life becomes mixed up with and in my personal life. I start doing things that my character might be doing or recalling things from my past. Or you know, personal experiences that are affiliated with what’s happening in the script or in the life of a character. So, I think when people refer to it as method acting, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler work sort of bleeds into it. I don’t know that I make a conscious choice to do that. If it feels natural, if it feels organic, I’ll let it happen. So, when I get a script I’ll read it, and I’ll just sort of start seeing it in my head, and I’ll try to do some kind of physical work to figure out how this person might be a little different from me. Peel away some things in me that don’t help necessarily, and keep what does help and go from there.

There have been patterns of different techniques, methods that I’ve found to be helpful to me. But I don’t rely on them. Whatever this particular character feels like doing, I try to let it happen. It’s different every time. With comedy, drama, film, television, theater, it’s more of what is the writer trying to say, what’s my responsibility to the writer, what’s the world that we live in. And then trying to be as truthful and honest as I can be, to deliver whatever the writer has requested.

10p1_previewNatalie: Alex, for those who are struggling to obtain representation, what advice can you offer to an aspiring actor in order to increase their chances of being signed by an agent or manager?

Alex: Well, first of all there are a plenty of opportunities to get work without representation. There are these websites setup in both New York and LA to help you get work, even if you’re not in the union, if you don’t have representation. You can see links to that on our website. You can also Google some of them. There’s plenty of work out there. And again, I really implore all up and coming actors to create their own projects. If you are creating your own project, that gives you something to show to a potential rep. So, you’re not saying, “Hey, I’m an actor who’s totally new and I need representation”. You’re saying, “look at what I’ve created”. If you don’t have a reel yet, which is a very important, put together a short film, a little web series, you know, some YouTube video. Something to show and say, this is what I’m capable of. And that really sets you apart from others.

Doing showcases is a good idea. There are showcases in New York, Los Angeles…There are showcases all across America, that will kind of help you be introduced to different representatives. And doing your research. Don’t just say that I need an agent. Find out which agent is the right agent for you. Ask for advice, ask for references. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. But the more important answer to your question Natalie, is when you’re looking for an agent, remember what your goals are that you’ve set for yourself in the long term. Just because you’re looking for an agent, just because you find an agent, doesn’t mean that you’re going to necessarily be successful or anything. What do you want to get out of your relationship with the agent and where do you see your career going – make sure that you’re very aware of that. I think that will set you on the right path. But I mean, if anyone’s coming to LA and they want to get a little advice about agents, come here. Just drop by For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A.), and we’ll help you out.

Natalie: Alex, how difficult was it for you when you first started out in acting to find representation?

Alex: When I was at the Conservatory in New York in our second year, we did a showcase at the end of the year. It was a graduating showcase. I didn’t realize how lucky I was at the time. Looking back, I guess that I was quite lucky. But I got signed with a really wonderful manager, named Tex Beha right out of school. And then, one of the first auditions she got for me, I ended up booking was a play that ended up turning into a film and I was a lead in that. And that sort of gave me an opportunity to sign with a really good agent and that agent had an office in New York and LA. I kind of starting work right away out of school. And again, at the time I felt that’s just how it is. Looking back I realize that there was quite a bit of luck there, and obviously I was given opportunities that some actors don’t get right away. And so, for me my way of getting representation wasn’t necessarily what it’s like for most people.

But I was given an opportunity by my school in New York and got signed pretty much right way. But since then, I mean, I’ve been doing this for over fifteen years now. Since then, I’ve had a variety of agents and managers. I’ve had some really wonderful relationships with them, and I’ve had some relationships that really didn’t work out well. Well, that’s what sort of happens as you go along the way. You work with people that really understand you and can help you out. If that’s not the case, you find somebody else. But for me, it was through school that I got my first representation.

I was with Don Buckwald & Associates. I was with them for almost eight years, and then we parted ways and I signed with a different agency and a different manager. And now I’m with a totally different agency. Right now I’m with AEFH in Los Angeles, and I’m in very good hands.

Natalie: Many actors expect their agents/managers to find them work. What can an actor do to be more proactive in shaping their own career and essentially create greater opportunities for themselves?

Alex: Well, first and foremost, there are so many different avenues now, and more and more popping up every day which you can push your own projects. That didn’t exist so much when I first started acting. But now through all these online opportunities, the whole digital world is so open now that if you are an actor that is not in some way creating their own work, you’re probably a little bit behind. You got to get on the bandwagon. It’s so easy now to pick up a camera, get some friends, some actor friends, some writer friends. Put together a script and create stories, because you can actually put them up. There is an audience. And by doing so, it gives you much more control. No actor should ever allow someone to say, “No, you can’t work”. You can act. You can create your own projects. So, get out there and build a little team and create content. That’s what we do. We’re storytellers. There’s no excuse not to create your own work.

However, with representation, with agents, yes it’s very difficult to find the right agent and the right manager, and once you do find them, it can be a little daunting and confusing, as to how to help them create opportunities for you. I think one of the strategies that an actor can use, is to get really clear and really specific on what their goals are, what they’re trying to accomplish. You just don’t go up to an agent and say, “Hey, I want to be an actor”. Be more specific than that. Where do you see your career going? What casting directors do you need to cultivate relationships with? Specific tasks that your agent or manager can do to help you with. And certainly, listen to the agent or manager, and allow them to do their job. But be involved. Just because you have representation, doesn’t mean you just get to sit back and wait for the phone to ring, let them take care of everything. Be involved in your own career. Take control over your career, and create opportunities for yourself. And help your agent do their job. But don’t distract them from their job. Help them do your job.

Natalie: Alex, you have been teaching acting students since 2003. What made you want to pass on your knowledge and wisdom to young aspiring performers?283015_10150339360383939_1947709_n

Alex: This teaching job was offered to me when I was only 25 years old, and in hindsight, really, what are you going to learn from a 25 year old? But I thought, okay. At the time, I was between acting jobs, and I thought that this was something that I need to take financially. It scared the hell out of me! I thought it would be an interesting challenge. So, I accepted it and I quite liked it right away. I really enjoyed being around new actors. People who were super excited about it and really had these raw imaginations and don’t know exactly how to channel that. And I just continued to do it, and eventually I think I kind of learnt how to teach by doing it. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity given to me.

But since then, I’ve really worked to provide some sort of service to the students, and listening to the students. Listening to the individual needs of each acting student, has taught me a lot. There’s a certain part of my brain that is curious about how different people think and how different people work. We’ve been able to provide great opportunities to students since then. I’ve worked at a variety of different places, and each one has been a learning experience. And much like how Anthony Abeson has taught me, I don’t necessarily subscribe to any particular method. I think many of the great teachers that came before me, who are a much more serious teacher than I am, and are more accomplished, I take from all of them, and sort of pass on whatever has worked for me and what seems interesting to me. Hopefully, that is useful to the students that I work with.


Natalie: Alex, what do believe makes for a successful actor?

Alex: That is a loaded question! Probably if you asked a group of actors what they believe makes them successful, you’d probably find that a wide spectrum of answers. I think that if you are happy acting and you’re provided with an opportunity to act, if you are lucky enough to be able to do, whether you’re doing it for a living or for free, that’s pretty successful. If you set out a goal for yourself to be an actor and you get to act, that’s pretty great. If you can put food on the table by doing that, that’s even better. But to me, there are many countries and many cities and many communities where you can sort of have a dream of being something and get to do it. So, I think if you love acting and get to act, that’s pretty successful.

Natalie: Alex, you have written and directed numerous shorts films, where you have provided many of your past and current students with the opportunity to co-star in some of these projects. Obviously, this is an extremely valuable and rewarding opportunity for these aspiring actors, in terms of building their resumes, gaining on-camera experience, and even possibly providing them with much needed exposure.

How important is it to an actor’s career to establish and maintain relationships with their acting teacher or coach?

Alex: I think that it’s quite important. I mean, earlier you were talking about Anthony Abeson. My relationship with Anthony has had a very valuable one. It goes way past just being a student-teacher relationship. He will always be my teacher, but he’s really been very supportive and provided opportunity for me. And I think it’s not only with your teachers, but most relationships in this industry, if you maintain them, support them and cultivate them, good for you. This is a very tightly-knit community. When you’re first getting into this industry, it feels like there’s this huge industry and you’re kind of on the outside of it. And after spending a few years in it, you realize that it’s a tightly-knit small group. And reputation matters and helping people matters, and providing opportunities matters. People will remember that. So, staying in touch with anybody that’s helped you along the way or anybody your can help, is wonderful. And if you can create a community of your own, and help the members of that community succeed, it’s going to come back to you and help you out.

I have directed shorts where I have given opportunity to some of my students, but they’ve come in and done a great job, so they’re helping me. So, besides me helping them, they really are stepping up. I wouldn’t cast somebody in a project that I was directing, if I didn’t think they were good or right for it, so I’m hoping that it helps me but it’s also helping me. If you’re a good student and you work hard and you care about what you’re doing, yeah, I’ll try to provide opportunity for you, because in the long run it will help me. It helps everybody.

 Natalie: Alex, you recently formed the company, For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A), which is a community of actors dedicated to providing support and help to other actors in order to be able to compete, and ultimately succeed in the Los Angeles film and television industry. In my opinion, I truly believe that the whole concept of your “community” of actors providing a support system to other actors in a very cut-throat business, is such an innovative idea.  What inspired you to create this supportive community?

Alex: I’ve taught acting at a few different places. For years now, I’ve been making a short list in my mind of things that I wish was there for me when I was starting out, and I would make those things available to people who are starting out now. That’s where the idea of For Actor By Actors came from. I wanted a community of people who know what it’s like, who have been through it, who can provide first-hand knowledge to people who are just getting into it now. This idea of really demystifying the collaborative process, allowing the actor to understand what other pieces go into making film and what their responsibility is to other collaborators. And that’s where it sort of came from, For Actors By Actors, meaning actors helping actors.

When you come here, you’re not going to run into someone who doesn’t understand what an actor goes through, judge it or be insensitive to it. While at the same time, we’re very honest about the current conditions, the current climate of the entertainment industry. That’s really where the idea came through. It was a cumulative process of thinking of all the different opportunities that I wish I had, and getting as close as I can to providing those opportunities in a supportive environment. And I’m very lucky to have a great staff here. You guys can visit our site:, and then click on the faculty page, and you’ll see that we have a really beautiful staff. I’m very grateful to have all these actors who resonate with my way of thinking and come here and really create this educational, fun environment.       


Natalie: There are so many acting schools in Los Angeles, which can often make it difficult for a performer to be able to select a good school. What sets F.A.B.A apart from others?

Alex: There are some amazing schools here in Los Angeles. I think actors should probably explore many different opportunities as possible. Don’t just settle on the first one. We are a little different from most, because For Actors By Actors was formed as a community of actors helping other actors. All the employees we have here, the instructors are working professional actors. And when you have somebody teaching who’s actually out there, auditioning on a regular basis, spending time on film and television sets, they’re more aware of the fast pace changes that occur in this industry. They know what the most current opportunities are, what are the most current casting styles, set experience, what the different communities are doing out there.

We’re teaching much more from experience, rather than from theory. We do bring in techniques and exercises from very old, very traditional teachers. However, we’re also teaching what’s happening out in the industry right now. We’re teaching a lot about the business of acting. I find that there are many wonderful schools around America and probably worldwide, that equip their students with great craft techniques, so students really know how to be a good actor. But they don’t spend enough time on telling them how to apply that to booking actual work, to actually getting a career started, so that you can provide for your family as an actor. Our focus is really on that, and once you are a student here, there are all sorts of opportunities for you to have this amazing, what we call “creative mash-up” which you will find on our website, which is free. And it’s just bringing writers, directors, casting directors, musicians even, together with our students, and seeing what can creatively come from that.

In addition to acting classes, we do all these different events that are designed to demystify the collaborative process of filmmaking, so it doesn’t feel whatever a casting director does, whatever a producer does, that’s foreign to me as an actor. The goal is the same, whether you’re a casting director or producer. We’re all just trying to tell a story, put that project together. It’s important for actors to know what those other people do. And so we differ from most other schools by really combining all of that, really giving the actor an education not only what the actor’s responsibility is to themselves, but what is your responsibility to the writer. What is your responsibility to the director, even the editor. This way, I think you get a more rounded individual and an artist. These are the kind of opportunities we try to create. We have a film festival as well, which we’re involved with called Hollyshorts. Earlier, I was talking about the importance of actors creating their own projects, and I provide an avenue for actors to actually show their projects. We are affiliated with the Hollyshorts Film Festival. For the second year in a row, we teamed up with the Hollyshorts Film Festival which is held at the Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood, to screen films made by our students. There was a red carpet event, publicity, and a lot of industry folk came. We encourage people to create their own projects, and then we try to help them build up those projects up on their feet and then have an avenue in which they can screen that project as well.

Natalie: Prior to forming F.A.B.A, you were the Creative Director of the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, where you were responsible for creating all the programs and curriculum, which ultimately lead to many success stories in film and television, and commercials.  

How have you drawn on your previous experience as a Creative Director in running F.A.B.A.? 

Alex: Absolutely. When I was the creative director of the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, it was a really big school and I had an opportunity to really see a very diverse population of actors with so many different goals and ideas. It’s really where I got my education as to how to treat each actor individually. All the curricula I wrote there, is bleeding now into what I’m doing with For Actors By Actors. We’re trying to be innovative here. We’re trying to invent brand new ways of thinking.  Yes, my previous jobs and previous opportunities are a big predecessor of what I’m doing now.

A lot of the students that I had at the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, are now with us here at For Actors By Actors. You mentioned earlier how important it is to keep your previous relationship with your teacher. I think that this is a great indicator that people do feel that once they find a common language, and once they find somebody there to genuinely help them, they tend create a relationship and maintain that relationship. The things that I learnt at the Acting Studios of Beverly Hills, have proven to be very helpful in the creation of what I’m doing now at For Actors By Actors.  

The F.A.B.A. faculty

The F.A.B.A. faculty

Natalie: Alex, in the short time that F.A.B.A has been operating, what opportunities has the company been able to provide students with, thus far?

Alex: On May 24th, we had the second annual Hollyshorts Film Festival screening which is films made by members of For Actors By Actors. I talked a little bit about it earlier. But we’ve definitely provided an urgency and opportunity for our members and our students to create projects, and we’ve created an avenue for them to showcase their projects. We also do agent showcases, and we’ve gotten a ton of our students signed with really good representatives. As a result of that, they’ve gone on to book work in films, television, commercials, theater.

I think what I’m most proud of is our students are now producing their own projects, whereas before it would have been too daunting. They now have the courage to go out there and make more projects, and put it out to the world. I think that those are the kinds of things that can really attract the right representation and create opportunity. You have to go out and make your own opportunities. We have students working in digital television and film and television and commercials and theater. Most of that is due to their own ability to perform and of their own talent. But hopefully, we’ve had a small hand in that as well. We’ve also had quite a hand in introducing our students to the industry professionals, whether it be through creative mash-up or talent agent showcases, or just when we invite industry professionals to sit in on our classes. That’s been very rewarding for me to watch people cultivate these relationships.

Alex with Asha Laroux at the F.A.B.A. Hollyshorts Screening 2014 at Mann Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, CA.

Alex with Asha Laroux at the F.A.B.A. Hollyshorts Screening 2014 at Mann Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, CA.

Natalie: Having trained with you, I can truly say that your style of teaching allows a student to grow immensely as an actor and master the craft. Alex, you are a consummate professional. You offer your students support, advice and respect, thus providing a highly supportive environment.  

Alex, throughout your career and training as an actor, what support, advice or guidance did you receive? And how did this ultimately assist you in your development as a professional?

Alex: This is a competitive industry with a lot of rejection. A lot of politics. And if you don’t really love it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to stay in it. So, the second part of that is if you love it, really go for it. There’s no reward greater than taking a creative risk and then seeing something positive come from that. I’ve received a ton of advice. Most has been very good, some I probably shouldn’t have listened to (laughs). But treating other actors with respect, creating the right air with respect. That means being prepared. That means always being respectful to what the writer has intended. One of the most important pieces of advice is also the most simple, and that is be on time. Always be on time. Never be late to anything. In this industry, that’s a really important piece of information. That’s the least you can do. So many people put so much energy into having a project come together. Just be on time and be prepared. How simple is that?!

Natalie: Alex, you told us about Eternity Hill. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects? I understand that you recently completed work on the film Awakened, which is currently in post-production. Can you tell us more about this?

Alex: Yeah. Awakened is a psychological thriller about people who are dealing with a very real condition called sleep paralysis. A significant population around the world suffer from this, which is a condition where sometimes you might wake up abruptly in the middle of the night and your mind is awake but your body is paralyzed. And it can last anywhere from seconds to minutes to an hour. For centuries, there have been documented descriptions of people suffering from tremendous moments of terror while they undergo this paralysis, for obvious reasons. You can’t move your body. This is a film, a psychological thriller that deals with the medical study of test subjects that have an extreme version of sleep paralysis and then go into this medical study. And then things go nuts. So, look out for that one. That should be out sometime next year.

Natalie: Can you tell us a bit about your character and role in the film?

Alex: I play a man who’s struggling from sleep paralysis, and one of the reasons he’s struggling from this is because of his sexual history. Because of his promiscuity. (Laughs) Let’s just say his love for women. One of his ex-girlfriends had kidnapped him, and kept him captive for a while and the outcome of that is that he’s been mentally damaged. He’s dealing with sleep paralysis and he’s trying to work it all out. So, again, a darker, fun character.

Natalie: You do play some interesting, colourful characters Alex

Alex: I don’t know what it is about me, but some really fun stuff has come my way. Some dark and twisted stuff. I like that kind of stuff. I’m glad that’s happening.

I will be starting a new production, a film in September or October, called Jacob and I. That’s a very interesting drama made by a British filmmaker. So, I look forward to that.


If anybody is curious about what we do at For Actors By Actors, please do visit our website at You can also give us a call at 323-942-9228. We’re just here to help you guys out. We’re easy to find and don’t be a stranger. Come around.



Visit the For Actors By Actors (F.A.B.A.) website for further information

Alex’s Film/TV/Directing/Writing Credits

Alex’s Website


Todd Farmer: The Stuff of Nightmares


Johnny Depp pretty much summed it up when he said, “Just keep moving forward and don’t give a shit what anybody thinks.” Film writer, Todd Farmer best known in the horror slasher genre world for Jason X, Messengers 2: The Scarecrow, My Bloody Valentine 3D and Drive Angry, can be considered as a living embodiment of this.

ToddFarmerOver the past eighteen years of his career as a Hollywood film writer, Todd knows all too well the harsh reality of this highly competitive, cut-throat industry, and counts his blessings for his good fortune. Beginning his career with director/producer/writer, Sean Cunningham, the mastermind between the Friday the 13th horror series, this ultimately paved the way for Todd Farmer’s career and his involvement in the horror slasher genre. His choice to depart from the original concept of the Friday the 13th horror franchise, by putting Jason in Space in 2001’s Jason X, saw him being criticized by avid fans of this famous franchise.

But nonetheless, Todd Farmer remains true to himself, and makes no apologies for his bold and brave writing choices. It can be said that it is Todd’s daring choices that has established this southern boy, as one of the most influential Hollywood film writers of our time. He allows himself the creative freedom to go where very few screenwriters dare to go, ultimately challenging preconceived notions of the horror genre, in particular.

This former independent Amway distributor who grew up in Kentucky, is real and refreshingly honest. Throughout the years, he’s managed to cultivate and sustain successful and authentic relationships with key players in the entertainment business – a rarity in Hollywood. Todd most definitely considers himself lucky and understands that he is one of the privileged few that has been able to establish a career in the Hollywood entertainment industry as a successful film writer.

In talking to Todd, he reveals a candid and authentic perspective of the entertainment industry through his experiences, and reveals how he’s been able to pick himself up and dust himself off again in an industry notorious for rejection. Todd truly understands that real life experiences make for good writers, with his message being loud and clear not to be afraid to experience life, embracing both the good and the bad. His writing prowess lends to a variety of different mediums.

With the highly anticipated release of the action-adventure-fantasy movie, Heavenly Sword based on the video game of this same name, as well as numerous projects in the works, Todd Farmer will undoubtedly continue to prove why he’s one of the leading writers in Hollywood.

Natalie: Todd, in 1996, you moved to Los Angeles where you began your career in the entertainment industry working for film director, producer, writer Sean Cunningham, who is best known for creating the Friday the 13th horror series. Sean can obviously be credited to opening a door for you in an industry where many find it difficult to break into.

What do you believe Sean saw in you as a creator that encouraged him to take a chance on you?

Todd: I believe it was because I was cheap. Pretty sure, that’s the starting point. I met Sean through Dean Lorey. Dean Lorey had written Jason Goes to Hell, and Dean and I had met when I was living in Texas. Dean and I talked about stories, and he said, “Look, if you want to write for Hollywood, you need to move to LA”. So, that’s what brought me there. Then he introduced me to Sean, and Sean was like “Hey, I’ll give you a place to write and pay you, and we’ll just write until we make a movie”. And that’s about it. We had a good time. At the time, Sean really didn’t like horror movies. He started in it, but he wanted to move on to other things. So, I wrote a lot of other stuff for a while. I was there for three years, and at the end of that he decided to do another Jason movie. I was like, “Good, let’s do that!”


Natalie: Todd, many go to Hollywood with stars in their eyes, but quickly learn the stark reality of the industry. When you first moved from Kentucky, did you have high expectations and believed that anything was possible?

Todd: I loaded up all my clothes and computer in my pick-up truck and drove to LA. I slept in a hammock for the first three months.

Yes, I didn’t realize until probably six or seven years later it was hard. I was pretty lucky. Working for Sean paid my bills, and then we made a movie at the end of that. I was always really blessed. I always had jobs, and so yeah, I didn’t know it was hard until years later when I sort of had more of a career, got my foot through the door, I started realizing, well, every job seemed harder and harder to get even though I had already sort of made it. These days, it’s way more difficult than it was when I started. It’s way tougher now.

Natalie: Todd, so you were introduced to Sean pretty early on?

Todd: Yeah. Within probably the first two months of living in LA.

Natalie: Todd, you have written scripts for horror flicks, such as Jason X (2001), Messengers 2: The Scarecrow (2009) and the remake of the 1981 slasher film, My Blood Valentine 3D (2009). What is it about the horror genre which most appeals to you?

Todd: When I was growing up, that’s what you did to have fun. I mean, we would get together on the weekends and watch movies. Sometimes they were horror, and sometimes they were action movies. It was just whatever. What’s interesting about the horror genre is, when you wanted to be a writer in Hollywood at the time, it was easiest genre to get into because you weren’t up against big names. It was very small budgets. And when Scream (1996) came out, everything sort of changed. Scream changed the rules. Suddenly, everybody was making horror movies. When I first started, it was Dimension and New Line. They were pretty much it. And now everybody has a genre department. Back in the day, people who made movies tended to be embarrassed by horror films. Now they’re not, because they know that they make money.





















Natalie: Todd, how important is it to stay true to the original concept when remaking a film or contributing an instalment to a famous film franchise?

Todd: I appreciate different. I like the Friday the 13th franchise. Even though it starts with Jason and his mother, then the rest of it is about Jason, each one is a little different and it’s not the same thing rehashed over and over. I appreciate that. With My Bloody Valentine, we went through and took things we liked the most and kept those things. The rest of it we created. I always look at The Fly (1986) and perfect examples of that, because if you go back and watch the original The Fly, it’s quite a bit different from the [David] Cronenberg version. But still at the same time, there’s teleportation elements, there’s still people morphing into other creatures. It still has the same concept, but it’s very Cronenberg. He took his own ideas and expanded. I like that, when you do a remake, especially. If you look at the Psycho remake, the Psycho remake was word for word the original movie, and that’s interesting. But it feels like you can only do that once or twice, and then you’re sort of running out of ideas. I never understood people who get upset when they do a remake, because the original still exists. We’re not burning it. You can still go watch it. It’s just, we’re doing something different. I like that, and I appreciate other artists and other writers when they do it.

For a lot of people who grew up with the original [version of My Bloody Valentine] I think it’s very dear to their hearts. But it is a movie that was made on a very small budget with unknown actors. As far as production value, it’s not a great movie. But as far as fun, as a kind of slasher film, it’s fantastic. But we had more money to throw at it, and we had 3D technology. Back at the time, 3D was brand new, and we were sort of figuring it out. We had no idea that the potential 3D had. We had fun though.

Natalie: In remaking a film, do you feel pressure to fulfil the expectations of die-hard horror fans?

Todd: I don’t. I feel like I am a die-hard horror fan, and so I want to make movies that I want to see. I know that there are guys out there that try to do just want they think the crowd wants to see. I think that’s the wrong way to do it. I think you have to make what you’re passionate about and hope that everybody else comes along. So far, I’ve been lucky.

Natalie: Todd, growing up did you watch many horror classics such as the Halloween franchise, Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead and of course, Friday the 13th?

Todd: I watched them all. Halloween’s one of those movies that make me what I am. I would say without a doubt Halloween, Jaws, Alien and the Star Wars films. Two of the movies, you could even argue that three of them, are horror films. Those are the films that influenced me most when I was a kid. Halloween is certainly a horror film. I think Alien and Aliens are horror films, and I love that genre.

Natalie: How has this influenced your work in the horror slasher film genre?

Todd: Well, you could look at Jason X, and Jason X structurally is Aliens. Everything about it from my storytelling standpoint is Aliens, and that was the whole pitch. The pitch was, what if we took the movie Alien, and what if we took the alien out and put Jason in? That was the idea. Patrick Lussier and I had the chance to write a Halloween movie, and that was really a dream come true because we loved that franchise. And that will be one of my biggest regrets, that we didn’t make that movie.

Natalie: Any plans in the future?

Todd: If they called, we’d be more than happy to consider, but I’m not sure what they’re doing now. I hear rumours all the time, but I don’t know what’s going on.

Natalie: Todd, your first film was Jason X, which was the 10th instalment of the Friday the 13th franchise. In writing the screenplay, what inspired you to use a futuristic setting as a backdrop for this horror slasher flick?

Todd: The biggest reason was that Freddy vs Jason was in development. Well, my argument was that we didn’t want to tell a story that chronologically takes place at the same time that their movie’s taking place. I didn’t want to screw that up. I said, “What if we set our movie in the future?” And the plan was to literally set it five hundred years in the future. Originally, I thought it would be a Blade Runner kind of world where it was future and futuristic, and they find Jason on Earth cytogenetically frozen. They wake him up. But they felt like to build a world that was that futuristic was way too expensive, so we ended up doing it on a spaceship.


Natalie: So, you got your opportunity to work in Alien.

Todd: I did, indeed. I felt that I was able to work in two franchises that I loved.

Natalie: Todd, when writing a script, how much creative freedom do you allow yourself?

Todd: I allow myself full creative freedom. What ends up happening, is that you get that first draft, for the most part is yours. And then everyone else gets to it, and injects their opinion. At that point, I used to think it was our job to tell the best story with the best characters we could do. It’s not the case anymore. There’s too many people who stand between you and getting the movie made. So, what you have to do is take their notes and their ideas, and make them work. Make them work in a way that the audience will respond. And so it’s a different way of making movies. On some levels, it’s not as rewarding because it’s not just you sitting around a camp fire telling a story, It’s you sitting around a camp fire with, you know, three hundred people behind you telling you what story to tell. And you take all these elements, and put it all together. It’s a little different. But it pays well.

Natalie: Todd, you have written numerous film scripts, some that have been picked up and some that have been passed on. How difficult is it to invest a great deal of time, energy and emotion into your work, without a guarantee of a positive outcome?

Todd: It’s tough. I mean, the good news is when you create that for yourself, you still own it. So, you can always come back to it later. Like, I wrote a script with a friend of mine, well, Dean Lorey, the guy who introduced me to Sean Cunningham. We wrote a screenplay, probably ten years ago, and we went around with it. Nobody bought it. And so now, we’re both in different places in our careers. We decided instead of trying to go back out with it, let’s write it as a novel. So, we’ve co-written it. We’re about halfway through it. So, we’re co-writing a novel, based on a screenplay that we wrote. We’re going to publish it ourselves, and it will be ours. We’ll own it. So, if Hollywood wants to buy it, great. But we’ll still own it. And so that’s much different than be hired to come in and write something. If Drive Angry had be far more successful, Patrick and I would’ve owned nothing. They could’ve made toys, they could’ve made sequels. They could’ve done anything they wanted, and we had no part of it because we had basically sold the rights to an idea that was original. But with a novel or a comic book or anything else, you own it. Basically they have to option the rights. So, it’s a much more powerful place to be.

Natalie: As a human being, rejection can be very hard to take. What are your strategies or coping mechanisms for dealing with rejection or let-downs in an industry notorious for shattering aspirations and dreams?

Todd: I’ve always had a big enough ego, that if someone doesn’t like something I just assume that they don’t get it (laughs). I feel sorry for them. I feel they’re missing out. Bless their hearts.

Natalie: Todd, in 2009 you formed a partnership with director, Patrick Luisser. Since then, you have written the screenplay for four films so far, including the remake of My Blood Valentine 3D and Drive Angry. You have said that Patrick is one of your closet friends.

How important has your close relationship with Patrick been in the collaborative process of these projects?

Todd: For Patrick and I, it’s been amazing because we don’t think alike. So, that’s wonderful because when we both write, we’re both sort of coming from different directions. But at the same time, we have each other’s backs. Where if you come in and start working with someone you don’t really know, I mean, Patrick and I can finish each other’s sentences sometimes. I have the same thing with Dean. And so, it’s a nice place to be. When we were on set, I could anticipate things he was gonna need as a director. So, once you get on set, a lot of writers think they’re in competition or in battle with the director. That’s not the case at all. When you’re on set, your job changes from writer to you’re the guy who there’s to do whatever you have to do to clear the path for the director. As a writer, it’s your job to basically help the director and help fulfil his vision. Because of that I think Patrick and I had a pretty good relationship. And it’s still good. It’s been a nice little journey, and the fact that we’re friends…if something’s going on the fact that we can crash at each other’s homes, that’s something that is ours.


Natalie: Todd, you have named four extremely influential individuals who have been pivotal in molding your career. In particular, your best friend Dean Lorey who encouraged your move to LA; Sean Cunningham who helped you get your first film credit and ultimately your “foot in the door”; your mentor Dean Riesner; and your partner in crime Patrick Luisser.

How critical is it in the Hollywood entertainment industry to have individuals in your corner, who are willing to support and champion you?

Todd: Well, basically it’s everything because making it in this industry, is all about talent, luck and who you know. And I knew that I had some raw talent. Who you know is so important. And luck is the biggest factor by far. But if you know the right people, and it’s not about kissing ass. It’s about being yourself and finding people who are on the same path that you’re on, who are taking the same journey. You can pretty much move mountains, if you find the right team. I was lucky enough to find that. You know, Hollywood isn’t a nine to five job. It’s pretty much 24/7, and so oddly enough the people you work with tend to be your best friends. When Patrick and I get together, most of the time it’s work-related. But we love what we do, so that’s okay. Dean and I probably drink a little more than most people (laughs). There’s other people who I’ve met along the way [like] Tyler Mane. Tyler [played] Michael Myers in the remake of the Halloween movie, and that’s how we met because we were writing Halloween. Tyler and I have become great friends, and we like to put our feet up and go drink a lot. But that’s okay (laughs). A bit of work, and a lot of drink.

Natalie: A little bit of work, lots of fun. It makes for a healthy relationship

Todd: It does, indeed.

Natalie: In retrospect, do you believe that without the assistance of these individuals in your life, that you would have been able to achieve success as a film writer in a highly competitive industry?

Todd: No, not at all. I think I may have met different people and the path, the journey would’ve been completely different. That’s possible. But I have no regrets. A lot of people hate Jason X. I don’t care. I mean, it was my first movie. There were things about it I don’t like, things that I wish were different. But that’s just part of it. I don’t have any regrets. I don’t regret the journey, I don’t regret the friends I’ve made. I don’t regret the failed relationships. I don’t regret none of it. It’s all part of life experience. And as a writer, sometimes you say, should I go to film school? I mean, if you want to. But what you should do is get out into the world and live your life because if you want to tell stories that relate to other people, you’ve got to get out there and live. You can’t just be locked up in your room and write. You have to go out there and stump your toe, and you have to go out there and fall on your face, and go out there and fall in love and get your heart broken. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to tell stories that other people can relate to.

Natalie: Todd, you have stated that, “…even though the cards are stacked against you, you’re not alone. The cards are stacked against all of us. In the end it still comes down to talent, luck and who you know.” This can be said to be aptly true in the entertainment business.

Do you believe that although you may be extremely talented, without someone willing to go that extra mile and take a chance on you, it becomes pretty unlikely that you will be able to live up to your potential?

Todd: I think you can make peace with that, and have a wonderful life. Sure, there are exceptions to me. But I’ve been lucky enough to have friends and associates who have helped me get my foot in the door and have helped me keep it there. In the absence of that, I don’t know very many people personally who have made it. Every story is different, but in the absence of having someone who’s got your back, having someone who can help you, it’s difficult. You can’t force it. It’s a natural thing.

I mean, you meet friends, the ones you click with and the ones you don’t. A lot of times people will reach out to me who want that friendship, thinking that we can work together, that we can do things together, and it’s unnatural. Friendship has to come first, I think. You can meet somebody and work together and have a friendship build out of that, but in order for that to sustain, that has to be there. I mean, [with] my friends we’ve been in the trenches together. We’ve been fighting the same battle, the same war. You really can’t put a price-tag on that.


Natalie: Todd, how important is networking in this business?

Todd: It’s not important at all. (Laughs) I’m just kidding. I mean, the world has changed now. Now networking is social-networking. It’s important as anything. Dean and I are about to do books together. We are going to want the people we associate with to be a part of that. You know, I used to say if you want to make it out here, be around people who in life you want to be. Because you know, if you’re hanging around with someone who’s not doing what you want to do, you’re going to end up picking up those traits. If you want to be a writer, hang out with writers, and go to the parties and go to the premieres. Do the things that people you want to be like, who’s careers you want, do things they’re doing. So yeah, networking is a huge part of it. I never took it too seriously because I wanted to just have fun. I networked, but I networked with people that I liked. I never felt that I wanted to be…I can’t. I’m too Kentucky. I’m basically your most feral Aussie. I can’t go be anything but me. I’m not gonna fake it. If I meet somebody at a party or at a social event or premiere that I like, we’ll hang out. If not, I’m not gonna randomly kiss ass for no reason.

Natalie: So, you’re definitely staying true to yourself?

Todd: I am. I mean, I have friends that have built wonderful careers out of saying and doing whatever needs to be said and done at the time. I like my path. I’m gonna stay on it. If it means that I don’t become the biggest writer or the biggest whatever, that’s fine with me.

Natalie: Well, good on you. I really like the “feral Aussie” comment!

Todd: (Laughs). Of all the people on the planet, I’ve never met anyone who is more loyal and easy-going than Aussies, and also more filthy and dirty-mouthed (still laughing). You can meet two friends in Australia and they start talking to each other in the most vulgar, offensive ways, and they just love each other.

Natalie: For us Aussies, it’s probably what we call terms of endearment

Todd: Yes, it is. It’s funny because the first time I went to Australia I was with a friend…There was lots of drinking and lots of vulgarity. And I’m okay with that.

Natalie: So, you were right at home then?

Todd: I was, indeed.

Natalie: Todd, both 2008 and 2009 can be regarded as very rewarding years in your career with the theatrical release of My Bloody Valentine 3D starring Jensen Ackles, Jaime King and Kerr Smith, and Messengers II: The Scarecrow direct to DVD.

What did you enjoy most about working on these projects?

Todd: Oddly enough, I worked on most of them. You said, My Bloody Valentine and Scarecrow. What happened was the [Writer’s] Guild went on strike. I was working with three companies and all three companies struck deals with the Writer’s Guild, so I could continue writing. So, I was writing My Bloody Valentine, Scarecrow and a project called Heavenly Sword which was based on a videogame. I was doing all three of those at the same time. Almost a million writers were out of work on the picket lines, and I couldn’t be on the picket lines because I had too much work to do, so I felt bad. By the way, no one was paying me a ton of money at the time, because their feeling was you know, we’re on strike, we can go get anybody we want. So, there really wasn’t any negotiation. It was just, “We need you to write. Here’s what we’re paying you. Go and do it”. And I did it. But it was a wonderful time, because I got to work with Sam Ramey. I got to do a remake that ended up getting me killed by the miner. So, that was fun.

Then I got to do something that was completely outside of the horror genre. I got to take a video game [Heavenly Sword] that I loved and turn it into a movie. It was a good time. And you know, the Heavenly Sword movie still hasn’t come out. It comes out this year. So, it was a fun year. It was busy.


Natalie: Todd, you co-wrote the screenplay for the 2011 supernatural action thriller, Drive Angry starring Nicholas Cage, Amber Heard and William Fichtner, directed by Patrick Luisser. It cost an estimated 30 million or so to make, was an original script and starred a major Hollywood A-lister, however it was not well received at the box office.

In retrospect, what do you believe it was about Drive Angry which failed to attract moviegoers?

Todd: I’d like to say that we started 3D and we destroyed it, which is not exactly true. After My Bloody Valentine we wanted to do another 3D movie, and Patrick said let’s do a car movie and we wrote it. We had very little time, and the sets weren’t very well made and they cost more. I think the audience was sort of fed up. I think they were tired of 3D, and I think that was the biggest issue. I probably would’ve marketed it differently. I felt that the ads that were out and the stories that were being told, didn’t really represent the movie. But I stand with no regrets. I went to Disneyland with my ex-wife and daughter at the time, just to not deal with any of it and we had a blast that weekend while the movie was coming out and nobody was going to see it. But we were at Disneyland (laughs). But I do know, that every movie I’ve ever made has been a love-hate movie – people either love it or hate it. I approach the love as much as I do the hate – the movies that were the love-hate. You either love my movies or you hate my movies, and I’m okay with that.


Natalie: Todd, you have stated that you have been fortunate enough to pay the bills as a film writer, but nonetheless, you still live a middle-class existence.

How difficult is it to earn a decent living from writing?

Todd: It can be tough. There have been years that have been wonderful years, and there’s other years that nothing has happened. Now studios and producers aren’t paying as much as they used to. And so, it can be difficult. It can be really tough. I’ve never been one of those guys who’s had the movie come out and made, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars and had it made and walk in and just get the next job. I’ve always had to work for it, and I’m okay with that. That’s just a part of it. It’s the path that I’m on at this point. I have no regrets. It can be tough.

Natalie: Todd, you have written numerous scripts for films. Have you ever thought about writing for the small screen? Any plans to write a pilot to pitch to a studio?

Todd: I actually have. I’m trying to get TV. I’ve tried to get some TV stuff on the air, and there’s a good chance in the next year that I probably will turn to TV. There’s some things in the works now that I probably will ended up doing for TV. I like television because it feels more grown up. The movies feel like you’ve got a lot more money to play around with, and there’s a lot more cooks in the kitchen. But with TV, there’s not enough time to do that. You have to write good, you have to shoot it, and then you have to put it out there and let people see it. You don’t sit on a story for six months, tweak it and second guess it. I like the idea of just writing something, and then going to make it. That’s what I loved about Drive Angry. Some people don’t like Drive Angry and that’s fine. But Drive Angry, we wrote it and we went and shot it. And we had some budget constraints. But beyond that, it’s ours. We wrote it. It’s our story. We made those decisions and we didn’t have a lot of money to throw at problems when they arose. If something happened and if it was gonna rain, we just had to work our way around it. And I liked that. I liked having to outthink a problem, rather than just throw money at it. So, I would love to do TV for the same reason because there’s not enough time to screw around. You have to go make the show.

Natalie: Todd, you mentioned that you have something in the works. Are we looking at drama or comedy?

Todd: Probably comedy. But drama and comedy. Not a sitcom but shows that are funny and that have drama.

Natalie: A dramedy in other words?

Todd: A dramedy. Yes, indeed.

Natalie: What has been your most satisfying project thus far, and why?

Todd: I love them all for different reasons. That’s like saying, which is your favorite child? Which is your favorite pet? I do really have affection for all of them, even any comic books I did. I like telling stories. Each experience is different. There are elements of drama that are wonderful. But at the same time I can say different things about My Bloody Valentine. I don’t think there’s any one experience that’s better than the others. They’re all sort of very different. I appreciate them all.

Natalie: Todd, in addition to writing scripts, you have also appeared in some of own your projects.

How different is it working in front of the camera as opposed to behind the scenes? And what do you prefer?

Todd: I like it both. I like acting because it allows me to see that side of it, so I think it makes me a better writing. But also when I was in college, I did theater and that sort of thing, so I always enjoyed acting. Jason X was a fluke-thing, James [Isaac] was like, “Do you want to play one of the parts? and I said “Yeah”. With My Bloody Valentine, it was more of a situation where we needed someone to play that role for certain reasons, and Patrick was like, “Will you do it?” And I said, “Yeah, I’ll do it”. But that was a difficult role. I was worried because Lionsgate was going to cast a local in Pennsylvania which was fine. There’s great local actors there. But it was a role that demanded special effects. A lot of special effects. It also demanded a sex scene which is difficult to shoot. I was worried that we’d get somebody in there that would panic, and we didn’t have a lot of time or money to screw around. So, that’s how I ended up doing it. But with Drive Angry, it was just us being funny. I’ve done some little stuff here and there for friends of mine. I did a small role in Cheap Thrills which is a wonderful movie, very dark. I’ve always enjoyed acting, so if friends ask me to come in, of course I would.


Natalie: Todd, any future plans to delve further into the acting world?

Todd: No. Not unless director friends or producer friends ask me to come in and do stuff. I don’t know that I would ever want to be a series regular or something like that. It’s not really what I want to do. I like telling stories. If the right project came along, I would probably consider it. But you know, look at me. What am gonna do? Play the bouncer? I like telling stories, and I want to keep doing that. I would like to play a part in everything that I write, but for the most part, I want to be on set, I want to write the stories. You know, let other people do the acting.


Natalie: Todd, how important is it to you for the actors in your films to do justice to the script and ultimately the words you created?

Todd: Not at all. I just need them to do justice to themselves. They need to come in and make the character their own. I saw a writer recently say that it was wrong to say that a screenplay is a schematic or an architectural design. That person was wrong. We create the blueprint and others have to come in and make the movie based on that blueprint. And if a wall has to be torn down and changed in order for the actor to be able to do a better job, then we can’t be precious with our little screenplay. If you want to do that, then go write fuckin’ novels. My screenplays aren’t precious. I want the actors to come in and take the role that’s written and make it their own. And if they go too far in the wrong direction, then the director will pull them back. It’s not my job.

Natalie: Todd, what motivates you as a creator and artist?

Todd: Money. Yeah. There’s no other answer to that (laughs).

Natalie: Where do you derive your inspiration from? Any musings?

Todd: I run a lot, so I get a lot of ideas when I’m running. Just living life. I mean, it really sounds cliché but the truth is, go to Disneyland, go to games, go out into the world, go ride horses, go do whatever it is you need in order to do to experience life because that’s where the ideas, well, it is for me, where the ideas come from. You know, when I’m out doing something, I’m like “Oh, what if this happened and this happened? Oh, while you’re here at bank, this were to happen.” You know, that’s where the ideas come from. Just living life.


Natalie: Todd, what valuable advice have you been given that has served you well in your career?

Todd: Dean Riesner who wrote Dirty Harry, High Plains Drifter and bunch of those movies, he told me to argue three times and then cash the check. And he was right because some writers can argue their way out of a job. It’s our job to tell the best story we can tell, and get paid for it. Argue three times and if you don’t convince them after the third time, you’re not going to. So, just make the change and go buy a car or something.

Natalie: Todd, what advice would you give to others who have an interest and passion for a career in the entertainment business?

Todd: That one changes yearly. It’s a tough business here. I know that it’s a tough business in Australia. I don’t have any answers. Lately, I’ve been telling people not to (laughs). Don’t pursue it. Go do something else that’s more rewarding. But I think the truth is, if you’re going to do it, these days you should make your own film, write your own story, pull your friends together. Make your own film, because the industry’s changing. It’s so much easier to make your own movie now than it used to be. And with social media, you can actually get it seen. There’s a bunch of crap out there, but every now and then you see one that you’re like, “Wow, that was actually good”.

I think the best advice is, don’t wait on anybody else. Don’t wait for anyone else’s permission. Just go and make your own movie. Stephen King said you can’t write every day and not get better at it. And he’s correct. So, if you’re a writer, write every day. The thing that I don’t want to hear about are people that say you know, I don’t know when to start or don’t know how to start it. Then you’re not a writer. Writers write. If they don’t write, they go insane and they bury people in the backyard. Write! That’s what you do. Write. Live your life and have fun and love the people that you love and hate the people that you hate. And the rest will fall into place.

Natalie: What is a typical day like in the life of Todd Farmer?

Todd: For the most part, mornings are writing. And then around noon, I’ll do some writing. And then in the afternoon, I’ll write (laughs). At night, I’ll go for a run, go to the gym, go for a run, do laundry. You know, the normal stuff. But for the most part, it’s about writing. As you’re chasing jobs, there’s a lot of phone calls and emails and that sort of thing. I do like going out with friends that I’m working with. Dean and I go out and have a drink from time to time. Tyler and I certainly do. Patrick and Laeta [Kalogridis] are off shooting Terminator: Genesis right now, so they’re back in the trenches. But when they get back, we’ll hang out some more. I like writing. My dad told me when I was a kid, he said, find a job that pays you to do what you love to do. He said, you’ll never be working. So, I feel like I don’t really work. It’s a good thing.


 Natalie: Todd, do you have any projects currently in the works that you would like to tell us about?

Todd: Heavenly Sword, I mentioned earlier is coming out soon. The rest, it’s all sort of a little too early to talk about publicly yet. So, do I have anything that I can talk about? No (laughs).

Natalie: But there is a show, a pilot that you’re working on?

Todd: There are a couple of TV projects that can see me pretty well being a part of. There’s some novels and stuff that I’m working on. There’s also a series of children’s books that I’m working on. Then there’s a feature that I’m working on. There’s a couple of things, but I can’t really talk about any of it until people say I can.

Natalie: So, it’s pretty hush-hush at the moment?

Todd: Yeah. Normally there’s something I can talk about. But I’ve got nothing (laughs).

Natalie: Todd, you said that you have a daughter.

Todd: Yes, I do.

Natalie: You said that you’re writing some children’s books. Is she your inspiration?

Todd: Absolutely. A lot of actors will say that they did an animated feature because they want to make a movie that a kid can watch. It’s the same thing. The truth is I grew up living fantasy. I grew up loving dungeons and dragons and that sort of thing. That’s why I really like having my sword. It’s not that I don’t love horror. I do, but I’m writer. I’m gonna write everything. With writing children’s books, it’s nice to turn off the vulgarity and just write, you know, a fantasy story or a fun story, or a story about a boy and his secret pet, or his secret friend. It’s nice to tell those kind of stories that kids can relate to or stories that can relate to my daughter. What’s great is I can sit down when I’m finished with one, and when we’re ready to go to bed, I can read that to her and see how she responds to it. She’s seven years old, and if she likes it I know I’m in good shape.

Natalie: Like the say, kids will always be brutally honest with you.

Todd: She always is, but she’s loved everything so far, so I’m feeling good.



Natalie: Todd, is there anything that you would like to add?

Todd: I’m ready to come back out to Australia.

Natalie: We’d be glad to have you here!

Todd: Yes, it’s been too long. I haven’t been there since May of last year. I’ve come every year. This is the first year that I haven’t been there in a while. So, I need to find an excuse to come back this year before the year’s up.


Todd’s Official Website

Todd’s IMDB Credits

Todd’s Twitter

Donna Spangler Is Living La Dolce Vita



575717_10151918352365241_303677252_n“Flying the first class. Up in the sky. Poppin’ champagne. Livin’ the life. In the fast lane. Gold and diamonds rings. Chaperons and limousines. Shopping for expensive things…” Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson pretty much summed it up in her hit song, Glamorous.

Welcome to the life of Donna Spangler. She lives an enviable lifestyle that most only dare to dream about. For those with an insatiable appetite into the lives of the “rich and famous” and the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood lifestyle, Donna Spangler offers a glimpse into that world. She’s surrounded herself with opulence, wealth and high-class society. But below the surface of this seductive lifestyle, there is so much more to this exquisite blonde beauty. She’s an actress, model, author, spokesperson, socialite, beauty, and fitness expert.

As such, it becomes strikingly apparent that Donna’s achievements are multitudinous. Donna Spangler is indeed a living testament that the contemporary woman of today’s society can in fact have it all. Through her ambitious nature, determination, strong work ethic, confidence, charisma, and dedication, she has proven that women can undeniably be as successful as men, while still embracing the differences between the sexes and maintaining a woman’s femininity. She’s appeared in a plethora of films and television shows, including Matilda, Forces of Evil, Guns, Dinosaur Valley Girls, In Living Color, and Blossom, as well as having written and produced her own projects: Space Girls in Beverly Hills and the popular web series, SCANDALS, in particular.

Donna has successfully demonstrated her creativity in her works desire. This former Playboy model disproves the stereotypical view of the blonde bombshell. In her 2009 best-selling book, The Princess Formula: How to Get a Rich Man, she offers guidance and advice to women for finding the perfect man who is “rich in spirit and heart” while offering financial stability. She asserts her “princess” philosophy that a woman can still be independent and be a “princess” at the same time. As an author, Donna has also written on subjects, such as beauty, fitness and the Hollywood lifestyle, which have appeared in many magazines and numerous internet websites, earning the title of the “go to expert”. It can be said that Donna is on a mission to encourage empowerment in women, through her provocative and insightful views, knowledge and advice.

In essence, Donna epitomizes the strong, successful, ambitious woman of today. So, it’s no wonder that many are fascinated and intrigued by this multi-talented woman. In fact, it can be said that this intrigue has led to Donna Spangler being considered as the one to follow for the latest trends in the Hollywood lifestyle.

Natalie: Donna, you are an actress, filmmaker, model, spokesperson, author, socialite, fitness, lifestyle, and beauty guru. In fact, you could be considered a woman that can do it all. How important is it in today’s society for a woman to be multi-talented in order to prove that women can be as successful as their male counterparts?

Donna: A woman does not have to do everything under the sun. I just happen to like to learn and partake in a variety of things. However, I think that it is more important to find something you like or love and become really good at it.  If you do well in one area and have persistence, this is the key to success! It is the person who keeps going no matter what that ultimately attains their goals.  It does not matter man or woman at this point.


Natalie: Throughout history, blonde sex symbols such as the legendary Marilyn Monroe and blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson, in particular, are often stereotyped as being the “”blonde bimbo”.  How difficult do you think it is for the stereotypical blonde sex symbol to break away from the societal biases, particularly in the entertainment industry?

Donna: I think people in general all have stereotypes about everything on the planet, so you can’t control that. But it is then up to you to break any image that you think follows you if you do not want to get stuck in a particular stereotype.  Marilyn Monroe lived by the sex symbol image and seemed to embrace the image for her persona. However, we now know that she was much more than that. It was unfortunate that she died young and possibly before she could transition like many good actresses do.

As you get more experienced and mature you must demand and will receive the opportunities to show off different sides of who you are, and what you can be and achieve.  Other sex symbols have proven they can step out of the mould to become more seriously looked at, such as Grace Kelly, Carol Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, and other old time actors.  One actress that stands out in my mind is Farrah Fawcett, who was a huge sex symbol in Charlie’s Angels, and put out a poster that became legendary.  She later changed her image with a dramatic role in The Burning Bed. Cameron Diaz started out as a sex symbol and went on to do a plethora of successful comedies. Jenny McCarthy was a Playmate and went on to comedy and success in many shows.

Do I think it is difficult? I have to say it can be difficult but it is not impossible and today if you can become famous one way, you can reinvent yourself another way. If you believe you can do it so will others!


Natalie: Donna, you have been referred to as the “Beverly Hills Barbie”. Do you believe that this title or stereotype, to better term it, did in fact make it even more difficult for you to be taken seriously in not only Hollywood, but in the male-dominated business world?  

The first time I heard the comment was from a little girl that ran over to her mother and said “Mommy, there’s the real live Barbie”, and she pointed to me. I have had numerous people refer to me this way for my physical likeness to the Barbie.  I actually take this as a compliment because she has been one popular doll over the years.  Barbie has been very successful and is still in existence being sold all over the planet, which says a lot.

Regarding being taken seriously, I can say in some ways it may be better to be underestimated because when people see what you are capable of, then it blows them out of the water.  Again people will think what they want and as you know the world has changed a great deal and will change more and more in the future. The amount of women in the workforce is almost equal to men.  There will probably be a female president in the future.

For me personally, I do not feel this type of stigma because I don’t let it become part of my reality. If you believe in yourself others will also.

I have seen all types of business models. Some are successful and some fail. I have also learned to make business decisions based on what I believe will work for me. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I am not into get rich quick schemes.  Although investing has risk, wealth is acquired through investing and planning.


Natalie: Donna, would you say that you have found this to be one of your biggest obstacles that you have had to overcome in Hollywood? 

Donna: Being an attractive female is not an obstacle unless you treat it as such. Beauty, intelligence, grace, style, persistence, and most important confidence! I look at any of these as attributes and strengths. I am creative in many ways and my biggest obstacle has been trying to hone in my desires to do so many things that I find myself bouncing back and forth with time constraints.  I have learned to focus on each project with a vigour, and make sure it gets finished even if it takes years. The biggest obstacle is lack of persistence!

Natalie: What do you think is at the forefront of issues surrounding gender and femininity ideals?

Donna: Every society needs roles to function properly. There is a leader and rules to keep people safe.  There are laws to help keep us healthy and help prevent others from taking advantage unfairly.  We see this even in tribes where each has a role and a purpose.  It is important to have a purpose in life.

I think the world has done some dramatic changes, many for the better and some for the worse. Our roles as female and male were clear cut before the feminist movement.  Men were expected to do certain things and women were expected to do other things, in order to keep the family unit together.

In the recent years, our roles have been changing so that many women are the bread winners of families both single and not. There are numerous divorces. Some women are now earning more than their husbands. Some women, however, are struggling just to survive.

The fact of the matter is that females and males have dating rituals that have been ingrained in our being. Males hunt and females typically nurture. Males have different parts than females. They have more testosterone, etc. Females and males are different but meant to complement each other. We should not be in competition, as both sexes are a vital part of our existence as a human race, with the obvious differences stated. I believe that our fundamental beings are best served by respecting these differences. In the not so distant past, men were the head of the household and had a certain level of control, which has thankfully been redistributed because of resistance from women (feminist movement), change in laws and social morals.

Some believe that just because we as females demand equal rights as human beings, we also want to lose those social graces that were expected of a man and a woman in the past.  This is not true of most females. Even if a female wants to work, she wants to feel feminine by getting these gestures from the man. Unless the female is emotionally disturbed, she typically gets joy out of having a man ingratiate her with social politeness, including opening of doors, flowers, gifts, dinner, etc.  A man actually gets something out of doing these things for a woman. It gives him a sense of purpose.

Natalie: In the quest for sexual autonomy, some women nowadays still believe that in order to compete with men, a woman needs to sacrifice their femininity.

Donna, what is your view or belief on this subject? And as such, why do you believe that some women may feel this way? 

Donna: If a woman asserts herself in a traditionally male-dominated workplace in a position that is typically done by a man, then she can be called a “bitch”, the man a boss. This can be quite frustrating.  She needs to be firm, make proper decisions and not be a bitch for the sake of exerting her power, while not backing down for the wrong reasons. There must be a balance.

Females should not sacrifice their femininity in order to compete with anyone. This is ridiculous!  You can be a strong woman and be feminine.  In some instances, I have actually witnessed more resistance from women than men these days.  More and more men are supportive of women in the workplace.

Natalie: Donna, you have posed for Playboy magazine on several occasions. What made you agree to pose for Playboy versus other men’s entertainment magazines, such as Penthouse or Hustler

Donna: I thought Playboy was very classy. It always had themes that the girls were put into that were more of a fantasy style. The girls all looked glamorous, minus the raunchy feeling that some of the other magazines displayed.


Natalie: Did you feel that it was liberating as a woman to pose for such a magazine?

Donna: I felt doing Playboy was very liberating, because no man told me I couldn’t. It also gave me a chance to shoot with some of the top glamour photographers at the time. I had fun with it!

Natalie: Donna, you attracted the attention of BBC producers, and was subsequently profiled in the documentary, Secret Map of Beverly Hills as well as many German TV shows What do you believe it is about yourself and your lifestyle that fascinates people? 

Donna: My life in Beverly Hills and the various things that I do fascinate people from other areas and parts of the world, because I represent a life that they do not experience, with the glamorous setting and mystery of Beverly Hills and Hollywood lifestyle and what it represents.


Natalie: Donna, you studied psychology at UCLA. Psychology being the scientific study of behavior in humans. How has your knowledge in this area given you a greater insight into relationships between men and women? 

Donna: The academic studies helped me recognize insights into relationships between men and women, but the strongest insights come with practical knowledge and experience in the real world. Both intertwined given the strongest revelations of these insights.

Natalie: Donna, you have stated “Although women like to be independent…they also want to be taken care of by their mate…they want someone who is stronger than themselves. Independent women don’t want to take care of their men, they don’t want to split expenses. They can have a roommate for that”. Do you feel that some women are still afraid to admit that they yearn for not only financial security from a man, but also emotional and physical support, as they believe that it is a betrayal to the women that had fought so long and hard for equality?

Donna: Some women are afraid to admit that they yearn for physical, emotional and financial support from a man.  I think we fought for certain rights and we should have those rights. But we should also have the right to do what we want with our life, be a mother or not, pose nude or not, be able to do things or not do things for our man. We should not feel bad for our man opening a door, buying us dinner, giving us a gift, showering us with love and affection, telling us how awesome we are, or supporting us on anything that we want to do.  When it comes down to it, if your partner does not contribute to your life, then why is he in it?  I do believe we should surround ourselves with positive supportive and loving people.  Let the man feel good by doing for you also. The more he does, the better he feels like he is contributing to your life and this makes him happy on many levels.

Natalie: Donna, some have argued that your so called “princess philosophy” which asserts that every woman that wants to be a “princess” can find a rich prince, undermines equality and is demeaning to women. But you argue that you are in fact saying that women deserve “ultimate respect, absolute support and deep appreciation” from the men that are lucky enough to have these women in their lives.

In your opinion, why do you believe that some women still feel that they cannot be a princess and be an independent woman at the same, and as such have to choose one over the other and as such cannot be both? 

Donna: Some females do not feel they deserve to be treated in such a manner for whatever deep reason. They make excuses why it’s bad.  Is it bad for a man to love you and want to protect and share his good fortune with you? If a man has something to give and the woman does not want to take it, what does it say about her?  It is her choice to accept or reject. It empowers a man to give which is an ego fulfilling act for him, but that is okay. We all make choices on what we think will make us feel good and be best for us. The whole point is to be able to complement each other as a man and woman can.

Natalie: Donna, what do you say to the women who challenge or reject your “princess philosophy”?

Donna: It’s okay if they want to reject or accept it. Everyone has their own mind and should be allowed to use it.  Those women should use whatever means that works for them.

Natalie: Donna, you have written the best-selling book, The Princess Formula: How to Get a Rich Man, which has been well received not only in the United States, but also in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, as well as having been published in several different languages worldwide. This is quite indicative of women of all nationalities wanting to be treated like a princess and obtain all the so called “royalties” that come with it.

How does your book empower women to go after what they want, and disregard societal pressures that has evolved from the subservient teachings of the stereotypical 1950s housewife, to the staunch women’s libber in contemporary society today? 

Donna: There has to be a happy medium in all this, because if you are too independent it is hard to carry on a relationship with a man. It makes him feel good if he is able to contribute to your life’s happiness. If you take this away from him, then you are taking away those elements that have been ingrained in him from the evolution of mankind. It makes him happy to be able to do those manly things. Our power as women is that a man is attracted to those feminine aspects of who we are. We can be strong and feminine. This is sexy. Relationships are partnerships in a way.60062_481235328587546_491857953_n

Natalie: Donna, what do you consider to be the greatest attribute that a woman can possess?

Donna: Compassion, understanding and perseverance.

Natalie: Donna, did you ever find it difficult to succeed in a man’s world?

Donna: On one hand, I have to say yes. However on the other hand, many smart successful men will support females in the workplace.  There is always clicks in every walk of life, not just the male thing. I just embrace it and make the best of it.

Natalie: Donna, you appeared in many films and television series, such as Matilda, Forces of Evil, Guns, Dinosaur Valley Girls, In Living Color, and Blossom. However, you decided to take charge of your own career and create many of your own projects. How important do you believe it is for an actress to be the architect of her own career? 

Donna: I decided that it is most important to take charge of your own career. No one know you better than yourself.  By creating projects that you are passionate about with characters that you want to play, is one of the best ways to push your career forward.

If you are unable to write, then you can get someone who can write and partner up with them or look for scripts that fit your needs and try to make a deal with the writer.  In this way, you are being proactive and will probably have a great time doing it.

Natalie: Donna, many of your projects, in particular Space Girls in Beverly Hills and the web series, SCANDALS, focus on the lifestyle in Hollywood. What is it about the Hollywood lifestyle that you find so appealing? 

Donna: Hollywood, the Beverly Hills lifestyle seems universally appealing to people all over the world, because it denotes glitz and glamour which takes them into a place which for some is fantasy.

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Natalie: It can be said that some women think that chivalry is dead. However, you have been fortunate enough to have found your very own “prince”. So, it’s fair to say that you would most likely disagree with this notion. Do you think it is more difficult to find love and long-lasting relationships, especially in Hollywood among the so called “rich and famous”? 

Donna: I think it is a challenge to find love and long lasting relationships these days period, because of all of the external factors involved in life. It is a challenge for the “rich and famous”, as well as the average Joe. ‘The Rich & Famous”, however, have even more pressure on them because they have lots more choices than the average person. They are under a microscope, yet have the same issues as everyone else regarding relationships.

Relationships take lots of dedication and work, and few are willing to put the effort into this. The honeymoon period is great, but after that if the couple is not completely dedicated to making the relationship work and thrive by making adjustments, then the relationship is not going to last. The relationship has a chance if the couple learns to keep an open line of communication, respect and dedication to making their relationship work.  I do think the positive thing, is that people are getting married later nowadays. So, they are more mature and in tune with what they want which helps.

Natalie: Donna, how difficult would you say it is for the woman of today to find a man that is “rich in spirit and heart” and is able to provide “financial stability”? 

Donna: Everything good in life can be difficult but not impossible. Nothing is perfect, but if you can get someone that is solid, loves you, shows you respect and wants to share their life with you, then that is wonderful. There are lots of great guys out there that could fit that bill.  There are also lots of guys that can’t. You just need to recognize the good ones and give them a chance!

Natalie: Donna, how important do you believe it is for a woman to achieve her own success, and ultimately establish her own identity away from that of her partner? 

Donna: I think it is important to have your own thing going on no matter what, with or without a man. It is important to have your own nest egg in case something happens, that you need to sustain yourself.  Things happen in life and you need to be prepared no matter what. The more assets you have saved for yourself, the safer you will feel.  Also, your partner will respect you for it.  In the back of his head, he will know that he can’t take advantage of you because you have financial options.

Even if you do something to make money part-time or work from the home, it will help secure self-esteem and purpose.

Natalie: Donna, in addition to modeling for Playboy, you have also worked as a bikini and workout model posing for many calendars, posters, billboard campaigns, catalogues, campaigns and commercials. Seeing as your work as a model was contingent on you maintaining the perfect body and face, how dedicated and disciplined did you need to be in order to continue your success in this line of work? 

Donna: I personally work very hard to keep myself looking good. I eat well, workout regularly, and do whatever maintenance it takes to protect what I have!  Everyone ages but if you fight it every step of the way, then you will look and feel better longer!


Natalie: Donna, you’ve emphasized the importance of beauty, fitness and lifestyle for women. In fact, your mantra states that, “When you take care of yourself on the outside it shows that you care about yourself on the inside”. How do women that believe that they need to be the caregivers and ultimately must put the needs of others above themselves, be encouraged to take of their body, soul and mind? 

Donna: It is important to take care of your loved ones. But if you are not taking care of yourself first, you are doing your loved ones a disservice. You need to be healthy, happy and fit to keep up with all of these challenges. If you put the needs of others before yourself, you will end up suffering.


Natalie: Donna, you can indeed be considered as a very strong, ambitious, independent and confident woman. How important is self-esteem and self-belief to a woman in achieving or ascertaining all her desires, needs and wants?

Donna: Self-esteem and self-belief are essential in achieving anything in life. If you don’t think you are worthy and deserve the best in life then no one else will.  I believe everyone needs a purpose in life, so find out what that is.

Natalie: Do you think that men respect strong, independent women?  

Donna: Yes, I do think men respect strong, independent women. However, the woman must find time to spend with their partner as a feminine woman.  If they act so strong that they overshadow their partners, then this is not good. Rich men are typically very strong men anyway.


Natalie: Describe a typical day in the life of Donna Spangler. Is it all about the glamour, the parties and the red carpet? 

Donna: There is plenty of glamour in my life. However, it is not all about glamour and parties. I have challenges in life like everyone else. I have ups and downs. I can’t complain though, because I feel that I am blessed. I take care of eight cats that I rescued, and even though I have help with cat litter cleaning and other cat stuff, I find myself taking care of them like a mother would with their children. They really rely on me, and I love them! If they get sick, I am the one who needs to take care of them.  They eat lots of food…take lots of poops and pee. They all want attention, they fight, etc. There is plenty of family drama that I am exposed to from time to time, and life’s everyday challenges that need to be dealt with.


Training: I weight train three times a week and take Taekwondo two times a week. I try to get in cardio as much as I can three times a week, but should do more.  I make sure I keep up my diet with lots of vegetables and lean meats. I try to cut out sugar, except for fruit.

Beauty Regimen: I do regular beauty maintenance. Hair, skin top to bottom, etc. every day I have a routine that ends with cleansing my face, putting on moisturizer or retinol cream and a lash enhancer. I use RevitaLash.

Beauty Lifestyle Writing: I have a beauty regimen that I follow along with testing new products for beauty both natural and store bought.  I write about them on It’s a Glam Thing and LA

Entertainment Industry: I write and create and act in indie films. My goal is to produce three per year!  We are in post-production on a feature called “The House of Lizzie Borden”. The first cut is really scary, and that is without sound effects and music.

When I am working on a project it usually takes my day of acting or planning a shoot or doing a shoot. On days that I am not involved in any sort of physical production, it is a variation of work glamour and play.

My days usually start with cat care and some sort of early workout. After that, I have to make sure I eat protein to maintain muscle.  I may go out to lunch or have a business lunch meeting. I often have several meetings each week regarding my entertainment industry projects. In addition, I have to make decisions on what to do for the projects that I am working on and how to present them in a way that will be profitable.

When I come back, I then take time to write, test new beauty products, set up more meetings and direct my assistant on what I need done for the day or week. I oversee the handling of finances regarding my life bills paid, property issues, etc.

Later, I may have a doctor’s appointment, a hair appointment or a facial. This varies depending on the day and what I feel needs to be done.

Two evenings a week I have a Taekwondo class for cardio and focus.

In the evening, I may attend an event, function or dinner. Some of them are red carpet, so if that is the case I need to make sure my hair and makeup look its best. Sometimes I get my makeup and hair done, so I would have to allow time during the day to fit that in if I don’t have time I do it myself, as I have years of training from doing modeling.

I always try to do a bit of networking at the functions. So, in essence I am always working when I am out socially.

I try to get in fairly early and limit or omit alcohol for the most part so that I can keep up my rigorous workouts and health routines. Sleep is key to a strong body and mind.

Again, some days or weeks vary and every day is slightly different, but I think you get the idea.


Donna’s Official Website

Donna’s Film & TV Credits

Randy Spelling: Finding Inner Peace



randy-2Randy Spelling may be the son of the legendary, late Hollywood producer, Aaron Spelling, and has starred in shows such as NBC’s Malibu Shores, Sunset Beach, A&E’s reality show, Sons of Hollywood, as well as appearing in Beverly Hills 90210 (along with his sister, Tori) and 7th Heaven. But he has successfully managed to move away from the notoriety of the ‘Spelling’ mantle, and ultimately follow his own calling. Having battled his own addiction before overcoming it, Randy Spelling is now using his own experiences, battles and intimate knowledge, to help others overcome their own demons and ultimately live a fulfilling life.

After moving away from the ambience of Hollywood life, Randy Spelling has a new lease on life – a spiritual calling, working as a life coach in Portland, Oregon. It’s a life far removed from the trials, tribulations and excesses of his former life as the son of one of the entertainment industry’s greatest pioneers. In sitting down with Randy, he provides a thought-provoking interview, ultimately revealing a totally opposite side to the preconceived notions of the stereotypical Hollywood rich kid. On the contrary, he is humble, warm, genuine, and honest, with an endearing personality and an innate sense of tranquillity and inner peace. It’s fair to say that Randy Spelling can be considered a prime example of the Hollywood star, who’s escaped the pitfalls so commonly associated with stardom, and successfully paved his own path in life. Ultimately, he’s avoided becoming one of the Hollywood tragedies that plague so many in the industry.

In a revealing and intimate interview, Randy candidly speaks about his former life under the glare of the Hollywood spotlight, as well as his own battle with addiction. He talks about his most important roles thus far, as a dedicated husband and doting father to two young daughters, as well as his influential role as a life coach. He discusses his close relationship with spirituality, and ultimately how he was finally able to find happiness and fulfilment in his life. At only 35, he possesses wisdom well beyond his years. In fact, Randy Spelling is a living testament that one can overcome any obstacle holding them back in their life by taking a holistic approach in order to lead a successful life.


Natalie:Randy, your late father, the great Aaron Spelling produced some of the most successful television shows, some of which I grew up watching. Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, 7th Heaven, Charmed, to name but a few. What was it about your father’s ability to create shows which highly resonated with audiences?

Randy: I think my father had a knack for storytelling, showing relationships and entertainment. And I think there was a good blend of all of those three in his shows. And a lot of his shows throughout the years, whether it was a show like Dynasty, which was all about wealthy people who had all these problems, and it was dramatic. He did shows like that and then he did shows like Beverly Hills 90210, which at the heart of it, had some very poignant messages for teens and parents. There was another one he did called Any Day Now, which was about two friends and their relationship. It dealt with racism and bringing many issues to light. I think he really got into showcasing relationships and what drove people internally, whether it was what they wanted, what they dreamt about, what they fantasized about. He touched upon a lot of that.


Natalie: Randy, you started your career at only 17 years of age. How equipped were you, mentally and emotionally to handle the fame and all that comes with it, the ups and downs?

Randy: (Laughs) I would like to say that I was pretty grounded with it. But fame is a weird thing, you know, looking back in retrospect. It’s weird when people know who you are, and recognize you, and look at you. On the flip-side then when you’re used to that, it’s weird when people don’t look at you and recognize you. So, for me I was used to it because I always saw my sister have fame recognition or my father, so it wasn’t brand new and I enjoyed connecting with people. So, when people would come up and say hi or whatever, I really enjoyed it. So, that aspect I liked. I really never got too far into the celebrity tabloid, because the celebrity element of it wasn’t for me.

Natalie: So, it never appealed to you?

Randy: No. I do like connecting with people. I did like when people came up to me because it gave me a chance to talk to more people than I normally would have. How cool is that? But being famous just to be famous? No, that isn’t for me.


Natalie: Randy, was it easy trying to move away from the shadow of being the son of one of the biggest entertainment moguls in Hollywood?

Randy: No, it wasn’t easy. There was nothing easy about that. That being said, I’m not saying that life was so hard moving out of the shadow of Aaron Spelling. I am a person who wants to find similarities in people, not differences. I spent a lot of my life trying to be, and wanting to be, similar to everyone else. As a kid this was no exception. I wanted to just be “normal” and not have anyone judge me for who my family was or where I came from or how large the house was that I grew up in. I lived in a…my parents built a house [the Manor] that was bigger than the White House. So, for me it was always wanting to be like everyone else. I didn’t want to be different, and be perceived as the guy that has it all. Especially at times when I was hurting just like everyone else. People expected me to be a producer or actor because that’s what my family does. And I did feel pressured to do that because everyone around me thought that was what I would do. So, for me, it was hard to find my own identity outside of who my family was.


Natalie: Outside of the Spelling name obviously?

Randy: Yes

Natalie: In 2007, you starred in A&E’s reality television show, Sons of Hollywood alongside Sean Stewart (son of British rocker, Rod Stewart) and David Weintraub (producer and entertainment executive), which chronicled the attempts of the sons of Hollywood to build their own careers.

Randy, how difficult was it to try to establish your own career/identity away from being the son of Aaron Spelling? Did this ultimately put pressure on you to live up to the Spelling name and essentially the public’s preconceived expectations of you?

Randy: I have a few answers. (Laughs) Okay, where do I start with that one? Yes. For me I always felt like it was harder because there was more expectation. Going into auditions I heard many times, “Wow, you’re not as bad as we thought you’d be. You’re actually pretty good”. And I wouldn’t say that I had the thickest skin, so for me it really made an impact, because the audition process is strange enough, where you’re going in standing in front of someone, who’s sizing you up, and looking at how you look, how you speak, how tall you are, what your build is, can you act, can you not act. Having that added, “Oh, his last name is ‘Spelling’, and is he working as an actor just because of his father?” I felt like it was a hard hurdle to overcome.

Then in regards to that show, The Sons of Hollywood, that was probably the show that gave me the idea, hmm, that maybe I don’t want to be in Hollywood in this way anymore. It was an extremely hard show to shoot, and this actually wasn’t a scripted reality show which is rare and I think that was part of the problem. I think it was because a camera was on us all the time, shooting our whole lives, putting these three people together that otherwise wouldn’t have lived together. So, that part was kind of a scripted element, because we all moved into a house together. Then, we would have to find or embellish these moments of drama. I also, I didn’t want to do reality, and my agent at the time, my manager just said you know that it would be a good career move. I think you should do it. Then I thought, oh, I probably don’t want to do that. Finally I succumbed to it. I knew it was my choice, but right when we started filming the show, a month into the show my father passed away and having to deal with that anyway was extremely difficult. Having to deal with it on a show, on camera, just sent me into a tail-spin. I have to be thankful though for that experience because had it not have been for that show, I may never have changed courses in my life.

Natalie: That must have been incredibly hard.

Randy: It was.

Natalie: Randy, your previous response pretty much answers this. But what was behind your decision for a scene change and move away from the hustle and bustle of the Hollywood lifestyle to a quieter, so called “normal” existence of suburbia in Portland, Oregon?

Randy: There were a few factors involved. They weren’t all at once. So, first and foremost, after my father passed away and shooting that reality show, I really had to do some soul-searching. I felt like whatever I was doing in my life up until then wasn’t working for me. Whether it was the people I was surrounding myself with, the choices I was making, the lifestyle I was living. I just wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fulfilled and I wanted to do something different. So, I did do some soul-searching. I changed some things in my life, and when I did that, I opened myself up to doing something different out of the entertainment business.

I mean, I didn’t walk away from the entertainment business, per se, I just, when I asked myself “What do you want, Randy? What, what’s in your heart? What do you want? Do you want to be 30, 35, 40, living the same life?” My answer was “No”. I had always been in to psychology and spirituality. That was part of me, no matter what. And, you know, I found life coaching, not so much as a profession but I thought it was really interesting. I thought to myself, Why not go to school and study it? If it sticks as a career, great, but it would be really good skills to have anyway. I took a course and I fell in love with it and I started practising on everyone I could. Sisters of friends, cousins of people I knew coming to me as a client, and I just had to coach a certain amount of hours in my course. So, changing professions gave me the flexibility. I didn’t need to stay in Los Angeles to be a life coach. Although, it’s a good place to practise, because there’s a lot of people that need it there. And then, I met my now wife and we had that discussion. She asked me, “Do you want to live anywhere else?” I said, “Maybe.” When I thought about having a family, I didn’t want to raise kids in Hollywood. I really wanted to go to a different place, to just do something different.

Natalie: Since 2009, you have worked as a life coach. What influenced you to move away from the limelight, and focus on a career dedicated to changing lives, encouraging, supporting and motivating others?

Randy: Officially since 2008, but unofficially I started before that. This might sound really cheesy but it’s like being a student in school. There’s some subjects that you really love and you want to do the homework for and you’re interested in reading the material. Then there’s some subjects that it isn’t just that interesting. And for me, acting was like that for a while. I remember the first time being on set. The feeling I got. I was 16 and I was being fitted for a wardrobe and there was a creativity on set, and there was a feeling of…you know, I was a kid, I was a teenager in high school when all of a sudden there were these adults and all of these creative people. I thought, “Wow. This is cool, this is fun.”

When I was 27, it just didn’t have the same appeal. So, something that I became really passionate about was what makes people tick. And then, of course, I went through my own struggles in my own battle with finding what brings me fulfilment and happiness. And then I started to find that even with other people, the problem might look different or sound different, but underlying we all want to have more happiness, more connection, better relationships, be more fulfilled. And so, I started to see all the similarities that we all have, and I started to feel more connected to people. Saying, “Wow. Well, no matter where you come from, no matter what continent you’re on. We all want similar things”. And so, if I can find a way to help other people while helping myself in the process, great! I’m constantly learning, growing, changing, evolving. If I can do that through being a life coach that sounds like something I want to do.


Natalie: Randy, how did your own personal struggle with addiction help form the foundation of Being in Flow?

Randy: Well, addiction is just one of many problems that I help people with. I work with people around career, relationships, better communication, finding a deeper sense of spirituality and meaning, happiness and much more. But addiction is a large problem that many are facing. And I think that it’s become pretty rampant lately. It seems like everyone knows someone, or a friend of a friend who has struggled, is struggling. And even if it’s not drugs or alcohol, maybe it has to do with food or sex or consumerism, shopping too much, or gambling. I mean, being attached to the smartphone and having to check, oh, who Facebooked me, who tweeted me. I mean, I see it all the time.

I think we’re faced with a real challenge. I think things are so fast-paced now compared to how they were thirty, forty years ago. Back then, people wrote, they sat down and they wrote letters. Then, when they worked, they brought home documents, they brought home papers. Now there’s email. Things happen so quickly. And people are in touch all the time without any delay. And because of that it seems like there’s this, I need information and I need it right now epidemic. And the ability to wait for things has become more difficult, because we can go to the computer and get a fact instantly. So, yeah I think it’s a real challenge for people to slow down enough to connect to themselves, to connect to others, to take the time to become aware of our needs. And what happens is when people aren’t aware of their needs, and their internal landscape, they want to fill it with something. That filling it with something, can be all the things that I mentioned before. So, yeah I think there needs to be a real spotlight shined on what’s happening and what the problems are, why we’re facing such a struggle.

Natalie: Randy, Would you say that addiction’s become an epidemic?

Randy: I read a statistic that 1 out of 10 people have had some sort of addiction problem. I would even venture to say it is higher than that, given that the statistic is probably for alcohol and drug abuse. So, yes, I would say that is an epidemic.

Something I hear so often is people wanting to know their place in the world, people wanting…I don’t know if you hear this often or not, but they’re wanting to know their purpose. And it’s so funny because I feel like a hundred years ago, people weren’t having that conversation. It’s like you worked, and this is what you do and that’s it. You don’t ask too many questions. Now there seems to be more of a conscious questioning. Why am I here? What is this all about? And I think, for a lot of people life is just overwhelming because it’s fast. People want to fit in, they want to know what their place is in the world. If they don’t feel like they have their place and know what their purpose is, then there’s this big search. There’s a big emptiness. In steps addiction to try and fill the emptiness or mask that pain.

Natalie: Randy, do you believe that having experienced addiction first hand and having overcame it, has given you the knowledge and wisdom to be able to help others that are facing the same types of negative life choices?

Randy: Yes. However, how I work with people now is a culmination of wisdom, practice, and various spiritual tools that I have learned and studied. Having had addiction just gave me a better understanding of it first-hand. So, I know what it is like to be in it and what it is like to be out of it.

Natalie: Have you always been a spiritual person?

Randy: Yes. I wasn’t always aware of that term. But yes.

Natalie: How has spirituality shaped your life?

Randy: I think it’s the one thing that pulled me through. I was close to death many times. And I’m not exaggerating. I believe for whatever reason that I probably could have died, but there was a reason why I didn’t. And you know, I had some real quote on quote “dark years”. And then when I came through that, and my life took a totally different turn. And now I look back, I realize that it all played a purpose. It’s like if I never walked the walks, so to speak, I wouldn’t have needed to work on myself as much as I did. And working on myself as much as I did, seeking answers and really going within, changed everything.

Natalie: As the father of two young daughters, how important do you think it is for them to have a normal upbringing from the excesses of Hollywood life?

Randy: It’s important. I mean, it’s one of the reasons why we’re here. Yes, I can’t define what normal is anymore. I don’t even know what that is. I just…I use the analogy of Christmas, because I do like Christmas time. And I want to create meaning for them. So, it’s not about opening ten gifts. It’s about, maybe opening one or two gifts, but instilling a meaning or a value, and an appreciation for experiences and not just things.

Natalie: And now looking back, do you think that it would have made a difference to your life during adolescence if you had been raised away from the spotlight?

Randy: Maybe. (Laughs). Did you ever see that movie Sliding Doors? I mean, it’s kind of like that. It would be interesting. It would be an interesting exercise to write a story of what I think my life would be like if it was totally different. But it’s not and you know, I’m thankful for every part of it, exactly how I grew up, everything that happened, because I like who I am and I’m happy that I am who I am, and I’ve lived the life that I’ve lived.

Natalie: Now at 35, I’m sure that your attitude, experiences and knowledge have ultimately shaped the individual that you have become. Was there a time in your life, where you felt that the mistakes of the past defined you as person?

Randy: (Laughs) Well, that’s a good question. You ask some great questions! Absolutely. I believe that is part of the human condition, at least up until now anyway. It can be all too easy to let our past define us because we believe that we are the past. It can be too easy for someone to say something negative and then we believe it and then turn around and tell ourselves that story.

By the way, I finished writing a book. Hopefully, it will be out within the next year. One of the things I talk about in the book, is how I would let stories define who I was. I remember something one way, then I tell myself that. I talk about it over and over until it’s become this crystalized version. And then it’s…it would be something that weighed me down. I think I focused on my mistakes too much. I focused on who I wasn’t, what I didn’t have, what I didn’t get, what I didn’t accomplish as opposed to the opposite – who I was, who I am, what I am capable of, what I can accomplish. And when I made that peace, everything changed. It’s really a great question Natalie, because that’s one of the things I work with people on is stopping that old story of empowering your mistakes.

Natalie: These days tabloids are rife with the headlines surrounding the “curse of the child actor”. Having grown up in the industry, you experienced both the glamorous side of Hollywood, as well as its so called “dark side”, I’m sure that you see past the sensationalism of the tabloids and negative media attention and speculation surrounding these so called child actors gone bad.

Do you believe that behind the vices associated with Hollywood life, such as sex, drugs, alcohol and money, there is in fact a catalyst for these stars’ derailment?

Randy: I don’t have a wordy answer. I have a few words that come to mind. Excess, availability…

Natalie: Would you say exploitation?

Randy: No. it’s hard to see exploitation, because these child actors or anyone who’s a child in entertainment, whether it’s music, whether it’s…it’s still choosing to live a lifestyle. If there’s nothing to be tabloid-worthy, and if they weren’t out at a club or doing whatever, you know, drunk-driving or they weren’t flipping off a cop, or whatever… It wouldn’t be in the tabloids. What is really sad to me, is that there are magazines and masses of money made by showing people’s pain. Why not have magazines to show people’s triumphs? And there’s certainly been plenty of celebrities who…take Meryl Streep, for instance. She has a life and she’s an actress. She’s a star, but you don’t see her in tabloids.

So, I think there’s a way of being in the entertainment industry and not being a tragedy of the entertainment industry. But hey, having grown up in Hollywood, there’s a lot that’s right there. There’s a lot of debauchery, and a lot of excess that’s all behind these doors that are open to them. And I think, it’s hard enough growing up, becoming who you are and learning who you are as a teenager, and then dealing with the ego part of it. The fame, the money, the excess. It can be tricky for some to handle.

Natalie: And as such, do you believe that these addictions or destructive behaviours are in fact a means of escape from the pressures and expectations that come with notoriety at such a young age?

Randy: I think that it’s part of it. Sure. I mean my own belief is that there’s usually something deeper than that, that someone would use a substance as a crutch. But there’s a trigger, such as fame or…too much pressure, too much this, not enough that and then a substance or alcohol becomes easily relied upon.

Natalie: Randy, how different is your life now compared to having grown up in one of the most famous entertainment families in Hollywood?

Randy: Significantly different. Gosh, I don’t even know how to answer than. I mean, night and day (laughs). It’s almost like a different lifetime. Granted, I’m not hurting by any means and I live a nice life, but it doesn’t look anything like the way I grew up.

Natalie: One of your mottos is “Heal Your Past, Live Your Present “, which I must say highly resonates with me as it would with many others. How does this motto translate into how you live your life, and ultimately what you would like to instil in your children?

Randy: It’s a two part answer. I don’t know how it translates to what I want to instil in my children. They don’t have much of a past right now so (laughs). But in terms of how I live my life, I think I needed to heal my past in order to live my present. Otherwise, I would be living my present always looking at the past. And I see it every day with people. A good example is people will be in relationships with one another and will be reacting to something the other one says, and it’s not even what the other person says but it reminds them of you know, their father saying this to them when they were five, and it brings up all of that. They’re not even in relationships in the present time.

So, I don’t think people need to spend years and years and years and years dwelling on the past, but I think if anyone asks themselves truthfully, is there anything from the past that you would like to improve? Is there anything from the past that you feel holds you back from living your best life? I believe that if someone’s honest, there’s always something that will come up. So, I do think it’s important that we either ask each other, or ask ourselves these questions so we can keep updating our software, because otherwise, it’s like we’re on a computer with Windows from ‘95. We’re going, “Why is this so slow? What? My screen’s frozen”.

Natalie: Randy, those analogies are great!

Natalie: Randy, the very foundation of your role as a life coach, is to guide individuals on their own journey into self-awareness, a deeper understanding of what makes them who they, what has ultimately shaped the individual that they have become, as well as the choices that have led them to the point that they are currently at in their life. You also help them to identify obstacles in their life, which can hold that individual back from reaching their full potential, and live the life that they ultimately aspire to or envision for themselves.


 How difficult is it for an individual to break through their self-defeating attitudes, behaviours, insecurities, and negative self-fulfilling prophecies?

Randy: I see people change in a couple weeks. I also see that some people take longer to work through, let go of and make the necessary shifts. Time isn’t so important as much as a willingness to breakthrough mixed with patience. For instance, I had a client who came through my doors two months ago, and that was a once a week. Her life is drastically different right now. Her outlook on life and herself is drastically different. I have some people who might not be as willing to look at the things that they need to look at. I feel like the change that people want is dictated by them, and how open and willing they are to look at things differently.

Natalie: So, ultimately they have to be willing to change and work toward it?

Randy: Yes, and let go of certain things. Let’s say someone is dealing with something in life and their so identified with a particular role. If they say “I’m just not pretty enough. I’ll be never Claudia Schiffer (laughs), Kate Moss. I’ll just never be that. I am so ugly”. I would ask, “Why do you compare yourself to Kate Moss?” “Well, she’s beautiful. Everyone loves her”. “Yes and, is your name Kate?” Their reply, “No.” My reply, “You’re you. If you try to be someone else and compare yourself to someone else, it is a set up for failure and self- suffering. If someone isn’t willing to let go of a role that they’re identified with, as being the one who’s not attractive, then it’s going to be very hard for them to change until someone says wait a second, yeah, that’s not very kind. Why am I comparing myself to a top supermodel? What’s one thing I can find about myself that I appreciate, that works? Just one thing, even though it might be little. Those small things can be expanded upon to really turn things around, so the self-image changes.

Natalie: Spirituality means different things to different people. How do you interweave spirituality into the messages and coaching strategies that you employ during your sessions?

Randy: Good question. That is also based on the individual. So, if someone is Christian and that’s their faith, I might use examples that apply to them to meet them where they are at. Like if someone is more into, you know, Buddhism, or I guess my own definition of spirituality which is just being more in touch with spirit, then I’ll use more examples of the universe and universal truths, and talk with people about this sort of spiritual concept, to break them down into everyday liveable realities. At the end of the day, I work with people on love, acceptance, gratitude and compassion. In my book, that should encompass all religions and all human beings as those principles do not discriminate nor do they alienate.

Natalie: Would you say spirituality for you, is more of a way to live your life?

Randy: Yes. I mean, I feel like spirituality is a part of…spirituality is life. I mean, life isn’t separate from spirituality. It took me years to go, “Oh, I’m going to be spiritual now”. But was I not spiritual before? I think it’s just… it’s your values, it’s your morals, it’s what you find is the truth for you. I think that’s spirituality.

Natalie: Do you believe that spirituality is integral to the healing process or a way to live your life accordingly?

Randy: Not necessarily. I don’t think someone has to. Spirituality, that term, has become almost like a non-religious religion. You know, I don’t even know what it means anymore, or how to define that. But that is what I like about it. Once something is defined, it loses some of its magic and mystery, loses its power. I would say for me, spirituality is anything that un-limits somebody. So, yeah, anything that is unlimited.

Natalie: Randy, has spirituality brought a peace and purpose to your life, and if so, in what respect?

Randy: Yes. Spirituality has brought peace. It’s brought purpose. I’ve also had to change how I view life. You know, I was waiting for some big spiritual enlightenment. And I get little moments of spiritual enlightenment all throughout my day, whether talking to you, our shared connection. I have moments with my daughter where I’ll be greatly challenged, because I’m so frustrated about something, and she’ll turn and she’ll say something to me. And in that moment it makes me question, redefine everything that I was thinking at that moment. So, I feel like life is spiritual. Everything that we do, it can be greatly spiritual. It just depends on how you look at it. So, for me, yes I’ve learned a lot in life, even more seeing the spirituality, the God in everything.

Natalie: Also, what spiritual message would you like to instil or share with others, especially those with pre-existing biases, beliefs or misconceptions?

Randy: My spiritual message is ask questions. Find your truth. Don’t limit yourself. Love who you are.

Natalie: Do you believe that a lack of spirituality or reluctance toward spiritual beliefs can hinder an individual’s development in the formation of one’s beliefs around the meaning and purpose of life and its connection with others?

Randy: I think that’s just it. Our beliefs are our spirituality. So, if you believe in a God that’s sitting in heaven, deciding if you’re going to a good place or a bad place. That’s your spirituality and that dictates how you see the world based on that. If you believe life is meant to be about pain and suffering, that’s going to be part of your spirituality. If you believe that we’re meant to discover ourselves and that everything happens the way that it needs to for our own development, then that’s your spirituality.

It depends on what the definition of spirituality is. And for some people to find their spirituality is in their perceived relationship with God or a higher power, or the universe, or creation or source or Jesus or Buddha, etc. And for some, going to church is spiritual. That’s their connection. For some, you know, they sit in their room and meditate, and they feel their connection. I think connection is a big word, in terms of spirit. Whether it’s your own spirit, whether it’s an outside force that came be to God. There’s still a connection there.

So, yes I guess the question is how does one find connection? I don’t think anything has to hinder one’s growth. I do think that beliefs shape our reality. So, if you believe that the world is square, then the world’s going to be square until, you’re like Christopher Columbus and see it round (laughs). I think beliefs either limit people or drive them beyond them, depending on what it is.

Natalie: And the notion around spirituality is not a clear-cut concept, is it?

Randy: This might be very esoteric, but I think that’s the thing a lot of people struggle with in defining G.O.D, in defining God. What is that? Well, that’s religion. Oh, that means this and that, and it’s like, how do you define something that I can’t define? I can’t pretend to define that cause I don’t know. I know what I feel, and I know that when I look in my daughter’s eyes and she says something to me Natalie, that I’m completely amazed by, and it makes me in that moment think, “Wow, this place is amazing. We human beings are fascinating, amazing”. That’s it to me. That’s an example. But I can’t define that. It’s just an example that I connect to and say, “Oh yes, right there. That feeling, that’s it”.

Natalie: Randy, during your experience as a life coach so far, have you found that most individuals have been receptive to your spiritual teachings, or do you feel that spirituality is a subject which some individuals are reluctant to embrace?

Randy: You know, it’s a good question. I coach people, I coach business men and women who want to change their career, or want to improve, you know, certain things in their jobs. We don’t discuss spirituality. They come to me. I let someone dictate what they want, so I ask questions. They tell me what they want, I ask more questions till we get to a desired outcome. Again, for me it’s all spiritual. Someone’s looking to improve something, someone wants something. I’m facilitating them with something. I don’t sit there and bring my spiritual tool-chest into the equation all the time. It depends on the person, if someone wants to go there or not.

Natalie: Randy, you currently conduct workshops in both Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles. Do you have any future plans to further expand your workshops or life coaching sessions to other parts of the United States?

Randy: Those are two big cities and I have lived in both. But I have clients all over. I have clients in Australia, I have clients in England. I have clients in Sweden, Norway. So, I work with people through Skype or telephone. Even do workshops and tele-workshops, so distance does not limit someone working with me thanks to technology. In terms of workshops, because of my children being so young and finishing my book, I haven’t done that much traveling in the past year. But because my book is going to be coming out, I’m probably going to have to do a bit more traveling. So, I will open up my in-person workshops to some different places. But I do offer in-town retreats for anyone who wants to come here. I make individualized workshop retreats for their needs.

Natalie: On a less serious note, can you tell us what a day in the life of Randy Spelling is like?

Randy: Oh, okay. I’ll try to give you the abridged version. Wake up. Three minute meditation. Go get my youngest daughter. Change her diaper. Then go in and get my older daughter. Watch them play for five minutes. My wife takes over. I go down and make breakfast. And if it’s a workday, I will get ready to go to work and work for six or eight hours, and I come home and same thing. I do dinner (laughs). Help my wife get dinner ready for the girls, and then usually we’ll go on a walk around our neighbourhood. And then it’s bath time. Then I put one to bed. Leah [my wife] puts the other one to bed. We take turns with both girls. And then, usually after that I make some food for myself and then I either do some work stuff or I’ll sit with my wife. We’ll talk about the day and hang out for a little bit. Once in a while, we’ll watch a movie and go to sleep. Because my daughters are so young, we are tired! Yes, it’s just life. Task, task. Got to get this done, got to get that done. You change her diaper. Yes, it’s quite busy right now.

Natalie: What are your hobbies/interests?

Randy: I love food. I would say, I’m coo coo about food. And I’m a fact research nerd, so I’m really pretty vocal and passionate about the food system, where food comes from, health and just looking out for the planet. I want to make sure that my daughters have a nice, taken care-of earth when I’m not here. They can have the choices, eat the foods they want and get the nutrition that they need.

Natalie: Very eco-friendly practices?

Randy: Yes. Not everything. But yes. For instance, the whole, you know, pesticide, genetically-modified food debate. I would say I’m pretty passionate about it. That’s one of my hobbies. I do like exercise, I do like writing a lot. That’s it. Being out in nature. Going to a film. Seeing new things. Love that. I don’t always have time for those things, but I make sure I get them in when I can (laughs).

Natalie: Randy, you said that your book should be available within the next year?

Randy: I think so. I’m talking with publishers right now. So, depending on what publisher I go with. I guess it will be up to them when they slate the book for release. So, I won’t know. Hopefully, it will be within the next twelve months, but maybe I’ll put something on my website where people can pre-order, be put on the list.

Natalie: Anything you want to tell us? Tid-bits that can wet our appetite?

Randy: It’s a bigger version of this interview. This was just an appetizer (laughs). Now I am hungry!

Natalie: Fantastic. Can’t wait!

Randy: I mean, I talk about some of the struggles I’ve had with my own addiction, growing up. There’s a good amount of bringing these spiritual concepts down to earth in a way that people can use them on an everyday basis to better themselves.


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Nina Agdal: Feet firmly on the ground


She’s stunningly beautiful and genetically blessed, with a modeling career that has already reached incredible heights. Within the last two years, Nina Agdal has established herself among some of the top names in the modeling world. Having appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues twice, earning her the title of “Rookie of the Year” in 2012, as well as endorsing iconic brands, such as Bebe, Billabong, Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Macy’s and Banana Moon Swimwear, even appearing in the 2013 Super Bowl television commercial for Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s, this Danish-born beauty has already proven that she’s the next big thing in modelling. Nina may only be 22 years old, but she can be regarded as one of the most alluring and intriguing individuals of our generation. Her career is already set to reach epic portions, following in the likes of fellow Sports Illustrated alumni Kate Upton and Brooklyn Decker. She exudes charisma, confidence, with a maturity well beyond her years. She can even be considered as a positive role model for young women. It is no doubt that Nina Agdal can in fact be regarded as the next “it girl” in the modeling industry. She epitomizes the starry-eyed girl who dared to dream big, and ultimately succeeded in accomplishing her dream in America. In this interview, Nina gives us a refreshingly honest and down-to-earth perspective on her modeling career thus far, as she continues her journey upwards.

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Natalie: Nina, your journey from humble beginnings to Sports Illustrated model is truly remarkable. When you were first starting out, did you ever think that you would reach such phenomenal heights?

Nina: Not really, I never thought I’d come this far, it’s been hard but totally worth it. Mostly because it’s what I’ve wanted since I was a little kid. Such a dream that came true.

Natalie: You moved from your native Denmark to Miami when you were only 19 years old. How difficult was the transition? Also, what made you decide to try your luck at modeling in Miami and not Los Angeles or NYC?

Nina: It was pretty hard. I was still young. Younger than I am now. And it meant leaving my family and friends. And when I moved I had heard about people looking for models at some agencies, and I decided to try my luck there. But I eventually got to NYC and LA, as well.

Natalie: What’s the modeling industry like in Denmark?

Nina: It’s huge. The modelling industry is amazing there but they mostly want pro models and not beginners. That’s one of the reasons I decided to move out of there. But when I came back [to Denmark] people were calling for me, for shows, events, and it was seriously wonderful.

Natalie: Nina, would you describe your journey into the modeling world as a smooth one, or did you face any obstacles or struggles along the way to becoming one of today’s most recognizable faces in the modelling industry?

Nina: Both. It was quite hard for me to get into the modelling industry but kept trying until I was noticed. Since then everything has been pretty smooth for me and mostly easy. But it also gets hard sometimes. But like I said, it’s totally worth it when you’re doing something you love. If it’s that way, you stop looking at it like a job.

Natalie: What motivated you to pursue a professional modeling career, and did you always want to be a model?

Nina: I always watched fashion shows on tv when I was a kid and I thought “Oh, I want to be a model”. I had my parents support me since then, so it was pretty easy for me to be motivated. I loved watching models, their beauty and how they looked. And also, I liked knowing how they were off the stage and in normal life. And I found it amazing. This answers the other question. Yes, my dream was to be a model since I was a kid, and thankfully it came true.

Natalie: Nina, Elite Model Management signed you at the tender age of 15. Was it difficult starting out at such a young age in a very cut-throat, highly competitive industry?

Nina: Well, yeah it was quite hard. I was alone and had to start from zero while I watched other models do their stuff as professionals, while I was starting from the bottom. But people were nice and polite to me, so I easily grew up in that industry

Natalie: Nina, can you describe you earliest experience/s in modeling? Did anyone take you under their wing, so to speak, or were there any individuals who tried to discourage you from pursuing your dreams? And if so, did that make you even more determined to succeed?

Nina: Well, there are a lot of people telling you “you can’t”. But it’s up to you to prove them wrong or accept the things they say. A lot of people told me I was just wasting my time, that it was hard to be a model nowadays but I kept fighting for what I wanted. I mean giving up doesn’t help at all. I didn’t exactly want to prove them wrong. I wanted to show I can, for me. Because I knew I was capable of doing it.

Natalie: Has the modelling industry changed since you began your modeling career? Do you believe that it has evolved positively or negatively?

Nina: Yeah, it has. It has become more demanding but it’s good, because it makes you work harder and become better, but it’s still fun. That never goes away.

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Natalie: Nina, you’ve been referred to as the next Kate Upton. Do you plan on following in her footsteps and that of another fellow Sports Illustrated model, Brooklyn Decker, who have launched successful careers in Hollywood?

Nina: I’m a huge fan of Kate. I’d love to follow in her footsteps. I mean, she’s one of my role models to be honest. But I have to work hard at it. She is really wonderful. And I’m looking forward to it, but no one knows what future holds.


Natalie: Nina, what are some of the key steps that you believe are important to becoming a successful model such as yourself?

Nina: Believe in yourself, that’s the main thing. Don’t let anyone bring you down and tell you that you can’t. Never give up and never forget where you come from. Keep your feet on the ground. Fight for what you want. It’s gonna be rough, but the prize is marvellous.

Natalie: Nina, what advice would you give a young aspiring model?

Nina: Don’t be afraid of following your dreams. Have high expectations, but don’t fool yourself. Never stop being yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You’re good enough.

Natalie: Nina, you can be considered such a positive role model for young women. Do you believe that the modeling industry can sometimes promote unrealistic expectations of what is considered the “perfect” shape and size that women should aspire to?

Nina: Yes, it actually happens most of the times. But it’s not about the perfect shape and size. This industry requires a fit body, but not starving yourself by eating healthy and working out. Of course, you can eat whatever you want, or at least I do.

Natalie: Is there anyone in the modeling world that you idolize or look up to?

Nina: Tyra Banks. She is seriously awesome. Love her.

Natalie: What inspires or motivates you in life?

Nina: My family, my friends, my fans, work partners but mostly my mom. She always keeps me going.

Natalie: What are your hobbies and interests outside of modeling, and how do you stay grounded?

Nina: I like the gym, sports, basketball, swimming, going out with friends. Well, it’s all about remembering who you are. My parents raised me with an education of never forgetting who I truly am, and where I actually come from.

Natalie: Nina, you’ve graced the cover of Ocean Drive, Bazar, Femina, Esquire Mexico, and most notably Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, to name a few. What other magazines would you like to appear on the front page of, and why?

Nina: Elle and People, It’s been one of my dreams since I can remember. Haha!


Natalie: Nina, you’ve modeled for Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Bebe (incidentally, one of my favorite stores. I must confess many of the outfits that you have modeled for them, have encouraged me to make many purchases!), and also the iconic Australian swimwear brand, Billabong. One day, do you plan on launching your very own swimwear collection or fashion label/line?

Nina: I’m not sure about it yet. I mean I’d love to. It would be amazing. But now I’m focused on modelling. But having my own swimwear collection is definitely in my plans. I hope it can be done.

Natalie: Are there any photographers that you would like to work with, or have worked with and hold in high esteem?

Nina: Terry Richardson. I worked with him a few months ago and it was awesome. People talk senseless stuff about him, but he is actually pretty nice and polite. Was such an honour to work with him.

Natalie: Nina, what do you consider to be one the highlights of your career thus far, and why?

Nina: Well, to be honest there are many things. I can’t just pick one but I can only say it has changed my life, in a positive way.

Natalie: What do you believe is one of the greatest pitfalls that an aspiring model can fall into? And what advice do you give them in order to avoid these pitfalls?

Nina: People trying to make you get naked the first time you work with them, without signing, without anything. People trying to make you feel like you’re less, and that they’re better than you. First, you have to be sure the company is real, and that you feel like YOU are ready. If you’re not, no one can force you to do things you don’t want to do. Ignore people who try to bring you down. Most of the time, they’re just jealous and have an ego, I mean, it’s okay to be sure about yourself but without crossing boundaries. Feet on the ground.


Natalie: Nina, do you have a mantra that you live you, and would love to share with your fans?

Nina: “Live like you’re at the bottom, even when you’re at the top”.

Natalie: What’s a typical day like in the life of Nina Agdal?

Nina: I mainly wake up early when I have a photo shoot or some event. I get my makeup done, then hair. It takes like two hours sometimes, then clothes, etc. On a free day, it’s just tons of food and movies with a friend or at the beach. That’s simply awesome and I love it.

Natalie: Nina, what are your aspirations or hopes for your future?

Nina: I hope to become a better model, to get the chance to work and meet more people. Get my own clothing line, or something. That’s totally in my plans.



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