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|Credit: Actress Megan Davis|
Megan, Welcome! Your history traces back to acting from the early age of three years old working on commercials. How were you introduced to such opportunities at a young age? What was the experience like for yourself and your family?
I always wanted to act. I was obsessed with the character of Cosette in Les Miserables and used to clean our own kitchen floors by hand while I sang Castle on a Cloud. My uncle was directing TV commercials at the time and asked if I wanted to be in one, which, of course, I did! And then one led to two...
As an actress and producer, you've studied at the BFA Acting/Musical Theater program at The University of Arizona. Did you host any preconceptions of what you would learn in this program to fulfill your academic and professional goals? What did you learn about self-development from completing this rewarding program? Is there anything you could have done differently?
Not really. To be completely honest, I only went to school instead of going straight to LA because I felt like it was super clear that I could get out of rehab earlier if I stayed in Tucson. And then I just completely fell in love with the BFA program and the professors and the other students and now, of course, I am so grateful that it happened that way because what an exceptional school to have been trained at. The producing kind of happened by accident. Scott Stuber, who is now the head of film at Netflix, was a University of Arizona graduate and I asked if I could intern with him over the summer of my senior year to learn the other side of film-making. He was awesome. In terms of self-development, I would say I have learned more about that here in LA, because when I was in school, there was still a projected course of action to follow which makes everything so much easier. Once there is no piece of paper telling you what to do next, then you really learn a lot about yourself. And he was kind enough to not only let me, but to teach me so much. There are always things you can do differently or "better" in hindsight, but I wouldn't change a thing.
You've also studied at Second City, an improvisational comedy enterprise based out of Chicago, with training programs and live theaters in Toronto and Los Angeles.
What are a few prerequisites (qualities or skill sets) that can benefit actors in performing improvisational comedy?
Was there any aspect of this craft that you found challenging yet mastered over time?
What professional advice can you offer to candidates seeking an opportunity to study at Second City?
What was your greatest achievement during your time invested at Second City?
Is there any comedian you admire?
The best thing you can take in with you when studying comedy is to completely lose the word "no" from your mental vocabulary. Sometimes the things that feel the most ludicrous in the moment work the best, and you will never know if you close yourself off. Also, comedy is a group sport, especially improv, so you want to keep an attitude of always being open so you can build with the other person. There is hopefully a true place of communion you can get to in comedy in the same way you can get to in drama. Well, I found it very challenging at first. In fact, the reason that I went in the first place was because comedy scared the shit out of me and I thought well I better throw myself into the hardest and best comedy I know of then and get over it. And then I found out I was actually really good at it. Improv isn't really my jam in the sense that I don't enjoy it as much as scripted comedy but improv is so important to all aspects of acting. So many shows and plays I have done - the best moments came out of improv, and therefore out of all of the artists on set behind the camera and in front of the camera having that attitude of not shutting off to their preconceived notions - of being open to let the muse come to them. I love Kate McKinnon. I could just watch her all day. Her timing is impeccable.
Megan, as a professional actress, you stress the importance of physical dexterity and athleticism in your craft.
As an equestrian that can also sing, play the piano and dance, are there any new physical challenges that you're entertaining?
How can novice actors develop different forms of dexterity to grant them a competitive advantage in their acting roles?
Have you played a body double for another actor due to your wide range of athleticism and range?
Are there any action roles that you've opted to perform yourself instead of delegating it to a body double?
Hmm, I think for me it is more just about overall wellness and keeping up with your training in every area. Just like I think actors should always be in class (I'm actually answering these while my Shakespeare class is on break) I also think you should always be training your body. Your body is obviously a huge part of your craft and I think it should always be in a state of readiness to transform or of feeling at your best, whatever that means for you individually. Also, I do think that the more you can learn, the more you can experience, the more you have to work from. I am a bit of a thrill seeker so I enjoy sky-diving and bungee jumping and cliff jumping. I enjoy training in hand to hand combat and broadsword and rapier/dagger. I think your body is such a huge part of acting that any movement you can study is wonderful. Any art form you can study that contributes to the mind and body being as in sync as possible. I have not but I have had multiple people play my body double. I would almost always prefer to do it myself, but sometimes the production just isn't comfortable allowing you to do the stunts.
Your work references Katharine Hepburn as a form of inspiration. What was it about Ms. Hepburn that influenced you in how you approach and represent the art of acting?
I don't know that my admiration for her is even just about her acting, but really who she is as a person. She is unapologetically herself. She is just such an inspiring human being. She always found a way to make it happen even when people were telling her no. I fell in love with her when I saw this movie Love Affair, which was essentially a re-make of An Affair to Remember. I think that was the first role I ever saw her in. And I remember thinking she was so strong and so vulnerable somehow at the same time.
Among a few entertainment genres, your work also includes drama and comedy. Did you find one genre more difficult to connect with than the other? Are there any common threads among those two styles of storytelling that audiences overlook?
Oh, I think they are so similar. Underneath both of them is the most important thing in storytelling - truth. Comedy is funny because it's grounded in truth. Drama is compelling because it's rooted in truth. They are just different ways of approaching the truth - they appeal to our different senses and defense mechanisms as human beings. I don't think I find one harder than the other - there are definitely huge traps in both - but both are so incredible.
Some of your works include the American Horror Story, Bones, 2 Broke Girls and For Nothing. What have you learned about receiving direction from Directors and improvising at your discretion?
Well, this is a tricky question. I always believe in being open to improv. But there are times when it wouldn't be appropriate for the character or the moment. But I think in all of those projects you listed that we were all very open to collaboration and improv. In Bones, the director and I decided to do something in that scene and not tell David Boreanez that we were going to do it so that they could just catch his reaction when the cameras were rolling. In American Horror Story, Sarah Paulson asked if we could just play in the scene at one part, which, of course, I loved. To get to work with excellent actors and get to play in the moment with them, that's it. That's the best.
You've also produced projects such as American Street Kid (2018) and Famous (2019). What was your experience working on American Street Kid which focuses on the youth homelessness epidemic? Were there any new professional epiphanies acquired behind the scenes while working on this project?
Obviously this was incredibly rewarding and challenging. I felt so very grateful to get to be a small part of telling that story. Those kids are so courageous and so strong. And it is an issue that we don't talk about, in my opinion, enough in this country. There is no reason that we have children living on the street. And one of the things that I think the director did so beautifully was address the common misconceptions that people have about why these children ended up living on the street.
From your personal experiences, how do you define fame? Do you believe fame comes at a price?
...ooo fame is hard to define. There's different levels, there are different ways in which someone can be famous or renowned. That specific project was loosely based on the stories of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim and River Phoenix. And it wasn't just about fame, it was also about children being taken advantage of by the mechanism of fame all those that stood to benefit from their fame. And I think we have seen so many examples of that in every part of life, sadly. I think of course it comes with a price, and in a weird way, I think we are seeing a piece of that from the phenomenon that is social media and the way it has affected and continues to affect people. We are all starting to see how detrimental it can be to live publicly and to have anyone be able to comment anything they want on anything you do or say. It's a dangerous place mentally. And I am hopeful it will lead to a wider conversation about self-worth.
Megan, you were also nominated for the Best Actress Award by the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival for portraying the prescription-pill addict in Adverse Effects. How did you prepare to play the role of Samantha?
Well, in this specific circumstance I have had a lot of experience with addiction and how devastating it can be. I was really lucky to have Spencer as a director on this and to have Aaron on set with me, because they both allowed me to go through being crazy and being broken and all of the things I went through with her while we were filming.
How do you know you're satisfied with your performance? Is there a certain validation you receive from the outside world, or is there an inner knowing you've done justice to the role you're trusted to honor?
Oh man, I am never satisfied with my performance. I always think that there is more that can be found, more that can be explored, more that can be done, I think outside validation is always great and anyone who says it isn't is totally lying, but I think most artists really crave that internal feeling when they hit that sweet spot of the truth and know it, even if only for 30 seconds. I could ride that high the rest of my life. I think something that I always love is when someone tells me that they saw themselves in the role, because it then feels like you've at least touched the truth. When Corey Feldman first saw Famous he said that I was exactly like an ex-girlfriend of his at that time, which I loved because it meant that someone who lived that story recognized the work I had done as true to the story. I liked that.
Your latest project is The Christmas Family Reunion projected for a 2021 holiday release. What was the experience like working with the cast and what can audiences expect from this project?
This was a weird one because it was my first time working with all of the new COVID protocols. So there were a lot of things that had to be done or not done in order to ensure that everyone was safe. I think the most notable to me was that it meant less time hanging out together before and between filming - which I love that time because, for me, it helps me to experience a certain level of comfortability. But Jake Helgren is an excellent director and he is so fun so he really helped us through all of that and still created a fun and safe environment. This is the second film I have done with Ninth House and both Jake Helgren and Autumn Federici are incredible and I felt very safe throughout the whole process. And with all of their projects, I think the audience can expect an excellent holiday film. I honestly felt so lucky to be working with them after they had just done "Dashing in December" - an important holiday film that told the story of two men falling in love in such a beautiful way. I found myself thinking while I was watching it, "Why haven't I seen this story before?" And so to be working with a company and with artists that are on the forefront of telling new stories - that is such an honor.
Are there any shows that you love watching in reruns or those that are in active production?
I am so ridiculous about this, I watch so many shows and movies over and over and over again. I've probably seen Friends all the way through maybe 20 times. I've watched the series Playing Shakespeare at least 5 times. Once something inspires you, I think you crave that feeling over and over. But, I have to remind myself to stop looking for feelings I have felt before and allow myself to experience new things that might have similar or even greater results.
Is there a book that you're reading at the moment? Is there a book that you recommend to audiences?
As I look at the ground next to my bed, there are four books I am reading now, which is weird because I normally only read one at a time. I am re-reading Glennon Doyle's "Untamed" which my friend Brooke recommended and it is so excellent. My mom and I are both reading it and then talking about it together. So much respect for Gelnnon Doyle. I am also super into self development and spiritual books. Just speaking to my own profession, I think you have to always be growing and learning and working on yourself and the more you grow and learn as a person the more you learn and grow in terms of your characters. And, who doesn't want to be better every day? I am also reading The Sociopath Next Door and A Visit From the Goon Squad and The Worthy Project. I am super into audio books too. I love to drive around at night - when everything is quiet and still in LA - and put on a good audio book and gaze at the lights.
Megan, please share how audiences can support your work.
|Credit: Megan Davis, Actress and Producer|
Featured Guests Authors & Entrepreneurs Alexis and Justin Black
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Chef Keith Hoffert provides a wonderful preview of upcoming cuisines.
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"Hunt, Gather, Parent" by Michaeleen Doucleff
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Celebrating Women Worldwide from All Walks of Life
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Andy Mason comes from New Zealand and has 15+ years of experience helping individuals and organizations discover and align with purpose, then develop practical steps to make dreams a reality. He has worked for a national consultancy firm and a leading financial institution and has invested in international community development. Andy is the founder and director of Heaven in Business, a movement to connect and catalyze believers in the marketplace to partner with God in their realm of influence. This has led to the development of curriculum in Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry, workshops and conferences, an online learning platform, and a growing community of men and women in the marketplace who are distinguished from their colleagues by the tangible Presence of God. Andy is the author of Finding Hope in Crazy Times and God With You at Work, available in multiple formats. Together with his wife, Janine, Andy also leads Dream Culture, catalyzing people to discover and live their dreams. (Credit: Andy Mason, Excerpt from Amazon Author)
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I learnt that women could do anything. I learnt that if you wanted to know something, go and find the answer. This was role modeled by all those around me. I was constantly asked questions such as: what is it that you would like? What is stopping you? Why aren’t you doing anything about it? Who is it that you need to ask? Speaking up is in my DNA. My mother was a pioneer in her own right in so many ways.
What realities do you believe are overlooked within developing nations pertaining to the female population? How did India result being the main focal point for your entrepreneurial endeavors?
If women in rural Indian villages don't comply with something that someone else tells them to do, especially a man, they often face detrimental physical consequences that can leave them with lifelong psychological conditions. They could be beaten or hit, screamed at, and many times this could be amplified even more if they have a father or patriarchal figure in their life who abuses substances such as alcohol, as well. With my endeavors being focused on these women, you know, when they come to work with us it can be the first time that they've ever been taught - not told - what or how to think. Doing so helps them foster and nurture their identity outside of what the forces around them growing up told them it was. They are more than just their family or their job or their upbringing. These aspects of recognizing your identity are common in people in the Western world, but these women in rural villages and developing countries don't often have that balance. So it's my mission to ensure that these women don't stay invisible, to ensure that they have a voice, and to ensure that people know about them.
How can developed nations do a better job contributing their resources and talents to nurture the mental, emotional and physical well-being of these women as valuable members of society?
Well, the first thing we can do is acknowledge that these people are valued members of society. Their role is not just to be subservient; their role is to contribute to the betterment of the world, the same as it is your role and mine. In order for the developed world to contribute to that role, we can support businesses that employ and offer products made by women in these under served areas. We can also ensure that these ladies are offered full-time employment so that when they come to work, we know that they are compensated well enough to send their children to school and to nurture their own emotional and physical well being, which trickles down to their children and family to offer them opportunities these women may not have had in their youth. We can also offer programs where anybody from the West can meet these women and talk to them about their lives so that we can connect with them and show the world that they're real people with real value. If developed nations don't want to have hands-on emotional or physical support for these ladies, they can still offer their support through avenues like fundraising donations.
Women are educated and guided to take better care of themselves through The Artisan Nation as they become self-sufficient working professionals. This includes the engagement of dietitians, psychologists, physical movement leaders, and advisors that provide financial literacy.
What was the biggest challenge for your team when executing this specific business plan in the field?
The biggest challenge really was knowing where to stop. Many of these women have never been given regular work. If they've eaten a predominantly rice-based diet for all their lives, which most of them have, they can come to us malnourished. Those of us in the West know that if we're lacking in vitamin B, vitamin C, or magnesium, that has consequences on how we feel physically and mentally, and can impact our output. If you could imagine some of these ladies feeling this way all the time, they don't know that they’re missing out on a healthy and balanced lifestyle, so it was simply a brainstorming session with a group of people around our table to work out how we could most support these ladies, more than just financially. So, in order to lead a very fulfilling life, we just made a whole list of everything that humans need to flourish like love and a non-toxic support system. They need a roof over their head. They need regular meals and a balanced diet, so the biggest challenge here was actually working out how to connect the separate professionals who can provide all these needs with these women. That's why the Artisan Nation was born because, in reality, we act as a bridge to connect skilled professionals with women living in developing countries.
How do these Indian women transition from being compliant, subservient women into self-thinking respectable beings in society? Do they face any hesitation in embracing these valuable discoveries through learning about self-worth and self-love?
Most of these women absolutely face hesitation in embracing self-worth and self-love, because they were never able to embrace those values in their daily lives. They are told since childhood that whatever they say or do or think is of little value compared to what the men around them think, say, and do. Breaking that cycle of what these women perceive as “normal” is difficult and should never be done alone. That’s part of why Artisan Nation strives to connect these women with the skilled professionals who can help them unlearn their old mentality, instill newer and healthier values of self-worth and self-love, and help them understand those values are not only good to have, but they need to have them in order to live fulfilling lives and help others around them.
Presently there are two villages participating in The Artisan Nation program. What variables were used to determine which villages would initially participate in the program? How do you forecast the future participation of additional villages joining this worthy cause over the span between now and mid-2022?
We don't discriminate between any of the villages that engage in the program. It's simply a matter of finding people in developing countries to support them. The more people in developing countries we can support, then the more villages come across our board. The only probable variable in determining which initial villages we wanted to participate with was the location because it's really hard to support one village in the north of India and one village down in the South of India with the same programs at the same time with the size we are now. We're starting by supporting all the villages within one geographical area, because that way the professionals we work with to help the women in our program, such as dietitians, can travel from one village to another close by instead of having to travel all over India.
What are some entrepreneurial challenges you faced when setting up KOCO's presence in the first 90 days in India? Were there any new challenges you embraced when implementing the mission of The Artisan Nation during the Covid pandemic?
Implementing the Artisan Nation was a no-brainer because I knew these women needed help. Having the artisan nation as a bridge to link the skilled professionals and corporations with these women was the easy part. As far as challenges go, it's finding the right corporations and the people within them who believe that giving these women a voice is an important part of their company’s core values, but even properly communicating to corporations the many ways they can help us can be challenging.
The biggest challenge is to actually find any size company, whether they have 10 staff, or 1000 staff to come on board and take an interest. They just need to actually contact us to find out more about what's going on, even without a commitment up-front. Getting involved is how businesses begin to impact the future, and most customers today are becoming more conscious about whether or not the people and companies they do business with care about other people, even people and communities they aren’t directly involved with. I’m sure there are millions and millions of women around the world that would resonate with our mission and support us within the blink of an eye; all we need to do is find them, to find those people who believe in our mission as being worthwhile. I believe if more people and companies have beliefs similar to ours and truly want to connect with women in these developing countries, the world would be a much more colorful, interesting, and grounded place as a result.
The Covid pandemic disfranchised about 16 million workers within the fashion industry in India. On a global level, what are a few realities about the fashion industry that are misunderstood regardless of the economic climate?
The fashion industry has the potential to have a significant influence on women and specifically on women in developing countries. Most of these women are highly skilled and earn their living using their hands. Artisan products are highly valued and these women have a very strong drive to send their children to school (an opportunity that they themselves didn’t have). I have a very strong background in connecting with others, especially women from developing countries and areas, and helping them to achieve their goals. I believe that, if the fashion industry got behind women from under served and developing areas having a voice and helping them to achieve their goals, even something as simple as a woman being able to send her children to a safe school in order to obtain a proper education, the fashion industry would have the potential to change the world enormously.
The fashion industry, regardless of economics, still has a lot of catching up to do as far as sustainability and human rights. It’s doing better than it was even 5 or 10 years ago, but improvements can still be made for the good of the industry, employees, and customers. I wouldn’t say the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs in India or anywhere else are necessarily high, but climbing over or breaking through those barriers still takes a lot of work, especially for women entrepreneurs in traditionally patriarchal communities. It’s not something anyone should take lightly, but they can be overcome through dedication and passion towards a mission greater than yourself..
Danielle, you uplift and inspire women around the world, who are the women whose wisdom has contributed to your strength?
The women that I work with are my greatest role model. They are resilient, highly intelligent and it is an equal two-way exchange of skills.
Working in the field and partnering with different personalities demands time and energy. How do you nurture your self-care and emotional growth when not actively working on KOCO and The Artisan Nation?
Besides supporting the women that I work with I swim and make artisan chocolates. Both enable me to totally switch off. I also have 2 grown sons that I love to cook for.
What is the best entrepreneurial advice you've received from another female entrepreneur?
It’s from Emma Isaacs who runs a large women’s networking group here in Australia. It was, “always say yes and work out how later”. If my memory serves me correctly, she got this from Richard Branson.
When in doubt, who or what do you turn to that allows you to melt these doubts away?
I have always had mentors around me, so I either turn to my sons, my mentor or the swimming pool.
You're also an author. Danielle, do you have any favorite books that you enjoy reading?
The most recent book I read was Powered by Change by Jonathan McDonald. It has a subtitle of, How to design your business for perpetual success. I’d highly recommend it. It’s a fantastic basis for thinking and structure.
If you were to reincarnate and return to earth a 100 years later, what changes would you like to see in society?
That all women are empowered and independent and the relationship between people are of mutual respect.
Please share with audiences how they can support your work.
Life and EFT Insights by Brad Yates
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Meet Chelsea Henderson, Entrepreneur and Theta Healing Practitioner
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When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up at he age of five, Chelsea’s response was “A Healer”. Since childhood she was an Empath and highly intuitive. Always picking up on the energy and emotions of others was simply a lot of stimuli, and overwhelming at times. As she grew into her teenage years she realized this was not a curse, but a gift. She then learned to use these gifts to motivate, empower, emotionally heal, and intuitively offer words and advice that would provide solutions to other’s problems in life. After studying psychology, pre-med, and realizing neither fields were what she aligned with at the core of her being she began a normal corporate job. It wasn’t until she realized it was not the effort, education, intellectual abilities, or any of that alone bringing her the results she wanted. It was a state of being that she was tapped into at all times, sometimes referred to as the state of “Flow”. After much research on everything from science to spirituality to behaviors and qualities of “The Greats” in history, she discovered a multitude of healing modalities. Now Chelsea practices these techniques to heal, enhance performance in, and mentor other. Chelsea lives with the mission of raising human consciousness and expanding awareness of the true human potential that lives within us all. Credit: Chelsea Henderson's Site
Credit: Actress Megan Davis Megan, Welcome! Your history traces back to acting from the early age of three years old working on commercials....