Monthly Archives: March 2014

Vulture, New York Magazine

How Julianna Margulies Guilted Josh Charles Into 15 More Episodes of The Good Wife

By Neesha Arter

Julianna Margulies knew that Josh Charles wanted to leave The Good Wife at the end of last season, but she convinced her longtime friend to stick around for 15 more episodes, she said last night at a panel discussion moderated by Charlie Rose. How does one pull off such a maneuver? The same way anyone does anything: “I called Josh and I gave him terrible Jew guilt,” she joked.
a_190x190Margulies and The Good Wife creators wanted to give Charles’s character a more elaborate sendoff, and to do so they’d need him around for at least part of this current season. “I knew he was about to get married and I said, ‘Josh, how about this? 15 episodes? Think about it. Money in the bank for 15 episodes. You’re about to get married. Do you know how expensive it is to have a baby in New York?’ I went right to the kid thing,” Margulies said. (Margulies has a 6-year-old son; Charles got married last September.) “‘Schools! It’s disgusting! Do you know how much private school in New York is?’ I went into this whole thing about kids and family,” she said. “And he said he would think about it. And I added, ‘And two directing spots!'”
So far Charles has directed one episode this season, November’s “The Next Month,” so there’s still one more coming up. No word yet on baby news.

See the piece on Vulture.

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Inside the NO MORE PSA Campaign: An Interview with Maile Zambuto and Rachel Howald

MARCH 16, 2014 | BY NEESHA ARTER | FILED UNDER JHF BLOG >

– By Neesha Arter

The creative team: Joyful Heart CEO Maile Zambuto, Creative Director Rachel Howald and Director Mariska Hargitay pose for campaign photographer Timothy White.The creative team: Joyful Heart CEO Maile Zambuto, Creative Director Rachel Howald and Director Mariska Hargitay pose for campaign photographer Timothy White.

A year ago, NO MORE launched a national campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault. This courageous movement has garnered attention across the country, from small communities to the Obama Administration. In September of 2013, the Joyful Heart Foundation, as part of the NO MORE movement, launched a captivating PSA campaign to raise national awareness around these pressing issues. Taking on the deeply engrained stigma, shame and victim-blaming culture around these issues, the fearless team behind the PSAs is committed to engaging bystanders and starting the big conversation. I had the chance to sit down with Joyful Heart Foundation’s CEO, Maile Zambuto, and the Creative Director of the NO MORE PSAs, Rachel Howald, to get the behind the scenes look at the campaign.

The Joyful Heart Foundation, as one of the many championing organizations behind the NO MORE movement, took on a leading role in the creation of the PSA campaign. How did you come up with the PSA concept?

Maile Zambuto: For years, it had been a dream of Mariska’s to do a very large-scale PSA campaign at Joyful Heart, so when NO MORE was created and started to gain traction, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for her to get behind it. We knew we wanted to make the message universal and utilize both men and women in the campaign. We also wanted it to be celebrity-driven because we have extraordinary advocates like Mariska. We haven’t seen something like this before, so we knew that it would be even more effective if there were tons of influential people standing with her on this message, and we really wanted to push the envelope.

NO MORE is about changing people’s attitudes and the stigma that comes with them. It recognizes the progress that has been made over the past 40+ years, but has also established where we still need to go, which is moving this conversation from the margins into the mainstream and turning up the volume.

Rachel Howald: The PSA concept came out of this vast network of high-profile supporters from across a spectrum of industries who have always offered their support to this issue space. The PSAs were the perfect chance to tap into that network. The creative work itself came from the simplicity and truth of the entire NO MORE proposition. In meeting with Joyful Heart and NO MORE members, the words and phrases of what they were saying “no more” to really resonated. The work was created to be as honest, simple and universally true as possible. It’s taking what we all say without thinking and playing it back through famous faces and voices to point out—in a non-blaming way—that maybe we should be rethinking the fact that we ignore these issues.

Why do you think people make so many excuses?

MZ: I think these are deeply ingrained, strongly held beliefs that a lot of people have. This is really about people being open to examining their own attitudes and beliefs. It’s not about fault or pointing the finger. I think it’s about what we’re subjected to in the world—in conversations, in socialization, in institutions, in school and in the media. We wanted to challenge people to examine their own attitudes and hold each other accountable.

RH: It’s much easier to deny a problem than try to fix it. And those excuses have been passed down for generations, so they are now ingrained in all of us.

How is this campaign going to change people’s attitudes about sexual assault & domestic violence?

MZ: The goal of this campaign is to start a conversation. These issues survive because of silence. So much of our focus has been, “we could make more progress if victims were courageous and came forward.” As someone who has done that many times, to be received by people in your life and communities that have these deeply entrenched attitudes makes it really, really hard.

We want to put the focus on society-at-large to take responsibility for their beliefs and attitudes. I think change comes with increasing conversation about zero tolerance for this. And at the end of the day, our goal is the visibility of the NO MORE symbol. Our belief is the movement of standing together, in the way that we’ve seen with breast cancer and HIV/AIDS, is what we hope NO MORE will be to these issues.

RH: This campaign will get people to acknowledge that sexual assault and domestic violence exist. We can’t end these problems until we say they are, in fact, real. And this campaign will shed a light on these issues and help draw people’s attention to them.

What made you choose the celebrities that were featured in the PSAs?

MZ: We wanted a really diverse mix of men and women because we wanted the PSAs to be gender-neutral. And honestly, this was a group who were willing to stand with us—show up on a Saturday afternoon, not get paid and were committed to put the weight of their image and celebrity behind us. They’ve all gotten behind this message in a big way, and many of them have in other ways, stood up for these issues and others were very new to this. It was quite a mix but we were specific about choosing people who we admire and respect.

It is a common misconception that sexual assault is exclusively a women’s issue, how can this campaign help men heal as well?

MZ: Much of the campaign, up until this point, has been focused on men as allies to ending violence against women and children. However, we also recognize that men are victims too. We actually have a long history of addressing that with one of our partners called 1in6. Also, we have in development a new series of print PSAs geared toward male survivors and all the specific attitudes and beliefs that people hold about male victimization. We’re in production now and you will see it very, very soon.

The objective of the campaign is to get the conversation going, but what steps should people take after the conversation has begun?

MZ: I think the biggest call to action for us is NOMORE.org. It’s an exceptional resource and online place where people can come together. It’s a great way to stand with NO MORE and “say it, share it and show it.” Everything we ask you to do is on there, and it’s very simple. What I would also say is people are often so surprised when they are brave enough to have these conversations in whatever circle they’re in. So be that listening ear and bear witness to someone and their experience. We often hear from survivors that the response of those around them is even more important for their healing, their well-being and their triumph over this than what happened to them. Without judgment and without having to be the expert, the act of listening to what someone has suffered through is such a powerful thing to do and can literally save or change someone’s life.

President Obama recently launched a new initiative on sexual assault on college campuses. How do you think this will change society’s perception of the issue?

MZ: I think it’s a huge step. We have been blessed to have Vice President Biden and the Obama Administration as incredible advocates for these issues. We’re very grateful for them absolutely standing with us, with NO MORE. And these conversations are being held at a grassroots level in communities all across the country. Whether it’s one person watching the PSAs on the computer monitor or a community discussion, this is being taken seriously. This demonstrates the level of priority and the need for change at the highest level.

As someone who deals with these heavy topics on a daily basis, what motivates you to remain positive? What do you do when it begins to weigh on you?

MZ: I’ve been doing this work for over twenty years because of my personal connection. I was sexually abused for most of my childhood and raped when I was in college. The commitment to my healing and well-being was what kept me in the thick of this work. To be honest with you, what mostly keeps me doing this work is that I have kids. I have a son and a daughter and I’m inspired to make things different for them.

I’m very hopeful and there are so many people that are doing this work and are in the trenches. We’ve also seen such a change in the past year with NO MORE from the President to the Vice President wearing the pin to the NBA getting behind this. I go to the NO MORE website every night and see what beautiful things people share and it all gives me hope. Mariska gives me a lot of hope too. She is probably the most optimistic, fearless, passionate advocate I’ve met and she is full of inspiration. It’s hard not to feel hopeful when you’re around someone who shines so brightly.

Besides PSAs do you have any other projects in the works? What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

MZ: This PSA is a three-year commitment. We have shot and have ready to go two other campaigns that will be released over the next two and a half years, and of course, we’re working on the print campaign geared towards the excuses male survivors hear. We will have a series of events this coming week, which marks the one-year anniversary around the launch of NO MORE, so we’re planning another event in D.C.

We invite you to get involved to say NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault.

SAY IT.

Learn about these issues and talk openly about them. Break the silence. Speak out. Seek help when you see this problem or harassment of any kind in your family, your community, your workplace or school. Upload your photo to the NO MORE gallery and tell us why you say NO MORE.

SHARE IT.

Help raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault by sharing NO MORE. Share the PSAs. Download the Tools to Say NO MORE and share NO MORE with everyone you know. Facebook it. Tweet it. Instagram it. Pin it.

SHOW IT.

Show NO MORE by wearing your NO MORE gear everyday, supporting partner groups working to end domestic violence and sexual assault and volunteering in your community.

– See more at the Joyful Heart Foundation

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Teen Vogue: The Best Cities for Studying Abroad

The Best Cities for Studying Abroad, from Beijing to Buenos Aires

If you’re leaving the country for a semester, make it count!

Photo by Frederike Helwig

When it comes to college, we’re all about getting the most out of the experience. One of the best ways to capitalize on those unique four years? Study abroad. Whether it’s for a semester, a summer, or an inter-term month, skipping town for a bit is a means of immersing yourself in a new culture, learning a foreign language, and meeting lifelong friends. Once you’ve decided totake on the adventure, however, you’ll probably be left a big question: Where should I go? The possibilities may seem endless, but readers gave us on the dish on the very best places to study abroad.

Hong Kong, China
“Living in a city of Hong Kong’s magnitude really does something to you. The most overwhelming part is the population density, closely followed by the brightest, most impressive skyline in the world. The overall infrastructure is incredible. From high-speed trains to over-water trams to insane skyscrapers, you really feel like you’re in an episode of the Jetsons, but cooler. My program allowed me to visit the stock exchange, the port of Hong Kong (the busiest import and export facility in the world), and a number of large corporations and financial institutions. We split our time between learning in the classroom and participating in site visits, board meetings, and panel discussions with real-life business leaders. It was amazing! Also, you haven’t Dim Summed until you’ve done it in HK.” —Courtney G., 23

Madrid, Spain
“Madrid is a cosmopolitan city known not for its sights, but for its energy. It’s not that the landmarks aren’t cool—I especially loved the Plaza Mayor, the grand Prado Museum, and the Royal Palace—but the Spanish way is what makes the biggest impact on you. You’ll adjust to the fact that stores and restaurants close for a two-hour period in the middle of the day, and you won’t wait until the end of the week to do any shopping since most places are closed on Sundays. Most importantly though, life in Madrid is lived out in the open. You’ll see Spaniards energetically walking and talking, sipping cafes for hours, and eating dinner until what we would consider far past our bedtimes. The community of people celebrating no matter the occasion is truly the best thing about the city.” —Martin L., 23

Cape Town, South Africa
“My semester in Cape Town was my first time in Africa. My program toured around, and we saw everything from the beautiful beaches to the townships where we helped build a house. South Africa has a lot of history and culture that can be seen just by exploring all the different neighborhoods, but there are also really great museums and other historic sites. For me, the highlights were playing soccer with local kids in the townships, petting a baby lion, and being in an underwater cage surrounded by great white sharks. Really, animals are everywhere! When you’re walking down the street, you’ll see hippo and wild boar crossing signs and warnings about monkeys that will break into your room and steal your hats and jewelry if you don’t lock the doors.” —Alyssa B., 25

Paris, France
“I studied French for eight years before spending a fall in Paris. My favorite class was my daily language lesson, which was held in the most charming little classroom. The professor was a Parisian woman who had more impact on my grammar, vocabulary, and accent than any of the teachers who attempted to force French on me for nearly a decade. Rather than traveling on weekends, I chose to spend every free second of my time soaking up the city. As a result, I racked up a number of favorite spots to visit—neighborhood museums, local cafes, late-night haunts. By the time I left—in tears, of course—I could navigate Paris’s winding streets blindfolded!” —Dena S., 22

Prague, Czech Republic
“The main reason I chose to study abroad in Prague was because I knew nothing about it before I went. I can now confidently say that it’s one of the most underrated cities in Europe; it’s small, and by the end of your time there, you’ll get to know it extremely well. But despite its size, there’s so much to do! You can visit the Prague Castle and the Communist Museum, and take a boat tour down the Charles River. Another great thing about Prague is how easy it is to travel around the rest of the continent; I was able to go to Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Florence, Berlin, Munich, London, and Budapest all in one semester.” —Sydney S., 22

Sydney, Australia
“I studied at the University of Sydney, which is located right in the middle of the city and is only 15 minutes from the beach. I would take a surf lesson at Bondi in the morning, attend classes in the afternoon, and have a fun night out on the town all in one day. Whether you’re in the mood for kayaking or skydiving, open-air cinemas or shopping at the local markets, this place has it all. There are the best organic cafes and free freshwater swimming pools located on every beach.The public transportation is really easy to use, but the best way to see the city is by water! Grab your friends and take a day trip to Manly by ferry; you’ll be able to snap a photo of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge all in one take. And when you’d rather check them out on land, be sure to book tickets to see an outdoor concert on the steps of the awesome venue.” —Olivia O., 23

Buenos Aires, Argentina
“I studied Spanish for eight years and decided South America would be a great place to go, not to mention the fact that people call Buenos Aires the ‘Paris’ of the continent. The schools are unlike anything a typical American student would expect, but there’s no better way to learn than oral exams in another language! BA definitely lives up to its reputation with regard to its beauty, architecture, cafe culture, and high fashion. I also loved exploring the city’s street fairs and seeing outdoor tango performances. I was even able to travel to 11 of the 13 provinces and basically see the entire country! One of my favorites was Patagonia, which is located at the southern tip and is full of glaciers, penguins, and sea lions. It was also cool to see the Andes Mountains and Mendoza, the beautiful wine country.” —Marisa S., 20

Florence, Italy
“Rich in art, culture, and fashion, Florence quickly transformed from a small foreign city into my home. From attending church in the exquisite Duomo to watching the sun set at Piazza Michelangelo, Italy truly captured my heart. And don’t get me started on the food! I highly recommend taking an authentic cooking class or two. I also loved the slower pace of life—I really learned to appreciate it so much! And while, yes, classes are required, I didn’t have to take any boring lectures. In my intro to journalism class, I had the opportunity to go out and interview one of Italy’s finest leather makers and my segment aired on TV!” —Aubrey S., 23

Beijing, China
“I chose to study in Beijing because it’s about as different from the States as you can get when it comes to study abroad destinations. Being there ripped me from my comfort zone and opened my eyes to a totally foreign culture. Did you know there are more than 21 million people in Beijing? You definitely have to be OK with being in a crowd every moment of every day. The city is very easy to get around thanks to great public transportation, and there are hundreds of street markets and alleyways filled with exotic foods. I even ate a deep fried scorpion!” —Alexia C., 23

London, England
“My six months in London were the most challenging and life-changing ones to date. It’s an amazing city! The museums are all free and totally incredible. The theater scene is great, as is the shopping. There are also tons of exchange students, so if you’re at a large school like University College London, you can reach out to the kids from other countries. I met a lot of Parisian students who, just like me, were spending the semester in England. Just don’t be mad when Londoners impersonate you as a Valley Girl! It’s not that you’re obnoxious, it’s just the equivalent of your awful British accent.” —Beth P., 21

See the piece in Teen Vogue.

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Interview Magazine: Late Night with Ashe + Leando

LATE NIGHT WITH ASHE + LEANDRO
By NEESHA ARTER
 ABOVE: REINALDO LEANDRO AND ARIEL ASHE. PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIELA HERNANDEZ

During college, Ariel Ashe worked as an assistant designer for Saturday Night Live. Fast-forward 13 years and now Ashe is back in 30 Rock; but this time, she’s calling the shots. Ariel Ashe and Reinaldo Leandro began their architectural and interior design firm, Ashe + Leandro, in 2008, after working at Pierce Allen together. Since then, they have designed a slew of homes for celebrities from members of Coldplay to Mindy Kaling. ‬

‪Leandro received his Master’s in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and credits his Venezuelan roots for his “Tropical Modernism” aesthetic. Ashe studied Technical Production at New York University and gets her inspiration from both Broadway theater and her family lineage—her father is a builder in New Mexico. ‬

Last week Seth Meyers, Ashe’s brother-in-law, moved from Studio 8H to Studio 8G in 30 Rock, where Ashe and Leandro designed everything from the greenroom to Seth’s office and even five dressing rooms. We caught up with Ashe and Leandro at their downtown Manhattan studio to discuss Late Night, designing Rashid Johnson’s residence, and their dream projects.

NEESHA ARTER: Late Night must have been a particularly upbeat project; were you able to embrace your comedic side while designing a space that welcomes the funniest people in show business?

ARIEL ASHE: We always try to have a little humor in our design. It’s nice to look around a room and have something to smile at. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. For these spaces,we wanted a mid-century look.

REINALDO LEANDRO: Sort of Mad Men meets industrial loft, with a touch of Ralph Lauren? Doesn’t sound like it would work but it does.

ARTER: I think that combination works.

ASHE: I remember a while back someone left a comment under a photo of ours online that likened our design to Pee-wee’s Playhouse. We laughed and now we ask each other “too Pee-wee?” all the time. [laughs]

ARTER: [laughs] I’m sure you’ve managed to find a balance.

ASHE: [laughs] We’ve managed to.

ARTER: You originally got your start as an apprentice onSaturday Night Live for set design, and you’ve said that job left a mark on your creative inspiration; was it surreal being back at 30 Rock?

ASHE: It was great being back at 30 Rock, but yes, surreal. Nothing has changed there. The guys I worked for are still designing the sets on SNL—two have been there since the very first show, and one of them designed Seth’s set. I was angling for that job, but he had at least 40 years of TV design experience on me!

ARTER: [laughs] Well, you managed to come full circle! How was designing Late Night different from designing sets onSaturday Night Live?

ASHE: To quote Kanye West on last night’s Late Nightepisode, “Everything in the world is the same thing.” [laughs]

ARTER: [laughs] A great interview for night two of Late Night.

ASHE: It was. But it’s obviously different designing a set that will air on TV for three minutes versus a room that needs to both look good and withstand 40 visitors a night for years to come. Whenever I stop by the show I end up fluffing pillows and wiping down the coffee tables. This is the first time we’ve designed a space that doesn’t belong to one person—I feel like it’s still mine.

ARTER: I know Seth is your brother-in-law; did he let you guys take the reins on designing the backstage, or was it a collaboration?

ASHE: I sent a proposal early on with reference images and furniture ideas. He loved it. Fortunately the producer, Mike Shoemaker, has an interest in design and furniture and was happy to indulge our ideas and take the rooms up a notch from what they usually are. The green rooms I’ve visited are usually utilitarian and grubby. We wanted to do something nice for people visiting the show.

ARTER: You designed a small kitchen, Seth’s dressing room, Seth’s office, a green room and five guest dressing rooms. Was there an overall feel you were hoping to accomplish with each room?

ASHE: We wanted each room to feel different but connect in some way. They range in size and shape, and instead of plugging the same furniture into each room, we chose a range of wallpapers, sofas, and chairs that related to each other—like a house. We used the same lighting pieces throughout—Jason Koharik’s “Collected By” line is really good.

ARTER: Reinaldo, you have worked on many projects in your hometown in Venezuela. How has Venezuela influenced your aesthetic overtime?

LEANDRO: It’s pretty much part of my aesthetic, “Tropical Modernism.” Lots of poured concrete, open layouts that allow a continuous flow of light, circulation or cross-ventilation. Funnily, enough it meshes well with Ariel’s New Mexican influence, the palm tree meets the dessert cactus. It makes sense, since both styles have their roots in colonial Spanish architecture.

ARTER: How has New Mexico played a role in your designs, Ariel?

ASHE: My dad is a builder—that influenced me more than anything else. I spent a lot of time with him choosing fixtures and finishes, and then installing with him. My kid hands were useful in tiling showers and bathrooms! I could also work all the controls on a backhoe at age five.

ARTER: So it’s been ingrained from the start. Have you worked on many projects in New Mexico?

ASHE: We’ve actually done nothing in New Mexico. But every time I go there, I bring something from my childhood home back to New York with me… Navajo rugs, antique paintings, a bow and arrow set, Indian pots. My parents have become very willing to part with stuff all of a sudden!

ARTER: Who are a few of your biggest mentors, in the art world and otherwise?

ASHE: I look at Christian Liaigre designs all the time. And Axel Vervoordt. My friend just gave me a book called Georgia O’Keeffe and her houses—about her homes in New Mexico. I love it.

LEANDRO: We both love architect Luis Barragán’s work, too.

ARTER: You believe that possessions tell the story, which is why you tend work with wood, marble, and concrete the most. How do you pick the possessions in a room when designing it?

ASHE: Materials tell a story by themselves, of age, permanence, even utility. In that way, it’s easy. Personal possessions for a client are more difficult. As projects progress, we get to know our clients better and it gets easier to buy for them.

LEANDRO: We don’t buy a book because it’s beautiful, although that helps. Would it be a book that they would have in their library or coffee table? Same with art. Also, in telling a story we always look for things they already own too. That helps ground and pulls everything together.

ARTER: You began your firm in 2008 with designing Jennifer Carpenter’s home in Los Angeles followed by a waterfront cottage on Martha’s Vineyard. How did you decide which projects you would take on in the beginning?

ASHE: We took whatever was offered! Jennifer is a good friend—she did me a huge favor by letting me publish her house. It was a really exciting way to launch our firm and make our presence known. We are now re-designing the waterfront house on Martha’s Vineyard, which was our first job ever—it’s already outdated. We are so old!

ARTER: You guys aren’t old! Has your design shifted since you began?

ASHE: Yes—we have learned and changed. We are less Pee-wee now. I think.

ARTER: [laughs] One of your most recent projects is Rashid Johnson’s residence here in New York. What was it like collaborating with a contemporary artist?

ASHE: Rashid and his wife, Sheree, have amazing taste. They really let us go for it—Vivienne Westwood wallpaper in the bedroom, three Serge Mouille chandeliers in a row.

LEANDRO: Custom floor-to-ceiling floating bookshelves in the study.

ASHE: They let us design custom furniture pieces, which is always a lot of fun. They had amazing ideas too—and obviously the house came packed with art.

ARTER: What’s a dream project you would love to work on?

ASHE: We want to do a hotel! One anywhere that’s a nice place to visit.

ARTER: Any place in mind?

ASHE: After this winter—anywhere above 13 degrees.

Published in Interview Magazine.

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