Gabrielle McClinton

Chelsea Handler

Gabrielle McClinton

Listen up kids. Chelsea Handler has a new talk show (currently in its second season) on Netflix. I used to graze her show when it was on E! but had trouble committing, and now, I can't seem to stop watching - not that I'd want to... it's brilliant. 

She has figured out what works for her and has found the ingredients it takes to build a solid talk show.  Even after the first season, she made changes that made the show work better - like filming only one, longer episode a week rather than multiple, shorter episodes. There are no rules with Chelsea - she can do what she wants... and she is! 

I think it's especially hard in the entertainment industry to change things once they've been established. Those in the industry have gotten used to what's comfortable. It's easy to let fear and judgement cause a show's content to fall by the wayside rather than aiming for what feels right regardless of what people think. Clinging to what you think should work and what you believe the end result should look like "on paper" is outdated. It turns out the riskier path is the most secure path. I mean who wants to die after living a life based on safe choices? There's no life in that. 

That's not Chelsea. She is redefining the talk show formula, and it helps that she's doing so on Netflix, a network that supports authenticity and the ability to not hold back. What I love about Chelsea's show is that I am not only laughing uncontrollably, I'm also learning a shitload while doing it.  She sets up an environment that is relaxing; yet, fun. It's as if you're in her living room; yet, at a nightclub.  She interviews an array of guests ranging from CNN's Don Lemon to Eddie Izzard to Senator Al Franken to Priyanka Chopra while sitting cross legged on her stretched out sofa.  There really is something for everyone. She has profound interests in politics, racism, LGBT rights, women's rights, climate change, and basically everything you thought you knew but really didn't until Donald Trump came into office and made you want to become more educated. She's doing all this with humor; and what better way to get educated?!  With our political climate as it is, it is super important to be educated and to allow voices like Chelsea's to be heard. 

Tune into new episodes of Season 2 of "Chelsea" every Friday on Netflix! I mean, come on! Her dog is basically the co-host. You'll even get a chance to be a fly on a wall at one of her dinner parties while celebrities have discussions on marriage, racism, marijuana, education, and that they really are human. 

 

Unplug Meditation

Gabrielle McClinton

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Unplug Meditation. My best girlfriend/soul sister happened to be working at this brand new, "what's it all about" studio.  I had recently returned to Los Angeles to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City.  My mind needed a break and I needed a change of scenery.  At first, I was definitely skeptical of the studio and of meditation in general. I've had the experience of sitting down and breathing for five minutes or so but the thought of sitting down for 30-45 minutes in complete silence or worse imagining someone guiding me down some magical path terrified me. The thought of my mind being completely still or giving control to someone else was unsettling.

Eventually I dragged myself to the studio and started taking some classes. At first, I'd go to class maybe once a month because it was still  daunting. Lord knows I did NOT want to release control but nothing worth it is ever easy at first, right?  I remember feeling anxious because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It all felt completely unknown which was the hardest part for me and what made me feel anxious.

Speaking of anxiety, it's something I've struggled with and a big reason why I thought exploring meditation would be worthwhile. As I got over my fear, I loosened up a bit. Things sometimes get worse before they get better. The idea of process over result  finally clicked in for me. For a beginner, this was all extremely normal. I eventually got over the hump and kept returning to meditation. Certain classes worked better for me than others but that's what’s great about Unplug. The studio provides an array of teachers and classes and you get to decide what works. I ended up liking it so much and I’m not gonna lie, I needed to make that COIN so I interviewed to work the front desk.  Needless to say, I got the job and haven't looked back ever since.  Now, I can't imagine a day in my life without meditation.  These sessions have opened up my life. Focusing on my breathing, through meditation, has actually allowed me to live more presently, something that seems so easy but can be difficult.

Suze Yalof Schwartz.

Suze is the owner of Unplug Meditation. Suze is a spectacular woman. We instantly clicked, and I felt safe and comfortable knowing that I was working for an amazing woman and group of mindful people. 

From there, my life began to evolve. I met an array of special people who will now always be in my life. I felt supported during a tough time and now when I look back, I feel grateful and full of joy because that's when I experienced the most growth.  

Suze opened Unplug, the world's first secular drop-in meditation studio, in Los Angeles in 2015 and now she's written a book called, "Unplug A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers." I had the privilege of going to her book launch at a pop up Aerie store in Soho recently. Not only was I happy that my friend flew across the country to promote her new book, but I was thrilled that I could share that moment with her and many important people in my life. 

If you're new to meditation, I hope you are encouraged by this post. I was new to meditation two years ago and I'm astonished at the gifts that have come into my life and how different I now feel. Meditation has truly transformed my life. It hasn't made my life perfect. I still have the same struggles, but I now have a new killer toolbox.  Suze's book is literally for the "skeptic."  It's for everyone who needs or wants to begin but doesn't know where to start. It's for YOU!  

 

Meditation is a practice that teaches you to unplug form distraction and experience the present moment
— Suze Yalof Schwartz

unplugmeditation.com

Oscar "snafu"

Gabrielle McClinton

The world erupted into a full on crisis after the historic Oscar "snafu" leaving poor PricewaterhouseCoopers in muddy waters.  As shocking as it was, I found myself embracing the experience.  Also, I found myself thinking about perfectionism and how society is drawn to drama. 

I woke up the next morning to a slew of articles reprimanding all sorts of people who were involved in this basic human error. At the end of the day, that's what it was, an error. Even I naturally found myself craving the gossip, but I had to stop myself because really...who cares?!  Shit happens. Yes, it sucks that Moonlight didn't get the immediate recognition they deserved, but they won! They got the Oscar and the way that Warren Beatty and LA LA Land, specifically,Jordan Horowitz, handled the situation was done with grace and dignity. To see everyone in the audience with real reactions of shock and confusion and laughter was refreshing to see because it was real.

Hollywood has a reputation for being perfect.  And yet, the other night showed a glimpse of reality and how at the end of day, it's just an awards show.  It's not life or death.  I think we need to take ourselves out of the drama and let people make mistakes.

It also brings to mind when Adele had to start her song over at the Grammy's--that was a human moment. She went out of what was normal and expected and did what she needed to do!  She was being authentic. Even the biggest stars experience extreme stage freight and anxiety. The same goes for Mariah.  Girlfriend messed up with her song and who cares why it happened, it happened!  I'm in no way saying that people shouldn't be prepared. Be prepared and know your stuff but when stuff goes wrong, let's let it go and not make a headline over it. 

I think in this Trump era, some good is coming out of all of this mess. People ARE getting real. I think if we keep moving at this pace, we can get some good work done.  As an artist, you have to be able to fail in order to grow and as Queen Viola Davis so eloquently said, "...we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life."  And when she says "live a life," that means a real life filled with success and failure and all the growth in between. 

I understand that the Oscars is the highest honor for an actor so let's celebrate THAT. Let's celebrate the Moonlight win and not the Oscar "snafu."
 

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

DIY on the Cheap!

Gabrielle McClinton

I've always had a knack for interior design but these days it's become my go to hobby.  Now that I have an apartment of my own, I'm always on the search for interior design inspiration and ideas.  Pinterest is IT ya'll!! Instead of waking up and scrolling through social media, pinterest has become my new found best friend. I will scroll and scroll and it actually feels pretty healthy. Not a full blown addiction...yet.  

I'm fascinated with gold these days. Whether to wear or to decorate with-gold has become my favorite color and accessory. I had been looking for a good bookcase for what seems like forever until I stumbled across the most brilliant idea on pinterest.  Instead of splurging thousands of dollars on a golden find, I found a DIY project that gave me exactly what I wanted for a lot cheaper. 

All I needed was...

 

Vittsjo Shelf Unit IKEA $79.99

Vittsjo Shelf Unit IKEA $79.99

Gold Spray Paint Home Depot $7.28  

Gold Spray Paint Home Depot $7.28

 

Contact Paper Home Depot $7.97  

Contact Paper Home Depot $7.97

 

and Voila!! I spray painted the entire piece unassembled in my parent's garage with the help of my father and a face mask. Make sure you buy at least 6 cans and spray outside so you have some natural air blowing through and also so you don't die by the fumes. Then, I assembled the bookcase with the easy to follow instructions from IKEA, used the adhesive contact paper on the bottom and top of the bookcase, and lastly, I added all of my personal trinkets!

THANK YOU PINTERST!

http://www.houseofhawkes.net/diy-gold-bookshelf/

Get Yo Mind Right!

Gabrielle McClinton

Being an actor is no joke. Physically, emotionally, mentally. It is NO JOKE!!! For those people that don’t think acting is a real job you are extremely mistaken. I recently read an article in The Hollywood Reporter entitled "Drama Actor Roundtable: Rami Malek, Cuba Gooding Jr., TV's Top Talent on Arrogant Career Mistakes and That Golden-Shower Scene" by Lacey Rose which interviewed 6 top dramatic actors on the reality of our business and the characters they inhabit. Wagner Moura who stars in NARCOS said, "Our thing is here (points to himself). So our bodies, they have memory of what you are doing-and the body doesn't know you're acting."

 

This sparked something in me. I've always known acting can take its toll, but it wasn't until I got a bit older where I could look back on my past and see that I can now differentiate myself from the characters I play. Throughout the beginning of my career as an actress, I would let these characters overwhelm my life. I started letting art imitate my life a little too much. Now that I've experienced more life and I've seen the physical, emotional, and mental effects staying in character has on oneself, I've been able to lead a healthier life and have healthier relationships. 

 

I think it's beautiful and necessary to be able to fully embody a character as an actor, but it's critical to not lose sight of yourself. Moura is right-your body doesn't know you're acting. What you're feeding it-it reacts to those messages and the same goes for your mind. The thoughts that you feed your mind become your reality. This advice is for all humans alike. You must feed your mind with loving thoughts and what's hard as an actor is that sometimes you play some dark, twisted, mother f*c*ers! It's important to be able to shake that off at the end of the day so that you don't make yourself crazy.

 

I don't believe I was truly happy in my early twenties because I lived out these character's truths more than my own. I lived full out whether that meant pure bliss or full on depression and had a low sense of self. If your self-worth is low, forget it. You'll most likely cling to the characters you play. I definitely did that and the happiness was fleeting. A strong sense of self is crucial when one is an actor because I'll tell ya...you'll have a hell of a lot of an easier time getting out of those characters at the end of the day. So talk to friends, find a good therapist, journal daily, say no to projects you're not comfortable with...the health of YOU is most important. And lastly, enjoy the hell out of these characters! The more you can differentiate, the deeper you can dig. Acting can be extremely therapeutic, but it's not therapy. Be conscientious of what you feed your mind and body on a regular basis and stay sane with the characters you play, remembering that’s exactly what they are-characters. 

Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/drama-actor-roundtable-forest-whitaker-900197

MUST READ : AMY POEHLER

Gabrielle McClinton

Please stop what you’re doing and go buy Amy Poehler’s book YES PLEASE. I may be late on this gravy train but either way, I made it! I always knew this lady was funny, but I didn’t realize how much I would be able to relate to her. Amy is what I would like to call a D.A.B. (Down A$$ B***H!)  D.A.B. came about because I met a very special lady named Leslie McDonel who reminds me to be fearless & free. It’s something that is still a process for me but nonetheless, it’s what I strive to be more like everyday. She is the coinage for the term. Congrats Leslie!

Here are the priceless GEMS that I acquired from Amy’s Book:

1.    The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.

2.    I believe great people do things before they are ready. 

3.    Going from crying to laughing that fast and hard happens maybe five times in your life and that extreme right turn is the reason why we are alive, and I believe it extends our life by many years.

4.    If your parents are still alive, call them today as ask them to describe the day you were born.

5.    When you have comfortable and loving middle-class family, sometimes you yearn for a dance on the edge. This can lead to an overactive imagination, but it is also the reason why kids in Montana do meth. 

6.    Adventure and danger can be good for you heart and soul. Violence and desperation are brutal things to search out. Why search out the horror? It’s around us in real ways every day. 

7.    New York can be a lonely place. 

8.    Don’t think. Get out of your head. Stop planning and go. 

9.    Career is the stringing together of opportunities and jobs. Career is something that fools you into thinking you are in control and then takes pleasure in reminding you that you aren’t. Depending on your career is like eating cake for breakfast and wondering why you start to cry an hour later. 

10. …the word “no” should be the “end of the discussion, not the beginning of a negotiation.” Quote by Gavin de Becker in THE GIFT OF FEAR.

11. “Do work that you are proud of with your talented friends.”

12. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. 

13. You have to be where you are to get where you need to go. 

14. Benches are a often a place where something special happens and important talks take place.

15. The more I time-travel the more I learn I am always just where I need to be. 

16. I firmly believe that every boy needs his mom to love him and every girl needs her dad to pay attention to her.

17. A bossy woman is someone who cares and commits and is a natural leader. 

18. Not enough is made of the fact that being of service makes you feel good. 

19. I think if you can dance and be free and not embarrassed you can rule the world. 

THANK YOU AMY!