SoCal Spotlight: Ivana De Maria’s StoryPlace

SoCal Spotlight: Ivana De Maria’s StoryPlace

Contributing Editors: Anthony Stafford and Joshua Pinkay

In Los Angeles, it’s no secret that millions of people move into the city to pursue their dreams of entering the world of entertainment. Little does everyone know, those who reach their success still have other dreams like the rest of us! Ivana De Maria is one of those successful individuals who grew up with an attraction to the entertainment industry, moved to Los Angeles to pursue that dream, and continued dreaming — pursuing an uncommon endeavor: an entry into the tech world using parts of what she already learned. Ivana saw an opportunity in something that each of us has – our stories. We sat down with her to find out more about her background, and to learn about her new dream to take the entertainment world by storm in the way aspiring dreamers will find new projects. Here’s a peak into how your stories, our stories, and the world’s stories will be revealed.

Q: What inspired you to enter the entertainment industry?

A: Since I was a little girl I was always very attracted to the entertainment industry. My great grandfather founded the first Radio and TV station in Mexico and my two oldest brothers have a production company as well. One of them is a producer and the other one a director. Growing up, I spent a lot of time on set with them, helping them in any way I could. I was always very enchanted by the magic behind creating a film.  I always knew I wanted to eventually work in the entertainment industry, specifically as an actress. However, I also had many intellectual curiosities, which I wanted to explore before focusing on my long-term career. I studied high school in Switzerland and after graduating I moved to Boston for College. I attended Boston University where I completed a bachelor’s degree in Business and Law, always knowing that upon graduating I would focus on acting full time. Over the course of those four years, during summers while all my classmates would look for finance internships, I would attend acting school in NY and LA, and then during the school year I would enjoy learning the theoretical aspects of business and law, skills I felt would come in handy no matter what I did. Upon graduating I immediately moved to LA to pursue acting full time.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge you face working as an actor and producer in Los Angeles?

As soon as I got to LA, I starting the casting/rejection/waiting process, and the more I learned about it the more frustrated I got by the system. I hated the idea that my results would depend on so many factors that were not in my hands. I called my brothers and asked for advice. Their answer was “make your own short film”. I had no clue how to do this, but my frustration with the industry was bigger than my fear of the unknown. I began writing my own characters, which then turned into my own stories, then my own projects and finally my own productions. I wrote, produced and acted in two short films, which to my surprise had great success in the festival circuit.

As an actor you accept a life of instability and this is the hardest part of it. Financial instability, physical instability and emotional instability. Because it is so volatile, one day you have a job and the next its back to square one. You have to be available at all times which makes planning anything very difficult. I found that my personality required a bit more structure that what acting offered, and so I decided to find other ways to make a living that would let me be selective with my acting jobs.

Q: You recently took on the tech world with the upcoming launch of your app StoryPlace? How did your background in entertainment influence your decision to start this business?

When I began creating my own content I learned everything about the process of telling a story. From writing, to producing, acting, editing, the business… and I fell in love with all of it. I realized that my generation had an opportunity: the industry was changing and the power was now in the hands of the creative. There was a new currency going around: STORIES. If you had a good story and knew how to tell it, you had a big opportunity. By looking closer at the story culture around the world, I realized that this demand for stories was not exclusive to the entertainment industry. Every industry, product or brand is founded on a story.

A couple of years ago I started developing projects based on real life stories and quickly became enchanted by the idea of finding these stories and bringing them to life, giving them a voice. I found a beautiful combination in social responsibility and film, and decided I would create entertainment content based on true stories, specifically those with messages, stories and voices that needed to be heard today. As I embarked on this journey to find extraordinary stories, I found that everyone’s story had a lesson for me in some way. This led to a thought and an actual dream that that kept me up at night: “How many stories go unheard in the world?” I could not stop thinking of all the lost learning opportunities and decided I would do something about it. I wanted to create a place for these stories. Taking into account technology and generation trends, I decided to create a platform that would inspire people to connect through story sharing, to realize the importance of sharing and listening to stories. That is why I created StoryPlace, an egoless social platform that promotes empathy by connecting people through sharing and reading real life stories.

Q: Why is Southern California the perfect place to launch and grow your business?

Southern California is the hub of startups! It is a place that promotes entrepreneurship and Los Angeles is a city that is truly designed for the self-employed. Every street has cute café’s and working spaces that help young entrepreneurs have a working environment without the need for a formal office. In terms of StoryPlace specifically, SoCal culture is very open and friendly, everyone is always open and excited to share his or her story!

Q: What advice do you have for someone looking to break into the entertainment or tech industries — two highly competitive fields?

I am a true believer that as an artist, it all starts with creating your own content, and therefore you own opportunities, so believe in your vision and don’t be afraid to tell your own stories. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t try to please anyone but yourself.Let your goal be making your own self proud, and then things will start happening. Furthermore, when they start happening don’t question your “luck”.Many times I would feel insecure or question myself when something went right and I got “lucky”, but luck is where preparation and opportunity meet. So give yourself the credit for being prepared when that opportunity comes along. And most importantly, enjoy the path! 

Q: Where do you see StoryPlace going in the next few years?

Hopefully many places! I’ve learned that in the app world you never know what you’re going to get. It can have 1 user for the first week or a billion users in one day. The entire team has been working hard on making sure that do everything we can in order to get those billion users, and most importantly we are ready to scale at any given moment.

My hopes with StoryPlace are that it becomes a leader of empathy in the world. Hopefully other industries will follow and people will be able to appreciate the power of empathy and storytelling. I would love for StoryPlace to eventually expand into more than just an app, a community, a festival, a book, a non-profit… who knows! The possibilities are endless.

Q: Do you have any local LA or SoCal spots that inspire you in your work?

I like to explore SoCal any chance I get and every time I do so I find new places that inspire me. What inspires me the most is meeting someone with a great story, and there are many of those in California!

I recently stumbled upon a small hotel called Moonlight Inn, which is in Moonlight beach. My boyfriend and I were driving and started getting tired so we decided to find a place to spend the night. Never did we imagine that this place would be an absolute oasis. It is a “WELL” hotel, which we learned meant that everything about it, from the design to the service, was tailored to promote wellbeing. This is just one example of all the incredible places I have found in SoCal. Every place you go has a story as well, its just a matter of listening.

Q: Anything else you want Angelenos to know about you or your company?

I’m always happy to hear stories and eager to discover new places! Contact me through my social media @ivanamaria and tell me your stories. More importantly, if you have a story to tell (which I know you do), download our app and StoryPlaceIT!

Wardour Studios Hollywood Stars Gala Academy Awards Oscars® Viewing Party

Wardour Studios Hollywood Stars Gala Academy Awards Oscars® Viewing Party

Wardour Studios Hollywood Stars Gala Academy Awards Oscars® Viewing Party was a success as many celebrities walked the red carpet, enjoyed a hosted VIP reception then dined on a four-course sit-down dinner while viewing the 90th Academy Awards.

The Hollywood Stars Gala Oscars® event was held on Sunday, March 4, inside the elegant ballroom of the newly completed Beverly Hills Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Celebrities and guests filled the ballroom in support of the evening’s theme “Women in Entertainment.”

    

It was so great to see so many celebrities, producers, music industry people, guest support this fabulous event, and especially gratifying to see everyone here stepping up to bring female filmmakers onto equal standing, as they should have always been” said Steven Nia, Chairman and CEO of Wardour Studios. “We here at Wardour Studios are committed to aggressively keep the movement going forward as the industry enters this new era.

Tables in the ballroom were decorated with gorgeous floral arrangements by George Ortega, Creative Floral Director of “Square Root,” which matched the elegance of the evening only the Waldorf Astoria could provide.

During the hosted VIP Cocktail Reception guests were able to catch glimpses of the Oscars® red carpet arrivals at the Dolby Theater on the screens around the room. While waiting for the Oscars® ceremony to begin, guests had the chance to smile and pose for the camera in the Socal Mirror Photo Booth, creating a memory of the nights’ celebration for them to take home.

When the Academy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel started, those in attendance were invited to indulge in an exquisite dinner created by the Waldorf Astoria’s celebrity chef Jean-George, while watching the winners receive their Oscars® on large screens located around the ballroom.

Celebrities attending, as well as others, also received, collectively, over one million units of W1 Coin, the world’s first entertainment backed cryptocurrency, at the Hollywood Stars Gala.

W1 Coin is a game changing innovation in financing, producing and distributing entertainment projects that will empower and will give industry professionals, and consumers alike, a powerful tool to better exploit and enhance their entertainment experience,” Nia said.

  

Announced at the event was one of Wardour Studio’s newest Hollywood China co-productions, “Crossroads to Shaolin”. It is the story of a young American boxer who discovers how to be the true champion that he is at a Shaolin temple, helping him to go on to become world champion. Lee Baker is writing and directing the film, with Stephen Sobisky as visual effects supervisor, and Dan Katzman as producer.

Steven and I are extremely grateful for all the wonderful participants, this evening, and we hope to be working with many of them soon”, said Angelina Leo, COO of Wardour Studios.

**Photographers: Maury Phillips & Jaime Lim

Jennie Garth Hosts Project Mc2 Part 5 Netflix Premiere at The London Hotel

Jennie Garth Hosts Project Mc2 Part 5 Netflix Premiere at The London Hotel

The London West Hollywood served as the venue to the Project Mc2 Part 5 Netflix Premiere, hosted by Jennie Garth along with her teenage daughter Lola, Tori Spelling and her daughter Stell, Jamie Lynn Sigler. Project Mc2 cast members Genneya Walton, Belle Shouse, Victoria Vida, Mika Abdalla, Ysa Panaerjo and girls from DIY Girls and Black Girls Code were also present to celebrate earlier this month.


Guests were treated to a private viewing of Project Mc2 Part 5 followed by a rooftop reception featuring interactive stations of the best-selling S.T.E.A.M. based product line for girls. Guests and girls from DIY Girls and Black Girls Code were able to create their own scents with the Project Mc2 Perfume Maker, apply Project Mc2 Experiment Dolls inspired Glue Tattoos, and play with the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse!

Jennie Garth and MGA Entertainment host the Netflix Series 'Project Mc2' Part 5 Premiere

The Emmy nominated series’ theme of “Smart is the new cool” was further celebrated by a special choreographed dance performance powered by Itel SMART bracelets to recreate a fun scene from the Project Mc2 series.

Project Mc2 Part 5 is now available on Netflix. #Smartisthenewcool

Ely Anne Vedar

Fashion & Lifestyle Editor

While California feels like it’s always been her home, Hawaii, San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Philippines are just a few places Ely Anne has lived thus cultivating her lifelong appetite for finding, trying and sharing new adventures, especially through food and wellness activities. She loves how food can always bring people together – anywhere, any time – and that’s what fuels her passion for public relations and marketing. Ely finds it invigorating to have a hand in seeing brands thrive in their community by using her PR, marketing and event production skills.

 

#FlashbackFriday: 90’s Nostalgia Comes to Life with Nickelodeon X Love Tribe Collection

#FlashbackFriday: 90’s Nostalgia Comes to Life with Nickelodeon X Love Tribe Collection

Nostalgia hit me heavy when I found out about the latest collaboration between Hybrid Apparel’s line, Love Tribe and Nickelodeon. This new collection is all about taking it back to Millennial childhood by making a nod to 90’s cartoon classics that so many of us grew up on, and personally, I’m loving every single piece! My favorite pieces include characters from hit shows like Rugrats, All That, and Hey Arnold!. You can also find pieces that feature quotes and characters from Clarissa Explains It All, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

According to the Vice President of Sales for Specialty Retailers of Hybrid Apparel, Bonnie Dogan explained that the collection was actually in the works for a while now. She says,

We have been partners with Nickelodeon for a long time, building an incredible relationship together. We love their creativity, and combining their vision with ours was the perfect recipe for an inspiring unique apparel line. There is nothing better then remembering the past, and the things we watched and loved while growing up.

The Nickelodeon collection a retro style for fashionable millennial women. The garments possess a “throwback” feel, having been made with materials such as terry cloth and jersey, and include trendy slogans such as “Trust Me, I’m a Rugrat,” featuring Chucky Finster from Rugrats and “Haters Gonna Hate,” featuring Arnold from Hey Arnold!.

Love Tribe X Nickelodeon has officially launched this week in stores and online at Macys.com, but the line will officially kick off nationwide with a special event at Macy’s Herald Square in New York at 2:00 pm on August 26, 2017.

Make sure to follow Love Tribe on Instagram here:  @lovetribeapparel

 

 

The Get Down Goes Down

The Get Down Goes Down

“In some ways, Empire is where The Get Down leads to— a corporate culture of rap music. Where The Get Down was about the rise of Rap Music, Empire is the capitalistic result.”

I was hooked. When “Books” Ezekiel Figuero read a poem with his emotionally-charged voice, it was poetry, rap and suddenly, I started to understand something about a culture that had evaded me. With the final episode now aired, we can speak to the merits and trials of this great experiment in television.
It was flawed, to be sure: A lot of storylines, a very weak gay tangent that was never realized, too much production, cartooning and cliches all spun on the head of a needle that could never decide where it wanted to go, but the ride was energetic, thrilling and if you were there, essentially the truth.
The last episode “Only From Exile Can We Come Home” was all the series wrapped into one big conclusion. but with such a delightful silliness ( imagine MX Justin Vivian Bond meets Jobriath tryout meets pop impresario, Robert Stigwood, at the Chelsea Hotel, of course!) that the show should conclude with one over-the-top last community rap, potential demise of our beloved little gay character, the bad guys turning good, it was all simply as Bette Davis once said: too much.
And it will be missed.
There are odd parallels to the other TV series, Empire, which in its third season has managed to stay afloat despite its deflated and contrived storylines — and a cast that feels exhausted. In some ways, Empire is where The Get Down leads to— a corporate culture of rap music. Where The Get Down was about the rise of Rap Music, Empire is the capitalistic result.
Empire lives while the Get Down, the most expensive Netflix series, $120 million to produce, goes to the place where great TV shows fade away.

PaleyFest Presents: SCANDAL – Celebrating Episode 100!

PaleyFest Presents: SCANDAL – Celebrating Episode 100!

In celebration of SCANDAL’s 100th episode, SoCal Magazine would like to highlight our coverage of this phenomenal series from last month’s PaleyFest Los Angeles.  The entire cast of Shonda Rhimes’ hit show was in attendance and they all shared very unique stories from the set of Scandal along with their bonds off-screen and insight into what to expect from episode 100.

Bellamy Young and Kerry Washington both created emotional moments at Paley Fest when they spoke of the friendship that the cast mates have all built with one another.

 

“The 100th episode is insane, and you can think of it as the ‘What if…’ episode.  It’s an altered reality if things hadn’t gone they way they went.  It informs in a really unique way your understanding of all our characters.”  – Tony Goldwyn

Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn shared one of their most memorable moments on Scandal was when they touched the Constitution the same night that Obama was re-elected into office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCANDAL airs Thursdays at 9|8c on ABC.  Check out the gallery below.

Kerry Washington, “Olivia Pope”; Tony Goldwyn, “President Fitzgerald ‘Fitz’ Grant”; Scott Foley, “Jake Ballard”; Guillermo Diaz, “Huck”; Darby Stanchfield, “Abby Whelan”; Bellamy Young, “Mellie Grant”; Katie Lowes, “Quinn Perkins”; Joshua Malina, “David Rosen”;  Jeff Perry, “Cyrus Beene”; Cornelius Smith Jr., “Marcus Walker”; Joe Morton, “Rowan Pope”; and George Newborn, “Charlie” celebrated 100 episodes of the hit ABC series.  Good Morning America’s Jesse Palmer moderated the panel.