Meeting Fergie to Talk about Life, Motherhood and the #AMAs #ABCTVEvent

fergie 2014 singleA last-minute addition to the ABC and Disney press trip I was recently on was a huge surprise: Fergie – THE Fergie – was going to visit ABC and meet with us.

Wait. What?!?

Like it wasn’t enough that we were going to the premiere of Big Hero 6, touring the set of black-ish, going to Dancing With the Stars, playing the part of a voice actor at Disney Animation Studios, getting an art lesson from a Disney animator, and so much more!

But there it was. We walked into a conference room at the ABC building, sat around a table and Fergie walked in.

I was instantly starstruck. She looked perfectly gorgeous and happy to be there, and, while she was entirely positive, she was also candid. I’m pretty sure she didn’t pull any punches when she answered our questions and talked about her life.

fergie 2014First, did you know Fergie’s last single (from The Dutchess) was released in 2006? That’s all changing in just a few days! Fergie is set to take the stage at the 2014 American Music Awards to perform her new single, L.A. LOVE (la la).

The AMAs will broadcast live on Sunday, November 23rd at 8:00pm ET/PT on ABC! Scroll down to the end of this post for more details about the AMAs.

disney mom bloggers press trip

Listen to a sample of Fergie’s new single, LA Love (la la) before you watch her perform it live at the AMAs!

Back to meeting Fergie: I really do LOVE hearing about a celebrity’s life and all those “other half” details. But it was even more amazing (and surprising!) to listen to Fergie gush about her baby and bring almost every question back around to her family.

We had a few minutes to ask her questions, and I felt like she was incredibly real and honest with her answers. Here’s what we talked about:

As much as she values her time with her son and her husband, the first thing she told us was that personal “me time” is extremely important to her. She has time set aside every day to read the print version of WWD (Women’s Wear Daily). She also uses the time to prep for the day, and she feels that it all gives her inspiration for future projects.

I mentioned earlier that Fergie’s last single was released in 2006. It’s been a while since she’s been immersed in the music scene, but that time away has been deliberate. She had her son, Axl, in 2013, and she wanted to make sure she had restructured her life as a mom. She wanted to keep her life simple, and she said, “I was really blessed to have that time at home and just be with my baby.” As a mom, I could wholeheartedly relate to what she was saying!

Like every other woman in the world, we wanted to know how Fergie “does it all.” In addition to putting her baby before her career, she had a very simple, practical answer to the question: iCal (Apple’s digital calendar)! She said that she schedules and color codes everything, and that she was ready to add more colors and categories to her calendar! Everything from exercising to writing lyrics to date nights has a place in her calendar. She also kept it real with this statement: You can have it all, just not all at once.

In addition to her upcoming appearance on the AMAs, Fergie will also be co-hosting Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC on 12/31 starting at 8pm EST!

About the 2014 American Music Awards:

dick clark productions announced today that Fergie, Lorde and One Direction will join the growing list of superstars set to perform at the 2014 American Music Awards.

Fergie will take to the stage to make her worldwide television debut performing her first single, since 2006, “L.A. LOVE (la la),” from her upcoming album.

After stealing the music scene in 2013, Lorde will be performing for the first time at the 2014 American Music Awards.

International sensation One Direction will perform a song off of their highly anticipated album, FOUR. In just four short years, the band has achieved a staggering 94 number one tracks and over 46 million records sold.

Also scheduled to appear at the world’s biggest fan-voted award show are previously announced 5 Seconds of Summer, Charli XCX, Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith and the evening’s host, Pitbull.

The 2014 American Music Awards will broadcast live from the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. 

Photo credit: ABC and Staci Salazar from 7 on a Shoestring

Disclosure: ABC and Disney flew me to LA to participate in this interview and other activities.

Disney’s FEAST: The Most Adorable Reason to Go See Big Hero 6! #BigHero6Event

disney feast logo dog dishI’ve been raving about Big Hero 6 for weeks now. It’s really, honestly not because I was just on a Big Hero 6 press trip. It’s because the movie is fantastic. You don’t need additional reasons to see it, but I have one for you anyway: Feast.

I have no real basis for saying this, but I feel like a lot of people go into Disney movies and come out loving them so much more than other movies is because it’s a special experience.

One aspect of that special experience in recent years is the addition of an animated short that’s shown just before the feature film starts. It’s often a surprise, it’s always fantastic and it leaves moviegoers with one more thing that makes them feel like what they just did, what they just saw, was more than just going to a movie.

If you go see Big Hero 6 you’ll see this point demonstrated to perfection. Feast is a treat that everyone needs to see!

director producer feast

Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed of Disney’s Feast

Feast is a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne and producer Kristina Reed. Feast is the sweet story of one man’s life through the eyes of his adopted dog, Winston. Our group of influential mom bloggers had the opportunity to interview both of them when we were at the Disney Animation Studios for a Big Hero 6 press day.

This film hooked me from the first few seconds. I adopted Jersey, my shelter dog, several years ago. She’s my best friend, my sidekick and taking her home was hands-down the best decision I’ve ever made. When I see a special relationship with a dog I immediately relate it to my own relationship with Jersey.

dog beginning feastFeast made me cry, thinking about how much little Winston cared about his owner, and about the incredible ways my own dog has shown her love for me over and over again. It also made me realize how much my dog has assimilated herself into my life.

I was pregnant when I adopted her and she was the center of my world for a few short months. When baby #1 was born, she took a backseat and adjusted. When baby #2 was born, she entertained and kept an eye on baby #1 from her backseat position. As the kids have grown, she’s definitely moved back to the front seat, and I’m so happy she never changed, she just took everything in stride.

Enough about me! Suffice it to say, if you have a dog, if you’ve ever loved a dog, if you like dogs, you will adore Feast!

mom bloggers press tripPatrick Osborne and Kristina Reed posed for this picture with us. They were incredibly kind and gracious.

Although the film is only a few minutes long, the story is robust and, like all Disney shorts, it has a very clear beginning, middle and end. I don’t want to give away any surprises or special moments, so instead, I’ll share some fun facts I picked up during my interview with Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed.

  1. It took 53 weeks to make Feast.
  2. The first concept of Feast came from Patrick Osborne recording his dinner every day for a year. At the end of the year every recording was compiled into one 6-minute video. He realized a story could be told just from the food he had eaten.
  3. The overall theme of Feast is how a dog relates to its owner basted on patterns in how he or she is fed.
  4. A Boston Terrier was chosen because that breed hadn’t yet been in a Disney film. That alone made Winston stand out. It also had two-toned colors, which aided in helping animators show the dog’s movement.
  5. The food in Feast was chosen by recognizability: shots of the food were often shown for just a few frames, so the audience wouldn’t have time to think about what they were seeing. They had to instantly know what it was.
  6. The key roles of Producer, Head of Story and Director were set from the start of creating Feast. The rest of the team rotated on and off the film as they worked on other films (like Big Hero 6).
  7. Parsley is used multiple times in the short to tie the film together and to signify Kirby, Winston’s owner’s love interest.
  8. A patented animation technique called Meander is used in Feast for applying hand-drawn lines over computer-generated characters. It allows for more emotion and detail to be conveyed. Patrick Osborne holds the patent on Meander, and it was originally created for The Princess and the Frog.
  9. Kirby, the love interest, is named after Patrick Osborne’s grandmother.
  10. The outdoor scenes in Feast were inspired by Oxford, Ohio, where Osborne grew up.

disney feast dogIf you’ve already seen Feast, you know it’s wonderful. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you show up on time to Big Hero 6 so you don’t miss it! 

Photo credits: Disney and Staci Salazar from 7 on a Shoestring

Disclosure: Disney and ABC flew me out to Los Angeles to participate in this interview. All opinions are my own.

Big Hero 6: I Did a Baymax Voiceover! #BigHero6Event

baymax voiceWhen I was on a trip to promote Disney’s Million Dollar Arm in June, my favorite Disney publicist told me that getting into the recording booths at Disney Animation Studios and doing a character voiceover was a bucket list item. I had seen some of my blogger friends writing about doing this a few times, but I didn’t understand what an experience it would be until I did it myself last week.

baymax wavingIf you’ve seen Big Hero 6, you know that Baymax is a special character. I shared this on my post, How to Draw Baymax, but if you missed it, here’s a brief description of who Baymax is:

Baymax cares. That’s what he was designed to do. The plus-sized inflatable robot’s job title is technically Healthcare Companion: With a simple scan, Baymax can detect vital stats, and, given a patient’s level of pain, can treat nearly any ailment.

Conceived and built by Tadashi Hamada, Baymax just might revolutionize the healthcare industry. But to the inventor’s kid brother Hiro, the nurturing, guileless bot turns out to be more than what he was built for—he’s a hero, and quite possibly Hiro’s closest friend.

After some deft reprogramming that includes a rocket fist, super strength and rocket thrusters that allow him to fly, Baymax becomes one of the Big Heroes.

The scene I did voice of Baymax for is when Baymax reappears in Hiro’s life after the death of Hiro’s brother, Tadashi. Here’s the video of me recording Baymax’s voice:

Here’s the finished clip of my voiceover for Baymax:

A few things to note:

1. I absolutely did not nail this. Doing a 45-second voiceover is hard. I can’t even imagine the work that goes into preparing to voice a character for an entire movie! There were cues that come through the headset just before my I was supposed to speak, but that wasn’t enough for me to get the timing exactly right.

2. I don’t care that I didn’t nail it! :) Going into the same recording booth that all the real Big Hero 6 voice actors used, doing what they did to add a voice to a character, was surreal! I had enjoyed reading about others doing this for past press trips, but I definitely didn’t know what I was missing. I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to do a Disney voiceover, and it’s fantastic that Disney provided both the videos so I can hold onto the experience forever.

3. I think this is the most tired I’ve ever looked in any picture/video of myself that I’ve made public! I did this Baymax voiceover on the last day of the press trip. The fourth full day of interviews, parties and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It was also the day after the Big Hero 6 premiere and party. Sleep was definitely low on my priority list, and I was showing it! I know I can’t maintain that pace for more than a few days, but I’d choose amazing experiences over sleep any day.

Disney’s Big Hero 6 is showing in theaters everywhere. Get your tickets today so you can see how much better professionals do voice acting!

Check out the rest of my Big Hero 6 posts:

See all my Entertainment news or just the Disney updates

Thanks to Disney for the videos and to Choya Porter for taking my picture in the recording booth.

Disclosure: Disney flew me to Los Angeles and covered most expenses to participate in this experience and others for the Big Hero 6 press trip. 

Big Hero 6: Jamie Chung, Genesis Rodriguez on Adrenaline, Ariel & Intelligence #BigHero6Event

jamie chung genesis rodriguez together big hero 6

When I found out we were going to interview Jamie Chung and Genesis Rodriguez during the Disney Big Hero 6 press trip I had to do some research–I didn’t know much about either of these actresses!

Here are some fun facts about both of them:

Jamie Chung is the voice of Go Go Tomago in Disney’s Big Hero 6. Her movie credits include Grown Ups, The Hangover Part II, The Hangover Part III. She also has a varied and successful television career, appearing in Once Upon a Time, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Greek and many others.

Genesis Rodriguez is the voice of Honey Lemon in Disney’s Big Hero 6. She’s appeared in movies like What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Identity Thief. She’s also had several television roles, notably on Entourage, Days of Our Lives and various Telmundo telenovelas.

jamie chung genesis rodriguez together

By the time I sat down to interview these ladies, I had already seen Big Hero 6 twice.  I was happy to be familiar with the super-smart and strong characters they had voiced, and I was eager to hear more about how Go Go Tomago and Honey Lemon fit into their personalities.

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The Kids of ‘black-ish’ talk Family, Comedy, Grandparents and More! #ABCTVEvent #blackishABC

blackish kids with kenya

Have you been watching this season’s new hit comedy, black-ish? I was assigned some pretty fun homework prior to last week’s Disney press trip to Los Angeles: Watch all available episodes of black-ish before a scheduled morning of touring the black-ish set, screening an unaired episode and interviewing cast members.

Disney press trips are awesome. 

My husband and I started watching black-ish fairly from the beginning of the season, and now we’re hooked! The show is real. It’s incredibly funny, fairly realistic and simply well-written. If you like 30 minute situation comedies like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory, I’m certain black-ish is right up your alley!

abc blackish cast

About ABC’s black-ish:

Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a colonial home in the ‘burbs.  But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family?

With a little help from his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future. 

black-ish stars Anthony Anderson as Dre, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow, Yara Shahidi as Zoey, Marcus Scribner as Andre Jr., Miles Brown as Jack, Marsai Martin as Diane and Laurence Fishburne as Pops.

Miles Brown Marsai Martin blackish kidsMiles Brown and Marsai Martin who play Jack and Diane on ABC’s black-Ish

The best part of the morning was definitely interviewing the four kids who star on black-ish:

  • Yara Shahidi plays Zoey
  • Marcus Scribner plays Andre Junior
  • Miles Brown plays Jack
  • Marsai Martin plays Diane

Highlights of interviewing the kids from black-ish

Each of your characters has something kind of special [about him or her]. Zoey is into technology, Andre Jr. is sporty…how close is that to your true personality? 

YS: I’m not so close to Zoey. I’m the kind of person who’s always reading-I spent my summer at Oxford taking two history classes. I usually forget my phone. I’m pretty different from Zoey.

MS: Well, I play Lacrosse and I’ve played since I was in second grade. I guess that’s pretty similar to field hockey. I also play basketball, which I guess is a “culture sport.” But I’m pretty into sports, so that makes me close to Junior. I think most of the conversations in the show have happened to me in real life. 

MB: Same as Marcus. I’m mostly close to my character as myself in real life. I’m also into basketball and sports and acting, too. 

MM: My character, Diane. I’m pretty into social media. I’m also pretty quirky. I don’t have siblings, so that’s kind of new to me. I like theater very much. I’m kind of sporty–I played gymnastics and I did cheerleading for a year and a half. So that’s me!

Yara Shahidi and Marcus Scribner blackish kidsYara Shahidi and Marcus Scribner of ABC’s black-ish

What is it like being on the set with those amazing actors? 

YS: It’s absolutely hilarious being on set, and being able to work with such amazing comedic veterans is amazing. I feel like I’m learning so much from being on set, but it doesn’t even feel like work…it just feels like another enjoyable experience. 

MS: Working with all the veterans…it’s awesome to come to work and learn something new from them. Let’s be honest: they’re all comedic geniuses. It’s just pretty awesome. 

MM: They’re like our mentors at acting now because we actually feel like a real family. It’s fun stuff. Acting with Anthony, Tracee and Laurence feels like a real family. We bond as a family. Like, together we’re unstoppable! 

What do your friends and family have to say about all of this? 

YS: They’re extremely supportive. I have substitute teachers who I’ve never even been in class with and they’re tracking the show and its numbers! My school did a little thing in the newspaper for black-ish. My family has been extremely supportive. Everyone in my family has been saying, “that’s what we do everyday. This is real”

MS: When the show was just taking off and there were billboards up and everything, My grandmother, she’s in sales, everytime she would make a sale she’d be like…”Look at this necklace, but GUESS WHAT? My grandson, Marcus, is going to be on the new show black-ish!

MM: My family is like, amazing. After the pilot, my grandparents called me to tell me “We have it on DVR, we have it on Hulu and every TV in our house it tuned to black-ish!”

The show’s creator, Kenya Barris, joined the four kids in the room to take a few questions.

Can you explain, generalize what black-ish actually is? 

KB: “black-ish” is a word we came up with that, from our characters’ point of view, the world is a lot more homogenized than it was when I was a kid. I have five kids. I look at my kids and the way I grew up-My definition, the way I thought “being black” was is not what my kids are living. 

At the same time, they’re “black-ish” a little bit lesser version of what I was when I was growing up. then I looked at all their friends, most of whom primarily are not black, and they were a little bit more than what I thought “black” was.

I just don’t think there’s a black or a white kid left in America. They’re all just sort of a blend of everything else. Asian, Latinos. We’re all just sort of blended into this homogenized new layer of what America is.

As a father, [the character] Dre is dealing with that. His father dealt with something different. So the show is three generations talking about where we are today. 

At the end of the interview the kids of black-ish were nice of us to take a photo with us:

disney mom bloggers press trip

I’ve seen several episodes of black-ish. That, combined with the above interviews, brings me to summarize black-ish as a relatable show about a family.

Personally, I can compare aspects of that show’s family to my own in several areas. I grew up very close to my grandma and my parents always made a big effort to be involved my life. They worked very hard to provide for their family.

As the next generation, it’s easy to see how different my life is because of all my parents have done to keep my struggles to a minimum. And it’s worked! My parents are amazing and still make sure my kids, my husband and I are able to have everything we need.

Yet I want my kids to be instilled with a good work ethic and a sense that family is the most central part of their worlds. So I get how changes for the better raise new questions about parenting and a comfortable lifestyle.

Be sure to check out black-ish on ABC to see how funny and relatable it really is! 

Photo credits: Staci Salazar and Jen Burg.

Disclosure: Disney and ABC flew me out to ABC studios to participate in this set visit and interview. All opinions are my own.

How to Draw Baymax from BIG HERO 6 #BigHero6Event

how to draw baymax

If you’ve seen Big Hero 6 I’m pretty positive that you’ve fallen in love with Baymax. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, brace yourself: you’re going to adore this robot!

how to draw baymaxThis is Disney’s official description of Baymax:

Baymax cares. That’s what he was designed to do. The plus-sized inflatable robot’s job title is technically Healthcare Companion: With a simple scan, Baymax can detect vital stats, and, given a patient’s level of pain, can treat nearly any ailment.

Conceived and built by Tadashi Hamada, Baymax just might revolutionize the healthcare industry. But to the inventor’s kid brother Hiro, the nurturing, guileless bot turns out to be more than what he was built for—he’s a hero, and quite possibly Hiro’s closest friend.

After some deft reprogramming that includes a rocket fist, super strength and rocket thrusters that allow him to fly, Baymax becomes one of the Big Hero.

One of the great things about Baymax is his simplicity. His character doesn’t have complex emotions, and his simple goal is to provide care and compassion. He’s also simple in his design. That’s good news for non-artistic types like me, especially when given the task of learning how to draw Baymax all by myself!

how to draw baymaxLast week in Los Angeles, our visit to Walt Disney Animation Studios included a personal Baymax drawing lesson from the Jin Kim, Disney’s Character Design Supervisor on Big Hero 6!

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