Animal Activist Tiffani Thiessen Discusses New EmBARK On Pet Health Initiative

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Tiffani Thiessen may be most known for her television work on Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210, but what you may not know about the actress is she’s also a very dedicated animal activist. When not working on her USA Network hit White Collar or raising her adorable daughter Harper, Thiessen campaigns for the emBARK on Pet Health initiative. During her latest appearance at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando on Feb. 21, Thiessen let us in on how she got involved and what others can do for their pets.

“I’ve been a long-time animal activist for, gosh, probably since I’ve been a young kid. My father worked for the city and he actually designed the parks for the city back in California and so we were always the house known to bring in strays constantly all the time,” she recalled. “I’ve always had a love for animals. Always wanting to try to find homes if we weren’t able to bring them. So it was a passion that started when I was very, very young.” So when Sergeant’s approached Thiessen a little a while ago to become part of the team, there was no question. “It was kind of a perfect fit for the both of us.”

And Thiessen has been spreading the word about the campaign and its three major points every since. “One is if you are a pet owner, to really make sure you don’t forget to neuter your pets and making sure they stay healthy. And that’s in many different ways, by making sure they exercise properly. Being a mom, my whole thing is not forgetting your pets (laughs) even when you have a child that takes over your life! I have two dogs and a cat and we take them to the park every single day. They are still going to the vet on a regular basis to get their teeth cleaned.” Secondly, “We’re trying to get people to the website to pledge that they will be more aware about their pets.” Getting people more aware of adopting from animals shelters is also something Thiessen is very passionate about. “I’ve been a huge, huge activist for really trying to get people to know that there are amazing animals out there in shelters that need homes. I do believe there is a lot of overbreeding that doesn’t need to be happening right now and especially when there are amazing dogs and amazing cats out there that can be if not, even better. I think at times that cats and dogs that come from shelters make even better pets because—I don’t know if it’s a sense that they know they are being rescued and they are just so thankful that they are actually getting a nice home.”

Contributing to Sergeant’s has also given Thiessen the opportunity to show her daughter “to be compassionate and thoughtful” to there own little animals. Thiessen, along with her husband Brady Smith, own two dogs, Buck and Pearl, and a cat named Savannah. “Real Southern names for ya!” she joked.

Clearly, Sergeant’s picked the right person to help the great cause. If acting weren’t an option, fans of the actress would be seeing her in an entirely new light. “If I weren’t doing what I did for a living I’d live in some crazy ranch style place out in the middle of nowhere and have like 9 billion cats and dogs,” she exclaimed. “That would be me. I would be like the cat and dog lady.”

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‘Carrie Diaries’ Set Visit: AnnaSophia Robb And Austin Butler Dissect Carrie And Sebastian’s Relationship

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For those not watching The Carrie Diaries yet, you are missing much more than a look back at Carrie Bradshaw’s high school days. As AnnaSophia Robb effortlessly confirms that she’s the next big actress in television, and Austin Butler continues to give those repeat-worthy smirks, the two actors have managed to capture a relationship worth staying tuned for. On a recent visit to the shows New York set, Robb and Butler both broke down the Carrie and Sebastian relationship that fans have fallen for themselves.

“I think they have such a cute relationship,” Robb admits. “You wouldn’t automatically put them together. Carrie seems kind of like the wound-up, neurotic, not nerdy, but studious type. She’s very driven and Sebastian’s more that laid-back sort of bad boy. Opposites definitely do attract, but I think there’s this comfortability that both of them have with each other that they complete each other in a nice way.”  Adding, “I think one we can have a lot of fun because it’s not just a one-dimensional thing. They are able to have a bunch of different trials to work through together and you never know exactly how each one feels about the other. It changes all the time.”

That, it does. As seen on the latest “Caught” episode on the CW series, Sebastian and Carrie’s spat on the dance floor clearly showed that feelings are still there. “Right now, it’s at the point that it can get so great, they’re relationship can go so well, but then there’s so much vulnerability that comes with that so he puts up protection devices,” Butler adds. “And then it causes the relationship to not go so well. And it goes back and forth, but it doesn’t change how much they feel for each other. So it’s learning to overcome those things.”

And it looks like the two will be exploring how they feel about one another throughout the series, but not without some obstacles, like Donna LaDonna. “There are positive sides to both girls for Sebastian,” he says of Carrie and Donna [Chloe Bridges]. “Donna is very carefree, not all in his business, so it’s a very easy way to get his mind off any troubles he has. Just have fun without any thick strings attached. But Carrie, there’s a possibility of a much deeper relationship that’s much more meaningful, so I guess in the long run, from my point of view, Carrie is the better choice because I think they are a much better fit. But it also has the possibility for pain.”

So, what does this all mean for Carrie and Sebastian? Though Robb would like Carrie to date other guys still, she too understands why audiences would love for the two to end up together. “When you introduce two characters as love interests in the first episode of a show, you always kind of want them to end up together. It’s just like Gossip Girl (laughs). As soon as the idea of them together is introduced, you kind of want it. But definitely, it’s better to have the tension pulled and draw everything out.”


‘The Vampire Diaries’ Aftermath: Is Jeremy Really Dead?

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The Vampire Diaries gave viewers two significant details this past season hinting that Jeremy would be the next to go: It was rumored that a fan-favorite would die, and Steven McQueen had been given a bigger story line than ever before. Plus, who ever said that good came with the return of Katherine? Fans of the CW series learned of Jeremy’s fate last week in the “Down The Rabbit Hole” episode, but we can’t help but wonder if Jeremy is really dead.

According to IMDB, McQueen is listed for the next four episodes. One of those being the pilot episode for The Originals. Plus, are you not listening to Elena (Nina Dobrev) in the preview for this week’s show? She may be getting a bit wired, but screaming “He’s not dead! Find me Bonnie! We need Bonnie!” to Dr. Meredith (Torrey DeVitto) makes us wonder: can’t Bonnie (Kat Graham) just save him? We would like to think that, but having a witch in Mystic Falls seems to be more important than a shirtless Jeremy at this point.

I know, ridiculous. Right?

In any case, Dobrev is just crushing our dreams of McQueen returning even more. “I think we were all shocked and surprised, but that’s the show — it’s a vampire show, people have to die all the time. And for Elena, it was very important that she lose Jeremy for what she’s about to go through. It becomes a big part of her journey. I know Steven was very bummed, but also excited because he had a lot to do leading up to it — his character grew and became so strong. It’s bittersweet but made for some amazing television,” she tellsEntertainment Tonight in a recent interview. Later adding, “Losing Jeremy really, really, really changes Elena. Sometimes people recover from tragedy and sometimes they don’t — but it’s a long journey for her.”

It seems like Jeremy may actually be gone, but we’re still holding out. Trying to wrap our heads around Elena having absolutely no family left is hard to do. The lack of buzz on his departure compared to Matt Davis’ Alaric last season may also be messing with our heads.

But hey, Katherine always messes with everyone’s head when she returns. Guess we know how it really feels now.


Amara Miller Interview: Breakout Actress On Her Quick Success In ‘1600 Penn’ And ‘The Descendants’

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At just 12 years old, breakout actress Amara Miller has already found success in both television and film. In just a short few years Miller has found herself on the big screen in the critically acclaimed project The Descendants and also starring alongside Josh Gad in the latest NBC series 1600 Penn. Talented in both drama and comedy, it’s no wonder that director Alexander Payne immediately picked her out from an audition video to play George Clooney’s daughter in the 2001 film.

Now playing Marigold Gilchrist in 1600 Penn, Miller is excited and grateful for the experiences she has had so far. In my latest interview with the up-and-comer, Miller revealed how she got into acting, her favorite moment so far in the industry, and who she would love to work with one day.

How’s it been working on 1600 Penn so far?
AMARA MILLER: It’s definitely a lot of fun. Everyone there is really hilarious. Everyone is really welcoming and it’s really like a family.

What was the audition process like?
I was with the producer, the casting director and the writer. It was last year. it was quite a while ago. The script for Penn came around last year during pilot season and I decided, ‘Why not audition?’ I mean I had been auditioning for some movies and I was like, ‘Well, why not audition for a TV show? Plus, it’s hilarious.’ So I decided why not? I went in and auditioned and I got the part.

Josh Gad and the rest of the cast are just hilarious too. What’s been one of your favorite moments on set?
Oh, there’s so many of them! I mean a lot of them are definitely when everyone—every episode usually has a scene when we are all together and usually that’s eating breakfast or we are all hanging out in the living room. I think those are always the best because everyone’s there.

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At such a young age, you’ve already been a part of some amazing projects. When did you know you wanted to act?
I was about 7 or 8 years old and I was with my aunt. We were driving around and she said, ‘So, what do you want to be when you grow up?’ And I said, ‘I want to be an actress.’ And she said, ‘Okay, well you should probably do some acting lessons.’ And I said, ‘No I don’t need any acting lessons. I’m just going to be an actress.’ And she asked what college I want to go to and I said, ‘I don’t want to go to college. I’m going to be an actress.’ [Laughs] So it was definitely something my aunt and I were laughing about later. Then a couple of years went by and I got a call from my other aunt who also lives in L.A. and she was at a party and heard they were looking for the next girl to play the daughter of the main character in a next movie and so my aunt called the agency and said I wanted to audition for the movie.

What was it like working on The Descendants?
Oh, definitely amazing. It was an incredible experience. It was so much fun and I’m so grateful that my very first project was such a good quality movie with quality actors, quality directors, and quality scriptwriters. Every single thing on that movie was just fantastic. I just feel very lucky and grateful.

How about working with George Clooney?
George is amazing. He’s a really, really fun guy. I mean he’s hilarious, of course! He’s really energetic and super playful. He definitely made me feel really welcome and I learned a lot from him. It was fantastic working with him on my first movie.

Who else would you love to work with one day?
Emma Stone. She’s really a great actress that I would love to work with. Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence. I mean they are just amazing women. They are both so real and they can both do comedy as well as drama and I think they are two very amazing actresses.

Your co-star Martha MacIsaac said Stone is one of her best friends!
I don’t think we’ve talked about that! That’s really interesting. That’s so cool.

So now with your quick success, what would you say has been your favorite moment so far?
I think definitely when I was on the red carpet at the Oscars. When we got into the theater and everyone was quieting down and the curtain lifted and Billy Crystal was there, everything was just so amazing. It was a dream. It definitely was one of my favorite moments.

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‘The Lying Game’ Interview: Alexandra Chando Looks Back On Her Audition, Dishes On Love Triangle

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Alexandra Chando has worked hard to be where she is, and where that is just so happens to be playing both of the lead characters in a fan-crazed teen drama. Taking on the roles of Sutton Mercer and Emma Becker on the ABC Family hit The Lying Game, Chando and the cast is well into their second season and continuing to reveal some huge twists and secrets. During a recent chat with the 26-year-old actress, Chando let us in on what the audition process was like, the story line that shocked her the most, and her favorite moment with the cast. Plus, whom does she really want Emma to end up with? (Of course we are rooting for Ethan!)

Who knew that such success would follow her after simply being intrigued by a production of Annie with her mom? The series has yet been picked up for a third season, but that’s nothing to worry about. “I’m looking into film now for hiatuses. It’s tough because of the timing, but I absolutely want to do film for sure,” she tells me. “If another show opportunity came up, absolutely. It just sort of depends on the character and the project.” After impressively playing two characters each week, there’s no worry that Chando will be sticking around for a long time.

What was the audition like trying out for both Emma and Sutton?
ALEXANDRA CHANDO: The first audition I had was with Chuck [Pratt Jr.], who is the executive producer, and the casting. I had to do a couple of scenes. I’m trying to remember if I had to do an Emma and Sutton scene. I believe I did, and then when I tested for the network and the studio I had to do the big locker room scene from the pilot where Sutton and Emma switch places. That was so challenging because first of all your nerves are going crazy and then to not really know the characters yet and have a set and just kind of be in it, it was challenging. But yeah, we did those scenes.

What are some similarities and differences that you have with Emma and Sutton?
I would say I find myself more similar to Emma just because I like to think of myself as a genuine, caring person who doesn’t manipulate people, which is what Sutton is. And obviously that’s the main differences, but I think there are obviously parts of Sutton in me as well. It’s been fun to development her and the way Sutton handles situations sometimes. Not emotional, but very strong and she kind of finds ways—she’s a survivor. And I like to consider myself or think of myself as that. Just certain ways I handle things and just her strength. I hope I contribute to that.

Do you prefer playing one over the other?
Recently I’ve loved playing Sutton. It’s just so fun to play the bad girl.

There have been so many more layers added to each story line since the first season. What was the biggest shocker for you at a table read?
I definitely was shocked about the fact that Sutton was working with Rebecca and she had known for a while. I was definitely shocked, but there is some other stuff coming up that unfortunately I can’t reveal, but I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks that one of my favorite story lines is the relationship with Dan and Ethan. I’m excited because the fans will really kind of get to see the struggle between these two guys and really look into who they are and their background, which I think is really interesting.

A big shock is how Laurel is finally finding out about the twins secret too.
Yes, definitely! I’m so glad because they always kind of paint Laurel as the smart sister and she’s so studious. I love Laurel. I think she’s one of my favorite characters. [Laughs] But just the way she was developed and especially in the pilot even they had her kind of the studious one. And so it kind of always bothered me that she—it took her so long to figure it out. But now she’s catching on, which is great. It certainly raises the stakes a little bit for the story.

The series wouldn’t be complete without a love triangle. Even more than a triangle! Is there hope for Ethan and Emma?
I mean I like the pairings for different reasons. I like both of them for different reasons, but I think deep down I think Emma and Ethan should be together just because they’re so connected in a way. But I would love for Sutton to just find somebody else completely and not interfere with Emma and Ethan. But the Thayer and Emma relationship is very interesting and just how it came about. I think it is particularly enjoyable to watch because there is—and you will see this later on—there is this struggle that Emma has because she does still love Ethan and she’s trying to convince herself that she’s not.

It must be great to film away in Texas. Has there been a favorite cast moment off set?
We have tons of fun together and we are like family because we’re all what each other has. I remember one of our first weeks back in Austin for the second season we went tubing, which was about 45 minutes away. We went tubing down the river. You tie all the tubes together and you just kind of float down the river for two hours. It was so much fun. We went to a concert at night. We try to plan cast outings and trips with each other, and especially in Austin. We really want to take advantage of the weather and the outdoor activities that it has to offer.

Lastly, there are so many twists being revealed and there’s a few episodes left of the season! What can fans expect next?
So much will happen! I love the last couple of episodes. I think that a lot unravels and there’s so much drama and definitely some favorite episodes as well. There are some story lines that really come to a head.

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‘The Carrie Diaries’ Set Visit: The Cast Reveals 80’s Film Characters They Would Love To Play

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When it was reported that Carrie Bradshaw would be returning to high school on The CW this fall, there was more than scrunchies and shoulder pads on the mind. The 80’s  meant John Hughes films, Molly Ringwald, and a leading heartthrob like Jake Ryan or a best pal named Duckie. That’s why during our recent set visit toThe Carrie Diaries in New York, we asked the cast what 80’s film they would have loved to be a part of and what character they would have wanted to play!

From AnnaSophia Robb to our new Mr. Big, Austin Butler, here’s what the young cast from Castlebury High School had to say!

 

AnnaSophia Robb:  “Oh, any of the John Hughes films. There are so many great films. Back to the Future, wouldn’t that be fun?” [Carrie Bradshaw]

Ellen Wong: “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off! And I would be Ferris, the female version. That would just be so cool. It would be kind of an interesting twist too to have a girl lead in a move like that. Because I feel like girls are sort of portrayed in a passive way. There are more stereotypes in the way that characters were portrayed in film and TV in that time and I think it would be interesting and kind of neat to break that.” [Jill “The Mouse” Thompson]

Austin Butler: “Oh, wow. Aw man, Footloose—I didn’t even think about that! I love John Hughes. I love The Breakfast Club. And who does Judd Nelson play? Bender. Yeah. I love Bender.” [Sebastian Kydd]

Brendan Dooling: “[Laughs] It’s after ’84 but I would definitely want to be in The Goonies and I would definitely want to be…what’s his name? Chunk! Yes! I would definitely want to be Chunk. He was always the one that made me laugh in The Goonies. He provides the best laughs in that whole film.” [Walt Reynolds]

Chloe Bridges: “I don’t know! Sixteen Candles. But is it too obvious if I say Molly Ringwald because she’s the lead of the movie? [Laughs] Should I choose like a really obscure character? Maybe like the nerdy guy that gets to drive the car for the first time. He’s cool—no Molly Ringwald. Sixteen Candles, that’s my final answer. [Donna LaDonna]

Stefania Owen: “Okay, I love The Breakfast Club. I’m so bad with names though. I would be the one—what’s her name? The one who bites her nails [Allison Reynolds], yeah I love her. [Dorrit Bradshaw]

Katie Findlay: Breakfast Club. Judd Nelson in Breakfast Club. I’ll fight him for it and win! No. 1 I’m huge and No. 2 it would be funnier because I don’t look like I could really kill anybody. I have to get that fist pump. I know I’m actually the weird girl but I have to fight for my dreams.” [Maggie Landers]

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Paul Wesley’s Next Step: What Comes After ‘The Vampire Diaries’

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In a time when television is an even bigger medium than film, it isn’t surprising that some of the best talent in the industry has transferred to the small screen. As Stefan Salvatore on the deliciously addicting and fantastically written series The Vampire Diaries, actor Paul Wesley just so happens to be one of them. If he isn’t considered already, Wesley is on his way to A-list status, and his work on the show and other projects prove just that. During my recent chat with the New Jersey native, Paul let me in on how he got his start in acting and what may come next after Mystic Falls.

“I guess I’ve always sort of been an actor. I used to do plays as a kid,” he explains. “I didn’t think I was going to do it as a profession until I dropped out. I was working as an actor until I was 15 or 16. I was thrown into it. Somebody saw me and they said you know, ‘Do you want an agent?’ I said, ‘Yes, sure.’ So we did it and I just sort of—I was still going to college at 18 or 19 and I sort of realized, ‘Well, this is silly. I’m going to college, but I’m really doing what I love. I’m just going to pursue this.'” Paul initially went to Rutgers University in his hometown, New Brunswick. “You have all these plans that are engrained in your head that you have to get good grades. But it took me a year in college or less to just sort of let this idea of maybe not doing academic level and pursuing the arts on sort of a gut instinct. And that was a big deal to me, but I’m very glad I did.”

And that gut instinct clearly paid off. After guesting on shows like Everwood and The O.C., he later landed the CW series that’s now in its fourth season. And though we wish he could make those silent phone call faces and be a part of Stelena forever, we know there will inevitably be an endgame. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a plan. Do you know what I mean?” Paul says of the future. “But I think I’m very excited.”

Assuming one of the reasons he tried out for TVD is because of Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson’s writing, what’s on the page is what he focuses on first. “It really is about the script and I really enjoy putting things together from the ground up. I like taking ideas and creating something. Sometimes it’s boring to be an actor and just sit around and wait for something to come around, so you want to create a role. So that’s something I’ve sort of been pursuing as well.”

But no matter what, luckily we get to continue watching Stefan in his current Stebekah romance and hopefully soon-to-be returned ripper ways. Later adding, “I’m going to take things as they come. I don’t have a plan. I don’t really care about doing something in a timely matter. Just doing things that I really enjoy and not really putting a lot of pressure on myself.”

Plan or not, in Mystic Falls or not, one detail is clear of Paul’s future: we’ll be watching.