Time to Brag About My Family – Sonya Jenkins

The original over to Shayla’s Catch. The newly released Amazon book-to-film movie.

I have two wonderful sisters, but I’ve also been blessed with amazing cousins that I’ve had the pleasure of bonding with, admiring their success, and bragging about them.  This blog post is a shoutout to my fashionista filmmaking cousin, Sonya Jenkins.  She is an Atlanta born and raised actress, entertainment journalist, and author.  Sonya just released on Amazon Shayla’s Catch, her debut book-to-film project.  Congrats cousin!!!!!   Movie Link

Sonya is a talented screenwriter and director who shares the drama of a modern-day love story of Shayla (Shakari Gault), an ambitious fashion exec that falls in love with a charming, but definitely a lady’s man, pro football player Calvin “CK” Moore (Malachi Mutakabbir).  Much like real love, there are moments of passion, interrupted by the realities that often arise when two dynamic individuals come together.  As written by the Tennessee Tribune, Shayla’s Catch is a valid and timely depiction of the competitive nature of American sports mixed with drama, romance, money, intimacy, broken hearts, and hope.  The film also addresses issues around self-esteem and understanding the boundaries of a healthy relationship.

Sonya Jenkins, author, actress, and director. Way to go cousin.

The release of Shayla’s Catch has been a goal of Sonya’s since she first presented the screenplay in 2003 at the Jamerican Film Festival.  The following year, Sonya pitched the project to Robert Townsend. As we Jenkins are persistent, Sonya continued to develop Shayla’s Catch while pursuing her acting and journalism work on the red carpet for her celebrity web magazine, Sonya’s Spotlight.  By keeping her eye on the prize, her efforts paid off when Ava DuVernay approached Sonya to direct a small scene for Selma.  While the piece was eventually cut, Sonya was bitten by the directing bug.  Sonya’s passion for directing was further cultivated while she worked as a background artist for several of Tyler Perry TV and film productions.  Through these roles, Sonya honed her skills as a director. 

I am so proud of my cousin for making her dream a reality.  Sonya, may you continue to shine on the big screen and in life. 

Camera-Ready – Fashion Tips for Your TV Debut

As we browse to find that perfect look. Bloomingdale’s 59th St. NYC.

When your BFF Dr. Kimberly Williams, a leading NYC neuropsychologist, is invited to share her words of wisdom on TV, it’s a great reason to spend a Saturday afternoon shopping closets and finding the perfect outfit for the occasion.  While today’s selfie culture makes it seem like everyone wakes up camera-ready, there is an art and a little science to picking the right on-air outfit.  These are my five fashion tips on prepping for a TV debut.

  • Dress for the Occasion.  The first thing to do when preparing for a TV appearance is to gain an understanding of the show format.  What does the set look like?  Will you be sitting or standing?  Does the show have a formal or more casual vibe?  What is your role in the show?  By answering these questions, you will be able to match your look with the show. 
Yes, there might be a ton of color selections, but you want the color that works best with your complexion.
  • Create a wow moment.  TV cameos are great because they position you as an expert in your craft.  They also create a means to connect you with the viewership in a personal manner by your engagement on the screen.  For these reasons, COLOR is key.  There are some basic rules like don’t wear white on the set because it often drowns a person out on camera.  While black is slimming, it can be a little blah on TV.  Look for colors that work with your skin tone.  To find the perfect color, I suggest you take pics of yourself to check colors against your complexion.  Remember, TV works with bright lights.   For that reason, you want a color that works well under the lights.  For my BFF, we went with a warm and vibrant color of burnt orange.  It truly popped and created a high-energy feel that tied in with the image that Dr. Williams was looking to create on camera. 
  • Don’t be a walking billboard or distract the eye.  Unless you are doing an advertisement promotion, my recommendation is to avoid logos on your outfit.  They could date the piece and also may limit where the footage could be shown.  Stripes and plaids may be a challenge on the eye.  While I typically suggest fashions with visual variety, for TV, stay away from busy patterns that cause the eye to work too hard to focus on you. 
Try on your pieces to ensure you like the look and the feel of the outfit. Because camera lights can be hot, think about this when selecting a material.
  • Think about the total image.  Because TV is all about the visual, you want to ensure that your total look is correct.  While your outfit is key, you also want your hair, makeup, and nails on point.  Just as I would take my car to the mechanic for a tune-up vs. me trying to do it at home, I say the same thing for hair, makeup, and nails.  Call a professional!!!  On camera, you want a flawless look.  Most people have a beautician, but a makeup artist might be a stretch.  However, everyone has access to a mall where you can stop by a Mac counter.  By spending $65 or more, you are able to have your face done.  If you share with your makeup person that this is for a TV shoot, they can adjust your foundation and coloring to ensure that you have a natural, polished look on camera. 
  • Enjoy the experience.  While it might seem that there are a ton of things that you must do to get ready for a TV appearance, it can also be a great excuse to pamper yourself.  Treat yourself to a facial and makeover.  Maybe this is a chance to add a coveted piece to your wardrobe.  Whatever you do, make this moment special for you.

While I can’t show Dr. Williams’s final selection because she plans to do a formal launch, I will share that her look was professional but with a pop of color.  We selected a dress with a timeless silhouette that added to my BFF’s charm.  She looked amazing.  I will be sure to post an update once the show airs.  See you on TV land. 

New Nordstrom NYC Store – Amazing

I am a bag lover. This is me enjoying the lovely bags at Nordstrom.

In a time when stores are shuddering their doors, Nordstrom makes a big splash in the New York market with the much-anticipated opening of its east coast flagship on 57th (235 W 57th St.) a mere two minutes from Columbus Circle.  Actually, they opened two stores, Nordstrom Men’s Store and a seven-story masterpiece fully dedicated to styling, dining, and shopping for the savvy fashionista.  I spent about three hours on Saturday taking it all in from the two floors of cosmetics (yes, beauty for days) and their jaw-dropping shoe floors.  Not to mention the seven restaurants.  These are my top five reasons why I think Nordstrom on 57th street is absolutely amazing.

Generously sized waiting/fitting room area.
  •  Store Design – In NY you typically experience two types of store architecture – new space that is tightly built because of trying to maximize sales per square feet or renovated older spaces with charm but weird structural challenges like poor lighting or abnormally high ceilings that make the space feel more like a cave (this was one of the problems with the Lord & Taylor on 5th Ave).  Not the case with the new Nordstrom design.  The best word to describe the store is AIRY.  While filled with merchandise, the aisles are adequately spaced, and there are several displays that stand alone to create an open environment that feels more like a loft versus a downtown department store.
  • Exclusives for Days – Nordstrom’s merchandising team must be exhausted from all the negotiations they pulled to acquire the number of exclusive items in the store.  I mean from the Valentino metallic shoe collection to the countess handbags designed solely for the Nordstrom shopper.  FABULOUS.
A wonderful team sharing insight about the store. I loved the style of the team. Peep this outfit.
  • Superior Service – While this isn’t new for Nordstrom, I feel that they have stepped up the service element to create a vibe like the one you get when you visit that special relative that goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable at their home.  No seriously, the sales/brand ambassadors are charming, knowledgeable, and appear to be genuine fashion lovers.  This is very nice and welcomed in the midst of busy and sometimes rude NYC.  Oh yes, the Nordstrom team members wear headsets so they can discretely stay in touch with their team while servicing clients.  The store is also adequately staffed, so you don’t have to work hard to find assistance.  I hate it when that happens. 
  • Cocktails Everywhere – Because the store’s vibe is all about making you feel comfortable, there are these charming individuals that casually walk around asking whether you would like a cocktail while shopping.  Love it!!!!  Hence me being at the store for three hours. 
If you get hungry while shopping, no problem. There are seven restaurants.
  • Yumminess – About two hours into my store shenanigans, I decided it was time to try one of the many dining experiences.  Since I was anxious to keep exploring, I sat at the counter of Bistro Verde (fifth floor).  I also went with the counter seat because it was an amazing people-watching spot.  To keep it light, I ordered the burrata, apples, and walnuts served on a baguette.  Absolutely delicious.  The apple, a tart but ripe green, was meticulously sliced into chunks accompanied by toasted walnuts. There was a slight drizzling of aged balsamic to create a bitter but sweet taste.  Placed on top with the utmost care was a generous portion of burrata on a plate lined with slices of a grilled baguette.  Of course, this feast deserved some bubbly, so I enjoyed a chilled glass of Veuve.  Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

In a time when we often feel like brick and mortar is dead, give online shopping a break.  Visit the Nordstrom on 57th street.  I am sure you will have many more thoughts to add to my top five reasons why the store is amazing.  Enjoy!!!

The store also has amazing visuals.