THE SCOOP WITH THE HIP-HOP SOCIALITE
The Hip-Hop Socialite recaps the hottest celebrity news and gossip of the last week, and drops a few exclusives…
The Game Star Jay Ellis Talks Going From Modeling To Acting, And Landing The Role Of Blue
Every Wednesday night, legions of female fans tune in to BET’s The Game to get their fix of the über-handsome (and talented) Jay Ellis. The Sumter, SC native plays Bryce ‘Blue’ Westbrook on the show, and came into the role during the sixth season following the departure of Pooch Hall and Tia Mowry.
I originally wanted to feature Jay in the same edition of “The SCOOP” that I featured his co-star, Hosea Chanchez. Needless to say, it didn’t work out that way, but I finally got the chance to catch up with him last week over the phone. One thing that impressed me about him is that he called in for the interview on time…that rarely happens with the celebrities I talk to. During our chat, he and I discussed how he got into acting, how he ended up playing Blue, the relationship between Blue and Keira (his onscreen love interest played by Lauren London), and if all the talk about the possibility of Tia and Pooch returning to the show bothered him (he and Lauren were essentially cast to fill the void left behind by the duo’s departure). Check out highlights below.
ON HOW HE GOT INTO ACTING:
“I always wanted to act. I actually thought that modeling would be a branch into acting, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The two industries rarely ever cross, but it was something I always wanted to do, and I moved to LA, had a couple of odd jobs, and bounced around here and there, and finally woke up one day and said, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to pursue my dreams and my passion’, and started doing it.”
“Nah, I never had that problem. I’ve heard that that’s the thing that’s out there, but you know, I believe that you make your own reality. I’ve never had that issue, and my modeling and my acting were separated by a good four or five years where I wasn’t modeling before I started acting, so they were two completely different worlds, two completely different times in my life. It’s not like I transitioned from one to the other.”
ON HOW HE LANDED THE ROLE OF BLUE:
“I got a call from my manager at the time, and he said, ‘Hey, we got an audition for you for a show called ‘The Game’. Do you know it?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I know it quite well. I’ve been a fan of it’. All of my family back home watched it like crazy. So he said, ‘I’m not sure what the role really is – they’re not saying, but it looks like it’s going to have a big impact on the next season.’ So I said, ‘Cool.’ So I go in for it, and at the time, they didn’t tell us it was a series regular. So I go in for it, and I do a pre-read with the casting director. She calls me back, and I do a work session with her, and I go back to the producers, and I go back to the producers again, and I go back and meet Mara [Brock Akil – the show’s creator], and I go back and meet Salim, and then I go back and do one more work session, and the next time, I was casting. And I had a chemistry read with Lauren London, and about a week later, they called me and told me I got the job.”
ON IF TALK ABOUT POOCH HALL AND TIA MOWRY’S CHARACTERS COMING BACK BOTHERS HIM:
“No man, you know, listen. Everybody has their own, you know…we all come with our own lens, and we all look at things a certain way. I wish Pooch and Tia could’ve came back; I think it would’ve been amazing to have them on set. I’m very grateful for the work that they did, and both Pooch and Tia, you know, every interaction I’ve had with either of them has been pleasant. I think they’re both great actors; I was just with Pooch literally last weekend in Detroit at a charity basketball game all weekend long. We’re like boys. So no, that doesn’t bother me. This show is not about me, and it’s not about Hosea, and it’s not about Lauren, and it’s not about Pooch or Wendy. It’s about eight of us, or seven of us, and if you add those two in, nine of us, who made these characters that people have fallen in love with, and it’s really about the fans, and what the fans want to see. And you know, the fans didn’t want to see Melanie and Derwin’s stories end so abruptly, but that’s the way it happened. And so, I applaud the producers for trying to make it work, and trying to find a way to bring them back. I think it makes the show more interesting, and it creates new levels of conflict for the characters. But as an individual, I ain’t got time to be thinking about that. I got other things going on in my life to be worried or feel weird about them bringing somebody back.”
“You know they’re trying to figure it out. They’re engaged now, and they’re trying to figure out if that’s right for them. If they can actually be together every day, and live together, and make a family, and be successful in their individual careers. I think the biggest thing for those two is they’ve never had to be with someone who was as successful, or maybe even more successful, in their careers, so that can create a little friction. And I think we see them figure that out; we see that test them a little bit this season.”
The last episodes of The Game have already been shot, so Jay is keeping busy by reading scripts for other roles. He told me he’d like to be cast on another series, but is being picky about what he takes on next.
To keep up with Jay’s future endeavors, be sure to follow him on Twitter @JayREllis.
The Hip-Hop Socialite On The Scene: Fashion Week Diaries
It is FREEZING here in NYC, but it’s Fashion Week, so I couldn’t let that stop me from taking in the fabulous shows and events!! On top of that, this past weekend was also All Star Weekend, and there was too much going on for me to stay home because of my aversion to cold weather!
I kicked things off Thursday night by attending the “Athletes for Art” (AART) event at Manhattan Motorcars. AART merges art and athleticism by showcasing artwork created by athletes across a variety of mediums. The money from the art sold goes to help support Smile Design Gallery, a charitable organization that sells art in order to provide free dental care for people in need.
Hosted by Empire star Malik Yoba and singer (and Swizz Beatz’ ex-wife) Mashonda Tifrere, the event was full of athletes that I didn’t recognize (sorry, I’m not a big sports person), and people schmoozing among high end luxury cars and the amazing artwork that was for sale. I’m not sure how much money was raised by the end of the evening, but it was really amusing watching Malik get annoyed because people wouldn’t stop talking when he and a few of the event’s organizers took the stage to address the crowd and curate the auction.
The following night, I kept things a little more low key by attending the “NBA All Star Gifting Experience” at the Schuyler 4 Showroom in Midtown Manhattan. Presented by The Affluent Agency and Fashion Entertainment Media, the six hour gifting suite drew the likes of Hollywood Exes star (and Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife) Nicole Murphy, former NFL baller Terrell Owens, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey, Devon and Leah Still (I was too excited to see Leah…I think I may have inadvertently startled her when I blurted out her name in surprise when I first walked in and spotted her), and Love & Hip-Hop: NY star, Mendeecees Harris. My publicist and I approached Mendeecess to introduce ourselves, and were surprised at how soft-spoken he is – almost shy. When I mentioned that to him, he admitted that we were making him blush…how adorable is he???
By the time Saturday came along, I was feeling a little worn out (I can’t run around the city like I used to without feeling like I need a nap!), but I made my way to Maru Lounge for Tiny’s Tequila “Art of Luxury” beauty and grooming lounge. During the event, guests such as Empire star Serayah, Marcus Scribner from ABC’s hit TV show Black-ish, Love & Hip-Hop: NY star Tara Wallace, and Real Housewives of Atlanta newbie Demetria McKinney, who arrived hand-in-hand with her man Roger Bobb (honey, I was waiting on a female to take over the DJ’s mic to announce that she too had dated Roger Bobb, LOL!!), were treated to luxury spa services, specialty cocktails, and gifts from Pelle Pelle.
In the back room of the lounge, I caught up with Tameka ‘Tiny’ Harris for a brief face-to-face interview during which she discussed her next endeavor – acting. “I’m just interested in that life. I love the roles…I know people like to do movies, but when you’re on TV to me, it’s like, more beneficial,” she said about acting on a television show versus in movies. “It’s like you’re in people’s homes every week. You can’t do that in movies. I’m interested in both, but I’m just trying to get into this acting world, period.” Tiny told me she is currently searching for a good agent to help her achieve her Hollywood dreams.
It was bitterly cold Sunday evening, but I braved the arctic-like conditions to attend the Laurel Dewitt Autumn/Winter 2015 collection fashion presentation at the Holy Apostles Church. The line consists of draped chain, metal leaflets, plated armor, chain fringe, and tassels, and has been worn by a who’s who of the industry, including Khloe Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Kelly Rowland, Lil Kim, Brandy, Eve, and Nicki Minaj.
The show was amazing, and featured guest models Amber Rose and Kasseem Dean, Jr., the son of Swizz Beatz and Mashonda Tifrere, strutting up and down the runway in intricately designed metal cowls and shawls, textured chain fringe bib necklaces and dazzling head pieces. Several of fashion’s biggest names sat in the audience, along with Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta star, Mimi Faust.
After I arrived home later that night, I saw on social media that Lady Gaga was also present at the show…I blame it on the lack of sleep and freezing cold weather because there’s no way I would’ve missed that under normal conditions!!
On Monday, I stayed home to catch up on my rest, and had recouped enough energy by Tuesday evening to attend the official launch of “A Cosmo Life” at the Union Square Ballroom. The event was accompanied by a runway show featuring collections by up-and-coming designers like Autumn Hawk, Nikita Varma, and Catland Forever. Christina Milian sat front row during the show, and I rushed over as soon as the last designer took their final bow to see if I could get a minute for a quick chat with her (of course I was DYING to get into her personal business by asking about her relationship with Lil’ Wayne – duh!!). The Young Money recording artist’s publicist wasn’t having it at that moment, but she told me to email her so we could work something out.
My last stop of the night was at the private screening event for Vivica Fox‘s episode of TV One’s Unsung Hollywood at Studio 21. I love Ms. Vivica honey…she’s put in WORK in this industry, but it’s hard to overlook the work she’s had done to her face. Nevertheless, the 50-year-old still looked fab as she was joined by J. Alexander (aka Miss J) of America’s Next Top Model fame, and former NFL star, Plaxico Burress (yeah, the one who went to prison for accidentally shooting himself in the leg while he was in the club). I didn’t stick around to watch the actual show, but it’s TV One…they’ll re-air that thing from now until the end of time.
Fashion Week doesn’t officially end until Thursday, but because of this weather, it’s over for me now!! September will be here before you know it, and it’ll be time to do it all over again. At least then I won’t have to worry about hypothermia and slipping and sliding on ice in 5-inch heels!! Is this NYC, or the South Pole??? I mean, really!!!
Photo Credit: Marvellous Images, Marshall M.
Tara Wallace is one of the main reasons why I continue to tune in to Love & Hip-Hop: NY every Monday night. Despite the drama she deals with because of her ex Peter Gunz, with whom she shares two sons, and his side chick turned wife, Amina Buddafly, the Mississippi native manages to keep it together, something that many women would be unable to do in her position. Tara is also a supporter of “The SCOOP” brand, appearing in the video series last summer, and expressing congratulations when “The SCOOP” went international by being picked up by The Good Life East Africa last November.
Over the weekend, Tara and I ran into each other at Tiny’s Tequila “Art of Luxury” beauty and grooming lounge, so we sat down for a quick chat. Check out what she said about one blog’s recent report that she and Peter are engaged, and the backlash about their family trip to Barbados in what I like to call “A New York Minute” below.
ON ONE BLOG’S REPORT THAT SHE AND PETER ARE ENGAGED:
“I saw that as well. I was getting my hair done, and so I called Peter, and I was like, ‘Hey, did you know we got engaged?’ [laughs] I found out the same time as everyone else found out that I was engaged, on that blog.”
ON THE BACKLASH FROM HER FAMILY TRIP TO BARBADOS WITH PETER AND THEIR SONS:
“I mean you can go anywhere, and people will have a problem with it. I can go to Hunter Mountain and go skiing in the summer time, and people will still have a problem with it. I don’t care what people think – I know what’s best for my family, and what works in my household may not work in someone else’s household.”
Tara and I will sit down for a more formal interview at the end of this season of ,em>LHHNY,/em>. In the meantime, find out how things turn out between her, Peter, and Amina by tuning in to the remaining episodes every Monday night at 8 pm on VH1.
To keep up with Mara The Hip-Hop Socialite, be sure to follow her on Twitter @hiphopsocialite and Instagram @thehiphopsocialite.
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