As the youngest woman to claim the Skip Barber Racing Series, Julia Landauer has been making history since the age of 14. In addition to winning the Skip Barber Racing Series, she also has the distinction of being the first woman to win that same championship. Since those early years, Landauer has explored all types of racing, from Formula cars, to stock cars.
Landauer graduated from Stanford University at age 22 where she earned a Bachelor of Science and is breaking virtually every traditional stereotype associated with women and motorsports. For the past two years Julia has been racing and winning in the US Legend Cars series in California, New York and North Carolina.
Now settled in North Carolina, “the heart of NASCAR,” Julia, now 23, has a main goal to win championships as a professional racecar driver. Part of this welcomed challenge includes securing a spot on the next tier of the NASCAR ladder.
Landauer seeks to make her name synonymous with more than speed and grit. She also wants to build a business where technology, community and racing intersect and fuse. Julia hopes to use her racing platform to continue advocating for women in sports and STEM education to follow their dreams.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Sophie Simmons has decided to step into the studio to make music of her own. At only 22 years old, the daughter of Gene Simmons (KISS legend) has set the bar high to achieve success. She not only is determined about her music, she is very vocal about her thoughts on self image and sharing a message of loving who you are. As a model and actress, Simmons refuses to fall into the trend of photoshopping for a look of perfection. Instead she enjoys flaunting her true self and inspiring other young women to do the same. In the meantime, she will begin her journey of blazing her own trail in the world of music, proving to all that she is a talent to be noticed and a force to be reckoned with. However, she doesn’t stop there. This young serial entrepreneur also has her own reality show and fashion collaboration with Style Club. Simmons takes a moment to share her thoughts with Raine.
RAINE: You are releasing a single this summer, what genre of music should we expect to hear?
SIMMONS: Not rock! Actually, nothing close to it. I would say my style is more alternative pop. For me, if you grew up with rock music blaring around you all time it’s the last thing you’d want to do.
RAINE: What has been the most challenging part of starting a career in music?
SIMMONS: The most challenging part of transitioning into a musician is having people take me seriously. It can be really tough. People already have a preconceived notions of what I am going to produce, and they decide right away if they are going to like it or not.
RAINE: In addition to music, you are also involved in the fashion industry. What influenced you to start your own line?
SIMMONS: I really like collaborating with people and that’s the best way to learn. That said, I figured the best thing to do was to find a company I already liked and collaborate with them. I partnered with the Style Club for their unique approach to feature new designers like myself. The company was founded by a young woman in her thirties and I love being inspired by women who have branched out from the day to day perception that people have of modern women.
RAINE: Going back 5 years or so, what did you think you would be doing now?
SIMMONS: When I was 12 or 13 I thought I wanted to be a Marine. I believe that they are some of the most courageous people, and I wanted to model my life after that. Unfortunately, my parents put a halt to that vision. But really, I have always strived to be the most educated, most giving and the best version of me, that I could be.
RAINE: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
SIMMONS: Absolutely! If you are doing anything that women were not allowed to do in the past, such as voting then you’re a feminist! To add to that, both of my parents have influenced by viewpoint on what strong empowered women can be. My father was raised by his mother; he taught me that a woman can do anything.
RAINE: What advice would give to other rising entrepreneurs?
SIMMONS: The best thing you can do is educate yourself thoroughly on whatever you want. Listen to those people that have done what you are trying to accomplish. Also, realize you will fail and maybe one hundred times, but no matter what, you have to keep trying!
Born in Farmington, Connecticut, Kristen Taekman began her modeling career at age 14 after being discovered by John Casablanca’s agency. She went on to work in New York before moving to Paris for several years, followed by Italy and Australia.
Gracing the covers of some of the world’s most renowned fashion publications, Kristen has appeared in Australian Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour as well as national campaigns for beauty brands such as L’Oreal and Clairol. The blonde beauty had been photographed by famed photographers including Antoine Verglas and Ben Watts.
Not one to ever stop pursuing her goals, 2015 will also see Taekman break into the beauty industry with and exciting line of nail polishes called, Pop of Color by POC Beauty. She is a pioneer blazing the way on path to world domination. Read along as we get to know Kristin Taekman, an international success.
RAINE: How did modeling at an early age help you later on in life as an entrepreneur?
TAEKMAN: I think it helped tremendously. At an early age I was traveling on my own and meeting people in different countries. I lived in Milan for 3 months and Paris for 3 years. At the time, it was a great alternative to college and the real time experience was priceless. For example, when I was 17, I went to a different country on my own and was only told where I had to go and who I had to meet and that’s it. My family provided a great foundation growing up and modeling at that time in my life was an amazing experience.
RAINE: What has been the most rewarding part of your career to date?
TAEKMAN: I think just being able to model after all these years. That’s really exciting to me. I love modeling – I really love it. It’s funny, in my late 20’s I was more bashful about saying that I am a model, but now being 37 I love saying it. Living in Manhattan also makes it easy. Not to mention, it is the best mommy job ever. For example, it’s not every day; I can drop my kids at school and run to a casting or an appointment and come back to pick them up from school. I also get to sit in a chair; get my hair and makeup done and be around creative people all day. After all that, I can still be back home for dinner.
RAINE: What’s one piece of advice that has served you best in your career?
TAEKMAN: Be professional and always be prepared, on time and ready.
RAINE: How has being on reality TV helped you as an entrepreneur?
TAEKMAN: It was nothing I ever thought about. One day when my best friend Brandy came to town, she invited me to an event with her for Bravo and a few days later I got a call from her that I was being considered for being on the Housewives of NY I am not scared of Reality TV because I don’t have anything to hide. Also, being close to Brandy, I feel like I already knew a little about it and having the modeling background, it wasn’t completely foreign to be in front of the camera. I think the wonderful thing about the show is that I met a lot of great new women and I end up seeing parts of the city that I usually don’t see. In all, it’s been a cool opportunity to meet a whole new group of women and have a great time at the same time.
RAINE: Has being on the show inspired you to do something new?
TAEKMAN: It pushed me to go out there and be social again. I am finding out that I have new interests. I started a blog called: Last Night’s Look and I am having a lot of fun with it. It allows me to mix the modeling and fashion and it is exciting. The blog has also given me all these other relationships. For example, I am starting a nail polish line called Pop of Color by POC Beauty, my beauty brand. Pop of Color is made and sold in New York and sold through a partnership with beauty retailer, Ricky’s. It’s fun to do something that you are really passionate about. You can find out more on my Instagram #POCBEAUTY and my blog is www.lastnightslook.com.
You may recognize her from her reoccurring role on the hit HBO show Entourage, or alongside Will Ferrell in the comedy Old School. Perry Reeves has fulfilled a remarkable career as an actress. This year she has reprised the role as Ari Gold’s better half in Warner Brother’s film, Entourage. Reeves is also known for some memorable arcs on the crime shows Covert Affairs and Perception, where she shows a more dramatic side of her theatric talents.
Aside from acting, it seems that Perry enjoys a much more relaxing hobby. She also owns and operates a sustainable yoga retreat in Costa Rica. The Sanctuary at Two Rivers is a unique, boutique eco-conscious yoga retreat. It also serves as a yoga teacher’s training certification and wellness center in Costa Rica. The retreat is designed by yogis with the intention to commune with nature, practice yoga, contemplate, meditate, detox, and become balanced through a health and wellness yoga retreat vacation. Perry takes a moment to catch up with Raine.
RAINE: You’ve played many diverse characters, what has been your favorite role and why?
REEVES: Honestly, every time I have a job I think it’s my favorite role I’ve ever had! But I have to say, it’s a tie between Marisa in the movie Old School, and Mrs. Ari on the television show Entourage. I loved the subtle comedy that both those characters got to play.
RAINE: Is there a creative process you undergo that helps you to develop your characters?
REEVES: The preparation is one of the most fun parts of the whole process. I love to imagine their full lives, things they did in their past; little details like who was their first kiss or what did they wear to the prom. I love using my imagination to literally make up a person’s life.
RAINE: Seeing as how your parents are academicians, were they surprised when you decided to not follow in their footsteps?
REEVES: I have three other siblings and we all have freelance, creative jobs. I think my parents never really told us what direction our lives should go in. We had to figure i t о ut for ourselves!
RAINE: What’s one piece of advice that has served you best in your career?
REEVES: There’s no such thing as an overnight success.
RAINE: Aside from acting, you are very passionate about yoga and operating your own yoga studio in Costa Rica. Any plans to open your doors here in the States?
REEVES: The Sanctuary at Two Rivers is a yoga retreat center in Costa Rica. It’s a 40-acre, totally off the grid eco-vacation, with week-long programs that includes all meals, lodging and yoga classes. It’s like camp for adults. We are doing very well and who knows maybe one day we will find another location for a second Sanctuary.
Breeda Wool was born in Urbana, Illinois to two college professors and ignited her passion for acting through years of playing make-believe as a child. Her initial taste in the real world of make believe was her first role as Tinkerbell and after studying psychology at Wagner College, she moved to New York City where she began doing theater. Wool played in vast array of productions from Shakespeare to a world tour of dancers. Wool then moved to Los Angeles and played Victoria Ryzick on Amazon’s web- series Betas. She will next be seen as Faith in UnReal., and also as Rayna, in the award-winning short turned feature film AWOL. Her other credits include guest roles on Law and Order, Criminal intent, and in feature films such as Automatic at Sea and Erasing Eden. Wool’s uniqueness stands out in each of her projects and she continues to lay the path for a continued rise to the top.
RAINE: Can you talk about your show UnReal airing on Lifetime?
WOOL: UnReal is an A&E Studio original series on Lifetime. It’s a scripted show that follows the producers of a reality dating show. The creator, Sarah Shapiro graduated from AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. The show is based on her thesis film “Sequin Raze.” Sarah’s vision is a beautifully dark and twisted world that has our main character Rachel, played by Shiri Appleby, dancing back and forth over the morality line in order to make “good TV.” I am a contestant on the show named Faith. I’m a barrel racer in the Mississippi rodeo, I read the Bible every day, and let’s just say I’m very inexperienced in the world of dating. I think this show will knock your socks off; I’m very excited about it.
RAINE: How does your character Faith DeLuth differ from some of the more intense characters that you have played on television?
WOOL: Well, I think all of my roles have been very different from one another. I’m not usually put into the “girl next door” role. So I have experienced a very wide swinging range of worlds to play in. I think in the story of UnReal it was the first time I’ve had a role that had such religious influences. I learned some extraordinary things about what it means to be a Christian in the United States. I did not personally grow up religious so this role gave me a new understanding of that world. I learned a lot about what it means to believe and to have faith, pun intended.
RAINE: The short film AWOL was recognized at the Sundance Women in Film with three awards. How did it feel to be recognized by other women in your industry for your work?
WOOL: I remember at that award ceremony Gertrude Stein was there. I very shyly went to say hello to her. I began talking to her about an issue I was having at the time where almost every single role I was auditioning for had the words attached, “some nudity required.” I told Stein, “I think I should probably have it engraved on my tombstone,” to which she replied, “well there’s your movie, go out and make that movie.”
RAINE: The objectification of women in the industry has been widely talked about. What are your thoughts and how do actresses avoid these pitfalls?
WOOL: Many of the projects I’ve done have been directed, created, or written by women. Much of my artistic and commercial success is because a woman decided to hire me or bring me in to be seen. Many projects start with a casting director and large populations of casting directors are women (“Casting By” is an amazing movie about women as casting directors). Women and girls are awesome TV and movie watchers. We’re basically an enormous untapped natural resource for the industry. So whenever you see a film made or directed by women, go see it, buy it and support it! As an actress I seek out and support the women filmmaking community. If you take a big interest in women filmmakers you’ll probably find each other. Your eyes will be open to them. There is a beautiful new frontier for women to make TV and film, and for the feminine gaze to be explored. I think we are just seeing it begin and if we can get the money to follow with our big consumer power, we will have a new wave of rock star lady filmmakers. It’ll be a lady revolution of film and TV.
RAINE: What character have you played to date that most resembles you as a person?
WOOL: Caliban in Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. I became a wild animal in captivity in this role, which is how I feel most of the time.
RAINE: What is the biggest mistake that you see young creative entrepreneurs in your industry make?
WOOL: The biggest mistake I see is people blaming and focusing on the grind of the industry. You cannot control the structure of the industry, being hired for a job, or having things not work out. The only thing as an actor you are responsible for is the quality of your work and developing yourself as an artist. I believe if you focus on the beauty of your work and remember it is a gift, to be able to creatively play, then you will excel.
RAINE: What has been the most rewarding part of your career to date?
WOOL: Well, besides showing my parents my work, yes I’m still in second grade, it would be the drive to set. Whether someone picks me up, or I drive myself, I get these sensations like I’m a boxer in a silk robe walking toward the ring. I always get this overwhelming feeling boil over in my heart, even if it’s for just a second, that screams “this is awesome!” I know that it is a glorious freedom to have that feeling about one’s work and many people in the world may never get to. I try not to take it for granted for one minute.
On a normal day, the cops, optical illusions, and a suit of plush panda bears would have virtually nothing to do with one another. However, it’s not a normal day in Eva Simons’ music video for her new song: “Policeman.” Eva is most known for being featured in Afrojack’s “Take Over Control,” a club classic. She has also done collaborations with will.i.am, Chris Brown, and LMFAO. Despite flying solo this time around, Eva’s “Policeman” (featuring Konshens) is already one of the top 10 dance chart hits of iTunes in 14 countries and has been described as “a mix between Major Lazer and M.I.A.” Weighing in on the track, Simons heartily says, “Policeman is an energetic video and fun song that makes people really happy. I hope the police won’t arrest me for mocking them.”
Raine spoke with the music industry’s rising young star about the new single and the life of a disc jockey.
RAINE: Your video “Policeman” is genius! Where did the concept come from for the video?
SIMONS: Thanks! I wanted a crazy video with lots of wardrobe changes and different settings. I did all the styling myself with my assistant Gaby.
It was nonstop working because we had to fill 21 scenes with fashion, not only for me but also for the dancers and extras on set. Thankfully I have a lot of creative friends who helped me with making the pieces cause most things I wanted I couldn’t find in stores. My manager thought I lost my mind because I wanted so many scenes [laughs], I told her that it was gonna be alright. I found my team pretty quickly. I showed my script to my friend Rigel Kilston, the Director and he loved it! His homie Danny Merk did all the after effects which I love. The end result is so dope and we totally smashed it.
RAINE: At what point did you realize your single, “Take over Control,” was going to be huge dance hit?
SIMONS: It was kind of exciting when I saw people talking more and more about the song on social media, and especially when people would sing along to the lyrics in the clubs. When I started to get lots of bookings in the US and seeing people actually singing along to the song, I was just…wow… speechless.
RAINE: What has been the hardest part of building your brand across the globe?
SIMONS: Well, it’s really cool that so many people come to my shows and like the music I make. But it was hard for me for the last 2 years. It was like I was in prison, figuratively speaking. During that time, I was with my old music label. They would sign me off on hit records but wouldn’t release any of my songs. For me, in that time, I kind of stood still. Now that I am independent,
I can release what I want, and when I want to. My new single “Policeman” is doing great and I am really happy about that.
RAINE: You’ve worked with so many innovators in the music industry. Who is on your radar to partner with next? Why?
SIMONS: I would like to work with Skrillex or DJ Snake or Diplo. Even better would be a record with all of them. I think we should start a group [laughs]. There are just so many cool people in the industry right now. I just named a couple of the biggest, but as a DJ myself, I listen to new music every day on SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube for my set and I love it. It’s just incredible how much cool sounds that are out there and you can now quickly connect with artists as well. You just direct message somebody and boom. You could be in the studio the next day or even make a cool record on Skype.
RAINE: Who has been the greatest influence on your journey?
SIMONS: Me, myself and I. Growth is my greatest influence. When I see that I am growing, I am going.
RAINE: What piece of advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs that would like to start a successful career in music?
SIMONS: Not a clue. Everybody is different and has different expectations, but you definitely need a plan, a strategy, and some dope songs.