Be-Witched: Girl Talk with ‘Salem’ Siren Ashley Madekwe

By  April 03, 2015


There are witches here among us—at least if you’re an avid follower of WGN America’s supernatural fiction drama Salem. As its title suggests, Salem is set against the backdrop of 17th century Massachusetts, where colonial life gained notoriety due to witch trials of the same name.

On Sunday, the thrilling series will be back for its sophomore season, with star Ashley Madekwe reprising her role as Tituba. With just two days until an epic Witch War is unleashed on Salem, Madekwe spoke to Glam about her character’s influence on her day-to-day life, her favorite pop culture witch, and why we need to tune in to the season premiere.

Glam: You play a sort of “bad guy” role on the show. What type of research did you do to get into character?

Ashley: For this, because it’s a period piece, I watched a couple of documentaries about the Salem Witch Trials, just so I had some background. And I read a great novel called I, Tituba, which is a fictional reimagining of the story from Tituba’s point of view, because Tituba was a slave, and such is the nature of slavery—little was really factually written about her. It was great to kind of read an enriched version—it’s totally from the writer’s imagination—but it gave me a feel for the time.

There’s not really much you can do. You have to trust the writers to write the story. You can go there and say “That’s not historically accurate,” but no one’s going to listen. You have to do what’s on the page.

Glam: Is there any connection between Tituba and Ashley Davenport, your character from Revenge?

Ashley: With Revenge, Ashley Davenport was ambitious. Everything she did came from a point of ambition and selfishness—it was about self-preservation and furthering herself. With Tituba, it’s easier, in a way, because she has more, concrete reasons for her revenge. She had slavery, she was sold, her mother and sister were raped. So the writers gave me that rich backstory, so you feel a bit more vindicated when you’re doing nasty things.

Glam: Do you think there’s an underlying message of women’s empowerment on the show?

Ashley: Did you see that scene where Hawthorne challenges Mary, and it’s a big deal that Mary is speaking for her husband? He says “The way of the world, the way of God, is that men are supposed to rule the world.”

Glam: If Tituba lived in present day, what designers would she wear?

Ashley: Tituba likes to mix it up. I think she’d be a bit of a Margiela. And then, maybe some Balmain, because she likes strength—she may have been in the Balmain army. Structured.

Glam: Are there any beauty tips you’ve taken from your character?

Ashley: I’m afraid of eyelash curlers, because you can never do both eyes the same. I just don’t like them. I don’t like clamping my eyelashes. But Marianna [Elias, the show’s makeup artist] uses a heated wand on us, and you get a great effect.

Glam: From Hocus Pocus, to The Craft, to AHS: Coven, there has always been a witch of the moment. Who is your favorite pop culture witch?

Ashley: Most recently, Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau. She was everything. That woman doesn’t age. On the show, and in real life, that woman doesn’t age. Those women who age beautifully and gracefully, they’re rare. They’re a dying breed.

I was a bit partial to Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I loved watching that when I came home from school, and I loved her cat called Salem. There’s a little stray cat that follows me around here—obviously, I’m a crazy cat lady—and I’ve named him Salem, in honor of the show and Salem from Teenage Witch.

Glam: What is your pre-shoot ritual? And how do you unwind from a day on set?

Ashley: Pre-shoot, I just go over my stuff for the week or the day—my lines. We shoot out of sequence, so I usually read the script, and no matter how little or how much I have to do, I usually end up reading the script quite a few times. Sometimes I read the script before [I shoot] to try to make sense of the journey, especially if we’re shooting [a clip] for the end or the beginning.

[After], I just have a shower and go to bed early. I try to get a lot of sleep. It’s quite a long day. Janet [Montgomery, the lead actress], definitely does most of the heavy lifting, but this year—last year I would sometimes get three to four days off in a row, and this year I’ve worked a lot more. And I’ve complained. No—I’m joking.

Glam: You and Janet seem to have a really good relationship, on and off set.

Ashley: We do. Our first scene that we shot together, in the pilot, was the wooden broomstick scene. So she was in front of me with her legs open. There was no time not to be friends.

Glam: What can you say to lure in someone who’s never tuned in to the show?

Ashley: They get to see women being strong, and they get to see witchcraft, and, if they’re a fan of horror, they get to see plenty of that.

Tune in to Salem when it airs Sunday, April 5 on WGN America.

Star Scoop: The New Mr. Daily, Jay Z Sets Sail, Rihanna... We’ve Got Your Money.

By  March 30, 2015

150330_Star Scoop

With Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show exit looming, inquiring minds were left with the question of who would fill his seat. Today, we know. After just three appearances on the show, over the course of three months, South African native Trevor Noah will succeed the Daily Show throne. Stewart deems Noah a “tremendous comic and talent,” but we’re more impressed by his ability to speak six languages… plus, he cleans up pretty well! [New York Times]

The tides have turned, and you have Jay Z to thank. On Monday, the multimedia mogul relaunched music streaming service (and Spotify rival) Tidal, with backing from A-listers like RihannaMadonnaKanye West, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, and, of course, Beyoncé. In addition to offering paying customers ($9.99 or $19.99 plans available) artist exclusives and partnerships, the service will allow users to stream music videos, uninterrupted, in HD. [Billboard]

As for rumors that Riri would debut R8 on the service, the lie detector test determined that was a lie. Either way, her performance at the iHeartRadio Music Awards (Lil Kim homage, and all), is enough for us to run her her coins. [Twitter and YouTube]

It’s time to get on down, get on down the road. After the success of The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!, NBC is getting into the groove with The Wiz. The production will air on December 3, then commence a Broadway revival with the help of Cirque du Soleil. The feature film adaptation of the original 1974 Wiz musical starred Diana Ross as Dorothy, Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, and Richard Pryor as the Wizard. [Deadline]

Ludacris will be back on the Billboard stage to host the 2015 edition of its annual awards show with the help of Chrissy Teigen. If her hosting skills are anything like her Instagram captions, we’re all in for a treat. [Billboard]

Dita Von Teese On When Tacos and Corsets Collide

By  March 26, 2015


She won’t be caught dead in denim, but Dita Von Teese is nevertheless oh-so approachable in every which way. Sure, she has a style (and body) to be envied, can carry off a corset like no other, and makes audiences swoon with her expert burlesque dancing, but the beauty has a soft spot for tacos. Tacos! She can join our lingerie-lacking, sweatpants-filled girls night anytime!

Aside from being superiorly and effortlessly stylish, Von Teese has a pretty sweet new gig too–she’s the current symbol of celebration for the luxurious W Hotel chain. In honor of the opening of W Beijing Chang’an, the cabaret showstopper has kicked off a mini tour around some of the stateside W Hotels, including New York and San Francisco. Decked in glittering beads, diamond embellishments, and adorning feathers, Von Teese performs for hotel audiences in a golden oversized birdcage, symbolic of China’s multi-century love affair with bird keeping. Before she was whisked away to prepare for the W SF Rock the Empire show, Glam had the honor of getting to know the burlesque babe a little better.


Q: If you could teach a private burlesque class to 3 women, currently living or having passed, who would they be?
A: That’s a good question, no one has ever asked me that! Hmm, I’m trying to think of someone who’s fun and would be up for it. So many of my idols don’t need to be taught anything about glamour and performance; all my great idols are women who would definitely have already known how to do a burlesque show, who have very strong personalities of their own, and would know how to bring that to a performance. So, I don’t know if I could even think of anybody, you know?
Q: What would be the dynamite team of women who know burlesque dancing?
A: Well I immediately thought of Marlene Dietrich, she would never have done it of course, but she came to mind as someone I like. And Mae West, who again, would have never done it. She did perform burlesque in a way, but without taking her clothes off.
Q: While you stick to your beautiful signature vintage aesthetic, are there any recent trends you find lovely when styled on others?
A: Yes, all the time. I think that’s one of the best things about fashion: having your own personal sense of style and being able to admire someone’s look without wanting to do it yourself. Even though I wouldn’t wear a pair of jeans, I still can look at a woman wearing a pair of jeans in a great way but it doesn’t make me want to go out and buy a pair [laughs].
Q: What’s your favorite gift to give your girlfriends?
A: Well, I have one but I don’t want to say it and give it away [laughs]! I’m gonna tell you anyway. I give everyone lingerie, because I have a lingerie collection now and everyone wants lingerie. So, I have a 3 page list in my diary with everyone’s sizes.
Q: Do you have a current guilty pleasure?
A: Tacos. It’s always tacos.
Q: How do you stay healthy, not only on the outside, but on the inside as well?
A: I’m really fond of the Glowing Green Smoothie by nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. She’s pretty famous, she has 3 books out and I basically try to follow her regime and use her recipes.


Coachella 2015 Calling: 15 Must-See Acts

By  March 19, 2015


If there’s one thing we can say about Coachella, it’s that the annual music and arts festival has something for everyone. Past headliners have spanned from Beck, Madonna, and Prince, to The Flaming Lips, OutKast, and Lana Del Rey. This April, when an estimated 600,000 attendees flock to Indio, California, they’ll experience just as much—if not more—variety. AC/DC, Jack White, and Drake will headline, with these anticipated acts keeping the fangirl in us sonically satiated.




Exclusive: Blake Lively's Latest Work In "Age of Adaline"

By  March 11, 2015

AgeofAdalineWe’re a month away from Blake Lively’s latest silver screen moment in Age of Adaline. The romance epic follows Lively as a woman who’s miraculously remained the same age—29—for more than 80 years. Glam got an exclusive look at one of nine Adaline Through the Ages “Character Posters,” capturing Adaline’s 1980s style. “Because she is trying to stay under the radar, her clothes become a little more somber, a little bit more subdued,” said the film’s costume designer Angus Strathie. “Not plain or ugly but certainly not extravagant. She doesn’t want to bring attention to herself in a physical or emotional way sort of way.” Though that motto isn’t exactly on par with the one that Lively adapts when she dresses for public appearances, we love seeing her in a less extravagant light. The olive green coat is surely a departure from the striped ponchos and glamorous ballgowns from events past, but perhaps it indicates a new chapter in Lively’s post-baby career. We’re certainly looking forward to seeing where this starlet is headed.

Star Scoop: Kylie Jenner Inc., An Exclusive Look at Blake Lively’s New Film, Iggy Azalea is On Hold

By  March 11, 2015


After writing a YA thriller, dipping Bellami hair extensions in blue, and teaming with big sister Kendall Jenner for a PacSun collection, Kylie Jenner is expanding her omnipresence with a new beauty venture. The ubiquitous reality starlet is now the face of Nip + Fab, a London-based makeup and skincare brand. [Pret-a-Reporter]

We’re a month away from Blake Lively’s latest silver screen moment in Age of Adaline. The romance epic follows Lively as a woman who’s miraculously remained the same age—27—for more than 80 years. Glam got an exclusive look at one of nine Adaline Through the Ages “Character Posters,” capturing Adaline’s 1980s style and caught up with the film’s costume designer Angus Strathie. [Glam Buzz]

With “Fancy” chart toppers, a Steve Madden collaboration, and a slew of Twitter tantrums sprees, Iggy Azalea has managed to captivate audiences and headlines. Unfortunately, doing so on the world stage has been put on pause. Sources say the Aussie pop star has delayed her international tour due to “creative team availability and tour productions,” while others cite that she is “increasingly unresponsive to her management and refuses to engage in promotional activities.” It might be time for someone to get a new PR team, no?! [Vulture]

Uber is teaming up with UN Women to create jobs for 1 million women drivers by 2020. Fourteen percent of Uber’s current stateside drivers are women, and the company says its followup to the UberMilitary campaign will lead to “direct access to safe and equitable earning opportunities.” Even more reason to request a ride. [Mashable]

In news that comes as no surprise—or does it?—Madonna reveals that her first heartbreak wasn’t over a man, but a woman. A young woman. Her daughter. “Lourdes leaving for college was like the first heartbreak of my life,” she said in a sit-down with Extra. “I cried every night for weeks. I would go in her bedroom and lay on her bed and cry, it was terrible.” Presumably worse than this. [Extra TV]

The numbers are in and American Sniper was the greatest film of 2014… at least in terms of box office success. The Oscar-nominated drama earned $337.2 million (and counting), beating out The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy. [Vulture]

Lights, camera… live action! Tim Burton—of BeetlejuiceAlice in Wonderland, and Big Eyes fame—has been tapped to direct Disney’s live action adaptation of Dumbo. The film is the next in a series of adaptations for Disney; up next is Emma Watson-starrer Beauty and the Beast. [Variety]

HBO is cutting the cord. The premium network will launch streaming service HBO Now next month, exclusively on Apple, for just $14.99. So now, all you millennials can (finally!) stop sharing HBO Go passwords. [NPR]

Star Scoop: Mr. Grey is Waiting, The Bellas are Back, Spider-Man is Rebooting for 2017

By  February 10, 2015

150210_Star Scoop

In case you missed it, Fifty Shades of Grey will hit theaters this Valentine’s Day weekend, and has already set a presale tickets record for girls, guys, lovers, and friends looking to enter Christian Grey’s red room. Now, the question is whether the (seemingly disagreeable) Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson can live up to the hype. According to this review, the pair contribute to a final product that is “by turns provocative and romance-novel gooey.” Either way… we’ll be watching. [The Hollywood Reporter]

On a not-so-steamy Fifty note, Dornan visited The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and read excerpts from the book in various accents. Read: sex scenes in Scottish, red room in Russian, and cheeky exchanges in… cowboy?![YouTube]

The Barden Bellas are using a little Queen Bey to set the tone. A new trailer for Pitch Perfect 2 has premiered, with Anna KendrickRebel Wilson, and crew belting out Beyoncé’s “Run the World,” on the competition stage. Because, we all win with Bey (except at the Grammys, *cough* Beck). [Billboard]

Spider-Man will be back on the silver screen in July 2017 when Sony and Marvel unite for a reboot of the blockbuster franchise; but a key player will be missing. Andrew Garfield, star of the last two Spider-Man films,  will not be reprising his role as Peter Parker. [Variety]

Taylor Swift can’t stop, won’t stop moving, and Charli XCX is joining the club. The “Boom Clap” chanteuse covered Swift’s chart-topper for BBC’s Live Lounge. Does it still get you in the sing-a-long mood? [YouTube]

From rumor to reality: Johnny Depp and his The Rum Diary co-star Amber Heard wed in an intimate ceremony on Depp’s private Bahamian island over the weekend. Ladies, you have permission to weep. [People]

Star Scoop: The Carter CD, Americans Take the BAFTAs, Better Call Saul Breaks Records

By  February 09, 2015

150209_Star Scoop

We’re not going to humor you with a “still on the run” joke here. But if producer Detail’s tease proves true, Jay Z and Beyoncé could be dropping a joint album later this year. Blue Ivy is rumored to executive produce. [Billboard]

Sunday night wasn’t just home to the Grammys. Across the pond, Hollywood’s top talent gathered to celebrate the 2015 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards where, ironically, American leads racked up top honors. Julianne MoorePatricia Arquette, and J.K. Simmons reigned in their respective categories, with Richard Linklater’s cast and crew winning best film for Boyhood. [Vogue UK]

Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul also had a winning Sunday night. It broke the record for biggest cable premiere with 6.9 million viewers, falling shortly behind this season’s broadcast network premieres of How to Get Away with Murder and Empire. [The Hollywood Reporter]

The Grammys, however, didn’t fare too well. The CBS broadcast earned its lowest ratings in the past six years with 25.3 million tuned in. To put things in perspective, the show drew in 28.5 million viewers just last year. We guess Kanye pulling a Kanye couldn’t even boost those views. [Variety]

A day after his first Grammys win, Kendrick Lamar (finally!) dropped a follow-up to the award-winning “i.” It’s a socially and politically riveting track that’s as timely as it is ferocious. Listen here. [YouTube]

Winner’s Circle: Sam Smith is the Grammys MVP

By  February 08, 2015

2014 was the year we came to terms with not being the only one. When we latched on to love and begged significant others to stay (with me). An era when we all had money on our minds… especially, in the lonely hour. With sing-a-long ballads and a distinct voice reminiscent of Adele’s rise—though he doesn’t care for the comparison—Sunday night’s Grammy Awards belonged to the one, the only, Sam Smith.

Sam Smith

The English newcomer took home four awards, including trophies for Best New Artist, Record, and Song of the Year. His Grammys triumph was all but predicted by critics and fans alike, but in true form, the 57th annual ceremony had its share of surprises and snubs. Like when Kanye West took to the stage—in jest, we think—to jokingly contest Beck’s Album of the Year win over Pharrell Williams, Smith, Ed Sheeran, and Beyoncé. Or the fact that Beck won Album of the Year over Beyoncé. Yeah.

Still, there were plenty of times when the Recording Academy got it right: like with Kendrick Lamar’s first-ever win for his performance on “i,” and when the haunting “Say Something” from A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera earned multiple honors. But Beck… over Beyoncé?! Nah.

Album of the Year: Beck, Morning Phase

Record of the Year: Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version)

Best Country Album: Miranda Lambert, Platinum

Best Pop Vocal Album: Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour

Best Urban Contemporary Album: Pharrell Williams, G I R L

Best Pop Solo Performance: Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Best Rock Song: Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun”

Best Rock Album: Beck, Morning Phase

Best New Artist: Sam Smith

Best Country Song: Glen Campbell, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”

Best Reggae Album: Ziggy Marley, Fly Rasta

Best Rap Performance: Kendrick Lamar, “i”

Best Traditional Pop Album: Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek

Best Alternative Album: St. Vincent, St. Vincent

Song of the Year: Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version)

Best SoundtrackFrozen

Best Americana Album: Rosanne Cash, The River & the Thread

Best Pop/Duo Performance: A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, “Say Something”

Best Music Video: Pharrell, “Happy”

Best Dance Recording: Clean Bandit and Jess Glynn, “Rather Be”

Best Spoken-Word AlbumJoan Rivers, Diary of a Mad Diva

Best Comedy Album: Weird Al Yankovic, Mandatory Fun

Kat Graham on Game-Changers and the 2015 Grammys

By  February 07, 2015

ELLE's Annual Women In Television Celebration

After months of anticipation, chart-topping Billboard battles, and a series of songs we can’t get out of our heads (from “Drunk in Love” and “Stay With Me” to “Fancy” and “Shake it Off”) the biggest night in music has finally arrived. Eyes will undoubtedly be glued to the Grammys red carpet and stage, and thanks to Kat Graham and Degree, all the game-changing moments that will make Sunday night one to remember. 

The Vampire Diaries star teamed with Degree Women to go behind-the-scenes at the Grammys, and “see what it takes to deliver a performance that not only changes an artist’s image, but can also change the industry.” Ahead of the 57th annual ceremony, Graham clued us in on her Grammy predictions, and a game-changing project that she’s ready to share with the world.

Glam: If you could have been part of any Grammys performance in history, which would it have been, and why?

Kat: It’s so hard. [So many past] performances were so incredible, and so good, and so game-changing in their own way, that I really don’t think that I would have added anything to them. I’m fine to just say that I will hopefully have my own one day, and that will be my Degree, game-changing moment.

Glam: When you do have that performance, is there a singer, dancer, musician, that you’d want to share it with?

Kat: Prince, obviously. There’s no one better. 

Glam: We want to know if you’ve got any predictions for Sunday’s ceremony, starting with Song of the Year. Who do you think will win?

Kat: I would be surprised if Sam [Smith] doesn’t win Song of the Year. He’s so humble and so incredible. He came onto the scene with such a different kind of voice and a different kind of song, that just kind of crushed you in the way that when Adele came out, it crushed you—in the most beautiful, epic way. I’m hoping that Sam Smith wins.

Obviously, my girl Taylor [Swift]—I always want her to win all the awards. So, I don’t know. I’m kind of tied between them.

Glam: What about Album of the Year?

Kat: Oh, I don’t! I’m going with Degree, and I’m so excited because we’re doing this game-changers campaign, which is all about looking at the different performances that have been game-changing for these artists. Even on Sunday, I want to see who’s going to come, who’s going to bring it, who’s going to do something different.

I know that a lot of artists are excited about the Grammys, but I don’t even know that, at that level, when you are that good, to even be nominated for a Grammy—at what point do you feel like “I lost,” you know? Even being nominated is such an honor. Even being able to perform—it’s such an epic moment in your career. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like people are just there to be a part of this incredible night—the biggest night in music—and I’m just there to watch, and just be a part of it.

Glam: Well you’re actually embarking on a game-changing moment with the release of a three-part film series, Muse. What was the genesis of that idea?

Kat: A lot of people ask me if I like singing, or dancing, or acting [better]. I started off as a back-up dancer, I got into music and engineering when I was, like, 14, and I booked Vampire Diaries. I released some songs, did some touring, I’ve been on the show for six years, did a couple of films. People think that I’m bouncing around, and for me, the most important thing is that people realize “That’s just kind of who she is. She is a dancer. She is an artist. She is that.” And I thought, who better to help me explain what I do than me?!

That was my moment where I really needed to step up and create something that was different. That included the theatrical side to what I do, and some incredible cinematography and direction by Darren Genet, who’s a brilliant, brilliant director—one of my favorites in the world, that has ever been… There are so many things where I really get to have fun as an artist. I love dancing, and I love singing, and I love acting. And I grew up watching Shirley Temple, and I grew up watching Josephine Baker, and I look at all the icons—Sammy Davis, and even Elvis—and these people, they did all that stuff. They had albums and films, and they knew how to jam…

Glam: What game-changing projects have you planned with Degree ahead of the Grammys?

Kat: Being able to this amazing stuff with Degree, where I got to do these really cool dance breaks, that you’ll get to see—I’m sure you’re going to be online, checking your Twitter and Instagram for all the stuff. Degree and I are doing some really good dance breaks, really cool gifs, and we did some really cool stuff with E!, with Laurieann Gibson.

Glam: We’re excited to see those dance breaks! But when you finally do get red-carpet ready, who will be the “muse” to inspire your look?

Kat: I’m all about eras… I don’t know if I have picked an era [yet]. I don’t think it’s the 50s, I don’t think it’s the 60s, I don’t think it’s the 80s. It might be close to the 70s, and it might be close to late 40s. I love funk, and I’ve gotten into a lot of funk recently: funk music, Sly [and the Family Stone], James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, I’m really into that music. So that might reflect in what I’m wearing. Or, I might just want to be super glamorous—it depends on what I’m listening to that day.