Tag Archives: Ashley

It’s Time to Tune Back Into Catfish: The TV Show, Simply Because of Kamie Crawford

By | November 21, 2020

Kamie Crawford has become an MTV staple thanks to her cohosting gig on Catfish: The TV Show, but in my opinion, she deserves recognition by a wider audience. Crawford has worked towards becoming a big-time host for years, bringing her unique voice and perspective with her. First grabbing headlines when she earned the title of Miss Teen USA in 2010, Crawford extended her brand to become a popular beauty vlogger, model, and TV/media personality (on BET and E! to name a few). She has never presented anything less than her authentic self to her fans. The self-proclaimed “CEO of Facial Expressions” is a badass, and it’s more evident than ever now that she’s strengthened one of MTV’s longest running shows.

For the first seven seasons of Catfish: The TV Show, the hosts were Nev Schulman and Max Joseph. I’ve been a fan since the release of the original documentary, but even I began to glaze over around season five-ish. Things were getting a bit repetitive, predictable, and well . . . boring. Eventually Joseph left the show to focus on his film career in 2018. After his exit, producers brought in a revolving door of guest hosts while searching for the right person to fill the job. After popping up numerous times by popular demand, Kamie was officially asked to be Catfish‘s permanent cohost alongside Schulman starting season eight. Since then, the show’s quality has markedly improved.

Kamie has given the show a point of view that I didn’t even realize it was missing: a woman’s perspective. Her intuition alone has probably helped solve more problems between a catfish and their victim than actual investigations. She can tell if a person is lying just by how they text! Kamie, who went to school for Communication and Media Studies, reads between the lines into the nuances of what the show’s subjects are saying. Logic-minded Nev has needed that fresh thinking, and their combined strengths have produced a truly entertaining show.

The balance between the two hosts just works. It takes a lot to get Schulman worked up (although he always jumps in at the right time), but Kamie will stand up herself and for the right side swiftly and with grace. Case in point: the season eight premiere, “Red & Jalissa.” Catfish Ashley was extremely rude to Kamie, presenting the type of confrontational behavior we hadn’t seen on the show in years. She called Kamie a bitch numerous times, a “bird,” and most offensively, “the help.” Kamie remained calm and defended herself before being the bigger person and walking away. Towards the end of the episode (when Ashley finally came to her senses and apologized), Kamie let her know that they “don’t have to be friends,” but they must be respectful. She did not stand for the name-calling and the initial homophobic remarks hurled at catfish victim, Red.

Additionally, in episodes where there are women tearing each other down (like the “Brooklyn & Jason” episode), Kamie not only attempts to keep the peace, but to educate. “We are growing ladies,” she said. “We gotta grow the f*ck up. We’re supposed to be coming together. We’re not supposed to be doing all of this, especially not over some boy who’s not even acting right!” This is one of the many important messages that she brings up on the show, and I love that she never misses a beat to teach.

Since Crawford joined the show, she and Nev have acknowledged and engaged in on-camera discussion about the injustices against Black people happening in the world. Kudos to Nev and Max’s Black Lives Matter t-shirts, but the hosts never really said anything substantial about the movement or about what was happening in the news in previous seasons. Now, there’s been an open dialog about what’s going on in the country. Having a Black woman join the team was tremendous step for the show. Kamie speaks up, shares the Black experience, and calls out injustices with ways on how to right them. That can be so impactful to see on a big network television show.

She is very vocal about her beliefs outside of the show as well. From providing reliable and valuable resources on Instagram and Twitter for months during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, to fully campaigning people to not only vote, but to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Kamie uses her platform to speak up, educate, and have the tough and uncomfortable conversations. Whether people are open to listening or get offended by her strong statements, she makes sure the right information is out there. (And I confess, I love it when she puts “Karens” on blast and follows with an explanation on why they’re wrong.)

Kamie leaves no questions unanswered and no stone unturned. She is the badass Black female representation that Catfish: The TV Show needed, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Choreographer Ashley Wallen Is Behind the Dazzling Dance Numbers in Netflix’s Jingle Jangle

By | November 14, 2020

Netflix’s holiday movie Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is filled with music, magic, and gorgeous visuals. One of the best aspects of the film – aside from its stacked cast – is the dazzling choreography. Between the heartwarming sequence of “This Day” and the high-energy rollicking throughout “Magic Man G,” it’s almost impossible to sit still while watching each symphonic scene.

So who’s behind the dance spectacles? That would be choreographer Ashley Wallen. The Australian dance instructor, known for his work on 2017’s The Greatest Showman, joined forces with Jingle Jangle director David E. Talbert to bring the routines to life. In a video shared on Nov. 14, Wallen spoke to Netflix about choreographing Jingle Jangle, which he described as “a dream come true.” He detailed the process of shooting “Make It Work,” which is one of the film’s biggest dance scenes. “We had 60 dancers,” he said. “There was a lot going on. The director, David Talbert, wanted a really modern, contemporary, stepping style of dance. We started off doing workshops, and then we kind of built it from there. It was a lot of hard work, but it looked beautiful.”

Related: 8 Times Keegan-Michael Key Showed Us He Had the Musical Chops For Netflix's Jingle Jangle

In an interview with The New York Times, Talbert spoke about collaborating with Wallen on the playful number “Miles and Miles,” which features Forest Whitaker as Jeronicus Jangle and Lisa Davina Phillip as Ms. Johnston. “Well, I hired Ashley Wallen, who did the choreography for The Greatest Showman,” Talbert said. “And then when it was time for this scene, we went on YouTube, and we pulled up Temptations, and he just incorporated that with this cat-and-mouse thing.”

Wallen, who won a World Choreography Award for The Greatest Showman in 2018, also has an extensive background in choreographing music videos. He’s offered his expertise in the visuals for Pink’s “Walk Me Home,” Charlotte Church’s “Call My Name,” and Kylie Minogue’s “Dancing,” among others. Additionally, he’s worked on stage plays, recently charting the dance numbers for Ghost: The Musical in Australia. And if that’s not impressive enough (not sure why it wouldn’t be), Wallen appeared in the musicals Fame, Sisterella, and Footloose, as well as in the movies Moulin Rouge! (2001) and The Phantom of the Opera (2004). According to his talent agency bio, Wallen is currently working on the upcoming Cinderella movie starring Camila Cabello. Look ahead to see some of Wallen’s dance creations in Jingle Jangle!

Related: 10 Films Like Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey to Bring the Magic of the Holidays to Your Home