AND THEN I GO’s Sawyer Barth Interview with Teens Wanna Know

AND THEN I GO, a new film about bullying and school violence has just been released this week, just in time for The National Student Walkout, being held on the 19th anniversary of Columbine, April 20, 2018. (Students will walk out of their classrooms in solidarity to protest gun violence, and show their leaders they want to see action.).

We got to the chance to do a Q&A with one of its teen stars, 16-year-old Sawyer Barth, who plays Flake. Sawyer is extremely intelligent, well-spoken, and does an incredible job in the film along with his teen co-star Arman Darbo. You can read our Q&A and a quick review of the film below. But first  let’s find out more about the film:

AND THEN I GO is based on the acclaimed novel “Project X” by Jim Shepard, also features Justin Long (Yoga Hosers, Tusk, Accepted), Melanie Lynskey (“Castle Rock,” “Togetherness,” Heavenly Creatures), Tony Hale (“Arrested Development,” “Veep”), Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station, The Belko Experiment), Carrie Preston (“Claws,” “True Blood”), and Arman Darbo (Defenders of Life).

“SYNOPSIS: In the cruel world of junior high, Edwin suffers in a state of anxiety and alienation alongside his only friend, Flake. Misunderstood by their families and demoralized at school daily, their fury simmers quietly until an idea for vengeance offers them a terrifying release. Based on the acclaimed novel “Project X” by Jim Shepard, this unflinching look at adolescence explores how the powerful bonds of childhood friendship and search for belonging can become a matter of life or death.

“AND THEN I GO is a character study that dives deep into the minds and lives of our alienated youth. The film presents audiences with an important and timely story touching on such issues as bullying, mental health, parenting and accessibility to weapons.

“The film asks the essential question – why is school violence a re-occurring incident?”

The Orchard released AND THEN I GO On Digital and On Demand April 17, 2018.

QUICK REVIEW OF AND THEN I GO: This film is beautifully shot and the acting is superb. You really feel that the two main characters are just like any teens in America who feel isolated, useless, and angry because they simply do not fit in any more and life has gone from carefree to dark. The situations presented in the high school, with faculty and parents trying their best to try to help children when they act out, and not being able to do so effectively — as well as the bullying — are very real. You get the sense that, just as in actual life, a little more delving in and a little more communication and even discipline would turn things around and prevent tragedy. I hope this movie is watched by a lot of people, not as an “anti-gun” movie because it is not, but as a means of hopefully recognizing anti-social personalities and the damage they can do when left to their own devices. We can do a lot better to protect society and treat these people before they cause harm, and I hope this film gives some clues as to their characteristics and motivations — because AND THEN I GO was spot-on in this respect.

And now, let’s meet Sawyer Barth!

Hi Sawyer! Before we get into AND THEN I GO, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in West Long Branch, New Jersey which is a tiny town maybe an hour and 15 mins outside of New York. I go to a school called Communications High School. It’s this specialized technology school that has a radio and TV studio and teaches you how to code. It’s all sorts of visual and technical communications. I’ve played rec and travel soccer ever since I was a little kid. I’m an amateur at the ukulele and the guitar, but I like to pretend that I’m a professional musician [laughs]. My favorite color is orange, that’s a fun fact.

How did you get involved with AND THEN I GO?

Well, I auditioned for it in the spring of 2016. I auditioned for Edwin; I auditioned for the part of Edwin, now played by Arman Darbo. I went in to casting and I read for it and they gave me the Flake’s lines and told me to go out to the room and learn them and then wait until everyone else had read and left and I was the last one there. I went back in and I read for it and I was in there for like an hour working on it and trying to perfect it and then I left and I came back awhile later, maybe like three weeks or a month later, and I did a callback for Flake. It was another hour, I’m just working on it and what was really great about auditioning is I felt more like it was a workshop than an audition. I didn’t feel like I was being tested, but rather it was a collaborative effort to make this character as real as possible, which you get so rarely in auditions. Then I found out really soon after that, that I got the role and I was ecstatic about that.

Your character in the film has some pretty despicable characteristics, were you hesitant to take on a role of such a negative character?

I wasn’t so nervous about it because I think it’s fun. You know, they always say ‘it’s more fun to play villains than superheroes,’ and that’s because they’re so unlike ourselves and it’s kind of an exercise in character works. So yeah, I was excited about that. The other thing is the subject matter it’s sort of attracted me in a way because it’s so topical. I wanted to be in something that makes such a difference and it’s touching so many people who have been through situations like this. It’s just important is what really drew me to it.

You played Flake with a very raw, authenticity. What helped you get into this headspace?

Well, I think I saw a kind of no B.S. attitude in him. He does things without putting up a front and without acting for other people. He does things entirely for himself. So I thought the way his outlook on life kind of reflects the fact that he just does things to do them. He might have ulterior motives, but he knows what they are and you can kind of see this in him. He knows what he wants and he’s going to get it and he’s going to grab the future for himself. He’s very ambitious and he’ll do whatever he has to do, whatever field he’s pursuing. I definitely saw that.

Have you ever known anyone like Flake in real life? If so, how did this person affect you?

I’ve definitely known people who are as upfront about things as he is and have that kind of very straightforward, ‘I deserve this and so I shall retain it’ attitude. And the way that they affect you definitely depends on what they really want and if it’s a more malicious thing that they’re going for. They want to hurt people, which unfortunately, a lot of people like that do, then they could effect you negatively and you have to come out of it better as a person and realize the differences between you and that person. Sometimes they work for good, which is great and they can affect you definitely positively because they have such a rigorous attitude towards doing the right thing and it’s great when you see that as well.

What was the most rewarding part about working on this film and what was the most challenging?

Oh man, it’s the same thing! The most rewarding and the most challenging was getting inside his head and doing character work. Flake is such a three-dimensional character and the fact that he’s evil raises so many questions because he is still a person and why he does what he does that’s just one question that raises so many other questions that need answering to. So, I loved delving into that and I felt so good kind of diving into my own mind and doing additional research and kind of trying to personally understand you know, why this kid ticks the way that he does. It is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s definitely the most challenging part I’ve ever played, There’s always thing I feel like I can improve on, but I felt like I did a good job.

Most memorable moment on set?

There was a good scene, I think that got cut out, but there was a glass window. I picked up a rock from the ground and smashed it through the window and they had this glass panel, but it wasn’t really glass, it was crystalized sugar or something. I would take a rock from the ground and I threw it through, the whole thing shatters and then I stick my foot in there. Then I removed all the loose pieces. Arman and I wanted to see what the crystalize sugar tasted like afterwards, so we both had a little chunk of it. It was definitely worth it.

Have you ever experienced any bullying like the characters in the film and if so how did you handle it?

Yeah, I got bullied a lot when I was a little kid and I think everyone does. I think it’s a fundamental part of growing up and the way that I handled it was just by recognizing what’s wrong and what’s right, realizing these things that are being done to me aren’t how a person should be treated and learning that instead of laying down and take it, say ‘I deserve better than this. This is not how things should work.’

What would you recommend to teens out there who are feeling isolated or bullied and might want to do something rash – like get revenge?

I would say talk to someone. There’s so many people who are trained in this. If you feel ostracized or down in the dumps, or like nothing is going well in your life, talk to someone. Even if you don’t want to talk to an adult, talk to a friend. Talk to someone your age because chances are, they’ve gone through the same things that you have, or something similar. Even if they can’t give you the solution to your problems, it’s good to have someone to vent to.

What would you like to see to reduce school shootings?

I think honestly, I’m not educated enough on this subject to come up with any specific solution. All I want is for something to happen. I think it’s great that kids have more power today than they ever had. I think that’s definitely unarguable with all the national school walkouts. I think kids just need to keep staying firm about everything and form their own opinions so that we can decide as a collective unit what should be done.

What has been the best part about being an actor and the hardest part?

Best part about being an actor is the ladies. No, I’m just kidding [laughs]. The best part about being an actor, for me, is stepping into another person’s shoes and kind of being enlightened as to other ways of life tat exist and ways that people live that are unlike your own life and being able to play a character that’s nothing like you. The most difficult part is often times, staying grounded and doing your job and getting everything done efficiently, especially when being taken out by the world wind of set and show business. When you go on a set, you can have as much acting training as you want but nothing can prepare you for the amount of commotion that is occurring at any one moment on a TV or movie set. There’s dozens of people, especially when you’re a kid who are all older than you and you don’t have much experience with all these people who are older than you because you’re used to hanging around kids your age. So just staying the course and doing your job and being able to work things out on your own and learn how to work efficiently on a set is definitely not something that can be learned right away. It’s not just like a math equation where you know the answer. You need to work at it and keep getting parts and keep getting on sets and hanging out with people who know what they’re doing. You’ll figure out this really difficult aspect of the industry.

What’s you biggest pet peeve?

You know what’s a really big pet peeve? When you’re tying or untying your shoelaces, usually untying your shoelaces, and you pull a certain thread of the knot and it gets more caught so that you have no way of getting it undone. That’s the worst thing ever.

Biggest guilty pleasure?

Doritos. I love Doritos. I will munch on them all night. I’ll get a bag that’s big enough for like five people and I’ll eat it by myself in like an hour if you don’t stop me.

What do you find most attractive in another person?

I think a quality that I really appreciate in people is loyalty. There are so many great things that you can find in a person. They can be good at this, good at that, be accommodating in one way or another, but in reality, if they stayed the course with you in hard times, I think that’s definitely the thing that’s most attractive to me in a friend. I find myself gravitating towards people who will gravitate towards me when I need them.

Favorite movie?

Short Term 12 by Dustin Daniel Cretton.

Dream role?

James Bond, maybe.

Favorite musical act or band?

I really like Vampire Weekend, which is kind of hipstery. But I really like their music.

Favorite book?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio. There’s a movie that came out about it about last year, which I haven’t seen yet.

What’re you working on next?

I was just in L.A. for a couple of weeks filming this pilot for ABC called “The Untitled Tim Doyle Project” which it’s not titled yet but whether or not it gets picked up in May, I could be working on that or I could have a lot of free time this summer.

Where can people follow you on social media?

I have an Instagram – it’s just @SawyerBarth. I don’t post much, but if you want to give me some support and if I get a couple more people paying attention, I might be more inclined to put some more stuff on there [laughs].

Can we get a quick selfie of whatever you are up to at the moment?

 

Ways to talk about sexual abuse and assault

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 93% of children that have been sexually assaulted know their perpetrator and the recent scandal involving Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor, has reiterated how even “trusted” adults can manipulate a situation and do things that are not appropriate with a child. It’s important to know what sexual assault is and what to do if someone is making you feel uncomfortable.

Below are some tips from Krav Maga Worldwide, a global leader in defense training, on how to approach this difficult and sometimes uncomfortable subject.

Start the conversation early. This may seem very early but children under 12 are most at risk at 4 years old. Even if they can’t speak well, children at this age are busy figuring out the world. And they certainly understand and remember a lot more than adults usually realize. Its never to early to talk about this subject with your parents and caregivers.

Understand the only instances when private parts can be seen and touched. Nobody – including a parent or caregiver – should see or touch your private parts (what a swimming suit covers up) – unless they’re keeping them clean, safe, or healthy.

Talk openly about sexuality and sexual abuse. Abusers will sometimes say that the abuse should be kept a secret. Know that if someone is touching or talking in ways that makes you uncomfortable or scared, that it should not stay a secret.

Babysitters, coaches and teachers can all be perpetrators. Don’t assume all adults can be trusted. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 93% of children that have been sexually assaulted know their perpetrator. It’s important to understand that just because the person is considered a “trusted” adult they can still manipulate a situation and do things that are not appropriate.

Inform yourself about the tricks used by sexual predators. Such as continued accidental touching, or where the predator tricks you into thinking there is an emergency and you must go with the predator.

Trust your inner voice. Especially that feeling we all have inside that tells us what feels right and what feels wrong or uncomfortable. Many who have been sexually abused describe a feeling of discomfort as having a “yucky” feeling inside. You must trust or honor your inner voice or that “yucky” feeling.

You have the right to say NO! As the majority of abuse is based on coercion rather than force, learning to say NO strongly and forcefully really can make a big difference in many situations.

 About Krav Maga Worldwide

Founded in 1997 to promote Krav Maga throughout the United States and around the world, Krav Maga Worldwide trains and certifies instructors and licenses over 150 authorized Krav Maga Worldwide training centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America, and Europe, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.

 

Don’t Want Braces? Talk to Your Parents About These Options

For the majority of teens and pre-teens, braces have become a rite of passage—a symbol that you’re growing up. These metal wires often stay on for years, resulting in straighter and more beautiful teeth than ever before. While there’s no doubt that the results of braces will guarantee you a beautiful and functional smile, many teens don’t like how braces look and find them embarrassing.

Fortunately, there are other orthodontic alternatives.

1. Clear Plastic Braces

For those who don’t like the look of metal braces, these nearly invisible alternatives are definitely worth considering. Each ‘tray’ or set of clear aligners is custom made for each patient, with adjustments made over the course of treatment. These are suitable for addressing a variety of dental issues, including overcrowding, crooked teeth, gaps, overbite, and underbite. According to Dentaly.org, clear aligners are used anywhere from 9-18 months. That’s much shorter than the usual treatment period for braces. Plus, you can take out clear aligners when you eat and to brush and floss, making your daily dental hygiene routine that much easier.

2. Lingual Braces

While traditional braces are attached to the front of the teeth, lingual braces are actually attached to the back. They function in the exact same way as regular metal braces, but just without the metal on the front of your smile. They correct all the same problems that regular metal braces do, but without the embarrassment. That being said, their location can sometimes feel uncomfortable or strange to the tongue. Also, their location and position may make them a challenge to keep clean, so you’ll have to be extra diligent at brushing and flossing. Many dentists recommend getting an oral irrigation device to help clear food debris from these kind of braces to help keep them clean.

3. Veneers

Northstar Dental explains that veneersare a cosmetic dental procedure in which a thin layer of porcelain or composite material is placed over the outside of the tooth.For those who are only looking to change the look of their teeth, but not to alter their position, veneers may be the best option. These are custom-made porcelain caps that are permanently attached to the teeth. The end result is a normal-looking set of teeth that are straight and perfectly aligned with all the others. This is generally a great option for broken, discolored, or cracked teeth that can’t otherwise be corrected.

4. Ceramic Braces

With ceramic braces, the brackets are made of porcelain so that they blend in with the teeth and are less noticeable. Tooth-colored wires are also available to further make the appearance less noticeable. Metamorphosis Dental says that “Although ceramic braces may not be recommendable for a few cases of misalignment and biting problems, it is suitable for treating crooked teeth, overbite or overjet and widely spaced teeth or crowded teeth. Ceramic braces are generally more expensive but with given advantages when compared to metal braces.” These are as effective as braces, but they tend to be less painful and to irritate the gums less.

Kissing Braces Goodbye!

Talk to your parents if you don’t want traditional metal braces, because there are good alternatives! From there, you can work with your dentist to determine which option is best for you and your teeth. You might be surprised by which choice can help make your teeth look beautiful without the need for metal wires.

What to Do if a Friend or Family Member Has a Drug or Alcohol Problem

In 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration concluded that approximately 22 million people suffered from a substance abuse disorder. In 2016, that number dropped by only 1 million. The same study found that 8.2 million of those people also suffer from a mental health disorder for both years. While living with addiction is hard, knowing someone with that addiction can be even harder. You want to help them, but feel that your voice will fall on deaf ears; especially, if they are your peers or family members. The right strategy will not only give you the confidence you need to speak up but will also save their life.

Be Well Informed

Before taking the plunge into a deep conversation, you should thoroughly know your topic. Many websites will give you in-depth information on the causes and effects of addiction. For example, the SAMHSA.gov website offers yearly data reports on substance abuse. The site also provides material on how to get help for someone who suffers from substance abuse and mental health disorders. In most cases, the addiction is used to hide depression, self-esteem disorders, and other mental health issues that are being suppressed by your friend or family member. You can also call a rehab facility and discuss your concerns with a professional without having to commit to anything. After you have studied on the subject, approach your loved one when they are not under the influence of their addiction. Explain to them how you feel and reassure them that they are not alone in the journey.

Be a Positive Support System

While the urge to take your friend or family member straight to a rehab center or AA/NA meeting is strong, sometimes the best therapy is knowing that you are there for them in their darkest hour. The most frustrating part of addiction for both you and your loved one is understanding the addiction recovery process. Recovering from addiction is different for each person. There will be times of anger, resentment, and withdrawal from your loved one. There will be times where they will mess up. Be patient with them and remember each day is a new day. Of course, if you do have to take them to a rehab center, be sure and maintain that same positivity. Their quality of life in the rehab center is just as important to their treatment as the therapy. Remember, addiction is just a disease, and you are just visiting a sick friend or family member.

When someone has an addiction, that person is not the only person who is affected by the habit. You have suffered the emotional rollercoaster of their addiction. While they are in a rehab center or meeting, take that time to go to Al-Anon meetings. These meetings are structured to help you understand their sufferings and help you learn how to deal with the recovery. Furthermore, plan events to distract your friend or family member during these hard times you know they are weak. The road to recovery might be a long journey, but in the end, their life is worth the trip.

Resources:

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics/

https://www.samhsa.gov/

http://www.midwestinstituteforaddiction.org/

How Can I Create a Relaxing Study Environment?

As a student, studying is a big part of having success and getting your work done. You will spend a large amount of time studying for tests and homework assignments. To get your work done with high quality, it is necessary to have a good environment to study in. Trying to prepare for a test or focus on a difficult assignment becomes nearly impossible when your environment is distracting or noisy. Here are some of the best ways to set up a relaxing study environment.

Find a Quiet Place

As stated before, noise and distractions are going to make it very difficult to study. The best thing that you can do is find a quiet area. If you are a high school student and still live at home, find an area in your home that is calm, like a corner of the basement or your room. If you decide to designate your room to study in, don’t do it in your bed. Studying in your bed will make you more likely to fall asleep and possibly not get your work done. It will also make it harder for your brain to relax when it is actually time for you to sleep. If you are a college student and live on campus, there are tons of quiet places to study in. Libraries and study rooms are widely available on college campuses and make for a great environment to study in.

Make Yourself Comfortable

If you are in a public area, this may not work for you. However, if you are in your room or dorm, you can make your study area more relaxing with a few simple tricks. First of all, some people really enjoy playing soft music in the background. Studies have shown that calm music can help stimulate the brain and make remembering things easier. Another way to make your area more relaxing is to diffuse relaxing scents. The aroma in your room can greatly affect your productivity. Try using a diffuser along with a scent like lavender or sandalwood, which are both known for their relaxing properties. You should also try to let some natural light in. Natural light puts less stress on your eyes, which can help you relax more.

Block Out Distractions

As a student, we are often drawn to one specific distraction: our phone. Cell phones can make a study session much less productive, especially if you get sucked down the rabbit hole of social media. If you want to have a good study environment, the phone needs to go. The simple act of muting your phone and setting it aside can allow you to have a much better study environment. Resist the urge to check it, except on scheduled study breaks and make sure you give yourself a time limit.

As you can see, there are many quick and easy ways to create a relaxing study environment. Each method is pretty simple for students to perform. If you are having a hard time being productive in your current study environment, try a few of the things we discussed here.

Pynk Le’Monade Interview with TWK!

If you have been to a Young Hollywood event in the past couple of years, you no doubt have heard of Pynk Le’Monade and probably watched them perform on stage. Composed of five talented teenage girls, this group has already recorded several well-received cover videos, has 1.8 Musical.ly followers, and is on the verge of recording original songs for their soon-to-come first EP.

While we have interviewed them several times for our red carpet interviews, we got the chance to get a little more in-depth with them via a written Q&A. Let’s meet the girls! (FTC Disclosure: Amazon affiliate links included below)

L-R: Jackie, Inaya, Tori, Sydney, Savanna. Photo: Pynk Le’Monade Instagram

Hello ladies, nice to finally do something more in-depth with you than a quick red carpet interview!  First, please tell us the name of each group member, your age, and where you are from originally.

Sydney Bourne, 15. Upland, CA.
https://www.instagram.com/sydneyb_xoxo/

Tori Kay. I am 16. I am from Dallas, Texas.
https://www.instagram.com/torikayunedited/

Inaya Ashanti. I am 16 from Northridge, CA.
https://www.instagram.com/officialinayaashanti/

Jackie Ibarra. I am 15 from NoHo, CA.
https://www.instagram.com/jackieybarra1/

Savanna Game. I’m the youngest, 14. Norco,CA.
https://www.instagram.com/savgame/

Tell us how Pynk Le’Monade was formed?

Sydney: It was formed because I used to be in a group and when I left my mom and I decided we wanted to start a group of our own

How did you pick the name Pynk Le’Monade?

Sydney: My mom went out to eat with her friends and asked for suggestions and one of them ordered a drink (pink lemonade) and when she got it she was like what about pink lemonade and my mom loved it, so we changed it up a bit and made it our own

You’ve had a few lineup changes…and even gone from 5 members to 4 to back to 5 again. How does that work? How do people become part of the group, and then how do they leave?

Sydney: Well a group is a lot of work, bonding, learning to work well together and accepting you have to all be on the same page so it’s not easy. However, we’re great friends with past members and hangout regularly. They had a different path that we support…. it’s all about girls supporting girls and friends supporting friends in or out the group. We’ve always wanted 5 members; we just wanted the perfect person and we have that now with Tori.

Is Sydney the founding member/permanent one?

Sydney: I guess you can kinda say I am the founding member/permanent one; my mom and I created the group and she co-manages it with Gigi Harville.

Sydney, I’ve seen you hanging out with social media Influencer/Actor Bryce Xavier at events, and you have the same manager. Are you guys related? If not, how did you guys become friends?

Sydney: Ha we get asked that a lot, we are best friends but practically related. We know each other cause his mom co-manages Pynk LeMonade

What’s been the biggest challenge for each of you as a group member so far?

Inaya: The most challenging part about being in a group is probably agreeing on what to wear. Since we are a group, we like to color coordinate or match along the same lines of each other. So us all having different personalities and different senses of style can sometimes be challenging on agreeing.

Tori: My biggest challenge has been coming from a solo career and learning to work with four independent girls who are all confident and talented. As I say this is my biggest challenge, it has also been my biggest growth opportunity and reward.

Savanna: One of the most challenging things being in the group is being on the same page as each other because some days we cannot off these not agree about the same things and other days we can.

Sydney: I would say the most challenging part is getting five wireless mics. Most people aren’t prepared to have a girl group perform so they never have enough mics for all of us. We either have to perform with corded or no mics at all.

Jackie: Definitely the beginning when I first had to open up and break out of my shell.😂”

And the most rewarding part of being part of the group?

Jackie: The most rewarding part of being in this group is definitely the bond that we grew. We are all so close and I love that about us❤️.

Tori: The most rewarding part of being in this girl group is not feeling alone and having the opportunity to have four of my best friends on stage with me

Inaya: Yes I agree with Tori. I love being able to perform with my girls especially when I’m feeling nervous and I have my sisters there with me rooting me on.

Savanna: The most rewarding part about being in a group is making great memories with my best friend.

Sydney: Being able to share the stage with the people I love.

Were you gals friends before becoming/joining Pynk Le’Monade? (fan question from Instagram)

Sydney: Yes. …me and Inaya💕 have been friends since we were nine years old.

Inaya: Same … We’ve been knowing each other and dancing with each other since we were nine years old.

Savanna: I met Sydney at a video shoot and then we met up again at a different video shoot and became friends. So yes, we were friends before Pynk Le’monade.

Jackie: Yes I met Inaya and Sydney through mutual friends but I’ve known them for 6 years.

Tori: Yes.. I met Sydney and Inaya at a photo shoot about year and a half ago and we’re all friends with Bryce Xavier.

Tori, as the newest member, what made you want to become part of Pynk Le’Monade?

Tori: As a solo artist life can be very lonely, and as a teenage girl we are always looking for a place to belong. And I was very fortunate to find my place to belong in a group that ‘gets me’ and understands how seriously I take my career and holds me to my best standard because they each are so confident and talented.

Favorite book?

Tori: I am a huge nerd and I love reading, so to pick one book would be hard. But my favorite books as of today would be To Kill A Mockingbird, Blink, and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

Jackie: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Sydney: My favorite book is The Giving Tree.

Inaya: My favorite book is The Lord of the Flies.

Savanna: My favorite book is Unbroken.

Favorite TV show?

Jackie: Wizards of Waverly Place😍

Tori: I’m gonna have to admit my family and I are big The Voice, The Four, American Idol, Showtime at the Apollo fans. Yes, we love a talent competition show.

Savanna: My favorite TV show is Gossip Girl

Inaya – My favorite TV shows are Stranger Things and This is Us

Sydney: My favorite TV show is Stranger Things

Biggest musical inspiration?

Sydney: Kehlani definitely. Her voice, how she writes everything; she’s just a amazing artist.

Savanna. Bob Marley. I just love him. The energy, the vibe, all of it.

Inaya: Rihanna and Miley Cyrus. I love how edgy and versatile they are.

Tori: My biggest musical inspiration is Jessie J because of the soul and depth in her voice. Also Britney Spears because she successfully took a Disney career and became one of the biggest pop artists that we know today.

Jackie: BTS. I just love them. The songs, the dance moves, all of it.

Biggest Pet Peeve?

Savanna: My biggest pet peeve is one uppers…. people that always try to either one up on you or one up on your conversation.

Inaya: My biggest pet peeve is when people smack their food.

[Like this?]

Sydney: My biggest pet peeve is slow walkers.

Tori: I am a perfectionist and what I’m still learning is to not expect everyone around me to see the world through the same lens as I do.

Jackie: When people eat food off my plate without asking.

[We feel you on that one, Jackie]

Biggest guilty pleasure? (shhh…no one will find out, except our readers lol)

Inaya: My biggest guilty pleasure is ice cream and chocolate chip cookies.

Jackie: Watching BTS videos😊!!

Sydney: My biggest guilty pleasure is chips.

Savanna: My biggest guilty pleasure is saltine crackers.

Tori: My guilty pleasure would be continuously taking stupid videos of myself and my mom. Watching them back thinking I’m absolutely hilarious and then deleting them because no one should ever see them lol.

Most awkward experience you wish you could do over?

Savanna: My most awkward moment that I wish I could do over is when I fell in front of everyone.

Inaya: Most awkward moment for me probably would be walking out of a nice restaurant with toilet paper on my foot, not even noticing all the workers laughing at me.

Jackie: We performed at one of my really close friend’s birthday party and my voice cracked on stage. Really wish I could go back and fix that.🤦🏻‍♀️

Sydney: One of my friend’s release party interview. It was the most embarrassing moment ever.

Tori: My most awkward moment is actually a continuous situation I find myself in. Although I’m a nerd, I continuously mess up simple English words. For example, today and tomorrow, elbows and shoulders. So I find myself saying something and feeling very smart only to have people look at me with the most confused face.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.

Savanna: I’m Ecuadoran. Everyone gets my nationality wrong.

Inaya: I still do not know how to ride a bike or whistle.

Sydney: The surprising thing people would want to know about me is that I’ve never been to a zoo.

Tori: Something people would be surprised to know about me is that although I am what I like to call ‘fun sized,’ a whole 4’11” weighing at a good 97 pounds. I have the appetite of a teenage boy. Don’t even think I’m sharing food with you and yes dessert is a must lol.

Jackie: I am HUGE K-pop lover!!! I Love BTS!

What do you guys have coming up next?

We are really excited about our Debut EP and single. More Music! And a ton of fun YouTube challenges, tutorials and a school tour.

Ca we get a selfie of whatever you guys are doing right now?

lol we’re coloring eggs

 

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Living Sober: How Can I Avoid Drugs?

Your teenage years are complicated. You have to handle school, work, puberty, dating, and any number of other issues. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and to end up in a situation that you don’t want to be. So many teens turn to drugs or alcohol to help them deal, even though they know how bad that can be. So how can you find a way to avoid ending up in that situation.

Find Things You Love

A lot of teens turn to drugs because they are bored or they don’t enjoy anything that they are doing with their life. One of the best ways to avoid ending up in that situation is to find a hobby or two that you love. This can be an organized extra-curricular activity, a class, or just something that you do during when you have a moment. Not only can this bring joy to your life, but it can also act as a great stress relief.

Make Good Friends

The type of people you spend your time with is going to influence who you are and what you do. Peer pressure is a real thing, and it can have a huge effect when it is applied over a long period of time. If your friends are drinking and doing drugs, it is pretty likely you will end up doing the same at some point. Surrounding yourself with good friends who will support your decision to avoid drugs is going to be crucial to sticking with it.

Take Care of Yourself

One of the most common ways that teens end up with a drug addiction problem is through injury. Serious sports or work injuries are often treated with a narcotic prescription that evolves into an addiction. Those who are addicted then turn to more accessible drugs like heroin to feed that need. To avoid ending up in this situation, you need to take proper care of yourself. Stretch properly before playing sports and make sure you don’t push yourself too far. If you do end up needing to take heavy-duty prescriptions, set up a plan with your doctor and parents to avoid ending up addicted.

It is important to do everything you can to avoid drugs, regardless of your age. They can have a permanently damaging effect on all areas of your life, and you don’t want that. The temporary high you may get isn’t worth the lifetime of addiction and regret.

How to Get More Volunteer Experience

Let your volunteer experience show potential schools and (employers) that you are dedicated, self-motivated, and that you care about something other than yourself. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities within your community, use what speaks to you. As a teen looking to beef up their volunteer experience, here are some volunteer options to consider.

Define Your Cause

If you haven’t done so already, think about what motivates you. Is it relevant to the work you want to do? Defining the purpose of why you are volunteering will guide you toward the best opportunities. At the end of the day, you will be donating your time, so it should be doing something that you can connect with.

Make Connections

Now that you have your cause, contact local establishments for volunteer opportunities. The following organizations often have current openings:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Provide care and support for local children by volunteering as a mentor to younger kids.

Animal Rescue Shelters. Assist with cleaning, feeding, and general care of animals in your town.

Food Pantries. 1 in 6 people in America faces hunger. Get out there and help!

National Parks. If you love the outdoors and wildlife preservation, this opportunity is for you. Apply at your most local park and learn lots of useful wildlife tips and tricks.

Your Local Library. Education is the key to success. Help provide knowledge to your local community by tutoring, helping with Storytime or re-shelving books part-time.

RedCross. Help prepare your local community for disasters and others when in crisis.

Retirement Homes. Spend time with the elders of your community with a smile and an afternoon of fun.

Goodwill. Consistently donate clothing or household goods

Be Genuine

When an employer is seeking potential candidates, they want to hire the best. This does not mean volunteering for ten different organizations to meaninglessly fill up space on your resume.

If you volunteered your time for a day with a few different organizations, you are not going to benefit by placing this information on your resume. Complete or continuously stay committed to one or two organizations. This will show that these are causes that you care about, you’re a team player, and you can make a commitment. As with many things in life, quality is more valuable than quantity.

No matter where you volunteer, remember that employers want candidates that have strong values. Make your resume stand out and showcase the hard work and dedication you have given to your volunteer programs. Include important details and statistics about the projects you have completed. In the end, create your resume to represent who you are as a person and an employee.

5 Stupid Things Teens Do That They Might Not Realize Are Crimes

Remember that house you toilet-papered with your friends last Halloween? Or maybe the nude photos you sent to your boyfriend? How about mooning that annoying teacher in the school parking lot? All potential crimes. These are the top 5 stupid things that we see teenagers doing that are potential crimes with real, punishable consequences. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these activities are “harmless” or “something everybody does in high school.” You don’t want to find yourself in court.

#1: Mooning

This might be one of the oldest, dumbest pranks—so you’d think it would be considered harmless. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Today, mooning is considered indecent exposure, which is a kind of “lewd act”. Lewd acts are illegal because of the exposure of genitals. Summit Defense explains that “For example, if a woman ‘flashes’ her breasts at her boyfriend in a [public area], and her intention is to sexually excite herself or her boyfriend, then she could be charged with committing a lewd act in a public place. It would also be an offense for a man in a car to flash his buttocks – usually referred to as ‘mooning’ – at a lady driving another car with the intention of offending her.” Whether or not you intend to sexually harass someone, the case can be made that sexually offending someone was your goal. As a result, a criminal case can be made against you for indecent exposure. Public indecency is considered a type of sex crime, and it isn’t worth the risk for a gag.

#2: Toilet Papering and Egging

Halloween prank or not, technically, toilet-papering and egging someone’s home is a crime. If the police are called, the crime will be considered “vandalism” or “criminal mischief.” In both cases, fines and potential jail time are on the table. In fact, in 2015 a story broke about 13 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 who were arrested and charged for egging cars and houses. Skip this prank; come up with something more original and something that isn’t going to land you in trouble with the law.

#3: Sending Nudes

This one is straightforward: sending nudes as a teenager is considered criminal. Why? As someone who is under the age of eighteen, your nude photo is considered to be child pornography. Sexting laws vary by state, but all states agree that it is a crime to own or possess a “sexually explicit image of a minor.” It is also a crime to photograph and send a “sexually explicit image of a minor”, because it is considered the creation and distribution of child pornography. This cannot be emphasized enough: do not sext your boyfriend or girlfriend. Do not ask your boyfriend or girlfriend for nudes. Both acts are a criminal offense, and if charged and convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender. The consequences of breaking this law will follow you for the rest of your life. It’s never worth it.

#4: Hazing

College hazing stories have taken over the internet. We see stories every year with new sorority and fraternity pledges who have succumbed to injuries from these initiation activities. Teenagers and high schoolers are also on board with the hazing trend, especially teens involved in clubs or sports teams. Maybe you pulled down someone’s pants at school, or forced them to eat something disgusting, or beat up someone who wanted to join your club. Maybe you taunted someone or sent threatening messages. If you are bullying someone as a form of “hazing,” what you are doing is criminal. Hazing classmates, whether or not the victim goes along with it, is a criminal offense.

#5: Stealing

This last one might seem obvious, but many teenagers think they can get away with stealing from grocery stores and supermarkets and retailers. They try to swipe a pair of shoes, a tube of lipstick, or a candy bar. Maybe you might feel like the price isn’t fair; maybe your friends are doing it; maybe you’re tempted because it’s a rush of excitement. But the few moments of thrill you might get from shoplifting aren’t worth the price of being caught. It doesn’t matter how big or small or cheap or expensive the stolen item is; stealing is stealing and it can land you in court with a criminal charge PLUS getting a hefty bill from the store’s lawyers for damages. Being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for stealing will affect your chances at getting hired for a job that you want, and for getting into the colleges you’re applying for. And here’s one last thing to consider—according to NASP,shoplifting affects more than the offender. It overburdens the police and the courts, adds to a store’s security expenses, costs consumers more for goods, costs communities lost dollars in sales taxes and hurts children and families.” Shoplifting hurts everyone. Find another way to entertain yourself and get that thrill you’re seeking.

Living as a teenager is stressful and dealing with peer pressure can be daunting, but don’t give in. If your friends are engaging in any of this behavior, remind yourself of the potential consequences. Fines, jail time, and criminal records are not worth the few minutes of fun. Be adventurous and take chances, but not with these activities.

What’s Trending in Makeup This Year?

2018 is in full swing, and that means there are so many new looks to try out. Being on trend has never been so fun. This year’s makeup trends feature range from low-key to vivid and eye-catching. Some of these looks are a little out there, but here are some of the current favorites.

Technicolor Eyeshadow

Bright, bold neon shades will turn heads this summer. You can pair two brilliant colors to get the ultimate effect. Don’t go overboard on the mascara, keep it light and let the eyeshadow do the talking. If you choose this look, keep your lipstick nude or very light pink to avoid looking overdone.

Daring Brows

Your brows are meant to be seen, not hidden. Make sure you have full and shaped brows. Threading or waxing brows will provide the cleanest shape if you need to calm your brows down, but if you need to fill them out a little, turn to microblading. Microblading is more natural looking than powder or pencil and it can help you shape your brow perfectly.

Spa Skin

Everyone leaves the spa looking revitalized and refreshed, and that’s what you want your skin to look like all the time. To get the look go for beige, brown, and gold neutral shades. Skin needs to appear dewy, as if you just got out of the shower. A light dusting of highlighter will help you to glow.

Vertical Glitter Eyeliner

Keep your makeup neutral and bring a pop of character with a colorful glitter eyeliner. The new trend has the liner applied vertically up the eyelid and continuing down under the eye. Done right this look is downright enchanting, but it might be better for a party or concert than your high school hallways.

Red Lips

Honestly, classic red lipstick is ageless and never goes out of style. This year, it should be paired with neutral allover makeup with the only pop of color coming from those ruby red lips. Even if you are super casual and dressed down, the red lip will elevate your look.

This year it is all about standing out and doing something different. 2018 makeup trends include innovative eyeliners, bold brows, brilliant eyeshadows, ruby red lips, spa skin, and glitter galore. Try one trend or try them all because the application is half fun right? These new makeup trends are ideal for a night out with the girls, a hot date, wedding reception, or really anywhere you want to ‘wow’ with your mad makeup skills.