4.27.2015

justina + luke bilyk | interview



 screenshot of Luke, demonstrating Ludacris reacting to being slimed

I knew Luke Bilyk was going to be a homie the minute he hit his Ludacris impression for the sake of my snapchats. What I didn't know, because I am completely out of touch with pop culture in general, is that he's basically Canadian Zac Efron, and as such, has some extremely well-formed opinions on Drake. We had a conversation ranging from Venice Beach to the Iron Throne, and it was the longest interview of my entire life, let alone my career, so get some snacks.

Justina:  As I may have mentioned, I didn't know anything about Degrassi before researching you for this interview, and now I know a LOT about Degrassi. 33 years worth of it.

Luke: Yeah, there's quite a bit to know. It's been around, we've covered a lot of stuff.

You're going to be my first Canadian celebrity! I'm excited.

Oh awesome, I'll start the avalanche. I'll put in a good word with all the Canadians.

Fantastic, I'll finally have an in. We aren't going to spend a lot fo time talking about Degrassi, because like I said, 33 years, but what are three things everyone should know about Degrassi, and three things they should know about your character?

That is a great question, oh my goodness. It (Degrassi) focuses very highly on problems teenagers face in highschool, but has always done a great job of showing both sides. The best of times and the worst of times, and I think that makes it very relatable. It basically covers everything, so even growing up on the show I was like "No I shouldn't do that, because bad things happened to my character."  The last thing is that they stay very true to plot but also to what is happening in real life. We just aired an episode about a rape and the aftermath of it when a lot of that is happening in schools, and our writers figured what better time to bring light to this issue? There are so many characters, who are all different kinds of people, that they can really touch home with everything.

It's pretty impressive.

It is, they're so good at it. Three things people should know about my character...he's not the brightest. Definitely not the smartest. But he's very caring, and no matter who another person is, he always has their best interests at heart. In the first season, you know, he just kind of  dumb jock, and by the end, he's found this sort of sense of helping people. He's school president, he starts a company after his brother dies.

You know, I tried to watch a little, and I think I jumped in too hard, because I had no idea what was going on.

It's like that. You could watch episode ten, skip eleven, and by the time you get to twelve you'll be like "What is happening?!"

I might have to bingewatch it for the next 33 years of my life.

Oh it won't take you that long. Start to finish, maybe two weeks?

That's how long it took me to watch 4 seasons of Game of Thrones.

Oh goodness, I think I watched all four seasons in a few days.

Okay, well, compared to Degrassi, Game of Thrones seems simple.

You know what, it's so funny that you'd say that, because it's true. 

I'm so glad it's not just me. You spent five years on Degrassi, right? 

That's right.

So you basically spent your formative years as a teenager playing a teenager on a show for teenagers about being a teenager. Did you have any favorite "teenager moments" on the show that were reflective of your life? 

Well you know, to be honest, I never went to high school. When I landed Degrassi I was in my first year, and it wasn't working, so I homeschooled. Because of that I didn't experience the traditional highschool things, (Justina note: if only he knew who he was talking to.) and so I was really lucky that I ended up where I did *laughs*. I've been to three different Degrassi proms, and never to one real one, but you know, ours lasted like two days because we'd film it over and over from every angle. But you know... it's hard to pinpoint. I made my best friends, and I always say that the Executive Producers, they didn't just give us a job or a stepping stone, they gave us the opportunity to meet our family. So it's not so much a moment as it was five years that feel like an afternoon in my head.

That makes total sense to me. I never went to high school either and the best prom we ever did was dressing up and going to In N Out burger so..

Oh my god, you beat my prom. 

When in California...well, we'll get back to that. I read an interview with you were filming three different things at once, and you were saying one of the hardest parts is keeping all your characters and their lines separate - do you have a favorite line that a character has said? Something that was truly memorable? 

It's just past nine o'clock and I think that's the most difficult question I've ever been asked. 

I'm getting all of the hard stuff out of the way.

Yeah I know, next is going to be like "what's your favorite color?"

Oh my gosh, that's... that's amazing. I think it's one of the best questions I've ever heard...oh yeah! I have one. I think my favorite - which, funnily enough ended up getting cut out of the final edit - was in the funeral of [his character, Drew Torres] my brother on Degrassi. I do this huge monologue about his life, and how he was so influential in others, and how I was going to model mine after his. That point in the season, back in...2013, that was a huge turning point for my character. 

Now let's do easy stuff. You're living in LA right now, yeah?

I am I just moved to _____.

That's my favorite part of LA!

I like it! Its a cool part. Sometimes I feel a bit like I'm in a retirement home though

*We talk about _____ + food for the next fifteen minutes*


What do you think is the biggest difference between Canada and LA?

Well I think being an actor in Toronto, you get used to... I mean, I've been acting my whole life, so twenty years, in the same pool. It's the same four casting directors, I know their names, I've had lunch with them. Then I came out here and I didn't know anyone, so you don't have that extra in. But that's basically it.  I've been trying to do all the same things here that I do in Toronto, you know, hang out, go to the gym. I pride myself on not becoming a partier, because that happens a lot - Canadians come out here and realize its so much fun. The key is to focus, and do what you've got to do. Because once you start - you can't work, because that's all you want to do. 

It's definitely a dark side. What's your favorite thing about LA? 

I do have to say that I think my apartment is pretty awesome. I have a beautiful view of the hill behind the hill the Hollywood sign is on. I always do the same six things when I'm here, but I just went to Venice Beach for the first time and fell in love with the vibe, the people and the little section in the middle. 

Venice Beach is the epitome of California. Just so you know, the *official* name of the park the hill is in is Griffiths Park. It has the Observatory in it, which is my favorite place in LA.

Oh yes, I just did that, and it was incredible. 


The smog is so pretty from above.

It is, haha.

Here's a good one: if you could slip into any show as a main character, where would you go?

Can I have two answers?

I guessss so.

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad - that was like, the performance and role of a lifetime. I've also been watching a lot of comedy, and How I met Your Mother? Barney? Neil Patrick Harris is a god. He is the funniest person in the entire world.  I wish I could pull that off. He just breathes that character. 

I love funny stuff. Like I said, I'll binge watch Game of Thrones then be like "Okay, I need to watch some Parks and Rec."

Yeah, I would only watch serious dramatic scenes, and then, you've got to start watching comedy. Every time a comedy ends for me, it's like a little piece of my soul is ending. I just watched all ten seasons of Friends in like two and a half weeks, and I literally didn't know what to do with my life. 

Time to start watching Parks and Recreation. 

I'm gonna jump on that next. 

I actually, until the Kids Choice Awards, had never watched Friends, and I made the mistake of saying that, and got yelled at. 

I was the same way! I mean, I'd seen it here and there, but then I just sat down and watched all 10 seasons. It was magical. 

Anything you can binge watch is. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad.

We keep ending up on the same two shows. 

*conversation spirals into how I am not a friendly television watching person, but instead enjoy GOT, Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy*

You probably get sick of talking about him, but do you have a favorite Drake song? 

There is no answer to this. I'm a huge Drake fan..

Okay, so not just because you're on Degrassi, but because you're Canadian - I feel like you all treat him with way more value than like, Justin Bieber.

Oh 100%. Don't mind the Biebs, love his Instagram account, but if you were to ask any Canadian "Drake or Justin Bieber", almost every one would say Drake.  It was weird for me, because right when he started making music, when he dropped his first album, I was starting on the show. Everyone was talking about "Aubrey this, Aubrey that", like, he used to stay in my dressing room.  It was crazy.

You are spiritually connected to Drake. 

100%. Oh but my favorite song is probably "Bria's Interlude" with him and Omarion. 

Yeahh. Okay, I have a just like, opinion question: was his latest drop an album or a mixtape?

Oh definitely a mixtape.

THAT'S WHAT I KEEP SAYING.

Definitely. That's not a Drake album. I mean, I liked it. But it's not. What I do with every album I buy is listen to it from beginning to end, and at first I was like "I do not like this". I was thiiis close to deleting it. Then I gave it another listen, and I liked it. But it's not an album. It's like a collective. 

I have now had my opinion verified by a Real Life Canadian. Brilliant. But since you're also now a Californian - do you have an In N Out order memorized?

Oh yes. In N Out is my place, I go there like three times a week. [Justina Note: Liiiightweight.] My regular order is like a Double-Double and a single, because one is never enough and three is too many. I've been trying this thing - and it never works- where I order one protein style, with the lettuce, then put that inside the cheeseburger.

Oh my god.

Right? It works in theory, but I have yet to eat one without it falling apart. 

Last question:  What's one thing you've always wanted to be asked, and no one has ever asked you?

OH I KNOW. Okay, something I would like people to know is that I can basically rap any Eminem song. That's something people don't know, and I would like the world to know.

And now they will.

Follow Luke's Instagram for snaps of LA, some fantastically inspired fan art,
and his ludicrously perfect teeth. Seriously guys. The teeth.

x J




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4.24.2015

going to kale



sweatshirt c.o. suburban riot 


LOOK WHERE I GOT ACCEPTED.

Hahahahahahha.
 
I just look so supremely happy in that photo but honestly have idea why. Maybe my brother had a doughnut. Maybe I was just really excited about this sweatshirt. Who knows. Perfect photo for my train of thought though. I'm going to explain it, but first: no matter what you read from here on out, do. not. panic.

I've always said that the minute this isn't fun for me, I'll go find something else to do, and I take that very seriously. I won't waste my time or yours doing boring stuff that neither of us cares about, because when the love ain't there, it ain't there. Lately, I've been thinking about this a lot. The conclusion I've come to is that THIS IS STILL FUN I LIKE IT A LOT OKAY BREATHE BREATHE WITH ME. WE ARE ALL OKAY. THE OVERALLS STAND TALL. I'm sorry to have done that but I really wanted to reiterate the point. Society as a whole tends to pressure us to do things that will make us rich, make us "successful", make us "popular". We don't put half as much pressure on people to do things that make them happy, or to acknowledge that your personal definition of happy can change, and thats okay. Do your thaaang. Or thangsss. 

Also: Kale isn't a plant, it's a lifestyle. #cali-isms

x J

 


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4.16.2015

suns out guns out




shirt c.o. suburban riot
jeans: diy
clogs c.o. moheda toffeln

It was actually 79 degrees, but whatever. 

The weather literally just woke up on Monday and was like "You know what? Forget spring, forget summer, let's just go directly to hell." It's been above 75 every. single. day. And not a cloud in the sky. Sunny and 70 ain't a joke - it's our lifestyle.

These jeans are the best idea (and most successful diy) I've had in a while. Never underestimate the power of a pair of boyfriend jeans with holes and big pockets. Paired with my clogs/new best friends, this was a perfect lounge about outfit.

Let's take a moment to say a few words about Coachella:
 Bad hipster outfits. Floral. Uber. Drake. Madonna assaulting Drake. Fake IDs. Hair dye. No-Show Vanessa Hudgens. Unclear art. Live stream crash. FKA Twigs. Snapchat stories. Rihanna???

Drake, if you ever tryna find someone else to bring on stage,
 just give me a heads up so I can plan for it.

x J








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4.13.2015

justina + ian thomas | interview





"He's a singer from the Netherlands. Or is he a vine star? One of those. He's nominated."

 On the carpet at the Kids Choice Awards, I heard about Ian Thomas before I saw him coming. He's one of those fantastic quick interviewees who actually thinks about your question and focuses on you. I enjoyed our *literally* 80 seconds together so much, I decided to extend it. So now, meet Ian Thomas. (He isn't a vine star. Or the creepy husband from Pretty Little Liars.)

Justina: You're from Belgium, right?

Ian: Yes, I am! My mother is from Amsterdam and my step-father is from Belgium, so I'm half and half. 

 Either way, you're pretty far off from LA, haha. Tell me a little about your "journey to the States".

Well I moved here five months ago, but it really started when I worked on a song with Anise K and Snoop Dog and Lance Bass. They wanted to bring it to a European audience and really loved what I did, so they wanted me to fly out to LA as soon as possible. That's how I got here the first time, and I really liked it. 


And now you're here!

Yes! 

What's your favorite thing to do in LA?

My favorite thing..I really like everything. I like the weather so far. Where I'm from it's always cold and raining, so to wake up and have the sun out just makes me super happy. I also enjoy all the new things, I'm playing piano now...I'm very busy. I'm still getting used to everything. But my favorite thing is probably meeting new people, or going and relaxing, being out in nature. 

I don't think people realize how much beautiful nature LA has.

They don't! And also here you have the beach and the mountains in the same place, it's beautiful.

What do you think is the biggest difference between Belgium and LA?

First of all, the people in LA are way more welcoming. In Belgium people are kind of on their own, doing their thing in their own family. Here, people are way more open and social. I know sometimes it is "fake", but it is nice to have more open minds. In Belgium, people are very much like...make sure you go to school first, and go to university, and graduate, and then maybe in a few years you can pursue your dream. Here, people think if you have a chance and an opportunity, go for it, wow. Or like, driving a Lamborghini. In Belgium, people would say "oh my god what a cocky little bastard". But here in America, people look at you and say "oh nice man, good job". 

It's all that sunshine, it makes us optimistic. 

Yes, that must be it, haha.

So let's talk about your music - when we met at the KCA's, you were telling me about your song Cheers, with Tyga. (the music video to which just dropped on Vevo, go check it out. There's an easter bunny one piece.) Tell me about making that.

Ah, yes, we wanted to create a feel - good song, something you could listen to when you were down, and it would up your mood. I feel like we really did that. I personally really wanted a rapper on the song, and the perfect person to me was Tyga so my management got in touch with his, and we made it happen. It was very natural, working with him.

Who else would be a dream collab for you?

*Doesn't skip a beat* Kid Cudi.

Hahah, Kid Cudi? I feel like that could sound really cool.

He's one of my hero's, on both a musical level and on a personal level.
He truly inspires me. On another note, I'd love to work with Justin Timberlake. There's so many - Frank Ocean, even Kanye West. Really anybody. There are so many talented people out there, and whatever happens, happens. 

I'll get back to you in ten years and we'll see what you've done by then, yeah?

Yeah! It's so crazy - this is just the beginning.

In researching you for this interview, I found that you get compared to Justin Bieber a LOT. Like, a lot a lot. You're literally called "Europe's Justin Bieber". What do you think is a big difference between you?

I think we are completely different people. I don't know him personally, but no one can be a copy of someone else. I think we get compared because I covered one song of his, but I don't think that means I am copying him, you know what I mean? I am my own person, and I'm not planning to be the next Justin Bieber, I'm planning to be the first Ian Thomas.

Iconic words have been spoken.

I want to inspire our generation to do great things, whatever their thing may be.

What do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?

I want people to feel connected to me and their moment. Whether they are sad and want to feel better, or are happy and want to be there, I want them to connect to me and my music however they can.

Well speaking of that, let's talk about your social media...

*I said the magic words. We talk about instagram for the next ten minutes*

*Justina gets back on track*

So you have a pretty distinct look, and I've been wanting to talk to you about it. What do you think influences your personal style?

My style is influenced by everything, honestly. I will see an outfit on tumblr, and say "Okay, that is what I want to look like today", or I see a person walking down the street. Life, I guess. Life inspires me. You know what I mean?

Yeah! I'm the same way. Plus, you live in LA, which is the perfect place. 



Yes, it is!

Speaking of LA - I saw a post you put up a few days ago about going vegan. Are you vegan?

I am vegan now! I wasnt in Europe, but then I moved to LA and I became a vegan. LA is getting in my head.

Hahah it is, but again, it's the perfect place. LA is set up for vegans.

I think it is so important that people are educated on where their food comes from. You literally become what you eat, and if you are eating chemicals and genetically modified foods and such, that is what you are becoming. But they are - there's a whole movement starting, and people are becoming aware.

It's about time. Ours is running out as well, so here is your last question: what is something you've always wanted to be asked, but no one ever has? 

 Oh...this is a hard one. I want to give you an honest answer, so let me think about it.

***several hours pass**

The thing I have always wanted to be asked, or want people to know, is that I want to be different. I don't want to be the guy who says he will do something and then doesn't. This is just the beginning for me.

Cheers to that.


You can check out Ian's music here, follow his extraordinarily well curated instagram account here, and continuously groove to Cheers here. Have fun, or as they would say in Belgium, amuseer je.

I think. Google Translate hasn't got the best track record.

x J






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4.10.2015

can you see the light








 So ONE of the things I did in the last few weeks was run around LA with Element Eden and shoot photos in their Summer 15 collection. You'll get to see everything soon, but here's a sneak peek. This dress is one of my favorite pieces, mainly because it's velour cheetah print. That's right. Velour. Cheetah. Print. Just let that soak in. This was the last outfit we shot, but it was by far my favorite location: the LACMA. If I'm being completely honest, I didn't even know it existed outside of ~youtuber location world~.

Fun fact:  I learned that saying the sentence "I'm not as great at climbing poles as I should be" will always illicit mutterings from strangers, even if you are literally surrounded by massive light poles and your mum.

 x Justina

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4.06.2015

snap the strap | aerie for yellowberry




all pieces c.o. american eagle

So I had a definite direction I wanted to take with this post about the wonderfulness that is the Aerie for Yellowberry collection, but first I want to shout out to the big brother who was in my local Aerie store taking his little sister bra - shopping. I don't know your life man, and you probably won't read this, but you're doing a really good job. Also, the pink lace was definitely your look.

Everyone's got awkward underwear shopping stories. Aisles are too bright, you don't know what size you need, that person you know from somewhere just walked by, your mom is being uncomfortable. Now imagine being a thirteen year old girl shopping for a bra. Everything is too sparkly, too old, too much. It's practically traumatic. Megan Grassell, an 18 year old big sister in 2013, could not deal with this nonsense and changed the game. She started a company, Yellowberry, that launched a collection of cute n comfy options for younger girls.  Flash forward to 2015, and she's partnered with my faves at Aerie to bring it to ~the people~. Personally, 13 year old Justina and I are PSYCHED. The whole shebang is exclusive to aerie.com, so get it while you can, save a thirteen year old.

I like to pretend I wear a ton of color but lets be honest, at this point its all just Barbie pink or stripes. My name is Justina, and I am #aEsThEtIc.

x Justina




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4.03.2015

L.A. LOVE | Kids Choice Awards 2015







all photos and video shot using FUJIFILM X30 

I just did that thing that you do after a trip where it sounds like you're sighing but you're actually just exhaling all of your pressure and excitement and whatever airplane air was still stuck in your lungs. You know what I mean. The last five days have been crazy. Crazy fun, crazy busy, crazy eye-opening, and crazy crazy. I can't wait for you guys to see all the things this last week has set in motion. It's going to be awesome. BUT FIRST -

LEMME TALK ABOUT THE KIDS CHOICE AWARDS. It was so weird to pack up and head there knowing that this was my SECOND one. I felt like an old hat. A glitzy, selfie taking old hat, but an old hat all the same. I wore a fire Element Eden dress and my beloved Moheda Toffeln clogs, and it was the perfect outfit for a day that had even the most weather hardened natives dripping. I got to see some old friends, make some new ones, photobomb 5SOS, talk to Iggy, compare accents with the Janoskians, selfie with Kevin James. You know, the usual. HAHAHAH we both know I was freaking out. I documented everything for HuffPost Teen, and you can click here to see the whole shebang.

Besides not getting slimed, there was something else on my to-do list for this particular trip: visiting Suburban Riot. The name might not be familiar to you just yet, but I'd be willing to bet money one of their products is:  kale sweatshirt. That's right. The one Beyonce wore in the 7/11 video. Mhmm. They were nice enough to invite me to visit, so I swung by to pick up some snazzy pieces for future outfits. Dance skills not included.

But lets be honest, none of you want to see me dance any more than you've already had to.

x J





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4.01.2015

WHO'S the princess??


dress c.o. unique prom

 I may have never gone to highschool, but I look GOOD in a prom dress. Well, this prom dress.

Today is the day and the time is up, pumpkin or no pumpkin. Someones getting a stunner of a Unique Prom dress (Tiara not included, personal sparkle and grace sold separately) That someone is....


Even if you didn't win, fear not: now's the time to call your grandmother - you might be heir to a small European country.


x J

ps. I WENT TO THE KIDS CHOICE AWARDS AND MADE A VLOG AND EVERYTHING. You can see it...on Friday.


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3.27.2015

see you in the selfies | KIDS CHOICE AWARDS 2015



It's time to go back to where it all started: the Kids Choice Awards. 

That's right, tomorrow,  March 28th, I'm going back to the orange carpet to bring a splash of sparkle and a smattering of selfies to the slimiest of  shows. Expect serious dance breaks, important questions about fandoms and eyebrows, and me not breathing regularly for approximately an entire day. I'll be documenting the whole thing LIVE for HuffPost Teen on their Instagram account (@huffpostteen) starting at 2:30pm PST/5:30 EST. Be there or be an annoying half face selfie.


Last but not least: 
If you throw slime at me, 
I throw a wooden shoe at you.

x J




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3.24.2015

who's that dress? | GIVEAWAY




dress c.o. unique prom

Pretty dresses are kind of important. Do you think Prince Charming would have been half as down to go chasing all over the place looking for some girl if she'd been wearing glass shoes and a velour track suit? NOPE. What if Mia Thermopolis had been crowned Queen of Genovia in some Levi's and "gangsta rap made me do it" crop top? NOT ACCEPTABLE. No magic can happen when you look like your rolled through an Urban Outfitters trash bin on your way out. In all fairytales, however, whether based in small European countries or "real life", a fairy godmother is around to amp up the #ootn game. That's where I come in.

I'm teaming up with the fairies at Unique Prom to give one of you lucky ducks a lil' something snazzy to hop out of your pumpkin/parents car with at prom. That's right. This pink and pretty and overall very 80's prom dream dress could belong to you. All you have to do is find your own tiara, because I sure as heck ain't handing over mine.

RULES (no curfew involved):

1. Follow @unique_prom and @abentpieceofwire on instagram!

2. Regram a photo from this post, tag both @unique_prom & @abentpieceofwire and #uniqueprom 

3. Tag 3 of your faves! 

One entry per day, per girl. We'll announce the winner on Tuesday, March 31st, and then someone's dancing the night away in a very magical dress indeed. Might even get a foot pop in.
 

x J

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