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vendredi 9 octobre 2009

CANDACE KITA INTERVIEW PART 2: HOTTIE HELPER

It’s awesome to watch a heroine kick a bad guy’s ass in the movies! But in real life, it doesn’t really happen very much. According to L.A.-based actress/model and women’s safety advocate Candace Kita, the smartest thing for a woman to do with a potential “predator” (1) is to remove herself from the situation as peacefully as possible. In this second and last part of her interview, Candace Kita talks about her weekly radio show “Hottie Help with Candace Kita”, on air since October 2008, her upcoming book The Hottie Handbook: A Girl's Guide to Safety, the Candace-inspired action comic "Kyu Shin", and other projects.

Frédéric Ambroisine: As a sexy model, how do you find the difference between an image that is attractive and one that is exploited?

Candace Kita: There is a fine line between the two. It is not easy. It takes an understanding between the photographer and the model to fully understand the look they are trying to achieve.




FA: You created your own radio show “Hottie Help”. Is this first project over which you have creative control?

CK: Yes, this might be the first project where I've had control over what is being put out there. At first, the show had a sexier image. We've actually toned it down a bit during the course of the past year.

FA: Briefly, what is the concept of your radio show?

CK: Each week we bring on a celebrity female guest to discuss issues pertaining to women's safety. Past episodes have dealt with home safety, work safety, travel safety, campus safety, dorm room safety, car safety, surfing the internet, and dating.



Lisa Gleave discussing women's safety on "Hottie Help with Candace Kita" (Oct. 19th, 2008)

FA: Can you give your international readers a brief example of what the show is like?

CK: We have various guests from all walks of life; from safety experts, relationship experts and authors to Playboy Playmates. We even had 1960's icon Kitten Natividad discussing car safety for women! It is funny, unexpected and we like to combine guests with topics they are not familiar with. You never know what to expect!

FA: How did you meet you co-host sidekick Doug Stewart? Was he involved in the radio show project since the beginning?

CK: Doug was involved since the beginning; I approached him as a first pick because he has a terrific radio voice and personality. He was the perfect choice and has had a voice-over career that has included work for The Tonight Show, Disney and Cartoon Network.

FA: What kind of female image do you think is important to present on the show?

CK: I think it is important to show an empowered woman, but also one who is well-informed. I study safety tips for each show before we go live on the air. People have no idea how many hours of behind-the-scenes work goes into each hour of the show.



Nicole Pulliam was the first guest on "Hottie Help with Candace Kita" (Oct. 5th, 2008)

FA: Your radio show started in October 2008, but at that time your upcoming "The Hottie Handbook: A Girl's Guide to Safety" was already completed. When did you have the book idea and when did you have the radio show idea?

CK: I had the book idea a little over two years ago. The radio show idea came to me after August 2008. I was a guest at Comic-Con in San Diego last August [2009] , and was being interviewed by a science fiction radio show. It gave me the idea to do a show about women's safety.

FA: How long did it take to write your book? And when is it being released?

CK: It only took about six months to complete the book. However, it has taken two years to get it completely finished. It has been edited several times and has been put together by a company and re-edited. Images had to be chosen, fonts had to be decided on, etc. There is so much to putting together a book that I was unaware about. It will be released on iPhone at the end of this year as an iPhone application. Then it will be released in paperback and will be available at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ and http://www.amazon.com/.



Candace says: "Be Sexy. Be Smart. Be Safe"

FA: When did you start collecting information and tips related to women’s safety?

CK: I started collecting tips on women's safety over four years ago. All of the real-life situations described in the book come from women from all walks of life: not only models and actresses but also teachers, stay-at-home moms, and everyday women.

FA: When did you first begin to consider yourself a safety advocate? Did something in particular happen to you or somebody you know that made you become a Hottie Helper?

CK: I have considered myself a safety advocate for five years. I detail in my book a situation I had involving a stalker that prompted me to have an interest in women's safety.



Who's hotter?

FA: Concerning the title “Hottie Help”: How did you find it? Did you have any other title before this one?

CK: I liked the alliteration of the words "hottie" and "help". The term "Hottie" applies to any woman who is interested in learning how to deal with inappropriate behavior. I actually did have another title, but need to keep it under wraps because it is going to become the title of my next book.

FA: Another book! Congratulations! Can you give us a little hint about its subject?

CK: Of course, it is another safety primer for women of all ages. I have to keep the hint small because my agent is shopping the idea around right now.

FA: You had the idea for your radio show in August 2008, and the first episode aired on October 2008. How did you manage to set it up so fast?

CK: I was lucky; I knew someone at LA Talk Radio who got me in touch with the right people. I wanted to delay the start of the show because I didn't feel like I was ready. They did a "test run" of one show initially to see how it would go, and it went well. So we've been airing the show ever since.

FA: How do you select your “Hottie Help” guests?

CK: The guests come to me through various sources: word of mouth, their managers, and as friends of previous guests who have been on the show and have enjoyed coming on.

FA: Do you feel like you, your guests or listeners are learning and growing from your show?

CK: I think so. The reason I say this is, we've had several women call in from time to time, repeat callers, with situations they are dealing with. They keep us up-to-date on what is going on in their lives. So I feel like they are learning and telling us what is happening with them. It is exciting for us and it is very rewarding to hear someone who has a situation and it finally gets resolved.



Doug Stewart, Candace Kita & Brian Wallos on "Hottie Help" (Dec. 14th, 2008)


FA: Usually your "Hottie Help" guests are young female models or actresses. But there were two exceptions. One of your guests was a man, and the other one was icon Kitten Natividad. Why did you choose these guests?

CK: The man is Brian Wallos, the CEO of Bench Warmer International. Bench Warmer is a series of collectible trading cards with beautiful women on them. To give you an idea of what they look like, they are similar to baseball trading cards. Brian was an ideal guest because he deals with beautiful women all of the time. Also, as the CEO of Bench Warmer, he has had safety issues he's had to deal with for himself and for the models. He came on and discussed safety in public venues. It was an interesting show, but my co-host and he got sidetracked onto the subject of rare collectible baseball cards and I had to steer them back towards our topic at hand!



Candace Kita is of course, a Bench Warmer model (2008 Bench Warmer Limited Base Card #12)

Kitten seemed like an interesting choice as well. She has had a long career and has had a lot of male attention. So she was able to discuss women's safety and has a wonderful sense of humour. Her episode received more fan emails than any other. We even received one from Paraguay for her. We didn't even know where Paraguay was!

FA: How do you prepare for your show?

CK: Each week we prepare by doing online research about the topic plus the guest. We have a basic format we adhere to each week and the show is broken down by the minute. We take a few hours each week to learn the safety tips, plus basic information about the guest and their career. We also have a syllabus next to us at all times to refer to, if need be.

FA: Did you have experience with live radio before?

CK: I only had experience with live radio as a guest, never as a host. It is interesting to think that we are on live each week, but once we get into the studio we think only of the work we have ahead of us. The hour always seems to fly by.

FA: “Hottie Help” is supposed to be a weekly show, but sometimes it’s not regular. Why not?

CK: It is supposed to be weekly. However, we miss some weeks and a repeat will air. This is because I am out of town quite a bit for work. And if my co-host is not in town I can't do the show either.

FA: How many “Hottie Help” episodes are you supposed to do? Do you have unlimited topics to talk about?

CK: That is a good question. My original goal was 24 shows. Then we passed it and still felt we had valid topics to discuss. So I have no idea how long the show will run. I think if there is still listener interest. I'll still do it. I know some women who call in each week and we get great listener emails. so we might as well keep going.



Hottie Helpers Candace Kita & Alana Curry, getting ready for a charity event

FA: What feedback have you had from people in the entertainment industry about “Hottie Help”?

CK: We've gotten some really great feedback especially in conjunction with my charity, Hotties With a Heart. This organization is made up of past guests from the show. We donate time each month to various charity organizations throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Recently we were written up in Variety when we visited the Bob Hope USO at LAX [airport] and welcomed over 400 troops that were being deployed overseas that day.



The Hotties with a Heart signed for over 400+ Marines at the Bob Hope USO at LAX

FA: It seems like people follow you from the radio show to your charity. Do you think you inspire loyalty?

CK: I think it is a compliment. The guests who do the charity work with us do this free of charge. They donate not only their time but also the headshots, posters, Bench Warmer Cards and magazines that they sign at these events. I really appreciate their dedication and it is also always great to see everyone at an event. It gives us time to catch up on each other's lives.

FA: When did you start your charity? After the “Hottie Help” show began?

CK: I started Hotties With a Heart and “Hottie Help” at about the same time. The show came slightly before the charity organization. Basically, I was able to find people who were interested in participating from the guests who came on the show. The organizations have basically fallen into my lap. I guess it is easy to find an organization that wants free help from hot gals.



Candace participating in a reading program for elementary school children in Compton, CA.

FA: You spend a lot of time and energy helping all different kinds of people in need. Do you think you are different than other actresses?

CK: No, I don't think I'm any different because so many actresses and models I've met are more than happy to do charity. It has been surprisingly easy; I just call everyone up, find out their schedules and pick a date that works for everyone. It has been easier than we initially thought.

FA: Are you the only founder of the charity?

CK: Yes, I am the founder but I've had a lot of help from my radio co-host, Doug Stewart. I would not have been able to put together many of the events without him.

FA: Who can be a member of Hotties With a Heart?

CK: We've had so many members I can't tally them all, but I'd say 98% are models and actresses. We've had great help from males as well from time to time so yes, anyone can be a hottie! All of the women who have participated have done so for no pay. They have taken time out of the busy work week and given their weekends to work free all day. They are all great people and I'm quite proud to have worked beside them.

FA: Do you raise money for your charity? If yes, for what purpose?

CK: No. We are a charity organization, not a foundation. In order to legally collect money you have to be a foundation. We do all of the work for no pay and do not collect money on behalf of other organizations either.

FA : What charity work are you most proud of, so far?

CK: I think the event where we received the most response from everyone is the USO. We were so happy that the troops were so thankful to see us there. We have never been so warmly welcomed and the energy there was unbelievable. The Marines were so kind and polite. I have such respect for the Marines after that experience. We have been invited back in November and we can't wait to go back.



A Marine shooting at the Hotties (Bob Hope USO at LAX)


FA : When did you start to go to Comic Con and why?

CK: I was invited to Comic-Con in 2002 and went because I received an invitation to sign autographs. I was on the Fox Kids TV show "Masked Rider" [Read about it in the first part of the interview, Candace Kita: Hollywood Hottie] and was invited because it has a cult following of sorts.

FA: Since Comic-Con attracts a lot of people in the entertainment industry, do you set up professional meetings there in advance, or do you just have random meetings?

CK: I've had random meetings there. It is usually extremely busy, and with 150,000 people it is hard to plan to "meet" anyone anywhere. I did randomly meet the director and executive producer of the new "Masked Rider" series this year and it was great seeing the comparisons between our show and the new version.

FA: What do you like best about Comic-Con?

CK: Seeing some of the same people I see year after year. It is like a homecoming of sorts. So many people come from all over the country, and the only time we actually get to see each other is once a year at Comic-Con. We spend hours catching up on each other's lives. Some people I correspond with almost daily by email, but it is always good to see them in person.



"Kyu-Shin" comic - Written by Mitch Hyman - Art by Ivonne Falcon and Alberto Cortes.



FA: How did you meet the people from Scare Tactix Graphix?

CK: I met the people from Scare Tactix Graphix in New Jersey last year. They approached me to do a comic with them, "Kyu Shin" (2) and it sounded interesting. Also, the artist portfolio I was shown was amazing.

FA: Is the Kyu Shin character based solely on your physical appearance?

CK: Yes, the character is based on my physical likeness; I am not a vampire superhero in real life. Sorry! Kyu-shin is a protector of women and children and this is what initially drew from Glenn Tippett from Scare Tactix Graphix, the company that created this comic book, to me. They thought the idea of me and women's safety was great. I loved the concept and also thought it was a good match.

FA: What kind of deal did you make with Scare Tactix Graphix? What do you have to do for "Kyu Shin"?

CK: I promote the comic throughout the year and also help to sell the comic at appearances. We just worked on a deal to do the second installment of "Kyu Shin", so another comic is in the works. We also worked on a "Kyu Shin" poster that is now available, and another one is in the works.

FA: Will you play the character if there’s a future movie adaptation?

CK: Ironically I spoke to the "Kyu Shin" people on the phone a few weeks ago about movie rights. I am all for it, but it is difficult to sell a script in Hollywood. It would be great if it happens but really, who knows?



"Kyu Shin" (Scare Tactix Grafix - 2009)

FA: When did you start practicing karate and why?

CK: I started learning martial arts when I was in high school. I was just interested in it as a sport. and thought it might be a fun activity to pursue. I studied through high school and some in college. I have booked several acting jobs because of my martial arts training so I've always been thankful for it.

FA: Are you still practicing?

CK: I stopped because college was a full time job. And then after I became an actor, and was focused primarily on that as my career. Now, I try to exercise one hour a day. I enjoy yoga and of course, being in Southern California, I love going to the beach!

FA: Do you think it is better for a woman to try to use martial arts against real life “predators”?

CK: I tell women to always try to avoid getting into a physical altercation, and only use it as a last resort. For example, if someone is behaving inappropriately towards you, it is much better to calmly attempt to talk your way out of a situation and leave rather than get into a fight.

FA: That makes a lot of sense. Any other free advice for your hottie readers?

CK: Sure. Always listen to your sixth sense. You have it for a reason. If someone seems weird, they are. If someone seems to want something from you, they do. It's really that simple. Don't try to overthink it or rationalize that feeling away. Listen to your gut instinct. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable for any reason, leave the situation immediately and ask questions later.

FA : Most of your “Hottie Help” tips are about how to avoid a physical confrontation, but when you were on “The Jay Leno Show” recently, you showed how to kick some “predator” butt. How did you get on the show to do this?

CK: I was contacted by the “The Jay Leno Show” through my radio co-host, who has worked for them several times over the years. They were interested in the book. and asked me to come on and demonstrate quick and simple safety tips. It is true, most of my safety tips on the radio pertain to avoiding inappropriate behavior. I believe avoiding confrontation is the best policy. The safety tips I demonstrated on “The Jay Leno Show” were only for use as a last alternative. If you are somehow trapped, unable to escape and have no personal weapon, then you might have to get physical. It is interesting; there was a comment by a viewer who said I should not have shown safety tips. To which I respond : "What should a woman do if there is no way out? Lie there and take it? At that point she has to try something." There was overwhelming response from other commenters agreeing. I'm not saying to use self-defense right away. To me, that is obvious. And that is what we discuss on the radio each week.

FA: Do you think a woman should own a gun to protect herself?

CK: It is your choice. I am from the South and guns are much more common there. But it is entirely up to you.

FA: How do you feel about the characters played by Asian actresses in Hollywood for the last 20 years?

CK: Hopefully, all ethnic actors are being less stereotyped now, not just Asian Americans. And I also think there is more opportunity for us now than ever before.

FA: Do you think it’s more difficult for Asians to find interesting parts in Hollywood, compared to Caucasians?

CK: I don't know. I only know from my point of reference, and I've had so much opportunity I can't really complain. I haven't booked every part I've gone out for, obviously, but the opportunity has been there.

FA: Do you admire any particular Asian American actress?

CK: Not really, I wish I could say there was one. I do like Anna Mae Wong from the 1930's and 40's. There were so few Asian actresses when I was growing up. In fact, when I saw an Asian person on TV as a child, I'd say, "Look! There's an Asian person on TV!"

FA : Are there any action movie heroines you admire?

CK: I think Michelle Yeoh is amazing. She just seems to get better and better with age. Sexy, smart, killer body and such a talented martial artist.



Candace Kita - September 2009 (Photo: Mike Rollerson)

FA: Have you faced racism in the Entertainment business?

CK: No, but I faced racism growing up as a child in the South.

FA: How did you deal with racism in the South? Did you move to LA because of it?

CK: I didn't move to LA because of racism. I moved to LA because I got bitten by the acting bug. In the South, I basically ignored it. Their racism is more a reflection of them; not a reflection of me.

FA: Do you think Asian women in the US have more opportunity to model than to act?

CK: That is a great question, Fred, and I think you've stumped me! I don't know; I can just say I really hope both venues are being opened to people of every color, on the whole. It's really about time.



Candace Kita on the set of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" with
Tila Tequila, Jamie Chung, Lena Yada and Jina Song on the Sony Lot in L.A.

FA : How optimistic are you about the future of Asian Americans in the entertainment industry?

CK: Very. I see so many Asian Americans on TV and in film now. I remember a time when Connie Chung was about the only Asian person you saw on TV. Now, Asian Americans play such varied roles, and it is much more commonplace to see us playing someone like your next door neighbor.

FA: Tell me about your cosmetics line for Asian women.

CK: I am currently working on a skin care line for Asian women. A college friend of mine is an alchemist and creates cosmetics for a living. I approached him about creating a skincare line for Asian women, since we have special skincare needs. We are in the beginning stages, but it is coming along swimmingly and I couldn't be more pleased with what we have so far.

FA : Will you have a website? How will your readers will be able to purchase your products?

CK: I'm working right now with my webmaster and creating a website specifically for skincare. Readers can purchase both the cosmetics and skincare products there. The skincare line will be available first, and the cosmetic line second.

FA: Tell me about your upcoming calendar.

CK: My calendar is being released through iPhone as an iPhone application. It will be available in October. I'm excited because iPhone approached me earlier this year. I also have two more applications that will be available this fall: “Hottie Help” the radio show, and my book, The Hottie Handbook: A Girl's Guide to Safety.

FA : You recently started a blog on the community artists website Alive Not Dead, and you’re very active on it. Why did you decide to blog?

CK: My radio co-host and I decided I would blog as an experiment of sorts. I've always been concerned about blogging, for safety and privacy issues. Our show is about women's safety and I decided to blog to see what type of response I'd get and how I'd feel about the experience on the whole. So far it has been great, and I've really enjoyed it. But I never talk about things that are too personal. I blog mostly about work-related topics.


Candace Kita's first blog on Alive not Dead

FA: What are the differences between your Alive Not Dead blog, Facebook page, MySpace page and Twitter?


CK: A great question and thank you for giving me the forum to explain it all. The blog is written by me, usually everyday unless I'm busy on a set or something. The Facebook page is a fan page. It is not run by me. It is run by a webmaster. You can't contact me there and I guess people think they can. The MySpace page and the Twitter is also run by someone else. My website is run by my webmaster and no mail is read by me; it is read by my publicist. Media inquiries can be sent to the website, Facebook and MySpace. Confusing, huh?

FA: You recently chose to publically defend the reputation of Felicia Tang, who was brutally murdered, on your Alive Not Dead blog.

CK: I spoke out publicly because I am a women's safety advocate. She is being dragged through the mud so the media can sensationalize the story for public appeal. They didn't say, "Felicia Tang, real estate broker..." Instead, they chose to say, "Felicia Tang, Porn Star..." Hypothetically, even if she was a porn star, what would it matter? She did not deserve to be murdered. This is an issue of domestic violence, and the attention is being drawn away from that. Her case is getting an outsized amount of attention because sexiness and notoriety sell murder in the press. But it is also this popular perception that sends the message that she somehow deserved it.

FA: Many artists are supporting director Roman Polanski during this fresh controversy. How do you feel about the situation ?

CK: I think he should be tried for the crime. I like his movies, but his artistic creativity and what he has contributed to the film community have nothing to do with what he is accused of, criminally.

FA: Mike Rollerson has taken some great photos of you. How did you meet him?

CK: I met Mike at Comic-Con; he took pictures of me and was kind enough to send them to me. I was really impressed by them and wanted to keep in touch. He is a great guy and we really enjoy collaborating together.



Candace Kita - September 2009 (by Mike Rollerson)

FA: You posed with an amazing sword in a Rollerson photo series. How in the world did you find it?

CK: Mike is a collector; that is the actual sword used in the film "Ultraviolet". It is the one Milla Jovovich used, and it is as impressive in real life as it is on film.

FA : Your skateboard photos are also quite impressive. Do you actually skateboard?

CK: I skateboard, but not well. I'm trying, and really enjoy it. That day was so much fun; Mike and I shot for half a day and I didn't fall off the skateboard once!



Candace Kita - September 2009 (by Mike Rollerson)


FA: Are you familiar with skateboard culture?

CK:Somewhat. I've seen "Dogtown and Z-Boys" and of course, if you live in SoCal like I do, it is really a part of everyday life here.

FA : Do you work regularly with other photographers as well?

CK: I work with a lot of other photographers. I shot a cover for Rukus Magazine that just came out yesterday. Mike and I are friends and like to bounce ideas off of each other. There is a lot of brainstorming with us, and I've always liked what we come up with. There are always great surprises.

FA : Any other upcoming projects ?

CK: I recently shot a campaign for Stila Cosmetics and will also be shooting Peter Greene's new film, "Something in the Night", which is a horror feature film (3).

FA : Candace, thank you so much for taking the time to do this very long interview.

CK: Thanks so much for reading this interview; I hope you enjoyed it. If you want to read more, visit my blog at: www.alivenotdead.com/candacekita or www.twitter.com/candacekitapr.

Interview conducted by Frédéric Ambroisine in August/October 2009 and edited by Sylvia Rorem in October 2009 for ActionQueens.com. Thanks to Mike Rollerson & Candace Kita.

(1) “Predator” is a term often used on “Hottie Help” to describe a male attacker.
(2) More about "Kyu Shin" story here and here.
(3) Candace is also shooting now "Christmas in Beverly Hills", where she's playing a lifeguard. Check out the behind-the-scene pictures on her blog here, here and here.
Click on the picture below to read the first part of Candace’s interview, Candace Kita - Hollywood Hottie:

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