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. Tuesday, 20 March 2018 .

Every once in a while, a movie comes along and leaves a profound impact on you. That’s what The Greatest Showman is for me.

Sam Humphrey is The Greatest Showman. Just as Hugh Jackman is The Greatest Showman. Zac Efron is The Greatest Showman. The Greatest Showman is Keala Settle and Zendaya. In many ways I feel like, I too, am The Greatest Showman. At its core, it's a story about hope and dreamers. Of acceptance instead of just tolerance. It’s a film for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, for anyone who has pushed through adversity and took great risks for the sake of pursuing our passions. And let’s be honest – we have all been there before, all have felt this to some degree in the past. It’s a universal story that we need to see now more than ever.

I still can’t get through hearing ‘A Million Dreams’ without crying – I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song that really captured how I felt so beautifully as that. I still can’t hear ‘This Is Me’ without feeling empowered. These songs have made such an impact because not only is it an essential part of the movie, but it’s the heart and soul of it. I went to a sing-a-long screening (2 of them even!) and it was like a concert in the cinema! We were dancing and singing and I haven’t felt that connected in a long time. All because of the power of film.

But back to Sam Humphrey, the breakout star of this movie. The scene-stealer, whose performance for this movie is sincere and truly made him standout from the pack. So imagine my surprise when I found out that Sam Humphrey is a Kiwi Aussie actor who is so proud of his roots!

There's this particular scene that really stood out to me in the film and without spoiling it too much for those who still haven't seen it (seriously what are you doing if you're not seeing this yet?!), Hugh Jackman's P.T. Barnum says to Sam's General Tom Thumb: "And when they see you, they won't laugh. They will salute". The scene was so moving that I had to choke back tears the first time I watched it. That moment was so human, so relatable and it's a credit to these incredible actors for making it so.

So today's feature is one that is so special to me. A few weeks ago I was sat inside one of Grand Mercure Auckland's incredible hotel suites (basically took me back to this) nervous as heck, about to chat to one of my favourite actors from my favourite movie. As it turns out, Sam Humphrey is just as amazing as his on-screen movie character and just such a good chap to chat with.

We talked about the film, what it was like working with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, favourite Kiwi lolly, and an unexpected (but oh so welcomed) pep talk from the man himself! Below is the transcript from our chat:

Hey Sam! How's it going? How's LA today? Is it quite sunny out there? I'm in Auckland and it's bloody hot.

Funnily enough it's actually quite cold. It's been cold the past few days too.

I'd honestly rather be cold than sweaty! Anyway, so I saw on your Instagram that you were in New Zealand last year for the Attitude awards.

Yeah, yeah. That's right!

So you're from New Zealand, right? I always see you say that you're proud to be a kiwi and I love that!

Yeah so I was born and raised in New Zealand and when I was about 13 years old we moved to Australia.

Oh okay, so you went over the ditch then! Whereabouts in New Zealand are you from?

So I was born in Auckland but we've moved around the country a lot and I've lived in Wellington and New Plymouth.

That's cool! So you've done a bit of exploring around New Zealand. What's your favourite Kiwi lolly?

Pink Smokers! It's got to be Pink Smokers.

I've never had them before.

You've never had Pink Smokers?!

No! I need to try it now. Pop down to the dairy and grab me some. Anyway... I'm very excited to be chatting with you! The Greatest Showman is such a great film and truly is a celebration of humanity in all forms.

Thank you. I'm really happy and proud to be part of the film.

What was your favourite scene that you've done in the movie?

Umm... honestly there are so many good scenes like the very first scene that I did with Hugh (Jackman) when he comes to my house. That’s probably one of my favourites! That was the first time I actually got up close and personal with Hugh, you know face to face.And it's a really good moment for my character and his as well. I feel like that was when Hugh and I truly bonded, not just our characters but him and I in that particular scene.

I actually found that scene quiet the emotional when he says to you that they won't be laughing they will salute... I just found myself choking back tears. It was such a great scene! How did you prepare for the role?

So to prepared for the role I basically kept looking at the script and really learning it. From that I kept on going over my script and the working through what was the emotions behind that and with my character too. I read a little bit about the back story and did some research on Tom Thumb. And on set, I really worked closely with the director Michael Gracey and really understanding his vision helped me in portraying this character.

What was it like to work with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, and the other incredible cast members of The Greatest Showman?

The cast is amazing. I’ve never worked with so many talented people. There's a certain appreciation of everyone around you when you’re working on a film like this. All working together working to create an artform.

Personally I didn’t get to be in a scene with some of the cast like Rebecca Ferguson who plays Jenny Lind. I mainly worked with Hugh and it's been amazing cos he's one of the people I really look up to.

What’s been the ultimate ‘pinch me’ moment so far? What’s been the highlight for you?

Wow, that’s a big one. Well honestly, literally everyday. Eeveryday I wake up I never know what’s gonna happen to me, what auditions are gonna happen to me.

Name three people living or dead that you love to have at a dinner party and why?

I've actually been thinking about that question a lot lately. It's a hard one there so many people they would love to sit down and have a nice dinner where I can only pick 3 of them? Argh! honestly what I said would be Hugh. you know I got to work with him everyday on set so I'd love to sit down and have dinner with him. As for the rest.. oooh, I really don’t know. There are so many people I'd love to have with me at a dinner party!

Ha ha ha, so basically quite a lot of people then? It's gonna be a big dinner party!

Yeah, definitely. I'll have to hire like a massive hall to fit everyone. Jesus would be another one. He was such a, you know, incredible man and he inspired and motivated so many people and founded Christianity so I'd love to have him at my dinner party. And then for the third person... hmm. I don't know I think I'll skip the third one?

Hmm, it could be anyone! Maybe an open invite?

Yeah it might just have to be an open invite. Or actually I'd invite my family to have dinner with us.

What an amazing dinner party that would be though! You, Hugh, Jesus, and the family. Casual Sunday roast?

I know, right? That would be so amazing!

Okay so I think I was pretty hungry when I wrote the question for this interview because my next question is actually food related still. What is your favourite food or dish?

(Laughs) What's my favourite meal? Oooohhhh. I honestly I love a lot of stuff so can I say my favourite type of food?


I do love Chinese. I really love Asian food. I'm half-Asian so the food is my favourite.

Are you really?!


I didn't know that! I'm Asian too!

Oh, well there you go. We have something in common!

Asians in New Zealand.

Kiwi Asians! LA has good Asian places too. But yeah, I love seafood. Salmon, or shrimp, or calamari… anything like that? I’m in heaven.

Do you like Oysters?

Not a huge fan of Oysters but I will eat them.

It’s bluff oyster season in New Zealand at the moment so we’re all very excited. Alright so my next question isn’t food related anymore. I guess by the time I got to this part of the questions I wasn’t hungry anymore! Although my favourite questions is still about food. Anyway moving on… if you were to talk to your 15 year old self what would you say to him? 

Be brave. Do not give up. Things can only go up from there. I can still remember very clearly how I was feeling when I was 15 years old. I was going through a bit of a dark time then, but keep working hard and don’t ever give up. It will definitely get better.

That's great advice. I guess when you've gone through a dark patch and you've come out in the other side, you can kind of look back on the experience and reflect on the journey.

Yeah, yeah. Exactly!

So speaking of advice what would your advice be to budding Kiwi actors dreaming of pursuing an acting career and being movies like you? cos I guess it's quite hard when you live in New Zealand and you've got all these big dreams I just love hearing from someone who is living the dream and do what they love them now it's really inspiring to see people's pursue their passions and it. you are absolutely freaking smashing it!

Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. I think the best advice I can give to someone who wants to pursue a career in acting number one is to make sure it's definitely what you want to do. You've got to have very strong resilience and be able to handle rejection. In this industry there will be days when you’re on top of the world, and then there are days when you just want to give up and cry and scream. It’s definitely an important decision you make. Like ‘you know what, I can’t actually picture myself doing anything else’ decision.

That’s solid advice.

It has to be your passion. You know that there’s nothing else you could be or want to be. You've got to have that thought made up in your mind you can't just be like maybe I'll be an actor I'm going to be an actor I am an actor this is what I'm going to be.

Love it. I feel like you've just given me a pep talk right now and this is exactly what I need to hear so thank you.

As for what's next for Sam? He's currently living in Los Angeles, home to Hollywood and plenty more opportunities. We talked about projects in the pipeline and how there's so much more to come. No doubt we'll be seeing Sam grace our screens more in the near future!

And to his Kiwi fans? What would he say?

"Honestly, just thank you so much for all the support you've shown from watching the film to getting the soundtrack and to supporting us and bring us to where we are now".

And where they are now is a great place to be in. Just last Saturday, my friends and I planned to go see The Greatest Showman again and guess what? The theatre was completely packed! There were only a handful of seats left and they didn’t have 3 seats beside each other available anymore. Considering the film has been in theatres since December, this is just astonishing to see.

The Greatest Showman is exactly that - great. It gave us a powerful anthem that won a Golden Globe for best song. It gave actors like Sam Humphrey a platform to express themselves and bring to life characters that we can all relate to. It gave us something to hope for and celebrate, oddities and all.

Keep an eye out for more from Sam Humphrey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

. Thursday, 15 March 2018 .
The moment Jerome Taylor sent his models down the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week to Kanye West's 'Mercy', I knew we were about to witness something special. It wasn't just the curation of music, or the exquisite pieces from Not For You's Winter collection that made it special. It was the way the models walked - no, glided - down the runway. The juxtaposition of a Kanye West track and the oversized silhouette of the pieces paired with how graceful the models walked - it reminded me how runway shows should be.

The vibe was something that really stood out for me in my first ever introduction to Not For You. I loved that the models got to be themselves, walk with such swagger, and even pop in some dance moves if they pleased made me realise that Not For You is a brand to watch because it will inevitably explode in the market very soon.

And 'soon' may as well be 'now'.

In a few short weeks, Jerome and the Not For You crew will be heading over to Canada where they will be showcasing their collection at Vancouver Fashion Week. This success has been a long time coming for this Wellington label and I can't wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with Not For You, too.

Amidst all the chaos that comes with preparing for a fashion week show, I had a chat with Jerome ahead of Vancouver Fashion Week where we talked about creative processes, how to get out of a creative rut, and what we can expect from his show this month.
I loved the name from the start! I remember talking a bit about that in the write-up I did of your show from last year’s NZFW. Why did you decide to call your label ‘Not For You’? 

I decided to call it Not For You as the garments I create are to enforce individuality and to empower the wearer. We don't mass produce so what our buyers receive is all limited therefore it is not for everyone.

Tell us about the journey so far – how long have you been designing/getting creative, and ultimately running Not For You for? 

I am a fashion designer based in Wellington, New Zealand and a qualified machinist and pattern maker with a Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology.

I launched my clothing label, Not For You in 2014. Upon launch, I released a sell-out capsule collection. I was also featured in the December 2014 issue of Apparel Magazine.

In 2015 I took part in the Resene Colour of Fashion which was a project through New Zealand Fashion Tech.

I was also nominated and selected for a Prime Minister’s scholarship to go to India for 5 weeks to learn all about the textiles industry, make industry contacts and visit the factories where the fabric is made. While in India I met with one of their top fashion designers. The highlight of my trip was taking part in a fashion show in front of a crowd of over 1500 people.

In early 2016 I created five custom made garments for two celebrity entertainers Pusha T, and Flume. With two of these garments I put together a video which was viewed by 28,596 people in just over a week. Due to my following and the popularity of my garments I was once again featured in the February 2016 issue of Apparel magazine.

In May 2016 I went before a panel of New Zealand Fashion Tech judges where I presented a collection of men's clothing and secured a place to show my collection at New Zealand Fashion Week. I created five outfits with a total of 16 garments. The positive feedback and exposure from this event was phenomenal. On the evening of my show I was the main feature on Newshub; they captured my story from where it all began to where I am today. I was also featured in newspaper articles within leading publications such as the Dominion Post and Hutt News.

Since then I’ve been a representative of NZ Fashion Tech which is the fashion school where I completed my degree. I am an ambassador of the school and have represented them at New Zealand Fashion Week the past 2 years. I also spoke on their behalf to senior Government officials to secure funding for the school for the scholarships to India I spoke about how amazing the school is and how valuable I found the trip to India, the funding was successfully granted following on from this. 

Due to being a part of NZFW I showcased at Design Tech's graduate shows in Auckland and Wellington in 2016 . Following on from this, I had the honor of being asked to be a guest speaker at Wainuiomata High School, my old high school, where I presented at their end of year prize giving.
In 2017 I was a part of the first Project Fashion Wellington and following on from this, due to the success of the project, I have been asked to be a mentor for the 2018 designers who will be showing.
In August 2017 I showed NOT FOR YOU, with the help of New Zealand Fashion Tech's sponsorship, at New Zealand Fashion Week. I showcased a total of 12 outfits with a total of just over 50 garments. I received an amazing response from the show and was featured in numerous online blogs/sites, such as Vice and Fashion TV. I was also working with Seven Sharp which shared my journey of Fashion Week 2018 from start to finish.

The next step for me is to get Not For You clothing on to hangers and shelves in the best retail shops across NZ and overseas. I hope my showing in Vancouver will be another step in being able to achieve this goal.
What’s your process like? 

My process begins with the idea or the story behind my collection, I then move on to the research stage. This entails mood boards, swatches, fabrics and my overall collection, how it is going to look, feel and the story it will tell. I then move onto designing. After the designs have been completed I determine which designs I will create and then we move onto the outfits. These 2 steps are typically a crossover as we may have pieces we love yet they don't fit into the overall outfits then it's back to the drawing board. I then move on to the pattern making, this is where I bring my designs to life via paper, card and then toiles. Following on from this we move onto the fabric selection, as we source locally availability also pays a factor as what we want isn't always available. Once we have found the fabrics we are wanting we then put the outfits together on another mood board to ensure they are cohesive and that the fabrics work well together. Our final step is the garments coming to life and showcasing them to the world.

Who’s your dream person to dress in your label?

Kanye West would be my dream person to dress alongside artists such as Kid Cudi, Travis Scott and Big Sean. 

Complete this sentence… “Not for you is not for…” 

Everyone... we produce limited garments as we don't believe in mass production.

What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired? How do you get out of a creative rut? 

I like to run, it helps clear my head it also helps get my train of thought back on track. 

So you’re heading off to Vancouver soon for fashion week! So so exciting! How are you feeling? 

I am really excited however I still have a few things to do and I also am the kind of person who is most excited the day it is actually happening haha so overall I can't wait I just want to be as prepared as possible.
Can you spill the beans a bit about your collection that’s showing there? 

I am showcasing my winter collection which I showcased at NZFW however we are working on our next collection behind the scenes which we will release this year so stay tuned!

I’m excited for your Vancouver themed pieces! Such a clever way to raise funds. Can you tell us more about them? 

I created Vancouver inspired pieces to not only celebrate the opportunity but to also get those who love the brand on board in supporting us with the trip. We will only ever produce small runs of the pieces we do so we thought this would be the perfect way to get everyone involved.

What’s the end goal for the label in the long run?

My end goal is to have the number one menswear label in New Zealand.

Get your hands on these limited run of Vancouver inspired tees and hoodies here. All proceeds go towards showcasing at Vancouver Fashion Week.  Check out Not For You Clothing for more.

. Thursday, 8 March 2018 .
We cannot rise until all of us can. Until we treat each other as equals, no matter the gender, race, sexual orientation, shape, size, disability etc. Your feminism means nothing if it doesn't include ALL of us.

If your #lifteachotherup concept doesn't include people of colour, our trans sisters, non-binary, people with disability, and all women, then sis who is it for?

Not all of us fit into the aesthetic that come with the #girlboss trend nowadays and I can't help but wonder when did "gals supporting gals" only be a thing if they fit a certain narrative and aesthetic? Feminism isn't just pretty photos, Instagram aesthetics, the girl gangs and cliques and #squadgoals. I'm so uncomfortable when people capitalise on this and only do it because it's the latest 'it' thing to do. Supporting each other isn't always pretty or easy.

Sometimes it's calling out problematic behaviour (respectfully, of course, and always with love). It's open and honest conversations, empathy and being humble enough to listen without getting defensive. It's being brave enough to own your voice with conviction, even if it feels like you're standing alone.

#Pressforprogress this International Women's Day. The little things we do collectively make a big impact. One of the things I'm committing to is making my blog a safe place for everyone. While I can only speak and write from my own experience as a straight, able-bodied, woman of colour, I want more representation, voices heard, and experience shared. I'll be speaking up even when it feels like I'm alone in my thoughts and feelings. Especially then.

Ceilings are being shattered, tables are being built to seat all of us at that metaphorical table. Do your part. Be kinder. Make your circle more inclusive.

I live in a world that constantly makes me feel like it isn't for me because of the way I look, the colour of my skin, and all the other things that make an outsider. I call bullshit on that. I'm here. I'm showing up anyway. And I'm going to MAKE IT WERK.

Yours in solidarity, power, and love. Happy International Women's Day! You are pretty fucking magical 💖