Author Archives: Kara Gause

Kara Gause

About Kara Gause

Kara Gause is a junkie for TV, film, pop culture, and health food--in that order. A Yankee girl happily transplanted in Nashville, she spends her days as a freelance writer juggling the needs of her twin toddlers, two Bassett hounds, and one fantastic husband--in that order. Read more of her day-to-day shenanigans on her blog, MasterofWhat.com.

February 2012 Nylon magazine cover

Why Actress Nina Dobrev is Ready for a Change

February 2012 Nylon magazine cover

Feb. 2012 Nylon featuring Nina Dobrev

She may very well star in the hit drama series “The Vampire Diaries,” but actress Nina Dobrev tells Nylon she’s got her sights set somewhere else.

Give this girl a chance, Hollywood! That’s all Nylon magazine’s February cover girl Nina Dobrev is asking. Since getting her start on “Degrassi” in 2006, the 23-year-old has gone on to star in the CW’s “Vampire Diaries”–alongside real-life beau Ian Somerhalder. Despite the series’ major success, Dobrev says she longs to sink her teeth into something different, and the answer might just lie in a film career.

“I want to become a different person, and that’s what working in film allows,” she says. “I want to be a punk or a sweetheart or a drug addict! There are so many things to explore.”

So what’s the problem? Surely no one would doubt Dobrev’s talent and exotic beauty. Still, she tells Nylon, “Sometimes they’ll be like, ‘She’s not plain enough.’ Or ‘She’s not edgy enough.’ That frustrates me. I feel like a blank canvas, and I wish people would be a little more open-minded.”

Sounds like Dobrev could stand a bit of that advice herself, as she admits she’s shocked her “Degrassi” costar Aubrey Graham (aka “Drake”) has gone on to become a major rap star. Says the actress, “He was so sweet. It’s almost weird to me that he’s a rapper and a sex symbol now.”

Fear not, Dobrev! Your shot at film stardom is looming nearer, especially with a role in the upcoming film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” costarring Emma Watson and Paul Rudd. Not too shabby. Whether or not the film will really stretch the actress in her craft remains to be seen.

As for stardom, the Bulgaria-born beauty says she hopes she’ll be able to keep some of her private life–well–private. Just don’t judge her for picking up the occasional celebrity magazine just like the rest of us from time to time. She confesses, “I can’t say I’m not interested in Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and their family. But [a personal life is] something you fight really hard to preserve and keep private.”

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” opens later this year.

 

Is Single-Sex Education Right for Your Child?

Is Single-Sex Education Right for Your Child?

Parenting School Years Feb. 2012 cover

Parenting School Years Feb. 2012

Parenting School Years magazine takes a look at the benefits and potential setbacks of limiting your child’s exposure to the opposite sex.

In grade school, little boys and girls often choose to play separately. Who can blame them when the other is so positively “yucky”?With the occasional exception of a stolen kiss in the schoolyard, Jack and Jill are quite happy to steer clear of one another, thank you very much.

Of course, those aversions all go to pot with the introduction of hormones. Now, instead of encouraging girls and boys to play nice, their parents are keeping closer tabs on them: Does Jack like Jill? Are they a distraction to each other in the classroom?

A growing number of parents and educators believe so. Single-sex schools are popping up all over the nation, and the February issue of Parenting School Years magazine takes a look at a recent study on this new trend. The results? Well, they’re a mixed bag.

“Often same-sex schools with strong academic performance have other advantages as well,” says Penn State Professor of Psychology Dr. Lynn Liben, a participant in the study. Sure the curriculum is more rigid, and there’s the benefit of a discipline system that can actually remove a repeat offender from a classroom, but Liben says she also believes the act of dividing students up reinforces the belief that boys and girls are different.

What’s more, Liben and her colleagues found that even the slightest suggestion of division by a teacher–like telling the boys in a classroom to line up first–led those boys and girls in just two weeks to play together less. This can lead boys and girls to believe they learn differently and have different interests, which isn’t necessarily true, as we all know boys (like my musician husband) who sing and girls who grow up to be engineers.

Still, as a former middle school teacher, I can’t help but tout the improved test scores and academic performance that can surface without all those pesky gender distractions. It’s hard to control a classroom of hormonal teens, and we’re lying to ourselves if we say our kids aren’t distracted. I’ve witnessed more than enough grand and oh-so-awkward gestures by students to impress the opposite sex. But then, they learn from the best.

Did you attend a same-sex school? Are you sending your kiddos to an all-girl or all-boy school? What have been the benefits for you?

6 Ways to Recognize the Genius in Your Kids

Six Ways to Recognize the Genius in Your Kids

Parenting School Years magazine February 2012

Parenting School Years Feb. 2012

Traditional education typically assesses math and verbal skills. But Parenting School Years magazine helps parents encourage all the gifts their children display.

Thomas Jefferson may well have declared that “all men are created equal,” but the way they learn certainly is not. That was more than evident in my own education and in the eight years I spent educating adolescents. It was also clear in yesterday’s meeting when one colleague verbally explained a project to my glazed-over eyes before pulling out a visual chart to watch the scales fall off: Look at the picture, Kara!

Hi, I’m a visual learner. Nice to meet you! I’m also a kinesthetic learner, which put me in the category of “doodler” as a younger student and copious note-taker as an older one. Years of teaching introduced me to all kinds of learners, like the ones who have to study Greek and Latin roots while playing kickball, or those who have to sing songs to review verb conjugation.

Did you know there are also different kinds of intelligence? Standard-fare education has taught us that if you can’t fill in all the correct bubbles on a standardized test, you’re not smart. Au contraire! We’re all smart but in different ways. As a parent, I want my daughters to find their gifts and passions early in life–whatever they may be. I hope that will include success in an academic setting that will strive to help support all their gifts–and I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it.

Thankfully, Parenting School Years magazine‘s February issue boldly acknowledges not just learning styles but also the multiple intelligences that make us all unique. The special “Genius Issue” even encourages parents to “find the genius” in their own children and encourage their own singular intelligence. Here’s how:

1. Word smart. This is the verbal (sometimes verbose!) storyteller with good language skills and maybe even a clever wit and sense of humor. Encourage it with twice as much book time as screen time, and give him opportunities to write early on, creating an original book and then reading it to you.

2. Number smart. She’s good with numbers, math, geometric shapes and categorizing lists. Science kits and at-home cooking classes will encourage skills, as will chess and card games.

3. Picture smart. He likes the pictures better than the words (Who doesn’t?), and he’s most engaged when designing, drawing or fixing something with his hands. Make sure Junior’s got lots of crafty supplies on hand for all his creations, and perhaps introduce a camera so he can become the family historian.

4. Body smart. She’s plenty good at getting her groove on and tends to master sports and dance–anything physical. Encourage her skills with a sports team or dance class, or simply music at home to dance to.

5. People smart. He knows how to work a room and has plenty of friends to show for it. More importantly, he can recognize “others’ moods, and listens to them closely.” Your little guy needs people and playdates and plenty of them. Channel his interest in friendship into actually being a good friend. Being a nice kid might not translate onto the state test this year, but it will certainly take him far in the future.

GQ magazine February 2012

Michelle Williams Moves Forward with Career, Still Loves Heath Ledger

GQ magazine February 2012

GQ Feb. 2012

Known for her acting chops and demure red carpet style, Oscar nominee Michelle Williams reminds fans that she can still bring the sex appeal.

Go ahead. Do a double take. After all, it’s not like it’s the first time a celebrity has channeled Marilyn Monroe for a photo shoot. But this time, it seems a little more fitting, as it’s “My Week with Marilyn” star Michelle Williams posing as the sex icon on the cover of GQ‘s February issue. If anyone is worthy of donning that blond wig, it’s the girl who just earned her second Oscar nomination playing the siren of the screen.

We’ve certainly come to expect an incredibly nuanced performance from the 31-year-old, but with this photo shoot, we’re reminded of her “Dawson’s Creek” role as Jen Lindley–the one that first put Williams on Hollywood’s radar. And how.

The starlet tells GQ she deliberately steered her career away from sexy bad girl characters like Jen: “I wouldn’t say that that would be one of my first qualities as a human being–being sexy. And I think because my character on ‘Dawon’s Creek’ was sexy … sexualized … sexual … I saw all the negative attention and connotations that can come along with that. And that those things can keep people from seeing you clearly.”

Not that Michelle Williams is letting her image consume her thoughts, especially with the huge responsibility of being a single parent to Matilda, her daughter with late love Heath Ledger. Now, four years after his death, Williams says she still misses Ledger dearly, even confessing she had hoped they’d end up together despite a broken engagement. Not that she’s looking for pity.

Ever the devoted mother, she says, “You know, as hard as certain things have been for me, it’s been harder thinking about how things will be for her. I have a lot of things that she doesn’t, and some of what I have I can give to her–the memories that I have, the objects that I have, the physical reminders that I have, the stories.”

And no one doubts this actress’ ability to tell a story.

Newsweek Cover December 26, January 2, 2012

Top 4 Confessions of This Year’s Oscar Nominees

Newsweek December 26, January 2, 2012

Newsweek Dec. 26, Jan. 2, 2012 Double Issue

The Oscars are upon us, and Newsweek offered up some of the juiciest confessions from this year’s nominees.

It’s Oscar season! And that can only mean one thing: a barrage of interviews with some of our favorite stars who are touting their movies before the February 26 broadcast. No interview is more fun or telling than Newsweek’s annual Oscar Roundtable.

George Clooney used to do what before he became “Gorgeous George?” There’s so much ground to cover with these Oscar noms, and Newsweek is giving all the nitty-gritty details–nothing is off limits. Here are just four of the many unexpected confessions given by some of this year’s outstanding performers:

1. “It was a terrible job!” George Clooney (“The Descendants”) used to hawk women’s shoes? Seems years ago an 18-year-old Clooney could be found schlepping around a department store. He tells the magazine, “There was a whole generation of women who had a toe cut off to fit in tight pumps.” Yikes! Good thing he switched his day job!

2. “I did actually pee on tape.” If you thought an actor couldn’t be asked to do more for a role than full-frontal nudity, think again. “Shame” actor Michael Fassbender went a step further for his controversial turn as a sex addict, thus joining “an elite group of actors, including Kate Winslet in ‘Holy Smoke,’ who had to urinate on screen.” Too much information?

3. “I’ll never work with him again!” Contrary to popular belief, actors aren’t the only ones to blame if their films fail–they’re just the most visible scapegoats. Best Supporting Actor favorite Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) knows exactly who to point the finger at for his 2005 flop “The New World”–director Terrence Malick (currently nominated for Best Director for “The Tree of Life”). Plummer admits, “I love some of his movies very much, but the problem with Terry is he needs a writer, desperately.”

4. “I was terrified of Meryl Streep.” Viola Davis (“The Help”) has become great friends with her “Doubt” costar Meryl Streep; however, Davis was not at all confident of her own skills upon first working with the living legend. How did she prepare for the set? She wrote a 50-page biography on her character. Now that’s dedication to the craft!

Which films and performances stand out to you this award season?

Sports Illustrated magazine February 2012 swimsuit issue

Barely Legal Kate Upton Covers Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Sports Illustrated magazine swimsuit issue February 2012Sports Illustrated readers have waited all year for it, and now March’s swimsuit issue is here sporting up-and-coming bombshell Kate Upton, 19, on the cover.

I can’t say that I’m as enthusiastic about Sports Illustrated‘s annual swimsuit issue as all those male readers out there, but I am honestly always interested in what constitutes a swimsuit this year. Judging by what covergirl Kate Upton is donning, that’s very, very little.

While the world is certainly taking in the brick house that is Upton’s physique, I can’t help but get caught up on her age. The gorgeous blonde is just 19 (18 at the time of the shoot), and yet she tells the magazine, “This means so much for me personally. This has always been my dream.”

Wow. “Always.” Finally, after all those years slaving away in the biz–oh, wait! Upton’s only 19. Just a year out of high school. Don’t get me wrong; I know she’s legal. And hey, it’s only logical to photograph the female form at its best, right? I seem to remember gravity being less of an issue back then, for sure. But there’s something troublesome to me about a teenage girl dreaming of being nearly naked in a magazine.

Maybe it’s because I used to teach teach teenagers. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have two daughters of my own, but I do want more for them than this dream. I can’t imagine us plotting their meteoric rise to stardom via the swimsuit issue over dinner. You know, after volleyball practice and in between studying for that chemistry exam or the SAT.

Still, there’s little doubt that Upton is on the fast track to bigger and better things. The former Guess? model has already had a role in 2011′s “Tower Heist” (as Mr. Hightower’s mistress) and is set to star in “The Three Stooges” later this year as Sister Bernice alongside the likes of Sofia Vergara, Jane Lynch and Jennifer Hudson. Not bad.

Look, I’m certainly not passing judgment upon Upton. She’s just a kid after all. But then that’s the issue: She’s just a kid.

So, am I just a stick in the mud or does this old fuddy-duddy have a point?