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June 2011 Archives

Celeb Scoop: Adrian Kali Turner
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Thumbnail image for adriankaliturner.jpgSometimes, you see a young actor everywhere. He's not the star, but he catches your attention, and then you're like, "Oh, it's that guy again! Who is that guy? He's awesome!" These days, you might be doing that with 13-year-old Adrian Kali Turner, who's currently appearing as Sean in the film "Bad Teacher" starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Segel. You can also catch Adrian as Duane in the AMC TV series "The Walking Dead," which is gearing up for a second season, and he'll be appearing in a new ABC TV series this fall called "Apartment 23."

So he's a busy tween, but we were surprised to learn that Adrian also finds time to dance, sing, rap, and be a motivational speaker for other young people. We wanted to get to know him better!

IML: Tell us about the different characters audiences will see you play in the coming months.

Adrian: In "Bad Teacher" I play a student named Sean. That's not too different from me because I am a student in middle school! In "Apartment 23" I play kind of a dull kid. I have pretty much no emotion, and the guy in this show is basically experimenting on me. In "The Walking Dead" I play a character named Duane who's impacted by the zombie apocalypse.  It's just him and his dad, trying to stay alive.

IML: Which has been the hardest for you to get into?

Adrian: I'd have to say Duane. With acting, you want to pull from real experiences. But with a zombie apocalypse...what are you going to pull from? Nobody's ever experienced that! So you have to just think about how you would feel if you lost everything and your friends and family were dying around you.

IML; In addition to acting, you sing, you rap, you dance, you write. Do you do all these things all the time, or do you go back and forth between them?

Adrian: I definitely go back and forth between them. I get into things the more and more I'm interested in them. And as I've gotten older I've gotten interested in different things than I was into when I was younger. Or I'll meet someone inspiring, or see something, and that will make me want to do something new. It comes from everywhere.

IML: You also write and perform sketch comedy. What do you think makes something funny?

Adrian: You know, I don't think there's really something definite that makes something funny. It's different for everybody. Sometimes I have to pull from real experiences, or something I see that someone else is experiencing, and I think that somebody might get a good laugh out of that. I try to aim my humor at everybody, make it something everybody can understand.

IML: You also spend a lot of time as a motivational youth speaker. What do you talk about?

Adrian: When I speak, I speak about three things. One, being a dreamer. Because when you dream, you can do whatever you want. Second, I talk about doing good in school. Because education is something that nobody can ever take away from you. Three, I talk about standing up for what you think is right and doing what you believe in.

IML: What kinds of reactions have you gotten from kids you've spoken to?

Adrian: Surprisingly, I've gotten very good reactions. When I did my first speech, I was convinced they would hate it. But afterwards, people came up to thank me for the speech and parents told me it was very inspiring. So I felt like I did a pretty good job. I still get a little bit nervous, but in the end when I'm finished, I feel pretty good.

adriankaliturner2.jpgIML: So we hear you're also a big comic book fan, and that it's a dream come true for you to be playing a comic book character in Duane from "The Walking Dead." Who are your own favorite comic book characters?

Adrian: Green Lantern, and everybody in the Green Lantern universe. I think Batman is very cool too -- I've read some of Batman "Enemies Among Us." Martian Manhunter is probably one of my biggest favorites too.

IML: What do you say to people who think comic books and graphic novels are a bad influence, or a waste of time and that kids should be reading "real" books instead?

Adrian: I'd say, reading is reading. I mean, as long as you're reading a story, that's great. A lot of kids are pushed into reading books with no pictures and they get bored with that. But comic books are reading...even magazines are reading. Comic books definitely expand on the imagination, which I think is great.

IML: Who are your role models?

Adrian: I have to say my first role model would be Will Smith, because he works on both sides of the camera. He produces movies and he's in them. I like Jason Segel, I think he's hilarious. And I love Tina Fey, I'm reading her book at the moment.

IML: Is there a cause or issue you're really passionate about?

Adrian: In terms of volunteering, I volunteer at this place called the STAR ECO Station. They have a bunch of rescued animals like snakes, lizards, and bobcats. I do that every Tuesday and it's something I really love. I help with cleaning the cages, feeding the animals, stuff like that. I also take pictures of the animals and share them with other people who work there.

IML: That's awesome! And we hear you're headed to high school next year, too.

Adrian: Yes! This upcoming year I'm going to a new school called Orange County High School of the Arts. I'm pretty excited about that. All my friends, people I know from my dance studio, are going there so it'll be pretty fun.

IML: What would you say performing has added to your life so far?

Adrian: It's given me a lot of friendships, and trying all these different things has given me a lot of confidence, I think.

IML: It seems like you have a very open attitude and that's great -- we wish you good luck with everything!

Adrian: Thanks!

Summer: The golden opportunity season!
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Last week on the blog, we talked about the sometimes-hidden challenges of summer, the stuff that can dash your expectations and stress you out when you should be having fun. On the flip side, we also want to mention the really cool opportunities that summer can bring you:

Cashola. This is a great time to find creative ways to earn your own, when you're hopefully not as busy with school, activities, and homework. Maybe you can seize the day and put your energy into a business. It's vacation season, so why not do some petsitting or housesitting? Little kids are out of school too, and parents might need more babysitting or mother's helper hours. If you're crafty or good at baking, there will probably plenty of outdoor events in your community where you can sell your wares. Or you can set up "shop" with a yard sale on a weekend morning. Then there's the old classic: everyone likes a lemonade stand on a hot day. For more ideas, check out IML's section on Making Money. With a little planning and effort, you could have a tidy sum saved up by September...and perhaps an established biz too!

Giving and getting. Maybe you want to earn community service hours for school. Maybe you want to explore something new, or maybe you just want to avoid the very real possibility of death by boredom. Whatever the reason, this could be a great time to get involved with a volunteer opportunity. You'll meet people, learn stuff, and feel extremely good about yourself and how you're making a difference. We have some good suggestions on what to do and how to do it in our Volunteering section.

Move it! If you've been meaning to get more active, this could be the summer you discover a new sport you really love. Team sports are big during fall, winter, and spring, but summer is when the solo athlete in all of us can really break through. Swim, walk, bike, hike. Karate kick, kayak paddle, or strike a yoga pose. If something costs money that you or your family may not have to spend, check out the free or low-cost programs at your local rec center, youth center, or library. The folks who plan stuff like this know that young people are out and about during the summer, looking to keep busy. Visit our Solo Sports section or talk to an adult -- like a parent, youth leader, or doctor -- for ideas.

We know none of this is exactly news to you. But we want to offer a reminder that in general, summer is the best possible time to explore fresh ventures, try something unfamiliar, and break out of the rut you may feel stuck in during the school year. If you're feeling like you want to make a change in your life for the better, pick one thing to focus on between now and September -- your health, a new hobby, making friends, whatever -- and think about how to do it. As always, IML is here to help, so feel free to post questions on our You Said It pages or Advice section.

Here's to a golden season of golden opportunities!

Summer survival help from IML
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familyvacations1.gifAh, summer! Time to let loose, have fun, take vacations, hang with friends and family, and generally enjoy life, right? Well, that's what TV commercials would have you believe. Don't get us wrong: summer can be amazing. But not always.

Reading through your Advice questions lately, we're reminded of how certain things can make summer a less-than-carefree season for many tweens. As in:

Moving. Your BFF may be relocating with his or her family to a new state. Or maybe it's you who's headed somewhere new. Summer's a big time for this. It's never fun, but there are ways to deal. Check out IML's advice on what to do When Your Family Moves (there are tips in there for when it's a friend who's moving).

Being home alone. You're on vacation from school for a few months, but your parents probably don't get the same break from work. You may find yourself with a lot more solo time in your home than usual. And maybe that's not always a good thing, if you're bored, scared, lonely, or an alternating pattern of all three. Once again, we suggest a visit to our Home Alone section for help, or even just to sound off on the You Said It page.

Family vacations. Ah, the joy of riding in a car or airplane with your loved ones for hours on end. NOT! And then there's what happens once you get there. In between the Kodak moments, a family trip is not complete without arguments, annoyances, mishaps, and possibly some weird relatives too. And yes, we have advice on how to not just survive, but actually have fun amid all the craziness.

Starting middle school or high school. Many IML'ers have already written in to express their worries about moving up to a new school this fall. It's normal to feel some anxiety, especially if you and your best friends are headed to different places, but there are definitely things you can do now to make the jump easier. Check out our advice on Middle School and High School and you're bound to feel a little better...or at least prepared.

Summer camp. If you're an old pro at summer camp, you're probably counting the days until you leave for this year's session. If this is your first year or you're headed for a new home away from home, that can be a little terrifying. Never fear! IML is here with a whole section on Summer Camp.

The purpose of all this? We just want IML'ers to know that it's okay NOT to feel like every minute of summer is pure, unfiltered joy. It's just a time of year, not a break from real life and all its problems. If it seems like everyone else but you is having a blast...chances are, they're really not. But hopefully, with a little information and problem-solving -- whether you find it here at IML or somewhere else -- you can make the best of whatever the summer has in store for you!