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Spahh Day: Boardwalk Empire's Margot Bingham Talks Breakout Role and Music Career

Margot Bingham Spa Day

You can't avoid a love/hate relationship with Margot Bingham's character, Daughter Maitland, on Boardwalk Empire, but off camera--her warm spirit and zealous personality draws you in. "Whoever created Post-Its-- I want to introduce myself and say, 'Can I please be the spokesperson for Post-Its,'" she hilariously quipped during our "Spahh Day" at the Guerlain Spa in NYC's Wardolf Astoria.

Margot was pampered with a massage and luxury mani/pedi as we talked about her breakout role, family  (“My parents have been together for 32 years–very much in love, best friends, stronger everyday,") and music ("I’m trying not to rush it, I’m just trying to let it happen.").

Spend your afternoon getting to know this sassy Vixen!

*We officially 'Vixen Verify' the Guerlain Spa for their hospitality. Visit their full site–www.guerlainspas.com–to book your spa treatment today!

Photo Credits: Stacy-Ann Ellis

Margot Bingham Spa Day

VIBE Vixen: Which do you love more--acting or singing?

I think both work hand and hand to me. When I’m preparing for an acting role or stage role, music helps me get to where I need to be. When I’m singing becoming somebody else or putting myself or imagining myself in another role helps me overcome my fears on stage. They’ve always helped both for me and I never wanted to choose ever so with Boardwalk [Empire] I lucked out.

Margot: If you had to choose, which would it be?

I don’t know--music I feel like you can never live without. Music helps everybody with everything. If you’re going through loss, relationship issues, job transformation, you're excited, want to celebrate or you want to wake up--it’s music that you choose. It's harder to think about becoming somebody different. All you have to do is press the on button and you become somebody different.

Is there a song that takes you to an important time in your life?

The Mariah Carey ‘Hero’ song. I was in the car with my mom and we were in the driveway and she started singing it and I asked what was the song. She said, "this song reminds me of your grandfather," who I’ve never met because he passed away right before my parents' wedding. She started teaching me the song and it was the first song that she taught me all the words. I still remember the song and learning the words. And it’ll put me back to our garage every time I hear it.

Margot Bingham Spa Day

Do you have a character or show that made you want to be an actor?

I don’t really have a TV show that did that. I guess acting always fed me. When I was a freshman in high school, my acting coach now--it was his first day when it was my first day. It was like a charter performing arts high school and I was in the musical theatre department–singing, dancing, acting–and I really just took it because of singing and dancing; I really hated acting.

He was going around the room and introducing himself to all the new students and he was like, "well, why are you here?," and I was like, "it’s the only program that has singing and dancing." He was like, "Okay, we’ll see, we’ll talk again in 4 years." Sure enough, after 4 years acting, it was the biggest bite of all and I loved it more than anything. To this day, he’s still my acting coach and he’s who I go to for every project and every job.

Margot Bingham Spa Day

How do you feel about your Boardwalk Empire character being in love with a married man?

I mean morally that’s not okay. My parents have been together for 32 years–very much in love, best friends, stronger everyday–and I don’t believe in adultery in any way. But it made it a little easier that in real life, the girl who plays Chalky’s wife is my best friend. It’s weird out of a city full of actors, the one show I do--she’s the wife of the person I’m cheating with.

It’s all pretend, so I had to make sure in my mind I thought it was okay. When you play a character like that, you have to find the justice in it. My reason to believe in the cheating was I just fell in love with Michael [Williams] as a person and as a friend. I tried to not think about the cheating part because to me, we were really in love.

Why do you think the world roots for them?

I think because everybody saw they were so sad and they had similar souls and out of that sadness they came together. They were really one of a kind together--they just fit like a puzzle. It was something very special and different than a normal love affair. It was two lost souls that finally found each other. People can’t help but relate to that.

What’s the best thing  you enjoy about the show being set in the 1920's?

The name and definition of diva is so skewed today from what it was. Sexy in the 1920s was women that were so empowered and knew their sexuality and could seduce you in a turtle neck. They didn’t have to show skin to be seductive and show sex appeal. It was what they had to offer, their different gifts and their smarts. But today, we give so much away because we think that’s sex or sexy, but everybody’s used to it now.

In the '20s it was beautiful and now I can live vicariously through these women who made this mold of sex appeal. I started dressing a little bit differently because you found the beauty in something else and unfortunately, we don’t really have that figure in today’s generation to really look up to. 

Margot Bingham Spa Day

How far along are you with your new music?

I’m working right now on new music, so I’m working with a couple different producers. I’m trying not to rush it--I’m just trying to let it happen. There's a couple of things in the oven for acting, so hopefully you guys will be hearing stuff soon. Acting is buying me time with music which is nice because for the first time, I can take my time.

How would you describe your sound?

I would say if Joss Stone and Lauryn Hill had a baby in Amy Winehouse’s backyard, it would definitely pop out my music.

Top 5 dream collaborators, dead or alive?

Jo Strafford would be one. I really want this because he’s a friend of mine. I want to collab with Seal--that would be dope. James Blake—I’d freak out. Prince, somehow on something, even if it was creating a fun song with just a hook.  And Iron and Wine.

Flip the page to check out the rest of our "Spahh Day!"

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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The North Face

Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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