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What to Know Before Moving to New York – The Everygirl

Maybe moving to New York City is just a dream. Or, perhaps, youre already laying the groundwork to relocate to the Big Apple in the not-too-distant future. As someone who lived in NYC for two years after college, left, and then came back following a career shift six years later, Ive found that the city is equal parts magical and exhausting. It all depends on the day! But as I write this from my Manhattan apartment with taxis whizzing by outside my window, I have to say that I personally cant imagine a better place to live.

Still, considering a move to one of the largest cities in the world is no small decision. As with any pivotal life choice, its best to go with your gut. Dont base your decision solely on what you see on Instagram or in the movies. One thing that may make you feel more confident in your choice? Hearing firsthand from seasoned city dwellers. So, I asked 13 women to share what they wished they had known before moving to New York. They werent shy about sharing both the good and the bad. Read on to hear their advice for wannabe New Yorkers.

One of the first things I heard was to be prepared that New York can be a lonely place. So for anyone whos heard that or is nervous to move because of that, lets clear something up. New York can be lonelyas much as any city can be. It can also be anything but. You will have a relationship with this city that is unlike any relationship youve ever had. If youre ever lonely, leave your apartment and walk outside. Have a date night with NYC. It is one of my favorite pastimes, having lived in New York City for over a decade! Meghan Donovan of @meghandono

Despite being insanely expensive overall, there are myriad free things to do in New York on any given day, at any given time. New York is a beacon of music, art, and culture, and you dont have to go to Broadway to find it. (Although if you do, TodayTix is your friend, and you canand shouldenter the ticket lottery to snag $25 day-of tickets!) Hop the subway to Coney Island, or take the train to Rockaway, and voila! A beach day for $2.75. Take in an outdoor movie at Prospect Park, and marvel at the big screen from your picnic blanket. Take the IKEA ferry to Red Hook and wave to Lady Liberty for a mere $5 (free if you show your IKEA receipt on the way home). Stroll along the Hudson and people-watch, or sit outside the perimeter of SummerStage and listen to a free show. Its easy to feel lonely when you move to a big city, but New York makes the greatest date around. Sarah Jacobson of @_thegrandapt

Utilize free resources to see the city. There are tons of free things happening in NYC every week! Sign up for pulsd.com emails, follow IGs like @nyc_forfree, and utilize MTA subways, ferries, and buses to get around. Kerry Sorenson of @uesthings

So many of us move to New York, take in our surroundings and the bevy of culture and activities that await, and think, Oh my God, I can never stay in again! Whether youre a partier or a book clubber or somewhere in between (yours truly is an in-betweener), its easy to get swept up in all New York has to offer and burn out fast. Remember that while having a yes mentality is a great way to get to know your city and make new friends, its OK to rest sometimes, too. Dont underestimate the power of a night (or more!) in. The city will still be here, moving at lightning speed, when you return. Sarah Jacobson of @_thegrandapt

I wish I knew that the best nights out were the ones on a couch with close friends. I spent way too much time waiting in line for clubs that didnt live up to the hype and way too much money on $25 martinis! Liz Ukpe of @onsundayswe

For some, NYC is just a temporary stepping stone. So if you move to New York with hopes of staying here for the long run, just know that your friend circle will change every few years. Rozit Arditi of @arditidesign

One thing I wish I knew before moving here is how easy it is to meet peopleeasier than in other cities, in my opinion. There are always people looking for friends in New York. I was scared my husband and I wouldnt have many opportunities to be social since we didnt know many people before moving. But that hasnt been the case at all. My best advice for meeting people in NYC is to say yes to everything. There will always be a friend of a friend you can connect with. There will always be random opportunities for events and gatherings with new faces, so say yes! Katelyn Sailor of @katelynsailor

Now that the city is back to life, I made a vow to never take it for granted. I make it a point every weekend to try a new restaurant, attend a fun event, or hang out with friends. Ive met some of my closest friends by attending events by like-minded communities and putting myself out there! Breanna Young of @breannainbrooklyn

Finding an apartment will be an experience like none other. Looking for the right fit at the right price in New York can be frustrating, competitive, and extremely time-consuming. And once you get to a point where you can sign a lease, you typically need to put in the first months rent and a security deposit. Plus, you need to make a certain amount times your rent (or provide a guarantor that makes even more). There are a lot of hoops to jump through! Ive moved five times in New York and like to think Ive cracked the code, but even then, its tough. Dont get discouraged and remember that it takes time to learn and become an expert. KC Cibran of @thecasaverde

When I was on an apartment hunt, I used to see several units every single day for a week or two. The apartments go very fast, but a lot of rentals or sublets dont even let you contract unless it is for the upcoming month, so it was impossible to plan way in advance. There are so many factors to consider, and youll have to choose the ones that matter the most to you! Its a pretty stressful process, but once you sign for the home youll have for a year or two, the life youll have in NYC is one youll treasure forever! Erica Choi of @eggcanvas

Youll almost always have to give on something when it comes to finding an apartment. Spend some time listing out your non-negotiables and also what youre willing to accept. For example, maybe a short walk to the subway is a top priority for you, but youre willing to give up lots of natural light. Kerry Sorenson of @uesthings

If you have no idea what neighborhood you want to live in, then prioritize distance from either friends or work. But make sure to take time to walk around the area before settling on something. Talk to people living in New York already regarding neighborhood vibes and the pros and cons of each neighborhood. Meghan Donovan of @meghandono

The view and natural light from a fifth-floor walk-up may be amazing, but it never gets easier climbing those stairsespecially with pets! Sydney Callands of @sydddcal

The under-$15 purchases add up. Whether its oat milk lattes, Juice Press smoothies, or Sweetgreen saladsthey add up! Set a limit for these types of purchases. Kerry Sorenson of @uesthings

I actually wish I waited two to three years and saved up a lot more money before moving here. I dont have any regrets now, but when youre starting out in your career, paying rent, buying groceries, having a social life, and trying to save money and invest on a starter salary is nearly impossible. Liz Ukpe of @onsundayswe

Everything is more difficult and more expensive in New York. That includes the simplest of tasks: washing dishes, doing your laundry, getting to the airport, going grocery shopping, finding an apartment, etc. All have an extra layer (or two) of complication. The highs of living in New York are high. Youre truly at the center of the universe, with access to the best of everything, and the city has unmatched energy. But I believe to be happy here long-term, you have to be someone who really loves the highs and wont let the lows rattle you. Otherwise, all the extra hassle just wont be worth it. Diana Pearl of @dianaspearl

One of the things I wish I knew before moving to New York is just how worth every sacrifice it is. When looking at apartments for the first time, its easy to be worried about not having laundry or a dishwasher or having half the square footage you might have elsewhere. But those minor inconveniences pale in comparison to the magic life New York brings. While there will always be difficult things about living here, it is such a unique and special experience you will never regret. Katelyn Sailor of @katelynsailor

Even when youre not in a rush, you will still be in a rush. Remember to stop and breathe every once in a while because New York is beautiful, so soak it up while you can! Sydney Callands of @sydddcal

NYC welcomes you as who you are and where you are in life, but it also wears you out faster than any city in the world. Rozit Arditi of @arditidesign

The main thing I wish I knew about NYC before moving here is that its easy to become defined by your job or career. People in NYC tend to be ambitious and hardworking, often moving from all over the world to pursue careers at top companies. The first thing someone might ask when you meet them is, What do you do? or Where do you work? Make sure to find something that brings you joy outside of your job that allows you to explore your passions and have fun while doing solike a creative hobby or joining a sports club! Michaela OShaughnessy of @lifeofaladybear

I wish I knew how dirty the city would be. As someone who spent her entire junior and senior year studying Sex and the City, I had no idea that a move to NYC also meant shacking up with the occasional cockroach or waiting for an oversized rat to cross the street so I could get to where I needed to go. And dont even get me started on the constant fear of catching bed bugs! Liz Ukpe of @onsundayswe

As a young gal watching way too many rom-coms in my childhood bedroom, New York City was always my dreamand I made it happen. But this city is not for everyone, and that is OK! Simple things like getting groceries or doing laundry have a ton of extra steps, and emotionally, youll be challenged every day. Ive learned so much about myself and grown to really love who I am here, but sometimes, it makes me want to cry on the subwayand thats just New York. KC Cibran of @thecasaverde

NYC is incredibly inconvenient unless youre wealthy. Unless you are Ubering door to door, you will have to brave the elements. Between waiting in a boiling-hot subway station for a delayed train, getting your feet and legs soaked in the rain even with an umbrella, and freezing in the wind, cold, and snowyoull definitely build a lot of character. It takes about 30 minutes minimum to get almost anywhere by public transportation if the destination is not in your neighborhood or adjacent to it. Sometimes it takes just as long by Uber or taxi because of the crazy traffic. The bright side is that over time, you become tough as nails, and pretty much nothing phases you! Another added bonus: Youll walk about 10,000-plus steps every day without trying. (Bye-bye, cardio workouts!) Kate McReynolds of @katemcreynoldsblog

NYC will challenge you in ways you never thought possible, and things definitely dont come easy living here. The more you persevere through the challenges, the more youll learn about yourself and grow. Tracy Davis of @tracyadavis_

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What to Know Before Moving to New York - The Everygirl

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TikTok user claims she was bitten by bedbugs at AMC Theatre in Times Square – New York Post

A TikTok user who shared a viral video showing her leg covered in red welts blamed the bedbugs for the bites after she went to a movie at the AMC Theatres location in Times Square.

In the video posted Saturday, TikTok user @xoxodanixoxo covers her mouth with her hand before panning to a shot of the red blemishes on her leg. The user, who goes by Dani on the platform, circled several of the alleged bedbug bites in black ink.

Yall do NOT sit in the amc at times square. Someone burn that godforsaken place down, TikTok user @xoxodanixoxo said in the video.

This isnt very life laugh love of you #amctheaters #amc #bedbugs, Dani added in a caption.

Dani added another comment to the post for context, noting that she had attended the AMC Times Square location for a work thing, not by choice and reiterated that bedbugs were responsible for the bites.

Dani wasnt the only individual alleging an outbreak has occurred at the AMC Times Square location. Another TikTok user named @ufw.treneice shared a similar post last Friday stating that her friend got bit by bed bugs during a trip to the location.

AMC quickly denied there is an infestation at the AMC Empire 25 near Times Square.

Any time we receive a guest report about this topic at this location, the seat in question and several surrounding seats are disassembled to inspect for any sign of evidence, a company spokesperson said Tuesday.

If evidence is found, the affected area is closed and treated as soon as possible. In some cases, including as recently as last week, the third-party expert uses a canine inspection to ensure that all previously identified activity has been eliminated. Following inspection and treatment, a canine inspection at AMC Empire 25 late last week revealed no evidence of bed bug activity.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Danis TikTok post has been viewed nearly 800,000 times, liked nearly 40,000 times and generated nearly 700 comments.

I thought everyone knew this, one user named Jay wrote.

First mistake was going to 42nd St, the official TikTok account for CUNY quipped.

Video before this was another AMC bed bug feature, another user named Ashley said. [At this point] Im convinced the $3 ticket special is part of a sacrificial ritual.

The AMC theater at West 42nd street has been dogged by claims of bedbug bites and outbreaks for many years.

In 2017, outlets Gothamist and Insider published reports on a social media post that showed an insect strongly resembling the pest on the floor during a screening of Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper Walks Among Us. At the time, an AMC representative said it found no sign of any bedbug activity.

In 2015, Page Six reported that a planned premiere event for the film Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was forced to relocate from the AMC Empire Times Square venue due to a bedbug outbreak.

In conjunction with a third-party expert pest control service, AMC has in place a comprehensive, proactive monitoring and response plan for that specific location. This plan includes regular proactive inspections of every seat in the building at AMC Empire 25 by a third-party bedbug expert, the company rep said.

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TikTok user claims she was bitten by bedbugs at AMC Theatre in Times Square - New York Post

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Pick Me! Renters offer landlords and agents free stuff to beat the competition for NYC apartments – Brick Underground

Unless youve been living under a rockand even thats probably too pricey in New York City these daysyou know that rents here are wilding right now. Inventory is low, listings are flying off the market, and bidding wars are trending. Lines snake around the block for open houses as if a sneaker drop is about to happen.

So New York City rentersalways a savvy and creative bunchare trying to beat the competition by sweetening the deal for landlords and agents by offering things like designer clothing discounts, tickets to showseven fancy cheese. Others are offering to do things in the apartmentat their own expense. (The agents quoted here did not accept these gifts, it should be noted.)

Does waving a gift get the right kind of attention? You be the judge. Read on for ways renters are trying to win over renters and agents in this crazy rental market.

Neighborhood Manhattan Bronx Brooklyn Queens Staten Island Westchester Jersey City Hoboken

Price up to $2,000 up to $3,000 up to $4,000 up to $5,000 up to $6,000 up to $7,000 up to $8,000 up to $9,000 no maximum

Bedrooms studio at least 1 bedroom at least 2 bedrooms at least 3 bedrooms at least 4 bedrooms 5 or more bedrooms

Bathrooms at least 1 bathroom at least 1.5 bathrooms at least 2 bathrooms at least 2.5 bathrooms at least 3 bathrooms at least 3.5 bathrooms at least 4 bathrooms 4.5 or more bathrooms

At 173 Luquer St. in Carroll Gardens, I just rented a lovely, top-floor one-bedroom with office, which listed at $3,000 per month.After one night of showings, we had 19 applications. Some renters offered $3,550 although neither the owners nor I were asking for higher offers. In the end, the owners chose a well-qualified tenant who offered to repaint the living room from blue to white at their own expense and kept the rent at $3,000. I was sad to have to advise [the other, higher bidders] about the owners first choice. Its a very difficult rental market at the moment!Dena Driver, an agent at Brown Harris Stevens

My landlord client was offered a 50 percent discount at Gucci and Chanel. Apparently the prospective renter works at a luxury clothing store and promised to pass along their discount. The apartment was a two bedroom, one bath in Williamsburg, but the candidates did not meet the financial criteria and their offer was declined.The apartment was listed at $3,900 and ended up getting rented at $4,200 to a different tenant. Marisol Banuelos, an agent at Keller Williams NYC

My client and her husbandownthree restaurants in Queens and offered to let meeat for free indefinitely in return for securing them a great apartment: A two bedroom in Forest Hills for $2,695. Parking is an additional $250 a month. They got it the apartmentand the family is so grateful. Kunal Khemlani, an agent at Living New York

Two renters offered to give tickets to the Jimmy Fallon show to the landlord of an Upper West Side two-bedroom apartment asking $3,750 that I was showing. They happened to work at the show.They got the apartment anyway, no tickets needed, because they came fully qualified and even offered a guarantor if needed. Meni Tsoukalas, an agent at BOND New York

Some people almost went crazy for a three-bedroom rental with private outdoor space I listed in East Village for $6,350! Mostly I gave tours to students who wanted to rent it with their roommates and who intended to use their parents as guarantors.One mom told me because I amFrench, she would offer me nicecheeseif shecouldget theapartment for her child. When you areFrench, people don't try to buy you with money but withcheeseand wine! Claire Collet, an agent at Living New York

One of my clients wanted to secure an 800-square foot, one-bedroom apartment in Tribeca. At just $3,870 per month rent, it was a lot cheaper than other rentals in the area. The apartment that she wanted history of bed bugs. She offered to pay for K9 bed bug inspections in her unit as well as neighboring units for one full year. This was a win-win for her, because now she will be aware of any bed bugs issues in the neighboring apartments. Diana Ludwiczak, CEO of Doctor Sniffs Bed Bug Dogs

Having been in a committed relationship for 35+ years we never felt the need to get married. We have happily lived together for most of these years in a large, two-bedroom, rent-stabilized apartment on the Upper East Side with a dining alcove, sun-filled rooms and plenty of closet space. Did I mention it is in a luxury doorman building right by the subway? We are paying less than a third of what everyone else in the building is paying. But now because we are getting older and only one of our names is on the lease, we asked management to allow both of us to be on it. We were told only married partners can be added. So this spring we went to the justice of the peace and tied the knotall for a rent-stabilized apartment. Till death do us part. Anonymous Upper East Side renter

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Is LGBTQ+ Representation Enough? Dylln Burnside Talks On-Screen Queerness, Pose, And Where True Revolution Begins – Vibe

The world of entertainment continues to expand and as society progresses the images and stories portrayed on television follow suit. According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) 2021-2022 Where We Are on TV report, of the 775 series regular characters scheduled to appear on scripted broadcast primetime programming for the aforementioned season, 92 characters (11.9 percent) are LGBTQ, an 2.8% increase from the previous year, marking a new record high percentage of LGBTQ series regulars on broadcast television.

The growing state of LGBTQ representation on television is a signal that Hollywood is truly starting to recognize the power of telling LGBTQ stories that audiences around the world connect with, expressed GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.

As a queer musician, on-stage actor, and on-screen talent, Dylln Burnside applauds the ascension in representation but still recognizes the importance of translating media portrayal into real-life action as one of the leading roles in the acclaimed television series Pose which highlighted New York Citys drag and ball culture scene.

Its not enough to just say, weve got a slate of LGBTQ shows, including Pose, Burnside explains to VIBE. Its not enough for us to just have representation in the media. Youve got to put your money behind it too. Representation is the beginning. Representation is a seed that leads to changing hearts and minds.

FromPose andthe Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary Prideland toThoughts of a Colored Man and the scripts and projects still in development, Burnside continues to build his resume and release music but also make a lasting impression and contribute impactful artwork.

Burnside shares he hopes to leave a legacy that is expansive, prolific, and meaningful, and with his start, the 33-year-old talent is sure to accomplish just that.

In our conversation, Burnside discusses recognizing both Pride Month and Black Music Month, on-screen queerness, Pose,and if representation is enough.

This interview had been edited for length and clarity.

VIBE: With June being both Black Music Month and Pride Month, do you think about how queerness and Black music go hand-in-hand? And how do you think the industry can continue to support queer artists across all genres to make sure that people are getting fair representation as well as not getting sidelined for things like collabs or ignored by mainstream media or disrespected by their peers?

Dylln Burnside: Thats such a great question, and I think its such a layered answer in actually solving the problems there. The fact of the matter is queer folks, Black queer folks, are the architects of so much of popular culture and so much of what takes place in pop music and from singers and songwriters and producers, to choreographers and stylists and content creators, just across the board. And not just in todays society where queerness is more generally widely accepted. But since the beginning of time, queer folks, if we want to take it back to the roots of where we get contemporary pop music from, its gospel. We know that in the church, so many of our music ministers were queer. We are so much ingrained in the culture of Black people, queer people and Black peoples identities are so intimately connected. And I think, really, at the root of it, its about us understanding that the future and the well-being of queer folks and trans folks are intimately connected to the well-being of all Black folks, and that we all must lift each other together.

I love when June comes because it is this confluence of Black music and queer music thats all sort of being celebrated at once. And I remember June 2020, when the protests were happening, and the protests for Black people were also very queer and there were also Pride parades that were Black Lives Matter protests. And that energy was so inspiring to me, and its something that I think that we should take into the remainder of our lives and our history, is this idea that the destiny of Black people and queer people is so intimately connected.

Pose was one of the most impactful and most important shows of the last decade specifically for LGBTQ+ representation, but also just because it was a bomb show.

Thank you!

Youre welcome! What do you miss most aboutPose?

So many things. Thats a really hard one. I miss my castmates. I miss seeing them every day and learning from them and playing with them and exploring with them. I miss the clothes, I miss the amazing wardrobe and our wardrobe team led by Analucia McGorty. I miss her so much. I miss our hair and makeup people. I miss being in a space that is filled with Black and Brown queer and trans people every day. I miss just the energy of what it means to celebrate who we are and to be unapologetic about it. To not have to shrink any part of myself, my Blackness or my queerness, I miss that. And I dont shrink it anymore, but I think its when youre out in other spaces that arent Black and queer, it becomes harder to maintain all of the dynamism that we carry as people.

I miss those characters and the stories and telling that story. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that Ill never forget and that we wont ever get back. It was like lightning in a bottle. And so I hold onto the memories of it very fondly and Im grateful for it, but Im also excited for all of the new things that are shaping up in my world.

Before Pose took off, where were you?

I had moved to New York after being fired from my church, and I said, You know what? Im going to pursue my dream. Im going to finish my degree and study theater. Im going to study musical theater, because music was my first love, and I already had a musical background. I was like, I could do musical theater because I already have that part. I just need to learn the craft of theater. So, I came here to train. After my first year here, I booked a workshop for a musical called Holler If Ya Hear Me that went to Broadway, it was a Tupac musical. From there, I did a lot of musical theater. I worked on BeBe Winans musical for a couple of years. Then I told my agent I didnt want to do musicals anymore, that I wanted to make a shift, and that really what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a leading man. They found this play that was going to this theater festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, making no money, living in a dorm room. I went out there and had such a gratifying, artistic experience. And while I was there, I auditioned for Pose. Thats when I turned in my self-tape for Pose while I was doing that play.

Do you think how TV, now with so many different identities represented, and this is a very generic question, but do you think the representation is enough? Why or why not?

The representation that we see in media right now, do I think its enough?

Yes, in general. or is the concept of representation even enough?

I dont think the concept of representation is enough because I think that the idea is that so long as Theres a point where us having this representation show up on our screens sort of becomes a scapegoat for folks to say, Well, we have shows on the networks that are depicting the lives of Black and Brown folks and of queer folks and of trans folks, so we stand behind those issues. No. No, no, no, no, no. And we saw this show up with Disney recently where its like, You got to put your money where your content is.

Thats why representation is important, to shift hearts and minds. Hearts and minds change the way they vote and shift policy, change the way that they spend their dollars, change the way that they treat their nephews and nieces, and change the way they treat the people that come to their church. Its about shifting culture and about shifting policy and the way we spend our dollars. We look at Roe v. Wade being potentially struck down in the Supreme Court. We have any number of representations of women being able to go out into the world and live liberated lives, in a post-Roe v. Wade world, that shows that women should have autonomy over their bodies, but that didnt stop these people from going in here and voting to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Its not enough to just have representation. Its about what were seeing right now is quite literally a culture war. And so many people want to polarize it between right and wrong, and I dont think its about whats right and wrong. I think its about what is fair and what is true and what honors the humanity of all people. Honoring someones humanity is not the same as giving them a slot on a TV show. Honoring their humanity is, Yes. I see you, I understand you, and I want to help to make sure that the rest of the world sees and understands and supports you.

I think its a very complex thing. Youre asking all these hard questions, but its true. I do not think representation is enough. And I sometimes get frustrated with this idea of representation, not because it shouldnt happen, but because representation alone is not revolution. Representation along with equity is where revolution begins.

Do you think that people look to queer people to push for representation instead of doing some of that work themselves? How can we kind of step outside of that to get everybody on the same page?

Its just like its not the burden of Black people to end racism, it is not the burden of queer and trans folks to end homophobia and transphobia. It is incumbent upon those people who are in the seat of power to understand the ways in which they uphold a system that is inherently homophobic, transphobic, racist, patriarchal, and sexist, classist, and understand that they have to give up their privilege so they can get their foot off of other peoples necks. Its not the responsibility of queer people to end systemic oppression for queer and trans folks. I think that is a part of the reason why these struggles continue. Granted, we have made so many strides forward, and we continue to make strides forward, and we have to continue to strive. We cant do it alone, though. We cannot end it alone. We need people who are not queer and who are not trans to also be clear that it is their burden to end the oppression that we face.

What are some of the stories that you hope to tell going forward, whether it be behind the scenes, as a screenwriter, director, or producer? Any stories that you would like to portray on screen? Any themes you want to explore in your music? What are some of the things that you want to do creatively, as you mentioned, as your career continues to expand?

I want to be a superhero, DeMicia! I want to be a superhero, which is another reason why this song (superpowers) is so special to me. Its like I imagine myself being a superhero. When Im working out to this song, I imagine myself in a Marvel movie running through the fields, running through the streets like Will Smith in Bad Boys. Its like a superhero, [an] action hero. I want to be Indiana Jones, quite frankly. I want to be Indiana Jones who happens to be Black and who happens to be queer. I want to tell stories about Black men that expand the narrative around who Black men get to be in the world. Thats my mission with all of the work that I create is how can I expand the narrative around who Black men are, who we get to be, what roles we get to play, how much money we get to make, what songs we can sing? Thats my mission in this world, is to create a little bit more space for Black boys to be more free.

And are there any other talents or creators that you are hoping to work with in the future?

Yes. Lena Waithe is at the top of my list of people that I want to work with. I want to work with the Obamas. I want to work with Viola Davis. I want to work with Lupita Nyongo, Regina King, and Issa Rae. Just so many brilliant Black and Brown people. And so many other people who arent Black and Brown. Oscar Isaac, and Jessica Chastain, theyre some of my favorite actors. Will Smith. Theres so many brilliant people, so many folks that I already know and love that I want to work with. I want to continue to work with my sister, Angelica Ross. I love her. I think shes everything in this world and more. MJ Rodriguez, Ryan Murphy. I want to continue to work with the folks who I know and trust, and we trust each other and have that relationship, too.

And what advice would you give to someone whos in that position now?

I tell that story because sometimes we have to sacrifice for our dream. Sometimes we have to take a step back from what feels like the more glamorous option, or the thing from the outside looking in might seem like the thing that makes you look like youre on top of the world, to actually take a step back and reassess, Who am I, and what do I want, and why do I want it? And when I realized that what I really wanted was to be a leading man so that I could actually tell the stories about Black men that havent been told, I knew that I couldnt go and do that musical. I needed to go to West Virginia. And it was hard. There were bed bugs in my dorm room. It was rough, logistically speaking, and it was not a pretty time in my life financially and in other ways. But creatively, I was exactly where I wanted to be and I had everything I needed. And the universe sent me the blessing of Pose as a result of being a good steward of my time and my energy and being clear.

And so I would just leave with the readers that things might not seem like theyre going the way that you planned, or the how isnt important. Its important for us to ask the questions of who are we, what do we want to be doing, and why? And if we get clear on that, the rest will fall into place. The how will work itself out. They came looking for me for Pose all the way in West Virginia and flew me to New York so that I could meet Ryan Murphy. Youve just got to get an alignment.

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Like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, I was locked in Irans Evin jail. The struggle was trying to stay sane – The Guardian

My name is Anoosheh Ashoori. I live in Evin prison, Tehran, in the valley of hell.

I am an Iranian-British dual national, like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, except very few people know my name. I was arrested in August 2017 and sentenced to 12 years in jail, and this is how I spend my days and survive.

The lights in my windowless room are dimmed by night, but never quite go off. At 6.30am the lights are fully switched on, signalling another day in Section 7, Hall 12, and another day trying to retain my sanity. At 7am, all prisoners sit on the floor waiting for up to 20 minutes to be counted. After this, I eat my breakfast outside the room, and go and sit in the far corner of a patio next to a gaslit stove. This is my place of residence most of the day, and over time it has become known as Anooshehs place.

The smell on the patio is overpowering due to extraction fans that pump air from the buildings bathrooms, kitchens and toilets and three sewage manholes. Excess food from prison, which amounts to hundreds of kilograms every week (the food being so foul that only the very needy eat it) is thrown on the patio floor and shovelled into these manholes. Scraps often remain on the ground, attracting rats and cockroaches. At one time the main sewer of Hall 1 was clogged and they broke the bricks covering the sewer, which was subsequently left open. I see pieces of faeces floating by every day.

I try to spend most of time away from gossip and trouble by reading and studying. In such crowded conditions, arguments can easily escalate into serious confrontation.

The test is trying to find ways to remain sane. Until a year and a half ago, we security prisoners were still allowed to mix with other inmates and join classes. But the regime has changed, and now we are only allowed to use the gym for three days a week for two hours, from 10 am to noon. I run for an hour at least every day. I have a plan, or a dream, that I will participate in the London Marathon after my release. The time restrictions in the gym do not allow me to test myself to discover the unexplored boundaries of my existence, but I hope, dear reader, you will be with me to help me when I run in London.

Usually, on Tuesdays, the fruit and vegetables that we have ordered the previous week arrive, so I make five or six or seven portions of mixed salads, and put them in the fridge. I purchase chicken, frozen fish, red meat and grill them in the barbecue stove together. I take the multivitamins that my wife sends from Britain. I hope I have the right intake to keep healthy. Then I return to my bed.

Having got past lunchtime, I usually call my wife between 2.30 and 3pm. I buy two telephone times in the evening, each worth 10 minutes. There are only two hall-mounted telephones for the 60-plus security prisoners in Hall 12. Fights break out frequently between inmates who are desperate to talk to their families. With no access to the news from the free world or books, the only possible true news is received through our conversations with our families.

After ringing my wife, I usually have a nap for 30 minutes and then return to my corner, and spend the rest of the day there. The search for privacy is ceaseless.

I cannot spend my whole time alone so I select a small group of inmates with whom I can talk and fill my time. Evin prison has come to be known as the University of Evin, and I understand why. It has some of the most qualified inmates of any prison in the world.

We formed groups of five to eight people, and hold classes regularly through the week. We are quite an academic group. Dr AK, a professor in economics, teaches us macroeconomics. Dr HH gives me private lessons on environmental sciences and geography. Mr QM holds classes on how to write novels. Mr MS teaches the fundamentals of genetics. Once or twice a week, I sit with Dr AA and go through the principles of quantum physics. I am practising Spanish with Mr KA. I am even learning Azerbaijani with Mr JD. I myself give two small classes about the basics of aircraft design and anti-earthquake stonework construction. This is how I try to keep busy enough to stop myself going insane in the valley of hell.

The second round of head counts is normally just before dusk. After that our hall is locked from the outside and access to public phones is cut at 9pm. Bedtime is 10.30pm. We are continuously fighting against cockroaches, rats and bed bugs. The bed bugs attack all night.

Every day, I face a choice: make or break. I tried to kill myself once, when in the torture house called 209. When you hit absolute rock bottom, the only way back up is to rise again, and be reincarnated. I have to stop the feeling of pure rage, or of self-pity. Break isnt a choice; only survival. I am not the same person who stepped into prison.

I know that some people think I must have done something to deserve my time in prison. All I can say to them is that I hope this will never happen to you, as I thought this would never happen to me. So what do I now regret, apart from missing my wife and family? I sincerely and deeply regret that in the past 65 years of my life I have never affiliated myself to any group or ideology. So many times in my years in Iran, I passed by Evin prison, when I invited friends, or had been invited by them, to dine in the posh restaurants on the other side of the hill on which this prison stands.

Like many other ordinary Iranian citizens, I remained indifferent, and never wanted to know what was going on behind its walls. I did not want to disturb the relative comfort of my life. Most people say to themselves: I am not seeking trouble and abiding by the law, and therefore I should be immune from any harm. But do not think that remaining indifferent when confronted repeatedly by injustice guarantees you from remaining unharmed.

There is a passage from the Persian poet Saadi inscribed on a carpet on the wall at the UN headquarters in New York. In English it reads: All human beings are members of one frame, / Since all, at first, from the same essence came. / When time afflicts a limb with pain / The other limbs at rest cannot remain. / If thou feel not for others misery / A human being is no name for thee.

Read more here:
Like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, I was locked in Irans Evin jail. The struggle was trying to stay sane - The Guardian

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