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Catching Up With Alexandra Daddario: Her Broadway Dreams and New Role As Executive Producer

People

With more than 15 movies and 20 TV roles under her belt—as well as six upcoming projects—Alexandra Daddario is a woman to watch in entertainment. You may know her as the bride-to-be in the 2018 Netflix comedy When We First Met or as last summer's blue-eyed, beach bombshell sharing the screen with Zac Efron in Baywatch. Daddario got her start in acting when she was young, her New York City roots helping her find her footing in a tricky, competitive industry. “I got into acting because I grew up in NYC and I was about 10 or 11 when I started to take acting lessons," she explains. “I thought it was cool to go to auditions, and then I booked little commercials. It's a very comfortable environment to play and be somebody else for a period of time."


The “somebody else" embodied by Daddario that proves recognizable for many millennials is none other than Annabeth Chase, the feisty, clever daughter of Athena. Daddario notes this as one of the roles she cherishes most, as it launched her career on the big screen. “Percy Jackson was my first big movie, and that's what got me out to LA and meeting a lot of different kinds of people, so that was incredible," she says.

Daddario as Annabeth Chase in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Photo courtesy of USA Today

One would be remiss if they did not ask an actress about her favorite movie, Daddario's being the wildly popular Lady Bird. Add that to your to-watch list, and be sure to include Can You Keep a Secret?, her next major project.

This upcoming project is an especially exciting one because not only will she be the star, she will also be the Executive Producer. The movie is an adaptation of the 2003 novel by New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella.

Daddario will play Emma Corrigan, a young businesswoman in London who accidentally reveals every one of her secrets to the CEO of her company when she thinks their plane is about to crash. What could go wrong after a little, innocent secret-spilling? A lot, probably, but you'll have to wait and see (or be proactive and pick up a copy of the book to prepare).

Daddario says she's been interested in taking on the production side of things for some time, ready to branch out after focusing on acting for the past 15 or so years. “I'm at a point where I can task myself a project and help get financing for it, and that's a really cool thing," she says. “And to empower other women that way, and to have more power over what goes on because I've been very lucky to have worked with a lot of different kinds of people and I've seen when things go wrong and when things go right, and I am very excited to have more control and help bring the project to life." There's no release date for Daddario's debut production quite yet, but be on the lookout. Hopefully someone involved really can't keep a secret, and will give fans a hint soon.

“I'm all about women who are empowering themselves through their work, their relationships, all kinds of things, and I think this is a great opportunity in time to start producing."

Now a seasoned actress and budding producer, Daddario knows the ropes of show business and offers advice to aspiring entertainers. “You never know where it will take you," she admits. “When I first got into acting I did commercials, but I wanted to be the little girl in Les Mis and wanted to be a Broadway Star, then I ended up on TV. You can't really have expectations. You have to work really hard. Don't get caught up in any of the nonsense of the job and do it if you love it...be easy on yourself, you're going to be entering something where you're going to be rejected, 99 out of 100 times. Don't take anything personally." If her great success is any indication of her advice's merit, it should be heeded.

As a clear theatre-enthusiast, when asked of her personal Broadway favorites, Daddario doesn't hesitate to list off a bunch of the shows that resonate with her most. Les Mis, Robin Williams' Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and Speed-the-Plow are among the standouts. “I like all different kinds of things," she says. “I love going to theatre." And who knows? Perhaps her childhood dreams of making it to Broadway will still come true; Daddario certainly is keen on the idea of finding herself on one of the coveted NYC stages. “Oh, I would love to!" she says enthusiastically. “Yeah, I would absolutely love to. I think it's such a great training ground. I'd love to be in a musical, but I can't sing. I mean, I can a little bit, but not the way they sing in Les Mis."

Singing aside, it's safe to say Daddario's name could one day be seen on a playbill, her face studding city sidewalks and lighting up Times Square.

“I travel a great deal, that's part of being an actress, you travel constantly, your life gets to be very erratic. I'm always getting dirty, and doing what we do as women, we are always active, and so Kleenex Wet Wipes, you throw them in your purse or you have them with you when you're travelling...it's such a great product to have because it's not harsh, it doesn't dry out your skin...it's just one of these things that I always carry around with me like lip balm or mascara."

Alexandra Daddario uses Kleenex® Wet Wipes when she's running from hot yoga class to meet up with friends and stayed refreshed with them at Governors Ball in New York. Photo courtesy of Michael Simon / StarTraks for Kimberly-Clark

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Politics

Do 2020 Presidential Candidates Still Have Rules to Play By?

Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.


When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.

2016: What rules?

Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.

Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.

And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.

And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?

Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.

Digital policies for 2020 and beyond

While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.

Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy

Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:

  • If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
  • While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
  • If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
  • Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
  • Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?

Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.

Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply

The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:

  1. Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
  2. Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
  3. Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
  4. Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
  5. Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
  6. Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
  7. Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
  8. Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.

Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles

Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.