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‘Charmed’ Star Melonie Diaz Weighs In On The POC Reboot Debate

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Photo By David Livingston/Getty Images.

“I wouldn’t abuse that to get ratings”

Ask almost any child of the early aughts what TV show was most important to them, and you'll likely hear Charmed come up at least once or twice. The show, which aired on the WB from 1998 to 2006, told the story of three powerful witch sisters destined to protect innocents from looming evil. And while it was forward-thinking and feminist, it wasn't particularly progressive in terms of racial or cultural diversity. So what would it have looked like if it had paid attention to intersectionality? Enter the CW's Charmed reboot.

The new Charmed is focused on the Vera sisters, activist Mel (Melonie Diaz) and college student Maggie (Sarah Jeffrey), who discover that they have a secret half-sister named Macy (Madeleine Mantock) shortly after their mother is mysteriously murdered by a demonic force. After moving in together, they begin to discover their individual powers, which had been previously bound by their mother so that her daughters could lead normal lives. However, as the sisters' "whitelighter," or witch guide, tells them, their mother was in the process of releasing their powers on the night she was murdered—leading the sisters to suspect that something supernaturally sinister is afoot.

From the get-go, the reboot has made it clear that it's very different from the original Charmed series—not just in terms of the show's premise, but also in terms of subject matter and its focus on representation. In fact, Diaz, a vocal activist herself, cites the reboot's goal of amplifying hefty sociopolitical discussions via "entertaining" stories about sisterhood and empowerment as a big reason why she felt good signing onto the project. 

"There's a lot to be angry about," Diaz said before praising her character's "bold" and "brash" personality. "It feels good playing characters that [feel like] a lot of my friends. They're doing this in real life." In honor of the show's premiere, we spoke to Diaz about portraying an activist, her thoughts on the POC reboot debate, and the importance of Mel's normalized sexuality. Read our Q&A with Diaz, below.

What was the process of getting involved with Charmed like?
I was skeptical because it was such a big entity and show—it's a really big property. But I knew that [producer Jennie Snyder Urman was involved, and] I'm the biggest fan of Jane the Virgin. So I wanted to sit down with the creators, and kind of just talk to them about the show. We have similar beliefs about a lot of things. Ultimately, I just really liked this group of people, and I think it's really important for you to like who you're working with.

Also, their vision for the show—I thought it was a really clever, unique way to kind of modernize this big show. We hit it off, and I left [the meeting]. I called my manager, and I was like, "That went really well. I really like them." Then she was like, "Oh my god, they already called…” Often, you have these meetings, and you don't really know [how it went]. But this was just an instantaneous connection. I just felt really confident that these people are going to really just make this show in a really cool way. 

Was it intimidating to be tasked with a revamp of such a beloved franchise?
No. It wasn't intimidating like that, because they kind of pitched the show as a very different thing. It would be borrowing the same mythology, but they made it very clear that we were three different sisters, with different journeys. Also, it's not really healthy to bear that kind of responsibility. 

What did you think about playing an activist on the show? Taking that piece of your real life to the screen?
I've been really upset about current events, as a lot of people are. I found it therapeutic. One of the reasons why I really wanted to play this part was because I like women who are unapologetic. Mel's very… she's angry. And that's okay. She's supposed to be. There's a lot to be angry about. She's bold, and she's kind of brash. It feels good playing characters that like… a lot of my friends, they're doing this in real life. I know it's just a television version, but it makes me feel good that at least we're writing characters like this.

It's a great step. However, there have been some people online who are insinuating that this could be another attempt by a big network to capitalize on the rhetoric of social justice. How would you respond to this criticism?  
I feel like that's just so unfair. [On one hand], if you don't talk about it, you don't care. But if you do make attempts to at least start a conversation, you're abusing it. So, it's like, what do you want? 

It's so strange to me. I feel like our intentions are to make a good show that talks about important topics, without hitting you over the head. Not every one of our episodes is going to be about social justice, but that's a big part of what we want to do: to talk about real things in a really funny way. Like, there's a scene where they're protesting, and Mel's kind of like snidely quipping about certain things. We just made sure that she was just very loud, unapologetic, and strong. That was really important to me. 

It's frustrating though, because, at the same time, we're very… like, I'm very involved in politics. I'm deeply concerned about the state of America right now. It's not good. We're not doing well. I wouldn't abuse that to get ratings. But if I can, in any way, come to work and talk about that—to be on network television where your audience is so massive—why not? Why not take a stab at it? Why not start talking about it? I think it matters. 

So to you, this is kind of the best of both worlds? 
Yeah. I think I was nervous, but, at the same time, I was also really excited. I was like, "What an amazing platform." You have three women of color, who are sisters, who are complicated, who are all very different. I hope that little girls can tune in and be like, "Oh my god. I'm a Mel. I'm a Macy. I'm a Maggie." You know? I didn't have little characters like that to look at when I was younger. 

There's also the argument that, while there's a wave of racial diversity on television, the majority of it seems to be coming in the form of reboots. How do you think we can get more original content for people of color?
I very much want that. I have a lot of friends who are very talented, who are very creative, who have great original ideas. I want them to have a voice more than anything else. I really just feel like because the nature of Hollywood [is that] everything comes in waves. I think there will be an original content stage. I very much believe that we do need that though. I'm not going to sweep that under the rug and be like, "No. It's whatever."

I'm not sure why everyone's kind of, like, gravitating toward the reboot thing. What I can say, is that I think it's the right time to reboot our show. It just felt like the perfect timing for it. I know that Jennie and Amy [Rardin], our creators, have been working on this for years, and years, and years. Trying to get it right. Or, the network has, up until this moment, not felt like it was really right to put it out there again. It just makes sense. This idea of, like, sisterhood and being stronger together—fighting the darkness with your sisterhood. That to me is really cool and what we need right now. 

Aside from the racial diversity of this reboot though, I thought the fact that your character is also gay was pretty cool. Talk about true intersectionality.
Yeah, and a lot of people have been asking about that. We also have made the decision, not to ever talk about her being gay. Ever. It shouldn't be a headline. It shouldn't be a topic. Who she loves is who she loves. It should be as natural as day. You know? Her sexuality is a part of who she is, but it's not everything. She's a sister, she's a human being, she's a witch that's trying to do good things. Her girlfriend is just her girlfriend. Just like, a guy would have a girlfriend. We're really trying to normalize it, because I think, too often, we make a thing out of it. It's like, "No, there are gay and lesbian people in this world. They are human beings." And that's it.

We should really be at the point where tokenized queer representation isn't a thing.
Yeah. It's like, if you're queer, then you're edgy, or something like that—pushing the boundaries of television. I'm like, "No, I bet you know like, 20,000 gay people." It's just so weird to me, so I am glad that we're not talking about it at all. 

But what I really love in our show is that… I can't really talk about it, but you'll see that her mom and her sisters always supported her choices, and never made her question it or feel weird about it. It was never an issue. I think that when you show families that are really, fully supportive of you, you can do big things. I think that's why Mel is so confident. She's always had the support of her family. 

Charmed airs Sundays on the CW.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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