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Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning

2019 is here in full effect! That means new goals, resolutions, and of course new interviews at Kontrol Magazine! One of the most popular resolutions of any new year is a commitment to get fit and eat healthier. Many fall off, but one athlete turned actor and model is determined not to let you down! Meet Quinten Barnard, the hottie with a body and vibes so positive you cannot help but be drawn to him. Yes, he’s magnetic! Quinten is ready to take 2019 by storm with new acting projects, promoting his Travel Fitness company, and talk to us about his photoshoot with Kim Kardashian that went viral!

quinten barnard

As a Miami native, Quinten Barnard was surrounded by the sun, beach, and beautiful bodies. That surprisingly, it is not what motivated him to become a fitness trainer and stay fit. “I’ve always been into wellness and taking care of myself. That’s like breathing to me. When you look around and see how obesity and poor health are affecting our [Black/African-American] community and a lot of the developed world you realize it’s now an epidemic…I’m not talking about just physical ailments like diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension. I am also talking about depression and low self-esteem…” Unlike many fitness gurus, Quinten knows that there is no easy fix to these ailments. As Iyanla Vanzant would say, “…you have to do you work.” In Mr. Barnard’s belief it all begins and ends with your diet, thus he has opted to become a vegetarian and even provides vegetarian-based meal plans to his clients. “Vegetables are completely better for you, and if we are talking finances they are cheaper than meat as well. People tend to think you cannot make a meal–or tasty meal of vegetables alone–but there are so many delicious ways to prepare your food, season it, and still be healthy…your diet is just so important. You can work out seven days a week, but if you’re still eating junk food then it completely defeats the purpose.”

quinten barnard

Quinten continues to push his fitness goals for the world on two fronts. The first being with Travel Fitness, where he not only travels to different countries and locales, showing exercises that can be done, but works remotely with clients from all over the world. “Technology is a beautiful thing and I’m really grateful I get to impact the lives of people far and wide. I post a number of videos on YouTube, but I work with people as far away as Africa to get them in the shape they need to be in…they come to me for their health of course, but some come just because they want to improve their confidence through their appearance…” The second front tackles childhood obesity and fitness by starting a non-profit organization this year, “All Kids Fit,” which will start in the United States and then move to Uganda. “When you learn and practice these things [healthy eating and living] at a young age it only positively affects your life chances. Like I said I want to spread my message to the world!”

Besides fitness, Quinten is also an actor and noted model. This year he will actually honoring Stevie Wonder by playing him through a series of pictures. He describes the esteemed artist as being one of the most influential people in his life. “His album, ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ is the greatest album of the Twentieth Century, and for any generation. Everything he talked about on their–politics, race, love–if you just listen to it, it’ll take you to the next level…” Mr. Barnard will also be starring in an indie film, the details of which he cannot yet reveal. Quinten is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but he gained more notoriety following a sultry photo shoot with the Reality Queen, Kim Kardashian!

Shot by celebrity photographer, David LaChapelle, the shoot shows him rocking an afro and hearty seventies style sideburns, while posing nude next to her. Kim was in gold bathing suit. In the second picture, Quinten is behind her mostly covered but still nude with a dove perched on his finger. “Working with Kim [Kardashian] was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in my life. Her energy is just so positive and professional, and I loved the message of the shoot, that we are all the same. It was never meant to be a racial things, but we live in a time where that is always a factor…” The photos not only went viral, but were controversial on two parts. The first being that many felt her waist was photoshopped to an unrealistically small size and the other being that she did not credit [@] Quinten as the other model on her Instagram page. “All of that photoshop stuff I really didn’t care about. I feel like it was just negativity and people were missing out on the bigger message and intention of the shoot…I didn’t have to be credited on her page. She’s allowed to do what she wants on her social media, I’m just glad I got to be apart of that experience, and work with her and David [LaChapelle]…”

quinten barnard

Quinten is one of those people who really has a heart of gold and is beautiful inside and out. Surprisingly, his heart belongs to no one as he is career focused and is spending his energy on self-evolution. “I am conversing with a few young ladies, but it is nothing serious and each of them knows that. I’m married to my work and becoming a better me at this time in my life.” He advises people to “above all else know your worth and that you have the power to change whatever you don’t like or need to improve on in your life. It all ends and begins with you!”

Celebrity Interviews

Being “Simone!” STAR’s Brittany O’ Grady (@brittanyogrady) Talks Being Biracial & An LGBT Ally!

With season three of STAR underway, Brittany O’ Grady, who plays the role of Simone Davis, is showcasing all of her talents while unpeeling the many layers of her character. In the last two seasons, fans have witness Grady effortlessly portray the very fragile, complex Simone but Grady says that tapping into her role is no easy feat.

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brittany o' grady star on fox

Written by: Kyree Shockley (@chroniclesofky)

With season three of STAR underway, Brittany O’ Grady, who plays the role of Simone Davis, is showcasing all of her talents while unpeeling the many layers of her character. In the last two seasons, fans have witness Grady effortlessly portray the very fragile, complex Simone but Grady says that tapping into her role is no easy feat.

“She’s evolve so much,” said Grady. “She was supposed to be borderline crazy –very different from who I am but it’s human for us to all change and evolve. Playing her [Simone] is a fun challenge I enjoy.”

Though there are major differences between Simone and Grady’s upbringing, Grady takes the similarities between them and uses it to convey authenticity on the show.

“Despite her negative past, Simone is very sensitive,” Grady said. “People underestimate her but she’s a lot stronger than what people think and I share that in common with her.”

One of the more significant similarities between Grady and Simone is that they’re both biracial. In the early stages of her career, Grady accepted roles playing Latino women but Star is the first opportunity Grady’s had to play herself. With the show success thus far, Grady is looking forward to taking some of her own personal experiences and exploring the possibilities of diving deeper into her character’s racial makeup.

brittany o' grady star on fox

“It’s hard to identify when other people don’t see you as you are,” said Grady. “I grew up in a diverse area but I was picked on. People told me I didn’t’ count as black and was called different racial names throughout my life. Then when I went to college, which is a private, predominately white, Christian university, it felt like I was in Get Out. I was tossed around by people’s perceptions and Simone has been through that as well.”

Even though Simone has experienced many ups and downs throughout the seasons, (the passing of her mother, sexual abuse, placed in foster care, and now a pending divorce), Grady finds Simone’s sassy one-liners to be one of her favorite things about her role.

“Simone is always bringing an edge,” Grady said. “She’s comedic, she’s fun and I like to crack up with the things that she says. It’s fun to have that side of myself show through her.”

Despite the recent turn of events, Grady says fans should expect Simone to move forward and make “a lot of personal wins” this season.

“She’s no longer stuck in her past,” said Grady. “I’m really excited about her tackling things that have more to do with her and not what others have done to her.”

In the spirit of moving forward Grady talked about where she would like to see her character go in the future and how she would like for Simone to grow in the seasons to come. And the two big things Grady would like to tackle are race and sexuality.

“I want to talk more about Simone’s race, how she feels about it and her sexuality because she’s fallen in love with men and women,” said Grady. “ I want to see their [FOX’s] explanation especially to an audience who may not understand it.

With her character possibly being bisexual and having friends a part of the LGBTQ community, Grady wants to bring awareness to the discrimination and issues many bisexual people face. She would like for Simone to express her sexuality without the stereotypical “flip flop/ confused” narrative but in a way that honors those that are affected.

“It’s one of my biggest purposes in life,” Grady said. “As an ally, I want to portray the bisexual experience the best way I can. One of my friends that I’ve had since I was 12, came out to me as trans during the pilot and she told me the first time she saw someone stick up for trans people on TV, it was me and that’s something that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”

star on fox

At 22, Grady has seen much success and continues to be an inspiration to young actresses, especially those who are biracial and looking to her as role model. Grady’s piece of advice to those aspiring to be where she is: “let what inspires you, inspire you.”

“You don’t have to be put in a box,” said Grady. “The emotions and stories that you tell are way more important than what people want to perceive you as. Your race is who you are and it’s a part of you but it shouldnt let other people define your work or your ability to tell a story.”

In case you wanted to know what other projects Grady has in the works, be on the look out for her movie, Above Suspicion –at true story about an FBI agent who’s assigned to a small town in Kentucky, where he becomes involved with a local woman, leading to scandal. In the meantime, be sure to watch Grady on FOX’s hit show, STAR every Wednesday at 9/8c.

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Celebrity Interviews

On The Go! Keepin’ It Real from Michael Yo (@michaelyo)!

What does it take to be the best? That is the question we all want to know. For one NFL player turned media personality the answer rested in opting to be the best version of himself! That man is Michael Yo–media personality, actor, stand-up comedian, and host! Kontrol managed to snag some of his time in an interview that left us inspired and in deep admiration of just who Michael is. “I’m a good guy who’s happened to learn some pretty awesome life lessons along the way…”

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michael yo

Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning 

michael yo

What does it take to be the best? That is the question we all want to know. For one college football star turned media personality the answer rested in opting to be the best version of himself! That man is Michael Yo–media personality, actor, stand-up comedian, and host! Kontrol managed to snag some of his time in an interview that left us inspired and in deep admiration of just who Michael is. “I’m a good guy who’s happened to learn some pretty awesome life lessons along the way…”

michael yo

Michael hails from the Great State of Texas, but is far from your traditional American cowboy. First, he is biracial, being of African-American and Korean descent. “When I was younger I was definitely Black and Asian, but people would always see me as Black, and I always identified as Black. I played sports and was athletic so I grew up as an ‘other’ by others’ description. It’s just unfortunate as a minority in America you have to deal with so many stereotypes.” Michael’s cactus roots have blossomed into actualizing his Hollywood dreams. “Man I am blessed to have gotten as far as I have and I definitely owe it to people believing in me, especially my parents. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but there’s still so much more I want to do and achieve…Truthfully the grind never stops [he laughs].” Indeed, Mr. Yo is definitely on his hustle and grind with maximum efficiency these days as he is currently doing stand-up comedy in Kansas City, hosts a two-hour show on SIRIUS XM for Entertainment Weekly Radio called The Michael Yo Show, and hosting Bravo’s reality series , Play By Play. “It’s definitely a blessing to be booked [he laughs], but on the real it can be pretty demanding…I think the hardest part is being away from my family, but I know this is how I’m taking care of them so it’s all worth it because they’re worth it.”

michael yo

As aforementioned, family means everything to Michael. In fact he reveals his free time is all about spending time with them. “Downtime is about my wife and son. He’s 19 months old, and I love being a father. I was selfish until I got married and had him. But that’s what it’s all about, them making me into a better man all around.” He goes on to reveal that his personal life may soon be on display as Fox has picked up the pilot to a series surrounding his life! “I’m really excited about the project and I know it’s gonna be something everyone can laugh and relate to.” Yo’s series is a significant step in the right direction towards inclusion, as there are few Asian characters on American television. In fact, the highest grossing romantic comedy of the year, Crazy Rich Asians, was the first predominantly Asian film in nearly twenty years. “I think it’s just time for everyone to be represented on television and in the movies. The world is so beautiful and diverse. Why not be as inclusive as possible?”

michael yo

There is no stopping Michael Yo, or even slowing him down, he is clearly a man on a mission towards even greater heights of success. In fact, his comedy special, Blasian, is critically acclaimed and can be streamed from Amazon, iTunes, and other streaming platforms. Surprisingly he reveals that he was not always so sure of his career and even jealous of others’ success. “I was working at a radio station and my manager at the time heard me talking smack about another worker who got an opportunity I wanted and he pretty much just told me if I worried about my own career half as much as I did everyone else’s I’d be where I wanted to be. I really took that to heart, and since then I’ve been nothing but supportive of everyone around me.” He goes on to advise any newcomers to the entertainment industry to realize that “…no one makes it on their own, and to find that team or network of supportive people to have in your corner. Don’t compete with your friends, you need them, and when one of you wins, then you all win.”

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To Tame A Lyon! Meet Toby Onwumere (@toby_onwumere), The Newest Addition to Empire!

Hollywood is here FOREVER! The stages and the names change, but one thing for sure is that Tinsel Town will always be looking for talented and fresh faces. When that face also happens to be tall, dark, and handsome, the look is all the more exciting and tantalizing. Meet Toby Onwumere, a rising star that just so happens to meet the criteria of “tall, dark, and handsome,” and most of all talented!

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toby onwumere kai empire

Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning

Hollywood is here FOREVER! The stages and the names change, but one thing for sure is that Tinsel Town will always be looking for talented and fresh faces. When that face also happens to be tall, dark, and handsome, the look is all the more exciting and tantalizing. Meet Toby Onwumere, a rising star that just so happens to meet the criteria of “tall, dark, and handsome,” and most of all talented!

toby onwumere kai empire

Toby is taking hearts and Fox’s Empire by storm as “Kai,” Jamal Lyon’s (Jussie Smollett) love interest and now fiancé! As Kai, Toby is doing groundbreaking work, as he showcases the life and love of a Black, gay, and HIV positive man against the backdrop of family drama, corporate sabotage, and ignorance. “I feel honored to play him [Kai] and bring his story to the forefront…It’s time to really inform people and push forward with representation and inclusivity, all while delivering a really unforgettable story.”

Toby is a first generation Nigerian-American, hailing from Dayton, Ohio and has always dreamt of being an actor. He counts his parents, Fidelis and Prisca, as being the driving force behind his pursuit of the arts as they allowed and encouraged him to do what he loves. “My parents were traditional, but not in the sense of what they expected me to be…usually when you’re Nigerian you the career paths your parents want for you are pretty narrow, you have to be like a doctor or lawyer, for them to do that is really amazing.” Toby admits he is stoked to be on Empire, revealing he has been a fan of the show since its inception. “Man I love it [Empire] I would be in class and thinking to myself I’m gonna be on that show one day, and here we are [he laughs].”

jussie smollett and toby onwumere empire kai jamal

Empire continues to be a ratings giant with no sign of slowing down in its fifth season. However, in an interesting plot twist the series has flashed forwarded two years into the future and we find that The Lyons are mostly in shambles. Lucious and Cookie continue to fight to win Empire back, Andre is incarcerated for Anika’s death, and Hakeem is unable to perform after a grave injury. Jamal, however, has flourished in his self-imposed exile to London, finding new label and love with Kai. Their relationship stands to be the strongest one we have seen for Jamal as Kai is empathetic, intelligent, and compassionate. Toby admits he and Kai are very similar in those aspects, but fundamentally different in others. “Well for one I’m straight [he laughs] and then I’m way too silly! Kai is more straight-laced and serious. I like to laugh and joke and be goofy.” Kai’s storyline is definitely a serious one as no shows have really shown a relationship like he and Jamal’s. Although the Kai’s HIV status has been a topic on the show, the larger phenomenon of him being with a partner who is negative and on PREP (via whatisprep.org, PrEP means Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and it’s the use of anti-HIV medications to keep HIV negative people from becoming infected. PrEP is approved by the FDA and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing HIV infection.”) “The storyline was meant to be more informative than anything else. People still have these notions about HIV/AIDS from the eighties and so many advancements have been made since then…the love between the two of them [Jamal and Kai] shows that everyone deserves love and can be loved. Kai just so happens to be HIV positive, but he really loves Jamal and he’s a great person. That’s what counts here love…The scene when they proposed to each other was really just magical and powerful.  It’s why I’m honored to play this character…this is really encouraging dialogue and I think people just need to be more open minded and educated.”

toby onwumere kai empire

Toby continues to look forward to the rest of this season of Empire and hints he has some pretty amazing projects in the works that he is not ready to share. However, he did reveal his holiday season will be international as he travels to Europe to bring in Christmas and the New Year. If 2019 is any bigger than 2018 was for him then we know he is about to be a household name! He advises aspiring actors to “Really study the craft. Take the classes and remain diligent. If this is what you want stick with it and never give up!” Catch Toby every Wednesday night at 8 PM EST on Fox’s Empire!

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