By Jack Wellington

Some stars give you the impression that they love the glitz and glamour. Others, like Bryce Dallas Howard, would rather confine themselves to work and let others be part of the hype. The vivacious 37-year-old actress, daughter of director Ron Howard, has built up an impressive body of work in Spider-Man 3, The Help, 50/50, and the first incarnation of Jurassic World, the third-highest grossing movie in history. She also played opposite Robert Redford in the 2016 film Pete’s Dragon. She is currently starring in what is sure to be the newest summer blockbuster, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

When she’s not acting, though, the smiling and talkative redhead lives in LA but stays out of the limelight, retreating to the comfort of home with actor husband, Seth Gabel (Salem) and their two pre-teen children, Theodore and Beatrice.

“Even though I spent a lot of time on film sets with my father, I was raised in a home that was very caring and normal,” Howard says. “I love my work, but I also want to make sure my kids grow up with traditional American values the way I grew up.”

STRIPLV: So Jurassic World again. You must be a reptile fan?

HOWARD: Oh my gosh. Not particularly, only when they’re fantastical, especially when they’re friendly. When I was five years old, I had a birthday party at a petting zoo, and my mom is a total tomboy. My grandfather was in aerospace engineering, and he would like, he was raised in Louisiana, and he was this really fun, logical, intellectual, he was the oldest acrobatic pilot in the world and the first white man to climb Mount Fuji Ramn in the winter and survive. So he was like, had tremendous courage and he made a huge impression on my mom. And all of us. So she was really tough because of him; he would take on anything if his life was in jeopardy and she is just like that as well. And, when I was five, I was at this birthday, and someone came out with a big snake and I, understandably was terrified and ran and hid and he was like, “OK, not my daughter.” And that day, she took me to a pet store and said, you can have any snake you want.

STRIPLV: Wow, lucky you.

HOWARD: I know, not any puppy you want. Any snake you want! So I had this corn snake, and I named his Jovis. I had a lisp, and I didn’t know how to say Joseph, and he was the exception, and he would just sit around my wrist or around my neck like a necklace. He would never squeeze me. I wore him to school as often as I could, like I could hide him under my sleeve and then bring him into school. I was a cool kid for that. (Laughs) So he is the exception, I love Jovis.

STRIPLV: With regards to your director for the film, you go back a bit without actually working together don’t you?

HOWARD: I have wanted to work with J. A. (Bayona) ever since he did The Orphanage and we actually met each other years ago and had this incredible, incredible meeting and we were trying to figure out something to do together and so I have wanted to work with him for years and that it was this, it’s amazing.

STRIPLV: What is the best of J. A.?

HOWARD: You know what, he knows so much about cinema, and he’s so passionate about it, but ultimately he is a little boy who loves movies and has so much fun with it. So he has this perfect combination of being very sophisticated but he’s not arrogant with his film-making. He’s very collaborative and fun and light-hearted. I think that’s just the perfect combination for a director.

STRIPLV: And Chris?

HOWARD: Working with Chris is the best. He’s a great individual, a remarkable talent, hilarious and you know, not too bad to look at either. He’s a really, really awesome guy.

STRIPLV: In Jurassic World, you were kind of like a reptile yourself— hear me out— shedding the corporate skin of Claire and becoming a real gutsy woman. You got a fun character arc for you.

HOWARD: Yeah, it really was. Because it’s like playing someone who is courageous and ferocious and ambitious and that’s a fun character to play in general. But then to get the kind of journey where she is all in white and by the end, I am just covered in mud. I just wanted to throw mud at her in the first scene, so it was this great situation where it’s a character that I really love and a personality that I really love and yet this story, the first Jurassic World, brought her down to earth and then she was kind of her best self from there. It’s like that was her journey to becoming who she is meant to be.

STRIPLV: Of course people made such a massive deal about you running through the movie in heels. Are we going to see the heels in this movie or is it RIP?

HOWARD: Well there’s no running in heels. No, no. No, no. No, no. That was for Claire - she was dressed for a day at work, she was dressed for her corporate career, not to sprint about in the jungle. So, this time it’s different because this time there’s an event that’s happening on the island, there’s an extinction level event which is threatening the lives of all of the dinosaurs, and we’re choosing to go back to save them. It was a case of us saying: “Do we allow nature to take its course and do we allow these animals to become extinct again? Or, do we save these animals, therefore potentially putting the whole planet in jeopardy?” That’s the difficult kind of reality that we’re facing in this story. So it is very dangerous, and we do know what we’re facing, and therefore I am wearing shoes that I can safely run in! So yes, I certainly didn’t choose to dress in heels for that.

STRIPLV: Did that come as a huge shock?

HOWARD: Pretty unexpected, I must say. Where is this coming from? Honestly, I thought it was difficult to run in those heels because it was difficult to run in those heels; it was not a party. Never did I think anyone else would notice it. I mean, these were the only shoes she had, what was she going to do, run barefoot through the jungle? It was the best of a bad situation.

STRIPLV: Are you a feminist when it comes to your work?

HOWARD: I like playing female characters who have a purpose, beyond, I’m going to say this very respectfully, beyond oh I just can’t, beyond the eye candy. That’s is not who I am. I’m a character actor. That’s not to say I feel unattractive, I’m happy with everything, but that’s not my strength. The sexy girl, that’s not my strength. But getting into the mind of someone who’s, where the character really could, it’s like, things don’t need to be gender neutral but that’s it’s not specifically just about being a woman, but it’s about being a fully realized human being with 

a purpose, with a history, who plays a significant role in the journey of the story that’s being told. That’s what inspires me.

STRIPLV: The role of Grace Meacham in one of your previous films, Pete’s Dragon - she’s probably far more on the side of feminism than Jurassic?

HOWARD: David Lowery is a feminist. He would always be like, “I don’t drive a lot. I get intimidated on the road,” and he’s always like “Bryce you’re driving, move over Wes, in the passenger seat,” and it was just yeah, I was in the passenger seat with Robert Redford who told me he learned to drive when was seven and drove across country when he was maybe 9, it was under 10. He drove across country, can you imagine? I was shaking; you’ve been driving for decades, so yeah, there was an awareness.

The fact that Jurassic World is now the fourth highest grossing franchise has that put a pressure on you to match its success in your future films? How do you pick them now?

I always focus on the process. that is something I can be invested in and have a stake in and hopefully you know, help make it a positive experience. When I leave the set, I really leave the set; I have to let go of the results. When it doesn’t turn out well, as a film, that’s incredible. And in addition to that, if it’s financially successful, it’s a really good feeling, because you also don’t want the studio to lose money. But there’s no formula. I also, when I step off a movie, I let go of everything. When you’re part of something so tremendously successful, you have to thank your lucky stars and let go of that. If you get hung up on trying to replicate it, you just can’t; you just got to go with the flow. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.

You grew up in a showbiz family. Does it ever seem surreal that you’re continuing a family tradition?

My parents made it all very comfortable and natural for me regarding how they raised my siblings and me. When I was five years old, my dad (director Ron Howard) made the movie Willow in New Zealand, and I was there with him. My family was there. I have vivid memories of New Zealand and loving my time there. And then, 30 years later, I got to shoot Pete’s Dragon over there, and I was able to have my kids experience that and get to go to school in New Zealand and be on set with me. Now, this is something they were excited about. It’s been incredibly meaningful. It was so beautiful being able to have my own kids enjoy the same kind of adventure that I had gone I was a little girl with my own mom and dad.

STRIPLV: You never went the child actress route. How do you handle your own kids’ relationship to your exotic kind of profession?

HOWARD: Done right, it’s a full-time job. You have to keep your kids grounded and not become part of the celebrity side of your life. And my dad had a full-time job. And my mom had a full-time job taking care of my dad and four kids. (Laughs)

STRIPLV: Would your father Ron Howard talk to you and the other kids about his films a lot?

HOWARD: Oh, all the time. My dad used us as a kind of test audience, and he would constantly be taking us through the stories of his films. He talked to us a lot about The Grinch and also about Willow. I loved those moments where I felt that my imagination would get so caught up in the magic of those films and I think it was important to him to be able to gauge the reaction of his four very bluntly honest children to the stories before he would start filming.

STRIPLV: Do you talk to your children about your films?

HOWARD: It depends on the film, of course. Pete’s Dragon was something very special that I could talk about and also parts of Jurassic World - although my youngest child obviously isn’t going to see that until she’s older. (Laughs) This was the first film of mine that they’ve ever seen. It was as exciting for me to see their reaction as it was for them to see me in a film. I was really emotional 

about finally being able to show them their mom’s work!

STRIPLV: Is it important for you that your children be close to your world the way you were to your own father’s world?

HOWARD: Yes. I wanted them to treasure their time on the set with me just like I did with my own father and mother. It was also wonderful that this was a movie that they could watch and look back on many years later and recall their time in New Zealand and what that meant to them.

STRIPLV: Have your children worked on any of your films thus far?

HOWARD: My son (Theodore) was an extra in Pete’s Dragon, and he was so thrilled when the trailer for the film came out, and he saw himself in one of the scenes. He just screamed out. “There I am, mom!” But we were all watching at the same time, and we didn’t see him. But after playing it over and over again we finally saw the top of his head! (Laughs) It’s such a joy to see your child get to be part of your world and truly enjoy those kinds of moments.

STRIPLV: You are known to take your kids filming with you.

HOWARD: I took my kids to New Zealand when filming Pete’s Dragon. They went to a local school there which was really great, but my son, who is a very quiet kid, just recently revealed to me that the first two weeks he didn’t understand what anyone was saying. And I was like, “Aww babe, you worked it out.” But it’s like, we basically we shot in a lot of different places in New Zealand, just classic tourists. We would do to the geysers, and we were living close to Mount Maunganui, so we were near the beaches and the ocean. And then on the South Island, near Queenstown, it’s just, there is natural beauty there.

STRIPLV: And that’s like when you went on location with your dad when you were younger?

HOWARD: Yes, I had been to New Zealand 30 years before when my dad was shooting Willow there, so it was very circle of life that I was bringing my kids there. And I had so many memories of being on sets. And just like in the kindest way and I hope that with my kids growing up and traveling with my husband that I travel with my parents. I hope they get to experience and the wonders and magic that I got to experience in my childhood.

STRIPLV: And on Jurassic World, you’re still working with kids. How do you enjoy that aspect?

HOWARD: It’s probably my favorite thing to do because I don’t know, I just find, of course, this is just not, I have happened to have had entirely positive experiences working with young actors. I know others who may not say the same. I shouldn’t make some sweeping generalization myself. But my experiences with working with people who are minors, there is an excellent level of professionalism and preparedness and also a sense of ease. They don’t have all the hang-ups that adults have. They don’t worry about people liking them. “I hope I don’t seem stupid.” The kids that I work with, that’s never been a consideration. Like with my kids, I can say “lava” and they’ll instantly jump on the couch; it’s available instantaneously, but as an adult actor, I went, I spent a lot of money on college just trying to stop myself of things so that I could learn to connect to kind of that innocent sense of play and wonder and imagination that you have often have as a child. So it’s really inspiring to working with children.




You’d think that was the retort of a man who wasn’t enjoying life, but nothing could be further from the truth. He seems to have made entertaining people both on and off screen his forte; for example, his Parks character was initially only written in as a guest part. However, Pratt forced his way into the reckoning, and he became a regular star of the successful show.

Watch a few of his social media videos of him eating various foods that he is given as part of his diet, and he has turned it into a contest he calls: “What's My Snack?”' Genuine funniness ensues.

But now, the big guns are lining up, and Pratt is on the right side of them. With the Guardians of the Galaxy hits, Jurassic WorldAvengers: Infinity WarThe Magnificent SevenPassengers and now Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, this Minnesota-born actor was recently named in Time's top 100 list of the most influential people in the world. No tent required.

It’s been four years since the theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles.

When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who's still missing in the wild and Claire has grown respect for these creatures and has now made it her mission to save them. Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.

With all of the wonder, adventure and thrills synonymous with one of the most popular and successful series in cinema history, this all-new motion-picture event sees the return of favorite characters and dinosaurs—along with new breeds more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before. Welcome to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

This is the fifth overall installment in the popular Jurassic Park franchise, which began with Steven Spielberg's seminal film in 1993. Fallen Kingdom is the sequel to 2015's Jurassic World, which broke box office records upon its release that summer. The movie ended up grossing more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, all but guaranteeing a follow up would be made eventually. The filmmakers have said Fallen Kingdom is the second installment of a new trilogy.

STRIPLV: Well, Jurassic World hit $1.6 billion at the box office, so it’s not a surprise that we are sitting here talking about sequels.

PRATT: Yes, the success of the first film was really, really mind-blowing. It’s exciting to be back on a second film. The world is in store for another classic and amazing Jurassic Park movie, and it’s an awesome wave to be on.

STRIPLV: You actually predicted your role in the franchise seven years ago!

PRATT: Yeah, that’s right, I did. I do weird stuff. Weird stuff that happens in my life that if I told you, you wouldn’t believe that it’s true at all. All the time, crazy miracles. I brought a yellow jacket bee back to life recently. I gave CPR to him and then he woke up he stung my finger. I’m not even kidding. That’s what happened and it was real. I know man, it’s kind of crazy, but it’s real.

STRIPLV: I don’t know what it is about these Jurassic movies, but they really seem to get ingrained in popular culture. The famous scene where you’re taming the raptors, this was recreated by zookeepers the world over. How are you going to top that in this movie?

PRATT: I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you how and I am so excited for people to see this. We get to further explore Owen’s relationship with Blue, and we get to see the true nature of that relationship and actually build that relationship, as man and beast or master and pet or whatever best fits that. We get to further dive into that relationship, so there are some pretty iconic scenes between Owen and Blue in this film. I don’t know if we’re ever going to top that moment, but certainly, we ride that same wave in a new way and into new territory.

STRIPLV: Which dinosaur would be your spirit animal?

PRATT: Probably the T-Rex, but instead of little baby arms, I got little baby intelligence.

STRIPLV: In the last movie, there was a scene where you slid down a car and hurt your quadriceps muscle. How about this time? Where there any unexpected injuries?

PRATT: Actually, yeah. I got hurt a lot on this movie. I popped my elbow out, and I pulled both of my hamstrings, and there was something else, oh yeah, my heel. I had three injuries, but a lot of ice and a lot of ibuprofen and it was absolutely worth it. It was the closest I will ever be to being a professional athlete, which is something really exciting for me. I did a lot of dynamic warming up; we did a lot of training. We both learned a lot on that front. We were both working our butts off training on this movie, so we taught each other some cool training techniques. I would come in, and I see Bryce, and she’s on the bike or the elliptical, and she’s sweating, and then I do my workout, and then I’m leaving, and she’s still on the machines, and I’m like: “Hey she’s getting it all!”

STRIPLV: What do your kids think about you starring in all these films that their friends must love? You must be the coolest dad?

PRATT: I’m a really cool dad. 

STRIPLV: You brought your son on set presumably?

PRATT: I did, he’s always on set, he loves it. It’s a giant fluorescent playground. He loved Guardians too so I think it’s all quite cool to him. He believes his dad drives a spaceship. And he also thinks I’m a cowboy from Magnificent Seven.

STRIPLV: Which set did he prefer?

PRATT: Probably Magnificent, only because he got to ride a horse. Horse, spaceship, it’s a no-brainer.

STRIPLV: Will he follow in the family trade?

PRATT: You know, I thought maybe, but I actually think he might go behind the camera. He keeps picking up my phone and saying, “Action,” very emphatically; he really means it. I think he’s very fascinated by the world; I wouldn’t be surprised if he went into the industry. If he has any sense, it will be behind the camera, where all the power is.

STRIPLV: There’s still such a fixation on your general hotness and transformation etc. Does it get annoying now?

PRATT: I never tire of talking about how hot I am now. Can this entire interview and all interview for the rest of the day be dedicated to how hot I am?

STRIPLV: Is it surreal to you, how different you look?

PRATT: When I look at older stuff I’ve done, like “Parks and Recreation”, whatever, I do not recognize that guy. I can’t see myself. It’s really fucking surreal. It’s like I’ve aged backward, I’ve Benjamin Buttoned. (Laughs) I don’t know who that guy is; I don’t want to go back there because I wasn’t healthy, I wasn’t eating right, I wasn’t exercising like I should. I never felt it happening; I never felt bigger, it only hits me now when I look back. But actually, before I started acting, I looked great naked. I wasn’t always out of shape. Some people actually wanted to see me naked, you know, not just for laughs. But, and this is a big but, yeah I lost some weight, got an ab or two, it’s not the recipe for life happiness. I’m happy now, but I was happy then, I just needed to lose weight for work, and it’s sort of stuck now. I miss happy moments that I had with really great food that I don’t have. I have sad moments now because I’m hungry and I don’t like that. I don’t like having to think, now what will that do to my body? That’s not fun. It’s just, it can’t and shouldn’t ever be about how you look. How depressing would that be? It’s about sound body, sound mind, keeping healthy as you can because we’ve only one body, that’s it. And all this, “Whoa, check me out, I’m going to get fat again, I am.” So be happy with who you are.

STRIPLV: You’ve said in the last few years; you never want to complain about what you have with fame and all that. But stars do it all the time. Does fame piss you off yet?

PRATT: Nothing about it bothers me, to the point where’s it’s affecting my life adversely so no complaints as of yet.

STRIPLV: How do you not turn into an asshole, in an industry that breeds assholes?

PRATT: I think honestly, it’s as simple as, if you’re an asshole, nobody’s going to want to work with you. So don’t be an asshole. When they say you’re only as good as your next job, in acting that is really the truth because you’re not contracted, you don’t have tenure. You work on one job for two months, then you’re waiting for the next one, you get it, it’s four months, then you might be waiting again. You’re constantly being hired, you’re an actor for hire and if you’re known for being an asshole, have a bad attitude, treat people like shit, cast, crew, whatever, you will not work anymore. And you see it happening all the time, which is how it should be. Even if you’re working a hit franchise, a hit TV show, which hangs on your presence, you know, once that ends, and you’re an asshole, you’re done. Even if you’re working on not failures, but not huge successes again, you see guys who are always consistently working because people like to work with them. It’s everything. Be nice for fuck’s sake.

STRIPLV: Is it true that you had a near-death experience off-set in your past? What happened?

PRATT: I was fishing out on this point, called Lava Rock Point. It’s really really turbulent, and dangerous water, shark-infested, all sharp lava rock and the water raises 10 to 15 feet high with every swell. It’s very deep and so powerful there. I’m standing there fishing near this hole and all of the sudden, I don’t see a set of waves coming in and then there was no land around me, I was surrounded by water, and I felt the weight of the water on top of me as it came in, and it started pulling me out. I was wearing flip-flops, I  lost everything, dropped my fishing rod and jumped down and clung to the rock and it nearly pulled me off the rock. And before the wave came back, I sprinted up and grabbed onto a higher rock. 

STRIPLV: How long ago was that?

PRATT: About three months before I came to Hollywood. It was pretty bad. You do that three times, two of those three times, you’re not going to make it out.

STRIPLV: How do you take it all in, this change?

PRATT: I don’t know, you don’t. It’s been a process of evolution. One day there’s a raptor, millions of years later, there’s a chicken. But it didn’t just happen in one day; it happens one egg at a time. There was like tiny little differences, tiny little changes. Then you’ve got different species here, different species there, and they’re actually the same thing. It’s just taken a lot of eggs that have hatched along the way that are slightly different each time. So it’s been like that for my career, starting from the very first job I ever had to now, it’s, just each role has slightly changed a little bit, I’ve sort of reimagined who I am as an actor. Pursued different things and learned. You’re always aiming to do something different, better. And ultimately getting to the point where you have a little bit of creative control at what you’re doing. I’ve arrived at that place, but weirdly, it doesn’t feel hugely different from when my fate was at the mercy of casting directors. 

STRIPLV: Does it make living in a tent between the parked cars while you worked at Bubba Gump’s make it all the more worth it?

PRATT: Honestly, I don’t know, a part of me thinks that living in a tent was way better than this. Yeah, there was a whole set, it was a really great time in my life, and yeah, maybe I’m looking at it through rose-tinted lenses. Yeah, I am. Anyway, all things lead up to the next, lead up to this moment, and I just treat it all like another moment. I don’t think; you don’t want to let your guard down. I’m not going anywhere. I plan to stretch this out. I plan on being here for a long time, and you don’t want to ever feel like, you never want to be in a position where you’re like, you feel like you peaked. I never want to feel that, and it happens so easily. You want to be able to sit back and enjoy things if you can.

STRIPLV: Well, you can also pat yourself on the back too.

PRATT: Yeah, maybe you can, maybe you should, maybe I will. Someday. When it’s all settled down, but you know, it’s a tricky thing, it’s a tricky thing, I don’t think you want, I don’t know. I just have to remember, because there’s a lot clouding my vision and judgment, I just need to always focus on working with good people, just continue to learn and understand. And that I have a lot to learn, keep at it I guess. I’m having a good moment right now, and I’d like it to get better.




By Brittany Santos

STRIPLV: Tell us a little bit about your childhood, and where you grew up.

BARNES: I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. I grew up below Virginia City, and I have nine siblings. (Laughing) Like a lot.

STRIPLV: What were your parents like?

BARNES: My mom remarried my stepdad like 40 years ago.  My dad was head of security, and he always worked like three jobs so that he could support the family.

STRIPLV: So what brought you to the brothel business?

BARNES: Let’s just say I had a tough childhood.   I started hanging out with the wrong crowd.  I wanted to break free of the life I was in and made the decision to go to work at the Mustang Ranch in order to give myself some money so I could be independent and self-reliant.

STRIPLV: So how old were you when you started working for Conforte?

BARNES: Eighteen.  That’s young, but it really, really helped me straighten my life out, and my get my health back.  If it were not for the work I had at the brothel, I might have never made it out of my teen years alive.  The Mustang Ranch, for me, was a bridge out of the life of darkness I was in at the time.

STRIPLV: So how did you transition from just working at the brothel into becoming the madam that you are today?

BARNES: I met with Lance and Susan who interviewed me. They wanted me to stay that day and meet with the doctor, but I needed to go home and make arrangements for my son. I hired a full-time nanny and came back a week later. Susan was a fabulous madam. She was a hard ass. It grew into me being a working lady and making a lot of money and proving myself.  Then, I started cashiering. Then I was her executive assistant, and then I just worked my way up.

STRIPLV: When did Susan leave?

BARNES: Around four years ago. She definitely created and built this place. It’s built by women for women. Susan Austin changed the industry in the most positive way ever.  She retired from the industry and Lance gave her a great retirement, which she truly deserved.

STRIPLV: Filling her shoes, what do you think are the qualities to make a great madam and what went into all that she did?

BARNES: I’m just go grateful that she took me under her wing.  She is no-nonsense; you’ve got to be even all the time. You have to be a mother to 30 women that all come from different backgrounds with different issues that you have to you have to manage. To make a really great madam, you have to have consistency, making sure that you kick ass and you give a hug. Susan Austin was respected. She walked into the room, and the ladies knew you better be doing your job, and you better be doing it right.  I miss her. She really did a phenomenal job. We had our ups and downs, but she was a great madam.

STRIPLV: Do you think empowering women is a part of what she did for the brothel industry?

BARNES: Yes, empowering for sure, but drug-free is a big part of it. No pimps. No drugs. The ladies here, no pimps, no drugs, and that is a big thing.  Why?  Because you don’t make money on drugs, and if a lady has a pimp outside the business, she starts taking business away back to the illegal side.  Both are unacceptable to legal brothel operators just from a business standpoint.  Also, it puts the business at risk, which no good operator would allow.  In fact, over the years, we’ve helped a number of ladies escape their abusive pimps and to get off drugs.  We’ve helped a number of ladies detox and get their lives back on track and good money in their bank account.

STRIPLV: What is the most gratifying part of what you do?

BARNES: It’s being able to give a young lady the opportunity to have a life and a lifestyle that they would never be able to have on the outside. Whether she comes from working at McDonald’s or working illegally, they have an immediate opportunity here to make a lot of money in their very first year.

STRIPLV: Then you took a little break from working at the ranch?

BARNES: Yes, I went to work for the Haws corporation here in Reno. They invented the first sanitized drinking fountain. Then that’s when I met my ex-husband on a blind date. We had an amazing child. Now my son is 17, and my ex-husband is great, just great for someone else. I left my husband when my son was two and came back to the ranch and went back to work and earned a shit more ton of 

money because I knew what I was doing.  I also worked for Lance for about three years as his executive assistant.  I even helped in getting him elected as county commissioner too.

STRIPLV: What is the most significant change you’ve seen since the Tahoe Reno Industrial center came to be?

BARNES: For business at the ranch it’s been great because we get from the CEO level to the construction worker level. All walks of life from the industrial center come. You get a client that can spend a couple of hundred bucks to a client that can spend $100,000. The industrial park has been very kind to us.  We are seeing “whales” now every single day. Professionals. Three piece suits. Tradesman. Steelworkers. We even have some union social gatherings here for some of the construction crews.

STRIPLV: What is your opinion on the new FOSTA law and how do you think it will impact your business?

I don’t think it will negatively affect our business. I think the new law is fabulous and it should have been created and enforced many many years ago. I believe that it will help our business by giving the ladies opportunity to work in a house of safety as long as they are 18 years of age or older. I think it will help keep the women out of the hands of the predators. Most people don’t understand that legal brothels in Nevada are the best defense against trafficking. Every single lady and staff member working in the Mustang Ranch must submit to a fingerprint background check and FBI database background check and provide full disclosure of residences, etc.  This ensures no underage girls get into a brothel and also is a great way to prevent women who are being trafficked from coming into the legal business. We are very proud that in the last 15 years, with over 3,000 work card applications submitted for these background checks, not one has turned up with mob or cartel connections. Not one.  It’s a remarkable record. Abolishing brothels would enable trafficking by putting more girls on the street. In a good house, a regulated house, a house that is legal you don’t traffic women. There are no drugs, no pimps, no predators. It’s safe, and it’s secure. It gives a lady the opportunity to make her own money and make her own choices. If she chooses to be in this industry, then she is choosing to be in this industry. We don’t force anyone to be here. On the streets, they are usually forced to be there. They have no choice and they have no recourse. Whoever is pimping them out is taking their money. All of the information is out there. People need to become more educated about this. The Mustang Ranch is a safe, legal house. The people preaching the anti-brothel rhetoric are not truly informed.

STRIPLV: What do you think about what is going on in Nye County with Dennis Hof?

BARNES: I think that what is going on in Lyon County and Nye County and how they are trying to get signatures to close the brothels is a lost cause. A recent Channel 4 News poll in Reno showed that 70% of the people oppose banning legal prostitution, and only 30% were for it. We are here of our own choice. Our ladies come here because they want to be here. Now for Dennis Hof and his brothels in Lyon County, he has done himself a disservice by being front and center all the time, outing celebrity customers, and we have heard a number of complaints about his treatment of the women. But that is not representative of the industry as a whole and is the opposite of how the Mustang Ranch operates. The Mustang Ranch has always been a luxury adult resort, which has a priority of being discrete in its presence and with its customers. No customer has ever been outed, ever, at the Mustang Ranch. What goes on at the Mustang Ranch, stays at the Mustang Ranch. Ninety-nine percent of the small minority in Nevada pushing to ban brothels, haven’t been to a brothel, and certainly haven’t been to the Mustang Ranch.  With all the people in the media demanding women be allowed to tolerance on alternative and/or nontraditional relationships and sex lives, where is the tolerance for legal courtesans? These ladies are FBI background checked. They are professional courtesans. Some pay for college or grad school with their money. Some buy expensive homes. They are independent ladies who make a lot of money. So my message to the “ban brothels crowd” is, where is your tolerance?

STRIPLV: I am going to switch topics a little bit and ask you, when you are looking to recruit courtesans to your brothel what are you looking for?

BARNES: I am looking for beautiful, kind, souls, polite, sexy, no felonies and a lady that is interested in taking the opportunity that is going to change her life and using this as a stepping stone to get her to the next level of her life. I want somebody that is sweet and nice and also sexual of course. But, I am a firm believer in this industry that you come into the industry, work hard making a lot of money for three or five years, and then you’re out and financially independent. If you do two weeks on one week off, your 12-hour shifts, pay your taxes, do all the things you are supposed to do, build your clientele, pay attention to me when I am trying to teach you how to negotiate, then five years and out. You could have your house, your cars, and live off the interest of what you made in this industry.  Have a great education.  Be comfortable with yourself and entirely independent and free.

STRIPLV: We are sitting here in the Original Mustang Ranch. What improvements are in-store?

BARNES: We are going to re-open this second brothel facility as the Mustang Resort business is so brisk we need more rooms to accommodate our increased business. We are hiring more women for this new facility that sits right across the parking lot from our existing brothel.  There will be 30-40 more women here soon. We are doing a lot of remodeling rooms. Since this building is the original Mustang Ranch building built by Joe Conforte, it had jack and jill bathrooms, so two ladies would share a bathroom. Now the ladies are going to have two room suites and their own bathrooms. We are putting in another commercial kitchen and upgrading the dance stage and main lounge. This is the godfather of bordellos and the first one that was established in 1971. We are going to keep an Italian theme for Joe. It is very exciting.

STRIPLV: How are the ladies as far as when a new girl starts? Are they nice to them? Do they help mentor them?

BARNES: They are helpful to them generally. It is a competitive business, no doubt.  But any lady willing to work, and put in the time and keep herself classy can make a lot of money. But the ladies that are here and established have no other choice to be polite and nice.  Right now, we have more money and business coming than we have ladies to handle it.

STRIPLV: How do you as the madam create a good working happy house?

BARNES: When it comes to drama we cut it out quickly like cancer. There is no room for drama. If there is one spoiled apple in the barrel, well guess what? It doesn’t matter how much money that apple makes; she is gone. There is no room for it.  We are pros and proud of it.  We view our ladies like star athletes and treat them as such. It’s like managing a professional sports team in many ways. So, I don’t play favorites. I am fair and I am straight across, and they know that.

STRIPLV: Do you have any funny stories that you share about your time at the ranch?

BARNES: We had a young man come in, and he was probably 22 or 23 years old. He came in and met the ladies, and we had a lineup for him. He chose Tiana,  a Brazilian, absolutely beautiful, phenomenal courtesan. They went back and they negotiated. They came to an agreed upon price, and she went to run his credit card. Well, the card had a limited sum of money available. His parents limited it so he wouldn’t spend too much at one time. So he and Tiana come out of the negotiating room and they had agreed on $5,000 for a big party, but this was over the limit on his card. So he comes out and says “Well my mom and dad are in the parking lot. I will be right back.” And I so I walked out with him, as I didn’t want any trouble with anyone on pricing. His mother was initially distraught and said “Are you the one who negotiated this amount with my son? How could you charge my son this much money?” She was angry. She stated that they had hopped on a plane from New York and came here specifically so their son could have his first sexual experience. So,  I responded, “Miss come on in and why don’t you come and meet Tiana? Your son has excellent taste for his first time.” Tiana suggested that she and the mom go into the negotiation room and discuss it. She explained to the boy’s mom that this was what she was going to do for her son. She told her that she was going to give him the experience of a lifetime. She told her she was going to teach him everything from how to properly use condoms to how to act with women. She would make him feel wonderful and give him the experience that he wouldn’t get anywhere else. They went back and forth for only about two minutes, and so then she asks her “So are you going to pay with cash or credit?” (Laughing)  The mom was convinced this would be a great first time for her son. Tiana and the young man were together for hours. Even the mom was grateful. I love that. I love the business of companionship, and it does a lot of good for a lot of people.




By Jack Wellington

Deon Taylor is a self-made movie maker. Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Gary, Indiana, Deon and his mother left the Midwest because of all the violence they experienced. Several of his friends on his freshman basketball team died by gunshot on the streets of Gary. They made a move to Sacramento, and he eventually earned a basketball scholarship at San Diego State University and then played basketball professionally earning a spot in the NBA Entertainment league. It was then while playing abroad for the NBA that he decided with no formal training that he was going to become a filmmaker. With no experience, no contacts, and merely a drive to succeed Deon inserted himself into the world of movie making and hasn’t looked back since. He formed Hidden Empire Film Group in 2000, and his partnerships have created many critically acclaimed projects since its inception. He is living proof that if you want to live the dream, you have to fully immerse yourself and go for it with all the drive that you have. STRIPLV sat down with Deon and asked him about his latest project Traffik and found out what inspired him to create this suspenseful film, and what’s next for this prolific writer and director.

STRIPLV: Could you explain to our readers what it takes to be a fully independent filmmaker?
TAYLOR: Being fully independent is more than just saying you’re independent. (Laughing) It means that you have to wear all the hats. So you have to go and find your own money. Most of the time you either write your own script or go find the screenplay that you could capture or buy. And it also means putting a movie together. Making it, casting, photographers, actors, everything that goes into making a movie, you have to go and do it on your own. And there is no luxury of a studio that has relationships. There is no luxury of being able to go up to that top actor and saying hey I want you for my movie. It is all from the ground up. It’s an extraordinary process, a process that tends to break a lot of people. A lot of movies are started and not finished. A lot of movies are ideas on someone’s shelf. So to be able to say I am going to do this, and actually, do it and get to the end is far more victorious than just getting it to the theater if you ask me.
STRIPLV: What advice would you give to an aspiring filmmaker that wants to jump into this business?
TAYLOR: The advice that I would give to a filmmaker to try and get into the industry is passion. There is nothing no one, no agent, no manager, no financier; there is nothing that will give you greater success than having passion. It’s priceless; it’s how you are going to make your movie, it’s how you are going to cast your film, it’s what when you turn the cameras on it is what’s going to make it shine through the artists to represent you. It’s a big deal man, it’s a word that is easily thrown around, but passion is when you are 18 hours into a movie, it’s ten degrees outside, the crew is ready to go home, and you need to get one more shot.
STRIPLV: Now you were self-taught, so what was the day when you said I could do this I can become a film director what ignited that?
TAYLOR: I was in East Germany playing basketball, and it was freezing cold out. I remember watching one of the many movies I’ve been watching for forever, which was Platoon. And I just thought man I got an idea to write a movie and I wanted to do it. At the time I didn’t know anybody in the entertainment industry. I knew no actors, no one who wrote, directed or produced. I flew home for the offseason, and I remember I was just like, “I wrote this movie, and I’m going to do it.” I remember people laughing me out of the room they are like what are you talking about? The pitch was great, but then I had no other element, I had no script, I was just there living in the moment. Now when I look back, I’m like “Damn Deon that was so stupid.” But it was that stupidity; it was that passion, it was that hunger, it was that fearlessness of me not knowing what I should be doing that, that allowed me to do it if that makes sense.
STRIPLV: Why the movie Traffik? What motivated you to write, and then turn what you had written into a movie?

TAYLOR: My daughter was the driving force behind Traffik. I wrote the movie strictly off the fact that I started getting information in the area about young kids being abducted and trafficked in my area. Human trafficking was foreign to me. I was like “That ain’t us. We cool, you know what I mean.” Then I started learning very quickly that man that is you. That is the world, and domestically this is a very big problem. There are thousands of abductions every day into human trafficking. It just triggered in me, and I started writing and tried to figure out how to shoot a film that could live in the thriller world, but also explain how this happens.
STRIPLV: As a black man what is your responsibility as a filmmaker?
TAYLOR: That’s an interesting question. As a black male, as a man, I think to just be the best me that I can possibly be. I like what I’m doing. What I am trying to be responsible for as a director is to tell stories that are relevant to me, and stories that can move and ignite change. We do a lot of stuff with color. I made a movie Supremacy that dealt directly with white supremacists and a black family. Traffik is out of the box based on the fact. Not a lot of people understand what trafficking is. Not only is it a broad problem, but it affects 62% of African American women. So me being able to put the hat on and do this is actually pretty cool.
STRIPLV: You shot the film primarily outside of northern Sacramento California. What was it like shooting there? How hard was it to shoot at the locations you chose? Because I have to tell you the movie looks fantastic and the sites play a big part of the overall story.
TAYLOR: Yes, Sacramento was chosen because I live there, and I was shocked to find out that it is a hub for trafficking. But it was also great because Sacramento and northern California are covered with trees and vistas winding all the way up to Tahoe coming out of the bay area into San Francisco. It’s just a beautiful stretch. So, the locations became a character for us. Then what also became beautiful for us were the vistas. Getting up to the houses being able to shoot in these amazing properties where its just wild and open. Then when it gets dark, the same incredible openness becomes very scary, and you now understand how vulnerable you are. I thought that was a fantastic twist in the movie, and that let us ratchet up the heat and the terror as the film becomes dark.
STRIPLV: Now Traffik is the focus now, but what comes next for you?
TAYLOR: What’s coming up next for me is a movie I am really excited about called Motivated Seller with Michael Ealy, Dennis Quaid, and Meagan Good. It’s coming out later this year. And we are starting production on a movie called 38, which I think is a very important movie. It’s shot in south central L.A. and actually takes the audience on the other side of the blue line. With all this black lives matter going on and police officer’s killing young kids, we are going to examine how it feels to be a black cop in the streets over this course of time. I am excited to have Dante Spinotti shooting it and we are excited about doing it.




By Mitchell Parrish

Gabrielle Union shot to fame in the early 90s with the smash hit Bring It On. The iconic cheer film was her launching pad, but now Gabrielle is taking on the role of producer in her latest project Breaking In. The film puts Shaun Russell, a typical mother of two, in extraordinary circumstances when the house they are staying in is invaded by four men. Put to the test, her character will stop at nothing to save her family. Portraying a strong female lead is fitting with the persona that Gabrielle has built for herself. The actress is actively involved with several organizations that help women who are victims of abuse. A survivor herself, she hopes her projects will empower and inspire other women to find their voices and stand up for themselves. By producing more of her own projects Union is taking a stab at eliminating some of the misogyny that is so prevalent in Hollywood. Married to basketball star Dwayne Wade and mother to his two children and nephew, Gabrielle has created a strong family life at home. We got a chance to sit down with the producer/actress and ask her about her latest project and what audiences can expect from this fast-paced, suspenseful film.

STRIPLV: Can we start out by saying what a great situation is this for a film. Can you get into that?
UNION: So what Breaking In is about is the strength of a woman and the fierceness of a mother when her children are in danger. When your back is against the wall, what are you capable of doing? We never really know, but we’d like to think that when it comes to our kids nothing will separate me or stop me from ripping your head off with my bare hands. I think what we see in this film is a woman as a mom saving her damn self. No one is coming to the rescue. She has to figure it out. She doesn’t have the resources. She doesn’t have traditional weapons. She’s got to out think these bad guys. She has to outfox them. She has to just figure out like most moms that don’t have the resources or the love and are constantly underestimated. We do figure it out, and we magically succeed, and we do heroic things daily.
STRIPLV: I love the fact that she is constantly underestimated in the film, and you guys talk about that in the movie. So what was it like to play this kick-ass woman?
UNION: You know to be able to portray this kick-ass woman it gives me a reason to wake up with a smile on my face after grueling night shoots. I get to say “You know what? No one is coming to save— me I get to save myself.” I get to show that women can be strong and powerful and fierce and we don’t need someone in a cape to save us. So often these days we rely on DC and Marvel to show us our superheroes. We need to shed light on the everyday heroes that we see every day especially the ones we see in the mirror.
STRIPLV: We love the physicality of this role. You are the female heroine, and you do some kick-ass stuff. Can you tell us about your stunts?
UNION: The stunts in this film were pretty hairy. Thank god I had the most amazing stuntwoman she had just come off of Black Panther, so she was ready. So luckily I only had to do some light lifting. She mainly handled the heavy stuff Mainly the running through the woods in bare feet. I was like can’t you cut away from my face and just film her feet? (Laughing) There are not enough pedicures in the world. I’ve got baby feet basically. I did do quite a bit of the fight scenes, and I had a blast doing it.
STRIPLV: What do you look for in a project when you are looking to produce and act in it?
UNION: What I look for as a producer is, do I think other people are going to want to see this movie. I don’t produce for my health. If I am going to take time away from my family, I want to make sure that I’ve got a winner. That I can figure out how to put buts in seats. And with this one, this concept I felt so strongly about it I wanted to star in it as well. I love women being their own heroes. I love the idea that it is a reverse panic room. Most of these films people are trying to get out of the house, and in this one, we are literally breaking into a super fortified home. It’s Fort Knox; it’s damn near impossible to get into. But somehow Shaun finds a way to try and save her kids. But, yeah I just look for winners, and I think we have one.  
STRIPLV: I think the chemistry between the kids and the criminals is fantastic. Can you tell me about the other actors a little bit?
UNION: Yeah! Casting the film— Hollywood is filled with these character actors that have played bad guys in literally everything. I was like, maybe we can find one of the dads from Twilight and kind of turn it on its head. Ajiona Alexus, I fell in love with her watching “13 Reasons Why” and I was like that is the girl. What, she is grown? She’s got a mortgage? But that actually helps because she can work a little bit longer. She is so talented, and she is so gorgeous. And Seth— the search for the little boy when he landed on our set, he was the answer to our prayers. Such a great young little talent and funny, really, really funny. So the cast was top notch. We got some amazing people. We called in some favors because our budget was tight, so people had to come for the love of it, and I think we found some really great actors.
STRIPLV: What is Shaun’s biggest strength?
UNION: Shaun’s biggest strength is that she is terrified. Sometimes your fear can be your biggest asset. It’s one of those things where you don’t know what you are capable of until you are put into that situation. But it is that feeling of your heart racing, your arm going numb, you can’t see straight, and all you see is black because somebody is messing with your family. And you will do anything to protect and save your family.
STRIPLV: What are the odds against Shaun?
UNION: What I loved most about the odds in this film is it is just one woman versus four men. What I like about it is that’s life. This is a film, this is fantasy, but in real life, those are the odds we (women) are normally up against.
STRIPLV: What was it like working on this film being the producer and the actor?
UNION: With this film, in particular, I was excited to help, control the narrative, the creative process and the filmmaking process. It is one of those things that as the talent you don’t think about.  
STRIPLV: How was it working with director James McTeigue?
UNION: The beautiful part about James McTeigue is that he is incredibly collaborative, he is definitely not a my way or the highway kind of director. He’s not a yeller. He is a kind, sweet man, which we really needed when you work with children for so many hours a day. Yelling is definitely not the way to go. He’s incredibly prepared, and he is incredibly kind. It is the most amazing combination to have in a director, and the fact that he is collaborative on top of all of that is a godsend.  
STRIPLV: What was it like working with Will Packer?
UNION: Working with Will was like working with my brother. Which he is, he’s family. He knows when I’m like “wrap it up, sister” and he’s like “OK, Gabs, done.” He knows when I am going to love a take, and he knows when I’m going to hate a take. Our working relationship is extremely collaborative. I know what’s going to work, he knows what is going to work. We don’t put each other in positions to fail. We always try to make sure that we are creating winning situations for not only each other but also for everyone that we’ve included in our projects.
STRIPLV: How do you want audiences to walk away from this movie feeling?
UNION: I want people walking away from this movie, if they haven’t taken them with them to see the movie and calling their mothers and thank them for all of the sacrifices all the bad assery that has gone on in raising you and probably still goes on even after you’re cooked that mothers don’t really ever get credit for.

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