Rise’s Josh Radnor &Rosie Perez Surprise N.J. High School: ‘Drama Departments Change Lives’

gerald March 18, 2018

What a way to celebrate National Theatre in Our Schools month!

Rise‘s Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez and Damon J. Gillespie recently surprised students at Union High School in Union, New Jersey, with a special visit to congratulate the school’s theatre department as one of 50 in the nation that won a $10,000 R.I.S.E. America grant from NBC.

The surprise drop-in was extra meaningful for Radnor, 43, and Perez, 53, who portray drama teachers Lou Mazzuchelli and Tracey Wolfe, respectively, in the coming-of-age musical drama about students navigating the difficulties of alcoholism and divorce as well as issues facing LGBTQ youth, all while getting ready for their school’s controversial production of Spring Awakening.

“We had an amazing morning here meeting the students. It brings me back to acting in high school and in my drama department and how much that changed my life. It literally sent my life in a different direction,” the How I Met Your Mother alum, who was also joined by the show’s executive producers Jason Katims and Flody Suarez, tells PEOPLE.

“The theater changes lives, drama departments in high schools change lives and yet they’re criminally underfunded. So I just love being a part of a show that brings attention to the vibrancy and excitement that goes on there, the growth that happens there,” Radnor says.

“High school is a really delicate time. You’re figuring out who you are. You’re kind of trapped between being a kid and an adult. There’s a lot of insecurity, there’s a lot of self-consciousness, there’s a lot of confusion, and there’s also a lot of awakening to possibility,” says the Columbus, Ohio, native, who went off to receive his Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from New York University.

“There’s also a lot of people stumbling into what they’re good at – what they have some talent for. So, if you can get a kid at that tender age and recognize something in them, you can cultivate a gift that they might have and pull it out of them and say, ‘You got something. Keep going,’ ” Radnor concludes.

RELATED: Moana Star Auli’i Cravalho Admits She’s ‘Really Nervous’ About Making Her TV Debut on Rise

Meanwhile, Broadway veteran Perez hopes theatre programs across the country will continue to inspire and influence the next generation.

“I believe in the power of the arts. The main reason why I decided to participate in this amazing series, and to see the enthusiasm and the joy and the hope on these young students’ faces when they received that $10,000 check is just awesome,” she says. “It feeds your soul. I think that it’s important to connect with these young high school students to send the message that we care about you. We want to invest in your talent. We want to invest in your future. We want to see you rise.”

RELATED: Rosie Perez Says She Was ‘a Very Sad Kid’: ‘I Had a Bittersweet Childhood’

Breakout star Gillespie also related to the students as he was a performer at his local community theatre in Tennessee.

“We got to talk to them about our personal stories and some of our struggles that we went through in high school. High school is essentially where you start to figure out who you are and what you want to do,” says Gillespie, who plays football player-turned-leading man Robbie Thorne in Rise.

“That’s when I started to figure out who I was, and that’s when I decided I was going to make career. So I wanted these students to know that they can achieve a successful career in acting, writing, producing, or whatever their hearts really desire,” he adds.

Rise airs Tuesdays on NBC at 10 p.m. ET.


You Can Tour Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s Ranch for Free All Month Long—Here’s How


If you’ve been wanting to tour the set of Pioneer Woman since the day you started watching, the wait is officially over!

Ree Drummond announced on Instagram on Saturday that for the month of March, people who visit the Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Okla., can also take a tour of the Drummond Lodge, the family guest house in Osage County, Oklahoma where she films the popular Food Network show.

“We are having free Drummond Lodge tours all this month for visitors to @pwmercantile,” Drummond captioned a shot of her adorable Basset Hound Walter playing with the visitors. “While the parents walk through and take pics, the kids get to shower our ol’ floppy-eared fella with love and affection. Enjoy every minute, Walter. You deserve it!”

RELATED: Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond Shares Her Sweetest Family Photos Through the Years

Drummond and her husband, Ladd, previously opened up the Ranch to visitors last year to give fans a behind-the-scenes look.

But getting to check out the Mercantile—where you will find a restaurant, bakery and general store—and taking a tour of the set aren’t the only reasons to take a trip to Oklahoma.

The couple are also opening a new hotel, The Boarding House, located down the street from the Mercantile. While it isn’t open for business just yet, Drummond has been sharing progress photos and updates along the way.

The three-story inn will feature 8 different rooms, all with different names and designs, including the “Drugstore Room”, “Butterfly Room”, and “Tack Room.”

RELATED: Vacation Like a Pioneer Woman! Ree Drummond Is Opening Up a Hotel for Fans

The husband-wife duo have also shared the inspiration behind the décor for the new space, noting the balconies are similar to ones they saw on a trip to downtown Houston, and the drug store mural they are keeping is from the previous owners of the building.

“It’s gonna be small, but it’s also gonna have a lot of heart,” Drummond has said.


Exes 50 Cent & Vivica A. Fox Reignite Feud After She Claims Their Sex Life Was ‘PG-13 Rated’


50 Cent and Vivica A. Fox have been anything but friendly exes since they dated in 2003.

The pair’s ongoing feud took another turn on Monday when excerpts from Fox’s forthcoming book obtained by PEOPLE, Every Day, I’m Hustling, characterized her sex life with the rapper as “PG-13.”

The New York Daily News was the first to report about Fox’s book, billed as equal parts memoir and self help book drawn from her own life experiences.

Though she writes how “cherished and special” their intimate moments were, the actress, 53, also states: “Most of the time, I would be the one initiating sex, because I really enjoyed making love with him.”

50 Cent, 42, clapped back on Instagram the same day, writing, “I’m waking up to this s—, that was 14 years ago. smh who does this? What the f—!”

Fox’s revelations about their sex life come over a year after she revealed they made peace in January 2017.

“Someone has to be the bigger person,” the Empire star told Wendy Williams. “I hated to have beef with him, but I let nobody mess with me. I ain’t no punk. I told him, ‘I will always love you. We’re not meant to be together, but I’ll always have love for you.’ ”

WATCH: 50 Cent on Having Son Help Him Pick Up Ladies

Fox and 50 Cent’s spat was particularly tense in 2015 when she seemingly questioned his sexuality.

The controversy first started in October 2015 after the Power actor shared and deleted an Instagram post from a third party that blamed Empire‘s ratings drop on a homosexual storyline explored in the show.

Then soon after, during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in November, Fox made comments that led viewers to wonder if she was insinuating that 50 Cent was gay. He responded by blasting his ex-girlfriend on Twitter, calling her “crazy.”

Every Day, I’m Hustling is scheduled to be released on April 3.


Fitness Influencer Kayla Itsines Says its ‘Cool’ That Celebs Like Katherine Heigl Use Her Program


Celebrities are pretty lucky: if they want to get in shape, they can hire just about any trainer they want to come right to their home and get their muscles burning. Which is part of why people were shocked to hear that actress Katherine Heigl turned to an app — Kayla Itsines’ Sweat app, which runs her Bikini Body Guide program, or BBG — to get her post-baby body.

But the Australian personal trainer, 26, is leading a fitness empire thanks to the popularity of BBG among celebrities and the average person. For Itsines, the best part about a celebrity like Heigl using her program is knowing how far it’s spread across the globe.

“I think it’s nice that women from all over the world are doing it,” she told PEOPLE at the launch of Westfield’s Beauty & Balance program in New York City. “I don’t mind if it’s a celebrity or anyone in this room. I just like that women are getting on board. And the fact that the community has reached so far that celebrities are using it as well, I just think that’s cool.”

Heigl isn’t the only famous name who is a BBG fan: Itsines says that Girls star Allison Williams has also used BBG, and she reached out to tell Istines about her love for the 12-week-long program.

“I had a lady message me saying ‘Oh I do your programs and I’m a big fan’ and it was Allison Williams from Girls,” says Itsines, 26. “And now we’re mates. In New York, I visit her, and we talk all the time. I was messaging her the other day, ‘I’m too scared to watch your movie. It’s on the plane, I’m too scared to watch it.’ She was like ‘Just do it!’ It’s nice to have those sort of people in your life.”


Itsines and her partner Tobi Pearce published their first Bikini Body Guide as an e-book in January 2014, never guessing how huge it would become. Itsines says she was compelled to create the program after seeing a massive hole in the fitness market when it came to workouts designed specifically for women.

“, you’re losing half the market,” she says. “I just wanted to focus on my market, which was women.”

But its popularity, she says, isn’t just because the program is for females — or that each workout session is only 28 minutes long. The community that’s developed around BBG helps women connect with each other and feel empowered.

“We’ve brought women together from all over the world through social media,” she says. It’s particularly popular on Instagram, where women share side-by-side photos of themselves at the start, middle and end, and Itsines frequently re-shares them on her own page. She thinks that the stories behind the photos are what makes the program so compelling.

“It’s not even the progress photos, it’s the stories behind them,” she says. “I think that’s what grabs them. If you read the story, it sort of changes your mind. I think that’s what is so powerful about the progress photos. It’s not I relate to her body type, it’s like I can relate to her story.”

For Itsines, fitness is all about feeling confident in your skin no matter what you look like. As she says: “What’s the point of being the most aesthetically beautiful person in the world if you don’t like what you see?”

Her philosophy? “Focus on how you feel, and not how you look.”


I ❤ My Pet: Paralympian Danelle Umstead Reveals Guide Dog Aziza Is Force Behind Her Success


Danelle is a visually impaired alpine skier from Park City, Utah, and three-time Paralympic Bronze medalist who competed in the 2018 Paralympic Games that started on March 9. She travels to competitions with her guide dog, Aziza, and races with her husband Rob as her sighted guide in the women’s slalom, giant slalom, downhill and super-combined.

When I was 13 years old, it was an awkward and difficult time in life simply due to the fact that I was in my early teens. However, that very year, my self-worth and confidence took a big turn downward when I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disease causing a gradual decline in my vision. Imagine being such a young age and being told you will someday lose your vision completely.

I struggled a lot with my diagnosis, and was challenged with many other obstacles and setbacks as I grew older. Aside from my vision, I suffered from other heartbreaking losses through the years.

And then when I was 29 years old my dad invited me to ski with him. At first, I thought he was crazy – didn’t he know I had lost a large part of my vision? But I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot. After all, I didn’t have much to lose. My dad guided me down the mountain, and for the first time in a long time I felt alive! Skiing gave me a renewed passion for life that I didn’t think I would ever find again. At that moment, I realized that I can achieve anything, I just need to go about it a little differently than most because of my visual impairment. Now, my husband Rob is my guide and incredible partner.

To be able to compete on the world’s stage in the 2018 Paralympics is truly a dream come true, especially with my whole family there cheering me on.

To make this achievement possible, I’m relying on Rob to guide me down the mountain and my guide dog, Aziza, to walk me down the street. The trust that I have in Aziza is on a whole different level and it certainly doesn’t come overnight. It is something that we’ve learned together and trained and experienced as a team.

Aziza has guided me all over the world. I couldn’t be where I am today without her. I feed her Natural Balance, a dog food that I can buy with confidence, and one of my sponsors for the 2018 Paralympic Games. During training and at my races, Aziza stays in the lodge of the mountain waiting for Rob and me to return. No matter how we do in competition, Aziza is happy to see us and give kisses.

Before I had a guide dog, I felt very isolated, and that made me sad because naturally I’m very social and I love interacting with people. I was using a cane and felt very nervous crossing the street and avoiding obstacles. I also noticed that people felt uncomfortable approaching me. As soon as I worked with my first guide dog, people started offering their help and asking about my dog. I suddenly turned back into the social butterfly I love to be.

Aziza is an amazing guide dog. She provides my eyes. She has a bigger job than Rob when he guides me on the mountain. Thanks to her training with Guide Dogs for the Blind, she makes sure I don’t fall in everyday life and I get where I’m going safely. At home in Park City, I will say, “find the gym” or “find the coffee shop” and she’ll get me there. When we are in big cities, Aziza is highly aware of our surroundings. Every hotel that we stay in is different and Aziza is trained to maneuver around from checking in to getting to my room. I am so thankful for Aziza.

Can’t get enough of cats, dogs and other furry friends? Click here to get the cutest pet news and photos delivered directly to your inbox. 

Once Aziza’s harness is off and she’s officially “off duty,” she is playful and has a ton of energy – she loves her toys and loves to snuggle. But even when she’s out of the harness, she is always watching me to make sure I am okay. She truly loves her job.

I feel alive and free knowing that I am doing the impossible every day. I’m so honored to represent the United States at the Paralympics this year. I just want to make our country proud.

Visit my Instagram to watch more of my journey with Aziza.


Pregnant Khloé Kardashian Reveals Her ‘Golden Rules’ for Meal Prepping and Organizing Her Kitchen


Khloé Kardashian’s ‘KHLO-C-D’ not only keeps her home neat and tidy, but it also benefits her waistline.

“I’m serious about my organization in the kitchen. It’s been SO key to my body’s transformation to be organized when it comes to food,” the pregnant reality star writes in a new post on her app where she details her 5 “golden rules” to “live by” when it comes to meal prepping.

Though Kardashian has relaxed the rules as she’s only weeks away from welcoming her first child—a girl—with boyfriend Tristan Thompson, her ideas serve as serious motivation if you’re looking to get your kitchen in check.

Kardashian recommends keeping only healthy foods at eye-level in the refrigerator and pantry. “Any carby snacks or cheat-day foods are hidden far, far away from my hungry-a–!” she writes.

RELATED: Take a ‘KHLO-C-D’ Tour of All the Insanely Organized Spots in Khloé Kardashian’s Kitchen

She makes sure to stay stocked up on raw veggies, Justin’s Almond Butter, chicken breasts, avocados and eggs, and always has has water stashed around the house. “In your bedside table, your car, purse, gym bag … next to the toilet, lol! NEVER be without H2O,” she says. “This not only keeps you mega hydrated but will make you feel full throughout the day.”

Like most meal-preppers, Kardashian also stresses how important it is to get organized on Sundays.

“Forget church. Your altar is your cutting board (joking, of course): chop, store, chop some more, wash, repeat,” she writes. “Get all your containers for the week packed and soup made. Whatever you have to do to keep your belly constantly full of good-for-you food!”

Want the ultimate dish on the latest celebrity food news, plus exclusive recipes, videos and more? Click here to subscribe to the People Food newsletter. 

When the expectant Good American designer entered her third trimester, she revealed that she let up on her healthy diet and started indulging her cravings for things like spaghetti.

“I’ve been eating like a beast and I don’t like it, LOL,” she wrote in a post earlier this month. “In my second trimester, I was giving in to my cravings in moderation—but now in my third, I just don’t have the self-control I used to have. Like it seriously all went out the window in my eighth month!”


Teen Mom’s Kailyn Lowry Claps Back After Being Mom-Shamed for Son’s Hair: ‘Mind Your Business’


Kailyn Lowry won’t stand for getting mom-shamed over the length of her son’s hair.

Replying to a social media user who thought Lowry’s youngest son, Lux Russell, needed to get his hair cut “unless your goal is to make him look like a girl,” Lowry said she wouldn’t be cutting her son’s hair until he told her to.

I’ll cut it when he tells me he wants to cut it. But you can mind your business lil momma,” the 26-year-old mother of three clapped back.


The tweet was in response to a photo of her son “playing” basketball that Lowry shared on Sunday.

“Starting him young,” she wrote alongside the sweet image.


RELATED: Teen Mom’s Kailyn Lowry Reveals Whether She & Ex Javi Marroquin Are Getting Back Together

Lowry, who recently celebrated her 26th birthday with a nude black and white photoshoot, is also a mother to son Isaac Elliot, 7, whom she shares with ex-boyfriend Jo Rivera, and son Lincoln Marshall, 3, whom she shares with ex-husband Javi Marroquin.

The reality star’s nude photos came less than two months after Lowry opened up about her body image struggles in January, sharing that she had experienced online bullying about her weight.

“Out of 10 years on tv I’m having the hardest time NOW,” she tweeted. “The pressure of outsiders, the criticism, the judgement . Sure I put myself out there. But never in my life have I seen or felt cruelty like I have lately.”

Although Lowry admitted she had considered getting plastic surgery, she recently changed her mind about undergoing multiple procedures in Miami, Florida, which would have included liposuction and a breast augmentation.


New York Senator Calls for Criminal Investigation into United Airlines Dog Death and Introduces ‘Kokito’s Law’



In the latest update to the tragic story of a French bulldog’s death aboard a recent United Airlines flight, a New York legislator is launching an investigation into the incident in which a family was told by a flight attendant to store their pet in an overhead bin.

Senator Marisol Alcantara is proposing an Animal Bill of Rights for all N.Y.C. airports as justice for Kokito, the 10-month-old pup who died. The new legislation is expected to explicitly state that pets and animals are not allowed to be stowed in overhead compartments. Proper climate control, as well as proper ventilation in cabins whereby pets are transported separately from their owners, are additional provisions that will be included within the rights bill. Additionally, airline employees will be required to receive pet safety training. According to CBS New York, Alcantara is calling the bill “Kokito’s Law.”

On March 15, Senator Alcantara (D-Manhattan) released a statement, which included a message she’d sent in a letter to United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz:

“In addition, I am calling on the District Attorney to launch a criminal investigation into Kokito’s death. Your airline’s contention that the flight attendant did not know there was a dog in the carrier is outrageous. The passenger and her young daughter repeatedly told the attendant about the dog. However, your attendant took no action to address their concerns or check the bag for the animal. Obviously, passengers do not bring dog carriers on a plane as a carry-on item without bringing their pets. This ridiculous assertion should not, and will not hold up in criminal court. I will do everything in my power to assist the DA in using every legal remedy available to bring justice to this family.”

Meanwhile, the Robledo family attended a protest at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Sunday, where a crowd — which included animal rights activists, lawmakers and many pets — assembled to call for better conditions and protections regarding animals traveling on airplanes. According to AMNY.com, a lawyer representing the Robledos claims the family is also demanding a criminal prosecution.

“Animals clearly need a Passenger Bill of Rights, especially if they are going to fly on United. My dog is family and that Kokito was subjected to cruel and intolerable treatment that no living creature should be subjected to is horrifying. We will get to the bottom of what’s happening at this airline, and I hope the District Attorney opens a criminal investigation immediately,” Senator Alcantara said of the incident, according to the New York State Senate’s website.

Last week, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana announced on Twitter that he had also written a letter to United Airlines calling for an “immediate explanation” for the number of animals who have died recently in the airlines’ care.

In his letter, the Republican senator cited U.S. Department of Transportation data stating that “18 of the 24 animals who died in major U.S. airlines’ care last year were in the care of United.”

A United representative said the airline plans to change its pet travel policy to ensure something like what happened to Kokito never occurs again.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Traveling on a Plane with Your Dog

“To prevent this from happening again, by April we will issue bright colored bag tags to customers traveling with in-cabin pets. This visual tag will further help our flight attendants identify pets in-cabin,” Maggie Schmerin said in her statement to PEOPLE.

United received further backlash on Monday when it put a dog on the wrong plane, the second such incident of its kind in one week. In addition to Kokito’s tragic death, news came to light last Wednesday that the airline has also accidentally switched up the travel plans of two dogs and sent one pet to Japan when he was supposed to go on a much shorter flight to Kansas City.


Barbra Streisand Says She’s ‘Never’ Had a #MeToo Moment in Her Career


Barbra Streisand says she has never felt sexually harassed in Hollywood after spending more than six decades in the industry.

During opening night of the 35th annual PaleyFest L.A. Television Festival at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Friday, the 75-year-old icon was honored alongside American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy for her body of work in television.

“Never,” she replied when Murphy asked if she had ever been sexually harassed at any point in her career.

“I wasn’t like those pretty girls with those nice little noses,” she added. “Maybe that’s why.”

However, Streisand said she will continue to stand with those who have been sexually exploited and fight for gender equality.

“We’re in a strange time now, in terms of men and women, and the pendulum swinging this way and that way, and it’s going to have to come to the center,” Streisand said of the #MeToo movement.

The star also opened up about her tricky relationship with the media. Over the years, Streisand has remained reluctant to participate in interviews and interact with the press, partially due to a 1991 interview with TV journalist Mike Wallace, whose hurtful questions brought her to tears.

When she called him afterward to complain about him being “mean” to her, Wallace, in turn, told viewers that she “loved” the interview, according to Variety.

“I thought ‘I don’t know what date rape is, it’s terrible, but it was such a violation,” she said of Wallace. “Why lie?”

And during a 1990s interview with Barbara Walters, Streisand disagreed with how footage was edited of her supporting Al Gore in his presidential bid. However, when the “Woman in Love” singer appeared on C-Span to clarify her comments, Walters became angry.

“She got really angry with me because I told C-Span what I wanted to say,” said Streisand. “She thought I betrayed her because I went on C-Span, but I wish her well. She’s a good woman.”


Christina El Moussa Shares Details of Date Night with New Boyfriend Ant Anstead



Christina El Moussa‘s romance with Ant Anstead may be heating up, but their latest date night was on ice.

The couple, who first shared their relationship publicly in January, attended an Anaheim Ducks hockey game with friends on Sunday. Both shared cute snaps from the arena.

“Date night at the Ducks,” Anstead, 38, who stars in the Discovery UK series Wheelers and Dealers, captioned a video in his Instagram Stories.

RELATED: Tarek El Moussa Buys New House ‘Within Hours’ of Seeing It, Saying It’s for Kids, Taylor and Brayden

In her own Stories, the Flip or Flop host, 34, shared a snap of her and Anstead’s feet, showing off their matching socks decorated in the team’s vintage Mighty Ducks logo.”Different seats… same socks,” she captioned the photo.

A day earlier, El Moussa celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by posting a kissy selfie with the California-based Brit as they walked down a beachfront boardwalk. “Luckiest. @Ant_anstead you are #magical,” she wrote alongside the snap, adding a heart and shamrock emoji.

A source confirmed El Moussa and Anstead’s relationship to PEOPLE in January, a little over a year after the realtor and interior decorator announced her split from husband of seven years and HGTV costar, Tarek El Moussa, 36, in December 2016. She previously dated businessman Doug Spedding, but the couple parted ways when he entered rehabilitation for addiction issues in October.

RELATED: Christina El Moussa Has a New Job that Could Make Ex Tarek Her Professional Rival

Christina shared a photo on Instagram on New Year’s Day showing her riding bikes alongside Anstead. “Congrats to this guy @ant_anstead His show, #WheelerDealers airs in the UK today!” she wrote of the selfie.

Anstead, who is best known in Britain as the host of the Channel 4 series For the Love of Cars, split from his wife, Louise, in July.