Celebrity Interview of Charisse Nichols
For the inside scoop on the trends, styles and beautiful people in Baltimore, nobody is more in the know than model and theater professional Charisse Nichols. This 20- something hails from Ocean City, Maryland and New York City: "I am a product of divorce!" she exclaims. Nothing stylish here gets done without her input. Charisse has modeled for Jaeger, Nordstom's, Hecht's, The Links, Octavia, Mano Swartz' Furs, and has done countless PSA's. In addition, she is the highly successful Director of Marketing for cutting-edge Center Stage (www.centerstage.org).
Center Stage is the regional theater that started the career of Jada Pickett Smith and opened such plays as the Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive. Charisse has definite ideas on what is stylish and is eager to tell us how to get there.
WHAT ARE THE TRENDS IN MODERN THEATER?
Mostly radical explanation: one-person acts explaining life stories. They're a good reminder not to "look back."
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT FASHION TRENDS IN BALTIMORE?
When I lived in New York, my aunts taught me about new styles, new slang words. I never was afraid to do my own thing. In Baltimore, they are followers in style. I don't know who they're following! Maybe students who are not from here. For art students--grunge is in here, it works for them.
WHAT FOOD TRENDS ARE HOT HERE?
Definitely pan-Asian! Five pan-Asian restaurants have opened here. There's a new fascination with sushi. It's good, healthy. It is a drinking town. People in bands drink beer or red wine: they're artists. Most artists here have red teeth! Cosmopolitans and Martinis are making a comeback. Ixia has 40 Martinis on the menu.
WHAT CELEBRITIES HAVE YOU HUNG OUT WITH?
Richard Gere, Sam Sheppard, Julia Roberts, Melissa Leo, ODB. I invited him to a party I was having, but he couldn't go - - he was on work release!
WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE OF NEW MEDIA HERE?
It's good. We have a lot of art students who basically wanted to make a living, who became web designers. Also, film: my friend Dan Bell is the next John Waters.
WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE NEW MEDIA SOCIAL SCENE?
Baltimore is a small city that's trying to grow. There are some adventurous places. Sotta Sopra was a four-star restaurant that flipped into a late-night club so they could serve more drinks to people. Red Maple is a pan-Asian tapas place. The traditional parties here, like the Crystal Ball the night before the Preakness Race, they can be very exclusionary. Others, like the American Visionary Arts Museum's Mardi Gras, an annual event, loses its luster unless there are drastic changes. Women here are no longer into the cotillion thing with huge hats and betting purses. If I do a party, the place would have to develop a web site to support it.
HOW WOULD YOU SUGGEST SOMEONE GET INTO THE NEW MEDIA SOCIAL SCENE?
Be adventurous, go in. If you don't have fun, don't go there again. I went to Goodlove Bar every night, which is like an upscale Cheers. You weren't frowned upon for going every night.
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