Demi Chalkias Autostrada Magazine Feature

* Magazine Feature for client Demi Chalkias in the @autostradamagazine

DEMI CHALKIAS IS A 24 YEAR OLD SEMI-PRO RACECAR DRIVER WHO HAS STARED HER FEARS STRAIGHT IN THE FACE, WHICH HAS BECOME A DEFINING ASPECT OF HER MOTORSPORT JOURNEY.

Unlike most little girls, Demi Chalkias spent her childhood years at the track watching her dad race cars – not because she had to, but because she wanted to. For years, Demi would watch her father do laps on racetracks in amazement, as she counted down the days until she was old enough to experience a race from behind the wheel.

When she was finally old enough, Demi enrolled herself into go-karting, and after placing 2nd, she knew racing cars was something she was destined to do. Today, Demi is 24 years old and races at a semi-professional level. Her love for the sport has driven her through some of her toughest days; like her first time as the only female on the track, and a rainy day that changed her life outlook forever. That passion for racing still pulsates through her veins just like it did when she was a little girl watching her dad.

As I sit and chat with Demi, I immediately notice the zest she has for motorsports. The fire that burned inside of her the first time she got into the driver’s seat is still glowing bright as ever and is best seen when she’s either racing or talking about racing.

When she describes the feeling of sitting behind the wheel of her car, she radiates so much enthusiasm that you can’t help but get fired up with her. “Racing to me is an art; everything about it,” Demi explains, “It demands so much elegance and creativity, but has a competitive approach too. I have always been competitive by nature, so I think that’s why I gravitated toward it. Not in a vicious way. To be honest, I am mostly competitive with myself. I have always wanted to better myself and be the best that I could be; academically, physically, and wherever else.” She exudes a lot of confidence for someone in her twenties; a subtle surety of herself which she presents with effervescence.

Demi Chalkias sitting on car

 

I find myself wondering if anything intimidates her, “Of course,” she laughs, “being a female in a male-dominated sport was tough at the beginning; you have to prove yourself and earn respect – but that applies for everyone, not just females. Racing is a sport of courage, drive and determination. If you lack in those areas you will be preyed on and that is what can be intimidating. You have to be a certain type of animal to be a racer. It’s not common for females to be in the racing scene because those characteristics are not common in a female. When you’re on the track everyone is competition and when you’re off the track everyone is friends.”

After less than an hour chatting with Demi, it’s clear to me that she is definitely that courageous and determined type of animal, which is probably why she can count her memories of feeling intimidated on one hand. “We all shake hands and congratulate each other on good battles. The track is my second home and the people there are my second family. I really can’t say enough great things about the track. I encourage more women to try the sport, my only advice would be to come in knowing they have to be mentally strong to hold their own and earn their respect.” You can tell when she talks about it: being a woman at the racetrack is more of a distant memory than a reality for Demi. In fact, it’s the least unsettling of her memories.

On May 12th, 2017, Demi was to complete a three-hour endurance race on a track she had driven many times before. Demi prepared herself with a fresh set of rain tires to cope with the rainy weather, but 15 minutes before the race, the weather cleared up and the sun was shining. With a dry track, the rain tires she prepared to use were useless and Demi had to scramble to get a set of tires appropriate for the dry weather condition. She had to settle for a set of well-worn slicks.

Demi Chalkias Car racing

“They penalized me for coming up to grid late and started me dead last,” Demi recalls, “The race started and I swiftly moved my way up to 2nd in my class and 7th overall, but 40 minutes into the race, my tires started sounding like they were running out. By an hour in, they were extremely slippery. I slowed down to let the tires cool, but then I felt a bit of grip with my tires and my anxiousness to speed back up made me think it was a good idea to start pushing the car hard again. It took me no more than a lap to realize this was a mistake… a bad one.” Demi’s car aggressively hit an unsettling hump, and with tires that were lacking grip, it went sliding toward a wall. “Before I could try anything else, the wall was milliseconds away and all I could do was accept it,” she explains, “I let go of the steering wheel so that my wrists didn’t snap when I hit the wall. I slammed the breaks to try and reduce the force as much as I could.”

After that, Demi was just there for the ride. Her car flipped after hitting the wall and she was dangling upside down. The car finally settled, and Demi took in the situation, “My first thought was, ‘I’m alive.’ My second thought was that I better get out of there before this thing lights up.” She tried to get out but the damages to the car trapped her in, “At that point, I felt fear,” she says. After some quick acting and maneuvering, Demi was able to crawl her way out of one of the windows, “I will never forget what it felt like when my first hand made it out of the car. It was in a puddle of fluids and broken glass and it was the most relieving moment I’ve ever had in my life.”

Demi Chalkias with trophy

“That accident shaped me as a driver and a person. It taught me to be more disciplined in reading the car and not let my hunger to place first blind me from interpreting feedback.” Not long after her accident, Demi had one thought in her mind, “My number one goal was to get back on the track,” she reminisces, with that Demi-determination in her eyes.

In just under two months, she was back on the racetrack and placed 2nd. “You have to get right back into it, the longer you wait, the more the fear of driving will grow. The best way to crush something you’re afraid of is to stare it straight in the face,” Demi explains. As traumatic as that crash was, Demi’s courage remains unscathed. It’s that same courage that made her follow her dream when she was a little girl, and that same courage that earned her respect as a young woman in the racing community. “All of my racing experiences, the good and the bad, have shaped me into a better version of myself: smarter, wiser, but humbled. I’m sure I’ll have more experiences and lessons in life, and I will learn from them and aim to be a better person because of them.”

A note from Demi: “I want to thank both of my parents for their support during the time of my accident and throughout my entire racing career. I would also like to thank Joe from Tip Top Auto Collision on the Danforth, Anthony from Amplitude Racing, my racing partner Rich Grossi and John Nguyen from ABM Auto Center, who all showed me friendship and support when I needed it most.”

 

Original Story can be found in print in Autostrada Magazine

Story by Amandalina Letterio
Photos by Charles Nguyen, Mark Miller & Kevin Chow

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Josie Ho in Millennium Magazine

Media Coverage in Millennium Magazine for client Josie Ho – Josie Ho is an award-winning actress and film producer starring in over 50 films receiving numerous awards….she is internationally recognized for showing leadership with her contributions towards social change. Earlier this year, Josie recorded a live documentary in Iceland on the subject matter of “Finding Bliss”. Josie has been invited to sit on the “Social Innovation and Global Ethics” Forum at the SIGEF Conference in Singapore. This conference is organized by the Horyou Group scheduled to take place in Singapore, on September 12 and 13th 2018.

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wotter llc founders

Media Coverage for clients Wotter LLC  – Teen Entrepreneurs Revolutionize a $20B Swimwear Industry and Wow Reality Show Investors with “Best Pitch I’ve Seen!”

 

TORONTOJuly 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – Staying in sports is less likely for girls like Niki Vilas Boas and Becca Segal. The statistic is that twice as many girls leave sports in high school as boys. Niki and Becca are 16 year old swimmers turned entrepreneurs who want to change that statistic by empowering female athletes and inspiring them to stay in sports into adulthood.

Entreprenuers and Wotter Inc. Founders and good friends Niki and Becca (CNW Group/Wotter, LLC)

Entreprenuers and Wotter Inc. Founders and good friends Niki and Becca (CNW Group/Wotter, LLC)

The girls are starting their revolution by redesigning formerly unisex-only swim parkas and making them accommodate the psyche and physique of female swimmers. Swim parkas are worn by most swim athletes to keep warm after practice or between events but until now they were only available in a boxy, masculine “unisex” design.

The girls have named their athletic apparel company Wotter, LLC and refer to their swim parka as a “Cloak of Confidence”.  In January, they raised $36,000 with a Kickstarter campaign, attracting the backing of 3 decorated Olympians along the way. One such backer, Annamay Pierse, Canadian Olympic swimmer and 4-time World Record holder said, “My parka was my favourite clothing piece when I was on deck and I love that these young ladies are making something that looks awesome and is super functional for girls.”

In their latest splash, the girls appeared on the season finale of Entrepreneur Media’s second season of “Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch” where they had only 60 seconds in an elevator to compel 4 prospective investors to invest in the world’s only female swim parka.

Dave Meltzer, Executive Producer of “Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch” and the lead investor on the show’s panel, said, “That is the best pitch I’ve seen… I see hundreds.”  Other investors on the show have included leading world athletes like racecar champion Danica Patrick and Olympic volleyball champion Kerri Walsh Jennings.  The show’s sponsors include Sprint Business Solutions and Sports 1 Marketing.

Niki and Becca’s Elevator Pitch segment can be seen below and on the Entrepreneur Mediawebsite. They appear in the 11th minute.

‘That Is the Best Pitch I’ve Seen’_2 from Kate Cooley on Vimeo.

Just how big is this? “Surprisingly huge,” say the girls.  Pre-orders for The Wotter Parkas have commenced and the girls are working hard with suppliers to ramp up production to meet demand. Their first batch of parkas will begin delivering in September – just in time for the winter swim season.

Wottergear.com

wotter parka

 

From Yahoo Finance News:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/teen-entrepreneurs-revolutionize-20b-swimwear-110000526.html

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Josie Ho headshot

Dolce Luxury Magazine interview of client Josie Ho – Singer and actor Josie Ho is celebrating her first Asia tour with her band Josie & the Uni Boys and her new TLC show, A Taste of Hong Kong with Josie HoDolce spoke to Ho about her life and her career.

Q. When did you first have a desire to sing and act?
A. It came from my very early days, since I was 11. I’d always enjoyed moving people with tiny skits every day. I get a kick out of it. That’s why I had the wild thought to perform my ideas in public.

Q. What was the inspiration for your band, Josie & the Uni Boys?
A. The name of our band, Uni Boys, came from my first puppy, who I felt so much energy from. He is a tiny little lion dog who has a huge personality. Our inspirations come from each band member in very different ways. We’re a clash of people from different cultures — some very local, a few colonial Western, Eurasian. We all follow different types of music. But usually our guitarist comes up with demos first, then we’ll go to the band room and jam the rest out.

Q. What is your process for making music?
A. It’s really up to our producers, Davy Chan and C.Y. Kong. After we hand them our songs, they help each of us to find the best tone at the recording studio. Sometimes they suggest some wilder ideas for us. Then, it’s pretty much the normal way every band records.

Q. What influences your fashion and musical style?
A. I’ve got strong influences from pop divas in Hong Kong from the 80s. I used to hang out with them all day throughout my holidays. And in the 90s, when I started to have pocket money, I spent it all on fashion books, CDs. And I’ve learnt from there.

Q. It’s the tenth anniversary of your band. How much has it changed over the past ten years? 
A. Our style has evolved a lot. We are all growing up and explored quite a few different styles of rock while featuring other artists on our last album. We’ve learnt and picked up new experience from others all the time. We’re growing more mature, but still facing new opportunities. I find this very interesting. We never stop learning; we are a sponge. That’s why I don’t know if we’ve changed our style or not. It’s so natural that we sway in the same direction.

Q. How did you find your tour of Japan?
A. It was a very interesting experience. People from Hong Kong love Japan and look up to their music and arts and culture so much. I was surprised our band kept our cool and really moved people. We played every show pretty well. We learnt about new rock and rock cultures from Japan. We were really proud and honoured to have played at those venues that were all rock and roll hall of fame places.

Q. What do you look for in an acting role?
A. Joy and pleasure. Whether there are enough twists and turns and fun with the performance of a certain role. Or if it’s something that I’ve never tried before, I’ll be curious to play that too.

Q. You’ve acted in a lot of action films. What do you like about those roles and characters?
A. I guess it’s the superhero in me from childhood. It’s the adrenaline rush and a bit of X Game spirit that motivates me to keep trying.

Q. What has been your favourite role so far?
A. I love each and every role I’ve played, yet I haven’t found my favourite one yet. I want to do more period pieces. My features are convincing in those films. Unfortunately, no director has discovered that in me yet.

Q. What about your favourite scene?
A. My favourite scene was in a recent Hollywood film, Lucky Day. I had a chance to try something out of my control. I love taking risks! I had to put on a funny accent.

Q. You dubbed the voice of Marge in the Chinese version of The Simpsons Movie — what was that experience like?
A. It was such a pleasure and joy to portray Marge Simpson. I enjoy making that “quacky” sound — it cracks me up. And it’s always fulfilling to do a perfect take. I really respect the original Marge voice actor a lot. She has dedicated her voice, throughout all these episodes. [For me] as a vocalist, it’s too torturing for the voice.

“WE NEVER STOP LEARNING; WE ARE A SPONGE”

Q. What are your hopes for your upcoming TLC show, A Taste of Hong Kong with Josie Ho?
A. I hope I’m a good tour guide. I hope people find me a very helpful Hong Kong person.

Q. You’ve lived in many different countries. Which is your favourite?
A. My favourite place to live is always Hong Kong. I also have this old tie with living in Canada, which was fun. But I tend to like smaller and more convenient cities, so Hong Kong, London and New York would be my dream homes.

Q. You’ve said in previous interviews that you weren’t into school much, but more into sports and arts. What was it about sports and arts that compelled you?
A. Sports allow me to challenge myself physically, and it’s an adrenaline rush. I like team sports. I’m the kind who is a great help to others, and I feel honoured to be that girl always. I like arts because I like to be totally absurd and ridiculous. I loved that teacher who was my partner in crime when it came to absurdity in my paintings.

Q. How do you define yourself?
A. I’m a singer who can act too. I have a really unique mix of nationalities. I am Dutch, Persian, German, Jewish and half Chinese. I like wild ideas, which doesn’t impress most people. But I do believe one day the masses will get me.

Q. You’ve said that where you come from, there’s a very traditional idea of what women should be like, but for you that’s a boring frame of mind. How did you break the mould?
A. Good question! I’m from a traditional Chinese background from Hong Kong. We’re expected to marry into a rich family and be a good wife and mother. I had my own idea of how I wanted to live my life. I know how to loosen up and have some fun. I’m into being an outstanding performer, and I really just want to only do that forever. If I’m lucky, someone might remember my performances in the future.

Q. You’ve won several awards, including a recent Best Supporting Actress award forIn the Room. Which of your awards are most memorable?
A. Every award is a beloved one that reminds me that some people are still watching and recognizing my performances. But most memorable has to be getting three nominations for the film Purple Storm. I was very upset that I couldn’t even make one. I was really into that role. I lived it for the whole 50 days during the shoot. I thought I did good, and most seniors in the business agreed, but I guess it wasn’t my time yet. We’ve got to wait in line for those Hong Kong Film Awards. I hadn’t enough merits then. Now, I finally know that, but I don’t give a damn for that game anymore. I’m just enjoying the pleasure of acting, purely.

Q. You recently took part in the Pink Dot HK event (#pinkdothk), an annual gathering in support of the LGBT community. Can you tell us why it’s important to support?
A. Yes, I do support Pink Dot HK, because I noticed at least one important issue: when your loved one is in hospital fighting a critical condition, most likely unconscious, [if you are an unmarried LGBT couple,] who can legally sign the papers to help them? It’s usually your lover who lives with you that knows every little detail about you to help the doctors save you in urgent situations. This is just my own personal thought, which I think is a strong and practical reason to support this Pink Dot idea.

Q. What advice would you give young, up-and-coming singers?
A. Relax and sing the way you want to. Don’t get all confused by soaking in everyone’s ideas about you. They don’t know you! Unless you are sure you have a good mentor.

Q. What does it take to be successful in the film industry?
A. I wouldn’t know, because I’ve stopped chasing that and decided to have fun instead. Having joy in life and your work is bliss! Go with your bliss!

Q. You’ve been married for 14 years. What advice can you give married couples?
A. Be real! Just chill!

 

Coverage for Client Josie Ho in Dolce Luxury Magazine:

Redefining Tradition – Josie Ho

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