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Social media stardom spins into Hollywood career for Canadian YouTuber Inanna Sarkis – CBC.ca

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Inanna Sarkis’s trajectory has taken her from goofing around with friends in silly Internet videos to having 10 million followers, a name on dressing room doors, a home under the Los Angeles sun and her name in mainstream movie credits.

It’s also taken her back to her Canadian roots.

The 26-year-old, who was born and raised in Hamilton, has been in Winnipeg since mid-November, filming a horror-thriller called Seance.

Having been living in L.A. for a few years, it took an adjustment to get used to winter once again.

“The weather has been a little chilly but for the most part it’s been a great experience,” she said.

Seance, which will eventually be shopped to international buyers, is about an all-girls boarding school haunted by a vengeful spirit. Sarkis is also in two other movies currently in post-production, as well as one that is soon to be released and a TV movie that has just been completed.

Despite the cold weather, Inanna Sarkis said she is taking warm memories of Winnipeg back to California. “It just made me feel like home, everyone’s been super nice.” (Gary Solilak/CBC)

But don’t think she’s outgrown those silly videos with friends. That’s what launched her career and Sarkis is someone loyal to her roots.

“I do have this [social media] platform and I want to use it to inspire and influence people,” she said, adding her primary audience ranges in age from 18-24.

She graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto with a major in criminal justice but Sarkis said her passion was always performing. So she packed up and chased that dream to L.A.

She got into an acting school and was taking classes when she was introduced to someone considered a star on the now-defunct Vine app, which allowed users to share six-second-long, looping video clips.

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Sarkis had never heard of Vine and had no social media presence at all but was intrigued. She starred in one of the person’s Vine comedy sketches and then decided to start making her own.

That led to launching a YouTube channel that she hoped would give her some exposure that she could use to leverage her acting career. She created short films and better quality content than Vine would allow.

And it worked.

She realized that when she started to get recognized on the street, and not just in the United States but overseas in Europe.

“It was just a weird, crazy feeling,” she said. “I wasn’t even in any movies then, I was just creating these fun videos with my friends. But people were noticing the content I was creating.”

She now has more than three million Youtube subscribers and 10 million followers on Instagram.

‘Helped me survive’

It wasn’t instant, though. At first, she wasn’t making any income as she worked to built up her platform.

Sarkis said she would write, direct, produce, edit and post YouTube videos every day. She would also collaborate on, and appear in, videos for friends with bigger followings, to piggyback on their popularity and raise her own.

At the same time, she was bartending and working other jobs to pay bills.

She can’t recall when her first brand deal came through, but as Sarkis’ YouTube subscription list grew the companies came calling.

She became an influencer — someone with access to a large audience and viewed by brands as being able to persuade others. Brands offer products, vacations, and other opportunities in exchange for some exposure.

What was once “a fun thing I did on the side with friends” became a solid income source.

Inanna Sarkis stands outside one of the trailers on the movie set in Winnipeg. (Submitted by Inanna Sarkis)

“I don’t want to put a number on it but it’s like any other job, if you put in the effort and the time and energy it starts becoming lucrative,” Sarkis said.

“It was my main source of income for some time. It helped me survive living in L.A. and having my own place and I went there with nothing, really, so I can tell you that much.”

She is now putting more work into transitioning into full-time acting and those paycheques are the primary income. But Sarkis doesn’t plan on cutting ties with the platforms that helped mold her.

She still writes, produces, directs and acts in her own videos, as well as casts others for parts, but now she has a crew that helps edit and do other production work.

These days she’s only publishing one or two videos a month on YouTube but posts short Instagram videos multiple times a day. Most recently, Winnipeg and its snowy scenes have made an appearance.

Inanna Sarkis posted this photo on her first day of filming in Winnipeg. (Submitted by Inanna Sarkis)

Sarkis has longer-term goals for fame but none involve straying too far from the content-creator blueprint.

She wants to produce her own TV series — “There’s a bunch of things that I’ve written over the years” — and write a book, then movie script, that delves into the story behind her namesake. 

Sarkis, who comes from middle-eastern DNA — an Assyrian father and Bulgarian mother — is named after the Sumerian goddess of beauty and love.

Sarkis says that middle-eastern heritage is not as well known as the stories of Greek mythology and wants to change that.

In the short term, however, she is heading back to L.A. on the weekend as filming on Seance wraps in the city.

Despite the cold, she is taking warm memories of Winnipeg back to California.

“It just made me feel like home, everyone’s been super nice.”

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck pictured kissing as ‘Bennifer’ returns

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have been pictured exchanging passionate kisses, apparently confirming weeks of fevered rumors that they have rekindled a romance that dominated celebrity media almost 20 years ago.

Paparazzi photos printed in the New York Post on Monday showed the two actors kissing while enjoying a meal with members of Lopez’s family at Malibu’s posh Nobu sushi restaurant west of Los Angeles on Sunday.

Representatives for Lopez, 51, declined to comment on Monday, while Affleck’s publicists did not return a request for comment.

Lopez and “Argo” director Affleck, dubbed “Bennifer,” became the most talked about couple in the celebrity world in the early 2000s in a romance marked by his-and-her luxury cars and a large 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring. They abruptly called off their wedding in 2003 and split up a few months later.

The pair have been pictured together several times in Los Angels and Miami in recent weeks, after Lopez and her former baseball player fiance Alex Rodriguez called off their engagement in mid-April after four years together. Monday’s photos were the first in which Lopez and Affleck were seen kissing this time around.

Celebrity outlet E! News quoted an unidentified source last week as saying Lopez was planning to move from Miami to Los Angeles to spend more time with Affleck, 48, and was looking for schools for her 13-year-old twins Max and Emme.

Max and Emme, along with the singer’s sister Lydia, were also photographed walking into the restaurant in Malibu on Sunday.

Lopez married Latin singer Marc Anthony, her third husband, just five months after her 2004 split with Affleck. Affleck went on to marry, and later was divorced from, actress Jennifer Garner.

 

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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TikTok debuts new voice after Canadian actor sues

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After noticing a new female voice narrating the videos on the popular video-sharing social networking service, users of TikTok were baffled as to why. It actually turns out that the Canadian actress behind the old voice filed a lawsuit against the platform for copyright violation as her voice was apparently being used without her permission.

Bev Standing, a voice actor based in Ontario, is taking China-based ByteDance to court. TikTok’s parent company has since replaced her voice with a new one, with Standing reportedly finding out over email after a tip-off from a journalist. On the matter, Standing said: “They replaced me with another voice. I am so overwhelmed by this whole thing. I’m stumbling for words because I just don’t know what to say.”

TikTok is said to be considering a settlement for Standing outside of the courts, but nobody knows whether or not this is true. According to legal experts, the fact TikTok now has a new voice on the popular social media app suggests they acknowledge Standing’s case and potentially understand that she may have suffered as a result of the company’s actions.

Thanks to the emergence of the powerful smartphone devices of today, alongside taking high-quality images for Instagram, getting lost down YouTube wormholes, and accessing popular slots like Purple Hot, people are turning to relatively new platforms like TikTok. The service has 689 million monthly active users worldwide and is one of the most downloaded apps in Apple’s iOS App Store. This latest news could harm the platforms future, although many of its younger users potentially aren’t aware that this type of scenario is unfolding.

For Bev Standing, the ordeal is a testing one. She wasn’t informed of the voice change, there is no mention of it in TikTok’s newsroom online, and the development is news to her lawyer also.

 

This all comes after her case was filed in a New York State court in early May after the voice actor noticed a computer-generated version of her voice had been seen and listened to around the world since 2020. Speculation is rife as to how TikTok managed to obtain the recordings but Standing believes the company acquired them from a project she took part in for the Chinese government in 2018.

(Image via https://twitter.com/VoiceOverXtra)

The Institute of Acoustics in China reportedly promised her that all of the material she would be recording would be used solely for translation, but they eventually fell into the hands of TikTok and have since been altered and then exposed to a global audience.

According to Pina D’Agostino, an associate professor with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and an expert in copyright law, the fact that the hugely popular social media platform has now changed Standing’s voice could result in a positive outcome for the distraught voice actor. She said: “It’s a positive step in the way that they are mitigating their damages. And when you’re mitigating, you’re acknowledging that we did something wrong, and you’re trying to make things better.”

When assessing social media etiquette and how both companies and users should act, this type of news can only do more harm than good. Not only does it make the company look bad, but it could have an effect on revenues and, ultimately, TikTok’s reputation.

With a clear desire to move on and put this whole process behind her, Bev Standing is eager for the case to be resolved and get back to the daily work she loves and has been doing for a large part of her life. TikTok has until July 7 to respond to her claim.

 

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Nigeria orders broadcasters not to use Twitter to gather information

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Nigerian television and radio stations should not use Twitter to gather information and have to de-activate their accounts, the broadcast authority said following the move to suspend the U.S. social media giant in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigeria’s government on Friday said it had suspended Twitter’s activities, two days after the platform removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish secessionists. Nigerian telecoms firms have since blocked access to Twitter.

International diplomats responded with a joint statement in support of “free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria”.

Buhari, who was Nigeria’s military ruler in the 1980s, has previously been accused of cracking down on freedom of expression, though his government has denied such accusations.

Twitter has called its suspension “deeply concerning” and said it would work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on the platform to communicate and connect with the world.

The National Broadcasting Commission, in a statement dated June 6, told broadcasters to “suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately”.

“Broadcasting stations are hereby advised to de-install Twitter handles and desist from using Twitter as a source of information gathering,” it said in the statement, adding that “strict compliance is enjoined”.

The statement comes two days after the attorney general ordered the prosecution of those who break the rules on the ban.

The foreign minister on Monday held a closed door meeting in the capital, Abuja, with diplomats from the United States, Britain, Canada, the European Union and Ireland to discuss the ban.

It followed the statement by their diplomatic missions on Saturday in which they criticised the move.

“These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue…. as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in their statement.

Nigeria’s information minister on Friday said the ban would be “indefinite” but, in a statement late on Sunday, referred to it as a “temporary suspension”.

The minister did not immediately respond to phone calls and text messages on Monday seeking comment on the altered language.

 

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Abraham Achirga in Abuja; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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