Forecast 2014: In focus with Kristen StephensonPino on what’s hot

Danny de Gracia talks with Kristen StephensonPino for predictions on 2014 and more. Photo: Kristen StephensonPino talks about what's hot and what to watch for in 2014. (Photo by Jojo Seriña)

WASHINGTON, January 1, 2014 – Just what will the new year mean for technology, popular culture and world events? In 2013, the world saw Asia dominate the news with nuclear tensions between the divided Koreas, high stakes territorial disputes in the East China Sea and even the landing of a Chinese rover on the Moon. The passing year also saw the rise of witty inventions like Dominique Ansel’s “Cronut” pastry, a rare papal transition of leadership, the tragic death of Fast and the Furious actor Paul Walker and dramatic budget standoffs in the U.S. federal government.

What will the new year of 2014 be remembered for? Will the world see more innovation and positive change or more instability and shocking developments? In an exclusive interview with actress and model Kristen StephensonPino, we asked for her thoughts on current events and for predictions on the hottest things to follow in 2014.

StephensonPino, who herself is a rising star to watch, talked about the direction the world is headed, the swirling Asia-Pacific vortex of change, fashion evolution and her soon-to-be-released film, The Periphery.

Danny de Gracia: Kristen, one of the things that a lot of our readers are concerned about in this new year is the international tension between Japan, China and South Korea over the disputed territorial claim in the East China Sea. You lived in Japan before and you’re also fluent in the language. What do you think about all this? Some of our readers think this might even start a war. What’s your thoughts?

Kristen StephensonPino:  Wow, the outcome of international tensions is not easy to assume especially because I am not an expert on foreign policy. Personally, I know that the U.S. and Japan have extremely close financial ties and with our national debt continuing to expand, China may want to receive some sort of value for the enormous amount of U.S. debt they have loaned us. Meaning China may be using politics to allow them to make a claim on these previously contested islands. Maybe I should get into politics? I know that I thought about it before.

On another note, I have to admit that as a concerned citizen of the world, I think the media has a lot to do with how people perceive things.

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DDG: So do you think the world is going in the right or wrong direction these days?

KSP: The world will go on no matter what so when asked if the world is going in the right or wrong direction, who am I to say yes or no?  All I can say is people should pay attention to what’s going on very carefully and understand they are going to have to live with the decisions they make whether good or bad. In life, we are all accountable for our actions.

DDG: If you could change the world … what would you change?

KSP: I would get rid of [GMO] foods. Don’t mess with the building blocks of life. Also, I’d love to use the beauty pageant answer of wanting world peace! War begets war, love begets love.

Kristen StephensonPino stars in the upcoming thriller film “The Periphery” in 2014. (Photo by John Farrell)

DDG: What do you think will be some of the big things to expect this year in entertainment? Are there any new movie releases you’re looking forward to?

KSP: I’ve noticed that there are many remakes and sequels coming out, which can be exciting because most viewers already have a connection with the story, but on the other hand can be disappointing if the viewer’s expectations are based off the original film that was liked and not fulfilled in the same way. No matter what, there will always be someone who will be pleased. [Many] up and coming film plots may be exploring mythical, ancient historical and religious beliefs.

I have always enjoyed classic fairy tales, especially from [Disney] so next summer I will definitely go watch Maleficent. I have been told I have a similar look to Angelina Jolie – which I take as a compliment – and she is the villain in this movie that is based from the classic Sleeping Beauty. Honestly, when I was little I was so scared of the witch in sleeping beauty.  I think Angelina Jolie is perfect to portray elegance, grace and be evil … she’s a hot witch! I would have loved the opportunity to portray one of the Disney’s greatest villains.

[Let’s] also remember to watch some independent films, such as mine titled The Periphery!

DDG: There’s a lot of buzz about the new Godzilla movie. What do you think?

KSP: I remember the first time I saw Gojira in Japan. This movie was such a big deal for my Japanese friends and me. We watched it with my grandfather and he loved it. I wish I could have [starred] in the new one just because I remember playing games like hide and seek and someone would be Godzilla and you didn’t want to get caught because it would eat you. I laugh now because I didn’t realize it was a man in a rubber suit playing Godzilla. It really scared me back then.

[The film series] may have started as an atomic disaster metaphor, but the meaning really hasn’t changed much today. Maybe Godzilla symbolizes a monster created by radioactive effects that even today, if you think about the recent nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima, has also damaged our west coast.  In a weird way, knowing how Godzilla came about may be a symbolism of how society fears the possibility of what can happen as technology advances. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this very famous monster.

DDG: Have you seen the trailer for the new Tom Cruise action movie, Edge of Tomorrow?

KSP: I’m not sure if it’s something I want to put in my head (laughs) … just because it’s a little trippy but the trailer grabbed my attention and it looks like it has a great storyline. I’m not sure if I am into all that time-space continuum stuff.

Yes, I have heard about deep ideas such as the quantum hologram theories, but I tend to focus on the here and now. Maybe I do like the “Law of Attraction” kind of thought. You know, what you put out, you receive!

In 2013, the world saw rising tensions in Asia, but 2014 may be an opportunity for peace and cooperation. (U.S. Navy file photo)

DDG: I’m convinced our readers can especially appreciate the “Law of Attraction” when it comes to you! That being said, let’s talk a little bit about fashion trends for 2014. I notice in fashion a lot of the styles are taking on a retro look from the 80s and 90s. What do you think about the direction fashion is going?

KSP: Fashions are always changing that’s what makes it fun. I like to take the current trend and add my own touch to make it a little more mine.  I love the clothing from the 80s and 90s.  When I was little my mom had a lot of clothing from this era that was a blast from the past with shoulder pads that made me laugh and skinny jeans.  Now I own some of these types of items.

Fashion always repeats itself, but that doesn’t mean that your wardrobe has to be outdated when something new comes in; just incorporate your favorite pieces of each decade into your own style. My fashion style has changed so much over the years and I’m sure it won’t stop!

DDG: So what were some of your top personal highlights this year?

KSP: Some of my greatest highlights this year were seeing my boyfriend Torrey Meister win the O’Neil Coldwater Classic 2013 surfing title, making it to my older sister Kasey’s wedding in Texas and spending time with my family that I haven’t seen for a while. […] Making it on various product line posters, magazine, novels and just having some really fun gigs – that definitely made me feel blessed because it did not feel like work.

DDG: In closing, is there anything you think we should pay special attention to in 2014?

KSP: I find the Serenity Prayer valuable: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” It’s the little things in life that make you appreciate what you have. I’m looking forward to great, new beginnings in 2014. Happy New Year!

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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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