We've been hooked and fans of Showtime's Ray Donovan since day one! The storytelling, the family - the fixing. With season 6 currently filming here in NYC, we were beyond excited to have Pooch Hall, who plays Daryll Donovan as this month's cover! Our shoot focuses on how he enjoys his down time in the city as we shot in various locations in Flatiron as well as hanging out with him on set! From playing Derwin Davis on BET's The Game, his current role as Daryll Donovan in Ray Donovan and being Frank Alexander on USA's Unsolved The Murders ofTupac & Notorious B.I.G. - Pooch shares it all with us.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We had such a great time shooting with you and then coming to your set! When did you realize that you wanted to be an actor and share with our readers about your journey as an actor and roles that you have appeared in?
POOCH HALL: I realized I wanted to become an actor, when I realized I could be a part of the world that entertains and influences, that I could be an influencer. I love entertaining and role playing.
AM: Regardless of our industries, we have had mentors that have really set the tone for our success - who has done that for you and what words of wisdom did they leave you?
PH: A few of the people who have been an inspiration to me are Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber. Jon with his caring and insight based on his experience and Liev based on pulling out my potential as an actor, whether we are acting together or he’s directing me. I have fun and I move based off what they give, or they share what is beneficial. Whatever they teach me, it’s always cherished and helpful.
AM: We've been fans of yours since "The Game" and when we saw that you had joined "Ray Donovan" we were so excited! As you're currently here in New York filming the 6th season, can you take us back to the audition process for being in this show and what have the past seasons been like in terms of being a part of this dynamic cast?
PH: The audition process was awesome it happened quickly. I was fresh off the end of season 5 of “The Game” and ready for the next move. I auditioned and then met with producers and we all connected. I’m blessed that they saw something in me to where I could be considered and recruited for the Ray Donovan star team.
AM: Do you find similarities and/or differences between yourself and Daryll and how do you prepare to play him on set?
PH: Daryll and I are different, but the same. Different because I’m in control of my life - where Daryll is still finding his way. Then the same because I play Daryll... and I want Daryll to be real and have qualities that people can relate to, an underdog trying to defy the odds and be someone who has a purpose...
AM: What if anything can you tell us about Season 6 and what are you excited about for the upcoming season?
PH: Daryll has finally come into his manhood and is exercising his independence as a man and as a Donovan.
AM: With filming being in NYC, how does this affect the show?
PH: Filming in NY is awesome. It’s different from LA. Their looks are different, their swag is different. New York offers a different energy and vibe. It makes people have to work and move differently.
AM: Watching the show there are so many dynamic personalities that interact with one another, we imagine that off camera, you guys are pretty close - how important is it to have that kind of camaraderie?
PH: Having a family camaraderie is amazing, but we have waited a long time to have a show like Ray Donovan and part of the show’s success is due to dynamics outside the show. We have been around Hollywood for a while and each one of us recognizes how important family is. And us being parents and having kids brought us together rather quickly. For example, my kids call Jon Voight "Papa Jon,” Eddie and my kids hang out and Liev fought for me to be in his movie "Chuck" where I played Muhammad Ali.
AM: Are you working on any projects that we should keep an eye out for in addition to the upcoming season of "Ray Donovan"?
PH: I’m working on writing my own story and I was recently in USA's “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.” where I played Frank Alexander, Tupac’s best friend and bodyguard. It’s now available on Netflix.
AM: In our shoot, we included a yoga session at Humming Puppy which is one of our Style Director's favorite places to work out. How do you stay in such great shape?
PH: I run, and I train with some great trainers. Boxing, Basketball and hot yoga are all a part of the regimen. I also try and eat as clean as possible.
AM: In LA, where can we find you working out, grabbing a bite/cocktails and where do you shop?
AM: As you have been in NYC for awhile, where do you work out here, where might we find you for drinks and where do you like to shop?
I love to go to Beauty and Essex and I spend a lot of time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Wherever I can find a bar- gain... love me some Flight Club NY.
AM: We see you in front of the camera, but will we see you directing down the road as well?
PH: Yes like I said I’m writing and yes that’s the plan. You have to be a triple threat.
AM: How do you take time for yourself, especially when you are in the midst of filming for this role?
PH: When I’m sleeping lol and whenever I do have down time, I write or just explore the city.
AM: Philanthropically, how do you give of your time?
PH: I try and give my wife a hand by helping and supporting her fight in raising awareness for special needs. Our oldest daughter has cerebral palsy, and we are in a fight to give her and ones like her the best life possible.
AM: We know that your family man as we love seeing pictures of your wife and kids on your Instagram and we had the pleasure of hanging out with your son Djordan - how great is it to have him join you on set and to take him to the office with you?
PH: It was awesome having my son on set with me. He’s well behaved and constantly asking questions and to learn how Hollywood comes together. And I just love seeing my family, they are my everything.
Our photoshoot took place at a number of locations in Flatiron. We enjoyed including Patisserie Chanson and Humming Puppy NYC which is the sister location to their Sydney and Melbourne locations. Although they have only been open a few months in Flatiron, our team enjoys taking in some much needed zen! Jackie Alexander, one of the Co-Founders is not only in the shoot but took a moment to tell us about their newest studio!
ATHLEISURE MAG: We've been fans of Humming Puppy back when we included you in our Athleisure List a year ago for your locations in Sydney and in Melbourne and now you're in NYC! We've taken a few classes and are huge fans. Tell our readers about the ethos of Humming Puppy in general and specifically about your Flatiron location.
JACKIE ALEXANDER: At Humming Puppy we want our clients’ experience within the space to begin when they cross the threshold from the busy streets of NYC and enter our studio. There are gradual points of reveal as you move through the different zones within our space, transitioning into a space of relaxation before moving into the sublime – the shala/studio - and onto the mat.
In the reception and bathrooms our aim was to create a luxurious space with a spa-like atmosphere. In the shala, the aim is twofold; provide a sacred and beautiful space for your practice but also a practical space where there is ample room between each mat, where the teacher is visible (thanks to a tiered floor) and where our trademark hum resonates within the studio to enhance and deepen the experience of your practice.
Our Flatiron location was also specifically chosen due to its high ceilings and it’s beautiful arched windows, which let an enormous amount of natural light into our lounge/reception area. Finally, the columns within the space are a stunning reference to the buildings heritage and played a big role our design process.
One of the unique things about our studio is that we actually inject specific frequencies into the studio to help ‘tune’ you while you practice. Our yoga space or ‘shala’ is injected with a combination of frequencies to enhance and deepen your experience and make the shala feel as if it is humming. More specifically we use a combination of 7.83hz and 40hz. Being submersed in these frequencies helps you to naturally produce matching frequencies through a process of entertainment. 7.83hz otherwise known as the Schumann Resonance is actually the frequency of the earth itself and helps to 'ground' you through your practice. 40hz is specifically associated with ‘Gamma’ brainwave activity, integral for achieving states of peak performance. Elite athletes, top-notch musicians and high achievers in all fields, typically produce far more gamma waves than average.
And whilst all of that sounds quite serious and complicated, on a much simpler level the hum just feels good!
AM: Why did you want to bring Humming Puppy to the states and ultimately to NYC - are there other cities that you feel you'd be interested in having Humming Puppy in?
JA: NYC is just an amazing city that has always held a special place in our hearts and it has been our intention, since before even launching our first studio in Melbourne, to bring Humming Puppy to NYC. Apart from personally being in love with the city, we also felt that the calming and restorative nature of our studio would provide an urban sanctuary where you can relax and take time out from the high paced NYC lifestyle.
AM: If you haven't covered already, tell us about the classes offered at Humming Puppy and what once can expect when taking them.
JA: We don't prescribe to any specific style but rather draw our inspiration from all of the lineages from which our teachers have practiced and learnt. We believe this gives our students a unified and holistic practice. We base our teachings on the principles of breath-pranayama, movement-asana and awareness-meditation. These principles are the foundation of our 3 class styles in which we welcome beginners through to the most experienced yogi.
These 3 class styles include our Mellow Hum which is a super chilled class that may include gentle slow flows and postures held for 3-5 minutes at a time.
Our Unified Hum which is a medium intensity class that gives students an opportunity to link breath to movement to calm the mind and strengthen the body.
And finally our Dynamic Hum, which is a high intensity class that can include stronger, longer holds, Vinyasa flows and advanced postures that will energize and challenge your practise.
In all of our these classes we welcome beginners through to the most advanced yogi and will always offer variations for beginners for any advanced postures that are being practiced.
AM: We have a number of things that we love about Humming Puppy can you tell us about the phenomenal quartz light?
JA: Our beautiful quartz crystal light is an original piece by Christopher Boots who is a phenomenal Melbourne based industrial designer. When we first saw the piece, we immediately fell in love with it, not just because of its breathtaking aesthetic, but also because we loved the idea of showcasing an artist from our home town. Finally, crystals actually act as a resonator and amplifier of frequency and as such the piece is a beautiful compliment to the Hum that we inject into our shala.
AM: The shala is amazing from hearing you playing the bowls in the space, the dark interiors and the stadium like setup. Can you tell us why the space is laid out like this and how this is beneficial to doing yoga there?
JA: We have come to learn that many students actually have their favorites spots within a yoga class. And as a result of this we have built a mat booking system that allows you to reserve the exact location that you want to be within each class. However, we also didn’t want to disadvantage those who like being in the back over those who prefer the front and so we have tiered our studio (similar to stadium seating) so that no matter where you are located within the class you can always see the teacher.
AM: What is the connection between yoga and sound?
JA: Whist there here are many connections between yoga and the use of sound (through singing or the use of various instruments such as singing bowls), one of the more commonly known examples is the chanting of Om within the practice. The actual meaning of Om has many different interpretations, from it being the “sound of universe” to it representing that which is "mysterious and inexhaustible”.
AM: Tell us about amenities that are offered at Humming Puppy from products in the bathroom and the use of the lounge?
JA: At Humming Puppy we like you travel light - emotionally and physically - so we provide absolutely everything from our home town. Finally, crystals actually act as a resonator and amplifier of frequency and as such the piece is a beautiful compliment to the Hum that we inject into our shala. We also provide hair ties and phone chargers complimentary as well.
Our bathrooms are fully stocked with towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair dryers, straighteners and shower caps.
And finally in our lounge area, we serve complimentary herbal tea; coconut water and filtered water and students are welcome to make themselves at home before and after class!
AM: Being that you are in NYC now, tell us about where we can catch you grabbing after work drinks/meal, brunch on the weekends and shopping in NYC?
JA: I tend to be a creature of habit and go back to places I love a lot like Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, La Esquina, Café Dante and my local fav XYST but….. …..with that said I love exploring all the amazing food that New York has to offer and so you’ll find me trying out all that there is to offer most weekends. For shopping one of my favorite things to do is wandering through Barney’s on 7th Avenue and simply soak up the design aesthetic and creativity.
119 W. 23rd St.
NY, NY 10011