Stars

Tom Cruise as Maverick gives a thumbs-up from the cockpit of his fighter jet.

Paramount Pictures

by Sarah Deming

The wait is over. Top Gun Maverick touches down in theaters May 27th. Tom Cruise reprises his iconic role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the hotshot Navy pilot who does things his own way.

Maverick’s new mission: to train the next generation of Top Gun graduates for a perilous assignment. Things heat up when one of the youngsters turns out to be Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), son of Maverick’s late flying partner “Goose.” Of course, no sequel would be complete without Val Kilmer as Maverick’s arch frenemy “Iceman.” Also starring are Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Glen Powell.

To get in the Maverick mood, let’s revisit Paramount’s original Top Gun. The biggest hit of 1986, it grossed over $350 million. Applications to Naval aviation school soared as a whole generation of Americans felt the need for speed. Here's a look back at what made the movie iconic.

You can stream Top Gun on Paramount+.

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An Epic Hero

Tom Cruise as Maverick clad in a flight jumpsuit with red and blue patches on the front sitting and holding his hand to his chin with two other pilots in the background

Tom Cruise as Pete Maverick strikes a pensive pose.

Paramount Pictures

This was the role that vaulted Tom Cruise to superstardom. Maverick is the ultimate hotshot. When his squadron encounters Russian MiG-28 fighters, he flips into an inverted dive to flip a Russki the bird. Yet his heart is in the right place. When shaken wingman Cougar can’t land solo, Maverick goes back to guide him.

Although his disregard for rules infuriates superiors—and leads to lots of spilled coffee—his skills land him in Top Gun, the Navy’s prestigious graduate program in air combat and air superiority.

An Epic Rivalry

Tom Cruise as Maverick raises a fist next to the face of Val Kilmer as Iceman as both stand in the locker room wearing gray flight jumpsuits while Goose and Slider watch.

Iceman (Val Kilmer) and Maverick (Tom Cruise) confront each other in the locker room at Top Gun.

Paramount Pictures

Val Kilmer’s “Iceman” is Maverick’s opposite number. He’s cool, calm, and collected. He always puts his seatback in the upright position and ensures his carry-on is safely stowed. Tempers flare as the two compete for the Top Gun Trophy, but the real winner is the audience, because we get to enjoy their sweaty locker room tiffs.

Top Gun Maverick takes the rivalry to a deeper level. After 30 years of service, Maverick has only made captain, dodging promotions that would land him behind a desk. Ever the schmoozer, Iceman has ascended to admiral. It’s anyone’s guess who will win this next round; we’re just rooting for more shirtless volleyball.

An Epic Wingman

Tom Cruise as Maverick and Anthony Edwards as Goose both in Navy Dress uniforms clink beer bottles in a bar

Best buds Maverick and Goose clink beers

Giphy

In the fog of war, it’s hard to tell friend from foe. The F-14 was the first aircraft equipped with a phased-array radar that could track multiple targets. The Radar Intercept Officer, or RIO, sat behind the pilot, monitoring threats. Maverick’s RIO was Lt. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, sensitively portrayed by Anthony Edwards, who went on to TV fame as Dr. Mark Greene on ER.

Goose was the ultimate “wingman”—a loyal, dependable friend and companion as well as an ally to help you chat up attractive strangers without seeming creepy. It was the first time most movie fans had heard the term, and it caught on like wildfire. In today’s parlance, it’s close to “ride or die.” Speaking of that …

The F-14 had one tragic flaw: It was prone to a flat spin. During a training exercise, Maverick and Goose pass through Iceman’s jet wash, causing an engine to blow. Goose manages to eject, but the uncontrolled spin throws off the timing and his head hits the canopy, killing him. Although a tribunal absolves Maverick, he still feels responsible for his friend’s death. He will confront this unresolved guilt in Top Gun Maverick, in the form of Goose’s son, Rooster.

Epic Women

Kelly McGillis wears a battered black leather jacket with patches and stands with her arms folded looking toward her left shoulder

Kelly McGills as Charlie, an instructor at Top Gun

Paramount Pictures

Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan were Top Gun’s top women—and by ’80s standards, both were tough cookies with survivor spirit to rival the boys’. McGillis played Charlie, an astrophysicist and instructor at Top Gun (and Maverick’s love interest); Ryan played Goose’s cheerful, resilient, tougher-than-she-looks military wife.

(Charlie’s character was based on a real person: Christine Fox served as an instructor at Naval Air Station Miramar before becoming Acting Secretary of Defense in 2013, then the highest-ranking position a woman had ever held in the Department of Defense.)

Neither actress will return in the sequel, so cue up the original to enjoy Ryan’s wisecracks, McGillis’s aviation insights, and both women’s fabulous coifs.

Starring opposite Cruise this time around is Jennifer Connelly, 2002’s Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in A Beautiful Mind. The year the original Top Gun hit theaters, a teenaged Connelly was getting chased through a maze by David Bowie and the Muppets in the cult classic Labyrinth.

Monica Barbaro (Stumptown, Unreal) will play “Phoenix,” one of Maverick’s elite students. Barbaro told The Hollywood Reporter she drew inspiration from the female aviators she met while filming. “You’re watching a pilot up there. I happen to be a woman, but first and foremost, Phoenix is a pilot, and a really good one.”

Epic Fashion

Tom Cruise as Maverick walks away from a jet wearing a flight jumpsuit and aviator sunglasses while carrying gloves in one hand and a nylon suitcase in the other

Maverick dressed for flight and wearing the famous aviator shades

Paramount Pictures

In 2015, the Library of Congress added Top Gun to their permanent archive of films “of importance to cinema and to America’s cultural and artistic history.” But anyone who survived the ’80s could have told you that.

Cruise and Kilmer looked so cool in aviators that suddenly everyone needed a pair. (Better yet, two pairs: one dark and one mirrored.) The original CWU-45P bomber jacket is still hot today—“CWU” stands for “cold weather uniform”—rad patches sold separately. Even the simple white tee shirt trended after Cruise wore it so well.

An Epic Soundtrack

During the opening credits, “Top Gun Anthem” blares as jets take off from an aircraft carrier at sunset. Harold Faltermeyer won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for this synth jam, featuring Billy Idol’s legendary guitarist Steve Stevens.

Segue into Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” as the jets touch back down, and the hits just keep coming. Another Loggins classic, “Playing With the Boys,” backs the testosterone-soaked volleyball scene.

But the most memorable moment might be Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” throbbing through the love scene between Cruise and McGillis. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the Top Gun soundtrack went platinum nine times.

Top Gun Maverick brings the big guns, too. Lady Gaga contributed to the score, which features her new single “Hold My Hand.” Speaking on the Late Late Show With James Corden, Cruise said Gaga’s power ballad “opened the doors to the emotional core of the film.”

Epic Jets

Tom Cruise as Maverick sits in the cockpit of an F-14 with the canopy open and gives a thumbs up signal with his right hand

Thumbs up from Maverick

Paramount Pictures

The real hero of Top Gun might be the F-14 Tomcat. At high altitudes, the twin-engine fighter jet could go faster than twice the speed of sound. We talked to Dr. Steve Schallhorn, a former Top Gun instructor whose real-life experiences helped inform Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.’s screenplay.

“What the film got right was the intensity of flying,” he says. “Dogfighting is a very, very dynamic environment that requires very fast thinking. It’s also extremely physically demanding. When you turn, there’s tremendous g-force. Imagine a 200-pound weight on top of your head, and you’re already craning your neck, trying to look back. You also have to manage vertigo. The sensor in the inner ear that tells you what’s up and what’s down can really be a source of confusion.”

Whew! Good thing we’ll all be watching Top Gun Maverick from the safety of a theater. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might try IMAX.

Epic Fans

Tom Cruise as Maverick in his flight jumpsuit and sunglasses stares into the distance over his right shoulder as he stands in the cockpit of a fighter jet holding his helmet in his right hand and puts his left hand on his knee

Maverick, ready for a new mission

Paramount Pictures

How much do people love the first film? Top Gun first landed in theaters in May 1986—36 years ago. More than three and a half decades later, fans still honor the movie’s anniversary by celebrating Top Gun Day on May 13th.

Looking for suggestions on how to celebrate? Check out topgunday.com. Change your profile picture to Val Kilmer, play volleyball in jeans, or see how many times you can drop quotes from the movie into conversations. There’s even a call sign generator. Dust off your Ray-Ban Aviator shades, grab your wingman, and kick back with a cool glass of hemlock.

You can stream Top Gun on Paramount+. Then get ready to head back into the danger zone when Top Gun Maverick hits theaters on May 24th.

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Pete Holmes on The Late Late Show with James Corden in May 2021

Photo credit: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images

By Katey Clifford

In the CBS comedy How We Roll, Tom Smallwood has been laid off from his job at the car assembly line. Not sure what to do next, this small-town dad decides to follow his passion and become a professional bowler, with encouragement from his wife.

Actor and comedian Pete Holmes plays the show's likable protagonist—based on the real life Tom Smallwood—but where else have you seen him? Get to know the man behind the character!

Watch the CBS comedy How We Roll on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT and stream it on Paramount+.

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Beantown-Born

Pete Holmes speaking into a microphone with his index finger on his temple

Holmes onstage at Comedy Gives Back during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Brazos Hall in 2014 in Austin, Texas

Photo credit: Heather Kennedy/Getty Images for SXSW

While his character hails from Saginaw, Michigan, Holmes is actually from Boston. His comedy career has led him from Beantown to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

In real life, he says he's a so-so bowler, but he has happy memories of going to birthday parties at bowling alleys as a kid and later hanging with buddies by the lanes. “Bowling is the ultimate excuse to hang out with your friends because most of the time you’re sitting around waiting for your turn,” he told the Daily News.

Jokes For Days

Pete Holmes in a suit walking down the steps of The Late Late Show with James Corden surrounded by clapping audience members

Holmes on The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2019

Photo credit: Phillip Faraone / Stringer / Getty Images

He has made appearances on a number of TV shows, including multiple guest spots on The Late Late Show with James Corden. He also starred in the sitcoms Crashing (2017–2019) and The Pete Holmes Show (2013–2014), which he created.

Comedian's Corner

Pete Holmes sitting in a blue chair while wearing a blue suit on the set of The Late Late Show with James Corden

Holmes on The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2021

Photo credit: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images

His brand of comedy is a hearty mix of self-aware humor and musings on spirituality and religion. He has said he wanted to be a comedian ever since he knew the career existed. He also thought about becoming a youth pastor, "which is very similar to a comedian ... They get up in front of groups, they’re entertaining, they’re informative, they sort of make you feel good."

Podcast Prowess

Pete Holmes wearing a yellow number 3 jersey and making a defensive face with his hands up in front of him

On The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2017

Photo credit: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images

Holmes has his own podcast, You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, in which he often interviews fellow comedians. His guests have included Judd Apatow, Aziz Ansari, John Mulaney, Ben Schwartz, Dana Carvey, and the late Garry Shandling.

Voice Actor

Pete Holmes stands in a jacket with a hand in his pants pocket

Holmes attends the premiere of The Secret Life Of Pets 2 in 2019 in Westwood, California.

Photo credit: Phillip Faraone / Stringer / Getty Images

Holmes is also a voice actor. If you've seen The Secret Life Of Pets 2, he might sound familiar as the voice of the clumsy, affable character Chuck.

Arguably, his best known vocal work was as the baby in the E*Trade commercials popular about a decade ago. The baby "came out of retirement" earlier this year for a new ad that premiered during Superbowl 56.

How We Roll airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT and streams on Paramount+.

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Film within a film: Miles Teller as Al Ruddy and Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola and other cast members of The Offer

Nicole Wilder/Paramount+ ©2022 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

By Sarah Deming

It was the greatest movie almost never made. From day one, The Godfather was fraught with death threats, backroom deals, epic battles, and secret plotting worthy of Shakespeare ... and that's just what happened off-screen. Now The Offer, a new 10-part limited series from Paramount+ streaming this month, treats fans to the edge-of-your-seat true story of how the future Oscar winner went from page to screen.

Here's a look at the colorful characters who helped make Hollywood history—and the talented cast bringing them to life in The Offer.

You can stream The Offer as well as all three Godfather films—parts 1, 2, and 3—on Paramount+ starting April 28. The first three episodes will be available on April 28, with new episodes to follow every Thursday.

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Miles Teller as Albert S. Ruddy

Miler Teller sits on set in front of large krieg lights clasping his hands and wearing a black jacket and red shirt

Miles Teller as neophyte producer Albert S. Ruddy

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

What does an executive producer do? Whatever it takes to get the job done. Miles Teller stars as Academy Award-winner Albert S. Ruddy, a tech nerd who talks his way onto the Paramount Pictures lot and into the driver’s seat of their new production.

From the first days of casting, The Godfather was a minefield of bickering artists, angry executives, and real- life mobsters. Fans of Whiplash and Divergence will love watching Teller rise to each new challenge.

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans wears a suit with a lavender shirt and red floral tie in front of the famous Paramount gates.

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Nobody was more Hollywood than studio head Bob Evans. As a young man, he created the Evan-Picone clothing line and sold it to Revlon for millions. He revived Paramount Pictures with a string of ’70s hits including Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, Chinatown, and, of course, The Godfather.

Married and divorced seven times, Evans had a cocaine habit as legendary as his suntan. British actor Matthew Goode (A Discovery of Witches, Watchmen) turns in an outstanding performance as the brilliant and tempestuous movie mogul.

Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt

Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt leans against a door on the Paramount lot with her arms folded.

Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt

Nicole Wilder/Paramount+ ©2022 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

A visitor to the Godfather set asks Bettye McCartt what her job is. Bettye points to her boss Al Ruddy and says, “The same as his, only I get paid a lot less.” After assisting Ruddy on The Godfather and The Longest Yard, McCartt went on to enjoy a long career as a Hollywood agent, representing Tom Selleck, Billy D. Williams, and George Clooney, among many others.

British actress Juno Temple (Keeley in Ted Lasso) brings comic flair and vulnerability to her portrayal of a smart, ambitious woman trying to navigate a man’s world.

Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo

Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo stands next the open door of a black car dressed in a three-piece suit and tie.

Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Joe Colombo wasn’t your typical gangster. The son of a Brooklyn bootlegger, he rose through the ranks to become the youngest ever leader of one of New York’s “Five Families.” Not content to remain in the shadows, he founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League to protest injustice against Italian Americans. One of the League’s earliest targets was Paramount’s The Godfather. Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar, Saving Private Ryan) brings Colombo to life in all his terrifying and lovable complexity.

Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola

Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola stands amid leather furnishings in the Don Corleone office set wearing a knit hat and looking pensive.

Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola

James Minchin/Paramount+

Francis Ford Coppola didn’t want to make a gangster movie. But American Zoetrope, the company he founded with his BFF George Lucas, was $600,000 in debt. “You have to accept the job,” Lucas told him. “We have no money, and the sheriff is coming to chain up the front door.”

So what if Coppola thought the book was sleazy? “Find something in it that you like,” Lucas advised. With beard, glasses, and moody intensity, Dan Fogler (the Fantastic Beasts trilogy) is a dead ringer for the brilliant young director fighting to craft the film that will win him immortality.

Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo

Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo leans on a directors chair where a typewriter is perched and looks over his shoulder.

Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Mario Puzo did not want to write a gangster novel. But he had a big family to feed and $20,000 in gambling debts. So he cranked out a bloody, sexy epic about Sicilian thugs. For once, his bet paid off. The Godfather sold over 21 million copies and landed Puzo a gig in Hollywood adapting his script.

Patrick Gallo (The Irishman, Boardwalk Empire) makes a lovable Puzo, procrastinating by bingeing on lasagna while floating in a swimming pool. His chemistry with costar Dan Fogler as Coppola brings alive the legendary friendship between the two artists who shared the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Burn Gorman as Charles Bludhorn

Burn Gorman as Charles Bluhdorn stands in an alley near a fan wearing a suit and glasses and squints into the distance.

Burn Gorman as Charles Bluhdorn

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Nicknamed Hurricane Charlie, Gulf & Western founder Charles Bludhorn was famously combative, opinionated, and had a formidable head for business. The Austrian immigrant became a millionaire by age 30 and bought more than 150 companies during his lifetime. He added Paramount to the G&W roster in 1966, playing a critical role in supporting its bumpy journey from last to first place among Hollywood studios, as The Offer shows.

"The Mad Austrian" butted heads with Evans, Ruddy, and everyone else around him. Burn Gorman captures the blend of volatility, savvy, and heart that made Charlie unique. After all, this was a man who bought Madison Square Garden, hung out with Fidel Castro, went into business with the Vatican, slept two hours a night, and threatened to sue OPEC for anti-trust.

Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus

Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus stands in an alley on the Paramount lot with his arms folded looking over skeptically over his shoulder at the camera.

Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Colin Hanks (son of Tom) stars as straight-aced Gulf & Western exec Barry Lapidus, a perpetual skeptic who—along with other number crunchers at G&W—made it his mission to foil The Godfather every step of the way. (He thought it was too long, too expensive, miscast, slow-moving, and would be the ruin of both Paramount and its parent company.)

No spoilers, but there's more to Lapidus than meets the eye in the first few episodes—as both Evans and viewers discover toward the end of the series.

Lou Ferrigno as Lenny Montana

Hulk smash! Fans of the original Incredible Hulk will love seeing Lou Ferrigno crush it as retired professional wrestler turned actor Lenny Montana. Montana was visiting his mother in Brooklyn when he happened upon a shoot for The Godfather. Al Ruddy spotted him in the crowd—at 6’6” and 320 pounds, he was hard to miss—and knew he had finally found the man to play assassin Luca Brasi.

It’s worth noting that Montana’s back story and the way he steps into the role of Luca Brasi unwinds a little differently in The Offer.

Meredith Garretson as Ali MacGraw

In 1972, Ali MacGraw was the hottest actress in the country. Goodbye, Columbus had launched her to stardom, and the blockbuster Love Story clinched it. But being married to Paramount’s playboy studio head Bob Evans was no walk in the park. Actor Meredith Garretson (Resident Alien) brings a mix of freshness, gravity, and believability to the role of the starlet.

More Key Players To Watch ...

Nora Arnezeder as Françoise Glazer: Owner of the fabled Chateau Marmont, Françoise is a Holocaust survivor, a tough-as-nails business woman, and Ruddy's leading lady offscreen ... until the two start butting heads over what's personal and what's strictly business. French actor and singer Nora Arnezeder (Army of the Dead) brings strength and elegance to the role.

Justin Chambers as Marlon Brando: Although considered one of the greatest actors of all time, Brando was notoriously unpredictable on set. It took all Coppola’s powers of persuasion, and a $1 million bond by Brando, to convince the brass to hire the eventual Academy Award winner. Big shoes to fill for Justin Chambers, but the Grey’s Anatomy veteran has plenty of star power of his own.

Anthony Ippolito as Al Pacino: The studio might have balked at Brando, but that was nothing compared to the campaign against Pacino. He was a rising star in New York theater, but nearly everyone seemed set against against casting the "shrimp." (Even Pacino thought he’d be better off playing Sonny.) Coppola and Ruddy fought hard to get Pacino the part that would make him a household name. Anthony Ippolito (Grand Army) does a masterful job conveying Pacino's shy charm and hesitancy at the outset—and his chameleon-like ability to morph into the formidable Michael Corleone of movie fame.

You can stream The Offer as well as all three Godfather films—parts 1, 2, and 3—on Paramount+ starting April 28. The first three episodes will be available on April 28, with new episodes to follow every Thursday.

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Now Maya looks like a natural with a racket in her hands.

Photo credit: Ser Baffo/The CW -- (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

By Michelle Darrisaw

Playing a student-athlete on The CW’s All American isn’t a stretch for Geffri Maya—it’s her destiny. Before landing the recurring role as Simone Hicks in Season 2 of the sports drama, the 21-year-old grew up dancing and training under famed choreographer Debbie Allen.

The muscle and movement memory she developed at Allen’s dance academy came in handy when performing the celebrated dance sequence in the Season 3 episode “All American: Homecoming,” which launched the new spinoff series of the same name. “Luckily, my relation to Simone and the dichotomy [of the character] is not that far,” says Maya. “I didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills like Simone, but I was exposed to different walks of life in South Central L.A. that play a huge part in who I am today.”

Now the ball is in Maya’s court, as she takes the lead in All American: Homecoming. In the spinoff, Maya’s character embarks on a new journey as a college student/tennis champ at a fictional HBCU in Atlanta named Bringston University.

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All American: Homecoming airs Mondays at 9p.m.ET/PT on The CW and streams on CWTV.com.

To accurately bring Simone and her tennis pursuits to life, Maya did not have to look far for inspiration. She pulled from her real-life experience attending Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black college and university. “Being able to translate the HBCU experience in Homecoming feels like my purpose,” she adds.

The health-conscious, self-proclaimed “breakfast enthusiast” says she’s focused on longevity and having a legacy in Hollywood akin to Cicely Tyson’s. Her game plan? Embracing beauty from within while acing her sculpting and wellness goals.

Finding her perfect match

All American: Homecoming's star Geffri Maya wearing a tie-dye top and a tennis racket

Geffri Maya works up a sweat as Simone Hicks.

Photo credit: Erik Voake/The CW

I’ve been dancing since I was 7, but learning how to play tennis was a challenge. I had never picked up a racket in my life.

The second we found out a pilot was possible, I got an amazing Black female trainer named Troy Titus. To work with someone who looks like me and cares about physical, emotional, and mental health is inspirational. It took a lot of hard work, consistency, and diligence and pushed me in ways that were necessary.

Setting boundaries

Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks holds a plate of appetizers in her right hand and smiles.

Maya is thoughtful about what she eats.

Photo: Erik Voake/The CW -- (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Eating brings me joy. I try not to diet because it can have a negative connotation that can be harmful depending on how you view yourself. What I have are boundaries.

I can’t eat and drink the same things I did when I was 14, so I fuel my body with food that will allow me to perform my best when working 15-hour days. I take care of my body and skin because what you put in is what you get out.

Minding her assets

Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks stands ready to return a tennis ball rapidly approaching her

Now Maya looks like a natural with a racket in her hands.

Photo credit: Ser Baffo/The CW -- (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Honestly, I focus on the booty! I do squats, donkey kicks, fire hydrants, and deadlifts. I incorporate full-body, arms, and crunches, but who doesn’t want a lifted and shifted butt? I have an athletic frame that I used to have a hard time accepting.

Now I think it’s important to take care of the body you’re blessed with. Never do something because of someone else’s beauty standards.

Serving looks

All American: Homecomings star Geffri Maya in a scene from the show

Michael Evans Behling as Jordan and Geffri Maya as Simone

Photo credit: The CW

I love wearing workout gear that is comfortable and cozy and makes me feel beautiful, such as Fabletics and Aritzia. One of my best friends, Taylor Polidore, has a clothing brand called Good Body Athletica.

She started this company to let everyone know that no matter the goals or struggles, your body is good because it’s yours. Like me, she truly cares about being confident within herself as a Black woman.

Practicing self-love

Photo: Ser Baffo/The CW -- (C) 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

My favorite thing to do is my nighttime routine. If I could have a spa in the house, I would. I wash, exfoliate, and put my oils on. How I go to bed plays a huge part in how I wake up. In terms of feeling good and starting my day, I must cleanse my body, wash my face, brush my teeth, and prepare my vessel. All that leads to how I feel about myself, and it plays a part, physically, in how I adapt and exhaust that energy. Self-love is the key to everything, because if we wake up every day and
don’t like what we see, it has a domino effect on how we carry ourselves in the world.

Perfecting her form

Kelly Jenrette as Amara Patterson stands with her back to the camera as Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks looks her in the eyes

Kelly Jenrette as Amara Patterson and Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks

Photo credit: Troy Harvey/The CW -- (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The beautiful thing about getting the opportunity to portray a young tennis hopeful is knowing these people existed. I studied the courage and diligence of Althea Gibson.

When it comes to Coco Gauff, Venus and Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens, and Naomi Osaka on the court, all these women exude confidence and love for their sport. But I had to think beyond surface-level and physicality to channel what it means to be a Black female athlete.

It’s more than what they accomplished sports-wise; it’s about who they are and what we can all take from that.

Fueling her day

A plate with steak and french fries atoip a wooden platter.

Steak frites is a treat Geffri Maya enjoys.

Photo credit: Claudia Totir/Getty Images

BREAKFAST:
If it’s brunch, I’ll have shrimp and grits or catfish. But I love scrambled eggs or a frittata with diced potatoes and chicken apple sausage, or perfectly cooked French toast.

LUNCH:
I can eat Thai food at any time. I don’t like super-heavy lunches—just something to get me through the day. I always enjoy a nice salmon with arugula salad or rice on the side. Pasta is good at lunchtime, too.

DINNER:
I like for dinner to be a surprise: I recently had steak frites, and it was so good!

SPLURGE:
Whenever I’m celebrating something with my friends, we always have crab legs and wine. I love a good seafood boil!

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All American: Homecoming airs Mondays at 9p.m.ET/PT on The CW and streams on CWTV.com.

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