How Celebrities Are Donating to Australia (and Where They Fall Short)

Climate change is turning small fires into cataclysmic events like the one that the world is witnessing in Australia.

Celebrities are rallying around Australia, which is currently engulfed in wildfires that have killed nearly a billion animals and have destroyed over two thousand homes.

Many have expressed their support for Australia and shared their wealth and calls to action. For instance, you may have seen these posts:

Other stars who have offered assistance include Lizzo, who volunteered at a warehouse in Australia during time off from her tour. Kylie Jenner donated $1 million, and Phoebe Waller-Bridges also auctioned off her Golden Globes suit in support of the cause. Actress Yael Stone said that she's giving up her green card and moving back to Australia to reduce the environmental impact of constantly flying overseas.

It's incredibly important that celebrities are raising money and donating to Australia, and it's even more vital that some are connecting what's going on to climate change. But it's also tragic that it took a calamity like this one, in a first-world country, for large-scale and widely publicized action to occur.

Though small actions in response to the Australia fires are important, everyone—celebrities, ordinary people, and particularly governments around the world—need to be taking preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.

Australian Bushfires: A Climate Change Issue

After all, though bushfires are natural events in Australia, human-caused climate change has significantly worsened the intensity of these fires—and the science is there to prove it. "Climate change is increasing bushfire risk in Australia by lengthening the fire season, decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature," said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Essentially, climate change is turning small fires into cataclysmic events like the one that the world is witnessing in Australia. This is, of course, far from an isolated incident. Climate change is contributing to the emergence and destructiveness of natural disasters across the world. Flooding, droughts, storms, and fires are already decimating the livelihoods of millions, leaving impoverished and vulnerable communities at extreme disadvantage and costing billions of dollars in repairs. Natural disasters have occurred in the 21st century at five times the frequency they occurred in the 20th century, and things will only worsen as the climate rises if we do not take extreme preventative actions.

Celebrities and ordinary people finding themselves panicking about what's happening in Australia would do well to follow in the footsteps of people like Jane Fonda, who have actively been putting their bodies on the line in order to persuade governments to take the threat of climate change very seriously.

If you're wondering how to help Australia, and if you feel your heart is breaking upon seeing the tragic photos of orange skies and dead kangaroos, then by all means, follow in the footsteps of Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman and donate to wildfire relief funds. But consider also donating to movements that might prevent or reduce the likelihood of events like this one. Consider joining a climate change protest movement. Consider taking action. Consider supporting organizations that will not only stop the bleeding but that will prevent new wounds from opening.


The "Lizzie McGuire" Revival Is Getting Closer, but Where's Miranda?

Will she rejoin the cast after her long absence, or will the show go on without her?

Lizzie McGuire, the classic Disney Channel series starring Hillary Duff, is officially being given new life on the Disney+ streaming service, to the delight of nostalgic fans.

More than 15 years after the original show's run, pictures of Duff reuniting with co-star Adam Lamberg—AKA Gordo—have sparked excitement across the internet, but the fanfare has tended to overlook one critical question. Where is Miranda?

In the core series, you would not find Lizzie and Gordo hanging out at The Digital Bean without the third member of their group, Miranda Sanchez. That is, up until the last six episodes, from which she was entirely missing. Miranda's sudden absence was attributed to an indefinite family trip to Mexico; but in reality, Lalaine Vergara-Paras, who portrayed Miranda, was doing other work for Disney—touring with Radio Disney and shooting the Disney Channel movie You Wish! in New Zealand. Her absence extended to the 2003 Lizzie McGuire Movie, but will she still be missing for this long-awaited revival?

miranda annoyed

The answer is....unclear. She has previously expressed interest in the concept of a reunion show, but she hasn't yet been confirmed for the Disney+ project. Does her fraught legal past factor into Disney's plans for the show?

Like so many child stars before her, Lalaine's early fame and success led to some bad decisions in what she now refers to as her "dark years," culminating in a conviction for possession of methamphetamine in 2007. She and Hilary Duff lost touch during this time, leaving behind their real life friendship. Is that estrangement to blame for the fact that Miranda is still missing, or is Disney just protecting their brand? This is hardly the first time their squeaky-clean image has come into conflict with one of their star's personal lives—they are, after all, in the business of making child-stars—but with a reunion show starring the original cast now in their 30s, concerns about presenting good role models seem like a bit of a stretch.

Another possibility is that Vergara-Paras' recent comments about whitewashing in Hollywood were not well-received at Disney. When she wrote this April that throughout her childhood she was "forced to look as 'white' as possible," it was hard not to see that as a criticism of Disney, where she worked from a young age under the mononym Lalaine—having dropped Vergara-Paras as "too ethnic." If this was perceived as an accusation of misconduct, it may have ruffled some old white feathers at Disney.

Then again, all this scandalous speculation is overlooking a more innocent possibility. Maybe Hilary Duff and Disney are just teasing us. As recently as October, Vergara-Paras was sharing screenshots of texts from co-star Adam Lamberg. It's entirely possible that she is already signed on and getting ready to reprise her role, but we won't find out until they want us to know. If they think they can get some more press by spreading out their news and their cast reunion photos as they ramp up for the new show, then they will use our nostalgia against us and keep adding drips and drops of news until all of pop culture is consumed by the wild speculation of Lizzie McGuire fandom.

Will Clayton Snyder be spotted next week wearing Ethan Craft's signature surfer necklaces? Are Matt and Lanny going to perform "Long Tall Sally" at the Grammys? Are we doomed to get one step closer each and every day? Curse you, Disney! You have used me in your nefarious plots for the last time!

TV News

Why Chad Michael Murray Is Already Our Favorite Cult Leader

Every devoted follower of Chad Michael Murray receives a personalized Christmas card featuring the three most recent converts he's saved from Scientology.


Chad Michael Murray (and every one of his utterly indifferent facial expressions) is finally returning to the CW.

The 37-year-old hasn't graced the network of teen dramas since starring as Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill from 2003-2012. On Friday, the CW announced he'd been cast in a recurring role on Riverdale.

Season 3 of the hit show explores the dangers of the Farm, a cult-like organization that's already ensnared Alice and Polly. Murray is set to play the mysterious cult leader, Edgar, as he makes his town debut. The CW teases: "As the enigmatic leader of the cult-like Farm, Edgar arrives in Riverdale to spread his teachings and heal the ravaged soul of this once wholesome town. Edgar is a charming, handsome guru, but is he hiding a more sinister agenda?"

Ecstatic fans on Twitter welcomed the addition...

One user posted, "Well riverdale continues to be a mess that i can't stop watching." Another commented, "Chad michael murray joining riverdale ? lmao trash joining trash." A third asked, "What?"

So it seems the news hasn't been appreciated by all. But give Chad Michael Murray a chance! We believe this busy A-list actor (2004's A Cinderella Story, 2012's To Write Love On Her Arms, numerous TV Movie darlings like Hallmark Channel's Road to Christmas) was born to play the part of a cult leader.

The proof speaks for itself:

Here he is impressing this unidentified young woman with how successful he made Hilary Duff's music career.

Here he is giving a speech at a national rally for Skinny Guys Who Wear Beanies, titled, "Aren't you tired of treating your head like a massive toe?"

This is a sample of Murray's self-help materials made available to his followers. "Sometimes you'll find love right where you left me, in the bathroom mirror every morning."

Every devoted follower of Chad Michael Murray receives a personalized Christmas card featuring the three most recent converts he's saved from Scientology.

Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.

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5 fitness classes the stars love

The red carpet is a reservation away!

Saying celebrities are fit is an understatement. From personal trainers to special diets, maintaining a star-studded physique can require hours of effort and thousands of dollars. If you're like us and can't shell out a month's worth of rent on fitness, you can always mix up once or twice a week by taking class. With so many studios offering first-timer specials and different apps that give you access to discounted classes, there's no reason to feel bored at your next sweat sesh. Take your favorite celeb's hint and get your endorphins going with one of these famous classes!

Indoor cycling

Cycling is an amazing cardio workout that moves through different resistance levels and choreography. A 45-minute class can burn up to 700 calories, and some are even rumored to change lives. The ever-infamous SoulCycle is attended by the likes of Lea Michele, Selena Gomez, Ellie Kemper, and Vanessa Hudgens. Because cycling classes are also offered at gyms across the nation there's no excuse not to give this trend a try!


Caiaimage/Justin Pumfrev

Designed to tone long and lean muscles, this dance-inspired workout is an ideal next step for mat pilates lovers and those looking to cross-train. Mindy Kaling loves following up a run with Pop Physique, a barre workout that is as sexy as it is effective. Chrissy Tiegen opts for Physique 57, a studio that also offers online classes for those looking to get their model-inspired fix.


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Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Gina Rodriguez all jab it out in the ring. Boxing is a full-body workout, so it's no wonder these ladies are able to maintain some serious musculature whether they're on the runway or the red carpet.


Sergei Kozak

Like barre, pilates builds lean and toned muscles. Many also reports its benefits on posture and general well-being. Stars like Jemima Kirke and Hilary Duff love reformer pilates. If you're looking to test drive what all the fuss is about, you can also tuck your way to a perfect rear in a mat pilates class!

Dance cardio

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Jenna Dewan Tatum and EJ Johnson both love to shake it out on the dance floor. Dance cardio is super fun, and with Zumba classes popping up everywhere you look there's somewhere to get your grapevine on!

Whatever celeb's footsteps you decide to follow in, committing to a new class or routine is an amazing way to stay in shape and feel red carpet ready even if you're just stepping out to get the mail.

Taylor Hill

It's official. Hilary Duff's music career is on the edge of glory. After a swirl of rumors last fall, popular fan account @HilaryNews uncovered the truth earlier this week: the iconic pop singer and TV actress has inked a new management deal with tastemaker Scooter Braun. As fans will undoubtedly already know, this is the mastermind behind the global success of Justin Bieber, as well as involvement with Carly Rae Jepsen, Ariana Grande, Kanye West, Tori Kelly and countless others.

If only this development could have come sooner. #JusticeForAllAboutYou #JusticeForSparks #JusticeForBreatheInBreatheOut

In an interview with The Daily Beast last October, in promotion of the new Jem and the Holograms flick starring Aubrey Peeples, Braun unwittingly name checked Duff as one of his clients. When discussing how the titular character related to his female roster, he said, "Two of my other clients also experienced a similar thing, because I think women experience it differently than guys do. Justin was definitely off of YouTube, so there were comparisons [to Jem]. Hilary Duff saw it and said, 'I relate to this completely, because I remember being that girl.'"

He continued, "Ariana Grande was the same way. The way Jerrica goes through it and it just happens so quickly, you don't know if you want that many cameras on you. I've lived it because I've managed so many acts in that age range."

Not only has the songstress been teasing new tunes on her socials the past few months, but she told AOL in June that "music is such a part of my life and my makeup, though, that I don't think I'll ever stop doing it," she said. "I just don't think it'll ever be on the scale that it used to be. I was in the studio a week ago just messing around, though, and I'm working with a new manager, so it's definitely still going on. It's just a little bit on the back burner."

Meanwhile, Duff is readying the third season of her popular and acclaimed TV Land series, Younger. The show officially returns Sept. 28 and airs at 10/9c. Earlier this summer, the show was already renewed for a fourth season. "The show is a force in and of itself, so it's a no-brainer to renew it again," Keith Cox, executive vice president of development and original programming, said in a statement. "Critics and fans love it, and I know Darren [Star, creator of 'Sex and the City'] and the entire cast and crew behind 'Younger' will continue to deliver at the top of their game."

On the renewal, she gushed to AOL, too, "It feels so exciting! We got the call yesterday on set, and the producer came up to us and was like, 'Uh, Darren wants to talk to you on the phone.' And I was thinking, 'Oh no! What have I done wrong?!' But he told us we had just gotten picked up for season four. We hadn't even finished the first episode of season three, so we must be doing something right!"

Now, let us all bask in the greatness that could have been Sparks's total chart domination:


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Fandom Culture in 2016: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Pop came to life in 2015 through the lens of classic sounds of the '80s dance floor with a '90s grunge-rock vibe. From Taylor Swift's 1989 and Carly Rae Jepsen's robust EMOTION to breakout acts like Walk the Moon, dirty-pop enchantress Tove Lo and R&B-stylist The Weeknd, Top 40 became even more about how to live in the past as it did on how to prepare for the future. As part of this year's Pop Danthology, created by mastermind Daniel Kim, all of these artists (and countless others) are the backbone for the best, most explosive compilation to-date! "Since 2010, I have been making music mashups of the top songs of the year. My Pop Danthology 2012 went viral all over the world, reaching 10 million views in just three days (the original YouTube video currently stands at more than 70 million views). Every year now my Danthologies go viral," Kim writes. "For the first time, I am releasing two Danthologies at once. With music from all over the world becoming more and more accessible, it has become increasingly more challenging to satisfy my fans and fit in all of their many favourite songs in my year-end mashup."

He continues of this year's intriguing mashup (below), "I found myself cutting down so much of the original musical pieces just to 'jam' in as many songs as I could. Not only was the work process not as enjoyable this way but the resulting sound was more choppy. Although making two Danthologies took a lot more time (watch this video to see the breakdown of the time I put into the making of one Danthology), I enjoyed the work much more and I feel like each Danthology has much better flow than Danthologies from previous years."

Additional artists include Madonna, Ellie Goulding, Charlie Puth, Rachel PlattenAriana Grande, Ne-Yo, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Maroon 5, Selena Gomez, Hilary Duff and more. Can you pick out all the talent and hit records?!


Here is the mashup in two digestible parts:

Stay tuned for music updates. Be sure to follow @Popdust and @JasonTheScott on Twitter!