October 2012 Archives  

31 October 2012

Erin Cummings' Charity Provides Warmth for Detroiters

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A moment can be a magical thing. A single act of kindness, a flash of genuine compassion, can inspire an individual to greater heights, alter the course of a life — even make a visitor fall in love with Detroit.

Consider actress Erin Cummings. (Yes, guys, we know. But try to focus.) While most of her belongings are in Los Angeles, Cummings lived nine months in New Zealand playing Sura, devoted and sexy wife of the title character on the Starz cable drama Spartacus: Blood and Sand. She’s currently attempting to grasp the rhythms of New York, where she's co-starring in the new CBS fall series Made in Jersey (Channel 62 in Detroit). Yet despite the nomadic nature of her profession, the time she spent absorbing Motown as Dr. Abbey Ward in the tragically short-lived ABC police saga Detroit 1-8-7 apparently left an indelible impression on her heart. Cummings can’t forget the Motor City, thanks in part to one extraordinary moment of caring.

It occurred Halloween night, 2010. Cummings was at the Southfield home of Kathi Moss, the cousin through marriage she never knew she had before coming to Detroit, helping to pass out treats at the front door. A mother arrived with her daughters. The youngest was crying because the night was brisk and she had lost a mitten. Instinctively, Moss went into the house, produced a pair of mittens she keeps "in case anyone's cold," and handed them to the child. Cummings was touched. "She thought it was this monumental thing, and to me it was just what I do," recalls Moss, a pediatric nurse. "I was stunned she was so moved by it."

"It was that small act of kindness, seeing the ripple effect," says Cummings, 35. "This girl is crying on Halloween and her mother is distraught. Now, because of a pair of mittens, all the girls are happy, a mother is able to enjoy her children, the memory of this Halloween will be a happy one instead of a cold or miserable one."

At that moment, Mittens for Detroit was born. To date, Cummings' community initiative — whose only mission is to collect and distribute new, unused mittens and gloves to children and adults in need — has gathered more than 10,000 pairs of warming hand helpers.

Her first move was to contact Detroit publicist Jason Brown, a man she knew only via Twitter through their mutual love of cupcakes. (Brown's clients include the Just Baked Cupcakes chain.) "I knew he was familiar with a lot of things around town, so I just called and said, 'What do you think?'" she says. "He said, 'I think it's a great idea, and you're going to need a website!'?" Brown paired her with a web designer who constructed the uplifting mittensfordetroit.org site virtually overnight.

Cummings then began talking to everyone she met around Detroit. "I said, 'The goal is really simple, I want to get gloves and give them to people who need them; could you help me?'" she explains. One chance encounter landed her a face-to-face meeting at the Michigan Box Company in Detroit, where 200 drop boxes were fabricated for the cause. Further conversations got the boxes placed in diverse locations such as ACO Hardware stores and Emagine Theatres.

Then she made in-person visits to such charitable organizations as Covenant House Michigan, COTS (Coalition on Temporary Shelter), and the Michigan Veterans Foundation to ensure the mittens got into — and onto — the right hands. "I could have just driven around giving gloves to people, but why would anyone have reason to trust me?" she asks. Among the agencies she charmed was the North Woodward Community Foundation, which placed Mittens under its 503(c) umbrella so contributions are tax deductible.

Cummings launched Mittens during a period of considerable personal hardship. First, of course, was Detroit 1-8-7's cancellation. "When a show's been canceled, it's like going through a breakup," she says. "And you were 100 percent the one who was dumped." Then her finances went in the Dumpster.

"My 2011 was very dark, in part because I had a business manager who was very unethical," Cummings says. "It was that classic story of an actor who gets a job, makes money, then wakes up one day and not only is broke, but in debt. That was me! I mean, there's a reason why my mother is my business manager now." To compound matters, Andy Whitfield, who starred as Spartacus to Cummings' Sura, died that September. "We knew from the very beginning that the show would fail if the love between Spartacus and Sura was not believable,"she says. "When Andy died, I allowed Sura to die with him."

She has channeled her off-camera energies into Mittens, and as its third winter approaches, an increasing number of local companies are gathering donations of mittens or cash from their employees during the holidays. One health class at Troy'soulan Park Middle School raised enough money last year to donate 400 pairs. But why is Cummings doing this? And why Detroit?

"I think that the combination of the devastation the city has gone through and the mistakes of the past that people are trying very hard to rectify, there's still a spirit there," she says. "Every person I met was so unlike the stereotypes I had heard. That spirit of Detroit that people talk about — it's still there. That's what is exciting to me. That's what makes me want to continue learning about the city.

"It also helps that I've established a family there. [Dr. George Blum, a local pediatrician, is Moss' father.] I'm from Texas, but I go back to Huntsville once a year. I go to Detroit once a month. And the charity isn't paying for that. Last year when I was broke, I still managed to scrape together enough to get the cheapest flight so I could continue helping the city in my small way.

"Now when people ask, 'Where are you from?' I say, 'I'm from Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York.' Because that’s my existence."



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14 October 2012

Mittens for Detroit Jewelry Collection by Erin Cummings

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The Mittens for Detroit Fine Jewelry Collection by Erin Cummings offers ladies the opportunity to support Mittens for Detroit in two ways. First, by wearing the jewelry and talking about it, you can help us spread the message about the important need for gloves and warmth in Detroit during the winter. Second, the profits from every piece from the collection will be used to purchase gloves for Detroit charities. The Mittens for Detroit Fine Jewelry Collection proudly manufactured by Combine International of Troy, Michigan.

Click here to purchase jewelry

 

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10 October 2012

CBS Pulls Made in Jersey

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The fall TV season has seen its first casualty.

CBS has pulled Made in Jersey from its Friday-night lineup and will replace it with new episodes of Undercover Boss beginning Nov. 2, the network announced Wednesday.

NCIS reruns will take over the show's time slot, Friday night at 8 p.m., this week and on Oct. 26. On Oct. 19, it will be replaced by a rerun of Hawaii Five-0.

Made in Jersey, about a young attorney (Janet Montgomery) who tries to juggle her career at a high-powered Manhattan law firm with her brash Italian family back in New Jersey, struggled in its first two outings and was the lowest-rated new series of the fall.

A CBS spokesperson would not confirm that the lineup shuffle means the show has been definitively canceled, but it's a pretty safe bet.

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5 October 2012

Hometown girl stars in new TV show

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Lights, camera, action.

From humble beginnings in Huntsville school plays, local girl Erin Cummings has climbed her way up the ladder of success in Hollywood to a series regular on this fall's CBS legal drama, "Made in Jersey."

Cummings was last seen as a guest star on the USA series "Common Law," and the TNT series, "Major Crimes." She also recently completed filming the 2013 drama, "The Iceman," starring Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, James Franco and Winona Ryder.

Over the course of her career, she has starred on ABC’s "Detroit 187," the Starz epic drama "Spartacus," as well as recurring roles on Pan Am and Mad Men.

"Made in Jersey," throws the Texas girl into the role of Bonnie, a tough-talking no-nonsense Jersey nail technician.

"'Made in Jersey' is CBS doing what CBS does best -- which is procedural legal drama," Cummings said. "However, the different thing about “Made in Jersey," is we incorporate a great deal of humor and a heartwarming family story line that sets it apart. I love Bonnie because she's brash, fun and unapologetically sexy. She really doesn't try to hide who she is.”

Cummings' character is a divorced single mother with an ex-husband, a 'baby daddy,' and a new boyfriend.

"She has a spotty track record with men and a history of dating the wrong guy," she said. "We'll see in this week's episode, Bonnie's dating a guy she feels is the right type of guy. What we realize is no matter how great someone is, Bonnie's going to have to try to find someone who works for her."

In contrast to her character, Cummings has it all together with a successful career and bright future. She splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, where the show is filmed.

"The advice I have for anyone who says, 'I want to pursue a career in entertainment,' is you have to move to Los Angeles," she said. "At the end of the day, that is where all the projects are being cast out of. For every one movie shot in Texas, there are hundreds shot in Los Angeles in all ranges of budgets."

Cummings, who earned a journalism degree from the University of North Texas, was spotted by an LA talent scout while performing in a Dallas community theater performance. Her acting career, however, began in Huntsville.

"(Huntsville educator) Marjean Creager gave me my first starring role as the white witch in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." She taught us how much fun acting could be," Cummings said. “She taught us to constantly find joy in what we were doing. She also helped us realize the heart and the emotion of what we were doing. When I was in school I also did HEAP plays every summer, which was great experience. I really enjoyed that process, hanging out backstage and developing a character.”



To give back, Cummings founded the charity Mittens for Detroit in November of 2010. The charity provides new gloves and mittens to children, seniors and veterans in need during the winter. For more information, visit www.mittensfordetroit.org or find Cummings on Twitter @erinlcummings.

The second episode of "Made in Jersey," airs at 8 p.m. Friday after "CSI:NY." The show also stars Donna Murphy, Kyle McLachlan and Janet Montgomery. The pilot episode can be viewed at www.cbs.com.


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4 October 2012

Erin and Toni Trucks tweeting live during Oct. 5 Ep of Made in Jersey

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Erin and her Made in Jersey co-star Toni Trucks will be live tweet during an all-new episode of Made in Jersey Friday, October 5th at 9pm ET/6pm PT!

Follow at CBS Connnect

On Twitter:

@ErinLCummings
@ToniTrucks
@MadeinJerseyCBS


 

 

1 October 2012

Gallery Update - Made in Jersey

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Added episodic stills for the first 2 eps of Made in Jersey to the gallery:

Made in Jersey stills


 

 

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