Tag Archives: hollywood

chuck wepner

#HipNJ Speaks With Chuck Wepner (HipNJ Exclusive)

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino had the opportunity to speak with former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner, who is known as the inspiration for the Rocky movies.

“I lived in Bayonne all my life, and I liked to play sports a lot,” the Jersey native says of his upbringing. Wepner got out of US Marine Corps in 1959 and joined Golden Gloves tournament in New York. He became a Golden Gloves heavyweight champion, a first for anyone from New Jersey. “The rest is history,” he states.

Wepner’s career took off quickly, as he went from training in a gym in Bayonne to travelling all over the world. He fought in England, Tokyo, Puerto Rico and more. “I didn’t try to dodge anybody,” he says on never turning down a fight.

In 1975, Wepner fought Muhammad Ali. “That was the only fight I ever trained for full-time,” he says. “I gave my best shot, but I just wasn’t good enough to beat Muhammad Ali.” The fight, which lasted fifteen rounds, changed his life forever. “After the fight, the world changed for me,” Wepner says. He went into the fight as an underdog, and came out of it as a respected heavyweight.

Shortly after, Wepner retired as the oldest guy in the heavyweight division. To this day, Wepner remains in good health. “There aren’t too many guys left from my era,” he says. Wepner, on the other hand, still goes to the gym. “I consider myself pretty lucky to be in the good condition that I’m in at this age.”

Over the years, Hollywood has taken an interest in Wepner’s story. He provided inspiration for Rocky, and ESPN aired a documentary titled “The Real Rocky” in 2011. “You have to keep yourself alive,” he states. He has done just that, as his fight with Ali is still a topic of conversation.

About a month before Rocky came out, Wepner received a call on which he was told that Sylvester Stallone had written a movie inspired by him. He was invited to see the film, which went on to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Chuck is a new film featuring Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts and Elisabeth Moss that tells Wepner’s story. He was extremely involved in the production, from casting to going through scripts. The film is currently in limited release, but will soon go national.

Wepner has lived in Bayonne 77 out of his 78 years. “I like it here,” he says, noting the accessibility of both New York City and the shore. He currently works at Carlstadt-based Allied Beverage Group. “If you don’t move, you lose,” he says.

golden globes

Golden Globes Fashion Recap

The 73rd Golden Globes had an abundance of flashy moments, but the most glamourous occasions happened before the show even started!

The Globes’ red carpet did not disappoint our resident fashionista, #HipNJ Lifestyle Correspondent Maria Falzo.  Here are her picks of the night’s best dressed:

1. Jennifer Lopez


J.Lo stunned (doesn’t she always!?) in a marigold-caped Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown with a ruched waist and high-slit.  She also donned 200 carats of Harry Winston diamonds, sparkly silver Jimmy Choo heels and a Judith Leiber clutch.

2. Alicia Vikander


Hollywood’s newest It Girl kept it all Louis Vuitton, right down to her jewelry. She wore a simple apron-front dress with ruffles and shimmering piping.

3. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley


Gold was one of the hottest colors of the evening, and no one else pulled it off like the Victoria’s Secret model in Saint Laurent Couture.

During the pre-show extravaganza, #HipNJ live blogged the festivities.  Based on your responses, YOUR best dressed was Golden Globe winner Lady Gaga in custom Versace!  (She also won best accessory with her smoking hot fiancé, Taylor Kinney!)

The most glam couple on the #redcarpet hands-down is #LadyGaga and @TaylorKinney ? #GoldenGlobes #Bravo #Versace

A photo posted by Hip New Jersey (@hip_nj) on

Rising Stars: Nikki Stanzione

Nikki Stanzione is a Hollywood force to be reckoned with, and we were super honored to host her at the #HipNJ studios!

This West Orange native is a true “five tool player”- she sings, acts, hosts and much more! She chatted with Lisa Marie Latino about her vast career that spans both US coasts.

After graduating Rutgers University, Nikki made the bold move to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams.  Soon after settling in LA, she was regularly featured on the soap opera “All My Children”, and recurred as “Cynthia” on “Young and the Restless”.

After her soap opera stints ended, Nikki took her talents to Miami. During her time in South Florida, she appeared regularly in the musical comedy “Laffing Matterz”.  She also hosted a national daily live interactive game show, “My Games Fever,” which was seen nationally on MyNetwork TV.

These experiences, among many other endeavors, launched her into her biggest role to date- as host of “New Mexico Style,” on the Southwest FOX affiliate, 2 KASA FOX. It was there she interviewed the biggest and brightest personalities in the country, and asserted herself as one of the industry’s best presenters.

Currently, Nikki is staring in Off-Broadway, is penning a novel and recording music.

For any up-and-coming entertainer, this is a must-see segment; hearing Nikki’s story will motivate you to keep on your path to stardom!

For more on Nikki Stanzione, please visit her website.