Tell me a little about your background? Where you are originally from and how did that journey lead you to where you are located today?
I was born in Seattle Washington and grew up in Louisiana. Coming from the projects in an all-black community and growing up with five siblings, it really exposed me to many experiences. My mother is Jewish and my father is Black, so it truly shaped the majority of my perspectives in life. I don’t just see black and white, I learned early to seek humanity in all things. My mother was disowned because she didn’t marry a Jewish man. I didn’t know any other way of being but what I witnessed around me. I know I was called for more and GOD had truly made me this way. I would soon learn from my future stepfather that I would have to work hard if I was going to go anywhere in life. We didn’t come from money, so education and scholarships were the only options in our house. My stepfather’s military background was very paramount in my upbringing and he really pushed me towards setting goals. I was a scholar and played sports. I started cheerleading in the 5th grade and continued all the way through college. I attended Northwestern State University on a Track, Cheerleading and Theater scholarship. I eventually moved from Louisiana to Houston, Texas where I danced professionally for the Houston Comets and the Houston Rockets. One day a former teammate from my rival school called me to tell me that there was a new movie coming out and she thought I would be perfect for the role. That is how I got into the acting business.
What inspired you to be an actor?
As a college student, I genuinely wanted to learn more about acting. I wanted to learn all the details and the mechanics of it. I didn’t know anything about movies, but I wanted to be in them. I love telling stories. I’m a storyteller! I love making people laugh and I knew what I wanted to do as a kid, but I was talked out of it. I knew I had a gift and the ability to make people laugh. As a kid, I would make my own commercial home video’s about tennis shoes and breakfast cereals. What truly inspired me was the movie Hook with late Robin Williams. There was a scene in Never Never Land where they imagined food and a table full of desserts and I used to do that as a kid. It reminded me of how I would imagine I was in better surroundings with plenty to eat!
How do you prepare for a role?
My first job is knowing who the writer is. I research who the creators or writers of the scripts are for pacing purposes. I like to understand their vision. Then there is the breakdown process. This is where I create the world of the character through the words. My heart is attached to each word of the character so I’m not memorizing anything. I am speaking the only words this character could possibly say. I studied at Imagined Life Studio, school of acting. Having that background has helped me in preparing for my roles and the development of my craft.
was your favorite role?
I have two favorite roles. I loved both roles for opposite reasons. The first role was a web-series called “The Process” on Afroland T.V. It’s a beautiful story of a young couple that are both actors and then the woman turns into a social worker and the experience of life’s dreams getting in the way of their relationship goals. The other role was in the T.V. show Castle. I got to do a scene running in heels from zombies! I got a standing ovation from the cast and film crew in that role. "But the most memorable part was Stana Katic's advocacy on my behalf to be well cared for on set.”
What role would you like to play?
I would love to play a professor at a HBCU. It’s important to me that who I am as a person and the stories I tell are in alignment.
What films have you appeared in?
I’ve appeared in more television shows than movies, however here’s some of my work:
THE MISTRESS HUNTER
BROKEN: A MUSICAL
AGAINST THE GRAIN
STOMP THE YARD 2
What was your misconception of acting in film?
Honestly, thinking I had to take on every role. A lot of people know what they won’t do, but never know what they will do is what my manager told me. I wanted to leave a legacy I was proud of so I started to take on projects that my nieces and nephews could watch me in. I had to be mindful of my spirit while trusting GOD in the stories he wants me to tell. It’s all about the story and sitting on the casting side of the business is so different. You can see the difference of knowing your brand and knowing your essence!
How was your first experience ever being in a film?
I was so laser focused on what I was doing, I didn’t know enough to challenge myself to ask why I was doing this movie?
Do you see yourself acting for the rest of your life?
No, unless I’m on a show that I absolutely love that allows me to keep a balanced lifestyle.
Has your love for acting increased or decreased through the years? Why?
The act of storytelling I absolutely love! There is a part of me that is going to be very excited to expound over the same story for multiple years. Deepening my heart's relationship to one character is something I would love to do.
Were there any other family members also interested in the arts?
My mother was and my biological father was very artistic! He draws, sings, and writes. I learned that about him later in life.
What aspect of being an independent actor is the most rewarding and what part would you find the most challenging?
It is one in the same actually. My learning always turns me into a teacher. Learning how to do everything and learning the business side. Printing company, headshots etc., Getting on the same level with your peers and getting all the same resources in your hands. Directing, lighting, and learning all the levels of this business is both rewarding and challenging.
What are your future plans regarding your acting career?
My plan is to be on a T.V. series with an ensemble cast.
Do you plan to become a sag/aftra actor/actress or are you just fine with being a free spirit independent actor?
I am sag/aftra but comfortable either way. I don’t act for fame or celebrity status. I know mainstream provides a way for me to further reach and influence who I’m trying to reach.
What do you feel that are the positives and negative aspects of becoming a union actor?
Make sure your resume supports becoming a union actor. If you lack the skill and craft before going in that direction, work up to that level as close as you can. Then book something that can pay it back. It’s strategy. "You don't want to pay into something you aren't really prepared for."
What’s next for you?
Outside of acting, I’m the Community Wellness Outreach Chair of Melaninyogaproject https://www.melaninyogaproject.org/ my sister’s non-profit organization. We are leading the largest black yoga training with 2045 people! The tools to center your body and mind are especially important to practice. Taking every thought captive!
If you could give advice to someone just starting off in the movie industry, what would it be?
Consider the legacy you want to leave and work backwards. Find the drive that will help you do that! If your vision and legacy you want to leave includes other people and you focus on other people, it will push you. When those times come when it gets so hard and you hear too many no’s, and you don’t want to do it anymore, consider the other people, it will revive you!
Otherwise, you are doing it all by yourself and that’s boring.
Interview by: Samuel Thompson
Interview by: Samuel Thompson