1) What drew you into acting?
I studied to be a Social Worker, but people would ask me why I never explored the entertainment field. So at the age of 41, I begin exploring acting. I started visiting film/TV sets with my acting mentor, Harold Dennis. I begin to learn the craft, however, I was still working in the school system, so I was limited in actually fully pursuing acting. SO, in July 2011, I made the courageous decision to leave Social Work and pursue acting full time. It has not been easy financially, but I wake up every day happy because I know that I am living my dream. I am on the set of some of the most popular TV shows: Empire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, just to name a few. I pinch myself sometimes while I am on set. I view the set as a classroom. I learn so much from observing the actors and directors.
2) Who are your top 5 actors/actresses?
3) Do you prefer having a comedy or drama role?
I prefer drama. Many people find that odd because I am always telling jokes and laughing. So comedy comes naturally. Drama makes me stretch my acting muscles.
4) How long have you been acting?
I have been acting since July 2011 after I left my career as a School Social Worker. I have not looked back since.
5) Any advice for those that may want to pursue acting?
First, you must have a PASSION for the craft. If you DON'T, you will give up within a week! You must be able to withstand rejection and criticism. 2) Learn your craft. Acting classes/workshops. Be on the lookout for free classes. Green Shirt Studio occasionally offers free classes. For the month of August, they are offering free workshops every Friday from 7-9pm. Get on YouTube and research acting techniques. I subscribe to Amy Jo Berman. She not only offers excellent advice for actors, but also free webinars. 3) Get as much experience as possible: Do extra work, student projects, independent films, and ANYTHING that allows you to develop and strengthen your acting chops. 4) Networking: attend events that allows you the opportunity to meet filmmakers and fellow actors. You can find many of these events on FB. 5) Join the various acting groups on FB. I have found them very helpful in finding projects and meeting individuals in the film/tv community.
6) Please explain the grind of acting to those that may see it as easy.
It is definitely a grind, BUT if you have a passion, you will LOVE the grind. YES, discouragement comes, but you keep going! You experience rejection, even when you believe that you KILLED an audition, only to be told that you didn't get the role. Endure criticism. Experience LONG hours on set. I just worked on set of the new Obama movie and I worked 5pm to 5am. You have to be able to endure harsh conditions. During the filming of Chiraq, we had days that were extremely hot. During the filming of an episode of Chicago Fire, it was -10. BUT the show must go on! You spend a lot of time away from family and friends. I don't mean to highlight the negatives, but I don't think individuals realize the hard work and effort that goes into pursuing the dream of acting. People sit at home and watch a 45 minute show and don't realize that it takes anywhere from 10-14 hours to make one episode. Despite my above comments, I LOVE every minute of it. I get a rush when I am on set. IT IS MY PASSION. However, I keep a balance. My faith in God keeps me strong. I have a spiritual mentor at my church (Apostolic Faith Church-Bishop Horace Smith, M.D.) Evangelist Tony McCloud who helps keep me centered. She prays with me and provides me with sound advice based on the Word of God. I also volunteer at homeless shelters and skilled living facilities. The entertainment industry can be ROUGH, so one must have a positive outlet.
7) Any upcoming projects?
I am currently working on securing representation. That involves a lot of research. Creating a demo reel, a resume, and having an awesome headshot. I am constantly auditioning. I recently auditioned for a feature film. Other than that, continuing to learn my craft, networking, and gaining experience on set.