Current Project: Studio 11 Films’ Rhythm, an 11 Eleven 11 Project. A feature film titled Finding Forever In Love
Where you were born/where you were raised? Washington, D.C. … Chocolate City baby!
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Why did you take this role?
I was affected by Alisa’s story after reading it, and although I had not experienced her loss, I could identify with how that level of trauma and turmoil could cause a ripple effect on a person mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I could also completely connect with her need to mask what she really feels in dealing with her obstacles.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
Yes. The founder/director of the “Children’s Urban-Arts Ensemble” Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., Mischelle Fonville-Johnson, I thank her for exposing me to the arts and theater. Not only was I exposed at such a young age, but also arts and theater weren’t something we had access to. I was a member of CUE from age seven and throughout high school.
Because of it, I grew out of my shell, built confidence, discovered talents I wasn’t even aware existed, and made lifelong friends. Where else could I have the exhilarating experience of stopping on a corner of the streets of Manhattan, and performing a dance to “Brand New Day,” from The Wiz with my ensemble? It was like a scene straight out of Fame — a day I’ll never forget!
The one movie — attended — that you will never forget:
When A Man Loves A Woman — I’m a sucker for a love story. This movie really affected me because I feel it captures the essence of the emotional roller coaster life and relationships can take you through and the impact of your decisions on others. I felt that the characters were sincere and mirrored reality. I found myself in awe of Andy Garcia’s role — the adoration he had for his wife ran so deep. I fell in love with his character.
Your personal acting idols: Ruby Dee, Charlize Theron, Meryl Streep, Don Cheadle, Denzel Washington — I love watching their work.
Last good movie you saw: The Help
Some films you consider classics: A Raisin In The Sun, X, Terms of Endearment, Roots
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Kindred the Family Soul … my favorite group/performers hands down.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Reality TV. I know … head buried in the sand
Favorite cities: Washington, D.C.; Negril; New Orleans
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Candy Girl by New Edition
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
The moment I decided I was more than willing to risk my dream corporate job to go to auditions and bookings. I couldn’t say no and was miserable if I had to. I never watched the clock on set because I was in heaven [but] corporate … not so much.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Accidentally hitting the back of my head on a cabinet on stage, but I pushed through it, all while seeing stars and having an excruciating headache.
Most challenging role you have played:
“M’Lynn” in the stage play Steel Magnolias. My initial challenge was getting the audience to release their attachment to the incomparable Sally Field’s portrayal of M’Lynn in the film version. Also, it was important to me that if there was a mother in the audience, on any given night, who had experienced the loss of her child, that she felt an authentic connection with and empathy for M’Lynn during her grieving process.
Being a mother who could not begin to grasp what that loss would mean to me, my greatest challenge was the process of allowing myself to discover that place of anguish and pain and to revisit it night after night. I literally had to detox after the play ended and until this day, when I speak about that role or those scenes, I well up [with tears]. I have yet to have a role that completely enveloped me like that one. It seems I am connected to her for life.
Worst job you ever had: Waitress
Career you would want if not a performer: A chef
Three things you can’t live without: Only three? Let’s see … God’s mercy, family, affection and, if I can squeeze a fourth one, instinct.