Did you grow up wanting to be an actress? If so, what things helped you achieve your goals?
I did grow up wanting to be an actress, ever since Beverly Hills 90210 came on the air. It was determination and commitment that helped me achieve my goals. I wasn’t a great actress, or even a good actress at that when I first started out at the young age of 9. I was scared and fearful to even speak and stand outside of the chorus. I kept falling on my face but I kept getting right back up. I’m not sure what I was thinking as a kid but I was driven to be on the stage. The universe kept calling to me and telling me to push through and not to give up. It was my purpose to create art and inspire others in the process.
Were friends and family encouraging about your acting goals?
My family was supportive in coming to my shows from elementary to college but they didn’t really want me to pursue it as a profession initially. It’s a very tough profession and you have to love it, not for the fame or money, but for the art and the collaborative beauty of it. You never know when the next job is going to come and there’s a lot of rejection involved, day in and day out. It’s a very unstable profession, but if you have passion and love for it, you’ll always be fulfilled.
What is one myth about actresses that you try to dispel?
The myth about actresses that I try to dispel is that Hollywood only wants a certain type of woman on the screen. We have been working very hard for inclusiveness in our industry. We, as artists, are creating a reflection of the world and we are a world of many different colors and different sizes.
Which is more important: training, talent or knowing someone?
I believe you need a balance in everything. You should always be working on your craft. We are students our entire lives. The day I stop learning is the day I die.
People look at networking the wrong way. They want to use people instead of looking at is as collaborating with people. When you are open to connecting with people on a deeper level, that’s when the world opens up to you and possibilities are endless.
How much time do you have to put into your trade?
It’s a full-time job. I eat, breath and sleep my trade. There is no Plan B.
Tell us about your toughest day as an actress?
The toughest days have been when I wake up depressed and defeated. I know those days will continue to happen. That’s when you have to reach out to your friends and family for support. Take the time to look at why you’re feeling that way, work through it, and get to the other side. That is where growth begins.
What about your best day?
I’ve learned to wake up knowing that there are endless possibilities ahead of me. I get to create something new and live my best life every day. Bonus, if it’s on set that day!
What is the toughest thing about acting?
The toughest thing about acting is continuing to put your energy into something that you don’t know exactly what the outcome will be. There isn’t a lot of instant gratification or acknowledgment. You have to be confident and trust that things will happen and release from the control of the how or when.
Do you get recognized and how does it make you feel?
I sometimes do. It feels good, because it’s the beginning of a new conversation and another way for me to connect with someone new.
What do you feel are your strengths as an actress?
Do you have an acting “Bucket list?”
I would love to work with Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, and Michael Caine one day. It would be a dream to look in their eyes and connect with them in the playground of acting.
Who are your inspirations?
My inspirations are Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, and Sharon Stone. They are strong, powerful, beautiful souls that push the boundaries in so many arenas.
Moulin Rouge is my favorite movie of all time but Black Panther is a very close second. They are very different movies but both about love. I am learning to always come from a place of love, because leaders lead from the heart. Moulin Rouge inspired me to love myself and follow my dreams and Black Panther inspired me to love others unconditionally.
What are some of your tips for aspiring actors/actresses?
Don’t give up! There is no right way to “make it.” Everyone has a different story and a different way they achieved their goals. It’s all about a plan of action and taking the first steps. You have to be in it for the long game. So many people think that it’s all going to happen for them without putting the work in. What you put in is what you get out. Success comes when opportunity meets preparations. It’s taken me over a decade to be where I’m at today and I still have far more to go.
Is it tough to balance acting and intimate relationships?
I think balancing intimate relationship is tough no matter what industry. I think it’s important you choose a partner that supports and respects what you do.
Is it easier to be in a relationship with another person in the entertainment industry?
I’m still figuring that one out. My last relationship was very triggered by me being in the industry. He was also in the industry but behind the camera. Again, your partner has to respect and honor your craft. As an actress and producer, I am constantly out meeting and working with a plethora of new people. There has to be complete trust and communication in your relationship.
What takes up your free time?
My free time is spent connecting with my community. If I’m not working on my craft, I’m connecting with my neighbors, local business owners, the children, the homeless, and my friends and family.
What are you working on next?
I’m so excited to tell you about my YouTube series “LA Happy” that I created with my co-host, Katina Nikou. It’s such a fun show about eliminating the happy hour search one bar at a time by exploring every nook and cranny in the greater Los Angeles and I get to do it with my best friend. You’ll be hooked once you watch. We can’t help but enjoy ourselves. It’s such a good time and we welcome you to come along and join us for the happiest hours in the day. @_lahappy_