Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I grew up in Northern Kentucky, where I spent my tomboy childhood playing sports and secretly writing poetry.
Though a southern girl at heart, I have embraced the gorgeous California sun, where I resides with my Mediterranean chef Husband and my cheeky little girl. When I’m not acting, I spend my time hosting the podcast That One Audition and championing female driven content.
What is it that you do, and what inspired you to do it?
I am an Actress. I love learning about the human condition and I love exploring the misunderstood elements of human nature.
I am a Podcaster. Other people’s stories inspire me. I was looking for a mentor at the beginning of my career. This format of interviewing other storytellers and actors pulls back the curtain on the survival skills that others have learned.
I am a storyteller. Basically, I am obsessed with a story and how art can inform life. For me it is about showing how the misunderstood can be understood. And truly that the entertainment of a story can inform you on how to be a better human being.
What project are you currently working on and what’s after that?
#FreeRayshawn was the project I just finished. A young, black Iraq War veteran named Rayshawn (Stephan James) finds himself in a showdown with the New Orleans SWAT team and tries to talk his way out of the situation with a sympathetic officer (Laurence Fishburne). This is one of Quibi studios first drama series. I am fortunate to play the district attorney who is instrumental in making a decision.
She’s in Portland is a gorgeous film where I play a dangerous character that has the writing on her skin. My True Fairytale is another film that is based on a true story of a young girl who made a substantial impact on her community. Currently, I am working on launching the second season of my podcast That One Audition. Previous guests include Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Monaghan, Lucy Hale, Jason Momoa, Katheryn Winnick, Chris Sullivan and 100 more Hollywood Influencers and Storytellers. With the launch of the second season, I will be providing an online course to help actors in their first year of “work”. Whether they are coming out of conservatory, returning to their career after a hiatus or beginning to make actions towards their dreams this course will help them figure out the business of the first year of being a working actor. Finally, I am launching my production company this year with the focus on true stories with a strong female content.
What was the happiest moment of your life? And the saddest?
The first six weeks after my daughter was born. I have never felt happier. It was a joy that was everlasting and I attribute to the natural birth. The saddest moment was the loss of my best friend. It was a death. Death is the saddest part of life. It is no longer as you want it to be. Life is eternally changed.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
My daughter. My witchy tribe of gorgeous women.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life so far?
You can do anything, if you work at it.
You only fail if you don’t try.
Money will follow your heart.
You seek to repeat a cycle till you have the awareness to break it.
You really don’t know anything at all.
Breathing will bring you into any moment.
Don’t stop at the pain, breath through the pain.
Feeling is healing.
Listen more than you talk.
What is your earliest memory?
Running through a field with tall grass. I could barely see over the grass. I was looking for dandelions to blow in the wind. I remember giggling and feeling so free. I was probably 2.5 and in my favorite overalls. There is a picture of this day. It’s one of my most treasured memories.
What are you most proud of?
My resilience. When others have gone low, I have gone high. When someone tells me I can’t, I do. I have had something inside me that has protected my ideas and soul’s purpose from a very early age. I know how to step back, use intuition to assess a situation and a person and proceed forward with a deep understanding of what will provide me the light to my path.
When in life have you felt most alone?
After the death of one of my best friends in high school. It was a depth of despair and disconnectedness from reality that I have never understood. It took me a year to see myself engaging with others again. I was afraid of death. I was afraid of losing someone or something else that I cared for so deeply. It broke me.
If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be?
The birth of my child. When we looked into each other’s eyes I knew we had known each other for lifetimes, and she was going to be my greatest teacher. In that exact moment, I also realized the strength of my spirit and body. I birthed her naturally. The emotions that flooded my triumph and teamwork is something I want to remember for always.
Has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
Yes. It has taken more turns and landed me exactly here. I never thought of being a mother, a podcaster, a storyteller. I dreamed of being an actor without really knowing what the day to day would look like. Now I am here, and every day is different, adventurous, treacherous, inspiring and shocking. Being a mother has taught me the mortality that hangs in each of our hearts but can only be understood once another human being exits your body. My heart literally walks outside my body now. Everyday, I am in awe in what I learn from my daughter about my younger self and now as the woman I am. Different is always a good thing for me. I embrace different!
How would you like to be remembered?
Being a light in the room. A caring person who did her best to tell the stories that made the misunderstood understood. Who gave empathy and a voice to those that feel isolated and alone. A person that gave great inspiration for you to do “it” whatever that “it” may be in your life. An infectiously FUN person with a resilient spirit and a good witchy vibe.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes, but I try to keep them in a place of “what did I learn” instead of regret. Regret means you want to go back and do it all over again, which I sometimes in times of despair relive and nothing comes of it other than self-sabotaging behavior. I like to categorize these moments as mistakes. Mistakes means something I can learn from and do different next time. If I went back and “redid” my regrettable moments would I be here right now??
What are your hopes for what the future holds for you?
I do my best to stay present and I try not to see what the future has in store as to not create anxiety of what will or will not come. I focus on the now being prosperous, fun, connective and adventurous. Right now, I am loving the freedom my creativity instills in me. I am loving watching my daughter find her voice and discovering who she is. I am loving going deeper into my characters and finding a different strength in studying human behavior. I am loving storytelling and seeking other people’s lives for inspiration. For example in my podcast That One Audition, in my writing of true stories, in my character development, etc.
If you could interview anyone from your life living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
My great grandmother. She appears in many of my readings. Many healers, mystics and tarot card readers say that she is a strong presence around me. I would want to know about her life coming to the states from Italy. I would want to know specifically why she chooses to protect me.
Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
Hunter. I seek.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
The swirl crayon…a mix of all your favorite colors. Maybe it would be a tie dyed crayon. I think there are so many parts of me that show up daily. I am not just one thing, one mood, one role…every moment I vacillate between emotions, roles, and responsibilities. I love being able to change with the wind and embrace my feminine qualities.
If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Bird, I would love to fly and glide over the world. Everything seems “smaller” and beautiful.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
Crystals. I love the energy force of crystals and rocks. I think they are the best present that continue to give energetic love and attention in the areas of life that you need for the best alignment.
What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Don’t F**k with Cats (Hunting an Internet Serial Killer). Dark. I know. I am developing a scripted podcast about True Crime in Los Angeles in the 1920’s and I have been discovering different forms of storytelling that create suspense while unfolding the story. This documentary was recommended by a friend because of its chilling and interesting storytelling. Warning, the subject and visuals are haunting and hard to get out of your system.
Any advice for your previous boss?
“Don’t mistake your presence for the event.” -Laurence Fishburne.
Tell us something about your last job, other than money, that would have inspired you to keep working there.
I love my job, but sometimes it doesn’t last long. Acting is something that comes and goes with the time length of the project. My last project (#FreeRayshawn) I had the privilege of sharing the screen with Laurence Fishburne. Everyday, between setups, he would inspire me with stories of his youth, decisions he had made in his career, how to live life differently by sharing his mistakes. It was the most paternal, synergetic working environment I’ve ever had the experience to sink into. I wish every day that project would have lasted at least a year!
How would your friends describe you?
Ambitious, Spiritual, Witchy, Loyal, Funny, Resilient
How would you convince someone to do something they didn’t want to do?
Pros and cons, extreme enthusiasm
What’s your favorite word?
What’s your least favorite word?