Congratulations on your recent win of Best Supporting Actress. Can you tell our readers more details about your win?
Thank you! Sure, I was given the award at Brightside Tavern Film Festival, where we had the New Jersey premiere of “Maturing Youth” [from R&F Entertainment]. Brightside is one of my favorite local festivals. I’ve been attending for a few years now and it kind of feels like a home away from home.
What does this award mean to you?
[This award] means a lot. As I mentioned, I’ve been a patron of Brightside for a few years now so I’ve met a lot of people there. I think more than anything the award made me feel embraced and supported by the local filmmaking community. There were so many people in the audience whose work I’ve come to know and admire so it was really special to receive the award in such an encouraging environment.
You won over a Golden Globe, Emmy nominee, and Tony Award-winning actress. How does that make you feel?
That’s nice of you to say, but I don’t look at it that way at all. My fellow nominees are extremely talented and accomplished, to say the least. I’m honored to be mentioned in the same breath as them and if I can attain even a fraction of their level of success, I’ll consider myself very lucky. I don’t know how I took home this award, but I’m very grateful.
Is this your first acting award? If so, expand on how this award can affect your career and opportunities.
I was part of a cast that won “Best Ensemble” at Brightside in the summer of 2018. It was for the short film “Casting Chloe,” directed by Jennifer Marie. But this was my first solo acting award. I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to affect my career, but I think for sure it will get my name in front of more people. Time will tell!
How are you going to celebrate this great achievement?
By working hard and moving forward! It’s definitely not a time to rest on my laurels. I’m immensely grateful for this recognition and don’t want to take it for granted.
What was the process of your career like getting to this moment in your life?
I’ve acted on and off since high school. I started out as a theater major in college and then switched to political science. After college, I started a music booking agency and did that full time for about seven years. So my career has taken many twists and turns. But I finally decided to pursue acting full time in the summer of 2015. [Acting] is what I always wanted to do but I was held back by fear. Finally, I said enough is enough. I was doing everything under the sun except for the one thing I always wanted to do. So I told myself I’d pursue acting 100% for one year and give it the try it deserved. I didn’t set out with huge lofty goals, I just wanted to be in one New York City play and to have one speaking part in a feature film. I told myself that if I could accomplish those two things in one year, then I would consider my effort a success and I’d be free to decide to move on to other career choices if I wanted to. Within months of making that decision, I was cast as a lead in my first New York City play and then about five months later I was cast as the lead in
the feature film, Death At A Barbecue (which is now streaming on Amazon Prime). I decided to stick with it and I’m incredibly happy that I gave it a chance. Festivals like Brightside have definitely shaped my experience. I’ve met so many amazing filmmakers at local festivals and it’s how I’ve gotten a lot of my work.
Tell us about the film and what it means to you?
For me, Maturing Youth is about the miracles that can happen when we focus on the needs of others instead of ourselves. Sometimes when we give up our own selfish wants, we think of it as a sacrifice, when truly, we can gain so much by helping others. The more we move outside of our comfort zones of generosity, the more blessings we open ourselves up to.
What was the experience like getting into your Award-winning performance and your process of getting into character, and the techniques you used to achieve her traits/personality?
I spent a lot of time trying to understand where Sadie [the character Kim plays in the film] was coming from and why she made the decisions that got her to where she was at the start of the film. My techniques are pretty straightforward. I use a mixture of memory and imagination – taking the situation of the character and infusing it with memories of my own past. I also use my imagination to relive key moments in my characters past so I can work with vivid memories when acting out my scenes. My acting coach, Anthony Abeson, calls it “Fleshing it Out” and it’s incredibly helpful.
What were the most difficult aspects of your character and taking on this role?
I think the most difficult aspect of playing Sadie was trying to understand her. She’s a complicated character. Yes, she was a single mom but not because the dad left her on her own – she’s the one who left town when she found out she was carrying Roger’s son. She didn’t even let him know, let alone ask for help. So I feel like she had a lot of demons relating to a sense of pride and a strong ego that prevented her from asking for help. Of course, as an actor, it’s not my job to judge my character, it’s my job to understand them and tell their story. But Sadie’s definitely not the victim – it’s Junior that was born into the world with two parents who struggle with putting him first.
What would you tell your younger self with the information of what you know now in your life?
I’d tell my younger self not to run away from the person I was meant to be. And if anybody can do it, you can do it. I remember listening to the wedding ceremony of Kate Middleton and Prince William. The priest said something like, “Do what your heart was meant to do, and you will set the world on fire.” That statement sent chills throughout my body. It’s so true! I believe that when we do the things that make us feel happiest, our spirits become elevated – we raise our vibe and it affects ourselves and others in a positive way.
Any words of wisdom to all aspiring actresses out there?
Don’t let anyone else’s limiting beliefs get in the way of you following your dreams. When people express doubt about your “chances” of success as an actor, it’s not a reflection of their belief in you – it’s a reflection of what they think is possible for themselves. And that’s okay because we’re all on different paths, but it’s up to you to decide what you believe is possible for yourself. Also, you get to decide what your own definition of success is. When I first started out, success for me was acting in one New York City play and having any type of speaking role in a feature film. Once I accomplished that, I could decide if I wanted to keep acting or do something else completely and I would have considered myself a success no matter what. I decided to keep acting and I continually define what my own next level of success it, and I always give myself the option to move in a different direction once I’ve accomplished it or at least tried my best. Acting right now doesn’t mean I have to act forever, and that mindset makes the process much less overwhelming for me.