Actress, Singer, Poet
Junior, Class of 2023
Why did you choose to be an actor? Was it intentional or not?
I got it from my mom. She was in Lion King for a few years and being with her, I learned that that was something that I actually wanted to do. Initially it started off as wanting to be in theater, but one of my first auditions was for TV, and so when I started doing TV roles I was like “oh okay this is something that better fits me.”
Where do you think this career path will take you?
I believe that it will take me anywhere that I want to go just as long as I understand that it is a business and that it is okay to say no and I can walk away at any time I choose to.
What’s your favorite part about being an actor?
My favorite part is getting to play someone that I may or may not relate to. It’s like playing dress up and telling somebody’s story many times. Especially in episodics, it’s getting up every day and telling the story over and over again in different ways, or in movies, it’s continuing a story. I think that’s wonderful getting to express yourself in a way, and a lot of people get to see you do something that you really want to do.”
What is the hardest part about being an actor? In general or COVID related?
The hardest part about being an actor is that actors thrive off of human interaction, so when Covid hit, we had a really hard time shooting because you couldn’t really talk to anybody or you couldn’t physically touch anybody, so we missed the affection, and that does affect how we move. But other than that, the hardest part about being an actor is realizing that it’s a business, and you know you may have to wait years to get what you deserve, and you have to be willing to stick it out that long and face everything with that.
How did you go about balancing the application process for selective enrollment schools and your career?
At the time because I wasn’t shooting The Chi, I was basically free to study and do all these things. I had no constraints really. It didn’t get hard until maybe a week before freshman year started, and I had to make an actual decision between Chi Arts and Brooks, and I was getting ready to do the show. So that was a little bit stressful, but it was pretty easy, that selective enrollment was easy in terms of free time.
Does family impact you in any way as far as managing school and your career and needing support?
My family is definitely supportive, particularly because we are all like artistic. Everyone in my family is artistic. My mother is an actor, my father is an MC, he’s like a pedagogy manager for creative activity, my brother is a dancer, my other brother is a music writer, my sister is a director, we all do everything creative so anything of the arts calls for support from us. My grandmother is a painter. So yes, there are times when you do need support, and when it does come for those times, they are absolutely there.
If you have any advice for upcoming young actors who aspire to do what you’re doing right now, or if they are afraid to do it, what would you say to them?
My advice would be: If you’re afraid to do it, don’t, because what’s gonna happen is you’re going to fail mentally. You can do anything you physically put your mind to. I’m only saying that because you have to have one small belief in yourself that you can do something or enough confidence in yourself to make you go out there. Another thing is confidence I guess that plays in part with it, but be confident in yourself enough to hold your own, because artists, especially in television, are so used to trying to get to the top of things that we forget about everybody. So confidence, hold your own, don’t be afraid to do it because you won’t do it to the best of your ability, and that’s like you’re not doing it at all. Also, have fun because it only lasts for a short time.”
Stand up comedian
Junior, Class of 2023
How did you get into stand-up comedy?
I always liked watching comedians, and one day, I just decided to try it myself. I took a class over the summer, and now I can get creative and write my own material.
Have you always wanted to be a comedian?
No, I found out about a year ago that it might be fun to do more than just watch comedians on TV. I’d definitely call this a “quarantine hobby” that I decided to stick with.
How do you usually come up with material?
Life experiences and things I observe in my everyday life. Every once in a while, you just think of something out of nowhere, but a majority of the time, it’s all true to my life to some extent.
Do you ever practice your material on anyone?
Yeah, I usually practice my material on friends or really anyone willing to help me get better. I actually plan on performing at an open mic if we have one this year. It should be good practice.
Are there any stand-up commedians that you admire?
Yes, Gabriel Iglesias is one of my favorites. However, I just enjoy watching professionals in general that have similar stage presence to me. You can learn a lot from watching some of the greatest comedians. But something that I value is being myself on stage. I have exactly the same personality in real life as I’ve got on stage.
Have you ever had writers block?
Of course! I just got over an episode of writer’s block recently. It’s important to remain confident in yourself as a comedian even when you hit those points when you can’t quite think of anything funny to write about.
What is the thing you like the most about stand-up comedy?
The satisfaction from making people laugh is by far the best part. Nothing beats that feeling when you get a joke to land perfectly.