Interviewed by Katrina Wandel George, CSA
1. Has there been a casting director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career?
There are a handful of casting directors and associates that have repeatedly called me in, hired me, and believed in me over the years, like Susan Esrock, Danielle Aufiero, Amber Horn and the gang, to name a few. I am forever grateful to them for that. There is however one particular person that has been a blessing to me personally and to my career, who believes in me unflinchingly and has made it his mission to do what he can to help me succeed, to work, sign with my awesome reps, and get in front of so many people and show them what I can do. He is my casting angel that I didn’t see coming and a truly wonderful human being that I am grateful to call my friend; Steven Tylor O’Connor.
2. What work are you most proud of?
I have been graced with so many awesome on-camera and voiceover acting experiences. But the one that stands out is my one-day guest star on The OA. The nature and meaning of that show resonated so much with me, and I was a giant fan of the first season. So to be on the first episode of the second season after that cliff hanger was magnificent! That experience also gave me a chance to pay tribute to a dear friend and mentor of mine who passed away; JD Daniels, RN. I was privileged to act with Brit Marling, the show creator and writer, while portraying a character named Ingrid, an RN (like JD who worked at Cedars-Sinai for many many years, where I also volunteered for 15 years in maternity). To be able to portray and honor that profession of phenomenal caregivers made this acting job a privilege. Also, the fact that The OA played news footage over my shoulder of President Joe Biden 2.5 years before he was elected President in real life, just what made that show more magical.
3. What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
My mom has always unconditionally supported and believed in me without end. She legitimately has been the wind beneath my wings. (Thanks, Bette Midler). When I was a child, my brother and I were two peas in a pod and then he died suddenly and my mother wanted to do whatever she could to help me get through it with creative outlets and activities. She gave me the Arts. It helped. She put me in gymnastics, ballet, tap, ice skating, and acting. I didn’t stick with the gymnastics, or ballet and tap. I did manage to win one gold, two silver and a bronze medal in competitive ice skating before I hung up my skates. I chose to stick with the acting. And I loved the comedies. I was obsessed with everything funny and grand. So I naturally wanted to be just like Rosalind Russell, Madeline Kahn, Carol Brunette, Lily Tomlin, and Shirley Bassey all wrapped into one. Those ladies knew and know how to put on a show, create a character, be subtly funny, larger than life, brilliantly instinctual, and innovative. Their body of work inspires and encourages me along with my mom’s faith in me to make my own space in this business.
4. What was your first IMDbPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it?
When I first heard about IMDb, I went up there and entered my name and to my surprise it popped up. I was ridiculously excited because I had no idea how I got there. I had never entered a single credit yet there they were. It was like discovering the best gift that you could imagine waiting for you to enjoy and share. It also helped show a few family members that kept telling my mom that she should encourage me to get a “real” job that I had one and it was called acting. It was a wonderful and unexpected cheeky thrill to say the least.
5. How has IMDbPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?
Oh IMDbPro is a fabulous tool, resource, and showcase! It allows me to keep track of and publicize the wonderful projects that I have been lucky to be a part of. To see and benefit from awesome connections among myself and other actors, writers, producers, directors, artists, and their projects when in auditions, pitching and on set. To keep up on information about what’s coming down the pike that I am interested in. Whenever I have an audition, I go to IMDbPro to do research on the project, and the people involved in it. It’s part of what I use to prepare myself to do the best job I can with the material, with the character, and in that casting room. Knowledge is power. I can even share my IMDb profile with anyone by sending a link so they can see what I have done and what I will being doing. Love it.
6. Any funny casting room stories?
I was doing a scene that led into a long speech when this ridiculously adorable dog, that belongs to someone in the room, decided to participate in the audition with me by barking and jumping up and down on my leg wanting me to pick him up. No one stopped him, and it was not appropriate for the scene to incorporate this dog. I felt like I was in a Meisner “door and activity” exercise. I wanted to stop and say, “Get your dog,” but I didn’t. I pushed through and did my job. Was it the right move to keep going? I don’t know. But the show must go on and sometimes things can get in your way of being brilliant, free, “in the zone,” and doing your best work, including yourself. You can bring baggage and heavy energy into a room that you may not be aware of or walk into someone else’s baggage. However, my job as an actor and artist is to do my job as best I can. If I don’t do that, I forgive myself, cry in my car, let it go, and keep it moving. And yes, I did get the callback.
7. Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting.
Three quick fun facts about me are that I make a mean rum cake even though I don’t drink. I love all kinds of puzzles; brain teasers, jigsaw (the more pieces the better), Sudoku, crosswords, riddles, anagrams, murder mysteries, etc. I am also ridiculously competitive when it comes to cards and air hockey. Like, “I need to work on myself” competitive.
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