Interviewed by: Donna Morong, CSA
1) Has there been a Casting Director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career?
Absolutely. I have had so many wonderful experiences with folks who have shown their support by bringing me in over and over again through the years including Laray Mayfield, John Papsidera, David Caparelliotis, Wendy Weidman, Rachel Imbriglio, Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Stephanie Holbrook, Ronna Kress, David Rapaport, Lyndsey Baldasare, Mary Vernieu, and Rachel Tenner...I wish I could name them all. I’m continuously grateful for the work of these wonderful humans and their persistence in getting me out there.
The Casting Director who has had the biggest influence on me personally and who has been an invaluable supporter of my career would be Donna Morong. Donna took me under her wing when I first moved to LA from New York City. I studied with her for a couple of years before becoming her long time Teachers Assistant for her Los Angeles Advanced Scene Study Class. Donna introduced me to my current Managers at Framework and she connected me to two other female creators who have become my writing/producing partners. Together, with Donna, we produced a play in Hollywood focusing on issues of sexual assault that received rave reviews and was extended to a larger theater. This play and the series of talk-backs after the show became the inspiration for a feature film which I am writing with my creative partners, and Donna is slated to produce. My creative life and community has grown immeasurably due to the belief Donna has in me as an artist, an activist, and a human. I could not be more grateful to her as a friend and champion of my work.
2) What work are you most proud of?
Thanks to Donna, I am the most proud of the work I am doing at the moment...creating opportunities for myself. By taking the initiative to produce plays and write films, I have not only given myself the ability to take on incredible acting roles, but I have enabled myself to tell stories that I want to tell, about subjects that matter in my world, and hopefully to help people like me feel less alone. This means a lot to me and I’m incredibly grateful to have had Donna’s encouragement to take this step in my career.
3) What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
The person who first inspired me to believe I could make a career in acting was my college mentor at Tulane University in New Orleans, the late Buzz Podewell. Buzz was a Shakespeare aficionado and an incredibly smart and talented director who cast me in my first professional play out of college, Uncle Vanya. One of the best complements I have ever received was walking off stage one night to Buzz, grinning ear to ear, who whispered in my ear “That was some Maggie Smith stuff out there tonight.” I can still hear the excitement in his voice and that was when I knew....I could really do this thing! That production of Uncle Vanya was cut short due to hurricane Katrina, but it was, and always will be, one of the most special experiences of my life.
4) What was your first IMDBPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it?
My first IMDBPro credit was Law & Order: Criminal Intent. When I first saw my name and credit populate on the page I felt such a sense of pride. I was doing it. It felt like the beginning of an exciting future and I couldn’t wait to see my list of achievements grow.
5) How has IMDBPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?
IMDBPro has been extremely beneficial to me as I navigate auditions and make industry connections. To be able to follow the careers of filmmakers and actors I admire as well as research all the creators on projects I audition for is such a valuable resource. I always encourage actors starting out to lean on this tool to do their research. I use IMDBPro multiple times a day as I look to learn more about projects I audition for. I look up every person involved and get to know their work and how else I may be connected to them in the industry. It’s a massive advantage to have such a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, I feel it gives any creator a huge helping hand as they navigate the waters of this exiting career.
6) Any funny casting room stories?
Yes! I was auditioning for a horror film and I was sinking in to the part of the audition where my character becomes overcome with emotion and fully breaks down. All of a sudden, a small dog shoots out from under a table on the far side of the room, sprints across the floor, leaps onto my lap and starts licking my face. The Casting Director jumps up apologetically and says “Well, you got the part. If she believes you, everyone will.” I didn’t even know there was a dog in the room!
7) Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting:
Outside of acting I’m really passionate about creating opportunities for underrepresented filmmakers. I believe that our culture and society benefits greatly by hearing from a diverse set of perspectives and that filmmaking is a unique and profound way to amplify unheard voices and to shape minds and hearts. For the past four years I have volunteered for Film Fatales, a nonprofit arts organization which supports a community of over a thousand feature film and television directors of all marginalized genders (with support from IMDBPro!). We advocate for hiring equality and inclusive programming practices by working with key decision makers to expand the talent pool and raise the visibility of underrepresented creators. I’m extremely proud to be an integral member of this organization. The progress we have made makes me hopeful for the future of our industry.
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