“honest with my acting”
photography by Leah Norwood
styling by Alannah Jones
hair by DaVonte Blanton
makeup by Sophia Porter for Exclusive Artists using Kosas Cosmetics
- Name a favorite film from your childhood.
Growing up, I loved The Color of Friendship on the Disney Channel!
- How do you think this film has shaped the woman that you are today?
Oh, it 100% helped shape who I am today. The film alone taught me about being open and accepting of different cultures and to not assume about people’s life experiences. Everyone has their own story.
- We often talk about activism within art. How do you define this for yourself?
I think being as real and honest with my acting, and choosing projects that make me feel good or challenge my perception of others and vice versa, is a form of activism. The beauty is when someone watches a project and feels changed after. I love watching a series or film and feeling like a new person after. Recently, Love Craft Country did that for me and it was magical.
- You recently spoke out about a racial incident and microaggressions within your industry. Before doing so, were there people in your family or chosen family you discussed this with? If so, please share.
I actually only told my Mom and therapist. After that particular incident (because there have been others), I felt so ashamed and embarrassed that I didn’t even tell my best friends. I told my Mom and she was PISSED. She encouraged me to tell my manager and agents, but I couldn’t even complain to them because I felt so confused, like “Is this what every Black actress had to go through…?” But of course, NOW I know that’s not true. Now I plan to make sure it never happens again to anyone else.
- You have such joy when approaching your work, and it makes one think of the Zora Neale Hurston quote, “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.” How do you keep your sense of self in this industry?
Well, first, that’s so kind of you to say that! Second, I really think my family grounds me. The women in my family and my closest friends are extremely supportive and celebrate me being my authentic self; therefore, I feel supported being my authentic self with the rest of the world. Support systems are EVERYTHING!
- If your life thus far had a soundtrack, what song must be on it?
“Unbreakable Smile” by Tori Kelly.
- What is next for you?
Right now I am filming Stargirl season 2! My biggest goal in this next year is to lead a feature or limited series. Recently, I have produced a couple of short films! One during quarantine, and one, Dear Vivian, that is currently on Amazon. I have been writing and producing a lot in my free time. Outside of acting, I plan to direct more as well!