Hey Rachelle, so excited to be chatting with you! What would you say brought on your passion for acting at such a young age?
Thank you so much for having me! I have always been a performer, even since I was very little. When I was a baby, I would crawl up to the mirror and make faces at myself and react. I was always dressing up, creating plays with my Barbie dolls, writing stories and reading aloud in the multiple character voices I created. I started dance and gymnastics at age 4 and was in a few school plays, so I already was used to an audience. When I was 6, I went to a cheerleading camp that a local high school was holding. I was talking to two of the other girls who told me Nickelodeon was holding auditions for kids with basic cheerleading skills. I was stoked! On the day of the audition, I asked my grandma what we were going to do that day. After a few suggestions like the zoo or aquarium, I said, “Don’t I have an audition today?” I went to the audition and was told that if I wanted to be an actor, I would have to work very hard for a very long time. My response? “Yes please!” From there, I started doing more theater, acting classes, and some film. I think my career really started taking off at age 10, having multiple film roles back to back starting that year.
What is one movie that has greatly influenced your life?
I’ve actually thought about this a lot recently and I would have to say The Wizard of Oz. Not only do I love the film, I have always been fascinated with the behind the scenes aspect of it. The copy I own has two DVDs with bonus content and I have watched it more times than the actual film. Everything about the making of that film is spectacular. That film was the pioneer of some incredible special effects, makeup/wardrobe, cinematography…I think that definitely helped stimulate my love of making cinema in general. I have trained in effects makeup, editing, cinematography, etc. which I think leads back to the yellow brick road’s influence on me.
Something fascinating to me is the cast and their individual journeys as actors. Judy Garland, for instance, wasn’t the initial choice for Dorothy, yet she ended up winning the role at age 16 due to her talents and a work ethic that started clear back to when she was a very young child in vaudeville. Her authentic and vulnerable portrayal of Dorothy has always been inspiring to me. Such a simple, real performance that was beautifully done.
What has been your favorite acting role to date?
I have a few that are in my top favorite roles I have done. I did a short film a few years ago called “Losing It” which ended up premiering at Slamdance 2017 and played at the Cannes Short Film Corner. I played Sarah Newton, a shy girl who is supposed to go to prom with the affluent, narcissistic, cold Marshall Kalkbrenner. She ends up having to make a few decisions when she realizes he wants something she doesn’t. It’s an eerie, cerebral David Lynch style film.
I loved working on the film “Creased” which is about Asian eyelid surgery, beauty standards, friendship and identity. I wasn’t familiar with Asian eyelid surgery and wasn’t aware of how popular it is as a cosmetic procedure until I was cast. I play Syd, the best friend to the lead character, Kayla, and the only character in the film who tells Kayla she is beautiful as is. It was a fun role to play because Syd has so many layers.
I also adored playing Molly in My Summer as a Goth. I already knew many of the cast members, so our chemistry was very real and our experiences on set were so much fun. Molly is best friend to Joey, a girl who starts going goth after she meets the mysterious goth boy next door, Victor, while staying at her grandparent’s house for summer break. Molly is a supportive friend who never treats Joey different while Joey is trying to find herself. I love Molly’s independent, sassy, fun loving attitude.
What would be your dream acting role?
There are so many types of roles I would love to play. I have always wanted to play Eleanor Roosevelt, Catherine the Great and Marie Curie. I’ve had a lot of people tell me I would make a great Gwen Stacey so I would love to play her or another comic book character. My ultimate dream role would be to play Hamlet. It’s my favorite play and I think what’s so amazing about Hamlet is how complex the character is and how there is so much room to play around with Hamlet’s personality, fears, motivations, and if the character is crazy or just tricking everyone.
Do you have any projects in the works you can tell us about?
I am auditioning for multiple projects, writing a few scripts and I am collaborating on some upcoming projects. I also have a few films that are soon to be released/just released. Woodstock or Bust starring Willow Shields (Hunger Games trilogy and Spinning Out) and Meg DeLacy (The Fosters and DC Stargirl) is now on VOD platforms everywhere. I play Jill, a character who is a lot like Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In. My Summer as a Goth is going to be releasing soon which is exciting. The film Wallflower had a theatrical release at select AMC Theaters across the country, including NYC Times Square and has gotten amazing reviews from Variety and New York Times. I’m excited about Martingale which is in post-production right now. I play Kelly Sullivan’s (The Young and the Restless) daughter in this crime drama/thriller.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)
I can picture a giant billboard showing all kinds of unsung heroes like doctors, nurses, police, grocery store personnel, truck drivers, people in masks etc., and something like “Be Someone’s Hero”. The fact is that whether we are in the habit of doing good or doing bad or doing nothing at all…, those choices affect many others around us. We each have a very important job to do. We can choose to be part of the problem by simply ignoring the task at hand and looking out only for ourselves, or we can choose to do our job well and become one of the heroes.
You also directed and produced a few films including your award-winning short film, “MISSING” which has such a powerful message. Can you tell us about what this project meant to you?
MISSING was my first project as a director, producer and editor which was such a learning experience. The film was made with a grant from the Adobe Pitch Project and was a chance to create a project about a social cause. I chose animal testing because I am passionate about animals and I wanted to help educate and advocate through my art. I worked with Emerald City Pet Rescue in Seattle and PAWS and gained so much insight from them. It was incredible how much support I got from the film community and the animal advocacy community. I had initially planned on only acting and producing MISSING but while pitching the film to Adobe, they requested that I direct and edit as well. Turns out that their requirements started a whole new path for me in addition to acting and I look back on that experience as a pivotal step in my career as a filmmaker. MISSING has been submitted to film festivals around the world and I’ve heard back that so many have been affected because of the global issue of the mistreatment of animals. Our job as artists is to start a conversation with our work and I’m so grateful that MISSING has continued the conversation about animal abuse. NOTE: No animals were harmed in the making of this film and a fun fact is that the talented actor that plays the research scientist is also a dog trainer and the animal trainer for the film. The lead dog in the film responded so well to his commands that people have asked if the dog was alive. He’s alive and well!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in acting? What advice should they ignore?
If you are just starting your acting journey, you should take every opportunity you can to develop the craft of acting. Get involved in acting classes, school plays, theater, student films, anything that gives you the opportunity to practice acting. Read scripts and plays. Be observant of how your favorite actors in film and TV shows are developing their characters. Build an acting resume if you are hoping to move to LA, NY or any of the other major film cities.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
I do whatever is necessary to regain my balance. It might be a nap, or exercise, or time with family or friends…whatever restores me. I’m a pretty positive person so I regroup and move forward. There’s always a new adventure around the corner.
What social media platform do you use most? Where can people find out what projects you have going on?
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are the media platforms I use most and where I promote my projects, but I am also on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Forcer.
My social media:
Any last things you’d like to tell your supporters?
Thank you so much for all your support! I can’t wait to share news about more projects soon. I’d also like to say that in this time of COVID-19, please stay safe!
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions 🙂
Thank you again for having me!