What did you want to become when you were a child?
I always wanted to perform and produce. Whether I consciously dreamt of being a performer, I'm not sure...but it's something I've always done and always loved doing.
How did your friends/family react when you told them you wanted to be an actress?
My mom wasn't encouraged in the arts when she was a kid, so she has been extremely supportive. I'm very lucky in that regard. It was a highlight to be able to bring her along to the Monte Carlo TV Festival this spring. We had a great time!
Who inspires you in the industry?
I recently had the honor of meeting Sydney Poitier. He is such a huge talent and an activist in his wonderful, quiet way. And he was incredibly gracious. He made time to take pictures and speak to people for nearly an hour. A true class act. I also love the careers or Will Smith/Jada Pinkett-Smith and Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie. These are two couples who have seemingly found a way to balance love, family, art, career, service and spirituality. That is definitely a model that I strive to emulate.
Brad Bell (head writer/executive producer) dropped a bombshell when it was revealed that the character you play, Maya, was born a man - what has the reaction been like from the fans?
At first fans were shocked - and reasonably so. I think this one of the best kept secrets in the last ten years of soap secrets. But what I love is how many fans have gone from skepticism to full on Maya and Rick supporters! I love all the fan art and videos and gifs that pop up every day and how invested fans are in this story. It makes me feel excited to go to work every day.
Have you ever been bullied? If so, what were/are some of your coping mechanisms?
I was never targeted for any prolonged period of time, but I also think that's partly due to the fact that I was a shy kid. I was in the racial minority in my school and never quite felt that I fit in (until I found the theater). So, I tried to lay low as much as possible in order to avoid any bullying.
Well, my coping mechanism worked, but I don't think it was the best. If I could go back in time and speak to my younger self I would encourage her to have her voice - even if meant risking being the odd one out sometimes. As uncomfortable as it can be to be different, it can be worse to feel invisible. I guess we all have our life lessons to learn.
What aspects of your job do you like best/least?
I love the work. I love getting to connect with so many different people and researching characters. It's hard in between jobs because I love it so much. And it's hard to live so far away from home.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
My work with homeless youth and support of people with eating disorders make me the most proud. Nothing fills my heart more that being of service and doing my art - which is why I love Maya's storyline so much.
What brings you the greatest joy?
Meditation, seeing great art, dancing, time in nature and laughing with people I love
What are some of your favorite books?
I love "Their Eyes Were Watching God", and I love Shel Silverstein's poetry, "Charlotte's Web", and "Wide Sargasso Sea"
What is the something you wish you knew when you were younger?
Nothing lasts forever.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Raw vegan ice cream!!
Describe yourself in five words:
Curious, Fun Loving, Courageous, Intuitive, Gracious
Name 2 things that are on your bucket list:
Traveling to Asia (I realize that it's a large continent, but it's one of the few I have yet to touch) and being on Broadway.
Name 2 things that people don't know about you:
I can still be shy sometimes and I love time alone. I love karaoke with my girlfriends!
What do you most value in others?
What is your motto?
I love the Ram Das motto: Be. Here. Now.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years older?
Any advice for men wanting to become actors?
Follow your bliss, create your own work and find a wonderful support team.
Any last words?
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