How did you start as an entertainer?
I think we’re all entertainers and story-tellers at heart; it’s evident in the imagination of a child, whether they express it through full-out living room performances, or silently pondering a wonderland with dragons and fairies. I happened to be in the first category. My mom enrolled me in dance lessons at three. We, like the next family, followed the natural progression of recitals, competitions, and balancing regular school and other hobbies as we could afford. Modeling and acting were thrown into the mix unexpectedly, and based on the signs and signals, it grew evident that pursuing it more seriously might be an authentic and wise next step.
You worked with talented artist, who would you say impacted your career?
Bonnie Hunt. Immediately she comes to mind. She demonstrated dedication to quality performance on set while also offering a kind heart and caring soul to the entire cast and crew. Nick Jonas inspired me to push for my goals despite my young age. And, the thousands of artists in my community who may never be known by name, but motivate me to face fears and be my best. Do not skip them.
What is a dream role you’d love to play or artist you’d like to work with in the future?
To be on stage with Janet Jackson… Wow. I’d probably just gawk. Her musical journey inspires me and much of my musicality stems from years of jamming to her albums. I also recognize Janet is only who she is because of a million dedicated team members and fans helping bring the vision to life.
Did you always want to be an actress? What did you want to be when you grew up aside from an acting?
No. I even stopped acting for 8 months to ask myself if I did it only because I started young. The odd irony is, I didn’t grow up having any particular dream. What I wanted, and continue to want, is my life to evoke hope in others, to pave a way of love and leave a trail for those to walk the same path and ultimately pioneer new ground. My passion is understanding the depths of what it means to be human, and showing people the same love and grace that’s been shown me despite my imperfections, weaknesses, or performance. That’s why portraying characters on film or writing music for strangers becomes an exciting opportunity. But, if tomorrow I cannot act or sing or dance anymore, I can easily apply this heart mission, attitude, and lifestyle to any path. In the end, it’s not going to be about my achievements. It’ll be about how I treated people and shaped the world in quiet moments and loud.
What do you love most about your profession?
My job is to learn about people, to see that we all experience highs and lows, that at the darkest point, there is light, AND at the highest peak, we’re not immune to falling. Hope and hmility. But we’re connected in this.
What challenges or struggles have you face along the way and what helped you overcome them?
We’d be here for a year if we went into any kind of details. My challenges and struggles are the same doubts, poor habits, fears, unfortunate circumstances, and trials we all feel. What has helped me work through them is an active connection to a support system (mentor, therapist, leader in community, family, trusted friends), keeping my long-term dream in view and working backwards (seeing that I cannot stay in the same negative place if I eventually want something better and brighter), and choosing every day to participate in my own transformation and dream. Desmond Tutu, former slave, said he became a free man when he prayed with his feet. We aren’t meant to be passive onlookers of our own journey.
Do you work with any charitable organizations? What is your involvement in them?
I work hands-on with iPourLife Organization, whose global and national mission is to end poverty through teaching sustainable living and restoring dignity to communities, one individual at a time. We travel to Ethiopia, El Salvador and around the US speaking to schools, providing medical care, and guiding people through an accountability program to overcome poverty, care for themselves and their families, and dream again.