Introduce yourself to the audience, who is Nadine Whiteman Roden?
Hello there, I am Nadine Whiteman Roden. I am an actor, singer, and sometimes strong mover ( if you are in musical theatre you will get that) based in Toronto, Canada. I am a certifiable foodie, I love music, musicals, animals, and especially dogs.
You found your passion early in life, acting in plays and talent shows at a young age. What was it that solidified your choice to become an actress? Did you ever have any other career goals?
Honestly, strongly in my gut I really always believed that I would be an actor, even when I wasn't pursuing it or doing anything to pursue it, it was always something that I always wanted to do and believed that I would do. In my late 20's I was sitting in the basement of my house with my husband, two dogs, and two cats and I felt that I was missing something. I thought what used to make me happy was when I was performing in shows in High school so I pulled out the yellow pages and called all the local community theatres in my neighborhood. I auditioned and got parts all over the place. As soon as I stepped onto the stage I knew this was where I was meant to be. It wasn't until I booked Mamma Mia that I realized that this could actually be my career. As for other career goals, I thought that I wanted to be a lawyer. My idea was that if I couldn't be an actor I could be a trial lawyer and scratch that performance itch in front of a jury.
Which is your favorite role that you have played as a young actor?
As a young actor in high school, I got to play Tessie Tura in Gypsy!! So much fun! Getting to ham it up on stage with other actors really made me love acting even more. But as a young actor, I have to say I really loved playing Trix, the Aviatrix in the Drowsy Chaperone. She just had all the characteristics of all of those big splashy Hollywood Musicals that I got to watch as a kid.
You are set to star in the new and highly anticipated comedy series, 'Take Note' premiering this February 2022 on Peacock TV. Tell us a bit about your role as the no-nonsense mom, Drea Richards.
I am so excited about this show. Drea was an awesome character to play! So Drea is the mom of Calvin and Jaxon Richards. Calvin is played by the incomparable and incredibly talented Braelyn Rankins who is taking part in the fictionalized tween singing competition, Take Note. What I loved about her is that she is the fierce mamma bear who loves her family more than anything in the world. She is deeply in love with her husband played by Aadin Church and would do absolutely anything for her family. She is smart and funny with a wonderful sense of fun. Honestly, when I was younger and dreamt of being a mom, Drea was definitely the type of mom I wanted to be.
As a woman of color, how important is it to actively create spaces for BIPOC actors/actresses to get started in the industry?
Wow, that is a big old question! And I am going to be completely honest by saying that I think that I can do more. But I think it is immensely important to create spaces for BIPOC actors. I think for so long in this industry BIPOC people felt like we should be okay with getting to be a small part of the industry and never to expect or ask for more. And quite honestly in my experience, there were not a lot of us in the business to look up to or to be able to ask questions of or look to for mentorship. Which made things a bit of a struggle at times for me when I was younger. As I have continued in the business I have and want to continue to always be available for young people coming up in the business. If any of my experiences could help someone coming up, I want that to happen.
What advice would you offer them?
Make sure you love this business more than anything because it is going to ask a lot from you. Know your worth and don't look to the outside for validation. Keep your circle small with people you trust. Then keep working on yourself and your craft. I think sometimes as a young actor we think, well we did it, went to school, got the certificate, I am good, I am camera or stage-ready every day. I don't know any musician that doesn't practice everyday. I think actors need to keep their instruments tuned.
Who or what are some of your inspirations?
So many things and people inspire me. But I find those actresses who kind of found their feet when they were a bit more mature really inspire me. I am thinking of Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Jenifer Lewis. Also, those women who worked late into their lives like Cicely Tyson and Diahann Carol. I got into the business in my late 20's and kind of didn't get traction until my 40's. Watching women like that gave me such hope, that there was still time left for me. It made me not want to give up but keep pushing and I am so glad I did. And of course my mom. She is such a strong awesome woman I think most of my tenacity is from her.
We understand you would like to change the narrative of what has been portrayed on screen for BIPOC. What are some, different roles you would like to see more BIPOC portraying?
I think the narrative that I would like to see changed is seeing BIPOC stories always being portrayed as one of struggle and strife. I am interested in seeing BIPOC people in joyful situations, thriving and living their best life. I want to see BIPOC families full of love and joy. I am not saying that there hasn't been merit in the other stories but I am saying that there is more to the BIPOC experience than trouble and strife. I think what I loved about Take Note and the Richards is that they are a family that loves each other so much. The parents are deeply in love even after two children, and the kids are each other's best friends.
You began in theater but recently you have kicked the film and television door down, building a hefty resume! What are some major differences between tv/film and theatre? What do you miss about theatre that you cannot get in TV/film?
Kicked the door down. I like that. The difference between film/tv is probably preparation. There is so much rehearsal time when it comes to the theatre it is probably my favorite part of doing theatre. You get weeks and weeks of rehearsal to really dig into characters and perfect the show. Running numbers, and scenes over and over again so they really run like a finely tuned clock. So much time to discover things in that rehearsal room can be a really collaborative experience. And within that experience, you get to really get to know your castmates because when you are spending sometimes as much as eight hours together you become this little family. With film/tv at least from the shows that I have done before Take Note I did a lot of day player work. So there is still a lot of preparation but it takes place on your own. What is so exciting about film/tv is the electricity of finding those happy accidents that the camera catches. It really keeps you on your toes. I miss the audience! I love hearing the stirring of the crowd before the curtain goes up. I miss that communal experience that everyone is having on that night in the theatre, there really isn't anything like it.
We know that you love being a Pilates teacher, cooking, watching movies, and traveling. May you share with us your favorite dish to cook, movie to watch, place to travel, and where do we take her Pilates class.
I love to cook so many things but I really love to cook a rack of lamb with mashed potatoes and veggies. It just looks so beautiful when you are done and people think you are such a rockstar for making it. It is actually my brother's favorite thing I make. OOOH, I also love making mac' n cheese from scratch. It is the perfect comfort food.
My favorite movie has to be The Color Purple. I just love the performances and always good for a good cry. Whoopi was just amazing in that movie and Danny Glover, unfortunately, every time I see him all I see is Mister.
I don't teach pilates as much anymore but when I do it is mostly online with a select few clients that I absolutely adore.
Rasheena is an educator, creative, and writer from Far Rockaway, Queens. She wears many hats and is passionate about Black culture, early childhood development, and enjoying life. Stay connected with Rasheena @rahaka on Instagram.