What attracted you to begin a career as an actress?
As a young child when my mother and I would watch CBS Sunday Matinee movies. This is where I was introduced to classic movies, such as Imitation of Life, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Bad Seed, Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep and The George McKenna Story, starring Denzel Washington. Watching these films ignited a love of artistic expression. I would watch television and immerse myself in the world of imagination, this was the beginning of my attraction to acting.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
I have to say being away from my family. I moved to LA in 2005, 3,000 miles from the people I love the most. It was extremely hard in the beginning, missing out on Holiday gatherings and important events. Now that I have a family of my own, it's even harder. Oftentimes, when I'm shooting, I have to leave my husband and daughter for weeks. I'm grateful for all the opportunities, but that has to be the biggest challenge for me.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of my 2019 Daytime Emmy® Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama Series for my role as Tamera on the hit show Giants. Giants chronicles the trials and tribulations of three African American friends as they approach their thirties. Each character battles their own inner "giants" as they navigate adulthood. I'm grateful to be a part of a show, created and produced by black creatives and to be recognized by the Television Academy for my work is an honor.
Have you considered branching out into screenwriting or directing?
Yes most definitely! I'm actually in the beginning stages of writing a short film that I will direct as well.
Can you share a bit with us about the upcoming season of Hightown?
On Season 2 of Starz's Hightown, I play Janelle, a smart, no-nonsense Physical Therapist in a correctional facility that gains trust with her patients. One with which she forms a romantic relationship with. Viewers should tune into Hightown because it's gritty and compelling. It's a contemporary crime drama set against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic. The show is centered on fiercely flawed people and explores themes of addiction, recovery, and the possibility of redemption.
What is some advice that you would give to someone aspiring to become an actor?
1. Study Your Craft: The craft of acting is essential to approaching the work. Enroll in acting classes, study the greats, perfect your technique. Learn the different acting methods from the likes of Stanislavski, Meisner, and Chekhov. Build your actor tool belt with audition technique, character building, emotional prep, and self-taping skills. Remember, preparation is key!
2. Learn the Business: This industry is the business of show, and you are a brand, so you must treat yourself as a business. This allows longevity in your career.
3. Lead with Confidence, Not Fear: Having confidence in your talent and what you authentically bring to the table will take you further in this industry. Don't allow fear and doubt to stop you from living your dreams.
4. Surround Yourself with Positive People: Who you choose to share, dream and grow with is essential to your well-being as an artist. Surrounding yourself with a core tribe that listens, loves, and supports you and vice versa, makes all the difference.
5. Enjoy The Journey: Go out and live your life! The journey as an artist is only rewarding if you bring your entire self to it.
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
Goal for the remainder of the year?
My goal for the remainder of the year is to continue to ride this wave of momentum that I'm on. In the last quarter of the previous five years, I've been blessed with amazing opportunities, so I plan on continuing that winning streak.
Photo Credit (above pic): Courtesy of Crystal Lee Brown
Crystal Cover Photos (pink blouse) Photo Credit: Bobby Quillard Photography