Q: How did you first get into acting and has it always been a passion of yours?
A: I started off dancing when I was 3 1/2 and instantly fell in love with performing. So, I guess you could say that was my first passion. I really didn’t start getting into the acting and singing side of it all until I was 11 when auditioned for a musical theatre academy in Houston. Once I started training with them, I quickly realized that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I truly couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Q: What has been the biggest change or adjustment you’ve had to make when moving from Houston to LA?
A: The weather was definitely one of the major changes haha! But I think being so far away from family was the biggest adjustment we had to make. Growing up, we were all so close and saw each other almost every day. I mean, my cousins were basically like my older brothers, we were constantly together. The furthest we had ever lived from any of them was about 15 minutes, so to move to a completely different state is something that we are still trying to get used to.
Q: Which kinds of characters do you enjoy playing the most and why?
A: Definitely ones that come with a challenge. I’ve always been the kind of person who was down to try anything and as an actor, you can’t be afraid to fail. It’s better to give it everything you got instead of holding back because you’re scared of not being perfect. So, playing characters that are really far from myself or ones that really push my limits are always the ones I enjoy playing the most.
Q: Why do you think the fine arts are such a crucial part of society and why should everyone appreciate them?
A: I think they’re incredibly crucial! The fine arts are such an amazing outlet for people to really express themselves and to share their passion with the world. I know from personal experience, it’s the best escape for anyone going through a tough time. It’s definitely something that is under appreciated, especially in schools. You know, it’s a proven fact that students who are in theater, drama, dance, etc. have higher test scores than their peers who are not in the fine arts and are less likely to drop out. It makes me so sad to see schools that continue to cut their fine arts programs for budgetary reasons when the fine arts have helped so many people in their personal lives.
Q: What has been your favorite production that you’ve worked on, and why?
A: I’ve been very lucky to have a career where I have loved every project that I’ve been a part of. Knight Squad” was my first job and I learned so much while working on it. I made lifelong friends on that show and I think it will always have a special place in my heart. With “Secret Lives of Cheerleaders,” that was the first movie I ever did and it was my first leading role. It was such a wonderful experience. Then with “Julie and The Phantoms,” it’s everything I could’ve ever dreamed of rolled into one! The cast is unbelievably talented, working with Kenny Ortega is a dream and I feel really honored to be a part of such a beautiful show.
Q: Have you branched out or thought about branching out into other forms of art, such as singing or dancing, and why or why not?
A: I definitely have! Like I said, dancing has played such a huge roll in my life so I know that’s something I will continue to do and honestly, it’s the same with singing. I’ve written a couple of songs just to play around with a few ideas and I’m still very new to it haha! Coming out with original music sometime in the future is definitely something I could see myself doing.One thing I’d really love to do is also branch out into becoming a choreographer. I constantly make up choreography to different genres of music just as another outlet to create. Even though being in front of the camera and performing myself will always be my number one focus, I’d love to have that chance to choreograph one day.
Q: What has been the best part about playing Carrie in “Julie and The Phantoms”?
A: There are so many that it’s hard to pick just one! You know, I’ve never been given the chance to play the “mean girl” before so Carrie is a whole new ball game for me. I’ve always wanted to play this kind of role so I’m excited for people to see me do something different. Also, with Julie and The Phantoms being a musical series, being able to go through the process of recording the songs in the studio, learning the choreography and putting it on camera was such an incredible, new experience. One of the best parts is for sure our cast. I can honestly say that these are some of the most talented and kindhearted people I have ever met. They all bring something so incredibly special to the show, so I feel extremely lucky to get to work with each and every one of them.
Q: To anyone pursuing acting as a career, what would be your best piece of advice?
A: Never forget why you wanted to become an actor. I see a lot of people who enter the industry because they genuinely love to act, and they want to pursue it. Then as time passes, they begin to lose sight of that love and start focusing on wanting the fame. I honestly think social media plays a very big hand in that. People can get so wrapped up in their follower count that they forget why they started acting in the first place. If it doesn’t come from your heart and you’re not passionate about it, then why be in it at all?
Q: Who has been your greatest source of inspiration or support as you have risen up in the entertainment industry?
A: There’s a lot of people that have inspired me in this business and I look up to tons of different actors, directors, choreographers etc. So, I don’t think there’s one main source but there is definitely a mix of sources haha! As far as support goes, that is without a doubt my family. They all completely changed their lives to help me achieve my dreams and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them.
Q: How do you plan on growing your acting career in different directions?
A: I don’t think there is a set plan, but I definitely want to continue to challenge myself with new types of characters. Expanding your abilities in different ways is something I think every actor wants and hopes for. I do have some dream roles/projects that I still have on my bucket list so I guess we will just have to see what happens next!
Photo courtesy of Amanda Elkins.