Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
I am an actor, writer, producer and content creator. Over the past few years, I’ve been building a base in the indie film world. From playing Sister Fiona in Stephen King’s “In the Deathroom”, to feminist icon Jackie Mitchell in “Throw Like A Girl”, to the title role in “The Chair That Killed Faye” which earned me my first acting award nomination. I grew up doing theatre in Chicago and moved to LA for college and to begin working in TV and film.
I have three feature films coming out this year, including the young adult thriller “Blame” coming to Amazon September 21st. “Hyde Out” and “God’s Not Here” are set for release at the end of 2021. I am best known for my role as Girsten on Dreamworks’ AwesomenessTV’s single camera comedy series “Foursome”. Next year, I plan to start production on a coming of age dramedy feature film, “The Shiva”, that I wrote, and will co-produce as well as star in.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I’d say it’s a mix of my Jewish and Italian heritage, and having grown up on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” that makes me such a feisty little spitfire. As a petite woman standing at a mere 5″, I’ve always found that being my bold, loud, energetic self takes people by surprise. Thanks to the incredible role models I had growing up, my mom, my big sister, Buffy (of course), that I always saw strong, determined, unapologetic women as the norm.
That’s why when it comes to storytelling, I’m always drawn to complex and messy women. Among my favorite films are “August: Osage County”, “Monster”, “Black Swan” and “Doubt”. I love the especially flawed women in film that are struggling to be their best selves because I think they’re the most honest and relatable stories. Those are the types of women I write about, and the lens through which I develop many of the characters I play.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
I don’t know when the exact moment was, it was before I even formed real memories yet. All I know is that I loved entertaining my family and performing for my friends as early as pre-school. In kindergarten, I watched “Pretty Woman”, “Erin Brockovich”, and “Stepmom” back-to-back, and I knew I wanted TO BE Julia Roberts. To see someone getting to live out such different lives felt like pure magic.
In fifth grade, my mom was driving me from rehearsal for my school’s production of “Annie” to rehearsal for the community theatre musical, and asked, if I had to choose anything else to do with my life besides act, what I would do. I replied, “That’s easy, I’d stop breathing.” It was from that moment that she and my dad realized I was a lost cause! I had my heart set on acting and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is my struggle with mental health. Since middle school, I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphia. For years it manifested in self-harm, anorexia, and bulimia, until my senior year of high school when I started working with an incredible therapist who changed my life. While this struggle with mental health was once my greatest challenge, I now see it as my greatest asset.
I learned early on how strong I really am in my ability to fight these disorders and overcome them. Now, when this competitive and often intimidating industry throws challenges my way that might derail or discourage others, I don’t give up. I’ve already done things that felt impossible at the time. If I can get through those dark times and fight my way back to the light, there’s nothing I can’t do. Like anyone who struggles, I have my ups and downs, but I know to never give up. Because as Glennon Doyle always says, “I can do hard things.”
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?
Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, and Margot Robbie. All three are incredible actors that have taken their success in one arena of the film industry and built whole production companies and empires from them.
My goal is to eventually have a production company of my own where I can produce stories about women, by women, for women. Hollywood has been solely focused on the white male perspective for too long, making the incredible stories being told by these women and their production companies absolutely revolutionary.
To work on any of their projects would be a dream come true. And to launch my own company to create these kinds of opportunities in film and TV for other women is a big part of my plan in this industry.