Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
Acting is my jam. It is what I’m supposed to do in this life. I popped in and out of the industry during my teenage years and into my twenties, exploring life and the world.
I’ve experienced many things — successes and failures, exhilarations and tragedies. I am queer and I am non-binary, two affirmations that have changed my life and bestowed upon me the confidence to tackle even the most intimidating of challenges.
Born of that exploration was the undeniable understanding that acting is not only my chosen path, but the one I was always meant to travel.
Since then, I have appeared in multiple stage productions, feature films, national commercials, and major network episodics, including the Emmy Award-winning “Hacks” and the much anticipated “Bel-Air”.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
Having been born and raised in Texas within a very conservative family, faced with the resistance that comes with being an LGBTQIA+ person in such circumstances, I quickly grew a backbone more akin to a steel rod. That backbone gave me the strength to barrel ahead with a desire to connect with all walks of life, discover unknown passions, and establish a foundation based in creativity, compassion, and courage.
My want of commercial success is not a selfish one — it is interlaced with the far-reaching needs for accurate representation of, and increased opportunities for, the LGBTQIA+ community, not only within this industry, but in the world-at-large. We must work together to create change, and I choose to apply my creativity and knack for entertainment to help address those needs.
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?
This is, in fact, my grandmother’s favorite story: My entire family had driven in from out of town for my primary school’s Christmas performance. I was six years old, my first time on stage.
As I stood with my first grade class, wearing paper mittens and singing the Christmas rhyme “Three Little Kittens,” I could see them in the audience. I remember their smiles. I remember the smiles of those sitting next to them. I remember the upswell of happiness and joy coming from the crowd. Twelve little kids, singing a song, and waving their hand-crafted “mittens” in the air inspired this happiness and joy.
At the end of the performance, in reaction to a standing ovation and applause from all… I bowed three times with a beaming pirate-smile to each section of the audience. I was the only child on stage that took a bow… or bows, rather.
My grandmother always finishes this story with a chuckle, “…and that’s when we knew we were in trouble.” From that day on, it was Jim Carrey impersonations and comedy sketches in every family member’s living room. My first time on camera, at fifteen years old, locked me in for life.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
In all honesty, it is tough to name just one. Queer acceptance. The sudden passings of multiple immediate family members.
Poverty. The only real way to “overcome” these challenges is to learn from them. I learned to accept the lack of control a person has over certain aspects of life.
I learned to appreciate what I had, rather than pine for and complain over what I didn’t. Now I rest easy, knowing how to live fully and love deeply.
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?
Sofia Coppola, Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino. Storytellers, innovators, whom I have respected and admired for many years. Personally, I feel collaboration is the most beautiful and impressive aspect of production. Teamwork makes dreams work.