Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
I’m Angel, Angelique to my family and close friends. I’m an actress living here in LA just like a lot of people. My story is one that most people can probably relate to. I got bit by the acting bug at a relatively young age and from there all roads lead me here; the place where dreams are made and broken everyday. I chose to follow my creative heart and jump in with both feet simply because I felt called to.
I feel a deep underlying current pulling me towards performing. After graduating from conservatory I hit the ground running… Well actually I more sort of hit the ground, crawled for a little bit, started walking, then worked myself up to a fastish jog. I got into the LA theater scene, doing plays at the Pasadena Playhouse, The Belfry, Stella Adler and The Broadwater.
I ran the student film circuit a few times and eventually gained enough momentum to end up in commercials for brands like Ebay, Chevy, Captain Morgan, and Febreze, and made some small TV appearances on Shows like Insecure, The Neighborhood, and My Crazy Sex. But that’s the way the industry is right? It’s a beast that can’t be tamed in a day.
It takes years of mastery of the craft and mastery of self to have longevity and that’s what I want people to know about me. I’m here for the long haul. So, get to know me now so we can reminisce and say how, “we knew each other back when….”
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
What makes me different is everything I’ve been through and still am going through to be here. Everybody goes through adversity but it’s not about what happened to you more so than what you decide to do with that adversity that matters.
I’m an actor, so, I feel literally everything and I feel it at a level more intensely than the average person. So when things happen to me that are particularly unpleasant or challenging or just plain traumatic, I have to decide whether I want that thing to harden me or to figure out how to allow it to move through me so that I can remain the kind, loving, and generous person I truly am.
I’ve worked really hard to remain soft and remain open and that to me is a superpower. Empathy is a superpower. Having control over how you feel is a superpower, a very powerful tool I get to use and sharpen as an actor.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
It was spring 2015 and it was time to do our final show presentations at school. These were the performances we would do before an audience of industry professionals that would hopefully snag us some representation in order to continue our careers after graduation.
The pressure was on because back then you feel like school is the whole world and if nobody wants you at school then surely nobody in the real world would bat an eyelash in your direction. I now know how untrue that is but the way it went was this: You’d preview your scenes in front of the school faculty and student body then you’d get notes and do it all again for real for the industry pros in a few weeks.
Other than these previews you rarely perform in front of the student body unless you’re apart of the yearly musicals the school puts on for everybody. All this to say, previews were a big deal.
Everyone was judging you. So here we go. My scenes go up without a hitch and it seemed to be pretty well received but no one was falling on the floor impressed. On the way back to my dorm a girl stopped me as I got to my front door, she might’ve been a semester behind me. She says to me, “You really inspired me out there today. I didn’t know a scene could feel that real. You did some amazing work.” I was struck in the head.
I could’ve died and been completely at peace with what I was leaving behind because of what that girl said. It sounds dramatic and stupid but I instantly knew I was focused on all the wrong things. Like, yes I want representation but also just doing good work is enough and important. I don’t need to be Beyonce, though I absolutely would not mind. If I inspire someone or spark someone to become the next Beyonce then my work here is done.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had to go through and still am going through has been the pandemic. Everything came to a very big halt as we all know and remember. What we thought was going to be a temporary hiatus changed the very fabric of the industry forever more.
It was especially challenging for me because I had gained a lot of momentum towards the end of 2019 and I rang in 2020 shooting a commercial, so, I was really excited to see what mountains I’d conquer that year. It turned out the only mountain I’d have to conquer, arguably the biggest mountain of all, would be my own damn self.
I went into a dark, nearly 2 year depression, I gained nearly 30 pounds and I was trying desperately to figure out how to cope. Positive thinking was NOT helping. I had to reassess my priorities and the qualities that I thought made me who I am. What I found out was that a lot of my security and Identity was tied to my achievements and when I found myself in a world where I couldn’t really achieve anything because everything was closed I didn’t know what about me was lovable.
So while the pandemic has been the most challenging thing I’ve gone through it’s also been a gift. It was the mirror I needed. I got really intentional about the close relationships in my life and how I show up in them. I started a garage band with my family called Sundee Dinner which allowed us to hangout every Sunday and eat food and sing and make music.
That brought me a lot of joy. I dug my feet in deeper with my spirituality and connected with ancestors and learned to read tarot cards (still learning). That made me feel rooted in something beyond this world, something more stable, and I spent real time just loving on me and giving me things that both challenged me and made me feel loved and celebrated.
I feel like I’m in the process of reinvention and it feels special because it’s not something I woke up one day and decided to do for the hell of it. It feels like a divine process I’m merely participating in. And that feels good because in this way, I’m not trying to control the outcome. I know whatever it’ll look like it’s going to be both beautiful and purposeful.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
I’d want to meet Issa Rae, Marcus Gardley, and Kelechi Okafor. These individuals are way makers. They’re black unicorns doing things exactly how they see fit to do them regardless of what people may say or think about them. I’m a fan of Issa Rae for obvious reasons (I’m rooting for everybody black).
Marcus Gardley is doing the kind of writing for television that people will only later come back and say is genius. And Kelechi is my spirit animal in the way that she’s taken this “influencer” thing and flipped it on its head top. These individuals are making it possible for people like me to exist as themselves in this industry and I’d like to personally thank them for everything they do.