Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Hello! I’m Kabir McNeely and I’m an actor currently based in San Francisco. Acting, for me, has always been a way for me to deepen my humanity by putting myself in the shoes of people who sometimes, on the surface, seem to be nothing like me. I love finding commonalities between myself and others through portraying an array of different characters.
Before I got into acting, I was interested in directing. During holiday trips and parties, I would direct plays with my family and have them performed until people built up the courage to tell me they’d had enough.
For me, whether I’m in front of or behind the camera, I think storytelling is absolutely magical and I’m always excited to be a part of different projects in any way that I can.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I think a lot of my work is in subtlety. I enjoy portraying characters in a state of vulnerability – especially when I am tasked with communicating a character’s feelings to the audience without any dialogue.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
Originally, I saw myself as a filmmaker. I didn’t think acting was my thing in any manner. But my dad saw the potential. He signed me up for an acting class when I was in second grade, which I initially thought was stupid. But over the 8 weeks of classes, I came to love it. From there, I started taking more classes and landed a couple of roles in community theater productions and student films. Since then, I continued moving forward and haven’t stopped.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
I recently acted in a film (also written and directed by me), which is currently going through the film festival circuit, called My Name Is Moe which tackles mental health and eating disorders.
For me, it was extremely important that my character would not be a caricature as many other boys dealing with mental health are portrayed. In order to add nuance to the character, I really dug deep into my own personal experiences in order to do the character justice. It definitely brought up a lot of painful memories and caused me to ask myself difficult questions.
That said, the self-exploration I got to do while shooting this film strengthened my convictions to continue being an actor. It was such a gratifying film to make so it was definitely worth the challenges.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
I’ve always been fascinated by Christina Ricci. Her ability to play lively, charming, edgy and dark characters is astounding to me. Her range is incredible and her ability to bring life to the very small role she had in Matrix: Resurrections is amazing. I’d love to learn from her and develop my range as a performer.
I’d also love to meet Xavier Dolan, whose films I really enjoy – especially Mommy. I like watching his films and imaging myself in some of the roles so being in one of his films would be a dream come true.
And I’d also love to meet Fin Argus. Fin’s performance in Clouds brought me to tears at several points throughout the film. I also loved their song “Exposure” and I think their sense of fashion is absolutely amazing.
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