On this week's episode we have actress Michele Weaver. She's been the lead on TV shows Love Is... and Council of Dads on NBC. She sat down with us to talk about her journey in the industry, the ups, the downs, how spirituality influences her decision on roles, the power of believing in yourself and much more.
You can watch her film Illicit on Amazon Prime and BET+ now.
You can follow her on Instagram @eleweaver
For more info on us please follow is on Instagram @onceuponafilmindustry
Welcome to once upon the film industry. I am Steven Lloyd Bennett. And I'm Al Lopez and we are here with the lovely and talented Michele Weaver. Michelle, you have seen her on TV shows love is and counsel of dads on NBC. And she's here to hang out with us for a little bit. Thanks for being on Michelle. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me. Well, you know, I've known Steven for a long time. So it's, it's good to catch up and I've just met Al. So it's ni e. Pleasure. Pleasure. Michelle was in my first short film wh n I moved to LA in 2014 15 Shu yeah. Oh my god. emancipation, that was a little black and white thing. I shot for 37 whole dollars. And we, we did that in a day. Y ah, it was fun. And we got it o beat. It was on TV for a l ttle bit on that show on BET merican black film festivals TV how. And I always liked working with her. So I said let's ta k to her. Cool. So I'll just k ck it off with the very first How did your family first influence your decision to be an actress? Wow. Well, I started out dancing when I was three. And I had always performed I we all were required to do something musical. So I was on piano at a Oh, I don't know, probably six, something like that. And then I my family was like, Listen, you should either do choir or do band and so I was like, Okay, I'll do choir. So I would perform with the choir and I would do this I would audition for like the exclusive choir groups. And so I performed I always performed I performed since I was three years old. My older sibling I ended up getting a degree in acting and dance before me so it kind of made it gave me a little entryway there. I was academic child and I wasn't going to major in the arts. I was I applied to eight schools with a psychology major in a French literature minor my mother's Haitian so English was her third language. So I always wanted to pick up another language and travel the world. And when I was when I was in senior, I got a random audition to audition. Well, basically my school goes to a theater. It's called the thespian conference. And they had the opportunity for seniors to audition for tons of colleges. I had already early submitted to most of the schools I wanted to go to, and there was just an open spot. So I was like, shoot, I have a song I have a monologue. I just went auditioned, I ended up getting a theater scholarship to go to Pepperdine. And so my parents were like powered, I don't do it, you know. So they thought I was gonna do a double major in acting and psychology. I got there took a psychology class, and I said, Nope. And I picked up a double major in media production. And so but I mean, at that point I paid for my, the way it worked in my family is that we all pay for our own school. And then, you know, my parents were kind of help out here and there. And so it's like, what are you going to tell me? I'm paying for it. Wait, I gotta jump in there. You pay for your own school? Well, yeah, we got scholarships, and my parents would help here. And they would they could, but it wasn't like my parents were covering completely not to shoot those shade my parents, but they did help out in areas. So I just was like, I'm going to go into the industry. And then once I was studying theatre and media production, I just was like, this is where I'm gonna go. So they kind of had to, like, Okay, and then. And then once from there, they saw my dedication and all that stuff. They were just supportive. My dad did say, my senior year in high school, I did a play, man who came to dinner and it was my first lead role in a play. And in high school. In my dad, I remember my dad saying, you know what, Michelle, you could do this, I believed you up there. And so I think once he saw me in my element, they were they didn't want to kind of pushed me too much. Just kind of let me figure figure out where I belonged, in a sense. So they were very supportive, and especially now they're super supportive. And, and even when I didn't, wasn't booking that much like, I don't know, I think they just started to see, I guess it's kind of one of those things. When you're a parent when you start to see like, your kids figuring out where they belong, even if even if you're not, even if they're not necessarily thriving at it yet. You're like you know what, it's going to work out and so you They were pretty supportive from the beginning. But of course, they wanted me to go in a more academic, you know, direction at first. But then once they realized that wasn't happening happening, they kind of just got on board, which is good, which is a real blessing. What would you say is, were some of your biggest inspirations as an actress starting out? I okay, I'll tell this story. When I when I was first starting out, you know, you meet tons of artists your age and being living in Hollywood. I lived in Hollywood with two other actors. I slept on the top bunk. And we were bunking it, yeah, bunking it I would literally, I was working out so much, I was trying to be in shape, you know, to be an actor. And so getting out of bed from a bunk bed when you're sore. Like, I would just fall on the ground and just be like, are you okay? I'm like, I'm fine. But anyways, I'm glad I don't have that problem anymore. Um, but yeah, I remember people who's talking to me, and we would do these does this hang out with tons of artists and people who just so discouraged after a year after two years, and I remember specifically, this moment of this girl, like, how do you do it? How do you stay positive? How are you hanging in there? Like, I'm so frustrated, like, my response was always like, Steve Harvey was, like, lived in his car for two years. There is like this rumor that Halle Berry, at one point had to check herself into a homeless shelter. I don't know if that's true. But this is the story that I go at. And like Courtney Cox, like passed out on a job because she was literally eating cans of soup and barely surviving that she passed out because she was malnourished, like, and I'm like, who do I think I am, that I'm just gonna walk into Hollywood and just make it like, these people are incredibly talented, they are so good at what they do. And they had to struggle. So why am I getting so easily discouraged by the struggle? Now, of course, I had my ups and downs. But that was kind of the thing that I would always tell myself and tell the people, it's like, Don't be so arrogant that you think that you're just going to get a free pass on doing the work and putting in the time to build your business to build your brand to win people over in the rooms. And so that was kind of my encouragement I, the truth of matter is and there was this one moment when Kirk Franklin did this random YouTube video. I mean, someone just started rolling the camera on him when they were in the studio, I think this came out in 2016 or 2015. You can look it up. But um, he basically said you can't skip experiences, you cannot skip experiences. And I remember hearing that word and just being like, it's real. And and one story that I love is looking at them day in and day It started off working very young. She became a fashion icon very early on in her career, because she did the work her parents, you know, and her decided that she wanted to work on her style like that wanted to wanted to build her brand. But after she was on Disney, she had been a producer, she had been a star of two shows already. She wasn't really taken seriously as an actor, because she also didn't have the experience. Like her shows were great. They were more comedy driven. They're more sitcom me, and she wanted to be a movie star. And if you look at her, she listened to her interviews before she got spider man before she got what was that one movie, he was she was was in it with Zac Efron. And she's like, I went in an audition for years. This girl is on the cover of magazines. And she's auditioning in a waiting room with people who probably have less credits than her to show them No, I can be a movie star. And it just reminds me you can't skip experiences just because you're famous, you still have to go through the process of showing them that you have the talent to lead a movie, and even this, Okay, one more thing I'm going to say about that. This, I forget who it was, but I was being very frustrated in the process wasn't working was working six days at the restaurant just like trying to barely make it in and out of classes. And this person, I don't know, I went to some workshops somewhere and a guy said, Are you willing to to invest $2 million into your performance? Is that how confident you are in pulling off this role? And it just convicted me. I was like, dang, that's the truth. Someone is investing $2 million into your performance. Are you confident that you're going to lead that film now? Me I watch films all the time, and I critique the heck out of some actors. So that literally checked me You may think that you're talented, you may you may have a lot of beautiful things to to add to a movie, but that does not mean you can lead a film. How many times have we watched a film where we've seen an amazing actor It fell flat, like, dang, I don't know what it is. But something was missing. This is not an easy job and reminding myself that give myself time to grow, to step up to that level and being giving them something to believe in, you can't expect people to believe in you. Right, you need to believe in yourself first. And that's, and that's the first step. So those are a few of the things that encouraged me. I remember when I saw him jump in. I remember when I was, when I was acting while studying acting. When I first started out, there is this line that my acting coach, Pete metallian, has said to me one time, and it stuck with me forever. And I took it as a life lesson. He said, You believe, I believe, if you believe it, I believe it. And he's saying that as an actor, as an actor, you have to believe it, and the audience will believe it. But I took that for life. Because once you start believing in yourself and start believing in your mission, believing in your goals, believing in your vision, all those things, and then things start to sort of attract to you and people start to attract you. And people start to be like, Oh, this division, this division? Yeah. Because when you believe you act different. Yeah. It's not even about what you say is that it's about what you do. And so if you believe it, you just naturally, you know, carry yourself differently, react to things differently. And how important was it for you to? I mean, I mean, when someone asks you that question, you know, is someone willing, are you willing to invest $2 million in yourself? Like, during that time? How important was it for you to be well prepared for that moment when you're when that opportunity was was available for you? Yeah, I do remember being terrified by that statement. Like, I don't know if I know. First of all, I have like $2. So $2 million. And keep in mind, $2 million, is an indie film. This is not a blockbuster film. This is not Marvel, this is not even one of those medium budget. This is an indie film, like the bottom of the bottom, which I mean, still people make films on $50,000 right now, but in the sense of a SAG low budget, that's $2 million. So it terrified me at first. So I just, I think for me, what it was, is that your work is not over. And you just need to keep going to class and keep challenging yourself. And not being I mean, at the time, I just a lot of people will like turn down auditions, like, Oh, no, I don't want to do that. Like I would just audition for things, even things that I didn't want to do. Just because I was like this, you just need a freaking build up your skill. And I took a lot of classes back then for sure. I was always in a class or working with people working with friends. And so that's how I responded to that moment was okay, well, what can you do in the time being, you can grow. So I invested invested as much money as I could and as much time as I could into growing, because I was inevitably The only way to get to the point where I would have enough confidence. And eventually I did have enough confidence. I mean, I started to get to the point where like, now I can do this. I did an indie film elicit we shot it. I mean, he shot it so quick. He would do it in like two tapes. He would change rewrite scenes while we're in the middle of doing a to take scene. And I think after that I was like shoot, I can freakin do this. Okay, let's go let's go. But it's terrifying. Like you almost have to and that's the thing like I don't know if you're ever really ready for anything you know? I mean, they even say that about you know, marriage kids career your role. I don't know if I was really ready for love is but boy did I jump off the wall. And I put in my all and I grew a lot. And I don't think you can ever be fully fully ready except for just ready to grow and learn. Nice, and you're fantastic and levels. Thank you is a great opportunity. I was so proud. I was like, oh, Michelle it's nice being able to see people that you work with, like grow, right? Like I love seeing even commercial that like I know that person. Yeah. Yeah, it is really cool. And share with us like, you shed a little bit about it already. But how tough is it to break into the industry? Um, well, I believe I'm still working in. I've had a lead on a show. I've been on an NBC show. I don't know if you ever I feel like breaking in the industry is such a term that can cause confusion, to be honest, because like for example, I love Jennifer Hudson. She broke into the industry, got an Oscar and then kind of disappeared for a little while and she said is expanding her work, she's still expanding her, her artistry. And so I don't know what breaking into should mean, does it mean that people know who you are? Is it mean you're doing three movies a year? Is it mean that you're award winning? Like, what is breaking into the industry really mean? It means even if it just means that you can survive off of acting, you can do that off with commercials. And I don't know if that's really breaking into the industry, you could survive off laughing is doing YouTube stuff. So I think the term breaking into the industry is something that is different, depending on the person and what they it's, to me, it's very similar to the word of success, like, how do you know once you've reached success? I guess it depends on the person. Right? I was just about to say I feel like it's a, it depends on the standard of what the person thinks that is, like, if someone has a standard of, you know, I want to be the biggest movie star in the world, then breaking in for them is not, you know, a couple commercials. If someone's standard is like, hey, I want to be a regular on a TV show, then maybe getting an under five on a soap opera is breaking in for them, you know? So it's just about your standard and how you set forth your, your mindset and all that. So you see. So basically, you define what breaking into the industry is and you define what success is to you as an individual. Yes, I do believe that. I have a random question. I didn't plan but have you ever been stopped on the street? Yep. After love is I was I was actually a lot. Mostly in Atlanta. When I was in Atlanta, I can tell when someone knows who I am. Because they'll like stare at me. And then usually say something to someone else. And then I'll be like, they start going like this point. I think one of the funniest moments was when I was getting my nails done, probably three months after love is premiered. And literally the lady sitting in the chair next to me, was like, Why do you look like the girl from love is and I was like, cuz I am her. I mean, sometimes I pretend that if I try to not pretend but I'm not good at it. Even though I'm an actor, I'm not good at lying like that, you know, like, so I'll usually be like, I don't know, like, people will say, I know you from somewhere when I know you. I'm like, I don't know, I'm around like, Are you an actor? Yeah, but you know, nothing super big like, and I just wait for people to discover themselves. Like, I'm not gonna sit here and be like, club is like this bit like, I'm not gonna say no. But I, I also worked in the restaurant business for many years. And I remember people coming in, like, I was supposed to know them, and I wouldn't. And then I wouldn't make them wait. And someone would come to me to like, you're making that after Wait, like, they were on this and this and this. I was like, Oh, that's why they came in so untitled. For me, I was like, I'm never gonna be that person. Like, I just can't. Yeah, I remember I was walking to the airport isn't I was in New York. And I saw an actor from power. I won't say who it was. And I was walking, and I noticed him and I did one of those things. I was like, Oh, that is the guy. And then I looked away. And I looked back and he's staring at me, like, please notice me Please notice me. Give us like a space like, please say something prefix. And I was like, oh, four. Listen, though, you didn't say anything at that point. You would have made his day right there. Too much. It does. And I listen, I'm I'm human. So I caught myself in one of those moments, because I was with a bunch of actors. And every one else was getting recognized. And I wasn't. And I was like, Oh my god, like, why am I not kidding? Yeah. And then finally, someone recognized me. And I was like, Oh, that's right. Yeah. Let's take a picture, girl, let's do this. And then afterwards, I was like, Whoa, like, why did you allow yourself to get into that? Like, it's not about that, like, and so it was a good moment of like, testing my heart because it is weird when you're, it's interesting. Like, we're all human. We all have egos. And so if you're used to people recognizing you, it does so you notice when you when it stops, just like if you know your your mom always calls you after performance to tell you how good you are. And then she stops calling you it's like, oh my god, why aren't you calling me like my bad now like, it's, it's like this mental game that you have to just make sure you're ahead of. But so that was a good moment for me to be like, Oh my god, you're becoming like them. Stop, stop. Stop. Wait, yeah. Well, that says a lot about you, though. You recognize it, right? You use you know, you came out of your element. And you notice that and you know, you you adjust yourself? Yeah, I mean, it might have happened before and I just didn't notice it before. So But either way, we all have to just be self aware and we change the thing that we want to change. So I was like, no I don't want to be like that. So you have a look that feel can be like four or five different looks. I think you have that kind of kind of face and aura. Have you ever been stereotyped for a role like, Oh, no, I can't see her playing that. Well, actually, yeah. Well, the first role elicit that I played in it was I'm come off like super wholesome and, and I I'm pretty crude. So that's not like a bad assumption about me over the years. But so when I auditioned for the role of Ferran on elicit she's a woman who seduces, and I'm a married man and comes out of jail because of a bad relationship, all this stuff. Yeah, people did not expect me to book that role. Let me tell you something, I didn't even expect myself. I knew the director and I was like, let me just go in and have fun. Like, let me just don't like and do this role. Like, I didn't even expect myself to book it at all. But I was like, this girl, this helicopter like, This girl is confident. You have so what she has baggage, I got baggage, like. So I went in with that. And that actually helped me win the role because I wasn't so obvious. While some girls were playing into those nuances of her that made her just so obvious, if that makes sense. I don't know. Do you get what I'm saying? But I know. Yeah, it's more interesting to watch someone that when you first look at them, you wouldn't know their story. So for that, when I went on set, I'd worked with a lot of the people on that movie before. And they greeted me with their doubt. Girl when I found out, you know, I'm like, she can't play this role. And I'm like, Are you kidding me? Thank you for setting this up for me to just succeed in this role. But I'm competitive. So I'm like, whenever someone tells me No, I'm like, I'm about to show up. Right? gonna say no, I no one tells me No. But. But yeah, so it actually helped me it kind of pushed me to just go even deeper and just to let go and be free in it. And then, but they ended up complimenting me afterwards, like you actually killed us. And and I'm impressed. But yes, I do. Experience people stereotyping me for sure. But I think every actor Yeah, you get stereotyped a little bit. So talking about roles. What were some of the toughest, most challenging roles that you face to date? emancipation? emancipation was very hard, though, actually, what you didn't clean up? And by the way, thank you. I think that was on my first rolls. Like in a short, I think I'd done maybe a couple shorts before that. But I think honestly, every roll of I don't think I ever really necessarily. Or if I do it's a trap. If I go into a thing like, Oh, this is going to be easy. I've done this before. It's a trap. And that's what the most difficult things are actually the scenes that I think I have. Because I get overconfident. And then I'm on set like, Oh my god, there's so much going on in this scene that I did not prepare for, like between the lines. That is usually what happens like that happened on love is like the most emotional scenes, I can come in friggin because I knew like I was gearing up for like this hard scene. So I put so much effort into it. But the scenes, I think in television and in film, the most difficult scenes, I think, are the most simple ones. Because you overlook it. You underestimate the scene. And especially on an NBC. I made that mistake a few times for sure. The scenes that are more subtle or sometimes more difficult, because you you do it and then you feel like you didn't do anything. Right. But then that's how you're supposed to do it because it's just life like. Yeah, so that's what I would say. I think every role that I got in the time that I got it was probably my most difficult role that time because it was a step up from what I had done before. The time that I did love it. Like obviously that was the most difficult I've ever done. Even when I did Dolly, a dolly parton show I did an episode on heartstrings that roll was very difficult for me because I just come off playing nury and I was in my head as an actor thinking don't play nury don't play nury like you can't play yourself at all because you you don't want to be typecasted so then there was this extra pressure instead of just being honest and the scene the director would literally direct me out of my head into just being free into the scene. And so even if the if it was only one episode or if it wasn't as much dialogue as love as there was different difficulties in there that really challenged me an actor comes up to you is new, a just getting started. What would be some of your advice, your initial advice, how do you get started as an actor? Well, the easy thing, get into class. It's hard right now because it's COVID. But I would say audit every acting class you can in Los Angeles and find the fit for you. And honestly, for me, like, I have weird advice, not weird, but every person is different. But for me, I think it's very important for an actor to secure some kind of job have an income. And that's what worked for me. And so I tell people, I'm like, I don't know what works for you. But I don't want to go into an audition, worrying about rent, I want to have rent taken care of, so that when I go in, I can be free and enjoy myself does find a side hustle that you you can enjoy. And maybe it takes a couple side hustles before you can find one that you like, I love doing commercials, some actors are like, I can't do commercials. I love commercials. And to be honest, auditioning for commercials helped me so much with acting, because you can go into an audition for two minutes, be grounded, be real and walk out, then you can do anything like, you have no time to prepare, they ask you on the fly, like it actually helps you get confidence in the room. And they don't freaking compliment you. They don't care about you. They're like, Okay, next. So you can have confidence and peace in that environment, then it will only help you in the theatrical world, where they give you more time and there's more investment, if that makes sense. But also my advice would be to also still have a life, if you don't have experiences to pull from. There's an amazing acting coach who talks about that with her students. She's like, how to like, go on vacation. Like, don't be like I can't book out. Because what if a job comes? Like, honestly, almost every time I booked is because I was out of town like I swear to you like I would just there was a time where every time I went on vacation, I get a call. They're booking you or you're testing for this, can you come back? I'm like, No, yeah, I got a mini vacation and I got to do something about not being desperate people read your desperation in the room. It's so irritating, there's nothing worse than a desperate person. So if you have things to look forward to in your life, besides acting, or just creative ways to express your self, then when you go in the room, you can have fun, and and take full advantage of the opportunity, instead of making it this moment where you need this job, otherwise, you're not going to thrive. Now, I will say some actors thrive off of that. They thrive off for high stakes. And so they do better that way. And I think that's also important know who you are, know what kind of person you are, know the environment you thrive in. Know your weaknesses, know your strengths so that you can create an atmosphere where you can succeed. And then it's all about timing. Success is when preparation meets opportunity. Yeah, control you can control. Wow, that's pretty. You dropped a lot of hidden gems there for anyone who's very well. They weren't hidden. They were pretty out there. Yeah. So as an actor, what what would you what genre Do you like working in? Typically? See, that's the thing for me is I love so many different genres. I mean, I grew up dancing, I grew up singing. So I like a dream to be in a musical like dream by far. But I also love john and i love comedy. I don't have as much experience with comedy. I have training in it. But so I would love to do some comedies, romantic comedies, all types of stuff. And I also have a background in martial arts, actually. So yeah, all three of us all had to do martial arts because my dad was stationed in South Korea when he was in the army, and he got a black belt in hapkido and Taekwondo. So we all I got to brown belt, and then I chose to do the Nutcracker instead of get a black belt, but I have a background in martial arts. So I would love to do more physical action work, because I love I did stunts in college, worked with stunt for stage, which is a little bit different. But I love that kind of stuff. I love being outdoors. And I'm a Colorado kid, so I'm not afraid of dirt or falling on my face. What draws your interests to signing onto a project? What makes you say, Oh, yeah, this is the one. That's such a good question. Right? Because honestly, like love is I didn't, I had just come off a testing like another job that I loved and is between me and the girl who got it wasn't me. Within 24 hours, they asked me to test for love is after hearing No, from this other project, which was a really, I mean, I guess I can tell you what the project is. It was a umbrella Academy. And the amazing actress from Broadway got the role because she's incredible. So I was like, okay, fine, I'll lose you. But, um, I loved that role because it was so dark and artsy and I love dark and art. And, but so within 24 hours, I got the test for love A's and I liked love it. But it wasn't until I was really in the test where something clicked in me. And I got the character because I was in a similar situation with my career in the sense of if you look at the pilot, she's talking about trying to get a get an opportunity. Yeah, in writing and like doing the work and, and so I was definitely in that place. So it just like in the past, I was like, Oh my god, I have to get this role, which is terrifying when you get that because you're like, Oh, my God, I hope I get it. But yeah, I don't know. I think a lot of times when I read the script, when I'm done reading it, it's something that is not necessarily about words, or even emotion, it's like almost, it's like a traction, like you're like, Oh my god, I feel this girl like I feel this woman. If I read the script, and I have to sit for a moment, like, Oh, my God, what I just read. This is awesome. Then Yeah, but I read scripts that I didn't like the script that much. But I love the character. And I was like, shoot, I love this character. I don't care if I don't like the script, I want to play this character. But I've read scripts, I turned on a really great, just this is just for an audition, it wasn't offered. But I was like, I'm not gonna audition for this. It's an incredible role. And I turned it down, not because I didn't feel like I connected with the character because I did. But I felt like it's very strange. As an actor, there's a balance between being like, Oh, I can play anything I set my mind to and then also knowing that you can't play anything you set your mind to. And knowing I really stick because I was like, Listen, you guys is a great script, great character. But there's a woman out there that this is for, and it's not me. And it's a very strange thing. It's like you just know. And for me, in this particular situation, it was like a need. For me as an audience member, I would be disappointed to see someone of my skin color and my hair texture to play this role. I want a woman who has a darker skin tone, different hair texture to bring this to life. And so I'm very glad I have Yes, I'm very glad you do that. Yeah, and I think that's hard. Like, I think in the end, we feel like we can play anything. And to certain degree we can but at the same time, like, I'm just like, I'm an audience member, I would be very disappointed if I saw someone like me play this role. And that's enough for me to be like, nope, because if I feel that way, I know that the majority of people are going to feel that way. I had a I met with some actress. Was there a name, but I met with her and she's maybe close to your complexion. And, you know, I met with her and she just was I wanted someone dark skin and who had like a natural hair look. And like a fro that sort of look. And it was in the script. And she came in and the casting director brought her in and she's like, I'm just gonna say off the bat. I'm not ready for this. But I really love the script. And I just want to talk to you. Like she just turned it down already in the meeting. She turned it down because she just like, I just want to meet you. Because I know I'm not. I know I'm not right for this script. And when she did that, I appreciate it so much. Because he when I saw a picture, I was like, I can't she's not right for this little cow meter. And I seen on TV shows. Okay, but like to actually have her say that I appreciate it so much. I appreciate you being like, you know what? Yeah. Someone else needs to be class. Yeah. And I think that's a hard. It's hard. But yeah, yeah. But yeah, it's necessary. This is this is a something I was always interested in. Because I think I have a similar mindset to you when it comes to this. We met each other at a Bible study. And how does your spirituality play when you're selecting a project? Or what clear boundaries do you set? When it comes to that? I think as an artist, it's a very interesting process, because I believe that the actor is a vessel. My experience of being an actor is like, also being like a person who prays you're a vessel for what, what God is saying what the Holy Spirit is saying. And some people pray where they and some actors play where they want all the control and they want no, this is how it should be. This is how I see it in my mind, this is how it be but the actual the people who are really good actors, and the people who are the good prayers are the people who are open enough to be the vessel of someone else's voice, right. So I for me personally, that's why I have to feel a sense of calling to it calling to the to the character, a purpose for it. And the thing to be honest, I don't necessarily tell my Rep. No, this none of this, none of this. I tell them, I'm I'm uncomfortable with this kind of stuff. I'm on comfortable with this. But I also find that for the right story, I might wiggle my boundaries a little bit because of the purpose of the story, right, like, so that's why I'm very much of an actor who read scripts. I'm like, let me read this script. Let me see. And also, okay, what kind of director is this, I think about what kind of directors This is a very raw director. And I do have boundaries with sex scenes, and nudity, and things like that. And I also will be very, very upfront and say, Look, I'm not going to be doing the nudity that you want for this role. It's not in my boundaries, and I know what kind of director you are. And so it might be better for you to find someone who doesn't have those boundaries, so that they can be completely raw, and be able to bring your story to life the way that you see it, your vision. And I think knowing that, and being okay with that is is important. As an actor I, I sat in an acting motivational group years ago, and it incited a lot of anger in me. And the reason why is because this guy's a casting director speaking to a lot of young actors probably in their 20s, early 20s, straight off the boat, you want to say or straight off the plane into LA. And he's telling them I hate actors who say they have boundaries, like your freaking actor, you're not allowed to have boundaries. And I said, it made me very angry. So this is why actors are committing suicide, because they sell your soul, they sell their soul, their body, all of their boundaries, their mind their emotions, everything to to directors, because that's what they're told to do. That's what makes them a good actor. And then they have nothing left. And so they feel empty, and they kill themselves, or they drink themselves to death, they these things. And so I think it's very important in every actor to know what their boundaries are, and to readdress them yearly, because, you know, it could change over time, and not being afraid to be honest about them and find the balance within that. So I am very aware when I read scripts, okay, what is the storytelling and what is my part in the story? Because I do believe media is one of the biggest influences in the world. And I'm just in prayer about it. And and one thing that I've learned, don't be religious when choosing your roles, either, because part of the point of telling your story is to tell people tell stories of flawed human beings. Right. Right. Nobody's perfect, right. And I think that's a crutch that some people who are Christians, it's a fine line of finding a balance of not being so open, that you just do something to please other people, but also, not being so closed off that, you know, you actually miss out on an opportunity of playing a real person, some of the roles that you've played, which ones have really impacted your life, outside of acting. See, that's the thing that's so fascinating. Does life imitate art is art imitate life. I do believe that God is intentional that like, everything in life is presented to us and we have an opportunity to choose it, to refuse it. To learn from it, to hide from it. The thing about my journey is I believe it's very intentional. I mean, I wasn't even necessarily planning to be an actor, I've been dreaming of being an actor. Since the moment I could dream. I always knew that I would. It's like, something in me knew I was going to be in Hollywood and and I denied it denied it. I can't be in Hollywood, I need to be someone who's professional. Like, I applied to eight schools in psychology, and I still ended up in Los Angeles, right? being an actor, right? And it's funny the things that you end up crossing paths with. So to answer your question, honestly, every rule triggered something and triggered is used in such a negative way. Because it's, it's usually painful. But pain is good. If we respond to it the right way as an opportunity to learn. And every role has triggered something in me. And when I tell you, like especially will elicit you know, judgment and all being closed off all this stuff. Love is I mean, even the one liners that I did would trigger something in me like something that I was like, why are you so desperate? Why are you so hungry to get all like just tons of different things, but love is definitely triggered. I had to re face every relationship I was in the healthy ones, the unhealthy ones. And at first, that was not good because I didn't know how to readdress them. So it left me very open, very vulnerable. But it was actually good because I needed to readdress a lot of those things in order for me to be in a, in a healthier relationship. And even even Counsel of dads when I tell you, there were things that that character was going through that I was going through, like, it's almost freaky, how you will get these roles and you'll be like, crap, I'm frickin dealing with this with so and so now I got to frickin deal with it in this scene. Like it's, it's strange. And a lot of actors talk about it. Like I know Taraji P. Henson has talked about it before. And she's like, it's very strange how you end up lining up with these parts that are kind of bringing up things that are going on in your life at the time. By the end of your career, you're gonna be like a therapist. Yeah. But have you look at a lot of actors, though, isn't it interesting. When you listen to a lot of actors, interviews, you can tell the ones who are really worth allowing themselves to change for the world and the people who just allow it to bury more. Yeah, cuz you have, I mean, we're in a game of imitating life. Yeah, to understand the human psyche to be able to a certain degree, not like a psychologist, but to a certain degree to be able to do the artistry. So it's interesting, you know, guitarists have guitars pianos have pianos, but act as your instrument is you answer your mind and your body and you, you have to play it properly. That's why you have to have safe healthy boundaries, because you will destroy your one instrument. And then when you have john, preach, preach, preach. Yeah. So so going through the two most recent projects love is and counsel of dads, what was it like? You know, you got love is and that was like the big thing. And then it goes off air and then canceled dad's another big thing. And then it goes off. What was that? What was that roller coaster like? Oh, God is awful. Right? I sort of thought of that about you. I was like, Damn canceled as it is. It's a part of the business. And I think it's fascinating though, because both shows people would say in like the cast who've been working for 30 years like I've never experienced this show with so much magic so much. Spirit like I've never all the shows I've done over the past 30 years of my career like this shows gonna last at least five years this is what people are saying like people who work on people who are on the crew, like I've done this show the show the show the show like this, you're gonna laugh man like this is so I'm like, This is hilarious. But I mean, you know, love is would have lasted but there is, you know, drama, drama, drama, legal stuff, but but even even with counsel, God's there was COVID happen. And there's so many things about the show that they're like shooting in Savannah with three under, like, kids, minors in court, like no, we're not putting money in. There's so many external factors that have a show, go and not go. But it's very interesting. I think you have to go through a level of just surrender and trust. And that just reminds you that you are not your job, you are not your career. And I do take it as a great opportunity, though. At first, it was just like, dang, this sucks. But then I did realize that, you know, I'm not really, I'm in a very interesting place in my career. I've worked with amazing people. I've been a number one on a call sheet. I have some fans. You know, some people recognize me just kind of people who don't know, what does number one on the call sheet mean? Oh, yeah. So number one, it's kind of like being the president on a set. So every movie has numbers listing them the main character to the smallest amount of screen time, there is a lot of old age tradition in Hollywood. If your number on the call number one on the call sheet, you're basically the boss, everybody has to cater to you first. This is back in the day when there was huge movie stars. You're the number like people fight for the number. So like, if you look in movies, where there's like four main characters, they are fighting for that number one slot. That means your name shows up first and billing. Technically, you could get paid more. Now, it's different now because I think we're in a time in history where we're trying to remove a lot of habits of elitism, like yeah, and classism in a sense, and it's in a way it is kind of a classism on set, like to the point where I was on set and I didn't understand this, right? I was new. I've been on some movies and insets but I didn't really understand the number one thing because I'd never been more than one line or like, I was number three on two movies, but it just was such an indie film, they didn't care about that stuff. I would say something to a crew person, they would literally Excuse My French, but I do want to say, he's like your fucking number one, you can do whatever the fuck you want. And I was like, day, this guy holding a light that that to me, I was like, okay, like it very much is a thing, like they're gonna cater to your needs more than anyone else. But so I hadn't experienced that same time, you know, both shows and go more than season one. And they always say like, you really need to be on a show at least three seasons for it to really make an impact. And that's kind of the truth. Like to really get a following it usually is think about shows most shows, ratings really pick up once they have a season two, because once they have a season two people who weren't naturally drawn to it start to watch the first season. So like, Oh, well, the show's got in season two, everybody's loving it, like, Oh, my God, I'm gonna watch this first season. So I haven't experienced that yet. But the good thing is, is I'm also in a place in my career where I'm not super branded in one direction. Because I haven't been on a show long enough for you to be like, Oh, she can only play this role. I haven't been at one character for five seasons season here, episode here, a movie here, another season here. So the good thing is, is that I'm not as branded or tight as some actors who come off of a huge show that lasted three, six seasons, 10 seasons. So I'm still kind of in the industry considered an up and coming actor, which has its benefits in the sense of, I'm kind of in a moldable place still, where people can kind of openness, see where I still fit, which is good, right? It's a good place to be. Yeah, it ties it benefits has its discouragements. But it's all part of the process. I'll say this, and I might have told you this already. But I feel like you're one of the and I've worked with a bunch of different actors. And a lot of actors in my previous projects have gone on, like, you have to do big things. And when I first met you, I said, Oh, she has a hit factor. It was like a, like a casual thing. I said to myself, like, Oh, she has the it factor as a reason why I want to work with you on emancipation, because I was just like, I don't know, how famous she's gonna be, but she's, there's an energy you carry. That's not just positive, but it's something that's like, I don't feel like you see obstacles as a stopping thing. You just sort of go and do what you have to do. And you you have a light about you. So that always made me say, Oh, she has the it factor. And she's gonna be successful. Like you already seemed like a movie star. Before you were a movie star, even when you drove here. I edited the film. So I definitely saw that. Oh, yeah, I forgot that we use my car and she's, she's gonna be it. So I will say that about you that I have no doubt that you. You're on your way. It's just a matter of, you know, people figuring it out. storytime. Your most interesting onset experience most interesting and most embarrassing. Ooh. All right. I got a lot of interesting experiences on set. But I will tell this one story just because I think that okay, I was on set for one line. And it was for a fox show. And some of the actor other actors were improving because these people were actually comedic geniuses. So I decide to be bold and say, Can I improv? one liner? Okay. He's like, Okay, sure. Why don't you say this, but when he starts telling me lies to say, and I don't say them, I say whatever the heck I want, right? And I just keep going. And he's like, I can tell at this point. I couldn't tell him the moment I could tell after the first of all, you asked to improv, you're sucking at it. And then he's giving you improv lines to do and you're not saying them. You're saying your own version? Why are you being difficult? What's wrong with you like you're a newbie, like calm down? And basically what ended up happening is I was supposed to be in two scenes, like one theme with lines and one without, and they had a girl who was an extra with no lines in the scene with me, right? Where she just stands there I say my line and then the next scene, we're supposed to be together. And we give him a look. He cut me out of the look scene. He's like at this girl forget she's gonna try and act to add a line or something. I'm not dealing with her. So I basically waited In the the green room all day, and he wouldn't use, like, I figure it out later on what happened, but they're like, I'm just we're just gonna hold on to you because he might want to bring you back. He never brought me back. It was really embarrassing afterwards. I was like, I think I totally messed up and did something wrong and, and I wanted to be bold, and I wanted to be free. And all this stuff was really embarrassing. And once I realized what happened, and I was also late that morning. But I say that story to say, you know, it didn't destroy my career. Okay, right. There you go. A year and a half later, I booked the Lena series, I've been in lead twice like these moments happen. And like, you just have to humble yourself and be like, that was not the best decision. But that's okay. Like, you can still be bold next time, just do it the right way. And it's just humbling, very humbling. Yeah. And it reminds me that was something that I really have said for so many years. And I really believe in it, not one job is gonna make or break your career. It's consistency. And so that's just one of those moments like, and even like, think about it. One job can't just make your career either, like you can have the best job ever. But if you're not consistent, you'll just disappear. And people do bad movies all the time. But because they're consistent, that one bad movie is not going to ruin their career. One bad audition is not going to ruin your career and one great audition is going to make your career it's consistency. So that's just another example of how it's a bad day on set. But it didn't break me and make me but it didn't break me either. Right. That's powerful. Shall we get the drum set for the last question? Okay. It's like a, I don't know, like a thing. I'm gonna cut this out, because let's do it anyway. 40 years from now, you're an old woman. You're looking back in your career? What is making you most proud that I never gave up? And I told stories that I believed in. Right? Yeah, I my continual dream is to, to be completely honest as to tell stories that helps people heal. And I believe I've actually had opportunities to do that with lovers and counsel dads, and I hope to continue to do that. You know, as much as I always say it's every time no one has like a surface answer to that. No one's like win an Oscar, or make a billion dollars. Everyone's always like saying something that's always like, helping someone else. Or like you said, you didn't want to help people heal. It's always interesting to me that no matter what it is, we always come back to the most important things in life. That's impact. All right, Michelle, thank you. I appreciate you. And we will be working together again at some point. I don't know when Yeah, I'm sure Pleasure to meet you. Take care. Stay blessed to both of you guys. If you enjoyed this episode and you're listening on Apple podcasts, please leave us a review. For more info about us. Please follow us on Instagram at once upon a film industry. Thanks for listening guys. See you next week.