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I’ve always wanted to act and be on stage but was just to scared, so I took the safe way out and became an engineer. But soon I realized engineering wasn’t for me and it’s time to take a shot on something I’ve always wanted. I took my first acting class 3 years ago and that was the moment I knew I could never go back.
2)I’m guessing being an engineer is more financially stable than acting right now. How do you balance your professional life and your acting pursuits?
It definitely strenuous at times balancing two totally different careers. I work full time. Whatever time I have left, I devote it to rehearsals, acting classes, auditions, and filming. It absolutely takes a lot of commitment and dedication. I don’t have much time for anything else.
3) Do you feel New Orleans has been a good place to launch your acting career?
New Orleans has been wonderful for my acting career. I live in a city where I can pursue my dream at my pace. New Orleans is a great city for pursuing acting, theater and film. New Orleans has it all.
4) You played Rosa Parks in a play at Dillard University, describe the process of mentally and physically becoming Rosa Parks. Did you feel pressure in that role because of her iconic status?
I played Rosa Parks in the play Freedom Summer. I didn’t feel any pressure. It was an honor to be cast as Rosa Parks. I tried to embody her grace and inner strength. I watched and studied several videos on the way she talked, her mannerism, style and dress. I also researched her life and the infamous day she would not give up her seat on the bus. I took her spirit with me when I walked on stage.
5) You seem willing to stretch yourself as an actress. Recently, you were cast in Baghdad Puppies which focuses on the killings and torture of gays in Iraq. What character did you play and how did you prepare for such an intense topic? I played the character Majida, which is based on a real person in Iraq. After her parents disowned her after finding out she was a lesbian, she ran away to avoid being beaten or killed by the Shia Militia. I did research on several of the characters in the play as well as the torturing of other gays in Iraq. To learn about some of the extreme circumstances a gay person had to endure was sickening. To be tortured in itself is difficult, but to also have your family turn their back on you or even be the ones’ doing the torturing is disheartening. I tried to capture that feeling when I went on stage.
6) Do you find it difficult to get roles as a black actress in New Orleans? What do you think about this year’s Oscars? Are you hopeful that Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and others will pave for more diverse roles?
I don’t find it hard to get roles as a black actress but I do find it hard to get quality roles. Many of the postings I see are for some sort of stereotype. Black women are more than just “the help”, or the “slave”, or “the angry bitter black woman.” Until the Oscars and Hollywood recognize us as fully human– they really don’t deserve to have our presence there. Kerry Washington and Viola Davis are changing how black women characters are being portrayed. I think they are illustrating to the world that black women can be great actresses without being a stereotype.
7) What’s your next project?
I’ll be in my first Shakespeare production Measure for Measure Directed by Frederick Mead and Produced by Anthony Bean. I’m very excited. This will be the very first Shakespeare play at the Anthony Bean Community Theater and just in time to celebrate its 15 years of performing arts. It opens March 6 and runs through March 22.
See Christy Williams:
8pm Fridays and Saturdays
3pm Sunday matinee
Anthony Bean Community Theater
1333 South Carrollton Ave.