Q: What is one thing you can’t live without?
A: LOVE! I cannot not live without giving and receiving love, and the people and things I love in my live.
Q: Why is it important for women to support women?
A: I truly feel that, for many years, our society set women up to compete, and compare and contrast, with one another. It is the time in our world to break that cycle and allow ourselves to empower other women, to support other women, to not compete with other women, and to really ban together and know that Girl Power is the greatest power we have.
Q: If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why
A: I can’t give just one answer… I would have to choose my two icons… the late and great Elizabeth Taylor and the late and sassy little Mae West, because these two talented, beautiful, powerful women changed the face of the Hollywood entertainment industry. Even then, when it was a Boys’ Club at its best, they had the strength, courage and tenacity to fight through it and create iconic careers for themselves. Neither of these actresses had it easy in life, nor Hollywood, and they inspire me forever! And, of course, Oprah, who embodies the true definition of a brilliant, integrous, successful and powerful Woman!!!
Q: What has been the most rewarding project of your career?
A: I would have to say that creating Philly Chick Pictures, my production company, many years ago when I moved to Hollywood, has been my most challenging and rewarding project of my career. It gave me the courage and power to stand on my own two feet as a single woman in a very challenging industry, and create roles for myself that empowered me, inspired me, and hopefully in some way inspired others. As an actress moving to Hollywood from New York, I would have not have been given the opportunity to play strong roles like I did, lead roles like I did, in Kinky Killers opposite Charles Durning and Michael Pare and iMurders opposite, Tony Todd, William Forsythe, Gabrielle Anwar and Billy Dee Williams. I’ve had these amazing opportunities in films like Sinatra Club, where I got to play this incredible role of Rosella alongside Danny Nucci, Jason Gedrick, Ellen Hollman, Michael Nouri and the list goes on and on. These opportunities for me as an actress were only created because of my big-picture goals, and becoming a producer with Philly Chick Pictures and starting my own company. And, last, but not least, had that not happened, my passion project, Ms. Vampy, would have never been born!
Q: When were you happiest?
A: My husband will tell you that I am 100% happiest, and he sees the most joy in my eyes, when I’m acting. I love acting with all my heart and soul, but it has never come easily to me. I have worked hard for every acting opportunity that I’ve had, and it brings me so much joy to get to do what I love. That being said, my Old Hollywood engagement and our Old Hollywood wedding were 100% some of the happiest memories of my lifetime.
Q: What is the worst job you’ve done?
A: LOL… over my lifetime, and in order to sustain my career as an actress, while living as single woman for many years (until recently getting married) and being on my own in New York City or Hollywood, it has not been easy financially. I have had to work other jobs to support myself, and I would have to say, the worst would have been a company I created years ago called Lil Helper. I created my own personal assistant business when I moved to Hollywood many years ago, I was very young, and it should be a movie, because it is such a dark comedy. It’s almost tragic, but now laughable, because I worked for the quirkiest, craziest, sometimes scariest, people in Beverly Hills. I would not be shocked if someone said let’s make this a TV series!
Q: Where is one place in the world you would love to visit next?
A: I am so torn between Italy and Greece. I have yet to take a honeymoon after getting married, because life has just happened and I have been so busy personally and professionally, and now I’m on back to back filming projects, both TV and film, so we have yet to take a honeymoon. I have always dreamed of going to Italy on my honeymoon, but now I also dream of going to Greece, since my husband is Greek. We are having amazing conversations about spending some time in Greece, as well.
Q: How do you relax?
A: I’m sorry, come again? What language would that be? I’m confused, I don’t understand LOL! Relax? I don’t know that word. I sleep four hours a night and I am on a constant crazy train. I would have to say, the few moments I take to relax is when we go to Pantages Theatre (Hi Pantages, my favorite!) to see the amazing Broadway shows that come through on National Tour. Also, wine tasting in Napa, and on occasion, I’ll end up at a spa, but that’s very rare these days, working like 18 hours a day!
Q: What is your daily skincare routine?
A: I have many, and I use so many products, it’s ridiculous. My cabinet in the bathroom is stocked full. However, I will have to say that one of my professional glam squad makeup artists, many years ago, insisted I purchase Clinique ‘Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm’ and it has been my best friend. My healer, Mitra Rahbar, has the most beautiful skin and recommended I wash my face with Yon-ka Gel Nettoyant Cleanser a few years ago, and I love it! And, my personal MUA, Allison Noelle, turned me onto Embryolisse for my moisturizer last year, and it is so skin softening! I must admit, that I cannot live without my Retinol…that’s right Ladies, Retinol, it does the trick.
Q: What is your most cherished beauty product?
A: Well, do we have time to list 100? Yes, yes, I am a Glam Gal and I’ll admit it! So, I have to say with my crazy wild naturally frizzy hair, I cannot live without my DIVA flat iron, curling iron, and my super Solano hair dryer. As far as makeup, I do not leave my home, even for the gym, without foundation, powder and lip. You cannot leave the home without a gorgeous lip, that is for sure (Thank you, Chanel!). And, of course, mascara is always a necessity if going any further.
Q: Favorite accessory and why?
A: Again, I’m going to have to say my Solano hair dryer… that’s right Solano, salon style hair dryer. You do not want to see me without my hair blown out! If I were to dry it naturally, it would be as frizzed-out as a bad hair commercial. LOL!
Q: What is your favorite high-end brand to splurge on?
A: I have to say, I am bit makeup obsessed with Chanel. I love Chanel, I love my Chanel lip liners and just anything Chanel. Now, if were talking about splurging as far as handbags, I would have to say my Louis Vuitton or Dior. As far as my high heels, you all know I love my high heels! You will not catch me on a carpet without Louboutin or Giuseppe Zanotti. I do not go on a carpet without my heels, Loves!
Q: What is the biggest misconception about your profession?
A: Ha, do we have time for another 100 answers? Everything, everything, everything! The glitz, the glamour, the excitement, and yes, the truth is, it is all here in Hollywood seven nights a week, if we choose to immerse ourselves in it. The biggest misconception is that it’s easy and it doesn’t come without a price. Being an actress, being a producer in Hollywood, it takes so much time, work, effort and money. It’s not all glitz and glamour. I have sacrificed so much for my career in my lifetime, in my adulthood, to sustain over 20 years as an actress. Especially here in Hollywood, I have cried many tears, many nights. What you don’t see, are all of the projects I have gone to producers on, but I have not booked, or the TV pilots I have booked that don’t get picked up for airing. All of the auditions that you have to prepare for, staying up all night working to prepare for them. What people mistake mostly, is that it is a business and I will stress this over and over again… the Hollywood entertainment industry is a business! They call it “The Biz” for a reason and it is not all fun and games.
Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
A: Haha, laughing again, because I am the queen of my comments and everything is “Amazing”. I probably curse to much during road rage in Los Angeles, and I have to say, I use the word “Whatever” far too much.
Q: What trait do you most admire in others?
A: Integrity! I am so drawn to people who have integrity, and I choose to surround myself with those who are committed to integrity. Following close behind would be loyalty and respect!
Q: Who would play you in the film of your life?
A: That’s really funny! Gosh, I have to say if were talking as an adult, I mean oh gosh, I would be so honored to have one of the actress’s, whom I have admired forever and ever since childhood, whose career I would kill to have, like Marisa Tomei, Leah Remini, Debi Mazar. Wow! I mean that would just be a dream come true to see something like that on the big screen one day.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: All I ever want is to be remembered, first and foremost, as a good person. I want people to be able to say, “She was a truly good person.” After that, I wish people would say, “She was a great actress.” It’s all I ever want… it’s all I ever dream of… when I’m auditioning or I’m working on a film or project, I want people to say I’m a good actress.
Q: Can you tell us about your new film ½ New Year?
A: ½ New Year is an amazing indie project, which can be seen all over on On Demand on TV. It is the brainchild of Drew McAnany, who wrote, stars in, and was one of the producers on, with an incredible team Georgia Menides who co-wrote and was one of the producers, along with producer Zachary Block, with our director Tom Morash, and it was an indie film with heart and art and one of those throwback pieces that reminds me of one of the indie films that people put their passion into to create like in the 90’s, and it’s something that I will forever be grateful for. I had the opportunity to play alongside Drew McAnany who does an incredible job as the lead actor. He plays Reed DeLuca from south Philly and I play Pam DeLuca his older sister from south Philly. This is an opportunity that I will look back on for the rest of my life with gratitude.
Q: Is there a specific film or actor that inspired you to act?
A: I would have to say really Elizabeth Taylor. As a little girl, and I know she is such an icon, and I know tons of people are obsessed with her, but she really motivated me personally and professionally. I watched her in films that I could relate to, where I felt like one day I could play those roles. My favorites of hers were The Taming of the Shrew with Richard Burton, and again, with him in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Those films showed me what I could possibly grow into one day as an actress. Currently, my actress inspiration is Viola Davis, as she is such a strong, brilliantly talented actress. I cannot take my eyes off her on the big or small screen.
Q: Who’s a director or actor that you would love to work with?
A: Well, if I got a call tomorrow that Scorsese was directing me in a film with Robert De Niro, I could retire my Louboutins, because that would be a dream come true!
Q: What draws you when first reading a script?
A: I have repeated this over and over again throughout the years… everything is about the script or the screenplay… everything starts with the writing, and I stand behind that. For me, it has to inspire me, excite me, light a fire inside me. When I read a script to choose as an actress or producer, it has to excite me. I’ve been torn throughout my career, because I have gotten caught in the trap where I read a role that I love and I know I could sink my teeth into, but I know in the bigger picture, the script doesn’t excite me or inspire me as much, so I am in a catch-22. At this point in my life and career, I just want to work on projects that are creative, artistic, and scripts that just speak to me and my niche roles as an actress, that I gravitate towards. Those roles typically have a power struggle, then I know that it’s something I gravitate towards as a project.
Q: Do you like horror movies? How is it different watching a horror movie vs. making one?
A: Well, I love horror movies! Always have, always will! I was a kid growing up, watching the 80’s horror films, and dreamed about being in them one day. I just love the taboo, the darkness, the mystery, when you’re in suspense. I’m really such a suspense and thriller girl. You can recognize that in Kinky Killers on Showtime and iMurders that I did from Starz. I love those mysteries, always have. Hitchcock is one of my favorites ever, and Brian De Palma. You can see that in Psycho Therapy, Staci Layne Wilson and I paid homage to De Palma and Blow Out and Dressed to Kill. So yes, you can see I love horror movies and when the title ‘Scream Queen’ was bestowed upon me many years ago in 2006, I embraced it every step of the way. It’s soooo different making a horror film, than watching one. Although there have been true moments where I have been scared to death. In fact, when you are an actor, and you are truly in the moment and in the scene, if your truly in the moment, it can be terrifying. I have been in scenes and moments, like in the films Sprinkles and Psycho Therapy, when it can take some time to come out of it as an actor after filming. That’s when I know I have done my best work. I can only hope that I have more of those moment in my career as an actress.
Photographer: Birdie Thompson
Hair & Make Up: Allison Noelle Mesa