Today we’d like to introduce you to Cherie Wiliams.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I fell in love with movies and directing when I was five after sneaking to watch “Dirty Dancing”. I was hooked on cinema and acting after that. I started writing poetry when I was 13 and that grew into writing short stories then play. When I entered college (Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, GA), I was a mass communications television and radio major, but my true passion was Theatre. I joined the guild on campus, The Joseph Adkins Players (JAP) and did everything from Stage Manager to makeup artist all the way to acting. I also served as secretary, vice president and in my senior year president.
My guild came to Dallas my senior year to compete against other HBCUs theatre departments in the annual NADSA (the National Association of Dramatic & Speech Arts) competition, and some of us were selected from various schools to come back and intern at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters annual youth summer program. Me and one of the other interns became close and moved back together in July 2007. We are still bestie to this day ( Shout out Velyncia Caldwell-Mallory). I hate to leave my hometown of Augusta, GA, and my family as well as a bunch of close friends but it felt like the best thing to do. And boy, was I right! Since moving here, I have learned a great deal about theatre business, administration, acting, writing and directing. I performed with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Stage Managed a play festival, worked on several indie film projects some of the most notable for my close friend Marvin D. Walker as well as some of the play productions. I have been so lucky to work as a lowly box office assistant for a prestigious theatre to an actor on plays and film, to produce my own short films and a feature film, to now having success as a freelance makeup artist on top of still writing, acting, stage managing, etc. My biggest goal reached to date is I am finally a high school theater teacher. I am a proud teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, TX. And with this huge goal reached life, will I am sure just keep getting better.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It was not always easy, especially not trying to act. Weight gain has been hard to deal with as I have gotten older, that and unwanted facial hair oh and hereditary female hair loss. All devastating things to have to deal with as a female period let alone a female trying to be an actor. But I love the craft so much so I deal with flaws best I can suck it up, move forward and let my talent speak louder than my looks. Now, the reality in life is sometimes talent won’t beat outlooks. Skill won’t beat out connections but what I have learned is that one closed door is another opened curtain or on a lens. When something is not for you, you won’t get it and that’s just how life works once you master excepting that idea that it’s not you, it’s just not you now or this time, continuing to go for it gets easier to do. For my young ladies, my advice is failing as much and as often as you can. Gain all the knowledge failures bring, and then go out try again, be greater every time because of what you learned and you find yourself crushing it in no time.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am most known for my writing, I start with poetry and just grew into scripts from there. I really love how I just seem to collect skills. I am a writer, actor, director, makeup artist, teacher, stage manager, lighting console operator, sound technician, you name it I probably do it a little or a lot, lol. And I am not trying to be a show-off, I just like learning how to do things.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Equal opportunity is really the biggest and mainly the only for women of color in the industry. Viola Davis said it best “the only thing keeping women of color from getting great or leading roles in Hollywood is an opportunity.” There are men (mostly white) holding all the power and that’s why the opportunities are limited but hopefully, with all the diversity moving now, it’s about to change.
- Website: www.face84.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @face.84
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Ken Duane with visionsbyken