Especially for www.SherifAwad-FilmCritic.com
by Sherif Awad
I was raised in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, the youngest of six children total. I had a brother from my dad’s first marriage, two sisters from my mom’s, one sister from my mother’s surrogacy, and then my sister and me from my parents’ union. I remember putting on plays in our basement for my parents and of course playing pretend with my friends. But I never thought it was something I could really do until the first or second grade, when my teacher gave me the lead role in our class play. I didn’t know what to do with my new-found passion, but I knew that someday I’d be an actress. Later down the line, in middle school, I also began writing stories. Now I do both professionally!
While David Bowie had been a huge influence on me from an early age, I was focused more on geek culture as a teen. So at that time, aside from Bowie (R.I.P.), my biggest influences were actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and, in my senior year, Jodie Foster, due to her coming out speech that year (of course I already loved her work). That moment was very brave and inspirational to me.
I can tell you that studying to be an actor is an absolute must! Going to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York was the best decision I ever made. There I learned self-discipline, I learned how to pick up dialects, how to study in-depth for a role, and how to just be comfortable being me. I would likely not be as skilled an actor as I am today without the fabulous teachers I had there.
I don’t think any actor is ever truly satisfied. Our passion is truth and art. So, as actors we recognize that there is always more truth to be told, more art to create. Fame is not necessarily my goal, but it would definitely present an advantage in landing roles. So, I’m happy with where I am in my career, but I’m not satisfied. When I am, I’ll probably retire.
Challenges? Absolutely! Over the years, women have become more prevalent and given more depth in cinema, television, and theatre, but there are still far more male roles than female roles, despite there being more female actors than male actors. It makes acting an even more competitive industry for us women. I imagine it’s be even harder to be non-binary in this industry, though.
The entertainment industry in the United States is a direct reflection of the times. I imagine that’s how things are in most countries. There is so much content, and now, with the internet, it’s accessible for anyone to create and dispense their art. I mean, I wrote a fantasy novel and, thanks to the internet, didn’t need to go through a traditional publisher. I merely self-published THE MAGE STONE through Amazon.
When iron a roll, it doesn’t stop there. I take that script, and I analyze it. if there were previous episodes or films, I watch them. If it’s based on a book, I read it. Real person? I study her! I do whatever I can to learn about my character, and if there’s information missing, I either asked the writer or director, or I come to my own conclusions. The most important thing as an actor is to make a choice.
It is tough to balance between one’s family and work. I have a husband and a toddler for whom I’m the primary source of income. I definitely couldn’t do this without my man’s support! He’s a great dad and a big help on my journey as an actor. I think the key to balancing home and work is communication.
As I mentioned earlier, I wrote a book called THE MAGE STONE Currently, I am working on the sequel as well as working on the screen adaptation. Will soon be seeking funding for the pilot episode! Also lined up for me, is a supporting role in the web series, THE MONEY OVER EVERYTHING and then in January of 2020, I will be flown to England for a new horror series entitled REVENGE FROM THE DARK.