From inner-city teacher
to award-winning actress
THE FULL STORY
I came to acting later in life than most.
Though I’ve loved working on shows like Showtime’s City on a Hill and ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, I didn’t grow up wanting to perform. I grew up wanting to change the world: at 8 I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. While pre-med at Stanford, I aspired to work as a doctor with Doctor's without Borders. Then as a young public school teacher in the Bay Area, I worked with middle school kids transitioning out of juvenile hall in San Francisco and helped found an innovative K-8 school in Oakland. Both of these schools were arts-based, and it was in these performance-rich educational environments that I saw first-hand the power of storytelling.
During my second year of teaching, I helped a student write and produce a play about the life and death of her brother, who had recently been killed in a shooting. We hired professional actors for the lead roles, and on the night of the performance, I stood in the back of the theatre with a crowd of hundreds watching those actors bring to life my student's story. I was so moved by the power and vitality of those actors, and I knew in that moment that's what I wanted to do. So I did.
I still have that same desire to contribute and make an impact on the world that I had as a child--it effects how I approach my work as an artist, and how I spend my time outside of acting. Here are some of the organizations and issues that I'm engaged with right now...