1) Why did you decide to get into this industry?
Meryl Streep said it best: “I’m curious about other people… I’m interested in what it would be like to be you.” The art of acting is rooted in empathy. I love wearing someone else’s “shoes” as my own and learning how to walk in them. I am able to experience life, just briefly, from an entirely different perspective. It has made me a much more compassionate human being. It is always my hope as an actor to convey that to others through the stories I tell, and perhaps they will become more compassionate too as they relate to a character’s pain and joy and struggles and triumphs.
2) What’s a defining moment in your life?
I was raised by wonderful parents and had an idyllic childhood. I was in a life-threatening car accident when I was seventeen, and recovery involved extensive physical and emotional therapy. I suffered a number of injuries that required (temporary, thank God) use of a wheelchair and significant memory loss. While this was a painful time, it was the first time I realized that life is finite and I am not invincible. I determined to make the most of each day and actively pursue my goals. It was a difficult time in my life that I didn’t choose and would never want to repeat, but it catapulted me into a purpose-driven adulthood.
3) What is your biggest concern with the future?
There is no consistency whatsoever in this business. The pursuit of my goals may mean that I never have the kind of job that provides a pension or a 401k. I’m trying to make wise financial decisions now and save for retirement while I’m young.
4) What is a successful moment in your career so far?
Every actor has a different definition of success, and it is usually rooted in why we chose this career from the start. My greatest feelings of personal accomplishment are not necessarily linked to my most financially lucrative acting jobs. Feeling like I have served the script and the team well and left my heart in a scene is the most fulfilling part of this business.
5) What advice do you have for other women in the industry?
There is an unbelievable amount of work involved in both the acting job and the pursuit of the acting job. You will have days that inspire you and days that will break your heart. It is imperative to remind yourself why you’re here and why you endure the hardship of this industry. If you’re here for money and fame, you will never stay. Find what moves you and stay inspired.
In addition, remember that this business is about relationships, so be the kind of professional you would want to hire. Build and foster relationships. Think more about what you can give than what you can take. Find ways to contribute.
6) What, if anything, do you collect?
I don’t really collect items, but I collect moments. A few years ago, my best friend and I had both separately experienced a really turbulent time in each of our lives. We were both looking forward to New Year’s Day so that we could turn the page on a difficult year. Around that time, I found an article online about making “remember-lutions” instead of New Year’s Resolutions, which most people don’t keep anyway. The idea was to write down every accomplishment over the following year– every moment that makes you feel proud or happy or grateful. Then put those little pieces of paper in a mason jar and watch it fill up over time. Then at the end of the year, read through all of your remember-lutions and be reminded of your blessings. My friend and I went to the craft store and bought a ton of items to decorate our mason jars together, and now every year, we get together and read through our happy moments. I really enjoy this tradition we have because it has shifted my perspective and given me an attitude of gratitude.
7) What are you working on next? In addition, if people want to find out more about you, where can they find you on social media?
I work hard and take every day as it comes. I used to be the kind of person who had to have a five-year plan and a ten-year plan, but I learned quickly that there is no way to plan ahead for much in this business. I try to be smart and strategic, but no two days are the same and I cannot anticipate the opportunities or challenges tomorrow will bring.
I have found that it is important to have a medium for artistic expression that is a complement to my acting work. I really enjoy performing stand-up comedy, and I am a better actor because of it. I have studied comedy writing, and I have been fortunate to perform at The Comedy Store, The Hollywood Improv, The Ice House, and Flappers.
And regarding social media– I try to stay fairly active on Twitter, so anyone can find me there: @KelseyHewlett