(New Post) Andrea Lewis talks “Black Actress” & Working with @IssaRae on @VibeVixen

Hey guys! A few weeks ago I did a fun interview with Vibe Vixen to talk about my upcoming web series, “Black Actress”, being a women of color in entertainment and working with the amazing Issa Rae. Check out the interview below and a big thank you to Vibe Vixen for the feautre!


If Kerry Washington taught us anything this year, it’s that 2013 is the year of the black actress. Although the plight of brown-skinned thespians is a never-ending story, the emergence of web series like Issa Rae’s Awkward Black Girl not only gives us meaty characters, but it allows for creative freedom. For Canadian industry vet Andrea Lewis (Degrassi, Cadet Kelly), this new media breakthrough makes being a black actress more exciting than ever before. Her upcoming series of the same name will spotlight the quirky everyday life of Cory Bailey, a mildly successful actress struggling to overcome Hollywood roadblocks.

Vixen recently caught up with Lewis to talk about teaming up with Issa Rae, running a successful IndieGogo fundraiser and her craziest audition experience.

VIBE Vixen: Is there camaraderie between you and other Toronto entertainers?
Andrea Lewis: Yeah! Any city or place you come from where there’s multiple people pursuing the same career, you definitely meet everybody and get to know everyone fairly well, whether it be on a professional level or friendship wise. I’ve always been blessed and very fortunate that I’ve lived in different parts of the U.S. and I always have friends there that are from Toronto. So, I’m never far from home [in a sense] which is really good.

Is there one person in particular you count as a close friend?
I’m really close with Melanie Fiona. She’s been my girl for many, many years. Maybe because we’re both Canadian. We both have West Indian background. She’s just a truth teller. Melanie keeps it real all the time. She’s always been my closest friend.

At what point did you realize being a black actress was going to be difficult?
I knew being a black actress was going to be difficult when I was 14. I started in the industry when I was only a toddler and I think if there’s one big thing you learn right away, it’s who you are or what you are in terms of the protocol and list of parts. There was always projects that wanted the token person of color. I was going to auditions that wanted people of color period and not just black girls. Everybody’s there and they’re just trying to fill one role. You learn that very quickly. It’s eye opening. It makes you take a stand, whether you’re going to stick by the stereotype or you say ‘Eff it, I’m going to create my own opportunities.’

Did you feel the same way on Degrassi?
My character a lot of the time was the token girl of color in a scene. She wasn’t necessarily significant. I might’ve been in a ton of episodes. I might’ve been in advertising and all kinds of things, but you didn’t always know things about my character or you didn’t get to hear her speak. I used to ask and talk to them about developing my character a little bit more and giving me a little more shine, but it was always fairly difficult. That’s just the system unfortunately. Luckily, we’re in a time now where the first lady is a black woman and you have TV shows like Scandal. There’s a real sense of turning around to bring in more people of color.

Canada is not like the U.S. in the sense that we don’t have a Canadian BET. We don’t have shows that have a full cast of black people. It is a feat itself to have been on such a recognized show in Canada and the U.S. as a person of color. That is an accomplishment.

Read the rest here

(New Blog Post) Monday Inspiration – “Unlocking the truth” …Be YOU

I saw this video late last week and wanted to post it immediately but I got a little busy, but a late post never hurt nobody! Anyway, this has got to be one of the most inspiring videos I’ve ever seen. Two boys Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins formed a heavy metal rock band, Unlocking the truth and despite getting bullied in school by their peers they are sticking to being ORIGINAL! To see this kind of confidence at such a young age is beautiful. I’ve heard people say many times that you should always remain a kid at heart and watching this video you see why. If we had the spirit of these 2 young boys we’d all be confident, comfortable and sure of ourselves for who we are and what we want in life. I hope Malcolm and Jarad continue on this journey because the sky is really the limit. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be, be you, believe in your dreams and watch the journey unfold better than you could’ve imagined.

Unlocking The Truth – Malcolm Brickhouse & Jarad Dawkins from The Avant/Garde Diaries on Vimeo.

(New Video Post) Surround yourself with the perfect team – goal #24

#24 – Surround yourself with the perfect team!

This is one of the goals that I’m currently working on and I will admit, it’s a little bit of struggle for me right now but I’m ok because I recognize that this is a transition period for me. Having the right group of people around you is key to reaching a high level of success. You need people that are like minded, inspire you, encourage you, motivate you and you are able to do the same for them.

This year I’ve had to make a few cuts to some of my friendships because these relationships weren’t serving or inspiring me anymore and I wasn’t inspiring them either, so it was time to move on. You’re not bitter or upset, you just able to recognize when it’s time to look for something more. So like I said this is a goal that is transition right now so I’ll have to do a part 2 on when I’ve gathered the perfect team, but the key message in this video is to look around and make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with the perfect team.

(new video post) Quick fix bad hair day tricks – “when in doubt just frizz it out”

My schedule has been crazy lately and I haven’t had much time to make sure my hair is prim and proper for every meeting and appointment and unfortunately my curly hair has a 3-4 day expiration period before I start to look full blown crazy so here are some quick fixes I’ve been doing lately to fix my hair when I’m in a rush all while embracing what I’ve got! 🙂

(inspiration for actors) Full Uncensored Drama Actress Emmy Roundtable Video

I love Hollywood Reporter for doing these roundtable talks. They’re endlessly awesome and loaded with little bits of inspiration and confirmation that you’re not crazy, you’re on the right track and keep going! Last night I watched the round table with Kerry Washington (Scandal), Monica Potter (Parenthood) Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Connie Britton (Nashville) and Kate Mara (House of Cards). These women are all beautiful and have been through pretty much everything in the industry. It was nice to hear them all talk about bad auditions, joe jobs that they sucked at and tv shows they wish they were apart of.

Parts that struck a chord with me:

Kerry Washington says that her approach to auditions is just taking the next 15 minutes to do what she loves and not have any worries. A few years ago an amazing acting coach and casting director Deb Aquila told me this exact piece of advice and I’ve tried to apply it ever since to all of my auditions.


Elisabeth Moss said the best advice she’d gotten before an audition was that you don’t have to hit the bulls eye just get on the board. That advice is perfect for auditions, you don’t have to be perfect!


Monica Potter is just so casual and hilarious, it’s really refreshing to see.

Watch the full video and if you’re an actress let’s dream of what questions we’ll answer when we’re there! 🙂

(New [Vlog] Video) Filming a new movie and getting my goals done

Hey guys this is just a quick post to let you all know I’m filming a new movie for TV in Parry Sound, Ontario right now. I can’t get into a lot of the details for the film just yet but it has a really great cast and it’ll be out this year so eventually I’ll give you guys the 411 on this new project. But anyway I’m really excited because this was one of the goals on my list so check and check! I’m getting them done slowly but surely! Hope you guys are completing your lists too 🙂 have a great weekend xo

Thank you….What I learned from @indiegogo

I apologize for not writing this post sooner but after the last 40 days of social media over load I needed a bit of break from looking at my computer lol.

So back to our regularly scheduled program. Wow! We did it! 40 days, teasers and interviews, countless tweets, too many instagram screen shots and Facebook status updates and we hit our goal! I can’t describe how amazing it felt when I finally saw that number on the indie gogo page. I was overwhelmed, I thought I was reading it wrong lol. It was one of those moments when I said, “you like me, you really like!” lol.

From day one of releasing information about, “Black Actress” I received endless emails full of support from people who told me they were rooting for me, they wanted to help me and they were inspired by me. Those emails made me feel amazing and was the one constant source of inspiration I had throughout the entire indie gogo campaign. This campaign was tough, I have friends who have done crowd funding in the past and they all warned me that it’s a lot of work and very stressful and they didn’t lie. I’m not sure I slept for the entire 40 day of the campaign and to top it off I was doing a million other things during the campaign, I was filming another project that was full of night shoots so my sleeping schedule was all kinds of jacked up, I was dealing with health issues, a little bit of family drama and I was doing the pre-production for the show. It was a lot on my mind but at no point did I question the work load. The whole time, it just felt right, like it was the beginning of how busy I am going to be and how busy I want to be.

The most important thing I learned while doing the indie gogo campaign is who my audience is. I always thought I had a good idea but for the first time I felt like I actually saw and heard them, and really felt the support and presence of YOU guys. It was a real blessing to see the people who may have never tweeted me or commented on anything now coming out of the wood work to give what they could and asking people to donate and help make this series happen.

I realized during the campaign that our dreams are bigger than us and we should always strive to make them as big as we possibly can. Without you realizing it your dreams can connect, inspire and change life for so many other people. I had a long conversation with a woman that I idolize in the entertainment industry and I explained to her how for the first time in my life my dream felt so heavy that it was now pulling me instead of me  having to dragging it all these years. The simple shift in weight was subtle but so important to what I was doing, I was going in the right direction.

I think crowd funding is like your life on steroids. Whether you’ve been chasing your dream for 10 years or 1 year, you know what it’s like to need support and finances and man power and so many other things to just make a little stride to being closer to your goals. Crowd funding is everything you’ve already been doing and preparing but to the next level, you’ve always been had to be shameless and asking people to give you a chance and some help but now you have to do it with a time constraint. It’s stressful as hell and the epitome of being your most vulnerable as an artist and entrepreneur. But at the end of the day it’s worth it! It made me stronger, made me proud and made me realize that I’m not a flake, I’m not just talking out of my ass, I’m dead serious! I want this, I’ve wanted it my whole life and it doesn’t matter how long it takes me I’m going to have it. It’s important to confirm and remind yourself of who you are and what your goals are. Indie gogo helped me re-confirm my promise with myself and added one more dot to my journey. Thank you to every single person who wrote, tweeted, instagrammed, facebook’d, emailed, donated and supported “Black Actress” and my indie gogo campaign! Some serious big tings a gwan!! xo

(Video) Topic of the week featuring @blacknoisemedia @jabari @ashleyblaine @bestnewactress @briancwalker1

We’re in the home stretch so I’m pulling out all of the stops! This is the LAST week that you can donate to the “Black Actress” indie gogo campaign. The most important weeks are the first and the last when you’re doing crowd funding and we started with an amazing energy and momentum and I know we’re gonna finish with a bang too! Give what you can no amount is too small! http://igg.me/at/blackactress

The next video up, is a mega “topic of the week” featuring a bunch of my friends and peers in my industry that I respect and look up to.The video features Brian Walker (Executive Producer of Black Actress), Jabari Johnson (Filmmaker and Host) Ashley Blaine Featherson, (actress and creator of the new web series “Hello Cupid”). Iman Milner (Actress and CEO of Edge Magazine) and Michael “Boogie” Pickney (Director of Black Actress). In this video we discuss 3 questions: What has happened to TV/Film over the last 10 yrs for the decline in projects featuring people of color? Why have so many filmmakers had to turn to the internet to get their stories heard? and Does TV/Film today have an accurate depiction of women of color?

These are all questions that I talk about on a regular basis with my friends in the industry and ones that aren’t so I figured why not make a video about it and really get into it. Leave your thoughts in the comments and don’t forget to DONATE!!!