Interview with Teneisha Collins
(Photos via Promotion People)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
”Hello and thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me! I’m Teneisha, a Canadian actress, writer, host, content creator and overall creative, who also happens to be crafting-obsessed. I call myself a cheerleading nerd because I’ve very “rah! rah! rah!” when it comes to empowering others, and I definitely have my nerdy side. You may know me as “that girl in that thing” having been a TV, Film, Stage, and Voice actress for a large part of my life.”
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
”My very first time on screen was when I was, I think, 7 years old when I performed in a music video for Canadian Hip Hop & RnB artists McJ & Cool G. My very first time on stage was around the same time – I played Santa Claus in a school play and I was hooked and signed with my first agent at 10 years old. I feel like I’ve already had so many lives because of the different careers I’ve already undertaken. I’ve worked as a recruiter, I’ve worked in marketing and communications (I’m an award-winning social media expert) and luxury travel. All of these experiences have enriched my life – and my performances and writing – in such a special way. I’ve surprisingly never been a waiter.”
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
”Having started at such a young age, the stage has always been one of my biggest teachers. Beyond that, I trained in the Meisner technique for a decade with the late and great Jacqueline McClintock, and am a graduate of the renowned Black Theatre Workshop Artist Mentorship Program. As a lifelong student, I am constantly seeking to learn and grow in my craft, so when I’m not shooting, I’m often taking a workshop or a master class.”
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
”Only one? That’s a very hard choice, my dream list is quite long! I’m dying to work with Viola Davis. I think she’s such a tremendous talent who really puts it all out there in the most honest, raw, and truthful way. Watching her act is like watching life in all its beauty and despair. Once I get over the awe of seeing her perform and being in her presence, I can fully picture us making movie magic in a heart-wrenching drama.”
5. What does a normal day in your life looks like?
”What is a typical day anymore? My days look very different depending on if I’m filming or not. The pandemic really threw my sleep schedule off, but on days where I don’t have a shoot or a morning meeting, I’ll typically wake up sometime between 8 and 8:45 (depending on how often I press the snooze button.) I’ll stretch, drink some water, meditate, set my intentions for the day, and go over my to-do list. I’m typically ready to start tackling work and my to-do list by 9am, it could be writing (I’m currently developing 2 series,) content creation, or prepping for different meetings, things like that. At some point I’ll take a break for a walk, jog, or hike, either alone or with a friend. This break time has been a great opportunity to get active while also catching up with a friend at the same time, since it’s been challenging to see many friends face to face with our lockdown measures. Now that my city is slowly starting to reopen, my evenings vary day to day as I slowly start to reintegrate into society, but they usually include one or more of: brainstorming, watching TV, crafting, some more stretching, journaling, auditions, self-development, audition coaching for other actors, and reading, and prepping for the next day.”
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
”I mean, on set is one of my favorite places to be! I get to do what I love, collaborate and perform with talented actors and directors, and I also get to witness some of the most talented professionals – the crew – thrive in their element. I’m going to cheat and give you a few more… Disneyworld is my happiest place on earth! It makes me feel like a little kid again – you can literally feel the magic! And lastly but most importantly, wherever I can be surrounded by family, because when I’m surrounded by love, I feel at home.”
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
”Keep trusting your instincts and follow that pull that you feel drawing you to new experiences and exploring your many interests, it’s more than okay to be more than one thing; it’s glorious and future you will thank you for that variety.”
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
”A long time ago I was telling my mom about a new challenge I was facing, and in the most un-cheesy and un-cliché way possible, my mom simply said <you can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it. That’s just the way you are. You always find a way> Whenever I feel self-doubt or a new challenge feels too big, I remember her words. I don’t think she realizes how often I repeat her words to myself, but she’s played a big part in how driven I am.”
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
”My biggest accomplishment isn’t one thing, it’s the sum of many things. Yes, there are so many things that I’m incredibly proud of, but I think my biggest accomplishment is being able to be unapologetically myself, in this present moment, unafraid to take risks whether I fail or succeed. Being the person that 10 year old Teneisha would be proud of, having a career and living experiences that she couldn’t even imagine, I am living my own wildest dreams and I still have so much more room and time to grow, learn, and evolve.”
10. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
”Oh this is an exciting question! I’m a pretty positive, peppy, and silly person in my life, but I’m so drawn to playing deeply flawed, complex, tormented characters in dramatic, raw, gritting dramas that hopefully leave the viewer feeling something. These roles are all about connection to the material, the other actors, and the imaginary circumstances, and typically vibrate within me long after the project is wrapped. For instance, I’d love to play a mother who, after losing her child, becomes (understandably) unhinged in dealing with that traumatic loss. I’d love to sink my teeth into a character like that! I’m also itching to play Rosa Parks and Angela Davis in their respective (eventual, I’m sure) biopics.”
(Photos via Promotion People)
11. Is there anything you can disclose about your new project, Fatherhood?
”Fatherhood, starring Kevin Hart, is based on a true story. It’s the story of Matt Logelin, who upon unexpectedly losing his wife a day after delivering their baby girl Maddy, must raise her alone. It’s a story about fatherly love, grief, reliance, and thriving despite despair. It will premiere on Netflix June 18th worldwide!”
12. Can you describe Ms. Burns, your character on Fatherhood in a few words?
”My character, Ms. Burns, is Maddy’s rule-abiding Catholic school teacher. I’m very well-meaning, but my eagerness get everyone to abide by the rules creates some issues.”
13. What is the best part about life on set?
”Like I said before, one of my happiest places to be is on set. The energy on set feels truly magical and every time I walk on set feels like the first time to me. It’s like Christmas morning and Disneyworld all rolled into one. Getting to work and collaborate with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met over and over again is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and so I try to observe and soak in as much as I can. Over the years, I’ve really taken the time to watch the crew in action. I love watching the crew work – just as actors work as a team, so does the crew. As actors, we only come in at the last minute right before shooting, so we don’t always get to see all the work that goes into a production, but the crew is always working to bring a movie or series to life. I have so much respect for the work that the crew does.”
14. What is your favorite part of your job and why?
”There’s so much that I want to do and experience in life, and as driven as I am, I know that I won’t be able to do it all. Being an actor, I’m given the opportunity to step into other versions of myself, under different circumstances, surrounded by different people, living different experiences, and having different jobs. It’s like being able to live so many different lives, on top of exploring and uncovering new parts of myself.”
15. How is your job different now, during the pandemic?
Did it change the vibe around set?
”During the pandemic, a lot of my work shifted to being done remotely. I had already broken into the voice industry prior to the start of the health crisis, and when my city went under its first lockdown of many, I quickly pivoted by creating a home recording studio (aka a walk-in closet) so that I could record from home. That’s definitely been a blessing as I didn’t experience any lags or lulls in bookings because of that, and my city has been doing in-person shoots and voice work for the majority of the pandemic. There are a lot of health measures in place for everyone’s protection, and I feel very safe thanks to those measures. While the magic is still there on set, I have sometimes felt that the vibe was a little bit more stressful for production than I had been in the past. It’s a lot of work to ensure the safety of sometimes a hundred people on one set, so I can totally understand. While there are extra protocols due to the pandemic, people are just so happy to be working on set and to be able to do it safely that it still feels like home.”
16. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
”I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m eternally grateful to my parents for supporting a precocious child’s dream and investing so much love, energy, and money into helping me achieve my career goals. Some of you, like my family and friends, have supported me throughout my entire career, and many others have only come to know me and my work over the last few years. To those of you who I have never met but who still support me through social media, please know that I read every message, email, and comment. I see you, I hear you, and I appreciate your support more than you know.”
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Teneisha Collins is an actress, best known for her work on projects like: Fatherhood, Dungeons & Distancin, Future Man, The Bold Type, Real Detective, Inheriting Trouble etc.
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