Legion of Leia interview actress and life coach Brooke Lewis on her career and how to tackle life.
Brooke Lewis has always had dreams of being an actress. Lewis soon moved to New York City from Philadelphia, PA, where she cultivated much of her acting career and landed her first role as Donna Marsala in the off-Broadway, hit comedy Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. After four years of making a name for herself on the east coast, Lewis decided to move to Hollywood where she currently resides. Her other film credits include: iMurders, Polycarp, STARSHIP: APOCALYPSE, and Sinatra Club, with Danny Nucci and Jason Gedrick. Lewis has built up quite the impressive resume by launching her own production company, Philly Chick Pictures and has worked with many veteran actors including Mark Ruffalo, Andy Richter, Dominique Swain, Joey Lawrence, and many more!
Legion of Leia: You’ve always had dreams of being an actress. What initially sparked this dream when you were growing up?
Brooke Lewis: I was born a ham! LOL! I was such an emotional and sensitive child that I was destined to do this! I loved TV and movies as a little girl and used to talk to the TV and characters and pretend I was on the show with them and improv. I was singing and dancing from a young age, which led me into musical theatre in Philadelphia, which led me into comedy in New York. I got my first “break” in the New York Off-Broadway comedy “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding”, then went on to do TV sitcoms like “Quintuplets” and “Mafiosa”, then acted in mobster dramas like “Pride & Loyalty” and “Sinatra Club”, then broke out in the horror genre with films like “Kinky Killers”, “iMurders” and “Slime City Massacre” earning the title of a “Scream Queen”, then (for all the fantastic Legion of Leia Sci-fi lovers) was fortunate to act in sci-fi films “Starship: Rising” and “The Mourning”.
Legion of Leia: You’re known as a “Scream Queen” within the horror genre. As a former scare actor, I’m always curious to know what draws people into this genre because it isn’t for everyone. What drew you to horror?
Brooke Lewis: I was obsessed with Vampires, as a young girl, and was a huge fan of all the 80s horror films when I was a kid. I have always been drawn to the mystery and escapism that horror offers. I also love how the horror genre embraces women of all body types (and curves!) and offers strong roles for women! In 2007, I starred in, and was one of the executive producers on, “Kinky Killers” and suddenly, the media was calling me “one of the new “it” Scream Queens”. It was “horrific” and I embraced it!
Legion of Leia: When you’re not screaming onscreen, you’re an author and a life coach. What inspired you initially to become a life coach?
Brooke Lewis: Ironically, many of my most powerful career choices have been made while facing challenges or hitting walls! I had been a working actress and producer for many years, and shortly after the economy crashed in 2009, my investors pulled out of my production company and projects and I was forced to make changes. In 2011, we launched the award-winning TV pilot/talk show for teen girls “Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk and In Between Tawk” and I was hugely inspired by my young cast and their issues and messages. It was the first time anything beyond acting inspired me, so I paid attention. When my reps were pitching my show and I to TV talk shows, we were receiving incredible feedback, BUT…the networks were all asking if I had a “credential” as a therapist, counselor or life coach. Of course, I had two college degrees, but they wanted a certification in the coaching arena. Since I am not one to leave any stone unturned, I chose to go back to school again to receive my life coach certification at the Life Purpose Institute. My initial intention was for the purpose of my Ms. Vampy brand and TV series in development, but I became so passionate about my support career, I launched my company Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach.
Legion of Leia: As someone who’s currently starting to dive into self-help and motivational books, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out what to read. What do you think sets your book, Coaching from a Professed Hot Mess, apart from the rest of the motivational books?
Brooke Lewis: Leia, honestly, I think the answer would be that I speak from the heart and do not take myself or the book too seriously. I call it my “blessed lil bedside table book” intended to support others with small life’s reminders when they need it. When it was published, I had been facing challenges and hitting walls in my support career as a Life and Dating Coach (see the pattern that pushes me into being tenacious?! 🙂 and several people had suggested that I write a book for myself and my coaching business, so my “blessed lil bedside table book” was born! Now, I am going to cheat a bit and pull an excerpt I love right from my pages: “Life can be crazy! So, in 2016, I chose to embrace my “crazy” and use my blessed and beautiful bedside table book to profess…”I am a HOT MESS!” Yup…I said it, rock it and OWN IT! Now, being an Actress, Life Coach and Dating Expert in the public eye, some may think I am really “crazy” sharing this with the world! I know some of you are thinking (and, judging!) that a Board Certified Life and Dating Coach, professional and working actress should not “air her dirty laundry.” Well, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be self-aware enough to admit and embrace my “flaws.” Along with my strengths, my “flaws” and weaknesses make me vulnerable, special and unique. I also believe that by sharing my HOT MESS quirks with you, it will support you in embracing your HOT MESS quirks, too! Let’s break the ‘rules’ and stop chasing “perfection.” It gets tiring trying to be “perfect” all the time, doesn’t it?”.
Legion of Leia: What advice would you give your character Tonia (Psycho Therapy) on handling her life prior to the start of the film?
Brooke Lewis: Leia, what a cool question! Just to give your readers a quick synopsis and background of this awesome thriller that Staci Layne Wilson wrote and directed for me, since we are both inspired by old Brian De Palma films: “When emotionally exhausted Tonia visits her esteemed psychiatrist, Dr. Walsh, to discuss her husband’s infidelity, the therapy session takes an unexpected turn. Tonia does not respond well to her doctor’s advice and he finds himself locked in a game of psychological hide-n-seek with a painfully disturbed patient.”
I would tell Tonia the same wise advice I tell my clients, friends and myself quite often… “Trust your instincts!”. Even as a Life Coach, I catch myself guilty of not doing this. As women, we are gifted with strong and valuable “women’s instincts”, yet, we tend to question them and second guess ourselves far too often! I would tell Tonia to trust in the very moment she “knew” or felt in her gut that her husband was cheating on her. I would tell her to handle the situation with less emotion and more control, and to seek out the facts and the answers before she lost control. Ladies, follow your instincts, as they often lead us to the truth and answers we need.
Legion of Leia: What would be your dream project to work on?
Brooke Lewis: Of course, I dream of having the career of my icon and idol Elizabeth Taylor and having the opportunities to star opposite Richard Burton in “Cleopatra”, “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” LOL! However, my real actress dream is to work on back-to-back hit TV or Netflix drama series ala “Sopranos” or “The OA” or “American Horror Story” for the rest of my days.
Legion of Leia: What other projects can we expect to see you in?
Brooke Lewis: 2018 is already turning out to be an incredible year! We have hit the ground running at the festivals and awards circuit with our recent award-winning film “Allen + Millie: A Short Romance”, written and directed by the talented Markus Redmond (“Fight Club”) and starring talented Courtney Gains (“Back to the Future”) and I! I had the honor of acting in the dramedy “1/2 New Year” with the most incredible cast and crew, including director Tom Morash, writer and producer Georgia Menides, writer and star Drew McAnany and actors Shanley Caswell, Rome Flynn, John Ierardi, Afton Jillian, Jermaine Alverez Martin, Ashley Platz, Matt Schulte, Rebecca Vinagro, Bo Youngblood and Jeff Dye, to name a few of this crazy cast! Lastly, and I cannot announce just yet, but I am attached to act in a few sensational Sci-fi and horror films this year, so make sure to follow my social media for upcoming film announcements! My handle is @brookelewisla.
Legion of Leia, thank you so much to you and the readers for spending time with me today! “May the Girl Power force be with you always!” XO Brooke Lewis