I was born to Jamaican parents in Toronto, Canada and raised my first 9 years in Jamaica. The tropical lifestyle was amazing, swimming, being outside all day, the warmth year round… And then… I moved back to Toronto. Keep in mind I had never owned a winter jacket, or seen snow, now here I was in the middle of a winter that lasted what seemed like ten months! It was during this time inside thawing out that I became interested in the arts. I’m the only actor in my family but my grandfather had a great love and appreciation for movies and music.
When I was in high school, the acting bug bit me pretty hard after my theatre arts class wrote a piece called “Syanova” based on a newspaper clipping that our teacher found about apartheid. That was it, I was hooked. Through these words, I could touch people, affect them and make them think… And as an actor, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since.
After a short detour to the University of Toronto to study business (very short!), I found my way to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. I left behind comfort and practicality to live for my first 2 weeks at the YMCA on 66th Street in an 8’x6’ room and wash in the communal shower. Could I get any farther from Jamaica!? After a few days I was fine and I didn’t care about sleeping on the hardwood floor of my first apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens because my adventure had begun. For the next 3 years I immersed myself in everything acting from Bette Davis to Commedia dell’arte. I was a sponge, absorbing everything I could and loving every minute of it.
Two months after leaving AADA, I landed the role of Taylor Roxbury Cannon on “All My Children.” Soaps move like the Bullet Train… I jumped on and went for another three year ride. One year into my AMC contract, I got the role of Steffie in “Carlito’s Way” opposite Al Pacino and Sean Penn and had the time of my life! Shooting that film was an actor’s dream. Imagine being in a Pacino-Penn sandwich… Arguably two of the best actors of this generation and I got to go toe to toe with them! Unreal!
Through the years, I’ve had the good fortune of working with wonderfully acclaimed directors: Brian DePalma, Joel Schumacher, Woody Allen and most recently Ernest Dickerson on Amazon’s BOSCH. I’ve worked on screen with an amazing list of talent: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Benjamin Bratt, Melissa Leo, Ray Liotta and Winona Ryder… and I’ve done countless commercials. If you haven’t fast forwarded through the commercials in the past few years, you may have seen me in ads for everything from Diet Coke with Heidi Klum, to Home Depot, Xerox, Old Navy, Fidelity and McDonald’s to name a few. If you can drink it, eat it, wear it or use it…I bet I’ve done a commercial for it.
In 1999, I became a mother and in 2002, I met the man who is now my husband at Whole Foods. I walked in for a salad and walked out with a family.
Sure, there’s been some turbulence along the way – missed opportunities, roles that I didn’t get – but I’ve always weathered the storm believing that persistence and perseverance will overcome the adversities. So as I step into act II of my career and life, I look forward to acting in and producing projects that will align with my original purpose – to inspire, to affect people to laugh, to cry and be reminded of the connective tissue between us all.
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