I recently got the opportunity to interview Michelle Grey – A local model, actress, singer, dancer, and performance artist here in San Francisco.
She has just landed her first movie role and it was great to sit down and chat about not only her career and her many successes, but her advice for others interested in getting started in the entertainment industry.
LV: You’re a performance artist who does everything from singing & dancing to acting & modeling – How did you get your start? What’s your background?
MG: Often people get overwhelmed when they hear this, they ask, “What is your focus?” But my career evolved over time into what it is now. My first love has always been music and I first performed when I was 5 years old at Church. From that very moment I knew what my purpose was and I’m blessed that my passion for music has never faded. So, for me this isn’t only a career, but my life’s work. I sang in church on Sundays, was involved in choir, played the flute, took singing lessons, performed at school for special events, entered talent shows, auditioned for school plays… Anything I could do to share my music. I loved how it seemed to bring happiness, peace, and hope to others, as that’s what it does for me when I watch others perform.
Acting became a part of my life as well because it was an extension of the same process. I was introduced to acting through musicals in elementary school and continued to pursue theatre into college as a Theatre major at USC .
Modeling was actually a bi-product of these jobs and ultimately a secret pleasure of mine as well. After graduating college and working in LA professionally many of the jobs I booked were modeling-related, but it wasn’t my focus at the time. It was later, when I needed more creative fulfillment, that I chose to embrace that part of the creative arts.
LV: From a business perspective what do you wish you knew when you first started your career?
MG: This is a big question and I’ve actually been thinking of offering a summer class to share some insight and clarity into these basic business aspects. However, when it comes down to it, a performance career is so layered that even the business aspects are intertwined with your personal self, and I think this is the most important business understanding.
Technically what you’re selling is – YOU.
I suppose I wish I had understood this more. Talent, integrity, passion, loyalty, hard work – None of that matters to others when the road gets rough. This is okay, it’s simply human nature. But when you identify clearly who you are, what you do best, know your market, and what you love to do, what drives you to create, what you will sacrifice for, and why? Then YOU have defined your “Brand” and can be true to it no matter the challenge.
Everyone has an opinion, some incredibly helpful, and others not. Creativity is always allowing yourself to grow and change, being current, succeeding in a fickle industry while feeding your purpose keeping you and your brand in alignment.
Want to learn more about agents and managers? Head over to Legally Vogue and check out the rest of my interview with the beautiful & talented Michelle Grey.