SoFLim: How did you get into acting? Was it a lifelong dream?
Rachel: My love of performing started at an early age. I started performing at the American Legion at
the age of six. I would stand atop a Naugahyde red chair in front of the jukebox and sing “Feelings” to
my captive audience at the bar. I knew then that I wanted to be in the spotlight. I had already started modeling
by the age of four after winning a local contest. Soon after, I was Miss Poppy in the American Legion parade.
I didn’t get into acting until much later. I started in theater and studied with a great acting teacher, learning
as much as possible. I also did many plays.
Then, almost on a whim, I moved to Los Angeles
. My family did not want me to go so I said I was going with my friend for only a week.
Then, she returned home and I stayed. I lived in a hostel for the first three weeks, in unsanitary and unsafe conditions,
in a co-ed room with no air conditioning in the middle of July. (That is a whole other story) But eventually I found
my own place and began networking.
After three years, for a change of pace, I moved to Florida (long
story) and started a writing career, freelancing for local newspapers. But in the last few months I have taken on acting
again, full-steam ahead.
SoFLim: What are your short term goals?
Rachel: I want to do as much as possible, especially in film. I hope to put together a nice demo reel
SoFLim: What are your long term goals?
Rachel: I want to eventually be a SAG actress making a living at what I love to do. I am also interested
in hosting my own show, like something for MTV or even a travel show. In addition, I want to continue my writing career.
SoFLim: Talk to us about some specific moments/highlights from projects that you worked on
here in South Florida .
Rachel: It’s tough being an actor sometimes. It’s not glamorous. I know - I was an
extra for years in Los Angeles on everything from “Power
Rangers” to “Halloween H20.” Ten hours on the set is not unusual and sometimes they don’t use
you at all. I don’t do extra work anymore.
But even when you have lines, it’s not easy. I have had some uncomfortable moments in some of my recent projects.
I had to kneel on a countertop for a long time for one scene, waiting for the lighting to be right. In another film,
I wore stiletto heels on top of a sand bag to attain the right height for a certain shot. Yet another film needed me
to scream almost the entire time and duck at a certain moment to get just the right pan. Where’s my stand in?
(laughter) It’s all part of showbiz, especially for non-union. But, in my book, a hard day on the film set
is better than any day in the office.
SoFLim: Who was your greatest influence / mentor when you first started to act?
Rachel: I had a wonderful teacher in Colorado ,
Bill Smith, who to this day is the best teacher I have ever had. He allowed us to practice scenes, do them on camera
and then see the results. I think that was very effective. Although we learned theory as well, seeing ourselves
proved the most helpful. The actors there formed a coalition. We would go out and watch each other’s performances.
It was very supportive. He also talked about frame, knowing what frame you are in and about listening to the other actor—which
I think is essential.
SoFLim: Why come to South Florida rather than go to New
York or LA?
Rachel: I was in Los Angeles but, if you are
non-union, it is almost impossible to get any high quality work. Plus the competition is brutal. Everyone is an
actor; everyone is serious; everyone is in tip top shape physically and professionally. It’s tough to get your
feet wet and to get a break. Here, once you build a network, it is easier to find projects. People are a bit more
lax, allowing for a nice learning atmosphere.
Many times, though, I find it too lax. I am very much ‘Okay, let’s get the job done.’ When I am
working, I am working. I am always willing to pitch in and help, always looking to get the job done right, and done
as soon as possible.
SoFLim: Has this town changed you? How?
Rachel: It is hard to be a type “A” personality here, but I seem to do quite fine. I think
I stand out more here because of that fact. In LA, everyone is. It is all about precision and professionalism.
I don’t find that here. In some ways it is nice because I have the opportunity to rise to the top and help others
on their way up. I enjoy inspiring and helping others with their projects and goals in any way I can. However,
it is not as challenging as Los Angeles . Sometimes
I miss the camaraderie of everyone being in a rush to get somewhere.
SoFLim: Any thoughts on acting? Advice to those trying to break in? What do you think
it takes to become an extremely successful actor?
Rachel: I treat this passion like a beautiful game. I try to make it as much fun as possible, but play
to win and in the end make it not mean anything. I don’t hear “no,” I hear “next.”
I am always open for opportunities. I try to be as professional as possible and to be open to learning new things and
stepping into all roles on the set. ‘Need someone to hold the light? Okay. Need to run lines? Okay,”
I find that the most important thing is showing up because so many do not. Next is professionalism and respect for
those around you and the project. After that, it’s focus. If I’m not focused, the scene is blown.
Then, of course, there is listening. But behind the scenes, getting work as an actor is all about who you know…
network, network, network!
SoFLim: Was being “Miss Poppy” the ultimate highlight of your career?
Rachel: No. (smiling) I wasn’t that excited about it at the time. I was more into
modeling. They did a shoot of me in my Miss Poppy outfit and the pictures are hilarious. I go from all smiles
to an obvious growl. I guess I got tired. I was only six. I don’t ever get tired of modeling now.
I was also in a T.E.E.N. pageant when I was 17, which was much more of a big deal. I became a finalist.
SoFLim: What are some current projects that you are working on or have recently worked on?
Rachel: In October, the film I wrote and directed a few years ago, “To Mine Own Self Be True”
(produced by Al Reyes), was shown twice at Screamfest. I was interviewed by a television show from Medford , Massachusetts and was chosen to be a part of an
impromptu film the weekend of the convention as well.
In the last several months, I have been lucky enough to receive an abundance of projects. I was a fiancÚ in Jacmel
Urena’s “Wrong Turn;” a serial killer in “Lockbox,” directed by Marina Pronosti; Java Shop Jane
in “Faded (x),” directed by Ariel Ramos; an airline attendant in Christian Hall’s “Final Job;”
and an angry dead ex-wife in Liza Trainer’s “Casting Call.”
I got a call from Director Frank Amendola to do a short film at the last minute. His actor dropped out so I stepped
in. Talk about a cold reading! I am in rehearsals for a sci-fi feature with him right now.
I also just finished a play that ran in early March called “Beware the Eyes of Mars.” It was one of the
most intense projects I have ever worked on. In addition to playing three parts: an old Jewish woman, a Brooklyn toned Galaxy Operator and a free-loving hippie, I also had to sing and dance with a huge ensemble
cast in a Broadway-style show. Yikes! It was definitely a learning experience and one of the most unique theater
scripts I have ever worked with.
I am going to be doing voice-over and additional outdoor scenes that will be added to the filming that was already done
of the play to make a film that will probably be released in the Fall.
SoFLim: Anything else you’d like to add?
Rachel: Last tip: Actors—never take rejection personally. Keep smiling and take one
day at a time. If you make it about fun, it will all work out. And be grateful for everything!
To contact Rachel, please email her at