Photographer: Birdie Thompson,
Hair: Sylvia J. Stankowski, @sjshairdesign
Makeup: Niehla O., @niehlao
How was the transition from model to actress? Which one came more naturally to you?
I hesitate to accept the "model" title. The transition was more so from the business of Advertising, the last title I held was Interactive Account Director, to Acting. While working in the Dallas, Texas world of advertising, overseeing commercial, and photoshoots for a range of clients’ campaigns, I was introduced to life on set. On several occasions, I was asked to step in front of the camera. The initial resistance didn't last long and, after being approached by a local talent agent, I found myself in front of the lens for a variety of print and commercial campaigns. A chance introduction landed me a talent manager, who I'm still with to this day, in Hollywood. Shortly after, I decided to take a leap of faith, packed my bags, and headed west.
Do you still model now as well as being an actress?
When being profiled for print publications I'm game, but otherwise, I'm good on the modeling side. That is until my big endorsement deal comes through. Hint! Hint!
What is your feeling about the diverse culture uprising in Hollywood?
It's great to see more diversity with regard to the content on both the big screen and small. My only issue is that you often see the same names and faces nabbing and breathing life into every role. There's now a fair amount of content, but when you fill it with the same names/faces because the business side of things requires it for box-office draw, you shut out an entire group of talented artists. In turn, you’re missing out on the opportunity to cultivate the next generation of storytellers.
I believe black women have proven to be more than just a stereotyped role, so what are your thoughts and experiences with getting unique acting roles?
I can't say that my "unique" role has presented itself yet. I've been very blessed to have portrayed the variety of characters that I have but I wanna kick some butt...like Angelina Jolie, Jane Smith in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" style! I'm not toting these biceps around just for the fun of it people! I know there's an active role with my name all over it! The film I just wrapped in DC, Couple’s Night, reminded me how much I've missed comedy. I'd love something off-beat, in the vein of an Insecure Issa Rae style. Also another drama, something unexpected and smart that allows me to show toughness and range...think J-Lo in Shades of Blue. A procedural, action, the kick-some-butt physical element would be nice. I don't have these guns for anything!
What can you tell us about the upcoming TV movie Media?
Don’t miss Radio One Founder and Chair, Cathy Hughes's baby Media, which is coming at you on February 25th at 8/7c on TV-One! I’m so honored to be a part of this All-Star cast: Penny Johnson Jerald, Pooch Hall, Gary Dourdan, Chrystee Pharris, Blue Kimble, Stephen Bishop, Stelio Savante, Finesse Mitchell, Jillian Reeves, Jimmy Gonzales, Diane Kirby, Kimberly Crandall, Jasmine Kaur, and a host of others! I have no choice but to give a special mention to Brian White. He effortlessly plays the role of my TV husband, Michael Jones, opposite my fiercely conniving Danielle Jones. In a nutshell, it focuses on the Jones family, who owns and operates JUMP: Jones Universal Media Productions. Between affairs, conspiracies, backdoor deals, fierce rivalries, mix in a little murder and you've got the perfect recipe for drama!
What is your personal style and who is your go-to fashion designer?
I love the styles of Naomi Harris and Priyanka Chopra! They're my #1 carpet slayers right now. When it comes to formals, I'm a sucker for MarMar Halim and on the more casual side, I love Stella & Jamie pieces.
What was your first major role as an actress?
All props to Tyler Perry on that one. Unlike most, he didn't allow my lack of resume to influence his decision to offer me a role among the stars of Why Did I Get Married? or the now syndicated Meet the Browns. He instead recognized my potential and gave me a safe environment in which to learn, grow, and eventually, thrive.
What project are you working on at the present time?
In addition to Media, be on the lookout for a film I also produced called Secrets and another called Couples’ Night. They are hitting theaters in 2017! February 18th and 19th, I'll be a Celebrity Guest Judge at Food Network Star Chef Jernard Wells’ “Culinary Fight Club,” which will be live at the Travel and Adventure Show in L.A.
So we know you are a model and actress, what other hidden talents do you have?
You can’t beat cooking in my book! Speaking of books, I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my cookbook of family favorites. The working title is "Cook' in California with Louisiana Roots". Also, I’m collaborating with my culinary partners Michael S. and Food Network Star Chef Jernard Wells on a few pre-packaged ventures that include my Signature Bread Pudding.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
Diversification is key. In addition to producing my own film and television concepts, I'm in the thick of creating a culinary empire! From Pecan Praline gift-sets to cookbooks, to heat-&-eat sides, desserts, and seafood... it's all on deck baby!
What role have you seen acted by another that you wish "I could have played that"!
Any superhero you can imagine. It's coming, I can feel it!
How can fans reach out to you on social media websites?
Facebook: Denise Boutte
Do you have any words of encouragement for people who want to be in the entertainment field?
Don't forget one crucial component: to familiarize yourself with the business of acting and surround yourself with a trustworthy team. The creative element is only one slice of a much larger pie. Diversify, persevere, and stay the course…your course!