Actress CIERA PAYTON “Up and Personal”
photo: Espy Photography
How is 2014 treating you? What did you do for the New Year?
2014 has turned out to be quite an adventure so far! I spent the first part of this month working on the upcoming feature film &Respect The It based on the New York Times Bestseller by the same name. I play the female lead, which is a pretty prominent role in the film and I’m just grateful to be moving up to the next level. 2013 ended on a great note as well. I completed shooting “Bad Teacher” playing opposite David Alan Grier and made a guest appearance on an upcoming food challenge show. I also won the best actress in a short film at the MiniCinema Awards. Not sure what the next job will be but I’m definitely looking forward to what’s in store for this year!
For New Year, my friends and I got a table at this awesomely hidden nightclub in Hollywood where there live burlesque performances. We had crepes and fancy French punch and rang in the new year!
Being an actress, what are your goals for your career?
I have this vision board that almost hovers over my bed. Every morning I roll over and look up on the wall and gaze at it. It lists all the producers, directors, actors, and studios that I want to work with. I’ve placed photos of the awards I want to win, the parts I want to play, and how I want to be viewed. I want to be a multifaceted actress. I want to work in all realms of this industry; perform on Broadway, Film, and TV along with writing and producing meaningful content. I want to be a voice for my city, by telling the stories of my people, whether I’m in front or behind the camera. I want to depict powerful women and the ingenue.
Can you share any surprising facts you’ve learned about your industry?
A lot of people think actors and entertainers become a name overnight and are these multimillionaires because they’re on TV or in the latest blockbuster. I made that assumption too and it’s just not true. There’s a considerable amount of work, I mean hard work to stay in the game. There’s really no way to prepare for the amount of rejection, self-doubt, and fear that comes along with the pursuit of your dreams. I can remember working at a restaurant in Hollywood and serving a very rude customer, only to look and see my face on TV in a movie I had shot a few years prior. It was paradoxical. But it set in, this is the reality of the actor’s life. You work on a set, you have your survival gigs, and you just keep going until that opportunity comes. And you don’t lose faith.
Tell us about your love life. What type of person are you attracted to? Anything serious now? Hollywood Crush?
Love life?!?! What’s that? Ha! I go out, have fun. I’m definitely open to love and a good solid relationship. I don’t have a Hollywood crush, there are actors that I definitely want to work with, but not date. I’m a southern girl and I just love my southern manly man!
Do you feel that having a serious relationship before becoming famous hurts young actresses such as yourself?
No not at all! Of course, relationships take work and a lot of compromises. As long as a young actress is in a relationship where her partner is understanding and respectful of her time and career aspirations, it shouldn’t be harmful to her career. I think it’s challenging and harmful when a guy doesn’t understand and puts himself before her career. But being in a monogamous committed relationship with all these things understood and accepted, I think, is a true blessing and would congratulate those that are able to achieve that!
What gives you peace when you’re stressed out?
I meditate and I paint. I get a canvas, some brushes, and my acrylic and go to town. When I’m unable to do that, I put on my Beyonce full blast and dance and sing to the top my lungs!
How do you feel about Hollywood being so obsessed with sex nowadays?
At first, I didn’t understand it and would feel often offended whenever I’d get an audition notice and see “nudity required”. But as I get older and am seeing the parts that come across my desk requiring nudity, I don’t back at it anymore. As humans we develop and adapt to the times and sexuality is a part of human nature. Over the centuries we’ve been taught to suppress our sexual desires and wants, but slowly and surely the hemlines have gotten higher and the clothes a bit tighter and I feel that Hollywood is just responding to that. Of course, Hollywood does have a responsibility to control the amount of what's being put out there and what's the proper way to portray both men and women. Yea, I take a deep sigh when I see scantily clad women prancing around only to appeal to men’s sexual appetite. But then there is a part of me that finds it empowering to be and feel sexy. I mean as a woman I feel like I can be Beyonce (show some skin, wear sexiness) one moment and Michele Obama (sexy in a reserved, conservative way) the next, and there should be no apologies about it.
What types of roles would you say no right away too?
None, unless the role just doesn’t sit right in my spirit, I'll consider saying no, but otherwise, I feel a character is a depiction of a real-life person, and we deserve to have our stories told. I'm eager to give life to characters.
What's coming up for you this year?
This year, CBS; Bad Teacher is rumored to be premiering in the fall along with; Respect I'm also looking forward to returning back to work at USA Network; Graceland. I’ll be performing my one-woman show “Michael’s Daughter” in Los Angeles and possibly New Orleans. I’m also aiming to finish my book by this summer. More than anything, I'm looking forward to enjoying life and traveling to places I've never been and taking on new adventures. I'd like to live a bit more and I've made a promise to myself to do so this year and not be so consumed with my career aspirations. I'm having faith that whatever meant to be will be, I'll continue to do my part and work hard, but also let go of control.
Anything you’d like to say to your fans? How can they follow you?
I'm learning that there are some folks out there that have been rocking with me from day one! They believe in me and my talent and that just means so much to me. I'm a girl who grew up in one of the roughest parts of New Orleans. There weren’t many people around to encourage me. Everyone was just trying to survive. So now, I get messages from fans all the time with prayers, check Ins, seeking advice, and just overall empowerment and encouragement and I’m just gracious that people are seeing what I do and are just digging it! If I didn’t have that, I would have quite a long time ago. So I must say that I appreciate you all so much! We are all in this together. I take a piece of my supporters with me whenever I'm performing or walking into an audition room because I know that whenever I'm chosen to give voice to a character, that role may just be the story or life of a; Ciera supporter/fans;
Everyone can follow me on
Facebook: Actress Ciera Payton
Website: cierapayton.com Thank you for the opportunity Ouch Magazine!