Photographer Dwayne Morgan
The two sisters featured in A Sisterly Christmas
(played by Deborah Joy Winans and Lisa Michelle Cornelius) celebrate the holidays differently—in that one celebrates them, and one doesn't at all. Then, one year, they receive a joint gift in the form of a luxury holiday vacation. The fun abruptly stops when they run into a childhood rival, and the tension is as fresh as it was decades ago.
Vicky Marshall, played by Lisa Michelle,"has dreams of becoming a professional soap and lotion-maker after living in Harlem all her life. Vicky embodies the Christmas spirit and is always looking for a reason to live in the now.
You are starring in "A Sisterly Christmas " set to premiere on the OWN Network this December, tell us how you got the role.
I did a first audition via self-tape and got a callback (2nd audition) over Zoom with Director Jerry LaMothe and casting - he was in New York at the time, while I was at home in Toronto. Zoom auditions can be tricky... you're trying to give your best while simultaneously stressing about the shotty wifi in your place and potentially losing connection in the middle of a great performance. Or some other tech-catastrophe. But Jerry was so warm and easy going from the start - the vibe was right and I was able to sink right into Vicky Marshall. I had a lot of fun showing them who I thought she could be. Thankfully it worked out and I got the part!
How do you prepare for your acting roles?
With Vicky, I was definitely interested in her and Kristina's backstory - how and why did their relationship go sour? What was her relationship like with their mother before she passed? I spent time thinking about what Vicky's life was like before we meet her at the top of this film. As far as actor prep goes, knowing (or creating) the backstory of a character will always help you fill-in-the-blanks about who they are and why they do what they do.
What did you like about your character? How similar are you to her?
In my mind, Vicky is totally an Aries, like me! Full of passion, humor and maybe a dash of 'over-the-top', lol. Vicky is also a shameless-flirt and that's always fun to play (obvs). However, I also think that Vicky uses some of these same traits as a mask... because sometimes it's easier to put something on, than it is to pause and reflect on your true feelings. Especially if those feelings involve grief or pain.
Where was the movie filmed? Any fun on-set stories?
The film was shot in Ottawa, Ontario. I was so excited to get started until I read the part in the script about a DANCE COMPETITION that both sisters take part in... fun fact, I'm a terrible dancer! I was unreasonably nervous about the scene and quietly fretted about it every day leading up to it. Which was silly, because it ended up being one of the most fun scenes to shoot in the entire movie. A "stanky leg" may or may not have made an appearance.
What are your favorite Christmas traditions if you celebrate Christmas?
‘My favorite part about Christmas (or any holiday, really) is the blessing that is my large, Jamaican-Canadian family dinners. Nobody can touch my mom's turkey or rice & peas, my sister's Curry Goat or my brother's anything. My whole family can throw down in the kitchen! An abundance of foo, boisterousness and Boney M on vinyl makes my holidays complete. ‘’
The OWN Network is known best for inspiring people. What keeps you humble and inspired?
My sweet and precocious 6-year-old keeps me humble for sure. She reminds me that it's never that serious - it's ok to just dance, play or Netflix and cuddle sometimes. The hustle will always be there when you get back. I'm also inspired by the countless amount of artists who finessed this pandemic into new businesses, projects and creative ventures, in spite of all the challenges and loss. We're all so lucky to have made it this far... to have created something while in the midst of so much certainty, is inspiring and blessed for sure.
When you think of the following, name the first thing that comes to your head:
a. A Christmas Movie : Home Alone! (My daughter favorite movie, at Christmastime or not)
b. Mistletoe in 2021: Cute, but possibly sketch. Consent still applies to tradition, people!
c. Family Gathering: so much fun
d. New Year's Eve Party or New Year's Eve at Home : HOME (always an open bar!)
e. Favorite Home Cooked Meal: my husband's spaghetti. *chef's kiss*
What other projects should we look for in 2022 that you are involved with?
I guest star in a hit TV show (that I cannot mention as yet) where I play an outcast witch in the early 1900s. The subject matter was so intense for me that I had to do both "actor prep" and "spiritual prep" before diving into it the way I wanted to. It was a bit of a departure from the lighter-hearted work I more often do, so I'm excited for this one to come out and perhaps spook a few folks. Stay tuned!
How can fans follow you via social media?
I'm an insta-junkie! @YesLisaMichelle