Actress Malinda Logan: “Networking can be fun, if you learn the right way to do it”
Networking can be fun, if you learn the right way to do it — I am an introvert with extroverted tendencies. Thus, I hate networking. It’s even worse when I don’t know what to say or what to do. Well, I had to force myself to network and realized that the main reason I hated it was because I didn’t know how to network. Once I learned the right way to network, it became fun…because positive results came out of those conversations.
I had the pleasure of interviewing: Malinda Logan, an award-winning actress who is on the rise to much more. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and longtime NYC resident, she’s trained and performed in London, NYC, Washington DC, New Orleans, Ithaca NY, and Maryland. As a versatile artist, Malinda has performed both on the stage and in front of the camera. She is also an emerging film and theater producer, stage director, fundraiser and proud humanitarian.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
That’s a great first question. But first, I just want to thank you so much for wanting to know about me and my journey, and for providing this platform for so many talented artists and individuals. Well, I can’t say there was a specific moment where I decided that I wanted to be an actress. As a child I always wanted to make people smile and laugh, and would perform whenever and however I could around the house to achieve that. It was my joy to make someone else smile and be filled with positive energy. So, perhaps it was just a natural trajectory that I became a member of my high school drama club. Then, I set my sights on New York for theater, and went to Ithaca College to graduate with a BFA Acting degree.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I met a casting director at an industry education panel. He and I had a great conversation about the industry and life outside the industry. He told me he loved my energy and loved that I was so “real.” He then asked if he could hug me and take a picture with me. I was shocked — there I was thinking I needed to connect with him, and here he was trying to connect with me. I was so honored to receive that feedback — I was floating on a cloud for weeks after that.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh, my goodness! It was at a regional audition for The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. The Glass Menagerie is a southern play about an adult son reminiscing of a time when he lived with his mother and sickly sister, and was unwillingly tasked with setting up a suitor for his sister. I auditioned for the sister — whose character is supposed to be physically and emotionally limited. Well, my audition was everything but that!
My nerves were on 10 and my voice and body movements were equally as extreme. Even after the director explained how “real” the character was, I still gave in to my nerves. My voice was so high pitched, I couldn’t stop making facial expressions and I couldn’t stand still. After the audition, I looked up at the director and production team whose eyes were wide open and mouths all agape. Yes, it was that awful. But still, I smiled, said thank you and didn’t drop that smile until I left the building, where I started crying and laughing in the parking lot. I imagined how ridiculous and out of touch I must have looked, was upset that I completely bombed an amazing opportunity, and realized that I really needed to find a way to handle my nervous energy. At that point on, I became more self-aware of my body, my actions and everything I did as a person. I looked for several methods to overcome nerves and found that the only way I could address them was to keep practicing, maintain a positive mindset, and breathe!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m currently producing and starring in a revival of My Sister, My Sister by Ray Aranha. It’s a dark, psychological drama that ran on Broadway in the 70’s, about a poor black girl growing up in a volatile household. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to perform this role, and since there are a lot of flashbacks during her lifetime, it’s as if I’m playing four different characters! You must come see it at 124 Bank Street Theater, the first weekend in January 2019!
I recently participated in the inaugural Marie Laveau Day in New Orleans paying tribute to my ancestor, Marie Laveau, through staged performances. Marie Laveau is known as the Voodoo Priestess of New Orleans. I’m also developing a film, dispelling myths about her legacy and the history of New Orleans culture.
As if that’s not enough, I’ve just signed on as an Associate Instructor at Columbia University in the City of New York. I’ll be teaching fundraising. 😊
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve met a few people who have really helped shaped my mindset about my career as an actor, artist and humanitarian. That’s most interesting to me. If we can help each other think about something a little differently than before, we are constantly evolving and for the better. I became a member of the Paramount Hudson Valley Arts Theater Group and decided to meet with the Artistic Director to discuss his approach to castings and production choices, and my career as an actor. Our conversation evolved into more connections and opportunities for me to grow as an actor, director, writer, producer, and fundraiser. I remember earnestly thanking him and he put his hand up and said, “Stop, don’t thank me. I didn’t do anything. You did this. You have the talent. You’ve shown me your skill. All I ask is that you keep working on your art.” From then on, I realized that each of us has everything we need inside of us, and I never stopped working.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Wait, so I’m not supposed to burn out?? 😊 Get a supportive group around you, who will listen and motivate you, and always listen and encourage others. I’d also say accept that you can’t do it all, accept that you don’t know it all, and accept that you’ll get there before you know it and just enjoy the ride. On the business end, definitely set goals and timelines, put actions behind them, and focus on working smarter not harder.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I firmly believe that no one should live their life struggling to be happy or healthy. Probably the most amount of good would come from us thinking of others first, putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. For instance, when I step outside and see someone who is homeless, I see someone who could have mental issues, be running from an abusive situation, or have had catastrophic medical bills that caused them to lose their way of life. It’s never just that simple. If we can all empathize and try to understand, then we are in a better place to do something about it. If we put others first, there would be less ridicule and shame, and more action.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- You can’t be all things to all people — So many times we as artists, and as people, do things for the benefit of others. We strive for perfection, which is usually compared to someone else’s idea of being perfect. That leaves little to no space to discover our true selves and appreciate who we are and what we bring to the table. Find comfort in your skin, in your life choices, which will help you propel forward a lot quicker.
- Networking can be fun, if you learn the right way to do it — I am an introvert with extroverted tendencies. Thus, I hate networking. It’s even worse when I don’t know what to say or what to do. Well, I had to force myself to network and realized that the main reason I hated it was because I didn’t know how to network. Once I learned the right way to network, it became fun…because positive results came out of those conversations. 😊
- Creating your own work brings so much more to you as an actor and person — I started producing because I needed more tools as an actor. Now on the other side of things, I am more aware, creative, and truthful to each project as an actor. There is also this amazing sense of accomplishment, and that energy radiates during your auditions, when you step into a room, when you hold a conversation, even when you send an email.
- Love Yourself — There is no deadline, no project, no audition, no event that is more important than YOU. No one else will care about you, the way you will. So, eat healthy, sleep well, make a new friend, act silly, worry less, laugh hard, shout, dance without music, make a snowman that looks like an oversized potato… just do whatever you need to do to bring the best version of you to the table.
- People want to support you — There is still this stigma that artists — actors in particular — are competitive, self-indulgent people. It festers an unhealthy dynamic in the industry. If you put yourself out there, strive to be the best version of yourself, people who want to support you, will. There are supportive people who truly care about you and want you to succeed. Find them, cherish them, and return the favor.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. — Maya Angelou
Please always remember how I made you feel.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Another great question! There are quite a few, so I’ll narrow it down to one — Ted Brunetti. He is an actor (who recently performed on Broadway’s A Bronx Tale), coach, Uta Hagen’s protégé and an amazing human being. He’s coached me for a couple auditions. Not only is he a fantastic coach, he motivates you and reminds you that you are good enough. He doesn’t just focus on the audition — he focuses on you as a person. Needless to say, I booked my first lead role in a television show because of his help.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Audra McDonald. She’s an extremely talented actress and singer, who is also very philanthropic. I admire her sophistication, work ethic, charisma, talent, passion, goodwill…I could go on. I don’t know her personally, but she seems like a genuinely remarkable human being.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram and twitter handles are @Malindaluv. I’m mostly on Insta. You can also check out my website for updates malindalogan.com
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!