Inspirational Women In Hollywood: How actress Cristy Joy aims to spread the message of #BeYounique

Karina Michel Feld
Sep 30 · 11 min read
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I’m here to spread the message of #BeYounique — which is pretty much to just be you, whatever that means personally. To celebrate your individuality and your uniqueness, because it’s beautiful and special. You’re important, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. And also to recognize & honor everyone else’s individuality and uniqueness. So, what drives me, is the opportunity to spread this message, with the hopes of inspiring as many people as I possibly can to be loving & kind. Because if everyone committed to this, we could have world peace.

As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Cristy Joy.

Cristy Joy is an actress, improviser, & sketch comedian who’s been practicing & performing improve weekly over 7 years.

She’s most known for America’s Got Talent, dancing in Justin Timberlake’s viral music video “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (1 billion YouTube), and acting appearances on Disney & Adult Swim comedies.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thank you so much for doing this with me! I am happy to share.

I grew up in South Florida to a middle class family. I’m the only one who chose a creative path, and I started performing in elementary school.

At about 8 years old, I went to theatre camp at The Actor’s Playhouse in Miami, where I was cast as Oliver in Oliver. It was a pivotal moment in my life, because it was then that I realized what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path? Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Oliver is what introduced me to acting. And after that, I spent years honing my craft in plays, musicals, student films, guerrilla films, no-budget indies, etc. The internet wasn’t around yet when I started doing film stuff. There weren’t smart phones, laptops, or anything like that. So, it wasn’t easy at the time to do stuff on film. So, any sort of filming project I could find out about, I was very excited and grateful to be part of, because I really wanted to learn all aspects of performing.

Sometime during college, things started to change a little bit. The internet was around now and I also started doing more comedy. I actually ended up collaborating with Tom Green, for his webshow Tom Green Live.

One of my major’s in school was TV & Video Production, and so I borrowed equipment and filmed street interview segments, which Tom aired on his talk show. Then, at some point I went to Los Angeles on vacation, and he invited me to be a guest, alongside Neil Hamburger. Tom really liked my videos. I was a huge fan of his at the time, and to see him laughing at my content was a huge honor. It made me realize that I might have a knack for this whole comedy thing, so I figured, why not take the plunge? And the rest is history.

The most interesting experience for me thus far, has definitely been America’s Got Talent. I learned a lot about many different things. But I believe the most fascinating thing about it was just how much it truly affected me as a performer. It was a relatively big stage, you know? It’s filmed live in front of 3,000 people and then broadcast out for millions. It’s the same stage where Michael Jackson unveiled his moonwalk. And I was literally booed off the stage. That was traumatic. I know I seemed okay with it, because “the show must go on,” but I was absolutely devastated. One day I was in the middle of a comedy class, and I literally ran out of the room crying. I was hysterical. I called someone on the phone and they had to calm me down. But I was still bummed out about the whole thing. This was before the episode aired. I was completely panicked about it. I thought I made an absolute fool of myself on national television and that my life was ruined. I was that emotional about the whole thing. And then the episode aired. I started receiving feedback. A lot of people liked my performance. I received messages telling me that they wish I could perform longer or come back on the show. And I started to realize that maybe it wasn’t really as terrible as I had thought. I felt a sense of relief. And then this was the moment that changed my life as an entertainer, because I realized that I was no longer afraid of failing. To me, what originally had felt like performer’s nightmare turned out to actually be a great blessing in disguise.

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?

So, I landed the lead role in my first performance. I got cast as Oliver in Oliver. I remember the audition and the way I said “Please sir, may I have some more.” I remember being asked “Are you sure you’re okay with cutting your hair really short?” Because, at the time, it was a bit unheard of to do so. And I remember responding with “Of course! Anything for acting!”

So. needless to say I was excited about the whole thing. I memorized the entire play word for word. Whenever we had rehearsals, if anyone missed any sort of dialogue, even if the word was just a simple “the”, I would help out by correcting them. Although I had good intentions, and this is funny in retrospect, I didn’t understand why the older kids were so annoyed with me all the time, haha.

One lesson to be gleamed from this, is that during any sort of theatrical production, it’s important to just stick to your role. Actors should never direct other actors, regardless of their intentions. Let the director do that. If you have any concerns, or ideas, perhaps you could propose them to the director. But ultimately, it is always their call. Because when it comes to these things, there are a lot of people involved. And if everyone starts doing other people’s jobs, it becomes a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. Plus, it’s just easier that way. Less thinking to do. Also, it creates the space for more creative freedom for everyone. Because rather than doing their own job, and then analyzing everyone else’s jobs, they can just focus their attention to their specified role. I am not saying that if an idea arises you should squelch it, or that there aren’t exceptions to this. But as a general rule, it’s important to always stay in your lane. It’s also just the respectful thing to do. Because it shows that you trust everyone else to do their best. And when everyone doing that on set, it is a very beautiful & magical thing to experience. Because you’re witnessing a collaboration of pure creative freedom.

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?

As far as success goes, it’s a very collaborative effort. And just like on a production, everyone has their part to play. Every actor has a team they work with. Every role an actor gets, requires a group of people behind the decision of choosing that particular actor.

Also, I’m very passionate about improvisation, commedia dell’arte, & clowning. I’m always training or performing within some context of these particular art forms, and I’ve been doing it weekly for the last 7 years. So that adds to the number of people, because I have had some really wonderful teachers who have completely transformed me creatively.

So personally, I really can’t just single out one particular person.

There truly are way too many.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

It’s important to believe in yourself and to hold onto your vision. If this is truly in your heart, and it is a dream for you, then you have to know that there is a reason for it being there, and to trust that reason.

What drives you to get up everyday and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?

I’m here to spread the message of #BeYounique — which is pretty much to just be you, whatever that means personally. To celebrate your individuality and your uniqueness, because it’s beautiful and special. You’re important, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. And also to recognize & honor everyone else’s individuality and uniqueness. So, what drives me, is the opportunity to spread this message, with the hopes of inspiring as many people as I possibly can to be loving & kind. Because if everyone committed to this, we could have world peace.

As far changes in the industry going forward, anything that promotes unity is a change I fully support.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

I’m in a new movie with Chris Kattan called “In Other Words” that just came out. It’s such an adorable film & I’m so grateful to be part of it. Everyone did a fantastic job and was an absolute pleasure to work with.

I’m also developing a solo show that I’ll be completing by the end of the year. Headed from here, I see myself continuing to spread my message through my entertainment, as best as I possibly can.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

Everything in the entertainment industry is a collaborative effort.

On a production, it’s important to do the very best you can. This doesn’t meant to be a perfectionist about everything, but rather, to have your goal simply be to always give it your all. You do this by narrowing your focus to simply serving the greater artistic vision of the entire piece as a whole.

And when everyone on a production is serving that purpose, diversity naturally flourishes. Because it means they all realize that creating a movie or a television show is just like creating a Picasso, or a Lichenstein. And that everyone working on the production are like pigments of paint, or brushstrokes. It’s just that instead of being a painting, it’s a production. And instead of being paint pigments or brushstrokes, it’s people on-camera & off-camera, and their individual talents.

Also, when everyone on a production shares that same commitment, it naturally sets the example for anyone who watches.

And so by doing this, our culture and our youth, will inherently realize that the life they are living is like a work of art, too.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1) I wish someone told me to believe in myself, because it took a long time for me to do so. Even with all the years of training I did, it wasn’t until my America’s Got Talent experience that I actually felt confident & validated as an entertainer.

2) I wish someone told me how much rejection there is in this industry. I can’t count how many roles I’ve come close to booking in comparison with the ones I’ve actually ended up doing.

3) I wish someone told me not to take rejection personally. Because most of the time it’s literally just a case of fulfilling an artistic vision, a picture on a screen. And there’s a lot of other elements involved. And they all have to fit each other perfectly in order to fulfill that creative vision. And so, a single role is just a single piece of an entire thing.

4) I wish someone told me that it is possible to work in the entertainment industry. Because I was told for so many years that it’s just a fantasy. Luckily, deep down I knew otherwise.

5) I wish someone told me about the business aspects of the industry. Because for many years I was just riding on passion without thinking about all the other things. There needs to be a balanced integration of both in order to have success.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

For many years, I put all of my focus and attention on being an actress. While it was beneficial because I learned so much and received such a variety of training & experience, it also stressed me out. I used to put so much unnecessary pressure on myself with every aspect of this, that if there was an audition, I would literally just immediately drop everything I was doing. I didn’t care if I was hungry and needed to eat, this is my passion and I must do this! And I would go into this insanely bizarre super hero mode where I think I’m saving the day for somebody.

Obviously I’ve recovered from this, so I think a good practice would be to just remember to stay balanced.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite quote is “Stay inspired.” Follow your heart and believe in yourself. It certainly helps to stay inspired when you have both of those elements, but as long as you have one of them, the other will come.

I say heart, passion, and there’s many ways to describe it. But you just know it when something resonates with you, when it’s truly a part of who you are. I knew that right away, and obviously over time I gained the confidence to believe in myself, too.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

World peace and unity.

Everybody loving, honoring, and respecting each other.

Realizing that we are all here together on a watery ball that’s rotating around a fireball in a vast sea of nothingness.

Knowing that there truly is only one race between us all — the human race. Understanding that there’s plenty of resources in this world to feed, house, and clothe everybody on the entire planet.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would love to have lunch with Will Smith. Because I’ve been a fan forever, he’s so awesome and inspiring, and I want him to hook me up with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air Airbnb if they are still doing that by the time this article comes out. I love that show so much! I think it’s my favorite sitcom. I still think it’s hilarious. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorites.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

I’m very active on Instagram. There’s updates on the Chris Kattan movie, behind-the-scenes footage from my upcoming solo project, and other unexpected randomness! I’m @CristyJoyOfficial

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Karina Michel Feld

Written by

Executive Producer of Tallulah Films

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Karina Michel Feld

Written by

Executive Producer of Tallulah Films

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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