“Always Have Interesting Answers To Simple Questions In Your Back Pocket” 5 Hollywood Tips With Ciara Wilson
“Something casting directors love to throw at you is simple and silly questions like “What’s your favorite color?” or “What animal do you relate to the most?” The key is to show your personality in a witty answer. They want to get to know you and see if you can think on your feet! So what’s my spirit animal? It used to be a dog, but now it’s a raccoon. Why? Because I’ve got dark circles underneath my eyes, I stay up super late, I mainly eat junk, and I’m cute but will fight you!”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ciara Wilson, an actress and dancer who is best known for her role as Vicki Fuego on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. She can be seen dancing in music videos for Fifth Harmony, Chris Brown, Gucci Mane, and Usher. In addition, you can find Ciara in over 30 comedy sketches for DreamWorksTV. She is also a very active force on social media!
●Yitzi: What is your “backstory”?
I grew up in Portland, Oregon dancing on a competition team and acting in local TV commercials and radio voiceovers. Ever since I was a child, I knew deep down that I was destined to speak up and reach out. I wanted to show the world that girls can be funny, confident, and raise their voices! After moving to LA and pursuing a serious acting career, I was able to have that voice and reach out to as many people as I could. I am still striving every day to be the best version of myself and promote confidence to others in our society.
●Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting career?
One of my favorite set experiences was filming Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. My character, Vicki Fuego, is a tough tomboy MMA fighter who threatens the two main characters. For those who know me in real life, I like to say I’m a pretty kind and gentle person, who also shamelessly loves all things girly. Because my daily personality is such a contrast, I decided to show up to the table read for Bizaardvark in full character. I had my hair in boxer braids and wore basketball shorts! Throughout the week, I wore “Vicki” inspired wardrobe to set. Everybody thought I was just like my character! On the last day of filming, I showed up in a really cute and girly outfit with my hair down and everyone was so shocked. I showed them my Instagram feed full of pictures of me all done up with hair, makeup, and dresses. Since I also stayed in
character throughout the week of filming, the cast and crew were convinced that I was a tomboy up until that moment!!
●Yitzi: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Currently, I am a part of the new dance collective “GirlCool.” We are a group of confident young dancers who pride ourselves in spreading positivity and our message through dance.
What makes us unique is we are heavily influenced by dance styles in the 1960’s (Bob Fosse era) and combine that classic vibe with modern day hip hop! We have just released our first concept video “School’s in Session” on the DanceOn Network and had our first live performance at the Skechers Pier to Pier Walk for Special Needs Education in Manhattan Beach.
●Yitzi: Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I have had the pleasure of working with and creating many memorable experiences with some of my favorite stars. Once, I loaned Camila Cabello my portable phone charger on the set of the Fifth Harmony music video I danced in, and she left with it in her bag! (No worries, I’d give Camila Cabello all the portable chargers in the world, she’s amazing). Another time, I navigated through a dark abandoned mall guided by Chris Brown for his music video I had the opportunity to dance in. Most recently, I had a memorable run in with an iconic celebrity. I was at a gifting suite for the Emmy Awards when two little girls came running up to me. They said they were fans of Vicki Fuego and Bizaardvark and asked for a picture. They were the sweetest! A couple weeks later, I saw the adorable girls again at another event. We hugged right away and chatted! Later at the event, a man came up to me and said he was the father of the two little girls and how he really appreciated what I did for them. The dad said that he has been in the entertainment industry for a long time and how important it is to stay humble, kind, and have a good head on your shoulders. He advised me that kindness goes a long way and if I stay true to that, it will lead to success in this industry. Then, the man said to ask my mom who he was. I ran over to my mom, and she excitedly filled in all the details. It was Scott Baio, my mom’s teen crush, most famously known for his role as Chachi in Happy Days! I was incredibly inspired by his words and will remember that moment for the rest of my life.
●Yitzi: Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Some of the people in history who inspire me the most are Dorothy Dandridge, Merle Oberon, Hattie McDaniel, and Myrtle Gonzales. These are all female actresses of ethnicity in the early-mid 1900’s. They were strong, beautiful, and talented. As a result of their hard work, many of them received Academy Award nominations and Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award in 1939! These women are special to me because they paved the way for girls of ethnicity in the entertainment industry and showed the world what we are capable of. I hope to
be an example to little girls of all ethnicities and show that we can continue to overcome
diversity issues found in the media today. We will carry on the legacy of these iconic actresses!
●Yitzi: Who do you aspire to be like one day?
One day I aspire to be like Zendaya, Angelina Jolie, and Johnny Depp. What these actors all have in common is that they are fearless risk takers who are confident and bold. Zendaya is one of my biggest inspirations as she is an actress, dancer, singer, and female of ethnicity. Zendaya doesn’t compromise who she is to meet others expectations of her and she is also downright hilarious. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp both have a very wide range of unique and iconic roles they play and that is something I would love to someday accomplish. Actors who are courageous and bold with their careers inspire me the most. I want to follow their footsteps and make a mark in the entertainment industry!
●Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Something I hold very high on my list of values is using the platform I have been given to spread positivity and awareness. The rise of social media is impressive and I have used it to reach a large audience to inform others about good causes and express what I believe in. I am an advocate for kindness, originality, equality, and self confidence. I have used social media to bring awareness to anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and teen homelessness. Social media is a place where I can communicate with my supporters and learn from them as well. It is a medium to inspire and be inspired, and I think that’s the most amazing thing.
●Yitzi: 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.Rejection is never a setback. Being told “no” a million times will feel like a step in the wrong direction but every experience, every meeting, and every audition is propelling you forward. I once had seven callbacks for a large project until it was down to me and another girl. They ended up going in the other direction and in that moment it felt like the end of the world. However, over time I learned that the experience built so many relationships for me and made me stronger in the end. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it and I’m so grateful for that. Each time rejection comes your way, you are learning something new from it and when one door closes another one always opens.
2.You can 100% unapologetically be yourself. In the acting world, you’ll feel like you have to fit into what people want and be the image that others want you to be. However, you will truly only be happy, prosperous, and successful when you are being yourself. The roles made for you and your path will come your way and you won’t have to change who you are in order to be successful. Acting is the art of stepping into other people’s shoes with their characteristics, but bring a little of yourself into every role. Your personality is what makes your acting special!
3. Always have interesting answers to simple questions in your back pocket: Something casting directors love to throw at you is simple and silly questions like “What’s your favorite color?” or “What animal do you relate to the most?” The key is to show your personality in a witty answer. They want to get to know you and see if you can think on your feet! So what’s my spirit animal? It used to be a dog, but now it’s a raccoon. Why? Because I’ve got dark circles underneath my eyes, I stay up super late, I mainly eat junk, and I’m cute but will fight you!
4. Dialects and Characters! Having multiple dialects and comedic characters ready is so important and will come in handy at any audition. Characters are so much deeper than just a voice and a dialect, it’s all in mannerisms, head to toe. Casting directors will ask for things like this all the time, always be prepared.
5. You can’t control what happens in this industry, but you can control your mindset. If you look at every setback as a failure, you will believe that. But if you find the positives in every situation, you will grow through what you go through. Things happen in this business, a lot of doors slam in your face. There are times where it seems like none will ever open. However, you are the only one who can keep yourself going. No matter what happens, stay positive, see the good in every situation, and control what you can- your mindset.
●Yitzi: I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. 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, or I might be able to introduce you.
I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Lorne Michaels, the creator and producer of Saturday Night Live. SNL is one of my favorite shows and has greatly inspired me to pursue sketch comedy. I would love to pick his brain about the process of creating this iconic show and learn about the people he has met along the way. My dream is to someday be on Saturday Night Live, so if I were to be able to meet with Lorne Michaels, I would probably do a bit of pitching for myself ;) Overall, it would be an incredibly inspiring experience to meet someone as iconic as Lorne Michaels.
Originally published at www.buzzfeed.com.