The following is part of the Film and Faith Blogathon, sponsored by Strange Culture
Stacey J. Aswad is known to Christian television viewers as Andi, one of the members of the 7TH STREET THEATRE.
She is also known to TV viewers in the Orlando area as the host of the Walt Disney World 24/7 informational program.
Having worked for Dave Christiano on 7TH STREET, she reteamed with him for his upcoming film ME, YOU, US, FOREVER, opening on February 15, 2008.
I got a chance to talk with her about her work in both areas and what her plans for the future are.
What made you want to become an actress?
I have been performing my whole life. I started out as a dancer and choreographer and then the acting work started to show up on the radar. It was a very natural transition for me and I find that my dance experience helps my acting and vice versa. I know that I am wired to perform, the way that it manifests might change but it is who I am.
How did you get cast on 7th Street Theater?
I was living in North Carolina at the time, and my agent there told me about the TV series and asked me if I wanted to audition. She thought that I was "right" for a couple of the female roles. She put me on tape and sent it to Dave Christiano. He called me to Asheville to meet and discuss the show. By the time I was in the car driving back to Charlotte, he called my cell and offered me the role of "Andi Ramsey". I think the right projects find you and this is a good example of that. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity and am grateful for it for a lot of reasons.
I mentioned to Dave that I think 7th Street has one of the most likable casts on TV. Are they really like that in person, or is it all just acting?
I am glad to hear that our characters are likeable, that is so important. Just like a person watching the show may feel a connection to a character in the show, I believe the best acting comes from a place of truth. There is a part of me in every character I play. I may not have experienced the exact same situations but there is something from my own life that I can substitute or fabricate enough in part to make it come alive in the scene. It is my job to be sincere and bring people into the moment and make them laugh or cry or get angry... or whatever. It is not a passive process, I want them to be a part of the journey just like me.
What is Dave like to work with?
Dave is very meticulous about making sure that whatever he does is the best, in every way possible. He does not just settle for the quickest, easiest way. I respect his tenacity and persistence, he is not a quitter and that is so important. There is a lot of adversity and rejection in this business, that's either going to defeat you or motivate you. I believe that if you keep getting up no matter what, keep your eyes fixed forward and upward, eventually you will get to where you want to be...Dave is a good person and wants to do good work and that is why I started to and continue to work with him.
How important is the message of a story to you? Would you star in a mainstream film without a message?
If you mean will I only do faith-based projects, then I would honestly say no. I think there are mainstream projects that have integrity and value. I have had the good fortune to be a part of some in my short career. I look at the whole package, the script, the character, the people involved. I get so many emails from people that are affected by my Disney show. It is a countdown show about what to do at Walt Disney World. A woman emailed me recently to say that her autistic son calms down and goes to sleep by hearing the sound of my voice, that brings tears to my eyes. There is no message for Christ in my show. For me it is not just the message but the messenger and the intention. At the end of the day we are all people. At some point and on some level we are all connected, it is our responsibility to find out how.
How did you get involved with Disney?
While I still lived on the East Coast, I auditioned in Atlanta. They were auditioning all over the country and they picked me. I have no doubt that I was meant to do this show. It has been such a blessing for me personally and professionally. I cannot express strongly enough how grateful I am for this experience. It has and continues to be a highlight !!!!
What can you tell us about your next film ME, YOU, US, FOREVER?
It is a great movie that deserves to be seen, it is very universal in the themes it addresses. I think that when you watch it, you will be taken to places that you have been before in your own life. It is a chance to reflect and grow, that is always a good thing, at least in my mind.
It is about love and loss and healing and faith and hope and friendship. It was a really wonderful experience working on this movie, challenging too. I was fortunate to be a part of a very talented and committed cast and crew. In addition to a chance to grow as an actor, I came away with some good friends.
What is next for you?
I moved to Hollywood almost a year ago and it has been a wonderful and blessed journey so far. I have been working consistently as an actor since I got here and that is such a gift. God has blessed me with a family and circle of friends and that are beyond amazing and they are such precious souls to me. What is next is what is next... I am excited to see what unfolds myself.... stay tuned because I have a feeling it is going to be pretty cool!!!!
To read more about Stacey, visit her website.
You can also read our interview with Dave Christiano here.