Born in Forrest City, Arkansas; without a doubt, Camille was meant to be a performer. She spent her youth dancing, singing, cheerleading, and even walking down the imaginary runways, which were actually her middle and high school hallways. Camille attended the Georgia HBCU school Albany State University as a business major. She moved to Los Angeles where she studied acting and begin landing roles. Passionate and disciplined, Camille has played a variety of roles. She's always up for a challenge and enjoys the constant process of creative learning about her craft.
Camille Calvin is an award-winning Actress and Director. She is best known for starring in the Lifetime film “Deadly Cheers,” playing the role of Brianna (2022). Camille is also known for her work in the movie “Desire Lines,” where she was awarded “Best Actress” (2020) at the Film Invasion LA Film Festival by Discover Indie Films for her portrayal of the character Honey Zeal. She has been recognized for her work as a director at the Independent Talents International film festival (2018) and the Film Invasion LA film festival (2019) Lightning Strikes. In addition, she made a mark with her short film, In the Clouds, at the New Filmmakers festival L.A. in the LGBT category (2016).
When Camille had a moment to stop, she spoke with Gemma Magazine about her roles, her directing aspirations, and much more. Let's get into it!
How did you know that you wanted to become an actress?
Being an actress was not something that I always knew I wanted. I love performing, dancing, and entertaining, but it wasn't until I took the first class that I thought, "this is where it's at…Where has this been all my life?" Or better yet, where have I been? Honestly, it never dawned on me that acting was a career option. I didn't have too many people around me doing that sort of thing, but I have to tell you, being in my very first acting class, I remember having to go on stage to perform a brief scene. I felt an immense amount of freedom and opportunity that I'd never experienced with anything else. The choices we as actors get to make when we're playing make this career enticing.
Do you get nervous about auditions?
Absolutely. I don't know if that will ever change. When I first started going to auditions, my nerves would completely consume me. My hands would shake. I would sweat. My voice would tremble. And as a result, my performance suffered. All of those things slowly disappeared along my journey. I still get nervous, but my nerves don't affect my performance. It takes a while to get used to, just like anything else.
Did you train formally, and what was an essential piece of advice you received?
I attended acting classes in Georgia and continued classes once I moved to Los Angeles. But my best training came from working closely with a coach. Working one on one is vital because acting can be very intimate, and you need a coach that you trust and can allow yourself to be vulnerable with. It's not always easy to do that in a class. The best advice was to take as much time as I needed in an audition. I used to speed through my readings in auditions. It's like I was afraid to take up anyone's time. Making that adjustment was a game-changer. So, actors out there, take all the time you need in an audition. That's your time.
Can you please describe your character Brianna in the Lifetime film "Deadly Cheers?"
Brianna is a woman who is very much a go-getter. She is a single mom who had some tribulations in her past, but she refuses to let that define her. She holds on tight to the good things happening in her life and uses them as reminders to her daughter. "Things are good now; look, everything is going well for us. "It's a state of mind that she needs to hold onto to keep going, strive for the next promotion, deal with the iffy people at her job, and keep her daughter on board with the drastic changes occurring in their life. She doesn't want the rug pulled from under her feet.
I see similarities in myself. I can also recognize those traits in my mother, so it was easy to use those memories from my mom trying to keep everything together. And also, moments in my life of doing the same.
How did you like playing Honey Zeal from "Desire Lines?"
(a film you won Best Actress).
Yes, I had the honor of being recognized by the Film Invasion LA Film Festival as Best Actress in a Feature for the role of Honey Zeal in the movie "Desire Lines." You know, Patrick Connelly is such an unconventional director. His writing and how he executes scenes are different from any other project I've been a part of. His style is his own, which is refreshing about working with him. When you're doing the work, you're unsure how people will receive it. So it's a relief to see it all come together and be recognized for your work.
When did you get into directing?
I've always been curious about storytelling, but I had no film school training, so I thought the best idea might be to shoot something visual for my first project. That was a music video for a song called "In The Middle." It was a blast. I learned a lot from that project, and when I felt like I had a cohesive script, I jumped into the production of my first Narrative short. I learned even more from that. Filmmakers and creatives surround me, so I've gotten a lot of help and valuable advice from friends. Which I am so grateful for.
What are some of the directing characteristics that acting does not have?
When you are directing, you have to see everything at once. You're not just focusing on your character. You have to focus on all of the characters. The environment. The movement. The feeling. You create the entire world in your hands, from the camera's movement to the background actor's cross. It takes a heightened awareness.
What project are you currently working on?
I'm currently in the development phase of a project. It's fascinating because it's more hands-on for me, and it's also more challenging. I can't talk about it yet, but I hope that I will be able to soon.
How does being such a creative sustain you?
As long as I can wake up feeling enthusiastic about life every day, that matters. That feeling is what sustains me. It gives me an excitement for life that allows me to look forward to tomorrow.
To keep up with Camille and her acting/directing endeavors, you can follow her on her social media platforms: https://www.instagram.com/camillecalvin1/