What sort of a kid were you?
I think if you asked my parents they would call me a brat, but I prefer to think of myself growing up as a “strong-willed child.” I definitely knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I was a pretty intelligent kid and loved grade school, but once middle school came along I couldn’t wait to graduate and get out of school! Growing up I was always on the chubby side and got made fun of a lot because of my weight and not to mention my ever-changing hairstyles that my mother loved to set the next big trend with!! It affected me somewhat, but being that strong-willed child definitely got me through all that. Believe me, it took a while, but I did it!! As I got older I stayed the same way and never did anything just because it was the cool thing to do. I was always pretty much a loner and a self-starter. Growing up, I remember keeping myself entertained by pretending to be a teacher and using my dolls as my students. I used to hold auditions for plays and organize the shows with all the kids in my neighborhood.
How did you get into acting?
I grew up around music and theatre because both of my parents are entertainers, so it was always a huge influence on me. I always knew that I wanted to be an entertainer, but never really had the self esteem before my senior year in high school to actually get the nerve up to audition for anything, especially since I had no training or experience. Believe it or not, I was always pretty shy back then!! When my senior year came, I always heard my sister say she wished she would have tried out for school plays so that is exactly what I did. To my surprise, I guess I was a natural, because I ended up getting into all the plays I tried out for and got a very good response from the audience and director from my performances. Once I graduated high school is when my mother started her own production company, which is now Lipstick Model and Talent Agency in South Beach. I started going out on castings for commercials, infomercials, movies, etc., as well as doing a lot of community theatre. Community theatre is where I learned the most about acting. It really helped me to have a better understanding of the art, as well as being well prepared because as any theatre actor knows – “You only get one take!”
What can you tell us about your starring-role in the upcoming indie flick “Realms of Blood?”
I can tell you that I am thrilled to death, no pun intended. Besides the fact that this is my first leading role in a film, this is also my first horror film. “Realms of Blood” has three short stories with one wrap around story like Creepshow. I star in the first segment, “Pain Killer,” as Julia, a young woman who always finds herself in sticky situations, which she puts herself and others in–very often because she is just trying to help to someone who needs it. This time it is a very dangerous situation when she comes across another young woman whom she almost hits with her car. Julia gets out to help her and sees the woman is all bloody and beaten up, so Julia decides she can’t leave her there. She decides to bring her to her best friend Becky’s house. On the way there, Julia finds out that this woman, named Mia, is running from her crazy ex-boyfriend, who lost his mind in chemical warfare in the Gulf War and will stop at nothing to kill her. I also star in the third segment, “Blood Runs Cold.” I play the role of Raven. Raven is a Goth type chick who loves bands–especially one in particular, an all girl band “Black Mist.” One night she gets the opportunity to go backstage and meet them where she then finds out that they are not only musicians who love the night life, but also vampires! This role as Raven will be really challenging for me because I have never been given the opportunity to play such a role due to my girl next-door image. I will look completely different with black hair and intense make-up. I might not even recognize myself!
What was the making of the film like?
The movie is still in production, but we have finished filming the “Pain Killer” segment and it was a blast! The director, Robert J. Massetti, is one of the funniest, easy-going guys I have ever met. He makes you really want to do an especially good job and he definitely gets you there with his directing skills. I have never felt more comfortable on the set. The other actors are amazing and really helped me to get into my character and most importantly stay in my character. That was especially helpful while filming because most of the scenes for that segment were shot in a dark park in the middle of the summertime. We Floridians know what that means, humidity and lots of bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away. I can’t tell you how hard it was to stay in character sometimes and we would shoot some evenings till 4AM. I have to give props to the make-up artist, Gina Rooney, who worked so hard and did an amazing job to keep our hair and make-up intact. It’s at times like that when you know you must really love what you do! Despite the fact that it was a horror film, we had tons of laughs. Bob Glazier, who plays the role of the “Pain Killer,” was always the clown of the group, coming behind me and scaring the crap out of me. He definitely knew how to keep me in character!
Get the rest of the interview in part three of SHEYENNE RIVERS: THRILLED TO DEATH>>>