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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Interview with Sandra Dee...actress, writer, film producer and director. "Never Alone" directed by Nancy Hamilton Myers and starring Sandra Dee will be distributed May 15, 2015.

My latest interview is with Sandra Dee, who is originally from Michigan who decided to leave her small town for the City Of Angels. She's an actress, model, producer and writer. Have you ever heard of Soul Train? Well, she was a dancer on Soul Train at one time. Read more about her and her upcoming short she wrote : "Nine Lives." 
 "Never Alone" , another movie starring Sandra Dee with Tressa Ohler directed by Nancy Hamilton Myers will be distributed on May 15, 2015.

My interview with Sandra Dee....

Maria-  I read that you're from Dowagiac, Michigian. Tell me a little about your home town and what it was like to live in Dowagiac.

Sandra- Dowagiac Michigan is a small town located in Southwest Michigan. It has a small police station, fire station, a few churches and stores. It is a clean little town which reminds one of Andy Griffith's Mayberry, but my memories of the town were of a good nature because it was the hub of where my entire family on both sides congregated.  My great-grandmother was the matriarch of not only our family, but of the entire town. She was well respected by everyone—a very wise American Indian woman.  My immediate family lived ten minutes outside of the city more into the country where there were only a few houses.  We had a seemingly happy childhood until my parents decided to divorce. I moved away from this town when I was very young.  

Maria- You had a keen interest in the performing arts as a child by singing and dancing all around your home. What is it about singing and dancing that you love? 

Sandra- Sometimes you really cannot explain why you know what you know, you just do. I knew I was destined for performing arts and that I was meant to perform. I've been freely and openly dramatic with a skill to portrait many different characters even as a child. I played “make-believe” and enjoyed making my family laugh consistently. No really, consistently.  I made it my job to make everyone happy and to fill our home with laughter. I've experienced many hardships as a child and singing and dancing was a way to put joy back where it belonged. I often felt like hardships and joy were in direct competition in my life, so I consistently strived for happiness with my arts. 

Maria-  You moved to LA at 24, were you afraid to make a move like that? Did you attend college first?  You went out there to pursue modeling and acting? From what I read and heard, acting and modeling is tough to get into. Was it that way for you?    

Sandra- After high school, I started working in the federal government and went to college at the same time. I finished Junior college and knew that I had to leave Michigan in order to pursue acting.  I enrolled and was accepted at several Universities including Memphis State University, Texas Southern University and Duke University, but didn’t attend any of them. I chose to moved to LA to pursue my acting career. When I left Michigan to move to LA.  I was excited and ready. I was tired of the cold weather, tired of going nowhere, just tired of life as it was, so decided to use the little bit of money I had and transfer my government job to help me survive until I made enough money as an actor. 

Maria- Did anybody inspire you to become an actress, dancer or  model? 

Sandra- I inspired myself to become an actress, dancer and model.  My family really didn’t support me and in fact, many of them believed I would get into trouble, fail and return back to Michigan like so many others, but they didn’t know my determination.

Maria- Oh, I have to ask what was it like to be a dancer on Soul Train? Were you on the show or would you travel around with the other dancers to perform in other locations?  I used to watch that every Saturday and tried to impersonate some of the dancers. 

Sandra- Oh my, it was an experience if I may say so. There were two sides to what most people saw. On one side, it was prestigious to be chosen to be on the show, exciting to meet the performers and an honor to be chosen to be on stage or in one of the cages and to go down the Soul Train line. On the other side, some dancers were a bit vicious, much like school age children where they had their little clicks and if you were not a part of those clicks you would be treated indifferent. There were also some really unethical things going on behind the scenes and if you didn’t play the game you were excused from the show. I became friends with Rosie Perez because she clearly did not participate in those silly clicks.

Maria- What commercials have you been in? Congrats to you for being recently signed with an LA Commercial agent.

Sandra- There have been several; however, I am not willing to share this information publicly because it could interfere with future opportunities.  An actor typically does not mention them on their resume, but only states, “Available Upon Request” this is because you could lose jobs where products are similar. The only commercial I am willing to share is a Paul Mitchell national commercial because it has been over 20 years since it was done.

Maria- It seems like you've done everything in the entertainment industry from acting, modeling, producing, directing, casting, makeup, wardrobe, and writing. Do you have a favorite one out of the list? Do you prefer acting over producing?

Sandra- Producing is an extremely high stress job because you are ultimately responsible for everything that goes on with the production.  I love producing my own films; however, acting has a different kind of stress that I prefer more than producing. With acting, I am challenged with finding the right mix of skill, talent and know-how to bring a character to life to evoke a multitude of emotions from the viewer.


Maria- You're filming : "Nine Lives". I read the plot to that, and I do love a thriller. I noticed that you had a writing credit to that. Did you write the short? 

Sandra- I did write the short and it will also be made into a feature film or web series.  We are currently in production and I must say it is going fabulously. The story is based on true events that actually occurred from my own life. It took a long time to write my story, but I feel it is time to share. The story has several facets to the plot and introduces the roller-coaster life of the story’s lead, Mya Fairbanks.  I believe that the source of her strength to survive all of the trauma and drama will help many viewers.

Maria- The movie that won two Remi awards "Never Alone" is a movie that sounds like it would touch the heart.  A story of two friends who are living different lives: one single and you played Jennifer (Jen -single one and making the money) and Lena who is married to a possessive and controlling husband and just found out she was diagnosed with cancer. I read the plot and thought that there are so many women that could be touched by this movie due to the friendship between the women and hardship of the marriage and cancer that Lena was diagnosed with. 
What was that like to make the movie? Do you feel like you become the character when you're acting? 

Sandra- "Never Alone" will be distributed on May 15, 2015 and once it hits the streets I believe it will do very well. The writer emulated my personality and life as she knew it, so becoming the character Jennifer Watson was challenging, yet very comfortable for me. The movie portrays the emotions from the perspective of an individual dying from cancer and the individual frustrated that they cannot help the person dying from cancer. I have been in the position of the frustrated person because I watched my own mother dying from breast and brain cancer. What was difficult was reliving moments that were similar to those when I watched her unable to function and crying because she didn’t want to die.  In the movie I hated God, but through a mere stranger I learned more about his plan and the big scope of life. The movie is a truthful depiction of what it’s like on both sides of cancer. The film was directed by Nancy Hamilton Myers, and I'm lead actress and producer.  In general, when I am doing a film, I become the character and get deep within the person.  I create a biography for the character to get a full understanding of their motivation for how they feel and why they do the things that they do.

Maria- I see that you're on the cast of "San Adreas" as a business woman , the movie that Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock is starring in. Did you get to meet him and what was it like to be part of this movie? 

Sandra- I was hired only as an extra for the film, but the director upgraded me to be featured on set. I didn’t get to meet the Rock, but I was strategically placed in front of his on-screen daughter and her boyfriend as we tried to escape the city of San Francisco.

Maria-  What is your favorite genre of movie that you like to play a role in? 

Sandra- I like the crazy role with dry humor. You know the character that doesn’t intend to be funny, but in fact they are hilarious. I equally like the strong roles like a judge, president or lawyer. I was the first African American President of the United States in film in Forrest of Eden, but it hasn’t come out yet. 

Maria- What advice would you give to a young lady who is wanting to make a career in the entertainment industry? 

Sandra- I highly promote that individuals should take classes first.  I currently teach a class that teaches the business of acting and believe that this is the way someone should approach this kind of career.  I jumped into acting within understanding the business and fell into the same trap as so many others.  It is crucial that one understands not only how to become a performer, but also understands the business of acting as well.  

Maria-  Who are your best supporters? I imagine your husband, Rick is probably one of your biggest supporters and your children too. 

Sandra- My best supporter and critic is my husband.  He has stood by my side for ten years and has never faltered.  Our children support us, but he is remarkably the most important inspiration in my life.

Maria-  What is your favorite movie of all time? If you're like me, you probably have more than one.  

Sandra- I have several favorite movies that range in genres; Titanic, American President, The King and I, and Coming to America.

Thank you for reading and see below for Sandra's social media links and follow her on Twitter.

Link to Never Alone movie:

Here are her social media links: 
Facebook fan page NINE LIVES https://www.facebook.com/ninelivesfilm1?ref=hl
Sandra Dee
Actor, Writer, Publisher, Marketer

About Maria Rochelle

Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
Find out more about Maria here →


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