A New Hampshire Native, Alexis was uprooted by her mother and stepfather at the age of 14 in a move to California. Here, Alexis’s talents and dreams of singing, dancing, and acting flourished with the opportunities surrounding her. She began studying acting in high school, and continued as she finished her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Broadcasting from California State University, Fullerton. Her professional acting career began in 2005 promptly upon graduation when she finally couldn’t deny her passion for performing.
Among her many performances, Alexis’ characters inspire strength through despair. Alexis is most recently known for her starring role as powerful and manipulative Lara DeVanity in the award nominated web soap DEVANITY.
Her role as Karen in Skypilot Theatre Company’s hit new annual play, TO THE NEW GIRL FROM THE FORMER MRS.___: SOUND ADVICE FOR MY HUSBAND’S NEW WIFE OR MISTRESS, brought fourth her ability to survive through the pain of her betrayals.
Alexis’ television appearances include THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS and THE WAR AT HOME, and her recent leading feature film roles include THE DAVINCI TREASURE, BREATH OF HATE, and CONSINSUAL.
Though she plays such strong characters, Alexis is a bright, contagiously happy woman with a heart of gold.
Besides performing, Alexis has a few other talents: shooting firearms and Krav Maga Hand-to-Hand Combat Training. She even owns a few guns of her own ( a CZ 75 .9mm to be exact). She loves the movie Scarface, photography, travelling, and her family and pets, and she supports No-Kill Animal Shelters.
What is the current project you are working on?
DeVanity Season 2. Just finished filming a little role on The Young and the Restless. About to start filming the feature ‘Insider Trading’
How do you define success?
Mostly it’s finding happiness in your life AS YOU ARE NOW, with all of the problems in your life. THAT is the ultimate hurdle in life is to find TRUE happiness. It cannot be bought or won. Every ounce of happiness is within you, and in your hands. That being said, my success is doing the things I love AND sometimes getting paid to do it It’s like my dreams come true, but it was never handed to me. I had to work years to get even this far. It took a lot of very difficult, emotional, and moneyless times to fight to get here, and I will have many ahead, but I had to enjoy every minute of my journey because it is not a guarantee that you will have tomorrow to make up for the happiness lost today. Life is too short. Ultimate success is getting to a place of happiness within yourself
How do you handle rejection?
I brush it off. Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business. I believe in my ability to do the job, and I put in my 100% into every audition and role, but if it’s not the right time or role, it’s just not the right time. You have to have a REALLY thick skin as an actor. You go on tons of auditions (interviews), put your heart an soul into every single one, and maybe you’ll get a callback for one. Then MAYBE you’ll book the gig, or maybe you won’t. It’s how fast you pick yourself up and brush yourself off that keeps your ‘rejection barrier’ from breaking down.
Did you always want to be an actress?
Yes. I always wanted to be on broadway singing, dancing, and acting. I played dress up and make-believe for longer into my childhood years than most kids. I moved around a lot, so I spend a lot of time alone until I made new friends, so I had to entertain my brain (which runs a million miles a minute). I was a dancer for 16 years, so I was very well trained in that aspect on stage, but never really believed I could make it as an actress. I was a bit of an ugly duckling, so I didn’t even want to attempt to go up against other beautiful girls. I had to grow, and find my identity and confidence before I could really allow myself to follow my heart.
What inspired you to become an actress?
A building up of events: from the death of 3 friends in high school, a traumatic car accident with my boyfriend while in college, and topping it off with the death of my step-father when I had just finished recovering from my accident a few months later. My stepdad was only 58 when he died, and I found him after he had passed. It was very difficult to witness my friends dying, experience my own immortality, then see one of my parents’ dead body. My stepdad had told a lot of big stories about himself while I was growing up, and after he died, we found out most of the stories were not true. My mother said that those were probably the things he really wanted to do but couldn’t because he started a family at age 17, and really didnt’ get to live his life as he had dreamed. I realized right when she said that, I needed to do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure my dreams came true. I started studying acting again immediately, moved to L.A., finished my last semester in college, and the rest is history.
What is the best thing about being one?
I get to play dress up and make believe like I did when I was a kid I get to be someone else, and live and breath in their soul. In HINNON VALLEY, I get to be G.I. Jane. In DEVANITY, I’m drenched in jewels like a princess. It’s like getting to change who you want to be that day if you’re bored with your own life.
What is the worst thing about being one?
The politics of getting a gig. Pretty much how people get most jobs. Sometimes the best actor doesn’t book the part. It could be a look, a friend, a favor, a feel, a name actor, etc. There is so much behind the scenes effort put into just getting called into audition: submitting, rehearsing your audition sides (sometimes for hours), sometimes a 3 hour turnaround on one audition depending on traffic and speed of the casting office, the wait for the phone call that you may never get, the cost of your headshots, etc. But that just makes you appreciate when you DO book a gig. It’s just that much sweeter when you get the part
What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?
30 or so. Hard to remember all of them over the years. Not all of them make it onto the resume, demo reel, or IMdb, so it’s easy to forget if it was years ago.
Who is is your favorite actress?
I have a few. Elenor Powell, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Sharon Stone, Lauren Bacall, Judy Dench.
How has your life changed since you became an actress?
Hmmmm. I’m not sure my life has really changed except for the amount of attention I get and my extremely hectic and constantly changing schedule. I get these great letters from people who have seen me in a film or show I’ve done, and they are fans. I’m always so flattered and blown away to have a fan, so it really makes my day that someone else likes my work.
The other difference is that I get to go to set as my job, and get hair and makeup done for 2 hours before filming. I also do A LOT of running around LA for auditions, picking up publicity materials, rehearsals, filming, wardrobe fittings, basic errands (bank, groceries, gym) etc. And everything is scheduled back to back, so sometimes I don’t get to bed until 4 AM, just because I didn’t get home until 2:30, and still need to wind down. I don’t have the typical 9-5 lifestyle that most people hate, but don’t realize how lucky they are that they know their schedule ahead of time. Most of my auditions I find out about a day before, and it’s usually sometime midday in the middle of plans I’ve made. I’m constantly having to drop my pre-made plans for last minute auditions. I also have my survival job in between bookings, so if I’m scheduled to work that day, I have to panic and get someone to hopefully cover my shift to make my audition. OR if I’m already filming I have to find a way to work the audition and filming schedules together. You can’t ask the casting office to work around your schedule. They have sometimes hundreds of people they are seeing for mulitple roles, so they don’t have time to help everyone. It’s up to the actor to make time for the opportunity the casting office is presenting.
I otherwise live exactly the same way as I did before I started acting except I’m older and have more responsibilies. I still live in an apartment, drive an 8 year old car, play with my kitties, and make dinner for my amazing husband, Ian. Still clean the house, go to the bank, and save money to go on vacations with him. I live normally for the most part.
What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?
Don’t just come to L.A. for a year or two and hope to make it that quickly or get ‘discovered.’ If you just want to be famous, go home. Don’t waste your time because you won’t be willing to put forth the effort it takes to train, hustle, and keep pushing year after year to have a long respected career. Be an actor because you TRULY want to act because it can be a painful and costly dream if you don’t really want it. If you really want to act, get a good survival job, get into a good class, and submit to every acting gig you can find paid or not. This will build your resume, experience, strength, and confidence.
What do you like to do besides acting?
Dancing, taking pictures, road trips to nowhere and everywhere, road trips to find great photography opportunies, watching movies (especially really scarey realistic ones), running, hiking, sitting on the beach, shopping, lunch with my girlfriends, wine tasting, going to the firing range, playing with my cats and dog, learning new lyrics to tricky songs or raps, being silly stupid with my husband, friends, and family, traveling, etc.
Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become an actress?
Tons. My first job was at Pizza Hut, where I eventually became a shift manager at age 18. Worked at numerous restuarants as every job. Was a manager in retail clothing stores. Did bookkeeping, purchasing, sales, etc. Worked full-time all through high school, college, all the way into the beginning of my acting career.
How would you describe your film education?
It feels like not much, but when I look at it, it really is a lot. My degree was in broadcasting, so I learned how to use the camera, edit, use sound equipment, be an on-camera host, how to light a set, etc. The rest of my film eduction came from doing lots of student films in the beginning, writing and shooting my own films, helping on friends’ projects, taking a few on-camera acting classes, and then straight up working on real union sets when I would book a gig. I took years of acting classes since high school, but that’s just the acting education, not actual film education.
What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?
I love Scarface. I’d say that’s my favorite. It’s about the American dream…gangster style. Al Pacino has been one of my idols since I saw The Godfather series and Scarface. As a female, there aren’t a lot of roles like he plays. I mean, how badass would it be to be ‘The Godmother?’ There is a real Godmother, Griselda Blanco, who is legendary in Miami. That movie still has yet to be made. Most of my favorites are the classics: Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Holiday Inn, Singing in the Rain, Goodfellas, The Godfather, Casino, Goonies, Labyrinth, Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, The Abyss, Dr. Zhivago. Then some others are: Sunshine Cleaning, Miss Congeniality, Billy Madison, Friday, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Deathproof, The King’s Speech, Last of the Mohicans, Independence Day.
My favorite foreign film is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. What a beautiful story. It really teaches you how you shouldn’t live your life and the consequences if you do.
My favorite TV Shows: Everybody Loves Raymond (of course), Beverly Hills 90210 (the original back in the day), anything on I.D. Network, Planet’s Funniest Animals, Law & Order: SVU, Mad About You (when it was still on), Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Beavis and Butthead, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Chapelle Show, Big Love, The Wendy Williams Show.
How would you describe the film “scene” where you live?
Well, there’s two parts the the “scene”:
1. Those that just want to be seen. You know who they are: The ‘Too-Cool-For-School’ LA type actors. They wear sunglasses everywhere they go including in doors, and always look overly perfect except for the fact that they have lost their ability to smile for fear of not looking confident or cool. But they have no intention of really putting in the work and push it takes to make your career happen and continue to happen. These are the people who expect (and sometimes they get it) for it to be handed to them based on their good looks. FYI people: there are plenty of talented actors just as good-looking as you.
2. Then there’s the scene where people genuinely just want to make a story come to life, just because they are passionate about telling a story and filmmaking. I gravitate towards those people. They are the good people in this business that will make it based on their talents and hard work, and whose careers will last. Sometimes these people just get to talking about stuff in their life, or incidents recently experienced, and they tell someone else, and boom! They’re writing something and then collectively pulling the production together to get it made. Hinnon Valley and DeVanity came to be because of the love for telling a great story. Both were made on a shoe-string budget, and were shot beautifully because of the creators’ true love of telling a story.
How has social media changed the independent film industry?
SO much. Nowadays we can promote ourselves and our projects on our Facebook and Twitter pages. I have my own website aside from Facebook. You can raise money for your project via Indie Go Go, and a few other websites. It’s so much better and helps projects get more attention, advertising, and funding more than it ever would have in the past without studio backing. People can collaborate so much more quickly and efficiently too. You can post your trailer on all of your social media pages and on Facebook instead of paying a TV station for a commercial spot. You can spread the word about your project on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc. There are endless possibilities. All in all, it’s helping the little guys make truly beautiful films without waiting for a studio to give it money to produce. People are more in charge of their own careers now more than ever. I think it makes the studios and other indie film companies have to keep their storytelling abilities at the highest quality in order to compete. We all win in the end
What’s your opinion on crowdfunding?
It thinks it’s fantastic. Why not? People have a right to spend money on whatever they want. If it keeps the filmaker from having to be held hostage by a production company or studio, this frees him or her up monetarily to make more decisions in favor of making a high quality film or show. This just helps creativity flourish because the creators are not bound by investors telling them what they want changed in the script, or who they want for a particular role. It gives the creator freedom to create as he pleases. This is pretty much exactly how my most recent project, DeVanity has done so well…freedom to create!
How does independent film differ from the mainstream?
It has way less boundaries. It’s much more free, and the stories are much less mainstream, more relatable, and therefore more moving in many cases. I’m not saying the studios aren’t making badass films. They really are. But some of these indies, are just truly beautiful and fascinating stories. Again: freedom to create.
If you could go back in time and see and film being made, which film would it be and why?
Casino. I would love to see Sharon Stone and Robert Deniro in action. What they were really like during the nasty argument scenes and then in between takes. Do they stay pissed and in character? Do they break completely? My guess is they stay in character, but how amazing powerful to watch that. And Sharon’s wardrobe alone was beautiful.
Do you believe in life on other planets?
Absolutely. There can’t just be us in that big infinite space. But I don’t believe ’aliens’ are about the same size or shape as us like most movies portray. They could be completely different. Maybe no limbs. Maybe much much larger or maybe microscopic. Skinless, boneless, no eyes etc. Life can exist in so many other ways besides what works for humans. Look at the vast amount of species just on planet earth including the biolumiscent deep sea creatures.
What’s your favorite movie quote and why?
“Iss naughta too-mah,” (“It’s not a tumor”), Kindergarten Cop, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because it’s just so fun to say. LOL!
What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?
Sometimes they turn out great, sometimes they don’t. I love the Star Wars Prequels. Those were really cool. 3:10 to Yuma was terrible. I am Legend and Bad News Bears remakes were awsome. I think all in all, most remakes have turned out great, but some movies should not be remade too early. For instance, if they remake Goonies, I’ll be highly disappointed. TV show remakes on the other hand, not so much.
What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?
Love ‘em. Though people need to understand that in order to tell the story in about 120 minutes, a lot of the information they read in the book has to be condensed, so a lot of information gets left out. Once they understand that, they won’t be so dispappointed. Last of the Mohicans was very different from the book altogether, but still an epic move. The Lovely Bones was beautiful. That was my favorite book, and though the movie left out some things, it still had me crying all the way through. I’m excited to finally see The Help, but I need to finish the book first
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just that I am so grateful for your interest in what I have to say, and anyone else for reading this far. All my best to anyone reading and taking interest! May all of your dreams come true
Thanks for doing the interview Alexis. I loved your performance in “Hinnon Valley”. I’m going to check out “DeVanity”. I really enjoyed reading and seeing “The Help”. Let me know what you think of the book and the movie