California native Siena Goines has starred in major shows including Westworld, Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Med, and many more. She is now starring the new comedy Casting the Net, on UrbanflixTV.
Growing up, Siena lived in abject poverty. In school, perceived as an outsider because of her bi-racial heritage, she suffered humiliation and bullying. Yet, in the end, because of her teachers and friends she came to know she was capable of choosing another avenue. She did, and like the Phoenix of Greek legend rose from the ashes to become a more than she ever imagined.
While in quarantine with the rest of us, she’s devoting her time and energy to meditation, nurturing her inner self and exploring her desires so when quarantine is over she may pick up once again, only now with more understanding of not simply herself, but humankind as well.
Her compassion for others is witnessed by her taking time to answer my questions, her eloquence, and her warmth. We discussed the serendipitous launch of her acting career, her reflections on current conditions in the U.S., along with books and authors who inspired and transformed her life.
How did you get started acting? What’s the backstory there?
I feel like acting found me. I moved into an old famous Valentino building in the heart of Los Angeles blocks away from The Hollywood Bowl. I was taking out my trash one evening when Perry Reeves (Entourage) and David Duchovny (Californication) tapped on the widow as I was walking by their apartment. Perry asked who I was. I said: I don’t know. I’m Siena. She said: are you an actor, David peeking over her shoulder. I said: no. She said do you want to be? I said: yes. The rest is on IMDb.
Do you consider yourself a role model?
Yes, I’d like to. I want others to win not only monetarily but emotionally and spiritually. I overcame gross neglect in a toxic parental home life. I had to learn to take care of myself. Then I discovered I needed to learn how to love myself like a healthy parent would have. I am willing and look forward to the day I will help others do the same who are in need and want help. I desire to create a hands on workshop specifically focused on thriving in life, after surviving life.
Who did you look to as role models while growing up?
I didn’t have role models growing up. I guess I saw things no child should and the lesson was I don’t want to be that, do that, become that. When I got to high school, a teacher impacted me the most. Jewel Fink. I feel she was my first true role model to speak of. She showed me I had choices in this life.
Now that you’re a successful actress, who inspires you?
Someone who truly inspires me is someone who is fair regardless of their beliefs. Who does the right thing. I’m not so impressed by one’s accomplishments as I am the heart of a man. This makes great lives and art in my opinion, you can give life or take it away but if it’s done in all fairness of love, it’s captivating to watch on screen or read off a page. That’s great Cinema to be inspired by. Cinema inspires me. My favorite actresses are Juliet Binoche and little Miss Rachel McAdams.
What is your take on all the unrest and protests occurring right now?
My take on the unrest lies in the root of racism, which to me is perverse economic oppression of a class of people. This is not being addressed politically or alongside the protests. ‘I CANT BREATHE’ economically is as big a problem as ‘I Can’t Breathe’ with your knee on my neck or your bullet in my back. It’s time to vote out Trickledown Economics. Vote in a Flat Tax. Desegregate poverty by bringing the minimum hourly wage to $35.00 w/benefits; bring back labor jobs to Americans, thus bringing back middle class status to all impoverished races and stabilizing the current middle class. People deserve good opportunity. ‘We The People’ have a right to this middle class opportunity by our tax dollars alone. Classism = Racism.
How are you handling the coronavirus situation?
I’m handling the coronavirus situation as best I can. Using the time to replenish, educate myself more, evolve. When it’s over I’ll be ready for what comes. Meditation has been key.
What books/authors have made an impact on you?
Elizabeth Gilbert – Committed. A great book on romantic relationships/marriage.
Gregory David Roberts – Shantaram. A great book on someone overcoming impossible odds. He eventually wrote a book about it to become one of Oprah’s favorites.
Mike Doodley – Infinite Possibilities. A guide on how to turn your life upwards.
Name your Top 5 reads by Black Authors?
Alex Haley – Roots. Had I not seen Roots in my 5-6th grade classroom, I would have never understood the pain of racism I’d face in my own lifetime from both sides of the race coin.
Maya Angelou – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She taught you can forgive the unforgivable.
Toni Morrison – Playing in the Dark. In Song of Solomon, she wrote, “You wanna fly; you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” In her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature, she said, “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”
There’s nothing more to say, she said it all.
James Baldwin – He understood the importance of fairness. He was able to break racism down with the precision of common sense served on a platter of solid intelligence. I am unable to choose which one of his books is my favorite. I recommend his essay film I Am Not Your Negro.
Martin Luther King – I HAVE A DREAM. Dr. King embodied the significance of the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
I feel throughout his leadership he verbally wrote the book on how to birth a nation to include colored people with dignity, grace, and respect with equality for all mankind. We’d be wise to recognize that Trickledown Economics and the defunding of our unified public school system, since 1971, is today’s back door slavery for all impoverished races.
My personal hope is: Fair wages; Fair jobs; Fair households and Justice for All. Without it, I doubt we will have peace.