Be yourself. So cliche, but true. For so long I would look at my peers who were booking more work than me and try and emulate what they were doing hoping it would work for me too. It never would because there is only one of them! It wasn’t until I realized that by being my most authentic real self in auditions is truly what people want. People love authenticity, so don’t be afraid to be yourself, it may just get you the dream job.
As a part of our interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katherine Roberts.
Katherine is a California native, who grew up in Silicon Valley but decided to take her dreams down south to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and writing. After a successful 6 years of working as an actress in national TV commercials for companies such as Target, Honda, Wells Fargo, and Lexus just to name a few, she decided she wanted to tackle telling her own stories. Her debut short film, Amelia’s Story won fan favorite at the Danny Elfman Rabbit and Rogue 2017 LA Film Festival, and her follow up short film, Behind Her Eyes can now be streamed on Amazon Prime, OpprimeTV and ShortsTV. She looks forward to her bright future ahead with a feature film script hot off the presses.
Thank you so much for joining us Katherine! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you for having me! I have always been an avid story teller. I grew up in a very academic family with both parents as teachers and attending an extremely academically competitive high school. My favorite subject was always English and Writing, and it was tough for me to walk away from Silicon Valley and not follow the beaten path of the tech industry, but I just couldn’t get acting out of my mind while in college, so I packed up my bags and headed south to follow my dreams. Fortunately it paid off, but not without hard work and discipline, which I can only give thanks to my strict academic school days. My heart has always wanted to explore the human experience, and for me writing and performing has been the best way to express my thoughts and feelings.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I would have to say, probably winning fan favorite at the 2017 LA Film Festival. It was such a unique experience because Danny Elfman put together a short film challenge to write a short film to go along side one of his film scores. It was an amazing opportunity because our films were being judged by multiple Oscar winners. I knew by entering just having my film being watched by Oscar winners was enough of a win for me. But to learn that my film resonated so deeply with the audience, (over 500,000 online views within 10 days of being online), then being able to meet those Oscar winners in person! It was an experience I will never forget, and a memory I hold deeply in my heart.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh, way too many! I was very green but full of ambition and drive. I have way too many embarrassing stories to tell. One that sticks out in my mind and makes me cringe to this day would have to be, I was at a callback for a SAG national commercial just right before the Christmas holiday. The stakes were high, and I could feel how close I was to landing this incredible job. All I had to do was do exactly what I did in the first audition and not screw it up. So what did i do?! Screw it up, big time. I went into the session with the director with this grand vision with how the scene should go, and let him know how I thought the scene should play out. I can still remember the look on his face with his mouth wide open. It wasn’t until I took a commercial booking class a year later that I learned that you never tell a director what you think you should do during a callback, unless asked. Foot in mouth big time. Still cringing, and I wish I could just apologize to him for making such a fool out of myself. Safe to say I did not book the job. Sometimes as actors it’s just our job to listen.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am most proud of my feature film script that I just finished. I have been working on it for two years now and it is finally at a place where I feel really proud of it. I optioned the story from a short story that has a huge online fan following and is such a terrifically thrilling story to tell.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I wish I could say that I have grand stories of hobnobbing with celebrities and the like. But everyone who I’ve met and interacted with in the industry has been very kind and normal, just like the rest of us!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I think to have a good work/life balance, just like in any career. Have people in your life who keep you grounded and who don’t let you get your head too big. Do some work in the community and give back. Find a hobby to dive into, and get off of social media and read some books. Nature is a wonderful reprieve and we are so lucky in LA to be surrounded by such awesome beauty. Don’t let you life be totally about your career, you will make yourself go crazy! Ha.
Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
Absolutely. I love to meditate and I try to meditate daily. There are some great free apps or free guided meditations on youtube for whatever you are looking to achieve. The benefits are astounding, everyone should try it! I also love to go hiking, bike riding, go to the beach, and if I can I do love to pamper myself every now and then with a good spa day. Self care is so important and when you feel your best you can perform your best. I also eat well and exercise regularly.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Be yourself. So cliche, but true. For so long I would look at my peers who were booking more work than me and try and emulate what they were doing hoping it would work for me too. It never would because there is only one of them! It wasn’t until I realized that by being my most authentic real self in auditions is truly what people want. People love authenticity, so don’t be afraid to be yourself, it may just get you the dream job.
- This kinda pairs with my first tip, but sometimes you just aren’t right for the role. It wasn’t until I cast my own films did I understand the casting process so completely. When the right person reads for the role, you know it. You could have totally envisioned a different person, but it can all go out the window with the right read. There is no point in getting overly emotional about not booking a part because the process involves so many factors that are out of your control. So go in, be you, and give it your best shot. The rest, is really out of your hands.
- Relationships very much matter in this world. You’d be surprised at how small of a world Hollywood is. Everyone has worked with someone you know. So garner relationships and honor them.
- Have a strong work ethic. I am proud to say that so many of my jobs have come from referrals. I love that. I want to be known as reliable and a hard worker. If you are known for that, people will want to work with you and you will constantly find work.
- Create your own work. We live in such a digital age where it is easier than ever to put yourself and your friends on camera and just create something. You never know who will watch it or where it will lead you. Keep writing and creating. Become involved in groups that push each other to become better and who encourage you to keep going. It is awesome to have accountability like that. You can create films and enter them into contests and film festivals all over the world, opening yourself up to all kinds of audiences.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I love that quote. This is a tough town and a tough industry and you have to be ready for that. Be ready to work hard and not afraid to work hard. It took me two years to write my script and I could have stopped so many times, but I kept going. I knew the story deserved to be told and no matter what I wasn’t going to quit. You only lose if you quit.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I do have a mentor, yes. I met the director of my short film Behind Her Eyes, Mark Newton on a project a year prior and we just clicked. He is just like me, a hard, dedicated worker. He took me under his wing and taught me so much about filmmaking. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge he shared with me. It is invaluable. So my advice is to seek out those who know more than you and gain as much knowledge as you can. Soak it up like a sponge!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Well the environment is very important to me and a cause that I feel everyone on this planet can benefit from if we all did our part. Just a simple thing like not using as much plastic, or using a refillable cup, or riding our bikes more. Small changes add up. Mother Earth has given us such a beautiful home, my wish is that we were a little more aware of how we treated her on a daily basis.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Well, my ultimate icon is Stevie Nicks. My parents were even going to name me Rhiannon, which I wish they did!! I hope to someday meet her and discuss loss and love over a cup of tea. 🙂
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow my official Facebook page at: Katherine Roberts
You can also stream my short films, Behind Her Eyes and Amelia’s Story on Amazon Prime Video, Opprime.TV, and ShortsTV.