Mews Small: “See the job, do the job, stay out of misery”

We actors are in a constant battle to be better, to do better. We are accountable for the quality of our performances. This stems from a desire, to be honest in our roles. The sound decision to make Hollywood a healthier place by creating inclusive environments would benefit everyone. As a part of my series […]

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We actors are in a constant battle to be better, to do better. We are accountable for the quality of our performances. This stems from a desire, to be honest in our roles. The sound decision to make Hollywood a healthier place by creating inclusive environments would benefit everyone.

As a part of my series about “Inspirational Women In Hollywood”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mews Small.

Mews has had major roles in 18 feature films, including her role as Candy, opposite Jack Nicholson, in the Academy Award-winning film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Woody Allen’s “Sleeper as Dr. Nero,” the cult classic “Thank God It’s Friday” and “Man on the Moon” opposite Jim Carrey. She has worked with Susan Sarandon, Morgan Freeman, Henry Fonda, James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, Danny DeVito, Gene Wilder, Kevin Kline, and Vanessa Redgrave. She also portrayed the Janis Joplin-inspired role of Frankie in the animated rotoscope film American Pop, Director Ralph Bakshi. Mews originated the role of Frenchy in the original Broadway production of the musical Grease.

Thank you so much for joining us Mews. You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

I am glad you asked this. I am writing a memoir and working on a compilation film of footage from my 22 years of doing my Mews Small, and her Fabulous Females show singing at the Unurban Coffee House. I hope to do a few more good films and just love to do a regular part of a really good series. I’m happy, fortunate to be healthy, grateful to able to enjoy life every day.

I am thrilled to be contributing to a new book to be released in time for the GREASE 50th anniversary.

GREASE! Tell Me More…Tell Me More!

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

I have worked with all kinds of people during my career. This has helped me grow as an artist. Something I have learned over my career is that adding diversity to a project is not about lowering standards. It is about creating a real merit-based community. From this, we can attain a level of excellence that we may not have experienced when diversity was not embraced.

Globalization and urbanization are changing how things work. Youth culture reflected in content, with the embrace of diversity, will add to our creative talent pool.

We actors are in a constant battle to be better, to do better. We are accountable for the quality of our performances. This stems from a desire, to be honest in our roles. The sound decision to make Hollywood a healthier place by creating inclusive environments would benefit everyone.

The music industry is an excellent example of smashing racist attitudes throughout its development. A kind of jam of energy exists in the music industry that truly represents diversity. That cannot be said for much of the media that is generated by Hollywood. We see the presentation of stereotypes, reflections of antebellum culture, and the creation of content of wanton behavior with no repercussions. This is reckless. Many youths have become disaffected by the existing systems. Social media is playing a big part in closing that gap. Kids need to feel proud of who they are, who they can be, and what they can accomplish with a diverse group of others. The media needs to reflect this.

A diverse workplace, behind the camera and in front of the camera, will allow us to reach our zenith as collaborative in the industry. Diversity is a kind of secret weapon for those of us in the creative fields willing to embrace the other. In other words, it is “The Bomb.”

This has been a year of paradigm shifts. We now recognize the clog of the wasted talent of a diverse population. It is time for us to allow this pent-up energy to thrive. With the embrace of diversity, we will grow as artists, and the industry will reflect the integrity of purpose.

To embrace diversity is to affect youth culture by the transmutation of their organic creative ideas into relevant cultural content. Content created from an authentic point of view is at the core of the best in literature, movies, and music. Young people’s curiosity, points of view, and excitement can propel others to a new way of thinking about endeavors, including music, clothing, videos, podcasts, books, movies, television, etc.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I know 1000 things I should have done. People did tell me things to do. If I could do them sometimes, I did and sometimes I didn’t. Did I hear them? Did I understand what to do? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I did the best I could with life for where was each step of the way, constantly learning, always grateful… I don’t know how well I expressed my gratitude. I wasn’t good at keeping in touch. I am good with my family, though.

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? Please share a story for each one if you can.

I meditate every day since 1975. I try to one of these practices each Tai chi, yoga outdoors, Pilates, walking weekly. Go the beach walking, boogie boarding — good for body, mind, and spirit. I Nourish my mind with great minds, great thinkers, never miss Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now show. Pay attention and seek knowledge and truth. Keep up with the news of the country and world. Love my family and friends. Help someone in need of help.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“See the job, do the job, stay out of misery” this one is good for actors. Prepare, just do the best you can on the audition or job. When you walk out the door, let it go, enjoy your day. It’s now out of your hands. Go boogie boarding!

My favorite quote is this; To have faith in our world and do something every day to help.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Throughout my life, I have been involved in different political movements. The world peace movement to dissolve stress in the environment has been one of my primary goals. My great grandparents were abolitionists, suffragettes, and they worked for human rights and union organizing.

Movements can have broad impacts on social change. I have seen it in my lifetime. During the Vietnam war, the peace movement stopped the war. Just stopped it. More recently, the Black Lives Movement has created a change in the way people think about police brutality against unarmed Black men and women. A resonance of empathy has exploded across the country and the world and in me.

The Me Too movement unearthed some dirty secrets in Hollywood as well in other types of business environments. This allowed another paradigm shift to take hold in that women are less fearful now. People are talking out loud about their abusers.

The most pressing issue seems to me to be the demise of our ecosystems on earth. This has led to us being on the precipice of earth’s destruction. Our sustenance as humans is dependent on the success of the oceans, the birds, the bees, the ants, the trees, the rivers, the farms, the land, and all that we see. Our primal connection to the planet is real.

My lifelong peace efforts helped me see that cooperation from people all over the world is possible. We must use every potential tool to cooperate with world partners to achieve the balance the planet so desperately needs right now.

If I could start a movement, it would be to the “OPEN YOUR MIND MOVEMENT.” It would be devoted to opening minds to receive feelings and information from fellow humans and from nature. Our natural world is on the brink of collapse.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

It would be really fun to have lunch with Dustin Hoffman after all these years.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

I am on Facebook but not very good. I occasionally check in with family and friends, but being dyslexic, I can’t read everything and keep up with people as much as I would love to. I still use the telephone.

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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