…Not to beat myself up for not getting a callback and/or booking a role. There were so many times everything felt so perfect in the audition room and I believed the role was mine because of how I felt. Only to never hear back from casting. I know now there are too many variables why an actor doesn’t book a role and it’s completely out of my control. I freed myself from that burden by pleasing myself in the audition room.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Kim Baptiste. Kim was born in Queens, New York and got a taste for working in film when she booked a role as a stand-in for Paula Patton in the film “Deja Vu” starring Denzel Washington and directed by the late Tony Scott. In 2011, Kim expanded her horizons through vigorous training to embark on her acting career. Since then she’s appeared in various TV shows (NCIS: New Orleans, Claws) and movies (I Killed My BFF, The Ultimate Legacy, Sacrilege).
Thank you so much for joining us Kim! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In 2011, while laid-off work from a nonprofit organization, I received a call from a talent agent stating he bought-out the talent agency I’d previously worked for doing print & commercial modeling work. The agent requested we meet because he believed he could get me work. A couple of days later we met and he began talking to me about how well the television and film industry was doing in Louisiana. The conversation moved to acting and he spoke about getting me auditions and I abruptly responded, “I can’t act.” He said that’s okay. I’ll take you to a coach and if you don’t like him, I’ll take you to another coach. A couple of days later, I found myself auditing the acting class of Jerry Katz. Jerry taught Ivanna Chubbuck’s, The Power of the Actor. Moments before the class began, I asked myself what am I doing here? Then Jerry Katz began to speak to the class. He spoke with immense passion. The class was packed with actors. I was awestruck. It was truly amazing to watch scene after scene and be so moved by the actors’ performances. It was in that class I decided to become an actor.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Actually, the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by you, Yitzi, is most interesting. Thank you! Honestly, every day I’m amazed by all the things I’ve accomplished thus far, the amazing people I’ve met, have worked with, and for, is truly a blessing.
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?
Looking back at when I first started the silly mistakes I made in the audition room could be considered funny now that I’m more experienced. However, back then I was very disappointed in myself. I know now that those mistakes are normal for an inexperienced actor. Like unexplained voice cracking out of nowhere when you begin to speak at a callback, dropping a line and not looking at the sides in my hand, leaving the audition or a callback and have no recollection of what I did in the audition room. I would frequently say to myself, “REALLY?!” I guess the lessons are don’t audition with a dry throat but more importantly, the main lesson learned was I needed to build up my confidence and trust myself.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I just wrapped a short time ago on a new television series “Sistas” written and directed by Tyler Perry for the BET Network. You can see me as Helen Green in the premiere episode airing in October. “Sistas” follows a group of single black women from different walks of life who bond over their one common thread: Why am I single? The show stars KJ Smith, Ebony Obsidian, Mignon Von, and Novi Brown.
I have a few projects lined up to air this fall and early next year: You’ll see me as Denise, a nurse in “Tell Me Your Secrets”, an upcoming thriller drama television series created by Harriet Warner. It follows a trio of characters; each with a mysterious and troubling past and will premiere on the TNT Network. Lily Rabe, Amy Brenneman, Hamish Linklater and Enrique Murciano will star in it.
I’m also in “Walkaway Joe,” a movie of an unlikely friendship between a young boy searching for his father, and a wandering loner hiding from his past. (Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, David Strathairn) as well as an untitled Henry & Rel Sci-Fi project staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Foxx, Courtney Vance, Machine Gun Kelly. This film was so hush hush during filming there isn’t much info available to share.
I’m auditioning a lot so stay tuned on social media!
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve been pretty lucky to have worked with some amazing people. Some who I have watched on television and movies when I was young. It is definitely a pinch yourself moment when you’re in a scene talking or siting between takes chatting with legendary actor Brian Dennehy. Or, you’ve been cast as the granddaughter of legendary Bill Cobbs. Not to mention the fun and laughter of making silly faces in the hair/makeup trailer with “Catwoman” Lee Meriwether. And, the time the amazing Glynn Turman gave me a surprise hug in a scene after his character had been secretly drugged in an episode of “Claws.” As funny as it was that take didn’t make it into the scene. Those are just some of the special moments I will cherish forever.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Most times I find it difficult to shut down the never-ending thoughts about acting. But we have to make self-love a priority and enjoy life. Music and inspirational quotes are my therapy and they help me stay grounded. Prayer, being positive and remembering the more good we put out will return to us is key. My husband, Ronald and I love to take cruises and a majority of the time our cellphones are turned off until we return to port. Occasionally, I do cheat and check my email. But it’s our way to escape and reconnect. I recommend making time to have fun, spend time with positive people, and find outlets to sustain belief in yourself.
You are a person of great 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. 🙂
Anything to remove hate from the world!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Not to beat myself up for not getting a callback and/or booking a role. There were so many times everything felt so perfect in the audition room and I believed the role was mine because of how I felt. Only to never hear back from casting. I know now there are too many variables why an actor doesn’t book a role and it’s completely out of my control. I freed myself from that burden by pleasing myself in the audition room.
Acting is a full time job when you are not onset working, prepping for an auditioning, or taking classes, etc. There’s networking, marketing, which includes social media that we must do to tilt the odds in our favor where ever we can. It’s the only thing we have in our control. You get what you put your energy and focus into.
The people factornot everyone will be happy when you achieve success.
To listen and prepare 2–3 scene objectives for an audition/callback. When I first started I was prepared for performing a scene one way. I had callbacks where a director would ask me questions and/or ask me to do the scene again but in different way. Sometimes I felt like a deer in headlights. I lacked focus and most importantly, I needed to develop my listening skills.
That it’s okay to ask casting directors questions in the audition room. When I first started I was afraid to ask a simple question like can I sit for the audition instead of standing thinking I would appear unprepared to the casting director. When in fact, asking questions shows you are prepared and not intimidated by the audition process or casting.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It would be hard to pick just one life lesson quote because I save tons of inspirational quotes that I treasure. If I could pick one word that represents a majority of the quotes I save, it would be “gratitude.” I have experienced many headships and heartaches in my life. I made it through those struggles with constant prayer and thoughts of what I’m thankful for. Remembering gratefulness in this industry is a daily regimen.
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?
There are many people to be grateful for in my journey as an actress. Casting directors who have given me the opportunity to audition. There is one very special award winning casting director, who shall remain nameless, who saw something in me during the early stages of my training who no matter how many times I bombed in a callback, never gave up on me. I’m very proud to have booked with her a number of times to which I am truly grateful.
However, there are three people who without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. First is my agent, who called me in 2011 when I was laid-off from work, Terry McNeal. He recognized something in me and set me on this path. Second, is Jerry Katz, my first acting coach. His coaching providing me with a foundation to build upon. Last and certainly not the least, is my husband, Ronald who supported my decision to see where this path would lead and is the reason why I am able to pursue an acting career. When I told him eight years ago I wanted to see where this would lead, he didn’t say, “Are you crazy,” he said, “If that’s what you want, I support you.” And for that, I am truly grateful.
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. 🙂
I would love to have a private breakfast with the medium James Van Praagh. My father passed away in 1991 and it was a deeply difficult time for me. I was burdened with thoughts that God had forgotten about my father. I needed to know if he was in heaven with God. During that time, James Van Praagh was all over television and I became determined to try and meet him so he could connect me to my father. Then one day I saw him on television in an interview with Barbara Walters. In the interview he said we all could communicate with our loved ones just by asking them. So I did as he said. After some time passed, my dad came to me in my dreams. In the dream I walked down a hall to a room where my father was lying down with his back to me. As I stood over him and peered over to see his face, his eyes opened and the most beautiful blue sky I had ever seen confirmed for me that my dad was in heaven. Surprisingly, a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Van Praagh liked three photos on my Instagram page. I was shocked. That has to be a good sign from my father and Mother, who has since passed.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m on Instagram @iamKimBaptiste.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!