…Oh wow. A movement. Let’s do it! Honesty, respect. Transparency. With all the stories coming forward from women today, I think it’s important to address the undercurrent of this movement. The power dynamics, the discard culture. Maybe it’s social media? Maybe it’s technology in general? But I would like to live in a world where people honor and respect each other. Always. Each of us are different. We all have different dreams and traumas and hopes and joys and looking at anyone as an object that can be discarded and replaced is incredibly unhealthy for our humanity.
I had the distinct pleasure to interview actress Rachel Boston. Rachel was born and raised in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. At 17, she moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. At 19, Boston drove to Los Angeles and began filming NBC’s award-winning Television Series, American Dreams (2002). For her starring role as Mindy in the independent feature The Pill (2011), Boston was honored with the Stargazer Award for the most talented emerging actress at the Gen Art Film Festival in New York City, the Best Actress Award from the San Diego Film Festival, and the Emerging Artist Award from the Big Apple Film Festival. Rachel previously appeared, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, in the Golden Globe® nominated film, 500 Days of Summer (2009), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. She also co-starred, alongside Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, in the romantic comedy, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009). Boston starred as Ingrid Beauchamp in the television series, Witches of East End (2013). Previously, Boston starred on the USA series In Plain Sight (2008) and the CBS series The Ex List (2008). Some of her guest-starring appearances include Grey’s Anatomy (2005), Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000), ER (1994), NCIS (2003), Rules of Engagement (2007) and Mad Love (2011).
Thank you so much for joining us Rachel! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up on a mountain in Tennessee. My father was an engineer and my mother was a teacher and we spent most of our childhood outdoors. Camping, road trips, lots of hiking adventures. It certainly shaped my appreciation and love of travel. When I was 7, I started singing in the children’s choir at church. I got into acting and dance classes and then moved to NYC when I was 17. I finished my senior year of high school while in NY. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. I was incredibly focused but navigating this giant city coming from a mountain with one traffic light. And I was alone. It was empowering in so many ways but could get lonely. I would look up at all the buildings and realize I didn’t know anyone in this entire city, but I was going to figure out how to navigate it.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
My mom took a trip to NYC when I was a little girl and brought back playbills and information about NYU and Julliard and it sparked something. The idea that people do this professionally. That it’s not just something you can enjoy outside of school but you can turn it into a life. My high school theater teacher was a huge support system too. She was so encouraging of me to go after it. I went to a very academic school so there were not a lot of people going in that direction, but I’m so glad I trusted my heart and made the jump.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
When I was filming a series in New Mexico, my rental car was broken into the night of our wrap party and the Albuquerque police department caught the guy. I became friends with the detective on the case. 6 months later, I was cast on a new show filming in New Mexico called In Plain Sight playing a detective. So I got to hang out with my new detective friend and went on ride alongs with the guys who actually caught the person who broke into my car. It taught me that no matter what happens in life, it may just be preparing us for our next chapter.
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, goodness. I’m sure there are so many. When I first moved to NYC, I was auditioning for Rocky Horror Picture Show, and as I was walking in, I tripped and somehow dropped my sheet music all over the floor. I was so embarrassed and they somehow found it endearing, and I ended up getting a few callbacks for it. I guess no matter how many times you fall down or drop everything, just laugh and keep getting back up even if all your pages are out of order. That sounds like a good lesson.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The Last Bridesmaid was such an exciting experience because I was involved from the beginning. I started producing a few years ago, and on a plane back to work after my brother’s wedding, I started thinking about a romantic comedy idea. How many times can you be asked, “So when is it your turn?” at a wedding. It’s so relatable and hilarious. So we turned it into a romantic comedy.
I’m very interested in 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?
It’s extraordinary to see our world changing so much right now. I think it’s incredibly important to see that no matter what we look like on the outside or where we may come from or who we love, we are all so similar. On the inside we are experiencing love, chasing dreams, navigating heartbreak. And if it’s a story that we don’t relate to, we learn something new. A walk of life that expands our minds to what is happening in the world. I was just at an event honoring women in media and had so many beautiful conversations with women about this very topic. We may come from different backgrounds, but we have similar spirits and faith. Something that keeps pushing us forward. I think it’s an important conversation for us to all keep having and will hopefully continue to inspire change across the world.
From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
Focusing on talent. I worked with the extraordinary Ava Duvernay a few years ago, and wow, what a powerful experience. She’s such a leader. She has a drive and purpose that’s so much deeper than herself, and I learned so much from her. Whatever type of story you are telling, stay focused on your purpose. Who you are reaching. How you are influencing the world. So I think making sure there are opportunities for everyone focused on that higher purpose. That’s what I always hope to see in the entertainment industry. There are so many powerful stories that need to be told. So focus on talent, purpose, and the message.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Take more vitamins — When I was first starting out in NYC, I lived on top of a little health food store. With the stress of navigating a new career and new city, I was getting sick, so I researched everything I could on health. Now I travel with a vitamin suitcase. My costar on the last movie got really sick, and I healed him in 2 days. I was very happy that my self taught fake doctor skills worked 🙂 .
- Stay focused — you’re going to see a lot of friends and coworkers making different choices with the types of projects they choose so stay focused on your message and the stories you want to tell.
- Protect your heart — there’s a lot of rejection in this industry at every level so find ways to empower yourself outside of your career and know that your worth comes from the inside. Not from any person or any job. Your value comes from being you.
- Take Fountain. Didn’t someone say that once? It’s very good advice. Much less traffic on Fountain. And drink water. If possible, drink water while driving on Fountain.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Take care of your heart. That’s been my biggest lesson. Surround yourself with people who have the same moral compass and integrity. Trust your instincts and know who you are and what you believe in. Just because other people are doing something, doesn’t make it right. When the spirit is aligned and healthy, it’s so much easier to thrive.
You are a person of enormous 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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Oh wow. A movement. Let’s do it! Honesty, respect. Transparency. With all the stories coming forward from women today, I think it’s important to address the undercurrent of this movement. The power dynamics, the discard culture. Maybe it’s social media? Maybe it’s technology in general? But I would like to live in a world where people honor and respect each other. Always. Each of us are different. We all have different dreams and traumas and hopes and joys and looking at anyone as an object that can be discarded and replaced is incredibly unhealthy for our humanity.
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?
My aunts have all been extremely supportive in this new chapter of my life. And my sister in law. She’s an astrophysicist and was living in Japan, so when I was working late at night, it was great to have support across the world, because with the time difference, it was still daytime for her. She’s such a wise and wonderful woman. And my dear friend Vanessa. The people who come into your life and remind you of your light.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Just make up your mind and go.” When I was filming a video of my grandmother, I asked her how she decided to leave the farm she grew up on and move to Nashville to start a new life. She said, “Just make up your mind and go.” It’s so simple but anytime you start chasing a dream, it’s what we do. Just make up your mind and go.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank you so much for having me!!