As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing actor Freddie Smith and Alyssa Tabit. Emmy Award-winning actor Freddie Smith (Days of Our Lives) and fiancée Alyssa Tabit are entrepreneurs, authors, and content creators who run a successful podcast called The Freddie & Alyssa Show. After surviving a nearly fatal car accident in 2014, they have been on a mission to inspire and help individuals reach their fullest potential.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Alyssa: Thank you for having us! I grew up in South Florida with my wonderful parents, amazing older sister and was instantly drawn to the arts. Between musical theatre, writing and sports, I was always staying busy! I think I must’ve performed in over 60 musicals growing up — crazy!
Freddie: I grew up in the small town of Ashtabula, Ohio with two loving parents. My entire life consisted of baseball, basketball and hanging with friends.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Alyssa: I have always loved the arts and entertainment, however, after surviving a nearly fatal car accident in 2014, I became obsessed with mastering my mindset to reclaim my life. Fueling my brain while I was in the hospital for three months with uplifting podcasts, thought-provoking blogs and positive videos saved me. After seeing what other content creators in the world had done for me, I knew it was my mission to bring the same light to the world.
Freddie: At the age of 17, after 14 years of playing sports, I had to answer one of life’s biggest questions: what do I want to do for a living? I was a talented athlete but wasn’t sure I could actually make a living playing a sport. During this time, I was also taking a theater arts class my senior year and attending acting classes on the weekends. I fell deeply in love with the craft of acting and with that new passion boiling in my body, I decided to move to Los Angeles three weeks after graduation.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Alyssa: Working on certain projects brought us to so many remarkable places around the globe. From speaking on stage in cities around the United States, to Australia and Thailand, we’ve been able to meet and connect with wonderful people.
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?
Alyssa: Make sure your mic is turned off when going to the bathroom backstage LOL.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Alyssa: We are really excited to be in pre-production for a movie we wrote called Unplugged. Unplugged is an ensemble comedy about high-school friends coming together for their 10-year reunion with an unsuspected theme — no cellphone and no internet for 48 hours.
We are also gearing up for Season 3 of our podcast, The Freddie & Alyssa Show. We are moving and building a home studio in September and cannot wait to bring the audience more entertaining and thought -provoking guests!
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? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Freddie: Diversity is extremely important in film and television. When I was growing up in the 90’s, there were very few diverse stories being told. If I hadn’t grown up in a progressive household, how would I have had an open mind?
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?
Freddie: Tell authentic stories! I play the first openly gay character on Days of Our Lives, Sonny Kiriakis. In 2011, the show made a bold decision to tell a passionate love story between two men at such a pivotal time during the equal rights movement. One of the reasons the storyline was so well received is because it was told in a truthful and authentic matter.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Save your money and invest properly. Understanding money will give you a leg up in life no matter what career path you are on. Save and invest.
2.Don’t spend your clock in, clock out money on luxuries. Spend the money your money makes you on luxuries. When I first started making real money as an actor, I did the typical things you’d imagine; a fancy car, luxury apartment, expensive dinners, vacations, etc. MOST of that money should have been invested for the future. I still could have had just as much fun on a tighter budget.
3. When people show you who they are the first time, believe them. After many experiences in our 20s, we always take note of the way people make us feel. If someone can’t be kind, humble, and selfless, we have no interest in spending time with that person.
4.Have patience and enjoy the journey. When we were in our early 20s, we spent a lot of time looking for short cuts. Sometimes it worked, and other times it didn’t. It took until we turned 30 to learn that this thing we call life is one big journey that will have ups and downs, wins and losses. Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses.
5.Work on yourself! The day I graduated high school, I actually thought, “Wow, I’ll never have to read another book.” WHAT?! I had no idea there were books that successful people wrote on how to be successful. Now with the internet, we have unlimited educational tools to learn anything we want. We don’t always have a circle of people around us that want to grow and learn. The good news is that you can “sit down and have coffee” with all of the great minds out there who share their stories in a video, podcast or a book.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Freddie: Do what you love. If you think of quitting every day, it’s probably not the right career. Secondly, get your finances in order. So many peers have moved to LA to purse their dreams but left because they couldn’t handle the financial stress.
Alyssa: Also, make sure that you find balance in your life. If you don’t unplug and recharge you will almost always “burn out.”
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. 🙂
We want to spark an educational revolution in financial literacy, emotional intelligence, and the way high schoolers are being prepped for the new world.
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?
We find ourselves in that rare category that we don’t have one specific person that helped take our careers to the next level. We are self-taught and self-motivated in everything we do. I think we have the courage and strength because we were both fortunate enough to have loving and supportive parents.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Alyssa: “Don’t be the smartest person in the room.” I heard this quote years ago and it has always stuck with me. If you’re not growing, you’re declining. Always surround yourself with others who inspire you and continue to add value. Freddie and I are obsessed with learning, whether that is from someone in person, on a podcast or in a book, we are always intentionally fueling our brains with knowledge.
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 just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Alyssa: Hands down, Gary Vaynerchuk! He continues to provide enormous value on a daily basis to entrepreneurs and being able to thank him in person would be a dream.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Alyssa: I am @alyssatabit on Instagram! You can also find the blog at www.alyssatabit.com and The Freddie & Alyssa Show on iTunes!
Freddie: You can find me @fmsmith319 on Instagram.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!