“We need to start a movement to give a voice to the voiceless”, With Actress Regan Talleh

I would hope that we could end violence in society toward people, toward animals and toward our environment. I think part of having an…

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I would hope that we could end violence in society toward people, toward animals and toward our environment. I think part of having an influential voice is that you have a duty to be a voice for the voiceless. Giving any cause your time is one of the most valuable things you can do. I’d encourage anybody reading this to spend an hour a week volunteering.

I had the pleasure to interview Regan Talleh. Regan is an actress, vocalist and screenwriter. Recently seen as ‘Amy’ in the play Taboo and currently voicing Chief Commander Mina Nassar (a character written specifically for her) in the animated sci-fi series Space Destroyer Hunter set to debut later next year. With a knack for doing physical roles, she often does her own stunts and lends her athleticism to her characters. Writer of five screenplays, she lives in Los Angeles, California with her son.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was 12 and I saw Phantom of the Opera at The Pantages in Hollywood. I remembered being fascinated with how the sidewalk sparkled outside the theatre. I didn’t know at the time that singing and acting on stage were something that you could do as a career. I did my first play later that year.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

At a rooftop party at CAA, I bummed a cigarette off of Vin Diesel. (Many years ago). That memory has always stuck out as a bit surreal because I was just starting out.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what you learned from that?

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one! At an audition where I was asked to tell a funny story on the spot, rather than read for them. I blanked out so I borrowed an experience from my mother (a nurse in hospice care) about a farting cadaver. The lesson is be prepared. Be able to think on your feet. You never know what will get thrown at you. I am mortified even talking about this audition let alone thinking about it.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I just finished a dayplayer gig for a Netflix film this past week and the run of a play in Los Angeles. I wrote an action-comedy screenplay with a female lead that is currently in pre-production. It’s a passion project that was created and written with a very dear friend. I can’t say more about it yet but I can’t wait for people to see it.

I also produce a live show called TACOMANIA which showcases up and coming musicians and comedians once a month.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

My favorite was watching a very longtime famous actress put her finger to her lips in a ‘shhh don’t tell anybody’ motion as she smoked a joint with another very well-known actress in an underground music venue in Brooklyn once. I’ll never tell!

I’ve spoken to Kevin Corrigan about music and films a few different times. His knowledge is through the roof and he’s one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet and he has a career that’s truly inspiring to me. At a crosswalk in New York City, Patti Smith stood beside me and as the light changed, we crossed the street together she asked how I was doing and smiled at me. She exudes cool and punk rock, I didn’t even realize it was her until awhile afterward. I’ve met David Mamet who’s writing I love and Michel Gondry, who has a fabulous imagination and Werner Herzog whom I’ve admired for many, many years. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and I had a brief conversation at AFI Fest, (I believe it was the year The Savages was released). He was very kind toward me.

I worked on the Scorcese documentary ‘Shine a Light’ but it was only a small voice over in post-production in LA while he was in New York. I kept hoping I’d get to see him maybe in passing but I never did.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?

Creative people have to create. For me, in slower times, I am self-taping, breaking down scripts, taking classes, doing theatre or even making my own projects. I am a firm believer in creating your own work. It’s harder to feel a plateau if you are doing these things. We work tirelessly studying, writing, auditioning. That is a large part of an actors job most people don’t see. When you do get on set, the days are long. I’ve had some 18 hour shoots before. It can be easy to push yourself harder than you should, thinking it will do something to validate your career for yourself or others. Know your limits. Rest when you are tired. Take it easy on yourself, you are only human.

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.

I would hope that we could end violence in society toward people, toward animals and toward our environment. I think part of having an influential voice is that you have a duty to be a voice for the voiceless. Giving any cause your time is one of the most valuable things you can do. I’d encourage anybody reading this to spend an hour a week volunteering.

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) Make sure you love it, then get ready!

Learn your industry and what you need to be successful in it. Make sure you love the work, otherwise, it isn’t worth it. If you can do something else, do that. I always explain to people, I didn’t have a choice, acting is my calling. If that’s how you feel, then by all means you should pursue it.

2) Sharpen your tools!

Don’t leave home without a plan on how you’ll survive while you establish yourself in a new city. All of the foundation building things you need like those career tools, cost a great deal. Your tools are your calling cards and they need to be taken seriously as an investment toward your career. Find a survival job you enjoy.

3) Create a life outside of work!

There is no need to be afraid to establish your life outside of your career or to put other aspects of your life “on hold” so to speak. Have kids. Get married. Go to school. Travel. Take a chance on that relationship. Grow yourself and your life outside of this industry.

I have been acting for nearly two decades, it is a huge part of who I am and a very important aspect of my life but not the only one. It can be hard to not obsess over your work. I can’t even count the number of relationships that ended because I wasn’t able to prioritize them in my schedule. You will miss a lot of other life opportunities if you are doing that. This is something I continue to work on. This past year, I expressed deep feelings I have for someone because it was a chance to take a risk in my personal life that I’d never had the opportunity or wherewithal to do before. Ultimately, nothing came of it but I’m glad I did it, because it became a learning experience for me. Being present and enjoying the moment is so important, people are important and they won’t always be around. Cherish the time you have with them.

4) Be safe!

Big cities are tough places. Keep your circle small as you get to know people and learn who you can and cannot trust. Not everybody has your best interest at heart. It is good to know the inner workings of your industry, so it is easy to spot when something isn’t quite right. A few years back, an acting coach wanted a meeting with me and seemed professional enough up until a day or so before we were supposed to meet and he mentioned giving me a massage among meeting at my house instead of in public. Clearly, the meeting never happened after that conversation! Trust your gut, don’t let anybody put you in a position you aren’t comfortable with. SAG-Aftra is wonderful about protecting their actors.

5) Stay positive and grounded!

Let people’s opinions bounce off of you like Teflon. Everybody’s got an opinion but not all opinions matter. You can decide which opinions matter to you and which ones don’t. If you have raw talent, a good work ethic and are proactive about developing your skill set and your materials, good things will happen for you. One day a week, I turn off my phone and spend a few hours in nature. It’s always the refresher I need to keep me in a good headspace.

Can you please give us your favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“All you need is one yes”

It is easy to get discouraged when you get a million ‘no’s’ (and you will) but keep putting the work in and that one yes will change your life

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 you get to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There isn’t just one, I have a lot of support! My mom, Grant S, Kipp H., Benjamin R, Alastair W, my brother and my sister. My son who is the greatest beacon of light I’ve ever known. My agent Peter, who works very hard for me. My management team. My lawyers who help me figure out every contract that comes my way. Anne who reminds me over and over how important it is to be kind toward myself.

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 with and why? He or she might see this.

Clint Eastwood. He’s a great director and I love his female characters. They have such grit.

Al Pacino. One of my favorite actors. His body of work is amazing. I love watching him and to be able to pick his brain about how he approaches his work would be a dream come true.

I’d also love to read for Allison Jones, her casting work is always spot on.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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