Not content with having just one successful career, Brooke Lewis, perhaps best known for her horror genre roles in features such as Slime City Massacre, is a certified, well renowned life coach and producer. With her latest project Starship: Apocalypse due out next month, she kindly agreed to this interview with our staff writer Rebecca.
PopWrapped: You're well known in various fields now including acting, producing and lifestyle, but what did you want to be when you were growing up?
Brooke Lewis: Well, thank you for the kudos! I was such an emotional child and loved to escape and talk to characters on my favorite TV shows. I was destined to be an actress and dreamed of being on a soap opera, as early as I can remember. And, this is “horrifically” true and hilarious... when I was about five years old, I wanted to be a VAMPIRE!!! Shall we call that “foreshadowing”?
PW: What did producing and starring in iMurders teach you in terms of skills? Did you find yourself growing in confidence after its success?
BL: iMurders was an incredible lesson for me in every way! I was one of the executive producers and acted in one of the lead roles. We were working with famous, veteran actors and it took a lot of courage to hold my own. I felt challenged in many ways. This was the film that taught me lessons about separating myself emotionally between actress and producer. I allowed a lot of the typical drama to affect my acting ability and I second guessed my skills and instincts on many occasions. This is the only film where I have ever received criticism for my acting ability, and it was challenging to read the negative feedback. Director, Robbie Bryan, and I have discussed our mistakes with this film over the years. That said, this film truly solidified me in the horror/thriller genre and it definitely proved to the entertainment business (and myself) that I was ready to be a force in the industry!
PW: When it comes to choosing roles, what do you look for? A strong script, complicated characters, a mix of both perhaps?
BL: I believe that every great film or TV project starts with a great script. When given a script, I try to objectively read it through once, without focusing on my character. Then, my true passion for a project depends on my role. I have been known to fall in love with an average script, because my role really spoke to me. This is actually an “actress Brooke” secret I am sharing, because I really have been seduced by a role, while knowing that the script was so-so. I just cannot resist a role that moves me. Now, as far as characters, I am a total “character” actress, so I love layered roles that are dramatic, intense, strong and badass! I am not attracted to the “fluff” roles for women. I gravitate toward roles that have some type of power struggle involved. Honestly, I have not yet been given the opportunity to show the world what I am capable of as an actress.
PW: How important to you are critics' opinions and praise? You won a Golden Cob Award for "Best Scream Queen" for your performance in Slime City Massacre.
BL: I believe that every true artist cares about critics’ opinions, praise and reviews! I have studied and worked long and hard to be the best I can be in each moment of my career, yet I have learned that I cannot please everyone at all times. I have won many awards throughout my career and have garnered a lot of accolades and praise, and, yet, sometimes out of ten positive comments, that one negative critique or comment can still cut like a knife. I think the more one is in the public eye, the more immune one becomes to the negativity. The biggest challenge for celebrities now is dealing with the negative comments on social media. It breaks my heart how vicious people can be, while hiding behind a computer screen.
PW: What is it about the horror genre that makes you so interested in it?
BL: I have been a horror fan since I was a kid! I think horror films are an outlet to tap into the dark side of the psyche that we all have. Horror has been scientifically proven to temporarily remove us from our own problems. I just love the fact that there are so many strong, dark roles for women in the horror genre. Unlike Hollywood mainstream genres, horror films tend to embrace women of all ages, ethnicities and body types – I LOVE that! I have had a lot of success an actress in horror with my voluptuous body.
PW: Tell me a little about your most recent project, Starship: Apocalypse. What drew you to the film?
BL: Well-known British sci-fi director, Neil Johnson, found me many years ago at a horror convention. We wanted the perfect project to work on together and in 2012, Neil took me to lunch and presented me with a two film project titled Starship: Rising and Starship: Apocalypse. I wanted to work with Neil because I admire his ability to write and direct strong roles for women. I loved the scripts and we chose the role of Staris for me, because she is the badass, mouthy, tough pilot of the Starship. When Neil described Staris as “sassy”, I was all over it! Starship: Rising released at the end of 2014 and Starship: Apocalypse releases next month!
PW: Do you have any other films in the pipeline?
BL: I have been celebrating and promoting a few recent releases. A film I am proud of is Marc Clebanoff’s The Mourning. I play a supporting role, Lisa, and it is such a beautifully shot drama and love story with a sci-fi twist. We have also been getting a lot of attention on horror/thriller film, Lazarus: Apocalypse. Written and directed by Thomas Churchill, this film is stylized like a Hitchcock throwback. I have gotten a few “standout performance” critiques, so I am honored and excited!
PW: You've worked with a number of established names including Mark Ruffalo and Joey Lawrence, but if you had to choose a cast-member you got on best with, who would you pick and why?
BL: I have been blessed to work with some amazing actors and human beings in my career! I happen to be a “girl’s girl,” so I want to acknowledge the ladies on The Mourning. This was a special film and I grew very fond of Dominique Swain, Kinga Phillips and Sally McDonald. And, last, but not least, I have so deeply bonded with women I have acted with and now call them “best friends”... Miranda Kwok from iMurders, Marilyn Ghigliotti from Starship: Rising and Suze Lanier-Bramlett who I worked with on Watch What You Ask For.
PW: How did you become a life coach and what was it that made you want to work towards that ambition?
BL: I was always the girl supporting everyone with their problems! I had been doing well as an actress and producer prior to the economy crashing, but then things changed and I needed to come up with an additional plan, as my actress rates got cut down to a third of what they were. In 2011, we filmed the award-winning pilot/talk show/web series, Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk and I became so inspired to help my teen girls. I impulsively took a year off from acting, went back to school at The Life Purpose Institute where I became a Board Certified Life Coach, then launched my coaching business Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach. You can find out more by visiting the website:
PW: What do you say to people who comment that we should all be our own life coach?
BL: I do not disagree! What everyone needs to understand is that a good life coach helps you to do just that! As a coach, I am here to support clients in making their own self-discoveries. I, too, have my own life coach, Lori Bertazzon, who supports me in my life’s issues! I would not go without one. I think that everyone could benefit from having an outside guide and perspective. Sometimes all we need is a little objective support to get clear.
PW: What issue do you get asked for advice on most often would you say?
BL: I find it interesting that all my clients, from my teen girls, to grown men and women, one of the biggest issues is the concern about “making the right choices.” As humans, it is very easy to get stuck or caught in a fear space, so sometimes we just need a little help and clarity. The other HUGE issue is dating and relationships! This is the reason I opened half my coaching business to dating and online dating coaching and have been doing a ton of TV expert work as a dating expert!
PW: Have you ever been given some advice from a person that's stuck with you and proven to be beneficial?
BL: YES! I have to remember it every day: “What you think of me is none of my business!”
PW: How did it come about that you started working for/with The Huffington Post and have you found any similarities/differences between writing and giving advice for columns compared with doing so for TV shows?
BL: It was so incredible that after becoming a Board Certified Life Coach, launching my business and having a bit of previous public notoriety as an actress, I was invited to write and speak for prestigious outlets. I enjoy writing, because I can free flow and say what I feel and choose – and do so in pajamas! I much prefer TV and on-camera work, because I am a natural speaker and performer, HOWEVER... I have NO control over the editing and final cut that airs!
PW: You have more than 25,000 followers on Twitter - how beneficial have you found the ability to interact with people on such a large scale?
BL: I feel truly blessed for all my fans and followers! I am grateful that they are interested in my life and work. In keeping it real, however, I often get stressed and overstimulated by the overwhelming amount of tweets and questions I receive daily and it can become a part-time job! I don’t think people realize that actors are just regular people with families, friends, lives and that I am working 24/7 with jobs, clients, auditions, press and events. I do the best I can, but the social media overload can affect me at times.
PW: Do you ever worry that, as a society, we're becoming a little too reliant on technology as a form of communication?
BL: I think it is horrible! As a dating coach and expert, I talk about this a lot. We have lost all true communication and intimacy. I tell the important people in my life that I need to speak to them and see them face to face... and, that does NOT mean Face-Time!
PW: You're also a supporter of several charities, notably in support of those battling breast cancer - how important is it to you that you can give your time to worthwhile causes?
BL: I think it is a privilege to be able to use whatever small “celebrity” I have been blessed with to help, support and give back to others! Plus, helping others makes me realize that I am not the only one with problems.
PW: What can other people do to help?
BL: I think every person should find a charity or movement that inspires them and speaks to them and get on it!
PW: What do you do to unwind after a busy day?
BL: I binge watch reality TV, have friends over and drink lots of wine and tequila!
PW: Finally then, with such a busy schedule and so many interests, are there any other dreams you hope to fulfil? What's the next thing on your list to tick off?
BL: Honestly, I LOVE my careers so very much that I have made them my priority! I am doing some Reality TV, as a Life Coach and Dating Coach and Expert. I am promoting my book for teen girls - Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk: There’s A Lotta Power In Ya Choices which is available on Amazon.
I would love to travel a bit and hit Italy and Greece. I am also putting energy into my dating life and inviting the universe to bring me a sexy, rich man!
To keep up to date with Brooke, follow her on Twitter.