Was a life of entertainment always in the cards for you?
Oh goodness! To be honest, I am not sure! My mom used to sing as a kid. She dreamed of having a career as a vocalist. But, she left home before she graduated and had me at 21. So, she never had the opportunity to work towards that goal. So, starting at a very young age, she would praise me and get so joyful when I goofed around with her, singing and dancing. She wasn’t a stage mom at all, but I knew that growing up to be a performer of some sort was her dream for me. Maybe it was her wanting to live vicariously through me. Or maybe she just thought I was special. But, either way, it made an impression on me. As I got older, it felt more like I was destined to be a performer. I just couldn’t visualize anything else.
Who were your inspirations as you were growing up in the business?
I honestly can’t say that I had any. I never followed celebrities or got hooked on certain public personalities or artists. I just never found anyone that I felt represented me. I think that is why I felt so compelled to be a performer. On some level, I wanted to be the person that I desperately needed to know existed out in the world.
As a biracial, queer child did you find struggles in your youth?
I did. I didn’t recognize my sexual identity until I was older, but as a mixed-race child growing up in the American south, I hated standing out, I just wanted to be like everyone else. But since I went to school and lived in a mostly white district, that was just impossible.
You have quite a few projects under your belt. Which one would you say was the most memorable?
My work on "Underground" is the most important production I have ever been a part of because the story was painful, true, and beautiful. It felt like we were taking history out of the hands of the straight white men, who have been telling it for so many centuries, and centering it in a place of compassion, where the oppressed got to be the narrators.
Your character on The Good Doctor was a wonderful addition and helps show "Shaun's" ability to grow and love. What has your time on the show been like?
It was a dream from the start! Carly first showed up in Season 1 as a recurring character. Most everyone in the production was super welcoming, warm, and kind! But, I have particularly enjoyed getting to spend an entire season with Freddie for a scene partner…he was a real dream, and they’re just aren’t a lot of leading actors in Hollywood quite like him.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
Making sure I and everyone I love survives the pandemic.
What was the inspiration behind Alice Isn't Dead?
It’s a podcast written by Joseph Fink that I narrated for three seasons. It was later turned into a novel, and I also narrated the audiobook. I think some of Joseph’s inspiration came from touring his Welcome To Night Vale live shows around the U.S. for a few years, but you would have to ask him.
You and your wife, Claire, are celebrating seven years of marriage this year. How's married life been for you?
Same as life before we were married. We have been together for almost 14 years, so the marriage was more of practicality for us because we own property together. We kept having to get civil unions and domestic partnerships wherever we moved because states didn’t recognize another state’s legal acknowledgments of partnerships. The week we were supposed to go to the courthouse and get it, marriage was legalized in California, so it just made more sense to get married instead of just another civil union.
Your celebrity has allowed you to use your platform for a greater good. Why is advocating for those who don't have a voice so important to you?
Because the only way to end oppression and fight for the rights of marginalized communities is to help lift them up. I don’t need to speak for anyone. I just have to amplify their voices. I am born in oppressed communities, but I also have many privileges. It’s important to help support ALL the marginalized people out in the world, not just the ones you relate to.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I just want to be remembered as the girl who was good at making things. P&E
- Teresa Robinson
P&E - After Print
Here are some of the latest articles and topics in the GLBT community.