Monday, April 22, 2024

Bitten by the acting bug


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There are three Hollywood stars Deborah Collins is dying to work with: Viola Davis, Meryl Streep and Denzil Washington. Why?She describes Davis as “an amazing, talented, strong black woman”.Streep she says is “just amazing”.When it comes to Washington, she simply asks “who wouldn’t want to?”Collins is a Barbadian who has been living in New York, busy pursuing her passion – acting.In 2002 she gave up her full-time job in banking working for a “good salary and steady income” for a full-time career in the acting field.Two years later she landed a job with Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg on her show Whoopi, which was airing on NBC every Tuesday night. She was tracking the star who played Mavis, standing in for her when she was late or had to fulfil other obligations.These days Deborah is busy auditioning for different parts.She auditioned to play the role of the wife in The Great Debaters, starring Denzil Washington, as well as the part of a lawyer in the movie Righteous Kill, which stars Al Paccino and Robert De Niro. She also appeared in the television show on FX, Rescue Me, produced by Denis Leary“I want to work with people who are talented, not just ‘stars’. I want to work with people who enjoy the art of creating,” she said, speaking from her home in Brooklyn, New York.This coming fall (September), Collins will be starring in the new television show Boardwalk Empire which will air on HBO – a film set in the 1920s. It was produced by Martin Scorsese, who also directed well-known films such as The Godfather, The Departed, Gangs Of New York and just recently, Shutter Island.“It was a great experience working with someone like Scorsese. Knowing your part was something he created is just incredible,” she said, grinning ear-to-ear.Just recently, this former student of Alexandra School, who grew up in Rock Hall, St Thomas, appeared in the short-lived television series Conviction, which was a spin-off from Law And Order.Collins, who has been living in New York for over ten years, has her hands full. She is still studying, acting, and working on commercials.She has been the spokesperson for Ikea, the Swedish furniture store, on the Internet for the last two years.“It was “comedic commercials which showcased my comedic side” she said.Collins, now 42, admits she still enjoys acting.“It is challenging. In this industry there is a lot of rejection but you have to understand that it really has nothing to do with you. Sometimes the roles change and instead of directors wanting someone who is white, they may want Black, or they may switch from a male to a female, or the role may just get cut.“Dealing with rejection is part of the industry. You just have to give 100 per cent. That’s all that matters. If you get caught up with the rejection you will never make it” she cautions.Today, Collins admits she still gets excited about her career. “I can’t be in it and not get passionate. When you are with others of like mind, it’s hard not to get excited. You are giving birth to something. How can you not get excited?” she said, flashing a smile, and with a twinkle in her bright eyes, ready for her next adventure.


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