Pop Quiz: Emayatzy Corinealdi on Acting

Published on October 12th, 2012

Emayatzy Corinealdi has appeared in the movie “The Nanny Express” and television series, such as “The Young and Reckless,” “Katrina” and “Romantically Challenged.” Now she’s playing Ruby, a brilliant medical student who puts her dreams on hold for her incarcerated husband, in the feature film “Middle of Nowhere,” which premieres in select theaters this Friday, Oct. 12. Corinealdi recently sat down with 101 Magazine after a sneak preview and Q&A for “Middle of Nowhere” at Howard University’s School of Communications.

101: Where are you originally from?

Corinealdi: I was an army brat. But, I call Jersey home because that’s where I lived the longest. I was born in Kentucky, lived in Ohio, Germany, all over the place.

101: How did you get started in the acting industry?

Corinealdi: I’ve always been acting since I was 14 or so. I really made the decision to really pursue acting after I graduated high school and then I went on to acting school. I knew I wanted to do movies and film, so I knew I had to move to LA. So after studying, I packed up my car and moved to LA. From there, I did everything I could. I did plays, shorts films, and indie films. Kind of everything!

101: How did you hear about this role?

Corinealdi: Through an audition. My agent called me one day, just like any other call, and said, “Hey I have this audition for you.” He sent me the script and I read the script and I said, “Oh my gosh… (Chuckle) This is something different!” Got excited about it. I was reading for a different role, initially the role of the sister. Although I read the script, and I said, “Ah, this role of Ruby is beautiful, but of course it’s already cast.” So when I went in for the audition, they gave me a chance to read for the part of Ruby and that was it.

101: What was your reaction when you got the part?

Corinealdi: Pure. Unadulterated. Joy. Gratitude, tears, excitement, every emotion really, because as an actor you work really, really hard to get these types of roles.  I made a specific intention. … I used to keep like a vision board and I had specific things on there and there was one specific goal that said, “I want to have a very strong role in a great indie film.” That became more specific over time. At first it started of with “I want a role in an indie. I want a great role in an indie,” and it got more specific. “I want a very strong role in a great indie film.” So for me, when this job came along it was like “Wow! This is that! You wrote this a couple years ago.” It felt good to know that everything had conspired to give me that opportunity.

101: What advice do you have for students who want to pursue acting while getting a degree?

Corinealdi: Bo everything in between. To do the shorts. Go to different resources like Actors Access and LA Casting and all of that. To still work and get the experience, fun and being on the set. Be involved in all the programs while you’re in school. Play with it as much as you can. So when you do graduate, you will be ahead and ready to take over.

Jeremy Clayton covers TV and film for 101Magazine.net.

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