Hollywood is lucky
As long as this smart young girl has solid parenting, she's going to be an extremely successful entertainer. Then I met her mother Dorinda.
The antitheses of a typical Hollywood parent, Dorinda seemed to give Najarra all the space needed to experiment and develop her crafts, yet she kept a very, very watchful eye on her... and everyone around her it seemed. I loved that. Hollywood can chew up, exploit, destroy, and spit out talented and pretty young girls faster than Google Chrome can load a webpage. Dorinda has teamed up with a steadily maturing Najarra and the end result has been a breathtaking young talent with originality, identity, ever-adapting ability, and a solid foundation of work that even a veteran would be proud of. This is one talented young anti-starlet that the entertainment business can be proud of... as well as her mom. Hollywood is lucky to have her.
Aaron Stipkovich: What was the moment in which you first decided you wanted to be an actress?
Najarra Townsend: I'm not sure there was an exact moment. It's just what I always longed to do. I started doing theater when I was 3. Then i discovered the Backstage West in Borders Bookstore when I was 7 and saw that I could be submitting myself for films and that was it, I knew there was nothing else i wanted to do.
AS: You are clearly a successful, young and talented woman. This is not an easy thing to pull off in Hollywood. How do you find time to balance your work life auditioning with your personal life?
NT: Luckily, so far it hasn't been that hard. Almost all my friends are in the business or have friends and family in the business, so they are all very understanding. In between my shooting schedule I always find time for them. They're very important to me.
AS: How would you advise those poor souls (lol) looking to get into the acting or modeling industry?
NT: Be Patient. Know that rejection is part of the business and it's nothing personal. Trust your instincts when it comes to people and the projects you're a part of. And - have fun!
AS: You are an amazing singer... a triple threat. When did you first start singing?
NT: I started singing very young. I did a lot of musical theater. As I got older i started singing and dancing with several performance companies. I was in a girl group for a while. Then I started writing and recording on my own. Acting became more of my priority, but I still try to throw a song on a soundtrack every now and then. =)
AS: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
NT: My life. Personal experiences I've gone through, or that people I know have experienced. Sometimes I'll pull from a character I'm doing.
AS: Personal experiences? You are 20 years old. What personal experiences and what characters?
NT: Well believe it or not you can go through a lot in your teenage years. Plus your hormones are raging and emotions almost out of control. Anytime i felt very upset or angry or happy, I would grab my notebook and start writing. Then pull from that for songs or remember how a certain situation made me feet and write a song. As for what characters... A few different one's throughout the years that just had a lot of emotional weight on me. I would carry around their problems and worries and feel like they were really happening to me at times, And so i would write. Whether it's about boyfriends, parents, school, friends, habits, love, hate... There's always something in life to pull from.
AS: Are you working on any singing projects?
NT: I have a number of film projects in the works and in various stages of development... As for singing, I'm mainly just writing right now and I'm learning how to play guitar.
AS: What has been your favorite movie role to date?
NT: I would have to say "Tru Loved". I filmed it during my 17th summer and I really had a blast. I met my best friend on that set and it was just one of my favorite experiences so far. I left that film with an awesome new family and some amazing memories.
AS: What type of roles do you love to play?
NT: I love to play gritty, emotional roles. Roles that stretch me as an actress and move me as a person.
AS: What are some ways that you get into character?
NT: I create a backstory. I keep a journal just for my character. I create a playlist of songs for my character. I will research online or ask people I know their experience's in certain situations to relate more with certain aspects of my character. There are lots of different things I do depending on the character.
AS: Can you give me one of your characters and the associated playlist?
NT: Well they're usually quite long. It will be all i listen to when I'm on set or to and from set. And they're not necessarily songs that directly reflect what my character is going through but more how they make me feel and what sets my mood. One character that had me with a heavy heart is from the film "urFRENZ" which i shot July '09.
Here is a small sample of songs from my playlist for my character, Madison.
1. Catch me - Demi Lovato
2. Keep breathing - Ingrid Michaelson
3. Spinning - Jack's Mannequin
4. Details in Fabric - Jason Mraz
5. Almost Lover - A Fine Frenzy
6. You and Onions - Meiko
7. Because I can - Katy Rose
8. Sunny Road - Emiliana Torrini
9. Make-up Smeared Eyes (Acoustic Version) - Automatic Love Letter
10. Dreaming with a Broken Heart - John Mayor
AS: Was there any one person who inspired you to be become and actress/singer?
NT: I wouldn't say there was one person; there were so many. My mom would always put on films or music and take me to the Civic Light Opera and theater productions that would inspire me. I was lucky to grow up in Santa Barbara where there is such a rich and thriving theater and art community. So many people shared their talent with me, enriched my life and inspired me. So many names come to my mind to whom I am grateful and love. The list is long; I am lucky.
I continually get inspired by the people around me, and the things I listen to and watch. Some of the famous people who I admired and found inspirational when I was very young were Isadora Duncan, Bernadette Peters, Bette Davis, Natalie Wood and Al Jolson.
AS: Who would you like to influence?
NT: Honestly, I never thought about who i would like to influence or that i WOULD influence somebody. I would like to inspire people, other actors and actresses, writers, photographers, girls, boys... Anyone, everyone =) Inspire them to do what they love, to dream big, to never give up, to be understanding and excepting of other's differences, to love themselves! It may sound cheesy but that's my number one rule. Love yourself. It makes you happier, healthier and nicer to be around.
AS: Where can we hope to see you next?
NT: Well I have some films running on TV right now; and also several films currently in Festivals. I also am in talks with 3 feature films, and I continue with auditioning as well. You never know where I'll pop up =)
|Favorite Food:||Italian and cupcakes with extra frosting|
|Favorite Movie:||"The Notebook", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Crazy/Beautiful" and "What Dreams May Come"|
|Favorite Actor:||Vera Farmiga, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Foster, Juliette Lewis and Kate Winslet|
|Best first date:||Pinkberry and a Movie.|
|Favorite song to dance to:||Any Britney Spears Song.|
|Dogs or Cats:||Dogs all the way|