Actress and writer Andrea Rachel Parker
By Marivir R. Montebon
Five years from now, I want to be able to say that I have contributed simply by being an inspiration, to the women and men of the future.
New York City — Actress-writer-dancer-choreographer Andrea-Rachel Parker truly has a lot on plate and is offering it up to all. This young and restless talent from Brooklyn is currently in production for a film titled “My Block” by Tay Pugh which depicts a group of young adults from different worlds moving into Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and the obstacles they face against the long-time dwellers of the block they live on. “It is about a lot of different characters and therefore funny because of the interesting personality clashes,” the girl who also coined the ‘Dance-out’ quips. Andrea, born from a native American mom and a Jamaican-Cuban dad, is working on an e-book titled “HUSH PUPPY: The Unsaid, Spoken. “These are monologues by me for people like us! I really wanted to make this book a work of art and a way to change the experience of reading,” she blurts out happily.
Hush Puppy is a monologue book that is written to entertain, stimulate, teach, and make you feel. These are works written to give a voice to the many cultures, ethnicities, and different types of people that we rarely get to see in mainstream media. She performed a monologue from the book she is writing during the 2nd International Writers Conference of the National Writers Union – New York on May 18, 2014 in lower Manhattan.
Andrea also has this dance workout class which she brands a “Dance-out” session called WWW or Women Who Wind.
“This class started after I got into a car accident in Jan of 2013. I wasn’t able to do intense fast cardio classes like Zumba and salsa or African because the left side of my body was messed up horribly. I had spasms, stiffness, and numbness. I had to develop a way to keep my body from gaining too much weight and a way to keep my curves. I took basic dance, workout and breathing techniques then combined them,” she explained.
The Dance-out is offered on Tuesdays at $5 until July 21, 2014 in mid-Manhattan. After that date, the class will be $10. The students/members who took the classes before July 21 will continue to pay $5.
Andrea choreographs a slow sexy workout in heels that burns fat, keeps the heart pumping but doesn’t require too much movement. It sculpts and is designed to be really fun. Instead of utilizing reps and sets, she was able to make use of “counts” for lunges, squats and smooth dance moves. She turned lunges and squats into smooth sensual dance moves.
On top of that, this super busy young citizen of New York is finishing her Communications degree at St. Francis College.
She is the eldest of a brood of six, has three brothers and two sisters. She is motivated because her dream is to buy her parents the houses they want. She wants her own house in Connecticut while her father always dreamed of having one in Jamaica and her mother has dreamed of having a large one in Georgia.
At the pace she is going, Andrea Rachel may be there faster than any young motivated person could.
Excerpts of our interview:
1.Tell us about the Hush Puppy ebook. How did it come about as your own writing project?
The idea of the book came about because I could never find good monologues that were diverse, dramatic and funny, with a valid point and good story behind it. I started performing my own monologues on subjects rarely talked about and the feedback was always wonderful! People asked me to write monologues for them, for their kids or to perform it at different events. I knew that there was a market for this and so I added to the monologues I already had and started working on this as a book. It is a way to entertain and inform through reading but still it has to be written well enough to be performed, not just read, which is missing in many contemporary dialogues.
The monologue book will be offered online, and it will feature at least three artists who will do exclusive work for a monologue of their choice. There is also a preview of the exclusive work on an urban fiction author who has been Top 10 on Amazons Urban Fiction twice. Lastly, there will be a bonus DVD Offered with select monologues performed by seasoned and fresh faced actors for the people who are more visual.
2. How does a young person like you get to work on Broadway or off Broadway? What process does it involve?
I wish it was as easy as just being talented but unfortunately it isn’t. Being an actress is a lot of constant work, whether you have an agent or manager working for you or not. An actor is constantly updating their reel, headshots and knowledge on the industry. You also have seminars, workshops, classes, meet and greets to worry about along with perfecting your memorization skills, speech skills, working on additional skills that set you apart from others, maintaining your look and going on auditions confidently and consistently.
I’ve done Off-Broadway with Rob Stapleton and Katori Hall because I have a great relationship with karma and the universe. Being prepared regardless of it being last minute, meeting the right people and being somewhere at the right time, eagerly.
I’m young but I am bold and constantly seeking knowledge and laughter. Being on Broadway and/or Off-Broadway is tedious and time consuming. You have to wait on lines all day, be prepped for the unexpected, have crazy long rehearsals that may interfere with your social life but it’s all always worth it!
3. Do you have an agent? Should you be a part of a union to be able to have work in shows? Is it difficult because of color? Or is talent all that matters?
Regardless of color, all of those things any dedicated actor will be doing if they want it badly enough. I have been fortunate enough to find a talent manager who works for me but I still constantly seek work myself. It’s just the way the universe works!
You have to put in work and invest your own time and money before and while people are doing the same for you. It’s my personality though, I don’t feel good just putting my passion entirely into someone else’s hands.
I am a multi-ethnic young lady and I have to fight many battles on a daily basis even in the acting world, so expecting someone to work for me while I do nothing isn’t realistic. Most of all, there isn’t anyone who can “sell” me, nor persuade others about my abilities and my dedication better than I can. Of course, there are obstacles, so I have to prove that none of these will stop me. We all deal with something. I say the bitter the challenge the sweeter the victory.
4. What shows have you been in and roles played?
I recognize how blessed I am to have been a part of so many projects. I guess the most memorable have been The Newlyweds off- Broadway play along side Comedian Rob Stapleton, which was written and directed by Beverly Orozco who also worked on Platanos Y Collard Greens. Additionally, some other fun projects or projects that I’ve learned a lot from the 2011 NYE MTV Britney Spears Radiance Commercial which was extremely fun, BET’s Black Girls Rock Jennifer Hudson’s Performance as a Back up dancer and most memorable being Katori Halls (writer of the Mountain Top starring Angela Basset) Children of Killers!
5. Do you take acting or singing workshops? If so, how often and who gives it to you?
I have been so busy that for the past few months that I have not been able to attend my class regularly. I am a student of Marc John Jeffries Acting Academy offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. He was Lil’ Cease in Notorious, the younger 50 cent in Get Rich or Die Trying and he was also in Big Mommas House 3 alongside Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson. I have also gone to seminars with Wendy Mckenzie the Casting Director.
6. Why did choose this career? Inspiration?
I’ve always been a creative person. Growing up, I figured that the arts came to me too easily and therefore I should try a career path that not only intrigued me but challenged me therefore I spent years figuring out what it is that I wanted to do in a medical field. I wanted to be a vet then transitioning into wanting to become a pediatrician. No one ever told me that I could make a living off of the arts. I come from a West Indian family that at first didn’t see the arts as a “real” thing. My immediate family saw me always making my own concoctions and trying to make my own fragrance and hair products that they just always knew that I would be a doctor of some sort. I always did singing, dancing, modeling on the side as hobbies or side activities.
It was not until I was in college (my second year) that I decided to listen to the nagging voice inside my head to pursue the arts. I realized that no matter how intrigued I was with science, I didn’t want to have to put on a white coat every day or go into a lab.
I saw friends from back home doing wonderful things in the commercial dance industry and I knew that it could’ve been me doing those things if I would’ve taken the arts seriously and listened to my spirit. I saw those people from back home, Britney Lola Davis, to name one, and they motivated me to want to learn whatever it is I had to, in order for me to succeed in the arts.
Then I began making a plan, switched my major, finding resources, talking to my then college boyfriend who had made a few acting connections, and growing my résumé and reel.
7. How do you hope to see yourself five years from now?
Hmmm…five years from now, I want to still be as optimistic and eager about life and its opportunities. I am hopeful that nothing will happen from now until then that would make my light/essence dim. Hopefully, it is even brighter and still filled with love and passion. I know by then I will be recognized for my talents on a much larger scale and so I hope to still find peace and sincerity amongst the newly found embrace. I want to be still madly in love with my current boyfriend, and hopefully working on a family together. I want to be completely free from worrying where my next gig is coming from and I want to be able to say that I have contributed simply by being an inspiration, to the women and men of the future.
In her spare time, Andrea does choreography. She started in the art of dance in elementary school and the love for it has always stuck with her. This love is another reason why she formulated the |WWW| Women Who Wind “Dance-Out” Heels dance class. She has choreographed for artist such as Solar Sarious who won Hot97 Time 2 Shines Contest using her choreography. She formulated some moves for short dance snippets in series including but not limited to Empire City written by Garrick Wade.
She was able to start doing choreography through local music video artist and school dance teams including her own school SFC. She has performed in Madison Square Garden and with rap and pop acts. The latest short that she choreographed was a ballet piece for “Strings Attached by Nelcie Souffrant in February. It has since been accepted into Canned Film Festival and AOF.
“I call myself a ‘crentrepreneur,” she laughs, “because I am lucky enough to create things that not only sell but help people live, feel, be and do. I love the experiences I have been fortunate enough to have and I am excited about my future and my growth.”
Links to Andrea’s works: Instagram page is WomenWhoWind and out Facebook page is https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=249796045053967 Facebook page of Hushpuppy https://m.facebook.com/HUSHPUPPYTHEBOOKofMONOLOGUES