Sheena Colette is an American actress and producer. She began her acting debut on stage as a child in several theatrical productions, ultimately landing her in ongoing studies at various New York acting schools such as American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Colette appeared in LoCash Cowboy’s music video “Here Comes Summer” directed by Brian Lazzaro of Stroudavarious Records, Thalia’s “Ten Paciencia” directed by Emilio Estefan, and Alejandra Tejada’s “Indomable”. On screen she is noted as having the perfect three: “performance, ability to take direction and look”.
In 2012 Colette kicked off the season three premiere of A & E’s The Glades, and appeared in the Netflix horror flick House of Bodies as Sadie Jenkins. In 2013, Colette played Angela, a cancer-stricken woman in One Last Time, directed by Dhimitri Ismailaj. One Last Time was selected for screening at the Cannes Film Festival, and Cinesogni Festival in Ravenna, and several other festival outlets worldwide. In 2014, Colette joined the cast of Walt Before Mickey alongside Jon Heder, Thomas Ian Nicholas, David Henrie and Arthur L. Bernstein.
In 2015, Colette landed the role of Jeanine Markham playing a scientist attempting to disprove the existence of God. She received critical acclaim, and was awarded the 2016 Best Actress Award from the Beverly Hills Film Festival.
Colette was photographed by famed photographer Philip Lorca DiCorcia in W Magazine’s “A Perfect World”. She modeled for Emmy Award-winning costume designer Birgit Muller, and walked the runway for ELLE’s Pink Dress Collection. She has contributed to raising awareness for Haitian victims of the 2010 earthquake, and breast cancer awareness through the Quest project, and Elle’s Pink Dress Collection, respectively.
Exclusive Interview with Award-Winning Actress & Producer Sheena Colette
London Prestige: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.
Sheena Colette: I have been involved in theater since childhood but I wasn’t the kid trying out for all the musicals. I have always been drawn to dramatic roles, and my voice can clear a room so it worked out in my favor. My first role was a drummer boy in a local church play. I kept my back to the audience and refused to play; lucky for me it hasn’t translated to ant diva titles in work now. Later came a school play about George Gershwin. I wanted the pretty in pink ingenue part. She sang. You can guess I didn’t get it. That being said, I played George M. Cohan. I remember coming out on stage and seeing so many boys erupt with laughter but I was so excited to have the part, it didn’t matter to me until I got off the stage. Fast forward to present, I continue to enjoy playing characters, and I am still aware of opinions behind the fourth wall, but when you put the work in perception is not the most important. I am passionate about elephants, deforestation, environment as a whole, and equality.
London Prestige: What are you currently working on?
Sheena Colette: Currently I am working on promoting some of my films that are at festivals, or picked up for distribution as well as developing a screenplay I wrote about social classes, immigration, and the US. I wrote the draft in 2015 and now I am going full force developing it.
London Prestige: What made you take this role?
Sheena Colette: In general, I look for roles I haven’t played before. I like character driven roles, and I tend to prefer darker, dramatic pieces. I have found it best to read scripts without knowing what role you are reading for or cast for and perhaps try your hardest to not attend to a particular role as it leaves you a bit more open minded to cultivating a character. I prefer strong characters. I recently wrapped a comedy which I play a journalist trying to track down the story, and attempting to be considered a legitimate sports journalist in a male dominated field.
London Prestige: What journey does your character go on in the course of the monologues?
Sheena Colette: My favorite character journey would be the character I played in Irrefutable Proof, Dr. Jeanine Markham. I had little in common with the character so it was quite a bit of work. Jeanine was a professor, a mom, and was on a mission to disprove the existence of God. She went from being an acclaimed scientist valued by her peers and students, to becoming a societal nuisance to say the least. Her mental state began to break along with all of her relationships.
London Prestige: Tell us a little bit more about this film, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director?
Sheena Colette: IP was a great film for me to work on because it gave me the opportunity to work with an amazing director Ziad Hamzeh, Rob Draper as director of Photography, and a script produced and written by Richard Castellane. Ziad is seamless in preparation and execution. Coming into the project meant solid weeks of rehearsals. That was a first for me in terms of working on a film with such heavy scene rehearsal void of action sequences. I was hesitant at first, but so grateful to him for taking me on that journey.
London Prestige: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?
Sheena Colette: The most challenging role I have played is a difficult question. Roles vary so much and to say something is the most challenging would have to take into account a multitude of things: crew, cast, director, time, showing style etc. I can tell you the best working conditions I have had is when your director is so adept at finding the best conditions for you to be emotionally prepared and has the crew in accordance. When you are ready to shoot a scene that is emotionally driven, there is no better gift than haven a director, crew and cinematographer that realizes your approach and provides you with space and minimal technical setups.
London Prestige: And the most fun one?
Sheena Colette: I don’t have a particular project to refer to as the most fun, but any time you shoot a comedy the energy is always great. The film I worked on as a journalist, Sushi Tushi, is getting ready for the festival circuit, and although I played the more serious spine of the story, the overall energy on that set was great. It involved a bunch of Sumo wrestlers who didn’t speak very much English, but it was great to see how even a culture so different than your own, commonality can be found in comedy.
London Prestige: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
Sheena Colette: My biggest accomplishment to date professionally is winning best actress at Beverly Hills Film Festival. Personally, I suppose it would be pursuing a university degree. I am currently at the end of a Master’s degree.
London Prestige: What training / education do you have? How has your training prepared you for you acting career?
Sheena Colette: I grew up going to acting classes and disliked it very much. I love to perform and make my skits but when it came to sitting in 5 classes for movement, voice, etc, I prefer to jump into scenes and learn as I go. I went to American Academy in NY, and a bunch of classes, and workshops. I think the best investment is working with a voice coach. Voice is such an important factor in developing character, and it needs to be worked to a point it is fluid and organic. I would love to have more roles where this needs to be heavily considered and practiced.
London Prestige: Is there any academy or professional in the field that you enjoyed working with that you would like to recommend in your city?
Sheena Colette: My favorite director I would love to work with would be Bad Luhrmann, because he really puts music to life on screen. As long as we can dub my singing with Mariah Carey’s I am there if he calls. His direction, and art direction is just unbelievable. His work is hard to forget, it stays with you. My favorite director I have worked with is Ziad Hamzeh. I have worked with him twice, once as lead, and other as supporting lead. I am hoping a script comes along for lead role in which we can work together again because it’s such a learning opportunity, and guided so gracefully.
London Prestige: Who is your favorite director to work with and why?
Sheena Colette: Yes I would love to branch out into directing. Screenwriting isn’t my forte. Ideas and conceptualizing things are definitely a strength of mine, but writing dialogue is an art in itself.
London Prestige: Where have you played a lead role? What was the character about?
Sheena Colette: I have played multiple lead roles mentioned prior but always looking for something new. I would like to perform as a lead this summer on stage.
London Prestige: Do you have any theatrical experience? What plays have you performed?
Sheena Colette: I love theater. There is nothing like it. I would love to do a stage play this summer and have been speaking to a few actors local to NY to see if we can get something up and running. The last play I did was The Country Boy by John Murphy.
London Prestige: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
Sheena Colette: If I weren’t acting I would love to have a center for eco therapy or own a smaller scale type of biome that provides nature based learning like that of The Eden Project.
London Prestige: What have you seen lately that’s inspired you?
Sheena Colette: LaLa Land— I love that film, it’s super inspiring; also, learning that Ava DuVernay didn’t pick up a camera until 10 years ago and is killing it now. Watching Tilda Swinton’s choices are all together inspiring, the late Heath Ledger, and Cillian Murphy’s work. I can’t exclude Pete Postlethwaite. The lost can go on. Art and nature are what drive my inner creativity.
London Prestige: What television shows or show would you love most to be on?
Sheena Colette: Peaky Blinders, Madame Secretary, Downton Abbey ( even though it’s concluded).
London Prestige: What’s your goal for this year?
Sheena Colette: My goal for this year is to direct, and to be cast in an Irish drama that shoots in Ireland. Also, to keep my roses alive, and not over nurture my orchids.
London Prestige: What is your advice for aspiring actors?
Sheena Colette: Say yes until you can say no; realize features take a year to get out tot he public so you may have wished you said yes to a job so you can have concurrent film openings or work being shown; do as much theater as you can; read plays and watch classics.