Interview With Actress Dawn Noel

By Ruth on December 29, 2016 in Interview, movie, television

This past summer, I happened upon an indie film actress (and more) with an intriguing story, and I was quite ecstatic when she agreed to an interview. While my busy schedule has kept me from sharing this interview until now, Dawn Noel is definitely a thriving actress to follow into the new year and beyond. When we chatted, she told me about the inception of her career, her eventual turn toward acting and producing, and her endeavors in the imminent future.

RH: Dawn, it’s great to be able to chat with you, and when I was looking up your story, I noticed you started out as a dancer. How long have you been dancing?

DN: Well, I started out at the age of three, and I’ve been dancing my whole life. I went to the High School for Performing Arts in Philadelphia, and then I got a BFA at the University of the Performing Arts also in Philadelphia. Then I moved to New York, and I started out as a classical dancer doing modern dance with various dance companies. Most notable were Philadelphia’s Koresh Dance Company, Ballet Hispanico and Elisa Monte Dance companies. Shortly thereafter, the NYC and Metropolitan Opera Ballets hired me, and I slowly moved into doing Broadway shows.  I was in The Lion King, quickly followed by In The Heights and Fame. and then I went on to touring with musical artists like Madonna and Jennifer Lopez

With Kelly Rowland

I knew I always wanted to make a transition to becoming an actress, so I started building those credits while I was dancing. I did some independent films and commercials, and then made the move to Los Angeles. I continued acting, and now I’m producing short films. I’m constantly growing and transitioning and always working towards what the next step will be.

It sounds like you’re extremely motivated and always looking for the next challenge, which I think is cool. {pause} As I was looking through your acting credits, some of the shows I was familiar with, but there were many with which I wasn’t. While I know every one of your acting credits is  special, are there any that really stand out to you?

Project Abaddon

We did a trailer for a sci-fi film project called Project Abaddon  that we’re still trying to get funded, but that character was really fun to play. She is this really tough character, and she drives the ship. I had loads of fun filming the trailer, and we’re just waiting for that project to come to fruition. That probably stands out the most to me.

Sistah Did What? is a web series comedy. I had a blast filming this series. I play like a Rosie Perez/Fran Drescher kind of character. Definitely over-the-top comedy, and it has also done very well at festivals.

And I like to play cops like in NCIS. They were smaller roles, but that’s okay. I’m still waiting for some larger roles in network shows, but until then, I’m happy to get to play fun roles, even if they are small.

How long have you been in LA acting?

I’ve been here six years, and in those six years, I had to stay creative and productive, so that’s when I started producing short films. Just so that I felt like I was still in the game, and it let me get on the other side of things and see how things work on the other side behind the camera.

One of my short films, the last one that I did, 22 Years, has had an excellent run in the film festival circuit. We were nominated for an Imagen Award, which is like the Golden Globes for Latin people, so that’s a big deal. I’m happy to say that I won Best Actress for 22 Years at the LA Movie Awards, Charlotte Black Film Festival, International NYC Film Festival, Women’s International Film Festival and Velvet Rope Film festival. And each award is a real honor to receive.

on the set of 22 Years

Indie films are something I have taken a special interest in this year. Didn’t you write 22 Years as well?

Well, it’s my story, but I asked another writer to actually write it. So technically, I produced it and I’m the lead actor in it. I had the idea, since it was my story, but someone else wrote the actual script.

From talking with other actors, it seems that in the beginning of an acting career, there’s the “paying your dues” kind of thing, which often means smaller roles at first. But then indie films are a way to get your name out there, and so hopefully something bigger will be coming your way soon.

Absolutely. I always tell actors that instead of waiting around, they need to create their own films. So that’s what I’ve done with my last two shorts. I create work for myself while I’m waiting for the next audition or the next job. It’s also inspiring. I like to inspire other actors to do that and to stay creative.

So if you could have a dream role, what would it be?

I would love to play a “kick ass” character, maybe even with some martial arts involved in the role. Running and chasing people would be a good addition, too. I want to play the “good guy,” but at the same time, I want to be a very tough chick on the inside. I like to do stunts. And sometimes I get to do stunts. I am pretty good at a variety of martial arts. I do Kung Fu and others, so I would like to incorporate some sort of movement into whatever role I get. Unless it was some sort of really great dance movie. Nowadays, I’ve seen a lot o substandard dance movies out there, and I don’t really love a lot of what I’ve seen. But once in awhile, I see a great one, and I would love to be in an awesome dance movie. But most importantly, I want to incorporate movement into my dream role.

As a woman in the industry, have you experienced any sort of gender discrimination or bias? 

Because I don’t think I’m that high up when it comes to producing, directing, or acting, I don’t really know if I’ve experienced that. I know there are statistics that show that there are not a lot of female directors, writers and producers working in the industry. I know there are so many talented women out there.  Now, sometimes with ethnicity, I do experience some discrimination or bias. Like I’m just not “something” enough. I hate talking about ethnicity, but it always comes up because I’m under the category “ethnically ambiguous.” It’s great because I can play almost any nationality, but then sometimes I’m not specific enough. And I’m like, “The whole reason we’re actors is to pretend to be someone, and if I’m doing a great job, why do we have to get so specific on what I am?” I don’t like going through that, but it does come up on occasion. It’s a double-edged sword sometimes to be ethnically versatile.

I always ask about this because sometimes women run into this kind of issue even with indie films. There are some men who don’t like having a woman in charge.

Ooh, I have dealt with that on my own set a little bit. Especially when hiring or working with friends. They don’t think you’re going to follow through, or they don’t like having a woman tell them what to do. Sometimes there’s a little bit of “diva-ness”–people being the diva–and it can be hard to deal with at times. So I have dealt with that a little bit, but not on a higher scale. My next project will be a feature film, which will be very different when compared with a short film. So we’ll see. I’m sure I will run into that.

Yeah, you probably will, but it sounds like you’re not going to let that stop you. 

No, not at all.

Imagen nominee for 22 Years

Although I haven’t talked with women who have given up, they can tell me stories about those women who have gotten discouraged and given up.

No, that’s not in my DNA. {laughs}

What would you say are the essential qualities that someone needs if they wish to enter the entertainment industry in any capacity?

That’s a great question. As a dancer, I have spent years and years and years in training, and I discovered that being diverse–meaning knowing how to do ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip hop, salsa, tango, aerial work–you have to know how to do everything as a dancer. Because you go to an audition nowadays, and they expect you to do it all. You have to know how to sing. You have to know how to act. To be as versatile as possible is definitely key.

And you need to train. There are different kinds of success. You can be Kim Kardashian and be known for things that are not necessarily talent, and you don’t get the respect that you should. Or you can be Meryl Streep and have so much talent and everyone respects you. It depends on what you want.  If you want to be famous, do a reality show. If you want to be rich, go be a doctor or a lawyer. If you want to be an artist, you have to put in the time, the work, the effort, the blood sweat and tears and train.

You also have to be okay with rejection because there’s a lot of rejection in this business, and you can’t take it personal. You have to stay at it, and you can never give up. Just do the work. Stay at it. Whether it’s writing or producing or whatever, work on the next project. Just stay creative. But you have to do the work. You can’t just come to Hollywood and say, “Hey I wanna be famous! Here’s my headshots and resume.” Go do as many independent films as you can. Submit yourself on all the websites you can. Go to the schools. LA Film School. New York Film Academy. Do a student film. Get the practice. Go do a play. Just stay on it. It’s not really about money. You have to love what you do.

I think you nailed it. I typically ask this kind of question because I still don’t think most people understand how hard artists work. It’s not that one day you get up and say, “I want to be an actor,” and you go do it.

People should think about why they want to be an actor. We’re putting all of our emotions on the table. We’re pulling stuff from childhood and issues that we have with ourselves. We do it so the audience can go home and think about it or they can laugh and have a release at the end of their hard-working day. We’re there to express, and that’s a lot of emotional work to dig up and do every day. I think sometimes people come and just want success and their ego wants to be famous, but they should think about why they’re really doing it.

I also appreciate what you said about taking classes because some people think, “Well, I’m talented. I don’t need to go to class. I can just get up there and do it because I’m naturally talented.” 

Well, that may be the case for some people. Some people are naturally talented, but you still have to know your mark. There’s still technical elements, especially for film and television. If you’re performing for a theater in front of two thousand people on Broadway, you have to know how to enunciate and make everyone in the back row hear you. And then not lose your voice three times a week.  So I’m not falling for that one. There’s even a whole skill just in memorizing. There’s always something to work on.

Is there anything else coming up that you can mention?

There’s a short film we recently shot called Trust Love. Most of my works are independent films to keep myself going. I recently signed with a new manager as well, so we’ll see how that goes. There’s always something going on. Whether it’s new headshots or putting together a cool EPK for my short film. My focus recently has been on my short films. Getting PR and going to film festivals. With producing short films, you get to do EVERYTHING!

And I am convinced that Dawn is the lady who can do EVERYTHING! She is willing to dive in and “get her hands dirty,” so to speak. She is intrinsically driven, and nothing is going to stop her from accomplishing every dream and goal within that beautiful head of hers. While she has not experienced gender bias per se, she understands and is prepared for the time when she does. Even though her ethnicity is occasionally an issue which might cause minimal discrimination, she has not permitted that to define her nor give her a reason to doubt her calling in the entertainment universe. She is committed to the arts, and she is definitely full steam ahead in every aspect of her career. In my opinion, she is on the cusp of tangible success outside of the world of independent film, and I can hardly wait to see more of her works in the impending future. In the meantime, take a cue from Dawn. Don’t just sit there and wait for her career to spiral towards the stars. Be sure that you check out every one of her links listed below (especially take the time to watch the trailer for Project Abaddon. I was quite mesmerized by it.). Dawn is a brilliant light that is awaiting the unveiling of her talent so that she can inspire, fascinate, and entertain the entire spectrum of this world that is hungry for a woman like her who is dedicated to her craft and willing to do whatever is necessary to inspire others with her gifts.






Acting Reel


Dance Reel

Self-Defense/Stunt Fight Scene

NCIS episodes

All the episodes to the comedy web series Sistah Did What?
Trailer for Project Abaddon





About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher


Add comment

Leave a Reply

Please know that comment moderation is in effect on this site. Comments may not appear immediately. Also, please note that any negative attacks on people, networks, or other comments that are deemed "inappropriate" or "overtly negative" may be removed and/or edited by the administrator.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge