INTERVIEWS, Uncategorized

[Exclusive Interview] Being Mary Jane Star – Robinne Lee

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Robinne Lee has been appearing on your television screens for over 17 years now on top rated films and television shows such as Hitch, Deliver Us From Eva and Seven Pounds just to name a few. As if appearing on television isn’t enough, she is now set to take over your Hulu accounts with her new comedy series “Farmed and Dangerous” set to premiere February 17th. 

Check out our exclusive interview with this Being Mary Jane star as she discusses lessons learned, greatest success and being brave.

Was there anything or anyone in particular that inspired you to have an interest in the arts and become an actress? I don’t think there was anyone in particular. It goes as far back as when I was a little kid wondering how these people got into the television and questioning myself who they were and how can I get into the t.v.? Once I realized you don’t actually get “inside” the t.v. I always begged my parents to let me get into acting. I was completely fascinated by the idea of acting and being moved by stories. I’ve always felt it was a gift to be able to move people by a role and I knew I wanted to be able to affect people in that way.

 


When it came to acting professionally, I know you did not have your parents support at first. Would you say that motivated you more to succeed or kind of made you doubt yourself in the process?
My parents were strict West Indian parents and they didn’t encourage me to pursue it until I was done school. I went to Yale for undergrad and made a deal with my parents that while in law school I’d also be pursuing my acting career at the same time. I wouldn’t say it caused any doubt in me not having their support because I’ve always been the type that if I say I want something, I’m going to go after it and nothing is going to stop me. It wasn’t so much trying to prove something to my

parents but to prove it to myself. I didn’t want to feel like I cheated myself by not following this dream.


You’ve come a long way from your first role in Hav Plenty, what would you say has been the most important lesson learned working in this industry? There’s really so many, but I would say to trust yourself and trust your impulses. It’s a very frustrating and upsetting business. It can be very heartbreaking and there are definitely days, weeks, months even when you just want to give in but it’s those moments that you have to surround yourself with other artists that know what it is you’re going through and are supportive of you. It takes a very specific person to be an artist if you’re not of that world and you don’t understand how difficult it is to feel very pulled into doing something and yet you need validation in order to keep moving forward. It’s such a subjective business, what’s good for one person isn’t good for someone else. So definitely to keep going and keep learning.

Would you say you have any mentors that have helped you along the way?
I don’t know I would call them mentors but there are actors that have more experience than I have whom have given me sound advice that have been helpful. Perfect example, one of my first friends in this industry is Gabrielle Union when we did Deliver Us From Eva and we’ve been good friends since. Her career took off almost immediately with ‘Bring it On’ and she’s had experiences that I haven’t had yet so she would tell me what to expect here and do this, don’t give them that, that kind of advice. I think of it more as a friend than a mentor. I’ve worked with other people who are slightly older who have had wonderful advice such as Vanessa Bell Calloway who I think is such a given, generous actor and human. Such a wonderful person, I worked with her on ‘The Undershepard’ and she’s been like a big sister to me, she’s been so wonderful and warm.

Since your first movie, you’ve played a variety of different roles. What would you say has been your favorite role thus far?

Oh goodness, I don’t know I’ve loved lots of roles. I’ve really enjoyed my character on Being Mary Jane, it’s been such a ride. I play this very strong character and the fun thing is I’m not that strong in real life, it’s actually a compliment to my acting. Avery Daniels is probably furthest from me as a person from any other character I’ve played before.Which is why people are so taken by it cause it’s so not like me but it makes me really happy to feel like I’ve tricked all these people into thinking I’m a strong person and I’m not. Let’s not confused strong with confidence. I feel like I’m confident and smart but I definitely am more emotional and wear my emotions on my sleeve much more than my character does.  I don’t think I can stand what she’s going through with the affair, I would die.


What do you consider to be the greatest success?

I really think the greatest success is that if you are happy in all parts of your life. I feel like I

am very lucky that I’m in a really good relationship, I’m happily married, I have been for a while. I have two healthy kids and that part of my life is really wonderful and that makes me lucky. To have more roles as Avery Daniels, a role that people will respond to and feel something where ever they are viewing me. If I can continue to affect people like that with my work and have this great family life balance, then that’s everything. I can’t think of anything else I want.  

If you had one message to get across to a large group of audience, what would it be and why?

You know, I take this class called Soul Cycle. It’s a biking/spin class and our instructor, this women Angela Davis who is so inspiring and says wonderful things, she reminds us we’re doing more than feeding our bodies, we’re also feeding our souls. So I’m taking this class, in the middle of the ride I’m sweating, I feel like I’m about to die and a year ago she said this line to me and it still stuck with me “You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be brave”. I think that’s very important. So often with me, because I’m  a perfectionist and whenever I tackle something I feel like it has to be the best. It doesn’t have to be the best. I just have to give my all, take the risk and know I tried something new, it doesn’t have to be perfect. People should be able to live their lives like that, take risks, take a step outside their comfort zone and try new things – know it may not be perfect but just be brave. 

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Now signing off with the reminder: Don’t wait for the world to recognize your greatness, live it and let the world catch up to you.

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