Kimberly Elise On Life and “Apple Mortgage Cake.”
Kimberly Elise, best known for her roles in “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “John Q,” “For Colored Girls,” and “Hit the Floor” stars in cable channel UP’s original movie “Apple Mortgage Cake.” Based on the true story Elise plays Angela Taylor, a single working mom faced with losing her home.
I sat down with the kind and thoughtful actress to discuss the film and her personal life.
Tell me what Apple Mortgage Cake is about and why you wanted to be in the film?
Apple Mortgage Cake is about a women who was faced with foreclosure on her house and got the idea to bake 100 cakes and sell them for $40 a cake to raise enough money to pay her mortgage. The press catches wind of it and it becomes a phenomenon. You have to see the movie to see what goes on after that.
What drew you to want to play Angela Logan?
I read the script and thought it was so inspiring and uplifting. It was so relevant to the financial crisis many people in our country have faced. I thought it offered a ray of hope and inspiration so I wanted to be apart of that.
Did you meet Angela Logan?
Yes, Angela is actually an actress so she had a small part in the film. She was on set for a portion of filming so I got to spend a lot of time with her. We also had some scenes together. It was great!
What was your interaction with her in regards to you preparing your role to play her?
It was great because I got to hear her story in her own words and connect with her emotionally. As an actress I was able to hear her voice and see her mannerisms, which I was able to incorporate into the character when I played her.
Was is strange or nerve racking to play a real person who was literally right there with you on set in real time?
It was interesting, but I always felt very supported by her. She was very happy I was playing her, which was comforting. Beyond that, on set, it was just us working actress to actress. She was really focused on her part and what she was doing. It was a really good experience.
Who does she play in the film?
Ironically she plays a person that I reach out to for help at a shelter my character volunteers at.
This film is about perseverance and drawing strength; how do you draw strength in your personal life when you are faced with adversities?
I have a lot of inner strength but I also reach out to my loved ones for support. You have to realize that people are there and that we are all in this together. Especially being a single mom, I can’t do it all. I am not a super woman so I depend on those around me that love and support me to help me get through things.
How do you maintain yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually?
I do yoga and exercise regularly. It is important to do regular exercise. Also it’s important to get out in nature, and do things like hiking or bike riding. I also have three animals in my house who are very grounding and serene. The love you get from animals is astounding and their needs are so simple. Laughter is really important, my children and I laugh a lot. Journaling is equally important. Also having people you can talk to as well as finding quiet time, meditating. To stay centered you need to take time to be still so you can hear your inner voice. I use all of these things in my life everyday.
You mentioned that you are a single mother, can you talk to me a little bit about your life as a mother and what that means to you and how becoming a mother has changed and effected you as a person.
Well, I have been a mother my entire adult life. My oldest daughter is twenty-four so I really don’t know what it’s like not to be a mother. Motherhood has always been a part of me, a great part of me! It has been the highlight of my life. My daughters are amazing. They are two of my greatest and best friends and they make life easier. We move as a unit and are very close. They are my base and my anchors. I am very blessed to have my two daughters in my life.
What is your experience being a single mother? And do you have any advice for other single mothers out there.
I think it is important to know and except that you do not have to be a super woman. To know that it is okay to reach out to others for support and help when you need it. When you are tired, lay down and take a nap, don’t try to push through it. Take care of yourself first so that you can be a strong source for your children.
Also look for the joy in your children. Children have so much light and energy. Cherish motherhood because it goes so fast. Don’t focus on the challenges of being a single mother but instead really enjoy the time you have together in that moment.
I watched an interview you did for “Hit the Floor” and in it you said; “I know that what ever has happened to me, that I perceive as good or bad is in my best interest.” Tell me how the bad things that have happened in your life could have been in your best interest?
When something bad happens, it is in those times that we have the opportunity to grow the most. Those situations can set us up for something more positive. It is important to be open to the idea that the thing that didn’t go our way will be, in the end, in our greater interest. I ask myself, how did it serve me or what is it teaching me? I ask how I can grow and learn from it. Even things that are more out of my control. For example – there was a time where I didn’t get a part I really wanted. I did all the right things and it didn’t happened but had I gotten the part I would not have gotten this other opportunity that was even greater! And at that time I didn’t even know it existed. It was this amazing opportunity that took me all over the world. I met wonderful people and made great relationships. None of that would have happened had I gotten the part I wanted in the beginning. So rather then sitting in the dark and feeling bad about something you perceived as negative reflect on why it didn’t happen and know that in retrospect it will usually make sense.
You can look at it the same way in a relationship. When you have a break up you are opening your life to the right partner coming your way. You have to trust that everything is on your side.
You have a tremendous emotional life that some actors have to really work at to get – has your access to extreme emotions always been easy for you?
I never really analyze it or think about it. I just tap into the character and what the character is going through and let that speak through me. I don’t give a whole lot of thought to how it happens. I don’t have a special technique. I simply play the character and it happens.
You mentioned you don’t have a special technique; did you train at an acting school when you first started acting?
I have never taken an acting class. I did a lot of stage work and that is where I really came into touch with my instrument. The theater really helped me connect with my own gift. That is where I came to understand what I can do. I never wanted to get in my head with acting. I know some people like to read books about it and take classes but I just like to jump in and do it.
Do you work with an acting coach?
No never. God is my acting coach.
Who has been a mentor in your life?
Cicely Tyson has been a great mentor in my life. She reached out to me early in my career and remains a great friend and advisor. She is someone I admired as a young girl so I feel very blessed and lucky to have her in my life.
You can find Kimberly at the following social media sites:
Facebook: Kimberly Elise
By Naja Hill; For more entertainment news follow me on Twitter @najahill.