EL: Where are you from? When and how did you get into acting?
HA: I was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario Canada. I got into acting when I was 7 years old - I was in competitive dance & loved to perform so thought acting was another perfect avenue to do that as it also allowed me to voice my personality
EL: Can you tell us a little bit about the film and television projects you’ve done?
HA: In the HBO TV series The Line I played the role of Chantal. She’s the typical good girl gone bad-- she begins dating a drug dealer who convinces her to start dealing for him, all the while she lives at home with her mom and stepfather who is a cop. The whole show is about the lives of drug dealers - their hustle, their families, their relationships & the one cop, Chantal's stepfather, who keeps tabs on them.
Playing Chantal was the best experience of my life thus far. The character reminded me of myself in many ways, because synchronically I was going through a rebellious teenage phase of my own at the time I was playing the character, mine wasn’t like Chantal’s but it helped me relate to the her.
I recently finished shooting the thriller film Corrupt where I play the role of Jessica Hall, a research assistant at the DA's office. It’s the kind of murder mystery that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats and guessing all the way through.
I absolutely loved filming this movie. My character has a key role in helping the film’s hero, Kate, solve the mystery, as she is the one who provides Kate with the evidence and the missing pieces to the puzzle. Together they figure out the corruption, which the films revolves around. I really enjoyed playing Jessica, and I was also able to do my own stunts, like getting hit by a car, which was really exciting. Stunt work is something that I would like to continue to pursue in the future.
EL: They are all very different, what made you choose to participate in these projects?
HA: I try to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. I believe things happen for a reason so if I’m available I try to jump on the projects that are offered to me.
EL: You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?
HA: I am a Gemini so I love versatility. Everyday I wake up feeling like a new/different person so I love to express that through the art of acting. There are no limits to what I am willing to try. I love becoming a character that I've never been before so if I've already played a similar character I may overlook it and try something new that pushes me out of my comfort zone.
EL: What has been your favorite role so far and why?
HA: My favorite role thus far is definitely playing Chantal on The Line. She had the most interesting story, and there was so much depth to her. She went from being an innocent, young, straight ‘A’ student to selling drugs on the street for her boyfriend
EL: As for genre, what is your favorite?
HA: My favorite genre is drama. There is just something about it that I love. Maybe it is the darkness, because I love to explore the minds of dark characters.
EL: What separates you from other actors?
HA: No two people are alike. What I have to offer is completely different from anyone else, so as long as I am staying true to myself I will always be separate from any other actor, which makes me unique and interesting.
EL: What would you say your strongest qualities as an actor are?
HA: My strongest qualities as an actor I'd say comes from the fact that I am very connected to my body and my breath, which I think is the most important thing. If you connect your emotions to your breath and body, then you're golden—you can act and react on instinct, which makes for a very natural performance. I do yoga daily, dance, walk, swim and meditate to keep me connected, centered and fluid in my movements.
EL: Can you list some of the people you’ve worked with that our readers might know?
HA: I've worked with Catherine Zeta Jones, Vanessa Williams, Kathy Griffin, Janeane Garofalo, Edward Asner, Linda Hamilton, Michael Keaton, Zach Galifanakis, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts & the amazing director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
EL: What projects do you have coming up?
HA: I just finished filming the murder mystery Corrupt, and I also have the film Birdman coming out in theaters January 2015. The film stars Michael Keaton, and was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
EL: What are your plans for the future?
HA: The future is full of possibilities and I'm one to go with the flow. I have a vision of being an Academy Award winning actress so as long as I'm honoring that path every day by learning, growing and transforming then I know it will manifest.
I would also like to get into producing and possibly directing films in the future. I love the industry in every way and as long as I’m on set, I’m blissful.
EL: What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actor?
HA: I hope to become an Academy Award winning actress, a bond girl, and cat woman. Hollywood needs a new, fresh, young black chick, who’s tough and willing to do her own stunts.
EL: Why is acting your passion and chosen profession?
HA: Acting chose me; I didn’t exactly choose it. I would go to the movies and come home acting out one of the characters and then put on a little improv performance in the basement for my parents. The acting bug just jumped inside of me. I love to perform. It was my passion before I even understood why. All I knew was it felt right and it's where I came alive. It's where I felt the closest to God
I did beauty pageants as a child, as well as modeled and danced, and then I began acting. Acting is a combination of all of those things in one-- the confidence of being in a pageant, the mind& body connection of a dancer, and the character versatility of a model. Acting however has the added bonus of connecting with others using my voice and movement. There is something so spiritual about connecting with others creatively that I feel absolutely euphoric when doing it. I was born to be an actress and looking back on my path, I was preparing myself the entire time.