Never underestimate anything that comes in a small package. Roaches… Razor blades… Viles of poison… I think you get my point. Little packages can often be powerful, and that is exactly what Brooke Lewis is. Being a woman in the industry who is a triple threat (Actress, Producer, and Writer) has not jaded her since positivity, energy, and kindness radiate from her. It seems as though every time I log onto the interwebs (Yes, I actually do have Wi-fi in my Lair…) she has earned another win, is developing another project, or is supporting another cause. Sometimes, I wonder if she really is a vampire because I don’t know when she has time to sleep! Please welcome and get to know my first Madame of the Month – Brooke Lewis!
My Coldest Regards,
Current City: La La Land
Where did you grow up? I am a proud Philly, Jersey and New York chick! I mean, just ask Ms. Vampy (wink) and look at my big hair and big mouth! (laughs)
What does horror mean to you? It means a lot! Truly, it does… on many levels. I know you get this, Malvolia! I was a child of the ’80s, so, in my opinion, the late’ 70s to early ’80s was one of the most notable and fun eras in horror. Some of my faves include Halloween (1978), Prom Night (1980), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), The Shining and Carrie (1976). Life seemed so easy back then, when we finally got VCRs and would have VHS marathons on Friday and Saturday nights with friends. I really was a horror junkie and I suppose we were even “binge watching” then (sorry, Netflix!). Horror always created friendship bonds in my life and gave us something exciting to view on the weekends.
I also gravitate to horror as both a viewer and actress, since I believe the horror genre creates tremendous opportunities for filmmakers, actors and creatives outside the Hollywood “norm” and false standard. Horror has created careers for many actors, writers and directors from indie film and TV to mainstream. I feel the horror genre embraces people who are unique and different. I have always said that I feel blessed that the horror community embraced me 10 years ago with my curves, flaws and HOT MESS! I love how horror fans appreciate a woman with curves and I never feel the pressure to have to have to look “perfect” for a horror film, like I do for a mainstream project. I feel like the horror genre and community EMPOWER WOMEN and everyone knows how much that is a part of my mission in all my work. And, the horror fans are the most loyal and supportive in the world!
How did you get into acting/producing/writing? Do you have a favorite? Oh yes! Acting is my heart and soul, and everything else I have done throughout my career was to support that and create more opportunities for me to act.
I was an incredibly emotional and sensitive child with a vivid imagination. When I hit my teenage years, I became obsessed with drama, old Hollywood and my inspirations, Elizabeth Taylor and Mae West. I was singing and dancing from a young age, which led me into musical theater in Philadelphia, which led me into comedy in New York. I got my first break in the New York Off-Broadway Comedy Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding, then went on to do TV sitcoms like Quintuplets and Mafiosa, then acted in mobster dramas like Pride & Loyalty and Sinatra Club, then finally broke out in the horror/thriller genre with films like Kinky Killers, iMurders and Slime City Massacre, earning the title of a Scream Queen. Then I combined my experience in comedy, mobster movies, and horror and created the role and brand of which I am best known…Ms. Vampy!!!
Producing was a way for me to leverage my career and create leading actress roles and opportunities that I was not being afforded enough through agents and auditions. I took a few producing courses and workshops, then threw myself into it by producing a few of my friends’ short films back in the day. I am a firm believer in studying, then diving in and learning hands on! I actually fancy myself a pretty good producer, but…I HATE it! (laughs) I just love to ACT! And, after authoring two books, writing a Ms. Vampy feature with partners, creating a TV pilot and bible and writing for many media outlets over the years, I realize I HATE writing, too! (laughs) I am so Type A and cannot sit still for very long… a great quality to have as a producer, but definitely not as a writer! (laughs) So… I am just putting my energy into acting, unless I have NO choice again, in order to bring a project to fruition.
Who or what inspires you? People inspire me! Creativity inspires me! Courage inspires me! I am so inspired by people who live their lives with TRUTH and INTEGRITY. I am inspired by people who face their fears. I am inspired by people who bring their dreams to fruition. I am inspired by people who have the strength to forge ahead in the face of adversity. I am inspired by people who give back. I am inspired by people who keep it REAL.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far? Oh, so many! I think one of the biggest challenges for me has been having several TV pilots or TV shows in development throughout my career, then having them not get picked up or the deals falling apart in some way. I had a recurring role on a FOX sitcom years ago, then, soon after one of my episodes aired, the show got cancelled! I also had the female lead in a sitcom pilot for a TV show on Comedy Network, but the pilot was not picked up for airing. In the unscripted world, I had a TV series built around me as a dating expert with another male expert on a huge TV network. It was greenlit and everything, but we could not reach a contractual agreement that was fair to my acting career, so we walked away from the show. I have not even shared the two big film roles that were supposed to make me a “star” when I was young, but were cut out of the films. (laughs) Yes, I am laughing! And somehow, I have managed to continue to laugh throughout my 20-year career and in the face of adversity. This is a choice I make, because I am not quitting any time soon!
Where do you see yourself in five years? Honestly, I am blessed with a great life and career. As a life coach, I am all about goal setting, but I also believe that we must leave some room for things to come that we do not plan or expect. I always say, “The universe laughs when we are making plans.” We want to embrace what comes our way. That said, I want everything I have now, but I would love a TV series and I definitely see my Ms. Vampy Vamp It Out series for teen girls on-air by then. Oh, and, a phat bank account and a Villa in Italy to chill at during the summer! (winks)
What’s one accomplishment you’ve conquered thus far? Another thing many do not know about me is that I suffer from anxiety, so to have gotten through as many big auditions and meetings as I have in my career, feels like a huge accomplishment to me. And, on a fun note, winning the ‘B Movie Golden Cob Award’ for Scream Queen of the Year in 2010 was a horrific accomplishment for me in the horror world! #GratefulScreamQueen
What is your favorite female driven horror story or film? I am old school and love Hitchcock and De Palma and everything they created around their female characters. Give me The Birds, North by Northwest, Blowout, Dressed to Kill or Body Double any day! I am also a huge fan of French horror films, because they are so female driven and so beautifully executed. I loved Martyrs and Inside.
Favorite ‘memorable moment’ on set? The horror fans will love this one! I was scared shitless of Candyman since I was young. When we were in pre-production on iMurders, my director, Robbie Bryan, told me he signed Tony Todd to the film to play my detective partner. I was scared! (laughs) But when I got to set the first day, Tony was a big, lovable teddy bear! He was a talented gem to work with.
If you could work with one female actress/artist/director, who would it be? I am simply in awe of Viola Davis! If I could rub her belly and have a touch of her acting genius rub off on me, I’d be thrilled! (laughs) Oh, and, let’s not forget my close second… the beautiful (inside & out!), super hardworking, multi-talented, young woman, Jennifer Nangle. Now, she INSPIRES me!
Would you rather: Frankenstein or Dracula? I am Ms. Vampy! (winks) Dracula, baby!
If you could be any horror icon (dead, alive, vixen, or monster), who would it be and why? Vampira! I have an obsession with vampires and I am totally living in the wrong era!
If you could have a special skill or special power, what would it be and why? I would love to have a special power to make people disappear! Oh, I have a long list I’d like to hit in Hollywood first! (laughs)
Favorite kill scene from a movie or book: Friday the 13th Part II – the decapitation of Mrs. Voorhees. Told you I am old school! (winks)
Favorite Horror Quote: The Shining: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” – Jack Torrance
How can people find you?
If you could tell your 10-year-old self something, what would it be? I would tell myself my mantras and quotes I preach quite often as an adult: “Be You…And, Be Fearless!” – Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach
“Let’s break the ‘rules’ and stop chasing “perfection.” It gets tiring trying to be “perfect” all the time, doesn’t it?” – Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess
“When faced with fear, dig deep inside, find your inner vamp, and Vamp It Out!” – Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk
Malvolia, thank you for this scarylicious honor and Madame interview! From one Scream Queen to another, so much girl power love and bites!!!
XO Brooke Lewis