by Sherif Awad
I am Dede Newman, actress, dancer and model...
-My mom started me in ballet class at age 8, and I absolutely loved it! When it came time to audition for The Nutcracker for the first time, and I got a role in “the party scene,” I was hooked on performing, as well as dance.
The imagination and creativity of becoming a character in a performance was mesmerizing. And, I loved the camaraderie of being in an ensemble production - the rehearsals, the production itself, helping to break down the sets, etc.
Performing as a dancer inspired me to become an actress, so I enrolled in classes at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. And, started doing plays and musicals in high school.
I stopped doing ballet around age 15 and started doing jazz dance and more acting.
I wish I had stayed on the creative trajectory of acting and dance and moved to LA to pursue these careers full-time right after high school. But life (and my parents) intervened, and I ended up going to college and studying political science instead.
But my creative passion resurfaced recently, which is why I’ve gotten back into acting and dance.
-I used to love sitcoms while I was growing up. So, my role models were actresses like Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow from Friends. Also, Megan Mullally who played Karen on Will and Grace. Loved her comic timing. And, all the actresses from Sex and the City, especially Sarah Jessica Parker. On the big screen, my role models were Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock.
-I’ve studied the Meisner technique with a private acting coach and in group classes, and continue to do so. This technique involves behaving instinctively to the surrounding environment. The underlying emotion is key. So, there’s a lot of emotional prep that goes into playing each character.
-It’s satisfying to me now, but I would like to be recognized nationally for my work. I would like to get some roles that really showcase my diversity and emotional range as an actress.
-Luckily, I haven’t experienced any gender-related challenges.
-About the entertainment industry, it’s slowly coming back after the lockdown. But filming was still going on, during the lockdown, in a very safe way, here in LA. I was lucky to shoot two small roles in short films last year, on safe sets.
-Regarding casting: thankfully, there are a myriad of apps through which we can audition remotely here in the U.S. These existed even before the lockdown forced everything to go virtual. These apps are a blessing to us actors because of the diverse audition opportunities they provide. There’s also an app with the potential of getting seen by agents, which is very valuable as well.
-I approach new works with a lot of preparation! The Meisner technique helps with the emotional prep. I study my character, and the relationship of my character to the other characters I interact with. Since I just got back into acting recently, hopefully my greatest artistic achievement is yet to come! I am open to a diversity of roles – dramatic and comedic. And, I’m seeking commercial representation.
-Parallel to arts, I am also a certified yoga instructor, so I do a lot of yoga. I also do a lot of Qi Gong. Both are calming and grounding. I also walk, jog and swim for cardio. Although, intense yoga provides cardio as well. For my dancing, I typically work with a choreographer who picks the music and creates the routine.
-Right now, I still feel like a newcomer myself! While I’ve done three films and have been selected for others that will hopefully pick up again after the lockdown is entirely lifted, I would encourage anyone, at any age, to follow their passion!
-I’ve done three film roles, most of which are on my IMDb page. I have been in these films: Forgotten Legacy and Fortunate Son. In September, it’s tentatively scheduled for me to film my role in Revelation. I have more on the horizon, and have been selected to be in a sitcom, which will hopefully start shooting in the Fall. I am keeping the future work confidential for now.
I also have a YouTube comedy channel, called Make ‘em Laugh – Dede Newman. I love doing comedy and improv. And, I’m on Instagram, FB and TikTok. I am honored and blessed to have worked and be scheduled to work with such talented directors.