Nikki Brown and I were invited to conduct an interview with Academy Award Nominee Terrence Howard for “Empire TV Show on Fox on behalf of the Six Brown Chicks. After graciously accepting this noble task, we both found ourselves in awe of Howard, who showed poise, humility and charisma. We asked Howard several questions during our allotted time; however his answer to my last question is the one that really struck a cord with me.
When I decided to follow my dreams of becoming an actress, not once did I consider my age or my image, and I only considered the desires of my heart that nudged me for as long as I can remember. Some may call it a “Calling”! That works for me. The craft of acting is far more then remembering lines. One must study the art form to become good at it. Developing a character and giving it nuance is not easy. When done right, it evokes raw emotion, and luckily, this is effortless for me. Without spoiling the interview which will be published by the amazing Zondra Hughes of The Six Brown Chicks, I will share part of our last question and Howard’s answer.
Thea Camara: Why do you do what you do?
Terrence Howard: (paraphrasing) It was something that had to happen. It’s like when it rains…it has to come down and hit the pavement. There is no other place for the rain to go. This thing “Acting” chose me…I didn’t choose it. In addition, there are long hours associated with this profession and one must be paid handsomely. This is another reason I do it.
By the end of his answer, my eyes were completely filled with tears…I blinked and those tears began to fall just like the rain in his beautiful response. Howard stood up (before me) and opened his arms. I walked over and we hugged. He kissed me on my right cheek and told me that I was so sweet. I explained to him that at that moment I connected to his words. Words that penetrated so deep that it stirred up something inside of me that I had no idea was there. I was able to share that I had left a six figure job to do what I, too, was called to do: “Acting”.
He told me, “Do not stop! Don’t give up!” and I promised him that I wouldn’t, ending the interview. An hour later as he was leaving the building, we had a chance to chat again.
He said, “Thea…right?”
I replied, “Yes and actually my legal name is TheArtis.”
He replied, “Why aren’t you using it?” I told him that it was too long and I fear folks mispronouncing it and he replied, “that’s like cutting off your feet, use it”.
As a result of our discussion, I’m sure I’ll use my legal name at some point with regards to acting.
Our meeting was another confirmation that I’m doing what my spirit is meant to, and I’m so glad that I have people that believe and support me in the process. I am trusting the journey. For now I will relish in my encounter with Mr. Terrence Howard. A meeting I feel was destined.