In light of February’s Love and Black History Month on S.O.U.L. Magazine, I caught up with a powerful black woman who has been making quite a name for herself. Ci Ci Foster, accomplished actress, film producer and entrepreneur. She is now also focused on writing novels and has released her latest book “Sunny Rain” and is now working on her new novel called “Hollywoodn’t“. If you’re not familiar with Ci Ci or her work, here is your chance to get to know her.
When did you first discover your talent for acting?
I discovered my talent and passion for acting during college. The first role I auditioned for was a conniving young girl and I booked it. It was a small two scene role, but after the performance, people kept talking about my performance. That was the first time I remember thinking to myself, “I could do this.” I started taking acting classes and auditioning every chance I got. My passion for acting grew more and more each day.
How did you make your way from actress to film producer?
When I moved to LA, the acting gigs dried up, so I decided to try my hand at producing. I’ve always wanted to produce my own film, but kept putting it off because I didn‘t know where to start. Shortly after relocating, I met my business partner who shared the same passion for wanting to produce good work. We decided to produce a documentary, “I Heart Hollywood,” with our own money to show people the real life struggles of actresses.
What was to you, your first real breakthrough moment in the entertainment industry?
When I got my SAG card. Joining the union is really a crucial moment in any actor’s life because that allows you to go out for professional acting work.
How did the documentary I Heart Hollywood come together?
My business partner and I wanted to share our stories of the struggles of the business, so we decided to cast other actresses who were passionate about the craft to give viewers a real life glimpse into the lives of working actresses before they reach stardom. I really felt like you can always see reality shows that follow the lives of celebrities, but following the lives of actresses on their way to the top was an untapped market.
Do you feel that as a (black) woman, you’ve had more struggles in this industry? Absolutely. Hollyweird, sorry Hollywood, is ran by men and what they put money into makes it challenging for Black women to penetrate the market. I was at an event recently where Halle Berry was the guest speaker. She talked about how challenging it still is for her to get roles and secure financing for her films. I remember thinking to myself, “If Halle Berry is still being told no, we’re all in trouble!” LOL… The struggles will never end. But that doesn’t detour me, it makes me want it more.
You are a role model for a lot of young women and are mentioned alongside other powerful women in the industry. Do you see yourself like that as well? How does that make you feel?
I’ve always been a strong believer that the parent or guardian should be the role model for their children, but I understand when you put yourself out there it’s part of the territory. Most of the time it makes me feel good that young girls may see me as a role model. Then, when I really think deeply, I feel a bit overwhelmed because it’s such a huge responsibility.
When did you discover your talent and love for writing?
I’ve loved writing for as long as I could remember . As a child, I used to write stories and love to read. It was natural for me to gravitate towards a career in writing.
How do you combine all these different “jobs”?
It’s not difficult to combine all my jobs because they are all within the same industry.
How do you combine all of the work with your family life, being a wife and mother?
It’s a challenge sometimes to combine family life with work, but I make a schedule and try to stick to it. I have to write everything down or I will forget. My husband and I spend quality time once a week without the kids to re-connect. Then our daughters have their own outside activities that we squeeze in. It’s crazy sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Seeing how you do not limit yourself, the sky is the limit, what would you want your next venture to be?
I’m continuing to build my empire brick by brick. Right now, I’m working on producing a play and a web show. After those are complete who knows what I’ll end up doing.
Do you think you will come to a point in your life where you put down the working shoes? Or are you a person that keeps chasing her ambitions?
I don’t think I’ll ever hang up the working shoes. I enjoy what I do so much that it doesn’t feel like work. I am definitely the type of person that can’t stop, and won’t stop chasing her ambitions.
What is your ultimate goal in the entertainment industry?
To change the game.
What is your ultimate goal as a person, in life?
Ultimately, I’m aspiring for total happiness. More specifically, that means for me to have a successful career, healthy friends and family, and to help others reach their goals.
What would your advice be to young people that have the same ambition as you?
Work hard, stay focused, and have patience. I truly believe if you do what you love the money will follow.
Ci Ci’s website: www.cicifoster.com
With special thanks to Florence Edwards from Publicity 911.