A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Andrea Lewis. She is known for her “Degrassi: Next Generation” days, where she played Hazel, girlfriend of Jimmy (Drake), but this beauty is also a singer, producer of her own web-series, “Black Actresses”, and owner of Jungle Wild Productions. I must admit, I came to know Miss Andrea Lewis from my teenage Degrassi obsession, but last year, I fell in love with her Self-Love Saturday’s series on her youtube channel, which later on led me to her most recent work as a producer. If you’re not hip to this talented woman, read on as she discusses self-love, it’s importance in the acting business, and her future endeavors. Go on, Miss Lewis!
Name: Andrea Lewis
What’s your passion: Creating Art
Fun fact: I’m left handed
It’s probably a common assumption that actresses have all the confidence in the world. So I have to ask, would you say that your confidence level is ‘on fleek’, or is it more of a work in progress?
A: I think it’s a common misconception that actresses/models/singers, etc., have “all the confidence in the world”. Most people would be shocked to know that a lot of them don’t. Being in the spotlight is not as easy as you may think, and allowing yourself to be constantly scrutinized be your peers, fans, and the world can take quite the toll. My own confidence has been a work in progress for years, some days I’m on fleek and some days I’m not, but I’m evolving into a very confident woman, and that’s all that matters.
I love that you’re open about your self-love journey. What brought you to share your journey with the YouTube community?
A: I felt it was necessary for me to speak about it because I get a lot of questions about career and confidence, and even though I don’t have all the answers right now, I’ve learned A LOT from simply having love for myself. Encouraging others to have confidence, and self-love has become one of my passions.
How does having a strong sense of self impact you within the acting industry? Do you see a considerable difference in your work since you have embarked on your self-love journey?
A: A strong sense of self within the acting industry will help immensely with the ups and downs of the business. There’s so much rejection and uncertainty within entertainment, and the only guarantee you have is betting on yourself. If your confidence and sense of self is shaky, than your chances of succeeding are shaky too. My self-love journey has allowed me to be free with my art, creativity, and the choices I make for my career. Self-love has helped me to know who I am and the place I want to hold within my industry.
So let’s talk about your web series, Black Actresses! You’re currently on your second season. Congratulations! How did the idea for this come about?
A: I came up with the idea for Black Actress after an experience I had while filming a movie in Vancouver, and my cast mate introduced me as “Andrea, the urban one”. It was a very strange and awkward moment that let me realize he saw me the same way the script saw me, and it was just as “the black girl”. From there I knew I had to create something that told the story of a woman of color pursuing the ups and downs of acting and chasing our dreams. Something that showed us just like everyone else all while celebrating the triumphs of Black Actresses.
With this series, you don’t only just highlight the struggles and stereotypes of black actresses; you also chronicle the day-to-day mishaps of a twenty-something year old. A black twenty-something year old. Do you think it is important to fill in this void that isn’t often portrayed in today’s TV show line up?
A: Yes, I think it’s very important. My friends and I are a group of twenty-something women of color and I don’t see a lot of representation of this age group on TV. Of course I’m happy and excited to see the many black women on TV now, but I’m hoping to expand it with my own work and show the story of the women like me!
What words of advice would you share with your 16-year-old self about self-esteem, self-worth, and of course, surviving these transformational years?
A: First I’d tell her that she’s beautiful and talented and to forget any outside pressures and focus only on being herself. Don’t grow up too quickly and be the person that you want others to see.
What’s next for you and Jungle Wild Productions? Where can we find you?
A: 2015 is a big year for Jungle Wild Productions. We’re finishing season 2 of Black Actress and we have 3 news shows coming out and are working on our first feature film. All of our content focuses on diversity and the story of millennials.
You can find Miss Andrea Lewis here: