If one thing’s for certain, Brooke Lewis has made a name for herself in the entertainment world. Not only is she known in film as a “Scream Queen”, but she is also a board-certified life coach, a celebrity dating coach, and an entrepreneur. Add to that, she is the Celebrity Ambassador of The Breaking The Chains Foundation. She will be seen in the film, ½ New Year, which is slated for release next year. We chatted with Brooke about her character in the film, her affinity for the horror genre, and the ways in which she has been a voice for female empowerment.
Cliché: What attracted you or inspired you to want to become involved in the acting industry?
Brooke Lewis: I was a very emotional child. I would literally sit underneath the television watching TV for hours on end. When I was a little girl I would put myself into the television series and I would talk to the characters as if I was one of them. So I was kooky and I still am. In addition, I loved to emote and be artistically creative with dancing and music.
Were you always interested in the horror genre? How does it feel to be known as a “Scream Queen”?
Yes. I always say, “Nobody wakes up one day and has a goal of being a famous Scream Queen.” Since I was a little girl I was obsessed with vampires and for Halloween, I would be looking for vampires because I thought that they were so sexy. On top of that, I was a girl in the 80s so I grew up watching all of the hot 70s and 80s movies. Some of those movies were Prom Night, the original Halloween, and Friday the 13th. I never dreamed that I would one day become known as “Scream Queen” in that genre.
At first, it was confusing since I grew up acting as a music theater gal in Philadelphia and then when I moved to New York, I had my first little big break when I filmed for Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, which was a mobster comedy. After that, I was doing a lot of Indie films in New York as well as mobster movies. But once the film Polycarp got released, Showtime picked it up and the movie was aired three nights a week for two years straight. All of a sudden, many horror fans were sending me fanmail and said to me, “Wow, you are the new Scream Queen.” I just embraced every minute of it and felt very blessed.
How much work and motivation did it take for you to prepare for a big role in ½ New Year?
One of my dearest friends from Philadelphia, Drew McAnany, who is the star of ½ New Year, told me after struggling in Hollywood for his lead role break for years that he is going to write himself a piece to get starred. He wrote this piece about six years ago. He wrote Pam DeLuca and I am one of the lead characters in the film. It was the most incredible gift and honor that an actress can ever get for that role.
Drew went through various directors, cast members and producers but it never got off the ground. However, one day the talented Georgia Menides came to Drew and she did a rewrite. In the summer of 2017, Drew called to tell me that the film was happening and to start getting ready for rehearsal in November. I was like, ‘OMG, it’s happening.’ I had years to prepare creatively but I had to prepare real quickly mentally. Last but least, this role was very special for me to play.
Can you describe your character, Pam? Do you relate to her at all?
She is a caricature of my badass girls who I grew up with back in Philadelphia and in New Jersey. Pam has great success in her business and great success in her friendship. However, she is not having great success in her love life. Let’s just say, she is a bit of a cougar and may be similar character wise to Stifler’s mom in the American Pie franchise.
Yes. Pam is a career gal like me. She is in Hollywood. I have dedicated a lot of my adult life to being an actress, being a board-certified life coach and a celebrity dating coach. I chose to not have children and I chose to not get married young so that’s totally Pam. Now, I am blessed to be engaged to a wonderful guy who supports my career. The huge difference between Pam and I is that Pam is focused on her career and not her love life.
What’s the message of the film? What should viewers pay attention to when watching the film?
The message of the film is actually the tagline, which is, the friends are the family that we choose. I feel like when you move to a big city like Los Angeles or New York to pursue your dreams and your career, you often times leave your family. So you end up choosing your friends to be around and they end up being your dysfunctional family. I would say ½ New Year has created an additional family for me, Drew, Georgia and Tom Morash.
Typically, when you hear of a coming of age film, you think it tends to be a film language for young, but it’s more of a coming of age film for people in their 20’s and 30’s. As a dating expert and a board-certified life coach, I always say, “You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time.” The characters in this film are exemplified where one person is having success in his career but not in his love life. There are so many topics that this film covers. I think ½ New Year is going to be an Indie film sleeper hit at the Film Festival next year.
How has it felt winning over 70 awards for your work? Were there any specific awards that meant a lot to you to win?
Every day I am thanking God for the gratitude and for these beautiful statues, trophies, and certificates that I have on my wall in my office. I want more for my career. I want another television series which I am fighting to get. I have had my ups and downs being in this industry for 20 years professionally, and I have learned to stay humble and grateful.
Yes. There were two actor awards that I was honored with that touched my soul. The first award was Best Actress in a drama for a short film called Sprinkles. Then this year I was honored for the Best Actress in an Independent Film for Psycho Therapy, which is a thriller. So when I am honored with these awards, it touches me on a deep level and it makes me like I am doing something right.
What have been some of your favorite experiences in your career?
There were so many. It’s always the people who have supported my career and those who I supported their career. I cherish all the projects that I’ve done including the charity events and the red carpet events. All of my fans have been so loyal to me over the years. I wouldn’t be at this point in my career without all of that support.
Not only are you a successful actress, but you are also an expert as a celebrity dating coach. How did you develop an interest to want to be a TV dating expert?
I dated a lot and wrote a book about it. I was one of those women who loved dating. Once I became a successful board certified life coach, people would ask me for my advice. When my acting clients came in, they would start crying about their auditions because they didn’t get the film they wanted. So I would then break it down and say to them, “What are you really crying about?” “What’s the rejection that you really feel?” As it turns out, nine times out of ten, they are actually upset that the guy that they went on a date with the other night didn’t call them back.
I find it interesting how I was able to merge my personal experiences with my professional experiences.
As a board certified life coach, how do you feel your book, Coaching from a Professed Hot Mess, sets itself apart from other motivational books? What do you hope readers take away when reading the book?
In my book, Coaching from a Professed Hot Mess, I share some of my own personal experiences with dating and offer dating advice. In addition, I talk about having body image issues and struggling with weight as a woman. So my book is tended to make readers laugh and cry at times and to support men, women, teens, and LGBTQ communities. You can find this book on Amazon.com or at Barnes and Noble. I think the way my book sets itself apart from other motivational books is that they are structured through a therapy standpoint or a self-help standpoint. On the other hand, my book is simply from the heart. Also, I feel that my book demonstrates that we are all imperfect and a hot mess.
I hope that the readers can walk away with one relevant piece of information and that it supports each one of them individually. I always say if I can take away one nugget of powerful information that could better my life then it was a great experience.
Can you talk about the ways in which you have been a voice on female empowerment? Why did you feel it was important to take a stand on helping young girls and young women be their truest selves and to help motivate them?
As a woman in Hollywood and having to be living far away from my family, I have had to navigate as an independent woman and have had to pay the bills. Nothing has come easy for me. I had to work super hard for everything I got. So I write to empower other women who are going through the same challenges as me and to let them know that if you choose powerfully in your life, whatever the consequences are, you will come out shining in some way. You just need to keep going and not let the challenges that you face in society break you down. As I’ve mentioned before, you can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time.
I enjoy working with female empowerment charities. For example, I am a Celebrity Ambassador for The Breaking The Chains Foundation (BCTF), which is for men and women. This foundation empowers women who deal with eating disorders, body imaging issues, and body shaming. We can find the strength within, especially women, to get through the challenges in life. In addition, women always have to be willing to walk. That’s where the power lies.
I felt it was important for me to take a stand because I was a young girl once and I was a teen girl once who faced a lot of challenges. My parents got divorced when I was 2 years old and I struggled with body and emotional issues. Nowadays, young girls have shared with me their stories on my talk show publicly or personally about what they are going through. It is pretty amazing how we as adults have to give young girls more credit because they are wiser and more in touch with their feelings than we care to admit. When I have 12 or 14-year-old girls coming to me with their issues, and I ask them, “What is the biggest challenge that you are faced with at this moment?” They say to me, “I am so worried about making the right choices in life.” It’s actually amazing how they actually think about adult issues and they think forward about their future and what it will be like.
Aside from acting and being a celebrity dating coach, you are involved in giving back to many charity foundations. Why was it important for you to get involved in so many charitable causes?
I am a firm believer in giving back. I think that whatever little gift that I have been given as a celebrity in some way, it is my duty to help others and put a smile on someone’s face who is facing a challenge. On a selfish note, I faced a lot of challenges. For instance, I would get depressed if I gained five pounds last week or if I didn’t book the television series that I was up for.
At this point in your life, who was the person who helped guide you to get you to where you are now?
I have been blessed with wonderful people in my life and I am so grateful for that. My two favorite Hollywood icons are Elizabeth Taylor and Mae West. They are my forever icons because they are two powerhouse women who beat the Boys Club of Hollywood. They have inspired me and I hope one day I will have the opportunity to make a memorable mark as they have.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not acting or working?
It’s very rare that I am doing something else besides from acting or working. I am a Broadway girl and I love musical theater. I also love wine and tequila tasting. I enjoy going to the movies and watching Netflix on the couch with my fiancé. We would watch The Real Housewives.
Are there any future projects that you are working on or will be working on?
I am still running the Film Festival with a couple of short films. I want to shout to Markus Redmond who wrote and directed Allen + Mille, which is a short romance film that I produced and got to star in with one of my amazing talented besties Courtney Gains. We have been extremely grateful to be part of this piece that we are running around. In addition, another short film that I got to act in was Rotting Love. Lastly, I also got to act in Evolution War which is a feature film. Evolution War was directed by one of my favorite Sci-Fi directors Neil Johnson.
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“Scream Queen” Brooke Lewis Talks About Her Life in “1/2 New Year” and Tackling Health Challenges In Her Life. Image Credits: Birdie Thompson; Hair & Makeup: Allison Noelle