Xosha Roquemore is a young up and coming actress from New York City via Los Angeles. She is spunky, incredibly animated, funny, a ball of energy and sure to make waves across the silver screen. A graduate of New York University’s prestigious Tisch program, Xosha landed her first coveted role in the independent film PUSH (directed by Lee Daniels of Monster’s Ball), an adaptation of the namesake novel. Clutch was able to catch up with the tenacious actress to discuss honing her craft, fashion and beauty and the importance of “putting some value on it!”
Clutch: Some grow up wanting to act and do everything to perfect their craft. Others simply fall into a role and boom—they’re famous. What about yourself? Did you always want to act?
Xosha: I always wanted to be a performer. My dad directed movies, so I kind of didn’t want to act because he was so OD about it. I always wanted to perform. I’m always on! In ninth grade I started going to Amazing Grace Conservatory, an acting program…I was in plays and loved it. Then I found out I could major in acting.
Clutch: A good friend of mine is a dancer from California. One day she packed up heading for New York City to make it. Her experience was rough, to say the least. How’s it been for you? Have things come easily for you?
Xosha: Things are easier because I went to school here. I went to one of my studios at school and had opportunities to meet with agencies. I was the only black girl in my group and I was good. So it did come easy though I’m hesitant to say that. Nothing was handed to me. But I manifested what I wanted my whole life. I didn’t randomly pick up and move to New York…I went to school here so I had a few connects by the time I graduated.
Clutch: Do you find that being an aspiring actress in NYC is overwhelming? Or redundant even? What sets you apart from the thousands like you going after the same roles?
Xosha: Kind of. It’s weird though. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. The auditions for theatre will have every black actress in NYC. For film …you’ll find a lot of “shmactors.” I work in restaurants to supplement my income, I ain’t no Halle Berry yet. At work the actor thing gets boring because almost everyone in the restaurant industry is an actor or “shmactor.” For some people it’s a craft, not a hobby. If you’re not a ballerina you’re not going to go out for Alvin Alley. People don’t take acting seriously…because there are so many people who fall into it. I don’t like it when people “pick up and act” as an easy way out! It separates the actors from the schmactors. There are a lot of people with legit acting and training, and every year people are graduating from these schools and great acting programs. It’s about timing and patience and staying with it. I feel like a lot of women actors by age 30 haven’t booked a gig. But I’m going to do something else!
I WANT TO BE famous…for my talent. I’m in it because it’s the only thing I can see myself doing. I’m only 23, things change. I remember I had no interest in film and only wanted to do theater. But I think I was intimidated. Push was a big deal for me. It gave me a lot of reassurance and confidence to pursue film.
Clutch: True or false: You have to be physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally prepared as an aspiring actress?
Clutch: And how do you handle the latter two?
Xosha: I guess treat yourself. Believe in yourself! I’m sensitive. Part of being an actress, is being sensitive. Emotions, emotions, emotions! They say you can’t let it [rejection] get to you. Well, it did and I’m crying, what you gonna do! Sue me! Most auditions I go on I don’t book. My first audition was for Sesame Street and I didn’t get it. Then there was another audition for Star Trek and I didn’t get that either. You just have to know when it’s your time it will happen.
Clutch: Name one thing your Mother always taught you?
Xosha: Put some value on it! [Laughs] That can be taken anyway! More importantly my mom always said don’t be afraid to be great! For example, ‘They will think I think I’m cute.’ Whatever be cute! I can’t be afraid to be my big bold self! I’m not going to hinder myself because you’re uncomfortable!
Clutch: What’s your personal style like? Are you a label lover?
Xosha: I’m a fashion lover, so I like labels. But I don’t own labels. I’m a vintage girl or really random. I love labels, and I’m an avid reader of Vogue. I’d be a stylist if I could!
Clutch: What’s your beauty routine? Are you the ‘lip gloss and go’ or ‘shadow, blush and in between’ type?
Xosha: Lately I haven’t been wearing makeup because it’s summer. It’s hot! I wear eyeliner, mascara and Vaseline. I get made fun of for that! Since tenth grade I’ve always carried a big ‘ol jar of Vaseline for my lips! I also use Bobbi Brown gloss and YSL gold gloss and sometimes combine the two.
Clutch: Do you have a favorite beauty/inner beauty secret?
Clutch: Favorite places to go in NYC…
Xosha: I be out in the club! I’m kind of a creep. [Laughs] Mansion—if I’m in a tacky mood. Santas Party House in Tribeca is one of my favorite places! It’s not a club but it has great parties.
Clutch: How do you feel about the upcoming election?
Xosha: Obama is cute! He looks good!