Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Interview with MTV’s Faking It star, Senta Moses: “You have to be true to who you are”

Please tell us about yourself and what you do?

I’m an actress. I’m originally from Chicago and I moved out to Los Angeles when I was sixteen to continue my career in film and television. I like to joke that I was a child actor…but ya know, without a drug problem.

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Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects or events that you are working on?

I’m currently recurring on MTV’s show “Faking It” as Principal Penelope. We are currently shooting Season 2b. And early this year, you can see me guest star on “Bella & The Bulldogs” for Nickelodeon, as well “Girl Meets World” for The Disney Channel. Other than that, I’m just pounding the pavement like every other working actor, looking for my next gig.

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Do you find the pressures of working in your industry significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body?  If so, how do you navigate through that terrain?

That’s a tough question for me. Because my look is a bit unique, early on in my career I was labeled as a “character actor”, so I never really felt the same pressure to have a perfect body or be a size “O”. I’ve worked regardless of my weight. And trust me, it has fluctuated over the years! That being said, I’ve definitely felt frustration because how I look has affected the kind of roles I get in for…I rarely get the opportunity to read for a lead in a series or movie. I’m usually brought in to read for the best friend or the assistant or the quirky neighbor, etc. As if someone that doesn’t look mainstream beautiful, can’t possibly be interesting enough to carry a TV show or film. So I guess what I’m saying is that entertainment industry, in my opinion, is definitely focused too much on how you look, BUT you can’t let it deter you from pursuing a career that you love. You have to be true to who you are and if it doesn’t fit into their mold…Well, screw ’em! Create your own projects!

How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures?

It’s incredibly hard. Especially if you get feedback like: “She’s too quirky”, “They really want a babe”, “She isn’t sexy enough”, “She’s a little overweight”. It can start to really mess with your head…and your personal life. I wish I could say that it never got to me, but that just wouldn’t be true. Even now, there are moments when a comment hurts. But what I usually do is try to find the humor in the situation. Laughing at yourself and your frizzy-ass hair can really help get you through the negativity. And I try to remember that looks fade, but humor and kindness don’t.

To follow up with that question, how do you deal with bullying or people talking negative about you? Can you give any examples of bullying in your personal life and how you handled it?

I usually call a friend. Or my Mom. And just talk through it with her. I think it’s human to be hurt by negativity, it’s what you do afterwards that really determines your sense of self. Sometimes it’s important to realize that it’s just someone’s opinion. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just an opinion. And at the end of the day, who the hell really cares what that person thinks? That person doesn’t really know you, but is most likely judging you because of some unhappiness in his/her life. So I just let it go and move on with my life. I also find it helpful to focus on other people. There’s nothing better at getting you out of your insecure head than volunteering or helping someone in need. A few years back, I was going through a really rough pilot season (the time of year when actors audition for all the new fall shows). I was getting a lot of “No” and negative comments. So I took a volunteer position at a local hospital. Talk about perspective. A few hours in a hospital, seeing people dealing with the birth of a baby or the illness of a loved one, can really remind you of what’s important in life…

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What made you want to get involved with Mental Fitness, Inc. and what it is about the mission of Mental Fitness that speaks to you?

I was approached by a sweet man, Jacob, about getting involved. He passed on the website and I immediately felt like it was an organization that I wanted to be a part of. I think it’s really important to offset the media’s definition of beautiful. To put the focus on health and self-confidence and uniqueness. And most importantly, to teach it at a young age. Before the pressures of society get too involved. I think it’s easier to navigate the bullies if you have a strong sense of self beforehand.

Who were the role models in your life?

My Grandma Kay was a big role model in my life. She was 4’11”, at her tallest, but had so much spunk you’d think she was six feet tall. She was generous, funny and smart, and I think about her every day. She had such a sense of independence and I really loved that about her. As far as celebrity role models, I always looked up to women that were unique in some way. Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Holly Hunter, Frances McDormand, Meryl Streep. Intelligent, talented, funny and kind. Those are the qualities that I look up to most.

What do you define as beautiful?

Beautiful is being kind to others regardless of their differences. Beautiful is a genuine, full-body laugh.

How do you define inner beauty?

To me, inner beauty is how you feel about yourself, regardless of what others think of you.

What is happiness?

It’s funny, this question reminds me of that song from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”…The lyrics are:  HAPPINESS IS ANYONE AND ANYTHING AT ALL THAT’S LOVED BY YOU. How true is that?

How do you manage your stress levels in daily life?  Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool?  Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?

I like to walk around my neighborhood, listening to my iPod. I have a playlist of songs that calms and inspires me. And usually by the end of my route, I’m feeling more grounded and peaceful. I also make a point of spending time with people I love. If I’m really stressed about something, just talking it through with my girlfriends or my fiancé can really make the whole thing a lot less stressful. Honestly, I find that what I imagine things to be is so much worse than what it actually is, and talking through it definitely gives me perspective on that. If all else fails, I go to a dance class. Hopping around like a crazy person always shakes off whatever I’m stressing about.

How do you find a work-life balance — as a woman, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance?

Priorities. My career is incredibly important to me, I truly love what I do, but nothing comes before my family and close friends. I’m going to sound like a Hallmark card but, what’s the point of living an exciting life, if you have no one to share it with?

 

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BIO:

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SENTA MOSES has been in show business since she was six months old, kicking off her career with an embarrassing diaper commercial showcasing her naked bottom. Since then, she has appeared in more than 100 national commercials. At the age of seven, she landed the role of “Molly” in the national touring company of Annie and racked up a whopping 487 performances.  While pursuing her high school diploma, Senta co-starred in the films, Home Alone and Home Alone 2.  After graduation at the age of 16, she migrated to California to attend USC’s School of Theatre.  Senta has appeared in the feature films Ten Years Later, Can’t Hardly Wait, The Blues Brothers, D.C. Cab, and Boiler Maker. Some of her television credits include Faking It, Greek, Castle, The Mentalist, NCIS, Rizzoli & Isles, Beakman’s World, General Hospital, and Everybody Loves Raymond.  Despite her continuous work in the entertainment industry, most of Senta’s fans know her best from the ABC drama, My So-Called Life, in which she played Brian Krakow’s love interest, Delia.  She continues to pursue her acting career while writing and producing film and TV projects.

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