Exclusive Interview: Chicago actress, Alexandra Noele Grey talks with us about her upcoming starring role in ‘Gossamer Folds’.
Alexandra was born in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in seven foster homes, she was determined not to be a stereotype and to always follow her dreams of making it on the big screen. After high-school, she relocated to California where she studied Theater and soon after began a career in television.
Her roles include Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, and her latest lead star role as Gossamer in Gossamer Folds.
Being an actress gives you the opportunity to reach people, places and ideas most can’t think of. While being part of an on-screen world where being behind the lens makes you an open book and called to be vulnerable, passionate and open at all times. This actress has created a world of her own, connecting with her character and audience in the most admirable way, and doing it magnificently.
Reel Chicago had an opportunity to get to know Alexandra in this exclusive interview:
Tell me about this film, and how you connected emotionally?
I was immediately connected to the film. So much of Gossamers story mirrored my own real life as a trans woman of color. So immediately after getting the audition I knew I had to be a part of this project. I connected on so many levels. Because it was all too real.
The message in this film was very strong, and there were many vulnerable scenes. Was there anything specific you had to do to prepare for this shoot?
Yes, this is my first leading role. So the preparation process for me was very specific. I spent lots of time really diving into the backstory of who this young woman was. And what it would have been like to exist and live in my truth in 1980s Kansas City. Lisa created a wonderful playlist for me to have as well. It really just helps get into the world of Gossamer. And also, Lisa has a very specific directing style. So during some of our most challenging emotional scenes, she always challenged me to go to that uncomfortable place. And I hope that it conveys on screen.
What was filming like working with such a young actor (in reference to Jackson)?
Jackson was amazing. You sometimes forget that he’s a young actor. Because he’s so smart and professional. I was never worried. And I think the best thing is that he kept the atmosphere really positive. There are days in this business and on set that you don’t feel it every day. And I think having a young innocent spirit that really just comes on set every morning with high energy, it really forces you to always remember to be grateful and to be happy even if you don’t feel it.
What was the biggest take away for you from this story?
My biggest takeaway is that the stories of trans people of color are so rich and fulfilling. And also so necessary. I think it’s a story of friendship. It’s a story of love. It’s a story of acceptance no matter what. And so for me that is what I’ll take away from this project and I hope that that is what the viewers will take away as well.
What was the easiest/biggest challenge you had working on this film?
I’d say for me the biggest challenge was really just believing that I could lead a film. This is the first opportunity I got to be a leading character. And so I think in the early days on set. I had a little fear surrounding whether or not I could carry this movie. And I always looked to Lisa for validation. And I love that she never really gave it to me LOL because she knew that I could get to the place that we need to get to and I think it’s just a testament to how great of a director she is. And we got there!
What film inspired you to create? And how has that affected you in what projects you accept or deny in your career?
One of my all-time favorite movies is ‘The Color Purple’ and when I read ‘Gossamer Folds’, I really saw myself as a young Celie. I saw this movie kind of being that color purple for me. Just to see stories of color really fleshed out and breathing life into them. I thought it was just such a beautiful film and going forward I want to continue to tell these rich stories.
Watch Gossamer Folds trailer here:
Jessica Velle is writer from Los Angeles, CA. She focuses on shining a light on culturally diverse stories.