Good afternoon, YouthMundees!
This week YouthMundus sat down with actor and journalist Lenique Vincent. The Brooklyn native gives some insight into a kid's view of the professional acting world, and how her perception towards the craft has shifted throughout the different stages of her life.
Vincent began acting professionally during her early childhood. From there her love for the arts only grew. She enjoys food, fashion, traveling, reading- anything involving the arts. Vincent is also a proud Caribbean woman and fully embraces both her mom's Jamaican roots and dad's Trinidadian culture.
The recent NYU grad explains how her nativity as a child benefited her early acting career.
Vincent says, "Art came so much more naturally to me as a child because I was so outgoing, very authentic, and just open to all the world had to offer".
She later identifies how her approach to art has now changed since she's entered adulthood.
"My art is still natural but it comes from a different place, not just having fun or exploration. It comes from a place of yearning and if anything it plays a bigger role in keeping me in touch with who I am and who I want to be," says Vincent.
In addition to continuing to cultivate her acting career through auditioning and such, Vincent recently created a publication called Things You Haute to Know (TYHTK). She also writes for an online publication called TheKnocturnal.
What inspires you and your creative process?
My younger self. I owe a lot to her. Her dreams and confidence has molded me into who I am today. If it weren’t for her and God’s favor over her I would never have made it so far. I can’t thank my parents enough for all they’ve instilled in her. When I’m feeling down, I think about my younger self and how sure of myself I was. That inspires me because I was really fearless and I’m always wanting to go back to being that kid. Everything I wanted for myself when I was younger is what I want now. God planted dreams inside me that only grew as I got older. Unfortunately some fears (and a few bad habits) grew as well, but I’m working on them so I can actually make younger Lenique proud. Witnessing great art inspires me as well. Halle Berry in Frankie and Alice, Jonny Donahoe in Every Brilliant Thing, Luther Vandross singing a House is Not a Home. Good art really strikes my soul.
What is the connection between your art and social justice? Why?
I consider myself a storyteller. The social justice in that for me comes from telling other people’s stories and making sure it’s understood and received by an audience. Received so well, people are wanting to create change. Whether I’m acting or writing, fictional or nonfictional, I always try to address real issues or at least real emotions that go unaddressed.
What inspired you to pursue your art? What were the challenges you overcame in this?
The children on Sesame Street, Rudy Huxtable, Michelle Tanner. They inspired me to pursue art. I grew up watching these people, excited to see them on my TV screen and I wanted to do the same for other kids. I wanted to entertain. The biggest struggle I overcame was all the rejection. I’ve been in the industry since I was about six or seven years old. When you’re a kid you don’t really understand that you’re being rejected. It’s as you get older, go through your awkward phase and it becomes harder to book that you start to realize all the rejection taking place. Thank God my parents were great with me and kept me from internalizing it, but that was definitely a struggle. It still can be at times, but hey it comes with the territory.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being an artist for you? Do you have any advice for future artists? Audiences reactions are always so rewarding. Having people express gratitude for my little games of pretend are always the best feeling. My advice for fellow artists is to let that be enough. Know that by pursuing your passion, you’re changing the world by reaching people. The change may not be a grand one, but for a few minutes/hours you’re presenting a new perspective to people willing to receive what you’re giving them. Treasure that and make them remember you, your character, the message. Make the most of your time on stage or on screen. How an audience remembers your performance will get you that Oscar or Emmy and if it doesn’t, people will always remember you deserving one.
Is there any connection between your journalistic pursuits and your art? If so, what? Both passions ignite each other. Either way I’m a storyteller. I’m just doing it in different ways. Whatever I learn as a journalist informs the stories I want to tell on stage/screen in my own creative way, and what I release creatively as an actress helps me write and put my words together to create detailed stories accessible to any and everyone.
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Lots of love,
Interview by Tessa M. Dobrow