Whitney White, a multi-talented Actress, Vocalist and Model, made her NBC prime time debut with The Playboy Club and was soon nominated by the Black Theatre Alliance for the Phylicia Rashad Award (Most Promising Actress). Fluent in French, excellent part singer, sight-reader and with extensive live band experience, Whitney is currently based out of New York and Chicago. Look out for her on this season of Louie (FX).
Interviewed by Stephen M. Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.
Well thanks! It’s very exciting that you guys reached out to me. I am a Chicago native currently working in New York. I’m a terribly enthusiastic lover of the arts who loves to sing and take on new characters. I graduated from Northwestern University, and lived in Paris FR in 2006, which was about the most amazing experience I have had to date. Always energetic and enthusiastic you can see a little more about what my daily adventures are like at www.Whitney-White.com.
How and why did you get into acting?
I did my first school play in Kindergarten and started writing songs in my journal in second grade. My love of acting specifically came into focus in high school. I became more attracted to that form of storytelling and jumping into characters. At Northwestern I tried to keep my options open, but by the time I graduated it was clear I was going to give the biz a shot. That first year after school was the deal maker; a month after graduation I booked my first professional show, “Caroline or Change” and signed with Gray Talent Group. It has been a hustle ever since, but the payoff of moving an audience with an impactfull story continues to drive me forward.
Talk to us about your work at The Mama Foundation for the Arts?
The Mama Foundation for the Arts is an organization based out of Harlem founded by Vy Higginsen that launched the internationally and regionally touring Mama I want To Sing. The organization produces shows that bring historically black music all around the world and they also have great youth outreach programs. I am currently performing in their musical production “Sing Harlem Sing”. They were one of the first companies I started working with when I moved to New York.
Describe your experience with “ACROSS THE WAY”.
Oh man (smiles), that was my first “film project” and I was so green! Until that point I had been doing only live performance so the director really had to real me in. But it was great; I got my first taste of on-camera acting and my costar was someone I had worked with before. He was very open and encouraging.
What is your best gig thus far?
That is really tough. Even though my career is in its early stages I have worked with many dedicated and talented directors. I would say, however, that working with Louis C.K on Louie (FX) was unforgettable. He writes, edits, directs, and stars in this sensational show. To do that you have to have intelligence that is out of this world. I mean, he would give me direction, then jump behind the camera to get the angle then jump back in and do the scene. It was nuts and he really pushed me.
Any upcoming projects you would like to discuss?
Yes! This August I will be in the first staged production of “The Standard Upgrade” a new play by Angie Montgomery and Howard Leader about three middle aged lawyers who get involved with young women of color. It is controversial, hilarious, and based on a true story. The play will be part of the “Dream Up Festival” at the Theater for the New City in the East Village. I also have an episode of Louie (FX) coming out this summer.
What are your leisure time activities?
Seeing live music is just about my favorite thing to do. I’m kind of a music junkie and play with an indie band, Dots and Dashes, based out of Brooklyn. Next to that I love to travel and crave going to new places. There is nothing better than waking up in a place you have never been and knowing that a great adventure awaits.
If you could live anywhere where would you build your dream home?
Despite being a city girl, my dream home will be close to nature and hopefully near the water. I want to be able to do all the outdoorsy things I love and also have enough space to entertain family and friends. I prefer warm climates to cold, but who doesn’t!
For more details, visit www.whitney-white.com