Our Conversation with Actress Danielle Moné Truitt
Inspirational. Dynamic. Relatable. Talented. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when speaking of Danielle Moné Truitt. The 36 year-old actress is as passionate as she is talented, and her creativity transcends barriers.
Truitt is not new to the acting scene, having created and starred in 3 Black Girl Blues, a one-woman show, which was met with critical acclaim and sold out audience. Truitt also has guest starred in ABC’s Super Fun Night and FOX’s Mulaney in an acting journey that was guided by talent.
Truitt now stars in BET’s Rebel, a weekly series, spotlighting the uncomfortable, yet recurring topic of police brutality. Truitt is very conscious of the much needed conversations that Rebel sparks, as she notes that police brutality, although a sensitive subject, is a conversation that needs to be discussed.
Truitt is so more than just her fly, no-nonsense character Rebel, she is a loving wife, mother and philanthropist. Through her organization BE. ETERNAL: The Thriving Artist Series, she provides emotional and spiritual support while providing a space for other artists to cultivate their talents. She is not just a dynamic person on screen , but off screen as well.
Truitt is proof that with faith, consistency and hard work, dreams will come true. We caught up with the actress for an in depth interview talking beginnings as an actress, Rebel and so much more…
Parlé Mag: What inspired you to pursue acting?
Danielle Moné Truitt: A professor of mine in college noticed that I had a knack for it and encouraged me to audition for a play.
Parlé Mag: Recently there has been a surge of #BlackGirlMagic on primetime television. How important is it to have positive representation of Black characters on television?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I feel it is extremely important. Not only for black people, but for everyone. It enhances the human experience to see different faces and hear different voices and stories on TV!
Parlé Mag: What motivates you?
Danielle Moné Truitt: Failure motivates me. Being told “No” motivates me. Life has never been easy for me, but all of it has been worth it. My children also motivate me. They remind me that no matter what I face in the world, I am fiercely loved.
Parlé Mag: Tell us about the audition process for Rebel. How did you become interested in the part? What inspired you to audition?
Danielle Moné Truitt: December of 2015 my managers at CMA Entertainment sent me the audition for Rebel. I coached with my acting coach, Elizabeth Nunziato, and went in for my initial audition for the casting director Kim Hardin. I got a call back audition for John Singleton and the other Producers. I had three scenes to do and was told I would only be able to do the third scene if John Singleton liked the first two. After the first scene, John was very impressed with my take on the character and told me he liked my flavor and that I was a “real sistah”. We still crack up laughing about that to this day. I went on to do the third scene, then John sat me down, asked me who I was, where I was from and what he had seen me in. I told him I did theatre and he loved that. I left that audition room in a daze and when I got outside of the building, I broke down and cried. It was the most amazing experience of my career! I didn’t hear anything for four months. By that time, I assumed they went with someone else! I was performing in Dreamgirls and The Mountaintop and then out of the blue I get a call saying I am still up for the role and that I was John’s only choice for a screen test. Basically, God performed a miracle and here I am today!
Parlé Mag: Rebel tells an uncomfortable narrative. The role requires a lot of emotional effort, what experiences did you use to be able to convey the emotional energy needed for the role?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I am energized by the woman that Rebel is. I understand her. I feel her in every place in my body. I believe the story is important and it moves me. Because of this I can connect to what she is dealing with and going thru and that is what I use in my acting. I put myself in her world and I allow myself to be vulnerable.
Parlé Mag: What is it like working with John Singleton on the show? What insights/tips have you picked up working with him?
Danielle Moné Truitt: It has been wonderful working with him, along with the other directors for the season. John is a master at what he does. His passion for filmmaking and his authenticity is contagious and shines through his work. He taught me how to look without moving my head. That may sound funny, but I come from theatre where our movements have to be bigger for stage. He challenged me to go with my instincts, to stay out of my head and just be, and that what I possess is enough.
Parlé Mag: Thinking back over your career to date, what has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I think my greatest accomplishment as an actor, to date, was creating my One Woman show 3: Black Girl Blues alongside my writing partner Anthony D’Juan. We worked on developing the show for 4 years. I produced the show on my own several times in different cities, and in September 2015 I took it to the United Solo Festival and performed it for a sold-out theatre in New York.
Parlé Mag: From a professional context, what do you feel is your greatest strength and/or weakness?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I think my greatest strength professionally is my humility. My weakness is people pleasing.
Parlé Mag: That’s deep! Creativity seems to come naturally to you, as does your writing and producing talents. if you could reinvent one television series, what would it be and why?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I’m not telling y’all because I don’t want anyone to read this article and steal my idea (laughs)! One thing I will share is that want to turn a certain Spike Lee film into a Broadway Musical.
Parlé Mag: Ha ha! Understandable. How do you manage being a wife and a mother and maintaining a successful career in such a demanding business?
Danielle Moné Truitt: Literally, it is the grace of God! His favor and His divine hand on my life. He has given me a rock star for a husband. We are truly a team! Our hashtag is #TruittCanDoIt. It’s a real thing! I have amazing family and friends that have helped as well. There is also a will inside me that says that I have to keep going and be an example of unyielding faith to my Sons .
Parlé Mag: Does having a family make you critical of the roles that you take on?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I wouldn’t say it makes me critical, but I do think about how the roles would affect time with my family. There is a lot of scheduling and things that go into making sure home is taken care of.
Parlé Mag: What is your dream acting role?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I honestly don’t know. When I played Beneatha in A Raisin In The Sun I felt like that was my dream role. Then came the women I play in my one-woman show 3: Black Girl Blues. Then, I played Camae in The Mountaintop and that was a dream. Now, I’m playing Rebel… I’ve been very blessed.
Parlé Mag: Identifying with the character is pivotal for success in any role. which character was the toughest for you to transform yourself into?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I guess I would have to say Jill from my one-woman show 3:Black Girl Blues. At first read, I felt like we were nothing alike. Once I stopped judging her, I was able to see her for who she was and acknowledge that there was a little of her inside of me.
Parlé Mag: Oftentimes actors have to place personal issues on hold in order to truly bring the character to life. Tell me about a time when you had a really bad day but had to perform that night. How did you get through it?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I had a rough childhood and I found the arts was a way that I found relief. I could escape for a little while. I could lose myself in singing and dancing. As I matured into an adult I realized one of the best ways to forget about your problems is to focus on serving others. So when I’m on stage or acting on screen I try to look at my work as serving the character I’m playing. Giving myself over to be used. So there is just not enough time to think about my problems. I also feel close to God when I perform and everything in His presence becomes small.
Parlé Mag: Taking care of your natural hair and skin is an important part of your day. Your character Rebel is often sporting beautiful natural hairstyles. What is the most extreme change to your personality, hair, body weight, etc, that you have done to prepare for a role?
Danielle Moné Truitt: Fortunately, Rebel and I have a lot in common on the physical side. I already wear my hair natural. I work out so I was already in good physical shape. I guess the biggest stretch was in personality. I think I’m a bit sweeter than Rebel is. Also, I have never been in a physical fight in my life! Many arguments, but no fist fights. Who knew I’d be having all of my fights on-screen!
Parlé Mag: Rebel brings some uncomfortable topics such as police brutality, racism, and sexism to the surface. Is it necessary to address these topics on television? Do you believe that it makes a difference when social issues such as these are given a platform?
Danielle Moné Truitt: It most definitely matters and is extremely necessary. I believe art is a tool to educate, inspire and incite revolution. Art imitates life. People can be truly affected my art in any medium. Social issues need to be discussed and brought to the forefront so change can happen.
Parlé Mag: Be. Eternal : The Thriving Artist Series provides a platform for artists to showcase their talent. The series also provides emotional support to up and coming artists. What inspired you to create this movement? Why would you say it’s important to have support when pursuing a career in the arts?
Danielle Moné Truitt: Be. Eternal: The Thriving Artist is actually not about artist showcasing talent. It’s a place where we don’t have to perform, we can just be. Artists deal with a lot of rejection, failure, and disappointments. Also extreme highs and extreme lows. Many have turned to drugs and suicide. I am a huge fan of Whitney Houston, and after she died I was inspired to start the series. I believe that artists are special and that we need a place where we can release, be supported and comforted. It is my hope that this series will equip artists with the tools and emotional maturity to thrive.
Parlé Mag: Tell us about your philanthropic efforts. What inspired your involvement?
Danielle Moné Truitt: I love people. I hate to see people treated unjustly. I hate to see people suffering. So, I serve the homeless with my church The LivingRoom. I started “Be. Eternal: The Thriving Artist” and also created the event “More Than A Hashtag” to give Artists and the community a place to come together to see change in our justice system. I just figured, I have a voice, so I should use it!
Parlé Mag: What advice would you have for up and coming Black actresses?
Danielle Moné Truitt: Be yourself. Don’t change what is authentically you for ANYBODY! It’s not worth it. You are beautiful! Own it. Be it. Walk in it! Work hard and what is coming to you will arrive just in time for you to receive it.
Parlé Mag: Where do you see your career in 10 years?
Danielle Moné Truitt: Stronger, wiser and more beautiful than I have ever been!
Thanks for the time!
Photographer: Tyren Redd
Makeup: Rebekah Aladdin
Wardrobe: Corey Roche’
Jewelry: Africa’s Best
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