“We have a lack of black friends problem in this country.”

Blacktress is watching her favorite Sunday night TV shows, (all of which she hopes to appear on one day) when suddenly it hits her, that not one of these shows has ever featured a blacktress in a major or recurring role.  I hate America, she thinks.   Ordinarily she might call Nirvana to complain about this.  But just that morning the girls agreed to begin The 21 day No Complaining Challenge, recommended by Oprah.com.   So she calls Iyanla instead.



“Stevie Wonder Black” refers to someone you can tell is Black even with your eyes closed.

Today, Blacktress finds herself walking onto a small studio lot with a self-assuredness that surprises her.  In the last year she’s booked the role of a Ugandan refugee, a depression era jazz singer, a teenage Crip girl, and is in serious contention for the role of Chantal, a pre-op tranny hooker.  Today, she’s up for a part far less challenging.

This breakdown reads like my bio, she thinks.  Piece of cake.


Blacktress has just arrived at Get Cast Now Acting Workshops.  This week’s guest casting director Rick Peterson, on the other hand, has not.  But his reputation precedes him and it stinks up the place…

“He’s a snarky little asshole,” a workshop devotee cautions, while stapling her resume to the back of her headshot.

Twenty minutes later he barrels in, bitching about traffic.  Blacktress hands him her picture.  He studies it, then her, then the picture again.

“Ewww. You need new pictures. I hate this one.”


Photo by Matt O'Callaghan

Blacktress is meeting her friend Shante Shannon for dinner at The Village Idiot, a gastro-pub on Melrose.  For the first time in history, Blacktress is on time for a social outing.  Shante calls to say she is stuck in traffic coming from the west side, and is going to be late.  Go figure.

While Blacktress waits at the bar for her friend to arrive, she catches the eye of Brandon Henry, a thirty something in a button down and jeans.  She buys his line.  He buys her a Lemon drop martini.  They engage in casual flirtatious banter.


Photo by Miles Orion Feldsott

Each year throngs of actors relocate to the wild wild west to take part in what could be known as the modern day Gold Rush:  the pursuit of golden statues and golden stars on Hollywood Blvd.  If they are at least half as lucky as they are talented, they’ll have a shot in hell.  But leaning on a good smile and a BFA will have the weak clicking their heels back home before their studio apartment lease expires. Successfully navigating the journey requires adapting a skill set rarely taught in theater school.  It’s a business.  It’s a game.  It’s a jungle out there.    Go hard or go home.  But on the road to Oscar there’s a lot of down time.  Be bold.  Be brave.  Be Blessed.  And good luck!   Photographer Miles Feld and actress Diarra Kilpatrick take to Griffith Park to learn how the strong survive…

Click more to see the rest of this photo story…


Call is 11am. Blacktress arrives on the set of Angeltown, a gritty crime drama, told from the POV of the cops, who protect the mean streets of LA. These cops seem to cover a territory that spans from south central to Santa Monica.  This is perplexing to Blacktress and other actual Angelinos.  But these are the kinds of details that don’t seem to bother the staff writers or viewers who live in other parts of the country.   Blacktress has won the coveted role of, “Angry Crip girl in the Landromat.”  She sits in the make-up chair next to Scott Oats, a devastatingly handsome and well known Blacktor.  She steals glances of him as often as possible making the make-up lady’s job more difficult.

“Up, up, up. Keep your eyes looking up.  ” Barb says for the third time as she attempts to coat her lashes.

Blacktress complies . But seconds later her eyes dart back over.  Barb huffs.

Blacktress makes note of Scott Oats’ stubby legs dangling off the side of his swivel chair.

He’s such a tiny little man, she thinks.  Aren’t objects supposed to appear larger up close?

“All the A-listers are midgets.  The A actually stands for apple box,”  Blacktress once overheard a woman telling her date in line for a Tom Cruise movie at the Grove.


see more pics from this photo story on FLASH PAGE Photo by Matt O'Callaghan

Last week Blacktress and her friend Iyanla Howard went for a hike up Runyon Canyon.  Their legs made sluggish strides.  Their mouths moved a mile a minute.

“You have to be playing the character you’re auditioning for from the first minute the casting person sees you.  And you can’t break from it until you’re back in your car,”  Iyanla advised Blacktress while scraping dog shit off the bottom of her sneaker with a stick.

“But what if you’re playing a serial killer?  Shouldn’t you at least crack a smile on the way out, so that they know you’re not nuts?” Blacktress asked.

“I wouldn’t.  The more authentic the better.”

“Yeah, maybe even slice a couple people up, in the waiting room, too.  That would really win them over,”  Blacktress said, her tone sodden with sarcasm.

“See that’s too authentic.  You want to be Hollywood real. Not Cleveland real.”