Hollie Hunt has done numerous TV and radio voiceover commercials over the last 10 years, as well as various plays. I completed this interview with her on July 24th, 2010 after being referred to her by the writer and producer of Audrey & Dre, in which she plays Dr. Carol Fischer.
When did you start acting, and how did your family feel about your career choice?
I started acting while I was a sophomore in high school in Augusta, GA. I was a cheerleader at the time and I decided to take a drama class. They were casting “The Boyfriend” and needed some dancers for the production. I volunteered. Then I became really good friends with the drama crowd and grew to love acting. Then, I auditioned for the Governor’s Honors Program for Drama in Georgia. It’s a program for high school students who excel in a particular subject and go away to “camp” to study the subject in depth with professionals. I was one of 20 students selected to go for drama. That’s the summer I decided to pursue acting. My family was very supportive, however, they really hoped that it was a phase; encouraging me to teach or to go to business school. But ultimately, they always supported me in doing whatever I wanted to do.
Everyone talks about the difficulty of showbiz. What difficulties have you faced, if any?
Wow, that’s a loaded question. There are so many obstacles in choosing this profession. Acting is the easy part. Doing the work is fantastic. The biggest challenge is getting the opportunity to apply/audition for the work. All of the time and effort and shenanigans one must navigate just to get an audition. That’s the tough part. Every actor is the CEO of his/her own company. There is education/classes, marketing and networking that is required to get your business off of the ground. One must have money to take classes, market and network your product (which is you), so raising the money to get the opportunity to audition for a job is a challenge.
Most actors have day jobs that must not only support them to live, but it must support their business. It’s hard to manage the actor’s life financially. Also, I have the challenge of being a black female in this business. There’s not as much work and the little good work that there is, every black actress wants it. Competitive. Although, I would have to say, the biggest challenge I have faced as an actress is the psychological. It’s tough to be told, “no” for so many years with only a handful of yeses. But those yeses are truly amazing and the hope of having another, along with the work itself, keeps you in the life.
Tell me more about your role as “Malalai” in The Afghan Woman.
“Malalai” was a great role to take on. It was last year of graduate school at Rutgers. It was the only time I have ever had the opportunity to play opposite a man in a lead role. So, it was very interesting for me regarding vulnerablility. The experience taught me a lot as an actress: how to carry a show, how to make sense of such dense language, and how to really go after work and opportunities you want. How to attack it or just don’t do it. Looking back on the experience, it was quite a marathon for me. It was a great way to practice all that I learned as an actress up to that point.
How did you get involved with Audrey & Dre?
Audrey and I were classmates together at Rutgers University/Mason Gross School of the Arts. I had just moved to LA in September of 2010. Audrey had created the first episode of the webisode and the subject matter really resonated with me: Interracial relationships even though, interracial relationships was not the intent of the story. But the fact these two individuals happen to be of different races, made the story even more unique to me.
I have always dated interracially along with many of my black and white girlfriends, so I was fascinated by Audrey and Dre’s story. Their story was not unusual or different from any other struggling relationship. But I was drawn in simply because it was an interracial couple. Audrey marveled as well at the audience her webisode was attracting. It was an interracial dating audience, like myself. I instantly wanted to explore the subject further. So Audrey brought me aboard. I absolutely can’t thank her enough for the opportunity to be a part of the project. It has truly inspired me as an artist and as a woman of color.
Ms. Kelley reported she was surprised to learn about the large market for the Blasian genre. Were you? How do you think audiences (here and abroad) are going to react to the show?
I was amazed to know that there was a huge Blasian community. I had no idea! And yet, completely fascinated. This project has shown me that Black women and Asian American men have a lot in common in how they are viewed and how they move in American society. How will Americans receive Audrey & Dre? I’m not sure. If you notice, black women and Asian men are underrepresented in film and tv because they are not received well in this country; especially as leading ladies or leading men. I believe that their absence from film and TV helps perpetuate societal stereotype and a sense of mystery thereby making them invisible. I hope this project will initiate and inspire that to change.
I think audiences here will be fascinated to watch this relationship and the unique issues a blasian couple faces and perhaps will see common ground. Abroad, I think Audrey & Dre will really resonate. Generally, abroad, minorities and their stories are embraced and want to be heard because people of other countries really understand what it’s like to not be the majority, to not have the voice of the masses or to be seen as other.
So you're optimistic about the reception from audiences abroad?
Yes, I'm very optimistic. See, other countries, particularly Asian countries, are not exposed to the negative black stereotypes that the American media likes to highlight. In fact, many of these countries are familar with black entertainment and hip-hop culture: positive images of black people. Black people are viewed as a people who overcame adversity and in that light, black history often inspires hope for themselves. I think Audrey & Dre is a wonderful examination of a normal couple struggling with typical issues in any relationship, in addition to being a minority couple.
Now, we haven’t gotten to see a preview of your character, Dr. Carol Fisher. What can you tell us about her?
Carol Fischer is an online talk show host—a mix between Oprah Winfrey and Sally Jesse Raphael. She is not only interested in hearing about Audrey & Dre’s story as a host but connecting with their story as a black woman. Carol has video vloggers , that operate much like a studio audience: giving their opinions, and comments/thoughts on the “topic of the day” via video confessionals. They are really the crux of her show.
Acting aside, do you have any other artistic interests? What current projects are you working on? What can fans expect from you in the near future?
I’m currently recording 2 characters for a short animated film – “Stella” with director Daniel Lizzama and working on developing my own projects as a writer/director. Ultimately, I would like to do more directing. In the future, I would like to write and develop new projects similar to Audrey & Dre; fleshing them out as a writer/director. I’m interested in a few genres too: comedy and drama, animation, and documentaries for the World-wide Web.
Miss Hunt, thank you very much for "stopping by."