Written by Mandy McGee
Kelly Polk is an actress and model from Los Angeles who has the passion for conceptual and Avant Garde styles. The first time I ever saw her was in a series of photos by Tyler Shields (who is my favourite photographer). I started following her creative endeavors and then got her to an interview with me. I think Kelly is on her way up to being well known. She is beautiful, talented and driven. She is most known for her part in the Marilyn Manson video Running to the Edge of the World.
Photo by Lennon
Mandy: For our readers who are not familiar with you, who is Kelly Polk and what do you do?
Kelly: I think continuing to read this fascinating insight rather than a one two word adjective will give you a more accurate answer.
Mandy: Where are you from?
Kelly: One of the few LA County natives that are still here. I grew up in the “ghetto of suburbia” in a really rich community I’d also refer to as “The Bubble”.
Mandy: What are you currently working on?
Kelly: This really awesome short film I starred in, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” written by Mike Testin. It will being screened at the Hollywood Chinese theater on June 5th at The Dances with Films Festival..So that is really exciting when you do a project you really love and see it actually appear on the big screen. It’s a Mad Max-esque post apocalyptic western. I’m in post production with a recent short I wrote, acted, and produced called “The Devils Personal Assistant”, which will hopefully be finished by early June. The title is pretty self explanatory as far as the plot goes, It has a Rosemary’s Baby mixed with Beetlejuice vibe to it. Right now I’m writing another short film loosely based on the little old lady serial killer Dorothy Puente. I recently dyed my hair to black after being a blonde for 4 years in the industry, so there is a little bit of re establishing going on too.
Mandy: When did you first know you wanted to become an actor and how long have you been acting?
Kelly: I honestly can’t remember. It was something I always wanted to do. I would coax my friends and neighbors to put on skits and fashion shows for my family and anyone else willing to watch. I didn’t grow up with money, so acting classes, and taking time off work to go auditions etc. with me, was not something my parents could do. I actually went to college for music business, got a promising job right after I graduated, and quit six months later. I was miserable and I knew that if I didn’t pursued acting, and entertaining I would always be asking myself “what if?” for the rest of my life. I couldn’t live with that.
Photo by Lennon
Mandy: Has your family been supportive?
Kelly: After spending thousands of dollars going to school for something completely different and quitting my well paying job, they knew I was serious. They are happy that I love what I do.
Mandy: Is anyone else in your family an entertainer or an artist?
Kelly: Not at all. I come from a background of Sports enthusiasts.
Mandy: What was the first show you ever did?
Kelly: The first play I ever did was a ridiculous “cleaned up” version of “Grease” called “Grease-less” for my Mother’s church when I was 11. I got cast as a cheerleader. I was a pretty shy kid in front of large audiences back then.
Mandy: Do you prefer acting for film or for the theater?
Kelly: Film hands down. I have a lot of respect for theater, but films and TV are what really inspired me in the first place to be an actress. One of my favorite pastimes is just relaxing and watching good movies or television.
A still from “A Good Man” by Mike Testin
Mandy: What has been your favorite role so far?
Kelly: I usually enjoy the character I am most currently playing the best.
Mandy: What role would you love to play that you haven’t yet?
Kelly: That’s a difficult question as there are so many answers. A non fictional character is something I have yet to do.
Mandy: Have you ever played someone of the opposite gender? What was that like?
Kelly: No, but I think it would be an amazing challenge!
Mandy: What do you do to prepare for an audition?
Kelly: Every one is different. There is no ritual or any thing fancy about it. The auditioning process is hell. I try not to think about it too much. Just know your lines and then forget about it and relax. As hard as that really is.
Photo by Lennon
Mandy: What is the strangest thing a role required you to do?
Kelly: Having glue put in my hair, lemon juice in my eyeballs, or laying in some alley at midnight between burning barrels are just a few things.
Mandy: Besides acting, what other training have you had (voice, dance, stage combat, etc.)?
Kelly: I played softball for 10 years. I like to think I can play the guitar but I just know chords, however I’m not too shabby on the drum set. Since I went to school for music I also know quite about music history and have been to countless shows. Besides being on set, it’s my Disneyland…not that Disneyland isn’t fun.
Mandy: What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out as an actor?
Kelly: 90% of the time acting is not about you, but what you are getting from the other person emotionally.
Mandy: Is there a particular role that got away? A role you really wanted, but wasn’t cast in?
Kelly: American Horror Story. Something went not as planned in the business department. I love that show, hopefully in the near future there will be another opportunity.
Taken by a cast member on set of The Devils PA
Mandy: What three actors would you really want to work with?
Kelly: Narrowing it down after one is extremely difficult. I have seen every Philip Seymore Hoffman film and think he is just brilliant. Michael C. Hall, and Natalie Portman are some other artists I have looked up to for years.
Mandy: What’s the best part of being an actor?
Kelly: Experiencing life in an alternate reality as a different person is a rather damn cool concept.
Mandy: Do you think you really understood what you were in for when you decided you wanted to become an actor?
Kelly: Somewhat, but I don’t think anyone really knows until they are waist deep in it.
Photo by Marc Gabay
Mandy: Have you ever gotten a chance to be on the other side of the table at an audition (watching, instead of auditioning)?
Kelly: I have not. I’m not sure how much I’d enjoy that. Auditioning is a craft in itself. It takes quite some time to get comfortable. So many great actors drown at castings. I don’t like to see that. It’s also long and tedious.
Mandy: What was your most embarrassing or scariest moment in your job?
Kelly: I think the scariest thing is knowing when your next job will be.
Mandy: What is your dream project?
Kelly: Working on a Charlie Kaufman film.
Mandy: If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?
Kelly: Invisibility! You could get away with anything. HEHE!
Photo by Marc Cartwright
Mandy: If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
Kelly: The Greek or Roman Gods seemed to have pretty interesting existences.
Mandy: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Mandy: Professionally, what’s your goal?
Kelly: Supporting myself in a comfortable manor doing something I love, or some would say am obsessed with.
Mandy: What hidden talents do you have?
Kelly: I’m double jointed and have crooked fingers…though I don’t think that’s a talent.
Mandy: Who inspires you? In life? In your career?
Kelly: I could list a page of actors, authors, artist and directors, but I think I’ve surpassed my time to name them all. My close friends as well. They happen to all be artists of a sort mostly.
Mandy: What advice can you give to other aspiring actors?
Kelly: You need an invisible emotional shield over the heart on the business side, and then be able to rip it open on stage. Metaphorically speaking of course.
Photo by Tyler Shields