Keeping a positive mind and focus on her approach to life, actress Gioya Tuma-Waku gives her advice on remaining level-headed in such a tough industry like the entertainment business. Gioya also talks about some of her favorite roles so far and who she would love to work alongside if she had the chance:
What do you remember the most about your first performance?
The performance I vaguely remember was at my primary school and we put on the show ‘Aladdin’ and I was cast as one of the pop-up Genies. It wasn’t a big role but my time on the stage added to my love for theater acting and helped solidify my passion to pursue acting for the rest of my life.
What do you feel makes a great performer?
I feel like its all about the work you put in beforehand which leads you to forget everything and just be in the moment. This sounds contradictory but it makes complete sense to people in the industry. You want to do all the work beforehand so you break down the script and know all the intentions and goals, obstacles and subtexts. You need to know all this and build a strong character that you know inside out so that when you get to the actual moment you are about to just forget all the work you’ve done and just live as your character in the moment and react naturally.
What have you learned the most about the business?
It’s a tough business to be in especially as an actor where you are constantly hearing no. It’s not for the faint-hearted and you should only do it if you can’t honestly see yourself doing anything else because you have to put up with so much rejection and so many emotions -but it is something that bring me the biggest joy and there’s nothing like the feeling of being in a character you’ve developed. There are also so many facets to it that a lot of people outside the business don’t see and the auditioning process is definitely a unique experience. Not at all like job interviews.
Are there any regrets you have with any roles you have taken or are you happy to have been a part of everything you have performed in?
I think there are definitely roles that I have regretted taking on but not because of the role itself -but more because of the experience, I had on set and most of the time those scripts didn’t even get completed so it didn’t even feel like the bad set experience was worth anything. I do think that even though I regret those roles, it was necessary for me to go through those experiences because I learned a lot from them -including setting standards for the kinds of projects and roles that I am willing to do.
What do you think the most important thing is, that you need to prepare for when getting into this business?
You need to prepare to be in it for the long haul and have thick skin. The rejection process can be brutal and can be something you go through for a long period of time but you have to find strength in yourself. You have to believe in you and your craft and just do the work.
What has been one of your most exciting moments?
My most exciting moments have happened this year in relation to my movie Pink Lemonade. Firstly being able to a part of the full process in creating that film and truly having a character that I was fully invested in and wanting to tell her story the right way. Furthermore, I was a Best Actress Semi-finalist for the Olympus Film Festival. I was a Best Actress Finalist for the Actors Awards, a Best Actress Finalist for the Los Angeles Film Awards and I was an Honorable Mention for Actress in a Indie Film Winner -and for the movie to be invited to screen at The Indie Short Fest as well as The Aphrodite Film Festival in New York.
Is there anything else you would like to do that you haven’t had the chance to do yet?
There are still so many things I want to pursue in this industry. I want to keep growing in my craft and would love to work with a number of people such as Shonda, Ava, Lena, Gina, who are truly trailblazers in creating space for people of color. I would also love to work with Viola, Kerry, Denzel, Natalie, Gabrielle, both Regina’s, Issa and so many others. I would also love to keep creating and discovering more of myself as a filmmaker too.