By Jocelyn Goode from FAIM Magazine
The word sensational means stimulating, causing interest or excitement but temporarily and by superficial means. Well, Taela Naomi Brooks is by all definitions interesting and exciting but she is sincere, intelligent, grounded and a starlet that will be around for years. The 25-year old Brooklyn native is a finalist in the “Be Sensational” competition to win a spot on the hit Broadway musical “Chicago”. Taela was the only finalist chosen after a live audition judged by actor Mario Lopez and Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams, who currently plays Roxie in the show. Now she needs the people’s support to land the walk-on role and to get one step closer to fulfilling her dreams.
FAIM Internet Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Taela Naomi to learn about her journey as a performer. She definitely deserves the support to go the next level. Read the below interview to find out why she is beyond sensational…
FAIM: How long have you been a performer?
TN: I’ve been performing since I began creative movement classes at age 3.
FAIM:What styles of performance do you have expertise in?
TN: I have studied ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern, contemporary, theater, and jazz. Musical theater has become my area of interest and versatility is important since every show calls for a different technique.
FAIM: What productions have you participated in already?
TN: I have performed in Dreamgirls (with Jennifer Holliday), The Producers, High School Musical 2, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Crazy For You. I have performed on stage with the Black Eyed Peas, and modeled for L’Oreal, Ed Hardy and Sony. I was also a principal dancer with Naganuma Dance, a contemporary dance company based in New York City for 2 years.
TN: I would love to share the stage with Beyonce! Her choreography is always fierce.
FAIM: What has been your greatest obstacle and how are you overcoming it?
TN: My greatest obstacle has been remaining focused in such an unstable industry. Once a show is over it is always back to auditioning and striving for what comes next. I practice my art regularly even when I’m not performing and whenever I dance I know it’s my calling and I feel newly inspired.
FAIM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
TN: In 5 years I see myself playing Velma in Chicago on Broadway.
FAIM: What has been your greatest accomplishment so far and why?
TN: My greatest accomplishment so far has been remaining true to my hopes and dreams and never giving up. All my other accomplishments happened simply because of my unrelenting determination.
FAIM: What is your dream role?
TN: My dream role is Velma in Chicago. I love her determination and feisty character. Fosse’s choreography is my favorite to perform also!
FAIM: What is something surprising you have learned about the industry that you wish you knew before you got started?
TN: I wish I had realized that I wanted to go into musical theater earlier! I would have taken up singing lessons. I always loved dance and trained to be a dancer but only realized that I wanted to sing after college.
FAIM: What have you had to sacrifice to get to this level?
TN: I’ve had to sacrifice the sanity of a stable, routine lifestyle. My career takes me all over the country and the world which is exciting but also inhibits me from ever feeling truly at home.
FAIM: What is the difference between your real life personality and your stage personality?
TN: In real life I am sometimes shy and quiet. On stage there is no room for humility. My stage personality is large and loud.
FAIM: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
TN: I draw inspiration from great choreographers like Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins and amazing singers like Jennifer Holliday. They are true masters of their craft.
FAIM: What was your most embarrassing stage moment?
TN: My most embarrassing stage moment was tripping to the point of nearly falling during my big entrance! That happened while I was still in college.
FAIM: What advice do you have for other aspiring performers?
TN: My best advice to other performers is to never give up. Those who succeed at anything are those who see their dream and stick with it. See as many great performances as you can to stay inspired. Practice your art and learn impeccable technique.
FAIM: What can readers do to support you?
TN: You can visit www.besensationalandwin.com and vote for me once a day from now till this Friday, May 7th to help me win a spot in Chicago. Also check out my website, www.taelanaomi.com to keep updated on my upcoming performances!
FAIM: What is the one thing you want people to remember you for?
TN: I want people to remember me for my elegance and commanding stage presence. I want to be an agent in the magical experience that theater is supposed to invoke.
Photos courtesy of Taela Naomi Brooks