SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of the stars of "The Color Purple" brings us behind the scenes at the SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco.
N'Jameh Camara, who identifies as part Gambian and part Filipino, describes the journey to get to where she is today. Watch her candid dressing room interview above, where the actor reveals the advice that she'd give herself when she was first starting out, what it's like to enter the world of Broadway and the experience of landing the role of Nettie in the National Tour of "The Color Purple."
Read below for selected quotes:
On advice she'd give her 15-year-old self:
"You will endure a lot of noise, a lot of opinions, a lot of people putting their perception of you, but know that you are truly loved, and truly supported, and that you're somebody's, and that's all you need."
On what it was like to hear that she had landed the role of Nettie in the Color Purple:
"The first person to find out was my fiancé... I said that the Color Purple would like to cast me in their National Tour as Nettie. I'm still like, I can't believe it. I had to let go of these other shows that I thought I was going to be cast in, and then I was like, no they were going to take a chance on me, and they're certain of me, and I don't need to do the umpteenth audition with them. And I'm very grateful."
On her multi-ethnic identity:
"When I was growing up, when I tell you my family really is a rainbow family- we really are. I am half-Filipino, and I'm half-Gambian, and my mother and her Filipino sisters, they all have kids who are half-Mexican; who are half-Portuguese; who are half African-American; and even on my father's side, half German- they live in Germany- half German-American, half German-Irish-American. Growing up as little kids, I did not really question race. When I saw Cinderella with Brandy, and I saw her mom was Bernadette Peters, and the Prince was Paolo, this beautiful Filipino prince- I was like that is life. It wasn't until I got older, and I think for my siblings and my cousins, that we started to realize how much society likes to put people into categories"
On why the Color Purple is especially relevant today:
"I especially think because of the Me Too Movement and the Time's Up Movement, our show kind of fits in with that. We have the beautiful character of Sofia who says to Celie, 'You are worth so much more-and hell not o any sort of abuse-absolutely not. Be more. You can be better-believe in yourself and let me help you.' And that's a part of Celie's journey, like it is for so many women. What is the seed that gets planted so that they can ultimately continue to grow?"
On what it feels like to leave it all on the stage night after night:
"I would say for the most part I do feel that as soon as we get off stage, I do feel like I'm tired to be honest... because the mental journey of where we have to go-the show I demanding emotionally and vocally. But when we're able to see an audience and we're able to sign playbills and people are able to tell us how much of a difference we've made in their day, it energizes me."
The Color Purple runs through through May 27th at the SHN Orpheum Theatre.
To see more on SHN Orpheum's entire season lineup, click here.
Backstage secrets at 'The Color Purple:' An interview with one of the stars
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