Today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview I had recently with career actress Kelly Rutherford. Her résumé includes a recurring role as Lily van der Woodsen on cult sensation Gossip Girl as well as credits on other hit shows like Melrose Place, Generations, & Dynasty. This is a little off the beaten path from my traditional content, but I think will be far more enriching.
Given that we are riding an intense wave of reckoning in Western society with the #MeToo movement, especially in Hollywood, it is more important than ever for women to support each other, particularly in professional settings. Having a chance to interview someone as successful as Rutherford offered great insight into creating success for oneself.
Camille Barron: The trajectory of your acting career has been in the top 1% of actresses trying to “make it” in Hollywood. What would you say owe that success to?
Kelly Rutherford: I just took the best job offered at the time – and I have been doing it a long time!
CB: Many characters you have played tend to be independent, clever, and sometimes even headstrong. Would you say you are similar or different to those personalities?
KR: I am different than the characters I play, yet I do my best to elevate them and to bring what’s human and real to each role.
CB: Who is a female mentor you have had at any point in your career? What was the most valuable lesson you gained from their tutelage?
KR: I love my acting teacher Jocelyn Jones in Los Angeles. I studied with her for years. She really helped me focus on being professional and know that [acting] is a business (as creative as it may be).
CB: What advice would you offer to young women who may feel that they do not have someone to turn to in their professional life?
KR: Make a vision board and write about what you want. Find mentors. Visualize what you want to do; how you want to feel.
CB: Is there anything you wish you had known or done when you were just starting your career?
KR: Yes: That I am a powerful creator. We all are. The thoughts we think, the words we use, are creating our realities. Loving ourselves. Being kind to ourselves and others. Also that it’s ok to ask for advice from people who are successful at what you would like to do. Most of the time they are flattered. Pick up the phone. Write a letter, send an email. Reach out to people who can help you. Let them know what you want to do. The more specific you are the easier it is for them to help you fulfill your vision. Most importantly, enjoy the process!