“Chalk It Up” Star Rachele Brooke Smith On Her Love Of Acting And Athletics
In the new gymnastics comedy Chalk It Up (which is officially released on VOD and iTunes today), Rachele Brooke Smith stars as a spirited young dancer. The 28-year-old actress plays Angelina, and delves into her own athletic roots to seize this latest role. Smith, who is also a dancer and was a competitive gymnast as a child, discovered her passion for the screen at a young age. Since then, her love of acting has led her to parts in The Nice Guys and Iron Man 2.
Real Style spoke to the articulate and determined star about bringing her athletic skills to film and her experience launching her own charity, Unbreakable. Here’s what Smith had to share about her new character, favourite Hollywood icons and her tricks for keeping motivated in the face of challenges.
Real Style: What can you tell us about your character Angelina in Chalk It Up?
Rachele: Angelina was actually scouted as a dancer, to be on this gymnastics team in the movie. She was so fun to play, and a very feisty character. She likes to have a lot of fun, but also be heard. She really gets her opinion out there.
Real Style: Can you relate to Angelina at all?
Rachele: I really grew up more of a people pleaser and I just wanted to make people happy, and maybe didn’t always say exactly how I was feeling. As an actress, you get to basically be your character. It’s really fun to not have these types of qualities, because I really felt that she didn’t. It was really great to connect with that and let loose.
Real Style: You come from an athletic background, with experience in dance, boxing and martial arts! How did you translate these experiences into your acting career?
Rachele: I think that’s one of my absolute favourite things. I do a lot of motivational speaking for young performers and kids who really want to get into acting and performing. I always say, to be as versatile as possible, because you never know which skill is going to help you get a role. I had done a scholarship program when I first moved out to L.A. I am really convinced why I was even able to play that role was because I had trained in all different styles of dancing.
Meryl Streep is one of my heroes, and I love a quote which I’ve heard her say. She says every new skill you learn, every adventure you go on, every new thing you try, it only makes you a better artist.
Real Style: Tell us more about your philanthropic initiative Unbreakable.
Rachele: I was really inspired by what I call my centre stage story. I was 13, and I broke my hand in a [gymnastics] competition. I had to have surgery, and it was a really hard time for me. I was unable to practice, and wasn’t sure if I even wanted to keep going.
Anyway, I saw a dance film that really just changed my life. I just felt super inspired, and that film was Centre Stage. That was the moment I fell in love with filmmaking. I [also] got into personal development, reading all about the power of your thoughts and your mind.
What really started Unbreakable was my philosophy, you can allow yourself to bend and allow yourself to go through these challenges. Never allow yourself to break, and always remain unbreakable. I started creating a web series of inspirational content, and just really had no idea what I was doing! I was really young and it was when YouTube was just started.
Now my company is called Unbreakable Productions, and I do a lot of different stuff. I have an eBook which is coming out that is called A Disruptive Roadmap To Being Unbreakable. I also have inspirational audios for people to listen to before they go into an audition or meeting.
Real Style: Which actors are your biggest idols in the industry?
Rachele: I love Sandra Bullock. Meryl Streep is also a big hero of mine. There are so many people I look up to and I try to watch some sort of video or interview every day, with an artist who does inspire me.
Real Style: How do you get yourself excited for a new role?
Rachele: I think when I used to get auditions, I would stress out about them. Now when I get auditions, I choose to believe that I am an amazing actor. Instead of stressing about this character, how can I celebrate this life and this story? It puts you in a whole different mindset.
Real Style: What are three fun facts about you that would surprise your fans?
Rachele: I never wear matching socks. It’s kind of a thing that I have! I’m definitely somewhat of a tomboy. I grew up a pretty big tomboy actually, and was really obsessed with basketball. I would always wear basketball jerseys and have my hair in a ponytail. I don’t think people would necessarily know that about me!
I also love to just be super nerdy. I would love to play more nerd roles, as well as action hero roles. I love to make people laugh, and do things that are surprising and different.
Photo: Lesley Bryce
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