By Bobby Leigh
Q: Thank you Annie. As you know, I have been a big fan of yours for years. Thank you for talking to talk to me, and our readers.
A: I’m always happy to talk about my favorite topic — Creativity!
Q: I know you are an actress, voice over artist, Director, Writer, and an internationally exhibited mixed media artist, what do you favour doing above all the rest?
A: Sometimes I wish I had an answer to that question. Maybe my mind wouldn’t be so crowded if I did! :) But for me, when it comes to living a creative life, I find myself going where the inspiration takes me. I’ve been a writer my entire life and that feels like breathing to me. Books, plays, poems, you name it - if it’s expression via words: i’m here for it. Creating visual art, especially drawing, and using my voice to help tell stories, these are my great passions.
Q; How did you start out? Did you see yourself as a television star or actor or even an artist?
A: From that age of three I wanted my own TV show. It came to me one day while watching Carol Burnett on TV. I put my hand over her face and declared, “I’m going to be in the TV!” Maybe I wanted to literally climb inside the box but I didn’t do that. Instead I found acting classes at age 10 and an agent and got my headshots and figured out how to do all the things by asking around. My mom is an immigrant who couldn’t read English and my dad didn’t know about this stuff, so it was up to me to figure it out. This was pre-internet so it took a lot of footwork. I read books about how to be an actor and how to break-in and I just kept moving forward. I always wrote stories but I was obsessed with being an actor.
Q: I saw you can juggle Kiwis for three whole seconds? When did you discover this talent?
A: I remember around the age of 13 or so I saw a play in a small theatre in Hollywood (my dad always took me to the theatre) and … oh, I wish I could remember his name, but he was this funny juggler who had a one man show and after I saw the show I became obsessed (yes, obsessed again, I have ADHD - we tend to get obsessed about things) with learning how to juggle. I remember grabbing fruit from the kitchen and practicing in my parent’s room near the window. I guess they had the best light for juggling. I was so excited when I was finally able to do it! When I got really into it I could go for awhile but nowadays, I think three whole seconds is the top. :)
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Q: Let’s talk about Art. You once drew a picture of me that I still have and enjoy. How did you get started in art? & Can I share that?
A: Yes! Please do. I got inspired by a photo of you so I drew it. That’s how it works for me, I like a face, a position, a something, and then I simply must draw it! I got into art right after my mom died in the summer of 2015. I connect the dots that way because it feels connected. I lost someone so close to me, it felt like beauty left the world. So, I guess I needed to put some back in.
Q: What do you find the most challenging aspect of being an author screenwriter and playwright?
A: The actual doing of these things feels as much as a part of me as waking up, brushing my teeth, having coffee, etc. So I’d say the biggest challenge: is reaching my readers. Because the world is so noisy, there’s just so much to look at. And we all scroll past things within seconds, we are on to the next, to the next, to the next. Luckily, people DO still read books and go to the theater and see movies so I know I can find them, or they can find me, but that’s really it - I want to connect - that’s the bottom line.
Q: You are the 3rd female solo dating game show host in the history of television. What are some challenges for women in this industry?
A: I feel like every single woman in the industry could write their own book on this subject. Before the Me-Too movement, it’s like all of Hollywood (the world, really) just accepted crappy behavior from some folx, like it’s just “the way it is.” I’m so happy for the younger women coming up now, these things will no longer be tolerated. There’s a part I wish we’d hear more about: in addition to sexual assault and inappropriate behavior, there’s this thing that happens when a woman thinks they are being seen for their talent only to find out it’s something else. It’s potentially dream crushing. I’ve written about this and also how they didn’t want a woman to host the show I hosted (BZZZ!) a dating game show, because “people don’t want to hear rules from a woman.” And in voice over, I used to be the commercial announcer for several products (Baskin Robins, Giant Foods, St. Louis Post Dispatch) and before I booked those jobs I had always heard, “women can’t be announcers. They don’t have enough authority.” These things are changing. Thankfully.
My suggestion to all humans who are being “othered”: ignore the noise, focus on you, power through, do your thing.
Q: What are some of your most memorable roles as an actor?
A: People mostly know me as Lara from Good Luck Chuck with Dane Cook and from My Sister’s Keeper with Cameron Diaz. A B-movie I did a long time ago, has a following too, Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars. I’m the lead in that one. It’s a women-in-prison low budget thing that I heard Oliver Stone enjoys. For me, my favorite role was recurring as Theresa Campbell in the TV show, Becker starring Ted Danson. I love TV. I always have.
Q: Who are your biggest influences?
A: Mom. Also, Carol Burnet, Lucille Ball, Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen, Dorothy Parker and Ruth Gordon. Also, a fictional character that Ruth Gordon played, Maude from Harold and Maude.
Q: What are some of your current projects?
A: I have a young adult novel out now, Just a Girl in the Whirl: Just a Girl in the Whirl is about family, forgiveness, and having enough courage to live your own life, your own way. 📚
And I just finished another young adult novel, Charcoal, this one is an illustrated novel with over 50 original drawings. I’m currently writing another young adult novel and a book of poetry. I have art appearing in a few online exhibits now and I just finished doing additional dialogue recording in English and in Italian for the TV show, White Lotus.
You can find all my current going ons on my Linktree:
Q: What message do you have for your fans?
A: You need to be your biggest fan. That way when you fall, of course you get back up, because you’re rooting for YOU! Find a way to love yourself unconditionally so you can keep showing up. So you can keep moving forward.
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Bobby Leigh is Multi-Platinum, Award-Winning Actor, Filmmaker and Music Manager. He has produced and been on the management teams for such major rock-n-roll legends as “Aerosmith,” “Guns-N-Roses,” “Red Hot Chili Peppers,” “KISS,” “Lynyrd Skynyrd,” “Prince,” “Quiet Riot,” “Night Ranger,” “Joan Jett,” “The Specials,” “Social Distortion,” “The Offspring,” and “Staind.” Leigh also served as the producer for three “MTV (VMA’s) Video Music Awards” Television Award shows.
Other notable acting roles; Leigh appeared in “The Flight Attendant”, “Midnight Mass”, “London Fields,” “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Creatures Of White Chapel,” “British Style,” “Cruel,” “Dracula Untold,” “Golgotha,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Childlike Violence,” as well as many other independent films.
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