Aesha thank you for your time. How are you? What have you been up to?
Hey! I'm great! Thank you for asking. Currently I just took a trip to Georgia, it's beautiful out here!
You recently had a guest spot in the hit show 'Gotham'. How was that experience?
Yes, I had a co-star role in the first season of Gotham, episode 4 called "Arkham". It was a dream come true. I've always been such a huge Batman lover. In fact, out here in Georgia, I just got the Batman symbol tattooed on my bicep! Working with director TJ Scott was an amazing experience. The scene was set in the Lansky building, which was a 1950 style set with old school typewriters. I felt like it was a different time period. My character was a bit more outspoken than most, which was what made her speak up when Det. Gordon had his questions. I connected to her in that way because people always found me to be a bit outspoken as well!
Would you be open to returning to that show in some capacity for more episodes or the extended D.C. universe maybe?
As far as returning to the show, if there is a need to go back to the Lansky building than YES!....Unless my character just so happened to work there and I do something completely different and unrelated. I am all for that as well. Either way I am blessed to have that experience! Gothemite forever!!
From 'New York Undercover' to 'Third Watch' you have plenty of T.V. show experience in the Law and Order field. Is there something that attracts you to that genre and those sort of roles? We could see you playing a lead detective.
I appreciate that you see me as a lead detective! Right now in my new film 'Smoke Screen', I play contract killer Emma Peirce. She is ambiguously good/bad. I love roles like that with a dash of dark humor. With that being said, straying from my current ideal I don't mind playing good or bad and I personally have traits of detective like qualities that I connect with. I love getting to know people and getting to the bottom of who they are pretty quick!
Can you share with us memories from your award winning lead in 'Arresting Gena'?
'Arresting Gena' has to be one of my fave films I was ever in! I was fortunate enough to work with such a talented cast of actors at the beginning of their careers such as Adrien Grenier, Sam Rockwell, Paul Giamatti, Summer Pheonix, Brenden Sexton, Kirk Acevados, Heather Matarazzo...to name just a few. It was the film with the most buzz at Sundance and went onto getting me the 'Peoples Choice' Best Actress award at Olympia Film Festival. The film really changed my life!
From singing the National Anthem for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium and starring in Levis commercials what remain your fondest memories in growing up in this industry and what advice can you give those looking to break through?
Best advice to people breaking through is everyone wants to witness a piece of real life, which is why reality tv is doing so well! I had a huge support system at home and I took a lot of what is thought to be "risks" I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I didn't care much about what others thought of me and I never really wanted to fit in, nor did that concept make any sense to me either! I was completely outspoken, determined and passionate. I also went through a lot of schooling such as performing arts, Strasberg, Esper, UCB, Centerstage and had private coaches such as Seth Gilliam and Ann Ratray etcetera, etcetera.
Your accomplished dancing talents has also brought you many accolades. From Elton John to the Wu-Tang Clan what has been your favourite music video that you've performed in?
Elton John 'Believe' has to be one of my favorite music videos I have ever been in, directed by Marcus Nispel. Besides my kissing scene, I found it so exciting to run across the very top ramp in Grand Central Station that is usually closed off to the public. They had me running and jumping into a mans arms as a light went off at the perfect part of the song. I still go there till this day and look up to that exact spot and remember that glorious day!
How can acting translate to dance and vice versa in regards to expression and emotion?
Acting, dance, modeling singing etcetera are all forms and outlets of expression. It depends which medium you perfer, I love them all and each project I do I feel enhances my character as a person.
Has being that close to different genres and greats in music inspired your own writing?
I was most inspired by a talented music producer named Eddie Cascio. He produced one of my songs called 'Bad Press'. Eddie was Michael Jacksons protégé and allowed me to record on Michael's mike and hang out in the room he would stay in, in the private getaway. This family meant the world to Michael and just being there gave me a surge of energy I have never felt before. Isn't that what its all about though? energy? Usually I like to live in a bubble and create my own sound by tapping into universal energy and just letting it flow through me. My brother Geffen is a talented rapper, producer and I have recorded with him in his studios throughout my life as he has always inspired me in the hip-hop industry my whole life. I have learned a lot from him.
How did it feel to read the award winning poem in Angelina Jolie's indie movie 'Lovesick' and what can you tell us about the beauty and freedom of independent filmaking and work?
The poem I read in Angelina Jolie produced movie 'Lovesick' was an amazing experience. I was used to that poem getting lots of attention from everyone. It had also won me first place in the poetry competition of Kingsborough College before I attended NYU and graduated with b.s. in Media, culture and communication. I also just published 'The Midnight Hour' in my new poetry book on Barnesandnoble.com called "Wild Rantings Of A Teenage Girl'. My Lord I have done everything I could with that one poem!
Your paper turned book 'The Model Body' is extremely important, especially today. How do you feel this positive writing and empowering message helps in a time were things like the media and society are still reinforcing tired sterotypes that can make many women, especially young ones growing up and maturing in this world feel negative about themselves when they shouldn't?
'The Model Body' plan is really my answer to getting over borderline anorexia and gaining control over my body. My book also stands for self acceptance. Being a model I know how the world can make a girl feel like there are "standards" to live up to. I am not 16, not 5'9 but still it hasn't stopped me from repping a type that is fine to be. Girls should love themselves no matter their shape and size and should be proud to represent how God made them for that special purpose.
Although each person is different can you offer any advice could to those suffering from anorexia, especially in a time were even turning on their phone, let alone their television can make them feel much worse?
Best advice for all eating disorders is we all have control of ourselves and we are what we eat to extent. Understand cause and effect and make your choices accordingly.
You also work in the fashion industry as a model and designer with great influence. How do you feel that too inspires and helps people feel empowered from within?
I want to empower people to be who they think they are and let nothing stop them.
Can we look forward to some new music from your band 'The Acception' soon? How does this passion compare to all the others you have?
I will start working with my brother Geffen to produce more music soon, when I have time. Never know whats next, though I am searching for an acoustic guitarist. The Acception was a group with the talented Jessie May who is a solo artist now. We collabed experimentally and went to Nashville to drop off the song I wrote and we recorded over to Third Man Records as we wanted Jack White to see if he heard anything with it. Jess and I are huge vinyl lovers as well as Third Man Records lovers and wanted to give it a home. We still don't know if Jack or Third Man Records ever heard that song yet but I did come home with one of their record players for now!
From your multi-cultural roots to living in a cosmopolitan city full of that in the heart of New York how does all that inspire and influence your wide range of work?
NYC inspires me by all the opportunities I get on a daily basis!
You are named after a Stevie Wonder song that means 'fire'. With all that you do in a variety of accomplished roles and the pressures they bring how do you keep yours burning?
My fire burns for the reckoning I have been awaiting my whole life for. That chance to more than just survive as an artist- but thrive.
What's next for you?
'Jane' my new comic book that I created and co-wrote with 'Smoke Screen' director Sean Buttimer and the artist The Crow. It's about a young outspoken girl that sometimes is known to be a spy.
Aesha we thank you for your time. We really appreciate it. We wish you all the best for the future.