The So-and-So Profiles takes a break from its hiatus to shine a spotlight on the Lady Jacquelin Schofield, whom I met on the set of the web series "The Cavanaughs". She was so hilarious in her scenes that I had to have her grace the Enterprise.
She is currently appearing as Mrs. Muller in "Doubt" at the Westchester Playhouse through August 18.
1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actress?
I was a precocious kid – always putting on shows to perform in front of the family.
Wherever there was a camera, I was in front of it with the hands on the hips posing red carpet style.
When I started school, I was always singing. I come from a
musical family. Music was always first. I thought I was going to do music but
it was very clear that I was not supposed to pursue a career as a solo artist
even though I tried.
In 1997, I was in my first stage play. This was when I was living in DC. I just went bananas. I was like, “I love this! This is what I’m supposed to do!”
I was going to go to law school and do all these things, but it was like…no. The minute I hit that stage it was all over. I’ve been pursuing it ever since.
That’s where it all began and I’m just so excited about what is to come.
2. Where does your focus lie -- stage, film, TV, internet, all or either?
I want to do it all. I don’t know if that’s even possible or if that’s even wise to be able to do it all. Because I was trained in theatre, I will always love that. But I really, really want to sink my teeth into doing some good work on film. I want to be able to do that because I know I would do really well just based on what I know about myself the work ethic I have.
3. What is your dream role or type of role?
Something very dramatic with lots of layers and colors. And I’m getting to do that. I booked another theatre gig. I’m doing Doubt. I’m obviously doing the role Viola Davis played in the film because I’m a little brown.
She happens to be one of my mentors. I study her work. She is the cat’s meow for me. I love her. I have met her, but to be able to sit down and have a conversation with her – it wouldn’t be gushing. I would be trying to pick her brain apart. I so admire her skill as a dramatic actor. It leaves my mouth agape.
I saw Doubt three times. There’s so much going on with Mrs. Muller. And I get to discover things about this woman and use from my own life to help bring all this to life. This is my first dramatic stage play where there’s no music. I’m just over the moon.
That’s a dream, but I really want to do be able to do more.
Comedy, as you’ve been a witness, is not something that’s hard for me. I can do comedy. I had coaches telling me when I was living on the east cast that comedic timing was not an issue. But I had a tendency when we would do dramatic scene work, to make it funny. I really needed to be able to work on that so that the drama can be the drama. There is comedy in drama and drama in comedy, but if it’s supposed to be dramatic, then let it be that.
This is why I am excited about Doubt.
4. How do you describe your style of acting?
Prior to The Color Purple [at the Celebration Theatre in Hollywood], hilarious. Comedic. Zany.
I would definitely say the style/genre would be comedy but because I love drama and I want to master it, I want that to be my style.
The Color Purple, if we could talk about that for a minute, helped me because there were some dramatic spaces in there – especially in the final scene where I also play Celie’s young adult daughter where they come from Africa and I see my mother for the first time. She sees me. That’s serious. That’s major. And I really had to think about it, make the right choices.
My mother is still alive so that was great to think about how I would feel if I was separated from my mother at birth and then to be reunited with her. With that, it was easy to emote and give the director what he was looking for with that. Then you’re reading the script and you’re always discovering something – you can go deeper and you feel it in every fiber of your being. The Color Purple helped me greatly.
I used to be so shallow but as you mature as a person and you discover things about yourself as a person, now I have all these colors and layers and depth. I want to be able to bring that to the screen, to the stage for people to feel it.
One of the attorneys that I work came. And at the end, I came out and I was so happy. She brought her girlfriends. She was like, “I’m a changed woman. I didn’t know.”
That changed her perspective. She got to see me outside of the legal environment and was moved to the point where something changed for her insofar as she saw me and how she treated me.
All I had to do was get on the stage.
To affect someone who knows you for all intensive purposes, how much more will I affect the person that doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall? If you can pull a style out of that for this interview, maybe God will give you a revelation. What kind of style is that?
There you go. That’s what it is. So it goes in line with my vision and mission – to affect change in the lives and minds of people so that they not leave the same way they came in.
5. How does your faith play into the decisions you make for your career?
I haven’t had any paid roles as of yet – especially for film and television, so I would still be considered a neophyte. But even in the few things I’ve done, there’s a certain way that I feel in my spirit. Some people say, “I’ve got a feeling that I need to do such and such.”
For me that’s just not a feeling. That’s the spirit of God, which leads and guides me in everything – not just my career, but just in life period. For me, it makes a huge difference.
I have an agent and she knows where I stand. It’s important, even when I’m looking for stuff on my own to submit myself for certain things, I read very carefully to make sure I have a complete understanding of what I am submitting myself for so I’m not taken aback should I get an audition.
People are observant. They pay attention and they see certain things. I just want my faith to shine through. It’s not that I’m trying to proselytize or anything or like that or force my faith on anybody but that plays a big part in the person that I am. It’s part of my life and so that’s going to shine through in anything that I do.
6. Do you feel that will have an affect on your career?
I don’t think so. Not in a negative sense. It would help me. I don’t know exactly how because no one really knows who I am. But I believe that the time is coming because I’m absolutely sure that this is what I’m called to do – not just what I love to do or what I’m passionate about. I am absolutely sure, there is no shadow of any doubt, I am supposed to be in this field.
My mission/vision statement is to be a light in this industry and to change the lives of people by the work that I do. My goal is to do work that is pure, honest and tells the truth. When people walk away, I want them to have something to think about. I want them to reconsider some things. I want people to walk away thinking, “I’ve never thought about that.”
7. What are some of the other roles you played – professional or otherwise?
In that very first play I was the neighborhood alcoholic. We were singing and dancing. It was hilarious. It was called Parents in the ‘Hood. That was in DC.
I was a lead choir singer in Anatomy of a Brother. That required me to really sing. You’re in church and you dance and you run across the stage dancing and singing.
I was also a news reporter – a British news reporter. I was interviewing people in a club asking them if they thought they were going to go to heaven. It was very interesting.
I worked with this guy named Tyga Graham. Every Good Man Ain’t Gone was the name of his play. That role was kinda sorta dramatic because I was the matriarch of the family but I also had to sing.
I did another stage play with him that was focused on youth. I was the principal. That was sorta dramatic. It wasn’t heavy but it was not comedic at all.
Maybe those things prepared me for The Color Purple. I don’t know. There’s a reason for everything. No randomness.
8. In your experience thus far, have you felt pigeonholed into certain types of roles?
If I was booking a lot, I might be better able to answer that question. There has to be a part two to this because some things are going to change.
9. What would you like the balance for you to be between drama and comedy?
Using Miss Viola Davis, she’s not done any comedy from all that I’ve seen of her. I’ve seen comedic actresses do drama. Her co-star in The Help, Octavia Spencer, was a comedic actress forever and then she gets this role. She got to be funny in it, but she also got to be very, very dramatic and was very, very good.
To be able to get a job where I can do both within the same project would be the syrup on the pancakes.
10. What would you like the balance to be for you between musical theatre and straight acting?
Check back with me in six months (laughs). Whatever comes my way -- stuff has just been falling into my lap. I had to submit myself for The Color Purple, but I knew that was something I needed to do.
Then something else will come along because I’m listening.
11. Would you like to win an Emmy, Oscar, Tony, Grammy, all, neither or it doesn’t matter?
I would like to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and a Tony. All of those would be great. Just to be nominated would be great just to be able to sit in the room with all of these people I have been watching since I was a kid.
I’m a very social person so I have no problem approaching folks. I would approach respectfully because they don’t know me and I only know them because their faces are all over the place.
But we’re going to have some conversation. You’re not just going to kee kee, hah hah and sip on lemon water. We’re here for a purpose. I got on a cute dress, nice pumps, hair did, nails did and everything did, but this can’t just be frivolous. It can’t just be that I was with this person, took pictures and went to a party.
After I’ve said goodnight, and nice meeting everyone, and thank you, I need to go home and break all of that down. When I begin to replay the night, there has to be something that I have gleaned – something to have propelled me to the next step of my journey. I don’t have time to gush and fawn.
So when I get back to the Ponderosa, and I would like to have a Ponderosa some day, I’m feeling like there’s nothing wasted and it’s not been in vain.
12. What would you say in your acceptance speech?
Because I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will get it all. They can ‘give me the music’ if they want to.
It will be God first because He gave me all of this and I was a good steward over it and I did what I needed to do to hone it and be skillful, so now I’m standing up here giving a speech.
Then it would be my mother and my father, who is deceased now, for allowing me to be.
I would thank my family members who supported me and my friends who loved me and supported me through the ups and downs.
You gotta give a shout out to your agent and all those other people – the producer and the director of the film.
There’s an attorney, his name is Michael Kiklis. We worked together and he would tell me constantly, “Jacquelin, this is not what you’re supposed to be doing. When you get to the red carpet, don’t forget about me and the princesses (which is what I called his three daughters).”
I so won’t. In my acceptance speech, he will get a good shout-out and I will say his WHOLE name – “Michael S. Kiklis, Esq., to you and the princesses…”
This has been in my head for YEARS. And the fact that it’s still there means to me that I’ll get to say this.
I don’t even know what award it’s going to be, but just to be able to say that and to look at the camera and say, “You told me. Thank you.”
And then I’m off the stage because it’s a wrap. I’m collapsing. Not that that will be the end, but it’s the thing that has been coming to pass for a minute and now it has manifested itself in the earth. The enormity of that . . . .
13. If a film were written with you in mind, what would it be like?
One of my core values are as a person is justice -- so something where I’m helping people in some way. I love action. I love suspense. An action-suspense thriller.
A female who is definitely, because of who I am, a strong woman. She would be funny, but she would also be compassionate and strong. She would have many colors.
14. Who would you like to have as part of that cast?
Ms. Viola Davis of course.
Angela Bassett. I would love to work with her. She’s another actress that I admire. I study her as well.
Kathy Bates. Kathy Bates is a phenomenal actress. She’s dramatic but she’s funny and that reminds me so much of me as a person.
Morgan Freeman. Amazing.
I’d also like to work with Clint Eastwood. He’s amazing.
I would also like to work with Gary Oldman. He’s an excellent villain.
15. What would a TV series built around you be like?
A crime drama. I want to be a detective. I watched all those kinds of shows. I would be a great detective. It would be that or something with fantasy like Grimm.
One of the other actresses I admire greatly is Taraji Henson. She has grown tremendously. She is awesome. I would like to work with her for sure. I was very excited to see her on television in Person of Interest.
16. Who would you like to play in a biopic OR who, past or present, would you like to play you in a biopic?
Because I haven’t seen it yet, Harriet Tubman. I say Harriet Tubman because all that she did speaks to a couple of core values and the person that I am – one being FREEDOM.
That would be a hard one to play. And it’s all drama. There might be some funny stuff in there but not a lot. That was a hard life to live but she helped so many people.
I can answer the question ‘who can play me’ later. Ask me in six months.
17. If a production was casting for a "Jacquelin Schofield" type, what would they be looking for?
That woman would have to be hilarious, passionate, secure in who she is and fearless enough to look you eyeball to eyeball and not blink.
She would have to be bigger than life. You can be hilarious and not bigger than life. You can be quietly hilarious. But she would really need to be a character.
18. What is going to keep you from giving up?
I’m the only person that can get in my way and I can’t do that. I’ve done that a lot. It’s dangerous.
I understand that I need to be responsible from a natural perspective and do the things I need to do but it’s not just natural. It’s natural and spiritual as far as I’m concerned. I understand that I cannot manage my life well just by myself. So I have to allow God to be the head of my life.
Basically, I’m saying to God, “Here are the keys to my life. I’m going to let you go ahead and drive and I’ll be over here in the passenger seat.” Wisdom has taught me that it’s better to be in the passenger seat because His way is always better.
I’ve tried it 900,000 different ways. And what winds up happening? I’m running into a brick wall and I’m bleeding all over myself and everybody. That’s not pretty. And I like to be pretty.
It’s not just a job for me. It’s always a teachable moment. This interview is a teachable moment. I have to take that and I have to think about things. I learned such and such and such and such. That helps me grow. I’m not a proponent of random. We use that word way too much. I don’t see this as random. I see it as part of my path and along my path I’m going to meet certain people and these certain people are going to drop certain things that I need for my journey for me to get to the point where I’m supposed to get to. For me, just sitting here talking, listening to myself, listening to you, watching you watch me – is a teachable moment. And I don’t want to miss anything because it’s all going to play a part in my growth as a person and as an actor.
This is not just something I’m good at and I like to do, but something I love. Every time I do it, my eyes sparkle because I’m doing the thing I’m meant to do. I don’t feel like that when I walk into a law firm. I don’t. It’s almost nauseating but I have to do what I have to do because I am an adult and I have to be responsible. I have to pay the rent and eat.
This is the thing that I absolutely LOVE. This is the thing that God has given me to do. I can make a difference. I can live out my core values and I can do it through this.
It’s the best thing in the world. It’s the best thing in the world.
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