Monica told us more about her role as mother Sharon Burke, stating “I’m hoping people will find Sharon Burke realistic and relatable. It’s nice to see that Sharon, like Mom’s everywhere, struggles with keeping her family going and upbeat while balancing her own problems and insecurities. The first big hurtle is their transition from Connecticut to Southern California. We see that even as Sharon is cheering on her kids and giving them great advice, she actually needs to hear and heed the same advice. We see her struggle to make friends and fit in, and we even see her listen to her 11 year old son, Bailey, for advice when he catches on to her struggle. She tries to put on a brave face most of the time, but we see that she’s actually not all perfectly put together as she seems.” Click to http://monicalacy.com to get directly involved with Amazon’s next hit show, and learn more about Lacy’s passion for the fight against cancer. But first, keep reading! There’s still so much to dive into in all the answers to the XXQs below.
XXQs: Monica Lacy
PensEyeView.com (PEV): What kind of movies or TV were you into growing up? Do you remember the first thing you saw that really got you hooked?
Monica Lacy (ML): I was only allowed to watch a limited amount of TV growing up, My favorite shows as a kid were: Three’s Company, I Love Lucy, Get Smart, Soap, and the Disney Sunday Night Movies. But the first movies that I adored that really rocked my world, were ET and Star Wars and The Sound of Music. As I grew older, I definitely appreciated all the 80’s coming-of-age movies from John Hughes. Mystic Pizza, War Games, and Breakfast Club were some of my favorites.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the acting scene when you first started? What was your first show like?
ML: Breaking into acting for me was actually “easy.” I was an identical triplet, so the first commercial that we auditioned for we booked. And then two of us (Leanna and I ) booked our first TV audition, which was on Growing Pains. Within our first year, Disney put us under contract to develop a TV show for us, which was extremely fortunate for us, of course. I loved working on Growing Pains, the live audience was a thrill, and making people laugh was enthralling to me. At that point I was in High School and I never thought that acting would turn into a career – I thought it was just a novel, one-time thing. The harder part of “breaking into the biz” was when I started auditioning on my own, without my sisters. I realized there had to be hard work and technique besides the sight gag of being a triplet.
PEV: Interestingly enough you are a triplet. I’m sure most people find that cool and interesting but has that helped shape how you portray yourself – do you feel a need to separate yourself from two other people?Gives more meaning to “being yourself”.
ML: I think I did not truly understand that growing up as an identical triplet was unique. I’ve always been trying, probably harder than most, to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. I hated the idea of being invisible, overlooked, or lumped all together as a group, as “the triplets.” Of course, it’s hard to be unique when you have two sisters who share the exact same voice, same face, same body, same home, same general sports and academic abilities. Consequently, I’ve always pushed myself try new things and when I do, I focus on it whole-heartedly. Growing up I wanted to be the best soccer player, the best cheerleader, the standout in acting class. It’s no wonder I loved the life of an actress…it’s all about sharing your unique perspective and being SEEN by the world.
ML: Acting for the camera is a mix of being prepared, with being focused and willing to play. So when I hear “Action” I think of an obstacle course. I have the scene marked with all the “obstacles” or challenges in it (hitting my marks, picking up props) and it’s an entertaining challenge for me to trust that I’ll remember those bits and pieces, while at the same time giving myself permission to play a little bit and have fun with the character. I love the challenge.
PEV: Tell us about the auditioning process. What is an audition like and what do you think it is that people – outside of the business – don’t understand about the process of auditioning?
ML: Being an actress is really a misnomer; a more correct term would be “auditioner.” We audition so much more frequently than people realize. A normal audition means we get the pages from a script, and only the briefest of explanations, and most of the time don’t benefit from reading the entire script. Also, people often thing that the person who performs the best is the person who gets the job. Sure this happens sometimes, but most of the time we all hear, “Too old, too young, not pretty enough, too pretty.” Having the right look for the part and a great performance are both important to booking the job. Auditions are unnerving for this very reason, because the actor has no idea what the director and producers have decided they are looking for. I try to focus on things I can affect, like my performance and not think about those other aspects that are out of my control.
PEV: Was there ever a role that you auditioned for and didn’t get, then later saw and really wished you had? You know, the one that still sticks with you.
ML: I auditioned for the role of “Monica” on Friends. As soon as I walked in the door, I begged to read for the role of “Rachel” which I thought was a better fit for me. The Casting director immediately stopped me and said I was too young. So I was done before I even started. But I remember thinking it was a funny and special show from reading the script. I always wanted to play that role, of course, and it would have changed my career immeasurably.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
ML: I am amazed that I’ve been a professional actor for nearly 30 years. I appreciate acting opportunities much more now then when I first started. Back when I was in High School and College, acting auditions were plentiful and I had no idea how lucky I was to be getting to read for so many great projects. Now I value each opportunity and know that just getting into the room to audition is a lucky break. I’m also way more disciplined, always prepared and usually arrive on time. I recall I used to arrive “around” the scheduled time, which I’m sure just proved how young and unprofessional I was. I’m just way more responsible now, and my time is more valuable, I don’t have time to waste going in to audition unprepared.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?
ML: Would you be surprised to hear that I’m an avid snowboarder? I go every year, and I don’t feel like the “soccer mom” when I’m on the mountain. Not surprising enough? How about the fact that I used to raise dairy goats as a kid and show them in the Orange County Fair. I also trained one goat to pull me in a goat cart; we’d go all over the neighborhood. Or how about that I really can’t cook at all. It’s not that I can’t, I just don’t relax when I do it so I don’t enjoy it. But as the Mom on the show, they have me pretending to cook all the time. I hope no one sniffs out the fraud there…
ML: The industry has changed a ton in the last three decades. The biggest one is the accessibility of creating your own content. Back in the day, we actors had to literally wait by our phone (at home, no cells!) for our agent to call us with appointments. You were completely helpless without an agent. And your agent did everything for you, they were your only connection point into the business. Now, it’s fairly easy to make and keep your own business connections through social media, digital mailers like Mailchimp and hosting your own website or blog. It’s also much cheaper to film and edit yourself, so actors now (including me) are writing and posting their work for the world to see on the internet through Vimeo and YouTube. Another biggie is that now unrepresented actors (who aren’t signed with a franchise agency) can now submit themselves online and be in consideration for acting projects. You the actor are much more in the drivers seat nowadays. There is literally so much I can do each day to further my acting craft, career and connections. Also, now you must show your ID to go onto Studio lots for auditions, which they never did before 9/11.
PEV: What can fans expect from your new role in the upcoming Amazon series The Kicks as quirky, idealistic soccer mom Sharon Burke? What kind of woman is Sharon Burke?
ML: I’m hoping people will find Sharon Burke realistic and relatable. Her kids and husband are struggling with the big move from Connecticut to Southern California. It’s nice to see that Sharon, like Mom’s everywhere, struggles with keeping her family going and upbeat while balancing her own problems and insecurities. The first big hurtle is their transition from Connecticut to Southern California. We see that even as Sharon is cheering on her kids and giving them great advice, she actually needs to hear and heed the same advice. We see her struggle to make friends and fit in, and we even see her listen to her 11 year old son, Bailey, for advice when he catches on to her struggle. She tries to put on a brave face most of the time, but we see that she’s actually not all perfectly put together as she seems.
PEV: What do you do when you hit a brick wall with a role and need to really get into a character like Sharon Burke?
ML: When I need to get into a character like Sharon Burke, I will try to start with her relationships with the kids and husband. I literally tried to spend as much time as I could with Sixx Orange and Gabe Eggerling, who play my daughter and son on the show. I wanted our relationship to be real, not “parent” and “child” stereotypes. I’m a parent too, and my kids are the exact two ages as the kids on the show, so it’s kinda easy for me to relate to their specific ages. I will often think, “What would I tell my son here?” or “What would I do if my daughter said that to me?” I also have a fun banter with Tim who plays my husband, and we try to bring that to the screen, the warmth as well as the history too.
PEV: You are now a part of the Amazon/Netflix/digital movement which is redefining entertainment. How is this side of showbiz different from your standard TV or Movie scenario?
ML: I love this new streaming model! Why, you ask? Well, I’ve filmed several TV pilots before, but usually no one ever gets to see them, unless the show is picked up to Series. When Amazon posted our pilot episode of The Kicks on Amazon Prime, it was easy for everyone to watch and then post their honest comments for Amazon, the world and even me to read. I loved hearing directly from the fans, I felt like I was overhearing a secret process that normally I’m not privy to. I was surprised that so many people generally felt the same about the show. When you’re proud of your show, you want as many people to see it as possible. Streaming makes many more shows available to many more people. Actually, the only negative is that now I have too many good shows that I want to watch, and not enough time in the day to watch them all.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
ML: I feel like I have an alter ego or an Avatar that lives another life. I have my MOM life, filled with dentist appointments, book club, picking up the kids from school and taking them to sports practice. Then suddenly I’ll shift into my ACTOR mode, and I’m awake at 4:30 each morning and driving to the set in the dark, memorizing lines, walking red carpets and doing interviews and auditions. I bet lots of the other moms in the PTA have no idea I’m filming a TV show right now. My good friends are very proud of me. They know that being a working Mom is hard work, and they are very supportive with helping with the kids and love cheering me on as my career takes off. Same with my husband. My two kids? They are a little shocked to see me in the “Actor” mode, when I’m on set or at a screening with them, as they mostly know the MOM “me.” They love watching me on TV, and they LOVE The Kicks but their favorite part is getting to know the great teen actors on the show, like Sixx Orange and Gabe Eggerling and Isabella Acres. Those kids are super nice, very smart and responsible, and great role models for my own kids.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from acting?
ML: I keep a garden and grow my own vegetables and herbs. I’m also an avid reader. I love traveling, and try to plan a family trip to a new location in the world each year. This year it’s Scotland! I can’t wait. I also enjoy the beach, playing tennis, snowboarding, hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, and I sit on the Board of Trustees at my children’s school. Or I’m sitting in a gym watching my daughter play volleyball or picking up my boy scout son from a campout.
PEV: Name one present and past actor/actress that would be your dream to work with. Why?
ML: My dream actress to work with today would be Kristin Wiig. Oh it’s hard to narrow down…as I would also die to work with Amy Schumer! I want to just be in a scene with these comic geniuses, and watch how they work. My hunch is they are always on, riffing and enjoying the creative process. A past actress would be Grace Kelly. She had a magnetism on screen that made her mesmerizing to watch. And there’s the fact that she was breathtakingly beautiful.
PEV: We love music, so is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
ML: I think the secret’s out about the Alabama Shakes, they are awesome! If you haven’t heard them, I dare you to not feel like dancing when you do. I also like Pentatonix. My 11 year old daughter turned me on to them, their covers are amazing, and I think they are talented and fun to watch. I’m hoping they perform in LA soon!
PEV: If acting wasn’t your life, what would you do for a career?
ML: I think I would have been a writer. I was always headed down that road, as I love writing and the whole creative process. I had every teacher from 4th grade on tell me I was a writer. They were right in that I do have a story to tell, and that I adore words and working with words. Right now I’m enjoying working with other peoples’ words and I get to invent the rest.
PEV: So, what is next for Monica Lacy?
ML: I’m hoping we’ll get to film more seasons of The Kicks! I would love to stay in the TV world, and stick around near home and get to shoot in LA so I can be near my kids and husband. I’m also the spokesperson for AutoNation, the largest Auto Retailer in the USA. We’ve filmed some great commercials and radio spots so far, and the creative team is so wonderful. I love what they come up with each time. Plus, this company has dedicated ALL of their fundraising efforts to go towards Ending Breast Cancer. They even founded the CUREBOWL, which is a College Bowl game where all proceeds from ticket sales go towards the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Last year we gave a check for 1 million dollars! That pretty major, and I love to be a part of this endeavor for personal reasons. My Mom has metastatic Stage 4 Breast Cancer, so I want to do everything in my power to extend her life. And hopfully end suffering for others in the future. #tacklecancer #drivePink – Those are the mottos I’m proud to say in our commercials. My acting work and my personal missions intersected amazingly here. You feel helpless when a loved one is terminal, so being able to effect change with my career is especially meaningful for me.
For more information, click to http://monicalacy.com/.