Julie Lake has been passionate about acting since she was a child, and here the Orange Is The New Black actress talks about her journey from dream to the TV and movie screen.
All of us entertainment professionals have a backstory that led us to pursue a career in this crazy business; like, I started out as a civil engineer spending my off hours in record studios producing songs for major record labels. So, how did you come to the decision to pursue a film and TV career?
I have wanted to be an actress since I saw a children’s theater play about nursery rhyme characters when I was five. There was a scene about the little old woman who lives in a shoe (who had so many children she didn’t want to do) trying to put her kids to bed. All the kids were throwing dirty laundry around the stage and singing and dancing and refusing to go to sleep. It looked like so much fun that I had to do it! I have always been super shy in real life, so acting has been a way for me to feel free and confident and have a ton of fun while deeply connecting with other people.
How did you wind up landing your current recurring role on the hit TV series, “Orange Is The New Black”?
I had worked with one of the writers several times doing theater NYC. He told me there was a part that would be perfect for me and recommended me to casting. I sent in a tape, and the rest is history. But I did not even know that Angie would be a recurring role – I thought it would be a one-time thing. It is pretty incredible that what I thought would be a day of work has turned into years on a hit show.
Most actors find that the roles they play on TV/Film often resemble someone they know, making it easier to bring that character to life. What was it about Angie that you connected with and fed from in order to bring her to life onscreen?
When I created Angie, I sort of had a person in mind from a documentary film I had seen years before my audition called “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell.” But honestly, Angie is actually a lot like me. Goofy, bawdy, sensitive, and sweet – not to brag or anything.
What do you like most about being on this show?
I love actually getting to act, my favorite thing to do, on a show with fantastic writing and a brilliant ensemble of actors. So yeah, what I like most is the acting part. That is why I got into this business – because of my passion and love of acting. And it is super nice to get paid for it, too.
Hollywood can be a cold place. What’s the one quality that every actor must have, in order to survive the tumultuous terrain of show business today?
I think that the most important quality to survive in this industry is generosity of spirit. I have come across actors who are envious, destructive people, and guess what – nobody likes them or wants to work with them. You need to make friends in this industry! If you are nurturing and supportive of other actors, writers, and directors and help everybody out in any way you can, those people are going to help you too. It is super important to build a community of people you like and respect, not just for the connections, but also for the emotional support. My acting class provided a ton of support for me– the people in my class became my family and held me up every time I was so discouraged I wanted to quit. Every actor needs a community like that because this profession is way too hard to do alone.