You might know Skyler Shaye from her role in the Bratz movie, but Oscar winning actor, Jon Voight, knows her as his god-daughter. Here, Skyler talks about her role on the new season of Showtime’s hit series, Ray Donovan, and offers some inspiration to fellow actors.
So, you’re one of those rare actors who was born and raised in Los Angeles. How did growing up in LA influence your decision to pursue an acting career?
Growing up in LA, this business was the only thing I ever knew because, most of my mom’s side of the family was in (film and TV). Everybody’s so creative in my family and so, naturally, I caught the bug when I was a little girl. Being in entertainment was all I knew. So, I fell into it, to say the least.
You’re also the god-daughter of the legendary Oscar-winner, Jon Voight, right? Did he give you advice early on in your pursuit of acting; and did you go to school for it, or just jump right in?
Yeah! He was a major inspiration and influence on my life. Not only onset watching him, but even when I started to pursue acting myself, I would go to him for advice and direction. He definitely inspired me and gave me certain tools that I could use in my acting career. But, I never went to school for it. I did take some classes just to see what they were about, and I also studied at The Actors Studio for a little while, but I’m more of an onset person. I prefer to be on a set than sitting in a class; I can’t really do classes.
I understand! Experience is the best teacher in many cases. (laughs)
Yes! Experiencing life gives you all the lessons you need. (laughs)
Lets talk about the Showtime series, Ray Donovan. Was it a tough audition; and what can you share with us about your character, Cindy, on the show?
It wasn’t too crazy of an audition process at all. My character on the show is named, Cindy. She’s a feisty hooker and you’ll have to tune in to see what kind of crazy stuff she does. But, it’s such an honor to be a part of Ray Donovan. It’s an incredible cast and crew, full of really hard working people. Season 3 of the show is going to be killer, so make sure you tune in.
You’re also a part of the Baby Geniuses movie franchise, and I know there’s another one coming out soon. Can you talk about your role with that movie series, and how totally different it is from the Ray Donovan series role?
It’s definitely on a totally different end of the spectrum. On Ray Donovan I play a prostitute, but on Baby Geniuses I’m working with babies all day. That’s a task in itself because, they can all of a sudden just be like, “I don’t want to say my line,” or “I need a potty break,” in the middle of a scene. (laughs) There’s that challenge with the babies, but I love working with them. Still, Cindy (Ray Donovan) is so drastically different from what I do on Baby Geniuses; they’re definitely night and day.
What advice would you give to young actors who might be struggling with getting their career off the ground?
A career in acting is hard, but persistence is necessary in order to succeed. It’s that constant never give up attitude and working on your craft at all times that makes the difference. But, it also has a lot to do with timing and just being persistent until things open up for you. You just have to keep at it and never stop because, it’s bound to hit if you keep doing it.