(Editor’s Note: To celebrate Women’s History Month, Reel Chicago and Reel 360 are once again celebrating the women who make up the industries of film, TV, advertising and music.)
Rachel Amanda Bryant is an award winning actress and producer who recently appeared in Lifetime Movies’ In Bed with a Killer opposite Jennifer Taylor. She also stars in Deathday (formerly The Campus).
Rachel’s performance garnered rave reviews, including the following by The Hollywood Reporter, “[A] plus is the starring turn by Bryant, who makes her character sympathetic in her travails and displays and admirable fearlessness.”
Dubbed an “Indie Darling” by Haren Yong, Rachel is proving to be an incredibly talented leading lady and content creator. Her production company, Blueberry Hill Media, produced the award-winning film The After Party, a Twilight Zone inspired thriller (also starring Rachel).
This film was an official selection at the Los Angeles Shorts Festival, which is accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
How did you get into the business? I did my first play with speaking lines when I was a sophomore in high school. It was Anne of Green Gables and I played her best friend Diana. It was like a light bulb went off in my body, I suddenly knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
What obstacles have you faced specifically because of your gender? While I think certain things have gotten easier, there are still a lot of obstacles out there for women in this industry. For example, I also produce projects that I act in. Often I’ll bring my boyfriend with me to screenings or festivals where my films are playing, and so many people assume that HE’S the creator or producer, or that HE’S the reason we are promoting a film. He’s there to support me! LOL I am the producer on the project!
There are just assumptions being made since most people in the industry are men, but thankfully that is changing. Outside the entertainment world, I of course face the obstacles that every woman faces: constantly being objectified, being seen as a toy for men to enjoy etc.
Best thing to ever happen to you to remind you that you are a woman? This is an interesting question… I am a woman. I am reminded all the time because I have no idea what it feels like to be a man. Hmm… You know, I really really enjoyed my time promoting my film at the Women in Horror Film Festival, and while I was attending that festival, I was reminded that women really want to support and love each other.
It was such an amazing group of people coming together and telling truly inspiring stories, I kept thinking to myself… Wow, look at these women that are going to take over this industry. And I’m one of them! It was exhilarating… I was literally speechless when I won an award because I was overcome by the emotion of a place that was truly loving and supportive of women in this industry. I’m grateful for the friends I met through that experience.
Work you are most proud of? Hmm… this is tough because I fall in love with projects so deeply… I have a lot of pride for my film The After Party simply because it is the most ambitious thing I’ve done as far as budget and scope. However, it’s still on the festival circuit, so I feel as though it’s still an active event.
I’d say, for something that’s been fully completed, I am most proud of starting a theater company and doing 4 productions. Theater is my first love, and I strived to produce and act in shows that were unexpected. We did Hamlet in the round, and I just LOVE Shakespeare and I remember people commenting about how much our version of this classic play resonated with them.
I look so fondly on this moment because I think that’s when I realized I had a really good and interesting storytelling perspective.
Do you think the #metoo movement has created significant change? I think the #metoo movement has made people more aware of the inequalities in all sorts of industries. I do think it’s getting better and I think people are really cognizant of who they hire now. I don’t think it’s totally changed though, and we have a lot of room to grow. Just getting more female directors getting the same types of opportunities as male directors is going to take some time. I am excited though to be living through this shift.
How have professional attitudes towards women evolved during your career? I think people are now more willing to listen to women tell their stories and to encourage them to create. It’s still not perfect and it may never be, but I’m encouraged by the attention the issue gets.
Trapped on an island, what essentials must you have? Chapstick, sun screen (for my pale pale skin), and a how to build a boat kit.
If you had a time machine, what would you say to your past self? I would tell myself to just GO for it and stop living in FEAR.
If you could have a one-on-one with anyone who would it be? And why? Shakespeare probably… he shaped my heart and my work as an actor so deeply. I think it would be cool to hear his perspective on his plays and to see what they truly looked like back in the day.
To see the up-to-date list of Reel Women, click here.