At this year’s Memphis Film Prize awards ceremony, when Latresia D Bobo’s name was announced as Best Actress for her starring performance in the short film Pages, she responded with a heartfelt acceptance speech that produced an emotional reaction from the crowd, some of whom even teared up. Latresia, who is a Memphis native, conveyed her thankfulness to her supporters. I, serving as a member of the Memphis Film Prize jury, was among them. Latresia a has a bright future, and I’m pleased to be in her corner.
Networking with actors and filmmakers is part of the juror’s job description at the Memphis Film Prize, but Latrisia and I had a special connection from our first conversation. She’s a working mother of four. I, too, worked full-time while raising three children. We faced similar challenges — to which any mother can relate. Having met those challenges through my twenty-year work journey, I encouraged Latresia to persevere and not give up her dream of acting. But I did warn her that affirming your goals isn’t always an easy task for a mother and that patience is key to making dreams come to pass.
My interview with Latresia covers her career, her aspirations, her sense of responsibility and her thoughts about the Memphis Film Prize.
Sarah Knight Adamson: How did you get involved with the film Pages?
Latresia D Bobo: Arnold Edwards reached out to me and invited me to come audition for the film. I had no idea it would turn into the wonderful piece that it did. Pages is my best work, and I would not have been able to say that without Arnold and the team he put together.
SKA: How did you relate to the character’s struggles?
LDB: I myself deal with depression and anxiety. So, I fully understand how life’s struggles can get so bad that you feel the only way to silence the pain is to end it…permanently. I almost lost my son to a bathtub incident, and I can’t fathom the thought of how hard it would be to keep going had I lost him.
SKA: What has winning the Best Actress award done for you personally?
LDB: I’m still wrapping my head around it all. I sleep with my award every night for two reasons. One: I need it to be the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning and secondly, so I never forget to dream big and work hard. This award has made me polish up the business side of my brand. It has lit a fire inside of me that I cannot afford to extinguish. I worked hard to get this award, and I’m working even harder to make sure I live up to the title. This award has kick-started something in me that is about to change my life.
SKA: Do you have a favorite type of role you prefer playing?
LDB: I love roles that challenge me and make me find a side of myself that I don’t have or tap into a side that is buried deep.
SKA: What do you look for in a director?
LDB: I must have a director who is kind and passionate. Kindness is an attribute that can help or hinder the chemistry on a project. A kind director is understanding and willing to listen to your needs to make the project something that everyone can be proud of.
SKA: How important is it to have people support your work?
LDB: Support is the foundation for the success of all humans. If you are surrounded by people, who support you as the person you are they will support your work in a way that lifts you when you are down and pushes you when you may not see or understand the purpose, at the moment. Support is the thing that so many of us lack, but all of us need to be successful in whatever it is we are striving to accomplish.
SKA: What is most challenging about balancing your acting career with being a mom?
LDB: The most challenging part about being a working mom is the inner struggle of whether I should or shouldn’t. Am I being a good mom if I work a 9 to 5 and then go to rehearsal for 2 hours 2-3 times a week and film on the weekends? Should I just stop pursuing my dreams until my children are grown? So many times, as women, we sacrifice for our families and put ourselves last. I realized, about two years ago, that putting myself first was the best way to take care of my family. My children see and experience a happier, healthier mom. I talk to them often about what I do and why I do it. They see what I do, and they believe in me, and they are not afraid to dream big.
SKA: What are your goals for your acting career?
LDB: I plan on feeding my children and putting them through college or helping them pursue their dreams with my acting career in the very near future. I want to be able to give back to the city that I call home and help fund art programs in schools for children because they are so needed. There are so many more awards in my future, and I plan to go after them. Pursuing my dream is what I am supposed to be doing.
SKA: What Hollywood actresses do you admire and why?
LDB: I admire Taraji P. Henson because I’ve watched her grow and develop her skills all while staying very humble. She took a leap of faith and followed her dreams.
SKA: What is your favorite female movie?
LDB: I love “Waiting to Exhale” because each of the women goes through their relationship and life issues which made them feel weak, but the same problems that made them feel weak turned into the things that made them stronger than they believed they could be. I loved the friendship amongst them and the bonds they each shared. It is a great look into what true sisterhood and friendship should be. The music is just as magical as the relationships that each of the women shares. I love everything about the movie, not to mention the casting was spot on.
SKA: What do you love about living in Memphis?
LDB: Memphis is not only home, but it’s family. I love being able to walk into a place by myself, and within 30 minutes, I’m in full conversation with someone I just met: the culture, the music, the food, the arts.
SKA: Is there anything else you’d like to add about The Memphis Film Prize?
LDB: The Memphis Film Prize brings an added touch to Memphis that allows us to showcase our talents to the world. It gives us a platform that we did not have four years ago. It allowed our team to accomplish something much bigger than the monetary award. We made this film to help someone, and we achieved our goal. We got the confirmation on opening night; we changed the mind of someone who was contemplating suicide. No amount of money is more significant than that! We are now looking into turning “Pages” into a feature. We owe all of that to the Memphis Film Prize organization. It gave us access to people who were able to thank us and talk with us and share stories with us that they had never shared with anyone else. That is an amazing thing. And that is what living in Memphis is all about: helping your fellow man or woman.
Sarah Knight Adamson August 29, 2019