We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Swift and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, how do you think about risk?
I’m all for taking risks- which sounds strange coming from a girl who is still afraid of bees. I think what it comes down to is your objective in life. I want to empower the world. Before I moved to LA to pursue the industry, I got my Masters Degree in Government and worked in politics for six years. I fully believed that working in politics would allow me to change the world. Long story short, I ended up in the hospital due to stress related heart problems, and I quit my job from my hospital bed. I rested up, and two weeks later I took a the biggest risk of my life and moved to Los Angeles. It dawned on me that I was still meant to change the world, but through a different avenue. Art and movies are a huge motivator for social change- and I wanted to be a part of it. Instead of viewing it as a risk, I now view all risks as opportunities. I embrace the vulnerability of putting myself out there in my acting work. I have gotten to travel abroad to work in China, Italy and Paris. I do things that scare me everyday such as learning new stunts and taking difficult classes. As an artist, it’s our responsibility to put our fears into our work, and making those risky choices feels oh so good. It’s ok to be afraid- just do it anyway.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Nothing about being an artist is easy, but the struggle of it all actually makes us better artists. I spoke in my last interview with VoyageLA about the pressures of being a woman in the industry. You will always be too much of something for someone, but you have to realize that all it takes is one person to believe in you. But the trick? You have to believe in yourself first. Let’s be honest…People don’t become actors because they have perfect lives. I’ve learned to use the things that were holding me back in my life to empower me. And if I am empowered, I can empower others. I have decided to find courage in my fear, take risks, and just let go. I’m most proud of the fact that I’m still here, and I’m still playing. It’s easy to give up and go home. It’s easy to make excuses for why you don’t succeed. And it’s easy to not compete. I want to win. I find excitement in my failures because I get to learn and grow stronger. As my teacher, Ivana Chubbuck, says, “fall in love with the part of yourself you hate.” I have really taken that to heart, and am using my struggles to grow into a deeper, more powerful actor. We have all experienced a collective trauma with Covid-19, and I’m approaching this next year of my life with a more grateful heart.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well… I haven’t left my apartment since the beginning of March so…. my apartment!!! All jokes aside, I do have some LA favorites, and all of them involve food. My favorite place to get together with friends is El Coyote! It’s been a tradition in my friend group for several years now and always brings us together. My favorite place for fine dining would be Felix LA in Venice. Owned by Janet Zuccarini, Felix has the most incredible food, service and atmosphere. It’s hard to eat pasta anywhere else now! My favorite place to hang out and watch a movie is Alamo Drafthouse. Combining movies and great food? Count me in! If I’m taking someone around the city I would have to hit Hollywood and Highland. I had my first LA billboard there, and nothing screams Hollywood like the Walk of Fame.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely would have to shout out my acting coach, Ivana Chubbuck. She taught me that my vulnerability is my strength, and to use that to win in my scenes as well as in my life. Her method is all about winning, raising the stakes and taking risks. I also have to shoutout another mentor, Chris Holder; who from the first day he met me said “big girl, brave girl.” I feel so lucky to have found a team to push me towards things I would have never thought possible.
Isaac Alvarez, Alexandria Bailey, Tom Swiss, Francesca Marino