We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Lamor Wilson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly Lamor, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Always trust your gut. You always know what’s right for you, regardless of whether it may be the popular opinion or not. There’s an instinctive voice within that gives you that stomach-tightening, heart pounding, gentle nudge we humans often experience. Many times, that instinct may nudge you toward a decision that doesn’t seem right from the outside perspective; society has deemed the status quo as “normal”, the best option for everyone, and the safe and comfortable choice. Breaking out of the status quo requires you to trust yourself and your gut wholeheartedly. Your instincts will guide you toward decisions that may not seem “right” through society’s eyes, but you possess this feeling, this innate knowing that it’s the right move; the more you look for others’ validation of that decision, the more you know that the answer you’re looking for is already within you. As an artist, and especially as a woman, I have found that thinking outside the box and blazing your own trail is what ultimately leads to following your unique path, tailored specifically for you. In my own career, I have made many of these gut-instinct decisions which, at first, may not have seemed like the “right choice” from the outside: home-schooling my senior year of high school to pursue a professional acting career, foregoing collegiate acting training and moving directly to Los Angeles, turning down opportunities that did not feel right, etc. All of these decisions were met with backlash, naysayers exclaiming things like “You’ll look back and regret not attending senior Prom”, or “You MUST attend a college-training program to be taken seriously as an actor”, or “You’re dumb for not taking an opportunity to sign with that agent, for turning down a role on network television”. As a young woman, it was extremely difficult to block out the noise and trust myself regardless of the outside response- but I can attest that all of these decisions I made were the right choice for me and have led me to where I am today. Success in this industry starts with believing in yourself and trusting yourself at the core; without that trust, you’ll find yourself swimming ’round and ’round the kiddie pool with adults looming over you, when all along you’ve been capable of soaring off the high-dive into the deep end of your next big adventure.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an actor, but acting does not define who I am at the core: a human being in the present moment. It’s this awareness of the present, the knowledge that the world keeps turning and that there’s so much to experience and enjoy about life, that sets my journey apart. Behind my love for the art is a greater love for helping others, and I am so grateful to be part of an industry that allows me to help others through storytelling. This concept has been magnified even more by the current state of the world in the midst of a global pandemic- people all over the world are turning to entertainment to whisk them away and help them feel less alone in quarantine. So far in my career, I am fortunate that I’ve been a part of projects that have meaning and a message behind them that I believe in, aligning with my purpose to help viewers see a side of themselves that has yet to be represented on screen. In my most recent project, HBO’s “Mrs. Fletcher”, my character, Becca, is an independent and strong teen girl, yet also has needs and a core desire to be loved. This emotional dynamic is something that we all face as humans. The show itself grapples with topics like pornography addiction and date-rape culture: issues that have had little-to-no representation on television, yet relate to everyone in society today. This is the type of work that excites me- work that allows me to own my voice and my own experiences, and show others that they can do the same. Through my experiences working on set, I’ve found the courage to use my own voice and develop my own projects. Currently, I am most excited about a project that I co-created: I AM WOMAN: A Concert For Female Empowerment, a benefit concert that breaks the taboo around women’s issues, allowing women to own their voice and share their experiences through song. In February 2020, the first incarnation of the show was performed at Feinstein’s 54 Below in New York City, and the room was filled with a magnetic energy that was garnered into a tangible force for change by raising money for female-centric non-profit organizations. My partner, Emerson Steele, and I are looking to take this show on the road… once it is safe to do so, of course. Overall, this industry is not easy whatsoever. But, with a whole-hearted trust in yourself and a “why” behind what you do, your passion will carry you through all of the rejection, into the arms of people who believe in you and your purpose as much as you do.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
LA is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the nation, and has SO much to offer in all of the different neighborhoods. Here are some of my go-to spots: Teapop in North Hollywood has amazing coffee/tea with add-ons like Boba and Lychee, plus the friendliest staff and warmest environment for deep conversations or alone time with a book. I also spend a lot of time vintage shopping on the east side- The Bearded Beagle on Sunset is my all-time fave! It’s affordable and environmentally-friendly, plus has extremely well-curated picks. Brunch is my favorite meal of the day: when friends come to town I always take them to Beachwood Cafe for an Old Hollywood experience, or All Time on Hillhurst for California-style, healthy options. To implement some exercise, I love hiking through the Hollywood Hills to see all of the beautiful landscapes, or hit a yoga class at Corepower Studio City! Post workout reward: cookies!! I frequent Milk Jar Cookies on Wilshire and Stella Barra in Hollywood for the best cookies in the city. Dinner: Atrium in Los Feliz for the most delicious food, hand-crafted cocktails, and cozy cool vibes. It’s next to the Los Feliz Theatre- one of my favorite niche movie-theatre experiences in town! Other favorite spots: Laguna Beach for the nicest beaches with the clearest water and adventurous coves, Pine and Crane in Silverlake for Taiwanese-Chinese “Tapas”, RoseBowl Flea Market for other eclectic vintage finds, and dancing the night away at The Friend Bar in Silverlake with my favorite DJ (Denise Hewett) or Good Times At Davey Waynes for a 60s/70s throwback!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A large part of being able to trust yourself is having a support system behind you that encourages you to do so. My parents also had to negate the status-quo of society in order to allow me to homeschool my senior year, forgo a typical college experience, and move to LA at a young age. It was their belief in me, their trust in my ability and encouragement in the pursuit of my dreams, that enabled me to trust myself so deeply. Without the support of my family, I would be nowhere near where I am today.
Brian Chorski, Katy Beth Barber Photography, Getty Images