We had the good fortune of connecting with Hannah Leigh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hannah, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My why is fairly simple. I’ve never known anything other than “why not?” I started working as an actress at the age of four. I started pursuing ballet seriously at age twelve. I started my music career straight out of college at nineteen. I’ve looked into other career paths, sure, but nothing has ever felt more right than expressing my soul artistically. Since I was a child, my why was wildly obvious – it’s what I’m meant to do here.
My why has gifted me with so much – a career I can be proud of, a community I am so blessed to be a part of, an expressive outlet unlike any other and an endless opportunity to learn and love. It is also a career that holds the most spontaneity and I’ve found that change is good for the soul.
I’ve continued to pursue art because of how much I love people and human psychology. There’s nothing I cherish more than a group of story tellers coming together for a greater purpose. That thing we call “passion” has the ability to transcend a camera lens and land itself into the hearts of the audience. My favorite recent example is a film I shot a couple years ago that just came out on Amazon Prime – Evergreen (dir. Paul Goodman). The film was made by a small cast and crew all with one mission – to create a film filled with love, introspection and adventure. It brings forgotten nostalgia back to life for so many. That feels so cool to me.
There’s also nothing I love more than dissecting human psychology through the written word. I love the art of subtext, I am fascinated by body language, and always love telling the truth as someone else. Acting is psychological witchcraft really. Losing yourself through the intense study of someone else’s past and then committing yourself to their hopes and dreams for their future, all while pulling it off in a way that moves or inspires an audience member?? COME ON! That’s magic!
My why as an artist also goes one step further. Because I am in the public eye, in the age of social media, I feel blessed to be able to expand my path into loving people beyond acting. I feel called to spread positivity, be an advocate for mental health, teach meditation and promote soul connection and self-worth fulfillment. I work with a company called TheMove where we encourage others to live their absolute truth’s, to take care of their mind and bodies and support and love one another! It’s very fulfilling and is a huge part of my goal as an artist – to be a positive part of someone else’s why.
Speaking of, I have also recently started my own mentoring and coaching business dedicated to helping other artists navigate their own why. This has been such a rewarding and unexpected side-hustle for me (thanks to Covid). I love watching my students discover their purpose and learn and grow within it. The entertainment industry is a beast to navigate and it is so awesome to be able to support other artists through it.
I continue to pursue a creative career because it continues to teach me more about life than I could ever imagine. I’m always excited to see where it brings me next!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an actress and a singer/songwriter. I started acting at age four after following in my older sister Lyndsy Fonseca’s footsteps and never stopped! When I was younger, I was most known for my roles on “Gilmore Girls,” “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “Bones.” More recently, my favorite parts have been on the shows, “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” “S.W.A.T,” and “Mad Men,” and films such as “Evergreen.” I am also constantly writing music and have a new Summer single out now called “Drive.”
I am most proud of how my career has ebbed and flowed throughout the years. Being pegged as a “child actress” can often put you In a box as an artist. For me, I got a degree in Film and Media from UCSB and continued acting into adulthood. I am super proud of how true I’ve stayed to my artistic identity throughout the years even as it’s changed and grown.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from growing up in the industry is that you do your best and are most fulfilled when you know exactly who you are outside of being an actor. Having strength in your own soul and self confidence is the key to being your best artistic self. As amazing and rewarding as the entertainment industry is, it’s also an industry filled with rejection, expectations and pressure which can be hard on anyone. Knowing your worth outside of your work is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout it all.
I’m so grateful for the career that I have had and am excited to continue exploring. I hope that through my brand and work, I can spread positivity, be an activist for mental health and help promote spirituality and soul-body connection.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay here we go: 1. Go to Malibu for the sunrise.
2. Go get smoothie bowls at Sun Life and coffee at Blue Bottle
3. Drive back to LA and head downtown to The Last Bookstore and spend some time cracking open books and wandering around.
4. Have lunch at Bottega Louie and get some amazing macaroons.
5. Head towards the valley, grab a dog and hike up Runyon Canyon or Franklin Canyon.
6. If it’s Sunday, head to the Melrose Trading Post after grabbing an Alfred’s Coffee and bagel.
7. Go home and change into a cute fit and head to Mama Shelter for some rooftop drinks and bites.
8. Head to Davey Waynes and Hotel Cafe to listen to live music and dance the night away!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I give great thanks to my teacher and mentor Don Bloomfield. Don is not just your average acting teacher, he is dedicated to each of his student’s careers in a way I’ve never experienced in my 20 years of acting. He’s direct, passionate, and insanely intelligent. He studied under Sanford Meisner directly and is an impeccable master of human behavior. Don’t even think about lying to the guy, he can read your mind. He is so in tune with what is truth and what is “show” and he teaches his students to be present and responsible for their artistry. He has consistently shown up for me, been honest with me and encouraging. He knows what it takes to make it in the industry and he doesn’t even think about letting you give up on yourself. I am honored to know him. His wisdom and his direction has helped me become the artist I am today. On a personal note, I give great thanks to my sister and role model Lyndsy Fonseca. Being the entire reason I got into acting myself, she has been nothing but an ever flowing fountain of wisdom and support. Her career as an actress has been insanely inspiring and I am in constant awe of her ability to shape characters. She is also one of the hardest workers I know. I owe her the confidence I have in myself today as an artist. Growing up beside her has been the greatest blessing of all. I am so lucky to have such a strong and kind woman like her in my life!