We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachele Schank and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachele, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I ended up pursuing an artistic career because, for me, it’s simply the thing that made the most sense. There was never a question when I was looking at colleges and selecting an area of advanced study that I would go into any field but the arts. It’s where I feel the most comfortable and it’s where my people are. Whenever I step onto a film set I feel the most alive, like my entire spirit is smiling. I can breathe deeper, I become more personable, and I feel like the truest and most authentic version of myself. It’s true that like most actors, I have had moments of wanting to throw in the towel and pursue what society would consider “a more normative path.” However, every single time I’ve tried, I’ve simply failed to quit. The work always finds me. It’s like a little ghost following me around and, anytime I even think about quitting, this ghost simply stares at me with a raised eyebrow, tapping its foot like… “You know, this will be a lot simpler if you just acknowledge that I’m here in the room and that I’m not going anywhere, right?” But for all of the ups and downs that come with pursuing a creative profession, when I really get to do the work of becoming a character, it is the most fun, exhilarating, creatively fulfilling, wild rollercoaster of an experience there is. I’m hooked!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m completely obsessed with peeling back the layers of what makes us human, pinpointing what it is that unites us, and then using that information to create spaces that are more forgiving, empathetic, and inclusive. From a scientific standpoint, studies have shown that our brains mimic the internal neural simulation of any behavior that it observes in another. In other words, our nervous systems can’t tell the difference between the person in front of us experiencing an emotion and experiencing that emotion ourselves. Acting is empathy in motion, which is why watching a great performance affects us so deeply. Psychologists have long since determined that our bodies are the places that hold onto the traumas that we’ve experienced. The energy centers of the body can get blocked or numb out from everything we’ve felt and seen. Our brain will often tell us that it is dangerous to go into these emotional places alone, and humans often do whatever they can to avoid feeling deeply, especially if the emotions are negative. When the work is done properly, an actor can help people to navigate some of the most difficult, seldom touched, spaces in their heart and mind. You can ignite the viewer’s ability to feel, and help them to process deeply held emotions. I find it all fascinating. The deeper you’re able to feel your way into a character, the more you give an audience the permission to feel deeply. So when I’m working, I like to think that I’ve been hired as a guide to take the viewer back into the depths of their own being.
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?
Of course! There are the classic things like stopping through Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, however you really need to chunk out Los Angeles by area and hit the hot spots in each individual region each day. For Downtown, I’d spend the day walking around The Arts District visiting shops, galleries, and local coffee shops. I’d have dinner at Bavel or Bestia, and after dinner drinks at Jackalope. For Silverlake, I would hike up to The Griffith Observatory, have a coffee at LaMill, lunch at All Time, dinner at Jitlada, and then grab ice cream afterwards at Jeni’s. For Hollywood, I’d do a museum day, checking out The Petersen Automotive Museum and the MOMA, then spend the evening at The Magic Castle. For West Hollywood, I would visit the shops on Melrose Place, have dinner at Laurel Hardware, drinks at Petit Ermitage, then enjoy some late night stand-up at The Comedy Store. On the West side, I would rent bikes and ride from The Santa Monica Pier to the Venice Boardwalk, have lunch and shop on Abbot Kinney, then do drinks at The Proper Hotel. There’s a whole slew of things that are exclusive to Sundays in LA as well! I personally would visit the Fairfax Flea Market to get lost in the vintage, art, and furniture, then spend the evening at The Groundlings Sunday Company show.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve got to give a shout out to my parents here! I was one of the lucky children who was always encouraged by their Mom and Dad. There wasn’t anything I couldn’t do in their eyes and they never tried to keep me from having a career in the arts. In fact, I specifically remember my Mom coming with me to my college acting auditions with a portfolio of photos from my high school plays. Any chance she got, she would tell the admissions board members how wonderful I was and that they wouldn’t know what they were missing if they didn’t let me into their program. My Dad also made his entire office watch my episodes of Days of Our Lives from week-to-week. They’re incredibly supportive and I consider myself lucky.
I also would not be an actor today if it weren’t for my high school theatre teacher, Rosalind Allen Enciso. An incredibly kind-hearted, generous, and dedicated woman. She saw my passion for acting at a young age and became one of my earliest mentors, often going out of her way to help me develop this skill set. She encouraged me, paved the way for some of my earliest professional opportunities and, having been a very successful film and television actress herself, led me to believe that I had what it took to become successful in this field.