Mariah Bonner is a rising performer whose already conquered film, television, and theatre. Mariah's film credits include "Shadow People," "Freerunner," "Mask Maker", "The Social Network," and "Ma Cite, Mon, Histoire." Television audiences know Mariah from "Jane By Design," "CSI," "Rules of Engagement," BBC's "Born With It," and France's "Qui Mange Quand."

On stage, Mariah has starred in "All That Might Happen" (Manhattan Theatre Source), "You Can't Take It With You" (Southwark Playhouse, London), "My Favorite Year," "The Real Inspector Hound," "Inherit The Wind," "The Workshop," "The Tempest,"  "Man of La Mancha," and "Prometheus Bound" (all at Guildhall School of Muisc & Drama).

Mariah just became a member of LA's "The Actor's Gang," helmed by Tim Robbins and will be seen in their upcoming production of "Atomic Beach Ball." Mariah will also be seen in the upcoming Jean-Claude Van Damme film "Universal Soldier."

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1.  Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I’ve always wanted to become a performer. But the turning point came for me when I was about 15. I saw Vivian Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire and I was inspired to pursue performing as a career.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? The list is so long!...but if I could handpick my next director it would be Clint Eastwood.

3. You recently became a member of The Actor's Gang in LA, which is helmed by Tim Robbins. What made you want to become a member and what has your experience been like so far? I was seeking a creative community to be a part of here so my acting coach encouraged me to check out a show at The Actors’ Gang. I thought their work was motivational and of a high quality so I jumped in. I’ve been lucky to work with them and have had a great experience so far.

4. What have you learned from being a member of The Actor's Gang that you don't feel you would have learned somewhere else or on your own? The importance of ensemble and community for an artist. And also how important it is to continue developing my craft.

5. You have also been cast in Stefan Haves' "Atomic Beach Ball." What attracted you to this show? What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? Stefan attracted me to the show. He’s such a generous and encouraging director. Working with him is a joy. I hope that joy will permeate through to audiences. To sum up, enjoyment is the key word here!

6. In addition to the above, you are the lead in Jean-Claude Van Damme's new movie "Universal Soldier: A New Dimension." What was the best part about working with Jean-Claude? Working with Jean Claude was terrific; he gave me valuable advice about how to be more effective on film. I would go to the set when I wasn’t working just to watch him.

6a. What do you get from film work that you don't get from your theatrical endeavor? Film is a different medium than theater but you’re still telling stories and I’m still learning. The biggest thing is to trust myself and let myself be guided by instinct in addition to technique.

7. If working with Jean-Claude wasn't enough, you are also the female face of Mercedes. What does it mean to you to be the face of Mercedes? It’s an honor to represent such a classy and elegant brand!

8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? It forces you to look inside yourself, to find courage and strength and faith you may not have known you had...It’s very revealing.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Trust yourself.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Rhett Butler.


11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Morning in bed, reading. Brunch, movies, dinner and bed again.

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Morning stretches and exercises. 20 minutes every day. Proper sleep and nutrition.

13. Favorite skin care product? Rose water.

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would like the ability to go back in time to relive and correct errors and opportunities missed so that I would never have any regrets.

Tony Sweet

Brian J. Smith: The Columnist