Brooke Lewis is an award winning author and actress. Known as a "Scream Queen" for her horror genre films, I was most taken by Brooke as a life coach. I'm all about entertaining, heck, I stand for entertainment, but nothing feels as good as helping people through tough times. Brooke's new book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess, is a fun bedside table book that provides coaching tips on life, love, online dating and LGBT support.
What a thrill it was to speak with Brooke about her vast and varied career. From acting to life coaching to being a professed hot mess, Brooke & I cover it all!
1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress? I was an incredibly emotional and sensitive child with a vivid imagination. When I hit my teenage years, I became obsessed with drama, old Hollywood and my inspirations Elizabeth Taylor and Mae West. I was singing and dancing from a young age, which led me into musical theatre in Philadelphia, which led me into comedy in New York. I got my first "break" in the New York Off-Broadway Comedy Tony N' Tina's Wedding, then went on to do TV sitcoms like Quintuplets and Mafiosa, then acted in mobster dramas like Pride & Loyalty and Sinatra Club, then broke out in the horror, thriller genre with films like Kinky Killers, iMurders and Slime City Massacre earning the title of a "Scream Queen," then combined my experience in comedy, mobster movies, and horror and created the role and brand, which I am best known...Ms. Vampy!!!
2. What was the moment you decided to also become a life coach? Ironically, many of my most powerful career choices have been made while facing challenges or hitting walls! I had been a working actress and producer for many years, and shortly after the economy crashed in 2009, my investors pulled out of my production company and projects and I was forced to make changes. In 2011, we launched the award-winning TV pilot/talk show for teen girls Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk and In Between Tawk and I was hugely inspired by my young cast and their issues and messages. It was the first time anything beyond acting inspired me, so I paid attention. When my reps were pitching my show and I to TV talk shows, we were receiving incredible feedback, BUT…the networks were all asking if I had a "credential" as a therapist, counselor or life coach. Of course, I had two college degrees, but they wanted a certification in the coaching arena. Since I am not one to leave any stone unturned, I chose to go back to school again to receive my life coach certification at the Life Purpose Institute. My initial intention was for the purpose of my Ms. Vampy brand and TV series in development, but I became so passionate about my support career, I launched my company Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach.
3. You just released your new book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess, which is a fun bedside table book that provides coaching tips on life, love, online dating and LGBT support. What made you want to put all these tips into a book? What is the most heartwarming comment you've heard about the book and what is the cruelest thing someone has said about it? Again, I had been facing challenges and hitting walls in my support career as a Life and Dating Coach (see the pattern that pushes me into being tenacious?) I was paying my dues again and feeling overworked and underpaid, shelling out fabulous advice for various publications and morning shows and several people had suggested that I should write a book for myself and my coaching business, instead, and my "blessed lil bedside table book" was born! Now, I am going to cheat a bit here to answer the first part of your question, as I pull an excerpt I love right from my pages: "Life can be crazy! So, in 2016, I chose to embrace my "crazy" and use my blessed and beautiful bedside table book to profess..."I am a HOT MESS!" Yup...I said it, rock it and OWN IT! Now, being an Actress, Life Coach and Dating Expert in the public eye, some may think I am really "crazy" sharing this with the world! I know some of you are thinking (and judging) that a Board Certified Life and Dating Coach, professional and working actress should not "air her dirty laundry." Well, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be self-aware enough to admit and embrace my "flaws." Along with my strengths, my "flaws" and weaknesses make me vulnerable, special and unique. I also believe that by sharing my HOT MESS quirks with you, it will support you in embracing your HOT MESS quirks, too! Let's break the 'rules' and stop chasing "perfection." It gets tiring trying to be "perfect" all the time, doesn't it?"
To answer the second part (and, as an actress I learned early on to not take any positive or negative comments too seriously) I will share two comments on Amazon that stayed with me. I received one three-star review that was by no means "cruel," but upset me because the reviewer stated that in the dating chapters of my book, I created the perspective of "needing a significant other." This frustrates me greatly, because I breathe, coach, speak and write the antithesis of that statement! I am all about self-empowerment and female empowerment and how we need to love ourselves first and want, not need, a partner to share life with! But, as we know, we cannot control others’ interpretations of our art and work!
I am blessed to have received so much positive feedback with this book! It is always heartwarming to receive praise from my friends and family (because we know they tell us the truth! I have had some of my best girlfriends tell me they keep my book on their bedside table to reference daily! I recently received a fabulous review on Amazon and I will share my favorite part, "This woman is a genius and the most useful and relevant life coach in the world (before this book I thought they were useless and overrated). Even if you do not need life coaching this book is still an amazing read!" Now, is that a compliment to keep doing what I am doing or what? Serious author gratitude here!
4. In describing the book, you have classified yourself as a HOT MESS. What events/activities in your life, made you go, "You know, I'm a HOT MESS?" What behaviors have you changed or become aware to not be a HOT MESS? Um…have you seen me at the Spike TV Scream Awards or Saturn Awards in 105-degree-heat with my hair frizzy and makeup running down my face? Yeah, HOT MESS!!! And, at that point, there is nothing I can do, but own it and rock it! But, yes, I use the term HOT MESS, both literally and figuratively! That’s the beauty of it…and, life! None of us are "perfect!" We are all perfectly imperfect! We make mistakes and lousy choices in life and I have surely made many! I have made some poor career choices and even more really poor dating choices! I have had emotional meltdowns over nothing and I have locked myself in the house for three days, after gaining five pounds on the scale that weekend...life is full of a whole mess of messes, so let’s make them HOT!!!
5. In writing this book, what did you learn about yourself that you didn't realize while living through it? If I may humbly declare this, I learned that I have much more value as a woman, actress, life coach and dating expert, than I ever imagined! I, too, struggle with worthiness and never feeling "good" enough, so it was a huge catharsis and gift to empower and acknowledge myself through writing this book. I also learned how much I need to take my own tips and advice!
6. Your book will help readers exist in the world around us, gain clarity and fulfillment. What used to give Brooke the biggest sense of fulfillment and what fulfills Brooke of today? Thank you! That was a fantastic and revealing question! I used to receive a sense of fulfillment by being liked, loved and praised by others. I focused a lot on my external appearance and fame. I would try to fill the void, and based my worth on the above. As I have worked hard on myself and become more evolved over the years, the things that fulfill me have drastically changed! The things that fulfill me now are integrity, truth, loyalty, being a "good" person, staying artistic, having integrity, committing to great work, surrounding myself with people who support each other, true love and charity work. The one constant that has always fulfilled me (and always will) is being an actress and doing the best work I possibly can!
7. What do you get from being a life coach that you don't get from acting? I suppose I have a bit more control over my coaching career and I get to be my own boss! Both my careers are rewarding in so many ways. However, I love the instant gratification of knowing I just supported a client in having a huge breakthrough, while coaching her.
8. I read that your favorite genres to act in are horror and mystery. So, I'm going to take these genres in a different direction and relate them directly to your life. What is the scariest thing to have happened to you that you are willing to talk about? What is something about yourself that you are still trying to figure out? One of the scariest things in my life (that I have not shared often publicly) was when I got the chicken pox at 21 and ended up hospitalized with 104 fever, encephalitis and nerve damage. I was blessed to make a full recovery, but I live with chronic pain and a compromised immune system ever since. It is a challenge every day, but it taught me that life is short, there will always be obstacles to overcome and to live fully and follow your dreams!
As far as the thing I am still trying to figure out, I could write another book here (wink)! One of my biggest frustrations is trying to understand how I could work as long and hard as I do, yet not have my hit TV series (yet). I always feel like I have to work just a little bit harder than most to bring my dreams to fruition! Things appear to come easier to others sometimes. But…appearance vs. reality, right? You can’t buy into the social media hype!
9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? May I acknowledge you for a moment and tell you this is fabulous?
I want to take things less personally…by One Percent Better…every day!
10. I have a new segment in my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now," where I try to clear up misconceptions. What is the biggest misconception about Brooke Lewis that you'd like to put to rest? I feel like a lot of people in my personal and professional life perceive me as "courageous" and "fearless," because I preach my mantras and quotes quite often:
"Be You…And Be Fearless!" – Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach
"Let's break the 'rules' and stop chasing "perfection." It gets tiring trying to be "perfect" all the time, doesn't it?" – Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess
"When faced with fear, dig deep inside, find your inner vamp, and Vamp It Out!" - Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk
But, remember, this is a misconception, as we teach what we need to learn!!!
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Brooke always had dreams of being an actress. Brooke soon moved to New York City where she cultivated much of her acting career and landed her first role as "Donna Marsala" in the off-Broadway, hit comedy Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. After four years of making a name for herself on the east coast, Brooke decided to move to Hollywood where she currently resides. Brooke has built up quite the impressive resume by launching her own production company, Philly Chick Pictures and has worked with many veteran actors including Mark Ruffalo, Andy Richter, Charles Durning, Michael Pare, Dominique Swain, Joey Lawrence, and many more!