SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Jennifer Fouché: My name is Jennifer Fouché and I’m an actor. I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan but I live in New York.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?
Jennifer Fouché: I actually grew up in the theatre. As a child, I spent a great deal of time backstage at the Hillberry Theatre on Wayne State University’s campus, where my mother was getting her BFA. Although I loved it and felt very at home in a theatre, my passion was music. I’ve been singing for as long as I could talk and that’s what I wanted to do. I knew that from the age of three. It wasn’t until much later, after I left the music industry, that I decided to go into theatre. I auditioned for a musical called, A Tribute To Motown, with the Cincinnati Black Theatre Cincinnati Black Theatre Company and I was cast as Martha Reeves, of Martha and the Vandellas. As excited as I was to land my first role, I was mortified when I realized I had SO much scene work! My mother helped me understand how to approach the acting part. She was my manager for all the years I was a recording artist and she taught me everything I know about live performance. On opening night, I remember being on stage and just as I was speaking my first few lines, I felt the same incredible feeling I always get when I’m singing. I realized then, in that moment, that I wanted to be an actor. The next day, I decided to come to New York to study acting.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Willa Dollar Baby film?
Jennifer Fouché: I saw a post by Christopher Birk, asking for support for an independent film he was making and I reached out to offer support and congratulate him. During the course of our conversation, I asked if all the roles had been cast and he told me there was a role for a waitress and that it was small but it was mine if I wanted it.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Jennifer Fouché: I think we all would like to know what actually happens after we die. Death is perhaps the greatest mystery of life. I believe this story touches on the two things that most people spend a great deal of time questioning and trying to understand; love and life after death.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Jennifer Fouché: Chris and I met in drama school, at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and are friends. So, we were familiar with each other’s work. I’m still humbled he asked me to be part of his film.
SKSM: You worked with Christopher Birk on this film, how was that?
Jennifer Fouché: He is a wonderful director. He has such a calming energy and generous spirit. Those two things make a huge difference, especially when you haven’t had as much time in front of the camera and at that time, I was pretty green. He made everyone feel comfortable. I remember we laughed a lot.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Jennifer Fouché: We were shooting in a really cool looking bar out in the hamptons and it was small and dark and full of personality. It was also summer and it was hot!!! Between scenes, our make up artist would hold ice packs on the back of my neck so that I wouldn’t sweat! So, she’s icing me from the back and I’m fanning myself fom the front. It looked comical I’m sure.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Jennifer Fouché: Chris and I have collaborated on a few projects since shooting Willa and of course we’re still good friends.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Jennifer Fouché: I’m currently on the Broadway National Tour of CHICAGO, playing one of my dream roles; Matron Mama Morton. It’s my first Broadway show and I’m so incredibly thrilled and so very grateful.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Jennifer Fouché: Yes! I’m a huge fan of his work!
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Jennifer Fouché: That I’m actually extremely shy, by nature. I love people but it’s hard sometimes to be in a room full of people I don’t know. I’ve learned how to control that shyness by being outgoing and gregarious in those situations.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Jennifer Fouché: I’m so proud of Chris and everyone involved in making the film. Making movies is truly a labor of love, for everyone involved. I’m so happy that people enjoy the film!
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Jennifer Fouché: I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love and to live life as an artist. Throught my journey, I’ve learned one of the most important lessons there is; never, ever give up.