She played in Joana Lima Martin‘s Dollar Baby Ayana as Charlotte.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Sheila Collins: With pleasure. I am currently working solely as an actor, but I have previously done mental health counseling in a community health center. Prior to that, I worked in the Standards & Practices división of several televisión stations, mostly on game shows (to ensure fairness) and also on a couple of daytime talk shows.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?
Sheila Collins: I’d been interested in acting since early adulthood. But life intervened and I didn’t pursue acting until I entered middle age. During my first acting experience, I knew it was what I wanted to devote my life to.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Ayana Dollar Baby film?
Sheila Collins: While living in San Francisco, where I had finally decided to pursue acting as a profession, I auditioned for the film maker, who herself was pursuing a degree in film making at San Francisco State University. The role was for the mother of the main carácter, “Ayana.”
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Sheila Collins: Well, it has a number of compelling themes. It’s a story about overcoming adversity, it’s a love story, and it’s a story about family. Ayana is a young woman who is blind and wants to have an operation that will restore her sight. She’s a college student and listens to some of her required Reading on audiotape. Then one day she accidently meets the Young man whose voice she’s been listening to. They develop a friendship and blossoms into a romantic relationship.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Sheila Collins: Yes, I auditioned.
SKSM: You worked with Joana Lima Martins on this film, how was that?
Sheila Collins: Joana was very professional, encouraging and supportive of her cast and crew, and had a clear visión for how this story should unfold. She was a pleasure to work with.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Sheila Collins: I had a very emotional scene to do that required me to break down crying. I have always been able to cry on cue, shed real tears, get the red, runny nose, everything! Joana made sure this scene would be shot on a closed set, so as to respect the demands on my process. The scene had to be shot six times in all for one reason or another. Each time, tears freely fell down my face. Each time, that is, until the 6th time when my tears had completely dried up! It was so weird. We had to take a break to allow me time to recover and be able to produce more tears. We finally wrapped the scene, tears and all, on the 7th try!
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Sheila Collins: Oddly enough, I have only maintained a friendship with the one cast member that I never had a scene with. Joana returned to be native Portugal after graduating, and my communications with the other actors diminished over time. I remain friends only with Arye Bender, the actor who played the father of the Young man in Ayana’s life.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Sheila Collins: I still audition for TV and film, and during 2018 I shot an episode of S.W.A.T., a TV show that is now in its second season. I also appeared in fan film of the Deadpool charácter. It’s called “Deadpool the Musical 2.” In 2017, I appeared in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, a show that is seen all over the world, apparently.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Sheila Collins: Yes, I am a long-time Stephen King fan. I’ve read several of his horror novels and really enjoyed his novel, Joyland, that latest one I’ve read.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Sheila Collins: That I whistle really well!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Sheila Collins: Just that if you’re Reading this interview, you are probably a writer, an actor, a film maker or all three. Keep pursuing your dreams.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Sheila Collins: Thank you, Óscar, for including me in your interview series.