Abena Malika, Actress and Musician

Abena Malika is an actress and musician, currently appearing in a new play directed by Atom Egoyan. Cruel and Tender opens January 21st at the Bluma Appel Theatre.

What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed? 
Right now I’m in rehearsals, so a typical Thursday would consist of getting up around 7:30am, having breakfast and getting ready to leave by about 9am. Most of the time I cycle to work, which takes me about 30 minutes or so. I rehearse from 10 am to 6pm. My schedule varies in the evenings depending on what’s happening. If I have a singing or DJ’ing gig, I may have to go straight to the venue for soundcheck. If I’m not performing that night, I may have to go to another rehearsal for an upcoming gig. Lately, I’ve been in the studio over at Blacklight Recording Studio a couple nights a week working on my upcoming EP. Most evenings, though, I head home and work on my script,  review any notes the director gave me that day, have some tea and head to bed.

What was your first job out of school?
I worked at a phone company call centre for a while before I got some of my first steady acting gigs, which were commercials. I was so miserable at that call centre, at one point I decided to take a leap of faith. I gave myself six months to make something happen acting-wise. I said to myself that if nothing happened within that six months, I’d figure something else out. It’s so funny – I’ve found that when you make up your mind to follow your passion in life, when you pursue your goals with determination, doors just seem to open! Within a few months of my decision, I landedMamma Mia!, which was my professional stage debut. I’ve been acting in the theatre, as well as film and television, ever since.

What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?
Listening, critical analysis skills, and a big imagination.

What do you love most about your career?
I love the fact that I am in a line of work that I am passionate about. I realize that I’m very fortunate to be able to say that, and I’m really grateful. I don’t take that for granted at all. I also love the fact that I have the opportunity to explore the lives of different people through different roles. I get to know a character inside and out, get a feel for a slice of that person’s existence. Bringing a character to life is a wonderful process.

Do you have any warnings? 
1. Learn to save money…this business can be have its ups and downs, definitely. Save money during the good times to get you through the stretches where you may not be working as much. 
2. have interests outside of the business. I’m also a singer (I’m working on an EP to be released March 2012), and a budding DJ. (My DJ name is DJ Lilee aka Miss DeeJay…website and Twitter coming soon) For me, I love to cycle, and crochet (I make hats and scarves mostly) because of the meditative nature of those things.

If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?
I was on track to go into law when I realized I it wasn’t passionate about it and switched over to acting. However, I always loved Biology when I was in school, genetics specifically. If I hadn’t pursued the arts, I would have definitely gone into the sciences and become a geneticist. I’m still actually pretty passionate about genetics – I still read some of the journals from time to time and follow some of the latest developments in that field.

Follow me on Twitter: @abenamalika

Post Comment