Many may not have heard of the name Mikaela Rachal, but have seen her face. Rachal has appeared in a number of television shows including NYPD Blue, The Young and the Restless and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation to name a few. She has also appeared in a few short films which have included Rampage Superstar and Dead Man’s Hour. Besides being a actress Rachal, also sings and raps. In a recent interview that I did with Rachal she talks about being a bi-racial actress in the entertainment industry and gives some helpful tips about how she prepares to take on a role and much more.
KL: What inspired you to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
MR: Courage! lol. Its a dream that’s been in my heart since I can remember. The desire to entertain, to create and perform. To actually go about pursuing my dream, to believe I can achieve it and to sacrifice so much based on faith has required an epic amount of courage.
KL: What was your first professional acting role and how did you go about getting that role?
MR: NYPD Blue. My mother included us all in the entertainment industry and would take me, my brother and sister on auditions together. It was actually my sisters audition and as I was waiting I noticed there was the role of an older sister in the script. I told my mom I wanted to audition for it, she spoke to the casting director and we ended up booking the show together.
KL: How do you prepare for the roles that you take on?
MR: I’ve had formal training in Meisner (two years + scene study) so there is a specific technique to breaking down a script but the part I love about acting is understanding the psychology of the character. Once you have that basis, everything else (actions, intentions, etc) seems to fall into place.
KL: Which actors and actresses have you already worked with?
MR: That you know?…I’m getting there!
KL: Which actors and actresses would you like to work with?
MR: I would love to participate in a cast like “For Colored Girls…” All those women are so beautiful and talented.
KL: What are some of the challenges you have faced so far as a African American actress in the film industry?
MR: Being multi-ethnic is tricky. Most times they (the industry) don’t know where to ‘put’ you. Because there is the issue of sales & marketing etc, there is a lack of acceptance of the universal conditions of humanity that have nothing to do with race.
KL: How do you feel about the roles currently offered to African American actresses in the entertainment industry?
MR: I think our choices are growing and things are changing. I believe it’s on us, not to wait to be offered, but to step up and offer what we want. Being leaders instead of allowing ourselves to become victims. The more we take matters into our own hands and uplift each other, the better off we will be.
KL: What is some helpful advice that you have learned while working within the entertainment industry?
MR: Stay focused! This business is NOT for the faint of heart. You have to want it more than anything, be willing to sacrifice everything, and shut out all who are in opposition to your goal. Be patient: “Commitment inspires creativity” (one of my favorite quotes).
KL: What are your future goals in continuing within the entertainment industry?
MR: To take over! lol. I’d like to play a kick ass femme fatale, write & produce my own film projects, be on a sit-com (ala Fresh Prince), make more music & tour the world. Basically to push through any limitations in order to fulfill my vision for life as a creator and entertainer, wherever that takes me.
KL: So I also understand that your a singer as well. What type of music do you prefer to sing?
MR: I love music that makes me feel good and want to dance but still has soul. I call my music Dance-Hop or Hip-Pop.
KL: Do you write your own music as well? If so what is your process in crafting a song?
MR: I do. To me, songs are like essays: Your hook is your thesis and the verses support that through-line. So first just figuring out what to say, then how to say it based on the music.
KL: Who are some of the singers who have influenced you? Which singers and performers would you like to work with in the future?
MR: I love Prince & James Brown, they’re so funky, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, for their swagger before that word was even invented lol. Nas, Jay-Z, Big, Pac, they were the most influential in my lyricism. I would love to work with Pharrell (NERD), Diddy, Dre, Outkast, Britney Spears (yes, really).
KL: Being a singer, what advice would you give in regards to helping to train your voice?
MR: Singing is a muscle so just like anything, practice makes perfect. Being that I’m not your traditional “Singer” finding my own style and exploring the strengths and limitations of what I can do and working to build on that has been vital.
KL: What can we expect from you next?
MR: An album, for sure! I’m putting the finishing touches on “The Gem Jams: a Collection of Carefully Crafted, Multi-Faceted Classics”. I truly love every song and feel like it represents me well in its entirety. With that release, lots of live shows. Hopefully a few commercials and/or print ads and some Film/ TV roles! I’ll be around.
KL: Thank you and we look forward to speaking with you again sometime in the future.
MR: Thank You
Check out her short Film, Rampage Superstar, below.