Did you catch the latest episode of Lethal Weapon?? If not, don’t worry I provided a link for your convenience. You might be wondering ‘Who Is That Girl’ and why does she look so familiar?!
MEET MICHELLE MITCHENOR
As a leading influencer in society in just the past two years. Michelle Mitchenor is an actress, dancer, and singer you might want to keep an eye out for. Michelle Mitchenor stars on the prime-time Fox series LETHAL WEAPON, which is currently airing now on Tuesday nights. Michelle plays detective Sonya Bailey opposite Damon Wayans, Clayne Crawford, and Jordana Brewster.
Taking a leap of faith and betting on your career could be your defining moment. Take Michelle, for instance. The year 2015 was just the beginning for Michelle. As she had the opportunity to work and engage with legendary individuals around her. “It was just confirmation that I’m on the right path and I was in line with what the universe has planned for me”, said Michelle. Before booking the Spike Lee project, her only experience had been her youtube show, and her role as a nurse on Sex Sent Me to the ER.
“Everybody has to start somewhere. My first paid acting gig on television, [was on the series Sex Sent Me to the ER]”.
While working on her youtube show, Spike Lee stumbled upon Michelle and her many talents.
Giving her a platform and opportunity to learn from the best. Originally when she auditioned for the role, they told her the director wouldn’t be named, the project will not be named, nor would she know what exactly what she is auditioning for. “There was literally nothing on the other side. I just had this faith and fire that I’m going to bet on myself. And thank God I did. You have to bet on yourself. It changed my entire career and life” said Michelle. Michelle played Indigo in Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee’s musical-drama feature film, CHI-RAQ. A modern-day adaptation of the Ancient Greek plays Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago. “To be a part of the crew is such an honor”, said Michelle.
Michelle attended Ocean County Performing Arts Academy High School in New Jersey and has a BFA in Dance from Towson University.
“My biggest talent was being a student. If you give me a piece of material, I’ll study it so it can reach its potential. [At] my Performing Arts High School [it was] instilled in us that you have to be valuable. You can’t just be one note one lane. [That] limits your options. [As] an actor it’s our job to jump into the imaginary state and be whomever. The more you know the more access you have. That’s only going to make you a better actor.”
As a master class of discipline and focus, Michelle elevated the role of a dancer into an entertainer.
Michelle would go on to perform with Rihanna, Beyonce, Pharrell Williams, Cee-lo Green, Alicia Keys, and more. From each artist, she witnessed firsthand the hard work that it takes to be great. “[With Alicia Keys], her presence in the room was like you felt a peace over you. There was a sense of sincerity. I want people to feel like that around me. Just confident even in who they are”. As much as Michelle loved to dance, she knew she didn’t have the interest to pursue Creative Directing or Choreography. Therefore, it was important to continue her acting classes while dancing professionally. Knowing that eventually, her dance career was going to come to an end. Sidenote, Michelle can sing! A triple threat as a dancer, singer, and actor. So, can we expect an album release? “It’s so interesting because [that’s] popped up on several random occasions. I never want to say never. But seeing the music business, that takes a [different] level of focus and commitment. [At the moment] I don’t know if I’m willing to give up the commitment [to] my acting career for [music]. But who knows?”
What’s next for Michelle Mitchenor?
Maybe Broadway or animation films. But, you never know, as the sky’s the limit with Michelle. So, you’ll just have to wait to find out. “God really just keeps surprising me. I hope to land my first superhero/heroine role, I definitely want to get heavy into action. I hope to have a few leading lady roles under my belt. Everything in this business is when opportunity meets preparation” said Michelle.
Naturally, after visiting Uganda, Michelle became an advocate for those living in harsh conditions.
“It adds a whole other layer of humility,” said Michelle. Michelle is currently in the process of starting her own nonprofit, the Mitchenor Foundation; which introduces children of low-income communities to the arts. This nonprofit organization recognizes the decline in art programs and classes. “I’m just a huge advocate for the arts,” said Michelle. Humility regardless of what career field you’re in is important. “Tomorrow is never promised. This is a mantra that’s just been instilled within me” said Michelle. Michelle knows personally how it feels to not be able to fully express oneself. Having a special needs sibling, she considers every moment, thing, and opportunity special. “For me, everything I [do], I [hold] precious to me. Every breath I take is precious to me. It can all be gone tomorrow. It’s important to live every day as purposeful as you can”, said Michelle.
“My foundation, The Mitchenor Foundation, partnered with the Union Rescue mission this past December on Skid Row in Los Angeles. My tribe and I spent a week at the shelter providing kids ages 3-17 with classes in Dance, Acting, Visual Arts and a superhero camp! At the end of the week the students performed for their parents and the other residents at the Shelter.”
The Mitchenor Foundation will continue to provide weekly programs at The Union Rescue Mission as well as travel nationally and internationally with their mission in mind. More details on how to get involved can be found at themitchenorfoundation.org
“[These children] have a talent or skill-set that they didn’t even know they had. It’s important [to share] what keeps you alive and pay it [forward] to someone else. It could change someone else’s life.”
Photo Credit: Dean Foreman