Interview with Marie Tagbo, Teen Actress, Youtuber, and Author!

Marie is an actress, YouTuber, and author of “How I Became a Teen Actor.” Starting in movie since she was 14, Marie has starred in films and commercials. She dedicates her life now to teaching other teens how to start their acting career, practice mental health, and strives to push the boundaries in representation in Hollywood

Interview by Daania Sharifi

Could you start off by introducing yourself to the readers? Name, age, interests, and what of stuff you spend time doing. Passions etc?

My name is Marie Tagbo, I am 18, and my passions are acting writing film and YouTube! I’ll be studying these at NYU Tisch this year in a Brand new major called collaborative arts, which combines these. On a regular day I’m submitting myself for auditions or filming self tapes, going on set to film a short film, or working on some YouTube videos or my website I also wrote a book called “How I Became a Teen Actor” which details how I started acting at 14 in the Midwest, where there’s not as much opportunity as New York or LA.

How did you first begin acting at a young age? What was your first experience in it?

Well. My experience beginning. acting was quite a convoluted one. I was taking guitar lessons (don’t know why, wasn’t my strong suit) when this drama I knew would ask me to come and try out for her shows. I always said no. Then, I got involved in this other small play for something fun to do. My first play ever and I booked the lead role. It was crazy! After that I dived into the theater world and performed with them for about 3 years. Then I started this other program called the Bible Bee Gameshow. Hard to explain, but you basically recite bible verses like it’s the spelling bee. They were going to make a game show from it, and I auditioned and got in. I fell in love with the lights camera action. Right after that I started trying to learn everything about acting. It was really self motivated, my mom didn’t care but she wasn’t going to do my work for me. But I figured it out myself. Eventually I booked a tiny tiny role — one line in a student film. All this wardrobe, prep work, audition, editing, for one small line. But it was so worth it.

What’s your favorite thing about being an actress? What makes you so interested in it?

That’s such a good question and it took me a while to figure out. But what I love is that It really does help you explore yourself. Before acting I never allowed myself to get angry or be sad in front of others bc in my family you keep your emotions bottled up. But In acting you have to explore other people, scenarios you’d never get to live, face emotions you haven’t looked at before. Like I recently watched my newest film “Gone Squatching” about a girl who finds herself in the woods looking for Sasquatch. Idk about you, but I’d never do that in real life. But with acting, I get to do it, and believe it, just for a bit. It’s a cool escape from reality.

What’s your favorite role and what was your favorite part about the role?

Probably one of my favs is the one I did most recently — Gone Squatching. It’s this YouTuber girl with this bright zany California girl personality which is exactly like me. Also the script was hilarious, it was kind of like The Office meets Community. But I do like the more serious roles, I did a play long time ago called Alabama Rain about 4 sisters in a drought. It was so philosophical and deep and reflective.

Who is your biggest inspiration? What’s so inspiring about them & what would you ask them if you could meet them?

Such a great question. I have many inspirations for all the many things I want to do. I would say Beyoncé but I wouldn’t even talk in her presence. So more realistically, Viola Davis. I think she broke — no smashed down barriers in terms of black, dark skin representation in the industry. Not only that, she’s stunning but because she’s older and not conventionally attractive, the barriers barring her entry were astronomical. She paved the way for many of the up and comoers now — Ryan destiny Yara shahid, I don’t think they would have existed without her. My other inspiration is Lilly Singh. I know she’s a meme but she is the reason I do YouTube the reason I wrote a book, and she inspires me to learn how to dabble into fashion or use my platform to inspire others.

How have you been coping with quarantine? What do you do to past time?

Oooooh THATS a really good question. Quarantine was very very very tough at the beginning. My family and I can be very different and with everyone being at home I don’t like that alone time. I was very unmotivated and didn’t like my results in school or in my art. But I started doing a lot of self care work. I started journaling all the things I was unhappy about — my part time job, my acting career, my relationships, and I started trying to find the positive and focus on what was in my life. I started taking the time to heal and to visualize. To pass the time now I spend a lot of time journaling and doing affirmations. Self care and psychology is a huge huge hugeeee part of my life. I couldn’t emphasize the importance of mental health more. People ask me “how do you do what you do?” But it’s not me. When i work through old past beliefs inlet go of the old me and step into a new one. Very spiritually and hippie but it works. I’ve started working on this script I’ve been working on for years, I’m doing it in conjunction with this mentor and we are hoping to pitch it in front of executives. I’m also working on parts of my acting craft I’ve been wishing to perfect, and marketing myself.

Any advice for teens following your footsteps?

Ooohhh. A lovely question! My #1 advice that I always say that if I can do it, anyone can. On social media I love to share my highlights as inspiration to others, being on set, doing photo shoots, filming videos. But there’s a lot of hard stuff too. You can push through it. Just start trying to find resources that can help you — watch YouTube videos, read books, watch interviews. Expand your mind. And believe that anyrhing you want to accomplish is really possible. I did martial arts for eight years and it was arguably the hardest thing evr. I’m not naturally athletic. But every day I visualized what I wanted to be and I wouldn’t let anyone stop me. I eventually earned my respect among my companions and got World Grand Chanpion. If you’re passionate about it, you can succeed.

Last thing, advice for teens about life, social situations, health, school etc

Yesss! Wow that’s An amazing question. Ugh I have so much to say for that. Self esteem. The advice that I always give my friends my family my viewers, is to have self esteem. When you have self confidence, you believe in yourself. You don’t let people treat you badly, or if they do, you still remmeber how amazing you are. If you have self love, you believe in yourself. You go after your dreams. If you have self esteem, it helps you deal with anxiety because you’re not worried about what everyone else is thinking about you. To go into a career in the entertainment industry like acting or YouTube you need self esteem to follow your dreams. Don’t know how to get self esteem? I didn’t either. I probably had the world self esteem and negative self talk known to man. Until I started waking up every morning and going “I love you Marie”. Some other small fun tips. If he/she/they like you, you’ll know. If they don’t, you’ll be confused. If they’re your people, it’ll be easy to hang out with them. And if it’s your passion, it will feel like play. Life isn’t complicated. It can be hard, but it’s simple. Follow the people and things that enrich your life. And if you don’t know that yet, don’t worry. You can make it happen. You have plenty of time.

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