1. What are the projects that you are currently working on? Please tell us a little about it.
I’m excited to be cast as a series regular in an amazing Amazon Original Pilot. I’m not able to give too many details at this time but I can’t wait for people to see this project. The cast, production team, and crew are a dream to work with.
You can also see me in recurring roles on Henry Danger as “Narlee” and on Walk the Prank as “Nice Nancy” and guest star as Emily Campbell, Boris Kodjoe’s daughter, on Code Black.
2. Please tell us what do you feel is your biggest achievement?
I consider my journey to this point to be a huge achievement; let’s face it, I’m only 13 years old. I even call myself the “ultimate dreamer”. Each accomplishment is seen as significant and important to accomplishing my dreams.
Being cast as “Young Nala” in the iconic Disney’s the Lion King was definitely a dream come true. Over 500 kids auditioned with me and countless others across the country. For a theater geek like me, it was humbling to be a part of this phenomenal production.
3. Besides acting, what are you passionate about?
I love musical theater. I could eat, breath, and sleep anything dealing with musicals. You can always find me listening to scores or reading whatever I can to find out what inspires the creative process. Hamilton is still my current obsession along with Dear Evan Hansen.
Another new passion is martial arts/XMA style training. I know, that’s an extreme leap from musical theater.
4. How do you prepare for a role?
Great question! I keep an acting journal that I use for character study and research. First I read through the character description and the sides. Then I determine the characteristics that the character and I have in common and write that out in my journal. This helps me relate to the character as well as bring my natural self to the project. I also research the director and writer/s of the show to get an idea of their tone and style, if that information is available. Once I have an understanding of what's happening with my character and the other characters in the scenes with me, I make my choices on how to deliver the lines. Lastly, I make my choices on acting in the “white” of the script; which is a new term that I recently learned. That’s the part of the scene/s that isn’t written - the beats, the looks, the gestures, the sounds, etc. that really make the character come alive. I also make sure that I am completely off-book. Oh and most importantly, I always pray.
5. Why and when did you decide to start you acting career?
To be honest I’ve always gravitated to the arts. I’m that kid who forced my friends to put on “shows” for our parents. I always participated in the school talent show and any event or activity where I could act, sing, or dance.
In August of 2013, my parents allowed me to participate in a talent show case in Washington, DC. After the showcase I was invited to fly to New York and LA for personal meetings with the agents who attended the showcase. I was fortunate to be offered representation with two amazing agencies and my journey officially started. I was cast in my first professional role in October of 2103, in “A Christmas Carol” at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.
6. If you could travel the world with anyone whom would you take?
Ahh, this question could get me in trouble but I would take my mom. Of course I love both my mom and dad very much! My mom travels with me a lot now. We have a great relationship and she keeps me focused. The two of us have an amazing time together and she does a great job of keeping me balanced. For the record, I would want my dad and nana to come visit often; just saying!
7. Please tell us what do you feel is the biggest challenge in your acting career?
Initially understanding that this doesn’t happen overnight was a bit challenging; it’s a process. I’ve learned not to let the “no’s” discourage me. Each potential opportunity is part of the overall journey.
8. So many young actresses are committed to public service, setting a great example for their peers in terms of being involved with charities and the community. What causes are important to you, and what do you do to support them?
I am passionate about issues related to kids such as anti-bullying, inclusion and diversity, and equitable accessibility to resources. I want to use my platform to give back and raise awareness on issues that impact children both locally and globally.
I give back either through donations of time or money to organizations such as No Kid Hungry, Say NO Bullying, Free to Luv, Sophie’s Voice Foundation, and RosieG Style for Cystic Fibrosis .
9. As a teen actress, how do you strike the balance between schoolwork and your career?
That balancing thing is hard but necessary! I’m currently homeschooled and on the high honors dean’s list. Education is extremely important to my family and me. Education gives you options. My parents have agreed to support me with my passion for acting as long as my education is not compromised.
To be honest, it can get difficult sometimes when I’m busy with work. Last semester was especially tough but I learned some important lessons on setting priorities. My mom helps to keep me organized and focused. I have a daily school schedule that I maintain to make sure I don’t get behind in my subjects.
10. If you were not a teen actress, what would you be up to now?
Gosh, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
If so, I would be in Washington, DC, attending DC International school, hanging out with my amazing group of friends, playing soccer with the “Tricky Tigers”, and still forcing my friends to put on “shows” for our parents.
11. If you have the chance to choose any other stars at your age to be your classmate, whom would you like to?
I would choose them all - can you image that class - HA!
If I have to give an answer, all though they aren’t my age, I would say Yara Shahidi, Amandla Stenberg, and Rowan Blanchard and of course Lin-Manuel Miranda would be our teacher.
12. Have you ever taken acting classes before? And do you think acting classes are necessary for aspiring teen actors or actresses?
I have taken acting classes and received one-on-one coaching. Classes can be important, especially for new actors. You can learn great techniques for improv, cold reading, auditioning techniques, creating back stories, and active listening.
Remember taking classes and coaching is an individual decision. There’s no one size fits all solution. You have to do what works for you. The best advice I can give is trust your instincts.
13. How can your fans interact with you online? And what’s your fan mail address?
I love to interact with fans! Your support is amazing and appreciated.
Here’s how we can stay connected:
Facebook: Alexandra Underwood
Fan email address: email@example.com
Favorite Sport: martial arts/XMA and soccer
Favorite Music: Pop and musical theater
Travel Destination: Italy or New York
Favorite TV Show: 13 Reasons Why
Dream College: NYU of Yale
15. Now for my last question: what do you want to say to those who wish to pursue their careers in Hollywood?
Follow your dreams and never give up. Pursue your passion with courage and patience. Even when you hear “no” or when it seems impossible; keep going. Show-up prepared, professional, humble, and fearless. Be yourself and know that you are enough. Love yourself so you can can love others. Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others. Trust the process. Embrace the learning lessons. Surround yourself with positive people who support you. Listen to your parents and those that have your best interest at heart. Always be true to yourself, trust me, the rest will come.