Tamara Woods is a Pennsylvania-based stage and film actress. She’s also one of the many volunteers for The Narrow Way Film Festival, and I was hoping to get to meet her last weekend, but our paths didn’t quite cross. Tamara is a fascinating young woman using her artistic gifts wherever God calls her including a US military base in Kuwait.
When did you first develop an interest in acting?
When I look back over my life, I believe it started when I was a baby. At the age of three months my mother entered my baby picture in Hollywood Spotlight Photo Magazine. A few years later I took to performing at age four, upon my arrival in Honolulu, Hawaii. I would stand in front of a mirror with a brush in hand, acting out every TV commercial and acceptance speeches of award winners. My aunt watched how talented I was. She taught me how to pop-lock, and from there I would dance in the style of popping and break dancing at family functions. I also performed in plays at her church.
Tell us about your experience performing as a mime while stationed as a soldier in Kuwait.
When I received the order that I would be going to Iraq, I was nervous at first but God calmed my spirit. When my team was out-processing to travel overseas we were switched to deploy to Kuwait instead of Iraq. From the beginning I knew I was on a military mission but on a divine assignment. The Lord had plans for me in the desert (Jeremiah 29:11-13) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” He started a new thing within me (Isaiah 43:19) “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” God was drawing me closer to Him. Mime with Liturgical dance was new for me even though I always wanted to do it at my church back in the state of Pennsylvania.
Being a part of this dance ministry at Camp Arifjan taught me to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” As members we had to stay in God’s word and in prayer in order to minister to the people. When you are dancing unto the Lord to exalt Him it must come from a pure heart because you’re not up there for a show. We are up there to minister God’s love through his word. There is a difference and people can tell. When we were finished the soldiers would come up to us and say, “We’ve never seen this before. Your praise to God radiates all over you and we were uplifted.” Looking back over my experience I’m a living witness that God is not dead. He is alive and can use you anywhere in the world from a city to a desert, and from a time of peace and in a time of war.
You’ve had some great training opportunities. Tell us about some of the instructors you’ve trained with.
God has given each one of us talents. It’s up to us as to what we should do with the gifts God has given us.
As I mentioned earlier, it has been always a desire for me to be an actor; It’s a God-given talent. It was when I met my instructor and mentor Ms. Ruth C. Chapman, Founder of Destiny Productions Theater Ensemble who told me I must acquire the skills. Talent can only take you but so far. Thru Ms. Ruth I had the opportunity to train with Broadway Dreams Foundation Intensive. BDF provides a weeklong program of strenuous professional training for aspiring artist such as myself, to prepare for a formal showcase at the Kimmel Center alongside their exceptional faculty comprised of respected entertainment professionals. For the past three years I’ve always had a vigorous and exhilarated week with Broadway Dreams. This program allows me to work on three musical pieces within a week to learn the lyrics, vocals, and choreography, giving me the experience of the vigorous lifestyle of a Broadway performer, and I hammer it all the time. I have the confidence that I can do it!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another instructor, Ozzie Jones, Founder and Artistic director of the Rhythm One Company. I had the pleasure of working with him in Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller presented by GoKash Productions. Mr. Jones instructed me, “Don’t act, just be in the moment.” I credit Mr. Jones with helping me further develop the subtlety and quiet dignity that distinguished my performance as Linda Loman which gave me press in Stage Magazine.
What films/television shows have you been in?
I am proud to have worked twice with History Making Productions on their Emmy-Award Winning TV series Philadelphia:The Great Experiment. A year ago I worked background on “In Penn’s Shadow 1680-1720”, and this year I landed a principal role as Charlotte Forten, Abolitionist/Teacher on “Disorder 1820-1854” which aired on ABC. If you want to see my performance, the story starts at 14:00 minutes. I also was featured in the movie titled Sure Looks Good by Lionel Cook.
What would be your dream role?
For the past year I have been thinking about a biopic of Laila Ali – I would want to play her. I am putting it out in the atmosphere.
Tell us about your involvement with The Narrow Way Film Festival.
A week or so prior to last year’s event, I saw a post about The Narrow Way Film Festival. I went to their website and read what they were about and I immediately wanted to volunteer to help them and to be around other Christians in the entertainment industry. Therefore I volunteered and met the Founder and Curator Mrs. Venetia Baldwin and we had a blast. I knew I was a part of something special and wanted to continue to volunteer and help in any way.
What are your plans for the future?
In regards to my career, my plan is to get to know all sides of the business I’m in. I just started writing and I have an interest for directing, and teaching. I also desire to have a recurring role on a one hour dramatic tv series. So I must write out a strategic plan, pray on it and allow God to order my steps to the places I need to go. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to send them to me.
Anything else? Right now I’m currently filming as a lead in a SAG feature film titled A Sense Of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives written by Jillian Bullock. The story focuses on four military veterans, who use an unconventional form of therapy – mixed martial arts – to help them heal, recover and assimilate back into society. If anyone would like to find out how to get involved, help, volunteer, or donate please go to website. I have a few more projects in the works and you can find out more about it on my website.