We recently chatted with actress Camille Montgomery to get her take on life as an actress in L.A., how to stay positive in such a competitive industry, and what the future holds for Hollywood.
Check it out, and don’t miss her latest film, As Long As I’m Famous!
Emily: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! I’d love to get to know your backstory first. Where did you grow up? What first got you interested in acting?
Camille Montgomery: I was born and raised in San Francisco, where I performed in my first ballet recital. I was three years old at the time, so the recital primarily consisted of jumping around and dancing like a little hippie. Although my ballet days ended soon after that, I discovered a deep love and passion for performing. As a kid, I would write poems, sing, dance, and put on shows for my friends and family. I felt the most vibrant and free when I immersed myself in the creative process. I am always growing as an artist and continue to feel the most at home in myself when I’m creating. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do what I love.
Emily: I have to agree with that! There’s something powerful about creating something completely new that’s completely you.
What school or training experiences have you had? How was that time valuable for where you are today as an actress? If you had to pick one key lesson you learned, what would it be? I know that’s pretty difficult to pin down, but what advice has stuck with you as you’ve progressed in your career?
Camille Montgomery: When I was nine years old, I started taking acting classes and performing in local theater productions. I was a part of the Young Performer’s Theater for several years and then went on to get my bachelor’s degree in theatre performance. I continued my theatre studies at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford. This conservatory-style training taught me structure and discipline, but also gave me space to explore different techniques. The classes and teachers I’ve worked with in Los Angeles have helped me to find more creative freedom within my work, as well.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to own every part of myself. I had the privilege of working with an extraordinary teacher named Sam Christiansen last year. He had a beautiful way of unearthing the parts of me that I tend to hide and judge. I spent years denying these qualities, but Sam helped me look at them in a different light. By accepting and honoring these parts of who I am, I’m stepping into myself and my work as an artist in a new and exciting way. These things about ourselves that we tend to run away from or identify as our flaws are actually captivating qualities that exist in us that we’ve been denying the world and ourselves. This practice of honoring who I am fully has helped me in my career and in all aspects of my life.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to own every part of myself…These things about ourselves that we tend to run away from or identify as our flaws are actually captivating qualities that exist in us that we’ve been denying the world and ourselves.Camille Montgomery
Emily: I LOVE that. We can’t completely accept who we are until we accept all of us. Looking back at your first IMDb credit for the short film, Two Tickets to Paradise, what was it like landing that first film? How did you find a mentor or good connections to help guide you along the process of auditioning?
Camille Montgomery: Two Tickets to Paradise was the first short film I did after moving to Los Angeles. I had just finished filming a feature in the Bay Area a few months prior. I was beyond excited to start shooting the short when I got to L.A. They casted some hilarious comedic actors. I just remember spending the entire time laughing on set. I had the opportunity to work with a few people I met on that project throughout the years and just filmed a feature called American Dreams with Thomas Schade who I met on that short. It’s such a gift to reconnect with people and get the chance to collaborate and work on new films together.
When I first moved to L.A., I took acting classes and found mentors through the teachers I was studying with at the time. I continue to study acting, movement, and various forms of art with different coaches. I learn an endless amount from the people I work with too–other actors, directors, writers, and crew. The people that I’ve met throughout my career continue to shape my life and help me grow as a person and artist.
Emily: What current projects are you working on right now that you’re excited for people to see?
Camille Montgomery: My film, As Long As I’m Famous just premiered at the Ahrya Theatre in Beverly Hills. The cast and crew felt like family, so it was exciting to finally show people what we created. I’ll be working with As Long As I’m Famous writer and director, Bruce Reisman, again this summer on another project. I’m really looking forward to this new role and can’t wait to share more about it soon.
I’m about to start shooting The Blackbird Interviews, with writer and director, Tiffany Rhodes. Her avant-garde thriller takes place in the 1980s and exposes the chilling connection between several women who were placed in a mental institution. I’m really drawn to these raw, dark stories, so I’m looking forward to delving into the world she’s created in this piece.
I’ve also started writing songs and singing this year. I just recorded my first original song and will be shooting a music video next month with the incredible director, Sacha Smith. I can’t wait to share it soon and continue this exploration of music.
Emily: We’ll definitely be on the lookout for those when they come out! I loved the insights that you shared on the podcast, Project Me with Tiffany Carter. You had such a positive attitude about your career and life in general. What other advice do you have for young actresses struggling to stay confident in this industry?
Camille Montgomery: First of all, I’m so grateful that I met Tiffany Carter. She’s such a positive and empowering woman and it was a true blessing to meet her and be on her podcast. It’s imperative to surround yourself with people that have a strong sense of purpose and who inspire you. I also love listening to her podcast and spend a lot of my time reading and listening to talks from spiritual leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, and scientists. I enjoy the process of learning new information and think it’s important to stay curious and open to the unknown.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t seek anything outside of yourself. Every bit of love, self-worth, confidence, and security needs to come from within. I’ve spent a lot of time searching for things outside of myself to finally discover that all the answers are within me. My advice is to go inward and work on giving yourself the love and things that you’re looking for in this life. I’m finding a deep sense of gratitude and joy within this practice.
Every bit of love, self-worth, confidence, and security needs to come from within. I’ve spent a lot of time searching for things outside of myself to finally discover that all the answers are within me.Camille Montgomery
Emily: Again, LOVE that advice! Do you feel hopeful about the changes you see coming to Hollywood, especially for actresses?
Camille Montgomery: I’m very hopeful about the changes that are unfolding in Hollywood. We are just beginning to have conversations about serious issues that have been under the surface for a long time. We are talking about the rights of all people now and from this important dialogue, many films, books, songs, and pieces of art are being created to reflect these stories.
There is so much power in using your voice and sharing your story. This is one of the biggest things that I’m learning from this time. It’s beautiful to see women joining together to honor the strength they possess and share as a whole. I’m excited to see the stories that are emerging from both women and men and for the monumental shifts that are being created in the entertainment industry and the world.
Emily: It’s definitely an exciting time to be a part of it all. Thanks for letting us get a taste of what it’s like to walk in your shoes! We’re looking forward to what you do next!
Check out our other Q&A’s with up and coming Women in Hollywood!