Interviewed and written by Tocarra Eldridge
Beginning her acting career at an earlier age, actress and singer Sharon Leal will eventually rise to stardom and play roles in some of the biggest films of our time. Sharon has portrayed roles in films such as Dreamgirls, Why Did I Get Married?, and Why Did I Get Married Too?, just to name several. She has also portrayed roles on television shows such as “Legacy”, “Guiding Light“, and “Las Vegas”, along with a host of many other popular show.
Remaining humble and close to her roots, I had the opportunity to interview the heart-felt and warm-spirited Sharon Leal, who is an amazing actress. Here is what she has with share to the readers.
Tocarra Eldridge: You began your career in theater. What was your inspiration to wanting to become an actor?
Sharon Leal: Well, I was painfully shy as a little girl. I was really uncomfortable in my own skin. For some reason, the earliest memory that I have is a little school production that was put on. I couldn’t tell it while we were rehearsing it, but once we got on stage and performed it, I just had this light bulb go off that said ‘this is where I am the most comfortable.’ For some reason on stage I am really comfortable. So, I always pursued singing and dancing because it was just like a pure joy thing that was sort of planted in my consciousness early on. I was three years old when we did that play. I just knew early on that it was a passion of mines and a really comfortable place to be at, so I pursued theater and then went to performing arts in junior high and high school. It’s just always been a passion of mines so I never really stopped chasing Broadway, theater and then ultimately television.
Tocarra: When it comes to acting, which do you enjoy the most, film or theater?
Sharon: I really embrace all of it. I stepped away from theater for some time. I feel like I’ve been fortunate because it’s been certain instances where…like my first film was Dream Girls, and that was a great first film for me because it’s a musical, but it’s also a film. My very first television show was a show called Boston Public where I played the music teacher. Then I did this movie called Soul Men which is also a bit of a musical film. So, since I stepped away from theater, I’ve been lucky in that aspect and that I’ve been able to kind of incorporate stuff I learned from theater. However, I will say that in regards to theater, there’s nothing like it – there’s nothing like something live and the audience receiving something live and personal. The energy that comes from that, you can’t really compare it to television or film, but I certainly look at it all and take all of the good things about film, television and theater. It’s all a part of the art.
Tocarra: You also have production credits under your belt. Are your fans and viewers going to see more films produced by you in the future?
Sharon: I would love that! I would love that! I think it’s a natural evolution for all actors and people who have been on many sets. You start to kind of understand the way things work and think from a production stand point, because you witness all of that. It’s a natural progression to feel like hmmm I’d like to try to do more on that end. There are also the benefits of being a part of creating something, because sometimes you’re only as good as the opportunities that are presented to you. Sometimes on the production side or directing and writing side, you can try and create projects for yourself or for other people. Yes, I would love to be on the production end.
Tocarra: Would you like to talk about any series or any upcoming or recent films that you have played a role in?
Sharon: I returned to a show called “Supergirl” on the CW. I’m reprising a role that I played a couple of years ago. There’s a show on NBC called “Council of Dads” that I have a recurring part on. So, those are the two projects that I would say to look out for.
Tocarra: In the past you won a Golden Globe Award for portraying Michelle Morris in the film Dreamgirls. What type of gratification or accomplishment was that for you?
Sharon: Now, the Golden Globe, I believe we won best ensemble. It’s been so long ago. (Laugh) I can’t even remember. (Laugh) I do remember going to the Globe’s and I do remember being nominated as the ensemble. I’m not the biggest advocate of awards – in a way that you’re only sort of legitimized by an award you’re given, but it’s definitely an incredible honor. There’s so many times where you watch a awards ceremony and you have five brilliant actors and they give the award to one person. Do I think that that cancels out the merit of the people that don’t win? Absolutely not, but obviously it’s wonderful to be recognized by your peers and to be in the mix on such a high level. So, I think it’s all positive as long as you keep it all in perspective.
Tocarra: Many actors and entertainers never reached your level of success. You have an amazing career and have met many prominent people in your line of work. How do you stay humble and grounded?
Sharon: You know it’s so funny because I think there’s something to be said – well first of all, I have all the same friends from high school. My mother is an immigrant; I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. I feel like I’ve just always kept this natural sense of where I come from. It never left me. Even when I was training in theater, I had a good ten year span where I had the right mentors and people who were always hammering in my head telling me ‘don’t forget where you’re from’. It’s really about the work. I don’t really have to work that hard to remain humble – just understanding what’s important to me. I think you just start to realize what truly fulfills you. For me, it’s just working with amazing people, being able to pay my mortgage on time, doing what I love and creating a livelihood doing it. That is sort of a natural grounding, just based on the way you look at what it is that you do. Sometimes I’ll be at the store and someone will say ‘hey, you’re Sharon Leal’, and I will forget. (Laugh) I’ll be like ‘oh sh–!’ (laugh) I don’t know what it is, but I think I am so into my real life and the things that really inspire me and really really truly make me happy and fulfilled. I think that when you have your eye set on those things, you’ll find that those things are a lot simpler than the concept of fame, money and all of those things.
Tocarra: As a woman, I’m sure that there was, and still are many challenges for you in the film and music industry. Do you have any words-of-encouragement or advice for young women who are looking to be successful as yourself?
Sharon: Well I will say that we have entered a period of time where it is a female empowerment movement that is taking place. We’ve seen it. The rights of women are now spotlighted and highlighted and it’s really an amazing time. The down side to that is that we are becoming pivot to all of these things that are happening, all of these injustices when it comes to equal pay and sexual harassment. There are a lot of things that are under the microscope. The wonderful advantage to this movement is the idea and concept of women being more than capable to handle high responsibility jobs and to be pillars of inspiration for young girls everywhere. You’re not laying down and saying a young girl can’t become president, that a young girl can’t become the biggest CEO of a company. I think that more than ever, women are really making their voices heard. So, I would say get on that train and continue to wave that flag; continue to support women and understand the power, because it is endless.
Tocarra: Sharon, you support causes and organizations such as Chrysalis and Save the Music Foundation. Why do you feel that it is important to give back?
Sharon: It’s so important to give back! For me, personally, I’m a product of public schools and if there wasn’t funding for a school where you could learn an instrument and have choir and art – it really saved my life just by having it there for me in an environment that wasn’t necessarily about promoting the arts. I think it’s important to give back always because there’s always going to be someone who without your help couldn’t achieve amazing things. So, it’s imperative, if you have the platform and the resources, you should always try and lift up people that are less fortunate. It feels good. It’s a wonderful source of good will. I think it’s our responsibility, plain and simple.
Tocarra: When it comes to your spare time you enjoy boxing, kickboxing and dancing. How did you become attracted to boxing and kickboxing?
Sharon: (Laugh) That’s from an old interview. (Laugh) I think that was in an interview from like eight years ago and I was very religiously taking this kickboxing class and I think it was just a great way to feel strong and to also feel like if I needed to protect myself I could. I took to it because I felt like it was a graceful sport, kickboxing in general. I got a good workout. I like feeling strong more than I like feeling thin. I like feeling like I can handle myself and feeling strong. So, I think I was attracted to boxing because it was sort of the epitome of the female’s strength – like learning how to spar with another person. It was just a hobby that I was really into. I still do a little bit of that now, but now I switched over to Pilates and I’m still taking dance classes, again, all in the spirit of being fit and strong.
Tocarra: Sharon, before we close the interview, would you like to add anything that we haven’t discussed?
Sharon: Yes, I’ve recently been getting into frequency healing. I do yoga on my own. I’ll put on frequencies and the concepts. There are different frequencies for different things, for anxiety, for spiritual growth, for sleep, etc. There is something called the miracle tone. So, that’s something that I am heavily into and that I feel has kept me really balanced and connected. It’s a good way to self heal and a very natural way by just using tones. I’m a big believer in it. It has helped me a lot!
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Last modified: July 8, 2023