CM Chats with Former Degrassi Actress Andrea Lewis

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You may recognize Andrea Lewis from her notable role as Hazel Aden on most teen’s obsession, Degrassi, but her thriving career has since been a product of her decision to make her #goals a #reality. As a working actress, director and creator of her own web series, Black Actress, Lewis continues to expand her resume to one us college kids would kill to obtain after senior year. Not to mention, if you aren’t subscribed to Lewis’s YouTube channel where she breaks down the components of self-love, goal-setting and simply enjoying the journey of life, then you need to open up a new browser and hit the subscribe button pronto. Lewis’ life may appear to be an unattainable at first-glance, but with her cues, we can create our own dream-worthy #realities.

College Magazine: What did you dream of doing with your life when you were younger?

Andrea Lewis: I always knew that I wanted to be an entertainer. I went through traditional schooling and graduated high school, but after that, most of my education came from on-set experience. I never really enjoyed the traditional school set-up even though I did learn a lot, I’m much more comfortable with one-on-one coaching. While I was doing Degrassi, I started my own business and was learning a lot from the work experiences that I was creating. I was really unsure whether or not I should go to theater school, but then I thought about it, and when it comes to acting or music you’re always a student and a guinea pig. Yes, there were times I would be around other actors in LA and they’d have all these friends that they met in theater school, and that was always something I wish I had. I used to think “oh man, I wish I could’ve had the experience of living in a dorm room,” but I did have the experience of moving out of my family’s home when I moved to LA.

CM: Did you ever feel discouraged on your journey or encounter any setbacks?

AL: Around the age of 23 and 24, I had a lot of setbacks due to my mentality. I got a lot of opportunities, but with everything that came my way, I really didn’t embrace them because of where my mentality was. Being in your early 20’s, you have so many expectations of what your life will be, but since my mentality was so negative, these things just weren’t happening.

CM: Can you tell us a little bit about your personal self-love journey?

AL: My self-love journey was kind of a slow build. Before, I was very comfortable with my insecurities. It’s like your ego likes the pity, and I was living in that place for awhile. There was just a point where I realized that the only way that this is going to change is with me. I recall two specific moments that kicked off my self-love journey, and the first was when I wrote two lists, one negative and one positive. The negative one was figuring out what the problems with myself were, and then after I wrote those out, I wrote out ways to fix these problems and that was my positive list. That was my first time really embarking on this journey. The second, I remember looking through these pictures from my childhood with my mom and I really didn’t like any of these pictures. There was nothing wrong with them, I was just seeing all of these negative things about me in them. I was feeling so exhausted with being so mean to myself, and I realized that it was time to actually go on this journey.

CM: As students, we are still coming into our own and finding ourselves. What advice would you give on embarking on this journey?

AL: It’s weird because when you’re young, you have to be patient because you will more than likely be someone different in a month. You kind of have to realize that growth is going on while you’re in the process of living your life. I remember I was working with Nickelodeon back in my early 20’s and I was going to all of these sweet 16’s and I used to feel so old back then. Now that I look back on that, I definitely wish I was living in the moment more and really embraced being that age.

CM: How did your career on YouTube begin?

AL: I never was the tech-savvy girl when I was a teenager, I’m still not, but YouTube was the start of me embarking on my digital journey. I always knew that I wanted to be in charge of my own brand and I didn’t want to rely on my agents for everything. So YouTube gave me an opportunity to finally do that.

CM: Can you talk about your web series Black Actress and your inspiration behind it?

AL: Black Actress initially came from a previous show that I was on where I was deemed the urban piece of color for the show. I thought to myself that I know so many actresses grinding and we all really had the same goal: for people to see us for who we are. So that’s where Black Actress came along.

CM: How do you manage your time and stay inspired with so much on your plate?

AL: If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll find it. It’s that easy for me. I can be inspired by my Uber driver or walking down the street. In terms of managing time, I’m big on vision boards. It can be overwhelming when you have a creative mind when there’s a bunch of ideas running through your head.

CM: What are your goals for the future?

AL: It’s hard for me to say. Back when I was 15, the goals I had for now are completely different than how everything actually turned out. So I like to go month-by-month with my goals. Professionally, I want to focus on getting out multiple shows under my production company online. We already have new shows coming out in March. In terms of self-love, I have gained a lot of confidence and now I’m just learning to push through those moments of uncertainty and continue growing. I hope that with this journey, I can come into my own as a woman.

Erika is a senior Communication Studies major at the University of Michigan. She enjoys reading, photography and binge-watching A Different World on Netflix.

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