Brittany Perry-Russell: A Star on the Rise (RoniReports Exclusive!)
Earlier this year, many hearts were broken when we got word that legendary singer, Whitney Houston, had passed away. However, before the icon took her last breath, she left us with a special film entitled ‘Sparkle’, and fans everywhere are gearing up for it’s release this coming summer. One young woman was given the incredible opportunity to take on a role in this film.
Brittany Perry-Russell, who plays Sparkle’s back-up singer, described to us the immense amount of love she felt while being on set with Houston, and the other actors. Russell is a determined young entertainer who works diligently to achieve success. This talented actress/dancer has already taken part in several major productions including the hit show Glee, CSI: NY, Cee Lo Green’s ‘F**k You‘, The Voice, Honey 2, and more!
However, Russell makes it clear that she’s not relying on herself to accomplish her goals, it is her faith in God that gives her the momentum to push forward everyday. Russell allows the Lord to guide her footsteps, and so far He’s taken her to heights that so many others aspire to reach.
Take a look at what Russell had to say about her experience working on some of these amazing projects, what inspires her, and how she’s refrained from being categorized as a ‘Video Chick’:
What motivates you daily?
I’m truly motivated by many things. First and foremost, everyday that God allows me to awake is another day that I have the opportunity to do what I love. That blessing alone drives me.
Who inspires you? Why?
I’m inspired daily by God and by different people. However, my parents are a HUGE inspiration to me. They are both incredible people who work hard in EVERY aspect of their lives. Yet, they take the time and find ways to give back. I’ve also been inspired by random strangers and their acts of kindness. I too have been inspired by twitter fans, that tell me how much they enjoy my work. I draw inspiration from people, places, and things around me.
Cee Lo Green’s hit “F*ck You”, was one of the most popular songs out in 2010 and 2011. How did it feel being in the music video, and just being a part of something that huge?
It feels amazing. I remembered when I was asked to do it. I had never heard the song, but when they explained the treatment…. I KNEW I HAD TO be apart of the video! I’ve never laughed on a job so much in my life. Cee Lo is such a funny guy. Once it premiered it took on a life of its own, none of us (including Cee Lo) realized it would become such a phenomenon. As a matter of fact I was just having this conversation with him a month ago. It’s always a blessing to have an overwhelming outpour of love for a project you’re a part of. There must be something in the universe because in the past 6 months I’ve worked with him a couple of times on “The Voice” and the upcoming film “Sparkle,” and I hope to work with him in the future.
What is it like knowing that you played a role in the last project one of the most iconic people in the world starred in? Tell us about your experience on the set of ‘Sparkle’?
Getting the opportunity to work on “Sparkle” was such a blessing. I have always admired and looked up to Whitney Houston. Whitney’s talent was limitless, and I feel so honored to have shared a moment in time with her. “Sparkle” was her baby, and the fact that I was able to land a role in such an iconic film, to this day blows my mind. The entire cast and crew were so sweet. We had a blast in rehearsals. It was so hard to stay focused because we would break into song every chance we got. At one point Whitney joked around and even joined in. The set was filled with actors who had hearts of gratitude, because we all knew we were apart of something special.
What was it like, working on the hit television show Glee?
Glee will forever be a project I enjoy. The choreographer Zach Woodley and his assistant Brooke Lipton are genius at what they do. I think I’ve worked on about 10 episodes now and if they called me back for more I wouldn’t hesitate. I recently worked on the Whitney Houston tribute episode. We performed Whitney’s song “It’s Not Right But It’s Ok” with actor Darren Criss. That episode touched my heart. Every time I work on Glee I’m proud of the Cheerios. We really spice up the show and we always give you great numbers.
How do you prepare to audition for huge projects like ‘Sparkle’, ‘This is it’, ‘Honey 2′ and ‘Glee’? What feeling do you get before? After? And once you’ve been selected?
I prepare differently for every project I audition for. There’s no straight answer. I personally start with a prayer. My faith is a HUGE factor in my life and I ask God to guide my steps. I always make sure before I go into an audition that I’m prepared. I know my lines and I know the character I’m hoping to land. Once I audition for something and leave the casting room, I do my best to let it go. If its for me I will get it, if its not then I find peace in knowing that God has something BIGGER and BETTER for me. It’s not always that easy, but it’s my philosophy and it’s how I’m able to continue to fight without getting discouraged when things don’t seem to go my way.
How have you avoided being placed in the same category as “Video Chicks” and other dancers that don’t receive as much respect?
Wow! Good question! Truthfully, I believe I was never put into the “Video Chick” category because I did the work and kept it pressing. Even though I was the lead /model in countless videos, I always tried to display other talents in them. For example in Lil Wayne’s “Got Money” video, I tried to show that I could dance. It was a million girls in that video, but I wanted to bring more to the table, and thankfully the director Gil Green allowed me to do that. I think with time people were able to see that and appreciated it, and believe me I‘m grateful for it. Videos have been a stepping stone to get closer to acting. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve done them, because I learned so much and made life long friends through them.
Is there anything else besides dancing and acting that you would like to one day pursue?
Yes, I eventually want to build an empire. I would love to have my own clothing and makeup line. I’m obsessed with fashion and I feel that would be an exciting business to tackle.
What is one of your major career goals? (i.e. A lead actress role in a feature film? Dancing on a particular person’s tour? Working with a specific celeb?)
I have so many career goals. I can’t even begin to share them all with you. However, I would love to work with Angela Bassett, Meryl Streep, and Viola Davis someday. These three women inspire me beyond measure. They are true class acts that will forever be admired. These women are the real deal. Also, if there were ever a movie made about Janet Jackson, I would fight tooth and nail to get that part. I love her story, I love her music, and I would be honored to step into her shoes. Janet is a living legend.
What advice would you give women who aspire to be entertainers?
My advice would be, NEVER give up. It sounds cliché, but I hold on to it daily. If entertaining is your passion never let go, and never stop fighting for it. You will get more “no’s’” than “yes’s”, but you have to believe in yourself and the talent God has given you. There will be days you want to curl up and cry because you just can’t seem to catch a break, but don’t, just think of how rewarding it will be when you finally get that “YES” you’ve been working so hard for!
What are your current relationships like?
I’m not big on discussing my private life, but I will tell you that I am single. My faith, family and friends are my everything, These are the relationships that keep me. I love the industry I’m in, but I never let it define me. If it all went away today, I must admit, I would be sad for a moment, but at the end of the day I would still be surrounded by what’s most important, the people that I love and cherish and those who love and cherish me.