Brianna Brown
Headshot photos by Jeff Fasano and Ragan Brooks

Actress Brianna Brown: Leading by example

by soul of the biz

Brianna Brown moved from her pink bedroom in suburbia, Minnesota to the sets and stages of Hollywood after graduating high school. Since her first on-screen role in Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks, Brianna has worked steadily in film and some of televisions’ top series. She is often recognized for her roles on Homeland, General Hospital and Devious Maids. Off-screen she enjoys staying active when she isn’t busy producing her own projects, supporting other women, working at her own non-profit, and serving as Ambassador for the National Women’s History Museum.

Read why philanthropy is important to Brianna, how giving back has touched her life, and what we can all do to make our world a better place.

What 3 values do you most admire in others?
Integrity, tenacity and making a difference.

What film or performance has most greatly influenced your life and career?
I don’t have one particular film or performance that greatly influenced me. I do remember watching Cate Blanchett’s performance in the film Elizabeth on VHS multiple times and loving the complexity of her character. I am greatly influenced by real life stories and am inspired by people who have overcome great odds because it reflects the strength of the human condition and reflects to all of us that we are not alone. I believe those are often times the best scripts and the most compelling performances.

If you could pass along one piece of advice, what would it be?
To inspire those around you by being the best version of yourself. I believe that is the only way to truly lead. To lead by example.

Why do you feel volunteerism/community involvement is so important?
I feel that volunteering and community involvement is important for everyone who has the ability to give back. Not only does it fill one’s soul, but it is incredibly necessary for women within our culture to take time to truly nurture themselves and also to utilize their gifts and passions to encourage others to learn how to help themselves.

We are in a very narcissistic enabling culture that is bombarded with images and concerns that are not truly in alignment with most of our values. One way to escape this idealized life created by advertising and social media influence, that is constantly projected onto us, is by helping those less fortunate. It puts life into perspective and reminds us that trying times do pass over time when we make conscious choices to change our situations, as well as acknowledge that sometimes life just happens. We need to appreciate our life exactly as it is “right now.”

It’s easy to escape the realities of life by being sucked into trashy “reality shows” or mind numbing activities but I have found for myself that that habit leaves me feeling empty and is often times a tactic to avoid what my heart and soul really wants to pursue. When I am living my life with purpose I feel inspired and excited, even the seemingly impossible is possible.

How has “making a difference” impacted your life?
It excites me to create opportunities that have a purpose, and it allows me to surround myself with other individuals who want more out of life, and who no longer want to sit on the sidelines playing victim to their circumstances. It helps me to “Rise Higher, Shine Brighter & Give Back.”

What does your future hold?
I hope that I am blessed with the opportunities to continue to do more of what I am already doing on an even grander scale. I hope my future will entail playing more powerful women in film and television and that my women’s non-profit will continue to expand and allow more amazing women to support one another and give back. I hope I will continue to support women in the industry by speaking at more conferences like “Deal With It: A Women’s Conference,” which was hosted by MPTF, an incredible charity that supports the entertainment community in so many ways. And I hope to have a family soon!

Brianna Brown MPTF

Photo courtesy of the Motion Picture & Television Fund

Please tell us about your non-profit, The New Hollywood (TNH).
After nine years, we have recently opened our doors at TNH to be more inclusive so every woman (and man) who wants to achieve their personal and professional goals, while also giving back, can join our movement. We focus on continued education, goals, support and charity. Please join our online community by signing our pledge so you stay in the loop of TNH public electives, events and branches opening up near you. You can also participate by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

How can entertainment change the world for the better?
I strongly believe in the power of the media and how it can create values and compassion when utilized properly and consciously. I know for myself, being an actress who actively runs a philanthropic goal group, The New Hollywood, that the platform all of us within the entertainment industry has is not only a blessing, but truly influences the trajectory of our world. It is our duty to reflect what we want to see in our world. It is why members of TNH are firm supporters of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and The Representation Project. It’s why I am an ambassador for the National Women’s History Museum and why I spend my down time curating a community of women who are “shepherds, not sheep.”

So as trailblazers within our industry who write characters, produce stories or simply interact with other women day to day in this cutthroat industry, it is up to us to consciously choose to support one another. It is up to us to dictate and change the mold on how we want women to be portrayed. What do we want our young girls to look up to and replicate? What do we want our young men to inspire to become?

Our world needs better stories to entertain us and awaken us because our world needs a lot of help. And for those who don’t work in the entertainment industry but are consumers, you can create this change as well by consciously choosing what shows, music, art and films you spend your time and money watching/attending. We all can make a difference if we choose to.

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