Brooke Lewis, a.k.a. "Ms. Vampy" is a Philadelphia native who has made quite a life for herself in Los Angeles. Her first break was playing Donna Marsala in the Off-Broadway hit Tony n' Tina's Wedding. This comedy is an environmental theatre event based on the nuances and stereotypes of an Italian-American wedding.
It's no surprise she then became an actress in Hollywood. Brooke has been in Sinatra Club, Dahmer vs. Gacy, and a number of Hollywood horror movies which have led to awards like Scream Queen of the Month and the Best Scream Queen Golden Cob Award for her work in Slime City Massacre.
Among her many talents, Brooke is the brain behind independent film company Philly Chick Pictures and is also a certified life coach. Her life coach work is designed to support, educate, and empower her clients. Read on to learn about Brooke and her life in Los Angeles.
How did you get into acting? Was it something you always wanted to do or did you have an epiphany later on in life?
My epiphany happened at birth...I was born a Drama Queen! I was singing and dancing from a young age, which led me into musical theatre in Philadelphia, which led me into comedy in New York. I got my first “break” in the New York Off-Broadway Comedy "Tony N' Tina's Wedding", then moved to L.A. and went on to do TV sitcoms like "Quintuplets" and "Mafiosa", then acted in mobster dramas like "Pride & Loyalty" and "Sinatra Club", then broke out in the horror genre with films like "Kinky Killers", "iMurders" and "Slime City Massacre" earning the title of a "Scream Queen", then combined my experience in comedy, mobster pictures and horror and created the role and brand, by which I am best known... Ms. Vampy!
Do you remember your first public performance? What was it and what was it like for you?
I had been singing in show choir in school and musicals at the local Y for many years, but I clearly remember performing in a regional production of “Grease” and I was hooked! I played Frenchy (shocker!). I signed autographs after each show and remember my family and friends bringing me flowers like it was yesterday. I also remember feeling the happiest I had ever felt, like I was doing EXACTLY what I was supposed to be doing in my life. That is the feeling that has remained with me and kept me married to my acting career in my adult life.
Do you prefer the stage or the screen and why?
My career started as a stage actress and I cherish those memories and experiences, but I much prefer the screen! Although I sometimes miss the “instant gratification” of the stage, I did so many Off-Broadway and touring productions I think I burned-out! I have so much respect for the actors who are committed to lifetime careers on Broadway, as it takes so much energy and stamina to do 7-8 live shows a week. I did “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” Off- Broadway 7 shows a week for 3 years and that was enough for me! I love acting on screen and how a performance is preserved forever (unless, I look awful!). I have performed in/on every medium and I have to say that my favorite experience was working on a network sitcom in front of a live audience. That was the best of both worlds!
You have done a number of projects with vampires involved. Is there something about playing a vampire that is particularly appealing?
Well, I’m not just playing a Vampire... I really am one! ;) LOL! I have loved Vampires, since childhood and think they are very mysterious, sexy and seductive… don’t you? Plus, they are immortal... that’s wild!
Tell us about Vamp It Out. What can we expect and when can we expect to see it?
Ms. Vampy is America's funniest, sassiest and most high maintenance vampire! Her personality is as big as her hair and is often described as Betty Boop meets Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny". She loves pleather and fur and wouldn't be caught "dead" without high heels! But, there's much more to this loveable vampiress from Brooklyn. Following two hit web series "Ms. Vampy" in 2009 and "Ms. Vampy's Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk" in 2011 to inspire tween and teen girls in a "tawk" show format, which covers issues that these girls are faced with today, "Vamp It Out" is a Halloween/Family/Comedy for tweens and the pitch is: ELVIRA meets THE NANNY meets THE CHEETAH GIRLS. “Vamp It Out” is in development, stars Bart Johnson from "High School Musical" and will be directed by "Monster Mutt" director Todd Tucker. My favorite catch phrase from the film is “When faced with fear, dig deep inside, find your inner "vamp" and Vamp It Out!"
For the uninitiated, how would you compare your portrayal of a vampire to say Anne Rice vampires and Twilight vampires?
Ms. Vampy is a lot funnier, sassier and sweeter, but just as sexy! ;) But, you must know, Ms. Vampy does NOT kill or drain people! She prefers a blood red steak and if she bites you, it will be with LOVE!!!
We really loved the Sinatra Club. What was it like working on that film? What was your favorite scene?
Thanks so much... that means a lot to me! This film was a four year labor of love and something I am proud of, as both an actress and producer on the project. Sinatra Club was a challenging experience that taught me so much about myself and the film business. I grew up watching Mobster movies and always dreamed of making one, so I can now check that off my list! Of course, my favorites are all the scenes with Rosella and Goldie (I play Rosella!) ;), but, objectively, I love the heist scene. I really think the actors all brought their A game!
Tell us about Philly Chick Pictures. How did you decide to start that?
In 2002, I created Philly Chick Pictures to "produce entertainment with an attitude". My movie career started as an actress in low budget independent films in NYC. I was always the actress with a ton of energy and a business brain, who would call in a favor to attach talent, crew, locations or think fast enough to do damage control on a set. After doing this work for other people's companies or projects and not being credited or compensated properly, I finally realized that I had been "producing" all along! I learned that I have a creative soul and a business mind, so I started Philly Chick Pictures to further my acting and producing career, make films with an edge and find and develop strong roles for women.
What is it about Philly Chick’s attitude that you feel sets Philly Chick projects apart from other projects?
Brooke Lewis! ;) Acting is my heart and soul, so everything I and Philly Chick Pictures produce is to create an avenue for me to act. That said, I am an edgy woman with a lil sass and attitude, so my projects usually reflect this. My goal really is to create projects that have a deeper message, a greater purpose and somehow support and inspire people!
Your Bowling For Boobies Fundraiser must have been a lot of fun! How did you decide to do that and what was the end result? Did you actually go bowling?
This is a charity event that I work hard for every year! It goes hand in hand with my mission to help and empower women. Dread Central and Captain Sean Decker invited me to join the Horror Starlets team in 2008. Taken from the 2011 release: "Demonstrating that their interests lay not only in cinematic hack and slash, a bevy of hot horror actresses have united for the third year running for a good cause: to support local Los Angeles women battling breast cancer, via their participation with Bowling For Boobies® and Busted Foundation (a non-profit fundraiser and charity which provides monetary assistance to women who are experiencing financial challenges as the result of fighting and living with the deadly disease)." Um... I have to be honest and tell you and the readers that I suck at bowling and will only bowl in high heels! :)
What can we expect from you next?
There are so many wonderful things in the works for 2012! As a producer, I am in development with Todd Tucker and Jim Pacitti on “Vamp It Out” and Staci Layne Wilson on Mark Weiser’s Vampire Rock Opera, “In My Blood”. As an actress, I am awaiting the release of Neil Johnson’s Sci-fi feature “Alien Dawn”, Ryan Combs’ action flick “Double Tap” and Roger A. Scheck’s “FATALE”. I am hitting the festival circuit with “Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk” this summer, starting with the Action On Film International Film Festival. I am also a certified Life Coach for young adults and the young LGBT Community and have been honored with a column as a Contributing Writer for the Huffington Post.