Check out our interview with Hispanic American actress Francesca Barker McCormick. She has studied at McCaskill Studios (NYC), Ivana Chubbuck Studio (LA), and Margie Haber Studio (LA). Since giving her acting career center stage in 2020, Barker McCormick has played roles in Mother-In-Law (with Vivica A. Fox), Occultist 4: Gateway to Hell, The Four Points, Sinfull: Second Chance and many other productions.
Follow Francesca @francescabmccormick
Hi Francesca, please tell us a little about you?
Hi, thank you so much for having me!
I am an actress currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. Since 2020, I’ve landed exciting roles in Mother-In-Law (with Vivica A. Fox), Occultist 4: Gateway to Hell, The Four Points, Sinfull: Second Chance and many other productions.
Prior to my career in film, I produced numerous events with Escada, Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Balmain, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, and many more – the pinnacle being Vogue’s Met Gala! I also worked as a Vogue Market Stylist, acting as a representative of the brand and hosting events on their behalf in New York City, Miami, LA, and Paris.
Outside of acting, I am the Project Director for Gina’s Collective, an advisory for tech-enabled nonprofits. I also serve on the Guild for the Princess Grace Kelly Foundation, an organization dedicated to upholding the legacy of Princess Grace of Monaco, and elevating extraordinary emerging artists in theater, dance and film through career-advancing grants.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
I phoned a friend on this one and here’s what they said:
Modern thinking & sophisticated.
No money was exchanged, I promise!
Name one of your strengths?
I have a very strong work ethic for better or for worse. It’s what has gotten me to where I am and will continue to be critical in achieving my goals. I relate a lot to the little engine that could…here’s hoping my story ends the same way 🙂
Best advice ever given?
Oh jeez, ever?! I think it would have to be:
Sometimes you have to burn the cookies first.
And it’s true, even the greatest bakers have to burn a batch every now and then to get to the perfect recipe. Every time I fail, I try to lean on that. I think phew, got that batch out of the way, now let’s get to the good.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
I am surrounded by incredible women who have shaped my life through their own experiences, advice, and support. To name a few, my Mom, Gina Sanders, and Stephanie Buono. It truly takes a village, and I’m so grateful to each of these ladies.
How and when did you start your career in acting?
I actually began acting when I was eleven years old. I was in the Wizard of Oz at Playhouse in the Park in Mobile, AL, where I played one of the three ballerinas in the Lullaby League. It was the first time my dancing brought me into the acting world and I remember loving it so much that I would then put on my own rendition of the play in my family’s living room for many holiday parties. Shoutout to my parents and their friends for always acting like it was the first time seeing the play. That’s a rare audience but a perfect one for a young lady who loved to put on a show!
I did a few more plays at the Playhouse and a couple at my high school as well, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I really took my first steps into acting as a career.
What is fun and rewarding about being an actress? And what is not?
Fun and Rewarding:
Being able to dive into worlds outside of mine.
Being able to work collaboratively with other creatives to bring visions to life.
Shedding light on causes, missions, and struggles that oftentimes don’t get screen time.
Leading with empathy and the release of judgment.
No one likes a no, and that’s not only specific to this industry. But the magic here is using the no to get to yes. It’s a tough process but in a way, the no makes the yes even more fulfilling.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
That the failure was necessary because from every failure comes an opportunity to learn and improve. I strongly believe in the quote, “A win is a win and a loss is a learn”. So take the fail as gracefully as you can, take a moment to work through it, and stand up again with more now than what you started with.
What’s your advice for newer actresses?
Seize every opportunity instead of holding out for what you believe to be the perfect role for you (of course, sticking to your values – that filter should never go away). You never know what one opportunity will lead to, and if you count yourself out, you’re taking your own name out of the hat. Get out there!
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Seize every opportunity (again, according to the moral/value compass)
It can be a series of transitioning panics. The panic of how is this going to ever happen, okay it happened but how am I going to pull this off, so I pulled it off but what if they don’t like it, so I pulled it off and they liked it now what if nothing is next for me….and on and on. You can spiral very quickly. So it’s about celebrating and being in the moment of each win, no matter how big or small. A win is a win!
You can over rehearse but you can never over prepare.
Always be curious and open to discoveries along the way in the work.
I’ve said this one before but it’s so true, there’s no one way or right way to get where you want to be. So do your research, and get to it! Take inspiration and guidance from those who have been there before you but also keep in mind it’s an ever changing world. So find that balance of safe/done before and risk/paving my way.
What book should every female read?
This isn’t gender specific, it’s one for all: The Alchemist!
What’s next for Francesca Barker McCormick in 2022?
I am so excited about an upcoming project that I am not only acting in but also Executive Producing, Nite Hawkes. It’s an incredible film written by Atlas Ferrera (EP) and directed by Bailey Robb (EP). Being a part of this process from the very beginning is a first for me and an experience I hold very dearly. To see both Atlas and Bailey paint and color in this world so intricately has been the pinnacle of my acting career thus far.
It’s also been a wonderful opportunity for me to tie my previous experience in the fashion world (Vogue) to my current position in the entertainment world. As the film takes place in the late 1950s, we are focusing on archival Chanel pieces for our characters. The connection between Chanel and the overall messaging of the film were an instant connection. In the early 1950s, Chanel made its big return to fashion. The first reviews of the collection were scathing and harsh but the collection actually provided women with exactly what they wanted to wear – garments that were equally enjoyable as they were chic. In a sense, it provided an avenue for women to reject imposed ideals the world set out for them. Chanel spoke to women through fashion as they wanted to be, not as society told them they should be.
This theme is one that is explored by our characters as well. They embark on their journeys through this world, coming across misogyny, queer on queer oppression, and racism. Nite Hawkes takes a magnifying glass and holds it over the message that in America, oppression amongst the ranks of the oppressed is about kicking the person whose shoulders we’re standing on.
We are so excited to bring this film to life as it is as timely then as it is now. More to come soon!
In five years from now, where do you see yourself and your career?
The goal has always been to be a consistently working actor and I’m very fortunate to have had many projects keeping me in the zone of building characters and their worlds. In five years, I hope this remains the case with the dream being to have landed a role on a series similar to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Hacks, The Mindy Project, or The Morning Show, for example. Not only do I find these stories, characters, and worlds incredibly compelling but they also have dream teams and casts behind them. To be on a team alongside such excellent writers, directors, producers, actors, hair stylists, makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, and more, would be a tremendous experience!
How would you explain your fashion style and what items in your closet can you not be without?
I try not to box my style in – I could never strictly be a minimalist, maximalist, or select colors only. Of course there are colors and styles I gravitate towards and typically don’t choose but mostly, I try to go into it open minded. I will say I’m not really one for trends so perhaps my style errs on the side of classic with modern accents.
I dress for the occasion, the location, the company, and how I want to be in those realms. Well thought out fashion based on the three realms I noted is a form of thoughtfulness to me.
In terms of what I prefer to not be without:
I’m 5’3, so a platform shoe is my sneaker.
Crisp collared shirts. I love the framing they give and that they are one of the most versatile items in any closet.
Earrings. I kid you not, one of my teachers in middle school called me “earrings”. We wore uniforms so it was the only fashion piece I could choose for myself. I had so many different pairs and would choose according to how I felt that day. It was an ear party before that was a thing. While my choices aren’t as wild as they used to be, I still think they personalize and top off any look.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
This always changes and it’s so hard to just choose one, which is why I always pivot this question to the perfect dinner party full of 5-8 select guests…the event production side of me is coming out.
Those select guests would be:
Queen Elizabeth II
Don’t you want to come?!
What movies do you like?
In doing research for my character in Nite Hawkes, I’ve been diving deeper into the cinematic world of Elizabeth Taylor…which of course brought me to Butterfield 8, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Father of the Bride, to name a few.
I have fallen in love with the fashion and varying portrayals of women in those eras whether status quo or rebellious. Watching Elizabeth Taylor act is also one of the greatest treats – she’s an actor where you can turn down the volume completely and still know exactly what her character wants and fears. It’s in her body language, eyes, and nuanced choices. She says it all before she even delivers a line!
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
Sleeping until 9AM, going for a walk to get coffee with my husband and French Bulldog, spending the afternoon catching up on shows/movies, sneaking in a nice sunset hike, and ending the day with a bubble bath and a great book.
Where can we follow you?
Favorite Quote: I recently read Betty White’s book, If You Ask Me (and Of Course You Won’t) and found this gem:
“If you stuck with me this far I say a big thank you. Hope you enjoyed the trip. If not, take comfort in the fact that I had a wonderful time.” – Betty White
Photo Credit: Gabe Sachs