Check out our interview with multi award winning actress Lily Brooks O’Briant who can be seen on the NETFLIX series The Big Show Show, where she plays the role of Mandy Wright.

Lily is also known for starring as Young Dot in AMAZON’S The Tick. Lily began her career as Matilda in the national tour of the BROADWAY production of Matilda The Musical and also starred alongside Dolph Lundgren in the 2015 film Shark Lake.

In her free time, Lily loves to give back and works with several charities, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Girl Rising (to raise awareness to educating girls across the world) and Heal the Bay beach clean up.

Follow Lily @lilybrooksobriant

Hi Lily, please tell us a little about you?

I’m just a regular teenage girl who really loves to act.  I’m the middle child & have an annoying older brother and sweet little sister – I love them both a LOT.  I love to sing, play guitar, swim & spend days at the beach, ride roller coasters, visit Disneyland with my family, and cook.  I am a little bit of an adventurer.  I love taking trapeze lessons & want to try indoor skydiving soon.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

If I could describe myself in 3 worlds I would say that I am Determined, Hardworking, and Kind.

How did you get started into acting?

My mom took me to a play at our community theatre in our suburb of Memphis when I was 4 years old.  I don’t remember what we saw, but I turned to her and said ‘Mommy, I want to do THAT’!’  My mom, who isn’t an actress, said “Wellllll, ok.”  She let me do a theatre camp that summer & I auditioned for the all children’s summer musical but I wasn’t cast.  I did other classes & my first role that next summer, when I was 5, was as a rabbit in ‘Sleeping Beauty’.  I kept dancing, baton twirling, was on team gymnastics, but when I was 6 I told my mom I just wanted to sing & act.  She did make me keep dancing.

When I was 7 1/2, I asked my mom EVERY day for 8 months to do TV & Film.  Because we lived in Memphis, TN, there really weren’t many options to get involved in TV & Film.  My dad convinced my mom to figure out a way to let me try it out.  She let me do some background work on a few TV shows in Atlanta (which is a 6 1/2 hr drive from Memphis) over 3-4 weeks.  On the set of CONSTANTINE, the director took my mom aside and asked who my agent was.  She told him I didn’t have one.  He told her that I needed one and gave her a few suggestions.  She only contacted one Atlanta agent who is still my Southern agent.

How has this changed your life? 

My life is completely different but I love acting and my siblings & I love LA.  I’m so happy we are here now.

What is the best and worst part of being an actress?

The best part is all of it. The only complaint is the stress of auditioning, but I have learned to love, or am in “like/love” with the audition process.  It can be frustrating because you want your audition to be absolutely perfect, and with self-tapes you don’t have direction to know what the creators have in mind, so you just have to bring what you feel is best for the character and you best.

Tell us about your work in NETFLIX’s series “The Big Show Show?”

I can’t wait for everyone to see the Christmas/Holiday episode of THE BIG SHOW SHOW on December 9th on Netflix! What makes THE BIG SHOW SHOW special is that it is a fun family show that has something for everyone in your family. It follows WWE champion, The Big Show, and his loud, witty, and always busy, house. My family and I LOVE watching TV together and sometimes it is hard to find a show that is appropriate for everyone to watch together. THE BIG SHOW SHOW is that show you can watch as a family, laugh and enjoy something funny together. The Christmas episode was SO much fun to film! It is funny but has a lot of heart too.

What I hope people see when they watch THE BIG SHOW SHOW is not only how funny it is but also the real love that the cast shares for each other. We truly became a family quickly. Big Show & Allison are the best TV dad & mom I could have ever dreamed up and Juliet, Reylynn and I became just like sisters.

And about your role as Mandy Wright?

I play Big Show’s middle daughter, Mandy, who is determined, smart, super optimistic, quirky, a little anxious, VERY driven & too adult for her tween everyday world. Mandy’s idols are RBG and Amy Pohluer’s character on ‘Parks & Rec’, Leslie Knope. Mandy wants to change the world and make a positive difference but she doesn’t know how to do it just yet.  She has her life planned in 5 year increments.  In the first episode she is having a full-on identity crisis because even though she loves her older half-sister, Lola, who is moving in with the family for the first time, Lola moving in means that now Mandy is not the oldest daughter in the family. This completely turns her world upside down because she doesn’t see herself as ‘a middle child’. The 3 Wight sisters are completely different, but they come together as a team to help each other. Just like normal siblings though, there are some bumps along the way. The Christmas episode really highlights the bond between the Wight sisters.

Now tell us about in AMAZON’S “The Tick?”

I had so much fun playing Young Dot on “The Tick”! Everyone was incredibly nice and it was fun being on set in NYC.  I was in flashback scenes that gave more to help understand what made Dot tick.  (lol).  Valorie Curry was so nice to me & I loved playing her younger version.

How do you prepare for a role?

I read through the scenes and write down the character’s thoughts and feelings. On a multi-cam tv show we film each episode in a 5 day week. On Mondays we have the table read and start rehearsing. On Monday night, we usually get a revised script with changes that we use to rehearse on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon, we do a run through for the writers & producers and then on Tuesday night we get another revision to the script. On Wednesday, we use the new script to keep rehearsing, do a run-through for Netflix & the writers. Wednesday night we get another script to film scenes on Thursday. On Friday, we have the live show. During the show, if a joke doesn’t work, the writers have alternate lines for us that they will give us to do & learn right then. Sometimes we will have scenes filmed a few different ways and they will edit to have the ones they like best. It is a LOT to memorize, but I love it.

I think multi-cam with a live audience is a really good fit for me because it is a combination of live theater that I love and film that I also really love.  It is a cool combination for this theatre kid.

What other projects have you been part of?

My very first professional role was playing action hero star, Dolph Lundgren’s, daughter in a shark movie called ‘Shark Lake’.  I was 8 years old and had so much fun! I played the role of Matilda in the US National Tour of the Broadway show ‘Matilda the Musical’ for 8 months when I was 9 years old and had so much fun on tour!

What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?

I want to play  a tougher, harder edged girl someday who is multi-layered.  I really want to be a part of a medical show someday where I can play a surgeon or doctor someday as well.  I’m a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan! I have so many amazing actresses who I look up to – Reese Witherspoon for her character acting & her producing, Lauren Graham’s comedic timing and how she uses her reactions, Kerry Washington & Jennifer Lawrence’s truthful dramatic acting, and more.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Getting to see people enjoy the movies and shows that I am a part of. Seeing people watch and enjoy your work is so rewarding.

How would your best friend describe you?

I actually was not sure how to answer this question so I decided to text a few of my closest friends and ask them how they would describe me. Here are a few of their answers. “I would describe you as kind, loyal, happy, always there for me, smart, organized, determined, engaging, confident, talented, and someone I know I can always laugh with and be myself around”. Another one of my friends said “I would describe you as; So kind and caring, and is always there for me. You always know how to make me laugh and brighten my day, like sending me best friend Tik toks that remind me how you’re always there for me. You are also so bubbly and charismatic and you can put a smile on anyone’s face!” I love my friends so much and I am so incredibly happy to have so many people in my life to be there for me no matter what!

What is your own definition of happiness?

Being with the people I love & doing something fun together. Maybe morning at Disneyland and the afternoon at the beach with my family and friends laughing and enjoying the time together.

Best advice ever given?

Jaleel White played a recurring role on THE BIG SHOW SHOW and told me to make sure I am passionate about acting because it requires a lot of sacrifice, to work hard & not give up.  If there is something you are passionate about that brings you joy, make sure to work hard to learn more about that passion to improve your skills every day – whether it is singing, dancing, soccer, art, acting, writing – whatever it is – keep working. Don’t give up.  Make a vision board to help you keep an eye on your goals that will help you remember what you are working to achieve. I did and still do face LOTS of rejection but for every 100 or even 400 no’s you get, you will get that one ‘Yes’ that can change your life! Stay positive and believe in what you can do.

Do you support any charity?

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, TN, is very special to my family. My family has had 3 family friends treated at St. Jude – my older brother’s friend, Bailey; my friend, Lucy; and my sister’s friend, Ingram. They have all survived & beaten cancer.  I ran my first St. Jude 5K when I was 6 and had done bike-a-thons before that at school for St. Jude even before that. I wanted to do something with other young talent in Hollywood to raise money for St. Jude. I started planning ‘Songs for St. Jude’ in December and had 22 young talent from Broadway, London’s West End, The Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, ABC, FOX, Netflix & more perform here in LA on February 22. It also live-streamed on Twitch.  We raised $3000 for St. Jude. This fall, St. Jude asked me to be the team captain for ‘Team Young Hollywood/Broadway’ and the team of over 60 young performers raised about $15,000 for St. Jude in under 2 weeks – mostly by just doing Instagram live fundraisers!! The team is getting together to take a virtual tour of the hospital this month and do more to raise more awareness about the amazing things that St. Jude does to Find Cures & Save Children. I am so grateful to serve as a St. Jude Youth Ambassador.

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

In five years, I see myself in college & hopefully working on an amazing show or movie.

Favorite song? Why?

I have a lot of favorite songs and it really changes daily but right now, my favorite song is “Wonder” by Shawn Mendes or “Paper Rings” by Taylor Swift!

What do you think of Social Media?

It can be a little stressful at times, but it can be fun too.  It is also a good way to keep up with friends – especially during Covid & it is a good way for me to spread the word about St. Jude and try to make a good impact on the world.

Where we can follow you?

You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, & TikTok @lilybrooksobriant and on Twitter, my username is @iamlilybrooks

 

Favorite Singer/Artist: My favorite Singer/Artists are Taylor Swift and Shawn Mendes! They are both singer-songwriters who started in this business at a very young age and I see them both as a big inspiration. I have watched both of their documentaries on Netflix and they were both so amazing and I learned a lot about how they write songs and their musical process.

Movie: This is a hard question because there are so many incredible movies out there but a few of my favorites are the Twilight series, Knives Out, and I am currently watching ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with a friend and I LOVE it so far! I am a BIG fan of Romantic comedies and I also love mystery movies!

Travel Destination: My family and I love taking vacations to Disney World in Florida! We are a big Disney kind of Family. When we moved to California I was super excited that we would be so close to Disneyland so I actually convinced my mom to get us annual passes for our Christmas present last year. Sadly we were only able to use the passes a few times before they shut down due to Covid. I can’t wait for Disney to open back up again! I am also a beach girl at heart so anywhere with sand and sun is a go to choice for me!

Sports Team: So… To be honest, I am not the biggest Sports person so I don’t know about any of the teams but my favorite sports are Swimming, gymnastics, or Ice skating!

Tv Show: I have SOOO many favorite T.V. shows! A few of them are, Grey’s Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, Glee, and The Good Place! Writing these down on paper makes me realize that all of my favorite shows start with the letter G!

Book: My favorite book is definitely the “Twilight” series!