Check out our interview with talented Passionflix’s new film “A Brother’s Honor” lead actress Celestine Rae.
Based off author Brenda Jackson’s hit book series, A Brother’s Honor tells the story of three brothers reuniting after their grandfather suffers from a sudden heart attack. The Granger men, Jace, Caden and Dalton promise their dying grandfather that they will work together to save the family’s failing business, Granger Aeronautics. Celestine portrays ‘Shana Bradford’ the best professional consultant who is brought into the company to help salvage the business. The brothers also find themselves banding together to find out who really killed their mother and subsequently, free their father Sheppard, who is serving a 30-year prison sentence for her murder.
Celestine has performed in several off-Broadway productions in New York as well as numerous films and television including HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” NBC’s “The Blacklist,” and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU,” to name a few.
Follow Celestine at @celestinerae
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, Emotional, Intuitive.
Name one your strengths?
I think one of my biggest strengths is the ability to see people and feel where they are emotionally. I think I’m an empath. I feel what others go through and I’m very sensitive to the energy in a room. It can be challenging at times to not take on other people’s energy, particularly if it’s not very positive, but I believe my sensitivity to others is probably my greatest strength.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My biggest supporter is my husband. He champions my growth as a human just as much as an actress. He encourages me to be free and pushes me to take risks and keep going when I doubt myself. He also keeps it real with me, he won’t tell me my work is good if it isn’t. He is honest but always encouraging.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
My sister has been one of the biggest influences on my life. Next to my mom & dad. My sister has taught me over and over again what it means to be unapologetic, uncompromising, and bold.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Happiness is self-love, unrelenting, uncompromising, love of self. No shame. No judgement. Just love, grace, and acceptance of self.
Now about your acting career, what was your first acting role?
My very first acting role was when I was in 3rd grade. I played Rosa Parks in a play where we sang “The Wheels on the Bus” and when it got to my turn the conductor told me to move to the back of the bus and I refused. Then I got to perform a monologue about segregation and equal rights for all. My first professional acting role was right after I moved to New York and I was cast in the film American Gangster (with Denzel Washington & Russell Crowe) as a Principal Dancer in the scene where Denzel’s character meets Ms. Puerto Rico. Ridley Scott was the director and I remember him placing me right over Denzel’s sight line. I ended up not having any lines in the film, but I thought I was on my way after that role!
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part about being an actress is the ability to learn more about humanity through the different roles I step into. Every time I am blessed to play another character, I grow and expand as an artist and as a human in ways that are always surprising. I feel like the work that I do is sacred, and I am very grateful to be able to call this a profession. The worst part about being an actress is less about the craft of acting and more about the business of it. It’s hard to be in between jobs. As an actress, I always want to act. Not knowing when the next job is coming can be a little stressful and frustrating to say the least. But it pushes me to be creative on my own and find great classes to keep working on my craft.
Tell us about your work in Passionflix’s new film, “A Brother’s Honor?”
Working on the film A Brother’s Honor was a true joy. Lane Shefter-Bishop, our director was a superwoman. It was wonderful to be led by a woman director especially during the love scenes. Lane made sure the connection and love between the characters was the priority of those vulnerable moments and focused on the relationships between the characters. She loves actors, and we could tell by the way she worked with us. The cast was exceptional. I had such a great working relationship with Jeremy Batiste who played my love interest, Jace Granger. He is not only talented, but a very open and generous actor. Brenda Jackson, the author of the novel A Brother’s Honor is a force. She was on set every day providing her insight and cheering us on from video village. Everyone involved was a joy to work with and I feel grateful to have created something that so many romance and Brenda Jackson fans hold dear.
And about your lead role as Shana Bradford?
I had a wonderful time working on the film, A Brother’s Honor based on the novel by Brenda Jackson. Stepping into the role of Shana Bradford was empowering. I loved playing her. Shana is an intelligent, no-nonsense, career woman who is also sexy in a way that is empowering. What I love most about Shana is that she is not a damsel in distress. She is powerful and is the one who saves the day in the end. Though she is a little emotionally distant, protecting her heart and her reputation when it comes to falling for Jace, in the end she learns to let go, trust and fall in love again. The journey of falling in love was beautiful to play. The feeling of falling in love… when you’re scared but take that leap anyways… is so euphoric. I love watching people fall in love in life as well as in tv and film. So, to be able to play a character navigating all of those emotions was exciting.
What other projects you have been part of?
Other Projects: Recent TV Credits- The Blacklist, Law & Order SVU, The Mysteries of Laura, Boardwalk Empire. I also- have performed in off Broadway plays in NYC at The National Black Theatre, Billie Holliday Theatre, Classic Stage Company, and Region Theatre.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My phone (unfortunately), vitamins (I take a lot of healthy supplements) and coffee.
What music do you like?
I love all kinds of music. From jazz, to classical, to hip hop, pop…and I miss R&B. I love 90’s R&B love songs so much.
Your favorite song? Why?
It’s impossible for me to pick one favorite song. I have so many.
Any loves other than acting?
Dance is my first artistic love. I began performing as a little girl in ballet, modern, tap, and jazz dance.
Who is your biggest beauty inspiration?
My biggest beauty inspiration is Sade- her beauty is effortless and far more than external. She glows from within. She is simply radiant.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Definitely chocolate ice cream!
How would you describe your fashion style?
Classic with a touch of trendy and a hint of sexy.
What’s next for Celestine Rae in 2019/2020?
There may be a return of Shana Bradford in another film. Stay tuned! Passionflix has some great things on the way.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
If I could meet someone dead or alive- it would be Maya Angelou. Her generosity of spirit and her wisdom were true gifts to this Earth. I feel like spending time with her would have been transformational. I imagine myself making her some tea and listening to her talk about her life for hours. For days…
What do you like to watch on tv?
Right now I’m obsessed with Fleabag on Amazon Prime Video! OMG! Phoebe Waller-Bridge is brilliant. I cannot get enough. I’ve watched both seasons 3 times in a row and counting…
Best advice ever given?
The best advice I’ve ever been given was from a dance teacher of mine years ago. I was getting frustrated with myself for not being able to nail a challenging dance combination and she called me out in front of the entire class and said, “Are you so hard on yourself that you think you cannot make mistakes? Why do you think you are the only person in the room that has to be perfect? Everyone in here is struggling to get it right.” I will never forget that.
Five years from now you will be…?
Five years from now I will be continuing to do the things that bring me joy and enjoying my life with my husband, family, and friends.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
A perfect Sunday is a day with no obligations. No stress. Music. Wine. And peace of mind.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think, like everything, there are many positives as well as many negatives to social media. I think that finding balance is essential to having a healthy relationship with social media because it can absolutely be addictive and without the right perspective, it can elicit some feelings of comparison. I think social media is a wonderful tool to stay in communication with people you don’t see often, it builds community, and has been an incredible resource for entrepreneurs and artists. Social media is a great way to spread the word about positive things just as much as negative things. We all have to be more aware so that we don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole of negativity and trolling that can exist on social media. We all need to remember that behind these avatars, hashtags, and filtered vacation photos are real people… Human begins who are flawed and have feelings and hearts that get broken just like all of us.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” — Audre Lorde
Song: I have so many from so many different genres of music. It’s really hard to choose. A few are:
“If this world were mine”- Luther Vandros
“Sorry” – Beyonce
“No Ordinary Love”- Sade
“Butterflies” – Michael Jackson
“The Beautiful Ones” – Prince
Movie: I have so many. Too hard to choose a favorite.
State of Grace, The Piano, Ghost, My Cousin Vinny, The Bridges of Madison County, Pariah, Tombstone, Heat, Casino, The Dark Knight, Black Panther.
Travel Destination: There are so many places I still want to travel to. I don’t think I can say I have a favorite yet.
Sport Team: I am from Philadelphia. If you don’t show allegiance to The Eagles you might be in serious trouble. The fans from my hometown are intense.
Celebrity Crush: Beyonce & Rhianna hands down
Drink: An aged Anejo Tequila
Photo Credit: Christine Jean Chambers