Actress and filmmaker Tenisha White is creating her own destiny
Like Issa Rae and Michaela Cole, Birmingham actress Tenisha White has created her own platform to showcase her talent with a short film called Broken. The 31-year-old has also featured in shows like Doctors, Shameless and Doctor Who and features in comedy shorts specifically written and created for her. Instead of waiting for the pojne to ring in between acting jobs this rising star isn’t waiting for things to happen she is creatuing her own destiny.
Here she talks about life as a mother and actress and being part of a new filmmakers development programme called Back In. The programme is powered by Punch Records and managed by award winning filmmaker Daniel Alexander and features participants Dominic Lofters, Steffan Zachiyah, Jamal Jones, Tashan Elliot, Ephraim Morgan and Remani Love. They will all create short films that will be showcased at the end of the year so watch this space.
What made you want to be an actress?
I started acting when I was 12. My big sister used to take me to a class on two buses out of town. I could see how much she knew I loved it, and was committed to taking me twice a week, so I continued to do it. She’s a brilliant sister and going made it become natural to me.
What productions can we see you in?
I was a regular nurse in Doctors. I’ve also been in Shameless and Doctor Who. I did a film with Ray Winstone and Danny Dyer called All in the Game. Now I specialise in comedy sketches. I would love to act and produce my own comedy sitcom one day. I also work with a comedy group that write sketches with me in mind and they give me a chance to do the ones that I’ve written too.
With the talk about the exodus of black actors to America, have you ever thought about going to America to pursue your acting?
I’d like to. I did move to London and a lot of the actors said, why did you move to London, everyone moves to London. We need to try and do things from here, so I moved to London for two years and then I kept coming back to Birmingham for work. My agent said that I get a lot of work in Manchester or Liverpool so moving to London I was getting further away. So, I moved back to Birmingham. I’ve trained to do an American accent and now I’m training to do a London one. So, if an opportunity comes to go to America then yes. But I’ve got a child now so it’s a bit different to just picking up and going to America.
Tell us about your short film?
It’s called Broken, a film about domestic violence. A couple are in a very unstable relationship but you can see that there is a lot of love there. There’s lots of twists and turns, I didn’t want it just being straightforward. I came up with the idea, then I called Daniel Alexander and I called an actor and said, “how do you feel about this, what do you think about it?” and they got on board, and within three weeks we’d shot it. We shared it in film festivals and it’s been selected in five. I had never even filmed in my life, so I’m really proud of that.
What’s the short you’ll be doing as a part of Back In?
Spite is about a mother who has had her child taken from her, from her ex-partner and she thinks it’s as simple as going and knocking on the door and getting her child back but it’s not. The law says he’s the father, he’s got as much right as having the child as much as the mother. The film is about her journey dealing with the social services, the police and the courts to get her child back.
Photography: Full Frame Creatives Location: Alcmy Studios’ for the creative Studio Space.