Chatting with... Andrea Carina Pearson

Soap Opera Weekly: Did you watch GH when you were younger?
Andrea Carina Pearson: I started watching the last year of high school. I actually grew up overseas, so I didn’t get to watch it every day, but as much as I could I’d watch it on Army television.Weekly: Did you come in thinking that you wanted to completely change Gia?
Pearson: No, I came in thinking, “Yeah! I have a job!” (laughs) And I had watched the show, so I had an idea of what was going on with the character. But they had this rebirth ready for her when I came in and I ran with it.Weekly: Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?
Pearson: No, not really. After high school, I moved away from my parents. We all lived in West Africa together, and they were moving to Southeast Asia. I was like, “I think I’m going to go to California and see what happens for me there.” My parents were extremely supportive. They said, “Go for it. Go do your thing. Call us every day and let us know what’s going on.” So I went, and I thought I was going to do it after I completed school but it started happening simultaneously. I studied theater at Cal State Fullerton for about two years and I started working and doing a lot of commercials and a few print jobs. Then I had 7TH HEAVEN (playing Priscilla Carter) so it was hard to do both at the same time. I said, “I’m only young once. I’m going to focus 100 percent on this.” Weekly: Have you experienced prejudice in pursuing a career as an actress?
Pearson: Yes. I feel like it’s harder for us as women to find characters that actually portray who we are, who we can be. And also, as an African-American woman, it’s been interesting. That would be something interesting for them to address with Gia’s character, because all women and people of color go through prejudice to some extent.Weekly: Do you think there is more or less prejudice in entertainment than in other careers?
Pearson: Some days when I wake up I feel like there’s more, because Hollywood and the entertainment business is a little world within itself. But it’s changing and I’m glad that it is. We’re not in the same place that we were 50 or even 40 years ago, but we have a lot of space for growth. Weekly: Do you think it’s mostly a lack of opportunities or that there are too many stereotypical roles?
Pearson: Probably both. I’m grateful to be playing a role that’s strong and positive. There are not that many roles out there available to women of color, or even people of color. When we’re auditioning, we come across a lot of characters and we’re like, “What is this?” Because there is a lot of prejudice in the characters and sometimes the writing in the entire media. People of color and women need to step up and get behind the cameras and behind the scenes to help the actors out, to help make the portrayal of our culture and our history more true. Weekly: Have you auditioned for a lot of roles that you felt were stereotypical?
Pearson: There were a few roles that were a little stereotypical that I wanted to stay away from, but for the most part, the roles that I did stay away from were the ones that were really sexed-out for no reason. Weekly: How do you think daytime compares to the rest of the entertainment industry?
Pearson: People on soaps are in people’s homes everyday, so daytime is in a position, and has always been in the position, to make some moves and create an environment where everyone else can follow suit.

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