Skinner Seeks to Build Up Female Artists
By Erin Keane ScottMedia Inquiries
Emily Skinner's first stage was her Kindergarten classroom in Richmond, Virginia, where her teacher offered Skinner a chance to perform for her classmates.
"I was that kid who was really, really hyper. I was so hyper they weren't going to pass me on to first grade," Skinner divulged. "So my teacher gave me 15 minutes a day to entertain the class, and that opened the box."
"There are more female writers, producers and directors than ever. The more we can push and lift ourselves up and open doors for others, the better."
For the Tony-nominated actress with a 25-year plus career, that box has yet to close. She counts the time she spent at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama among the reasons for her success and longevity.
"During my time they cut performers every semester. It was a great motivator, and I will say it has served me well in my professional career, because it forced me to work so hard," said Skinner, who graduated from CMU in 1992. "When I got to New York, I was fully prepared for the highly competitive environment."
Skinner recalls moving to New York, with just two suitcases, the day after graduation. Fellow alumnus Billy Porter let her sleep on his couch until she found a place of her own. Three weeks later she booked the workshop of the musical "Jekyll & Hyde."
She said she has seen a radical shift in terms of the opportunities for women on Broadway. She recalls a recent occasion of being in a rehearsal room with an all-female creative team for the first time as one of the thrills of her career.
"Things are changing quickly and in a very good way," she explains. "I feel very hopeful. There are more female writers, producers and directors than ever. The more we can push and lift ourselves up and open doors for others, the better."
To that end, she urges current Carnegie Mellon students to soak up their time at the School of Drama and use it for everything they can.
"Use the time in school to create your own work. Get with your other classmates and create work and celebrate one another's talents. Let that charge you," she said.