We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanae’a Rae Moore and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanae’a Rae, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Right from graduation college with a BFA, I got a job in a coffee shop. It was such a blessing because it paid the bills while I was making contacts and building my client base, as well as audition for theatre contracts. I needed that job, but to pay the bills, I had to work long hours. I started getting a good client list and great nibble on contracts, but ultimately having to turn down theatre so I could work at the coffee job. I was having to prioritize incorrectly so that I could make my monthly rent. It came to the point where I couldn’t do theatre at all. So I had to wrestle with letting go of the convenient and ease of the coffee shop job so that I could pursue theatre. I decided to leave my job and only apply for theatre related jobs. It took a lot of faith in that most of those jobs are seasonal and dispersed, so income would be irregular. I had to get 5 or 6 jobs to compensate, but at least I was working within my field. It ended up working very well with a little perseverance and determination to stay on companies radars. There is a little blessed irregularity to my profession whereas you are jobless every few months. Signing up for such life is very daunting, but so rewarding when it works. But the part of the decision that is necessary, is the decision that your art and art in general is important. I had to come to terms that I am an artist in my depths and that is what I am supposed to be spending my time and soul on. It is hard to explain to other professions, but art is an essential job. People need art and most people don’t understand how much they rely on it, especially in times such as now. People think that tv will suffice but it just doesn’t feed us the same was as art up close. This is the time for innovation. If we must limit those in the seats for safety, how can we send our art to them or bring them in to buildings safely, but still allow for intimacy? Times such as these, people long for entertainment and uplifting distractions, how can we continue to be artists in this time? It is still our duty. Deciding it’s important means that we treat it as such, and it doesn’t truly become your career until you understand about yourself. It took a long time, but I know I am an artist and I will be an artist my whole life long.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think the most important thing about me is that I value people above all. I view my career as a service for others. When I perform or teach a vocalist, I want to benefit them as greatly as I can. Each project I am fortunate enough to participate in, I view as a chance to love and encourage others. I love performing entertaining, inspiring and challenging pieces to enrich patrons lives. I dive deep into text analysis to understand my character fully and try to deliver the most honest performance I can at every performance.Being an actor is one of the hardest and most rewarding careers. It is hard to gain respect from other professions. To me, the way around this hurdle is by being a genuinely kind person who is ready to work hard and to put others first. As a voice teacher, I not only want to enhance my students’ skills, but also to find their true voice. Each one of us has a unique and important voice, but when we spend so much time trying to sound “correct”, we leave out our artistry. I focus on safe vocal use for my students, but also try to build up what is unique about them. The product is smart, safe and artistic vocal users who know their true value. I try to apply this idea to the projects I do as an actor as well. An absolute necessity of being an actor in Houston is to build a solid relationship with many Theatres. They know when they hire me, that they will receive the upmost professionalism and a hard working actor who cares deeply for the production. The other thing I think is absolutely imperative is the need to continue to learn and grow. We can only perform what we know and if we stop growing, we can only show so much. I constantly look for people and place that can help me grow and become a more well-rounded artist and person. I have recently been accepted into a highly competitive program for Grad School. It is an honor that I feel hard work, appreciating personal growth, and a huge scoop of faith has brought about.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Houston. The first thing that I would do with a visitor is just to drive around. Houston’s brilliance is its diversity. From street to street, the city changes. The people you meet here are stunning. There are born and raised Houstonians who have so much lovely pride in the city, there are brilliant professionals who have come from all over the world to work in Houston’s strong industries and the medical center in itself is just a marvel. I want to show off our people. Then we would eat…a lot…. I love Hugo’s in Montrose so much. They are always so kind and helpful and delicious. Then we would stop at Amy’s for Ice Cream and Commonbond for coffee, Ponicheri for Indian, and Urban Eats for Sliders and drinks, and Bella Green among so many many others. (This quality of food inspires run-on lists) Then, when we can no longer walk from all the eating, we will see shows. As a theatre artist, I love sharing our incredible industry. These artists are at the top of their game, and it is impossible to be disappointed. We could stop at Main Street Theater, Stages, Tuts, The Opera, The Ballet, and etc. One of my favorites is the Classical Theatre Company. They only do shows 100 years old and older but don’t let that make you nervous. Their shows are vibrant, timely, and innovative. Unity Theatre in Brenham must be named as well. They work to do some of the best regional work in Houston and are often forgotten for nothing but distance from the city. And we would finish off at an Astros Game, because…duh.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother taught me her faith and tenacity. Whenever I am successful she always responds without surprise but a proud, “of course you did”. My husband has always been my best supporter. He has cheered me on through every stage of my career and is ready to help with all things. My father, Sister, Grandparents, and other assorted family are the very best and the most loving. It’s impossible to express how much they all mean to me and how they fuel me onward. But most of all, I am truly thankful to God. I can’t do this alone and He has never left my side.
Pin Lim, Scott Hill, Kasi Leitzinger-Hollowell