Dre Davis, TV actress best known for PRETTY LITTLE LIARS joins us on the Podcast this week to talk acting in COVID times, her period, PMS, and life in Los Angeles.
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Alice: Great, awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here Dre. We are so excited to have you on the podcast.
Dre: Thank you for having me. I am glad to be here.
Alice: Yeah, we just kind of start off with some more fun questions. So, if you could have a celeb, your BFF, who would it be?
Dre: Jim Carrey? First of all, that would be a hilarious friendship. But I also love that he discusses and focuses so much on consciousness. So, something that is not widely discussed. So, I would just love to kind of pick his brain about that.
Alice: Hmm, what do you mean by consciousness?
Dre: Like that… Oh, sorry, I am getting a phone call. No, just a client. That our world is a projection of our consciousness and it is just like a very spiritual, deeper way of looking at life and that things do not just happen to us. It is like we were more in control of our reality in our world, and our subconscious is projecting out.
Alice: Hmm, yeah, that is really interesting. I did not know anything about him thinking that?
Dre: I do. You should watch some of his interviews. I mean, some of them are a little out there. But he is definitely steered away from the entertainment industry event and more into discussing spirituality. He is dealt those both, but anyways, he would be a fascinating character to be friends with.
Alice: Wow. Yeah, definitely. I think I just admire all of his work. He has like such a vast range, I think from high comedy to physical comedy, but also, he is so good. And dramas like “The Truman Show” and “Majestic”, brilliant.
Dre: Yeah, he is really, really talented.
Alice: Wow. So, have you been watching lots of Jim Carrey in quarantine? Like, what have you been bingeing?
Dre: Oh my gosh, I have caught up on so many shows during quarantine, especially December because it is like holidays, too. And I did not see my family during the holidays. So, I was like, I am just going to sit here and watch all the TV that I want. So, HBO is my favorite. It has this show called Search Party. So, so good. So well written. And flight attendant with Kelly.
Alice: I have been wanting to watch that.
Dre: It is very, very good. And I actually went back to old shows, and I watched difficult people. It is about those two comedians in New York. And they are just like, total curmudgeons. And it is so hilarious. I do not know why it was not renewed forever. Because it is so funny.
Alice: That is awesome. Wow. And where are you living now?
Dre: I live in LA.
Alice: Oh, cool. Oh, that is awesome. What are you doing there?
Dre: Well, it is starting to open up here. So, I am auditioning, and I have had some jobs. I had some jobs in San Diego and like more locally around LA, but it is slowly picking up? That is mostly what I am doing.
Alice: Oh, cool. So, you are an actress in LA? Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Dre: Yeah. Well, it has been interesting in the past year, being an actress in LA, because there has not been much acting. I mean, it is open, it opened up, I think it was last October, things opened up. And I remember my first job on set. And I was like, it was the last shot of the whole shoot. And I was like, “Please don’t get the shot”. Like, “Don’t get it.” Because I was so desperate to remain on set, like summer of not working after the summer of 2020, where I was not working. And humans are built to be productive. We want to pursue our passion; we want to do things we want to do. So, when I finally got back on set, it was just so exciting. It was so nice. And usually, everybody after a 12–14-hour day, everybody wants to set to be done, like the job to be done. And I was like, “Don’t get the shot.” Like, over the last day, and it was just so nice to be on set.
Alice: So amazing.
Dre: Yeah, it has been picking up through a bit.
Alice: Okay, what are the COVID procedures that they are going through.
Dre: So, everybody has to wear a mask. Obviously, if you are an actor and you are getting shot, you’ve to take the mask off. And I remember the craftiest, which is where you get snacks during the set. You are not allowed to pick up snacks, the person giving the food has to pick it up manually and hand it to you. So, it is like they are very strict about it. Because obviously, they do not want to get shut down. They want everyone to be safe. So, there is, it has definitely been regimented.
Dre: And everything is self-tape. No, no in-person auditions. I did have an in-person callback. And it was weird because I was like, “Whoa, I’m nervous.” Because I will have it like, I was not in front of people a lot. Before COVID, I am used to auditioning in front of people a lot. But then when COVID started, it was just all self-tape. I finally was like; I have to see a person. I was like, I am nervous.
Alice: That is so interesting. My day job here in New York is as a theatre director, which obviously does not exist right now. Which is weird. But I have seen the industry go more and more towards self-tapes and self-taping for auditions. Do you think like now that COVID has happened, do you think that will be like how casting directors are casting for the most part now in LA in New York? It is a lot of self-tape.
Dre: Around to maybe like 2017, it was already going in that direction. And I know you could get booked on tape. So, it was starting to go in that direction. But then when COVID happened, it was all self-tape. So, I think that it will continue to be that way. But first, callbacks and chemistry read, I think it will eventually go back to that being in-person because it is so effective to be in a person’s vicinity. You just get all the senses. But I do think that self-tapes, you can cast directors can also see more actors that way. Because they have more time to accept, they can accept more tape. So, I do feel like self-tapes will continue. But I think that eventually, they will go back to in-person callbacks.
Alice: Oh, interesting. And can you talk a little bit about some of the projects that you have been working on? Can we hear some fun stories from the set?
Dre: Yeah, sure. So, one I did in October, I played a schizophrenic character. And it was really intense because that is obviously an intense medical condition. But there was one part where it was like a dream sequence where I was falling from the sky, the character. So, they helped me on these, I forget what it is called. But they basically, propelled me on these slings. And I was flying from the sky. It was just so, so cool. So that was… I do not know if I describe that well, but I was flying from the sky. But that was very fun. That was a very fun job that I had lately. And also, I did a job years ago in Ukraine, which is cool is obviously the culture is so different there. Well, I got from the airport. And I arrived they had given me I think it was production gave me this package, like this welcome package. And it was obviously a bottle of vodka. And I was like, “Oh, how appropriate”, because it is not common that I will get that.
Alice: Huh. That is so interesting. Wow. And then also, you have tried jubilance. So, I wanted to ask you a little bit about that. What was your period and PMS like before it and how did you find jubilance?
Dre: So, I have always been a late bloomer. I think it runs in my family. I did not get my period until I was like 17. And then it was off and on. So, I did not really experience major PMS until 2019. But really 2020 to the point where it was debilitating. It was like two weeks out of the month. I could not even roll over in bed without Mike because my breasts were so sore. I was just like, so angry. I hated everybody. And this was like, I was famished. I was exhausted in what lasts for two weeks. And I was like, “This isn’t me.” I am a productive person. I am a friendly person. And I could see how it changed me so much. And it was even my friends were like, “All you do is talk about your PMS.” Because I was like, “How is this possible? Like, why do women have to deal with this?” And then I did some research and I realized, I read, it is not normal, actually, for PMS to last that long. It should not. And there are ways in your diet and take supplements that you can take because I was never a big vitamin person before. And until I realized, like my body is screaming, and it is craving something with this PMS.
So, I did all this research. And I found jubilance and I saw all the reviews and I was like, “Okay, I’m just going to try it.” So, then I started taking it for a month. And then one morning, not to be graphic, but one morning, I woke up and I got my period. And I was shocked. Because I usually have weeks where my body is like, “It’s here. It is coming. It’s coming.” And I always take an excess of vitamin C to try to make it count because when I get it, the symptoms go away. So, it is really just the PMS prior to me getting it so but this time I just woke up and I got it. And it was like, I had booked a big, big job. You know, I was just that hap- I was so excited. Honestly, I mean, I am not exaggerating, it felt life-changing because the PMS I had in 2020 was so debilitating. I just was not able to get the writing done. I was just like, upset all the time. It was really ridiculous. I physically like why I hurt. So, it was so crazy from taking that and I just did not even notice the symptoms.
Alice: Wow, that is amazing. That is so good. Because in 2020, that is already terrible enough. You do not want PMS on top of that.
Dre: I think maybe, because stress obviously, manifests physically. So, it is possible that my PMS was bad because 2020 was so crazy. But I also was getting symptoms in 2019. But yeah, I do not need that on top of everything. And then we thought if Megapod is supposed to be worse than this, then is my life just going to get worse? Like it was I was at the point where I was like, I should just take testosterone because I want to be a man now because I was like, this is not fair. Like this. I did not ask for this stuff. This is female problems. But obviously, there is a solution.
Alice: We are so glad that you were able to try it and get relief. That is so encouraging. That is great.
Dre: I do still have some symptoms, but manageable. I do not think about it all the time. Because I did notice my next period, I noticed some symptoms. But I was like, “Okay, well, that’s normal. It’s fine.” Because most I was asking women around me How long is your PMS for and they were like, “Oh yeah, three days are pretty bad.” And I was like, “That’s it three days? I have it like literally 14 days.” It was crazy. That is awful. I was like most of my life is PMF I was just like, “What? I couldn’t understand it.” So even if I do have symptoms now, every once in a while, it is no big deal. It is fine. But it has been suppressed so much.
Alice: Good. Oh, so good to hear.
Dre: How long have you been taking it for?
Alice: So, I have been taking it for about two years. Regularly, but I tried taking oxaloacetate which is the main ingredient in jubilance when I was in college because I had debilitating PMS. When I was in college, I just would not go to class, could not function, was super mean to people. And so, I tried to eat oxaloacetate because my doctor had suggested it or something. I do not really remember why. But that really helped me and I took it every day and I was able to like feel calmer. Like sure you still get PMS, you still feel a little crazy. Sometimes I need to eat chocolate at all times when I have…
Dre: All the time even without PMS.
Alice: Yeah, that is true. I feel like it is not the crazy ups and downs for me anymore. It is more manageable like the peaks and valleys are not like a roller coaster. So yeah, I feel much better.
Dre: Yeah, the ups and downs are really insane.
Alice: Yeah, yeah, I think that is what was really hard for me with PMS, it was like the super highs and then the super lows, and then this makes it a lot more. A lot tamer.
Dre: I also find it really funny. That crying stuff, because I am not normally emotional. I was emotional when I was a kid. But then I grew up and I’ve just not as emotional now. So, when I just randomly feel the need to cry and not realizing the connection with PMS. I am just like, “What is wrong with me?” And then I am like, “Oh my god, I’d like PMS.” So, I will just like deliberately try to cry. I am like, “Let’s just get it out of our system.” We are going to end up laughing at myself because I am like, “It’s so absurd that PMS makes you cry.” It makes you emotional for stupid stuff. It is just kind of comical to me that part. But oh my gosh, it is just so weird. Why do we have it?
Alice: I was watching that documentary about Mr. Rogers. And like during PMS, which was a bad side in general, but then at the end, Mr. Rogers is like a wonderful human being and I started sobbing next to my boyfriend like, “I can’t believe Mr. Rogers is dead.” “He was humanity. How dare we not treat the world like Mr. Rogers?” It was like my PMS stocking. But I was just and my boyfriend was like, “That was a good movie. He was a nice man. You’re okay.” It is just crazy.
Dre: Yeah, it is. It is crazy. I also hate the stereotype around it, “Oh, like, are you on your period now?” It’s like, “Well, you know what, it’s a real thing. Like, if you experienced this, you wouldn’t think that we’re crazy.” This is like chemical reactions.
Alice: And even if they experienced the pain, like that happens like cramps. I cannot even imagine my boyfriend experiencing that. He has no idea.
Dre: I did watch the show. And it said something about how you…The character was like, “You should always have the blunt the honest conversations when you have your period when you have PMS.” And I noticed that because you just kind of like are unfiltered. And you just say what needs to be said without tiptoeing around it.
Alice: Yeah. I think it definitely do that. That is really interesting. That is good.
Dre: Yeah, I always try to look for positives. And it is hard to find positives in PMS though. When it is really bad.
Alice: Like, glad you are feeling so much better.
Dre: Oh, yeah. It is honestly life-changing.
Alice: That is crazy, Dre.
Dre: Last year, when I was able to visit my parents. I was having bad PMS. And my mom was like, “How are you going to be? How are you going to be able to work?” Like, if you have it this bad? And I was like, “Oh my gosh!” I really need to get a handle on this. Because if it gets in the way of my life, then you know, because your physicality does affect everything. Influences your entire life.
Alice: And especially as an actor, you have to use your body as your instrument.
Dre: Now I will say that the emotions are helpful though, particularly crazy, it is like, “Oh, great. I’ll just use it.” It is like, I should not have to do that. I should just act. I should not have to, like, you know. But yeah, you would have to be very pretty physical and have a lot of energy and acting. So, like a lot of my self-tapes. I was like, “I don’t want to be exhausted.” Because talking takes so much energy and so tired all the time. But I am so glad that it is better now.
Alice: Good. That is awesome. And something that we always ask on this podcast is, what is your definition of womanhood?
Dre: So, to me, the first thing I can think of is just to not be defined, because I think women are constantly defined and controlled. Or they were, like throughout history, so I just like the idea of not being defined. So, to me, that is my definition of womanhood.
Alice: I think that is great. That is amazing. And Dre, how can people find out about what you are in? What they should be watching? How can they learn more about you?
Dre: I mean, you can go to my IMDb and you will see the stuff that I have done. I do not have Instagram right now. Because I was actually hacked, but it has been a relief because I love not having Instagram to be honest. So, I cannot direct you to that. But I guess you can go to my IMDb page and see the kind of shows that I have been on and you can also just keep a lookout for me.
Alice: Perfect. Amazing.