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MUSE INTERVIEW with Raena White

LOCATION: New York City

IG HANDLE: @RAENA.WHITE

Making new friends in a new city can be especially difficult as an adult. Just prior to getting married and moving to NYC I had the opportunity to meet and become instant friends with actress, singer, and Broadway star, Raena White. Raena's beauty extends past her physical appearance. She is a beautiful person inside and out -- and I dare you to find a friend that will go harder for you! This multihyphenate star is someone that will soon become a household name. I am so grateful to know Raena and it is an honor to share my interview with my bestie with the SANCTUAIRE audience!

S:

At what age did you begin to think / dream about becoming a singer and actress?

RW:

At about age 6 I began singing in children’s choir at church and also in elementary school plays. My music teacher, Mrs. Ryan, loved to teach us show tunes from Broadway musicals.

S:

What was your first performance?

RW:

I don’t remember my first ever performance, but a notable one was in about 3rd or 4th grade and I was the lead in the play. My character was a young girl who threw a tantrum and my song was “I Get Mad”. I still remember the lyrics and the hilarious energy I had while performing it lol. I loved the stage lights! They were so hot but colorful and I couldn't see the audience’s faces beyond them. I could create my own world behind the safety of the lights.

S:

Famous or not, were there any women of color (WOC) in the industry that served as inspiration when you began your career?

RW:

In the theatre world I was obsessed with Audra Mcdonald. I was mesmerized with her voice. I had never heard anyone sound like her. Also LaChanze and Heather Headley were a strong inspiration as well. When I was very young and learning how to sing, I was crazy about Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and basically every 90’s girl group!

S:

Have you faced any challenges as a woman of color (WOC) in your industry?

RW:

Yes I have. The biggest challenge is the roles aren’t plentiful and many of them are rooted in stereotypes.

S:

With the current pandemic, many performers have had to pivot or come up with creative ways to showcase their talents. How have you pivoted during this time?

RW:

At the start of the pandemic I tried hard to pivot and keep myself busy. But as it raged on I realized it was just a coping mechanism for anxiety. I’ve had gigs throughout the pandemic, but I’ve mostly focused on making sure my 3 young kids are keeping up with their online schooling and maintaining their perspective.

S:

If you were not an actor or a singer, what would you be?

RW:

A real estate agent or professor at a university. I love exploring different architectural styles and helping people land on their feet. A professor, because I like to educate and engage with critical thinkers.

S:

In an industry where there is so much competition, evaluation, and criticism, how do you maintain a positive mindset?

RW:

It’s a constant challenge, but my secret is reminding myself that I have a divine purpose in this life and that God will see to it that I complete it.
‘‘
The beach is my SANCTUAIRE...It’s just me and God out there. One glance at the ocean and I’m instantly realigned. It reminds me that there is something greater than me and my circumstances.
’’

S:

If you could go back to your 20 year old self and tell her anything, what would you tell her?

RW:

I would tell her that life is about to get rocky and the ground under you will shift, but hold on for dear life and the storms will pass over.

S:

Where do you find inspiration?

RW:

In Nature. Nature grounds me and also brings me immense joy and hope.

S:

What is your morning routine?

RW:

Ha! Didn't I say I was a Mom of 3 youngins! Next question lol My morning routine is SURVIVE!

S:

What are some of your favorite self-care practices?

RW:

Water. Water soothes my nerves. Whether it's drinking a large glass of infused water, a long soaking bath while diffusing essential oils, or walking near the waterfront, it all relieves stress for me.

RW:

In Nature. Nature grounds me and also brings me immense joy and hope.

S:

What role does community play in your self-care?

RW:

I believe that when you are in an engaging community you feel cared for. New York can feel very transient, but when you decide to invest in your community it in turn invests in you.

S:

As a mom of three boys, how do you feel motherhood has changed you?

RW:

It stopped me from obsessing over my career. Gave me a greater purpose. I’m responsible for three humans so it's a huge responsibility to raise them as best as you can. It also made me a master multi-tasker and CEO of my home. But seriously, I feel like my brain is on 10 at all times. I facilitate, manage, and execute everything from grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, cleaning, shopping, doctors appointments, house hunting, school hunting, etc. I feel like I’m operating three separate businesses at once!

S:

What has been the best advice that you have received regarding motherhood?

RW:

One of my good friends, April Terrell, told me right before my 1st was born to train the kids to go to bed early so that my husband and I could have time for ourselves. She was so right! And my high school bestie, Chavis Watford continually reminds me to let go of the “Mom Guilt”. These two things have helped me in profound ways.

S:

What is your biggest hope for your children?

RW:

My biggest hope is that they prosper and be in good health, even as their soul prospers” 3 John 1:2

S:

Either in your home or elsewhere, where is your Sanctuaire for peace and calm?

RW:

The beach is my Sanctuaire. The less crowded the better. I recently began visiting the beach in the fall and winter. It’s a mental game changer. It’s just me and God out there. One glance at the ocean and I’m instantly realigned. It reminds me that there is something greater than me and my circumstances. That the world and nature is so expansive, that I don’t need to be closed into my little bubble.

S:

When I am in the mood to “treat myself” I...

RW:

Buy a nice piece of Jewelry. Something that will last for years and years.

S:

My favorite smoothie ingredients are...

RW:

Almond milk, frozen banana, spinach, unsweetened cocoa powder….tastes like a chocolate shake!

S:

The beauty product I can’t live without is...

RW:

Walkers Apothecary’s Breakdown Enzyme Oil Cleanser. It has an incredible scent and feels so luxurious on my skin. Shalea Walker’s products are handcrafted and are staples in my skincare journey.

S:

When I want to de-stress I...

RW:

Go on a solo stay-cation

S:

For movement / exercise, I enjoy...

RW:

Dancing and cycling

S:

My favorite song to perform is...

RW:

"Fly Me to the Moon"

S:

My dream acting / singing role is...

RW:

Still being created

S:

The best part of the day for me is...

RW:

Morning Kisses from my babies

S:

I am most grateful for...

RW:

My family and close friends

S:

This year I am manifesting...

RW:

I let God manifest for me. I trust him to guide me to what he has handpicked for me!

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