Sharar Ali-Speakes, Her Acting in ‘Missing’ and Career


( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Speakes Has New Projects Coming Soon

ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya 

Sharar Ali-Speakes is an actress who recently went to a red carpet premiere of the new movie Missing (January 20th, 2023 Release). You may recognize her from Americanized, Dave, Insecure, Little America, and The L Word. The Chicago native now lives in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, Bernadette Speakes, is one of her inspirations and greatest teachers of acting. When attending the Missing red carpet premier Sharar Ali-Speakes comments on her performance as Tia, “ I was very nervous, I’ll admit, but I was also super excited to see everyone again. Having exceptional people around to support me and help me pull my debut red-carpet look helped me feel less anxious. A big thank you to Rielle Escalera of Riellle Esc.(stylist), my makeup artist P2C and my mom, veteran actress Bernadette Speakes, who helped me calm my nerves.”

The Missing movie premiere was held in Los Angeles, California. However, many red carpet veterans were making an appearance, including Storm Reid and Nia Long. It was Ms. Speakes’s first time walking the step-and-repeat. She is an actress seen in the episode Truth Be Told alongside Octavia Spencer. (Apple TV+January 20th). She is still in progress in perfecting her craft. She believes acting classes help her stay in touch with the creative process and push her beyond possibilities. Ms. Speakes is currently studying with Jenna Johnson at John Rosenfeld Studios. She has given us more insight into her acting process in Missing, her collaboration with Octavia Spencer, obtaining new skills at John Rosenfeld, and what motivates her to push her limits.

Sharar Ali-Speakes

What made you pursue a career in acting? 

My journey with acting started because I was craving something different. I felt it was time to move away from basketball, and although I knew I wanted to be creative, I was still determining what that might be. With my mom’s suggestion, I started taking acting classes, self-submitting, and auditioning. Once I booked my first self-summited role, I started seeking representation. I landed an agent first, then my manager, and with a great team in place, I began setting goals and booking. Don’t get me wrong; I faced many no’s—maybe’s and second-choice positions before I got that first YES; you booked it!

Explain your process when getting into your character Tia.  

My process in getting into character for Tia started with knowing who Tia was, and from the script, Tia was a lot like who I am in the flesh. So, becoming Tia was blending pieces of me into who Tia was in the moment. Like me, Tia is a friend who loves to have a good time and ensures her people are cared for at all times.

Who was Tia in the movie Missing and what is her significance?

My character, Tia, in the film Missing, is one of June’s (Storm Reed) close friends, and she joins in on the chaos that happens while June’s mom is away. Throughout the movie, Tia and the rest of her friend group periodically check in on June while her mom is missing. Tia is part of June’s emotional support posse, there to help her get lit and to support her in a time of need.

What was it like working with Octavia Spencer? 

Working with Octavia Spencer was amazing. Not only was I shocked the whole time that I got to work with her but also more concerned than usual about being on point. She is a fantastic actor to watch work, and the experience of being on set as she transforms and becomes Poppy Scoville-Parnell is beyond real. She was super friendly, and her energy was chill which helped me ease into what I needed to do. I cherish working with veterans and picking up what they offer on and off the set. Additionally, the experience of working with a woman who broke boundaries for me, a Black actor, was inspiring and scary at the same time. Inspiring because I know I no longer have to be pigeonholed to do what I was meant to do, yet scary because her being on set with me reminds me it wasn’t long ago that that wasn’t true.  

Sharar Ali-Speakes

What are some skills you are learning at John Rosenfeld Studios?

I continue taking classes at John Rosenfeld Studios to increase my ability to evoke emotions from a unique perspective, study and break down the character’s view, and to find the character’s truth and vulnerability while increasing my ability to be authentic.

What do you feel you struggle with in the acting world and what are you doing to push yourself? 

My favorite quote today is “rooting for everybody black” by Issa Rae describes my struggle with the acting world. I am a big advocator for the people unseen, and only like them want to be seen in this industry and this world. Art and creativity are for everybody, but often POC is forgotten about in that process. When I think of being in this industry, I think of authenticity. If you are creating a project where the population is afro-centric, why not give that platform to them? It is motivating to see how my Latino friends are moved by Black Panther Wakanda Forever. Sometimes – I get culture shock when I book roles myself because I question if they want someone with brown skin and locs. I don’t want people to wonder why they don’t see themselves on screen. Have you seen the TikTok videos of kids walking up to the screen saying, “they look like me?” That makes me smile. It’s important not only to me but also to define the true purpose of art.

Ms. Speakes takes inspiration from her mother and other strong women: Lisa Cohen (actress), Brenda Russell (singer-songwriter and producer), Issa Rae (actor writer-producer), Viola Davis, and Angelina Jolie who is a huge influence in her humanitarian efforts. She has been greatly inspired and moved by other movies and is a young actress that has the potential to be this generation’s role model in acting.

If you were to pick your top five movies to star in what would they be and why?

Although there are great movies I would have loved to have starred in, like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Women King, and Hidden Figures, I hope to star in films that revolve around my identity and ever-growing self-love in and what that means and look like for me. Inspired by various forms of social justice and raw, authentic storytelling, I want to create stories that connect to people and be invited into their souls.

Sharar Ali-Speakes

Sharar Ali-Speakes will continue to hone her craft in acting. Watch Missing if you haven’t seen it. Sharar will be back on set and making magic with a new character and adventure “I can’t disclose at this time, but I’m on the edge of my seat and ready to create.” Look forward to new announcements for some of her projects in the future. For more updates on Sharar Ali-Speakes’s work go to her Instagram

Related Articles: Unbound Studios Announces Feature Film ‘Water and Garri’ Mackenzie Sol On Music and Acting