Shan Morris is
Model / Actress
Los Angeles, CA Native, (3) years in Brooklyn
My beginnings in Entertainment? Hairstylist. Ate. Slept. Breathed it. My mom taught me to braid. By age 15 I began m aking money for it. The demand got so high, I had to create a business. I did on my own, through trial and error. Six yrs in I was doing hair for proms and weddings, and had built a clientele in LA. To add to my skills I did Paul Mitchell's Cosmetology Program in 2014.
But hairstyling wasn’t all of me. I remember in 2005 seeing Raven Symone on “That's So Raven” and Hilary Duff (who I've seen on set twice now!) play Lizzie McGuire, and I broke down crying, telling my mom "I wanna do that!"
The crying is still somewhat inexplicable to me. All I know is I wanted it badly. And the connection was deeper than I could comprehend at the time. But since my mom didn't have the resources or answers for me, she told me "that's their life, and this is yours".
A few years later I overcame my fears and went on an audition. I had no acting foundation or much support. I knew nothing. I just knew I felt something special inside from the experience.
I came to New York and off the bat jumped into both fields -- modeling and acting (modeling definitely helps with survival). Both industries are much different from what I conjured up about them from the outside looking in. I've been fortunate enough to do many runway shows, and work side by side with designers and photographers. As of late more web series opportunities have presented themselves. In fact, one I'm playing a principle role for, BRYAN, has become SAG, allotting me union eligibility, which I'm really excited about.
The deeper I go into each field, the more I see the purpose of training. That's something I have not done "formally". I’ve read books. I'm very inquisitive on set. I utilize the internet. But there's nothing like a class setting, and I hope to take classes soon.
But in-between then, it’s been great to be cast as MICHELLE in THE CREW. I’m learning so much from the workshoping and brainstorming we’re doing!
Important facts about Michelle that you might (or might not) relate to
1. Born into a well-to-do Harlem
Sugar Hill family
2. Delta Sigma Theta member
3. Respects her parents yet at
odds with many of their
4. Has bought a renovated
apartment in Bed-Stuy
5. Loves fashion and shopping
6. Is very monogamist and loyal
7. Is an ambitious social media
marketer with lots of
8. Is addicted to social media
1. Growing up in a conservative well-to-do Harlem Sugar Hill family, (her father a banker from a line of bankers and her mother Chair of the historical society), Michelle has struggled to understand her working-class friends and what seem to be their sensitivities.
2. In high school Michelle did all her friends hair and took workshops to get better. When she was sixteen she never missed Shear Genius, and later Kim Kimble in LA Hair was her guilty pleasure. But she agreed with her parents that business school would be the perfect place for her abilities.
3. The "Can Do" attitude that was instilled in Michelle at home was reinforced in college when she became a committed member of a socially involved Black Sorority. Michelle's stylish but conservative wardrobe was livened up by sorority jewelry and scarves that proclaimed she belonged. When she did a brilliant job running the sorority's social media she became the first person all her sisters turned to with news.
4. In college she met Anthony in a business class (his minor). At the time their differences seemed both exciting and not so big. (And they just looked right together, everyone said). Mostly Michelle hung with Anthony and his filmmaking pals because they were more fun than her business major classmates.
5. Michelle, though very modern in most of her values, believes -- (but dares not say it aloud to anyone as they might think her foolish, and that could destroy her belief) -- Your first love should be your last love! Anthony is her first love.
6. Michelle was ambitious, a quick learner and great problem solver, who could win people over with her genuine manner, loyalty, and dogged persistence in pursuing goals -- but she couldn't decide on a career. An aptitude test predicts she will do well as a social media manager, but initially she was unsure that's want she wanted.
When her parents warned her that a social media career would be frivolous, Michelle thought them old fashion and want to prove she could be important as a real influencer. She jumped at an internship with one of the city's old money museums, which turned into a job (unbeknownst to Michelle her hire was motivated by the museum trying to diversity it's staff).
7. The differences between Michelle and Anthony grow after college. Her life becomes highly structured, his is freelance. That Michelle made almost 3x Anthony's income meant he couldn't afford to do the things that she could (and it didn't help her wanting to pay for him).
Anthony breaks up with Michelle. Michelle continues to long for him, believing Anthony the one person who can bring out a more intuitive, less self-censoring version of herself.
8. Michelle is increasingly frustrated at the museum. None of her new ideas get greenlighted. Without telling her bosses, Michelle throws herself into making new contacts that one day she hopes the museum will want to pursue.
9. She has regular outings with her sorority sisters, still Michelle is lonely. She can't sleep, can't relax, is losing her confidence and focus -- which makes her more obsessed with her work. Without her cell (and make-up) she feels naked. When she isn't working, it's always time for wine.
10. Favorite Movies:
LOVE & BASKETBALL (2000)