Caribbean Heritage Organization
Rising Sun Honoree
I emigrated from Haiti to the United States when I was 10. The first in my family to attend college, I earned a bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish from the College of New Rochelle. Four years later, I met my husband, Steven, at a church social and were married 18 months later.
I first met Michele Weaver when an ultra sound showed her beating heart in her embryonic profile while I laid on the examination table in my doctor’s office. The second of our three children, Nicole is our only girl and was a delightful child.
Growing up in a bi-lingual, bi-cultural and bi-racial household has afforded Michele many benefits. She learned early on to treat others with compassion and respect. She developed an easygoing attitude even though she received many unsolicited comments about her ethnicity such as “What are you?” She grew up comprehending that who you are as a person is what makes each individual unique, not his or her ethnic origin.
Michele started taking ballet lessons at the age of three and continued until her senior year of high school. During high school, she participated in the theater program as an extracurricular activity. Little did she know her participation in the theater would later set the stage for her future career.
“I feel like acting chose me. I always was performing but planned to go the academic route. When an opportunity to audition for college theater programs came up, I couldn’t refuse and then by the spring Pepperdine University had offered me a theater arts scholarship. At that moment I knew where I was supposed to be,” said Michele.
After graduating from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor’s degree in theater and television productions, Michele stayed in Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. She has only been in Hollywood for a few years, but is already making her mark by having worked alongside Vivica A. Fox (“Empire”, “Kill Bill”), David Ramsey (“Arrow”, “Dexter”), and Steve Guttenberg (“3 Me and a Baby”, “Police Academy”.)
Her breakout year was 2018 when she played the leading role in OWN’s drama series “Love Is___.” Film directors and cast members have mentioned how much they enjoy working with Michele because of her positive spirit.
Most recently, Michele played opposite Brooke Elliott (“Drop Dead Diva”), Ben Lawson (“Designated Survivor”), Delta Burke (“Designing Women”), and Gerald McRaney (Emmy Winner, “This Is Us”) in Dolly Parton’s “Heartstrings” anthology series for Netflix, which will air fall 2019. Michele is currently filming an NBC pilot, “Council of Dads.”
Caribbean Heritage Magazine (CHM) provided me this unique opportunity to interview and write this article about my daughter. I caught up with her while she was filming “Council of Dads” in Georgia.
Caribbean Heritage Magazine: What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
Michele Weaver: This is a very difficult question to answer. I feel like I am still so early in my career. The fact that I have had the opportunity to do what I love is quite the accomplishment I am grateful for.
CHM: What sort of acting roles will you be seeking in the future?
MW: There are so many roles I would love to play. I have a background in martial arts and want to do some action films. I also love a good comedy.
CHM: Leading man wish list and why?
MW: There are so many! But Morgan Freeman is one I definitely want to work with. He oozes so much knowledge and experience. I feel I can learn so much from him, even if it is a short scene.
CHM: Leading woman wish list and why?
MW: This list would go on forever, but one would be Jessica Chastain because of her raw strength and vulnerability.
CHM: You recently visited Haiti for the first time. What was your impression?
NW: It reminded me of the Dominican Republic and Hawaii, super warm and super low key. When I arrived, there were protests taking place, which made everything intense; but I felt safe because I was with locals and my family. It was good to see the reality of the city. We saw the poverty, and also the beautiful, rich, clean areas. It is like any American city. It is good and bad.
CHM: What is your favorite Haitian food?
MW: I love eating Haitian meat patties (Flaky pastry filled with seasoned meat) and griyo (seasoned fried pork pieces) with pikliz.( pickled cabbage, carrots and hot peppers.)
CHM: What is your favorite Haitian custom?
MW: Spending time with family is priceless and I especially love celebrating Christmas by opening gifts Christmas Eve followed with many Haitian dishes. I also love having soup joumou (soup made with pumpkin, beef, carrots, and macaroni traditionally consumed on January 1 as a historical tribute to Haitian independence on January 1, 1804.)
After booking the lead role of Nuri in OWN’S “Love Is_”, she was among 10 actors listed in Variety’s TV stars to watch summer 2018. Michele has another accolade under her belt, as she has been selected to receive the 2019 Rising Sun Award from the Caribbean Heritage Organization (CHO.) CHO produces the official Los Angeles National Caribbean-American Heritage Month celebrations. In keeping with ambiance of the region, the “Rising Sun Award” is CHO’s version of a rising star.
“It is always a blessing to be recognized for your work. Especially in an industry filled with so much rejection. To be considered by an organization representing Caribbean Heritage makes it that much more special,” said Michele.
Michele plans to use her platform as an actress to help others. She has collaborated with a school in Haiti, as well with a non-profit organization in Los Angeles with a focus on growing artists.
You may keep up with Michele by following her on Twitter @eleweaver and Instagram at @eleweaver.