Naomi Berhane was born in Chicago, Illinois to Ethiopian immigrants. She grew up around artists thanks to her mother’s restaurant across Wrigley Field, where musicians, poets, and comedians would perform. She started out with improv and doing monologues from Mean Girls at nine years old and then studied acting throughout middle and high school. Now, she is an alumni of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, class of 2017. Naomi wants to play fun roles in film and television and add diversity to Hollywood.
I am (use a max. of 3 words to describe yourself)…
Acting is... Universal.
My last gig taught me... To trust the director.
Proudest performance moment... So far, my grad play at AADA, “Loose Knit” by Theresa Rebeck. I played Paula, a psychiatrist. It took place in the 90’s, which was so much fun researching and dressing up. My cast and I all got along and bonded on and off stage. During performances we were so proud of each other for putting on an awesome show. I hope that I get to experience that kind of chemistry again.
Most embarrassing audition... My second audition. The call for the role of ‘mother’ said ages 20-50. I’m 20, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I was the youngest one there, the casting director just looked at me and said “too young!”
Most challenging part... Mrs. Pinchwife from "The Country Wife"
The moment I knew I wanted to be an actor... I was four years old and always watching movies with my family. I remember watching Matilda and I didn’t quite understand what an actor was yet, I just knew I wanted to possess powers like her!
Dying to work with... Angela Bassett!!!! Every performance of hers is so fierce and powerful. Even when she’s being vulnerable. My most recent favorite performances of hers have been in AHS: Coven, and Master of None (Her scene in the Thanksgiving episode made me cry.)
Was born to play... Beyoncé in her biopic. Hey, a girl can hope.
Learn lines by... Writing them out. Going for a walk. Singing them in the shower. Yelling them into a canyon. Screaming them while skydiving.
Get into character by... Going about my day, but as the character. Seeing things through their eyes and listening as them. Is that method? I guess I’m a little method then..
Special skill I wouldn't put on my resume… Professional procrastinator. Seriously, Garage gave me 5 days to do this and I’m doing it last minute.
Movie I can’t stop talking about... There are wayyyy too many, but for actors/artists I highly recommend The Congress (or Le Congress.) It’s a movie about Robin Wright playing herself in the future. Her career is failing, so she turns to a studio that creates a digital version of herself to use in their movies. It is pretty trippy as it goes back and forth between 2D and live action. It makes you reflect on issues such as fame and the future of entertainment/technology. If you like Black Mirror, you’ll love it!
Top three Netflix / Amazon shows in my queue…
How To Get Away With Murder
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner.
Car karaoke tune... Anything Britney.
If I weren't an actor, I'd be... Probably a cartoonist. And maybe I’d do the voices for them, too!
Stranger Things character that best represents me… Barb. Jk. I think I’d be Jonathan, since I worry about the people I love more than myself. Also, he’s pretty lame and uncool like me.
If they made a movie about my life, I’d be played by… Oprah, I hope.
Actor crush... Saoirse Ronan. Just watched her in Ladybird, I love what she does with every role she gets!
If I were a color, I'd be… Mauve.
Hotel alias… Burt Macklin, of course.
LA spot that inspires or relaxes me… Bourgeois Pig. My boyfriend and I go there to have some tea and be productive. It has a 1970’s/granny’s house kind of aura. There’s this (not so) secret drawer where people leave poetry or notes to random strangers. If you find it, most of the doodles are mine. And there’s a dark room with a single white spotlight simulating the moon, along with faux branches and leaves that make it feel like you’re in a treehouse. There’s also a pool table I’ve yet to test my skills on.
The best advice I ever got… Be yourself. No one else can do it better.
You can find me at…
Instagram & Snapchat: @ny.ny
Twitter (I suck at it): Ohmyitsny