Shoshanna Stern is an actress who has appeared on several great shows and has achieved success when many would give up on such dreams. As a deaf actress though, she has been featured on great programs that include Jericho, Weeds, Supernatural, and Lie to Me. If that’s not enough, she has also been on Cold Case, ER, and Threat Matrix. I had the honor to talk with her a few years ago and below is the Q&A session that followed.
What program that you've worked on has been fondest to the heart?
I always say that answering that question is almost like a mother having to choose a favorite child. Every project I've done has brought me something that was all its own, but I think the more time you have to work on something, the deeper you're able to go. For that reason, I'm going to have to say Jericho and Weeds.
What are your future projects and plans?
As an actor, you can try and fool yourself into thinking you can make plans, but in reality, there's so much that's out of your control. My only plan is the one that I've had since the day I started out, which is to keep going and to keep trying to do what I've been doing. I can only hope that I'm lucky enough for that to become a reality, because in truth, you never really know. With that said, I have a short horror film I'm really proud of that's being edited. I'm also going to do a cameo in an indie with Marlee Matlin next month, and I've been working on a script for the past couple years.
Have you read Jericho season 3?
I have the comic book, yes.
The fans of Jericho are obviously a crafty and caring bunch. Have you had any interesting encounters with any of these people?
Oh, yeah, all the time! I've had some of them go out of their way to meet because me when I do appearances out of state, which is always so inspiring for me. It's almost like seeing a familiar face because even though I'd never actually met them before, most of the time I've had some interaction with them through social media. One of them won a charity lunch and I got to have lunch with him. He went to great lengths to get there, which was just a really humbling experience for me. I meet some of them in
really random places sometimes like airports and supermarkets. They've always been super nice and really respectful. I just feel so lucky to have people that are so committed and devoted, so I'm really grateful for the support they've shown for my other projects and for me as an individual.
If offered a spot on any show, past or present, what would be you top choice(s)?
Oh wow. Such a tough question! My So-Called Life was my favorite show when I was growing up, and I was so obsessed with it I kept having recurring dreams about me appearing as a high school student on that show who had an interpreter. So I guess I'd have to go with that, because otherwise I'd spend years trying to decide!
Favorite director/staff you've worked with?
That's another tough question. I've worked with some really amazing people that I really love.It's really impossible for me to pick just one, but I think they all know who they are. There is one guy, Tim Schechmeister, who directed the horror short I mentioned before, who I think is going to just blow up and be this amazingly brilliant director. I just want to drop his name so I can say, "See, I called it!" when it happens.
Obviously being a role model for deaf children, and an example of beating diversity is nothing to take lightly. Do you have any encouraging words for young ones with similar aspirations?
They've got to think big, dream even bigger, but they've also got to work really hard. They're going to have to work even harder than most people, probably, because there's never going to bean even playing field in our case. However, that's going to give them something that's different,something that's special, and that's something that they should always be proud of at the end of the day.
Any groups or organizations that you would like to mention?
I think theater is always the way to go for children who were like me, who were searching for something that was different. It gives them something to really work with in a tangible sense. If not for theater, I really don't know where I'd be today. So it's that experience I want to give recognition to, beginning with the theater at California School for the Deaf, continuing with the theater at Gallaudet University, and culminating with Deaf West here in Los Angeles