13 Reasons Why? Interview with Daphne O’Neal – SB Originals

Daphne O’Neal is a Los Angeles actor and writer, best known for her role as Marcus Cole’s mom on the Netflix hit show “13 Reasons Why?

Daphne was born in Cleveland, Ohio but is now based in Los Angeles. At the tender age of 5, she started training for performing arts and playing the piano. She has a love for ballet and started her training at the age of 9. She has also featured in many indie films and also loves to perform at the theatre.

Her previous short “The Scarf” was just selected for Amazon Prime Video’s Discovering Indie Film series (Season 4; Episode 8). She has also led a major role in the short comedy series “8 Daves a Week.

PBS’ Refuge premiered to a sold-out house at Tribeca Film Festival. Daphne, who speaks French and Russian, started her on-camera career as a panellist on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in 1986 and holds a degree from Harvard.

Along with acting, Daphne is also a voice artist who has narrated many documentaries, animated and radio/TV projects and frequently appears in commercials as well as hosted fundraisers for PBS.

Here Are Some Questions We Asked Daphne, watch the complete interview above!

Hey Daphne! What’s going on? How are you?

Well, um you know I’m in L.A and the summer is super-hot, so it’s starting to finally cool down and I’m just so relieved. I like summer… like swimming and you know blue skies and stuff except for the 95-degree temperature.

Daphne you’ve had an incredible journey, you know if we look at your career. You happen to have an interest in acting, music and dancing as well? Did you always want to be in the entertainment industry?

Not at all, I mean it’s not like some people who started out at five and you know, knew that they wanted to be an actor. I mean when I was five, I was so shy… even into college I was so shy I would have never believed I would become an actor.

I mean, I was just totally introverted loved to read, I wore glasses and I um you know just loved you know being outside in the backyard and stuff. I was definitely like the typical introvert and you know. But yeah I love the piano and then I fell in love with ballet.

You started training for performing arts and playing the piano from the age of five, right? And by nine you were doing ballet which is what you love! So, when did you start actively participating in the industry?

I didn’t really get into opera or you know singing much until I was actually you know in my 20s and um so the acting just kind of, you know again, sometimes I’m still surprised. It wasn’t intentionally planned….it was after I did the Oprah show and I just felt like… I don’t know the audience was just so friendly, they were so nice…. they came up to me afterward and they were all encouraging and everything and that was the first time I had really spoken much in front of an audience; in ballet, you don’t say anything. So, when I went back to the East Coast, I started auditioning for plays and it just kind of developed from there.

You are a very talented person plus you’ve also trained for it which exponentially uh multiplies your skillset so…how was 13 reasons why? It is a very special series, right? A lot of viewership millions of people watching it and, in this age, and time audiences all over the world can view your content….no matter where they are. So, as a first-person perspective how do you like 13 reasons why? And what was it like being on the sets and you know playing the role of the mother?

Um…exemplary! I mean okay first of all I got that part through self-submission. You know it wasn’t an audition process or anything like that. It was interesting because of the description and you know it sounded like they were describing me. I think they said you know, someone um educated and I don’t know in everything that they said I was like wow it sounds like they’re just describing me I have to submit for this and so I did. And also not realizing, first of all, I hadn’t seen the show because it just sort of you know it wasn’t the type of show I would just reach out and watch.

I didn’t realize the quality and um but I also didn’t realize that the showrunner chooses you to know even small parts like that he was like you know totally being careful about everything and asking the casting person what did she do you know and stuff like that and I  had no idea of any of that but yeah I submitted on a Friday.. I think and I was at another job the following Tuesday when I got the call,  And of course, I was excited because TV was my goal and it’s kind of hard being in San Francisco because you’re away from everything, it’s mostly just corporate videos up there and so I was thrilled that I walked in and went to the fitting room and realized the wardrobe woman was award-winning I mean just everything about it was just top-level. It’s not you know people will talk about something as if it should be impressive or something but everything about this production actually was impressive…. everything from the sets to lighting, everybody was at the top of their game and it was just an honour!

You could just kind of sit there and watch kind of like being in a museum or something everywhere you look, it’s just like masterly work and then as I went into rehearsal and started shooting, watching the other actors, watching the leads of the show was like sitting and watching a film… it was fantastic!

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Mohid Moosani

Moosani is a night owl who is either binge watching his favorite shows or scribbling on his notebook writing short stories. Often showing up late at work and gulping down 6-7 cups of coffee is his usual practice.

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