Michele Lawson has got it all going on. This critically acclaimed actor, whose film and television credits include Law & Order: SVU, WE TV’s Cinema Therapy, and several major theatrical releases is also a Plus Size fashion model and the founder and star of Travel Treasures TV. We love her positive outlook, her body confidence and of course, her phenomenal tips for traveling on a budget:
How did you begin your career in acting?
I began my career in acting in high school. Growing up I always wanted to be an actress but my parents asked my brother and me to focus on getting a job working for the City of New York. Even though my parents didn’t agree, I was able to take acting classes in high school and college. Even after college, I started taking classes in Acting on Camera, Commercial Copy and Scene Study. It was actually the events after 9-11 which prompted me to pursue a career in acting in 2004. I booked a play and roles in several industrial projects, and then I was hooked.
How did your career expand to include modeling?
My career expanded to include modeling in 2010 when I modeled in a designer’s Fashion Showcase and I really enjoyed modeling. I received runway training before the show and then decided to take additional training in runway modeling. My experience on the runway has led to fit, catalog and commercial print modeling. I have been truly blessed to have had an opportunity to pursue my passion.
Where do you get your body confidence? Do you ever feel not confident, and if so, how do you regain your confidence?
I get my body confidence from my parents. I was raised being told that I was intelligent, strong, beautiful and that I had “presence when I entered the room”. I always tried to live up to what my parents taught my brother and me. They taught us to be confident and determined, so that is how I approach my life experiences.
Do you think that fashion is making any progress in being inclusive for all women?
I think that fashion has made small strides toward including all women but not enough. During NYFW, the fashion events are still separated by size and even though some forums have included curvy women, we still have a long way to go before women of all sizes will be considered equal in the world of fashion.
What inspired you to launch Travel Treasures TV?
What inspired me to launch Travel Treasures is my love of traveling and acting, so the show was a way to combine two of the things that I really enjoy.
What do you love about traveling?
What I love about traveling is that I have been able to travel on a budget and find the “hidden spots” to explore when I travel. Sometimes by accident, we find ourselves especially when we get lost. Traveling allows you to get away, relax and let loose. You can experience things that you would not do if you were home. I don’t usually enjoy crowds and visiting the regular tourist attractions. I really enjoy exploring each location that I visit and finding the hidden treasures all while staying within my budget.
The three tips that I have for traveling on a budget:
- Plan your vacation ahead of time- from the beginning to the end (budget, destination, hotel accommodations, transportation, food and places to visit).
- Decide what is more cost effective (For example, consider and compare all- inclusive hotels, timeshares and discount travel packages)
- Save for your vacation. Plan what your budget will be and stick to it! Do your research on your travel destinations, the best times to travel, and book your flights/hotel stay well in advance.
What is it like having your own show versus being on a series? What is the most challenging part?
It really feels great to have my own show where I have creative input, I am part of the planning of the show and to be a part of the decision-making process. I know that being part of a series does not offer those options. On a series, you are there to commit to your character and the script that is written by the writer of the series. The most challenging part of having my own show is that the budget is my responsibility, and I have to pay all the costs for shooting, traveling and editing the footage. The goal is obtain sponsorship for my show.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to pursue a career in media? How about in fashion?
My advice to someone looking to pursue a career in media is to invest in training or college coursework in acting, film and studio production. Training and doing your homework in the field is vital. It is also helpful to obtain as much experience as you can in the media field, by volunteering, working with a mentor and as an intern in the media field.
My advice for someone that would like to pursue a career in fashion is to do your homework. If you want to be a designer, model, make-up artist or hairstylist. You should take coursework and training in whatever field that interests you. As a model you have to decide why you want to model- as a hobby or as a career. Then focus on what type of modeling you would like to pursue- fit, runway, print, catalog, the list is extensive. Find out where you fit in the fashion industry.
Last piece of inspiration?
Pursue your passion, it is never too late. Focus on your goals, do the research, create, commit to it and work hard at it always.