Michelle Natalie Nunez is a prolific actress coming off her work on the show “Ruthless”. We caught up with her to talk about the show and her character Zane.
The Knockturnal: How do you describe the experience of working with Tyler Perry?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: Oh man, Mr. P is a legend. He’s focused and knows exactly what he wants. He doesn’t mess around when it comes to recruiting actors who are up for a challenge. We shot a season and a half in less than two weeks (while living in a quarantine bubble). As soon as he yells action, it’s go time from that moment until we’re wrapped. But even with the pressure that comes with working with such a huge and powerful man, he has a loving touch to his words and actions. He texted me on Thanksgiving wishing my family and me a wonderful time and checked in about a scene that’s in our next episode release that was pretty tough for me. You’ll see why this coming Thursday. And during filming, he was there for me when I needed support. He’s an incredible man that can come off as pretty intimidating at first, but his fatherly love exudes out of him in many ways. I’m super grateful to be part of his team.
The Knockturnal: How would you describe your character Zane’s personality?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: I love Zane so much. She’s a terrified and brave young soul that didn’t expect what she got when she joined the Rakadushi’s. Throughout season one, you’ll catch her always supporting her friends to the best of her ability and trying her best to do what’s right, as much as you can when you’re in a cult. Zane is a loving girl who wants to be part of something bigger than her, that’s why she joined the cult in the first place.
The Knockturnal: What drama would you say we have to look out for on “Ruthless”?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: There is so much drama I don’t even know where to begin. From sex to drugs, torture to betrayal, loyalty to escape. The entire show is a trigger point for me, which makes it so engaging. Mr. P explored the dark side of what happens in cults around the world and “Ruthless” isn’t afraid to show you the fanatical things that take place. It gets real, raw, and brutal through the rest of season one.
The Knockturnal: How do you balance your career with your work as an environmental activist?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: My work as an environmentalist isn’t really ‘work’ because it comes so naturally. I’m the one who is always asking where the recycling goes. My roommates and I have a compost in our apartment, and we have two different recycling bins to help with sorting. I’m constantly doing my best to be, do, and have everything around me align with what’s best for our planet. Pachamama is what the indigenous people call Mother Earth, and being in her presence is enough for me to recognize how precious and loving this planet is to us. Seriously, spend a night under the stars in Yosemite or Zion, the beauty of this place is insane. How can we possibly not help keep her healthy? Earth does not belong to us, but rather we belong to her. We are on this earth to support the planet, not destroy it. There’s an old tale that says the people of Mars became so obsessed with their worldly desires that they, in turn, destroyed the entire planet to the point where nothing can ever live there again. If this is true, I’m sure we don’t want the same to happen to our Earth!
The Knockturnal: You traveled all over the country and across parts of Europe throughout your childhood. Which of those places do you remember most fondly?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: Definitely Germany, New York City, and Washington state, about forty minutes south of Seattle. It’s wild to think that I never really had a ‘hometown’ because I was always traveling when I was a child. But I think it prepared me for the rest of my life because you have to be tough and adaptive to be an Army brat.
The Knockturnal: Does your upbringing inspire parts of your acting persona?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: For sure. I love the fact that I had an obscure childhood because I have so much perspective. I’ve lived in a lot of different ways that only other Army brats can understand. From my stepdad being away at war to my mom needing to leave my sister and me with family so she could go off to her deployment. All the different variables that make up my life today come from what I’ve experienced in the past and that includes everything from moving around constantly as a kid to studying religions like Buddhism to living out of a backpack traveling solo. I’d say my life experience supports me in co-creating living, breathing humans out of words on a script. There is a depth from living a full life that can be seen in an actor’s eyes that makes it known what their truth is. I firmly believe this is what constitutes a great actor.
The Knockturnal: What inspired you to get into the film industry?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: There is something so special about capturing a moment in time through film and TV. You don’t ever get those moments back and the moments captured on camera can never truly be replicated nor can the feelings that you felt. But film and TV do something for the soul. They are a way of accessing this timeless rendition of reality where anything can happen. I love being part of this world of limitless creation. The work we do in this industry acts as a time stamp on reality as it was and how we knew it for just that present moment. The very act of generating emotion in another human being is inspiring enough.
The Knockturnal: What projects were you involved in before you joined the cast of “Ruthless”?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: Three different features I worked on this last year are making their way to the festival circuit in 2021! Plus, there are some super incredible things coming up I am stoked to share.
The Knockturnal: When do you find the chance to sit back and listen to music?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: My car is the place I listen to the most music, but when I’m at home, once the day is wrapping up, throwing on some good vibe tuneage is my go-to. I’m game for some Trevor Hall or Rebelution anytime.
The Knockturnal: The profile we have of you says that you’ve produced music with your friends. Would you make a career out of that or is that simply a hobby?
Michelle Natalie Nunez: I think creating music and sharing it with an audience is super intriguing and a definite possibility in the future. Creating music and vibing with friends to good tunes is always special.