Zap2it: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
Judy Reyes: After I did one of those all-day talent shows at my mom’s church. I was 18 or 19.
Zap2it: What did you do?
Judy Reyes: A dance scene, and I sang a song, and I didn’t want the day to be over. I was so happy. I would not go clubbing with my sisters. I would stay home and watch TV, “The Love Boat,” “Charlie’s Angels.” I said, “Mommy, I know what I want to be. I am going to be an actress.” And she said, “Be a teacher or a social worker. That’s not for you. That’s for white people.” I said, “I’m going to do it.” I turned around and slammed the door. I was going to Hunter [College in New York]. I slammed the door, and I never turned back. I started taking classes, and I took time off. I worked as a waitress.
Zap2it: When did you start landing acting jobs?
Judy Reyes: In those first three months, I booked a play, “Sam and His Friends,” and that’s how I got my SAG card and then a “Law & Order.” And then I didn’t work for three years. I did workshops. I did volunteer jobs where we would act out plays for kids. I worked at restaurants. I sold shoes. I moved back home. I designed jewelry. I did all that stuff. I got married. My ex-husband was a key grip. I was best boy on a feature. I was one of the founders of Labyrinth (Theatre Company).