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Numa Perrier: An Interview with the Multi-Faceted Actress and Designer

Numa Perrier typifies what versatility really is. Perrier has acted in theatre, on television shows and films. She also has an active career on web series. She played the character of Lisa on Issa Rae’s fan-adored “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”, and is a regular on “The Couple”, another web series with a huge fan base.

Perrier says she had been wanting to be an actress since she was eight years old. A whole two years later, she voiced her desire to get into the field to her mother, and to her surprise, her mother agreed. Since then, she has been on the acting grind, starring in everything from short films to having a regular role on the television soap opera “General Hospital” for five years.

Starting in the mid-2000s, Perrier began writing projects, most notably a short film project entitled Judi: A Series of Memories. She is a regular writer on “The Couple”—which was nominated for Best Web Series at this year’s edition of the American Black Film Festival. Perrier also produced nine projects, including “Hello Cupid”, a comedy series.

Q & A

Do you think that web shows and series are going to make standard television obsolete one of these days? I dont think standard television will become obsolete in terms of half-hour and one-hour programming. It’s about distribution and how we ingest content. Television as a device will evolve though—perhaps to the point of only viewing through ipads and phones and whatever else is around the corner on the tech side. That’s the exciting part. It’s moving so quickly.

It turns out that you also design gloves. Is there no end to your creativity? Yes, I also design couture gloves. That started with an affinity for wearing gloves and evolved into designing my own line and creating gloves for Rihanna, Vogue, Ellen Degeneres and other celebrities and their stylists. As an artist all of these worlds collide and I’ve always been interested in theater, music, fashion, film, photography—so I will always find a way to be involved with all of those things.

What inspired your web series “The Couple”? “The Couple” was inspired by events in our creator—Jeanine Daniels—personal life and that developed even further to include Dennis Dortch—our director—and my personal life together as well. Ultimately we all were very excited about having a series that shows the every day humorous things about the intimacy of living together. We are really committed to the reality of that so every episode is either based on real life completely or just enough that we can grab on to it and run from there.

Are you going to be producing a lot more? I will be producing a lot more. Ive been producing for quite awhile actually. Currently, I supervise and am a hands-on producer for all of the Blackandsexytv programming – The Couple The Number – Roomieloverfriends—which I also created and write—and two new shows -Hello Cupid and The Choir which are coming soon. Not to mention film projects… Yes I am busy!

Are you inspired by anyone in particular? I’m inspired by Lucille Ball who was a TV maverick. One of the first women producers and had her own production company with her husband and co- star Desi Arnaz. I love “I love Lucy”—I can watch it any time and I am constantly inspired by Lucille Ball as a true trailblazer.

You act, you write, you produce a web series and art work. How do these different parts of your artistic self come together? The acting writing producing and art may seem separate but they are all tied together. Many stars are producing because that's where important decisions are made and you are not so passive in the process. Writing—I’ve been doing since I was 8. Writing was my first love. My art work is often a form of writing and is where my more serious or darker aspects of myself are landing right now. Its a very good balance when i don't worry about what it looks like to others.

When was the last time you went to Haiti? I was in Haiti ten days after the earthquake. So, it’s been three years. I was devastated by that trip, but I think I’m ready to return this summer.

What are you working on right now? I just signed on to do a feature film project Beautiful Destroyer; it’s an action-filled love story and I’m training to really shape up for it. Also shooting The Couple Movie very soon.

How do you perfect your craft as an actress? Do you work with a coach?

I’ve studied with Milton Katselas which was scene study—David Farkas for voice and Polina Klimotskaya for kinetic work. Polina also does animal work which is very very useful. Animals are—feral ones at least—never fake—they are absolutely in the moment and highly expressive. Anthony Hopkins does animal work and he’s brilliant. Voice and body work are also really important. I’d like to take some improv classes—which I’ve never done—so I'm looking into that. Even though “The Couple” is largely improvised I'm learning on the job.


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