Christina Moses is a young actress on the rise in Hollywood. Over the past few years, this multifaceted performer crafted a solid resume ranging from appearances on ABC Family’s “Twisted” and CW’s “Nikita.” She also worked in film projects such as Warner Bros, “The Invention Of Lying,” Magic Time Productions, “Star Trek Voyages” and Morphius Films, “Starship.” The blood, sweat and tears she has put into developing her craft have not gone unnoticed as she continues to capture the eye of fans and Hollywood decision makers. Her most recent milestone is landing a recurring role on The CW’s highly anticipated new series, “Containment”’ The heart-pounding drama, created by “Vampire Diaries” showrunner Julie Plec, follows the rapid spread of a deadly virus in Atlanta, which causes the government to issue an urban quarantine. In the series, Christina plays Jana, a brilliant data recovery specialist, who has trouble trusting those closest to her. As the virus spreads, Jana and many others get locked inside the quarantine. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Christina Moses to discuss her journey as an actress, the challenges she faced along the way, her creative evolution and what fans can expect from her role in “Containment.”
What was it about the world of acting that intrigued you early on and ultimately made you pursue it as a career?
It is something I grew up with, as both of my parents acted when I was a kid, my dad especially. I was really shy and I didn’t want anything to do with it but I would dance around the house, sing and perform. I would mimic the kids in my dad’s acting class but if people would watch me I would be like, “Oh gosh, no! I can’t do this!” [laughs] So, it was already in me. Growing up, I was an artist and I just found a need to paint, write and express myself. All of a sudden, when I was in junior high or high school, I started to do theater. I had an interest in it and I fell in love. It was such a great way for me to express everything I was feeling inside as I could put on these different characters and explore. It was just a hobby for a very long time. One day I realized that I couldn’t live without it, so I decided to pursue it professionally. That was around 2007 or 2008. It has been an ongoing process since then!
Did you have reservations about taking that plunge and pursuing your dream?
Yeah, there is always the thought of, “Well, is this really going to happen?” You know, if you go to med school and do your residency, you are going to practice! [laughs] There is no guarantee you are going to work professionally as an actor. You always have your doubts but my love for it took over and I needed to go for it! I am the one who decides if I am an actor or not. We all define who we are whether we are recognized by others or not. Of course, the goal is to earn a living! [laughs]
You seem so grounded. Who had the biggest impact on you personally and professionally?
I love the classics. There are so many actors from classic films that I love. It ranges from Susan Hayward to Vivien Leigh to Robert Taylor to Danny Kaye, in the classics, to someone like Meryl Streep. I saw “Cry In The Dark” when I was 6 years old and I was in love with her strength, beauty and vulnerability. It was something that always stuck with me. Actors and their ability to tell stories and portray so many different people was something that always inspired me. My dad and the fact he introduced me to this world also had a big impact on me. The plays that he would write and put on were always mesmerizing to me.
You have a big project on the horizon. What can you tell us about your role on the CW’s “Containment” and how you became involved?
I auditioned for the casting company quite a few times, so I was pretty comfortable in that office. They called me in and I was with producer Julie Plec and director David Nutter. Both of them are a dream to work for but having David, being the director, in the room coaching at that moment and giving direction was amazing. He is such an actor’s director and has such a powerful and simple way of getting me to open up in the audition room that I don’t think I had done in a really long time or maybe even ever before. It was great and so much fun. I got called in again and read with just Julie. Then boom, it’s the testing process. I went to the studio test and then the network test and then wallah! [laughs]
My character is Jana Mayfield. She grew up in group homes and had a pretty troubled childhood. She grew up not really trusting anyone or getting too close. That has really influenced her. She has done really well for herself. She is a data recovery specialist and has some pretty strong survival skills as a result of her childhood. However, that has also made her pretty protective of herself, maybe to a fault. We see her in the pilot attempting to move in with her boyfriend, Lex, again, for the third time, and she has a panic attack again. She decides not to do it and, after the argument, she goes to work because that is where she can zone out and fix things. It is something she can control and it is her happy place. She goes in and realizes, with some help from her friend Suzy, that she is being an idiot. She decides this is what she wants and the truth is that is what she wants. She wants family, intimacy, friends, connection and all of that but it also terrifies her because she is so independent. She decides to move in with him and then the quarantine is put into effect and she gets trapped on the inside and he is on the outside. She goes through a transformation and process of overcoming her fear of relationships and intimacy. That is going to help you survive for one and it will also help you become a happier human being, so that is her journey.
What did you bring to this character that wasn’t on the written page?
That is a good question. There are a lot of similarities with Jana and I. She is tougher than I am in a lot of ways. I am tough and strong but I think I definitely have learned, especially as an actor, to be vulnerable. It is OK to be vulnerable and it is crucial to be vulnerable. That is what Jana is learning, so I think I do bring a lot of vulnerability to the character. I think I also bring some humor because I see her being a little bit funny anyway.
Be it this role or any other, what is your process for building out a character you will portray?
It is a constant discovery, that is for sure! I think the main thing is that I connect to the story with my heart. It is a very intuitive process. If I understand it in my gut with my instincts and in my heart emotionally, along with the circumstances of what is happening, it all starts to fall into place. It is hard to describe but that is basically the bare bones of it.
Every project has its fair share of challenges. Were there hurdles you had to clear in the process?
This is the first television show I have worked on as a series regular, so it was new to me. We worked in seven days, where I think most TV shows will work in eight days. The pacing was super fast, so learning the television pacing and working with a new director was a challenge. It was very exciting to me and not a challenge per se but a wonderful learning experience. I wanted to do more of my own stunts and I got to a little bit. I get to fight a little bit, which was really fun. There is one thing I couldn’t do but I totally understand because of what was involved and insurance reasons. [laughs] Just to be able to do the stunts and learn how to fight was a good challenge and one I really, really welcomed.
You grow as an actor with each project. Is there a role or genre you are anxious to tackle in the short term?
I love science fiction and I have done some independent sci-fi stuff, so I am definitely up for doing more of that. I would love to do a period piece with roles with strong women, kind of like what you might see on the show “Outlander.” A Joan of Arc type of thing would be really awesome! [laughs] I would also like to try more comedy because I am such a goofball in real life.
What are your biggest milestones personally and professionally?
Professionally, it would be the one-woman show that I did. I toured that on the West Coast, as well as doing a couple of performances on the East Coast. That was huge! I love theater and to carry this type of show with eight different characters was a huge milestone for me. Obviously, booking this show has been the biggest milestone for me in television. Personally, I think it has been committing to my spiritual practice and sticking with it. I love to try new things and to travel, so I always had trouble sticking with things. This is how I relate to the character of Jana! [laughs] I have so many interests that sometimes sticking with it and seeing where it goes in the long run can be a challenge. I have been practicing Tibetan Buddhism for 13 years and it has been a huge part of my life. I also just learned to scuba dive, which is something I have been wanting to do forever! I was so terrified of it! I just got back from Tulum, Mexico where I went scuba diving in the caves! It was the most beautiful experience!
That sounds awesome! You must be a woman with no fear!
Oh no! I do! Believe me, I do! [laughs]
How have you most evolved as an actor in the past several years?
That is a good question. I take a lot more risks and I have learned to really enjoy the business aspect as well as the building of my craft, as opposed to being so results oriented. Really enjoying the journey and discovering each character, letting the story build, grow and affect me moment by moment with each story I am telling has been a big evolution for me. In this business, you go on a million auditions and get rejected nine times out of 10 but it is important to learn not to take it personally and it is part of the process. Each time I audition I am learning, growing and building connections. It has been a process of accepting that rejection is a part of it, along with hard work, stamina and persistence. I think my spiritual practice and acting are the two things I have committed to the most! They are both long term relationships! [laughs]
We are just scratching the surface when it comes to your career. I am sure you experienced your fair share of ups and downs along the way. What is the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?
That is such a great question! I think the main thing would be to not give up no matter what if it is something you truly believe in. I have learned to believe in myself because I was so committed to seeing this through. I wanted to see if this was something I could really do both professionally and artistically. I wanted to expand and grow to my fullest potential. I am not there yet but it goes back to enjoying the process of becoming the artist I want to be, which is always going to change and grow. I am committed to stick with it and not let the rejections from this business or anyone else dictate who I am as an artist. I have to show up for myself, not succumb to fear and to use failure as a way to grow. The biggest thing is showing up for yourself, believing in yourself, to keep going and accept yourself fully through the process of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, all of it!
Are you involved with any philanthropic work we can help shine a light on?
I do! I support a place called Lotus Outreach, which works to educate girls in Cambodia, Nepal and India and works to get them off of the streets and out of sex trafficking. You can learn more about them at www.lotusoutreach.org.
We will certainly spread the word! Thank you so much for your time today, Christina! You have a bright future ahead of you and I am sure we will be chatting again soon!
Thank you so much, Jason! I really appreciate the great questions! Talk to you soon!
Catch Christina Moses when ‘Containment?’ premieres on April 19th at 9/8c on The CW! Check out a sneak peek at the series below. Follow the continuing adventures of Christina Moses on Twitter and Instagram!