[INTERVIEW] Multi-Hyphenate Michelle Nuñez Of ‘Tyler Perry’s Ruthless’ Shares Her World
Michelle Nunez is just… fun. One look at her social media profile or her website and I just want her to be my friend! A woman of many talents and many passions, the Los Angeles resident has taken her passion for acting from the stage to the small screen, with a few projects on the horizon that will bring her to screens around the world.
Currently starring as Zane on Tyler Perry’s Ruthless on BET+ and airing now BET, Michelle Nunez is a star, shining before our ears.
We caught up with Michelle to get just a brief introduction into her world. The actress, yoga instructor, health advocate, singer and DJ, with so many layers, some seen, others, not so much, shared just a bit of herself in our exclusive interview. Get to know Michelle.
Parlé Mag: Let’s start with your childhood. Talk to me about growing up in a such a multi-cultural background, as an army brat and how the passion for become an actress developed.
Michelle Nunez: I grew up with both my parents in the military, so we traveled a ton. I was born in Texas but raised in New York City, Germany, and Washington State. I think traveling is such an important part of learning about yourself and other cultures and beyond, so being able to experience that way of living so early in life helped me become who I am today. I’ve always loved the arts, from acting to singing and dancing, my passions have always been growing and evolving. But growing up not seeing many people who looked like me in films and tv shows started to bother me as I grew up so that helped me hone in on acting because it’s important to me that the kids of today (and my kids one day) see someone who looks like them on their screen.
Parlé Mag: When was the first time you recall performing as an actress and what was that feeling like for you? Is the feeling similar when you act now?
Michelle Nunez: I was cast as a lead in the regional premiere of the Broadway play ‘Seminar‘ as my first role! My goodness, I worked with some of the best actors I know to date. I love the world of film and tv, but there’s nothing like the feeling of sharing the stage with incredible actors, night after night, performance after performance, in front of audience after audience, always getting something different each time and giving something different each time. I still get the same feeling when I act now.
I’m grateful for the opportunities that have manifested since then and leading up to my series regular role on Mr. Perry’s show ‘Ruthless‘. And this question is perfectly timed, I got the news that a feature I worked on made it into one of the biggest film festivals in the world and will be having its world premiere there!
Parlé Mag: Prior to that were there times where you considered giving up your passion for something else? If so, what was a potential alternate plan?
Michelle Nunez: “I am a woman of many passions” as cliché as that sounds. I love writing, creating music, and learning. I think the itch that I have for education will never leave me so as I’m constantly learning, my passions are constantly evolving. I think the plan has always been to tell stories in some way whether that was on screen or through writing or music.
Parlé Mag: Tell me about Zane. When you auditioned for the role, what was something about her that fascinated you or drew you to her?
Michelle Nunez: Her vulnerability and honesty are what drew me right into her.
Parlé Mag: What’s it been like being part of the ‘Ruthless’ cast these past 2 seasons?
Michelle Nunez: Insanely incredible. We have built a family. And I’ve gotten closer to a few castmates and can honestly say my life is brighter with those individuals in it.
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Parlé Mag: Sure you get asked all the time about working with Tyler Perry, but you can share that, or what’s something you have learned by watching and working with Tyler and that team?
Michelle Nunez: Mr. P is the man! I am learning so much from working with him and the team about responsibility, trust, and resilience.
Parlé Mag: For folks who haven’t started watching ‘Ruthless’ for whatever reason, what can you share about the show that might get them to binge on it this weekend?
Michelle Nunez: Love, lust, betrayal, fear, loyalty all wrapped in a cult being hunted by the FBI. Need I say more? Watch the series!
Parlé Mag: You’re also a music producer and DJ as well. Talk to me about your music preferences?
I’ve been singing a lot more lately than producing music and DJing, but music is music. For the last few years, I’ve been into mantras, which are based on Hinduism and Buddhism culture. These are songs, sayings, or sounds that you repeat to achieve certain states of peace. But aside from that, I’m jamming to indie, reggae-rock, folk-rock, and melodic-type beats.
Parlé Mag: What’s the first song you remember hearing as a child that made you really fall in love with music, or one of them? And what do you remember about hearing that song?
Michelle Nunez: I was definitely into the N*SYNC crowd growing up thanks to my older sister, but my music taste started to develop when I heard “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! At The Disco. I remember turning the radio up in my mom’s car, immediately buying the song as a ringtone, and from that point on becoming an alt-kid.
Parlé Mag: This is such a weird time, maybe less so for you because you’re actively working, but what’s on your playlist right now?
Michelle Nunez: Trevor Hall, Satsang, Beautiful Chorus, Tenth Ave North, Odesza, and a ton of mantras on YouTube.
Parlé Mag: Last music question, 3 favorite albums, all time. And what mood do they put you in?
Michelle Nunez: Tipper: Broken Soul Jamboree – puts me in a chill, vibey type mood ready for a music festival.
Trevor Hall self-titled 2009 album – puts me in a happy, hopeful mood that empowers strength and love (check out “Where’s the Love” and “Unity” off this album and tell me you don’t feel the same).
Beautiful Chorus: Mantras in Love – puts me in a state of gratitude and deep appreciation for life and all it offers.
Parlé Mag: Health and wellness are also big parts of your life. Yoga trainer and vegetarian – what lead you down those paths?
Michelle Nunez: About six or seven years ago I was in a place where I realized I needed to focus on my mental health and learn how to manage and heal past trauma’s, so I started meditating and actively practicing yoga. From there, I began studying Buddhism at a temple, studying yoga and Hindu culture, read scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita, and decided that my healing was up to me and that my body was no longer going to be a graveyard for other living beings.
Parlé Mag: Talk to me about how you have been spending your time since we’ve been in this Covid world?
Michelle Nunez: Spending more time with my beloved. Spending more time with myself. Learning. Growing. Practicing breathwork. Meditating a ton. Reading like crazy.
Parlé Mag: I believe you’re actively working on season 2 of Ruthless, but what’s next for you?
Michelle Nunez: Well, season two hasn’t been announced yet! But aside from that awesome series, I mentioned already about the feature on its way to a world premiere later this year (can’t announce that yet!), and another incredible announcement is on its way too!
Parlé Mag: What advice do you have for young actors and actresses coming up in the industry?
Michelle Nunez: Take class (and stay in class) and submerge yourself in your local acting scene in any way you can. I started in a smaller market where everyone knew everyone so networking, connecting, and putting yourself out there is key to growth. Constantly be working on your craft. And write your project! It’s so insanely fun and rewarding watching something you wrote or produced or directed or starred in (or all of the above) on the big screen and sometimes winning awards. Do it!
Parlé Mag: Anything I left out that you would like to mention?
Michelle Nunez: I don’t think so but thank you for taking the time to get to know a little more about me. This has been super fun and I am grateful for your presence on this planet!
Image Credit: Kienobi Media Photos
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