Actress Ingrid Jean-Baptiste shares insights on her life as an actress and opens up on her tragic car accident that changed her life – it was rather an incident than an accident. Learn more on how Ingrid Jean-Baptiste found her passion for acting and how the car accident led to another career path.
After being born and raised in Paris you lived for some time in Los Angeles, now you live in New York. Do you like to live and work in New York better? In which ways does it differ from all the other places you lived so far?
I definitely love New York for everything this city has to offer: its diversity, culinary options, art shows and of course its madness! New York is a crazy city, don’t you think? I guess that’s why we love it. I’ve been living in New York for 8 years, and yes it is a very different lifestyle than Paris or Los Angeles. I do miss the ocean view, hiking trips and my French croissant in the morning.
Why do you love acting and how and when did you find that passion?
I actually never loved acting because I was a very shy kid, however when I was little my mother used to take me to some auditions for acting and modeling. I discovered that acting was another passion of mine when I studied acting at LSTFI in New York. It was a huge wake up call in my life! I can’t thank myself enough for giving it a try. It changed my life.
How did your acting debut in 2004 (“Le Syndrome de Stockholm”) on French television change your life?
I was cast in this French film last minute because my uncle was an actor and his entourage was looking for someone my type. It was very strange, because I played along two famous French actors: Darry Cowl and Frédérick Diefenthal. I was so distant from the fact that I would be playing with both of them in the scene. Not scared at all, which is strange looking back at this situation. I had a fun time!
In 2012 you had a major car accident. How did this tragic event impact your life and your perspective on life in general?
This accident or incident as I like to call it sometimes was ironically a blessing in disguise. At that time of course, I felt miserable because I was unable to walk or breathe properly after I had 7 broken ribs, a fractured spine and my spleen bled as well! I had to understand why I was faced with this biggest challenge that ever happened in my life. I left the hospital in wheelchair, which was hard to cope with. This event opened up new avenues because I needed to change my life routine as an actor, decided to become an entrepreneur and started a production company that led to the creation of the Chelsea Film Festival. Conclusion: everything happens for a reason, I’m glad I found the reason why I had to evolve as a human being.
In 2013 you together with your mom Sonia Jean-Baptiste founded the Chelsea Film Festival. How did you and your mom came up with the idea of Chelsea Film Festival in New York?
It was actually my idea! My mind was going crazy during my recovery time, I had millions of thoughts per second that I had to deal with. I had days where I wanted to kill myself and other days where I felt like Wonder Woman. It was an epiphany moment, very clear in my head how I wanted to create this international platform for emerging filmmakers to make our world a better place. I explained it to my mom (who also was in the accident). She said to me: “My daughter, you are crazy! I don’t think you understand what you really want to do!”. That’s how it started!
What is the idea behind Chelsea Film Festival? Tell us more about it.
The idea behind it is to create a bridge between cultures. In other words, to raise awareness about our world’s pressing issues via the medium of film, by showing content from emerging talents.
Is there a specific film genre that is primarily promoted at Chelsea Film Festival?
Any genre is appreciated and valued. We receive all sorts of content, from narrative to animation to sci-fi. The beauty of it all is that we can share the same story in many different ways. We let the artist decide for him/herself what is best for him/her and hopefully we show it at the festival.
Do you have any aspirations and plans for your near future that we can look forward to? Are you currently working on any projects that you want to exclusively share with us?
I have so many aspirations and feel that life is too short to explore them all. I pray that I will accomplish most of them. I get new ideas every week! As long as I can help more artists along the way and open doors for them, then I will be satisfied.
I shot 2 films this year, one in the beautiful French island of Martinique called GOYAVE by Neneb and the other one in France called INSTINCT ANINAL by Julie Glenn. They will both come out this fall 2018. I am now focusing on the pre-production of CFF’s 6th Edition, that will take place from October 18-21.
At BELLA we believe that Beauty is Defined by You! How do you define beauty?
Wow! Difficult question. I would say beauty does come within, but beauty is also a state of mind you can create for yourself.
By Alissa Zarrabi