Rachele Brooke Smith is an actress who landed the role of a lifetime. She quickly made a name for herself and is now on a booking streak. As a dancer and gymnast, Rachele has become the face of many national brand campaigns including Under Armor, Nikon, and Sketchers.
You can catch her in a variety of films and television shows including ‘Iron Man 2’, ‘Burlesque’, Fox’s ‘Glee’, CBS ‘How I Met Your Mother’, and leading roles in ‘Center Stage: Turn It Up’ and ‘Bring It On: Fight To The Finish’. She will also appear in ‘The Nice Guys’ with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.
In addition to her acting career, Rachele holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. She is additionally passionate about her charity, UNBREAKABLE, active in humanitarian aid and volunteers her time to organizations benefiting the homeless, women, and children in need.
MiLLENNIAL caught up with Rachele to learn how she broke through the iron door of Hollywood and how she is using her success to fuel positive initiatives.
Where are you from and how did you get into show business?
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and was a very competitive (and pretty stressed out) gymnast before getting into entertainment. After breaking my hand during one of the best competitions of my life (and having to have surgery on it), I began to realize how truly unhappy I was, and even though it was ridiculously hard, and seemed almost impossible at the time to quit, I eventually did find the strength to do so. I don’t think I will ever forget how sad and lost I was back then.
Around that same time I went with my family to see the movie “Center Stage” by Nicholas Hytner. This particular film was so powerful for me. I had crazy goosebumps, chills, and was filled with inspiration, I literally couldn’t move. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be just like that girl.
I went from feeling so sad, so lost, so alone to feeling more alive and full of joy and wonderment then ever before. I wanted to act, dance, and perform more than anything and I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. After that moment there really was no looking back, I just knew that performing and storytelling was what I was born to do.
Describe your breakthrough moment.
So… I barely slept all through high school because I was too busy dancing and acting. The plan was to go to my dream college that had one of the best performing arts programs, then go to LA to follow my dream of being a lead actress. Fun fact, that plan failed big time and I didn’t get into my dream college.
After a few weeks of complete devastation, I saw an opportunity to audition for a super intense performing arts scholarship program in LA… Long story short, I flew last minute to LA with my mom, auditioned, got in (yay!!!!), and had 2 weeks to move and get all set up.
As soon as I finished the program, I got signed to a dance agency and tried to get in with an acting agency but got turned down and was very discouraged. A couple weeks later I saw a sign for auditions for the lead girl in “Center Stage: Turn It Up”, the sequel to the very film that changed me as a little girl. My initial reaction was there was no way this could be happening. It seemed so surreal, almost not even possible.
I ended up having to go in 6 different times for that role then finally got the call that Sony Pictures wanted to book ME to play Kate Parker in Center Stage Turn It Up and that I would be leaving to film in Vancouver in a couple days. (haahhhhhh… hahhhh . haaahhh.. Ya that was me screaming in my car.)
It was a literal childhood dream come true. I was about to play the lead in the sequel to the movie that changed my life as a little girl, I was going to get to be “that girl” that inspired me so much. This crazy, beautiful, overwhelming, and to me somewhat miraculous experience was what has shaped my entire brand and company.
Here is a video where I talk all about this:
How has your career evolved since first booking the lead in the sequel to Center Stage?
Since then I played the lead role in films like “Bring It On Fight To The Finish”, “Popstar”, “A Place In The Heart” as well as all kinds of different characters in TV shows like “Scream Queens”, “Anger Management”, “Two and A Half Men”, and “Entourage”, but I am excited about the release of several films I have coming out soon.
One of which was a dream come true character and film that I just got done filming in Puerto Rico. I play the lead girl in this action film opposite Jeff Fahey and Bobby Campo. It comes out on Syfy this summer. My character was such a badass and it was both the most amazing and most challenging experience.
I have been dying to do action roles/films for a long time now, and I had to do a lot of crazy intense stuff in this film. Fun fact I still have some battle scars from that film that I wear very proudly.
I play a character named Julie in “The Nice Guys” with Ryan Gosling. And a Southern Belle in a suspense thriller called “Cold Moon”. I know that this film will be one of those films that comes out of nowhere and blows everyone away. I especially loved getting to work with on of my very favorite directors and producers, Griff Furst and Isaiah Laborde, as well as Christopher Lloyd, Josh Stewart, Candy Clark and so many more phenomenal talents.
Oh and I can’t forget about “Center Stage 3” because of how special doing the second one was for me (also very interesting how reflective it was to my real life without the writers knowing)
Other exciting stuff- I’m releasing 2 E-books, Inspirational Audios now on itunes, “Action Hero At Life”, and the launch of FreeYo Fashion and FreeYo Fitness “Be Disruptive. Create Positive Change”.
You are very involved in philanthropic endeavors. Explain some of the projects you are working on.
“Unbreakable Dreams” is the Charity element of my company Unbreakable and I feel so passionate about really getting this aspect of my company going. We ask people to send in their stories of how they are living the Unbreakable mindset and what their dream/goal is. After, we pick one a month to help make it a reality in a fun, creative way. We will also be doing videos to feature these stories to continue to inspire people to fight for their dreams.
I also love working with Empower Her, Agape International Center, A place Called Home, and Feed The Hungry.
Tell us about your web series “Unbreakable”.
“Unbreakable” was inspired greatly from my “center stage” story and is centered around what I have learned along my journey of both going after and achieving really big dreams. Working on “Center Stage” was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, so surreal, so challenging, and so beautiful all at the same time. From this experience and many others that have a similar theme I created my Brand Unbreakable.
Unbreakable Productions (my company) provides fun, uplifting, and inspirational content and products, on a regular basis to help viewers discover their strength within, utilize the power of inner-inertia, and remain Unbreakable through life’s challenges.
One of my very favorite things in life, is when I get letters and video messages from fans and those that have attended one of my workshops that say things like “because of your workshop I finally have the confidence to go after my dream, or love myself, or have the strength to not to listen to all the people telling me I can’t do things really want to do”. One of my favorites letters was from a girl who said she used to self harm herself and after my workshop she never did it again (she wrote me this letter a year later ) and had started her own program to help others who had her same problem.
You are known to provide “Happiness Hacks.” What are some of your happiness hacks that get you through each day?
No matter what I have going on in my agenda for the day, I always make sure to take a few moments to myself every morning and evening to practice mediation. I have lived life with and without this practice.. and lets just say I REALLY don’t want to ever live without it again.
I never leave the house without my morning celebration dance routine that involves dancing around my room to an inspirational playlist on Spotify, writing out at least three things I am grateful for, meditating on those things and visualizing myself accomplishing my goals and dreams.
You can get through each day when you are doing things you love to do and not taking life so seriously all the time.