We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Alicia Garrett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal Alicia, why did you pursue a creative career?
I grew up singing in the church choirs and my church family was always supportive and I could tell I moved some of them when I sang. But your church fam is always gonna be kind (Thank God) but I really wanted to know if I could reach the masses with my voice, so I entered a pageant. Miss Sophomore at my high school. That night, I sang to an entire theater audience of most who didn’t know me from Adam! So this was the perfect test. I sang “Still I Rise” by Yolanda Adams and when I was finished, the audience erupted with applause and screams, and I got a standing ovation. It put the whole pageant on pause before they could move on to the next contestant. I just went back stage and cried! And everyone backstage including the other contestants ran up to me and hugged me and said what a great job they thought I did. I didn’t know what to do with that reaction. All I knew was…. I had something special and I wanted to keep sharing it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have a medical condition called lymphedema which causes a physical deformity making my left foot/leg swell. Being a model, this has gotten in the way of some jobs. There was even one company that stopped booking me after my photos showed my deformity. But I know that I will be celebrated just the way God made me and hopefully will inspire others who have lymphedema to follow their dreams. I was also diagnosed with asthma at the age of 4 and still live with it. My doctors at one point said my lung capacity wouldn’t allow me to be one of the greats like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey who I grew up admiring and still look up today. But you know what… my parents kept me in basketball to expand my lung capacity and eventually put me in private voice lessons with Madame Shirlee Teuber-Goins who helped me find my voice and made it ok to put my whole heart and soul into my music. So much so, I now normally leave the stage drenched in sweat lol. Luckily I am what a few people have called “overly sensitive” because it works so well on set. I’m proud that my heart is extremely large. Through the Meisner Technique of “Behaving Truthfully under imaginary circumstances” (My favorite acting method I have been studying for years now) and other methods in my tool belt and my huge heart and vulnerability, I’m able to be the best actress that I can be. I’m grateful to be me and thankful God lead me to become an actress/singer/model. It goes so far beyond me as a human being. I also enjoy creating jewelry, shirts and journals/planners. It’s a hobby that is extensively growing on my etsy shop – Whimsical Arts Store. The sayings on the shirts and jewelry are inspirational and fun while the journals help everyone to practice what I preach “Get your thoughts on paper so your mind can be at peace!”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
HunTey… I am the BIGGEST “home-body” you will ever meet lol. Oddly enough, in terms of my knowing what my profession is, I’m scared of crowds lol. Maybe that’s why I do better on stage then in the audience lol. So I like to keep it low key. I love watching black and white movies (preferably with my two favorite actresses of all time… Betty Davis and Marilyn Monroe). So my idea of a good time is watching a great movie, drinking a nice wine and eating a lot! I also love eating at different restaurants with my husband especially. That’s our thing. Or cooking a meal together. My husband Drew cooks AMAZING meats like steaks and BBQ chicken so he’ll normally handle to meats and I’ll cook the sides like sautéed green beans, sweet potatoes and things like that. I love chillin.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who helped me get here and continue to help me! Special thanks to my late older sister Jasmine. My mommy and daddy… April and Dan. My little sister Angel. My aunts and uncles and my grandmothers and grandfather. Also my nieces and nephews. They’ve supported me every way that they could from a young age, through pageants and now my career as an actress/singer/model. Also, another special shout out to Cyrus for helping me realize that being the real me was my best chance at winning Miss South Carolina (Which I won in 2007) and becoming the best version of myself. And thanks to all the drag queens in my life that helped to raise me as well. They were the first group of people to let me sing at cabarets and events. They also helped me to begin to celebrate everything that some may consider different like being a black woman in pageants and in the music/tv and film entertainment industries. And just helped me embrace my true silliness! The very first voice teacher I ever had, Madame Shirlee Teuber-Goins helped me find my voice, literally. Thank you Ms. Shirlee for being so dope and teaching me to think outside the box and use Classical technique in every style of singing. And helping me to put my feelings back into my music. Emotion over precision, although we always strive to practice and practice towards perfection as well lol
Facebook: Crystal Alicia Garrett
Youtube: Crystal Alicia Garrett
Other: Etsy: https://etsy.me/2WvTFUt
Kyle Kuhlman, Erin Sage, James Pringle