We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabi Faye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabi, how do you think about risk?
The greater the risk the greater the reward. That reward comes in many shades. Sometimes that reward is failure and embarrassment, which truly is a reward because from it you gain a lesson and experience. Over time your rewards result in an increase in your confidence and abilities. As these grow, you feel more capable and ready to take on bigger risks. The first major risk I took in my career (besides moving to NYC in my early 20s after never having lived truly on my own!) was making a short film in 2017. My significant other at the time was offered a great career opportunity out of state, and we were considering moving. The possibility of this was a slap in the face that scared the hell out of me. It was the realization that in my time living in NYC, I had no real career achievements or marks I felt proud of. This felt unacceptable to me, and I decided there was no way I could consider moving without having left some mark. So I decided to bring to life an idea I had in my head for several years prior. I had near 0 experience producing and the film I chose to make was not an easy one. It entailed a holding cell, police officers, a fight scene and special FX makeup. Anyone who has ever made films knows all of these are difficult feats (especially for a first time filmmaker) Despite the major roadblocks I encountered, I figured it all out and made it happen. I hired actors who I felt were better and more experienced than me, knowing full well that I would feel intimidated. All of this was a risk. It was messy, it was difficult, it was all new uncharted territory, but I did it, and all of those risks paid off. The moment I saw my film on screen, I felt an immense sense of pride and possibility. I leveled up after that experience, and it enabled me to take bigger risks, and the process has continued to repeat to this day. I love risk.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Many say this career is not for the faint of heart. I agree. You have to be okay with unpredictability, spontaneity, and even instability while you are building your career, and surround yourself with people who accept this about you and your life. It’s funny I have been thinking about the following idea lately, and forcing myself to reflect on it. So often, we diminish our accomplishments when we should in fact be celebrating them and giving ourselves credit for reaching these milestones. Everyone has a unique journey, and each step forward should be given praise and note. Some accomplishments I am proud of are my most recent recurring role in new HBO series “Mare of Easttown” and singing opportunities including solos at the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall, major league stadiums and racetracks. I have also executive produced 2 short films, vastly improving many aspects of filmmaking from the first to the second. My second film was advertised in Time Square, which was an extremely exciting and pride-filled moment for me. I’ve gained a lot of experience on the producing side for feature films as well, and I am now in development and pitching several features. This was something I could not imagine or even knew how to do a year ago. I got to this point, by stepping so far outside of my comfort zone, forcing myself to face fears, facing lots of rejection, failing and falling, but never giving up. I allowed myself to try, meet new people, make mistakes, and learn from my own experiences. Hell NO, it has not been easy, but I find that the harder we work for things, the more grateful we are to obtain them. The most important lessons I’ve learned are to embrace fear, allow it it’s place but move forward anyway. The more you push out of your comfort zone the more opportunities present themselves and the more progress you make as a result. My brand as an actor is the mean girl, sassy, free-spirited, headstrong, witty, smart, and eccentric girl. My brand as a human is to help others, count your blessings, stay positive, show up, and create your own solutions.
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?
After living in the city for 2 years, I know some cool spots. We’d go to some speakeasies in the east village, then head west to Washington square park to pratice some acro yoga and hang with the pigeons, picnic by the fountain and quick photoshoot under the big arch. Then we’d walk uptown to puruse Chelsea market to see all the amazing artists’ interesting and unique creations. We’d hike the highline, hit the lounge chairs, probably take a quick nap and then check out some of the shops in the cobblestone area of the meatpacking district. From there grab a drink at the Standard where we could look out over the city, then citibike to the 40s for a Broadway show, naturally.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many, and I will name a few of the big ones! First to my parents and my brother Ethan. They have always supported my choice to go into the arts and have cheered on my unstable, but never dull lifestyle. I am grateful to have their love and support and nothing makes me happier than to see that they are proud of my journey and accomplishments. Another constant for me is my friend, turned mentor Thomas J. Belleza. His life lessons and the way he sees and views our industry really helped set me in motion. He is the person I turn to for advice, questions and consulting. I was so impressed by his wealth of knowledge and how he applies it to every interaction. I am ever grateful for his presence in my life. My boyfriend is another. Zach helps me selflessly with my many self tape auditions, and is a big support and loving presence in my life. I’m grateful for his understanding, support and cheering of in my chosen path in life. Next are director and producer duo Bridget Smith and Mike Walsh of Phillyborn productions. I first learned of them through an audition I had the honor of working on. As soon as I read their story and a synopsis of their film, I knew they were people I wanted to work with. My intuition never lies. They have proven to be the most caring, passionate and hardworking creatives I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Their clear vision and integrity have shown me what a set should look like, and the opportunities they have given to me and others have been game changers. I admire them greatly and feel blessed that we are a part of each other’s lives. Last is a group I joined at the start of the pandemic called Actor’s Think Tank, run by my friend and fellow actor Rich Henkels. I have met and learned from so many industry people in this group and feel I have a true support network of good honest people who also happen to be actors. I love this group and the education and opportunities it offers, and the feeling of being surrounded by amazing people – in heart and talent.
In order from top left to right Dustin Wolfe, HBO, Soho Int. Film Festival, Vitus Feldman Zhen Qin, Vitus Feldman ???? Zhen Qin