INTERVIEW with The Quad’s Michelle DeFraites

Make sure to check out the BET series “The Quad” if you haven’t heard about it, because the gorgeous and talented Michelle DeFraites returns for season two as Madison Kelly, alongside Bates Motel’s Anika Noni Rose and Faking It’s Jazz Raycole.

Michelle was born in Mississippi with an early passion for the arts. She started as a dancer, then played in the local theater, before moving to Los Angeles, where she really began her career in entertainment.

As an actress, you can see her star in Paramount’s sci-fi thriller “Project Almanac” and Lifetime’s “Pregnancy Pact”, but she also appeared on several Disney channel shows, such as “Hannah Montana”, “The Suite Life On Deck” and “Good Luck Charlie”. Her next movie, “Crazy For The Boys”, is already in post-production, and is coming to you soon.

“The Quad”, in which Michelle is a series regular, follows college students of a fictional university through friendships, relationships and college life – through every drama and problem young people have to face in school.

When Michelle’s not acting, she posts on her very own creative fashion blog “Street23”, that she started with her boyfriend TC Carter five years ago.

We interviewed the versatile actress about acting, her roles and more. Check out her answers below! 

Season 2 of “The Quad”; how would you describe the show to those who haven’t heard about it yet?
Our show takes places at a fictitious HBCU in Georgia called GAMU.  It is a drama that deals with so many topics that are going on in our world today as well as shows off that fun college experience with characters that you will love and love to hate!

What can we expect from your character Madison?
This season Madison is coming into her own and becoming more confident.  Last season, her whole life revolved around her boyfriend and Sydney, her roommate.  This season she gets more involved with the school and becomes a bit of an activist.  She really grows as a person like most people do in college.  It’s really fun to watch her take some risks this season.

In “Project Almanac”, you played the mean girl. Is it harder than playing a nice girl?
I love to play a mean girl because you get to do and say things you wouldn’t usually do or say.  It’s kind of a fun way to let out any frustration you have in your everyday life. I also have a little bit of a sarcastic streak in me, so when playing the nice girl I have to watch that I don’t let too much of that creep in there.

You’ve had many different roles throughout your career. Which of them did you enjoy the most and who did you identify the best with?
I think my role on HOUSE made me grow the most as actor, but the last film I did, Crazy For The Boys, was the most fun!  Getting to sing, dance and act in one project has always been a dream of mine.  And the character was so much like me in real life it was almost like I didn’t have to act.  It was basically showing up to work to have fun and be with some awesome people!

What do you love the most about acting?
The thing I love the most about acting is that, as actors, we get to make other people happy.  My job is to put something on the TV that makes people forget about their days and just relax and have fun for an hour each week. Knowing that people can relate to stories we tell or the characters we play is so special to me.

But it does have drawbacks, too. What is the worst thing?
Well the hours can be a little crazy.  I had my first ever work day on only 1 hour of sleep this season and that was intense.  I like my sleep! But joking aside, it can be tough to tap into those really deep emotions because you have to go to such a sad, dark place.  You have to dig up old feelings and wounds at times to make sure that the emotions are genuine and real and it can take some time to recover after scenes like that.

You knew you wanted to be an actor since you were young, and you did it! Now, would you imagine another path?
I know that acting is my passion and I love doing it and I hope to be able to do it forever, but I also love fashion and would love to have a hand in that industry one day too.

You are really talented – you act, you sing, you dance. But what do you love the most?
I genuinely love them all because they each do something different for me.  Acting is fun and I think I’m pretty good at it which is why it’s my career, but singing and dancing have such an emotional element for me, which is probably why I don’t share that too much with everyone.  It’s pretty personal. Whenever I’m in a funk, I can turn on some music and either sing or dance along and it immediately makes me feel better or if I need to feel emotional it can take me there too.

What advice could you give to those dreaming about an acting career?
The best advice is to study your craft and then work your behind off!  Also, watch TV and watch movies, but watch them as an actor not as a viewer.  You will learn so much that way.

And what is the best way to make your dreams come true?
Hard work and persistence.  This industry is so tough and the thought of giving up crosses your mind all the time, but if you love it with everything inside of you you can keep pushing.

We are totally jealous of the relationship between you and your boyfriend. Tell us what’s the secret of true love!
Haha the secret here is never give up either.  I know it sounds cheesy but I think many relationships fail because it gets toughs and people quit.  We decided we weren’t gonna let little bumps in the road break us apart and no matter how hard it got, we were gonna persevere. No relationship is perfect and that’s ok.

So congratulations! Is a wedding already in your plans? We want to hear about it!
We have been together for a long time but a wedding is not in the immediate future.  We are so focused on our careers and helping each other grow.  That’s our priority right now.

TC also works as a singer and actor. How do you support each other’s career?
We have literally been there for each other through every step of our careers.  Every job he booked last year, I was on the other end helping him tape, and every scene I had on The Quad he was helping me memorize my lines.  No matter how many miles away or the time difference, we are always there because when one of us succeeds we both do! 

What was your goal when you started your blog Street 23?
The funny thing about that is when we started, I pitched TC the idea by saying “I’ve been really wanting to start a fashion blog and I want you to be a part of it.”  He wasn’t sure if he wanted to so I said “Just think of it as an excuse to buy some really cool clothes” and then he was on board!  I was always inspired by other peoples blogs and just thought it would be a great outlet outside acting to express our love of fashion. 

Did you receive the feedback you wanted?
We were shocked at how many people would post pictures of themselves wearing outfits inspired by our posts!  It was the most amazing thing that people appreciated our posts and our style.

Lately you two have started vlogging, too. How would you like to stand out from the countless vlogs out there?
The vlogs we’ve made have just been to show off our personality in a way that our photos can’t.  We really just want people to get to know us and our personalities.  My goal is that if you see the vlog and then go read one of our posts that you can hear us actually saying the words that were written in our own silly way.

We’re absolutely looking forward to seeing the next video. When can we expect it coming?
Vlogging is just something that happens every now and again.  It’s very sporadical and kind of happens whenever we are in the mood.  So if something fun happens we will whip out the camera again.  Lately, we’ve really been into the InstaStories because it’s so easily accessible for us and the viewers.

It was lovely to talk to you, Michelle. Thanks for taking the time! Is there anything you want to share with our readers?
This was awesome! Be sure to watch The Quad Tuesdays at 10/9c on BET and be sure to follow me @MDeFraites!

Photos by: Brandon Showers

Did you like this interview? Make sure to tweet us at @CelebMix and tell us what you think about Michelle and her role in “The Quad”!

Written by Alexandra Nagy

I'm Alexandra from Hungary, now living in the UK, and writing is not just my hobby - it's my passion. I'm a writer/journalist addicted to music, travelling, football, movies & books, proudly supporting Derby County Football Club.
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