RESPECT. Interview: Iyana Halley Talks True To The Game And Mentorship

Iyana Halley

Image Credit- Iyana Halley

Iyana Halley is an aspiring actress and clothing designer who strives every day to see her dreams become reality. At a young age, she realized that she was in love with fashion and sewing. This is what prompted her to want to make her own clothing.

Business ownership was always on the cutting edge of her mind throughout high school. Iyana grew up in the entertainment industry: her father, Manny Halley, managed many celebrities like Shyne, Keyshia Cole, Young Jeezy, Lyfe Jennings, Nicki Minaj and more, becoming an industry wiz in her own right — it’s always been in her DNA.

Halle Berry was one of her favorite actresses growing up and Iyana would study her work on a daily basis. Her dream is to one day be considered in the same class as her idol, and possibly surpass her if the opportunity presented itself.

Furthermore, this talented young actress has made the decision to invest in her craft by attending acting classes. This has been a great investment for her. She has booked commercials with McDonald’s, and Wendy’s, as well as music videos, television shows, and the forthcoming film True To The Game, that will be in theaters this September.

RESPECT. had the opportunity to speak with the young actress about her upcoming role in True To The Game and other projects that we can expect from her this year.

RESPECT.: Can you tell us about your character for your upcoming film “True To The Game”?
So Bria is the cousin of the main character, Gena. She’s the slight sassy teenage cousin but she and Gena share a special bond. Gena and I share a scene where I’m basically telling her that Quadir loves her and you can really see how close we are. If you’re familiar with the book, Bria is the cousin who has a twin sister. In this movie, only Bria is present.

RESPECT.: Besides your father Manny Halley, who do you consider to be your mentors?
My mom is definitely a mentor of mine. Clifton Powell who you see in so many movies has been a mentor of mine too. He’s helped me a lot. My acting coaches play a huge part as well. Besides them, I definitely look up to some of my favorite actresses which include Rachel McAdams, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, and more!

RESPECT.: What are some the techniques that acting school has helped you land appearances on like Comedy Central, your McDonald commercial in 2015, Dramatization, and Your Wendy’s commercial for “National Taco Day”?
What my classes have taught me is to always go in the room and bring what YOU have. Don’t worry about trying to please the casting people. At the end of the day, yes, technically you do have to please them, but show them your idea of the character and what you bring to the table. They will either love it and book me, or I go a different direction. Either way, I did my best.

RESPECT.: What type of clothing line are you looking to start since you are into fashion?
I would definitely love to start just a custom boutique. The pieces I would display would truly be exclusive and everything made slightly different. I’m really big on having stuff that’s one-of-a-kind. With my pieces, you never have to worry about you and another girl having the same EXACT outfit. How embarrassing and annoying is that sometimes?!

RESPECT.: Has your family thought about partnering with some of the local universities and having a curriculum about entertainment management?
You know what, my dad considered that. I believe he still is. That’s a smart idea because I know it’s a lot of young people who would love to learn and be hands on.

RESPECT.: What can we expect from you besides ‘True To The Game’ this year?
Well, I’ve recently worked on a feature film called Skin in the Game. I have a role as a prostitute which was really fun and interesting. You can also catch me as guest starring in Family Time on Bounce TV later this year. I also will be making a guest appearance on Amy Adams new HBO series called Sharp Objects! I know more bookings will be in soon so I will for sure keep everyone updated!

RESPECT.: In your opinion what are some of the changes you faced living in the shadows of what your parents have already been a part of?
-For me, I see having parents who’ve been in the entertainment game as a blessing. I’ve actually never really faced any changes or challenges!

RESPECT.: Out of all the projects that you have been apart of, which one was your favorite and why?
Aw man, that’s hard! I really love EVERY single project I’ve done! Even though it was a small part, playing a prostitute was probably my favorite. I did so much research and learned so much to come off authentic. It’s so easy to judge characters but the more you do research it’s so funny to realize its so many similarities.

RESPECT.: What are some things you would like to accomplish in the next five years?
I would love to be a series regular on a show soon. I know it’s coming. I’d just love to be working constantly. That’s why I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to do the small roles that I’m in because small things turn into big things. I’m very positive and focused so I know that I can only keep going UP from here! I also want to expand my designing.

You can follow Iyana Halley on Twitter and Instagram at @iyana93.

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About Landon Buford

Washington State Graduate Past Interviews include Grammy Award Winner Kenny G, David Banner, WNBA President Lisa Borders, Whats Trendings CEO Shira Lazar, Ice Cube, NBC's Chicago PD LaRoyce Hawkins, Family Matters Darius McCrary, En Vogues Maxine Jones, Team USA Track & Field Member Norris Frederick, James Kyson, WNBA Great Lauren Jackson, and more.