Progress, not perfection. Put that song on Soundcloud that you’ve been working on for three years. Put that scene up on Youtube. Show your art! Don’t hide it from the world! Get rid of the judgment. Your purpose on earth isn’t to be perfect. If you’re hiding your gifts from the world, you’re really doing the world a disservice. We weren’t put here to be cogs in a system. Create and be generous with your talents, and the universe will reward you!
As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist” I had the pleasure of interviewing Cody Renee Cameron.
Cody Renee Cameron made her big screen debut playing a corpse in a disturbing necromancy scene with Jena Malone in the cult classic, The Neon Demon, directed by Nicolas Refn. After a series of roles where she ends up murdered, the New York Weekly coined Cody as the “best damn dead girl in Hollywood.” Since then, she’s breathed more life into her roles, most recently as a recurring on the FX drama, The Mayan’s M.C. where if you watch the show, you know survival is impressive! Cody also survived the cutting room floor as one of the only female cast in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Keep an eye out for this rising star in Hollywood, not just on the TV, but also whizzing by you on her motorcycle on the boulevard!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in mostly southern Illinois playing sports and being a nerd (did you know I was a mathlete?!, but I always loved performing in front of friends and making the other kids laugh. A childhood friend recently reminded me that I used to get all the players riled up by singing show tunes on the bus ride to basketball games in junior high. I also remember one Christmas torturing my family by making everyone watch me do all the singing and choreography from a CATS, the musical number. I still have my shiny black Ibanez acoustic/electric guitar they gave me that year hanging on the wall in my Hollywood apartment!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was working at Hooters in Champaign, Illinois, when I got scouted for Playboy! I couldn’t believe it because I was rocking braces and acne and frizzy hair just two years earlier! Shooting for Playboy really gave me a ton of confidence when I moved to Hollywood because I could say that I was a published model. That credit really set me apart from a lot of the other women trying to do the same type of things I was. I could walk into a casting with 30 other gorgeous curvy blondes, and when casting read ‘Centerfold’ on my resume and asked me about it — I shined. I’ve since moved away from only doing sexy roles, but it was a phenomenal leg-up at the beginning (no pun intended)!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I definitely have some crazy stories, like partying with Paris Hilton at EDC Las Vegas or yachting into Miami Ultra to watch Avicii… but I don’t kiss and tell *wink*. I think sometimes the most interesting stories aren’t the big ones but the small moments we hold close to our hearts. Hollywood can be brutal, and I can think of some really sweet times when I realized people were in my corner and that they had my back. When I was really struggling, my dog Cheetoh got really sick, and I put up a GoFundMe to help cover her medical bills. This was when I was BROKE… I mean, my bank account in the negative, asking friends to save me their leftovers, and crashing on people’s couches kind of broke. Within 24 hours of asking for help, the internet had come to our rescue between friends, family, and some people I’d never even met to cover her vet bills. I still feel overwhelmingly grateful thinking about it now.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
So many fun things! I have a Christmas horror coming out called the 12 Slays of Christmas that I also associate produced with Full Moon Features. That will be out in December on www.fullmoonfeatures.com and Amazon and all major streaming channels. I’m hoping a pilot is going to be picked up called Boned, where I play a motorcycle-riding stripper who also doubles as a mechanic/handywoman fixing things around the strip club. I have an old film called Car 24 that/s making its way around the film festival circuit right now as well as Waking Up Dead with Traci Lords, which comes out next week on Amazon Prime. And I’m really hoping to continue on in Mayans M.C. on FX! I survived season 4, so fingers crossed!
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Oh, I’ve been so lucky to work with so many amazing humans over the years, but I’d say working with Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul on El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was a major highlight. They’re understanding of the craft and professionalism while also giving actors the space to play and improv; it was just such a cool and collaborative environment! Working with Elgin James and Danny Pino on Mayans M.C. was also such a treat. They both really give you time and space as an actor. They took the time to explain how the shots were being executed because there was a lot of movement happening. Their artistic expression and respect for the craft can be felt on set. It’s an absolutely charming place to be!
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
I find inspiration in so many things; as an artist, I think we’re constantly finding new muses- the tickle in my nose from the bubbles of a freshly poured glass of champagne, the softness of my dog’s ears as I pet her, the sweet breath of lover on my neck; I’m forever feeling inspired by my surroundings. When I’m feeling a little stuck, I love to just pick up and travel. I was in a hot tub stargazing in the desert in Joshua tree last week, and last month I was snowboarding in New Zealand. I didn’t get to travel much as a kid, so I feel incredibly grateful to be able to travel now. And when I can’t physically travel, I pick up a book or turn on a tv show where I’m magically transported to some new enchanted land!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I live my life in gratitude and with an open heart. I love being of service to my friends. I can only hope that I can be a role model for kindness and quirkiness. I also volunteer with Ascencia, a non-profit housing and resource center for folks who are a little down on their luck. And I always support my favorite charity events like Babes in Toyland, which does fundraisers for The Midnight Mission, Support the Troops, and a different animal charity every year!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Just start!
Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part! So many people say they WANT to do something but never even take the first step. Just…..START! If you want to be an actor, pick a scene from a tv show or movie and memorize it and practice it in the mirror! If you want to be a writer, just set aside 10 minutes a day and write about anything. You’d be so amazed how just STARTING to do something will really get the ball rolling!
2. Get in a class!
This is the best piece of advice I can give when you feel like you don’t know where to start! It doesn’t even have to be an in-person class. There are so many resources online now! Zoom classes! Once you get in a class, you can talk to someone knowledgeable in your field (aka your teacher), and you’ll have a whole team of other resources trying to accomplish the same thing as you (aka your classmates)! Use these resources! If you’re an actor, you can get together and make a mini-movie shot on your iPhone! You don’t need a budget when you have friends with the same interests! This is how I got started, and always my favorite piece of advice to anyone new in their field.
3. Just keep going. Even when you feel stuck or uninspired.
So you know how I +said just START doing it, well you have to KEEP doing it. The power of habit is amazing. If you want to be a writer and write for 10 minutes a day every day, at the end of the week, you’ve written for over an hour! Wow! If you want to be an influencer, keep posting every day even if you don’t feel like you’re getting results because by posting every day and looking at the outcome, you can figure out what works and what doesn’t, PLUS all the practice in your craft will make you BETTER!
You’re never going to meet your mentor or investor by sitting at home staring at your ceiling. Put yourself out there! Go to establishments where people you want to rub shoulders with hang out! And if that’s not accessible, then do so online! Follow them on Instagram, watch their podcasts, buy their products, and interact with them! Make friends with people with similar interests. Chat about those interests! And watch your network grow!
5. Progress, not perfection.
Put that song on Soundcloud that you’ve been working on for three years. Put that scene up on Youtube. Show your art! Don’t hide it from the world! Get rid of the judgment. Your purpose on earth isn’t to be perfect. If you’re hiding your gifts from the world, you’re really doing the world a disservice. We weren’t put here to be cogs in a system. Create and be generous with your talents, and the universe will reward you!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
During Covid, I had this brilliant idea of a sort of matchmaking chatting site for elders and young people. I was inspired by a step-grandmother in a nursing home. I’d call her to chat every so often, but I always felt that she could have used so much more attention. I also had bouts of feeling very lonely. I thought it would be so cool to match people based on their interests! I love Broadway, so maybe I’d match with someone who was into theatre! I actually started talking to an angel investor to flesh out the idea. I’d love for someone to take the idea and run with it!
We have been blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
Keanu Reeves. I think we’d be great friends. We both ride motorcycles and drink whiskey. I love his career path and how he did goofy movies (Bill and Ted), then boy next door (The Replacements), then badass movies (John Wick). He’s such a star and has such a reputation for being a really stand up dude. I even have a notebook that says “Sorry I didn’t hear you, I was thinking about Keanu Reeves” on the cover. Ha!
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
All my socials are @HeyItsCodeE, and then TikTok is @HeyItsCodeE2 because my first one got deleted. OOPS. Feel free to follow me and send me a message! I love hearing from you!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Cody Renee Cameron: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Actress was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.