Tamara Woods has been in the spotlight since she was three months old, when her mother sent her photograph for inclusion in Hollywood Spotlight Photo Magazine. In between then and now, she’s made stops in the United States Air Force, the retail and nonprofit worlds, and the Fox School of Business before pursuing acting full time.
Now Woods is preparing for two upcoming roles: As Sergeant Diane Torres in her first feature film, “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting for our Lives,” and as Frannie Lou Hamer in “Freedom Smitty,” a stage play about Kenneth Smith, a Philadelphian who helped desegregate Girard College.
Though she has performed all of her life — while dancing at family functions and acting in church plays — Woods, who comes from a military family, knew she wanted to serve her country. While stationed in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Woods started doing liturgical dance and singing in the military base’s church choir. She also helped organize a play for fellow military personnel.
“We had a packed house,” she said. “It was just beautiful because you have all walks of life, all colors coming together in the house of the Lord. It wasn’t just U.S. soldiers, and that ignited my passion again for performing.”
When she returned home, Woods juggled working in the nonprofit sector, serving in the Air Force Reserves, taking courses toward her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Fox, and attending auditions and rehearsals. That hard work paid off. Today Woods’ dynamic background helps inform her career. In “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting for our Lives,” Woods plays a military veteran recovering from sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder.
She is also preparing for her role in “Freedom Smitty,” in which she will play a voting right activist and civil rights leader who was instrumental in organizing Mississippi’s Freedom Summer.
“In school for Black History Month, you always learned about Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but there are so many people in my culture who are heroes and who stood up in the Civil Rights Movement,” she said. “I had never even heard of Frannie Lou Hamer until now.”
Woods sees her work as a way to give back. She hopes to continue touring with the anti-bullying play, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” in order to open a dialogue between school officials, law enforcement, and parents.
“I feel as though I’m inspiring, uplifting and empowering someone, hoping that it will make some kind of beautiful change in somebody’s life,” she said.
Here’s a glimpse into a day in the life of Tamara Woods:
3:30 a.m. Start my day with bible readings, prayer, and positivity that make room for productivity and prosperity.
6:00 a.m. Family business. (The work of a wife and mom never ceases.)
9:00 a.m. Create inspirational content and share industry information on social media.
10:00 a.m. Check and respond to emails. Search for auditions and apply. Make phone calls to follow-up on current and upcoming projects.
12:00 p.m. Eat lunch while promoting projects and events on social media.
2:30 p.m. Review a new monologue for auditions. Call to run lines with a fellow actress and schedule our next rehearsal through Skype. Call my agent to follow-up on auditions and put together my reel.
4:00 p.m. Prepare dinner while I wrap up a business call with a filmmaker.
4:50 – 5:30 p.m. Eat dinner with my family, and discuss our day and what’s coming up.
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Rehearsal for “Freedom Smitty”
10:00 p.m. Prepare for the next day. I check email from my agent for any travel arrangements I’ll need to make.
11:00 p.m. Time for some sleep. (My routine starts all over again at 3:30 a.m. There’s a saying, “The early bird gets the worm!”)