Due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, the actors appearing at this panel could not speak to promote any work that was considered a “struck project.” Actors did their best to answer fan questions as best as they could in respect to both the SAG-AFTRA strike and the WGA strike.
The following are some highlights from the Fan Expo panel A Bold Conversation with Michelle Hurd. The actress and activist has appeared on a number of programs over the past few decades including Another World, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gossip Girl, and most recently Star Trek: Picard as Raffi Musiker.
- Advocated to have people of colour for hair and makeup on set. Ito Aghayere came to her in tears on her first day on set during the second season of Picard (where she played Young Guinan) and told her that she arrived with a carry-on bag with her own makeup and products and was surprised to see a makeup artist and hair stylist of colour so that all she had to focus on was her own job.
- Michelle believes that current Hollywood strikes are a microcosm of what’s happening in the world. The rich keep getting richer. Will trillionaires even be able to spend all their money?
- When actors sign a contract [to do a show], it’s really the producer’s contract (where they can write you out whenever they want). Part of the strike is getting an “actor’s contract.”
- AI may be able to write scripts and digitally impose an actor’s face on a random body but many keep going to see a production of Romeo & Juliet to see what the actors will bring to the project. They know going into it how it’s going to end. “We want to see what the individual brings to that role or which specific part of yourself is brought into the role.”
- She was proud to play a bisexual character, having been born and raised in Greenwich Village, New York. “When my parents got married it was still illegal in some states for blacks and whites to marry. Back in the day, the area was just gays and artists. That was the norm. People would come into the village and hurt people. One of our neighbours came and told us that a bunch of youths came in and beat up his partner. Shame on anyone who vilifies anyone or marginalizes anyone.”
- Was important to her when she played an addict (Raffi on Star Trek: Picard) to show her relationship with her son. “Even though we have addictions, and we struggle, we fall, and fail, every day we try to get up again. Every day is a battle. That battle should not be criticized. That battle should be guided and understood.”
- Michelle’s father was an actor and a civil rights activist (Hugh Hurd) and her mother (Merlyn Hurd) was an actress and clinical psychologist. Michelle remembers discussing the state of the world with her mother who reminded her that “You have to have hope.”