Photos by Crystal at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC | Follow on Instagram @RentMyStudio

Nereida Velazquez is an Afro-Latina actress from Charlotte by way of New York. A self-published author, she is best known for her supporting role opposite Keshia Knight Pulliam and T.C. Stallings in ‘Redeemed’ which premiered on BET+ in 2021.

Where were you born and what was your childhood like?

I was born in Westchester, Pennsylvania and my childhood was actually, it was fun. I played around a lot outside. My parents weren’t well off but they did provide a house, a fence, yard, food, and I just got to play around outside a lot with my friends. So to me, that was lovely and my dad would take us to the park and the zoo. When we would go to the zoo, he would say the monkeys were our cousins. But yeah, that was, you know, I had a nice playful childhood.

How did your parents inspire you in creativity and initiative?

You know, my parents were pretty good. They supported my passions. I remember when I was a little girl, my brother was nine years old and he had a head full of curly hair. And he liked a girl and my parents couldn’t take him to the barbershop. And I said, well, I remember, you know, what the barber did. So I took the scissors and I started cutting his hair. My parents took him to the barbershop. And I don’t know, I just found a passion in cutting hair and my dad bought me clippers. And as far as the acting goes, my mom encourages me to keep pushing forward. So my parents have always been supportive of my dreams, for sure.

Photos by Crystal at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC | Follow on Instagram @InsideMonthly

Have you been able to visit Puerto Rico recently?

Not recently. The last time I was there was in 2018, actually. And it was a nice experience. It was a nice trip. We were celebrating my daughter’s 16th birthday.

When did you make the move from New York to North Carolina?

Well, I moved from New York to Florida in 2003. And then in 2006, I moved to Charlotte.

Tell us about how you got into cutting and styling hair?

I got into cutting and styling hair…Again, you know, as a little girl, I had the curly, unruly hair. And my mom, she didn’t have the knowledge on how to tame it and make it look pretty. And being teased by the other girls for having the hair looking like that, I just took it upon myself to try to make it look better. So that’s how I got into it.

Photos by Crystal at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC | Follow on Instagram @RentMyStudio

How has social media made an impact on your business?

Social media has made a…Tremendous positive impact. I noticed that I network a lot with great people through social media.

Why was it important for you to write this book?

It was important for me to write this book because I have to share my story. I believe everyone should share their story. And it’s a positive story to share with the world.

How long did it take you to write the first full draft?

The first full draft took me two weeks to write.

What are the pros and cons of publishing on your own?

The pros and cons of publishing on my own is pretty much you have to learn as you go. And I have been pretty fortunate that I have an editor who’s been amazing throughout this journey.

Photos by Crystal at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC | Follow on Instagram @InsideMonthly

What did you do to market and distribute your book?

To distribute my book, I’ve pretty much been posting it on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and then my website. And how has that been for you? It’s been very successful. Within the first week, I’ve already sold 75 books. Wow. Yeah. Did you receive more responses on one social media platform than the other? Facebook. I would say Facebook. Yeah.

Do you believe great actors are born that way or taught?

I believe great actors, it’s a journey. Because I like to compare acting into the journey of self-discovery. And so for me, it works that way. So while you’re going through your self-discovery, you become a better actor because you understand the emotions within yourself, how to process things. It just kind of all comes together.

Have any of your children followed you into acting?

Yes. My son, 11-year-old, he just booked a role in a Christmas movie. He’ll be filming in June. And he’s been in a few projects with me, actually. That’s a good feeling. Yeah.

What was it like working with Keshia Knight Pulliam?

It was actually a really nice experience. She was really down to earth. I learned a lot from her on set.
And it was just amazing because there were a lot of great people on set that I got to connect with.

Photos by Crystal at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC | Follow on Instagram @RentMyStudio

What do you remember the most about being on set?

The most that I remember about being on set is, being self-aware when the mic is on. And you’re on break. Take it off. We can talk about that later. All right.

What is the worst advice that you’ve ever received?

The worst advice I’ve ever received? Take him back. He said, sorry. We can talk about that later. You want to talk about that too? OK.

Who would you cast to play yourself in a film about your life?

I love Viola Davis. And I love Angela Bassett. Those are my top two favorite. I would say any of them. Why would you choose them? Oh they’re powerful actresses, they’re just amazing and I just loved watching them on film.

Photos by Crystal at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC | Follow on Instagram @InsideMonthly

Who is the best dressed member of your family?

I would say me. I would say me um being honest um my kids think I’m very flashy and my daughters are very down to earth um low-key and I guess with me being so flashy that’s probably why they’re so low-key with their wardrobe.

Where’s the best place to have a date in Charlotte?

Honestly, I don’t go out much so but um I did go to this nice restaurant it’s called El Puro. They have a nice ambience, the food is good, they have a live band um I think that would probably be a nice place to take a date.

What would you do to fix the Carolina Panthers?

Carolina Panthers? I would be their coach. No I’m just kidding. We need a female coach that’s what I think. I’m being biased um I don’t know, I would say just keep inspiring them and just motivating them because pretty much it’s just inspiration that motivates someone to be better and greater.

Photos by Crystal at Picture Studios in Greensboro, NC | Follow on Instagram @RentMyStudio