Andrea Lewis Creates Her Own Lane with “Black Actress” Web Series and Production company

Andrea Lewis (also known as Hazel from the hit show Degrassi) has become a multi-dimensional individual since then. By creating her webseries showcasing black actresses in Hollywood and their struggles she has decided to expand her vision to continuing in presenting peope of color in different facets. She has decided to kickstart her other ventures with the help of her own production company.

She has acted alongside acting heavyweights such as Diahanne Carroll in The Natalie Cole Story , Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes in Down In the Delta and Hilary Duff in Cadet Kelly. Before all of those great acomplishments, she was the colloquial child actress, she first started out getting gigs in commercials until her first major movie in Down In the Delta where it was a very surreal experience for her where she got to see other fellow black actors and actresses in action

I think I did Down In the Delta when I was eleven or twelve. It was one of those very surreal moments, I remember meeting Maya Angelou and kinda not really understanding how to take it all in and knowing that my grandmother and everyone was so excited and so that was exciting for me and as well as really getting to observe these black actors I’ve seen already in movies and so as a kid it gives you a sense of where your life can go and what you can accomplish and what eventually you’ll be doing so that was very exciting for me.

Lewis first started working on Degrassi, playing the role of Hazel Aden, who was best friends with character Paige Michalchuk (Lauren Collins) until her graduating from Degrassi in 2006. Since then she was not only able to establish relationships with her cast members (one of them being Drake), she was able to experience being a teenager as well as learning how to be a professional actress.

Working on Degrassi was an amazing experience especially for a teenager…When I was on the Degrassi set I learned most of my professionalism from them as well as just having a certain kind of work ethic and I guess I really got a sense of the kind of future I really wanted for myself in the industry and as an actress overall because I was just having fun at the same time…it was an interesting place to be in to have this professional world as well as kinda be in this world but it was there where I really got my footing and just developed a lot of relationships that just really helped me out.

In 2013, Lewis created the webseries Black Actress, which documents the trials and tribulations of Kori Bailey, a struggling black actress in New York. The show also includes interviews from prominent black actresses such as Amber RileyJennifer LewisTatyana Ali, Essence Atkins and more, where they give a short ten minute interview telling there story about the different scenarios they’ve encountered while working in Hollywood as a black actress. The series was inspired by an experience Andrea had in Vancouver, where she was the only black girl amongst the cast.

One of my cast mates was introducing us to his manager and he was going around a circle and saying everybody’s name and when he got to me ‘This is Andrea, the urban one’ and I was the only one that got this extra “ethnicity intro” to my name and it was a really awkward strange moment but I realize in that moment he kinda saw me the same way everyone in the group saw me…So it was there I needed to do something that showcases women of color, specifically black actresses, and show that we are just like everyone else that we are just chasing our dreams like regular people cause every actress I knew whether they were super famous or grinding it out we all kinda had experiences like this, we all had these moments that can’t be explained that only we had to deal with

Since wrapping up their second season,she started a Kickstarter program for her production company Jungle Wild productions, a company started alongside her partner Brian Walker, that, according to the website “features a collective of young, experienced, content creators who are focused on producing original television, film, and digital content that showcases women, people of color, and the LGBT community”. She has planned to create three new series as well as continue Black Actress, having reached past thieir goal of $30,000.

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