She may not know former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin personally, but she knows a whole lot of other A-list stars on a first name basis!
Actress Sonia Rockwell has had quite a journey in her career thus far. She was born in Alaska, grew up in Seattle, was a springboard diver before winning state in fast pitch softball, before then moving to Hollywood and getting roles alongside fellow stars like Ashton Kutcher (Spread), Shemar Moore (The Bounce Back), Kerry Washington (Scandal), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), and countless others.
These days you can catch Sonia on shows such as the new CBS reboot series, MacGyver, and the upcoming ABC Network drama, American Crime. Oh, and she is also currently learning to be an official pilot on top of her busy work schedule!
The Levity Ball caught up with Sonia to find out more about her upbringing and current fabulous life in Hollywood…
When did you first know you wanted to become an actress?
For as long as I can remember I’ve put on plays for my family. In fact, when I was 9 yrs old, my mom made me a ballerina costume and dressed up my brother as a nutcracker and we put on a Christmas play at home form my family. After that, I was always a part of my school plays. I would get dropped off at school hours before school started to rehearse and stayed for sports after school. It was fun, it was play, and I didn’t think much of it, other than I really enjoyed playing. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I could get paid to play.
You were born in Alaska, but raised in Seattle, WA… How was it moving to Hollywood? What did your family & friends think when you made the move?
I was a flight attendant in Washington DC before I moved to Hollywood. And when I did, my family and friends didn’t think much of it because I had been traveling there every summer to visit my sister since I was 16 years old. It just made sense. Everyone was very supportive. They all just knew I would end up there.
Growing up you got a scholarship for Springboard Diving… Why did you stop?
I was an athlete growing up, having been a gymnast, you pick up sports pretty easily, especially diving. I learned springboard diving and excelled rather quickly. My biggest challenge was learning to dive into to water headfirst as opposed to landing feet first. That was challenging. I did not stop until I started booking acting jobs and was missing school to film. It was a lot of fun and I had a passion for it, but my acting career was taking off and school was constantly put on hold. To this day I am in and out of school, I love learning and will probably never officially stop going to school. Today was actually my finals and I’m happy to say I can take a little break.
Now that you are following your dreams, what has been the best advice you have ever been given by someone?
The best advice I was ever given was to never stop having fun! To enjoy the moment of what I do, that is in everything. I enjoy life moment to moment, like a child, I enjoy what is the now, I do not worry about the past or the future, and I find that happiness really is living in the moment.
Who is your role model?
My mother is my ultimate role model! If I could be half the woman she is I would feel I have accomplished a great life. She is smart, beautiful, compassionate, generous, tender, understanding, and the list goes on. I have more love and respect for her than anyone. She is my absolute role model.
You have made the gossip news a lot in the past for your various celebrity relationships (we won’t name names!)… are you back on the market now, or is there someone special in your life you can tell us about?
I have. You can google me and you will see all the gossip news about who I have dated. All great guys of course! I pride myself on picking good ones and I can proudly say I am pretty close with most my ex’s. Just because it did not work out relationship wise with them, we still care and root for the best for each other. I believe in love and I love being in love, passion is a huge part of who I am, and I love sharing my life with loved ones.
Flipping back to your acting career: People can see you next on MacGyver (CBS) and in The Bounce Back movie… How was it working on these projects with the amazing casts?
MacGyver was incredible to work on. I got a chance to spice up my acting skills and speak some Portuguese and have a Portuguese accent. I actually worked with George Eads on CSI, so it was fun to work playing different roles on a different TV show with him. He is super sweet and a lot of fun!
In The Bounce Back, Shemar Moore was not only sexy but very welcoming, and it was a lot of fun improving with him. He likes to have fun and keep things light hearted. I appreciate that.
You are also set to appear on American Crime on ABC in 2017… what can people expect from your appearance on the program?
I’m so excited to be making an appearance on American Crime. I play a sweet southern bell from North Carolina, perfecting my accent skills again. Working with Felicity Hoffman was magical. She is sweet as pie, it truly was an honor. I can’t say more than that though, I guess it will have to be a surprise.
I love working on network television, but in film you have a lot of free reign. You have the freedom to play and do the unexpected. You can surprise yourself and your co-stars and that is where the real fun is as an actor, just exploring your character and story-line. So I would have to say film.
Besides acting, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
I do a lot of charity work and philanthropy, it drives me. I also am attending college in broadcasting and screenwriting. I take flight lessons, I’m learning to be a pilot, I have an obsession for aviation, I always have and I love doing sketches at UCB, I attend their improv school.
And final question: What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for my heart. I have so much love in me and I hope that everyone I encounter in life will feel the love I have to give. If we do not all love each other in some way, what is the point. And maybe a laugh or two, I do love making people laugh. Laughter is joy, and joy is the glory of life. It’s hard to turn the glory off!