misty-upham_coverAbove photo by Benny Haddad

By Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come most alive?

Misty Upham: Creating. Whether it is acting, singing, writing, poetry, dance… And as long as it helps someone else. I am involved with a troupe of talented actors who haven’t “made it” but should… So I serve with my art and creativity. That makes me most happy. Also, knowing that what talent I’ve been blessed with and all my hard work for the past 19 years is paying off. But I want to help others with it as well. So, creating and giving!

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

MU: Love. Help with no expectations. Destroy selfishness, self… At the end of our lives, I believe the soul will be asked, “What did you do for your fellow man?” As I’ve learned from studying near death experiences… So help, love, forgive, and create beauty.

MP: What’s your biggest passion/project right now?

MU: Caring Across Generations. It’s a humanitarian campaign that aims to connect older people with their families and younger ones. I have interviewed so many people who are put into nursing homes or hospices and are just waiting to die. It’s a very lonely situation to just sit at a window and watch life go by. So I want to help change that. In Native American culture, that is not even a question. We don’t have hospices or many nursing homes on the reservation. Also, it is the youngest in the family who tends to the elders to learn about the sacredness of life and the beauty of death. This is something I am teaching my acting troupe The Indigo Children. We will do many services for nursing homes and hospices.

MP: What is love to you?

MU: Love is no conditions. Love is given, despite hurt or rejection. Love is life and breath and touch. Love is helping someone live.

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos?

MU: My friends. They help me so much. I would not be here without my friends. I also meditate and pray and connect with what nature is around me. But most of all, love from my friends and from God.

MP: What makes you vulnerable?

MU: Fear that I am not beautiful. Fear that I am not worthy. This industry has made me feel so, in different situations. So my vulnerability is thinking that I am not worth people’s time or space at times.

MP: What are issues/causes that you are passionate about?

MU: Caring Across Generations, Domestic workers Rights of California and the world, my talented actor friends and my soul’s desire to leave something beautiful on this earth. I am passionate about humanitarian work in general. My biggest desire, as a rape victim, is that I hope to let women know it is okay to talk about it and ask for help – it doesn’t mean you are without use or strength.


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