There is a new face in Hollywood. Haitian actress Sarodj Bertin is a talent with an intriguing life story. We sat with Sarodj in Los Angeles before she enlisted her good friend Nick Cannon to go help orphans during the Holidays in her native Haiti. But first, who is this beauty who is taking Hollywood by storm?
CB: Sarodj is an exotic name. What is its origin?
I love when people ask about the meaning of my name. Sarodj is a Native Indian name that means “first ray of light”. I believe that my mother could not have chosen a better name for me because I want to be a ray of light for everyone that surrounds me.
CB: What would you say is your motivation as an actress? How do you remain positive and focused?
I remain positive and focused by envisioning my goals. I learned at a very early age that everything happens for a reason. I believe that nothing in life is 100% negative, so even in the darkest of moments I try to find at least a 1% of positivity from the negative situation and make the best from it.
CB: Tell Cinema Buzzers about a situation that has made you proud in your career as an actress. Why was this, and what was the outcome?
Although I can say that I feel proud of all of my achievements, there was one specific situation that made me feel proud of myself as an actress. I had been called to read for a role at an audition. Once there, the director saw me in the waiting room and requested I read for a different role than the one I had come in to audition for. Even though I had no time to prepare for the new role, I read it a couple of times and immediately found within me what I needed in order to execute what was requested of me well. This was not a situation that I was used to, but this event showed me how open up my mind is as well as my emotions. From that point on I have continued to make sure that I keep my mind and emotions open and receptive during unexpected situations.
CB: Considering that you have a degree in Law, what drew you into a pursuing career in entertainment?
I actually did not pursue my career in entertainment. It was actually my career in entertainment that first pursued me! This opportunity has made me become able to discover a new passion within me and I have decided to respond to it. Even though originally I was not looking into pursuing acting or TV hosting, I accepted my first big opportunity when it came knocking at my door. Since then, I have decided to better prepare myself so that I can give my best and be at the top of the game in my career.
CB: Your mother Mireille Durocher Bertin was a recognized political figure in Haiti. She represented a strong voice for justice and human rights until her unexpected and violent death in 1995. How have the tragic events surrounding your mother’s untimely death influenced your life? Were they a contributing factor in your decision to becoming a Goodwill Ambassador?
Everything that has happened in my life has influenced my character and made me become who I am today. One of the biggest life changing events that I ever had to experience was my mother’s death. It definitely forced changes in my life. I believe that the years when I did have her in my life made me become a better person. During that time I was able to appreciate the beauty of having a guide and a role model. While she lived, my mother was the greatest inspiration that stood right in front of me every day. After losing her, she may not have been in front of me anymore, but she became part of who I am today. She is in my heart and in my mind every day. Everything I do in life I do in her memory to make her feel proud of the person I am progressively becoming. My mother is my biggest inspiration, and she will always be. Losing her was a not only catastrophic for me, but also for my family and for my country. Losing her also caused me to learn to be strong for my family, my country, and myself. My mother died holding on to big dreams for my homeland. As her daughter I will make sure that her dreams come true.
CB: As a native Haitian who also lived in the Dominican Republic working in an industry that struggles with the portrayal (or lack-there-of) of minorities on screen, what’s your message to your fellow actors?
My message is that we do not need excuses. We need solutions. If you know what you want, work for it. If you find many obstacles then work harder to overcome them. If you are discriminated against then work even harder to achieve your goals. I do not believe in the impossible. If you don’t believe in yourself, then why should others believe in you?
CB: Thinking back over your career up to date, how has competing in modeling and beauty pageants helped you accomplish bigger things in your career in the entertainment business?
I would say modeling and beauty pageants marked the beginning of everything for my entertainment career. Beauty pageants serve as a platform, and I can say that I managed to use that platform wisely. That opportunity allowed me to be seen by the right people at that moment. These same people later approached me with the right projects and made me understand that my path in life was slightly different than what I had originally envisioned back then.
CB: Which celebrities have inspired you or have influenced your style? Who do you look forward to working with?
I would say that there are several actors that I admire, but the ones that I believe have inspired and influenced me are Catherine Zeta-Jones, Gabrielle Union, Priyanka Chopra, and Angelina Jolie.
CB: Who are your mentors and how have they influenced who you are as a person?
My first mentor will always be my father. I have learned everything I know in life from him. As for my acting my mentor, I would have to say its is Will Smith. Will inspires me. Even if I have many actors friends, all whom I thank for sharing their experiences with me since the beginning of my career, Will Smith has given me specific advise that has in turn caused great changes in my acting process. He is one of the people I look up to, and I can’t wait to make him feel proud of me for believing in me.
CB: What’s a day in the life of Sarodj Bertin in three words?
Practice, determination, and productivity.
CB: Lawyer. Beauty Queen. Model. Actress. Philanthropist. It seems you have achieved so much so far. Where do you see yourself in a year?
So far I have achieved everything I have decided to do. Now I am ready to achieve new goals. I am focused on my acting career and I can see myself growing because of it as I go through the process within the next year. Still, this does not mean that I will stop working on my foundation and my other projects. Nevertheless, I will definitely have my acting career at the top of my list for now.