Deborah Lee Fong
Credit: Deborah Lee Fong

Veteran actor and dancer Deborah Lee Fong has found success in many mediums in the entertainment business including the Great White Way (AKA Broadway). She spoke with us about her career thus far and her involvement in the upcoming Urban World Film Festival in an exclusive interview with Manhattan Digest.

What was the driving force to you becoming an actress? 

As a child I was an avid reader and I loved imagining myself as the characters in my books. I would recreate the scenes, with the help of friends, dolls and/or family members in my productions. I have always enjoyed the process of developing a character, finding the truth and living it.

Who has been your biggest inspiration in the entertainment world and have you ever had the chance to meet or work with them?

I have been and continue to be inspired everyday by the great work of many actors, way too difficult to name them all but they include Ruby Dee, Mary Alice, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and a host of others. I am inspired by their commitment to the creative process, to finding the truth in the roles they have brought to life.  I am inspired by them and learn from them.  There is still time ahead to have the opportunity to work with some of my role models, others live on in my memory and on screen.

What has been your biggest career goal that you’ve accomplished so far?

Not sure I have reached my biggest career goal yet. I feel there is so much more I must do.  Every role, every class, every session with my coaches, all are accomplishments contributing to my development and growth as an actor. Everyday brings another career goal accomplishment.

You’ve excelled in so many mediums of the industry from movies to Broadway and being a huge TV personality. Do you prefer one more than others?

Can’t say that I prefer one over the other.  Every medium has its own unique qualities that are exciting and challenging.  I find the rehearsal and discovery period the most rewarding whether it is film or on stage.

Please explain what the Urban World Film Festival is to those who are unaware and how did you find yourself involved in it?

The festival was founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes and features a diverse range of narrative and documentary features, short films, spotlight screenings and conversations over five days, bringing together many industry experts, filmmakers, actors and audiences together in collaboration and exploration. It is known “as the filmmaker’s festival and the people’s festival, where it’s all about celebrating and supporting amazing independent film.” You can find more information about it here: :

I was truly honored when my acting coach Tracey Moore asked me to participate in the Urban World Film Festival’s live staged screenplay reading of Secret Santa which she was directing. I have been studying with Tracey and she cast me in the role of Agnes a lovely character who looks out for everyone she works with. The festival truly creates an atmosphere of creativity, innovation and understanding.

What do you have going on in 2020 that our readers should know? 

I am looking forward to this being a great year. 2020 is playing itself out right now, several projects are looking very promising and I am excited about the future.