AHHA: When did you know you wanted to get into acting?
Elise: I was always a performer; from the time I was six-years-old. I just didn't know that me wanting to be on Broadway would give me an acting career. It was a blessing. I started out doing musical theater, and that's how I lost most of my accent. I was touring all over the world. I was doing commercials for a little bit, and I didn’t know anything about what do in front of the camera. So I took a commercial workshop just to be better at that. I fell in love with the process of acting. It was a new challenge. I wasn't good at first. But it was a new step and the parts started to come and things happened from there.
AHHA: What are you working on now?
Elise: Well right now, as we speak, I'm finishing off a project called For Life. It's a film with Wood Harris - this is our third time working together. We were laughing, because once I was his aunt in Paid In Full, and then we were rivals in Ransom Games, and now we're boyfriend and girlfriend. Basically, I'm this sexy girlfriend trying to get her life right. It's definitely a departure for me because I'm playing a sexy character. Let's leave it that! [laughs]
AHHA: Tell us about Wyclef Jean in America.
Elise: It's a pilot I did for HBO. Hopefully at some point they will pick it up. It was a great experience and I loved working with him.
AHHA: You play his wife, right?
Elise: Yes. There are a lot of Haitian references and a lot of flashbacks to him as a child in Haiti, and they wanted me to play his wife Josephine. Literally, 24 hours before shooting they were like, "Do you know what would be great Elise? If you had an accent!" I was like "Are you kidding me?" I had no notice! But I'm always up for a challenge. So Wyclef set it up and I went to his house, met his wife, and spent the whole afternoon there with him, his kids and his wife. She was so uncomfortable, because I kept staring at her! But I think it definitely helped me with the role.
AHHA: Tell us about your music. How did Assorted Flavors come about?
Elise: In fact, in this movie For Life they have one of my solo songs on the soundtrack. Assorted Flavors is a group that I started about two and half years ago. I missed performing and being on stage, and I wanted to have an outlet to perform. We were dancing and doing covers of other people's songs. People asked us to perform at events and different venues, and we just started performing our own original music. It has been really successful. We had a great summer. Now I'm just trying to fine-tune some other things around it but I'm very excited.
AHHA: What should people expect from Assorted Flavors?
Elise: Music has always been in my life. I love Hip-Hop. I've done music videos. Music has surrounded my life for so many years. I wanted to make a group that was exciting, that spoke to women, and which was incredibly performance-driven. I felt like there wasn't an R&B group out there that gave you those old school group elements. I mean, like En Vogue. I felt like there was something missing. It wasn't exciting me. My group Assorted Flavors promises to bring not just eye candy, but incredible performances with a little street flair mixed in. I think people are really, really going to appreciate it.
AHHA: Are you looking for a label deal or is it all in the works?
Elise: It's all in the works. We are lightly shopping, but I'm trying to make sure everything - our music, our image - is correct because that's so important. (Full Interview)