READY FOR HER CLOSE-UP: Johnson has a love affair with the stage.
At 21, Joanna Johnson has what it takes to make it in theatre and film: luminous talent, a great look and an incredible awareness and sense of self. Those who recently caught The Button Hole Bandit, the 2011 end-of-year production at the Edna Manley College, were no doubt awed by Johnson’s impressive handling of her supporting role as the child-like Melf the Gelf. Now, the pleasant and very confident Edwin Allen grad is turning her gaze on the road ahead.
Your smart, committed performance in The Button Hole Bandit has gotten you noticed. What was it like playing that part?
That role really brought out the child in me, so playing someone younger was fun. I am used to playing more restricted characters, so with that part I was able to explore a different side of me. I enjoy challenges like that.
When did you first know you wanted to act?
From a very long time, probably from around basic school. Growing up I used to dance and write poetry, and the experience was great. Then in high school, my drama teacher encouraged me to attend [the Edna Manley College]. I was very excited to come here.
Have relatives and friends been supportive of your dream?
I get a lot of support from my parents, and my friends used to always say drama is something I should do, so they are not surprised. My dramatic side always comes out, even when I am dancing. But I want to take [my acting] internationally. I want to do movies and theatre. Performing is a very strong part of who I am. I am shy person, but when I am on stage I am not afraid of anything. I love the stage. As long as I’m onstage I am okay. I just always want to be on the stage.
Where do your tastes lie in literature?
I find fun reading teenage love stories like Green Days By The River. I find Shakespeare confusing. Even though I am an actress and his work is very popular, it’s not something I really enjoy. It’s like I force myself to do it.
I love your honesty. So what’s the best thing you can cook?
I can cook anything except soup (Laughs). One of my favourite dishes to do is ackee and saltfish with dumplings and banana.