AN INTERVIEW WITH EILEEN GRUBBA
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Who is Eileen Grubba?
EILEEN GRUBBA: An actress, writer, producer, and an advocate for disability inclusion in entertainment and media.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What has been an important moment in your career?
EILEEN GRUBBA: There have been so many! Getting into the Actors Studio was a huge victory and fulfilled a career milestone and dream. Every job I ever booked was an important moment as every job is one more step up this invisible but important ladder in the building of a career. Every job matters. A big one that opened doors and minds was being cast as "Precious Ryan" in Sons of Anarchy. The character was short-
lived, but made a powerful impact on audiences. Recently, I had the opportunity to work for the second time in a Ryan Murphy project. The first one was Nip/Tuck, the one coming next is The Politician for Netlix. The most recent one that has me very excited is being cast in Watchmen for HBO. I can't say anything about it yet, but I am looking forward to seeing what's next for my character!
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What things are you proud to have achieved?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Getting into the Actors Studio! Having built a respectable resume through the years of hard work. Winning awards for acting, producing and writing. But mostly, to have had an impact on my industry and many people worldwide who are living with challenges. I'm proud to have met incredible people like Stephen Hawking!
And to have spoken all over the country, to many film schools and even to the FBI about the value of hiring people living with disabilities. I'm proud that I went from a wheelchair to cheerleading, and that I endured in my career through discrimination, many surgeries, many losses and even cancer. I am proud to have survived and to have never given up. I'm still going and the best is yet to come!
ARTIST’S HOUSE: When you’re acting, how do you prepare for a scene?
EILEEN GRUBBA: I start by reading the material a few times to see what my instincts kick up. There is a lot of preparation that goes into every role, depending on what kind of character it is, and how much time I have to prepare. If there is a lot of time, I will explore the material in depth, including all the preparatory work I learned from the masters like Allan Miller, Martine Landau, Lou Antonio, Barbara Bain, and so many more at The Actors Studio. It is a process, but they trained me well. My very colorful, adventurous life gives me a lot to draw from for my characters. Connecting my passion to each character is a huge part of my preparation.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: How is it like being in the film and television industry?
EILEEN GRUBBA: The acting part of it is more fun than ANYTHING I do in life! I feel great joy every time I'm working. It's always a burst of positive energy when I get a role, and it's exciting preparing for it. I love every part of working! The business side is not as much fun, but I'm pretty good at producing, so I plan to do a lot more of that.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What are some funny things that happened on-set?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Hmm.... I have to think about that. Seems we are always having fun on sets.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What about your career makes you happy?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Working ALWAYS makes me happy! Creating interesting characters is always challenging fun. Making my health insurance through Screen Actors Guild makes me VERY happy! I always feel a relief when the health insurance is in, then I get to have a lot more fun. Every accomplishment in my career makes me happy. There is also quite a thrill when you see something you wrote up on the screen! I also am very happy every time I get to cast an actor who has worked hard and deserves a break.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Out of all the roles you played, do you have any favorites?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Yes! Precious Ryan in Sons of Anarchy. Alice Ann in NBC's Game Of Silence. Missy in Hung on HBO. All of them are my favorites, but my MOST favorites are yet to come! Keep an eye on Watchmen this fall on HBO, and The Politician on Netflix…
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What does your day on-set usually look like?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Always different on every set. Hard to answer that question. We get picked up in our hotel, or drive to set if it is local. Get assigned a trailer and usually settle in with breakfast. Then they bring us to hair & make-up, followed by wardrobe and a rehearsal IF we are lucky! Then we wait.... And when all is ready, we are brought to set where the magic happens.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What are you most passionate about in life?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Making a difference in the lives of people who have not had a fair shot. I'm passionate about people with REAL challenges being honored for their life experience and the wisdom they have gained through it. I am also passionate about sharing my stories on screen, so people can get a greater understanding of a life that may seem so scary to people who are not living it.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What is your biggest dream?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Executive producing and starring in my own TV series! That's a big dream I am working on. And seeing our industry and world become fully inclusive of people with disabilities.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What kind of character would you like to play in a future role?
EILEEN GRUBBA: There are MANY! I would like to play a fierce advocate. A caring but determined doctor. A mother who fights for a challenged child. A complicated love interest. I'd love to play a strategist of some kind, someone who never gives up until we win. I would love to be a lead in a romantic comedy! I'd love to play a character in a fantasy film who can fly and has magical powers. :) There are so many roles I would love to play!
ARTIST’S HOUSE: If you could go back in time, is there anything you would like to change?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Yes, many. But that is such a personal question. In terms of career, if I could go back, I would have STARTED with producing, instead of acting, it would have been a much faster path to gaining a voice. I even feel it would have given me the power to make my acting career happen faster.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Who is your favorite actor/actress?
EILEEN GRUBBA: There are many I appreciate the work of, and a few I really respect for their skills and others for their use of their power to make a difference in the world. It would be hard to make a list, but there are so many I have worked with whom I would call favorites and many I would still love to work with, like Viola Davis, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, and many more.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What, in your eyes, are the best qualities an actor should have?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Compassion, sincerity, humility, vulnerability, and a spark of life in their eyes.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Your best childhood memory?
EILEEN GRUBBA: The day I won my first award for Cheerleading, the "Most Spirited" award, after years of being in a wheelchair, and running into my Mom's arms to show it to her.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What is your favorite food?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Vegan tacos!
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Are there any other hobbies you have?
EILEEN GRUBBA: All applied arts. Love painting, crafting, ceramics, and making anything with my hands.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: Which places in the world would you like to visit and why?
EILEEN GRUBBA: New Zealand, Ireland, Greece, Bora Bora and every single inch of Hawaii! Because I love beauty, and nature!
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What is next for you?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Back to the stage to work on my craft, while seeing what's next for some of the shows I am working on as an actress. Producing shows. I'm writing a lot and have about 20 projects I am passionate about.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: What would be your advice to young actors starting their careers?
EILEEN GRUBBA: Prepare. Steel yourself. Train. Be the BEST possible actor you can be FIRST. Then go hit this industry with the courage and conviction that comes from really knowing your craft and your value. Most of all, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Becoming rich and famous is NOT a reason to become an actor. You must have something important you need to say and the willingness to never give up until you have found a way to say it.
ARTIST’S HOUSE: How can your fans connect with you?
EILEEN GRUBBA: They can follow me on Twitter: @EileenGrubba … Follow on Instagram: @EileenGrubba