Actress and model Veronica Burgess was born and raised in the sunny city of Long Beach, California. Having pursued dancing throughout her childhood, Veronica spent four years in the United States Navy. Upon leaving the service, she decided to make entertainment her full-time profession.

To date, Veronica has acted in many web-series and films. She has also modeled for well-known companies like Quicksilver, Wella, Sebastian, and Kevin James Fashion. In 2011, Veronica earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton and she currently studies at The Acting Center in Los Angeles.

In a recent and exclusive interview, Veronica discussed her experiences working as an entertainer thus far, and her hopes and aspirations for the future.

Acting, dancing, and characters

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to pursue Dancing when you were a child and, from there, how did you get interested in acting?

Veronica Burgess (VB): I started dancing at the age of six, just as a fun activity to do after school. I started performing in front of groups, small at first, then larger and larger. I loved the whole aspect of the performance. I loved the adrenaline rush just before stepping on stage...I loved performing at my best and bringing some sort of feeling to the people in the audience...and of course, being a little girl when I first started, I loved the tutus and later on, pointed shoes! I feel like since I was so used to being on stage and in front of people, that acting came naturally to me.

Although, I never had the thought of "I want to be an actor;" it just kind of happened. I had gotten into modeling in college and a photographer I had worked with was also creating short films and web series and he asked me to be in a few of his projects. It wasn't until I was on set that I realized how fun and rewarding the acting game could be, so I jumped in with two feet and haven't looked back! That was almost eight years ago!

MM: Why did you decide to join the Navy and how, if at all, did that experience impact your creativity?

VB: True story, I took the ASVAB, which is the military entrance exam, strictly because I wanted to get out of my first period statistics class! When I ended up doing pretty well, recruiters were calling my house and asking me to come in. My mom said I should go check it out, so I did, and I decided that this could be a once in a lifetime experience and that I should do it. I was seventeen at the time. Honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.

It shaped me into the person I am today and I think I would have a lot harder time with this industry if I hadn't had my Navy time...it sort of toughened me up, prepared me for the most challenging chapter of my life so far...navigating Hollywood! That being said, my Navy experience itself made it harder to channel some things as an actor...emotions were expected to be kept in check in the Navy, and as an actor, you need to have those readily available so I have done a lot of work to make that the case. However, on the flip side, my Navy experience introduced me to living life on my own terms and discovering who I was and where I fit into the world...all these are important if you want to establish a career in entertainment - you need to be grounded.

MM: Upon leaving the Navy, did you find paving a career in the uncertain entertainment industry to be daunting?

VB: This industry comes with extreme highs and extreme lows, and I am sure there will be more of both to come, but nothing in my life has ever been daunting - fortunately. If something is hard, I will shed blood, sweat, and tears, and happily do so, but at the end of the day, I pick myself up, no matter what has happened and I find new ways to get closer to my goals. That is just something I have always had inside of me, but the Navy really brought that out, because many times, you don't have a choice, you just have to complete the op, the watch, the task, whatever.

MM: How did you go about landing gigs and what characters have you played so far?

VB: At first, I was just submitting myself for anything I could get my hands on really. Then I got my first agent and I thought "this is it, next stop, I'll have my own TV show." Boy, how naive I was! But, with each agent, my experience level grew, my resume grew, and it eventually led me to where I am today, which I am very grateful for. I have a great management team who gets me out there and helped me book one of my favorite characters to date - Trisha, on “Shameless.” She was a fun one! The moment I read the sides I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to play her. It made it even more special that I was eight months pregnant with my son when I booked it. “Shameless” is one of my favorite TV shows, so my excitement was pretty much through the roof! I have been lucky so far to have played lots of different types of characters, but I tend to play a lot of strong women, whether that is strong-willed, or physically strong, they all have strength to them, which I like.

MM: What kinds of characters do you most aspire to play and why do these specific roles draw you to them?

VB: I want to play really tough women, because it's just FUN! Also, there is something that draws me to playing strong women who don't take any crap from anyone. I think I aspire to be more like that in my own life, so that is why I am drawn to those roles. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of my own strength, but I also have a very nurturing side to me and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not, which sometimes comes back to bite me in the behind!

Scenes, sets, and advice

MM: What have been the memorable scenes you’ve performed in your work and were any projects especially hard to train for?

VB: There have been a lot of memorable scenes I have had in my career thus far, but probably one that sticks out to me the most is the scene I shot with Michael Jai White in “Cops and Robbers” which is coming out soon on demand. This was a very emotional scene and I don't get a lot of opportunities to portray characters that are visibly shaken up and things of that nature, so it was great to be able to tap into that.

As far as projects that were hard to train for, the one that sticks out to me was for a pilot, “The Seraph,” in which I was portraying a vigilante. I hit the gym six days a week, took Parkour classes, and a variety of weapons training courses as well. But, even though I was training hard, it was so much fun and I was living the dream because I was the lead character in this project. A lot of the cast and crew I worked with were amazing, and we became kind of like a family in those two weeks - it was a very special time in my life.

MM: Typically, how do you “get inside the head” of your character?

VB: With all of my characters, I do the work I need to, research-wise, in order to understand their viewpoint. Once I understand how they look at the world, everything they do and say makes so much more sense; the rest of the work, like memorizing lines and such, is a piece of cake. I'm really lucky that I have a solid technique that I have adopted, so getting into character is a fun and a super rewarding process!

MM: What kinds of cool experiences have you had on sets?

VB: Well probably the coolest experience I have had on set is meeting my husband! We worked on a film back in 2013; that is where we met, and we have been inseparable ever since! It truly was a magical time! The shoot was six weeks and we saw each other every day, which usually isn't something that people experience when they first start to date someone; but for us, it really bonded us. We were shooting on location too, so we had a chance to explore a new city together, which is always fun!

Another memorable experience was shooting the “Heroine Kombat” series, because I portrayed this cool character, Nightshade. She was sort of a Poison Ivy type, which is like a dream role for me. Fans would write in to the creator and request specific things they wanted to see in each episode, so it was very much tailored to you, as the actor, which I thought was really neat. This series also taught me a lot of different punches, kicks, lifts, falls, etc.; most of the stunts I have done were on this series.

MM: Are you currently working on any exciting new projects and do you have any words of advice for people seeking to enter this industry?

VB: I would say the best piece of advice I can give is to know WHY you want to be a part of this industry and never give up on that reason why or your dreams. It's really easy for someone to come here and be like "I'm going to give it ____ years before I pack it up and go home." But the truth is that if this is your life's dream, if this is what drives you, if this allows you to be enthusiastically jumping out of bed at 4am to go to set for the day, then you can never give up. There will be ebbs and flows, just like anything else. You just have to keep going and be grateful for what you have accomplished and how far you have come already. When your heart is full of gratitude, you aren't focused on what you don't have; you are focused on what you DO have, which just allows more great things to come in.

My fans should know that I always have a lot to talk about, so the best way to be in communication with me is via social media. My IG and Twitter handles are @VLBurgess7 and you can search me on Facebook using the handle @veronicaburgessactress. I love engaging in conversation with people so don't be afraid to shoot me a message or post a comment; I usually get back within the day!