The Untitled Magazine caught up with Emmy nominated actress and advocate Lexie Stevenson to chat about her creative path from actress to musician, as well as her new song “Chocolate Bae” releasing today under her music moniker Fa’amu Sami. You may remember Lexie from her 3-year stint as ‘Mattie Ashby’ on CBS’s The Young & The Restless, for which she was nominated for an Emmy in 2018. She recently headed into the studio to record her first single, inspired by her relationship with her boyfriend Basketball player, Kris Wilkes. With influences ranging from Doja Cat to Ella Mai, her debut track “Chocolate Bae” uses candy-inspired suggestive wordplay that aims to empower her listeners through the confident, charming lyrics.
Lexie is not only a talented performer, she also devotes her time to support the Endometriosis Foundation of America. She is currently the youngest woman on their Advisory Board and is passionate about advocating for education, research, and awareness, after her own near-death experience battling Endometriosis. Read our full interview below with Lexie to learn more about her inspiring projects and how she channels her positive energy despite whatever challenges she faces along the way.
Tell us a bit about your background? You are from Maine? When did you discover your passion for performing?
I have a core memory of where I’m standing on a lunch table and singing at the top of my lungs during aftercare in the 1st grade. I’m sure it wasn’t very good because I was just being a goofball, but it made the other kids laugh in the best way. Some kids even joined me, and I liked that I made them feel a sense of happiness. It also didn’t hurt that all eyes were on me. That’s when I first discovered my love for performing.
Did you study acting and singing in school?
I didn’t, but not without trying. The first high school I went to was less than supportive of my goals. Due to the district I lived in, I had no choice but to go there. Fortunately, I was able to use a different address during my senior year, so I transferred to Brunswick High School which was more than supportive of my goals. While I couldn’t join their theater program, I did join their choir program and stayed involved in it for a year. I also did musical theater and took after-school vocal lessons at the New England Youth Theater. It was separate from the school and allowed me to focus exclusively on my acting skills. While I never went to college, I was accepted into SUNY-Purchase in New York. I would have gone there and studied theater with a minor in music, had I never moved to Los Angeles.
What have been some of your most inspiring influences as an actress and singer?
As an actress, Zendaya and Johnny Depp, but as a singer, Doja Cat, Niykee Heaton, and Ella Mai. My music influences change depending on where I’m at in life. I’ve never written a song without being inspired. Some of my songs were inspired by Billie Eilish, while others were inspired by Lizzo. It’s a wide variety because my taste in music is very broad.
You are known for your 3-year stint as Mattie Ashby on CBS’s “The Young & The Restless”, for which you were a 2018 Emmy Nominee for “Outstanding Younger Actress In A Drama Series,” tell us about some highlights working on the show?
A few highlights from being on the show include booking the show, being on a real set as a principal actor for the first time, going to an awards show for the first time, getting nominated, and doing my first meet and greet with fans. I had a lot of firsts while being on the show and they were all very special to me.
You had a near-death experience with Endometriosis – can you tell us about what happened and how that changed your life? What advice would you give women struggling with endometriosis?
I didn’t know my life was in danger until the issue was resolved. I went into surgery to have a growth on my ovary removed to ensure it wouldn’t become something worse. While there, the doctor saw that I had Endometriosis and that a lateral portion of my intestine the size of a golf ball had been pinched off. Miraculously, my body healed itself so the “golf ball” was just hanging out, but it did cause a lot of discomfort. If my body had never healed itself, it would have been life-threatening. As I said before, I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew I was in a lot of pain most of the time. It changed my life by showing me how strong my body is. I need to take care of my body and put it first. I started working out more, eating better, and becoming mentally healthier. Advice that I have for anyone struggling with Endometriosis is when you know your body better than anyone else (sometimes even doctors). If something doesn’t feel right, always voice your concern. Do not stop until you are heard. Endo warriors are their own best advocate, so never be shy or embarrassed to communicate how you feel.
I understand you are currently the youngest woman on the Advisory Board for the Endometriosis Foundation of America, tell us about your role there, and what sort of projects and/or campaigns you are working on for the foundation?
Yes, I am. My role is to learn from the other women on the advisory board as well as to help with fundraisers and spread awareness. Currently, we are working on a project relating to auctioning some very special items. I usually don’t like diving into too much detail until everything is ironed out, but we are working to collaborate with my boyfriend who is a basketball player, and some of his friends who also play basketball. The goal is to raise money and get men involved with the foundation to raise awareness. Men should also learn the basics of this disease just in case their partner gets diagnosed with it one day.
You are currently in the studio recording your first single. What was your inspiration for this song?
None other than my boyfriend Kris. I wrote the song before we started dating, but we had already met and were casually hanging out. A few months prior to meeting Kris, I was sad about another guy and wrote a really depressing song about him. Once I met Kris, however, all the sadness went away and I decided to write something fun. The song was also partially inspired by the quote “once you go black you never go back”. Coincidentally, I had never been with anyone black before dating Kris, so it became an ongoing joke between us.
As a young black female performer, what has your experience been since moving to Los Angeles and pursuing your dreams in Hollywood? Are there any changes you would like to see in the industry?
While I love Los Angeles and would never want to live anywhere else (besides Maine once I’m retired), I do think there are challenges I face challenges as a mixed woman that people who aren’t mixed do not. Number one is that I’m never enough of a given ethnicity. I’m either too white to play a black role or too black to play a white role. I am also super light-skinned, so I’m right in the middle where you can easily tell I’m both. I was listening to a podcast the other day with Sierra Capri from ‘On Your Block’. She mentioned that she had that same struggle coming into the industry. She expressed how she felt as though no one talks about this enough, so I want to see more mixed people bring this issue to the forefront. Sometimes, projects can be so focused on having a certain ethnicity in the project, that they only choose those who are 100% of the given ethnicity and overlook people who are mixed just to fill the quota.
What advice would you give to other aspiring actresses looking to pursue a career in entertainment?
The only thing stopping you is you. You will face an enormous amount of rejection in this industry, but it can only stop you if you let it. I’ve probably had close to 500 auditions since coming off ‘The Young and the Restless’ and have gotten close on a few. I didn’t book them, but I know that the right role is waiting for me, and I’ll be here when it’s ready.
Do you have any words of wisdom to stay inspired?
Again, the only thing stopping you is you. My mom said that to me every day growing up and to this day, it carries me on the days I’m feeling uninspired or defeated.
What can we look forward to from you in 2022? Any new projects on the horizon you can share?
I am still auditioning a lot. Something will land this year, I’m just not sure what yet!
Check out her debut track on Spotify:
Follow for more from Lexie: Instagram @lexiestevenson, Twitter @LexieSTVNSN