The Actress and Dedicated Mom
Who knew that watching a Shirley Temple movie at the age of 5, a little black girl from Denver would become interested in performing arts?
“Mommy, I can do that,” whispered Charmin to her mother. She wanted to be an actress like Shirley Temple, as they appeared to be close in age. There were no acting classes or schools near her home, so Charmin’s mother fed her creativity by enrolling her in ballet, tap and jazz classes. A few years later, the same little girl would also become interested in the talents of American jazz flutist Barbara “Bobbi” Humphrey. By the age of eight, Charmin was singing, playing the flute and performing creative dance.
Although she became interested in acting at 5, Charmin would not begin acting until high school. She wasn’t enrolled in the drama department, but the speech and forensic department. Speech and forensic was more challenging than traditional drama because it included pubic speaking, acting, reading and interpretation, and a host of other events performed in front of an audience.
After high school, Charmin enrolled at Colorado State University. Assuming her major would have had something to do with performing arts, I was wrong. Charmin majored in journalism and communications. She did not give up her love for being a performer and auditioned for a play during her freshman year. Charmin got the leading lady role in “A Chorus Line.” In a 99 percent white drama department, she played the love interest of the leading man. There was some controversy among the actors in the department over her playing this role, but it was soon resolved after Charmin displayed her talent during rehearsals.
After college, Charmin moved to Tampa, where she obtained her first acting job. She appeared in “Parenthood,” a movie directed by Ron Howard. She still remembers her line, “You better go out in the lobby dad, cause I think you got about a hundred relatives out there.” Charmin was very excited about new career and soon earned her first recurring role as a school teacher in “The New Leave it to Beaver.”
Charmin continued her acting journey in Hollywood. She has appeared in numerous television shows, most noted for her roles as Jeanette Woods, Maya’s mother in “Girlfriends” and Detective Cheryl in “Diagnosis Murder.”
After moving to California, Charmin got married and received the gift of a beautiful 8-year-old daughter. Although she was not her biological daughter, Charmin embraced little Navia as her own and continues to do so today. Charmin juggled the responsibilities of being a wife, mother, teacher and actress. After six years, Charmin divorced her husband. Despite the fact she was divorced Charmin maintained a wonderful friendship with her ex-husband. “Although I divorced her dad when she was 14, I did not divorce her,” says Charmin. “I attended every recital, graduation and when prom came around I was right there dress shopping.” When speaking of her daughter, Charmin appeared very excited and seemed to transform into the proud mother’s mode.
As a lover of the arts, Charmin taught performing arts to youth throughout Los Angeles and directed numerous performing arts shows. While teaching performing arts, her husband at the time, encouraged her to take a shot at directing. Sitting in her performing arts studio one day, a friend informed her of someone looking for a director to direct his play. “Fences,” was originally written by August Wilson and was revived becoming the beginning of Charmin’s stage play directing career. During opening week, the play received Drama Log and Hollywood Reporter’s best pick.
Charmin moved to Atlanta in 2009. She has continued her acting career appearing in BET’s night drama “The Game,” television commercials and stage play performances. She is currently producing an upcoming film “The Ancestors Live Here,” being directed by actor Tommy Ford. Charmin was recently casted as Chief Janet Dixon in the internet television series “Osiris,” directed by Donnie Leapheart
Charmin loves to mentor and encourage others to do their best in whatever career or hobby they choose. I guess that is why she is a mentor for Atlanta playwright Shahara Ruth. “Charmin has all the attributes of a great actress and director,” Ms. Ruth stated “ She has been a wonderful mentor for me. We have build a solid relationship through her mentorship.”
Along with acting, directing and producing, Charmin continues to work with youth in performing arts. Bridging the Gap, a company owned by Charmin strives to bridge the gap between youth, parents and their communities. 1400 miles from her hometown of Denver, this little black girl has achieved her destiny in performing arts. Being the youngest of 11 siblings, Charmin continues to gain the attention and support of her family. She maintains a great relationship with her daughter and visits her as often as her career permits. Charmin is a wonderful actress and dedicated mother.