Fresh Face: Skye Townsend Talks Beyoncé Impersonations + "8 Days A Week"
8 Days a Week. She plays Jade-Taylor, a college co-ed struggling to achieve her dreams. Much like herself in real life, Townsend wants to make it known that she works her butt off to get where she is and insists that it is not her father’s celebrity that got her this far.
“It’s frustrating when people say I’m only where I am because of my dad. I never booked a meeting because of him, I never asked him to make a call. I believe as an artist its important to take this journey on and take all the hurdles that come with it because it builds character.”
Get to know Skye as she gives it to you un-cut and direct. Her playful personality, raw talent and consistent laughter are sure to win you over. -Lathleen Ade-Brown
Do you feel like you’re a celebrity?
I think it is such a joke how much attention I’ve gotten. I’m so blessed and so grateful, but I look at myself as such a joke. [Laughs] I don’t take anything too seriously. I’m just having a good time. When I get letters, and people refer to themselves as fans, I laugh hysterically because I feel like I have not done anything to deserve any of those titles yet. I've just begun. The web-series of course is something to talk about, but YouTube? I just make videos. I’m very uncomfortable when people come up to me and recognize me because I’m just so goofy. They’re always like, ‘Are you Skye?’ and it makes me so uncomfortable. It’s amazing, but it’s really strange.
When did you realize you could impersonate Beyoncé so well?
I was hanging out with one of my really goofy friends, and he was like, ‘Let’s act like we’re on The Oprah Show. You’ll be Beyoncé, and I’ll be Oprah.’ So he starts doing it, and I didn’t realize I could do the voice until that moment when he was like, ‘Today we are here with,’ and I [snapped into character] and said, ‘Beyoncé.’ It freaked me out because Beyoncé came out of me. I always knew I could do voices, but I never tackled celebrity voices.
How would you react if you found out Beyonce saw your video impersonating her?
I have no idea [Laughs], but I have a Beyoncé video I did two years ago that has almost a million views and everybody says, ‘There is no way she hasn’t seen it.’ I’m so nervous though, because I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. I mean, I look up to her so much/ I don’t want her to hate me. It’s all good clean fun. I say everything you want Beyoncé to say [Laughs].
Did you ever meet Beyoncé? Your dad directed Carmen: A Hip Hopera that she starred in.
Yes, but I was a huge Aaliyah fan at the time. This was about 1999. I was not crazy about Beyoncé, so I went on set and she tried to shake my hand, and I just didn’t care. My dad was like, ‘This is Beyoncé,’ and I was like ‘Hi,’ [Uninterestingly]. I really regret it now! [Laughs]
Tell us about your daddy/daughter moments.
My dad and I, we have really grown a lot, every talk that needs to be had is had. We are very open. The only time it gets difficult is when it comes to work because we think the same way, we argue the same way and we will prove points the same way. It’s literally the same person talking to themselves but proving something different. Otherwise, we get along well.
What don’t you like about the entertainment industry?
I don’t like how people disregard celebrity’s personal business. When there were issues between my parents or something, it is kind of upsetting that the media hops on it before the parents do. I always feel for kids who are going through divorces in the public eye because they are finding out news through the web instead of their mom and dad. People are writing articles before the family can have that talk.
Have you considered college yet?
I just finished high school in June. I did the whole process--filling out the applications, and I got into about four or five out of the six schools I applied too. It was always in the plan, but right now I’m taking a year off because they’re a lot of projects that kind of hopped into the plans that weren’t there before.
Tell us more about the 8 Days a Week web-series, why should people watch it?
We shot 10 mini episodes, and it’s pretty much an extended pilot if you play it all the way through. Depending on the comments and the feedback, I guess that’s what the network is looking at. We are still waiting on word, if it’s going to be picked up. I have a lot of faith in this project. I think it's really positive, [and] it shows a lot of different colors, not just black youth. It has a lot of potential. People have had nothing but good things to say about it so far.
What do you think about everyone’s negative opinions on BET Networks?
The biggest problem is people of color are always picking on their own people. There is no reason why people shouldn’t be supporting BET, when they are trying to bring back sitcom television and support black girls with Black Girls Rock. They’re trying to do something positive. I’ve always been encouraged to be respectful of people who are trying to do things that I'm trying to do. It’s tough enough to be black. BET has so much positive programming; there is no reason why we shouldn’t be backing them up.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Because of my dad, I’m into a lot of older music. Nat King Cole, Billie Holliday. I think a lot of the artists out today are pulling from them. Chrisette Michelle and even Beyoncé. But I love Bob Marley. I think, lyrically, he is on a whole other world forever. I have nothing but respect for Beyoncé. She’s a one-man show. She is one of the only artists out right now that still has showmanship.
What’s your advice for people your age on breaking into the industry?
I think people need to learn how to take advantage of their resources. You don’t have parents that are in the industry? Fine. You don’t live in LA or New York? Fine. You still have the advantage of the internet, and that’s all you need to get attention. But get an honest opinion to see if you’re really meant for the industry. There’s so many people who you see on shows like X-Factor, they waste all their money and time because no one was ever honest with them, like ‘you have potential in this but work on that.’ YouTube is great for [giving honest feedback] its important to have honest opinions, take advantage of the internet and build yourself.
What beauty products are you using?
I’m terrible when it comes to my skin, I literally just use like water and Dove soap [laughs] if I’m really peeling I’ll put on some moisturizer [laughs] Some people try to endorse products and I’m just like, it’s Dove soap!
Describe your style.
I am too much of a hippie at times, I get in trouble for being too much of a hippie, my mom is like ‘are you really not going to wear a bra with that shirt?” I love Lisa Bonet, I just love like the really edgy, big hair, nose ring, I love when people are really laid back and can look edgy. I’m usually the one wearing the spiked out boots and the dress in comparison to the Louboutins because I cant afford those yet [laughs]. So you’ll probably catch me in my combat boots or moccasins.
Lastly, what other projects from you can the fans look forward to?
I recently was just sent two different scripts. I can’t release the details yet, but it’s very exciting to me and flattering. I am looking to get into film. Of course, 8 Days a Week if that gets picked up as a series. I’m very excited! As far as music, I’m either going to be dropping a song [and] a video, or I potentially might be signing. It depends on where the wind blows
Lathleen Ade-Brown is an entertainment reporter and freelance writer based in New York City.