Reel Trini Tales: Teneille Newallo’s Pathway from Actor to Author

Local actress, television presenter, screenwriter, director and producer Teneille Newallo has another credential to add to her name; author. The beautiful and charismatic talent has penned her first book and it is about finding the light in the darkest of situations. It is aptly titled “Your Path to Self-Acceptance & True Happiness”.  While her creative contribution emerged from a personal tragedy, it has now illuminated a once dark path for the prolific performer.

Teneille Newallo on the set of Magroves with actor Anand Lawkaran - Copy
Teneille Newallo on the set of Magroves with actor Anand Lawkaran

Newallo’s love of film and television was born out of being exposed to movies in her brother’s video store when VHS still existed. From as early as five years old, she was fascinated by the idea of portraying human behaviour for entertainment. She was curious about what made a person “tick” and it transferred to her different artistic expressions to this day.

Her creative inclinations include music, dancing and gymnastics from a young age, and it was during this period the budding thespian put on plays for her parents and neighbours. She found great solace in the activities; as she did not enjoy the rigidity of school. She was also very athletic and used her sports background to feed her technique as an actor.

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Teneille Newallo in “A Bright Room Called Day” by Tony Kushner

Those around her never saw it coming and expected the precocious talent to grow out of her performing ‘hobby. Evidently she didn’t, and found herself at Florida Atlantic University pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance, and graduated with first class honours (Summa Cum Laude).

Always looking for a new path, Teneille made good use of her training immediately after graduation. She did commercials, theatre productions and worked for a radio station in the United States. A huge break came in 2008 when she auditioned for a North American reality talent competition called Movie Star. She made it to the top forty of the show and attracted a lot of interest. However, the project fell through due to a lack of funding.

 


Related: New Times reviews FAU’s 2006 production of “A Bright Room Called Day”


Like many Trinbagonians in the arts who seek out employment externally, she eventually returned home. The sharp-minded creative made plans in advance and contacted key industry persons in anticipation of her arrival. The jobs came steadily and she eventually landed a gig as a host for T-Zone; a show that aired on Synergy TV via popular entertainment site, Triniscene.com. She was also a guest host on Pete’s Picks for Synergy TV and interviewed international entertainers like Brian McKnight and Lil John.

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In 2009 she struck gold with Bmobile Danceoff; a local series modelled after American dance competition series-So You Think You Can Dance. One of the most memorable aspects of the show was Newallo’s charm and poise as a host and her sincerity when she interviewed the competing dancers. Her efforts were rewarded when she started training with a local entertainment organisation and got signed through the company to an agency in Los Angeles.

Newallo started working on a draft of a film script, but like many writers, she put it aside for a later date… then the Los Angeles opportunity fell through. Ever the optimist, Teneille made a trip to the Dominican Republic and switched off her cell phone. The beauty of the island, her self-imposed exile and break from the entertainment industry precipitated her finishing the screenplay for what would become The Cutlass. The psychological thriller (which is based on a true story) was eventually green lit and has had major impact on Newallo’s career. Although she did not appear on screen, the film catapulted her in terms of her credibility in the local audio visual arena and opened new avenues for the filmmaker.

The film won the award for both People’s Choice and Best Feature Film at the 2016 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and was also distributed in local cinemas. It is now available on Amazon for rental and purchase.

The success continued in 2018 with Mangroves, a short that has since permeated international film festivals. Newallo was also the mastermind behind Trinbago Actors to the World. The initiative was done to create exposure for local actors, in the hope that they break through to the international arena.

As a performer, her name is synonymous with some of the more successful local audio visual projects, including: Bazodee, Dubois, Noka Keeper of Worlds, Dark Tales from Paradise and Play The Devil. Now, Newallo has ventured into writing with “Finding Your Path”.  The book can be described as a self-help guide to anyone who seeks clarity and positivity.

“It digs deep and analyses common emotional encounters like fear, loss, attachment, judgement, love, doubt, the ego, power, desire, intelligence, true kindness, karma and even the artistic path to enlightenment; and shows you how emotions affect our daily lives and our daily happiness.”

Teneille Newallo on the set of Magroves in character makeup.
Teneille Newallo on the set of Magroves in character makeup.

When describing the book Newallo explained,

“I wrote the first draft of this book over ten years ago. It was always my intention to release it under a pen name because I thought people might be less open to it, if they knew that it was written by a young, female actress and filmmaker. But one day last year, something clicked and I realised that I might be able to help more people if I was open and honest with my own personal experiences. So, here I am and here it is. Putting all my fears aside about opening my soul to the world, the book will be released next Monday and is currently available for preorder. It is dedicated to my best friend that died sixteen years ago because it was through the aftermath of her death that this book was born.”

She is elated to present the material to the world and feels blessed that she can share her journey and story. The book is dedicated to a friend she lost many years ago. Having made peace with the trauma, she is now using her experience to encourage others.

In addition to her new profession, Teneille is a mother to her four year old daughter and a supporter of many fellow creatives. As a screenwriter the young talent moved audiences when her words became images for a film screen. Now, she is simply using words that motivate and resonate in terms of truth and substance. She has had ups and downs and in many ways her career as a full-fledged, 360 degrees creative is just getting started. Her path is clear and purposeful, and she is inviting everyone to share in it.

Finding Your Path is available on Amazon on Kindle and Paperback from May 6th, 2019.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pauline MarkPauline Mark is a Film Producer, Writer, Director and Actor who has been involved in entertainment, culture and the arts since 2003. She has appeared in noted Trinbagonian productions, including: Positive and Pregnant (2011), The Cool Boys (2012), Home Again (2012) and Bazodee (2015), and has been featured in many local and regional print and television advertisements.

Pauline has served as a content creator for state-media; co-producing and scripting two seasons of Wired 5.0 Carnival series. She also created, produced and directed X and Y TV series in 2016, and produced The Apartment: About Last Night pilot film in 2015, among other projects. A true patriot, Pauline continues to do work that promotes Trinbagonian culture, people and places.

More from Pauline Mark


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