BRITTANI NOEL, AS AN ACTRESS, I’D RATHER NOT MENTION AGE ;-))
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
Hungarian & African-American
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I was born & raised in LA, which is generally a diverse community. However, there were not many other mixed kids that I was aware of growing up…
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
My Mom met my Dad when she was here on a trip from Budapest, Hungary, visiting my Aunt who had immigrated here. She met him at a convention and says it was love at first sight. They didn’t speak any of the same language, but ended up getting married anyway!
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
The language barrier for one. Mixed race couples were still not too commonplace, so I’m told my Dad lost a number of friends who didn’t approve of the relationship at the time. There were also some challenges in the family as well, but for the most part I wasn’t exposed to that directly.
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL?
My current extended family has been, yes.
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
My parents were divorced when I was about 7, so my memories are mostly of celebrating Hungarian traditions, which was connected to my Mom’s culture. We embraced a lot of her traditions even when my parents were together; my Dad was flexible/open to it and my Mom’s family was very involved in our lives.
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
Yes, Hungarian and English. I speak both fluently, much to people’s surprise!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I’ve always loved all things Hungarian, from food to the way we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, it always felt more festive to me. On the flip side, some of the cultural traditions were traded in for American ones. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, was an odd mesh of traditional Turkey dinner with a Hungarian twist and side dishes.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
For the most part they weren’t too actively/openly concerned about it. There were bits here and there, but nothing on a consistent basis.
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
Not really. Sometimes my sister and I talked about certain feelings we had around the topic that we’d feel uncomfortable discussing it with anyone else.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
Not actively, although the diversity of people I’ve dated has not been vast; it’s just naturally unfolded that way. My better half now is Caucasian/British with Irish and Scottish roots.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
It means everything and nothing all at the same time. Everything insofar as having reached the epiphany that I had so many more feelings and complex emotions tied up around being mixed than I cared to recognize over the years, so it is, in a way, very much a part of who I am. And nothing insofar as feeling like it shouldn’t be quite so relevant; sometimes when I get asked the question one too many times, my instinct is to say, why does it matter what I am?
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
I do have a solid few mixed friends now! If I’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s no one way or right/wrong way of identifying with being mixed--- it’s such a vast and complex topic that is also quite personal.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
I abhor the question “What are you?”--- the wording just feel rude, especially when it comes from random people that I don’t even know and out of nowhere!
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
For people to see people as people and move away from so much labeling. I would love to see the day that race finally becomes less of a hot-button topic.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?
Part of my journey in coming to terms with certain mixed race issues has been to write a film about it so that we can all connect more openly and compassionately as this community continues to grow. My Kickstarter will be launching soon, so stay tuned!