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Teaching more than stagecraft to young actors of color

Isis Nile Glover wants to fight stereotyping in casting and help young talent get parts

Isis Nile Glover is founder and CEO of Young Excellence on Screen.
Isis Nile Glover is founder and CEO of Young Excellence on Screen.Kris Nevaeh


When she was 3 years old, Isis Nile Glover fell in love with glamour. Her mother, a runway model, invited Isis and her sister on stage at a show. “She always tried to put us in the spotlight,” said Glover, now 21.

While growing up in Wellesley, Glover started modeling in Lord & Taylor fashion shows in New York and training with Denise Simon, an acting coach and talent manager who has worked with Scarlett Johansson and Mira Sorvino. Simon’s mantra was “You are enough,” and Glover recited those words to herself before every audition she landed through Boston Casting, from a Tufts Health commercial to a role in the pilot of “SMILF,” a Showtime comedy with Rosie O’Donnell. But the mantra took on new meaning when she was sidelined by surgery last year.

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“I spent months in bed and as soon as I was getting better,” she said, “the world was like, ‘pandemic!’ I felt kind of defeated.” Glover began to rethink her career path, returning to an old dream of starting a casting company. “I had to figure out: What can I do that is spiritually fulfilling and bigger than myself?”

In June, the Dorchester resident announced her new endeavor on Instagram. Young Excellence on Screen (Y.E.S.) would help young people of color get in touch with their inner actor. The Dorchester Art Project, an artist-run space in Fields Corner, agreed to host Y.E.S.'s classes.

As an actor, Glover recalls arriving at auditions where the main cast had already been chosen, and it was all white. “I would still show up because I thought maybe I would be acting so well that they would change the ethnicity of the character.”

Time and again, she has seen Black characters typecast as “someone sassy who knows how to tell it like it is,” rather than “girl next door” or “shy at first, love interest.”

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She believes that young actors of color are more than the world gives them credit for, and that her community is rife with talent. She wants to help them break through. “I’d like to think I have a master key to any room and … can also open doors that weren’t originally there for me — and even make new ones appear,” she said. “I will be even more grateful when I have little girls from Boston on TV.”

Y.E.S. offers in-person acting classes for young people ages 13 to 21, as well as individual coaching sessions and headshot clinics. Register by Nov. 1 for the next class, which runs Nov. 2-6..

Melissa Karen Sances can be reached at melissaksances@gmail.com.