If you’ve ever wanted to accomplish multiple things at the same time, Celeste O’Connor‘s story is one you’d be interested to read about. At only 25 years old, Celeste was able to chase their dreams to be a Hollywood actress while still pursuing their degree at John Hopkins University. Keep reading to learn more about Celeste O’Connor and why they are proud to be!  


You’re originally from Kenya but moved to Baltimore around 3 years old. What are your favorite memories from your childhood in Baltimore? 

In 5th grade, I wanted to have the best New Year’s Eve party ever, but we had no money. So, I organized a car wash in my neighborhood to raise the money for this amazing party I was envisioning. Me and my friends washed a bunch of cars and raised enough money to buy decorations and snacks to have this banger of a party. 

I even made my dad take me location scouting to see different party venues, as an 11-year-old. Thanks to my fundraising efforts (aka the carwash) we could finally afford glow sticks, so, the party was a success. I was always a producer, but I always wanted to bring my ideas into real life, I was constantly making music, playing dress-up and scheming-up plans. I was mischievous and so driven and enthusiastic as a kid. 

Have you visited Kenya over the years? 

I visited back in 2012. It’s been so long since I’ve been back. My mom’s side of the family is actually Burundian, so I’m due for a visit back to Burundi soon!  

At one point in your life, you were heavily pursuing your dream to become a doctor but at some point, you made a complete 360 into acting. Talk to us about this time in your life and how you transitioned into acting. 

Well, it actually wasn’t a 360 at all. I started acting with my agency at 14, so I was studying and acting at the same time. When I was 18, I got accepted into a bunch of great schools and wanted to continue pursuing my education at Johns Hopkins, so I did that! 

And I continued to audition during my time at Hopkins. So, as the years went on, I started to book more acting work. The timing was perfect because by the time I graduated I had built up enough of an acting portfolio to pursue acting full-time after graduation! 

Even though you wanted to become an actor you still pursued your degree at Johns Hopkins University and graduated! What did you go to school for, and do you plan on using your degree at some point down the line? What would you use it for? 

I have a degree in Public Health. I would love to use my degree down the line. I’m really passionate about housing and food as a human right and not something that should cost any money at all.  

I believe in free housing and food for everyone. I hope I can use whatever privilege I accumulate, whether it’s social capital or real capital, to work on real, tangible solutions to the housing crisis and the corporate greed that is inflating food prices. 

So far, I’ve done some work on this personally. I raised $15,000 to help house a homeless couple in my hometown neighborhood of Baltimore. I also raised $20,000 for a free food program in Baltimore called Safe Streets. I just hope to continue fighting capitalism in any way I can. 

Since you initially wanted to be a singer, do you see yourself making music at some point in your career? If so, what artists would you love to collaborate with one day? 

 I would totally love to release music one day. Some of my favorite artists are Janelle Monae, Ravyn Lanae, Tierra Whack and Dua Saleh. 

A few years ago, you were in the Amazon Prime movie, Selah and The Spades. You’ve mentioned that filming this movie was a transformative experience for you, being around so many Black creatives. Talk to us about being a part of this film and what it taught you as a young actor. 

Selah And the Spades taught me that my dreams of being a filmmaker were possible. It taught me that I didn’t have to deny my own identity to be successful. It taught me that community with other Black artists is possible. That movie changed my life. 

You’ve said that your experience working on Selah and The Spades gave you the confidence to work on your first big budget film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Take us back to this time when you were working on this film and how you were able to navigate being a part of a huge production for the first time. 

I was so nervous to be a part of this huge production for the first time! I wanted to prove that I was a good enough actor, I wanted to learn as much as I could, and I wanted to be accepted. I was also 19, turning 20 years-old, and that’s such a sensitive time in our lives. So, it was really vulnerable for me to put myself out there in that way and jump into the unknown. 

You’re starring in the new Spider-man spin off thriller movie Madame Web that came out earlier this year. Tell us about your superhero and what it was like to work with CGI effects.  

My superhero is named Mattie Franklin; she is a Spider-Woman. She is confident, badass, caring, funny, rebellious and mischievous. Working with a green screen and special effects was so much fun!  

It was an acting challenge to maintain the high stakes of the story with just your imagination, but it was also exciting when we got to use practical effects. The scene in the warehouse with fireworks going off was done practically, so we had actual fireworks and explosions happening behind us as we were running. It was so hard to not look back in amazement during the scene. 

Your new movie, Ghostbusters Frozen Empire just released in theaters everywhere. Tell us about your character and your experience working on this film. 

My character’s name is “Lucky,” and working on this film was the highlight of 2023 for me. I got the opportunity to live in London for the first time and work on this huge film with some old and new friends. It was the best. 

Out of all the movie genres: Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Romance, etc. which comes natural to you? Which genre have you not worked with yet but would like to one day? 

Drama and Sci-Fi definitely come most naturally to me. I just saw Monkey Man, and I’m obsessed with that movie. It’s so radical, creative and fresh – it made me want to do an action movie next. 

You’ve spoken about wanting to work with Lupita, Denzel and Viola Davis in the future, but do you have any other dream actors you’d love to work with one day? 

Speaking of Monkey Man, I would loooove to work with Dev Patel one day. He’s one of my favorite actors of all time. 

Let’s talk about your Brooklyn-based production company “Pedestal”. How did this come about and what type of projects has your company worked on? 

I created this production company in 2020 with my partner, Mecca McDonald. Our ethos is to make vibrant, afro futurist art that focuses on depicting a better future for Black and brown people. We’ve been working on photography projects, short films, and music videos. We’ve shot Jordan Alexander for Fendi, produced videos for Adobe, and an iPhone short film for Apple, to name a few. Now, we are finishing up a big budget short film and beginning development on our first feature film! 

A few years ago, you came out as non-binary and use the pronouns they/them. Can you talk to us more about your gender identity and why it was important for you to share this with the world. 

Totally! My gender identity is really fluid. I don’t believe in gender as a concept. I don’t believe that we have one static identity for the rest of our lives and that all of our behaviors have to align with this socially imposed categorization at all times.  

I think we are all multifaceted people with ever-changing desires and ways to express ourselves. So, for me, being non-binary means I’m allowed to express myself and my ever-changing identity however I want. It’s important to me to be a part of questioning the system of gender. 

What type of activism work have you done within the LGBTQ community?  

In my research at Hopkins, I worked with a professor at Bloomberg to help raise awareness of PrEP in Baltimore. I’m also gay and most of my friends are gay, so one of my personal priorities is building community with Black queer people. 

In the past you’ve said how you love yoga and meditation. Do you still practice both? What about meditation and yoga do you love so much? 

Yes, I practice yoga and meditation. It’s a great way to regulate your nervous system, relax, and return to yourself. It helps me understand how I’m feeling, process my emotions and reflect on how I want to change. 

You wear your hair in various styles whether it be naturally curly, braided or blown out. What are your current favorite hair products that you can’t live without? 

My girlfriend makes a homemade deep conditioner that I call ‘hair sauce.’ It’s moringa powder, coconut milk, and jojoba oil. It keeps my hair moisturized for a week straight, it’s amazing. 

Where is your favorite place to vacation? 

I love Italy and Thailand so much. I’m going back to Italy this summer and I cannot wait to eat amazing food and see some beautiful art! 

You seem to have a close bond with your friends from looking at your social media. What are some things you all do for fun? 

I like to travel with my friends. I travel twice a year and always bring different friends so I can go on adventures with everyone I love. We go to events in NYC like day parties, panels, and movies. I really like to go out to eat and go to Pilates too! 

What is your current skincare routine? 

African Black Soap, shea butter and my friend Jasmine makes a handmade oil here in Brooklyn, called Anoz Spa body oil. It’s amazing, and I use it every day. 

How would you describe your fashion style? Do you have favorite pieces in your closet you could never get rid of? 

Vibrant, chaotic, exciting, futuristic, gender-fluid. I have an amazing fluffy lime green miniskirt and lime green knee-high boots that I love. Alexander Wang combat boots. And an Emilio Pucci velvet printed jacket from the 1960s – I can’t live without that. 

How will you and your friends be celebrating Pride Month this year?  

I will be in Italy in June, so I will be celebrating by eating a lot of pasta and kissing my girlfriend!  

What advice do you have for anyone struggling with their sexuality or feeling comfortable expressing themselves to friends/family?  

I would say your journey starts with self-acceptance. Once you accept and embrace your own sexuality you will start to find safe people who accept you too. When you find those safe people, that will open the door for you to fully express yourself in all areas of your life. It’s a journey and the journey requires community – we can’t do anything alone.   

Would you ever play a role that was heavily centered on the LGBTQ community? If so, what would your dream role be?  

Yes, I would LOVE to be in a Black lesbian rom-com. That’s my dream. I feel like the world needs a film about two Black girls falling in love. 

What’s next for Celeste O’Connor? Anything you can share exclusively with Galore readers? 

I am putting on my producer hat this year, I’m excited to explore my creative agency. 


Editor in Chief: Prince Chenoa (@princechenoastudio)

Feature Editor: Taylor Winter Wilson (@taylorwinter)

Photographer: Mecca M. McDonald (@meccaanism)  (@by.pedestal

Makeup Artist: Nicole Bueno (@n.colebueno)

Hair Stylist: Vincent Tobias Bell (@vincenttobiasbell)

Stylist: Ray C’Mone (@raycmone)

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