She was unpleasantly pursued by filmmaker Jim Toback but escaped his clutches. She is raising her daughter to be curious, and sharing her experiences to educate us all: The Best Parts of actress Joelle Carter’s Impactful and Candid Discussion with Zak Barnett and Martha Gehman. 

In the wide-ranging Wonder Women of Hollywood event co-produced by ZBS Studios and Backstage and hosted by master acting teachers Zak Barnett and Martha Gehman, the Justified and Chicago Justice star discussed how the industry is shifting from when she started in New York, her experience with #metoo, and how she is helping her daughter to navigate the world.   Here are the bits we thought you shouldn’t miss. 

Joelle Carter

About Joelle Carter:

A native of Georgia, Joelle had a wild ride portraying the sassy and unpredictable Southern belle ‘Ava Crowder’ in FX’s award-winning drama Justified, for which she earned a Critics’ Choice Award nomination. She has appeared on landmark shows Grey’s AnatomyThird Watch and Wonderland. Guest-starring roles include: ScandalPrime Suspect, and Body of Proof. Most recently, she starred in NBC’s Chicago Justice. Joelle co-produced the award-winning documentary Altered By Elvis.

On #ME Too:

MARTHA: For a long time, most women defined their own sexual harassment and assault in this way: unspoken, private, ashamed of acknowledging. Silence, although understandable, has its cost. Me Too spread virally as a two-word hashtag used on social media in October 2017 to denounce sexual assault and harassment, in the wake of allegations against film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein.  And it wasn’t just women: Many men spoke up about their experiences with assault. 

What different types of harassment have you seen, and what warning signs (meetings in hotel rooms, excessive interest in a woman’s career, being too touchy feely, etc.) can women look out for as their careers progress? 

JOELLE:  I started my career in New York and it wasn’t odd to be asked to go to a hotel because a lot of directors and producers would fly in and you wouldn’t go to a casting studio, but rather a hotel. Most of the time it was multiple people: casting and the producers and the directors. I feel like we shouldn’t subjugate people to that experience. It should never be in that situation.

On escaping filmmaker Jim Toback (the filmmaker is currently being investigated for multiple accusations of sexual misconduct) and the article she wrote for her daughter: 

Selma Blair wrote an article about Jim Toback (read the Vanity Fair article) and I have had my time with Toback (she appeared in the film When Will I Be Loved in 2004). I wrote my own article, but I didn’t send it out anywhere. I wrote it for my daughter because I wasn’t violated or penetrated and I didn’t let him touch me in anyway.  But this man tried to pick me up a number of times and didn’t even remember that he had tried to pick me up. The movie The Pick-Up Artist is about this man’s true story and New York. There are so many women that he has approached and violated verbally. 

On what she would say to her younger self:

Fear is a big thing I totally agree. Don’t overthink everything too much and try to find the joy in the process.


On her Activism and having a handicapped parent:

I am starting at home and teaching my child how to open her eyes and see the world in the way that I was raised to see it – to have love for everyone and respect for everyone. And to understand that people are different and this is what we need to embrace.

I had a handicapped mother and I remember the first time my daughter ever saw a handicapped person, she was so curious. And the one thing we wanted for my mom and for us was for people to be curious. And to explore that. And so, I start there… and I recycle a lot.

ZBS Video by Austin Heemstra

Photos by Austin Heemstra and Cullyn Doerfler

The ZBS Wonder Women Panelists
Photo Source: Margaux Quayle Cannon

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