COCOBelle: Robi Reed, Talent Executive, Casting Director, and Movie Producer

Emmy Award-winning Casting Director and Producer, Robi Reed, has had a hand in creating some of our favorite movies and shows including, The Best Man, Soul Food, School Daze and Love Jones; as well as television favorite, Girlfriends. Now, as Vice President of Talent and Casting for Original Programming at Black Entertainment Television (BET), Robi continues to bring us the best in both scripted and non-scripted television including breakout hits like The Game and Being Mary Jane.

We had an opportunity to pick Robi’s brain about how she created a place for herself in the talent industry, the best piece of beauty advice she has ever received, and how one can get involved in her charitable organization, The Reed For Hope Foundation.

Please tell us about a day in the life of an Emmy Award-winning Casting Director and Producer. What is your favorite part of what you do?
Meeting actors and discovering new talent, or discovering something new about a veteran talent. I love helping people. Telling an actor they booked the job brings me great joy!

Were you aware from an early age that you wanted to be involved in the creation of movies and television shows?
I knew at the age of 15 that I wanted to be a casting director. My brother was a child actor and I would accompany my mom or dad on his auditions. I would take him inside while they parked. One day I asked the receptionist who it was that he was in the room with. She said ‘the casting director’. I knew then. I was an avid reader as a child and couldn’t read a book without putting actors in the place of the characters in the stories. I didn’t realize that I was actually casting even then. I believe God has given me an ‘eye’ for talent.

Once you could envision your career path, what were the first 3 steps you took towards making it a reality?

  1. I made myself aware of what it was a casting director did. What his/her responsibilities were.

  2. I made a list of the movies I loved and who cast them. I went on a mission to meet those casting directors, producers or directors--anyone who had anything to do with the projects--and cold called them!

  3. I watched every movie, TV movie or series I could and memorized the actors, their names and their credits. I created a 3x5 card file with a picture on the front and credits on the back and would quiz myself. I knew that part of casting was the ability to recall actors and I wanted to be ready when my opportunity knocked.

Tell us about your self-care routine. How do you incorporate eating well and exercising into your busy schedule?
This is an area I continue to work at getting better in as it is so important to take care of self first. I have always exercised and have been on the thin side. I have been guilty of skipping meals because sometimes I just plain forget to eat! I have a gym in my house where I get in my cardio and weights. I love walking on the treadmill, or riding the stationary bike while catching up on my reading. And I have started taking Pilates! (Finally), I make sure I eat breakfast and hydrate throughout the day.

Do you have any additional must-haves for self-care, like regular massages, facials, etc?
I make sure to have a mani/pedi regularly, as well as hair appointments. Massages are a must--even if it’s just a foot massage at my favorite Thai massage salon or a full body at home massage.

What 3 products are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal? Those Holy Grail products you just can't live without?

  1. Nivea Moisturizing Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter

  2. Arbonne CC Cream #7798

  3. Arbonne re9 advanced

What is the best piece of beauty advice you've ever received?
When I was 9-years-old my cousin, who was in her early 20’s, told me if I wanted a flat tummy when I got older and after having children to practice holding my stomach in. It worked! And my instructor in charm school said to avoid wrinkles and jowls always apply any moisturizer or cleanser to your face in upward strokes.

Tell us about your hair care routine; how do you keep your tresses healthy and strong?
I make sure to keep regular scheduled visits to my hair salon for a deep conditioning and oil treatment. I try to be kind and not apply too much heat.

Please share a little bit about your charitable foundation, The Reed For Hope Foundation. What is its mission and how can people get involved?
The Reed For Hope Foundation is a health and wellness charity. Our mission is to raise public awareness about, and provide on a true charitable and educational basis, information regarding various humanitarian causes and the prevention and treatment of multiple diseases--including but not limited to: heart disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, obesity, sickle-cell anemia and lupus. Our purpose is to inspire our friends, our partners and our communities to join us in raising our voices on targeted health issues while bringing focus, action and hope to causes that enhance the quality of living for all.

Please join us by becoming “#1 in a million”. We are one million friends advocating together for good health. Visit and pledge a recurring donation of any amount and join the movement. Be sure to use hashtags #1InAMillion and #ILoveHealthy.

What does it mean to you to be empowered?
Knowing you can be content and at peace with yourself whether you get the job or don’t get the job. You are good enough.

Connect with Robi via social media on Twitter and Instagram.

Other COCOBelle of the Month features you might enjoy:
Caralene Robinson
Constance Orlando
Egypt Sherrod