An Interview with Shahidah McIntosh

Interview by Jeff Hayes

Of all the characters you don't want to mess with at Camp Manabe, Bella would probably top your list. But the tough-as-nails troublemaker, who brings back memories of Sleepaway Camp 3's "Riff," is very much the opposite of her real life alter-ego: Shahidah McIntosh. Shahidah sits down with's JHayes to talk about her memorable role in RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP. How did you originally get involved with Return to Sleepaway Camp? Well I was a part of the original cast. They cast the movie, then they were delayed then cast the crew again. I was apart of the original cast and they decided to keep me on. Ashley Carin, who plays "Alex", said that she was up for the part of "Bella" as well, but ultimately you won the part. Tell us about that. During auditions I was asked to do an improv scene being a real “hard ass” as the director described it . At first I was alone, they told me the scene then they asked me to perform it. Then there was a second improv with the main character Alan. Robert wanted me to treat him like crap and get in his face. I wound up getting in his face and gripping him up against the wall. Robert liked that . Then I had a head to head audition with Ashley Carin. Ashley and I went up against each other to see who was tougher with Alan. I guess they thought I came across tougher but Ashley did a great job too. Have you seen any of the previous SLEEPAWAY CAMP movies and if so, what did you think of them? Yes! The first one. The ending was classic and Felissa was great in it.

What was it like playing "Bella" and what do you and her share in common and differ in? Nothing really. I really am not that abrasive. I just enjoy playing tough. I like being the heard as in the outside but really im just a big old softy. What was your favorite scene to shoot? The lunch room scenes. They were the most layed back and everyone vibed well and in between shots we really got to know each other. What was it like working with Robert Hiltzik? He was real cool. Layed back type guy and always had a good words of encouragment. Are you a fan of horror movies? And if so, what are some of your favorites? Yes Yes Yes.. Im a big ol baby so I don’t like to watch them alone but I love being frightened… I have too many favs to name but SLEEPAWAY is among the top. Talk about some interesting memories (good and/or bad) you have about working on this movie. There were a lot but the whole typing process was like actually being in summer camp. I got the chance to get to know some great people in a real fun environment.

While goofing around on the set, I took this photo of Shahidah with a Big Bella "Feed Me Some Snacks" Grin

Tell us about your work, interests, and pursuits in the entertainment world. I want to write and act. My dream would be writing on a sitcom that I am also starring in… I guess that’s the Gemini in me lol. What has it been like over the past 5 years for you as this movie went through an enormously long post-production period? I have just been working in New York some but mostly Finishing college. I'm a senior at Temple University. I thought that you were the funniest character in the movie and one of the most memorable. When you first read the script, what were your first thoughts about playing a funny character like that? Thank you! Umm I really didn’t get her humor at first it just came out that way. I just did the character the way I felt that she should be, tough but didn’t take herself too seriously (but still didn’t take no stuff).

What did you think of Bella's sharp death scene? Umm, memorable! I remember the taping of the close reaction shot. I was actually strattled (you know like a pony lol) by the director to get the shot… Aww memories lol. Anything else you would like to add about making the movie or anything? The movie was a blast to make and I just hope the fans have a blast watching it!

We send out a big camp Thank You to Shahidah for reliving Camp with us. And if you need some more "Bella," you'll find some footage of her shooting the "soda dump" scene on the BEHIND THE SCENES Documentary on Magnolia Pictures RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP DVD.