HOLLYWOOD, CA – Gabrielle Carteris, a Greek-American who in April became the first woman to be elected president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) since its merge with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), following the death of its then-sitting president, former The White Shadow star Ken Howard, recently spoke with Deadline regarding Howard’s death and her own role in replacing him: “For me, I had just lost not only a great leader, but also a good friend. But the negotiations, when I left, they had continued, and I knew that even with my being sad, I knew that there was work that had to be done, and so the negotiations continued. I went back, finished the negotiations, and we were fortunate to have a successful negotiation. And after that, I was so happy because I thought if Ken was sitting there, looking at us at that moment, he could be proud to know that we had been successful in something that was so meaningful to the members.”
Before taking over as interim president following Howard’s death, Carteris had considerable experience in the organization, having served as executive vice president. How has the transition been, particularly in being the first female in the top spot? She told Deadline: “I have to be honest, the members have been really supportive to my leadership, and so that made it a much easier transition of post because I was not doing it alone.
“So, the process has been now me just jumping off from that and just looking at the big picture about where we’re at as the union. It is a different thing to be in the position of the president — how do I engage with the members in an even more meaningful way? How do I go and connect with any industry, looking at the labor movement, what is my message, all those things, how I bring it all together?”