Every Monday, my dad and I would tune in to WPIX to catch Xena the Warrior Princess. We watched that show religiously, and after each episode I would grab a hanger from my closet and throw it across my room just as Xena would toss her shield to defeat her enemy. I couldn’t have been more than 5 years old at the time. I guess you can say that was my first acting experience. Thereafter, every show or movie I watched, I would imagine myself as a character and immerse myself in what I just saw.
My repertoire was soon ever-expanding, and went well beyond Xena and Buffy the Vampire Beast. A bit precocious and mesmerized by performance, I found myself immersing myself in characters as diverse as John Q and Pursuit of Happiness. No genre or MPAA rating was off limits, which did get me into a bit of trouble from time to time.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I was exposed to a lot of diversity from being around so many different cultures and being able to experience other perspectives outside of my own. Although my own wasn’t so bad. My mom, still to this day, is a master of impressions, her most famous being Marge Simpson Anyone within listening range would sound find themselves cackling at her stream of consciousness commentary. My Dad was a wordsmith: clever and charming. He also was down to earth. I can hear him to this day reminding me: never get gray hair over things you can’t control. He memorialized it to an index card when I told him the craft I was to pursue. It’s tacked to the interior of my front door, a reminder as I head out to auditions. Relax, stay cool, have fun.
When I moved to California in the summer of 2016, I had no idea what I was getting myself into going to an acting school but knew it was the right decision. And now, here I am, with an award-winning short film and a few plays under my belt. I can absolutely say that Xena’s shield toss have given me a headstart: “AyiyiiAlalala.”
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