We had the good fortune of connecting with Georgina Tolentino and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Georgina, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I took a candle making class in Charleston during a wedding and took it on as a hobby. But making these candles started when I couldn’t find the right candle for my friends for Christmas. After giving them out as gifts and saw how happy they made people. The designs I chose made people smile and to me the gift of lighting up someone’s day is a purpose of mine. Then it grew into people buying them and then being placed as wholesale orders in stores. I named “Le Divina” after my mother, her name meaning “the divine.” I wanted to create a wellness retail line that inspired people to practice mindfulness and manifestation. I’ve always loved crystals, meditation, and candles.
As an actor and filmmaker there’s a great passion I have for storytelling. But there’s a lot of set backs and obstacles. Being an entrepreneur as well you have to learn to have a strong mindset and believe in what you are doing. What you stand for and the gifts that you have to share with the world is more important than giving up.
I started Le Divina at a time when I felt out of control. My father, the person that made me fall in love with acting, film and tv had passed away. My father the most encouraging person in my life wasn’t there to tell me to keep going. I had to find that voice within myself and I wanted to encourage others to do so.
I am a believer in manifestation, visualization, and wanted to have a product line that was bright, inspiration, chic, and classy. I see each candle as a canvas. A piece of art that can inspire action and resilience. A lot of my friends and colleagues were ambitious and driven but struggled with practicing self care. They were burnt out and I wanted to encourage them to set aside time for themselves.
With Georgie Girl Films I wanted to name my production company after my late father. I think of a song he use to sing to me “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers and I felt so connected to him. My father loved films and tv and was an excellent storyteller. I wanted to honor him by telling stories about different diverse perspectives so we can create systematic change. As an actress I want to actively be involve in the projects I’m in.
I want to be empowered to create opportunities for myself and others. I felt before I would be put in stereotypical roles or barely went on auditions at all. I know that I’ve always believed in storytelling as an opportunities to educate and to show we’re not that different. Then we can create change in the laws that are passed, the standards , the pay gap and put a stop to hate crimes. As hard as it can be-I want to create a platform with my wellness line to inspire artists and entrepreneurs that we must overcome. We must be resilient, because we have a movement to be a part of. A movement of change.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think overcoming and being resilient is a theme I keep repeating. And I want to encourage people to be as authentic as they can in their work. In LA I’m guilty of this in the past-where the optics seemed more important to me. I’ve always been passionate and about the craft but felt pressured that to be seen a certain way to be taken seriously. Bend over backwards for reps or people that I wasn’t aligned with my values.
For me what I’m the most proud and excited about is, I’m not a quitter. I’ve made mistakes, a lot. But I also know that I never quit. I make things right and I learn. Where I am professionally is because I dive in. I jump in fully good and bad. And for me that means that overcoming my challenges is taking them on one by one. I felt that I mentioned earlier loosing my dad. I spiraled out of control with other areas of my life, made poor financial choices , was self destructive and I felt low. I wasn’t valuing myself. But I had to learn. I had to find the me that didn’t put my self worth on my success in the entertainment industry. That as soon as I realized I was a fully formed person , I fell in love with acting, fell in love with storytelling all over. I wanted to be the person my dad saw in me. The rest, will come but I needed that confidence. That came with having boundaries, strong mindset and habits. I relied a lot on my dad to encourage me. When he passed I felt, “what’s the point?” But I’ve later come to realize. I didn’t come this far-to only go this far. He believed in me-he believed in us.
Our story is just as important and inspiring as others. I didn’t want to fell small or belittled. I found empowerment within myself by doing things other than acting. Volunteering, doing jiu jitsu, taking boxing classes things that fulfilled my heart. What is also important is who you surround yourself with. Be friends with people because you genuinely connect with people. I committed to surrounding myself with beautiful souls who are confident enough to not have fair weathered friendships. LA can be a very icky place surrounded with cheap social climbing. But it doesn’t have to be. It should be a place about meaningful conversation. A place where people can be about the work and collaborate because they believe in each other. Not what they can get out of people. That you need to give through service and be grateful for what you have now in order to receive. I’m here to be about the work, to passionately be about my craft as an actress and filmmaker. That I also believe a strong mindset the one I instill and encourage in Le Divina is what will make you unstoppable. I am Georgina Tolentino and I’m here to be brave and with my unwavering tenacity have my dreams realized.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, I would tell them to please bring masks ha! But I would during this quarantine time go to a local drive in movie Mission Tiki Drive in Theatre in Pomona or would go on a hike towards Griffith observatory. One of my must haves is Magspie Softserve in Los Feliz. I can’t have dairy and they have amazing vegan icecreams with phenomenal flavors. The fried pie is my absolute favorite and their seasonal ube pie.
The beach, I would go to a local take out like Juicy Ladies in Malibu and grab an acai bowl and sit by the water. If it wasn’t quarantine upon arrival for dinner my favorite spots in the city is Zinque in the arts district. Catch -LA in West Hollywood is so much fun for girls night. It’s great to dress up and enjoy wonderful food. I just love their sushi and their lava cake! For brunch head over to Abott Kinney and have brunch at Butcher’s Daughter. Then walk around and check out the great stores. For dinner Elephante in Santa Monica and watch the sun go down!
Tuesday we would snacks from Lassens in Los Feliz and head over to Malibu Canyons to see the waterfalls. I love the trails and on the way back stop by Duke’s off the PCH for a drinks and watch the sunset.
Wednesday we would go downtown to Grand Central Market and try Sari Sari a Filipino pop up. Then try different types of food. For dinner we would go to Aloha Catering on Spring street with the best Hawaiian BBQ in LA.
Ending the evening with throwing on a change of clothes and heading to the Edison to dance the night away. Thursday we would wake up early and do a head over to Gloveworx in Century City to do a boxing class. Then have lunch at Eataly as well as pick up some ingredients to make dinner. We would then go walk around Beverly Hills and have tea and eat macaroons at Laduree. We would head back to my place and have a great homemade Italian dinner.
Friday I would go check out shops on Beverly Blvd and 3rd street, go for a relaxing massage at the Now. Brunch at Joann’s Cafe on Third. Then go shopping at Espionage on Beverly. Taylor is a badass business owner with the best gifts and items in her store. I’ve gotten journals, keychains, thoughtful presents and yes my candles are there. For dinner we would go to Toca Madera where we would have dinner and amazing drinks by executive chef Pablo Ibarra. The drinks are so dynamic. The vibe is fun, lively, and chic.
Saturday morning I would take my friend to a jiu jitsu class at Gracie University in Torrance. Then head over to Manhattan Beach on the way up to Post Office Restaurant where their fried chicken burger is legendary.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wonderful friends who have supported my business since the beginning. This includes my sales reps and stores that have created this wonderful community. I would have to thank Debra Hayburn, Espionage LA, Rande Cohen, Julie Mandell, London Fromson , Dylan Foster , Travis Foster, Benjamin Scott, Adam Weisner, Julie Wozniack who have put me in their stores and helped me with my business.
Sarah Orbanics photos