We had the good fortune of connecting with Ana Moreno and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ana, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
I would say it was realizing the difference between being able to do something and actually wanting to. I spent most of my grad school years feeling like a fraud, an outsider who wasn’t smart enough. It took me nearly 2 years and a major health crisis to realize that I wasn’t less capable: I could do it – I simply didn’t want to. And that is when I quit researching for PhD programs and applied for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I wouldn’t say I am – in my definitions and parameters – successful now. But I`m definitely happier.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Ok, this is a bumpy one, so fasten your seatbelts… My favorite early memories took place on stage, around and about school plays. I even wrote a couple of (not very good) ones. I went to a Catholic school and I played Mary so many times that my mom got tired of borrowing the costume and just made me one. But I grew up in a quite isolated city – with an even more isolated cultural life – so once I started prepping for our version of the SATs my love for arts was buried deep. There weren’t theaters in my town or acting classes – acting never felt like a possibility, even in theory. I was also very academic-oriented and a first-college generation, so I felt incredibly pressured to follow a traditional career path, which led to a lot of anxiety, depression periods but also to BA and MA degrees in International Relations and research in Feminist Studies, that I’m so proud and passionate about. It might seem like I’m stalling, but I think *that’s* what set me apart: it took me so long to get here that by the time I finally got into acting school, I was a fully formed woman who had lived and worked in three different countries, who studied different subjects, who had breakdowns and ups and downs in different professional and personal settings, so there is all this experience that I am able to bring it to the table now that I wouldn’t be, if my road had been the less travelled one.
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?
I always joke that LA is actually a conglomerate of completely different cities united by terrible traffic and lovely weather, and I still feel like a tourist here, so I’m not sure I’m the best ciceroni, but here we go: If my friend is into wines and beaches – like yours truly – I would definitely take them to Cielo Farms in Malibu and to the pier in Santa Barbara. If they are a movie nerd as well, besides the classic Hollywood stuff I would take them to Mama Shelter`s rooftop for a nice sunset drink and to WeHo’s Whisky a Go Go for good music, maybe for a Groundling’s improv night if it their thing. LA is quite low key in advertising events (or maybe there are too many?), in my opinion (example, once I went grocery shopping and almost literally bumped into Terry Crews getting his hollywood walk of fame start) so it’s worth doing a bit of research in case one of your favorite bands or artists are around – a concert in Hollywood Bowl is always lovely and if you’re into sports, you gotta see a Laker`s game, bonus points for a drive around downtown and Mulholland Dr afterwards.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To my friends and family who support me even when they don’t understand my journey (and well, I don’t understand it either sometimes, so we’re all good)
Mark Mann Gareth Shaw