We had the good fortune of connecting with Arianna Veronesi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Arianna, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Why did you pursue and artistic or creative career?

The short answer is, because it was my personal pathway from disempowerment to empowerment. The more nuanced answer is that it was through creativity and artistry that I found the permission and accessed the tools to reclaim my power and my femininity.
I say reclaim because growing up in Verona, Italy during the 70s and 80s, I didn’t have examples of female leadership or liberated women in my life. My primary role models were my mother, a housewife with a master’s in literature who poured all her talent resources into a dependency on my father, and an elementary school teacher who despite being a sharp, wise missionary nun, wasn’t ever allowed to step foot on the church altar. Being born a female into a patriarchal society was a sentence that imposed limits on my personal and professional freedom. The only options I had been given for my life were to follow in my father’s factory footsteps or become a devoted wife with the potential to, maybe, become a teacher.

It was only when my mom took me to see “Swan Lake” in the revered Arena at 6 years old, that for the first time, I saw hope for more. The ballerinas on stage revealed a whole other world of possibilities that I had never known before. I saw these women as powerful and free and it opened both my heart and the doors of my potential wider than I could have ever previously imagined. I swelled with hopes and dreams of no longer just surviving through my life, but thriving in it.

Of course, being only 6, much of that was a fairytale. For as I did pursue a career in dance I found more oppression. The industry fostered a need to conform and to please, from how my body was shaped and how it performed to how willingly compliant I was. The most extreme version of this was working several years as a professional ballet dancer. After the constant pain from abusing and breaking my body and self-esteem down, I decided to transition into contemporary dance with an intention to break free from the unhealthy aspects of the dance world. As a contemporary dancer I wanted to cultivate more of my individuality by being actively part of the creative process. I saw an opportunity to experience more of my own pleasure in my creative process versus merely enduring agony. Again, I found more captivity, more ownership over my creations and innovations as a dancer, but I would choreograph my own work only to have all the rave reviews be absorbed by others.

It was when I had the occasion to work with actors that I saw the power of performing as whole and complete. For me, it transcended the presentation of the body to include the voice, the full range of expression. Even the way the director interacted with them was different…it was respectful! Yeah, believe it or not, that was a big discovery for me. I fell in love with acting. I see it as a way to be of service. Actors get to tell a meaningful story by becoming a vessel of something much larger then themselves. That said, all things exist in balance and while acting seemed to be the “answer to my problems” with my artistic struggle, there was more growth to go through.

I was confronted with the reality of the business of show business. I experienced an endless amount of disempowerment, discrimination, stereotyping, conformism, misogyny and abuse to the point that I started losing my drive and ultimately my wellbeing. My health began to decline and my inspiration was dwindling. Enter writing. It was through my imagination and the freedom I found on blank pages that I reclaimed my power to truly create from the inside out. I used writing as way to not only empower myself but others also. I had found my true mission as an artist.

Through penning the Award Winning theater solo-show, MY JANIS, I was able to talk about a woman’s (Janis Joplin’s) bravery and struggle to survive as female artist growing up in conservative Texas. I felt a profound connection to her story as a young girl growing up bullied and ostracized for her anti-racial beliefs and more so for not looking or behaving as “a woman should”. This spawned an ever growing hunger to deeply explore and expose the effects of sexism and the roots of the female empowerment movements. That is what sparked the idea for my latest film Glaistig. This is the first time I was able to marry all my creative expertise together into one project. As the author, actress, choreographer and dancer, I was able to bring the spectrum of artistry to a project I fully believe in. This film explores the deeper impact of sexual trauma (without sensationalizing or glorifying the act itself) and the possibility of a healing journey through the art of self-reclamation and sisterhood.

This was such a gratifying project, start to finish. From having the vision to making it a reality with a dream team of other visionaries was the ultimate expression of freedom and creativity. This picture granted me the permission as storyteller to deliver and protect the full vulnerable truth of my message and there is nothing more empowering than that. That is what pursuing this particular career path has presented me with and for that, I am profoundly grateful.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Coming from dance I have been working with people from all over the world. I am a US Italian immigrant who worked in France, England and Switzerland. I am inspired by diversity, I need to get in contact with different languages and cultures in order to thrive. I believe in an international film industry, that cultivates people and opens their minds and hearts to the reality of the world.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I recently moved to Altadena, so first day I would go for a hike, or a horse ride, in the beautiful never-ending mountain trails, enjoying the breathtaking views and the scents of wild sages. For dinner, always in Altadena, Bulgarini is my absolute favorite Italian restaurant. Then let’s pretend Covid it’s over! A classic day would be getting lost at the LACMA , then driving to a glamours dinner at the Chateau Marmont and off to The Comedy Club or The Laugh Factor, where I saw the amazing Tiffany Haddish.
A must see is the gorgeous beaches of Malibu with a dinner at the Sunset Restaurant.
I love going to Korean spas, my favorite is the Crystal Spa, it’s a great experience and they have yummy food too. After that a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, I will never forget the epic performance of Florence and the Machine..
An easy urban day would be sushi in Little Tokyo, then check out the exhibit at the Geffen contemporary at the MOCA, after that a drink on the roof terrace of the Standard hotel and dinner at the Little Sister bistros in down town, concluding with a jazz concert at the Bluewhale.

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?
First of all, I am forever grateful to my brilliant acting coach Greg Braun, cofounder of the New Collective LA, a sacred heaven for storytellers, where I work my craft and create the characters of my stories. A shoutout to the stellar team I had the pleasure to work with on the film I wrote, “Glaistig”. In particular, the incredibly talented director Abbey Spacil with whom I had the most fun and prolific collaboration. The producer, Mauricio Arrioja who’s been a calm and solid rock throughout the craziness of this pandemic. The director of photography Kaity Williams who created pure magic, and the composer BC Smith, who profoundly captured the essence of this film.
I also want to thank the director Mikael Håfström who gave me the opportunity to play opposite of Anthony Hopkins in The Rite, an experience that forever changed my life.
Last but not least, I would not be where I am without the love and support of my family. My husband Andy, an artist himself who deeply understands, inspires and encourages me, and my teacher, my son Luca and his contagious laughter and passion for life.

Website: ariannaveronesi.com

Instagram: arianna.veronesi

Facebook: arianna.veronesi.1

Other: instagram: glaistig_film

Image Credits
Rudolf Bekker Stills by Jay – Jason Raphael Beaureguarde Von Hoffman

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