We had the good fortune of connecting with Arlenys Buckelew and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Arlenys, what role has risk played in your life or career?
My life has been all about taking risks whether it was the adults in my life making the decisions for me when I was younger or I making the decisions when the time came for me to make them. First, at the age of 13 my dad made the decision to bring me to America to New York from the Dominican Republic. Leaving all my friends behind and coming to a country in which I was not familiar with the language. Once I arrived here, after overcoming many challenges whether personally or with career choices at the age of 16 I decided to pursue the film/tv industry once I graduated from High School. Sure enough did 2 years at a college in New York but then it was time to transfer to another school for my bachelors degree. I wasn’t sure where to go, what to do, and after searching on a web I found Columbia College Hollywood located in Los Angeles California. On January 2014 I applied to enroll on September of that year. I honestly had to idea of what I was doing or didn’t think on the steps that would come after that because in my mind I was not going to get accepted or so I thought. First of all I had never been to California and I didn’t know of anyone who lived in California and once again if I got accepted that meant for me to move once again leave my family and friends behind and go on my new journey. About two or three weeks after enrolling I got a call from Columbia College saying that I had been accepted. This was an important decision in my life, Was I going to complete the steps and move out from New York to California and follow my dreams or would I stay in my comfort zone with my friends and family? Without hesitation I decided to move forward and move to Hollywood and follow my dreams. On September 14th, 2014 I packed up my bags and moved to Hollywood. Many plans, many dreams not knowing what the future holds for me. I enrolled for 3 years in Film/TV directing at Columbia College. My experience at CCH was amazing the professors were so much fun and professional and I got to learn so much from them as well as my classmates. I would made the decision to move all over again. I must say pursuing a career in the film industry is quite challenging. In 2017 I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree as a film/tv director. The question was, what now? Where am I going to work? Am I going to stay here or go back home? I made the decision to stay not knowing when would be the time that I could possibly get hired in the industry. There was a point that I just gave up on searching or applying to any jobs because I never got even a phone call back for at least an interview. Backtracking a bit, in 2016 I had started working as a Spanish Teacher with Kallpachay Spanish Immersion Program. I began teaching a home group with two wonderful boys. It was through this job that I met my dear friend Meg DeLoatch show Runner of the now Family Reunion Netflix Show, and little did I know that she would be the very first person to give me an opportunity in the TV industry. In 2018 after teaching spanish to her son she told me about her show getting picked by Netflix and began asking me about my aspirations and desires in the industry, at this point I had given up any hopes or my dreams but I began talking to her and in the end she asked me to email her my resume and so I did. In August 22, 2018 I made the decision to leave my teaching job and I began working In Meg’s show as one of the Office PA’s of the first season of Family Reunion. I am forever grateful and thankful for Meg’s kindness and willingness to bring me alongside her. What am most thankful for is for how much she invested in me, her advices, and allowing me and telling me and I quote her “Arlenys I know this is not the job that you dream of but I want you to take this time to learn everything you can. Go to stage and shadow the directors, feel free to ask them questions, ask me questions, I want you to grow and learn while you are here” I had heard so many stories of people’s bad experiences working in the industry but my experience at Family Reunion was one that I will always cherish and remember. Everyone was so thoughtful and kind and so easy to work with. Everyone in the team made sure that we were always learning something new in the Office. I learned so much from them, I made mistakes but yet they were so kind to address them in a way that was constructive. I would absolutely work with this awesome team at any time. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to return for season 2 as once we wrapped the first season I was unemployed and needed a job. My teaching job received me back once again with open arms. I am currently working as the social media coordinator for Kallpachay Spanish Immersion Program and it has been a great experience of growth and opportunity to use my skills as a director, producer, editor to now create every content from promotional to a most current project that we’re producing of Educational Spanish Videos to have available for families interested in having their child continue bilingual education in the home. Something amazing also that God has blessed me with on 2020 is marrying my now wonderful and amazing husband Richard Buckelew. When the pandemic began another opportunity and decision arise and my husband Richard I started a podcast “Ordinary People with Extraordinary Lives” After my experience of completely giving up my passion for anything that had to do with the film industry the Family Reunion opportunity motivated me to continue and to be willing to take the risk to create my own content to do what Meg once also told me “write your own stories and don’t wait for anyone to write them for you” though in our podcast I am not writing the stories we hear they have been written by one who knows all things and is the author of our lives and that is our Lord and Savior. I am very thankful that God has led me to go through each and one of these decisions in my life, which were risks and uncertainties but I wouldn’t change it because I am exactly where I need to be today.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Making hard decisions, taking risks, gave up but got back on track. Integrity, perseverance, determination but most important perseverance in my faith in Jesus have been the most important to make me into the woman that I am today and to be where I am now. Yes I failed more than I can count but not defeated, getting up and moving forward even if my circumstances didn’t change. “When I am weak than I am strong” not in my own strength but the foundation of my faith that Is Jesus Christ, I am strong because of Christ in me.
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 would take them to Mammoth Lakes, I was able to go for the first time this year and i fell in love with the mountains and rainbow falls. It was the most wonderful experience. We would probably drink chai tea latte as It is my favorite hot drink. To eat I don’t know where I would take them there because in the time i was there we mostly cook. I like my home made meals😁. The most fun places; I would say for me would be Disneyland or Universal Studios. But I do love a drive down Pacific Coast Highway to Newport Beach, especially a Ruby’s by PCH by the water in Newport Beach
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family, friends and my husband Richard Buckelew. They have all been my cheerleaders Meg DeLoatch – Executive Producer/Show Runner of Family Reunion Miriam Epstein- Founder of Kallpachay Spanish Immersion (Kpyspanish@gmail.com) Yoleidys Swerdloff- Teacher from High School (because of her I enrolled in my first 2 years of college, she showed up at my house with the application for college) Yswerdloff@gmail.com
(All pictures were taken by me, logo one was created on Canva)