We had the good fortune of connecting with Audrey De León and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Audrey, where are you from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
Hey! For sure, thanks for having me, love what you guys are doing with this.
I was born in Seattle and raised in Sonora Mexico until my teenage years before moving back to the US. My multicultural background opened my eyes at a very young age to a world much bigger than my neighborhood. I learned English and Spanish at the same time. Making friends as a kid always started off with questions like “You have green eyes! Are you American? Can you say something in English? Do you like eating spicy things? Cool, let’s play football/soccer.” And adversely “Oh you’re from Mexico? You don’t have an accent! Say something in Spanish!” As a result, I definitely had a lot of identity factors to explore but being bilingual is something I treasure. My parents exposed me and my siblings to lots of adventurous things varying from trying rattlesnake meat while camping in the desert to learning to play classical violin. I was encouraged to lean into my creativity and imagination as a way of play. I’m grateful for that support because looking back I can see how that joy created resilience and balance when we faced hardships. Having a faith foundation also played a big part in how I related to the world outside the walls of the treehouses and forts we built as kids. I always felt very connected to people no matter our differences and loved the feeling of being part of something bigger than what my skin color meant. I’m very thankful to have had a well rounded upbringing despite many transitions and the culture shock of moving back to the United States. As a “third culture” kid there were many moments of feeling displaced that could have resulted in chaos for me but I had good guidance in making choices for myself. Over the years I‘ve learned to feel grounded in my uniqueness, letting healing and wholeheartedness shape my identity. I have my parents to thank for creating an environment of connection, acceptance and belonging no matter where we lived. I want to continue to carry those values into the rest of my life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
A dream brought me to LA, heart and hustle kept me here. The dream? To be in the artistic flow of a big city, on the west coast where the sun always shines, pursuing a successful career as an actress and leave a positive impact on the world. Looking back, I knew I’d be a small fish in a big pond. I also knew I was meant to more than just last in Hollywood – but thrive purposefully in the journey ahead of me. My edge on the rest came in the uniqueness of my multicultural background; being bilingual, means that I can cross over English and Spanish markets commercially and theatrically. My confidence carried me places that my resume didn’t at the time. I saw it all as a great big adventure unfolding, my role being to be true to myself, make my family proud and do my part to leave the world a better place. As far as heart and hustle go? The basic bones of surviving, much less thriving in Hollywood require grit and measures of determined passion that might seem crazy to the average person. Ya know like sharing a mattress on the floor with roommates to afford rent, adapting to the ebb and flow nature of the business, the traffic, navigating the emotional theme park of honing a craft and facing repeat rejection, finagling finances, managing mental health while approaching soul searching roles, maintaining a healthy body image in the face of the fashion and beauty industries, fighting off delusions of grandeur, keeping humility and gratitude at the forefront of my character, dodging bullets by saying “no” in a pre #metoo movement era, having the spine to turn down compromising opportunities and offers, the guts to get up again after falling and keep taking risks in every area of life, building solid working relationships and meaningful, lasting friendships, all while holding onto to hope – because hope is essential to the life of a dreamer.
I came to LA in 2004, freshly graduated with a Theater degree in hand. I had a commercial agent from Seattle, modeling experience and the ability to make money as a newly professional headshot photographer. I began working right away as an extra and booked a modeling job with my neighbor as a “mixed couple” in a magazine, which got me my first agent in LA. I continued to work as a model, got small roles in independent films and also started working in digital production. I kept shooting headshots, networking and eventually joined the international cast of a telenovela that I did 90 episodes on. A handful of films later, I realized it was time to add producing to my skill set. Learning that the business side of filmmaking is just as important as the art of it. I’ve since been able to create roles for myself and open doors for others. Some of my proudest moments as an actor may never be seen on screen. Roles that I studied and executed on stage for scene study class with dedicated scene partners and auditions for roles I worked really hard for that may not have made it past callbacks – but felt like a win to me! Being part of a tight knit community of artists on similar journeys is so important. In 2012, one of my best friends and I wrote a movie based on my true life events. We included all of our actor friends and filmed it the same year. The whole process was such a parallel to real life that if felt like stepping in and out of an alternate universe. I’m most proud of fighting to find my truth and using my voice in that project to confront some big personal traumas at that time. After that I realized first hand how healing storytelling is both for the teller and the audience. I’m passionate about true stories, especially ones where a sense of humor helps the medicine of truth go down. I’m currently wearing a few production hats, helping produce and transition an international documentary into a narrative film. It is a jaw-dropping true story with very timely themes. I’m excited to be part of it and see it come to life on screen. More info about this project can be found at www.kidnappedredemption.com
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many hidden treasures in LA to experience. An ideal weekend of favorites would start off early with a Thursday brunch at EAT in NoHo (the zucchini shreds are life changing), paddle boarding in the marina, happy hour spicy margaritas at El Torrito overlooking the water and then late night dancing at The Federal (90’s hip hop). Friday would be a trip downtown to the flower & fashion district followed by sushi at Sugarfish, some prime thrifting on our way to a movie at the AMC 6 in Burbank where the seats recline. Saturday would be spent at the beach, ideally Thousand Steps in Laguna followed by dinner at Le Creperie on 2nd street in Long Beach, maybe a late night DJ show at a hidden house party. Sunday would include a lazy latte morning walk through the flea market, a light hike up near the Hollywood sign or the observatory, Thai food to go from Sanamluang Café as a picnic dinner for a live concert at the Hollywood Bowl followed by a late night dip in the hot tub on the roof of the Ace Hotel downtown.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Besides my increeeeedible parents, I have had amazing mentors, teachers and life coaches to credit!
Thank you Maisy Sylling (my high school drama teacher) for encouraging me to pursue my dreams. And thanks to Jocelyn Jones Acting Studio for years of training and experience in becoming a consummate professional. Thank you Liz Fuller (CSPManagement) for not only representing me, but going above & beyond as my manager. Thank you Sheryl Emra for your dedicated spiritual mentorship and support through big life transitions. Don’t know where I’d be with out you! Thank you Tiffany Alysa for branding consultation, visioneering, and encouragement to own my platform. Thank you Sarah Caleb of Revenue Tribe for life changing personal and professionalcoaching. You are truly a gift. Shout out to my family and loyal squad for being wind beneath my wings!
Dan Warner Photography
Aaron Henry Photography