We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniella Castoria and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniella, how do you think about risk?
Risk. Risk is such an interesting word because it’s universal. Everyone is always faced with risks in life and it’s about how we handle them. For me, I see risks as an opportunity. I always heard “You have to risk it to get the biscuit” growing up and that saying has stayed with me. If you don’t take the risk you will never know what is on the other side of that possibility.
My dad also used to always tell me “if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no” and he’s right. I had to learn early on that if I didn’t take risks in my life, I would never step out of my comfort zone and blossom in life.
One of the biggest risks I took that has greatly affected my life and career is when I decided to move to Los Angeles without ever visiting, the State, the West Coast or even the College I was attending. I packed my bags and moved over 2,000 miles from home and was ready to face the risks head on and work hard for what I wanted in life. I was willing to risk everything for a passion of mine without knowing what the outcome would be.
After I had taken that huge risk, it has opened endless possibilities for me in life that I didn’t even know I was capable of. It showed me that I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to and you are too!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an artist, I’m most excited about the future, in addition to where I am at the moment. I think getting the opportunity to work on your craft from a teaching perspective makes you look at your work differently and more intimately. Not only do I have to make sure what I’m trying to communicate makes sense to the students in which I am teaching, but I also have to find multiple different ways of communicating what I’m trying to say that it’s almost like improv! There’s not one right way to teach a dance step or teach a student how to become an actor. I have to be able to adapt and be on my feet especially because not every student learns the same way and something that may make sense to one student may not make sense to another. So, as a teacher I need to be able to adapt to the needs of all of my students. I also think that teaching has made me a better actor and for that I am grateful!
There’s really no linear path as to how I got to where I am today. It’s been a journey of just picking myself back up and moving forward and I’m still doing that to this day. I’ve created my own path and as a look back I’m pleased to say that and know that.
Along the way, I’ve learned that it’s okay to fail and make mistakes but it’s about how you pick yourself back up. I think the hardest part for me over the years was always trying to get things right and be perfect. I was searching for outside validation and had to learn for myself that the work doesn’t change whether I have the support of multiple people or none. In fact, it’s even more important to honor yourself and put the work in when no one is watching, if you’re truly passionate about your craft.
This was a huge lesson I had to learn over the years for myself and it really helped me grow as an artist, because I started doing things for myself and because I enjoyed them and stopped trying to seek outside validation and worry about things that were out of my control.
Another lesson I’ve come to terms with, is how to balance everyday life with my career. I had to learn over and over again that it was okay to take a week off to visit family and friends and in fact it was healthy to spend time with friends and family and live life, because it would help my acting. Life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just relax, laugh a little and let things go. I’m so glad I’m learning this now and I’m continuing to work on it.
I want everyone reading this to know that everyone is on their own journey, and my journey won’t be like anyone else’s and that’s what makes us all unique. There’s no “one” way or the “right” way to do something. Everyone experiences life differently, yet we’re all connected through emotions and storytelling universally.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love this question! Some of my best friends have actually already visited and they usually always come to me with an itinerary and bucket lists of what they want to do. Many of which are some of my favorite places to go to! Some of those places are usually the driving down the Pacific Coast Highway to the beach in Malibu and Malibu Farms, Malibu Wine Safari, Laguna Beach,Manhattan Beach, Hiking to the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Park, Biking/Rollerblading/
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First off, I have to say I love that you guys are doing this. It’s super important to remember where you started and who or what got you to where you are and I’m so grateful for the village of people that have helped me in getting me to where I am today and to where I’m headed in my future. I apologize in advance if I miss anyone, but I’m going to try my best to thank you all. Some of the people that are a part of my village are my family, especially my parents who worked tirelessly and endlessly to make sure I could get the proper training and a great education while growing up. They have shown me strength and courage in not only their words but in their actions.
Next, would be my best friends who I’ve grown up with and who I stay in touch with to this day. I thank each of you and I’m grateful for all of our different paths, you are all exceptional bestfriends. Thank you for your constant support and for always being there in the good and the bad times. Also, to many of my best friends’ parents who carpooled and drove me to sports practices, dance, singing lessons, rehearsal’s etc; when my parents were at work. I can’t thank you enough for helping my parents and I out and helping fuel my creative outlet.
Now, I would like to thank my Mentors, who continually believe in me and see where I’m headed and do everything that they can to help me achieve my goals. Furthermore, my former teachers and coaches from my hometown in New Jersey to my College Professors and Coaches in Los Angeles and New York, who have taught me over the years and to those who continue to teach me because there’s always more to learn. I’ve learned something from each and every one of you and I thank you all for pushing me out of my comfort zone to grow. I wouldn’t be where I am or have the work ethic that I have without you all. Thank you especially, to those of you who never gave up on a kid with a huge dream.
I’m also extremely filled with gratitude for all the people who have reached out and created opportunities for artists when we first went into Quarantine. From Casting Directors, Agents, Managers, Actors, Choreographers and Vocal Coaches to many other professionals and colleagues of mine who taught classes virtually, Live Streamed and offered Q&A’s. Among all other things, each of you created an outlet for all artists to be able to be seen and heard, and there’s not enough thank you’s for what you did in our community to bring us all together in a time where we couldn’t physically be creating and collaborating with one another. It was tremendously special and continues to be. Thank you to my wonderful talent reps for making sure I was aware of all of the opportunities being offered during that time. I thank you for all the work that you do day in and day out and for powering through during a year of immediate change in this industry and in our world.
Lastly, I’m a bookworm so naturally, I have to mention a few books that have truly changed my life as a creative artist. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield, The Untethered Soul by Michael Alan Singer, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Purple Cow by Seth Godin, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Actor’s Life by Jenna Fischer, An Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavski and In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero and Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling.
Linkedin: Daniella Castoria
Youtube: Daniella Castoria
Kat Tuohy, Jared Trevino, Beyond the Stars