We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriella Avenue and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabriella, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
I grew up in the acting world and started training in Manhattan theatre schools at a very young age. In doing so, my focus was always working on refining my craft over anything else. But, as I grew older and older, especially after getting my BFA in Drama from NYU, I discovered there’s one thing that acting schools can’t teach you: how to be yourself.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be comfortable with your identity, know what you bring to the table, and value your unique and intrinsic worth as simply a fellow human being on this earth. I’m a child of immigrants, and my father is Iraqi-Armenian, but I was predominantly surrounded by anything but Middle Eastern culture in entertainment and media as a child. So, in recent years, I had to come to terms with my identity to reflect that truth in my acting and art. My confidence and growth within my career only ignited when I became comfortable being myself, claiming my heritage, and diving deeper into that aspect of, well, me. This authenticity thankfully trickled into my acting, writing, and overall existence.
However, I must also stress that this is something that takes time. Unfortunately, there’s no one-week intensive on owning your truth. It’s just something you grow into and take ownership of as you work diligently towards your dreams. So, in summary, be you!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
1) What inspires you the most?
My roots have played a large part in informing my art. Since the pandemic, I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time where I grew up and with my loved ones. It has allowed me to revisit some of my passions and incorporate them into my written work.
Growing up on Long Island, New York, cars were always a part of my life. My older brothers would take me to races and car shows. I’d sit for hours as they’d patch up their cars in our backyard. Then, they eventually took turns teaching me to drive. It’s funny, but I think I learned how to tune an ECU for my brother’s 2006 Dodge Charger before getting my license.
Two years ago, my brother bought a 1997 lifted Jeep Wrangler. It was a complete project car. He had to weld the floors and put the frame back together. Helping him through his restoration is something I’ll never forget. It made me feel like a little kid again. My absolute favorite part of the process had to be repainting the truck with Herculiner. So messy yet so incredibly fun.
The car of the moment is an orange 2005 Dodge Neon ACR. For those who don’t know, it’s often called a “Skittle” among car people. It may not be American Muscle, but it certainly packs a punch. One day I hope to work on a project that involves cars like this. I think my aspiration of making a film that showcases this part of my life is one of my biggest motivators in this career.
2) Why did you pursue an artistic career?
To me, being an artist, through both acting and writing, has always been a career of service. I think that’s what drew me in the most. Acting, especially, allows you to offer so much of yourself in favor of something greater. Of course, as an artist, it’s your job to give all you’ve got to your project, audience, or scene partner at a micro-level. But on a larger scale, it can mean finding ways to serve your community, amplifying unheard voices, and enacting positive change.
Taking on this career has also allowed me to fully understand so many aspects of what life is really about–others. And by that, I mean it has continuously given me the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes, encouraged the adoption of consistent empathetic thinking, and reinforced the power of connecting with another person.
I feel so blessed to be an artist in a time like now. Choosing an artistic career has given me so much more than a sense of vocation–it has enriched all aspects of my life and the lens through which I view the world.
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?
Breakfast would have to start with a trip to Trejo’s Coffee. They have the best treats and the cutest aesthetic in town. Hand’s down.
Then we’d set our sights on the Santa Monica pier. My friends and family in LA always call me Santa Monica because I would not stop saying how much I loved it the first time I went. So, I’d definitely start with a walk along the beach, buy some fresh fruit on the boardwalk, and maybe even take a bike ride through Venice.
Then, I’d probably take them to Cha Cha Chicken for lunch–their Caribbean food is unreal. After that, Guisado’s for the ultimate taco dinner. And finally, I’d finish the night with Salt & Straw for dessert (the lavender ice cream is a personal favorite).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I must also add that his perspectives on dramatic technique are so profound, and his approach to art is nothing short of brilliance. He has this natural gift for finding unique glints of comedy in even the most dramatic moments. It’s so compelling and incredible to watch him perform. One of my dreams is for us to one day be able to work on films together.
1. Headshots & Portraits – Nechama Photograph (Brooklyn, NY) 2. SRT-4 Images & Profile Portraits – Apri Studios (LA, CO, & NYC) 3. Personal images – Instagram: @gabriellasavenue