We had the good fortune of connecting with Grace Balbo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Grace, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
In brief, my interest in the industry was originally piqued by voice-overs. I was fascinated by the range of voices behind animations, video games, and commercial work; and the concept of acting with only your vocal inflections. Inspired by this topic, I began exploring the industry’s many disciplines. I took workshops and courses at every opportunity, even if I had to beg the teacher to allow me into a full class. My passions were bolstered by unforgettable classes and the guidance of my teachers/mentors. I’m grateful for all of my creative outlets and opportunities, but I act simply because I must.
I believe that acting is the opportunity to allow a two-dimensional character to transform into a three-dimensional being by letting them live through you. It forces you to release your pride; you’re there to be honest, not pretty or perfect. Acting allows an otherwise unrepresented character the ability to tell their story, as unmarred by the actor’s ego as possible.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
How did you get to where you are today professionally?
Countless hours of learning and growing my skills, putting in the effort to keep improving, and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone have brought me here today. I was fortunate enough to have teachers, mentors, agents, and managers who provided me with support and guidance.
Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
This industry will force you to face constant rejection. No matter how successful an actor appears to be, they are likely receiving a hundred no’s for every yes. Seeing a “no” as a redirection — as an opportunity to hone your skills, learn from your mistakes, and refocus your energy on the next audition — is crucial to developing the resilience required to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Making sacrifices for this industry (time, energy, resources, etc.) is not a small feat, but having a network of people who believe in you and consistently show up for you makes a world of difference.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
In no particular order:
There is something to learn from everyone you encounter.
Never stop improving your current skills and gaining new ones.
Growth is most noticeable when you’re outside your comfort zone.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
In this ever-changing industry, I employ a kaizen mindset to continue adapting. Tiny, gradual changes create continuous improvement in any topic of focus. It is both humbling and motivating to think that the person I am today will continue to evolve as I create and innovate, one small improvement at a time. If you ever feel stuck, remember that this is not your final form. Keep learning, keep trying when you fail, and keep showing up for yourself; you are your own best advocate.
Losing two of my revered mentors within two years has illuminated that quality advice is timeless and rare, and those who provide it are evanescent. Tell the impactful people in your life what they mean to you; there is no limit to the amount of compassion you can bring to 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?
Although there are innumerable amazing places to go in LA, I’d like to focus on one place that isn’t your typical hang-out spot: Joining All Movement. One of my latest ventures in the industry is delving into the stunt world. This gym is the perfect place for learning anything from Cinematic Martial Arts to parkour! I love honing my new skills here. Shoutout to Rene Felton Besozzi (coach and PT extraordinaire) for always putting me back together after a long day of classes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would, first and foremost, like to acknowledge two of my professional mentors: Scot Woolley and Rocco Dal Vera. Their unremitting encouragement, support, and teaching helped me find my place in this industry so many years ago. I am very fortunate to have crossed paths with them during the time they spent on earth. I’d also like to shout out my incredible agents at Heyman Talent Agency for over a decade of opportunities. Lastly, I’d like to recognize Brittany McVicker (actor, model) for her immense personal and professional support. In this industry, it is vital to feel anchored and not lose sight of the important elements in life. I am so grateful to have Brittany as a close friend, and as an anchor.