We had the good fortune of connecting with Isabella Thatcher and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Isabella, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I consider myself very lucky that the arts have been such a huge part of my life ever since I was born. I learned to play a musical instrument as soon as I could walk, I took art, voice and dance lessons from a very early age, and discovered my passion for acting by the time I was twelve years old. My parents are both incredible musicians who have been working in the industry for decades, and they have always been supportive of my wish to pursue a creative career. I was never once made to feel like it was not a “viable” career option, and for that I am grateful. I was always taught that if you are passionate about the career path that you choose, then you should pursue it with your whole heart, no matter what the obstacles. I am a member of the Newman Family, who have had deep roots in the music industry in Hollywood for nearly a century,, particularly in music composition–a legacy started by my grandfather, 9-time Academy Award-winning composer Alfred Newman. My family’s passion, artistry and dedication to their craft has inspired me to pursue my own artistic career and continue the Newman legacy in my own unique way. Being a part of a family with such a rich creative history, I began my own journey into the arts from a very young age, and have felt their support with every step.

I knew very early on that I wanted to have a career in the arts. I wanted to make a difference in the world in a way that I knew how, and I believe that the arts have given me that unique opportunity. I love bringing joy to other people, inspiring them to think in a different way than they had before, and to consider something from another perspective. Art inspires empathy and compassion, and this world needs more of that right now.

I truly believe that the arts are one of the most important, fundamental parts of what makes us human. They bring people together, no matter their location, language, background or age. Animals and people have even been known to connect and communicate through music and art in many different capacities. Creativity is quite literally what brings the world together. We saw early on in the pandemic in 2020 that people, while sheltering in place, turned to books, films, and music to keep themselves occupied and grounded during a time when the world was in flux. The arts are such a foundational part of our humanity that they are often turned to for comfort and safety during a time when both are difficult to find. It is no surprise to me that throughout history, some of the most powerful art has been born from the darkest times, because sometimes that is all one can do to survive and process the world around them.

I was fortunate enough to collaborate with the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture for their virtual broadcasts on their Youtube channel “Montgomery Arts House Presents…” throughout 2020, 2021 and beyond. Not only was I grateful to be able to sing, act, and continue to pursue my passion through these broadcasts even when the world was shut down, but the amount of people that reached out to us after each one to say how we were helping to keep them sane or bringing them great comfort during a time of stress and grief meant so much to me. It meant the world to know that we were making a difference in people’s lives and bringing them solace in their isolation.

To me, so much of the arts revolve around storytelling, no matter the medium. Stories have been a fundamental part of our development as human beings throughout history, long before reading or writing came into the picture. I have always considered myself a storyteller, even from a young age. When I was a kid I would play pretend for hours with my siblings in my backyard, and create intricate stories with my toys in my bedroom. As an adult, I have still found ways to incorporate that childlike creativity into my own artistic endeavors, channeling that storytelling into acting and writing. Stories can serve so many purposes. They can offer a means of escape when the world becomes overwhelming, or they can contain valuable lessons that can be carried into daily life. Nowadays, I feel that there is a lack of acknowledgement of how much the arts impact communication and culture. Children and adults alike can learn important personal lessons from the stories we tell onstage, onscreen, on the page and in music. Art is an incredibly significant factor in the way that we as humans can relate to each other, and can provide children with a safe space to learn and processimportant information about the world in ways that are easy for them to understand. I chose a career in the arts not only because of my passion to create, but because of the positive impact I hope to make on the world at large.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always known that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts, though for a long time I wasn’t sure of the capacity or medium. I was interested in everything–music, acting, dance, visual arts–and as I grew up I found it difficult to focus on only one, so I chose to study all of them. I learned how to play the cello from the age of six, which helped me to grow and develop immensely both as an artist and as a person. I started working with the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture and the Malibu Friends of Music (MAHMA) very early on, and my first exposure to acting was through dance, when I took classes and ultimately performed in full-length ballets in collaboration with the Malibu Coast Chamber Ballet at MAHMA. The thrill of getting to play a role onstage in front of so many people was both nerve-wracking and incredibly exciting, and I found myself wanting to do it more and more. It was like a flame was ignited in me that couldn’t be extinguished! I started studying classical voice at the age of nine, and discovered a real passion for vocal music. When I was twelve, I performed in my first musical, and it was one of the most magical experiences of my entire life. From that point on, I knew that the arts were where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.

I officially decided to pursue acting as a career at the age of sixteen, when I attended the 2015 Oregon Shakespeare Festival Summer Seminar along with 64 other students from across the country. The selective intensive took place over the course of two weeks, in which my fellow students and I were taught about the numerous facets of theatre that come together to make a production, and just how many people are involved in that process. Every night, we attended a show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and were given the opportunity to work with actors, directors and staff throughout each day. I returned home completely inspired and invigorated, more positive than ever that this was what I wanted to do with my life. A little over a year later, I returned to Ashland to begin my journey studying acting and theatre at Oregon Center for the Arts, where I was once again given the opportunity to take classes and work with actors, directors, and creative staff from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Cabaret Theatre and beyond in a wide variety of performance and technical classes. While I was there, I made it my goal to take as many learning opportunities as I could, and there was a wide variety of valuable classes being offered. This meant going over the credit limit every term, which, though it did create challenges with workload and stress at times, was so incredibly worth it. Through this schedule I curated for myself, I was able to be certified in Stage Combat, write several short plays, perform standup and sketch comedy, enhance my musical theatre and tap dancing skills, learn the differences between acting on stage and on camera, study the works of William Shakespeare both onstage and on the page, and become fluent in French, among many other things. Outside of class, I performed in a number of student and faculty-run performances, and was a member of the long-standing improv team The Next Best Thing from Fall 2016 to June 2020. In Winter of 2019 I took over as Captain of the team, an experience that taught me valuable lessons in leadership, team-building, and strategy. Being a part of that team really helped me to come out of my shell and grow and develop as a performer in a safe environment. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life, and my passion and excitement for improv has followed me back to LA, where I have now taught it to classes of children ages six to eleven. In June 2020, I graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts and a minor in Musical Theatre. I am endlessly grateful for all that I was taught during my time at Oregon Center for the Arts, and to my professors for their guidance. I still carry all the lessons I learned, in class and out, with me now as I continue to pursue my career in the arts here in LA.

Something that really fascinated me and drew me into the world of acting was the idea of getting to live an entirely different life through the eyes of the character you’re playing, even if just for a short while. Getting to walk in the shoes of another person, getting to know their quirks and mannerisms, it’s all endlessly exciting and fascinating to me. Yet, as much as I love becoming other people, I love that I still learn a bit about myself with each character. An invaluable lesson that I have learned throughout my artistic career is that no one is going to play a role exactly like you, because you as an individual cannot be replicated. I love how different people’s interpretations of the same role can be, and how unique each person’s approach is. With each role I play, I bring out a new piece of myself. It is both fun and necessary to discover the differences and similarities between yourself and a character you play. It can be a real game of empathy, because there will be times when you will play a character whose life and experience is drastically different from your own, or with different morals, and even if you don’t agree with their actions, you must find certain ways to empathize with them for the time that you are playing them in order to deliver a genuine performance. It can be challenging depending on the character, but challenges make everything more exciting!

When I returned to LA, I began taking a lot more film acting auditions, and found that there was a challenge there in transitioning from the stage to the screen. With theatre, you are acting to an audience of hundreds, potentially thousands, but in film, you are acting only to an audience of one – the camera. Staying exactly where you are marked is crucial, and you don’t have to exaggerate any part of your performance in order to be properly seen or heard. It allows for more nuance and softness in a different way than the stage does, depending on the environment, but something that was important for me to remember when I started that journey was that it doesn’t mean that you should bring less energy. It actually takes more energy to act in a more confined space. For myself, not only did this apply to acting, but also singing in front of a camera. I have been collaborating with MAHMA and the Malibu Friends of Music for many years now, and during the shelter-in-place we collaborated and put out a number of musical broadcasts, much like the concerts put on pre-pandemic, but filmed without a live audience. Singing to the camera was another challenge, because again, I was working in a more confined space, oftentimes with several other musicians. Every time we recorded we would all have to spend time figuring out how to share the more confined stage space so that we could all be seen and heard, and listen even more closely to each other than we would have should it have been a live performance. Recently, we returned to intimate outdoor in-person concert events, with our Malibu Coast Music Festival being completely sold out, and it was a challenge to have to relearn how to perform those same pieces in front of a live audience. It is interesting to see how the energy changes, how the audience affects you, and the level of perfectionism you have to fight. When you are in front of the camera, there is almost always the opportunity for another take, but in theatre and live concert performances, you get one chance per performance, and that’s it. Exciting, and nerve-wracking! It was an interesting obstacle to have to overcome, but I am so grateful for any challenge! Challenges mean opportunities for growth, and we as human beings are never truly done learning or growing at any point in our lives.

Some of the best advice I ever received was from a wonderful professor of mine, who taught me that, when working in the industry–especially the film industry–it is important to always keep in touch with your mind, body and spirit. There will undoubtedly be people you will encounter that will try to tear you down or make you feel like you are inadequate, therefore you must know your own worth and walk into every audition and opportunity with the knowledge that you are good enough to be there. There are enough people out there who are going to judge you. You must reserve kindness and patience for yourself, it will help you stay grounded. I have taken that with me everywhere.

Another important lesson I learned rather early on is that no matter what people may tell you, you don’t have to limit yourself to only one art form. I am fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to pursue many facets throughout my artistic journey. There will always be people who try to put you in a box or tell you that you have to stick to one form in particular. Please know that that is never the case. You will never be wrong for wanting to expand your creativity, and learning more about one facet will help you with others. Personally, acting has helped me immensely with both writing and singing. Knowing how to get inside a character’s head has helped me to create characters on the page that feel real to me. Acting through the pieces I sing has helped me to bring out the storytelling aspects no matter the language it is in or how complex the notes are. For me, it helps to create a much more genuine and dropped-in performance, vocally and emotionally.

My next upcoming project is “Burn The Witch: The Series,” written and directed by Martha Thatcher, debuting on Youtube on October 21st, 2022. I will be playing Martha Goode, one of the primary Coven members and a Necromancer, and I could not be more excited to be able to share this wonderful project with the world! I have been involved in this process from the early developmental stages, and it is my very first time producing anything. It has been a long process, one full of many challenges – as any production is– and I have learned so many incredible lessons throughout. Working alongside my sister and these wonderful artists–many of whom I worked with at Oregon Center for the Arts–has been a lovely experience, and has really gotten me excited about filmmaking! Not only did it awaken my love for film acting, but it has inspired me to dip my toes into the filmmaking, behind-the-scenes world as well. I hope one day to write, produce and act in a series of my own!

Ultimately, I think the best lesson that I have learned, and the best thing that you can be as an artist, is kind. Be kind to others, and be kind to yourself. Know your worth, and do not let anyone try to make you feel like you are less than. Challenges are a part of the process, and without them we cannot grow into what we are meant to be. If you are feeling particularly discouraged about something, allow yourself a little time to feel your feelings, then get back up and keep working. Know that there will be blocks and obstacles, but with them comes the opportunity to grow and become something more. Kindness and a willingness to learn and collaborate will lead to long-lasting friendships and partnerships with amazing artists across the globe, and future opportunities to do the thing you love most with people you love and respect!

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!! This is such a great idea, I feel like I’ve needed to curate a list of LA’s top hot spots for a while now. Although that will probably be in combination with some of my favorite obscure spots as well. Even though I’ve lived here all my life, there is still so much to explore and see, this city is vibrant and rich in so many different cultures, and I feel lucky to live in it every day! Here are a few of my recommendations:

1. Whenever anyone visiting LA asks me what restaurant they should try, I will always recommend Exotic Thai Cafe in Agoura Hills. It has been a staple in my family for years, and it is genuinely one of my favorite restaurants in the whole city. It might be part of a bigger chain, but particularly the Agoura Hills location is the best. Both the food and service are incredible, and the staff go above and beyond to make your experience a good one. They are so very kind! Their fried rice is unbeatable, but their pad see ew and pad thai are also amazing!

2. Another restaurant I would highly recommend is Patrick’s Roadhouse. It’s a quirky little roadside diner right across from the beach on Entrada in Santa Monica that has brought me so much joy ever since I first went there when I was about seventeen. Both the exterior and interior decoration is so completely charming, and their menu offers a large (and delicious) selection to choose from (plus breakfast served at any time of day?? I’m always into that). On top of all that, they have the BEST coconut cream pie that I have ever had. I am a baker and I still haven’t been able to replicate a recipe as good as that one. I have been there for many celebrations in the past, and the staff are always kind and enthusiastic, their portions are great, and the sunset view of the ocean out the window makes it even better! Plus there are velociraptors on the roof. Need I say more?

3. If you are looking for drinks, I have two very different recommendations for you. Firstly, I would like to recommend The Boba Cafe, in the West Ventura Plaza in Woodland Hills. It is a small store at the very end of the plaza, and the service is both excellent and efficient. If you like boba, then you will definitely enjoy their brown sugar boba and selection of teas and drinks to go with it. As far as I know, all of their milk teas are dairy free as well! I have people in my family who are lactose intolerant, so this makes a big difference to me. If you do not like boba, you can still opt to get a drink without it! Plus, the drinks come in really cute reusable cups. I was only introduced to this place rather recently, and all I can say is, I’m glad I don’t live closer to it, because my bank account would not be happy about it. The second place I would recommend for drinks is the Malibu Wines & Beer Garden. Don’t let the name fool you, it is not in Malibu, but in Sherman Way in West Hills. I was also introduced to this venue rather recently, but it has already become one of my favorite spots. The outdoor garden setting is simply marvelous, and it’s decorated with gorgeous string lights that make everything feel magical. Plus, you can bring a picnic with you and eat whatever you would like while you enjoy your drinks. This place is especially nice if you’re looking for a fun night out while still exercising caution, as it is completely outdoors and wonderfully spacious!

4. As far as entertainment goes, if you are into museums, I would highly recommend the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum. There are always new and exciting exhibits up all the time, and the prices are very reasonable. Tickets are most typically purchased online, and their website details each exhibit so you can know what you might want to explore before you get there! I am endlessly fascinated with Space and astronomy, so the Science Center has always been a favorite of mine. It is also home to the space shuttle Endeavor, which has now been an ongoing exhibit for almost ten years! Both museums pair nicely together for a day trip, and are great for kids and adults alike! I say this from experience. I loved them as a kid, and I adore them as an adult.

5. Griffith Park is an excellent place to take someone who has never (or rarely) been to LA and wants to do something a little more touristy, but not too intense. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but it has a great view of the Hollywood Sign (plus a hiking trail that can lead right to it) and a large portion of the city, and is home to the Griffith Observatory, which, if you’re obsessed with Space like me, is total heaven. There is also a large selection of activities to do at the park if you don’t feel like sitting in the shade, like pony rides and train rides. It’s excellent fun and kid-friendly!

6. If you are willing to take a little bit of a drive, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a MUST-SEE. It’s over in Arcadia, and is 127 acres of gorgeous nature, with different sections for different habitats of the world. Old landmarks rest on the property as well, and if you are an adventurer like me, exploring all the different sections of the park is such a thrilling (and educational) experience! It is also a hot spot for film and television (recently HBO’s “Our Flag Means Death” was filmed there), so you might be able to recognize a few places. Tickets are incredibly reasonable, and it is worth the price of admission! Just remember to wear sunscreen, and be prepared to encounter a few peacocks.

7. The most touristy thing I am going to recommend on this list is going to be the Hollywood Bowl. Tickets can be pricey, especially depending on the event, but if you are in the area and able to get tickets, I would highly recommend it! Whether you are seeing a concert, a show, or a movie set to live music, the experience of being at the Hollywood Bowl and surrounded by Old Hollywood history can be exciting, especially when you are first visiting. I have lived here my whole life and I still feel like a tourist on the occasion that I go to the Bowl, and it’s always so much fun!

8. There are a lot of incredible theatres in LA, both big-budget and regional. Seeing a show at the Pantages is always a wonderful experience that feels like seeing a show on Broadway, even if you can’t book the ticket to New York. As a plus, the Pantages is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, so you can take pictures with your favorite Celebrity’s star before you head in to enjoy the show! The Dorothy Chandler and the Ahmanson are both incredible venues as well, and the shows performed there are always top-notch. If you enjoy Shakespeare in the Park, the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company does an excellent summer season each year at California Lutheran University! If you have a kid with you, check out the 9 O’Clock Players at the Assistance League Theatre! And, of course, The Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture in Malibu is an excellent venue for intimate concerts by the sea, with wonderful musicians that make you feel at home! I say this not as a performer, but as someone who has attended many concerts there in the past. They are a special kind of magic! I give these recommendations with the acknowledgement that there is still so much to explore in LA, and so many wonderful performance venues I haven’t been to yet. When you are here, be adventurous and do a little exploring. You will find unique spots that you could never have learned about online!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so fortunate to have had many people supporting me throughout my artistic journey, and I am so grateful! Thank you so much to my incredible family, especially my parents, Maria Newman and Scott Hosfeld, and my siblings for their constant support, for always catching me when I fall and helping me through any challenge that comes my way. You are all inspirations to me! Thank you to my best friend, for being the greatest support system and cheerleader, and for your advice and willingness to listen whenever I need to bounce ideas off of someone or talk through a particularly difficult challenge. Thank you to all the amazing artists at the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture for giving me my start and continuing to be wonderful collaborators; for always lifting me up and supporting me in my artistic endeavors. Thank you to all the wonderful artists that I have met throughout my journey, for your friendship, support and advice, and the invaluable lessons you have taught me. I am so grateful!

Website: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm13843044/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Instagram: @isabellathatcher

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabella-thatcher-334a37234/

Other: Burn the Witch: The Series Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdz8R9evUmfs43XiRapFrhw (where you can view trailers, promotional videos, and see the show when it debuts) Montgomery Arts House Presents… Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkn4YhhFIi0c6fdslPZygSw (where you can view my work with MAHMA)

Image Credits
Dana Fineman, Juan Tallo, Kim Budd, Martha Thatcher, Katie Herling

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.