We had the good fortune of connecting with Lissette Camacho and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lissette, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risks embodied a massive part of my life, from opening my mouth to say my name, hoping I wouldn’t stutter, as a kid, to moving cross country knowing no one in sight for film school, and taking the challenge of directing projects. I was afraid of taking risks most of my life, but choosing to manifest happiness was the hardest one to date.
Growing up, I was a closeted lesbian. I knew I was different from the age of ten while in Catholic school, but I also knew if I ever expressed how I felt to anyone, my life would endure hardship. My anxiety grew worse and worse as I got older and as I shoved my feelings down deep. At 20 years old, I came out to my friends and family, and my anxiety came less as I embraced my sexuality.
Moving to California at 26 slit me open in the best way, unleashing my passions, my loves, and everything that makes me, me. I embraced the indifference and expressed my goofy side and attraction towards women openly. My confidence grew exponentially, and now I feel that even though my anxiety gets to me at times, I still know what I want, and I’m not afraid to get it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My grandma would always tell me that nothing comes easy in life, especially if you have a passion for it. She was always true to her word and I know that she is always with me in spirit. May she rest in peace.
Growing up, I struggled between my love for medicine and my love for writing. After being told in undergrad that I could never make a career in writing, I kept it as a hobby until I realized one day, while in a medical grad program, that I wasn’t happy. I looked around the classroom. Everyone was enthused in learning about medicine, and I was just there, still figuring out why I wasn’t feeling the same way. I felt like something was wrong with me. I ended up taking a leave of absence to figure out what I wanted. I started by googling what I can do with a biology degree while searching for classes on creative writing. I found Emory Continuing Education in Atlanta, GA and took intro to creative writing as my first class, and it was the first time I ever raised my hand confidently and didn’t stutter. And then a professor there encouraged me to take improv, and that did it for me.
Improv was what I needed to help find my voice and challenge myself in different ways by jumping into characters, as I do with screenwriting, and become one with them, for the moment in time. I’m so grateful for that experience, because I learned so much about myself, and was able to take the knowledge to apply to the New York Film Academy, which has helped pave my way in this industry by providing the knowledge and skills to survive it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My itinerary would definitely include the beach, because my best friend and I are lovers of the ocean: Santa Monica Pier and Beach & Venice Beach.
Day activities would include: The Grove-LA, Warner Bros Tour, Sunset Ranch Hollywood, LACMA, and Griffith Observatory and Park.
Evening activities would include: Universal Studios City Walk, The Last Bookstore, the Laugh Factory, and the Staples Center, if one of our favorite celebrities is showcasing there.
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?
My parents have been my number one support system from day one, and I couldn’t have left medicine and pursued a new career in screenwriting if it wasn’t for their support. My mom tells me daily, “I am just waiting for your box office hit, so I don’t have to work anymore,” and I would say jokingly, “No pressure.” They listen to all my crazy stories and ideas, and I don’t know what I would do without them.
Seda Anbarci was a classmate of mine from my time at New York Film Academy. Because of the pandemic, we grew closer and developed a powerful bond that eventually led us to become writing partners. We push each other every day, no matter how tired we are, and write. We are each other’s accountability partners and dumpsters when we need to vent. We are an open book and don’t hold anything back. I’m so grateful to have her in my life as my soul sister, friend, and writing partner.
An honorary mention goes out to Mayra Esquea-Cruz. Since I was three years old, she has known me and has treated me as her third daughter ever since the day she met me. She served as a tremendous support system throughout my entire life. Mayra challenges me to be the best person I can be and remain true to myself always.