We had the good fortune of connecting with Lydia Caradine and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lydia, how do you think about risk?
I think everything about pursuing a creative career is a risk because there’s always some level of uncertainty. Being an artist is mining your vulnerabilities, pouring everything into your creations, knowing that art is subjective and asking a (not always but often) noncreative person to pay you and validate you. The most obvious, surface level career risk I’ve taken was deciding to stay in LA years ago, even though I was only supposed to be here for one week for a friend’s wedding. I quit my jobs over the phone and willed myself to figure it out- without a car, a job, or a place to live. Though that was spontaneous, there was also an element of seizing the moment. I think risks that meet opportunity are necessary and healthy, and force you to grow as an artist and a person. Since my impromptu move, I’ve also taken opposite risks by turning down opportunities and partnerships that I knew didn’t align with my goals as a writer and actress. Sometimes the biggest risk is betting on yourself, protecting your mental health and your art, and trusting that the right collaborators will appear.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Arriving at this point in my career has certainly not been easy, but it’s absolutely been worth it. My challenges have been myriad- some based on the level of difficulty and the sheer number of people trying to do exactly what I’m trying to do, while some are directly related to my existence as a woman of color. In all instances, I’ve overcome with the encouragement of people who care about me, cheap wine and by reminding myself that nothing brings me as much joy as writing and acting. Inequality exists in every industry so I may as well persevere to do what I Iove. To that end, I’m so pleased that the film industry is currently more receptive to telling stories by and about people of color that continue to shatter stereotypes and offer fresh perspectives that aren’t beholden to a trauma or struggle narratives.
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.
Even though I’m a transplant, I’ve fully adopted LA as my own and I love showing my friends whatever “normal” for LA is! I’d always start by making sure they’re caffeinated at Blvd. Cafecito in Burbank or Beachwood Café in the Canyon. My East Coast friends always want to go to the beach so I like to take them to el Matador in Malibu- the sea caves are amazing, the air is fresher and it’s always less crowded. I love a museum so LACMA and the Getty are always on my list, but if we wanted to enjoy the weather, Descanso Gardens and hiking Griffith Park are favorites of mine as well. Throughout all of this I would of course be praying to the movie gods that the Arclight reopens so that I can show them what movie watching should be like, but if that doesn’t happen, I’d console them with dinner at H.O.P.E restaurant in Studio City for amazing vegan, organic Thai food, or Ysabel in Weho if we’re feeling fancy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to dedicate this shoutout to my mother, Michele Shaw, a BRILLIANT artist who has always inspired me and encouraged me to test the limits of my artistic expression. And Zora Neal Hurston, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith and Amma Asante- astounding black female writers who have paved the way for me to do what I love.
The image credit for the headshot in the purple sweater goes to Kimberlee Peterson https://www.lotta.photo. All other photos are mine.