We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Baptista and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, what do you want people to remember about you?
“I own who I am. I am easily forgotten, but that’s okay because I think I’m pretty memorable in the moment, and that is where I try to live.”
I can’t say I’ve thought about this question very often. I try to approach my present with conviction and passion, openness and humility. I don’t always get it right, but I always try. So today, I will try to venture this.
I think legacy might have a lot to do with certainty. The qualities or things people really see, feel, latch on to. I guess as an actor and writer, or “content creator,” I’m always leaving a piece of myself behind — breadcrumbs, roadmapping the person I am growing into and hope to be remembered as. All the little certainties for people to follow. It’s complicated, ever-changing, and often messy. But legacy is only as good as the road left behind.
“Just…remember me. Remember this. Remember us, yeah?”
In many ways, a major turning point in my roadmap was when my creative partner Sagan and I set out to create a series that encapsulated all the things we loved in content at the time. We wanted a complex ensemble (thanks, Grey’s Anatomy), in a sci-fi / genre tone (thanks, Orphan Black) presented in a short and compelling amount of time (thanks, Carmilla). Above all, we wanted to tell a story that encapsulated how we wanted to be seen in our industry. Thus birthed Here We Wait – the story of the waitstaff of purgatory.
Here We Wait is known worldwide in the short-form market. It won awards. And rightfully so, thanks to the incomparable creatives that brought it to life both in front of and behind the camera. I am incredibly grateful for them all. I hope Sagan and I are remembered for our gratitude and excitement every moment of the process. I hope the series’ legacy is one of inclusion; that anyone who watches the show feels seen, changed, entertained.
“…Is yourself in 5 years a cry for help?”
A few years later I moved to LA with my best friend and we decided it was time to create again. This was a story about us, our friendship — with all its love and dysfunction — with the goal to bring a smile to people’s faces.
Thus came Growing Nowhere. The entire idea being, if you’re going to grow nowhere in life, wouldn’t you rather do it together, with the people you love? This series was created for and with friends — more for fun than accolades, though it brought plenty of both. It was lauded for its jokes, for its female representation, for its heart. I am glad it is remembered for these. It’s message is one I try to live by and will be a legacy am proud to leave behind.
Now both Here We Wait and Growing Nowhere will be premiering later this month on IFT Network. It is, if nothing else, certainly an acknowledgment that this road is worth paving.
“And I try to turn this pit of fear into fuel. But it is not easy.”
I think upon reflection, this is my legacy thus far: someone trying to create something meaningful and entertaining, for others as much as for myself. Because entertaining should be a communal experience. Can one’s legacy be communal? I’d like that.
Because while one pursuit as a creator / artist is the obvious reflection of self, it is also just as importantly to strive to see others as much as I want to be seen. Because when we are seen, I think we feel a level of certainty in our work, our choices, our existence.
So, in the interest of being seen, if the road left in my stead says something… I hope it includes:
That I try to have an answer for everything.
That I’m learning to admit that I’m still searching when I don’t.
That I lived everyday true to my convictions, even when they were met with resistance.
That I loved fully.
That I was willing to listen.
That I was frequently wrong.
That I am terrible at apologizing but sure as hell try.
That I discovered how some things can be made up of facts, but not necessarily the truth.
That parts of creating make life as an artist feel worthwhile. Parts can make it feel worthless. But the whole of it is worthy of note.
Is it completely lame to quote your own writing? I think it probably is. But that’s the closest thing to permanence I know how to have. It’s the closest thing to legacy I got.
But Greater-Power willing, I’m still leaving behind a ton of breadcrumbs. So that maybe, someone else can see the art, watch the content… and feel seen to the closest amount of certainty.
I certainly think we all deserve that.
Thanks for reading.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Most recently, I can be heard in the new James Patterson Audible series The Coldest Case. But otherwise, definitely covered a bit of this in the legacy Q!
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.
We’d spent the entire time eating. And we’d start off the way folks in LA do — driving. Hop around to some of my favorite grab and go spots like Sonoratown and Zhengyalov Hatz and Carla Cafe. Spread it all out in a park picnic. We’ll call it first lunch. Second lunch and cocktails would be the Waldorf Astoria rooftop because you can’t get a better view in the city. At some point we’d hit Gucci Osteria to gush over all things Massimo Bottura. Then we need to walk it all off. I love walking around LA, miles and miles, usually to a different coffee shop destination. It’s the best way to experience the neighborhoods. I’m not much of a dessert eater so we’d probably end the night stopping off at whatever restaurant we pass that I have yet to experience for “dessert.” Okay, I need to stop now because I’m getting hungry and this list will never end. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh, gosh. If you didn’t catch my drift above, my success is a direct result of the community around me. I’m just gonna hit the majors:
My creative partners. Sagan, Christina, our respective work together wouldn’t be nearly as fabulous as it is if not for you. You both challenge and inspire me in the best ways. You are endless wells of ideas. If I’m gonna grow nowhere in this industry, I choose to do it with you two any day.
And my sounding boards who never flinch when they get bombarded with drafts. Every writer needs ‘em. Mom, Dad, Frankie, Laila.
Other: Here We Wait and Growing Nowhere to stream on IFT Network: https://www.iftnetwork.com/signup