We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandy Duarte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balance, to me, is one of the key ingredients to success in life. You cannot be “successful” (whatever that word “success” means to you) without having it. To be busy and working in your chosen field and have poor health (for example), is not true success. Being a workaholic and making money, yet not having time to look up at the sky and take those moments in, is not the mark of true success. So Balance to me is success. As the years have gone by, I have seen the direct correlation of how important it is to take the time to be in nature, in your own stillness, in order to create room for the beautiful work and all-encompassing focus it requires. And with time, I have found what rituals work for me. I never start and end my day with only one speed/focus – I make it a priority to nourish the spirit and mind in between the demands of career, because they need each other and they feed each other. It can be such an esoteric thing to speak about, but simply put, your spirit, your soul has to be fed in order to balance and bring about the beautiful demands of life and career and all that you desire. I wouldn’t enjoy my career as much (or life), and the journey it takes me on, if I didn’t make the time for my own personal spiritual growth, and to do so, requires a diligent mind in making the time and being conscious of it. Balance is power. It seems like such a simple thing to say or try to attain, but it’s the simple things that require the attention. The more time goes by, the more life changes, nature changes, the world changes with you in it – and finding balance to appreciate its vulnerability and strength is life-changing and makes everything much sweeter.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Where to begin? Simply or not so simply, I am an actor. I am a producer. I am a human being wanting to feel and live as deeply as possible, and through this art I have found my voice. I work hard and dedicate my life to what I am passionate about, and I take that work ethic and passion into every project I do. Freedom comes from hard work. I don’t short-change anyone or anything. When you got me, you get me. All of me. That’s what sets me apart. I don’t half-do anything. It wound’t be fair to you or me. There are always challenges in any field, but especially so in the arts. I have always chosen to focus on the positives and benefits rather the obvious challenges. As artists we are very used to the highs and lows of life. The busy and the slow times. Through what seems like a challenge, is actually freedom, it makes you malleable, yet strong. When life becomes too definite and too comfortable, you become of a certain danger to yourself. Challenge, uncertainty, a sprinkling of discomfort is what elevates you to think more creatively outside the box and push harder for growth. I am proud of many things over the years, one especially to speak about is 2019’s critically acclaimed theatre show ‘Fefu and her Friends’ at the long-standing iconic theatre house: The Odyssey Theatre. The ability to work with so many brilliant women (and men!) was something that elevated the show and the timelessness of Maria Irene Fornes’ work. The work was scary, challenging, both individual and collective in nature – it was an incredible mix of all an artists heart desires. I am very proud of our work and being able to touch peoples lives with it. People still ask me about this show – it left an impression and for that I am grateful – its at the core of “the why” I do what I do. Also really excited to have booked a feature film titled ‘Cherry’ during this insane time in the world. We follow Cherry’s life within the span of 24-hours, shot in seven one-take sequences, as she decides whether or not to keep her unplanned pregnancy. We go to camera this month here in LA (September 2020). To work with all the new Covid-protocols and restrictions is truly a testament to ones passion to keep creating art despite the barriers. I commend the entire cast and crew for the dedication, professionalism and respect for everyone involved during this time. I look forward to hearing ‘ACTION’ and finally saying the words for the first time without a mask on. Patience equals progress. All in time. Thank you Sophie Galibert for bringing me on board your wonderful vision. Check her out here: https://www.sophiegalibert.com Lastly, but not least, very proud of the years of being able to live and work in the USA. It has taken much work to expand my art beyond the comfort of my own country (Canada), and to do so in such a tough country as this one makes me feel very grateful and grown. Thank you Los Angeles! In the end, it’s a journey, and I got to where I am right now by staying true to who I am, and constantly facing uncertainty by surrendering to it with courage. Having the confidence and faith that all the years of work, built me up to withstand this and more. Keep learning, doing, growing and stay excited. Be like child! Play, work, repeat.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
You need a lifetime to fully discover all the magic here in LA, but here goes the itinerary – come away with me! – Matador Beach and all along Malibu and the coast – Joshua Tree / Yucca Valley for the endless stars and hot spring dips and spiritual re-charge – Highland Park for great eats and drinks and music surprises at the Hi Hat – Rooftops in DTLA…Love The Ace Hotel – and gimme some delicious italian at Colori Kitchen! – Hikes just about everywhere! Pasadena, Altadena, Arroyo Seco, and of course, you must see Runyon Canyon at least once. – Comedy clubs on the west side – Echo Park and Silver Lake for afternoon coffees & people watching, shopping and dinner – Favourite Art galleries MOCA, The Broad, Warehouse Moca …and one of my favourite climbs up Mount Washington. A gem of a hike all the way up to The Self-Realization spot at the top!
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?
There are really too many people and organizations to thank, that if I started naming and left anyone out, I would cry inside. So, I am going to dedicate this shoutout as my love letter to Los Angeles (and all those in my life everywhere – you know who you are!). Since moving, I have only experienced the most inclusive, creative, open-hearted people. From theatre to film to commercials and print and beyond, I thank Los Angeles for the many experiences that have taken my artistry and growth to another level. …aaaand one specific shoutout to The Odyssey Theatre in West LA (Denise Blasor & Ron Sossi & Odyssey team) and my Fefu-sisters for the eternal magic of ‘Fefu and Her Friends’. The power of theatre is very much alive in this town. Thank you for feeding my soul in 2019.
Tim Leyes @timleyes Peter Bas Koi Wolf