To Top

Check Out Loren Escandon’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Loren Escandon.

Hi Loren, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am an actress and self-taught director living in L.A., and my artistic journey started pretty much forced by poverty and circumstances. I was born in Cali, Colombia, during the times when, unfortunately, the cartels were beginning to change the way of living in my country. My mother, trying to keep me away from the despairing realities of my neighborhood, came home one day with the idea that I should audition for the National Ballet School, I was eight and had no idea what ballet was. Still, the students spent their entire day on the campus, and my mother saw in that school a way to open up a world of possibilities and remove me from the influences already enclosing my childhood friends. So, I became a ballerina, a painful physical and emotional journey. I loved it despite the challenges, but I knew ballet was not my path. 

After High school, I was curious about many different things, making it hard to choose what I wanted to do next. I decided to study Spanish and Literature. I knew then, as I know now, that I wanted to tell stories; I was there for a couple of years and still felt this void, so I switched to Journalism. My parents weren’t thrilled with the idea, as the violence in Colombia had increased and good journalists were being murdered. My mother used to say that if I became a journalist, I would undoubtedly make a few enemies with my big mouth. She was probably right. I am not a fan of filtering ideas or thoughts. So, I transferred to the theater program for everyone’s peace of mind. Acting is a “low risk” path. Lol! Theater school was fascinating. I realized I missed being on stage; it felt natural and made me feel alive.

Then a more significant transition came when I moved to NYC. Initially, I planned to stay a few months, learn English, and head back home, but I was captivated by the pace, theater, and people, and I stayed. 

I worked with Repertorio Español, and La Tea, two well-known Latinx companies in NYC. Later, I got involved with IATI theater. Until then, I was focused just on being an actress. However, with IATI, I had my first experience as a writer and producer. I created and performed original material with their guidance and experimented with physical theater. I will always be grateful to them, as that experience opened up an entire world of possibilities for me as a storyteller.

After a short period of living in Denver, I moved to L.A. It felt like I was starting all over again, which was scary and exciting. Part of my fear of moving to L.A. was that I had only one T.V. credit, no friends, or representation, and I had no idea where to start. It was a rocky road. A lot of self-doubt and anxiety crippling in. I started learning T.V. and film acting, connecting with people, auditioning an insane number of times, and being “rejected” daily.  That “rejection,” I now call Redirection. 

This is how it works for me: Every person in the business suggesting I get rid of my accent or every stereotypical character I have auditioned for has inspired me to write. To create worlds where BIPOC people with accents from different backgrounds and countries are presented under circumstances that are just human, without stereotypical preconceptions of our place and role in America. That Redirection has empowered me to create spaces where I could fit.  I have adventured into directing, screenwriting, and producing for film, which has been a complicated and fulfilling task.

That’s the elevator pitch of how I got here. High Rise Elevator.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Smooth road? Is that a real possibility in life? If it is, I don’t really want it. Difficulties sharpen your senses, fuel your soul, make you, YOU. I have encountered many struggles, and with every battle comes a life lesson. Race has been a struggle that has shaped a fundamental part of my worldview. My mother was black and my father white, and from a very early age, I had difficulties understanding and finding a language where I felt comfortable with my identity. I always had the inclination to identify as black; however, people quickly corrected me, “you are not black; you are cafe con leche,” and I would take it, not without discomfort, but never standing for myself. It was excruciating because I had witnessed the racism my mother encountered most of her life, and I still didn’t have the confidence to speak up. Colorism in my country, like many others, weighs in every aspect of society. However, that struggle helped me develop a strong sense of self, who I am and who I want to be, and the balance of equity and justice and enhanced my need to create spaces where diversity thrives through my storytelling.

Another struggle that has taken me a lot of time to overcome is “doing things by the book.” I grew up in an environment where going to school was the only way to do things. Academia was everything. And don’t take me wrong, I believe in education, but I have grown to understand that there are other ways to make things happen that can be less conventional but equally effective. There are multiple ways to reach a goal, and you need to choose the one that suits you best. And in that, I have come to practice not comparing myself with anyone else. My journey is mine, unique, and it is my choice to make the best of it.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a storyteller, and I use acting and filmmaking as my primary mediums. My focus is to create inclusive, socially relevant, and emotionally charged stories from women of color perspectives and explore their realities directly resulting from demographic, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds. At the moment, my film Los Patines is successfully screening in festivals in the U.S. and around the world. It is a story based on my mother’s childhood experience as a domestic slave. With this project, I am not just proud of the bountiful festival journey but also the way audiences all over have received such a personal story.

As an AfroLatina creator, It is essential for me, through my art, to be part of the changes Hollywood and our community are facing. To bring attention to the well-known idea that diversity doesn’t exist without inclusion, and inclusion goes hand in hand with equity. With that goal in mind, I am now focusing on finding financial support and artistic collaborators to bring to life two projects. One is a short film called Gris, about race from the perspective of a Colombian immigrant whose identity has been questioned since her childhood; and a pilot Fortyx, about four strong Latinx, Gen-X women dealing with life challenges in North East LA.

Overall, in my artistic path, it is essential for me to always include collaborators from underrepresented groups to be part of my creative process and, hopefully, as a result, to motivate them to create and expand in their own storytelling while we all benefit from the amplification of our voices. My next goal is to break into T.V. and feature film directing.

What matters most to you?

 As a human and artist, what matters to me is to connect people through stories. We are living in complicated times. Ideological, social, and economic divisions are more pronounced by the day, and I think we need to reconnect as a whole and society. It is vital for us to recognize that we are all going through the human experience, and we are all part of it. We are not as different as we have persuaded ourselves to believe.

And storytelling is a mirror where we can all see each other, recognize our differences and embrace them simultaneously; it’s a space where empathy can be seeded. It is why storytelling is the most ancient and powerful tool that WE ALL possess. It’s an art that heals.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

1- Photo By Karla Solarte
2- Casa Grande TV show – Photo by Gigi Malavasi
3- For the People ABC
4- Dancing – Photo by Gina Cholick
5- Patines awards – Photo by Victor Curtis
6- 7 – 8 – Behind the Scenes – Los Patines – Photo by Victor Curtis
9 – Los Patines Poster a design by Aurora Vega
Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in local stories