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Conversations with Paula Velasquez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula Velasquez.

Hi Paula, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was born in Venezuela and since I was a little kid, I was always very creative and extroverted. My family is a family of dancers, and I was always surrounded with that culture. I started performing very young because of that since I was three years old. I loved being on stage, whether it was dancing, singing or theater. It always made me feel so alive and it was a feeling that I couldn’t find anywhere else. My family was always very supportive of me performing, I believe they always knew that I was meant to be an artist, and in my heart I knew it too.

I moved to Mexico City when I was seven years old and I started competing more professionally as a dancer with a dance troupe and started doing more theater at the same time. I could not imagine doing anything else.

At the age of fourteen, I had to move to Cancun with my family and that is when a lot of things changed for me. It was a very small town and I couldn’t really do the things that I was really passionate about. Instead, I started playing more sports, which I enjoyed very much but it wasn’t the same feeling as to being on stage performing.

When I was in my last year of high school, I had to finally made a choice of what I wanted to do in life, what I wanted to go to college for. That decision was not an easy decision to make. Even though I knew I wanted to perform and do something related with the arts, I was so scared because I stopped for four years and I did not know how to get back into it and how to tell people that that was really my true passion in life.

Four months before I graduated from high school, my dad told me an acting school in New York showed up on his Facebook profile. Him and my mom told me that if I wanted to try some courses there, they were going to support me. I had never imagined to go to a different country away from my family, but these were my dreams, this was something that I knew I had to try. I had such a good feeling about this, my gut knew this was something I had to do, so I moved.

New York changed my life, that acting school that I went to for acting and musical theater courses ended up being my future college just in the LA campus. After I finished my two months courses in New York, I decided I wanted to study my full BFA on acting.

I moved to LA three years ago and I graduated from college about seven months ago. I will always be so grateful with my family for pushing me and supporting me because without that advertisement showing up on my dad’s profile, I don’t know if I would be here today. I believe this is where I am meant to be. Acting is my true passion and being able to live my dream everyday is just such a blessing.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There were definitely obstacles on the road. Getting the visa, filling out all the paperwork, the round of auditions, traveling back and forth, leaving my family.

There were multiple obstacles, but I would say my main obstacle was my mind. I was so afraid to go back to performing after all of those years that I didn’t. I thought to myself “how am I going to do this?”, “I am good enough still?”, “what are people going to think?”.

It was definitely more of a personal obstacle but I finally decided one day that if I didn’t do that now, then when?. My heart knew I needed to take that big step in order to grow, but also in order to follow my dreams, I had to sacrifice some things and battled my insecurities.

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 currently working on different projects, some short films and I worked on my first feature film early this year.

I am also writing some shorts with some amazing friends and working on my upcoming web series “The Feminine Side” that comes from a feminist perspective of what coming of age looks like for teenage girls and its struggles.

I would say that people really know me for how committed I am with my craft and how in touch with my emotions and feelings I am as well. I feel very deeply and acting has really helped me to channel my hypersensitivity into my work, that helps me create such raw performances and I believe people can see that once we collaborate together. Being so emotional and so aware of those emotions and feelings has helped me grow and be a better performer and I would consider that my biggest strength. Also, not being afraid of trying new different things, always having an open mind and heart when it comes to the craft helps a lot to achieve an amazing project.

I am very proud of this entire journey, getting out of my comfort zone and be where I am today. Being able to not only perform but also get outside of that box and explore more as an artist. I started my new journey as a writer about a year ago and it has opened my eyes in so many different ways. I have grown so much as an artist since I started writing and really getting to explore other fields of this beautiful industry, such as writing, directing, etc.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Consistency. I believe that if you want to achieve your goals and live the life that you want for yourself, strive and live your dreams, you have to be consistent and work hard. We all have fears and obstacles in our lives, but if you really want something, you will be able to find a way. Do not give up on your dreams. There is a quote that says, “Life is like a mountain. Hard to climb, but once you get to the top, the view is beautiful.”

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