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Conversations with Tina Vonn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Vonn.

Hi Tina, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve always loved photography. My dad gave me my first camera when I was a teenager and I first learned to shoot in film in black and white. I couldn’t afford a high-end camera for years and when I could finally afford one it was one of my happiest days. I taught myself by watching youtube videos and looking up photography blogs, so I hope anyone interested in photography knows that they can do it themselves with some google searches!

I’m also a singer/songwriter, screenwriter and actress and I fought a long time to be able to incorporate all of my artistic loves into my career. My friends would tell you that my voice and music is probably my number one talent but I personally just love expression and being able to share my forms of storytelling with others. I’m happy that I’m able to do it in multiple media. Art is in my blood and always has been, I’m not sure the person I would be without it. Probably very boring!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t been a very smooth road to be honest, living in LA is very expensive and for a long time, I struggled to pay my bills and rent. I had multiple jobs at the same time and unfortunately photography equipment costs and arm and a leg! I don’t think many people do photography as a random hobby unless they have money!

I also sing, act and am a screenwriter and it’s pretty hard to find the time to fit it all in. I know most people would say it’s not feasible to have multiple career choices but I’ve worked really hard to allow myself to follow my heart. I worked as a server and in really menial jobs for a long time and I made the decision to put myself and my happiness first. Everyone needs to make money so I don’t discount how much those jobs helped me in the past. But I’m really glad that I took a chance on myself and trusted my talents and gifts enough to become my own boss. It doesn’t work for everyone and it’s definitely hard sometimes but I’m happy now.

It’s definitely a struggle living in LA as it is, but also “competing” if you will with all of the other incredible artists here. I don’t like to think of myself as a competitor, I don’t compare myself to others. I think there’s enough work to go around but honestly in the entertainment industry you are in a way competing against others especially in auditions that’s the pure definition of it. So I try and just remember that I am unique and special as I am and someone will see my uniqueness and it’ll be just what they’re looking for.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m currently working with my writing partner Jordana Howard on a few scripts and really excited about our partnership. We’ve been writing together since last March and have two horror feature films and one thriller pilot done and I’m helping her with an animated film she wrote and now we’re ready to shop them around! We specialize in horror/thriller and we’re a female writing team. There’s not a ton of us out there! We’ve come to realize that not everyone loves horror films! This has been one of the highlights of my artistic endeavors, it makes a huge difference when you work with someone you love. We balance each other out with our strengths and it’s been really inspiring watching her work ethic and seeing how she balances her work/life and I can say without a doubt I’ve learned a lot from her.

I’m a photographer for my main job and I specialize in events, portraiture and nature photography. I’ve been working with my friend Felicia Quintero Huertas for her catering/events company Fusion Events LA since last year! She’s been really essential in helping me to see my potential and I absolutely have to credit her with helping me to see that I can work for myself and be my own boss. It’s been a long road of self-discovery and confidence and I’m really grateful for her. With photography, I love to find the beauty in the natural. Of course, I edit and use photoshop but I try to stay as real as I can and not overly skin smooth or remove the truth from my photos. It’s one of the things I’m proud of, helping people see their natural beauty.

As an actor, I’m currently exploring my funny side which I never thought I had but apparently, everyone else thinks I’m hilarious. I always tell them it’s just because I do stupid and ridiculous things all the time. It’s never intentional! But hey I’m leaning into it and maybe it’ll open some doors for me!

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
As an actor everything is a risk. I moved across the country from Chicago when I was 18 years old and I knew no one here. It’s a huge risk just putting yourself out there to be judged in auditions, in class, on stage, networking, etc. And I can’t lie and say I didn’t have some issues to work out before being able to trust my talents and let myself just do these things that I love. But I have to say the support from my best friends Jennifer Dees and Julianne Arrieta who are also actors and artists has truly opened my eyes and allowed me to trust the process and trust myself. There’s no way around being judged, it’s who we are as people so I now just try to remember that there really is no one like me and there’s a place for me. Just like there is for you. No one ever said Beige is their favorite color!

When I started doing photography that was a really huge risk. Financially mostly. Being a new photography business owner is so volatile and there were some months that I barely made anything. Photography equipment is insanely expensive and the time it takes to learn the craft is partly why photographers charge a pretty penny. One thing I did for a long time was undervalued myself. I’ve learned that I deserve to be paid for my time and talents and I’m working on charging my worth now. I’m also terrible at talking about myself, so I think really knowing that I absolutely have to promote myself and I have to do all of the work myself makes me work harder. I have no one to rely on.

I’m not typically a risk taker. I usually appreciate comfort and the known but my loved ones have really hammered it in me that I’m talented and I should and could be using my gifts to be successful. I watched them doing it themselves and it really inspired me. I think covid really opened my eyes to how important it is to be happy and I really wasn’t before. Now that I make my own schedule and I can pick and choose what projects to work on is something I really don’t take for granted especially living in this city. I think it’s great if you want to have the comfort of being an employee and it’s great if you don’t. No one’s path is the same and everyone’s needs and desires are different and for me, I wish that I had done this sooner.

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Tina Vonn

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