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Life & Work with Diana Tinker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Tinker.

Hi Diana, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Hello, it is my pleasure and thank you for having me. I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York to Puerto Rican parents. At an early age I enjoyed performing on stage, I took every opportunity to participate in every school play, dance project, music performance and was part of a chorus and performed at Lincoln Center. I came from a simple home where mom worked to provide while grandma helped to raise my brother and I since my father wasn’t really involved in our lives. I had no idea I can pursue the arts as a career, so I followed in my mom’s footsteps learning stenography/typing and landed a job on wall street as an administrative assistant. Manhattan is another world… I was introduced to different cultures, food, people. I remember watching videotapes of a friend in acting classes and that “honey” lightbulb went on! After tons of questions, I enrolled in different acting classes, had headshots, started networking and began booking work. This journey allowed me to explore my creative side as one job led to another… I worked off off broadway, commercial, film, television, voice over, print work, and as a foot model. I even enjoy cooking (as my mom was always in the kitchen making everything from scratch) and would have friends over for holiday parties with my brother being the DJ. Everyone raved about the food, so it inspired me and we began catering down the road, then opened the first Puerto Rican food truck when I moved to Los Angeles. Being innovative with space is also joyful for me. My apartments were so inspirational to many of my friends and some hired me to shop and decorate their space.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Of course NOT, I recently had this conversation with my husband. I have worked incredibly hard to be where I am today, nothing has been easily given to me, but my due diligence has gotten me this far, I get it that from my mom and I’m very proud of it. I remember being typecasted when going to auditions, the same roles being offered to us “Latinas”, either the maid or the prostitute, never the lawyer or doctor. Thinking some roles were finally starting to become available for Latina’s, since at that time Rosie Perez opened that door for us, but no. This now led to “you don’t sound Puerto Rican like Rosie Perez”, can you do it again? I trained to get rid of my Bronx Puerto Rican accent in the hopes of not being typecasted, in addition, we all do not sound like Rosie Perez. Another challenge was not looking Puerto Rican enough, or not knowing what my nationality was… My acting coach and I came up with a name to respond whenever I was asked what my nationality was, I would simply answer I’m a FiloBlackLatina, I cover all markets. This took care of “are you Latina or African American or Filipina”?

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I wear several hats, many artists do, we are creative. I moved to Los Angeles with my husband after purchasing a house a couple of years prior to our move. I immediately went into renovation mode and quickly fell in love with this process. Fast forward to today, we have founded a residential redevelopment company, Houze 2 Home Solutions LLC. We buy houses, fix them and put them back on the market for sale. It’s not just about a flip though, for me it’s about helping someone who may be going through a distressed situation and can no longer afford to pay the mortgage, for whatever reason, and perhaps going into preforeclosure. This is when we can step in and offer them a fair price for their home (after a free evaluation), as is, no repairs needed in the hopes they won’t go into foreclosure. We offer a solution to their situation, many don’t realize they have options, we pay Cash and close on their timeline. I find this to set us apart from many that want a quick flip. I want to help the community as I do my flip.

Some folks can not afford to renovate the home and the house may have been neglected now being the ugliest one on the block. Purchasing it from the owner if they can’t handle it anymore, then fixing it for resale, it helps the community, it helps the economy (and you find many residents in the vicinity start fixing up their homes, which overall adds value to the neighborhood. I am proud of helping others along the way, no matter what I choose to do as a career.

I have not pursued acting since I moved to Los Angeles but was referred by a dear friend, and fellow actor/producer/director, and was casted as Alma for “Try” Film Project (2020), Award Winner Voices Rising Film Festival 2021, Official Selection from Rhode Island Black Film Festival 2021, Seattle Black Film festival, and being released at the International Black and Diversity Film Festival in June 2021. Check out the trailer https://vimeo.com/476078818. I was also casted as Sandra for the mini-series Six Degrees of Ella (2020). Ohhhhh, “story telling” how I have missed you! In between all of this, I have been a freelance makeup artist for events, weddings, special occasions, and I have worked in luxury retail stores for high end cosmetic and skincare companies.

What does success mean to you?
Success is being happy. Happy working on one of my crafts is success. Having a good balance in my life is success. My relationship with my husband, immediate family, closest friends that know me very well, all of the rescued dogs that became our fur children is also defined to me as success.

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