Today we’d like to introduce you to Audra Colino.
Audra, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was always a performance artist from the moment I could walk and talk. Some of my earliest memories were of me putting on shows for my parents – playing dress-up, setting up a stage, memorizing monologues from Harry Potter films to even sitcoms like Seinfeld. I developed a love for acting and knew that’s what I wanted my life pursuit to be when I was 12. I look through a permanent contact lens of creativity. Poetry and writing in any form became my next love, then further into playing instruments. If I’m not doing one thing, I’m doing the other. To this day I still find new projects to unleash my imagination and fantasies. I found my home in Los Angeles, an opposite world from where I grew up in Rochester, NY. I needed a city to house my big heart and mind, and moving here in 2016 has given me the chance to give my inner-artist a voice.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggles in my life were when I had to grow up in a blink of an eye. This was when my mom passed away in 2009 when I was 13 years old. It was sudden, heart-wrenching, and matured me up quick just a few months before my first day at high school. My mom has always lived within me, through my writing and performing. She always wanted to be a journalist and dancer, and I feel as if there’s not even a small part – a definite big part – of her inside of me pumping my heart and magnetizing me to performance expression.
Deja vu happened in 2016 when my father then passed away only three days after I moved to LA. I was 20. I road-tripped cross country with my best friend for a couple of months over the summer, and I knew deep down when I said goodbye before we left, it was the last time I was ever going to see him. I flew right back to NY, in a surreal haze of existing in between coasts, now orphaned, and extremely unaware to live my life completely on my own.
I am terrified of loss, yet it lives inside of me every day. It’s a part of me. A lot of my slam poetry readings are about my parents, about feeling completely alone in the world and unable to bring back people who gave you so much joy. I was very thankful to have such loving parents in my life, but giving a voice to lose and emptiness in the world is something I connect very deeply with. I strive to put limitless effort and emotion into my own personal pieces and any work I do.
Please tell us about your work.
I call myself a performance artist because it encapsulates the insane amount of projects and hobbies and interests I have. I specialize in stage acting, the theatre is what I grew up in for over a decade. It’s my safety net, my home away from home. I tear up at the thought of theatre, it’s a literal living and breathing entity to me. I also enjoy the film, music videos, modeling, any other form of acting in front of the camera or a live audience. Anywhere where I can embody another soul, I’m there.
Around the time when I decided to pursue acting as a career, I also began my journey as a poet. I’d say, so far, this is my biggest accomplishment. In 2015, I put out my own self-published poetry collection “Cradle Bones” with Lulu Press. I had so many pieces of work and was writing an insane amount I was like, “Fuck it. Let’s publish a book.” And so I did. My next step is to take my next influx of poetic works and get published with a press company in LA.
I think my capacity for love sets me apart from others. There are no bounds to how much effort I can put into a piece or performance, character, a painting, a movement… It runs through me like water. I have lost so much in my life that I have gained so much love from it. There is a large deepness and significance and importance to honing your love – for your art, for yourself, your people – and exuding it in every form. It’s what drives me to be raw and true, it drives me to be alien and seen.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh my gosh, every creative figure in my life deserves credit for helping me do what I do. Anyone who has encouraged me, pep-talked me, praised me, criticized me…THANK YOU. I feed off of any new information and inspiration. My poetry and acting teachers from high school, thank you. The theatre staff and students at CSUN and SUNY Plattsburgh, thank you. My friends and family who support my wild endeavors, thank you!
Currently, I work a lot with Ben Romero and Lost Angeles. These are two amazing artists who are in the creative boat with me, starting from scratch and following their dreams. Ben is a friend of mine who has shot and edited these photos for the magazine! I knew right when we started creating concepts for photoshoots I knew I found my artistic soulmate. His visions are ridiculously fun and challenging, so inspiring and damn good at what he does. Lost Angeles is one of my closest friends from the theatre at CSUN, an incredible queer pop artist and writer. The talent is immaculate, we are always sharing poems and songs and ideas, dishing back and forth to one another, even outside of college now. Someone, I sincerely look up to and so glad to call my friend.