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Meet Daniella Castoria of Autocorrect: Creative. Empowered. Originals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniella Castoria.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in New York City and raised as a Jersey girl in a small town just 5 minutes away from an 18 mile beach called Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I grew up as a competition dancer starting at the age of five, while also participating in local musicals in my community, as well as trying just about every sport, but my professional journey begins at the age of 16. For my 16th birthday, I decided to take a risk and attend a convention by myself for the very first time in my life. The convention was called Triple Threat Talent Tour and at the convention, I got to Dance, Sing and Act in front of Agents and Managers and the last day concluded with a parents showcase. At the end of the convention, my parents and I were approached by a manager who ended up signing me at the age of 16 and that’s where the journey begins!

I was a very busy High Schooler attending Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, New Jersey at the time. After school, you could find me either at a game or practice with the Junior Varsity Girls Soccer Team, working towards my second degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, attending dance classes four days a week, at a Dance Competition, private vocal lessons or at the beach of course! Now, during school I decided to drop my lunch to take Improv Class from 10th- 12th grade because I was already enrolled in Concert Choir as an elective, and I didn’t have any other room in my schedule. I decided to do this because I hadn’t really had the chance to dive in and study acting as much as I had with dancing or singing and I wanted to learn more about the craft.

Well, it certainly paid off because when I signed with Kennedy Talent Management, I would soon be traveling into NYC a few times a month to attend workshops, meet with my manager or attend classes at Broadway Dance Center or Alvin Ailey and train as a dancer, singer and actress. This leads me to making the move to NYC to attend Marymount Manhattan College my freshman year as a Theater Major and Dance Minor. Which also lead to signing with DDO Talent Agency where I booked my first few commercials within months of signing! While living in NYC, taking classes and auditioning, I found myself destined for an even larger journey. I was presented with an opportunity to send in a self tape audition for an Acting for Film and Television program at a college in California and that’s when my life changed.

In 2016, without ever visiting the west coast, the state of CA and even the school, I left everything that I ever knew and moved over 2,000 miles away to attend Studio School Los Angeles to receive my BFA in Acting for Film and Television; which I successfully completed this past May of 2019, graduating Summa Cum Laude! Currently, I’m an Actress, Dancer, Singer, and Podcast Host. You can find me either in-class training, acting on camera, working on commercials or voiceovers, singing covers or being featured in songs, working on new stunts and choreography with Sword Fights Inc, Choreographing and teaching for an awesome kids camp called Discovery Onstage, or planning my next play to produce and act in. I would say moving across the country at 19 years old while embracing the unknown was undoubtedly the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, but thankfully I’ve loved every moment and it has inspired me to work hard and to continue taking risks in my life and in my career to this day!

Great, 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?
“I am thankful to all those who said no, it’s because of them I did it myself” – Albert Einstein

Being a young emerging actress in this industry I’ve faced many struggles along the way, but one specifically which you would assume would be celebrated in this industry is my own identity. I come from a half Italian and half Dominican descent, it’s who I am and I wouldn’t be me without it. With this, has come many positives but also many negatives. When I turned on the TV growing up as a little girl, I wouldn’t necessarily see myself and what I looked like reflected on the screens. It wasn’t until I decided to be an actress and grew older that I realized that my story and the stories of many multi-ethnic and different minority families have not yet been told. I believe that no matter how hard it is, that it’s my duty to get these stories told and to change what I grew up watching for the generations to come so that they too don’t feel alone. I’m inspired by actresses like Jennifer Lopez, Gina Rodriguez, America Ferrara, Zoe Saldana, Rosario Dawson, and all the woman who are using their voices in this industry to demand that more stories like these get told.

As for many people in this industry, it is almost never a smooth road. As I continue growing and learning on my journey I am encountered with many obstacles to overcome in my life and in my career. I think the biggest lessons and takeaways so far are: don’t trust everything that everyone tells you, you are enough, be kind to yourself and believe in yourself, not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay, and that there’s no right way or path on how to become an actor, so follow your own journey and work hard on you and it will take you where it takes you.

My biggest advice for anyone on their journey is to never give up no matter how hard it becomes, how many times you hear the word “no” or how many times you fall. Create your own path of work and remember there’s a story out there for everyone and in time your’s too will be written.

Please tell us about Autocorrect: Creative. Empowered. Originals.
When I’m not working on my craft, I am keeping myself busy hosting a podcast that I created alongside of my business partner and co-host Sydney Morgan, called Autocorrect: Creative. Empowered. Originals. Our podcast highlights our crazy similar yet also unique stories from attending prestigious colleges in NYC our freshman year to then making the move to LA to transfer into a brand new school located at Los Angeles Center Studios. On our journey’s as emerging professionals, we decided to unite on finding what would be our tool in sharing with you all, which is using our voices as a platform and sharing the incredible voices of many mentors and friends of ours that would soon become a part of our LA family. Each episode, we interview a new mentor or friend who are working actors, dancers, choreographers, singers, writers, and entertainment professionals to be of service to you all, by simply telling their unique stories of their journey and having a discussion platform about a topic of choice on their path. Together, our mission for the show is to be a place to answer questions and give advice to artists in the performing arts, as well as a reminder for artists on why and when they began.

Our podcast highlights our crazy similar yet also unique stories from attending prestigious colleges in NYC our freshman year to then making the move to LA to transfer into a brand new school located at Los Angeles Center Studios. On our journey’s as emerging professionals, we decided to unite on finding what would be our tool in sharing with you all, which is using our voices as a platform and sharing the incredible voices of many mentors and friends of ours that would soon become a part of our LA family. Each episode, we interview a new mentor or friend who are working actors, dancers, choreographers, singers, writers, and entertainment professionals to be of service to you all, by simply telling their unique stories of their journey and having a discussion platform about a topic of choice on their path. Together, our mission for the show is to be a place to answer questions and give advice to artists in the performing arts, as well as a reminder for artists on why and when they began.

What sets us apart is that we are young emerging college graduates who are using our voices to not only be heard in the world but to also give back! As a company, I believe one of our first exciting accomplishments was when Sydney and I found out that we were listened to in over ten different countries in our 1st season! It was both shocking and rewarding and we will continue to use our voices on iTunes and Spotify, as a platform for all emerging artists to be able to tune into!

We recently just released our 2nd season check it out!

Links: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/autocorrect-creative-empowered-originals/id1412586902

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Ooh! This is such a great question! I’m so grateful to have so many favorite childhood memories, but one of my favorites would have to be spending my summers on my boat either cruising or tubing along the bay with friends and family and listening to different local bands sing! This is something I try to make a point of doing at least once a summer every summer, next to spending a relaxing day at the beach with my friends and family who I grew up alongside of, on Long Beach Island!

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Image Credit:
Photographers: Chris Vanderhorst, Jared Trevino, Mckenna Davis, Julia Damato, Bianca Nicolini, Kieran Lyons, Maria Hurle

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