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Meet Laetitia Dreyfus-Leon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laetitia Dreyfus-Leon.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
When I was a kid all the way through my teenage years, I wanted to be all the things: a detective, a ballerina, an Olympic gymnast, a forensic pathologist, an actress, a real estate developer and I’m sure there were many other career paths I wanted to go down! Eventually, my love for performance won and I always said if I was an actor, then I would get to be all of the things I wanted to be. I started acting when I was five years old and never stopped. I was a theater major in college and very lucky to have my family’s full support!

After growing up in Austin TX, studying abroad in Paris France, London England, studying theatre in New York City at Fordham and making the move to LA, I finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing! It was and still is quite the journey. It wasn’t easy and I needed to experience the difficulty of trying to “make it’ as an actor here before I could dive headfirst into what I am now working on. I also finally embraced that I’m an entrepreneur just like my parents and it’s been amazing having their guidance throughout the process of starting a company and getting into real estate.

Let me take it back a quick second because it’ll explain a bit as to how I got to where I am now. My parents were born and raised in Paris, France. They came to the U.S. in the 1970s ended up in Austin TX and never looked back. We still go to France often but ATX has been their home for over 30 years and they love it. They started opening restaurants before I was born and had success there, then they opened a french antique store and that became a bit of a landmark in Austin. Now they own and operate a very successful french cafe in the heart of downtown.

The reason I gave a brief history of my parents is that I do what I do because of them. They inspired and encouraged me to do what I love and make a change (even a small) in the world. They allowed me to have this opportunity. When I said I was going to be a theatre major, I knew it wasn’t my moms favorite choice but it was mine and my family supported me one hundred percent. When I called and told them I was starting a production company (news flash that’s as hard a being an actor out here), they were over the moon and so excited I wanted to start a company.

So, after living in LA for several years and working hard to break into the film and television industry, I got tired of being told to spend more money on this and that and getting all around just discouraged. I happened to meet my business partner Sarah Phillips around the time where I was wondering if I should keep working on this path or go down another. She and I bonded over musicals and how we wanted to see the number of women in front of and behind of the camera increase so we started a company. Phileon Productions is one of the things I’m most proud of, I get to act which honestly is my greatest love, I get to produce and create stories that we want to tell and most of all we get to make sure that our crew and cast are equal in the number of women and men on them. I also was fortunate to meet my writing partner Elizabeth Izzo who always works with Phileon and who helps me get the stories she and I would like to tell on to the page.

The next step on my journey was to do something that I loved, that would allow me the flexibility to film and produce projects and be able to fund them. So after many years of working in the restaurant industry, I finally left and became a licensed realtor. I joined The LA Home Girl Team owned by the first friend I ever made in Los Angeles and Kenya has helped and supported me through both real estate and film. She was one of Phileon’s first clients!

I have now have a half or fully funded over four of our projects and it’s been the most wonderful feeling. It’s hard work and can be overwhelming at times but worth every tear, laugh, struggle and sense of accomplishment. I’m doing what I love and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Please tell us about your art.
I share stories. As an actor, I live through every situation imaginable and do my best to inspire or move someone with my performance. I’m an actor some times the comment I get is “so you must be a good liar” and that couldn’t be further from the truth. My art is to tell the truth, even it wasn’t originally my truth but when I am acting whatever my character is living it is true to them and therefore, me.

I produce and act in films and theater. I make films and I create a window into another world with similar or different perspectives to what an audience member might know.

I want to inspire not just other artists and young women who want to act, write and produce but to show them that there is no right path, there is no right way to do it, everyone will find a different way. Never in a million years did I think I would be doing real estate and funding my own films. But here I am and I love it.

I want to touch people with the stories we tell, because you never know what someone else is going through and if the part I play in a film or theatre makes them feel like I understand something that they have gone through or are going through, then I did something good, that person felt understood.

I hope that I can continue to make changes in the entertainment industry, no matter how small it may seem because any change is a good one.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
As an artist I define success in two ways:

1 – No matter how challenging it is to create and produce a film, a play or create a character, I always ask myself am I happy? I think it is essential that your art brings you joy – If it does, I consider that success.

2 – The second thing I would consider is essential to success is, am I still learning or discovering something new with every film or play I work on? As artists, we must continue to grow, there is no ceiling with art – we always have to strive for the next level.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Peter Hurley (headshots), Sarah Phillips

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