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Meet Mayra Lozano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mayra Lozano.

Mayra, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in the highlands of the state of Jalisco Mexico in a small but beautiful Pueblo called Arandas. I immigrated to the U.S with my parents from Mexico at a very young age. We lived with the bare minimum but were full of hopes and dreams that nourished us through the trying times.

I grew up in the city of Ontario California where the milk dairies thrive and the cow smell becomes your daily perfume. Something that I didn’t mind because I was partly raised on a ranch and more than anything reminded me of home. Though I always felt out of place, and my family had impulses to run back to our native country… I adapted to what I had. Throughout school, I was often subjected to bullying, harsh criticism and feeling unaccepted. Never the less, I pushed through and nothing kept me from becoming involved with any activity that meant standing in front of a crowd and pretending to be someone else. I was unapologetic, passionate, and a fireball when I was able to express myself through any form of art, dance, writing, painting, acting, and modeling. I pursued many forms of art all through high school but was limited in participation when the 2008 economic crisis happened. I was beginning my sophomore year in high school when I knew my life would be very different from everyone else.

My father became unemployed and we lived day by day. I took it upon myself to find a job and began to work as a grocery wrapper at my local Ralphs after school and on the weekends, limiting my participation in many school activities. I learned to balance school and work from the age of 16 and did everything I could to stay active in the theater in any way I could. The idea of pursuing acting was always at the forefront of my dreams but were dimming slowly when the time to apply for college came. My dream school was always USC. However, I dropped out mid application because I was advised by some superior figure that I would never get in. To my parent’s satisfaction, I was accepted to almost every cal state and some UC’s. I ended up turning every single school down and took a 180 turn where my story truly begins. I was accepted to an acting conservatory and decided to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

For the first time in my life, I took the reigns of my future into my hands and decided to pursue the most unstable career known to mankind.

Mind you, I was accepted to UC Davis with a full ride and nearly turned all my family against me with the news that I would be going to an acting academy.

This acting academy is located in West Hollywood and I was in Ontario California, with no chances of moving to Hollywood. But I wasn’t going to let that discourage me from pursuing my passion. It was a two-year program in which I woke up every day at 4:00am to commute an hour and a half there and two hours back. Every single day. I would sleep, rehearse, have breakfast and dress myself all in my car until class started. I would end class after 5 and would be on the 10 freeway bumper to bumper until 7pm. Crazy enough, I never complained. I always looked forward to attending class and I always left incredibly inspired with a ruthless drive to continue the next day. Near the end of my last semester, I came to terms with myself and realized that I was truly nowhere near calling myself an “actor”. More than anything my ambition for learning was not fulfilled quite yet. The “what if” took over my brain. I was once told USC was a school out of my reach, but my intuition said otherwise. It was three days before the deadline when I rushed to complete an application that would have otherwise have taken me over a month. I sent it without having someone revise or proofread it. I believed in my story and I knew I needed to continue my education. Putting all my eggs in this one basket, I called to audition for their Dramatic Arts school. There were no more slots and I was told I would be put on the waitlist for the LA auditions. Didn’t hear back, so I took matters into my own hands and showed up on the day of auditions that were being held at USC.

After roaming the campus aimlessly trying to find where the auditions were being held, I was directed to the right place. I sat in a room with ambitious, overly confident high school graduates who were reciting their Shakespeare monologues to their parents. I waited for hours, contemplating how I would get into the room. I am big on intuition, but my mind was telling me I was doing something wrong and I should leave. However, my intuition kept me put. After the room nearly emptied the coordinator called a name, and no one stood up…He repeated it and I looked around and my feet stood up and before I knew I was walking into the audition room with someone else’s name. I closed the door behind me I immediately said I wasn’t the name they had called, I introduced myself overlapping the voices saying “you can’t” “your name isn’t on the list” and I began the piece I had prepared. Everything stopped and no one said a word. I finished, said thank you and left.

I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at USC in May of 2019.

I worked three jobs all throughout my four years of training at USC to pay tuition, rent, and help sustain myself.

I did many Internships, one which became a part-time job with blogger @iamelainechaya. I collaborated with many filmmakers from the USC film school, I made my way into prestigious Networking events and built relationships with people who have now become my mentors. I received three different scholarships and became involved in serving different communities of the less fortunate. I developed my own projects funded my own short films and traveled for the first time in my life. I also met the love of my life, not at USC but in my homeTown in Mexico, and maintained a long-distance relationship all through college and we are still going strong. USC opened many doors for me. I still feel in disbelief of having had this experience that would set me up for this moment that I only once dreamed of.

I did two acting showcases, one in NY and two in LA in which I was signed by my current reps The Kohner Agency and Industry Entertainment.

After graduating, I moved in with a friend from my acting program, Caroline Haskins who has become my best friend and work colleague. We live in Los Angeles and both work for a Honda Dealership in the Service department along with our many side hustles. Our job gives us enough to live comfortably and gives us the flexibility we need to audition. We are very blessed and grateful to have an incredible boss, Mike DeVille, who is very supportive of our careers and encourages us to pursue our dreams. Although for many people having graduated from USC and working at a dealership seems erroneous (because I am doing something that has nothing to do with my career). I have always been a believer that sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do in order to one day to what you want to do. My current job allows me to sustain myself financially while allowing me to audition and work creatively.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My story is a journey of resilience, sacrifice, and a lot of difficulties. There is a Mexican song that I grew up listening to that says, “life is like a swing, when it goes up it feels amazing and when it comes down it hurts a lot.” I have swung high in the sky and come right back down to the dirt or vise versa. At some points, I accept that it’s the rhythm of life, but yet keep battling to find stability and some sort of smooth road. To summarize just a few things that marked my life and give a sense of some of my struggles, I have gone from having negative dollars in my bank account, to experience the pay of a national commercial. I have lost three figures in my life to suicide. I grew up with alcoholism in my family. I have passed on meals to save money, picked up three jobs at once just to make ends meet and have been verbally or sexually harassed in some way at most of my jobs I have worked at. I have lied countless times to my parents about having money just because I try to avoid all cost having to ask for anything when I know they are in tough situations themselves. I have gone on over 70 auditions in six months and have booked 0 jobs. I quickly learned that it’s the nature of this beast called acting. At first, taking rejection was rough for me and it often felt like I was running in place…but I wasn’t, with every audition you improve and you move the dial. I have always felt there has been more reasons to quit than to keep going and maybe it’s a pride thing, but my one reason to keep going is what gets me up every morning.

All these experiences that I have been through good or bad have shaped me into the woman I am today. They have made me strong, independent, and very much a GO getter. Every bump in the road has been fuel to keep going. Every set back has turned into a strategy to come back stronger. Every NO had been the reason to keep looking for One YES. All these experiences that shaped me have also taught me to empower, support, and build people up because there is enough already in the world to discourage and tear down. Although hasn’t been a smooth road, I try to avoid at all cause the notion of complaining. I don’t like to complain because I know there are people out there in worse circumstances, and just the thought of that has always made me appreciate and be grateful for what I have.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I always thought I was going to be a historian, a poet or a writer because I loved storytelling. I knew I wanted to be an actor when I did my first play in high school, “The Elephant Man”. Although in the times of high school theater it was all about being “ seen” in my years of professional training to follow, I realized the empathy and selflessness was at the core front of being an actor. Every play or film has a message to be given and that’s what made me passionate about pursuing acting. I wanted to give a voice through acting tell a story, and most importantly push for representation on the screen. I am passionate about acting because to me it is a huge privilege, responsibility and a gift to be able to study a character. To have the opportunity to embody, lift words off a page and make a living breathing experience that gets captured by an audience or a camera. I consider myself a versatile actor, with the ability to play a range of things depending on what I wear or how much makeup I have on. I am also very clear about my type and usually only audition for my type.

In any case, I try to prepare and bring as much dimension to anything I get to audition for. In my career, I aspire to see more Latin, Mexican, Latinx, Chicanos, and overall more people of color on the screen. More stories being made like “Crazy Rich Asians” with different cultures. Christmas movies on Netflix that aren’t about a prince but about our beautiful traditions of Posadas and what sitting in the “sala” means etc. There is so much potential and more need for diverse actors. I am driven to one day join the small group of actresses that represent a whole country and culture and help push for more diverse stories. I am passionate about women in Film, helping other mujeres in this industry rise and changing the stereotypes of how Latin women are portrayed on the screen. My goal isn’t to outshine or prove that I can be set apart from others. We are all intricately and uniquely made that I believe there is an opportunity for everyone out there willing to put in the work and preparation that is required to seek success.

I am optimistic and hope that within the next five years, the film industry will be up to par with the expectations of more representation, more diverse stories, equal pay, and more women in film. The dial is being moved and any resistance to these movements are only limiting to a plethora of opportunities. As a young artist, I am excited to be an actress at this time, where already so much is being done in favor of progress. If there was ever a time for me to have chosen this career it is now, and I know that there is a role that I am fit to play in a script somewhere out there.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I am not sure what I could have done differently, that would give me a better result than what I have obtained today. Everything happens for a reason even the bad stuff. Even though sometimes I question what lessons are to be learned or I don’t understand why something is happening I trust that it’s going to make sense someday. I am a risk-taker, I came from nothing and failure isn’t something I fear. There is nothing monumental to lose. The most growth I have experienced is when I have “failed”. It sounds backward but I don’t really learn much when I succeed it’s only when there is a set back where I am force to think outside the box. It’s when I strategize, look for a different path, or try something new. I am not one someone that sits well in comfort zones, it’s only when I am uncomfortable where I feel that progress is being made. Every experience has been a stepping stone to put me where I am today. I am nowhere near being where I want to be, but I definitely not where I started. That’s why I wouldn’t change anything because it has all led me where I am today.

I feel incredibly grateful for the journey that has brought me to where I am today as well as the people who have supported me. To my math teacher now mentor since I was in 7th grade Mr. Cole, my agents, my manager, who are an incredible team of reps. To my parents and siblings who are my backbone and I do everything for. My incredibly supportive boyfriend, my wonderful roommate who I am so lucky to live with and everyone who has been a support, thank you. And thank you Voyage LA for this opportunity to tell my story.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.mayralozano.com
  • Email: jareds@industryentertainment.com
  • Instagram: @mayraaloza


Image Credit:
Paola Toledo @infinitewanderphoto; Sagrario Arias; Gerardo Villaseñor

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