Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Vonn.
Tina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My life has been pretty full of exciting, dramatic, and interesting experiences, it’s going to be pretty hard to condense it into a brief overview but I love a challenge! I’ll get the negatives out of the way first. I lost my mother two days after I was born which affected my whole life and I had a pretty rough, harder than most childhood.
I was overweight and bullied horribly throughout all of my school years but the main thing that affected my growth was that my stepmother was disturbingly, mentally and physically abusive to me. That’ll be explained in my memoir in about 20 years. I decided to move to Los Angeles and start a new life when I graduated high school, I needed to follow my heart and my dreams and I knew it wasn’t going to happen if I stayed in Illinois. I figured a fresh start would help me heal from the heartache of my youth.
I’ve always been naturally, artistically gifted in all aspects of art whether it was drawing and painting, photography, writing, dancing, acting, but singing is and will always be my number one gift. It’s been my love and my escape since I first heard Bill Withers on the radio as a little girl while my sister would get ready for school. I always had a love/hate relationship with my voice but I think a lot of us do so that’s not too unique. I was in showchoir throughout middle and high school, part of the national award-winning group Faces, and I think that’s where I have to give credit for my growing confidence. My teacher John Neubauer saw something in me and helped me realize my potential and for that I will always be eternally grateful. If it wasn’t for him and his dedication to us and that group, I honestly don’t know if I would’ve stayed in school and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here for this interview. I am a huge advocate for the support of arts in schools and I truly believe they are so incredibly critical to our youth.
I moved to LA to become an actress since I still had some confidence issues with my singing voice but I figured acting would be a little less stressful. It’s so funny the things we believe when we are young, I can’t believe I thought acting would be easier! Silly me! So even though singing was pretty much the only thing that brought me unadulterated joy I still had this feeling everyone was lying to me when they said I was good. This is actually quite ridiculous but anytime my friends would make me sing to them, I would make them turn around and close their eyes. They still make fun of me for it today which I don’t blame them, I was a bit extra back then!
It wasn’t until I discovered songwriting that my confidence came back. I have to credit it for getting me through the most difficult times of my life and honestly like everyone, my 20’s were pretty damn soul-crushing. It was such a stunningly healing tool I wish more people would turn to writing to help repair their pain. It still took a few years to get me back on stage but in a weird turn of events I hesitantly made a craigslist ad to put a band together thinking no one would respond and somehow I met the most brilliant and inspiring group of musicians and there Tina Vonn was born. Those years with those incredible people were probably the happiest years I’d had and I still think of them all the time and miss them dearly. We toured the LA music scene and performed all over including the House of Blues on sunset, The Viper Room, The Mint, Trip, Gengis Cohen and so many more. Eventually, we parted, we all still love and adore each other and I wish we could go back and do it all over again. Life in LA is rough, it’s so hard to focus on your dreams when you need to pay these insane rents and most everyone has two jobs. But I’m so proud of them for continuing on and I hope one of these days we’ll all get back together and have a Tina Vonn reunion.
Fast forward to today, I’m acting again and started a female-owned and operated visual arts/ photography/videography business with my friend and partner Olivia. I’m writing and getting ready to record new music and working on producing a webseries and a few short horror/thriller films. Life is good! I finally moved my father here this year and couldn’t be happier! I’m happy in my skin and am blessed everyday to be the woman I am today. I now appreciate life’s curveballs instead of letting them beat me.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s definitely been a rough road for me. I’ve always dealt with confidence partly because of my body issues but it didn’t help that when I took an acting class in the valley, the teacher harassed, heckled and swore at me in front of the other students that because I was fat I needed to work harder than the other actresses. I couldn’t memorize a 12-page script in 15 mins and I needed the sides to do my scene. So from then on for about ten years or so my dreams were crushed and I developed debilitating stage fright.
I was also super broke most of my time here in LA like most of us struggling artists. I had five jobs at once at one point, I honestly don’t know how I made it through life sometimes. It’s really crazy the strength you find when you can’t pay your rent and your car is about to get impounded. I sympathize with all the artists out here just trying to live, it’s a hard city but so worth it when you make it through.
And I also had a pretty disgusting and abusive ex-boyfriend so there’s that too. The stories I could tell you about that guy, maybe I’ll put it in my memoir!
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m mostly well known for my singing and my songwriting but I’m back working on my acting, screenwriting and photography. I wrote, produced and starred in a short thriller and I have several scripts in the works, currently working on a thriller/horror webseries and short films. I started a female-owned and operated photography/ videography business with my awesome and incredibly talented partner Olivia called Babae Studios. We’re based in East LA and just finished our first music video series with Xelli Island and we’re working with a couple of new artists right now and so excited to release our new projects! We specialize in actor headshots, portraits, and music videos and are so excited to extend and build our brand!
It’s been a pretty rough start trying to build our brand and work on social media which is the only real way to build and support a new business nowadays. But we’ve had such great feedback from everyone and we’re proud to be a female lead/female-owned business. We want to make sure women are fairly represented and put in positions of strength, power and decision making. All of our projects will be majority female-led behind the scenes and we want to work with strong female artists and show the beautiful stories they have to tell. So proud of the strides women have made lately and we want to contribute to bringing innovative and exciting visual arts to LA!
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’d love to say that life is truly just a mix of hard work and preparedness but I do believe luck has something to do with success. When I started my band I’m pretty sure the universe was assisting me when it brought us all together. We all came from complete different backgrounds and they all just happened to respond to my ad, and it was just so easy.
And when I met my partner Olivia we met at a job interview and actually interviewed together with the owner of the restaurant simultaneously, not sure if either of us got the job or if we’d see each other again. Somehow a couple of weeks later, there we were and our friendship was born. It just so happened that my neighbors in the house above me needed to leave in a hurry and she actually moved into it and I definitely believe luck had a huge hand in forming our relationship and business.
I’ve also received a few of my acting jobs without an audition just because the casting directors/directors remembered working with me before and I popped in their minds. I don’t know if that’s luck or not but to not have to audition is pretty great!
- Headshots: 3 hours, up to 8 changes $400, 3 retouches, and downloadable gallery of all high resolution images
- Headshots: 2 hours, up to 5 changes $300, 2 retouches and downloadable gallery of all high resolution images
- Headshots: 1 hour, 2 changes $150, 1 retouch and downloadable gallery of all high resolution images
- Website: www.tinavonn.com | https://www.babaestudios.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/itstinavonn
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1.tinavonn
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tinavonn
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/babaestudios
Tina Vonn, Olivia Purugganan, Lianna Vanicelli