Today we’d like to introduce you to Valeria A Avina.
Valeria A, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Durango, Mexico since I remember I wanted to be a super Hero or an artist of some sort. I started playing tennis when I was eight years old, and by the time I was 15 I was going to start my training as an actress in Mexico, but I decided to stay and work on my tennis skills to get a scholarship and study in the US. Before high school ended, I got a few opportunities to go to the US and study, I choose to go to Graceland University in Iowa (I know) for some reason of all the places I picked Iowa. There I played tennis, studied Theater and a business degree. During my time at Iowa, I heard about grad school for the Arts and what that meant. I wanted to train with the best, I wanted to expand my imagination, the use of my body, the expansion of the self.
I auditioned in NYC twice for grad school at URTAS, first year I got a few offers but nothing felt right, so I got another year to prepare, during that year I lived with a family that I met in college that always treated me like their own, I was the manager of one of their restaurants, while I was preparing for auditions. Finally, I went to NYC and picked The University of Iowa (Iowa, again!) I know but they only take 13 students every three years for their MFA. That’s exactly what I wanted, there I met Anne Marie Nest that taught me The Fitzmaurice Technique, I was having personal issues between my identity, having an accent, not sounding American enough. During that year, my frustration towards those things were messing up with my work at school so Anne Marie suggested me to go down to Colombia Bogota for a workshop with the Fitzmaurice Master teachers. That trip changed my life, I saw what their community was doing for their artists and that changed me, changed my work and what I also wanted to contribute into the world.
SO after grad school, I signed with a few agents to start my acting career in NYC and went to LA for two summers in a row to get my certification as a voice coach with the Fitzmaurice Technique. I came back to NYC, got an offer to teach Advance Vocal technique at Fordham University and pursue my career. I have been in NYC teaching, doing what I love for almost five years. What I skipped here is that my love of the arts started before I was five, my need to be hero has moved into my career as an activist, my love for clowning. I picked University of Iowa for MFA because my master teacher is well known for the clown work and that’s what I wanted, I wanted to find my clown, my soul, the roots of my artistry, my imagination, the reason why I want to be an artist for change. For humanity…
My clown got me to understand my love for solo shows, my love for the world, my hope for me to always be the best person I can be for myself and for others, My love for activism, and my love for activism started in grad school a deep journey into myself, to understand my self, to re-educate myself over and over again because activism is self activism. The change in the world has to start with me. That hero that I wanted to be when I was five it has always been me, the need be my own hero, and by doing that has allowed me to work with others, not just as a voice coach, but as a human being. It’s been 14 years that I left Mexico to lean and re-learn my life here and every opportunity I get to teach, to perform, to take action for my community has led me to find more parts of myself in others in my experiences. The people I keep meeting along the way, they have become my best teachers, and my shows the mirrors of my soul.
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?
Never a smooth road. Moving from a different country at the age of 18 it has its advantages and disadvantages. Moving to Iowa was culturally shocking, having an accent was a limitation at the beginning of my career, and now my look, my accent my visa status has been a limitation to my career. Not all networks accept certain visas, the global pandemic doesn’t give employee insurance to artists specially if you don’t have green card.
Ever since I began my acting career feels like we have to keep proving that Latino work is important, that our stories are important and maybe using the word Latino doesn’t add the fact that I am also a Queer Mexican woman and there are even more limitations about that. Somehow the industry, our society, the Government keeps making difficult for us to keep having a voice. But if we only focus on the TV and Theater Industry which is only a tiny bit of a spectrum where even Latino Celebrities face discrimination or Broadway actors, Imagined off off off-broadway. It’s so interesting how we are still treated as minority which we are not.
Even with these issues, I am not going to stop, this is not an excuse for me to keep putting myself out there, to keep raising my voice, to keep creating, teaching and showing up for myself and others. The world needs us, and we must be ready at all times to be there for others and ourselves.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As an actress, producer and voice teacher, I believe that my artistry transcends boarders, my identity is a mirror to our society. My work is my healing, my work is my statement to what I believe on and usually shares where am I at in my own personal journey, every discovery I have I find ways to share it, either on my Art or my teachings. I teach The Fitzmaurice Technique which focuses on the whole human voice and can support speaking for performance, public speaking, singing, voice with movement, vocal rehabilitation, and developing greater presence. But is also more than that, we share tools for the artist to find an external and internal expansion, tools to keep searching for a healthier way of life, to keep the curiosity about themselves and the world for the rest of their lives. Teaching for me is another chance to learn from another human being, another opportunity for growth and understanding.
Also, I teach clown, clown is the essence of the artist, the self, the playful self. Creativity rises from the center of our body, the root of our truth, the impulse to do without asking permission. To playfully, where risk turns into adrenaline, the wanting to jump into the unknown. These two, the voice and the clown have been the ground of my work, everything else is supported by both of them. My solo shows, my love for theater, the hunger to be on set, the game at been at a both and record a voice-over, the weirdness of shooting commercials and the magic of being at a classroom filled with students wanting to be themselves at a safe space. I don’t think there’s an actual separation fro others, I think I am part of others, we are mirrors of each other. Our freedoms end at the beginning of the other person.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t like to think about back luck, I like to call it. Bad timing, I think when time is perfect things flow. When time is not right, things don’t work out the way I would love them too. But things always find its way. I think that things happen when we are ready to live them, to face them, to expand into them or to grow from them.
- Voice Coaching 75 dollars an hour
- Clown Class 50dls an hour
- Audition Class 50 dlls an hour
- Website: www.valeriaavina.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valeavina29/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/valeria.avina/