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Meet Yulianna Garrido

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yulianna Garrido.

Yulianna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m an actress, producer, and writer. I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic; I lived in Miami for a second between the ages of 1 and 4. My family quickly decided to move back to the Dominican Republic where I finished High school and attended University. After finishing my BA in Social Communications, I decided to move to New York to pursue my life’s dream of becoming an actress. I was accepted to The William Esper Studio where I completed their full-time acting program. During my time in NY, I found amazing teachers and mentors that helped shape me as an artist and always encouraged me to strive to be the best that I can be and to honor my individuality and uniqueness.

I’ve always had a passion for performing. As a child, entertaining people brought me so much joy. To be able to make them laugh, and help them forget their burdens, even for a few minutes, was an accomplishment for me. I was always paying attention to the problems they were facing, and, in my 10-year-old opinion, some of the poor choices they were making that were putting them in those situations. Then I would write, perform, and direct plays with my cousins to reenact whatever I was observing from family and friends’ predicaments. I would come up with comedy sketches based on those things. My goal was to show them what they were doing in a funny way and hopefully wake them up to question their choices. Every year for Christmas, I would put on a full production. In my heart, I wanted to bring light to my families’ disagreements so they would all laugh about it and just get over it. They would always ask me about how the preparations for the show were going, nervous that I would expose their foolery. I would reply cheekily by saying, “then don’t do questionable things.” Regardless of the content, they never censored me, and they sometimes even changed their actions based on what I presented. They enjoyed it, finding that it unified and brought us all together.

I know it’s my life’s purpose to produce work that provides commentary on current events and social issues. To raise questions that lead to conversations that hopefully promote positive, inclusive solutions on the issues we face as residents of this planet. I dedicate my life to acting, writing, and producing, just like back then, only now I think of the world as my family, and how I want us to be unified, to love, to accept, and to support each other. How our differences and individualities are what is needed to create greatness. I think it’s about collaboration. We need all voices to be included. I truly believe we can create a magical world if we all come together from a place of love and wanting the best for others and for ourselves.

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’ve had a lot of lessons to learn and obstacles to overcome during my journey. A lot of loved ones didn’t believe in me and discouraged my choice to be a storyteller as my career. That really hurts when you are so young and you look up to these adults who are supposed to be wise and know their stuff. I was criticized and shamed for being weak when I would show vulnerability and compassion. “You are too emotional”, “you better toughen up, the world is a mean place and people will stab you in the back”, “you have to be tough if you want to survive”. I came to realize that these doubts were never mine, they were placed on me by well-meaning adults. I had to overcome them and believe in my own power, to listen to my inner voice that, thankfully, always screams at me to be heard. I believe in connection and community, I believe in supporting and being there for people who are in pain. I believe in uplifting people. I had to work through my fears to get clear on all this. And I still work on them to this day when they creep in. I just have better tools now.

Those challenges shaped me to be the person that I am today. And what I’ve learned is that you have to be brave to be vulnerable and that’s why people are scared of it. It’s scary to be so open because you could potentially get hurt but it’s so powerful and I think that’s exactly what the world needs and that’s what I came here to give. If we had more compassion and vulnerability we would be strong, unified and supportive of each other. It would be so bright and that’s what I hope for. I also learned that when you are true to yourself, you are happy and fulfilled and that is something you have to find within yourself. And this has to come first, we have to care for ourselves or else how can we possibly give that to others? I also learned that when you stand firm in your truth, you find amazing people who are aligned with the same purpose. Who celebrate you and love you for who you are and those that were not so supportive start to change and come around to support you as well.

The truth is that life will always present you with challenges along the way. I’ve heard a lot of “no’s” along the way in this industry and that can get to you if you let it. I try to think that every “no” means I get to try to knock on a different door, and eventually I’ll walk through the door that’s right for me.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a founding member of a female-run production company, recently conceived, called Desobediente Productions. This collaboration is with two other artists that I really respect. We write, act in, and produce. Our work focuses on independent projects that provide commentary on current events, social issues, and millennial culture. We banded together because we wanted to put work out there that illuminates narratives that we felt we weren’t seeing enough of, work that breaks harmful stereotypes and shakes the ground on which people stand too comfortably. We are currently in production for a series of ten comedy sketches, and following that we have a short film in the works.

“Dahlia”, a film I shot a couple of years ago, just had its worldwide premiere. Another project of mine, “New York State of Mind”, can be viewed on Amazon Prime. I am also working on a Lead Role in a film by two Argentinian filmmakers (with Manguitos productions) about a girl taking her power back. And a project that I just wrapped, that I’m super excited to share, is the Indie film “Spread”, dealing with the subject of wealth inequality and resource distribution in a pandemic laden world.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I’m big on learning, I always look for tools and knowledge to grow everyday as an artist and human being. I also think consistency is important. I know I have to show up for myself if I want to get to where I want to be. Believing in myself, honoring my truth and trusting my intuition to guide me through my journey has been my compass. I learned that a lot of the answers I seek are within. It’s not about waiting for someone to give me a chance or an opportunity. I know I need to be proactive in my process so I can create opportunity. I keep asking myself what else can I do to move forward?

I have amazing mentors, friends and family around me who support me. My mom is my biggest cheerleader, she has shown me that life will challenge you and that the important thing is to work through it. That it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, you just have to learn from it, come back stronger, and try a different route.

Deb Jackel and David Newer at The William Esper Studio in NYC helped shape me as an artist and always encouraged me to be the best that I can be and to honor my vulnerability, individuality, and uniqueness.

I’ve grown so much working with Annie Grindlay this past year, I am so thankful for her, she has given me the tools to bring my acting to the next level.

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Image Credit:

David Noles for the personal picture

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