I am a Latina woman, born and raised in Tampa Florida. I have Spanish, Argentine, and Cuban blood on both sides of my family. Emotion, opinions, passionate discussions, and raised voices, with everyone speaking at once, were a normal part of my childhood. NOTHING was private—we were all an open book. That may seem intrusive and perhaps chaotic to some, but to me it felt like love. Making sacrifices for each other, and investing in one another is what my family was and still is all about. Oh…and both of my parents are “shrinks.”
From as early as I can remember, music and dance were a part of my heritage. My mom says I actually danced before I walked. I was just out of diapers and barely 2 when I started dance classes. By the time I was ten, I was dancing with Bay Ballet Theatre, concurrently with my childhood dance studio, Centerstage Dance Academy. During summers I studied dance in programs throughout the country: Alvin Ailey, Princeton Ballet, Nutmeg Ballet, Broadway Dance Center, and LA’s own Edge Performing Arts Center.
I danced a lot and studied a lot! I went to a prep school in Tampa where I learned how to study, be disciplined, and to love musical theatre. My Drama and Music teachers at Berkeley Prep still support and guide me. With a demanding academic schedule, I learned to carry books with me everywhere and studied in the car, in between dance classes, and managed to be accepted at Yale University where I graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Theatre Studies. Being at Yale was a spectacular experience intellectually, artistically, and emotionally.
While at Yale, I took a leave of absence during my Junior Year to tour the world with the First National Broadway Company of Ann Reinking’s Tony Award-winning musical review Fosse. That experience confirmed what I already knew – dance and theatre were essential to my future! Following graduation I was off to NYC where I performed in several Broadway shows, including, Wicked, Sweet Charity, Fame on 42nd Street, and The Pirate Queen. I transferred to LA with Wicked and the Southern California sunshine and landscape were so addicting that I never left. Making a transition from theatre to television and film was natural as I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke, Cyd Charisse, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Leslie Caron in the classic movie musicals. It was a harsh reality to switch gears, but persistence and sheer grit has kept me going. Thank you mom, thank you Berkeley, thank you Yale, and thank you dear friends on whose shoulders (and couches) I inevitably leaned hard—really hard.