Actress Ana Sofia Gonçalves: “Be unique, be genuine, and don’t want to be anyone else”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ana Sofia Gonçalves, 39, Portuguese Actress and Singer. She has been a professional singer since she was 15. As well as a singer in bars and casinos all over the country, she also joined many bands and did back vocals to many important artists in Portugal, and she participated […]

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ana Sofia Gonçalves, 39, Portuguese Actress and Singer. She has been a professional singer since she was 15. As well as a singer in bars and casinos all over the country, she also joined many bands and did back vocals to many important artists in Portugal, and she participated in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, singing in the Portuguese song Dança Comigo (vem ser feliz) and in the first semi-final of the RTP Festival Song 2010 as one of the vocalists of the group OURO.

She is a trained actress (training course for actors and several interpretation workshops), and has participated in novels and television series in Portugal (Morangos com Açúcar, Mulheres, Vingança, Fascínios, Meu Amor, etc.) as well as musicals such as Crónica dos Bons Malandros, High School Musical and Peter Pan (she did Wendy, one of the protagonists) among many other plays.

Now she´s trying to improve and to invest more in her career as an actress.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Well, I think it all began when I was a little child and I saw the soaps and series on TV and then, by myself, I started to do just like the actresses in front of the mirror. Then I improved at the time stories and dialogues just by myself, and I tried many different styles and different modes and I spent hours doing that because I´d loved doing that and I had a lot of fun doing that. Later I came to the conclusion that I even had some talent but that I needed to study and have training in this area of formation. That´s how everything started!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

There are lots of interesting stories but I remember one that happened last year when I was doing a play where we had a small part of the Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, and I was the Evil Queen and the actress who was with me on the scene was playing the princess. For the scene we needed an apple that I was supposed to force her to eat because it would have been poisoned, but the production did not take the apple to where it was supposed to and we had to improvise the whole scene without the apple, although it was the focus the main part of the scene, and without which it supposedly would not make sense. But the fact is that with imagination and complicity we managed to carry the scene to the end and even created the doubt in the public whether the scene was really like that or not!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think like most beginners, when I started I made some mistakes, because of lack of experience and ability to solve the unexpected things that sometimes happen, which as we all know happen very often. In one of the first plays I did and being a bit of a jerk, I wrapped the microphone wires inside the clothes so that when having to change a piece of clothing I ended up turning it off and the electric cable was lost inside my clothes. It had to be one of the actresses who was with me on stage that made me, even having much more complicated clothes and difficult to handle than mine! I was so nervous that everything I tried to do to solve the situation only got worse!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Well, besides the series that I am currently dubbing, (and I love this kind of work), I am just finishing a film of na Acting Master that I did last year. I continue having some shows as a singer as well.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

Yes.I´m very proud to have the possibility and the honor to interact with some great actors in my country. I really feel the energy and the talent when I´m on stage or in the tv studio with some great people who are references for me, and I really feel that I grow up with them. I really do feel that the better the actor with whom I´m interacting is, the better I get on the scene. One day I had to play a scene for a novel and I had to interact with a great actress that I´d always admire, but at first, I felt that she was not so very approachable or friendly. After we made the scene, she came to me to congrat me and to tell me that she considered me a very talented actress!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Well, the best tips I can give are those that once gave me and with the experience I have come to realize that they are the most important. The most important thing to keep in this area is above all and against all odds, never fail to believe in yourself and your abilities. No one is born taught, talent is born with us, but the ability to face adversities, to deal with situations that put us in situations that are sometimes very uncomfortable and that can make us feel weak, fragile, sensitive … all this is normal. But only those who believe in themselves, only those who are focused and have no doubts that this is what they want to do until the end of your life, these are the ones who can have the strength not to give up and always work, work and work even more!

Be unique, be genuine, and don’t want to be anyone else, but yourselves! Only this uniqueness can take you far away and make you be successful in this business!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would start a movement that would bring more justice in a global way to the labor market. Not only in the artistic area but in all professional areas. I don’t know what it´s like in the rest of the world, but in my country mostly the great opportunities are for family members, friends or friends of friends than talented people, training people, with skills and abilities to perform functions. I would create a movement that would somehow control and prevent such irregularities from occurring.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why/

First of all, I wish someone told me how competitive this business could be … I’ve had situations where colleagues and supposed “friends” hide castings because they think that the less competition they have, the better chance they have of getting the job.

I wish someone told me when I first started that being thin, being perfect and very beautiful was more important than having the talent and being hardworking. I’ve heard in castings and workshops ordering beautiful people to lose x kilos or wear more fair clothes that show more body, etc.

I wish someone told me that if I want to work and take revenge in this area I have to have godparents or someone influential as a friend to introduce myself to the right people who in this way hire me and that having talent or qualifications is not enough or even as important as going to parties and events.

I wish someone told me that being honest, hard-working and humble doesn’t get us very far in this business. Once an ex-boss of mine told me this frontally and bluntly.

And finally, I wish someone told me that no matter what we do or fight for, we can’t change the world and the way this kind of thing works. I´ve tried several times to expose my points of view, to show my work, to fight for an opportunity and the results of this most of the time is null or has negative consequences because I leave the impression that I am very complicated and I can create problems, only because I have a thinking head and a heart that does not allow me to agree with injustices and lack of competence and professionalism from others.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston S. Churchill).

My life and my attitude towards my profession are definitely described in this sentence.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I will not mention anyone in particular, but without a doubt, on our way, we will come across people who not only help us as they inspire us and encourage us to take advantage of the best we have inside, that allows us to believe in ourselves and in our abilities, which give us the possibility of being ourselves.

I never forget and I am always grateful to who helps me to be who I am and to be a better person and a better professional.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

The first person that comes to my mind is one of the artists that I most admire and that would be not only a pleasure but above all an opportunity to learn a lot for myself and for my career. It is the person who inspires me the most and always that I try to create something, imagine how I would like to make a show or a situation, anyway … everything in her inspires me and I identify with almost everything she imagines and performs! I think it would be an unforgettable, fun and very pleasant breakfast or lunch! The person I’m talking about is Lady Gaga!

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