“Embrace your imperfections.” With Ming Zhao & Crystal Loverro

Embrace your imperfections. Your quirks are what make you unique, and can help you get cast for certain roles. I am just learning this recently. My good friend, Alan, has helped me realize this. I wish I knew it a few years ago, but I am glad to be working on it now. I spent […]

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Embrace your imperfections. Your quirks are what make you unique, and can help you get cast for certain roles. I am just learning this recently. My good friend, Alan, has helped me realize this. I wish I knew it a few years ago, but I am glad to be working on it now. I spent too much time feeling self-conscious about certain aspects of my face and body.

As a part of my interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Crystal Loverro an actor, model, and artist from Binghamton, New York, currently pursuing her acting career in Portland, Oregon. After Crystal graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a working actor in film and television. Crystal loves to help and inspire people through her art and ultimately strives to make the world a more peaceful, accepting, and loving place.

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

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity! Well, I have wanted to be an actor in film and television for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I was bullied relentlessly and lacked any sliver of self-esteem. I thought I wanted to become a psychologist, and that I would end up going to college and choosing a relatively common career path. Acting professionally seemed like an unattainable dream. As much as I love psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, I have never felt the spark of passion that I feel with acting and film. During college, I switched from psychology to neuroscience due to my love for biology and medicine. I had planned on going to medical school rather than to graduate school for psychology.

Throughout college, I found myself depressed, unfulfilled, and miserable. After graduation, I was completing the motions of getting into medical school and became even more unhappy. I decided that I did not want to go back to school, and it was time to start pursuing what brings me joy. My aunt, Darlanne Fluegel, was a model and an actress. I always looked up to her. She passed away in 2017, and I had a dream about her; she told me to stop being afraid, and to get out there and learn how to act. She was right. Ever since I started taking acting classes and booking roles, I have never felt more alive. I finally feel like I am discovering my purpose in life, and how to love myself. This story is so much more than my career; acting is my journey to self-love and appreciation.

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

When I was in high school, I was learning parkour and freerunning. I loved the shoes and clothes from Take Flight, which is a parkour clothing line. They make shoes specifically designed for parkour and freerunning. Years later, I moved to Portland, and started taking acting classes, and one of my fellow acting classmates is the founder of Take Flight! It really is a small world out there. I introduced myself, and we have since been taking class together for a few months. He is a wonderful guy, and I am happy to call him a friend and colleague. When I was fifteen years old, I never thought that I would be in acting class with someone so ambitious and interesting!

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?

When I first started acting, I had no idea what I was doing, and I had absolutely no equipment for self-taping auditions. I submitted to a short film in Portland, and I was told to send in a self-tape audition. I was very excited because this was one of my first auditions. However, I had this ten-year-old, archaic laptop with a webcam, so I figured that using the laptop would be the best way for me to send in a tape. The laptop was so noisy that it sounded like it was going to take off! It also overheated in a matter of minutes. I ended up burning my hand while having the computer on my lap, and after I took the video, the only thing I could hear was how loud the laptop was. Well, that did not work out as I planned. I had to record the audition on my phone instead, but the quality was low. I then decided it would be best to invest in a nice self-tape studio! I have three lights, a Rode Video Microphone, a tripod, and a Canon EOS 70D. My audition life has improved immensely. I still laugh about this catastrophe today. The lesson I learned from this is that I needed more training and industry knowledge before submitting to projects. The last thing I want is to leave a bad and unprofessional impression on someone who might hire me. Invest in your training and career.

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

I am very excited to be starring in a short film that will be filming over the summer. I cannot share too many details, but the story is incredibly emotional. I am looking forward to bringing this character to life on the screen. This film portrays the heartbreak and loneliness that a military couple can endure when there is tragedy overseas. The script almost immediately brought tears to my eyes.

I also have a fun role in a local horror anthology. We are currently securing a location, so we can begin filming. I love watching horror films, but being in front of the camera is a blast — sometimes literally.

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

Folks in the entertainment industry are very fun, interesting, unique, and creative. My acting class consists of brilliant and interesting actors, models, and comedians! We are currently focusing on Lee Strasberg’s method acting technique in class, and we were practicing the animal exercise a few weeks ago. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like! Imagine an entire class of actors emoting and behaving like animals. It does not get much more interesting than that. It was very liberating, to say the least. It is not often that you can be in a room full of people and behave that way with zero judgment. Another day in the life of an actor!

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

It is very easy to get burnt out in the entertainment industry, and it is even easier to become discouraged. Mental and physical health always comes first, so it is extremely important to eat, sleep, and exercise well. A great support system is also necessary. If you feel people are dragging you down, not believing in you, and bringing negativity to your life, it is best to rethink those relationships and determine whether they are worth continuing. I have cut many toxic people out of my life, and I feel much better. Not only is it important to keep negative people from bringing you down, but you must find positive people to surround yourself with. I have developed wonderful friendships with my classmates from acting class; this has helped me tremendously. I find great comfort in talking to those in my industry, who are going through similar hurdles and feelings. Another big thing for me is: do not obsess or get too fixated on your auditions. Do your best, which is all you can do. As long as you are trying your best, you are winning. There is more rejection in this field than there are bookings. Once you finish the audition, forget about it, and move on to the next one. Keep working, and do not keep your head in the past.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

I am a very clean and healthy eater. My husband and I cook our own food, and we do our best to purchase organic ingredients. We make many items from scratch, including nut milk, bread, and yogurt. I avoid added sugars, chemicals, corn syrup, and GMOs. Your body reflects what you put into it, so eating healthy is a must. I feel terrible, physically and mentally, if I do not eat well.

I take vitamins and supplements as needed. I take B12, which is often necessary, as a vegetarian. I also take vitamin D, because it is not very sunny in Portland. Vitamin D makes me feel much more energized and joyful.

Along with my acting classes, I take Krav Maga classes. I go to Krav Maga classes at least three times a week. The days I do not go, I am out walking and exercising at home. Exercise has done wonders for my mental and physical health. Krav Maga is very therapeutic for me. I suggest that everyone find some form of exercise that they are passionate about.

Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing help me when I am feeling tense or anxious. I like to watch Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, and practice on my living-room floor.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I wish someone told me not to get my hopes up about a job until I have signed a contract. I was told that I was cast in a paid feature film in Buffalo, NY. I auditioned for this role and was very excited about the opportunity. I drove three hours to audition. I responded to the casting director with enthusiasm and wanted to discuss the contract. She never replied. I was crushed. Shortly after, a friend of mine told me, “you do not have the job until you have signed a contract, and even then, be prepared for anything.”

It is important to have multiple hobbies and passions, and not to obsess over booking jobs. At first, I let myself get bogged down about being in a small market and not getting a lot of work, but now I know that it is a matter of time until the right opportunity comes my way. Focus on becoming a better actor; work hard and smart, and you will book when the time and role is right for you.

Embrace your imperfections. Your quirks are what make you unique, and can help you get cast for certain roles. I am just learning this recently. My good friend, Alan, has helped me realize this. I wish I knew it a few years ago, but I am glad to be working on it now. I spent too much time feeling self-conscious about certain aspects of my face and body.

At the beginning of my career, I thought IMDb credits were important, but the reality is, if the credit is not from a well-known TV show or film, it really does not matter, and it might make your IMDb less impressive. I am not referring to background or uncredited roles; leave those off of your IMDb page.

Last, but not least, I wish I knew how to properly format a resume and Actor’s Access (AA) profile. You learn this with time, but the earlier you learn it, the better. This is extra important because if you know how a resume and AA profile is formatted, you can check another actor’s profile before following their advice. There is so much misinformation, and many scams in the entertainment industry, so be careful about who you listen to. Be safe, cautious, and make sure your source of info is reputable before trusting what they have to say.

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

Be kind, courteous, and positive towards others. You never know what someone else is struggling with. You also never know if the person taking your order at a restaurant might be in a position to offer you a job in a few years. Make as much of a positive impact on people as you can. It is very simple, but crucial to success. If you spend your time being kind and understanding, you will go further in life than if you treat people poorly. Always choose love! I have had people remember me solely on my kindness and loving nature. If I am not remembered for anything else, I want to be remembered as someone who always chose love and kindness over hate and anger.

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?

It is difficult to pick just one person because I have had a magnificent support system. I would not be where I am without my husband, Micah. He has supported me since day one. He motivates me when I am down. We share a vehicle at the moment, so he is always driving me to class, set, or rehearsals. He helps me tape auditions and makes sure my makeup looks fabulous before I leave the house.

Then of course, there is my acting coach, Scott Rogers, and all of my talented classmates. Scott Rogers has taught me so much; sometimes I feel like I did not know anything before taking his class. He is always available to answer questions, and he is always honest. He wants to see his actors grow, and he believed in me, when I did not believe in myself. I participated in a showcase that he hosted, and my character was Irish. I was almost too afraid to choose this scene due to the accent, but he assured me that I would be able to do it, and I did. My scene partner, Jonathon Carothers, and I had the whole room laughing.

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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is a question I think about often. My husband, Micah, and I have been talking about starting a nonprofit organization, where we cook multi-course meals for people and donate the proceeds to a cause of the diners’ choice. We were thinking of starting with one to two meals a week, and seeing where things go. We would offer people a healthy, high quality, farm to table meal with an upscale dining experience for a minimum donation to an important cause, such as the refugee crisis, wildlife preservation, cleaning up the ocean, and the list continues. I am not sure if this counts as starting a movement, but I believe it could be the start of something that brings aid and financial assistance to those in need. I have been thinking of the most practical way to give back to the community, and to our mother Earth. This is something we are serious about and hope to start in the next decade. Hopefully we will cook many delicious meals for humanity before 2030!

We are very blessed that 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? He or she might see this. 🙂

Lena Headey. She is my role model and the biggest inspiration for me. I would not be where I am today without her. She is the kind of person and actor that I aspire to be. She has a heart of gold and is not afraid to make her voice heard. One of my major goals is to be on a set with her, as her co-star, and to perform outstanding scenes together.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am active on Instagram, @CrystalLoverro. I also have a professional Facebook page, where you can follow my journey! My Facebook page is @CrystalLoverro.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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