Esther Levy: “Things happen when they are supposed to happen”

I think theater and movies help people heal; they help educate us and give us food for thought. Theater is an art that helps us evolve. I believe it is important for people of all ages, and backgrounds to know their stories should be heard; that what they feel is universal. As a part of […]

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I think theater and movies help people heal; they help educate us and give us food for thought. Theater is an art that helps us evolve. I believe it is important for people of all ages, and backgrounds to know their stories should be heard; that what they feel is universal.

As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Esther Levy Director of Latin America Relations for Dirty Laundry Theatre.

Esther is an NYC based actor. Born in New York and raised in Mexico City, she brings these two diverse cultures together in her art. Her educational background is in Human Resources and Theater. She has studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and also under Mr. John Anthony’s Class. Some credits are Ravel, the Play as Lieutenant Sulik, and more recently Amani in the upcoming feature film, Can’t Let It Go. She is thrilled to be a part of the Dirty Laundry Theatre!

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a house with two elder siblings, my parents and an almost grandmother who helped take care of us. Traffic noise makes me feel at home. Mexico City traffic is probably what I miss the least, but it does make part of my growing up. At home, my brother and sister and I spoke English with my father and Spanish with my mom. We all went to American schools. I would ride the bus to school. Traffic is my madeleine to my Remembrance of Things Past..I never majored in Theatre in high school, although I was voted almost unanimously as Drama Queen. I enjoyed subjects like English Literature and Art, Philosophy, anything that had to do with human behavior. My favorite part of school was socializing and partying. I enjoyed dancing and just talking to people. After graduating and finishing my bachelor in HR I started working for a Non-for profit organization called Endeavor and then Harvard Business Review Latin America. After working in HBR in Mexico City I thought, this can’t be it? So I moved to NY to pursue acting and life started!

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Yes! After working for two well-respected companies in Latin America, I realized I only liked the theatrical part of it; public speaking, interaction with people, creating workshops to stimulate relations and emotional intelligence. Among this phase of my life, NYFA came to Mexico City and a friend told me I should audition for fun. They offered me a scholarship. I figured if I was going to do this I should go to a school I of my choice and not necessarily with the one that came to me by chance. This school is one of the very best for film but there are a few others I had in mind for acting. I went To Lee Strasberg and shortly after graduating joined Second Studio directed by John Anthony were I met Maera!

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I was working as a Maître D in a fine dining restaurant and got permission to leave “briefly” for an audition that was walking distance. There was about an hour wait but It was all worth it. I got cast, I made a good friend (Juan Palacios) That good friend put me in contact with another good friend (Sebastian Ospina) that put me in a short film with another good Friend (David Troncoso) were I acted with a director of the film I’m going to be in now which is my first feature film Can’t Let It Go.

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 was performing in class a monologue by Edward Albee, Three Tall Women. It had been recommended by the teacher I was performing it to. I had no idea what I was doing. Even my outfit made no sense. He interrupted halfway through and said, Esther how old are you? And I said 25. He said well you’re acting 19 right now. Which was his way of saying I looked very self-aware? He said to me: “Don’t say “ He was sooo beauuuutiiiiifullll…..” –“Don’t act the words, only bad actors do that.”- He said. “Just say them with what you are feeling right now.” And I used my anger I felt at the moment and he said: “Good that’s better. It’s not the piece, but that was better to keep working on that.”

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

I am working on the production end of the BORDERS!!! It is a wonderful and touching play about two men that meet via Grindr. One lives in Jerusalem and the other in Beirut. Their connection goes beyond the lines that separate them. It was nominated for best play in New York Summerfest! We are really excited to share this story!! We have had shows lined up at the Stonewall and due to Covid we had to adjust and now we are streaming live via YouTube! We have a few more shows lined up. We have the two actors coordinate with our Assistant Director Ron Orlovsky, our director Michael R Piazza, and we have gotten amazing feedback! There’s something special about having a live performance filmed intimately with our actors in the comfort of our home. Because we had such great feedback we have a few more performances lined up!

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Of course! We are all diverse!!!

I think theater and movies help people heal; they help educate us and give us food for thought. Theater is an art that helps us evolve. I believe it is important for people of all ages, and backgrounds to know their stories should be heard; that what they feel is universal.

  1. All stories matter

2. We should learn from each other across the globe

3. We should collaborate collectively to grow and evolve.

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

  1. You are all you need to help yourself. Agents can help but mostly you will get you the job.
  2. Things happen when they are supposed to happen. You will be SAG, Equity all of that once you’ve earned it and when it’s supposed to happen.
  3. There’s a reason why there’s an order to this; small roles then big roles. If you get the big role right away, well you will most likely have a heart attack and need sedatives to deal with it, whereas is you start little by little you know you’ve earned, you know what you are doing and it shows.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to anybody. Your time will come too.
  5. There is plenty of room for actors: We were all told almost no one makes it in this business. it’s almost impossible… I can’t keep up with all the voice-over demands, amazon series, Hulu, Netflix, apple plus, Disney something, HBO now, CW, stars, fx.. not to mention national theaters…There are jobs out there for you.

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

Have a practice to ease your stress. I practice Vedic Meditation twice a day 20 minutes. Life changer.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂

I would want to make people clean the earth. I want to make people more aware of their global footprint. Just imagine if we all made it a thing to clean oceans for a day or two of the year?

Maybe this will make people more conscious of what they buy.

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?

My friends and family. My family has supported my ideas and my craziness always. My sister especially who has let me crash with her and supported me every step. I made one good friend waiting for hours to be auditioned. And we both were cast. Since then he has always recommended me to his friends who need an actor and I always recommend him to my friends who need a good cameraman. He is the reason I’m staring in Roy Szuper’s film Can’t Let It Go and now we are all one big community of actors that root for each other and help each other. The other example is Maera, I and she have been through a lot in acting class and there was a special bond created that led me to be here telling you this now.

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

Quote from Guru Dev:

Never feel unworthy or not justified in having the best

I tell you this is your heritage;

But you have to accept it,

You have to expect it;

you have to claim it,

To do so is not demanding too much.

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 just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Guillermo del Toro. I went to the Tribeca Film Festival to his interview and was in awe of his genius. By the time I stopped hesitating and feeling ridiculous I ran at the end to try to give him my resume and by the time I was all the way down he was gone. I would love to sit with him and ask him more questions! it is my absolute dream to work with him.

How can our readers follow you online?

My Instagram is estherlina26, I’m a little shy on the gram but that’s slowly changing!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

BORDERS by Nimrod Danishman

Directed by Michael R. Piazza

Starring Adrian Rifat & Eli M. Schoenfeld

A Dirty Laundry Theatre production

Streaming every weekend through May 17th.

For more details and performance links:

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