Rising Star Ana Golja: “Let’s start a SMILE movement; Sometimes, that’s all a person needs to inspire them and make them feel good”

The movement I would start would be a SMILE movement. It’s a simple thing that costs nothing but could make someone’s day. Sometimes, that’s all a person needs to inspire them and make them feel good. That would have a ripple effect and continue on! I had the pleasure to interview Ana Golja. Ana is a […]

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The movement I would start would be a SMILE movement. It’s a simple thing that costs nothing but could make someone’s day. Sometimes, that’s all a person needs to inspire them and make them feel good. That would have a ripple effect and continue on!

I had the pleasure to interview Ana Golja. Ana is a Canadian-born actress, singer, dancer, and producer. Her most notable projects include “Full Out,” an inspirational sports drama that aired on NBC, Family Channel, and Netflix, and playing the trouble-causing diva, Zoe Rivas, on the Emmy-nominated drama, “Degrassi.” Ana’s newest project is staring as London, the preppy and popular cheerleading captain in the musical movie Drama Drama, whose new music video, “Saturday Night,” is now available on YouTube.

Thank you so much for joining us Ana! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in a loving, supportive household, with my parents, older brother, grandma, and great-grandma. My family embraced the arts. My house was filled with music, and we watched a movie almost every night! I began dancing at age 5, acting at age 9 and music lessons at age 11.

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

I would say the first spark that inspired me to get into the arts happened when I was five years old. We would watch Shirley Temple movies, and I remember saying, “I wanna do that!” I would go to the bathtub and try to imitate her tap sounds. That’s when my parents figured out that I had a knack for performing and they put me into dance.

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

I had my first kiss on screen while shooting “Degrassi”! It was super awkward but cute. My castmate Eric Osborne and I were told (by our director) to rehearse in the prop closet, and our prop master accidentally walked in on us!

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

I am working on a film titled “The Cuban!” I developed it, produced and starred in it. In short, it’s a narrative about the effect of music on the brain of those with Alzheimer’s disease. It stars myself, Lou Gossett Jr(Oscar winner), Shohreh Aghdashloo(Oscar nominee), Lauren Holly(Dumb and Dumber) and Giacomo Gianniotti(Greys Anatomy). In addition to that, I recently finished up some work on a film titled “The Fanatic,” directed by Fred Durst, starring John Travolta. And most recently, I shot a super fun promo/music video for my film Drama Drama!

I’m 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?

I can’t pinpoint three specific reasons as to why I think it’s important to have diversity on screen. To me, there is one simple reason. We live in a world(especially in North America) where we are surrounded by diversity with different cultures/religions/genders and so on, so it’s important to tell relatable stories. Stories that real people can identify with. That means including diversity of all kinds.

From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

I think we all need to be aware of the obstacles that still stand in the way of diversity(there are still many), share our stories(inform people), not judge one another and learn to accept and love each other! As storytellers, it is up to us to make projects that tell the stories we want to tell. It is up to us to tell real, raw, stories that people can relate to.

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. Auditions aren’t as scary as you think.

In reality, casting directors want you to put your best foot forward, so don’t put so much pressure on yourself. I used to be terrified of going into the room, but then I told myself, “they’re on my side,” and suddenly my anxiety disappeared.

2. It’s not a competition.

None of it is a competition; not the audition process and definitely not your career trajectory. We each have our path and the sooner an artist realizes that the happier they’ll be in the long run.

3. Be yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.

This applies to life in general but also the life of an artist as well. We are constantly trying to “be the part” and “be better” than everyone else. It’s dangerously easy to develop an inferiority complex. But it’s all in the mindset. Each person has something different to offer! Embrace who YOU are, what your gifts are, and you’ll see that the right things will come your way.

4. Everything happens for a reason.

It’s a tough industry with a lot of “no’s.” It’s very easy to lose your passion and excitement for projects, but always remember that everything happens for a reason. The way it is supposed to even when the going gets tough.

5. Being on set/stage is the best feeling in the world!

It truly is. You and your cast/crew become like a family. To see so many people come together for a common goal/reason is a beautiful thing.

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

I don’t think I am in the position to be giving people advice on how to not “burn out”…I don’t think I’ve had a long enough career, but my one piece of advice would be to always live your truth. Do things because YOU want to do them and don’t try to be something you’re not. If you live by your truth, I think you will always make the right decisions and be fulfilled in what you do.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The movement I would start would be a SMILE movement. It’s a simple thing that costs nothing but could make someone’s day. Sometimes, that’s all a person needs to inspire them and make them feel good. That would have a ripple effect and continue on!

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 would say I am most grateful for the help from my family. They have made so many sacrifices for me to be where I am today and who I am today. For example, when I had to go to Vancouver to shoot the mini-series “Clue” for eight weeks, my mom was ready to quit her job so that she could accompany me. Thankfully, her company didn’t let her go and created a job specifically for her, so she was able to come to Vancouver with me.

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

This quote is very meaningful to me because oftentimes, myself included, where we are trying to be the “perfect” person by society’s standards. Instead, we have to live out our truth without fear holding us back in any way.

Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are. — Don Miguel Ruiz

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

If I could have lunch with anyone in the world, it would be Jennifer Lopez. She is a significant career inspiration for me. She is a singer, dancer, actress, producer, mom, is involved with clothing and makeup brands among MANY other things. Those are all things I aspire to do during my career as well. I think she would be a fascinating person to talk to.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @TheAnaGolja, IG: @TheAnaGolja, FB: Ana Golja

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