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Rising Star Eliza Agudelo: “Let’s start a movement to assist people who are trying to move forward in their life but don’t know how”

Wow! You guys come out swinging with these questions don’t you. Well one of my dreams is to open a non-profit, that is somewhat similar to the YMCA clubs, in the sense of helping kids off the street. Instead though I’d like it to be geared towards 18 and over people who are trying to […]

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Wow! You guys come out swinging with these questions don’t you. Well one of my dreams is to open a non-profit, that is somewhat similar to the YMCA clubs, in the sense of helping kids off the street. Instead though I’d like it to be geared towards 18 and over people who are trying to move forward in their life but don’t know how, or can’t afford a University degree. It would allow people to take small workshops and certified classes that can help them learn about Business, economics and finances as well as ecommerce and online presence. They would be given and shown step by step processes on how to start their small business and how to make sure they can avoid falling into any economic hardship, and if they do, are prepared for it. By dream is to be able to provide small business loans, that like the failed SBA loan system, would also allow for them not to pay back if they meet the requirements for employment of others and other criteria. That’s one of the ideas I have as a nonprofit. To help create entrepreneurs within the POC community and women.

As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Eliza Agudelo.

Eliza was born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in South Florida. She is an Actress, Director, Screenwriter, and Filmmaker.

Her beginnings in the industry were in Miami studying Journalism and photography. She has been published both in poetry books and photography compilations. She came to Los Angeles with a dream of becoming an actress in feature films, and soon learned that she had to create her own content. She started using her writing skills to develop projects and learned crew work, from DP, lighting, Sound, PA Location Scouting and even some Line Producing.

She has worked extensively with small businesses, from Real Estate to Entrepreneurs, as an Accounts Manager, helping them grow and organize their business. Eliza is incredibly detail oriented and meticulous when it comes to a businesses’ finances.

She is currently writing a Novel, gearing up for a TV Sitcom trailer, in development for a Podcast and in the process of securing funding for a feature film.

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

Once I moved to South Florida, I grew up in a less than modest lifestyle. After my father was no longer in the picture, my mother had to fend for herself and my older sister and me. She didn’t know English, she didn’t even know how to drive. She was a seamstress that had to find whatever job she could in order to put food on the table. And sometimes that wasn’t enough, so we also lived on government assistance. Section 8 Apartments and hand me downs. But never did we starve or have holes in our clothes. My mother did the best she could with what she was given, and I am very proud of having a mother like her.

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

It’s funny, because growing up, when I was like eight or nine, I always used to go around saying I wanted to be a MAL, model, actor or lawyer. Little did I know that I was too short to be a model, and as I just had turned nine, and got into an accident that caused me to need a lawyer, my passion for the legal system, dwindled into dust. I realized that it was never really passion, but an idolization of what I thought ,at that time, they represented. After that I don’t know what happened with the dream of being an actress, but it disappeared until I was in tenth grade and I was doing plays in High School. I had my teacher acknowledge my dedication and skill, which of course perked my ego enough to rekindle my fleeting love for performing. And still I did nothing. It’s not like I could ask my mom for acting classes, or to drive me down to Miami for auditions. I didn’t know where to look and I lived in a Hispanic household. That is frivolous stuff and won’t make you any money. So, I again dropped those dreams and went to College and studied, at least something creative. Even though my mother wanted me to get into some kind of computer programming, because that’s where the money is. She was right but I wouldn’t have been happy. I studied Communications and photography. Shortly after graduating and not really doing any kind of work relating to my field, instead sitting on a desk as an assistant in a real estate firm, I started seeing my unhappiness, well more like my misery and I focused internally and realized what I had to do. I had to move to Los Angeles and became an actress. A year later, that’s what I did and here I am chasing the dream of creativity.

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

I don’t necessarily know that I may be able to pull an interesting story out of my hat, but some bizarre ones for sure. Or at the very least give you some horror stories feeding more of the Hollywood stereotypes and making them true. I am a white Latinx, with green eyes and light brown hair. I am short and curvy. So I neither fit the stereotype Latino, nor am I tall enough to pass as the White goddesses that lead our TV and Movie screens. My Latin flavor has always been questioned and I haven’t placed well among the white folks either. I have been told that if I am not willing to do absolutely anything asked of me, that I will not make it in this industry because of the way I look. And for clarification to those in the back row, this person was talking about sexual favors. I have been on the casting couch. Have been offered many things, all empty promises, because they could not or would not deliver upon their offers. There are a lot of dreamers here. A lot of talkers. But not a lot of doers.

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 don’t know if you may find it funny per se, but the agent game is a serious one. I would get so excited about an “agent” actually wanting to represent me. Now mind you that I did my research before leaving Florida and I thought of myself as a well-informed person when it came to the matters of agents and Hollywood. I played the agent game for a few years before discovering that if your agent truly doesn’t believe in you and has no real clout in Hollywood, they will take you nowhere with them fast. I quit the search for the 20 lowest agents in the industry because if you’re not in the top 10 agencies and actually are a somebody in the industry, having an agent means squat.

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

I am working on a TV Comedy show, starring me, of course. Just finished a table read for it and its so nice to hear it out loud, hear how it flows and what I can improve and what is a real gem. Gearing up to do a 3 minute trailer for pitching to networks. I am also writing my first novel, which is very exciting, because that’s actually more my background, since I come from a more novel, poetry writing style then I do screenplays. And I am also cleaning up a feature film, based on a Colombian American family dealing with the aftermath of suicide and once cleaned up and finalized with at least two more rewrites, its off to find funding. I am in development for a Podcast to launch by end of year 2020. That’s where all my focus is right now.

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?

I am all about diversity and inclusion. First off, the united states is not the epicenter of everything. We are not even the biggest country in the world. So Hollywood needs to represent what the real world looks like. Our field of creativity is empowering, it is mind changing and world changing. It is imperative that we show the beautiful children around the world what they are capable of; and that is by representing them on screen. Seeing themselves as hero’s and heroines, seeing themselves as the leads in their own story. The creative avenue shines a light on injustices, on misdoings and helps lift people up. The joy a person can have because they relate not just emotionally but physically and mentally to a character is impactful and life altering. That is what creativity can bring to a person, to a child. I might not have enumerated these, but I’m hoping there’s three in their somewhere.

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

My apologies in advance, I may not even have five things, but here goes nothing. I know I would have wanted to be told to focus on being part of a key group of people that you can rise in the industry together with. Unless you’ve gone to a University with them here or moved with them it is a lot more challenging to find a core group, who wants to work together and have everyone’s interest in mind and not just their own. Another bit of advice I would have liked early on, is to just start creating my won content and putting it out there. One last one that I feel is important for all of us pursuing this dream. Learn to balance are drive for this industry and a personal life. Don’t put your friends and family and love interests to the side for this, it may be your passion, but it doesn’t define you.

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

I would recommend that they create real attainable small goals for themselves and keep as disciplined as possible and not to be too hard on themselves if they sometimes miss their small daily goals. Find doers, not talkers to collaborate with. And always treat everyone with respect until they show otherwise.

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. 🙂

Wow! You guys come out swinging with these questions don’t you. Well one of my dreams is to open a non-profit, that is somewhat similar to the YMCA clubs, in the sense of helping kids off the street. Instead though I’d like it to be geared towards 18 and over people who are trying to move forward in their life but don’t know how, or can’t afford a University degree. It would allow people to take small workshops and certified classes that can help them learn about Business, economics and finances as well as ecommerce and online presence. They would be given and shown step by step processes on how to start their small business and how to make sure they can avoid falling into any economic hardship, and if they do, are prepared for it. By dream is to be able to provide small business loans, that like the failed SBA loan system, would also allow for them not to pay back if they meet the requirements for employment of others and other criteria. That’s one of the ideas I have as a nonprofit. To help create entrepreneurs within the POC community and women.

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 met someone years ago, who as myself, had a dream of being an actor, writer and director of his own content. He instead opened a studio and went on to rent to other people creating the content he so desired. Through him I learned all aspects of crew work down to craft services and production and even location scouting. I am grateful for his patience and kindness. I think even if you only want to be an actor, it is important to know the mechanics of how a movie is really made and each integral part every person plays, and if you can, learn how to do that as well, even better.

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 a long one, but it relates so much to our industry: “I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they’re your parents. Because, if you’re the kind of person who senses there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do — if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary- you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you’re not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably
become as ordinary as they expect you to be.”
― Kelly Cutrone,

I constantly struggle with my excitement of sharing what I am doing and instead holding back and just doing it. Whether it’s in the industry or not, a lot of people out there want to hold others back, either because they’re jealous or because they don’t think you’re capable of such feats or whatever their reason may be. Keep to yourself and only share with those who are doing this with you, and once you’ve made it, everyone will want to sit in your sun with you, as if they always believed in you. That’s ok, just be smart about it.

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. 🙂

Let me first state that I probably have too many to mention all here. There are a lot of wonderful, incredible people out there, that I know I can learn from and be inspired by in just one breakfast sit down.

But since I have the choice of only one. My choice would have to be Ava Duvernay. I follow her on twitter and I find her charming, intelligent and caring. She really puts her heart and soul into things she does and says. She’s seems like the time of woman, who would sit you down and take the nonsense out of you because, no room to feel sorry for yourself or listen to all those people who want to tear you down even before you’ve made it. That’s one breakfast, I’m sure I would never forget.

How can our readers follow you online?

So glad you asked. Here are links to my Insta, Twitter and Linkedin.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eliza-a-7b65b511/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/1ElizaAgudelo also can find me @1elizaagudelo

Insta: @1elizaagudelo

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

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