I think it would be amazing to bring together certain communities (those who are homeless, those battling cancer, those fighting mental illness, etc.) on certain nights and have free improv shows or acting classes to brighten their day and give them a laugh. Food could be donated so they could enjoy a free meal during the show. There could be donated items and inspirational handwritten letters written from different people in the acting community that could be handed out at the end to anyone who was in need of items like clothing, food, toiletries, or just something to brighten their day.
As a part of my series of the rising stars in popular culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mariana Miletti. Mariana is an aspiring actress and lifestyle model who has modeled for companies like Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy’s, and local businesses. She has acted in multiple projects such as the soon to be released short “As You Wish”, “Fly By Night”, and multiple commercials/industials. She is a Meisner trained actor that is drawn to dark and dramatic roles.
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 having me! It all began when I was watching the movie “The Gameplan”, featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Madison Pettis. I was only 8 or 9 but something about this movie really made me feel drawn to acting and storytelling. I remember sitting in front of the TV, turning on the movie, and pausing it ever 20 seconds to write down the lines. Not too long after that my mom brought me to my first acting class.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I think one of the craziest acting stories I have to date is from a scene I had to rehearse with my partner Steve. It was an abusive scene and we were practicing it outside. All of a sudden we heard the screeching of a car pulling up abruptly and a man jumped out of the car thinking my partner was actually abusing me and this man was trying to help me. It was super uncomfortable to tell him it was just a scene when he was on the verge of trying to possibly fight my scene partner, but I’m glad to see people still stop to help others when they think they’re in a bad situation.
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 once was doing background work when I was 12 and was supposed to be walking and talking and we were supposed to be joking around, having fun, and trick or treating. My partner and I had a little too much fun and she pushed me jokingly and I nearly tripped over Victoria Justice. We had to start the scene over. Of course that would never happen now, as it was just kids being kids being too into it, but it’s always funny to look back to that being my first acting job. It’s always good to be extra aware of your surroundings….especially knowing where the actors are walking! Another mistake I made was trying to be someone else for a role instead of living truthfully and adding in elements of “Mariana” into it to make it unique. I remember doing a monologue when I was 12 in front of multiple agents about the stuggles of braces and when I watch the video now, I cant help but laugh and cringe. I was really making the script more than it was and it came off very cheesy (but on the bright side, it was pretty funny…just not in the way it was intended to be.) I definitely prepare for roles much differently now and my breakdown process is much different thanks to learning what works for me and learning things from people like my teacher and classmate/friend Diana. There has to be a certain level of preparation for the role, but once you’re in it and doing it you need to shake it off and live in the moment as well. It shouldn’t be “acting” it should be living.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I just finished up filming for an exciting horror short film called “As You Wish”. I can’t say too much yet, but it is about a girl having issues with her boyfriend and there is an evil genie that comes into the story to try and “solve” that. It’s unlike anything I have ever filmed before and I had to get to a really dark place for the role. I have a few upcoming shorts that I’m very excited about as well.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I have interacted with Ariana Grande, Victoria Justice, John Marshall Jones, and many more. It was so exciting to be able to interact with, be inspired by, and learn from people of their stature. Ariana Grande was so kind. She asked me what my name was and said “Ahhh Oh my gosh Mariana, my name is ARIANA!” and she gave me a high five and a hug. I got to meet Rowan Blanchard too and we talked briefly about her former show “Girl Meets World”, acting coaches, etc. I am close to Emmy nominated actress Pamela Daly and she has thekindest heart. She takes such a different and physical approach to acting that I felt stupid doing at first, then suddenly felt so much more free, relaxed, and better about my work once I started doing it. She is a gift to the acting community. I also got to meet people like the director of NCIS and the director of “God’s Not Dead”. I work closely with former “Fame” actor Billy Hufsey and I have gotten to hear so many amazing stories from him and I learned so many lessons. Every encounter I have ever had has been so exciting. I love hearing others stories and advice.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
It is great to be consistent, but sometimes you need breaks. If you feel emotionally drained or burned out, it is likely you need a few weeks off to recollect yourself and get that fire back. Don’t take just any job that is thrown at you. Make sure it will benefit you in some way.
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. 🙂
Thank you! I think it would be amazing to bring together certain communities (those who are homeless, those battling cancer, those fighting mental illness, etc.) on certain nights and have free improv shows or acting classes to brighten their day and give them a laugh. Food could be donated so they could enjoy a free meal during the show. There could be donated items and inspirational handwritten letters written from different people in the acting community that could be handed out at the end to anyone who was in need of items like clothing, food, toiletries, or just something to brighten their day.
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 really wish someone would have told me what a huge part of my life this would become. I always knew I had a passion for acting, and on some level, I knew it would have a place in my life forever. I just didn’t realize that it would go from a hobby, to a job, to a lifestyle. It is a huge part of me and whenever I take a bit of a break I feel “lost”.
- I wish somebody told me that it doesn’t matter how much you train or how many sets you’re on, you will constantly be learning new things and discovering new parts of yourself. I have gone through training with multiple coaches and acting schools/studios, but most of them never felt like a “fit” or like they aligned with me, therefore I never felt much growth until a few years ago. I had to go through so many classes to finally find teachers I click with. You need to keep trying different coaches and studios until you find one that you have a really good feeling about. You have to learn to find comfort in the uncomfortable and find someone to push you as hard as you push yourself. You need to feel challenged, comfortable, fully free, and excited to work on your scenes and make them better and more interesting. I train Meisner under my teacher Jessica and her teaching methods really have made me grow more than anybody I have ever been to. Her teaching stretched me and opened me up to new things, and I learn something new from her and my classmates each week. We are all like a big family and we are so supportive of one each other which helps.
- Speaking of which, that leads me to how badly I wish I knew you need an amazing support system. You cannot listen to those people in your life that put you or your career down, make you feel small, unworthy, or badly about yourself or your path in any way. I feel like so often in society today there is a stigma around telling people you’re in acting and in the arts. It is really upsetting to me to see others putting down something I, and so many others are passionate about. Then at the end of the day those people will go home and turn on the TV or a movie or even go see a play for enjoyment. You cannot listen to people sending you hate. You have to build a thick skin in this industry (which is hard when you’re trained to be so open and vulnerable. Seriously, since beginning training Meisner I feel every emotion so deeply and fully, it’s a blessing and a curse!) Surround yourself with those who push you, encourage you, support you, and help you reconnect with your creative side. I’m so thankful to have found an incredible support system through my classmates, cast mates, teachers, friends, and my mom.
- I wish somebody told me to be patient and consistent. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You need to make sure you are fully in it and actively seeking out auditions, classes, opportunities, etc. I would sometimes go way too long without auditioning when I’m sure there were plenty of auditions out there. You can’t expect things to happen quickly in this industry. Set goals and celebrate each time you reach one, then set new ones. Be driven and enjoy the journey. Nothing rushed is ever as good and it tastes so much sweeter having success when you know how hard you worked for it. Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons and being patient and consistent won’t be much of an issue.
- Lastly, I wish someone would have told me not to compare myself. I’m not going to say I don’t still do this occasionally, because I am human. I have my “off” days and I get down on myself and become self critical at times. It is so easy to do when you are put up against other amazing, talented, and beautiful actors for roles, but it is detrimental to do so. I have spent so much time focusing on what I’m not when I could have focused on what I am. We are all completely different and unique so comparing ourselves is pointless. Everybody has a different journey with different timelines, different roadblocks, and different successes. Being yourself is the greatest gift you can give. Christmas lights are beautiful but so is the ocean and they are nothing alike. Be your own kind of beautiful, focus on improving yourself and not comparing and you will be okay.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This always reminds me how you can’t live the same day over and over again and call it a life or expect something to change. If you don’t like the way something is going in your life, you need to change it, switch things up, get out of your comfort zone, and try new things. This is relevant to me because I used to feel so stuck in my acting and felt I was plateau-ed. I decided to seek out new training and techniques and I got a new agency. I decided to make plans to branch out to other markets and I plan to be doing more in New York and LA by the end of the year.
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 mom! She has helped me in countless ways from driving with me to auditions and jobs for support, to running lines with me, to giving me pep talks, signing me up for acting classes when I was younger, and coming to any shows I’m in. That is just the tip of the iceberg. She wants to see me happy, succeeding, and doing what I love all of the time and she is the sweetest soul. If it weren’t for her I probably wouldn’t be acting right now. Once when we were in LA we had made plans to go to Disneyland with friends. I ended up getting called to have a meeting with a manager in Culver City so my mom drove us all the way from Anaheim, to Culver City, back to Anaheim, then back to the place we were renting. I have never wanted to be out of LA traffic so bad but I was so grateful for the opportunities. She is always by my side through craziness when many other moms would never do half of what she does. My friends are also an amazing support system and we encourage each other and inspire each other all of the time.
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. 🙂
I have SO many people and companies that I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with. At the top of my list is Gina Rodriguez or Rachel McAdams. They are two of my favorite actresses and I feel they would have so much amazing advice and great lessons to teach me. I would love to pick their brains about their careers, success, and personal lives. I would also love to have lunch or breakfast with Madison Pettis since she is the one who first inspired me to try and pursue acting.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can find me on instagram at @marianamiletti (:
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!
Thank you so much for having me! Xx