We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Ortega and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amanda, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve always been a drama queen to be honest. My parents and family can vogue for that! I think being an artist is something I’ve always been and it in a way choose me. It’s one the biggest passions in my life and I love it so much. When I am creative weather it be writing a play, acting or directing it’s as if my whole being is electrified. There is no greater feeling than to do what you love. Is it hard, yes! But as the saying goes anything worth having is worth working hard for. It’s a dream, inspiration, and true struggle to be an artist. I know it choose me and I continue to choose the path of being an artist everyday.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I call myself an actress, but I’m very passionate about writing plays as well and a bit directing too. Being able to tell a story and have it come to life is like seeing your imagination flourish and become reality. After I graduated with my Bachelors in Fine Arts degree I came to the shocking realization that I was starting all over again. In school you climb the ladder from Freshman to Senior, and then you graduate at the top of your game to become a freshman all over again. It was hard and scary. I almost gave up after getting very ill while working on my first professional show and being replaced, due to being hospitalized. It was cutthroat how the industry could be and I felt worthless. I didn’t let that stop me. I started to write and be creative. I thought if I continue to hear No or your not cast then I was going to create my own Yes! So I put pen to paper and wrote my second short play called “Make A Wish” and it was part of Micro Theatre Miami. A company that had short 15 minute plays being performed in metal shipping containers that started out in Spain and made a home for itself in Biscayne. I had previously directed a play and acted in it, but this time it was my time to show off my own words and direct it. I went on to write, direct, and act in three other Micro Theatre Miami plays and even took one to NY for the Strawberry One-Act Festival where I was nominated (did not win) for the running of “Best Actress” which was insane because that was a NY audience voting and believing in my talent. So I decided to move to NY after that festival and receiving my SAG (Screen Actors Guild) eligibility thanks to my role in Jonathan Vargas’s web series Gaby’s Revenge. New York was an experience that I learned a lot from, honesty it almost broke me. While living in NY I produced my own One-Woman show I wrote as my thesis to graduate, was cast in another On-Act play, auditioned for many plays and movies (was not cast in any), did a short film and also worked three jobs and was broke. Again here I am telling you I still push through all the moves and the heart break and rejection of this industry. It has made me a stronger artist and now I’m here in Georgia. I moved to the Hollywood of the South and things were moving forward in my career I landed an agent, I booked some great plays, co-stared in an indie-film, wrote a really powerful short play for the Latinas in Media Atlanta showcase and recieved marvelous reviews. Then, Carona virus happens and everything in the industry comes to a screeching hault. My agent dropped me, those opportunities are no longer, theatres are closing their doors. Did that stop me? No, I created a pod cast to talk to fellow artist and ask why are you an artist and why are you on this path less traveled? It’s inspiring to hear others stories and to hear why you continue to push through all the bull shit that there is when it comes to being an artist. I also had the opportunity to self tape a short seen for my friend and fellow artists Jonathan Vargas’s first feature film and work on a show by Merely Players for Latin History Month called Un Lugar Para Sueños sharing the stories of the members of the Atlanta Cuban Club and their journey of migration to the United States (bear and dear to me since my family is Cuban) I continue to push and pursue my dreams no matter what. I also create opportunities for not only myself but other artists. Artist who typically wouldn’t be cast in particular roles. I also work on meaningful art that can give back to the community weather it be to women, the lgbtqia community, Latinos in theatre, black artist. I open my mind to writing and creating stories that include all and I also pursue acting opportunities that hi-light these groups and can give back. As an artist I have grown so much, and always continue to work hard for what I want. Is it easy absolutely not, but I will never give up.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ok! So I live in Georgia now, but I am forever a Florida girl! I would take them to the beach of course, and then we would go to Wynwood and get The Salty Donut (best donuts ever!) Then go for a walk and enjoy the art around Wynwood and eat around probably go to Kush, Coyo Taco, and Wynwood Diner and have a little foodie adventure! You then have to have a day where you go to eat amazing latin foods! Get some pastelitos from Vickys bakery, go to FIU and show them where I went to school and then go out and eat at the Latin America on 8th St! Go to Coral Gables and show them the Biltmore, see a play at GableStage, and drive to see the beautiful homes in the area, and of course go to La Carretta and Versailles! I think nights out are a must for a visit and I love going to Wynwood to go out and dance and drink. There are new places opening and it’s so fun to bar hop! I’d also take them to see Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Take them to the rooftop bar in Fort Lauderdale and to eat at Tap 42, then go to the beach and lay out and then go to one of the fun bars on beach place.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I think my professor from Florida International University Professor Wayne Robinson Jr. deserves a shout out. He sadly passed away a few weeks ago and his legacy is incredible. He taught three generations of students at FIU (Florida International University). He was the first professor I met at that school and he was the man I auditioned for to be accepted into the Bachelors in Fine Arts Program. Wayne was an incredible teacher and mentor. He saw more greatness in me than I even saw in myself. Thanks to him I entered into the BFA Acting class and graduated with my degree only the second in my family to do so in 2014. He was the reason I continued my pursuit as an actress and I am eternally grateful for that. Thank you Wayne and I hope you look down on all your students who continue to pursue this difficult career path of being an artist and are proud.

Website: https://aorte048.wixsite.com/whyamianartist
Instagram: manderz323
Other: Podcast on Spotify: Why The F*** Am I an Artist

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