The Quest to Prove Greatness in Diversity: A Candid Conversation with Angelus Agendi

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 CHECK OUT NATALIA’S ACTING VIDEO ON cocktailmolly’s FACEBOOK PAGE.
cocktailmolly
How did you decide upon the stage name Angelus? Why didn’t you use your original birth name Natalia?
Angelus
I love how Angelus sounds. Natalia is good too. I just don’t want to use my full name for privacy reasons.
cocktailmolly
When did you know you wanted to be an actress? Who or what inspired you and why?
Angelus
I always loved movies, however, I’ve never thought to go into acting until the age of 28. I was never satisfied with one career and wanted to explore more things, especially, my creative side. I love creativity! I accepted to be a background performer around 2 years ago and I loved the experience being on a set. Then I auditioned for a lead role in a non-union short film, and once again found that I loved the experience. I was inspired because acting makes me happy and makes me feel free. I feel like a ball of joy when I am on a set.
cocktailmolly
So what is it that draws you into the acting experience? Is it the joy in playing characters with identities outside of your own self, or do u live paying characters that are similar to your personality traits? Are you drawn to roles that are more dramatic or comedic?
Angelus
There are two reasons why I love acting: First, I love to explore different characters, and become someone else; be in various life situations. By doing this I explore myself and learn about myself a lot. In life, sometimes we have no idea who we can become. Second, going deep into my own character, challenging myself, exploring how strong or weak I can be, how happy or sad, and much more.  I am drawn to both and I really enjoy diversity of styles.
cocktailmolly
Great. So I know you said that you gave serious thoughts to becoming an actress at the age of 28. May I ask how old you are now and if you believe that your career has and/or will benefit from you choosing to pursue your career later rather than when you were a teen or early twenties?
Angelus

I am 30 years old now. I enjoy independent films. I do believe that there is a big advantage to start an acting career as young as possible. You get more opportunities when you dive in it at an early age: you look young and beautiful, you have more energy and more time to learn, less of life’s busy errands. However, I truly believe that to start following your passion is never too late. Look at actors like Sylvester Stallone and Harrison Ford.  I think starting it later in life just tells you that you are serious about it. I think age should never be a barrier in an actors career. You should be passionate about what you do, give your full dedication, be focused and work hard, and certainly your career should bloom.

cocktailmolly
What are your goals as an actress? Are you interested more in the independent film projects or are you aspiring to become mainstream?
 CHECK OUT NATALIA’S ACTING VIDEO ON cocktailmolly’s FACEBOOK PAGE.
Angelus
14954299_355425098138959_1017173369_oI like the independent shorts because they remind me of the short stories of great writers from the past. I love working independent films because it helps you to grow so much and learn a lot about the acting craft itself. I think many actors dream to be a part of a mainstream, of course, because it  really is a glamour thing with it all: people recognize you and respect you more, your pay is really good, and you have an opportunity to work with amazing filmmakers and make a strong work history. Even your family and friends take you more seriously when you work for big productions, but I really love working for independent films. And I am not rushing to be in the mainstream. Independent films are so diverse and fun, giving me the opportunity to meet so many awesome and talented people.
As an actress my goals are to learn more and more, get as much experience as I can, learn to be myself and explore my abilities and acting styles. Also, it is important for me to remain humble and always help other actors.
cocktailmolly
I agree with you on the idea that one is never too old to pursue their goals. You’re right there should be no age barriers in acting because there is so much that can be represented in this field.
Angelus
The acting world can be cold, competitive and discouraging at times.
cocktailmolly
So I have heard. Perseverance is important in the acting world. Too much is placed upon the idea of youth and it being the beauty standard because there are so many people that ages gracefully. Old age should not be feared but embraced.
Angelus
I agree. This is so wrong because in real life we have all kinds of people: Beautiful and not so much; Young and old; That’s the beauty of life to have this diversity of people.
cocktailmolly
Absolutely. It’s always great to hear people that understand and believe this. How many films have you acted in as of now? What roles are you currently pursuing? And do you have an ideal role that you would like to play but have not found the right script for it yet?
Angelus
I played in two short films, one independent featured film, a music video, and I have two more projects coming up. I would like to get a lead role in some independent featured film. I have a craving to play in an inspiring drama film. The reason why I don’t have too many films is for two very challenging reasons. First, I am a working woman.  I am working full time at my regular job and I do not want to leave that job now.  It is difficult for myself and many actors to push an acting career into orbit and still have an obligation to working a regular job. The second challenge to my career is my accent. I have been refused several jobs because of my Russian accent.  I have even had casting directors to tell me that I almost got a role and that the only problem was my accent.
cocktailmolly
Oh I understand the obstacles that you are facing. Many actors young and old speak of how complicated it is to balance their careers with a regular job. Also, I have heard the horror stories of actors having a tough time with casting calls and casting directors. I will give u a piece of advice if you like. Do not let them make you feel insecure about your Russian accent. If they cannot cast you because of that then it is because they have no vision as directors and producers. There are plenty of actors and actresses that have made it in acting with thick accents (European, Latino & Asian). In fact one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood now is Sofia Vegara and she has a strong Spanish accent. The right parts will come to you in do time.
Angelus
Yes I heard about Sofia. She is great. However, I have noticed that there are not many Sofia’s in the movies. I think big filmmakers try to standardize everything. American accent is the must. In real life, in USA, Canada, and Europe there are so many people from many cultures and to me that is the truth about life. Why films cannot portray this, or refuse to portray it is terribly confusing to me.  I am certain that the right parts will come to me but it is obvious that people from various cultures have limited opportunities in this industry. I sincerely hope that the acting and film-making world will become more diversified.
cocktailmolly
That’s another complaint that I hear a lot from actors. The lack of diversity present. Can I ask how would you propose that the film industry become more diversified? What should they do to fix this issue? And what can actors do to help bring about those changes?
Angelus
I think that first of all they have to recognize that in big countries like USA and Canada, many people are from different cultures and that is what makes the country interesting and full of great talents. Look at Montreal! It is amazing! Language is just a way of communicating with someone. All of us are from different parts of the world and that should be recognized and respected and given a chance to have our stories told. A field of full of roses is not as pretty as a field of thousands of various flowers gathered together.
The industry has to allow the audience to hear the variety of accents present in the world and let people know that this is normal; that this is the closest thing to truth and life. I always find myself asking, “Why do these films have to be so standardized and limited?” Casting directors should not refuse a talent just because on a CV it says: Indian, Russian, or Chinese.
Actors should not allow themselves to feel insecure about their language.  It should not become a barrier. I think it is nice to learn different accents. For example, it is my goal to someday learn the British accent.  I have always adored their accent, but I digress, back to my initial point here.  The emerging actors need to remember to be themselves. A year ago or so, i went to Straeon Acting Studio just to check it out and I heard the most amazing thing that an acting teacher could tell me; Jock MacDonald said, “You have an accent? This is great! You can use it to your advantage!”  I was shocked but so happy to hear it.
cocktailmolly
I agree with him. Your accent is perfect & makes you a great candidate for any director and producer with real talent & vision. What do you think about being an actress in a play? Do you like them? Do you find it to be different than acting in films?
Angelus
I have never acted in a play, but recently I have auditioned for one play. I always get a little nervous about acting in a play because behind a camera you can take time and if you forget your lines, they just do another take. Also, during editing time, the parts where you are not at your best as an actor or you do not look too nice; those parts will be deleted. In a theatrical production, it is not like that. It’s all or nothing. Everything happens in that moment and you have to be really prepared. There is no retakes, but I think it can be a positive and challenging experience because theatrical acting and productions are the roots of the acting world.
cocktailmolly
What is next for you professionally? What is your next step to your dream of solid, consistent acting career?
Angelus
I m focusing on creating a new lifestyle where I will have the flexibility in my work schedule so that i can do more auditions and increase my opportunities to meet more people and gain more acting jobs.  I am currently working on starting a small business that will let me be more free. Another step is to continue nurturing my acting portfolio. Search for more acting work, apply for auditions, take acting classes and help other actors. I think by helping others you really grow. And that’s why I created a group Becoming an Actor, on Facebook.

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