Hispanic Heritage Month '23 - A Conversation with Diana Dorempz
To honor Hispanic Heritage Month this year, The Actors Society will take a look at the careers of several past students who belong to the community, beginning with Diana Dorempz.
Diana Dorempz is a truly multi-hyphenated artist. The 2017 grad uses her knowledge in countless fields to continue moving her career forward. Recently, The Pages spoke with Diana about her career and recent goings on.
Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
You recently performed a one-woman show, Mastering Rejection, in Los Angeles. Tell me about this.
Last year, I worked as a producer here in Los Angeles. The workload was a bit overwhelming, and I didn't feel like I was fulfilling my artistic potential, so I decided to make a change. I went back to what I love the most, acting, and signed with a new agency. During that period, I was completing my bachelor's degree in business and had family commitments that required my attention. There was so much going on that I had to go back to who I really am.
I realized I needed to stand up for myself. You need to start doing what you love. Nobody's going to do it for you. I couldn't keep waiting to get roles, I needed to put myself out there, get out of my comfort zone, and start creating my own projects.
I wrote a piece based on my experiences over that past year—my desire to break free from the corporate world, my attempts to create my own content, and the challenges I've faced as a woman, as a Latina. I called my friend, Eleane Puell, a talented Mexican actress, and asked if she wanted to direct the piece. She said yes...she completely understood the whole point of the project. She informed me about the Brisk Festival, and not only did I perform the piece I wrote, but we also made it to the finals, which gave me the opportunity to perform it again on September 2nd and 3rd, 2023.
You have it in your bio that you bring a "passion for and deep understanding of the Hispanic community and traditions" to your work. In what ways do you do this?
I moved here from Venezuela when I was 19. Learning a new language was challenging, and I still struggle with my accent. As an immigrant, you have to be constantly improving. For example, there are things about me that just make me who I am, but here they are like tags that put me into a box. The roles I get can be so limiting at times; it’s like I'm constantly being told who I can and can't be. So, I try always to listen and be open-minded; I try to give minorities a voice if I can or give myself a voice when I can.
Are there some projects you feel especially close to or proud of?
Plástico. Plástico is a short film in which I participated back in 2020 during the pandemic. Recently, it had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival, where it earned a special jury mention. It's a political satire about the current situation in Venezuela. There is a sense of calm in Venezuela, but the truth about what's really going on needs to be told. The tensions and struggles people face. The current inflation rates have made it difficult for many people to purchase essential items such as food and medicine. The media doesn't report well on this story, so Plastico made up for that.
What about your time at The Academy? What were some valuable lessons you learned there?
The years I spent at The Academy were some of the most exciting years of my artistic career. I felt so safe. I was taught so many important lessons that developed me and helped me find who I am. The camera acting classes were some of my favorites.
We all have our ups and downs, but you have to stand up again; you have to bounce back and go after the goals you set for yourself.
The challenges helped me grow, too. I worked in almost every single department because I was a student worker. It helped me connect with other students and learn more. I was always working, always doing my best. That's what you have to do: do your best and keep pushing forward.
The instructors were the best. Ms. Beck was one of them, she guided me...especially with accent reduction. [Laughs] She was so patient with me.
What advice would you give to younger artists?
Don't let anyone define you, and don't do it to yourself. People may try to impose limitations on you, but you mustn't allow them. You are who you are; own it. Embrace what makes you different, and then improve upon it. In addition, think of this industry as a business, as work, not as a dream. Acting isn't a dream, it's a profession. You have to take it seriously and do your job. Los Angeles is a small town, so treat everyone with respect because you never know whom you might end up collaborating with. Give everyone love. Always...it should always be that way.
What would you like your legacy to be?
It's interesting...I always do what I think will fuel me, what will make me happy. I always want to make things I'm proud of. I think that will be my biggest legacy. Of course, if I ever have children, then I hope they will remember me as an artist. I'm not interested in being famous, but I do want to act forever. I want to join projects that make me happy, that make me proud, and that are things I'm excited to share with my parents. If that happens to influence other people, then that's great.
What are some of your upcoming projects you'd like to share with us?
I have designed a six-week Acting Program for the Spanish-speaking community, which is now available at LA City College. This program is accessible to both students and non-students and is a great opportunity and a great resource for those who want to improve their skills. It's at a basic level, so everyone is welcome to join. Acting is not only for actors but for everyone.
I also curate my own podcast called “AudioSpanish”—it's a hobby that I’m passionate about. Moreover, I've been involved in various commercial projects. Recently, I participated in one with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. I am hosting a new media project and continue to work in production.
I'm currently developing a passion project, which I hope to present at Film Festivals when the timing is right. However, I can't delve into the details just yet. [Laughs]
That all sounds very exciting, Diana! I wish you all the best and do keep in touch.
Thank you, August. So nice chatting with you.
Diana kindly provided the following links to her work:
Social Media: @DianaDorempz