May 13, 2018

When It Comes to Creativity, Stephanie Andujar, from Acting and Singing to Fashion Design and Modeling, is a One Woman Show

It was while binge-watching the first three seasons of the Netflix TV series “Orange Is the New Black” (2013–Present) that I discovered Stephanie Andujar, who gave an unforgettable performance as Young Rosa. Here, she elaborates on proactively driving her creative pursuits.

Firstly, do you have Family and Friends in Puerto Rico? How are they doing? Hope they are doing well! Thinking about the people of Puerto Rico. Thank you for your efforts in giving relief and development.

Thank you for asking me that! I have some family out there and know that they are OK—however, the situation regarding Puerto Rico is not, you know. We have been put through so much for so long. At this point, we’re warriors and will continue to stand for what is ours. To just be treated as human beings. Mi gente Boricua sigue palente!

Been appreciating your championing the involvement by your Mom and Siblings in your creative pursuits. How does Family play a role in your creativity and work?

Yes! My family means everything to me because they’re my support system and help produce my “StephA: One Woman Show” along with everything else in my life with Andujar Productions! I also champion them because they’re artists as well: My mother is a chef/interior designer; My sister, Melanie, is a graphic designer and My lil’ brother is an artist! We’re the Super Creative Andujar Fam! LOL.

In your online bio, there’s something about “the school program that would change the course of her life.” What was this school program and how did it influence/inspire you? So cool that your Parents encouraged such a program for you to participate in. How are your Parents engaged/connected with creativity/the arts?

In 1997/1998, my mom put me into a Beacon After School Program and that’s where I found what I was good at and what I loved! Acting, singing and dancing! A talent manager scouted me out from the play I was in, “The Wiz”—I was the scarecrow (below), and from there, I knew I wanted to try for drama school and keep performing. Found my calling you could say! My mom grew up watching “I Love Lucy” and my father loved films. Mix both those up and there you have me—a lil’ comedy and drama.

How did you get to play the young Miss Rosa character an effing magnetic performance—in Season 2 of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”?

Thank you! I auditioned for the role of Young Rosa. I had actually auditioned for other roles on “Orange Is the New Black”—the casting director brought me in for this role and it just happened to fit! It was so fun getting to play this tough, cool, sexy character because it’s exciting, and who doesn’t wanna feel sexy and tough, right?!

Among your acting gigs, you also write and portray a cast of characters in “StephA: One Woman Show” → Write, sing and record your own songs → Design and sew your own clothes in “StephAsCollection” → Choreograph and dance → In addition to other projects I’m probably missing to highlight here. With all that you’re making, how do you manage your time to be productive as possible with your creative ambitions?

Crazy, right?! LOL. I love to create and being that I … we … have the opportunity to make what we want right now, it’s a great time to do just that. My one woman show came about too because my sister knew I could handle comedy and suggested I showcase my upbringing, and that’s where all these characters started coming to life. After that, I figured … why not keep going—start singing, dancing and sewing (below)! Do what you love while you’re here!

With all that goes on in realizing your adventures in acting, singing, dancing, more, how do you deal with stress? What ways of taking care yourself have proved helpful consistently?

I love to exercise, dance, ride, bike. These are ways to deal with all the other things that can weigh you down, but since I love a lot of what I do, I remind myself … yes, working out right now sounds like blah … but the results are so worth it. LOL. Also taking a walk with my Chihuahua Teeka (below) by the piers … she helps bring me peace. LOL.

What software/Web-based tools do you use and recommend highly to work on ideas and make them grow, to collaborate and get things done?

I work with Final Cut Pro a lot. YouTube, where you can see my “StephA: One Woman Show,” also has great tutorial videos on a lot of software programs that I think are great to learn from! Everything else is by trial and error, giving it a try and taking it from there.

How would you describe success?

I think that’s up to the individual because everyone might have a different definition for them. But I think it’s doing what you love and accomplishing goals that are meaningful to you. If you feel good, then that’s all that matters.

What artistic performances from film/TV/music/theater have stuck with you, that you keep going back to?

I actually love Al Pacino’s performances, especially from “Scarface” (1983). He was my inspiration for Young Rosa. Also for my recent character on “Blue Bloods,” I channeled a bit of Al Pacino and Heath Ledger as the Joker … Iconic actors and performances. I also read Lucille Ball’s memories in her autobiography “Love, Lucy” (1996) and always go back to reread advice she gives to actors!

Quad Cinema, New York City: Q&A for premiere screening of “Marjorie Prime” (2017), written and directed by Michael Almereyda (second from left), starring Lois Smith (third from left), Stephanie Andujar and Jon Hamm.

Quad Cinema, New York City: In a self-made dress at the premiere screening of the independent film “Marjorie Prime” (2017).

Are there actors/screenwriters/directors you want to work with?

There are so many who are great and talented … An opportunity with the best in the business is all I could ever dream of!

What are you must-experience movies/TV shows at this time?

Of course, check out “Blue Bloods” and “StephA: One Woman Show.” Actually, I did see “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” with my sister and I thought that was a great movie with great performances—a must-see.

In these charged times, what can individuals in the entertainment world do to contribute immediately to a better community/society moving forward?

I would hope for people to keep creating for the proper growth of our time here, to love each other as best we can. It’s easier said then done, but it can be done. Let free expression be for all and not just for some, you know. Let’s create for the next generation, so they know we took care of them and they can do the same for the next.

When/if you are approached by someone who expressed, “I want to become an actor,” what’s your response?

Have perseverance and a thick skin! LOL. It’s a climb, you know, in anything you want to pursue. But if this is what you want, then go for it! Do know that there will be obstacles ahead. You have to be brave and stick to the plan!

How does the city of New York contribute to your work? What makes it special for startups/business/creativity-at-large?

As a born-bred New Yorker, I can say it’s a Love-Hate relationship. LOL. NYC knows the deal! It truly is one of the best cities in the world. I use a lot of the city as backdrops and different locales around town to put New York front and center. Growing up here since I was born has been amazing, and I’ve seen the evolution of it. Getting to film it and play in the city makes it that much more special.

In the comic-book sense, what super power would you possess and why?

Hmmm, let’s see, I really love Batman, the Tim Burton version. I would then choose Cat Woman from the second Tim Burton “Batman” installment. Having nine lives and cat reflexes would be dope! My mom actually dressed me like her too when I was like 5 or 6. LOL. So yea, again, sexy, tough, the role for me!

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All images courtesy of Carmen Andujar.

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