Stephanie Beatriz has unique talent. You’re instantly captured with her charisma and warmth. She’s a kaleidoscope of kind, funny, smart and driven. It is clear how and why she’s become a force to be reckoned with in today’s entertainment industry. Best known for her confident roles in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Short Term 12 and Ice Age: Collision Course, her career continues to soar with the upcoming movie release for Half Magic.
In her rare free time Stephanie is an activist within her community. With a fierce passion for her canine friends, Beatriz is a huge advocate for dog adoption.
We met up with Stephanie at Melody in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles to check out the latest hip restaurant in town. We discuss insecurities, discrimination, education, girlfriends and naturally, eyewear!
What originally drew you into acting and comedy? Was there a particular experience or personal calling?
I signed up for speech and debate as an elective in 8th grade. We put on two plays a year, and the spring play was a terrible melodrama complete with a villain who was described in the script as wearing a top hat and a handlebar mustache. It was anything BUT my dream role (I wanted to play the ingénue of course) but it was the role I got. And I killed it. I had the best time acting ridiculous and our school agreed. I will never forget how fun and wild it felt to get an entire audience of middle school kids roaring with laughter and truly paying attention to the story we were telling. The next day at school my future was solidified- a very cute football player stopped by my desk to tell me that my “brother” was hilarious in the play the day before. I was too stupefied to correct him.
To what do you most attribute the development of your craft? Did you have a mentor or formal education?
My biggest growth as an artist has been through working on actual professional projects. Working with different directors on plays or films and working with other actors has been the biggest area of learning for me. Watching how another performer breaks down and then performs a script is really fascinating. Witnessing how a director handles a set and cast is priceless. I learn so much by watching.
What kind of risks of challenges have you encountered over the years working as an actor? And did they change your path in any way?
My personal biggest challenge is fighting against my own insecurities about whether I am “enough”. Talented enough, pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough. I also am frustrated and challenged by the reality that film and television are still so unbalanced when it comes to representation of Latinos. We make up a huge part of the population of the United States and Latinos buy 1 of every 4 move tickets sold. Yet in the last year were cast in less than 2% of lead roles. The roles that are the best written and most complex are often cast with white women simply because that is the way it’s always been done. Film studios are often unwilling to “take a risk” and cast Latinas, Asian women, or Black women as the leads of films. I’ve learned that this means I have to be willing to try (and possibly fail at!) producing and developing my own projects, starring Latina women as the lead characters. Last year I helped executive produce and starred in the film “The Light of The Moon”. We won the Audience award at SXSW, which the whole team is so proud of.
When thinking about the future of your work, what are you most excited about?
Is there a television or film character that reflects your personality in real life? If so, who?
I’m truly a strange mix of Daria/ Elaine/ Phoebe
What piece of advice would you have loved to receive when first starting out in the entertainment industry?
Your fear of looking stupid is keeping you from learning more about yourself.
Is there anyone in the industry whose eyewear style stands out to you — in front of the camera, or behind the scenes?
Well, I think we can all agree that Oprah had a real MOMENT at the Golden Globes this year. I love that she unapologetically wears her glasses whenever she wants!
When you’re not filming, how do you recharge and stay inspired in Los Angeles?
I rarely get hang time with my core group of girlfriends, so when i have down time i love to have them over. I’m happiest sitting on my couch, glass of champagne in hand, laughing at them and reveling in their phenomenal energy.
Stephanie wears the Katana in Aberdeen and Moline in Pine. Photos by Stefan Junir.
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