Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
My name is Naomi Castellano and I’m what I call an “Eclectic Artist” and sometimes an “Eclectic Maniac” because I immerse myself in multiple art forms. I am an actor, musician, and writer. I compose my own music, have been working on starting my production company for my personal screenwriting, and collecting my poetry for publication as well.
These past few years I’ve been in hermit mode preparing, and now I’m putting all of my work out at once. My personal solo ep is being recorded at the end of June with a late summer/early fall release and I couldn’t be more excited to talk about it.
My style is a mix of rock, pop, and jazz with influences from artists like Ani Difranco and SIA. Songs you can dance to, and songs that will have you contemplating. I also just filmed an episode for an HBO Max series and can’t wait to continue growing.
My long-term goals stretch far beyond being in front of the stage and camera. I believe actors are born from what already lives within them. It’s a desire to be free, to teach, and to connect. The same goes for music as well! These are all qualities I think others often forget or suppress perhaps because they can be daunting and sometimes frightening.
I want the art I create to mean something but I don’t strive for it to be impactful for recognition. I want it to invoke emotion and conversation. I want to create art that leads people back to themselves, whether that is something they may not want to face or they discover who they could become or always have been. After all, art imitates life because it is life.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I let my inner child run free and rule my creation so I am always curious and ready to try something new whether that be in acting or in music. I genuinely love connection, and so I am often an open book wanting to collaborate and create meaningful work with those I come in contact with.
The more we can express ourselves, our viewpoints, and our openness to others the more we can positively impact the world around us. I see my artistic purpose making an impact in the long term.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do
I was introduced to acting/performance at a very young age through my first dance teacher Miss Lynn Vogen. Her shows incorporated acting into our dance routines to create full shows. My mother put me into dance as a creative outlet and social activity. I have a little brother with autism and a lot of her attention was given to navigating raising a child with a disability and so dance was an activity where we could spend time together. I grew up watching a lot of classic films, and with my taste in acting from dance my interest and love for it grew from there.
When I moved from California to Ohio at nine, I was extremely shy and found it hard to put myself out there and get back on stage. My school was offering the chance for fourth graders to take up learning an Orchestra instrument and I decided right there and then I wanted to play the viola.
Growing up I listened to a lot of classical music or modern artists with classical influences and so it was exciting for me to learn. From there I continued expanding my musical interests with piano, ukulele, and guitar as well as expanding my vocal range and finding my own vocal style. I broke through my stage fright, returned to acting, and in my final year of high school, I decided to put myself out there in the largest way possible by auditioning for my alma mater The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. I found the school on a whim, and it just was one of those fated feeling experiences.
When I received my acceptance call, it was on the train from Grand Central back to Cleveland. I will never forget that feeling, and since then I have had many moments so far that fuel the fact I am on the journey I am supposed to be on. Since then a lot of my dedication went towards acting, auditioning, and working survival jobs. Music fell to the wayside but I missed composing.
During the beginning of the Covid pandemic, I had a wake-up call to the fact that I needed to return to music. I needed that outlet and needed to strongly use my voice in a new and deeply personal way. I started writing again, and the rest is history. I always have had a pull towards cultivating creation, using my voice and connecting with other people.
I know I am doing what I was meant to do, and I can’t wait for my work to be out there.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
Oh, man. Besides fighting through stagefright and the obvious challenges that come with pursuing an art career such as survival jobs, making personal sacrifices, and going a non-traditional route I would say my biggest challenge has been fully accepting who I am in order to be my authentic self.
I had some personal life experiences, as well as my own self-criticism that really affected my confidence and fueled my fear. It’s funny because I always was unconventional so I wasn’t challenged by the craziness of the entertainment industry. It’s more so having to do with my own personal spiritual journey and the relationship I have with myself and my shadow self.
Being human is not easy. There are so many influences contributing to how we see the world and ourselves that sometimes it’s challenging to fully express ourselves. Art is an outlet, a paradise, and sometimes a personal hell. It’s where we find comfort and also where the mirror is held up to us. I’ve worked through these feelings through a lot of personal introspection and reprogramming my mindset.
If my art could do just one thing for others, it would be to encourage them to live truthfully and feel seen as they are and for all they are meant to be.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Jessica Chastain – I was once compared to a young version of her and it’s a compliment I gladly still run with today! I think she is an incredible actress with such vulnerability and range. If I can’t play a younger version of her, I would gladly just have a conversation over coffee to know more about her story and personal journey.
Jon Favreau – I think this man is a marvel, no pun intended. He writes, produces, and directs so much content I wonder how much sleep he actually gets. All of what he does is amazing and I would LOVE to work with him on a project no matter the size. I think he is a true actor’s director because he is an actor himself, and he is such a huge contributor to the industry today.
Ester Dean/Linda Perry – I had to name them both because they are two of the most badass female music producers working in the industry and it would be a dream to work with either of them.
Drop your social media links.
My Spotify will be out when the music is out! But in the meantime, my Instagram is the place to be for updates, news, and if you want to say hello!