Loren Escandon: Actress, Filmmaker, Producer and Champion of Women’s Narratives

Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?

Hello, everyone; my name is Loren Escandon. I am an actress, filmmaker, and producer, and I wear all the hats needed to get our stories to see the light. I fell in love with telling stories very early, but back then, I used my body to do so … meaning I was a dancer.

My artistic career started when I was 8. My mother came home and told me I would audition for the National Ballet School in Colombia, Incolballet. I didn’t even know what ballet was, but my mom convinced me to do it.

I became a professional ballerina, but it got to the point that my body was not up to the task. Ballet can be brutal to the body. However, I really missed being on stage and performing, so I auditioned for the theater program in college and got in. I became part of the college theater company.

I traveled around the world, which opened up my perspective on storytelling and the human experience. That’s when I decided storytelling was my path regardless of the discipline or tool I would use to do it.

I make films because I want to explore the realities of women of color who become everyday heroes as they navigate societal circumstances that have been imposed upon them. I want to bring women’s narratives to the forefront of conversations while having some control over the stories being told about us.

I act because it is my way of awakening parts of me that otherwise would remain quiet while serving as a mirror to an audience that might want to connect with or understand perspectives close to or remote from their own.

And I love to dance, especially salsa, but the Colombian style, the Cuban and Puerto Rican count, makes my brain explode. I love dogs, cooking, and having friends over my place.

What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?

Every human is unique, and in that sense, there are not two people in this industry or any other where their uniqueness is not their superpower, despite how much our business relies on labels. So, what makes me different and unique is that I am Loren Escandón, and there is no other person out there with my life experience, perspective, physical features, voice, heart, and soul.

Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.

I grew up as an only child, immersed in the universe I created. However, my mother said she always noticed how I made up stories about everything with some emphatic mindfulness. I will narrate the life of the mango tree leaves in my backyard, the new neighbor across the street, the kids cleaning the windshields at the traffic lights, everything and anything.

I guess it was my way of entertaining myself. And a tool that unconsciously started developing throughout my life. However, I was never so aware of the power of storytelling until I was in Moscow.

I was at a monologues festival when art didn’t feel like a political weapon. I was participating in this festival with a monologue I wrote called Montera. It was in Spanish. We had prepared subtitles for the performance, and the concept of subtitles in the theater fell out of place, but it is commonly done around the world.

Anyway, my performance was roughly 60 minutes, and the festival producer said to me – “hey Loren, if the audience doesn’t respond the way you expect, please know that our culture and humor are different; nothing to do with your piece” As soon he said that, I felt my heart sink.

But the show must go on. I stepped on stage and gave my whole. People were very quiet, but I heard them connecting gradually, taking the ride with me. At the end of the show, people were laughing and crying with me, but the craziest thing was that after the show, at the Q&A, someone asked me why I did not use subtitles.

My confusion was evident, and just then, my producer got close to my ear and said, “btw, the titles screen didn’t work. Good job,” The universality of storytelling. Everyone understood the story despite the language barrier. That day, I truly understood the power of what I do.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?

My leap of faith in coming to the United States was definitely a severe challenge. I moved here fresh out of college in Colombia, without speaking the language, with only one friend and very little money, but holding a dream in my heart called Broadway, and if you must know, I can’t really sing… oops! Adapting to a new culture where you can’t communicate as an adult is one of the most frustrating things I have gone through.

It was like one day, I was performing Moliere, and the next, I couldn’t order a cup of coffee in a deli. But like my mother used to say, “Lo que no te mata te hace fuerte” – What does not kill you makes you stronger – It was not a way to avoid the process, to skip the learning curb necessary to make a life in this country. I had to go through the ebbs and flows; I still do; that is life. The process has made me resilient.

Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business?  Why these specific individuals?

Top 3? That is hard. My list is long, but I would be pragmatic. These are three people who surely have all the potential to change my persona.

Viola Davis would be an expansive experience. I’m in awe of how she approaches the character with the attention to detail of a craftsperson and her capacity to disappear in her creation. That is what I strive for as an actress, and hopefully, when I get to be there with her, I can rise to that level.

Ava DuVernay. I deeply admire the sensitivity of her storytelling and the stories she brings to life. I am inspired by her company’s business model and the multiple ways she finds to support underrepresented communities and give them a seat at the table. So is the ultra-amazing Eva Longoria. She is doing it, too, and I am grateful for it.

Tanya Katerí Hernández, the writer of Racial Innocence, has the most compelling understanding of discriminatory behavior within discriminated groups and systemic racism that would make for a life-changing conversation. I feel like 30 minutes with her would give me material to write a million stories.

Drop your social media links

IG @LorenEscandon
Twitter @lorenescandon

Mara Alcantara
Mara Alcantara
Digital marketing and content writing associate with a knack for spotting talent. Mara has a rare combo of creativity coupled with an analytical mind. Entertainment enthusiast.

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