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Meet Actress And Writer Gabriella Avenue

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

Hey! I’m Gabriella Avenue. I’m an actress and writer from New York. Being involved in acting has been such an immense blessing in my life. I love acting and writing on both screen and stage because art is an incredibly connective and transcendent facet of life. In such a divisive time, I feel like the entertainment industry really brings people together in such a beautiful way.

Part of how I began writing really branched from my experiences acting in New York theatre schools. I have strong (and proud) Middle Eastern roots as my father is Iraqi-Armenian. Yet, I never saw too many Middle Eastern stories accurately represented on stage, film, or television. It became more and more frustrating as I developed my craft through college, as I never really found enough scenes or parts that reflected my upbringing. And so, I began writing my own.

I don’t want to give away too much, but, at the moment, I’m developing a story that’s truly close to my heart about the unheard voices of women in Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Turkey, and Afghanistan in the early 1900s. Working on this has been such a pleasure. Having the opportunity to dig into historical accounts and learn about women in this time has made me grow even stronger and more confident in my identity.

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

My love for my family is perhaps my favorite and most valuable quality about myself. I was the first young woman to go to a four-year private college in my immediate family. When I think of all of the sacrifices that my family made for me to be capable of attaining that goal, it truly fuels and empowers everything I do.

I have also been fortunate to have very strong female role models in my life. My mother and grandmother have always had a resilient inner strength that has set such an example in my life. They always encouraged me to stand up for others, approach the world with curiosity, and never back down.

My grandmother also taught me that kind words and good intentions never serve you wrong in this life, which I feel is especially important. With women like that to look up to, I feel I’ve been graced with girl boss DNA (even if, I know, that sounds undeniably cheesy).

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

In terms of a defining moment, my desire to be in this industry clicked when I was performing in acting class in NYC at 14 years old. It was Comedy Day, and my mother and grandmother sat in to watch with the other parents. I was partnered up with a friend of mine for a comedic scene.

My acting instructor said we could improvise if we wanted, and my partner and I went all in, bickering like a modern Odd Couple. Hearing my mother and grandmother laugh in the audience with every punchline just made my heart pump with joy and adrenaline. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to be an actor and decided I wanted to do that for the rest of my life–and then, BOOM, abruptly, my partner hit me with a pillowcase mid-scene, and dusty prop pillow feathers flew everywhere.

Not too long after, both scene and curtain were called. But, it was amazing because I felt I found my calling–and, well, some major allergies. I’m still sneezing just thinking about it.

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

My parents and grandparents were immigrants to this country. As I mentioned before, growing up, I often felt a dissonance between my environment at school in New York and what I knew at home. Yet, the one thing I found that connected me to my family in this place, which often felt foreign to my loved ones, was the universality of great art.

As I started devoting more of my life to learning about acting and drama, I understood how much performance could be felt, heard, and received despite linguistic barriers. Human beings can feel other human beings’ joy, pain, sadness – all without speaking the same tongue. And so, drama became a large part of who I was. It became something I could share with my family and experience with my loved ones.

But still, Iraqi, Armenian, Turkish, Morrocan, Syrian, and other Middle Eastern stories often go incredibly underrepresented on stage and screen. This is a massive industry-wide problem, as these stories could unite us and potentially change the world because of the universal humanity that lives within them. These stories have a heartbeat brimming just under the surface, made to be heard and felt by all.

That same heartbeat is precisely why I love acting so much. Great acting, great performances–they leave room for everyone. They create an open door and invite the audience to sit, feel, and connect to something greater than themselves, despite the fickle prejudices of man, differences in background, or various personal biases.

Going through this search for connection and finding it through art has not been easy, but it has also made me passionate about becoming a part of a generation of leaders mastered in creating space for new voices and sharing a diverse range of lived experiences. If art leaves an open door for the audience, it’s safe to say that I’d like to help continue building the framework.

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

I would love to meet Reese Witherspoon! She has always been such an inspiration to me, and I love that she has genuinely re-defined what it means to be an actress in this industry. She has become a producer, businesswoman, and social justice leader, and her remarkable success with Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere reflects just that. She really sees the change she wants to make in entertainment and runs right towards it.

I’d also love to meet Shonda Rhimes. She is such a legend in this industry, with Shondaland and all of her series. I love her approach to ensemble-based stories and how she develops rather large groups of stand-out talent over several seasons. Moreover, I think she once spoke about success being like a race that can’t stop being run, and I found that super inspiring to keep going and fighting for what you want to create in this world.

And lastly, unfortunately, she’s not alive, but I’d love to meet Lucille Ball. She is the queen of physical comedy. Growing up, I’d just sit in front of the television for hours and watch marathon after marathon of I Love Lucy and laugh myself to tears. It’s also worth noting how much she developed this industry through spearheading multi-cam comedy. It’d be a dream to buy her coffee and just listen to her talk about Old Hollywood and her life on set.

Drop your social media links.

Instagram: https://instagram.com/gabriellasavenue

Vianka Petines
Vianka Petines
Vianka is a bright, savvy, and capable marketing publicist. She brings a breath of fresh air with a very sound approach to strategy and campaign development. We're excited to have her on the team :)

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