Actors, Entertainment, Entertainment Interview, Filmmaker Interview
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Interview ~ Actress & Producer, Apolonia Davalos

About two weeks back, I interviewed Filmmaker, Sharon Wilharm, writer and director of the movie, The CalmGood Book. A week later, I reviewed the movie. Today, I’m honored to interview Apolonia Davalos, the lead actress of the The Good Book, and a movie producer in her own right. Join us below!


 Miranda ~ Hello Apolonia! Glad to have you at To Be A Person today! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Apolonia: I’m honored to be featured on To Be A Person! Thank you for welcoming me!

I was born in Fairbanks, AK. I am the daughter of an Air Force Veteran, my Mother, who is my hero, guardian angel, and teacher of life. I’m the middle child who gets the best of both worlds of being the younger and older sister. Growing up, every two years our humble family (me, my mother, and my two sisters) relocated to a new area where we were called to serve our country, our community, and our church (Mom taught us that families serve).

I am an artist and an engineer of many trades. I am a thespian, an actress, singer, dancer, a filmmaker, writer, stage hand, stage manager, and director, producer of stage and film, and theater technician.

In theater, I am known for originating the role of LYNN CORDERO in the Off-Broadway production of Looking for Billy Haines in Times Square (NYC). Other theater credits include: TITANIA in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Nashville Shakespeare Festival); MYRRHA in Metamorphoses (The Boston Actors Theater): TITUBA in The Crucible (Salem Theatre Company); and BEATRICE in Sisters of the Church (Afrikan Women’s Repertory Theatre).

Film credits include: MARION in The Good Book, ALANA in The Perfect Wedding, STACEY in Daddy’s Girl, MARISOL in Jolly, and BERNADETTE in Harlem Shadows.

I’m happy. I’m confident. I’m fun. I am an AWESOME friend. I love to laugh. I enjoy food. I am an exercise junkie.

Most importantly, I am a willing disciple of Christ seeking God in all things!

Miranda ~ When did you first discover God and come to Him personally?

Apolonia: I’ve always known God, for He is my Father. The greatest gift my Mother has given me, besides life itself, is my faith.

I was raised Roman Catholic. Cradle Catholics as the world likes to refer to us. I’ve personally witnessed and learned embarking on adulthood that our parent’s faithful commitment is no longer enough to cradle an individual and arcane relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Almighty gives every child the Free Will to choose Him or be against Him. Every precious moment lived through every breath, I’m in constant prayer and state of grace. I surrender my Will to the Lord and ask Him to guide me to fulfill His Will for me. I am a student striving To Be a Saint. And the Saints are my teachers. I renew my commitment to the Lord with the dawn of each new day.

I am a grain of sand within the colossal creation of the Universe. But without each speck, there is no beach. Therefore, we (YOU and ALL our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ) are the light of the world. It’s not an easy path, but it’s a worthy path.

Miranda ~ When did you discover your talent for acting, and more importantly, when did you decide to use it for God?

Apolonia: When I was nine years old, I attended my older sister’s high school production of The King and I. My heart was captured by the lucidity and illumination of cultural differences, familial strength, unrequited love, exceptional love, individual vehemence and courage, and leadership. I was won by the extraordinary music, charming comedy, gripping choreography, and brilliant costume design. I wanted nothing else but to be on that stage. Joy permeated the entire auditorium. In this instant, I knew that being an actor was my calling for I never recalled so much love and assurance for a career.

In 2012 I attended a Christ Renews His Parish (C. R. H. P.) retreat at my church. This weekend of renewal reinvigorated my fire for God. Then I commenced a concentrated six month focus of discernment and formation with my fellow sisters of the Church who answered YES to the call to be a Giver (a witness of Christ in our everyday lives) at the next retreat. I learned (and continue to learn) so much from these daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers. Talk about inspiring women! It was during this period of my life when I decided to pursue more projects that revered life and celebrated the glory of God.

Miranda ~ Could you tell us the story of your journey into film?

Apolonia: My very first feature film was Harlem Shadows (2007) produced by Reigning Star Productions. I was surprised when I received the offer from Producer Carmen Muniz and informed that Director Robert Cobb cast me for the principal role of BERNADETTE. I learned about the initial audition through Backstage – NY (the newspaper). I was simultaneously excited and concerned. Excited I got the part and concerned I wouldn’t be able to accept the role. I was on a theater tour during the same time shooting was scheduled to launch. Nevertheless, with amazing producers like Carmen Muniz in the world, they got me to set. With God everything is possible!

When not in front of the camera, I work behind-the-scenes in film production as a production assistant, production manager, or producer. While living in New York and Boston, I was blessed to collaborate in the company of innovational filmmakers and we were determined to create work for ourselves when notable opportunities were scarce. Through hard work and persistence, endeavors and relationships such as these led to me being cast in the principle role of ALANA FOWLER in the indie feature The Perfect Wedding.

The casting process for the evangelical silent feature The Good Book was exceptionally rewarding. It was the first time that my work spoke for itself. Director Sharon Wilharm posted a casting notice in the Nashville Film and Media Facebook group requesting only a headshot, resume, completion of a short questionnaire, and reel (showcasing a dynamic range of emotion). Prior to ever meeting me in person, I received an email congratulating me on being cast to portray the principal role of MARION.

The Good Book is exemplary of pioneering cinema made for every home, every family, every individual, and every culture. It’s completely driven by the universal language of emotional physicality expressing the human condition and a delineating archetypal score. Composer Rick Holets is eminently gifted! The Good Book is more than a film, it’s a noble mission. I’m immensely HONORED and BLESSED to be a part of it!

Miranda ~ How have you grown spiritually since becoming an actress? What lessons have you picked up along the way?

Apolonia: As an actress, my will, desire for holiness, trust in God, perseverance, patience, purity, faith, hope, grace, and humility is constantly put to the test!

The greatest lesson that I hold dear and true to my heart, is that the arts are alive everywhere and not just in New York City. As a result of immersing myself in the culture of theater and film in other cities and states across the nation, I have grown immensely as a performer and as a person learning a lot of life lessons along the way.

As professional entertainers, how can we reflect life honestly without living it? How can we truly understand the concerns of our fellow neighbors, without listening and being a part of their lives?

I consider the honor to be a performer a great responsibility and as an act of service to our fellow man. George M. Cohan (a legendary American entertainer) uplifted and united our great country during World War I. He was a hero that embodied the American spirit eternally in our hearts with songs like “Over There”, “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Grand Old Flag”.

The most precious gift that a stranger can give is their time. If I’m given their undivided attention for an hour or two, I’m going to honor them by bearing my soul. By honoring God, we honor our lives!

Miranda ~ What misconceptions do people have about the world of entertainment, especially in regards to a career that can lead to fame?

Apolonia: I have learned that every single solitary journey toward success is unique to the individual. There is no right way or one way!

Pursuing a career in entertainment is hard work. There is no such thing as job security. You’re endlessly searching for roles that challenge you creatively and personally.

Number one: You (the actor) are your own business!

Miranda ~ In your opinion, as an actress and a Christian, what principles do you believe help sustain a person in a career like acting? What principles sustain the career itself?

Apolonia: Morality, divine inspiration, humility, leadership, followership, love, generosity, and an iron-willed work ethic are preeminent principles to nurture and sustain for the actor and the career.

Christianity is a way of life! Religion and spirituality go hand in hand. Daily reflection on scripture, going to mass, and for myself praying the Rosary, are all principles and practices that sustain my life! Without these graces, I would not be present to the fullness of life, I’d be absent. And it is the ultimate responsibility of the actor TO BE PRESENT!

Through faith, the gift of finding joy in all things cannot be compromised by the ugliness of circumstances.

We are imperfect creatures! Without a compass, we have a tendency and the temptation to lose ourselves. In the entertainment industry, such a fall from the path is public!

Some actors can’t let go and carry the character’s demons home with them. This opens the door for dangerous territory that can be terminally harmful. Suicides are no secret and fame is no exception.

My strong faith walk encouraged by the boundless support of my loving family keep me focused, persevering, and true to self!

Miranda ~ What other actors/actresses have you worked with in the past? What has the experience been like, and what lessons did you gain from working with them?—any interesting story in particular?

Apolonia: I will carry with me for the rest of my life the time on set I spent with the late, though forevermore renowned, actor James Rebhorn. Jim cherished an exceptionally successful career celebrated with a life rooted in faith and family!

There is not even a word that appropriately resonates the HONOR to work with people whose career and talent you admire. It’s an experience that must be venerated and harbored.

In Jim’s presence there was never a dull moment! He was HILARIOUS! His intelligence and thoughtfulness imbued prevailing influence that strengthened a scene. He garnered a keen eye for making sure all the pieces within a scene fit and applied to the overall story and arc of the film.

Jim often referred to me and the other actors on set as his fellow Thespians. There was something magical about that and it established familial camaraderie. Thespian is now a term that I use much more often to refer to my professional colleagues. He welcomed me with open arms and was the best character Dad in the world! You can tell just how much his kids meant to him in real life!

Each acting moment was seemingly effortless and beautiful. Talk about learning from one of the greats!!!

I have to add that Jim also wrote his own obituary that every major entertainment news source re-published. He entitled it “His Life, According to Jim.” Here are two excerpts (originally released by St. Paul Lutheran Church):

“His mother, Ardell Frances Rebhorn, nee Hoch, loved him very much and supported all his dreams. She taught him the value of good manners and courtesy, and that hospitality is no small thing. His father, James Harry Rebhorn, was no less devoted to him. From him, Jim learned that there is no excuse for poor craftsmanship. A job well done rarely takes more or less time than a job poorly done. They gave him his faith and wisely encouraged him to stay in touch with God.”

 “Jim was fortunate enough to earn his living doing what he loved. He was a professional actor.”

Miranda ~ What producers/directors have you worked with as an actress? What wisdom did you gain from them that has helped your career?

Apolonia: In Nashville, Shakespeare is synonymous with Denice Hicks, the Artistic Director of The Nashville Shakespeare Festival!

Denice is a GIFT from God to the arts! In 2013, she cast me as TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies, for the 25th Anniversary Nashville Shakes production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Ms. Hicks sees a strength in people that we may not see in ourselves! That is a rarefied quality of leadership in an extraordinary Director! Fearless, collaborative, and trustworthy, she is a teacher that will coach an actor to reach their highest peak by giving them something to fight for every single night in every single scene!

Day 1 of rehearsal she introduced this EPIC venture with the following words of wisdom (easing the nerves of anxious thespians): “The complete works of Shakespeare are like a cook book. The play is the meal plan, the scenes are the dish, and the words and characters are the ingredients!”

Her vision to set the play in Nashville 2013 reaffirmed Shakespeare’s timeless relevance and further invigorated Nashville’s reputation as the Athens of the South. Her first order of business was to set us FREE: to make bold character choices; experiment with accents; and to PLAY!

She initiated early in the rehearsal process, “I truly want to hear ALL your ideas. I welcome them!”

I engaged in Viewpoints exercises for the first time in my life as well as other compelling improvisations. One game in particular investigated the polarity of our physical and emotional responses when living within an atmosphere of ‘magic versus the real world’ and ‘love versus apathy.’

I am a more skillful performer to this very day by spending a summer under the light of her wisdom!

Miranda ~ What do you hope to impart when viewers watch you on screen?

Apolonia: Through a feature like The Gook Book, I pray the viewer walks out of the theater with the revelation on their heart that everything and anything is possible with God.

Miranda ~ You’re also into film production. How’s the work/experience different than acting, the other side of the camera?

Apolonia: I am a producer, director, writer and ardent advocate for classical Greek theatre through my film and theatre production company APOLONIAD Productions. The difference, while wearing many hats, is addressing the big picture of a production in a business sense and not just from an artistic point of view. I must consider the needs and priorities of every single department and crew member. Time, budget, camera angles, as well as the story, etc. resonate upon the brain simultaneously.

As an actor, the portrayal of your character is the paramount concern.

Miranda ~ What project are you working on now? When can we expect it?

Apolonia: Right now I’m co-writing and acting in the new online radio program The Baby Shug’s Show that airs on www.DooWopCove.com and the Victory Television Network (on Roku). I’m collaborating with DJ John Baldwin of The J-Bal Oldies Show who portrays Daddy. I am the voice for Baby Shug. We debut a new episode each month. Our next skit, entitled “A Cinderella Story” will air on September 5th with special guest star Jenn Gotzon portraying the voice of the famous Disney princess.

The birth of this project was inspired by our love for NBC’s renowned 1940’s American comedy The Baby Snook’s Show starring Fanny Brice and Hanley Stafford. I’m definitely building my strengths as a writer and a character actress as a result of working on this FUN show!

Miranda ~ What word of wisdom can you offer an actor/actress who’s just beginning?

Apolonia: Never stereotype yourself! There will be enough people who will do that for you!

Audition for narratives you care about! In character, you’ll always have something to fight for!

Miranda ~ What word of wisdom can you offer a filmmaker who’s just starting out?

Apolonia: You have a story within you that only you can tell! Don’t give up on it!

Miranda ~ Is there any word—anything at all!—you’d like to say that wasn’t covered by the above questions?

Apolonia: Don’t wait for opportunity. Create opportunity!

 

THIS OR THAT (THE FUN QUESTIONS!)

Coffee or Tea? Coffee

Vanilla or Chocolate? Chocolate

Salad or Fruit? Fruit

Blue or Green? Blue

Walk or Run? Walk

Gym or Outdoor? Gym

Boots or Sandals? Boots

Heels or Flats? Heels

Thank you, Apolonia, for stopping by!

Thank you for allowing me to connect with your readers! Peace be with you!

 

CalmAbout Apolonia Davalos


I was born in Fairbanks, AK. I am the daughter of an Air Force Veteran, my Mother, who is my hero, guardian angel, and teacher of life. I’m the middle child who gets the best of both worlds of being the younger and older sister. Growing up, every two years our humble family (me, my mother, and my two sisters) relocated to a new area where we were called to serve our country, our community, and our church (Mom taught us that families serve).

I am an artist and an engineer of many trades. I am a thespian, an actress, singer, dancer, a filmmaker, writer, stage hand, stage manager, and director, producer of stage and film, and theater technician.

In theater, I am known for originating the role of LYNN CORDERO in the Off-Broadway production of Looking for Billy Haines in Times Square (NYC). Other theater credits include: TITANIA in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Nashville Shakespeare Festival); MYRRHA in Metamorphoses (The Boston Actors Theater): TITUBA in The Crucible (Salem Theatre Company); and BEATRICE in Sisters of the Church (Afrikan Women’s Repertory Theatre).

Film credits include: MARION in The Good Book, ALANA in The Perfect Wedding, STACEY in Daddy’s Girl, MARISOL in Jolly, and BERNADETTE in Harlem Shadows.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity, edition#31 — Actress Apolonia Davalos | God's Creative Gift -- Unleashing the Artist in You

  2. Pingback: Actor Scoop ~ Interview with Paloma Pilar | To Be A Person

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