Inspiring Artists Stories
Today we'd like to introduce you to Sarah Villacarilllo
Current Location: Orange County, CA
Sarah, thank you for taking the time to share your story. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself?
Definitely! Thank you for having me! So I did my first show at the age of 4, and it was a church Christmas production. It was crazy because, from what I remember, I just lost myself in the world that I created. The audience didn’t exist to me, and all I was doing was living on stage with my friends just singing and dancing. By the end of the show, I remember not wanting that to end - whatever I just experienced, I wanted to do it over and over again. Ever since then, I would reenact things I saw on TV and in movies - I dressed up and became the characters I related to because I wanted them to be real to me. At that time, it was a way for me to escape my reality and immerse myself in someone else’s world. As I continued to grow and study Theatre in college, I found that what we’re doing is telling stories, whether it’s fictional or based in real life, that people can relate to and it allows them to not feel alone in what they’re going through or have gone through in life. On the flip side, it opens up people’s hearts to the fact that there may be someone who lives a completely different lifestyle from them but they are just as much a human as anyone else.
Can you tell us a little more about what you've been working on recently?
Well, I am enjoying taking classes and looking for auditions in both theatre and on-camera wherever I can find them. This past May, I graduated and earned my Associates in both Theatre Arts and Dance as well as a Certificate in Musical Theatre from Cypress College.
The road of the artist is a sometimes long and bumpy road. Has your journey as an artist been a smooth one? If not, how have you overcome any challenges you've been faced with?
Definitely not. I think every artist has encountered some if not a lot of challenges along their journey, and it continues to make them stronger and be the person that they are every day. My journey is a bit bizarre because I had some sort of existential crisis at the age of like 7 where I questioned my existence and asked, “Why am I so weird?” Then I heard this little voice on the inside- which I believed to be God’s call- that said “It’s because you were made this way.” So from there it clicked in me that this is what I’m meant to do - embrace this “weirdness” and recognize that it’s who I am and it’s what makes me unique. As much as I wanted to be in shows, I would always audition for the smallest roles or want to be in the ensemble to hide. Leading roles seemed so daunting and a huge amount of responsibility, and I never thought I was good enough or ready. In high school, I did one musical, Little Shop of Horrors, where I auditioned for and got the role of Audrey 2 - Puppeteer, because I thought it would be funny to hide in a plant for an entire show but still be in the cast. Also as a WOC, I’m Filipino, I typecast myself as the best friend or the comedic sidekick. I’m immediately drawn to those characters anyway and I naturally found myself behaving like them, but I kind of pigeon-holed myself as that forever. Going into college with the same mentality, I was challenged to be in the front or take on more speaking roles which absolutely terrified me. It wasn’t until last year when I was cast as one of the principals where I finally pushed myself completely out of my comfort zone, and kind of surprised myself. It only takes one person to give you a chance for you to realize the potential that they see in you. But honestly, I would not have been able to get there without the guidance and encouragement of teachers, professors, and directors.
Are there any lessons that you've learned along your journey so far? Something that you'd want to tell your younger self?
You’re good. You’re enough. Don’t compare yourself. That’s the biggest one, for sure. I would always see other artists who’ve been doing this for a lot longer than me and think “I could never do that or measure up.” It really doesn’t matter though because we are all on different journeys and what’s important is that we keep progressing for ourselves. Also, just freaking do it … why the heck not?
What's the best piece of advice you've received?
Honestly, the best piece of advice I’ve been given is “what do you want?” It sounds really basic and simple, but as an artist we are so used to serving and being willing to do whatever it is for the show or project. We sometimes forget that we are human too and we need to take care of ourselves in order to keep going. Also, it gives a sense of direction. If you don’t know what you want, find out what you want and know that your desires are there for a reason. Another one is “how you do one thing is how you do everything.”
What inspires you? Can you tell us about something that maybe inspired you to pursue a life in the arts?
I get inspiration from other people and other art. When I see a great dance piece, film, TV series, or theatrical performance it really gets me fired up inside. For some reason, it makes the dream of performing with them more achievable. At least it makes me want to work more to be able to do that.
The mission of The Rose is to make the arts accessible in the community. What purpose do you think the arts or artists play in today's society?
Oh, for sure. I think art plays a bigger part in society than society even knows. Literally everything is art - the earth is so beautiful, people interacting and emotional expression is acting, photography and graphic design, font design or penmanship, videography, walking or standing still is movement. We can’t escape it, and yet it takes the lowest priority to the mass public. When this pandemic hit, people gravitated towards social media, movies, TV shows, and music to pass the time and distract themselves from whatever was happening in the world. Although some artists lost their main platform, they somehow found a way to keep working and sharing their art. Honestly that’s what makes me so grateful to be part of this community - just proving to the world and ourselves that you can take away our space but we still find a way to show up.
What are your hopes for the future of the arts?
With the majority of the arts industry on pause, I’m actually just really excited for our comeback. It’s like all this energy and anticipation is building up that when things start opening up, I feel like we’re all gonna come running back with all these ideas, concepts, and sharpened skills.
Also, my hope is for even more inclusion when it comes to diversity. A friend and I recently had a conversation about representation in the industry and media, specifically for BIPOC and body image, and there aren’t many that show kind of “real, everyday” people. When they are cast and represented, it’s almost publicized as this big thing, as if we’re, for a lack of a better term, freaks. It’s kind of like “Come see this movie or show with this person of color, plus size actor or actress as the lead .. WOW!” when in reality, they are as much of a person as a thinner or white person. Why is it so weird to see a person of color as a romantic lead, or someone who doesn’t have rock hard abs be taken seriously? It’s so rare to see them depicted as just a person rather than making the entire storyline about their appearance as if it were some sort of wonder or defect.
Instagram, Twitter, TikTok: @saruhhvee
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