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This week we had the distinct pleasure to chat with a multifaceted Headliner – Luciana Faulhaber.
From student and teacher to actor, filmmaker and activist, Faulhaber brings unique insight to every project she takes on.
From Academia to Art
Luciana Faulhaber was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and moved to the United States when she received an academic scholarship to attend Fordham University.
She later graduated summa cum laude and then continued her education on another academic scholarship at Columbia University.
After graduating, she started teaching underprivileged kids to empower them in a way their circumstances did not. She remembers first getting into acting when the father of one of her students asked if she wanted to be in a commercial.
She then decided to further hone her acting skills by attending The Meisner Acting Conservatory Program with William Esper, and so began her foray away from her teaching journey onto a creative path in the entertainment industry.
We asked her what it was like to make this leap, and she recalls it being “gradual.” She remembered, “I’ve always wanted to be an actor but I was raised by a single mom who never went to college. So it was important to her we had a formal education that could sustain us through tough times.”
The path to her dream was one that was paved with hard work and pragmatism. She recalled, “I was born to a modest family that saw art as a reward for hard work instead of the work itself. Like many artists, I have had many jobs to help pay the bills while working toward my financial and creative freedom. That takes time.”
Acting is a passion for Faulhaber, but in pursuit of this craft she found that the Latinx culture was very narrowly represented in the industry.
This encouraged her to expand her influence from merely playing a part to instead, creating a space for inclusivity – something that seemed to be missing or falling short in mainstream entertainment.
She explained, “I am foremost an actor. That is what lights my soul on fire. Content creation was taking matters into my own hands.”
She did this by being proactive with her creativity. She recalled, “As a Latinx woman in America, I was saddened to constantly only be considered for roles like maid, prostitute, drug dealers and such and decided to create content that reflects the Latinx people today [who are] more educated and financially independent than ever.”
Her role of content creator and artist has become one of her favorite roles in the entertainment industry, saying, “It has been wonderful being part of telling these stories and [I] hope to do it on a larger scale to generate jobs for Latinx people in front [of] and behind the camera.”
During her time producing works for the New York Stage, Faulhaber met her producing partner Javier Gomez. Together, they created Enuff Productions in 2012 with the mission “to nurture and empower a new generation of voices in American cinema, by creating new cutting-edge projects and work opportunities for upcoming actors, writers, directors, and designers, from around the country.”
Her journey evolved further into new areas of creation from producing and acting to writing and directing. She made her directorial debut with “Don’t Look” – a film which was successfully funded on Kickstarter and set out to defy the horror genre’s typical tropes generally associated with female and minority characters.
Her next major project came in her role as writer/director of “December” – an emotionally charged short film that seeks to convey universal feelings of love, loss and regret.
In addition to her content creation, Faulhaber has acted in several projects like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Gotham,” “Iron Man 3” and “Night Shift.”
Whether you consider her days of avid studying and teaching or her current creative path in the entertainment industry, one thing is certain – Luciana Faulhaber is a driven, determined force to be reckoned with.
We had a few more questions for her to better understand her and her motivations.
Describe your mind in 3 words
Curious, sarcastic, stubborn
You are involved in activism and have a background studying politics. What does it take for someone to be influential in the world?
Influence takes action. You gotta go out in the world and do it. Sharing opinions on social media is not activism. In this new post COVID-19 world, maybe that looks like writing letters to your representatives, making as many calls as it takes, virtually [sitting] in on council meetings. Getting your voice heard because your voice is the same as many. And get heard not by your friends on Facebook but by the people that can maybe make a change.
What does “successful" mean to you?
Successful to me means to work full time as an actor and making a living out of that. Now more than ever, artists are in danger of having their class wiped out. Most artists are not celebrities and they have spent years trying to get a shot. People say there will be so much production when this is over but only a small group of people control all the work being made and a small group of actors monopolize the work. You see that in casting notices that say ‘series regulars only’ to be considered. I hope this will be the time to get new voices heard.
What’s something, personal or professional, you’re currently working on achieving?
I am always working on achieving contentment both in my personal and professional life. Personally, I’ve been using this quarantine time for self reflection. I am looking at the decisions I have made in my life up to now and measuring them against where I want to go. That distance is the path I need to create for myself.
As a content creator, I am always looking to achieve the best product I can with the tools given to me. Doing my best regardless of circumstances is how I feel content in my work.
Looking back at the last 5 years, do you see any improvements in Latinx representation in the arts?
The improvements are visible and progressing but systematic change takes time, so the fight for opportunity and representation continues.
What is one critical moment in your life that has shaped you and where you are today?
The death of my father was definitely a critical moment in my life. It taught me a lot about loss at such a young age and a tangible sense of mortality made me want to live my life to the fullest.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Brace yourself! Life is a rollercoaster and we were just proven that anything can happen. Be smart, choose your tribe wisely and make sure you know who has your back.