Beyond the Frames: The Rising Star Paving the Way for Afro-Latinas in Hollywood
Angie Castillo was born in Cali, Colombia, where she lived before her family migrated to sunny South Florida in the late 90s. Angie became involved in the arts at an early age; school plays and community theater shaped her childhood. Angie is an Emmy-nominated producer who has worked with major media outlets, including MTV, NBA and CNN. She lives in Atlanta where she works as an actor, training with renowned coaches including Sara Mornell and Lisina Stoneburner.
Let's begin with how it all started. How has being born and raised in Colombia influenced the life you lead today?
My heritage is something I’m extremely proud of. It is a central part of my life and the values and principles that guide my personal and professional life. My parents, who decided to migrate to the states in the late 90s in an effort to give us a better life, were the most hard-working people I know. This is something they instilled in me from an early age. Family is at the center of everything I do. I do what I do to make my family proud and to make my parents proud, and of course, I want to make my people of Colombia proud. Having representation of our culture in the United States is something I take to heart.
Your range in acting is quite impressive! What do you do to get into character before you appear on screen?
To be honest I feel like I am still so early in my career and I know I have a lot of growth and learning to do in this profession. I have been lucky to train with some of the best coaches in Atlanta and that has provided me with the tools an actor needs to go out there and do the best work I can. But as far as preparing to play a role, the first thing I do is ask myself: where is my character coming from? What is the message behind what’s written on the page and how can I bring it to life without it feeling forced? I want to ensure that I bring authenticity to the work.
When did you realize you had a passion to start acting?
I was involved in the performing arts when I was around nine years old in Columbia. I was always in school plays, dances and theatre, so I’ve always had a passion for that. However, when I came to the United States there was a culture shock. Life became a little more complicated and I ended up going to college for communications/journalism and made a successful career out of that. However, one day I knew it was missing something. I was missing a creative outlet so I just told myself that I really need to get up and do something about it. I decided to sign up for acting classes since it’s been so many years since I did any type of acting or theater work. Luckily, acting has so many options as far as training goes and I was able to enroll in school right away. That’s kind of how I took the first step.
Why is it so important to see more women of color, specifically Afro-Latinas, appear in television and movie roles?
The importance of it is about showing our current generation and our future generation a picture of life that looks like our everyday life. You know, when we were growing up in the 80s and 90s, we saw the same things on television and magazines. We didn’t see ourselves represented. All the dolls were white with blue eyes. Everyone on TV looked a certain way. There was very little diversity. Even in my own culture, there is a lot of prejudice against Afro-Latinos. People of a darker color or curlier hair were not made to feel beautiful enough. So when you see a more diverse standard of beauty it’s wonderful because finally, our goal of being seen is happening. It’s great that the current and future generations can see that they are being represented.
Who are some of your role models in the industry?
One of my first role models in this industry was Jennifer Lopez and not so much because she’s Hispanic but because she was always fearless. She wanted something and she went after it. She wanted to dance, so she danced. She wanted to act, so she acted. She wanted to sing, so she sung. She didn’t care what people thought about her singing. She became everything she wanted to be and she kicked ass doing it. Her being fearless let me know that, hey, people like me – girls like us – who come from humble backgrounds can do anything. Not to mention her work ethic is impeccable.
Talk to us about some projects you are currently working on.
I’m focusing on putting a lot of my effort and time into preparing for the opportunities that I know are coming. I have recently signed with a new agency, Gill Talent Group, that’s representing me in New York, Chicago and Atlanta and I’m excited because that is going to expand the pool of opportunities for me. I am constantly auditioning for great projects and I am so grateful about it. One of the things that you can always catch me on is the comedy sketches I do with Kountry Wane on social media. He’s got an amazing following who are so supportive and they’ve taken a liking to my character, Claudia. I appreciate all the love I’ve got from playing Claudia, his girlfriend…well, one of his many girlfriends, actually. So, yea. Comedy is probably my favorite genre to work on.
Connect with Angie and learn more about her work on Instagram and Facebook!
So proud of you! Keep climbing that ladder. You’re already a star in my book! Xoxox