Every now and then I come across an actor who has that special spark that makes you want to find out more about him. Andy Arias lights up the room when he enters our acting class.
Andy Arias is a Mexican-American and was born in Oxnard. Andy is bilingual. He tells me that at home Spanish was his first language and once he started school he had to learn English. He moved to Los Angeles to go to school and changed his major from Psychology to Acting. He has appeared onstage doing Theater, Commercials, Television and films.
Andy was born with cerebral palsy. He is in a wheelchair now and while he was growing up he had different surgeries. They actually made the cerebral palsy worse.
Even though he has cerebral palsy he is very active. He swims, does tai chi, he has had training in hand-to-hand combat, he has stand-in experience, does Yoga and he sings. He does not allow the fact that he has a disability deter him from becoming a working actor.
Andy tells us:
I enjoy Theater; I played an Angel in The Laramie Project. I enjoy Comedy; I did some stand-up work on The Carson Daily Show. I did some public service announcements one for now President Obama and one for Prop. 8. I enjoyed doing them. I am a big supporter of equal rights for everyone. My favorite thing to do is film. You can reach more of an audience with film and television. I enjoy reaching out to people in the media of film. I can reach people in wheelchairs, people of color. I love using my voice to connect with people.
There are some great actors that I admire like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Leonardo DiCaprio and Diego Luna. I got a part in the film, Sympathy for Delicious. I got this opportunity to work with actor/director, Mark Ruffalo. He was so professional and so kind to everyone on the set.
I am one of the actors featured on the internet film, Hellbent for Hollywood. I walked into the room and they said, this isn't an audition for actors with a disability. I told them I go out for all parts, not just for disabled actors. There is a perception that disabled actors can only go out for certain roles. I will go out for a part and show them I can do the part and this is how I can do the part. I've actually gotten several roles that way. I don't let having a disability stop me. The roles that are out there for disabled actors in wheelchairs are mostly given to Caucasian actors. Think about it. When is the last time you saw an actor in a wheelchair who is of color? Many times someone is chosen for how they look and not for how they act. But I am an actor, after all. I am an actor who happens to be in a wheelcahir. It is the talent that is what is important.
To those who wish to pursue acting, I would say be yourself. Don't be afraid to show all of who you are. We all have something special to offer. Latinos have flavor, its' true. This is what I think is missing in Hollywood. Latin spice and sassiness is what is missing on TV today.
Hellbent for Hollywood is for Actors what American Idol is for singers. You will get an opportunity to vote once for an actor to continue on the show. There is a website where you can vote for your favorite actor and I am listed as actor #207.
Hellbent for Hollywood will be all over the Internet and we are hoping one of the networks will pick up the show. The more interest there is for the actor on the Internet through media like Facebook, My Space, blogging, etc., the more likely the producers will be to keep that actor on the show.
So thank you, Lisa and to your readers on Latino LA for this opportunity to show what a young Latino can do. You can help spread the word through blogging and by voting for me on the website.