"The Story of Arianna Wellmoney: from Milan to New York to pursue Acting"
by Luca DiLeo, translated by Elena Guala
When we were kids, adults would frequently ask us “What do you wanna be when you grow up?”and we gave them a lot of imaginative answers: from being an astronaut to becoming a firefighter, from football player to movie star. For some of us, those ambitions remained sweet dreams of our childhood or teen years. Growing up, we realize that it is better to pursue more practical goals, instead of chasing our passions or ideals.
What happens when someone decides to rebel against this practical way of doing and to follow only their heart? Some people, like the 22-year-old actress Arianna, born in Milan and now living and working in New York City, decide to make a career out of following their dreams with a lot of determination.
Hello Arianna, tell us about when you decided to become an actor.
I do not remember exactly the moment I decided to become a professional actor. I just remember being a young kid watching american tv shows and movies and thinking about how I would have loved to make it my career someday. It had to be my way. Throughout high school, when everyone asked “what do you wanna do after graduation?” my mind was the same, but I was still not sure how to make it happen.
Where did you study and what choices did you have to make to follow this career?
After graduating high school I decided to apply for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, a 2 year private conservatory located in Manhattan, to get the degree of Associate of Occupational Studies, and I was accepted. Famous alumni include Danny Devito, Robert Redford and Anne Hathaway. In order to attend a conservatory in the United States, foreign students need to obtain an F1 visa and I followed the instructions to get one. The Academy offers every single tool for the training actor: acting for stage and film, voice and speech (voice, breathing, accents etc.), vocal production, dance, theater history, movement (relaxation exercises, yoga, character exploration through the body), Shakespeare, audition class and career planning; where they prepare the actor for the future in the industry (the job necessities, what websites to use to apply for auditions, etc.).
Prior to my graduation I applied for a non-permanent visa to work as an actor: the OPT, obtainable by anyone who has finished their studies through an F1 visa in the USA.
I am still on my OPT, but I am applying for an 01, which is a three year long visa (while the OPT is one year only). The school has been very helpful in helping us making the most out of this year and they are always supportive.
What is the best part of your job and which part is the worst?
The best part about playing a character is working in order to make it truthful but interesting for the audience: for example, speaking or walking on stage in a funny way for a comedic play.
One of the things that I like the most about working on a play or a film is finding people that are as passionate as I am with a good work ethic. One of these people is Flavia Sgoifo, an Italian-Greek actress whom I have work with on different projects, the last of which is “Marino Faliero: Doge of Venice” by Lord Byron, an off Broadway show that opened last month [February 2017]. She is a very smart person that believes in her abilities and works hard in what she loves to do: acting. Unfortunately, not everyone that works in this business is as passionate as her: one of the most unpleasant parts of this business is having to work with lazy or unprofessional people who are always late or bring a negative attitude to rehearsal.
Do you think that the show business in America is more organized than the one in Europe or Italy?
I have never worked professionally in Italy and only attended acting classes. I know a lot of people that have pursued acting in London, Paris, Rome or Milan. The biggest difference is the number of opportunities that the city offers: in New York City, hundreds and hundreds of auditions, shows, movies and TV shows take place every day.
Almost all my friends are actors and actresses (met either in school or in the business) and each one of them always has a project to develop or an audition to attend.
Therea are always a lot of opportunities - and when they lack of, people make their own work: filming a movie with friends, write a script or found a theater company.
Would you ever consider coming back to Italy?
I do not know. I am not sure how the Italian show business works - I would rather continue my career here in the United States because I do not really know how many opportunities I would have back home.
I will definitely come back to visit my family and friends, but not to find work.
What are your next projects for the future?
In April I might start rehearsal for a new Off Broadway show of Lord Byron. In January I filmed a movie called “Dissonance”, which is planning to come out this Summer. Only the trailer is available online for now but I am really excited about it! I only have a supporting role but I am really proud to be part of this project: the atmosphere on set was really nice and my colleagues proved to be very professional. I have another theater project in the works but I still do not have enough information to share it; it has been a really slow project that may take some more time to conclude. I have other job offers that I hope to bring to life in the next couple of months. For now I am having fun with what I am doing, trying not to worry too much about the future.
Thank you Arianna for your time! The last question is: what would you advice to young people like you who want to make a career in the acting business?
Stay true to yourself and treat the acting craft with seriousness, asking yourself practical questions, like what city is best for opportunities and which part time/ side job would be best to keep while trying to make it as an actor. But the most important thing of all is: don’t stop believing!