Getting To Know Margot Mejia; A Skillful Actress and Jack of all Trades
In this highlight we turn our attention to Margot Mejia, a NYC based director/entertainer. I asked Margot a series of questions, here is what we discussed:
Tell us a little about yourself, where your from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I was born and raised in Queens, New York. My accent is as thick as all the people you listen to on the street interviews for NY1. I try to be as “polite” as possible with my accent, but if a group of people are taking up the whole sidewalk strolling hand in hand like a bunch of kids on a field trip, forget about it. My father was born in Barranquilla, Colombia and my mother was born in Rockland, Massachusetts. I got a little southie mix in my accent too. I’m colombian, cherokee indian, french, portuguese, german, and irish. I speak English — - underwhelming I know.
I attended Saint Francis Prep High School until I was “kicked out” for “plagiarism”, and graduated from Bayside High school. I transferred from BMCC to NYU, second guessed that decision and transferred to Columbia College Hollywood for screenwriting and producing, than second guessed that and graduated from NYU with a B.A in Creative Writing.
I actually wrote an article about my hometown Bayside, Queens. Click and learn about a place in Queens other than Sunnyside, Long island city, and Astoria: (https://thetab.com/us/nyu/2016/04/04/ill-always-love-hometown-bayside-queens-5132)
What inspired you to be an author? Early experiences worth sharing?
I was a huge brat in elementary school — - I blame my broken home. My second grade teacher, Mrs.Kaufman noticed this and gave me a writing assignment to do during free time. She’ll probably tell this story differently than me (I’m still friends with her on facebook) , but I remember sitting “bored” in class and she comes up to me and tells me to start writing. Naturally, as I do with everything, I took this as a challenge. She gave me no time limit, but I set my own time to
“beat” my own restraint. I gave her my story and she glances at it and tells me to write more. I haven’t stopped writing since. I became fascinated with the idea of wish fulfillment in writing. I love a character’s nuances. Writing became a place for me to explore a reality I couldn’t live, engage in conversations on the page with characters I’d never meet in real life, and develop empathy for people I came across in my personal life by cross referencing their behavior with my characters.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
I was bullied my entire life. I mentioned earlier that I was “kicked out” for “plagiarism” in High School, so I’ll finish the story:
I had gotten a ganglion cyst removed in my left wrist, and because of that was unable to participate in gym class (we were boxing). So, my teacher has me write something about fitness and working out. I still had a hard time typing and writing post cyst removal, so I had my mother (who was the drama teacher) type the assignment for me as I dictated to her what to write out loud. There were a lot of definitions involved in this assignment, so I mentioned to her to be sure to cite everything. I made the mistake of trusting my mother (love you), and handed in the assignment without checking it. A long debate erupted amongst the administration about whether or not I plagiarized my gym assignment. My mother didn’t want to speak up and admit to her fault, and they ended up kicking me out. Although I always knew I was kicked out for more than just forgetting to cite the definition of…transverse abdominis?
I was not only bullied by the students, but by the faculty as well. I was cast as Sharpay my sophomore year in our school’s production of “High School Musical”. Everyone wanted that role, and they didn’t want to accept that I was the best one for the part. No, it had to be because my mother was the drama teacher that I got the role. So, my mother held at least 2 extra rounds of auditions so I could show everyone I deserved it. You’d think I’d be more popular in school with my mother being a teacher and all, but my reality was quite the opposite. I remember one day in “experience group” (basically group therapy for lower-classman to adjust to high school), the school social worker led an entire discussion against me for a good hour siding with one girl who was upset she didn’t get a callback for Sharpay. I dropped out of that production. That was the only time I quit. I promised myself I would never let anyone stop me from shining my own light.
Since that moment I’ve attended several top acting programs and university on scholarship. Hustled my way into working with top talent at the upright citizens brigade improv theater as a teenager, became a union playwright with a staged off-broadway play, and am on the way to getting my writing exposed to a much larger audience.
What do you believe sets you apart from other people in the world of entertainment?
I’ve faced a lot of rejection throughout my life. I’ve built up a thick skin with a smile. I don’t seek validation from anyone. I’m unapologetically myself, and I work very very hard. That’s what it takes to make it.
To quote Jim Carrey, “If you’ve got a talent, protect it.”
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
I love writing poetry and taking pictures as a hobby. I also practice and teach pilates (I absolutely know the definition of transverse abdominis now!) Other than that, just being a kid at heart and taking long long walks amongst the cities garbage.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
I’m currently working on a pilot revision with writing partner, Alex Luke for an agency interested in pitching to network. Revising my next play, “Dog Funeral” to be workshopped at another theater. Preparing for the next staging of my play, Sleep F$@cking: Revision that just wrapped the Dream up Festival at Theater for the New City.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Doing what I love and sharing it with someone I love. I believe in being a “financially and emotionally independent woman”, but what’s the point of having success if you can’t share it? The strongest people know that you can do it on your own, but it just makes it a little bit more fun with an equal partner at your side. *cue aww* That being said, I’d love to write and act in my own TV show. Follow in the footsteps of Tina Fey and trailblazer, Rachel Bloom!
What advice can you give to aspiring writers/entertainers?
Take care of yourself. Pursue your art, because you need to, and not for anyone else.
Love. Love. Love.
“Please know that there are much better things in life than being lonely or liked or bitter or mean or self conscious. We are all full of shit. Go love someone just because, I know your heart may be badly bruised, or even the victim of numerous knifings but it will always heal even if you don’t want it to, it keeps going. There are the most fantastic, beautiful things and people out there, I promise. It’s up to you to find them.”
- Chuck Palahniuk
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
@bsgfan on Instagram
@margot on Funny or Die