Brave at Heart: Finding the Courage to Take Risks and Reap the Benefits
The person who claims to be unafraid of anything is not telling the truth. If we are honest with ourselves, we all have a fear deep inside that gives us pause. However, the thing that scares us the most is what we should face head on with courage. Just ask Rising Star, Alicia Giangrisostomi. One of the best lessons that she has learned in life is that she has to be brave. This young film, television, and theater actress who works in New York City has had to confront her fears in the industry many times. Yet, nothing has been able to stop her from achieving success. Her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Florida has allowed her to dance across the stage in grand form. Alicia has acted on Saturday Night Live, appeared in SeeWatchLook (available on Canal Brazil), and Caligula Maximus (La Mama Theatre), and will star in the Indie comedic feature Batsh*t Bride (premiering 2019). While these are some of her favorite jobs, she is even more excited about the things that are to come. For Alicia, the joyous challenge is stepping out of her comfort zone to show the world that her courage will move her career forward while she remains true to who she is!
Rachel: Thank you so much for joining us! What is your “backstory”?
Alicia: Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited! I was born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida — the Sunshine State (I’m definitely a beach babe!). My earliest acting memory is of my first boyfriend. When we were five years old, we’d make up plays and let my sister direct us; he and I always played the married couple :). After that experience, I was in every school play and performance I could get my hands on — I absolutely loved acting. Once college was over, I saved all my money and moved to the city that was calling my name: New York City! When I arrived, I immediately started auditioning, taking classes, and working on various projects. To expand my range and marketability, I took classes in dance, voice, improv, voice-over, sketch writing, and commercials. Pretty much anything that scared me, or I didn’t feel I excelled at, I did it because I knew it would make me a better performer.
Rachel: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting career?
Alicia: I was cast in a short film by an amazing writer and director playing the love interest of the lead (his character was “Smelly Man” and I was “Smelly Woman”). When I got to set they immediately put me into hair and make-up to make me look dirty, tired, tattered, and of course, smelly. When the makeup artist achieved what she considered the smelliest look possible, she sent me out and I met the other actors and crew. We quickly started shooting and everything moved fast; I was in and out of there. Fast forward six months later, the director is having a screening party for the film, so I get “going out to the bar” dressed up. I walk into the event and no one recognizes me, so I approach the leading actor and he says, “Oh my god! You look so different! You are so beautiful!” I say, “What?” He goes, “You look so different from the smelly woman I remember. Wow you look amazing. What have you done?” I pause and just stare at him for a few moments and then it all hits me. I couldn’t help myself, so I scream, “You know, the makeup artist did my hair and makeup to make me LOOK smelly. I don’t normally look that bad. It’s not like that was me without makeup! That was for the character.” A classic guy reaction, he just says, “Oh. Well you look so great now.” I thought, “What? Is that what’s going on? No one recognizes me from the film?” Then I thought, “Wow, how cool is that?” I love that they made me look so dingy that people didn’t even recognize me! I love acting!!
Rachel: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Alicia: I’m thrilled to be starring in a one-woman short film. It takes place in the future, after an apocalypse, and centers on the last fifteen minutes of a woman’s life (she is being held captive and waiting to be sacrificed). There are so many challenges with this role; I can’t wait to dive in! I’m also ecstatic to be playing the role of Lorna Moon from the play “Golden Boy” by Clifford Odets. Lorna is such a strong character, full of so many layers that I feel like I was born to play her; I can’t wait!
Rachel: Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Alicia: Be brave. I’ve learned that you don’t achieve anything by waiting and hoping for it to happen. You have to go out there and take risks. Do things that scare you. Fight for what you want. You’ll grow as a person and eventually achieve what you want. Find comfort in being uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I started to challenge myself — do those things I never thought I could do– that I saw major steps being taken to move my career forward.
Rachel: Who do you consider to be your role model for the way in which you have molded your career? What can you share about that person?
Alicia: In acting they tell you to find someone famous that is similar to your type and study their career to help you move forward, but I’ve never been able to identify with any actress. I have my favorites I love to watch and admire, but I’ve never found someone that has the same style as me. I’ve often felt like there was something wrong with me since I wasn’t able to fit into the box the entertainment world loves to put actors in. In short, a lot of my career has been trial and error for me. It started with me discovering who I am, and then accepting that person. I make choices to the best of my ability and grow from my mistakes, so I can flourish in my successes. It’s not easy, but what is? That’s what makes acting so great! New challenges around every corner!!
Rachel: We always hear about the best advice we have been given. Tell our readers the worst advice you ever received.
Alicia: The worst advice I received was to change. Change my hair. Change my last name. Change my look…just change. I started this year with truly loving who I am, and it’s the most successful year of my life. I say, don’t ever change yourself. Trust that when people don’t understand you, or you don’t fit in, it’s because they’re not ready for you yet. They will be, one day, and when that day comes, it’ll be your time to shine.
Rachel: When you have the time, what do you binge watch?
Alicia: WHEN I HAVE TIME?!?!? WHAT!??!?!?! Lol, I NEVER have time, but usually, when I’m eating dinner or getting up on a Saturday morning I try to watch something that I want to work on or something that inspires me. Right now, I’m obsessed with the Sopranos (I’ve never seen it before), Glow, Orange is the New Black and GoT (Game of Thrones — when it’s not on hiatus). Those are my go to shows.
Rachel: What would you say we need to know as a society to “move forward”?
Alicia: Love one another and accept that everyone is different. That’s what makes humanity so incredibly beautiful and amazing; we all bring something unique to the table. Each one of us has value and is capable of love, and just because people disagree, or are different, doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to be here and to be loved. There is so much negativity out there in the world and I wish people would just stop and focus on being more loving to one another.
Rachel: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Alicia: Have you ever heard that saying, It takes a village? Well, it definitely takes a village. Along my journey I have had so many people in so many unexpected moments do things like be kind to me, offer advice, coach me, listen to me and do things for me I never in my wildest dreams would expect. It all goes back to what I said about society moving forward. People are capable of the most amazing things. We can be so incredibly kind and loving. I am forever grateful to the family, friends, colleagues, mentors, fans and strangers that have loved me and supported me.
Rachel: What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Alicia: I love my insta! You can follow me @giangrisostomi on insta and snapchat. Or friend me on facebook!
Definitely check out my website for project updates: www.giangrisostomi.com
For booking inquiries please reach out to Alicia’s manager Diana Prano (Multimedia Talent Management), and her agents Laura Walsh (Central Artists) and Ramona Pitera (Ramona’s Model & Talent).
Thanks so much! It was such a pleasure chatting with you! J