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Inspirational Women In Hollywood: How Laura Liguori Is Helping To Shake Up The Entertainment Industry

An Interview With Ming Zhao

Diversity is of the utmost importance, and Hollywood has put it at the top of its list. By having diversity, the stories told are more powerful. It is very important that children of all racial backgrounds and cultures feel included, feel inspired, and brought together. Without diversity there is separation, and confusion, it breeds racial inequality, especially in this country.

As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Laura Liguori.

Laura Liguori is originally from Scottsdale Arizona. She was most recently cast (2022) in the recurring role of Elizabeth ShannonHouse, on Showtime network’s “American Gigolo” starring Jon Bernthal and Gretchen Mol, produced by Paramount Pictures.

She can currently be seen in the title role of the award-winning film, Hollywood Girl: The Peg Entwistle Story, available on Amazon Prime and “Hello, Say” an art house film by director Guy Zimmerman and filmmaker Bradly Cooper. TV/Film credits include Love, Lust, and A Room Key (Amazon), The Boogie Dilemma (Amazon), Suburgatory, Ugly Betty, Weeds and Growing Up Fisher.

Theatre/Off Broadway credits include starring in the role of Russian muse and sociate “Lilya Brik” in the NYC premiere of Murray Mednick’s “Mayakovsky and Stalin.” Previous theater credits include the world premiere of Tania Wisbar’s and Broadway producer, Jonathan Sanger’s, critically-acclaimed World War II play, The Red Dress, in which she portrayed a famous German actress at odds with the Nazi regime; the role of “Marilyn Monroe” in Marilyn, Madness, and Me; and the leading role of “Laura” in all six of Mednick’s The Gary Plays, which were work shopped over the course of two years prior to a full production of the entire sextet by Open Fist Theatre Company. Other production credits also include “Between Pretty Places” which premiered in Los Angeles and New York at the HERE Arts Center in Soho, and Hedda, in Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” at the Pacific Resident Theatre.

Liguori, was classically trained at the Oxford School of Drama in Oxford England and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Sokka Gakkai World Peace Organization and has been published in their magazine “Living Buddhism.” She also serves as a court appointed child advocate of The Children’s Court of Los Angeles since 2017.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in the sun, or Scottsdale, Arizona. My parents still live in the house I grew up in and have been together for 51 years. They met in high school. I have one sister, who lives in Los Angeles now, with her husband, whom she also met when she was 16, and also in high school! I feel very blessed to have the childhood that I did and am very grateful for my parents support and love throughout my journey as an artist.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started acting at 16 years old. I was in drama class and was performing Juliet’s “come vial” monologue from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, and I just felt overcome by the experience. I was moved to see how my classmates were moved by the monologue. My love of theatre began that day, and I’ve never left the theatre since.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My connection to Eleonora Duse. Duse, was a very special and unique Italian actress that lived in the late 1800’s in Italy. Duse brought realism into the theatre and was extremely dedicated to her craft, which was eventually honored around the world. I had the honor of going to visit her grave in Asolo, Italy, and have a locket, that on special occasions I will wear that carry dried rose petals from her gravesite. This past summer, Yale Universities, “The Beinecke Museum of Rare Books and Manuscripts”, graciously bestowed me with private letters that she wrote to her lover, Gabrielle D’Annunzio. It was a shock to receive them. I treasure them very much.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

After I graduated college, I got a job as a ‘stand in’ for an actress in a horror film. They hired me on the spot because they said I looked like her. At that time, I did not know what this job entailed, and I was too nervous to ask. So, when the director called me up to ‘stand in’ for the actress, I did not realize that meant just stand there so they could work out camera and lighting issues. I thought it meant, I too, was to act out the scene. So that’s just what I did. I performed the whole scene that I watched which included tears, screams, and running up to a steel fence and shaking it like my life depended on it. The entire film crew was in shock. The director took me aside and explained that although he did enjoy my work, my job was just to stand there, while the main actress got freshened up. I was mortified. But we all had a good laugh at the end of the night! So the lesson… it’s important to ask questions even when nervous!!

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?

Playwright, Murray Mednick. I have performed in Murray Mednick’s plays for over a decade. He, similar, to Eleonora Duse, channels something mystic through his work. Murray Mednick’s work can be very difficult for an actor, but it is ever so worthwhile. As a playwright, Murray sticks the mirror up to humankind, is obsessed with the importance of people having to ‘think’ and ‘use their minds’. Murray’s work focuses on some hard bitter truths, science, spirituality, and basically destroying the ego, and allowing art to truly reflect the times. I just finished his new play “3 Tables” in Los Angeles. There is something to be said about an artist that is still writing and directing at 83 years old!

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Failure is an illusion. Yet, as an artist, rejection is a real part of it. Embrace it. If you can do that, then it will just roll off your back. Onto the next! My manager always says “Onward”!!

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

I am playing the recuring role of Elizabeth ShannonHouse in Showtime Network’s “American Gigolo” which airs September 9, 2022. American Gigolo, is an upcoming American drama television series based on the 1980’s movie. It stars Jon Bernthal, Gretchen Mol, Rosie O’Donnell, and Gabriel LaBelle.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

Diversity is of the utmost importance, and Hollywood has put it at the top of its list. By having diversity, the stories told are more powerful. It is very important that children of all racial backgrounds and cultures feel included, feel inspired, and brought together. Without diversity there is separation, and confusion, it breeds racial inequality, especially in this country.

Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

I have practiced Nichiren Buddhism for 14 years. I chant “Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo” and portions of the Lotus Sutra every day. This practice is life changing and has been extremely helpful to me with navigating, the winding path, of an artist. Water seeks its own level, and when a person chants, their life condition raises, increasing positivity. Many people are drawn to “The Law of Attraction” and I am also a believer because the mind can be a very powerful tool. I find that chanting is like being in ‘a law of attraction’ car that’s going full speed ahead towards your best self, and as your best self surfaces, you will draw to you what you need to experience to get to a higher level.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Let Go and Let God” sounds simple right? This one takes work for me. There is so much we have zero control over. Zero. Yet, I feel I have suffered, unnecessarily, at times when I refused to let go, and let a power greater step in. Each time, I am able to give way, or really get out of the way, I am always surprised with what the universe reveals…and almost always, what manifests is better than I could have ever dreamed up myself. If a person can really live by this quote, they can have a happy life, which is everyone’s main goal deep down.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

If I could I would have the whole world chanting. It is such a beautiful practice, and it doesn’t matter what culture you are from, or what God you believe in. It is for everyone. When a person decides that they want to take up this practice, they receive a Gohonzon, which is an ancient Japanese scroll. When you chant you face it. It is not something that is prayed to. It is a mirror of yourself, your life, your soul. When a person can honestly face themselves, get that mirror clean, remove the smudges, great human revolution can occur, and that is the way to world peace.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram: liguori.laura

Facebook: laura.liguori.71

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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