Rising Star Sara Paganelli on the Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry


As you’ve just said, being an actor means walking a challenging path. At the same time life is short and only dreams keep us alive. So I’d recommend all aspiring actors to be very aware of both aspects and then to pursue their passion with devotion and consistency.

As a part of our interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sara Paganelli, an Italian actress. She was born in Bologna and at the age of twelve she moved to Milan, where she currently lives. Since she was a child she’s been very passionate about acting. She spent her teenage years watching old movies by B. Wilder, A.Hichcock, F.Truffaut, F.Fellini and other great classic masters. In her twenties she graduated at Teatro della Contraddizione Drama School and she also took to singing. She has a solid stage experience, both in classic and contemporary theatre. She has been in several indie films, tv shows, short films and commercials. More recently, she took part in two major projects : she’s in the TV series Made in Italy (2019), purchased by Amazon Prime Video and in the thriller film Security (2021) by Peter Chelsom, starring Marco D’Amore.

She also wrote and directed Swimming — today I decide, a short fim about the importance of listening to our children. It’s a project she’s very proud of, which received a Special Mention at Worldwide Comedy London Film Festival 2018 and an Honorable Mention at One-Reeler Shortfilm Festival LA 2018.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me! Well, it all started with Scarlett O’Hara! I was eight years old, it was a Sunday afternoon and my parents took me to the cinema to watch Gone with the Wind. I can still remember that feeling of being surrounded by so many people and how we all were so fascinated by this epic love story! The characters, the dialogues, the music, the places, everything was pure magic and a very clear thought popped into my mind: “I wanna be part of that!”

That day I fell in love with cinema and acting and my passion has lasted ever since.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Some years ago I took part in Maddalena’s song, a drama period film about the foundation of a religious order. We shot in Tuscany in a monastery held by a group of cloistered nuns and we got to know all of them. You may think of them as introverted and defensive people, but, to my surprise, they turned out to be the most lively, passionate and curious people I’ve ever met. It’s beautiful when your work allows you to have an experience very far from your everyday life and gives you the opportunity to open your mind.

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?

Something very funny happened to me, while I was performing The Ball, the first monologue I wrote. It’s a story about a very stormy relationship between a mother and a daughter. In the main scene the girl goes to the post office to send ball invitations on behalf of the mother, but along the way she crosses a bridge and, right over there, she suddenly decides to throw away all the cards into the river below. So this was supposed to be a very theatrical gesture and the cards were supposed to fall gently among spectators. Unfortunately, I didn’t do it properly and one card hit a spectator in the face. When I spoke with him after the performance, he humorously told me that despite my attempt to kill him he had enjoyed the show very much. That day I realised that whatever you’re doing on a stage you must always be in control!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

First of all, I’ve just completed working on Made in Italy, an Italian TV series about fashion which has been released on Amazon Prime and on Italian tv. Then I’m waiting for the film Security to come out. It’s a crime drama by Peter Chelsom, director of Shall We Dance and Serendipity. We finished shooting last summer and it will be released soon.

More recently I shot a commercial for Italian decor brand, PoltroneSofà. Due to the pandemic, it’s been the first shooting in a while, so I particularly enjoyed it.

Lastly, I’ve got a project in preproduction. There’s a collaboration between Italy and Australia, the actors are Italian and the director is from Melbourne. It’s gonna be a Zoom production and we’ll perform Women of Troy, a play by ancient Greek tragic dramatist Euripides. I’m looking forward to it!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Work constantly on your craft. Find joy in it. Don’t take rejection personally, it’s not about you.

Say no if you have to. Make sure you are surrounded by positive and trustworthy people.

You have been blessed with 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?

As you’ve just said, being an actor means walking a challenging path. At the same time life is short and only dreams keep us alive. So I’d recommend all aspiring actors to be very aware of both aspects and then to pursue their passion with devotion and consistency.

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? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

Monday to Friday I eat “good stuff”, such as whole foods, organic, local, fresh etc., while on the weekend I treat myself, I eat pizza or a block of chocolate, and that’s a good balance for me!

Everyday I go for a 30 minute walk outside and I also take some quiet time for myself, it can be meditation, stretching, playing the piano etc. If I feel very under pressure, I’ve found a very effective method to calm down: dancing like crazy at the rhythm of the disco-music of the 90's!

Last but not least, I hang out with positive and inspiring people, I don’t have time for negativity in my life!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

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

Don’t ever let anybody tell you who you are or what you are going to be.

You define your story, you are your destiny.

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?

I’m very grateful towards all of my teachers: since the very first day, I’ve been taught to take what I was doing very seriously. Acting isn’t about fame or glamour, we actors tell stories to people, we make them dream. It’s a mission!

I remember one day my teacher Michael Margotta stood up, stared at us and asked each of us: ”Are

you successful?” This was a good and awakening question: it made me think about what success truly meant to me and I’m still thanking him for that.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I’d start the BeYourself movement! Lately, we’ve all been obsessed about always looking successful, happy, stylish etc. and this is also amplified by social media. If you scroll through Facebook or Instagram you’ll see tons of profiles like that, all looking the same.

It’s alright to be yourself instead, you are unique because you are imperfect.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

I’d love to have a private lunch with Meryl Streep, she’s my hero. I’d like to have the honour of listening to her while she tells about her career and her life. And maybe of receiving some good piece of advice……She’s so inspiring!

How can our readers follow you online?


IG @sarapaganelliactress

FB @sara.paganelli.182/

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color.

In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction.

Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business.

With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.

At Sycamore Entertainment he specializes in print and advertising financing, marketing, acquisition and worldwide distribution of quality feature-length motion pictures, and is concerned with acquiring, producing and promoting films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subject matter which will also include nonviolent storytelling.



Edward Sylvan CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group
Authority Magazine

Edward Sylvan is the Founder and CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc. He is committed to telling stories that speak to equity, diversity, and inclusion.