You have to be psychologically ready for constant rejection: Actress Sonia Gascon

1.     What do you do for a living?

I have been working as an actress, singer and dancer for 20 years. Acting has been my life and always will be. I am originally from Spain and, thanks to having skills in so many different artistic disciplines, I’ve worked in Broadway-like musicals in Spain, plays, zarzuelas (Spanish operatic musical theater), and operas, but I’ve been also a lead in Spain’s and US’ national commercials, short films and feature films.

2.     How would you describe what you do?

My ultimate goal is to entertain people and thereby make them happy. Everything I do has that purpose. Of course, it’s also a job. Actors have bills to pay, too! Hahaha But, what’s more wonderful than making a living by doing what you love!

3.     What does your work entail?

It is important to be very disciplined: always training, taking classes or practicing at home and networking and looking for opportunities. And you have to be psychologically ready for constant rejection, especially at the beginning of your career. You are going to be rejected many more times than not. It’s the main reason why this profession is so hard. Nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.

4.     What is a typical work week like?

It depends on what state of your career you are in; if it’s film and TV or stage acting that you are doing. For film and TV, you typically will be working for many hours a day, sometimes 10-16 hours! and when you’re done, you’re going to be memorizing your lines for the next day or week. For theater, if you are in the rehearsal process, you are going to be rehearsing, creating the piece for 6-8 hours a day, and then you are going to be studying your lines and songs at home. Once you open, it is usually more relaxing, because you just go to the theater to do the show. After the rehearsal period you can start having a life again! And if you are between jobs, you are also working: training, keeping yourself fit, submitting for auditions, preparing and attending to those auditions…etc.

5.     How did you get started?

I always liked entertaining and making my friends and family laugh at home. Unfortunately, my family is not artistic at all so they couldn’t ‘read the signs’ I was giving then. At 9 I begged my mother to take me to dance classes for a whole year, so finally at the age of 10 I started dancing ballet and flamenco. When I was 16, it was very clear in my mind that I wanted to be an actress, but for my father, a close-minded engineer, acting wasn’t a serious career. Finally I got my parents’ economic support, but never moral support, and that wasn’t easy. I had to study another degree, other than acting, to keep them happy. I got my first job on a TV commercial in Spain way before I finished my degree, so I had a pretty good start.

6.     What do you like about what you do?

The most rewarding feeling is when I help people forget about their problems and enjoy themselves, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. Some years ago, I was doing a comedy play back in Madrid and one night, after the show, there was a lady waiting for me outside of the theater and when she saw me she said “I hadn’t laughed for a long time, but you made me laugh tonight so I just wanted to thank you for it” That opened my eyes… it made me realize what this is all about.

7.     What do you dislike?

How competitive, in a bad way, some actors become and how it changes their personality. I think there’s room for everybody in this business, and everything works better if we help one another.

8.     What skills are needed to do your job?

The more you can do, the better. Talent is something you need and it’s something you are born with or not. You can’t learn it at schools. Of course you have to have acting skills, but if you can also sing, dance, do yoga, stage fighting, horseback riding, etc. you are going to work much more. But you also have to know how to market yourself to get those jobs. Having an agent to represent you is very important.

9.     What is the most challenging about what you do?

To me, marketing myself is the most challenging part of the job. When I became an actress it was to fulfill my artistic urges. I never thought about myself as a business woman, but I’ve had to become one. (laughing)

10. What is the most rewarding?

When you see and feel the audience’s reaction. I love working on TV and film but you don’t see the audience’s reaction until months after you do the job. On the other hand, when you work onstage, feeling the audience’s energy, hearing their laughter, receiving their warm applause every night, that’s the most rewarding thing. It is instant gratification, validation.

11. What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

To never ever give up. Especially when you start! It is critical… some people make it sooner, some people make it later, but even when you make it, you have to stay there! So it’s constant work. You really have to love what you do or you won’t last.

12. Do you have a talent Agent or manager?

I have an agent in Spain, Accion Actores, and in the US, as I live in Nevada, I work with several agents. It is a “right to work” state so you don’t need to sign an exclusivity agreement with anybody.

13. What projects do you have coming up and/or what are you currently working on?

I just got cast for a web series pilot that will film in October in Las Vegas, I worked in several local commercials that still have to be aired, I’m also waiting for a feature horror film that I shot last year called ‘ Scare me’ to be released and I got cast on the TV show ‘The Vice Squad’, too! This last one that I mention is a very ambitious project that is going to shoot in several US major cities with different cast in each. I am going to be part of the Las Vegas cast, so I am very excited about it.

14. What else would you like people to know about your career?

That I absolutely love what I do and I’ll continue working hard to bring the best of me to audiences to enjoy.

15. What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

I would like to remind everybody that I’ve been working for many years. Reality shows have made some people think that you can become an actor or singer overnight. 

16. What philanthropic or charitable organizations are you passionate about and why?

I strongly support United Way and the St. Jude’s Hospitals. All your donations go to help the needy. Many others aren’t as honorable or effective. 

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Sonia Gascon- photo Desi Estevez
Sonia Gascon- photo Desi Estevez
Sonia Gascon- photo Desi Estevez
Sonia Gascon- photo Desi Estevez
Sonia Gascon- photo Desi Estevez
Sonia Gascon- photo Desi Estevez


Text: Saif Rahman Sozib

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