Ana Isabelle is an award Winning Puerto Rican Actress, Singer-Songwriter, Dancer who stuns in her role as Rosalia in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story”, an adaptation from the 1961 version and she carries a long resume of success.
Isabelle’s family played a huge part in her music career. At five years old, she was practicing with her mom’s children’s choir. Her father is also a music teacher, and he worked in La Escuela Libre de Música de Caguas, where Isabelle also trained since she was eight. In that school, she also studied piano and violin. Around this age, she started ballet, jazz, salsa, hip-hop and more. Hungry to keep training, she was always looking for other auditions and opportunities to come her way.
“Talking about my training in acting, I went to the Department of Drama at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, but I also have taken courses in Miami and in New York. I believe the training should never stop; that’s why right now, I’m finishing my second year of acting school in Terry Knickerbocker Studio, looking to reach that level of excellence in my acting craft.” said Isabelle.
She released her first album as a teenager with the support of her family and an independent label. From there her music highlight has been winning Viva El Sueño by the votes of more than 30 million Latinos. After her win, she has graced the concert stages as a solo artist and singing duets with Gilberto Santa Rosa at Carnegie Hall, as well as singing the Star Spangled Banner for the NY Mets.
Isabelle made her US television debut with “Seasons Of Love” which was a huge break into the English market. Some of her other TV credits include “Younger”, “Strangers” and “Big Dogs”. Her New York Broadway debut was with the show “I Like It Like That”. She won the Broadway Worlds Regional Award for Best Actress for the first time for her performance as Eva Peron in “Evita”. To prepare for this role, Isabelle said “I flew to Argentina because I wanted to walk her path in person, feel the air and represent the Argentinians and her story in the best way possible.” She won the same Broadway award for her performance as Anita in “West Side Story”.
In her most recent success, Isabelle was involved in the Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake as Rosalia. She describes it as “A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Being Spielberg’s Rosalia has been a dream come true in every way. I feel that I have contributed to this film not only as an actor, singer, and dancer but also as an accent coach, as an advisor of my culture, and as a Puerto Rican. It fills my heart with joy and gratitude to be part of this film.”
“Spielberg is my favorite director, I wanted to work with him so bad since I was in high school. I was having a hard time getting roles in my acting career because of my accent, because I’m Puerto Rican or too Latina — all the labels that sometimes you get that people put to you without you even wanting them. When I saw this, I thought this is perfect for me and I have to go for it no matter what role.”
“I think that’s why the movie is so special, because they put the time, effort, love and consideration in,” adds Isabelle. “I’ve never felt so included, I felt like an important piece. I’m just Ana Isabelle from Puerto Rico and I was there with Tony Kushner… I felt so important. That’s so beautiful because someone as big as Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg, they can just do their things with their team… But they care.”
That there’s a place for us! It’s our time, and we need to keep fighting for opportunities like this cause we deserve it! I hope to be an inspiration for more Latinas like me to follow their dreams. If I’m doing it, you can too!
Study your art as much as you can. Develop your skills. Be interested in growing more as a person every day. Be so focused that everyone else thinks you’re crazy. Enjoy the journey, keep the faith and always be grateful. When you do all of this, something will start happening.
People will tell you that they’ve had a great career and that everything has been beautiful all the way through but that’s not the reality. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve suffered a lot. I’ve gone through moments where I’ve said: “I don’t want to do this anymore, I’m not good enough” and I’ve felt this way despite realizing how much I’ve achieved although sometimes it feels like it’s just not enough. In these moments, what allows you to keep your focus is your passion. It’s what makes you say: “Oh my God, I don’t see myself doing anything other than this. I have to work harder. I think I’m working hard, but I have to work harder. I have to do more, I have to reinvent myself.”
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