October 25th 2014, Ana wrote me a message on Twitter– “Hey girl, Moving to New York for a bit tomorrow (shocked and celebratory emojis) I’d love to catch up whenever you can,” and included her number. She was moving to NYC to begin rehearsal for On Your Feet! Just days over a year later, I got to celebrate Ana and this amazing show on their Opening Night. Feeling all the feels of aligning stars and being able to reconnect with this beauty in such a fun way and seeing all the changes a few years can bring! (Ana and I went to Loyola Marymount University together!) Ana has always been a star and I feel so grateful to share her journey to be Fit for Broadway!
Note from Ana: Well… my name is Ana and this whole “Broadway debut” thing is still sinking in. My story might be a little unorthodox, but I have always secretly wanted to live in New York City. So here I am; exploring as much as possible whenever I’m not jumping around the Marquis stage in crop tops and a curly wig. I live for anything that makes me feel something. Also a huge fan of Netflix and chill.
“Mind Body Broadway” from Fit for Broadway Apparel
click HERE or click the picture! 🙂
Q: We’ve laughed over this a few times- If someone had told us 5 years ago at LMU we’d be reconnecting in NYC under these circumstances we wouldn’t have believed them! I always knew I’d see you in movies but now Broadway…how did your journey lead you here?
A: I am literally laughing out loud in bed reading this question because it’s so accurate- life is hilarious! This moment in my life was so beautifully unexpected, yet feels like it was some kind of “master plan” all along. I think as creative people we always have to be open to what gets thrown at us. Being a Miami girl, I was extremely lucky to get signed right out of high school and get myself through college as a working actress in LA. That’s where I feel I’ve paid my dues and earned this fairy tale. But the true “how” all comes down to stubbornness. I have always had an undying hunger to do what I love.
Q: I saw you as Kate in Kiss Me Kate at LMU and there was definitely a Broadway sparkle in your eye even then! What came first- singing, dancing, or acting? And was Broadway always in the plans?
A: (Ugh I ‘m a sucker for Cole Porter.) I started singing first. Mostly out of necessity because I couldn’t do much else when I was 7. So that was my first love. I never wanted to pursue any kind of singing career because it’s way too personal for me. I did my first musical when I was nine (a regional production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) as an afterschool activity, but I was in a professional theatre with professional actors. So I learned “acting” from them. As soon as I realized that I could become someone else and tell someone else’s story it was like wearing armor. And then there’s dancing… I could write a novel on my relationship with dance. I was never graceful or patient enough for ballet. I veered more toward hip-hop and cheerleading. Latin dance is not something that I was ever formally taught. As a kid I learned at family parties and that blossomed when we would sneak into clubs in high school.
Broadway has always been my ultimate dream- I just imagined it happening way later in life. I thought a lot about old Hollywood and how, back then, the leading ladies were also Broadways stars. I figured if I did the LA thing and made a name for myself in movies, I could eventually play Mama Rose or something.
Q: You’ve had a unique experience getting to observe and learn from Gloria. Has she offered any fitness and health advice for this role?
A: Gloria is very hard on me about sleep and about drinking tons of water. She also happens to be superhuman and would run 5 miles a day when she was on tour. That is something I can’t even imagine doing on a day off right now. The show is a lot of cardio for me so I balance it out with strength training and yoga.
Q: What’s been the best piece of advice she’s given you so far?
A: Both Gloria and Emilio remind me every day to ENJOY it all. That is by far the most important advice I’ve gotten because it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the pressure. I feel so out of my element sometimes, being new to this city and this industry. At the end of the day this is everything I’ve ever wanted, and they keep reminding me that this particular moment will only happen once.
Q: You don’t stop moving throughout the entire show and by moving, I mean dancing your feet off! You’re a fitness gal, I know, so how have your workouts changed throughout this journey with On Your Feet!?
A: Girl, a LOT has changed for me since the show started. I used to be such a cardio queen! I was all about spinning, boxing and boot camps- the more intense the better. Now I’m trying to build more strength, especially core strength to jump around and still support the voice. I also used to be one of those people who would have to force myself to go to a yoga class once every two weeks, but now my body craves it. Hot yoga is my current vice, especially in the morning on a two-show day. It opens my body, my voice and my mind up all at once. (As long as the instructors aren’t just walking around giving life advice.)
Q: Gloria is a rockstar as are you (always have been!) What are your top 3 tips for being a rockstar in real life?
A: Haha well thank you! This is a tough one…
- Stay in control of your attitude. No one can accomplish anything by focusing on the negatives or on hypothetical situations. There is an entire world out there that you have no control over, but you can always take a deep breath and know that only you are in control of you. So hold yourself accountable, but don’t take it too seriously. In the long run, you’ll probably enjoy your life more.
- Don’t be afraid to try and fail. When I heard about On Your Feet, my team was reluctant for me to audition because “I am not a Broadway girl”. They were just being protective, but I knew that I would prefer to try and fail than to sit around wondering “what if”. I think this applies to everything in life, not just professional aspirations.
- Wherever you are- BE there. This one is probably my favorite. Look at the day, month, year, time, how old you are and where you are in space. This combination can only ever happen once so why take it for granted? Instead of letting yourself fade into the background at any given moment, be present and vibrant.
Q: The show tells a beautiful story of female empowerment! How do you stay empowered as a performer and a female?
A: As a performer, it’s as simple as making the effort in order to really be proud of your work. Make sure your actions and choices are in line with whatever your goals are every day. Hard work speaks for itself, and that will become your foundation. Then nothing can shake you. The best way to stay empowered as a woman (and as a human being) is to stop comparing yourself to others. Healthy competition is fine, but there’s a saying in Spanish: “lo que es para ti, nadie te lo quita” which means “no one can take away what is meant for you”.
Q: Have your eating habits changed since getting this role?
A: I’m still figuring that part out! I’ve been gluten-free for years and am VERY into snacking. Sliced apples with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter are my go-to meal. I literally buy four jars at a time and keep two at home, two in my dressing room. I’m also always stocked up on almonds, clementines, coconut water and apple juice at the theatre. Other than that- I order a lot of sushi. We have our cafecito tradition at On Your Feet but I’m trying to limit my Cuban coffee intake to when I really need it. Instead, Josh hits Starbucks and brings me a chai latte with coconut milk before night shows. I’m miraculously avoiding dairy in order to sing through the week, but on days off I’m known to get pretty wild with some wine and a cheese board.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring singers and actors?
A: My advice is to be yourself! This industry is all about connection- which is a beautiful thing. You need to be free in order to connect with a song, a role, a movement, your cast, directors, casting directors, producers and eventually an audience. So whatever you need to do to feel comfortable with yourself- do it. Gloria has said to me before “you can’t fake what’s real.” That’s the key.
Carlos Gonzalez was featured on FFB a few weeks ago (Check out his feature HERE!) We decided to combine his and Ana’s photoshoot into a morning of dancing, laughing, and of course, Cuban food. It’s clear (onstage and off) this cast is a FAMILY! Carlos and Ana are sharing a bit about their friendship and how they’ve supported each other in being Fit for Broadway for both their Broadway debuts! These are two of the most electric human beings I’ve ever met– soak up their advice and light! If anyone knows how to be Fit for Broadway, mind, body, & soul.. it’s these two!!
Q: Top 3 favorite qualities about Carlos…
- His light. He has an energy that radiates through every inch of him, from his smile to this ridiculous abs, but it really kind of grows from a light in his heart.
- His pride. He is incredibly proud of who he is and I admire that. Carlos is 100% himself 100% of the time. The world doesn’t make them like that anymore.
- His smile. I mean… just look at it.
Q: What’s your favorite memory you’ve had so far with Carlos since starting the journey with On Your Feet!?
A: There are way too many at this point! But I do have this one image in my mind from one of our days off back in Chicago when a little group of us chartered a sailboat. Everyone was hanging out casually (fully clothed), and out of nowhere Carlos emerged from the cabin looking like some kind of Cuban God in nothing but a speedo and sunglasses, holding a bottle of Havana Club rum. That was when I knew I want him in my life forever.
Q: Top 3 health and fitness tips Carlos has given you along the way…
- Abs. I usually do a few sets of lazy crunches and call it a day, but when I work out with him he actually WORKS his abs. He knows what he’s doing.
- To actually fuel my body. That kid is burning calories like nothing I’ve ever seen (all the dancers in this show are), and he has the appetite to go with it. He knows how to control himself of course, but I love seeing how he can still be a normal person.
- The meaning of fullout. I get the privilege of dancing with Carlos in the first number of the show, and his passion is contagious. I have never felt him giving anything less than two hundred percent.