Marielys is made of pure sunshine! She is a true example of The American Dream & The Broadway Dream in every way! I’m so inspired by Mari’s beautiful story of following her dreams and her dedication to always growing which is why
Marielys is Fit for Broadway!
BIOGRAPHY: Hola everyone! This is Mari. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I am very pleased to be part of this great concept Fit For Broadway! And very excited to share some of my experiences with you all! Right now I am part of the cast of Motown. Before that was Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away, where I had the time of my life alternating the principal role of Kate. And my Broadway debut was in the revival of Sweet Charity. In between Broadway I’ve done several fun gigs! Even world salsa competitions! (they went really well). I love my career and I am blessed to still be in the game! I love to cook, spend time at home with my dog, the cat, and the love of my life, Moses.
Q: Mari! It’s wonderful to have you on FFB! You are the essence of the Broadway dream…can you tell me a little bit about your journey to New York and Broadway?
A: Thank you! The Broadway and The American Dream! That’s right! Well…I came to the States in 2000 with $100 that a friend gave me and lots of enthusiasm. All I wanted was to be in a Dance Company but trying to get in wasn’t what I expected. The fact that I didn’t speak the language, didn’t understand what everybody was saying, and didn’t have the money to pay for a class made it difficult. The purpose of coming here was to become a great dancer, so I decided to look for a job. I got one at Dunkin’ Donuts. Oh yea!! I told them I knew English! But, I didn’t know a word ( I think they knew). The Dominican manager and a Mexican guy that worked there helped me a lot!! I was finally making something to pay for my commute from LI to Manhattan every day and taking some classes. Then I heard about auditions for a scholarship in BDC. It was the Richard Elner Scholarship, 10 classes a week for 6 months for free! Yea!!!!!! It was a big audition and only 10 of us got it!! I was taking classes From Ballet to Hip-hop, but Musical Theater was my favorite class! And that’s when I knew that I wanted to be on Broadway. Five months later I got my first taste of it. I booked the 1st National Tour of the Broadway show Swing! And that was the beginning of my Broadway World!
Q: How have your health, fitness, and wellness changed over the years with your career?
A: It has changed dramatically. Within weeks of being here my body changed and for the first time I saw myself with an extra 10 pounds!Why? Poor nutrition! It wasn’t the amount of good that I was consuming, but WHAT “FOOD”- all processed foods, sugar, caned, frozen meals, animal products (and their antibiotics). I went back to what I knew, the food that I grew up with- beans, avocados, vegetables and homemade meals.
I tried Bikram for a couple of years on and off. I thought it was fantastic, but I felt that I was missing the spiritual part of it, the essence. Bikram is a good work out but it’s too military for me. Then I tried other yoga places and found the one. Yoga and ballet is so good for my body.
Acupuncture also is a great option. I believe in it 100%, especially as a healing choice to help me with a few injuries that I’ve had over the years.
I’m not going to lie! Body hurts! But with the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years… it’s been keeping me in the game! Even today, so I guess it’s working!Q: You are Vegan, which I admire so much! Tell me a little bit about why you’re vegan and how it keeps you healthy?
A: I’ve always been fascinated about food and diets since a very young age. Always searching for the perfect one, and in 2009, I went Vegan. After reading the book Skinny Bitch it all made sense! I started educating myself about it like crazy! Looking for books, videos, articles. I realized that it was me, and it was the best change ever in my life. I did it for my health! For the Animals! For the environment! For The planet! For the future! Then when I saw the proof, I was hooked for life!
I used to have stomachaches all the time, a cold every month, and I wasn’t regular at all… You know what I mean. Then all that disappeared. Being Vegan is a big responsibility, you shouldn’t be irresponsible with your own body right!? But we are!
Since I don’t believe in taking supplements and drugs I have to educate myself to give my body the nutrition it needs with a plant base and whole foods diet.
Nutrition is everything for me and my boxer dog, Yaya, proved it to me. Yaya taught me and my boyfriend a big lesson 3 years ago. One day she started walking around the house in circles with her head tilted to one side, she was loosing motor skills like how to get to the water bowl. We took her to the vet and because of her symptoms they did an MRI and found something in her brain. They said it could be Cancer. Then they did a Spinal Test and it was negative, so the dynastic was Encephalitis (Inflammation in the brain). But until today they don’t know how she had it. We were super concern. It was frustrating. They put her on prednisone (one of the worst drugs for anybody) that helped her to move better immediately. But she wasn’t the same dog at all. No energy. That drug was messing with her immune system big time and causing ulcers in her stomach.
After searching and talking to holistic experts I decided to make her food myself. I was giving her Organic meat (she is not vegan), nothing with feathers, apples, carrots, sweet potatos, omega 3, calcium supplement (all in a food processor). And only after the first week with the new diet, she started to change, she was happier, she was playing. We couldn’t believe it. We took the prednisone off little by little. She only got better and better, and today Yaya is full of energy and strength. The doctors didn’t understand. But you do right? She proved me that food and nutrition will heal you.
Q: Do you have a favorite vegan recipe?
A: I love this Sautéed Shitake Mushroom with Kale and Quinoa:
- 1 pound of Shitake Mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 bunch of Kale, stems cut or not tiny
- 2 tbs of Coconut Oil
- 1 tbs of Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft then add the pepper and the pine nuts. Cook for about one minute then start adding the mushrooms. Saute them until they are almost soft then add the kale the turmeric and just cook until the kale is bright. Add the quinoa and mix it with everything else. Season to taste and add the apple cider. And that’s my favorite thing ever!!! Then cut half of avocado and add some hot sauce and you are set!!!
Q: Can you recommend a favorite Vegan restaurant in NYC?
A: Yes! Candle Cafe West on the Upper West Side.
Q: How does dance influence your confidence?
Q: What’s your advice for staying true to yourself and your uniqueness in this industry and in New York?
A: Be Present. Each of us has our own light, Let it show! Listen and learn from others (the good). The most important thing is to believe in who you are! And in what you have to bring, because we all do! Stop judging!
NY is a fascinating city with so much to offer and everyone is on a mission. Everything has to be NOW! And sometimes that’s why you need to protect your spirit. Be patience. It’s not that deep.
Q: We spoke a little about the fact that performers are athletes. How do you prepare yourself physically for the demands of Broadway?
A: 8 shows a week it’s hard, but it’s my job and I love it. My show is almost 3 hours so I get home around 11:30pm and I don’t go to bed until 1pm. Sometimes I ice any part of the body that needs it and maybe I have a glass of wine. I try to wake up early every day so I have time to warm up my voice, since I am not a strong singer I really have to step up. If I’m feeling stuffy I do the neti pot, it feels really good. I try to keep hydrated because sometimes I forget to drink water and I have to force myself. When I do take class I take yoga by noon or another class before I have to go to the theater. But I always stretch and warm up in the theater before my show, no matter how easy or hard the show is. And I cannot leave without my tennis ball… saves my life.
Q: I also love and practice yoga! How has that influenced your body, mind, and spirit?
A: Yoga is such a beautiful and profound practice. I feel it takes me to another dimension, like when you meditate. Some classes make you work really hard physically where my body will be shaking trying to maintain a pose and I feel determined and I push, just like in life. Then you oh to savasana. It takes me to different emotions. The goal is apply that in daily life, and succeed!Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: Planting a seed and watching it grow.
Q: What is your advice for those trying to perform on Broadway?