Bio: I have been on Two and a half men, Pussy Cat dolls video 'When I grow up' and have done several plays and short films. Currently I am the comedic host of Sol Vibes. Why should you be the next Actress of the Month? Acting has and will always be a part of me. I have been a comedian since I have been able to speak. My life has been devoted to creating a comedic relief to all. This was sincerely recognized in Tasha's School of Acting (TSAW), where I impressed several onlookers including Tasha Smith herself which encouraged me to carry out a career in stand up comedy, and I'm currently working on material to do just that.
Bio: Sonja Fisher moved to Los Angeles three years ago and has been actively working in non-union feature, independent and student films. Her recent projects include: Justin Lin's "Finishing the Game" where she played a featured role as a housewife, "Front 1F Liberation" where she co-starred as an FBI Agent and the now Blockbuster-available "Sideline Secrets" where she starred as a mother.
Two other films that Sonja has been involved in that are hitting the film festival circuit are "Magic Hour" where she co-starred as a cafe patron and "This is a Business" where she was featured as a wife.
Recently, Sonja was cast in the feature film "Fallen Angels" directed by George Angelo and starring Dennis Hopper.
Besides films, Sonja has also been actively involved in the commercial industry. Her latest projects include "Timeless Secret", "Katmandu Furniture", "Beachbody", "Younger Eyes", "Revitanew", and "Valley View Casino".
Last year, Sonja was on the "Tyra Banks Show" and did a photo shoot with Tyra for "Lucky Magazine". Other television appearances include "LA Forensics", "Untold Stories of the ER", "USA Before and After Movie", "Murder By the Book", "Makeover Your Body" and a recent talk show on cable.
Sonja has also been active in hosting, working "Focus on LA" and her own podcast at SportsFanpodcast.com called "Catch the Purple Fever".
In her spare time, Sonja plays tennis, recently completed her 4th marathon and is in the process of completing her doctorate at Argosy University. Sonja is also an avid Barbie doll collector. She has been collecting dolls for over 25 years and has over 500 Barbies. Recently, she showcased her collection on "Expert Village". Sonja firmly believes in the notion that if you work hard dreams can come true.
Bio: Margarita Reyes was one of six children raised by a single-mother. Despite only making minimum wage, Margarita's mother still managed to raise six upstanding citizens. In a story that reads more like a soap opera than real life, the family's experiences were pretty shocking. Moving twelve times before she was even out of high school, Margarita attended five different high schools in the span of four years. In a twist of fate, Margarita also became a single-mother at the age of twenty-one.
Between pursuing acting, providing for her daughter and landing an agent, Margarita has had many struggles. After auditioning for Stuart Edward at the Coralie Jr. Theatrical agency, she was signed and has since been represented by the agency for the last six years. As her business relationship has grown with the agency so has her resume. Margarita has worked on dozens of national commercials in English and Spanish, numerous feature films and several primetime television series including the likes of Criminal Minds and The Shield. Her daughter, now eight, has also built an impressive commercial resume.
Behind the scenes, Margarita has also produced several print jobs for companies such as And1 and BMW. She has a small casting company that cast the feature film Platinum Illusions as well as print ads for ATV/Solaris, Coleman Camping and Target among other companies. Most recently, Margarita produced an ad for the South American market for Sony Vaio.
Knowing the importance of a higher education, Margarita decided to return to college and pursue a degree. As of 2007, Margarita was accepted and is attending the University of California Los Angeles. Through the help of AAP at UCLA, she is transitioning into college life while still continuing as a working actor.
It's been a roller coaster ride, and one that has no end in sight, but Margarita is doing what she loves. This past June, she flew to Costa Rica to film the lead in the feature film The Institution directed by Marynell Maloney and produced by Studio Chenailles. She spent two weeks shooting in exotic locations and working with amazing people. The part was challenging as she portrayed a local Costa Rican woman that is beaten and abused by her husband but survives. The story is especially close to Margarita because her own mother is a survivor of spousal abuse. Apart from having a positive message, working on the film has been by far one of the most amazing experiences of her life.
Currently, Margarita resides in Los Angeles with her daughter. She will continue acting and eventually hopes to synthesize her passions. She desires to produce quality films and documentaries that will inspire others to pursue their dreams, films that focus on social justice, education and positive role models. Margarita regularly volunteers for projects that help women and children in underrepresented communities. She continues to audition, attend school full-time and be a mom - and she is enjoying every minute!
Bio: Susan Rounkles, or Sue Ro for short, was born and raised just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Despite idolizing Marilyn Monroe and entertaining thoughts of "Someday", Susan's struggle with teenage depression kept her from most of her ambitions. It wasn't until she moved to Boston that she finally started to overcome her fears and develop an outgoing and positive outlook on life.
Susan's reasons for acting are simple - She loves to share her gift and seeks to help other struggling artists discover that they can indeed realize their dreams. "This is the reason why I am in this business - I love it with the greatest passion, it is a part of who I am and it is one of the greatest ways to be able to touch hearts and enrich lives. I want everyone who has a desire to share their talent to be able to do so."
Susan has two beautiful children that she considers her light at the end of every day. Her family, her home and her beliefs keep her going when times get tough. In her spare time, between films, commercials, infomercials, voiceovers, vocal events and acting classes, Susan likes to garden on her humble half acre lot that she vows will one day turn from a piece of barren hell into a lot of lush green heaven. She also loves interior design, vintage shopping and writing.
On the writing front, Susan has completed three feature length screenplays. Her favorite is currently in pre-production and she hopes to have it in the can by May 2008. If all goes according to plan, this will be merely the first of many cinematic journeys in which she offers up to others the healing power of film that has influenced her own life so much.
The script focuses on a girl overcoming her fear to live her life, a topic with which Susan has had first hand experience. She says 'The overall message is that, FEAR is the root of all lies and it keeps us from true happiness... love of self and love of life."
Her own life motto - "Live life, love life and enjoy the journey", demonstrates just how clearly Susan has taken her script's message to heart. Well along the path of her own journey, Susan loves where her passion is taking her and is having a ball living out her dreams.
Bio: IN HER OWN WORDS . . .
The Blessing and the Curse of Acting from Niki Nielsen's Perspective
I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and have lived in the general area my entire life. I am a fanatic of the outdoors and while in college worked as a ski instructor, snowboard instructor, and river guide. I love camping, hiking, rock climbing, rollerblading, wake boarding, snow skiing, snowboarding, river rafting, kayaking, dancing, traveling, watercolor painting, unicycling, and of course acting!
As a child, I had many ambitions. I wanted to be an artist like my Dad, a lawyer, a doctor, an inventor, a writer, and even an actress. My first try as an actress was in an elementary school play where I played the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. I forgot my lines and was teased by many of the kids in my class. I didn't have the guts to try it again until I was in junior high school and auditioned for Tom Sawyer. I had to sing for the audition. I do not sing. I didn't get into the musical. After that, I guess I figured that if I couldn't sing, I couldn't be an actress.
When I decided to go to the University of Utah for college, I thought that engineering might be something I was good at. I have always done well in math and science so it made sense to pursue something that would require and utilize those abilities. I never really looked back until my fourth year of college when I needed to fulfill an art requirement before graduating. "Intro to Acting 1" was on the list of classes I could take and I thought, "Why not?” I took the class and loved it. I couldn't help but think "Why didn't I take this class earlier?” I don't regret having gotten my degree in engineering - I only regret that I didn't pursue acting earlier.
I finished out my last year of college and began the search to find a job as an engineer. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and the best offer I received was to go back to school to pursue a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering with a fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Huffing it back to school to study micro-sensors, I couldn't get acting out of my head. I took a few classes here and there, got into a couple of small plays, but nothing too serious. I still felt that in order to make it as an actor, to have acting as a career, you had to be born into it or somehow magically discovered. It seemed like a foolish dream that seemed even more foolish as I began my Master's degree program. Ultimately, I finished out that degree too and actually got a job this time!
I currently work full time as a Mechanical Engineer on the NASA space shuttle program as well as other rocket motor programs. It's a great job, very interesting and the pay is great too! But I guess I could never really get over that darned acting thing. About a year into the new job I started wondering if this was really what I should be doing with my life. I was in my mid-twenties and having what some might call a "quarter-life crisis". I decided that if I was going to try acting that now was the time. It's not easy pursuing your dream and spending many nights and weekends striving to make it happen . . . especially while working full time . . . but so far my crazy busy life has been completely worth it.
I've always been a very imaginative, creative person. I've enjoyed my artistic hobbies, but never thought I could make a decent living as a painter, dancer or actor. I thought that a career as an engineer would be a well-respected job that could take me far in life. I was also breaking a stereotype which is something I always strive to do. There are far fewer women in engineering than there are men. And I believe that I have many qualities that make a great engineer and an even greater actress. I am outgoing, a risk-taker, passionate, motivated, and determined. I take nothing for granted and strive to live my life to the fullest. I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I was able to become a "rocket scientist". No matter how hard the road was, I persisted and succeeded in my goal. And I feel great about that. BUT, and there always has to be a "but", my true passion lies in acting.
I have worked on and am working on several independent films and am not planning to slow down anytime soon. I am constantly training and I strive to learn more about the art of acting everyday. My ultimate goal is to live and work doing what I love. You can visit my website at www.nikinielsen.com and my blog at www.nikinielsen.blogspot.com for updates and more information about me and my journey.
Bio: Meet Alexa Demara!
She has not been a part of the modeling scene for long but with thirteen past features in reputable magazines including FHM, Batchelor, Knockout and the like, a fan base of over 200,000 and nearly 1,500,000 views on popular networking sites like MySpace.com, model/actress/writer Alexa Demara is working it from all the right angles.
A small town girl from rural Wisconsin, Alexa's undertakings have been multiple and varied, covering both ends of the industry spectrum and everything in between. From various fashion shows, plays, pageants and radio shows to commercials, independent films and magazines, Alexa has done it all . . . and she isn't going to stop any time soon.
Beyond her plethora of industry commitments, Alexa is dedicated to academic success as well. This model/actress is currently pursing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Spanish. As a child, she showed skill in Math, English, and Science but soon found she had flair for the Arts, for writing, performing, drawing, and painting.
Believing in the notion of giving back, Alexa promotes equal human rights and the humane treatment of animals. Clearly demonstrating the adage "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", Alexa takes pride in and seeks to maintain her reputation as one of the nicest and most intelligent model/actresses around.
Ultimately hoping to move to greener pastures, Alexa believes she has the potential and determination necessary to successfully further her career in both modeling and acting. Known for her extreme versatility in both looks and personality, Alexa knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the industry in which she belongs.
Bio: Ashley Noel, IFA's May Actress of the Month, has numerous blessings to count!
Born and raised in Michigan, Ashley Noel always had a passion for center stage. Through numerous years of training in dance, gymnastics, tennis, and golf, Ashley developed the tenacious attitude that has taken her so far in life. Finding a love for drama, Ashley involved herself in the theatre program at her high school and continued her drama studies throughout her college career at the University of Miami. It was in Miami that Ashley signed with her first agent. Landing her first featured roles in full length films and television shows, she also managed to maintain a 3.9 GPA with a double major in Advertising and Psychology.
After finishing her first lead role in the independent feature, "Exploring Love", Ashley decided to further pursue her acting career by making the move to Los Angeles. She was signed within her first week of arriving in LA and has been consistently working on feature roles, independent films and shorts ever since. Having recently gained her SAG eligibility, Ashley is constantly training in order to refine her craft and develop characters that create a deep and resonating emotional experience for those who view them. She thrives in Los Angeles, indulging in her other passion - helping the environment - as an active volunteer with ASPCA, WWF, and PETA.
Ashley attributes her past, current and future success to her incredible family, whom she loves more than anything. She wishes to thank them for their continuous support in her journey.
Bio: Spending her early years beneath the looming Arizona sun, Vania Elise has possessed a burning passion for performing as long as she can remember. Unlike most young starlets however, it wasn't the glow of the silver screen that drew her toward the stage.
"I actually started out wanting to be an opera singer, believe it or not, because of my intense passion for music," Vania said. "That turned into doing performances for the family, then writing stories and doing plays for school and community theatre."
Setting her sights beyond regional theater, an 18-year old Vania packed her bags and drove to LA to begin work as an actress. Though some critics told her she would need more than $120 and a predilection for off-beat art, she's proving them wrong. At only 21, she's acted in numerous independent films, been featured in a handful of music videos and guest starred on Las Vegas.
Looking back on her time beneath the Arizona sun, Vania is thankful for the people who supported her on the road to Hollywood and for those who did not. Without either group, she wouldn't be who she is today.
Knowing that luck comes to those who work the hardest, Vania hopes her lucky life rolls on. She looks forward to continuing to work with inspired artists who are passionate about what they create.
Bio: Parisa DeFaie was born in Tehran, Iran. At a very young age, she began attending theatre workshops, writing short plays and composing monologues. At 13, she wrote and acted in a controversial play that took a stand against the newly imposed regime in Iran. Leaving her home at 14, Parisa traveled with her parents to many countries until she moved permanently to the United States in 1990. While experiencing a new culture and language, Parisa once again found herself on stage. Her passion for the performing arts continued in tandem with her studies in film production and Theatre.
Not only a skilled actor but a self confessed family woman, Parisa is a proud mother of two. She believes having a family has made her life rich and that she is a better actor now than she was before - "My children are my paradigm. I learn by observing them. They have the most honest way of expressing their feelings!"
Parisa has appeared in many plays and independent films. Currently, she is studying acting at the prestigious Howard Fine studios, co-writing a play and producing a film based on racial misconceptions. Talented and humble, Parisa leaves a good impression wherever she goes:
"Parisa DeFaie brought many positive qualities to our production, among them both a unique intensity and an intelligent beauty that has translated very well to the screen." - John Vasicek, Director - Voyuer
"When I saw Parisa DeFaie in the audition, I knew on the spot she was the one for us. When she read with our leading male I got that tingly feeling directors get. That feeling you get when you know for certain and you don't need to think or question yourself about what you're seeing. In all honesty Parisa was my favorite actor on the set. She was always one step ahead of us, always early for call, always prepared. Parisa made many shooting days very easy for me and we had some tough, tough days." - Shawn Flanagan, Director - The Unwilling.
Clearly, Parisa DeFaie is an Indie acting force to be reckoned with.
Bio: Even as a child, Jaime Soria had a flair for the dramatic and a kinship with the arts. Her non-stop talking and quick wit saddled her with the nickname "Miss Chatterbox" at the tender age of 5. Once kindergarten began, Jaime's mom, Linda' could look forward to non-stop chatter floating forward from the backseat of the car as Jaime described, in detail, every minute of her day at school. Not wanting to stifle her child's creative energy, or hurt her feelings, Linda struggled to think of a way to quiet her daughter for a few blessed moments. Eventually, she came up with the phrase "Jaime, Mommy's ears are tired right now." Luckily, this did the trick.
Jamie's interest in performing grew as she did. She was able to find many creative outlets for her energy by enrolling in various dance classes and taking up the piano, a passion which continued for 13 years. But while watching Steven Spielberg's "Tiny Toon Adventures", an eight year old Jamie made the decision to become an actress. Watching the very dramatic Babs Bunny (who dreamed of becoming a famous actress herself), Jamie fell in love with the idea of pretending to be other people and performing stories for an audience. If Babs could amuse her cartoon friends with her impressions and pretend games, so could Jamie!
After years of musical performances (Jaime"s extensive list of musical instruments currently includes piano, flute, guitar and bells, and voice: mezzo-soprano), performing skits and shows for loved ones and generally striving to become the constant center of attention, Jaime began studying theatre and film at Ohlone College in Fremont, California where she ultimately received her A.A. degree in Performing Arts. While attending Ohlone College, Jaime won three acting awards: two student-voted awards presented by the Theatre and Dance Alliance and one annual award given by the professors and staff to the Best Actress of the student body. Jaime has been trained in and gained valuable experience in all corners of the entertainment industry including film, television, theater, commercial, industrial, news broadcasting, and print venues. She has most recently wrapped an industrial project for Hitachi starring Mr. T and taken on the role of the "Waitress" in the Feature Film "Delusion". Keep an eye out for her many upcoming projects!
Bio: I attended Cannes film festival this past year. Jackie Chan invited me to join his actors union (PAG) in Hong Kong. I was the first Caucasion female invited to do so. Director Peter Greenaway personally cast me as Ewan McGregor's sister in "The Pillow Book". I worked with Rob Schneider and Jean Claude Van Damme in "Knock Off". Recently I worked Opposite Oscar Nominee Sally Kirkland and John Schneider (original Dukes of Hazzard & Smallville star) for more on my bio and me go to my site at www.lynnelangdon.com I am a dedicated and passionate actress. I live to create. I do not sit around and wait for opportunity to come to me. I constantly push my comfort zone and challenge myself in all types of projects; indy films, stage, improv, studio films, TV. By doing this, I learn more about my craft and it opens doors. I love to move people and make them think. My motto is "Love it and Live it!" I also try hard to give back to my community with service and donations. Read Telephone Interview with Lynne
Bio: I recently moved to L.A. from New Orleans, where I graduated from Tulane University. I am Greek-American, and grew up in both the United States and Greece. I am a very talented actress with a strong drive to be successful in this competitive industry. I love to act because it gives me the ability to experience a vast range of emotions and experiences. I have been the lead in an extensive list of productions including A Mid Summer Nights Dream, Our Town, A Street Car Named Desire, and recently featured in "Deal", a feature film which will be released in Spring 2007.
Bio: Beatriz Montanez is an experienced theatre actress. The Miami Herald referred to her 'dazzling debut' as one of 'Theatres Top 10' in 2004. She also won 'Top Break-through Performance' by El Nuevo Herald later on that year for her work in the XIX International Hispanic Theatre Festival, and The Bill Hindman acting award for her World Premier of 'Barrio Hollywood.' Montanez recently finished a successful run of off-Broadway play 'Paradise' at The New Theatre (Home of 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama,) with outstanding reviews, and has particpated in productions such as 'Real Women have Curves,' 'The Merchant of Venice,' and 'Macbeth*' (*won Best Acting Ensemble.) Now venturing into film, she will premier her first movie 'I love Miami' October 6 along spanish heart-throb Jaime Camil and veteran actress Ofelia Medina. She will also shoot her first LA production 'Detention' later this fall. Look out for this uprising star! Why should you be the next Actress of the Month? Because I know where I come from and know where I'm heading. I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia immigrated here with my mom, who taught me perseverance. In spite of difficulties, obstacles, and some discouragement, she made a life for us. In the same manner I live by the motto 'Persitance beats Resistance' I plan to make a future for myself in this town and if doors don't open at the first knock... I will pound. I will constantly improve my craft, stay focused and always counting my blessings... which include the many angels that have helped me along the way.
Bio: Laura Goodine, October's Actress of the Month winner, is both delighted and surprised at the recognition. 'I started out with no intentions of modeling, or acting, or anything like that at all' she laughs. What she did start out with was a BSc programme at the University of New Brunswick, with the goal of pursuing relevant work in a scientific field. During her last year, however, she took a job bartending to help make ends meet, and during the last semseter, entered the UMM Magazine 'Canada's Hottest Bartender' contest at the urging of her bosses. In a twist of fate worthy of Hollywood legend, she ended up first runner up, and was soon contacted by a modeling agent from Toronto. After pursuing modeling in the Big Smoke - 'they had me traveling all over the place!' she reports - stints in Vancouver bartending, and in Montreal's McGill University for another crack at academia, Laura's returned to Vancouver with a view to fulfilling a long held acting bug. 'I've been interested in acting for a while,' she says, and entered the IFA contest in hopes of gaining some exposure. 'I'm very excited and surprised to win!' Laura's looking to build on her modeling career with some acting experience in the near future. 'It's a new road for me,' she admits.
|Jodi Marie Reynolds|
Bio: Jodimarie was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was 100% Sicilian and her Father Irish. The combination has given Jodi the strength, passion and feisty determination needed to continue her journey in the film and television industry.She has always been a performer starting at an early age competing at a world class level in gymnastics. She also took ballet classes and tap dancing and loved to be on center stage. Jodimarie has such strong drive that even at the young age of 9, she taught herself how to figure skate until she convinced her parents to buy her lessons. It has not surprised anyone that her love of performing is what ultimately lead her to a career in acting. Jodimarie is an experienced actress who is very easy to direct, dedicated, and reliable. She is positive with outstanding work ethics. She certainly possesses sex appeal as well as intelligence and being great at improvisation is just another one of her highlights. She loves to make you laugh! She also enjoys new and challenging dramatic roles and loves losing herself in the character. Her dreams and goals are not to become famous or wealthy, Jodimarie simply would love to make a nice living doing what she loves.......Acting! She is currently represented by Shawn Brogan of Brogan Talent Agency in Los Angeles, California. Jodi is looking forward to a very busy year in film and television and by the looks of it her future is looking bright!
Bio: Kimmarie Johnson has no shortage of Industry experience. From tweaking her acting skills at The Groundlings and Downtown Playhouse Theatre Co., to modelling and commercials, to doing theatre and roles in films such as Dude Where's My Car, Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. Think she's more than a cute face? Vote for her online.
Bio: Brielle Strohmeyer, 26, is a native of Manhattan, Kansas or more famously known as the "Little Apple" She always dreamed of making it in Hollywood, and her mother and family would agree that if there was a stage around she would find someway to be on it! Three years ago she packed everything and headed west. Through many trials and triumphs she has managed to make a living working both in front of and behind the camera. She has hosted several regional commercial spots and continues to study while working towards her big break. In between she has worked with top entertainment executives at MGM and is currently working as the Associate Producer for the Animated Feature Film, Conan: Red Nails where you will also catch her voice performance debut.
Bio: The Independent Film Alliance is pleased to announce that our May Actress of the Month is the lovely Christina DeRosa, who attracted an outstanding 72,847 votes on our website! Born and raised in NYC, DeRosa was only 10 years old when she was cast in her first professional musical, as a munchkin alongside a young Natalie Portman in the Wizard of OZ. DeRosa has come a long way since then. After graduating from UCLAs school of theatre, film and TV, and attending such prestigious programs as The Groundlings and The Larry Moss studio. DeRosa has been working steadily in modeling, commercials, film, and television. She recently wrapped up her role as a lesbian lover in the upcoming horror film Blood and Guts, and had a satirical role as a singing porn star in Parental Guidance Suggested, directed by Adam Epstein and Andrew Jacobson. She is featured in two Albertsons commercials and currently acts as the spokesperson for Epifania Lingerie. Aside from her acting and modeling jobs, this multi-talented firecracker also sings and is busy collaborating with music producer Ralph Churchwell, who has produced such acts as Lenny Kravitz, The Baha Men, and Beth Orton. She is represented by JLA Talent and is managed by Ralph Lliteras. Whatever DeRosa is doing, she is doing it right. Maybe her success has something to do with her positive outlook, succinctly described by the versatile and feisty woman herself. Sassy is not an attitude; its a way of life for her. 2006 has been a great year for DeRosa, but 2007 will be an even greater year. She has three independent movies coming out soon, Parental Guidance Suggested, The Metrosexual, and Palo Alto. Since she has won IFA's Actress of the Month Award, she booked a National Dodge Commercial airing in November for all Spanish networks. Her next film will be Blood Red...The Darkness, co-staring with Dean Cane, shooting in November.