Introducing Olivia Rose Choma, a graceful and gifted actor leaving her mark in the industry
In this article, we turn our attention to Olivia Rose Choma, an actress that radiates grace, intelligence and beauty.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended, etc.
I grew up in Rochester, NY and dithered between home, public, Christian and Catholic schooling during my primary and secondary years. Since graduating high school, I have been in and out of university, studying everything from International Relations to Film, to Viticulture to Computer Science. All the while, I have been acting.
What inspired you to get into acting? Early experiences worth sharing?
Not quite sure...I was an aimless, introverted child, but I suppose one day I got fed up and wanted more attention, so I signed up for the fourth grade musical. I was in the chorus, and spent most of my brief stage time waving pom-poms, but the thrill and drama of it all got me hooked. Then, in high school, I joined a local Shakespearean Theatre company, and found a much deeper affection for the art form. There were some serious actors in the group, and watching their process was a revelation. To be an effective actor in their ranks required passionate and mindful empathy, and a multidisciplinary approach. You had to care genuinely and vigorously about the history, language, culture, and psychology informing each character if you had a prayer of being an effective player. Essentially, I had to take myself out of the equation almost completely...my purported identity and most of my cultural experience was not consequential because it did not exist in the world of Richard III or Shylock or Caliban...and that was both a humbling wake up call, and a beautiful relief. Moreover, it was simply moving. It forced me to identify and value the humanity in everyone...in anachronisms...in villains..and that felt important. It still does. That said, I still like the attention.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
I struggled heavily with an eating disorder for most of my young adulthood, and still do to an extent...the difference being that now it does not monopolize my mind and body. I maintain that you cannot kill your demons, only leash them. Every day I can shorten that leash and feel genuine gratitude for my health and for life is a victory. I have been able to come this far, first and foremost, because of the loving devotion of my family. They have been with me every step of the way. Finally recognizing their sacrifice and their impact on my life was the first step towards healing. Beyond that, it was a matter of resolving to be useful...resolving to forsake the need for identity once again... because, in all honesty, I think a significant part of my attachment to disordered eating was the notion of belonging to a group..an ideology...and generating the interest of others by way of victimizing myself. Sundering that attachment is an ongoing process. Humiliation and gratitude have been my way out though. They have informed and emboldened my love for art, and, therefore, for life. As far as evolutionary mechanisms go, not enough can be said for both.
What do you believe sets you apart from other actors?
My unique life experience, as with any one else...every actor has the potential to bring some vital insight to the table.
That said, I’m still a competitive artist so I’ll use the opportunity to note my formidable work ethic...one of the few things I pride myself on. I appreciate that acting is an industry as much as it is an art form, and believe that committing to a role is committing to the success of the entire production. Livelihoods can depend on it. A willingness and commitment to being an engaged and attentive part of the larger reality/vision gives me a marketable edge. I love and am interested in the production process, and can therefore be more adaptable as an actor.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
Yes! Arguably too many. I am an aspiring web developer, a shameless wino, and reveler in painting, writing (poetry in particular) , political and philosophical debate, blogging, and baking...the list goes on.
Any projects you have out or are currently working on?
I just finished working with the RIT School of Film and Animation (SOFA) on a student's thesis (my wicked talented friend, Joe Jackson!!), which was such a lovely experience! I have worked with SOFA quite a bit over the past few years, and every time I am increasingly impressed with and inspired by the directors, producers, production assistants, and cinematographers in their ranks. Can't say enough good things about the work they do, and the way they treat their actors. These people are going places, I tell ya. Can't wait to say I knew 'em.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Running a web design business, importing underrepresented wines from Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Africa, and the Levant, producing films with my sister, Evamarie (she’s an incredible writer/director), and acting whenever possible! So maybe give me 7 to 10 years for some of that...
What advice can you give in regards to individuals looking to enter your line of work?
Oh lordy, I have no clue...I suppose I would refer back to my answer to question 4. Part of being an actor is committing to the success and vision of a production, whether it be film, stage, or otherwise. I would encourage actors to learn as much as they can about the other incredible work that goes into the process (cinematography, directing, set design, prop management, lighting, etc.) commit to the grind, and be proactive and willing to assist in non-acting capacities. When a casting decision comes down to you and one other person, your reputation as a team player, not an actor, could make all the difference.
How can we follow along in your journey? YouTube? Social media? Sites?