Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi there! I’m Shannon Reynosa! I’m a mom, actress and teacher.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Nope. I went from wanting to be a veterinarian to a singer to a model to a publicist to an event planner to a stay at home mom to teaching. My career path has been a crazy one leading up to a pursuit of acting
Were you scared to start the process?
Oh yeah! I remember the first time I said “I’m an actor” out loud I felt so weird especially since at the time I was only working on a web series shooting a few times a year, which only paid just over $100. A lot of my friends thought I was crazy for doing it, but eventually I gained more confidence in my path. I realized you just have to leap and the net will appear.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
Being a single mom pursuing acting in itself is an adversity. I moved out to LA with my daughter working as an Uber driver, and the first month my ex decided he wasn’t going to pay child support anymore, so that was definitely something I wasn’t prepared for. I auditioned and booked as many jobs as I possibly could. I applied to work for LAUSD as a substitute teacher and I also worked at the Beverly Hilton as a pool server in the summer, but none of these jobs collectively were bringing in enough money for me to afford my rent and other bills, so I ended up having to move in with my mom for a year to try to get ahead. That’s when I started subbing at the high school I work at to this day, I joined SAG-AFTRA, which allowed me to start booking background work on SAG commercials, and I started working at a hot nightclub and day party venue as a bottle server on the weekends just in time for the summer. After a rough three month search, getting doors slammed in my face because I was a server/actress and/or a single mom, I finally found the perfect apartment in a great neighborhood with a good school, and I’ve lived there ever since.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
So many people have doubted me, and in the moment it feels terrible, but these experiences make you grow thick skin and motivate you to come back harder to prove that you deserve a spot on the playing field. For a while I doubted myself, and my capability to be a successful working actor, so if someone else doubted me, I went along with it like “Yeah you’re right. I don’t deserve to be here pursuing this career.” It really takes confidence within yourself, and you must truly believe you deserve it to overcome that. It took me some time to let all the “No’s” roll off my back, and not make it about my ability to be successful. Everything happens for a reason, and all your hard work and dedication will eventually pay off. You just have to be patient.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Definitely not. The confidence I have now has taken years to grow into, and I’m still working on improving my confidence every day.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Something that you’re really worried never turns out to be as bad as it seems. It’s amazing how crazy our imagination can run before we find out how it all will unfold. I just know from experience of being anxious or worried about something that it’s never as bad as you imagine it may be.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
You’re smart if you can learn from your mistakes, but you’re wise if you can learn from someone else’s and save yourself the stress of having to go through it yourself.
Now a days, what do you love most about yourself?
I love my ability to connect with people despite our differences ethnically, religiously, gender and/or sexual orientation. No matter our differences, there is always something that you can bond with someone about if you’re open to discovering that common ground.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I do a mixture of things. I like reading a great book to help with keeping a healthy mindset, working out at the gym and/or dance class, listening to an inspirational podcast, yoga, visualizing my dreams, reviewing actions I’d like to take for the day and reflecting on what I did or did not do.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I’d like to think I do a pretty good job of it, but sometimes things get crazy! Acting life is spontaneous and last minute and a lot of rushing to wait. It’s definitely not a steady lifestyle. I’ve set myself up where I can take off when I need to if I want to volunteer for my daughter’s field trip or make her day time school performances. These are all things that are never going to happen again, so I make it a priority to be there no matter what. Unfortunately, there’s the rare occasion when things come up last minute and I have to go, but overall, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to have the best of both worlds.
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
Besides my mother, who is one of the strongest women I know, Oprah! I love her! Being a woman of color who persevered despite her circumstances, she inspires me and I love that she helps motivate others to overcome their obstacles.
What motivates you most?
My daughter. Providing a good life for her by keeping myself in a good place. I have to make sure I’m good, so I can be the best role model possible for her to ensure she grows up to be a decent human being.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I don’t have a specific mentor, but I had an amazing acting teacher, Elaine Williams, who I trained with for two years at the Baron Brown Meisner Studio. I learned so much from her. One thing I learned from her is the importance of enjoying your craft and the journey, and how lucky we are to live such a rich life full of adventure.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It’s not about the obstacles you’ve faced, it’s how you’re able to bounce back from them.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
Don’t let your circumstances stop you from pursuing your dream. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Don’t let your challenges define you.
Shannon Reynosa went from struggling to get by working as an Uber driver and living in a one bedroom apartment with her daughter to working on a consistent basis as a SAG/AFTRA actor.