One of the Babes: Actress Minerva Villa
Meet Minerva Villa, theatre teacher by day and actress by night. Minerva starred in the local show "Love Me Tinder" (produced by Heckle Her) and continues to participate in the unique theatre community that Austin has to offer. Read more about Minerva below!
Q: What inspired you to start working in the field/Industry? Did you have any role models or learn from someone, in particular?
A: I remember being in plays at school when I was in elementary school. You know, the kind they force you to be in? The first vivid memory I have is of me playing Abraham Lincoln and knocking my hat off with the hanging mic. Aside from choreographing and rehearsing my one woman performance of “Annie” for my parents, I never really performed until I got to high school. In middle school, I really wanted to be in band but they told me I couldn’t play the flute because my lips were too big (I know…) and that I should try the tuba instead, so I thought, Screw this, I’m going to be in theatre. I will forever be grateful to the teacher who told me I couldn’t be in band with the instrument of my choice. As far as mentors or role models, all I knew were the actors I saw in musicals growing up. “Grease," “Annie" and all of the Disney princesses were my teachers. My high school theatre teacher introduced me to more Broadway shows and from there it was a quick downhill ride to pure obsession and learning everything I could about the musical theatre genre.
Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passions, in general?
A: I know it sounds cliché, but never stop going for what you want if it’s something you truly love and are passionate about. I live by the motto “Work to live, don’t live to work.” If what you’re doing isn’t bringing you joy and you can think of something else you’re passionate about, then go for it! I’m not telling you to quit your day job, but definitely find a way to incorporate it into your daily life.
Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity (possibly a time when a burst of creative energy produced something you could have never expected, etc.)?
A: Austin has such a unique theatre scene that I feel like I’ve definitely being able to stretch my artistic limbs in a way I never got to during my undergraduate career. One collaboration I will forever be grateful for is Love Me Tinder, a show I’m a part of produced by Adrienne Dawes’s production company, Heckle Her. It’s the first time I’ve ever had someone put faith in my singing, acting, and writing ability. I have always been concerned that I’m not as funny as I think I am in my head but Adrienne, along with all my cast members, have definitely played a pivotal role in allowing my funny to come out in ways I didn’t think it could. Also, figuring out that I could rock a tune like Pat Benatar AND look sexy while doing it was quite the eye opener for me as an artist and also a huge self-esteem boost.
Q: What have been your most challenging moments in your career, thus far?
A: I definitely feel like finding meaningful work as a woman of color is by far the most challenging part of my career. I cannot control being a woman of color, and I wouldn’t want to because I love being who I am. The challenge is walking into an audition room, knowing you kicked total ass, and still not getting the part. Then you see the cast list go up only to realize it’s full of Anglo names. There are moments when I get really discouraged but then a theatre company comes along that embraces variety and it picks me back up because even though I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities, I’ve been a part of some incredible art in this city.
Q: What's your day job (if this business isn't your day job)?
A: I’m a High School Theatre Teacher by day and an actress by night! I love encouraging my students to follow their dreams and giving them a little extra boost of confidence on a daily basis.
Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
A: When I’m discouraged I usually run to my couch and wallow in self-pity while binge watching The Office for the millionth time and try to run away from myself. It never works though and I always find myself again so instead of staying on the couch forever I try to surround myself by people I love and who love me and who bring me joy and laughter and positivity. Negativity is something I definitely don’t need in my life so I try to get rid of it whenever possible.
Your favorite band at the moment: I’m the type of person who listens to the same music all the time and loves it the same each time! Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of The Shins, Coldplay, Sufjan Stephens, Amy Winehouse, and The Smiths. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not depressed.
Your favorite book at the moment: I just finished reading “You” by Caroline Kepnes and it definitely stuck with me. It’s a book about a stalker and the entire book is told from his perspective. It’s definitely creepy and has made online dating even more stressful than usual.
Your local Austin gem: I don’t know if I want to divulge this because I’ll lose my primo karaoke spot but I love this dive bar in North Austin called “Shenanigans." It’s dirty in the best way possible and the people watching never disappoints. They have karaoke most nights and they have a raised stage that makes me feel like a rock star and there’s never a huge line so I get to sing at least three or four times.