Build an extraordinary life for themselves and for their children
- Who is Paola Grande?
That is a huge question. I would like to believe that Paola Grande is proudly the daughter of Italian immigrants who successfully built an extraordinary life for themselves and especially for their children, showing them what it means to be Italian, how to give from the heart, and how to be tremendous forces to be reckoned with; Paola Grande is someone who never gives up or settles, she is someone who is devoted to her family because family is what matters most to her; and in all that she is and all that she does, she is Grande in every way!
- Why did you choose this road?
It was the only road I felt it in my heart to pursue. I originally wanted to be a lawyer (which can certainly be theatrical!), but once I immersed myself in law classes, I felt empty. I took a chance and auditioned for a play while I was in college. I was cast and from the very first rehearsal, I was hooked. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else from then on and it has remained the focus of my career goals ever since.
- What do you like about show biz?
For me, rehearsals are the most fun and exciting part of acting. You get to experiment, make discoveries, unlock the truths, mannerisms, and the core of who your character is, and live in a world that is composed entirely from the imagination. Being involved in this aspect of the process is absolutely thrilling.
- Which are the characters do you prefer?
There are so many! Being given the opportunity to perform Shakespeare would be a dream come true, in such roles as ‘Lady M,’ from the Scottish play, and ‘Portia’ from The Merchant of Venice. From theatre, I would love to play ‘Eurydice’ in Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, ‘Meg Magrath’ from Henley’s Crimes of the Heart, ‘Dr. Livingston’ from Pielmeier’s Agnes of God, and virtually any leading woman from Tennessee Williams’ works. Clearly, the American theatre classics. I love Christmas so playing any leading female role in any Christmas movie, no matter how predictable the plot!
- Do you prefer Film, Theatre or Television?
For me, I adore it all and I would love to act in television, theatre, and film always. I often hear actors say, ‘I only want to act in theatre’ or ‘I will never do commercials,’ etc. To me, this type of thinking is extreme and limited. Every medium of performance has its rewards and challenges and there is so much fun to be had in the play of whatever you are blessed to do. It is always a gift. To be invited to perform is always a gift because we then get to share ourselves and our work with the world.
- Have you got any hobbies?
I do! I love to read, sing, and visit museums. My greatest passion in my life is being a mother and a wife. I know this might sound traditional, but there is truly no greater adventure in my eyes than giving, cultivating, and watching such a beautiful, pure life develop and grow.
- Which are your professional teachers?
I have had wonderful teachers at Brown University in Providence, as well as in London and New York City. The professional actors from whom I learn the most are those who are so remarkable, you forget you are watching someone playing a character. Rather, they make you believe you are watching a human being’s story unfold. For me, these actors are Emma Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Brie Larson, Stanley Tucci, and of course, the mesmerizing Meryl Streep. I adore how each of them creates a character who can find the levity even in the darkest of moments. It is a very human thing to do and they are truly virtuosos.
- Have you got any advices to new actors?
I would say two things: The first is to keep learning, about yourself and your craft. Doris Roberts continued taking acting classes into her eighties. Tommy Lee Jones said he was just finally starting to understand what acting is while filming In the Valley of Elah. As actors, we thrive on discovering new things. Continue learning because that will inspire you to keep moving forward and to evolve, as an actor and especially as a person. The second, and most important thing: Always remember who you are and what you love outside of acting. Let that define you, not your profession. This is a subjective industry resplendent with ups and downs and it is easy to get lost in the struggle to succeed. So it is always important to stay true to who you are, to your humanity, and to the people and things that bring you joy. That is what it means to be alive and to live. You are more than your profession. You are a human being: bright, brilliant, and full of love. The truth of who you are is far greater than any role ever created.