Name: Bárbara Eliodorio
Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Current Location: New York City
TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Eliodorio: Around seven or eight years old when I learned that my favorite game, playing pretend, was a profession. I used to talk by myself and create my own stories, then one day watching TV, I saw a very famous Brazilian actress saying that that’s what she used to do when she was a child, and I made the click that maybe I was an actress too.
TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Eliodorio: Yes. Television is huge in Brazil, especially soap operas, and that’s mostly what I watched growing up. I remember being very moved by Claudia Abreu performance in a telenovela called “Celebridade.”
TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Eliodorio: Good question. I had several plans and had to redo them multiple times – they say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. (Laughter)
I always thought a solid base was necessary, which is why I made sure to study a lot. I studied for three years in Brazil then another three here, and of course, the learning process will never cease, but I wanted to get very familiar with the craft. I think my approach is to be really, really sharp with my work, and then just put it out there. Knowing what kind of art you want to do and who you want to work with… it’s very important to aim in a direction and shoot for it. Take all of the opportunities you can and be in constant risk. Don’t get stuck in comfort zones because that’s where art dies.
You need to be constantly sharing your work and making sure your artistry is being seen and heard. No one can see your work if you are home watching “Stranger Things.” (Laughter)
TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Eliodorio: I always wanted to study outside of Brazil. I felt the need for more technique and that’s what brought me New York. I was 19.
TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Eliodorio: Not very long. I adapt really quickly as I have studied abroad a few times before, so I’m kind of used to the awkwardness and the “getting used to” a place. I kind of like that discomfort! I was also very lucky and made friends really quick, which made everything easier.
TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Eliodorio: I think my latest project was a big break for me. It was called “Female Voices From Brazil” and done at the Martin E. Segal Theatre, where so many artists whom I admire have performed. I got to be lead in a beautiful play called “The Body’s Night.” It was a very demanding role, and it really made me see acting through a different prism. It was a lovely experience.
TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Eliodorio: I love everything, from Greek tragedies to melodramas!
I love very sensitive, damaged characters who are in the edge of madness like Ofelia from “Hamlet” and Nina from “The Seagull,” but I’m learning to like characters who have nothing to do with me, and are so interesting to play, like Cleopatra from “Antony & Cleopatra.”
TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Eliodorio: To be a nice person and be bold. Be kind to people always – that will bring you far. But also take risks, everyday! When you live in possibility you never have anything to lose, ever. So just do it and don’t look back.
TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Eliodorio: I have a lot of dreams and lots of artists I’d like to collaborate with. Mostly, I want to make art that has social impact – make voices that are constantly being silenced heard. I think that’s the dream.
I also want my theatre collective, Evoé, to keep growing and bringing Brazilian culture to more and more people.
TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Eliodorio: Is a lot easier than it seems. When you are home thinking, planning, you can see so many obstacles and things that can go wrong, so just DO IT. Just come and things will sort itself out.
The other thing is time. You have to trust divine timing and sometimes it’s just not the time to make the move yet. The universe may have other plans for you, and that is okay too.
TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Eliodorio: My Instagram: @barbaraeliodorio
And at my theatre collective website: www.evoecollective.com