it’s been happenstance…
Bronx born and bred with a stint in Yonkers NY and South Jersey

My 7th grade chorus teacher made me audition for her production of Pippin, mainly due to my exhaustive energy.  I had no idea what it was like to audition or prepare for a play.  As we began rehearsals and finally the performance I was completely enamored with being on stage.

I’m a late bloomer, so, in 8th grade when I found out I was supposed to chose my High School it became a mad scramble, time was running out.  Lincoln High School in Yonkers NY had just integrated a magnet program of performing arts.  I thought it would be like Fame, the movie, and decided I’d go. My cousin taught me a routine the night before. Man, how I would love to see that tape, I forgot the steps midway thru and just began freestyling, but I made it.

Not quite exactly as interesting as Fame the movie, but I was excited nonetheless to be in the dance program surrounded by performance artisans and quirky behaviors. I learned structure, discipline and how to translate emotion through movement.

After high school my homegirl said we should go audition for LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl."  We went downtown and there were over 200 girls.  I auditioned and I made it.  
I was petrified.  Afterall, this was LL, a big deal for a neighborhood chick.  Turns out I was “An Around The Way Girl” to the core. “I don’t want Ivanna, I want TIWANA.” I got put in the back with the other tall girls didn’t get a lot of camera time, but I didn’t care I was in an LL Cool J video.  It was an amazing experience and my first paid gig.  Not to mention the street cred I gained. Thanks L.
Later danced for MTV’s The Grind, choreographed routines in music videos for TLC, Rob Base, and became choreographer to DMX.  Hip Hop was so sick then. I loved it!

In 2000, the allure of film and television led me back to what initially brought me to the stage. Having the arrogant concept that dance was the hardest art form I thought “Yo anybody can act, right?”  Somehow I got an audition for the lead in Men In Black II.  I was so awful the casting director looked at me over the top of her glasses like WTF? I didn’t make it.
When I left that audition I said “yo, you are buggin, you need to get some training in acting.”   I happened across a Meisner program found in the Backstage and signed up for 2 years.  I found out Acting is hard and just like dancing I gotta keep training to stay strong. 
I left NY in 2005, and been residing in LA since.  I love it here.  A lot of opportunity, a lot of people and a lot of sunshine.  My journey has been happenstance, throwing caution to the wind has earned great milestones. Fear tries to set in to psych me out.  So now, I also practice meditation, yoga and improv.
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