Salt + Sirena's I RUN THIS Series features women entrepreneurs, influencers, and small business owners doing what they love, and excelling at it. I hope to not only spread the word about what these amazing women do, but to inspire you to take the leap and follow your own bliss!
This month's feature is on Noemí Gonzalez, an actor and artist living in Los Angeles, CA.
I know Noemí through mutual friends from our overlapping years at UC Santa Barbara. While I've always admired her beauty and compassion from afar, I'm so happy to have finally gotten the chance to connect and get to know her better. Read on for a heartfelt interview with Noemí about her background, passions, and inspiring outlook on self-love and community.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start as an actor and artist.
Hi! First of all, thank you so much for featuring me!
I grew up in humble circumstances in a small, desert town in the Coachella Valley. My parents had immigrated from Mexico in search of a better life. Through a series of challenging events in my childhood, I was drawn to singing in Choir - I imagine it was the need to channel my emotions. By the time I graduated high school and was on my way to UC Santa Barbara, the thought occurred to me that I might follow in my favorite Music Teacher’s footsteps (*Shout-out to Mr. Bukraba!) and become a music teacher myself. Even with this in the forefront of my mind, I stayed open to any and all possibilities. One of the UCSB Orientation Volunteers suggested that I take Intro to Acting since I was already interested in the arts. I decided to go for it and the rest is history! I completed the audition process and was accepted into the very intensive and quite reputable Bachelor of Fine Arts Conservatory Program in Acting! I graduated four years later and moved straight to Los Angeles where I continue to grow and develop myself as an artist.
What are some of your passion/advocacy projects?
Well, I believe that I am my own passion project - continually bettering myself so that I may, in turn, help others. I make sure to reflect often, and to hold myself accountable for the life I am choosing to live. My life is of my own creation! I set goals career-wise, artistically, and for my spiritual wellness.
My little brother is on the Autism Spectrum and out of all of the siblings, he and I are the only two in LA. He stays with me on the weekends and we are constantly working together to make sure he lives a happy, productive life. I am ridiculously proud of him and his accomplishments - getting himself through community college and graduating Cal State Northridge on his own. I make sure to follow up on news, fundraisers, and events focused on Autism and spreading Autism awareness.
Because I don’t have as much time to devote as I’d like to these various causes, I donate. I donate to children special need funds annually and, this past year, I donated frequently to different refugee organizations and to Black Lives Matter family survivors. I also make sure to create and share socially conscious posts on the major social media platforms. I do this in the hope that people will be encouraged and empowered to donate their time and money as well as to educate themselves and others.
And last but certainly not least, I volunteer to speak to Latinas, women, college-bound, and inner-city students in different forums whenever the opportunity arises.
I often see you encourage and champion other women - why is this important to you?
I think women in our society need a lot of love. We are the mothers, the leaders that often sacrifice more than enough for the greater good. There are too many examples of women tearing each other down instead of building each other up, so I like to live by example. I champion myself because if not me, who? I think that can apply to all of us women. We need to be our own champions - both for ourselves individually, and for our collective community.
Also, I’m very aware that I experience life not only as a woman, but as a woman of color. I make sure to express my unique experience in order to address and improve the many challenges that we face in our specific communities and society at large.
Do you have a mantra/words-to-live-by, and how do they help you stay motivated and positive?
I’m glad you asked that; I have many in fact!
My brother passed away when I was very young and I can’t abide by not living life to the fullest :) so:
- “Live life to the fullest because it’s an honor not guaranteed to many.”
- “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” - Bob Marley
When it comes to spirituality or being positive:
- “You can’t control the first thought you have, but you can rephrase the second.”
- “Talk to yourself the way you would your little sister or best friend.”
These two helped me a lot with my spiritual wellness. We have a tendency to treat ourselves far worse than we would others. By changing the script in my head, I changed my life. Self love is essential.
Some other favorites include:
- “This too shall pass.”
- “Ni modo, a seguir adelante.”
- “Si se puede.” ;)
What is something you wish you knew when you started out?
Shoulda’, Coulda’, Woulda’! :)
There’s nothing I wish I knew ahead of time. I think for me, wishing something were different in the past robs my energy and focus on the future. Focus on what could be rather than what could’ve been.
With that being said, if I were to suggest something to someone who is just starting out... I would say 'be grounded in who you are, know your reason(s) why you are pursuing this career, and be mindful of where you spend your energy'.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to hike, workout, do yoga, dance, read, binge-watch quality TV shows and films with my honey. I like to sit out on my balcony to reflect and enjoy some fresh air. One unique and fun priority I keep for myself is to go to as many one-time-only events in LA as possible. I choose those that I feel will help me live fully and become a more well-rounded artist. Examples of this include going to museum exhibits, concerts, theater, food festivals, cultural celebrations etc.
And lastly I continue to pursue my life-long mission of finding and devouring the best tacos in LA.
Thank you so much, Noemí! You inspire me with your grace and talent, and I wish you continued success and happiness! I greatly admire your passion for your craft, for helping others, and for fearlessly speaking up for what's right. ❤️
Follow along with Noemí on Instagram: @inoemigonzalez
And as always, thank you for reading and supporting our I RUN THIS series!
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