From New York but she is Italian. We had an interesting conversation with Giorgia Testa, a young and talented singer and actress. She has no fear to do whatever it takes to breakthrough in the music and movie Industry. She defines herself as a fighter because she won a lot of battles throughout her life. We decided to interview her because she could be an inspiration for young artists that are facing all these challenges to start a career and show their talent.
If you want something, no matter where you are, do anything that gives you power to achieve it. You can do it.
Hi Giorgia, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I am Giorgia, I am 24 and I was born and raised in Italy, but when I was 19, I decided to move to the States to pursue my career to become a singer and actress. Sometimes, you know, especially in our culture, deciding to make your own career can be scary. So, I decided to go to the States because I knew that could have given me better chances and opportunities. I first went to Utah and then I moved to New York where I attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. I graduated in Musical Theatre in 2018.
After that I worked and auditioned in the city for about a year and a half. And by the end of 2018, I opened my own production company to help international students to produce new work and original stuff.
Then my VISA got denied, so I was stuck at home in Italy. At first, I felt like a failure and then I decided that if you want something, no matter where you are, do anything in your power to achieve it. You can do it. So, I decided due to coronavirus to stay here in Italy and pursue my career here even if it is different. At least I got to experience both sides and in the future at some point that could be helpful…I might go back to the States to work.
Yes, this is a little bit about me…
How did you understand that it would be your career and not a simple passion?
I have always sung and acted but, you know, when you are in the high school you think “ok I have to get a job or study something that can give me money or a stable income”, but then in summer I have worked at my dad’s company and I realized that I didn’t want to work in the office for the rest of my life and the only thing that gave me joy was singing and acting. I realized if there are people doing it, it is possible - so why not try? “I am only 19 I can always try, make mistakes and if it doesn’t work out, change later”. If you don’t take a risk, you will regret it for the rest of your life.
What is necessary for you to "break through" in the music and cinema world?
I believe there is no one way to break through. There are so many different stories about it, so when I was in college, they taught us how to audition the proper way and that takes time and effort. In America the industry is way different, if you are non-union at first you need to go to auditions in order to get credits and become Equity (Equity is basically the union that helps unprotected actors and singers on the workplace, but it takes a long time to get in). I was also an immigrant and with having a VISA comes a lot of limitations and restrictions work wise. I first thought that it was the only way to break through. I became a little bit obsessed, because I started to go to auditions all the time, I was really desperate to get a job, and nothing was working out. So, one day one of my teachers told me this:
“Everyone is trying to get out to the door, and if it doesn’t work for you, find a way to get through the window”.
Coming back home I realized that I am happy here and I don’t have the VISA problem, even if the industry is different and I have to compromise a little bit. Starting in a smaller place, can give me a better chance to grow than keep pushing with something that is not working.
Art is subjective sometimes people get into the business side of it and realized it is harder than it looks. So then I realized that sometimes you have to create your own stuff. When you audition for a show, tv show, you audition for what other people have written or created. So sometimes it is better to start creating for yourself and sending it out to the film festivals because you will never know who would see it. The independent industry is really broad and not mainstream. Sometimes it is better to start from there and then move to the mainstream business side of it.
For these reason I create Bagela4Art, my own production agency.
Do you rely on some sources of inspiration during your work?
There are few people I started to follow because they really inspired me. One of them is Phoebe Wallerbridge: she basically wrote a one-woman show be herself, sent it out to the Edingburgh Fridge Festival, she won and go to tour the United Kingdom. While on tour she someone from Amazon Prime saw the show and decided to produce and make a whole TV show out of it. She created her own destiny. Another one is Lin Maulen Miranda. He wrote two breakthrough musicals and changed Broadway forever.
So, if you have a story, if you have something to say just do it and don’t think about what people are going to think about it. Don’t stop yourself, because sometimes, doing is the only way, otherwise we end up sabotaging ourselves. “If you never try you will never know”.
How can you always be motivated? What makes you always believe in it all the way?
I think I had been a fighter since I was kid, since I was born actually...I wasn’t even supposed to be alive. I think I had learned the hard way to keep fighting and, I am the type of person that: the more you tell me that I can’t do something, the more I want to do it. But I think that, especially in our career you must truly want it and believe that you can do it. At the same time, it is also normal to feel insecure and have doubts because this is a rollercoaster of emotions. But if you deep down believe you can, it doesn’t matter how long it is going to take it will happen for you too. It can take 10 years but at some point, all your sacrifices, all the waiting will be reworded. Don’t give up because It is going to come when you will never expect it.
I know you are working on lot of projects, tell me more about that:
Two things I really want to talk about are my projects in the States that I started while I was there and I don’t know how they will end now due to the situation. I opened my company with the purpose of creating opportunity for international students and people in my field that are just immigrants. Because we don’t get a lot of chances to work or create our destiny.
Another project is my show “Rushi – Three reincarnation of Chinese Woman”. I produced this show in 2019 and it was great. We premiered in New York and probably in the next 2 years, when Coronavirus allows it, we will get the opportunity to produce it in Taiwan as well as in Milan and London. So, it is going to be really interesting. That can be a good example of a small project which can give you huge results. It could start as a small production and grow, if you truly believe in it also someone will see the potential in it. you will never know what it can bring to you.
Here in Italy with all the things that are going on, I decided to create my own stuff as well, so I am working on a project that is really close to my heart. I am producing an EP that is going to launch for the beginning of next year. At the same time, I am working on a book about my story and these two are tied together but I can’t reveal how yet. I hope by sharing that, it will help people to accept themselves. It took me 24 years to get to the point where I feel happy and confident in my own skin. That’s why I am doing it.
Talking about the Behind the scars project... how this had an impact on your career?
I have always felt like my body was an obstacle to achieve my dream career. I have always felt like my outside was a problem, especially here in Italy, where women have to be perfect, skin, tall, beautiful and sometimes in the industry they prefer beauty instead of talent or capability.
I got bullied a lot when I was a kid for my scars, I felt like I was defected. But then I randomly found out about this project randomly online. I was in New York and I realized how in America there is a lot of body positivity compared to Italy, if you are curvy people or have any particular sings it can be empowered. I stopped thinking about my scars as a problem when I was in high school and no one was talking about that anymore. I got used to them. I wanted to join the project just to prove to myself that I had accepted them. When I got into the room, it was really inspiring and magical. There were so many other people with different stories, pain and baggage. But that helped them become the people they are today and now they are proud of what those scars mean. That experience really inspired me and made me want to be an example too.
I want to try to normalize scars too in our industry, because there are people that have tattoos and they are accepted, while scars aren’t. So why not feel comfortable in your scars as well, since they are signs of surviving. So, this is what makes people strong, in my opinion.
I want to get to the point where it is ok to have them and still act and sing. It happened more than once that agencies rejected me because of that.
I don’t understand it, you can cover tattoos and other stuff, but you can’t see, beyond those scars?
Wow, Giorgia, you are really brave, you dare a lot with your project and career, so advice for everyone?
“Go get your dreams, because no one will do it for you “
Also, I am a big procrastinator and one thing I promised myself is just stop procrastinating because it means that you fear your success and your happiness. Just do it and don’t expect anything, but please, just start doing it!