"I was holding my sisters' make-up mirror, making myself cry, curiously looking at my own reflection as the tears were running down."

About Ana Maria Carrizales – Vancouver-based psychologist, actress, writer & media creator.

Ana headshot 1
Photo credit: KEVIN CLARK STUDIOS

In 2007, after leaving a successful psychological practice in Lima to pursue her artistic dreams, Ana Maria Carrizales received the NBC Universal Screenwriting scholarship where she wrote and commissioned feature-length scripts – graduating with honours and winning the Best Screenplay Award.

Upon graduation from the Full Year Acting Program from the Vancouver Film School, Ana co-designed and trained the Playback Theatre Youth Troupe commencing in 2009 – a multi-disciplinary project that combines improvisational theatre techniques with social justice. The project went on to win the 2013 City of Richmond’s Arts Innovation Award for its artistic excellence.

In 2014, Ana produced & coordinated the urban ink’s Youth Direct Hip Hop Theatre Program, empowering marginalized and multicultural participants to free their original voices using theatre & hip hop.

Ana’s current creative enterprise is The Panties Project; a multi-platform, interactive series designed to offer a global forum for women to share their diverse stories

In addition, Ana has produced, written and directed three short films, one documentary and performed in many theatre, film & television productions.

The Interview

1. What is the force that drives you forward? What fuels your ambition?

The driving force behind everything I do is the process of creating. The magic that happens
when a group of artists kick the bucket in a room blending their talents to produce art. It’s such an exhilarating process to explore unknown territory in darkness & light, pushing boundaries & rules, challenging myself to go beyond self.

2. Can you talk about your greatest “failure”? (something that led to your most significant shift in consciousness, and made you who you are today).

Ten years ago, I was fired from the most prestigious theatre company in my home town.

The artistic director thought I had “discipline issues,” even though my performance reviews were excellent. At the time, his opinion defined my identity. Leaving the company under those circumstances destroyed my confidence.

Ana headshot 3
Photo credit: KEVIN CLARK STUDIOS

I was forced to make a dramatic life-changing decision which impacts my life to this day. It took dread & time to understand that the discipline issues he was referring to were nothing more than the fearless exploration of my own art.

Away from his conventions, I  respect my own artistic process & others in the projects I perform & direct. Last time I bumped into him I thanked for pushing me into the abyss. Once at the bottom, the only possible exit is to climb back to the top and understand that this IS the only creative process that matters.

3. Are you happy? What does happiness mean to you?

I ignore what happiness is. If I get to make art every day – and still eat, and pay rent, and hang out with crazy wild creative people, and watch amazing films — I’m lucky. Having the opportunity to fail and start anew because I’m healthy, means that dreams are still possible. The love & support from my partner fuels everything else.

To be honest, I don’t give care about happiness if I can check all the above.

4. What do you think is your greatest strength? On the reverse, can you identify a personal challenge (something you currently struggle with)?

My strength is my relentless passion & the dread I feel for anything non-creative. My biggest flaw is the dread I feel for all non-creative things.

5. When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist? Can you talk about that moment or time in your life?

I was a tiny 5 year old sitting on a big couch. I was holding my sisters’ make-up mirror, making myself cry, curiously looking at my own reflection as the tears were running down. My sister ‘caught me in the act’, called my mother, and shamed me for behaving crazy.

Truth was revealed to me. I realized I was not an average kid.

6. Habits, routine, morning rituals — What are the positive things you do daily that have had the most significant impact on your life and work?

I meditate every morning & read (or listen to) at least to one poem. Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s poem:

Fearless, I fade fast
Well acquainted with the darkening landscape
Where the piercing screams of my mind
will deafen me no more.
– Virginia Woolf

7. How do you deal with doubt? Where do you go for support?

I don’t deal with doubt. It eats me every day. I live consumed by doubt. My partner deals with my doubts & saves me every time.

8. What, in your opinion, are the qualities of someone who is a “great” artist (in whatever discipline)?

I don’t know what makes a great artist, but I believe that art is not something we do. It is a lifestyle: a way of being with one’s self & others.

9. Any advice for artists on a similar path? (Perhaps advice you wish you’d been given when you were first starting out).
Ana Headshot 2
Photo credit: KEVIN CLARK STUDIOS

Some advice I would’ve appreciated: “stick with it, no matter the failures that will come; sail your way through struggles, no matter the egos; just stick with it darling because there is nothing else in the world you’d be good at.”

10. Could you talk a little bit about your relationship to money? Has your relationship to money changed over the years?

I have no relationship to money & no attachment to it.

But as I’m growing older & foresee a life with my parter, the idea of creating a family brings money concerns. Since we’re both artists, there is a resistance to give up creative non-paid projects to make it happen.

There lies the painful contradiction.

11. Ever experience flow/being in the zone? What does it feel like for you?

It’s magic. I don’t feel a body. There is no separation between me, others and the world. I become one with everything. Time vanishes.

12. What are some of your favourite books or authors?

These days (because it changes constantly) I’d say: Joseph CampbellVirginia WoolfHaruki Murakami, and Maria Rilke.

Follow Ana

BacheloretteAna is the director behind Bar S Entertainment’s production of Bachelorette by Leslye Headland.

Watch  it June 3rd-7th in Vancouver, BC

Get tickets here.

You Can also follow Ana by checking her out on:

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“Last time I bumped into him, I thanked for pushing me into the abyss” – an interview with Ana Maria Carrizales
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These conversations are about the creative soul. They are the true experiences of creatives with their own creative impulse, and they are the private (made public) reflections on what creativity feels like on a very personal level. All interviews are conducted by Christine Bissonnette