Profile: Ana Villafane
A little girl. A make pretend microphone. A mirror in her bedroom becomes center stage. She begins to sing her heart out as dreams of performing in front of a live audience fuel her fantasy. Formidable talent often surfaces during childhood as is the case for Ana Villafane, whose stage debut at the age of nine, singing ironically, Gloria Estefan’s “Reach” began an amazing journey. Who could have predicted that one day she would end up portraying Estefan in Broadway’s hit musical “On Your Feet”, cast over hundreds of global hopefuls just three days after submitting a video audition? We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Ana because today, more than ever, we need to believe that with hard work dreams can come true.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia to immigrant parents, her father, hailing from El Salvador, her mother, from Cuba, Villafane; one of four siblings, credits her upbringing with the ability to self-discipline due in part to being diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis at the age of seven. Ana’s health issues presented varying obstacles through childhood, pushing her to take care of herself which ultimately helped set her on the path to early independence.
Performing materialized into a type of centered self-healing while the layers of experience on stage and in regional theater prepared her to meet opportunity head on. Ana was just 18 years old when she left home. Already signed with an agency, she moved to Los Angeles, terrified at the prospect of moving to the West Coast alone. The loving support of her family helped sustain her along with her drive to succeed and the rest is history.
Raised in Miami, Florida in a conservative Catholic home, Villafane, though not religious, attended Catholic schools through high school and sees everyday as an opportunity to “show up”. Honest and forthright, refreshingly candid and grateful, Ana is impressive in purpose, known as a humble, caring, hard-working individual always looking to help others. Ana is definitely not one to posture for the sake of publicity. Totally grounded and open, she heartily professed having a sweet tooth divulging she binges on The Great British Baking Show, (one of our favorites) instantly connecting us.
A self-described nerd with a comic edge, Ana attended Loyola, Marymount University in Maryland where she graduated with a degree in classical music in 2012. She confesses her musical expertise is relegated to vocal prowess not instrumental endowment, though she can play the piano and guitar by ear for personal pleasure. Villafane’s screen credits include the films Magic City Memoirs, Hiding, and Max Steel. She was featured i n the New York Times “30 under 30” for her contributions to Latinx representation in the entertainment industry, and honored with a Theater World Award for “On Your Feet” in 2015.
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