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Last week, we let you meet Melynda, our new Arts Integration Manager. This week, we want you to meet Malinda! Our leading lady, playing Girl in Once. We talked about her YouTube channel, growing up with parents in the DC theatre scene, and more.


What is your favorite part of creating content on YouTube?

It’s a platform that allows people with similar passions to connect with each other and feel less alone. I love it when people who watch what I do become friends in life. That’s so special to know I provide something that people can bond over. For me personally, there is nothing more gratifying than thinking in my head “I wonder if this could exist” and then a little while later suddenly it does. Having the agency, skill, and motivation to bring ideas in my brain to fruition every single week is just thrilling.

You gave up on acting multiple times and were actually studying Cognitive Science at school before you switched. How has that background manifested itself in your current life?

There have been a few roles for which I’ve gone back to my Psychology notes! I also consulted some of my materials for my YouTube content when I did a unit in CogSci working with artificial intelligence. Psychology is a wonderful base to have as an actor because it gives you a much deeper sense of your own thought patterns, and the knowledge of how to adapt them to a character. I always encourage young actors to study as many subjects as they can outside the arts: psych, history, literature, gender studies, biology, it’s all wildly useful. Theatre is about life and humanity as we know it, so you should get to know it well.

How did having two theatre artists as parents influence the artist you came to be?

I was just discussing this with one of the actors I grew up watching! My mom and dad both specialize in theatre for young audiences, so it was just the world by which I was surrounded all the time. A lot happens by osmosis, just being in an environment with deeply passionate, artistic people. It also gives you the opportunity to develop lots of role models at an early age- there are several DC actors that I looked up to and wanted to be when I grew up. As I grew older having two artistic parents was invaluable, in that they made sure I was doing it for the right reasons and felt supported in whatever ways they could provide. As YouTube became a bigger part of my life they asked a lot of important questions, but otherwise trusted me to do what I loved because I had grown up in an environment where that was what everyone did.  I’m very lucky to have had those values instilled in me and parents who trusted me to follow them.

So, you grew up in the DC theatre scene. What's special about Olney Theatre Center?

I’ve never worked at a theater or with a team that has openly cared more about the well-being of their actors. They really go out of their way to ensure we feel safe, happy, welcomed and supported.

Years ago, you identified Girl as one of your dream roles and here you are playing her! What other dream roles do you hope to do in the future?

It’s true! It’s everything I’d hoped it would be and so so much more. Right now, Violet is my next dream role. I also hope that my dream role is one that hasn’t been written yet!  I love originating characters because by the end of the process you have made such a personal mark on how that character lives on.

What do you love about Once?

I love absolutely everything about this show, it’s hard to pick just one thing. The first 4 notes of Falling Slowly make me emotional immediately. There’s something about the simplicity tied in with inventiveness that makes this music unlike anything else. The Girl is all of us- she’s just trying to get through life with a smile and focus on the things that make life “good, even in Dublin.” As for this production, I will treasure the relationships I’ve developed in this show for the rest of my life. Every single day Greg says or sings something in a way that knocks the wind out of me, or Daven and I find new playfulness together as old friends, or Nick does something in Abandoned in Bandon and I can barely save myself from laughing. I just have such a profound love for these people.

What is one fun fact about you that has nothing to do with music or theatre that you want people to know?

Thin Mints. I love them. I could eat a sleeve. If unmonitored.  

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