On May 1st, Natalia Quintero-Riestra (“QR”) will walk across the stage, shake President Rosenberg’s hand, and officially graduate with a BFA in Acting from FIU Theatre. She leaves on a high note, having written and performed a wildly successful senior project on Victoria Woodhull and now taking the stage as Masha in The Suicide, her final performance at FIU. Next up, she’ll be heading to San Diego to earn her MFA at UCSD, one of the top acting grad schools in the country. As we close out the semester, we thought it only right to turn the tables on our marketing assistant and get to know her better with 7 Questions.
1. What do you geek out about?
Oh, a lot of things. I love Parks & Recreation. And astrology! Oh my God, I geek out so much about astrology. What else? Food Network shows. My friends. And definitely naps! I’m so tired all the time, I love my naps.
2. What is your biggest takeaway from your time at FIU Theatre?
I think it would be that in order to be a great actor you have to be a great person. That’s the biggest lesson I learned here. I’ve seen myself grow as an actor and artist and a lot of that has correlated with me growing as a person, opening up to others, being kind, being strong, being vulnerable. It’s all served me not only when I get up on the stage but also just in life.
3. What is the best piece of advice you can give to an incoming FIU Theatre major?
I think it would be, instead of running away from yourself, really lean into who you are and what you have to offer. When you come here you’re really young and all you want to do is fit in, but the best thing you can do for yourself is really take stock of who you are and show that to people. There’s never going to be anyone just like you and that’s your greatest strength. So many wonderful things happen when you just say F-it and just show people who you are and let things fall where they do. I feel like when I implemented that advice into my life every aspect of my life got better.
4. If you could take one thing from Miami with you to San Diego, what would it be?
Mi cultura. The vibrancy, the music, the food. It’s funny, cause there was a time when I would try to push away from it and try to be more Americanized. But now that I’m going somewhere else I know I’m going to miss the heart and passion of Miami. I wish I could just carry it in my pocket. But I’m definitely excited for this new chapter and what it will bring to me.
5. What was it like to bow at the end of your senior project?
I remembered what it felt like to have back muscles again. My back had been so tensed up the entire month before senior projects. When I bowed, I just felt all of that stress melt away into the floor. I wanted to cry. It was such a huge sense of relief. I felt proud and satisfied with the work I left on that stage. It made all of the hard work and the anxiety from the process so worth it.
6. If you could remake any movie and cast yourself in it, what would it be.
Ten Things I Hate About You. I would be Kat Stratford for sure. I’d rewrite it a little because I didn’t like the ending, but I’d still have a ‘90’s aesthetic because I feel like that really worked. I’d be really excited to do it. It’s my favorite movie.
7. What is your favorite moment in The Suicide?
I don’t want to get too spoilery, but my favorite moment is in Act 2. I come back and find Semyon with Cleopatra. And then Yegor professes his love to me and I kiss him on the cheek just to get back at Semyon. It’s a simple moment, but it’s not in the script. Kyran (Wright, the actor playing Semyon) and I found it in rehearsal. He made a choice to give me a weird look and so I made the choice to kiss Yegor on the cheek. I love those moments where we can just play.
The Suicide runs through April 21st at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center. For tickets and info visit http://go.fiu.edu/theatre.