Actress and Comedian Aniria Medrano Turney is a 2019 Latina Mover N Shaker, receives Leadership award from Latin Times Magazine!
LTM: Tell me about what you do for a living.
Aniria: I am a stand-up comedian and an actress. I love my job because not only do I get to play different characters, but I also have the opportunity to play other cultures. For example, I played a Syrian mother on Chicago Med, and on stage, I played a Guatemalan nanny.
LTM: Tell me about what organizations you are a part of.
Aniria: Before I dedicated my time in full to being an entertainer, I used to work for the Family Support & Resources Centers in Hillsborough County, but my last year I worked for an insurance company called Prestige.
LTM: Tell us about the biggest highlights of your career.
Aniria: It was when I booked my first big acting gig. It was my first union (SAG-AFTRA) project, and I got to work with someone I have admired for years, Marlon Wayans. It was not only an honor to work with him, but becoming a union actor changed the way I looked at my acting career.
LTM: As a Latina leader in the community, business, or other…what has been your biggest challenge, and how have you been able to overcome it?
Aniria: I faced my biggest challenges as a stand-up comedian. When I started, there were not a lot of women in comedy here in Tampa. Florida is a southern state, so seeing a Latina talking about her truth on stage was not popular. At times it was looked at as inappropriate. My comedy is very adult plus I was a Latina talking about being Latina in the US, among other things so it was hard to find an audience but more importantly to find the confidence to keep sharing my stories and opinions. I overcame it by not giving up, practicing, practicing, and practicing, building a tough outer cover and believing in myself and believing that my stories mattered. I learned not to take the rejection personally. I kept writing and performing to the point where people just couldn’t ignore me. Throughout the years that have been more women entering this field, so it has gotten a bit easier. As a matter of fact, I think women in comedy is on the rise.
LTM: How important is being a Latina to you?
Aniria: It’s my culture so very important!
I think that what I do gives other Latinas/Latinos a voice in how we think and what your experiences are like. Our point of view exists.
LTM: What is your favorite type of musica, and what is your favorite song?
Aniria: I love music, so it’s hard to pinpoint just one. My all-time favorite bands are Heart and Janes Addiction, but I do enjoy music like folksy music like John Mayer, soulful/jazzy music like Amy Winehouse! I indulge in old school Salsa too, like El Gran Combo and Celia Cruz. My favorite song….uuff….that’s hard…I’ll have to go with Dog and Butterfly by Heart because when my kids were born, I didn’t know any lullabies so I would sing them that song to help them sleep.
LTM: IF you can go back to let’s say 18-21, what are some of the pivotal decisions that you have made that you would do differently?
Aniria: I would have taken a chance on my dreams. I did not pursue my dreams until I was in my 30’s. I would have gone to college as I did, but I would have worked on stand up at the same time.
LTM: What do you think some of the best career choices are for young Latinas.
Aniria: I think the world is yours. Each field will have its challenges, but you can not let people keep you from doing what you love. Be determined and ready to work hard while facing adversity. Nurture your language because that will set you apart.
LTM: Tell us about what kind of projects you currently have going on.
Aniria: My most recent project was that I had a small role in Hulu’s The Act. Soon I will be filming a short film that I am so excited about because it is a comedy about a Puerto Rican family and I get to play the Grandma…a character that we all know, and I get to embody her!
Also, I will be doing my first comedy festival: The Burbank Comedy Festival. I have been auditioning for some pretty exciting big projects as well so let’s see if I am lucky enough to book one!
LTM: What can we expect to see from you in the future
Aniria: Hopefully, a feature film or a tv show.
LTM: What is your comida favorita Mofongo!!!!
Aniria: What famous person do you most identify with and why John Leguizamo. He is my inspiration for comedy because the first time I saw his one-man show “Spicorama” I felt he knew my story. That made me realize I had something to say, too!
LTM: What did I miss? Tell me something you want us to know!
Aniria: I did my first big play last year. It was called Casa Ajena. It was the bilingual version of the Lisa Loomer’s iconic play Living Out. I got to perform with some famous Latino TV stars such as Khotan Fernandez, Rosalinda Rodriguez, Christian Millan, and Gabriela Vergara. This was my first time doing a bilingual project and working with such celebrities.