Momus Spotlight: Jade Santana

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

I have heard from fellow Brazilian friends that before you moved to Los Angeles you had already made quite a name for yourself in Brazil for your dancing. Can you elaborate more on that?

Before acting I was classically trained in Ballet at the world famous Teatro Nacional de Brasília (National Theatre of Brasilia). Before my injury, I performed numerous times on stage over the years. I worked really hard and was rewarded for my efforts by being selected to dance some really important roles. These included dancing as the soloist Blue Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and as one of Clara’s Friends in The Nutcracker. My most challenging role by far however, was as one of the four lead dancers in the famous Small Swans’ pas de quatre in Swan Lake. I can honestly say that my success in acting so far would not be the same had I not started out in Ballet.

You have managed to achieve quite a lot since leaving drama school. What is your favorite role that you have done since turning professional?

I have to say Marela in Anna In The Tropics! She was such a complex character with so many layers. It was one of those plays that once you’re done you feel like it turned you into a much better actor. The rehearsal process was also so rewarding. It was incredible to be directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera (the founder of Playwrights Arena) and to share the stage with big names like Antonio Jaramillo from the Fox’s series Mayans, Steve Wilcox from American Me and Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Best Actor Award-winning Byron Quiros. I mean, that was a whole master class by itself! Watching them work and their process was really fascinating. It was a lot of work, but it sure paid off! We were all over the media, the critics were in love with our work and we even got the Ovation recommended seal of approval!

The award-winning theatre critic Paul Myrvold called your performance in Anna and the Tropics “Stunning” and “Vivacious”. That is some praise coming from a Broadway veteran! Am I right in saying you were nominated for an award for that role?

Yes, you’re right! I was really honoured to be nominated for the Regional Broadway World Award 2019 for Best Featured Actress In A Play. As a cast we also received two Scenie Awards for Best Production and Best Ensemble. Not gonna lie, it felt pretty good!

So how did you end up becoming a member of Openfist and what’s it like being a part of such a prestigious theatre company?

So you can only join by referral, right? One of my teachers at The Academy is a member of the company and, after I graduated, he brought me in for an audition. Initially, it was supposed to be for just the one production, but we worked so well together that I ended up getting offered to be an official member. I just love being a part of it! I’m constantly working alongside amazing actors, being seen, and connecting with industry people because the company has a name and people know it. As a result, I have been lucky enough to keep working consistently. Just from being in the cast of Under Milk Wood alone I received three job offers. It is great to have a community like Open Fist on your side. So I’d recommend to any of your readers to find your own community, it will work wonders.

How have you been keeping busy during lockdown?

I’m working on a few projects that would’ve been happening if it wasn’t for COVID. It’s a great time for rewrites and meetings and adjustment. Just to have the opportunity to iron out many details that we wouldn’t necessarily have had the time to do, has been a blessing in disguise. Interestingly, other jobs have come up from the quarantine period. So I guess other people have had the same idea!

Sounds exciting! So tell me, what can I see you in next? What other projects do you have lined up in the future?

Well, here we go. I have a feature coming up called High Noon Harvest which I’m really excited about! I’ve always wanted to play a badass in these kinds of dystopian movies and it’s finally gonna happen! Then, I’m co-writing a series called Enculturation which tells the story of two international lovers living in America. It’s a rom-com based on my experience here with all the clash of cultures and adjustments to make things work! Besides that, another series called Those Clifton Nights which is another comedy about relationships/coming of age. And then of course this project Victorria with Momus Films which has really spoken to me! I like how our industry is slowly starting to shine a light on our side. Having an accent doesn't make anyone an outlandish character, we also have love stories and are intellectuals. I could go on and on about it, but I think you understand where I'm getting at. It'll be fun!

You were picked up by McCaffrey Talent Management. A lot of my readers are budding actors looking to get representation to help build their careers. Do you have any tips or insights on how you were signed?

I don’t know if I can say anything about how to get representation because I was lucky enough that she approached me after a show rather than the other way round. But what I will say is be careful! Do your research! Don’t sign whatever contract they give you. The first time a manager asked to sign me, I was so excited. After all, who doesn’t want to have representation, right? But the contract was bizarre. In the end, I was lucky I had other people more experienced in the business side of the industry around me saying that it was not a good deal. It is obviously hard to walk away from an offer, especially when you’re trying to build a name for yourself! But if it doesn’t feel right, just don't do it. Don’t feel bad about it. It’s basically a relationship with whoever is representing you. If you guys don’t understand each other, if it doesn't click, it won't be good for either of you.



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