Adriana Rossetto Interview for #roccochelseaadriana

Adriana is an international actress with a predilection for raw, socially progressive work with avant-garde esthetics. She graduated from the conservatory program at the Stella Adler Studio, class of 2014. Recent credits include Post:Death, directed by Theresa Buchheister at The Brick Theatre (Title:Point), A Doll House (Dorset Theatre Festival reading series). Adriana is a resident actress and Director of Development at John Gould Rubin’s The Private Theatre, resident actress and board member at Vieve Price's TEA Creative and Artistic Associate of Valeria Orani’s Umanism. Past training include the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) and NIDA (Sydney).

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When you think of yourself, what nationality do you most identify with and why is that?

I guess I don’t identify with any “one” nationality entirely: I was born in Mexico by Brazilian parents, grew up in Italy and have spent almost 8 years (formative years to my identity) in the States, mostly in New York. It always makes me self conscious when people ask me where I’m from because we live in an era in which people don’t usually have time for non-immediate long winded answers, and yet I’m never able to straight up answer this question in a short and honest way. I guess I opt to excruciate people with the “long version” because I care so much about authenticity, and telling the whole story is what’s most true to me, even if complicated (as it often is).

How is that identity affirmed or challenged by living in America today?

I don’t know about America in general, New York is such a melting pot of cultures so my multinational nature is definitely closer to the status quo here. But I remember when I was 17 and living in Texas, I learned so much of who I was then by understanding contrasts between me and what surrounded me. Because my experience is so eclectic I find it hard in general to be any “one thing”, but I feel strongly about a number of topics like immigration and feminism and the millennial generation to which I belong which are very frequently discussed in America. I have often questioned if I have a right to contribute my “non- American” voice in the American discourse around these topics… and I still don’t have an answer for this concern. Many times I feel like a “fraud” or a “wannabe”, but I’m hoping that one day I get to understand and interiorize the idea that my identity is formed in the experiences that I have, and part of that experience has been living in America which validates my voice without the need of anyone’s stamp of approval.

What is your hoped-for future for America? (or, What is your American Dream?)

This is the hardest question! Both because of what I said before, but also because I grew up with a very romanticized version of America which arrived in Italy through movies, tv series, magazines and literature. I guess I still dream and I’m still looking for “that” America, which is the America in which the good wins.

What is the most important thing to you personally about being an American?

I think my identity latches on so well with America because I believe so much in freedom and justice, and because I devote myself tirelessly to those causes. I’m also part of an excited youth that believes that change is good, that believes that “now” is the best time of all, and part of an artistic wave that is contributing to keeping things exciting, weird, relevant, brave and off the grid.

What do you struggle with in the context of your American identity?

Paperwork. I struggle with paperwork. Lol.

And unaffordable healthcare. And expensive education. And impossible housing situations. Again, justice, and being a millennial in general.

What most excites you about America or being an American?

It excites me that, compared to Italy which is affected by its ancient history and the idea that “only centuries will make you worthy”, America is still “writing itself”. It’s incredibly exciting to me that I can be part of a living thing, and effect real change.

What is a challenge you are currently facing (in terms of being an American, or within the context of your American identity)?

I think I struggle with the “know thyself” part of the job, both in terms of understanding my own voice and sense of identity and also because America is very loud and opinionated, and many times I’m just not that striking. Those are the times it’s clear to me that I’m still very much European, because I like to sit back and talk about philosophical ideas that are mostly impersonal. It has taken me years to feel comfortable remaining silent in a conversation or just candidly and unashamedly admit “I don’t have an opinion about this”.   

If you could change one thing about how you are seen by the world (friends, family, strangers), what would it be? What is important about that?

I have been ashamed of my accent for the longest time. I’m much kinder with myself lately, both because the accent has gotten better with the years and because I’ve grown to love myself for both who I am and the potential that is in me (as opposed to only my potential self). I still work on my accent everyday, and I think it’s mostly because it’s an immediate identifier of “other-ness”, so that whatever I say or think becomes qualified by the idea that I’m foreign. I wish one day we could hear people just because they are people.

How do you want to see yourself?

I want to see myself like the person that answers this question with “as I am”.