It’s rare to meet people who leave such a memorable impression on you, but Apolonia Davalos is one of those special individuals. A talented actor/director/producer/singer in Nashville, Apolonia is known for her vibrant personality and generosity. Whether she’s sharing her joy-filled signature laugh or passing out holiday treats to her music industry co-workers, anyone who comes into contact with Apolonia can’t help but leave the encounter with a smile on their face.
So, I was curious to find out what drives this lady of many creative gifts and decided to ask for her thoughts on a few things. And I’m definitely feeling the love with this interview. Not only did she take the time to answer my questions, Apolonia went all out and did a #BeBoldRed-themed photo shoot, as well!
You have such a confident personality and positive energy that seems to be recognized by
anyone who comes in contact with you. What or who inspires and motivates you daily?
My Amazonian warrior Mother inspires and motivates me on a minute-by-minute, by-the-hour, daily basis! As my loving and forgiving guardian since conception, she is my counsel (in all matters of spirit, life, faith, and business), my compass, my confidant, my angel, my heroine, and my biggest genuine supporter and encourager of all my aspirations. As a child, way before I knew I wanted to be an artist, I knew I wanted to be a woman just like her. Walk in her shoes so to speak! And, as a child, I did. (Laughs)
Dr. Roxanna Stuart (NYC acting coach), coaching me through a Richard II piece by Shakespeare, often reflected that an actor isn’t fully immersed in character until he or she walks in the character’s shoes. A physical and psychological transformation takes place. From how you walk, to how you carry yourself (posture), how you speak, and how you respond to all the relationships around you. I embraced this technique of Roxanna’s. You can say, the first role I ever portrayed, as a child, was embodying the classy, courageous, fearless, faithful, selfless, and wise woman that is Sandra Davalos, my Mother (U.S. Air Force Veteran). A living example of virtue, grace, and charity. On top of it all, no matter what life unleashes, she still laughs with her whole heart, body, and soul. An echo of the joyful glory God wishes for all his children. I am blessed to have inherited the Davalos-laugh that I, myself, am recognized for (which is often mistaken for a lion’s roar)! (Laughs)
Secondly, but first in my life, is my relationship with Jesus, His mother Mary, and Almighty God, the Father! My Mother gave me the greatest gift of all – FAITH! The reward of tomorrow is not a promise. Any moment could be my last. Every morning, when my alarm screams at me to rise, my very first thought and prayer is, “Thank you, Lord, for another day!” I practice seeing God in all people and in all things (an Ignatian Spirituality tradition that I fully embrace). So, I am literally at my happiest and fully present from moment to moment.
How do you make sure your vibrant “brand” translates to social media and your blog?
I value your time way too much to waste it!
I approach everything that I partake in as a partnership and collaboration. Whether it is a person, company, event, film, play, magazine/newspaper/blog, photography, etc. (the possibilities are endless), I am actively of service to the mission and message being pondered and expressed. My role and responsibility extend beyond the page or the screen. I am YOUR ambassador and supporter of the dream that has been brought to fruition. When I engage in projects, I’m all in for the long hall, not just for a day! On that note, I’m excited to be your new #BeBoldRed ambassador Stefanie! (laughs)
Year after year, I am a lot more aware, selective, and purposeful with all of my creative endeavors. This is extremely important because this is how I manage and maintain my “vibrant brand”! My choices are in line with my ultimate goal which is to positively inspire my family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and audiences, to become the best version of themselves by living an authentic life. How do I do that? By loving my neighbor as I love myself. Simple, right? (Laughs) I believe this is the reason I receive such a positive response with all my content.
I must confess, this has been a much-learned lesson! At the beginning of my career, I was so excited and eager to just create, create, create, and live my dreams, that I did not give deeper discernment to the art that I had been cast to portray and what that would mean for me. An offer may be an opportunity or a distraction. Sometimes a “no” is a better “yes” for choices that impact our lives!
What advice do you have for building relationships and collaborating with other creative professionals online and off?
My biggest advice is to deliver 100% every time!
As a producer, I love connecting people and being instrumental in encouraging their talents and goals to blossom!
Further, in your correspondence, I advise to always communicate with sincere purpose, grace, gratitude, and professionalism. Clear, concise, and informative communication sustains and nourishes long-lasting relationships. It also plants the seeds for positive collaborative creations that bear fruit for your labor!
How do you juggle and prioritize the various projects and opportunities that you’re involved in?
When good things happen, they tend to happen all at once. Am I right? (Laughs)
I, honestly, give it all to God. I map out all my commitments on my master calendar and then have a little conversation with the Man upstairs. It goes a little something like this, “Lord, if this is all Your Will, bless it and make it work!” (Laughs)
Time is tight and when it comes to juggling multiple projects at one time, it is easy to get stressed. Stress eliminates joy. When there is no joy in what you are pursuing (that is ideally your dream), then what is the point?
I also have my secret weapon for additional wisdom and support – my Mother! (Laughs) “Thanks Mom!”
Why do you feel called to pursue a career in film and the arts? (So many talents, so little time, right?!)
My Mother persevered and succeeded all expectations in her role as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force. To add three more layers to her priorities, she was a single mother to three girls! She had enough on her plate to keep her up at night. After prayer, the only remedy to turn off her constantly calculating brain long enough to get an ounce of rest, was a good comedy or action movie or television show!
When I witnessed the levity and peace that uplifting entertainment provided, I immediately desired to be an effective part of something that offered such inspiration to people’s hearts and minds! Something bigger than myself that touched a lot of lives all at once. I viewed this awakening as a sense of purpose. My personal call to the service of others.
Providing the content of what a mass of viewers watch is a huge responsibility. For some, it may be the only education a person may experience. Especially, when a filmmaker provides a story and a world other than your own in an effort, I would hope, to further the betterment of our thoughts, actions, and relationships with one another. To show, unique to the art of film as a universal language, that a person is never alone in their struggles and/or victories. That hope is powerful and good always wins in the end. A happy conclusion, despite all odds, is my favorite tradition and essence of American cinema!
I see my career in film and the performing arts as a sense of service to the world. For me, personally, it is a “death-to-self” to be of such service, because at the end of the day, it is about creating a meaningful experience that transcends the proverbial lines that have been drawn in the sand.
Thank you, Apolonia, for your thoughtful answers. I know that I’ve definitely been inspired by them.