Actress and Singer Alexandra Mazzucchelli has starred in Part of the Plan and Bliss. In 2017, she’s showing no signs of slowing down as she prepares for her new production La Dottoressa. I caught up with the New Yorker to talk about her career in music and theater.
Gabriel Gonzalez: Hi Alexandra! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us at MMAUncaged. First off, where are you originally from?
Alexandra Mazzucchelli: I’m a proud, native New Yorker! I don’t know if a lot of people who are currently living in New York can say that, nowadays being a native in this city is a rarity.
GG: Your resume is so impressive, from singing, to acting, to modeling, how many hours do you put in per week between exercise and practice?
AM: It is imperative to dedicate the time necessary to refine your craft. But hard work not only needs to be applied to honing your talents, it also needs to be present in your lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I love to socialize, go out and have a good time but I make sure that I am very disciplined when it comes to my lifestyle choices and this includes finding balance and wellness in mind, body and soul. My daily habits, from what I eat, what I drink and my physical activity all affect and contribute to how successful I am. I know this through trial and error over the years; through having too little of one thing, not having enough of another, or being right in the sweet spot at various times in my life. It is key is to be able to recognize what benefits you and what doesn’t. For me, I hit the gym 2-3 times a week and in between incorporate either yoga, barre or dance to switch up my routine and make sure I engage in a true, full body workout. This makes me feel GREAT and therefore trickles down into my professional work in a very positive way. I also train with my vocal coach and acting coach regularly.
GG: Early in your career you had so many fun credits to your resume: Toon Disney’s Most Animated Kid Search winner and Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen in 2008 through Miss America. How did being a part of such accolades prepare you for bigger roles as an adult?
AM: Having these achievements were gateways to developing my interests further, for sure. I was fortunate to have my family’s support which also encouraged me to seek out opportunities in the arts from the time I was a kid. Something I took away from having certain accomplishments early on was that you could forge a career path based off of what genuinely fulfills and excites you. It prepared me well for how to approach work as an adult in regard to my mindset. Staying true to who I am, I knew I had to be creative in whatever profession I chose, to feel purposeful. So I chose a career that would give me that outlet and highlight my strengths and talents to bring out the best in me. I realized work shouldn’t feel arduous, but rather quite the opposite; it should be enjoyable in order to live your fullest life. I didn’t have this all figured out so compactly when I was 16 but I think these early experiences led me to these conclusions.
GG: I want to discuss your singing career. You’ve performed at the historic Carnegie Hall and the Ronald McDonald House Gala, where did your passion for singing start?
AM: It started in my living room, quite literally. Growing up in my house there was always music playing- whether it was on the stereo, or watching a musical or concert on TV. Hearing artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney, Madonna, and yes, I will say it, The Spice Girls, made me fall in love with music and performance. It was a palette of variety and musical influence was strong and I took to it right away.
GG: You have several musical credits to your name. What challenges do you find preparing for a musical role compared to a more conventional production?
AM: The first thing I do when I am working on a musical is I learn the songs before the dialogue because the music informs the story. When working on camera it’s different because as the actor all you have is the dialogue and film is a picture based medium. Both expressions have their own functionalities and responsibilities but fundamentally an actor is a story teller and how dynamically you tell that story is what matters.
GG: What do you do to stay prepared to do so many demanding shows over a period of time? What sacrifices do you make in your schedule so that you can be ready to perform at your best each night?
AM: When I’m working on a show or project I know I’m going to be more susceptible to becoming sick because of how demanding the schedule can be. Simple things like hydration and getting the right amount of sleep can go a long way. During crunch time however, my schedule doesn’t allow for me to get as much rest as I need. There is definitely no substitute for a good nights sleep (I wish there was *sigh*) so to remedy that, I stick to eating well.
GG: You also completed a Columbia Grad School film recently, what can you tell us about the film, your role and experience?
AM: A Fine Line follows Ana and Martin, two co-workers engaged in an office hook up situation, unaware that they are competing for the same promotion (dramaaaa!) I play Ana, a recent college grad working her first professional job at a finance firm. I think everyone can find some resonance in Ana’s emotional arc throughout the film, especially when it comes to confronting choices we may make in our own romantic relationships. This was entirely produced by first year Columbia University MFA Candidates and everyone came to this project with a different background in film. For instance, our DP has worked for most of his career abroad in Turkey, so he definitely brought a unique element and fresh perspective to the table which really enhanced the experience for everyone. That is an ideal set you want to be on as an actor and I was lucky to be working alongside some fantastic talent.
GG: Recently we’ve seen you in the role of Rita in Part of the Plan and Princess Janna in Bliss, what was it like to prepare for two different roles in a short span? Were there any similarities that made it easier?
AM: The best thing about playing these two roles was that I was encouraged by the writers of each piece to make bold choices and was given the freedom to really just own these characters. Although Rita and Janna are so different, the common ground is the feisty nature they both have in their personalities. Rita channeled it through seduction and Janna channeled it through rebellion.
GG: Going into 2017, you’re now going to be part of La Dottoressa in the role of Maria Montessori. The play is being workshopped in Chicago and Washington before going to Broadway. What can you tell us about your role and the show?
AM: This is a new musical about the life of Italian doctor and educator, Maria Montessori written by Emmy winning composer Matty Selman. Having the opportunity to work so closely with him on this has been such a privilege and a joy. Because this is a new show there is no blue print or point of reference for how its been done before so I am essentially originating the first incarnation of this role, its exciting and nerve wracking all at once! Maria was a total historical game changer in many aspects of her life. She is mostly known by the world for her professional contributions as an educator but her story is so much more than that. She was called upon to make some devastating choices and sacrifices to better the life of her son but even so her story is triumphant. She was a vital advocate for women’s rights, she had a deep care for children and their education and she implemented an entirely new system of learning that changed the world and is still practiced today. Its important, especially now in the time we live in, to see a strong female figure be honored and celebrated through a piece that is so powerful and moving.
GG: With such high expectations for the show, has your preparation changed at all?
AM: My focus has really been to gather as much research and sources as I can about Maria and her life. When going into unknown territory of a new show the best thing you can do as an actor is be as prepared for anything. New material is constantly changing through revisions and rewrites so you have to be able to adapt to whatever change is next and just go with it. I think I’m best useful as an actor to the writer when I make strong choices, that way the writer can see their material come to life and really get a sense of what works and what doesn’t.
GG: We see on social media that you got to enjoy ringing in the New Year in style in New York, do you have any specific resolutions or goals for 2017?
AM: 2017 has gotten off to such a great start, and I am excited for what’s in store. Recently I teamed up with Birchbox to shoot a campaign modeling Benefit Cosmetics new line of Lipsticks. As a Birchbox subscriber and Benefit client, it was pretty cool to collaborate with both brands on a project.
I am also looking forward to begin my work as a Contributing Writer for TV Host and Beauty and Wellness Journalist, Jeannine Morris. If I hadn’t attended NYU for Drama I would’ve majored in Journalism. Writing in any capacity, has always been a passion of mine. For the past couple of years my focus has been narrowed to my performance career, leaving little time to prioritize writing, so when this opportunity came along I took it as a sign that it was the right time for me to get back into it. Getting back to it has reenergized my creativity in my acting work and music as well. I find great catharsis through writing. I always have so many ideas in my head, sometimes its as easy as putting pen to paper to feel at ease and like I’m getting it all out. With all of these exciting projects on the horizon I still like to be surprised so I welcome what 2017 has planned. Onwards and upwards!
GG: Thank you so much for your time Alexandra, where can fans follow you on social media to keep up with you?