AIR DATE October 27, 2014: It’s so exciting to talk with Santana Dempsey. I’ve been following Santana in her journey as a working actor in LA for many years now and she’s really making it happen! Plus, I love the double headshot on her website (one with straight hair and one with curly hair–and yes, we must talk about hair during her interview). She is a multi-talented actress who is appearing in film and TV shows. And now has her own one-woman show in the works. We had an amazing talk with Santana. She’s a wonderful example of someone who is living her truth and story outloud and makes us all braver for it! You can also download the epidsode on itunes.–Heidi Durrow
When Santana Dempsey was six years old, she and her younger sister were adopted by two very creative, open-minded, and loving parents. Since they were of a different race and heritage than Santana, an unusual multi-cultural environment was formed, especially in the environs of Hannibal, Missouri, a place that keeps the legacy of Mark Twain alive but also has some unfortunate racial tensions still simmering beneath the surface. Luckily, her supportive parents were always there when negative mindsets threatened to hold her back. She was so determined to show that she was capable of anything she put her mind to that she played on the boys’ football team in middle school, just because she was told that girls couldn’t play a man’s sport.
However, Santana always had a truer way to express herself than football. As a little girl, she choreographed her own routines to Whitney Houston and put on shows for whoever would watch. Later, she helped her parents memorize lines for productions at the community theater. Eventually, she herself was performing in the theater, dancing, and winning speech contests by speaking truthfully about taboo subjects in her small town. She also studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, pursuing her love of travel, different cultures, and the Spanish language.
Finally, her pursuit of performance was formalized when she graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.A. in Theatre Performance. Three days after graduation, she moved to New York with nothing except her determination and endless love for art, in all shapes, colors, and forms. There, she continued her life-long pursuit of pushing both her own artistic boundaries and those of the people lucky enough to know her.
Currently, Santana is an Actress, Writer, Adoption/Mixed Race Advocate, and Abstract Painter/Collagist in Los Angeles.