New York hasn’t been a huge cultural shock for the 20 year-old Purchase student who is originally from Sao Paulo in Brazil. Isabela Gones Da Silva, an international student in the Acting Conservatory here at Purchase College explained why coming to New York to study wasn’t a huge difference from her hometown back in Brazil.
Isabela lived in Brazil till she was seven years old. She and her parents then moved to Mozambique. Her parents got heavily involved with the AIDS movement there in Africa after a visit there when Isabela was an adolescent. Her mother works in education and her father works with World Food Program, an organization that delivers food to hungry children. She spent most of her childhood moving around southern Africa.
It was her move to California that strikes her interest in acting. She was a senior at a new school where people already had established friendships; it was starting to get hard for her to adjust. Her host parents suggested she join a smaller community so she could find her niche at the school. That’s when she decided to audition for the theater program. From there she met friends and started to fit in, also realizing this was what she wanted to do.
“I have so many issues I want to promote, and I think being involved in acting is such a great way to get the word across” says Isabela.
She cites Kate Winslet and Johnny Deep as her favorite actors and actresses because of their “variety of work.”
An only child, she had to come to terms with moving around a lot. Making friends at first was difficult, but she eventually felt it became easier.
“You developed this kind of technique where you’re just out-going and you’re going to make friends if they want to be your friends are not because you don’t know how long you have” says the acting student.”
Transferring from Casper College in Wyoming, she decided to apply Purchase because a friend of hers from Wyoming was attending Purchase for the Design Tech program. Before acting she was considering going into Politics or Medicine. Back in Wyoming she was pre-med student, but still doing acting. Isabela had other schools on her list, but when she researched Purchase it quickly become her top school to apply too.
Describing her first thoughts of moving to the New York, “The first time I went to New York, everyone was freaking out and telling me I have to watch out because it was a big city. But the city where I’m from in Brazil is like the third biggest city in the world. So I go there and I was like oh this is like home”.
Isabela has been living away from home since she was 16, only seeing her parents almost every two years who live in Mozambique. She goes through phases of missing home, but she is used to the distance.
“She is also very mature, which can be attributed to the fact that she has been living “on her own” since she was sixteen”, said by Emily Sigrist a fellow student in the Acting Conservatory.
Because the program is so close-knit, Isabela explains her relationship with everyone in the program when she says, “We’re all actors so we’re crazy. The first week of school it was almost like everyone known each other for centuries.” To Isabela this is family to her because she is with the same 18 people all the time.
Nisarah Lewis, also a student in the Acting Conservatory, said about Isabela, “She brings her worldly knowledge into many of our acting activities and I believe it provides her an advantage because if we may be imagining what’s its like to live in a certain place, Isa has at least lived there or at least visited.”
Seems like the Acting Conservatory has a new aspiring star from aboard with a promising future here at Purchase.