We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Lausell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, why did you pursue a creative career?
I come from a family of creatives. Both sides of my family have been singers, pianists, photographers and actors. But as most immigrant families, my family has had to give up their dreams because life got in the way. I’ve always been artistic, singing and acting specifically. And as a Disabled person, I never saw anyone like me growing up and performing. I wanted to do it, to be one of the greats. And luckily my parents supported me. My parents have worked so hard to keep me alive from the moment I was born, with all my surgeries and trauma. And so what made me pursue a creative career was to not have their hard work go in vain.
My content creating is a perfect blend of a creative outlet for me where I can act on my own terms, but also educate about Disability and help break down ableism in our society. And when I’m not doing that, I’m constantly on auditions for acting roles. I feel like me pursing all my artistic endeavors is healing to my ancestors and my parents who had to give it up.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I like to say my main job is acting. I’m a performer and always have been. Unfortunately the acting world, specifically Hollywood is ableist. Many directors don’t understand disability, gatekeep roles from disabled people. Or only see disability in a very narrow light. It’s been difficult to be taken seriously while also making sure I’m being accommodated and payed appropriately. Thankful, I found management from C Talent, a talent agency that was founded by a disabled women, Keely Cat-Wells, who represents Disabled creatives and actors.
Because of the inaccessibility of Hollywood and everyday life. I began creating content online educating about Disability and specifically Spina Bifida. My content centers around funny quick wit content that challenges ableist ideas. To help those who aren’t disabled break down their biases and those who are disabled to work on their internalized ableism. All in the hopes that our world because more accessible and welcoming. My goal is to make sure the next generation of disabled people, while they will have their own challenges in life, will have a life easier than mine and our ancestors.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m in Los Angeles, so if my best friends were visiting, I’d first take them to Little Tokyo. We would go to my favorite cafe, “Cafe Dulce” and get an iced matcha. Everyone knows how much matcha I drink, and I want others to get on the same level. We would tour some of the historic sites in Little Tokyo and learn about the history of this area that helped build LA. Next, we would go to the Koreatown Galleria to get some Naengmyeon (Korean cold noodles). My favorite thing to eat on a hot LA day.
After that, we can go walking in Downtown LA. There’s so many historic building and fun things to see. When I first moved to LA, I lived in DTLA. It will always have a special place in my heart.
For dinner, we’re going to El Cochinito for the best Cuban food out here. And that’s the day. I’m not big of a party person. I just like good food, and learning about the history of where I live.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I mentioned this before but honestly my parents deserve it all. My parents both immigrated from Cuba and Puerto Rico. My dad, like most brown Boricua men, was forced into the Vietnam War, and came in contact with a chemically called Agent Orange. That chemical is the direct cause of my disability, Spina Bifida. My parents had to do a lot with learning English, medical jargon, dealing with racism and xenophobia, all to keep me alive and make sure I had the best care to survive.
My parents had to sacrifice so much. And I’ve come to realize, while I am a manifestation of my dad’s trauma, I’m also their biggest accomplishment. They pushed myself (and my sisters) to go after what they couldn’t. They taught me to be proud to be disabled and proud of where I come from and my talents. My parents are the reason I’m alive and can help others through my work and performing. My story, is theirs.
Other: Tiktok: @andrealausell
The headshot of me: Photo by Alejandro Martinez (@lifeofjano)