ANA KAREN SAHAGÚN
By SPECIWOMEN Illustration PHILO COHEN
"We must [share our stories], it is our obligation so History stands round in the future and not in half"
Who are you?
I am Ana Karen Sahagún, a Mexican actress. I would like to say that I am an actress not only because I love theatre, but because I believe in its power since it has given me a meaning, as well as answers to many of my questions and perceptions as a woman and as a human being that I’m sure I wouldn’t have found with any other thing.
I am someone that finds inspiration and growth in the arts, and I do believe that art can give us the answers we are looking for if we listen close enough.
How did theatre become a part of your life?
I think theatre has always been a part of me, somehow, I wouldn’t know how to explain it but I still remember being four or five years old, looking at myself in the mirror trying to do an impression of someone, not as I understand it now but I knew it was this kind of acting thing, I found it thrilling and I still do.
I didn’t take any proper classes until I was fourteen, and since then I haven’t stopped, and I don’t think I ever will.
What has been the hardest role to mentally prepare yourself for?
I think it was when I had to personificate the actress Rita Hayworth.
The thing about playing someone people know, is not only about working on the voice or the body, but about their motivations, their inner impulses; it’s actually working on the movement of their true inner self, and that is where the hard work starts.
Rita was in the middle of Hollywood’s interests, she would suffer so much, actually she was never interested in being a movie star but there she was, with the only career she knew, the only job that would feed her children.
So for me the challenge was to play the movie star and the real Rita at the same time, I wanted to show the real eyes of this beautiful soul regardless of the facade we all knew of her.
How has showing your work to an audience made you feel?
It has been scary, it has been fun, it has been thrilling.
I do expect people to feel themselves, I expect myself to be a mirror where others may find their own faces, their own bodies, their own feelings, not mine.
What is the most important aspect of theatre?
This is a hard one. I think talking about theatre is talking about something important and necessary in itself.
Theatre has been needed since the ancient Greeks, and it still is in our world and in our societies. But if I had to mention the most important aspect I find in theatre it would be its humanness, its universality since it shows us our fears and struggles but also our most deepest longings in life, like love.
What have been the most interesting project you have worked on in the past few years?
It has definitely been Remedios, a look inside a master’s world, a monologue that I produced and act in about the vision and life of the great surrealist painter, Remedios Varo.
What is in the works?
We have been to New York City with Remedios a look inside a master’s world, at United Solo Theatre Festival and now we are still traveling all around Mexico, besides that I am working on some other performance projects at the moment.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Being an artist is such a mystery, you never really know where you may end up, although what I do know is that I will continue to explore the scenic world in different ways for sure.
As a woman in the theatre world, what have been your biggest challenges thus far?
I have had a lot I guess, like every other girl and specially in this industry, beginning with sexual harassment, racism for being a Mexican woman living in the United States, and some others of the same nature.
But the biggest challenge for me has always been finding roles or stories I feel passionate about, that I may look up to, it is so hard to find great stories for women, we have always been in the shadow of men -I don’t like to say it this way but it is true- and that is why I think women should start writing about their own beautiful truthful stories and put them out there. We must, it is our obligation so History stands round in the future and not in half.
So yes, the biggest challenge for me was and has been to show that I am much more than my outer self, I am a woman with deep feelings willing to share stories different from just being an extension of men, we are not, we are actually complex individuals with passions and fears just as men have and we want to be able to tell these stories too.