We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Riley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diana, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My balance shifts from time to time depending on where the momentum in my work and personal life are. For my own mental health and sanity, I try to keep them somewhat evenly-proportioned though. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, you’ve got nothing left if the basket tips over. I’ve also found that being more balanced helps me be a better partner, friend, and actor because I diversify where I can get my needs met. In the past, I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into one thing, and it always ends in a devastating crash at some point when things go awry, so I try to avoid that trap as much as I can now.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I got where I am today with baby steps. There were some occasional leaps of faith – moving to Atlanta by myself, for instance – but for the most part, my secret has been an endless perseverance backed by the people who love and support me (although they might call it stubbornness, haha). Being around people in the same industry, with similar goals, that I can grow alongside and learn from, has been incredibly beneficial and motivational. I’ve been able to imitate what they’ve done and make it my own, or learn from their mistakes so I didn’t make them myself. One of the key takeaways I’ve implemented is to always be authentic, to stay true to yourself. Not only is it the one thing that makes you original as an actor, but it draws more people to you that way too. In an industry full of fakes, you stand out by being real.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In a pre-pandemic world when people would visit and go out, I’d cater to what they like to do. For food, I’ll always take people to The Vortex and Cafe Intermezzo (don’t succumb to The Varsity, it’s a tourist trap). For hiking and a little bit of history, we’re going to Sweetwater Creek. For karaoke, we’re going to rock out at Dark Horse (although I am not getting up on that stage, absolutely not, but I support you 100%). We’d have to catch sunset at the Jackson Street bridge. Tubing down the Chattahoochee River is always a fun time (my roommates and I did it on free pool floaties, one of which started deflating halfway through, and that is always the sort of adventure I am down for!). My friends are really nerdy too, so stopping by Battle & Brew and My Parents’ Basement is always a huge hit.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who have been influential in my endeavors, but two of the most pivotal were Mr. Buck, my high school drama teacher, and Tony Oliver, the director of a voiceover workshop I took in 2010. Both of them gave me exactly the right nudge to keep going that I needed, and I don’t know if I’d have found my way to this path without them.