We had the good fortune of connecting with O’Neil Delapenha and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi O’Neil, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
Why yes I do. “I am inimitable, I am an original.” said by Aaron Burr in the Musical “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It means that there’s no one else in the world like me, and try as they might, I can’t be duplicated. It reminds me to celebrate myself, flaws and all because those are what separates me from being just another random face in a crowd. In an industry all about standing out, being authentic is one of the best ways to do so.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
First and foremost, I’m a storyteller. Regardless of the medium (stage, film, poetry, etc) it’s my job to make others feel. As a child, I was always the kid at family functions that the adults would call to entertain them. Saying ridiculous things, dancing like a fool, or telling a silly joke. That has carried with me all my life, from doing my first play in the 5th grade, to high school drama, to getting my BFA in acting. If I can distract someone from the stress of their day for even one minute, then my job is complete. This career is not easy and my road has had its fair share of bumps. I’ve heard way more no’s than I’ve ever heard yes. The love of it keeps me pushing through. I’ve learned that the only way to survive in this business is to be the best you can be when you do get the rare opportunities. Most importantly, be the person everyone wants to work with. Being a dick does not equate to longevity. I’ve gotten to where I am now by being authentically me. That’s how I stand out; bringing to the table the O’Neil wit, charm, kindness, and diligence that only I can bring.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
All of this is what I’d say before covid: First place I take them is my favorite Thai restaurant in the city, Tuk Tuk Thai Loft. That place has great food, good prices, and a beautiful atmosphere. Hattie B’s is also an Atlanta staple for me. I have to get mine at nothing less than spice level “hot.” Depending on the time of year, The Botanical Garden is a dope place to go, especially when they do the lights around Christmas. Lenox mall is ok, but I am usually not a fan of going to Buckhead. Everything is too overpriced and the traffic makes me want to uppercut people. In the evening time, Joystick game bar is always a fun time with games and drinks. Then finish the night off with some insomnia cookies. And of course, I have to shout out all the theatre companies in the city. They are great sources of entertainment. Special shout-out to Shakespeare on Draught. They perform about every other month, one night only, so catching one of their shows is like capturing lightning in a bottle.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I don’t get to talk about her often, but a big inspiration in my career and life is my high school drama teacher, Mrs. Melody Wicht. She took the spark that I had and helped mold it into a flame. She was a great teacher. Challenging but fair, supportive, and she worked her butt off to pull shows together. She made a huge difference in my life.