We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Alvarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I like to think of everyday risk-taking as a great conversation starter for the dinner table. It can be seen as an impulsive behavior, therefore it is feared or unfavored by some people. I believe this is the case when people do not know the benefits behind taking educated and calculated risks. A risk can be as small as trying something outside of one’s comfort zone, and as big as leaving a long-term job and becoming an entrepreneur. The risk happens when the desire overpowers the fear, and an action stems from it. Shifting my mental framework over the years has opened many doors for me that I dreamed of walking through. Whenever I am not content, I like to change the scenery and the situation. I find space and time to focus on what is getting in my way and what I need to do to remove it. I believe taking these risks can move a person forward in great ways. This is because they are facing the fear of the unknown. They are not worried about the outcome, because they believe that there will always be a solution. I read a quote somewhere I can’t remember, that I use as a motto to look back to often: “It’s not about the years in one’s life, but the life in one’s years.” Now that I am experienced, I have became more careful about who I am letting into my ear and into my circle, and more focused on what benefits my own growth and happiness. I believe looking at any decision as a mistake will only keep a person’s mindset in the past. Whether it was a bad decision or not, the decision was made and should only be moved past. I will not regret my risks, because when I made them, I made them with a promise to be more attentive to whenever my body was rejecting energies or environments. I made them with a promise to make my own table if I was not being appreciated at someone else’s. This framework has only ever helped me clearly define what I want for my life. I believe taking calculated and educated risks leads to a successful life, in all aspects.
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.
Although I want to be known as a Filmmaker and Photographer, I am a Multi-Disciplinary Artist. I painted before I knew I was passionate about filmmaking, I animated before I new I was passionate about cinematography and photography. These skills have shaped my creative eye. I am most proud of being a person of my word, possessing empathy and being intellectually curious. This has led me to meet amazing people and experience different fields of work. I made a few challenging but wise decisions that led me to where I am today. When I want something, I usually reach out to someone directly a few times, so they remember me. This is how I have been able to experience different settings, and learn new skills. It was not an easy road. I don’t think that life should ever be easy. If I had opportunities handed to me each time I received them, I wouldn’t learn much from trial and error. I lost a lot, but I gained so much more. I overcame my challenges through community care. I joined art collectives, reached out to non-profit organizations to work with them, met activists, collaborated on painting murals and found ways to make the best out of the situations I was experiencing. Most importantly, I learned to shift my mental framework during these rough patches. I learned my mental and physical capacity and I learned the areas I could use more improvement on. I learned the art of getting by through the art of letting go. I learned to say no and to create clear boundaries. I believe my brand is the way I show up, and the energy that I give out. As an artist, the unknown follows me endlessly in my work and my personal life. But there is a power and adventurous thrill in knowing that the unknown is always waiting to be explored. I became a filmmaker and photographer to tell stories that are taught to be left unsaid, and to tell stories that are unrepresented or misrepresented. I want to tell the stories that I believe should be on screen, and aren’t there yet. I am still learning so much about my crafts, and I look to never stop.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I can be a very adventurous person but I also like to revisit places that I enjoy very much, like certain movie theaters, restaurants and streets. If my best friend was visiting the area, we would travel down to Chinatown, Manhattan then travel to the Metro North to ride up to Upstate, New York. In these places, we would travel to an area with a waterfall and go hiking. We would go bike riding, swimming, go to a movie theater and see a film we haven’t watched the trailer for yet. We would eat at a diner or Ramen spot. We would sleep in tents outdoors and indoors, watching more films at home and ordering our favorite takeout. I am a kid at heart, so we would most likely have blindfolded pillow fights and other fun activities like this. I also love roaming around art galleries and museums, so we would most likely do that together too.
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?
Filmmaking and Photography have become my life, and the people I am closest to have recognized this – fully supporting my career. My mother Maria, sister Sabrina, and nephew Michael have showered me with an everlasting love. I have grown a lot closer to them this past year, and am so grateful for that.
Second image: Person in photo – Paul Best Photographer: Samantha Alvarez Third Image: Person in Photo – Ruey-yah Tang Director/Cinematographer: Samantha Alvarez Fourth Image: Person in Photo – Aura Roberts Photographer: Samantha Alvarez
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.