Andrea Solonge is an actor based in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to acting, she's also an experienced model, singer and saxophonist. With strong business nous, Andrea knows that building a career as an actor is just as much about the hustle as it is about talent. With the right attitude, the sky is the limit!
Here, we find out why Andrea wanted to be a StarNow Ambassador, how she first got started with acting, and why Home and Away will always be a constant in her life.
How long have you been on StarNow, and what prompted you to join? This is the third year that I have actively been using StarNow. During my time at acting school I was really keen to put what I had been learning to the test and get some experience on set. I wanted to see what the audition and working process was like for TV, commercial and theatre jobs. I didn't have an agent and asked peers in the industry where the best place to look for auditions would be. They said StarNow was a fantastic place to start.
Why did you want to be a StarNow Ambassador? StarNow opened up a lot of opportunities, and helped me create working relationships with people in the industry. It opened doors to work that I hadn't been offered anywhere else.
My career is also a business, and during the beginning of my career StarNow was an important tool that I used which helped me to get my face, talent and skill set out there. I don't claim to know everything – but I do get a lot of messages from people I know and from people who want to start a career in the entertainment industry asking for advice. In the last few years, the majority of my income has come from my craft alone. If I can share my experience with others in the industry, and make it seem less daunting, I would be honoured.
Photo: Samuel Hilton, Styling & Makeup: Andrea Solonge.
What's your number one piece of advice for people looking to make the most of StarNow? Any work that you do, that you are proud of – post it! Whether it's a photoshoot you've recently done, a scene from a short film you are really happy with, or some new headshots you have just had taken that you want the world/potential casting directors to see. Give your audience the best content you have. StarNow leaves an online footprint of the content you post which can lead to being head hunted for some fantastic jobs!
What was your first job in the industry and how did you land that role? My first job in the industry was very early on in my teens. I did a two week stint of extra work for the feature film 'Gods of Egypt'. It was my first experience of seeing what a multi-million dollar set looked like, and I remember feeling as though I was living in a dream. Although I was only an extra, this experience definitely pushed me to further pursue acting as a career.
How would you like to see your career evolve in the next five years? In the next five years I would love to be a house-hold name. I want to tell stories with characters that I'm truly passionate about. Stories that reflect our time, challenge society's perspective of themselves and stories that challenge the world. Whether this is in Australia or overseas, I don't mind. Whether this is done through theatre, film or television, again, I don't mind.
Andrea on the set of the short film "Excess Baggage".
Favourite Spotify playlist? I don't have Spotify, but I enjoy a wide spectrum of music. I am a long standing fan of the Weeknd, and love a lot of his older music. I grew up listening to a lot of jazz and rhythm and blues, yet I have been a closet fan of Justin Bieber since his early YouTube days of "Kidrauhl". I don't limit myself to anything.
Favourite part of acting? When I'm standing on a set or stage, wondering if all the work I have done prior to this moment was enough to help me live authentically. I love the moment when the self-doubt drops away and I can feel myself truly living fearlessly. When our opposing thoughts and ideas hit back and forth with the other characters harmoniously. When we are uninhibitedly telling a story that needs to be told, and it all falls into place like clockwork. After slaving away behind the scenes, making choices and doing our homework; that feeling is my favourite part of acting.
Photo: Simon Fitzpatrick, MUA: Analyce Thomas, Label: Anna Johnson.
Guilty pleasure? Home and Away! I've watched the show from a very young age, so it feels routine to me. I move around often, so sometimes I have trouble adjusting to my surroundings and making a place feel like home. Watching TV characters I've grown up with always helps!
Meal you’d eat every day? When I moved to Melbourne I was introduced to a beautiful New Orleans style restaurant. I only go there on special occasions, but their Gumbo and mac and cheese croquettes are to die for. I'd happily live off their menu for the rest of my life. I also love all things soft drink. I have a massive sweet tooth when it comes to the fizz. I'm a type 1 Diabetic though, so unfortunately it's not something I can consume often.
Happy place? I lived across the road from the beach for more than three quarters of my life in Sydney. There wasn't a day I would go without a swim, stroll or run. I was obsessed with the crisp salty breeze, and the squidgy feel of the sand beneath my feet.
Favourite social media? Like most, I would say I'm a real sucker for Instagram! Although, I really adore sites similar to Tumblr where users can post blogs and a variety of content that are more personal and in depth.
Best way to end the day? Comfy sleep wear, a clean room, great banter and some Netflix. I'm a simple woman.
Best advice you've ever received? Never approach your career as if it were a short sprint, but rather as though it were a marathon. Pace yourself, and always think of the bigger picture.
Favourite actor? I can't just name one! Some favourite actors are Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Williams, Viola Davis, River Phoenix, Kerry Washington and Kaya Scodelario. All are very different but play a unique part in my love of acting.
Words to live by? "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” This quote from the movie "Coach Carter" is deeply imbedded in my subconscious.
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About the author
Kalista Campbell is StarNow's Digital Marketing Executive. She manages StarNow's social media, blog and monthly newsletters, and works with our Ambassadors to bring you useful tips, tricks and advice. In the office she's known for her tidy desk, being fluent in emoji, and her often sassy one-liners. Her best day at work was when everyone dressed up as her for her birthday.