I have a Queen bed, yet every night finds me sleeping on one of the sides.
Ya tú sabe’: An eternal islander, always looking for the coast.
Alejandra Rivera Flaviá is a New York-based Caribbean-American actor and writer graduated from Brown University.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, in the days when her head hardly made it to her mother’s waist, Alejandra roamed around the streets of Santo Domingo daydreaming about becoming an actor. Little did she know those imaginings were only a single dimension of what she would eventually want to do.
At the age of eight, moving to Puerto Rico unconsciously strengthened in her an identity that she had carried since she was born (on that one year her parents lived in the outskirts of Massachusetts): that of an immigrant. Through the spurts and fits of adolescence in a place different from her family's home, she first delved into theatre at fourteen, when she walked into the audition room of her high school’s Forensics Team, a drama club that participated in the island-wide English Forensics League of Puerto Rico's annual monologue competition. The training and support she received from teachers and students in the team not only encouraged her to eventually become the Captain, but also made fact out of a long-dreamt idea: She wanted to be an actor. In 2009, she graduated from Baldwin School of Puerto Rico having won First Place in the Serious Dramatic Category of the anxiously awaited contest. For years to come, she would remember one of her best friends carrying her to the stage on piggy-back to pick up her award as one of the happiest moments of her life.
She went on to attend Brown University, the college that would shake lessons into her in more ways than one. Aside from being fortunate enough to act in various productions on the main stage and off (such as Talk, A Perfect Wedding, the touring Yermedea Raw, and Medea) and being under the mentorship of genius minds such as Lowry Marshall, Erik Ehn, Thom Jones, Patricia Ybarra, John Emigh, and Kym Moore, Alejandra was a member of various organizations, most notably Sock & Buskin, the official student/faculty theatre production board that decided and ran the Theatre Department's annual season. It was on this board, discussing plays’ social relevance and fighting for equal representation of different bodies on the stage, coupled with internalizing arguments in Brown's classrooms and whispers by revolutionarily brilliant millennials in the sometimes sun-lit Providence streets, that she learned about the importance of intellectual, analytical expression through art and its power and influence over society.
That was when acting, as a dream, began to hold the hand of another: Telling her own stories.
Thus, as the culmination of her work at Brown, Alejandra wrote, produced, and performed an hour-long semi-comedic solo show titled The Windows Are Also Helping, which tells the story of a Latin immigrant girl’s journey through childhood and adolescence framed by the unfortunately difficult process of developing the courage and self-confidence to finally realize that one, especially as a socially oppressed individual, has actually always been so much more than worthy of another’s love. In May of 2014, she graduated from Brown University with the honor of being chosen as the distinguished actor to receive the Weston Fine Arts Award for Excellence in Acting. This time, there was no piggy-back ride, but instead a humbling, unforgettable introduction of her life and work by her beloved mentor Lowry Marshall.
Right after college, she joined production company BlueFace Design as the lead in her first feature-length film, The Waterfall, a horror/thriller written, produced, and directed by Airelle Adam. As soon as filming resumed, she moved to the Big Apple, where she won a Comedic Monologue Competition that landed her representation, marking the beginning of her professional career in New York City.
Aside from acting, she continues to write and perform as a means of sharing stories she deems important to the development of a just social and political system, not only in order to reveal struggles but also to highlight reasons to celebrate. Her work aims to remind the oppressed that they are more than their pain. They are their quirks and their laughter, the sound of the party coming from the porch of the neighboring house, their innate strength, and the feeling of moving one step forward. They are the very coast they look to reach in their dreams every night, and she hopes you’ll follow her in her quest to get them one word, one screen, one stage closer.
See what I did there? A sentence with “follow” immediately followed by social media accounts? Yeah. Okay, so now that we’re done with formalities and terrible puns, I want to say hello myself, so…
My name is Alejandra. Middle name: Mía. Father’s last name: Rivera. Mother’s last name: Flaviá. I mostly go by Ale. I’ve also been called “Mía” by family, “chica” by friends, “Pum” by my papi, “Chiii” by mami, “baby” by lovers, “idiota” by my sisters, “Ms. Rivera” by bank employees, “You, there” by strangers, “Flavia” by people who didn’t read my name in the right order, and “Meow” by my rather large cat.
But I mostly go by Ale.
I’m eternally four years old, I have a theory that all the answers to life can be found in Star Wars, and no matter how many times someone catches me talking to myself, it never feels any less embarrassing (yet I can never bring myself to actually regret it). My family is undeniably the love of my life, though I’ve been fortunate enough to cross paths with a fair number of glorious people I now call friends, and there are drawings and marks on almost every book I’ve read. Also, I ate paper when I was little.
I’m really glad you’re here. Not let-me-be-polite-and-say-that glad, but genuinely glad. Making art is demanding, and sharing it is a very vulnerable experience, but there’s nothing that makes it worthwhile like knowing that someone out there is truly listening. Whether or not they agree with you, and even if it’s only one soul… So thank you, soul. Thank you for being here. I promise your attention and time don’t go unnoticed nor unappreciated. When you peruse my work, know that there's more than enough room for your ideas, so make my day with them if you feel inclined.
Now, the mandatory part: Enjoy.