It’s one thing to take an acting class at Barnard, but it’s another thing to put your theater degree to work in Hollywood.
Melissa Macedo, BC ’10, has landed leading roles in the sitcom “Time Lapse” by Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles and an upcoming film titled “Indestructible” from Daniel Myrick, co-director of the “Blair Witch Project.” Spectator sat down with the actress to discuss her career and time at Barnard.
According to Macedo, her years at Barnard were particularly formative in terms of her personal growth as an actor.
“I had such great professors that really taught me how to act,” she said. “Something that I take away from Barnard is the work ethic. You need that kind of skill set in the entertainment industry. I love that Barnard taught me how to push my limits and how to think in a critical way while also teaching me how to take critique. Most importantly, the people I met there are still some of my best friends.”
Macedo first started acting in her Los Angeles high school’s theater program.
“I really dove into acting then and knew it was what I wanted to do in college,” she said.
Shaheen Vaaz, Macedo’s theater teacher in high school and a graduate of the MFA acting program at Columbia, inspired Macedo to push herself.
Once she was at Barnard, Macedo did everything she could to immerse herself in theater.
“The exciting thing about Columbia/Barnard is that there is always so much happening,” she said.
As a theater major, Macedo participated in many productions and took as many acting classes as possible. Macedo acted in Barnard’s department shows, including “St. Joan of the Stockyards,” “What of the Night?”, “After Miss Julie,” and “Snow White.”
“I can honestly say every one of those experiences were life-changing.”
Macedo also acted in student productions including “Elektra” and participated in student projects by MFA film students.
“I loved doing that. It was great practice and those filmmakers are very talented,” she said.
Macedo knew she wanted to study theater academically, focusing her studies on dissident theater in Eastern Europe.
“I love the idea of theater as a political tool,” she said. “Theater is so powerful and the more I learned about it, the more fascinating it was. World theater was also interesting to me because people use theater for completely different purposes all around the world.”
While at Barnard, Macedo was also able to go to Finland to conduct research that gave her a new perspective on acting and its importance in the world.
Macedo advises aspiring actors to “hit the ground running.”
“If acting is what you really want when you graduate, just go for it. A lot of people will tell you it’s hard and difficult, but if there’s a will, there’s a way.
And also, have fun! There are so many fun classes and shows happening on that campus. Take advantage of it.”