Actress Maya Koshaba creates her own moments of joy.
By Maya Koshaba, Photos by Sergio Garcia
I was born and raised in the barrio of an oil town in the heart of West Texas, which is where I first discovered my love for live performance. And I felt defiant in the face of an art-deprived community and eventually decided to do something about it. I knew I couldn’t wait for opportunities to fall into my lap. I had to seek my own opportunities. With my last few dollars, I packed one bag and purchased a one-way ticket to New York City, where I could fully embrace my calling. I found my own joy by creating my own environment instead of conforming to the one around me. Little did I know, I’d eventually be called back to Texas in a way I never could have foreseen.
I began performing at a young age, creating small plays in my room with my favorite stuffed animals and acting along with the characters from my favorite movies. I still remember watching Beetlejuice and singing and dancing along with the dinner scene “DAY-OH, DAYYYY-OHHH!” over and over until the VCR tape literally broke! I pursued dance at the age of 7, eventually moving on to dance on my high school dance team and a little in college.
Growing up half-Hispanic and half-Middle Eastern in a small town, I was never really exposed to the arts. I endured most of my upbringing feeling like an outsider in my community. There were very limited resources available to me. But acting eventually found me. It embraced me through great movies, playwrights and musicians, holding my hand through my acting journey.
When I think back on my move to New York, two of the crucial lessons I learned during that time were, first, the importance of taking a deep breath before making a life-changing decision, and second, remembering to trust in the magic of yourself. When I feel doubtful, I look for that magic.
I began to see success in my personal and professional growth throughout my time in New York City, when the pandemic suddenly launched me into being an Austin woman. An edit to my life path I never could have predicted. Today, I split my time between both locations, acting in each city’s prominent community and always making it a point to incorporate joyfulness into my work, travel and life. I have taken on a wide variety of New York City’s acting scene. Most recently, my involvement in the play Dining for One, which was featured in the famous Secret Theatre’s The Act One: One Act Festival. Currently, I am filming a feature film in Austin and am planning on acting in, directing and filming my own project in Austin, a place I believe has a special quality that has absolutely captured my soul.
Years of training have led me to take on various roles and transform into many characters, which allowed me to become a more empathic, experienced actress among the New York and Austin performance scenes. As a person and as an actor, you must find the courage to look deep within yourself. Often looking at parts of yourself that are scary to confront in order to grow and increase self-love.
I am deliberate, diligent and dedicated. I immersed myself in my craft early on. Studying with many of the best actors and teachers in New York City. I have a deep appreciation for the artists who came before me, for each acting methodology I’ve learned, for every opportunity that’s come my way and for every character that I’ve had the privilege of portraying.
Maya Koshaba on Inspiration
Today, I am inspired by the truthful moments in life. The challenges, the triumphs and the bounty of lessons life teaches us. I am inspired by great storytelling. It’s honest; it is a portrayal of life and love. It has the power to move people’s hearts and change minds.
Another thing that inspires me is seeing growing diversity in artistic representation, which has been lacking for the past several decades. Diversity is valuable for society as a whole to continually grow and educate ourselves about one another. We have the choice and the power within ourselves to increase self-acceptance and self-love, which in turn allows us to be more empathetic people.
I see and feel the industry shifting, and that gives me great hope. More roles are going to women and people of color. I want to see more films and TV shows that promote forward, inclusive and inspirational content. Content that touches, enriches and inspires joy in the entire globe.
It is my mission to bring forward, inclusive and inspirational content to the screen and share it with the world. I’ve always believed that we are all multifaceted human beings. It is my hope that we can all learn to be better versions of ourselves, while using our art and talents to change the world for good and ultimately make it a more peaceful and joyful place.