Alumni Spotlight: Desmond Fernandez ’21 (BFA Acting)
Posted Mar 11, 2022
Desmond Fernandez (BFA Acting ‘21) signed with not one, but two agents before graduation – one for voice over and one for legit acting work. Now a resident of NYC, Desmond is settling into his new life as a professional actor.
What does agency representation mean to a young performer such as yourself?
Having representation this early in the game has been a great deal of help for me. Going into my senior year showcase, acquiring an agent wasn’t the main goal for me. I simply wanted my best self to be seen by agents and casting directors. I believe I achieved that goal and presented my true art but getting an agent was the cherry on top! I will forever be an advocate for myself as an artist seeking employment. I still look at Actors Access every morning and do my typical networking. Even though I have an agent, I never stop searching for my next opportunity. However, having an agent is a huge asset. Matt, Kat, Kaitlin, and Allie are all the best. They have provided fantastic auditions and projects. Honestly, having them all on my team is like having another eager and hungry version of myself, but whose sole purpose is to look for auditions. It’s amazing!!
Since your arrival in NYC, what have you been doing (theatre and non-theatre related)?
Trying to SURVIVE!! I’m not going to lie, my first few months in NYC have been rough. My apartment had black mold, broken windows, and is owned by a difficult landlord. I accidently fell asleep on the train and ended up two hours away from home in the Bronx. There have been a lot of learning experiences, but these are just some of my greatest hits.It was a hot mess. But with persistence, I stayed the course. I’ve booked and recorded a commercial in my very own home-made voice-over recording studio. For the very first time, I performed on a NYC stage. I’ve started writing my play again and working on screenplays. And most recently, I’ve started my new job as a Guest Services Representative at Broadway.com. In all, I’m finally getting grounded in this busy moving city.
What feeds your passion for Acting?
Personally, there is no single thing that feeds my passion. I can become inspired by anything randomly. It can range from a conversation I overheard on the train to the shining faces of the children in the audience anxiously waiting for my character “Mzee” to emerge from his cave. As a person who is always open to what life can bring them, I do my best to let life feed me rather than try to force something to happen. It’s similar to a quote I kept in my dorm during my sophomore year at Otterbein, “Don’t force the art, let the art come to you and inform your soul. And leave just a little bit of enough room for God to walk through.” – Quincy Jones.
While at Otterbein you were a leader in social justice work in the Westerville community. How has that work continued to be a part of you life?
Since moving to the city, my social justice work isn’t exactly at the level of directness that I prefer. This is due to not being allotted the luxury of free time for volunteering, as I had in Columbus. I struggled with allowing myself to get settled in the city over things such as shopping for a coffee table or getting the black mold removed from my apartment, it is difficult when these things require me to be present for them when I know there is still work to be done in relation to my passion for social reform, equity, and justice for our marginalized communities. However, during my downtime, I take up protesting in the form of education. By strengthening my knowledge on the topics that I advocate for, I become a better activist. Currently I am reading “We Will Not Cancel Us: And Other Dreams of Transformative Justice” by adrienne maree brown (yes, the absence of capitalization is correct, they prefer this just as bell hooks did.)
Why did you choose to attend Otterbein?
I chose Otterbein because of the love. The love and care that the professors have for their students. The love that our food service personnel share when students are simply grabbing a slice of pizza. Even the love that the community of Westerville nourishes with its support. As a prospective student walking the brick streets of campus, I could feel this loving history. And that’s when I knew that I would be able to learn, grow, and thrive at this campus as myself. That’s the Otterbein Love.
What skills learned at Otterbein have you applied to your career or life thus far?
The skills and lessons I acquired at Otterbein are invaluable. I learned that, when facing a challenge, you may think is too grand to handle, just go to the “nth degree” and “fail big”. I learned that you must “raise the stakes” in the absence of movement, and then move and speak with focused attention and ease of your through line. I learned the importance of being prompt to all meetings. I learned the essence of adaptability, the difference between hard work and talent, letting go of the restrictions of the idea of my own potential, and believing in the words of can and do. I learned a lot and it’s all because of my professors and classmates who walked along my path at Otterbein with me.
What do you want prospective students to know about Otterbein?
There is a place for EVERYONE here. Things may seem very intimidating. It may be foreign to where you come from. But you belong here. You just have to put in some work to find/figure it out.