Starlet Spotlight: Joanna Sotomura
Horror film fans will definitely recognize Joanna Sotomura from her recent role in the indie film MADISON COUNTY, which made its worldwide debut at LA’s own ScreamFest 2011. The premiere sold out and the festival hosted a special second screening to accommodate the huge demand.
This psychological thriller recounts the story of a group of college kids searching for answers about a string of decades-old murders. Written and directed by Eric England, the film co-stars Joanna Sotomura as the bubbly, free-spirited character “Brooke.”
“Brooke is a lot like me,” she told us. “She’s very outgoing, bubbly, and optimistic. When everything takes wrong turn in the movie, it was fun to play out how those things affected her.”
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Joanna Sotomura’s acting career officially began when, while in the 7th grade, Joanna’s father forced her into acting as a way of making friends.
She made her stage debut at the age of seventeen in Honolulu’s annual Shakespeare Festival, landing the coveted lead role as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The multicultural beauty – her father is Japanese and her mother is German – was discovered while attending ‘Iolani High School. She soon signed with Kathy Muller Modeling Agency and, at the age of 14, she secured work as a cover model in reputable worldwide publications such as Bride’s World, in addition to being featured in several Japanese commercials.
“My dad was my manager and he used to sneak me out of class to go to auditions,” she laughed.
After high school, Joanna attended Loyola Marymount University, where she completely fell in love with acting in film and television.
Recently, Joanna made her television debut on the CBS hit television drama series, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, starring alongside major Hollywood stars, Janeane Garofalo and Beau Garrett. Joanna captivated TV audiences with her portrayal of Lisa, roommate to the victim who has gone missing.
Joanna cites versatile beauties like Rose Byrnes and two-time Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet among her acting idols and influences. “Everything about [Winslet] especially, is so classy and funny. I love that she doesn’t take herself too seriously.”
It’s no surprise then that, although Joanna has been offered several horror scripts of late, she too, enjoys embracing her comedic side. , she performed a sketch comedy As a member of her alma mater’s Improv team Laser Squad Bravo, Joanna honed her Improv comedy skills – skills which were definitely on display when she and a few friends performed their fun, light-hearted show at the popular M Bar in Los Angeles On December 16
With her star completely on the rise, Joanna is excited and optimistic about the prospects for her future.
“I’m really happy with the direction film and television is heading in, offering lots of opportunities for diverse people of mixed ethnicities.”
So what’s Joanna’s advice for other starlets-in-the-making? “Keep working – every single day. If you want to make it, you’ve got to work five times as hard as everyone else.”
When she isn’t sparkling on the big and small screens, Joanna enjoys volunteering for her church, catching up with friends at weekly game nights, and taking in as many films as possible.
You can keep up with Joanna by following her on Twitter: @JoannaSotomura