Born and raised in Southern California, Olivia Sanabia has been performing since such a young age of two years old. As she tells us in this excellent interview, it all started with singing whenever anyone would listen or where ever she found a stage. Her love of singing and acting eventually led to performances in Annie as the leading role, Annie. She also starred in Anastasia, Seussical, Fiddler on the Roof, and plenty others. Olivia first acting gig in her professional career was when she was eight years old; it was in a campaign with Jennifer Garner. Since the onset of her career, Olivia has starred in more than 25 commercials; she has featured for Disney, Nickelodeon, Ford, and many others. With her passion for dramatic acting, she has additionally studied the craft for both film and television for numerous years.
Olivia’s latest role is the part of Kelly in a new original series call Just Add Magic, about a magic cookbook where her and two of her best friends face challenges to overcome and save her grandmother. In her fun, lighthearted, entertaining and enjoyable interview, Olivia shares with us many significant facts about herself, including where she and her family enjoy taking trips, her love for cooking and inside knowledge about her homemade fondant making skills. We learned so much more about the rising star it was such a pleasure to interview her. We wish her every success with the incredibly successful career she has ahead of her. The moment I picked up the phone, her personality came through. It was the Friday after St. Patrick’s Day and we started off talking about it. She tells me she spent the holiday hanging with her siblings wearing green. We laughed and then dived into the interview.
Catriona Lamerique: Great! So, I see you, you were discovered very early on of your passion for singing and performing. Tell me a little more about that. Obviously, it’s very early. It’s about the same age as my son, two years old.
Olivia Sanabia: OMG that's crazy! Yes. So, I discovered my love for singing and performing once I was two years old. I would sing for anybody who would listen, you know, basically put on shows and perform for anybody that would watch. And I had always had that love and that passion. And so, when I was six years old I finally got to put it onto the stage. I was, and I fell in love with musicals. And I got to do, you know, a few theater productions with local theater groups. And that's what kind of made me fall in love with acting as well as singing. Now musicals is still a huge part of my life, even though I can't pursue it as much. So, after doing musicals for a little while, I transition into the acting business. And yeah, it's an amazing, incredible journeySo yeah, completely different from being on stage. You have to be able to turn that switch. There's a huge difference between stage acting, and of course, you know acting in film and stuff, but that's a really cool thing to know and to be able to kind of turn that on and off switch. I absolutely love it.
CL: Amazing! Now, I know one of your first big career moves was with Jennifer Garner, who I love. And one of my favorite movies was “13 Going on 30”!!! So, tell me more from all about the big campaign that was, that was the beginning of your big professional career, right?
OS: It was my first job that I had ever worked on, so it was really exciting, but at the time I was so young, I didn't really know who she was. My mom was freaking out. She is such a fan of her. So, I'm a little bummed out that I wasn't as aware of her work and her incredible talent. I kicked myself for not knowing much of her films when I had the ability to work with her. But she was fantastic. I just remember seeing her kindness towards everybody, and the way she carried herself and learning from that, and really that being my first job I was soaking up everything and trying to take advice and learning experiences from everything I did. I just remember going on set for my first time, and I'm truly falling in love with it. Working and being on the set, and being in front of a camera and just expressing myself through my passion. It was really cool. But now, I am in love with Jennifer Garner. I think she's an amazing lady. I love her work. I absolutely love “13 Going On 30”. And that was really cool for me to watch. Going back and seeing that I'm like oh I'm dying to work for her again. So hopefully someday.
CL: Oh, that's so nice to hear you say because, you see all these actresses and actors on the TV and you think, oh I wonder what they are really like in person? Jennifer Garner is an actress I feel like comes across on screen as she would in person. In her acting role, she is very genuine, and she's very nice, etc. I feel like if I ever met her in person that she would be just like that.
OS: Absolutely, that's what I remember from her.
CL: Yeah. That's so nice. Can you explain a little more about the campaign that you guys worked on, like what it entailed?
OS: Yes, it was just a print job that we were working on, and it was for so long ago, and it was all kind of like a whirlwind because I was so young. I haven't gotten to see the campaign yet. It was long ago and I kind of lost track of it, but it was a really cool experience, and I remember, we got to test out a few because we were placed in a kitchen during the campaign. It was a little bit of a hint of what I would fall in love with later in life because now I absolutely love cooking.
CL: I see that you have starred in many commercials which are quite fun. I heard that it was 24 - 25 commercials, is that correct?
OS: Yeah, I think, I owe a lot of my learning experiences to commercials. Some people might not want to do those at the beginning of their career, but I do. It gave me experiences, and I got to learn my way around the set before going on to working on TV. I absolutely loved making commercials, and I still love making them. They're such a fun thing to do. I love that you can go on to a new set for a day or a week and meet new people and get to experience new places and new scenarios. I think that’s really cool thing with commercials you can experience so many different situations. Whereas, rather than if you're working on TV, you know you're with the same people, which can be amazing, but with this, it is like traveling all over the world, with commercials, it's just amazing.