Vanessa Gonzalez: Mas Vanessa

January 18, 2019

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Richard Goodwin

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It’s always great to sit down again with an old friend, and this week’s guest, Vanes­sa Gon­za­lez, is one of our favorites. Almost 3 years ago, she was one of Valerie Lopez’s first inter­views, and to say a lot has hap­pened in Gonzalez’s life in the inter­ven­ing time is an understatement. 

Sit­ting at the won­der­ful Cher­ry­wood Cof­fee­house, Gon­za­lez opens up about how her world has changed, in the days before she tapes her first ever Com­e­dy Cen­tral spe­cial in New Orleans on Feb­ru­ary 1st. I saw Gon­za­lez for the first time a cou­ple of years ago, and, from the out­side, you might think that things are busi­ness as usu­al for her. That night, she bound­ed onto the stage, full of ener­gy, shar­ing tales of dat­ing and Schlit­ter­bahn to prac­ti­cal­ly non-stop laugh­ter. When I saw her recent­ly again at Cap City Com­e­dy, the mate­r­i­al was all new, but the same self explo­ration and razor wit was on full display.

Peel back the cov­ers a lit­tle, and you’ll find that – behind that con­sis­tent exte­ri­or – Gon­za­lez has had quite a lot of per­son­al trans­for­ma­tion. She shares with Valerie how she’s rec­on­ciled feel­ings about her body image and pro­fes­sion­al readi­ness, to open her­self up to oppor­tu­ni­ties she might oth­er­wise have wait­ed on. Gon­za­lez notes, I feel like I’ve def­i­nite­ly learned that in the past year of … being com­fort­able with who I am and not let­ting my inse­cu­ri­ties stop me.” A change of scene also occurred about a year ago, with Gon­za­lez mak­ing the com­e­dy migra­tion” to Los Ange­les. She’s hap­py to report the scene there, includ­ing a lot of for­mer Austin per­form­ers, is wel­com­ing and has made what could be a tense tran­si­tion quite a bit easier.

I feel like I’ve def­i­nite­ly learned that in the past year of … being com­fort­able with who I am and not let­ting my inse­cu­ri­ties stop me.” Vanes­sa Gonzalez

Beyond the Com­e­dy Cen­tral spe­cial, Gon­za­lez has con­tin­ued to rack up per­form­ing cred­its and appear­ances. She received a great recep­tion as one of the New Faces” at the 2017 Mon­tréal Just for Laughs fes­ti­val, and cre­at­ed and starred in the web series Ms. Vanes­sa on the Lorne Michaels-based video prop­er­ty Mas Mejor. It’s hard not to catch glimpses of the real” Gon­za­lez in her role in the shorts; both are mak­ing their way through life with the occa­sion­al stum­ble, with their enor­mous hearts on full dis­play on their sleeves. 

With a his­to­ry in sketch and improv, it’s not sur­pris­ing to hear that Gon­za­lez loves the writ­ing part of the com­e­dy dis­ci­pline as much as the deliv­ery. I would love to, you know, write and act in my own show…keep telling my sto­ries,” she says. She has a writ­ing part­ner, James Hamil­ton, a long­time friend who she says real­ly knows her voice”, but isn’t going to wince in the face of hon­est feed­back or bits that didn’t test out in performance. 

I would love to, you know, write and act in my own show…keep telling my sto­ries.” Vanes­sa Gonzalez

Putting all these ele­ments togeth­er paints a pic­ture of some­one head­ed for prime [time] expo­sure in a sit­com, and Gon­za­lez con­firms she’d love to see some­thing hap­pen for her in that medi­um. (For pos­ter­i­ty, we’ll note that Valerie bets this is going to hap­pen, so we’re going to bold­ly, proac­tive­ly, say You heard it here first!”.) 

LA remains an extreme­ly com­pet­i­tive scene, but Gon­za­lez con­tin­ues to build her pro­file, includ­ing the recent tap­ing of a mini-spe­cial for HBO Lati­no, sched­uled for release this year. Of course, no com­e­dy port­fo­lio is com­plete these days with­out a pod­cast, and Gon­za­lez con­firms she’s explor­ing that idea as well, with long­time friend and improv soul­mate for life” Michael Foulk. 

In our first talk with Gon­za­lez, her answers to Valerie’s sig­na­ture one word [past/​future]” ice­break­er ques­tions were learn­ing”, and hap­py”. I won’t give away how she sees her past and future now; the reveal is best expe­ri­enced in lis­ten­ing to the inter­view. I will say that her atti­tude then def­i­nite­ly informs the suc­cess and growth she’s since expe­ri­enced, and how it sets the stage for even more to come. 

And, when you see Vanes­sa Gon­za­lez on the small/​medium/​big screen remem­ber, you heard it here first. 

Catch Vanes­sa Gon­za­lez out in the real world or online when­ev­er you can:

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