Most loved ones would counsel against such an interaction, but for San Marino High School graduate Angela de Silva, the moment was, as she says, pure “serendipity.”
“I was walking across campus one day and I was stopped by a guy on campus who said he was a talent scout,” de Silva told The Tribune.
Plenty of cringe worthy stories start with those or similar words, but for de Silva, it was the beginning of a dream, and she hasn’t woken up yet.
It was 2003 and de Silva was studying Sociology at the University of California, Irvine, when her life drastically changed.
“In the back of my head I wanted to minor in Film and was considering becoming a teacher, but I always had this dream of acting,” de Silva said.
She had been bitten by the stage bug at an early age and attended an outside performing arts program during her days at Huntington Middle School that eventually led her to dance. At San Marino High School, de Silva concentrated on cheerleading and dance, qualifying for the esteemed Dance Company her sophomore, junior and senior years while performing in the annual musicals. Away from the stage, she served as vice president of the Amicians Club and helped organize the winter formal dance as a senior. There, she left a little hint of her aspirations.
“I made sure there was a red carpet at winter formal to honor my Hollywood dreams,” de Silva said with a laugh.
The talent scout turned out to be legit and over the next several years, de Silva starred in commercials for products such as Honda, Verizon and GE, and appeared in print campaigns for Apple, Canon and Coca Cola.
“I then started to get some guest-starring roles on network television shows,” she said. Currently in her late 30s, de Silva still looks half that age, a phenomenon that actually helped propel her career.
“In my late 20’s I was still playing high school roles on shows such as ‘10 Things I Hate About You,’ ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager,’ and ‘Awkward,’” she said. “I then moved on to shows such as ‘Happy Endings’ and ‘2 Broke Girls.’ Though there were slow periods, the work progressed steadily. I also produced and acted in two online series that did well in festivals and on online streaming platforms.”
Her career plateaud a few years ago and though she had screen-tested with big-named stars for major roles, de Silva was “yearning for stability” when she fell into a lucrative personal shopping/event coordinating job.
“I stayed for a couple years, and even went to Pepperdine to continue my studies in Business Management, but after some time my anxiety grew and I knew it was because my heart still only wanted to be an actress,” de Silva explained. “That was when I started learning to trust my intuition more, which is what I rely on heavily in every decision I make.”
After fully refocusing on acting, the auditions picked up quickly as de Silva already had groundwork and had forged good relationships with casting directors.
“I shot a few independent films, and a series for the former network, Go90,’ de Silva said. “I most recently filmed the Halloween special of the number one Nickelodeon Show, ‘Ryan’s Mystery Playdate,’ which will air this October.”
Conscious of her expanding role in the entertainment business, de Silva realized she was as passionate about activism as she was acting. A resident of West Hollywood, she was appointed in June by its city council to serve on the Women’s Advisory Board for the City of West Hollywood.
“Activism work has always been important to me,” she said. “We help plan many women’s events, leadership conferences and give input to the city council about women’s issues to be addressed to Congress. We also co-sponsor many ‘Women in Film’ Events, and have our annual Women’s Equality Day this Sunday, August 25.”
She also oversees a monthly women’s empowerment group and is in the process of starting a non-profit organization which aims to feed the homeless and provide jobs for people just out of community training programs. But de Silva feels she has reached the pinnacle of whatever political career may exist.
“People joke that I should run for city council or for mayor,” she said with a hearty laugh.
“But I am not a fan of the election process. I like being involved but I don’t think I want to run at this time. I’m excited to continue to watch everything unfold, and the more I remember to come back to the present moment and have gratitude for what is around me, the more I am able to see all the everyday miracles and really enjoy the journey.”
Her parents, Ann & Jay de Silva, still reside in nearby Chapman Woods. She has a sister, Sandra, and brother, Dinesh, and still considers San Marino “home.”
“I never take for granted how fortunate I am to be following my passions so close to my parents, brother and sister’s families, and hometown of San Marino,” de Silva concluded. “Having gone to kindergarten at Valentine, then all they way to graduating from San Marino High School in 2001, I always feel nostalgic driving through the neighborhoods and on Huntington Drive. Though so much has changed, I’ll never forget the numerous Homecoming and 4th of July parades, visits to the Huntington Library, and so many other wonderful memories. I know that what I learned in those years in San Marino helped shape the person I am today.”