Actress, Writer & Comedian
Erica is an actress, writer and comedian living in New York City. She’s worked in a variety of TV shows, from NBC’s The Brave to Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as well as several films including Brittany Runs a Marathon and Lazy Susan, and has appeared several times on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She’s half of the comedic duo “Los Profesores” (Spanish comedy for English speakers) and just finished an 8 month-long run of their show Los Profesores ¡En Vacaciones! at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Erica performs sketch comedy regularly at the UCB theatre on a house team for Maude Night. She voiced the lead role of Erica in The Truth Podcast’s critically acclaimed 4 part series The Off Season opposite Peter Grosz. She performs characters and impressions regularly around New York City, and once did her Sofia Vergara impression for Angela Bassett as part of a series for IMDB. She’s appeared in several online comedy videos for College Humor, Flama, Mas Mejor and more, and co-hosted the Spanish podcast MedioGringo.
What do I do best?
I think, in general, the thing I do best is “entertain.” I’m an actress, writer, and comedian, and I would hope that to mean that one of my strongest skills is storytelling—in its many forms. I’m also pretty good at ping pong. I couldn’t like, compete, but if you find a recreational ping pong table and want to play—I can bring some heat. I’m terrible at tennis though. I’ve only tried it once, and it seems like those skills don’t transfer. Weird.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I think my work ethic is what I can depend on when all else fails. In the creative industry, there tend to be so many variables that are out of your control, but if nothing else, I know that I can count on myself to stay focused and put the work in. If I fail, at least I know it wasn’t for lack of trying! And it goes without saying, that when I’ve put the work in—whether that means tangibly putting time and resources into preparing something, or just doing what I need to put myself in a grounded mental state for work to come—I do my best. That last bit, staying grounded, healthy and happy, is definitely important. Sometimes that requires just as much work as a concrete project, but obviously I’m my best self when those qualities are in a good place.
What are my aspirations?
Personally, I would love to be in a place in life where I have both the time and finances to have a dog. It’s such a little thing, but I would just love a dog. They’re the best. Right now, that’s tough, with rehearsals and shows at night, and running around during the day, that dog would have to be trained to use a human toilet. And I don’t know that we’re there as a society, or that we should be. So I need to live in a building with a trusty young neighbor who I can pay weekly to walk the dog after school and later in the evening. (I’ve thought this out). Professionally, I hope to one day be able to fully support myself as an actor/writer, meaning that working in the entertainment industry would be my only source of income. There are obviously specific kinds of projects I would really love to work on, but realistically I just want to keep working, at all, first! I’m grateful to be closer to that goal, and hope to make that aspiration a reality!
My Biggest Success?
Professionally, any time I get the next job it feels like the biggest success. Maybe that’s my personality, or maybe it’s just how the industry is, but if I’ve worked towards anything and then it happens, I feel like a champion! Outside of that, one of my biggest successes was running the NYC marathon. I had always wanted to do it because the euphoria around that day is infectious. I faced so many hurdles trying to get there though, and the year I finally had everything in order, I got an injury that set me back in my training schedule. When all was said and done, I finished with a better time than I’d hoped for. I was so dehydrated, I couldn’t feel my shins, and I was totally, completely happy.
My Most Challenging Moment?
A lot of comedians say that they had to go through something dark to be funny, or just that comedians, in general, often struggled with something before they got into comedy. In my case, that’s not too far from the truth. There was a period in my life where I was in denial about a lot of things, and had to do a lot of reflection and take a couple steps back to get through the tough spot. It wasn’t great, but coming out on the other side of that made me a much happier person. Sometimes it’s really hard to take the time to just focus on you, or make a choice to work on yourself that at the time seems scary, but in the long run will be so much better for you. Of course, another challenging moment was the time I installed a window AC unit by myself. I truly thought it was an impossible task, but after a lot of sweat, tears, and unintentional weight training, I had a (mostly) secure AC unit in my window.
I had to write a speech once and I went around asking people for things they’d like to hear in it. For the most part, they were all jokes, but one friend gave me a quote, and while it’s silly, I kind of love it. It’s now in my email signature, so I think it’s fair to say it could be my motto. The saying is “If life gives you lemons, make orange juice, and let the world wonder how you did it.” I love that. To be honest, as a beverage, I like lemonade more than orange juice, but metaphorically, I love it.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Professionally, I love Tina Fey, Rachel Bloom, Emma Thompson and Gina Rodriguez. Tina and Rachel have made their own work the way I would some day love to. And Emma and Gina I think are fantastic actors and seem to be just amazing, composed, and strong people. I also love watching Viola Davis work. Who doesn’t? She’s a force.
Personally, my sister is one of the coolest, most generous and down-to-earth people I know. She’s an incredibly smart and accomplished doctor, and she became a doctor, and continues to be a doctor, because she wanted to help people. It’s insane that that’s not necessarily the norm anymore, but I admire and look up to her so much for the kind of person she continues to be, always caring about others and motivated by such love and concern for society. If everyone was like my sister, we’d all be smiling a lot more, and I think that’s a good lesson that I will take with me everywhere. It should never be out of vogue to be nice.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
One of my favorite places in the whole world is Mexico City. I studied there during college, and living there was a pivotal moment of my life. I ate mango every day, I fell in love with Latin pop music, and got incredibly reconnected with my Latina roots (I’m not Mexican, to be clear, I’m part Colombian, but speaking Spanish and being absorbed in Latino culture daily was amazing). Mexico City has so much history, and it’s all still there and present. You can walk through the city’s largest park and see remnants of old Aztec ruins. You could spend days in the Museo de Antropolgía. The city has so much to do and see and everyone there is so nice. I joined the a capella group at the university where I was studying, I took a road trip with a group of international students from all over South America who are still some of my best friends today, I went out dancing all the time. I had so much fun. I thought about moving there permanently. It’s a beautiful, amazing place and I’m dying to go back.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I love “Mixed Chicks” hair products. If you have anything from wavy to curly hair, their stuff is amazing. Also, I recently bought an adult lunchbox. As a kid, I was embarrassed by my lunchbox, I honestly don’t remember why. As an adult, I bought a 12-dollar lunchbox that has freezing gel in its sides, so it keeps your lunch cool all day. I think it’s the coolest thing and I show it off to everyone, probably too much.
My Current Passions?
I love what I do. It’s cliché, but true!! I really love comedy, making people laugh, and coming up with new, weird characters and impressions, or short sketch ideas. And I love, more broadly, getting to be someone else for a day, whether that’s through some intense dramatic storytelling or a goofy mess of a character. Within the comedy world, I’m really loving dark comedy these days. I will also always love travelling, languages, writing, trying to keep plants alive, and mango. I know “mango” is not a passion, but for me, it kind of is?