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Keana Marie: The Actress Talks About How Miami Inspired Her Career



A stunning talent and triple threat— actress, writer and director Keana Marie got her start right here in Miami at the age of eight by booking commercials. Today, Keana is about to make a big splash with two exciting projects set to release. First, you will see Keana in the Netflix series, Dash & Lily, based on the New York Times best-selling novel of the same name. You will also be able to catch her in as female lead in Akatsuki Entertainment’s forthcoming film Root Letter, which was adapted from the hit PlayStation video game.


We had the pleasure of catching up with Keana to talk about how growing up in Miami inspired and influenced her acting career and what advice she has to offer those who may be dreaming of becoming an actor themselves.


Can you share some of your memorable experiences while living in Miami?


Keana Marie: I was blessed to grow up on an island called Key Biscayne, so I spent a lot of my time at the beach or cruising on my longboard to my favorite Cuban joints. I will definitely say that some of my most memorable experiences in Miami have been culinary experiences. Luckily, my palate was able to expand and experience a myriad of flavors.


How has Miami influenced you and your acting career?


KM: I attended an Art School for high school where I focused on theater, film, and photography. It was a tiny school in Coconut Grove called A&M, Academy of Arts & Minds. With only 400 students, we were one big family, free to express ourselves, and accept each other. I think just having kids who knew what they wanted to do with their life at such a young age, who followed their passion, that has been my biggest influence. I also had the pleasure of shooting my first film Posthumous directed by Noah Debonis (Miami native/UM Alumni), when I was still living in Miami. Very grateful for that little film.


Any “Miami” individuals, places or things that inspire you?


KM: Oh all of it! My local beach spot on 3rd street, Mary’s Coin Laundry, The Barnacle, Sergio’s, PAMM, but most of all... I can attribute a lot of my inspiration from the wonderful people who shaped my years in Miami - my friends and family.


What advice you would give to anyone looking to get into action and what are some of the personal challenges that you have encountered?


KM: First, never stop believing in yourself and NEVER let anyone tell you what YOU are capable of. This is your life. It is your complete right to take it into your own hands. With that being said, don’t give up, ‘cause it sure isn’t easy. Constant challenges, ups & downs, hardships. You gotta stick it out. Don’t limit yourself or set time frames, if you apply yourself and stay driven and MAKE YOUR OWN PROJECTS, you will succeed. It is a norm for me to get rejection, it’s literally part of the job. So yes, my journey has not been a walk in the park. I’ve had a film lose funding the day before I was supposed to go shoot (to name a scenario) but hey - use it as ammunition. You can be your biggest fan fueling your fire or your biggest crutch, holding yourself back. Gooooooo, I believe in you.


Watch Dash & Lily on Netflix, premiering November 10 and Keep up with Kiana Marie on Instagram & Twitter.


Words by Emily Taylor. Images courtesy of Keana Marie