Tara Kostmayer is an actress (and Settlers of Catan master!) based in NYC. Initially a pre-med student interested in neuroscience at the University of California San Diego, it wasn’t until she joined a theatre club that landed Kostmayer in her first musical during her sophomore year. After booking the Disney Cruise Line as a MainStage performer, she decided to dedicate herself to a career in performance. Since then, her resume boasts credits such as A Chorus Line at (NYCC Encores, the Aladdin National Tour,Chicago at the MUNY, and currently Nessarose in Broadway’s Wicked! Kostmayer’s advice to young artists? “... Take the opportunity to find what truly calls to you! You’ll have the most success doing what you love most and better to discover that as early as you can!” Read on to learn more about Tara Kostmayer and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Tara Kostmayer
Heritage: Filipina and German
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Current City: New York, NY
Current project: Wicked, Nessarose
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
A Chorus Line (NYCC Encores), Aladdin National Tour, Chicago (MUNY)
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
This is a great time to explore all you can! Find out what you really love. Try different dance styles, styles of music, gymnastics, playing instruments! You can niche down as you get older, but I say take the opportunity to find what truly calls to you! You’ll have the most success doing what you love most and better to discover that as early as you can!
How did you get your start?
My first professional show was a regional production of West Side Story in San Diego. However, I think the moment I fully committed to acting as a living was when I booked Disney Cruise Line as a MainStage performer. I was able to pay off my student debt and fully invest in my career as a performer at that point.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
Learning A Chorus Line with Baayork Lee and Bob Avian was such a gift, and being able to perform in that iconic space was something I’ll never forget.
Another sweet memory that I’ll always keep was the moment I was cast in my first show (Rent) in college. The list actually came out on my birthday!
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
This career can be so turbulent and the progress is rarely linear. It’s so incredibly important to keep believing in your abilities during every season and continuing to hone your craft even during the slow ones. You never know what’s around the corner!
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I actually went to school for neuroscience and was pre-med back in college. I ended up joining a theatre club and did my first musical sophomore year. After I graduated I decided to take the leap to switch paths and keep auditioning! The risk was definitely worth it!
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
It was definitely a slow burner for me. I think I’d always been attracted to the arts but, having parents who strongly pushed the academics, never believed it to be a professional possibility. It took time to build that faith in myself; somewhere in college, though, when I realized I was spending more time learning new music than doing o-chem homework, I had an inkling that I’d caught the theatre bug. Sometimes the actions you subconsciously take show YOU what you want before you’re aware of it!
Do you have any other “special skills?”
I’m a certified yoga instructor. I’m also pretty good at Settlers of Catan lol.
If you come from parents who aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business?
My dad was an attorney and always had a flair for stage presence in the courtroom so I think I got a good dose of showmanship from him. My mom worked in tech assembly which requires a very meticulous nature and I think I’ve brought that focus on precision and detail into my work as well.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
It’s never too late to start living the life you want.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Empathy, curiosity, faith and above all tenacity.
Where did you study at?
University of California San Diego.
What do you love most about what you do?
The opportunity to emotionally explore the widest range of human experience.
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
I'd say, the act of trying again, as quickly as possible. Jump right into the next experience as soon as you can, even if you don't know if you're ready. Bad audition? Sign up for the next one the moment you get home. Cracked on a note? Go out to karaoke and belt a song you love. Got tongue tied chatting to an important choreographer? Catch them at the next class and strike up a conversation. We often fall victim to ruminating on a mistake and paralyzing ourselves with the fear of reliving it. Yes, take time to learn from them, but the best way to get over something tough is by creating new experiences to combat the old data!
How do you deal with performance anxiety?
Focusing my mind on something specific usually helps stop the overthinking and anxiety for me. Whether it’s trying a new way of saying a line, focusing on my breath in a song, or hitting a piece of choreography stronger, I try to choose something particular to work on to anchor myself in the scene and refocus my mind away from the fear.
To find out more on Tara Kostmayer, please visit her at:
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