Rising Star: Xiomara Cornejo

There’s an old saying that “good things come in small packages” and this could very well hold true when it comes to Xiomara Cornejo, the petite, 5 foot 3 inch aspiring director.

Her passion for being in the spotlight was recognized early on, and through hard work and determination, Cornejo, 22, is proving to family and friends that she is serious about her career in theater.

At the age of 7, Cornejo became interested in theater when she and her sister took some acting, vocal and dance classes at a visual performing arts school in Compton and went on to take drama classes during high school.

“I took directing classes at EC with Ronald Scarlata, who is, I think, the best teacher, and he just opened up a whole new world to me,” Cornejo said.

Cornejo said she loves what she does and puts her heart and soul into all her work.

“In all the plays I direct, not only do I believe in them, but they’re the type of plays that I, as the audience, would like to see,” she said. “I like romance and fairy tales.”

Cornejo said her background in the arts include several stage performances as an actor; a play that she directed last year named “Subway Circus,” and she is currently forming a girl band.

“Right now, I’m exploring my vocal talents because I love to sing, too,” she said.

Cornejo said that directing is very much like a maternal process; opening night is like giving birth.

“The rehearsal time is like the nine months of pregnancy, then you have your baby and you see it-your actors are like your children,” she said.

“It’s such a wonderful feeling sitting back and watching something that you know you had a part of and observing the audience’s reaction,” Cornejo said.

When not on stage, Cornejo said she works at a check-cashing store and spends time writing poetry, singing, and doing black and white photography, which helps her to envision how she wants things on stage.

Cornejo received a Reader of the year Award in 1998 and an award for community service from the State of California.

Cornejo said she plans to transfer to Cal State Long Beach and then go on to The American Film Institute to further her career in theater.

“I would love to direct music videos and theater plays,” Cornejo said.

“There are so many things I want to do in the next ten years, but mostly, I just want to be happy, to enjoy life and to not waste it.”