Charmaine Cruz
Actor • Writer • Director • Producer

 

Ever since childhood Charmaine has been in love with movies, every aspect – including the making of them.  Watching her father’s 8mm home movies or watching movies period was the most intriguing pastime.  Unfortunately resources were not readily available for that sort of “hobby” and she decided to put her energies into an art form that was accessible - the performing arts.

Charmaine got the lead role in her first play as a sophomore at Mesa High School in Mesa, Arizona.  She soon became a member of the thespian group “Spotlight Theatre” and continued to act in plays.  In her junior year she won the regional competition for acting in a short play.  In her senior year she performed in her first community theatre musical, Stop the World I Want to Get Off in Tampa, Florida.

That same year she was chosen as 1st Runner up in Cosmopolitan Magazine’s International Beauty Search, and was featured in the magazine. Later that year she won 1st Runner Up in the Miss T.E.E.N. Tampa Pageant (Teens Encouraging Excellence Nationally) taking home the Formal Presentation Award and the Scholastic Achievement Award.

She volunteered at the MacDonald Training Center for people with disabilities, worked as an executive intern under Judge Harry Lee Coe III in the Tampa Courthouse Criminal Division and graduated 11th with honors in her class. Next she headed out to Los Angeles to attend the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television.

But the acting bug was buzzing loudly and academia was slowing her down.  Charmaine left school to study acting professionally.  She soon moved to New York City and began acting in off-off Broadway plays and independent films.  Next she got the female lead role as Rachel in a feature film by the late Joseph B. Vasquez called The Bronx War. She got her first theatrical lead role playing

 

 

Bala in The Inuit at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, PA.

After returning to New York she began working in commercials and print modeling and began to write.

She returned to Los Angeles continuing to work in numerous plays, commercials, television shows, and films, first in daytime soap operas such as Sunset Beach and Passions, then to prime time serials such as Charmed and Melrose Place and television movies such as The Tower with Paul Reiser, and American Tragedy with Ron Silverman, Ving Rhames, and Bruno Kirby.  Her most recent film The Rat Thing in which she played the female lead role has won awards in six film festivals so far.

As a budding filmmaker Charmaine wrote, directed, and acted in her directorial debut, a short revenge comedy entitled Pissed, also starring the late Wendy Jo Sperber, which went on to garner awards and screen in numerous festivals.  On the heels of the success of that short film, Charmaine returned to UCLA and got her degree in film and television, writing and directing three short projects: El Mirage which was selected for a festival screening at Warner Bros. Studios, Nature's Way, and Sequence. She wrote three feature length screenplays, Fleshtone, Internal Breathing, and Sequence in Limbo, and earned the Peter Stark Memorial Fund award and The Academy of Motion Pictures and Television award for writing and directing.

Today she remains in the entertainment industry as an actor, photographer, filmmaker, print model, and business professional.

However, the biggest, most amazing, and most important production of her life thus far has been the birth of her son Nathan:  Nathan, who happens to have been born with Down syndrome.

Charmaine serves on the Program Committee of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles.

 

 

“No one could have described the kind of joy this sweet soul brings me on a daily basis.  Beyond that I have had the privilege to meet countless children, teens, and adults with developmental challenges and their families who teach me how to be a better person and a person of service.  With this project I hope to help raise awareness about the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and their families, the latest research and progress on those with Down syndrome, and to encourage progressive thinking with the aim towards making the world a better and friendlier place for those living with Down syndrome as well as those living with other developmental challenges.  It is with gratitude, great passion, and excitement that I make this project and I have my beautiful son Nathan to thank for bringing this opportunity forth.” - Charmaine Cruz