25 & Under: Jessy Quinones 

Actor, 24, Brandon

Jessy Quinones

Todd Bates

Jessy Quinones

She’s in production: Quinones made a splash as the story-telling sister in Stageworks’ How the Garcia Girls Got Their Accents this season, and now she’s got two more big productions in the works: She’s starting a theater company and having a baby, not necessarily in that order (the baby’s due in October).
What her theater company’s going to be about: “Stories for minorities — these are stories we need to be talking about. Garcia had so much success because it spoke to these universal issues — people want to see themselves on stage.”
Born to it: A native of Puerto Rico who moved with her family to Florida in 1999, she would go to college classes with her mother, who was studying theater, and remembers seeing a production of A Streetcar Named Desire when she was very young. She has distinct memories, too, of reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the 7th grade, after which her teacher whispered in her ear, “For some reason I see you in the future on stage performing a Shakespeare play.” But she didn’t start seriously considering theater as a career until, as a sophomore in high school, she did lights on a class play. “When we opened and I saw the audience respond to the actors, I got this euphoria.” Later she went to HCC and transferred to USF, where she got her BA in theater in 2012.
Jessy and Yolanda: She says it wasn’t till she started digging deeper into the Garcia Girls script that she realized how much she shared with the character of Yolanda, who serves as a stand-in for the play’s author. “I know that in order to tell a story in the correct way you have to be willing to bare all. It’s a very vulnerable thing to do. As an actor you have to be vulnerable on stage as well. Yolanda was scared of her own power, but she finally found her voice. This is her gift and her burden to tell these stories. That’s the basis of my theater company: let’s pull these skeletons out of the closet, let’s talk about them. Let theater be a vessel.”
But not all stories need to be told just yet: She has chosen a name for her baby, a boy, “but it’s a secret.” She’ll be ready for the challenge of motherhood, though; her day job is taking care of toddlers at the Child Development Center on MacDill Air Force Base.

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