Cabrina Collesides – Actress and Author, Action and Verse

Written by on February 23, 2023

At the end of the block, down the street, nestled in between the copy shop and the comic book store lies a little café, and in that café, a woman with the world in her eye passes you a vanilla chai. She’s got dreams she checks off on a spare order pad and for her, tinsel town is her home away from home.

Cabrina Collesides is an actress from our neck of the woods, and in between ventis and grandes, she’s flying jets and cracking jaws on the silver screen. A most gracious and accommodating presence, she still finds time for the daily hustle.

I sit down with Cabrina and we discuss drinking black coffee like sociopaths.

RRX: Action movies. Fighter pilots, MMA. Very amped up, very physical, very fast paced. And yet you still have to preform a dramatic character. I know that the writing goes a long way to establish character. How do you think they manage to develop characters, in particular yours, when so much is put into the action itself?

CC: The action tells the story most of the time. It all leads somewhere. Whether it’s an expression or physical fighting, the story is moving. So, when you have a character like “Edge” in “Called to Duty: The Last Airshow,” she’s strong, aggressive, and will be the first into battle. Creating her starts with giving off the emotion I need without necessarily screaming all the time. Develop the subtle moments first, and then when the action is there, I think it all comes together. You not only feel for the character, but you are right there with her. The action sequences lead me to what comes next without debating where I am currently or if I forget a line. I just hit the mark, and instantly I know where I’m going.

RRX: In 2016, you did Fight Valley, an MMA movie. I can only imagine the amount of training that went into that role, stunt double or no. Actually, did you have a stunt double or are you trained in MMA yourself? And how much can you choreograph MMA fighting, or can you even?

CC: For Fight Valley, I trained with Steve Downing. He pushes people past their limits. I remember hating every session, and then when I got to my car, I had a smile on my face because I managed not to puke. I think it was more than that. I felt such relief that when pushed, I saw results I didn’t know could be possible. The funny thing is, when you watch him work, his clients sometimes complain, and then I notice he will add more reps. Safe to say, I kept quiet. Fight Valley, I did not have a stunt double. I did all my stunts, and I do know MMA. Choreographing is an art, and although I have choreographed fight scenes on earlier film projects, these were left to the professionals. The more intense fight scenes were given to the UFC fighters Holly Holm, Miesha Tate, and Cris Cyborg.

RRX: As previously said, you’ve been in a ton of action or action-ey films. So what we see, obviously, is a blend of stagecraft and movie magic. But obviously, there’s some real life in there. Can you describe for us what it’s like on set when, a say, the heroes are destroying the city to get the bad guys?

CC: I enjoy playing the hero, but that dark part of me wants that villain role, kind of like the roles Ben Barnes plays. For “Called to Duty: The Last Airshow,” we filmed on the battleship in Camden, NJ. We also had the pleasure of sitting in actual cockpits in Medford, NJ, where I broke the throttle and tried hiding afterward. It turns out, for a little person, I suck at good hiding spots! It’s awesome to see how sets are built, but the set was already made for us in this case. We didn’t have to design anything. The battleship was the backdrop and our home.

RRX: You have a film you are shopping around called “Called to Duty: The Last Airshow” with Joseph Baena, who is Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s son. So as far as shopping a film around, I don’t think most people know how that works. Would you care to do a little School House Rock here?

CC: Oh, the fun part. I luckily don’t have much say in this process. I would suggest a sales agent is crucial. You want to do your research, find several to pitch to, and reach out. Or you could go with a distribution company. I would start with a sales agent. They can shop the film in other countries, find a distribution, pitch it, and get a theater run.

RRX: In the downtime that dare not speak its name, you had time to think, and your thoughts found their way to a book called “In Darkness, I Found You.” There’s a unique feeling when you tap out those two words “The End.” So two questions; what is your book about, and how did you celebrate the day finished it?

CC: Man, if I knew writing a book would be that painful, I’d have done this sooner! “In Darkness, I Found You” is a second-chance romance during a zombie apocalypse. Don’t ask me why I decided to write about dead people for my first book. These characters were in my head, and all I knew was I wanted the world to end and for Jake to find Danielle. The zombies take a backseat in this story. It’s more about the survivors and how they adapt, though zombies are always close, waiting to ruin all the good things these characters try and build. I haven’t celebrated yet. As soon as this is published and uploaded to Amazon kindle, I’ll eat some good Mexican food.

RRX: Somewhere in a coffee shop in the state of New York, someone may find you writing their name wrong on a cup. A barista. Now I drink my coffee bitter, like the depths of my shiny soul, but people get crazy with orders. When people order ridiculous double shot- triple pump- Alaska two-step coffee, do they really know if you screw up their order a little?

CC: You’d think people would order how they want their coffee. When they enter my shop, they go “coffee” and stare at me. It’s like, cool, what size, what do you want in your coffee? I work by myself all day and probably see close to 300 customers. It can be a blessing with tips and close to a meltdown because there are only so many times you can repeat the same question in a day. I never write on cups. I think that’s mostly for stores with many people working. They order, and I’m already on it. Being a barista is fun, though. I shockingly enjoy it. And no, customers don’t notice if you mess up, though I will say since I run the store alone, I don’t have a lot of mess-ups. If I forget how many shots or what flavor, I ask before I mess it up. However, I have given regular espresso instead of decaf a few times.

RRX: This is where you answer the question I didn’t ask. Comments? Remarks? Educate, enlighten, emote – the floor is yours.

CC: Would it be scary to become an author or an actress? Is it hard? Do you want to throw your laptop across the room or rip off the audition sides you have because suddenly there’s a feeling of  “am I even good enough?” Yeah. All the time. This career is not easy. Would I rather have a steady 9-5 job, or would I rather be creating? The answer always stays the same. I think when that answer changes, I’ll stop. You write yourself. Creating is a part of you. I hope everyone who has a dream does chase it. You’d be shocked at what you can do. Visualize, then manifest it. And read my novel!

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