MEET THE LATINA VOICE BEHIND MICHELLE OBAMA, MELINDA GATES & MAJOR INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERS
By Patrick Donovan – Author/Screenwriter
US Navy Disabled Veteran – 1980 – 1991
Seattle, WA (The Hollywood Times) 04/17/2020
“From the Dominican Republic to LA, Jane is a multi-talented actress, voice over artist and a Lady! Enjoy the interview with her and be enhanced by her soft-spoken voice and humble beginnings.”
– Patrick Donovan
Jane Santos is an actress born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She moved to Los Angeles to continue her career overseas. She has worked with wonderful professionals in the industry. Nominated for the Cassandra awards for her role of ”Natalia” in Santiclo. Her work was recognized by the Puerto Rican senate in 2014 along with Foundation Mision de Amor. In 2015, Triunfo Awards recognized her as a Latin Pride.
Jane is a soft-spoken, lovely Lady whose career comes from humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic to LA. Starting out at 15 doing beauty pageants, and TV Shows, Jane made her way with to LA where her career took off. She’s done the impossible and is a multi-talented actress, voice over artist and so much more. She can do pretty much anything with the gifts that she’s been given.
I had a great time speaking to her and getting to know more about her. What struck me was her soft, sweet voice and how lovely a person she really is. She was in Contagion, one of her first movies and we recounted on how eerily similar today’s current events are to what that movie’s plot line was about. Sit back, relax, listen and read this interview and enjoy this wonderful Lady.
Here’s the actual audio interview:
Interview with Jane Santos:
Patrick Donovan: Ms. Santos, how are you?
Jane Santos: I am doing well. Blessed that I’m here.
Patrick Donovan: Well thank you.
Jane Santos: How are you Patrick?
Patrick Donovan: Very well, ma’am, it’s a pleasure to have you and welcome and how are you and your family dealing with this virus outbreak, I just want to make sure that you and yours are safe and healthy.
Jane Santos: Oh yeah. Thank you so much. So far we are doing well and while my family is back in the Dominican Republic. Cases are crazy back home, but we are hopeful that we will overcome the situation very soon, especially for the ones that are really hurt, you know, people who are diagnosed with a virus, family members who have lost a loved one. The doctors and nurses and everyone who’s trying to help in this situation. So hopefully we will overcome that this soon.
Patrick Donovan: How was it down there in Dominican Republic where you just talking about that?
Jane Santos: Yeah, I mean, so far, uh, we are being more impacted here in the United States so far. Back home, the case is very crazy and the concern back home, the facts that, because we’re not a big country, we’re a small country, and the majority of the people who live there are, and the majority who are poor, we don’t have the enough resources for all of them.
So, uh, the government and everyone back home is trying to be as much as collaborative as possible. And a lot of people are trying to obey the law and stay home, but still, you know, the, the concerns, the, it’s there a lot of people are, are dying so we just hope that, and soon, you know.
Patrick Donovan: Yes, ma’am, my prayers are with you and your family and your country, and that I, you know, please know that we’re all praying for the world here because this is very important. So…
Jane Santos: Yeah.
Patrick Donovan: I’m glad we got that through and I’m glad that you’re doing well. So you were born in Dominican Republic. How; I’m going to ask you a couple of questions you’ve already gotten them in advance to help you out, but, how old were you when you began your career, and what are some of the talents you have as well as, talk to me about some of the high and low points or the early beginnings, like where you went to school, college and who you studied acting.
Jane Santos: Patrick, you’re asking so many questions. I’ll try to answer as best well [laughter]
Patrick Donovan: I will unpack it slowly. Let’s do it one at a time.
Jane Santos: [laughter]
Patrick Donovan: How old were you when you began your career and what are some of the talents you have.
Jane Santos: Yeah. Well I, I can tell you two things. I, I was born an artist, I was dancing since I can recall, and my parents can’t recall and that makes me an artist and I dance very well. I mean, I started professionally, my career, I believe. Between the ages of 15 and 16, I was modeling. I was, uh, hosting TV shows, local TV shows back home. So that’s how I started professionally, my career back home.
Patrick Donovan: Wonderful. And what were some of the high and low points of your early beginnings, like where you went to school, college, and then eventually did you study under anybody for acting.
Jane Santos: Well back home when I was, uh, since I didn’t have any connections in the industry, it was a little bit hard for me to get in. Um, so what I did was, just study here and there with uh, teachers with acting teachers. And my main goal was to get into a beauty pageant because I knew that there was abuse pageants, I was going to be able to connect with someone that will hopefully lead me to TV. Hosting TV and that’s exactly what happened. I did a beauty pageant and I connect to sort of producer and that eventually took me to host a TV show back home.
But in terms of the low of my career, I would tell you that the beginning of that stage trying to getting TV and also when I came here to the States, because when I came here, I had a career back home, but here I had to start from zero. Like, mind you, we don’t speak English back home. I had to work on my accent. I want to at least try it here for two years, I needed to know how the business work here, how, how would, you know, I needed to connect with people.
So, I would say those two were, those two moments were the critical points in my life where there were like very, very low. But at the same time, crisis has, do you know. developed the ah, warrior in me because every time I hit a low point in my life, I have no option but to get back up and stronger.
Patrick Donovan: Absolutely. That’s great. And I understand you were nominated for a Cassandra award. Tell me about that experience.
Jane Santos: That was my first TV opportunity. I’m sorry, my first film opportunity. I, uh, I got an offer from a producer. I, I was eager, but at the same time I was a little bit nervous because since he was my first acting opportunity, it was a big chance.
It was risky and I threw myself in it. I choose the opportunity and it wasn’t a surprise for me. I never knew that I was going to get nominated for that role. And yeah, that’s how I, that’s how I got that nomination.
Patrick Donovan: Yes. What was the role that the Cassandra nomination was for? Again, I’m sorry.
Jane Santos: I played the role of Natalia. The movie was called Santiclo. I played a mother of a young girl and she was married to this man and we’re going through a moment of adversity and we were able to conquer and go and pass along that adversity moment.
Patrick Donovan: That’s fantastic. I hear your work was recognized, by the Puerto Rican Senate in 2014 along with the Foundation Mision de Amor. How did that make you feel?
Jane Santos: Every time I get, Patrick, nominated or recognized by my peers, you name it, it makes me feel very, very honored and privileged because you don’t, you don’t do things to get to get notice. Do you think because you want to help people and sort of your art also, if you can collect other people, if you can feel you can do something good that’s why I do what I do.
So I felt honored with every nomination for the, uh, Cassandra awards with Mision de Amor with a Puerto Rican Senate as well. Honored. That’s all I can say. Honored and privileged
Patrick Donovan: To be the same for the Triunfo Award as well, where that’s the same response that it means something to you, that you’re doing something for someone else and for others through your art. Correct?
Jane Santos: Yes, Yes!
Patrick Donovan: No, that’s correct. And here comes the best part. You did the voiceover for, and Michelle Obama in the Spanish audio book and Melinda Gates. Correct me in my Spanish, “No hay vuelta atrás,” (There is No Way Back) and it’s coming soon. How was that? How did that make you feel?
Jane Santos: I think with talent and opportunities, it comes with a great responsibility. You know great responsibility meaning like you are in charge of thinking through the voice of using your voice of a great human being like Michelle, like Melinda, like also, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Isabel Allende which, she is great latin writer among other authors that I have the honor to work to put my voice into their work.
Like Stephen King, I did Carrie as well in Spanish. So, with all that comes a great responsibility of giving your best, do my best to the Michelle Obama one, I now for the Melinda Gates I needed to do, I needed to give him like 200%. More than that and, hopefully I can keep connecting and transmitting what this woman has lived.
Patrick Donovan: Fantastic. And you know, and it gives you great honor to, to voice someone like Michelle and Melinda, and I commend you for your work. And I hear you are on a couple of my favorite shows. Criminal Minds, in a co-starring role in General Hospital in April with my good friend Anthony Montgomery playing Dr Andre Maddox, and it looks like you just wrapped on West and When it Rains, and you were in Oceans Eight. Talk to me about those experiences and which one was your favorite?
Jane Santos: I wish I can tell you if I have a favorite one. Maybe I’m going to sound a cliché about saying it, but all of them have taught me a very special message, uh, personally and professionally. But I can elaborate briefly on my latest experience, which was on General Hospital.
The role I did is, uh, a very lovely role and a very deep one. I felt very honored because the casting director, Mark Teschner, uh. We got a direct offer from them. I didn’t have to audition for the part. He was familiar with my work but we got a straight offer for this role. And the reason why I feel I felt so good working with all of them, the producers, the actors, everyone was so welcoming on set and it feels so…god it’s refreshing, supportive that I would love to be back. Hopefully my role, the writers and the producers keep developing it, but, I’ve put, I would love to be back to that show. So, let’s see. [giggles]
Patrick Donovan: Great. I need to ask you. How was it being an Oceans Eight?
Jane Santos: It was great. I, I wish it could have been a longer, I was there for just a little amount of time, but just the fact that I was there on set with, with all of them sharing with the, with the production and everybody, I mean, it was a great experience as well as, Contagion. I was in Contagion many, many years ago when I arrived here in LA. It was a very brief…
Patrick Donovan: No way! I just watched it.
Jane Santos: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what? Here’s the thing, Patrick. I had to pay my dues when I came to LA. So, there I don’t have like a very, a special appearance, but the fact that I was working there, I was one of the survivors. Steven Soderbergh directed this film and just the fact that we’re going through the same thing that was portrayed in that movie…, Yeah
Patrick Donovan: I know. It’s like the ripped out from the script what we’re going through right now.
Jane Santos: I know!
Patrick Donovan: And it’s like, I got your social distancing and all of a sudden, and I watched the movie and then they put up a public announcement. The cast did, it’s on Facebook about this, and they just did it a week ago.
Jane Santos: I know. I know. It’s really odd, but at the same time it’s like, wow. You know, it’s, it’s a very strange feeling because most of the things that happen in the script are really happening right now.
Patrick Donovan: I know. It’s scary. It’s very scary. Well listen, I want to go and do something for you that the late James lifted did and go Inside the Actor’s Studio. He was a great man on that thing, and he just passed away on the 2nd of March. So, tell me, what is your favorite word?
Jane Santos: Does it have to be one or two?
Patrick Donovan: No, it can be anything you want. One or two. It doesn’t matter. This is all up to you.
Jane Santos: Resilience for sure and compassion.
Patrick Donovan: What’s your least favorite word?
Jane Santos: Racism. Discrimination. Abuse.
Patrick Donovan: Yes, ma’am. What turns you on?
Jane Santos: Passion
Patrick Donovan: What turns you off?
Jane Santos: Disrespecting my time.
Patrick Donovan: What sound or noise do you love?
Jane Santos: The sound of my parents’ voice.
Patrick Donovan: Beautiful. What sound or noise do you hate?
Jane Santos: Construction sounds!
Patrick Donovan: [Laughter!] You’re the second person that said that said that! So, moving on. What profession other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Jane Santos: Here’s the beauty of what I do. Because I am an actor and an artist, I can do all of them, onset, But a psychologist, doctor and detective.
Patrick Donovan: Wow, that’s amazing. What profession would you not like to do?
Jane Santos: Ah, profession? That’s a very hard question. I don’t know. I would say probably not teacher, I love to…you must have a lot of patience for that.
Patrick Donovan: If it’s not applicable, don’t worry if you just love doing everything.
Jane Santos: Okay. Yeah. It doesn’t come anything to my mind right now. Yeah.
Patrick Donovan: That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive, at the Pearly Gates?
Jane Santos: Thank you for honoring me, using the talents I gave you.
Patrick Donovan: That’s beautiful. Okay, so like James used to do, I’m going to be quiet and I’m going to give it to mic and you can talk for the remaining time we have about anything that you would like your listeners and readers to hear.
Jane Santos: Please don’t you dare to give up. Remember that pain is always temporary despite what you’re going through. Uh, any crisis that you’re going through, you can overcome that, but if you give up, that would be forever. Please don’t give up.
Patrick Donovan: That’s great. Well, listen, I want to thank you for sharing the time with me today and for what is going to go up on the Hollywood times.
I want to wish you all the best in your career. Please stay safe and keep your family safe. And I call my mom every day she’s in New York and my aunt in Florida. Just want to make sure they hear my voice and I tell them I love them.
Jane Santos: Patrick, thank you for your time it’s been a refreshing moment to be able to talk to you, get to know you a little bit. Thank you for your time. I hope that you also stay safe and keep updated when, when everything is when we can actually see it.
Patrick Donovan: Yes ma’am, I will listen to you. Take care. Have a wonderful day. God bless you.