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Meet Amy Cassandra Martinez | Entertainment Host & Actor

We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Cassandra Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amy Cassandra, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I grew up knowing that I was interested in a lot of things a lot of other kids my age weren’t interested in. I loved going to the movies, watching musicals and performing. As I grew up, I had classmates put me down for wanting to go into film and tv. They would say things like “We’ll I’m going to get a real major” or “So, you just want to watch movies?” This hurt me because I felt I had to prove to others why what I loved was important to me. I loved watching interviews, seeing films that moved me. I loved playing my violin, singing and dancing. Those activities were the highlight of my school life and I knew that I wanted, heck, NEEDED those in my life to be happy.

I pursued an artistic career because I cannot see myself doing anything else. I am a host, an actor and singer because there are experiences in life that I am able to feel so deeply only through these media. I saw this quote online and I couldn’t find who originally said it but it hit home: “No one else is supposed to understand your calling. It wasn’t a conference call.” I put so much weight into what these other people thought about my future career that I started doubting myself. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you want to have a creative career. I’ll leave it with this quote (another one Amy? I know! Haha), it’s from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Whoopi Goldberg’s character, Sister Mary Clarence, is giving live advice to a young student, and she says “If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first, then you’re supposed to be a singer girl.” If you love something so deeply that you can’t see yourself truly loving anything else, then do the thing and. be happy.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an entertainment host, an actor and singer. My journey to call myself any of these has been full of speed bumps. I’ve loved performing since I was 8 when I was first on stage and since then I’ve been learning a little bit about all aspects of this industry. I’ve worked in news, I’ve worked in commercials. I’ve been on camera, I’ve been a production assistant. I’ve written, shot and edited all kinds of content. I’ve questioned what I’m doing with life about every couple of months since graduating from college, and honestly, I think that’s what has kept me checking in with my goals.

It hasn’t been easy, but if I’ve gotten past the rejections, the career detours and still feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing, then I see that as a good sign.

What I think makes me unique is my life experience and I think that’s something that everyone can understand and relate to. There are things that children of immigrants can relate to. There are things that Mexican-Americans can relate to. All of our experiences make us unique and I think that’s something that we should cherish.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh my goodness! I love this question! I would definitely start by asking if there were certain things they DEFINITELY wanted to see and incorporate those. In addition, here are some options too!

– Wake up and go to Black Cow Cafe in Montrose. Their service is amazing and their food is SO freaking good. I love their breakfast the most but you really can’t go wrong at whatever time you go.
– Go to the Americana and walk around. This area is so peaceful and I think it gets overlooked a little.
– End the night in Pasadena, walking around some more. Dinner at True Food Kitchen — definitely getting the Organic Tuscan Kale Salad. I looked up the recipe and make this at home at least 3 times a week! (Although there’s nothing that beats having it there at the restaurant).

– Work out at Orangetheory Glendale. Can you tell I love this area? OTF is a way of life and I would definitely show them how fun and challenging working out can be!
– Home-cooked breakfast and then off to Burbank we go!
– Lots of driving around – checking out Burbank Town Center, then going closer to the city, stopping at Perky Nerd, walking around Magnolia, and driving down Barham Blvd. Maybe do a tour or something!
– Lunch would be Porto’s in Burbank. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I’ll be honest, we could eat there every day!
– Would probably end up having dinner at Barney’s Beanery in Burbank and watching a movie at the AMC!

– I know this is a tourist-y thing to do, but Universal Studios is a must for people that visit me, because, we’re geeks in my household haha. This would most likely be an all-day event and we’d end it getting Mexican food in Van Nuys at either a food truck or Tijuana Grill! Both are perfect options!

– Santa Monica/Venice day!
– With such a packed day on Wednesday, we would use this day to relax at the beach and walk and drive around these areas. Oooh and eat poke from a place near the beach!
– We would go to the little aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier to pet a starfish or two!
– Definitely eating some frozen lemonade from street vendors!

– Melrose and Sunset Blvd day!
– Melrose, we would just walk around. Maybe find a nice little coffee shop, obviously take a picture in front of the Paul Smith pink wall!
– Lots of driving around Sunset and maybe seeing another movie at the AMC on Sunset! (Y’all, movies are such a big part of my life).
– For food, we’d be spontaneous!

– Start the morning with a nice little hike at Griffith Park, followed by some spontaneous spot for brunch.
– Later in the day, we go to WeHo, Hollywood and walk around a lot.
– We would probably also just wing it!

– Relaxing a little in the morning.
– See DTLA in the evening where all the lights downtown look like a freaking postcard. It’s beautiful and I don’t even know how to describe it.

There are so many places to go and food to eat that I don’t think we could squeeze it in one week but I think this would be a good starting point!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I believe in the term “it takes a village”, because gosh darn it, it freaking does. Whatever you’re doing, whether it be pursuing a career or raising a family, a good support system is needed. I was thinking about this earlier, but all of my current jobs (#freelancelife) have come to me because of connections or referrals. You’ll hear that a lot in the business right? “It’s all about who you know.” While that may be true, it’s also about surrounding yourself with genuine people that lookout for each other.

I would love to dedicate my shoutout to the most beautiful soul I’ve met since moving to LA five years ago, Kiyra Lynn. If you’re in the small entertainment hosting space, and you don’t know Kiyra, do yourself a favor and follow her on social media. If you’ve covered red carpets, chances are you’ve shared a carpet with her. Kiyra deserves all the credit and recognition in the world for her work ethic, her kind heart that is hard to come by, and her true professionalism in the business. Kiyra has been on the Reelz Channel, can be seen on Hollywood First Look and is a member of the Hollywood Critics Association and the Television Academy.

Kiyra has taught me the ins and outs of being an entertainment host and a producer. She’s the kind of person you text when you have a career question, when you want to vent, when you just want to have a soul sister in the trenches with you as you navigate your career. Kiyra is a rare find not only in this industry, but in the world and I’m so lucky to be alive at the same time as her.






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Day in the Life Remote: Cassandra Martinez

Early Career Committee

Commercial Operations Assistant, Candlewick Press

Tuesday July 14, 2020

7:30-8:30: While I would typically need to hop on a bus and then the T (Boston’s subway) to commute to Candlewick’s office in Somerville, I’ve been working remotely since mid-March. Some days I miss reading during my morning commute, but I love being able to just close my laptop at the end of a workday and enjoy more of my afternoon. Aside from the extra hour of sleep I now have, I’ve tried to keep my morning routine the same while working remotely, which includes doing a bit of yoga and writing.

8:30-9:30: During the summer, my workday begins at 8:30, an adjusted schedule so that I can finish my day at 1pm on summer Fridays. The first thing I do is check my email, go through my planner, and create my to-do list for the day as I have my breakfast. Once I’ve made myself a cup of coffee, I answer any pressing emails and knock out my easiest Tuesday tasks: updating Candlewick’s NetGalley catalog and sending out Happy Publication Day emails to authors and illustrators whose titles are being released today.  

9:30-11:00: Once that’s finished, I make my second cup of coffee and try to settle down. Concentrating while working from home has been difficult at times, so I set 35-45 minute timers for myself to stay focused, with a five minute break in between to ensure that I move, stretch, get some water, etc. This helps me stay motivated and focused while keeping me from being too stagnant. At this time of the morning, I carry out various tasks, including clearing users for our NetGalley titles, organizing and gathering materials for Fall 21 copy, and submitting our titles for various NetGalley promotions that I couldn’t complete earlier in the season.

11:00-12:00: After a short break, I get to work editing our reminder newsletter for the virtual San Diego Comic-Con. Copyediting has taken a look at the newsletter and my co-worker who wrote the copy has a few changes, so I make sure those are executed before sending the newsletter back to copyediting for a final scan.

12:00-12:30: In anticipation of an editorial meeting at 1:30, I take a look at what materials the editors have forwarded our head copywriter and me. Each copy season, I’m responsible for tracking what materials we have received, sending those materials to freelancers, setting up meetings, and creating the copy for our reuse titles. I try to familiarize myself a bit with the titles that the editors will be discussing during the meeting so that I have a better sense of what questions I might want to ask and what is important to write down.

12:30-1:15: Lunch! While I usually take lunch later in the day, I moved it up due to my editorial meeting. While at the office I’d typically walk through a little greenway to sit in a patch of shade and read as I eat, but as I’ve been spending the summer at my parent’s house in Virginia, I make myself some food and sit in my backyard.

1:15-1:30: Just enough time to check my emails before logging into Zoom for my meeting.

1:30-3:00: Today we are meeting with two different editors back-to-back over Zoom. As the editors present their titles for the Fall 21 season, I take notes by hand, which I’ll later transcribe and edit so that they can be sent to our freelance copywriters.

3:00-3:30: A lot of emails came in during my lunch and subsequent meetings so I try to go through them and answer what needs to be answered. I also schedule another editorial meeting for next Monday and save and catalog the materials that I’ve received for the titles we will be discussing.  

3:30-4:00: The final edits/notes for the newsletter are sent to me, so once I make the appropriate changes, I schedule the newsletter in Mailchimp.

4:00-5:00: I spend the last hour of my day chipping away at a research project that my boss assigned me. Designating the end of my day to this project has made it easier to devote time to it while simultaneously avoiding 4pm burn-out—I listen to some engrossing music or a podcast and the hour goes by quickly!

5:00: And that’s it! If nothing comes in that needs my immediate attention, I log off at five and if I don’t help my mom walk our dogs (a beagle mix and a jack russell, if you want to know) , I change into some exercise clothes so that I can bike and get myself moving after a day of sitting at the dining room table. 

Check out more from the Early Career Committee.

Tags:Day in the Life, ECC

The Storage Technologies Behind Facebook Messages

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Cassandra Martinez.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Amy Cassandra. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in San Antonio, Texas to a freaking amazing single mother. She gave me such a fantastic childhood, splitting our time in Mexico and Texas. Growing up, I was your stereotypical child performing every day like I had a residency in Vegas and my mom was front and center. I was eight when I first fell in love with acting, singing and dancing and was part of a program in Mexico called S.E.T.

During my entire school career, I learned to play the violin and even became concertmistress in high school and was in absolute shock when we got to perform in Carnegie Hall. I was in the pep squad, dance team, my school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. I joined my college’s choir, became a host, anchor and Entertainment Director of the TV Department, as well as a DJ for the radio department. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a concentration in Production and a minor in Theatre.

I interned at KABB FOX 29 in the news and lifestyle and entertainment departments and then worked there for about a year as a production assistant and even did segments as the resident health nut on LIVE TV! I got married and moved to LA where the first year, as everyone always says, was an…experience! I couldn’t seem to find anything but at the end of that year, I started booking production assistant jobs in commercials, tv shows and even stood in for Shania Twain! *Cue “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”!*

Shortly after that, I joined AfterBuzz TV Networks and continued building my reel. I’ve appeared on Hollywood Junket, Popcorn Talk, Book Circle Online, Red Carpet Report, Screen Junkies, Collider, Geek Bomb, Clevver, The Trendy, Hollywood First Look Features, Sideshow Collectibles and Hollyscoop. I was accepted into the NBCUniversal/ABFF Hosting Workshop and have taken drama and comedy intensives at Margie Haber Studio, Warner Loughlin and Second City and taken improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Most definitely not and I feel like most people in life have had some major speedbumps. If life was sunshine and rainbows, how would we grow as people, you know?

I was a teenager when my mom was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, and I lost her while I was still a teenager. I took a week to plan her funeral and everything that needed to be done and was back in college taking acting classes that following Monday. Growing up, my mom always instilled in me the importance of going for your dreams and perseverance, she worked three jobs at a time for most of my life. She was also a goofball and I’d to think that her ability to keep positivity in dark times has been passed down to me. It’s unbelievably difficult to not have her around for all of my biggest life moments like being the first from my family to graduate from college to me getting married. It’s rough not being able to show her all the wonderful things I’ve been able to do because of her. Heck, even the tough things I’ve survived, like my first year in LA with my husband.

I will always remember how in the first few months of marriage, my husband and I used Olive Garden gift cards we got as wedding presents to have one meal at 2pm and we’d drink crap tons of water to feel full and then take breadsticks and eat them for dinner and breakfast the next day. We stayed with friends in Riverside for the first month (bless them) after we got married and weren’t getting paid yet from my husband’s job. It was nuts but nothing says marriage and welcome to LA like dealing with things like that. You know? I also will never look at Olive Garden breadsticks the same way. Thank you for being delicious.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an entertainment host, producer, editor and actor and I’ve finally started taking singing lessons as well, something I’ve been wanting to do since choir in college!

I specialize in mostly geeky content that spans from talking about the MCU (Scarlet Witch is AMAZING) and Robert Pattinson being The Batman (I AM SOO EXCITED!), to geeking out over Guillermo Del Toro’s (I LOVE HIM SO MUCH) horror movies and more! I love horror and even have my own LIVE horror show I stream on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook simultaneously. It’s called Horror Hangout with Amy and airs at 2pm PT on Saturdays!

I currently work for Geek Bomb, Hollyscoop, Hollywood First Look Features and Sideshow Collectibles. I talk about the latest celebrity news and inject my commentary by being myself on Hollyscoop. I talk about geeky things on Geek Bomb and Sideshow Collectibles. On Hollywood First Look Features, I talk to fantastic people in the film industry at red carpets and film junkets!

I have been taking acting classes for about a year now and have been in shorts and a feature film! I would love to continue working more in front of the camera in this aspect because it helps me breathe and be the person I like being.

When it comes to hosting, I think what sets me apart from others is that I love talking with people and my personality and excitement for things really show in my work. I don’t put on a show, instead I just act like I do in real life, while still being professional.

I am proud that especially this year, I’ve been able to use my social media platform to bring more awareness to mental health, to voice the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, to educate those that aren’t Mexican about how freaking awesome we are and so much more. It’s a learning experience trying to balance both the creative fun “look-at-this-cool-photo-of-me” side of Instagram with the “hey-the-world-needs-our-help-let’s-do-something” side and I am growing so much as a human by doing that.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
This is such a difficult question but I would have to say working at the SAG Awards for the last three years. I grew up watching awards shows with my mom and having dreams of attending one day. We’d make a whole event of it with a fancy meal from HEB (grocery store in Texas) and I’d get so excited seeing my favorite movie stars getting recognized for their work!

To be in the same space as so many people that have worked hard for their dreams and created such amazing films and shows is an absolute honor that I don’t take lightly. I’ve been able to see so many behind the scenes moments that never make air. From people congratulating each other after getting their actor (award) to cheering during someone’s speech, to singing and crying while it hits them they’ve won to just the moments where big stars are catching up with their other big star friends. This is part of their job and they get to do what they love for a living. Those are all “pinch me” moments to the nth degree.

My mom always told me to go for my dreams and to not cut myself short and as I feel as we get older, we think “well, I need to find a reasonable job that will give me benefits and is safe” instead of doing what makes our heart happy. Working at the SAG Awards is a yearly reminder that I can do what makes my heart happy. This girl from San Antonio, Texas (and everyone reading this), can do the BIG thing. We can make our wildest dreams come true.

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Image Credit:
Personal photo: Brittany Bravo

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