Every Friday, we’ll be featuring a past Joci Awards finalist and finding out what they’ve been up to since performing in the annual competition, learning what the future holds for them, and asking them to dish sage advice to future competitors. Check back often for future updates, and if you know of a past winner interested in being featured, please contact us here.

Aaron Arroyo

Tell us what year and category you competed in the Joci Awards.

I competed in the Acting category in 2011.

What are you up to now? Are you in school? Working?

I am currently in training for my MFA in Acting at UC Irvine.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to use my training in undergrad and grad school to work in theatre and film.

Tell us about your Joci Awards experience. What was it like performing on stage of the Empire Theatre? Any other fun memories that stand out?

The experience was absolutely thrilling and scary all rolled into one emotion. To be in the finals is an honor in itself but to perform in the gorgeous Empire Theatre in front of theatre lovers and practitioners — it doesn’t get any better than that. It is such a inspiring experience. The memories that stayed with me were the relationships I developed with my fellow finalists. You can learn so much from everyone’s talent and what they personally bring to the stage. I admire The Majestic Empire Foundation and their devotion to keep theatre and education alive.

What advice do you have for future scholarship applicants and Joci Awards performers?

Be prepared, as always. Think about the Joci Awards as another opportunity to perform. We are performers and want to be heard. Have fun, of course, but most importantly, be yourself.