About AJ- In his own words
Only weeks before his death, AJ finished setting up his website. He wrote his own "About me".
One of AJ's final head shots
First the fun stuff. I am the oldest of four children, a native New Yorker, I love all music from Mozart to Marilyn Manson and everything in between. Here's a little fun fact, I know the tune to practically every song in history, and the words to almost absolutely NONE of them ;-).
Now my story. At the age of three or four, I pointed (so I've been told,) at the television screen in our small railroad apartment in Astoria, looked up to my mother and father, and told them that I wanted to go THERE. They thought I was referring to Sesame Street, and of course that probably would have been a fantastic idea as well, but I think I was truthfully referring to the shows, movies, and stories that were constantly captivating me as a child. By the age of ten, I started to do children’s musicals and plays with local theaters, by twelve, I was doing voiceover work for children’s shows and “English as a second language” tapes, and by thirteen I realized that I had two left feet and couldn’t dance.
I decided (after some convincing) that I would start to attend a tap and jazz class, just to shake off the awkwardness. Apparently there was some dance in me after all. Nine months later I was offered a full ride scholarship to a dance school in Orlando, Florida which led to winning scholarships from dance conventions, study in California and New York and participation in a well known Pro Am dance company.
Five years later I was looking at a professional dance career and I was scoping out ballet companies to audition for after high school graduation. Well, as the adults and teachers in your life tell you, and as the semi old adage goes, “you should always have a back-up plan. You never know what could happen, you could have an accident and your physical career is over.” I didn’t have a backup, nor did I want a backup. I knew that I wanted to be on stage, sharing myself and story telling. This was the only life for me.
As luck would have it, three weeks before high school graduation, I was involved in a horrible car crash. I broke my femur. This is the biggest bone in your body. The strength of the leg and so very important for a dancer. In an instant my life changed. I was restrained to a wheelchair and the accident dashed away my dreams of being a professional dancer. I was told it would take between a year and a half to two years to completely recover to normalcy and to “find a new ambition”. The doctors said I would not be able to dance after the surgeries and rods that I had incurred.
My “I don’t have time for this” kicked in. Within four months I was out of my wheelchair, and within one year I was dancing again in my first show. From there I decided to push the envelope and stare the “you can’t do this” in the eye, and I became a professional stilt walker with Universal Studios. The next challenge was to become trained in arial arts and work with several cirque companies throughout Central Florida.
After landing an international tour with Disney Live and Feld Entertainment, I knew it was time to return to my native New York. I traveled for three years throughout Asia and Europe for three years as an actor, dancer, and puppeteer and have to say had the time of my life. It was rough and I knew that my dance shelf life was coming to a very quick end. Yes, I did rise to the occasion, but knew the longevity and strength would not last due to my past injuries.
It was then that it hit me like a ton of bricks, as if the clouds had cleared, it was obvious to me that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. I would have never stopped dancing, and would have never been able to fully return and commit to my original and still very alive dream of being a professional and well trained actor if that accident didn't happen.
It was at that point I put the dance shoes back on the shelf for a while and applied for and was accepted to The William Esper Acting Studio.
I diligently studied in many different classes of the craft and completed the two year acting program in May 2012. Since then, my life has been committed to growing and learning within my craft, as well as applying my life experience and world travels to my work. I want to become the fullest, sharpest, and most flexible and available actor I can be. Although I always continue my studies, and there is always more to learn, everything that I have acquired and brought to the table seems to working wonderfully and I am proud to say that I am now a consistently working actor in film, television, and theatre.
I can’t wait to grow within my craft, within myself, and in my career.
Thank you for coming to my website, and I’m very excited to work with you soon!