It would be accurate to describe the Dominican-born artist Katherine Castro as a Swiss army knife of a person: the epitome of multi-faceted simplicity. This creative powerhouse does just about everything that you can imagine a performative artist can handle, making Castro one of the standout Latinas of today.
Castro is perhaps best known for her work on camera, having transplanted herself many years ago to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career in film. Her acting credits include Spanish-speaking as well as English-speaking roles, an impressive feat for any actor in film. Castro, though, isn’t just your ordinary bilingual Latina working in Hollywood. Her lifelong travels as a military brat have presented her with the opportunity to become a proud polyglot: she also speaks Portuguese, French, and Arabic.
This theme of doing more than “just one thing” is evident in other aspects of her life too. As a youth, she studied multiple genres of dance and movement, including ballet, jazz, tap, and gymnastics, winning dance competitions left and right; now, she practices capoeira, flamenco, aerial-silk trapeze, martial arts, and acro-gymnastics. You know, like, just your average selection of hobbies.
Somehow Castro has managed to find time to make award-winning art. Her most recent project, the English-language short film Someday, premiered at last summer’s Dominican Film Festival in New York City. The film earned the award for Best Short in the “Dominicans in the Diaspora” category. To Castro, it was akin to winning an Oscar. “[Getting] this not only from the organizers and the judges but also from other filmmakers that were there in the competition means the world,” she recently told People en Español, expressing how humbling it was for her to be recognized by her peers. “That’s my Oscar. That’s how it feels.”
Of course, Castro did more than simply star in Someday. She also co-wrote and co-produced the film, whose story was actually based on her own real-life experience of forging a deep connection with a fellow traveler on a transpacific flight. In an interview last summer, Castro told the Latino Hollywood blog Latin Heat that the brief, temporary encounter turned her worldview upside down. “We tend to overthink, and we love complicating everything, don’t we,” she said, describing one of the major blockages that many of us grapple with in this oversaturated, overexposed, over-stimulated modern age. “When, in reality, everything is simple. To enjoy the now. To be fully present. To disconnect from our phones and distractions and enjoy the presence of this human being in front of you at that moment, nothing else matters, and that’s a fantastic feeling. It lasts forever.”
So that settles it. The next time you end up in a seat next to Castro on a flight, heed her advice: put down your phone, say hi, and stay a while.