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Elena Aaron (Lena Oscar)

   They say that growing up in Hell’s Kitchen builds character...And it also
gives you characters to play when you become an actor. Such is the case for
Elena Aaron, the first child of a French/English mom and a father from Spain. Spending her childhood in the inner city, Elena was exposed to dubious neighbors, school punks and hustlers. Activities like joining the Girl Scouts and learning to crochet at a local YMCA kept Elena’s mind occupied.

   The saving grace for Elena may have been her grandmother (Paula). Paula cared for Elena and her younger brothers while her mom, a single parent, was
working. She cooked, washed clothes, and made sure Elena got to church on Sundays. But Sunday afternoons was Elena’s favorite time. She remembers sitting down and watching Audrey Hepburn films like “Funny Face” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

   “I could watch Audrey have tea and toast and be fascinated by it,” states Elena.

   Despite all the wonderful exposure to Hepburn’s world, the acting bug did not catch Elena right away. She started at the Fashion Institute of Design, moved into
fashion buying/merchandising and earned her degree. Then, she spent time in Marbella, Spain with her fiancé, but decided to return to New York. She worked at a costume jewelry company and as a bartender/cocktail waitress in a billiards club.

   One day, while chatting with a prince from Saudi Arabia (honest to God), he encouraged her to go for her dream: to become an actress. Elena auditioned and paid
her way through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While attending school, she earned a theatre scholarship from the New York Times.

   Elena’s first stage performance was in an Off-Off Broadway performance of “It Begins With A Kiss.” This was followed by a production of: “Superior Smoke.”

   Simultaneously, Elena was accepting model assignments in billboard ads for Colgate and AT & T. For a while she was the “Lima Girl” and then she became the
“Macarena Girl” (a step by step dance guide) in People Magazine. It was featured in the special end of year issue.

   New York Theatre jobs continued as she appeared in productions like: “Mrs. Bumpstead-Leigh…” “It Pays To Advertise,” and “History Lessons.” Even television casting agents were taking notice of Elena and she had the opportunity to do a stint on: “As The World Turns.” She played a make-up artist named Monica.

   As a result, auditions started coming fast and furious (sometimes 7-8 in a week) for Elena. She began her search for inner-peace. Her quest lead her to Shakti Gawain’s book and she started studying meditation.

   “Now, before every audition, I close my eyes and find my own sanctuary. I’m with my higher self…And sometimes, I think of Audrey Hepburn for solace,”explains Elena.

   In the summer of 2001, a refreshed Elena auditioned for the film: By The Sea (a romantic comedy) and got the lead role. She plays Lena Oscar, a feisty pastry chef
of a popular New York restaurant, who is fired by her boyfriend, so she finds kitchen work at a turn of the century, ocean front hotel…There, she meets the ghost of her grandfather who helps her re-discover her Cuban heritage and coaches Lena on her love life...

   Playing Lena was an intense and very physical commitment for Elena. It demanded a full range of emotions from despair to elation. The physical aspect had
Elena constantly fainting and dancing the Cha-Cha. It was a lot of responsibility to place on the young actress, but maybe the most meaningful compliment for her came from the Executive Producer…

   While on location in Rhode Island, Elena overheard this producer touting about his lead actress to a local reporter and calling her “the next Audrey Hepburn.” She shrieked with joy and the film crew was surprised. The meditation was working!