Kira Catanzaro came to SRJC at a time when her life was changing. She took her first class in 2017 to learn how to sew costumes for her son’s high school theatre program. She continued taking marketing and theatre arts classes and this year she’ll add two career certificates to her academic accomplishments.
Kira’s life, so far, has included myriad travels, adventures, and international experiences. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island, at Brown University, where her father was a student, and moved to a number of different places during her childhood. Her mother was a singer and a music teacher. Her father became a banker and was transferred to Rio de Janeiro when Kira was four. Her parents got involved in musical theatre with other expats living in Brazil and Kira quickly developed a love for stories, storytelling, and performing.
Her parents eventually divorced and Kira’s mother re-married when Kira was nine. They moved from Brazil to the suburbs of Chicago, then to Santa Monica Canyon, near LA, then returned to the East Coast, ending up in Connecticut. Eventually, as a teenager, Kira pursued the glamorous life of a model in New York City, during the 1980s. Her big career chance arrived early and she was hired to be model for a major national campaign, but two days before the photoshoots, Kira had a car accident that injured her face.
With modeling dreams set aside, she thought about acting and was accepted by the prestigious Tish School of the Arts at NYU. She eventually decided that the program was not for her, so she moved back to LA. She achieved an occupational certificate in interior design, started working in hospitality design, then moved to San Francisco, where she got her BA in Humanities and wrote for an interior design magazine. She got married, had two children and spent the next several years living in San Francisco before moving to Venice, Italy, then returning to Northern California.
Now, years later, Kira’s boys are grown up. One is in high school and one is in the Theatre Arts Program at SRJC and she says that her life has continued to change. As she says, “My parents passed away. My boys are grown up and my marriage has ended. Who am I now? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do?”
Since education was always a positive part of her life, she started marketing classes at SRJC, in order to round her experience in design and writing. Having been in a series of community theater plays, she also decided she wanted to continue to learn more acting techniques and joined SRJC’s theatre classes. She was ultimately selected to perform Shakespearean scenes as Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, and Olivia from Twelfth Night. In fall 2019, Kira was part of the brilliant production of The Sound of Music.
Instructors like Roy Gatinella (marketing), Laura Downing-Lee (theatre), and John Shillington (acting) have taught Kira more than just theory. She loved not only her instructors but also her classmates who all contributed to the magic of learning.
While she is finishing two career certificates (Marketing and Theatre Arts), Kira Catanzaro is also getting work experience as a student Marketing Assistant in the Public Relations Office at SRJC. In parallel, she helps the Theatre Arts Department with social media marketing, discovering the many ways she can apply the theory and start a career with self-assurance.
As she says, “The more I am doing, the more excited I am getting, and the more I realize I have so much more to learn.”