Part II of Jen Bush’s series on Dominika Zawada
“There’s no better way to learn the craft other than following the ones that have done this job for many many years on a high level and that’s what you find in the United States. It was always my dream, and I knew I wouldn’t give up without trying.”
Some feel that being a woman in any industry could be challenging because despite the strides, there is more work to be done toward equality. Working in America being from another country could present its own unique set of challenges. For Ms. Zawada, it’s all about positive thinking. “It’s a tricky question because I think there are advantages to both options. I choose to never focus on the difficulties because if I decide that it’s difficult to be a woman then I’ll attribute every setback to the fact that I’m a woman, which isn’t true. There are so many successful and strong women in the world so I choose to focus on the positive.”
“The fact that I’m international shouldn’t be an obstacle either. There are things I don’t know about American culture, but I’m learning and that makes it more diverse and open to other possibilities, people and experiences. I can use all these experiences and share it with others through my art, whether it’s music, theatre or performance.”
“I could look at my accent as a problem but then again, what about all these amazing actors whose accents have become their distinguishing characteristics. I believe that the obstacles we face are largely influenced by our thoughts and attitudes, and we have the power to either overcome them or allow them to hold us back. It all comes down to how you want to look at it. By embracing our diversity and individuality, we can create meaningful art that resonates with others and make a positive impact on the world.”
Every industry took a hit during the pandemic. Ms. Zawada shared her observations about the performing arts industry both during and after the pandemic. “I had the luck of being able to produce and keep busy during the pandemic, but it was definitely a tough moment for everyone, not only the industry. I feel like for the past year things started slowly coming up and the industry is starting to breathe again. There are many new, independent theatres and groups popping up around the city and people are hungry to get on stage and perform. Unfortunately, I did notice that theatres have less money to offer as it took a lot to stay afloat during the pandemic so being able to live off performing arts has been a challenge. I’m positive that we’ll get back to where we were, and we’ll be even more passionate and bold in our creations.”
Poland certainly has its fair share of the performing arts, especially in the bigger cities. Ms. Zawada had limited exposure to the availability of opportunities since leaving the country at such a young age. “I left Poland when I was only 19, straight out of high school so I didn’t get the chance to really experience what Poland has to offer for independent artists like me. I was able to perform at many concerts, festivals and contests though. Polish people love music, art and dancing, that’s our culture. I’m sure that by going to a big city like Krakow or Warsaw, meeting people and working I could get some opportunities in the field I was interested in.”
Ms. Zawada plans to continue to learn and grow in the industry. “Working as an artist is an ongoing development and a journey. Sometimes you don’t even know where it brings you, but you just have to trust yourself and keep going forward. My wish is to be able to work with the best of the best, learn from them and eventually stand on a Broadway stage and do my best.” With her drive, talent, skill sets and willingness to put in the hard work, Ms. Zawada is sure to find her happily ever after in the arts.