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Fail again, fail better: Theater grad Ausette Anderies on what she learned at ASU

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

Ausette Anderies

For Ausette Anderies, theater is more than entertainment – it’s a way to communicate. 

“At the end of my first year, political rhetoric was at an all-time high,” said Anderies, who graduated this May with a degree in theater and a degree in political science. “I realized that politics and policy are motivated by who can tell the best stories with the most effective communication.”

Anderies, who said she knew from 9 years old she wanted to be a professional actor, chose to pursue a second major in political science. She said this allowed her to accommodate her interest in political communication as well as her interests in logic, law, human rights and analytical thinking, while still connecting to the artistic storytelling practices that she spent most of her life studying.

Her honors thesis project included a research paper titled “Shakespeare’s Case for Vulnerability: Giving Voice to Pain and Suffering” and an interview and video project called “Evolution of Woman.” The research for both works centered around understanding the communication of pain and suffering and how this factors into our everyday lives.

“I sought to determine the different facets of pain and suffering and how, particularly, Shakespeare communicates these concepts in his work,” Anderies said. “I also compared how the representation of pain and suffering was different between male and female roles in Shakespeare’s writing.”

On top of graduating summa cum laude, receiving three scholarships, and taking lead or major roles in 14 theater productions and films while at ASU, Anderies has recently been awarded the Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award by Barrett, The Honors College. 

Question: Why did you choose ASU? 

Answer: As an artist, my main goal is to understand humans and improve our understanding of each other. This cannot happen in a culture of separation and exclusion. So, I chose ASU because the culture here is about learning, not status. This quote from the ASU charter sums up this sentiment, “ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed.” Great things happen when everyone gets a chance to pursue their interests. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU? What was that lesson?

A: Micha Espinosa and David Barker both shaped my growth as an artist and taught me lessons I will take with me through life. Professor Espinosa taught me to take opportunities with confidence, even if I did not feel ready, knowing that each experience will build into new skills no matter what the outcome. And Professor Barker extended this lesson by encouraging me to continue working on every aspect of my craft even when I felt I was finished with certain work — showing me that there is always room for growth and improvement and that passion is sustained by the desire to keep learning, no matter what.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school? 

A: If there is something you want to pursue, but you do not feel equipped to do so and therefore fear failure, most definitely pursue whatever that thing is. First, there will be many people who can help you even if it does not always appear so, and failing at something, especially in college, is the most valuable step in pursuing your interests. I use the word failure because that is commonly how we refer to things "not going as planned." But nothing is really a failure, just learning. So, fail as much as possible. College is the easiest place to try, fail and try again. Take advantage of that.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends, or just thinking about life? 

A: I loved to spend time in peaceful spaces with lots of plants. In particular, the green space nestled between the Moeur Building and Interdisciplinary A and B.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am continuing the work that I became involved in during my four years at ASU. At the beginning of the summer, I am continuing my work at the city of Tempe Office of Sustainability as the visual communications intern, as well as working as a core company member at Southwest Shakespeare Company. In addition, I will be continuing to work with FORD Robert Black Agency as an actor. And in the fall, I will be attending graduate drama school in the United Kingdom. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Well, to solve one problem in the world I would dream, instead of $40 million, to have the support of 40 million people. But, if I had $40 million, I would seek out leaders who are fighting against voter suppression in the United States and support their causes with whatever resources $40 million dollars could offer.

dnmunoz1@asu.edu