1. When did you know that you wanted to pursue the performing arts ?
I come from a musical family so performing was always a part of my life but it wasn’t until I played my first principal role in a musical summer before my senior year that I realized I could maybe take it a lot more seriously. From there I decided to audition for college musical theatre programs and the rest was history.
2. What encouraged you to be an advocate for body positivity and BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities?
Finding myself in a place of trying to be things I wasn’t and hiding parts of me that I was made to believe weren’t beautiful or right. I wasn’t seeing enough of my own intersections positively reflected in the world around me so I wanted to be sure to make sure others had an example of those things. We have to learn to love ourselves but so much of the struggle with that comes from what we’re shown and told should be valued. I’m here to show and tell people that they are the shit even if the don’t line up with the heteronormative, Western standards of beauty and success.
3. Who or what inspires you?
I’m not big on pop culture and celebrities but there are a lot of smaller creators on Instagram that inspire me as well as my chosen family. People that love hard in spite of adversity inspire me and beautiful art. I’m luckily to know so many thoughtful and vulnerable artists personally. It’s such a gift.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is afraid to live in their truth?
If you are in an environment that feels unsafe for your to live your truth, seek help to get out. I know that can be much more easily said than done but your safety matters most first and foremost. If you are not necessarily at risk of harm, I implore you to stand in the power of who you are. Find community. Even if the one you were born into doesn’t quite fit or doesn’t fully accept you, there is one out there that will. You’re not alone.
5. What legacy would you want to leave behind ?
I want to make beautiful things and inspire people to be real and honest and imperfect. We are all always learning and there’s a lot of beauty in that. I love seeing the growth in myself and others and I want to be remembered as someone who continuously got better and encouraged the same in others.
6. What is a quote or saying that gets you through a difficult time?
"This too shall pass.” It seems so simple but I’ve been telling myself this a lot lately and especially over the last 14 months of this pandemic. Everything in life is fleeting and it can all be taken away in an instant. Hold tight to the things that money and circumstance can’t buy. Love, hope, joy, connection— they’ll carry you through.
Please tell everyone where they can find you social media and anything you are working on.
You can find me on Instagram @deannestewart and on the web at Deanne-Stewart.com for the last updates! I’m excited for the return of Broadway this fall with Jagged Little Pill and to continuing to navigate the entrepenurial space with my intimate event planning and design company, Dear September, Events (@dearseptemberevents.com)!