Writing her script for success

Amelie Lee, Editor-in-Chief

From singing as a spirited hairstylist to an anxiety-ridden crab, Diamond Bar High School senior Amelia Anijielo is used to being in the spotlight. This past month, Anijielo has gained recognition for her performance in Diamond Bar High School’s spring musical “The Little Mermaid,” receiving a nomination from from The Spirit of Macy Awards.

Chosen to attend a callback for “Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical,” Anijielo is competing against 14 other high schoolers in California for a chance to perform in New York.

By sending judges all across California, the Spirit of Macy Awards aims to recognize talent in musical theater in high school students. After witnessing hundreds of performances, judges nominate stand-out performances, then allow contenders a chance to audition for the award.

Involved in the Diamond Bar theater program since her freshman year, Anijielo has played characters ranging from the witch in “Into the Woods” and Daniela from “In the Heights.” Anijielo has won multiple awards in theater, including the London Academy of Music Arts award, as well as placing third in acting at the California State Festival this past year. With her most recent performance as Sebastian the Crab in “The Little Mermaid,” Anijielo hopes to take her performance to a bigger audience.

“I usually play comedic characters, and I love seeing people smile and making people laugh. I feel happy when I can influence other people to enjoy or join theater, I can connect with so many people,” Anijielo said.

Anijielo will audition at the Rose Center Theater on May 24, performing “If Only” from “The Little Mermaid” soundtrack, as well as a piece titled “Random Black Girl,” by Kooman + Diamond. Anijielo said that she hopes to be able to draw from her connection to the songs to impress the judges, relating the lyrics to her own life.

“‘If Only’ centers around how [Sebastian] wishes he could do more for Ariel, but he can’t because he’s just a crab,” Anijielo said. “It reminds me of the way my mom does everything she can for me… she wishes she could do and get more involved.”

After becoming a finalist in the Musical category at the California State Festival while singing “Random Black Girl,” Anijielo said that the song reminded her of how society views minorities, and the importance of diverse representation in theater.

“I don’t always want to be typecast as the stereotypical black loud character. It’s a comedic song, and I wanted to announce ‘Here’s who I am,’ and show that I can sing,” Anijielo said.

Anijielo hopes to pursue theater and acting in the future, taking a double major in theater and neuroscience at UCR this fall. Working with a production company over the summer, Anijielo hopes to one day own her own film company and explore directing.

“I feel really happy to be recognized for this award, I’m really fortunate and I’m constantly grateful for Mr. Kaitz and the rest of the cast always rooting for me and cheering me on,” Anijielo said.