Redhawks of the Week: Junior Cheska Bañez

Tiffany Xu, Focus Editor, Staff Photographer

1. What are your post high school plans?

I’m trying really hard to get a lot of scholarships because I really want to go to an art school for performing and fine arts. My parents aren’t letting me go unless I get a full scholarship. I’m also thinking about taking year off and going to Los Angeles because I already have an agency there for acting.

2. What are you passions and interests? What activities are you involved in at school and outside of school?

My passion and life is about the arts — music especially. It is like my oxygen. It keeps me going and alive. I feel like the arts are my purpose. The arts are one of  the only platform I have to freely express myself. Normally, I’m not the type of person who can easily be vulnerable. But with singing, drawing and writing music and all that, I don’t set boundaries for myself. I give myself into it.

Right now I am in the musical, Theater Central and I do Rotary Club sometimes. Outside of school, I do a lot of auditions for acting. Especially for film, TV shows and commercials. I just started last summer and got to work with a lot of great people. I got invited to do a workshop with Roberta Duchak and Scott Calcagno. Roberta Duchak was the voice coach of Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables” and then Scott Calcagno is really big in the theater world. He is the most amazing acting coach I could ever ask for. I know the basics of acting because of him. He made me realize the gift and potential that I have. He is the reason that I have confidence in making it someday.

3. What are you most proud of?

Last summer, I went to California by myself to compete in an international convention where around 600 contestants from all over the world came. The contest was for singing, acting and all that. In my division, there were 200-300 people and I ended up winning the singing competition part. I won beauty commercial, TV beauty and top ten best headshot. Out of everyone, I was also in the top ten best actress and I participated in a showcase with 16 selected contestants.

I was really proud of that because I was by myself and I conquered. It gave me the drive to keep going because sometimes it’s so hard to feel confidence and push through because there are so many people who want the same thing as you. My biggest fear is to be just another face in the crowd. That whole competition made me realize that, “Oh, I can do this. I might be unique in my own way.”

4. What is your life dream?

I just want to make a positive impact on the world somehow and make a difference. These days, all the media portrays is “be as bad as you can because life is short, so be as reckless as you want.” But I want to make it known that being good is the greatest way to be. You can never go wrong with being good.

Also, as I am trying to pursue my dreams of music and art. I want to bring God along with me and say that no matter how bad your situation is, you are never alone because God is with you. I want to portray that through my actions and spread the word of wisdom to everyone.

5. What is something about you that you would like other Redhawks to know about you?

Even if I don’t know you, just come up to me and say hi. No matter what you are going through, I just want to be there for people because a lot of people feel like they are alone all the time and I don’t want that. I want to give everyone a hug and tell them it’s going to be okay!

6. Favorite high school memory?

Last year, I was in my school musical at Plainfield East High School and I met a bunch of girls that taught me a lot about how life works. They weren’t the type of people I would normally hang out with and they taught me that people’s decisions don’t define who they are and that there is always good in everyone.

7. Favorite joke or favorite inspirational quote?

“No matter what you do, people are always going to say something about it. So just do whatever makes you happy.” – Scott Calcagno.

8. What is something you can’t live without?

The arts.

9. What are three adjectives you would use to describe yourself?

Motivated, Determined, Hopeful

10. Who is your biggest hero or role model and why?

Demi Lovato because we have gone through similar things and she has taught me that love is always louder.

12. What is a motto you live your life by?

Forget about your reflection in the mirror, look past what lies beneath your eyes and what kind love and compassion your heart beats. Real beauty comes from within.