Interview with Emanuela Trovato, Actress and Acting Coach

by Maria Teresa De Donato

Sicilian by birth, Roman by adoption, actress, acting coach, wife, mother, and much more: this, in short, is the picture that emerges of her as we get to know her. Emanuela Trovato is an extraordinary woman with a severe appearance, severe indeed, but with a disarming smile and an authentic, warm, friendly personality. When she talks to you, she does it from the heart.

Her profile is fascinating, and her life is quite intense, but I’ll leave the floor to her without going further.

Enjoy the reading!

(Photo Emanuela Trovato: Mara Zampariolo©2022-2024. All Rights Reserved)

MTDD: Hi, Emanuela. Welcome to my blog and virtual cultural salon. It’s a pleasure to have you here today.

ET: Thanks for the invitation, Maria Teresa. It is a real pleasure to be your guest here and to share my passions with the international audience of your Virtual Cultural Salon.

MTDD: Emanuela, as I mentioned in the introduction, you are Sicilian by birth and Roman by adoption, with “Sicily always in your heart” and by your own admission.

Do you want to tell us about your native land, what you particularly miss, and any adjustments you had to make when moving to Rome?

ET: As you rightly said, I am a Sicilian actress transplanted to Rome. My land is always in my heart because it is a magical place, rich in history, culture, beauty, and traditions, as much as Rome, of course, but that another place is my place; it’s as if elsewhere, I always feel a little guest. This is why, to tell the truth, I don’t feel “adopted”: when I moved, I was already too old, I think, to be able to be.

In particular, I miss the scent of the sea, of nature in bloom. And what about the flavors? The caponata, the pasta alla Norma, the Sicilian cannoli—just thinking about them makes my mouth water! And I kind of miss that sense of family and community that you can feel in Sicily, where I left my loved ones. I must also say that in Rome, I found this great sense of welcome in my circle of friends.

Moving to Rome was an essential step in my personal and professional growth. It was a difficult choice, but one that I found necessary, and in fact, it enriched me a lot and opened up new opportunities. In moments of nostalgia and difficulty, I tried to hold on and make the best of every situation, adapting and managing the challenges, mainly thanks to the support of my husband, Giovanni Carta, also an actor, who always encouraged me to go after you.

Getting used to such a big city was difficult; I had to learn to manage my time differently and adapt to a more frenetic pace of life. However, Rome gave me a lot. Being a nerve center for cinema, theater, and television allowed me to pursue my career as an actress in a national context, as I would not have been able to do if I had stayed down, at least in the early 2000s. Today, when auditions are often done remotely, everything is different.

(Photo Emanuela Trovato: Mara Zampariolo©2022-2024. All Rights Reserved)

MTDD: What do “Sicilianness” and “Romanness” consist of for you, as a woman and also as an actress?

ET: My Sicilian nature has given me great sensitivity and profound expressiveness. Romanity taught me to find my own discipline and the strength not to give up every single day. They are two cultures that complement each other and enrich me. Rome and Sicily are open to the world, and people are used to interacting with other different cultures. Both Sicilian and Roman irony is biting and subtle, with many self-deprecating and sarcastic accents. Ultimately, I find many similarities between the two realities despite the peculiarities of each.

MTDD: For your activities in spreading the Sicilian language, we could describe you as “the actress of Sicilians, ladies and gentlemen, in the world.”

How important is preserving the dialect for safeguarding one’s cultural roots?

ET: A dire il vero sono ancora agli inizi di quello che mi prefiggo di fare, ovvero contribuire a mantenere in vita la lingua siciliana attraverso lo studio dei classici. Every language is a precious heritage because it preserves the identity of a people. Sicilian, which is, to all intents and purposes, a language with its own dialects, was born even before Italian. It is also a bridge between the past and the present, and many emigrants still speak today what was spoken in Sicily in the 1950s. Especially for those who, like me, no longer live in Sicily, it is a way to return to their roots and feel part of a community even from afar.

It is a privilege and an honor for me to be able to study literary Sicilian with the help of experts, even on ancient and rare documents. For this, I want to thank the Academy of the Sicilian Language and Cademia Siciliana, two very active associations on the web, for studying and protecting Sicilian in its correct forms, including orthographical ones. I didn’t imagine my linguistics, language teaching, and language psychology studies could be applied to teaching Sicilian.

As a child, I learned this language on my own by listening to it from my grandparents, and I have always practiced it. However, it was considered unrefined, and parents in the eighties did not encourage its use. Mine were no exception, and I fear this is still the case: many prejudices about its use exist. I hope to convey the image of a Sicilian woman who can also be refined. (Although I don’t lack accents of irony and “vastasate”, but that is the comic side of my personality, which I jealously preserve despite an apparent coldness.)

In addition to being an actress, I am also an acting coach. I teach acting in Sicilian to people from all over the world, and it excites me to see their enthusiasm for learning more and more about this rich and fascinating language through our online meetings. Then there are the conversations I offer in Sicilian, with Italian and English as the target languages, when necessary. Those moments are no longer just lessons but a blast from the past, and it’s a very special journey.

I also teach Sicilian accent to actors and actresses who have to prepare an audition or a scene about a character of Sicilian origins. I realize it is not easy for those not native to the area to give a slight inflection without exaggerating. For this reason, authentic acting coaching starts from the study of the text, usually written in Italian, to arrive at a subtext full of proverbs and sayings. To speak Sicilian, you have to think of Sicilian.

Safeguarding a language like Sicilian is a commitment of all those who love it. To ensure that this precious legacy is not lost and that future generations can continue to know and love the language of their ancestors, we must keep it alive by speaking it.

(Photo Emanuela Trovato: Mara Zampariolo©2022-2024. All Rights Reserved)

MTDD: I know that your husband, Giovanni Carta, is also an actor and that you have a child. How do you juggle family and professional responsibilities and schedules for rehearsals, shows, and so on?

ET: When both partners work in a profession with unpredictable hours and don’t have much family support due to distance, as in our case, fitting everything together can be a daily challenge. Being a parent is a full-time job but also a great joy. My husband and I try not to lose sight of the essential things and to enjoy every moment with our son, who arrived 11 years after our long-desired marriage. Family is our priority, and we try reconciling work and family needs. Sometimes, there are more intense work periods, and others are calmer; we adapt to the circumstances. Every now and then, one of us gives up something; we try to understand each other and make time to be together.

MTDD: On your official website, we read: “Each of us plays a role in life, actually many, but we don’t always feel ‘in part,’ and this is the most difficult task: BEING YOURSELF!”

Can you start by telling us about your journey to become an actress and why you chose this career?

ET: Becoming an actress wasn’t a dream I had since I was a child. Then, I thought I would be a painter. Yes, I played with characters and stories I imagined, but I wouldn’t even dare think about a career as a professional actress. First, because it was instilled in me that being an artist wasn’t a real job, and secondly, because I was extremely shy. I was already an adult when I started attending theater courses until I landed at the professional school of the Teatro Stabile in Catania. I left for Rome, continued to train and work and graduated in Literature between one tour and another. My specific area of interest has always been around voice and language. I experimented with different techniques until I came across the Linklater Method to free the natural voice, of which I became a certified teacher.

Nothing was easy. I have had and still have to face many obstacles and moments of discouragement. But my tenacity and passion pushed me to persevere even in the worst times.

Several reasons pushed me to become an actress. First of all, I love acting because the process of getting to the scene allows me to explore myself, the other people involved in the creative phase, my me-character in relation to the other characters, and again, me with regard to the audience, to criticism, to applause. It’s a constant challenge. Every role is an opportunity to learn and grow, putting myself in others’ shoes.

Being an actress or actor doesn’t just mean playing a role; it also means being able to be yourself. It is essential to bring your personality to the stage or set. This is what makes every actor and actress unique and special.

Acting can also be a powerful tool for communication and change. Through theater and cinema, we can tell stories that excite us, make us reflect, and contribute to improving society.

(Photo Emanuela Trovato: Mara Zampariolo©2022-2024. All Rights Reserved)

MTDD: Why do you think it is difficult to ‘be yourself’ and, for those who were wondering, how do you achieve this coveted goal?

ET: Being yourself is the consequence of introspection, analysis, and choices. However, the journey within oneself is often hindered by social pressures and the fear of judgment. Without even realizing it, we are used to wearing a mask to conform to others, and this suffocates our authenticity, preventing us from being happy. Not being afraid to feel different is essential to expressing your true nature.

Being yourself is a process that requires time and dedication. I have found my way to notice certain automatisms and overcome them thanks to my work on my voice with the Linklater Method, which I have already mentioned. To free your voice, you must learn to free yourself, starting from the body and inevitably passing through what the body reflects: thoughts and emotions. It is a fascinating journey of discovery, which I recommend to all those who carry around useless ballast, which prevents them from flying high.

MTDD: Let’s talk about your professional path as an actress. What roles and characters have you played so far, which ones do you feel closest to, and why?

ET: I was lucky enough to frequent classical and contemporary theatre, going on stage from ancient theaters such as Epidaurus in Greece to non-theatrical places such as the Zisa shipyards in Palermo, with very different texts and styles. Among the characters I remained closest to were Cassandra in Le troiane, alongside Ivana Monti, whom I had already joined in the role of her daughter in the comedy Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, directed, always exciting for me, by Armando Pugliese. In a particular way, I am also linked to the protagonist of Io sono Chiara, a monologue written for me by Francesco Randazzo, which I brought to the stage directed by Giovanni Carta, on the troubled story of a woman who grew up with the ogre who had kidnapped as a child.

MTDD: Are there any roles that particularly attract you but that you haven’t had the chance to play yet? If so, can you give us some examples?

ET: I am fascinated by characters tormented by a dark past, by a painful secret, who hide deep inner wounds, and who must face their inner demons. I think of Medea, Lady Macbeth, or Nora from “A Doll’s House.” But I also love making people laugh and move at the same time, using humor to face life’s difficulties. Come to think of it, this is how I try to live real, everyday life.

I would like to try my hand at a contemporary character who reflects the complexities of today’s world, especially in cinema and television, which I have attended marginally compared to the theatre until now.

Returning to my monologue, which was a theatrical short that earned me an award for best actress, since it touches on an important theme, I want to work hard to make it live for a long time with an independent production, not only in theater reviews but also in all the circumstances in which we can and must underline our no, as a civil society, to violence against women.

MTDD: What is success for you?

ET: Feeling fulfilled and fulfilled in what I do, knowing that I have given my all and contributed to something positive every single day.

Success for me is not a point of arrival but knowing how to enjoy the journey of continuous personal growth and fulfillment, which goes beyond the professional one.

Pursuing my dreams with passion, expanding my knowledge, expressing my authenticity, creating deep relationships, and leaving a small positive mark on the world are the elements that define my concept of success.

(Photo Emanuela Trovato: Mara Zampariolo©2022-2024. All Rights Reserved)

MTDD: Often, since we were children, we are attracted to certain activities rather than others, and, in our own way, we show a particular inclination toward specific sectors.

How important is it for a parent to identify these dynamics and help the child, in every possible way, to cultivate his talents or, in any case, his natural predispositions?

ET: Recognizing and cultivating the inclinations of one’s sons and daughters is fundamental to their development and self-esteem. Suppose they are interested in specific activities or areas, revealing a natural predisposition. In that case, they should be listened to and, within the limits of the parents’ possibilities, helped to pursue their dreams. This doesn’t mean forcing a path but giving them the freedom to explore and discover their true passions. It is an investment in their future to help them become fulfilled people.

MTDD: In the world of entertainment and especially acting, the voice, like the body, is a fundamental element. Many actors and actresses attended diction courses to ‘correct’ any accent they had. You, as well as an actress, are also a trainer and coach.

Could you give us some details on this?

ET: The first course I attended was an elocution course, which I taught for six years at the Il Cantiere Teatrale school in Rome. It was fun to teach, and today, many of my former students have gone on to great careers in the entertainment world.

It is a technical subject, among the first that an aspiring actor or actress must learn to make it their own and then “forget” it. It was immediately useful to me because it allowed me to work as a voice-over for radio commercials, answering machines, presentations, and other videos, both corporate and otherwise.

Now that I am a freelance teacher, I hardly propose the study of diction in itself except as part of a broader path that takes into account the person’s specific objectives.

Generally, outside of the acting field, those who ask me to work on their diction or voice feel the need to improve their overall communication because they have to speak in public. I think of those who hold webinars and online courses or go on a stage as prestigious as the TEDx Talks, for which I have been a speaker coach since 2020.

Communicating effectively is a 360º path that cannot be reduced to a technical aspect. Otherwise, one risks becoming rigid, barricaded in the rules of diction, and appearing stuck while speaking in public.

For this reason, I created an online study and training path based on Linklater body-voice acting training. It is designed for actors, actresses, and public speakers, but it is open to anyone who wants to experiment and improve because, like Shakespeare, I think that “all the world’s a stage and all of us actors” and actresses.

(Photo Emanuela Trovato: Mara Zampariolo©2022-2024. All Rights Reserved)

MTDD: Do you have any projects you’re working on that you want to tell us about without revealing too much?

ET: As an actress, I can tell you in advance that I have a new theatrical project in the pipeline together with my husband and an audiovisual project. I look forward to sharing more details. In the meantime, I continue to work behind the scenes as a voice and performance coach and am preparing for my first speech on a TEDx stage, where I was invited as a speaker.

MTDD: Thank you, Emanuela, for participating in this interview. I will be happy to host you in the future to delve deeper into some of your activities.

In the meantime, how can those who wish to follow you or contact you do so?

ET: Thank you for letting me discuss my experience on your blog. And thanks, above all, to the readers! If they are intrigued by some of my activities, I will happily learn more with you. In the meantime, anyone who would like to follow me or contact me can find me in the following ways by 




Or by using my email

See you soon!

(Photo Emanuela Trovato: Mara Zampariolo©2022-2024. All Rights Reserved)