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This month's theme: Movies
 

Cindy Fernandez-Nixon: From Engineer to Actor

by

Fran Joyce

photo credit: Becky Thurner


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy Fernandez-Nixon is a Dominican–American actor, producer, voice-over artist, TV/radio host, and spokesperson. She immigrated to New Jersey with her family from the Dominican Republic when she was thirteen.

Though she had taken dancing and acting classes in the Dominican Republic, according to her parents and the culture she was raised in, acting was not a real career. Fernandez-Nixon’s parents encouraged her to work hard in school, so she could become the first member of her family to earn a college degree. They pushed her to choose a career that would guarantee her success in their new country.

She excelled in math and science, and chose to study engineering. Fernandez-Nixon indulged her love of performing by being active in theater in college. After graduating from the New Jersey Institute of Technology with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, she relocated to Pittsburgh for work. Fernandez-Nixon enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained her M.S. in industrial engineering. In Pittsburgh, she became involved in the film industry and appeared in independent feature films, industrial videos, music videos, live events, and theatrical productions as well as becoming a paid spokesperson for various companies and products.

According to Fernandez-Nixon, “My parents were overjoyed, and I was very successful at my job. In 2009, there weren’t many Latino/Hispanic actors in Pittsburgh, and Latinas weren’t being considered for most roles. When there was a role for a Latina, I worried that I didn’t have the “traditional Latina” look and wouldn’t fit the part being offered.”

Fernandez-Nixon saw the need for a Pittsburgh based Latino/Hispanic media source. In 2010, she started her own production company, La Rumba Productions and she produces and hosts La Rumba Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s first Latin Hits Music radio show on WRCT and TV segments focused on the Latino community for the local PBS station, WQED. She also produces commercials and industrial videos, and she has a principal role and serves as co-producer for the independent film, Craig Quits his Day Job.”

In the past eight years, the city has become more diverse, and there is a greater Latino/Hispanic population. Thanks to tax credits for non-resident production companies, the affordability of filming in the area, and the caliber of actors here, more movies and television programs are being filmed in Pittsburgh. There are more roles for Latinas and Fernandez-Nixon’s look is now an advantage because she stands out.

After getting married and starting a family, Fernandez-Nixon made the decision to start acting full-time in addition to her first love which is being a mom. “I was an engineer for eight years, and I enjoyed it. I keep current on new technology, but for now I want to focus on being a mother and a working actress. I want my kids to grow up believing they don’t have to settle – they can follow their passion and succeed.”

Fernandez-Nixon has won several awards for her efforts including being featured on the front cover of the Pittsburgh Magazine 2014 issue titled, “40 Under 40.” She is featured in commercials for Hyundai, Accu-chek, Mercy Hospital (Ohio), and Northwestern Savings Bank. In addition to her work in the theater, she appeared in the television series, Grange Radio. She has roles in the following independent films: Regrets, Blood on the Leaves, and Craig Quits his Day Job. Monongahela, The Edict, and Rehabilitation of the Hill are all in post-production. She is gearing up to begin principal photography on the web-series Living While Black and the Amazon/Roku series, Beginnings (based on the book series by Jacqueline Druga).

For more information about Cindy Fernandez-Nixon, visit her website, cindyfernandeznixon.com.

 

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