The smooth sounding Brooklynite, Samantha Braga, shares what it takes to pull off a one woman show, how it feels to see yourself on a New York billboard, and the importance of making your dreams a reality.
Like many New Yorkers, Samantha Braga is a first generation American. While her youthful dreams of modeling and singing might not have fit the practicality of familial expectations, she has proven that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. From singing Celine Dion songs in her bedroom as a young girl, to headlining a one woman show at famed New York cabaret spot, The Duplex, Samantha’s love of musical theater and performing has never wavered.
Samantha’s first big break came in the form of modeling. While backstage at an Adidas event, she was spotted by one of the organizers and asked if she had ever considered modeling. It wasn’t long before Samantha’s image was part of a major New York campaign that spanned across subway turnstiles, billboards, and storefronts. “Seeing my image across the city as part of a major brand campaign made me feel like I could do anything,” she said. “I was fielding constant calls from friends who had spotted me and it was definitely a surreal experience.”
While performing in various community theater troupes across the five boroughs, Samantha embarked on putting together a show of her own in 2018. She was booked to perform at The Duplex in the West Village and played to a packed house. While planning and executing a hit show is the “hardest thing” she’s ever done, she also finds the experience to be the “most rewarding”. Samantha says there’s no secret recipe for success. “It takes hard work, passion and dedication.”
Samantha’s latest endeavor has her performing with a troupe of artists called The Rhapsody Players. They fundraise for such causes as pediatric cancer awareness, Hurricane Sandy relief, and various youth organizations. In 2013 they received a Congressional Award of Recognition for community service. As Samantha continues to follow her dream of performing, she wants to let aspiring singers know that the hard work is definitely worth it. “The peace that comes with living your authentic life isn’t about money or success, it’s about being yourself.”
Check out some of Samantha Braga’s favorite New York spots:
Best New York Pizza: Joe’s Pizza in the West Village. No frills, classic slice.
Best New York Bagels: Murray’s Bagels (6th Ave & 13th St). Quintessential NY Bagels.
Best New York Coffee Shop: Porto Rico on St. Mark’s Place. Peruse beans from all over the world.