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Liza Colón-Zayas Swears by Brené Brown, ‘Hacks’ and Hugs


2. Stephen Adly Guirgis He’s my favorite living playwright. We go way back, and he’s written many roles for me. As a born and raised Recent Yorker, his ear for the streets is unlike anyone else’s. His rhythm and the layer of comedy in his plays makes the pain palatable.

3. My Mom’s Greeting Cards Mami all the time remembers to have a good time all of her family members’ birthdays and anniversaries. She’ll write these sweet personal messages in each one and use up all of the space, then there’ll be an arrow pointing to more writing on the back. She’s all the time been my cheerleader. She’s 84 and has passed through a variety of struggles on this life, has all types of chronic illnesses, but she just emanates positivity.

4. Home Being an actor means going deep and giving all of it to the audience, so house is a spot to recharge. Give me my couch, the handheld remote control, my delivery app, and I’m in my pleased place. There’s a bit Italian place near us called Bella Notte, and so they make the best cheesesteak sandwich ever. Yes, I said that! Sorry, Philadelphia.

5. Binging Shows With My Husband I like watching shows with David because he does the hilarious commentary. A few of our recent binges are “Succession,” “What We Do within the Shadows,” “Abbott Elementary,” “Hacks,” and in fact “The Bear.” “Hacks” is so brilliantly funny and offbeat, and “Abbott Elementary” has that mockumentary feel but representing individuals who work in schools who appear like me. And in fact I like “The Bear” — I used to be not shocked, but a bit super-impressed with how well the pilot turned out.

6. “Atlas of the Heart” by Brené Brown My friend, the actress Elizabeth Rodriguez, is all the time up on the newest self-help books, articles and podcasts. When she raved about this one, I made a decision to envision it out. Mind-blowing. Brown breaks down an extended list of human emotions and triggers and helps the reader understand the subtle differences to be able to accurately name, face and address them. Just a few days ago, I used to be feeling anxious, and this immediately got me grounded and in a position to recognize my anxiety or my impostor syndrome. I feel like I must be playing this one on a loop every three months.

7. Labyrinth Theater Company This ensemble theater, which was formerly Latino Actors Base, has been my artistic support system since 1992. Our ragtag company celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this fall. I’ve made lifelong friends, met my husband and received one of the best training there. They helped embrace who I’m, somewhat than erase what makes me me. Finally having in-person meetings with them makes me giddy.

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