Renée Santos: Bringing A Whole New Style To Show-business

Comic/Actress Renée Santos has seen her star rise over the recent years, appearing on Showtime’s Pride Comedy Jam, NBC’s New Amsterdam, TNT’s Murder in the First and Showtime’s Californication.

 Through all her stand-up shows and television appearances, there is one thing that remains the same: Renée is her own person, with her own style, and is often referred to as the 2019 version of Sporty Spice!

We caught up with her to dive deeper into her views on the fashion industry in-relation to her career as a comedian and actress.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I’ve often been called “Sporty Spice,” by more than one person so I’ve sorta embraced it. I love sporty clothing with a feminine edge. I also adore hats.  I love to juxtapose a non stereotypical masculine button down with tight pants or if I wear a tight fitted shirt my bottoms always sway. I don’t wear a lot of dresses unless it’s the summer, the more flowy, the better.

Does what you wear on-stage differ from your everyday attire?

Well I shower, put on makeup, and flat iron my hair when I go on stage. In life I live in converse, very little makeup, and a baseball cap. I don’t wear hats on stage though, I learned that the hard way. It creates a shadow when filmed and nobody can see my face! I had a killer set this one time that I couldn’t use because I was wearing a gorgeous Marc Jacobs hat. My comedy friends make fun of me and call it my Hat set.

Why do you think Comedians Vs. Fashion can usually never get along?

That is a very interesting question because you would think, people have to stare at just you and a microphone for up to an hour, give them something to look at!!!   In all serious though, I do think for women this question matters more than men. In general what we look like is always a factor in our worthiness unfortunately, but as Comedians we hope our value comes from our unique comedic vision and voice. Often times I have experienced the sassier my outfit the more people assume I won’t be funny. A “frumpy” outfit sometimes says to an audience. “I don’t care what you think.” In many ways that provides a level of freedom to just be an artist. I will admit though I do take my ensemble very serious when I go on stage for bigger gigs. I do “up” the feminine for my performances because I am a lesbian and a lot of my content speaks to the fact that I don’t fit the assumption of what a lesbian looks like; I like to be the visual contradiction. When I’m performing my aesthetic informs my content and the audience’s surprise when I reveal I’m gay. My wardrobe is always a critical element to my comedy.

When attending red carpet events, what is your usual “go-to” outfit?

This is when I glam out! It’s like I’m a gay man trapped in a lesbian’s body! I love Reds or Plums strapless and long dresses! Red carpets are where I get to feel like a princess.

In the comedy world, who do you look up to?

I’ve always admired Jane Lynch and Tina Fey, I loved that Tina Fey started in a Writer’s room and I adore that Jane Lynch found her original comedic swagger in a Sketch Comedy Troop. Sketch is where I fell in love with comedy and is ultimately a place I’d love to get back to!

What is your advice to others who are wanting to get into comedy or acting?

Be persistently patient. Create your own content and do not measure your success by “booked” work. Measure your success by your willingness to be in the arena every day pursuing one of the most courageous professions in the world. I read a psychology study once in The New York Times that said the two biggest human fears are public speaking and being able to make someone laugh.  Stand-Up Comedy literally is the combination of two of the scariest things for humanity to do. It’s a slightly masochistic profession, but if it calls you, you must honor your purpose. Life isn’t about society’s measure of success,  that is so frequently an ego based perception of the human experience.  Life is about taking responsibility for the space we take up in the world. There is a famous quote that Viola Davis said in her Oscar speech.  It changed my life. She said “There are two incredibly important days in a person’s life…the day you were born and the day you realize WHY you were born.” My advice to anybody: HONOR YOUR “WHY”, no matter what!

What is your ultimate dream gig?

I would love to be in a Comedic Feature Film in a Leading role. I believe Stand Up is the platform that has helped me find my voice but ultimately I’d love to transition to Comedic Acting.

Where can people catch your comedy set next?

Womxn of Color Weekend Festival in Provincetown MA!  I’m Headlining June 1st at 6pm!  If you have never been to Cape Cod this festival is amazing and I’m not just saying that because I’m performing. On June 14th I also join the 6th Borough Comedy Festival in Jersey City, NJ at The ArtHouse at 8:45pm and After that you can find me performing my 1 Hour Variety Stand Up Comedy Show at The Triad Theater in the Heart of NYC on Friday June 28th at 7pm.

In your opinion, who is the best dressed comedian of all-time?

Hands down, Natasha Leggero

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