Paola Soto got her start at Juilliard after seeing a job listing for what was then the Professional Intern Program (now the Professional Apprentice Program). She spent a year as the Drama Division's administrative intern and then, a year later, returned in her current position. Soto, who was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in New York City's Hamilton Heights, got her bachelor's degree in creative writing from City College of New York and writes plays in her spare time.
What's a favorite Juilliard memory?
One has to be the day that Alex Sharp, just a couple of days after winning the Tony, showed up at the offices with his Tony Award. He then proceeded to take a photo of our department staff with it and went around the building taking photos with staff, faculty, students, and alumni.
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day?
I'd like to work in Jazz—what a talented group of musicians! They travel and perform all around the world, often with some of the greatest jazz legends.
What is the strangest job you've had?
It had to be the time that I was a receptionist for a company that sold knives, but I soon found out it was a total scam. They would get people looking for jobs to come in to “interview” for the sales position and then made interviewees sit through a 45-minute presentation on each knife being sold. And in order to sell the knives, you first had to buy a set yourself. I only worked there for like a week.
If you had a surprise day off, what would you do?
If it was nice out, I'd probably go for a very long walk along the Hudson. If not, I'd probably just go home and sleep—especially if it's during the spring semester! The work schedule during auditions and callbacks gets a little crazy.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
I love dogs, even though I no longer have one. I'm obsessed—most of my social media feeds are filled with photos of every type of dog you can imagine—and I would like to volunteer at a dog shelter. I'm passionate about writing though I don't get to do it as often as I'd like. I also really enjoy fashion and defining my ever-evolving personal style.
What was your best vacation?
It wasn't really a vacation, but one of my favorite memories is that after high school, I was a counselor at Camp Winnarainbow, a performing arts camp in the redwood forests of Northern California, where they taught everything from juggling, trapeze, and clown, to theater. I learned to walk on stilts, was sleeping in teepees and tents for several weeks, and got to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world. I also got to meet and spend time with a lot of artists and other people from all walks of life.
What are you reading/watching/following/listening to?
I'm obsessed with the Walking Dead, The Lord of the Rings, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Real Time With Bill Maher, The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, and Adam Ruins Everything. I'm in the middle of reading Between the World and Me. In terms of music, I can't stop listening to Beyoncé's Lemonade.