Gleendilys Inoa

Photo: Jake Chessum

In seventh grade at P.S./M.S. 279 in the Bronx, I was cast as a scarecrow in The Wiz. And afterward, as these kids were asking for my autograph, I realized, I love this! I said, “Mom, I want to do acting. You’ve got to find a way. I want to be in magazines. Ask Macy’s if I can be in their magazine.”

So being in Sundance was like, “Wow! Really? Am I here?” The day of the screening, my heart was beating so fast. I sat next to my mom, my hand covering my mouth and nose, my legs shaking. I couldn’t believe my face was on this big screen. It was so crazy! I took a lot of pictures—of the audience, of the crew when they were onstage, and of my mom laughing.

It was just so much fun. Like, okay, where we were staying? It was beautiful! I took pictures of everything in the house. And going from place to place, doing interviews and stuff like that—I was like, “This is living!” ’Cause, you know, that’s what celebrities do.

Now it’s back to reality here at Herkimer County Community College. I’m still the same Gleendy, and my friends treat me the same. They always joke around, like, “Oh, Miss Superstar now!” I’m majoring in radio and television broadcasting, because I’ve always said if acting in movies doesn’t happen to me, I still want to be in the media world. But being known as an amazing actress? Winning an Oscar? That’s what I want to do. I want to be onstage, saying, “I wanna thank my mom, my dad … ”

As told to Logan Hill

Don’t Let Me Drown, a post-9/11 Brooklyn romance, is being screened for potential buyers; Inoa’s next film is the thriller A Kiss of Chaos.

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Gleendilys Inoa