In a world where the glamour of Hollywood often overshadows the raw talent and hard work of entertainment industry professionals, Renel Kiriakos is a standout. The London-based actress’s multi-hyphenate talents have empowered her to explore a variety of pursuits amid the Hollywood actors’ strike that hit 100 days on October 21st; as studios and SAG-AFTRA plan to resume negotiations on October 24th.
“A culmination of long-simmering tensions, for the first time since 1960, both the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike simultaneously on July 14.”
Renel is not waiting for her next big break amid the ongoing labor standoff between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and SAG-AFTRA. The multi-talented artist has developed skills ranging from belly dancing and horse riding to hitting high notes with her ethereal soprano voice and mastering Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Her academic background is equally impressive. Kiriakos holds degrees in Egyptology and Classical Civilization.
Renel’s acting journey has been as diverse as her talents. She graced both the small screen and film festivals with compelling performances. Some of her notable roles include parts in Speed Dating, We Are Friends, and The Mysterious Cloth. These roles, spanning different genres and emotional landscapes, offer a glimpse into her range and depth as an actress–often playing a 20-something girl looking to find her way in the world.
The Hollywood strikes have had a ripple effect on the global entertainment industry, affecting industry professionals like Renel who are based in London. Not one to sit idle, she’s learning the ups and downs of performing on TikTok and is actively looking for new audiences both on and off the screen. Her TikTok Q&A sessions have become a hit, offering fans a closer look at her diverse talents, and providing a platform for her to engage with a global audience.
While the strike has undoubtedly put a dent in traditional revenue streams for actors, like many others, Renel started to explore alternatives. For example, her book, Unexpected Love, has garnered an impressive readership, while her social media presence helps her reach new audiences and set the stage for new collaborations.
“The Hollywood strike has paralyzed the entertainment industry, shuttered production sets, postponed the Emmy Awards, and stalled multiple films and TV shows. Ultimately, it has led to an uncertain future for many industry professionals.”
The Hollywood strike has paralyzed the entertainment industry, shuttered production sets, postponed the Emmy Awards, and stalled multiple films and TV shows. Ultimately, it has led to an uncertain future for many industry professionals. “The writers and actors strike is the culmination of long-simmering tensions,” Catherine Tinsley, a labor negotiations expert, explains.
“Factors contributing to this unrest include significant wage disparities, worsening working conditions, and perceived inequities in residual payments from digital platforms. Writers and actors are also naturally worried about the security of their jobs with the growing capabilities of generative artificial intelligence.”
Instead of waiting to see how long both parties hold out, Renel is actively preparing for a post-strike landscape, honing her skills and expanding her portfolio. Her multi-disciplinary approach sets her apart, making her a versatile asset in an industry that will undoubtedly look very different once the dust settles.
Renel’s last major acting role was in 2019. The gap in her portfolio is less about her talent and more about the seismic shifts in the entertainment industry. The pandemic and subsequent Hollywood strike have created unprecedented challenges for actors worldwide.
Being an actor is not all red carpets and award shows; it’s a grind, especially when traditional avenues like TV and film are disrupted. Renel faces these challenges head-on, adapting to the new normal. She’s used this time to hone her craft, explore alternative opportunities, and connect with her audience in innovative ways.
If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that social media is no longer just an accessory to an actor’s career; it’s a necessity. Renel has embraced platforms like TikTok to keep her audience engaged, offering a mix of Q&A sessions, mini-performances, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into her life. This digital pivot is not just about staying relevant; it’s about building a community that will follow her, no matter where her career takes her next.
In an industry often defined by its highs and lows, Renel Kiriakos represents what’s achievable through a blend of raw talent, resilience, and adaptability. While the past few years have presented unprecedented challenges, Renel has navigated these obstacles gracefully and ingeniously. She turned to social media as a stopgap and a transformative platform.
“Everyone needs each other in this case. The actors need the studios, and the studios need the actors. The question is how much each side is willing to lose before a deal is made,” according to Ron Zambrano, partner at West Coast Employment Lawyers. “They’re playing chicken.”
As entertainment industry professionals look to a future where the lines between traditional media and digital platforms continue to blur, one thing is clear: professionals like Renel Kiriakos who embrace a multi-hyphenate mindset will have staying power long after this game of chicken is over.
Sarah Ratliff is a writer and editor living on an eco-organic farm in Puerto Rico. Her main areas of interest are sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, natural healing, spirituality and STEM.
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