Here is a quick biography on one of the STUNTWOMAN I had the chance to interview. Learn more about her "STUNTWORDS To Live By" in the book!
Susana was born in Venezuela to a Cuban mother and a Danish father, splitting her childhood between Denmark and Venezuela, so she was exposed to different cultures at an early age. In high school Susana was presented with two career paths: social or science. Her choice—science, because she felt the prospects for a sustainable career were broader. Despite the two options presented, Susana’s most attractive option was always acting. She was even casted on a soap opera. A passion for performance and ingenuity for creating her own options would be a theme throughout her life and career.
Enrolling in university at fifteen years old, Susana spent her mornings studying economics, and her afternoons acting and writing for theater, TV, and commercials, activities she considered hobbies. During her last year at university, the TV channel wanted Susana to work full time on the soap opera, a direct conflict to getting her degree in economics. Ultimately, she sacrificed TV acting to graduate. Her rationale at the time: by having a degree in economics she could pretty much work anywhere.
Before graduating from university she was already working as the writer’s assistant for the director of the Deutsche Presse-Agentur in Latin America and mergers and acquisitions with real estate financier Colliers International. Then she got hit with the acting bug with plans to move to New York to study at the Actors Conservatory. The horrific September 11th attack occurred during this time, causing Susana to stay in Venezuela longer than she had planned. She started working in the oil and gas industry and shortly after was assigned by the company she worked for to attend a highly selective MBA program in Italy, where she embarked on furthering her knowledge base in business. Susana’s old habits would follow her to Italy as she took acting classes while in business school.
After business school, Susana moved back to Venezuela to keep working in oil and gas. She began to foresee the political instability in her country having a negative effect on the industry so she decided to move on to work for a private telecommunications company, Corporación Digitel. The multitasker subsequently launched a radio show and began producing a movie during her time at the corporation. It was then when she realized film was more than a hobby - it was her passion.
Susana packed up her bags and moved to Los Angeles. Starting from scratch, Susana took on internships with Walt Disney Studios and production companies such as Mandeville Films and Scott Rudin Productions. A pivotal day in her production career came when she asked award-winning producer Fred Roos to be his assistant. Roos responded, “Why do you want to be my assistant? You can’t be my assistant. You are a producer. Come to me with four to five million dollars, and let's make a film together.”
Susana is now the founder of Hornil Brothers Productions, an independent production company based in Los Angeles, and the co-founder of SB Films, a co- production partnership that has roots in Italy, Brazil, and the U.S.