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Q&A with Dana Berger

Published By Duke Arts / published on: June 25, 2019

"As an actor, a common feeling to have is that there is no "road map" or direct path to achieving your goals...I've learned is to say YES as much as possible." Read more from this interview with actress Dana Berger.

Dana Berger is an actress and Duke alumna who plays inmate Crystal Tawney on Orange is the New Black. Read her interview below.

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What were some of the best mistakes or impactful lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?

As an actor, a common feeling to have is that there is no “road map” or direct path to achieving your goals. It’s not like other more standard professions (such as a lawyer, doctor, etc.) where the steps to take are quite clear. For that reason, one of the things that I’ve learned is to say YES as much as possible.

Barring an opportunity that would compromise your ethics or your personal integrity, saying yes to things, even when they seem small and will get you nowhere, actually can open doors and experiences that you would never have suspected.

Meeting people and finding collaborators who you love and who love your work is invaluable in this industry. Some of the biggest opportunities I’ve gotten have stemmed from the smallest projects I decided to say yes to.

What are one or two things you wish you would have done/taken advantage of while you were still a Duke student?

I never took advantage of Alumni weekend or the alumni office as an undergrad—I didn’t think it was for undergrads. But I wish I had started learning from Duke grads who were in the field I wanted to go into sooner.

How do you think your industry has changed since you entered?

It’s become overwhelmingly more digital (as everything has), and there is more emphasis now on diversity, which is great.

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