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Celebrity Travel: Go away with Loren Escandón

Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

Loren Escandón said that working on the film “Shirley” was a life-changing experience for her. “First and foremost, I have to emphasize that anyone unfamiliar with the incredible story of [the first-ever Black congresswoman] Shirley Chisholm must watch this movie,” the Colombian actress and filmmaker said from her Los Angeles home. “Personally, I was unaware of her until the audition landed in my lap. From that moment, I knew I couldn't let this learning opportunity slip away. What truly made the experience unforgettable was the camaraderie among the cast. Sharing moments with artists like Regina King, Terrence Howard and the late Lance Reddick was both humbling and inspiring. Despite the chaos of a bustling set and the added hurdle of unpredictable weather, each actor remained deeply committed to their craft.” Escandón – who may also be seen in “The Baxters” – shares more about her work and travels in Instagram, X and Threads (username @lorenescandon).

Q: Were there any obstacles to overcome while filming “Shirley”?

A: Filming on location presented unexpected challenges and opportunities. I vividly recall a rainy day in L.A. – a rare event in the city's usually sunny climate. While I can't say definitively whether our plans changed, the weather certainly had its say, reshaping the scene in unexpected ways. Witnessing director John Ridley adapt seamlessly to the rain was a masterclass in artistic flexibility. The scene we filmed was charged with emotion, featuring a large ensemble of background actors and palpable tension. Being on location amidst the elements lent an authenticity that simply can't be replicated on a soundstage. The rain added a layer of desperation and despair to both the protesters and my character, Rose. [It enriched] the scene with depth.

Q: Has your ethnicity or nationality impacted your career?

A: Initially, it felt like a constant struggle, a battle between my career aspirations and my sense of self. Whether in the United States or in my native Colombia, I often felt unseen, underrepresented and underestimated. Over time, I've come to see my ethnicity not as an obstacle, but as a source of strength. I've made a conscious effort to defy stereotypes and challenge societal biases wherever I go. It's become a personal mission of mine to dismantle both conscious and unconscious prejudices that society holds against individuals like me.

Navigating my career across different countries has heightened my awareness of the value my perspective brings to my art. My ethnicity and race inform my viewpoint in profound ways, adding depth and richness to my creative expression. Embracing my cultural identity has not only shaped my artistic journey but has also empowered me to advocate for diversity and inclusion in the creative industry.

Q: Do you have any upcoming trips planned?

A: Yes, and I'm incredibly excited about it. I'll be visiting Portugal. It's fascinating because it feels like the country is calling out to me in some inexplicable way. Despite having other destinations on my list, Portugal has been appearing in my dreams and conversations with an unusual frequency. Sometimes, I wonder if it's an ancestral calling, considering Portugal's historical role in the transatlantic slave trade. It might sound a bit hoodoo, but I can't shake off this feeling. I'm eager to immerse myself in Portuguese culture, learn a little of the language, indulge in delicious seafood and experience the soul-stirring music of Fado in a local bar while sipping on a glass of Porto wine and probably crying a little. And, of course, I can't wait to explore the beautiful landscapes during hiking adventures.

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?

A: South Africa. Our journey took us from the vibrant capital of Johannesburg, to the immersive natural wonders of Hluhluwe, and finally to the captivating city of Cape Town, where we reached the continent's southernmost peak. My experience in South Africa was nothing short of magical when discussing identity and grappling with societal biases.

Q: What was a childhood trip that stood out?

A: It wasn't until I turned 15 that I boarded a plane for the first time. In our culture, the quinceañera is a significant tradition with elaborate gowns, escorts, lavish parties and towering cakes as the standard. But when I turned 14, I expressed to my parents that I didn't want any of that. Instead, I wanted to travel to a destination that required a plane journey. So they surprised me with a trip to the pristine island of San Andres, a Colombian territory despite its proximity to Nicaragua. The vacation was nothing short of epic.

Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?


A: I've been retreating to Big Bear for weekend getaways for quite some time now. What I love about it is the versatility it offers with experiences for both winter and summer. The locals are incredibly friendly and the culinary scene boasts a diverse array of options. With live music always playing somewhere, the town radiates a lively atmosphere that I adore. Another favorite of mine is Valle de Guadalupe. The region boasts fantastic restaurants, exquisite wines and the option to either relax on the nearby beaches or immerse oneself in nature through hiking.

Q: What are your five favorite cities?

A: In the U.S., New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, Anchorage, San Francisco. For the world, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Rome, Santiago de Chile, Cali (Colombia).

Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A: So many places! Kyoto is at the top of my list, followed closely by Marrakesh, Paris, Bangkok and Cusco (Peru). Honestly, the entire world fascinates me. There's something captivating about every place.

Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A: My vitamins are non-negotiable, along with my camera to capture every moment. I make sure to download must-visit places on my maps app for easy navigation. Comfort is key, so I always pack two pairs of comfy shoes. I'll be walking until I can't anymore and switching shoes every other day helps with the swelling. For a nice night out, a cute outfit is essential. In colder weather, a cozy jacket to keep me warm and in a good mood, while in summer a crisp linen white shirt does the trick. Other than that, I try to keep my suitcase light so I can bring back little presents for my loved ones and share a piece of the experience with them.

Q: What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A: Our vacations have always been amazing. Of course, like any adventure, we've encountered our fair share of challenges along the way, but I see those as part of the experience. Dealing with airlines can be particularly stressful at times. One memory that stands out is from the first time I took my husband to Colombia. It was meant to be a vacation mixed with some errands. On our last night, with an early flight home the next day, we hit a snag when we tried to check in and discovered our flight had been canceled. No delays, just straight-up canceled.


(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at You may also follow “Go Away With…” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)

©2024 Jae-Ha Kim. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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