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Alumnus in MCU’s ‘Echo’ provides hope for students

Director+of+Echo+Catriona+McKenzie+%28Left%29+and+Texas+State+performance+and+production+alumnus+Dannie+McCallum+%28Right%29+on+the+set+of+Echo%2C+Friday%2C+May+27%2C+2022.+
Photo Courtesy of Dannie McCallum
Director of “Echo” Catriona McKenzie (Left) and Texas State performance and production alumnus Dannie McCallum (Right) on the set of “Echo,” Friday, May 27, 2022.

The success of Dannie McCallum, a performance and production alumnus, landing a role on Marvel’s new show “Echo”, has made her an inspiration to some performance and production and art majors at Texas State.

Alissa DeAnda, a performance and production sophomore, believes getting to see someone who studied the same major in a large-scale production serves as a reminder that it’s possible to chase your dreams.

“I am inspired by the success of actors, especially actors in close proximity to me,” DeAnda said. “Texas State’s theatre department produces very talented performers… Seeing a fellow performance and production major be recognized for something so monumental is very inspiring. It gives me hope that I may be able to be a part of something of a similar scale.”

First released on Jan. 9, McCallum started filming for the new Marvel show “Echo” in May 2022. She plays an indigenous ancestor of the main character Maya Lopez named Tuklo.

McCallum said that as a minority in the entertainment industry, it is hard to not be labeled as something you are not, including being stereotyped for roles that minority actors and actresses audition for. McCallum has faced this challenge through casting directors themselves, making her feel like she was not enough because she is mixed race.

“The biggest [challenge] I have found in this industry is they want to label you as something, or whatever the media has labeled you,” McCallum said. “For me specifically I am mixed race. I’m Indigenous, I’m Mexican, I’m white, and that’s something difficult in this industry because they want you to be one thing,” McCallum said.

Another student who found inspiration from McCallum’s success, Mariela Renteria, a communication design freshman, believes seeing more minorities in Hollywood is inspiring for students.

“As an art student, her story truly matters to me as someone who identifies as a minority,” Renteria said. “Learning about [Dannie McCallum] inspires me to find my true calling by embracing my talents and roots to achieve my goals, and I hope that her influence does the same for other Texas State students as well.”

McCallum found a sense of belonging in her degree through her professors. A prominent figure and inspiration in McCallum’s life is late theatre professor, Jeremy Torres. McCallum describes Torres as someone who wanted to see each actor as a person before seeing them as actors.

“Everything that came out of [Torres’] mouth was so helpful, not only to being a person but to being in the industry,” McCallum said. “He wanted to pull the most out of you. He truly cared about each individual student even with their life outside of school and outside of class… He was supportive of everything we ever wanted to do.”

McCallum said although she didn’t have the opportunity to audition to be a musical theatre major, she appreciates the importance of actors seeing and being a part of the production side of the entertainment industry as well as students getting the hands-on experience behind the camera.

“Performance and production got me ready for both sides of this industry; you’re never just gonna be an actress,” McCallum said. “You’re gonna deal with stuff like [Production assistant] crew and rigging, I just hope that other performance and production majors know they are not limited because they didn’t get into a certain program or because they didn’t get into a certain class.”

“Echo” is about the indigenous superhero Maya Lopez, who is being targeted by Wilson Fisk. Lopez then moves to her hometown in Oklahoma, where she must come to terms with her past and reconnect with her Native American roots. “Echo” is available to watch on Disney+.

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