Archive for Spotlights

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Dana Gourrier, Merry Mac of 1997

Dana Gourrier

In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
Ursuline Academy is the place where I began to learn about who I am as a young woman, an individual, and an artist.  The groundwork of discovering my dreams, hopes, aspirations and goals were all developed during my education here.  Ursuline’s halls led me to clues to what would become a map guiding me to my spirituality, to my faith, and ultimately to myself.  I shall never forget my quiet times in Chapel during lunch or traveling with SRM to Italy or Rally Night or winning Best Actress my freshman year.  These are the experiences which prepared me to take risks and leaps of faith.  It was the preparation and practice at Ursuline Academy, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the Master’s Program at California Institute of the Arts, which has led to my current successes, but it all began with Ursuline.

Please describe the most significant value you learned from Ursuline Academy.
The most significant values I learned from Ursuline are Courtesy, Loyalty and COURAGE!  I take these values for my life and work hard to NOT compromise myself by following them.  The industry I am in is hard, can be unkind, and it takes a wealth of confidence and courage to be a part of it.  I could not face it without the standards I learned at my Alma Mater.

Describe Ursuline in one word.

Ursuline is in one word: Serviam, to serve.  Whether it’s giving back to the school, to the community, to your family, or to the relationships you’ve built at Ursuline or otherwise, we learn “to serve” the ones we love and hold fast to this.  This is Ursuline to me, and for this, I will forever be grateful…

Dana Gourrier, a native of New Orleans, has been a performer since a very young age. After receiving her BFA in Acting, she moved to New York in higher pursuits. She has performed and also produced original work at: The Red Room Theater, Birdland, Lennox Lounge, Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, Under St. Mark’s, The Cherry Lane Theater, Summer Stages in Central Park, and La Mama Theater.  In 2010, Dana completed her MFA in Acting at California Institute of the Arts, where she was in two world premieres and a long list of other full theatrical productions both Classic and Contemporary.  Upon graduating, she came straight home and broke into Hollywood South immediately booking a recurring role on HBO’s Treme; supporting roles on TNT’s Memphis Beat and USA’s Common Law; and additionally, the films Broken City and Bullet to the Head.  Dana has worked directly with some of the best Academy Award winners and nominees beginning with her breakthrough role and biggest endeavor to date, her portrayal of the character Cora in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (Winner: Best Original Screenplay, QT and Best Supporting Actor, C. Waltz).  Spending several months on Django, Dana collaborated with Tarantino, even pitching a song to him that she wrote for the film, which was loved and shot, but would later land on the cutting room floor.  Keep your eyes peeled as she has also earned the role of Helen Halloway in Lee Daniel’s highly anticipated film The Butler where she plays Lenny Kravitz’s wife alongside Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.  Currently, Dana is shooting the new HBO Series True Detectives (written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Fukunaga) where she will spar with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.