THE SHORT (no frills bio):
Isabella “Izzy” Tugman is an actor, singer, voice-over artist, and film producer. Currently, Isabella is recording an audiobook titled Lost in the City of @ (formerly titled iPooKee), a novel by Michael Bell. Her latest feature film, I’d Kill for You, (actor & co-producer) had its world premiere at the famous Chinese Theatre in Hollywood at the Dances with Films Festival. The film was also featured in the LA Femme Festival, which showcases work by female writers, directors, and producers. Isabella studied Vocal Performance and Opera at the University of Missouri-Kansas City prior to moving to Los Angeles to attend a vigorous performing arts program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Following graduation, she devoted herself to learning about film production and has been producing films ever since. She is an avid reader, moviegoer/ theatergoer, traveler, and yogi.
THE LONG (epic journey bio):
Isabella Tugman has felt the calling of the entertainment business since she can remember. Her first idol was not a Disney Princess, but rather samba singer, dancer, Broadway actress, and film star Carmen Miranda. During her Kindergarten Halloween parade, Isabella stood out from the crowd dressed up as her idol, complete with a fruit-bowl hat and earrings made of grapes. Blending in from there forward would be difficult for Izzy, as she was born to stand out.
Isabella felt a strong desire to be an actor, even as a small child. She researched the industry as best she could with what resources she could find, devouring books about the business and what she needed to do to get what she wanted. Being a persistent child, she begged her parents to take her to Los Angeles or New York City to audition for movies and television. They didn’t oblige, so Isabella sought out the performances accessible to her in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas. She soon discovered live theatre and became increasingly more involved in community theatre, school productions, choir concerts, talent shows, dance recitals, and all other performance opportunities she could find. Her first modeling and talent agency signed her at age 13, and she started booking commercial and modeling work.
Growing up with the influence of a musical family, music came naturally to Isabella. Encouraged to learn an instrument, she took up the violin. Active in school and debut orchestras, her musical talent flourished, but her interest in violin waned, and she opted to focus more on her favorite musical passion: singing. It was in high school that the choir director discovered Isabella’s talent for voice and encouraged her to take private lessons and to pursue a career in music. She started doing just that. Isabella discovered her strong work ethic while she maintained high grades, part-time jobs, volunteer work, and club associations, and still found time for involvement in the theatre, often in simultaneous productions. In just four years she appeared in over 20 staged shows, plus countless concerts, recitals, and vocal performances.
Applause and encouragement came in abundance, but it was one mother’s account that came as the highest compliment of all. Months after a stage performance in a role that Isabella found particularly challenging, the mother of a five-year-old shared that her daughter was so moved by Isabella’s performance that she dressed up every day in a similar costume, playing the character and singing the songs. Inspiring another person was the greatest reward for Isabella. She knew she never wanted to stop performing.
Following a solo performance, an admirer likened Isabella to the opera singer and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, who became Isabella’s voice idol. When the musical Wicked debuted featuring Chenoweth as Glinda, Isabella found herself obsessed. It was this musical that largely inspired Isabella’s aspirations to pursue musical theatre. In a defining moment, she finally saw the staged production, and she had tears streaming down her face with her soul’s recognition of her life purpose. She had to pursue performing arts professionally. Her spirit demanded it. She decided that one day she would play Glinda in Wicked as well.
After high school graduation, Isabella gained acceptance into the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music. She enjoyed life as a music major and booked acting jobs in her free time. While she adored the challenge of studying and performing opera, Kansas City still felt too small for her, and she had a burning desire to move to the place of action: Los Angeles, California.
She auditioned and accepted a scholarship to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in Los Angeles where she concentrated on acting for film and stage, musical theatre, classical voice training, speech and dialect work, and dance. For her showcase, Isabella was given the song “Three Little Words” from Steel Pier. She was honored and excited to sing this song, as the role was originated by her voice idol, Kristin Chenoweth. During her performance, Isabella was both literally and figuratively “hitting her high notes.”
After AMDA, Isabella found her life heading in a direction she had not anticipated. She discovered a deep interest in learning all behind-the-scenes aspects of filmmaking. This led her to become a film producer, and she has been developing film projects ever since. Currently, she is working on developing and optioning screenplays to produce and star in. Additionally, she runs her own voice-over recording studio and works as a voice actor.
Just recently, opportunities led Isabella to move her film productions to Austin, Texas. There are lots of things developing, so stay tuned!