Go Away With … Carla Renata

Carla Renata_ Photo Credit to Robert Vance Blosser x640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
January 6, 2015

For Carla Renata, like is pretty sweet right now. Besides her role on the CW’s “Hart of Dixie,” which is in its final season, she has recurring roles on “Shake It Up,” “How to Live with Your Parents” and “Mr. Box Office.”

A graduate of Howard University, the actress appeared on Broadway and won an NAACP Theatre Awards nomination for her work in “The Lion King.”

An avid traveler, Renata often shares some of her favorite memories from her recent travels and her days as part of a USO troop performing overseas. Fans may follow her on Twitter.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Australia. I didn’t make it to Perth, but I went all over Australia. I was working over there long enough that I could take vacations. If I could figure out a way to make a living there, I would move there. The food is to die for. Everything is fresh and prepared spectacularly and the people are really loving and warm. The theater and arts scene is wonderful. I felt like I was in the States, but I wasn’t. My favorite places there are Melbourne and Sydney, followed closely by the Gold Coast — it is right smack dab on the ocean. I don’t want to live on the ocean, because it’s kind of cold. And I don’t dig the cold. But I like things that are scenic and beautiful to look at. And it was beautiful.

Q. What is your worst vacation memory?

A. I went hiking at Ayers Rock (in Australia) and I heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot going off. I couldn’t ascertain what the noise was. I had torn my calf muscle. I continued the three-hour hike and was already two hours and 30 minutes into it before I had to stop because it was so painful. There were no stairs or an emergency team to help get you down, so I had to scoot down on my booty the entire way. I should’ve known better, because I had heard that someone had chased after their hat that blew off and fell off there. That should’ve been my clue not to do it.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Turkey is beautiful. I did USO tours for the Department of Defense back in my college years. There was a lot of political unrest there at the time, but we went because our troops were there. Turkey was a little dangerous, and at the time I kind of wished I hadn’t gone. But when we got to the base where the troops were, they were so appreciative of our presence. They were happy to get some entertainment in our cute little costumes. (Laughs)

Q. Did you travel a lot with the USO?

A. Yes. It was really fun and enlightening being an armed forces performer for the troops. Even though my father is a former Marine, I had no idea what service in the military was like until I did that tour. I did it twice, actually. First was the Mediterranean part of Europe and then second was the Far East, where we went to Japan, Korea and the Philippines. … They took us out in the middle of the Indian Ocean where we performed on aircraft carriers. That was an experience. I love looking at the ocean, but I don’t particularly enjoy being on it.

Q. Are you an adventurous eater on the road?

A. I try to be, but I’m not always. When I went to Seoul, we had lunch with the president and they brought out Korean cuisine that was foreign to me at the time. They asked if I’d like to know what I was eating, and I said no. I’m the type that won’t eat it if I know, and I didn’t want to be rude and insult my host. I liked just about everything, but the one that I couldn’t get past was kimchi. I can’t stand the smell of that. When I was in Greece, I didn’t know what calamari was. I was from the Midwest and this was my first time out of the country. To this day, I can eat the circle pieces of calamari, but not the tentacles.

Q. Where would you travel back to for an amazing meal?

A. Italy. The pizza there is off the chain! I’ve never had anything like it. That dough practically melts in your mouth and is so fresh. I like how they shopped there. They would go shopping every day, and sometimes for every meal, for their ingredients at the little farmers markets. Italians can eat. Those women’s bodies are fit! They eat bread with every meal, wine with lunch and dinner and just really enjoy their food, which isn’t overly processed like ours. I lost a lot of weight in Italy, even though I ate a lot. The lifestyle is just wonderful there. And I’d go back to Greece for the coffee. There was a smell to their coffee that was just so fresh and aromatic. I got used to drinking black coffee.

Q. What have you learned from your travels?

A. So many things, but on a practical level, to carry some snacks with me. A lot of places we went to did the European siesta, where they’d all close up for a few hours. Our tour was notorious for hitting a city during that break and you’d be starving!

Q. What is on your travel bucket list?

A. I would love to go to South Africa and go on a safari. I was in “The Lion King” for about three years and some of the cast members were from there and they were lovely. They’d talk about South Africa and that really made me want to visit. And I also want to go to France. I’ve never been to Paris.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. New York City, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Kailua, Hawaii.

© 2015 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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