LaToya Codner, a 2008 theater graduate, has received more accolades and opportunities in one summer than many actresses achieve in an entire career.
Codner was invited to attend the 17th annual American Black Film Festival June 19–23 in Miami Beach, Florida, where she competed as a finalist in the NBC-sponsored Star Project. Out of more than 300 original contestants and three female finalists, Codner won for her performance in two monologues from a stage play and a film.
Codner will meet with NBC Universal casting agents in Los Angeles and New York City, and she has the chance to perform a walk-on role on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. Additionally, this win provided Codner the opportunity to perform before NBC programming representatives and agents in New York City.
“This is an opportunity to be seen and considered for shows in the future,” Codner said by phone from her home in Chicago where she is pursuing her career and also working in makeup design.
When she learned she was the Star Project winner, Codner said she was elated and proud that the hard work she has put into her craft, including earning a master’s of fine arts from the University of South Carolina, was so handsomely rewarded. She also credits Buffalo State's Theater Department faculty for giving her the knowledge and confidence to shine in the prestigious competition.
“For everyone who helped me along the way, I believe it was their victory, too,” she said, pointing particularly to theater professor Drew Kahn, whom she described as “someone who continues to inspire me every day to move forward and go after my dreams.”
In 2006 Codner starred as Anana in the adaptation of the Diary of Anne Frank that Kahn directed focusing on the Rwandan genocide. That production sparked the campuswide Anne Frank Project that began in 2009 and has grown every year since.