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Creative Force

After stints in Los Angeles and New York, television host, spokeswoman, singer, and multimedia journalist Ana Berry brings her energy and personality to the Tulsa-area music and media arts scenes.

Article
Michele Chiappetta
Photos
Sarah Eliza Roberts
Posted
January 28, 2020

Live in Tulsa long enough, and you’ll meet many a “boomerang” — people who were born and raised here, then left to explore the world, then returned years later to reconnect with their roots. Sometimes, it takes a little time away from T-Town to both spread one’s wings, and also develop a more profound sense of appreciation for the things our city does well.

A self-proclaimed boomeranger who has explored the world and returned to Tulsa with a drive to cut out a niche that embraces her love for the arts is Ana Berry, whose career has taken her nationally and internationally as a TV host, commercial spokeswoman, and multimedia journalist. Now, she’s back in Tulsa and bringing her charm, energy, and personality to the music and media arts scene here.

As the daughter of actor Milton Berry and former Tulsa TV news anchor Beth Rengel, it’s fair to say Ana Berry was destined to reach for the spotlight. “I was always bigger than life and a force to be reckoned with,” says Berry of her early years. “It turned into my art.”

Ana Berry's career has taken her nationally and internationally as a TV host, commercial spokeswoman, and multimedia journalist. Now, she’s back in Tulsa and bringing her charm, energy, and personality to the music and media arts scene here. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
Ana Berry's career has taken her nationally and internationally as a TV host, commercial spokeswoman, and multimedia journalist. Now, she’s back in Tulsa and bringing her charm, energy, and personality to the music and media arts scene here. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

Berry felt drawn to the days of glamorous Hollywood stardom, loving actresses of Hollywood’s golden age, like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. But it wasn’t until she left Tulsa as a teenager that she got a better sense of what she might want to do with her life. “When I was 16, I studied in New York City,” says Berry. “I came back to Tulsa a very different person.”

Determined to pursue the arts, Berry headed to Chicago to earn a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Over the years, she’s lived in LA and New York City, headed up programs like the travel show America’s Gypsy and the business show New to the Street, and acted in well-known shows and movies like Prison Break, The Following, Blue Bloods, Ugly Betty, 30 Rock, and The Bourne Legacy.

So, what brought her back to Tulsa? Simple: her daughter. “I went through a challenging divorce,” says Berry. “I thought I would live the rest of my life in New York City, but having a child [there], it’s not practical,” she says. “New York City is a concrete jungle gym if you’re a parent and are not a millionaire.”

Deciding to uproot her life and return to her hometown in 2015 is something she hasn’t regretted. It’s inspired her to forge a unique path. “I am creating a career that doesn’t exist in Tulsa, as a professional spokesperson who is 100% self-employed,” she says.

“You don’t have to live in New York City or LA to be creative and get stuff done. You can live in a small town [or city] and do it. Living in a smaller community, you get so much accomplished. You can help those in need. You can get your project launched. You can be unique.”

Beyond her other on-camera work — which includes doing shows like Tulsa Today, This Is Tulsa, Home Pros, Good Day Tulsa, and more — Berry also sings with her band Bossa, which plays bossa nova, latin jazz, and world music. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
Beyond her other on-camera work — which includes doing shows like Tulsa Today, This Is Tulsa, Home Pros, Good Day Tulsa, and more — Berry also sings with her band Bossa, which plays bossa nova, latin jazz, and world music. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

Berry appreciates the quality of life available here too. “Tulsa has changed a lot [over the years], and now my perspective is different,” she says. “I have come to understand the value of living in a smaller community. The support system [here] is different. Though I don’t always feel recognized by the big boys, I know I am making a difference.”

Part of that difference is in her work to highlight news that is positive and uplifting, something Berry feels strongly about. “I am not big into the way news is shared today and what it does to our system,” she says. “I want to share good news that supports our community.”

Berry does this through work like #Unscripted, a digital talk show which features weekly short segments about great people, places, and things in Green Country. On it, Berry has covered events like Tulsa Botanic Garden’s Viva La Vida, Hues for Hope, Love and Light, and the Big Om at Home Yoga Festival (she is a yoga teacher too). And she’s interviewed people like art studio owner Steve Liggett, fashion designer Zang Toi and others.

Through her relationship with Rogers State University, Berry hosts I Want Answers, an academic show she describes as Family Feud meets Jeopardy! with local schools. The show supports schools, giving students scholarships. “I love doing it,” she says.

Beyond her other on-camera work — which includes doing shows like Tulsa Today, This Is Tulsa, Home Pros, Good Day Tulsa, and more — Berry also sings with her band Bossa, which plays bossa nova, latin jazz, and world music.

“I’ve always sung, but I’ve never been a real singer. I never sang in a band,” she says. “But I put together a band; we started in June 2019 and have been playing all around town. I sing in Brazilian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English, almost cabaret-style. I dance onstage, all types of dance. It’s an experience. Everyone ends up dancing, always.”

With Bossa, Berry has achieved some exciting firsts. “We were the first bossa nova band to appear on Good Day Tulsa. We were the first band to sell out a Wednesday ladies’ night at Duet. The music is fun.” Bossa is scheduled to play Duet again, Feb. 6.

Berry also loves working with Arts Alliance Tulsa, for which she is producing 40 videos highlighting their 40 organizations; the videos start airing this month. Arts Alliance Tulsa, and organizations like it, are “extremely important for us as a city, bringing in tourism and helping put Tulsa on the map as a thriving community for the arts. It always has been, it has a legacy, but it’s continuing,” she says.

“I’m grateful to be in Tulsa, and I want the world to know what Tulsa is. There’s art. There’s culture. The quality of life is much better. You get more bang for your buck. It’s easier on your nervous system. Tulsa has a lot to offer in terms of quality of life. Things are vibrant, moving. We have to keep creating jobs here for our creatives, whether it’s music, on camera, art. We have to keep supporting our creatives. I’m happy here. It’s a good place to live.”

April 2020 Cover