Kayla Marie Coates is a non-binary, Mexican-Croatian-American actor, filmmaker, and activist. Growing up in the theatre sphere, they've acquired over 8 years of improv and musical theatre experience under their belt. Whenever they weren't acting in a show, they were usually the one stage managing it, still being a pivotal part of the shows.
Since then, Kayla has had continuous ongoing advanced training with Margie Haber Studio and Tracy Martin, and they have starred in numerous indie projects and soon-to-be released films and webseries. Working their first year at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights in 2021, they won the award for Scare Actor of the Year. Kayla was selected to receive NALIP’s Emerging Content Creators Inclusion Initiative Scholarship and to participate in Mentorship Rountables with dynamic female industry leaders for the 2021 Diverse Women in Media Forum. That year, they also created and became the Initiative Director for Blackmagic Collective's Career Advancement Diversity Initiative, Emerging Actors. After that, they transitioned into a fellow of the Directing Actors Lab.
At the beginning of 2021, Kayla secured Producing / Production Coordinating jobs with Blackmagic Collective, Heart On Fire Productions and became a Creative Producer for The Nerd Couple Show. Along with producing live events at the time, they began producing films they felt drawn, and have since produced numerous short films. They worked as a Producer for the 2022 SXSW Festival, working with high profile celebrities like Greg Daniels, Jason Sudeikis, Chelsea Clinton, and many more. At the beginning of 2022, they were chosen as a fellow for BMC's Filmmaker Advancement Initiative to help bring their filmmaking career to the next level.
As a queer, neurodivergent, polyamorous individual, Kayla formed their production company at the beginning of 2022 with the passion to create social impact projects centering around delicate, taboo topics to help discuss and destigmatize them. With the projects they create, Kayla is dedicated to casting up, crewing up and making characters for people of underrepresented communities to be able to give equal opportunities to actors and filmmakers of any and all backgrounds and lifestyles. Their mission is to create a more authentically Diverse, Inclusive industry through a Transformative and Innovative fashion, hence the name of their production company, DITI Pictures LLC.
Kayla is currently ramping up into pre-production for their directorial debut short film, I'LL BEE THERE, which they also wrote, are producing and starring in, which will then be submitted to top tiered festivals throughout 2024. Their crowdfunding campaign has officially ended, but you can still join the buzz to support their project today!