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Black Lives Matter

At Paonessa Talent Agency, LLC, we believe that racism has no place in this world. We are outraged and heartbroken by the continued unconscionable acts of police brutality against the black community, and we recognize these acts as part of the structure of the systemic racism that has plagued our country with violence, oppression, and hatred.

We are committed to being anti-racist and doing our part in dismantling white supremacy and anti-Blackness. As such, we will be actively seeking to take action that will strengthen our awareness and drive deliberate and meaningful change within the entertainment industry.

The first step in this journey will begin with our entire staff participating in bias training so that we can better examine our implicit biases and privilege. We believe that this training, and continued education, will help to strengthen our voices so that we may always speak up for justice and be the best allies possible for the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) we represent.

Some Places You Can Donate to Support the Black Lives Matter Movement and The Protests to End Police Brutality (This is not a comprehensive list, there are many fantastic groups working to further this cause):

Black Lives Matter
Chicago Community Bond Fund
Chicago Freedom School
Brave Space Alliance
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Black Visions Collective
Reclaim the Block
The Freedom Fund, a bail fund for LGBTQIA+ individuals
National Bail Out Fund

Unique. Small. Powerful. Representing Chicago’s Best Talent.

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Paonessa Talent is a woman-owned and operated boutique agency based in Chicago. Owner and founder Marisa Paonessa first opened her doors in 2010 as a one-woman operation. With a band of loyal actors and a couple of interns, Marisa worked tirelessly to grow her agency, creating numerous valued relationships with Chicago/LA/New York casting directors and major network executives. Over the years, Paonessa Talent has established itself as a distinguished and sought-after agency, with talent seen on major TV series such as Netflix’s Stranger Things, HBO’s Mrs. Fletcher, FOX’s Empire and The Resident, Showtime’s The Chi, Netflix’s Tales of the City and Anne with an E, ABC’s How To Get Away with Murder, to name a few. Paonessa Talent prides itself on repping a strong, inclusive roster, promoting people of color, non-binary, transgender and LGBTQ actors.
Paonessa Talent has become known for representing the top comedy talent in Chicago. Marisa, a former sketch comedy performer and improviser, has a passion for working directly with improvisers and sketch comedians. The agency has booked talent on Saturday Night Live every year for the past three years. In addition to comedy, Paonessa Talent prides itself on representing premiere theatre actors, who can be seen on the stages of Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Broadway and beyond. While the agency has grown in its breadth and scope, the team remains dedicated to Marisa’s original mission: to maintain a boutique agency dedicated to giving personal attention to each individual actor. Small, Mighty & Powerful.