Internationally acclaimed Spoken Word Artist/ Author/Actress/ Native New Yorker Vanessa Hidary grew up on Manhattan’s culturally diverse Upper West Side. Her experiences as a Sephardic Jew with close friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds inspired her to write “Culture Bandit,” the nationally toured solo show that chronicles Vanessa’s coming of age during the golden age of Hip-Hop, and and her dedication to fostering understanding and friendship between all people.
She has aired three times on “Russell Simmons Presents ‘Def Poetry Jam’ on HBO, and is featured in short film “The Tribe”. Vanessa was chosen as one of 50 speakers to appear at the “2010 IdeaCity- Canada’s Premiere Meeting of the Minds’”. She has appeared at numerous LIMMUD conferences including South Africa and the UK, and has performed at the Lion Of Judah conference at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly convention in New Orleans. Her popular poem tackling Jewish stereotypes and identity titled “The Hebrew Mamita” debuted on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and quickly went viral garnering nearly half a million YouTube hits, igniting widespread discussion among Jews and non Jews alike regarding the subject of identity. She has conducted poetry and racism workshops with numerous youth groups such as BBYO and The Yeshiva of Flatbush High school, and Harlem School Of The Arts.
Vanessa developed and directed in conjunction with Birthright Israel NEXT, a show called “MONOLOGUES”: An evening of solo performances by 15 young adults, exploring their Jewish Identity, inspired by a 10-day trip through Israel.
Vanessa can be found at High Schools, Universities, Poetry Lounges, Synagogues, JCC’s and Federations performing and speaking about Jewish Identity and dissecting the complicated question of “What does Jewish look like to you? “
Vanessa received an M.F.A. in Acting from Trinity Rep Theatre Conservatory. She lives in Manhattan, where she recently published her first collection of poems and stories titled “The Last Kaiser Roll in the Bodega.”