My name is Diana L. Smith, a.k.a. Diana Rockwell. I am a professional ventriloquist. I have been performing for 15+ years and it is, without of doubt, my number one passion. I graduated with a BFA in Expanded Media (focus in performance art) from the University of Kansas in 2010. I started out as a painting major, but made the switch once I developed a passion for ventriloquism. Ventriloquism started as an odd intrigue, but later became my bread and butter. It was the Goosebumps book "Night of the Living Dummy" that sparked an interest during my youth. The magical incantation "Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano" from that book is tattooed on my right arm. It is a fictitious language, but holds personal sentiment for me.
Because of ventriloquism, I have had opportunities to travel all over the country and perform for thousands of people. One of the best days of my life was being awarded The Clinton Detweiler Scholarship in 2015. I was selected by America's Got Talent winner, Terry Fator. I am also the author of the book "Experimental Ventriloquism," which is about using principles from fine art and applying them to a ventriloquist act. This book is available on Amazon.com.
Generally, I draw inspiration from outside sources and not from other vents. The reason being because there are so few ventriloquists in the entire world, it is easy to accidentally copy someone else's act. I would hate to do such a thing. But if any vent has truly taught me to think outside the box, it is Senor Wences. In many ways, he was a surrealist among vents. He had so many unique talents that he applied to the art of ventriloquism. I guess you could say that ventriloquism was the envelope to contain his catalogue of skills. I also draw influences from visual art, theatre, music, and stop motion animation.
My biggest influences include, but are not limited to: Tim Curry, Phyllis Diller, Will Vinton Claymation, Monty Python, David Bowie, vintage adverts, surrealist cinema, and a lot of Sunday comics (my favorite comics are Andy Capp and The Lockhorns).
DOB: May 23, 1986
Birthplace: Kansas City, KS
Current City: Lawrence, KS
Eye Color: Green
Favorite Pastimes: Taking care of my cat, reading, gardening (even though I'm a novice), cooking, shopping, wine tasting, and attending live shows
Favorite Food: Thanksgiving casseroles
Favorite Non-Alcoholic Beverage: Unsweetened iced tea with lemon, seltzer, or black coffee
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Daiquiri Ice (Baskin Robbins)
Favorite Actor: Tim Curry
Favorite Actress: Anjelica Huston
Favorite Musicians/Bands: David Bowie, The Moody Blues, Tears For Fears, Ultravox, Theatre of Tragedy, VNV Nation, Switchblade Symphony, Morcheeba, Enya, Jewel, Bob Dylan, KIng Crimson, Jean-Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Enigma, Gentle Giant, Peter Gabriel, Shawn Colvin, Erykah Badu, Zero 7
Favorite Movies: Clue, Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Adventures of Mark Twain, The Witches, Practical Magic, The Crucible, The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad, Pollyanna, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, The Addams Family
Favorite Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Favorite Books: We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates, Night Shift by Stephen King, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Words To Live By: "The way the world is, I think a silly evening in the theatre is a good thing, to take our minds off terror." -Tim Curry
"Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy."- Edgar Bergen
“Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.”
"Don't dream it. Be it."- Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Rocky Horror Picture Show