The City of Dreams – Chicago
The city where it all began…
“He (my father) was deeply passionate and committed to achieving the American Dream for his daughters,” Diana told me.
In the early 1980’s, her family traveled to Italy from Romania, trying to escape communism. In Italy, they began the legal process and citizen documentation of moving to America. At that time, communism contributed to extreme increases in prices of basic necessities such as food, healthcare, clothing, and affected the affordability of housing. It was so horrific that the healthcare cuts led to a major increase in infant mortality as well as the spread of terminal illnesses as hospitals were forced to use infected hypodermic needles, among other detrimental practices. The way of life for Diana and her family was only going to get worse.
Three months later, the family arrived in the United States in the city of Chicago.
Diana had just turned 3 years old when the family arrived in the big city, not knowing anyone. Venturing out into an unknown world, they gradually began to be accepted into the local Romanian communities. They also attended a local church on a regular basis. “My mother got a job at a hotel, and my father, a janitor at a high-rise building,” Diana said,
“From there, my parents slowly began to build our new home.”
“My mother and father worked long hours for many years, saving money,” she said.
Life was tough, the family’s first apartment was small, old, and dirty. “I remember the roaches and bugs,” she said, “but it was all my parents could afford at the time, my father literally only had $50 in his pocket when we first arrived in Chicago.”
Prior to arriving in America, Diana said that her father had previously been a professor in Romania but had to accept a job in the states as a janitor. “That was just a very humbling thing for him to do for our family,” Diana said, “he wanted so much more for his children, and would sacrifice and work extremely hard, doing whatever it took to provide for us.”
Before finishing elementary school, Diana fell in love with the sounds of Chicago’s Blues when she first ventured downtown.
As a very young girl, she spontaneously hopped on stage singing her little heart out to a huge crowd in a Chicago Blues Club.
“It was called ‘The BackRoom’ on Rush Street in Chicago. My uncle played the drums there in a band. One day, at 8 years old, I got up on stage and sang ‘How Will I Know?’ by Whitney Houston, along with a couple of other songs. But it wasn’t until Diana sang an improvised 12 bar Blues song with the lead singer (Cheryl) that evening that she became hooked. I could just feel the music in me. From there, I’ve loved the blues ever since,” she said.
Since that spontaneous stage performance, this naturally-born Queen of Blues has been unstoppable.
Curiously, I asked her “What was your first instrument?”
Diana: “My voice…I would have to say my voice. As my parents have always said I sang a lot from my baby crib and wanted them to play the radio all the time.”
Over the years, Diana has performed among thousands of fans, many stages, and multiple festivals. Last year, she enjoyed performing at the 2019 Open Air Blues Festival in Brezoi, Romania with over 8,000 fans in attendance. That same year, she also won 3 LA Critics Music Awards for Best Blues Artist. Carrying her own Blues music heroes with her (Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Prince, and Philip Sayce), Diana continues to pursue her deepest love all across the world. But if you were to ask her where it all started, she would certainly say in the deepest crevices of Chicago, mesmerized by Blues Icon Legend Buddy Guy.
Recently, Diana signed to Mike Zito and Guy Hale’s Gulf Coast Records.
Dream Big, No Matter Who You Are
While in the 3rd grade (in Chicago), Diana attended a fine arts school. A school representative had helped her with enrollment. Her parents always seemed to believe that connections were required in order to highly succeed.
“But that’s not accurate,” Diana said.
A few years later, a school visitor was looking for kids to narrate books on recordings. The actor who had organized the program listened to her voice. Afterwards, he asked for Diana’s agent contact information.
“I don’t have an agent,” Diana told him.
The actor was dumbfounded. So at that time, she was assigned an agent and went on to do an “open call” for a feature film in the making that many were uncertain about.
That feature film was the $300 million dollar box office Hollywood film “Home Alone” which was released in 1990.
“The filming experience for the first Home Alone movie was also a learning experience,” Diana said, “my grandfather traveled with me and he only spoke Romanian, therefore I had to translate a lot but it was also so surreal and a lot of fun.”
Diana Rein plays Sondra, one of Kevin McAlister’s cousins in the 1990 box office hit comedy, “Home Alone.”
The Hernando Sun couldn’t resist asking a few questions about Diana’s experience on set for one of America’s all time favorite classic comedy films.
“Was there anything that took you by complete surprise when you first began your acting career?”
Diana: “Being that it was my very first experience, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I do remember that I didn’t know I still had to do school while filming on set for at least 3 hours of tutoring. So I had not brought my books or materials with me initially.”
“The Home Alone films are so unique. They have cameos and extras of various famous people. Back then, did you ever meet any of them?”
Diana: “Well, (President) Donald Trump did have a cameo role in Home Alone 2 but I did not get to meet him. However, I did get to meet and speak to Michael Jackson who came to visit the set. There’s a photo of us (kids) who starred in the film posing for the camera with him on set. That was a pretty great experience.”