Alessandra, bilingual actress from Mexico, talks about her favorite projects, collaborations, and inspirations. It’s clear to see why she has been successful in the acting world. Her bright personality and her clear love for acting was so apparent. Read more about her favorite acting projects and film inspiration!
Can you tell me about your childhood?
I was born in Mexico City, I lived there until I was about five. We went to San Antonio with the intent to stay for six months, but ended up staying when my parents settled in. We made that home. I really grew up in San Antonio, Texas. My dad is an architect and my mom, she’s just the jack of all trades.
While we were growing up, she stayed home and took care of us. Once we got older she got a job translating with a law enforcement agency and now she owns a tamale business. It was very fun, I had a great childhood.
What made you want to become an actor/actress? How did you get into film?
My parents are both very creative but in completely different ways. My mom studied and taught graphic design and my dad is an architect. They are a lot more visual based creatively. When I was young I got really into dance, but as a result of an injury I had to stop. I just had too much free time I didn’t know what to do with myself.
My friends were able to talk me in to trying theater. I was like, okay, sure. Why not? I started off working backstage and stage managing, and then I eventually auditioned. I landed the lead, and fell in love with acting from there. On closing night of the first play I ever acted in, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, this is a lot of fun. I want to do this forever.’
Film felt like a really natural transition. I got my degree in theater, but I had a lot of film friends so we were always making projects. After working in the community in Austin for a little bit, I decided to make the move out to Los Angeles. At that point I really wanted to focus on film and television.
What is your favorite project that you’ve been a part of?
Rich Kids is definitely up there. The whole process was really amazing and getting to collaborate. I feel like we’re really getting to tell a great story. We really focused on tearing down stereotypes in the Latino community.
I’m getting to address a lot of the issues within the Latino community through Jasmine. Addressing a lot of preconceived notions that people have about Latinos. The whole process was just very fun.
I mean, we filmed it in I think 14 days and we all lived in the same house we filmed in.
It was just like sleep-away camp with your friends but we were making a movie. So that has a fun thing.
What does your character Jazmin from Rich Kids mean to you? What was it like working with the rest of the cast?
Yeah, she’s very fun. I really loved playing her because of the reversal of her stereotype. With Jasmine I really got a chance to explore why she played on those stereotypes. I feel really endeared to her. I think she’s very sweet and scared and just trying to do her best in the world. She’s trying to find a safe place.
I think it’s really interesting that she chooses to be so sexual. As opposed to Vanessa, who is more intellectual and book-smart and is so driven by her career.
Jasmine doesn’t believe that she’s smart enough to pull herself out of the environment. She finds a sense of control through her sexual power. Because of that she has a little bit more power over the men in the community. Men who really hold a lot of the influence, especially the in a Latino community like that. It’s interesting that that’s the way that she chose to find her power, her voice. She found a way to create herself, even if she’s not actually completely comfortable with being sexy.
What did you learn from this experience?
It was really interesting developing the characters with everyone. Laura (director) was wonderful. She was really collaborative and she was so open to any suggestions or ideas that we had. Having that kind of freedom and artistic license on set was great because we felt really heard. We were able to have an opinion and not just do what the director wanted us to do.
We felt really safe coming forward and talking to her about certain scenes. Or if we had questions or things that we didn’t quite understand or didn’t agree with. We could collaborate with each other and turn it into something that was really truthful and honest.
What films have inspired you? Do you have a favorite film
Different films inspire me in different ways, I don’t think I have just one favorite film.
I love Guillermo del Toro, his sense of magical realism. I love how he is able to tell a story from a slightly fantastical perspective. The fantasy elements are really helpful for the audience to relate to topics that, in some cases they would’ve felt uncomfortable exploring. Especially when it feels too close to home for them. For example, The Shape of Water speaks to how we treat people that are different from us. People that may be a bit strange or that don’t fit the cookie mold. He’s a huge inspiration for me, in how he take so many risks and he has such a strong conviction and artistic leadership.
I also really love Gina Rodriguez’s work right now. I think that she’s able to take big issues and big questions. Questions like race and women in film and make them easy to talk about. She makes them accessible with projects like Jane the Virgin. It’s a sweet and silly, almost soap opera kind of show that talks about so many important things; What does family actually mean? What does it mean to be a mother; to fall in love; to lose someone? I find that really inspiring.
Any advice for a rising actress?
Bruce McGill came to talk to my university while I was studying in San Antonio and he gave best advice I’ve ever gotten. It really stuck with me. He told us if you can do absolutely anything else in the world, you should go pursue whatever that is. Don’t be an actor, because it will require everything from you and more. But, if there’s nothing else that fills you the way that acting does, go full steam.
Don’t play by anyone’s rules, they’re completely irrelevant. Really examine why you want to do it. Be honest with yourself about it; is this something that I want for the attention or do I want to tell stories? Do I want to be famous, rich and recognized, or do I want to make art? If acting is truly your passion then, hold onto that tightly…. and get ready for a really exciting ride.
Guest contributors are the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Creative Allies Inc. or its affiliates.