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A Working Actor's Life

Posted: 03/16/2012 6:38 pm

It's been quite some time since I posted, and my only excuse is winter blues: However, I did land a wonderful guest role in the new NBC show, Person of Interest, which shoots right here in the Big Apple.

The episode aired twice within three months, to my delight. I portrayed a mobster's grieving widow who is being interrogated by the police, (some of the stars in the show), and is very hostile toward them. I think I scored the gig because I had had dental surgery the day before and was not in the mood to be nice. I love shooting in New York City, in the studios, on the streets. There's nothing like a NYC film crew. I arrived at 3p.m. in Queens via the subway. You get picked up at the station by a van, then driven to the studio. Either I have convinced myself the schlep is fun, part of the gig, or I'm in denial that I'm not a big star and therefore would not get a car service by the show.

Nevertheless, I do get treated with respect as soon as I show up. My hairdresser is the same woman who was on my first NYC movie, Beat Street, ages ago. Love when this happens!

I couldn't really hang out and have fun though, because I had to remain concentrated on my character, a very bitter, angry, and sad woman. I didn't want to be distracted. I would go on to do the scene many many times before they actually got to my closeup at 11:45p.m.

I was relieved and happy when the camera guy said, "check the gate," which means the director and producers are happy with the take and it's in the can. I didn't know if I had it in me to emote one more time. I was also humbled and grateful to get an applause for my efforts by the cast and crew, some of which I've worked with on other shows. Winter kicks in!

In February, I decided to go to Miami to a theatre class reunion at the University of Miami's Ring Theatre, which is where I discovered I was an actress many years ago. I do not usually go for reunions, but I felt compelled to attend this one. I am now convinced reunions are good for the soul, because I really felt energized and inspired after visiting with so many of my classmates and teachers, and seeing the theatre I grew up in. It was like going back to church. I did have one teacher there, who's now passed on, Buckets, who always said, "an actor has to respect the theatre, like they respect a church!"

I extended my trip a few more days because I was really enjoying my stay with my best pal Pam and the weather. I then received a call from my agent about a Hallmark MOW starring Sonia Braga. I would either have to return to NYC or find a way to put myself on tape. Pam suggested I put myself on tape at Lori Wyman's studio. Lori used to cast the Miami Vice background actors and she and her husband have a very successful casting business. In a matter of 36 hours I had to learn three scenes, buy the proper dress, and prepare for this fun role playing Sonia Braga's slutty sister. Pam helped and coached me. We had fun working on it, while drinking our wine. Pam also played my double when I portrayed twins on a Sopranos episode. Thanks to the internet, the audition video was emailed to L.A., and two hours later, casting director Gary Zuckerbrod, called me personally to tell me I got the role. Love when this happens!

A week later, I am flying to L.A. to shoot Meddling Moms for Hallmark on location for a few weeks. Playing a slutty aunt/sister is much more fun than playing a mobster's grieving wife.

I had been to L.A. many times for test deals, pilot seasons and work before, but this time I saw L.A. in a different light. I actually loved being in the city of Angels this time! I stayed with friends, because that was part of the deal, but I did get a car to drive! You really can't exist without a car in L.A.

What's great about L.A.? The weather, Trader Joe is everywhere, you can purchase wine just about everywhere, and you can exercise by hiking in the many canyons. You also see bougainvillea everywhere, and there's the Getty museum. And yes, there is much more acting work in L.A..

I just wish Hollywood would consider Latinas being cast in more roles than just maids and nannies. Not that there is anything wrong with playing a good maid or nanny role. There is a wonderful play called The Maids, and I loved Fran Dresher as the The Nanny, but we are so much more diversified! Latinas come in many shapes, colors, sizes and occupations.

I tested for a Sony/Fox pilot while wrapping up my scenes in the Hallmark MOW, and I consider this a very good thing. Didn't get the gig, but had a blast in the process!

I am now back in my dear NYC. Everyone looks ashy and tired. Winter always does this to New Yorkers, although I was told this season was a mild one. I'm thrilled I missed the worst of the winter months. Spring is finally here, it seems.

I'm back to taking the subways, walking to auditions, walking my dog, and riding my bike. I'm back to sipping wine in the West Village, having my coffee at Bonsignor, and eating pasta at Pepe Verde. Yes, I'm back to pounding the pavements. Some habits never change.