Actress Iris Almario is hitting the small screen in two dramas this season. Starting this week, viewers can catch her in a recurring role on the ACB Family series, “Switched At Birth,” and then she’ll guest star in the March 3rd episode of the new CBS action-thriller, “Intelligence,” starring Josh Halloway (“Lost”).
Before making her way to Hollywood, this Colombian Puerto Rican beauty earned the titles Miss Latina USA and Queen of The National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. Her film credits include roles in Bob Goldthwait's “God Bless America” and “Below the Beltway” with Tate Donovan, Sarah Clarke and Noah Wyle. She’s also made several TV appearances on “General Hospital,” “Sex and The City,” “King of Queens” and “The Young and the Restless.”
We recently caught up with Iris Almario to find out more about her experiences working on two top-notch dramas.
What can you share with us about your new role on “Switched At Birth”?
IRIS: It’s always so hard to gage what I can say after being sworn to secrecy -- signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement. I can tell you that my character Felicia is someone from Regina’s (Constance Marie’s) past that comes back into her life.
What was it like working on a show that isn’t afraid to take a risk?
IRIS: I think it’s wonderful to work on a show that doesn’t hide behind shiny storylines and is willing to confront what life can bring our way. We all know life isn’t always easy and to be able to portray flaws in a genuine way makes acting more fun and interesting to play.
Does that change how you approach the material as an actor?
IRIS: No. I still have to do the same research about who my character is, create a full life accordingly, understand why my character has been written in a storyline and live honestly under those circumstances.
Any interesting stories from the set that you can share with us?
IRIS: I was VERY excited to work with Constance Marie AND Lea Thompson on my first day. I admire them both a lot. Constance was down to earth and right away treated me as an equal. After introducing herself she asked if I wanted to run lines. I thought, “Wow, how normal and cool.” On set Lea was very supportive. She gave me more insight on my character and reminded me to play. She understands how to talk to actors because she’s one herself. It was great to be directed by her. On my second episode I was directed by Melanie Mayron. She was kind and instantly made me feel like part of the “family”.
You’re also going to be appearing on the new CBS drama “Intelligence.” What can you tell us about your role on this show?
IRIS: My character Marcela Leon is a passionate woman who loves her husband and finds herself trying to stay alive.
This ‘action’ type of show always pack so much into an episode, what was the pace like on “Intelligence” compared to working on a show like “Switched”?
IRIS: “Switched At Birth” is in its third season. They’ve got a cast and crew that work well together and move rather quickly. Although “Intelligence” is a new show, the pacing moved at a good steady rhythm because everyone was 100 % committed. Also, when dealing with stunts the attention to detail is very important. There were specialists on set to make sure everything ran smoothly.
So, we have to ask: do you prefer family dramas or the high-energy action shows?
IRIS: I LOVE doing both! Family dramas can be very moving. They’re written with so much heart that it can get you to think about how you’ve personally handled or treated people or situations in your own life. When I watch a film, a TV show or a play, I want to be affected.
High energy shows are a lot of fun, too. One of my favorite things about acting is the research I have to do for each role. Sometimes storylines are written about things I know nothing about for example the CIA, a disease, a historical event, crimes...etc. It’s my chance to explore and learn. I also get so drawn in on who is who and who’s done what. If I get a chance to do my own stunts even better. I was a modern and jazz dancer, so any chance I get to pull a Charlie’s Angel move, I’m in!
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
IRIS: I’ve always known I wanted be in the entertainment world, but I didn’t know the option to work in it was available to me. Growing up there weren’t a lot of Latinos in Hollywood that gave me the idea I could go for it. My dad always said my options were to be a “doctor, lawyer or business women.” Parents always want their children to succeed and have a better life. An actor’s career is so unpredictable that my dad didn’t understand what to do with that information. I guess I’m sharing this because it doesn’t matter who you are, if you want to do something in life, give it your 100% as long as you’re not hurting anyone. I’m really humbled I’ve been received so well.
And finally, how can your fans keep up with your busy career?
IRIS: My website www.irisalmario.com is updated with the latest news, photos, etc. and I’m also on IMDb.
Thanks, Iris! We’re glad you didn’t listen to your parents!