An interview with the beautiful and talented Valeria Gonzalez
How and when did you first get into performing?
I started performing in Spain when I was 18, I had done theater in middle school in Mexico, but it was when I finished high school that I entered a drama school where I spent 6-8 hours a day learning the craft and participating in short films.
Who were some of your biggest inspirations?
There were actors like Tom Hanks that I always loved to watch, but my father had a big part on me wanting to perform. We used to go to the movies all the time and then we talked about films and directors, stories and actors for hours. That made me want to be part of this world so much. Later on, I observed actresses and their performances and I got more and more excited about the idea of becoming an actor myself one day. Actors like Julianne Moore, Rachel Weisz and Cate Blanchett.
What kind of training have you done?
The schools and the teachers I trained with in Spain had different backgrounds and so I had all different kinds of approaches to the craft, from Stanislavsky´s method, Shakespeare, Mime and Clown, Voice training and Singing. I also trained in a theater company, Cia Sargantana, with a technique called IAM, (Impulse Action Movement) and I also took workshops in Commedia del arte. Later on, when I was already working, I trained on pure improvisation and scene work. And of course, a great training has been to actually perform in front of an audience.
What has been your favorite role to play so far and why?
All of the roles I have played have given me so much! Playing Rosita la Soltera made me find different colors in sadness and loneliness and it was very beautiful to experience. Carpe diem was a big challenge since we had very little time to make it all happen, so there was some improv and it was very rewarding working with such professional people. The pick up was amazing because there had to be a lot of accuracy on the moment where I had to act since so many extras were being choreographed in a club while we were performing. La Dolce Fantasia was a big challenge since I played two opposite characters and had to change back and forth constantly. I talked and rehearsed a lot with the director and co-star and we managed to get results we were all very proud of. Working with the team of Okupados was so great! The format for the web series is so different form what I had done before. My character, a prostitute mourning a loss, was very dramatic, but we´re still talking about a comedy! So it was a great challenge to make it work. And Green it up was truly an incredible experience since we dealt with beautiful and transcendental issues and it was recorded live.
What projects do you have coming up?
I have been offered to play the part of Amy in the play Beyond Reasonable Doubt. Amy is a strong woman that even after losing her daughter she was able to save her marriage and move forward. I am very excited about that project and I am already preparing for it.
What are your plans for the future?
For now my plans are to work on the project I mentioned earlier, make my research on the character and keep working on my craft.
What is your advice to other aspiring artists?
To Act. In everything they can, every project has made me a better actor. Our bodies learn the craft by doing it not by thinking about it. Also, to work as a team because the actor is a part of a play/film, but the whole project includes so many other things and people involved, great results form come unity.And on a daily basis, I have found to be key to wake up early and exercise, to audition all the time, to be exposed to what we are afraid most and be in the spotlight constantly, to work on our weaknesses to improve our skills, in voice, movement and any type of acting. Making mistakes is a great chance of growing and constancy is the best training for when the opportunities arrive. Be prepared to fail, and know that the moments when we shine are not predictable, they come and go in the process of creation. Maybe the hardest task we are not aware of is to always find a way to get all the energy possible in every moment, and not wait for the fear and doubts to go away because that will just never happen.
Why did you choose this profession?
I ask myself that question all the time. And the answers have been different in different moments of my life because there are feelings like anger and sadness and fear that must arise in order to create a conflict and to move other people, to move the audience into rebellion of their own souls, to move their spirit from their seats, to move their minds from current ¨limited¨ perception into new perspectives. And I wondered, isn´t all this rebellion against the peace we strive to obtain? But I realized we will have all those feelings anyway, we cannot and should not avoid them. Avoiding is retaining, is not letting go, it not moving forward. So I perform to express feelings and help the audience bring those feelings to the surface. To perform and to watch a performance would be the place where humans would go to acknowledge what they already feel underneath in an intense way, to connect with the truth of each moment. So we accept, we let go and we move forward. And that, I believe, is how this profession I chose is an amazing contribution to the world.